Sunday, May 31, 2009

Daily Digest May 31, 2009



Raw seal footage: The heart of hypocrisy

Democracy & diversity

Harper's attack ads juvenile sneering

Time is right to get out of the nuclear business

We have to ride this one out

Foreign aid needs more cash, clarity

Making cents of bag fee

Liberal election hawks send the wrong signal

Taxes don't end recessions

Selective snobbery

Divesting from nuclear business bright idea

GM-Chrysler bailout: $14,705 per new vehicle

The hypocrisy of human rights activists

Slimy ads a (worrisome) tradition

Taxpayers at risk in GM bailout


Conservative bill protects rights of Indian women

No sacrifice of human rights, democracy in Taliban talks: Afghan ambassador

Passport rules decried

Merchants brace for drop in business as new border rules go in effect

As Detroit crumbles, Fiat and Magna pick up the pieces

Power Play : Auto analyst Dennis Desrosiers and former CAW president Buzz Hargrove

Credit Repair ? the Big Step

Businesses prepped for new land-sea passport rules but expect delays at borders

Rehabilitating the Sons of Iraq
If the Sunnis are marginalised from the political process, instead of fighting al-Qaida they may revert to supporting them

All the world's a stage for North Korea

UK PM Brown Implicates PM Harper in D-Day 65 Royal Snub

Patients put at risk

Hepatitis C victims face many obstacles

Cap and trade confusion
It's about time our politicians came clean on their proposed carbon market for Ontario

Western premiers condemn EI inequities

Help wanted on Parliament Hill
EI may need a rethink, but it's no reason for a pogey election

EI regulations clearly in need of an update

Opposition parties team up in support of EI reform

Layton says he won't force summer election

Layton pitches stronger relations with Jewish community ahead of Harper award

Canada's $50M Dahla dam project in Afghanistan shows few signs of life

Ritz pursued food labelling rule despite concerns of senior officials

Churches press need for oilsands review

Canada just doesn't get it

PM plans law to allow lawsuits against terrorists

Hypocrisy hard to swallow
Choose an EU nation and there's almost certainly a bloody stain on its flag

How an electric car could kill you

Will Daddy's little girl alter his vote?

Flaherty, Harper don't even know what truth is

Prime Minister to get Canadian Jewish Congress award Sunday

Ban teen smoking: corner stores

Harper veut permettre aux victimes de poursuivre les terroristes

Le passeport sera obligatoire à partir de lundi pour aller aux USA


From: Real Gagne
Subject: DD

I believe that Peggy Merritt is correct in claiming that conservatism simply could not win an election during the 1990's and early 2000's because of the contention between Reform and the Progressive Conservative Party.

On the other hand, Preston Manning did not destroy the conservative movement in my view.  What he did, however, was to take advantage of the disillusion with the Progressive Conservative Party on the part of many, many Canadian, particularly in the West, to create a counter-movement.

Although the Reform Party was, at Manning's urging in the beginning, later absorbed into the current Conservative Party of Canada, the ideological divide between former Reformers and the Red Tories of the former Progressive Conservative Party remains as great as ever and is the cancer in that body politic that will sooner or later dissolve that unstable partnership.

For my part, I do not foresee any /rapprochement/ in the immediate future, much to the detriment of this country.

Date: Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:49 pm
Subject: Letter to Editor re: Re: CPP tells its side of bonus story, Letters, May 30

Re: CPP tells its side of bonus story, Letters, May 30

Robert Astley, Chair of the CPP Investment Board, describes a
"heads we win, tails you lose" compensation scheme for his
investment team.  Most of us work hard and are happy to receive
raises when we do our jobs well.  But why should anyone be
offered these big bonuses that encourage gambling with pension
members' money?
Larry Kazdan,

From: "John Duddy"
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 4:07 PM
Subject: Sponsorship of war criminal torturer.

Hello there Editor, Globe and Mail.

I see that your paper, along with others, sponsored G. W. Bush for a well attended chat with Bill Clinton in Toronto.
Were you aware that a team of international scientists recently published a peer reviewed paper showing that the
official 9/11, 2001 report is false?  They showed proof of large quantities explosives in all THREE World Trade Center towers.
Since I see no headlines in your paper broadcasting this important information I assume you reject the findings
of the scientists.  I assume you did not ask Bush or Clinton for an explanation.
I assume you know some inside information withheld from the scientists and you are sparing them embarrassment.
I assume you are treating those pesky scientists like Galileo was when he expressed theories not approved by
his powerful betters.
And the Prime Minister has announced that terrorists can now be subject to legal action in Canada.  Great.
I will watch for headlines in "Globe and Mail" to see your investigative journalists report on who the real
terrorists are and I will look for news on the progress of legal actions against those yet to be charged criminals.

Best regards.
John Duddy.

From: "Jacob Rempel"
Subject: deep integratio, war and nuclear power

Dear Fellow Liberals ---

My reading of the mood of activists is that if the

Liberal party continues gung ho support for deeper

North American integration & the USA "anti-terrorist"

wars, support for nuclear energy development, and

continued oil sands exploitation, the next election

will bring out the largest protest campaign in history.

Such a campaign will not differentiate between the

Cons and the Liberals.

--- Jacob Rempel, Vancouver

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Subject: being right

Of course Gordon Campbell is tight, there is only one
correct way as assured by the Constitution "equality"
sadly that means different tunings for different people,
Canada, in it's multicultural society has different people
that want different tunings and claim entitlement, we have
been divided to ensure politicians to create favouritism,
in a country directed to racism, the Liberal way "do what
ever you think is right", no commitments neither obligations.
The prime is found in the opening line of the Constitution
"we recognize the supremacy of GOD" a commitment that
is long gone as it was in the way of self-serving interest and
power.We all one day will regret, when we wake up to the
real world "love they neighbour as your self". Today we don't
know that person, often we don't want to, fearing equality.

From: alan heisey <>
To: Joe Hueglin <>
Subject: Re: Daily Digest May 30, 2009

solid stuff from our peggy! so very few toronto tories are using your columns, but keep publishing! cz

Subject: RE: Daily Digest May 24, 2009
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,
Such a nice morning in NL, to opine.

To "Efstratios Psarianos"
Looks like I haven't been too clear in what I said. Here goes ...

Concerning the banning of religious garb and symbols in public work places, I disagree. Anyone should be allow to wear or show their 'colours' , as long as they do not show bias towards others who are not part of their religion. In today's world, wearing the cross does not necessarily mean the person is a Christian. In today's world it might mean a fashion statement. I have always worn a cross, but it is mainly due to my upbringing, where children who wore the cross were considered Catholics. Today, I am still wearing it but it is more out of comfort than a statement that I am Catholic. And even today, the cross is being worn by many other Christians who are not Catholic. In fact, I think it would be better for all, if one was alerted ahead of time - so one would not commit offenses against the other person. Offenses such as telling a off-colour joke about another religion or the Joe public filing a complaint that involves others who are not like Joe public, and where offenses might be committed if the public servants were of the same.
I agree. Personally, I feel that immigrants or home-grown religious folks who wear particular garb that's not inherently spooky, offensive, or disgusting (so no Church of Satan goth-punks) should be more than just tolerated, they should be accepted. My apologies if I gave the impression that I meant otherwise.

As to your opinion that immigrants to assimilate more in Canadian society, the answer is not to asked newcomers to give up their cultural traditions, and become more like other Canadians. I believe it breeds intolerance, and does not promote understanding. I went to a school, where I was the only Catholic, with one Lutheran and about 5 Anglicans and the rest were Mennonites. Compared to the Catholic school down the road who only admitted Catholic school children, I and the others in the public school setting became more tolerant of others and had a measured respect for other people's beliefs. If people are exposed to different cultural traditions, there is a greater chance of understanding one another. When people are exposed only to a specific cultural or traditions, the odds are against understanding one another at any level. I believe this is where we get biases, bigotry, and society as whole is less enrich when all are acting, talking, and looking like all the others. You can see this in Middle Eastern societies, where the only voice that is heard is the Islam voice, and other voices are banished. I would rather see this approach as stated int he article, "Focussing on cultural differences is the wrong approach," Mr. Antonius said. Cultural communities need to achieve economic equality by having access to education, social services and job opportunities, he said. "If there is greater economic integration, that is what is going to change things," he said."

I couldn't agree with you more! Personally, I've benefited immensely (and unintentionally) from religious segregation: can you believe that despite my being a French-speaking Quebecois who knew only basic English when I was a young kid (my Dad's Greek, my Mom's Quebecoise, I spoke French at home, and I knew no more than Sesame Street English before I went to school), I wasn't allowed to go to French-language school in 1969? I'd told my parents that I wanted to go to English school (one of early memories .. I was watching Sesame Street on TV when I said it), but they tried to get me in into French school ... which REFUSED me! The catch? My parents, in their unintentional wisdom, had me baptized Greek Orthodox ... and Catholic schools in Quebec took only Catholic kids until sometime in the 70s. And Catholic schools in Montreal toa large degree de facto French ones. Protestant schools, who took in everyone BUT Catholics, were de facto English. So Li'l Stratos got his English ejamacation because he'd been dunked in the wrong baptismal font/bath/whatever. Same rule applied to my brother, whoi's three years younger than me. My sister took more effort to set straight: my parents had agreed that boys would be baptized Greek Orthodox and girls would be Catholic, so Sissy (who feel between my brother and me) had to be rebaptized GO if the kids were to be kept in the same school.
So there you go: not only did the Catholic Church's overreaching cause the loss of three French-speaking bodies to the Quebecois community, it also led to a soul's being damned for its being excommunicated from the Universal Church. (Poor Sis!) And it led to you poor folk having to read my long screeds, hahahaha ...
All that to say: I'm way better off for having been schooled in English for 13 years (I did my engineering and MBA degrees at French-language universities here in Montreal) in that I've got no psychological hangups about working anywhere in North America and I'm fully tuned in to 'anglo' culture worldwide. Not only that, I adapt easily to Latin American environments because Spanish and Portuguese come very easily to me, especially the latter. Add to that a Mediterranean-like spirit and look (folks from the Maghreb say that I can be innocuous there as long as I keep my mouth shut, and Lebanese folks keep addressing me in Arabic here in Montreal and several times in Toronto) and I disappear in the crowd.
As for 'focussing on cultural differences is the wrong approach', my personal one's based on understanding that they're real and that 'cultures' won't (and can't) change in the short term but that ONE ONESELF can learn how to deal with them reasonably well and get used to them fairly quickly. Also, it would be nice if there were reciprocity from everyone we're to deal with, but that's impossible so one should focus on developing one's own virtue and exercising it at all times.
That being said, some things ARE to be confronted instead of gotten used to. For example, this thing that arose a few years ago in Ontario concerning having 'Islamic civil judges' with legally-binding judgement-making power was nonsense (and that despite the NDP lady who was commissioned to look into the matter and who wrote a report recommending that it be implemented in some fashion or other). The fundamental recourse of last resort to have civil disputes MUST be Canada's established courts. Here's the point to be made: any civil parties (even non-Muslims) may request that 'Islamic civil judges' adjudicate civil disputes and abide by the judgements handed down, no matter how iniquitous or nonsensical to our eyes; BUT all parties MUST be able to 'defect' from this approach and have recourse to Canada's established courts.
Having recourse to 'Islamic civil judges' to resolve is a private arrangement; and if a party feels that he needs legal recourse instead, he must be free to do so.

This brings me to your last article on a friendly fellow saying hello to his neighbours a Muslim wife and husband, in a Toronto apartment building.  For his troubles the Muslim husband files a complaint against him, claiming as stated in the article; " East, my landlady clarified -- to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death."
My (Muslim!) wife and I agree on one thing here: the husband's a dink! He'd have reason to complain back where he came from because of the context and consequences (e.g., his getting dissed by neighbours who might have seen this if it had been 'back home'), but he has to behave himself when in other places. Canadians annoying people away from home by acting in manners deemed offensive while there are wrong to do so. And people from somewhere other than 'here' (wherever that 'here' may be) are wrong to annoy 'us' when they're 'here'.

The type of incidents by immigrants who carry a lot of baggage concerning taboos, are done every day somewhere in Canada. Some groups are more prone to it than others. This is where I would draw the line, and it would be at the immigrant line-up of those wanting to enter Canada. All should be required to be tested in their own language, to root out the outright biases, bigotry and other cultural traditions that run against general Western cultural. Traditions that will not do nothing to assimilate the immigrants into Canadian society, but rather breeds intolerance and it certainly does not even come close to a two-way exchange in understanding.
I must say that I need to think longer about this. On the one hand, it can be argued that people can hold whatever opinion they want provided they behave themselves well enough; different people will have different of opinions of what 'enough' means (non-violence? not (over)protesting against events overseas, such as some Tamils did last week by blocking a highway in Toronto? not (over)protesting against events inm Israel?). On the other hand, we definitely ought to keep out dingbats like Omar Khadr's family, who denounced the Canada that harboured them, and of which the father took one (or two?) son to fight in Afghanistan.

On IE benefits, I beg to differ. The unemployed worker is not the typical seasonal worker. It is is the worker that has worked for many years or the 20 something worker who are out of work. The seasonal worker, are the workers who are more or less found in the rural areas of Canada. A typical seasonal worker, is a worker who will do several different jobs during the course of a year and works in job sectors that are seasonal such as logging, fishing, farming, and the odd construction job. The difference between both groups are the wages, where the newly unemployed were making top dollar, they have skills, and are more educated than the typical seasonal worker. For this new kind of unemployed workers, they also have bills to be paid, mortgages to meet, rent to pay to keep to their standard of living. Getting the full IE payment, will not even begin to cover the important basic living expenses such as shelter, utilities, and food and still have money left over to pay other expenses that have been racked up such as repairs to a car, or insurance costs, or paying the ever-increasing property taxes.  I do not think the IE payments are incentives to sit at home, and not bother to look for a job. Low IE payments is the incentive to make people look for another job.
I used 'seasonal workers stuck in places where there's no work for prolonged periods' as examples of people who shouldn't be encouraged to continue doing that through EI. EI's meant to be a stop-gap measure to alleviate short-term personal disruption that arises when one loses one's job, to help one prepare for a future one (by training, etc.), and to help one find a new job.
For issues longer-term than 'just being between jobs', that's what 'social security' (or whatever it's called in a given province) is for. And that brings us back to 'all together now, the Government of Canada will assist the provinces in coping with ... etc., etc.'. Which again sounds much better than 'lowering the bar to access EI is an absurdity' ... that's a defensive-nerdy thing to say, not a statesmanlike one.

Now Harper is playing a dangerous game with the newly unemployed who are far more educated and fear more of losing their present lifestyle. Some will take up the offer of being retrain in a different field, and why not since the government is paying the expenses up front, and under the condition of the retraining to be paid back to the government once new employment commences. No skin or draining of the coffers of IE. Others will find other jobs in lower paying positions that will help them retained some of their lifestyles, which means they will displace other workers who have less education, but has the know-how and skills to do the job. Still others who live in rural areas mostly, will displace the average seasonal worker as a stop-gap measure to wait out the bad times. You are seeing this now in the big cities where workers making 12 to 15 dollars an hour are being laid off, and are now working in the Tim Horton's, MacDonalds, and other employment that are just above the minimum wage, and by doing so displacing other workers who normally worked in these areas, plus the students who work part-time in these places. What Harper is doing, is making sure the IE coffers will constantly produce  a surplus no matter what is happening on the ground. The provinces will be picking up the costs, where people will end up on welfare, becoming homeless or going bankrupt to eliminate the debts. It has already started in BC and Alberta, where the list of people on welfare is growing very strong. It is a matter of time for Ontario, if it has not started already. Policies such as the Harper government, will do more harm in the long run, and create more debt at the individual's level. It also creates the optics that only the individual is responsible for their fate in life, and leaves all governments off the hook in dealing with the social consequences, the economic upheavals, and the environment to restrict the movement of people from one place to another, without paying a heavy price to someone else when one wants to.
'Only the individual is responsible for their fate ...': the whole thing is that strictly speaking NO ONE's responsible to anyone but oneself in the end. The principle of 'responsibility', that is having to answer for one's actions (or lack thereof), requires that three conditions be satisfied: that there be the possibility for free choices to be made; that for one to be deemed 'responsible', one must have someone to whom he must answer; and that the someone to whom one has to answer have a legitimate authority to sanction or reprove (including rewarding and penalizing) the 'responsible' person.
If someone has no choice but to do something or other because of circumstances or because of being bossed around, that someone cannot answer for his actions and therefore cannot be deemed 'responsible'.
If one has no one to whom he must answer for his actions in certain circumstances, that person by definition not 'responsible' in that he can't be called to 'respond' when question about his actions. Now, everyone's always 'responsible' for some things at some times: for example, killing one's neighbours makes one 'responsible' to criminal-law systems in modern societies, no matter what. And everyone in modern societies is 'responsible' to governments for reporting income, etc., and paying taxes.
And the last requirement: legitimate authority. If authority is illegitimate, it uses fear to get one to respond to its questions; this voids the first condition: free choice, which is necessary for a person to be 'responsible'. (Mind you, a 'non-responsible' person can still be victimized if he doesn't cooperate with illegitimate authority; but that's another matter). If authority IS legitimate in calling one to account, then one is 'responsible' to it if he is part of the community over which the authority has ... uuuhhh ... authority (e.g., a 'boss' over his employees). The alternative, that is affirming one's 'non-responsibility' in the face of legitimate authority, amounts to one's breaking with and 'defecting' from the community (e.g., leaving the country like Conrad Black, or quitting one's job).
And so, my point: an individual has (strictly speaking) NO 'responsibilities' to government and society except for those mandated by law or tradition. In modern societies, law supersedes 'tradition', so individuals within them are 'responsible' ONLY for those things legally mandated, and then ONLY to governments. This leads to problems arising from 'if not's not illegal, then it's OK'; but when something like this crops up, one musn't expect government and society to take that lying down (hellooooo, highly-paid pirate-CEOs).
All that to say: only legally-mandated (or boss-mandated) 'responsibilities' imposed by legitimate authority are TRUE 'responsibilities'; other so-called 'responsibilities' are in reality 'responsibility improperly understood'. One may have only EXPECTATIONS imposed upon him without all three conditions being satisfied, and expectations are not all the same things as 'responsibilities'.
NOTE: the more conscientious among us can train themselves to be 'responsible' to their conscience.

I was born and raised in Ontario for most of my life and at the present time living in NL. I would invite you down, and live here for six months and judge for yourself. After 6 months, you would be on the other side where you see Harper's policies in action and the effect it is having in the rural parts of NL and in some cases urban NL. You would see the biggest make-work project of infrastructure that will be coming across Canada, is code for keeping the big construction companies and other companies that supplied the materials into maintaining their profits. As for jobs, there are all short term jobs. Where is the government, when it comes to long term jobs in the new economy? No where, because that would cost the government time and money and the greater benefits would be given to the people, rather than corporations or add to the coffers of government. Harper does not want an educated work force; he would rather have the opposite because you can extract more money from a less educated person than one from a more educated person. 

On the contrary, everyone wants a more-educated workforce, which is a precondition for more technical and other proficiency, which is a precondition for attracting investors to generate better-paid jobs.
As for make-work projects: they're the road to ruin or missed opportunities in the long run. The Government of Japan has been undertaking such projects for the past 15-20 years, to the point that roads and bridges to nowhere cover Japan's countryside and the country's STILL in a mess.
Sad to say, but the best LONG-TERM solutions to getting people back to work is to help them be ABLE to get work and to assist them in getting them to where there IS work. Truth be told, if one's to make EI more effective, it seems to me that the Government of Canada should consider granting cash or tax rebates to people who move for a new job (or perhaps where there's work) to help with moving expenses, first-month deposits to rent an apartment, etc. etc. But turning EI into a permanent recourse for workers in down-and-out regions: no. That's what 'social security' is for if a provincial government's so inclined.