Friday, May 21, 2010

Daily Digest May 21, 2010



Smoke and mirrors

Don't do something stupid

A shocking display of arrogance
MPs may feel justified in refusing an audit by the auditor general, but the gesture won't be lost on voters

Privileged to their privileges Published Friday May 21st, 2010

Is government coming to its senses on niqabs?
Liberals see the light

Building religious pressures

A serious escalation

What the...? Ugly, mystery creature washes ashore in Northern Ontario

City has an opportunity to pay tribute to Sir John A.

Ontario government appointee denounces PC Leader Hudak

John Howard Society deserves our support

Hazardous passage for at-risk youth

MPs feel the heat

No new abortion law, Harper says

Ottawa plans new emissions rules for heavy trucks

Canada's route out of Afghanistan will be bumpy

Creation of synthetic life draws global praise and caution

The CRTC must bring errant telemarketers to heel, critics say

Wind turbines pose no health hazard, says Ontario's top doc

Cellphones and cancer: watch that thing by your head

A worthwhile British initiative

In B.C. corruption trial, don't charge HST

Time for Mr. Toews to share
They want it (racism) buried under the carpet'

Provinces fear hefty costs of federal get-tough crime bills

Tables turned as Ontario Ombudsman's expenses come under scrutiny

Election-finance poison pill threatens three cabinet ministers 307

Zero tolerance for violent protest

 The limits of self-protection

 Publication bans: From silly to surreal

 National Post editorial board: Charest's deplorable abortion stunt

The cellphone cancer scare that won't go away

How scientists created artificial life

What the #!%*?

 Alternatives to AG audit likely: MP

MPs' attitude doesn't add up

Most Canadians OK with abortion status quo: poll

It's the Sun, stupid

Full Comment Podcast: Canada's Christian Right

Dandelions, audits and gay stories keep our readers writing

Another view: What are Ottawa's dirty little secrets?

Our privacy

Province should force more co-operation among boards -- Point of View (add your comments)

If you've been arrested unlawfully, resistance isn't futile

From four wheels to two

Chastened GM returns to profitability quietly

Canada mines Australia's tax plan

Wedge politics helping Harper change country
It's beginning to sound like the refrain from a case of domestic abuse.
Care home deal scary reminder of bad old days

Judge delivers his verdict: reform human rights file

BP's nonchalance tars industry after oil leak

A risky right turn

Food is food, except to Ottawa
Behaving strangely on expenses
Driving isn't like junk food

Have fun but stay safe

Theatre of the Absurd

Time for more taxes

Gas Tax Honesty Day swerves around some facts

When did taking out the garbage become a morality tale?

Real issue gets lost when mud is thrown

No way to run Canada's navy

Oil monopoly is gouging us


U.S. Military Tones Down Rhetoric On Kandahar

Another engine change for Navy choppers

Defence lawyer puts Liberals on trial in BC Rail case

Are Students Learning About The Corruption Of Climate Science?

Kilt tilt erupts over graduation dress

The new order is chaos

Tories & true believers: The rise of the religious right in Canada

We want an audit, do you understand what I am saying?

Harper's latest Senate appointment has a locker-room scent

Dépenses des députés · Stephen Harper refuse de se mêler au débat

Véhicules lourds  · Ottawa réglementera leurs émissions de GES

Stephen Harper · Toujours opposé à toute nouvelle loi sur l'avortement


When did taking out the garbage become a morality tale?

Craig McInnes, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, May 21, 2010

My heart went out to the 95-year-old British woman who received an official reprimand for putting an empty butter tub in the wrong recycling bag. I've been there. I've felt the burning shame of going out to collect the empty bins on recycling day and finding a dunning note outlining my sins.

There are so many ways to fail.

On the same day her story appeared, Sun reporter Tracy Sherlock reported that Pitt Meadows is considering a $100 fine for serial scofflaws who can't get it right and toss glass jars or cans out with the irredeemable trash.

I try to be good. Really, I do. I understand that our dumps -- sorry, landfill sites -- are getting full and are difficult to replace. I understand the principles of the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. I want to save the planet.

But do they have to make it so (expletive deleted) complicated?

Most days, I don't envy people who live in Vancouver. It rains less in Victoria and my commute takes less time than most Vancouverites spend shaking off their umbrellas. But when comparing regulations for waste disposal between the City of Vancouver and my home municipality of Saanich, I discovered that Vancouver collects garbage every week. That's right, every seven days.

OMG. Undreamed of luxury. In Victoria, the garbage truck cometh but once every two weeks. The definition of despair here is waking up and realizing that you have forgotten to put your cans out, which means your next chance to easily purge your garage won't come again for another two putrid weeks.

And when you fill those cans, you'd better not include anything that is supposed to go out with the recycling or you'll get another dunning note. The good news is that even though it is only picked up once every two weeks, you can pile the recycling as high as you want as long as you get it right.

That means using regulation-sized containers and not including any plastics, like bags, that can't be recycled. You can put in glass bottles but not plate glass, even though all the glass is taken out and turned into gravel.

Mixed paper is fine, but corrugated cardboard has to be flattened into bundles and wrapped up in string, no tape allowed. That would be too easy.

But as much as I suffer from sleepless nights trying to make sure I don't miss the garbage trucks -- they come before seven in the morning but if you leave the cans out overnight, the raccoons get them -- the real nightmare is finding myself with an odd piece of wood or scrap of drywall from a repair around the house.

They both fall in the never-never land of materials that are considered recyclable, so they can't be put in the garbage, but they are not allowed into the recycling because there isn't really any affordable market for them.

That means if you get stuck with a bit of two-by-four, your only choice, assuming that like me you don't have a fireplace, is to take it to a commercial recycling company downtown or to the regional landfill site.

With minimum disposal fees, getting rid of a bit of drywall can cost about $30 with the tax, roughly twice the cost of buying a new 4x8 sheet.

As a morality tale, this would all make sense. We have to pay for the sin of consumption, one that was overlooked when the original list of seven deadly transgressions was compiled.

As I contemplate cleaning out the storage room, however, it all seems a bit much.


From: Larry Kazdan

Subject: Letter to Editor re:  Harper wasting time with bank tax fight, Martin says, The Canadian Press,  May 19

Re:  Harper wasting time with bank tax fight, Martin says, The Canadian Press,  May 19

A Robin Hood financial transaction tax could raise billions of dollars from big banks, hedge funds and speculators in order to help the world's most vulnerable who have lost their homes and incomes as a result of the financial crisis.  Those who consider this bank levy merely a diversion only demonstrate that their compassion extends to the health of financial institutions, but cools suddenly when faced with the urgent needs of ordinary people.

Subject: Letter to Editor re:  Canada Says No to Global Bank Tax,  Joan Delaney,  May 19

           Re:  Canada Says No to Global Bank Tax,  Joan Delaney,  May 19

A Robin Hood financial transaction tax could raise billions of dollars from big banks and hedge funds for social purposes, and also help rein in global speculation.   But Canada's Conservative government wants to block the G20 from considering this important proposal.  For Stephen Harper, the health and profitability of Canada's financial institutions are paramount; the health of ordinary people suffering from the financial crisis is their own problem.

From: The Natroses

Hi Joe,

Although, I loathe to repeat it again, the rather simple, but effective message put out by Duffy, I must to make my point.

"Canadians will be faced soon enough with a choice between a proven leader
in Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a visiting professor in Michael
Ignatieff, between a low tax plan and the high-tax agenda of the Liberals,
and between a strong national Conservative government and a weak, reckless
coalition made up of the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc. But for now, let's
make sure that we make the most of the next few months leading up to the
G20 and G8 summits where the Harper Government will play a strategic role
in furthering financial security and world health. Now is the time for
leadership not petty politics from the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc
We have strong leadership, we have the results and we have the numbers"

Pure politics at its best. Ethics taking a back seat, in favour of maxing out the cons political advantage. I call it simple, because it is designed for people, who are incline not to think beyond the printed words. These days, there is a lot more of them, than the thinking kind. The thinking kind, would question why their is two messages, that extends into a third message. The first message the next election. The second message, framing the next election issues. The third, message, is about leadership. The overall message, idea conveyed, is that the Harper government is the only party to lead Canada, and now the world. KInda scary, to think people will fall for the same lies, as they did in the last election.

"I'd rather not share that." Public Safety Minister Vic Toews will not tell the public what the projected costs are of the government's anti-crime bills. Inevitably, Canadians will "share" the costs. But apparently they aren't entitled to know what they are beforehand."

"Obsessive information control is Stephen Harper's defining political trait. From this week's scripted encounter with students to the sinister cover-up of Afghan prisoner abuse, the prime minister'™s priority is manipulating the message. Keeping facts from ruining a slick story has been standard operating procedure in the four years since Conservatives came to power promising a new era of truth and transparency. But even measured against that status quo, Harper's screening of questions from 120 university co-eds arches the eyebrows." Â

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper will vote against a private member's bill promoted by one of his own MPs that would add new Criminal Code penalties for those who coerce women to have an abortion.  A senior government official also says that while the prime minister will not "whip" or demand Conservative MPs vote as he votes, it will be "very strongly recommended" that Conservatives vote to defeat the bill. "
Read more:

The above cited passages, are typical for the Harper government. But what I truly fine puzzling, yet I am not at all surprise, is how the Harper government has truly conned many Canadians, that they are morally superior. How accepting Canadians are, when it comes to their explanations, but also their actions.

One example, is the fire bombing of the Royal Bank. Why are the videos still on Youtube, repeating the message over and over of a group, that the authorities and government is calling urban terrorism. Normally, this type of thing would be removed promptly, in fear that other people would get ideas about the message. One can't have people thinking that the government stoled the land underneath a group of First Nation peoples, can we? So why is it still on Youtube? The only other logical explanation, is to present the optics for increase presence of police, and private security for the G20 meeting in June.

"In other words, there will be arsonists at the G20 in June and this will provide the state with an excuse to turn the event into a police state extravaganza. “Police forces have entered into an alliance to deal with the threat of violent protest at Toronto’s G20 summit with as many as 10,000 uniformed officers and 1,000 private security guards teaming up to protect world leaders,” the Globe and Mail reported on May 11, 2010. 'Federal contract tenders obtained by The Globe indicate a small army will descend on Canada's largest city this June, exceeding the estimated 6,000-police-officer presence at Vancouverâ's 2010 Olympics.

" Does bombing an Ottawa bank further the anti-globalist agenda? Or does it provide the state with yet another reason to crack down on peaceful protesters and label them as violent anarchists? "

People should really wake up to what politics have become. If not, we soon be living in a world where the actions and deeds of ordinary people, will be criminal in the eyes of any government; and the actions of a sitting government will be always morally superior to its citizens.

Subject: Hubris 2010 - Scientists create artificial...
From: Robert Ede

After skimming this article, Scientists create artificial life in laboratory - Times Online

(found on ... I had a few thoughts brought to mind ...

a) 'Synth' (remember the movie "Simone" with Al Pacino)

b) baby step - towards what? more funding?

c) how many of these small-and-maybe-significant-in many-years "discoveries" do we hear of each day/month/yr?

Why cannot all these "I can be God too" scientists (like this Craig Venter, genome-mapping chap), put aside their individual, very-important-to-themselves-but-of -distant-future-benefit-to-all-of-us tasks for a while and instead collaborate all-at-once & for-as-long-as-it-takes to find a "use" for spent Nuclear Power Plant fuel.

Surely that "waste" sitting in expensive-to-create and expensive-to-maintain underground or underwater warehousese can be recycled in some way to 1) produce energy/heat/electricity /etc, or 2) be re-used in the nuke plants, or refitted coal plants or 3) become non-radioactive thus removing the warehousing cost.

Stop giving government funding to any project other than ones that commit to spending a minimum 75% of their time (and that funding) on the Nuke-waste idea .... and who also agree to collaborate with all others doing likewise.

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: LTEin Calgary Sun--legal duty to audit MPs!!!

Auditor general must act
Not only does federal auditor general Sheila Fraser have the power to audit the expenses of MPs, whether or not they invite her to do so, a strong argument can be made that she is legally required to do the audit at least every few years under the Auditor General Act. Given that it has been 20 years since MPs were audited, the auditor general will essentially be failing to fulfil her legal duties if she waits any longer to audit the $500 million spent by MPs annually.
Duff Conacher
Democracy Watch
(Fraser should get on with it.)

From: Brent Cameron

Dear Joe and the DD Denizens:
I feel compelled to comment on an item posted:
Ron Thornton is absolutely right about the cyclist issue, but I would ike to interject a couple of more points: Under the laws of Ontario, they are considered 'motor vehicles'. Some years ago, a punk student with a pretty big mouth, smashed into the door as my wife was exiting the car. We learned the hard way that a moving vehicle has right of way over a parked one, and it cost me a pretty penny.
That was fine, and I accepted the logic, but in the course of the police interview, the obnoxious cyclist had confessed after my wife was found at fault that he had nearly been hit twice earlier that day. The police officer, sensing the kamikaze driving style of the bike operator, decided to not assess a fine or points, but this punk was clear to put a claim on my insurance.
Understand that this fine young university student endeared himself when, not particularly injured or incapacitated, was yelling and swearing at my wife. She had our newborn son in the back and indicated that she wanted to check to see how he was. This 'gentleman' declared that he "did not give a f*** about the baby - what about the front rim of his bike." He also went on about his father - a doctor - and how there may be several things wrong with him (Funny that he refused to go to the hospital, though.) Mind you, his mouth didn't run off so much when my 6'3" 275 lb. frame showed on the scene (Theres a physics lesson for you).
I say this not because I do not believe that cyclists have rights - clearly they do. Unfortunately they do not hold any commensurate responsibilities.
In an accident, or in the regular flow of traffic, they are equal to cars, and that is fine, but:
1. Unlike cars, you do not need a license. I know people will argue this point in some limited cases, but you can operate a bike on city streets without papers;
2. To operate a car, I need to undergo training, a probationary period, and a government supervised test. For a bike, I just needed my father to push me from behind and yell "Keep peddling, son!";
3. Unlike cars, you can drive on the sidewalk, often forcing pedestrians to the side or off the walk;
4. Unlike cars, you don't necessarily need to observe highway traffic laws. Any car driver doing half of what the nornal cyclist does on the streets of this country would be in jail with their car impounded;
5. By my observation, cyclists weave in and out of traffic and rarely signal - again, things that would put a motor vehicle driver in lockup.
There is, of course, another, and even more galling fact.
Governments finance the building and maintenance of roads and streets from tax revenue generated by motor vehicles - excise taxes on fuel, as well as provincial licensing systems. Cyclists, by extension, pay nothing toward the upkeep of the roads that they use. They don't even get parking tickets!
It's bad enough that they enjoy all of the rights of a car with none of the responsibilities, and it adds insult to injury that they contribute nothing toward the maintenance of the roads that they use. What galls me is that after all of this, they are arrogantly beligerent, preachy, and obnoxiously holier-than-thou about their pure form of transporation as opposed to the evil and debased motorcar.
Cars are subjected to more stringent regulations, and drivers pay the freight for the bikers. Until they start sharing in the upkeep of the roads they think they own, and observe the same kinds of safe operating rules as those of us behind the wheel, I will have as much respect for them as they apparently have for people like me.
Brent Cameron
Paying taxes for every inch I move.

From: Rebecca Gingrich
To: <>, Joe Hueglin <>


Mr. Duffy--a 'proven' 'leader'.  Please state your proof.  Seems I remember another statement about 'proof'--a proof is a proof---?

Do you mean that our whole reason for being in the next few months is only the G20 and the G8 summit, while ignoring the plight of Canadians trying to survive our 'financial security and Canadian health'?   Or is that on the back burner for our place on the world stage?  Please give examples of the 'strong leadership' and the results of same.
Sadly, you, Harper, Ignatieff, Layton play the game but refuse to allow the reality of the life Canadians are existing to cloud your picture.  Canadians deserve and demand some concrete governance.  We really can't be concerned about the rest of the world while we don't know where our next meal or health care is coming from.
We know from years of living that the billions we, as Canadian taxpayers, have given to the Third World have done nothing but make their leaders richer.  Just as with our tax dollars in Canada, there is no accountability by those controlling our money.  My son and I were watching TV many years ago.  An ad came on asking for donations for some charity working overseas.  Their plea was that 'they had been doing this work for 50 years'.  My son, who was 8 years old at the time, turned to me and asked, 'if they have been doing this for 50 years why isn't it fixed yet'?  Out of the mouths of babes?

Sorry, I didn't know there was anything but petty politics in Canada.  After all, nothing seems to get done except in our 'democracy' we get to choose different pigs to have the head place at the trough.  Does auditing of MP/Senator expenses ring a bell?  Nothing ever changes.  We get the same rhetoric and taxation while seeing no improvement in our lives.  We pay more for less and then we are supposed to be taxed for breathing on top of everything else?  We are supposed to stop driving, consuming and living to prevent GW but these elite can fly in from all over the world, cost us billions for their 'security' and living high on the hog instead of using video conferencing?  Why do the 'rules' not apply to the more equal? 

Sorry Mr. Duffy.  The 'strong leadership' you see is really the strong smell of rhetoric.  We have no one in Parliament who is capable of 'strong leadership', we have no concrete results and we will soon have no country.  When a meeting of foreign 'leaders' is to take precedence over the governance of Canada for 'the next few months' we know we are in trouble. 

Rebecca Gingrich
Princeton, Ontario

From: John Halonen

To Mike Duffy:

Mike, your conservative roots are beginning to cloud the truth. 

First off, a proven leader.
  Perhaps to staunch Conservatives like yourself, but to most Canadians he is not there.
  For the rest of the world, there really is a different opinion. In fact these other words are used to describe       him.

Second, the low tax plan and high-tax agenda.
   The last time our budget was balanced was by a previous government and it was not Conservative.

Third, the other weak reckless parties.
    Even the PQ have not sold out Canada like the Conservatives have. Your motto should be, sell all of
Canada's assets, fight wars where our Canadian soldiers die, follow a direction for Climate change that mimics the destroying of a planet like the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Everything for profit is not always the way to go. That is, unless you wish to destroy Canada`s future or our world for our children.

Harper is taking us down the wrong path and you should be willing to admit it.

John Halonen

And if you have the time,  please read the blog to view some of your Conservative ideals

Oshawa, Ontario

From: "Efstratios \(Stratos\) Psarianos"
Subject: And so we're gods now ...

And man made life
Artificial life, the stuff of dreams and nightmares, has arrived

TO CREATE life is the prerogative of gods. Deep in the human psyche, whatever the rational pleadings of physics and chemistry, there exists a sense that biology is different, is more than just the sum of atoms moving about and reacting with one another, is somehow infused with a divine spark, a vital essence. It may come as a shock, then, that mere mortals have now made artificial life.

Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith, the two American biologists who unravelled the first DNA sequence of a living organism (a bacterium) in 1995, have made a bacterium that has an artificial genome­creating a living creature with no ancestor (see article). Pedants may quibble that only the DNA of the new beast was actually manufactured in a laboratory; the researchers had to use the shell of an existing bug to get that DNA to do its stuff. Nevertheless, a Rubicon has been crossed. It is now possible to conceive of a world in which new bacteria (and eventually, new animals and plants) are designed on a computer and then grown to order.

From: Julia
To: <>, <>
Cc: <>

Subject: Re: Now is the time for leadership not petty politics

To Senator Duffy,
I am writing in response to your e-mail send-out letter which I have included below for your reference.
You call Mr. Harper a "proven leader". By his own actions, he has proven he is a failure as a real leader. He has proven that he feels above the law and Canada's democratic process. He abused the prorogation procedure twice. The first time was to avoid losing power through a democratic confidence vote. At that time, he spread disinformation (information that is intended to mislead) to the Canadian people by decrying the coalition that had formed in opposition to him as undemocratic.This is a PM who will stoop so low as to lie to citizens about their own system of government in an attempt to justify his undemocratic power play. The second time he prorogued was for apparently no reason except to avoid accountability on the Afghan detainee issue. Prorogation is NOT a procedure to be abused for political advantage or avoidance of accountability. Since December and up until just recently he was in contempt of Parliament regarding the release of Afghan detainee documents. Only when he was forced to comply by the Speaker's ruling did he relent. Where is a country heading, when its own leader does not respect, and must be forced to abide by its own laws and systems of governance? A dictatorship.
A real leader governs. Harper governs as though on a perpetual election campaign - ready to pull the election trigger. That is not leadership; that's brinksmanship. He is always on the campaign trail for the Harper-brand Conservative Party. Such posturing is antithetical to governing this country. His decisions and policies ignore expert opinion and advice (gun registry), scientific consensus (climate change), studies and statistics (tough on crime policies which do not reduce crime but will cost us billions) and the will of the majority of Canadians (we voted in a minority government which demands cooperation and working with Opposition parties). He is not a real leader. A real leader makes wise, sound choices for the good of Canada as a country. A real leader does not divide a country, but unites it. A real leader makes decisions and enacts policies for the good of all citizens, not just to appeal to, or appease the party base.
Harper clings to and hides behind the issue of the economy as perhaps his only saving grace. However, like most Canadians, I know that Canada is only in relatively good economic shape not because of Harper's so-called leadership, but because of the good leadership and stewardship of past Canadian governments. Harper flailed about without any ideas or direction when the global economy first crashed. His advice to Canadians was to buy stocks. And, had Harper had his way with deregulating Canada's banks, we would be in much more trouble because of him. Good past governance has spared Canada, it was not Harper.
Harper is a proven failure. Your letter is pure propaganda. Your blind support and propping up of such a poor PM tells me that your true role is nothing more than a party mouthpiece, bought for the price of a senate seat. And because of that, you do Canada and your senate seat much dishonour, Senator Duffy.