Saturday, February 21, 2009

Daily Digest February 21, 2009



Tell and show
You've got to wonder if there's something in the water in Ottawa. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's director of communications was telling reporters how much the prime minister was like United States President Barack Obama.

A good start for the PM and Mr. Obama Post a comment
The first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders is a good basis for working together on mutual problems

Running on empty

Going green with energy

Canadians seem ready to cozy up to the U.S

Harper stands up to scrutiny and comes out a winner

Child abusers should serve time

The Islamic world's malevolent zeitgeist

So, can we stop bashing America now?

Security used as excuse to block goods, Day says

Obama deflected the hard questions

The border

Fraser's analysis of Sask. Crowns lacks credibility
Separatist 'win' shows ignorance of pivotal event

Work: fewer boomers plan to quit early

Beefing up the ranks

Deficit should not have happened

let's hope congress shares obama's love of canada

U. S.-Canada climate deal must be fair to both

Obama shows smarts on Afghanistan

Plains of Abraham reality can't be ignored

The cycle of endless re-announcements

Canadians swooning too soon over Obama
Gang violence is a story that won't go away


New Afghanistan Nightmare Commences

Central Asia key to Afghan mission
As NATO supply routes dry up, the West needs 'a coherent strategy' for region, analysts say

America yields in battle for Nato troops

Kabul eyes control on aid, security in U.S. review
Kabul eyes control on aid, security in U.S. review

Regulating the humanitarian industry
The UN's method of dolling out financial aid is open to corruption as a film on wasted aid in Afghanistan points out

US: 13 civilians killed in Afghan operation

Obama widens missile strikes inside Pakistan: NYT

Canada to focus on protecting Kandahar city
U.S. reinforcements expected to fight insurgency in far-flung Taliban strongholds, new commander says after takeover ceremony, but that will not marginalize Canadian troops

Strategy switch in Afghanistan

Ottawa aims to maintain momentum with D. C.

Obama wants more from us than dessert

Obama and Harper – Very different men

U.S. president urged to action on emissions, environment

Here Comes Climate Change

Spread the wealth to your spouse

Taking a swipe at the debit card competition

Diplomacy getting new lease on life

Harper to visit UN, talk global security

Eastern Europe is about to Blow

A 'fraud' bigger than Madoff
Senior US soldiers investigated over missing Iraq reconstruction billions


Some of the best efforts to overcome ignorance has been the work of film makers gathering info and gathering info on the 9/11 story. Here's one of the best:

Israel's loyalty oath
Levy: Israel needs to decide whether it's going to have an ethnocracy or a democracy Pt. 3

Are generals disputing Iraq pullout?
Do disagreements amongst top generals and Obama on Iraq pullout plan represent a more profound debate?

  Will Obama shift US Middle East policy?
Daniel Levy: Obama needs to use a velvet glove to change Israel policy Pt.2 view

Where are Afghanistan's missing millions?
Clancy Chassay hears charges of corruption leveled against the UN and aid agencies

  The Afghan trap
Ray McGovern: US attempt to trap the USSR in 1979 is at root of current situation in Afghanistan view

The Food Lobby Goes to School
ANP: Who decides what our children are eating?

No magic bullet for gang wars

Alberta dialed in to pursuing remote learning opportunities

Wind turbines fast-tracked

Intellectual? Yes. Leader? Not quite

Debt, not deficit, is the elephant in the room

Is this the quiet end to pay equity?
Tories want to kill the principle that equity is a right, critics say

Arctic Sea Ice Underestimated for Weeks Due to Faulty Sensor

Der Spiegel Exposes the Brazilian Ethanol Madness
Why the Promise of Biofuels is a Lie

Global Integrity 2008 Report Drops Canada From "Strong" to "Moderate" Level in World's Most Detailed Assessment of Government Integrity and Democracy

Intro to biometric chips Would you like chips with that? No thanks

Canadian banks are typically leveraged at 18 to 1--compared with U.S. banks at 26 to 1 - Newsweek

Obama a invité Michaëlle Jean à Washington

Harper rencontrera Ban Ki-moon

Harper veut faire reconnaître l'hydroélectricité comme énergie propre

Ottawa surfe sur la visite d'Obama

Stephen Harper en voyage aux États-Unis

Un record de nouveaux arrivants

Une industrie en crise

General Motors Canada
Autant de véhicules à moindres coûts

Propos sur les artistes
La ministre Verner prend ses distances



The President having come and gone there will be a return to business.  In this case collusion between the Government and the Opposition to pass Bill C-10 implementing the Budget of 2009.

In Feb 9, 2009's Digest you were apprised that Bill C-10 goes far beyond matters relating to the Budget and its aims. 

It will be most interesting to see to what extent the points of view expressed in the Toronto Star by Thomas Walkom in "What you missed in that budget bill" and the Financial Post  by Terence Corcoran's "The C-10 railroad" become repeated in the media

Wayne Pietz is correct in being "saddened" because significant changes as matters stand will be made into law - not due just to Harper's action of "trying to sneak these changes through with little or no debate" but Ignatieff's enabling him to do so unchallenged.

One Act that has been the law in Canada from before we were a country, a law flowing from the Common Law of England hundreds of years old, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, will be swept away and decision making power placed at the discretion of the Minister.

Read Phil Green's consideration of this change affecting the lives of literally millions of Canadians, anyone who has ever taken oar or paddle in hand, without any in put from them at all.

Should you share Phil him the opinion expressed in the last word of his post, 'phone up your M.P. whether Liberal or Conservative and employ it as your first word in expressing your concern about the perversion of the Parliamentary process that is underway.



From: Wayne Pietz
Subject: RE: Will "far-reaching amendments in the Budget Act be passed "with limited if any meaningful debate"

     I was saddened when I read the article "what you missed in that budget" by Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star on Saturday In this article he outlines the (a) amendments to the rules of foreign investment  (b) amendments to the Navigable Waters Act and (c) changes to pay equity.

     In my view this is "dirty politics" trying to sneak these changes through with little or no debate. Perhaps Jack Layton's assessment of Stephen Harper that he can't be trusted is correct.

RE: Foreign Investment
     It is my view that our laws regarding foreign investment should be strengthened with guidelines to ensure that infrastructures for Canadian companies that are subject to "foreign takeover" are kept intact including keeping the head office in Canada.

Wayne Pietz

From: Phil Green
Subject: Budget Bill C-10

Hi Joe:

I read with interested your comments on the Competition Act on Feb 15. This is not the only major change to a Bill that the federal government is railroading through parliament. They are also gutting the Navigable Waters Protection Act.  With this change Canadians will lose the iconic freedom they have enjoyed for centuries to go any where they want on our country's waterways. They have done this to make it easier to spend infrastructure dollars without requiring approval under the Act.

Any Canadian who has traveled on a stream or pond to go fishing or hunting, to go for an afternoon paddle from the cottage or summer camp, to go on a one-day or two-month canoe trip, has benefited from the protections offered by this Act. The Act, passed in 1883 by Conservative PM John A. Macdonald, was based on common law rights that the courts had upheld for decades before confederation. The right was simple: if you can travel on a body of water, you have a right to travel on that body of water. No other test was needed to confirm or affirm that right. What it meant is that someone could not block your passage with a bridge, a dam, a boom, or a causeway. If a dam was needed, so was the portage or the lock.

In Bill C-10 they have removed reference to bridges, dams,booms, and causeways which were explicitly mentioned in the Act because they are obvious impediments to travel on water. They have given the Minister of Transportation the right to define classes of waterways, which presumably means we will soon have low class rivers in this country. They have also given him the power to place "any terms or conditions" he feels like on any works placed "in, on, over, under, through or across" rivers and other navigable waterways.

Thus the freedom of Canadians to travel on our waterways is now at the discretion of the Minister of Transportation. If he decides it's OK to block your passage with a dam or a boom, it's OK to block your passage.

Certainly there was a valid case to be made that the Act should be updated. There should  have been extensive public consultation. First, second and third reading, and plenty of debate on a Bill separate from the Budget Implementation Act. Instead, the sham hearings last spring were limited almost exclusively to provincial and municipal works departments, and federal infrastructure bureaucrats.

When the ice melts this spring, hunters, anglers, paddlers, and boaters will still be able to travel our rivers and streams. But as the country's infrastructure grows over the years, we will slowly find our way blocked by dams, weirs, culverts, bridges, booms and other structures on the Minister's "low class" rivers.


--  Phil Green    
============================he is quietly introducing measures to weaken environmental laws affecting rivers and lakes, limit federal oversight of most foreign investment and scale back some of Canada's few remaining restrictions on foreign ownership.


If the Liberals want an opportunity to call the government's bluff on a confidence vote, this is it. Then watch the government back down.