Saturday, June 13, 2009

Daily Digest June 13, 2009



Another side to the story 

Pocket some gas savings

Candid talk blows up

Paint Job for Peggy's: Brush-ready

he limits of political humility in N.S.
Dexter hazard No. 2: relating to top civil servants
Sometimes, I wonder if I'm cynical enough

Raitt failed in her job of supplying isotopes to the world
But we can thank her - sort of - for drawing our attention to the problem

Democracy flourishes in Iranian election

The spread of sickness

Always about Israel
Creating people places
Looking for the gold

Slagging Harper wrong move for Grits

Six days too long to end protest no one wanted

Take the cloak off MPs' expenses

Race in the courts

The age of discretion

Break the standoff

Not quite splitting the difference on Jerusalem

Slagging Harper wrong move

Lame excuse for an election 

Pothole politics and protectionism

  Good treaty makes good neighbours

Canada needs to continue to provide nuclear leadership

The First Nations and the H1N1 flu 

Has the U.S. tuned out the Iraq war? 

Gone, and soon to be forgotten 

High speed: Time to move train travel into 21st century

Betty White's comedy definitely still works

Hospitals on reserves overdue

U.S.-designed cap-trade policy ill suits Canada

Government should listen to the courts

Integrating special kids should be done with care

Saying no to Gitmo detainees right decision

That 'piece of paper' is very valuable to kids

Want an election with that burger?

Don't give up on isotope production

A 'black' day for Canada's pulp industry

Lisa Raitt soap opera distracts Ottawa from real issues
Import duty prices can really add up

Update suggests Canada's economy is on the mend

Many questions remain about reconciliation


Aboriginal protest ends after 13 arrests

An Afghan veteran's rage


Cda-US to update Great Lakes water pact

Latest : 1st official visit VIDEO

Canada, US will renegotiate Great Lakes water treaty

Sort: Most recent | First to last | Agreed

Cannon must connect with Clinton on border: Business

Harper tells U.S. TV trade war 'worst possible signal'

U.S. will look at ways to alleviate Buy American concerns: Clinton 

Harper defends Obama on American television

How Canada escaped U.S.-style housing woes 

Ottawa's $1-billion forestry package faces US scrutiny

Rich nations to ask for study on ending stimulus

Geithner: Too Soon to Halt Stimulus Wall Street Journal -

Hydro-Quebec, Ford to test plug-in electric cars

Reason to keep income trusts: to promote competitiveness

We haven't seen bottom yet, Carney warns

Price drop complicates natural gas contracts 

Getting what you paid for is the warranty problem 


More harm than good?
US Media Campaign to Discredit Iranian Election

Canadian ovarian cancer breakthrough could crack other cancers

For clues about the swine flu pandemic, look to 1918

A weak link in the chain of justice

Court ruling puts value on house work

Ottawa denies passport to man stuck in Sudan

Mistakes plague immigration documents

Would you go to any expense?

Consultant at eHealth was given more work

Ontario leaps before it looks with proposed wind-turbine rules 

Flaherty denies deficit pledge 'not realistic'

Flaherty sees U.S. deficit as biggest threat to recovery

Minister fumbles PM's EI playbook

Lisa Raitt's about-face is puzzling 

Baird no stranger to controversy

Raitt meets with lobbyists most often, records show

Tory MP to introduce motion to make counselling suicide a crime

The shortcomings of the Conservatives

More video: Jack Layton's lament

Tim Powers: Election madness

Norman Spector: PM praying for an election

Rex Murphy: Between pit bull and poodle

Nanos National Poll - Strengths and Weaknesses of Conservative Government

New Canada-based isotope supplier 'years away'

Budget officer doubts Tories' plan to wipe federal deficit

Flaherty denies deficit pledge 'not realistic'

Flaherty looks for way to end stimulus

New Canada-based isotope supplier 'years away'

Tories unveil tough-on-crime plan

Ottawa denies passport to man stuck in Sudan 

EI changes not a sure thing: Finley

Green goals could shut out hockey arenas

What should we do with our car company?

Sorry, but apologies are scandalous 

The silence of the left 

Harper must rebuild his reputation: Flanagan

Tories on the edge of a cliff

Israeli War Crimes Against Children During Operation Cast Lead

Idiot's Guide To Isotope Production Problems In Canada

Un casse-tête pour Marois, un cadeau pour Charest

Crise des isotopes - Chalk River n'est qu'un gouffre sans fond aux yeux des conservateurs

Assurance emploi: l'opposition talonne Harper - «S'ils font quelque chose qui est bon cet automne, c'est mieux que rien.

Traitement des demandes d'accès à l'information aux Affaires étrangères - Percer les secrets du ministère risque d'être encore plus long

Fédération canadienne des municipalités - Dix provinces, un seul combat!

 Deux jours de plus pour voter

Tête-à tête Clinton-Cannon à Niagara

Les lacunes des conservateurs émergent plus que leurs forces

Jim Flaherty rejette l'idée que les déficits ne disparaîtront pas

Des élections fédérales estivales : Ignatieff réfléchit

Les conservateurs veulent limiter les peines avec sursis


Offset System A Step Towards A Carbon Market In Canada

OTTAWA, Ont. -- June 10, 2009 -- Canada's Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, today announced that the Government is taking an important step towards setting up a carbon market in Canada by moving forward with its Offset System for Greenhouse Gases.

"The Offset System is an important part of Canada's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases" said Minister Prentice.  "This system is one of several steps we are taking as we finalize our domestic regulatory framework for greenhouse gas emissions, and marks a major milestone as we move towards establishing a carbon market in Canada."

Do you know how a "Carbon Market" works?  How it will affect us?  The good it will do? Has it worked elsewhere?

The following is the first post on the topic on Free Dominion.

Those who support this action to cntrol global warming who can answer the questions raised, please do so.

Since the government has given the public 60 days to comment on the first steps, namely the credit awarding part, of their cap and trade plans – see – then I had a look at the documents from the point of view of an average interested member of the public and I do not see any of the following questions addressed at all.

How will this affect me?
What will it cost me?
What are the benefits to me?
What are the risks to me?
What is the downside?
Who will pay for the credits, ultimately – me as the consumer? If so, again, how much will it cost me?
What industries will be hurt or helped? Is my job threatened?
Why should I want to "acquire and use these credits to voluntarily offset the greenhouse gas emissions from their activities?"
Why do we need do this anyways and why now and not in, say, five years when the economy is better?

Mr. Minister, the average Joe and Joey will say, you say: "Interested parties will have 60 days to comment on these guidance documents." – OK, so how can I learn the answers to the above questions. I don't care that "There are five steps required to generate offset credits from a project" or about "Program rules, eligibility requirements and applications processes." Or the "Offset System Quantification Protocol". I don't even know what the latter is and I am sure I will never really care since I will never develop a protocol.

The government says "The Offset System is designed to encourage cost-effective domestic greenhouse gas reductions or removals in activities or sectors that are not covered by the planned federal greenhouse gas emissions regulations." OK, you say "cost effective, so tell me, Mr. Minister, how does your system compare to the alternatives?

Aren't the above the sorts of questions the average public would want to know the answers to if they are going to comment for or against this massive plan, instead of all the logistical details of the process?

What is happening now seems a bit like asking the patient to comment on the technical details of an operation they are about to go into but not being able to tell them the answers to the basic questions such as: Am I going to be in pain after wards? Will I perhaps die? What is the benefit of the operation? How long before I can get out of bed/walk/go back to work, etc? Will it cost me anything financially? How about recovery – how long will that take, and what will I have to do to recover?

Comments very welcome, please! Am I on to something here or not?


From: The Natroses
Subject: Re: Harper's focus -privatization not building for the future

Hi Joe,  Beginning to think, Harper and Co. end game plan, is to destabilized important institutions such as our public health systems, so private concerns can enter into the picture. I believe that Harper and for that matter does not have the power or even on legal standing, to sell off AECL. I do hope the Patient Safety Association, will sue among the other suits that are underway. Remember the Ontario Harris government, where one cabinet member got caught on tape, saying to change things we either have to take advantage of a crisis or make it a crisis. The Harris government turned education into a crisis, among other things when they was no real crisis. Well, I think Harper is using this strategy to accomplish what he cannot do through the front door. If you took a gander on TV tonight, Harper had the strangest press conference using one of his lapdog senators. Than the finance minister, appears in another press conference looking wide-eyed and totally stressed out. It is the same look he had back in the Harris days, telling the good people of Ontario that the budgets were balanced, when in reality they were not. Further destabilization is occurring in forestry and the fishery, where policy is designed to drive people out of these fields. When the unemployment figures come out for the month of June, I believe certain east coast provinces will be leading the pack in unemployed with Newfoundland leading the charge.  Furthermore, Harper and Co. keeps referring that it was the fault of the Liberals, on all things, including the problems of AECL. If they are not blaming the Liberals, it is the global economic crisis. Yet, you hear no one from that corner accepting responsibility. This is not normal, and therefore I have come down to the conclusion that Harper and Co. wants to destabilized certain institutions and industries, so they can make the changes that might be more like the famous book "1984". I would not be surprised to see this as their favourite bedside reading material. As each day goes by, Harper and Co. sound more like bad parents who will not accept responsibility for their children.
So, bring on an election and stop Harper and Co. from selling AECL because he won't be stopped by law suits.

From: "Brian D. Marlatt"
Subject: Isotopes a sexy issue
Isotopes a sexy issue
June 9, 2009
by: Dr. Phyllis Wagg
West Bay Nova Scotia: There is the common belief that people enter public life as a way of giving back to their society. It comes as a shock to see Conservative cabinet ministers view their role as a personal thing and seem to disregard the duty they have to those who elected them and the people of the country to whom they are responsible.

From: "Phyllis Wagg"

Harper's Priorities
There is no doubt that Harper is still largely driven by ideology.  He does not believe government should be producing anything and hence he is unwilling to invest in the public sector production.  For him it is a "no-brainer" to eliminate public production of isotopes even if it means it will have to pay billions in settling lawsuits.
The implications of the decision not to produce medical isotopes will have a major impact on the affordability of medical care in Canada.  Our hospitals and provinces will be forced to purchase isotopes in the global marketplace where shortages will drive the price out of reach of many.  The cost of producing large quantities of isotopes puts it out of reach of most private sector enterprises. 
There is no doubt now that what many had suspected about the Harper Conservatives is that medical care is a low priority for them.  Their priorities are such things as the shoring up of the old economy with huge bailouts, investments in extractive industries such as the oil sands, and building and repairing hockey arenas.
Spending hundreds of millions on isotope production seems to me to be a far better investment of public funds than billions invested in GM and Chrysler or in externalizing costs for the oil companies.  My priorities are evidently different from those of Stephen Harper and the members of his government.
Harper has always indicated that it is not difficult for him to make priorities.  That does not mean that his priorities are always the best.
Phyllis Wagg
From: Zeb Landon
Subject: Notes on medically useful nuclear isotopes

Dear Joe, 
Regarding the medical isotope issue, and for our edification, I found these "Notes" (permission granted from Gordon Edwards) contained much information we have not heard much of in the media. 

/ Zeb Landon, Simcoe, Ontario.

From: Gordon Edwards
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 13:38:41 -0400

Subject: Isotope Shortage

Notes on the Isotope Shortage (June 10 2009)

(1) The vast majority of uses of radioisotopes in nuclear medicine
is for diagnosis, not for cancer treatment.  Thus a shortage of these isotopes may cause a lot of difficulties, but it is not in itself a "life-threatening" medical emergency.

(2) The fact that these diagnoses using medical isotopes are not life-threatening is supported by the fact that the tests are never given after regular hospital hours or on the weekends, but only during regular business hours.

(3) McGill University used to produce all of its medical isotopes using a cyclotron located right on the university campus in downtown Montreal; this is not a nuclear reactor but a "particle Accelerator".  It does not use uranium at all.

(4) Two alternatives to Technetium-99m are:

(a) using thallium-206, a radioactive isotope that is produced in a cyclotron (no uranium use)

(b) PET-scans, which require a short-lived radioactive isotope called fluorine-18, which is also produced in a cyclotron (no uranium use). 
PET scans generally give better pictures than technetium-99m.

(5) PET scan machines are expensive, about 2-3 million dollars each, but remembering that Ottawa has poured 1.7 billion (milliard) dollars into Chalk River since 2006, you could buy  500-600 Pet machines with this amount of money.  Even the money wasted on the MAPLE reactors (about 530 million) would buy over 170 Pet scan machines.

(6) The main use of radioactive isotopes for treatment is iodine-131, used to treat thyroid cancer.  This isotope is produced in a nuclear reactor, not in a cyclotron.  Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days, so a given supply can remain useful for some weeks.  The availability of iodine-131 will be reduced because of the isotope shortage.  But alternative treatments are available, and thyroid cancer is not generally life-threatening, though it sometimes is.

(7)  The amount f uranium used for medical isotopes is an extremely small fraction of the uranium used by nuclear power reactors.  Even if no new uranium mines were opened up there would be plenty of uranium to produce medical isotopes for a very long time to come.

Gordon Edwards.

From: John Halonen

The first the Prime Minister's unilkateral decision to abandon Canada's role in providing isotopes and in carrying on peaceful nuclerar research impelled me to do research myself on this issue the results of which follow.

One should expect our Prime Minister to make decisions that are not in the public interest.  When writing the PM with your thoughts it could be worthwhile to indicate that your vote will count in the next election, and unfortunately for him it will not be for his party if the decision is not reversed.  This may get his attention, as the one thing we know for sure is that he wants to continue as the leader of Canada.

John Halonen

From: "Alexander T. Bussmann"


-  Isotopes are important.
-  It is not important that the important Isotopes be provided by the
Canadian government.
-  It is only appropriate to leave the current market and produce a
production void if advance notice is given the other
producers/consumers of these Isotopes.
-  Our situation is different in that the continued production of
Isotopes means putting the population at risk and excessive spending.
-  This is a prioritization decision and now we should let the markets
handle it.

I know you are complaining because these are the Big-C conservatives
and I don't mind that (from a political perspective).  From a decision
making perspective.

- Fire all the assholes for flip-flopping the plant closure in the
first place and not having a proper mitigation plan in place for the
effected markets.

From: Tom Brewer

We wonder how it can be when we ask our kids a direct question we get run-a-around answers. I dare suggest our kids watch question period and figure if politicians can play games they too can!
To be honest, I am perturbed as hell when a government MP tries to pass the buck by not replying directly to what is asked. It is even more annoying when dear `johnnie`or little `Sarah`  try to pass the blame onto someone else. Listen Canadians voted for Harper thus turfing the Liberals butts out the door. We turfed them for a reason... Yet it seems we have to be reminded Harper and his band are saints and need not answer questions as they should. In all of this we electors are taken advantage of. I find it hypocritical the government wants to change laws but they themselves seem not to care about the boondogling every MP does. Nice to know isnt it... Every MP gets a pay-cheque no-matter the case. It is sickening my friends to see that our elected reps use and abuse the words don't do as I do....
No wonder so many MP`s are bloody lawyers! Word-mongers better describes them in my opinion!

From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,  Reading speech on the update regarding stimulus money. Quote from speech, "

Today, I am here to announce that only 10 weeks into this fiscal year, fully 80 percent of our Plan's funding has been committed and is being implemented across this country!
These measures are creating and protecting jobs, building infrastructure, easing the tax burden on families, supporting Canadians who have lost their jobs, helping threatened industries, and laying the foundations for our future prosperity."
Want to know why, he and the CRAP party do not want to release all projects relating to the stimulus package? Why they keep bragging that money is  rolling it out within 72 days? Why they insist that projects are approve within narrowed criteria?  Most of the projects are like the project in my little outport, the library. It has been on the provincial books for years to do major repair work, but cost more than the average building, because it considered part of the heritage buildings in our town. As of two days ago, work has started on the library. Over 1 million dollars will be spent on the library. I heard from one of my workers who the town has tried to steal away from me, apparently the brick building, which is rarely seen in NL, the brick is falling away from the building, and the wood behind the brick work is not only rotten, but in some places there is no wall. In essence, the walls and brick work is all going to be replace, with brand new. Special bricks is on order to match the former brick work, and the proper walls built. The library was built by the town citizens  shortly after 1900, and the building is reflective of the pride and esteem held by the citizens where books and education were in high regard since 1800.
This and many other projects like this are what I consider short-term stimulus spending, where long term results may be questionable, when viewing through the lens of prosperity and laying the foundation. As for the workers, it is the ones like I have working for me who have very good skills in doing building repairs, but lack the require education to work for the big firms. The overseer is the local construction company, but only has a few full time employees and hires from the same pool of cheap labour that most home owners hires from.  This is what I call make-work projects, so many can now qualified for IE benefits. Projects such as the library, is only as good as what is inside the library. We can make a building look nice and pretty or a harbour with a excellent marina - but you have to have the other important stuff so people can make use of it.  Stuff such as fishermen fishing, fish plants operating, loggers working, and the other things that makes a local economy turning.  It is why it was so easy to rolled out the money within 72 days, because there is plenty of buildings especially in rural areas that need much work to bring it up to today's standards.
Politically speaking, it is great for the optics - until you scratch the surface. It does nothing for long term problems of local, province and national. Problems found in the fishery, forestry, farming and energy sector that have been further eroded by the inaction and lack of solutions by the Harper government. As a example, the recent help for the lobster fishermen will not be on hand until late winter of 2010, and as a result it does nothing to put the fishermen back on the waters. As the provincial fishery minister stated, there is little we can do since the fishery is under federal control, and as a consequence the regulations set out by the feds - allows little room to help and offer real solutions, that will fix the long-term problems.
If you took a real look at what is happening with the stimulus money , you will come down to the same conclusion that Harper's direction is in the short-term future, and the prime example is Toronto's application being turned down on the purchased of street buses. Even though it does not meet Ottawa's criteria, it certainly represents the long-term where public transportation will take on a bigger role in any big city, where traffic is an on-going problem.
I am not against the projects, because I dare say it is about time our library building is going to be repaired. I am against how Harper is using the projects, and promoting using a lot of spin, that is more in keeping with the shifty used car salesperson. Instead of the blue sweater, Harper should be wearing a loud plaid jacket. Ditto for the ministers, especial Riatt and the wind mill funding. Honesty is in short supply in the Harper government.  

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: NWO

Elitist Confab in Montreal: Adapting to a New World Order – Day 1

Googled Adapting to a New World Order Adapting+to+a+New+World+Order&meta=&btnG=Google+Search

and then went to for anyone interested.

From: "David Bell"
Subject: Re: Stimulus money
12 weeks ago I was at the BCCA (BC Construction Association) AGM­a number of Government officials and lobbyists discussed stimulus money heading to construction projects in BC. On being questioned it became apparent that none of the money was expected to hit the market this year. It could not be approved in less than 10-12 months. Most of the small trades businesses present are not expected to survive the summer.
3 weeks ago Baird (BTW Keith's brother by the looks of it) was admitting that only 4% (not 80%) of the stimulus money was handed over. He was busy making excuses … The Americans are ahead of us­they've spent 6% <laughing>
In response to the 4% report, municipalities across the country revealed with disappointment that they will be unable to use stimulus money on badly needed road repairs this year because the money will not available until after the weather turns in the fall. Victoria BC announced that it was still hopeful of receiving money in time for road repairs because of our longer road repair season.
I believe the government has decided to re-language their "progress" as 80% "committed" rather than "assigned." Harper is doing damage control.
Then next year when the money is no longer needed they'll have spent only about 10% of what they expected to spend this year and will announce with triumph that they've saved us billions of dollars.
Isotopes are the same thing. The government is irrelevant­response cycles are too damn slow.
Margaret Mead said it best: "Funerals solve so many problems"

Then Hon. Jim F really dosn't have to worry about over stimulus, eh? Flaherty looks for way to end stimulus
From: Rory Koopmans
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 23:42:54 +0000

Rory J. Koopmans
Edmonton, AB.
June IXth, MMIX
Right. Hon. Stephen J. Harper, PC, MP
Ottawa, ON.
Dear Steve:
     I may not be the best person to give advice about loyalty & respect, but if you have to give me a choice, I'll take the Honourable Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq over the Honourable Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt. What a conniving & evil backstabber. She calls a Minister who is doing a better job in clearly a tougher portfolio incompetent. She pulls a Maxime Bernier & leaves National Security documents around IV Craig Oliver to peruse. She calls cancer sexy & good for carreer advancement.
     If I were you, I'd send her to the backbenches immediately, Lisa deserves to be fired outright for her disgusting remarks. I am not implying she is racist. But folks from the north make damn fine cabinet members. Ergot: Eric Nielsen, Leona Aglukkaq. If Leona had been the one to make the derogatory remarks & call Lisa incompetent, you'd fire her ass so fast her head would spin. Therefore, I propose you turf Lisa immediately & put a real underappreciated star in there, James Rajotte. His committee work has been fabulous & he should have been put in cabinet in front of Rona Ambrose. Not that she isn't a good Minister, but why (as an aside Steve) does she duck all questions in the Commons.
     Also Steve, why does Rusty John Baird get to keep his job? He slags one of the finest cities in the country, basically telling it to f**k off. If I were you, I'd turf him & bring back in Maxime Bernier, who has clearly a lot of talent & lingered in the doghouse IV too long.
Graciously & Say Hello To Laurren IV Me,

From: "Serge Crespy"
Subject: The Honourable Hand-Shake Must Prevail!

Hi, Joe:
A question for Governments and sincere human beings:
A hand-shake from an individual of which Country would be classified as most honourable?
Canada, U.S., Russia, U.K., Italy, France, Germany, Israel,, A Muslim Country, India, China, etc.
Advertising such feedback, after "soul-searching",  would assist greatly; mankind must progress towards an ultimately peaceful and understanding "world philosophy" ..... GOD Fearing or Not!.
With Very Best Wishes, I remain;
Serge Crespy
Collingwood, Ontario

From: "Suan H.Booiman"
Cc: "Stockwell DayOkanagan" <>,
        ...snip... "Hievert Russ" <>
Subject: hire one from the enemy

From Le Devoir,
Harper hired:  How far will he go to buy support in Quebec,
next hire Marois????
Pierre Brien, qui a été député du Bloc québécois entre 1993 et 2003
Pierre Brien was MHA for the  Bloc from 1993 to 2003
Le nouveau bras droit de Christian Paradis a également une bonne
expérience sur la scène provinciale
The new right-hand man of Christian Paradis also has good experience  on the provincial scene

From: Democracy Watch <>
Subject: News release re: Supreme Court of Canada confirms federal Cabinet ministers can control investigations of themselves, federal Ethics Commissioner not required to enforce ethics law

Friday, June 12, 2009


Supreme Court of Canada Refuses To Hear Ethics Law Appeal Case -- Ruling Means Cabinet Ministers Can Control Investigations of Themselves, Their Staff, Family and Friends

Ruling Also Allows Ethics Commissioner to Refuse to Rule on Complaints Filed by the Public, and to Ignore Law in Her Rulings -- Commissioner Will Answer Questions About Her Enforcement Standards before Oliphant Commission on June 17
Democracy Watch Still Seeks MPs and Senators to Re-file Complaint to Ensure Commissioner Rules On Issue, and to Change Ethics Law to Ensure Public Rulings on Complaints Filed by Anyone

OTTAWA - Today, with the Oliphant Commission Part II Policy Review hearings beginning next week, Democracy Watch announced that the Supreme Court of Canada has refused its application for leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal's January 2009 refusal to review federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson's January 2008 decision that Prime Minister Harper and his Cabinet were not in a conflict of interest when they made decisions about the investigation of the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, and further that the Ethics Commissioner is not required to investigate and rule on complaints filed by the public.

        Democracy Watch called again on MPs and Senators from all political parties to re-file the request for an investigation and ruling that it filed in November 2007 with the Ethics Commissioner.

        The request questioned whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper and some of his Cabinet ministers were in violation of the Conflict of Interest Act when they discussed and chose whether an inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber situation would take place; set the terms of reference for the inquiry; chose as inquiry commissioner Justice Oliphant who will judge their own actions and Mr. Mulroney's actions, and; continued to control legal proceedings against Karlheinz Schreiber even though he made allegations about them.
        Even though the purpose of the Act is to "establish clear conflict of interest" rules and to "minimize the possibility of conflicts" and to give the Commissioner "the mandate" to "determine whether a contravention" has occurred (as set out in section 3), the Court of Appeal ruled that the Commissioner is only required to rule on whether a contravention has occurred if an MP or Senator requests that she make such a ruling.

        Democracy Watch also called on MPs and Senators to pass a bill as soon as possible changing the Conflict of Interest Act to give the public the right to file and have their complaints investigated and ruled on by the Commissioner, and to require the Commissioner to investigate and rule publicly on every situation she learns about that presents clear evidence that a Cabinet minister, ministerial staff or senior government official may be in a conflict of interest.

         "It is outrageous in 2009 in a country that calls itself a democracy that the public has no right to file ethics complaints about the most powerful federal politicians and government officials in Canada, and that the Ethics Commissioner has no duty to investigate and rule on complaints even when presented with clear evidence of a violation of the key ethics law,"  said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch.

        The Court of Appeal also made the extraordinary ruling that the 7-page letter the Commissioner sent in January 2008 to Democracy Watch in response to its November 2007 complaint, which ruled that neither the Prime Minister nor any minister or government official was in a conflict of interest concerning the Mulroney-Schreiber situation (a ruling based entirely on the Commissioner's very restrictive and highly questionable interpretation of key measures in the Conflict of Interest Act) was not a legal ruling.  The Court of Appeal ruled that the letter was just the Ethics Commissioner's opinion which could change based on future evidence.

"The Supreme Court of Canada has allowed the Federal Court of Appeal to undermine the enforcement of the federal ethics law by ruling that the federal Ethics Commissioner can ignore clear evidence of a conflict of interest and has no duty to enforce the federal ethics law, and that even if the Commissioner makes a decision based on a highly questionable interpretation of the law, the Court will not review her decision,"  said Conacher.

        The Ethics Commissioner will appear on a panel the morning of Wednesday, June 17 at the Oliphant Commission to answer questions about how she interprets and enforces the Conflict of Interest Act and also the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.

        Democracy Watch is a party to the Part II Policy Review of the Oliphant Commission, and will be making its submission and questioning other participants in the Part II hearings which will be held next Monday, June 15, June 16 and 17, and Monday, June 22.
. . .
To see the rest of this news release and links to all related documents, go to:

Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Tel: 613-241-5179