Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daily Digest August 21, 2008



Who's minding the caffeine?

An historic deal inked

PR strategy part of Taliban plan

Dysfunctional arguments

Strongman's weakness

The logical next step against drunk drivers  

Political will is what's needed to face down the Russian bear  

Being practical about our health  

The bear is back  

Trickle could become flood

A carbon election that clears the air

Bottled water drying up

Sarkozy sets an example on Afghanistan

Clement climbs slippery slope

The waste goes on

'Robbing us blind' 

Time for PM to scratch that itch?

Group asks Canada for more aid, observers, in Georgia

AIDS does exist in Canada - Federal gov't ought to do more to help the cause

Intriguing oilsands interest  

A welcome second look at medical mystery

The madness on our streets


Taliban forces, battle experience growing ­ report

In Afghanistan, blurred lines cost lives

Afghan numbers don't add up

Goodbye Musharraf, hello Taliban

Three Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan

40-year-old aircraft will have to keep flying in arctic until at least 2015

US faces up to life without Musharraf

U.S.-India nuclear deal a non-proliferation disaster

Georgia's role makes it no squeaky clean statelet  

Georgia conflict has NATO on ropes
Divide between 'new,' 'old' Europes may KO organization

Group asks Canada for more aid, observers, in Georgia

The outlook on a triple-superpower world

Outgoing CMA chief inspired a better approach to health-care financing

Canada has more MRI and CT scanners but still lags other OECD nations

N.S. premier slams Liberal carbon tax plan

Dion links Walkerton, planned cuts to food scrutiny

Layton against early election call

Dion asks Harper to state his views on abortion

Dion test-drives green pitch

Tories pushing fall election to shut down probe, MPs say

Federal election? We're 'well prepared,' Bloc leader insists

Is the fix in on fixed election law?

PM eager to escape his own trap

Liberals must convince voters the Green Shift is not the shaft 

Liberal tax plan so much hot air  

Conservative agenda is changing Canada

There's no telling where Qu?bec's votes would go

Flaherty's $50,000 challenge

Tories pushing fall election to shut down probe, MPs say
Witnesses can't be held responsible for boycotting hearing if Parliament dissolved

Party leaders' fates hang on results of a fall election

Planned cuts to food scrutiny questioned

Tories coy about plan to shift food inspection powers to industry

Law setting federal election date not binding

Docs condemn unborn crime bill

You may know how you'll vote before you know it

Ignoring the harsh reality of a failing Afghanistan  

Sensitive documents  

Why can't we fight the Taliban at home?

Trois soldats canadiens meurent en Afghanistan

Harper prêt à plonger avant la rentrée

Soutien aux arts
Québec fustige Ottawa

Des électeurs indécis qui ne le sont pas vraiment, selon une nouvelle étude


Promise Keeper><Promise Breaker

Should the Governor General be asked by the Prime Minister to issue writs of election  
do you see him being viewed as forced to do so in order to keep promises or otherwise?


Stephen Harper is considering call an election before Parliament resumed on 15 September. His decision will depend on its imminent meetings with the heads of three opposition parties, it was said yesterday in La Presse. Everything will depend on the results of meetings with heads of other parties, "said Conservative strategist yesterday.

The theoretical power of dissolution might remain, but the bill was a solemn declaration of Stephen Harper's intent. "This Prime Minister," Mr. Nicholson insisted, "will live by the law and the spirit of this particular piece of legislation." Another Conservative MP declared that Mr. Harper was giving up a power "that past prime ministers ... have used like a club." Months earlier, the Prime Minister himself told the House that "the government is clear that it will not be seeking an early election. At any time, Parliament can defeat the government and provoke an early election, if that is what the opposition irresponsibly chooses to do."

So the fixed election law - which the government probably introduced with half-innocent good intent in its early months of power - has become an awkward burden for the Prime Minister. Mr. Dion's erratic conduct on confidence votes has riled Mr. Harper. Does that justify the Prime Minister in violating the spirit of the election law?

The Governor-General, no doubt, is taking fresh advice on that question from her constitutional advisers. Could she reject the Prime Minister's advice to dissolve Parliament without a government defeat? Does the new law make any difference? There is only one answer: Despite the law, she would be obliged to do what the Prime Minister asks. She has no power, in this situation, to challenge the political judgment or the moral subtlety of the Prime Minister. Mr. Harper, like other prime ministers before him, can still wield the big club. The new law is a nullity without prime ministerial self-restraint.


From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject:  DD

Joe--in our great zeal to take 'democracy to Afghanistan', we forgot to keep
any democracy for ourselves!  The very fact that we have been told that
Afghanistan has to be forced to accept 'democracy' proves that our great
'leaders' in the West know nothing of democracy.  Greed is the only driving
force for getting our children killed in the war for oil.

Sadly, even if asked what our opinion is in this 'war', it would be jury
rigged or ignored. Since when is it important for our leaders to know what
Canadians 'think'?  Remember how the Liberals always told us what 'Canadians
want'?  And now we are told what we will think!

The pipeline is the ONLY driver of this 'war'.  We as Canadians are told
that we are there so women and children can be educated and to rid the
region of opium.  We are told to forget that the Taliban erased almost
totally the growing of opium poppies before we even got there.  We are fed
pap to make us ignore the reality of the situation.  That reality being our
soldiers are cannon fodder for oil interests in the area, and that the very
people we are there to 'educate' are being slaughtered by us.

Of course the excuses  for these murders are fed to us with 'a spoonful of
sugar'!  We line the roadway when our dead soldiers return in a coffin and
don't think past our noses to the real reason our children are dead--that
being greed and power.

I doubt our 'leaders' are even made aware of our concerns.  Who are we to
question the dictates of the Corporatocracy that rules this country?  I never
get a response to my emails other than 'we have received your letter'!  We
are not worth of taking part in any discussion.

Our children and grand children will continue to be deployed to protect
corporate interests, innocent people will continue to be murdered in any
country that has what our 'leaders' want and we will be patted on the head
and told to go away.  No one wants to hear from us.  Just shut up and keep
paying taxes!

What nerve to mention 'corruption in Afghanistan!  We should clean our own
country up first.


Subject: "earthworm" 08 8 17

Publisher is Alan Heisey, 38 Avoca Avenue, L.P.H #6, Toronto, ON, 
Canada, M4T 2B9   * N.B.: This email address, <>
proving most reliable!
Personal phone 416 923 5381, fax 416 944 0133, south 239 513 0444  

I welcome comments, always, on contents and how to improve presentation.

ON Tories should pack Winnipeg: prepare for floorfights!

I hope the following is a realisitc description of probabilities in 
Winnipeg when it comes to giving Ontario five regionally elected 
councillors where we now have four elected province-wide.

I think it will take an epic gathering of our best and brightest to 
propel Ontario actually into increased and better focused roles for 
our population in the party’s National Council.

I advise all Ontarions delegates, alternates and others who care, to 
register for the convention by this coming Thursday, for the lowest 
rates because there are signs that some in other regions of the party 
have difficulty in seeing electoral justice carried out for our 12 
million Ontarions.

The first sign is that the party’s central philosophical thrust is 
enhancing the roles of the provincial and territorial governments 
versus the national government, as distinct from the quite different 
concept of rigorously representing populations as gathered in 
municipalities and other local governments. The clearest expression of 
this is the watering of Bill C-22’s proposed representation of 
Ontario voters in the national parliament, keeping the province’s 
seats some 10% fewer than any other province in relationship to our 12 
million+ population. Ontario will not be a province like the others, 
it will, for marvelously arcane considerations, be 10% under-
represented! I devoutly hope the present bill is withdrawn, quick!

One can piously hope that the party’s constitution committee will see 
the reasonableness of addressing this population imbalance in the 
party’s formal council structure by endorsing the resolution from 
Whitby-Oshawa which will in effect raise the constituted provincial 
councillors from Ontario from the present four to a more equitable five.

However, the very well understood concept of rep by pop had no place 
in the setting up of this same constitution committee because all the 
provinces have two provincial representatives, meaning eight from 
Atlantic Canada to two for Quebec and two for Ontario!

 Whitby-Oshaswa and St. Paul’s both submitted amendments to the 
constitution committee before the end of last year favouring the 
proposed five Ontario councillors also being elected from five 
separate geographic districts, to clarify exactly which Ontario 
councillor is responsible for the individual areas of the province. 
The St. Paul’s proposal rigorously balances the populations of the 
five districts while the Whitby-Oshawa proposal is less attentive to 
this aspect. (Please understand that I drafted the St. Paul’s 
proposal which its president forwarded to the constitution committee.) 
My proposed five regions are detailed in an addendum to this edition.

There is said to be interest in regionally electing provincial 
councillors in the three other provinces with two or more councillors 
now constituted. Very recent enquiries by me to one of the Ontatio 
chairs of the constitution committee clarify that no information has 
yet been available on its processes, or thinking. A recent email to 
one of the two Toronto organizers enquiring as to the probability of 
regional meetings before the Winnipeg meet on constitutional issues 
was not replied to, so this absence of any provisional information 
leaves an open field for fresh thinking.

I like to think that the interest in the four largest provinces in 
regionally electing provincial councillors will encourage fresh 
thinking about Ontario’s case for five councillors. It should be 
clear that organizing voting from these provinces by regional 
districts at this convention would be no big deal, however some might 

Tri-Spa’s Doug Lowry differs on M.P. Goodyear’s denial!

The recent imbroglio in which the party’s assigned spokesman M.P., 
Gary Goodyear (Cambridge) issued a statement, challenged at least by 
Toronto Tory Doug Lowry, will not likely cause us any lasting pain. 
However, there is enough embarrassment to leave our caucus thoroughly 
irritated at the party’s organizers publicly identified as doing what 
Goodyear said we did not do!

It all boils down to the handling of party funds, a subject on which I 
am persuaded that we are, all, grossly hobbled by excessive rules and 
regulations. The hero of this tale, from my point of view is Tri-Spa 
president Doug Lowry who felt obliged to attend a parliamentary 
committee summons, although at least three others so identified were 
told not to attend by a Toronto organizer - according to Lowry.

This public disagreement, at least in part on the front page of one of 
the Toronto dailies, will, as one observer sees it, “add to the 
cynicism”. As a longtime fan of Lowry I nominate him, if I can for 
one of the “Maple Leaf Awards” to be announced at the Winnipeg 
meeting. When it comes to whom one takes orders from, Lowry listened 
to a parliamentary committee, rather than our organizers, setting a 
splendid example when we may need it again!

More attention to edas needed in party constitution

(I reproduce a large section of my December 23 2007 issue which gave 
attention to a lot of party constitutional issues about which we, out 
on the mushroom farm, know zip about where the great minds are tonight!)

This windy edition presents my thoughts for 2008 on how we  strengthen 
the ongoing activities of the citizen party, get S to give them some 
bigtime, continuing media attention, and watch how our national 
ratings in the polls tick upwards inexorably to whatever magic number 
sees the plug pulled!!

I decry a specific neglect of our constitution!:
HQ ‘big 3’ short-shrift section 6.1.2

Preparing for the recent meeting of the Whitby-Oshawa-Ajax policy 
committee meeting I read over very carefully every word of the 
party’s constitution.
Our three key leadership groups ignore the last component of paragraph 
6.1.2. The paragraph and context read as follows:
6.1.The governance of the Party shall adhere to the following 
6.1.1 full representation of the interests and views of members;
6.1.2 direct regular communication from National Council, Conservative 
Fund Canada and the Leader to electoral district associations and 
members to ensure accountability;

I contend, as a “lay” member of a Toronto area electoral district 
association, that there is virtually no “direct, regular 
communication” from the party’s “big 3”, listed above, to this 
interested member, nor to, apparently, literally many thousands of 
other members.

I understand the subtleties of our language well enough to know that if 
the drafters of this paragraph intended that “members” were to 
receive communications through their local electoral district 
associations the statement could have been set out accordingly.

As it is the paragraph should be refined to make it clear exactly who 
the drafters intended as “electoral district associations” as 
distinct from the general membership of each association.

In practise this phrasing has been used in the Toronto area to 
authorize in some cases the presidents of associations to distribute 
communications to the 30 members of the board of directors who elected 
them to their positions, but not to their general memberships.

(However a late Saturday (yesterday) afternoon survey of nearly a 
dozen random members of Toronto’s 23  eda boards suggests that 
literally none of them has in fact received two recent, outstanding 
emails from Ottawa!)

The two emails I have received, from two other associations than my 
own, concern the Constitution committee and the Policy committee.The 
three-page constitution committee email of August 1, 2007 I forwarded 
with “earthworm” on September 30th and I attach the policy 
committee’s 3-page email, apparently undated email, hereto!
The two emailings reveal very careful, national, orderly approaches to 
inviting new submissions from associations for consideration in the 
late 2008 annual convention. Interestingly, there is no mention of the 
secrecy which overwhelmed all discussions of policy last time round. 
Is it possible that media  or un-washed, non-members could observe any 
of our policy discussions this time?

For the country’s 308 district associations, emailings to all the 
directors suggest that some 9,000 party members are eligible to 
receive the communications but not the membership at large!! (I have 
grave doubts that even a majority of the party’s eda directors are 
seeing these reports, going by what I sampled in Toronto yesterday!)

There is a standard warning on all such emails from headquarters which 
makes it quite clear that informing other members of each eda is 
forbidden, if not illegal:
Confidentiality Warning: This message and any attachments are intended 
only for the use of the intended recipient(s), are confidential, and 
may be privileged.  If you are not the intended recipient, you are 
hereby notified that any review, retransmission, conversion to hard 
copy, copying, circulation or other use of this message and any 
attachments is strictly prohibited.  If you are not the intended 
recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, and 
delete this message and any attachments from your system.  Thank you.

I accept that various communications from one or more of the “Big 
3” into elements of the national party must have varying levels of 
restricted distribution.

I have long felt that the concept of leaving it to the president alone 
for each eda to determine who is to have Ottawa communications passed 
on leaves the communications chain vulnerable to a president who, for 
whatever reason, does not forward communications to his/her board. A 
backup arrangement might be for the board Secretary and Financial 
Officer to also receive all such communications.

The Crying Shame of It All is that these two constructive invitations, 
apparently to the whole party, have been deliberately held back from 
the general membership, meaning there will be much less participation 
than could otherwise be the case.
It Beats Me why the party does not release these invitations via the 
mass media to illustrate the positive processes open to members only, 
to encourage membership and participation!

Constitution/policy issues bubble

If you are not one of the chosen to have already received the policy 
committee’s latest memo you will find that it is in fact the fifth in 
a series and gives edas the right to add until February 15th, 2008, an 
additional policy proposal to those that have already been received, 
huh!? The report includes a most fascinating list of policy topics 
which have been already received, meaning some tories, somewhere, are 
being plugged in right along

The constitution committee’s deadline, please note, for new 
statements, stays at January 1, 2008!! I pressed Ontario’s 
constitution committee co-chair Jason Hickman on this deadline and he 
undertook to make minor allowances, but has no authority to have a 
deadline parallel to the policy committee’s.

Out here, in our party’s nationwide “mushroom farm”, I find  that 
our caucus and leader are doing a solid job on most policy issues. 
After all they have the backing of substantial civil service and 
consultant resources - as long as they keep cutting the capital gains 
tax firmly in mind!

The one policy exception is their continuing plan to short change 
Ontario some 10 additional seats after the next re-distribution. I 
address this issue in a separate section, and pray for a change of 
heart - or should I call it a new song sheet? - wherever it is needed.
My fallback plan is prodding and pushing some powerful Grit friends to 
have their beat-up leader score some big points across Ontario by 
announcing soon that their caucus will move an amendment to bill C-22 
to give the population the seats they are entitled to, if Peter Van 
Loan does not see the error of his ways!

Seeing policy processes flow at the eda level is a special interest. 
As policy vp of Tri-Spa’s p-cs I drafted the following which 
president Arnold Kwok emailed to all members:

To Arnold Kwok, president Trinity-Spadina Provincial PC Association
and to all members of the association ,  cc Sean Martin, St. Paul’s 
association                                  07 12 15

A, To stimulate interest in policy activities of our association in 
the new year I set out here a brief review of two useful events this 
past year.

First was a single “Policy Lite” event which we held mid June in 
the garden at 38 Avoca Avenue. We had three formal motions submitted, 
discussed, voted and then adjourned for coffee and dessert.

Second item was the adoption and dissemination of a formal motion from 
our policy committee, and endorsed by the riding executive, to the 
Prime Minister and to the leader of our party in Ontario, asking for a 
larger number of M.P.s to be planned for Ontario. This past week our 
Ontario caucus supported a Liberal motion thereon.

Membership in our policy committee was deemed by myself to consist of 
those riding residents who chose to attend one or both “policy 
lite” events of the past two years: They are Robert Aterman, Ken 
Chan, Sam Goldstein, Alan Heisey, Arnold Kwok, Luc LeClair, Doug 
Lowry, Adrienne Snow.  (The 2007 event attracted five members of the 
adjacent St. Paul’s asociation.)

This coming year we should try to convene quarterly “policy lite” 
meetings, preferably in member’s homes, or party rooms. I favour 
encouraging new members to participate by proposing their own favorite 
issue for consideration and votes!

These could include urban and other levels of government or items 
built around news, such as the Robert Latimer case. The essential 
point is that until a topic of discussion is formally constructed as a 
motion and voted it cannot  be forwarded to the Tri-Spa board of 
directors for further consideration.

Everyone who is a member of the association should consider this a 
formal invitation to join the committee and develop policy processes 
more effectively, Of course, public meetings should be considered when 
an issue is of sufficient import and the board wants to put one on! I 
am willing to serve this coming year or cheerfully defer to a fresh 
face! Cordially, hize

Constitutional issues are an entirely different matter! The party’s 
constitution, in contrast to government policy, has few apparent 
devotees in the ranks of our professional politicians, since it is 
mostly for and about us amateurs and our roles.

As a longtime student of the Progressive Conservative and our party’s 
constitutions I find a lot which needs early attention. Much the 
biggest shortfall is the general tenor of  “Section 5, Electoral 
District Associations”, which I reproduce here.
(The pdf of the constitution is so rigged that one cannot copy and 
paste any portion of it, meaning that I have transcribed this section, 
an unnecessary obstruction!)

“Conservative Party of Canada Constitution

5. Electoral district associations

5.1 The electoral district association is the primary organization 
through which the rights of members are exercised.

5.2 Recognition may be granted by the National Council to one 
electoral district association in each federal electoral district, and 
such recognition may be revoked, purusuant to rules and procedures set 
out by by-law.

5.3 Electoral district associations shall comply with such 
requirements as to their governance, financial management and 
reporting, as may be implemented by National Council by by-law or 

The present section 5 of the constitution gives short shrift to the 
vital roles of the local EDAs and offers a head office view of 
ensuring that they act in accordance with the National Council.

The following re-draft starts with:
recognition of the individual and their family, and clarification of 
their immediate opportunity to serve and support their own address, as 
a Steward, rather than the militaristic term, “poll captain”;
introduces as the name of the governing group within the eda, a 
deliberate shift away from “Board”, with all its connotations of 
corporate structures and secrecy, to District Council, as more clearly 
a local counterpart to the National Council, and as resonating with 
community councils and their open operating characteristics;
introduces some needed balance into the importance of serving the 
continuing political aspirations of our citizen members, as well as 
the priority of electing a professional to represent them in parliament;
and reminds all that authority flows upward within the party as well 
as downward!

5. Individuals and their roles in Electoral District Associations

5.1 The central element in the Canadian community is the individual 
citizen and their family.

5.2 Individuals and families substantially sharing the beliefs 
expressed in the the Party’s constitution are welcome to join and 
participate in their local electoral district Conservative Association.

5.3 Individuals members can serve vital, immediate neighbourhood roles 
when elected as a continuing Steward for their particular apartment 
building, or city block, or concession.

5.3 The Association in each electoral districts enables members to 
participate fully in the citizen processes of the federal government. 
This participation is led by a members-elected District Council.

5.4 A priority in that participation is successfully nominating, 
electing and sustaining a Conservative Member of Parliament to 
represent their overall community in the Parliament of Canada.

5.5 Other priorities include providing forums for members and for 
others to nurture national and local values and priorities in public 
life, assisted by regular communication with the local communities at 

5.6 Electoral district associations through the body of laws and 
practices delegate authority to the Leader, National Council, and 
Conservative Fund Canada which in turn establish national models and 
bylaws for the recognition and operation of the local associations.

Never having received even a single sentence from my own eda about the 
processes for reviewing proposed constitutional amendments - and with 
the deadline only a few days away - I intend submitting this re-
statement of section 5 direct to the policy committee chair in Otawa 
though I have also forwarded a draft of it to Jason Hickman.

The “Peter Tudisco Amendment” Two weeks ago in Whitby,
the Whitby- Oshawa and Ajax edas adopted the thrust of the motion I had proposed 
on regional elections for the desired five national councilllors for 
Ontario on the national council. Their amendment calls for a different 
way of balancing the populations of the five regions from the strict 
balance I had proposed. I will forward a resetting of my statement so 
that the committee can evaluate which approach they may choose to put 
before the convention.

Election at large of both the national party president and  electoral 
district associations presidents. James Small, vice president of the 
St. Paul’s e.d.a. suggested informally to me some months ago that the 
national president should be elected by all the delegates to the 
national convention rather than by a decision of the elected members 
of the national council. I support this reversion to the approach of 
the former federal Progressive-Conervative Party. This would create 
the office of the president of the national party as a powerful, 
citizen counterbalance to that of the national leader!
I strongly favour also changing the method of election of the 
president, and probably all officers of the individual eda executive, 
to at-large, meaning by all members present at the annual meeting of 
each association rather than the present method of election from among 
the maximum 30 members of the board. This would serve to remind the 
officers that their base of authority is the entire membership of the 
local association not just the comparative handful elected to serve on 
the board.

Election of national directors from regions is known to have support 
in Britich Columbia and Alberta so will probably be in the recommended 
changes put to next autumn’s national convention.
On the other hand, direct election of the national president and of 
the presidents of individual edas would benefit from endorsements by 
whatever number of constituency committees and associations are taking 
a direct interest in the work of the constitution committee.

Improving communications between the “big 3” and both individual 
edas and individual members.
I charge the Ontario and national constitution committees and the 
“big 3” with the need to urgently address the gulfs in 
communication between the pious statement in present section 6.1.2 and 
the realities.