Friday, February 13, 2009

Daily Digest February 13, 2009



Pushing the boundaries

Creating tension where none exists View comments1
Senator Duffy isn't advancing the province's interests by suggesting it's part of an alliance against Ottawa.

EI policy a litmus test

Tories identify their 'biggest threat'

Giving voice to victims

Eating healthy will cut costs of good food

 Israel's voting system
Canadian advocates of electoral reform should take a long hard look at the results of this week's election in Israel.

Curbing `hillbilly heroin'

The RCMP rethinks the risks of tasers

Holster that zapper

It's safe to talk again

Police need Net access

Departure in 2011 an Afghan mirage

Canada can't ignore war crimes charges

Judges and the economy

Religion and Darwin continue to co-exist

In need of life support

Final approval of stun gun use requires strings

Oil patch land sale 'dismal

Too much, too soon

Wanting a child doesn't mean you should have one

Women's real oppressors are those who say abortion doesn't hurt them

Would-be censor seeks red pencil

Food safety a serious issue

Friendlier skies? MP's air passenger bill of rights might be just the ticket

And now, a trade deficit

Stelmach must be aggressive

Idiocy, United Nations-style

Confronting the problem of gang violence

Real jail time needed for chronic offenders

Securing our future energy supplies requires integrated planning

Older dads are fine, but moms face scorn

Action is needed on gang menace

Keeping old tobacco signs

Slowdown hurts struggling non-profits

Private insurance makes health care worse


First Nations have claim to slice of resource pie

New residential schools panel could be on job by June 1

Government did not mishandle native oil royalties: Supreme Court

Karzai admits tensions with US

British to play smaller role as US troops fight 'losing battle'

An Afghan mirage: Canadian troops will not be leaving Afghanistan in 2011

Nato is deeper in its Afghan mire than Russia ever was
Two decades after the Soviet withdrawal, ever more resources are being poured into a war with scant chance of success

Afghanistan: the big project has shrunk

Australian Troops Kill Five Afghan Children',

CAE nabs 20-year deal to make Canadian military flight simulators

Obama Fends Off Neighbor-Lady's Advances

Canadians worried about U.S. protectionism: poll

Canada still concerned about 'Buy American' stimulus clause: PM

Full-page ads on Canada-U.S. ties running in major American publications

Canada to stick close to U.S. on environment policy: Prentice

U.S. actions not an indictment of NAFTA

We can't afford protectionism

Praise from Americans gives Canadians a boost

Canwest creaks under debtload, may seek protection

Outlook darkens for insurance giants

Canada Pension Plan Fund shrinks $8.5B in quarter: buying opportunities seen

Home sales fall by 41 per cent

 Statement by economists Quebec
Twelve university Quebec doubt the effectiveness of a massive increase in public spending to revive the economy.

Security Threat Assessment by U.S. Director of National Intelligence

Deja vu Iran


Common cold decoded

Baby's gestures reflect family's wealth

The erosion of marriage

Where you've been on Net not private, judge rules

Prison system repeats riot-causing mistakes: ombudsman

B.C. announces more cops, Crown prosecutors to get gangs and guns off streets

Sarkozy replies to letter from furious Quebec sovereigntists

B.C.'s election gag law takes effect amid criticism

Alberta issues 20-year plan for enviro-friendly oilsands Video

B.C. passes law to allow budget deficit

Compromise for Quebec re-enactment

Budget passes another hurdle with Liberal help

Liberals argue Harper's deep pockets leave B.C. shortchanged

Harper says extraordinary measures needed to fight economic turmoil

Tories maintain Cadman tape was doctored
But Harper's parliamentary secretary refuses to repeat claim outside the Commons;

Cadman biographer says he could sue Tories for reputation damages

Flaherty to attend weekend G7 meetings in Italy

How long will the honeymoon last?

Green leader working on comeback

Layton needs to find next big idea

Liberals enjoy the Ignatieff effect

Recession gives Ignatieff a free ride

Harper Hiding on Khadr File

Privacy watchdog warns Tories against mass snooping

Just 4% of promised federal funds spent

Harper to announce creation of aerospace training facility

Tories spend less to find out what you think

CRTC to ease burden on cash-strapped stations

Parliamentary listeriosis probe gets Tory support

Ottawa fast-tracking infrastructure assessments as its moves on $1B in projects

No evidence pay-equity shift would save money
Ottawa didn't do cost estimates for new Tory plan, senior officials acknowledge


Common-sense Canada finds favour

Let's just elect Harry Potter

Don't eat the peanut butter
There's nothing like a performance-enhancing handout to get the economy rolling.

A fragile hope All of a sudden, the ground seems to be shifting

Will the plug be pulled on petro-autocrats?

The endless battle of 1759

Darwin and God

Poverty measures need measuring

Harper tente d'apaiser la controverse sur la bataille des plaines

CAE décroche un contrat de 330 millions d'Ottawa

Le biographe de Cadman menace de poursuivre les conservateurs

Sarkozy répond aux souverainistes

La visite d'Obama sera précédée de pubs dans des journaux américains

Bataille des plaines
Verner blâme les souverainistes

Redevances énergétiques
Victoire d'Ottawa contre les autochtones

Déclaration d'économistes québécois


Tories maintain Cadman tape was doctored
But Harper's parliamentary secretary refuses to repeat claim outside the Commons;

"In fact, it was never proven in court that the tapes were doctored. "

Pierre Poilievre, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, stating in the House ""We need not provide that evidence because it was already provided in court. It is proven that the tape was doctored, but happily the issue is resolved now," when the court case had been ended without conclusion brought a word to mind.

"Maladroit" was the word.

You may see things differently, but when you've had a lawyer quit a case and when you're going to have to come up with evidence you back off,  it seems to me the best thing to do is NOT bring the issue to the fore again.

It may be Poilievre words did not represent  Stephen Harper's position.  If so there ought to be clarification.

Meanwhile the position taken was maladroit: unskillful; awkward; bungling; tactless, inept. As the articles from the Surrey Now Brian has sent attest.


From: "Brian D. Marlatt"
Subject: A Question arises.

Friday's Surrey NOW editorial notes the importance of a free and independent press to democracy and, in that interest, expresses its dismay and states its belief that Stephen Harper's "MPs just want the Zytaruk tape affair to just fade away into oblivion but for democracy's sake, we can't let that happen." (February 13, 2008).
The paper itself merely asks for a full and thorough apology to its editor, publisher, and every journalist in Canada's media whose integrity it feels the Harper government has impugned.  The particular journalist, Tom Zytaruk, laments "the public indignity of being wrongfully accused of doing something we did not do." ("At least Moore's accuser had the class to apologize," February 13, Surrey NOW), while others note his likely inability to find the money to find justice in the courts while his unrepentant accusers continue to assert his quilt behind the skirts of parliamentary privilege ("Tories maintain Cadman tape was doctored", Globe, February 13, 2008).

These men both owe the Now an apology
A NOW EDITORIAL: Tory MPs just want the Zytaruk tape affair to just fade away into oblivion but for democracy's sake, we can't let that happen

Oh, James!
What happened to the self-assured MP who uttered these words? And when can we expect an apology?

At least Moore's accuser had the class to apologize

Can't imagine Zytaruk doctored Cadman tape: Marlatt

Subject: re Manning Networking conference
From: Beverley Smith
Glancing down the list of speakers I see a number of like-minded conservatives for sure. But then I see a prominent advocate for what I would call Liberal reforms. Karen Sellick has been a proponent of universal daycare and in my memory she makes the case in preference to funding family-based or parental care.  I find this particularly out of sync with the conference which I had thought would try to support parental choices and respect family-based care at least as much as care by 3rd parties.

When economies face difficult times, the knee jerk reaction is to get more people to 'work'. Yet this is traditional economic thinking, the kind that regularly creates very inaccurate predictions anyway because it is not inclusive of the whole picture. In the big picture, those who work unpaid are 1/3 of the economic base, and their gift to society is free care of the young, sick, elderly,dying. Forcing all these unpaid workers away from their tasks to get paid jobs, would actually backfire rather alarmingly.  If nobody is around to take care of those who can't be on their own, we'll have to pay professional level care, and of course those who earn will claim we have to fund this for them free as an enabler for them to earn. So we'll be as a state funding universal childcare at $10,000 per child per year, which bill for those under 6 alone is $20 billion a year. And then we'd have to fund after school care for the kids to age 12, and we'd have to fund universal eldercare since few could stay in their own homes now that family was too busy to help.

The bill would be overwhelming. The Manning conference one would think would recognize the unpaid sector as the anchor it is to an economy and would not discourage it but might even argue to value it and fund it so it could still do its job.

Yet I suspect Sellick will not be making that case. 

Or maybe she will and there will be a rousing good debate.

I am sad to see that no spokesperson for caregivers is on the agenda. I could have suggested several, hey even myself

Beverley Smith

From: Real Gagne


I've been a Conservative for half a century and I've never heard of the term "movement conservative."

However, _movement conservateur_ would sound natural in French. Maybe Manning had that in mind but got a bad translator.


From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: movement conservative?

Joe--anything Manning is associated with should be avoided . "Mark them
well and leave them behind" were Manning's famous words when those of us
that didn't want Reform destroyed argued against his dictatorial move. This
'man' is the ultimate dictator and a dangerous person to be associated with
in any endeavour. 'Movement conservative' is probably a Manning bowel
movement? Can't recall anything else of value that emanated from that
creature. He is the ultimate politician--power and greed at any cost. Not
someone you want to associate with.


Ensign Front Page

Differing standards for nominees and Senators
February 12, 2009
by: Joe Hueglin
Niagara Falls Ontario: Ih his great rush to fill the senate seats the Prime Minister appointed some interesting members to the Senate. Certainly one of the most interesting is a 34 year old aboriginal leader who distinguished himself as all but destroying the credibility of his organisation. Odd choice because had he chose to run as an MP his history and tainted past would make him ineligible for running as a Conservative.

From: Larry Kazdan
Subject: Letter to Editor re: Idiocy, UN-style,  February 12

Re:  Idiocy, UN-style,  February 12

Fair enough to criticize the new Human Rights Council, even though it improves upon the former Commission by direct accountability to all UN members, greater frequency of sessions, and stronger oversight mechanisms such as Universal Periodic Review.  China, for example, has been subjected to unprecedented scrutiny and has had to defend itself under intense questioning.

The Ottawa Citizen has correctly identified the larger problem, however - the power of nation-states to block proper reporting and investigation.  We need a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations, composed of representatives of citizens rather than countries, who could act as a conscience of the world and shine a light on human rights abuses without instruction nor veto from individual governments.  We should not talk about "Idiocy, UN-style", but "Idiocy, Nation-State-Style".                 

<![end if]-->

Larry Kazdan, Vice-President,
World Federalist Movement Canada – Vancouver Branch
Vancouver, B.C.

From: "Brad Thomson"
Subject: BELOW 30


Joseph writes that the World Trade Center buildings were brought down by controlled demolitions. This is certainly true, and it is perfectly evident to anyone who looks at the films with an open mind. In fact, not only were they controlled demolitions, they were absolutely the greatest and most sophisticated of all time. When the buildings go you can see explosions everywhere, mass is being blasted up and out. Gravity only pulls things straight down. Also, the buildings were utterly pulverized. Natural collapses leave huge chunks of rubble. The only entity with the means to have pulled this off is the military-industrial complex of the United States. To state that 911 was an inside job is only stating the obvious.

Brad Thomson

From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: Canada Israel's diplomatic rep in Venezuela

Canada becomes Israel
Yves Engler, The Electronic Intifada, 12 February 2009

Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper's government publicly supported
Israel's brutal assault on Gaza and voted alone at the UN Human Rights
Committee in defense of Israel's actions three weeks ago. Now Canada has
taken over Israeli diplomacy. Literally. . . .

From: Lorimer Rutty
Subject: points

The following, Courier 9 point text should be unacceptable to both a DD contributer and the Editor of same DD.
If the same Editor's 'point' is to activate delete buttons, 'point' achieved.

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and related fiscal measures

FEBRUARY 6, 2009

From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

Grocery price variations tough to swallow

NOW, someone finally wakes up? It's been a looong timing coming.
Back in 1997, I had a look at prices at grocery prices at a downtown Toronto No Frills supermarket (as you guessed, it's a 'lower overall price than the competition' place) and compare them with prices at one near where I lived in Burlington, ON. The particular neighbourhood in downtown TO was and still is middle-class artsy (near or in The Beaches), whereas Burlington is more middle-class professional in nature. They're about 50 kilometres apart by highway.
For pretty much everything on the day when I made the price comparison, prices were 30% higher in Burlington than in downtown TO (!!!). Talk about local-oligopoly, local-pricing-power.
Plus, supermarket chains aren't run by dummies. If you look closely, you'll see that their prices vary depending on the time of the month, in particular in downscale markets. Here in Quebec, people on social assistance get their cheques at the end of each month, and supermarket chains adjust their prices accordingly. Prices for staples such as Diet Coke (my fatal addiction and a reference good for my local-economic observations) go up when downscale customers turn 'rich' at the end of every month and they go down or are cut by coupon-based promotions during the 'poor' half of the cycle. Sound exploitive and corrupt? Check it out for yourselves ...
I suspect that some suppliers are playing on that, too. For example, where I live, there are frequent Diet Coke shortages during 'rich' periods (we have many people on social assistance near the Maxi 'low price' supermarket where I do my processed-stuff shopping). I suspect that folks on social assistance stock up during 'rich, higher-price' periods, when it would be in their interest to stock up in 'poor' periods .. but hey, that's a money management strategy that DOES work for folks worried about human nature (i.e., spending when times are good, scrimping when times are tough). Owners of corner stores swarm at low-price supermarkets and stock up on commodities such as beverages (Diet Coke, bottled water), towel-wipes, toiler paper (not sure about that one), which they resell at higher prices because they're in demand. Coca-Cola may be harvesting some of the benefits of such consumer behaviour, or supermarkets may stock up on stuff during 'poor' periods and make it more available in 'rich' periods, who knows? But there's definitely a Diet-Coke-supply problem here at the end and beginnings of each month. And for anyone who's ever gone short on coffee because none was readily at hand (and dammit, I WON'T drink Pepsi no matter HOW well they refine its malted battery-acid taste), that's .. uuuhhh .. annoying.
So, supermarkets ..are they being exploitive, manipulative of human macro-behaviour, and otherwise unethical? I can't say ... profit margins are in the order of 1% of gross sales, and they make their money by high-volume, high-turnover sales combined with keeping low stocks on hand, all while keeping an eye on what other chains' prices. All this makes me wonder at what causes the price variations between places such as downtown TO and Burlington ... municipal taxes may have a role there, who knows?
Processed-food for thought ...