Friday, May 29, 2009

Daily Digest May 29, 2009



Ethics and optics

Parties prescribe small cures

Federal deficit: Liberals bark up wrong tree

Why is Harper doing the political limbo?

$1,300 a night for a room? Maybe Harper was right

Women's groups fought a losing battle against pornography
'We won't be bulldozed'

Women in white

Ancient economics
What it means to lead in the world

We should thank GG for doing her job

This is the wrong time for politics as usual

Grits must control Iggy trigger finger

AECL sale needs careful handling

Did CSIS deceive court?

What happened to medical isotope crisis?

An absurd call to fire Flaherty 

CAW members made the right decision 

We'll all be smarting from higher hydro bills when smart meters arrive

Deficit casts doubt on Flaherty's figures

Peace in Afghanistan

Helpful ideas needed, not political hysteria

Amber Alerts

Grits need to move beyond calls for heads

Health care issues identified, again

It's CTV, not local news, that is facing threat

Ignatieff, like Pocklington, seeks to start at the top

Where did isotope crisis go?

Privacy ruling insane, unsafe and unfair

Stop the presses! Susan Boyle has feelings

Vaccines save millions and harm a few

Hearty thanks to GG

Harper's spring of discontent

Who really supports our best citizens?
No one seems able to manage debt        

Doing the math

ISSUES The Accidental Tourist bites nationalist Liberals on their Achilles Heel. MORE...

How Harper lost Quebec. MORE...

Iggy trigger finger. MORE...

Just answer the question, Iggy.. MORE...

Attack ads seem to have backfired on Conservatives. MORE...

Why is Harper doing the political limbo?. MORE...

Time for a purge.. MORE...

Would Flaherty's foes do any better?.. MORE...

An absurd call to fire Flaherty. MORE...

No choice but to be cynical MORE...

Deficit casts doubt on Flaherty's figures.. MORE...

Much what the Liberals asked for.. MORE...

Grit twits and rhetorical fits MORE...

What did we get for our money?.. MORE..

Stephen Harper and Israel: Not crass political calculation. MORE...

Our man (not) in Havana.. MORE...

What happened to medical isotope crisis?. MORE...

AECL sale needs careful handling.. MORE..

Ottawa can sell the CANDU.. MORE...

Le gouvernement fédéral est maintenant en situation de déficit budgétaire

Une centaine de personnes manifestent contre Bush à Toronto

L'économie rurale est plus importante qu'on le croit, selon une étude

Postes Canada aurait donné un contrat sans soumission de plus de 100 M $

Plagiat au Conference Board


From: Tom Brewer

The best offence is a good defense, right? Well it must be because every time the Opposition fields a question Harper's cronies insist on telling us why the Opposition cant be government but seem it fail addressing the initial question!
I'd dare suggest little "johnny" and or his "sister" have effectively  taken the "heat" off their back and as a result we get what we got! Sickening indeed, and to be overrun by five or six year olds proves the point. I'm sorry, the present government is only capable of using childish actions instead of taking hold of what they have and showing us how THEY do things.
I'm sure a Liberal caused the problems at AECL. Do we really care? NO! The fact is there are problems and those problems affect any number of Canadians given the use of what AECL made. Lets get our head out of the sand people... Seems the best we are offered is to sell the place! Will that address the problem we have right now?
This goes on with other matters... "lay the blame on those who were in government before.." instead of taking the bull by the horns and doing something. The House of Commons question period IS a glorified Ruse! It is no wonder we have problems with our kids... Cause the grown-ups just keep acting like spoiled brats!

From: "Jacob Rempel"
Subject: Direct questions relating to the Candu division of AECL being for sale:

From Jacob Rempel, Vancouver --

Dear Editor, DAILY DIGEST --

Joe, you present questions related to the proposal for

AECL to be divided, and the CANDU division to be sold.

You ask:

(1) Do you support or oppose this sale?

(2) If you support, would you have any conditions you'd make?

I oppose it, but not because they stupidly want to sell the profitable part

and keep the tax subsidized part, thereby subsidize a private buyer.

No, I oppose it because Canada and the world need to shut down the entire

nuclear industry. I hope that readers will all save and read the website  for the

Saskatchewan Urainium Hearings

Public Consultation Process ; --

Chair, Dan Perrins.

Web site link: ---

The website has many pro and con submissions made to the Hearings to date.

Saskatchewan and Canada have a long history of uranium mining and subsidizing

profits made by the deadly uranium industry. I encourage you to read all of the

submissions to the Hearings, and then voice opinions based on much factual

information submitted to that Public Consultation Hearing in Saskatchewan.

Among many other submissions, the website has a link to a hand written

faxed submission by Lyle Orchard, as well as a link to David Orchard's

presentation. I understand that an audio link will be on the website later.

From: Phujyllis Wagg
Subject: RE: Daily Digest May 28, 2009

There is one point that I believe needs to be underlined and that is the definition of economic conservatism.  Ron Thornton, like a great many other well-educated and engaged individuals, confuses economic conservatism with fiscal conservatism.  In fact, to be an economic conservative is to combine traditional economic liberalism with conservative elitism.  The best definition of economic conservatism that I have found so far is that of Immanuel Wallerstein who defines it as "a political position favoring state action that enhances the ability of capitalists to make maximum profit from their economic activities."
There is a good reason why fiscal conservatism can be incompatible with a hierarchical ideology that gives economic conservatism a priority.  That reason is that it allows governments to take on huge deficits to protect and enhance the profitability of capital.  That is why an economic conservative will use the state to drive down workers wages while defending the huge bonuses paid to those who control capital.
While an economic conservative would oppose the use of deficits for social programs, they see the use of deficits as an essential tool in supporting the capitalist system.  That is why the first action in the recession was to purchase billions of bad debts from the banks.  We won't know the cost of having done that for some time because those debts are accounted as credits on the government books.  The focus on corporate tax cuts, bailing out the automobile industry, and controlling EI spending is all consistent with economic conservative philosophy.  The capitalist is king.
In the hierarchy of the new conservative ideology the economic conservative position is paramount.  As the leader of the Canadian Alliance Harper described his coalition as a coalition of only two factions, economic conservatives and social conservatives which he described as neo-cons and theo-cons.  Ron is correct in believing that the democratic reformers were not considered to be an essential element in the Canadian Alliance, they were not.  Belinda Stronach was a democratic reformer and it was inevitable that she be at logger heads with Harper.
The economic conservative and social conservative factions were not large enough in Canada to elect a government.   It was at this point that Harper realized he needed to create a larger coalition to gain power.  He added the democratic reformers and red Tories in order to gain support for his leadership of this larger coalition.  Just weeks earlier he had indicated that he hoped the red Tories would not be part of any new coalition. 
Since the merger, the evidence suggests that Harper has gone back to the original Canadian Alliance concept of a two faction coalition of economic and social conservatives.  The social conservatives, however, have been suppressed but their support has been maintained by the promise of more power once the party gains its majority.
The reason that the new Conservatives need to use negative ads and smear campaigns to alter the political mood is simply because there are too few Canadians who support the economic conservative agenda.  The huge deficits should be a warning to fiscal conservatives that you cannot be both an economic and fiscal conservative when globally capitals are being threatened by their own greed and domestic governments have to protect them.      

From: Peggy Merritt
Subject: candu reactor

Hi Joe:  My goodness what a lot of negative responses to your question. 
This problem has been around for many years and one would think the past record of the handling of it would make it a prime target for change 
.My scientific knowledge is rather scarce but people who know about these things consider the Candu reactor one of the safest systems in the world.  The Conservative Party of Canada has had to deal with a great many unsolved problems left over from the status quo Liberals who were in charge in Canada for many years and this is one of them.
I was greatly encouraged by the announcement by the Minister that at last someone is taking a serious look at solving the production of  the greatly needed energy in Canada.  As for the ownership problem  this chestnut has been around forever and so far we have but able to protect Canadians from a sell out of our resources.  That's globalization don't you know. So I support this decision. Thanks  Joe Peggy Merritt

Subject: Give rhetoric a chance ...
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

THERE ya go, THAT'S the way to do it. Make hay when the sun shines, make farmers (figuratively speaking) when it doesn't.
Liberal, Bloc, and NDP gladhanders can say what they want, EI should be used to support temporarily workers who are between jobs, which includes training or retraining them for future ones. I mean, if 360 hours of work (so say, nine weeks) were to confer full benefits (40-odd weeks of benefits, I believe?) to workers, you can imagine what'll happen: more job-rotation in hard-hit areas (work nin eweeks, get laid off so another batch can get its nine weeks, etc.). And workers who live in job-destitute areas or in industries clapped-out in the long term will hav emore reason to stick with them rather than move on.
That being said, responsible governments shouldn't let people who are hard up just sink down into indigence. But that's a thing over which our provinces have jurisdiction. To a large degree, I haven't heard of provinces promoting the merits of their social-assistance systems and talking of increasing their spending on them. A given province finds it much more convenient to encourage its MPs to ask for federal lolly, I suppose.
You know, if I were Prime Minister (sinister foreshadowing!), I'd aim to do a much better job than the current CPC at conveying the following message: social assistance is a provincial responsibility, which we respect. (*Grinding teeth from provincial politicians*). But Canada's Government intends to work with the provinces to ease the rising financial burden caused by temporarily-increased unemployment (or whatever, yada yada). That way, the point would be made that provinces have to live up to their responsibilities too, that federal Opposition politicians are proposing social assistance that is a provincial responsibility, and that Canada's government won't sit idly by as Canada's provinces try to sink or swim. That'll get the major points across: the sea may be stormy, but we've got a strong steersman at the tiller (and NOT at the rudder ... the latter's the part that's in the water); that we'll make it through if we all work together; and that the Opposition is made up of bozos who'll let the ship of state drift as it will.
Admit it: it DOES sound more convincing than 'reducing the EI-admission threshold is an absurdity'.
So, Vote Stratos when he summons you from the depths of your souls, hahahaha. At least, you'll be giving rhetoric (in the good sense of the word) a chance.
From: Ron Thornton

Hi Joe:

I haven't been much of a fan of our Governor General, but I've had a change of (seal) heart. With a few chomps worthy of a contestant on Survivor, she did what would cause me to gag. Good on her. As for those who are upset of her partaking in the bloody morsel, may I suggest they bend themselves in such a position that they might be able to perform an unnatural act upon themselves. The lady did good.

There has been much I've agreed with Lorne Gunter about, but his column suggesting yapping on a cell phone while driving is not dangerous is right out to lunch. Maybe he should do a ride along with me as we watch that weaving car, the one doing below the speed limit, the one that is operated by someone who has split their attention between driving and talking to Fred. If a lack of attention while out on the road is not dangerous, then allow us a few puffs of pot as we drive along, or maybe even the odd beer. Anything that reduces your ability to concentrate on what is going on around you while operating a motor vehicle should be a concern. It might be a bit difficult to stop that yapping SOB from launching into some long winded oratory with his passenger, but we sure in hell can stop him and ticket him if he is found with a cell phone up to his ear just as we can if he lifts a Bud up to his lips.

The Red Deer Advocate's story about social workers getting involved with the often truant, hate spouting kids of some white supremacists was thought provoking. While some think government has no business getting involved in how one raises their kids, I personally am tired of those parents who raise their kids to be dead wood or worse. While most kids go to school to actually be educated, I am fed up with those who show up whenever they like, do what they like, whose parents basically use the school as a day care for their budding punks. If their kids are not there to be educated, they should be removed and placed in an environment where they might be. If that puts an extra burden on mom and dad, too bad. Sadly, it is not the kid's fault for being what they are, but the product of parents who have abdicated their responsibilities. Sometimes society needs to get involved, and in such cases it is better they do so earlier than having to deal with it later.

"Should the killers of 8-year old Tori Stafford be allowed to live?", asked a Victoria newspaper. To be blunt, "no!" The courts will determine if those arrested were responsible, but if they are I am afraid I could flick the switch that sends them to hell without too much difficulty. There are those who are more forgiving, those who have some measure of empathy toward such monsters. I am not among them.

The May 28th Digest was a good one with lots of interesting articles, as well as the responses to your question about CANDU. I views on the matter were not strong enough to make comment (and my head was hurting by the time I got to that issue). Very interesting reading.

Thanks, Joe.

Ron Thornton

Subject: just to correct the record "Public = cost to operate + ...."
From: Robert Ede

Dearest J,
This caught my eye in a recent DD
"Public = cost to operate.
Private = cost to operate + profit. Despite claimed cost reductions these never exceed profits and as a result costs are higher. "
Notwithstanding it's probably on page 1 of most Cdn University textbooks,
I felt obliged to correct the record.
I think the reality is more like:

Private = cost to operate + profit.   Entity must sink or swim.
Public = cost to operate + subsidies to competing business + payoffs to businesses put out of business by public corp + waste due to "Peter Principle" political hack appointed to be in charge + waste when s/he's replaced + contracts given w/o tender + contributions to the gov't of the day's pet projects + too-generous pay (the regular CUPE comparable to the Private Sector negotiations) PLUS super-fantastic benefits & pensions to all stafff (CUPE std procedure again) + waste from no one caring if it runs over-budget or over-time + the supervision of the Auditor General + the Royal Commission to look into it (and shelve recommendations) + studies to consider privatizing it + waste due to re-organizing (buying off staff, dumping leases etc at a loss) in a defensive step to stave off privatization + cost of second Royal Commission to consider wrong doing while influencing politicians to NOT privatize + cost to move Head Office to rural riding of Prime Minister's friend who needs a boost to get elected + cost to refitted PM's friend's girlfriend's newly-acquired ancient office building for use by relocated Head Office + cost to relocated shipping & receiving to Quebec + cost to re-centalize in Ottawa (because every dept is moving into new state-of the-Art complex on transitway + your favourite Bureaucratic schmozzlewith a
Entity swims, uphill on land,  24/7/365 (exc 4 weeks/yr pd vacation and mat. leave for hubby), with a larger staff and bigger budget 19 yrs out of 20

From: "Eugene Parks"
Subject: This LET is going to be nearly *everywhere* this weekend

From: "Jacob Rempel"
Subject: FW: Read the latest:  KAIROS Delegation Blog on the Tar Sands

Background reading:

KAIROS framework paper (large file, PDF format):
Re-Energizing the Future: Faith and Justice in a Post-Petroleum World.

KAIROS discussion paper (PDF format):
Christian Faith and the Canadian Tar Sands
From: Elaine Hughes  Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 To: Jacob Rempel
Subject: Read the latest: KAIROS Delegation Blog on the Tar Sands
Check the lastest entries:

Dear Tar Sands Watch Member,

As part of its ongoing work on energy justice, KAIROS (an ecumenical faith based social justice organization) is coordinating a delegation of Canadian church leaders and Indigenous and Southern partners to the site of Canada's largest industrial development, the Alberta tar sands.  Join them on their journey!
Follow along on the delegation blog at .
A different member of the delegation will be blogging each day.
See also the delegation page for full delegate bios at

Best regards,
The Tar Sands Watch Team

Background reading:
KAIROS framework paper (large file, PDF format):
Re-Energizing the Future: Faith and Justice in a Post-Petroleum World.

KAIROS discussion paper (PDF format):
Christian Faith and the Canadian Tar Sands

From: Anthony Silvestro
Subject: Very sad indeed...

See what happens when you allow racist, anti-English language, anti-BNA francophony bigots to run our institutions…they are selling off our real history one piece at a time and making excuses and lying all the way… This is a sad day for Canada.
"First Quebec then the whole country, one step at a time"
Saving $500 costs feds thousands in antique sale
Last Updated: 28th May 2009, 3:15am
The federal government sold antique silver and china from Rideau Hall for a pittance last week after an official balked at paying an estimated $500 to get the goods appraised by an expert, Sun Media has learned.

Collin O'Leary, manager of Donohue and Bousquet antique silver dealers, which has done appraisals for the government in the past, said Crown Assets Distribution approached him a month ago about doing an appraisal of antique silver items from Rideau Hall.

However, an official balked when O'Leary said his rate was $150 an hour.

"She said, 'I don't think we would go for that.' "

If the government had hired him, O'Leary would have explained that what they were about to sell on a website usually used to offload old desks and filing cabinets was in fact worth thousands of dollars.


O'Leary's comments come as the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General said it has revised its procedures following Sun Media's story.

"It is now clear that there was a breakdown in the internal process," said spokeswoman Lucie Caron. BS "All unsold items have been retrieved by OSGG from the Crown Assets Distribution and returned to Rideau Hall."

She couldn't say what will happen to items already sold.

O'Leary said the three silver flower baskets the government sold for $532 were particularly valuable. An expert consulted by Sun Media last week said each could be worth $1,600, but O'Leary said their link to the British royal family makes them even more valuable.

"They would be important pieces worth tens of thousands of dollars," he said.

Several items sold are featured in a book on the history of Rideau Hall, he pointed out. O'Leary said he offered to buy the items and was prepared to pay thousands of dollars, but the official refused, saying she had to follow procedure.

Instead, the antiques were sold off for a fraction of their value to buyers the government refuses to identify.

From: Real Gagne
Subject: DD


Phyllis Wagg was essentially correct in her recent characterization of four kinds of conservatives in Canada, although I believe that the number could be added to.

Unlike Liberals and the Dippers, who tend to group-think, conservatives are indeed a fractious bunch, much given to internecine squabbling.  Why do you suppose it was the Liberals and not the Conservatives who ruled this country for most of the last century?  Unfortunately for the country, nothing has changed so far in this century, and as far as I can see nothing is about to change in the foreseeable future.  This hardly bodes well for the country.

What is most worrisome is that this fractiousness has now taken on a distinctly regional colouration, with Red Tories in central and eastern Canada and reform-type conservatives in the West.  As far as I can tell so far, these people aren't talking to each other, or rather, engaging in a dialogue of the deaf, which is perhaps even worse.  Throw the Quebec separatists into the national electoral mix and you have a recipe for disaster, or perhaps a majority Liberal government, which would amount to the same thing.

I predicted years ago that the marriage of convenience between the then Progressive Conservative Party and Reform, which Preston Manning attempted to engineer and which Harper eventually managed, could never succeed because of the irreconcilable ideological differences which motivated each of these parties.  I have, I believe, been proven correct, much to the detriment of any much-needed realignment of the political institutions in this country.


From: Don Cooper
Subject: Re: Daily Digest May 28, 2009

Joe why would we sell off AECL power capabilities. When demand for energy is increasing. We should be investing in the Crown corporation, not selling it.

thanks Don Cooper

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
To: <>
Subject: who we are

                                          Suan H.Booiman C.C.D.H.
                                             204-1220 Fir Street
British Columbia                White Rock V4B 4B1                      Western  Canada
May 29, 2009
The Hon.Mr.Gordon Campbell, B.C.Lib.
Premier of British Columbia.
Dear Mr.Campbell,
Well here we are again between election, meaning that public
opining is back on the shelve for the next four years, as you
and cabinet, if the have a word to submit, rule from the top down.
Do dare to ask some questions.
1. When will you act like Quebec and demand funding for anything
     like Quebec City, getting more than fifty percent of the spending.
2. When will you put this Province on the same agenda as Quebec
     being a Nation within the Nation, B.C. had it's own identity before
     joining the Central Canadian dictatorship.
3. Since you and the Western States have agreed to a common
    drivers licence, create a B.C.Citizenship, similar to what the Nisga'a
    Nation has been granted. One that has meaning.
4. Since Canada has failed to be a democracy since the heavy hand
    of Trudeau in 1969, British Columbia should have a stronger voice
    in Ottawa and make the B.C.MPs accountable to Victoria.
That are my demands, as Canadian Citizenship is nothing more than
an insurance policy, lacking the demand of obligation, commitment
and responsibility. The Liberal "do what ever you want".
Looking forward to your reply, which I expect to receive.
Yours truly,
Suan H.Booiman

Subject: Letter to Editor re: Stephen Harper and Israel, May 29

Re: Stephen Harper and Israel: Not crass political calculation, Ezra Levant, May 29

The Canadian Jewish Congress bestows the Saul Hayes Human Rights Award  to a person who has supposedly rendered distinguished service in promoting human rights.  However, according to Amnesty International, the Canadian Government under Stephen Harper's leadership has been inconsistent in how it raises human rights concerns.  Canada has opposed a declaration on Indigenous peoples' rights, failed to oppose the death penalty in all cases, ignored the possibility that battlefield detainees in Afghanistan might be tortured or ill-treated, and failed to intervene on behalf of Omar Khadr and other detained Canadians.  It is clear that the human rights concerns of Harper are limited to those found politically convenient that do not offend the United States.  This award to the Prime Minister has little to do with the promotion of human rights and much to do with his support of the hawkish policies of the Israeli government.
Larry Kazdan,

10 December 2007
Canada's position as a global human rights champion slipping, says Amnesty International

From: Tom Brewer

My small widget making company needs help! I sustained horrific losses last year and if I do not get help I'm done.
Perhaps someone would care to give me a "bonus" for all I've lost! My few employees are ready to pay me in exchange for keeping them working.
Now if those dear chaps who take care of our CPP investments deserve their just rewards in these hard times why cant I get the same thing? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, right? Somewhere in all of this I get the feeling I'm just one of many saps who the system just don't care about BUT they will make sure I bleed long and hard to what... Sustain their phoney baloney so called high expertise positions?


What did we get for our money?

As usual, the faceless, voiceless, impotent taxpayer got the worst treatment of all.

In an age that is full of Twit, it's easy to self-bamboozle.

While we obsess over Archie proposing to Veronica and heart-eating governors general, the world as we know it is succumbing to the banditry of the political classes.

Early next week, General Motors will likely disappear from the Dow Jones. That is how it should be. Bankrupt and nationalized companies have no place on the 30-company index that gives us the best picture of how the stock market is performing.

So who will get to own this cash-burning white elephant when it is replaced on the Dow by Apple, Google or ConocoPhilips? Poor, voiceless Canadian and American taxpayers and desperate unions.

Who will not own it? GM's bondholders. That's because they have said no to the politicians and are not as easily victimized as taxpayers.

What the bondholders would like is their money back, all $27 billion of it. What they have been offered is a 10% share in the new GM. You don't have to have Einstein's blood flowing through your brain to figure out that almost any bankruptcy court would be more generous than that.

Who could have predicted there would be virtually no political debate in Canada over sinking $13 billion of taxpayers' money into GM and Chrysler? How could anyone have imagined that a Conservative government would agree to such a boondoggle? And why the scary public silence over how Barack Obama and Stephen Harper have ridden roughshod over the little people to give the North American auto industry an elitist re-do in just a few months?

The treatment of GM and Chrysler dealers has been disgraceful. People who invested sweat equity for generations simply got letters voiding their asset. Real businesses that were making money and had real employees were tossed overboard by GM solely to qualify for government handouts.

Organized workers have been treated like troublesome peons. Government and the auto companies regarded legal contracts as meaningless obstacles to their bailout project. How many government-ordered ratification votes can you hold in the same year before you start passing out bananas in the union hall?

The attempt to coerce the bondholders goes on with the latest offer by GM to allow them to buy warrants that could give them a 15% stake in the new company. Fifteen per cent of what is the burning question.

And last, as usual, the faceless, voiceless, impotent taxpayer got the worst treatment of all. What did we get for our money? Thousands of job losses, plant closures, and dealer shutterings that would have happened under a normal bankruptcy had the government not stepped in.

Worse, there is not the slightest assurance that this "new" GM or Chrysler won't be back at the trough for more public money in a few more months. That's exactly what the U.S. financial sector did after receiving dizzying public bailouts from the first stimulus package.

And what do we do if a future U.S. administration decides to repatriate all those automotive jobs to the Rust Belt -- invade Michigan in golf carts?

Our governments have merely given us years and years of institutionalized deficits based on profligate gifts to the very people who mismanaged GM and Chrysler into automotive oblivion.

It's not the first time we've been taken for a ride, but usually we don't have to do the driving.