Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daily Digest August 20, 2008



Chretien the critic

Let's get it over with already

These are real illnesses  

Debate Canada's next Afghan role

The Taliban's big lie


No reason to scold doctors, Mr. Clement

Election, anyone?


Rent-a-cops expose a beggar issue
Political dysfunction  

Harper helps foment election cynicism 

Holy! If this is culture, then Canada's in trouble  

Argue ideas, don't attack MD ethics 

Dear Taliban:  
Give parliamentary committees star power

Simplistic solutions to complex problems won't win votes  

Conservative campaign flyer brings thinking straight out of the '50s to deal with the troubled Downtown Eastside

Being right can be all wrong  


Mounties tout 'Marshall Plan' to solve aboriginal woes

Don't dig us a new hole

Afghan War Escalates With Worst Taliban Raid in 6 Years

10 French soldiers die, 21 hurt in Afghan ambush

US faces up to life without Musharraf

In Afghanistan, blurred lines cost lives

Security fears paralyze Kabul

Taliban insurgency enters chilling new phase,

NATO examines friendly fire report in French deaths

Taleban grow more brazen

Insurgents at Kabul's doorstep

Isaf troops in Afghanistan

MacKay launches Arctic sovereignty operation Nanook in Iqaluit Audio

Prentice counters anti-NAFTA talk

Energy deals with Russia could be at risk 

Japan to label goods' carbon footprints: official

GST among friendliest taxes to deal with: survey


Russia Missile Warning

US blamed over S Ossetia crisis

Sending the U.S. to war is not the president's call

Russia watched 'closely' in Arctic  

How the U.S. turned to Mush
Americans used outgoing Pakistani leader in war on terror


The party's over for Europe: The bear is back

Canada and Arctic sovereignty

Polish, U.S. missile shield irks Moscow

Russia, Iran become regional superpowers

Georgian debacle could destroy NATO

Incoming CMA head says private-public mix will help ailing health care system

Some doctors wary new CMA president will expand private delivery 

Politicians urged to make health care part of election campaigns

Lawyers tear into federal justice minister

Quebec's top jurist urges journalist to publicize how cuts have hamstrung his court

Put sovereignty on backburner, says PQ stalwart

N.L. premier signs Hebron offshore oil deal

NBers oppose carbon tax: NB premier

If election called, McGuinty vows to crusade for Ontario

Harper not required to abide by election date law
all 625 news articles »

Canadians unhappy with Tories: Poll

A formula for Tory gains

Harper touts legislative gains just days after calling Parliament dysfunctional -

Harper, Dion both pondering election timing -

Harper, Dion trade election threats  

Harper casts Conservatives as force for unity, multiculturalism

MPs launch formal complaint over Conservative flyers

Energy firms met with PMO as gas prices rose  

Personal financial interest behind Chr├ętien attack on PM, Kenney says

Tories, Grits spar over Chretien's China remarks

Be ready for fall election, Harper warns

Dion afraid of an election, Harper says at Tory rally

Harper to meet Dion before return of Parliament

Bumbling Grits give Team Harper an economic free ride

Be ready for fall election, Harper warns
All bets are off on fixed voting date as PM backtracks on promise to wait until October, 2009; decision expected within weeks

PM fears scandals, Dion says

Harper, Dion swap threats over election

Grits giving Harper an economic free ride

Harper, Dion blame each other for paralyzing Parliament

Stephen Harper's urban test

Clement questions MDs who favour safe injection sites

MDs call Clement 'off base' for stand on safe-injection sites

Canadians warming to federal election, poll says

Casey says election will happen this fall

It's time, Mr. Harper: Call the election

Harper tries to sell success as failure

Time to Feed the Fish: Kinsella's election speculation

Election drums beating

The ever-growing enemies list

Many ways to cook up a federal vote: experts
Chinese paper reports Harper snub

Public Safety Committee meeting set for Monday morning

Major loophole in new federal lobbying law even surprises lobbyists

Ottawa promises new $1-billion bridge in Quebec by-election riding

Ottawa under pressure to change criteria for Agent Orange compensation

Tories slashing $44.8-million in arts spending

RCMP got special warrant in terror case: documents  

Stop taking water for granted, report warns Ottawa

Mutated fish caught in lake downstream of Alberta's oilsands

Asia's new 'great game' is all about pipelines
Secure routes needed to move Central Asia's vast energy resources to international markets

Refusing to do harm  

A guide to the Middle East  

The end of climate change hysteria

Warning signals!

Let's co-operate in the Arctic waters  


This headline just came in Harper might trigger election this year
if you were in an advisory position
would you say "Go for it!"  to him to Dion?       

Well, no one being prepared to play the role of advisor to either of the men one of whom will be PM after
the election that the media is arguing will be shortly upon us here's another subject for discussion, maybe.

Canada has made a commitment according to this excerpt from a Globe and Mail article posted below.  The
what the promise is related to is in a Letter to the Editor sent out several months ago now.                        

A couple of simple questions for you:                                                                                                    
(1) were you aware it has been made?;                                                                                             
(2) Do you support Canadian Forces being committed to this undertaking?                                           


At a donor's conference attended by a Canadian delegation last November, countries committed to "assist Afghanistan to become an energy bridge in the region" and to accelerate work on the TAPI pipeline "to develop a technically and commercially viable project."

There was no public discussion of who would provide the security for the project.

Subject: QUESTIONS: A conspiracy theory verified? And if so?

Were there legs to the conspiracy theory that a proposed pipeline was a cause for removing the Taliban from the governance of Afghanistan?

An article "Is the Afghan war about an oil pipeline?" - while dismissing the thought does not mention the breakdown of negotiations with the Taliban in August of 2001.

"Last week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said the U.S. government has a "fundamental strategic interest" in Afghanistan that goes well beyond ensuring it is not used as a launching pad for terrorism, which was the original justification for the UN-sanctioned NATO mission of which Canada is a part."
"Pipeline opens new front in Afghan war"

Has the pipeline being a prime cause of Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan been verified? If so, should this question be presented to Canadians for their consideration: in that a commercial venture is in process should the task of providing the conditions for its success, making "the path free of Taliban influence", be that of Canadian Forces ?

Joe Hueglin
Tel 905-356-3901

Corruption in Afghanistan a serious problem: Boucher

Briefing on the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan
Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs

Afghanistan: the pipeline war?

About the reason for US war with Afghanistan

Afghanistan's new front: natural gas


Asia's new 'great game' is all about pipelines

Secure routes needed to move Central Asia's vast energy resources to international markets
Aug 20, 2008 04:30 AM
Comments on this story [] (2)
John Foster

The quest for control of energy resources has been dubbed the "new great game" – a rivalry for pipeline routes to access energy resources in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.

It's a geopolitical game that is openly analyzed in U.S. think-tanks, widely reported in the Asian press but rarely commented upon in Canada. It began after the Soviet Union broke up and the five "Stans" of Central Asia became independent.

Recent reports have linked the conflict in Georgia with pipelines that bring oil and gas to Europe but the pipeline rivalry extends far beyond Georgia to the vast oil and gas resources of the Caspian region and Central Asia.

When the countries of Central Asia were part of the Soviet Union, their oil and gas flowed only to the north through Soviet-controlled pipelines. After the Soviet breakup in 1991, however, competing world powers began to explore ways to tap these enormous reserves and move them in other directions.

Pipelines are important today in the same way that railway building was important in the 19th century. They connect trading partners and influence the regional balance of power.

Both Georgia and Afghanistan are seen as energy bridges – transit routes for the export of land-locked hydrocarbons.

Washington has long promoted a gas pipeline south from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. It would pass through Kandahar.

Realistic or not, construction is planned to start in 2010, and Canadian Forces are committed until December 2011. Richard Boucher, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, said last year: "One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan," and to link South and Central Asia "so that energy can flow to the south."

Unwittingly or willingly, Canadian forces are supporting American goals.

The BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) oil pipeline and South Caucasus gas pipeline that pass through Georgia to Turkey originate in Azerbaijan. Recently built, they are the jewels in the crown of U.S. strategy to secure energy resources that bypass Russia and reduce European dependence on pipelines from Russia.

Two Central Asian countries are rich in hydrocarbons. According to the International Energy Agency, Turkmenistan has the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas, while Kazakhstan's oil reserves are said to be three times those of the North Sea. Turkmenistan exports virtually all its gas to Russia. Last year, the presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed on a new gas line north to expand the export system. Construction starts this summer.

China is tapping into Central Asia's treasure, too. There is a new pipeline that brings oil from Kazakhstan to China. And a gas pipeline is being built from Turkmenistan through Kazakhstan to China.

The rivalry continues with plans for new gas lines to Central Europe. The Russians plan a line under the Black Sea to Bulgaria called South Stream, and the EU backs a project called Nabucco that would supply gas via Turkey.

As well, Washington is pushing for new pipelines under the Caspian Sea that would link Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and the pipelines to Europe.

But Russia is blocking these plans. Boucher asserts that European energy security is important to the United States as well as to Europeans and that it "is based on having multiple sources."

The United States expresses great concern about European dependence on oil and gas imports from Russia. But Europe has imported energy from Russia for 40 years. It imports from the Middle East and Africa, too.

Is Russia less reliable? Much is made of Russia's temporary cuts in gas supplies to Ukraine and Belarus, but these countries were enjoying highly subsidized gas (a hangover from the Soviet era) and refusing to pay full European border prices. In similar circumstances, what would Canadian energy suppliers do?

Energy has become an issue of strategic discussions at NATO. At recent NATO summits the United States sought to commit NATO to energy security activities, calling for NATO to guard pipelines and sea lanes.

Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said energy security required "unprecedented international co-operation, ... protecting and maintaining the world's energy supply system."

NATO proposals could have enormous consequences for Canada. U.S. strategic thinking is to get other NATO countries involved in guarding the world's oil and gas supplies. Canada is in danger of being drawn into long-term military commitments relating to energy.

Recently, Defence Minister Peter MacKay told a Halifax talk show that Canadian troops were not in Afghanistan "specifically" to guard a pipeline, but "if the Taliban are attacking certain projects, then yes we will play a role."

Neither Afghanistan nor Georgia is a member of NATO, but both are transit countries in the new great game.

Energy geopolitics are worthy of public discussion. The rivalry for energy resources is a power game – and militarizing energy is a long-term recipe for disaster.

John Foster is an international energy economist and an expert on the world oil scene. He is the author of "A Pipeline Through A Troubled Land: Afghanistan, Canada, and the New Great Energy Game," Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.