Thursday, April 03, 2008

Daily Digest April 3, 2008



Uh, nobody asked me

Lowest of the low

Tow tragedy needs answers

Don't roll those constitutional dice

Protecting is not abusing

Mugabe must go

Fixing the Liberals' immigration mess

Flag flap

Still no room for hate

Faux green; Climate change solutions too costly for the environment

Someone's gotta learn

Foolish flag flap

Immigration policy reform serves Canada

Lost in space?
What is the future of the Canadian Space Agency?

Faster immigration sound Harper goal

Best to use symbolism sparingly

Drop the hyphens and say it together: We're all proud Canadians

Keeping patients on wait lists cripples our health system

A sad decision on Ahenakew


First Nations leader turns down invite to rejoin Sask. native group

Wait drags on for native truth-telling panel: critics

Feds to fund hurt reservists and troops equally

Ottawa could face lawsuit if it blocks MDA sale

Canada must protect its water from U.S.: report

Protect Canada's water, Ottawa urged
Groups fear exploitation of country's supplies in face of freshwater crises in U.S. and elsewhere

Chertoff says U.S. will be ready for passport rule next year

NATO Leaders Agree to Endorse U.S. Missile Shield Plans,2933,345514,00.html

Bucharest Summit takes NATO agenda forward
ISAF nations affirm long-term commitment to Afghanistan

Progress Report on Afghanistan

NATO troop target for Afghanistan hard to pin down
Taliban welcome back an old friend
The release of a video featuring legendary Afghan mujahideen leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, whom many believed dead since he disappeared from the public eye several years ago, is a major boost for the Taliban.

ISAF "placemat" (Contributing Nations and Troop Numbers) - 1 Apr. 2008

NATO delays membership offer to Ukraine, Georgia

NATO decision on open-door policy

Canada's conditions met, will remain in Afghanistan until 2011: Harper

Gene tied to tobacco dangers

Rights commission accused of hijacking Internet link to log on to hate sites

Activists rail against Ottawa's proposed changes to immigration law

B.C. introduces Canada's first cap-and-trade law to fight emissions

N.B. ombudsman to investigate controversial decision to axe French immersion

Provinces and Territories Disappointed With Federal Government's Lack of Engagement

Grits, Tories remain deadlocked: poll

PM happy with NATO deal

PM dishonest on unity, Dion says

Dion asks Harper to 'come clean' on Quebec

'No appetite' to open Constitution to add Quebec clauses
Tories say minister who hinted this would happen wasn't speaking for government

Tories scurry away from talk of reopening Constitution

Next election will be about environment, Dion says

Tories reject climate pledge

Government may fall over immigration bill

NDP tables motion to block Tory immigration changes

Democrats' attacks on NAFTA 'irrational,' says Emerson

Chatty Tory's loose lips have been political asset - until now

Tories stand by MP Lukiwski after anti-gay remarks made on tape found by Sask NDP

Homophobic slur hurts Tory attempts at image makeover

Tory tape scandal has Opposition calling on Sask. MP to resign

Canadian troops fire on private security vehicle, killing 1

Tories take advantage of separatist weakness

L. Ian MacDonald on the Liberals' super secret candidate list that La Presse didn't have

Liberals, consciences part ways
Party's position on immigration reform hits the skids

Producers to help draft guidelines, minister says

Commons committee meetings on Taser use closed to public

'No Sun link' to climate change

Kyoto supporters have no idea

Life without transport by oil is closer than we think

Canadian researchers warn of new Arctic worries

Dief's shining moment came 50 years ago

Lowering the flag for soldiers dilutes its importance

A Mountie moment

Here's a switch: France to the rescue

Liberals should know better

Deafening silence on RCMP scandal

Canada missing in action as Asian economies flourish
Trade is expanding but dynamic region obviously ranks low as a foreign policy priority

So, my idea about marriage contracts wasn't crazy

Afghan war, defence spending betray true conservatism


Sommet de l'OTAN - Le Canada recevra finalement l'aide des Américains

Un député conservateur présente des excuses pour des propos homophobes

Ahenakew dit non à la Fédération des nations indiennes de la Saskatchewan

Les amendements sur l'immigration proposés par Ottawa ont leur lot d'opposants

Les Canadiens comprennent encore trop peu certains déterminants de la santé

Volte-face et malaise au PLC

Controverses autour des amendements sur l'immigration

Un convoi canadien tire sur un véhicule: un mort

Kyoto: l'opposition s'unit pour accentuer la pression



        Stratos has commented on the Ukraine and Georgia not being brought into NATO, a rebuff for President Bush.  George W. will be going to Russia with
        support for missiles being placed in Eastern Europe to prevent nuclear attacks from Iran (I think it is).

        Is the move necessary?  Should the Russians buy in? If anti-missile missiles are sauce for the European goose are they as well for the Canadian gander?



From: "Real Gagne"


You asked for comment on these items. I don't plan to comment on the first but I do have something to say about the second.

But first, a word about the article by Daniel Leblanc which you provided. My initial reaction was to treat this as just another example of the Globe and Mail slagging a conservative government, something it has a long history or doing and which is, in my view, particularly ill-disposed to the Harper administration. I also briefly wondered whether Blackburn's comments might have been taken out of context. That also happens all the time, with all of the media.

However, on reflection, and given Harper's predilection for controlling his administration, I have concluded that Blackburn wouldn't have been flapping his gums in that vein unless he had been given the green light to fly that particular kite.

For the life of me, I don't understand why Harper appears to have chosen to follow in the footsteps of Lester Pearson, Robert Stanfield, Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien in cosying up to Quebec nationalists, unless, of course, there is an electoral calculus involved. But this gambit appears to me to be fraught with potential difficulties for him in the future.

I know that Harper is interested in reforming the Senate and in reducing the foot-print of the national government in the affairs of the nation, both of which I could support. The record of the Kremlin-on-the-Rideau in fostering national unity over the past couple of generations is a dismal one; the country has never been more fractured than it is now. However, a move to reform the federation ought not to come at the price of pandering to the interests of Quebec nationalists only.

If anything ever comes out of this, the devil will be in the details, which we have not yet seen, in particular, what sort of definition will be attached to the term "nation." My _Larousse_ dictionary interprets it in a manner quite different than that which I find in my unabridged _Webster's_. And that, I suspect, will be the source of no end of difficulties.

We do live in interesting times.


From: Keith Coghlan
Subject: RE: Daily Digest April 2, 2008

HI Joe:
                Some interesting news in the paper over the last few days.

I would like to start with the news regarding a majority conservative government
look to make changes in the Canadian constitution for Quebec.

Well the only comment related to this issue it the fact that it would be done
to try and attract move votes for Conservative candidates in the next election in Quebec.

However this is not a valid reason to make suggests of some changes for Quebec within
Canada. Having a long memory in Canadian politics some Canadians may think this issue
was handled with a vote on Meech Lake.

Are we talking about "special Status" in some different form. Such talk by the Harper conservatives
is very narrow thinking. Sure it looks good in light of current conditions in Quebec. However can
we be certain those conditions will continue. At present we have a Liberal provincial government
in Quebec with seems to be supportive of the federal cause. However governments can change and
what will a Parti Quebecois government do with a constitutional acceptance of the "Quebec nation"

Or what will a Mario Dumont and ADQ government do with that power?

Handing over a veto to Quebec sure seems to give them some more power than other provinces within
the confederation. My reasoning for being against "Meech Lake" was based on who determines what
"special status" means for Quebec. Is it the Supreme Court of Canada, is it the National Assembly
in Quebec. Is it the government of Quebec or just the Premier of that Province.

I dont accept handing that much power of the future of Canada over.

Looking back on Brian Mulroney's Meech lake accord it gave birth to the Bloc, is there a
Lucien Bouchard in Steven Harper's small band of Quebec Conservatives.

This issue needs to be discussed not after an election, Mr Harper, but during a election, if
you really intend to make these changes.
One Canada , two founding peoples,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, or two nations existing together until
Quebec leaves outright or leaves in small pieces,,,,,,,,,
Thanks Joe and I hope Canadians will think about this very carefully
Keith Coghlan
Belleville Ontario

From: "Rose Dyson"

Please note the coverage in the Globe and Mail today on Heritage Minister, Josee Verner's excellent address to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking yesterday on the subject of Bill C10.

Rose Anne Dyson Ed.D.
Consultant in Media Education

Producers to help draft guidelines, minister says

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: To be Canadian among Canadians

Thursday » April 3 » 2008
Drop the hyphens and say it together: We're all proud Canadians
Vancouver Sun

Thursday, April 03, 2008

From: "Jacob Rempel"

National Post, Thursday, April 03, 2008
* Liberals should know better *
Chief Marcel Head, National Post

I am a third-term Chief of the Shoal Lake First Nation, a long time
Liberal party member and the recently elected president of the federal
Liberal riding association in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River,

From: "Rory J. Koopmans"
To: <>
Subject: Disgust

Rory J. Koopmans, B. Admin.
#203, 8912-156 Street NW
Edmonton, AB. T5R 5Z2
The Right Honourable Stephen J. Harper, PC, MP
Conservative, Calgary Southwest
The Office of the Prime Minister, Remote Transfer
Bucharest, Romania, Europe
Dear Steve:
     To say that I am disgusted by the words of the Honourable Gentleman IV Regina-Lumsden Lake Centre in regards to gay personages would be an understatement. I do not begrudge him the right to think what he wants, but to openly say that gay people are trash , and then to let himself be recorded, I mean how stupid is this man?
     Therefore, while what he said is stupid, it is not suable. I therefore request that you suspend him from the Conservative caucus immediately for a period of 1 year. Everyone must serve a penalty and he can do his penance by having zero affiliation at all. Maybe working with Saskatchewan gay & transgender groups. Perhaps helping in an anti hatred campaign on his own time.
     As a person who is more of the Progressive mould socially, I can see no room for sexually bigoted persons in my party. True conservatives should be in favour of gay marriage on a fiscal basis as married couples pay more in tax than common law.
Always A Gentleman,
Rory J. Koopmans

Muslim immigrants are getting a raw deal
Not just Muslim immigrants, I'd say, but immigrants in general. I can't tell you how many professionals of various nationalities whom I've seen reduced to work as unqualified labour. I was first made aware of this when I made a not-too-bright remark in 1984 about Haitian taxi drivers not knowing their way around town here in Montreal. (In the early 80s, a wave of Haitian immigration unfurled on Montreal. Many who wound up here, being stranded very little or no institutional support for their integration, went for the first jobs they could get their hands on. Back then, like now, driving taxis was one of those).
I had the good luck to muse about this out loud at my university (<< I'm NOT being ironic .. I really was lucky), with my best buddy (a Haitian) right beside me. He instantly said to me, casually: "You know, Strat, many of those drivers are doctors, engineers, and physicists". Blang! Life-lesson learned .. and I'm better off for it.
What's particularly frustrating to immigrants (and I've known Tunisians, Algerians, Egyptians, Moroccans, French (!), Romanians, et al who've been through this) is that Canada's immigrant-selection criteria strongly favour professionals, scientists, etc. When this self-appointed elite from overseas (<< again, no irony ... they ARE often the best from where they come and can look at our home-grown talent eye-to-eye), they're plopped onto the street with no assistance of any sort (well, to a large degree, not beyond "how to write a good resume and cover letter" and "how to present oneself at a job interview"). The result: this cream-of-the-cream has to scramble to find lodging, employment, etc., without guidance. And the employment they find is largely in the low-level service industries (telephone-based customer service, big-box retail stores (Future Shop, Best Buy, Costco, department stores, grocery stores and supermarkets, banks, etc. ... readers from Montreal will be familiar with this given that customer-service reps for Bell Canada, banks, credit-card services, et al are 90% non-Quebecois (my brother in law works for Bell Canada .. he's confirmed this to me; also, almost all reps have foreign accents ... interestingly, their French is most often BETTER than that of Quebecois).
After that, immigrants get ghettoized in those kinds of jobs because they find it hard to grow roots in the face of institutional resistance. Employers often won't take them because "they lack Canadian experience", and professional associations don't recognize their credentials and demand that they take courses and exams followed by work under the supervision of a senior professional before they're recognized as full-fledged engineers, accountants, doctors, etc. For Heaven's sake, I've spoken to doctor who'd worked in the field for 20 years under circumstances much more trying than those here in Canada and who've been told that they have to re-start their university education FROM SCRATCH (as in the whole seven years!).
Muslim immigrants getting a raw deal? Not only Muslims, my friends ...
Messages NATO needs to ponder
Y'know, I understand why NATO was first called to secure A-stan back in 2003, given that the place harboured a government that openly accepted the presence of an international terrorist group on its soil and that allowed it to train for major attacks worldwide (which included that of September 11th, 2001). The US had been attacked; NATO members activated Clause 5, which obliged all treaty members to mobilzie against the threat, etc.
However, now that A-stan's gang-land "government" has been chased away, wouldn't the UN be a more appropriate body to police and build up A-stan? Why isn't this ever brought up and discussed?
Canada gets ready for NAFTA fight
Yeah .. .YEAH!!! Experience has shown us that Canada can be compelled to knuckle under US pressure when a powerful lobby really wants to have its way down there, NAFTA or no NAFTA. However, when everything's brought on the table at the same time, Canada has a lot more margin for manoeuvre that if it's faced with single issues (e.g. lumber). Want to change lumber provisiuosn? Suuuuuure .. let's talk oil too. How about agricultural products and food-inspection, too. NAFTA Superhighway, you say? Etc., etc.

U.S. attacks on NAFTA somewhat irrational: Canada
Not so. The US political system, as established in the US Constitution, obliges US pols to kowtow to their supporters and constituencies. It also pits all pols against all other ones, including agencies, administrative departments, etc. What results is shrill auctioneering ...
The rationale: to get elected by attracting enough popular support and then muddle through. Makes perfect sense given the US political setup. So please, no claims of "irrationality" ... when Canada has to deal with "the US", it's NOT doing so with the country incarnated as a person. It's dealing with the 'US' POLITICIANS ... Same goes for us, of course.

Allies can't agree on Ukraine, Georgia: diplomat

I'll say! And it's a damn good thing, too. Of all the knuckle-headed ideas that the Bush administration has ever put forth in the past seven years, this one is the most reckless. Having Ukraine and Georgia in NATO? Do the (blunted) pointy heads in Washington not understand what that MEANS?
Simply put, an outside attack on a NATO country means war with all NATO members. Now, could someone in Washington PLEASE explain to us if NATO, collectively, is willing to risk total war a la WW-I whose security is vital to neither Europe nor North America? We've already rattled Russia by bringing the Baltic Republics on board ... they're VERY close to Russia's number-two nevralgic centre (St. Petersburg) instead of settling for their entering the European Union. But Ukraine ... the eastern half is very pro-Russian and Orthodox (and to a large degree, demographically Russian) while the western part is Ukraino-Polish-like Catholic ... Bringing it on board risks civil war and breaking the country in two. So far, Ukrainians have managed not to dismember their trying to bring it into NATO would be just the kind of thing to trigger that.
And Georgia ... no offense, but giving an unqualified security guarantee to a country in that area courts HUGE risks without necessity. It's one thing to jockey for turf down there, but risking major confrontation with Russia over it opens the door to three possibilities:
   - relations with Russia turn outright hostile when Russia understands that it's having sand kicked in its face; and Russia would be RIGHT in thinking so; the likely result: aggravated tensions and a potential Cold War all over again;

   - something happens down there, which activates NATO; NATO responds with vigour and things either get out of hand, which leads to war, or they cool off, which leads to a new Cold War;

   - something happens down there, but NATO backs down when faced with the consequences; thus, the "instant declaration of war on all members" threat to outsiders is crippled, that threat becomes conditional, and NATO is deeply wounded at its root.
No matter what happens, it's bad news across the board.


Bush Accepts Putin?s Invitation for Talks in Russia
National security advisor previews NATO Summit, upcoming European tour

        "I believe that NATO benefits, and Ukraine and Georgia benefit, if and when there is membership," he (President Bush) said.

         Damned foolishness, the above. And one of the most dangerously stupid things he's ever said ... As I've explained elsewhere, Ukraine's and Georgia's joining NATO would greatly undermine it AND greatly increase the potential for confrontation with Russia.

At 04:45 PM 20/03/2008, you wrote:
That does not mean there is a conspiracy against Orthodox countries such as Serbia and Greece. Such an idea may be spun for political reasons, but for us here in Canada to pIck up on it is absurd.
My Dad, who happens to be Greek (he immigrated to here in Montreal in 1955) told me that he was going to vote Liberal because one always has to send a Party Leader to Parliament (we live in Stefie Dion's riding :-S) and that the CPC was supporting Macedonia in its keeping "Macedonia" as its name. Nonsense in both cases as far as I'm concerned (has the CPC said anything about Macedonia? and why would it?), but hey ... he's been good to me so sending him to the Montreal Institute for the Politically Insane just isn't right.

Kyoto supporters have no idea

It's time for an adult discussion about our continued participation in the Kyoto Accord and it's not the one we've been having.

Our politicians have been talking to us as if we were children. It's time we put a stop to it.

Kyoto isn't about turning off the lights during Earth Hour.

It's not about buying hybrid cars, or installing solar panels on your roof or replacing your incandescent lightbulbs with fluorescents.

Those are all environmentally worthy activities on their own merits.

Click here to find out more!    

But they are insignificant compared to what is required for Canada to comply with Kyoto.

This isn't about David Suzuki making cutesy commercials with children, while calling for politicians he disagrees with to be jailed.

It's not about Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's empty boast we can make megatonnes of money by cutting megatonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It's not about Prime Minister Stephen Harper paying lip service to Kyoto, while his actions suggest he doesn't believe a word he's saying.

It's about this. Are you willing to dramatically lower your standard of living, and that of your children and grandchildren, to comply with Kyoto?

Are you willing to pay much more, directly in carbon taxes and indirectly for almost everything you do, use or consume, to effect a sudden, dramatic drop in Canada's GHG emissions?


Are you willing to have Canada ship billions of dollars every year to the Third World for GHG mitigation projects, the success of which won't be known until you're dead?

Finally, if we do all that, do you trust every other country, from China to the United States, to do the same?

This isn't about vilifying Alberta for developing the oilsands -- just as every province wants to develop its natural resources.

It's about realizing if we comply with Kyoto, our standard of living will fall.

It's not going to be easy. People who suggest it is are making long-range predictions about our economy they cannot possibly know. What their studies actually suggest is that it's easy to pretend to comply with Kyoto.

Finally, if you publicly nod your head in agreement when environmentalists preach we have no choice because the alternative is the Earth's destruction -- but privately don't believe it, or don't believe we should make enormous sacrifices now for something that may or may not happen decades or centuries from now -- then get off the Kyoto train, because you won't have the stomach for it once it really gets rolling.

My view is the previous Liberal government of Jean Chretien irresponsibly ratified Kyoto in 2002, at a time when even his top aide, Eddie Goldenberg, has since acknowledged the Liberals knew Canadians weren't ready for the sacrifices it would require.


I'd go further. I'd argue Chretien and the Liberals had no idea what they were signing, no idea of its implications for a huge, cold, northern country like our own that relies on using fossil fuels for its standard of living.

For all their self-righteous rhetoric now, if implementing Kyoto was easy, why didn't the Liberals do it when they had the chance?

As for Harper and the Conservatives, they should stop telling us they agree with Kyoto, while doing nothing to implement it.

The adult question is: Are we in, or are we out?

My vote's out. What's yours?