Saturday, March 07, 2009

Daily Digest March 7, 2009



Power plays

Limping along in bad times

Tourism looks promising for summer season
In this recessionary year not everything is doom and gloom for Islanders

Lake biosphere a healthy idea

Minimum-wage hike: Let province defray cost

On Afghanistan, Harper's got it right

The tragedy of the oceans: How bad is it?

International court risks its shaky credibility

Medical improvement

Failure to launch

Officials too dismissive of Taser's dangers

A defeat not only for John Tory

Safety and fairness, not leniency

John Tory exits, respect intact

 Judging Harper by a different standard

Obama's harmful help


Cigarette tactics a drag

Tories without Tory need to regroup

A welcome summit

Tory MPs eat up pork-barrel ride

Will tougher green laws be enforced?

Ignatieff swiftly expunging Dion's dismal legacy

Border guard out of line

it's time for a serious look at our drug policy


B.C. aboriginals mull plan to redraw territories

Obama says outreach to Taliban a possibility
President Barack Obama says the U.S. is not winning the war in Afghanistan and he's willing to open the door to negotiating with some moderate Taliban leaders. MORE...

The Afghan art of resistance

Afghan leader Karzai says to stay on, wants talks []

Can We Please Stop Trying to Turn Afghanistan Into Colombia?

Turning point reached in Afghan mission? Read the original story

Sino-Canadian relations on slow boat ...

Russia seeks global disarmament talks

U.S. and Russia seek new nuke arms pact

Campbell haunted by BC Rail deal

Harper tells Liberals to 'get out of the way and let that money flow'

Liberals stand down in election standoff

Finance minister sees light at end of the tunnel

Flaherty calls on Senate to pass budget quickly

Liberals, money and votes ... does this make anyone nervous?

Ottawa wants say over school funds

Canada puts the squeeze on science

Film industry outraged by cut

Wheat Board counters 'misleading' information

Ambassador pleads with West to stay course in Afghanistan  MORE...
Related Harper defines his vision of victory Saskatchewan easily mistaken for Kandahar

Tories fiddle while the economy burns. MORE...

Begging for bailout, GM gets easy ride. MORE...

The shame of defeatism MORE...

The political lessons of Lester Pearson. MORE...

Will the economy get worse?.. MORE...

The pay equity system is broken. MORE...

Heartland is keeping the lights on

John Baird, potential Ontario Tory leader: Queen's Park? Where's that?

Wounded British press complain of Obama 'rudeness,' cheap gifts

 Liberals take the budget and put it where sense don't shine

Islam and the problem of the sacred word

Should Canada bar immigrants of a certain religion?

If the economy doesn't leave you broke, the government will

Masters of America's new universe

Lawrence Cannon, le maître de l'esquive

Un ministre conservateur insulte les opposants à la peine de mort

Fonds d'urgence de 3 milliards $: les libéraux baissent le ton

Nouvelle étape dans le partenariat économique Canada-Europe

Deux fois plus d'autos, deux fois moins de GES

L'opposition conciliante, mais méfiante

Une présence canadienne différente

Harper: Une victoire en Afghanistan signifie un développement plus efficace du pays

Les Canadiens ne veulent pas que les sociétés d'Etat soient privatisées


From: alan heisey <>
To: Joe Hueglin <>
Subject: Re: Daily Digest March 6, 2009

j, i am horrified at the attention your are giving to the question of the ethical behaviour of foreign investors in canada. the grits and crats messed the country up for ten years or more with this  prejudicial thinking and the lefties are prepared to keep doing it. i am a huge proponent of a foreign principle which most of us adopt as central to our view of each other and of foreigners: the presumption of innocence until the proof of guilt.

implicit in the marginal reawakening of this anti foreign investment paranoia is the concept that if the dreaded foreigner misbehaves we are too weak to be able to deal with that problem. get a life. our country's banks are the envy of the world: our real estate industry operates under peace order and good government: if a foreign corporation or individual, like a pennsylvania dutchman, a catholic, a jew, a muslim, or any other targeted minority acts against our common weal then we can cope well.

and of course foreign head officed corporations can and will continue to shutter canadian subsidiaries if they do not contribute to their international ethic. or do you conceive of international corporations having an international ethic? i, sadly, think not!

From: John Halonen

Joe, I  forwarded this comment to a news article in the Globe and Mail.

"Wintering in Florida has brought out some other realities for this recession/depression.

1. Thousands of Job losses per week-over the past year
2. Home values plummeting-many over 50 % the last yr
3. Food lines stretching blocks
4. Lay-offs in a major tourist location during this prime season

We in Canada still have a long way to go to match the suffering down here, but we should expect it, and unfortunately it could be worse as all countries will protect themselves as much as possible. Putting all our eggs into one basket was not that great of an idea, especially when they are in such an economic downturn, but then again so are most nations these days."

It is quite easy to see that Industry Minister Tony Clement has not been outside of Canada.  Things are changing rapidly and we need some leadership that looks at reality also.

Even though his intentions "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" may be good, they will not really be acted upon.

One only has to look at themselves as a parent and it becomes quite clear on where their real efforts will be.


Peggy Merritt

Hi Joe:  All this economic rhetoric is very confusing because as my late economist husband used to say.... no two economists agree on anything. The hold up of the 3 million dollar infrastructure money by the Liberals is pure political posturing. The irony is that all the federal seats  in Toronto are held by the Liberals. The city's infrastructure is falling apart and our Mayor Miller "his blondeness"   and council have yet to initiated any requests to the federal government for  cost sharing initiatives  They are bankrupt and so badly financially mismanaged  that the cupboard is bare. No wonder! A local paper recently published a list of 60 grants costing between $5,000 to $40,000 for a total of some $800,000 to various so called equity organizations. One is tempted to form some bleeding heart group to add to their personal income, since there is NO accountability.

The point is that is order to identify worthy projects.. the Federal Government needs the cooperation of the Provinces and City's Where are the Toronto Liberal M.P.s when their supporters need them?  Are they saving all their rhetoric for Question Period?  Just wondering  Peggy Merritt

From: Beverley Smith
Subject: Two humor items for you - with a point

? I have decided to apply for the new government home renovation tax credit. I can get up to $1350 in income tax reduction if I build onto my home or renovate. Well I plan to have another baby.? This will be quite an addition, with alterations to bedrooms and dining area It is exciting. I see I can do the work myself which is how my husband and I? plan to have the baby, though the rules encourage us to hire a contractor. I don?t know any I feel that close to.? We must save ?receipts which should not be difficult since it costs a lot to have a baby, about $180,000 till age 18 last time I checked.? I?m sure in that first year we can cough up some receipts even if the baby by then is only 3 months old. We get tax credits on costs from $1000 to $10,000. Let?s see. Diapers, bottles, a crib, teething toys, sleepers, blankets, stroller, backpack, car seat. I think we can easily qualify.? I could even show costs of giving up my job promotion, as a salary loss. But oh, it looks like the government is blind to income sacrifice.

Oops. I just read the fine print. This benefit is not for people. It is for wood, nails and concrete. Not flesh and blood.

Why does this sound so familiar?

Ah yes, the bailout. PM Harper wants to keep? Canada afloat by subsidizing cars, and large concrete buildings that hold money. Not people, not creating the tax base for tomorrow.

It looks like the government is also blind to what children do to ensure a future. I suggest the billpayers at the House of Commons look more closely at their receipts and notice the column where women provide taxpayers each generation.


But there seems to have been a heavy room divider built over that column in the? ledger to keep it from view. I still have a plan for the home renovation tax credit. I ?suggest a renovation to the House of Commons.


It?s Sunday March 8th, International Women?s Day


Status of Women minister? Helena Guergis?? has announced Canada?s participation at the United Nations this week where the Commission on the Status of Women meets. Canada has sent a top end delegation to represent how women in our country are valued and the theme this year is caregiving.? They will walk carefully around the women from PSAC picketing in front of the UN about Canada?s recent legislation against pay equity.

Canada has long been a leader in valuing care of children. By having no birth bonus and no pension benefits for taking care of children it carefully weeds out parents to ensure only the well to do can afford to breed. By canceling family allowance and the child dependent deduction, this government ranks a world leader in having no universal benefits for children..

The delegation, made up of childcare lobby groups, daycare associations and trade union members from CUPE will point out the huge value to the economy of women getting out of the home and finally for heaven?s sake doing something useful. It will point out how childcare only happens in one type of building, and nowhere else. And the million dollar funding from CUPE has enabled a rather large delegation to promote national funding of CUPE daycare workers as an essential service.

Women?s rights have long been on the agenda of Canadian politicians as they strategically cut funding to the national association for women and the law and to the court legal challenges program to ensure these groups were self-sufficient and not just lazily asking for wimpering handouts.?

The delegation will downplay the 1997 UN accord Canada signed to value unpaid workers and mothers, grandmas and dads who take care of children at home since that agreement was so ten years ago. By carefully excluding any unpaid caregivers from the delegation it will demonstrate how cutting edge Canada is in valuing unpaid caregiving.

The minister of finance has sent along his hearty congratulations for the delegation, given that by denying income splitting he has advanced hugely the agenda to ensure all women are forced out of the home and off their lazy butts taking care of newborns. By ensuring there is no pension for caregiving and no universal maternity benefit he has done his level best to make sure women are always attached to paid labor, and not ?heaven forbid, ?to their kids.? He has welcomed women into the new reality where they get any choice of career at all they want as long as they don?t choose caregiving.

This is a day to celebrate all the work women do, all the contributions they make to the economy and to farm out any care roles to paid workers so that women can finally get a real job.

Beverley Smith

From: Tom Brewer
Subject: xx

I was born at night, but not last night! To hear Harper demand we have to trust him tells me right from the get go… he is telling us a fairy tale.

Trust Harper, TRUST the Conservatives.  Yeah like I should believe them... Hmm… now who was it that spun the tale to Saskatchewan… "trust us… we will ensure Saskatchewan benefits from near a billion a year."

What a laugh that was. You know what happened… HARPER's cronies were elected… we the residents got the prize… NOTHING! Blank stares and lots of rhetoric but the money lost to other areas.

Yes, things have changed here. They say we are a have province thus no need or little need for what was promised.

In all of this Harper and his cronies are trying to cover their butt! If things don't work out as they plan and wont tell us…. The word out there will be "well, the Liberals went along with it they are to blame."

Yah sure and watch the snake in the grass crawl away.

NO… you want our money…"we the people have a right to know what for." Come clean dudes or if this deal is so good use your own money.


From: "Don Keir"
Subject: Daily Digest

There is a great deal of truth to what Gren Rogers has said in his letter dated March 6 to our "noble": Prime Minister  I doubt if I would have worded it so strongly but nevertheless he has brought up some topics that require discussion in a high level committee with the authority to discipline those involved. Some very important questions need to bve asked. For instance, Mr. Harper, where did you get the authority to commit the lives of young men from Canada to the defence of Israel ? On what criterion do you base your evaluation of the intentions of the leadership of Iran ? On what basis do you determine which regimes are to be labeled "terrorist" ? If we think about the number of deaths that have occurred and the treatment of prisoners could anyone say that the behaviour of the opponents of the the USA and Israel (and Canada for that matter) was worse than those on
"our side" ?
As one who was involved to some extent in  WWII I certainly agree that there is a great need to investigate and reevaluate the events and propaganda of that period.
Don Keir

From: "Richard Neumann"
Subject: Re: Daily Digest March 6, 2009

A few thoughts on the postings of the March 6th DD:
On Tony Clement's comments - regardless of whether the argument is whether the Government's intentions do not go far enough, they still move the yardstick in a direction supported by most Canadians.  There is certainly a balance that must be achieved between defining the national interest and attracting the investment needed to secure growth.  The MDA decision was the first of its kind in this country, and it has precipated an intelligent debate on the matter.  A recognition of this fact deserves at least a mild nod of approval, even from those who remain critical of anything and everything that comes from the Conservatives;
Re:  The Natroses:
When a policing role is envisioned with respect to military reservests it in no way implies an intent by the Government to supplant existing civilian enforcement.  One of the principal tasks of the military is to provide aid to the civil authority.  In this context, it means being able to respond to civil disorder if requested to do so by the legitimate authority responsible.  In most cases, this means that a Provincial government would have to request military assistance before the federal government would consider the request.  The military has always undertaken this role as part of its mandate, and there is absolutely no change in this regard.  The fact that the military is considering how to enhance the use of its Reservists means only that they are looking for greater flexibility and effectiveness in their response, and they are giving due consideration to the value in training Reservists to specifically handle this role.  To suggest that transferring some responsibility for fulfilling existing requirements to Reservists represents anything other than the military finding the best means to respond to a long-held mandate is, of course, unfounded.  With respect to the print-media, the traditional newspapers are not facing a challenge based on the quality of their reporting, but rather the means by which the news is disseminated.  The debate is not on the quality of the journalism, but rather the means by which individual Canadians are choosing to access their news.  The problem is that Canadians need the investigative journalism inherent in the print-media, but many are finding it more convenient to access that information via forums such as this one where convenience, and to a degree cost, are the driving factors.  In the immediate future the question will be how we can have our cake, and eat it too;
Re:  Ron Thornton:
In most cases, I am one who will give the benefit of the doubt to our law enforcement officers.  I have often stated that the police can't be expected to do their jobs with a lawyer and public relations officer sitting in the back seat whispering advice.  Nevertheless, in the case of the RCMP's response we see clearly that the line on taser use has been drawn far too broadly.  This should not come as a surprise to anyone who watches "Cops Shows" on tv, where examples of random and inapproriate taser use abound.  It would have been useful had the RCMP accepted that the taser use in this instance was inappropriate not due to the negligence of the officers, but rather the training and guidance they received, and move forward with the implementation of more defined practices.  We do not want to see this option removed entirely from the responses available to the individual officer, and I fear that is where we are headed;
Re:  Larry Kazdan:
The military seeks to obtain the tools that best serve their ability to carry out the missions that they are given.  An argument can be made that aerial drones are more cost-effective, versatile, and save lives when compared to the alternatives.  Within the Afghan context, an aerial drone can be an effective deterrent to the enemy in placing roadside bombs, at relatively light risk in terms of coalition lives.  Further, an armed drone has the benefit of being able to maximize intelligence gathering before engaging the enemy without the risk of the loss of life (ie. pilot) while minimizing civilian casualties due to imperfect intelligence.  Like all weapons of war, it does have its limitations, but let's not confuse those limitations with the value it provides when compared to other options.  With respect to Canada's traditional role as Peacekeeper, I would suggest that Canadians lack a detailed understanding of what that role entails, that there are relatively few international situations which fit the actual definition of Peacekeeping (Darfur certainly would not), and there remain many nations willing to second forces to UN operations where the risk is relatively low and the international prestige relatively high.  There are precious few nations willing or capable of responding to international crisis where the risk is high, and the outcome uncertain.  A willingness to participate in operations like Somalia, Yugoslavia, Gulf War 1, and Afghanistan remain in the highest order of Canadian tradition, and it is in these deployments that we are most needed;
Re:  Phyllis Wagg: 
Bang on.  The EDA should be both respected and feared by the national party, not merely a fundraising tool.  The democratic process has been eroded over time at its very core, the Electoral District Association.  Parties must become more accountable to the EDAs, not vice versa.  This comment applies to all Parties, not just the most recent Liberal example;
Re:  Joe Hueglin, Election Looms:
There will be no election until a Liberal minority is the likely outcome.  We are nowhere near that point yet.  There is little economic about the Conservative plan to do an end run around the bureaucracy with $3B, it is merely a logical and tactical response to Ignatieff's budget condition regarding required updates on implementation that are to be confidence measures.  The Liberals can't claim the money isn't getting out fast enough if they oppose the measure, and the Conservatives have already accepted the fact that they run greater risk of oversight issues my moving things more quickly.  The measure is a Conservative shield for the report they must provide Parliament on implementation in June, made politically necessary by the Liberal desire to capitalize on the known fact that the budget stimulus is not going to have an appreciable effect on the economy this year.  There will be no election until budget 2010, and then only if the economy has show little sign of recovery and the Libs are comfortable that they can achieve a minority (majorities are not in the cards for the foreseable future);
Guess this was slightly more than a few brief thoughts.  Ah well, it gave me a reason to avoid working on my garage door opener, which worked fine until I decided to do some preventative maintenance and grease the sucker up for the first time in a decade.  Important lesson - if it ain't broke, don't fix it...
Richard Neumann
Thunder Bay

From: "Rene Moreau" <>

   The Canada Pension Plan investment Board, or CPPIB, is now into hedge funds!


    As most people already know, hedge funds one of the most nefarious tools of the financial industry, in which they bet against
the stock market. As many will remember,  OUR pension plan was arbitrarily put in to the stock market, without our agreement, now it has been put in to hedge funds with out our agreement.

   Through-out the northern hemisphere, in most cases, these funds are un-regulated. Even Bernacke of the U.S Federal Reserve said that the hedgers should be allowed to run their own show, or words to that effect.

   In England  people, and even the media, started to realize that this lack of regulation resulted in the  hedge funds going un-taxed.

   While our money goes in to the stock market, the hedge funds bet against  these companies based on the idea that they can make some serious money if they fail  and so the hedgers have a vested interest in using all tactics available to  put them out of business.  Examples would be Chrysler and Air Canada, for instance, that are worth more dead than alive, when the assets are sold.

   When you read the CPPIB's website's questions, you will see their mention of their stake in hedge funds.

What are Absolute Return Strategies, also known as hedge funds?

Absolute return strategies consist of investments in funds whose objective is to generate positive returns regardless of the market conditions, that is, returns with a low correlation to the market.

Our absolute return strategies are managed within controlled risk parameters by experienced external asset managers.
Why does CPPIB invest in hedge funds?

Absolute return strategies provide a broader array of investment options to further diversify our active risk within the portfolio.

Our absolute return strategies are managed within controlled risk parameters by experienced external asset managers.
How much of the CPP portfolio is invested in hedge funds?

Absolute return strategies represented $1.6 billion or 1.3 per cent of the portfolio at the end of fiscal 2008. We do not have an explicit portfolio allocation for hedge funds; rather, on a case-by-case basis, we evaluate them on the same risk/return investment criteria as other externally managed active strategies.
Does the use of hedge funds increase risk in the CPP Fund?

No. All risk/return decisions are made within risk management policies and parameters approved by the Board of Directors of the CPP Investment Board.

Our absolute return strategies are managed within controlled risk parameters by experienced external asset managers.

The fore-going is a cut and paste from the web-site. Note  the phrase 'externally managed' when referring to who does the hedging.

This means that the job is 'OUTSOURCED', to professional  hedgers, and remember, they are still un-regulated. Add to that, NAFTA, which says we must not discrimate against foreign, American, corporations, and  do we not have a problem?

   Are you worried yet?

   Try calling the CPPIB to address this  concern. You will be transferred to 'communication', but not to anyone on the board, if  your experience is the same as mine was, repeatedly.
                          Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)