Saturday, April 26, 2008

Daily Digest April 26, 2008



Timely justice

Picking on the smoker yet again
Government's not likely to get much grief for the $5 tax increase on cigarette cartons, but how wise or fair is this?

Double standards for spending

Reining in the dogs

Territorial teachers

How to measure political courage

China's olive branch

Don't panic

Harper has lost will to attack high gas prices

Squeezing the lemons

High cost of gas must be catalyst for innovation

The case against urban reserves

Canadians should always say 'no' to euthanasia

Escape highlights justice system flaw

Continue public review of justices


The high cost of firepower; All three branches of Canadian Armed Forces may be stretched too thin
Posted By Taylor, Scott

Suicides among troops at lowest rate in decade: Department of National Defence

SPP "Busted" - Now Called NASRA. It's Time to Call a Halt to the SPP!!

National Survey Reveals Strong Opposition To North American Union

TransCanada ramps up U.S. pipeline ambitions

Wealth gap exposes fresh labour challenge

No workers for 100K jobs

Average Canadian family pays 17 times more tax than in 1961

Underground sales rise as plastic bags with illicit tobacco trucked across Canada
The governments of many poor nations are alarmed at the rise in food prices. There are even problems in the Indian region of Punjab, where science once seemed to have found answers for a hungry world.

How to solve the global food crisis
The world economy has many problems but none more pressing than what is happening to food prices.

NATO's most critical mission

Will Pakistan's militants lay down arms?

U.S. marines again patrolling Afghan desert as insurgency heats up

Keep Canada's impaired driving law tough

Canada is much more than a hotel

Ont. should consider pulling funding from religious group: critics

all 146 news articles »

Conservatives lose support
RCMP raid, Tories' feud with Elections Canada affecting credibility of party, survey shows

The secret meeting I wasn't invited to

Tory House Leader lied in Commons, anti-corruption group claims

Let's bring election spending down to the real world

Federal politics: Is there any daylight ahead?

Neither party is doing much to impress the voters

New Democrats cashing in on Liberals' indecisiveness

Tories aim to curb terrorist recruitment over Internet

Beware growing dangers of safety

We don't have much control over this dangerous world

Feds want to reduce smog-causing additives in paints, stains and varnishes

Destroying crops while others starve

An African beacon of morality

Public duty versus private lives

Behold the court and its jesters

Can he sell Middle America?
Clinton and McCain are succeeding in painting him as an elitist outside of the mainstream

Expand support program for panhandlers: Report
48 more outreach workers best way to get beggars off the sidewalks and into a home and job, city told

Fear not, Canada will get through it

The real drivers of food, oil prices

Destroying crops while others starve

Hard time for smokers
Cons butt out. Prisons are right to ban smoking


Le gouvernement fédéral présente de nouvelles mesures pour réduire le smog

Des experts craignent une catastrophique inflation des prix des aliments

Un juge maintient le registre de délinquants sexuels de l'Ontario

Le ministre Flaherty rencontrera les banquiers canadiens lundi à Toronto

Terre-Neuve et Québec s'entendent


Going against the grain
Enviro minister thumbs nose at global food crisis by driving biofuel car
Baird also defended his government's policy on biofuels, which last year promised $1.5 billion in subsidies to producers
who make fuel from corn, grain and other feedstock.

Do you support or oppose subsidies to producers of biofuels?
Why or why not?


From: Mark Brown
Subject: Re: Respectfully, spending your own money? Not quite

Dear Joe,

If a person donates $100 to a registered federal party, the person pays $25 and the taxpayers pay $75.

If that $100 is used in a federal election campaign and the candidate gets a certain percentage of the vote then the taxpayers pay $60.

If the candidate or their party gets a miniscule percentage of the vote the taxpayers pay $1.75 (adjusted annually for inflation so it is now probably more like $1.85 but we will go with the more conservative number).

To sum it all up, for a $25 personal contribution by an individual a mainstream political party can easily get $136.75


I've 'gotta go get myself registered as a political party and start knocking on doors!!!


Vote for an INDIVIDUAL who is part of a group of principled people, and who promise to attempt to eliminate this taxpayer money-sucking machine that spews out OUR money to political parties so they can fuel their 24 hour a day, seven day a week, 365 day a year advertising campaigns.

It is this money that is preventing our politicians from getting out and talking to us about our concerns. A lot of them don't seem to understand that talking to us will produce an engaged electorate and eventually translate into real support at the ballot box.


Mark Brown

From: Mary-Sue
Subject: Fwd: Bill C-51 will eliminate therapeutic vitamin dosages, raise healthcare costs
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 12:40:02 -0400
To: "Stéphane - M.P." <>,  Michael Ignatieff <>

To Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader et al.:

Is this the bill that Harper announced with great fanfare as protecting us from harmful substances? We already had laws for that. What has been missing is that there have not been enough inspectors to ensure compliance, especially regarding imports from other continents that apparently don't have food-safety regulations, or don't enforce them. 

So one has to wonder why this bill includes such draconian measures against perfectly safe food supplements which have been used for decades.

These natural food supplements such as Vitamin C are are needed now more than ever in the past.

The "Recommended Daily Allowance" (RDA) is a minimum dosage that was defined a century ago, when most if not all food was still "organically grown" and most chemicals had not yet been invented. Even then it was a bare minimum to prevent major degenerative diseases like scurvy, but not to enhance health in any overall sense. That was long before we faced increasingly dangerous levels of manmade toxins that are everywhere in our environment today, such as endocrine disruptors, phthalates, and all kinds of substances that have never been tested for safety in combination (and once in the environment they are likely to combine randomly.

This means that the RDA for vitamins and minerals is set WAY TOO LOW to help us resist disease in our modern heavily-contaminated environment.

The text of the bill is online here:
< >
And there's a critique of it online from the natural-health products organization:

This bill would even punish parents for giving their children a health supplement! It would allow search of our homes and seizure of perfectly safe vitamins and herbal products -- at our own expense! 

I believe we should oppose these measures as counter-productive for the health of Canadians, and likely to increase the cost to the healthcare system. Please see below, the case of EMPowerplus which so far has been helping patients with bipolar disorder. Is this now going to be seized under the new powers given by this bill? What will happen to the people who've been relying on this product? Is the government prepared for them to end up in hospitals and long-term care facilities?

I am preparing a message for John Baird (my MP!) and other government members. As an interim action, because this bill is already going to second reading, I am sending this to the Opposition and other contacts, in hopes that those in a position to act on behalf of human health rights will take note and take a stand to modify or dump C-51.

Thanks for your attention.

Mary-Sue Haliburton
Ottawa West - Nepean

From: Ron Thornton
Subject: Re: Daily Digest April 25, 2008

Hi Joe:

The sun is out, the snow is (slowly) melting, and I'm wearing shorts. Of course, it still need snow boots if I leave my driveway, but it is a start.  Anyone else sick of the rising gas prices? I'm apparently sitting on top of the stuff, I have some refineries about 5 or 10 miles away, and I'm paying the same as folks in Ontario.  Life is grand.  Our politicians can't do anything about it, but the crazy dude who runs Venezuela can. It is a strange world we live in.

I read where Dell has taken their jobs to cheaper climes, including dumping a bunch on to the EI line in my burg.  Now, if only we had intelligent life in charge of our public funds so that they might have added a "what if" provision should a company gets all the perks and breaks only to run off to some foreign hills.  If only.

I read where we are still handing visas to Al-Queda suspects, but can't even get a strange little woman out of a Mexican jail.  If she were Al-Queda, her ass would have been home by now.  I mean, it is the Canadian way.

Another headline claims the Prime Minister has been mocking the opposition. Really? Mocking Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, and Gilles Duceppe? Hell, a three year old would have a tough time not mocking that trio. Personally, I think these boys need to spend a bit more time in the company of real men. I'm just sayin'.  A week with Maggie Thatcher might not be a bad idea, come to think of it.

The Star asked an interesting question. One Canada or 10 Canadas? 
Actually, one would have been better, two is a reality only in the minds of those still living in the 1950's (or earlier), and ten (or more) is unfortunately closer to the reality.  At one time I had a lot in common with the good folks in the Maritimes, in Ontario, even Quebec.  Today I'm lucky to have more in common with someone from Manitoba and I do with someone in Montana.

Anyway, Joe, it is back out to enjoy a few hours of sunshine.  You never know when spring will turn to fall (or winter) in this neck of the woods. Come to think of it, the unpredictable weather might be one of the few things Canadians from all regions just might have in common.
Ron Thornton


Subject: RE: Daily Digest April 24, 2008
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

     Genetically modified foods has never been one of my concerns.  Rubie sent in a post that thoroughly speaks to the issue and there being only one other post
        this seemed a prime opportunity to enable those who may choose to do so to inform themselvers.
And thank you very much for the public service that you're providing. 'Tis much appreciated: witness subscribers' many responses and contributions.
One develops one's critical eye by reading thesis and antithesis, which with luck lead to synthesis. And when one reads enough, the old synthesis starts to crumble, and it often becomes the thesis for a new synthesis. More rarely, one can even create a new game-changing thesis out of nothing.
All of this is not happening faster than ever with the advent of the Internet. But much of what's found on it can also lead one astray or otherwise pollute or corrupt one's understanding of the world we live in. SOme of the GMO stuff that I've commented below falls under that category ... I hope you enjoy the read.
These laws and regulations are primarily made by private interests. These then are then the real law makers - more on this in another post... The only say we the constituents occasionally get is via the much maligned private member's bills and such which by and large are very difficult to pass even though this is the most democratic process. Occasionally, in this rigged Democracy, a concern germane to the constituents slips through the crack when a politician actually does his/her fiduciary duty. This is one of those occasions. Hence, it behoves us to take full advantage though concerted mass action and continued follow up.
Remember, the definition of a politician is: policy maker who then enforce this policy with police (force). The clandestinely astute corrupt simply have to make self serving policies and then they have the whole machinery of the government to enforce their dirty deed by force! Q.E.D.
These behind the scenes pushers use every trick the book to push their stooges who often don't even know or read the laws and regulations they are supporting....
Why we find ourselves in this mess and for a real understanding please listen to these very old but eminently current recordings:
The Nature of Government
The Source of Government Power
What is the Right Amount of Government?
Following is a compilation of emails that expresses the real sentiment of the people but will be summarily trumped if we don't act on mass and keep this issue in the forefront. To make this more effective try to do all: write, fax, email*, print out the petition and send it by snail mail, and/or telephone your representative directly and don't forget to be persistent! Clearly emphasizing the extreme importance to you in your note.. Many MPs like mine often state that they are not able to study the issue and rely on party line supported by some regulatory body or such. Please ensure you state as your elected represent it is their duty to represent you. Ambiguity needs to be avoided at all cost. Please be creative, articulate and direct to the point. Send follow up letter and/or fax, phone and keep demanding a response on how and what they will actually do to mitigate concerns outlined. You will find examples below.
Y'know, what really irritates me is when US politics spills over into Canada. The above is the third example of this that I'm aware of. (The first is Lyndon Larouche's outfit ... a couple of years ago they had an office here in Montreal and were handing out stuff at intersections under Highway 40's elevated section. Haven't seen in them in a while, though.) (The second is whatisname's Emmanuel "No Excuses" "We're oppressed Christians and we won't stand for it no more" 'movement' with its acid-drool e-mail sendouts.)
The above qualifies as US-spillage in that what's discussed does apply to US-style government and governmental practice. The webcasts point this out clearly enough (the guy speaking in them, even with his voice altered by electronic reverb, "don't sound Canuck"). And the text is either US-produced or US-influenced: "... write, fax, ... your representative (!!!) directly and don't forget to be persistent (i.e., a la NRA) ... Many MPs like mine ... not able to study the issue ... rely on party line supported by some regulatory body (!!!) ... Elected representative ... duty to represent you". It quacks US-style, it walks US-style ...
The issue of genetically engineered food is just one of several issues that implicate serious consequences, and yet there is hardly a mention or discussion in the mainstream media - even those all of the evidence presented has been carefully and accurately documented.
Yeah, I guess that there hardly being any mention and discussion means that none of these here readers has ever heard of GMOs.

Jeffrey Smith is by far the MOST informed man on GMOs in North America - not affiliated with the industry.
1. I'd imagine that he's self-declared most-informed man, or something pretty close to it. Either that, or the fellow writing this is a little too worshipful for my tatste.
2. Not affiliated with industry. Nope, he's in the SERVICE sector. In the Public Service sector, no doubt.

And his two - thoroughly documented - books Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risk of Genetically Engineered Foods, present irrefutable evidence of HARM and serious health consequences and destruction!
"Irrefutable evidence" of not only HARM but also consequences AND destruction! Sort of sounds like "We could be killed, or injured even!" Then again, earnestness is what wins arguments, not good editing, eh?

Please consider giving this issue - that affect everyone who eats - the airing that it deserves. The public deserves to know the thruth. And your families are as affected as ours!!!!!
Impending Cosmic Doom. Another US-style stunt.

Added Comment: We finally have a private member's Bill before Parliament demanding that GMO foods be LABELED in Canada. Bill C - 517
We need to let all of our Members of Parliament know definitively and unequivocally that this is what Canadian Citizens are demanding as the minimal protection against the serious damaging health effects of GMO foods - hoping that this will ultimately be followed by a complete ban on this devastating contamination of the food supply.
Ah, HERE we go. Banning GMOs is the object of all this.
Attached is a copy of an article outlining some of those disastrous consequences!
The experiences of the few honest whistleblowers and valiant fighters for truth within Health Canada - like Dr. Chopra, who saved Canadians from Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone - shows how rotten-to-the-core this agency has become - serving as the handmaiden of, and implementer for, an extremely corrupt industry.
And indeed, Dr. Chopra's effort, along with others, DID bring about a banning of BGH in Canada (it's still legal in the US). The thing is, though, that the reason for its banning was because it was deemed to be bad for the ANIMALS to which it's administered, not to the consumers of animal products. "Saved Canadians" indeed! Last time I looked, cows were considered neither residents nor citizens.
And ah-hah ... no matter how much Amuuurican lobby groups try to push their manure on us, they always give themselves away. To the well-informed, the nature of the issues and the way that they're dealt with (get one angry, write your "representative", etc.) suffices. But to the sharp-eyed, it's little words that give them away. In this case, it's the word "agency" ("... how rotten-to-the-core this agency has become"). Sorry, Bubba ... up here in Canaduh, we ain't got no agency like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, which is a US federal agency). We've got the Ministry that you mention, that is Health Canada. Your cover's blown, son ... back of the CIA Undercover Infiltration class for you. And for tomorrow morning, write "Some countries are parliamentary democracies, not presidential ones" 500 times.

For real eye opening interview listen to Inge Hanle here on the control more and more exercised by politicians in unthinking reliance on a cult of experts who are only the agents of the profits of the medical/pharmaceutical/vivisection racket that must have sick people for its parasitical survival.
Parasitic. As in no benefits to the host. You'd have figured that SOMEONE would have figured that out by now and have us go back to Granny's traditional meds, eh?

If we get GMOs labeled in all foods, we are two thirds at the goal that must be achieved if we don't want to crash the human immune system, namely the total ban of this diabolical technology.
1. Two thirds? Pretty precise as a fraction. You sure it's not 57.3% or something?
2. Crash the immune system. Some explanation of how it would do that would be nice.
3. Diabolical technology. Hhhmmm ... so much for dispassionate critique.

Please take the time to follow the steps and send a short message to your MP whose name and e-mail you get by just clicking onto the provided button and giving your postal code.
Please just DO IT!
And do it now now NOW!

Dr. Chopra, among two other Health Canada scientists, was fired for 'blowing the whistle' about Monsanto's attempts to bribe senior HC bureaucrats into approving the use of Bovine Growth Hormone so that ignorant greedy dairy farmers could get more milk out of their cows with less feed.
Hhhmmm .. from what I recall, Dr. Chopra testified that he and his colleagues had been pressured by their supervisors to give passing marks to BGH and some other drugs/whatevers. But bribing senior bureaucrats? Needs some checking (for which I have no time) but ignorant greedy dairy farmers really should pay heed.
To get more milk out of with less feed invokes the law of diminishing returns.
Uuuuhhh ... no. That "law" states that after a certain point, the more that you invest in something, the less you get back for each dollar more that you invest. For example, if Bell Canada were to invest $1 million to improve its customer service department, its investing $1 billion wouldn't make it 1,000 time better.
One has to wonder - where in hell are our media watch dogs when senior bureaucrats and their political masters can sell our health down the river to Big Pharma and the likes of Monsanto?
Apparently not in the US, if we're to assume what you say is true.

I don't know if what's below was sent out by the David Suzuki Foundation. It's such rubbish that I doubt that they'd have done so. I think that they wavy line above separates the Foundation stuff from what follows. Here goes again ...
Note that that the current the global food crisis IS NOT A SUPPLY problem,
This can be argued either way, depending on locations and definitions.

It is a DISTRIBUTION problem, there currently exists enough food in the world to feed every single person adequately in a healthy manner.
Two concepts are being mixed up here. Supply is matched to demand, but distribution is matched to production. In a case like this, though, a power grid serves as a better metaphor: production (farming, etc.); transmission (transport and wholesaling); and distribution (retailing).
At the present time, production and transmission have problems. On the production side, many places suffer from abysmal productivity. For example, corn is VERY inefficiently produced in Mexico. Most production is on small plots, is labour-intensive and poorly mechanized, and is ONE TENTH (10%!!!!!) as productive per acre as intensive-culture corn fields. In other words, corn farming in Mexico is powered by backbreaking labour and it's productivity is but a small fraction of a well-managed industry's. And it's made worse by the fact that Mexican farmers to a large degree grow yellow corn for animal feed and import most of the white corn that use to make the corn flour that's a food staple down there. But life's not all bad ... as compensation for their poverty and backbreaking labour, they DO benefit from the knowledge that they're honest, hard-working Sons of the Soil and from all the sunshine and fresh air they get. (<-- So much for my being a pastoral nostalgist, eh?).
In other places, the Green Revolution has worked wonders. Productivity in India and China is waaay up from what it was in the 60s (and in China's case, there's no Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution going on). Unfortunately, India and China fall down on transmission. About 40% of India's production, and about 30% of China's, goes to waste because of poor infrastructure logistics. Lack of storage places, inability to ensure that perishables get stored and transported continually in cold, bad and overcrowded roads, and so on are behind all that. So in the case of those two particular countries (are several others), the answer right now is to build infrastructure, not to plant more or to farm more intensely.
That being said: what do "supply" and "distribution" (as confusedly defined by the arguer) have to do with GE? I suspect that he's trying to make the point that we don't need GE food because there's plenty of "normal" food to go around. But he brings up no such thing, so we're left guessing.
At the distribution level, there are some temporary problems in some places but not in others. When people get a sense that supplies of staple items are uncertain, they begin to hoard stuff. They buy excissive amounts (excessive for the short term, that is) and sit on them just in case they can't get any more later. What happens then is that stuff flies off store shelves, it winds up in people's basements or whatever, and those who come to buy some too late go without. Presto! Poor distribution. And instant shortage ...

Why is GE food bad?
(Ah, here we go ...)

- destroys biodiversity
That could be argued, yes. But to what degree? Do particular types of GE make life hard for certain types of pests? Does that work it's way up the food chain (e.g. birds eating bugs go looking for them elsewhere)? Are there any ways to palliate or eliminate this? Are certain GE technologies OK but not others?

- promotes mono-agriculture and mass corporate farms
Utter rubbish. Intensive production does. No farmer would plant alternating rows of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, et al if he had maximum production in mind, and all that despite his crop being GE or non-GE.

- destroys soil nutrients
Uuummm .. .so-so. Most GE crops consume the same nutrients as others do, to a large degree. They just produce some substances or other within themselves to better resist particular pests, weed-killers, etc. However, I can imagine that some consume more "nutrients" by growing either bigger or closer together ... in that case, more crop would mean more nutrients being consumed. The thing is, though, that that's not a GE issue .. it's a productivity issue. If "natural" crop strains could be bred for greater productivity, the result would be the same. In that case, the thing to do is to regulate farming intensity, not GE.

- benefits only the rich large agri-businesses - NOT small farmers who are now forced to pay for their seeds and forced to buy more fertilizer and chemicals
Pssssst! Big agri-businesses, if they want to benefit from GE technology, have to buy it too. In other words, the issue has to do with financing (can farmers get terms as good as big agri-business?), insurance (can they get affordable insurance on terms similar to big agri-business, and can they withstand successive bad harvests as well as big businesses?), skills (can they manage their lands as well? can they benefit from new practices and technogy as well as big agri-busioness?), human resources, etc. Hence why governments have programs and offer assistance to farmers in various manners (agricultural loans, crop insurance, etc.) and why farmers work together for their common benefit (farmer's coops, for example). Again, GE has nothing to do with this.

- it destroys millions of small family farms who can't afford the annual additional cost of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, equipment etc.
The whole idea of GE technology is to bring costs down and for the GE suppliers to get some of the net benefit that arises from that. If it costs more to use GE technology, no one's going to use it. Like duh!
Plus, farmers are always free to use good-ole "normal" crops, avoid pesticides, fertilizers and equipment, etc. What? That means that they have to work the soil by hand and get low producivity per acre in return? Ah, but think of all that sunshine and fresh air again.

- adverse health effects of GE foods have been shown in studies done on animals, long-term effects on humans have yet to be discovered
(in other words, we're all guinea pigs because 75% of foods in supermarkets have GE products in them)
Or alternatively, there's nothing wrong that can be traced to them. Conceivably, some things COULD crop up only in the long term. But most noxious side effects usually get felt before that, even if infrequently at first.
As for studies on animals: that needs detail and critique. There HAVE been GE crops that have been pulled because of noxious effects directly on people. In at least one case, one crop could induce strong allergic reactions in susceptible people (it may have had been a peanut gene). But given that it's known that some GE modifications will have noxious effects, this case serves as a good example that medical systems worldwide (e.g., evaluators and regulation agencies, Ministries, etc.) are well able to handle this kind of thing.

Suuuure they are.

Thank you for your consideration,

You're most welcome, Karen. But no thanks for my critique, I presume.