Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Daily Digest May 5, 2009

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


Market is what counts

Trade trumps seal hunt

Taxes or fee hikes - what's the difference? View comments1
By raising fees, government seems to be using a backdoor approach to siphoning money from the taxpayer.

Governments want to have it both ways print this article
Tobacco is a legal product, and governments enjoy the tax revenue they get from tobacco sales.

Spending plan still in effect

Tripping over budget strings

Gas from coal: Energy life after mining

If real, these documents link Doucet to Airbus

The real question: Is it time for a change?

U.S. has foolishly cuffed our messengers

MacDonald knocked off Tories' high horse of fiscal responsibility

Tipping point was a bit of a puzzle

Fair trade for forestry

Terror is no excuse for abandoning a citizen

Now comes the hard part

Following instructions
When outsiders triumph

A lot of work still ahead

Don't count on experts to always get it right

Former U. S. envoy sees Canada's side

Muzzle ready for watchdog

Do-not-call list losing credibility

Plugging the brain drain May 05, 2009

Untenable stand on EI

A contradiction to be explained

Focus on a new enemy

Making our skies more friendly

Loonie back in vogue

 Let's argue about something

Employment insurance fails the jobless

 Time for policy to trump politics 

Viral hate, panic

 Canadian farmers aren't appreciated

Ignatieff should avoid the e-word  

Improving Great Lakes is well within our reach

Personal privacy
Chrysler loan plan

Blended sales tax won't offer enough benefits to help consumers

Kids must be taught the power of water

Dollars and water down the drain

Fluoride in water a health benefit

Getting from there to here

Paying rent for what?

Throw one on the barbie

Co-operation only effective tool to fight pandemic
Easy germ control

Canada needs to take charge of own interests

Canada Post should deliver new model

Let's drop victim tag and cheer native strength

Tories forced into auto bailout

Year to forget on Cinco de Mayo

When fear outweighs the problem
Things are looking up

Will Ignatieff force an election in the near future? 

Human rights changes dumb 

Reconciling U.S. actions with ideals
The pros and cons of BC-STV

An unfair punishment

The future of unions

Driver's seat is no-phone zone

James effort got to grumpy Campbell

An election issue to make you cry in your beer


Afghans say coalition bombed civilians

Obama could learn from Karzai

 Showdown over Pakistan looms in Washington

What Obama will not hear from Zardari

Striking the Right Balance: The Utility of Drone Attacks in AfPak

Porous Border With Pakistan Could Hinder U.S. Troops

Who's winning the war?

Taliban prepare for U.S. surge
Militants in Afghanistan say plans for Obama's new troops include more IED, suicide bombers and assassinations

The U.S. Plan for Pakistan

Canadian army faces 'shortage of leadership'

Welcome to Americanada COMMENTS
Comment 281
U.S. forces on Canadian soil? Sure, no problem. In his new book, John Ibbitson makes the case for erasing the frontier, permitting the free flow of goods, services and people between the two countries.

Beware U.S. protectionism disguised as security measures

A table for two, not three

U.S. irritating?
Protectionist mood in Congress could mean a rash for Canada

Canada a laggard in business R&D: report

Prairie gold

Detroit adapts to the new reality

Ease regulations to make Canada 'energy superpower': Industry

Canada pledges WTO challenge of EU seal import ban

Canada mulls WTO action against China over pork

Harper to fight with EU over climate change

Iraqi Sunni fighters detained for past attacks 

Governments roll snake eyes

An overview of the Nova Scotia election campaign

Campbell's remark was 'patronizing' to James, ex-ally says

Alberta teachers slam planned human rights changes

Ailing economy is the No. 1 issue for many candidates

The wife of my enemy's Finance Minister is my friend, I think?

Grits lead in new poll 

Harper dismisses Liberal call for EI changes

Congratulations Mr. Ignatieff. Where should I place this shiv?

Parties need to bridge the great divide

Ignatieff's leap: from expat to Captain CanadaComment70

 A peace plank for Ignatieff 

Can Canadians handle the truth ?

Election chatter: Don't go there

'We're listening' to opposition over EI, Flaherty says

Whitby-Oshawa MP Flaherty pushed on EI by his wife, Whitby-Ajax MPP Christine Elliott
Federal EI program is 'unfair to Ontario'

Reasonable to expect Chrysler loan payback: Canada

Phantom commission should eventually become reality: Tories

The real costs of the pandemic that wasn't

Ontario gears up for 1 in 3 falling ill
Flu pandemic scenario based on 4.5 million cases

Climate debate ended long ago

Privatize Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

Mulroney comparaîtra mardi prochain

Le Bloc met en doute la crédibilité des libéraux

Harper se rend au Sommet Canada-UE à Prague

Assurance-emploi: le PC rejette les demandes de l'opposition

Les priorités de Michael Ignatieff

Un million dans une commission fantôme

L'opposition se mobilise

Médicaments à prix abordable - Pourquoi le Canada a-t-il échoué en Afrique ?

Le parlement européen interdit les produits dérivés du phoque

Le Canada accuse du retard sur le plan de la recherche et développement

Ottawa étudie le dossier des criminels qui ont été autorisés à entrer au pays



The heading "PRESSURE POINTS -" relates to matters which in my contrarian view are hyped to create fear. The biggies of our day and age being pandemic, terrorism, global warming.

The use of fear as causa belli is well developed in Charles Tupper's contribution to-day.  We are in the midst of a pandemic panic (in
the minds of some at least) with negative consequences unrelated to the flu but rather stemming from the fear.

I was going to wax eloquent about The Hegelian Dialectic but you will be pared that to-day.

Attention will be drawn however to the manner in which as usual Canadian patterns of action in Afghanistan are in the prcess of being subsumed by thos of our Ally.


With swine flu, like so many other black clouds hanging over society, fear itself is more crippling than whatever caused it in the first place.  http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/Commentary/2009/05/05/9352521-sun.html

Frightening people without due cause is inherently bad. Confidence in the credibility of public-health authorities will suffer. Will people still believe us when a real crisis emerges? http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090504.wcoflu05/BNStory/specialComment/home

However, it is now obvious that Canada's independent policies are being threatened by the onset of overall United States control in Kandahar. http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/1120061.html


From: Ron Thornton
Subject: Re: Comments for the Digest...

Hi Joe:

Just a quick look through the headlines...

*Lawrence Solomon: Thick Arctic ice surprises scientific expedition* --- Global warming my arse. When will we put this piece of bogus nonsense to bed?

*Conservatives push for referendum on Senate* --- Keep it as is, toss it, or elect it. To toss it would result in dedicated separatist movements as the Ontario-Quebec dominance might cut it don't east, but it doesn't in the west. Elect it is a step forward, but it still would require a lot of work, such as equal numbers of Senators for each province and a mechanism as to the consequences of parliamentary deadlock.

Told you it was a quick look.

Thanks, Joe.


From: Charles Tupper
Subject: A Method To Their Madness: The Hegelian Dialectic And False Flag Operations

Tuesday, 05 May 2009

A Method To Their Madness: The Hegelian Dialectic And False Flag Operations
' "An interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which an assertable proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by its apparent contradiction (antithesis), and both reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis). Also called Hegelian triad."

Even more simply put, it is the process of creating a problem (thesis) to which there will be a reaction and demands for a solution (antithesis) leading to a solution (synthesis). This has been used repeatedly by our Zionist masters to control the minds of the American people and lead them towards solutions that they would not, under other circumstances, accept.

The most common use of this process has been by Zionist Neo-Conservative warmongers in the "false flag" operations that have been carried out to a political end, usually war against another country, or the so-called Cold War, or as in the "war on terror," against "radical Islam".'

Or even more simply put, Problem - Reaction - Solution

From: Larry Kazdan
To: Vancouver Sun LetED <sunletters@vancouversun.com>
Subject: Letter to Editor re: Campbell continues to say premier's chair too big for NDP,  Jonathan Fowlie, May 4

Re: Campbell continues to say premier's chair too big for NDP,  Jonathan Fowlie, May 4
"This is a big job," says our less than humble B.C. Liberal leader as he attacked Carol James in the recent election debate. Campbell can stubbornly maintain that the premier's chair is too big for the NDP, but he needs a catchy political slogan to advertise his own qualifications for the job: "Vote Gordon Campbell - the biggest derrière with ego to match." 
Larry Kazdan,
Vancouver, B.C.

From: Robertggauthier@aol.com

Dear Joe,

Re: Mary-Sue Haliburton and the rule of law in Canada.

Ms Haliburton's plea, "
Please protect the legal rights of Canadians engaged in legitimate health and other forms of business by withdrawing your support for this bill.

"Thank you for your attention and for action on behalf of the rule of law and of human and legal rights."

The problem of human rights and the rule of law is worse than we think. Search 633/1995 for the ruling (Gauthier v. Canada) of the United Nations Human Rights Committee finding Canada in violation of the fundamental right of freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is defined not only as the right to seek information, but also to receive and impart it without interference.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, supported by all Parliamentarians by their silence, has stated that decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee are not binding on Canada because they cannot be enforced.

The rule of law is now arbitrary and the Speaker of the House of Commons can invoke, and has invoked, the pretext of "parliamentary privilege" as exempting him and the Parliament of Canada from compliance with any and all of our laws and from compliance with rulings of the courts and recognized international tribunals.

Make the most of the Daily Digest while you can ... it is only a matter of time before the Parliament tries to shut it down, shut it out and shut it up.

All the best, Joe,

Robert G. Gauthier, Proprietor,
The National Capital News Canada, est. 1982
181 Bank St., rpo 71035
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2L9


From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject:US sanctions against Canada

Dave Rutherford is reporting on the massive trade restrictions that the US is placing on Canadian goods and services.  He had a gentleman on the radio reporting that pipe made in Canada is being ripped up and discarded in favour of using US made pipes.  Canada is the great loser in this.  Why have we allowed them to take us over culturally and economically--we can expect nothing else from these creatures.  The Canadian steel industry is being decimated by the US and we are not supposed to notice.  I cannot find anything on Yahoo about this.


Canada's steel industry in foreign owned - US Steel bought Stelco and is shutting it down and Clement does nothing though there were terms to its aquisition - since the Budget there will soon be no takeover provisions for buyouts under $1 000 000 000.00
From: The Natroses

Hi again,  Just wondering why Ignatieff's  speech and the contents have only been discussed very lightly by the media. Where we only hear comments that discounted the contents of the speech. I find it interesting, that his main points have been ignored. Quoted, "
We must create a society where learning is a way of life and learning is life-long.

A knowledge society­where what counts is what you know, not who you know.

A knowledge society – where learning creates hope and opportunity.

A knowledge society­where every child gets an equal start with world-class early learning and childcare.

Where women get equal pay for work of equal value.

Where every student who gets the grades gets to go­to the best higher education in the world.

That means every Aboriginal child gets a world-class, not a second-class education.

And no Canadian struggles with the burden of illiteracy.

And no disabled Canadian faces obstacles that prevent them from giving their best.

A Canada where every unemployed person can get the training they need.

A Canada where every new Canadian has the chance to work hard and achieve their goals, like my father did.

A Canada where our researchers and scientists know that their governing is supporting them, not undermining them.

A Canada where every creator, artist and filmmaker knows that their federal government will do everything to help them succeed on the international stage.

A Canada where hope and opportunity take root again in our farming communities, our small towns, our northern and remote regions."
It is the exact opposite of what Harper stands for, and his policy formulation is based on the assumption that government's role is only to set conditions for opportunities to take place, and it is left to the individual to take advantage of the opportunities, and to be held accountable when things go wrong due to no fault of the individual. Such as the people who invested their money into income trusts, who paid the price when government shifted the rules governing income trusts. Such as the young adults who are poor readers and writers, and contribute much to the growing rate of illiteracy thorough the fault of our education providers and educational theories that have long been discarded as not being scientifically based, but are used as an alternative and effective means of controlling costs. 
The national media, are not talking about this, but I am not surprise. The media is the last place to look for independent thought, where the individual's voices matters more, than rubber-stamping everything the ruling government does or are going to do. Education and knowledge have always been the most two important factors, in determining whether a civilization will survived. If education and knowledge are stifled by the ruling elite, where only some will get the needed skills to navigate and others are left to navigate through the rules, regulations and laws without the needed information to make good decisions - only leads to chaos. If our settlers of the 1700s and the  1800s, did not come together, work together to ensure their own survival, rejoiced in their successes and unite when problems arose, Canada would not have developed and still is evolving into its own nation. All one has to do is to go back in the history of Canada, the history of Canada before it became a nation; to see how the governments of the day relied on the people's knowledge, skills and abilities by knowing when or when not to apply the laws on their citizens.
The War of 1812, represents a a shiny example of what a band of rag-tagged citizens composed mainly of natives and settlers can do, when another country threatens our land. The British were wise enough, to allow this rag-tagged band of different backgrounds and education the freedom and to take part in the development and execution of battle strategies, that often made the Americans run straight back to their side of the border. Here is a description of a battle that took place in the War of 1812, where it tells us what Canadians are all about, but also what Ignatieff is alluding to, that we are one great people. If not, Canada would have became part of United States long before 1867, and Canada becoming a sovereign nation.

Built in 1789, the Nancy was designed to carry furs on the Upper Great Lakes for the Montreal-based North West Company's fur traders. At the outbreak of war, and fearing the loss of its valuable trade area to the Americans, the firm immediately offered up its vessels for military service.

Outfitted with a handful of cannon, the Nancy was made part of the Provincial Marine and later the Royal Navy itself, ferrying supplies and American prisoners of war.

But her chief fame, ironically, came with her demise. When the Americans gained control of Lake Erie, supplies from York (Toronto) had to be transported overland, up Yonge St. to Lake Simcoe and then across to Georgian Bay via the Nottawasaga River.

From there, the Nancy would carry provisions and troops to Sault Ste. Marie and Fort Michilimackinac, which controlled the straits between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan – making her a worthy target.

Warned that an attack was imminent, Lt. Miller Worsley moved the Nancy up the Nottawasaga River, unloaded her three guns and built land fortifications.

The Americans arrived near present-day Wasaga Beach with much larger warships and nearly 400 men. Even with re-enforcements, Worsley had just 20 seamen and soldiers from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 10 Canadians and 44 Indians.

The artillery duel lasted for the better part of a day before Worsley decided to torch the Nancy, blow up his blockhouse and escape overland. The Americans left two ships behind, the USS Scorpion and USS Tigress, to guard Georgian Bay.

But Worsley wasn't finished. Several days later, he returned to the scene of battle with 18 men and supplies on two bateaux, the flat-bottomed boats used by fur traders. With the Americans nowhere in sight, Worsley and his men began paddling the roughly 675-kilometre journey to Fort Michilimackinac.

After just six days, they got within 64 km of the fort when they spied Scorpion and Tigress. Worsley hid in a nearby cove until nightfall, then quietly slipped past the American ships in darkness. Once at Michilimackinac, he hatched a plan. With his sailors and more men from the Royal Newfoundland crammed into four small boats, he headed back to the American ships and found Tigress anchored alone.

Worsley made his move at night, paddling up and overwhelming the crew of the Tigress. The next morning, the American prisoners were sent off to Michilimackinac under guard. And Worsley waited.

The Scorpion returned a couple of days later, suspecting nothing, and anchored about three km from the Tigress. Worsley's men hid or donned greatcoats to conceal their red tunics and the U.S. flag was left flying as the Tigress slowly moved toward the Scorpion. At dawn, the Tigress pulled alongside and, as Worsley later wrote: "So little were they apprehensive of our design that they were employed washing Decks."
Worsley opened fire, and within minutes his soldiers were swarming the American ship, which soon surrendered. He'd not only avenged the attack on the Nancy, he'd won control of Lake Huron with his newly christened HMS Surprise and HMS Confiance."
Many stories of the War of 1812, like that one. Many have been passed down from one generation to the next. If you care to read the story, it is a real shame that our current governments on both levels have done nothing to prepare for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, where preparations on the American side are far more advance. " Which means that, come the bicentennial celebrations in just three years, the Americans will be able to put as many as a dozen replicas of 1812 warships on the Great Lakes." No doubt we can look forward from our politicians, the political viewpoint that will be devoid of any references that it was the bands of rag-tagged citizens that shaped the War of 1812, and as a result shaped future discussions of nationhood, where the war of 1812, became the first stepping stone towards nationhood. Governments of today, would not like to tell the ordinary citizens, that it was OK once upon a time, to take the initiative without having to ask the permission of the government, or worry about being arrested for breaking some rule that was not in keeping with government's ideology or dogma.
I shall repeat, it is the common people that makes up a country, and not the ruling elite who seem to think they have all the wisdom needed to  run and operated a country, without needing nor do they want the input of the common man. If the British ran the War of 1812, using only tactics and conventional thinking of the day, a good portion of Canada would be now in considered part of United States. 

Cited from Toronto Star article (above link):

Hi Joe.  A common theme.
To Ron and others: 
"However, a 15 year old possess more of those skills than a 5 or 10 year old, though I admit teenagers are also much more easily led and manipulated. Should Khadr be held responsible for his actions? Yes, but I think it can be successfully argued that he has more than adequately suffered the consequences of the actions of his mid-teen years."  He has already paid a very dear price, yet we are no further in releasing him. If anything he has become the poster boy, in the eyes of the Cons a warning to other parents who indoctrinate their children on political and religion dogma that is not in keeping with society's norms.
 Yes Khadr, would fit in perfectly in other countries that are Muslim, but his family is in Canada. Would it not be better to have him sent home to Canada, where he can get the help and for that matter, his family to undo the damage that has been inflicted by Khadr's father. If he was release in another country, all we have done is allowing the budding terrorist into a full blown terrorist, which is more dangerous than the alternative of allowing him into Canada. Yes a 15 year old may be held more accountable for their actions, but  factors should be weighted on background, family and school environment, and society influence, that triggers the teenager's actions. I am not advocating giving a child a break, but advocating that society as a whole must share the responsibility into rehabilitating the child and his or her norms.
Often children who do get into trouble, it started in other parts of society where families do not have a lot of say, such as public education. Where schooling is for the most part a one-sized-fits-all approach. When a child does not meet or conformed to the standards of academic learning, the child is than exposed to a system, that will attempt to used other one-sized-fits-all approaches and if it does not work - the child is written off as non-academic material.  I do know and have experienced the damage wought on my learning-disability child, by a public education system who do not respond well to children who are different, or children who are experiencing trouble in the school setting. Nor do they respond well to parent's criticism or concerns, no matter how reasoned the parents are. If I had listen to the so-called wisdom of the school, my child would not be doing as well as she is today. As a parent, I had to fight not only the norms of the school, but also the norms of other parents - who thought in the same way, that educators know what is best for children. Nor do we have a lot of say in the health system, where new procedures are put in place, to extract more money out of us. Such as, soft casts versus plaster casts, where soft casts makes a person less mobile, less abled to carry out their day to day activities and the heavy use of pain medication. Why?  Soft casts are significantly higher priced than plaster, and the use of pain medication is much much higher than the plaster casts, where a Tylenol 3 would be sufficient for 3 to 4 days. Here again, people are faced with the same dilemma - if they insist on the plaster cast. In this case, it is the knowledge of the health system vs the medical knowledge of the individual.
Like education, like governments, we have abdicated our responsibilities, common sense, control of our lives into the hands of those who hold knowledge over our heads like a hammer. Wielding it forcefully when an individual dare to object or opposed the standard thinking or authoritative stance who serve the public.
Ergo, we allow those above us to dictate to us what the norms are at any given time. We have allow those above us, to dictate to us without being accountable or accepting responsibility for their actions. From the House of Commons, the legal laws to every day living - it is throughout society. If one opposed the actions of another, they are faced with name-calling, insults designed to keep the individual under control. Just like the poster,  Mayaconquistador who would rather insult, but does not have the computer knowledge to block e-mails or he does have the knowledge, but prefers to abdicate his own responsibilities, and make it the other person's problem. Or in the case of, Philosopher Mark Kingwell explains why we fall for style over substance almost every time; we fall for it, because since the 1980s our schools no longer producing young adults that are capable of discerning the difference between style and substance. Style covers up a multitude of sins, where substance uncovers the real person. Most people, can't be bother than looking any further than the cover of the book. Opening the book, is to much trouble for those who do not have the skills. Just like any neighbourhood, where many look down upon the family who have a 5 year old car or more sitting in their driveway. It does not take too long, for whispers of the family being poor or on welfare. People are far more likely to do this, as politicians are likely to use the very same tactics. Politicians are more apt to call down, insult or belittle the opposition because they no longer have the skills to debate their position in a civil manner and if they did have the skills, it is much easier to ridicule the other position, than to defend their own position. It is so much easier to do so, when the political system is tilted where the laws, rules and regulations allows the politicians to preach to the common masses, without having to explain their position in terms of accountability and responsibility towards the common masses. It is so much easier, to cater to the elite of society who have the resources and capital to fight or work around the law, without it imposing restrictions on the elite, as it does on the common masses.
It is one of the reasons why I opposed adult court for young offenders. Young offenders of the elite have one set of rules, where the common masses have another set - based on resources and capital, even though the elite and the common masses are under the same legal umbrella. I am against governments who choose to avoid questions of the number of soldiers injured, the number of people being denied unemployment, and other questions that stifled debate, and controls the flow of information, in an attempt to control people's thinking on looking at issues at a much deeper level than what is happening in today's society. Much like the authoritative father, who rules his family with an iron grip, especially when children start to question the father's ways and methods. The father is not going to give away his position easily, nor are the ruling government of the day is going to debate with the opposition, in fear of learning in both cases that their stance is built on a shaky foundation and a hidden agenda that exposes the real intent of their authoritative stances.
The common theme in today's Daily Digest, is we all share a fear of our rights and freedoms in a democratic society are being whittled away, but we do not admit or even admit guilt that we (the common masses) have allowed it to happen in the first place. We have abdicated our responsibilities to others and have chosen to allow us to think they know what is best for you and I. Where now, society and the common person are serving the government, the elite and the authoritative agencies, and not the other way around where the institutions of society should always be serving the people!
The fall of the Roman Empire, fell because they no longer were serving the needs of their people. Likewise, democratic governments are operating like the old Communist governments, where responsibility and accountability is downloaded unto the individual, making the individual to serve and abide by the norms of the government's ideology and dogma. As far as I can see, the individual in a democratic society has very little power left, and what power we have left, is being taken away by setting up rules where political parties controls the selection of candidates, with very little input from the voting public. For those who dislike it, but are willing to sit on your hands in the next election, your actions only indicate to me and others, you are willing to abdicate your responsibilities in a democratic society. By sitting on your hands, you are allowing the political parties an advantage where the more people sit out on an election, the more control they have over the outcome of the election. Harper is an expert on this, and he knows very well if people choose to sit out, are the people who are not the hard-cored voters, who place their trust in others because they believe that they do not have the knowledge or the ability, to stand up to their own principles.
There is no difference between democratic and communist governments where both are advocating strong leadership, through the means of laws, rules and regulations that controls the individual , restricts their freedom and rights in order to control the outcome of elections, the market economies and in general societal norms. The only difference is the tools that are used, and how they are employ to control the individual.
Latest example of the Harper government is urging people to eat pork two or more times per week, because the pork industry is being assaulted by the banning of Canadian pork in other countries. However, I beg to differ. I just wondering how many people are going to starting eating more pork, based on what comes out of the mouths of politicians, without taking into account what one has read, their own experiences, their own opinion, or allowing others to have the power to formulate your opinion on your own food choices. I can see the Conservatives, serving pork at their functions, where the latest question will be to the common masses, how many servings of pork have your served to your family?  If not, you are not doing your part in helping the pork industry to overcome their difficulties, and ergo you are not patriotic nor loyal to one's country or the standing government. The real reason is because the pork industry in Canada is loosing on the war of pork exports to other countries, and to make up for the lost profits, they now expect the Canadian public to eat more pork, to gain back the loss through the use of mechanisms of  retail prices and social pressures exerted from politicians, where principles are sadly lacking, along with responsibility and accountability to its citizens. 

U.S. has foolishly cuffed our messengers
Mon. May 4 - 6:26 AM

LAST JANUARY, I participated in a public forum on Afghanistan with Graeme Smith of the Globe and Mail and Murray Brewster of The Canadian Press.

All three of us have reported extensively from Afghanistan, and the event organizers, the National Press Club and Carleton University's journalism department, felt that our presentations would be of interest to students.

While a number of Carleton journalism students did manage to rouse themselves on that wintry Saturday morning in Ottawa, the majority of our audience consisted of federal bureaucrats and military public affairs officers.

I have spent all of my travels in Afghanistan as an unembedded reporter, operating independently of Canadian and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces. As such, many of the public affairs officers anticipated that I would use this public platform to denounce the limitations imposed by their Canadian Forces' embedding program.

This misconception stems from the notion that by working unembedded, I do not respect or value the work produced by the embedded journalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the course of this lengthy military campaign, many reporters have become very familiar with not only the Canadian military, but also of the complex challenges that our soldiers must overcome in Kandahar.

Knowing the dangers they face, it is difficult for me not to respect the work they do. That said, it was, in fact, Murray Brewster who used the forum to level criticism at the restrictions imposed by the embedding program.

Once he was wound up, Brewster unleashed a steady stream of illustrative anecdotes to make his point. A solid defence journalist, well respected by the military brass and arguably the most experienced of all the embedded reporters, Brewster's criticisms carried a lot of weight.

Having just returned from another two-month tour of Kandahar, Brewster has picked up right where he left off. In a series of articles published last week, Brewster outlined how the increased authority of American officials on the NATO airfield has seriously affected the Canadian embedding program. Previously, Canadian journalists were issued with ISAF passes that allowed them unrestricted access inside the military base. The Americans, upon taking control of the airfield security in January, altered this process.

Journalists are now given only visitor passes instead of full accreditation.

This meant that Canadian military officials had to escort these individuals everywhere they went during the day — from showers to the dining hall — and that they would be confined to their sleeping quarters at night. This would, of course, prove as tiresome and irritating to those military personnel forced to perform such escort duties as it would to the virtual prisoner of a journalist.

Up until this latest development, Canadian journalists wishing to be embedded have had to read and sign a 39-page contract that includes a 17-page list of dos and don'ts.

These restrictions include all sorts of non-disclosure policies that are designed to reinforce operational security and to guarantee the privacy of casualties, among other things. The dos and don'ts also stipulate that the rules applied to the Canadian Battle Group, such as abstinence from alcohol and no fraternizing with the opposite (or same) sex, are applicable to the media while deployed to the base. While reporters are not subject to military justice, any violation of the embedding agreement can result in the offending journalist no longer being embedded.

Believe it or not, the Canadian program is considered one of the most accommodating and is envied by our NATO allies. However, it is now obvious that Canada's independent policies are being threatened by the onset of overall United States control in Kandahar.

Treating reporters like criminals — marching them to and from their cots — will undoubtedly further reduce the dwindling list of applicants for the embedding program. However, what is more disheartening about the new U.S. restrictions is that without an ISAF card, it is more difficult for journalists to safely leave and return to the airfield.

Apparently, the rationale used by the Americans to justify this policy is that the Taliban could steal the ID cards from western media and then use them to bluff their way through the front gate.

Obviously, someone at the Pentagon has been watching way too many Rambo movies.

In fairness, the Canadian military have complained to their U.S. counterparts to lift the restrictions and Defence Minister Peter MacKay has told the press he will look into the matter.

Given the Harper government's past record on ensuring media accessibility, tough-guy MacKay is probably already kicking over garbage cans and screaming down the phone lines to get these restrictions lifted.

No doubt our American allies will quickly realize their mistake and will restore independence to the Canadian embedding program post-haste.

( staylor@herald.ca)

Scott Taylor is the publisher of Esprit de Corps military magazine and the author of several books.

   9 votes

CapeHalifax wrote:
Scott your piece fails in the balance test. The Taliban read. Many grad students at Western Universities are overtly or inadvertantly fifth columists for the Taliban relaying freely accessible battlefield information including the identities of those friendly to the West that journalists file for pay cheques. If journalists are not going to self-censor for the war effort then NATO operations are compromised in the Freedom of the Press. Having said that, no one wants to give the military unfettered operations. If militaries have proven anything over time it is that they need public oversight. So where is the balance ? Scott we all look forward to your book after the war to find out what was really going on, but for right now how do you and your comrads serve our best interests ?

jeff mcmurdo wrote:
Somehow it is hard to feel sympathy for these journalists who are facing restrictions in their movements and feel like they are being treated like 'criminals'. In the war on 'terror' we saw the New York Times and other publications release sensitive security information in 'the public interest' that was damaging to the U.S. govt and its efforts to deal with terrorism. The current restrictions imposed by the U.S. military in Khandahar no doubt have their origins in the actions of the media in South Vietnam during that long ago conflict. Never had journalists enjoyed more freedom and support – free transport and accommodation – throughout the country. And what was the result? Abysmal, double standard reporting for the most part and lousy professional judgment beginning with the media hype given the so-called Buddhist 'crisis' (discounted by a UN inquiry) in 1963 which contributed significantly to the overthrow of the South Vietnamese President at the end of 1963. How bad was reporting in Vietnam? General Vo Nguyen Giap, who was the commander of the North Vietnamese, made a public statement after the war that the most effective guerrilla force that he had was the U.S. press.