Monday, February 18, 2008

Daily Digest February 18, 2008


The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.

EDITORIALs

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - A good idea then, a good idea now
Island legislators should revisit the notion of holding all house sittings during the day.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sc=103

CAPE BRETON POST - Liberal divisions mirror Canada's
Sartorial reviewers were never sold on his khaki vest but Prime Minister Stephen Harper would expect that in a showdown on leadership image he would have the edge among voters looking for a militaristic pose. http://www.capebretonpost.com/index.cfm?sid=108983&sc=151

AMHERST DAILY NEWS - Dirty oil could become cleaner
http://www.amherstdaily.com/index.cfm?sid=109032&sc=61

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Farm report should be implemented
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=b04a4106-a4de-4d91-995e-f8c83ea86a0f

        Keep complaining about price gaps
         http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=3363522a-7657-428b-a448-47fa6567bd83

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Junking the junk food
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=8d7ecce9-dc5b-48f8-a598-d825dbbf9e7c

EMBASSY - Welcome to Round Two
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/editorial/

TORONTO SUN - Here's how cap and trade would work
http://www.torontosun.com/Comment/Commentary/2008/02/18/4856105.html

WINDSOR STAR - The legislature
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=cca45ac8-87e9-4815-a37b-b4c444ebe583

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Louis Riel's legacy
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/editorial/story/4127788p-4721271c.html

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - Off the banks
http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=118705&Itemid=161

VANCOUVER SUN - Snip the red tape that keeps foreign-trained doctors on the sidelines
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=d8ffb939-02eb-4497-ad21-4c594822756f

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Public transportation agencies must be more accountable
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=46a0aef0-6707-499e-b3a7-44b89bc2aa40


ISSUES

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
An interactive map of Canada's native population
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/rethinkingthereserve/map.html


CANADIAN FORCES
Surviving Combat is Half the Battle for Returning Soldiers
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/committees/

Soldier's complaints present weighty questions
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/1038787.html

Military probe into alleged abuse hits brick wall
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080218.wdetainees18/BNStory/Afghanistan/home

NATO Members' Military Might
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/militarymight/


CANUSA/USACAN
U.S. rescreening of bags from Canada called overkill
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080218.wbags18/BNStory/National/home

Binational group laments that Great Lakes agreement not updated in 20 years
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/080218/national/great_lakes_agreement


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Canada needs China
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=6de3ad66-0dec-49f6-9977-7b1d9e027c3e


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Another Failed State?
Kosovo's declaration of independence isn't likely to solve its many problems
—or defuse tensions in the troubled Balkans http://www.newsweek.com/id/112945

History Doomed to Repeat Itself in the Balkans
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/taylor/

Kosovo Dominates Afghanistan
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/kosovo/

Diplomats Frustrated with Lack of High-Level Access
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/highlevelaccess/

Troops will fight Taliban without vital Chinooks
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/17/wafghan117.xml

NATO's two-tiered mission
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=316001

Canadian convoy attacked, dozens of civilians killed
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=316981


JUSTICE SYSTEM
More illegal search evidence allowed
Ends-justify-means approach to justice: critics
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=315926


POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
Alberta Election 2008
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/albertaelection/index.html

Dalton McGuinty's lawless Ontario
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=315972


POLITICS
Conservatives think they can win majority, internal polls suggest
http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2008/february/18/backrooms_conservatives_majority_poll/&c=2

Conservatives say they´re most election-ready of all parties
http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2008/february/18/conservatives_election/&c=2

Dion's pledges thin on reality
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=314003

Bloc prepares voters for budget vote with ad campaignComment15
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080218.welectionbloc18/BNStory/National/home

Wife of Manitoba Tory handed federal plum
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/story/4127799p-4721282c.html

Tories Hope New Years' Gifts Will Keep on Giving
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/tories/

Tories say Liberal promises add $62.5 billion to debt
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=cf0f7553-a1c2-44b0-a13a-16b85127560c&k=14735

Tories have blocked ´in and out´ probe since August 2007
http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2008/february/18/legislation/&c=2

Pols puzzle over Harper's latest moves
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=315668

Death defying Parliament
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/304126

The election no one wants
Neither the Liberals nor the Tories want to go to polls, but we might anyway
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=4115d10c-a9df-4463-8e26-3833fe63288e


PROGRAMMES
Foreign Takeover Watchdog Needs Toughening Up
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/crane/

Emerson Leads New Cabinet Group on Afghan Mission
http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/13/emerson/

Lawyers line up to become special 'terror' advocates
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=315669


PRESSURE POINTS
Two takes on a tax
http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/2008/02/18/4855948-sun.html

The global cooling fallacy
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=a94b56a5-5df2-4982-ba0b-7724efb31338


OPINION AND INFORMATION
Media are getting all lathered up over nothing
Human-rights cases against Maclean's and Levant are nothing to get excited about
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=919eb65e-d650-4517-b53e-3d5190b99214

Sharia-law fight mirrors our debate on accommodation
But we get upset at archbishop's statement while accepting Supreme Court ruling on divorce
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=8f5d65f7-3358-46ed-a786-329ca15c1235

Accepting our burden
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=1cb60992-d56d-4018-9dbc-b7d2f154f3cc

Subcontracting death
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=66c8bb67-e045-4ea0-9cca-965bae22dd7a

Why do many promote U.S.-style health care?
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=f6d0c18d-e5ed-4fd3-851f-9b0c422d7b64

Harper must level with Canadians on Afghanistan
Manipulation of the facts undermines public confidence in a mission that is in the national interest
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=69e70e2e-9621-4e4d-9010-d56cf0023341

Sale of B.C. satellite company may well speed up prospect of sky wars
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=d6022cb0-7b91-4ce3-ad4f-fd531a6e0eb9

Treatment of Khadr shames Canada
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=b6b6bad6-c1d3-45cb-ad0a-331a67666f24


INFOS

McGuinty espère que le fédéral viendra en aide à l'Ontario
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080217/CPACTUALITES/80217091/1025/CPACTUALITES

L'ex-dirigeante de l'ACSTA veut 2000 $ pour trois réunions
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080218/CPACTUALITES/80218022/1025/CPACTUALITES

Au tour des conservateurs d'attaquer
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080218/CPACTUALITES/802180762/1025/CPACTUALITES

Afghanistan: libéraux et conservateurs sont unis, selon Bernier
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080217/CPACTUALITES/80217022/1025/CPACTUALITES

Le Bloc change de registre
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080217/CPACTUALITES/80216116/1025/CPACTUALITES

Le Kosovo, «fier et libre»
http://www.ledevoir.com/2008/02/18/176629.html

Mission en Afghanistan : Bernier est satisfait
http://www.ledevoir.com/2008/02/18/176607.html

Dion réagit aux attaques conservatrices
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2008/02/17/002-conservateurs-attaque-liberaux.shtml

De l'aide pour la Colombie et Haïti
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/International/2008/02/17/004-bernier-colombie-haiti.shtml

Duceppe passe à l'offensive
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2008/02/16/002-bloc-budget-duceppe.shtml

A mi-chemin, l'issue de la campagne électorale albertaine est très incertaine
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/080217/N021789AU.html


BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)

From: "Richard & Alley Neumann"
To: "Joe Hueglin" <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>
Subject: Your Comment - 17 Feb Edition DD

Joe:
 
I agree that there are many extreme examples of compromises some seem perfectly willing to make with respect to our fundamental freedoms in both the United States and this country.  Having said that, it would not be correct to state that this country has never been subjected to acts of terrorism.  Although you did qualify your statement to include attacks "in this country", it should be noted that one of the most abhorrent attacks did originate in this country and was directed predominantly at the citizens of this country, the Air India bombing.  It should also be noted that, although the 9/11 attacks neither originated in Canada (a fact lost on too many US lawmakers) nor were Canadians directly targeted (despite the Canadian loss of life), the flights could just as easily have departed from Canadian points of origin given the security regime in place at that time.  Had that been the case, Canadians would face far greater restrictions than those currently imposed or contemplated, with significant economic and social consequences.
 
Prior to 9/11, there was a tendency to underestimate threats to our security, health and the environment.  I would agree that the pendulum has swung too far and that now, the tendency is to the opposite, resulting in overly restrictive measures that do less to attend to the threat than they do to create the public perception that something is being done.  Playing to fear is becoming the standard in public debate.  It crosses all ideological lines and detracts from the ability to institute sound public policy.  Unfortunately, I see little reason to believe that this trend is going to subside, given increasingly sensationalist media coverage that is more widely available, polarized minority governments, and well-funded special interests that have learned the value of the politics of fear.
 
Richard Neumann
Candidate
Conservative Party of Canada
Thunder Bay Rainy River


=====
Thank you Richard.

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________________________________
The Hill Times, February 18th, 2008

LETTERS http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/cover_index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/february/18/letter4/&c=1

Troops deserve honour, respect

Now is the time to thank our troops, and bring them home. We sent them to Afghanistan to depose the Taliban government that had supported terrorist Osama bin Laden. Our troops and allies succeeded. We asked our troops to secure Kabul, the Afghan capital, for a new democratic government. Again, our troops and allies succeeded. They and their families deserve our thanks and honour. Job well done.

Canada´s new Harper government extended a mission that began as one of reconstruction into pacifying a tribal warlord conflict in Kandahar province where torture and family feuds dominate.

Our military has fought with honour, refused to transfer prisoners to torture, and taken heavy casualties. Our troops deserve honour and respect.

Eugene Parks

Victoria, B.C

===================================
From: alan heisey <hize@earthlink.net>
Subject: "earthworm" 08 2 17 sunday

Herewith a third, very different point of view from a clearly  aggrieved member of the Mississauga East-Cooksville e.d.a. I publish  it as fitting within my purview of activities within the GTA's 45  ridings, but I have no views whatsoever on the merits of the author's  statement.

The following story is enough to disillusion the staunchest  Conservative. It is a tale of hypocrisy, mendacity and plain dirty  tricks. It's a bit long, but I'll try to keep it as short as clarity  permits.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
You may be familiar with the fact that the CPC membership in  Mississauga East-Cooksville (MEC) had suffered severely since The  Merger when the Defarias snatched control of the EDA. Repeated  requests to National Office from some members to "do something", up  through the summer of 2007, met with no response.

On September 4th, 2007, I met Karma MacGregor for the first time at a  Mississauga South board meeting. (I was an O.O.R. member of that  board.) I buttonholed Karma for 15 minutes and she promised to look  into things. A number of phone calls followed with the result that  Karma met with me and three other members of MEC in my living room  October 4th to discuss the necessary next steps.

At this meeting, Karma casually mentioned that a Melissa Bhagat had  expressed interest in being a candidate and gave us her phone number. 

I still have no knowledge as to whether Ms. Bhagat had already filed  her candidacy application papers at that time. One of our members had  a two-hour coffee meeting with Ms. Bhagat and she told him a lot  about her background. Karma also mentioned that she had received  expressions of interest in the MEC candidacy from two other persons. 

We never saw anything from either of these two potential candidates.

[Eric Wen told me, before our first board meeting, that The Party had 
already chosen Melissa Bhagat to be the candidate in Mississauga East- Cooksville, that it was a done deal, and that we might as well bend  over and enjoy it. (Or words to that effect!) I didn't believe it,  but, it does explain why she had been seen parading around a rally  like a 'candidate' and why some people at the AGM behaved as though  she was 'The Candidate'.]

More phone calls followed and, on November 2nd, Karma informed us  that National Council had okayed a refounding AGM for MEC on October  26th. After all those years we thought that was wonderful speed and  warmly thanked Karma for the role she had obviously played.

The Deamon dialer went to work on November 9th informing members of  the forthcoming AGM on November 23rd. Five of us met with Karma in my  living room on November 19th to square away all the final details re  running the AGM that Friday evening.

The AGM attracted 44 members who were successful in acclaiming 29  board members. Wally Butts conducted the meeting. The new board was  directed to elect an executive on the spot that night. Some of us  thought that was a bit hasty, but, why not - we were all there. Eric  Wen was elected President for the first six months and Ali Sheikh was  elected Financial Agent. The new board was then directed to create a  Candidate Nomination Committee (CNC). Again, unusual to do at an AGM, 
but… Four members, including myself, were elected to the CNC. The  Financial Agent, Ali Sheikh, was automatically the fifth member of  the CNC. The board was then directed to elect the chair of the CNC. 

Nobody knew, or if they did they said nothing, but this was  completely contrary to the Rules and Procedures. [The person elected  that night was subsequently replaced at the first meeting of the CNC  December 17th with Ms. Bhagat's "landlord" and prime promoter - Ali  Sheikh.]

One could reasonably suspect that Poli Ops had directed Mr. Butts to  create a board and CNC for their chosen candidate, Ms. Bhagat,  instead of creating a board and CNC to search for credible candidate  contestants. But then, the new Rules and Regulations dated July 2007  (to prevent a repeat of the Rob Anders kerfuffle in the spring of  2007) removed candidate recruitment as a responsibility of a CNC!

Our first board meeting was held December 10th. A bare quorum of 11  showed up but we all thought good first-steps business was done in an  air of enthusiastic congeniality.

On December 12th, we received an order from Tasha Woodcock that the  EDA was 'released' that day, that the cutoff date for candidacy  applications and membership filings was January 2nd, that the deamon  dialer would so inform the membership that night and that we had to  hold the election for a candidate by January 23 or very shortly  thereafter. The bogus reason given was that an election was an  imminent possibility. Subsequently, it changed to 'the process is  unstoppable'.

This despite the fact that our brand new EDA met only one of the six  criteria for commencement of the candidate nomination process  according to the Rules and Procedures, Section 5. However, it should  be noted that the new Rules and Procedures dated July 2007 enable the  Director of Poli Ops (Doug Finlay) "to open nominations any time he  sees fit" and he "may alter, abridge or suspend sections 4, 5, 6 and  9 of the Rules as he sees fit." Thus, it is now official, riding 
members and boards can be ignored by Poli Ops, according to the Rules  and Regulations.

There followed an extensive correspondence, first with Poli Ops, then  with National Council, asking for some time to conduct a reasonable  search for candidacy contestants. Both Doug Finlay and Don Plett  ignored my calls for fair play, responded only to Ali Sheikh and Eric  Wen, and thereby confirmed Melissa Bhagat as the acclaimed candidate.

Three of the five members elected at the AGM had opposed the rush and  were not willing to go along. Bhagat supporters, Ali Sheikh and Jamil  Muhammad, wanted to obey the Party dictate. By a simple application  of the new Rules (July 2007 also) two alternates who supported  Melissa Bhagat and were willing to go along were used to portray that  "a majority of the CNC members, and Mr. Wen, did not object to the  Party's decision".

A second candidate contestant had spent the Christmas season putting  together an application in the hopes that an extension would be  granted permitting him a chance to sign up supporters and put up a  fair fight. When more time was denied he pulled out in disgust not  wishing to validate such a procedure.

Ten members of the just-elected board resigned, eight are "non- operative", leaving a six-week old board with ten "functioning"  members and one candidate. At the board meeting scheduled for January  14th, four showed up and phone calls only managed to scare up three  more in three-quarters of an hour - less than a quorum.

Inflicting us with a Party-selected candidate who has been rejected  by the Liberals, both provincially in Brampton Centre and federally  in Brampton Springdale, and who was not welcomed by the PC's  provincially, is an invitation to disaster. Doing so, so soon after  the Tory rape of Mississauga South in the recent provo election, 
where the PC's inflicted Liberal-reject Peterson on the EDA, will  confirm that the Tory brand stands for top-down dictatorship and  callous contempt for members and citizens in Mississauga. It will  also ensure continued victories for Liberals in Mississauga for years  to come.

MEC members deserve a better candidate than a Liberal reject, from  Brampton.

All we wanted was an extension of the date for applications and new  memberships. We wanted time to search for and then elect a candidate  of our own choosing in a fair and credible contest. The byelections  announced before Christmas removed the last, slightest shred of  justification for such exaggerated urgency in our EDA.

It's no wonder the Tories are not gaining support in the polls. 

Mistreatment of members and boards is  causing true conservatives to  drop off faster than pandering to tribal and special interest groups  is bringing new people to the party.

Charles W. Conn, January 31, 2008

Charles W. Conn
Tel: 905-212-9111
Fax: 905-206-0024
e-mail: cwc@ceconn.com
Home Page: http://www.ceconn.com

===================================
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===================================
February 18, 2008
ALERT !

Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), Winnipeg, Manitoba

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in April 2007 that the federal government will contribute 100 million dollars toward the building of the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg.

He also stated that the federal government would contribute $22 million annually to cover its operating costs.

The Advisory Committee for the Museum, selected by the former Liberal government, consisted mainly of feminist, homosexual and regular Liberal stand-bys, such as a former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner, former Liberal MPs, Cabinet Ministers and some Senators. The museum was intended to be a monument to former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his Charter of Rights.

This has raised concerns that the museum, with its left-wing Advisory Board, would be used as a powerful tool to champion the Liberal government's interpretation of human rights, such as abortion rights, feminism, homosexuality, etc. with only some legitimate exhibits sprinkled here and there to give the museum the appearance of legitimacy.

Fortunately the Conservative government changed the Advisory Committee in October to include individuals, mostly business men and women, with no known bias on human rights issues.

This new Advisory Committee now wishes to take the views of the public into account in reaching its decisions on the scope and content of the Museum. As a result, a public consultation on the Museum is being carried out between February 5th and March 15, 2008. To further this project, the Advisory Committee has prepared a public consultation document that can be found at: http://www.pch.gc.ca/index_e.cfm. In the left bar, under the heading, Department, please click Public Consultations. The document includes a number of questions which are intended to stimulate ideas for the Museum for Human Rights. The Committee also invites views not covered by the questions.

It is important that as many of us as possible, with a conservative perspective, provide input into this Museum as it will remain a part of the Canadian culture for many years to come. We want it to reflect basic human rights, not the trendy rights contributed by recent court decisions.

===================================
Ed Corrigan

Subject: Great Lakes Danger Zones? |
 The Center For Public Integrity |
Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest

Here is a link to an important report on the increased risk to health in the Great Lakes region, due to environmental pollution, that has been suppressed and not released to the general public. The media should publicize its findings and expose the attempt at covering it up. To quote the the Center for Public Integrity:
*
"Here's the report that top officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thought was too hot for the public to handle­and the story behind it.*"


Ed Corrigan

http://www.publicintegrity.org/GreatLakes/excerpts.htm

===================================
From: J. Edgar Robertson
Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 16, 2008


Dear Joe, Zeb Landon.,
 
Back in 2002- 4 I submitted several pieces to this conversation about NATO's and Canada's role in removing the Tal'iban and El Kida while unifying the region of Afghanistan under one single elected Muslim government having Shir'a law in their society much the way it is practised in Turkey or Egypt but still within the Afghanistani comfort zone.  It was certainly apart of Afghanistan prior to a pro Soviet government being elected which started the many decades of war in the region.
 
NATO certainly bit off a large mouthful to chew.  However events have unfolded very closely to what I expected since then. 
 
One thing I didn't expect, was for the NATO nations to routinely rotate their troops out of the theatre of operations.  I expected the troops to remain for the duration of the combat mission. 
 
I never thought the Afghanistan government in Kabul would be in a position to pay any soldiers, police or the civil service out side of the capital until the government's influence moved beyond there into the provinces.  I wrote some time ago, "That one couldn't buy an Afghan but you could rent one for a short time."
 
I did think that NATO and the UN would get the money to pay the Afghan troops, civil service and the police; outside of Kabul's area of influence from the Japanese,  as this war's out come is very much in their national interest.  Remember this is not only NATO's war but the UN's as well.
 
QUESTION:
 
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?
 
The Afghan Army  is currently fighting  along side of NATO troops.  I thought the usual rotations from combat areas to quiet ares for rest and then to retraining in country was going to be the normal.  This would have facilitated the mirror method of training better than is currently happening.
 
I expect that once the Afghanistan Army takes over all the combat missions there will be no need of close air ground support.
 
Remember in 1915 when Captain Lawrence  (British liaison officer to the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire) asked for heavy and light artillery, General Allenbey was advised, "That after the war it might be deuced hard to recover the remaining artillery pieces and the  remaining ammunition."  He declined Captain Lawrence's request and promoted him to Major.
 
I expect that when the combat mission is over,  some NATO troops to remain until the PRT's are completely transferred over to Afghanistan civilians assisted by foreign NGO's.  I also expect that some Tal'iban will remain as a rump political party much as there are rump parties national politics here in Canada.
 
NATO has to break some long held idea's.  One, "It is written," two, "To change the people's first loyalty from tribal leader to the nation," Three, "To think of Kabul as their capital of their own country." 
 
Right now many Afghans see Kabul much as 10th century European Christendom viewed Jerusalem.  It wasn't the capital;  it was a holy place.  None in Europe knew or cared what happened there.  Their loyalty was to their lord and King.
 
I knew the Afghan soldiers would take, "French Leave."  They might never return.  It is part of the Muslim culture.   "When you get what you want, you go home.  When NATO gets what it wants, it to will go home."
 
I did think that  regular pay would be a major inducement for most Afghans to remain at their posts and eventually become permanent soldier's, police officers, school teachers and civil servants who would get a pension when they retired. 
 
The region is yet to be united under the government in Kabul.  That will come as the Afghan Army  takes over control of areas from NATO.  The civil service is yet to be rid of its massive corruption as are the national police department's.
 
The use of torment and torture must be ended.  The sooner the better.  I expect if handled properly by NATO, the PRT's and the NGO's; that NATO troops would not be in the fore front of fighting in two years and not at all in three years.
 
This war as usual will end in political compromise much as most wars do.
 
J. Edgar Robertson
West Hill, Ontario.

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Randall McGunigal
Winnipeg

It is shocking to hear the federal government warn of coming economic difficulties. This in a country which, a scant few months ago, posted a 13 billion dollar surplus. The tax cuts announced last Fall not only depleted the surplus, but effectively reduced the inflow of revenue to federal coffers in the future.  The massive 10 billion dollar payment on the national debt took care of the rest.  These decisions were taken at a time when the high Canadian dollar was hurting our manufacturing sector, when the subprime mortgage crisis in the US was threatening the stability of financial markets worldwide and when the infrastructure deficit of Canada was pegged at 135 billion dollars.

Now the finance minister is openly warning of possible deficits in the future. So, were the Prime Minister and his compadres from the government of Mike Harris (Flaherty, Clement and others), mistaken? Were they careless? Ill-informed? Stupid?

The answer is they were none of the above.  The Prime minister, who is fond of stating that  he is an economist (as if all economists think alike), is above all highly ideological and his ideology includes a hatred of taxation and a desire to see the role of government shrink. He is also extremely intelligent and tactical to the core of his being. It is likely that the financial situation we now find ourselves in is exactly that which he wanted to create  a government short of operating capital, facing possible deficits. Such a government would have to   either   run a deficit, cut spending or raise taxes.  Spending cuts would clearly be the first choice of Mr.  Harper. It's what his ideology touts as the greatest good  less government.

Harper would love to run against any politician brave enough to suggest that taxes  any taxes  be raised, for any reason, even though, ironically,  under the present conditions there will be no money to pay down the debt, which was supposedly such a high priority of the government only four months ago. 

As Frances Russell pointed out in her recent column, these ideas were borrowed from Ronald Reagan and the people around him, who drove up the national debt of the US astronomically  by massive, ongoing tax cuts and untold billions in military spending. Sound familiar? It was made clear that the real goal of this approach was to be able to argue to the American people that the US was "living beyond its means" and that programs had to be cut. The deficit was a tactic. After inheriting a balanced budget from Bill Clinton (you know, that  "tax and spend liberal"), George Bush has resumed  the pattern, running up trillions in debt using the same formula, throwing in a questionable war to boot. 

And where does Mr. Harper find his inspiration? A clue may be found in a speech he gave to a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council For National Policy, a far-rightwing US think tank. Then president of the National Citizens Coalition, ,he fawningly welcomed his guests with the words "your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world".

Ask yourself this . Would you spend all of the money you had managed to amass over the past year on paying down the mortgage, knowing that your house might need a new roof, or that other unforeseen expenses might arise or that there were improvements you might like to make to your home? Would you, at the same time, reduce your future   income by reducing your hours of work or taking a lesser-paying job?

This is precisely equivalent to  what the federal government has done with the finances of the country, and now that the cupboard is bare and future federal revenues are constrained, get ready for the spending cuts. What will it be? Increased private medical services?  The end of CBC TV?     More selling off of government assets to the private sector?      The further degradation of our vital infrastructure?   These are among the  few choices left to this and any future  government and that's exactly the way Mr. Harper  wants it.

Randall McGunigal
Winnipeg
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