Thursday, April 02, 2009

Daily Digest April 1, 2009



Mills and milestones

Year-end spending is no way to run a government

Spending accountability needed

Israel's Labour Party sells out for survival

On being watched
Revolutionary fervour
Safeguarding the system

Hillier not yet ready to lead Conservatives

People's agenda for G20 leaders

High-level damage control

War aims and misogyny

Abuse of office

American capitalism, R. I. P

Where's the steady hand?

 Civil servant pay must be frozen

Collision course in the auto sector

Obama's plan
Open skies' benefits consumers

On the sunny side of life

Remove two-fers carefully

Sask. quietly plows ahead in rough seas
Obama actions underline shift in U.S. economy

Antiwar has taken on new meaning -- genocide

Firearms registry helps protect women

'Hard time' should mean exactly that

Ottawa goofs, Galloway gloats

Trade talk from PM a smokescreen
I wish the newspaper industry was healthier

There's no need for cellphones in classrooms

G20 leaders should focus on more than their own backyards

Economic illiteracy

Suzuki's thesis is on thin ice

Pull the plug on phones in school

The dark world of political advertising

Obama drives reality home to auto industry

New government may face EU sanctions over two-state solution
Obama and Medvedev: Iran has right to peaceful nuclear program


Canada brokers Afghan-Pakistani border security deal
U.S. strategy in flux as 72 countries meet on Afghanistan's future
We need borders without boundaries

Threat to U.S. a threat to us, Canadians say in survey

Economic fall fastest in half-century: Carney

Bank of Canada softens tone on further stimulus

CAW head renews call for content legislation

Chrysler halts Windsor plant

Co-ordinated global action calming financial markets, Harper says

Harper seeks 'dramatic action' from G20 while lauding American leadership

Harper wins anti-protectionism commitment from world leaders

Harper under pressure to stimulate economy
General plays down fuss over Russian bombers

Cancer labs no closer to national standards

OHIP rules changed for foreign workers

Trust fund set up for Alberta farmer charged with shooting thief

Big bucks in civil service

Ont. PC leadership race shaping up to be a battle of the right-wingers: experts

Ontario now on the dole

Confusion swirls around Ont.'s harmonized sales tax

Mulroney not a Tory any more?

Tory MPs split with Harper's office on Mulroney

Outrage grows over Afghan rape law

Harper 'deeply troubled' by Afghan move to limit women's rights

Jobless won't 'slip through the cracks,' says Ignatieff

 Conservatives and Bloc Both Spent Close to the Limit in 2008

Tory MP admits he broke elections law

Iggy dinner to test True Liberal Love

The Commons: How do you solve a problem like Afghanistan?

Police should seize property of people who buy illegal smokes: Bloc critic

Liberals make their move

Tories introduce bill to kill gun registry

Canadian police want to keep gun registry going

Safety minister contradicts CSIS on torture

CSIS defies orders on torture

Ottawa won't follow warranty plan

Single emissions standard best for car makers, consumers: Prentice

Natural causes also responsible for global warming: Scientists

Only in Canada

Debate best answer to challenging ideas

MPs didn't care about homeless

Why Canada's Senate must be served

What if the Obama Administration Treated Detroit like Wall Street?

Outrage over Afghan law spreads to family of slain soldier

Summit of fools

Beware of medieval economics

Something that's worth whining about

The trouble with censorshp

Canada's just along for the ride

Automakers now just political orphans

Moving mountains or writing a big IOU?

A united Conservative party

Conservatives come in many flavours

Talk about a country's luck: We've got Harper and Ignatieff

Is Ignatieff the real deal?

Money fears blamed for jump in anti-Semitism

We're in Afghanistan for this?

Progress is becoming increasingly perverse

La querelle Mulroney-Harper crée des divisions

Armes à feu: les conservateurs tentent à nouveau d'abolir le registre

Le Canada versera 10 milliards au FMI

La loi afghane pour les femmes chiites continue de susciter l'indignation

Torture: le ministre de la Sécurité contredit le SCRS

Harper prône des investissements massifs

Une loi qui indigne Ottawa

Bombardiers russes Un « entraînement normal »

Sommet du G20 à Londres - Rapprochement Europe-États-Unis

No words of mine will consume your time tonight.

There are enough and more thoughts expressed below to fully engage your mind.



From: "David Bell"
Subject: RE: Daily Digest March 31, 2009


Re: the following: There are three branches of Government:

I wuz there but …

There's a helluva difference between the enabling legislation and the interpretive policies (with designed-in deniability) developed by a (Canadian or U.S.) Federal enforcement agency (Industry Canada, Heritage Canada, Health Canada, FCC, FDA,  Trade & Commerce etc.)

Two points:
1)      Enforcement agencies do not do what they were intended to do or want to—they do what they can (with 10% of the budget they want)

2)      Only the top half dozen people in the agency understand the difference (the others have religion—this comforts them)


David Bell

The Legislative Branch makes law

The Executive Branch writes the REGULATIONS and at times rewrites them - and then as you point out these are then
enforced by the folk in the Ministry - at times with variance from place to place.  One of the actions sometimes taken by  Ministry workers before a strike is to "work to rule".  I've always found this terminology tragicomic.

From: "Phyllis Wagg"
Subject: For DD

Harper Conservatives, please help me understand.
Prime Minister is encouraging Canadian banks to invest in foreign banking assets.
Just as when he encouraged Canadian investors to buy stock as the stock market floundered he is encouraging the banks to potentially take enormous risks in acquiring other banks, not subject to the controls that helped cushion the Canadian banks in the first place.  What would this do for Canadians in general?  Would it not weaken out banking system?  Even if it turned out profitable it would only be bank executive and investors that would benefit.
In October the so-called "asset swap" Harper claimed that it was a way of ensuring that there was credit available for businesses and ordinary Canadians.  Has that worked? If that policy has worked why is the government transferring assets to the Business Development Bank to open up business credit?
Would transferral of bank assets to the purchasing new acquisitions not make less credit available for businesses and ordinary Canadians? 
Where is the logic?

From: "Jacob Rempel"

To Members of the Parliament of Canada:--

Let's ignore the vulgar ignorant comments by anonymous writers, but respond to the actual words of this George Galloway speech spoken in the honoured rhetorical style of Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English champions of compassion and justice for the innocent victims of big power politics.

 --- Jacob Rempel, Vancouver

George on the Hour.

Update: Toronto speech
Update: Toronto speech
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: George Galloway speaks Mississauga

From: Larry Kazdan
Subject: Letter to Editor re:  Kenney stands for Canada,  Naomi Lakritz, March 31

Re:  Kenney stands for Canada,  Naomi Lakritz, March 31

Naomi Lakritz wants immigrants to adopt "enlightened Canadian attitudes of respect for other people's race, religion and basic human rights".   That's why we should welcome newcomers but say ".... this is the way we do things --and the way we expect you to do them."  However, Lakritz is a bit vague so here are some specific no-no's:

1. Canadians have a zero-tolerance approach to rudeness.  That's why you should never insult the Minister of Immigration or your organization can expect retribution.

2. Canadians have a zero tolerance for hate speech.  Calling foreigners "detestable murderers and scumbags" is not acceptable unless you're Rick Hillier, Canada's former Chief of Defence Staff.

3. Canadians have zero tolerance for torture or torturers.  Exceptions made only for ex-Presidents of countries that are important trading partners.

4.  Canadians have zero tolerance for terrorists.  That's why we render innocent dark-skinned people to third countries for interrogation, just to make sure they aren't one.

Hopefully these examples will enable new arrivals to identify as Canadians, and to integrate Canadian values into their "moral fabric".  We have met Enlightenment, and it is us!

Larry Kazdan,
620 E. 23 Ave,
Vancouver, B.C.

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject:  DD

Joe--there is no reason for the CGC to exist unless it is for the Eastern grain farmer.  The western grain farmer MUST use the CWB to sell their grain or go through mind blowing bureaucratic garbage to 'buy back'(sometimes at a higher price) their own grain.  I well remember the farmer in leg irons and handcuffs arrested for donating some of his grain to a 4H club in Montana.  He was treated more harshly than a murderer.

The CGC was not created to preven the robber barons--that was the CWB--to 'keep the country fed during the war' and it only applies to the Western grain farmer.  The East, I guess, is not responsible for the country?  And if you think that the robber barons are not in control through the CWB check out the Cargill site.  They are proud of the fact that they are major partners with the CWB.  I guess it is only good if the CWB gets to choose who are good robber barons? 

My point is that the CGC will only support Eastern farmers because the CWB controls the Western farmer.  Lets get rid of the CWB and only have the CGC.  Lets have equality for all farmers.  And I am sorry if you think it is ok to stomp on one segment of the population to benefit the rest.  I think it was Karl Marx, Lenin and Trotsky who had the same philosophy.  And we saw how well that turned out?????


From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,   Back on the Internet, with a brand new desktop. I had a power failure with the hard drive. Thought this would be an ideal time to update from 18GB to something like 170GB. The other computer was over 7 years. It was a dinosaur compare to what I have now.

I am responding to Stratos. You are splitting hairs. Your comments on divisions - "This government and politicians not being the same thing really SHOULD have been taught us (and should be taught now) in school. My nephew in Ontario had a civics course in high school last year, but I don't know if this subject was ever brought up."

It is being taught in both social studies and history courses. Government is government including all the bureaucrats that can make our lives a living hell. If MPs were only there to make laws, and not over ride decisions of the bureaucrats, life for us ordinary citizens would be spent on bended knees, having little tyrants ruling our lives in respect to IE, tax decisions, child benefits. If you want   present examples, our fish harvesters who sold their licenses and were made to pay income tax, except for 100 harvesters who got it back. It is an ongoing fight, and the bureaucrats are using every law to justify their actions. Another ruling, that was ongoing for the last 14 years was the sealers. Court finally settle it, and told the federal government to take a hike. Mind you it is my words, it was found that they were not guilty. If it was not for the lawyer working for free, the bureaucrats would have gotten away with another injustice. In either case, the MPs could have step in. Some did and some did not. What you state is perfectly true, "The thing to be understood is that in a properly-functioning democracy, especially in parliamentary ones, politicians do NOT call the shots: the government does, and the politicians set policy, makes laws and regulations, etc. In other words, the government consists of the Public Service, agencies, Ministries, the judiciary, etc., which does NOT include politicians, which make up the legislature (and Presidents in presidential democracies)."

That is in an ideal world. The reality is that politicians have the ability and the power to influence the day to day decisions made by bureaucrats. Since ministers are at the end of day, responsible for the running of their departments, they also have the power to hold sway over the bureaucrats. If the bureaucrats do not, their job is on the line. This is more so with the current government, who at every given opportunity will insert their right wing ideology in the workings of government. Galloway is the first one, who will be next? The ladies in the United States, who have been protesting since 9/11 and the Bush policies?  Some French citizens, who are intent to help Quebec to become a full nation? Some Arabs, who may enter NL to discuss funding of the Lower Churchill hydro project? Or will it be the environmental activists?

Politicians come and go, but the bureaucrats stay. They hold the power and many of them have their own political ideologies and agendas, but to give border guards the power to determine who will be allow in, based on Harper's stance on Israel, is the makings of making all border guards little tyrants. All one has to do is to look at them cross-eye, and one is back on the plane. If the laws were used against Galloway, than the laws should be used against the Jews, who talk about how all Arabs are evil in order to justify their stance on Middle-East politics.

On a side note, Canadians are also being subjected to decisions made by American border guards, and have kicked out Canadians because they suspect that they are taking jobs away from Americans.

So Stratos, I am not sure if your cheering this decision of barring Galloway. If not, you should have made it clear that this in an ideal situation, and does not represent previous or current governments. When governments start to ban people based on ideology, a democratic government is no better than the North Korea government, or when Stalin and Lenin was stamping and stomping on their people. How many outsiders were allowed in to voice a different viewpoint. Not too many. When a government applies laws in an uneven fashion based on race, religion, political ideology, gender - that government is risking democracy in favour of a quasi-state dictatorship government, where democracy is no longer practice in the truest sense. Our freedoms are curtailed to the latest dictates and wishes of the government.

From: Ray Strachan.


In todays DD Mar 31 the entry by Mr. Ede regarding The Bible and the
question  "What If" .I am not a servant of Satan ,should there be a Satan and
my job or wish is not to tamper with a persons Faith.   I presume on true
believer will have plantgy of faith,   enough, in other words to retain it. I
was sent off to Sunday School 70 years ago. Same Bible as today. Same message,
God Is Love.  I have heard all my life  "How Blessed We Are" . Why should I be
thrilled with that? Unfortunately having been born with two eyes, yes,I can
see the supposed blessings that some humans have had,but all these 70 years I
have been treated to the fact that human beings have been starved to
death ,Mothers watching their babies starve to death.  But instead of the
Problem getting better it is getting increasingly worse.   Then we are told
and have been told  all my life that,"that is a sign of the end times", and
people have been told that long before I was born.    So God is Love "I happen
to believe that,but not in the form that Religion Teaches it). I have been
taught all my life that "Every word of The Judeo, Christian Bible is The
Direct word of God". I will just throw out three examples of why God must have
a purpose in giving Himself some bad publicity, for instance,
God drowned every person on Earth, except Noah and his relatives and the two
by two animals. But he didnt do it quickly, slow,terrifying deaths over a span
of 40 days and 40 nights?

God summoned Moses and told him ,I want you to go to Egypt and tell
Pharaoh "Let My People Go"   but Ill let you in on a little secret "I am going
to harden Pharaohs heart to the idea, and when he refuses "I will bring down a
Plague on Egypt". "Deception at its finest"    but I believe we are taught
that "Satan" is the great deceiver.    And to add to this problem God kept
sending  Moses back with the same gimmick 7 times, a plague every time. The
last time the punishment was, "The First Born  of Every Family Would be

God summoned Joshua. Joshua, I promised Moses some land for his people (The
Promised Land of course) but because Moses has died I want to fulfill My
promise through you.    Take your people down to the river (Jordan) Send your
Fighting men over first. (My translation, Im giving you this gift of
land ,but, you will have to slaughter lots and lots of people to get it)

Are these examples describing a "Loving God" in our Judeo-Christian Bible?

Im sure this can be explained to me,but one thing I dont want to hear,ever
again, "Well we are not supposed to understand everything.  Or Well you are
not to take everything in the Bible literally.   Can the Religionists have it
both ways?  No offense to you Mr. Ede, Im just using the DD to air my long
standing frustrations. I do need answers,  the above examples and others, have
kept me out of every church I have tried to attend or join. They seem about as
far from "Christianity as is possible to be".

Ray Strachan.

Subject: RE: Daily Digest March 31, 2009
From: "Efstratios Psarianos" <>

Re: There are three branches of Government:
         Legislative makes the law;
         Executive  enforces the law;
         Judicial     interprets the law..

It is yet to be seen, should there be a court challenge, whether the Judicial supports the Executive in its decisions.

I dunno if there is any one out there who was in my classroom who can vouch that the above was taught in Grade X History.

Re. the court challenge. The article that I included last time said that the Federal Court had upheld Mr. Galloway's being banned from entry. In effect, this means that the Court ruled that the Government has done its job as required to by law. Should it have ruled against, I don't know if the Minister responsible (Mr. Kenney, presumably) would be able to ban Mr. Galloway in some other fashion (a security certificate, perhaps?).
As for the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary being 'branches of (capital-G) Government', that's a semantic thing. I think of Government as being 'Executive only' in my previous discussions; that's the concept I'm trying to put across, but the wording can be argued one way or another. As long as we understand each other ... but this ambiguity really should be worked out someday.
As for the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary (let's call then LEJ) ... they're not 'branches' of Government, they're functions that are distributed among the various groups (the legislature(s), 'The Government', and the judiciary). Americans talk of branches because they've explicitly set up said branches to be primarily but not exclusively responsible for some function. (The non-exclusivity is the 'checks and balances' feature of the US presidential system).
The US system is, at this moment, 'politically retarded' in the sense that it's based on custom and reasoning from Tudor England (the 16th century). At the time, the King's function were pretty much what a US President's is now, the Lords and the Commons were the equivalent of the present US Senate and House, and the judiciary was like the present US judiciary (with some exceptions in the details).
The King was responsible for running the kingdom and for patronage appointments, subject to the laws (including budgets) passed by the legislatures (the Lords and the Commons, which had to agree with each other on laws) but having the power to veto laws that were 'against the Kingdom's interest. In addition, the King had the power to propose laws to the legislatures for their consideration (e.g., he was responsible for drafting a budget (strictly speaking, an 'appropriations request', and then sending it for review, modification, and ratification by the legislatures), which the legislatures could pass or not.
The legislatures made laws (or took and modified ones proposed by the King) and monitored their execution, in addition to reviewing and approving Royal appointments (by the Lords). The procedure for creating, reviewing, and passing statutes ('legislated' law) was pretty much the same as the one in modern parliamentary democracies ... three readings in the Commons and Lords (Commons and Senate, in modern Canada) and then Royal Assent (i.e., the King's vetoing or not the law). In the US, the process is similar (I'm not sure of how many readings there have to be for a law to pass) but the President's veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of something (the House? the combined House and Senate?).
The judiciary, for its part, didn't interpret law, it defined WHAT IS law. This was necessarily so because England (and later the UK) had no written Constitution. Instead, the Common Law, that is a set of practices, principles, and judicial precedents, was used as a proxy for a formal Constitution. Based on Common Law, judges determined not only what a law meant when applied to cases brought before them (they defined the law); they also defined what WAS law, based on Common Law, and whether a given statute was valid (i.e., 'constitutional'). Invalid statutes were ones that the legislatures passed but weren't allowed to by Common Law (abd possibly other Statutes?), and possibly other things (Magna Carta?).
The above describes 16th-century England and the modern US. Parliamentary democracy in Canada (and worldwide, in general) evolved from Tudor English methods to what we have now:
1. 'Legislative' functions are the preserve of legislatures, subject to Royal Assent, for which there is no overriding Assent not granted (so, unlike in the US, no overriding a veto). Legislatures monitor The Government's tasks and performance, and bring the Cabinet to account, but the Legislatures, in practice have no power to ratify Crown appointments (though the Opposition went through the motions (for Supreme Court appointments?) during Canada's Mulroney years). The Commons, if they lose faith in The Crown's program (that is, its Cabinet's program, see below), can call for a Motion of Nonconfidence. In practice, if such a Motion passes, the Cabinet then tenders it resignation to The Crown in the person of the King, Queen, or his/her Representative (i.e., Governor General) when he/she's not present in person.
2. 'Executive' functions, strictly speaking, reside in The Crown, which names a Cabinet to act as its agent. By law, the Cabinet must be made up of members from the Legislature (whether Commons or Senate) at the moment of selection and possibly within the near future. (In Quebec, a non-elected Cabinet member has to be elected within the six months that follow his being selected, else he has to resign ... the PQ's David Levine was named Minister in the early 2000s, and a few months later he bit the dust in a byelection .. he resigned when that happened). The Crown makes appointments, makes treaties, executes The Government's operation, dissolves the Commons (calls for elections), makes Court appoinments (including Supreme Court ones), etc.; in practice, in does this in accordance with Cabinet's recommendations. Thus, in a parliamentary democracy, 'executive' functions are those of the Crown, as mediated by its Cabinet made up of members of the Commons and the Senate.
3. 'Judiciary' functions are executed by the Courts, probably but possibly not exclusively. (Are Government Prosecutors considered to be performing 'executive' functions, or 'judicial' ones?).
All that to say: 'The Government' is The Crown and its Cabinet. And that in parliamentary democracies, institutions have non-overlapping functions to perform (although said institutions interact with each other), whereas US institutions all have overlapping roles that prevent one institution from monopolizing a section of power without another institution's consent.
Well done indeed!

From: Larry Kazdan
Subject: Letter to Editor re:  Campaign rules must be policed, Editorial, March 30

Re:  Campaign rules must be policed, Editorial, March 30
Canadian laws attempt to limit the role big money plays in determining Federal election outcomes, but why do we not have similar restrictions at the provincial level?  The rules in B.C. are among the loosest in Canada, allowing contributions of any amount to be received by any political party from any person, corporation, union, or association in the entire world.  Also, under the current BC legislation, political parties may accept up to $10,000 of anonymous contributions per year, which allows some big donors to give without ever being identified.  Election B.C. figures show that the B.C. Liberals received $8.99 million in financial support from Corporations and business in the last election.  The NDP received $1.8 million from unions.
Why is it still okay for big money to buy elections in B.C.?   Is it not high time to restrict contributions to individuals, cap contributions at $1,000 per year, and require donors to be Canadian citizens and residents of BC.?
<![end if]-->
Larry Kazdan,
Vancouver, B.C.
Yikes! If this is the case, there's abuse galore in BC, for sure.
From: Ray Strachan
Subject: Semantics
What is it that makes George Galloway a Terrorist?
Ray Strachan
To be precise, he's not a terrorist himself (at least not directly); he DID, however, help a recognized-to-be-terrorist organization (Hamas, in Gaza) by giving it $45,000 in cash when he and his group passed through the blockade surrounding Gaza.
Mr. Galloway says that he didn't give the $45,000 to Hamas, he gave it to the leader of the legitimately-elected group that 'administers' the Gaza Strip. That group happens to be Hamas. Presumably, Mr. Galloway draws a distinction between Hamas as government and Hamas as militia.

Wh would ambulances be given to other than the government?
From: "Peter Robertson"
                Once again, the dinosaurs and troglodytes that run "Canada's New Government" have succeeded in turning a teapot into a tempest.  And once again, they have trampled on Canadians' right to freedom of speech in the name of "National Security".
Well, what? The CNG can't silence a fellow overseas. (<-- Note: NOT irony, for a change).

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: Canadians not allowed to hear the truth
Banning Galloway Mocks Canada's Criminal Code
By William A. Cook
March 29, 2009
Canada's border security officials and Jason Kenny, the immigration minister, banned George Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, from Canada where he was scheduled to speak in Toronto on the 30th. "A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the decision was based on a 'number of factors' in accordannce with section 34 (1) of the country's immigration act" ( 3/20/09). This action denies Galloway entrance as a foreign national on security grounds for one or more of 6 reasons including "engaging in terrorism," and "engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada." The CJC, the Canadian Jewish Congress, supporting the decision, noted that it should be seen as an "issue of security law, not a dispute over free speech" (Mar. 27, 2009, Montreal Gazette). Indeed, other Jewish organizations like the League of Human Rights of B'nai B'rith, not only supported the action but took some credit for the banning of Galloway.
Again, bear in mind one thing:
   - Canada's Government (i.e., 'the bureaucracy', not the Minister) administered the established law;
   - the Minister responsible chose NOT to use his discretionary power (does he even have one?) to override the Government's decision;
   - Canada's Federal Court, when a challenge was brought before it, ruled that the established law was valid and that the Government has acted in accordance with the law.
That is to say, Mr. Galloway doesn't have a leg to stand on, as things are now. I presume that he could expunge his helping Hamas (which strictly speaking is only alleged .. it hasn't been contested in Court) by bringing his case to Court to clear his record. Good luck on that, Mr. G.

If you haven't yet go to ad imagine how Kenney would do in a debate with the threat to our security.