Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daily Digest May 26, 2009

ARCHIVED at http://cdndailydigest.blogspot.com/


Desperate measures

Rescuing the Atlantic beef plant View comments2
What has happened to the hopes riding on the plant when federal and provincial partners announced funding two years ago? http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sid=254541&sc=103

Parties dig in for EI standoff

Liberal leader responds

A standard that needs review

Cut costs, but cut wisely

Giving up on Quebec is not an option

When Conservatives attack

Managers get a taste of life in a wheelchair

Tax-happy feds try to make paying fun

Tories offer little to unemployed

For balance in the north

Harper and Abbas

EI reform does not warrant an election

Far from needed reconciliation in Sri Lanka

On EI, the Tories are the least wrong

Read our lips: No election 

Politicians competing to define the election issue

Fee for plastic bags best vehicle for change

Ottawa brimming with so much inaction

Low incomes now and later

Patents on human genes properly headed to U.S. court

Nation's welfare unimportant to politicians

Demise of the work ethic

When rights get trampled, that's not Conservative

Potshots from peabrains

Canada's politicians wallow in it

Stompede rodeo has enjoyed strong support over the years
Credit where it's due

Ignatieff taking high road 

Staying in school is a sensible thing to do

Reforming employment insurance no substitute for creating jobs

Here's a thought: How about erasing the Canada-U.S. border?

Campbell must halt disastrous cut plans


PAKISTAN: Pakhtuns Open Their Doors to Uprooted Civilians

"There's No Way I'm Going to Deploy to Afghanistan"

Gates Says Taliban Have Momentum in Afghanistan

"Manley's Afghan equipment list to cost $1.1 billion: documents" -



Van Loan to discuss border with Napolitano



Canada, U.S. strike waterway security deal

Canada beats U.S. in knowledge of newcomers    

Thousands of Canadians taxed on 'phantom income'

Israel growth illegal: Tories

Is jury selection system unfair?   

Provinces press for more EI reform

Ontario fails in plea for EI reform
Elliott: Read our lips: No election

Alberta's classroom opt-out law faces new criticism

Alberta asks Ottawa for $220-million in aid

Unwelcome guest workers 

Premier to allow free vote on bill expanding parental rights in schools Audio

Mike Harris stands by his man

Hillier vows to help undo amalgamation ...

Growing EI numbers show Tories' changes helping jobless: PM

Flaherty's Revisions Boost Calls for Canada Stimulus (Update1)

Federal deficit to be huge, will exceed $50 billion    

Ignatieff's election conundrum

Ignatieff hints at election call after rejecting Tory EI plan

Liberals' EI plan a rich pitch indeed

Liberal Support In Tight Race With Tories

Ottawa aims to dull sting of rising deficit

Liberal bill aims to end pre-election ad binges

Make EI easier to get while times are hard: Ignatieff

The Province -  1 hour ago
Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff says his party's long-term policy platform will be ready in June. In the meantime, he says, he will push the Conservatives to allow many more jobless workers to qualify for employment-insurance benefits.
No summer election, despite alpha-male posturing National Post
Grits maintain threat of EI election Canada.com
CBC.ca - Toronto Star - Globe and Mail - CTV.ca
all 293 news articles »

Lots of announcements, but little money flows in federal stimulus

Revenue agency turns to YouTube to attack underground economy

Greenhouse-gas estimates off by half: commissioner

Number of EI recipients jumps in March

Breitkreuz reloads on long-gun registry

Research funds to flow again from Ottawa, scientists told

Isotope crisis worse now: Ex-nuclear head

Climate change makes for strange bedfellows

 Copyright expert pans study that bills Canada as file-sharing haven

Understanding our democracy

There's a definite 'I' in Ignatieff

It's 'like the twilight zone' between PM Harper, Hill media
Most reporters say they welcome the PMO's background briefings, but are still fighting for more access to PM and Cabinet. http://hilltimes.com/html/cover_index.php?display=story&full_path=/2009/may/25/hill_media/&c=1

Military thinking that can save lives

Why bashing Ignatieff beats talking policy 

Politicians: Stop messing with us 
The Commons: It's all fun and games until someone else does it

Insatisfait, le PLC menace de renverser le gouvernement

Le Bloc veut contrer l'exode rural avec un crédit d'impôt

Loin des objectifs, dit Fraser

Cannon rajuste sa position

Sprint final aux Communes

Ottawa encore plus dans le rouge

Les communités rurales du Canada vivent une crise, révèle un nouveau rapport.

Le nombre de prestataires d'assurance-emploi grimpe de 10,6 pour cent en mars

L'opposition est réticente à déclencher des élections sur l'assurance-emploi


From: alan heisey <hize@sympatico.ca>
Subject: j, can u use

        "S" needs publisher coaching on attack ad style "Tell me about your 
competition". To this once bushy-tailed space cadet this innocently- phrased
question, decades ago, was loaded! Very often the space buyer 
who asked the question wanted to get a fix on the person he was 
talking to, to gauge his judgement on all sort of items, and the way 
one talked about one's competitors often told a lot more about one's 
self. Of course we all have to be prepared to answer this kind of 
question, and it is all too easy to reply with a broad axe, which 
tends to identify one as less than subtle. On the other hand some deft 
rapier thrusts, ideally with a light touch, can add to one's standing 
with the questionner. For my taste "S" permitted some of his h.q. 
henchmen to go much too hard on his major opponent. He doesn't seem to 
pick up that Iggy has a pleasantly light touch on all sorts of 
occasions, in an arena where light touches are all too rare. As a 
Torontonian keen to see us make some inroads on the solid phalanx of 
23 Grit/Crat M.P.s repping ourtown up on the hill I recommend much 
less attention to the other guy and much more focus on our party, 
processes and people.

B.C. and ON have vetoed multi-m.l.a./m.p.p. constituencies Regretably, 
the minutiae of polticial parties are of little interest to most of 
our mass media, star-struck as they are, Thus I expect no attention to 
an important byproduct of the massive electoral attentions to 
proportional representation votes in B.C. recently, and Ontario not 
long ago. Onr of the many weakness of p.r. to this observer is the 
need to vote regionally for a number of members of legislatures who 
will collectively represent a single electoral district, in contrast 
to one M.P.P. or M.L.A. per electoral district as is generally a 
strength of first past the post! I would hope that the Conservative 
Party's national council would interpret these powerful, mass votes as 
suggesting that our party should quick get rid of the situation in 
Ontario where four councillors are elected at large across the entire 
province. The present arrangement gives me a quandary about which of 
the four I should approach on any question of interest. There is 
absolutely no current party or media discussion on this kind of 
procedural aspect of the country's largest political party. Tied to it 
was last November's very hurtful vote of delegates from other 
provinces to hold Ontario's council representation down unfairly while 
boosting the North West Territories. Too bad such mundane aspect of 
our imperfect polticial democracy don't rate the occasional column by 
those notoriously hardbitten, sophisticated, press gallery denizens!

From: "Jacob Rempel"
Subject: FW: McChrystal and the Afghan military "solution"  ----

McChrystal and the Afghan military "solution"  ---- 


"A civilian component to a counterinsurgency
strategy in Afghanistan is essentially empty talk."

 Canada will "save" Afghanistan with "reconstruction."

Might we now "save" Pakistan too ? ? ?

When do we save Canada ? ? ? ---

--- Jacob Rempel

McChrystal and the Afghan military "solution"
Porter: A civilian component to a counterinsurgency
strategy in Afghanistan is essentially empty talk view
From: Rene Moreau <rene.a.moreau@gmail.com>

To Joe
From Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)
Letters to the editor; the National Post re; the U.N. critics.
re; http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/05/23/robert-fulford-the-un-speaks-and-the-world-listens-are-we-nuts.aspx

   As we watch the power of the corpo-world escalate, should we be
surprised to find that they can put out peices like Robert Fulford's?
   If we, and many of us are, part of the corpo-world, by employment,
wanted to further corporate goals and causes by eliminating or
lessening any restraints to  corpo wishes, so that we can get away
with all manner of nefarious things, what better way than to undermine
ANYTHING, that could be construed as a watchdog, or government.
   Pity the poor corporate media and think tanks, C.D. Howe Institute,
Fraser Institute, Canada West Foundation, or Carnegie Institute, that
can control  public's input and reactions, by infiltrating  the media
system, BUT, because the U.N. still uses open discussion, can't
undermine them, as much!  We know, of course, that they tried, when 4
corporations, Nike being one, went to the U.N.  and said, 'let us help
you to finance the U.N.', apparently to cut the legs off their
competition, the U.N.,  which actually could enforce a 'Corporate
Magna Carta'.
   Robert, tell your bosses that we know the game, and are watching.

   Along the same lines.
   One is reminded of the peice in the Globe and Mail,  saying 'The
nationalists are silent;
   This was  an article, unsigned, by the editorial board. Sure they
can say we are silent. All they have to do is refuse to print our
objections and comments by infiltrating the filtering mechanisms at
the papers.  Then, we do appear silent to some. Then people who do
care, say 'Oh, it must just be me, so I'd better stay quiet.
   A neat trick, is it not?
                                          Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)

Subject: The root of all war

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: 'News'

I cannot believe the skewed 'news' we are getting.  Just now Kevin Newman stated that "Obama has chastized NKorea for their underground nuclear test"  Newman then stated that the nuclear bomb exploded by NKorea was at least the size of the one dropped on Hiroshima.  Unbelievable.  Does no one see the irony of this?  The US is the only country on the planet that has used nuclear weapons to devestate a country, but they see nothing wrong with that action--in fact they use it to describe the size of the NKorea one.


From: "Anna Curtis-Steele"
To: "Honourable Stephen Harper" <pm@pm.gc.ca>
Subject: Mobility Rights
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 22:04:48 -0300

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
I have recently learned that your government may be funding temporary foreign work permits for  particular trade(s) jobs in Canada. I have copied representatives of  the Local 488 ( Plumbers and steamfitters) that is in your home province, since they advertise recruiting  temporary foreign workers  to fill positions . I believe  that this may not be the only province in Canada that is exercising such .
We have  hundreds of plumbers/steamfitters  ( apprentice and journey) who are  from the Atlantic Provinces and  in desperate need of employment .  I know  there are  several Cape Bretoners  right  now, in Edmonton , who are on their  last dime or meal  waiting  to be called for a job, after waiting days and weeks. I order to gain employment the  tradesperson  must travel ,at their own expense , to the province and be physically  present  ,daily ,to see if their  name is called.
If your government is funding or assisting, in any way the hiring of foreign workers over our own  Canadian citizens, , particularly in these  times of recession, then may I suggest sir, that such a practice is a deterrent, to say  the least , of Section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,( Mobility Rights). 
My question to you: Is your government funding  or assisting in any  way the employment of foreign workers  where the positions can be filled by our own Canadian  tradespersons.
Anna Curtis- Steele CET
Former Conservative Candidate, Sydney -Victoria.
 cc. Cliff Murphy, Local 682

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
To: "CPC WR/SS/C Office Kathy Jary" <Kathy@russhiebert.ca>
Subject: CRTC and our rights

                                                Suan H.Booiman C.C.D.H.
                                                     204-1220 Fir Street
British Columbia                         White Rock V4B 4B1                      Western  Canada
May 25, 2009,
Mr.Russ Hiebert CPC MP.
White Rock/South Surrey/Cloverdale
                                         CRTC bureaucracy
In recent discussion about the failing economy and the disastrous condition
many of our private and public owned TV stations are, there is the pressure
that the CRTC may dictate the cable companies to charge subscribers to pay
for each channel in the package deals.
First of all the subscriber has no choice in the type of channels they want as
the CRTC has ordered them to make packages in which stations are that other
wise would have no support.
Today we are handed dozens of channels that no one does watch, including
foreign languages as well as the heavy handed French channels.
Writing the CRTC about it, the answer was that discussion are closed and further
information will be provided some time. The message was that the CRTC has set
certain rules by which viewers can comment.
First of all I don't care which bureaucracy makes their own rules, they are paid for
by the tax-payers and should be open to demands and criticism any time.
Of course democratically elected governments have their own say in this bureaucracy
for whatever reason, often very questionable and political.
If and when the CRTC has made up it's mind what subscribers are going to pay, the
subscriber should have the choice which channels it will pay for, as the Constitution
guarantees Freedom of Choice, if that has any meaning these days?
You as our MP and a professional lawyer, should stand up for the many seniors that
live in your constituency and demand the respect for cable subscribers rights.
By the way there is no room any more for dictating 'Canadian content" any entertainer
that makes a name does cross the border for a better market Canada can not and
will not provide, even as we pay a fortune for the public broadcasting corporation CBC.
Looking forward to your answer.
Yours truly
Suan H.Booiman
From: Phyllis Wagg

Re:  The Conference Board of Canada
When I was in university in the 1960s groups such as the Conference Board of Canada, the Fraser Institute, the C.D. Howe, would have been called pressure groups.  At the time they were not well-known in Canada but were well entrenched in the U.S.  The term had a negative connotation because their role was to use the media and public indoctrination campaigns to pressure government to undertake certain actions on behalf of those who funded them.  At some time in the intervening years they convinced both the media and academics to accept the name "think tank" to describe these pressure groups to avoid their negative image.
When a government commissions one of the groups to study a certain issue they already know what the outcome will be.  All they want is to have the backing of the think tank to follow a path they already have determined.  The sources and methodology used are selected because they will produce the desired results.
The public in general does not seem to be aware of the nature of these, so-called, independent organizations.  They are only independent from the perspective that they do not directly support a specific political party.  They support any party that will adopt policies favourable to the companies that fund their activities.  Because they support "agendas" rather than promoting the interests of any one institution they are not required, as an organization, to register as a lobbyist although some of their executives may register as a lobbyist for the "think tank."  In the past they have not tried to influence politicians directly but used the media and public indoctrination to manipulate public opinion and indirectly to influence government.  That has been changing in the past few years.
Political parties are now forming their own think tanks to promote their policies as a means of getting around party funding rules.
The thing that people need to remember is that studies done by these organizations are designed to come up with a pre-conceived result.  Generally they do not publish their methodology because any academic could challenge what was being done.  In this case someone was astute enough to pick up the problem because of familiarity with the work of the other think tank.
Phyllis Wagg

Subject: Black liquor tax credit update
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

Here's a free-trade issue (more precisely, a fair-trade one) that Canada's likely to win (see the article further down). Canada's pulp and paper firms, along with others worldwide, have complained about an unfair subsidy granted to US producers of kraft pulp. ('Kraft' means 'strong' in German ... kraft pulp is used mostly to make kraft paper, of which brown paper bags at grocery stores are made of.
This all started when US pulp and paper firms figured out that they could get subsidized for their burning 'black liquor' (which is part of the process used to turn trees into kraft pulp) if they were to mix it with a fossil fuel. The original idea behind the (like usual in the US!) poorly-written law was that fossil fuels mixed with biofuels (gasoline with ethanol, diesel with biodiesel, or other combinations) would be 'better' for the environment since the non-fossil fuels added to the fossil ones would not pollute.
Well, US subsidy-watchers did their thing: by adding some diesel to the black liquor that they have to burn anyway, the 'good' black liquor biofuel (black liquor's made form trees) turns diesel into a 'biodiesel blend', for which the biofuel (liquor) gets subsidized at 50 cents per US gallon. Normally, making biodiesel by transforming waste fats into it (so post-abattoir animal-offal, for example, or oil from oilseeds such as canola) costs more than making diesel from crude oil, hence the 50-cent subsidy to enable the 'artificial' biofuel to compete with 'natural' diesel made from crude oil.
So, pulp and paper firms, who had to burn black liquor created when turning trees to pulp, and who recovered the heat generated and using it in their mills, could now get PAID for burning a byproduct generated by their processes and which they recycled (by burning) ... nice deal!
Pretty much every pulp and paper firm (and corresponding governments) got on the US' case to eliminate that particular loophole. Understandably enough, since US firms in general have an unquenchable thirst for subsidies, their maybe losing this particular one has been THE big issue dowm South for the past few months. And things are looking like that subsidy will be eliminated soon.
We, and every pulp and paper firm outside the US, are likely to win this one.
P.S. This kind of (frequently) 'unintended' consequence of sloppily-written, poorly-crafted laws passed in the US is par for the course down there. US laws are drafted and passed so fast and with little reflection and quality-control that, once enacted, 'interpretive' documents have to be drafted and attached to them in order to tell what the legislators meant when they passed it (!!!). Sorta makes one appreciate for the less-breakneck approach followed in Canada, where time is spent between readings in the Commons to spiff up the quality of the text. And if one's kind, one can hold it up as an exemplar of why Canada's Senate is so important as a institution of 'sober second thought' (as it were).

Subject: The perils of the Canadian expat

Article and comments from The Economist magazine ...

The perils of the Canadian expat

Posted by:
Economist.com | TORONTO
ARE you working outside your native country? If so, Canada's ruling Conservative Party would wager that you don't really care about its people and policies. That's the thrust of attack adverts the Tories have launched against Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the opposition Liberals, who spent most of his career in Britain and the United States before seeking public office in Canada in 2006. (A typical slogan in the ads is: "Ignatieff: Just visiting.")

Mr Ignatieff has responded that the campaign is offensive to anyone who seeks professional opportunities abroad, either by choice or necessity:
The fact that he has "seen Canada from the outside," as a writer, teacher, and reporter does not make him less of a Canadian, Ignatieff told members of the Labourers' International Union of North America and other representatives of the construction industry.
"At any given time, there may be two million Canadian citizens living and working overseas. Is the Conservative party saying these people are less Canadian?"

While the fact that Mr Ignatieff spent more than 30 years working outside Canada does indeed give many voters pause, Gulliver wonders if this particular Tory ad campaign is ill-timed considering the way voters south of the border have embraced a similarly internationally minded, relatively well-travelled leader. And, as we noted earlier this week, living abroad seemingly makes you more creative no bad quality in a leader trying to guide his country through a recession.

From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,
To B. Smith,
As a parent, I do agree with a lot of the points that you have made. It is nice to see a teacher's perspective, but as a parent who has a child with LD I do take issue with the assumption that our public education system addresses the needs and responds well to those learning needs of children. In reality, and as a parent who has experience the hell of trying to obtain the proper help for my child, I have learned that all public education systems across Canada only respond to the needs under narrowed benchmarks, one-sized-fits-all approaches, and gives an illusion that parents have retained not only their rights but the power and choices needed to execute the rights.
When I first read about Alberta's Bill 44, letting parents have the option to allow their children to be taking out of class when discussing material that may run counter to parents values and culture, I immediate thought of the bill as a distraction from the real issues of public education. The bill gives the optics that parents have a real say in education, but the sad reality is parents and by extension the children, have no say in the curriculum, how it is taught,  and how the values, methods, and opinions are shaped to flow in the general direction of policies of the government. Especially policies that touch on restricting our rights and freedoms, to shift public opinion over time, where education or even health care decisions are accepted by most of the population within a certain time frame.
This is done, by moving away from a solid foundation in reading and writing skills - replacing it with a system that is completely standardized across the provinces and across Canada, where individual learning differences are not tolerated or are ignored and as a result children are stream-lined into certain directions based on their ability to read and write.  When the foundation skills are weak, children will accept values, morals and opinions of educators and others in society more willingly than children who have a solid foundation in reading and writing. Children cannot learn to form opinion, values without having a solid foundation in the ABCs of reading and writing.
The public education systems of Canada, have become politicized where children are molded and shaped that reflects the values of governments and the bureaucracy that comes with it.
As a child of the 60s, and I am afraid it was the last generation that had the benefit of an education where most if not all, received a solid foundation in reading and writing in the elementary grades and more importantly opinion, values and yes even morals were taught where individual opinion was valued, provided it was based on facts. In order to do this, children must have a solid foundation in reading and writing skills, in order to be able to access the higher functions of logic and reasoning. When one is busy trying to figure out what words mean, or how to express oneself in words without a solid foundation in reading and writing, the tendency for children and adults is to accept other people's words and thoughts as fact.
This is why I object to standard testing, CRTs and other assessments where the only correct answer is the method that was instructed inside the classrooms,  and the knowledge that was generated and shaped from the instructor's viewpoint. Children like my child, are doomed to fail the standard testing for two reasons. One being their inherent weaknesses in language skills, and their learning differences that do not blend well in the current teaching practices, methodology and theories that are promoted extensively in the public education systems in Canada. One general theory that has firmly  taken hold, is in reading and math. Once a child learns how to read and count, there is no need for having daily lessons on grammar, mechanics, and lesson to develop fluency in reading and writing. The child will eventually gain the fluency over time, and all will become good readers and writers without  the bother of having daily lessons on becoming a good reader and writer . 
The research and studies have shown that this practiced is wrong, because it depends heavily on outside factors that varies from one family to the next, the level of education, from one region to the next where  reading,  writing skills and the fluency of both relied on resources and skills of people that fall outside of the school walls. The responsibility and accountability of the education of our children has shifted from the education system and is now resting on the shoulders of the parents. Parents are now given options but the options are heavily dependent on a parent's ability, income and private resources that are nearby. The education system is left with the more desirable components of education, such as the growing and changing subset of knowledge-based topics, where standard testing and public exams  are the key components that will reflect, and give an illusion that public education is on the right track.
This could not be further from the truth, when the percentage of students is graduating with a general high school diploma, is coming near the 50 % mark. When the illiteracy rate is not coming down, but it is slowly rising. When parents are not only asked, but it is expected to carry out and be responsible for the components of education that requires a deeper understanding in areas of basic reading and writing skills, in order for home instruction to become effective.
It is a system where governments had no choice, but to give parents options that reflects control over one's child's education.
Sadly, most parents under the age of 40 cannot access or take advantage of the options, because they lack the skills, the know-how and more importantly the fluency in reading and writing that are needed to form opinions, understanding of the material and  to infer and induce logic and reasoning from either printed or visual sources. The skills must be taught, and not just the basic foundation skills in order to formed and produced adults that are capable of passing down their knowledge and skills to their children. More importantly, for adults to make sound decisions based in part of what they have found known to be true, and other supporting evidence from outside sources.
It is why as the years have rolled by, voter turn out has decreased. It is why political campaigns are reduced to the lowest denominator, where the details of issues are avoided to limit debate and instead ready simple solutions become the norm, for complicated and sometimes emotional issues such as education or health. Solutions such as giving the parents of options of what their child should be exposed to, under narrowed parameters, and no options, much less any power to determined and steer the education course, where  each and every child will reach their potential - no matter what background, learning difficulties the children has.
As I have experienced, options are solutions, if and only when all the population have the ability, the skills and the means to take advantage of the options. Living in a rural part of Canada where private services are few or none at all; it was the skills of good reading and writing that has help me more than anything else to advocate and help my child to overcome her learning difficulties so she could reach her full potential in a different way that does not meet the norms  or the accepted teaching methods on how children learn and gain knowledge.
It benefits governments, and more so for democratic governments to limit the quality and content of government services and access to the services - to prevent massive shifts in formulations of key policies that are built on political ideology and dogma. It is another tool for government to control the general populace to accept and become passive members of society who are more incline to agree and accept the dictates that hold the reins of a democratic society.
The greatest fear of any government, is to have an educated population that has the ability to think and form opinions within current knowledge parameters, as it was when the printed press was created in the 1600s. The fear at that time, if the general population was exposed to the printed word, they would no longer listen and accept the dictates of the crown and the Church. They feared social and civil up rest, and their response was to banned the teaching of reading to the general populace. Whereas, present day democracies are controlling  and shaping public opinion by controlling the access points of government services. One of the access points is in education, where controls are placed on the curriculum, the content,  achievement standards, specific teaching methods that is based on average norms, leaving no room for children or the parents who fall outside of the norms.