Thursday, March 19, 2009

Daily Digest March 19, 2009



The next CBC View comments8

VLTs: Firing out the bad angels

Water proposal leaves bad taste

Give Taser cams a chance

The Pope is wrong on condoms

Federal water study has merit

Helmets make sense, but coercion doesn't

Ex-central banker plays it straight

G20 must aim to restore trust

Papal blind spot on HIV

Alberta's plan to end misery

Piling risk on risk

Against the current

New Brunswick shows the way

N.B. budget: A template with promise

Budgets charts new path filled with risk, hope

Mature response to grim news

A job well done is worth paying for

 Foreign workers deserve better

Bailout bonuses? Must be nice

Condoms save lives

Military support centre funding long overdue

Playing peekaboo on infrastructure


Burn, Balochistan, burn

US spills its Afghan war into Pakistan

U.N. says fears of unfair Afghan poll well-founded

Afghan leader Karzai says more U.S. forces "too late"

In real terms, Nato is losing'

Pakistan strikes are not the answer

Afghans' sense of security evaporating, poll shows

More Canadian boots needed on Afghan soil

Dodge the facts?

Prostate tests rife with problems, new studies say

Cellphones safe for kids: Health Canada

Ending a $2 Billion Joke on Taxpayers

Municipalities struggle to cope with influx of immigrants

 Flags-made-in-China flap has legislature in uproar

  Solar energy giants discovering Ontario

PM defends economic confidence against Dodge's criticism

Dodge-ing the rhetoric

Tories are best bet to hold line on taxes, PM says

Harper's restructuring plan for Quebec

Kenney has no regrets over cutting off Arab group

Minister defends appointment

Liberals best for Manitoba: Ignatieff

Halifax Tory touted for Senate seat

Polls show the NDP's loss in popularity is the Liberals' gain

Green Party leader chats about coalitions, queer issues

Capital Read
Ottawa Politics and News from the Hill

Federal government ends Arab federation funding

MacKay note casts light on helicopter deal

Ottawa may halt grants to 'anti-Semitic' groups

This change doesn't add up

Plan to replace blood-clinic nurses assailed

A new model for CBC Radio: NPR of the North

The crude facts, courtesy of David Dodge

Tough-guy Iggy: The Grits are on their way to being a contender

To save journalism, bring on that Jon Stewart outrage

Canadians finding other ways to have their voices heard

Hidden unemployment: the human cost of recession

Allan Rock's $2-billion fiasco

Omar Khadr was not a child soldier

 Losing the battle against anti-black hate crime

Bisbille chez les conservateurs: le sénateur Housakos tente de se rétracter

Les municipalités démunies face aux immigrants

Ministère des Affaires étrangères: 10 millions en taxi en 10 ans


"What are the reasons this article Canada's banks: Admired worldwide for their management - and cash is so?

From: David Bell

Re: your riddle: "What are the reasons this article Canada's banks: Admired worldwide for their management - and cash is so?
Here goes:
It is true their profits are inflated because they've suspended mark-to-market accounting and moved bad assets off their balance sheets as of October 2008 (with the quick support of Carney & Harper & Co.)
So things aren't as good as they seem -- however it appears they had considerably lower levels of toxic assets and are in better shape
This is likely to be because Canadian Banks have built on their legacy on being completely unresponsive to Canadians and especially Canadian businesses (Ask Catherine Swift CFIB)
This insularity was baked in by Canadian banking regulations that were designed to limit the number of banks in Canada and so assure them of enough market to do well­the result has been a complete lack of competition
Result: Canadian Banks did not buy into stupid investments because they do not invest­they are not business people. They are institutional bureaucrats.
So in effect they are now praised for their indolence as they graze quietly on us.
Ya gotta appreciate the irony
Best regards
David Bell

. . . another contributing factor is the leverage limitation.

Know what this is?


I suspect this refers to regulations  limiting banks vs financial institutions.

Most of this stuff (bank and security regs) dates back to the collapse of US railway stocks 120 years ago.

Makes sense that we need an update


. . in the ball park.

Banks create "money" every time they make a "loan".

They are not "loaning" deposits or their own assets
but rather creating "money" out of thin air so to speak.

Granting five $100.00 loans backed by $100.00 in assets
is leveraging 5 times.

Regulations by the Government of Canada limited the
leveraging of Canadian banks.  American and other banks
were not limited to the same extent - and being seen as
profitable direct loans and mortgages and what ever other
investment instruments were given out 'cause times were
good and the leaning was easy.

Overextended like unto a house of cards everything collapsed.
when one piece came loose.

Our banks burned themselves in some ways. They may well
have been consumed had it not been for the their having been
constrained by regulations.

These questions end the accompanying article:
Should taxpayers save and bail out the financial institutions in trouble? Did we ask them to use high leverage initially? Have they ever shared the profit with the public at the time when they were making tons of money by using leverage? Why should the whole society have to pay for the bad decision of a few banks at the downside, but never be allowed to participate at the upside?
How High Leverage Has Brought Down The Whole Banking Industry


Working from a PDA here. Still not moralizing (should taxpayers?) but do we do?

I suspect the answer is we will have pick some sacrifices--I would have let AIG go down--I would let GM go but we are all leveraged about 20 times on the future & can't get off the wave.

Last time I looked banks in Canada were required to hold 5% of credit as cash so there's a 20 times leverage.


March 19, 2009
by: Joe Hueglin
Niagara Falls, Ontario: It is truly confounding to face the fact that the present government of Canada has such enormous difficulty doing its job, a job quite simply is to govern the country. Their problem seems unavoidable as they lose sight of their job in order to forge ahead with their hatched in Alberta concepts of what government should be.


Regulations and the free market philosophy


From: Larry Kazdan

Subject: Letter to Editor re:  Long live the new capitalists! Todd Hirsch,  March 18
Re: Long live the new capitalists! Todd Hirsch, March 18

Let's hope, as Todd Hirsch suggests, that capitalism can be channeled in ways that benefit society as a whole.  While there may be some socialists who still believe in state-control, the majority of social democrats want mixed economies, with the market playing a vital part as long as greater and greater inequalities do not occur.  That is why we need to measure many social indicators, and the government must step in to adjust the framework whenever necessary.  If Mr. Hirsch believes there is an invisible hand that fixes these problems automatically, he hasn't been paying attention to what's been happening in the real world.         
To: Vancouver Sun LetED <>
Subject: Letter to Editor re:  Weak on defence,  Editorial, March 18

Re: Weak on defence,  Editorial, March 18

While some Canadians may still see us as a nation of peacekeepers, we now do very little peacekeeping.  We currently have 24 soldiers and 40 military observers working on UN Missions. That's it.  Most of our troops are in Afghanistan fighting a war.  So before we spend billions more dollars on equipment such as "killer drones" that will further integrate us into the American military machine, we should indeed have a national conversation about what purposes we want our military to serve, and for what reasons we want our soldiers to risk their lives.    

Subject: Letter to Editor re:  History repeating, George Jonas, National Post, March 18
Re:  History repeating, George Jonas, National Post,  March 18

George Jonas can accuse the "Islamofascists" of threatening to kill anyone who calls them barbarians, but NATO, whose members account for 60% of world military spending, is the alliance that not only has approximately 200 nuclear weapons in Europe but retains the right to use nuclear weapons first.  Perhaps if the nuclear powers fulfilled their obligations under Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and began dismantling their nuclear arsenals, the so-called "clowns of Tehran" might feel less threatened and might feel less determined to develop their own weapons of deterrence.

Larry Kazdan,

Vancouver, B.C.

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: Bailing out Canwest

I guess we will see increases in our costs to protect Canwest?  Again it is our fault for not watching enough TV("The industry is hurting because of a sharp decline in advertising revenues and the ongoing fragmentation of TV viewing audiences") and not buying enough of the products advertised?  Again I have to ask--who is going to bail us out?????

Is it not a good thing that our msm would not be controlled by one or two owners?  Would it be so bad if we got different views on news rather than that which is promoted by the few owners?  Why does the taxpayer have to again empty our pockets to keep incompetents afloat?  If there were any TV, radio, or newspaper worth paying for we would be doing that.  If the large owners allowed free thought rather than controlling the message we may be more amenable to paying for their products.  As it is, we again have no say in what we hear, see, and read--and we will have to pay more for less.  Why is it that government and these owners cannot get the message?  They can dictate what we are fed but they cannot hear what we say. 

It is not enough that we have to give Canwest $100M up front and $25M/year for their 'human rights' museum, now we have to pay for their incompetence.  If only our government cared as much for our well-being.  Maybe our human rights to keep our hard earned cash should be the focal exhibit at this taxpayer funded museum?


From: "Phyllis Wagg"
Subject: RE: From: The Natroses, Daily Digest March 18, 2009

Subject: Re: Daily Digest
March 17, 2009
From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,  I have a question on CHMC buying back risky or bad mortgages from the banks. Than CHMC is collects about 4 % interest on the mortgages and the same mortgages are insured in case of default, by CHMC. I read in a G/M article that banks are declining federal help, or they have more or less stop selling their bad mortgages. Apparently now, this is the first sign of recovery. I was just wondering, since the feds are now into the mortgage business, how can they say it will not cost Canadians any money and that we are at little risk, if some default on their mortgages. Isn't CHMC funded by our tax dollars and if so, did the feds puts us at risk, for mortgages that I will assume are risky, based on over-priced real estate and ratio of equity to debt is something like 1 to 35?
Just a question. I am a little confuse why some people think that CHMC is not funded by the feds. Has been from their inception, but only insured the lender the full amount of mortgage, in case of default. What has change, is that CHMC are now collecting interest on the risky mortgages brought from the banks. I am just curious what is the debt to equity ratio on those mortgages. From what I have read, the banks are not talking, nor CHMC nor the Harper government."

This is an important issue
.  We don't know how much of the $125 billion allotted has been spent in purchasing the mortgages.  We also do not know the kind of mortgages the banks sold to the federal government already.  As I understand it was mortgages in which owners had less than 25 per cent equity in their property that were involved in the transfer.  It may have only been when the current market value of the assets fell below the value of the mortgage that the bank unloaded the mortgage or when the holder of the mortgage lost their job.  As long as the mortgage was capable of making money for the banks there was no interest in getting rid of them.
I suspect that the debt to equity ratio will be kept secret
.  It would not be in the self-interest of the banks or the federal government to make the information public if what we suspect is the situation.  Some are also asking how the federal government financed the mortgage takeovers.
Phyllis Wagg

From: John Duddy.
Subject: Fwd: Excellent media Coverage by Nathan Moulton/ George Bush  Protest

Hi Joe.

Please show this.

Shame on Canadian police for allowing this criminal into the country.

John Duddy.  Puerto Vallarta.  Mexico.

From: "Serge Crespy"
Subject: AIG Lacking E & O Insurance?

Dear Joe:
Any person, company or partnership providing professional services is deemed as "professional"; therefore, professional guidelines should always apply.   Traditionally, "Professional Liability" requires "Errors & Omissions Insurance".   The $165 million in bonuses paid-out by AIG should be returned to the U.S. Treasury, via the Company holding the E & O Insurance Policy ...... AIG?
Serge Crespy
Collingwood, ON

Subject: Power grabs
From: Rene Moreau <>

   Remember, we, the Canadian taxpayers pay for this, and the Ontario Power Authority, British Columbia Power Authority, (there  must be a Saskatchewan Power Authority, we just haven't found it yet ),want to run the whole operation and get to control export to the U.S., despite their being a 'Canadian, branch of USian corporate.
   Today, Thursday, the 19th, the Toronto Star ran an article saying, " The Ontario  Power Authority has proposed --feed in tariffs that would see it pay, as part of a 20 year contract, 80.2 cents for every kilowatt hour of electricity----". Solar energy giants discovering Ontario  The OPA pays for NOTHING. The taxpayers and rate-payers pay for everything in this province,
(through the Ontario Energy Board) , not the OPA!!

                            Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)

From: Joseph <>
Subject: Greenspan's Fraud,,How Two Decades of His Policies Have Undermined the Global Economy

What Bernie Madoff did to many millionaires, Alan Greenspan did to the whole USA and the Global Economy.

This book put so many pieces of the economic puzzle together, way more than any one else has so far in my reading

Cut the link and paste or read the material below on the new book Greenspan's Fraud by Ravi Batra.

From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

Free trade with Europe, maybe on its way!!!!! Twould be a nice leg up over our neighbours, it would.
EU trade
Without a great deal of fanfare, Canada and the European Union have agreed to begin formal free trade negotiations. A deal would not only boost bilateral trade, but could also provide significant opportunities for struggling manufacturing centres like Windsor.

The EU is Canada's second-largest trading partner -- behind the U.S. -- with $90 billion in the two-way trade of merchandise. A joint Canada-EU impact study has estimated a free trade pact would increase bilateral trade by more than 20 per cent, or about $12 billion in terms of Canadian output in just a few years. It's estimated a billion dollars of trade creates about 10,000 new jobs.

If an agreement is reached, Canada would become the only developed nation to have free trade deals with both the U.S. and EU.

That's particularly important because Canada would become an economic hub that could provide full access to both the U.S. and EU markets. Access to the U.S. through Canada is seen as one of the key reasons the European Union wants a trade deal with this country. The prevailing feeling is that a U.S.-EU agreement would be far more complicated to negotiate due to the layers of legislation that would need to be amended.

A border community like Windsor would be well positioned to take advantage of EU goods that would be earmarked for the American market, and U.S. goods headed to the EU. In addition to improving the flow of good and services and encouraging investment, a deal is also expected to include the mutual recognition of technical qualifications. This would allow European immigrants to come to this country to practise in their chosen disciplines (medicine, for example) without having to obtain new credentials.

At a time of economic uncertainty, it makes sense to develop new opportunities as quickly as possible. Free trade with the EU is one piece of the puzzle.