Sunday, January 06, 2008

Daily Digest January 6, 2008



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Home, home of the strange

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Taxpayers shouldn't pay for Tories' boasting

WINNIPEG SUN - Character again the key for jubilant Canadians

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Olympic bosses must rethink exclusion of women ski jumpers

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Defence spending tainted by politics


Research tracks Inuit modernization with suicide, offers hope for improvement

Two Canadian soldiers killed in LAV III roll-over in Afghanistan

Canada examined bigger Afghan deployment with jets and helicopters: documents

Death of the Three-Ds in Afghan Mission
The term "three-D approach" is being replaced with "whole-of-government" to describe the mission in Afghanistan,
but opposition MPs say the change hides a lack of diplomacy and development on the ground.

Emerson Blasts Washington's 'Protectionist' Rhetoric
Canada's trade minister calls on the U.S. to forget protectionism and take a lead on free trade,
but experts think his speech has fallen on deaf ears.

Don't expect any red carpets on Bush's Mideast trip

Pakistanis flee into Afghanistan

Democracy to grow in Afghanistan, hopes Bush

Afghanistan's Mullahs demand TV crackdown

Pakistan says it will not allow US forces to hunt militants on its soil

Saskatchewan warned to watch for dark side of energy-fuelled economic boom

Government minister expects many Albertans will be upset with new land policy

Prairie premiers hope to influence federal budget

Ontario francophones under threat of assimilation: minister

Poll finds voters reluctant to give any federal party a majority

Bernier's Mideast trip too little too late: critics

Subpar choices
This naval fleet loves the land

Skip the Kyoto snow job
Canadians will back a realistic green plan -- we just haven't seen it yet

Uncertainty, possible loss ahead for Harper government this year
Poll finds almost 40% don't expect Tories to be in power by end of 2008

World of big changes will test Harper in coming year

Conservatives stepping up efforts to finally crack GTA's 'swing' ridings
Tories need a serious breakthrough in the 47 GTA ridings to win a majority, but there's no sign of one

Copyright Act could affect Conservative fortunes in urban areas, says Geist

Expect spring election, maybe on Afghanistan confidence vote
Tory Sen. Segal predicts government to fall on a confidence vote on Afghanistan mission

Accountability decreasing, says machinery of government expert
But some expect PM to loosen leash and encourage more of his Cabinet ministers to get out and talk.

Treasury Board officials acknowledge a significant problem in public service payroll
Only 66 per cent of agencies meeting proper standards

Confusion prompts revamped procedure for missing radioactive devices

Our idea of cities needs a rethink

Canadian idle: let's ban drive-thrus

Carmakers getting greener

Canadians beginning to take a dim view of higher taxes


Les Forces armées avaient prévu un déploiement plus important en Afghanistan

La CCSN a modifié sa façon de dépister le matériel nucléaire manquant

Le Bloc se prépare pour le déclenchement d'élections à la mi-février

Le ministre Maxime Bernier visitera plusieurs pays du Moyen-Orient

Les nouvelles règles pour les lobbyistes sont critiquées

Sous-marins: la polémique se poursuit


Three LTEs are posted to-day, one published two sent. Should you send one out, please send it in.


The Hill Times, January 7th, 2008
Environment and health to top next election
No Canadian election has ever been fought over the environment. The environment and healthcare have been political files that the Canadian public assumed will be responsibly managed by the government of the day. Accordingly, few political parties have been dumb enough to present views on health and the environment that can be effectively attacked during an election. That is until now.

Last summer, Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament to derail Bill C-30, the proposed Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, that would have enhanced climate protection in Canada.

Then taking Mr. Harper's views international, Environment Minister John Baird went to the world climate conference in Bali and publicly worked to derail agreements for absolute worldwide greenhouse gas emissions caps; and he succeeded.

At the same time, the Harper government put both health care and the environment at risk by mismanaging the Chalk River medical isotope facility. Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn failed to act when it became known that the facility was running without adequate nuclear safeguards. No attempt was made to either make alternative arrangements for medical isotopes or to immediately fix the nuclear facility.

Evidently, Harper's government is actively working against environment protection and ignoring health care. His Cabinet's blatant capriciousness led to a medical crisis and an environmental health risk from a nuclear facility and embarrassment on the international stage.

The result may be that the upcoming federal election is the first general election in which the environment-health file is prominently debated and affects the outcome.

Eugene Parks

Victoria, B.C.

From: "Rene & Tish Moreau"
To: "Ron Casabon, editor" <>
Subject: Re: Canadian Press story and StarPhoenix editorial on Desnethé appointment

Letters to the editor; and FYI to all
From Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)
re; Dion anointing Beatty sends wrong message, Jan. 5th.

Also this quote from the article.

While Saskatchewan's current sole Liberal MP Ralph Goodale wouldn't comment, news reports have suggested that he instigated Dion to raid the NDP caucus of Beatty, the first First Nations woman to hold a cabinet position in Saskatchewan, because he didn't want Orchard as the party's candidate.

    Considering Ralph Goodale's checkered past as one of the most pro-corporate of the  finance ministers, next to Paul Martin, who apparently let his name be used, if he was not directly  involved, in the removal of ALL restrictions on foreign investment by Canadians after the 30% and then 20% limit  had been instituted.  That was only one of many  of his decisions for the corporate world.
     If the American corporate/financial entities wanted Canadians investing elsewhere  so  they could  buy  Canada up for what was 68 cents on the dollar  at one time, what better way than to con Goodale and his handlers through their moles in his office to  go along with their wishes. And it worked!
    It stands to reason that if you are pro-corporate,  like Goodale, you're not pro-David Orchard.
    At a time when  politicians can either be bought or 'controlled' by  think tanks or corporate types through most of the military  and Machiavellian moves  used  these days, it isn't surprising that they would work so hard to 'marginalize' David Orchard.
    It might be a very good idea to check out his , Goodales, current handlers and moles to see who's working against  David Orchard.
    Also, in  Stephane Dion's office, look for the handlers and moles, because in the article by the Canadian Press, mention was made about  Dion's action by  one David Smith, co-chairman of the liberal campaign defended Dions decision to appoint Beatty. Further down the same article,  it said  that 'Dion was not available for comment.' --- so whose decision was it? Actually.
    Now, just for the fun of it, try to talk to Stephane Dion. From past experience, I would say your chances are  non-existent. He seems to be too well cocooned, from public contact. So who actually made the decision?
    Don't believe me. Try it yourself, contacting Stephane Dion. They won't let you.
    Then remember the things done and think in terms of a leash on corporations, or Corporate Magna Carta!
                               Yours truly,
                               Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)
From: Margo <>
Subject: RE: Daily Digest January 5, 2008

Hi Peggy,
 As long as you believe "Anything Goes" as in that 1934 Cole Porter song......
    The world has gone mad today
      And good's bad today
     And black's white today
     And day's night today...
.....then certainly you can choose to believe that Peter MacKay was "in touch with reality" when he signed a legal document promising no merger, and then went ahead and did it anyway.
Your notion that David Orchard "had his own agenda and it certainly was not to build a viable opposition in the HoC" is true. The Orchard I heard addressing the PCs had in mind helping build a party to form Government in Ottawa. Sure Orchard had an agenda (what fool works with no goals?) and I am confident Orchard's agenda jived with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada's aims--one of the tenets of which was upholding a sovereign Canada.  67% of people may have voted for the merger but how many of them were bona fide loyal PC Party members and how many were part of a fifth column who joined the PCPC solely to become delegates to that vote? And what "tourist" in the PC Party was the one person who kept warning over & over & over that the PC Party was being undermined and dismantled, but who was ridiculed, ignored, and ultimately silenced?
Margo Lamont Catamo

From: Jacob Rempel
Subject: Alan Heisey writes, "jacob  rempel does not catch the depth of my conviction on one person one vote."

In Saturday's DAILY DIGEST, Alan Heisey wrote, "Jacob  Rempel does not catch the depth of my conviction on one person one vote."
Like you, Al, I would wish for perfect rep by pop too, with every riding having the same number of voters, irrespective of geographical dimensions.  As well, for better representation of our opinions, a carefully designed form of proportional representation would also be necessary, since most voters, -- like you and I do -- almost always vote exclusively for the party of our choice because it represents certain frameworks of beliefs and interests which groups of us hold in common. And it's impossible anyway for the voters to get to know the personal qualities of each candidate. It's their policy that matters.
However, I think that democracy by perfect arithmetical formulation and precise voting majorities is not likely to serve us much better than the approximation we have now. The elected parliament of Canadians will always have to find compromises, so every government will disappoint many of even those who voted for them, partly because no decisions are perfect, and also because no 308 MPs are all principled, consistent and honest under severe pressures.
Better democratic government comes from having a nation of more value oriented educated people of integrity who,  as a matter of course, join political parties and nominate good persons as their candidates. That way, it would matter less just which party gains a majority in parliament. A majority of any persuasion would then always also respect the interests of the minority. Creating such a society is mainly the work of families, civil society, culture and schools. Political people in every party must provide a peaceful social, educational and cultural environment for non-governmental civil society to raise its children as better citizens.
I have known good persons as politicians in every political party, and observed less responsible characters in every party.
As is, we operate among less than perfectly honest politicians in our parties, and we participate to increase the number of really good people getting elected from every party, you in your small corner, and I in mine.
I'm trying to help Joyce Murray in Quadra and David Orchard (somewhere) get elected to the House of Commons.
I know them both, and know they will seek the well-being of Canada and all Canadians if they get elected.
Like we sang in Sunday school long ago, we each do what we can, "You in your small corner, and I in mine."
...Jacob Rempel

From: "Mahmood Elahi"
To: <>
Subject: Stephen Harper (or Stephane Dion) can only form a minority government

The Editor
The Windsor Star
Stephen Harper (or Stephane Dion) can only win a minority government
Re "Dion a minority man," by Claire Hoy (Jan. 5).
The biggest unanswered question of 2006 election is: Why, despite Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin's dreadful performance and the Liberal sponsorship scandals and Conservative leader Stephen Harper's solid performance and his making a "breakthrough" in Quebec, the Conservatives such a weak minority? The answer is that because the Tories failed to sweep Canada's most populous and urbanized province of Ontario.
The Liberals, led by Jean Chretien, won three back-to-back majorities by winning 100 of Ontario's 103 seats. When Prime Minister Paul Martin lost 25 Ontario seats in 2004, he won a minority and when he lost 50 seats in 2006, he lost the election. In the futue elections, Ontario voters are unlikely to vote for a single party and with four parties -- the Conservative, the Liberal, the NDP, the Green Party -- are competiting for votes, no sinle party can sweep Ontario. And without winning big in Ontario, no party can form a majority government.
Although a member of now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party, I will vote for the Green Party not because it can form the government, but because it can bring enough influence on environmental issues. A majority government is beyond the reach of Harper (or Dion). Mr. Harper should get used to running a minority government through compromise and consultation with other parties.
2240 Iris Street, Ottawa.

Subject: RE: plse delete from list

For 2008 I've decided that no one actually good and smart will ever get elected. The system must change and I'm going to live in the jungle.
best regards

From: Judy Lewis
Subject: RE: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Good for you, Joe!
Judy Lewis

Thanks Judy.;. The issue is principle not politics.

From: Phyllis Wagg
Subject: RE: Daily Digest January 5, 2008

In my opinion, Stratos, your comments reflect the elitism and arrogance of the political and economic establishment.  This is the argument for oligarchy and autocracy, whether you realize it or not.  It is the argument that is opposed to the concept of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."  It opposes government of the people because it argues that only a small, self-perpetuating group, are "entitled" to the privilege of power.  It opposes the free choice of delegates by the people.  It ensures that the government is not "for the people" because it is not "the people" who are represented but a certain social or economic class. 

Your comments seem to reflect exactly the kind of thinking that is creating the growing divide between the political class and the represented.  There is no doubt that many new Conservatives would like enshrine power in an "upper class" to prevent social progress.  Like Conrad Black, they would like to return to the aristocratic model, in which money alone can buy political power.  In that sense it is difficult to find your sympathy for Conrad Black touching.

The concept of "selecting" only those who you perceive as "entitled" to power is the major principle of oligarchy.  In is interesting how many business executives, sports personalities, those who work in the media, etc. are seen being "cabinet material."  Many of them seek office to promote, not the interests of the public, but the interests of a client group.  If you look at some of the "stars" such as David Emerson whose main reason for entering politics was to support the interests of his forest company.  It is an excellent way to give certain special interests tremendous influence within government at the expense of the body politic.

There are many reasons that elitism and arrogance (snobbery) have become so much a part of the culture of the establishment.  They isolate themselves from the general population.  They make far more money than the bulk of Canadians so they have much different priorities because they don't have to worry about putting food on the table, paying for housing, or keeping warm in the winter.  These needs have long been satisfied.

They discourage independent thinkers from participating in political parties and instead encourage a culture of "followership."  The process is self-perpetuating.  It prohibits change and as such prevents leadership development.  Leaders use this as an excuse to select "star" candidates and cronies from outside the party and parachute them in. 

Stratos views reflects why the new Conservative Party rejected the concept of "progressive."  It is a party devoted to the entrenchment of new class system.

From: "Brian Graff"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest January 5, 2008

hi Joe:
often I can only skim through the DD, but I wanted to comment on a few things about david orchard and the issue of candidates being appointed by the leader.
peggy merritt wrote: In my opinion David Orchard had his own agenda and it certainly
was not to build a viable opposition in the H. of C.
I never understood the animosity of many PC party members to Mr. Orchard. At the time, the party was a shell of itself - most of the "hard right wing" having decamped to the reform party, so that is was  mostly a "red tory" party. Orchard was anti-free trade, but then, Mulroney had been against free trade when he ran for the leadership, and many on the far right were against free trade and globalization (like Pat Buchanan in the US). I don't recall such animosity against former separatists, like Bouchard, when they joined the party at the urging of Mulroney. The other issue that Orchard championed is the environment, but that doesn't seem to be the issue, given that Mr. Mulroney himself now trumpets his reputation as being the most "pro-environment" PM according to some sources.
Exactly why did those opposed to Mr. Orchard think he didn't want to build a party that would win seats and eventually regain power? He is not a socialist, but more of a "progressive" (like David riombie), and Orchard had wanted to belong to a party, or lead one, that was on the far left and that was willing to stay on the fringes, he could have joined the NDP, the Green Party, CAC, or started one of his own. Nor had he ever had any association with the Liberals, and he was critical of Chretien for signing NAFTA and other things, so he could hardly be considered a "mole" whose plot was to eventually merge the PCs with the Liberals.
Mr. Orchard often cited Diefenbaker as a hero and influence, and Dief himself was considered too radical for the PC party for many years before he was eventually able to win the leadership and power. Prior to the merger.
Anyway, I am bothered by the whole thing of party leaders appointing candidates, regardless of the party involved. Our system of picking candidates through nomination meetings is seriously flawed, because so few people are actually party members to begin with, and of course, as was the case with many Liberal nominations, the process was open to abuse by stacking meetings, or executives controlled by the incumbent MP calling them when they weren't expected before challengers had a chance to organise, and in particular, the many cases where ethnic groups could be organized to vote as a block, and because money was also a huge factor.
We need a different system - which isn't totally under the control of the party leader or the party elites, and one where incumbents can face challenges. We also need something so that, once elected or nominated, MPs have a greater ability to act independently, and to not have to toe the party line.
I can think of several reforms - one might be to have a preferential ballot (aka alternative voting), but a system whereby anyone can run even without a nomination, as long as they get enough signatures, so that voters could directly pick which Liberal, NDP, Conservative they think is best, as opposed to being stuck with only once choice if they want to stay loyal to a specific party.
The other option would be some sort of "primary" system. We now have a permanent voters list - all we need to do is to get voters to declare which party they prefer, and then we should extend the length of election campaigns so that the first few weeks would lead up to a "first stage" election in which registered party members would get to pick each party's candidate (this would be held on the same day for all parties, and Elections Canada would control the process), and then the last few weeks would be a "second stage" leading to a second vote where all voters get to pick which of the candidates is elected MP.
There might be other variations. the sad thing for me has been that attempts to reform the electoral process in Ontario and BC have not really been al-encompassing - they haven't looked at how parties select candidates, and how to make party membership more relevant and meaningful
B T Graff

From: "Joan Good"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest January 5, 2008

As regards the David Orchard nomination, perhaps we should all vote Green next time, when we can, and see what happens!
Joan Good

. . . thanks. It's an option many are finding preferable
to the Libs and Cons.


From: Rubie Britton
Subject: Re: Leadership-prinzip replacing democracy in Canadian politics

Hello Joe,Was it "Goodales' dislike for David Orchard",-because of Nafta, that Goodale chose Joan Beaty?
   Is there still a rift in the Liberal Party?

As ever,

(Answer to first question YES To second, probably)

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?



Naaaah (thus speaks Stratothustra). There are several factors at work, but I don't believe that the vetting thing is one of them. Some that stand out here in Canada are:
1. "Political economics" at work. To cast a truly educated vote, one has to spend a fair bit of time reading, talking with others, etc. The electoral payoff: one vote. Modern life is complex to the point that taking on more mental load in order to have a piddling payoff just isn't worth it to most people. Those who DO take on the load do so out of personal interest, whether direct or arising from curiosity. Some of us care about cars, some do about home decorating, others "actively" care about community matters.
Given this, individuals usually do the sensible thing: they watch TV, catch some snippets of electoral platforms, get a general idea of what's being talked about and what's at stake, and go with their gut feelings. (I'll write more on what this means, but not now).
2. Legislative politics (the stuff elected federal, provincial, and municipal politicians do) is to a large degree a wholesale business rather than a retail one (<-- a tip of the hat to whoever said that, likely Winston Churchill; someone said that politics is a one-size-fits-all thing ... I heard that recently, maybe in a movie). Since laws and regulations (including budgets) are never written with specific individuals in mind (the closest one gets to individualism is when a law targets a small group in which all individuals and corporations are treated the same, e.g. financial firms), individuals themselves will never get a sense that a given law directly satisfies their own personal needs and desires.
Note that in the above, I'm saying that laws can directly benefit groups, but not individuals. For example, if communities in BC whose economies are largely based on the forestry sector are going through hard times, legislative politics comes into play through the creation of short-term aid programs (e.g. Employment Insurance), short- and longer-term ones (e.g. job-finding programs, tax breaks for moving expenses, retraining, "welfare", job-creation, economic diversification).
3. If one's interests run to "retail" politics, what I call "para-politics" are where the action's at. This covers groups and individuals working outside of government seeking to influence it to meet either their own specific needs or those of larger categories of groups or individuals. By this, I mean rights groups, business associations, community-development groups, NGOs, and such.
There are other reasons for political apathy, but the three above are the ones that came first to my mind. Feel free to add more, y'all.
From: "Peggy Merritt"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest January 4, 2008

In my riding of Scar. SW Dion appointed the Candidate and the incumbant has yet to resign????? Isn't politics fun.  Peggy

'Twould be more fun if Reg Stackhouse were to rise again in Scarborough SW, riding of my political birth. A good man he was, and the one I've most liked as a candidate whose campaign I've worked on. But his age makes this unlikely, though ...
Find us a good candidate in SSW, Peg! (<-- My political-birth riding president!)

From: John Nesling
Subject: David Orchard

Hi Joe
    Your insertion of Kipling's "If" seemed appropriate advice, but a man would have to be a saint.
Every time I hear of "If", I remember what the Spartans once answered to one of their enemy cities, whose army had sent them a message: "If we defeat you, we will destroy you (your city)". The Spartans' answer: "If".
No WONDER the word "laconic" is derived from the Spartans' country, Laconia.

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

Back when I was a weeeee little lad, I went through the same thing. When I was 18 or so, I figured that people's big problems were fairly obvious, and that lots of stuff could stand improvement. It only seemed logical that the government ought to do something about it, which was at the root of my wondering why it didn't do so. Hence my "feeling myself NDP" federally, and Liberal provincially here in Quebec (there were no provincial Conservatives around and the PQ was pro-independence so no-go for me). Interestingly enough, though, come election time I was tractable ... though I had the impression that Tories were generally nasty, I voted Mulroney during my first election (1984, when I was 19). John Turner came across as a nebbish to me, and Mr. Mulroney's flooring him with the Senate-appointments thing convinced the HE was a leader who knew what he wanted and could get them done.
In 1988, I was well into my "let the strongest win" phase, so I saw myself more as a federal Liberal (Tories were still too nasty ... plus, to me, Mr. Mulroney came across as a pompous ass.) But the Free Trade thing is what my vote balanced on ... was Canada about to go down the loo as the Liberals said it would? Or would it be taking a step in the right direction? Normally, in a disaster-versus-somewhat-progress decision (as I saw it then), I'd have been for disaster avoidance. But after (very) anxiously agonizing over this, I opted for "If they negoTciated it, then I have to trust that they knew what they were doing. John Turner's being a schmoe, when compared to Mr. Mulroney's pompous slickness (as in "slick like snot on a doorknob"), didn't MAKE for my decision. But it did legitimize it in the sense that his being a schmoe made it possible that his position was wrong. If John Turner had portrayed himself in almost any other manner, I'd have voted Liberal. But in the end, I cast a scary (really!) vote for the Tories.
And the rest is history ... I grew up, decided at 10 AM on September 15th 1993 while sitting on my couch, that since the writ had been dropped, THEN was the time to get involved (after all, I'd been thinking about politics for 12-odd years by then, so duty called). I asked my self if I was a Liberal. No, that didn't feel right. Was I a Tory then? That felt better, even though I still disliked Mr. Mulroney's coming across the way he did (and that I felt that Kim Campbell was a puff-piece). So, on September 16th 1993, at 10 AM-ish, the Scarborough West (now SW) membership secretary came over to my home, took my $10 and gave me my membership card. Next day, I was out knocking on doors (and wondering how peoplE would react to us).
Quite a change from radical socialist to pragmatic Tory, but it's been interesting all the way. And the DD keeps it fresh.. :-)