Friday, February 06, 2009

Daily Digest February 6, 2009



Playing chicken with public safety

Good deed gone bad

Charest missed chance to be a federalist

Honey, eat your dirt


An opportunity to be creative

Lottery's dirty laundry

Warding off structural deficit

Fair time to divide

Not by Obama alone

A mother of a certain age

Flaherty's budget is a no-brainer

Ignatieff plays budget hand very wisely

There's no happy dance at the OLG

Tories must resolve Casey report issue

Political dangers lurk in renovation credit plan

A moratorium on Taser use

Williams plays Ignatieff like a master violinist

If money's not the answer to native problems, what is?

President Sarkozy is a federalist--c'est la vie

Report confirms worst suspicions - Feds' environmental spending based on 'flawed' data

Pope right to ask bishop to recant

Stimulus package leaves women behind


NATO conference on Afghanistan begins

Canada won't take back seat to U.S.: Top Canadian in Afghanistan

Two Canadians injured in roadside blast in Afghanistan

Canadian soldiers to target Afghan drug trade linked to Taliban

Tentative deal on Senate stimulus bill

Canada still cautious over "Buy American" plan

'Buy American' mayhem
You mean there never was a NAFTA?

Canada's incredible shrinking love affair with Obama

Black January for workers as Canada loses 129,000 jobs

Job vaporization shocks policy-makers, deepens worries about future

More job losses to come, Flaherty tells Canadians

Ottawa must wait on U.S. economic recovery

`Buy American' controversy forged in Chinese steel mills

The Russian threat is back

The political rebirth of Nuri al-Maliki

Iran and the US: United over Afghanistan?

NATO, Russia argue over troop plans for Georgia regions

China declares drought emergency
China has declared an emergency in eight northern and central drought-hit regions, where nearly four million people are suffering water shortages.

High cancer rates confirmed near Canada's oil sands

Science doesn't support raw milk benefits

Codex Alimentarius - How the global elite will control your food supply

Smoker denied job in B. C. alleges discrimination, files complaint

Unwieldy refugee system, IRB vacancies – our Canada at work

Alleged Chinese crime boss gets Canadian work permit

McGuinty says job losses could grow; will review welfare rules so more can apply

Tories drop Cadman defamation suit against Liberals

Harper vows to stay the course in face of worsening economic news

Government won't get 'blown off track' by job stats: PM
Numbers show Tory stimulus plan inadequate: Liberals

Won't be cowed into spending more, PM says
Stimulus not enough: Liberals

Pressure rises to ease EI eligibility

PM to Canadians: You never write, you never call …

Food inspection agency failing to screen effectively for invasive species, A-G says
Canada's crops, forests threatened as high-risk imported foodstuffs go straight to store shelves

 Tories introduce controversial pay equity bill

Tories vow to improve weather alerts

Inspection agency accused of going overboard on peanut recall

At the heart of RCMP reforms is a new national security

 Smart grid reduces carbon footprint and drives economic growth

Mann's conclusions not to be believed
Mann-made science does not support the hypothesis that global warming is man-made

Politics at the lowest level

Parliament panic can be contagious

Iggy buys six pack

Commons returning to civility

 Learning to live with uncertainty

  Canada urged to better its human rights record

Sarkozy went too far in calling sovereignty 'hateful'

This will leave you breathless

Unwieldy refugee system, IRB vacancies – our Canada at work

Spare us the ethics sermons

The problem with 'traditional knowledge'

State has an interest in protecting the fetus

Revolt Builds Against Rip-off Rescue Plans

Affaire Cadman: les conservateurs abandonnent leur poursuite

Compromis au Sénat sur un plan de relance de 780 milliards

Une option de retrait d'Irak en 23 mois proposée à Obama

Ottawa échoue au test environnemental

À la poursuite des trafiquants d'opium

Environnement: aucune solution définitive en 40 ans

Les conservateurs accusés de patronage

Les conservateurs déposent leur projet de loi sur l'équité salariale

L'opposition reproche aux conservateurs de n'avoir rien fait pour l'emploi

Marché du travail: le Canada a connu un mois de janvier "désastreux"

Rapport de la vérificatrice générale - Ottawa ne vérifie pas comment les provinces dépensent son argent

Le projet de souveraineté expliqué à Sarkozy

Bataille des plaines d'Abraham - Annulez! dit Marois

Budget fédéral - Québec ne peut pas payer pour les décisions d'Ottawa, dit Christine St-Pierre



Ask yourself this: in a tight economy, who's likely to cut more food safety corners? An employee of a cash-strapped operator whose job depends on the plant staying open, or a federally mandated veterinarian?

Even if there are significant differences between writing cheques and granting credits, there's no better time for the rest of us to revisit the Chrétien administration's accident-prone scheme to insulate vulnerable Canadians from rising home heating prices. That 2001 plan went so badly off the rails that the auditor-general's reprise ricocheted between comedy and farce. Of the $1.45 billion spent, no more than $350 million went to needy low-and moderate-income families. Worse, cheques were written for 4,000 people living outside the country, 7,500 to the dead and 1,600 in prison.

A damning report from Canada's environmental watchdog has confirmed everyone's worst suspicions that much of the federal government's plan to save the planet from global warming is hot air.
"The government's programs for reducing air pollution must be able to produce measurable results. In that respect, most of what our audit found was disappointing.
"The government cannot demonstrate the money it is spending on some important environmental programs is making a difference."


From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: sold out

The front page of February 9 Maclean's
"The end of Canadian Conservatism"
How Harper sold out to safe himself
                 Andrew Coyne

This makes one wonder were this country is
going. Since 1969 we have become a Nation
without principles, the mixed bag of multiculturalism
and bilingualism rules "don't offend" , causing the
justice system to become soft on those that don't
respect laws. In Vancouver we can expect that
individuals will revolt and take the law in their own
hands, with a rising unemployment anger has to
go somewhere. Brace yourself for more liberalism,
        ---do whatever you think is right---.
is the motto, even as it has not been said.
With this in mind the question is "where are our
members of parliament?".

Subject: Industry nooz ....
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

CAW fears GM may pull out of Canada
While Buckley (the CAW Local 222 boss) was once hard-nosed and talked tough in seeking demands from the Detroit Three automakers, he has been forced to soften his stance in light of the current economic climate.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement said automakers should be reducing labour costs to make the Canadian auto industry more competitive.
'Bring down labour costs' ... i.e., more robots, fewer SOBs who never vote Conservative anyway? (Yes, I'm joking). Think the CAW got the hint?

From: Larry Kazdan
Subject: Letter to Editor re: Keynesian principles have been misapplied for 3,000 years, Sid Green,  Feb. 5

Re:  Keynesian principles have been misapplied for 3,000 years, Sid Green,  Feb. 5

Sid Green admits that it wasn't until World War II that economic recovery from the Depression actually took place.  At war's end, the national debt stood at about 120% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), nearly double the level of the 1990's and quadruple what it is today.   Much of the war funding was simply created by the Bank of Canada at near-zero interest rates.  If anything, Green's argument supports more stimulus spending, not less.



Stats Used can be found in the following 2 articles:
"World War II found Canada ready and determined to act in the Allied cause. The war effort of the federal government was financed through enormous deficits and very low interest rates brought about by the Bank of Canada. At war's end, the national debt stood at about 120% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), nearly double the level of today. Yet Canada went on to enjoy the greatest period of economic growth in its history...
The PMO, citing statistics collected by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, said the combined debt of the federal government and each provincial government stood at $23.40 in 2007 for every $100 in GDP. The U.S., by comparison, was at $34.40.

After adding $64 billion in new federal government debt over the next two years, Canada's net debt-to-GDP ratio will worsen to $28 for every $100 of GDP.

Still, most economists believe that is a manageable and affordable level of debt, particularly when compared to Canada's debt-to-GDP levels in the early 1990s, which were well over 60 per cent, or to Japan's current debt-to-GDP ratio of $85.90 for every $100 of GDP.

From: Tom Brewer

Why are we so surprised at the issue surrounding Casey's concerns with Harper followers?

All of us should know and realize Harper's supporters would do almost anything in their zeal to keep the crown on his head. They say the best defense is one's offence so Harper and his kind keep small fires burning all the while the name of the game has nothing to do with the small fire.

These so called "new-born-again-Canadian-Christians" are more akin to thinking one can sleep in a pit of snakes and not get bitten.

In my opinion their tactics are despicable. We should come to terms with these tactics and they have been part of the Republican dirty tricks department

From: "Brian D. Marlatt"
Subject: The Governor General's Decision to Prorogue: Parliamentary Democracy Defended or Endangered?


On balance, it appears that the Governor
General failed to defend Canadian parliamentary
democracy and opened the door
to repeated abuses of power by future prime
ministers. Our newly elected MPs were about
to pronounce authoritatively on which parties
would have their confidence to govern,
but they were prevented from doing so by the
Prime Minister's request to prorogue Parliament.
We elect Parliaments not governments
in Canada, and Parliament must be free to
determine who governs after an election. The
threat of a vote of no confidence in the government
is the only real lever the individual
elected members of Parliament have against
the weight of cabinet. A dangerous precedent
was set with the prorogation of Parliament to
avoid a confidence vote, and it risks depriving
Parliament of its only major defence against
subjugation to the whims of the prime minister
and cabinet. Future prime ministers now
know they can shut down Parliament whenever
they are threatened with defeat.

From: Antony Hodgson
Subject: Correcting Errors by Brian Marlatt


Just wanted to point out that Brian Marlatt has some significant misunderstandings about BC-STV, the voting system recommended nearly unanimously by the BC Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform - the group of 160 randomly selected fellow citizens who spent nearly a year studying problems with our current voting system and choosing an alternative.

First, Brian argues for more focus on the MLAs rather than parties. BC-STV is the most candidate-centred system of all.  Contrary to Brian's views, it's fundamentally not party-focused (though it is party-compatible, meaning that there is still an important role for parties).  Voters cast votes for specific candidates, not parties. Parties may nominate a number of candidates, but voters decide which ones get elected.  Brian is wrong to claim that parties can stack the lists - he's confusing STV with list-PR systems;  BC-STV is decidedly not such a system.

Second, he raises the issue of wasted votes.  Under First Past the Post, only 36% of the total number of votes fully determined the outcome in 2005 - almost two-thirds of us could have stayed home for all the impact we had.  With BC-STV, over 81% of voters will affect the outcome, and 90% or more will end up with an MLA they've supported.

Finally, he asks why we're going through it again.  Because 58% of us supported it!  The government had said that a solid and clear majority was not enough for them to act, but had the wisdom to understand that a majority should not be ignored and that further action is called for.  I urge all your readers to do what they can to ensure that BC leads the way towards increased fairness in voting so that we get the legislatures we say we want - not some funhouse-mirror-distorted version.  Check out for more details.

Antony Hodgson
Director, Fair Voting BC

From: Stephen M MacLean
Subject: FYI: 'Eugene Forsey Takes On "Constitutional Fairy Tales"' by Helen Forsey

Fairy tale #1:
that the possibility of the House of Commons voting non-confidence and defeating the government creates a "constitutional crisis."

Fairy tale #2: that if the Opposition actively opposes the government's program, Parliament is "not working," is "dysfunctional."

Fairy tale #3:
that if a minority government meets active opposition in the House of Commons, with the possibility of being defeated in a confidence vote, then the nation's business is at a standstill and a new election is necessary.

Fairy tale #4: that if a government is defeated in the House of Commons on a matter of confidence, this automatically means a fresh election.

Fairy tale #5: that such a change of government by majority vote in a duly elected Parliament is undemocratic, a "seizure of power" or a "coup."

Fairy Tale #6:
that the imminent prospect of a non-confidence vote justifies the shutting down of Parliament through prorogation or dissolution.

Fairy tale #7: that if a non-confidence vote is imminent, the Governor General should grant a Prime Minister's request to prorogue Parliament or dissolve it and hold an election.

Fairy tale #8: that the passage of three and a half calendar months since the October 2008 election means that a fresh election call now would be justified.

Fairy tale #9: that minority governments cannot provide stability or good government, that "stability" and "efficiency" are the highest political values, and that therefore that the purpose of elections is to produce a majority government.

Fairy tale #10: that a coalition cannot legitimately govern unless the parties explicitly campaigned as a coalition in the preceding election.

Subject: Happy Birthday from World Affairs Board
From: "World Affairs Board" <>

Hello Joe Hueglin,

We at World Affairs Board would like to wish you a happy birthday today!