Thursday, February 14, 2008

Daily Digest February 14, 2008



HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Cooler heads carry the day

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Dion does the right thing on Afghan mission

OTTAWA CITIZEN - System failure

TORONTO STAR - A Tory joins poverty debate

NATIONAL POST - Cheating our veterans

TORONTO SUN - Fair trials at Gitmo look unlikely

K-W RECORD - Harper, Dion make a wise compromise

WINDSOR STAR - Unfit drivers
Safe roads physicians' duty

SUDBURY STAR - A big question; Changing the time of question period is about stifling debate

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Devil they still know

        Wily flu bugs

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Grits forget their promise to play fair

        Expose elder abuse

CALGARY HERALD - Dion's trade-off deserves praise

Foundation is supposed to be non-partisan

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - James right about forest tenure problems

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Violent criminals should serve full prison terms


Small business: low tax not the problem

'They have no honor'

Defeat a 'real possibility' in Afghanistan

Diplomats assigned to troop search

Other Stories:
Hundreds die in Afghan cold
Al Jazeera (02/14/2008)
Pneumonia spreads as winter deaths top 800
IRIN (02/14/2008)
Friend of Pervez flees extremists in Afghanistan
The Independent (02/14/2008)
Afghan Snipes Risk UK Support
The Associated Press (02/14/2008)
Insurgency-fuelled misperceptions
e-Ariana (02/14/2008)
No problem between Britain, Afghanistan
AFP (02/14/2008)
MPs say Karzai could alienate Britons
Reuters (02/14/2008)
Saving Afghanistan From the Sidelines
The New York Times (02/14/2008)
Iran deports Afghans despite call for winter halt
AFP (02/14/2008)
A strategy to save Afghanistan (02/13/2008)
The Taliban: Kidnapping, Inc.
MSNBC (02/13/2008)
Afghan bomb blasts claim 6 lives
CNN (02/13/2008)
'Al Qaeda is not interested in Afghanistan' - Jalali (02/13/2008)
Afghanistan's refugee crisis 'ignored'
The Guardian, UK (02/13/2008)
Afghan Kidnappings Increasingly Common
NPR, All Things Considered (02/13/2008)
Afghanistan To Get 'Big Brother' Cameras
Wired News (02/12/2008)
Karzai Seeks Help Making Islamic Schools
The Associated Press (02/12/2008)
Security Forces Search for Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan
The Washington Post (02/12/2008)
Taliban offers kidnapped diplomat for leader
AKI (02/12/2008)

Refugees a drain
Province spends $135M on 14,600

Harper deletes 'super Mario'

Stelmach fumbles right out of the election gate

Ontario heel-dragging costing province federal infrastructure funding: Baird

Tories set to face battery of confidence tests starting Feb. 28

Tories expect to be defeated over budget: CTV

Tories offer new Afghan role plan

A less partisan, more moderate PM?

Liberals back away from compromise on troops
Party sends mixed signals a day after a deal with the Conservatives on the future role of the Kandahar battle group seemed in hand

Liberals, Tories in tug-of-war over end-date to Afghan mission

Greens want Orchard

Spring vote looks likely

Budget likeliest trigger for election
Liberal campaign co-chair wary of an election that Canadians don't want

Rae urges Dion to hold off on election

Allegations of political shenanigans mar Liberal nomination race

Tory MP's bill to recognize unborn crime victims raises abortion rights alarm

Kandahar consensus is just politics

$90,000 payment appears to contradict ex-Mulroney aide's testimony: documents

Swiss bank accounts were for Mulroney and Moores, Schreiber accountant says

Joint review launched into Chalk River shutdown

Canadian public servants in Afghanistan to get danger pay

The Last Straw
A new generation of biofuels turns out to be another environmental disaster

B.C. groups push Ottawa to do more about our oceans

Climate change could be the next subprime meltdown
Most companies unprepared for effects

Only fraction of world's oceans pristine, rest affected by humans: study

Recession: a clear, but not present, danger


Le PLC remonte au Québec et en Ontario

Compromis possible sur la mission canadienne en Afghanistan - Élections: les libéraux semblent moins pressés

Sondages: Ottawa dépensera moins

En bref - Conservateurs impénitents

En bref - Plus de sécurité

En bref - Pas convaincant
En bref - Pas convaincant

Le quart des commissions d'Airbus devait aller à Mulroney, selon un comptable

Les partis accélèrent leurs préparatifs en vue d'un scrutin printanier

Un membre des Forces canadiennes a péri dans un accident en Virginie

L'armée donnera des séances d'information, mais gardera des secrets

La commissaire à la vie privée dénonce des banques de données de la DC

Les libéraux semblent moins pressés de se lancer en élection ce printemps

Mission afghane: Harper s'entretient avec le PM australien

Le vote sur le budget aura lieu le 28 février

Dion veut des élections


It is indeed sad to watch another generation finish its time here.Such a loss of wisdom and people to turn to.

         "Such a loss of wisdom and people to turn to." . Bev writes. And truly so though  I've developed a path that serves at times to obtain the counsel of those
        who have "passed over".  Not "passed on", mind, which to me has the connotation of a saying of good-bye and then going on some journey of a distance.

        Both an inveterate writer of Letters to the Editor and one who values a critique of what is written I'd 'phone John or Bill or Louis or . . . The upshot at times would         almost always be improvement, at some times drastic revision occasionally discarding the thought as dumb-stupid.

        Though to my mind the person I'm calling always oughtsta be there at times there was no answer.  What to do?

        The pattern was developed was looking at the work not from my perspective but rather from the ways in which I come to know their reactions would be.  Not the   same?  Agreed - but effective !

         They never answer the 'phone these last several years.  All were WW II vintage players in this Game of Games we play.  They have passed over.

        Passed over, yes, but consigliere still.


From: "Peggy Merritt"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 12-13, 2008

Hi Joe:  I cannot let your provocative remarks go unchallenged. I
find your remarks very infair. Our Prime Minister has given very
thoughtful leadership to Canadians. Given the minority in parliament
he has cleaned up many leftover Liberal messes very effectively. He
has not been given credit for setting up an non-partisan committee
to assess the Afghan situation. This initiative has given our
government a graceful solution to a very vexing problem. I do not
believe there is room in Canada for these marxist peacenicks in the
NDP! As far as the Senate and Civil Service are concerned both are
packed with Liberal appointees who are playing an obstructive role
in solving important issues that Canadians want solved.  And a Happy
Valentine's Day to you, Love Peggy merritt

From: Bev Smith
Subject: my sympathies for the loss of your relative

My parents have passed on and so now have many of their siblings. It is indeed sad to watch another generation finish its time here.Such a loss of wisdom and people to turn to.

I feel sometimes like huddling in a corner in despair - and yet their message keeps ringing in my ears- hope, laughter, one day at a time.
I heard the most beautiful thing on the radio the other day. An Irish priest was talking to a woman on her death bed. She was so afraid to go and to leave behind her family and he told her, with a sudden gust of inspired words that just flowed out of him, that she would be able to comfort those she loved in many ways she could not dream of now- and I have found that to be true.


From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: Senate

Joe--condolences on the passing of the generational connection in your
family. Life is so fleeting.

As for the Senate--it is a joke, much like our Parliament. I don't, for one
minute, believe that the Senate is carrying out due diligence. This is no
different than watching a hockey game(hokey game?). People cheer for their
favourite 'team', except, in this instance, the consequences are deadly for
us. Parliament or Senate are partisan and the well-being of Canada does not
enter the equation. Only the holding of power is important.
Nothing will change until we implement changes to make our MPs and Senate
responsible to the people. Isn't that what Democracy is? This is why all
governments are so afraid of having Referenda on major issues. They don't
want to 'rule' for the people, only for themselves. Until that changes we
are wasting our time debating issues on anything. Accountability is the
last thing our rulers want to hear about, no matter what House is involved.
The problem is not an appointed Senate, the problem is the entire system.
We have lost it. We are past the point of no return. Manipulation? Yes we
are manipulated at all times. Time to start over.

Harper at one time suggested that the Senate would provide a check on his
power. Now he is trying to over-ride that check by using a vote in the House
of Commons to try to railroad a complex omnibus crime bill through the
Senate. Why is it so important to prevent the Senate from carrying out due
diligence? Is it possible that the wording of parts of the bill, such those
involved with dangerous offenders and the use of reverse onus, could be open
to manipulation?

From: "Mahmood Elahi"
To: <>
Cc: <>,
        "Joe Hueglin" <>
Subject: Like the failed Soviet mission, Canada cannot contain insurgents, only Afghan army can
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 10:31:47 -0500

The Editor
The Globe and Mail, Toronto.
Copy to: Mr. Derek H. Burney, Senior Strategic Adviser, Ogilvy Renault LLP, Toronto (please forward).
               Mr. Joe Hueglin, Former PC MP from Naigra Falls: Can you please put it in your Daily Digest?
Like the failed Soviet Afghan mission, Canada cannot contain insurgents, only Afghan army can
I am writing with reference to "Where do we show resolve, if not Kandahar?" by Derek Burney (Feb. 13).
When 80,000 (later raised to more than 100,000) Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan to stop the fanatical Islamic fighters from overthrowing the pro-Moscow regime in Kabul, the Soviet commanders were supremely confident and they had reason to be confident. The Soviet Union was a mighty super power and the Soviet troops were a formidable force backed by tanks, armoured personnel carriers, helicopter gunships and mechanized infantry divisions in full combat gears. On the face of it, the Mujahedeens had no chance against this mighty force. Moreover, with Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan bordering Afghanistan, the Soviet forces also enjoyed a strategic advantage as they could easily bring in reinforcements which far off NATO countries cannot do. 
But the Soviet leaders ignored the intense fanaticism of the Islamist insurgents, their extreme hatred for foreign troops and the support and sanctuary they enjoyed among fellow Pustuns in bordering tribal areas in Pakistan. As such, what followed was a typical asymetrical warfare in which the Mujahedeens carried out hit-and-run attacks, using the neighbouring tribal areas in Pakistan as their staging posts.
The only way to stem the insurgents from carrying out attacks on Soviet forces was to take out their bases in Pakistan. But Pakistan was an American ally and any attack on Mujahedeen bases inside Pakistan would have triggered a direct confrontation with the United States which was already supplying the insurgents with lethal weapons. As a result, after years of fighting and suffering more thousands of casualties, the Soviet troops were forced to withdraw, leaving an ill-equipped and ill-trained Afghan army to face the insurgents. By taking up the combat, the Soviet forces neglected the Afghan army and didn't train and equip it. As a rseult, it was ill-prepared to withstand the Mujahedeen onslaught and the pro-Moscow regime fell like a house of cards.
By taking up the combat, Canada and NATO  are basically replicating the failed Soviet mission. Now as then, the Taliban are carrying out attacks on Canadian and NATO troops using Pakistan's tribal areas as their staging posts. Now as then, American, British and Canadian forces cannot contain the insurgency without striking the Taliban strongholds in Pakistan.
Although Pakistan is still an American ally, the Pakistan army will never allow the NATO forces to operate inside Pakistan, because it will be an admission of defeat and it will enrage the tribal population. Once the NATO forces enter Pakistan, there will be no easy exit. They will be embroiled in a new conflict with the local tribes and even with Pakistan army.
If 80,000 well-equipped Soviet forces could not defeat the insurgents, 2,500 Canadian and 35,000 NATO forces, enjoying a fraction of Soviet firepower, cannot do the same. As long as the Taliban enjoy sanctuaries in tribal areas, they will continue to ambush the Canadian and NATO troops, inflicting mounting casualties. And presence foreign troops will always provide the Islamists with a propaganda tool to inflame the warlike Afghans.
To avert further catastrophe, Canada and NATO allies should make equipping and training the Afghan army their top priority. Canadian troops should provide logistical support to the Afghan forces, but the bulk of combat should be left to them. The Soviet forces were too arrogant to let the Afghans fight the insurgents as they were confident that they could defeat the Mujehedeens with their massive firepower. They paid a heavy price for their arrogance. By replicating the failed Soviet mission, Canada may be risking the lives of its troops for an uncertain outcome.
Only a well-equipped and well-paid Afghan army can continue to fight the Taliban because they know what their fate will be if the extremists return to to power. It is great pity that the so-called Independent Commission on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan didn't take a look why the formidable Soviet forces failed in Afghanistan.
2240 Iris Street, Ottawa.

From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: Insanity

The West is repeating almost word for word it's past actions in the MR. Do
our great leaders never learn. Insanity is to keep doing the same things
over and over again expecting there to be a different outcome.

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: cause of concern

No matter who and when, it will be again a matter of democratically
electing a dictatorship. Places like the Senate and CHRC are
asking for this power based on the Trudeau enforced arrogance.
One of my grandsons, studying in Carlton, wrote a essay on
electoral reform calling Canada a "liberal democracy" so did send
him a not today asking to define "liberal democracy". To me means
a country without principles. wondering what he will say, but
that is what we are today, we vote and than are kicked in the
butt till the next election. The unfortunate part is that we have
no right to recall a Member of Parliament when failing.

From: "Don Keir"
Subject: Daily Digeast

Hi Joe:
I believe you would be doing a great many people a favour if you printed this article from Global Research. The "powers that be" have every intension of making sure that Canada is on this sinking ship when it goes down.
Don Keir

The Bush Financial Bust of 2008: "It's All Downhill From Here, Folks"
By Mike Whitney
URL of this article:

  Global Research, February 8, 2008

"I just saw a picture Bernanke stripped to the waist in the boiler-room shoveling greenbacks into the furnace." Rob Dawg, Calculated Risk blog-site

On January 14, 2008 the FDIC web site began posting the rules for reimbursing depositors in the event of a bank failure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is required to "determine the total insured amount for each of the day of the failure" and return their money as quickly as possible. The agency is "modernizing its current business processes and procedures for determining deposit insurance coverage in the event of a failure of one of the largest insured depository institutions."

The implication is clear, the FDIC has begun the "death watch" on the many banks which are currently drowning in their own red ink. The problem for the FDIC is that it has never supervised a bank failure which exceeded 175,000 accounts. So the impending financial tsunami is likely to be a crash-course in crisis management. Today some of the larger banks have more than 50 million depositors, which will make the FDIC's job nearly impossible.

Good luck.

It's worth noting that,  . . . .

Subject: CTF Commentary: Jim Flaherty's Budget Test

Below you will find this week's federal commentary looking at the upcoming federal budget and government spending.  Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.  To be removed from my CTF distribution list, please write "Remove" in the Subject line and return this e-mail to me.
John Williamson
Federal Director
February 14, 2008
Jim Flaherty's Budget Test
By John Williamson
Jim Flaherty has done a good job downplaying expectations in advance of the federal budget, which will be tabled in Parliament on February 26th.  The finance minister has said there will be no new expenditures nor will he deliver meaningful personal income tax relief.  This might be acceptable so long as he delivers on both sides of the ledger.
Suppose Canadians give Mr. Flaherty the benefit of the doubt and accept that his hands are tied.  That the economic downturn in the United States will reduce Ottawa's tax base and the mighty surplus will evaporate.  And perhaps many will agree a minority government makes it impossible for the Conservatives to cut government fat and eliminate waste.  Maybe a status quo budget is sufficient.
Certainly, taxpayers can take some solace in recent tax cuts.  The federal government rolled out a $60-billion package of broad-based tax cuts in October.  It delivered substantial business tax relief, cut the GST to 5% and reversed the personal income tax rate increase Mr. Flaherty enacted in his first budget. 
BUT … if Mr. Flaherty's pledge to be fiscally "responsible" is to mean anything he must match his tax relief freeze with a corresponding spending freeze.  Increasing spending while shunning tax cuts will mean the Conservative government has put the interests of the bureaucracy ahead of ordinary taxpayers.  And if the size of the federal government expands, Canadians are unlikely to buy the government line that taxpayers must wait for income tax relief. 
Voters are hoping the finance minister finally follows through on his budget rhetoric.  From the beginning of the Conservative government's mandate Mr. Flaherty has vowed to control expenditures and spend responsibly.  Taxpayers are still waiting. 
When the Liberals left office total program spending stood at $175-billion (2005/06 fiscal year).  The Conservative government's first budget called for Ottawa's spending to grow by 5.4% in fiscal 2006.  Yet, at the end of that year government spending had instead ballooned an astounding 7.5%. 
The 2007 budget plan announced an additional 5.6% spending hike.  Once again spending has continued to creep upward throughout the year.  Last month, the department of finance revealed expenditures had increased by 6.7% in the first eight months of the fiscal year (April to November).  What fuelled the increase?  The department says higher transfer payments, Crown corporation expenses, and operating expenses of departments and agencies.  Translation: spending is up everywhere.
An example of lazy management is Ottawa's recent $1-billion plan to retrain laid-off workers and fund community infrastructure projects.  (More federal bocce ball courts and canoe museums anyone?)  Rather than reallocate from non-priority spending, like handouts to special interests groups or corporate welfare subsidies, the government decided it was easier to reach into the coffers and drive federal spending to new heights. 
Toss in end-of-fiscal-year "March madness" spending and the federal government's annual outlays will – for the first time – break the 200-billion-dollar mark.  How is this fiscally conservative or even "responsible?" 
Mr. Flaherty is developing a reputation as being a big spending finance minister.  Indeed, it is no contest between Mr. Flaherty and former finance minister Paul Martin over who is more fiscally responsible.  It is Mr. Martin, by a long-shot. 
Some might argue this comparison unjust since Mr. Martin tabled budgets in a majority government.  As prime minister, Paul Martin was less "responsible" to be sure.  During his two-year tenure he grew the size of government by 14%.  And how much has government grown under Stephen Harper and his Conservatives in the same timeframe?  It is – surprisingly – also 14%. 
Looking ahead, Mr. Flaherty can continue mouthing empty rhetoric about controlling spending or he can start delivering.  After two strikes it is hoped his third budget will finally deliver a dose of fiscal responsibility.  If the Conservatives exercise even modest spending restraint they will be able to deliver meaningful personal income tax relief next year.  The decisions Finance Minister Jim Flaherty makes in the upcoming budget will determine the size of tomorrow's income tax cut.  He should hold the line on spending, and taxpayers will thank him if he does.