Friday, March 06, 2009

Daily Digest March 6, 2009


The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.
ARCHIVED at http://cdndailydigest.blogspot.com

Interview: Tony Clement
The Harper government will "protect Canadian interests" if foreign companies that acquire Canadian firms do not respect their obligation to make such deals beneficial to Canada,
says Industry Minister Tony Clement
.

BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)

Grandparenting . . .

while a very real pleasure - seeing the little ones grow not only physically but in many other ways as well - leads to a very significant reduction in on line time, and so links but no organization of them in to-day's Digest and tomorrow's as well.

As you watch and listen to Tony Clement on the Video and read the INTERVIEW WITH TONY CLEMENT posted below you will no doubt be impressed with what he's promising: assurance that proof must be given and undertakings made that the "the deal represents a "net benefit" to Canada. "

Unmentioned in either Video or article is that this will apply ONLY TO FIRMS OF A BILLION DOLLARS VALUE OR MORE once the Senate passes Bill C-10 and the Governor General gives Royal Assent.

I wonder what percentage of Canadian owned companies are worth a billion or more whose takeover Tony will negotiate to ensure "net benefit"?

Betcha it's very very small - and all the rest can be acquired by those from other countries no questions asked, which some see as the way the free market ought to operate.

Others, however, have concern that buyouts at times lead to Canadian operations being closed down and production moved to foreign countries.

         Joe

Industry Minister Tony Clement on rules for foreign companies that have taken over Canadian firms
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Business/Video+Takeovers/1362011/story.html?tab=VID

Under the Investment Canada Act, foreign companies attempting to acquire Canadian firms must prove the deal represents a "net benefit" to Canada. In deciding whether to approve deals, the industry minister considers a range of factors, including the effect on economic activity and employment in Canada, according to department guidelines.

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Subject: Re: Daily Digest March 4-5, 2009
From: The Natroses

Hi Joe, Just a quick note, to tell you the digest is a good one. A quick look tells me the newspaper is actually reporting the news and making comments to the point of questioning government. Questions such as why is the government giving money to the auto makers, when at the consumer end, no one can afford the 10 % interest rate on car loans by the banks. The Harper government isn't talking, on a large front on a host of things. They rather put out the good feel announcements such as having the reservists of the arm forces to defend and protect Canada. These same reservists will also do policing.  We can look forward to volunteers to do the policing, ordering non-volunteer Canadians around, and be the holier-than-the-pope himself when it comes to ordering around our provincial or federal police units. I guess Harper will be enacting new laws on this one. I can't see myself listening and following commands from some reservist whose full time job is being second banana in the local Tim Horton's. Nor can I see the army coming to anyone's rescue in rural parts of Canada, in a timely fashion. By time they get their fancy gear together, the crisis would be over with. Of course maybe Harper is thinking of using them in a different way. He may be worrying about civil riots occurring when people are not receiving their pogey cheques on time. Like the poor citizens in Atlantic Canada, who are waiting for their pogey cheque and are still waiting. Twenty-eight days and still waiting in pogey limbo. Than there is reports on spending on pricey air flights for politicians, to taking Conservative ads out paid by the taxpayers of this country to fancy PR offices with a full staff, to put the proper spin on all the bad news and so called good news.
But I am sure glad, the press are waking up to the fact their jobs are on the line. This does explain why they are doing a better job on reporting and questioning those who are in power. The press has waken up to the fact that it is the ordinary Canadian who pays their salaries via through the price of a newspaper, and not  a politician or a CEO. It is rather refreshing, that more and more articles do not have a spin on it or a bias slant. I would rather be inform than fed some spin, spoon-fed by the Harper government.

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From: Rebecca Gingrich <r.gingrich@sympatico.ca>
Subject: FW: Pictured: The credit crunch tent city which has returned to haunt America [ Meanwhile fat cat bankers and speculators are bailed out  with taxpayers dollars]

A friend is visiting in California right now and he says it reminds him of the Dirty Thirties.
becky

Pictured: The credit crunch tent city which has returned to haunt America
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1159677/Pictured-The-credit-crunch-tent-city-returned-haunt-America.html #

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From: Ron Thornton

Hi Joe:

Just a few things rattling around in my head I thought to share. First, the guy who cuts off the head of his fellow Greyhound passenger gets a free pass to the loony bin. Quite frankly, when the RCMP pulled up to the bus and the guy was busy sawing off the head, then running around with it, a lot of taxpayer money could have been saved by one bullet (or five or six). If there ever was a time to aim and shoot, it was then. He says a voice told him to do it. Well, I'm suggesting to any one else so deluded that when the voices say do this or that, just say no. If not, expect to be shot.

So, no bullet for the beheader, but a Polish guy is stuck in an airport for hours and the cops light him up like a Christmas tree. My God, he had a stapler and held it in a threatening manner, and the gendarmes were afraid for their safety. Well, that is what they said. Not only does that claim make these cops come across as too damned pathetic to be even entrusted with being a Wal-Mart greeter, where some old lady might approach them in a threatening manner with her purse, the claim is itself a damned lie. Hell, the video is all over YouTube, so not only is their claim bullshit, it is bad bullshit. If one cop had just offered the guy a cigarette, all would have been well. However, why contaminate an airport with cigarette smoke when you can make the guy himself smoke. These bastards need to be tossed from the force and locked up for manslaughter.

You know, the police, politicians, and bankers have long said, "trust us" as an answer to an argument over accountability and the facts. The trouble is, we no longer trust any of them. There have been just too many bad apples. For example, if you want to piss away $3 billion of our dollars to those who have pissed away their own, I want to know where it is going and what it is expected to do. Don't they dare ask us to trust them. That ship has not only sailed, but already sunk.

I have another thought in regards to companies that jack up the price of their products well beyond their production and research expenses. That would include the pharmaceuticals, but I think we can find candidates from just about every sector that needs a wake up call. The government should insist they either quit gouging or expect a competitor from the public sector to step in and provide an affordable product. Crown corporations could work, and should, but they would have to conduct business with a high degree of transparency and accountability. You know, things that might give us cause to trust. Now, if they want to spend billions to shake up the economy, such a direction (along with public-private partnerships) might actually provide one solution. To hand cash over to those who already have screwed things up, with no questions asked, seems pretty stupid to me.

Then again, I'm not a policeman, politician, banker, or high-end businessman. I'm just a retarded goof like the rest of you.

Thanks for the soapbox, Joe.

Ron Thornton.

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Justifies the Digest, Ron
===================================
From:  Larry Kazdan
To:  lettertoed@thestar.ca

Re: Canada to acquire attack drones: general,  Murray Brewster,  Mar 05
http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/597152

The federal government has plans for a $500 million defence program to purchase the next generation of armed unmanned aircraft.  These would be similar to the US Predator pilotless planes that killed innocents as well as insurgents in Pakistan through Hellfire missile strikes.  For what kind of mission does this kind of equipment prepare the Canadian military?  For decades, Canada was the world's number one provider of  peacekeeping soldiers.  But today, with UN peacekeeping at an all-time high deploying over 78,000 troops worldwide, Canada's contribution is less than 100 soldiers.  The answer to the question 'where have all our peacekeepers gone?' is, of course, Afghanistan, where they are not doing peacekeeping but warfighting.  Are the Canadian Forces in danger of becoming a single mission military?  Is it right to let developing countries carry the heaviest responsibility for providing troops to the UN and to leave UN Peacekeeping Operations without necessary capabilities to do an effective job?  What role do we want our military to play in the world?  Is spending half a billion dollars on 'killer drones' the best use of taxpayers' money?  For those of us proud of Canada's peacekeeping tradition, the answer is a resounding no.

Larry Kazdan,
Vancouver, B.C.

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From: "Jeff Bogaerts"
Subject: MPAC - PROPERTY TAXES - PLEASE PASS ON

PROPERTY TAXES

MPAC  -  Assessments

WRONG  -  UNFAIR  -  UNJUST

 STOP !

This Land Is Our Land

Back Off Government

Reduce Assessments Up To 15% or More

Fill Out Forms Requesting a Tax Review

How To Challenge The MPAC System

 Bring Your Assessment  -  Join Us

 Tuesday March 10

Beckwith Township Hall

Doors Open  -  6:30pm

       Meeting  -  7:00pm

Lanark Landowners Association
www.ruralrevolution.com

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From: "Phyllis Wagg"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest March 4-5, 2009


The Changing Role of MPs in Canadian Politics

Re: Ignatieff sets donor, member targets for MPs
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090304.wliberals5/BNStory/politics/home

            The role of the backbench MP has been eroding ever since Trudeau denigrated that role by suggesting that they were irrelevant off Parliament Hill.  Since then they have become irrelevant on Parliament Hill except for standing up and voting for whatever the party leader dictates.  While "partyists" see this as a positive development for partisan politics it had made a mockery of representative democracy.  Representative democracy exists today only in the sense that MPs represent their political leader and no one else.

             MPs have become nothing more than the indentured servants of the party leader.  By dictating that all sitting Liberal MPs maintain a roster of 400 party members and a minimum of 40 monthly donors of at least $10 Ignatieff illustrates the point.  The fact that Ignatieff will "protect" any MP from the process of facing a nomination battle if they do not meet his objectives reveals how dictatorial the party system has become.  The fact that any leader would use his power to protect any MP from the functioning of party democracy is an abuse of our system.  The disintegration of the rights of local party organizations to influence the choice of their candidates has removed political choice from the electoral district to a central party elite.

            Another step has been taken in transforming the role of the elected representative to being the exclusive servant of the party and not servant of the people. 

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From: Vern/Vi Bretin \
Subject: Auto Inventory Sell-off?

Hi Joe:  We're told the auto manufacturers are having cash flow problems, and that the crew in Ottawa are willing to help out with gobs of taxpayer dollars and further government debt.
Out here in the boonies, some individuals and companies in financial difficulties try to raise money by auctioning off assets.  Can anyone tell me when the responsible bean counters of the auto industry will be instructing their dealerships throughout Canada to liquidate their inventories through weekly auctions?  Millions/billions might be quickly sent back to the auto industry head offices to help start up operations.  The auto gurus may also benefit from this exercise as they'd quickly learn the 'value' of their product and would hopefully retool to suit what the market tells them.  Vern

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Why special $3 billion fund must be accounted for up front
Thursday
March 5, 2009
by: Joe Hueglin
Niagara Falls: It would appear that the lesson of December has not been learned as the Prime Minister is once again on a $3 billion plan to bolster ridings he needs to win a major in a future election. The Liberals do not want to grant the government that much discretionary money while the NDP refers to it as a slush fund. Election looms.
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INTERVIEW: TONY CLEMENT
 
Canada will 'protect interests' in foreign takeovers, industry minister says
  http://www.canada.com/Business/INTERVIEW+TONY+CLEMENT/1362011/story.html
By Andrew Mayeda , Canwest News Service March 6, 2009 10:01 PM
 
Industry Minister Tony Clement says the government hopes to resist the 'tidal power of protectionism' that is building across the world, since any barriers to trade would inevitably hurt Canadian companies doing business abroad.
 
Industry Minister Tony Clement says the government hopes to resist the 'tidal power of protectionism' that is building across the world, since any barriers to trade would inevitably hurt Canadian companies doing business abroad.
Photograph by: Mike Deal, Winnipeg Free Press

OTTAWA — The Harper government will "protect Canadian interests" if foreign companies that acquire Canadian firms do not respect their obligation to make such deals beneficial to Canada, says Industry Minister Tony Clement.

Still, the government hopes to resist the "tidal power of protectionism" that is building across the world, since any barriers to trade would inevitably hurt Canadian companies doing business abroad, the minister said in an exclusive interview with Canwest News Service and Global National.

Foreign giants United States Steel and Vale Inco announced the layoff this week of nearly 2,000 Canadian workers amid faltering demand for steel and nickel. In both cases, the companies decided to cut Canadian operations they acquired during the commodities boom.

The layoffs prompted Clement to warn both firms to honour commitments they made when Ottawa signed off on the takeovers several years ago.

Clement said the government is still examining its options on how to enforce the Investment Canada Act, which gives Canada the power to extract commitments from foreign companies to maintain Canadian jobs, for example. But he hinted the government is prepared to take a tough stand if the department determines the firms have reneged on their promises.

"I will do what I have to do to protect Canadian interests," the minister said in the interview. "I will not do so in a way that is reckless, but I will do so in a way that, if there is a contractual obligation that we believe has been breached, then obviously we have to protect Canadian interests."

Under the Investment Canada Act, foreign companies attempting to acquire Canadian firms must prove the deal represents a "net benefit" to Canada. In deciding whether to approve deals, the industry minister considers a range of factors, including the effect on economic activity and employment in Canada, according to department guidelines.

If the minister believes a foreign company has violated its commitments, he or she can issue a demand letter asking the company to comply. Eventually, the government could seek a court order forcing the company to divest the Canadian holding, or pay a penalty of up to $10,000 a day, among other remedies.

The shutdown by U.S. Steel of its two Ontario plants, acquired in the takeover of Stelco Inc. in 2007, has renewed calls in some quarters to ensure that companies in certain strategic sectors remain in Canadian hands. But Clement said he is more worried about the spectre of protectionism than the possibility that Canadian operations could be more vulnerable under foreign ownership.

"I think I'd be more concerned if the tidal power of protectionism started to overturn boats, you know, around the world," he said, noting that Canadian firms such as Research in Motion and Magna International have thrived in foreign markets. "We want to those markets open to them, and that means we have to have our markets open as well."

Former industry minister Jim Prentice set a historical precedent last spring when he blocked the sale of the space division of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to a U.S. firm, the first time a foreign takeover had been turned down under the Investment Canada Act, in place since 1985.

Under the budget bill before Parliament, the Conservatives have proposed amending the act to give the minister the power to reject takeovers that threaten "national security."

Asked if the recent layoffs will affect his decisions on future takeovers, Clement noted that such deals often preserve Canadian jobs. "There are some circumstances where, if the company is not bought out, it will be gone in two or three months, so you're talking about preserving jobs by virtue of the investment rather than despite the investment."

Meanwhile, on bailout negotiations with General Motors and Chrysler, Clement said the government is still analyzing the companies' restructuring plans. Clement said the government is trying to balance the need to get good value for taxpayers' money with the prospect that the failure of the companies would affect hundreds of thousands of jobs in Canada.

"We have to ensure the money is well spent and it helps the industry transform itself from where it is right now to where it has to be in terms of cost competitiveness, in terms of the kind of product and model mix that it has."