Saturday, February 16, 2008

Daily Digest February 16, 2008



CORNER BROOK WESTERN STAR - Program educates parents on drugs

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - Getting the straight goods on our finances

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Crown share, gown share

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Pub bust highlights problems with OQLF

THE SUBURBAN - To withstand comparisons
The language virus has broken out in Quebec again this past week. It is a recurrent sickness.

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Exposing ourselves

        Rise of the man-child

OTTAWA SUN - Dion must hold his nose a little longer

BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER - Central registry for superbugs a no-brainer

        Let's hope these stubborn men can bend on Afghan mission

NATIONAL POST - Our cherished right to blaspheme

TORONTO SUN - Dion must hold his nose a little longer

LONDON FREE PRESS - No room for prayer amid politics

WINDSOR STAR - Kids, cars and smoking

SUDBURY STAR - Arctic deal; Joint management of Northwest Passage with the U.S. is in Canada's interest

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Mr. Dion's sad waffle

        Putin blusters

WINNIPEG SUN - Dion must hold his nose a little longer

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Obama, Layton diverge on paths of realpolitik

REGINA LEADER-POST - Change in tactics

CALGARY SUN - Dion must hold his nose a little longer

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - Why we can't ignore U.S. credit crunch
Our debt stats don't bode well

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Accepting the duty to protect

EDMONTON SUN -  Dion must hold his nose a little longer

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Perception of bias could be easily overcome

VANCOUVER SUN - Snip the red tape that keeps foreign-trained doctors on the sidelines


Accused 'hiding behind their culture'

Canadian military probe launched after Afghan civilian claims injury

Canada set for record current account deficit
Strength of loonie and domestic economy will drive shift, Merrill Lynch forecasts

Loonie's purchasing power lagging despite U.S. parity

Vancouver sex trade group wins co-op status
A group of Canadian sex trade workers hoping to set up a legal "co-op" brothel in time for the
2010 Olympics in Vancouver said on Friday they have won approval to incorporate themselves.

The North American Union, Mexico style

Canadian expedition seeks to prove claim on underwater ridge

Tussle seen over Arctic sea floor

Bernier to talk trade in Colombia

Canada sends ex-SS guard to Italy

Fear and Resolve in Kabul
The Washington Post (02/16/2008)
Afghan gov't forces launch clean operation in western province
Xinhua (02/16/2008)[]
Expelled EU diplomat defends Taliban dialogue: report
AFP (02/16/2008)[]
Karzai leaves for annual U.S.-Islamic world forum in Doha
Xinhua (02/16/2008)[]
Pervez's move to Kabul may herald his release
The Independent (02/16/2008)[]
US Lawmakers Address Fear of Failed State in Afghanistan
Voice of America (02/16/2008)

What to do about Georges Bank

Posters England in a pub: The Office de la langue française recedes

Federal deadlock persists despite election fever

Get seats or die trying: What the leaders stand to lose

Ritz is wrong to bully the CWB

Liberals' Afghan plan 'clear and substantive' By STÉPHANE DION

 Dion must hold his nose a little longer

Dion Takes a Dive on Afghanistan

For the record: Stéphane Dion on Foreign Policy

Dion's pledges thin on reality

Michael Fortier defended the choice of the manufacturer of the "closing" of Montebello

Should we stay or should we go?

Probe role of RCMP in last vote

Doucet issues mea culpa after Commons testimony fails to add up

Ethics committee won't subpoena Mulroney tax records

Some Italian-Canadians allowed to vote, run for Italian parliament

Government, Canada Post calendars miss Quebec holiday

Aid operation followed due process: CIDA
Taxpayer dollars to Afghanistan being fully tracked, senator told

Ethanol fuels food price frenzy

A modest sacrifice for the climate

Lies Mother Nature never told us

Judge denies CSIS bid to track terror suspects

War, peace and the Liberal party

Related Articles
Part I
Finding Canada's place in the world
We need a new map, Lloyd Axworthy argues

Q&A, Tuesday:
Axworthy, Granatstein and Eaves on Canada's place in the world? 

Food Boom: Canada's growing wealth

Preaching the dogma of dependency

Numbers don't add up in study on homework

Politicians need to back soldiers

Last thing west needs is Sharia 'justice'

Darfur is just the beginning of the trouble with China

Rowan's Laugh-In

Sikhs have worn helmets 'throughout their history'
Discrimination Case; Man challenging Ontario motorcycle safety regulations

Dial-a-marriage, eh!


Les Forces canadiennes enquêtent relativement à un civil afghan blessé

Michael Fortier défend le choix du fabricant de la "clôture" de Montebello

Affiches anglaises dans un pub: L'Office de la langue française recule

Dion subit la pression de ses troupes

Le Sénat ne fera pas tomber le gouvernement

        The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O.) came into being because of the real and perceived threat of expansion by the Union of Soviet  Socialistic Republics (U.S.S.SR).  President Reagan's strategy of a two pronged approach to foreign policy resulted in the end of the U.S.S.R.
        Western European Civilization, of which Canada and the United States are outliers, for centuries was wracked by civil wars among its peoples.
        Until the Japanese in World War II only Western European based states were of any consequence politically/militarily for several hundred years.
        Not quite true for the Russian Empire grew both to East and West and defeated several incursions by Western European states.
        The Eastern side of N.A.T.O. has developed to the point where the European Union to my knowledge is not viewed as an overt or covert threat.
        The Western side is.
        A subject little dealt with in the Canadian media is the the subject of a Winnipeg Free Press Editorial to-day with the ignorant title "Putin blusters",
        ignorant in the sense of unknowing.
        In ending with this sentence "His recent belligerence is not meant to intimidate NATO so much as remind the West -- and Russians themselves
        in the lead-up to the election -- that Russia still matters." the Free Press editorial board ignores at all our peril the deep seated reaction among
        the Russians of the United States of America moving into Eastern Europe militarily.

        Vladimir Putin has stated "that if the U.S. established a missile shield in Eastern Europe, Russia would target Western capitals with nuclear missiles"
        Not "bluster" but a warning.
        Were I Prime Minister of Canada my direction in terms of Afghanistan would be working with the British and other E.U. politicians to strive for the     inclusion within the government of Pashtun representatives.  The Pashtun control all the territory they inhabit.   Canadian, British, American and other troops control only that which they are standing on at any specific time.  This people have been defeated,        though rarely.  They have never been subjugated and will not be now. This being so,  2011 will become 2013 and on and on until this step is taken
        or circumstances lead to withdrawal.
        Were I Prime Minister my direction in terms of Western Europe and N.A.T.O. would be to bring maximum pressure of the U.S. of A. to cease and    desist with all plans of building a missile shield in Eastern Europe that threatens the Russians.
        This is what sent me on this what some will call a rant: "If Canada and its NATO allies are unwilling to engage in combat missions in Afghanistan,      why then should anyone have any faith that the West will defend itself in its own backyard, or intervene militarily elsewhere to prevent Rwanda-
        type genocide?"
        To relate unwillingness to engage in combat missions without end in Afghanistan with having "any faith that the West will defend itself in its own      backyard," is absolutely, positively, without a doubt the most foolish statement I've read that I can recall.
        The heading of the article from which the statement quoted states "Politicians need to back soldiers". It continues by stating "Canadian soldiers on    a mission in harm's way need to know they have the government, Parliament and the people of Canada behind them."
        The question I raise is this, must the people and the Parliament back a mission the government has committed our soldiers to come what may?

        Those having an interest in historical thought will find this interesting :     

Politicians need to back soldiers

Yet the message over the Afghan mission is that these rich democracies are reluctant to send soldiers into combat against an enemy possessing neither an economy nor holding territory -- an enemy that is more or less a pack of medieval-minded brigands. Also an enemy that can well be eliminated with the required resolve, as the American soldiers have succeeded in doing in Iraq.


If Canada and its NATO allies are unwilling to engage in combat missions in Afghanistan, why then should anyone have any faith that the West will defend itself in its own backyard, or intervene militarily elsewhere to prevent Rwanda-type genocide?

The Afghan mission was not designed to test the collective will of NATO countries, nor the leadership capacity of its richest members and show them wanting, yet it has come down to this unpalatable truth.


Anthony (T) Silvestro

Subject:  Irish pub not French enough for language police

Anti-English language bigotry alive and flourishing in Quebec – Canada.
An example of the idiotic paranoia that honest, hard working people have to tolerate in Canada.

Language storm brews in Irish pub

From: Ron Thornton
Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 15, 2008

*Hi Joe:

I came mighty close to not feeling a need to respond to the Feb. 15 Digest, until I came across Randall McGunigal's comments regarding Harper's promise to trigger an election if the unelected, appointed, lackey-filled Senate does not approve his anti-crime legislation. 
Randall figures  this is unconstitutional.  It is not.  The government of the day can trigger an election on whether it rains or not, never mind if the Senate insists on sitting on proposed legislation.  In Australia, with its elected, equal, and effective Senate, an election is just what not only the members of the lower house would face, but Senators as well, should they reach an impasse.  That sounds good to me, as well as democratic.  Sounds like something we need here.

I'm wasn't sure if I agree with Randall or not in regards to our reserves in the treasury should our economy hit the skids in the near future.  On doing a bit of research, I discover that our federal net debt sits at just under half a trillion, so paying off 2% of it would seem to me to be the responsible thing to do.  That total represents about 4% of our budgetary spending, and when you consider we have been spending three times as much (about $35-billion) annually just on our debt charges, it would seem to make not only economic but common sense as well.
If my math is correct, $10-billion comes down to about $350 for each Canadian.  A drop in the bucket, not enough to save our sorry asses if it came down to it, especially considering the annual debt charges we carry have been more than three times that $10-billion figure.  So, though it would look great in my bank account, $10-billion would do very little if anyone was hoping it might be used as some kind of economic life boat, unless it was totally devoted to the good people of Prince Edward Island.  That $350 for each Canadian would be worth $100,000 for every Islander.  Now, that would be a life boat, indeed.

Maybe what Randall would prefer is Stephane Dion's promise of spending only $3-billion to reduce the actual debt, and instead of keeping the money in the bank for a rainy day like Randall might prefer, he would spend $10-billion on infrastructure.  Sounds like a great idea, but only if you spend money already earmarked to take care of the debt already run up on a bunch of other past great sounding ideas.  That is why this current government promised, and came through on its promise of its last budget, to pay down the debt by more than $9 billion.  In fact, they topped it by a bit.  A promise made, a promise kept, a debt reduced.  By a government, no less! How refreshing.  In 2005, 16% of all fed expenditures was made up of paying public debt charges instead of going toward paying for actual programs.  Anyone want to return to this concept of fiscal responsibility?

I think Randall and I might agree on one thing.  When things are good, the government should take a hike and build up its financial reserves. 
When we need government to step in is when economic times are bad, when we need government intervention and make work projects, not when things are booming.  However, if we can't resist spending a buck the moment it lands in our hands, then we shouldn't be shocked when we wind up paying the price for it down the road.

As always, Joe, thanks for the soap box.

Ron Thornton

From: "Phyllis Wagg"
Subject: Deficit

Canada set for record current account deficit
Could this be why Harper was desperately wants an election?  Will Flaherty be able to use creative accounting to manufacture a surplus as he did in Ontario?
Stay tuned.

From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject:  Democracy the Ontario way?

Algonquin chief to serve jail term
Contempt of court sentence turns aboriginal leader into 'political prisoner,' lawyer says

Democracy in Ontario--you gotta love it. The Caledonia area Natives get
away with the destruction of hundreds of people's lives but these Natives in
Sharbot Lake are jailed for trying to defend their community. Follow the
money--it stinks. I guess it is true that we mean nothing to our masters but
corporations get what they want?



Not just the Natives are impacted by this mining

Paradise lost?

From: "Don Keir"
Subject: Dailey Digest

Hi Joe:
This article from Global Research should quite definitely settle the question of whether Canada should or should not be sending troops to Afghanistan to support the agenda of the ruling junta in the USA. This is especially true when one considers the uncertainty of the origin of the events of 9-11 and the fact that the plans for the invasion had obviously been in progress before the happenings on 9-11,
Don Keir

Operation Desert Slaughter
Thoughts on Holocaust Memorial Day.
by Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, January 28, 2008

It is seventeen years since America and Britain embarked on their 'Final Solution' for the population of Iraq.

From: "Glenn Harewood"
Subject: This is not a way of life at all. --- Thr Russians tried it and failed.

For Under 30 30 330 30

Should we be killing off people in a foreign country just because they do not accept our Western way of life? Can a "foreign" mode of life be forced on the people of any country? The Russians tried to reform the Afghans for 20 years and failed. What makes Harper believe that Canadians will succeed?  Sure I disagree with the human rights abuses that occur in Afghanistan, but who am I to order troops from my country to go into another  person's country and literally tell such persons " you must stop living the way you have lived for countless years -- we do not like it!!" I know this is simplistic, but, in essence, this is what Bush and Harper are doing. Any wonder that none of the other UN countries wants to replace Canadians in Kandahar province?

With the issuance of the Manley report on Canadians fighting a War in Afghanistan, this quote from General Dwight Eisenhower {former  President of the USA}, is worth repeating: 
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,
signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."


From: Zeb Landon
Subject: Does NATO have a realistic strategy?

Dear Joe, and Friends,                 Subject: J. Edgar Roberts' comments on Daily Digest February 12-13, 2008

Like many other Canadians feeling an information gap, I wonder where the Afghanistan mission is going, and - - Does NATO knows where it is going?

A thoughtful overview by fellow Canadian J. Edgar Roberts of the Afghan/NATO situation  (bottom of this letter) filled in some gaps, particularly that the Afghan Army is suffering "massive casualties", basically unreported in western media.

I also heard on CBC Radio's 'The House' this morning that, after six years, the Afghan government still for the most part doesn't pay salaries for teachers and police even in the "safe" north - west part of the country.  Schools that are already established become degraded.  >From comments by Janice Stein (who was interviewed on the programme) I took it that, more than elections or "democracy", actual functioning governance would be key to gaining or keeping the people's support and not losing it to the Taliban.

If I recall correctly, it was one of the interviewed commentators who stated that Afghan soldiers generally did better whenever they got paid directly by Canada.  So I take it they are still not even getting paid properly by their own government.  After six years, the NATO coordinators ought to have found a way to work out such basic problems with their Afghan counterparts.

As far as training Afghan Army recruits, one aspect puzzles me that perhaps Mr Robertson could speculate about: 

Would the Afghan Army be training for takeover of responsibility by fighting alongside NATO troops, which I believe routinely call in US air support to bomb targets?    Is the plan that eventually US air support would be eliminated, or is this to be a permanent feature under the new Afghan military role

For perception, NATO's strength and credibility in the world is undermined by failing to clearly "win", take control, and end the heavy attacks, -- and this more seriously as more years roll by.  If we view NATO as having an essential and valuable position in the world, our concern must grow that getting into a no-win situation undermines it badly.

For our own self-interest, NATO ought to pick its fights with sharper discernment.  If NATO member countries fail to "step up to the plate" with support, it may be partly the fault of NATO leadership for failing to put forward a convincing and realistic strategy and exit plan.  My impression is that, sadly, it does not have such; it is too much about showing fire power muscle, and too little about developing sophisticated understanding of peoples and situations.

The government of Afghanistan may be worthy of some foreign protection against the Taliban.   As with many problems, it comes down to the 'how', if we do this, and the dire consequences (for so many who are involved) of mistakes that are made.

Zeb Landon, Simcoe
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Edgar Roberts said:
[ ... ]

Dear Joe and Mr. M. Elahi.
Canada's CAF is tasked with a three pronged mission.
Number one; is fighting the Taliban and other insurgents throughout Kandahar Province.  Most of the fighting we read about is on or near the border of Helmut Province in co-operation with British Forces.
What we are not reading is about is the very large contingent (+/- 4,000) of the Afghan Army troops currently in Kandahar Province.  They are positioned on the CAF's right flank down towards the border with Pakistan.
These troops are sustaining massive casualties on a scale such that no NATO nation would allow their own troops to remain in Afghanistan.
With the CAF on the British right flank there is a proportionately large contingent of Afghan National Army troops on the British left flank in Helmut Province.  Again they are stretched down to the border with Pakistan.  They to are taking massive casualties, which we rarely hear about except in passing.
Second; the CAF is attempting to secure its military base, Kandahar city, protect the PRT's and NGO's in and around the city.  The latter with a very large contingent of the Afghan National Army in support.  Again the Afghans are taking almost all of the casualties.
Third; the CAF is engaged in training Afghan Army recruits.  I do not know if they are using the mirror method of combat training.  This would greatly speed the trained higher rate recruits from trained but untried to blooded and then into a competent combat status.
At that point NATO could begin to back off and turn over all combat missions to the Afghan National Army.  It should take two to three years for that to be finished.