Saturday, February 02, 2008

Daily Digest February 2, 2008



ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - A court case out of Kafka

CORNER BROOK WESTERN STAR - We need a better plan

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - We're just a storm away from disaster print this article
It takes a storm like this to reaffirm what it means to be an Islander and pull together to get through a crisis


         Avoiding risks

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Rights commissions are stifling our rights

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Midwifery goes mainstream

BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER - Harper, Dion at opposite ends of politic's hard/soft spectrum

TORONTO STAR - Economic signs a call for action

NATIONAL POST - Alberta's censorship problem

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - NATO partners need to help

SUDBURY STAR - Supporting troops takes many forms

        Canada must press for student's release

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Political weather

REGINA LEADER-POST - Grief -- and many questions

        Upping the ante

         Segregation in Toronto

CALGARY HERALD - NATO hears Harper's threats

Sharing your life online? Beware the consequences

EDMONTON JOURNAL - Harper disappoints, says Gomery

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - When wants and needs don't mesh

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - More ground to cover on bioenergy

VANCOUVER SUN - Conservatives' decision to censor scientists will increase public distrust

         Playing off one good idea against another is a cruel ploy aimed at people in dire straits

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Tests help deliver better education


Rethinking the reserve: Problems of governance

Shaking up Canada's native establishment



Alberta position on emissions means future trouble

Federal Appointments: arm wrestling in Quebec

Flaherty broke rules to hire ex-Harris aide
Finance minister handed untendered contract worth $122K to speechwriter for former premier

Ex-councillor at centre of storm

Ottawa confident climate change deal with Alta. possible

Building the stone wall to new heights

Uninspiring Dion keeps the Liberals competitive

'New' Harper government shows its age

Then, Mr. Harper turned a bit nasty

Shrinking Canada's global reach

U.S. right shows Tories must live in the present
If the Republicans go down in flames in November, are Canada's Conservatives nex

Science adviser to Ottawa stunned by termination

Scientists lament closing of key advisory office

Wheat Board fires official who criticized government

Grain bill threatens quality, union says

$2B carbon capture and storage plan released

Tories tout 'constructive' talks with Alberta over climate-change deal

Remember the Neanderthals

Five secrets you must learn before you die also apply to your career

Mike Pearson's true heir: Stephen Harper

Credit card security verges on the absurd

Nothing new in call for change

Who is illegal?; Why are those who arrive in the 'New World' today considered aliens?


Un Canadien aux commandes

Une mission liée au combat

La nouvelle politique du Canada prive un organisme afghan d'accès aux détenus

Nominations du fédéral: bras de fer au Québec

Le Bureau du Conseil privé ordonne une nouvelle vérification de ses contrats

La version de l'attaché de presse de Harper démentie



                                   Though the primary raison d'être of the Digest is providing articles relating to politics other matters are posted.
                                   Read Margret Kopala's column on western perspectives in to-day's Ottawa Citize, Remember the Neanderthals
                                   I found it most interesting and wonder if others may as well.


From: "Ross Bateman"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest January 30, 2008

Joe:  I'm finding it difficult to follow the thread of the flag argument. I can't discern where it started.  Certainly, there is one confusing entry in the "conversation" section of the Daily Digest dealing with flags: there was never a Red Ensign flying from British ships [in other than Canadian waters] that included the image of the Canadian coat-of-arms.  In 2007, that Red Ensign was belatedly recognized by Parliament and Crown as an official Canadian flag by the Canadian Registry of Arms, Flags, and Badges. Buy one and fly it now, with pride in our Canadian heritage as viewed from the present 2008 perspective   Such a splendid display...on Flag Day, Dominion Day, and any day at all...can no longer be seen as a worrisome statement of protest.    Ross Bateman
From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: Media stories

Joe it is interesting to see that the only story in Canada is
Dion and Layton interest in Afghanistan. The Bloc seems to
be off the map. Thanks anyways do enjoy reading it.

From: "Phyllis Wagg"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest January 31, 2008

From: "Peggy Merritt"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest January 30, 2008

Hi Joe:  I don't understand what you are complaining about as far as
with how the Conservatives are dealing with the Afghanistan issue. 
Isn't there some advantage  when involved in military operations to
keep your cards close to your chest?  I just can't understand why
people question our prisoner policy with the enemy when we are
dealing with a group of people who wrote the book on torture and
blow up kids indiscriminately.  Any war zone creates impossible
situations which in turn cause some mistakes.  The strategy of the
military should be secret and there seems to be ridiculous criticism
of everything from dealing with prisoners to who is running the
show. The Liberal party of Canada took on this mission with a badly
depleted military and under the Conservative Government have done an
amazing of job of pulling things together. The press are being very
inventive accusing Stephen Harper of having non existing problems
with Gen. Hillier. Lets give the issue a chance for success and stop
worrying about who does what and how they do it!  Peggy Merritt

There is obviously an advantage to keeping "your cards close to your chest" when you what to hide the reality of a situation from both the public and the troops.  The reason that government wants to keep us in the dark while it provides feel good rhetoric about democracy, protection of women, and human rights is to hide the truth about the war.

The mission of our troops in Afghanistan since 2005 has been counter-insurgency.  Insurgency is defined as "an operation that aims to overthrow an existing regime."  In Afghanistan the existing regime is one put in place by the occupying force through a process under which the political opposition was not allowed to take part.  The process was similar to the process used in one-party states, such as Cuba.

It is convenient for the government to link all insurgency to the Taliban just as it was convenient for the Bush administration to blame Iraq for 9/11 or Canada for allowing the terrorists to cross the border into the U.S.

The reason we are fighting insurgency is to provide "stability" by protecting a government that is corrupt.  Because our government does not want us to know the level of corruption we are protecting, a cone of silence needs to be enforced.  Canadians, in general, do not support political corruption.  For example, the governor of Kandahar province, an appointee of the Karsai government, is alleged to be personally involved in torturing detainees.  However, he has been a major civilian contact for our politicians and the military and has met with Prime Minister Harper and at least three times with Defence Minister, Peter MacKay.

The government policy is still in place to turn detainees over to such officials and it is only the military that is preventing this policy from being exercised at the moment.   

Many of us do not support the idea of our young men and women being sacrificed to protect a corrupt government.  Because the government is corrupt and insurgency is the only means to over-turn a corrupt government our troops are inadvertently taking part in a civil war.  The current mission means that our troops will be needed, and sacrificed, to protect a corrupt government indefinitely because opponents of the government can only express their opposition through insurgency.

Remember that it is not only the Canadian public that must be lied to under these circumstances but also the troops in the field.  Eventually many of them will come to understand they are being betrayed by the same meaningless spin that we are.  There is nothing noble about this kind of war.

Phyllis Wagg

From: Caspar Davis <>
Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 1, 2008

Good letter Joe,

I haven't had time to read you much lately but you're making a lot of sesne.


From: "John Halonen"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 1, 2008

Canada`s Particapation In Alfghanistan
        Are we not putting the horse before the cart. Come next January "Bush" will be gone.  A new government in the US will then assume a role that can be quite different from today.  Better to wait, so that we can be on the same page as the major player, rather than making decisions as to a future role today, when it has no bearing on reality.
John Halonen

From: "Rosalie Piccioni" <>
Subject: Re:  DD February 1, 2008

Dear Joe,             Re:  Your comments RHETORIC AND REALITY

Until the Western world accepts that the Arab psyche is different from ours, there will be no gain.  What they needed was organization, and they seem to have achieved that through training with outside help.  The mentality will never be changed, nor will the need for the rest of the world to be on guard.

I heard to-day that Germany has refused to participate beside Canada in Afghanistan.  I am not surprised, since the organized warfare of the Taliban and al Qaeda are to a great extent due to their participation in the past. I feel that what is being accomplished by our troops (and any others that are there) is not only something being done, but something having to be undone first.  Peace in self-governing and self-defense for the Afghans will not come easily.  I find it a mockery that anything derogatory should be said about their way of dealing with the predicament they are in.  Canada is not there to judge, but to help establish a form of government that can deal with the enemy using their knowledge of the mentality of same.


Subject: Meanwhile, in Tara, Scarlet wonders why Nelly's been giving her attitude ...
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

In the U.S. south, is Canadian a new racial slur?

"He convicted Mr. Sosa of a double intoxication manslaughter, got a weak jury to give him 12 years in each, and then convinced Judge Wallace to stack the sentences," Harris County assistant district attorney Mike Trent wrote in an office-wide memo. Then came the odd part: "He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing."

The e-mail was sent in 2003 but came to light only this month as part of an unrelated controversy with his office, forcing Mr. Trent to defend himself against accusations of bigotry -- not because he offended the people of Canada, but because "Canadian" has apparently become a code word for blacks among American racists.


1. Looks like "Mexicans" is too loaded a word in Texas.

2. Other words would have been more precise, but they're already being used in other contexts. Case in point: NWA means North West Airlines, an airline based in Detroit. But NWA also means Niggaz Wit Attitude, a rap band. No point in sowing more confusion.

That aside, this, like many other things, impels me to draw some ditties from my How Could I Possibly Make This Up story files. Here goes ...

Low-key racism is something that's very real in many places in the US South (and who knows else ... but it's particularly noticeable if you've got your eyes open and you happen to be in the right place, as it were.) Twenty-odd years ago, a university buddy of mine told me that in Virginia Beach, VA, a major tourist magnet on the East Coast and in the US South, he saw blacks being bussed in to work by the hundreds. The buses would arrive at givenspots, dump their loads, and return to pick it up at 5:00 PM ever evening. After 5:00 PM, he noted that few (if any? I don't remember) non-tourist blacks (i.e., who who weren't dressed or weren't acting touristy) were to be seen on Virginia Beach's streets. Seemingly, blacks were "allowed" to work during the day, but somehow seemed to know that Virginia Beach wasn't a place where they were welcome after working hours.

Now, my friend had already related some urban legends to my friends and me, so we didn't believe him (and we told him so). But a few years later, I was told a similar story by a close friend whose sister married a Canadian doctor who moved to rural Alabama to set up a chain of private clinics. (The fellow's an entrepreneurial McGill University (Montreal) Ph.D.). He and his wife noticed that blacks could be seen in the street on weekdays, during which they'd be working at a variety of usually low-status jobs. In late afternoon, blacks would all disappear and not a single one would be seen on the streets. As part of the local elite of Important Citizens, a status wordlessly conferred by one's job and "community fittingness", the doctor and his wife would get invited to local social functions, during one of which my friend's sister asked the Sherriff's wife why no blacks were to be seen after working hours. The answer (and the How Could I Possibly Make This Up? part of my story): "We don't allow them to live here". No joke! Blacks would be bussed in to work from "their" town 20-30 miles away in the morning and bussed back in the evening.

Of course, these things can't be discussed in polite society, hence the need for veiled speech. And since illegal immigration is a big issue in Texas (and possibly that there are too many Mexicans to offend in the neighbourhood), a resort to euphemisms. And since almost would understand if one were to speak about Tatars, Frisians, and Yakuts, the use of "Canadians" doesn't surprise me. I mean what would be the alternative: Little Green Men? That would emphasize skin colour too much ...


From: "Rosalie Piccioni" <>
Subject: Re:  DD January 30-31, 20

Dear Joe,         Re:  From Rene Moreau  re; Rosalie's letter on abortion, 28th and 30th.
(Quote) "re; Rosalie's letter on abortion, 28th and 30th.
   If Jesus came back after 2000 years as he said he would, using the same method, as a poor, illegitimate baby,  what are the chances he WAS aborted?
   Should we get ready for another flood, when his daddy objects?
   It might be a thought to consider that abortionist parents are not self-perpetuating and so of little danger to mankind, but it ain't necessarily true.
   Isn't it true that if they don't want the baby, or can't support it, some-one else does, and can?"
(end Quote)

    There's nothing like responses and questions to make us think
further than we had, is there?  You know that, otherwise you would
have given up the DD a long time ago.
    Re Jesus' birth and would He be aborted now, 2000 years later,
God had someone definite in mind the first time, and He would
make sure that the second time would find the same response for
His birth.  (P.S. I can only look to the Bible where God facts are
concerned, and He promised no more great floods.  However,
from what I read, there are some surprises scheduled for the future.)
    Where adoption is concerned, I don't believe in "accidents."  No
woman who is a complete person within herself gives up her baby
without a lifetime of wondering with a hope that her child is
doing well, which was the reason the bmother gave up her child in the
first place. I ask the following questions because I feel they
may be the answer to that question about whether to have, to
give up, and/or to adopt a child:  
    - Is it possible that the natural mother is meant to be a
    - that the full potential of the child would not be possible
without the adopting environment and advantages,
    - that the adoptive family would not be able to have a child
whose genes would lead to their success as parents? That they
would not have had the material advantages to give were they not
meant to meet and raise the adoptee?
 This website on adoptees is enlightening:
    According to Wikipedia, 2% of the world's population were
adoptees as of 2004.  I couldn't find any defining statistics
for Canada, but a large percentage of the adoptees in the 2%
stated on Wikipedia were international adoptions, mostly from
Asian countries. Canada admits many former refugee camp victims
annually. Also, there are always adoptive couples seeking
international children as well, which indicates that babies are
wanted and fill a gap here in our Country.
    So, basically, these facts indicate how factual were my
comments. I guess not only Canada's, but the world's population
is changing - and abortion is a factor.
Joe,  a P.S:  Fathers haven't been mentioned, but
when I see fathers with their babies, they have blessings
rained on them.

Subject: RE: Daily Digest February 1, 2008
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

Harper leaves the hooks against his own

Hahahaha ... these auto-translations will always be good for laughs. "Harper sort les crocs contre les siens" ... "Harper draws his fangs against his own". Even better!
The essence of the article is that he gave a warning to Conservative operatives in Quebec that internal sabotage (as in sticking it to Mr. Harper's Quebec staffers, like some people think some did to Mr. Soudas) will not be tolerated. According to the article, signs suggest that this whole thing resulted from a calculated leak made by Quebec Conservatives unhappy of the influence that Mr. Soudas has with the PM. (The article says that he's Mr. Harper's press secretary and his counsellor for Quebec affairs). In particular, some CPC strategists suspect that close collaborators of the Minister of Public Works (Michael Fortier, from Quebec) and the Minister himself had a hand in this.
"The PM didn't just fall of f the turnip truck, he can quickly recognize a vendetta beginning to rise in his Party", said one of the PKM's close confidants from outside Quebec. It's a "secret de Polichinelle" (a secret that isn't one) in Ottawa that Mr. Fortier has tense relations with some of the PM's staffers. In private, Mr. Fortier denied having a bone to pick with anyone.
To put it mildly, this stinks. Nothing may have come of this political-interferencewise, but the thing to be understood is that politicians and their briefcase-carriers aren't allowed to deal directly with civil servants concerning particular issues. Civil servants have to follow guidelines and policies, and legitimate political instructions passed from that Ministry's Minister (or his designated deputy) to its Deputy Minister. Those are the rules: no nudge-nudge-wink-wink with civil servants, no urging them to do the right thing (as defined by politicians their proxies), and no intimidating them either. Then-Minister of something-or-other (Justice?) Jean Charest resigned sometime around 1985 because he once called a judge about a particular legal case (or something like that), which is substantially what happened this time around (Mr. Soudas, during a meeting with a couple of Ministry of Public Works civil servants and a Ministry lawyer, supposedly asked if there were any way to resolve the real-estate lawsuits launched by RosDev and the Ministry against each other.
And hence the issue: there should never have been such a meeting since that's not allowed. The Ministry's civil servants probably knew and the lawyer CERTAINLY knew that the holding of the meeting was improper and that it should never have taken place. Their going to the meeting anyway suggests that the idea was to entrap Mr. Soudas. Either way, Mr. Soudas has now been caught acting improperly. Whether he attended the meeting that it was improper, or whether he was either naive or in too much of a hurry to think things through, remains to be seen. Mr. Soudas will thus get a good talking-to by whoever's in charge of him ("You stoopid or what?"), the Ministry folks will also get a good talking-to, and so will the Minister HisSelf. Holy pontificating, Batman!
As for how this whole thing arose: some Greek guy who's participated in grassroots Party business here in Quebec got the bright idea that helping the boss at RosDev (said boss supposedly having Conservative links) could lead to closer links with a particular, large, ethnic community in Outremont riding (in the middle of Montreal). So El Greco slipped a word to people who could get the ear of Mr. Minister, and he supposedly slipped a word to Mr. Soudas, whom he supposedly knows well. The thing took off from there and ended up as we know it ...
A word about "the Greek guy". This particular individual has a talent for finding his way into certain political parties going through a bout of regional or overall weakness (at various times, those have been the Progressive-Conservatives, the provincial Liberals, the ADQ, and now the federal Conservatives). And he has a talent for getting people in trouble. I could go into more detail back from when he and I crossed paths (we worked for the same candidate during the 1998 Progressive-Conservative leadership campaign here in Montreal), but that's not the point. What IS the point is that I instantly felt that he was slimey, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt since what was behind that is his corresponding to an image I have of what politicians should NOT be like. My aversion was amplified by he and I having a partial common heritage (I'm half-Greek by birth but all Canadian) and my recognizing a type of character which has plagued the Greek community, one which is wholly inimical to my sense of rightness, and one which I despise.
Anyway, guess what? He's been appointed to the Board of Directors of VIA Rail. And you know what I suspect will happen? I think that he'll be discreetly urged to resign. As for Mr. Soudas, I don't know what'll happen, though, but signs are that he'll survive this. After all, Mr. Soudas made a boo-boo and Mr. Harper took an indirect hit, but Mr. Harper's "drawn his (own) fangs" and backed his staffer.
Cheers, all! And ain't political society fun, huh?

Usual "
auto-translations" difficulty in deciphering precisely mais goes more in depth into the feud than les journals des les Anglais. "Clan" warfare it seems exists in Quebec as well as Afghanistan.

Federal Appointments: arm wrestling in Quebec