Monday, June 01, 2009

Daily Digest June 1, 2009


The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.
ARCHIVED at http://cdndailydigest.blogspot.com/

EDITORIAL PAGEs

CORNER BROOK WESTERN STAR -
Improving safety without fining drivers 
http://www.thewesternstar.com/index.cfm?sid=256299&sc=30

CAPE BRETON POST -
Network rapped for airing flubs 
http://www.capebretonpost.com/index.cfm?sid=256126&sc=151

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD -
Parental responsibility: Law liable to do nothing
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/1125097.html

AMHERST DAILY NEWS -
Bringing back union spectre won't work this time 
http://www.amherstdaily.com/index.cfm?sid=256168&sc=61

SAINT JOHN TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL -
Nova Scotia could make history
http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/684845

MONTREAL GAZETTE -
Clowning around with the elderly is serious business
http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/op-ed/Clowning+around+with+elderly+serious+business/1649952/story.html

OTTAWA CITIZEN -
It's our game
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/game/1652093/story.html
 
The Nazi threat in the '60s in Canada was real
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Nazi+threat+Canada+real/1649528/story.html

KINGSTON WHIG STANDARD-
So, your kid is due to start high school?
http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1590895

Governor general is full of heart
http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1590873

BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER -
Chalk River a medical disaster
http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1592039

TORONTO STAR -
Ottawa voiceless on climate change
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/643329

GLOBE & MAIL -
Better to engage than complain
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/better-to-engage-than-complain/article1162343/

Not a lawless zone
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/not-a-lawless-zone/article1162560/

Allies against the Taliban
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/allies-against-the-taliban/article1162559/

NATIONAL POST -
Stop the protectionisn
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=1650110

HAMILTON SPECTATOR -
A hidden tax still a burden
http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/575221

K-W RECORD -
Political attack ads are an affront to our society
http://news.therecord.com/Opinions/article/545854

WINDSOR STAR -
Chalk River Once again, isotope crisis looms
http://www.windsorstar.com/opinion/editorials/Chalk+River/1650701/story.html

THUNDER BAY CHRONICLE JOURNAL -
Speaking of paycheques
http://www.chroniclejournal.com/stories.php?id=189060

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS -
Third strike Senate pitch
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/editorials/third-strike-senate-pitch-46614177.html

WINNIPEG SUN -
Rail plan not up to speed
http://www.winnipegsun.com/comment/editorial/2009/06/01/9635401-sun.html

LETHBRIDGE HERALD -
Breaking circle of poverty
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/content/view/63044/56/

RINCE GEORGE CITIZEN -
Attacks ads hit the spot
http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/20090531194491/opinion/editorials/attacks-ads-hit-the-spot.html

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST -
http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=46979201-5fbc-4c21-8b9b-2cb30ae8fb43
 
Election would let us boot these people out
http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=e4652f23-d302-4b82-a8fd-c17c77f19292
 
Green lawns really aren't
http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=e7083544-ae1d-453c-b7a2-7858f65e1763
 
Stimulus haste carries risks
http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=a35334a0-cd33-435b-9661-09789c866470
 

ISSUES

                 The Byliners & Co ...

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS -          
Eastern Ont. border closed over native protest
http://www.canada.com/news/national/Eastern+border+closed+over+native+protest/1649395/story.html

Akwesasne border crossing to shut until arms dispute resolved
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1650766

Akwesasne bridge to be opened to local residents
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Akwesasne+bridge+opened+local+residents/1651926/story.html

Akwesasne may declare state of emergency
http://www.communitypress.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1592959

Mohawks ordered to remain peaceful
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Mohawks+ordered+remain+peaceful/1649500/story.html

Time to get tough with Mohawks: Expert
http://www.canada.com/news/national/Time+tough+with+Mohawks+Expert/1649395/story.html


AF-PAK PROBLEM -

CANUSA/USACAN -
EX-PREZ BUSH: BUY AMERICAN PROVISIONS ARE BAD FOR OUR BUSINESS AND I'M AGAINST THEM

New U.S. border rules take effect for land and sea entry
http://www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/06/01/us.canada.border.rules/ Fight Buy American law, coalition urges premiers
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/643631


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS -
GDP data show worst is over: Harper
http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=1651708


FOREIGN AFFAIRS -
The myth of a 'Muslim world'
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KF02Ak04.html

Stability ashore, not sea battles, will end piracy
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/1124986.html

Risky business in the Balkans
http://www.torontosun.com/news/columnists/peter_worthington/2009/06/01/9634846-sun.html

Canadians disapprove of linking foreign aid to trade
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadians-disapprove-of-linking-foreign-aid-to-trade/article1162340/


HEALTH CARE RELATED -
Manual redefining mental illness
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=1650073

Trial to give free heroin to hard-core addicts in Vancouver and Montreal
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/trial-to-give-free-heroin-to-hard-core-addicts-in-vancouver-and-montreal/article1162530/

Canada should offer heroin to addicts, Tory says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/offer-heroin-to-addicts-tory-says/article1164099/


JUSTICE SYSTEM -
Court challenge aims to legalize all cannabis use
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=1650107


MIGRATION -



POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES -
Nova Scotians set to vote New Democrats into power, poll suggests
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nsvotes2009/story/2009/05/31/ns-poll-ndp.html

EHealth Ontario faces audit over spending
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/643698

Ontario deficit to hit $18.5-billion
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-deficit-to-hit-185-billion/article1163617/

B.C. orders Mounties to halt use of tasers
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-orders-mounties-to-halt-use-of-tasers/article1163871/ Masks of discrimination
http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/06/01/253006.html&sl=fr&tl=en&history_state0=

Tory hopes suffer from fatal gas pains
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/1125043.html


FEDERAL POLITICS -
MASSIVE POLL OF CANADIANS
WHOSE AHEAD? DEPENDS WHO YOU ASK, WHEN YOU ASK.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/0779-june1-ekos-cbc-poll.pdf


PM: Grits vie for election before recession clears
http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/canada/2009/06/01/9644306-sun.html

Harper says GDP data shows Canada over worst of crisis
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/090601/canada/canada_us_economy_gdp_harper

Conservatives pushing legislative, policy agenda through by fall
http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2009/june/1/agenda/&c=2

Chances of quick election seen fading fast
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/090601/canada/canada_us_politics_poll_canada

Canada economy shrinks 5.4 percent in first quarter
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/090601/canada/canada_us_economy_gdp

Canada's leaders swoon over Israel
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/643445

Tory attack ads backfiring, poll finds
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/643418

Layton sliding into irrelevance in Quebec
http://www.thestar.com/canada/columnist/article/643402


PROGRAMMES -
Ottawa asked to bring back mothballed nuclear reactors
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1652011


CWB suing Ottawa for ex-chief's severance: MCO
http://www.manitobacooperator.ca/issues/ISarticle.asp?aid=1000327441&issue=05282009&pc=FBC

Feds to make sex registry inclusion mandatory for convicted offenders
http://www.canada.com/news/Feds+make+registry+inclusion+mandatory+convicted+offenders/1651030/story.html

Proposed anti-spam bill merits close attention
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Business/Columnists/Canton_David/2009/06/01/9633846-sun.html

Ottawa to spend $1M on Holocaust education
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/643577

Ottawa wants answers on Canada Post's sole-sourced deal
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-wants-answers-on-canada-posts-sole-sourced-deal/article1163916/

Quagmire seen as PM plans to let terror victims sue
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/quagmire-seen-as-pm-plans-to-let-terror-victims-sue/article1161915/ Most of GM loan won't be repaid, Harper says
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/most-of-gm-loan-wont-be-repaid-harper-says/article1163443/


PRESSURE POINTS -



OPINION AND INFORMATION -
Enhanced driver's licences too smart for their own good
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/642860

Ethical behaviour unites us all
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/642862

How to keep unsafe products off store shelves
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/642858

Africa's 'dead aid'
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/06/01/africa-s-dead-aid.aspx

Monthly housing costs shouldn't be more than one-third of net income
http://www.montrealgazette.com/columnists/Monthly+housing+costs+shouldn+more+than+third+income/1649994/story.html
Israel's Racists for Democracy
http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/4219-israels-racists-for-democracy.html




INFOS -
Stephen Harper juge regrettable mais nécessaire l'aide financière à GM
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/090601/N0601110AU.html

La Colombie-Britannique retire les vieux pistolets électriques de la circulation
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/090601/N0601148AU.html

Ottawa veut rendre automatique l'inscription des délinquants sexuels http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/090601/N0601150AU.html

Bachand: le protectionnisme américain fait mal aux entreprises québécoises
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/090601/N0601166AU.html

Un poste frontalier ferme ses portes à cause d'une manif d'autochtones
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/090601/N060133AU.html

Harper veut permettre aux victimes de poursuivre les terroristes
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/090531/N053185AU.html

Les masques de la discrimination
http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/06/01/253006.html

Les libéraux doublent les conservateurs
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/National/2009/06/01/002-Sondage.shtml


BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)

TWO MATTERS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST

My intent was firstly to comment on it  being it absolutely unacceptable that Bush and Clinton be ignorant with accepting that Canadanian officials from Prime Minister Harper, Ambassador Wison and downward have been in any way shape or form effective in doing their jobs.

As well to do so on a matter raised by Becky below, is faulting actions by the State of Israel equivalent to anti-semitism?

The articles below relates to theses matters.

         Joe

What passport? Rule surprises Bush, Clinton
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/642976

Israel's Racists for Democracy
http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/4219-israels-racists-for-democracy.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Avnery

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From: Bob Taubman
Re: Mr. Duddy and the World Trade Centre;
 
Some people still believe the earth is flat.
 
Bob Taubman,
Ottawa, ON
=====
. . . others findings support the that the truth is  being ignored

Richard Gage on KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO2yT0uBQbM&eurl=http://911blogger.com/node/20222&feature=player_embedded

A danish scientist Niels Harrit, on nano-thermite in the WTC dust ( english subtitles )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_tf25lx_3o&feature=related

Unexploded Nanothermite Found In WTC Dust
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE_tuWKsBko&feature=related

=====
This is just one of many;

Bob
 
Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report
Popular Mechanics examines the evidence and consults the experts to refute the most persistent conspiracy theories of September
11. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html
===================================
From: "Jim Calvert"

Suan Booiman wrote:
Joe,
 
Of course Gordon Campbell is tight
 
Typo or what?
 
Jim Calvert
=====
. . . a Freudian slip?

Suan may have been thinking of the Hawaiian vacation.

        Joe
=====
Exactly what I was thinking.

Jim

===================================
From: alan heisey <hize@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: Daily Digest May 31, 2009

j, real does not speak for what i know of the gta where i think the raprrochement of reform and pcs is complete! cz

=====
Your opinion stands (unless challenged)

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.

===================================
From: "John McCourt"
Subject: Re: Do you support or oppose this sale?

I certainly oppose this sale, it could end up costing our medical system a lot more funds if we had to buy these from a private firm.
John McCourt
Brandon, MB. CA

===================================
From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: the death caused by 'carbon credits'

We keep seeing the ad on TV that over 300,000 people have died because of GW--now we know why.
Becky

The great carbon credit con: Why are we paying the Third World to poison its environment?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1188937/The-great-carbon-credit-eco-companies-causing-pollution.html

Subject: Democracy in action???  Liberal/Tory, same old story???
Hill Times, June 1, 2009 Liberal incumbents likely won't face nasty nomination battles, say Grits


http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=2009/june/1/nomination_battles/&c=2
Subject: Bilderbergers, Canada, NAFTA and SPP
http://www.rense.com/general86/bilder.htm
Subject: Harper and Ignatieff love israel
TheStar.com | Canada | Canada's leaders swoon over Israel
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/643445

Is the hidden meaning in this 'terrorist Bill' going to name those of us that despise israeli actions as terrorists???
Becky

===================================
To: Charles Tupper
Subject: Papers …. Please - Comrade
http://www.pafundi.com/?p=1762

The end of paperless cross boarder travel is coming to an end. Monday [JUNE 1, 2009] starts the long awaited and dreaded Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. No longer will you be able to travel between Canada the U.S. Mexico, Bermuda and other Caribbean nations without a passport or proper travel document if you are age 16 or over.

Valid travel document include a regular passport, a new passport card, a "trusted traveler" card or an "enhanced driver's license," which states the person's nationality. Currently, only Vermont, New York, Washington and Michigan offer the new enhanced documentation.

During a recent joint Bush/Clinton interview by Frank McKenna in Canada, Bush claimed total ignorance of the issue. Bush, holding up his hands said, "We had the EZ Pass cards, I don't know what happened to the project. "I don't know anything about the passport issue." Clinton admitted the stickiness of the U.S. border was news to him too. "I told Frank the other day, I don't know anything about this, when he mentioned it."

The World Passport, which represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth is not accepted for entry into the U.S.

===================================
From: Rene Moreau <rene.a.moreau@gmail.com>

To Joe;
From Rene Moreau;
re; Gordon campbell is right. Globe and Mail, Saturday, May 30
   Say someone really, REALLY, needed some good press, having just
given away B.C. Rail to corporate interests like Canadian National
Railway, which USED to be Canadian, and is now, foreign, American,
owned thanks to Paul Tellier, of the Canadian Government and potential
recipient of a charge of treason. Then he privatized the power plants
on the B.C. rivers, which means that he turned them over to the
American corpo-types, since Nafta says you can't discriminate against
them, etc., etc. It would appear they can buy Campbell for a nickel,
or he's so infiltrated and handled he no longer knows what he's doing?
     So know you know why they HAD TO GIVE HIM A 'SANITIZER"!
      (Cynical, eh?
                                                       Rene Morea

===================================
From: LARRY KAZDAN
Subject: Letter to Editor re: He's sliding into irrelevance, Chantal Hebert, June 1
To: lettertoed@thestar.ca

 Re: He's sliding into irrelevance, Chantal Hebert, June 1
 
 At a time when only the NDP and Greens increased their
 support according to a recent Angus Reid poll, and when the NDP
 could hold the effective balance of power should there be an
 election, reports of Jack Layton's irrelevance may be greatly
 exaggerated.  In fact, Canadians are more interested in issues
 raised by New Democrats - reforming Employment Insurance and
 limiting bonuses to Canada Pension Plan investment managers -
 than in the current media dual between Stephen Harper and
 Michael Ignatieff over which of them is the most arrogant.
 
 Larry Kazdan,
 Vancouver,

===================================
From: Ray Strachan
Subject: Who cares

How many causes do we have on the go, how many want you to donate because it
is a "charity".    My memory will take me back 70 years.    The "CURE" for
CANCER is just around the corner,  that always being approximately 10 years.
Diabetes,    the CURE is just around the corner, the approximate time frame
maybe 10 years.    Thats just 2.    How many times does some
sweet ,concientous person come to my door, collecting for Cancer, Diabetes, or
Heart Foundation?   Is there anyone out there,reading this that is over 12
years old who believes in "The Tooth Fairy"    You are blessed by God if you
do, because you live in Ignorance,which is a state of bliss.    So if you
think that the Powers who control CURES ,want to CURE anything,   you live in
a state of bliss. You also live in a state of bliss when you hear and believe
that "BECAUSE WE WILL  SPEND MORE BILLIONS ON ARMAMENTS, THAT WE WILL BE
SAFER". In other words, better spent on War Material than on The Cure. The
Cure would stop the flow of "MONEY",... getting out of "The War Business"
would stop the flow of "MONEY." Oh yes "MONEY" IS THE IN THING . So for those
that believe in money,go to your Lawyer and rewrite your will so that you buy
a larger Casket, with some storage space.

Ray Strachan

===================================
From: The Natroses

Hi Joe - Remember Bill C-6?  As the Star noted, why a new law when the old law was never enforced nor properly funded with staff. Can you imagine only 46 inspectors for all of Canada! " The investigation found that there were only 46 inspectors monitoring stores for all of Canada. Of those, 13 were in Ontario – 11 in Toronto and only two to protect the millions of Ontarians outside the GTA. An importer who travels to Asia four times a year told the Star that he never sees officials spot-checking imports."
http://tinyurl.com/nlalu3
 
On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 11:12 PM, The Natroses wrote:

Hi Joe,
 
To "Efstratios Psarianos" : On comments, "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."
 
I do agree with you. Many people in NL, do go to work else where BUT it is to PEI, Nova Scotia to work in the fish plants and in some cases on the farms. From what I have heard over the years, there is no point in retraining, when the jobs are so far away in Alberta. They barely have the money to cross the ferry, and set up house in a near-by province. Plus retraining, means a longer time on IE benefits, that only brings $230 if not less. Plus there is another hitch, repayment of funds supplied by IE for schooling. It stops low skills  people cold from getting retraining, whereas the highly skill person is more apt to take an upgrade in their skills, in the hopes of getting a better paid job at the end, plus they are at the higher end of IE payments.
 
No one at the political level,  wants to take a look at what is happening in rural Canada, and how jobs have been disappearing, to reappear in the urban areas. Resources are being taken, and little added-value is done in rural areas. It is all being done in urban Canada. Fish is a prime example, where the fish is processed much further away from the source, and in some cases it is shipped all the way to China for processing. Local production of eggs, dairy, poultry and other farm products, are hard to come by in the rural areas. Often, I have gone to the store to purchased eggs and the only eggs they have are eggs packed in Edmonton, Toronto, and Halifax. I have no idea what part of the country they came from, but if I do buy them I am only making the fat cats fatter in their profits.
 
Now with Ontario, losing all the manufacturing jobs - what is going to replace them?  The auto sector has been cut more than half. I don't think a person who has worked in the auto sector, will settled for another job that cuts their wages in half. There is so many problems in the various regions, I actually do believe it is an ideal time to fix it once and for all. It can start with the elimination of repaying funds that were directed at retraining, especially the retraining that concerns upgrades in bringing a person to grade 12. We also should put a clamp on imported products, that uses Canadian resources. They should be a balance of trade between products that are produced in both countries. For products that are not made or few in number, in Canada, than there should be no restrictions on those products.
 
Now as for responsibility, in my eyes responsibility has been downloaded unto the people of Canada. Politicians, CEOs and other merchant princes have abdicated their responsibilities and accountability a long time ago. I am sure, none of them are kept awake when a surgery has been canceled, or a number of day to day trials and tribulations of the local citizens. Just like the article below, stating the no deficit to now a 50 billion dollar deficit. This government can't even tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth. http://tinyurl.com/ln9aot
 
Oh by the way, if that is the case that everyone wants an highly educated force - than why is the education of our children is falling to the wayside, where only about 40% of our graduating high school students are highly skilled in the art of reading, writing and math. The other 60 % are below the standards, where many young people are taking upgrading courses before they are allow to take their choices in whatever field they have chosen and on their dime. When are the politicians going to hold our public education for the poor showing in the skills of reading, writing and math? As a parent, I have tried to hold them accountable for my child's poor skills in writing, but apparently she is above the 50th percentile in writing skills as they dearly love to quote, when I approach them for good old fashion lessons of grammar and mechanics in writing for my learning disability child. Than if one approaches the higher levels, a parent will received an education, much like a politician spewing out words, quoting education theories that has no basis in scientific research. No matter what, the education system has gotten parents where they want them, so they can download the pesky things like grammar, reading fluency, mechanics of writing, basic arithmetic, unto the parents who are told its their responsibility. If the parents fail to improve their children, well,  as I was told in a recent meeting - "Don't worry, university will make sure my child will learn what she should have learned in elementary school." Of course, they omitted a fact, that it will be on my dime and specialized tutors to work around my child's learning problems. 

===================================
Subject: GM - Bankruptcy, at last
From: "Efstratios Psarianos"

GM - Bankruptcy, at last
Jun 1st 2009
From Economist.com

GM declares bankruptcy, at last. The challenge is to save something useful from the wreckage

A CAR, stripped to its bare bones and rebuilt using only those bits that are strictly necessary, might turn out to be super-light and capable of taking on the speediest of competitors. Or it could just end up as two piles of junk. On Monday June 1st, putting an end to weeks of expectation, General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The idea is that the 100-year-old carmaker will be stripped of debts, other obligations and unsavebale parts and will then emerge from the bankruptcy court ready to perform like a sleek racer. The risk, however, is that it instead emerges as an old crock with a dodgy respray.

Bankrutpcy will certainly ensure the emergence of a smaller firm. The car company is being remade to cope with operating in a North American market with sales of 10m vehicles a year, roughly the number that will find buyers in 2009. GM might expect to get a little over a fifth of that market. To get into shape, more than 12 of its American plants will close and four brands?Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab ?will be sold out of bankruptcy or will disappear for good. Hummer, apparently, already has a buyer. A significant proportion of GM's dealers will go too. The end result will be over 21,000 GM workers out of a job.

GM's European operation, Opel, will also go, ensuring that the American company is no longer a truly global car company (although it will retain arms in Latin American and Asia). Opel's fate is now in the hands of Germany's government, which sealed a deal on Saturday between GM and Magna, a Canadian car-parts business. Germany, home to many of Opel's operations, will provide loans and guarantees worth ?4.5 billion ($$6.4 billion)to keep Opel from entanglement with GM's bankrutpcy filing and to support the company until Magna takes over.

The demise of GM, a company that made over half of the cars on America's roads a few decades ago, is a reminder that companies cannot afford to take their eyes off the road. GM, along with Chrysler and Ford, kept their vast share of the American car market only until globalisation had its way. High import duties on profitable light trucks and sports utitily vehicles kept competitors at bay until Asian carmakers set up shop in America (with generous subsidies from states where they located). Detroit's competitiveness was further weakened by pension liabilities and huge health-care costs that added hundreds of dollars to the cost of each vehicle.

As market share shrunk and profits dwindled, America's carmakers made periodic attempts to restructure, in the face of stiff union resistance until recent years. But these efforts were insufficient, usually amounting to cutting capacity usually long after market share had evaporated. At least the wholesale rejigging of GM in bankruptcy should bring the two into line for a time. And a deal with the United Auto Workers will allow GM to forgo a $10 billion payment to a union healthcare fund in return for a 17.5% stake in the new GM. Aggrieved bondholders are likely to emerge with 10% of the new firm for loans totalling $27 billion.

The UAW and GM's other likely new owners?the governments of America and Canada, with 72.5%?have said that they wwant to sell out as soon as possible after GM emerges from bankruptcy. But will America's government ever come close to recouping the $50 billion so far sunk into GM?

The cuts will take some of the overcapacity out of the North American car market, unlike the arrangements with Opel, where Germany's government is intent on preserving jobs and hence the car manufacturintg capability that Europe could do with shedding. But GM's problem is that it must still compete with Asian manufacturers that make cheap and reliable cars. Chrysler, set to emerge from bankruptcy with Fiat as a partner and Ford, still loaded with debt and other liabilities, will also provide car buyers with more choices. GM now makes some decent vehicles but its reputation it still suffering from the decades when it made bad cars. If GM cannot revive its good name, and if the cycle of falling market share and piecemeal readjustment begins again then GM, in any form, looks doomed.
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