Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daily Digest May 22, 2011



Love him or hate him, we could use a Ron Paul
Just the spark for Senate reform?
Power woes for Alberta Tories

What Newfoundland & Labrador Can Teach the Rest of Canada About 21st Century Globalization

Stephen Harper gives Canadians the finger
Kinsella: The bombshell came on Wednesday around noon, right after Prime Minister Stephen Harper had finished taking questions from reporters. The media were already cranky. MORE...

>>>>>>>>>>INFOS <<<<<<<<<<[]

From: "Rory J. Koopmans"
Subject: Chief Medical Officer's Log: Supplemental

Rory J. Koopmans, B. Admin.
15902-100A Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB. T5P 0L8
 May XIXth, MMXI
Joe Hueglin,
The Canadian Daily Digest
      In the sovereign nation of Syria, we have a dictator who is President only because his father held the job before him with an iron grip, murdering thousands. Like father, like son: Dr. Bashar Assad has responded to violent uprisings by killing approximately 971 of his own citizens so far. What I find funny is that the Syrian Chief Executive is a signer of the hippocratic oath as he is an Opthamologist, or eye surgeon by his most excellent medical education. This education included a stint in England. If I am a Doctor, I take an oath to serve the medical needs of the human race not to harm, but to help. Perhaps Dr. Bashar Assad should give up his medical license so he can continue the killing free & clear of having to worry about any moral fibre!

From: Ron Thornton

*Hi Joe:

I don't get what all the ruckus is about regarding Harper sending a couple of former Senators back after their defeat in the election. I don't get the surprise that defeated candidates find their way to the Senate, either, as the Liberals and Conservatives have made that a usual practice since the beginning of the nation. If you don't like various aspects of the Senate, urge for its reformation, or don't get your knickers in a knot when traditional practices continue.

As for the lesson in the roots of democracy you put forth in the latest Digest, it should be pointed out that the definition of citizen, the "who" of who were able to participate, did not include everyone...and still does not, some for reasons I completely agree with. However, the is a subject for lively debate at another time.

Ron Thornton *

From: John Halonen

Joe: Sent earlier today but reference URL may have been incorrect.
Harper`s Comments at Great Slave Lake!

"Isn't it a shame when someone loses their home."

My thoughts exactly, however

It really is a shame when Harper`s Conservatives cause it!

John Halonen

From: Rebecca Gingrich
Subject: [On-Guard] CWB   DD
Joe--in a democracy, nothing like the compulsory CWB should exist in the first place.  What does compulsory control of sales of the product of a farmers private produce have to do with the democracy that we are supposed to have in Canada?  It is the compulsory part of the CWB that is wrong.  The very fact that they have made it compulsory shows that most farmers don't want it.  I know farmers who only grow crops that are not under the boot of the CWB  so they can avoid the bureaucracy involved and make an honest dollar on what they have worked to produce.
I don't understand what rabble is saying--does this mean that only things controlled by government are strong???  I hate to burst rabble's bubble but Cargill already controls the CWB. 

Anyone who believes government control of our lives makes our life better is in need of help.  Below is a story about the USDA in the US--and this is exactly what the CWB is all about.
Subject: [On-Guard] CWB   DD

Joe--in a democracy, nothing like the compulsory CWB should exist in the first place.  What does compulsory control of sales of the product of a farmers private produce have to do with the democracy that we are supposed to have in Canada?  It is the compulsory part of the CWB that is wrong.  The very fact that they have made it compulsory shows that most farmers don't want it.  I know farmers who only grow crops that are not under the boot of the CWB  so they can avoid the bureaucracy involved and make an honest dollar on what they have worked to produce.
I don't understand what rabble is saying--does this mean that only things controlled by government are strong???  I hate to burst rabble's bubble but Cargill already controls the CWB. 

Anyone who believes government control of our lives makes our life better is in need of help.  Below is a story about the USDA in the US--and this is exactly what the CWB is all about.
Subject: DD
Pensions were introduced to Parliament in 1952, after then-prime minister Louis St. Laurent said the lack of assurance of being able to afford to live comfortably in the future was turning some good candidates away from politics.

Read more:

This sentence in the article posted on the DD made me ill.  No problem if Canadians who have to pay into the MP pensions and their own pensions receive a tiny fraction of what these elitists get in their pension???  Does any company care how their fired people live afterwards?  I remember when Paul Martin shut down Voyageur Buslines the people who worked there did not get their pensions because there was no money left.  That was ok for the serfs but I wonder how much pension and severance Martin got when he left politics?  But then, they are entitled to their entitlements?
From: Mahmood Elahi
To: <>
Subject: To stem tyranny of the majority, listen to the invcentors of democracy

The Editor
The Ottawa Citizen
Copy to Mr. Brian Lee Crowley, Managing Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute: Democracy is about public participation in the political process and not a powerplay between the parties. Quebec voters have shown rare wisdom by rejecting all traditional power brokers and voted for the NDP because they wanted real change. Contrary to what you say, this is a good news for Canada as the Quebecers seem to have opted for autonomy within Canada instead of outright secession.
Prof. Desmond Morton, Director, The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, with reference to our earlier exchanges on the subject.
To stem tyranny of the majority, listen to the inventors of democracy
Re "Harper's Senate appointments set of a political firestorm," by Althia Raj and "A rare misplay by Quebec," by Brian Lee Crowley (May 21).
Democracy was invented by the ancient Athenians who believed that aristocrats and oligarchs didn't have any divine right to rule and ordinary citizens must have a say in the governing. So they invented a system of government involving all citizens and called it Demokratia -- government by the people.
Democracy is a beautiful idea, but like all beautiful ideas, it has some inherent contradictions and the most seductive one is majority rule. But this is not democracy, only a government by the majority. When the Athenians allowed the majority to rule, the poor majority imposed heavy taxes on the rich minority. To stem any tyranny of the majority, they created the Athens Council, composed of 500 citizens chosen through lottery. The Athens Council had the power to override any decision that ignored the legitimate concerns of the minority.
Simiarly we can turn our patrnonage-driven Senate into a nonpartisan body like the Athens Council. The Senators will be appointed by an all-party committee (or even by the prime minister) on a nonpartisan basis in the way the Supreme Court Judges are being appointed. The Senators will not have any formal ties to any political party even though they may share some of their ideology. The Senate will have the power to override any decision that ignores the legitimate concerns of others. This will also discourage the prime minister to appoint anyone on partisan considerations. Like the Athens Council, a nonprtisan Senate will provide a check on the tyranny of the majority.
As for Quebec, the voters there might have voted for real change by rejecting all traditional parties. They have clearly opted for autonomy within Canada instead of outright separation. Contrary to what Brian Crowley says, this is the best piece of news in an otherwise dismal election.
Finally, Prime Minister Stephen Harper must realize that democracy is not a tyranny of the majority. It is a system of government in which all citizens and their representatives must have a say in the governing. After winning a majority, he has shown his autocratic tendencies by appointing Senators who have been rejected by the voters. This is inevitable in a system without any chack. Inventors of democracy realized this long ago.

From: Peggy Merritt
Subject: re Gerry Ritz

Hi Joe:  I don't know very much about the Wheat board.   But I have heard that it is a form of protectionism and that it is impeding our efforts to be part of the Trade partnership that Canada wants to be included in, in the Pacific trade area.  It think it is a pity that farm produce is so controlled by marketing Boards and that instead of the wonderful farms that  produced their own special cheese they no longer exist because of the controls on dairy products. We do need some changes that open up our markets and give some real entrepreneurs  opportunities to thrive.  Thanks Peggy merritt

From: Mahmood Elahi
To: "Kate Malloy"
Subject: By electing the NDP, Quebec has opted for autonomy instead of sovereignty

Ms Kate Malloy
Editor, The Hill Times, Ottawa
By electing the NDP, Quebec has opted for autonomy instead of sovereignty
By massively voting for the NDP, the francophone voters in Quebec might have voted for real change. They were tired of voting for the Bloc and they didn't want to vote for the Conservatives and the Liberals -- the horses they tried before at the federal level. So they voted for the NDP which never enjoyed power federally. This is why they even elected the NDP candidates who didn't campaign during the election.
This is essentailly a protest vote against conventional parties. Canada's two main parties -- the Conservatives and the Liberals -- have shown little interest in understanding Quebec. Quebec's deeper concerns stem from living in an overwhelmingly English-speaking continent. Seven million francophones in Quebec are not only a minority vis a vis 25 million English-speakers in Canada, they also live next-door to 300 million English-speaking Americans whose language and culture permeate the entire Canadian society. Without some conscious measures, the French language and culture in Quebec might face unstoppable assimilation. Separation will not resolve the problem and may even accentuate it as Quebec might be inextricably drawn toward economic integration with the United States.
If the NDP plays its cards well, it will open up the tantalizing possibility of the NDP replacing the Liberals as an alternative to the Parti Quebecois provincially. As an alternative to the separatist Parti Quebecois, the NDP can help improve federal provincial relations by convincing the francophone majority in Quebec that autonomy within Canada can best address Quebec's existentialist concerns about its linguistic and cultural identity.
I myself woud have voted for the NDP for the same reason. But I was away to Shanghai, China and missed the opportunity. But I am pleased that the NDP has been given a chance to be the Official Opposition to Mr. Harper's Conservative majority. This is the best one can hope in an otherwise dismal election. Prime Minister Harper is already showing his autocratic tendencies by his patronage appointments of Senators who have been rejected by the voters in the election. The NDP will have tough time to stopping such patronage appointment given Harper has his majority. But it will have a stronger hand as no one can blame the NDP of doing the same while in power. The Liberals cannot accuse the Conservatives of abusing power by patronage appointment because they did the same when in power. It would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Free from such burden of power, the NDP can provide a more effective opposition to the Conservatives.

From: Jean-Francois

Mr. Hueglin,
I have used the DD alot when I ran as a Conservative candidate in 2004 in Quebec.  It helped me have a better understanding of the issues and opinions across Canada.  Unfortulately, the kids are growing up, the career is moving forward but time is disappearing!  Thank you for all those years of service to pundits and Canadians but respecfully request to be removed from your distribution list.  I don't really remember the last time I went through a DD.
Health and happiness to you and your Family!

From: Robert Ede
Subject: What "signalled" the voters of Quebec to "change colours"?

As a non-reader of the Quebec French papers/blogs, and non-viewer/listener of the Quebec broadcast networks, I have but one question --"What triggered the collective voting swing to the "orange" social-democrats from the Bloc? "
or am I right in assuming that the candidates running for the NDP in Quebec were well-known local advocates and organizers who just carried out a series of independent and well-run campaigns that co-incidentally elected so many new faces?
-Did the Bloc "blow it?",
-did "le stache" say just the right thing in the debates?,
-was the NDP policy just-so 'apropos' to the times?
- Did some newspaper editorial, political notable etc "give the nod" to these now-elected, paper-candidates?
I think this is important to discover -
- it took many (Ontarians like) me years to discover that most of Mulroney's 1984 Quebec members were well-known local PQ-istes masquerading as Progressive Conservatives - but everybody in a Belle Province knew it.
Robert Ede,

From: Ray Strachan
Subject: Fw: What is the stupidest animal on earth ,other than The Human Being?

Friends   (Well that's a stretch)
Tired of trying to figure out the answer to ,"How is it possible that Humanity has evolved into this absolutely marvellous state of "thinking" ability?"    Total grasp of history etc.
Just for a break from that monotony, just type into your Search Engine,the simple subject line of this email.
Go ahead , It will probably just confirm your belief in the human intelligence factor.  Oh yes, absolutely,without  fear,    Have no fear.   Just like now,nothing bad has ever happened to North America. That's a fact. There is food in the fridge, a bit of, or maybe lots, of money in the bank.     What could possibly be wrong ? What could possibly go wrong,? What could possibly already have  gone wrong.?       No, don't look under thy bed,   you don't really want to expose the centipedes or reptiles. (Keep them secret,like, don't look,  don't look and they cant  hertchya, right?      Well, we did get away with that while the snakes were working elsewhere.But,but,,     Ah    jeez,  hope I didn't get over anyones head here.


From: Mahmood Elahi
Subject: Not-so-cheap labour anymore

The Editor
New Internationalist, London, England
 Not-so-cheap labour anymore
Re Cover story: "China rising: How cheap migrant labour fuels the economic miracle," by Richard Swift (April 2011).
I have just returned from a month-long visit to Shanghai, Beijing and other cities of China. It has been a rewarding experience to see a vast country on the march. China is going through a period of rapid industrial, economic and social transformation unparalleled in human history. Shanghai seems to be a city of the future with high-speed Maglev (magnetically levitated) trains running at the breakneck speed of 430 kilometres an hour. The highways and expressways are filled with latest model cars and China has already overtaken America as the world's biggest market for cars. While the United States and other Western countries are slowly recovering from the Great Recession, China is growing at a blistering rate of 10 per cent. As Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf noted: "The West's reputation for financial and economic competence is in tatters, while that of China has soared."
I was interested to watch two aspects of the Chinese society: the alleged violations of human rights of its citizen and the exploitation of cheap labour by the corporations. My observations seem to differ to many other reports published by news media in the West.
While China is the most security concious country -- you go through anti-terrorism security checks every time you board a train, subway or visit any museum -- there is little evidence of police presence seen in most developing countries. The main police presence is traffic police who are mostly diminutive and rather affable police women. These ladies are whistling desperately to control the mad traffic of Shanghai. But they are extremely helpful and always smiling.
About the cheap labour, things have been changing recently. It is true that China's industrial resurgence has been at the expense of the cheap labour force migrating to coastal cities. They were instrumental in China's rise as an industrial superpower within a short time. But with the central government's decision to develop China's interior areas, the migration has not only stalled, there is now a reverse migration taking place. The new industral centre is Chonging -- a inland city of 33 million, possibly the most populous city in the world. Chonging is rapidly becoming a centre for automobile, machine tools, electronics and aero-space industries -- a far cry from garment and toymaking industries of the coastal cities.. Also the new emphasis of the Chinese government is based on domestic consumption away from export-led growth. As a result, many workers are returning to the interior as it is near to home. It is estimated that 20 per cent of those working in coastal cities didn't return after last new year's holidays.
As such, most foreign corporations in coastal cities have been forced to raise wages to keep the labour. U.S. fast-food giant  KFC signed its first collective agreement in China with its employees in Shenyang last June. Their minimum monthly wage has been raised to 900 yuan ($137 at the official rate, although yuan's real worth may be much higher) from 700 yuan ($106), and workers will also have an annual pay raise of 5 per cent or more. Facing a critical shortage of labour, most companies have no alternative but to raise the wage. "Local governments used to to protect foreign investors' interests too much and ignore the local labour force's benefits," said . Wang Xianqing,  professor of business studies at Guangdong University. "But now things have gradually changed as the labour shortage problem is highlighted in China."
However, the rising labour costs have not hindered foreign companies's expansion in China. Foreign retailers, such as Wallmart and Carrefour , are moving into inland cities by opening more stores.
"Cheap labour is not the most important  advantage in attracting foreign investment," said Zhang Zong, vice president of Aon Hweitt Greater China. "Multinational companies are putting more emphasis on China's market potential."
New strategy of both government and the companies is centered on the China's vast market of 1 billion plus increaseingly affluent customers and not exporting cheap goods overseas. Rising incomes of ordinary Chinese are fueling this growth.
Finally, authoritarian China is also changing politically and the Chinese people are enjoying the freedom unthinkable only a decade ago. As Hong Kong-based investment consultant Edward Tse writes in his bestselling The China Strategy: "The fact is that the Chinese people have far more freedom in almost every area of life than ever before ... this is confirmed  by surveys, such as a 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center that concludes that the satisfaction level of the Chinese people with their government ranks among the world's highest."
2240 Iris Street, Ottawa, Canada.

From: "Efstratios (Stratos) Psarianos"

Three stooges and four ministers are messages from Harper.. MORE...
Well, at least it can be said that the QC contingent will be overworked. As concerns Senate stooges ... bravo! Rather than going after the institution directly, he's done what both Liberals and Conservatives have been doing since at least the 70s: neutralizing it by delegitimization.
Sending hockey players (and their illiterate coaches
ç illiterate, for real!), nuns, pokey fogeys, and assorted no-names (along with somne capable individuals, I must add) is a great way to slowly draw the curtain across the outdated thing. No lords in Canada, so no domesticized House of Lords either.
Well done!
Senate posts for voter rejects snub the wishes of the people.. MORE...
All's well: in Canada, the political dead either return to the obscurity whence they came or they go to political Heaven in the Senate, if they're so inclined.
Quebecers anxiously eye newbie MPse. MORE...
Anxiously yawn, actually.
A rare misplay by Quebecl.. MORE...
Rare misplay. Ya think? Our tradition is similar to Alberta's: a leader (and ideally his caucus) have to show that they really mean to govern and to address issues of the day. Wandering around announcing 'investment' in various initiatives rather than identifying issues, problems, and intended actions (note: NOT 'Let's be nicer to each other' vacuity à la Ignatieff) and convincing voters that one has the guts to do it: that's the sure way to turnoff voters here.
Plus, misplay: the misplay was to have voted a protest party as QC's delegation for 20 years.
McGuinty Liberals bogged down by power policy.. MORE...
Really? Because their power policy is both very expensive AND ineffective? Pas possible! (I'm an electrical engineer, by the way.)
In Ottawa, at least, we're pulling for the Canucks.. MORE...
Moi aussi, here in Montreal. I've been with them from the start of the Series. Their time has come.
Appointments will fuel backlash against Senate, parties say
Which is precisely what Mr. Harper intends to happen. Kewl!
'Vegas girl' acknowledges her luck, embraces new challenges in Ottawa

Crapped out in Vegas, crapped in in Québec. Everyone's a winner here!
Thomas Mulcair works hard to know it all

As well he should. Now that he's The Senior of the majority QC delegation at the NDP caucus, he's learning not to say silly things off the top of his head, with emphasis on things that aren't under his responsibility. Like foreign policy, when he said a day or two after the recent election that he doubts that the US had pics of Obie Laden shot up.
Why did all the West's big centrist parties go down the drain?
Same reason that one shouldn't invest in 'balanced' investment funds: why have a party's brains do half-time on two sides when one can alternate between parties that work full-time on alternate shifts? Distraction versus alternating focus is what the issue is.
Unions rattled by Clement's tough-guy stance on public service cuts
*Shock, dismay* Well, what .. there IS a deficit to cut, you know? Conveniently enough, starting soon, more people will be retiring than will be entering the labour force. Just don't replace retirees and either manage thereafter (e.g., computerize stuff) or drop certain activities is all.
There's scope for dropping headcount: the Feds have been dropping taxes, which leaves scope for the provinces to raise theirs and take up some manpower slack. Plus, there's scope for dropping Fed activities that overlap provincial ones.
Tory MPs 'delivered'

Now pray God they're not malformed.
Harper government moving to end party subsidies
Libbies and Blockies: parties over.
Critics blast promotion of Paradis
Zzzzzz … dog bites man.
NATO allies push majority Tories to up Afghanistan role
Now that Max Bernier's back in cab, Mae West shipments can begin again. Except that this time, they'll go to the Afghan Army, lucky sods.
Erratic information fuels mistrust of TEPCO AFP - 12 minutes ago
That, and the fact that problems have been piling up for decades and TEPCO's bosses preferred to bow and put their smiley faces on rather than deal with them. Then again, that's how all of Japan is run so they fit right in with everyone else.
And to think that 30 years ago we worried that diminutive, polite Nipponese would buy up all of our stuff and enslave us. China, take heed.