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Title: Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2008-12-04 18:37:31

It is sad to watch self serving bastards of all shape, creed and colour flush any hope we have of managing this economic disaster in Canada. The Self Lubricating Uncaring Tyrants of office of all stripes are playing partisan politics at the expense of the country and bend us over yet again.



Source: CBC (
Author: Neil Macdonald, Washington file
Date: December 3, 2008

Dear neighbour, about what's going on in Canada

My dear American neighbours,
I see the political crisis in Canada has finally made it into the Washington Post's Foreign Briefs column.
So, anticipating a flood of interest from all of you at the dog run in the morning, let me try to give you some idea of what's happening up there.

A few weeks ago, we had an election in Canada, a couple of weeks before yours, actually. A political party known as the Conservatives won.

Well, sort of. They didn't win in the sense that most of you understand winning. I'll get to that in a second.
They also aren't what most of you would consider conservative.
They support what you call socialized medicine, they believe in protecting a Canadian-controlled banking system, they believe in government as a vehicle for transferring wealth between regions, and they've actually muzzled party members who tried to make abortion a campaign issue.

In fact, instead of making his Sunday trip to church a photo opportunity, our Conservative leader refuses to discuss his faith in public. (Like many Americans, he's an evangelical Christian).

Different kettle of fish
So our Conservatives are a bit different from yours. Down here, you'd probably call them Democrats. And fairly liberal ones at that.

But, as I said, they won our last election, which is a pretty low-key affair compared to yours. The campaign lasted a few weeks instead of two years.

What's more, they won with only 37 per cent of the vote. Now, you can do that in Canada because our Parliament has three other political parties: The Liberals (again, pay no attention to the name, they tend to adapt their worldview as needed), the Bloc Québécois (a Quebec party that says it wants to break up the country, but hasn't actually done much about it for many years), and the NDP.

I'm not quite sure how to explain the NDP. The other parties like to call them socialists.
Some of their more doctrinaire members would like the government to nationalize or take a large financial stake in things like banks and manipulate the national economy by spending huge amounts of public money. You know, the sort of thing President George W. Bush has been doing this year.

I know, I know, it's confusing.
Funny old world, isn't it?
So. The Conservatives won our election and formed something called a minority government.
That means the Conservatives can basically be tossed out of office by the opposition parties whenever they feel like it, which usually happens after a year or two. Then there's an election.

This time, though, the opposition parties decided to throw out the government before it really even started governing. But instead of forcing another election, the opposition parties made a deal: they formed a surprise coalition and now they want to take power without consulting voters again.

Americans might have a hard time understanding this sort of thing, but it happens all the time in places like Israel and Italy. Wait, though. Uh, wake up. We're getting to the really interesting part.

The CBC connection
To take over, the opposition parties have to convince our head of state that they can govern effectively. President Bush is your head of state, at least until Barack Obama moves in.

But our head of state isn't elected. It's the Queen. And she's represented up there by someone called a governor general, who is appointed. Voters don't have anything to do with it.

Except for not being elected, a governor general is a lot like your vice-president. Sort of ceremonial. Our governors general travel a lot, cut ribbons, declare holidays for school kids and try to set a good example.

The current office holder, Michaëlle Jean, used to be a CBC reporter. Like me.
Actually, the one before her was once a CBC reporter, too. So were two others in the recent past. In our country, any CBC reporter can dream of becoming head of state.

Letting a journalist decide
Like your vice-president, sometimes a governor general becomes unbelievably important. Right now, for example. Sooner or later, this former TV reporter is going to have to decide who runs Canada.

Now, the Conservatives aren't taking this state of affairs lying down.
They've been talking about shutting down Parliament for a while until they can think of some way to prevent the opposition parties from throwing them out. But they can't just do that. They'd have to convince the Governor General to let them.

It's all very dramatic, you have to admit. Right? Don't you? Hello?
I mean, we Canadians don't have all those big-mouthed cable anchors that you have, but you can imagine what they'd do with a situation like this.

It's the economy
Wait a second. I forgot to explain why all this is happening. Bear with me.
You see, Canada's economy is in trouble. Just like everybody else's.
So when the Conservatives won, most people expected them to turn on the spending taps, the way every other country in the developed world is doing.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for some reason, decided not to.
In fact, last week he had his finance minister announce that the government intends to run a surplus in its next budget. Meaning the government intends to take more in taxes from Canadians than it needs to run the country.

(I know President Bush has never run a surplus. But Canadian governments have, every year for more than a decade, even when the supposedly spendy Liberals were in charge.)

Anyway, in the middle of an economic crisis, Harper's plan didn't go over well with the three opposition parties and they saw their chance.

So that's what's happening.
Actually, if you think about it, our prime minister is doing exactly what President Bush keeps saying he'd like to be doing, instead of authorizing another trillion or so every week in new bailouts.

Maybe it's not such a funny old world after all.

Source: CBCnew (
Author: NA
Date: Thursday, December 4, 2008 | 2:13 PM ET

Decision gives Tories reprieve, thwarts imminent attempt to topple government

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean has granted a request from Stephen Harper to suspend Parliament until late next month, a move that avoids a confidence vote set for Monday that could have toppled his minority government.


"Following my advice, the Governor General has agreed to prorogue Parliament," Harper said outside Rideau Hall after a 2½-hour meeting with Jean.

Harper would not reveal the content of the discussion, citing constitutional traditions, but he said the first order of business when Parliament resumes Jan. 26 will be the presentation of the federal budget.

"The economy is the priority now, and the public is very frustrated with the situation in Parliament. We're all responsible for that," he said in French.

Monday's no-confidence vote could have precipitated the rise of a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition, supported by the Bloc Québécois, or it could have resulted in another election, depending on the Governor General's response.

The decision to suspend Parliament — made after Jean cut short a two-week trip to Europe — only gives the Tories a reprieve until Parliament resumes in about two months. At that point, the party could be brought down when it tables the budget, which would be a confidence vote, as all money bills are.

In the interim, the Tories will continue to wage a public relations blitz against the Liberal-NDP coalition. But the opposition parties showed no sign of easing talks of a coalition and planned to continue waging their own campaigns to gain public support.

'Monumental change' required: Dion
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion accused Harper of "running away" from Parliament and said only a "monumental change" from the prime minister would change his position on toppling the government.

"Warm sentiments are not enough. His behaviour must change," Dion told reporters.
NDP Leader Jack Layton suggested that his party may even try to bring down the government at the first opportunity — voting against a speech from the throne even before the Conservatives table the budget.

"We need a government that actually believes in what it's doing," Layton told reporters.
"[Confidence in the government] isn't going to be restored by seven weeks of propaganda."
He also accused Harper of attacking democracy by using a "parliamentary trick to put the locks on the door" so MPs cannot express themselves.

Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, meanwhile, accused Harper of denigrating Quebec voters and asking his supporters to engage in the "worst attacks" against Quebecers since the Meech Lake Accord.

The reference was to the failed negotiations in 1987 aimed at bringing Quebec back into the constitutional fold under then prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Asked whether the Bloc might support the Conservative budget, Duceppe said he would be surprised if Harper met their demands.

Supporters greeted Harper
Anti-coalition protesters wave placards outside Rideau Hall Thursday morning as Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with the Governor General. (CBC)Opposition parties had hoped to have a word with the Governor General before she made her decision. They planned to present her with a petition with signatures from all NDP and Liberal members that the Conservatives had lost the confidence of the House and urging her to accept a coalition government.

Dion, who would head the proposed coalition, had said he sent a letter to Jean on Wednesday, urging her to reject any attempt by Harper to prorogue Parliament.

The Conservatives have lost the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Commons — largely because of their, in the opposition's view, inadequate reaction to Canada's financial crunch — and thus "have lost the right to govern," Dion said.

The Conservative leader had vowed to use "every legal means" to prevent a Liberal-NDP coalition government from taking power and took to the airwaves late Wednesday to make his case to the public.

In a five-minute, pre-recorded statement Wednesday night, Harper spoke bluntly against the coalition backed by "separatists," saying the federal government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together in the face of the global economic crisis.

Economic statement lambasted
The coalition sprang up after the Tories released an economic statement that was lambasted by the opposition parties.
They accused Harper of doing nothing to address the current economic crisis and slammed what they saw as ideologically driven measures such as the proposed elimination of subsidies for political parties, a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike and limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity.

Harper has since backed down on those contentious issues, but the opposition has pushed forward with the coalition.
The coalition — which would have a 24-member cabinet composed of six NDP and 18 Liberal MPs — has vowed to make an economic stimulus package a priority, proposing a multibillion-dollar plan that would include help for the auto and forestry sectors.

With 77 Liberal MPs and 37 New Democrats, plus the support of 49 Bloc members, the three parties have more seats than the 143 held by the Tories.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head
Post by: Jake Sapiens on 2008-12-04 19:25:34

How interesting to see what a world of political difference exists just on the other side of our longest border. Thanks for this Fritz. Yes it does seem like a bunch of drama. One thing that seems obviously different between US and Canada is the sense of timing. Our governments by rule get made or busted by election at election time since we vote directly for our executive, whereas it seems that yours are created/destroyed by election, but after election time . . . providing a window for extra drama opportunity. I guess that would be true of any parlaimentary system, as many of their governments are often multi-party coalitions. -Mo

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head: A nation going down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2008-12-06 13:26:10

This is just so corrupt; power at any cost; these people need to be charged with treason and then dispatched accordingly. I am beside myself that such self serving scum can be allowed to destroy a country and the lives of its citizens and we are powerless to boot.

In utter despair !


Source: National Post (
Author: Kelly McParland
Date: December 02, 2008

Ezra Levant: Dion's hidden agenda may include a Senate seat for Elizabeth May

I was just watching Mike Duffy Live on CTV, and learned that Pauline Marois, the leader of the provincial Parti Quebecois -- the sister party to the separatist Bloc Quebecois -- claims that part of Gilles Duceppe's prizes for supporting the coalition is an extra $1 billion transfer to Quebec. There is no specific mention in the coalition documents, but Marois said the immediate consequence of the agreement is the new Conservative formula for equalization payments is dead in the water; so instead of a $75-million increase in transfer payments, Quebec would get $1 billion in 2009-2010 because the old formula will apply. [Fritz] this is so wrong !

No doubt that news wasn't supposed to spill out until after the dirty deal was done -- Marois needed a boost in her provincial election and so she stole Duceppe's thunder. But surely the only surprising thing about this is that the dollar amount is so low. Surely the Bloc wouldn't agree, in advance, to support two budgets they haven't even seen yet, and to support the coalition in any non-confidence vote.

But on the same show, we learned of other coming pay-offs: There are 18 vacancies in the Senate, including four in Quebec. Not only are the Bloc in line for patronage pay-offs, but Elizabeth May, the Green Party leader, was on Parliament Hill today, and she wouldn't deny that she, too, was offered a Senate seat. [Fritz]Quebec Separatist put in the highest position of power sworn to break up the country, these people would be hung for treason in most other countries .... fuck !

It's a fire sale in Ottawa! Senate seats, billions of dollars, whatever you want -- just make Stephane Dion the prime minister!

Fire sale -- or looting, I'm not sure.

I was debating with some friends in Ottawa whether or not Stephen Harper should fill those Senate seats in the next week; our resolution was that it would be a crass, Liberal thing to do.

But now that I hear what is actually being contemplated for the Senate, I've changed my mind. Giving Stephane Dion 18 seats to hand out to separatists and to May -- to her, as clear quid pro quo for her endorsement of him in the recent election -- ought to be stopped, even if it means a flurry of Senate appointments in the next week by Harper.

National Post

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Jake Sapiens on 2008-12-06 16:34:00

Well, I don't have a dog in this fight, but your point of view sounds reasonable. To me it seems rather hypocritical for a separatist or secessionist party to be a part of any federal government. Any otherwise legitimate party seeking a coalition with such a creature is in effect admitting to their own incompetance at the begining. Not that there aren't good and and productive uses for such rebels, but government work isn't one of them.

Speaking of Separatists, if Sarah Palin ever gets a foothold in the federal government through some hypothetical future GOP administration, we'll be inviting the secessionists in for tea as well. Although she hasn't been a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, her husband has been and she's probably been an honored guest to more of their conventions than the Alaskan GOP. Perhaps Y'all Canadians can take Sarah Palin off our hands by accepting Alaska in to Your union? I'd much appreciate it Fritz, perhaps you can pass that on to the "important people" up there for me.


PS. watch out for their tendency to grab pork out of the barrel. Those Alaskans are probably worse than the Quebecois that way. At least Ted Stevens was openly proud about that, now this Palin chick is just plain dishonest . . . ya know black is white, up is down, and the next thing you know she's the parasite parading a "reformer" name tag. Ted never did anything that hypocritical.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2008-12-06 16:55:21

[Mo]Perhaps Y'all Canadians can take Sarah Palin off our hands by accepting Alaska in to Your union? I'd much appreciate it Fritz, perhaps you can pass that on to the "important people" up there for me.

[Fritz]At this point for a lap dance and a happy ending from Ms. Palin, I'd think more then a few Canuks would consider it, since she is more appealing then the gents screwing us now . While we are being serviced by Madamme Palin and not look'in, yous should at least suck out all the oil before passing Alaska on, or maybe we can put all our and your separatists in Alaska and give it back to Russia.

Any truth to the comments floating about that Alaska is only promised to the US for a given time period from Russia, and will go back just like Hong Kong went back to China from Britian ? This seems unlikely to me.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2008-12-06 17:13:03

[Fritz]Its is so sad all ya can do is laugh ...

Source: CFP (
Author: Editor
Date: Friday, December 5, 2008

Sent in by a reader....


Toronto Maple Leafs Win Stanley Cup - Liberal Coalition with the NDP and Bloc

Canada was stunned Monday when it was announced that The Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, possibly as early as December 6th. The cup will be stripped from from 2008 playoff champions the Detroit Red Wings and be awarded to the Leafs, who didn’t even make the playoffs.

How is this possible, Canadians ask? Well, the Leafs have formed a coalition with eastern conference semi-finalists the Montreal Canadians, and conference quarter finalists the Ottawa Senators, now outnumbering the Red Wings. According to current Leaf coach Ron Wilson “the Red Wings have lost the confidence of the league and should hand the cup over immediately to our coalition”.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is cutting short a European trip to try to resolve the unprecedented hockey crisis that could force a second playoff series, or see an opposing team coalition take the cup.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Jake Sapiens on 2008-12-06 22:52:55

LoL! The Dallas Stars won the 1999 Stanley Cup, so I have some appreciation.

I'm not so sure about the situation whether Alaska goes back to Russia someday. However, I've heard said that Texas has a post Civil War treaty/agreement with the union bringing it back into the republic allowing it to divide into as many as five smaller states. Of course this would collectively give mini-Texases 8 extra electoral college votes to influence the presidential election as well as 8 extra senators to influence fillibusters and to make or break presidential veto over-rides. If Texans ever decide to make such a power grab, perhaps Alaska may object by attempting secession - perhaps Texas may even work out a win-win situatiuon . . . of course Alaska is Republican, but then 8 extra electoral votes which will result will probably be mostly Republican, it may even net a fascist bonus. We have our own secessionists down here, so if they cooperate with the Alaskan Independence Party, perhaps it can be a net gain for the parochial conservatives as well.

Anyways, maybe somebody will truth squad our various subversive theories to see if they hold any legal or factual water. Until then, I say give conspiracy theories a chance. We all can use some entertainment that way now and then.


[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=0#170710 date=1228601583]
[Fritz]Its is so sad all ya can do is laugh ...

Source: CFP (
Author: Editor
Date: Friday, December 5, 2008

Sent in by a reader....


Toronto Maple Leafs Win Stanley Cup - Liberal Coalition with the NDP and Bloc

Canada was stunned Monday when it was announced that The Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, possibly as early as December 6th. The cup will be stripped from from 2008 playoff champions the Detroit Red Wings and be awarded to the Leafs, who didn’t even make the playoffs.

How is this possible, Canadians ask? Well, the Leafs have formed a coalition with eastern conference semi-finalists the Montreal Canadians, and conference quarter finalists the Ottawa Senators, now outnumbering the Red Wings. According to current Leaf coach Ron Wilson “the Red Wings have lost the confidence of the league and should hand the cup over immediately to our coalition”.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is cutting short a European trip to try to resolve the unprecedented hockey crisis that could force a second playoff series, or see an opposing team coalition take the cup.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-15 23:41:37

A little sanctimonious, but I still liked the message.



Source: Vancouver Sun (
Author: Paul St. Pierre
Date: Monday, November 10, 2008

A voice from the grave's edge

As life's end nears, two unpaid debts remain to trouble me. One is to my mother, who is not here to be paid, and the other is to my native land, which provided me a good life.

This is a payment, at least a token payment, to my country.

Few will read all this and fewer will heed. When Dwight D. Eisenhower left office he warned the Americans about the sinister power of the military-industrial complex. Had he been heeded, millions of lives would have been saved or made better, but nobody paid much attention. He was just an old president pegging out. Why listen?

So why should you listen to an old man on the way out, who can only claim to have been a fair newspaperman, a so-so politician, a Western-only novelist and a man no better than average as a wing shot? That's all right. This is not written for a lot of people but for those who are, at this moment, few. If this message reaches only one in 10,000 readers it was worth it.

Listen, I speak to you in the head, peoples.

Our Canada is now very close to a condition in which everything that is not compulsory is forbidden. We have become prisoners of the state. Like modern jail prisoners, all our needs for balanced diet, climate-controlled shelter, approved and tested medication, mental health counselling, higher education, suitable entertainment, grief counselling and consensual safe sex are available free. The inmate lacks only freedom itself.

When I was young, Canadians were born almost free; now we are born in manacles of silk and gold.

To the recent generations, this is hyperbole. I understand that. I also understand that young people cannot be expected to miss freedom. How can you miss what you never had? But a few of the old may remember and a few of the young might feel the tug of curiosity. I hope so.

Scarcely a day passes when our rulers do not devise some new law or regulation having the force of law, complete with fines and prison penalties. No one knows how many there are. Even the rulers couldn't find the number when they tried a few years ago. Suffice to say there are enough that everyone is a criminal now.

Here and there a free voice rings out. The Law Reform Commission of Canada quoted, in its first report, the old Roman senator, Cato: "The more the laws, the more the criminals." Even half a century ago, the commission recognized that there were already so many laws that nobody could know more than a few of them and that whether or not you are hauled into court to answer for a crime is not so much a matter of justice but a bureaucratic decision as to whether it seems productive to prosecute.

Among recent decisions we have accepted:

1. Our Supreme Court, repeating George Orwell, ruled that although all Canadians are equal before the law, some are more equal than others.

2. Thought Police arrived. They invent the crime which they investigate, invent the trial procedures and invent the penalties. Careers and lives have been ruined. Many more will be. Who now remembers that extraordinary woman, Queen Elizabeth I, who said it was not the business of the state to "pry into men's souls."

3. In the past 20 years we began a changeover from the British system of justice, in which every man is innocent until proven guilty, to the continental European system, often called the Napoleonic Code, in which the state obliges the citizen to prove innocence of anything the state may choose to suspect. A sample: If you have $10,001 in your pocket our rulers may simply take it and you will never get it back unless and until you prove you obtained it in a way the rulers consider suitable. In 2001 we got a gun control law under which citizens can be obliged to give evidence not only against their own family but also against themselves. Nobody seemed to much care. In Britain an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) may commit some pranksome juvenile to prison, even though old British Common Law could not. In the United States you can be put in a cage for five or six years and never allowed to see a lawyer or learn what the charge against you is.

4. By the beginning of this millennium the shape of things to come was clear for those many Canadians, almost all of us, indeed, whose ancestors fled the Old World seeking freedom. Arbitrary rule, Star Chamber courts, class distinction, the creation of a courtier class who have almost exclusive access to the ears of the rulers, and finally the deadly dreary cult of political correctness.

5. Already ordinary people have learned to watch their tongues. This piece would be far more open and more honest were it not for the fear that some Oldspeak or Badthink would prevent it ever being printed. We are all individuals but because of our very individualism, we have permitted tyranny. Individualism does not nourish quick or concerted actions. We individuals drifted lazily into tyranny, accepting the view that the common people can never behave decently unless controlled by carrots and whips. James Madison, a framer of the U.S. Constitution, foresaw it. Americans, he said, could be depended upon to reject a tyrant who came against them bloody sword in hand, but they might surrender freedoms, one by one, to people who assured them it was for their own good. That is exactly what happened, in the United States as in Canada. The Americans try to disguise their wretched state of submission to the rulers by hooting and shrieking the word freedom, tossing firecrackers around and, most recently -- the supreme irony -- calling unconstitutional and oppressive legislation The Patriot Act. An American must bullshit. His health demands it. If he cannot bullshit a foreigner he will bullshit himself, but he has to do it.

6. There is worse. Americans now have revived practices of the Spanish Inquisition and permit their police to torture suspects to obtain appropriate "confessions." Where Americans lead, Canadians usually follow. Statism and totalitarianism, which we spent so much blood and money to fight in the Second World War and the Cold War, rise everywhere. They will keep rising until the private, secret impulse to freedom among individual men and women becomes a working majority. It will. First this majority will be silent and almost invisible. Then, overnight it will seem, it will emerge as a tempest which will sweep most of what we know today into history's garbage can, both the good and the bad. Blood will run.

Is there nothing we can do?

Of course there is, otherwise why waste this space?

1. Put no faith in any major political party. The allegedly profound philosophic differences among big parties are either trivial or imaginary. By their very nature big parties, like big newspapers, cannot lead, they can only follow what they judge to be public taste.

2. Act within small groups. You may be effective as a member of your local school board or Gladiola Society. You are unlikely to have an even detectable impact on a big political party as a voter or on a big company as an employee.

3. Soon we shall be permitted to walk around in our Canada only by carrying internal passports, a more elaborate document than the driver's licence which at present serves for control of the proletariat. What can one do? There is an answer. When internal passports become law, do as terrorists and gangsters do -- obtain more than one workable identity.

4. Try to increase the readership of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four and Animal Farm, and J.B. Priestley's Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. If it did not violate a basic principle, I would urge these books be compulsory reading in our schools. Those were the most prescient writers of the 20th century.

5. Never forget this: Any government may lie, cheat, murder and steal, for "the public good."

6. Remember Canada is small and remember also that a big world power can never be a true friend of a small power. Read Tito.

7. Although family is a diminishing force and may continue to fade, it remains the best social organism ever known to mankind. Sacrifice for it.

8. Without losing too much sleep, join the underground economy.

9. Fight for the Internet. It may be our last, best hope. Oppose, evade or sabotage every state attempt to control it, yes, even at the cost of permitting such obvious social evils as racial bigotry or child pornography. It is the common man's strongest available instrument and will be the target of sophisticated attacks by all rulers.

10. Support the Canadian Civil Liberties Union. Future generations will see it as a lonely champion of liberty during long, dark years. When it supports a cause that you find obnoxious, trivial or dangerous, increase your donation.

11. Above all, beware of priests, particularly those persuasive ones in the evangelist movement who claim they are not priests. And if you think allegiance to one true God will solve everything, look at Northern Ireland and the Middle East and think again. Seek a world in which religion, like sex, is completely free but practised only in private. You may find it necessary to speak with the many but you can think with the few.

12. Never despair. Keep the faith. Despite Big Brother's awesome and growing power, in the still, dark and secret places of the soul, ordinary men and women retain hopes, dreams and high ethics. Out of that fathomless, still pool of the soul, freedom will emerge again, some day.

Paul St. Pierre is a former Vancouver Sun columnist and member of Parliament who lives in Fort Langley and Mexico.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Macheeide on 2009-01-16 01:47:58

[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=0#171107 date=1232080897]

and J.B. Priestley's Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. [/quote]

I enjoyed this essay very much. Above is a small error. These books were written by Aldous Huxley (Interesting family the Huxleys).

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: letheomaniac on 2009-01-19 06:53:36

[letheomaniac] 'A Brave New World' should be required reading at school, although the school boards of the world are not in the habit of prescribing books that are actually worth reading to unfortunate school children. I recall being forced to read 'A Room With A View' in my second last year of school which seemed to be about an astoundingly uninsteresting woamn who was considered wild because she liked Beethhoven. As you might imagine this storyline completely failed to hold the attention of the 30-odd bored horny teenagers crammed into our sweltering English class on a beautiful 30 degree South African summer day. A classic example of a book that deserves to be burned as an act of kindness to the pupils of the approaching brave new world.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-19 21:38:19

[letheomaniac] 'A Brave New World' should be required reading at school,

Interestingly expecially in hindsight, my high school art teacher got me to read Brave New World, Island, and Doors of Perception from Aldous Huxley ... they changed me forever and I agree with you should be mandatory reading, yet English class had us with the ilk of book you have reference and good thing the young lady beside me held my interest because the books didn't.



PS: odd that the author of the news story got the author wrong as [BL] pointed out ... secret code ?

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Hermit on 2009-01-20 00:06:49

I have so resisted this, but it is as if, with every new post, the thread title keeps taunting me anew. It seems to me as if Canada has determined to go down with French elan!

Pierre, a brave French fighter pilot, takes his girlfriend, Marie, out for a pleasant little picnic by the River Seine.

It’s a beautiful day and love is in the air. Marie leans over to Pierre and says, "Pierre, kiss me! Kiss me!"

Our hero grabs a bottle of Merlot and splashes it on Marie's lips. "What are you doing, Pierre," asks the startled Marie? "I am Pierre the fighter pilot! When I have red meat, I like to have red wine!"

She smiles and they start kissing. When things began to heat up a little, Marie says, "Pierre, kiss me lower. Kiss me lower."

Our hero tears her blouse open, grabs a bottle of Chardonnay and starts pouring it all over her breasts. "Pierre! What are you doing," asks the bewildered Marie? "I am Pierre the fighter pilot! When I have white meat, I like to have white wine!"

They resume their passionate interlude and things really steam up. Marie leans close to his ear and whispers, "Pierre, kiss me lower! Kiss me lower!"

Our hero rips off her underwear, grabs a bottle of Cognac and pours it in her lap. He then strikes a match and lights it on fire. Marie shrieks and dives into the river. Standing waist deep in the river, Marie throws her arms upwards and screams furiously, "Pierre, what in the hell do you think you’re doing??!"

Our hero stands up, defiantly, and says, "I am Pierre the fighter pilot! When I go down, I go down in flames!"

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-20 14:37:30

[Fritz] that is rather appropriate humour given our beaver infestation problems .....[:-]jester[/:-]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-24 16:52:45

[Fritz]The Canadian government will be tabling its budget Tuesday, will the kids continue from where this thread began ... stay tuned.

Canadians duped by tax refund scam

Source: IT World (
Date: 2009.01.19
Author: Jennifer Kavur - Computer World Canada (19 Jan 2009)

A new scam tries to extract personal information under the guise of the Canada Revenue Agency. What the taxman won't say in an e-mail

A new phishing scam is circulating through Canadian inboxes, just as 2008 tax packages are arriving in the mail.

The e-mail suggests recipients are entitled to a tax refund from the Canada Revenue Agency. In order to receive the refund, users must click on an embedded link that directs them to a Web site posing as the CRA. Visitors are prompted to fill out an online form that requests tax-related information, including Social Insurance Number, date of birth, full name and the tax amount of their returns.

“When you go to the site, the phishers have lifted all the graphics and everything from the Canada Revenue Agency site, so it all looks pretty much the same,” said Marc Fossi, manager of development in the Security Technologies and Response Organization at Symantec Corp. Two big clues point out the site’s illegitimacy, according to Fossi.

“Pretty much all Canadian government agencies have a link up in the menu to the French version of that page, where it does say 'Francais,'" Fossi said. "They were obviously using a different character set, so when they tried to get the ‘ç’ with the cedilla, they didn’t have that character…instead, you see possibly a Chinese character there,” he said.

The second clue is the URL. “It’s not It’s actually a Web site located in Taiwan,” said Fossi.

The phishing attempt has an average level of sophistication, said Fossi.

“In this case, there’s nothing that jumps out at you like misspelled words or anything like that,” Fossi said.

But the threat to Canadians is high. “With this information attackers can very easily steal the victim’s tax refund and then sell all their personal information,” said Fossi.
Click here to find out more!

Symantec became aware of the threat late last week.

The phishing site is currently live and there’s no indication of when it will shut down. “It’s kind of difficult to do a whole lot with it…in this case, it’s multi-jurisdictional. It’s targeting users in Canada, the e-mail message was sent from a mail server in Russia and the actual phishing Web site is hosted in Taiwan,” said Fossi.

Canada Revenue Agency is aware of the threat. The CRA becomes aware of such scams almost instantaneously because taxpayers start calling the inquiry lines to determine whether the e-mail or mail letters are legitimate, explained Peter Delis, communications manager in the Canada Revenue Agency’s Ontario region.

A couple months ago, the CRA added a “Fraudulent Emails and Letters” section on its homepage in response to the recent increase in tax-related scams. “We’re seeing it more often now, regardless of whether it’s tax season or not. We used to see it at various times of the year, now it’s popping up every month or so,” said Delis.

According to Fossi, posing as the CRA is a new twist. “I haven’t had one like this drawn to my attention before,” said Fossi. “I’ve seen similar concepts mostly targeting Americans, like phishing attempts that claim they’re coming from the IRS. But I haven’t seen one that was CRA.”

The “Fraudulent Emails and Letters” section is continuously updated, but individuals questioning the validity of an e-mail or letter from the CRA should call to confirm the communication, Delis suggested.

But the request for personal information is the first indication of fraudulence. “We do not request by e-mail personal information of any kind from taxpayers,” said Delis. “That’s our first clue when it comes to e-mails.”

The lock symbol is another key to determining whether a Web site requesting personal information is a sham, Fossi pointed out. “Generally when you get any legitimate Web site that’s asking you to fill out that information, you get the lock symbol on your browser saying it’s a secure page. In this case, it’s not,” he said.

But a secure site doesn’t necessitate validity, as attackers are sophisticated enough to set up secure phishing sites, warned Fossi. “Some people, they just look for that lock…if their particular browser tells them it’s a secure site, they might just go, ‘Oh, it’s secure, so it’s safe.’

“We did a whole report on the underground economy back in November and we see phishing kits being sold online. They’re sort of ready-made kits that include everything you need to launch a phishing attack,” said Fossi.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-24 17:13:50

For now I have been driving to downtown Ottawa helping my coworkers get to work that depend on the Ottawa Transit Commission. The extra traffic burden has meant that I spend up to 4 hours commuting to work and home, which took just over 2 hours before. There is a loss of freedom and loss of sleep. The folks that have no cars are screwed. Students and pensioners are missing class and medical treatment; stores and business are loosing big time.

I think both the City Counsel and the Union Management should be fired and charged with criminal negligence.

That labor action is out side of the laws that applies to every other citizen of Canada is a travesty

One of many very angry people in the nations capital.


Source:Ottawa Citizen (

Back-channel talks break down in transit strike



Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Walter on 2009-01-24 21:53:17

[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=0#171173 date=1232833965]
[Fritz]The Canadian government will be tabling its budget Tuesday, will the kids continue from where this thread began ... stay tuned.

Canadians duped by tax refund scam

Source: IT World (
Date: 2009.01.19
Author: Jennifer Kavur - Computer World Canada (19 Jan 2009)

A new scam tries to extract personal information under the guise of the Canada Revenue Agency. What the taxman won't say in an e-mail

A new phishing scam is circulating through Canadian inboxes, just as 2008 tax packages are arriving in the mail.

The e-mail suggests recipients are entitled to a tax refund from the Canada Revenue Agency. In order to receive the refund, users must click on an embedded link that directs them to a Web site posing as the CRA. Visitors are prompted to fill out an online form that requests tax-related information, including Social Insurance Number, date of birth, full name and the tax amount of their returns.

“When you go to the site, the phishers have lifted all the graphics and everything from the Canada Revenue Agency site, so it all looks pretty much the same,” said Marc Fossi, manager of development in the Security Technologies and Response Organization at Symantec Corp. Two big clues point out the site’s illegitimacy, according to Fossi.

“Pretty much all Canadian government agencies have a link up in the menu to the French version of that page, where it does say 'Francais,'" Fossi said. "They were obviously using a different character set, so when they tried to get the ‘ç’ with the cedilla, they didn’t have that character…instead, you see possibly a Chinese character there,” he said.

The second clue is the URL. “It’s not It’s actually a Web site located in Taiwan,” said Fossi.


Most here probably already know and use this tip, but in avoiding phishing scams, it is imperative that you know what URL you are going to when you click on a link. To be sure you're seeing where you're going, do this:


Once this is checked, the URL of any links (when the mouse cursor is hovered over the link) will be displayed in a status bar at the bottom of your browser window.

You can then check the URL for reasonableness, ie. if you think you're going to and the status bar at the bottom shows when you mouse over the link on the phisher/scammer's phony page, you'll immediately know it.

BTW, the image above is from Firefox preferences, so if you're using a different browser, you'll need to find its equivalent setting.

If you're still using IE any version, you'll also need to get a clue. [:-]wink2[/:-]

Hope this helps, or, even better, hope you already knew all this.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: DJ_dANDROID on 2009-01-25 01:00:20

[quote author=Walter Watts link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=#171178 date=1232851997]
Most here probably already know and use this tip, but in avoiding phishing scams, it is imperative that you know what URL you are going to when you click on a link.
BTW, the image above is from Firefox preferences, so if you're using a different browser, you'll need to find its equivalent setting.

If you're still using IE any version, you'll also need to get a clue. [:-]wink2[/:-]

Hope this helps, or, even better, hope you already knew all this.


I use Safari (Mac) and it has the exact same View/"show status bar" setting.

I'm awfully careful about where I wander generally, but even savvy surfers get sucked in by the scammers.

Thanks for the tip.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-25 15:08:45

[DJ_dAndriod] and [Walter] I appreciate the advice, but,

I did notice words like "Safari" and strange cult like symbols in the upper left of [Walters] Mozilla image, an apple with a bite out of it. Since I have been co opted into using these instruments of 'goodness' I have noticed a developmental tail or human vestigial structure emerging and small lumps appearing on my forehead.

When I boot my MAC backwards it says "Steve Jobs is my supreme master; we are the chosen ones"

Should I be concerned [:-]jester[/:-]


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Walter on 2009-01-25 22:19:04

[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=15#171182 date=1232914125]
[DJ_dAndriod] and [Walter] I appreciate the advice, but,

I did notice words like "Safari" and strange cult like symbols in the upper left of [Walters] Mozilla image, an apple with a bite out of it. Since I have been co opted into using these instruments of 'goodness' I have noticed a developmental tail or human vestigial structure emerging and small lumps appearing on my forehead.

When I boot my MAC backwards it says "Steve Jobs is my supreme master; we are the chosen ones"

Should I be concerned [:-]jester[/:-]


No need to be concerned there Fritz.

Pay no attention to your new structures.

It's all part of the master "iPlan".



Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-27 22:35:29

[Fritz]and so it begins .... interesting for those down south of us to see the trivial sums in contrast to yours involved.

[color=red] Budget plunges Canada into deficit
Almost $85 million in red ink project by 2013

Source: Intelligencer (
Author: Posted By Bruce Cheadle/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Date: 2009.01.26
OTTAWA - Down periscope!

The Conservative government dove for economic and political cover Tuesday with a federal budget that submerges Canada in a sea of red ink after more than a decade of clear fiscal sailing.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented a spending blueprint that projects almost $85 billion in deficits by the spring of 2013, when Flaherty hopes Canada's finances can come up for air.

Across-the-board income tax cuts amounting to roughly $2 billion annually were the final conservative stabilizer bolted to a rambling, make-shift budget the Harper Tories had been leaking for days with unprecedented candour.

In a remarkable document for the ostensibly centre-right government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the budget exerts Ottawa's influence on everything from multibillion-dollar credit markets to whether to build a new deck on your cottage.

"Deciding whether and how to spend the resources of our fellow Canadians is one of our most serious responsibilities," Flaherty told the newly returned House of Commons in his budget speech.

"In this extraordinary time in our history, it is also one of our most urgent responsibilities."

So urgent, said the government, that Canada has already fallen into deficit for the first time since 1996-97 and will post a $1.1 billion shortfall for the current fiscal year that ends March 31.

It's just the first of five consecutive deficits, according to Finance Department projections. And the $84.9 billion in cumulative deficits will reverse more than four fifths of the national debt repayment Canadians have managed over the past decade.

Program spending will leap 10.7 per cent to $229 billion in 2009-10, up from roughly $207 billion this year, then rise another 3.2 per cent in 1010-11 before falling slightly the following year.

In the meantime, Ottawa's ballast gates are wide open.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Jake Sapiens on 2009-01-28 03:53:55

Ah yeah, I think I heard about the massive US$5billion bailout of the Iceland banks on the BBC. I suppose the number of zeros changes depending ones' GPS coordinates, but the important thing to remember is its a big worldwide crash for just about everyone. We really are all in this together. Perhaps what we could never achieve in peace, or war, we shall achieve through poverty. A common point of global sharing, however humble or miserable. Thank Dog for those silver linings.

You may resume shooting yourselves in the heads now, my humble neighbors ;D

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-01-29 22:31:44

[quote][Walter]No need to be concerned there Fritz.
Pay no attention to your new structures.
It's all part of the master "iPlan".
Walter [/quote]
Sublime and brilliant !!!! THX

[Mo]We really are all in this together. Perhaps what we could never achieve in peace, or war, we shall achieve through poverty.

Neat thought !

"I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" -Wimpy-

We've come full circle.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-01 22:26:58

[Fritz]Canadian's have been overly smug, but the wheels are starting to come off.

Ontario's pension plan safety net vulnerable: experts

Source: The Globe and Mail - The Canadian Press (
Date: February 1, 2009

TORONTO — Ontario's unique pension-plan safety net that makes payments when companies go bankrupt is teetering on the edge of being wiped out and could fold if a large corporation were to go under soon, experts warn.

The provincial government is currently accepting comments on a report it commissioned in 2006 — which is the first review of pension laws in 20 years — and lead author Harry Arthurs concluded that the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund, the only such program of its kind in Canada, could soon become history.

“I think one sufficiently large company or several large companies (going bankrupt)would cause the plan to go broke,” Mr. Arthurs said in an interview, adding that the Ontario government is in no way required to save the pension-insurance program.

“They certainly have no legal obligation to bail it out ... and I think it's an interesting question — if there isn't enough money, what happens next?”
Related Articles

Since 1980, the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund has provided pensioners with up to $1,000 per month in the case that a pension plan fails to provide its full benefit, or any at all.

The program is funded by corporate payments and had been run successfully for decades.

But the report notes it's increasingly common that companies are reporting high levels of unfunded pension liabilities — shortfalls in funds needed to pay out its pension requirements — and the provincial fund is threatened by a possible “shipwreck scenario.”

That could occur if a bankrupted company with many employees flooded the fund with claims and the government found the shortfall too expensive to make up.

Similar fears have been raised in the past because of troubled companies like Algoma Steel, Massey Combines and Stelco, and special provisions were made by the government to keep the fund afloat.

But the plan last reported a deficit of $102-million, and there's no guarantee the government would be willing to again prevent a shipwreck scenario, said Simon Archer, a senior staff member of the expert commission that wrote the report.

He said a shipwreck scenario appears to be “pretty realistic” considering the plight of companies like Nortel, and struggles faced by auto makers, manufacturers and the pulp and paper sector.

“If the question is how likely is it, I'd say there's pretty good odds these days that there's going to be a major insolvency and that will put pressure on the PBGF,” Mr. Archer said.

While pensioners with large corporations would likely be among the first to be looked after in the case of a government bailout, a failure of the fund is a scary proposition for employees with smaller companies, he added.

“The big guys are going to get attention one way or another but the little guys need this insurance system to keep their pensions in place,” Mr. Archer said.

“Problem is, if you're a tiny little auto parts plant in Brantford or wherever, the government's not going to step in because you're not powerful enough, you're not big enough to attract political attention.”

The report recommends that the government not only find a way to maintain the fund, but also boost its premiums to a maximum of $2,500 a month to reflect the current cost of living.

“Nobody loses a pension, what a good public policy that would be,” Mr. Archer said.

The head of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which oversees the fund, was not made available for an interview.

A spokeswoman would not say whether the commission has estimated how many claims would prompt the shipwreck scenario outlined in the report, or how likely that outcome is.

An Ontario government spokesman also refused to comment until after the report's comment period ends at the end of the month.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-01 22:49:05

[Fritz]Weekend ray of sunshine from our national newspaper.

Source: The Globe and Mail (
Date: January 30, 2009

Recession spreads to Canada's storefronts


OTTAWA - Canada's recession is spreading from the car factories to the coffee shops, reinforcing the case for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's $40-billion stimulus program and adding to the risk that he may have to do more.

The baristas, shopkeepers, financial planners, technicians and consultants that make up Canada's services industries are starting to feel the same malaise that has gripped factories and exporters for the better part of a year, new government figures show.

Output by the services sector — which accounts for 70 per cent of Canada's $1.2-trillion gross domestic product — shrank for a second consecutive month in November, exacerbating the continuing slump in manufacturing and speeding the economy's fall into recession.

It's rare for both engines of Canada's economy to sputter simultaneously, and the drop in November was steeper than most analysts on Bay Street were expecting. The double whammy caused inflation-adjusted GDP to collapse by 0.7 per cent, the biggest one-month drop since a power blackout stopped production throughout much of northeastern North America in August, 2003.

The latest piece of bleak news about Canada's economy came as the Department of Commerce in Washington reported that the United States economy shrank by the most since 1982 in the fourth quarter.

Another report by Japan's trade ministry showed factory production in that country plunged an unprecedented 9.6 per cent in December, and the British government said mortgage approvals remained near a record low at the end of 2008.

Taken together, Friday's data, reflecting some of the worst turmoil ever experienced in global financial markets, serve as a prelude for a recession that the Bank of Canada, the federal government and economists say is just getting started.

"There is no silver lining, which is something we are not used to seeing," said Sébastien Lavoie, an analyst at Laurentian Bank in Montreal and a former economist at the Bank of Canada. "It was not a blip. It's as bad as it looked. It will look the same in this quarter."

Mr. Flaherty, who presented his stimulus plan in his latest budget on Tuesday, is bracing for more bad news.

The team of private-sector analysts he surveys to come up with an economic outlook for his budget told him nominal GDP will shrink 1.2 per cent this year. Wary of forecasts that are changing dramatically by the month, Mr. Flaherty based his budget planning on a contraction of 2.7 per cent, a risk adjustment that assumes Canada's economy will generate $30-billion less than the private experts predict.

"The private sector forecasters, many of them actually have come to me and apologized for how inaccurate their data was," Mr. Flaherty told Business News Network in an interview from Davos, Switzerland Friday. "No one saw the degree to which the world economy would slow down, and how quickly that would happen."

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all of Friday's data was the confirmation that Canada's once-resilient service providers are finally beginning to stumble in the face of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

As the credit crunch and the U.S. downturn sapped demand for exports last summer, demand for services generally held up, providing Canada's economy with ballast.

The struggles that service providers are now having suggest job losses in industries such as automobile manufacturing and construction and a steady stream of grim news on the economy are taking a toll on confidence, causing shoppers to avoid the mall and businesses to think twice of taking on a consultant.

Dig deeper into Statistics Canada's latest GDP report, and the data show that output from nine of the 12 service industries that StatsCan measures dropped in November, expanding from six the previous month.

It's rare for so many services industries to suffer at once, according to Marc Pinsonneault, an economist at National Bank Financial. In September, only four components fell. Since 1997, when StatsCan began releasing monthly GDP data, there have been only two other times when output from six or more services industries dropped in consecutive months, said Mr. Pinsonneault.

"This is significant and helps to confirm that the economy turned into a recession at the end of last year," Mr. Pinsonneault said from Montreal. "It says the recession is having an effect on domestic demand. We all know there was an effect from global demand, but up to the third quarter, domestic demand was remaining vigorous."

Not everyone is convinced Canada's economy is in such dire shape.

Cameron Herold, who mentors entrepreneurs around the world, said that while factories and some commodity producers clearly are struggling, there's more life in the global economy than is being reflected in the business pages and on cable television.

"I was at the barber this morning, and he said he wished the media would stop talking about the recession," Mr. Herold said from his base in Vancouver Friday. "Every group of entrepreneurs I speak to, the optimism is quite strong. There is some nervousness, but they still want to grow their businesses."

Still, Mr. Herold, who said his business is as strong as it was a year ago, concedes the gloomy mood is getting to him.

"I'm being more cautious," Mr. Herold said. "I'm not making as many impulse decisions. It's not because I have less cash. It's the mindset that's different."

Related Articles

* Grim economic data show world crisis deepening (<snip>Separately, NEC said it would cut 20,000 jobs, including some already announced, by March 2010.

“It's a losers' union,” said SMBC Friend Securities manager Fumiyuki Nakanishi. “The domestic chip industry appears at the brink of death.”<snip>

[Fritz]And then the eternal hope

The Globe and Mail Gallery (

As the global economy slumps ever deeper, Canada is expected to suffer a short, ugly recession, followed by what the central bank believes will be a strong rebound. Based on the Bank of Canada forecast, and those of other economists, the downturn that began late last year will be milder than the last two recessions and Canada will fare better than many other countries.

'We expect that this recession won't be as long as former recessions, for instance the recession in the 1990s,' said Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, left, seen here Jan. 22 with senior deputy governor Paul Jenkins after unveiling the outlook in the Monetary Policy Report Update.

While Mr. Carney projected higher unemployment, he added that 'when recoveries come, they come sharply.'


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-03 20:58:58

I have to wonder when crying wolf has diminishing returns, or when government, union and industry try to rise from the ashes with a viable solution .... no short term profits for the share holders in that I guess.



Source: 680 News Radio Toronto (
Author: James Munroe
Date: 2009-02-03 17:40

Latest figures from GM shows sales down 50 per cent

The latest figures from Detroit may have General Motors singing the blues.

The big auto maker says its January sales numbers were down almost 50 per cent in both Canada and the United States.

These numbers will only encourage talk that General Motors may be considering pulling out of Canada entirely.

The Canadian Auto Worker's President of Local 222, Chris Buckley, is using conciliatory language this time around, in his dealings with General Motors.

Buckley said, "We're going to meet with GM when they come knocking on our door, and we are going to do whatever we can in a responsible manner to ensure that General Motors has a presence in Canada."

Buckley said he wants to speak with GM officials as soon as possible to pass on that the union is willing to be part of the long term solution.

If GM left Canada it would cost 12,000 direct jobs and many more spin-offs.

Currently, the company's board is wrapping up two days of meetings in Detroit.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-04 21:36:48

Well now the US sends us poisoned peanuts and we send them radioactive fertilizer ... hmm ...that seems fair.



PS: What gets flushed down the toilet from what embassy ?

Source: AFP @ google (
Author: ...
Date: 2009.02.04

Ottawa puzzled by sewage radiation find[/size]

OTTAWA (AFP) — Sleuths searched on Wednesday for the source of radiation in this Canadian capital's sewers after two shipments of sludge were turned away from the US border for being too hot.


"So far, our hazardous materials team found nothing but background radiation levels at our waste treatment plant, and experts came in this morning but also found nothing unusual," the city's spokesman Michael Fitzpatrick told AFP.

"We can't find any radioactivity," he said.

Ottawa's solid waste is shipped to four locations in North America for use mostly as compost. Water separated from it ends up in local rivers.

Last week, US border officials turned away two shipments headed for upstate New York after detecting high levels of radiation. Since then, the shipments have been quarantined at an Ontario waste facility.

Tests on the city's drinking water and a preliminary inspection of its sewage treatment plant failed to find the source of the contamination.

Experts now are trying to identify the radioactive isotopes to narrow their source, said officials. These markers are much like DNA or fingerprints.

It is believed the irradiated materials may have entered the plant from pipes leading to the facility.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-07 19:44:01

[Fritz]Canadians not wanting to feel left out of a good thing parted with their ill gotten gains as well.

Source: Globe and Mail (
Date: 2009.02.06

Ponzi north

When people around Phillip Robinson saw how lucrative his investments were, they wanted in. Now, the Canadian link to Bernard Madoff is becoming clear, and it isn't pretty

Phillip Robinson has survived the Second World War, the Great Depression, a broken marriage and more than a few business scrapes. Now at age 83, he has one more challenge to face – surviving Bernard Madoff.

For 20 years, Mr. Robinson believed his life savings were being well managed by Mr. Madoff's New York-based investment firm. He met Mr. Madoff in 1988 and was so impressed that he sunk $4-million into his funds over the years.

His connections to Mr. Madoff surfaced in a court filing yesterday in New York that revealed the scope of Mr. Madoff's client base in the United States and Canada. The Canadians ranged from a Montreal investment firm connected to a branch of the Bronfman family, to a Marxist scholar at Dalhousie University who once played basketball with radical socialist Abbie Hoffman, to a member of the Pencer family of soft-drink fame.


It's not clear how much each invested, and sources close to a few of them said the information was incorrect.

Mr. Madoff “was low-key, very convincing,” Mr. Robinson recalled from Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré, Que., where he runs Mont Blanc and Grey Rocks ski hills. His pitch “was so convincing. I'm still half convinced.”

Mr. Robinson encouraged his two sons, daughter, brother, business partner, accountant and nephew to invest as well. Now, with Mr. Madoff facing charges of fraud in New York and allegations he ran a $50-billion (U.S) Ponzi scheme, the Robinsons have lost more than $13-million.

“I'll hang on as best I can,” said Mr. Robinson, who was already coping with a bitter divorce and a struggling business before the Madoff scandal erupted. “I'm 83 and I've lived through a lot of bumps before. It's like I tell a good friend of mine, ‘We wake up and we start fighting the dragons.'”

Much of the Canadian connection comes back to Mr. Robinson, whose encounter with Mr. Madoff two decades ago ultimately led to a string of investments.

It all began in Philadelphia when Mr. Robinson's old friend, Alfred Reischer, introduced him to Mr. Madoff.

Mr. Reischer owned an accounting business in Philadelphia, where Mr. Robinson went to university, and the two had kept in touch while Mr. Robinson built a career in real estate and as a local politician in New Jersey.

Mr. Robinson came to Quebec in 1976 after falling in love with skiing. He bought a ski hill, got married and settled down. Around the time Mr. Robinson married, Mr. Reischer began raving about some investments he'd made with Mr. Madoff, highlighting the steady returns of almost 12 per cent annually. Mr. Robinson was intrigued and his friend set up a meeting with Mr. Madoff.

Mr. Robinson didn't understand everything Mr. Madoff talked about that day, describing his investment strategy as a sequence of “put and call options,” but he took his friend's advice and jumped in. His children, brother, nephew and business partner followed suit later.

Soon Mr. Robinson's Montreal accountant, Issie Farber, took note, too. He was doing Mr. Robinson's taxes and marvelled at the investment returns. “He saw what I was earning and he asked if he could get in,” Mr. Robinson said. “So I called Mr. Madoff's secretary and I got him in.”

Sources close to the Farbers say the family could be out as much as $4.5-million. Mr. Farber died several years ago and his widow, Sandra, declined to offer specifics yesterday. “I was just watching Regis & [Kelly Ripa] on television and she was saying how many people in New York, how many people in Florida [are on the list],” Ms. Farber said. “It's very sad.”

At the time he invested with Mr. Madoff, Mr. Farber was a director of Cott Corp., where he was a well respected numbers man. He brought Cott executive Sam Pencer into the Madoff fold, according to the list of clients. A source close to the family estimated its losses at more than $10-million.

Mr. Pencer's widow, Judy, who lives in Toronto, declined comment and referred questions to her Montreal accountant, Barry Rashkovan.

Mr. Rashkovan is Ms. Farber's son-in-law and does some accounting work for her as well. Yesterday, he said he did not handle any investments for Ms. Pencer or Ms. Farber, and did mainly tax work. “I was not invested and the reason my name is on the list is because one of my clients was invested and I got the [Madoff fund] statements from one of my clients. I don't know how this client of mine got involved with Madoff in the first place,” he said.

Mr. Robinson's daughter, Nancy, used her investments with Mr. Madoff to start a charity in Boston called Citizens for Safety, which advocates for measures to stop trafficking of illegal guns. She also relied on several Madoff clients for donations. Now she isn't sure the charity can continue.

“I'm struggling to keep my house, keep my job,” Ms. Robinson said yesterday. She works full-time at the charity, which has about 1,000 members. “We just trusted that if these other individuals who were so savvy were invested then it had to be a good thing.”

The other Canadians on the list were not connected to Mr. Robinson and it is not clear if they were Madoff clients or simply on a mailing list.

One was Gerbro Inc., the Montreal investment firm for the family trust of Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman. Nadine Gut, the president and chief executive officer of Gerbro, said she cannot comment on any matters relating to the company because it is a private organization. A source close to the family said Gerbro has no investments in Madoff funds and never did and that it's a mystery how its name got on the list.

Gerald Bronfman, who is deceased, was the son of Harry Bronfman, one of Seagram founder Samuel Bronfman's brothers.

Two other names were more puzzling – Herb and Ruth Gamberg, a pair of modest, left-leaning professors who came to Halifax in the 1960s and taught at Dalhousie University before they retired.

Mr. Gamberg, 75, is regarded as one of the world's leading Marxist scholars, according to a documentary about his life under development by Halifax director Walter Forsyth. He grew up in Worcester, Mass., and on his trips home from Brandeis University he would play pickup basketball with his younger friend, Abbie Hoffman, the radical social activist who comprised part of the Chicago Seven. After coming to Canada, he helped establish the Foundation Year Program at King's College, and became one of the early members of Dalhousie's sociology department, writing on everything from prison reform to socialism to the history of Nova Scotia's political left.

Although they are retired, the Gambergs remain politically energized. They added their names to a petition nominating folk singer Pete Seeger for a Nobel Peace Prize, and were among a group of signatories protesting Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama mining project in Chile.

The Gambergs could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr. Robinson said he doesn't feel guilty for encouraging others to invest with Mr. Madoff. “Everyone has to make their own decision,” he said. “I don't blame my friends who were also getting me in.”

He feels sad for the widow of his old friend Mr. Reischer, who died four years ago and put most of his money in Madoff funds. “His wife is destitute now,” Mr. Robinson said quietly.

Mr. Robinson said he is coping alright with his financial woes, divorce and business troubles – he is preparing to liquidate Grey Rocks. “I still walk and still breathe and talk,” he said.

When asked what he will do about the $4-million he lost with Mr. Madoff, Mr. Robinson chuckled and replied: “Wait until the grim reaper calls me, I guess.”

With reports from Bertrand Marotte, John Partridge and Les Perreaux

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-12 20:22:44

The interesting point for me is that US and European companies are in the thick of this energy based revenue stream.

And I know how concerned MOENZYME will be that the kind gentle Canadian prairie folk are being maligned. :D



Don't buy our 'dirty' crude, green lobbyists urge Obama

Source: Calgary Herald (
Author: Jason Fekete, with files from Renata D'aliesio, Calgary Herald; with files from and Canwest News Service
Date: 2009.02.11

Less than n two weeks out from Barack Obama's visit to Canada, an international coalition of environmental groups has launched a public relations offensive urging the U. S. president not to shelter the Alberta oilsands from gritty greenhouse-gas regulations.

The Obama2Canada partners, which includes more than a dozen green groups such as Environmental Defence and Greenpeace, are engaging in a cross-border lobbying campaign in the leadup to Obama's Feb. 19 meeting in Ottawa with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The environmental organizations are trying to convince the new president to reject what they believe will be entreaties from Harper to insulate carbon-intensive oilsands production from aggressive climate-change regulations that many observers believe will be introduced by the Obama administration.

The campaign--which kicked off Tuesday with an ad in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper--features print ads and a new website, as well as asking Canadians and Americans to send petitions to the prime minister and president. Both leaders have expressed inter-est in crafting a North American climate-change deal that could include a cap-and-trade emissions reduction program.

"The message is, 'Don't buy our dirty oil,' " said Jean Langlois, campaign adviser with the Sierra Club. "It's a concern of ours that the Canadian government is still out of step with the international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change."

Developing the oilsands produces about three times as many emissions per barrel compared to conventional oil, the coalition notes, while also gobbling up enormous amounts of natural gas and fresh water.

It's the latest salvo in an ongoing war between governments and green groups about the oilsands, the second-largest oil reserves on the planet.Over the past few years, protesters have followed Premier Ed Stelmach and his ministers around the globe and intensely lobbied American lawmakers, hoping to wean the U. S. off of the "dirty" oilsands.

The Stelmach government has fired back with a three-year, $25-million public relations campaign of its own designed to improve Alberta's image and that of the oilsands. It's also announced $2 billion in seed money to kick-start carbon capture and storage, which the government is relying on to achieve most of its long-term greenhouse-gas reductions.

"We believe that the oilsands are a secure source of energy well into the future,"Environment Minister Rob Renner said Tuesday. "We can and we will develop those resources in an environmentally sustainable way and we're committed to show President Obama and anyone else who cares to hear how we're going to do it."

Roman Cooney of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said the Sierra Club's efforts are too one-sided and fail to grasp other issues related to energy development in the oilsands.

"The industry is not looking for special treatment, on the oilsands in particular, it's looking for equal treatment," Cooney said.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-18 22:08:04

So if I'm keeping track correctly: China will own our Mineral Resources, Middle East our Farmland and the US our Water, manufacturing, healthcare, food processing, hi tech, and BEER, but we do have our beavers and snow, for now.



Source : The Globe and Mail (
Date: January 30, 2009

The farms race
Wealthy countries short of fertile land are gazing hungrily at Canada's prairies
The Arab states invest their oil fortunes in the craziest things, from the proposed Mile-High Tower in Jiddah to the indoor ski resort in dry-as-dust Dubai. Perhaps the craziest idea yet is Saudi Arabian wheat. Some 30 years ago, the lake- and river-less kingdom decided it should be self-sufficient in wheat.

It worked. But the subsidies to farmers at times approached $1,000 (U.S.) a tonne. Last year, the Saudis finally concluded that desert wheat made no more sense than Nunavut pineapples. The farms will disappear within a few years, after which the country will be entirely dependent on imports. But from where?

Answer: from any nation willing to sell or lease vast tracts of its farmland and-here's the kicker-allow the Saudis to export most or all of the food grown there back home, bypassing the international market. Such "offshore farms" are a quiet, though burgeoning, form of neo-colonialism. And they have the potential to unleash a new food crisis.

The Saudis are not alone in the global land grab. Any country that worries about long-term food security because of a shortage of fertile land, and has the wealth to do something about it, is on the hunt: United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Libya, India, China, Japan, plus a number of investment and private-equity funds. A report published in the autumn by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development said that "public and private corporations and industrial groups are buying millions of hectares of land in Africa, Asia and Latin America to produce food or agrofuels."

At first, the UN and the World Bank either ignored or cautiously supported the trend. Food prices were rising and foreign investment in raising crop productivity in poor countries seemed like a fine idea. They changed their minds when they realized offshore farms were all about locking up food supplies, not boosting them for the markets. Bizarrely, one of the countries apparently most eager to welcome farmland seekers is Sudan, where 5.6 million people are being fed by the UN's World Food Program.

Watchdog groups such as Grain and the International Land Coalition also fear that poor farmers are being forced off productive land as the men with the cheques arrive. The authors of a recent Grain report said that some offshore farm deals amount to "the siphoning of fertile and probably contested agricultural lands to rich foreigners."

You can't blame Saudi Arabia and the others for taking care of the nutrition needs of their growing populations, just as the Americans and Europeans will spend fortunes, and sometimes start wars, to lock up oil supplies. In some cases, the land deals might be win-win situations, in that farm jobs are created, crop technology is transferred and some food is left on local tables. But you have to assume altruism is not the priority.

And you can already see how the offshore farmland trend could blow up. The food crisis that triggered riots in Africa and Haiti in 2008 has been tempered by falling commodity prices. It could return in an instant for any number of reasons, ranging from an oil price reversal to a drought. Imagine how suddenly hungry people would react if they knew a good portion of their country's crops were being funnelled to rich countries. Rioters might seize foreign-owned farms. To prevent chaos, the government would probably nationalize the operations.

Which brings us to Canada. This country has far more farmland than it needs to keep us fed. The land is in a politically stable jurisdiction and is incredibly cheap by developed-country standards. Calgary's Agcapita Farmland Investment Partnership, a fund that has been buying prairie farmland, has calculated that Saskatchewan's productive soil, in inflation-adjusted terms, fetches far lower prices now than it did in the early 1980s.

Agcapita partner Stephen Johnston says he's approached all the time by foreign interests seeking Canadian agricultural land. Foreign ownership restrictions on prairie farmland have blocked them so far, but that doesn't mean they're out of the picture. Foreigners might be able to lease farms or use loans or local partnerships to gain interests in the land. It's hard to imagine that Canada will not play a role as the global farmland rush gains momentum. Johnston is convinced it's just a matter of time.

Would it be in Canada's interest to turn big chunks of Saskatchewan or Manitoba into offshore farms for the UAE or China? In a country that believes in free trade, probably not. Farmers, food processors and politicians need to devise a policy before Canada becomes a target.

Eric Reguly is an award-winning columnist with The Globe and Mail. He is now based in Rome, and can be reached at

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-21 18:58:36

[Fritz] MoEnzyme would have been proud to see the reception Obama got in Ottawa, and he had a 'Beaver Tail' ( to munch on as well, a new one, in his honor, was created with chocolate sauce.




Source: Calgary Herald (
Author: Nigel Hannaford
Date: February 21, 2009

let's hope congress shares obama's love of canada

Could things be better between Canada and the U. S. with President Barack Obama at the helm in Washington?

You'd think it hard to improve on having conservative George W. Bush in the White House, and conservative Stephen Harper in Sussex Drive.

Of course, after the Liberals anything was an improvement. But, ideological sympathy indeed made for goodwill and Canadian assistance in Afghanistan was crucial.

Not that it was perfect. Bush was Mexico-oriented. Natural for a Texan perhaps, but he went to Mexico before he came to Canada. Having a president who comes here first is only a small something, but it is a something.

A bigger regret is there's only so much leaders can do. The bureaucratic bull-slugging is done further down the totem pole, where officials hammer out awkward details. Anecdotally, not all those frank, useful Republican and Conservative top-floor talks produced ground-level action. So, while the president has changed, the lower-level functionaries have not. It takes time for the president's wishes to filter down --something not helped by Obama's difficulties in getting his cabinet confirmed.

Parenthetically, after Thursday's exuberant enthusiasm --in some cases, fawning adulation--I wouldn't blame Harper if he was wondering what happened to all the people who used to complain he was too close to the Americans? Falling all over themselves to get closer to Obama by the look of things, with swooning women and a deferential media. The young woman who provided that much discussed beaver tail said she screamed for five minutes after she met the president. Such is Ottawa: Just a matter of which Americans you bring to The Hill, I guess.

Anyway, my estimate is that things will go on much the same. Obama's situation, and the general dynamics between the two countries means they can't really do anything else.

Self-evidently everybody got along: When it comes to getting a phone call answered, that matters, and much can turn on a timely word.

However, that only takes you so far. The White House, after all, is not usually where Canada's problems with America start. For example, the part played by state governments and industry lobby groups in squeezing the Canadian cattle and lumber industries should not be underestimated. Conversely, thanks to the U. S. separation of powers, the capacity of even the most well-disposed president to overrule them should not be overestimated.

Then, there's Congress.

Unlike a Canadian prime minister's tight caucus control, the House of Representatives and the Senate are not the president's possession. A generous interpretation of Obama's first month on the job would be that he allowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to run away with the stimulus package, pork and all, because his mind was on the transition. However, in a contest of wills there's no guarantee he would have won. So, while Canadians should obviously take encouragement from the evident maturing of Obama's views on protection, and his declared willingness to have Canada at the table when a North American approach to climate-change policy and energy security is hammered out, Canadians can rely only on this: House Democrats don't feel they owe this country anything. Obama may propose, but he depends on congressional favour. Hence the lack of specific deliverables at Thursday's joint conference.

That doesn't mean Harper has no leverage at all, though. Obama is anxious to draw a line underneath the last presidency for the rest of the world--the buzzword is "to hit reset"--and Canada's good offices will help. This will be especially so in April, when Obama faces his first G-20 meeting in London. Thursday's meeting laid the first bricks for a solid U. S.-Canadian approach. (It's ironic, given past Liberal soft power fixation, that it's the army's heavy lifting in Afghanistan that gives Canada credibility in Europe.)

The cliche that nations don't have friends, just interests, is a cliche because it is true. The interests of Canada and the U. S. coincide in many areas, not least energy, manufacturing and the physical security of North America. Although it is to the good that things have started well on the personal level, the relationship between the two governments will work, because it must.

But, whether things will be better remains to be seen: It is not all in Obama's hand to make it so, any more than it was in Bush's.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-24 22:50:08

[Fritz]The 'IT kids' are getting creative and big brother will make new rules to break

Source: The Ottawa Citizen (
Author: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: February 17, 2009

OTTAWA — Criminal charges have been laid against 14 individuals and seven companies accused of rigging bids to obtain Government of Canada contracts for information technology services, the Competition Bureau announced Tuesday.

The Bureau says in a release that it has found evidence indicating that several IT services companies in the National Capital Region secretly co-ordinated their bids in an illegal scheme to defraud the government by winning and dividing contracts, while blocking out honest competitors. The investigation is said to have found evidence of criminal activity in 10 competitive bidding processes from 2005, for contracts worth about $67 million.

The contracts related to IT professional services provided to the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Transport Canada.

"Bid-rigging is a serious criminal offence that harms buyers of products and services, competing businesses, and ordinary Canadians who ultimately pay the bills,” said Melanie Aitken, Interim Commissioner of Competition in a written statement. “The Bureau will not hesitate to take action against bid-riggers when it uncovers evidence that the law has been broken."

Bid-rigging is a criminal offence where bidders secretly agree not to compete or to submit bids that have been pre-arranged among themselves, the bureau says.

The investigation included co-operation secured under its Immunity and Leniency Programs. Under the immunity program, the first party to disclose to the bureau an offence not yet detected, or to provide evidence leading to the filing of charges, may receive immunity from the director of public prosecutions, the bureau said in its release.

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

In 2005, Public Works officials contacted the Competition Bureau about certain bids starting the bureau investigation, the release stated. In the investigation, the bureau says it found evidence indicating that bidders, in response to calls for bids for the supply of Information Technology services to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), PWGSC and Transport Canada, secretly agreed in advance on the technical and financial proposals they would submit. The investigation focused on 10 contracts. Eight, worth $62 million, relate to IT services for CBSA. The other two contracts are for IT services for Transport Canada (worth $4 million) and Public Works (worth $1 million).

In the course of its investigation, the bureau conducted searches at 10 locations and seized more than 125,000 paper and elecronic records.

The evidence indicates that the bidders’ objective was to collectively win and divide the contracts awarded, while blocking competitors who were not part of the alleged conspiracy. As a result of the agreement, the bidders were allegedly able to maximize the rates at which services were to be provided to the various departments.

[color=yellow]Among the companies charged are:

TPG Technology Consulting Ltd.

Spearhead Management Canada Ltd.

Tipacimowin Technology Inc.

Donna Cona Inc.

Nortak Software Ltd.

The Devon Group Ltd

Brainhunter Inc.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-25 22:22:42

[Fritz]Yet another chink in the once shiny top coat of this great nation

Source: financial post (
Author: Karen Mazurkewich
Date: February 25, 2009

Mathieu Belanger/Reuters
A woman walks by the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec head office in Quebec City. Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec said on Wednesday it lost $39.8-billion in 2008.

Caisse takes a 25% haircut in total assets

They were chasing alpha; now they are eating crow.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada's largest pension fund, reported a record loss of $39.8-billion as of Dec. 31, 2008. As a result, total assets under allocation fell to $120.1-billion from $155.4-billion in 2007. The balance was made up for $4.6-billion in new deposits.

The 25% haircut in total assets, which represents the biggest loss ever reported by a Canadian pension fund, has raised concerns about the security of Quebec pensioners. It also has people in the financial sector calling for a re-evaluation of risk models adopted by the Canadian institutions.

"It's clearly a staggering loss in absolute dollars," says Tawfik Hammoud, partner and managing director of The Boston Consulting Group in Toronto. "The government should mandate a bottom up review of their asset model, risk strategy and organization" he says. He adds: They also need a strong full-time CEO who can develop a credible path to recovery and deal with the various stakeholders."

With its risk strategy under attack, it seems certain that the Caisse will take a more conservative approach in the future. Already, Quebec's Finance Minister has announced an overhaul of the organization, and has requested a National Assembly committee hold special hearings to examine the issue of losses.

All asset classes -- with the exception of the best government securities - recorded steep losses at the pension plan. In addition to a significant writedown due to hedging its foreign exchange risk on assets outside the country, the Caisse took a huge financial blow investing in asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP). The Caisse was forced to write down 43% ($5.6-billion) of its $12.8-billion investment in the toxic paper.

In a statement to the press, Fernand Perreault, president and chief executive of the Caisse, did a mea culpa: "The risk management policy had not set overall limits on the amount of AAA-rated money market instruments that could be held. In hindsight, we placed too much confidence in these securities."

Speaking to the issue of the Caisse's ABCP loss, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was quick to point out that had the government not come to the rescue, the losses "would have been much worse." But for pension watchers like Keith Ambachtsheer, director of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management at the Rotman School of Management, the losses only speak to poor oversight.

"These institutions need to do their own due diligence," he said. "Just because the agencies rate them as AAA doesn't mean they are," he says.

Not all the Caisse's $40-billion losses were real. While the pension plan realized losses on the sale of its investments of $23.2-billion, over 56% of its losses were unrealized decreases in value, otherwise known as paper losses. While the real estate portfolio generated more net rental income in 2008 than the previous year, the fund estimated that the mark-to-market value of real estate declined 22%.

So far the Caisse's losses stand in dramatic relief to losses at the other pension funds and calls into question the performance of the managers. The Caisse had a benchmark portfolio of a 18.5% loss, but posted a 25% loss. That's 650 points below its benchmark and a shortfall that is considered disastrous by pension fund managers. By contrast, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) declared a negative 15.3% return for 2008 compared with a benchmark of negative 13.2% which represents 210 basis points below benchmark.

Despite Wednesday's bad news, "the Caisse continues to have a strong liquidity position and they still have a massive amount of capital," said Huston Loke, co-president of DBRS Ltd. While the rating agency looks at how funds do in relation to their peers, Mr. Loke likes the fact that the Caisse appears to be recalibrating its risk models and focussing on assets that "are more understood." The Caisse announced it has suspended its "asset allocation operations" a risky portfolio (although non-transparent portfolio) that contributed to $2-billion in losses last year.

At the end of the day, pension insiders don't think the province is going to throw the Caisse out with the bathwater.

"The province is so proud of the Caisse," said one analyst. "They put them through the ringer in front of the General Assembly, but at the end of the day they will simply ask them to strengthen internal controls and make some changes," he said.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-27 18:13:59

Well folks Canada saves the free world yet again. MoEnzyme, don't you feel safer that the beaver tamers are watching your back door :D



Source: China View (
Author: na
Date: 2009-02-27

OTTAWA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Canadian fighter jets intercepted aRussian bomber near its airspace in the Arctic three days before U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ottawa last week, officials said Friday.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay said the bomber never entered Canadian airspace.


"Canadian pilots sent a strong signal they should back off and stay out of our airspace," MacKay said at a press conference with the chief of the defense staff and the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The CF-18s took off from their base in Alberta on Feb.16 after NORAD detected the bomber headed toward Canadian airspace, the officials said.

The incident was sensitive as it happened as Canada was preparing to host Obama on his first international trip after weeks of preparation that included some of the tightest security ever. Airspace over Canada's capital was closed to all planes but Obama's own Air Force One during the president's visit, MacKay said.

MacKay said he was not accusing Russia of deliberately timing the flight to coincide with the visit, but it was a "strong coincidence."

"It was a strong coincidence which we met with ... CF-18 fighter planes and world-class pilots that know their business," he said.

He also said Canada has recently seen "increased activity" of this kind.

Russian aircraft regularly probed into North American airspace during the Cold War. Such flights resumed in recent years as Russia pushed its claim on the Arctic and its oil wealth, according to Canadian media reports.

Last summer, then Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson said recent actions of Russia were of "great concern" to the government.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-02-28 15:06:28

I really struggle with why in a global: financial, environmental, and social collapse, the 'kids' find time to piss in each others corn flakes and how the media handles the story, as if to distract us from what is really happening in the world around us.



Federal Government Historical Site (

National Post : Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Editorial: Tell Quebec where to get off

Each July at the annual re-enactment of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania, the Union soldiers always win. Gen. George Pickett's forces are always decimated in their futile charge up Cemetery Ridge and the Confederates are always forced to slink off south with their tails between their legs. Yet there are no petitions among Southerners to ban the historical staging -- which takes place on a designated national battlefield -- just because it "rubs the noses" of modern-day sons and daughters of the Confederacy "in their ancestors' defeat."
At the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium, the French always lose to the British and Prussians, but France never files a complaint with the United Nations. Each October's recreation of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is even hosted by the English Heritage Society, the heirs of the losers.

It's too bad Quebec's nationalists lack such maturity. If they did, then plans to re-enact the 250th anniversary of the 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham wouldn't be the subject of violent threats by aggrieved separatists seeking -- successfully, as it happens -- to shut down the event.

It was not the only time in recent months, of course, that Quebec had stomped its collective foot and spineless federal politicians had trembled. During last fall's federal election, Quebecers' overreaction to a joke by Prime Minister Stephen Harper about cuts to arts funding caused the Tories to promise to restore the grants -- some $47-million -- if only Quebec voters would support them. They didn't, but the grant monies were reinstated anyway.

Every prime minister since John Diefenbaker has believed he has discovered a magic incantation unknown to any of his predecessors that he might invoke to charm Quebec into satisfaction with Confederation and, ultimately, each has failed to placate la belle province.

Lester Pearson had his Three Wise Men, Pierre Trudeau had bilingualism and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Brian Mulroney had both the Meech Lake and the Charlottetown accords.

All failures.

The current PM, Stephen Harper, has even declared the Quebecois a nation within a nation -- as close are they are ever likely to come to a declaration of special constitutional status -- and given the provincial government something of an official presence at international summits of French-speaking nations. Yet one off-the-mark quip about artists' propensity for pleading poverty while attending gala dinners -- a quip Quebecers mistakenly perceived as a slight against their culture-- and all of Mr. Harper's efforts to build bridges with Quebec voters vanished in a puff of smoke.

Enough of the decades of appeasement; it's time for Ottawa to adopt a tough-love attitude toward Quebec. And who better to do that than Mr. Harper and his Tories? They've got nothing to lose.

Since October's national campaign, Conservative support in Quebec has nearly halved. Where eights months ago the Tories rivalled the Bloc Quebecois for first place in popular support, now they stand at third or even fourth in most polls. Last week, a CROP poll found the Tories with 16% support -- equal to that of the NDP -- and Mr. Harper's personal popularity below 20%.

That means the Prime Minister and Cabinet can do the right thing without risking their popularity: They have none.

They can start by reinstating the Plains of Abraham re-enactment and, if need be, providing federal security for the event. They also can end the unofficial federal policy that as near to half as possible of all federal defence spending must go to manufacturers in Quebec.

While they're at it, they should tell the truth about equalization. Quebec annually receives the most money -- nearly 50% of total equalization, despite the fact that for decades now, Quebec's per capita provincial GDP has been just 3% to 8% below the national average. There is no "fiscal imbalance," at least not between Ottawa and Quebec. Most federal leaders know the stats, they have merely been too frightened about the prospect of Quebec leaving to give it voice.

Let's also take away the Quebec chair at the Francophonie. Defend vigorously in court any challenges filed that seek to uphold the minority-language rights of English-speaking residents in Quebec.

And stop jumping out of your skin every time Quebec says boo-hoo.

Such an approach won't make any friends in Quebec. But at least everyone in the rest of the country won't keep feeling like suckers.

National Post : Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rudyard Griffiths: A nation's amnesia

Parks Canada's decision to cancel the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham is a worrying sign that Canadians' deep-seated compulsion to whitewash the country's past is very much alive and well.

It is remarkable to think that in little more than a generation, we succeeded in all but erasing our country's colonial past. The Red Ensign was replaced by the Maple Leaf flag. The Dominion government became the federal government, and later, Dominion Day was replaced by Canada Day. The word "Royal" in the names of Crown agencies was replaced by "Canada." And, the notion of Canada as a compact of French and English has been replaced by a multicultural doctrine that sees the country as made up of minority groups that define themselves as different and wish to remain so.

This rebranding of our national symbols is driven not simply by a desire to assert the country's cultural and political independence; its goal, as evidenced in the Plains of Abraham anniversary fiasco, is to sever the identity of modern Canada from its historical moorings, a past perceived to be made up mostly of wars, colonialism and interracial and regional conflict.

First and foremost, the blotting out of our colonial origins supposedly allows national governments to avoid unduly provoking the country's various regional groups, especially Quebec nationalists.

From Pearson onwards, the imperatives of Canadian unity have been excuse enough to sweep the likes of Wolfe, Lord Durham and the symbols and traditions of the Crown into the proverbial blue bin of history.

The desire to liberate Canada from the political and cultural encumbrances of its colonial past was also fuelled, in no small part, by the elites' view that the different ethnic groups immigrating to Canada would feel unconnected to this history. Allegedly, the country would do a better job of settling newcomers if the Canadian state promoted the notion that Canada was made up of many equivalent identities rather than an overarching civic creed.

As I assert in my soon to be released book, Who We Are: A Citizen's Manifesto, jettisoning the symbols and institutions associated with our colonial past has served to undermine the cause of Canadian unity.

As thinkers such as George Grant and Charles Taylor have correctly observed, an English-Canadian political culture weakened by the denial of its own unique history has contributed to, rather than eased, French Canadians' worries that the rest of Canada is still committed to building a bicultural society along non-republican and non-assimilative lines.

Obscuring Canada's colonial past has also made it more difficult for an increasingly diverse country to forge those essential bonds of citizenship and community that all nations depend upon.

Newcomers to Canada, if they are exposed to Canadian history and civics at all, are fed a watered-down version that focuses on the country's recent past --primarily post-Second-World-War history -- and the rights and privileges of citizenship.

To this day the history of Canada as told through provincial history curricula and in much of our popular culture remains bereft of the unifying and inspiring civics lessons that past generations derived from the stories associated with the country's journey from colony to nation-state: its military triumphs, its struggle for democracy and its bicultural foundations.

Indeed, I would argue that the absence of the traditions that evoke the civic legacy of past generations haunts us like a lost limb. We know from certain periods in our history that Canada is a nation that is greater than the sum of its regions and linguistic groups. We know that the totality of who we are is larger than the programs and institutions of the government of the day.

But thanks to an intentionally induced amnesia surrounding the colonial origins and symbols of our civic culture, including the primordial drama that unfolded on the Plains of Abraham 250 years ago this summer, the path back to a shared understanding of the country's nature and purpose is as uncertain as ever.

Rudyard Griffiths' forthcoming book Who We Are: A Citizen's Manifesto will be published this March by Douglas & Macintyre.

National Post : Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A loss Quebecers should celebrate

Re: Waving White Flag Over The Plains, Feb. 18.

The decision by the National Battlefields Commission to cancel this summer's planned 250th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham is regrettable. It is sad that the fundamentalist outcry of a few embittered separatists would cause the cancellation of what would have been an educational and entertaining spectacle.

It is especially sad because the Battle of the Plains of Abraham should be celebrated, not for who won the short skirmish but for its aftermath. The enlightened articles of the "capitulation" agreement after the cessation of hostilities led to the 1763 Treaty of Paris that gave New France the guarantees that preserved its culture. The treaty broke with common practice (think of the Acadian expulsion in the years before) and granted unprecedented rights of religion, language and education that reinforced and protected the culture of the former French subjects who now found themselves by happenstance under British rule. Without this pivotal point in history, French in Quebec today would probably be like it is in Louisiana -- a quaint Cajun cultural tourist attraction and possibly not even an official language.

All Canadians should be celebrating this anniversary, but perhaps none more so than les Quebecois.

Peter Goldring, MP for Edmonton East, Ottawa.

National Post : Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is it time to say goodbye to la belle province?

Re: The Cure For Credit Crisis? La Separation, Bien Sur, Feb. 24.

It is not often that I turn to your front page for my daily dose of humour, but today's cover did it for me. That Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois could publicly propose, let alone think, that independence for Quebec would solve the economic woes of our time made me laugh hysterically.

It is offensive to me, and to many Quebecers, I am sure, that she could insult us with such nonsense. I am sick of hearing how much better off the province of Quebec would be without the rest of us. The people hurt most by this type of rhetoric are hard-working Quebecers who have been held economic hostage by these people for decades.

Here's a magic recipe for the separatists: Come up with something better than lies and inflammatory rhetoric and you might get us all listening instead of laughing.

Kevin Bougher, Vancouver.

Bravo! A voice long overdue. Quebec, please leave.

Ted Roberts, Victoria.

Re: Tell Quebec Where To Get Off, editorial, Feb. 24.

Although separation would hardly benefit Quebec's economy, it would do wonders for Canada's. It's time we had a referendum asking all Canadians if Quebec should stay or go.
It brings a smile to think about it.

Scott Gardiner, Toronto.

Growing up in wartime England with our parents billeting two Canadian ambulance attendants, and with Canadian troops camped on the Downs around us, there was never any doubt that Canada was a country. Having now lived in Canada as a citizen for some 40 years, I can only suggest that if Quebec finds all that is good and worthwhile about the country an unacceptable way of life, then it would seem that the time for parting has come.

If this is so, let us part as friends, with good wishes for Quebec's success and with the assurance of the fullest co-operation for the future of this new country.

Jim Vennell, Burlington, Ont.

Re: A Loss Quebecers Should Celebrate, letter to the editor, Feb. 24.

Letter-writer and MP Peter Goldring omitted one vital comment from his succinct summary of what Quebecers owe to the 1763 Treaty of Paris. While he is correct to state that had the Battle of the Plains not happened, Quebec would be a "quaint Cajun cultural tourist attraction," he should have added that many Canadians feel that if that had occurred, then today we would not remain encumbered with the albatross that is Quebec.

Malcolm Bell, Lions Bay, B. C.


Corbella Report

When bully separatists win

By streams 02-17-2009

How do you say, "Get over it, already," in French?

Or, how about, "no sense in crying over spilled milk"? Or, "what's done is done". Or, "you can't change history."

Oops. Well, apparently in Canada you can change history, or at least quell the retelling of it simply by threatening violence.

That's what's happened with the National Battlefields Commission, that was planning on re-enacting the Plains of Abraham battle on July 1 -- the 250th anniversary of the 1759 battle on the small chunk of land outside the walls of Quebec City.

Never mind that this battle, in which both Wolfe and Montcalm were famously killed, is key to the history of our great country. It appears it causes great anxiety to Quebec separatists and so now a rather innocent but accurate re-enactment of our history that would have had history buffs and those people who like playing with soldiers spending some of their increasingly shrinking tourist dollars in la belle province, the commission surrendered.

Actually, the lead paragraph of Graeme Hamilton's story in the National Post Tuesday, February 17 edition said it so well:

"A ragtag army of Quebec separatists, armed only with Internet petitions and menacing e-mails, appears to have triumphed where the French army failed 250 years ago, preventing another British victory of the Plains of Abraham."

Apparently, the separatists threatened to attack tourists attending the re-enactment with paint-ball guns!

Pretty soon some people will be demanding that their kids not sing the Canadian national anthem and schools will accommodate them! Oh, wait! That's too has happened.

You know, there's a saying that says, those who stand for nothing will fall for anything!

What will this country stand for 250 years from now? At this rate, the separatists, the whiners, the anthem haters, the flag despisers will all have won out and the vast majority of us will have accommodated them and us out of a country.

Quelle dommage!

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-03-13 22:18:14

Well the Senate passed the Bill C-10 last week !
I guess the Canadian government feels if North America is going to share Canada's water we will piss in it before it flows south and they will never have to ask the house or the Canadian people again since the absolute power has been delegated to the Ministerial Level.

I hope Harper jiggles the handle, so the toilet does keep running.





The BC Wildlife Federation adamantly opposes amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) as included in the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-10.

Canada’s Navigable Waters Protection Act was originally passed in 1882 with the intent of recognizing the common right of access to and free passage on public waterways. Bill C-10 makes unacceptable changes to that legislation.

[color=yellow]The proposed changes will:

1. Eliminate environmental assessments, with few exceptions, for development projects on Canadian waterways.
2. Allow Canada’s rivers to be separated into those that are worth protecting and those that can be exploited.
3. Those classifications can be determined secretly within cabinet with no public consultation, no basis in science and no opportunity for any appeal.
4. Ensure that these decisions will most certainly be made based on political expediency rather than on scientific or long-term social and environmental considerations.

Enabling the government to declare previously protected waterways as non-navigable also has other ramifications for the resource.

If a waterway is designated as navigable the bed of the waterway is considered to be crown property. Designating the waterway as non-navigable will enable the bed to pass to private ownership. From this flows the further concern that private ownership of the waterways bed implies private ownership of the fishery.

If the federal government honestly believes that the NWPA needs updating, the BCWF urges Prime Minister Harper to remove the amendments from Bill C-10 and hold transparent and meaningful public discussions on the legislation across Canada.

Regardless, the government must:

1. Restore the existing environmental assessment requirements,
2. Remove the Minister’s discretion on major construction projects as listed in the legislation, specifically dams, causeways, bridges and booms.
3. Remove the power of government to arbitrarily divide Canada’s rivers into those considered ‘worthwhile’ and those that are somehow less valuable.

The public right to free passage on public waterways goes directly back to the signing in 1215 of the Magna Carta and it has been the federal government’s mandate to protect that right.

With their intent to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the federal government appears to be putting Canadians on notice that they are now willing to abrogate that responsibility. The Federation cannot believe this government is prepared to destroy the birthright of all Canadians under the pretext of a stimulus package.

The amendments to the Navigable Water Protection Act, as included in Bill C-10, ensures the loss of adequate environmental protection and public access to navigable waterways that is a part of our Canadian heritage.

The BCWF urges all Canadians to contact their MPs and Senators and demand they remove the Navigable Waters Protection amendments from Bill C-10.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-03-14 21:03:50

This is really scary.



Source: Saturday's Globe and Mail (
Date: March 13, 2009 at 11:56 PM EDT

Prentice confirms cuts planned to environment reviews

OTTAWA — The Conservative government plans dramatic cuts to the number of projects that require federal environmental assessments, triggering accusations that Ottawa is abandoning its environmental duties under the banner of economic stimulus.

A leaked government document outlining the proposed changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act indicates Environment Minister Jim Prentice has asked for a bill “overhauling” the legislation as soon as possible.

Under the new system, the government should “expect to capture 200-300 projects per year,” the document states. That would represent a more than 95 per cent drop from the roughly 6,000 federal environmental assessments that currently take place each year.

Environmentalists who released the document Friday at a press conference on Parliament Hill said they expect the bill will be introduced later this month or in April.
Internet Links

* Leaked document: Changes to the Environmental Assessment Act (

The Globe and Mail

In an interview with The Globe following the press conference, Mr. Prentice confirmed he wants the legislation reviewed soon but added he has yet to decide what process the review will take.

He said the proposed changes are in response to the provinces, who recently told Prime Minister Stephen Harper that overlapping environmental rules will delay public stimulus spending from creating jobs.

“The [provincial] ministers of environment have been quite outspoken with me about it, that this legislation is very concerning and that in some cases it is slowing down projects with no consequential environmental benefits,” Mr. Prentice said. “There will be a process that is followed to examine the legislation and discuss any possible changes to it.”

Throughout the Conservatives' three years in power, Mr. Prentice has been the government's point man responsible for environmental negotiations with oil sands companies and the Mackenzie gas pipeline project, which has been bogged down in environmental hearings.

Environmentalists say provincial rules are often weaker than federal environmental laws and accuse Mr. Prentice of putting the need of industries like oil, mining and nuclear power ahead of the environment.

“This is no coincidence. It's been clear since minister Prentice was appointed Environment Minister that he really still is the minister of industry,” said Stephen Hazell, the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, an environmental advocacy group. “He's pushing an old-style economy and not moving toward the clean energy economy that President [Barack] Obama has indicated that he wants to take his country towards.”

Mr. Prentice rejects that criticism, saying the proposed changes would not affect large projects like the oil sands or pipelines. He said the changes are aimed at weeding out reviews of smaller projects that do not impact the environment or are already reviewed by the provinces.

The minister's comments represent the first detailed confirmation that the government wants to reform Canada's environmental assessment legislation, which was brought in by the Brian Mulroney government in 1992.

The issue surfaced in January when the NDP released an internal government e-mail indicating Ottawa wanted to do away with environmental assessments for projects that cost less than $10-million.

The changes would come on the heels of a similar change included in the budget legislation that passed this week, which reduced the ability to trigger environmental assessments through the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis said the proposed legislation would represent a much bigger change than the controversial measures passed in the budget.

“It's not acceptable,” she said. “They really are using the economic recession to advance their agenda, which is disregard for the environment.”

Title: Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-11-06 11:41:45

Looks like the great white north is going down the road France has taken and Great Britain is heading down as well. I am certainly not against copyright and protection of intellectual property, but the consequences or punishment must fit the crime. To date a proposed consequence might be removal of internet access for life for an individual. This would by effect remove household and limit the individual's ability to function the the post Internet universe that has as an example all government access on the Internet.

Time to dust off those PGP programs and encrypt your hard drives.

Cheers and Jeers



This enactment amends the Copyright Act in order to
(a) update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the Internet, in line with international standards;
(b) clarify the liability of Internet service providers;
(c) permit certain uses for educational and research purposes of Internet and other digital technologies to facilitate technology-enhanced learning, inter-library loans, the delivery of educational material and access to publicly available material on the Internet;
(d) permit certain uses of copyright material for private purposes; and
(e) amend provisions of the Act relating to photographs to give photographers the same rights as other creators.

<snip>Proposed fines for breaking the law are (per each instance, personal use):

* A new statutory damage award of $500 for music downloads.
* Since the $500 limit does not apply to all cases, fines up to $20,000 (defined in previous bills)[11] may be incurred (per instance) for:
o Circumventing digital locks or DRM regardless of reason/intent.
o Uploading regardless of awareness, including uploading to YouTube or peer-to-peer networks. Note that peer-to-peer programs generally allow files to be both uploaded and downloaded by default.
o "Making available" of copyrighted material (regardless if it was actually uploaded).[12]

In the case of commercial circumvention of DRM, Clause 32 of the Bill specifies penalties of $1,000,000 and/or five years imprisonment on conviction on indictment, or $25,000 and/or six months imprisonment on summary conviction.[9] <snip>

link to:[size=3][url=]
Digital Copyright Canada
All Canadian Citizens are "Rights Holders"! [/url]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Hermit on 2009-11-06 14:14:24

Worth remembering how recent the ideas of IP protection, copyright protection and the patenting of ideas really is. This is not something defined in common law, Blacks Law contained not a hint of it, and there is no proof whatsoever that any of it has contributed one iota to human happiness or the amount of material available to us.

For those who wondered, the British and French succumbed to US pressure. This might be driven by the fact that the US no longer exports anything else the rest of the world - or many in the USA - want to pay for or can afford.

It might be interesting to note that if you can read Russian, Chinese or Korean, all the material the West previously enjoyed trivial access to is still available and easily found, and if you don't, many entrepreneurs in those countries now sell access to either usenet or password protected sites, both providing access (in English) to vast quantities of copywronged material with no logging and little chance of interception. Of course, these "solutions" are non-ideal in that the originators fail to benefit from their work, but then, the originators tend not to benefit much from their work after it has been "taxed" by their distributors, promoters, packagers, associations, antipiracy lawyers and everyone else feeding at the trough.

At the end of the day, it remains interesting to ask who exactly benefits from the fire sale of the commons being perpetrated in the name of the same "freedoms" that enabled the rape of the global financial system.

It surely is not the commons.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-11-12 14:30:24

Kids and high tech toys go wrong.



'Thatcher's death' sparks diplomatic flurry in Canada

Source: AFP (
Date: 2009.11.12 (AFP) – 2 hours ago

OTTAWA — "Thatcher has died," read the short text message that kicked off a brief diplomatic flurry among members of Canada's parliament and their advisors at a black tie dinner this week, said local media Thursday.

Upon learning the "news" via mobile or Blackberry at a soiree honoring Canadian military families Tuesday, some 2,000 shocked Conservatives, said to revere the Iron Lady of British politics, and their advisors reportedly huddled to discuss a reaction.

The prime minister's office called Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street to confirm that Margaret Thatcher had indeed passed away -- baffling British officials, CanWest News Service said.

It turned out the message was sent by Canadian Transport Minister John Baird from his home in Toronto to a person at the gala dinner to say his beloved 16-year-old gray tabby cat, named for Margaret Thatcher, 84, had died.


The recipient then forwarded it to others.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office was not immediately available for comment.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-11-15 13:05:02

I apologize for the lengthy post but the comments are intrinsic to the post. As we are unable to fund health care and education in this country, the luxury of enforced bilingualism is as a commentator says; "as useful as a tailor in a nudist colony". It cripples new immigrants employment in the civil service and is creating a linguistic based mono culture in the infrastructure that is running Canada, that no longer reflects the needs and wishes of the vast majority if Canadians.



Bilingualism is no burden

Source: Ottawa Citizen (
Author: Graham Fraser
Date: November 13, 2009

The Citizen has called for a renewed discussion on language. According to last Saturday’s editorial, “Bilingualism revisited,” the question raised at the University of Ottawa is a larger one: “whether the time has come to give unilingual anglophones a break and free them from the burden of learning French.”

The Citizen assumes that language requirements are a burden for anglophones alone, and that the time has come to give them a break, to liberate them. But learning French is no more of a burden for anglophones than learning English is, for francophones. Language policies do not exist to impose a burden. They represent a value: the ability to serve people in the official language of their choice.

Lester B. Pearson wanted a climate that would allow English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians to work together, using their own language and cultural values but with each fully appreciating and understanding those of the other. This reflected Canadian values: respect, democracy, public service, inclusiveness and generosity. And in 1969, those values were translated into legislation; this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act.

Until 1969, the only language requirements were for French-speaking Canadians, who had to function in English. Every prime minister since, including Stephen Harper, has worked to ensure that bilingualism is a two-way street. Over 90 per cent of positions in the federal government that are designated bilingual are filled by people who meet the language requirements.

Unfortunately, most Canadian universities have been slow to respond to this reality. Even though the federal government is Canada’s largest employer and needs bilingual supervisors and executives, most universities treat French as a foreign language to be taught in the literature department rather than as a key to understanding Canadian history, journalism, political science, public administration or law.

The University of Ottawa, Canada’s largest bilingual university, is one of the great and honourable exceptions. Making bilingualism a value rather than a burden has attracted students as varied as Senator Hugh Segal, Premier Dalton McGuinty, former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache, and current rector Allan Rock.

In order to attract immersion graduates, the university has a program that supports English-speaking students who choose to take some of their courses in French. Canada has never required bilingualism of its citizens. Similarly, one does not have to be bilingual to be a student or a professor at the University of Ottawa. Some study or teach in English; others study or teach in French. Many are unilingual — a reflection of the country, where 20 million speak no French and four million speak no English.

It is only natural that the university administration should be able to serve professors and students in either English or French. When it was suggested that a similar requirement was a burden on the union, there was no quorum to debate the policy. Does this mean, as the editorial suggests, that the language policies had discouraged participation and weakened the union? This is unlikely. Nothing generates dissent like injustice, real or perceived.

It is disappointing that the largest daily newspaper in Canada’s capital sees language policy only through the narrow perspective of a debate on how unilingual anglophones could be “freed.”

The issue is how the value of linguistic duality can be better understood, so that all Canadians can feel represented and be served by their government, whatever official language they speak.

Graham Fraser is Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Your Comments


November 15, 2009 - 10:43 AM
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I find it interesting to see, beyond the anger and bitterness radiating from many of the anti-bilingualism commenters, the poor spelling, grammar, and command of facts shown in their letters. I've always thought of bilingualism or multilingualism as a type of highly practical intelligence test. Such posters are not doing much to change my mind...

Francophone Canadians were present in this country in significant numbers from New Brunswick to Manitoba before Confederation. The cost of keeping bilingualism viable across this country is a reasonable and relatively small price to pay for a tolerant Canada that includes Quebec.

As far as the alleged poor quality of spoken English on the part of francophones? Almost every meeting I attended (working in the private sector, mind you) with a mix of anglophone and francophone participants defaulted automatically to English, because the anglophones' command of French, in general, was poor to nil.

Linguistics Lad

November 15, 2009 - 3:11 AM
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"The Citizen assumes that language requirements are a burden for anglophones alone, and that the time has come to give them a break, to liberate them. But learning French is no more of a burden for anglophones than learning English is, for francophones."

First of all, I hope you take the time to read the responses. Here are some facts: 40% of the population of Quebec is French/English bilingual. 4% of the rest of Canada is English/French bilingual. What is happening here is what the field of Linguistics has observed happening to many cultures in history, at many points in history. There's no getting around the fact that English is, at this point in time, the 'world language'. It wasn't always, and it won't be forever, but it currently is. That's indisputable. What has been observed is that people from less dominant languages (in this case and at this point in history---French) are far more likely to effortlessly pick up the more dominant language (in this case and at this point in history---English) due to immersion/bombardment/natural advantage. Those who already speak the dominant language are far less likely to naturally pick up the less dominant language because it is far less relevant to them than when situations are reversed. The statistics I quoted earlier clearly back this proven, tested, and well-documented phenomenon, and I must tell you, therefore, that the burden placed upon English speakers is not at all the same as the 'burden' placed on French speakers.

Ben Samuel Patrick

November 14, 2009 - 10:51 PM
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English Canada is tired of saving the French from obscurity. The French could save their own language, if they choose too. Certainly, shouldn't need the English majority to do it for them. While, their (French) are at it...they can pay the tab for that, as well. Especially, since they (the French) are so special and distinct...better or superior to the rest of us.

Official Bilingualism serves the French minority and discriminates against the English majority, in Canada. Time to reverse that trend and restore English/British rights, language, history, heritage, symbols and prominence to all Canadians.

G. Fraser is a moron who is bought and paid for by the Liberal Party of Toronto and the French. His only duty is to enslave English Canada while promoting, protecting, and empowering the French minority in Canada.

He, like his Liberal cohorts, are pretending to serve all Canadians while trying to trick us (majority of Canadians) into thinking that OB Policies and Agendas serve some noble cause.

Saving the whales/bears, feeding our children/elderly, physically cleaning up our air, water and eco system are all noble causes, worthy of the effort, time, and money. Official Bilingualism is not worth only serves the French.

Canada should be majority governed instead of having Quebec rule the roost.

Mary Daniels

November 14, 2009 - 10:30 PM
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Mr. Fraser and his Department should be representing, all Canadians across Canada, in whatever language (English or French) they choose to utilize. Point in fact, why even have his services or Offices, as Canadians should have the right to choose the language of their choice for their: homes, communities, businesses, organizations, and cities/towns/provinces.

Have never seen him, his predecessors or his offices/Department ever speak out against the language discrimination that the English majority endures, daily. Nor, have I ever seen them advocate for the English minority in Quebec who have been stripped of their rights, language, history and culture. In fact, he/they have never even promoted official bilingualism in Quebec (which is unilingually French and actually forbades it's citizens to be bilingual, officially).

Canadians are English, outside of Quebec, and it's time that the Government and Liberal Courts System stay out of the language issue, altogether. French language and culture are dying, as evidenced by the billions or trillions of dollars infused into this Liberal Party Boondoogle, over the last 40 or so years without any success.

Clearly, Canadians have not embraced the notion of OB and that is evidenced by the complete failure of it's Policies/Agendas. If, forty years of constant brainwashing, propaganda, legislation, harassment and discrimination haven't resulted in the frenchification of never will! Restore Canada to English status and relieve Canadians of the financial burden of trying to "save" the French from assimilation.

Afterall, why should English Canada care...we won the war, it's time we started acting like it!

Stephen Kingly

November 14, 2009 - 9:46 PM
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No more of this nonsense, ROC is tired of hearing and paying for this bulls*&%. Official Bilingualism serves only the French minority in Canada.

Canadians are overwhelmingly English with 96% of the population, outside of Quebec. We are English and not French. Our communities, businesses, homes, neighbourhoods, culture, history and language are English.

Why should the English embrace the French language and culture when Quebec and the Liberal Party of Toronto are erasing and completely eradicating all English language, rights, culture, heritage, symbols and history.

ROC doesn't want or need the services of Official Languages, it's officers or it's language Nazi's, and we certainly are tired of paying for the discrimination endured by English Canadians, across this great Country.

Majority of Canadians are English and we wish to be majority ruled and not minority governed!!! Restore ROC to officially, unilingually English status, once and for all!

Colleen Mackin

November 14, 2009 - 9:32 PM
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Official Bilingualism Policies and Agendas serve as a French Affirmative Hiring Policy that discriminates against the English majority in Canada. OB policies have sucked Canadian taxpayers dry, for the last 40 years. It is a failed social engineering project that the Liberal Party forced upon English Canada to further their agenda of "frenchifying" Canada.

Interesting that Mr. Graham doesn't feel the need to ensure that Quebec follows the same OB policies and instead: allows, protects, funds, and encourages it's (Quebec) unilingual status while demanding that the rest of Canada be and have enforced bilingual status.

Long overdue to fire this loser, his offices, employees, and his services, as an another massive Liberal boondoogle that has sucked on Canada's teat for far too long.

Imagine if the time, money and efforts that has been wasted on this foolishness had remained with our social safety net of programs that would benefit all Canadians and not just a linguistic minority. Programs, such as: health care, military, children, elderly and even the environment.

Time for English Canada to stand up and demand a restoration of English rights, language, culture, heritage and symbols in Canada (ROC). Let ROC be unilingually English and Quebec can remain unilingually French.

I mean really, Quebec hasn't even signed onto Canada, why are we continuing to pander to French demands or interests. Let them be Canadians, same as all other citizens or time to put up and shut up!!! Basically, s*(%$ or get off the pot.

Let's let Quebec save it's own language and culture, at their own expense for a real change of pace! Afterall, it's already a dead language when you have to force it's useage into ""being artificially through legislation. ROC is tired of paying the tab for Quebec and it's language, special status, privileges, people and culture.


November 14, 2009 - 5:51 PM
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Graham Fraser has zero crediability on this issue in that he has an obvious professional interests in the status quo. I don't know what parallel universe he lives in, but as a unilingual English civil servant working in Gatineau, I can tell him that the door doesn't swing both ways very often. Bilingualism seems to be an overwhelming raison d'etre of most of the hiring done where I work at a non-professional level. In fact, if I were suddenly declare tomorrow to all and sundry, a deep and abiding desire to learn French, I suspect that I could spend the majority of the next 3 years or so, at full salary, doing just that thing. Laughable? I have seen it happen, and am seeing it happen everyday. Is that why people are hired in the public service, to learn French at taxpayer's expense.


November 14, 2009 - 3:50 PM
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George McGill, the answer is:

35.2% of the appointees being Anglophone

64.8% being Francophone.


2.26 Appointments to the public service by first official language group for bilingual imperative positions only — The number of Anglophones and Francophones being appointed to bilingual imperative positions in organizations under the PSEA has also remained stable over the past four years, with 35.2% of the appointees being Anglophone and 64.8% being Francophone.

George McGill

November 14, 2009 - 2:51 PM
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I am interested in the percentage of francophones who hold bilingual positions, and the proportion of positions that are designated bilingual. This will provide factual evidence of the unfairness to anglos.

Kim Lian

November 14, 2009 - 11:52 AM
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Graham Fraser, Language Commissar, is very quick to conclude that Official Bilingualism is no burden to Canadians. Of course it is no burden for him – he’s getting a few hundred thousand dollars to keep spewing this garbage about the policy reflecting “democracy, public service, inclusiveness and generosity”. To the thousands of linguistically challenged English-speakers (which only happens to be more than 80% of the Canadian population), this is a burden of incalculable proportion. From the loss of job opportunities, promotion opportunities and yes, even participation in an institution like the Ottawa University, most English-speakers are excluded. This is not even taking into account the financial cost to the country that is taking money from far more important services that serve more people than the policy of Official Bilingualism which essentially only benefits a small group of people (according to Jack Jedwab of Canadian Studies, only 12% of Canadians can be classified as “truly bilingual”).

Voluntary bilingualism is one thing but forced official bilingualism is a policy that is discriminatory and divisive and works against the country’s majority. It is also a failed policy because Quebec is allowed to be officially unilingual, free to prosecute its own citizens for attempting to be bilingual. Is Graham Fraser aware of the fact that Quebec might use the notwithstanding clause again so that the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that Bill 104 is unconstitutional can be side-stepped? I wonder why French Quebec can ignore him & his preaching for Official Bilingualism with impunity – why doesn’t he tell Quebec that bilingualism is no burden? Answer: Quebec knows that having to run the province in two languages is a financial burden & having to do and say everything in two languages is a waste of time and money and that province is desperately doing everything it can to be unilingual French. While we’re at it, can we ask New Brunswick why it has to be sell NB Power to Quebec? Is it because having to operate in two languages is breaking that province? On top of being economically challenged due to the lack of natural resources, N.B. has to spend money to appease it’s French-speaking minority and disadvantage it’s English-speaking majority.

Critical thinker

November 14, 2009 - 10:53 AM
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This is not, and never will be a true bilingual country (other than officially), and that is what??? Knowing french in Nunavut or Prince George is effectively useless, as is knowing english in some of the small towns in the Saguenay. Its like being an expert tailor in a nudest colony...what is the point?? The biggest farce is the huge, and I mean EMMENSE cost placed on the taxpayers in attempt to bilingualize the federal public service, with the additional cost of lost productiveity, true job skills underutilized due to priority given to language requirements, and destroyed careers of some people who are very competant in their field but lack the language skills demanded (not needed). This is very much a burden....and burdens are fine....IF the resulting benefit warrants the burden. I ask....what is the resulting benefit and is the value of the benefit greater than the cost of the burden?!


November 14, 2009 - 10:00 AM
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Mr.Fraser says, "Over 90 per cent of positions in the federal government that are designated bilingual are filled by people who meet the language requirements." On one hand this opinion is correct but on the other hand this is absolute nonsense and borders highly on blissful ignorance. Almost 100% of the positions in the government are bilingual imperative (NCR) and yes 90% of those positions are filled with so-called bilingual people leaving 10% mainly anglophones. However, meeting the language requirement is nonsense.Yes English speaking people need to meet the requirement but those French first just barely have to be audible in English. Mr. Fraser if you don't believe this, do an independent audit of French first people who are designated bilingual just to see how many actually meet the bilingual requirement for reading, writing and speaking English. You would find that the majority DO NOT meet the same requirements as those imposed on English speaking persons seeking bilingual designations. Better yet, just look at the percentages of English speaking people enrolled in second language training as opposed to their French counterparts in English training. Something like 95% to 5% respectively. Are we to assume 95% of the French in the government are letter perfect in the English language? And if this is news to Mr.Fraser, then he should satisfy his role as Official Language(s) Commissioner and do an audit as suggested. But I sense Mr.Fraser knows this which is why an independent audit will never see the light of day.


November 14, 2009 - 9:45 AM
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Unless and until the province of Quebec declares it is officially bilingual, and pursues it with the same zeal with their language police, this exercise is an expensive farce which has done more to divide this coutry than anything else.

Mr. Fraser, to believe anything else is dreaming or maybe a nightmare is closer to the truth

Good commentary

November 14, 2009 - 8:31 AM
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Thank you, Mr. Graham, to have exposed the Citizen's editorial board members for what they are: a bunch of whiners.

English Matron

November 14, 2009 - 5:35 AM
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Hey Mr. Frazer, why don't you have language tresting for English. I am fed up with poor service in poor English.

The testing of French is too rigid. My 'french immersion Son cant pass these tests, and I bet most French couldn't either.

The testing is a way of keeping us nasty non French out of their world.

If you let us English test for the English language, we would have a more level playing field.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-12-03 18:22:56

Canadian media has been laden with Afghanistan 'rhetoric'. The "Mother ship" CBC has a drama radio series depicting how bad things are going for Canadian soldiers: Afghanada ( Bureaucrats are coming out of the wood work with horror stories.

I suspect we are being softened up; Canada is getting ready to pull out .... not very manly ehh. :P




Source: The Canadian Press (
Author: n/a
Date: Wed. Dec. 2 2009 10:17 PM ET

OTTAWA — The International Red Cross met twice with senior Canadian officials in Kandahar to deliver veiled but insistent warnings about torture in Afghan jails a year before Canada acted to protect detainees.


Details of the face-to-face meetings in 2006, outlined in uncensored memos examined by The Canadian Press, undermine the federal government's claims that diplomat Richard Colvin was a lone voice raising vague concerns about torture.

The Red Cross is prevented by international rules from using the term "torture" and from commenting on one country's behaviour to another.

But the risks were so dire that detainees might be tortured in Afghan jails that the agency felt compelled to alert senior Canadian diplomats and officers in person, say memos made available on a confidential basis to The Canadian Press.

At one of the meetings, on June 2, 2006, at Kandahar Airfield, a military lawyer, the RCMP officer in charge of training Afghan police and some of Canada's diplomatic staff were all advised about potential torture at the hands of Afghan prison officials.

A Red Cross representative "made a point of raising a the issue of treatment of Afghan detainees, including some who had been transferred to the Afghan authorities by Canadian forces," Colvin reports in parts of a previously censored memo.

The Red Cross complained about the "lack of judicial safeguards" and warned: "All kinds of things are going on."

The wording is clear diplomatic code for torture, says a University of Ottawa law professor, and was as explicit as the Red Cross could be given diplomatic constraints.

Errol Mendes describes the meeting as the seminal moment when Canadian officials and commanders had the duty under international law to launch their own investigation into the conditions in Afghan prisons.

"When you have a statement like that, which is coded language for torture and everything else, you have a duty to link it to the more general allegations of abuse that were all over the place at that time," Mendes said.

A spokesman for the International Red Cross played down the face-to-face sessions with Canadian officials.

The agency would "never share confidential information," and the memo and Mendes' comments are "someone's interpretation of the meeting," Bernard Barrett, Red Cross spokesman in Washington, D.C., said in an interview.

Canadian government officials and Conservative MPs have repeatedly indicated that Colvin alone dealt with the Red Cross, and funnelled the humanitarian agency's concerns to Ottawa.

"Out of 5,000 Canadians who have travelled through there, at least in that period of time, you were the one single person who is coming forward with this information. So you will forgive me if I am skeptical," Tory MP Jim Abbott said on Nov. 18, the day Colvin testified before a Parliamentary committee.

Senior government officials and generals in Ottawa have also said they either didn't read Colvin's warnings or considered them too vague to be of concern.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay last week acknowledged the government had heard "concerns about the state of prisons" in Afghanistan from the moment the Conservatives took office in early 2006.

His statement did not indicate the origin of those concerns, whether from general reports issued by the U.S. State Department or from broad warnings by human-rights agencies to all forces operating in the region.

But the new memos show that the insistent concerns were specific to Canada's military mission in Afghanistan and made directly to senior Canadian officials, not transmitted through a single diplomat.

Two further high-level Red Cross meetings about torture took place in Ottawa and Geneva around the same time with Canadian officials.

To date, Colvin has been pilloried by cabinet ministers, military leaders and some Tory MPs as gullible and easily manipulated by Taliban propaganda. Some have also claimed there is no hard evidence for his claims.

Three high-ranking generals, including former general Rick Hillier, described his allegations last week as "ludicrous."

But the new memos show that Colvin's concerns were in fact shared by a respected humanitarian agency that pushed the diplomatic envelope to get the ear of Canadian officials. The International Red Cross by convention is allowed to raise specific concerns about torture only with the national government of a country.

At the first face-to-face meeting, Maj. Erik Liebert, deputy commander of the provincial reconstruction base, was told by the Red Cross that no one in the Canadian military would take their telephone calls. He also heard Canada was too slow to report that it captured prisoners -- sometimes taking 60 days -- and that "a lot can happen in two months."

That meeting spawned a second more detailed discussion at Kandahar Airfield on June 2.

Apart from delivering their warnings, Red Cross officials, who are duty-bound to protect prisoners in conflict zones, also complained about "unsatisfactory" conditions at Kandahar's medieval Sarpoza prison.

The Kandahar meeting was followed by a more high-level meeting on June 12, 2006, in Ottawa involving the head of the Red Cross mission in Kandahar as well as the international agency's delegation head for the U.S. and Canada.

The memos show there was also a fourth meeting in Geneva.

The intent of those meetings was for the Red Cross "to communicate its legal read of the situation in Afghanistan, as it has done with NATO in April 2006."

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs confirmed the Ottawa meeting did take place, but Katherine Heath-Eves declined to discuss the substance.

"In recognition of the confidential nature of the relationship between the ICRC and the government of Canada, we are not in a position to comment on either the meeting or the participants or our reporting of the meeting," she said in an emailed response.

Dan Dugas, a spokesman for MacKay who was foreign affairs minister at the time, said the minister was never briefed on any of the meetings.

After torture allegations surfaced in the Canadian media in the spring of 2007, Canada's embassy staff in Kabul went to the Red Cross in Afghanistan, hoping to gauge the extent of abuse throughout the Afghan prison system.

But by that time the relationship with the spurned Red Cross had become strained, the memos indicate.

"They therefore declined to provide us with their assessment of the prevalence of abuse -- whether 'two per cent, 20 per cent, 200 per cent' -- but twice said we should not be surprised by the story in the Globe and Mail," said the June 9, 2007, memo examined by The Canadian Press.

Officials were told that by the Red Cross that Canada and the ICRC "have a joint interest in ensuring proper treatment of detainees," said the report by Colvin.

However, the Red Cross apparently told Colvin that it was reluctant to share information "because of Canadian political pressure, there is the risk that information we provide would crop up in a public forum."

Earlier that year, former defence minister Gordon O'Connor was forced into an embarrassing public retreat after assuring the House of Commons that the Red Cross was keeping an eye on Canadian-captured prisoners, only to be reminded that it wasn't the agency's role.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2009-12-22 20:31:45

Nice to see we are in lock step with our brothers to the south.



Source: Toronto Sun (
Author: Althia Raj - Parliamentary Bureau
Date: 22nd December 2009, 8:01pm


OTTAWA — The federal government’s transfer agreement on Afghan detainees is still too weak and members of the Canadian Forces risk being prosecuted for war crimes, two experts said Tuesday.

“The risk of torture remains,” Paul Champ, a lawyer for Amnesty International and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, told a meeting of opposition MPs. “Any transfers that continue today are still unlawful under our international obligations.”

Retired Canadian ambassador Gar Pardy warned rank-and-file soldiers would suffer if charges were ever laid.

“Every time these types of cases come up, the generals and the ministers disappear over the horizons and it is the poor buggers in the trenches that are going to get it,” he said.

For the second week in a row, Conservative MPs failed to attend an emergency committee meeting examining Canada’s treatment of Afghan detainees.

Laurie Hawn, Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s parliamentary secretary, said the Tories are at home with friends and family for the holidays.

“One would hope that only the most serious of emergencies should interfere with these moments,” Hawn wrote. “There is presently nothing urgent needing study on the subject of Taleban (sic) prisoners.”

Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopes MPs will go from Christmas to the Winter Olympics and forget the issue.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-01-02 11:10:06

So in the Canadian version of democracy, if the citizens might learn the truth, run and hide till you get them to vote for you in with a majority, before the World Court charges you with war crimes.




Source: Digital Journal (
Author: Stephanie Dearing
Date: Dec 30, 2009



Ottawa - Canadians might be forgiven for thinking that proroguing is a new Conservative tradition with the news that Stephen Harper has asked the Governor General to prorogue parliament again.
Rumours had swirled through Ottawa earlier in December, saying Harper might prorogue parliament in an effort to shut down a House Committee meeting into the torture of Afghan detainees. After a spokesman from Prime Minister's office confirmed the news that Harper was seeking to prorogue Parliament Wednesday, opposition parties reacted by saying Harper was shutting down democracy.
According to Dimitri Soudas, Harper did not meet with Michaelle Jean in person to request the prorogue of parliament, instead making the request via telephone. Parliament will convene on March 3, 2010. After the Speech from the Throne on March 3rd, the first order of business will be the budget. Parliament was to resume after a Christmas break on January 25th. Liberal Ralph Goodale said Harper's move was
"... a shocking insult to democracy."
NDP representative Libby Davies called the move a
“political scam.”
The Liberal Party has responded by issuing a statement denouncing the Prime Minister. Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff accused Stephen Harper of having
"... derailed the nation’s business in order to protect his own partisan interests."
Ignatieff went on to say
"Mr. Harper is showing his disregard for the democratic institutions of our country. The decision to prorogue is about one thing and one thing only – avoiding the scrutiny of Parliament at a time when this government is facing tough questions about their conduct in covering up the detainee scandal."
Last December, when Harper prorogued Parliament shortly after winning an election he had called, Professor Christopher Dassios told the Toronto Star
"It’s almost entirely within the prime minister’s discretion to request a proroguing, but it would be highly unusual to ask for one when a session really hasn’t begun.
In essence, proroguing means the session is over - that we’ve completed the proposed business for this session. Which is different from an adjournment, which is just not sitting for a period of time - either overnight or for a weekend or for a holiday period.
And so, it would be highly unusual and may extend into that really narrow band (of activity) that the GG is expected to exercise - of granting what is appropriate. And there’s just very little discretion. "
Until Harper, and aside from the normal proroguing of Parliament at the end of each session, the practice has not been used to temporarily suspend Parliamentary business since Prime Minister MacKenzie King in 1926. Like MacKenzie King, when Harper asked Michaelle Jean to prorogue parliament in December 2008, he was seeking to duck a confidence vote that threatened to end Harper's term as Canada's leader.
This year, however, there has been no such crisis to avert and the only reasons Harper's spokesperson has provided for the proroguing has been for the purpose of allowing Harper and the Conservative Party to consult with Canadians about setting the agenda for the upcoming political year.
The move to suspend Parliament for two months means that all business before Parliament has been scotched, meaning bills and committee meetings. A decision on whether or not to renew Employment Insurance Benefits is one of those items that will have to be revisited when parliament resumes in March. The move means that Harper will gain control over the senate.
Harper also prorogued Parliament in 2007.


Source: The Star (
Author: James Travers
Date: 2010.01.02


No one should be more concerned about this Prime Minister's controlling methods than Conservatives. Power so expediently abused in high office becomes a cruel constraint when an election is inevitably lost.


Stephen Harper understood that in opposition. As a Reformer he preached the gospel of parliamentary primacy. As a Conservative leader using memories of ethical failures from the Chrétien era to defeat Paul Martin, Harper promised, hand over heart, to restore accountability.

That, of course, was then. Now the Prime Minister is singularly dominating national affairs. As a new year begins, there will be no one here to ask annoying questions about war and spending or distract attention from the modern Roman circus of Olympic Games.

No watchdogs will howl at how Canadians are being denied the right to know what the ruling party is doing in their name and with their money; what generals and ministers aren't saying about Afghanistan prisoner torture or how an unreformed RCMP polices much of the country without civilian oversight.

If there is a zone, a sweet spot, in federal politics, Harper is at its epicentre. Cabinet is a rubber stamp, party principles are sacrificed to pragmatism without much protest, and there's no credible alternative to threaten Harper's hegemony or test a Conservative agenda.

Other prime ministers have explored the open space created by Parliament's shrinkage. Pierre Trudeau, who began the concentration of power among whispering loyalists, snapped "just watch me" when asked how far he would go to control the 1970 October Crisis. Brian Mulroney Tories created the wink-and-nudge contracting system that Liberals elevated into the Quebec sponsorship scheme. Jean Chrétien became known as a more or less friendly dictator during three consecutive majorities.

Harper is still pursuing a first majority. Meanwhile he's constructing a bold new edifice on his predecessor's suspect foundations.

Systematically, and without explanation, the Prime Minister is testing every limit on his power. Along with successfully shuttering Parliament for the second time, he's neutering committees charged with the primary democratic responsibilities of safeguarding the treasury and forcing the government to explain its actions. He's challenging independent rulings against how Conservatives funded their 2006 election and how this government treats Canadians in trouble abroad.

Politics is an uncompromising blood sport played to win within loose rules. By learning Liberal dirty tricks, adapting to changing circumstances and reinterpreting every regulation in his favour, Harper is proving to be a shrewd and accomplished contestant.

Far less clear is what he accepts as legitimate constraint, the line in the democratic sand not to be crossed.

Last year ministers threatened to go over the head of the de facto head of state if Governor General Michaëlle Jean allowed a coalition of "Liberals, socialists and separatist" to use their Commons majority to topple his minority. This winter Harper is essentially making the argument that Parliament is getting in the way of his government governing.

Come spring or fall, there will likely be another election, one that might well interfere with what the Prime Minister has in mind and could, if experience is a prognosticator, lead to yet another response outside the boundaries of shared Canadian experience.

Whatever happens in the coming months, one reality is inescapable. In taking politics to a different, hyper-controlling and partisan level, the Prime Minister is creating a dangerous legacy his successors will gratefully accept before turning it to their benefit.

Even if Conservatives are more comfortable than other Canadians with Harper's dark democracy, they along with the rest of us should be very afraid of what will happen when, as it will, the political worm turns.[Fritz]Interesting to see that all politicians are created equal, is underscored

James Travers' column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-01-03 14:12:39

A good friend sent me this cheery new years greeting and I had to share the joy :o :o

Cheers to old buddies in other parts of the world !



The Harper government is crowing about how they were the driving force behind the disaster at Copenhagen.

This explains Harper trip to China and India just before the conference.

Whatever Harper told the Chinese seems to have worked as the Chinese prevented anybody from making any strong commitments on reducing CO2 emissions. I can understand China not wanting to cut but why did they force Germany not to cut as well?

Anyway, we see the Chinese paying Harper back for his good work in destroying any sort of agreement at Copenhagen.

Even if humans have a tiny effect, on climate change, the carbon industry (oil, coal, gas) has given governments their marching order. Burn as much carbon as fast as possible and don't let anything replace coal, oil, or gas as the primary sources of energy. Our only hope now is for the Sun to cool off for the next 100 years. May God have mercy on or souls, because the sociopaths running this world are determined to kill us all.

Oh one last comment about climate change. Don't worry about melting ice, the more immediate concern is falling crop yields. How much do crop yields need to drop before you see food riots in the western world? 2, 5,10 percent drop? Also remember that in 2008 when oil prices rose there were food riots around the world.
Don't worry there will always be plenty of food for those with enough money and who cares about poor people starving? It is not like it is somebody rich who really matters. I am being sarcastic in case you could not guess.

I wish I could find a more reliable link but I have heard that women living downwind of sour gas wells have five times as many miscarriages as women who do not. I guess human lives come a distance second to carbon industry.

Time to start building Mr. Home Thorium Reactor:

This is a real neat chart. It looks like the limit of oil production is about 87 million barrels per day. Demand beyond that causes the price skyrockets.

Have a cheery new year. 8-)

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-01-12 21:17:09

Sigh ... even in this kinder gentler frozen North we can't play nicely with each other.



Source: The Register (
Author: Austin Modine in San Francisco
Date: 2010.01.12

Canada quashes Yes Men hoax with phishing claim[/size]

Too many boys crying wolf

Those online pranksters known as The Yes Men may be called many things for their spoofing antics - satirists, provocateurs, major-league assholes - but phishers they're not.

Ah, but that's exactly the excuse Canada's department of the environment used to shut down two of the organization's parody website's created last month to thumb noses at the government's environmental policy during the Copenhagen climate conference.
The Yes Men created the websites December 14, which mimicked real Canadian government sites and issued fake news releases that claimed Canada had reversed its climate-change policy and set stricter goals on CO2 emissions.

It's the usual M.O. for the loosely-knit online group — which last October gave the US Chamber of Commerce a similar work-over with a faux environmental release announcement that fooled even stalwart publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times. The US government took a tack of claiming The Yes Men violated the country's copyright laws by "directly copying the images, logos, design and layout" of the Chamber of Commerce's official website.

Up north, Environment Canada convinced web service provider Serverloft to take down two fake Yes Men websites - and - by referring to them as phishing scams.

"Environment Canada asked a German Internet service provider to take down two hoax (Environment Canada) websites because those websites infringe Environment Canada's Intellectual Property and act as phishing sites to the official department website," the department confirmed to

The term phishing, of course, refers to creating websites designed to look like they are from well-known, legitimate businesses for the purpose of stealing personal information, like passwords, bank account information, or credit card numbers.

The Yes Men claim Canada's government is unjustified in taking down the website without a warrant. According to the group, Serverloft responded to the government's request by blocking a range of IP-addresses used by the host PiWeb, which resulted in unplugging 4,500 web sites that were unrelated to the hoax. (Take the latter accusation with a shovel of salt, however, as the Yes Men aren't exactly above making things up to make a point).

Whether the Canadian and US government have a case against the Yes Men for violating trademark law by mimicking their websites has yet to be seen. But accusing the group of phishing to get a swifter reaction from a service provider is a trouble tactic indeed. ®

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-01-13 12:48:51

A picture from my archives (cleaning and organizing) taken 3 hours north of Toronto in Haliburtan. Just to point out in spite of the snow and cold, Canada is not quite at the North Pole, in it's entirety. 8)



[img height=480 width=840]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-01-23 10:30:04

Nice to see once again how well we play with our neighbours, no matter how nefarious.



Source: The Globe & Mail (
Author: Michael Valpy
Date: 2010.01.23


The diplomat praised for sheltering Americans during the Iranian Revolution tells The Globe he was made 'de facto CIA station chief' in a secret deal between a U.S. president and prime minister Joe Clark


Ken Taylor, the Canadian diplomat celebrated 30 years ago for hiding U.S. embassy personnel during the Iranian revolution, actively spied for the Americans and helped them plan an armed incursion into the country.

Mr. Taylor, ambassador in Iran from 1977 to 1980, became “the de facto CIA station chief” in Tehran after the U.S. embassy was seized by students on Nov. 4, 1979, and 63 Americans, including the four-member Central Intelligence Agency contingent, were taken hostage.

Had his espionage been discovered, Mr. Taylor told The Globe and Mail in an interview this week, “the Iranians wouldn't have tolerated it. And the consequences may have been severe.”

His intelligence-gathering activities were kept secret by agreement between the Canadian and the U.S. governments, although his role in sheltering six Americans and helping to spirit them out of Iran was later made public, winning him and the Canadian government widespread U.S. gratitude.

Trent University historian Robert Wright, author of Our Man in Tehran , a new account of the incident released today, strongly implies that then-prime-minister Joe Clark insisted Mr. Taylor's spying be kept quiet, fearing a negative political fallout if the Canadian public learned that one of its envoys was a U.S. spook.

Mr. Taylor himself said he never expected the story to come out. “It had been under wraps for 30 years, and my assumption was that it would be for another 30 years. I didn't expect to be here to talk about it.”

The phrase “de facto CIA station chief” appears in Prof. Wright's book, the manuscript of which Mr. Taylor saw and approved in advance of publication.

The request that he provide “aggressive intelligence” for the Americans was made personally by U.S. president Jimmy Carter to Mr. Clark, likely in a telephone conversation on Nov. 30, 1979, according to Prof. Wright.

Mr. Clark gave his approval, and informed his foreign minister, Flora MacDonald, who passed the request on to Mr. Taylor. He instantly agreed.

“I saw this [the hostage-taking] as something that wasn't right,” Mr. Taylor said. “Anything in a modest way that I could contribute … looking for some sort of solution to this, I was quite prepared to do. I felt strongly about it. And I felt we could get away with it. They weren't going to catch us.”

From that point on, what amounted to the U.S. intelligence operation in Iran was run by Mr. Taylor from the Canadian embassy. The daily information he sent out was seen by only two officials at what was then the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa – Louis Delvoie, director of the intelligence analysis division, and Pat Black, assistant undersecretary for security and intelligence.

They showed the cables to Mr. Clark and Ms. MacDonald before passing them on to the U.S. ambassador in Ottawa, Kenneth Curtis, who in turned forwarded them to Washington.

What precisely Mr. Taylor was doing needs careful definition. In reality, he was managing a Canadian, not a U.S., intelligence station, which the Americans – because they had no network of their own after their embassy was seized – wanted to join.

[img] and Ken Taylor. in Tehran, Dec. 31, 1977.

The first CIA agent sent into Iran after the hostage-taking was rejected by Mr. Taylor as unsuitable. He left the country. The second agent sent in, code-named “Bob,” won Mr. Taylor's approval and thereafter operated out of the Canadian embassy.

Mr. Delvoie had the job of insulating Mr. Taylor from interference from CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. Thus, Mr. Taylor on his own managed Bob, and all of Bob's reports were sent to his Langley spymasters through Mr. Taylor. He was in charge.

The ambassador's chief accomplice was Jim Edward, head of security at the Canadian embassy. He, like Mr. Taylor, was given the choice of whether to spy for the Americans and, like Mr. Taylor, readily accepted.

He became a clandestine operative assigned by the ambassador to snoop for military intelligence while mingling inconspicuously with crowds of Iranians outside the U.S. embassy – an unlikely mission for the fair-haired, blue-eyed, broad-shouldered, six-foot-tall Canadian Forces sergeant.

The two men – at times in collaboration with Bob – assessed potential helicopter landing sites, arranged for trucks to be garaged at a secret location in Tehran and analyzed other logistics in preparation for a commando raid, dubbed Operation Eagle Claw, to free the hostages held at the embassy.

Sgt. Edward's specific job was to report on the number of guards at the embassy, how they were armed and when they changed shifts, ascertain where specifically the hostages were being held and track the daily movement of people and goods in and out of the compound – particularly the inward passage of foodstuffs and outward movement of waste, which allowed Mr. Taylor to calculate the hostages' daily caloric intake and assess their general health.

In conversation with The Globe this week, Mr. Taylor said he felt confident taking on the U.S. intelligence enterprise because Iran at the time was in chaos and the risk was minimal (although Sgt. Edward and his Iranian girlfriend Layla at one point were detained and questioned for five hours by Revolutionary Guards).

Mr. Taylor also said he was sure he could have got the “houseguests” – the six Americans sheltered in his and embassy immigration counsellor John Sheardown's residences – out of Iran without U.S. help, but the Americans didn't want the Canadians to move alone.

What frustrated Mr. Taylor and Ottawa was that the Americans wouldn't stay focused on the houseguests, although there was evidence that The New York Times and Jean Pelletier, Washington correspondent for Montreal's La Presse, had got wind of their presence in Canadian hideouts.

Ms. MacDonald decided to press her U.S. counterpart, secretary of state Cyrus Vance, to do something, providing a fascinating footnote to Canadian political history: the details of why she wasn't in Parliament on Dec. 13, 1979, for the vote that felled Mr. Clark's minority government.

She was in Brussels for a NATO ministers meeting. The meeting ended but Ms. MacDonald took advantage of being in the same city as Mr. Vance to seek a meeting with him. Face to face, she told him the Canadians would put the houseguests “on donkeys and send them across the border” if the Americans didn't move.

She then missed her flight across the Atlantic, and missed the vote.

The CIA working with Mr. Taylor arranged for the houseguests, using Canadian passports, to “exfiltrate” Tehran on a flight to Zurich on Jan. 27, 1980. Mr. Taylor then closed the embassy and left with his staff.

The last of the U.S. embassy hostages were not released until Mr. Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981 – 444 days after the embassy had been overrun.

Prof. Wright started working on a book about the hostage incident at the suggestion of his editor at HarperCollins Canada who noted that the 30th anniversary was approaching.

To his surprise, Mr. Taylor said he was telephoned by a senior spokesman at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rodney Moore, and asked whether he wanted to participate in the project.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-01-30 15:26:00

Well someone seems to have explaining to do. I have launched my share of model rockets, and none were this dramatic in the air, even the slow burn ones.



Source: Canadian Press (http://)
Author: na
Date: 2010.01.28


Residents of Harbour Mille, N.L., reported seeing this object fly over their community Monday night. (Courtesy of Darlene Stewart)

The Prime Minister Office says there is no evidence of anyone firing a rocket near Newfoundland's southern coast, despite reports of a flaming unidentified object shooting through the sky in Harbour Mille on Monday.

"There is no indication that there was ever a rocket launch," Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said Thursday in an email.

But a Liberal MP is accusing Ottawa of failing to provide answers on the mysterious sighting, captured in a photograph by Harbour Mille resident Darlene Stewart.

Gerry Byrne, the MP for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, said Thursday he had received no further information on the missile-like objects seen earlier this week.

"The objective here should be to dispel rumours and conspiracy theories," he said from Corner Brook, N.L.

"It's not making any sense and nobody's providing any real answers, so questions are mounting."

Originally on Wednesday, the RCMP said questions about the alleged missile sightings were being handled by Public Safety Canada, which had no comment other than to refer questions back to the RCMP. Then on Thursday, that federal department referred questions to the PMO.

"The PMO has made a definitive statement, and I will not be adding to it," said Christopher McCluskey of Public Safety Canada in an email to The Canadian Press.

The ongoing confusion arose when Stewart said she was outside taking pictures of the sunset Monday when she saw something fly overhead.

She said she then alerted two neighbours and they saw three similar objects flying through the air.

Stewart's photo shows a long, rocket-like projectile cruising through the sky with a trail of flames and smoke behind it, but it's difficult to tell how big it is and how close it is to shore.

A radio station in St. John's said a French media outlet reported that France had conducted a ballistic missile test in the Atlantic Ocean, but far from the area where something was seen.

No one from the French Embassy in Ottawa was available for comment.

A spokesman for the Canadian Forces said they were aware of the reports and have confirmed there have been no planned missile exercises off the seaboard.

"There's no threat to the security of Canada," Maj. Jason Proulx said from Ottawa.

Byrne said he's concerned for the safety of residents if missile tests are being done and no one is being told about them.


Mark MacK wrote:Posted 2010/01/30
at 2:41 PM ETsure looks like a rocket. That of course is not evidence, for it to be a rocket the PMO would have to state that it is a rocket. But it sure looks like one.

Cragola wrote:Posted 2010/01/30
at 2:40 PM ETSome have commented that France may be involved, and their government actually went so far as to make an offical statement??? So lets look at what they could launch submerged... possible it is a new French M51 SLBM, a 3 stage propulsion, 14 ton, nuclear warhead capable missile currently undergoing testing. The shape, color and conical exhaust plume is plausible for the M51. France launched one back in December from the French coast that landed in the ocean east of North Carolina. But to be Devil's Advocate, #1. The M51 and new French sub "le Terrible" that France has to launch it, was very publicly seen off the coast of France on Jan 27. At it's top crusing speed of 25knots, the sub would arrive in our coastal waters on Jan 30th. 2. Any missile that close and under propulsion would make a hell of a racket that would have alerted more than a few people. 3. Picture was taken over coastal waters, with the humidity in that area, a standard missile of substantial size to be photographed should have left a contrail. Would like to know about size and how far away the missile was when photographed... Just my thoughts, better go back to watching Discovery Channel.

Fred Canadian wrote:Posted 2010/01/30
at 10:03 AM ET
The PMO's office took a "conservative shot": it's a new MODEL. See?

Evidently, the rumrunners were cleared out of the way a couple of weeks before because, as dearly as we might love them, they would have been embarrassing in front of the manufacturing elite and the international brass. Even worse, the runners might easily have taken a few turr shots at our new, lightweight, inexpensive-at-50-million-dollar machines rather than just shooting pictures.

Premiere Danny (the King) Williams eventually gave permission for wave-top testing on a proviso that the new mail-order British-Francophone, energy efficient sample taker and personnel rescue pod ... should reflect something cultural about Newfoundland. There you have it. Inspired by the historic, Welsh gauge, trans-island train, it’s the "Newfie Bullet 3001." Sleek, powerful, whisper quiet and energy efficient, using commonly available fuel.

Unfortunately, they hadn't expected the "invisible wake" to light up so brightly from the sunset after it tried some altitude. The unique wide-blade turbine is designed to burn kerosene extremely efficiently, which also happens to make the exhaust invisible during trans-Atlantic flights and helps provide a more comfortable ride. As you can see by the beautiful photos, our new cruise pod maintains a well recognized profile from a distance while impressing enemies with dual speed and depth perceptions. Concave intake shrouds still draw air from the dorsal bow for the turbine engine as well as for a ventral stream altitude control.

The PMO hasn't provided more than one tweet worth of information because busy neo-conservatives don't want to be seen tolerating details about anything, let alone this new international arrangement using populated areas of Newfoundland.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-03-06 16:30:47

The political vultures are still circling the big "C"s in power on this one. "Damit Jim it's a war we are in, the rules are not the same"



Source: National Post (
Author: Tom Blackwell
Date: Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ottawa asks judge to review release of detainee documents- Critics step up pressure for judicial inquiry[/size]

John D. McHugh, AFP Getty Images Files / A veteran diplomat has alleged Canadian forces turned over Afghan prisoners to local jailers despite knowing they would be tortured.

The House of Commons special committee on Afghanistan has been the unlikely setting in recent months for some of the most dramatic political theatre Canada has witnessed in years. A veteran diplomat alleged Canadian soldiers turned over Afghan prisoners to local jailers despite knowing they would be tortured, some of the country's top-ranking generals and bureaucrats vigorously dismissed the charges, and MPs engaged in relentless verbal warfare.

With Parliament back and the detainee issue bubbling to a boil again, however, the affair seems poised to spread beyond the walls of the committee's drab meeting rooms -- and the realm of partisan conflict. The government announced on Friday it was referring the opposition's demand for detainee-related documents to a retired judge for advice.

Opposition and outside critics, in turn, are stepping up pressure for a judicial inquiry, arguing that only an independent, de-politicized figure can get to the bottom of the drawn-out controversy now.

"We've been through everything in an attempt to both have accountability and a remedy, and have faced nothing but obstructions and delays and excuses," said Alex Neve, head of Amnesty International Canada. "It is an issue that is complex, involves extensive amount of evidence, involves to some extent conflicting testimony.... All of that doesn't lend itself well to being sorted out in the hurly-burly of a parliamentary process."

Meanwhile, some critics are also pushing for the government to take more immediate and fundamental action: stopping the continued transfer of detainees to Afghan authorities that is at the core of the affair.

News first broke in 2007 that some of the prisoners seized by Canadian troops, and transferred to Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, may have been mistreated or tortured. The issue took on new political urgency last fall, when Richard Colvin, a Canadian diplomat who served 17 months in Afghanistan, told the committee he issued warnings far and wide within government that detainees were being abused.

Senior army officers and Mr. Colvin's superiors in Foreign Affairs have generally denied they knew about likely mistreatment. MPs have demanded full access to emails and other internal documents referred to by Mr. Colvin and other witnesses; they have received only heavily censored versions of some of the records. The Commons voted in December to insist the government hand over the uncensored documents. The Conservatives have steadfastly refused, saying that to do so would compromise military security.

Rob Nicholson, the Justice Minister, said yesterday he was asking Frank Iacobucci, a retired Supreme Court judge, to review the documents and advise him on which parts should be divulged. "This will ensure that parliamentarians will have as full and complete access to government information as is necessary," Mr. Nicholson said in a statement. "There are matters which governments must keep confidential in order to protect the public interest, even in the freest and most open of societies."

Critics dismissed the action, however, as a stalling tactic that will do little to illuminate the detainee situation. Despite the voluminous airing of the issue, much still needs to be settled, they say, beginning with whose version of events is correct: Mr. Colvin's or the generals'.

Exploring the issue in depth is also crucial to ensure that similar problems do not arise in any future foreign operations involving Canadian soldiers, say MPs and human-rights activitsts.

"We are going to be in another mission like this," said Paul Dewar, the NDP's foreign affairs critic. "These are very complex missions, and we need to make sure we improve oversight. That seems to be lost in all this." Yet with the government continuing to withhold documents, there may be little more the Commons committee itself can accomplish on that front, said Bryon Wilfert, the Liberal vice-chairman of the panel. An independent inquiry, with powers to subpoena documents and witnesses, is the most appropriate forum in which to unearth what remains to be known about the situation, he said.

Pamela Stephens, a spokeswoman for Mr. Nicholson, said she could not comment directly on the call for an inquiry, saying the Iacobucci review is the government's response at this point. "All the opposition has ever talked about is the documents," she said. "Now that we've put in place a mechanism to address their concerns, they're changing their story."

The opposition has been calling for an inquiry for months, however, with the Commons passing a motion in December to that effect. Mr. Neve said there is evidence that abuse of detainees is still happening in Afghan prisons. He and Mr. Dewar both said that the U.K. has stopped handing over detainees to the intelligence agency, and urged that Canada follow suit.

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Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-05-09 23:47:26

You would think the porn industry would have enough clout to torpedo this kind of silliness.



Source: CBC (
Author: Peter Nowak
Date: Thursday, May 6, 2010

CRTC approves usage-based internet billing[/size]


The CRTC has approved Bell Canada's request to bill internet customers, both retail and wholesale, based on how much they download each month.

The plan, known as usage-based billing, will apply to people who buy their internet connection from Bell, or from smaller service providers that rent lines from the company, such as Teksavvy or Acanac.

The regulator attached a key caveat to the approval, however, in that Bell must apply usage-based billing to all of its retail customers before it can implement the scheme with its wholesale internet service providers.

Bell will therefore need to move any customers it has on unlimited downloading services onto new usage-based plans before it can apply the same scheme on a wholesale basis.


Internet downloads: How do you want to be billed?

Smaller ISPs had opposed the plan, which the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission provisionally approved in August last year, on the grounds that it will make them indistinguishable from Bell.

Companies such as Teksavvy typically offer plans with hundreds of gigabytes of usage, whereas Bell's most popular services limit users to 50 or 75 GB.

Bell has argued that it needs to implement usage-based billing to curtail the congestion caused on its network by heavy downloaders.

Plan will use flat fees

Under the plan, Bell will charge wholesale ISPs a flat fee for connecting to its network, and for a set monthly usage limit per customer. Beyond that set limit, users will be charged per gigabyte, depending on the speed of their connections.

Customers using the fastest connections of five-megabits per second, for example, will have a monthly allotment of 60 gigabytes, beyond which Bell will charge $1.12 per GB to a maximum of $22.50.

If a customer uses more than 300 GB a month, Bell will also be able to implement an additional charge of 75 cents per gigabyte.

The CRTC is also requiring Bell to make any "usage insurance plans," which give its own retail customers extra monthly usage for a small fee, available to wholesale ISPs.

Small ISPs took the CRTC's approval of Bell's plan as an inevitability, but weren't pleased with some of the details.

"The rates are absolutely atrocious. How the hell are we doing above one dollar for extra usage?" said Rocky Gaudrault, president of Chatham, Ont.-based Teksavvy. "It's in the thousands of multiples beyond what the costs are."

Gaudrault said Bell also continues to have an advantage over smaller ISPs in that it is able to offer superior speeds. The CRTC issued an order in December 2008 that gave wholesale ISPs access to the faster networks of phone companies such as Bell and Telus, but the federal government last year ordered the regulator to reconsider the decision.

The CRTC has until September to report back on the so-called matching speeds ruling, but in the meantime smaller ISPs can only sell connections up to five-megabits. Bell is currently selling connections of up to 25 megabits per second.

A spokesperson for Bell said the company is studying the usage-based billing decision and declined to comment further.

CRTC commissioner Candice Molnar attached a dissenting opinion to the ruling. She said the requirement on Bell to move all of its customers off unlimited downloading plans was unnecessary because a vast majority are already on usage-based services.

Read more:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-05-13 11:02:17

Interesting that the whole sale give away of all our natural resources to anyone with cash is a good thing.



[color=red][size=5] Canada's resilient economy
The Goldilocks recovery

Source: The Economist (
Author: OTTAWA | From The Economist print edition
Date: May 6th 2010

Strict financial regulation and a new commodity boom have turned “boring” Canada into an economic star


THEIR economy is so intertwined with their neighbour’s that when the United States plunged into recession, Canadians assumed they would be dragged along for the ride. Newspapers took to illustrating their economic stories with pictures of Depression-era bread lines. Yet whereas the United States has still not officially declared its recession over, Canada is nine months into recovery from its mildest and shortest downturn in recent history. Unemployment has been falling since last August, and proportionately fewer jobs were lost than south of the border.

Jim Flaherty, the finance minister, attributes Canada’s strong performance to its “boring” financial system. Prodded by tight regulation, the banks were much more conservative in their lending than their American counterparts. Those that did dabble in subprime loans were able to withdraw quickly. This prudence kept a lid on house prices while those in America were soaring, but it paid off when the bust hit. The volume and value of home sales in Canada are now at record highs. In some areas the market looks downright frothy: a modest house in Ottawa listed at C$439,000 ($435,000) recently sold for $600,000. “A lot of homes are selling in one day, and often for over the asking price,” says David Cullwick, a local estate agent. Rising prices have bolstered the construction industry and sellers of furniture and building materials.

True to form, the authorities are moving to halt the party. During the recession the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate (to 0.25%), injected extra liquidity and bought up mortgage-backed securities. At its April policy meeting the bank withdrew its pledge not to raise rates. Analysts expect an increase in June. The government has ended tax credits for first-time house buyers and for renovations, which were granted in 2008 to stimulate demand.

For the other component of the country’s resilience—resurgent appetites for its exports of oil, gas, and minerals—Canadians have to thank policymakers in Beijing more than those in Ottawa. At their low point, prices for Canada’s commodity exports were still 50% higher than in previous recessions. Since then, they have rallied strongly. The impact is illustrated by the fortunes of Teck Resources, a Vancouver-based mining firm. It staggered into the recession loaded with a $9.8 billion debt taken on to buy the assets of a coal-mining company. For a while its survival was in doubt. Last month Teck not only announced that it had repaid the debt but also that it would pay a dividend.

The energy industry is coming back to life, with new investments planned for in Alberta’s oil sands. Last month Sinopec, a Chinese oil company, announced it would pay $4.65 billion for a 9% stake in Syncrude Canada, the largest operator in the sands. Such investments are controversial because of their environmental impact. But they are welcome in Alberta, where the government posted an unprecedented budget deficit last year.

“Our regional economies are so diverse that there is always something leaning against the wind,” says Philip Cross, the chief economist at the government statistics agency. But the combination of commodity revenues and investors seeking safety in Canadian assets has caused the currency to take off. After falling as low as 77 American cents during the recession, the Canadian dollar has now returned to rough parity with the greenback.

That is a tribute to the country’s success. But the central bank warns that a strong loonie, as the currency is known, will slow the recovery. It would be particularly harmful to manufacturing exporters, who were battered by the recession (car production fell by 31% in 2009). That might lead to further specialisation in natural resources. For now, concern about the loonie is muted, because most companies adapted to a stronger exchange rate during its previous run-up in 2007. Many of those that did not went bust. But if the currency continues to rise, the squeals will surely grow.

The government of Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, might have expected to receive more praise for the economy’s robust performance. If it has not, that may be partly because it insisted that the recession was imported from the outside world. Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper. The Bank of Canada can share some of the credit too. But Britons might note that Mr Harper has managed to govern for four years without a parliamentary majority, and that this has not prevented Canada from sailing through the recession.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-05-13 13:20:17

This is all so sad to see a few power hungry self lubricating tyrants destroy a Country at the expense of education and health care for everyone else. Especially when the language of choice for the Americas is so clearly emerging as Spanish/Portuguese.



PS: "We shall beat each other to death; the spoils will be for the taking" or "Vamos a golpearse entre sí hasta la muerte; el botín será para la toma."

It's up to Tory Senate to save Canada from bilingual court[/size]

Source: National Post (http://network.nationalpost. com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/ archive/2010/05/10/don-martin- it-s-up-to-tory-senate-to- save-canada-from-bilingual- court.aspx)
Author: Don Martin:
Date: May 10, 2010

Finally, a legitimate call to arms for the Conservative-dominated Senate.

The final front in the fight against imposing bilingualism on future Supreme Court appointments opens in the Red Chamber Tuesday, the last parliamentary pit stop before a misguided and nationally-divisive private member's bill is passed into law.
For Conservatives giddily gloating at how numerical control over the Senate will soon fast-track their law-and-order agenda forward, even while violent crime in Canada is declining, the bilingualism bill is the litmus test of their new-found power's true-blue value.

Conservatives and a few common sense independents must unite to kill the bill.

New Democrat MP Yvon Godin's legislation is but a sentence fragment long. It adds a subsection that only qualified candidates "who understand French and English without the assistance of an interpreter" may be appointed to the Supreme Court.
That's mighty hard to get lost in translation, but Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff shrugs it off as merely requiring candidates to "learn a little French".

Excusez-moi? Knowing enough French to grasp the subtle tongue twists of the most complicated legal arguments in Canadian history without the aid of a translator is impossible after only a couple weeks of intensive training.

This bill's new prerequisite would demand an extremely advanced level of fluency for a qualified candidate to be considered, creating a chasm separating the best unilingual brains from a top bilingual bench.

Why the Liberals bedfellowed with the Bloc Quebecois and New Democrats to pass the bill was strange. Decent and credible private member's bills have a tough time surviving even the first stage of Commons debate, never mind this bill limping into the Senate on such shaky legal and political footing.

For a party whose bilingualism godfather (MP Justin Trudeau's dad) didn't force Supreme Court justices to be bilingual, presumably to avoid a two-tiered, anti-West selection process, this is hardly a vote-getter and could detonate at the ballot box if the Liberals assist its assent into law.

That's why eyes will be on Conservative Senator Claude Carignan when he leads off the debate by listing procedural and historic arguments (all in French) against a bill which, if enshrined, could end up as an constitutional argument before, of all people, the Supreme Court.

Government Leader in the Senate Marjory LeBreton reports being besieged by "hundreds" of emails and calls opposing the bill. Her communications aide says only three Francophone organizations (and no individuals) have written to support the bill.

Yet Sen. LeBreton is understandably coy about predicting the outcome of a process that will drag on until June, if not into the fall. While the Conservatives may order their stable of senators to line up against the bill, they still might not have the numbers to scuttle it.

One of their own, Quebec Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, says he endorses the legislation and some of the independents are waffling. Alberta independent Elaine McCoy, thankfully, came out swinging against it.

But as a legal argument, the bill's an open and shut case of common sense gone AWOL.

"The stakes are so high in some cases you just want the best people you can get," sums up retired Supreme Court justice John Major, a unilingual Calgarian arguing for the Canadian majority position. "It's the same as surgery. I want the best doctor, I don't want the linguist."

With so many more bilingual judges in Quebec and a dearth of them west of Ontario, the selection process will undoubtedly tilt to eastern regions of greater linguistic duality and impose a severe limit on western options.

Hogwash, sniffs Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser, who promptly self-neutered his own argument by pointing to Alberta's Beverly McLachlin as proof that legal brilliance from hinterland can reach the Supreme level. Trouble is, Justice McLachlin only learned French AFTER she was elevated to the big bench where she now serves as Chief Justice. She would not have made the cut if this bill was in force at her appointment.

Bilingualism if possible, but not necessarily bilingualism should be the prime ministerial rule when considering Supreme Court appointments.

To add a language scout to the nomination process would limit future membership in Canada's judicial dream team to the shallow end of the talent pool.

Sadly, it now falls on a much-maligned Senate to engage enough sober second thinkers to save the Commons from its own legal mistake.

Read more: [url][/url]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-05-19 12:54:13

The 'Believers' are getting restless in the Colonies again .... <snip> self-proclaimed “anarchists.”<snip> ... it seems so sad when you have to proclaim yourself ...




Source: CBC (
Author: Siri Agrell
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 10:06 AM

Early Tuesday morning, a Royal Bank branch in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood was set on fire by a group of self-proclaimed “anarchists.” According to the Canadian Press, three to four males were seen running from the scene and leaving the area in an SUV shortly before the fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. A video was posted on the website along with a message stating that the bank was targeted because of its sponsorship of the Vancouver Olympics, which were held “on stolen indigenous land.” “The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues. An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada,” read the post, signed by FFFC - Ottawa. “On June 25-27 2010, the G8/G20 ‘leaders’ and bankers are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment. We will be there.” District Chief Jim Bloom told the CBC that the fire, which caused $300,000 in damange, was started in the bank's ATM area.
Don’t you need a bank card to access that area? I guess the anarchists need an establishment bank account to pay for their SUV’s gas.


Source: The Star (
Author: Bruce Campion-Smith Ottawa Bureau chief
Date: Wed May 19 2010


OTTAWA – The firebombing of an Ottawa bank has stoked fears of violence at the upcoming Toronto summit of G20 leaders but police officials are vowing they’ll be ready.

Still, bank officials say they’re looking at stepping up security and may even shut down branches in Toronto’s downtown core if rowdy protesters pose a risk to staff and customers.

All this comes after the group that claimed responsibility for setting a Royal Bank of Canada branch aflame Tuesday said they’ll be taking their protest to the G8 and G20 gatherings next month.

The attack on the bank branch in the upscale Glebe neighbourhood was captured on video, which was later posted on the web along with a message that takes aim at the Royal Bank of Canada.

A group calling itself FFFC faults RBC for sponsoring the Vancouver Olympics on “stolen indigenous land” and for being a “major financier” of Alberta’s tar sands, which it calls one of the most “destructive” industrial projects in the world.

“The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues. An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada,” reads the message from the group.

“The G8/G20 ‘leaders’ and bankers are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment. We will be there,” the message reads.

Ottawa Constable Jean-Paul Vincelette confirmed the bank attack was arson but declined to say anything about the video or the claim of responsibility.

“We’re not confirming anything in regards to what’s been broadcast. It’s part of the evidence and it’s going to be looked at,” he said in an interview.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Royal Bank said it is “doing everything to help police” catch those responsible.

“We are not going to comment on the group that has claimed responsibility or respond to the inflammatory statements of those who use violence to communicate their views,” the bank statement said, adding “we are very proud of our reputation.”

The Ottawa incident, which caused an estimated $300,000 in damage, has raised concerns that the towering bank headquarters in downtown Toronto could be a ripe target for protesters who gather for the G20 summit June 26-27.

Meaghan Gray of the Toronto Police Services said officials are hoping that protesters make their point “peacefully and responsibly.

“That being said, from a security perspective we’re obviously planning for any eventuality and any action on the part of protesters will be met with a measured response from police,” said Gray, who works with the force’s G20 planning team.

While she declined to comment on this week’s incident, she did say the G20 security team does “ongoing threat assessments.”

“Security plans for the G20 are taking into consideration any eventuality or any possible action and we’ll be prepared to respond,” Gray said.

Meanwhile, the banks have spent the last few months making their own contingency plans in preparation for being in the crosshairs of protesters.

“We’ve seen at previous G8/G20 summit protests, the vast majority of people are peaceful but there’s always a small minority that can turn violent and sometimes unfortunately the target has been either the financial services sector or just large businesses in general,” said Maura Drew-Lytle, of the Canadian Bankers Association.

She said bank officials have been meeting with the police and landlords of the downtown buildings to map out security strategies. Those include having bank staff work from home or other branches during the summit, increasing security and even closing down.

“There’s a possibility they’ll close branches at the last minute if there are security concerns. Certainly protecting any bank staff and customers is of primary importance,” she said in an interview.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-06-01 00:24:47

Well it seems it is every group for itself and screw the country.



Source: Ottawa Citizen (
Author: David Gonczol
Date: May 31, 2010


Thousands of francophones across Canada are believed to have lied about their ability to speak English in a seemingly co-ordinated attempt to manipulate the 2006 Census in order to guarantee federal funding of programs for francophones.

Statistics Canada has taken the unusual step of posting a warning on its website to caution users that the data on bilingualism rates for francophones outside Quebec may not be reliable. The suspected cause is an anonymous French-language e-mail that circulated across Canada prior to the census encouraging francophones to say they could not speak English even if they could. It said doing so would ensure the federal government would not cut services to francophones.

The resulting statistics showed for the first time ever an inexplicable decrease in the number of francophones outside Quebec who said they could speak English, reversing a long trend of increasing rates.

The number of bilingual francophones in Ontario, for example, has been on the rise by between one and three per cent in every census since 1991. However, in 2006 the number unexpectedly fell to 88.4 per cent from 89.4 per cent.

Jean Pierre Corbeil, a chief specialist in the language statistics section, said they have studied the trend reversal and the e-mail appears to be the only factor that may have produced this aberration.

"How can you explain people living in a minority situation, even in really strong minority situations, that they would become less bilingual? This is almost impossible," said Corbeil.

Even if the number of bilingual francophones had risen by only one per cent, confirming the longstanding trend, the number of Franco-

Ontarians who may have lied in the census would be about 10,000.

It wasn't just Ontario bucking the trend. Fewer francophones said they could speak English in 2006 in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The percentage of francophones outside Quebec who said they could speak English dropped 2.5 percentage points to 83.6 in 2006. The rate of bilingualism for francophones also dropped in Quebec.

The Statistics Act says anyone who lies when participating in a Statistics Canada survey is liable for a $500 fine, but Marc Hamel, manager of the 2011 census, said efforts are never made to track the liars down.

"We rely on Canadians to provide accurate information, but we have no means of verifying," said Hamel.

Hamel said when his organization heard about the e-mail in 2006, Statistics Canada officials publicly reminded people to answer the census truthfully. He said the source of the e-mail was never investigated.

This is not the first time a concerted effort has affected official government statistics. For example, in the early 1990s, Corbeil said, a media organization led a campaign to convince Canadians to declare their ethnic origin as Canadian rather than Polish-Canadian or German-Canadian. Corbeil said the campaign was so successful that researchers stopped using data on ethnic origin because it became too unreliable.

The unreliability of data concerning bilingual francophones in Ontario comes on the heels of a controversial decision last year by Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario's minister responsible for francophone affairs, to change the provincial definition. Previously, a francophone was someone whose mother tongue was French. Now, it can be anyone whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, but who at least understands French. Statistics Canada says this will artificially increase the number of French speakers in the province, likely by about 50,000, and include some people who may not be able to speak French.

Ontario has the largest population of francophones outside Quebec -- 500,000 -- but they comprise less than five per cent of all Ontarians and the number has been steadily declining for many years. Just over half of them say French is the language they use at home.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-06-14 00:14:08

Oh yes, enjoy your stay in Toronto. Many have already decided to bug out for the duration. Given the billions being spent you'd think that the G20 could settle on some resort island, setup the security once and always meet there. And then there is poor little Huntsville with the G8 crew.

Just dumb founded


[color=yellow]The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the LHIN and may not reflect the views, policies and opinions of the Ontario Medical Association unless otherwise noted. The Ontario Medical Association often assists the LHINs with their distribution of communications but is not responsible for the contents unless the communications are jointly prepared. The OMA does not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the information contained in a LHIN communication unless jointly prepared.

Dear Physician,

As you may already know, the G20 Summit will be held in Toronto from June 26 – 27, 2010.

This event will bring a large influx of people into the region and may create pressure on local infrastructure and resources from June 18 to 28. Mass gatherings such as this one have an impact on demand for health services, and high-security and high-profile nature of the G20 is expected to have an additional impact on access to local health services in the city.

Below are the key points to note.
If you would like a more detailed briefing note on this information, please click on the following link

Public information is available on the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit website


· Events that may occur during the Summit could also create additional demand for emergency, acute care and primary care services to treat a range of potential injuries and illness of both residents and visitors.

· In the event of natural disasters such as heat waves or flooding, mass gatherings may lead to confrontations among protesters and between protesters and police/security officials, and potentially, to acts of intentional harm.

· Mass gatherings can create circumstances conducive to the transmission of infectious diseases. In particular, international mass gatherings can carry the potential for imported illnesses not generally seen in the host region.

· Protests – (both lawful and unlawful). The designated site for lawful protests is Queen’s Park North, which may impede access to hospitals and other services located along and around University Avenue. Other protests will occur around the city and are expected to start as early as June 18. There is a considerable risk of use of tear gas, pepper spray and other related substances. Mass gatherings with significant protest activity increase the chances of minor to moderate illness and injuries.

· Be aware of the potential for a bioterrorism incident – Please go to the following link for the Toronto Public Health fact sheets that summarize the sign and symptoms of the “Category A” bioterrorism.


Physicians’ with downtown offices may want to consider the following for the Summit week (June18-28):

· Planning for increased demand from visitors e.g. walk-in clinics:

o Heat-related illness/dehydration, Sunburn, Gastro-intestinal illness, Allergic reactions, Lost/forgotten medications
o Potential for imported illness (e.g. influenza outside of influenza season)
o Increase in number of persons without OHIP coverage seeking primary care
o Increase in visits from residents and visitors who may have been injured or fallen ill during Summit activities, particularly throughout June 25-27

· Planning to limit impact of transportation issues – arrival of staff/access to/for patients (consider alternative dates to book patients)
· Ensuring sufficient supplies in your office before the week of June 21st, as it may become more difficult to receive shipments as the Summit approaches.
· Planning for potential disruption to critical infrastructure (i.e. phone system, network, etc.)
· Walk in clinics, particularly those open during the Summit weekend (June 25-27), should use signage and other communications channels to advise patients and local residents about:
o difficulties reaching the clinic during the week of the Summit, particularly from June 25-27
o long waits
o alternative clinics should they need medical attention during the Summit


· The greatest risk during the Summit is heavy traffic congestions and protests that may disrupt and delay access to health care services located in and around the downtown core. It is expected to take more time for people to get to work and for patients to access health care services.

· On Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, 2010, restrictions are expected to increase throughout the day and significant traffic disruption is anticipated. In addition, the York, Bay, Yonge Streets exit on the eastbound Gardiner Expressway will be closed on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26, 2010. The York Street ramp onto the westbound Gardiner Expressway will be closed on Sunday, June 27, 2010.

· While public transit will continue during the event, restrictions and temporary stoppage of Go Trains, Go buses, and TTC will happen throughout the event


Traffic Control Zone: There will be a security perimeter surrounding the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is shown by blue and green lines on the map below. This perimeter is not a fence; it is the point at which vehicular traffic will engage with a Toronto Police Service officer.

Roadways within King Street, Yonge Street, Queens Quay and Spadina Avenue - will experience closures or restrictions.

Registration and ‘Express Pass’ cards: Torontonians who live and work within the area around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre have been offered a Registration Card in order to facilitate quick passage through the security checkpoints that will be part of the Toronto Police Service security perimeter.

Security Fencing: There will be fencing used to in the main security perimeter - represented by the orange line on the map below. The fence will be erected in the weeks leading up to the Summit.
The Toronto Police Service hopes that members of the public will be able to move freely throughout the fenced perimeter until the evening of Friday, June 25, 2010.[/color]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-06-21 20:13:17

This is going to haunt the federal government for awhile, especially if there turns out to be problems during the conferences.



Canadian summitry
A loonie boondoggle
Ostentation in a time of austerity

Source: The Economist (
Author: Print edition
Date: Jun 17th 2010 | ottawa


FOR all his gifts as a political tactician, Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister, may have miscalculated how much Canadians want to pay to host the G8 and G20 summits from June 25th to 27th. As the government struggles to close a large budget deficit, it is spending C$1.2 billion ($1.2 billion) to host the world’s leaders—60% more than Japan, the previous record holder, coughed up for the G8 gathering in Okinawa in 2000.

Mr Harper points out that Canada is holding back-to-back summits—doubling the cost, he says. The government also notes that it can hardly be blamed for providing airtight security. It has built a steel fence around the woodland cottage resort at Muskoka that will receive the G8, and deployed special forces on overtime to lurk in the water and surrounding forest.

But critics counter that Mr Harper could have saved money by inviting the G20 to Muskoka as well, rather than receiving them separately in Toronto, 200 km (125 miles) to the south. Moreover, they note that much of the budget has gone on items of dubious utility and taste. The prime minister has become the butt of jokes for commissioning an artificial lake, complete with mock canoes and recordings of the call of the loon, for the G20 summit’s media centre—which sits just yards from the real Lake Ontario. In Muskoka taxpayers are on the hook for a refurbished steamboat that won’t even float until the summit is over, and new outdoor toilets 20km from the meeting site. So much for small government.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-12 12:51:51

Some days I just do not understand the people and the news and what constitutes the facts. High lighted in red below is the real story the was glanced over. The Cell Phone Network in Southern Ontario was not functioning at all in many areas for 3 hours and with limited access for many everywhere else. This effected all Cell Phone Providers. After talking with the service technicians at my cell phone provider it was clear the problem was that the network was saturated and couldn't handle the traffic.
The Earth Quake this was a minor event at best. NOT a national emergency ! YET the Cell phone network failed. I repeat IT FAILED !!!!!! If this had been a real emergency the Cell Phone network would not have been available, NO PHONES. Yet no one is discussing this huge security and health and safety issue !

It seems the Canadian News media are truly 'Hosers' and incompetent.



UPDATE: Earthquake rattles Ottawa
The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting the epicentre of Wednesday's earthquake is in Quebec at coordinates 45.866°N, 75.457°W. Google Earth

Source: Orleans Star (
Author: Patricia Lonergan
Date: June 23rd, 2010

An afternoon earthquake that sent office workers outside and left some residents without power has been downgraded to magnitude 5.0.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) the earthquake near Val-des-Bois, Que., at 1:41 p.m. Wednesday, June 23 measured 5.0 on the Richter scale instead of the 5.5 initially reported by the organization. That figure has been confirmed by Earthquakes Canada, a division of Natural Resources Canada. The earthquake’s epicenter, in western Quebec, is about 38 kilometres north of Cumberland, Ontario. It was measured at a depth of about 18 kilometres.

Twitter users indicate the tremor was felt in Toronto, Montreal and perhaps even as far away as Ohio.

Locally there are reports of power outages. In the downtown area many office buildings have been evacuated. Cell phone users are also having trouble making calls.[/size]

There is no word on damages or injuries.

The USGS reports that people in the large western Quebec seismic zone, where the quake too place, have felt small earthquakes and suffered damage from larger ones for three centuries. The two largest damaging earthquakes occurred in 1935 (magnitude 6.1) at the northwestern end of the seismic zone, and in 1732 (magnitude 6.2) 450 kilometres away at the southeastern end of the zone.

Earthquakes cause damage in the zone about once a decade. Smaller earthquakes are felt three or four times a year.

Source: CTV News (
Author: Elizabeth Howell,
Date: Wed Jun. 23 2010 6:20:38 PM

Emergency officials are now assessing the damage after a magnitude 5.0 earthquake rocked Eastern Ontario and surrounding areas around 1:41 p.m. on Wednesday, and urging residents to check their own homes for any problems.

Most homes are built to sustain moderate earthquake damage, but those in houses that are approaching or older than 100 years old should pay special attention to the foundations, brickwork and other areas of the house, officials said.

Sirens filled the ByWard Market and other areas of Ottawa in the minutes after the powerful quake, although there were no reports of widespread, major damage.

"We had alarm bells, some small fires because people evacuated leaving pots on stoves, some very minor structural damage in some cases," said John de Hooge, head of Ottawa's emergency services.

Biggest in 100 years

The quake, the most powerful to hit the region in a century, swayed buildings and pushed pictures off the wall across the area. The epicentre was in Val-des-Bois, Que., about 54 kilometres northeast of Ottawa, with the worst damage coming in Gracefield, Que.

There is a state of emergency declared in that town, which is an hour and a half northeast of Ottawa. Damage included a fallen steeple from a church, and severe damage to several buildings -- including its city hall.

In Ottawa, as residents reported animals acting strangely in the moments before the quake, bricks fell off chimneys and foundations were cracked. However, most of the damage was minor.

"(People) should check their buildings for any signs of either damage, cracks and so on and so forth and any smells of natural gas," said emergency official John Ash. "If they find those kinds of things ... call the appropriate authorities."

Aftershocks have already hit Ottawa, but at magnitude 2.0 or 3.0 were too low to be felt by most people. In Ottawa, the area averages around 100 to 150 quakes a year but we only feel about 10 of them, said geologist Stephen Halchuk, who is with Environment Canada.

Evacuations take place

Gridlock ensued in downtown Ottawa as thousands of public servants were released from their jobs and jammed on to the Queensway and other major arteries to head to the suburbs.

"Probably the biggest I've ever seen in Ottawa," said one bystander to CTV Ottawa. "Pretty frightening."

Cell phone networks were jammed for at least half an hour following the quake as residents tried to get in touch with loved ones. Thousands turned to Twitter instead to spread the message about what happened.[/size]

Algonquin College kept buildings closed until 5 p.m. One person tweeted that the Blossom Park high school graduation was briefly interrupted by the tremors.

"The Roger Guindon building of uOttawa was evacuated after the earthquake, we're back now thankfully," added Jason Anthony Tetro, on Twitter.

Tremors in Ottawa lasted at least 12 seconds. Power was also knocked out in many areas of the city temporarily, although all was restored within an hour and a half of the quake.

Area hospitals indicated surgeries were proceeding as usual. One doctor who works at CHEO, Eric Benchimol, told CTV Ottawa by Twitter that no evacuations took place and work was continuing on patients.

Rail transportation affected

In Ottawa, a Parliament Hill live news conference stopped as reporters quickly left the room, visibly shaking the camera.

CTV News was doing an interview with Environment Minister Jim Prentice when, as Prentice described, "suddenly my chair was moving."

"So it was pretty significant, it was quite a shake. Fortunately I was at the end of the interview and we all vacated the building," Prentice added.

The O-Train was temporarily pulled off the tracks as staff checked for damage, and VIA Rail trains were delayed moving through the busy Montreal to Toronto corridor.

Tremors were felt as far north as North Bay, as far east as the Quebec/New Brunswick border, as far south as Boston and as far west as Windsor.

"We've experienced one of the largest earthquakes in the history of the City of Ottawa," said Mayor Larry O'Brien. "But it looks like we have gone through it mostly unscathed. Scary incident for all us."

With reports from CTV Ottawa's Paul Brent, Kate Eggins and Norman Fetterley, and files from

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-13 14:45:26

Well at least we are trying to keep up with the US and BP in browning the planet, but then they say the Tarsand are safe .......



[color=yellow]PS: In a related story: Devon and BP team up on oil sands revival

U.S. energy player's asset transfer deal with U.K. giant brings valuable technical know-how to long-dormant Kirby project in Alberta [/color]

Devon Energy shuts down oil sands wells after bitumen-laced steam leak [/size]

Failure at one of the company’s wellheads sent a plume of high-temperature steam into the air for nearly 36 hours last weekend

Source: The Globe and Mail (
Author: Nathan VanderKlippe
Date: Monday, Jul. 12, 2010

Devon Energy Corp. (DVN-N63.680.180.28%) has shut down seven wells at its Jackfish oil sands site after a failure at one of the wellheads sent a plume of bitumen-laced, high-temperature steam into the air for nearly 36 hours last weekend.

The leak began Saturday afternoon and was stopped Sunday at midnight.

“It’s what we would call a steam release leak and it did have bitumen in it,” spokeswoman Nadine Barber said. “That bitumen took the form of a mist or a spray.”

The company said it did not know the cause of the leak, nor how much petroleum was spilled, although it said bitumen coating the ground near the leak has made it difficult to work in the area.

Jackfish produces 35,000 barrels per day. Devon said several thousand barrels a day of production have been halted, and it’s unclear when that will resume. It could take two to three weeks to clean up the spill, Ms. Barber said.

“No employees, no contractors, no community members were injured as a result,” Ms. Barber said. “There is no immediate threat to anyone in the area, including the community, and no evacuation required.”

Still, environmental groups say the oil could have made its way into Sunday Creek, which flows into a network of major rivers in north-eastern Alberta.

Jackfish is located roughly 170 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, and 15 kilometres from the town of Conklin.

Devon employs what’s known as steam-assisted gravity drainage, or SAGD, at its Jackfish site. Using that process, high-pressure steam is injected into the ground using a horizontal well; that steam then heats the bitumen, melting it out of the sand and causing it to flow into a second horizontal well that brings it to surface.

The leak happened in what industry calls the “producer well,” which extracts the bitumen.

The company uses what it calls a “pad” to drill multiple wells. The leaking well was on a pad with seven wells in total; all have been shut down for now.

Both Alberta Environment and Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board are investigating the leak.

SAGD projects use intense pressure and temperature, and this is not the first SAGD accident in the oil sands. In 2006, a well at Total E&P Canada Ltd.’s Joslyn site blew through the earth above it, sending rock flying hundreds of metres into the air. A regulatory report found that the company used greater pressure at the site than it was allowed to.

The industry has held up SAGD -- and other methods that don’t involve mining -- as the future of the oil sands, 80 per cent of which will be extracted without mines. SAGD is also often seen as a more environmentally palatable approach, since it doesn’t scar the landscape the way open-pit mines do.

However, accidents at SAGD sites have caused some to question how much better that technology is.

“This blowout, along with Total's fiasco, suggests major risks with in-situ development,” said Andrew Nikiforuk, an author who wrote “Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.”

Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace campaigner in Alberta, said the spill should be seen as a warning sign.

“Accidents like this are bound to happen which further contaminate our landscapes, further poison the environment and also potentially affect surrounding communities as well.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-13 14:58:28

Clearly timing is everything especially when the tax payer helps fund the bill for getting it ready to show. Or did the G8 go 'Pete Townsend' on the place ?



G8 summit site Deerhurst up for sale[/size]

Source: Globe and Mail (
Author: Steve Ladurantaye Real Estate Reporter
Date: Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2010 6:12AM EDT


The Muskoka region’s Deerhurst Resort is up for sale just weeks after playing host to the Group of Eight summit, as its U.S. owners try to take advantage of the resort’s sudden high profile and the perceived safety of the Canadian real estate market.

The deal’s ramifications extend far beyond Ontario cottage country. The recession has been brutal on resorts across North America, so much so that industry insiders have no idea how much the 114-year-old property may fetch on the open market.

The metrics used to value these properties – average rental rates and comparable sales – are thin because there have been so few properties sold in the past four years. That means all eyes are on Huntsville, Ont., because a successful sale could set the tone for future transactions.

“All we know is values are way down from a few years ago,” said Queen’s University Professor John Andrew, who specializes in commercial real estate. “We have no idea if values are down 15 per cent or 50 per cent, so this process is quite important to the broader industry.”

Real estate consultant Colliers International said in its annual review that the number of hotel sales – including resorts – fell by 20 per cent in 2009. Sales volume dropped 61 per cent to $414-million, as buyers exited the market in anticipation of more hard times for the tourist-dependent sector.

There were a slew of distressed sales among smaller players that couldn’t pay their bills. Industry giant Intrawest ULC, meanwhile, struggled under the weight of its debt and had to refinance in the middle of the Winter Olympics to hold onto its prized Whistler-Blackcomb resort in British Columbia.

“If you look through the deals over the years, you don’t see these types of properties sell very often,” said Colliers executive managing director Alam Pirani. “The last significant transaction was in 2006 when the Fairmont portfolio was sold, so it’s hard to gauge values.”

Deerhurst was founded in 1896 and run by the Waterhouse family until 1990, when it was sold to Apotex Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Barry Sherman, who had hoped to develop a casino on its grounds.

It was bought in 1998 by Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLP, a Hartford Conn.-based fund, for an estimated $21-million. Cornerstone has since spent an estimated $60-million on renovations.

Deerhurst now has space for 1,000 guests in 400 rooms and suites, two golf courses, conference facilities, seven restaurants, a spa and salon, and 3,000-foot airstrip.

The owners said the decision to sell was made because of an improving commercial real estate market, not because of financial distress. An asking price wasn’t disclosed.

“We’ve seen a pickup in transaction volumes across North America,” said Bill Stone, executive vice-president of CB Richard Ellis Hotels, which is handling the sale. “It was quite quiet for a long time, and there really hasn’t been anything like it on the market.”

The official sales material will be distributed to potential buyers Tuesday. Targets primarily include pension funds and private equity firms looking for longer-term investments, although CBRE plans to target some high-net worth individuals as well.

“We will give these groups indications of what we’re looking for, but there is no formal listing price,” Mr. Stone said. “We are looking for offers.”

While the G8 Summit was a welcome shot of global publicity, Deerhurst spokeswoman Anne White said the resort didn’t receive funding to spruce up the resort for the world’s most powerful dignitaries and their staff.

“The majority of the on-site government budget was event-based and temporary,” she said, adding an undisclosed amount of government money was spent “to ensure all 10 leaders’ suites were identical and to reconfigure a ballroom half-wall slightly to allow for the division of the space.”

Still, the spending associated with hosting the government summit pumped at least $50-million into infrastructure projects in the area to prepare for the world leaders’ visit. The improvements included the repaving of Deerhurst Road, improvement of the region’s power grid and enhanced cellphone coverage.

“This offering will have international appeal. It represents a unique opportunity to own a highly recognizable asset, in a beautiful part of the country,” Mr. Stone said.

Still, location may not be enough to convince buyers to step into the world of resort ownership at a time when valuations are hazy.

In January, the 221-room Rosseau resort was placed on the auction block after lenders pulled their funding on the $170-million project. Located west of Deerhurst, the sale was cancelled in April, leaving the fully developed property in the hands of its creditors.

“The Deerhurst sale could help set the value for all of these other types of resorts,” Mr. Andrew said. “If it doesn’t go through or flounders, it would be a sign things will take a while longer to sort out.

The Deerhurst story

1896: Opened by British entrepreneur Charles Waterhouse on a four-acre plot. The resort has 18 bedrooms, a dining room, a smoking lounge, and a verandah. Guests arrive by steamboat.

1972: First set of significant renovations enable resort to open year-round.

1980s: Period of dramatic expansion adds a convention centre and a golf course. Deerhurst launches nightly Vegas-style shows. Timmins, Ont.’s own Shania Twain performs on stage for three years. The singer later auditions for her first record contract at the resort.

1990: Bill Waterhouse, grandson of founder Charles, sells Deerhurst to Apotex chairman Barry Sherman.

1998: Acquired by Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers.

2000: $25-million expansion adds a new hotel wing, conference centre, lobby, restaurant and indoor pool.

June, 2010: Hosts the Group of Eight summit. Federal money is used to repave Deerhurst Road, improve the region’s power grid, and enhance cellphone coverage.


Size: 780 acres, including a private airstrip, two 18-hole golf courses, and paintball-game terrain.

Accommodations: 400 guest rooms with 1,000-guest capacity. Lodging ranges from hotel rooms to three-bedroom condo-style units with full kitchens and fireplaces.

Conferences: 45,000 square feet of indoor venues host about 40,000 delegates each year.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-13 23:58:59

Sadly we have a problem in this loose association of people called Canada.



No French on labels costs grocer $20,000[/size]

Source: National Post, with files from Canwest News Service (
Author: Katherine Laidlaw
Date: Saturday, Jul. 3, 2010

Deb Reynolds stood in her shuttered grocery store, surrounded by boxes filled with cheeses, jam, pickles, beef and baked goods, watching in shock as her staff loaded the crates from her west Vancouver shop into a truck two weeks ago. She was disposing of $20,000 worth of food, after a surprise visit from two inspectors with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on June 17 when she says they deemed a third of her store's stock unsellable because the labels weren't printed with French translations or were missing nutrition tables.
Ms. Reynolds says the two inspectors removed 108 items from her shelves at Home Grow-In Grocer, a 14-month-old shop that carries only food grown or produced in B.C., including by micro-farmers in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan/Similkameen Valley.
"They were there for six hours," she said. "They were picking up every jar, every bottle, every package, taking pictures of the labels, writing notes."
They handed her seven pages of infractions, she says, all relating to labels missing bilingual information or nutrition tables. The inspectors flagged 11 suppliers in the small shop, which Ms. Reynolds says sells 300 dozen eggs a week. One dairy supplier, for example, was pulled because their labels read "feta" or "Monterey Jack" but not "cheese."
But Keith Campbell, supervisor of food investigations for the CFIA, says the inspectors seized only one product, worth $100 and not $20,000, a yogurt made from a dairy supplier that consistently hasn't been complying with the rules.
"There were approximately 21 containers of yogurt with no net quantity, no best-before date," he said. "In addition to the yogurt, the inspectors who were there noted some other products that were not in compliance, but they didn't detain them and didn't restrict the retailer from selling them." Some of the other products included items without bilingual labels, he said, as well as bread being sold with no label at all.
Mr. Campbell acknowledged, however, that Ms. Reynolds' store was used as a way to get compliance from the dairy supplier. The inspectors were simply looking for a place carrying food from that supplier, which he declined to name, and found her store on the Internet.
Rather than throw the noncompliant food away, Ms. Reynolds said she was able to return some of the food to her suppliers, but donated most of it to a local transition house. "To me it was a waste of taxpayers' money and time to go through my individual little suppliers," she said. "I'm just somebody who is trying to support the local B.C. economy."
The CFIA requires suppliers to label products in both English and French, save for a few exceptions including food produced locally. If less than 10% of the residents in the area speak one of the official languages, that language doesn't need to be printed on food labels.

Other items in the media:

National Post
"According to the CFIA rules, suppliers have to label products in both English and French, with a few exceptions if the food is produced locally — which appears to be the case here. And if less than 10% of the residents in the area speak one of the official languages, that language doesn’t need to be printed on food labels. According to Wikipedia, French is spoken by 1.4% of residents of British Columbia."

Calgary Herald

The Province

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-14 11:56:42

Government IT at its finest ;D



Glitches found in Corrections electronic monitoring technology[/size]

Source: Vancouver SUN (
Author: Laura Stone, Postmedia News
Date: 2010.07.14

A report into the short-term trial of electronic ankle bracelets for paroled offenders found the devices were hindered by faulty technology, false alarms and organizational problems.

"It was just a poorly implemented program based on an approach to dealing with criminal behaviour that has no evidence to support it," said Paul Gendreau, a criminal justice expert who has studied electronic monitoring.

"As a taxpayer, I'd be a little incensed," said Gendreau, a psychology professor at the University of New Brunswick.

The analysis of the year-long Electronic Monitoring Pilot Project, from the Correctional Service of Canada, surveyed the effects of the anklets on a total of 46 inmates in Ontario.

The devices used Global Positioning System technology and cost more than $850,000 for the year. The anklets were subject to several problems, including equipment malfunctions and battery deficiencies, says the report.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews defended the use of electronic monitoring.

"It has been clear from the beginning that this is a pilot project. It is also evident that no aspect of this pilot project does anything to endanger the safety of our communities. In fact, police and victims groups have cited examples where the mechanism has prevented crime from taking place," said spokesman Chris McCluskey.

A CSC spokeswoman said despite the glitches, electronic monitoring is a useful tool and is to be used in conjunction with other methods.

"Even if it's a false alarm, or even if we got lots of these little technical limitations or technical challenges or issues, it was actually not a bad thing for us because it just meant an additional monitoring of the offender," said spokeswoman Christelle Chartrand.

Craig Jones, executive director of the prison-rights group John Howard Society, said while he is not necessarily against electronic monitoring, the pilot project suffered from a lack of selection criteria among offenders and clear objectives for the program.

He said offenders who are required to stay away from alcohol or refrain from fraternizing with certain people -- common conditions for release -- would not benefit from monitors.

"If we are really serious about supervising people in the community, there is a body of evidence about what works best, and we should follow it. And at this time, I would say, electronic monitoring is not ready for prime time," said Jones.

Read more:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-18 22:46:52

I find it interesting and sobering to see how a relatively business orientated news outlet views Canadian Politics.



Source: The Economist (
Author : n/a
Date: June 17th 2010

Stephen Harper has imported American Republicanism just when Barack Obama has adopted some Canadian policies[/size]

Canada's politics - 49th parallels - Is there still a North American divide?


ANY country living beside an economic and cultural colossus tends to shore up its separate identity by emphasising its differences and ignoring its similarities. Few nations have mastered this better than Canada, which for decades has seen itself as a kinder, gentler counterpart to the United States. But under Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister since 2006, the two countries have been converging. While Barack Obama has embraced policies that Canadians hold dear, such as near-universal health care and stricter financial regulation, Mr Harper has been importing many hallmarks of American Republicanism. Mr Obama’s expansion of government has generated a fierce backlash from the tea-party movement. Will Mr Harper suffer a similar rebellion in reverse?

Compare the Canada preparing to host the G8 and G20 summits later this month with that of 2002, the last time it hosted the G8, and the difference is clear. Back then the debate was about legalising gay marriage, decriminalising marijuana and how to attract more immigrants. Now it is about lowering taxes, and cracking down on crime and bogus refugees. Even abortion, a question settled two decades ago in Canada, has returned to the news.

This grittier mood is partly a function of the world financial crisis. But Mr Harper can also claim to have moulded it. He argues that Canadians are not as left-wing as their governments have been, and that it was conservative divisions that long gave the Liberals free rein to impose a “benign dictatorship”. He took over one of two rival right-of-centre parties in 2002 by attracting voters he described as “similar to what George Bush tapped”, and then merged it with the other. Since then he has won two elections—but never with a parliamentary majority.

Like Mr Bush, Mr Harper is an evangelical Christian who once worked for an oil company. Many of his initiatives were first tried in America. Both men vowed to cut taxes and shrink government, and wound up completing only the first half of their agenda. Mr Harper has slashed corporate and personal income taxes as well as the national sales tax. His anti-tax rhetoric seems to have struck a chord: Liberals complain that they can no longer propose raising revenue because the Conservatives made “tax” a dirty word. The prime minister also increased spending, however, creating a deficit of 3% of GDP—large by Canadian standards.

Mr Harper’s foreign policy has also echoed Mr Bush’s. He has embraced Israel’s right-wing government, even as Mr Obama has distanced himself from it. He wants to stop funding foreign health programmes that allow abortion. As opposition leader, he condemned Canada’s decision not to join America’s invasion of Iraq. In office, he has increased military spending by 27%, and the number of Canadian troops in Afghanistan by two-fifths. He has pledged to pull out in 2011, but in that he is obeying a binding parliamentary vote.

Another priority of Mr Harper’s has been to get tough on crime. He introduced bills to stop prisoners from collecting pensions or receiving double credit for time served before conviction. His government has strengthened mandatory-sentencing laws, reducing judges’ discretion to impose shorter jail terms. Even though the overall crime rate has been falling, Canadians’ attitudes are hardening.

Mr Bush’s one significant departure from conservative doctrine concerned immigration, where he unsuccessfully attempted a liberalising reform. Mr Harper is more orthodox. After a rise in the number of would-be refugees from Mexico last year, Canada required all visitors from Mexico—its partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement—to obtain visas. The government is now pushing a broader reform of immigration law which would make it harder for both bogus and legitimate refugees to reach Canadian soil. A poll this year found that 27% of Canadians see immigrants and refugees as a critical threat, up from 21% five years ago.

There are some reasons to believe that the country’s rightward drift might outlast Mr Harper. Ageing baby boomers care more about crime, for example, than they do about providing universal day care, an initiative of the previous Liberal government axed by the Conservatives. The anti-market sentiment that helped propel Mr Obama to office is absent in Canada, since its banks were already highly regulated. Voters approve of Mr Harper’s economic stewardship. And now it is the left-of-centre parties that are squabbling among themselves. In another sign of the new zeitgeist, on June 15th Pierre Karl Péladeau, a media mogul, announced the launch of Sun TV News, a new television channel led by Kory Teneycke, Mr Harper’s former communications director. Pundits have already dubbed it Fox News North.

Many people on both sides of the border share the same values, says Matthew Mendelsohn, who heads a think-tank in Toronto. He argues the conservative American south pulls the United States to the right, while Quebec’s social-democratic traditions tug Canada to the left.

But the striking thing about Mr Harper’s conservative revolution is the narrowness of its political base. The opinion polls still give the Conservatives just 31%, meaning that a parliamentary majority remains beyond their grasp. The prime minister has been masterful at extracting advantage from favourable circumstances and from small shifts in public opinion. But above all he has thrived on a shambolic opposition. It is far too early to conclude that he has remade his country.

The Americas

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-07-20 11:52:44

This urks me for a number of reasons. Information/knowledge is important for many reasons. Of the roles government should play national data and policy is the most important to me.

I have to question if this is some evil plot to dumb down the country as part of the control agenda ? But them stupid is as stupid does and having spend years in government I have see my endless share so ....



[color=red][size=5] What the census feud is all about

Date: Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 3:00AM EDT

Author: Gloria Galloway

So what’s all the fuss about the long-form census?

Those of us who have never been asked to fill in one of the detailed Statistics Canada documents – it was 40 pages long in 2006 – may be wondering why the government is willing to wade through a can of worms to declare its completion is no longer compulsory.

The questions do change. Those who received the form in 2001 were asked their religion while those who were handed the task in 2006 were not.

But here are some of the highlights of the 2006 census.

The long forms included the standard personal information – name, sex, date of birth and marital status. They also asked predictable questions about citizenship, language, race and ethnic origin.

The respondents had to state their level of education and where they last went to school.

They were asked to name their employers, to say what kind of work they did, to say whether they had been absent from their job in the previous week, and whether they worked for wages, tips or commission.

The statistics agency asked for permission to access the respondents’ most recent income tax filing from Revenue Canada. If that was refused, they were asked to state how much money they made from wages, government benefits, pensions, dividends, interest, support payments etc.

The agency wanted to know if they had trouble seeing, hearing, bending or climbing stairs – or if they were physically or mentally disabled.

It also wanted to know how many hours the respondents spent doing housework and taking care of children and seniors without pay.

And then there were the housing questions that the Conservatives have repeatedly described as overly intrusive – how many bedrooms were in the respondents’ homes, how much were the dwellings worth, did they need repair, and how much did it cost for heat, hydro and electricity.

Author: John Ibbitson and Tavia Grant and John Lorinc

Growing unrest within Statistics Canada and growing anger from groups of every political persuasion have left Stephen Harper’s government facing a revolt over its plans to end the mandatory long-form version of the census.

Officials within Statscan believe Industry Minister Tony Clement is misrepresenting the advice he has been receiving from the internationally respected agency charged with gathering data on Canadians.

Mr. Clement has said Statscan officials reassured him the agency can manage the 2011 census effectively without forcing some people to fill out the longer version of the form.

That’s not what Mr. Clement has been told, according to a source close to the story who asked not to be identified, and Statscan officials expect chief statistician Munir Sheikh to come to the agency’s defence by saying so.

The minister’s claims have angered and demoralized a staff already under pressure from budget cutbacks, which have led, for example, to less thorough regional analysis of statistical trends.

This assault on the integrity of the general census is, for many of the 6,000 workers within the agency, particularly galling.

“The census is the flagship of the department,” said one person inside Statscan. “If you want to demoralize staff, there’s no bigger target.”

“This is not about pointy-headed researchers. It is about business who needs the information for product development and marketing. It is about charities and NGOs targeting. It is about public health authorities making us healthier. ”— Mel Cappe, Institute for Research on Public Policy

Mr. Sheikh has announced he will hold a town hall with employees on Wednesday to answer concerns. The meeting is closed to the media and Mr. Sheikh is not granting interviews. Mr. Clement’s office did not return interview requests.

Don Drummond, a member of Statistics Canada’s advisory council, said “all of us were shocked” by the news that the mandatory long-form census was being abandoned.

The approximately two dozen members of the advisory council are appointed by the industry minister, and advise the agency on how better to carry out its mandate.

Mr. Drummond, who recently stepped down as chief economist of the TD Bank, said the council unanimously believed that abandoning the mandatory long-form census would skew the 2011 results, causing a statistical break with previous surveys that would it make impossible to read and project trends accurately.

In a letter sent to Mr. Clement on Monday, two dozen leaders from business, labour, government and academia united in warning that voluntary compliance for those receiving the long form of the census would gravely compromise its integrity.

Response rates from “the very poor, aboriginal communities, recent immigrants and some ethno-racial communities, will likely be quite low,” the letter states. As a result, “the impact of these changes will be disproportionately borne by those who are already most vulnerable.”

The two dozen signatures included Mel Cappe and Alex Himelfarb, former chiefs of the federal public service; Roger Martin, the dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; Roger Gibbins, who heads the Canada West Foundation, a generally conservative think tank’ and Carol Wilding, head of the Toronto Board of Trade.

Ms. Wilding vowed to “reach out” to other urban boards of trade to garner support. “This is a decision that affects the whole country,” she said in an interview. “All urban centres across Canada have similar needs” for census data, she observed.

“This is not about pointy-headed researchers,” said Mr. Cappe, who was clerk of the Privy Council under prime minister Jean Chrétien and now heads the Institute for Research on Public Policy. “It is about business who needs the information for product development and marketing. It is about charities and NGOs targeting. It is about public health authorities making us healthier.”

A spokesman for Mr. Clement said the minister would comment when his office receives the letter.

Ivan Fellegi, who led Statscan for 22 years before retiring in 2008, said the idea of a voluntary census never came up while he was there. He said he worries that the change would cost more and produce less valuable data.

“I would have resigned over it, because I wouldn’t have wanted to be associated with an exercise that will waste money,” he said, adding that the risk is too great that fewer people may respond to the census, even though it will go to more homes.

At least one Conservative member of Parliament is also concerned by the census decision. In a letter obtained by CBC, Edmonton MP James Rajotte wrote to Mr. Clement “on behalf of a number of my constituents who have expressed concern” about making the long-form version of the census a voluntary exercise.

Mr. Rajotte asked Mr. Clement to explain his rationale “as well as the steps our government is taking to ensure that this change will not negatively impact the quality or accuracy of Statistics Canada’s work.”

With a report from Sarah Boesveld

John Ibbitson and Tavia Grant and John Lorinc

Ottawa and Toronto — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 3:00AM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 3:02AM EDT

Growing unrest within Statistics Canada and growing anger from groups of every political persuasion have left Stephen Harper’s government facing a revolt over its plans to end the mandatory long-form version of the census.

Officials within Statscan believe Industry Minister Tony Clement is misrepresenting the advice he has been receiving from the internationally respected agency charged with gathering data on Canadians.

Mr. Clement has said Statscan officials reassured him the agency can manage the 2011 census effectively without forcing some people to fill out the longer version of the form.

That’s not what Mr. Clement has been told, according to a source close to the story who asked not to be identified, and Statscan officials expect chief statistician Munir Sheikh to come to the agency’s defence by saying so.

The minister’s claims have angered and demoralized a staff already under pressure from budget cutbacks, which have led, for example, to less thorough regional analysis of statistical trends.

This assault on the integrity of the general census is, for many of the 6,000 workers within the agency, particularly galling.

“The census is the flagship of the department,” said one person inside Statscan. “If you want to demoralize staff, there’s no bigger target.”

“This is not about pointy-headed researchers. It is about business who needs the information for product development and marketing. It is about charities and NGOs targeting. It is about public health authorities making us healthier. ”— Mel Cappe, Institute for Research on Public Policy

Mr. Sheikh has announced he will hold a town hall with employees on Wednesday to answer concerns. The meeting is closed to the media and Mr. Sheikh is not granting interviews. Mr. Clement’s office did not return interview requests.

Don Drummond, a member of Statistics Canada’s advisory council, said “all of us were shocked” by the news that the mandatory long-form census was being abandoned.

The approximately two dozen members of the advisory council are appointed by the industry minister, and advise the agency on how better to carry out its mandate.

Mr. Drummond, who recently stepped down as chief economist of the TD Bank, said the council unanimously believed that abandoning the mandatory long-form census would skew the 2011 results, causing a statistical break with previous surveys that would it make impossible to read and project trends accurately.

In a letter sent to Mr. Clement on Monday, two dozen leaders from business, labour, government and academia united in warning that voluntary compliance for those receiving the long form of the census would gravely compromise its integrity.

Response rates from “the very poor, aboriginal communities, recent immigrants and some ethno-racial communities, will likely be quite low,” the letter states. As a result, “the impact of these changes will be disproportionately borne by those who are already most vulnerable.”

The two dozen signatures included Mel Cappe and Alex Himelfarb, former chiefs of the federal public service; Roger Martin, the dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; Roger Gibbins, who heads the Canada West Foundation, a generally conservative think tank’ and Carol Wilding, head of the Toronto Board of Trade.

Ms. Wilding vowed to “reach out” to other urban boards of trade to garner support. “This is a decision that affects the whole country,” she said in an interview. “All urban centres across Canada have similar needs” for census data, she observed.

“This is not about pointy-headed researchers,” said Mr. Cappe, who was clerk of the Privy Council under prime minister Jean Chrétien and now heads the Institute for Research on Public Policy. “It is about business who needs the information for product development and marketing. It is about charities and NGOs targeting. It is about public health authorities making us healthier.”

A spokesman for Mr. Clement said the minister would comment when his office receives the letter.

Ivan Fellegi, who led Statscan for 22 years before retiring in 2008, said the idea of a voluntary census never came up while he was there. He said he worries that the change would cost more and produce less valuable data.

“I would have resigned over it, because I wouldn’t have wanted to be associated with an exercise that will waste money,” he said, adding that the risk is too great that fewer people may respond to the census, even though it will go to more homes.

At least one Conservative member of Parliament is also concerned by the census decision. In a letter obtained by CBC, Edmonton MP James Rajotte wrote to Mr. Clement “on behalf of a number of my constituents who have expressed concern” about making the long-form version of the census a voluntary exercise.

Mr. Rajotte asked Mr. Clement to explain his rationale “as well as the steps our government is taking to ensure that this change will not negatively impact the quality or accuracy of Statistics Canada’s work.”

With a report from Sarah Boesveld

John Ibbitson and Tavia Grant and John Lorinc

Ottawa and Toronto — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 3:00AM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 3:02AM EDT

Growing unrest within Statistics Canada and growing anger from groups of every political persuasion have left Stephen Harper’s government facing a revolt over its plans to end the mandatory long-form version of the census.

Officials within Statscan believe Industry Minister Tony Clement is misrepresenting the advice he has been receiving from the internationally respected agency charged with gathering data on Canadians.

Mr. Clement has said Statscan officials reassured him the agency can manage the 2011 census effectively without forcing some people to fill out the longer version of the form.

That’s not what Mr. Clement has been told, according to a source close to the story who asked not to be identified, and Statscan officials expect chief statistician Munir Sheikh to come to the agency’s defence by saying so.

The minister’s claims have angered and demoralized a staff already under pressure from budget cutbacks, which have led, for example, to less thorough regional analysis of statistical trends.

This assault on the integrity of the general census is, for many of the 6,000 workers within the agency, particularly galling.

“The census is the flagship of the department,” said one person inside Statscan. “If you want to demoralize staff, there’s no bigger target.”

“This is not about pointy-headed researchers. It is about business who needs the information for product development and marketing. It is about charities and NGOs targeting. It is about public health authorities making us healthier. ”— Mel Cappe, Institute for Research on Public Policy

Mr. Sheikh has announced he will hold a town hall with employees on Wednesday to answer concerns. The meeting is closed to the media and Mr. Sheikh is not granting interviews. Mr. Clement’s office did not return interview requests.

Don Drummond, a member of Statistics Canada’s advisory council, said “all of us were shocked” by the news that the mandatory long-form census was being abandoned.

The approximately two dozen members of the advisory council are appointed by the industry minister, and advise the agency on how better to carry out its mandate.

Mr. Drummond, who recently stepped down as chief economist of the TD Bank, said the council unanimously believed that abandoning the mandatory long-form census would skew the 2011 results, causing a statistical break with previous surveys that would it make impossible to read and project trends accurately.

In a letter sent to Mr. Clement on Monday, two dozen leaders from business, labour, government and academia united in warning that voluntary compliance for those receiving the long form of the census would gravely compromise its integrity.

Response rates from “the very poor, aboriginal communities, recent immigrants and some ethno-racial communities, will likely be quite low,” the letter states. As a result, “the impact of these changes will be disproportionately borne by those who are already most vulnerable.”

The two dozen signatures included Mel Cappe and Alex Himelfarb, former chiefs of the federal public service; Roger Martin, the dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management; Roger Gibbins, who heads the Canada West Foundation, a generally conservative think tank’ and Carol Wilding, head of the Toronto Board of Trade.

Ms. Wilding vowed to “reach out” to other urban boards of trade to garner support. “This is a decision that affects the whole country,” she said in an interview. “All urban centres across Canada have similar needs” for census data, she observed.

“This is not about pointy-headed researchers,” said Mr. Cappe, who was clerk of the Privy Council under prime minister Jean Chrétien and now heads the Institute for Research on Public Policy. “It is about business who needs the information for product development and marketing. It is about charities and NGOs targeting. It is about public health authorities making us healthier.”

A spokesman for Mr. Clement said the minister would comment when his office receives the letter.

Ivan Fellegi, who led Statscan for 22 years before retiring in 2008, said the idea of a voluntary census never came up while he was there. He said he worries that the change would cost more and produce less valuable data.

“I would have resigned over it, because I wouldn’t have wanted to be associated with an exercise that will waste money,” he said, adding that the risk is too great that fewer people may respond to the census, even though it will go to more homes.

At least one Conservative member of Parliament is also concerned by the census decision. In a letter obtained by CBC, Edmonton MP James Rajotte wrote to Mr. Clement “on behalf of a number of my constituents who have expressed concern” about making the long-form version of the census a voluntary exercise.

Mr. Rajotte asked Mr. Clement to explain his rationale “as well as the steps our government is taking to ensure that this change will not negatively impact the quality or accuracy of Statistics Canada’s work.”

With a report from Sarah Boesveld

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-08-05 16:26:31

Unfortunate I don't trust the players involved and why this is being done. First hand; this remains a real problem in the Federal Civil Service and is now being overplayed in the Provincial and Municipal governments.

There should be merit based and proper mentoring/training programs to encourage anyone motivated to try to become qualified, but not jobs to anyone before they are qualified.



Source: National Post (
Author: Nick Aveling,
Date: Thursday, Jul. 22, 2010

The Conservatives have ordered a review of federal government affirmative action policies, saying the public service should hire based on merit, not race or ethnicity.

Cabinet ministers Stockwell Day and Jason Kenney announced the review of the Public Service Employment Act, along with any related practices and policies, on Thursday. “While we support diversity in the public service, we want to ensure that no Canadian is barred from opportunities in the public service based on race or ethnicity,” Mr. Day, the Treasury Board President, said in a statement.

Mr. Kenney, meanwhile, was more blunt in his calls for a meritocracy.

“I strongly agree with the objective of creating a public service that reflects the diversity of Canada, and with fair measures designed to reach that goal. But we must ensure that all Canadians have an equal opportunity to work for their government based on merit, regardless of race or ethnicity,” said the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Under the current policy, the federal government targets four “employment equity groups” identified in the Employment Equity Act as being reflective of Canada’s wider diversity: visible minorities, aboriginals, people with disabilities and women. The Public Service Commission of Canada says on its website that most positions are open to all applicants, but that “from time to time, certain positions may be limited to applicants from members of employment equity-designated groups.”

According to the commission’s latest figures, published in 2009, 18.8% of public service employees are visible minorities, 4.2% are aboriginal, 3.3% are people with disabilities and 57.1% are women. Canada-wide, according to the 2006 Statistics Canada census, 16.2% of Canadians are visible minorities, 3.8% are aboriginal and 51% are women. There were no statistics for people with disabilities.

Yesterday’s announcement prompted outrage from the Opposition Liberals.

The Liberals characterized the move as an attack on affirmative action.

“I just think it’s a shameful case of political pandering at the expense of a lot of groups, whether it’s aboriginal Canadians, new Canadians (or) Canadians with disabilities — all of whom we need in the public service,” said Human Resources critic Michael Savage. “They talk about having diversity in the public service, but they have no commitment to it.”

Mr. Day, who is also minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, dismissed Opposition concerns on Thursday.

“As usual, the Opposition is being accusatory, narrow-minded and judgmental because we’ve said we’re looking into something. They’ve gone ballistic based on their own prejudices,” he told the Post. “I can’t account for an irrational response to us doing the responsible thing.”

Mr. Day said the review, to be undertaken by the Treasury Board, was prompted by constituent complaints of discrimination.

“We’ve got competing interests here that are both Charter-based and court-based. Fundamentally, of course, people should not be discriminated against because of ethnicity. At the same time, we want to be inclusive and we want to embrace everybody,” he said.

The review is expected to proceed as quickly as possible, beginning with an investigation into how current policies are being “manifested … day-to-day” within the public service, as well a summation of court rulings related to the Employment Equity Act and related policies.

National Post

Read more:

This is the biggest news in Canada since Jean Chretien imposed his draconic regulations in 1993.

Ernest Semple from Quebec

Well it took them years to see the obvious and act on it but they finally are going to do something about this. Now about the Language requirement for people not dealing with the public….

Andrew Phillips - Libertarian party of Canada - Ontario Libertarian Party.

Ottawa Sun : July 23, 2010

No prerequisites

Re: “Fed job only open to minorities” (July 21). It’s interesting that when people are denied application due to minorities everyone is on the bandwagon. However, we are heavily discriminated against by not allowing English people to apply to federal or most positions. If you’re English and you find jobs that you qualify for most of the time you need to speak French and read French. This is also discriminatory. There should be no prerequisites regarding application such as: French, bilingual, minorities, you get the picture. Whatever happened to hiring people on merit? Or, applying because you have the qualifications for the job?

Susan Taylor


(Seems those qualifications don’t matter much to some agencies)

Selected comments from the National Post:


9:04 PM on July 22, 2010

Wait a minute, in all key categories, the civil service exceeds the minority/gender representation of the country at large? If this is the case, why are we still using race/gender based hiring policies?


9:20 PM on July 22, 2010

Ya but they will bar 75% of the population of this country from a career with the opportunity to be promoted to management because they don't speak French! Time to ditch the Official Languages Act too!


9:20 PM on July 22, 2010

The Liberals are whining despite the fact all the targeted groups exceed their quotas. Females are now 57.1% up from 55% a year earlier according to this report. I guess the Liberals won’t be happy until most white males are on the dole. They sure know their base and any man who votes for these lefty vote panderers is self destructive.

We have a government with not just regular jewels but by gar they are brass.


10:01 PM on July 22, 2010

I've seen too many good people passed over for jobs and promotions to believe for a minute that affirmative hiring has any merit. I've also tried to talk with government employees that couldn't understand basic English or had such thick accents that I couldn't understand them. When you consider that 27% of all fed positions are reserved for Francophones and preference is given to women who are now over-represented, minorities, aboriginals and handicapped, coupled with the designated bi-lingual positions, there is little room for Anglo males in the public service any more. We pay our taxes for the best services we can afford; but, when we start with less than the best available staff, we get short changed from the get go. White anglos are the only group in the country that is subject to race and linguistic blackballing and barred from most employment opportunities in government. This review is long overdue.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-08-05 16:34:03

This e-mail got my attention and should concern Canadians. I did some homework and certainly fish farming in itself is not bad but as usual greed and money seem to guarantee that we do it badly and at the expense of the nature and it's resources. Again government's job is to set good policy !

Pisses me off


Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 10:52 AM
Subject: [fishermenlist] Critical Public Input Required

Hello All

The federal government has released their proposed Federal Pacific Aquaculture Regulations with a sixty-day public input period. These regulations role back the safe-guards we have in British Columbia to prevent heavy industrialization and privatization of the coast at the expense of our communities. Once these regulations pass there will be no further public input on how each salmon feedlot licence is written, how many wild fish they can take and what diseases they must report. The federal licences will be issued without First Nation or other consultation and can be expanded without an environmental assessment. I feel there has to be enormous response or else we all lose, even the people working in the industry, because no retailer is going to want to be in possession of a seafood product authorized to “Harmfully Alter, Disrupt and Destroy” parts of the North Pacific. Oddly these regulations will not apply to the east coast of Canada, where the Minister of Fisheries resides.

There are several options for you to act by the deadline September 12:

See my letter below/attached which interprets the proposed regs and provides a direct link to them
write to Ed Porter who is accepting public input
Sign the petition

You can see my presentation on the strong correlation between disease in salmon feedlots and decline of Fraser sockeye "What's New"

I know it is very hard to react to everything that comes at us, so I have tried to make this easy for you. However, I can’t turn this looming disaster, it requires each and everyone of you and your friends and family. Please pass the petition to all you know.

To stay up to date please frequent I will let you know how many people have signed. Volunteers are hosting events throughout BC this summer to link all of us together and this information will be posted. The T-shirts left from the migration are on my website and proceeds go to this effort.

The Get Out Migration brought thousands of people together, but government does not want to hear from our communities nor of our need for good health in our environment and our bodies. Clearly there needs to be more public response. That is all that is required to fix this. I will continue to push for protection for salmon feedlot workers, as this is a government mistake and they need not bear the cost of this to our coast.

I think we will have a good Fraser sockeye run this summer and that should tell us the ocean and the river are still highly capable of feeding this coast! This generation of sockeye has shown one of the least declines and we need to investigate why this run is good and the others have failed so badly. If we allow government to let salmon feedlot companies hide their disease outbreaks this investigation will be incomplete. If there is no salmon feedlot disease problem, there should be no reason for secrecy.

Hundreds of people have said “I am behind you Alex,” but this is not working. We have to stand shoulder to shoulder, where we are all peacefully and strongly visible. This is the only way to save ourselves and our planet.

Alexandra Morton

July 28, 2010

Ed Porter, Team Leader, Regulatory Operations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Dear Mr. Ed Porter:

I am responding to the 60-day public comment opportunity on the proposed Federal Pacific Aquaculture Regulations
(left column “Part I Notices and Proposed Regulations” Vol. 144, No. 28, page 1933).

When BC Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must take over regulation of salmon feedlots, the intent was to bring the industry into compliance with the Constitution of Canada. But what Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are trying to do instead is remove safeguards established by previous governments and open the door to privatizing the ocean, which is prohibited by the Canadian Constitution.

With his document Harper not only licences massive ecological damage, he depreciates the market value of BC feedlot salmon. No reputable retailer can afford to be seen with a seafood product raised under a licence to “harm, alter, disrupt and destroy” the ocean. The federal licences will be issued without consultation with First Nations.

“Increasingly stringent international standards are driving seafood importing nations to require Canada to certify health (disease) status, not just food safety, of live aquatic animals and their products. … Canada cannot meet these standards, and is facing increasing challenges to export market access. Canada is already subject to a lesser market access than the United States, Europe ...“

Canadian pathologists warn against holding millions of diseased salmon in pens (Traxler et al. 1993) and the graph below demonstrates the reason. There is a strong correlation between salmon feedlot epidemics and the declining Fraser sockeye. This must be examined, but the provincial government is stonewalling release of salmon feedlot disease records and Harper is stepping in to help.

These draft regulations ignore the International (OIE) and the Canadian Food and Health Inspection Agency standards by exempting salmon feedlots from full disease reporting. Harper is not only offering Norwegian companies the right to leave infected salmon in the water, he is protecting them from liability. If government and the industry are willing to throw away premium market value for disease secrecy we are warned this is a dangerous and strong priority.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is also offering these Norwegian companies blanket authorization for “Harmful Alteration, Disruption or Destruction” of fish habitat (Section 35(1) Fisheries Act). This ignores the value of the oceans to communities across British Columbia. Oddly, these rules will not apply to eastern Canada, where the Minister of Fisheries resides.

Harper is going to legalize destruction of wild fish that become trapped in the pens, attracted by the bright lights and food in the water. There are no surplus wild fish and so this by-catch will compete with fishing quotas. Many feedlots are in rock cod conservation areas where fishermen are not allowed, but the feedlots will continue trapping unknown amounts. This is bad management and will affect herring, sable fish, salmon, lingcod and other important wild fish.

The federal Conservatives are proposing salmon feedlot licences be granted and amended without environmental assessment. This violates strong public demand for healthy coastal waters, but neatly resolves the irreconcilable issue of dumping over a ton/day/site of industrial waste into salmon habitat. These are the only feedlots that never have to shovel manure and chemical waste as it flows conveniently into public waters.

It is dangerous to humanity, (risking food security, drug resistance, disease mutation) to allow feedlots to contaminate natural environments with disease. Feedlots remove all the natural disease control mechanisms and thus allow viruses to mutate, multiply and jump to new species.

Because Mr. Harper is proposing to remove standards designed to protect the ocean from Norwegian feedlots, retailers like COSTCO will have to decide if their mission statements honor government or their customers. Promising to “Exceed ecological standards required in every community where we do business,” is meaningless if there are no ecological standards.

Salmon feedlots are an “ecology of bad ideas,” struggling to control disease with drugs, corrupting the foodchain by using warm-blooded animal products, plants and fish from the southern hemisphere as feed, displacing local businesses, turning a public resource into a corporate commodity with no public access, dyeing their fish pink to resemble salmon. If jobs were the goal, the federal Conservatives and BC Liberals would be working with the BC companies developing sustainable land-based aquaculture to create a viable, world-class product. Instead Mr. Harper is proposing to change the laws of Canada to allow unchecked pollution by a 92% Norwegian-owned industry associated wild salmon declines worldwide. Wild salmon are thriving everywhere this industry does not exist (Alaska, Iceland, western Pacific, areas of BC).

These proposed regulations are a signpost. If this was about fish, attention would have been paid to the market value of the product. Instead it risks one of the last naturally producing salmon regions in the world for a depreciating commodity. What these draft regulations do is clear away legislation established to protect Canadians and our coast from industrialization and privatization.

Ed Porter, the proposed Federal Pacific Aquaculture Regulations do not protect the interests of Canadians or the world and must not be adopted.

Alexandra Morton

The Fraser sockeye decline began at the same time government failed to cull millions of IHN virus infected feedlot salmon on the Fraser River migration routes. Government ignored federal scientists who state infected Atlantic salmon should not be permitted in pens (Traxler et al 1993). The federal government also ignored warnings from their scientists that would have saved the North Atlantic cod. When the cod went extinct the Hibernia Oil wells appeared on the Grand Banks – the most generous food-producing area humanity will ever have was exchanged for oil.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-08-05 17:34:29

Finally the word is getting out on our dirty little project.



Tarred with the same brush[/size]
The Gulf spill has focused American minds on pollution from Canadian oil producers. But cleaning up the tar sands will not be easy

Source: Economist (
Author: Economist Print
Aug 5th 2010 | OTTAWA

“A GOOD neighbour lends you a cup of sugar,” read an ad in the Washington Post last month. “A great neighbour supplies you with 1.4 million barrels of oil a day.” Ed Stelmach, the premier of the energy-rich province of Alberta, certainly knows how to make the case for Canadian petroleum. Buying from Canada neither props up an authoritarian regime nor exposes the United States to political manipulation of its energy supply. Little wonder, then, that Canada is the biggest exporter of oil to America, with 22% of the total. The runners-up, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have just 11-12% each. And the country’s potential seems limitless: Canada’s 179 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves rank second in the world.


There is, however, a catch: Canadian crude is dirty. Just over half the country’s oil comes from tar sands, a mixture of water, sand, clay and bitumen—an extremely dense and thick form of petroleum, which usually must be melted before it can be extracted and refined. It takes up to four barrels of water to generate one barrel of tar-sands crude, and 20% of Canada’s natural gas (a clean fuel) is used to produce oil (a dirty one). Mining the sands also strips forest and creates vast ponds of toxic byproducts. According to America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), producing Canadian tar-sands oil generates 82% more greenhouse-gas emissions than does the average barrel refined in the United States.

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and of a pipeline rupture that shed 19,500 barrels of Canadian oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo river last month, concern in America is growing over the environmental consequences of oil exploration. Federal government agencies were banned from buying tar-sands oil in 2007. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, calls it “the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available”. This year he was one of 50 lawmakers who complained to Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, that her department had not analysed the environmental impact of a proposed pipeline extension that would more than double imports from the sands. The epa then recommended that the department, which must approve international pipelines, consider alternatives to Canadian crude. On July 26th the department extended its review of the project by 90 days.

Changing the status quo, however, will be hard. The oil industry’s economic importance to Canada has consistently trumped green concerns. Energy, including natural gas, conventional oil and coal, makes up a quarter of Alberta’s $211 billion economy. The rest of the country benefits from service and supply contracts with energy companies, and from the government’s redistribution of Alberta’s wealth to poorer provinces. At the peak of the commodity boom in 2008, energy was Canada’s largest export. As a result, the sands have only been lightly regulated. Instead of being 6% below 1990 levels of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2012, its commitment under the Kyoto protocol, Canada will be 30% above.

Stephen Harper, the prime minister, built his political career in Alberta and shares its energy-friendly attitudes. He has refused to implement a new emissions policy until America does. Given the Democrats’ recent decision to drop a cap-and-trade bill in the Senate, that seems a long way off. It also means the environmental costs of the sands’ oil are not about to be reflected in their price. In fact, the political fallout from the Gulf spill might actually increase America’s dependence on Canadian supplies, if demands for new limits on offshore drilling are met.


Moreover, efforts to press Canada into cleaning up the business would face stiff resistance from America’s energy lobby, since many operators in the sands are based in the United States. One of the draft energy bills floating around the Senate this year even proposed removing the ban on government purchases of tar-sands oil. And even if America does try to reduce its imports, China will be more than happy to take them. Chinese firms have already begun investing heavily in the sands.

The best hope to reduce pollution from the sands is probably finding alternative energy sources or cutting consumption. Transforming tar sands into crude is costly as well as dirty: the process only becomes profitable with oil prices in the $60-85 range or higher. Indeed, the recession put 70% of proposed investment there on hold, although half of that has since restarted, according to Jackie Forrest of IHS CERA, an energy-forecasting firm. With just a modest fall in oil prices, the sands’ production would start to go.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-08-07 11:58:54

I'm always amazed at the: cat and mouse, scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, symbiotic .... incestuous ... relationship between the 'Media' and the 'Government'.



PS: The Canadian government is an elected democracy ... if you weren't sure ....certainly I'm not always ....

Why Harper wasn’t asked about census[/size]

Source: Globe and Mail (
Author: Steven Chase
Date: Friday, August 6, 2010 3:02 PM


So here's how things unfolded at the Rideau Hall press availability with Stephen Harper after his mini cabinet shuffle Friday. Readers can judge for themselves what they think of the process.
It was Mr. Harper's first time taking questions from journalists in more than 30 days. Assembled reporters were informed the Prime Minister would answer only two questions from English-speaking media and two from French-speaking media.
Faced with limited opportunity to quiz the Prime Minister, journalists talked amongst themselves to see who would ask Mr. Harper questions. This is common Press Gallery practice in these circumstances. Reporters do not always agree to participate in these pooled questions and are free to ask for their own chance to pose a different query.
A group of reporters from CBC, Postmedia (formerly Canwest), The Globe and Mail and other outlets discussed how they would divvy up the two English questions. They also consulted with French-speaking colleagues to ensure there wasn't overlap in what was being asked.
It was agreed journalists from CBC and Postmedia would ask the English questions. Roughly speaking, these were as follows:
1) Regarding Mr. Harper's repeated statements about avoiding an “unnecessary election,” where is the evidence that opposition parties are champing at the bit to trigger one?
2) On the controversial decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census, does Mr. Harper in hindsight feel it was a mistake?
Postmedia reporter Norma Greenaway approached Prime Minister's Office deputy director of communications Mike White and said she wanted to ask a question. She was the first name to be placed on the list Mr. White was preparing. She also told him that CBC reporter Terry Milewski wanted to ask a question.
Mr. White told The Globe that while he wrote down Ms. Greenaway's name first, he can't recall whose name he put down second. It may have been a reporter from the Hill Times, an independent Parliament Hill newspaper.
While this was taking place, Sun Media bureau chief David Akin also requested his own question. As did veteran CTV journalist Craig Oliver. This is customary when not all reporters agree on what should be in the pooled questions.
The French-speaking media submitted names to ask French language questions. These were Joël-Denis Bellavance, bureau chief for Montreal's La Presse, and Stéphane Leclerc of Radio-Canada.
During the Rideau Hall question-and-answer session, Mr. White signalled to reporters to tell them who was going to be allowed to ask questions.
CTV's Mr. Oliver was picked to go first. He asked the Prime Minister if he was worried about the Conservative Party's apparent decline in the polls and whether the government was planning a second economic stimulus package.
Two French-language questions followed: on John Baird's appointment as Government House leader and Ottawa’s plans for future health care spending.
Finally, Sun Media's Mr. Akin was selected by Mr. White to ask the second English question.
Mr. Akin asked the Prime Minister about the fact that federal money is being used to support a Canadian theatre festival that features the play Homegrown. The production focuses on Shareef Abdelhaleem, who was convicted for his role in the “Toronto 18” terror plot.
That was it for questions.
Neither Ms. Greenaway nor Mr. Milewski got to quiz the Prime Minister. This meant, among other things, that Mr. Harper has still not answered a media question about the census controversy that’s blown up in recent weeks.
Queried later about how the PMO decides which outlets will ask questions, Mr. White said his office doesn't merely follow the chronological order on the list of requests it gathers
“We do not do first come first serve. We never have,” Mr. White told The Globe.
Mr. White said if the PMO awarded questions based on who asked first, it could lead to favouritism towards one medium – print, TV or radio – or one language.
He said the Tories try to balance the questions awarded to ensure there's a just distribution by medium and language.
The PMO official also noted he didn't know that some English-speaking reporters had collectively submitted two of the questions.
"No one ever told me that,” Mr. White said, suggesting had he known that, it would be “a different story.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-08-29 17:16:42

Yet another alarm bell for the risk of the whole sale selling of our country. We need a national debate to let the citizens of this country chime in to set clear policies on the sale or not of our natural resources. This is very quickly turning into the death by a thousand cuts.



Source :Globe and Mail (
Author: Reuters
Date: Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010


Hostile offer timed to capitalize on weakened position of rivals, CFO says

Global miner BHP (BHP-N67.371.572.39%) on Sunday played down any chance of raising its $38.6-billion (U.S.) bid for fertilizer maker Potash Corp. (POT-T154.991.651.08%) saying it had timed its move to catch out weakened rival bidders.

Chief financial officer Alex Vanselow, speaking in an Australian television interview, also said the hostile bid had been timed to ensure more ready access to credit markets.

“The opportunity in Potash is that we are now in a situation that our balance sheet allows us to raise the credit necessary to buy, the valuations match, and, basically, if you look at the landscape of competitors, they're not in the same position as we are,” Mr. Vanselow told ABC's Inside Business show.

“So you've taken all this into consideration – you can see this is an opportune time to make a bid.”

BHP, the world's biggest miner, unveiled its biggest half-year profit in two years on Wednesday, with just $3.3-billion (U.S.) in net debt and gearing at a low 6 per cent, putting it in a strong position to raise its offer if necessary.

Potash Corp.’s shares last traded at about 14 per cent more than BHP’s offer price, as investors bet that BHP will have to pay more or another bidder will emerge, but Mr. Vanselow said there was no need for BHP to raise its offer of $130 a share.

“There is only one offer on the table, so why would we compete against ourselves?”

Rival miner Rio Tinto PLC is considered unlikely to make a counterbid as it has only just recovered from a mountain of debt it took on for its $38-billion takeover of Alcan Inc. three years ago. Rio Tinto has since said that it would only consider smaller acquisitions.

Brazil’s Vale SA, which is building a potash business, has said it is not looking at Potash Corp.

That has stoked speculation that the only potential counterbidders would include a player from China, the world's biggest importer of potash, a key nutrient needed to boost crop yields as food consumption soars.

China's largest fertilizer distributor, Sinofert Holdings Ltd., said on Thursday it was worried a BHP takeover of Potash Corp. would have a big impact on the company but would not say if its parent, Sinochem, was planning a rival offer.

BHP chief executive officer Marius Kloppers is in North America, set to meet with BHP shareholders to discuss the bid and the group’s results. He is expected to start wooing Potash Corp. shareholders, many of whom are also BHP stakeholders.

A Reuters survey indicated Potash shareholders would accept an offer of $162 a share.

Under U.K. listing rules, the $38.6-billion offer does not need a BHP shareholder vote as it is worth less than 25 per cent of BHP's market value of $188-billion the day before the bid was launched.

But if the bid were sweetened, the 25-per-cent threshold would apply to BHP’s market value on the day before the announcement of the higher offer. Based on BHP’s market value on August 27, an increase of just over 10 per cent in the bid to $43-billion put it near or in the range of triggering a BHP shareholder vote.

Mr. Vanselow said BHP would also look into what happened at Santander, the euro zone’s largest bank and an adviser on BHP’s bid, after one of the bank’s employees was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with insider trading in Potash Corp. securities ahead of the bid.

Asked if BHP would hesitate to use Santander again, he said: “I think we will investigate what happened, we’ll get the feedback from Santander and then we’ll decide on that.”

Source : Moose Jaw Discover (
Author: na
Date: na

The NDP is demanding Ottawa listen to Saskatchewan people before making a decision on the BHP Billiton hostile take-over bid.

Leader Dwaine Lingenfelter says Saskatchewan people own the potash being mined and deserve to have a say in what happens with it. Lingenfelter says,"I'm sure the board of directors at BHP Billiton have reviewed in great detail the offer, and Sask Potash Corporation will review and have all the details, the problem is that Saskatchewan taxpayers haven't seen the deal."

Lingenfelter wants details of any possible offer. He says,"that's why we sent the letter to Ottawa, because in the letter we urged the federal government not to sign off on this deal until Saskatchewan people have had a chance to review the details of the arrangement. Because at this point in time, no one knows whether the arrangement proposed by BHP Billiton is good or bad for the Saskatchewan taxpayer."

The federal government is required to review all possible sales of corporations that deal with natural resources and that would include potash.

Premier Brad Wall believes Ottawa will listen to Saskatchewan before signing off on any potential deal, whether it's BHP or another investor.

BHP Billiton
Making the earth move
BHP Billiton’s remarkable growth has been driven by luck, shrewd dealmaking and, above all, China’s demand for steel

Source: Economist (
Author: Print Edition
Date: Aug 19th 2010

Where there’s muck, there’s copper and zinc

AROUND the turn of the millennium the bosses of Billiton, an ambitious South African mining company, sat in the lobby of a big fund manager waiting to talk up their firm’s prospects. At first they were welcomed warmly. But their hosts’ smiles turned to frowns when they discovered that the waiting delegation was from a firm in the unfashionable business of mining. They had been expecting a group from, an online travel agent with a seemingly bright future.

In March 2001, after the dotcom boom ran out of puff, Billiton and Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), an Australian rival, revealed plans to merge. A decade on BHP Billiton is a vast multinational in a business dominated by powerful firms. Its financial might was made apparent on August 17th, when PotashCorp, a Canadian fertiliser firm, rejected a $40 billion unsolicited takeover offer from BHP, calling the bid “grossly inadequate”. Earlier this year the firm was instrumental in the opposition to Kevin Rudd, then Australia’s prime minister, who was trying to impose a supertax on mining firms (Mr Rudd resigned in June, partly as a result). Its market capitalisation of $190 billion puts it ninth on the list of the world’s largest listed companies. And as for, it was snapped up by Sabre, an American travel firm, for just £577m ($1.07 billion) in 2005.

Mining has been a good business in the past few years, thanks largely to China. Once a minor consumer, that country is now hungry for metal to reinforce its office buildings and keep its factories humming. In 2009 China nabbed fully 67% of all internationally traded iron ore.


But BHP has outshone its peers in recent years, as its shares’ performance demonstrates (see chart 1). In 2001 the newly merged company was only just bigger than Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian miner that is its nearest competitor. Rio’s market capitalisation is now less than two-thirds of BHP’s. Forecasts suggest that BHP, which reports annual results on August 25th, could make over $12 billion in profits. And if Rio has not kept pace, Anglo American, the world’s second-biggest miner before the BHP-Billiton merger, has fared even worse: it is currently less than one-third of BHP’s size.

BHP has achieved its dominant position through a combination of luck and good judgment. More than in many other industries, building a mining giant means striking the right deal at the right time. The valuations of mining firms fluctuate greatly along with the prices of the stuff they dig out of the ground, making it easy to overpay for them when times are good. BHP’s deals have been more daring and have proved more advantageous than those of its rivals. Oddly, it has done well even out of a deal that failed to come together.

The architects of the merger between BHP and Billiton reckoned most other mining companies had two big faults. First, the incumbents tended to assume that shovel-handed engineers were just the sort of chaps to run big mining companies. In reality they were much better at digging holes in the ground than unearthing returns for their shareholders. Second, most firms were medium-sized and relied on a single commodity to drive profits. Cyclical shifts in demand sent their fortunes swinging wildly. They found it difficult to achieve the consistent investment needed in an industry where ten years can pass between the discovery of a new deposit and a mine reaching full production.

There was an exception. Rio Tinto (which we should disclose was run for much of the 1990s by Sir Robert Wilson, a former chairman of The Economist) had set a new model as a large, diversified mining company that could afford the capital outlays needed for the biggest projects. Rio tried to insulate itself from the ebb and flow of commodity prices by acquiring interests in a wide portfolio of metals whose prices would not fall as far or as fast as each other at the same time.

The new company would emulate Rio in this way. It would also follow its competitor by concentrating on assets that were, in mining jargon, “tier one”. The merged firm brought together low-cost, easily expandable mines that would remain profitable even when commodity prices were low. And its bosses sought to ensure that any acquisitions were of the same standard.

The model of the diversified mining giant was Rio’s but its upstart competitor beat it at its own game. Believing that Rio’s pre-eminence had led it to rest on its achievements, BHP set about shedding its low-margin steel and shipping businesses, and began to concentrate on digging. Slimmed down and with money to spare, it began to snap up smaller outfits.

Some of its purchases were risky. In 2005 the firm paid $7 billion, then a big sum for a mining deal, to buy WMC Resources, an Australian company. WMC’s most important asset was Olympic Dam, a huge copper and gold mine which is also the world’s largest uranium deposit. The deal was widely reckoned a mistake. Conventional wisdom had it that 2005 was the top of the copper market and that commodity prices would soon tumble. In fact China’s mountainous demand for the metal had barely reached the foothills (see chart 2).

A stumble and a courtship

BHP’s timing was as good as its rival’s proved poor when, two years later, Rio won a desperate bidding battle for Alcan, a Canadian aluminium-maker. Many of Rio’s subsequent travails are a result of the enormous debt it took on to outbid America’s Alcoa with a knockout $38 billion offer. Alcan is a handy asset—the vast amounts of energy required to smelt aluminium are supplied by reliable, cheap hydroelectricity. But Rio paid too much for it. Confident talk of a “super-cycle” of permanently high commodities prices notwithstanding, demand was about to drop. The deal was a near catastrophe for Rio and a burden which has only recently lifted. The firm has slashed debts from $39 billion to $12 billion over the past year.

A few months after Rio bought Alcan, BHP approached Rio with an audacious takeover bid worth some $135 billion. It was not the first attempt at courtship: Rio and Broken Hill Proprietary had discussed a merger in 1999. But the headwinds were still too strong in 2007. Rio, which had just taken on its current chief executive, Tom Albanese, was loth to entertain an offer from its archrival. The prospect of a commodities powerhouse filled customers with dread. The credit crunch would have made it hard for BHP to service Rio’s debts in addition to the ones it would acquire during the takeover. And the recession caused a crash in commodity prices worse than the miners expected.

So the bid flopped, at great cost for BHP. The company paid some $380m in fees for lawyers, bankers and accountants to prepare the putative deal, including the cost of a mammoth $55 billion debt facility to finance it. But the aftermath of the deal turned out worse for its chief competitor.

Still laden with debt from the purchase of Alcan, Rio was beginning to suffer from the economic downdraught by the end of 2008. It also had a big new shareholder in the form of Chinalco, an aluminium firm controlled by the Chinese government. Chinalco had taken a 9% stake in Rio in a dawn raid in February 2008, shortly before BHP made formal its unofficial approach to Rio. The Chinese, petrified of a vast new mining company using its pricing power over the raw materials that the country craved, hoped to use the stake to thwart BHP’s advances on Rio.

Meanwhile BHP was emerging from the recession stronger than other miners. Its robust balance-sheet allowed it to maintain investment while other big firms slashed capital expenditure. In 2009 BHP spent $10.9 billion, more than the previous year’s spending of $9.5 billion. Rio, in contrast, spent $5.4 billion in 2009, some $4 billion below what it had planned to spend. The steady investment helped BHP keep mines running at peak productivity levels and let it expand some projects.

The world’s biggest mining firm soon had another opportunity to deal with its rival. Chinalco offered to invest $20 billion in Rio in early 2009 in a deal that would have given it a share in some mines and seen its stake in the whole company rise to 18%. To the ire of the Chinese, Rio pulled out of the deal. The firm’s financial position was improving along with rising commodity prices, and rebellious shareholders were insisting on a conventional rights issue. Instead of taking Chinalco’s cash, in June 2009 Rio turned to its suitor of old—BHP.

The timing suited a deal, but this time a joint venture rather than a merger of BHP and Rio. Paul Skinner, an obdurate opponent of BHP’s advances, had recently stood down as chairman of Rio. BHP’s then chairman, Don Argus, persuaded his new counterpart of the merits of a 50-50 joint venture of the companies’ iron-ore operations. After all, crunching together the two firms’ enterprises in the Pilbara region in Australia was one of the main reasons that a full merger between BHP and Rio had seemed so attractive.

This deal is still being scrutinised by regulators. The joint venture would produce 350m tonnes of iron a year, more than a third of the total seaborne trade—something that worries steelmakers. By combining rail lines, ports and other infrastructure the pair hope to save some $10 billion.

From miner to major

In many respects the proposed joint venture favours BHP. As the smaller partner in the Pilbara, it will pay Rio $5.8 billion to equalise their ownership. A steep rise in iron-ore prices since the end of last year makes that now seem cheap. And Rio has more advanced infrastructure in the Pilbara, including plans for remote-controlled lorries and trains. In June it opened a control centre for these operations in Perth, 1,500km distant from its mines. BHP’s Port Hedland, where its ore is transferred to ships, is already operating close to capacity. Expensive plans to build an outer harbour there may no longer be necessary now that the joint venture could choose the cheaper option of extending Rio’s port at Cape Lambert.

As well as making bold deals, BHP has shaken up a conservative industry. After the 2001 merger the firm began to attack the layers of management that had built up within it—an almost inevitable result of having to manage diverse, far-flung operations. At one point the company identified 9,000 levels of management authority across its many businesses. BHP still battles with the complexity of running nine business units spread across the world. But it claims to have pruned management to 30 levels and has a group dedicated to stopping the number from rising.

The clearest example of BHP’s efforts to change the way miners do business is its role in the demise of the decades-old benchmark system for trading iron ore. For many years iron prices were thrashed out in private negotiations between the world’s three big ore producers (BHP, Rio and Vale, a Brazilian firm) and the world’s leading steelmakers. The result was an agreement for all steelmakers to pay the same prices for the whole year.

Marius Kloppers, BHP’s chief executive, led a campaign to introduce a more flexible system. For many years prices had been low and stable but the arrival of China as a big buyer had led to huge annual increases. If spot prices rose over the course of a year miners could not take advantage until the next round of negotiations. In contrast, when prices fell in 2008 the benchmark system offered steelmakers a free option to abandon contracts and buy on the spot market. That frustrated the miners.

For their part, Chinese officials had gradually come to believe equally firmly that miners were asking too high a price for their ore. As a result, negotiations with the country had become increasingly protracted and difficult. Last year, after months of discussions, China’s negotiators failed to reach an agreement with the miners. Rio and Vale were still reluctant to change the system. But earlier this year, after another round of difficult negotiations with China, both companies came round to BHP’s way of thinking. Iron ore is now sold on quarterly contracts at a price closely linked to spot markets.

This new price-setting system may help BHP in another way. The wary regulators who are scrutinising its proposed joint venture with Rio may look more favourably on a firm that helped do away with a somewhat secretive system of annual price-bargaining.

In all, BHP’s smart dealmaking has made it not just the biggest but the most influential and the best-positioned of the big mining firms. Alongside its interests in iron ore, coal and a host of metals it owns a large oil and gas business. Last year this contributed a fifth of profits. It provides an extra layer of diversity and a hedge against volatile prices in an industry that is a heavy user of energy. Vedanta, a big Indian miner, is following BHP’s example. On August 16th it said that it would pay close to $10 billion to buy control of the Indian oilfields of Britain’s Cairn Energy.

The Chinese economy is now growing at a rapid clip—it is forecast to expand by 10% this year. That leaves BHP and its rivals facing a question and a danger. The pleasant question is what to do with their cash. Other miners also regaining decent financial health are on the lookout for the big deals that bring scale and greater diversification. Earlier this year Xstrata, a relative newcomer to the business which has rapidly grown to the size of Anglo American through a series of takeovers, attempted to persuade Anglo to join it in a nil-premium merger. The offer was smartly rebuffed by Anglo’s board.

Not such a big deal?

Xstrata’s response to the brush-off hints at how much has changed in the mining business in the past few years. The firm’s boss, Mick Davis, who had helped orchestrate the BHP merger when he was an executive at Billiton, announced that his company was henceforth likely to grow organically. For a company that has expanded through the cut-and-thrust of dealmaking this is a significant reversal. Few believe that Mr Davis will eschew deals altogether (he may yet try his luck again with Anglo) but his statement hints at the scarcity of plausible takeover targets. There are, indeed, few firms left that are big enough to interest mining giants like BHP and Rio.

And what of diversification, the goal of many big miners in the past decade? BHP’s offer for PotashCorp suggests the firm is still pursuing it. Agriculture is a fairly reliable industry and demand for potash-based fertilisers ought to grow along with demand for meat in developing countries: both China and India are huge importers of the stuff. But there are other signs that diversification is falling from favour in mining circles. In May Vale, which itself tried and failed to land Xstrata around the time that BHP pursued Rio, sold its aluminium business to Norway’s Norsk Hydro. Although Vale will keep some exposure to the metal by retaining a 22% stake in Hydro, the sale challenges the mega-miners’ orthodoxy of spreading their eggs between various baskets.

The reason for the change is that, in effect, the mining firms’ eggs are all in a new basket—not a single product this time but a single country. So dependent are they on Chinese demand that even a diversified portfolio may not be much of a defence against a downturn. BHP is also becoming more dependent on the steelmakers. The proportion of its revenues that come from iron ore, metallurgical coal and stainless-steel ingredients rose from 34% in 2007 to 39% in 2009. The company is handily positioned to benefit from China’s growth, which is heavily dependent on steel. But it also poses a greater risk should China’s economy, and particularly the steel-skeletoned property market, wobble.

By making a large offer for PotashCorp, BHP has given a clear indication of where it intends to deploy the considerable financial firepower its success has brought. But success on that front is not guaranteed: PotashCorp seems determined to remain independent. Another possibility is that Rio will pull out of the planned iron-ore joint venture if regulators impose too many conditions. That would clear the way for Mr Kloppers to set his sights on a full takeover again. As Andrew Keen of HSBC points out, if Rio was attractive to BHP when it had debts of $40 billion why would it not be now?

As the benefits of diversification ebb, the benefits of scale are growing. Vast size and the power it confers might be one way to counterbalance the miners’ dependence on China. BHP’s efforts to acquire Rio might, like the mining business itself, turn out to be cyclical.
Where there’s muck, there’s copper and zinc

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-03 12:46:00

Can we avoid the media dissolve into the US of A? And should we ? or does this have nothing to do with it.



Source: The Globe and Mail (
Author: Jane Taber
Date: September 1, 2010


Margaret Atwood is criticizing Stephen Harper over what she sees as his dictatorial approach to regulating the airwaves.

The literary icon has signed an online petition aimed at keeping a “Fox News North” channel off the air in Canada. But it’s not the idea of a right-wing television station she’s objecting to. Rather, the prolific and celebrated writer doesn’t like the Prime Minister’s style of governing.

“Of course Fox & Co. can set up a channel or whatever they want to do, if it's legal etc.,” she told The Globe and Mail in an email. “But it shouldn't happen this way. It's like the head-of-census affair – gov't direct meddling in affairs that are supposed to be arm's length – so do what they say or they fire you.

“It's part of the ‘I make the rules around here,’ Harper-is-a-king thing,” she wrote.

Her involvement sparked a debate on Twitter with conservative blogger Stephen Taylor and Sun Media’s Ottawa bureau chief, David Akin, Tuesday night. Both men say she is accusing the Sun – which is seeking to launch a right-wing TV channel – of “hate speech.”

“So disappointing you would put your name to what is an anti-free speech movement,” Mr. Akin said. “You’re smarter than that.”

The petition is being circulated by an online advocacy group called Avaaz. It is calling on Canadians to “Stop Fox News North.” More than 34,000 people has so far signed the petition, which says:

“Prime Minister Harper is trying to push American-style hate media onto our airwaves, and make us all pay for it. His plan is to create a ‘Fox News North’ to mimic the kind of hate-filled propaganda with which Fox News has poisoned U.S. politics. The channel will be run by Harper’s former top aide and will be funded with money from our cable TV fees!”

It applauds “the CRTC’s refusal to allow a new ‘Fox News North’ channel to be funded from our cable fees.” The Prime Minister, the petition says, should “immediately stop all pressure on the CRTC on this matter.”

There have been reports that Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chairman Konrad von Finckenstein’s job is in jeopardy over this. The Prime Minister’s Office denies that any pressure is being applied.

The idea of a right-wing news channel in Canada gained traction when Quebecor hired Kory Teneycke, Mr. Harper’s former director of communications, as its vice-president of development. Quebecor owns Sun Media and its desired new channel, to be called SunTV, has been dubbed “Tory TV” and “Fox News North” by its critics.

So far the CRTC is opting not to allow the channel a Category 1 license, which would give it preferred status on the television dial.

Ms. Atwood's concern is not with the network’s proposed agenda. Instead, she’s worried about potential interference by the Harper government.

“Some people signing the petition object to the expected content. I object to the process,” she told The Globe. “It's the [prime ministerial] pressure on yet another civil servant that bothers me. These folks are supposed to be working for the taxpayer, not the PM.”

Some in the blogosphere are objecting to her decision to sign the petition. Mr. Taylor, for example, is questioning whether the author believes “Sun Media is in the biz of broadcasting hate speech.”

Like many Tories, Mr. Taylor also takes issue with the government funding of the CBC. As such, he asked Ms. Atwood: “Is the CBC and its compulsory funding essential to ‘free speech’ or against it in your view?”

But the author held her own, firing back with a quip about Munir Sheikh, who resigned as head of Statistics Canada over the government’s changes to the census.

“Naughty Stephen,” she said. “We're not talking about the CBC but about the coercion of an arm's length person, like Census head.”

Update The CRTC has scheduled a public hearing on SunTV's license application for Nov. 19 in Gatineau, Que.

Latest Comments

9/1/2010 3:31:47 PM
Margaret Atwood is criticizing Stephen Harper over what she sees as his dictatorial approach to regulating the airwaves.

Just watch the CaVeRs squeeeeeeeeeel
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Vitamin D
9/1/2010 3:34:52 PM
It isn't so much that Harper is acting like an autocrat. He is. It's how he's been getting away with it that is so disturbing.
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9/1/2010 3:36:30 PM
Margaret Atwood is criticizing stephen harper over what she sees as his dictatorial approach to regulating the airwaves.
Go get the fascists Margaret.

Under the Fascist regime of the harper Gang, Canada is quickly becoming a country in the world where people in fact could lose their life for posting items disagreeing with great fat leader. I truly don’t want Canada to ever become like one of those places.

The harper minority government has been monitoring political messages online, and even correcting what it considers misinformation. One local expert says the government is taking things too far.

Under the pilot program the harper minority government paid a media company $75,000 to monitor and respond to online postings
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Liberal cash envelopes
9/1/2010 3:36:39 PM
I guess she only approves of the CRTC's dictatorial control over the airwaves. She obviously doesn't believe in diversity of opinion either. SunTv should sue her for slander. She avoids the question about the CBC. typical socialist .....
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9/1/2010 3:36:47 PM
Atwood is another left wing nut who are threatened by freedom of speech. All is ok with the world so long as it's only their point of view.
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Liberal cash envelopes
9/1/2010 3:38:09 PM
Is there an online petition to stop public funding of the CBC? Can someone here start one?
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Son of a Pig and a Monkey
9/1/2010 3:39:32 PM
Moderator's Note: Son of a Pig and a Monkey's comment was not consistent with our guidelines and has been removed.
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9/1/2010 3:40:51 PM
"Margaret Atwood is criticizing Stephen Harper over what she sees as his dictatorial approach to regulating the airwaves."

I'm forced to pay for CBC whether or not I want that and she has no problem.

A new channel comes along that you have to actually choose whether or not you want and that's dictatorial?

MY dictionary must be really out of date since it seems to indicate the reverse of what Ms. Atwood is saying.
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9/1/2010 3:40:58 PM

time for all true Canadians to Stand up and Fight for Canada and her democracy. time to end Canada's still a Minority reign of terror on Canadians freedoms and rights.

Just say NO to harper's Gang of Canada haters.
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9/1/2010 3:41:02 PM
Free speech is the socialist's enemy. Is she going after these comment boards in the Globe and Mail next?

This channel will not cost taxpayers $1B + annually like the CBC. Opposite - they will pay net tax. Awesome, this will lessen the debt burden on the children that all already enslaved in the older generations trillion of debt.
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Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-03 12:53:03

Okey everyone ... wave to the nice man he can get it right !



PS: thx to 18010 for the heads up

[color=red][size=5]Harper government monitoring online chats about politics
Correcting what it calls 'misinformation'

Source: 1130 News (
Author: Sheila Scott
Date: May 23, 2010


OTTAWA (NEWS1130) - The Harper government has been monitoring political messages online, and even correcting what it considers misinformation. One local expert says the government is taking things too far.

Under the pilot program the Harper government paid a media company $75,000 to monitor and respond to online postings about the east coast seal hunt.

UBC Computer Science professor and President of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Richard Rosenberg, says it seems unnecessary for the government to be going this far. "The government has a lot of power, that it feels the need to monitor public bulletin boards, or places where people express views and then to respond to that, seems to me going beyond a reasonable action the government should be taking."

Rosenberg says knowing that the government is monitoring certain topics online could result in people being more careful with their identities when they're posting about political issues on the internet.

He says it's the first time he's heard of this happening in Canada.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-15 18:36:13

Sigh ... Fritz

Canada's armed forces Fighting to keep fighting[/size]

Stephen Harper has tried to make his mild-mannered country a warrior nation. But his citizens have only so much stomach—and money—for the fight

Source: The Economist (
Author: n/a
Date: Sep 9th 2010 | Ottawa


LAST month a spokesman for Canada’s prime minister sent reporters a breathless e-mail recounting the exploits of two CF-18 fighter jets. It said they had forced Russian bombers heading for Canada’s Arctic airspace to turn around, and ended with a boast that the government was giving pilots “staring down Russian long-range bombers” the best equipment possible—like the 65 F-35 fighters the government plans to buy for C$16 billion ($15.4 billion). The cold war language was soon mocked—especially after NORAD, the United States-Canada defence body, said that such flights were routine and that NORAD itself had conducted a joint exercise with Russia a few weeks earlier. “The Russians aren’t coming”, read one headline.

Yet humour aside, the episode reflected a once-familiar scepticism about defence spending that has been largely absent since Stephen Harper took power in 2006. Until now, Canadians have supported his beefing up of the armed forces through more funding and combat. But with Canada’s mission in Afghanistan ending next year and a record budget deficit, his expansion of the armed forces, unprecedented in modern times, may be reaching its limit.

Canada was a big air- and sea-power after the second world war, and deployed combat troops in the Korean war. Since then, however, its forces have focused on peacekeeping. In the 1990s a Liberal government balanced the budget on the back of the army, in what Rick Hillier, a former chief of defence staff, called a “decade of darkness” that left the forces on “life support”. Cuts to ammunition and training hurt morale, as did the disbanding of an airborne regiment, after one of its members killed a Somali civilian in 1993.

Mr Harper, a Conservative, has charged to the rescue. He has increased defence spending from C$14.8 billion a year when he took office to C$21 billion. That bought new transport planes and helicopters for the air force, and M-777 howitzers and heavy-armoured transport trucks and engineering vehicles for the army, the better to withstand roadside bombs. (The navy has been less fortunate.) The first Canadian soldiers to arrive in Afghanistan in 2002 wore green camouflage designed for forests, because the army had sold its sand-coloured uniforms. Now they sport desert-hued outfits with a digitalised pattern redesigned for added stealth.

Mr Harper has had the troops put their new kit to use. He has raised the number of soldiers in Afghanistan by 40%, to 2,800, and kept them in Kandahar, one of the country’s most violent regions, where some other NATO members have refused to deploy. As a result, 152 have died. And he signalled their new importance by making a surprise visit there his first trip in office.

Mr Harper sees this muscularity as part of a broader effort to “revive Canada’s leadership in the world”, which peaked in the 1950s, when its military power was at its height and Europe was rebuilding itself. It has certainly improved relations with the United States, which soured when the Liberal government refused to join the Iraq invasion. But it has not increased enthusiasm at home for shooting wars. A 2009 poll by Ipsos Reid found that the share of Canadians who think the army should only conduct peacekeeping operations rose from 46% in 2008 to 50% last year.

That scepticism is reflected in Parliament. The Conservatives hold just 144 of the chamber’s 308 seats, and rule largely because the opposition is divided. The Liberals backed a limited extension of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan in 2008, but would probably not do so again. Mr Harper must thus withdraw the troops by July.

Even if he could win support for a new extension, however, the prime minister has recently hinted that fiscal discipline may now trump military ambition. He promises to cut its C$49 billion deficit to $1.8 billion by 2014-15 through spending cuts alone. In August the ombudsman for veterans accused the government of cheating former soldiers by giving them lump-sum disability payments instead of richer lifetime pensions. And its most recent budget would increase defence spending by just 1.5%, a far cry from the 9% average growth in 2006-09.

Ending the mission in Afghanistan will save C$1 billion a year. That pullback will make further cuts likely. To resist them, the army could argue that Canada would have more clout in the world if it increased its woefully low participation in UN peacekeeping. But blue-helmet work does not demand shiny new hardware. Bolstering the army’s presence in the Arctic might, and would also fit Mr Harper’s rhetoric on Arctic sovereignty. That, however, would require a bit more Russian belligerence.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-27 13:41:18

Government has a dismal track record with IT projects. The government needs to develop a Meta Data Model and then the medical profession would have a framework to start developing Electronic Health Services; currently there are no useful standards or frameworks from which to even begin EMR. Finally that the media is so retarded in can't get to a root cause analysis exposing the complete 'cockup' of attempts at EMR, is for me unbelievable.

Are there no reporters left in Canada ? Just get a reporter to try doing OHIP billing for a stand alone family physician in Ontario for 1 week, look at the scanned PDF files that are passed off as EMR, there is no data just pictures of patient files, this is NOT EMR ? Drug stores have not standardized data management systems, they can't even share data between stores in the same chain. In this day and age given the money the Ontario government has wasted in computerizing ersatz electronic health care, it is just incompetence and has not been reported in any meaningful way.

Stop doing the politically expedient thing and fingering the Physicians, they are the only ones actually working towards Canadians best interest, trying desperately to keep their heads above water in the sea of misinformation.

Come on Canada Media lets show the citizens of Canada your not just Fox News North; then again they are good at what they do; lie.



Source: Globe and Mail (
Author: Carly Weeks
Date: 2010.09.27


Family physicians routinely prescribe drugs under the wrong circumstances and overuse diagnostic imaging tests, serious problems the Health Council of Canada says must be repaired by introducing electronic health records across the country.
More related to this story

* Ontario to link hospital CEOs’ pay to quality of care
* Surging cost of health care poised to play a role in Harper's spring budget

The council, an independent body created by federal and provincial governments to monitor the health system, released a report Monday that warns family doctors are facing increasingly complex demands but often lack the proper guidance to make the best decisions for patients.

It’s one of the strongest calls to action by the council, a prominent health organization that regularly helps inform policy makers. It predicts that if Canada continues to delay implementation of electronic health records and doesn’t do more to support family doctors, the problems of inappropriate prescribing and excessive medical testing will dramatically worsen as the population ages.

Drug spending is one of the biggest costs for Canada’s health care system and diagnostic imaging tests are becoming an increasing financial burden. The council pointed out the trends can also harm patients: many of them are getting prescriptions for expensive drugs that may not help them and could put them at risk of serious side effects, while others are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation during CT scans or other diagnostic tests that aren’t actually needed.

“If there is no change in how family physicians are supported ... we can expect a surge in health service use as the population ages, chronic diseases become more prevalent, new drugs and technologies are introduced, and patient and provider expectations expand,” the report said.

Overworked family doctors are increasingly taking on the care of patients with multiple or chronic health problems, the report added, and becoming more responsible for ordering diagnostic tests, tasks once largely handled by hospitals or specialist physicians.

Those trends aren't necessarily negative. Doctors are taking on more responsibilities in part because a growing number of patients are able to get the care they need outside of hospitals or without seeing a specialist, saving time and money.

But as their roles become more complex, family doctors across Canada aren't being given the proper guidance or support needed to determine the best course of action for patients, the report says. Doctors were also said to have chaotic, overwhelming schedules, making it difficult to spend time with patients to discuss potential options or alternate therapies.

As a result, family physicians end up prescribing drugs, sometimes at the request of patients, even though it's unclear whether the medication will help or if other therapies would be more effective, according to the health council. In addition, doctors order expensive computer tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests to err on the side of caution or because patients demand them, even though they may be unnecessary.

Danielle Martin, a family physician at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital, said the problems identified in the report affect her life daily and are “frequent” topics of discussion among her colleagues. She said doctors must juggle demands from patients, emerging information about new drugs or treatments and overwhelming schedules, creating an environment where it’s often easier to order tests or write a prescription.

“It becomes a negotiation when you’re trying to ascertain whether there’s really a requirement for that expensive test. Those pressures are real and I think we all feel them and we need to do better.”

It's difficult to know the exact scope of the problem because of the lack of data that's collected in this area, according to the health council, which culled information from medical surveys and studies for its report. It can also be difficult to ascertain which drugs or tests are unnecessary. For instance, a child who suffers a head injury may undergo a CT scan that doesn't find any evidence of serious trauma, but many parents and doctors would still prefer doing the test to rule out the possibility.

But the real problem is family doctors aren't being given the information they need to make the best decisions and Canada does little to track the health outcomes of patients who are put on various medications or given diagnostic tests, the report said.

“We take doctors to task if they overbill, but do we take them to task if they overprescribe?” asked John Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada.

There is no sound mechanism in place to monitor how many patients who are taking blood-pressure drugs, for instance, actually improve while on the medication, how many of them see no change, or how many suffer serious side effects.

Although the number of CT scans and MRIs performed in Canada jumped 58 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, from 2003 to 2009, family doctors may lack the training to determine when certain tests are necessary, the report said. The Canadian Association of Radiologists estimates that up to 30 per cent of CT scans and other diagnostic tests are unnecessary or contribute no useful information.

The report calls for major improvements to the scope and use of electronic health records in Canada. In addition to allowing health care professionals to easily access important information about patients and work more efficiently, electronic health records could link medications and diagnostic tests to the health outcomes of patients in order to determine what works and what is wasteful. Canada has been widely criticized by health experts and medical organizations across the country for its slow approach to adopting electronic health records in comparison with other developed nations.

Although governments across Canada have pledged support for electronic health records, the implementation process has been difficult and slow because of the complex nature of information involved. But there have also been major money problems, with the federal government delaying a 2009 promise to release $500-million in further funding to get electronic health records up and running. A major scandal at eHealth Ontario, the organization charged with bringing electronic records to the province, saw $1-billion wasted on out-of-control consultant costs and untendered contracts.

The report also calls for major improvements in medical guidelines, which family doctors can use to determine when medications or tests are necessary.

While the Canadian Medical Association has more than 1,000 guidelines on its website, the health council says Canada must develop a system to ensure they are being used and followed. The report says provinces should hold physicians accountable and develop mechanisms, likely through the promised electronic health record system, to ensure they have access to the best medical guidelines and actually follow them.

It also says electronic health records need to be quickly rolled out across the Canada to give physicians help they need to manage patients, and allow for better monitoring of the effect drugs and tests have on patient health outcomes.

Jeff Turnbull, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said the report outlines many of the serious challenges facing family doctors and how they are harming the country's health system.

“We certainly can do better. There's no question about it,” he said in an interview.

But the College of Family Physicians of Canada argues the report is flawed because it assumes the rising number of prescriptions dispensed and diagnostic tests ordered is excessive. The problem is there is no data that definitively spells out whether these trends are a serious problem, said Cal Gutkin, executive director and CEO of the college.

“Some of their conclusions really are lacking in the evidence that's needed to be able to come to the conclusion that they can, with certainty, identify who it is that is linked most closely with the ordering of these tests and the prescribing of these medications,” he said.

Dr. Gutkin added that in many cases, medications and tests are recommended by specialists but are prescribed by family doctors, which makes it appear they are responsible for the rise in prescriptions and diagnostic imaging tests.

However, Mr. Abbott at the health council said even though no one knows exactly how much over-prescribing or overusing of tests is occurring, it's clear that it's happening, and that something must be done to stop it.

“Let's call a spade a spade and let's get at the problem and help doctors improve their ability to care and prescribe more appropriately, order tests more appropriately,” he said.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-28 16:22:57

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and who owes who what.



PS:It is getting progressively sad that I have to get news from Great Britain, for Canadian goings on ?

[color=red][size=5]Energy policy in Quebec
High-speed gas - Too fast for a green province

Source: The Economist (
Author: Print Edition
Date: 2010.09.23


MOST people would be delighted to discover that they were sitting on top of natural gas reserves that could potentially supply their needs for the next century or so. No more worrying about complicated Middle East politics or whether oil supplies are past their peak. Yet in the Canadian province of Quebec, news of abundant gas in the shale beneath the St Lawrence river basin has not been met with unalloyed joy. Although Nathalie Normandeau, the minister of natural resources, calls future self-sufficiency in natural gas a historic opportunity for the French-speaking province, a surprising number of people have stepped forward to say “no thanks” or “not yet”.

That is partly because of Quebec’s good fortune in generating so much hydroelectricity that it exports its surplus to Ontario and to north-eastern United States. It has plans to seek additional customers in both countries. The James Bay project, the biggest clutch of the 60 generating stations owned by Hydro-Québec, a utility owned by the provincial government, generates eight times the power of the Hoover Dam.

This abundance of cheap renewable electricity is the main reason why Quebeckers are “finicky” about shale gas, says Christian Bourque, a pollster based in Montreal. It has allowed them to be proudly green. At the Copenhagen summit on climate change in December, officials from Quebec publicly chided their counterparts from Alberta over their failure to reduce carbon emissions from the tar sands in the western province. They also called on the federal government to speed up its lackadaisical efforts to bring in a national plan to reduce emissions.

Environmentalists fret that development of the St Lawrence basin gas deposits would enlarge the province’s carbon footprint. Farmers have a more pragmatic reason for worrying about natural-gas development in what is the most fertile part of the province. They point to complaints in Pennsylvania that hydraulic fracturing or fracking—the high-pressure injection of water and chemicals into the shale to free the natural gas—has polluted water below the surface and on the ground. The governor of New York says that development of a shale formation in the catchment area for New York City will not go ahead until he has “overwhelming evidence” that fracking will not harm water supplies. The Quebec farmers’ union wants the provincial government to allay such concerns before allowing full-scale production.

While the existence of the deposits has been known for some time, it is only recently that new technologies have made the extraction of gas from shale commercially viable. The provincial government plans to issue regulations for the new industry next year. It has expedited the timetable for a public consultation. All this strikes some Quebeckers as too rushed. The Parti Québécois, the main opposition, has called for a moratorium.

Officials in Jean Charest’s Liberal provincial government point out that Quebec imports oil and gas worth C$14 billion ($14 billion) a year, mostly from western Canada, and will benefit from having supplies closer to home. Use of natural gas emits less carbon than oil. Mr Charest’s administration has been weakened by minor scandals and by revelations that some businessmen in the gas industry have ties to the Liberals. While these charges are unlikely to stop natural-gas development in the province, they may slow it down. Quebec’s governments, including those of Mr Charest, have spent decades telling Quebeckers that they are greener than green. It seems many have believed them.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-29 23:18:48

Sign of the times it would seem.



Equipment auction will lure global interest[/size]
It’s difficult to say how much money will be generated in next month’s Whitehorse auction of heavy equipment, says the president of Golden Hill Ventures.

Source: White Horse Daily Star (
Author: Chuck Tobin
Date: 2010.09.29

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

It’s difficult to say how much money will be generated in next month’s Whitehorse auction of heavy equipment, says the president of Golden Hill Ventures.

Jon Rudolph said this morning the value of big equipment around the world fell by 50 to 60 per cent during the recession and still has not recovered.

But there is room for optimism, he insisted during an interview.

Currently, Rudolph added, with increasing mining activity tied to a rebound in mineral prices, there is a growing demand for 100-ton rock trucks and large bulldozers.

He said if a company put in an order today for a new truck – valued at about $1.2 million – the wait period would be 42 weeks.

The D11 ’dozer Golden Hill purchased three years ago at an Edmonton auction for $930,000 to work at the Ross Mining gold property outside of Dawson City has seen an additional $400,000 in rebuilding costs, he said.

“It only has 2,000 hours on all the components,” Rudolph added. “It’s got another 10,000 to 12,000 hours before you have to rebuild it again.

“So what’s it going to go for in the auction, it’s hard to say.”

There are more than 100 pieces of equipment listed for the Oct. 13 auction. They range in size from the 16 rock trucks and two D11s – the largest bulldozers built by Caterpillar – right down to fork lifts and pressure washers.

The auction is being managed by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers at Golden Hill’s industrial yard situated along the Alaska Highway north of Crestview.

Ritchie Bros. representative Dean Lowry said today the company is expecting 200 to 300 bidders onsite, as well as those participating through the Internet.

“We are looking for a good sale,” he said, adding that about a dozen other companies have put up equipment to auction off.

He said there is still time to for individuals or companies to list goods for sale, though it’s best to contact Ritchie Bros. sooner rather than later.

It was back in 1992 when the auction company was last here to hold a retirement auction to sell off the assets of E. Lobe, a heavy equipment company.

There is no minimum price for any items and all equipment will go to the highest bidder, Rudolph explained.

He said with the auction being broadcast across the Internet, and potential buyers allowed to bid through the Internet, interest should be high.

“We expect bids from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, all over the world,” he said. “We expect some things will bring good value and other things will probably be a bargain buy because there is still a surplus out there. You never know.”

Among the largest heavy equipment companies in the Yukon, Golden Hill Ventures ran into dire financial straits in 2008 and 2009 as the recession hit the company full force.

Court proceedings under the Bankruptcy Act over the last year have seen Golden Hill and Rudolph reach settlement agreements with creditors.

The upcoming auction, he emphasized, is not part of those proceedings, and Golden Hill is not bankrupt.

The company is functioning, and currently has a payroll of about $100,000 every two weeks for approximately 30 staff members, he said.

Rudolph explained G.E. Financing, as the company which financed some equipment for Golden Hill, had the right to call in what it was owed – between $6 million to $7 million.

Golden Hill and G.E. agreed the best route was to hold an auction to sell off the equipment financed by G.E., and other gear owned by Golden Hill with no strings attached to G.E., he said.

Rudolph pointed out that of the two D11s, for instance, only one is under the security held by G.E.

It doesn’t make sense for Golden Hill to have expensive surplus equipment sitting idle in the yard, Rudolph said.

He said Golden Hill has a lot more than 100 pieces of equipment and is currently working on the Mayo B hydro project as a subcontractor to Cobalt Construction, a company started by his son last January.

The company is also currently wrapping up some work on the north Alaska Highway as part of the Shakwak project, again as a subcontractor to Cobalt, which was awarded a two-year,
$5.9-million contract earlier this month, Rudolph pointed out.

He said Golden Hill’s financial problems have hindered its ability to secure bonding for large projects, so it’s been easier to work as a subcontractor under the umbrella of Cobalt Construction as the general contractor.

Still ongoing is the matter between Golden Hill and Ross Mining, the placer gold mining company purchased by Golden Hill but returned to Norm Ross through a court order after Golden Hill defaulted on payments.

Golden Hill is claiming it is owed $3 million by Ross Mining.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-09-29 23:32:09

It is different in Canada.

Nice :)


Mosque bound for Inuvik gets stuck in Edmonton traffic[/size]

Source: Edmonton Journal (
Author: Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press
Date: 2010.09.08

The little mosque crossing the Prairie almost missed the boat.

Source: The Hub, Hay River, Northwest Territories

The prefab place of worship is being trucked to Hay River, N.W.T., to catch Friday's last barge of the season bound for Inuvik, N.W.T., nearly 2,000 kilometres from Edmonton.

But the mosque, which takes up two lanes of highway and half the shoulder on either side, nearly got sidelined by construction outside of the city, said Hussain Guisti, spokesman for the Winnipeg-based charity funding the project -- the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation.

"This is a puzzle and it all has to fit together before the last barge leaves Sept. 10," said Guisti.

The extra-wide load could only travel on busy highways at certain times, he said. "In Alberta, it was allowed to travel Saturday but not Sunday."

He said they expected to be halfway between Edmonton and Hay River by Sunday.

But, when the shipper got to Edmonton, Alberta Highways said the mosque couldn't go north during the busy weekend because of road work, and it had to slip through between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Tuesday.

"I've lost a few hairs," said Guisti. "We lost 600 kilometres."

The mosque was expected to arrive Wednesday so it could be loaded onto the barge leaving Hay River Friday. From there, it would be shipped 1,850 kilometres on the Hay and Mackenzie rivers to Inuvik, as the ship delivers fuel to remote communities en route.

If the last barge leaves without the 1,554 square-foot mosque, Inuvik's growing Muslim community will have another winter of prayer in a revamped utility trailer. The town of 3,500 includes close to 100 Muslims.

Luckily, with all the media attention the mosque-on-the-move is receiving, the barge operators have agreed not to leave until it arrives, Guisti said.

But they better make it snappy.

"They said 'The minute it arrives, we take off,' " he said

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-10-04 20:24:30

For the record I felt this should be noted here. Anyone that has watched the History channel on organized crime and the stories from Montreal over the years has suspected this to be true; inspite of the out cry from the politicians.



Why does Quebec claim so many of the nation’s political scandals?

Source: Macleans (
Author: Martin Patriquin
Date: 2010.09.24


Marc Bellemare isn’t a particularly interesting man to look at, so you’d think the spectre of watching him sit behind a desk and answer questions for hours on end would have Quebecers switching the channel en masse. And yet, the province’s former justice minister has been must-see TV over the past few weeks, if only because of what has been flowing out of his mouth.

Bellemare, who has been testifying in an inquiry into the process by which judges are appointed in Quebec, has particularly bad memories of his brief stint in cabinet, from 2003 to 2004. The Liberal government, then as now under the leadership of Premier Jean Charest, was rife with collusion, graft and barely concealed favouritism, he says—the premier himself so beholden to Liberal party fundraisers that they had a say in which judges were appointed to the bench. “It happened in [Charest’s] office. He was relaxed, he served me a Perrier,” Bellemare testified. The two spoke about Franco Fava, a long-time Liberal fundraiser who, according to Bellemare, was lobbying for Marc Bisson (the son of another Liberal fundraiser) and Michel Simard to be promoted. “I said, ‘Who names the judges, me or Franco Fava?’ I was very annoyed. I found it unacceptable,” Bellemare recalls. He remembers Charest saying, “ ‘Franco is a personal friend. He’s an influential fundraiser for the party. We need men like this. We have to listen to them. If he says to nominate Bisson and Simard, nominate them.’ ”

Judicial selection may be a topic as dry as Bellemare’s own clipped monotone, yet the public inquiry currently under way has been a ratings success. It has veered into bizarro CSI territory, complete with testimony from an ink specialist who discerned that Bellemare had used at least two different pens when writing notes on a piece of cardboard. And despite his reputation as a bit of a crank, and the fact his supposedly airtight memory is prone to contradictions and convenient lapses, Quebecers believe Bellemare’s version of events over that of Jean Charest, the longest serving Quebec premier in 50 years—by as much as four to one, according to polls.

Part of the reason for this is the frankly disastrous state of Charest’s government. In the past two years, the government has lurched from one scandal to the next, from political financing to favouritism in the provincial daycare system to the matter of Charest’s own (long undisclosed) $75,000 stipend, paid to him by his own party, to corruption in the construction industry. Charest has stymied repeated opposition calls for an investigation into the latter, prompting many to wonder whether the Liberals, who have long-standing ties to Quebec’s construction companies, have something to hide. (Regardless, this much is true: it costs Quebec taxpayers roughly 30 per cent more to build a stretch of road than anywhere else in the country, according to Transport Canada figures.) Quebecers want to believe Bellemare, it seems, because what he says is closest to what they themselves believe about their government.

This slew of dodgy business is only the most recent in a long line of made-in-Quebec corruption that has affected the province’s political culture at every level. We all recall the sponsorship scandal, in which businessmen associated with the Liberal Party of Canada siphoned off roughly $100 million from a fund effectively designed to stamp the Canadian flag on all things Québécois, cost (or oversight) be damned. “I am deeply disturbed that such practices were allowed to happen,” wrote Auditor General Sheila Fraser in 2004. Fraser’s report and the subsequent commission by Justice John Gomery, which saw the testimony of Liberal prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, wreaked havoc on Canada’s natural governing party from which it has yet to recover.

We remember Baie Comeau’s prodigal son, Brian Mulroney, and his reign in Ottawa, which saw 11 cabinet ministers resign under a cloud in one seven-year period—six of them from Quebec. Mulroney’s rise was solidified by an altogether dirty battle against Joe Clark in Quebec that saw provincial Conservative organizers solicit Montreal homeless shelters and welcome missions, promising free beer for anyone who voted for Mulroney in the leadership campaign. Clark’s Quebec organizers, meanwhile, signed up so-called “Tory Tots,” underage “supporters” lured by promises of booze and barbecue chicken. And in 2000, organizers for Canadian Alliance leadership hopeful Tom Long did Mulroney’s and Clark’s camps one better, signing up unwitting Gaspé residents both living and dead to pad the membership rolls.

The province’s dubious history stretches further back to the 1970s, and to the widespread corruption in the construction industry as Quebec rushed through one megaproject after another. Much of the industry at the time, according to a provincial commission, was “composed of tricksters, crooks and scum” whose ties to the Montreal mafia, and predilection for violence, was renowned.

As politicians and experts from every facet of the political spectrum told Maclean’s, the history of corruption is sufficiently long and deep in Quebec that it has bred a culture of mistrust of the political class. It raises an uncomfortable question: why is it that politics in Canada’s bête noire province seem perpetually rife with scandal?

Certainly, Quebec doesn’t have a monopoly on bad behaviour. It was in British Columbia that three premiers—Bill Vander Zalm, Mike Harcourt and Glen Clark—were punted from office in short order for a variety of shenanigans by their governments in the 1990s. In the mid-’90s, no less than 12 members of Saskatchewan Conservative premier Grant Devine’s government were charged in relation to an $837,000 expense account scheme. Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister—and the first to go down in scandal, with his government forced to resign—came from Ontario. And the East Coast? “The record of political chicanery is so overflowing in the Maritimes that they could likely teach Quebec a few tricks,” Montreal Gazette political writer Hubert Bauch once wrote.

Still, Quebec stands in a league of its own. Maurice Duplessis, its long-reigning premier (and certainly one of its more nationalistic), was a champion of patronage-driven government, showering favourable ridings with contracts and construction projects at the expense of those that dared vote against him. Duplessis typically kept $60,000 cash in his basement as part of an “electoral fund” to dole out to obliging constituents. His excesses sickened Quebec’s artistic and intellectual classes, and their revolt culminated in the Quiet Revolution, which brought in a large, stable (and, as far as its burgeoning civil service was concerned, faceless) government less prone to patronage in place of Duplessis’s virtual one-man show.

Yet corruption didn’t disappear; it just took another form. Under the Quiet Revolution, Quebec underwent an unprecedented modernization, both in mindset and of the bricks and-mortar variety. The latter occurred at a dizzying speed; over 3,000 km of major highway were built in the 1960s alone. But modernization came at the price of proper oversight: in 1968, referring to widespread government corruption, historian Samuel Huntington singled out the province as “perhaps the most corrupt area [in] Australia, Great Britain, United States and Canada.”

It got worse. The speed at which the province developed required a huge labour pool—and peace with Quebec’s powerful unions. Peace it did not get: the early ’70s were synonymous with union violence at many of Quebec’s megaprojects, particularly Mirabel airport and the James Bay hydroelectric project in Quebec’s north—where union representative Yvon Duhamel drove a bulldozer into a generator. As the Cliche commission, an investigation into the province’s construction industry, noted in 1974, the Quebec government under Bourassa knew of the violence and intimidation, and as author and Conservative insider L. Ian MacDonald later wrote, “permitted itself to be taken hostage by the disreputable elements of the trade union movement.”

A young lawyer named Brian Mulroney sat on the commission; he helped pen the report detailing “violence, sabotage, walkouts and blackmail” on the part of the unions. Another lawyer named Lucien Bouchard, who served as the commission’s chief prosecutor, noticed a large number of union cheques made out to the Liberal Party of Quebec, though this was never investigated.

RELATED: COYNE on what’s behind Quebec’s penchant for money politics

Apart from the arguably ironic casting of Mulroney as an anti-corruption crusader, the legacy of the Cliche commission was twofold. It spelled the end of Bourassa’s first stint as premier and ushered in the sovereignist Parti Québécois, which promptly enacted the strictest campaign financing laws in the country, banning donations from unions and corporations and limiting annual individual donations to $3,000. These laws have effectively been rendered toothless since then. According to a study by the progressive
party Québec Solidaire, the senior management at four of Quebec’s big construction and engineering firms each donated the maximum or near the maximum allowable amount to the Quebec Liberal party, to the collective tune of $400,000 in 2008 alone. The Parti Québécois and the Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), too, benefited from certain firms’ largesse, though on a much smaller scale.

The province’s construction industry, meanwhile, remains as wild and woolly as ever. According to La Presse, a long-standing price-fixing scheme on the part of 14 construction companies drove up construction prices across the province. In several cases, according to a Radio-Canada investigation last year, these companies used Hells Angels muscle to intimidate rival firms. A fundraising official with the Union Montréal, the party of Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, was found to have led a scheme in which three per cent of the value of contracts was distributed to political parties, councillors and city bureaucrats. And the industry is well connected: until 2007, Liberal fundraiser Franco Fava was president of Neilson Inc., one of Quebec’s largest construction and excavation firms.

There are some who posit that government corruption is inevitable in part because government is so omnipresent in the province’s economic life. According to Statistics Canada, Quebec’s provincial and municipal government spending is equivalent to 32 per cent of its GDP, seven percentage points higher than the national average. The province is frequently home to giant projects: consider Montreal, with its two ongoing mega-hospital projects, or Hydro-Québec’s massive development of the Romaine River in the north shore region. So there is a temptation (even necessity) to curry favour with power. “In Quebec, it’s usually a case of old-fashioned graft,” says Andrew Stark, a business ethics professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. “The state occupies a more prominent role, and people in the private sector rely on the state for appointments or contracts, so they make political contributions to do so. In the rest of the country it’s reversed: it’s people in public office using public money to give themselves private-sector-style perks.”

These links between private business and the public sector notably led to Shawinigate, when it emerged that then-prime minister Jean Chrétien had called the president of the government-run, and ostensibly arms-length, Business Development Corp. to discuss a loan application from businessman Yvon Duhaime to spruce up the Auberge Grand-Mère in Chrétien’s Shawinigan riding. The loan was granted. “I work for my electors, that’s my job,” Chrétien said at the time–even though he still stood to gain from his share of the neighbouring golf course. As several critics noted at the time, the golf course would have likely increased in value following the renovations.

But the factor most important to this history of corrupton may be Quebec’s nagging existential question of whether to remain part of the country. That 40-year threat of separation has been a boon for provincial coffers. As a “have-not” province, Quebec is entitled to equalization payments. In the past five years, according to federal Department of Finance data, Quebec’s share of the equalization pie has nearly doubled, to $8.6 billion, far and away the biggest increase of any province. This is due in large part to aggressive lobbying by the Bloc Québécois.

According to many on both the left and right, obsessing over Quebec’s existential question has come at the expense of proper transparency and accountability. “I don’t think corruption is in our genes any more than it is anywhere else on the planet, but the beginning of an explanation would be the fact that we have focused for so long on the constitutional question,” says Éric Duhaime, a former ADQ candidate who recently helped launch the right-of-centre Réseau Liberté-Québec. “We are so obsessed by the referendum debate that we forget what a good government is, regardless if that government is for or against the independence of Quebec.”

After nearly losing the referendum in 1995, the federal Liberals under Chrétien devised what amounted to a branding effort whose aim was to increase the visibility of the federal government in Quebec. The result: a $100-million scandal that saw several Liberal-friendly firms charge exorbitant amounts for work they often never did. The stench of the sponsorship scandal has yet to dissipate, so damaging was it to Quebec’s collective psyche. “Canada basically thinks&#8201;.&#8201;.&#8201;.&#8201;[Quebecers] can be bought off by some idiotic ad campaign,” wrote Le Devoir’s Jean Dion in 2004.

Or a new hockey arena, it seems. Earlier this month, eight Quebec Conservative MPs donned Nordiques jerseys and, through wide smiles, essentially said Quebec City deserved $175 million worth of public funding for a new arena. “As MPs, we cannot ignore the wishes of the population that wants the Nordiques to return,” Jonquiere-Alma MP Jean-Pierre Blackburn told the Globe and Mail. “In addition, our political formation, the Conservative party, has received important support in Quebec City.”

It won’t be the Conservatives’ first foray into patronage in the province. According to a recent Canadian Press investigation, a disproportionate percentage of federal stimulus money reserved for rural areas went to two hotly contested ridings in which the Conservatives barely edged out the Bloc. Now, as always, keeping the sovereignists out seems to be priority number one for the feds, and the favoured way is through the public purse strings.

The federalist-sovereignist debate has effectively entrenched the province’s politicians, says Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir. “Today’s PQ and the Liberals are of the same political class that has governed Quebec for 40 years. The more they stay in power, the more vulnerable to corruption they become. There hasn’t been any sort of renewal in decades,” he says. “We are caught in the prison of the national question.” If so, it’s quite a prison. Crossing the federalist-sovereignist divide is something of a sport for politicians. Lucien Bouchard went from sovereignist to federalist and back again. Raymond Bachand started his political career as a senior organizer for René Lévesque’s Yes campaign in 1980; today, he is the minister of finance in Charest’s staunchly federalist government. Liberal Jean Lapierre was a founding member of the Bloc Québécois, only to return to Martin’s Liberal cabinet in 2004. Many Quebec politicians never seem to leave. They just change sides.

Veteran Liberal MNA Geoff Kelley says all the bad headlines are proof, in fact, of the system’s efficacy at weeding out corruption. Yes, two prominent former Liberal ministers, David Whissell and Tony Tomassi, have left cabinet amidst conflict-of-interest allegations. (A construction &#64257;rm Whissell co-owned received several no-tender government contracts, while Tomassi used a credit card belonging to BCIA, a private security &#64257;rm that received government contracts and government-backed loans.) No, it “doesn’t look good” when five Charest friends and former advisers join oil-and-gas interests just as the province is considering an enormous shale gas project. How about the nearly $400,000 in campaign financing from various engineering and construction companies? No one has shown any evidence of a fraudulent fundraising scheme, he counters. “I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying it hasn’t been proven.” Kelley blames much of the government’s ailments on an overheated Péquiste opposition. As for Bellemare’s allegations, Kelley rightly points out that they are just that: allegations.

He thinks the system is working. Far from being kept quiet, Bellemare has the ear of the province, thanks to the commission Charest himself called. The Charest government, Kelley notes, will institute Quebec’s first code of conduct for MNAs in the coming months. “I’m not saying everything’s perfect, [or] everything’s lily white,” Kelley says. “Obviously these things raise concerns, they raise doubts, and I think mechanisms have been put in place to try and tighten up the rules.”

For many Quebecers, though, talk of renewal is cheap. As they know all too well, rules in the bête noire province have a habit of being broken.

CLARIFICATION: The cover of last week’s magazine, with the headline “The Most Corrupt Province in Canada,” featured a photo-illustrated editorial cartoon depicting Bonhomme Carnaval carrying a briefcase stuffed with money. The cover has been criticized by representatives of the Carnaval de Québec, of which Bonhomme is a symbol.

While Maclean’s recognizes that Bonhomme is a symbol of the Carnaval, the character is also more widely recognized as a symbol of the province of Quebec. We used Bonhomme as a means of illustrating a story about the province’s political culture, and did not intend to disparage the Carnaval in any way. Maclean’s is a great supporter of both the Carnaval and of Quebec tourism. Our coverage of political issues in the province will do nothing to diminish that support.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-10-18 21:10:38

The reader comments at the end .... and two different takes on the same story.



Telegraph: [url=]Canadian pilot who flew for the Queen pleads guilty to murder
A Canadian Air Force pilot, who once flew the Queen across the Atlantic, has pleaded guilty to murdering two women and sexually assaulting two others.[/url]

CBC: Williams to lose rank but not pension (

Canadian military officer exposed as serial killer[/size]

Source: Japan Today (
Author: AP
Date: 2010.10.19


BELLEVILLE, Ontario — Canada

He was a square-jawed Canadian Air Force officer with a brilliant future, a man entrusted with flying prime ministers and Queen Elizabeth II. On Monday, he was exposed as a serial killer with a shocking fetish for girls’ panties that he documented in a trove of twisted photos of himself.

At a hearing that reduced victims’ relatives to tears, the lurid photos were shown one by one in court as Col Russell Williams, 47, pleaded guilty to murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others and committing dozens of break-ins in which he stole underwear from the bedrooms of girls as young as 11.

He faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility for parole for at least 25 years.

Williams was expressionless and dressed in a somber dark suit. He kept his head down during the 40 minutes it took to read all the charges.

Until his double life came to light with his arrest earlier this year, Williams was the commander of Canada’s largest Air Force base and served as a pilot for some of the country’s top leaders and for the queen during a 2005 visit.

The charges against the elite pilot—a tall, fit figure who did his job with quiet diligence and appeared to be in a stable marriage—shocked the country and its military with the possibility of a serial killer in its officer corps.

“The tragic events surrounding Col Russell Williams stunned all Canadians and none more so than the members of the Canadian Forces. Today’s guilty plea is the first step in a healing process that will no doubt take many years,” said Gen Walt Natynczyk, chief of the defense staff and a Canadian Forces spokesman.

Among other things, Williams pleaded guilty to murdering Jessica Lloyd, 27, whose body was found in February, and Marie Comeau, a 38-year-old corporal under his command who was found dead in her home last November. Both women were asphyxiated.

Williams also pleaded guilty to attacking two other women during separate home invasions in the Tweed, Ontario, area in 2009. One of the women, a 21-year-old single mother, said she was tied up, blindfolded, stripped and held captive for more than two hours while he forced her into sexual acts and photographed her.

Prosecutors said Williams targeted girls and women in their teens and 20s and often photographed himself in their underwear, which he then stole and catalogued at home.

At the sentencing hearing following his guilty plea, prosecutors warned the court they would be presenting evidence that was “extremely disturbing.” Prosecutor Lee Burgess said many of the facts would be difficult for his victims to hear, but it was “important to have a full account of the crimes.”

Burgess began by presenting photos of Williams wearing a 12-year-old girl’s cartoon-decorated underwear.

Many of the pictures showed a serious-looking Williams masturbating in or with the stolen lingerie. In one picture, he appears to be wearing his military uniform with his trousers dropped to expose pink panties.

Stunned onlookers in the courtroom wept. Jessica Lloyd’s mother, Roxanne Lloyd, clutched a framed photo of her daughter and wiped away tears.

Authorities said Williams carefully catalogued the photos of himself with time and date stamps on hard drives in his Ottawa home. Some of the photos were panoramic shots of the victims’ bedrooms. He kept the underwear in bags and boxes in his home and would sometimes burn them if he ran out of space.

Prosecutors also said Williams videotaped the assaults and murders.

Authorities said Williams came to the attention of investigators during a police roadblock a few days after Lloyd was reported missing. Tire tracks from his vehicle matched the ones they were looking for.

“He’s just a very twisted individual. There’s no two ways about it,” retired Lt. Gen. Angus Watt, who once promoted Williams, said earlier this year. He was able to lead an elaborate double life and was able to keep it successfully concealed. This was the act of a depraved individual and really has no reflection on the men and women of the Canadian Forces.”

Williams, a 23-year military veteran, has never been in combat but has been stationed across Canada and internationally, including a stint in 2006 as commanding officer of Camp Mirage, the secretive Canadian Forces base widely reported to be near Dubai.

He was photographed in January with Canada’s defense chief and its top general during an inspection of a Canadian aircraft on its way to support relief efforts in earthquake-stricken Haiti. Williams killed his second victim just over a week later.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


sourpuss at 07:50 AM JST - 19th October

gotta love canadian law. he kills and rapes and is still eligible for parole. sick.

limboinjapan at 08:20 AM JST - 19th October

sourpuss:"gotta love canadian law. he kills and rapes and is still eligible for parole. sick."

The article is a little misleading, yes in theory he could be illegible for parole but new laws enacted in recent years have made that possibility for this sort of offender to be kept in jail indefinitely (though some bleeding heart groups have been trying to challenge these laws in court but thankfully have failed up to now)

The title is a little misleading seeing he was exposed months ago and this is just the final faze of this tragedy.

lovejapan21 at 09:35 AM JST - 19th October

is it Dexter??

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-10-18 22:21:55

Mr. Attaran really nails what is going on in Ottawa, the other guests try to back peddle; but it is real.



Veterans Affairs had passed around thousands of pages of confidential medical records[/size]

Source: Radio Canada: The Currernt (
Author: Anna Maria Tremonti
Date: 2010.10.15


Veterans Affairs Leak

Last week Canada's Privacy Commissioner reported that officials at and financial statements. They were seen by mid-level managers all the way up to the minister. They belonged to Sean Bruyea, a Canadian veteran and a vocal critic of the department. And he told us on The Current that he believes the goal was to use the information to discredit him and he alleges much worse.

The privacy commissioner found the actions of public officials alarming. Sean Bruyea found them unconscionable. But it is their inaction that troubles Amir Attaran. He's a law professor at the University of Ottawa. And he's especially concerned about the fact that this behaviour went on for years, reportedly involving hundreds of bureaucrats and that not a word of it was leaked to the public - by anyone. Amir Attaran was in Ottawa. And Ralph Heintzman is a Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and Senior Fellow at Massey College at the University of Toronto.

Listen to Radio Program:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-10-29 12:47:19

I'm certainly not clear, as to the distinction between the 'common good' and 'business interest' and which elected officials really represent ? The political balancing act would seem to me to serve neither very well.




Source: Whitehorse Daily Star (
Author: Chuck Tobin
Date: 2010.10.28

Photo by Whitehorse Star
Pictured Above: LARRY BAGNELL

The message has been delivered, says Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell.

Bagnell said Bill C-300 may have been defeated Wednesday evening, but he insists the fiery debate in recent days has impressed upon Canadian mining companies the need to work responsibly while conducting business in developing countries overseas.

“It was a message for those few rogue companies that are hurting the industry, who are hurting the Yukon mining industry, who are giving them a bad name,” said Bagnell, who voted in favour of C-300.

The private member’s bill first introduced in early 2009 by Liberal John McKay was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 140-134, with the ruling Conservatives leading the opposition to the proposed legislation.

The intent of the C-300 was to force the federal government to investigate allegations of human rights abuses or substandard environmental practices by Canadian mining and oil and gas companies receiving federal financial assistance to work overseas. It compelled Ottawa to cut off funding where there were findings of guilt.

MiningWatch Canada spokeswoman Catherine Coumans said this morning she has never seen industry respond with such a furious lobby against a piece of legislation.

“They pulled out all the stops,” she said, adding that she too feels as Bagnell does: the legislation may have been defeated, but the message has been driven home.

Carl Schulze, president of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, said the industry lobby was so intense because C-300 opened the door for anybody to go head hunting with absolutely no grounds.

Companies that hold their corporate responsibilities in the highest regard could have been torpedoed by unsubstantiated allegations, he said.

Schulze said in a world where companies depend on the investment community, even a suggestion of impropriety can be devastating to a corporate image.

Bill C-300, the chamber president insisted earlier this week, could have prompted companies to relocate to another country, and take their jobs with them.

Besides, there are government and private-sector mechanisms in place already to ensure Canadian companies live up to their social responsibilities, he said.

Bagnell insisted Bill C-300 would not have been necessary had Prime Minister Stephen Harper implemented recommendations agreed to in 2007 during round table discussions regarding corporate social responsibility.

The recommendations, he said, were agreed to by representatives of the federal government, industry and non-government organizations.

Key among them was the creation of an independent ombudsman to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Canadian companies receiving assistance from Export Development Canada, Bagnell said.

He said the federal government announced this week it is beginning to implement a mechanism to ensure companies receiving federal assistance are operating responsibly.

The only shortfall, said the Yukon’s MP, is that companies can only be investigated if they agree to participate.

Bagnell emphasized the vast majority of mining companies have a solid track record when it comes to their social responsibilities.

But a few bad apples shouldn’t be allowed to spoil the whole bunch, he suggested.

Export Development Canada provides Canadian companies working overseas with loans, loan guarantees and insurance.

EDC spokesman Phil Taylor explained today that in 2009, for instance, the federal Crown corporation loaned mining companies $1.3 billion in financial capital. There are no grants, and the Export Development Canada is a self-sustaining commercial entity which does not receive federal government funding, he said.

In 2009, mining companies received $7.3 billion in insurance, either to cover political risk or the potential loss of revenue from foreign companies that don’t want to pay their bills, he explained.

Absent from yesterday’s vote were 13 Liberals, and Bagnell said he accepts there may have been those who didn’t show up because they didn’t want to vote against the majority of their caucus.

The MiningWatch spokeswoman said she knows there were at least four MPs who didn’t show up for that very reason, and maybe as many as seven.

Coumans said both the NDP and the Bloc assured their full support for Bill C-300 from the outset.

The question was always with the Liberals, she said.

Bagnell said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was on the road and couldn’t be there.

Coumans said Ignatieff has always said he doesn’t vote on private member’s bills, though he was there recently to vote against the private motion to defeat the gun legislation. He’s also indicated he has some concerns with Bill C-300, she said.

Coumans said just in the last week the mining lobby has changed its tact from opposing a bill about social responsibilities to attacking legislation that will kill jobs in the mining sector.

And it focused on MPs who come from mining communities, she pointed out.

This week, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro of Peterbourgh, Ont. sent out a press release criticizing Bagnell for supporting a bill that would kill jobs in the Yukon.

Coumans acknowledged that MiningWatch Canada did have its own lobby effort, but she insisted it did have the resources to come anywhere close to the lobby put forward by industry.

The organization did send out an alert to Amnesty International three hours before Wednesday’s vote asking them to have its membership contact a list of nine Liberal and ask for their support for Bill C-300. Bagnell was on the list.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-10-29 13:26:32

There is a great lesson to learn from Norway. Nice to see this kind of news story.




Date: 2010.10.28

Martin Norman and Ragnhild Elisabeth Waagaard get set for a boat ride on the Slave River.

Two Norwegian environmentalists who flew over the Alberta oilsands last week say they were staggered by the sheer size of the development and amazed that Canada is willing to sell its resources to multi-national companies so cheaply.
Martin Norman of Greenpeace and Ragnhild Elisabeth Waagaard of World Wildlife Fund Norway visited Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta last week after a fact-finding trip to the oilsands on behalf of Norwegian investors.

While neither of them minced words when it came to their own thoughts on oilsands development, calling it risky, unregulated and extremely energy-intensive, they said the most striking part about the industry is the ease with which Canadian governments give away resources to multi-national companies.

"It seems like the Canadian government is giving away the resource to multinational companies at a cost exponential to future generations," Norman said. "That happens involuntarily in third-world countries, but it's strange to see a country like Canada give away their natural resources like this."[Fritz]So did ya read this; leadership of Canada !

As a better way of doing business, they cite Norway's off-shore oil drilling that started in the 1970s, where the government forced industry to pay upwards of 75 per cent royalties on all oil extracted and then put that money into Norway's heritage fund, which is now worth over $400 billion.

Their trip follows months of international pressure on Norway's state-owned oil company, StatOil, for its recent investments in Alberta's oilsands region.

"Since the StatOil AGM (in May) the tar sands has been used in Norway as the poster child of what we do not want," Norman said. "In 2008 hardly anybody knew about the tar sands, but now every day in the media somebody is writing about the issue."

The StatOil AGM also featured a speech to oil executives by former Smith's Landing First Nation chief Francois Paulette that Waagaard called "historic."

"You could see a lot of people were uncomfortable during that speech," Waagaard said from Paulette's kitchen in Fort Fitzgerald.

Now the two Norwegians are facilitating trips to Alberta for Norwegian investors to tour the oilsands, meet with industry executives and downstream communities, and get the facts for themselves.

Considering the Norwegian government owns two-thirds of StatOil, and StatOil now has four leases around Fort McMurray with considerations for oilsands facilities on each, Norman and Waagaard believe it is essential for their compatriots to see for themselves what the development entails.

"This is a Canadian issue, and Canada has to decide what road to take, but we as Norwegians have to decide whether to take that path with Canada or not," Norman said.

Meanwhile they argue that the world has to come to grips with getting away from oil.

"You have to change to renewables," Waagaard said. "You can wait ten or 50 years, but you'll have to do it. You can either choose to do it early, or wait and you might have six degrees of warming and it will be difficult to survive the changes on this planet."

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2010-12-11 21:57:14

No corruption in, La belle 'Provenance' ..... say it's not so ...



Source: The Globe and Mail (
Date: 2010.12.10


The Canada Revenue Agency has fired six employees in Montreal and suspended three others without pay as part of a growing scandal into allegations that the tax-collection agency was infiltrated by rogue personnel.

The controversy goes back to 2007, when information from a police investigation into the Mafia led the CRA to start looking into the activities of some of its employees. The government is releasing little information on the situation, in which millions of dollars in tax revenue are at stake.

The CRA first revealed allegations of infiltration last year when it fired two people who are accused of interfering in tax audits of construction companies.

This week, two construction companies pleaded guilty to committing $4-million in tax fraud by claiming non-deductible expenses such as the construction of a luxury yacht and jewellery purchases. The firms also submitted fake invoices from two shell companies that had benefited from inside help at the CRA, according to CRA and RCMP search warrants.

On Friday, the CRA revealed the growing scope of the review into the activities of its office in Montreal, suggesting that the matter goes beyond the construction industry.

“Since December 31, 2008, the Canada Revenue Agency has terminated the employment of six employees and suspended three employees without pay at the Montreal Tax Services Office for a variety of misconducts,” said Erin Filliter, a spokeswoman for Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield.

“Any misconduct by CRA employees as alleged in these cases will not be tolerated. Our government is supportive of this investigation and will ensure that the CRA co-operates with all investigations,” she said.

A federal source added the number of people involved in the alleged fraud might yet be higher, as investigators are also concerned about the activities of people who have retired from the CRA.

The controversy is fuelling calls for a public inquiry into the construction industry in Quebec. Premier Jean Charest has refused, saying it is up to police and other authorities to punish anyone involved in wrongdoing. But critics are charging that this week’s guilty pleas by the construction firms prove that court cases won’t help the public understand how the wrongdoing occurred or who actually benefited.

In the House of Commons on Friday, the Bloc Québécois said the recently exposed tax-evasion scheme was designed to provide large amounts of cash “to pay the personal expenses” of the administrators of the two construction firms that pleaded guilty, Simard-Beaudry Construction and Louisbourg Construction.

“Now that it has gone after the companies that belong to [construction magnate] Tony Accurso, will the Canada Revenue Agency start looking into those who benefited from this money?” Bloc MP Diane Bourgeois asked in the House.

Jacques Gourde, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of National Revenue, said that CRA employees must abide by a strict code of conduct.

“Our government is committed to protecting its fiscal revenues from those who do not want to respect their obligations,” Mr. Gourde said.

The CRA has said that between 2005 and 2007, three of Mr. Accurso's companies “funnelled close to $4.5-million” to two shell companies that issued fake invoices. Earlier this year, the CRA laid tax-evasion charges against Frank Bruno, owner of construction firm B.T. Céramique, accusing him of providing the fake invoices.

Court documents allege that when tax auditors started closing in on Mr. Bruno, one of his cousins, who worked for the CRA, proposed a “plan of action” to keep them at bay. According to the documents, Mr. Bruno opened a bank account containing $1.7-million in 2006 in the Bahamas with two CRA employees, including his cousin Adriano Furgiuele.

In addition, court documents filed earlier this year show the CRA rejected more than $1-million in research and development tax credits that Simard-Beaudry and Louisbourg claimed in previous years. A search warrant said that Mr. Furgiuele’s brother Marcello was involved in the alleged scheme as the head of the Delvex Consulting Group.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-01-02 12:45:43

Lets see how our flagship National Health Care and Public Education get eviscerated in 2011, as the rhetoric sets the stage for the "The True North strong and free!"; and money trumps all else.



PS: I wonder how long those Yankee 'green backs' will remain discounted .... :-X

Source: Yorkton This Week (
Author: Julian Beltrame, The Canadian Press
Date: 2011.01.02

[img] CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Baker

OTTAWA - It may come off as heresy, but Canada is no longer leading the industrialized world out of the recession — it may be in the process of becoming an economic laggard.

A fresh analysis from economist Jim Stanford of the Canadian Auto Workers paints a far different picture of the economy from what politicians, and indeed some private sector economists, have been telling Canadians for most of the past year.

Rather than No. 1 with a bullet among the G7, Canada could have fallen as far as sixth in recent growth.

That is Stanford's conclusion after comparing average gross domestic product gains in the last two recorded quarters — the second and third of 2010, which encompasses six months from April to September.

Canada averaged a 1.7 per cent advance during the period, beating out Italy's 1.5, but below every other country in the G7. Germany tops the list with an impressive 6.1 per cent in growth.

It's even worse if the calculation is on a per capita basis — a truer measure of economic strength. By that scale, Canada is dead last with a 0.9 per cent gain per person.

"We should stop patting ourselves in the back," says Stanford. "Yes we've had a couple of decent quarters, at the end of 2009 and in the beginning of 2010, but now we're running below capacity."

Stanford also tries to shatter another "myth" of the recovery — that Canada's labour markets have performed superbly, recovering all the jobs lost during the recession, and then some.

It's one thing for Germany to boast that it has recovered all the lost jobs, he explains, since Germany has a stable population. In Canada, where the working-age population is rising by about 1.5 per cent a year, the economy must create 300,000 jobs just to keep up.

"Less than one-fifth of the damage done to Canada's labour market by the recession has been repaired," he says.

Stanford agrees that some of the recent disappointment is due to timing factors. Because Canada's recovery got off the blocks first, it is natural that it would have hit a speed wall sooner.

As well Canada did not suffer as deep a recession as others, so needs less growth to return to pre-recession levels, and unlike many in the G7, it can boast a sound banking system and healthy government accounts that will pay dividends going forward.

But that explains why the economy is no longer growing at five per cent, says Stanford, not why it has slowed to one per cent, well below capacity.

IHS Global Insight chief economist Brian Bethune also thinks Canada's recovery has lost momentum and that some of the wounds have been self-inflicted.

The current slowdown reflects that Canada is tethered to the U.S. and can't deviate for long, he says.

But it also reflects policy differences. While the U.S. government and central bank continues to stimulate the economy, Canada's policy-makers are withdrawing stimulus.

"There's a lot of nervous Nellyism in Canada," he says. "We have the potential to grow faster, but if we continue to overworry about too many things, first inflation and now household debt, it's not going to happen. It's like the Bank of Canada is looking for a rationale for tightening."

Stanford says Canadian governments need to be careful about withdrawing stimulus in 2011 since the corporate sector has not shown itself capable of sustaining the recovery.

But a bigger underlying concern, he says, is the East-West economic divide that is taking form in Canada. Western oil brings wealth into the country, but it also causes the dollar to soar and depress exports of manufactured goods produced in Ontario and Quebec.

"We've got too many eggs in the resource basket," he says. "Alberta is getting a boost from that, but the side effects in terms of a higher dollar, can actually crowd out growth in the rest of the country."

Most forecasters see Canada's lagging growth continuing throughout this year, hovering just above two per cent, below expectations for the U.S.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-01-04 15:32:30

Interestingly in small town Canada most municipal dumps have a grave yard for computers to be recycled, but in the major cities location and timing make it difficult to coordinate anything but a single box at the curb.



Who will rid me of these obsolete PCs?[/size]

Source: The Register (http://)
Author: Trevor Pott
Date: 2010.01.04

Reuse it or lose it

I never would have believed that getting rid of one’s old computer gear could be the harder side of upgrades – until early last year when I bought a set of Wyse thin clients to replace an aging and mismatched desktop fleet.

I briefly toyed with the idea of making some form of Franken-Beowulf-cluster out of the 40 or so working systems now surplus to requirements, but came to the conclusion that I could probably replace the entire thing with a single modern graphics card. I cherry picked the best systems – those with two cores and hardware assisted virtualisation – as they might come in handy as emergency test-bed capacity. I then set about seeing what I could do about the rest.

In Canada, I cannot simply tip electronics into the bin. I could just pack them all into my car and bring them down to the nearest eco-station, excepting that the eco-station and I tend to have fairly continual scheduling conflicts.

With so many old PCs lying around, I wanted to see if I could fix up some into systems the staff could use. Some of the folk around here have kids; second PC for the home running Ubuntu might be a welcome addition. I figured I could put some extra hours in after work and all would be well. I was wrong.

Canadian tax law is the first hurdle - giving away a decommissioned PC is considered to be a “taxable benefit” . This means determining the “current market value” of the beastie in question and notifying the beancounters such that they could perform some dark rituals and incomprehensible accounting voodoo. This was a no-go.

The next option is to sell the computers to staff members. If I invoice the computers at “current market value,” I can sell the computers on to staff without the accounting hocus pocus. The sticking point is that “current market value” isn’t much of a deal for anyone. With the availability of netbooks and the plethora of things for sale on Kijiji, who wants to pay $150 for a Pentium 4?

I talked to a friend of mine – a sysadmin for a local charity – and wondered if wanted any of this gear. If my fellow sysadmin could have made use of these PCs, it would have solved my problem nicely: he would pick them up and take them away while I don’t have to worry about any messy paperwork. (The tax write-off is so negligible as to not be worth the paperwork.)

Unfortunately for me I was not the only sysadmin in the area with this idea. The sysadmin for another local organisation had recently gotten an upgrade and beaten me to offloading his old systems. The only thing my friend was interested in was taking a bag of RAM and a few hard drives.

It’s important to know where you can properly dispose of your electronics. Proper upgrade planning includes disposal of the old gear. Even better is if that old gear can continue to be useful in some capacity to someone else. I will most likely end up donating these straggler PCs to the Electronics Recycling Association of Canada ( For those in the US, there is Computers With Causes. For those in the UK, here is an absolutely staggering list of PC recycling charities. Feel free to mention your favourite charity in the comments section.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Sophia on 2011-01-05 19:34:57

Regarding the topic of this thread: wouldn't it be more appropriate to say that Canada clubs itself in the head? It's not like you can actually own a firearm for self-protection or self-icide in Canada :-P

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-01-07 17:48:19

[quote author=Ophis link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=75#175141 date=1294274097]
Regarding the topic of this thread: wouldn't it be more appropriate to say that Canada clubs itself in the head? It's not like you can actually own a firearm for self-protection or self-icide in Canada :-P

I was particularly angry with the state of the Canada that day, so the melodrama of the subject line stuck for me.

I have taken all the required courses ($300.00) and intend to write my exam shortly ($70.00) ; that will entitle me to purchase a firearm and ammunition, that I will be then allowed to register in the long gun registry; so when a gun crime is committed in my neighborhood my name will appear to the police and I can be questioned as to what I have done with my long gun lately; mean while all those illegally begotten guns are out there killing folks ... I can when in season try to get my wild turkey, or failing that buy a 'Frozen Butterball' at the super market.

Not bitter or disillusioned

Fritz .... Much!

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Sophia on 2011-01-11 09:36:25

I'm Canadian as well, originally from Montreal, currently residing in Raleigh, NC. I took the classes in Quebec and received my firearm permit without ever shooting a single live round. Hours of classroom discussion about gun safety and regulations with no practical exercise whatsoever.

In contrast, I recently took a gun safety class here in North Carolina. 30 minutes of theory and 3 hours of firearn handling and range practice with a very talented instructor ( .

A night and day experience where the Canadian system simply failed to deliver any kind of knowledge and/or practical benefits. Then again... maybe that's the whole point.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-01-13 09:14:14

I guess this is what happens when you consume too much Caffeine along with large quantities of Beer.

Cheers ::)


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-01-17 21:26:08

I guess we should hang on; It looks like the banks are covering their asses getting ready in case there is yet another downturn.



First time home buyers hit again [/size]

Source: Financial Post (
Author: Garry Marr
Date: 2011.01.17


It’s the first-time home buyer who has once again felt the pinch of new mortgage rules which will restrict the amount consumers can borrow to buy a home.

“It’s a big thing reducing that amortization from 35 to 30,” said Calgary mortgage broker Mark Herman of Mortgage Alliance about the new rules introduced by Ottawa which will go into effect in 60 days.

Amortization lengths were as long as 40 years in 2008 before the government first cracked down. They had been at 25 years for decades before this housing boom.

Mr. Herman, who says about 85% of his clients use the 35-year amortization, calculates that based on a five-year fixed rate of 3.99% someone making $50,000 a year with a $1,200 annual property tax bill and $100 monthly heating bill will soon just qualify for a $238,620 mortgage compared to the $257,451 they would qualify for now.

“It you are first-time home buyer you are going to qualify for 8% less house,” he says. “That 18 grand makes a big difference. It can be the difference between a great place or even no place.”

The government moves, which also include restrictions on home equity line of credit and refinancing, are expected to give the housing market an immediate short-term boost as consumer scramble to borrow ahead of a March 18 deadline for the change.

“You got a boost when the changes are introduced and then you get a lull afterwards,” said Pascal Gauthier, a senior economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank.

He suggests the changes to amortization will probably affect about 20,000 sales, adding the deals may still get done but there will be an impact. “They might look for a little bit less [house],” says Mr. Gauthier, “From our perspective it doesn’t change things a whole lot. At the margin, it will weaken the market for first timers.”

Another of the substantive changes which would allow consumers to refinance up to 85% of their home, down from 90%, will probably have a bigger impact on the condominium market, said Phil Soper, chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

“The group hit most dramatically by these changes is the casual investor. These changes and the ones a year earlier have taken a lot of the potential out of the buy and flip,” said Mr. Soper, referring to rules changes in 2010 which forced condominium investors to have a minimum 20% down payment.

The chief executive says some people have been using home refinancing rules to get equity out their principle residence for the purpose of buying second homes. “This doesn’t put the brakes on too dramatically,” said Mr. Soper.

The third element of the changes which would eliminate government insurance on non-amortizing home equity lines of credit should only affect a small segment of consumers, said Vince Gaetano, a principal with Monster Mortgage.

“There were not that many people doing it and if they were doing it was costing them a lot of money,” says Mr. Gaetano, who says the rates on HELOCs where traditionally higher than a conventional mortgage.

He applauded the new rules changes because he believes too many people on the fringe have been entering the housing market without understanding the true cost of home ownership.

“There is a big difference between renting and home ownership and the cost associated with it. It’s unfair to put a young couple behind the eight-ball and scrambling to make due after all the cost associated with a home are occurred,” said Vince Gaetano. “Maybe this doesn’t take people out of the market but just makes them buy something more affordable.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-01-19 19:56:36

[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=75#175173 date=1295317568]
I guess we should hang on; It looks like the banks are covering their asses getting ready in case there is yet another downturn.



First time home buyers hit again [/size]

Source: Financial Post (
Author: Garry Marr
Date: 2011.01.17 [/quote]

I liked this reader's response to the story so did many others.

Harper out wrote: Posted 2011/01/17
at 6:26 AM ET

Read more:

In the first half of 2008, as the subprime mortgage crisis was exploding in the United States, a contagion of U.S.-style lending practices quietly crossed the border and infected Canada's previously prudent mortgage regime.

New mortgage borrowers signed up for an estimated $56-billion of risky 40-year mortgages, more than half of the total new mortgages approved by banks, trust companies and other lenders during that time, according to banking and insurance sources. Those sources estimated that 10 per cent of the mortgages, worth about $10-billion, were taken out with no money down.

The mushrooming of a Canadian version of subprime mortgages has gone largely unnoticed. The Conservative government finally banned the practice last summer, after repeated warnings from frustrated senior officials and bankers that the country's financial system was being exposed to far too much risk as the housing market weakened.

Just yesterday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty repeated the mantra that the government acted early to get rid of risky mortgages. What he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper do not explain, however, is that the expansion of zero-down, 40-year mortgages began with measures contained in the first Conservative budget in May of 2006.

Read more:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-02-16 15:13:51

Well now lets see: sell all our mineral resources to China; all our oil, natural gas and water to United States; outsource all our manufacturing; and hand our financial control over to England, which is tanking.

Well it use to be lumber and beaver pelts, we've come a long way baby.




Source: New Glasgow News (
Author: Canadian press
Date: 2011.02.16


TORONTO - Ontario's finance minister says there's "clear angst" on Bay Street and Main Street about a proposed merger between the Toronto and London Stock Exchanges.

Dwight Duncan says the deal, which is up for federal review, has raised a lot of concerns from people -- even those he thought would have embraced the move.

Duncan says he's spoken to a number of people on Bay Street who are "clearly anxious" about the merger.

Ontario has the power to block the deal, but Duncan won't say whether the Liberal government is prepared to use it.

Duncan says he's not ruling anything in or out until he gathers more information about what impact the deal may have on Canada's financial industry, which is centred in Toronto.

The minister says he'll be meeting soon with federal Industry Minister Tony Clement to talk about the proposed merger.

Four provinces — Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta — have regulators that may want to hold their own reviews.

Ontario and Quebec have already indicated they plan to do so.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-02-17 13:01:55

I've never understood which part of never connect your Intranet to the Internet the Federal Boffins don't get; and the IT community has been pointing this out for decades. Apparantly this is believed to be enabled through PDF files the rumour says.




Source: Vancouver Sun (
Author: Bradley Bouzane
Date: 2011.02.17


OTTAWA — Financial records were among the targets of international hackers who infiltrated the computer systems of some federal government departments, but Treasury Board President Stockwell Day says the damage was limited.

Day said the security breach — which originated in China and forced both the Treasury Board and Finance Department to make adjustments to employees' online access while investigators determined the scope of the breach — was a strong one, but not the worst seen by the government.

"I wouldn't say it's the most aggressive (attack), but it was a significant one," Day said Thursday in Ottawa.

"They were going after financial records. Our alarm systems . . . went off in time and we were able to shut things down and protect information, but it shows we have to be constantly vigilant."

The attacks were believed to have started more than a month ago and Day said similar attacks are common for all governments and will likely happen again.

Day could not specify Thursday how long the hackers' window of opportunity was open to access government information, but said the breach will not have any impact on the upcoming federal budget.

"It slows down your internal operations for a while because we had to immediately shut down certain parts of the network . . . but those are all in the process of being reopened and the budget is on track," he said.

He said steady advancements by cyber attackers force authorities to stay on their toes to combat unauthorized network access that could put confidential information into the wrong hands.

"We have every reason to think attempts like this (will) continue — it's something all governments are subjected to," Day said following an address to the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.

"As technology increases, the hackers become more rigorous and more robust and it just means we have to continue to make sure our defences are in place."

The Communications Security Establishment of Canada, the country's electronic intelligence agency, is reportedly investigating the security breach.


Source: Toronto Star (
Author: The Canadian Press
Date: 2011.02.17

OTTAWA—An attack on federal government computer networks which has left employees in key departments without Internet access is a reflection of Ottawa's lack of attention to cyber security, says a global security expert.

A government spokesman confirmed late Wednesday that there has been an “unauthorized attempt” to access computer networks at Canada's Treasury Board.

Jay Denney, a spokesman for Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, said security officials have taken action against the threat in line with the government's security policy.

“There are no indications that any data relating to Canadians was compromised by this unauthorized attempt,” said Denney.

Experts believe similar attacks have been happening for years.

“This is probably more of a significant wake-up moment than anything else,” said Rafal Rohozinski, a senior scholar with the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.

“If they had looked three years ago they probably would have seen similar kinds of breaches. It’s just that now they’re a lot more aware of it, and they’re starting to look for it, and they’re finding it.”

Rohozinski said between 10 and 12 per cent of all computers in Canada — including those belonging to governments, businesses and individuals — are infected at any given time.

“That’s a fairly significant number. Your computer and mine being infected at home may mean that we may lose some pictures, a few documents and emails.”

“But when it happens within government departments, obviously it becomes a lot more serious.”

He said the latest attack is a reflection of the lack of attention that the government has given to cyber security for a long time.

“When you look at the U.K. government, for example, spending or committing 600 million pounds (C$951 million) to cyber security last year, at a time of real cutbacks across governments, and the Canadian government only putting forward $90 million — there’s a really big difference ... in terms of how seriously the problem is being seen.”

Denney confirmed that employee access to the Internet has been limited at the Treasury Board for the time being, but said the government “has plans in place to prevent, minimize and address the impacts of cyber threats.”

Meanwhile, media reports said the attacks extended to the Finance Department, although a department spokesman referred all questions to the Treasury Board.

The reports cited sources saying the attacks have been traced to computer servers in China.

The reports said attackers infiltrated highly classified documents on computer systems as part of a scheme to steal key passwords that unlock entire government data systems.

Security experts have been warning Ottawa that its computer networks are vulnerable.

A team of researchers from the University of Toronto and Ottawa-based SecDev Group released a report in April 2010, documenting a complex cyber espionage system of Chinese hackers.

They warned the government must take urgent action on cyberspace security, or risk becoming the next victim of a targeted attack by hackers using social media like Twitter to glean secret government or corporate information.

Rohozinski, who is the CEO of SecDev Group, said cyber security is complex and it's difficult for politicians to ascertain the level of risk.

“It’s not a policy issue that's as easy to understand as child poverty, or Northern communities, or building a road.”

“Committing funds to it is considerable because the expertise is hard to source, hard to find, and the scale of the problem could be massive.”

The test now, he said, is what the government will do to prevent it from happening again.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-02-17 13:09:29

So sad





Source: The (
Author: Editorial
Date: 2011.02.17

Of all the wounds the federal Conservatives have suffered during their five years in government, some of the deepest and most painful are self-inflicted. And the latest, and perhaps unkindest, cut of all into their credibility has come from International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda.

Through mismanagement and her own dubious conduct, Oda has turned a relatively minor funding decision affecting a group most Canadians have never heard of into a national controversy and huge embarrassment for the government.

Today many fair-minded Canadians who examine the facts will conclude this cabinet minister wrongly doctored a document and deliberately misled Parliament as well as the public. Today, many fair-minded — and non-partisan — Canadians will believe she must resign from cabinet. What has Oda to say?

In November 2009, the multi-faith foreign aid group KAIROS learned the Conservative government was pulling the plug on federal funding that had been granted for years. In this case, the government denied KAIROS $7 million.

Had Oda’s department offered a full and frank explanation of why the funding was cut when an explanation was first sought, the matter probably would have died. To be sure, members of many Christian churches that are part of KAIROS would have grumbled. Governments, however, generally don’t drop in the polls because of a single, $7-million decision.

But Oda and her department were neither frank nor accurate in explaining why the decision was made. Far from it.

Last March, Jim Abbott, Oda’s parliamentary secretary, told the House of Commons that the Canadian International Development Agency had decided that KAIROS “did not meet the agency’s current priorities” and should be denied federal funding. Seven months later, Oda herself gave the Commons the impression that it was the development agency that cancelled KAIROS’ support. And, in fact, there was a document that rejected the funding and bore not only Oda’s signature but those of two senior development agency officials.

Canadians now know such explanations and impressions, so carefully nurtured by Oda and her department, were untrue. In reality, the Canadian International Development Agency approved funding for KAIROS. In reality, the document signed by the two development agency officials originally gave the go-ahead for the $7-million grant. But the document was altered to give a completely false impression of their intention after someone crudely inserted the word “not” into it.

Last December, Oda appeared before a Commons committee and accepted responsibility for the funding cut. But when it came to the doctored document, Oda denied doing the doctoring or knowing who “wrote the not.” This week, Oda admitted: “The ‘not’ was inserted at my direction.”

Perhaps the phoney excuses, the confusion, the doctored document and the fingers of blame pointing at the development agency are the result of a badly run department. Perhaps chaos has engulfed Oda’s fiefdom and the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. That would be bad enough.

But many Canadians will reasonably wonder whether Oda spun an elaborate web of misimpressions to deflect criticism for a problematic decision from herself onto innocent public officials. A week ago, House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken called the document tampering “very troubling.” So is this whole affair which need not have happened but now reflects badly on the entire Stephen Harper government.

The opposition parties are calling for Oda’s resignation. It is now incumbent on the minister to explain her actions thoroughly and completely, and prove why she should not step down.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-03-29 14:09:04

Well 'dropping the writ' has become a Canadian pass time. IN 5 weeks we will yet again be voting in a federal election.

1- How are we dealing with the Baby Boomers, which begin turning 65 this year ?
2- Will we stop selling off all our natural resources ?
3- When do we down size government and pay off the debt ? ; not just the short fall in the payments.
4- Are we going to review the excessive cost of bilingualism ?
5- Fragging for Natural gas and Tar sands need to be discussed nationally and the cost associated to the tax payers.

I haven't seen these on any political platform, by any party.



Election, 2011: They're off! - Message to ROC got through[/size]

Source: The Montreal Gazzette (
Author: Nigel Spencer
Date: 2011.03.28


Why is Josée Legault lamenting the growing divide between the rest of Canada and Quebec? Crocodile tears? Of course, and the reason is obvious.

For 35 years, Quebec has been telling the ROC ( to give up on the country and get lost. Well, guess what? They finally got the hint. They know when they're not wanted. The technique of the self-fulfilling prophecy has worked just fine. Legault has what she wanted: Despite two referendums, Quebec has gained more sovereignty by the back door than the earliest Péquistes ever dreamed of.

While the rest of the world (including states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and others) is forging unity to face down regressive governments, Canada cannot even mount a countrywide campaign any more, because the Bloc, along with other "progressives," would never hear of it.

The days of the Upper and Lower Canadian patriots expressing solidarity and dividing the enemy are far behind us.

Nigel Spencer


Read more:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-03-29 14:18:43

There is an atomic bomb power plant in Deep River .... earth quake ... die...die... for your lives we are all going to die ..... !!!!!! .... oh maybe I'm over 'reacting' ..... WTF[/size]

The media seems to be a biased write off .... me thinks ! [:-]wacko[/:-]


Source: CTV News (
Author: ctv news
Date: 2011.03.29


A small earthquake was reported just north of Deep River, Ont. Tuesday.

The 3.5-magnitude quake happened at 12:04 p.m. about 66 kilometres northeast of Deep River, according to Earthquakes Canada.

Deep River is just 10 minutes from Chalk River, where the AECL nuclear plant is located. The small eastern Ontario town is about two hours northwest of Ottawa.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-04-07 18:31:23

I wonder how Harper is going to muzzle these brave scientists stating thier views. Will it get air play during the election ?




Date: 2011.04.06

[img] of 2 C is expected to create an ice-free Arctic in the summer months, push up to one-third of all species to extinction and speed up melting of Greenland ice sheet. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Global temperature increases set to exceed "the 2 C warming target set to avoid dangerous climate change"

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his international colleagues have not gone far enough to avoid “dangerous” climate change, according to an Environment Canada report that could cause problems for the Conservatives on the campaign trail.

The study, published this week in a leading science journal, suggests that global greenhouse gas emissions “must ramp down to zero immediately” to avoid a 2 C rise in the planetary temperature this century. Allowing temperatures to climb more than 2 C could wipe out thousands of species, melt Arctic ice and trigger a rise in sea level of several metres.

Given the huge reductions required, the study warns that “it is unlikely that warming can be limited to the 2 C target agreed to in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.”

The Environment Canada scientists were not available for interviews Wednesday.

Climatologist Andrew Weaver, at the University of Victoria, said the new report highlights the “hypocrisy” of the Harper government’s approach to climate change.

The Conservatives agreed internationally to take steps to help keep warming below the 2 C threshold, but the government continues to promote expanded use and export of Canadian oil and coal that are driving up emissions.

“If we want to deal with this problem, we have to start transforming our energy systems now,” said Weaver. “Not yesterday, not tomorrow, now. That means we should be weaning ourselves from our dependency on oil, not trying to expand it as fast a possible.”

Previous research also concluded that emissions must be slashed to zero to avoid a 2 C rise in global temperature by 2100 but Weaver said it is significant to have Environment Canada’s top climate team now come to same conclusion. Researchers say greenhouse gas emissions must be eliminated now to avoid future warming because the emissions build up and linger in the atmosphere for decades.

The Environment Canada team ran a sophisticated computer model for the study that will be used as part the next assessment report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due out in 2014.

The upgraded Earth system model takes into account carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, aerosols, land use change, and the flow of carbon between the atmosphere and the oceans and land surfaces. The model enables researchers to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions reductions required to meet different levels of global warming.

The Environment Canada study found that, even under the lowest emissions scenario analyzed, the global temperature increase would exceed “the 2 C warming target set to avoid dangerous climate change by the 2009 UN Copenhagen Accord.”

“The results of this study suggest that limiting warming to roughly 2 C by the end of this century is unlikely since it requires an immediate ramp down of emissions followed by ongoing carbon sequestration in the second half of this century,” says the report of the Environment Canada team led by Gregory Flato, manager of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria.

The American Geophysical Union, which published the study in the current issue of the Geophysical Research Letters, sent out a media release this week highlighting the Environment Canada report under the headline: “New study says 2 C warming may be unavoidable by 2100.”

Limiting warming to 2 C globally is widely seen as key to avoiding some of the far-reaching planetary impacts of climate change. It sounds like a modest increase but scientists say global warming of 2 C will see temperatures rise much higher in some regions — including the Arctic, which can expect to be 7 to 8 C hotter.

Warming of 2 C is expected to create an ice-free Arctic in the summer months, push up to one-third of all species to extinction and speed up melting of Greenland ice sheets, which could raise sea levels several metres over coming centuries.

“You don’t want to pass that threshold,” says Weaver.

He said he would like Canadians and their politicians to have a frank discussion about the climate realities facing the planet and the need to stop burning carbon-based fossil fuels. “We can’t wait around for this to be dealt with,” says Weaver. “We have to deal with it now.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-04-16 14:51:52

Least we Forget


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-04-20 23:13:16

Well the caliber of Canadian Political 'Camp-paining', sure ain't what it use to be.



Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-02 10:17:31

Tomorrow... what will tomorrow bring ?




Source: Cornwall Free News (
Author: Jamie Gilcig
Date: 2011.05.02


Cornwall ON – May Day, May 1st has been associated with organized labour for an awfully long time. During WW2 the Nazi’s tried to make it their day to pull from the Communists who were for so long synonymous with organized labour around the world.

On May 1st the US announced that it had shot and killed Osama Bin Laden as reported world wide.

It’s sucking the air out of most other headlines world wide today including our election here in Canada.

From reading various media reports the official spin is that Mr. Bin Laden was finally found after all these years in Pakistan and that US forces zoomed in.

Mr.Bin Laden was offered surrender, refused and was shot and killed with his body being buried at sea after following Muslim traditions.

It’s odd and weird in a sense. Conspiracy theorists are already scribbling all over the internet about it with many interesting summations.

Sadly this news is causing a buzz here in Canada where it’s election day. We here in Canada have a very big choice to make. According to most polls Mr. Harper will not be getting his majority. The polls also have the Orange surge breaking past Quebec and vaulting Mr. Layton into official opposition.

Some ridings of interest; it looks like Thomas Mulcair will have repelled the challenge from former Liberal MP Martin Cauchon and in Saanich it looks like it’s going to be a race to the wire for Green Party leader Elizabeth May. The NDP are doing well in her riding too and splitting the vote to the point where she may fail in her attempt to gain her seat; something that may cause the demise of the party in Canada as their National numbers are lower in the polls. In my riding it looks like the incumbent, Conservative MP Guy Lauzon will benefit from vote splitting and eke his way back in spite of personal and professional scandals, and a lack lustre performance in the campaign and during his last term in the riding.

Mr. Lauzon’s non handling of the bridge crisis has been booed at debates as has his ability to impact the area when it comes to jobs. His campaign lobbying regarding our airport expansion has also been criticized as he’d been near silenced about it prior and not shown any support to municipal efforts for expansion.

Spring is a time for change, and it looks like the Canadian political scene is changing. Personally I hope that this election sends a very loud message to our politicians that our votes do count.

That you can’t just keep selling out Canadian citizens. That putting industry reps into governing agencies isn’t something that’s good for Canada; that Canadians really want better internet service, and respect for what we are trying to do in Canada. We want Medicare, we want balanced budgets, and yes, even surpluses to reduce our debt load. Mostly, we want out votes to count and those we vote for to LISTEN TO US.

I hope that message is heard. I hope that Canadian politicians listen.

And I hope that as many of us go out and vote today, and not get distracted by foreign headlines.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-02 16:39:07

Sigh .....


[size=5][color=red]Canada's internet future at stake in Monday election

Source: The Register (
Author: Trevor Pott
Date: 2011.05.02

The future of the Internet is at stake in Monday's Canadian election.

Candidates representing all major political parties have declared themselves "pro-internet Candidates" by pledging support for an open internet on the grassroots website Openmedia. Only one candidate among the dominant Conservative party has signed. Other parties are more strongly represented, with the NDP having 50 signed candidates; the Greens, 64; and the Liberals, 83.

Openmedia's agitation on digital policy issues gained attention earlier this year when almost half a million Canadians signed an online petition decrying punishingly low bandwidth caps and Usage Based Billing (UBB). The campaign went viral, forcing a climbdown on the issue by Canada's major ISPs. Those ideas, however, have since been revived.

As a response to the massive public outcry, Canada's major political parties made their digital policies clear. The NDP, Liberals, and Greens have taken a populist approach. Universally accessible broadband, net neutrality, copyright reforms, and transparency of the country's telecommunications regulatory body (the CRTC) are all recurring themes.

The Conservative platform differs. The Conservatives have announced no plans to review the transparency of the CRTC. They strongly oppose any and all calls for functional separation (unbundling of incumbents' infrastructure from retail operations) of Canada's telecommunications. Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement considers functional separation "completely unrealistic," citing the telecommunications industry's current momentum towards greater integration, not less.

In conjunction with an overall "tough on crime" platform, Conservative digital policy is strongly focused on digital security. The Conservatives support stronger copyright laws and are opposed to fair-use format shifting. The right to break "digital locks" has become an election issue in at least one contentious riding.

The Conservatives have vowed that should they obtain a majority they will bundle together a series of crime bills – including many digital-policy items – and push through tougher laws within 100 days of election. These laws include a commitment to internet surveillance in the form of three "lawful-access" bills. Several of Canada's privacy commissioners have already expressed deep reservations over the content of these bills.

The lawful-access bills would require Canadian ISPs to purchase and maintain deep packet–inspection equipment. ISPs would be required to disclose personal information – including names, physical addresses, email addresses, and IP identifiers – without court oversight. These bills would create new police powers including data-transmission warrants allowing real-time access to data as well as retention of data for up to 90 days.

This is not the first time lawful access has been proposed. Liberal MP Dan McTeague proposed similar legislation in 2009, with the NDP demonstrating strong resistance. Lawful access is not currently addressed in the published digital policies of the NDP, Green, or Liberal parties. ®

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-03 13:18:39


Finally a majority government to get on with the business of running the country.
The Separatist (the Block) party wiped out by Quebec and bringing Quebec back into the Federalist fold.
A unified representation across the country.
Elizabeth May of the green party with a voice on parliament hill is something I'm looking forward to. The Greens can hopefully get more traction with the new visibility.
Prime Minister Harper gave the first even speak that had even a hint of caring and hope for a positive willingness to working together for all Canadians not just big business.
Finally an end to the gun registry boondoggle
More confidence in etting up business in Canada around the world

Canada is now polarized between right and left wing agendas. If the NDP and Liberals join up, we could be in a 2 party system with the same pitfalls as the US
If the NDP can't deliver for Quebec then the Provincial Separatist will have fodder to re-initiate the separation movement.
The conservatives arrive with only 40% of the popular vote; which seems to indicate that in may cases the vote split between the NDP and Liberals gave many ridings to the Conservatives.
Still not a stellar voter turn out at only 60%
The Internet will now become less free in Canada
There will be bloodshed and down sizing of the Federal government

Onward and upward lets hope.



[img] [img]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-12 22:06:54

Get out your shovels and start digg'in .... "black gold; texas tea; the kin folk said move away from here ..... "




Source: The Economist (
Author: print edition
Date: 2011.05.12


In the frigid north tension grows between conservation and development

CANADA’S vast boreal zone contains the world’s largest intact old-growth forest and has more fresh water than the Amazon. Its flora help to slow climate change and it is a breeding ground for 3 billion migratory songbirds. Only 12% of the region is now formally protected, well below the 50% scientists say is necessary to save its ecosystem. On May 9th Quebec unveiled the Plan Nord, a C$2.1 billion ($2.2 billion) proposal that seeks both to develop its northern region and to safeguard its environment. But whether those two objectives are actually compatible remains open for debate.

For a party closely tied to the oil industry, the Conservatives—who won a majority on May 2nd after five years of minority government—have been surprisingly progressive in protecting boreal land. They have set aside 12% of the area’s 552m hectares (1.36 billion acres), including the Mealy Mountains national park in Labrador announced last year (see map). Some provinces have also taken the lead. In 2010 Ontario passed a law shielding half of its far north from development, and Manitoba recently protected 4m hectares of forest. Quebec’s Plan Nord would ban industrial activity in half of its north and make 12% a nature reserve, and offers tax credits for eco-friendly projects.

Yet provincial governments are also pushing to tap the region’s rich resources. Ontario has registered 30,000 mining claims in an area west of James Bay nicknamed the “Ring of Fire”, where chromite (used for stainless steel) was found in 2006. And Quebec’s Plan Nord will open an area twice as big as France to mining, energy development and forestry. Meanwhile Alberta has few limits on boreal oil exploration. In April its government released the details of a plan to protect 20% of the region’s land and faced a backlash from energy firms. The federal government has little power to make the provinces become greener.

Aboriginal groups, who hold treaty rights in the north, have also tussled with environmentalists, whom they blame for disrupting their fur trade and seal hunt. They hope that miners will provide much-needed jobs. Ontario’s Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Quebec and Labrador arm of the Assembly of First Nations say they were not adequately consulted before their provinces’ conservation laws were drafted, and now oppose the legislation. Indigenous peoples may not be as anti-green as oil companies, but they are no tree-huggers either.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-12 22:13:16

After watching GasLand this seems problematic.




Source: Ecology Action Centre (
Author: NA
Date: NA


In Nova Scotia, three companies currently…state that they plan to use fracking methods to extract natural gas.

In Nova Scotia, three companies currently have exploration licenses for petroleum hydrocarbons, and state that they plan to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) methods to extract natural gas1.

The government of Nova Scotia Department of Energy website2 states that “In order to be awarded the rights to explore a block of land, [petroleum exploration companies] must go through a competitive bidding process. Successful bidders are chosen based on the financial value of the company's workplan over the term of the agreement, its technical capabilities and industry experience.

All onshore oil and gas exploration activity in Nova Scotia is regulated by various departments including Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources. These departments work together to set the terms and conditions on access to any Crown land under the exploration agreement. This agreement does not permit the company to conduct activities such as seismic and drilling without permission of the landowner, private and Crown.”

Onshore Petroleum Agreements in Nova ScotiaEastrock Resources Ltd, which appears to be a subsidiary of APEX, holds a leasing agreement which covers 258 000 hectares in Cumberland and Colchester counties, and has identified numerous drilling prospects for both conventional petroleum products and for shale gas2.

Forent Energy Ltd. holds a leasing agreement for 740 000 + 460 000 acres in the area south of Truro. The company is in preliminary phases of exploration, but expects to develop 10 to 15 petroleum targets before 20123.

Petroworth Resources Inc. holds the exploration and development rights to 383 000 acres near Lake Ainslie in Cape Breton. The company has completed seismic testing and has proposed a well in West Lake Ainslie just over 500 metres from the lake. Drilling will commence in summer 20114.

Elmworth Energy Corporation holds a leasing agreement which covers 474 000 acres around the Minas Basin. In early 2010, one well in this area was submitted to hydraulic fracture method, with 15% recovery of flowback waters and negligible gas production. A fault in this area was deemed to have altered the fracking effectiveness. Production was halted and this and other wells are being assessed for future fracking and production. To date, the company states that “the fracture treatments undertaken previously have commingled multiple zones together, making it difficult to separate gas from water in the subsurface”5. In other words, fracking activity altered the conditions in the subsurface, and resulted in mixing of groundwater and natural gas in this area.


1. (a), “During the first quarter of fiscal 2010 (Feb 1 – Apr 30, 2009), Triangle tested the N-14-A well, which was completed in early December 2008 with a four-stage perforation and fracture treatment” (emphasis added)
(b), “High powered frac stimulation will make onshore Eastern Canada the new frontier for oil & gas exploration.” (emphasis added)
(c), Eastrock Resources appears to be a subsidiary of APEX. “APEX is aiming to build a global portfolio of oil and gas exploration and development opportunities, mainly from… [and] Exploiting the emerging technology of horizontal multi-stage fracturing (HMF) to capture overlooked oil & gas reserves trapped in tight reservoirs” (emphasis added)
2. Nova Scotia Department of Energy. Oil & Natural Gas – Onshore Energy., accessed January 2011.
3. Forent Energy: Nova Scotia., accessed January 2011.
4. Petroworth. Nova Scotia., accessed January 2011.
5. Triangle Petroleum Corporation. Overview., accessed January 2011.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-16 21:20:55

This is got to be scary for the crews working up there; I hope everyone will be okey.




Source: The Globe and Mail (
Date: 2011.05.16


Energy companies are halting oil and gas production and evacuating employees as unprecedented wildfires rip through northern Alberta and threaten to spread to key industry projects.

Penn West Exploration halted production of between 25,000 and 30,000 daily barrels of oil at operations threatened by a number of fires. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ-T39.550.140.36%) has evacuated a major work camp near its Horizon oil sands operation, and Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE-T32.67-0.23-0.70%) may be forced to curtail some production as early as Tuesday as fires frustrate efforts to restart a pipeline that ships the company’s crude.
More related to this story

* Fire crews gave everything in fight to save scorched Slave Lake, officials say
* Fires in northern Alberta

Footage shows fury of Slave Lake wildfires
Slave Lake city hall burns. Photo taken by local radio station 92.7 Lake FM which has also burned down.

Change in winds caused chaos for fire-devastated Slave Lake, Alta.
Flames from forest fires near Widewater, Alberta May 15, 2011.
Forest fires rage across Alberta

“The fires are viciously out of control,” Penn West chief executive officer Bill Andrew said.

“The last thing you want is a bunch of oil and gas floating around when there’s a fire,” he said. “That’s why you shut things in.”

The emergency shutdowns are a sharp reminder that energy projects, especially those in isolated regions, must deal with more than engineering problems, human error, and financing woes. While forest fires are common in these northern zones, the number and power of this year’s blazes is unusual. Flooding in the south of Alberta and Saskatchewan, meanwhile, is also causing production problems for some companies.

Of the 115 fires in Alberta on Monday, 36 were out of control, a spokesman for Alberta Sustainable Resources Development said.

Penn West has accounted for hundreds of employees and their families around Slave Lake, where raging fires have forced the evacuation of 7,000. The company’s shutdown due to fire represents a significant portion of its overall production of about 170,000 barrels a day, and it has shut in another 10,000 barrels of production due to flooding in the south.

Light and heavy oil production, as well as natural gas operations have been affected, and the shutdowns will eat into the company’s revenue. Assuming the fires do not damage the facilities, Mr. Andrew predicted the fastest operations could resume would be in a week. Once the fires are contained, industry production in the province is expected to return to normal without any long-term damage, officials said.

CNRL has evacuated a camp near its Horizon oil sands operation, but has so far staved off production problems. Roughly 1,300 camp residents have been whisked out of two lodges, with the fire burning about 150 metres away from one of those housing complexes, the company said in a statement Monday.

CNRL's fire barrier has so far been able to keep the fire away from its three lodges, and it has not affected operations at Horizon. The project was hampered by a fire at its upgrader in January, and repairs are not yet complete. CNRL has cancelled in-bound flights to the site.

Meanwhile, Cenovus, another oil sands powerhouse, is also preparing for action at its Pelican Lake facility about 90 kilometres northeast of Slave Lake. Because the Plains All American Pipeline LP Rainbow line is shut down due to a previous spill and now further hampered by the fires, Cenovus will run out of storage space Tuesday afternoon if the pipeline does not resume operations. About 22,000 barrels of oil per day will be shut in, a Cenovus spokeswoman said.

The Rainbow pipeline leaked about 28,000 barrels of light oil on April 28, and the cleanup effort has been called off because of the fires around Slave Lake.

Cenovus hosts about 65 employees at its Pelican Lake camp, and they and their families are not in danger, the company said. The camp has not been evacuated. Some employees fly in to the site, while others drive in from nearby communities. There is a scheduled shift change Tuesday, but because highways are closed this will be disrupted, she said.

Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO-T44.88-0.27-0.60%) has moved about 250 contract employees who were building a water facility back to one of its camps. While work on the river water intake facility has stopped, it has not affected work at Imperial's Kearl oils sands site, which is also under construction, said Jon Harding, a spokesperson for Imperial. The water facility is about 37 kilometres northwest of the main site.

Exall Energy Corp., (EE-T1.61-0.09-5.29%) a junior oil and gas player, has also shut in 921 barrels of oil per day at its Marten Mountain operation, it said in a statement Monday. Enerchem International Inc. on Monday issued a “force majeure,” which left Exall without a buyer for its Marten Mountain crude. The producer is now searching for other ways to transport the oil, including trucking, to others who may buy the oil. However, trucking in northern Alberta is questionable because the fires have closed a number of highways.

Exall said its facilities and operations are not under threat from the fires.

Devon Energy Corp. (DVN-N81.78-0.24-0.29%) has shut in a small amount of its production in northern Alberta, a spokesperson for the company said. The fires and the complications they caused, the spokesperson noted, are all part of doing business in northern Alberta.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-27 14:46:26

Who says a real Canadian can't get angry and speak up. ;D



Source: CBC (
Author: na
Date: 2011.05.20
Video by Jason Mercredi

A large, agitated beaver attracted a crowd in Fort Smith, N.W.T., this week when it meandered through town and got hissy with a German shepherd.

The beaver was spotted Monday evening wandering around a residential neighbourhood, along a busy street, through a graveyard and golf course, all the while escorted by an N.W.T. Environment and Natural Resources officer.

Mike Keizer, a longtime resident in the town of 2,400 near the N.W.T.-Alberta border, said he hopped on his bicycle as soon as he heard there was a beaver on the loose.

"It looked huge. I always thought beavers would be smaller," Keizer told CBC News on Thursday.

"All the beavers I've ever seen have been in water, so you only ever see pieces of them; like, you don't get to see the whole beaver."

Another Fort Smith resident, Jason Mercredi, shot video footage of the beaver moving in a ditch and on a sidewalk along McDougal Street.

"There's a beaver holding up [the] main street," Mercredi says in the video, before asking his uncle if the animal would attack.

"He's pissed," Mercredi remarked.
Got agitated, flustered

The wayward animal, which Keizer estimated was the size of a dog, zigzagged across people's lawns and around their homes.

"Every time it got agitated or flustered, it would bang its tail on the ground. I mean, I was amazed at how fast it moved when it was agitated," he recalled.

Keizer said the beaver became especially agitated when it came nose-to-nose with somebody's German shepherd, with just a chain-link fence separating the two animals.

"It never backed down once. It grabbed the fence, it was hissing, and the dog was barking," Keizer said.

"When the ENR officer went to get it turned [around] so he'd get it away from town, he had a plywood sheet in front of him, and it rushed the sheet."

Keizer said he rode his bike ahead of the beaver, knocking on residents' doors and warning them to bring their dogs indoors "because there's a wild beaver walking through town, heading your way."

"While I was there, all kinds of people were driving up in their trucks and their cars and taking pictures," he said.

The beaver wandered about another kilometre or two before it headed towards the Slave River rapids and disappeared.

Keizer said in his 17 years living in Fort Smith, he has never seen a beaver — never mind a beaver so large — come into town.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-27 16:54:09

Seems someone has it in for the Japanese ? Sony now Honda .... coincidence ?



Source: The Register (
Author: Dan Goodin
Date: 2011.05.27


Honda's Canadian division has suffered a data breach that exposed the personal information of 283,000 customers, according to its website and published media reports.

The purloined data includes the names, addresses and vehicle identification numbers of customers who made purchases in 2009. The company is warning customers to be wary of scams (, which could use the stolen information to trick customers into revealing additional data, which could be used in identity theft.
Click here to find out more!

“We do not recommend that customers take any specific action at this time, other than being alert for marketing campaigns from third parties that reference your ownership of a Honda vehicle,” Honda's online advisory stated.

According to The Toronto Star, the breach affects 283,000 customers. Honda's advisory also said that Honda Financial Services account numbers were also exposed "in a small number of cases."

It's the second time in less than six months that Honda has reported a security breach that leaked customer's personally identifiable information. In late December, Honda's US division warned that hackers made off with a database containing the names, email addresses, and vehicle identification numbers of 2.2 million customers.

Honda's latest warning comes as Sony begins restoring some online gaming services to customers in Asia. The company exposed details for more than 100 million customers after hackers penetrated systems for its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment service. ®

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-05-28 20:54:02

We're all good kids; up ward and onward. This story kinda flies in the faces of what I'm reading everywhere else. Nice if it works out this way.



Source: Nanaimo Daily News (
Author: Peter O’Neil

[img] in Greece with Yiorgos Karahalis

ATHENS - Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed confidence in Athens on Saturday that his Greek counterpart will overcome national disunity that has raised questions of a potentially catastrophic default on Greece's massive debt.

Harper acknowledged that European contagion could impact Canada's relatively robust economy that has withstood the 2008-09 global crisis better than most Western economies.

"We all know from the experiences of the last two or three years that we're in a global economy, and serious economic problems in any part of the world, whether it's through trade or through financial institutions, have the ability to impact all of us," Harper told reporters after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.

But he said his discussions on Europe's debt crisis at the meeting of the G8 group of industrialized nations in France this past week, and his meeting in Athens on Saturday with Greece's two most powerful politicians, have been reassuring.

"We have every confidence that our great hosts here, and our European friends, will continue to deal with these matters so that the global economy can continue moving forward."

Harper said Canada's plan to slash spending will pale in comparison to the hardship Greeks are facing.

"We have nothing like the challenges faced here in Greece," he said with a nod to Treasury Board president Tony Clement, who accompanied Harper on the trip to Greece because he is of Greek-Cypriot descent.

Clement "has the comparatively easy task," Harper said.

Papandreou, standing at Harper's side, also expressed confidence that Greece's economy will get "out of the woods" despite his failure Friday to get Greece's right-of-centre opposition party to buy into the country's austerity plan.

Harper told Papandreou that Canada is "very much on his side."

"I know from experience that it is not unusual for opposition parties to refuse to co-operate with the government. But governments have a responsibility to act and I certainly admire the determination of Prime Minister Papadreou and the very difficult actions he's had to undertake in response to problems that his government did not create."

European and international lenders are demanding that Greece take further tough fiscal measures, on top of last year's spending cuts, to reduce the country's massive deficit.

Greece has also committed to sell at least $50 billion US in public assets, a deeply unpopular move with the country's powerful labour movement.

The proceeds would be used to pay down some of the national debt that is approaching 150 per cent of the country's annual economic output.

Many if not most private-sector analysts believe there will have to be some restructuring of Greece's debt. The International Monetary Fund and the European Union, meanwhile, have warned Greece that further payments in June on a joint $110-billion euro bailout plan are conditional on meeting conditions to cut the deficit and sell assets.

"I believe that by continuing this program we'll soon be out of the woods and on a more sustainable path in the next few years to a viable Greek economy," said Papandreou, who lived in Toronto during the late 1960s and early 1970s when his politically prominent family (both his father Andreas and grandfather George were prime ministers) was living in exile during military rule.

Papandreou, whose socialist party has a majority in the Greek parliament, has said he will follow through on the austerity and privatization measures even without opposition support.

But both he, and the European Union, have pressed all components of Greek society to accept the cold shower.

"I think coming to an understanding with all the political parties is very important," Papandreou said.

"This understanding shows that our country has a loud voice abroad and creates even greater credibility and reliability for our country."

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-06-05 17:48:48

Interesting "History Lesson", that is ongoing ....



Source: Montreal Gazzette (
Author: Matthew Fisher
Date: 2011.06.05


Matthew Fisher of Postmedia News was at the Pentagon within an hour of it being struck on Sept. 11, 2001, by an airliner that had been hijacked by terrorists. When airports in North America reopened, he was on the first flight to Europe and then Pakistan. Since then, Fisher has been to Afghanistan 23 times. During those visits, he has followed every phase of Canada’s Afghan journey from the first combat in 2002 to bloody fighting in Kandahar in 2006 and the major battlefield advances that the coalition has made in that province over the past two years. Afghanistan is the 14th conflict that Fisher has covered overseas during 28 years reporting from 153 countries.

KABUL, Afghanistan — He has become known to many Canadians as an outspoken defender of veterans’ rights. But in 2002, Lt.-Col. Pat Stogran was doing very different work. He and 1,000 soldiers from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry landed at Kandahar Airfield to team up with 2,000 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division in the manhunt for Osama bin Laden and his Arab, Afghan and Pakistani allies.

The airfield would later become the biggest base in Afghanistan, with 30,000 foreigners, traffic jams, a Tim Hortons, air-conditioning, movie and dance nights, state-of-the art trauma facilities and the world’s busiest single-runway airport.

In the early days, however, half the runway was still badly cratered by huge bombs that had been dropped a few months earlier by B-52 and B-1 bombers. The only fixed-wing military aircraft that could land were bus-like C-130 Hercules transports. Troops entered the country through a terminal that had been badly scarred by bullets during a wild firefight in November 2001, between Taliban and al-Qaida fighters and U.S. Marines attacking by helicopter from ships in the Indian Ocean.

There was no electricity, no water and no chow halls. Soldiers ate rations and slept in canvas tents that flooded when it rained and were yanked from their moorings by hurricane-force winds when Arctic and African weather fronts collided overhead.

Crazed packs of dogs roamed the base, often fighting each other to the death.

Back then the airfield, which now bristles with multiple layers of elaborate defences, had no fixed perimeter. Security, such as it was, was provided by roving patrols from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (the Royal Canadians).

Stogran led an inexperienced but eager gang of Patricias, including a team of snipers who would be honoured by the U.S. for recording the longest distance kills in the history of warfare.

Not long after they arrived from Alberta, Stogran’s infantrymen joined paratroopers from the 101st and other U.S. troops from the 10th Mountain Division for a dramatic, helicopter assault on a slippery, shale-encrusted mountain near the Pakistan border that became known as the Whale’s Back.

Most Canadians know little of this. What got far more attention at home were the tragic deaths of four Patricias in a “friendly fire” incident involving a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet, whose pilot mistakenly fired missiles at the soldiers as they took part in a night live-fire exercise on the edge of Kandahar Airfield.

The Patricias soldiered on. Aside from some brief nastiness in the Balkans, and long before that in Cyprus and the Congo, it was the first time in almost half a century that Canadians had been in a shooting war.

“Despite the fact that we may not have seen hard combat, our core warfare training was effective and, combined with the intense peacekeeping experience that we had had had in places such as the Medak Pocket (in a Serbian-held part of Croatia in 1993), meant that the boys were fine,” said Col. Peter Dawe who, nine years ago, was operations officer with a reconnaissance platoon up on the Whale and at bin Laden’s hideout at Tora Bora.

What the Patricias learned in the mountains in 2002, and in the fighting that all three Canadian infantry regiments have been involved in over the past five years in Kandahar, is expected to pay dividends in Dawe’s new Afghan assignment. That is to oversee Ottawa’s new, Kabul-centric training mission, which replaces current combat operations as they end over the next few weeks.

“The difference now is the level of experience our troops have,” Dawe said. “I’ve got junior officers with a combat tour or two under their belts and senior NCOs with six or seven tours, including three or four of which were hard combat. They are now so well-versed on the culture and the insurgents, it is incredible. It is not something we had back then.”

For Serge Labbe, a retired general who probably has spent more time in Afghanistan than any other Canadian, what Canada demonstrated on the Whale and then a year later in Kabul, where Canada led a multinational brigade, was typical of the leadership role that the country has had here since the 9/11 terrorist attacks rocked the U.S.

“Canada has been in the forefront from the beginning, and not just in security and defence in Afghanistan and the region, but also diplomatically,” said Labbe. He is now NATO’s senior adviser to several Afghan development ministries and a former head of Canada’s strategic advisory team in Kabul, which coached key Afghan officials at a time when civilian advisers were thin on the ground.

After Stogran’s troops returned home from the Whale and Kandahar, the next step in Canada’s Afghan odyssey was a somewhat quieter two-year mission for a couple of thousand Canadians charged with keeping the peace in Kabul, where then brigadier-generals Peter Devlin and Andrew Leslie held senior positions with the International Security and Assistance Force before Gen. Rick Hillier took over in 2004.

“You have to take your mind back to the way the world was in the aftermath of those horrible attacks on the twin towers in the U.S.,” said another retired general, Michel Gauthier, Canada’s senior military intelligence officer at that time. “Canada decided to make an important contribution at a time that it was important to do so.”

But Gauthier added one of the reasons Canada ended up playing a major role in Afghanistan for so long was because the Chretien government decided it wanted to have nothing to do with U.S. president George W. Bush’s war in Iraq.

“It was as much about not going to Iraq as it was about going to Afghanistan,” the former commander of Canadian Forces Expeditionary Command said. “You can take a glass half-empty or a glass half-full view of that. The half-full view was that the government wanted to be seen to be contributing to international security and stability, and the best way was to contribute more militarily in Afghanistan. That was extremely important to a U.S. government seized at the time by Iraq.”

The U.S. obsession with Iraq, and the military setbacks it suffered there after the initial conquest of that country in 2003, eventually led Canada back south to Kandahar in 2006 — for what was to become a much more deadly and controversial combat assignment than the one that Pat Stogran and his troops had embarked upon four years earlier.

Tomorrow: Kandahar’s blistering heat, intense fighting gives soldiers a baptism by fire.

Read more:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-06-17 01:13:43

Sigh ..... interesting; the National Post is linking video feed from RT: Russia Today.



Source: National Post (
Author: Erin Valois
Date: 2011.06.16


As Vancouver tries to clean up from a massive riot after Wednesday night’s Game 7 at Rogers Arena, we have documented all the madness for your viewing pleasure. Here is our Vancouver riot cheat sheet.

The riot
We have the all the photos you want to see from the devastation. Crazy people with mannequins! Young men looting Sears! (for Grandma, maybe?) Car fires! Broken glass! General stupidity!

The scene
B.C. columnist Brian Hutchinson was in downtown Vancouver for all the madness and glass breaking. As someone who lives in Vancouver, he was not impressed. Way to go, guys.

The evidence
If you haven’t noticed so far, these people aren’t exactly the brightest crayons in the box. Proof: Facebook users are posting photos to various groups to help identify looters and vandals. Because you probably shouldn’t have posed for the camera while breaking into London Drugs. Nice profile photo though!

The map
In case you’re wondering where all the madness happened: we have created a handy map. Feel bad for those sad people who were stuck in Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

The videos
If you thought the photos were pretty amazing, wait until you see videos of the mayhem. It’s like G20 all over again!

The kiss
Ah, nothing says young love like rolling around on the streets of Vancouver surrounded by riot police. Is this the greatest photo of our time? Here is a look at that particular photo and some other iconic riot makeouts.

The past
As a teen, National Post sports columnist Bruce Arthur was at the 1994 playoff riot in Vancouver (not like that).

The fallout
Full Comment’s Jesse Kline says Vancouver has fallen far, going from the glory of the Olympics to the shame of a Stanley Cup Riot in just one year.

Also on Full Comment, Kelly McParland looks at some of the lessons we can learn from the riots.

The game
Word on the street there was a hockey game, or something, on Wednesday? Which is a weird coincidence! Canucks lost, in case you’re dying to know.

The Headlines
People were talking about the game across the globe. Hint: they weren’t saying nice things about Vancouver.

Posted in: Canada, Posted Tags: Boston Bruins, Canucks, Downtown Vancouver, Facebook, riot, Robson Street, Rogers Arena, Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver looting, Vancouver Police, Vancouver Riot, Vancouver riot photos, Vancouver riot video, Vancouver riots, West Georgia

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-07-07 22:37:41

OY ! ....I just don't know how the other 'kids' on CoV missed this scoop ;D



Royal couple arrives at Stampede gala - wearing their cowboy hats [/size]
Source: Globe and Mail (
Date: 2011.07.07


Royal couple arrives at Stampede gala - wearing their cowboy hats

With each whistlestop meticulously arranged, each event carefully considered, the message sent in the royal tour's final stop looms large - Calgary is, ever more, a hub of Canadian influence.

The royal couple arrived Thursday afternoon in the city for the final two days of their Canadian tour. And, over the complaints of British animal activists, they came during the Calgary Stampede, a cherished tradition that one poll Thursday showed was Canada's most popular major event, beating the Grey Cup and Toronto International Film Festival. As the Royals arrived, Calgary's streets were already flooded with boots, hats and denim. <snip>

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-09-05 15:24:45

So again I wonder what was the real reason we bought the old submarines? What "Quid pro quo" was realized with the UK.



The sad saga of the boats that wouldn’t float [/size]

Source:The Globe and Mail (
Author: Barrie McKenna
Date: 2011/09/05


As Ottawa prepares to place its largest shipbuilding order in decades – $35-billion worth of patrol ships, icebreakers and research ships – it’s worth checking in on the government’s last big navy purchase.

Remember the four second-hand subs the government bought from Britain for $800-million back in 1998?

More related to this story:

* Shipbuilding math makes Nova Scotians nervous
* Clark to roll out jobs agenda in September
* China’s new aircraft carrier begins sea trials, suggests greater naval ambitions

You would be forgiven for losing track. Amid endless refits and repairs, the subs have spent far more time in dry dock than patrolling Canada’s coasts in the 13 years the navy has owned them.

And shockingly, none of the four subs is operational. Only one is in water, HMCS Victoria, which is slated to make its first dive later this fall after a major overhaul.

Not one of the subs is weapons-ready. It will be at least another two years before the subs are equipped to fire torpedoes. And it will cost Ottawa an estimated $125-million to retrofit the ships to fire the same Mk 48 torpedoes used on its now-retired Oberon-class submarines.

The plan is to have two subs fully operational next year and all four in 2013, according to navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Heather McDonald.

“We're near the end of a long beginning,” Lt. McDonald said.

One of the subs, HMCS Windsor, is so badly rusted that it’s apparently limited in its ability to dive deeply beneath the seas. In July, Canadian navy officials offered a less-than-ringing endorsement of the ship’s sea-worthiness.

“The submarine is safe to perform all expected operations during her operations period until her next extended docking work period,” Blaine Duffley, director of maritime equipment project management for the subs, recently told the Canadian Press. The sub is now in dry dock on the East Coast.

The rest of the fleet is grounded. HMCS Chicoutimi caught fire in 2004 on its voyage from Britain and won’t be ready until 2013. HMCS Corner Brook is undergoing maintenance on the West Coast, and also won’t be operational until 2013.

Military experts don’t dispute the value of submarines to a nation such as Canada, with its vast coastline. The stealthy diesel-electric subs can covertly combat smuggling, illegal fishing, terrorism and polluters.

And the initial purchase price was much lower than buying new subs. Australia, for example, has paid nearly $1-billion apiece for its six new ones.

If Ottawa is to learn anything from the subs saga, it’s time to divulge the all-in cost of the four ships, which Britain mothballed as part of its conversion to a nuclear-powered fleet. The $800-million purchase price bought Canada four hulking steel shells. Ottawa has spent another $1.5-billion on maintenance and support.

But that’s only part of the cost of Canadianizing the subs.

Readying the ships for action is costing still more, according to publicly available information. Ottawa has sunk at least $370-million into upgrades and refits. It has also spent millions to transport the subs via the Panama Canal to the West Coast, where the refit work is being done. It will cost another $125-million to give them torpedoes. In Halifax, the navy has spent has spent $47-million to renovate its maintenance dockyard to accommodate the submarines.

Further repairs to deal with persistent rust problems could cost millions more.

A rough and unofficial tally of what’s been spent is now approaching $3-billion. Add in the mind-boggling delays, and the original fire-sale price seems considerably less attractive.

The Harper government and the navy have repeatedly defended the sub purchase, initiated by the previous Liberal government, as a good deal for taxpayers. Mr. Harper has also championed the cause of giving the Canadian Forces the tools they need to do their jobs.

But the government has never disclosed the full cost of readying the subs to patrol Canadian shores – a mission that remains unfulfilled. And all the while the aging subs’ useful lifespan is ebbing away.

It’s time for a full accounting of the depressing saga.

The next few years could prove difficult ones for Canada’s military. A recent report by Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, chief of transformation, is recommending $1-billion in annual cuts in a reorganization that could see as many as 11,000 positions vanish, mostly at headquarters in Ottawa.

In an environment of restraint, the Harper government should do a better job of openly explaining, and justifying, its ongoing military purchases.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-09-05 15:32:40

Seemed like a good idea at the time ..... "money for nothing and chicks for free"



The roots of the Sino-Forest mystery

Source:The Globe and Mail (http://)
Author: andy hoffman AND mark mackinnon
Date: 2011.09.03


In the early days of 1994, a little-known Hong Kong entrepreneur named Allen Chan launched what seemed like a promising joint venture in the southeastern city of Zhanjiang in China’s Guangdong province.

The unimaginatively named Zhanjiang Leizhou Eucalyptus Resources Development Co. Ltd. was to produce micro-density fibre boards from timber harvested at a nearby plantation controlled by Mr. Chan’s fledgling company, Sino-Forest Corp. (TRE-T4.81----%) China’s economy was growing fast and its demand for wood was rising just as quickly. This new business was poised to fill that demand.

Partnering on the deal with Sino-Forest, which would soon obtain a stock market listing in Canada, was the Leizhou Forestry Bureau – an arm of the Chinese government.

For Mr. Chan and his co-founder at Sino-Forest, a former Forestry Bureau official in Guangdong named Kai Kit Poon, the Leizhou deal served as a key pillar in the initial stages of building their business. Between 1994 and 1997, Sino-Forest would report $60-million (U.S.) in sales from the venture.

There was just one problem: The Leizhou joint venture never produced a single panel, according to a key executive involved in the project.

More than 17 years later, things are quickly unravelling for Mr. Chan and Mr. Poon.

Sino-Forest is now enmeshed in a devastating scandal, and accused of participating in what could turn out to be one of the largest frauds in Canadian stock market history. Mr. Chan has lost his grip on the company; on Sunday he resigned his executive posts at Sino-Forest (while taking on a new title, “founding chairman emeritus”) after the Ontario Securities Commission alleged that he and other executives and directors appear to be engaged in activities that they know, or ought to know, “perpetuate a fraud.”

Part of what is so astonishing is that Sino-Forest and its business activities failed to arouse serious suspicions or concerns with most investors until June of this year when a short seller named Carson Block and his firm, Muddy Waters LLC, first levelled accusations of fraud against the company.

For more than a decade and a half, Mr. Chan, a martial arts enthusiast, aficionado of classical Chinese literature and former restaurant employee, along with Mr. Poon, an avid ballroom dancer, had presided over what was, by all appearances, an unparalleled Chinese business success story. By simply buying, managing and selling trees and forestry assets in mainland China, the firm’s profit increased from $3-million in 1994 to $395.4-million in 2010.

Mr. Chan and Mr. Poon’s business seemed perfectly positioned to cash in on the country’s roaring growth and burgeoning appetite for natural resources.

Instead of raising capital on the Hong Kong stock market or even Shanghai or Shenzhen, Mr. Chan and his business associates targeted Canadian investors, whom they said were better acquainted with the forestry sector. Sino-Forest listed on the Alberta exchange through a reverse takeover of a dormant shell company in 1994. In 1995, the company graduated to the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Sino-Forest has since raised more than $3-billion from debt and equity markets, mostly with the help of Canadian lawyers, accountants, analysts and investment bankers, and mostly in the past eight years. Investors bought into the company’s promise of a bright future – a promise that seemed to be backed by steadily rising profits. At its peak in March, the company boasted a market value of more than $6-billion (Canadian), making it by far the largest forestry firm on the TSX.

Sino-Forest says it used most of the funds to boost its forestry portfolio in mainland China, which it claims now exceeds 780,000 hectares. Despite healthy profit margins that often topped 50 per cent, Sino-Forest has been almost perpetually cash flow negative as it has spent more money buying trees and other forestry assets than it has generated through sales or by raising capital.

Now, Sino-Forest’s shareholders are stuck. Last week, the OSC halted trading in the stock, stating that the company appears to have engaged in “significant” deals with related parties, misrepresented its revenue, and exaggerated the size of its Chinese timber holdings “by providing information … which may have been false or misleading.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-09-07 10:20:46

Interesting, I thought and a good reminder that our heritage is based on immigration.




Source: Ukraine Business (
Author: na
Date: 2011.09.07


Before the First World War 117,000 people left western Ukraine to find job in Canada

KYIV, September 7, 2011 (UBO) – A Canadian delegation, which has arrived for the Ukrainian-Canadian business forum in Ivano-Frankivsk region, will visit the village of Nebyliv, Rozhnyativ district, which 120 years ago Ukrainians moved from to Canada en masse launching the history of the Ukrainian diaspora in this country.

Before the First World War 117,000 people left western Ukraine to find job in Canada. According to Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada Ihor Ostash, 1,213 million Ukrainians now live in Canada. The Canadian Ukrainians are actively represented in political life - among them there are many members of parliament, senators, there is a powerful organization - Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the diplomat said.

According to him, now Canada is interested in agricultural and energy markets of Ukraine, and has an interesting experience in nuclear power. Ostash noted that Canada has such technology in nuclear power, which can be successfully applied in Ukraine.

"This technology provides for incineration of waste of nuclear power plants, which may also include the Chornobyl ones," Ostash emphasized. According to him, Ukrainian scientists actively cooperate with the Canadians in the field.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-10-18 19:09:41

Another perspective on an issue that is going grind away at us up here.




Source: Alberta Sweetgrass (
Author: Shari Narine Sweetgrass
Date: 2011-10


Volume: 18 Issue: 11 Year: 2011

Every year that Lionel Lepine has been involved in protesting tar sands development, in particular in his First Nation of Athabasca Chipeywan, the movement has grown. For Lepine personally, it grew one step further when he was arrested in Ottawa at the steps of the Parliament.

“This goes to show, this government, when people watch out for their rights and what they believe in, and try to stand up to fight for it, automatically they’re either arrested or they’re muzzled somehow,” said Lepine.
Lepine was one of 117 people arrested by RCMP when demonstrators crossed a barricade and sat at the steps of the Parliament building on Sept. 26. In total, 212 people crossed the fence-line in a six-hour period. Individuals were handcuffed, taken away one-by-one to a different part of the grounds and processed. They were fined $65 for trespassing and banned from the Parliament grounds for one year. Also arrested were former Mikisew Cree Chief George Poitras, ACFN member Gitz Deranger, and Fort McMurray First Nation Elder Roland Woodward.

Lepine said his arrest allowed him opportunity to speak to the media and shed more light on the cause that brought nearly 1,000 people to Parliament Hill. Speakers, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, joined forces to voice opposition to oil development in the country.

For Lepine, who is ACFN’s territorial environmental knowledge coordinator, tarsands development has had significant impact on his First Nation.

“Industry is doing a lot in Fort Chipewyan, and we’re trying to put a message out to the government that this disrespect they’re showing us, will happen no more and we’re not going to take it,” said Lepine.

“Our message was heard loud and clear… that the Harper government really needs to seriously take a look at … how a lot of First Nations communities in Alberta are being detrimentally impacted by tarsands development,” said Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Greenpeace spokesperson. The Ottawa rally was officially endorsed by Greenpeace, Council of Canadians and Indigenous Environmental Network.

There were two parts to the demonstration, said Laboucan-Massimo, the civil disobedience, which was expressed as a sit-in in front of the police line, and the rally on the rest of the Hill.

“I think it went great,” she said. “People I’ve spoken to, older than me, say they’ve never seen over 200 people willing to risk arrest through massive disobedience on Parliament Hill.”

About 1,000 people were on site at the height of the demonstration.

Laboucan-Massimo also participated in the two-week long protests that began in early September in Washington. Deranger and Poitras were also in Washington, as was Alberta Regional Chief George Stanley. The US protest focused on pressuring President Obama to not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will run through both the US and Canada. The Ottawa demonstration, said Laboucan-Massimo, was on the larger picture of the impact of tar sands development and related infrastructure.

That Indigenous people from both sides of the border are joining forces to protest oil sands development speaks volumes, said Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation.

“It just shows the cause for concern, the severity of these projects and how widespread these issues are. The implications for these types of projects are dire and they need to actually be addressed,” she said.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-10-18 19:18:48

What happened to the good old days when Frontier Towns gave us; Prostitution, Bad Whiskey, Laudanum and Gambling .... I guess the 'Tars Sands' are just different.




Source: Fort Mcmurray Today (
Author: Morgan Modjeski
Date: 2011.10.18


With one of the main drug dealers in Fort McMurray, Jeffrey Caines, being sentenced to 14-years of jailtime, some experts say that he will be replaced quickly by larger organizations.

Caines admitted Friday to being the head of a major cocaine trafficking operation in Fort McMurray.

Len Isnor, detective sergeant with the biker enforcement unit of the Ontario Provincial Police and an expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs, told the Today, "The Hells Angels have interest in that area because of the drug market and if one person is out of the picture, they will replace them with someone else."

Even though the Hells Angels don't have a chapter in Fort McMurray, they do have a support club in the area. When asked if the Hells Angels have interest in Fort McMurray, Insor said, absolutely. "Lots of money, a very high-income community, a lot of disposable income that is used recreationally and people want drugs, so there is a huge market," said Isnor. "They're not there physically with a chapter, however, they have associates up there."

"There is a biker puppet club. They're not always called puppet clubs, but there is a support club or an associate club that works there for the Hells Angels."

The motorcycle club that Isnor is referring to is a group called the Ft. McMurray Syndicate, a smaller motorcycle club that has surfaced in Fort McMurray in the last year and allegedly has ties to the Edmonton chapter of the Hells Angels.

Isnor explained that Hells Angels are supplying cocaine and other drugs to the Fort McMurray area, but noted that there are a number of groups responsible for the drug trade in the city. And added that Hells Angels in the past have used support clubs to separate themselves from illegal activity saying the likeliness of a Hells Angels chapter forming in Fort McMurray is slim.

"Anything is possible, it's pretty hard to predict the landscape of what Hells Angels are going to do in the future, but Hells Angels, they don't want to divide the pie up too much," he said. "So right now, if the chapters in Edmonton are running Fort McMurray, they don't want to establish a chapter there and divide Fort McMurray up," he said. Isnor noted Hells Angels support clubs are popping up all over Alberta as the gang has developed a sophisticated criminal network distancing themselves from the actual crime.

"They're reaping all the profits, but they're getting other people to do the work, so these puppet clubs, they're doing a lot of the dirty work and it keeps the Hells Angels an arms-length away from the actual crime," said Isnor.

The Wood Buffalo Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team, the unit responsible for this kind of activity, is currently keeping an eye on the Syndicate motorcycle club, but noted that they have not seen any indicators that the club is involved with illegal activity.

"As this point in time, they're simply a motorcycle club," said Sgt. Irv Heide with Wood Buffalo ALERT.

"Anytime that you have a motorcycle club that is associated with a group like the Hells Angels ... we're going to be paying attention to them," he added.

Heide explained that so far, all interactions of the RCMP with the club have been minor, saying they encountered some of the members at a check-stop during a poker derby the club held on Oct. 1. He also noted that some members were approached over Section 69.1 of the Gaming and Liquor Act that restricts anyone involved in a gang, either through membership or otherwise from being in a licensed premises.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-11-03 21:06:45

Smoke'em if ya got 'em .... oh like the FDA is perfect.




Source: The Province (
Author: Sean Sullivan
Date: 2011.11.03



A lethal salmon virus that could pose a new threat to British Columbia’s prized Pacific salmon has now been detected in four wild species, prompting fears about its effect on the multi-billion-dollar fishery.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is now conducting its own tests, as a group of U.S. senators say Canadian officials can’t be trusted to identify the presence of the infectious salmon amenia (ISA) virus.

In a letter to Senate decision-makers Wednesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington and senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich of Alaska argued the United States should conduct independent tests for the contagious disease that has decimated Atlantic salmon farms in Chile and Norway.

“We should not rely on another government —— particularly one that may have a motive to misrepresent its findings —— to determine how we assess the risk ISA may pose to American fishery jobs,” the senators said.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University on Oct. 17 announced the virus was found in two of 48 sockeye smolts collected in B.C.’s Central Coast.

On Wednesday, biologist and salmon advocate Alexandra Morton learned an ISA lab at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. found evidence of the virus in three of 10 dead fish — a Chinook, coho and chum — she pulled from the Harrison River on Oct. 12.

“The terrible thing about the work that myself and (SFU researcher Rick) Routledge have done is that it’s tiny,” Morton told The Province. “We looked at 60 fish, and we got it in two different generations, 600 kilometres apart, four different species. That’s a huge red flag.”

ISA’s effect on Pacific salmon — if any — is not known. This is the first time the disease has been found in wild Pacific salmon, raising fears among advocates that the already stressed wild stocks could be further jeopardized.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Morton’s samples are now being tested in Canada’s official ISA lab in Moncton, N.B.

New Westminster—Coquitlam MP Fin Donnelly raised the issue in Ottawa Thursday, calling on the government to deveop an action plan to deal with the virus on Canada’s West Coast.

“Concern is mounting both in British Columbia and the United States that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is not taking this threat seriously,” he said.

Some have suggested the virus may have come from Atlantic salmon eggs imported to local fish farms from Chile or Norway.

Salmon farmers have been quick to shoot down those claims, as has the federal government. “In recent years we tested over 5,000 wild and farmed B.C. salmon without a single case of confirmed ISA in B.C.,” Randy Kamp, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, said Thursday.

Chile, a major producer of farmed Atlantic Salmon, has seen its wild fish stocks decimated by ISA over the last four years, with $2-billion in estimated losses.

Read more:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2011-11-26 22:35:22

This narrative could easily be about Canada's natural resources. Shipping crude from the tar sands to New Orleans for refining. Why would we not refine the oil and then use it for Canada's needs and Manufacturing. Same for our mineral wealth. ??




Source: The Herald (
Author: n/a
Date: 2011.11.25
Vavi rails against 'sham of independence'

Generations of African leaders have failed to transform the economies inherited from their colonial masters, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said today (25/11/2011).

“All our economies to this day remain dominated by the unprocessed natural resource sector, with little or no industrialisation,” Vavi told African Union leaders at the International Trade Union Confederation congress in Boksburg.

“Some countries rely 90 percent on mineral exports,” he said. Vavi was concerned that colonialists were continuing to plunder Africa’s mineral resources, decades after their political defeat.

He said the scramble for Africa’s resources by imperialist forces and their interference in the continent had to be confronted.

Africa had an abundance of natural resources, but remained the poorest continent in the world, Vavi said.

Income levels remained “terribly low”, while income inequalities had remained ”stubbornly high”.

He blamed the mass poverty and food insecurity on a failed post-colonial political economy on the continent.

This was exacerbated by “a venal, corrupt and visionless leadership which cares little for people”.

Vavi called for the renewal of the African trade union movement towards African emancipation, saying it was time for all workers to re-mobilise and fight for a new freedom not gained.

The scale of the “sham of independence” of the continent needed to be exposed, he said.

“For too long we have allowed the dependency syndrome whilst claiming to be liberated.

“Either we export our minerals to our colonial masters, or they control our finances, or both.”

The continent had not industrialised or diversified its economies, and did not add value to its natural resources, said Vavi. “We do not own our mines and we do not own our economies,” he said - Sapa

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-01-08 18:05:39

Well there you go ...... you'd think the jury could still figure it out thought.




Source: Friday's Globe and Mail (
Author: kirk makin


Shortly before a Toronto jury left the courtroom to start deliberations at Prinze Wilson’s cocaine-trafficking trial last spring, Madam Justice Faye McWatt of the Ontario Superior Court stressed the need to respect his presumption of innocence.

“It is only defeated if, and when, Crown counsel has satisfied you beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Guilty – I’m sorry, that Mr. Wilson – is guilty of the crime charged,” Judge McWatt said.

Mr. Guilty?

No one but the jury knows whether the judge’s faux pas played a role in the subsequent finding of guilt, because jurors cannot discuss deliberations. But the incident has certainly spawned one of the oddest appeals in recent years.

Later this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal will consider whether Mr. Wilson’s jury was consciously or subconsciously influenced by the judicial gaffe.

To Crystal Tomusiak, Mr. Wilson’s lawyer, the question is a no-brainer. “The trial judge erred in failing to order a mistrial or provide a curative instruction after mistakenly referring to the appellant as, ‘Mr. Guilty,’” she said in a written submission to the court. “The conviction was unreasonable and against the weight of the evidence.”

Ms. Tomusiak said that Mr. Wilson, a 26-year-old industrial firefighter who has no criminal record, has suffered enough. After being convicted and sentenced to almost two years of house arrest, she said, her client was fired from his job at Ontario Power Generation.

The Crown has yet to reveal its legal position. However, in the absence of obvious abuses of the court process, prosecutors typically argue to retain a jury verdict rather than mount a costly retrial.

But Roderick Lindsay, a Queen’s University psychologist who specializes in courtroom testimony, said the remark clearly damaged Mr. Wilson’s right to a fair trial.

“Once you put some information into someone’s mind, you can’t undo it,” Prof. Lindsay said in an interview. “There is nothing the judge who made that slip could have said to convince them that she didn’t think this guy was guilty.”

Prof. Lindsay said studies have repeatedly shown that people have little control over where their thoughts take them, nor do they tend to appreciate or clearly remember the factors that led to certain decisions. He said the Mr. Guilty case is reminiscent of an old joke involving a person who is asked not to think about pink elephants. The first thing they do is picture a pink elephant.

“You can’t stop your mind from dealing with something that is introduced to it,” Prof. Lindsay said. “People are terrible at ignoring that kind of thing. They just can’t do it. They also cannot ‘unremember’ something.”

In a similar case last year, a Toronto jury at a murder trial for Erika Mendieta complained that a prosecutor who was previously connected to the case had distracted them by sitting in the gallery, gesticulating and expressing visible disgust at Ms. Mendieta’s testimony.

The judge ruled that the trial had been irretrievably damaged, discharged the jurors and continued hearing the case alone.

Mr. Wilson grew up in Toronto’s impoverished Regent Park area, commencing an on-again, off-again cocaine habit when he was 12. He was arrested on Nov. 30, 2009, when police rushed into an alley stairwell in the belief that a drug deal was taking place. A friend of Mr. Wilson’s ran up the stairs, but Mr. Wilson remained standing not far from a bag full of individually wrapped balls of crack cocaine.

Police alleged that Mr. Wilson wept, apologized and confessed that he had been selling small amounts of the drug to support his wife and infant daughter.

In testimony at his trial, Mr. Wilson conceded the admission but claimed that he had concocted his confession to stop the police from beating him. He said that the man who fled dealt drugs for a living and had tossed the bag of cocaine in Mr. Wilson’s direction when the police burst in.

Prof. Lindsay expressed sympathy for Judge McWatt and speculated that she may have been unaware whether or not she thought Mr. Wilson was guilty. But regardless of that, he said, any reasonable person would conclude that the judge believed he was.

“The judge tainted the jury,” Prof. Lindsay said. “It’s hard to say that they could have made a decision ignoring this.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-01-16 10:29:26

Well now ... looks like Ontario, for once, is well ahead of Great Britain in wasting tax payer's money, stupidity :-)



Miliband's mandatory kill switches criticised

Source: The Register (
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Date: 2012.01.16

Smart meter opponents stacked placards outside the UBCM convention in Vancouver. CBC

Stop this energy smart meter 'fiasco', urged

So-called 'smart meters' are under renewed attack – this time from MPs and Which? magazine, which has recommended a halt to the programme.

Later in the week the Public Accounts Committee is expected to be critical of the ambitious scheme, which comes at a high (£11bn+) cost to consumers, and which critics say is based on shaky maths.

Labour leader Ed Miliband ordered the programme as one of his final gifts to the nation as Energy Secretary. It involves replacing all 53 million gas and electricity meters at UK homes and businesses. The new wireless devices, which call home, are touted as an environmental benefit.

But their sole advantage is strategic: they provide power companies with a remote 'kill switch' to the home. The Climate Change Committee report of a year ago noted that: "Meters will allow supply to be controlled remotely." And don't imagine this is some unfounded scaremongering: it's official.

The bureaucratic euphemism for this shortfall is 'energy unserved', and beginning in five years, the blackouts will begin. Three thousand megawatt hours of energy unserved, which is the shortfall predicted for 2017, means a city the size of Manchester will face a 15-minute blackout every winter night for a month.

When to expect cuts: estimating the UK's "energy unserved" (Source: DECC)

Which? has found that people don't trust the power meters, fearing a lock to a single supplier. It wants the programme halted until the costs can be better estimated. Last year the National Audit office cast doubt about its cost and effectiveness. It also cast doubt on the 'green' case for smart meters.

According to proponents, the new meters give the householder more information, and therefore reduce overall power demand. Forty per cent of the final guesstimated saving is said to come from this kind of behaviour – the rest comes from laying off human meter readers. It's essential to switch demand from peak to off-peak times. But not everybody can afford to monitor the usage on this kind of obsessive level, for example. They don't have the time or ideological commitment to count every milliwatt.

In addition, most domestic power goes on heating and cooking, and is therefore essential. The NAO found that conservation, the biggest selling point of the new meters, is unproven. The NAO identified "uncertainty, based on the evidence available so far, about the extent to which smart meters will result in changed energy use by consumers over a sustained period." The pilot didn't demonstrate value for money, the NAO noted at the time. Even DECC's own figures estimate a saving of just £23 a year by 2020, which doesn't take into account rises in energy bills.

So here we are, and it looks very much like the ID Card scheme all over again: a vast top-down technocratic exercise based on dubious cost estimates. Alas, when the Coalition took power, it vowed to accelerate the programme, rather than scrap it. But it's fortunate so far, in that the only significant public opposition to smart meters worldwide has come from the tinfoil hat brigade, fretting about 'electrosmog'. Isn't freezing the poor to death a rather stronger argument against them?

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-01-18 11:55:51

Oops ......



[size=5][color=red]Busted: Canadian Parliament Hosts BitTorrent Pirates

Source: Torrent Freak (
Author: Ernesto
Date: 2012.01.01


YouHaveDownloaded is a great resource that reveals what people behind an IP-address have downloaded on BitTorrent.

The founders of the site developed the service so people can show what others have been downloading.
Over the past weeks we’ve used the service to expose the most fierce defenders of copyright, and today the focus is on Canada, where the government is preparing to ram through a revamped copyright bill.
The Conservative majority government has reintroduced the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act Bill C-11, which according to experts will have disastrous consequences for consumers.
But while politicians are taking a stand against piracy, staffers at their very own parliament are downloading torrents left and right.
Several IP-addresses assigned to the Canadian House of Commons have been caught pirating copyrighted material.

A copy of the game Need for Speed for example, the film Loosies, very expensive software from Adobe and a leaked version of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.


The Canadian parliament is in good company though. Previously we were able to show that unauthorized downloads occur even in the most unexpected of places, from the palace of the French President, via the Church of God, to the RIAA and the US House of Representatives. Ironically, the RIAA blames another company for pirating though their IP-addresses.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-01-28 17:31:41

Seems you can't trust anyone these days; not even the media.




Source: Kazan (
Author: Kristen Shane, Carl Meyer
Date: 2012.01.26


‘Usually…you don’t have farewell parties if you’ve been expelled:’ Former protocol chief

Current and former members of the Ottawa diplomatic community were left with more questions than answers after news emerged last week alleging Russian diplomats were expelled in connection with the case of a Canadian naval officer accused of passing secrets to a “foreign entity.”

On Jan. 16, Canadian naval intelligence officer Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle was charged under the Security of Information Act with communicating information that, in the words of the Act, may “increase the capacity of a foreign entity or a terrorist group to harm Canadian interests.”

Three days later, media reports began surfacing of a Canadian intelligence leak to Moscow, and named possible Russian embassy staff members involved. But within hours of these stories, other Canadian news outlets began reporting that friends and colleagues of two of the named diplomats had held goodbye parties for them—and they departed weeks before Mr. Delisle was charged.

South African acting high commissioner Anesh Maistry held one of those parties, for attaché Konstantin Kolpakov, on Dec. 20 at his home. Embassy staff attended along with about 15 other journalists, diplomats, and others.

“Personally, I just think that at the present moment this is just media speculation,” said Mr. Maistry, on Jan. 22, upon reading the news.

“Nothing tangible has come out, considering that the Canadian government hasn’t put anything down officially; they haven’t announced anything.”

Norwegian Ambassador Else Berit Eikeland was similarly struck by the commentary bouncing around in media reports.

“There seems to be a lot of speculation in the media now about these people,” she said, “I really want to have it confirmed or get some more information.”

Former Canadian ambassador to Russia Christopher Westdal said the diplomatic community was likely buzzing about “the rush to judgment.”

He said in instances like this, diplomats would be writing reports home about the story, about how it affected fellow envoys, and about the procedure of arresting Sub-Lt. Delisle under the Act.

The government has not confirmed media speculation that Mr. Delisle was spying for Russia, and none of the charges against him have been proven in court.

Foreign Minister John Baird told the Globe in the Jan. 20 report that “the matter is before the courts and on a national security file; I am just not inclined to comment at this time.”

When reached later that day by Embassy, Mr. Baird’s spokesperson, Joseph Lavoie, stuck by the same line, and so did Public Safety Minister Vic Toews when questioned by media during a news conference.

The Russian embassy would also not comment on the story on Jan. 20. But Russia’s foreign ministry posted on Twitter that “Canadian media reports of Russian diplomats being expelled from Canada are surprising, as they left in 2011 on completing their secondment.”

Not much is known about two administrative and technical staff that were named in reports, Mikhail Nikiforov and Tatiana Steklova. They were not well-known within the diplomatic community that regularly attends receptions and events.

Mr. Kolpakov and another one of the named Russian envoys, assistant defence attaché Lt.-Col. Dmitry Fedorchatenko, however, were more known as they attended such events. Embassy profiled Mr. Kolpakov for a story published in August. A tall, soft-spoken man from Kazan, he joined the Russian foreign service in 2004 and had served in Canada since November 2006.

As an attaché, he worked a variety of jobs while in Canada including organizing the Russian delegation’s logistics for the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Canada and, more recently, working as an assistant to the ambassador.

Mr. Maistry knew him professionally through diplomatic functions and said Mr. Kolpakov told him in September of his coming departure. Friends of Mr. Kolpakov said he had told them he would leave Canada at Christmas.

“I don’t know if there’s much credible [information] in the newspaper articles surrounding the fact that he was removed off the diplomatic list, because he was removed off the diplomatic list in January—the man had left already just before Christmas. So it’s really for me quite immaterial and not really plausible,” he said.

German defence attaché Lt.-Col. Kay Kuhlen told Postmedia News that Department of National Defence officials informed him in early November that Lt.-Col. Fedorchatenko would be leaving that month. Another goodbye party was hosted for him “after nearly three years in Ottawa,” at the Venezuelan embassy on Nov. 10. It added he left Canada “a few days later.”

Robert Collette, a former chief of protocol for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said the link between Russian envoys and Sub-Lt. Delisle was a believable story, “but it could also be a story that doesn’t have credibility.”

“You could also take it apart, given that they all left, and given that at least two of them had farewell parties. Usually…you don’t have farewell parties if you’ve been expelled…it’s not a moment that you want to savour.”

Mr. Collette, who spent 35 years with the department, said when he was there staff tried to update the diplomatic list as quickly as possible after a change. It wasn’t done every day, but maybe once a month, he said.

He said that when someone is made persona non grata and expelled—the toughest action Canada can take against a diplomat—they typically leave within 24 to 48 hours, or perhaps a week.

It’s possible that a diplomat causing the ire of a host country may not be declared persona non grata but that an agreement is reached between the two parties, he said. That could give diplomats more time to leave.

He also said it is unusual but the government could declare a diplomat persona non grata after they have left to ensure they never come back, as a kind of “life sentence.”

But he noted that the public could only speculate on the facts of the case until further information is released by governments or through the court system.

Long history of spycraft

After Soviet embassy clerk Igor Gouzenko’s 1945 defection revealed the presence of Soviet spying in Canada, Russia and Canada took turns expelling a number of each other’s diplomats throughout the 1970s and ’80s.

In those Cold War days, Mr. Collette said, countries conducted tit-for-tat expulsions in which the people expelled were not always sanctioned for their own actions, but in general retaliation.

Now, he said, “We would not normally engage in a tit-for-tat.”

The last Russian diplomats to be expelled from Canada were in November 2002, when two left for “activities in Canada inconsistent with their diplomatic status.” In response, Russia expelled two Canadian diplomats the next month.

Russia also expelled two Canadian diplomats working at a NATO information office in Moscow in May 2009, but assured then-foreign minister Lawrence Cannon that it was meant to be a protest against NATO, not Canada.

Russia-Canada relations under the Harper Conservatives have sometimes been tense. Canada supported Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty during the Georgia-Russia war in August 2008, and Defence Minister Peter MacKay in February 2009 linked a Russian bomber flight to US President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was concerned about the “increasingly aggressive Russian actions around the globe.”

But in recent months, the relationship seemed to have warmed somewhat with signs that Mr. Harper’s statements towards Russia were shifting.

As for the current spy story, “we’ve had spies in the 1940s and we continue to have them. It’s a different kind of spying, but it still takes place,” said Mr. Collette.

CTV Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife, who was one of the earliest to report the expulsions, noted to Embassy in an interview that the government has not denied the facts of his story.

“[There are] a lot of things we still don’t know,” he said. He was reluctant to talk about how he does his stories.

“Stories that are about espionage or about intelligence are kind of like onions—they get peeled back layer after layer,” said Christopher Waddell, director of the Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication.

Making the decision when to report is a function of whom a reporter’s sources are, whether they are in a position to know what they say, their motives behind sharing the information, and what the implications of reporting something wrong would be.

He noted that there is still no confirmed version of how many diplomats were expelled from Canada, if any. He said it seems reasonable to assume that the most likely source of the stories was someone speaking off the record inside the government.

“In a world where no one wants to confirm anything, it’s possible to write stories that speculate about lots of things,” he said.

Mr. Westdal said if it turns out that the Russians were not involved, “someone will owe the Russians an apology, but I think it will be principally journalists.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-02-19 18:34:14

[Fritz] There are signs of a cold wind blowing across the nation, it would seem.

RCMP investigating ‘threats of criminal acts’ against Vic Toews

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-03-07 11:58:42

[Fritz]Current email humour floating around this great nation

Stephen Harper goes to a primary school to talk to the kids

Prime Minister Stephen Harper goes to a primary school to talk to the kids. After his
talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand, and Harper asks him his name.

"Walter," responds the little boy.

"And what is your question, Walter?"

"I have three questions:

First, why are you buying new jet fighters when you can’t afford to pay
Old Age Pensioners any more money..??

Second, why are you building more jails when the crime rate is dropping..??

Third, did the Federal Conservative party phone voters and tell them to
go to wrong or non-existent polling stations in the 2011 election..??"

Just then, the bell rings for recess. Harper informs the kiddies that they
will continue after recess.

When they resume, Harper says, "OK, where were we? Oh, that's right:
question time. Who has a question?"

Another little boy puts up his hand. Harper points him out and asks him his name.

"Steve," he responds.

"And what is your question, Steve?"

"Actually, I have two questions:

First, why did the recess bell ring 20 minutes early..??

Second, what happened to Walter..??"

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-04-11 10:32:47

I wish a little truth could prevail; this is about establishing the image that money is being saved, so staffing dollars are being rejigged.

The real savings would be in cleaning house in the Executive Management category and above; were the incompetence is harboured and bad expensive decisions on an epic scale are made. This is were the real money drain is happening. This needs to apply to the federal union management as well, since they are part of the problem; big time.

It is time for Harper to stop toying with the rank and file, and rebuilt from the top down; cause it's broke. He has the mandate and the opportunity; if he blows it, history will judge him accordingly.




Date: 2012.04.11

CBC North will lose six jobs as the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. moves to cut 475 positions this year to deal with budget cuts. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Aglukkaq defends NAHO cut, citing "repeated organizational problems"

Tens of thousands of federal employees are bracing for the axe to begin dropping April 11 when the government notifies the largest number of departments and agencies yet about pending job and service cuts.

Health Canada announced last week that $5 million of the $74.2 million to be cut from the department’s budget this year will come from eliminating the National Aboriginal Health Organization, which oversaw research and outreach programs.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement the organization had “repeated organizational problems.”

“The National Aboriginal Health Organization has had repeated organizational problems. Health Canada worked with NAHO in an attempt to resolve these issues but, unfortunately, they were not addressed. This has led to some member organizations withdrawing their support from NAHO.”

Aglukkaq says the government has ensured that aboriginals will not be forgotten in the wake of the organization’s closure June 30.

“To show our continued commitment to the well-being of First Nations, the budget tabled last week had significant investments for health, water, and education,” she said.

“Our focus at the federal level will be on preserving front-line health-care services to First Nations and Inuit. We continue to make major investments in aboriginal health, nursing, and research, and are investing over $30 million per year in aboriginal health research and approximately $2.2-billion in the First Nation and Inuit Health program.”

Meetings are scheduled this week at Veterans Affairs Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and others as the government moves ahead with its plan to cut 19,200 federal public servants over the next three years.

Last week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. announced it would be cutting 650 jobs, including 475 positions this year, to absorb a budget cut of $115 million by 2014-15.

On Tuesday, CBC informed staff of a breakdown of some of the cuts, including the elimination of 88 full-time job from CBC News to save $10 million in operating costs.

Six jobs will be lost in the CBC North operations.

With files from Nunatsiaq News

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-04-17 21:38:38

So we have to endure 20 minutes of commercials for every hour of Television; well that was the deal and it was free. Now Bell which owns CTV want to us to pay for all Television programing even if we get it on antenna.

So much for 60 years of a social contracts; next CBC will ask for fees to watch it as well, plus take our tax dollars to run it.

If the programming was worth while and their were no adds ....maybe .... aahh NOT.

If you are on the east coast, point your dishes at the European 'Birds' that is were the only 'free to air channels' while be.

The rest of us will have to dig up all those VHS tape we made off of regular TV and watch that.

I trust Canadians will cancel their satellite and cable services in the droves unless they have money they don't know what to do with.

"The Piss-ant Swamp grows as the Dark Forces prevail"




Source: Globe and Mail (
Date: 2012.04.17


Free network TV? Not if Bell gets its way

Some days, it might seem as if nobody watches broadcast television any more. All you hear about are the buzzy shows on cable (HBO’s Girls, AMC’s Mad Men) and alternative distribution platforms (iTunes, Netflix). But then you glance at the ratings and realize that most of the top 50 shows are still on good old-fashioned network TV.
More related to this story

Astral goes mobile with HBO app
Bell buys Astral: Another brick in the wall of bland
BCE-Astral deal likely to spur job cuts

Which is why a hearing that unfolded at the Supreme Court of Canada on Tuesday could hold a nasty surprise for millions of viewers across the country: the death of free television.

Bell Media, the vertically integrated TV Godzilla that already owns more than two dozen specialty channels and is on track to pick up another clutch of them if its parent company’s acquisition of Astral Media Inc. is approved, has asked the court for the right to charge viewers who want to watch its flagship broadcaster, CTV.

Canadians are so accustomed to paying money to cable and satellite companies (known in the industry’s bland parlance as “broadcast distribution undertakings,” or BDUs) that they may not realize that broadcast television remains free, just as it has been since TV first came to Canada about 60 years ago.

The system has served all the parties pretty well: In exchange for plucking the broadcasters’ signals out of the air and then sending them out to customers, BDUs help the channels snag eyeballs by placing them at the low end of the cable or satellite dial and offering them in their basic packages. BDUs also help the broadcasters by blocking the U.S. signals of shows whose Canadian distribution rights have been bought by those domestic channels. (That’s why we end up watching Canadian commercials during the Super Bowl, so the money from the ad sales flows to CTV rather than NBC.)

But when the recession started to dry up their advertising sales a few years ago, Canadian broadcasters began enviously eyeing the business models of their specialty-channel competitors such as TSN, Showcase and Bravo!, which have two revenue streams – ads and subscription fees – and harrumphed about being left out of the subscription game.

They asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for the right to negotiate fees from the BDUs – they called it “fee for carriage” or “value for signal” – and the CRTC gave them the green light. Rogers, Telus, Shaw and Cogeco – some of the country’s largest BDUs – pushed back, insisting that the commission had overstepped its jurisdiction. The last thing they wanted was to have to add new fees to already rising cable and satellite bills.

Which, in time, is how it came to be that Canadians learned on Tuesday that some of Madam Justice Rosalie Abella’s favourite shows air on CTV.

In a delicious follow-the-money case study, BCE Inc., which owns Bell Media, originally sided with the other distributors. Then it snapped up CTV and promptly changed its position on the matter. And everyone seems to have forgotten that the original justification for changing the system – that the broadcasters were in danger of dying – is no longer the case: Revenues are back up, as are profit margins.

In its court papers, Bell argues that fee for carriage would enable market forces to work properly, “to determine the fair value of programming services.” That’s a knee-slapper (all right, maybe a free-market enthusiast is the only type who would find it funny) because the Canadian TV industry is one of the most intensely regulated in the country. It is as much a creation of the federal government as the private sector, and it is now dominated by three massive players – Bell, Rogers and Shaw – which effectively form an oligopoly. Market forces have never been much of a consideration, and they still aren’t.

In the United States, where market forces have a little more sway, the system has spawned some riveting battles between broadcasters and cable companies, with viewers serving as pawns. A couple of years ago, millions of Cablevision customers missed out on the opening of the World Series after News Corporation pulled its Fox channel and took out newspaper and radio ads attacking the cable company. Cablevision responded in kind, but it caved in the end: Cable companies almost always give in, because they’re the ones taking the phone calls from angry viewers who just want to watch the goddamned game.

It could be even uglier up here, where Bell-owned CTV might snub a perfectly reasonable offer from the BDUs and then roll out a marketing campaign playing up the fact that – whaddya’ know? – Bell’s own satellite and FIBE services is still offering the channel. Timed right – say, just before the Oscars, or the Super Bowl – it could force the cable companies to accept outrageous prices just to secure those marquee shows, rather than deal with angry mobs. Rogers and the others aren’t going to have much luck explaining to customers that they’re just trying to keep their bills low.

“Try to imagine what would occur if a blackout occurred on the eve of the [Olympic] gold-medal hockey game,” a lawyer for one of the cable companies said on Tuesday. “You’re striking fear into our hearts,” one of the judges said.

More related to this story

Why Canadian TV didn't have the big Super Bowl ads (and how you can watch them anyway)
Shaw appeals CRTC ruling
BCE's Cope forges ahead with convergence
Rogers exits video-store business
Canada needs to reinvent CRTC, outgoing head says
Rogers, BCE vying for a bite of Apple’s iTV

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-04-21 17:16:37

This is over 2 years old now but given the politico elite duk'in it out in the Wild Rose Province for the coming election. The cry of the wild brown tailed nut-bar can be heard; "Climate change is not real " .... " the evidence is inconclusive" ....

Well it seems, to turn Gwynn Dyer loose again, was timely.




Source: TVO (
Author: Allen Gregg
Date: 2009



Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-05-25 13:39:13

"Social-Contracts" the thin edge of the wedge it would seem. The flash point seems always easy to dismiss as silly; when what's another $300.00 a year in tuition, but this is like a huge vast fungus of discontent whose hyphae are making their way through the soils and roots of our society.

I think the folks in charge are asleep at the switch and are dramatically underestimated what is to come as the promises of our "Fathers" are just buried whenever they mushrooms. .... but then no one expects the 'Zombie Apocalypse', least of those at the helm.

Cheers for the Fungus among us and may it continue to mushroom where it is least expected.



Source: Al Jazeera (
Author: Daniel Lak
Date: 2012.05.23


Students are enraged over a tuition fee hike, although many in the province believe it was necessary and long overdue.

What's going on in Quebec right now is - frankly - a puzzle to many outside the Canadian province.

Every day and night now for nearly a month, and only a little less frequently for more than two months before that, many young Quebeckers have taken to the streets, waving banners, chanting slogans and occasionally flinging rocks, smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails.

More than 100,000 of them came out to mark 100 days of protests on Tuesday..
Canada protests against tuition-fee increase continue

Montreal has witnessed most of the mayhem: subway systems have been shut down, bar patrons pepper-sprayed by police, windows smashed, thousands arrested.

Dozens of schools of higher education have been closed as students boycotting classes are refusing to let others study.

And for what?

Government plans to hike college and university tuition by about $300 a year until 2019, that's what.

These increases will make Quebec's already low post-secondary tuition costs - still among Canada's least expensive - even after all the hikes are implemented.

And never mind the United States, where one year of undergraduate education at an Ivy League school can set you back $50,000 or more. Or the United Kingdom, where David Cameron's coalition government has made the country's once-free universities among Europe's most expensive.

What's the fuss about?

Right now, Quebec's young scholars shell out just over $2,000 a year for a university degree, not including their living costs. That will be closer to $4,000 if the government gets its way. But even in the rest of Canada, the average is between $6,000 and $7,000.

As many Canadians, Americans, Britons and others have been asking, what's all the fuss about?

As always, it depends on who you ask and what your politics are.

Here's what the students - and their supporters among teachers, unions, left-leaning politicians and artists - say:

Quebec has a social contract, a collectivist sense of itself, and its inexpensive post-secondary education has been a part of that for generations. Until the 1960s, the Roman Catholic church and right-wing politicians held huge sway and the province's education system was the country's worst.

Reform in the 1960s ushered in sweeping social change and promises of universal access to higher education.

Quebec's current provincial government is breaking that promise. Many students and their adult fellow travellers on the left virulently oppose the administration's slightly right-of-centre approach to public finances and what they call its "neo-liberal" policies.


Then there's the government's point of view. Throughout the nine years that the current Liberal Party administration has been in office, there has been pressure to raise tuition fees, significantly from universities themselves. Studies show a marked decline at Quebec's post-secondary institutions, and this government has tried several times before to hike fees.

Even former leading figures of the opposition separatist Parti Quebecois - a more left-leaning party - have said it's time to end Quebec's cheap tuition.

Provincial finances in general are not good. Taxes in the province are already the highest in Canada, thanks in part to an extensive system of entitlements.

That includes post-secondary tuition, which is less expensive in real terms than it was in the 1960s, when Quebeckers first started going to university in droves.

The provincial government also points out - correctly - that only a third of students were actually boycotting classes. Most just want to finish their education, whatever it costs.

Lead by their powerful students' unions, the protesters have said all along - even before this latest round of protests - that they wanted talks with the government, which finally consulted them last month when the demonstrations were showing no signs of ebbing.

Widening gulf

The talks produced nothing but more disagreement, although there were hints of compromise on both sides. A very moderate compromise. But students' demand for a tuition freeze, contrasted with the govenment's demand for a tuition hike, meant that there was no common ground whatsoever.

Then the gulf grew wider.

The students upped the ante in mid-May when protesters roamed through a Montreal campus, enforcing a boycott with verbal and physical force. They called students attending class "scabs" as if they were breaking a strike at a steel mill.

The government's response was quick and harsh. Emergency legislation temporarily closing strike-affected colleges was introduced. So were fines on strikers and even stiffer penalties on their leaders and students' unions.

The "emergency law" passed after a marathon debate, amid widespread criticism of its more draconian aspects from lawyers and human rights groups. Again, opinion polls indicate solid public support for the idea of ending the strike - if not all of the harsh penalties aimed at demonstrators.

So far, the new law has only exacerbated matters, with students vowing to defy the law and police using tear gas, rubber bullets and mass arrests to quell "illegal" protests.

It seems like a lot of fuss for an extra $300 or so a year. But with both sides so entrenched, it's looking like they view compromise as the most politically expensive option.

The streets of Quebec don't seem likely to calm down anytime soon. A provincial election is due before the end of next year, and many are wondering if this issue - at once seemingly trivial, yet evidently so serious - might just be best turned over to the voters.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-05-26 00:24:50

[Fritz]This is unfortunately true to the name of the thread. The video is amazing to watch; the way the fire crosses the highway. It is a a scary situation for the folks in the Timmins and Kirkland Lake area.


Raging wildfire leaves Timmins, Ont. Canada in state of emergency[/size]


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: admin on 2012-05-26 15:29:15

[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=120#176017 date=1337967553]
It seems like a lot of fuss for an extra $300 or so a year. But with both sides so entrenched, it's looking like they view compromise as the most politically expensive option.

Does anyone here have sympathy for the protesters? If so, can you explain why?

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-05-27 18:00:38

[quote author=David Lucifer link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=120#176021 date=1338060555]
[quote author=Fritz link=board=69;threadid=42443;start=120#176017 date=1337967553]
It seems like a lot of fuss for an extra $300 or so a year. But with both sides so entrenched, it's looking like they view compromise as the most politically expensive option.

Does anyone here have sympathy for the protesters? If so, can you explain why?

[Fritz]Chats with folks in Quebec, indicate that the separatists are trying to recruite/rally some soldiers; are they ?

The damage to other students not able to complete their years is unforgivable; and I blame both sides of the cluster f@ck.

But I think there are lots of discontent folks in Canada who will launch with the right flash point.

Quebec does have a long tradition of reacting. Then when I put my tin foil hat on I wonder who will gain and for what reason this is encouraged.

Either way there is more to this I suspect.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-06-01 13:57:35

Things not to mail to your MP. ::)




Source: Jakarta Globe (
Author: Michel Comte
Date: 2012.06.01


The investigation quickly brought police to a studio apartment overlooking an expressway

A global manhunt was under way Friday for a Canadian porn star suspected of dismembering his boyfriend and mailing the body parts, after a video of the grisly killing surfaced online.

Interpol posted the picture and profile of Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, who is being hunted across Canada over the killing, first brought to light when a human foot was sent to the headquarters of Canada's ruling Conservative Party.

A hand was later found in the mail at an Ottawa post office, and a torso was discovered in Montreal. Police believe the remains belong to a man who was dating Magnotta -- and that Magnotta is to blame.

Authorities say they believe the suspect, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, may have fled the country.

Interpol said it had issued a "Red Notice" wanted persons alert for Magnotta to its 190 member countries.

"There is no country in the world that is not talking about him," Montreal police commander Ian Lafreniere told public broadcaster CBC Thursday, adding that police have evidence he fled North America.

"There's a lot of heat on him. There's a lot of pressure on him, so we believe that it's going to be hard for him."

The video circulating online shows a man repeatedly stab another man with an ice pick and dismember him, as a song from the soundtrack of the film "American Psycho" plays in the background.

"It's a video of the murder," police told the daily Globe and Mail. The newspaper also reported that the footage showed acts of cannibalism.

Despite efforts to take it down, frustrated police said Thursday the gory 10 and a half minute video first brought to the attention of Canadian authorities by a Montana lawyer has kept popping up all over the Internet.

US civil litigation lawyer Roger Renville told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) he came across the video last Saturday, and informed police in the United States and Canada.

"What I saw in that video exceeds your worst nightmare. It's Jeffrey Dahmer-esque," he said.

When Renville spoke to Canadian police on Sunday, he said they were "very skeptical."

A police officer "suggested that whatever I was seeing must be fake. And he suggested that special effects are pretty good these days and it'd be hard to tell if it was real or not," said Renville.

An investigation was launched Tuesday when a package sent from Montreal was partly opened by the receptionist at the Conservative Party office in Ottawa, who called police after seeing blood stains and being overwhelmed by the smell.

Hours later, a second suspicious package was intercepted by Canada Post at a nearby mail sorting facility. It "contained a human hand," said police.

The probe soon shifted to Montreal, where a torso was discovered by a janitor in a suitcase in a pile of garbage. Police said the torso belonged to a white male but was difficult to identify because of the missing body parts.

The investigation quickly brought police to a studio apartment overlooking an expressway in the neighborhood where the torso was found.

After combing it for evidence, the doors and windows were left open to air out the "pungent" smell of death, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

A CBC reporter, who was let in by the building superintendent, said he saw blood stains on a bed mattress where police say the victim may have been killed, around a bathtub drain, and on other furniture.

Only two months ago, Magnotta wrote in his last known public comments on a blog: "It's not cool to the world being a necrophiliac. It's bloody lonely."

Police have not said whether there was evidence of sexual assault on the victim.

Several websites describe Magnotta as a washed-up porn star and hustler, who allegedly posted videos online of himself torturing kittens.

Online reports also said Magnotta once dated Karla Homolka, who was convicted in 1991 of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the rape and murder of two teenage girls and her sister.

Homolka had claimed in testimony that helped send her husband Paul Bernardo to prison for life that she was abused and an unwilling accomplice to the grisly murders.

But videotapes of the crimes later surfaced showing that she was a more active participant than she had claimed. She was released from prison in 2005 and moved to Montreal.

In a 2007 interview with a Toronto newspaper, Magnotta denied knowing Homolka, who is reportedly now married with three children.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-06-09 16:31:01

"...O'Canada...True North Strong and Free..." . Though this story is brought to us from the Fox news north.




Source: The SUN (
Date: 2012.06.09

Jesse Sansone, 26, holds his four-year-old daughter Nevaeh in this undated photo. Sansone is upset because he was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, after his daughter drew a picture of a man with a gun in her kindergarten class.

The name Jesse Sansone may not register with most readers, but how about the Crayon Dad?

This was the 26-year-old man who earlier this year in Kitchener, Ont., was handcuffed, arrested, and strip-searched by the police, and whose three children were removed by Family and Children's Services, all because his four-year-old daughter had drawn a picture at school that a teacher considered worrying.

"I didn't even know why I was being arrested for a long time," this disarmingly gentle, rather innocent man explains. "I went to pick up my daughter from school, and the police were waiting for me. I was handcuffed, put in the back of the cruiser, with children from my daughter's school looking in. When I asked the police why they were doing this, they advised me not to say anything."

The charge was, it turned out, possession of a firearm.

Earlier this week, the police issued a rather perfunctory apology, not for arresting and humiliating him, but for the strip search.

"It doesn't seem enough," Sansone says. "I believe I deserve something more. Nobody has ever seen the picture, as it was rubbed off the board. They say it was of me shooting monsters. But so what?"

The teacher who made the complaint apparently thought the alleged picture drawn by a four-year-old of daddy fighting monsters merited calling Family and Children's Services, who decided to involve police, and Jesse and his wife's horror began. They have been sweethearts since they were teenagers, they are happily married, religious and law-abiding people. Good folks.

"At no time did anybody actually call me, and ask me anything," he says, a little nervous and clearly still stunned by the whole thing.

"I mean, the school had offered me a job not long before, and the principal knew me. He later called to apologize, said he knew nothing about it, which I find difficult to believe."

His children have had to move to another school of course, after the ritual humiliation and traumatization. Pathetically, his daughter thought she had hurt daddy. And his reputation was hardly improved by the number of cops and social workers getting involved. Yet at no time was there any evidence of any wrongdoing or any gun.

When the school authorities were asked about the appalling case, a pompous twit at the board explained that they "co-parent" with parents. The audacity and arrogance is breathtaking!

Those who work at the school itself have said very little, and the panicked teacher has not shown any contrition or, as far as we know, been penalized or suspended. The police, who according to Sansone misled him and gave him no chance to explain, built a blue wall around those officers and their superiors who thought this civilized behaviour in a free society.

As for the social workers, they of course have escaped consequences because social workers almost always do.

Jesse would like a genuine apology, and while he is not asking for it, surely deserves compensation.

If he was an Islamic terrorist, there would be lawyers all over him. Alas, he's a simple, working-class guy living an ordinary life, and those people apparently don't matter very much in modern Canada.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-06-18 23:18:27

Oh my; when the Banksters start indicating the sky might be falling one has to wonder what is afoot. It remains to be seen what the shell games will be this time or what expectations are being managed.

And we are told we are in better shape then the US ?




Source: Times Colonist (
Author: Gordon Isfeld, Financial Post
Date: 2012.06.14

[img width=450 height=300]

OTTAWA — Canadian households be warned: Your finances could soon be hit with a big shock.

The spillover from an unbridled European financial crisis would carry over to this side of the ocean, first rocking the U.S banking sector and then ours.

Already debt-burdened households would begin defaulting on their mortgages, banks would start tightening their lending, jobs would be lost and the hot housing market would go into the deep freeze, as fewer people would be able to buy.

Oh yes, interest rates would jump.

That’s the bleak picture painted by the Bank of Canada on Thursday in its bi-annual Financial System Review.

Given all the uncertainty that engulfs the euro crisis at the moment, this may not even be the worst-case scenario. “Conditions in the international financial system are fragile,” the central bank said in the review.

“If the sovereign debt crisis in Europe continues to intensify, it would further weaken global economic growth and prompt a general retrenchment from risk. In turn, the weaker global outlook would fuel sovereign fiscal strains and impair the credit quality of bank-loan portfolios.”

Over the past six months, these growing concerns “reflect widespread doubts about the capacity and resolve of policy makers to address unsustainable fiscal situations, the capital adequacy of some euro-area banks and the underlying balance-of-payments problems within the euro area,” the review says.

The central bank warns that “if these issues are not dealt with in an orderly way, the contagion, effects on global financial conditions could be significant.”

In Canada, the high indebtedness of households and bloated house prices “require continued vigilance.”

“These conditions make households especially vulnerable to adverse shock,” the bank said, adding that high household debted levels continue to be “the most important domestic risk to financial stability in Canada.”

To be sure, some Canadian consumers have heeded calls for restraint from the likes of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.

The central bank noted that households have been piling on debt at a slower rate recently, with the ratio of debt-to-income basically unchanged from a peak of 150.6% in the last quarter of 2011 — but that’s still higher than households in the U.S. and the U.K.

Growth in borrowing — both for mortgage and non-mortgage purposes — has slowed from an annualized 6% between May and October 2011 to 4% from November 2011 to April 2012.

“Households need to be cognizant of the fact that borrowing rates will eventually normalize and ensure that they will be able to service new and existing debt over the duration of their loans.”

The Bank of Canada went even further in its analysis, saying households could be hit by two inter-related shocks — a big drop in house prices and a “sharp deterioration in labour market conditions.”

“The initial decrease in house prices may be amplified by the links with the real sectors of the economy as lower confidence and lower household net worth lead to reduced household spending and employment. These interrelated factors would reduce economic activity and increase strains on household balance sheets.”

The “elevated” supply of condominiums entering the market over the next few years “is particularly noteworthy,” the bank said.

“Adjusted for population levels, multiples under construction in major metropolitan areas, especially Toronto, are above historical highs. If these units are not absorbed by demand as they are completed over the next 18 to 36 months, the demand-supply imbalance will become more pronounced.”

Also under the bank’s shock scenario, Canada’s jobless rate would rise by three percentage points and lengthen the average period of unemployment by six weeks.

“When subjected to a persistent unemployment shock that reaches its peak in 2013, the proportion of household loans in arrears at domestic financial institutions is projected to rise to 1.3%, compared with roughly 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-06-30 16:37:07

[Fritz]Raise a beer to this Land :-)

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-07-25 14:15:18

So clearly we don't pay the government to administer' just give our money to their cronies .




Source: NUPGE (


Public service jobs of the people of Ontario have been outsourced to the U.S. for profit.

Sign for an Authorized Issuer of Fishing Licenses from the Ontario Ministry of Natural resourcesToronto (28 May 2012) - Sarah Campbell, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Kenora-Rainy River, is calling on the province's Privacy Commissioner to investigate increasing concerns that residents' personal information is being compromised by a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) decision to outsource hunting and fishing licenses to a Tennessee company.

After raising concerns about the outsourcing just over a month ago, Campbell says her offices have received a number of calls from residents concerned with their personal information being stored across the border.

"When a member of the public calls the MNR licensing phone line, they are now warned that personal information will be stored outside of Canada, and will be subject to the laws of the jurisdiction where it is stored," Campbell wrote in a letter to the commissioner.

While the Ministry claims its contract with the American company forbids the use of information collected, American laws like the Patriot Act can require that private information be turned over to a third party.

In Question Period, Campbell grilled the Minister of Natural Resources over the decision to outsource the services.

"Why are Ontarians losing out on jobs because services are being sold off to companies in other countries, all while putting our privacy at risk?" asked Campbell. "There's close to 600,000 people out of work in this province and now, more jobs that could very well be performed by people in this province as a public service have been outsourced to the United States for profit."

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-08-26 10:51:55

So let me understand this. The Provincial government systematically cripple Private Family Practices, to the point where a single family practice is not viable to run; forcing doctors into a myriad of health models run by LHINS ( classic shell game divide and conquer ); that are run by non health care individuals (adding yet another layer of people and cost that doesn't go to providing health care and appointed by the government). Now the government have Healthcare Professionals by the short and 'curlys' and the government is going to cut back on Healthcare Professionals and reduce the healthcare provider's income. Well folks as you lie dying somewhere waiting for healthcare; remember you voted this government into power twice.

And for the rest of the country, if the Ontario government gets away with it; this is the solution for the rest of the Canada; all Healthcare Professionals with be salary civil servants with a bureaucratic empire above them telling them exactly what to do and not do for their patients. Great Britain tried this and surprise, surprise, it failed.

For the record and my calculations, has a Family Physician delivering excellent healthcare and at half the cost as the new Healthcare Models.

Just Anguish and Screams



Source: OMA (
Author: Dr. Doug Weir, OMA President
Date: 2012.08.24

[img width=300 height=150]

Ministry Delays PEM Applications

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has arbitrarily delayed the processing of applications for patient enrolment models (PEMs), which is negatively impacting family physicians and patient access to care in many communities across Ontario.

The Ministry has stated: “The processing of applications is being delayed pending a review of policies and procedures related to registration of groups/physicians in the various primary care physician compensation models. The policy review is intended to ensure that assignment of physician resources in the primary care models is directed in areas of greatest need through the introduction of a needs-based assessment tool, which will include input from the LHINs.

Assignment of commencement dates for new groups/physicians (excluding physicians signing the Comprehensive Care Model agreement, replacement physicians and contracted/locum physicians) is delayed as this policy review proceeds. New physician applicants are being held in a queue and will be processed in order of receipt, and in accordance with the amended policy, as soon as possible.”

The Ministry has provided no firm answer as to when this review will be completed and when the processing of applications will resume.

The OMA is working to investigate this delay and provide support to affected physicians. These delays are one of the consequences of the government’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith with the OMA so that such problems could be solved in a co-operative fashion before they adversely affect patients and physicians.

Questions regarding the PEM process may be forwarded to the Ministry’s toll-free line at 1.866.766.0266.

Health Quality Ontario Expert Panels

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has been working to establish expert panels and reaching out to various clinical specialties in an attempt to garner their support and participation to assist the Ministry in resolving health service delivery problems that have arisen as a result of its unilateral changes.

Recently, general and family physicians have been requested to participate in expert panels associated with Health Quality Ontario (HQO), an independent agency funded by the provincial government through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The Section on General and Family Practice (SGFP) has asked family physicians to refrain from participating in the HQO panels.

The SGFP notes, “We view this as the government trying to achieve their goals outside of negotiations and as an attempted ‘end run’ around the OMA. Despite the call for family MD participants, we are asking family MDs to not participate in these groups until the government decides to embark on meaningful negotiations.

Ultimately, family physicians need to be involved for HQO’s initiatives to be clinically relevant and realistically implementable, and we look forward to helping develop guidelines and identifying efficiencies once the government decides they actually value physician participation in Ontario’s health care arena.”

The OMA strongly supports the Section’s position. The issues associated with these expert panels should be dealt with directly at the negotiations table. Further, we do not support the Ministry attempting to bypass the representation rights of the Ontario Medical Association and proceeding with a “divide and conquer” tactic.

Dr. Doug Weir

OMA President


Hamilton Spectator (

Hamilton’s Local Health Integration Network ranks 11th out of Ontario’s 14 LHINs, based on the results of a massive health-care report card created by The Hamilton Spectator.

The Spectator’s groundbreaking analysis compares the performances of Ontario’s LHINs across a wide spectrum of 266 different variables that measure population health, wait times, access to care and health system efficiency. The variables were further broken down into seven categories, such as cancer, cardiovascular issues and chronic diseases.

It’s believed to be the first time that Ontario’s LHINs have been compared and ranked on such a comprehensive scale.


INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: A snapshot of Ontarios LHINs



Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-08-28 09:08:17

[Fritz]Clear and present reminder why so often it hurts to sit down when you live in Canada . . .

One last thing – ABG reader Keith R came up with this interesting table of price differences between the U.S. and Canada for three of the best-known plug-in vehicles (not factoring in the exchange rate), and it makes for interesting reading:

Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Standard $27,990 (U.S.) vs. $32,998 (CAN) = +17.9 percent
Premium $29,990 (U.S.) vs. $35,998 (CAN) = +20 percent

Nissan Leaf
SV $32,780 (U.S.) vs. $38,395 (CAN) = +17.1 percent
SL $33,720 (U.S.) vs. $39,995 (CAN) = +18.6 percent

Chevrolet Volt
$41,000 (U.S.) vs. $41,545 (CAN) = +1.3 percent

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-09-04 19:07:31

I've met John and know his dad. John has done serious work examining the Agricultural industry globally and really had a need to raise the awareness of how agriculture is being marginalized or corporatizes as the majority Canadians have become city dweller and politician have written farmers off.

I have to guess that the BC road blocks have political over tones and agendas.

"No Farmers No Food"




Source: CTV News (
Author: Staff
Date: 2012.09.02


John Varty is creating a film on the Canadian family farm while on a countrywide journey, but has hit a roadblock in B.C. Sept. 1, 2012.

Read more:


An Ontario couple travelling across the country on a tractor to document the lives of Canadian farmers has been pulled off the road in British Columbia, just 600 kilometres shy of their final destination.

John Varty and his partner Molly Daley have spent the past two summers trekking across each province and collecting footage for a documentary they hope will raise awareness about the serious issues challenging Canadian farmers.

The couple started their mission on July 1, 2011 in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and had hoped to wrap up their journey on Sept. 15 in Victoria, B.C.

But just as they neared the end of their trip, the pair hit a roadblock in the B.C. interior.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. is demanding that Varty and Daley purchase an extra permit for their tractor and the RCMP is insisting they hire a slow-moving vehicle to accompany them for the remainder of their journey.

The vehicle is required to warn motorists of the slow-moving tractor, said the RCMP. The couple says they didn’t require a vehicle escort in any other provinces they crossed.

Varty told CTV British Columbia that the RCMP also forbade them from driving at all during the Labour Day long weekend.

“It just seems that there are an array of requirements here in B.C. that we have not heard anything about in any other province,” Varty, a former university professor who grew up on a family farm in Ontario, said.

Varty told that he and Daley must now decided whether to forge ahead with the journey as planned or to sell their tractor and return to their Hamilton, Ont. home.

If they decide to proceed with the trip they will face two major problems: the rising cost of the trip and staying on the road past their mid-September finish date.

Varty said the cost of hiring a vehicle to accompany them will add substantially to their overhead. Varty estimates he’s already spent around $85,000 of his own money to fund the trip, not including the salary he’s given up to embark on the journey.

Also, the couple would like to return home as planned, as they have family members who have been taking care of their home and their pets, said Varty.

“It's not that we're obsessed with a specific finish date, it's just that many family members back home are taking up some slack in terms of looking after our pets, so it's time that we get back there and relieve our family,” wrote Varty.

If the couple cannot secure funding to help them cover the cost of the accompanying vehicle, they will consider selling their tractor and returning home, said Varty.

Even if Varty and Daley return home, they said they are committed to returning to B.C. by plane to collect the stories of farmers from the West Coast.

“I've reached out to WestJet for a possible sponsorship whereby they agree to fly us back out here so that B.C. farmers aren't missed in the story. I'm waiting to hear back,” wrote Varty.

However, Varty said he hopes he won’t have to quit this close to the end. He has the support of several hundred farmers urging him to continue.

“It is a little unfortunate that after all the goodwill we’ve had -- all of the farmers pouring out their emails and phone calls and telling us how grateful they are -- it is unfortunate that it looks like, for the time being anyways, B.C. farmers won’t get their voice in that story,” he said.

“We’ll find another way, but we’re so close. You’d like to think we could close this chapter in the next week and a half and B.C. people would be represented.”

Varty estimates he’s received around 700 messages of support from farmers either through Facebook or emails.

One Victoria-area farmer even offered to cover the cost of Varty and Daley’s ferry passage so that they could finish their trek in Victoria.

“Farmers love this thing and they want to see us succeed,” Varty said. “We’ve had direct emails from major farm organizations like the Canadian Federation of Agriculture giving us a strong note of support and acknowledging that what we’re doing for farmers is great.”

To date, Varty and Daley have travelled 6,500 kilometres at a speed averaging around 29 km/h.

The couple lives in an 80-square-foot shack on wheels that is towed by the tractor.

Throughout the journey, the couple has documented the stories of the country’s farmers on video. They have also interviewed politicians, food company executives and activists all in an effort to educate Canadians about the issues facing small farm owners.

“For a whole array of reasons Canadian farmers are struggling and Canadian urbanites don’t know enough about our rural issues,” said Varty. “So I’m doing it to get that story out there.”

Varty and Daley’s trip has been funded by donations and their own savings.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Kent Molgat

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-09-05 14:55:13

The Parti Quebecois is celebrating a return to power after nine years in opposition with a minority mind you.

[img width=400 height=400]

Somehow the Jeffrey Simpson story (which leaves out an amazing amount of the less then flattering truths about the Quebec Canada relationship) should remind Canadians what this election is really about.

It is a vote against the failings of the Provincial Liberal Government first and foremost. The separatist party will now have to reflect on their 'raison d'etre' or I suspect they will be in a great deal of trouble if they run the 'Lets Separate from Canada' flag up the pole.




Source: The Globe and Mail (
Date: 2012.08.31

[img width=300 height=200]

Very few places in the world would feature, as Quebec’s four bruising televised leaders’ debates did, one-quarter of the debating time devoted to “identité.”

Whether all, or only some, of Quebec’s ongoing political dialogue involves who francophone Quebeckers are as a “people,” a “nation,” or some other collective notion of self, very few debates these days have much to do with Canada.

Canada, which is what federalists ostensibly sell, is beyond the pale of reference – except as something from which secessionists wish to leave. Canada has just sort of drifted away, just as the day-to-day links between francophone Quebeckers and other Canadians, never very tight, have diminished to the point almost of irrelevance.

In most walks of life – in what we might call civil society – the links are thin. And within the political realm, where historically francophones and other Canadians interacted constructively or with conflict, again the links have frayed.

Today, more than at any time in Canadian history, there are almost no federalists in Quebec political life who speak often and with conviction about the merits of the Canadian federal system. There are no federalist champions from Ottawa whose voices resonate in Quebec, and there are few in the realm of provincial politics.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest is certainly a committed federalist, but in the confines of provincial politics, he muffles his enthusiasm for the country, preferring (or being required by the political culture) to portray federalism as an economic calculus only, much the way former premier Robert Bourassa usually did, a ledger sheet running in Quebec’s favour.

Mr. Charest appears to have run out his string, and will likely be replaced as premier either by Pauline Maurois of the Parti Québécois who wants out of Canada, or François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec who wants to remain because he does not want to leave, at least not just yet.

The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hugely unpopular, devoid of impressive ministers, led by someone Quebeckers have come to think of as remote and uncaring of their aspirations, driven by an agenda incubated somewhere else.

Indeed, the summer’s saddest (or funniest) political spectacle was Mr. Harper’s appearance in Quebec. Surrounded by imported ministers – some of them unilingual English-speakers – and his rather feeble Quebec contingent, Harper’s team organized a forlorn photo op in the middle of nowhere, really, and presented the entire fabricated affair as a relaunch of Conservative hopes and intentions in Quebec.

Thomas Mulcair and his NDP have become, therefore, federalism’s de facto spear carriers in Quebec, but this election might cause some of them to fall upon those spears. Should the PQ win, it plans to present Ottawa with a long list of intransigent demands for power, money and authority.

Some of these demands, designed to stir up antagonism toward Ottawa and make Quebeckers feel badly treated within Canada, will resonate positively with some NDP MPs from Quebec who, if not closet secessionists, are strongly nationalistic. Mr. Mulcair might then have to choose between bowing to his nationalists, thereby aligning himself with the PQ’s demands, or resisting those demands, as will be the preference outside Quebec, and causing friction in his caucus.

It might be argued that, given the feeble federal presence in the minds and hearts of Quebeckers, their stubborn resistance to the siren songs of secession is rather remarkable – although if secession did again become serious, the lack of credible federalist voices would be a serious problem.

Without embracing the country of which they remain an integral part, perhaps Quebeckers instinctively know the folly of leaving the G8’s most successful economy, with a political structure built to a degree on risk-sharing from which Quebec derives 15 per cent of its provincial budget, with no threat to the French language and culture coming from the rest of Canada.

The linguistic quarrels within Quebec during the last year or so – the coach of the Montreal Canadiens who could not speak French, the language of work at Bombardier, an anglophone heading up the provincial pension fund’s investment arm – were all inside-Quebec affairs rather than anything generated elsewhere.

The rest of Canada, for the most part, does not seem to menace or interest Quebeckers. Rather, it barely exists.[/size]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-09-05 17:14:12

As the Quebec election moves on and we move on with are daily lives. Jan Wong's book is an extremely relevant, well written book; as well as a reminder that no matter where you work and what your views are; expressing them can be a personally damaging thing, even in the "Land of the Free ... from Sea to Shining Sea" where the lynch mobs and the political self interest can still rule at your expense.




Source: National Post (
Author: Special to National Post
Date: 2012.05.18


In the following book excerpt, Jan Wong describes the spiral of depression she entered in 2006, after publishing an article linking the Dawson College shooting to Québécois racism:

My article had appeared on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006. By Monday, I’d received hundreds of hate emails. “Piece of sh-t,” “bitch,” “stupid c–t,” “retarded,” “pathetic,” “perverted,” “bigoted,” and so on. One called my children “half-breeds.” Several wrote: “Go back to China.” Another lobbed this: “Your parents were immigrants.”

A few were unwittingly prescient. “Consult a psychiatrist,” one advised.

In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, the film director and author Nora Ephron once said, “Any catastrophe is good material for a writer.” She’s right, especially in the case of journalists. When we are abused, we split into two. We feel as bad as anyone, but we also record the action and our own reaction.

Even as I felt the sting of the emails, it occurred to me that the onslaught might make for an ironic follow-up article: What I was observing was a racist backlash against a minority reporter from Quebec (me) for the crime of suggesting that racism by “pure laine” old-stock Quebec francophones serves to alienate minorities in Quebec. I began taking notes. I rated the emails and voice mails on a yellow legal pad. Ten percent were supportive, 15% were neutral and 75% were vitriolic.

That was Monday, two days after my article had appeared. I didn’t know it at the time, but my newspaper, The Globe & Mail, already had invited an editor at La Presse, a French-language newspaper in Quebec, to write a commentary about me. It ran on Tuesday, under the headline: “Pure laine is pure nonsense.” More emails poured into my inbox. After tabulating several hundred, I gave up and saved them to read later. After all, I had to concentrate on my next story. A couple of days earlier at the Toronto International Film Festival, the actor Sean Penn had lit up during a press conference in a no-smoking meeting room at the Sutton Place Hotel.

The paparazzi snapped incriminating photos. Shock and horror ensued. My boss, the deputy managing editor of features, assigned me to personally test the city’s anti-smoking bylaw.

“Make sure you smoke where there are police.”

A non-smoker, I duly bought a pack of cigarettes. With a photographer in tow, I hit 10 spots including, of course, the Sutton Place Hotel. One coffee-shop owner called the police. A restaurant manager yelled at me and kicked me out. Scandalized cops at the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered me to butt out. The hotel concierge ejected me and ostentatiously spritzed the lobby with air freshener.

That night, I went home reeking of tobacco smoke and drained from risking arrest 10 times in one day. I barely noticed that my newspaper had published a letter from the premier of Quebec calling my report “a disgrace.” An editorial on the same page, written by the editor-in-chief himself, suggested there had been “no evidence” for my pure laine analysis. In Ottawa, the parliament of Canada passed a unanimous motion demanding that I apologize “to the people of Quebec for the offensive remarks.”

I felt somewhat chagrined, but not terribly so. As Harold Evans, former editor of the Sunday Times and The Times of London, wrote, “Independent reporting has a history of provoking denunciation.” I figured that if I wasn’t provoking a debate, I wasn’t doing my job.

But that week the Globe kept publishing letters — 13 in all — under headings like “Dangerous clichés,” “Narrow-minded analysis” and “Absurd viewpoint.” In Quebec, the media began calling the event “l’affaire Wong.”

They noted that the Globe appeared to be backing away from its reporter and its story. The steady drumbeat of attention triggered more hate email. “Consider yourself lucky that no one has yet been alienated enough to go postal on you.”

In a way, the onslaught I experienced was reminiscent of China’s Cultural Revolution, whereby victims would stand, heads bowed, while others spewed invective, hate and spittle. But then, I thought: No, this was merely an Internet stoning. Of course I would be fine. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

Yet I was surprised how much words did hurt. Had I always been so sensitive? Or had my work environment changed? When I first began working as a journalist, readers would send in letters to the editor the old-fashioned way. It took effort and money to write thoughts down on paper, address an envelope, look up the postal code, stick on a stamp and drop the letter in an actual mailbox. Now people just typed fast and smacked the send button.

As the furor intensified, other media began besieging me with interview requests. I turned them down because I didn’t want to become the news any more than I already was.

The senior editors agreed. “If we keep our heads down, it will blow over very quickly. We don’t want to fan the flames,” advised Sylvia Stead, the Globe’s deputy editor, who was in charge of legal matters and was the most powerful woman in the newsroom. My editors and I were on the same page. We were a team. It was all of us on the inside against the crazies on the outside.

On Thursday evening, I was finishing up another article when a colleague in the Montreal bureau phoned me at home. He also had been grappling with the fallout from my Dawson story and now, as part of his bureau duties, he was letting me know that an extremist website had launched an attack on my family.

Le Québécois had labeled my 86-year-old father a “convicted criminal,” and said that he had served 31 months in prison for an immigration scam. My colleague added that the website also was calling for a boycott of my family’s Montreal restaurant, Bill Wong’s Inc. This is how Patrick Bourgeois, the website’s editor, put it: “Perhaps they try to take revenge against pure laine Québecois stock in selling cat or rat disguised as chicken.”

Given the virulent response to my Dawson article, I had no doubt there would be a boycott. I began to shake. I had maintained my equilibrium all week, but now my family was under attack and it was entirely my fault. I didn’t yet know that one symptom of depression is all-consuming guilt. I didn’t yet know that narcissism, another symptom, intensifies the guilt. I had written about the Dawson shootings and therefore I had ruined my father’s good name and jeopardized the family business.

My colleague in the Montreal bureau was still on the phone. “Of course it’s not your father [who has the criminal record],” he continued. “It’s another man, in his forties, with the same name. I know because I wrote the original story.”

I asked my colleague what I should do.

“Your father has deep pockets,” he said, ending the call. Newsroom culture is like that. There’s no time for handholding. Everyone is on a deadline. I’m sure my colleague in Montreal had no idea how it felt on my end, but I felt utterly abandoned. The racial attack shattered me. Looking back, I believe this was the exact moment I began my descent into depression.

I let out a scream and burst into tears. My sons Ben and Sam came running. Not knowing what had happened, they wrapped me in hugs — the way I had done when they were toddlers and they had bumped their knees.

Unless you have experienced racism, it is hard to explain its corrosiveness. You feel frightened and violated and impotent all at once. When race is perceived to be a factor, the hurt from almost any slight, even an innocent, unintended one, can last a lifetime.

Before she married my father, my mother worked as an operating-room nurse in Montreal for Wilder Penfield, the renowned neurosurgeon. Mom had loved her job, and reminisced about how she could slap the correct scalpel into his palm before he could ask for it. She also never forgot that she was the only team member he had not once invited to his Westmount home.

Ben was four when we went sightseeing in Gravenhurst, a bucolic Ontario town. At one point, we stopped at a park where several white boys, all about 10 years old, were playing. I was preoccupied with Sam when I suddenly noticed the older boys had left and Ben was missing. I found him crouching under a slide. Only after much coaxing, he told me that when he had approached the boys, one of them had pointed to a discarded soft drink can, in which a wasp was crawling out of the opening, and said, “Hey, Chinese boy. Kick that.” Now, at 19, Ben remembers every detail of that day.

The attack by Le Québécois was only the beginning. The next morning, a caricature in Le Devoir, a respected Quebec daily, showed me opening fortune cookies to decode the news. The sketch depicted me with buckteeth and Coke-bottle-bottom glasses, an echo of the anti-Japanese stereotypes of the Second World War. My race was irrelevant to my reporting. To my surprise, my eyes filled with tears.

It was Friday, the end of a horrible week. The Globe’s editor-in-chief summoned me to a meeting. Edward Greenspon was waiting in his office, a glassed-in box on the edge of the newsroom. Shakily, I took a seat across from him. Without preamble, he pushed a copy of my Dawson article across the table. He had circled the offending paragraphs with a black marker.

“This should have been taken out, or it should have been labeled ‘analysis,’ ” he said, pointing to the marked passages. “I want you to go through this, line by line, and tell me if there’s anything you have changed your mind about.”

Startled, I asked if he had read the story before publication. He pulled the newspaper back across the table and scanned the article. “I remember reading about the daycare,” he said slowly. “That section comes after [the pure laine reference], so I guess I did.”

Greenspon had become the top editor at the Globe after a solid career of reporting on the political scene in Ottawa. He understood news. He also understood the complicated situation in Quebec. I was puzzled why he was asking me to justify something he had already vetted himself. It turned out that he was planning to write about me in his Saturday commentary.

“Tomorrow, my column is going to have two things, one positive and one negative,” he told me. “You’re the negative. I’m going to say you erred.”

I thought our strategy was to keep our heads down. Hadn’t his deputy told me it was best not to “fan the flames”? Perhaps the editor-in-chief hadn’t heard about the caricature in that morning’s Le Devoir. Perhaps he didn’t know that the previous night an extremist website had slandered my father and called for a boycott of my family’s restaurant. I told him I felt a line had been crossed when a reporter’s family or race was attacked. I mentioned the many interview requests I had received. I asked if he could accept one of them and use the opportunity to condemn these attacks on my family and me.

“I can’t control the message if I do interviews [with other media],” Greenspon said, shaking his head. “I prefer to write in the paper. I can control it that way.”

I felt utterly abandoned. In the past, I had always had the unwavering support of my paper whenever I had been savaged for my work. Not this time, it seemed.

I was despondent when I returned to my desk and checked the latest hate email. “Hey Wong, I have seen the caricature and your picture,” wrote Andre Valiquette. “You are much uglier in real life … Bitch.”

Another wrote: “Go back to barbarian China.”

Suddenly, I had had enough. Now that my newspaper was about to criticize me in print, yet again, I would no longer be silenced. The policy of “keeping our heads down” seemed entirely one-sided. Everyone else was allowed to speak out except me. The Globe & Mail had made it clear that it wouldn’t defend my family or me, so I would have to respond to the attacks myself.

I went back downstairs to the editor-in-chief ‘s office. I told him I had decided to accept a few interviews. “Why don’t you write a commentary for La Presse?” Greenspon said. “I can arrange that.”

Normally, I would have agreed, but I was hollowed out. I had slept badly for days. I did not have the energy left to write a response.

What I did not yet realize was that I couldn’t write anything at all.

Jan Wong’s new book, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness, is available at booksellers across Canada, online and as an e-book.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-09-08 23:16:05

So has Canada lit the fuse to reignite the constantly hinted at armed assault on Iran ? This is all staring to make the Cold War of the 60s look like a church picnic. So was it ever about ideology or has it always been above money and natural resources ? Sure looks like it.



Canada's cut ties with Iran[/size]

Source: AlJazzra (
Author: D. Parvaz
Date: 2012.09.08



Viewed with suspicion

Given that the Canadian government, as a whole, has largely demonised Iran, there is concern about the long-term effect of this perception on Canadian-Iranians.

"Horrible would be the effect," said Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, referring to the rise of Islamophobia in the Western world.

"I can only imagine the impact of this sort of behaviour and the hate crimes it can condition and cause," said Dabashi.

"Anytime diplomatic relations are severed, drums of war are raised louder, corrupt politicians and radical fanatics thrive, the rule of reason and sanity fails, and ordinary people on both sides of the divide suffer most."

Still, some have faith that Canadian-Iranians will not be tainted by attempts to narrowly describe Iran as a dangerous, rogue state trying to infiltrate the ranks of the Canadian power structure - as suggested by some recent press.

"I truly believe that the Canadians are the most tolerant, politically correct, non-judgemental, warm and educated people in the world. I can not see that all Iranians would be looked upon negatively in general," said Paveh.

"Having said that, after 9/11, all Islamic nations [and] people were looked upon with some suspicion by Westerners and that remains to this day. The fact that there are activists from these very nations speaking out against these regimes has balanced the suspicion with trust and goodwill."

An anti-Iran cabal?

The US state department declared its support for Canada's move on Friday.

"Many countries have different relationships and different types of diplomatic facilities, so I don't want to paint with such a broad brush to say every country should do this or that," said state department spokesman Patrick Ventrell in a press briefing.

"Suffice it to say, we want all countries to join us in isolating Iran as they see appropriate, and there are many different ways that they can do that."

But the goal of the move - as well as its timing - remain a tough sell, diplomatically speaking.

"Over the last thirty years plus, the ruling regime in Iran has violated the most basic human rights of its own citizens and it was not in the interest of Canada to raise an eyebrow," said Dabashi.

"Right now, after the NAM conference in Iran outmanoeuvred the US and Israel in manufacturing a global consent on isolating Iran, this move by the Canadian government is to renew the US-Israeli design to paint Iran as a rogue state by way of justifying their crippling economic sanctions, and possibly even a military strike."

The severing of diplomatic ties, said Tavakoli, "goes against the entire rhetoric of human rights and the international resolution of conflict and is indicative of militaristic designs [upon] Iran".

"If this is the prelude to an Israeli attack on Iran, as some political analysts are arguing, this will not have a good impact on the wider Middle East and their perception of Canada."

Follow D Parvaz on Twitter: @Dparvaz

[Fritz]This the backlash story, but I still suspect the kids are getting ready for more severe actions against Iran and it was no coincidence that it came while Harper was in Russia meeting with Putin.
Author: Shirin Sadeghi
Date: 2012.08.08

The Canadian government announced this weekend that it has cut ties with the governments of Iran and Syria -- shutting down its embassy in Tehran and expelling diplomats from Canada.

The reason? Human rights. Canada, citing its Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, says that it is taking these measures to make it easier for its Middle Eastern immigrants to take legal action against their homelands for violations of human rights. The Canadian government made no mention of the easiest and most harmless solution: changing Canadian laws to implement this highly important goal.

What the Canadian government failed to report in its auspicious announcement is that it is one of the most notorious governments when it comes to the human rights of its Middle Eastern immigrants.

Canada is an international embarrassment when it comes to defending the rights of its Middle Eastern immigrants, making its announcement of ending ties with Iran and Syria all the more absurd.

Does Canada think that Iranians have forgotten the case of Iranian-Canadian Zahra Kazemi and how horribly the Canadian government has treated her family? She was raped and brutally murdered in Iran during a visit to Tehran in 2003 and the Canadian government's response was so weak, so shamelessly unbecoming of the new home she had adopted that her son is still fighting for her rights nine years after Canada failed her and her family.

As Zahra's own son wrote recently, the Iranian government got away with what they did to his mother "because they knew and know too well, the members of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that the Canadian Government and its members and other affiliates, deep inside, are fine with them."

Does Canada think that the world has forgotten the case of Egyptian-Canadian Omar Khadr, the boy who remains the last Westerner imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay because the Canadian government refuses to pursue his extradition back home to Canada? Yes, Canada has refused to extradite and protect its own citizen: a person who, though now an adult, was a 15-year-old child when he was led into the pearly gates of Guantanamo prison 10 long years ago.

And what about Maher Arar? The Canadian-Syrian was one of the most famous cases of extraordinary rendition when, after he was detained in New York's JFK Airport for two weeks without any Canadian government intervention and then sent to Syria for one year where he was tortured, he was finally released by the Syrians themselves. He sued the Canadian government, won $10.5 dollars and received an apology from the Canadian government.

An apology does not even come close to making up for one year of torture amidst the neglect of one's own adopted country.

Canada, a country with one of the lowest population densities in the world, is one of the growing number of Western countries that desperately need and have desperately sought out immigrants to keep their nation alive. Iranians in particular have turned to Canada in droves because of Canada's fast and easy immigration policies that for years made it the best way to get out of Iran. (In recent years, Canada has tightened its policies at the same time that the United States and Australia have made it easier for Iranians to immigrate.) As a result, there are at least 150,000 Iranians in a Canada with a total population of 35 million people.

Iranian immigrants to Canada -- as they are in most of the countries they immigrate to -- are amongst the most successful and thus appreciated: they are highly educated, highly productive, low-crime, middle to upper-middle class immigrants with little reliance on state welfare who do more to contribute to their new homes than the average native-born does. In Canada, Iranian immigrants have become leaders of business, media, health, politics and other important fields.

The Canadian government, in short, is quite grateful for its Iranian immigrants. As it tends to be for most of its Middle Eastern immigrants. It's a shame Canada doesn't have the independence and autonomy to treat these fine immigrants better.

To blame Iran or Syria or any other government for how Canada itself has failed in protecting and defending its Middle Eastern immigrants is a dishonesty that is shameful. To use these immigrants' human rights as an excuse to cut ties with these governments is simply duplicitous.

If Canada truly believes that the Iranian and Syrian governments are a threat to their people, it would have taken the numerous opportunities it has had to take on those governments. It would have changed its own laws to accommodate the rights of these and other immigrants. Instead, this announcement of cutting ties and closing embassies is clearly nothing more than another failure to protect these hardworking and productive Middle Eastern immigrants, their families, and would-be immigrants from the very governments Canada says is oppressing them.

Effectively, Canada is shutting its doors to these immigrants in yet another move in the soft-war playbook against the Iranian people. The logic is that making the people suffer through the soft-war tactics of sanctions and now embassy closures will make them turn toward bringing down their government.

A quick internet search of the recent history of Iranian uprisings, protests and demonstrations immediately exposes that lie: Iranians have been protesting and revolting against the Islamic Republic government since it first came to power -- without the need for sanctions and embassy closures.

If intentionally and knowingly making people suffer is not a violation of human rights, then who knows what is.

Shame on the Canadian government, not just for taking this measure while knowing the full and terrible consequences of it but for ostensibly violating human rights in the name of defending them.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-10-11 20:11:12

I had no idea we had a Halliburton North (aka Industrial Military Complex) with the added twist of being in bed with Quebec Cronies as well as the Canadian Military.

Amazing how Canadian's are smugly ignorant toward the US, when we are so much alike.




Source: Th Globe and Mail (
Author:Greg McArthur and Graeme Smith
Date: 2012.09.28

[img width=200 height=100]
When gunmen breached the gates surrounding Guest Palace 12 in Tripoli, they discovered a kind of yard unrecognizable to most Libyans: a lawn so green and lush and manicured that it might have been a little golf course.

With NATO planes screaming overhead on the hunt for Moammar Gadhafi and his sons, the intruders ran down a paved road, past rose gardens and ornamental fences, into a two-storey building with a grand foyer. They did not bother to pass any bags through the X-ray scanner that stood mutely in the lobby. Skidding over the polished stone floor, they also ignored a metal detector.
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Everywhere they looked, there was not a soul left among the staff of the Tripoli offices of SNC-Lavalin, the Canadian engineering giant. Perhaps the intruders knew the company was building an institution that Gadhafi had intended for their ilk—a prison. In any case, the gunmen were seized with the fervour of revolution, and perhaps the prospect of looting flatscreen televisions; they went berserk. They ransacked cupboards, yanked drawers from desks, scattered papers, and marked their conquest with smears of printer ink.

Many of the memos and letters trampled under the rebels’ boots bore the signature of Riadh Ben Aïssa, a jet-setting SNC executive who turned this despotic desert nation into his crowning achievement. For SNC, Libya was the castle that Ben Aïssa built—and now the barbarians were past the gate.

That was September, 2011. Now Ben Aïssa sits in a jail cell in Switzerland, detained, without charge, on suspicion of paying bribes in North Africa, among other crimes. The 54-year-old, who was once considered a legend within SNC for his ability to fix any problem, now finds himself the leading character in a boardroom parable about the danger of doing business with corrupt regimes.

At SNC, Ben Aïssa has been disappeared. The company no longer refers to him by name; rather he is one of the “certain individuals who are not or no longer employed by the Company.” Forensic auditors enlisted by SNC’s board say Ben Aïssa doled out $56 million to shadowy foreign agents in an effort to land business; SNC says it cannot trace the money (all currency in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted). This puts the company in the sights of a federal law that prohibits Canadian businesses from paying bribes abroad. While Swiss prosecutors explore whether Ben Aïssa used their country’s secretive banking system, RCMP officers in Ottawa are rooting through his e-mails and other SNC records to determine precisely how he secured so many lucrative construction deals in some of the world’s most corrupt corners. The former executive is also one of the prime targets of two class-action lawsuits filed by disgruntled shareholders. And that does not complete the list of Ben Aïssa’s woes: Cohn & Wolfe, the public relations company he enlisted to defend his reputation after his abrupt dismissal from SNC, is suing for unpaid fees.

How did it come to this? SNC has declined to allow any of its staff to give interviews; for months, all answers to questions have been restricted to e-mail exchanges with a single public-relations executive. But SNC executives and spokespeople have told journalists they are still learning things about Ben Aïssa’s business, and the company has promulgated the idea that Ben Aïssa was a rogue operator who ran his own private fiefdom. Perhaps. But dozens of interviews with former SNC-Lavalin executives, engineers and other insiders, as well as thousands of pages of documents obtained by The Globe and Mail, suggest a different narrative—that Ben Aïssa, who was known at senior levels in the company for using “all means necessary” to land business, was all too good at doing what the company wanted.


Some wealthy foreign students arrive in the West with a sense of entitlement and then drift through their studies. Not Riadh Ben Aïssa. The commerce undergrad was focused on one thing: “learning, getting ready for the major leagues,” his former roommate Patrick Kelly says. “He wished that he would be, one day, a big name.”

Ben Aïssa enrolled first at the Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia before transferring to the University of Ottawa in the early 1980s. Kelly sensed his roommate at U of O was destined for great things when the Tunisian student, then in his 20s, returned from a weekend trip to New York. Entranced by the power and prestige of the World Trade Center, Ben Aïssa was practically bursting with dreams of working high up in the glinting towers, the pinnacle of the business world.

The son of a doctor, Ben Aïssa was one of three siblings who enrolled at Canadian universities in the 1980s. (His sister went to McGill for architecture, his brother to the University of Ottawa medical school.) Ben Aïssa was fluent in French, and proficiency in English was not a requirement in either of the universities he attended. Yet by the time most students were sleepily stumbling into their first lecture of the morning, Ben Aïssa had already finished a private English lesson. He knew nothing about hockey, but he cheered wildly for the New York Islanders when they won the Stanley Cup in 1982—because, he explained to his roommate, he preferred winners.

After leaving the University of Ottawa with two undergraduate degrees and an MBA, Ben Aïssa launched his own consulting firm, specializing in studies of emerging markets. It soon became clear that this chosen specialty—and Ben Aïssa’s background—were a neat fit with the strategic needs of Lavalin Inc. Quebec’s largest engineering firm was bent on growing in francophone Africa and the Middle East.

Ben Aïssa joined Lavalin in 1985, and soon made his mark. One former executive says it was a $600-million contract for a passenger rail system in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, that first earned the young graduate accolades within the company. And it boded well for Ben Aïssa’s career that the overseer on the project was Jacques Lamarre, one of the four founding shareholders at Lavalin.

Lamarre, who retired from SNC-Lavalin in 2009, is a titan of the Quebec business community. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, he sits on the boards of the Royal Bank of Canada and Suncor Energy, and is a strategic adviser to law firm Heenan Blaikie. From the mid-1980s, the trajectories of Lamarre’s and Ben Aïssa’s respective careers were highly correlated: When Lamarre served as an executive vice-president with territorial responsibility for the Middle East, Ben Aïssa was one of his charges; during Lamarre’s tenure as CEO, which began in 1996, Ben Aïssa was elevated to Lamarre’s “Office of the President.” In a book published to commemorate SNC’s centennial, the men earn the sobriquet of “firemen”—company parlance for the sort of executives who could be relied on to extract SNC from trouble.

The book cites a specific example of a young Ben Aïssa jetting off to his native Tunisia to talk down a disgruntled client who was threatening to sue for $3 million. “Within a couple days, [Ben Aïssa] had managed to convince them that it was in their best interests to drop the lawsuit and give Lavalin an extension to finish the work.” (Lamarre, citing the ongoing investigations into Ben Aïssa’s more recent actions, declined via a spokesperson to be interviewed or to answer e-mailed questions.)


Although SNC-Lavalin is one of Canada’s few true international champions, its many successes have obscured the fact that it has suffered from the modern corporate malaise of housing rival internal cultures following a merger.

SNC’s chief executive in 1991, Guy Saint-Pierre, deliberately used the word “merger” in all of his public statements, but his language could not mask what everyone knew: Lavalin, privately owned by four engineers—brothers Jacques and Bernard Lamarre, Marcel Dufour and Armand Couture—had leapt into some foolish deals. The first blow was the 1986 purchase of a Montreal petrochemical plant that was hemorrhaging money. But the knockout punch came when Lavalin experimented with playing airplane broker for a Soviet airline, which backed out of the deal in 1990, resulting in Lavalin losing a $45-million deposit.

Potential purchasers of Lavalin had reason to be wary. The firm had operations in some of the world’s most unstable regions, including a crumbling Soviet Union and coup-prone African countries. As a private firm, its books were like a black box.

But Quebec Inc.—that fusion of state and corporate interests that gives the province its distinct business culture—does not like to see its celebrated indigenous companies disappear. The union of Lavalin and SNC is widely believed to have involved government pressure. SNC, the smaller company, acquired Lavalin’s still-profitable engineering assets, and, in the process, created a juggernaut. Head counts at the time were put at 2,500 for SNC and 4,000 for Lavalin, according to a retired vice-president.

If the union was a shotgun marriage with Quebec Inc. in the role of the determined father, then Lavalin was the penniless, adventure-seeking groom, and SNC was the cautious, reserved bride. The smaller company was risk-averse, publicly traded and far more transparent than Lavalin. And, compared to Lavalin, SNC was less dependent on projects in troubled countries. High on the list of priorities for the new unified company was getting a handle on Lavalin International’s myriad opaque deals with rulers and kings around the world.

By the middle of the decade, this job had fallen to Rod Scriban, a senior vice-president who came from the SNC side and was placed in charge of SNC-Lavalin International in 1994. A civil engineer who helped design the towering LG-3 dam in the James Bay hydro project, Scriban was accustomed to scanning the horizon for problems. And he started to think that Riadh Ben Aïssa was a problem.

Ben Aïssa had been placed in charge of operations for the Middle East, based in his native country, Tunisia. Shortly after the appointment, he married a Saudi woman. (It was his second marriage; his first was to Marianne Vézina, whom he met in his first year of university. They divorced after six years.)

Scriban was alarmed to learn that Ben Aïssa had negotiated an unusual deal with his old bosses at Lavalin: He, with at least one of his new wife’s relatives, would together earn a 2% commission on any SNC contracts in Saudi Arabia, regardless of whether they performed any work.

“This arrangement seemed unethical and conflicted,” Scriban says, adding that the margins on such deals were so small that a 2% cut could seriously hurt the bottom line.

It wasn’t just this strange deal (which ultimately ended after Ben Aïssa’s second divorce) that gnawed at Scriban. As the senior vice-president in charge of every foreign representative, Scriban was supposed to have access to every country file. The Libya file didn’t seem to exist.

During Scriban’s tenure overseeing SNC-Lavalin International, Ben Aïssa had made inroads with the Gadhafi regime—the company had secured a lucrative contract on the Great Man-Made River project, an ambitious plan to pump water from deep desert aquifers to many of Libya’s cities. Scriban couldn’t locate a single piece of paper about this job or any of the Libyan projects in the pipeline. It was the only country file that he could not access. He was never given a definitive answer about why the Libyan work was so secret, he says. But he remembers thinking, “This file is so risky that people feel like hiding it.”

Scriban took his concerns about the Saudi deal to SNC-Lavalin’s legal department and asked it to investigate. When the lawyers got back to him, he was told that a message from “on high” had come down: “Stop badmouthing Ben Aïssa and lay off his case.” (SNC has confirmed that Ben Aïssa’s brother-in-law was a shareholder in the Saudi subsidiary.)

A few weeks later, Scriban says, he was sidelined. He couldn’t say whether his challenging Ben Aïssa’s special status resulted in his transfer—there were others vying for his job—but he says it may have played a role.


Almost a decade ago, when Colonel Moammar Gadhafi refashioned himself as an ally of the West and began distancing Libya from terrorism, he also unleashed upon the world a new wave of destructive chaos: his children.

In Geneva in 2008, his fifth-born son, Hannibal, was arrested for beating his servants. The second-youngest son, Saif el-Arab, plotted to spray acid in the face of a Munich nightclub bouncer after he and his girlfriend were thrown out of the venue in 2006 after she performed a strip act.

But there is one son, third-born Saadi, whose ostentatious antics stand out above the rest.

In his mid-20s, Saadi spent three seasons on the roster of various Italian pro soccer clubs, despite having no previous professional experience. The contracts were so inexplicable that most observers of the sport have attributed them to the elder Gadhafi’s close relationship with former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. By the end of his soccer career, Saadi had logged a total of 25 minutes on the field. He appeared in only two games.

But the comedic value of the soccer stint is limited. At a game in Tripoli in 1996, fans booed a referee’s call that favoured Saadi’s team. A riot ensued. According to The New York Times, between 20 and 50 people were killed, some of them shot by Saadi’s bodyguards.

After soccer, Saadi moved on to Hollywood, where he launched a production company, Natural Selection. Its only films—Isolation and The Experiment—went straight to video. Armed with a reported $100-million bankroll, Saadi attracted a few recognizable names—Mickey Rourke, Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker—to film projects that quickly vanished into obscurity.

Saadi was torn between his playboy pursuits and his sense of destiny. When the sun came up after a long night of courting strippers in Paris, shooting impalas in Tanzania, or crashing his yacht in Sardinia, he still desperately wanted to be viewed as a leader.

As Saadi reached his 30s, his father was making over the image of Libya, and himself, from an outlaw that sponsored terrorism to a viable international partner.

After decades of isolation, the country did not have the modern infrastructure expected from an oil-rich nation. That pent-up demand was unleashed with the lifting of Western economic sanctions in a series of steps from 2004 to 2006. Libya went on a shopping spree. Through the magic of diplomacy, the Gadhafis were transformed from pariahs into valuable customers for some of the world’s biggest firms. Prime Minister Paul Martin headed a trade delegation to Libya in 2004; another followed under the Harper Conservative government in 2008.

SNC was only one of the Canadian companies plunging into Libya. Petro-Canada bought a $75-million stake in an oil concern in the country in 2001, and then barrelled ahead in 2002 with a $3.2-billion deal for Veba Oil, an energy firm with significant Libyan assets. In 2008 Petro-Canada announced plans to double its Libyan output via a joint venture with the state oil company. The partners went 50/50 on a $7-billion (U.S.) development program. The Canadian firm won participation in the project over European giants such as Italy’s Eni SpA and France’s Total SA, which were also expanding operations in Libya.

SNC already had a foothold in the country, thanks to Ben Aïssa’s landing the $230-million water project in 1995, and during the gold-rush atmosphere of easing sanctions the company exerted itself to win favour. Some efforts reeked of obsequiousness. Ben Aïssa persuaded SNC to sponsor a 2005 exhibition of Saif Gadhafi’s paintings in Montreal, a show panned by critics at its various stops as “lurid,” “kitschy” and “a triumph of banality.” SNC also sponsored Al-Ittihad, a soccer club in Tripoli, in a deal that saw Saadi on the field with “SNC-Lavalin” emblazoned across his chest.

Gary Peters, who was a bodyguard to Saadi in Canada, has claimed that SNC also picked up a portion of the massive tab when Saadi, then in his film producer period, showed up at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 and 2009. One account described Saadi holding court from the couches of the Panorama Lounge, a rooftop bar in Toronto’s posh Yorkville, while enjoying champagne, Beluga caviar and a private concert by 50 Cent. SNC executive Stéphane Roy was among the guests on that evening, Peters says.

Some of SNC’s efforts to woo the Gadhafis were more low-key. Saadi reportedly took English-language classes—under the protection of guards paid for by SNC—for a few months at the company’s offices in Toronto, meanwhile living in a $1.55-million (Canadian) penthouse he purchased in May, 2008. Property records show that the person who looked after the condominium fees and related issues was a Geneva-based lawyer, Roland Kaufmann. According to Peters, Kaufmann served as a financial adviser to Gadhafi. But the details of the condo purchase are difficult to verify because Kaufmann referred questions to a criminal defence lawyer, who declined to comment.

Peters claims that SNC was also giving cash payments to Saadi during this period. But the allegation raises a question: How exactly did SNC win Saadi’s trust? As the darling son of a dictator who used Libya’s overstuffed treasury as a private bank account, Saadi was never strapped for cash. Lavish parties, moose-hunting trips and soccer-team sponsorship were nice gestures, but Saadi could not have been easily impressed by mere spending.

What was harder for him to get than such favours was his father’s respect. Moammar Gadhafi pushed his children to build their own prestige within the country, via businesses and militias. After humouring Saadi’s attempts to make his way in pro sport and Hollywood, Libya’s supreme ruler gave his son a written order in 2008, commanding Saadi to set up a new branch of the Libyan military.

The order briefly outlines a vision for a Military Engineering Corps, under Saadi’s personal leadership and funded from the national defence budget. Like many missives from Moammar Gadhafi, the order is vague. It lists “military duties” first among the responsibilities of the new unit, but then discusses ways the Corps could serve the country—mostly tasks usually associated with civilian engineers. Still, the dictator was making himself clear: Saadi must get serious.

Saadi had barely more qualifications to run a military engineering operation than he did to play pro soccer. But luckily, in this arena, he could hire the expertise he needed.

In November, 2008, while Saadi was still in his film period, Ben Aïssa sent him a formal proposal suggesting that the brand-new Military Engineering Corps should set up a joint venture with SNC-Lavalin. The proposal emphasized SNC’s history as a defence contractor, with 37 of the 41 pages in the document including the word “military.” Text accompanying an organizational chart said that SNC personnel could supervise “security specialists” for implementation of military projects “tailored to meet specific military security, execution and deployment requirements of the office of the commander chief [sic] of engineers of Libya.”

Saadi, the newly minted commander who demanded that his entourage refer to him by his official title, “Brigadier Engineer Saadi,” personally approved a crest that would be worn on the uniforms of the men who answered to him. A draftsman’s compass represented his joint venture with SNC-Lavalin. Other items symbolized the unit’s specialties: roads, tunnels, waterworks, educational facilities, military fortifications. At the centre of the crest was an orange starburst, representing an exploding land mine.

If a Canadian company like SNC—a onetime land-mine manufacturer—wants to help a foreign army, any products sold may fall under export control regulations. The company says its operations did not run afoul of those rules: “To the best of our knowledge, SNC-Lavalin has never been involved in any Libyan programs related to military technology, munitions or combat,” SNC spokeswoman Leslie Quinton wrote in an e-mail.

The board of directors for the joint venture included a former official with the Libyan football federation and Abdulrahman Karfakh, a notorious bribe collector for one of Saadi’s older brothers. It’s not clear how many of Saadi’s ambitions for his military unit turned into reality in the years before the revolution. An inventory list for three of his engineering brigades calls for each to be equipped with toolboxes and trailers for planting mines. Another document, marked “Top Secret,” prepared by a lieutenant-colonel, suggests that engineers in a remote southern town would also be equipped with mine-planting devices. As well, Saadi’s men were shopping for state-of-the-art equipment for mine removal, including the MK III Husky mine detection vehicle used by Canadian forces.

Saadi appears to have been putting together an elite special-forces team and looking for advanced weaponry. A 54-page training manual suggests that Saadi wanted his men to be prepared to handle offensive and defensive chemical-weapons operations, among other skills. Photographs show a grinning Saadi meeting a sales team for the French-made Rafale fighter jet. The jet also appears on operational plans that showed how Libya could build a commando force numbering 3,000 men, capable of operating independently of the rest of the Libyan military on air, water and land.

Saadi’s plans called for attack helicopters and short-range missile systems mounted on trucks. His elite forces would carry shoulder-mounted missiles for destroying tanks, as well as laser guidance devices for directing air strikes. Saadi was moving forward with buying some of this equipment—his subordinates had glossy brochures for modern missiles and had end-user certificates for attack boats.

Such hardware is easily obtained by any oil-rich autocrat, however; the more difficult part is human resources. Saadi reached outside of Libya for the expertise to build his organization. His files included the resumés of former French special forces officers, apparently offering their services as consultants. It’s not just the sober expressions on the profile photos of these chiselled men that makes them appear deadly serious; it’s also the clandestine adventures described in their curricula vitae. One resumé mentions a history of assistance to Afghan guerrillas during the war against Soviet occupation in the 1980s; leadership of a “sabotage cell”; and work as a security adviser for the French president.

A less intimidating team of experts from SNC also offered their services. A 2009 technical services agreement between SNC and the Corps of Engineers shows that SNC planned to offer advice about the structure, staffing and mission of the Corps. The proposed SNC consulting team included Vice-Admiral (ret.) Ron Buck, former second-in-command of the Canadian armed forces, and Gary Wiseman, former chief engineer for the Canadian military’s industrial task force. (SNC and Buck both declined to comment on whether the proposed team members received any payment.) This was a relatively small consulting deal for SNC, worth only $1 million over six months, but the paper trail shows that Saadi felt he needed the advice. He asked for more consultations the following year.

SNC, a company active in more than 100 countries in addition to its substantial Canadian footprint, was growing its Libyan business.Revenue was on track to reach $418.2 million (Canadian), or 7% of the company total, by 2010. Things were looking up for the Libyan file, for the go-where-others-dare-not tendency it represented in the company, and for Riadh Ben Aïssa.

By 2008, CEO Jacques Lamarre had placed Ben Aïssa in charge of all international construction—a division that had made an aggressive push into countries where other firms were reluctant to operate, including Algeria and Venezuela. Ben Aïssa became responsible for 10,000 employees and churned out contracts worth hundreds of millions in Libya alone: The company was drilling wells, manufacturing concrete pipes, drawing up proposals for new parkland, developing oil and gas facilities, and constructing a new airport terminal.

A company spokeswoman says the only project that involved formal co-operation between Saadi’s engineering corps and SNC was the $275-million Guryan “rehabilitation centre,” a sprawling prison in the desert near Tripoli (a project undertaken even though Libya had a history of detaining dissidents without trial, as well as torturing and killing them). A letter from December, 2009, shows that Saadi was personally involved with handling at least some contracts besides Guryan. The letter is a warm note to Ben Aïssa regarding the airport project, celebrating “the commitment and lasting contribution of the development and prosperity of Libya.”

While SNC’s business in Libya was growing, benefits flowed to Ben Aïssa’s relatives as well. Some of the company’s Libyan operations were organized from SNC’s office in Tunis, which sat on property belonging to the Ben Aïssa family. SNC hired a firm headed by Ben Aïssa’s sister, McGill-trained Ramla Benaïssa, for architectural work on the prison. (She has declined to answer questions about how and why she was awarded the contract.) The company also purchased technical equipment from Orbit Media, an import business run by Ben Aïssa’s mother from a storefront just around the corner from SNC’s front gate in Tunis.

For all of Ben Aïssa’s good fortune in Libya, he could not relax and enjoy it. A former employee who served under Ben Aïssa says that he was a steamroller of a boss, who screamed at his underlings when things went wrong on the airport project. “I was flabbergasted,” the former employee said. “He was yelling on the phone for two hours. The contract said we must build the airport in two years. But it wasn’t possible, and we didn’t have enough money.” He added: “You know, I just read the biography of Steve Jobs, and he reminded me of Riadh. You’re his buddy or his worst enemy.”


Back in Canada, everything regarding Ben Aïssa was seemingly copacetic. He was invited onto the advisory board of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa’s business school. In June of 2009, he co-chaired a charity soirée with National Bank chief executive Louis Vachon. The event, which benefited the Canadian Centre for Architecture, was featured in the society pages of the Montreal Gazette, where Ben Aïssa was photographed with his third wife, Sara Al-Molki. A former executive said that, within SNC’s offices, it was generally understood that doing business in North Africa required some compromises. “His downfall was not corruption,” the former executive said. “To me, his problems started when things got political.” Indeed: The Arab Spring was a political earthquake across a region where strongmen had enjoyed generations in power and then abruptly found themselves challenged by Internet-savvy revolutionaries. As the streets filled with angry protesters, SNC employees joined the expat workers scrambling for the docks and airports.

Saadi went in the opposite direction, flying into the epicentre of the uprising in February, 2011. A United Nations investigation would later find that Moammar Gadhafi sent two trusted officials to “take control on the ground” in the rebellious eastern city of Benghazi. The UN report did not name either official, but a well-informed source says that one of them was Saadi.

Saadi had little experience with handling crises, much less a full-blown uprising, and the situation in Benghazi quickly went sideways. The BBC quoted a witness who said Saadi personally gave an order to shoot unarmed demonstrators. Saadi later denied this. But whatever the impetus, Libyan soldiers unleashed heavy weapons on the crowds. The United Nations Security Council reacted on Feb. 26, 2011, with a resolution that imposed a travel ban on Saadi and other members of Libya’s ruling family. In particular, Saadi was sanctioned for “command of military units involved in repression of demonstrations.” His bank accounts were frozen with another resolution the following month. Saadi would later escape to Niger, where he remains under what his lawyer describes as “virtual house arrest” because of the travel ban.

Even if the world had abruptly turned against him, Ben Aïssa did not abandon his favourite son of the dictator. An SNC insider says that during the first months of the revolution, Ben Aïssa continually assured fellow executives that the uprising would be crushed. That lingering sense of loyalty may help to explain a bizarre footnote to Ben Aïssa’s story: the tale of Cyndy Vanier and the alleged plot to smuggle Saadi to a safe house in Mexico.

On June 30, 2011, Ben Aïssa’s long-serving controller, Stéphane Roy, signed a deal with Vanier, a mediator whose prior experience was principally with Canadian native groups. The commission called for “fact finding and mediation.”

Vanier flew to the war zone on a private jet and put together a report. Vanier depicted NATO’s intervention as harmful to the Libyan government’s efforts to make peace—an unusual perspective at a time when regime soldiers were blasting rebels with artillery and truck-mounted rockets. SNC paid Vanier $100,000 for the five-page report. Mexican authorities arrested her in November, 2011, and accused her of working on a bigger project, a complex plan to start a new life for Saadi in a beachfront house. She denies wrongdoing, and remains jailed.

Ben Aïssa and Roy avoided trouble when Vanier was arrested, although Roy was in Mexico at the time. They remained with SNC until February, 2012, when the company ousted them amid a growing chorus of questions about SNC’s relationship with the Gadhafi family. Later that month, the company announced it was launching an internal investigation. The probe alleged that CEO Pierre Duhaime had improperly approved $56 million in payments to unknown “agents” hired by Ben Aïssa. Duhaime resigned in March and SNC referred the file to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which raided the company headquarters in April. That raid was reportedly conducted on the basis of information from Swiss authorities, who arrested Ben Aïssa shortly afterward on suspicion of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

The legal fallout may continue for years. Libya’s new revolutionary regime wants Saadi extradited to face trial in Tripoli, and has constructed courtrooms in an effort to persuade the international community that it is competent to hold fair proceedings. Saadi has hired a lawyer who specializes in war-crime charges.

If the RCMP goes ahead with a prosecution under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, it would be the force’s first attempt to apply the law to a blue-chip company. So far, Canada has secured only two convictions under the act; the second is the one that bears on the SNC case. In 2011, Niko Resources, a mid-cap oil and gas firm based in Calgary, admitted that it had bribed a Bangladeshi energy minister by paying for his flights to Alberta and New York. An SNC spokeswoman has defended the company’s role in Saadi’s many trips to Canada as “hospitality.” But the Niko case suggests that the courts may take a different view.

These proceedings, along with those concerning Cyndy Vanier and the class-action lawsuits, should answer many questions about the rise and fall of Ben Aïssa. But one upshot of SNC-Lavalin’s colossal failure in Libya already seems clear. Not only is the world getting smaller, it’s also slowly becoming more democratic and transparent. If you do business with a despot, even an officially reformed one, you may—sooner or later—find yourself scattering your plans across a slippery marble floor and running for your life.

Research assistance by Hannah Mintz, Fatima Elkabti and Raghda Abouelnaga of the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-10-13 23:58:08

"NAFTA partners, in conjunction with multinational corporations and influential think tanks are pushing for deeper North American integration."
Why does this not make me feel reassured ?




Source: Global Reasrch (
Author: Dana Gabriel
Date: 2012.10.10


The Beyond the Border deal announced in December 2011 represents the most significant step forward in U.S.-Canada cooperation since NAFTA. Dual action plans are further transforming trade, regulatory and security relations between both countries. Over the next few years, various cross-border initiatives will be rolled out, with some beginning as pilot programs. The U.S. and Canada have laid the framework for a new border regime which is taking their partnership to the next level and pushing the continent closer to a fully integrated North America security perimeter.

The Department of Homeland Security and Canada Border Services Agency recently announced the Phase I pilot of the Entry/Exit program which is part of the Beyond the Border action plan. It will include collecting and exchanging biographic information of third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada, and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. at four selected land border ports of entry. A fact sheet stressed how this, “is an important step as both countries move towards a coordinated entry/exit system that will strengthen border and immigration programs, support law enforcement, and accelerate the legitimate flow of people and goods into Canada and the United States and across our common border.” The Canadian government is also advancing plans to use biometrics for immigration and border security that would bring them in line with the U.S. and other countries. The perimeter security agreement called for implementing, “systematic and automated biographic information-sharing capability by 2013 and biometric information-sharing capability by 2014.” A North American biometric identification system could be used to restrict, track and trace our movements.

On October 4, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Transport Canada officials announced the extension of the expedited screening initiative, TSA Pre&#10003;™ which will now include lanes for Canadian NEXUS members at 27 participating U.S. airports. Canadian Minister of State For Transport Steven Fletcher explained that, “The Government of Canada and the United States are delivering on commitments to include Canadian NEXUS members in designated TSA Pre&#10003;™ lanes as part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan.” He went on to say, “This will mean smarter and faster air travel for Canadian NEXUS members traveling within the U.S., while maintaining a high level of aviation security.” TSA Administrator John Pistole acknowledged that, “The inclusion of Canadian NEXUS members in TSA Pre&#10003;™ is an important step in further harmonizing the security screening process between the U.S. and Canada.” Under NEXUS, pre-screened travelers are granted expedited access across the border, by air, land or sea. As part of the perimeter security deal, both countries are expanding and integrating trusted traveler programs.

The Next-Generation pilot project which would permit U.S. agents on Canadian soil is on hold while legal issues are being resolved. The security perimeter agreement stated that both countries would, “create integrated teams in areas such as intelligence and criminal investigations, and an intelligence-led uniformed presence between ports of entry.” The plan which is a land-based version of the Shiprider program was scheduled to be deployed this summer. Allowing U.S. agents to cross the border and pursue suspects into Canada poses a threat to sovereignty and could infringe on personal privacy laws. The pilot project is part of the process of acclimating U.S. policing activities in Canada and could later be expanded.

Last month, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency established a pre-clearance initiative pilot project on import re-inspection activities for fresh meat. This is tied to the Beyond the Border deal and is aimed at streamlining meat inspections at the U.S.-Canada border. Just as the joint program was being rolled out, XL Foods in Alberta, Canada announced a massive recall of meat products due to E. coli contamination. This came on the heels of a letter from the Safe Food Coalition to the USDA citing concerns that food safety could be compromised and requesting that the border inspection pilot be halted. Some of the potential tainted meat could have been shipped to at least eight U.S. states. In a press statement, the Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter pointed out that, “the Obama Administration and the Harper Government in Canada have been plotting to eliminate the very border inspection program that tipped off authorities that there was a major problem brewing with the products originating from the XL plant.” Plans to further deregulate food safety inspections could lead to more trouble in the future.

In September, Transport Canada and the United States Coast Guard launched a pilot project that will include joint Port State Control inspections of non-Canadian and non-U.S. flagged vessels in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway. Rear Adm. Mike Parks, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District described how, “This initiative is in keeping with President Obama’s and Prime Minister Harper’s Beyond the Border Perimeter Security Initiative protecting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway region, which provides common access to the heart of North America. Our goal is to make vessel inspections more efficient and facilitate American and Canadian business on both sides of our shared border.” The program is outlined in the Regulatory Cooperation Council action plan and establishes a, “safety and security framework for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway that will align the two countries’ regulatory requirements. This pilot project will look for efficiencies in order to reduce duplicate inspections and impediments to trade.” When completed, recommendations will be made on whether to form a permanent binational foreign vessel inspection program.

NAFTA partners, in conjunction with multinational corporations and influential think tanks are pushing for deeper North American integration. As far as the upcoming U.S. election goes, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both committed globalists and have no intentions of upholding the constitution or protecting what is left of American sovereignty. The notion of real choice is now even more of an illusion. Minus the Democrat and Republican rhetoric, it’s essentially the same policies, same agenda, and the same team. It doesn’t matter who wins the presidency, the path towards a North American Union will continue.

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-10-15 18:02:52

This little putsch against the Northern Train Service was starting awhile ago when service to Timmins was stopped and you had to take the bus from Matheson.

The "Reptilian Kitten Eater from another Planet" strikes again.

So now cars, gas and roads; kick backs from the automotive and oil lobby ?




Source: North Bay Nugget (
Author: JF Glinski, North Bay
Date: 2012.10.09

[Fritz]Soon the "National Dream" will only exist on model railway layouts around the world.


I was one of the hundreds of people who attended the farewell trip of the Northlander train. I worked as a conductor on this train for 12 years before retiring.

On Aug. 7, 1982, there was a headline in The Nugget that read North Bay celebrates 100 years of rail. There were pictures of people celebrating at all the stations down from the North.

It took more than 100 years to build the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty will destroy it all in one year.

How could we let this happen in a democracy?

The south of this province gets everything, while he sells off the North for votes.

JF Glinski, North Bay

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-10-16 18:30:14

Dalton McGuinty is picking up his marbles (huge pension) and leaving a financial disaster it would seem; I assume the natural gas industry has a job for him after securing those 6 powerplants .... with Parliament prorogued 6 months to bury the bodies and protect the guilty. Everyone says he is not going for the Federal Liberal convention, but how knows.


... so nothing can get done. No teacher's contract, no doctor's contract, no government employee's contract it will be six months till it all gets going again. He has stuck it to everyone and left with a big fat pension ... so ... Ontario's credit rating could go down with the uncertainty and the debt load will go up and who knows what kind of financial time bombs are ticking that he has walked away from ; unbelievable where is superman when you need him; even Hitler or Nixon didn't walked away from their disasters; he has earned his nickname: "The Reptilian Kitten Eater from another Planet" .





Source: The Globe and Mail (
Author: J.C. Bourque
Date: 2012.10.16

[img width=800 height=320]
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks to the media after announcing his plans to resign from the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, at Queen's Park in Toronto, Oct.15, 2012.

Though it may have seemed sudden, the resignation of Dalton McGuinty should come not come as a surprise.[Fritz] but to Prorogue parliament essentially stopping everything for 6 months is wrong it seems

It has been clear for some time that the McGuinty government is well past its best-before date. At the very end of multi-term governments – accompanied by a lack of policy ideas, indecision and general aimlessness – comes the inevitable attempt to hold onto power. The government has been in this state since at least March 2011, when, instead of facing the tough economic decisions, they punted the ball down the field in the form of the Drummond report (the recommendations of which they have specifically ignored for more than eight months). And now we wait still – for yet another “blue ribbon” panel to come up with suggestions on what to do about the future of the Ontario economy.
It was not always so. The McGuinty government came into power, with new ideas, a fresh approach, and real energy. They attacked a number of policy areas they perceived to have been neglected by the previous government. Nine years since their taking power, and at a leadership precipice, it is a good time to assess their major successes and failures.


1) Elementary and Secondary Education

The McGuinty government set ambitious and long-term quantitative goals for two key educational metrics: provincial literacy and numeracy rates and high school graduation rates. While not quite achieving their targets, they have made progress in these two areas, leading to a tremendously positive effect on long-term student outcomes. The OECD has pointed to Ontario as a role model in these two areas.

2) The HST

By the early 2000’s, it was clear that a key barrier to Ontario’s competitiveness was the relative underinvestment by businesses in productivity-improving machinery and equipment. The cause: Our archaic sales tax system which piled taxes on top of taxes. Taking huge political risk, the McGuinty government harmonized the provincial and federal taxes and, unlike most other Canadian jurisdictions, did not do so with a rate cut funded by raising corporate taxes. The short term benefits are hard to gauge, but as a long-term initiative, the HST initiative is a model for smart tax policy.

3) Infrastructure Ontario

For years the Ontario government struggled to get capital projects done on-time and on-budget. The challenge created by irregular levels of ability with the government to manage complex projects and their sky-high costs became more acute when the public/private partnership trend revolutionized the delivery of infrastructure. By establishing Infrastructure Ontario, the government set up an agency that was sophisticated enough to manage these sometimes complex and first-of-a-kind partnerships. This innovation brings to Ontario the best expertise in lending and project delivery, saving the government billions and resulting in better public facilities.


1) Fiscal Mismanagement

The scale of liberal spending and the resulting debt hangover is truly mindboggling. Under McGuinty, the provincial debt has more than doubled, while annual budgets have increased from $70-billion to over $120-billion. The majority of these increases have gone to endlessly increasing the ranks of the public service without any thought to productivity. The billions wasted on several projects (e-health, Ornge) are likely just the tip of the waste and mismanagement iceberg. Their profligacy is a double tragedy for the McGuinty Liberals: not only does the creation of a structural crisis threaten their legacy, but the missed opportunity during the huge revenue years of 2003-2008 to invest in long-term projects crucial to the province’s future may damn them as one of the most irresponsible of governments. To say nothing of the impact on this province’s future.

2) AECL and Ontario’s Nuclear Energy Sector

Few realize how damaging the demise of Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. will be to the province. AECL produced technologies that were world-renowned and it employed thousands of highly-trained people. Candu reactors provide 50 per cent of Ontario’s electricity and are operating in Brazil, India and China. Nuclear has its challenges, but with our existing nuclear reactors, Ontario will be using Candu technology for decades, and a long-term strategy would have seen Ontario not only preserve the technology but also develop it. Instead, the McGuinty government let it slip away. Sixty years of cutting-edge nuclear intellectual capital was sold to a Quebec-based engineering firm for a paltry $$15-million. The McGuinty government played a game of procurement chicken with the federal government and lost. The irony remains that at the very time the McGuinty government was letting an Ontario technology die, it was paying Samsung hundreds of millions to set up poorly conceived green energy projects.

3) The Green Energy Program and the Economy

It is now clear that McGuinty never had a vision for the Ontario economy. His only semi-coherent effort remains in the area of Green Energy, but this approach failed. By using artificially high, long-term purchasing agreements, he hoped to provide the catalyst for the creation of a green manufacturing and services hub. It was a faddish approach that bet the wrong way on U.S. energy policy. Moreover, McGuinty failed to understand that for every “green” job created, several more jobs were lost due to the escalating cost of energy. Power prices are set to rise a further 46 per cent by 2015, causing further harm to our economy – unless something is done.

4) Dithering

While the legacy of Dalton McGuinty will be debated for some time, it is truly unfortunate that his parting gift is to freeze the government in its current state of lethargy. The prorogation and leadership distraction means that the province will remain ungoverned for another year – with vital policy decisions continuing to be kicked down the field. The truth of the provincial fiscal situation has been known for some time, as important as Don Drummond’s work was, it merely listed what many had suspected and articulated. We should remember the drubbing Harper received for prorogation during a moment as serious as the one currently facing the province of Ontario. McGuinty must be criticized for failing to deal with the mess he in part created and for holding the province in a state of paralysis for what will become close to three years of policy inertia.

McGuinty leaves the provincial stage with a number of clear accomplishments and clear failures. It will be some time before the ledger of McGuinty’s record is truly accounted for and balanced. But what is certain is that the people of Ontario will face a series of difficult decisions without him.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-10-17 22:14:32

Allison Cross's piece in the National Post got to the 'nitty gritty of this story'. Fold government so the back room deals could be made without the Parliamentary process interfering
<snip>McGuinty also announced he is proroguing Ontario’s legislature in order to negotiate wage freezes with the province’s labour partners. He said he intends to reach out to the opposition to negotiate their support, saying there was little hope of getting the wage freeze the minority government needs to trim the $14.4-billion deficit because the opposition parties are opposed. “To this end, I met with the Lieutenant Governor earlier today and asked that we prorogue the House so that we can pursue both discussions, both tracks, in a way that is free of the heightened rancour that has sadly too frequently characterized our legislature of late,” McGuinty said. “So, when the House returns, we’re either going to have negotiated agreements in hand or a legislative plan supported by the opposition.”
Another 10,000 pages of concerns hit the House of Parilment the day he Prorogued it.




Source: Huffington Post (
Author: Benjamin Trister
Date: 2012.10.17

[img width=700 height=300]
[size=1]G20 Police Laws
Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals were criticized for laws giving police greater powers to ensure security during the G20 in 2010. The laws were seen by civil rights groups as draconian. Andre Marin, Ontario’s ombudsman also criticized the government calling the laws and police action a massive violation of civil rights. Photo: AP Files/Carolyn Kaster[/size]

We take it for granted that we live in a democracy. That label for our political system is, however, no longer accurate. Premier Dalton McGuinty's decision to shut down the Ontario legislature until his successor is chosen (whenever that might be) is further evidence that our democracy is under constant threat, more so in fact by the powerful than by terrorists.

Consider some of the principles of democracy:

1. People vote for individual representatives and governments. The government's power and legitimacy of the state is, therefore, derived from the people and entrusted to those elected;
2. Our electoral system should produce governments that reflect the will of the majority, thereby resulting in policies and laws that reflect the consensus of the majority of the voters;
3. People expect their representatives to ensure that our legislatures are functional and productive;
4. The Prime Minister and the premiers serve at the pleasure of the legislatures; and
5. While governments are supposed to govern for the majority of the electors, they are supposed to respect the rights of those in the minority.

How many of these principles do you believe are being respected by those to whom we have entrusted our power?

The weakness of our democracy begins with our electoral system. Our outdated "first past the post" electoral system significantly distorts voter intent. In the 2011 federal election, the vote was distorted by 22.2 per cent. That's a whopping distortion when you consider that the Conservatives have taken complete control of the federal government after earning less than 40 per cent of the votes.

It's very unfortunate that our politicians would rather keep this electoral system than change it. They hope to benefit from the distortions to get into office and stay there. The possibility of attaining complete power is more attractive than having to work with other parties to govern, as would more often be the case if we used a proportional representation election system, one which accurately allocates the number of elected members to the percentage of the votes their parties earned.

Canada needs electoral reform but we lack the tools of direct democracy to move this issue forward without the support of the parties. Proportional representation is clearly in our interest if we want a true democracy, but when our rights in this regard conflict with the needs of the parties, it is the latter that prevail.

Our warped electoral system clothes leaders who have the support of relatively few Canadians with the full legitimacy to govern. Prime Minister Harper pretends that he has a support of the majority of Canadians. He has never enjoyed anything close to that support but he has set about remaking Canada nonetheless.

When faced with the real possibility that a majority of Members of the House of Commons would vote him out of office, he shut down Parliament so they could not do so. Now Premier McGuinty has employed the same tactic, presumably to stop the opposition from further investigating the Liberals' roles in the Ornge affair and gas plant closures as well as possibly censuring one of his cabinet ministers.

The Premier's stated reason that labour negotiations require his government's full attention is not credible, or has the Premier also forgotten how to walk and chew gum at the same time? If he were President of the United States, by his own logic, he would not have been able to deliver health care reform while attending to the economic recovery while Congress was still at work.

Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty apparently believe that the people's elected representatives are a mere inconvenience, and why shouldn't they? Just as we have ceded our power to our elected representatives, they in turn have ceded their power to the Prime Minister and Premier in the hope that their leaders will look favorably upon them when it comes time to select their cabinets, or to avoid being kicked out of the caucus for not voting in accordance with the leaders' wishes which would jeopardize their reelection.

The erosion of democracy is far from a trifling matter. The exercise of a disproportionate amount of power can lead to serious problems. In our case, the will of the majority is subsumed to the power of the leaders who feel nearly impervious to threat. They are free to do considerable harm. They have used this power to serve corporate interests beyond what is in the interest of society as a whole by putting policies and laws in place that allow income inequality to grow to levels that are unhealthy for society and reduce food safety among other things. What informed citizen would believe that governments that do such things are really working in the country's best interests?

We let our politicians get away with far too many actions that undermine our rights. Shutting down the legislature to avoid being scrutinized or turfed by the majority is not an action that meets the test for true democracies. Premier McGuinty will get away with it because our system lacks the requisite checks and balances. We don't have the tools for direct democracy because we have put our faith in our politicians to uphold the principles of democratic representative government. They repeatedly fail us in this regard.

Truth and trust are rare commodities in politics. Our representative government is dysfunctional. Those in power have no shame. The politicians think we don't know what they are up to, but we do. The fact that they believe we can't do anything about it until the next election also does not speak well of our democratic system.

Governments count on us having short memories and their ability to divert our attention from what really matters when the next election comes around. Often, they are correct in this regard. It's up to us to not let our political leaders fool us, and to not fool ourselves. We have more than enough power if we choose to exercise it.

We owe it to each other as citizens of our nation to get involved to make things better. Talk about and work for electoral reform and the other important issues facing the people of our nation. Tell your politicians when they fail you and make sure you let them know that they will lose your vote if they don't take corrective measures. Remember the words of our national anthem: "O Canada, we stand on guard for thee." Will you?

Follow Benjamin Trister on Twitter:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2012-12-18 12:51:27

As this story unfolds and the closed door agreements keep surfacing; it is just so unclear what is driving this. I suspect this could get very unpleasant as the true impacts become known. Is this a back handed way of getting at mineral reserves and mining rights; I find it hard to believe politicians would be honorable in this endeavor. Follow the money, who gains ?




Source: NorthBay Nugget (
Date: 2012.12.17


EAST FERRIS-Emotions ran high and anger ran deep during the first information session over the Algonquin land claim.

More than 90 residents attended the two-hour meeting held at the East Ferris Community Centre Saturday afternoon. Most left visibly frustrated and upset.

People were shocked to learn that the Algonquin Land Claim, which is considered the largest and most complex land claim in Ontario under active negotiation, affects more than 200 parcels of provincial Crown land covering nine million acres that fall within the Ontario portion of the Ottawa and Mattawa River watersheds. The parcels range in size from a few acres to more than 30,000 acres.

Some of that land identified in the claim is located in East Ferris, including Long Lake and Camp Island.

Residents also learned during the meeting some of that land will be used for residential purposes, however exact locations and numbers weren't released.

“I'm more concerned now, because it sounds like it's a done deal. What people don't realize is that this claim changes the picture of East Ferris municipality,” said Steve Horton, who depends on Maple Lane crossing Crown land to access his home.

“Our immediate worry is that our land has been cherry-picked. How are these little chunks chosen? There's been no evidence of Aboriginal activity,” he said.

“The land is out-fished, logged out and the odd moose is running around, but I'm not sure what's left.”

Ken Hoyle, a East Ferris resident for 29 years, fears everything he worked for could be gone.

The retired mechanic, who owns a home on Trout Lake, also travels on Maple Lane.

“It's so overwhelming. How can this happen? he said.

The situation became more volatile when elected officials spoke out about the closed door meetings that have taken place over several decades between the Algonquins, and the provincial and federal governments so they could reach an agreement in principle.

East Ferris Mayor Bill Vrebosch walked out of an invite-only meeting earlier this year because he was required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

“I'm not a believer of this type of democracy,” said Vrebosch.

Residents wanted answers. They wanted to know why they were just being informed now? Why certain lands were chosen and can changes be made to the preliminary draft agreement?

Norm Lemke, co-chairman of the Municipal Advisory Committee, said there's always curiosity and concern with those not sitting at the negotiating table, however negotiating in public is a real challenge.

“This agreement is just in the preliminary stages and there's still a lot of work to do,” he said.

“It will take between three and five years before consultation is completed. There's a real opportunity for input and there's opportunity to adjust to make the treaty the best and take into account all interests.”

But the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs website indicates that the land claim is based on the assertion that the Algonquins never entered into a treaty with the Crown and that they have unsurrendered Aboriginal rights and title to 36,000 square kilometres of eastern Ontario.

Negotiations between Canada, Ontario and the Algonquins of Ontario have been ongoing for 20 years.

Lemke said the next step is public consultations, which are slated for the end of February.

Sydne Conover Taggart, lands negotiator, held her composure as questions and opinions were yelled out.

Several residents peppered her with questions about why certain properties were selected.

Conover Taggart told the crowd there are thousands of Algonquins living in the area and they're looking for places that could be residential properties.

She said how many homes or where exactly they may be built is unknown at this time.

According to the Preliminary Draft Agreement in Principle executive summary, which was handed out at the meeting, “these proposed land selections are based on Algonquin interests such as historic or cultural significance, current Algonquin objectives and long-term goals.”

Conover Taggart said Camp Island, a popular destination for boaters and wilderness seekers, said the Algonquins want the property for protection purposes.

But it's not just the land the Algonquins are after.

The land claim also includes a $300 million transfer to the Algonquins of Ontario and recommended approaches to address Algonquin harvesting rights, including the right to harvest wildlife, fish, migratory birds and plants, forestry, parks and protected areas, Algonquin heritage and culture and Algonquin eligibility and enrolment.

The claim also says no new reserves will be created, Algonquin Park will be preserved for public use, and land will not be expropriated from private owners as a result of the settlement, the site says.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli asked residents what messages they want him to take back to Queen's Park when government resumes.

“I need to be very clear in my message,” he said urging people to contact him at his constituency office or by telephone.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-01-09 17:06:30

Just an interesting story not found like this with a more complete text then in other media. Who again has control control of our natural resources. And what did the 15% cost the tax payer in incentives in the first place ?




Source: Northern Miner (
Author: Trish Saywell
Date: 2012.01.02

[img width=200 height=120]

With demand for steel in Europe tumbling about 8% in 2012 and a cumulative 29% since 2007, Luxembourg-based steel maker ArcelorMittal (MT-N) has decided to sell a 15% stake in ArcelorMittal Mines Canada to an Asian consortium — including South Korean steelmaker Posco and China Steel Corp. of Taiwan — for US$1.1 billion in cash.

ArcelorMittal Mines Canada produces 15 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate a year and more than 9 million tonnes of iron oxide pellets — some of which will now be earmarked for members of the Asian consortium in long-term offtake agreements, based on their proportionate interest in the assets.

If the sale is approved, Arcelor would still own 85% of its Canadian subsidiary, which generates 40% of Canada’s total iron ore production from two large open-pit mines (Mont-Wright and Fire Lake). ArcelorMittal Mines Canada also owns the Port-Cartier industrial complex consisting of a pellet plant, storage areas and port facilities on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Canadian mining unit does not include ArcelorMittal’s stake in the Mary River iron ore deposit in northern Baffin Island, however, which by some estimates is one of the finest undeveloped iron ore deposits in the world due to its high-quality ore and hefty size. The project, about 160 km south of Pond Inlet in Nunavut, is jointly owned by ArcelorMittal and Nunavut Iron Ore, a subsidiary of Iron Ore Holdings.

ArcelorMittal is selling off assets to trim net debt, which the company estimated in late October would reach US$22 billion by the end of 2012.

In December the company took a US$4.3-billion impairment charge on its business units in Europe, and in October reported a US$49-million loss on sales of US$19.7 billion for the three months ended Sept. 30. The steelmaker also noted at the time that its board of directors recommended cutting the annual dividend payment from US75¢ per share to US20¢ per share, subject to shareholder approval at the company’s annual general meeting in May 2013.

But the company also said its planned expansion of ArcelorMittal Mines Canada to 24 million tonnes per year (from the current 15 million tonnes per year) was on track for ramp-up during the first half of 2013.

Peter Kukielski, CEO of ArcelorMittal’s mining division, says that the asset sale was a key component of the company’s game plan. “This joint venture incorporating a long-term offtake agreement is consistent with our strategy to forge strategic relationships with key customers, as we build our global mining business,” he says. “This consortium will be an excellent partner as we pursue further expansion at AMMC.”

The deal is subject to approval by the government of Taiwan and is expected to close in two installments in the first and second quarters of 2013.

ArcelorMittal has over 20 mines in operation and development, and the company says it’s the world’s fourth-largest iron ore producer. ArcelorMittal Mines Canada was set-up in January 2008 following ArcelorMittal’s acquisition of Quebec Cartier Mining Co. in 2006.

ArcelorMittal sold off a number of assets in 2012 to help weather the economic crisis in Europe and weak demand for steel. In mid-November, the company sold its 50% stake in Kalagadi Manganese for US$447 million; in October it permanently closed its Florange plant in France; in July it sold its 48.1% stake in Paul Wurth Group, an international engineering company specializing in iron and steel, to SMS GmbH; and in May sold its steel foundation distribution business in Nafta (Skyline Steel and Astralloy) to Nucor Corp. for US$605 million. Also in May, ArcelorMittal divested its 23.5% stake in energy company Enovos International to AXA Private Equity for US$435 million.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-02-02 14:00:18

This just doesn't seem right that the pensioners are denied and the creditors get their cash.
Maybe someone can explain this to me.




Source: The Globe and Mail (
Date: 2013.02.01

[img width=500 height=320]


The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the U.S. parent of an insolvent Toronto company is entitled to the Canadian entity’s last $6.75-million, instead of a group of the firm’s retirees, whose pensions were cut after their employer went under.

The court’s ruling in the case of Indalex Ltd., which plunged into bankruptcy protection in 2009, was is expected to have broad implications for other companies and pension plans across the country.

Pensions — Trusts — Company who was both employer and administrator of pension plans seeking protection from creditors under CCAA — Pension funds not having sufficient assets to fulfill pension promises made to plan members — Whether pension wind&#8209;up deficiencies subject to deemed trust — Whether company as plan administrator breached fiduciary duties — Whether pension plan members are entitled to constructive trust.

Civil Procedure — Costs — Appeals — Standard of review — Whether Court of Appeal erred in costs endorsement concerning one party.

Indalex Limited (“Indalex”), the sponsor and administrator of two employee pension plans, one for salaried employees and the other for executive employees, became insolvent. Indalex sought protection from its creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C&#8209;36 (“CCAA”). The salaried plan was being wound up when the CCAA proceedings began. The executive plan had been closed but not wound up. Both plans had wind&#8209;up deficiencies.

In a series of court&#8209;sanctioned steps, the company was authorized to enter into debtor in possession (“DIP”) financing in order to allow it to continue to operate. The CCAA court granted the DIP lenders, a syndicate of pre&#8209;filing senior secured creditors, priority over the claims of all other creditors. Repayment of these amounts was guaranteed by Indalex U.S.

Ultimately, with the approval of the CCAA court, Indalex sold its business but the purchaser did not assume pension liabilities. The proceeds of the sale were not sufficient to pay back the DIP lenders and so Indalex U.S., as guarantor, paid the shortfall and stepped into the shoes of the DIP lenders in terms of priority. The CCAA court authorized a payment in accordance with the priority but ordered an amount be held in reserve, leaving the plan members’ arguments on their rights to the proceeds of the sale open for determination later. <snip>

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-02-07 12:34:03

[Fritz] So 'Daddy' decked (maybe dysfunctional knockout) Canada into ruin and now the 'Son' is returning to finish us off as a Nation.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-02-16 10:55:27

The Media monopolists square off ....




Source: Huffington Post (
Author: Daniel Tencer
Date: 2013.01.21

[img width=700 height=320]

A recent study suggests that some 10 per cent of Canadians now use the streaming video service Netflix. But the company evidently believes it could be doing better — and providing a better service to Canadians — were it not for Canada’s internet service providers.

“It’s almost a human rights violation what they’re charging for internet access in Canada,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told a conference in Los Angeles last week, as quoted by GigaOM.

“The problem in Canada is … they have almost third-world access to the internet,” he added in an interview a day later.

At the heart of the matter for Netflix is "usage-based billing," or limiting the amount subscribers can download per month, a practice some Canadian ISPs put into place at roughly the same time that Netflix was preparing its move into the Canadian market. Some ISPs that already had caps lowered those limits in response to Netflix's arrival.

Using Netflix on an internet service with a low download limit can lead to prohibitively expensive overage fees.

Internet providers in Canada are frequently “vertically integrated” as part of larger media companies, such as Bell and Rogers. As a result, Netflix is in effect a competitor to those companies’ on-demand cable TV services, which charge on a pay-per-view basis rather than offering a flat monthly fee like Netflix does.

In a sign that Canada's big media companies see Netflix as a threat, Bell Canada recently announced plans to launch its own Netflix-style streaming service.

All major Canadian ISPs now employ usage-based billing. The lowest cap is on Videotron’s basic service — 5 gigabytes per month, or slightly more than one typical high-definition movie per month. Bell’s lowest-tier service, by comparison, has a gig cap of 15 gigabytes, or three hi-def movies. All ISPs have high-end services that provide at least 200 gigabytes per month.

Netflix’s response to this has been to reduce the quality of the video it streams to Canadians, saving some bandwidth. But the company is clearly on the warpath against the practices of Canadian ISPs. In a letter to the CRTC in 2011, Netflix argued that the ISPs’ claim they need to charge overage fees in order to reduce network congestion “relies on highly questionable assumptions.” The company said ISPs like Bell are making a 99 per cent profit margin on what they charge for exceeding download limits.

Yet the notion that Canada’s internet is substandard as a result of usage-based billing is arguable. A recent study suggested Canada is fourth in the world when it comes to the internet having an impact on society -- though the study does point out that Canada lags when it comes to internet infrastructure.

Another study showed Canada is ninth in the world when it comes to access to broadband, ranking higher than the U.S. or the U.K.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-02-17 11:00:47

Interesting how Ottawa procedures and processes don't translate well to locations where the money is less plentiful.



Nunavut boards say they can’t pay for Bill C-47 obligations

Date: 2013.02.15

[img width=400 height=320]

NIRB “stretched to the breaking point,” chair tells MPs

Elizabeth Copland, the chair of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, listens last July to evidence given by witnesses at public hearings in the Iqaluit cadet hall on the Mary River iron project. But
Elizabeth Copland, the chair of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, listens last July to evidence given by witnesses at public hearings in the Iqaluit cadet hall on the Mary River iron project. But "with the level of development that we are currently experiencing in Nunavut, the Nunavut Impact Review Board's core capacity is already stretched to the breaking point,” Copland told

A Conservative bill aimed at implementing part of the Nunavut land claims agreement can’t work unless the Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Planning Commission get more funding, board officials told a House of Commons committee in Ottawa recently.

“First, with the level of development that we are currently experiencing in Nunavut, the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s core capacity is already stretched to the breaking point,” the NIRB’s chair Elizabeth Copland told MPs Jan. 29.

The bill, which the Tories are marketing politically as the “Nunavut Jobs and Growth Act,” is mostly aimed at setting out detailed rules and procedures for the review board and the planning commission.

Most of it is taken from an earlier bill called the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which died on the order paper just before the May 2011 election.

The aboriginal affairs committee finished looking at the Bill C-47 Feb. 12, when the Tory majority voted down a number of NDP and Liberal amendments.

But before that, witnesses from the NIRB and NPC said their organizations don’t get enough money from Ottawa each year to pay for the bill’s new requirements.

Copland, speaking on behalf of the NIRB, said that’s because the bill contains provisions that her board can’t afford.

These include:

• extensive new requirements to meet access to information obligations beyond those set out in the Privacy Act;

• obligations to translate lengthy and highly technical documents into three languages, for which corresponding terms in Inuktitut might not be available, and which only a tiny handful of translators are qualified to carry out; and,

• new public registry requirements.

Another funding gap, Copland said, is the absence of a designated fund to help intervenors from the public make submissions during environmental assessments.

This, she said, creates “a disparity in public access to impact assessment in Nunavut.”

But in jurisdictions covered by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, such funding is available to members of the public, Copland said.

For example, the CEAA made $81,600 available to support public participation on a federal environmental assessment of iron ore project in Quebec called Fire Lake North.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, unless the federal minister declares otherwise in certain rare exceptions, has no jurisdiction in Nunavut anymore.

That’s because the federal government — with the support of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. — quietly amended Article 12 of the land claims agreement to eliminate the CEAA from Nunavut.

This also eliminated provisions for intervenor funding.

Ryan Barry, the NIRB’s executive director, said after since the CEAA was removed from the territory in 2008, funding for ordinary people has been on an ad hoc basis.

“In some cases it’s been granted. More recently the response from the minister has been that because there is no established program, there will be no funding,” Barry said.

As for the NIRB’s current financial situation and its ability to carry out the new functions set out in Bill C-47, Barry said “now you know what keeps us awake at night.”

“The bill in front of you will require us to have an online presence. It brings in new translation requirements. It makes us have to adhere to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

“For a small organization such as ours that doesn’t have those systems in place for all aspects, as the federal government might, that means we are expecting a much larger burden on an already very constrained budget,” Barry said.

But he also said the review board is preparing a detailed funding submission for the federal government and that the board is encouraged by comments made this past December by John Duncan, the Aborginal Affairs and Northern Development minister, on the NIRB’s funding issues.

As for the Nunavut Planning Commission, Sharon Ehaloak, told the Commons committee Feb. 5 that the NPC is so “critically underfunded,” some jobs go unfilled.

“In our organizational capacity, currently we have left positions vacant simply to meet our current needs. We will not be able to enact this legislation without additional funding. There’s just no question about it,” Ehaloak said.

Ehaloak even said the NPC risks being “sued by proponents” because it doesn’t have the money to meet its obligations.

“We have the obligation to create a public registry. We have the obligation to staff and to prepare the staff and to familiarize them with the legislation and the new timelines. The language obligations are also new. In our presentation in 2010, we provided the initial costs.

“From the time of our original submission, I’m sure there have been cost escalators, and we will not be able to fulfill our obligations under the legislation, given the requirements,” Ehaloak said.

On the new translation requirements, Ehaloak said every English word the NPC produces costs them $2 in extra translation costs.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-02-20 18:51:41

As we follow in a world wide tradition ...




Source: BCFED (
Author: Jesse Uppal

[img width=500 height=320]

BC’s unionized forest workers are inviting forest communities to join them in a series of town hall meetings around the province to address the crisis in BC forest.

Whether it’s the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle or raw log exports, forest communities have been hit hard over the last decade, and it’s critical we come together to address not only the problems in our forest sector but solutions as well,” said Jim Britton Vice-President, Western Region, of the Communication, Energy and Paperworker’s Union.

“Years of government staffing cuts, deregulation and mis-management have created a crisis in BC’s forests,” said Darryl Walker, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). “British Columbians deserve to know their forests are being managed sustainably and in the public interest—maintaining forest-sector jobs, while preserving ecosystems. We need to work together to demand that government invest in research, reforestation, and compliance and enforcement to ensure healthy forests today, and in the future.”

“Over the last decade, viable mills were shutdown while raw log exports grew dramatically,” added Steve Hunt, Western Canadian Director of the United Steelworkers. “People in forest communities understand it’s not just about the direct jobs in the forest, or related milling and manufacturing jobs, it’s also about the indirect jobs and benefits to local communities that come from forest workers.”

Community members attending the meetings will not only have an opportunity to hear from provincial and local forestry experts, but each meeting will also engage participants in a dialogue about how we work together to draw attention the crisis and community solutions for change. Start times are 6:00 pm with the exception of Prince George, which will start at 6:15 pm.

[size=5]NDP Votes With Liberals in Support of the Timber Supply Report to Log
BC's Forest Reserves


Since 2002, the BC Liberal government has slashed more than 1,100 forestry workers' jobs from the Forests and Range ministry. That, along with former premier Gordon Campbell’s idiotic move to collapse the forests ministry into that “super” ministry has resulted in a demoralized and intimidated staff. Also in 2002, the B.C. Liberals changed provincial forestry laws, lessening the obligation of harvesters to replant. Then they cut the budget for silviculture by almost 90 per cent. Ten years later, we have learned that there are more than one million hectares of “not sufficiently restocked” land.

Then we have British Columbia's Auditor General John Doyle's recently released report on the state of timber management by the Minister of Forests which says, " any measure is a scathing indictment of the ministry and proof that the continuous funding cuts made by 11 years of BC Liberal government have left a once proud Forest Service in disarray. Each budget year rolls out deeper and deeper cuts, laying off experienced professional staff and severely reducing the Ministry’s ability to fulfill its purpose."

Over 90% of British Columbia is Crown land, owned by all the people of British Columbia, and it is the responsibility of the Forest Service to act as stewards for this land and cutting of staff is incredibly short-sighted. It's also effective if your goal is to generate reports from that now insecure staff that agree with your pre-conceived agenda.

Professional foresters are highly trained intelligent people who know full well that clear-cuts and mono-culture plantations aren't good forestry practices. Many have attended courses like those of of UBC Forestry Prof. Suzanne Simard, who at UBC lectures on and researches the role of mycorrhizae and mycorrhizal networks in the web of life that supports us all. All of them are trained in how the progression of species through time leads to a balanced mature forest and the dangers inherent in a mono-cultured plantation compared to the long term health and resilience of an interconnected real forest.

But folks are folks, including BC's forestry professionals. They have families to support, mortgages to pay and careers. In any organization, including the Ministry of Forests, a researcher knows exactly what results his or her supervisor wants - the results their superiors want to hear. And so on up the food chain it goes, until it reaches the top predator, in this case BC's Liberal government.

The results are clear from the Timber Supply Report, the Auditor General's Report of from the Association of BC Forest Professionals themselves - the BC Liberals have, in the last 11 years, run our once powerful forest industry into the ground. Why? Is it simply to cut costs so as to achieve an apparently balanced budget in the short term and pay for it by destroying the long term viability of our forests while at the same time cutting government revenues by lowering taxes on the corporations and their rich benefactors? Sure looks like it from here.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-02-27 10:07:11

And I quote from a more dignified time and place:

"God save your majesty!

I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat
and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery,
that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers senators.

Nay, that I mean to do."[/color]




17 of 104 senators refused to provide information, 8 didn't answer requests

Source: CBC (
Author: CBC News
Date: 2013.02.26

[img width=500 height=320] Mike Duffy is one of 17 senators who refused to provide proof of residence

Twenty-five senators have either refused to show proof to CBC News that they live where they claim to or haven't responded to questions, as a senate probe into their residency and allowances goes on.

CBC's James Cudmore asked each one of 104 sitting senators to answer:

Where they live.
Where they hold a driver's licence and health card.
Where they pay taxes.
Where they vote.

INTERACTIVE Residency of Canadian senators

So far, 96 senators have responded to the CBC's queries.

Once contacted, 17 senators simply refused to provide the information requested. Sixteen of those senators were Conservative, and 15 were appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Among those who refused:

Conservative Donald Oliver, appointed by then-prime minister Brian Mulroney.
Former broadcaster Pamela Wallin.
Former broadcaster Mike Duffy.
Hockey legend Jacques Demers.
Former Quebec Conservative campaign co-chair Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis.
Former N.W.T. premier Dennis Patterson.
Former New Brunswick Conservative cabinet minister Rose-May Poirier
Former Montreal Canadian Alliance and later Action Démocratique du Québec candidate Leo Housakos.

A further six Conservatives have yet to respond at all. All of those are Harper appointees, including:

Larry Smith, the former head of the Canadian Football League, who was twice appointed to the Senate, the second time after he resigned from the Senate to run for the House of Commons and lost.
Irving Gerstein, a Conservative party fundraiser.

That means a total of 21 Conservative senators appointed by Stephen Harper have either refused or not furnished the residency data to CBC News.
One Liberal refused

Two of 36 Liberal senators haven't responded to the request. Trudeau appointee Pierre De Bané refused to turn over the information, but told CBC News he lives in Ottawa — not in the Quebec riding he was appointed to represent. De Bané says he doesn't claim the living allowance.

Liberal Senator Mac Harb, who is under fire now for racking up Senate travel and living expenses, didn't respond at all. Harb was an Ottawa city councillor from 1985-1988, then represented Ottawa Centre — the riding in which Parliament Hill sits — as a member of Parliament until he was appointed to the Senate in 2003.

Two Conservative senators who sit on the Senate committee reviewing the residency and expenses of senators have also refused to disclose key residency issues to CBC News.

Despite repeated requests over two weeks, Smith and his Senate caucus colleague Claude Carignan have refused to reveal in which province each holds a driver's licence and health card, pays provincial income tax, and votes. The other 13 members of the committee have provided that information to the CBC, including the seven other Conservatives.

Five senators are expected to be called before the Senate committee auditing housing allowances to answer more questions:

Patrick Brazeau, appointed from Quebec.
Mike Duffy, appointed from P.E.I.
Mac Harb, appointed from Ontario.
Dennis Patterson, appointed from Nunavut.
Pamela Wallin, appointed from Saskatchewan.

Duffy to repay expenses

Patterson refused to answer questions from reporters Tuesday as he left a committee on Parliament Hill. He said he's co-operating with the review process.

Last week, Duffy told CBC News that he would pay back the expenses he'd claimed for his housing because questions about the issue were distracting people from his work. Wallin has reportedly decided to do the same.

Both Liberal and Conservative leaders in the Senate have said they expect anyone who can't back up their expense claims to repay the money.

Duffy is the only federal politician in P.E.I. who does not receive a special residents-only tax break. According to tax information obtained by the CBC, all three other senators, and four elected MPs, receive the provincial credit.

Senator Patrick Brazeau, who is also under scrutiny for his expenses, did respond to questions and provided the information requested.

Brazeau lists his primary residence as Maniwaki, even though the address listed on his driver's licence shows he lives in Gatineau, the city across the river from Parliament Hill.

Brazeau currently faces charges of assault and sexual assault in an unrelated matter.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-03-15 21:59:52

No wonder the US wants a wall between Canada and them. Our politicians support murder and treason it would seem.

Seems maybe that the 'politico kids' are all stirring the pot for political gain, so we take our eye of the real problems heading our way. 'Cause no one, could be this stupid ?




Source: Montreal Gazette (
Author: Nelson Wyatt, The Canadian Press
Date: 2013.03.15

[img width=200 height=400]

MONTREAL - Convicted terrorist Paul Rose, who died Thursday of a stroke, is best known as an architect of the 1970 October Crisis, which saw political kidnappings and murder and troops flooding into Quebec. Now a member of the provincial legislature wants to honour him.

Amir Khadir, one of two members of the pro-sovereignty Quebec solidaire, promises to table a motion for him in the national assembly next week.

"This is someone who is significant to the independence movement," Khadir told The Canadian Press when asked about Rose's passing.

"You can share the reservations he had about his past in the FLQ, but no one can question his sincerity, his devotion, his integrity, his intellectual honesty."

The party also issued a written statement offering its condolences — to Rose's family and friends, and the progressive and sovereigntist activists "who had the pleasure of" working with him. It saluted his decision to pursue the "emancipation of the Quebec people" using democratic means after 1970.

Rose, 69, was convicted in 1971 in the murder and kidnapping of then-Quebec vice-premier Pierre Laporte.

For its part, the Parti Quebecois government refused to issue any comment on the death. Khadir decried the government's silence about Rose, who had supported Quebec solidaire in recent years.

"It shows once again the government's lack of courage," he said. "This is an important figure in the Quebec independence movement and I invite all sovereigntist members, including ministers, to publicly express their condolences."

The PQ has repeatedly distanced itself from the legacy of the October Crisis, one of the most tumultuous periods in Canadian history.

PQ founder Rene Levesque was scornful of the FLQ and its members. He was appalled in 1981 when delegates to a party convention gave a standing ovation to Jacques Rose, Paul Rose's brother.

The PQ founder had been a friend to Laporte, and a cabinet colleague.

Paul Rose is best known to Canadians as leader of the Chenier cell of the Front du liberation du Quebec that snatched Laporte from the front lawn of his suburban home as he played touch football with his nephew on Oct. 10, 1970.

Laporte, who was also Quebec labour minister, was found strangled in the trunk of a car a week later, a day after the invocation of the War Measures Act that sent Canadian troops into Quebec to back up police who were carrying out mass arrests.

Rose died peacefully in a Montreal hospital surrounded by his wife and two children, as well as his sisters and brother Jacques, another former member of the FLQ.


Source: National Post (
Author: Tristin Hopper
Date: 2013.03.14

[img width=500 height=320]

He was a kidnapper, a convicted murderer and an unrepentant terrorist who helped orchestrate one of the darkest events in modern Canadian history, but even in the final months of his life Paul Rose was being feted by cheering crowds in Quebec.

And now a party in Quebec’s National Assembly wants to honour him.

As recently as last April, at the height of student protests in Quebec, the ex-terrorist addressed a rally of CLASSE, the more militant of the province’s three main student groups. Organizers later claimed they had not invited Rose to the event, but maintained his comments were “appropriate to the strike.”

Rose, 69, died of a stroke Thursday morning in Montreal’s Sacré-Coeur Hospital, reportedly as members of his family read nationalist poetry by his bedside.

As a leader of the Front de libération du Québec, a violent terrorist group agitating for Quebec independence, in 1970 Rose played a direct hand in the kidnap and murder of Pierre Laporte, Quebec’s deputy premier and minister of labour.

Mr. Laporte’s murder, as well as the FLQ’s abduction of British trade commissioner James Cross, ultimately prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to impose the War Measures Act in a series of events that became known as the October Crisis.

Despite orchestrating the only assassination of a Canadian political figure in the 20th century, for the last three decades Rose was able to live a relatively public life in Montreal as a union organizer, a University of Montreal sociology student and a newspaper columnist.

In 1995, he even attempted to run as a candidate for the Quebec New Democratic Party, but the Quebec Superior Court barred his eligibility for office due to his criminal past.

Through it all, Rose never apologized, claiming in a 2010 interview “we did this because we believed in the advancement of society.”

“Paul Rose always explained the actions of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) as a reaction to the repression that people’s organizations, independence groups and other victims were experiencing at the time,” read a Thursday obituary by L’Aut Journal, a Quebec alternative newspaper which counted Rose as a contributor.

Quebec Solidaire, a separatist political party with two seats in Quebec’s National Assembly, in a Thursday statement offered condolences to Paul Rose’s family, without one mention of Rose’s status as a convicted murderer.

Amir Khadir, one of two members of the Quebec solidaire, promises to table a motion in the national assembly to that effect next week.

“You can share the reservations he had about his past in the FLQ, but no one can question his sincerity, his devotion, his integrity, his intellectual honesty,” Mr. Khadir told The Canadian Press when asked about Rose’s death.

Raised in Montreal, Rose was a schoolteacher before he became involved in radical politics in the late 1960s as a member of the FLQ, which was then responsible for staging more than 200 small-scale bombings, largely in Anglophone neighbourhoods of Quebec.

On October 5, 1970, Rose was on vacation in Texas when he got word that other FLQ members had kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross. He immediately rushed back to Montreal and, within five days, organized the kidnap of Laporte, who lived near the group’s headquarters. The 49-year-old cabinet minister was abducted as he played football with his nephew on his front yard.

In a letter written to Premier Robert Bourassa the day after his abduction, Laporte warned that his abductors were indeed prepared to kill him and that Quebec stood on the precipice of a “bloodbath.”

“After me, it will be a third, a fourth and a fifth,” he wrote.

On October 17, a communiqué written by Rose declared that the FLQ had “executed” Laporte, who they derided as the “Minister of Unemployment and Assimilation.”

The message led police to a remote location just outside Montreal’s St. Hubert airport where officers found Laporte’s body curled around a spare tire in the trunk of Rose’s car.
Handout Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte, kidnapped in front of his home on Oct. 10, 1970, was found dead in a bloodstained car trunk in suburban St. Hubert seven days later.

Under heavy security, one thousand people showed up to Laporte’s October 20 funeral. The journalist-turned-politician would have turned 92 last month. James Cross, who was born the same year as Laporte, is still alive.

Rose was arrested on December 28. At his trial, he became known for his courtroom outbursts and following his sentencing, he screamed“Long Live Quebec! We will overcome!”

A coroner’s inquest soon after the murder determined that Laporte had been strangled by a gold religious medal he wore around his neck. In a conversation wiretapped by police, Rose even admitted to his lawyer that he “finished” Laporte with the gold chain.

Nevertheless, in 2010 Rose asserted in a Radio Canada interview that Laporte’s death could have been avoided. A Radio Canada report that same year put forward the since-discredited theory that Laporte had been “accidentally” strangled.

Although sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, Rose served only 11 years in prison before his 1982 parole. His was the harshestsentence received by any October Crisis conspirator, many of whom dodged prosecution altogether by releasing James Cross in exchange for exile to Cuba.

In 1981, Rose was granted day leave to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of his mother, where he was greeted by a standing ovation.

“The day I was sentenced to life in prison my mother, my friend … told me; ‘Paul, I’m proud of you,’” he told the crowd.

That same year, his brother Jacques Rose — who had also served prison time for the kidnapping —was greeted by a thunderous standing ovation at the 1981 Parti Quebecois convention. Rene Levesque later wrote off the episode as an outbreak of delirium.

Over the years, as October Crisis conspirators have started businesses, opened publishing houses, bought sailboats and reached pension age, Rose’s folk hero status has been viewed with disbelief by the family and friends of those targeted by the FLQ.

In 2010, at the 40th anniversary of the October Crisis, former National Assembly member Raymond Garneau said that to “see the assassin Paul Rose interviewed on the CBC French network, one could believe that murderers were victims and victims murderers.”

True to form, on Thursday Radio Canada reported “that the activist, political scientist and trade unionist” Paul Rose had died.

Even Le Devoir, the Montreal newspaper at which Pierre Laporte had worked as a reformist-minded parliament correspondent in the 1950s, on Thursday eulogized Rose as a “prominent figure in the history of contemporary Quebec.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-04-08 16:42:53

This has been going on for a while now: Hudson Bay, Canada Post, Telus, ...




Source: babble (
Author: jerrym
Date: 2013.04.07


Axed employee blows whistle; federal government investigating

April 7, 2013 - 10:45pm

RBC bank is laying off fifty Canadian employees in their IT department in order to replace them with temporary foreign workers by the end of April. These jobs are in the department that serves RBC's biggest and wealthiest institutional customers, so it has nothing to do with the profit margins of this department.

"They are being brought in from India, and I am wondering how they got work visas,” said Dave Moreau, one of the employees affected by the move. “The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs. That adds insult to injury.

In February, RBC told Moreau and his colleagues 45 of their jobs with the regulatory and financial applications team would be terminated at the end of April.

"There are a lot of angry people," Moreau told Go Public. "A lot those people are in their late 50s or early 60s. They are not quite ready for retirement yet, but it may be very difficult to employ them." ...

The foreign workers who are taking over the RBC work in Toronto are employed by a multinational outsourcing firm from India – iGATE Corp. – which has a contract with the bank to provide IT services. The two companies have been working closely since 2005. There is an "RBC Offshore Development Centre" in the iGATE facility in Bangalore. ...

However, the bank refused to answer repeated questions about the type of work visas the iGATE employees have or how they were approved, given the job losses involved. ...

iGATE, a rapidly growing company with offices around the world, including Mississauga and Toronto, has been in trouble before over foreign worker hirings. ...

In 2008, the multinational paid $45,000 to settle charges by the U.S. Department of Justice for discriminating against American citizens. iGATE was advertising jobs in the U.S. for foreign workers — effectively saying Americans need not apply.

iGATE said it brings its foreign workforce into Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and under intra-company transfer visas.

However, a Toronto immigration lawyer says there is no loophole in any visa category that allows companies to displace Canadians who are able to do the work. ...

The iGATE employees don’t appear to have any special skills Canadians don’t, the RBC workers told Go Public.

“That’s why we are training them,” Moreau said. “The person who is replacing me has asked a lot of questions and doesn’t know a major portion of the type of systems that we are working with."

Displacement against rules

However, it is against federal rules for any company to bring foreign workers into Canada temporarily if it will put citizens out of work.

“The rules are very clear. You cannot displace Canadians to hire people from abroad,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. ....

As a result of Go Public’s inquiries, the office of the minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada — the federal office that approved iGATE’s plans to bring in foreign workers — issued a statement late Saturday.

"We have recently learned of allegations that RBC could be replacing Canadian workers by contracting with iGate, which is filling some of the roles with temporary foreign workers. If true, this situation is unacceptable.

"The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to fill acute labour needs when Canadians are not available for the work required. It was never intended as a means to bring in temporary foreign workers in order to replace already-employed Canadian workers.

'I have instructed my department to work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine the next steps.' "


Marc Weisblott   
Published: April 7, 2013, 12:30 pm

A report from CBC News about the replacement of RBC employees with temporary workers from India stirred outrage across Canada this weekend.

But the bank came forward on Sunday afternoon to refute claims that their approach to outsourcing was out of bounds.

“We are working diligently to find suitable roles for those affected and it is our hope over the next few months to transition them to other positions,” read the statement from RBC’s chief human resources officer Zabeen Hirji.

She clarified to The Canadian Press that the IT service duties performed by the 45 laid-off staffers were being taken over by the Bangalore-based outsourcing firm iGate — with which RBC has been working closely since 2005. The new arrivals weren’t employees of RBC per se.

Further spin came from RBC’s head of Enterprise Services and chief procurement officer Greg Grice:

“RBC agreements with suppliers, including in this case iGate, requires them to ensure that they are abiding by the applicable laws and regulations,” he said in a statement.

“External suppliers allow us to leverage their scale and technical skills to continually improve our operational processes and service, and re-invest in initiatives that enhance the client experience.”

RBC nonetheless announced plans to discuss some of its hiring practices with the federal government after two Conservative ministers expressed their displeasure with the report — along with other politicians from across the spectrum.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-04-15 00:27:27

It went so well last time a Trudeau ruled Canada and we plummeted in to massive debt and separatism was whipped into a frenzy and our relationship with our southern neighbour tanked ... lets see if we can completely destroy Canada this time round .... but Canadians wouldn't be that silly and vote a Trudeau in again.. so we're fine ... "JUST WATCH ME"




Source: The Star (
Author: Susan Delacourt Parliament Hill
Date: 2013.04.14

Justin Trudeau arrives at the Federal Liberal leadership in Ottawa Sunday April 14, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Justin Trudeau easily won more than 80 per cent of the vote. He must now rebuild the Liberals from their third-place standing.

OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau will walk into the House of Commons on Monday as the new leader of the Liberal party — with expectations for him flying as high as his decisive victory in the leadership race.

Garnering more than 80 per cent of the vote tally on Sunday, Trudeau handily won the job that his late father, Pierre Trudeau, held for 16 years in the 20th century.

His victory, then, is already historic: a rare family dynasty in the making in Canadian politics.

But the task now facing Trudeau is the more pressing question about the future: whether he can rebuild the Liberals from their third-place standing back to the powerful, political force they once were in Canada.
Photos View gallery

Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire arrive Sunday afternoon for the federal Liberal leadership announcement in Ottawa. A few hours later he was proclaimed winner in the race. zoom

Before about 1,000 cheering Liberals gathered in Ottawa on Sunday night, Trudeau said that task shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Let us be clear-eyed about what we have accomplished. We have worked hard and we have had a great campaign. We are united, hopeful and resolute in our purpose,” he said. “But know this: we have won nothing more and nothing less than the opportunity to work even harder.”

He served notice, though, that he intends to campaign as Liberal leader in the same way as he campaigned for the job, with optimism rather than negativity, and beyond the nasty, personal partisanship that prevails in Ottawa.

The results of the week’s voting weren’t even close. Under the Liberals’ new system, each riding in Canada was worth 100 points, allocated according to the percentage of support each candidate received. The winner needed 15,401 out of 30,800 points, and Trudeau won 24,000.

His closest rival, Vancouver MP Joyce Murray, won 3,130. Former MP Martha Hall Findlay won 1,760, former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon earned 810, and candidates Deborah Coyne and Karen McCrimmon won only a little more than 200 each.

Trudeau will be in the Commons on Monday to take up his role as leader and to face reporters’ questions in the foyer afterward. His campaign advisers said he intends to spend the next few weeks putting a transition plan in place, though he will also visit Labrador, where hopes are also running high for Liberals to take away a seat from the Conservatives in the May 13 byelection.

Trudeau conducted a leadership campaign that attracted nearly viral levels of public attention and crowds of adoring fans: 10,000 volunteers alone and thousands of new party supporters signed up in the past six months.

Many of those volunteers were in the crowd Sunday night, wearing “Justin” scarves, tears streaming down their faces, as the result was announced.

As well, repeated polls in recent days and weeks have shown that a Trudeau-led Liberal party could sweep over its rivals, even the Conservative party.

Conservatives wasted little time in “welcoming” Trudeau to the fray, issuing a news release that announced “he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be Prime Minister.”

That theme is expected to be reinforced with the Conservatives’ now-familiar brand of attack ads on Liberal leaders. Trudeau said he’s ready for it.

“The Conservative Party will now do what it does. It will try to spread fear. It will sow cynicism. It will attempt to convince Canadians that we should be satisfied with what we have now,” Trudeau said in his acceptance speech.

However, he said, “it is not my leadership that Mr. Harper and his party fear. It’s yours. There is nothing that these Conservatives fear more than an engaged and informed Canadian citizen.”

The New Democrats, keen to keep the Liberals down in third place, will also have Trudeau in their sights as they present themselves as the main progressive opposition to the Conservatives.

In a statement, the Tories congratulated Trudeau on his win but immediately cast doubt on this ability to lead the country.

“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be prime minister,” the party said in a statement.

Trudeau spent some of his acceptance speech talking directly to Quebec, which forms the backbone of the NDP’s current strength in Parliament. The province also had a troubled relationship with his father by the end of his tenure in the 1980s.

“I take nothing for granted. I understand that trust can only be earned. And my plan is to earn yours,” Trudeau said, urging Quebecers to be builders of Canada again.

But Trudeau also had some pointed messages for his own party, riven by factional infighting for much of the past few decades, torn between loyalties to past leaders such as Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who were on hand Sunday night in Ottawa.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-04-30 18:56:59

This old chestnut from 1970 has haunting relevance today. I remember it all so well from the then Canadian Prime Minister ; government officials were kidnapped and one was killed and left in the trunk of a car. The war measures act was introduced and the streets of Quebec had soldiers guarding them. I can't see any current politicians being as clear and unabashed about their actions today. The reporter was given a demotion and reprimand by his bosses. Which they years later apologized for doing.

It still leave me rather unsettled albeit honest. It was, it seems to me, the clear step toward the police state in the new age we are heading into.



The following is a partial transcript of the impromptu interview between Tim Ralfe of the CBC and Trudeau. [2]

Tim Ralfe: …what you're talking about to me is choices, and my choice is to live in a society that is free and democratic, which means that you don't have people with guns running around in it.

Pierre Trudeau: Correct.

Ralfe: And one of the things I have to give up for that choice is the fact that people like you may be kidnapped.

Trudeau: Sure, but this isn't my choice, obviously. You know, I think it is more important to get rid of those who are committing violence against the total society and those who are trying to run the government through a parallel power by establishing their authority by kidnapping and blackmail. And I think it is our duty as a government to protect government officials and important people in our society against being used as tools in this blackmail. Now, you don't agree to this but I am sure that once again with hindsight, you would probably have found it preferable if Mr. Cross and Mr. Laporte had been protected from kidnapping, which they weren't because these steps we're taking now weren't taken. But even with your hindsight I don't see how you can deny that.

Ralfe: No, I still go back to the choice that you have to make in the kind of society that you live in.

Trudeau: Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in this society than to be worried about weak-kneed people who don't like the looks of a soldier's helmet.

Ralfe: At any cost? How far would you go with that? How far would you extend that?

Trudeau: Well, just watch me.

Ralfe: At reducing civil liberties? To that extent?

Trudeau: To what extent?

Ralfe: Well, if you extend this and you say, ok, you're going to do anything to protect them, does this include wire-tapping, reducing other civil liberties in some way?

Trudeau: Yes, I think the society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power in this country and I think that goes to any distance. So long as there is a power in here which is challenging the elected representative of the people I think that power must be stopped and I think it's only, I repeat, weak-kneed bleeding hearts who are afraid to take these measures.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-05-18 09:17:41

Seems the Meme is that Canadian oil is bad; wonder who is really promulgating this one. The Gas fracking industry ?




Source: The New York Times (
Date: 2013.05.17

[img width=500 height=320]

Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Petroleum coke, a waste byproduct of refining oil sands oil, is piling up along the Detroit River.

WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Brian Masse, a member of the Canadian Parliament, wants a bilateral agency to investigate the pile accumulating in Detroit.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.

The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.

“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oil production is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, more than 2,000 miles north.

An initial refining process known as coking, which releases the oil from the tarlike bitumen in the oil sands, also leaves the petroleum coke, of which Canada has 79.8 million tons stockpiled. Some is dumped in open-pit oil sands mines and tailing ponds in Alberta. Much is just piled up there.

Detroit’s pile will not be the only one. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, have pulled more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here.

Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen.

Residents on both sides of the Detroit River are concerned that the coke mountain is both an environmental threat and an eyesore.

“Here’s a little bit of Alberta,” said Brian Masse, one of Windsor’s Parliament members. “For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we’re now seeing up front and center that we’re not.”

Mr. Masse wants the International Joint Commission, the bilateral agency that governs the Great Lakes, to investigate the pile. Michigan’s state environmental regulatory agency has submitted a formal request to Detroit Bulk Storage, the company holding the material for Koch Carbon, to change its storage methods. Michigan politicians and environmental groups have also joined cause with Windsor residents. Paul Baltzer, a spokesman for Koch’s parent company, Koch Companies Public Sector, did not respond to questions about its storage or the ultimate destination of the petroleum coke.

Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

While there is high demand from both those industries, the small grains and high sulfur content of this petroleum coke make it largely unusable for those purposes, said Kerry Satterthwaite, a petroleum coke analyst at Roskill Information Services, a commodities analysis company based in London.

“It is worse than a byproduct,” Ms. Satterthwaite said.“It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.”

Murray Gray, the scientific director for the Center for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta, said that about two years ago, Alberta backed away from plans to use the petroleum coke as a fuel source, partly over concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions. Some of it is burned there, however, to power coking plants.

The Keystone XL pipeline will provide Gulf Coast refineries with a steady supply of diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The plants on the coast, like the coking refineries concentrated in California to deal with that state’s heavy crude oil, are positioned to ship the waste to China or Mexico, where it is burned as a fuel. California exports about 128,000 barrels of petroleum coke a day, mainly to China.

Tony McCallum, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, played down the impact of Keystone XL. “Most of the Canadian oil earmarked for the U.S. Gulf Coast is to replace declining heavy oil imports from Mexico and Venezuela that produces the same amount of petcoke, so it doesn’t create a new issue,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Much of the new coking investment has gone into refineries in the Midwest to allow them to take advantage of the oil sands. BP, the British energy company, is building what it describes as the second-largest coke refinery in Whiting, Ind. When completed, the unit will be able to process about 102,000 barrels of bitumen or other heavy oils a day.

And what about the leftover coke? The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States. But D. Mark Routt, a staff energy consultant at KBC Advanced Technologies in Houston, said that overseas companies saw it as a cheap alternative to low-grade coal. In China, it is used to generate electricity, adding to that country’s air-quality problems. There is also strong demand from India and Latin America for American petroleum coke, where it mainly fuels cement-making kilns.

“I’m not making a value statement, but it comes down to emission controls,” Mr. Routt said. “Other people don’t seem to have a problem, which is why it is going to Mexico, which is why it is going to China.”

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. One of the world’s largest dealers of petroleum coke is the Oxbow Corporation, which sells about 11 million tons of fuel-grade coke a year. It is owned by William I. Koch, a brother of David and Charles.

Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petroleum coke for the environmental group Oil Change International, says, “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth,” he said.

Rhonda Anderson, an organizing representative of the Sierra Club in Detroit, said that the mountain’s rise took her group by surprise, but it had one benefit.

“Those piles kind of hit us upside to the head,” she said. “But it also triggered a kind of relationship between Canada and the United States that’s allowed us to work together.”
A version of this article appeared in print on May 18, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: From Canadian Oil, a Black Pile Rises in Detroit.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-05-20 14:40:14

The question is why and for how long ?




Source: The Register (
Author: Jasper Hamill
Date: 2013.05.20

[img width=500 height=320]

Money laundering not a problem here, eh

Canadian Bitcoin traders will not be clobbered by laws similar to those being used to target virtual currency exchanges in America, according to a leaked letter from the country's financial investigations unit.

The Register has seen a letter from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) which was sent to several prominent Bitcoin exchanges in the country, explaining they are exempt from strict money-laundering laws.

US police used similar laws to freeze the accounts of Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, last week after claiming it was operating as an "unlicensed money service business."

But in a letter to the Canadian exchanges, FINTRAC confirmed the exchanges were not actually money service businesses and were therefore exempt from laws governing this type of firm.

If America's crackdown on Bitcoin continues, Canada is likely to be seen as a safe haven if FINTRAC sticks with its current policy.

The boss of Canadian Bitcoin exchange Cadbitcoin, whose name we agreed to keep private, received one of the letters. He wants to open shops across Canada which will allow people to buy Bitcoin in person, but his accounts were shut down by banks concerned about virtual currency trading.

He predicted a Canadian Bitcoin bonanza on the back of the ruling, claiming that worried American investors would start cross-border trading to avoid US legislation.

The entrepreneur said: "This is a big win for Canadian exchanges, because US citizens can simply trade from across the border."

FINTRAC's letter went out to a number of Bitcoin exchanges in Canada, including LibertyBit, who were becoming nervous following developments in America.

The letter said: "Your entity is not, at this time, engaged as a money services business in Canada as per the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing and its associated Regulations.

"In fact, your entity doesn’t provide the services of remitting and/or transferring funds for the sake of the service. The transfer of funds is simply a corollary of your actual service of buying and selling virtual currency. Therefore, you do not have to register your entity with us."

However, Canadian banks have previously closed down accounts held by Bitcoin traders, claiming they fell foul of the money service business laws.

Bitcoin dealers in the US are currently very nervous after the Department of Homeland Security obtained a warrant last week allowing it to seize an account linked to Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based exchange that claims to process about 80% of all Bitcoin transactions.

Enforcers swooped months after warning that online currency traders would be subject to the same rules as traditional financial operators like Western Union, who are legally compelled to tell cops about transactions worth more than $10,000 to help tackle money-laundering.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-05-30 10:50:35

This would be nice to have quarterly on all politicians.




Source: The Star (
Author: Andrew Bailey and Bruce Campion-Smith
Date: 2013.05.30

[img width=500 height=320]

Andrew Bailey and Bruce Campion-Smith have pulled Senate finance data from the last two years into a spreadsheet. The bureau is now looking at the data's highlights

The senators are grouped in alphabetical order according to last name. To reorganize them according to who has the highest travel or living expenses, click the appropriate tab. Mouse over images or tap screen for more information.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-06-17 11:19:41

No Comment .... sigh....




Source: Forbes (
Author: Jon Entine
Date: 2013.04.09

[img width=500 height=420]

As Jon Entine of the Genetic Literacy Project reports, Greenpeace’s embarrassing public apology last month for its botched attack against Canada’s largest forestry company and the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) it helped birth—we’ll get to the details of that story soon enough— underscores the growing tensions over the forest certification programs designed to protect North America’s woodlands.

Three years ago, executives from a variety of groups that can’t stand being in the room with one another—forest companies, corporations that use forestry products and anti-big business international non-government organizations (NGOs)—forged what was hailed as a breakthrough deal. The 2010 boreal agreement brought together nine environmental groups, many of them openly hostile to loggers, and 21 members of the Forest Products Association of Canada with a goal of increasing protections of 75 million hectares of forest in Canada. Essentially it was a truce between the logging industry and environmental groups, which have been at odds for decades.

Canada’s boreal forest, which remains largely untouched, rings the northern hemisphere, covering more than 60% of the country’s landmass. It’s dominated by coniferous forests, intermittent wetlands, small villages and wildlife. It’s an area of genuine contradictions: the boreal is a key source of forestry and mining products but also has a thriving, if limited, tourist industry, and the vast woodlands serve as one of the world’s primary carbon sinks. No wonder it has been the focus of the never-ending tensions between the Canadian government, aligned with commercial interests, usually at loggerheads with hard-core environmentalists, who oppose commercialization in principle regardless of the potential tradeoffs.

Under the agreement, the companies agreed to stop logging in certain areas, including valuable regions for caribou habitat, while the environmental groups agreed to back off from their anti-logging campaigns. They agreed to work together on the details of how to set aside valuable habitat for conservation while still allowing forestry companies limited harvesting in other areas.

It’s been an uneasy deal. This tension strikes a familiar chord in the classic battle between developers and protectionists, between those in government and industry who see nature as a resource that can be sustainably developed versus those who believe that vast land areas have inviolable “rights” and should not be subject to commercial use regardless of (or even in spite of) the potential economic bonanzas they might yield.


The Canadian boreal forestry mêlée is actually a skirmish in the an ongoing battle between the two major forestry eco-label schemes: the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), a favorite of campaigning greens, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which was launched by a range of parties independent from but with the financial support of the American Forestry & Paper Association. The SFI has since broken off and currently operates as a fully-independent non-profit organization.

The two schemes have different roots and practices but converging philosophies—although one would never know that from listening to the high decibel rhetoric when forestry labeling initiatives are debated. Both plans arose in response to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro that called for a focus on “sustainable” and “smart growth” development. While both are legally “voluntary”, meaning that they were not created by governments but by private firms, NGOs or coalitions of producers and consumers, in reality they have evolved into mandatory seals of approval in global markets. Key commercial actors, such as large retailers, traders or processing companies, now require their implementation.

Some voluntary standards are also referenced in government regulations. In fact, the US government is currently in the crosshairs of a contentious exchange between SFI and FSC supporters as to what the government should require in construction projects to meet federal sustainable guidelines. Many projects receiving taxpayer subsidies favor FSC-certified wood.

The FSC was formed by a coalition of advocacy groups including Rainforest Action Network, Friends of the Earth and World Wildlife Foundation. It now represents more than 800 groups, mostly outside the United States where it certifies more than 90% of its land. Organizations other than FSC certify 75% of North American forests.

More aggressive FSC members like Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance see themselves as ‘white hats’—unabashedly and aggressively campaign focused, anti-corporate, opposed to fossil fuels at all costs and dismissive of the role of biotechnology and pesticide management in sustainable forestry. To them, SFI represents ‘black hat’ “Big Timber” and is nothing more than a “greenwashing scam.” They launch attack campaigns when they don’t get their way.

“Sometimes companies need a little encouragement,” brags ForestEthics on its website. “When companies refuse to change their harmful practices, ForestEthics holds them publicly accountable. We get creative with online and offline actions, including protests, websites, email campaigns and national advertisements. No corporation can afford to have its brand be synonymous with environmental destruction.”

Because it was cobbled together over years and is dominated by an anti-development bias, FSC’s rules vary across countries and regions. In fact, FSC labels do not disclose under which standards a wood product may have been certified. That means that product claims can’t be verified in many cases.

There are other anomalies, especially when it comes to set aside standards. For example, supposedly green Sweden has to protect only 5% of its forests while the United Kingdom has a 15% requirement; certain areas in the U.S. are required to restrict 10-25% of a given property. In countries without national standards, FSC permits certification authorities to use “interim” clear-cut limits and so-called “green up” requirements for new growth tree height that don’t necessarily reflect standards backed by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and other global initiatives.

These anomalies irk some early FSC supporters, such as Simon Counsell, who has set up a website, FSC Watch, to monitor the problematic practices of the green group. The monitoring group recently attacked the FSC for its policies in Sweden, charging that there is a growing consensus that the “’Swedish model’ of forestry is failing to protect biodiversity, and old growth forests continue to be clear-cut, including those with FSC certification.”

The FSC is also controversial in the developing world. When it was first formed, there was widespread concern that pristine forests were being “raped” by developers in cahoots with corrupt governments. Its response was to set up a standard that denied certification to any operations undertaken on land converted after November 1994. Although the motive for the action was understandable, it’s proven a crude and unworkable tool. It has limited application in many countries pursuing reasonable policies, in effect favoring the developed world, which long ago started converting its usable timberlands. Understandably, many developing countries, like Indonesia, feel constrained by restrictions imposed on them by what they consider anti-development campaigners.

What about the SFI? Its founding in the mid-1990s led to immediate charges of cronyism. In 2005, it linked with European forestry groups, such as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s largest forest certification umbrella organization. While the FSC has over 30 different standards around the world —which makes it more fractured and confusing—SFI has one single standard.

LEED and the schism in the United States

Green groups remain adamant that the differences between the labeling initiatives are vast and unbridgeable, dismissing SFI as a “creature of vested interest”. One would think by listening to them that only businesses and loggers support SFI. In fact, groups like the Conservation Fund, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and the Wildlife Society vouch for the certification program’s commitment to sustainability.

ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance have emerged as the FSC’s pit bulls, going so far as threatening and bullying companies they consider “weak links,” susceptible to consumer campaigns. They’ve targeted Kroger’s, KFC/Yum Brands, and even high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton for using SFI certified packaging and have convinced at least 21 prominent brands, including Kimberly Clark and Office Depot to phase out the SFI label and Target into adopting FSC-friendly policies.

Are there significant differences between the competing schemes? Independent observers see a convergence of standards as pressure for transparency on both groups has grown. Canada’s EcoLogo and TerraChoice, part of Underwriters Laboratories Global Network, each rate SFI and FSC identically. A United Nations joint commission recently concluded: “Over the years, many of the issues that previously divided the systems have become much less distinct. The largest certification systems now generally have the same structural programmatic requirements.”

University-based researchers who have scrutinized the two labeling programs have found few meaningful differences. For example North Carolina State professor Frederick Cubbage, North Carolina State University Forest Manager Joseph Cox and a team of researchers concluded that while SFI and FSC “have a slightly different focus, both prompt substantial, important changes in forest management to improve environmental, economic, and social outcomes.”

The convergence in standards has not stalled the politicization of the labeling competition. The two systems are currently going head to head in the US. The FSC has been entrenched because of the support from the US Green Building Council. USGBC adopted FSC standards in the mid-1990s, when it was the only game in town, for its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. It’s remained loyal because of fierce lobbying by green activists. Hundreds of cities and agencies in the US now mandate LEED standards, which means that FSC receives preferential treatment in building projects across the country.

This has created some unintended consequences. Because FSC label accounts for just one quarter of North American’s certified forests, three quarters of the wood from the continent’s certified forests are not eligible for LEED sourcing credits. As a result, LEED creates incentives for green building projects to import wood from overseas, resulting in the browning of the supply chain from excess carbon emissions generated by shipping costs. Nonetheless, activist greenies have dug in their heels, determined to do everything in their power to delegitimize competing systems.

The USGBC has never explained why only FSC forests can receive LEED credits. Michael Goergen, Jr., CEO of the Society of American Foresters, has criticized the USGBC for not including other standards, stating, “FSC or better is neither logical nor scientific, especially when it continues to reinforce misconceptions about third-party forest certification and responsible forest practices.”

Some believe LEED FSC-only framework has led to a loss of jobs. Union leader Bill Street of the International Association of Machinists stated that the “ideological driven ‘exclusivity’ of FSC means that systems such as LEED contribute to rural poverty and unemployment while simultaneously adding economic pressure to convert forest land to non-forest land uses.”

Growing concern about the rigidity of the LEED program has led to the emergence of a competing green building initiative in the US. Green Globes, run by the Green Building Initiative, recognizes the SFI and is now in the running along with FSC to be the preferred federal certification program. The Defense Department, one of the earliest LEED adopters and a huge source of new construction, is currently not allowed to spend public funds to achieve LEED’s “gold” or “platinum” certification because of questions about whether the added costs are justified by the benefits.

War breaks out in Canada

These schisms have played out in Canada, where Greenpeace launched its rogue campaign to bring down the fragile sustainability coalition, which it had only tepidly embraced. The CBFA clearly stipulates that Canadian forest managers can certify their practices to certificate programs run by FSC or by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and its ally, the Canadian Standards Association. That has rankled the extremist NGOs, like ForestEthics and Greenpeace, which advocated a more adversarial stance, convinced that the SFI and the Forest Products Association of Canada was secretly undermining the agreement. They registered their disapproval of the CBFA from the beginning and have been threatening to undermine it. Finally, late last fall, they did just that.

In December, Greenpeace pulled the trigger, claiming it had proof from GPS-tagged video and pictures that one of the coalition industry members, Resolute Forest Products, was building logging roads in areas forbidden by the agreement. It released pictures it said were taken in August 2012 in Quebec’s Montagnes Blanches region, and it promptly resigned from the CBFA.

“This is a deal breaker for us,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Stephanie Goodwin. “There is no agreement left to uphold. With the boreal forest under threat, the only responsible decision for Greenpeace is to pursue other pathways to obtain results in the forest.”

Greenpeace’s action reflected the general sentiment of the radical wing of FSC supporters. They’ve long viewed the forestry industry as a whipping boy to demonstrate the clout of environmental greenmail—threatening corporations with public campaigns to get them to capitulate to their demands, which often include economic payoffs in the form of contributions to their campaigns. In essence, that’s how CBFA came into existence. Canadian foresters reached the truce only after a vicious “Do Not Buy” campaign launched against its members that claimed that the boreal was under imminent threat—although no independent Canadian government or international agency agreed with those hard-edged NGO allegations.

Unlike Kimberly-Clark and Quebec-based hardware and lumber retailer Rona, which buckled under harsh criticism and paid greenmail, Resolute fought back, providing documentation that the allegations were untrue. It supplied “concrete milestones” that it had reached for caribou protection and the implementation of best practices.

When its prey did not drop, Greenpeace reloaded and fired again. Spokesperson Shane Moffat trumpeted “Greenpeace’s science-based advocacy for responsible forestry” as the group issued a report, Boreal Alarm that threatened to wreak havoc on Resolute’s brand if it didn’t junk its logging practices, already approved under the terms of the CBFA coalition, in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.

Greenpeace and its key allies were surprised at Resolute’s resoluteness. But the company believed it was standing on firm factual ground and refused to be bullied. Finally in a huge embarrassment, on March 19, the activist group admitted it had bungled its “investigation” and that the unimpeachable videos and photos were just plain wrong. Even as it crowed about its 40 years of commitment to “best available science and research,” Greenpeace admitted it relied on “inaccurate maps” before launching its highly public and damaging attacks.

“We felt it was imperative to own up to our error,” said spokesperson Goodwin. Yet, Greenpeace continued to oppose the CBFA, saying it would have quit the organization even if it hadn’t fumbled its campaign.

What do we make of this? As Peter Foster points out in an analysis in the Financial Post, Greenpeace’s “take no prisoners” strategy is hardly unique—it mirrors the aggressive tractics used by the FSC in establishing itself as a powerful voice in the forestry eco label movement. Organizations that are openly hostile to industry and often ignorant of basic business practices demand payoffs from companies who usually fork over their “dues” in fear of being the target of highly public smear campaigns. Its greenmail—blackmail at the hands of so-called green campaigners.

That’s why it’s so important that there are choices when it comes to eco-labels, particularly in the forestry management area. Many FSC proponents are decidedly anti-development and opposed to controversial technologies, including sustainable biotechnology; the SFI does not resort to or encourage greenmail; it’s less confrontational, which clearly does not sit well its harshest critics, like aggressive environmental groups, such as Greenpeace.

Policies regarding the procurement of timber, use of building codes and what businesses can sell to their customers should be informed by facts and science, not scare tactics. Greenpeace’s deception is only the latest propaganda effort that has muddied rather than clarified the issues surrounding forestry practices. With a majority of forests lacking certification, we need common-sense incentives and more certification options to achieve sustainable forestry management goals. Consumers and the general public deserve much better than the disinformation campaigns that have shadowed this debate.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-07-01 10:33:01

I found this a very interesting reminder that Canada has always been shaped and made prosperous thought the efforts of immigrants, yet the establishment doesn't want their kids to marry one ... things change and stay the same.




Source: The Asian Pacific Post (
Author: asingh
Date: 2013.05.25

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Almost half of Canada’s richest residents are new immigrants or first generation Canadians, according to research conducted for the Bank of Montreal.
The survey found that two-thirds of Canada’s millionaire respondents were self-made, with only 20 per cent attributing at least part of their wealth to an inheritance.
And 48 per cent were either immigrants to Canada (24 per cent) or described themselves as first generation Canadians, with at least one parent born outside of Canada (24 per cent), according to the research.
The province of British Columbia has the highest proportion of millionaires belonging to immigrant families, at 68 percent, while the rate in every other province is below 50 percent.
In British Columbia the survey that found 68 per cent of high-net-worth British Columbians — those with investable assets of $1 million or more — were either born outside of Canada or had at least one parent born outside the country.
That compares with 48 per cent nationally.
The survey also found that women respondents made up one-third of Canada’s millionaires, up from 21 per cent three years ago.
Among women, 40 per cent of respondents said they generated their own wealth and one-third managed their own investments, compared to 59 per cent of men who said they do.
For the purposes of the study, wealthy was defined as respondents with investible assets of $1-million or more. “Today’s women are controlling more and more wealth in Canada, and that number is increasing by eight percentage points annually,” said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, senior vice-president and head, BMO Harris Private Banking, in a statement.
“It’s clear that the face of wealth in Canada is changing.” The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28 and April 11, 2013, with a sample of 305 Canadian adults with $1-million or more in investable assets.
The margin of error for a sample that size is plus or minus 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The U.S figures come from an identical study in the same period among 482 wealthy American adults.
The survey flies in the face of a recent commentary in the Vancouver Sun by Simon Fraser University Professor Herbert Grubel who argues that immigration costs Canadians up to $20 billion a year when all the costs and benefits are tallied.
Grubel concludes that Canada should reduce immigration and only admit those with a high enough income earning and tax paying potential to increase the average income of native-born Canadians.
Meanwhile, a report out of Hong Kong said millionaires in Asia outside Japan will create $7 trillion in net new wealth by 2016, boosting the share of global riches from emerging markets, according to McKinsey & Co.
China, India, South Korea and Taiwan are the leading wealth generators in Asia, where millionaires’ personal financial assets will surge 15 percent a year to reach $15.8 trillion from $9 trillion at the end of 2012, McKinsey said in a survey of private banks.
Asia, combined with fast-growing Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and central and eastern Europe, will account for about 37 percent of an estimated $80 trillion of global private wealth by 2016, up from 24 percent at the end of 2008.
“Asia is the highest growth region for private banks and will continue to be so,” McKinsey said. “Most private banks are trying to broaden their product offerings to cater to the specific needs of an Asian clientele.”
First-generation Asian millionaires will help the region deliver more than one third of profit sources for global private banking by 2016. The Chinese market is “open to competition as nearly half of China’s high-net-worth individuals have only a limited understanding of private banking,” according to the survey.
International managers with offshore units in Asia won’t reap all the benefits of the growth as more than three quarters of wealth is booked onshore where local banks dominate. Taking into account lower margins on offshore assets versus onshore assets in the region, local banks will outperform international firms, McKinsey said.
Future growth in personal wealth in Asia will be slightly lower than the 16 percent annual increase from 2008 to 2012, McKinsey said. Asia outside Japan, the third-largest wealth market at the end of 2012 behind North America and western Europe, will climb to second place over the next four years.
Worldwide, the number of millionaires will rise 30 percent to 16 million by 2016, according to McKinsey. North American millionaires’ assets will jump 7 percent a year to $27.4 trillion by 2016 from $22.6 trillion at the end of 2012.
Millionaires’ personal wealth in western Europe will climb 4 percent annually to $15.7 trillion by 2016 from $13.7 trillion at year end 2012, while total private wealth worlwide will rise to $80 trillion from $60 trillion, according to the report.
The shift in wealth toward developing economies and the need to adjust to a new generation of clients combined with a rapid increase in tax and regulatory requirements may prompt private banks to become more selective in their geographical focus, client mix and services and fuel industry consolidation, McKinsey said.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-07-17 10:39:51

This one will be hard to resist with the potential tax revenue at stake, and the savings in law enforcement.




Source: Vancouver Sun (
Author: Barbara Yaffe
Date: 2013.07.22

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Organizers of a campaign aimed at decriminalizing pot will be blitzing B.C. this summer, turning up at public gatherings to sign up donors and volunteers.

"British Columbians can expect to hear and see Sensible B.C. on a regular basis," says Dana Larsen, director of the group set up last year to promote a referendum campaign on marijuana.

Governments had better take note because B.C. is a place where people power packs a punch, where a 2011 referendum campaign killed the Harmonized Sales Tax. It's also the location of Insite, the first supervised injection centre in Canada, which is broadly supported by an open-minded, caring community.

It's not a long shot to imagine that British Columbians, fed up with the side-effects of an illegal and untaxed pot industry, would vote to support regulation of cannabis cultivation, distribution and use.

A Senate committee back in 2003 estimated B.C.'s pot industry to be worth $6 billion - a sum that would reap considerable tax revenues.

Sensible B.C. aims to gather signatures from 400,000 supporters, representing 10 per cent of registered voters in every electoral district, within a 90-day period between September and November.

That's what's needed to trigger a B.C. referendum, which Sensible B.C. proposes in 2014.

The referendum, strictly speaking, wouldn't be about decriminalizing marijuana use. That would require changing the Criminal Code, which is under federal jurisdiction. The Harper government would undoubtedly nix any such proposal.

Rather, the vote would be on whether to introduce a "Sensible B.C. Policing Act," whereby the province would ask police to stop detaining or arresting anyone for marijuana possession.

It would also call for a commission to devise a regulatory and taxation framework for a marijuana market in B.C.

The task might be easier now that Washington state is setting up its own such framework after last November's voter decision to allow marijuana growers and retailers to set up shop. If B.C. follows that lead, money collected in taxes could be directed to drug awareness programs.

At present, the province's pot industry is a scourge, serving the interests of organized crime and others involved in illegal marijuana growing operations.

Just this month, police uncovered a Hells Angels-linked, 430-plant marijuana-growing operation in buried shipping containers in Langley; a month before, they made a similar bust in Mission.

B.C. is home to some 188 organized crime gangs. Last year, the province experienced 19 fatalities resulting from gangland hits, believed to be drug-related.

Moreover, the pot law has become an ass, with people openly flouting it every April 20 when tens of thousands gather in the square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to toke up as nearby police pretend not to notice.

Polls consistently have shown that B.C. residents want reform. An Angus Reid poll in April found 73 per cent of B.C. respondents support further research into the regulation and taxation of pot.

Larsen reported this week that his group has the support of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and B.C. Health Officers Council.

Decriminalization also is backed by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition; the Union of B.C. Municipalities; former B.C. attorneys general Geoff Plant, Graeme Bowbrick, Colin Gabelmann and Ujjal Dosanjh; former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan; and Senator Larry Campbell.

Christy Clark's Liberals have punted the issue, asserting it's up to Ottawa to address matters related to cannabis use. That's no surprise; it's a difficult political issue bound to attract controversy.

Sensible B.C.'s strategy, of course, is to have British Columbians force the province's hand through a potent referendum result.

Its approach has been methodical, pragmatic and has every chance of proving effective.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-08-20 19:18:13

Can a Rogue Prorogue to avoid the Heat he can't Beat ?




Source: O Canada (
Author: Jason Fekete
Date: 2013.08.19

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to prorogue Parliament and launch a new session in October will likely kill a number of government bills – including a stalled bill on Senate reform – and delay the House of Commons from sitting in September as originally planned.

Federal opposition parties say proroguing is an attempt by Harper and the Conservative government to delay accountability on the Senate expenses scandal and the grilling they will face in the House of Commons.

Harper confirmed Monday during a week-long tour through northern Canada that he plans to ask the Governor General to terminate the current session of Parliament, which was scheduled to see the House of Commons resume sitting on Sept. 16. He also confirmed he’ll lead the Conservative party into the next election, currently scheduled for October 2015.

The prime minister said his government has fulfilled most of its election promises and it’s time to reset the parliamentary agenda with a speech from the throne.

“There will be a new Throne Speech in the fall. Obviously, the House will be prorogued in anticipation of that. We will come back — in October is our tentative timing — and we will obviously have still some things, still some unfulfilled commitments that we will continue to work on,” Harper told reporters in Whitehorse, Yukon.

“The Number One priority for this government, I don’t have to tell you, will continue to be jobs and the economy.”

Harper has previously said the new throne speech, which outlines the government’s priorities, will focus on the economy, promoting safe streets, celebrating the country’s history and promoting Canada’s interests on the world stage.

The prime minister chuckled when asked by reporters whether he’ll stick around to lead the Conservatives into the next election campaign.

“I’m actually disappointed you feel the need to ask that question,” he said.

A number of contentious government bills currently before the House of Commons will die when the Conservatives suspend Parliament, meaning the legislation would likely have to be reintroduced in the new session. Conversely, the majority Conservative government could also pass a motion to reinstate the current bills and resume debate in a new Parliament.

Government bills currently still in the Commons include legislation on Senate reform — which addresses term limits and process for electing senators — as well as a bill that would ban unions and corporations from making loans to political parties and candidates, and another that would place restrictions on offenders who cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions because of mental illness. Harper has referred the issue of Senate reform to the Supreme Court; in any case, the bill, introduced in June 2011, has been stalled in the House of Commons.

The government has not said whether it would recall the House of Commons for a few days to pass any bills before suspending Parliament.

Prime ministers in the past have regularly prorogued Parliament between elections to launch a new government agenda.

While opposition parties acknowledge proroguing in the middle of a four-year mandate is a normal use of prime ministerial power, they believe Harper and the Conservatives are simply looking to delay the return of the House of Commons to avoid the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal.

“He’s running away from accountability,” said NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie.

She said Harper avoided the House of Commons near the end of the spring sitting to avoid questions on the Senate expenses affair that has embroiled the Prime Minister’s Office.

Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, resigned over a $90,000 payment to Sen. Mike Duffy, a former Conservative, who is now being investigated by the RCMP over his Senate expense claims.

Along with Duffy, the RCMP are also investigating former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau and former Liberal senator Mac Harb over improper housing expense claims. The Senate has also recommended the Mounties be called in for a possible criminal investigation into another former Conservative senator, Pamela Wallin, who has been ordered to repay approximately $121,000 in disallowed travel claims, and may be forced to pay back even more.

“It’s a pattern with him, where if he wants to avoid accountability, if he wants to avoid those uncomfortable questions, then he just hits the prorogue button,” Leslie added.

Harper came under fire in December 2008 for proroguing Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote that could have toppled his minority Conservative government.

Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale said Monday prorogation is part of a broader government plan “to try desperately to change the channel from the topic of ethical scandals and criminal investigations.” If it weren’t for the ongoing ethical issues and Senate expenses scandal, the prorogation could be seen as routine, he said.

Goodale said the government could easily prorogue on Sept. 16 and start the new session the next day, rather than wait as long as another month or more and avoid question period in the Commons.

“It’s not routine when the clear motivation is not just to establish a new agenda for the next two years but to avoid accountability for the last six months, in particular,” he added.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Prorogation at a glance

What is prorogation?

It’s a fancy word for “ending the legislative session.” Each Parliament is made up of sessions and each session is made up of individual sittings or meetings. When a session is prorogued, it ends one session and nothing can happen until the next session begins, usually with a throne speech.

What happens when government is prorogued?

Prorogation stops government bills in their tracks and dissolves committees. The House can decide to reinstate some government bills, but it also means that controversial bills, such as the Internet surveillance Bill C-30, can be erased from the agenda. Private members’ bills are not affected by prorogation.

Who can prorogue Parliament?

The Governor General signs the order on the advice of the prime minister.

How often is Parliament prorogued?

Parliament can be prorogued whenever the prime minister wants to restart the agenda with a new Throne Speech. In December 1988, after the general election that returned Brian Mulroney to power, the Throne Speech contained one item: to pass the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Once that was done, Parliament was prorogued until April 1989.

In the previous Parliament, Prime Minister Harper prorogued twice, the first time just two weeks after the first session began in December 2008. He asked then Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue his minority Parliament to avoid being replaced by a coalition of opposition parties. Harper prorogued again in December 2009 to “recalibrate” his government, also avoiding the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee investigating Afghan detainees.

What happens next?

The government comes back, likely in October, with a fresh new agenda for the next two years before the 2015 scheduled general election.

When was the last Throne Speech?

The last throne speech was on June 3, 2011. The first session of this 41st Parliament was 272 sitting days.

Which government bills will potentially be scrapped?

Bill C-4: Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System.
Would make it easier to prosecute human smugglers and impose harsher sentences on these criminals.

Bill C-5: Continuing Air Service for Passengers Act.
Would prohibit strikes and lockouts by air service operators.

Bill C-7: Senate Reform Act.
Would provide a framework for provinces and territories to elect senators and would introduce term limits for senators.

Bill C-12: Safeguarding Canadians’ Personal Information Act.
Would require organizations to report breaches of personal information to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and ensure affected individuals are notified.

Bill C-14: Improving Trade Within Canada Act.
Would strengthen dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms laid out in Canada’s internal trade agreement.

Bill C-17: Air Canada and its Associates Act.
Would have forced air carriers under contract with Air Canada to follow parts of the Official Languages Act.

Bill C-21: Political Loans Accountability Act.
Would ban unions and corporations from making loans to political parties and candidates and limit the amount individuals can loan to political parties and candidates.

Bill C-30: Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
Would have given authorities new powers to monitor the online activities of Canadians.

Bill C-49: Canadian Museum of History Act.
Would change the name of the Canadian Museum of Civilization to the Canadian Museum of History and change the museum’s mandate to focus on enhancing knowledge about the events that have shaped Canada’s identity.

Bill C-54: Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act.
Would put restrictions on offenders who cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions because of mental illness.

Bill C-56: Combatting Counterfeit Products Act.
Would give border officers new powers to respond when they encounter commercial counterfeit goods at the border.

Bill C-57: Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act.
Would give authorities new powers to investigate aviation accidents, introduces new requirements for operators of oil-handling facilities.

Bill C-61: Offshore Health and Safety Act.
Would establish new occupational health and safety regulations for offshore petroleum workers.

Bill C-65: Respect for Communities Act.
Would set out strict guidelines for application to run a safe injection site for addicts.

Bill S-6: First Nations Elections Act.
Would make changes to the how chiefs and band councillors can be elected in some First Nations.

Bill S-10: Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act.
Would ban the use, development, production, acquisition, possession, transfer, import or export of cluster munitions.

Bill S-12: Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act.
Would clear up when government can use an “incorporation by reference” technique in federal regulations.

Bill S-13: Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act.
Would increase power of Canadian authorities to inspect and search foreign fishing vessels.

Bill S-16: Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act.
Would create new laws against trafficking unregulated tobacco products and put in place minimum prison sentences for repeat offenders.

– Compiled by Andrea Hill and Kirsten Smith, Postmedia News

Prorogation, Canadian style

Every session of Parliament ends with a prorogation proclamation made by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Prorogation is a normal procedure, but some prorogations are more controversial than others:

– In December 2008, just weeks after a general election, Stephen Harper, who headed a minority government, requested a prorogation to avoid losing a confidence vote in the House of Commons. The Liberals and NDP had formed a plan for a possible coalition government supported by the Bloc Quebecois. Instead Harper was granted his prorogation.

– Harper prorogued again the following December, postponing the return of Parliament to March 3, 2010 from Jan. 25. He claimed this would allow the government time to consult Canadians on the economy and enjoy watching the Vancouver Olympics without distractions. During the prorogation, Harper appointed enough new senators to the upper chamber to give the Conservatives a majority and control committees, making it easier for government legislation to pass. The prorogation also shut down a special House committee investigating whether Afghan detainees were tortured after Canadian soldiers transferred them to Afghan custody and if Canada was aware of the alleged torture.

– In September 2002, the Liberal government of Jean Chretien prorogued Parliament a few weeks before it was scheduled to return from the summer recess, preventing the public accounts committee from finishing a report on advertising contracts awarded to Quebec companies, a scandal that had been plaguing the Liberal party for months.

– The first controversial prorogation was in 1873 when Prime Minister John A. Macdonald asked Governor General Lord Dufferin to end the session to prevent a damning committee report from being tabled. The report was going to find that Macdonald had received illegal donations from a company that was awarded the contract to expand the railway to the west coast, the so-called Pacific Scandal. Dufferin granted the prorogation despite protests from the Liberal Party. When the House reconvened, Macdonald was forced to resign..

– Compiled by Kirsten Smith, Postmedia News

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-08-26 11:36:08

Sure would like to hear another take on this story but limited analysis is available in the mainstream media:
C-38 http://




Source: Rabble (
Author: Mark Taliano
Date: 2013.08.19

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A small polity of First Nations peoples, the Hupacasath, could be the only obstacle to stop the ratification of what may well be the most devastating corporate empowerment treaty that this country will ever endure. And most Canadians, by design, know nothing about it.

In June, 2013, the 300-strong Hupacasath First Nation launched a court action with the Federal Court to stop ratification of the proposed 31-year trade treaty. The Chief Justice of the Federal Court presided over the hearings, and a decision will be made by the end of August, or in early September.

The Foreign Investment Promotion and Investment Agreement (FIPPA), signed in Russia, is a bilateral investment treaty that abrogates international and constitutional law, and essentially hijacks municipal, provincial, territorial, and federal laws that threaten the profitability of Chinese State Owned Enterprises (SOE).

A treaty as momentous in its import should merit open discussion, but instead, it has been cloaked in secrecy, which is consistent with the treaty itself. According to the treaty, if a Canadian law threatens the profits of a Chinese SOE, a secret tribunal, consisting of three arbitrators, and operating outside the jurisdiction of Canadian law, will adjudicate and award penalties, should it deem that profits have been compromised.

If, for example, a Canadian environmental regulation negatively impacts a Chinese SOE's extractive industry, then the Chinese company can sue for lost profits.

The secretive treaty has not even been ratified, and it has already negatively impacted Canadian legislation. Likely, the federal government's evisceration of environmental laws as spelled out in Bills C-38, and C-45, was an effort to appease Chinese "investors."

Should the treaty become ratified, it will also likely suppress any further efforts to reclaim federal oversight of environmental protections, since legislators will legitimately fear a lawsuit: the Chinese enterprises will be protected by a treaty that effectively supersedes Canadian laws.

Basically, China's corporate reach will be extended further into Canada, and our municipal, provincial, territorial, First Nations, and federal legislators will have their hands tied.

Despite the treaty’s benign sounding name, it's more of a "protection" treaty, (of China's rules) than a "promotion" treaty. It does not "promote" trade by reducing tariffs for Canadian businesses, and most of the "trade" in capital will be flowing in to Canada, rather than out from Canada to China.

Other countries with strong resource bases, including Australia and Brazil, have refused the compromises inherent in such a treaty, but Canada appears to be less inclined to preserve its sovereignty, possibly for ideological "free market" reasons.

Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, has comprehensively countered the Harper government spin. Van Harten's rebuttals to some of the government's "talking points" on FIPPA include:

- Instead of promoting growth, the treaty may undermine growth by removing value-added benefits from Canada's resource sector.

- The treaty's main role is to protect Chinese-owned assets from Canadian legislatures, governments, and courts, and vice versa (i.e corporate empowerment), though it is largely non-reciprocal since China's interests/capital will be (and currently are) far greater than Canada's current or anticipated investments in China.

- Regulatory differences between the two countries will create an uneven playing field as well. Canadian investors will have fewer protections from discriminatory treatment in China, since China's existing legal frameworks are opaque relative to Canada's (remaining) legal frameworks.

- There is also a huge disparity of capital flows, with most capital flowing in to Canada from China, so treaty protections are mostly one-sided.

- An Independent Commission has not studied the treaty, so Canadians are unaware of projected costs and benefits.

Even more important than the lop-sided nature of the treaty details, however, is that it reinforces and accelerates Canada's current trajectory towards international lawlessness.

According to the Royal Proclamation, 1763, the Canadian Constitution, 1982, and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), prior consent and accommodation must be secured from First Nations peoples where there is overlap between, in this case, the corporate rights of a bilateral trade agreement and Aboriginal title, rights, and treaty rights.

The Hupacasath First Nation, with the support of Serpent River, Tsawwassen First Nations, UBCIC, and Chiefs of Ontario, launched its court action for these stated reasons:

- the federal government failed to consult with First Nations which breaches Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights enshrined in the Canadian Constitution, Section 35;

- if ratified, FIPPA may allow the development of tar sands pipelines through First Nations’ traditional and sacred territories by China state-owned companies;

- this FIPPA is being made with a foreign country on un-ceded lands where treaties have not been settled with First Nations;

- environmental standards gutted by Bills C-38 and C-45 may never be restored due to provisions in the FIPPA which impede first Nations’ rights to protect resources for future generations;

- FIPPA was negotiated in secret by the Conservative federal government and would handcuff Canada for 31 years.

There is clear overlap between First Nation concerns and the concerns of all Canadians. Constitutional rights are shared by all Canadians, all Canadians are partners to treaty rights, and all Canadians are supposedly protected by international laws and agreements.

The as yet unratified FIPPA treaty is a violation to these important rights and laws in the same sense that it is a violation to our sovereignty by superceding Canadian law.

The treaty is more than "NAFTA on steroids"; it might be more aptly described as an icon of the Harper government's debasement of both Canadian and international values.

Mark Taliano is a writer, activist and retired teacher.
Photo: Kristen Mathias

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-10-12 17:19:55

British Bobbies throwing their weight around from across the pond. If the business world took the money squandered on lawyers, the tax payers contribution be squandered on law enforcement and made a product consumers could get behind we would all be a lot further ahead. I would caution that consumers need to be cuffed about the ears for supporting cheap non functional crap.

There are weekly reports refuting the losses Music, TV and Movies companies are attributing to 'Piracy'.

Possibly if everything wasn't was made abroad and companies showed some loyalty to their staff folks might also endorse their products .....



Canadian operator EasyDNS stands firm against London cops

Source: (http://)
Author: Andrew Orlowski
Date: 2013.10.11

What's a UK crime unit doing messing around with DNS? Read on...

[img width=500 height=320]
This is the page to which PIPCU wanted the operator to redirect TorrentPond's IP address.

Comment EasyDNS was the just the first of a number of global DNS operators who will be invited by a London IP crime unit to make one of their customer's domains, er, disappear. But the Canadian operator is standing firm.

The City Police's new Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is issuing takedown requests, not orders. It can ask - but not "tell" or "order" - DNS operators to "disappear" errant customers, leaving the operators three choices: ignore, fold or fight.

EasyDNS appearS to have chosen the latter, saying:

1) We haven't taken down the domain.

2) We told them to get a court order.

The crime unit's request to EasyDNS, a domain name resolution service based in Toronto, Canada, asked the firm to turn its attention to its customer TorrentPond – a Singapore-based torrent search engine.

PIPCU invited EasyDNS to review its T&Cs to see if "material breaches" had occurred.

Headed by economic crime veteran Detective Superintendent Robert Wishart, PIPCU was set up this summer with £2.5m funding for two years. It deals with both digital and physical economic crime: its first operation bagged a load of pirated DVDs.

If the domain service does not comply, the PIPCU letter explains, it will forward the service to ICANN, which can remove its accreditation as a domain registrar - although only in exceptional circumstances.

A PIPCU statement to the press explained:

City of London Police has begun an initiative to target websites that attract visitors by providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content for criminal gain. These websites are able to operate and profit from advertising or other income on their sites without having licenses or paying the creators and owners of the films, TV programmes, music and publications. The initiative also seeks to protect consumers from malware and other harmful programs that may be downloaded unwittingly from sites that provide illegally offered content.

Intellectual property crime is a serious offence that is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year. Working with the UK advertising industry, City of London Police and rights holder groups FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) and The PA are committed to tackling this problem.

An angry EasyDNS representative went public with the letter, in a statement that made heavy use of the formatting bar:

"In other words, they are ordering us to take down competing websites, with no legal basis, hijacking the traffic, and redirecting it to competing commercial services, all of which are based out of (guess where?) London, UK," wrote EasyDNS's Mark Jeftovic in a blog post.

Enforcement sources dispute this. Correctly, as it turns out, for nothing compels a Canadian domain registrar to take any notice of a letter from the UK police.

EasyDNS also attempted to portray the takedown notice as an attempt by the police to "intervene" on behalf of a commercial operator against a non-commercial operator. But TorrentPond is every bit as "commercial" as HMV, and certainly pockets advertising revenue. The site showed a Bet365 advertisement when your correspondent visited it yesterday.

The Register points out that it has not been proven that TorrentPond contains links to infringing material – which is likely why PIPCU urged EasyDNS to ensure no "material breaches" of its T&Cs had occurred.

Web-blocking – how it's done in the UK

The Federation Against Copyright Theft, the movie industry enforcement group which investigates and takes private actions against anyone making pirated copyrighted content available on the web, told us sites which receive thousands of repeat takedown requests, but then ignore them, are in its sights.

A FACT spokesman told us that torrent sites hosting infringing content could easily go legit and pay creators: "Operators of these sites make a conscious decision about the law."

Measures detailing how to implement statutory web-blocking, which provides legal protections for intermediary services like ISPs, were passed in Section 17 and 18 of the 2010 Digital Economy Act, but were dropped – partly because the industry's private prosecutions had lowered the bar for removing a site via the courts.

Rights-holders can now use Section 97 of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to speedily add a website to an ISP's block list. This was recently used to seek a High Court injunction blocking Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy in the UK. The block isn't total (ruling here), but covers ISPs which cover almost 93 per cent of the UK market: BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media.

Copyright trade groups will have achieved a remarkable victory over one corner of the ad-supported pirate economy if they can make infringing torrent sites disappear cheaply. But that requires services to bottle them. Kim Dotcom has fought the legality of the measures taken against his Mega empire. But not everyone, it seems, wants to be Kim Dotcom.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-10-31 11:36:28

But can we pay our tax bill in Bitcoin :D




Source: Finextra (
Date: 2013.10.28

[img width=500 height=320]

The first bitcoin ATM is set to go live at a downtown coffee house in Vancouver, Tuesday.
The machines - developed by Nevada-based Robcoin - will trade bitcoins for cash.

Users register on the machine via a palm scan and can load up to C$3000 in cash in exchange for bitcoin. The ATMs are linked to Candian Bitcoin exchange VirtEx, which performs the trade and loads the cash into the user's bitcoin wallet.

The palm scan is used to prevent people from conducting more than C$3000 per day in transactions so as not to fall foul of money laundering rules.

Robocoin is supplying five machines to Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs, a start-up that aims to develop a chain of bitcoin exchange shops across the country.

The company has initially ordered five Robocoin ATMs for $90,000.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-12-05 12:22:37

Well now: Canada sells off Uranium One to a Russian company, Japan rebuilds its power plants, and speculators eye uranium mines.

Clearly the mainstream media's Armageddon from Fission Power is not being embraced by all.




Source: Northern Miner (
Author: Trish Saywell
Date: 2013.12.03

[img width=500 height=320]

With spot uranium oxide prices in the third quarter averaging US$35.95 per lb. — down from US$66.50 per lb. before the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011 — it is no surprise that uranium producers in Russia and Kazakhstan have recently called off plans to expand uranium output.

In mid-November, Atomredmetzoloto, the mining arm of Russia's state-owned reactor builder and supplier Rosatom, which took over Canadian miner Uranium One ( earlier this year, confirmed that low uranium prices were forcing it to suspend expansion projects around the world, including at its Honeymoon mine in southern Australia.

That announcement came about a week after Kazakhstan's state-owned uranium producer Kazatomprom — the world's largest uranium miner — said it would not increase uranium output.

The negative sentiment is shared in North America, where on Nov. 14, Energy Fuels (TSX: EFR; NYSE: UUUU), the only conventional uranium producer in the United States, said it plans to discontinue current U308 production at its White Mesa mill from August 2014 until the latter half of 2015.

The moves are seen by mining analyst David Sadowski of Raymond James in Vancouver as something of a watershed moment in the industry — unlike the roughly 80 million lb. of uranium oxide sitting in the development pipeline that have been shelved since mid-2011 such as Areva's Trekkopje project in Namibia and its Imouraren project in Niger, and BHP Billiton's (NYSE: BHP) US$30-billion Olympic Dam expansion project.

"This is the first time that meaningful cuts to growth at existing operations have been announced and that's a fundamental change in the response of current producers," Sadowski explains in an interview.

At the same time, he adds, there is some "incrementally positive" news trickling out on the demand side, ranging from the United Kingdom pushing forward "its wave of new builds," to the five reactors under construction in the U.S., the fact that China is ramping foreign reactor vending, and that India "appears more willing to bend on its liability law (main hurdle for its large new build plans)."

In addition, he says, Russia is confirming its growth in nuclear reactor building through 2030, and news out of South Korea and France is "providing additional comfort that their heavy reliance on nuclear power will continue into the future."

With the slowdown in production combined with a slight improvement in demand, Sadowski forecasts that a uranium supply shortfall should start to emerge in 2017. "The market is currently oversupplied certainly, but we see that changing in the next couple of years and that should also apply upward pressure on the price."

The supply shortfall could be brought forward to as early as 2015, he adds, if there are further closures next year at major mines such as Paladin Energy's (TSX: PDN; ASX: PDN) Kayelekera mine in Malawi and Rio Tinto's (NYSE: RTP; LSE: RIO) Rossing mine in Namibia, as a result of market conditions and low uranium prices.

"We now forecast the global uranium surplus extending only through 2016 versus 2019 in our previous model, followed by two years of tight supply-demand, before large supply deficits begin to emerge by 2019, quickly growing to crisis levels in the new decade."

A combination of those events should help lift uranium oxide above its current spot price of US$36 per lb. — which is just US$2 per lb. above the eight-year low of US$34 per lb. that it was trading at in mid-September 2013 — and closer to the US$70 per lb. that Sadowski believes is the minimum price necessary to incentivize companies to kick off new uranium projects. Typically, he says, it takes between three and five years to build and commission a conventional uranium mine and between two and three years for the same at an in-situ leach operation.

"If you're a potential developer and you need to know whether or not to develop your asset and deploy capital to build your project you're going to want to have comfort that the price is going to maintain its strength, that it gets to US$70 per lb. and stays there," Sadowski adds. "I think it could happen towards the end of 2015, which we think is going to be a big year of price run-up."

Rob Chang, an analyst covering uranium at Cantor Fitzgerald in Toronto, argues that "demand is not as fragile as some people worry about," and forecasts that it will far outstrip supply, especially with reduced expansion plans in Kazakhstan and Russia, the world's no. 1 and 3 uranium producers.

"Based on our numbers, there's an unavoidable deficit in 2019," he says, arguing that it takes seven to ten years for a uranium project to go from a greenfield discovery to a producing mine.

Both analysts agree that one of the key catalysts for uranium prices to move higher is the re-start of Japan's nuclear reactors, which is likely to begin in 2014.

About a dozen reactors have had applications submitted to undergo pre- re-start inspections and a handful of them are going through them now, Sadowski points out. He expects the first re-starts will take place in mid-2014 with several more in the second half of 2014 for a total of between six and eight reactors back on line before the end of next year.

"There's no guaranteed certainty [that the re-starts will happen next year] but there are some factors that make it pretty sure in our minds," Chang says. "First, the current government in power is the same one responsible for the build-out of Japan's nuclear program, and second, you have a country struggling economically. It is expected that in the fiscal year ending in March 2014, Japan has had to spend about US$75 billion to import power to generate electricity, which is about twice what it was three years ago."

Sadowski notes that before the Fukushima disaster, nuclear energy provided Japan with about 30% of its electricity needs and since then the country has had to rely on the import of costly fossil fuels. In November Japan abandoned its greenhouse gas reduction targets, largely due to a reduced amount of electricity generation coming from nuclear, and with the Japanese yen continuing to depreciate against the U.S. dollar, its fuel import costs are soaring. "Japan has had several trade deficits since Fukushima and a large reason for that are its large imports of fossil fuels," he says.

Patricia Mohr, Scotiabank's vice-president of economics and a commodity market specialist, points out the higher energy costs have led to the loss of some manufacturing capability in Japan with manufacturers migrating their manufacturing plants to lower-cost countries in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand.

She notes that about 10-15 million lb. annualized of U308 under contract with Japanese utilities are being deferred, with some effectively resold.

"The real issue in the uranium market these days is the fact that Japan has 50 nuclear reactors that continue to be shut down, so any real kind of meaningful increase in price really awaits the re-start," she says. "Japanese utilities have applied to Japan's new Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart 14 reactors. While local public concern is the main obstacle, about ten could possibly be restarted by the end of 2014-triggering a price recovery."

While she concedes that any re-start is "not for sure," and there are still "quite big risks in the uranium industry for investors," she says she hopes that the spot price of US$34 per lb. last seen in mid-September will turn out to be the bottom of the market.

Mohr forecasts spot uranium will average US$38 per lb. in 2013 and probably stay at about that level until the fourth quarter of 2014 when it will be closer to US$45 per lb. In 2015 she expects a price improvement to over US$50 per lb. "I think that the next eighteen months are still going to be fairly lacklustre," she says. "I don't think we're going to find a lot of final investment decisions for new mine development until it does get up over US$50 per lb."

Chang of Cantor Fitzgerald forecasts average uranium prices will hit US$49.50 per lb. in 2014 and then make a big jump to US$66.25 in 2015 and to US$70 per lb. in 2016.

Sadowski of Raymond James believes spot uranium should average US$45 per lb. in 2014 — "with the greatest strengthening during the second half of the year" — rising to US$56 per lb. in 2015 and US$70 per lb. in 2016.
- See more at:

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2013-12-26 14:29:19

The rest of the world is starting to notice, it seems.



[size=4][color=red]Uncool Canada
The moose loses its shades

Source: The World In 2014 print edition (
Author: Madelaine Drohan
Date: 2013.11.18

[img width=500 height=320]

When The Economist declared ten years ago that Canada was “cool”, with its mix of social liberalism and fiscal rectitude, it was a startling idea. A country whose constitution soberly calls for “peace, order and good government” was portrayed as a moose wearing sunglasses. Then came the fiscal crisis and there were the Canadians again, with a rock-star central banker strutting the world stage because Canada’s banks stood firm while those elsewhere tumbled down.

Sadly, in 2014 Canada will revert to type, and not just because Mark Carney has left to head the Bank of England. The United States and others are emerging from the financial crisis and will outpace Canada economically. And the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper will focus on entrenching (before the 2015 general election) policies that are decidedly uncool, such as promoting exports from Alberta’s tar sands while doing the minimum on climate change, and backtracking on the social liberalism that The Economist found so refreshing a decade ago.

If Canada is exciting at all in 2014 it will be for the wrong reasons. With household debt and house prices at record levels and mortgage rates creeping up, a housing crash is the biggest domestic risk facing the economy.

Among the policies deemed praiseworthy in 2003 was a bill to decriminalise cannabis (which was never passed). It was a radical idea at the time, but since then two American states have gone much further, legalising the production, sale and recreational use of the drug. Uruguay is poised to do the same. Mr Harper’s reaction to a call by Justin Trudeau to legalise it—he accused the Liberal leader of “promoting marijuana use for our children”—made it clear that Canada would not be loosening the rules soon. His government has introduced mandatory, six-month jail sentences for possession of as few as six pot plants and in April will make growing medical marijuana at home illegal.

Canada’s approach to indigenous peoples, granting them home rule and control over mineral rights, also won praise ten years ago for boldness in social matters. The relationship between the government and aboriginal Canadians (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) has soured since, with many disputes about resource development on traditional aboriginal lands and a growing anger over deplorable living conditions on some reserves. Most take place before the courts, but the mounting pressure could easily find a more violent outlet in the coming year.
If Canada is exciting at all in 2014 it will be for the wrong reasons

Canada’s reputation for welcoming immigrants and celebrating cultural diversity, another part of the cool factor, got a knock in 2013 when the separatist government of Quebec, the second-most-populous province, proposed banning public workers from wearing “conspicuous” religious symbols such as headscarves, turbans or large crucifixes (small ones are fine). At the national level, long-overdue reforms to the immigration system got rid of some kinks. But there were casualties. Parents and grandparents wanting to join their relatives in Canada were told in late 2011 they could not apply for visas because of a backlog. Applications reopen on January 2nd 2014, but it will cost sponsoring families more than before and they will be on the hook for longer. In a bid to save C$100m ($97m) over five years, the government drastically cut refugees’ health-care entitlements in 2012. If protesting doctors are right, this is a short-sighted move that will give Canada a reputation for picking on the most vulnerable.
2014 IN BRIEF: Canada marks the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, which paved the way for the founding of the country

Federal-budget deficits and a separatist Parti Québécois government in Quebec have reappeared since 2003. And the claim made then of better environmental protection than in the United States is now debatable. To protect the oil industry the government has dragged its feet on reducing carbon emissions. That has made it harder to win American approval of the Keystone XL pipeline planned to carry tar-sands bitumen across the border.

Some of the problems noted in 2003 have been tackled. The federal corporate-tax rate has plummeted to 15% from 22.1% in 2007; business investment has increased; and defence spending soared for a while. Canada also has a cool new trade deal with the European Union. It is still a peaceful, multicultural place—even in Quebec—and its economy is solid if not spectacular. Mr Carney had a lot of nice things to say in his last speech as governor of the Bank of Canada, entitled “Canada Works”. But now he intends to apply for British citizenship.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2014-06-06 09:20:16

Less then 50% voter turn out is pathetic for an alleged democracy.




Source: Kingston Region (
Author: n/a
Date: 2014.06.05

[img width=500 height=320]

Please exercise your right to vote

Frontenac Gazette
It's almost time - the Ontario General Election is one week away and while the candidates are busy getting their messages out there, Ontarians should be thinking about actually making their way to the polls and exercising their right to vote.
Sadly, voter turnout in Ontario has reached an all-time low. According to Elections Ontario, with a population of over 13 million, roughly 4.1 million - or 49.2 per cent of eligible voters - filled out ballots during the 2011 Provincial election.
This number is unacceptable and rather embarrassing, especially when voting is so easy in our province. With advanced polls running for more than a week prior to the election, mail in ballots and an entire day to vote in your riding, there really is no excuse. So what's the problem? Maybe you were out of town, maybe you weren't feeling so great, maybe you had to work later and were too tired to stop on your way home or maybe you just didn't like the candidates, whatever the excuse, voting is clearly not a priority for many of us and that needs to change.
In case you need a refresher, here is what you need to know about voting: Who? If you are 18 years of age or older, are a Canadian citizen, live in an Ontario electoral district and if you haven't already voted, you are eligible to vote.
Where? If your name is on the Voters' List, you'll be sent a Notice of Registration Card via mail. The Card will list your election day voting location. The card will also have the dates, times and places of advance voting locations. If you aren't on the Voters' List you can easily get yourself added, even in person on Election Day at your polling location if necessary.
When? General Elections will be held Thursday, June 12, 2014. Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. How? In person on Thursday June 12 or in person at an advance poll between Saturday, May 31 and Friday, June 6, or by mail through special ballot.
What? Bring a piece of ID that shows your name, address and signature together or two pieces of ID, one of which shows your name and signature and one of which shows your name and address.
Why? You may think that your vote doesn't matter, but for people that are fighting for the right to vote in other countries, your ability to drive, walk or bike to a polling station and mark that X beside your candidate of choice is what they dream of, so take advantage of it.
You still have a week left, so research the candidates and find the one that is the best fit for you. Our paper has profiled each candidate over the last four weeks, so reading these profiles is a great place to start. In case you missed them in the papers, you can find them at our website,
Whatever method you choose, for goodness' sake take 10 minutes out of your day to vote on June 12. Show that we, as Ontarians, still care about democracy.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-02-28 11:53:09

This is extremely disturbing that it is even on the table.



Rogers Executive Calls on Canadian Government to Shut Down VPNs[/size]
Author: Michael Geist
Date: 2015.02.27

The Content Industry Connect conference, which was held in Toronto yesterday, featured a panel of leading television executives from Bell, the CBC, Corus, Rogers, and Shaw Media. Several people were live-tweeting the event when a comment from Rogers Senior Vice President David Purdy caught my eye. According to Kelly Lynne Ashton, a media policy expert, Purdy called on the Canadian government to shut down the use of virtual private networks:


A similar tweet was posted by Marcia Douglas, a Bell Fund program manager:

Conference organizers posted yet another tweet, this one involving Purdy lamenting the inability to block over-the-top video services:

The frustration over the popularity of Netflix (including Canadians accessing U.S. Netflix) is unsurprising. If Rogers is upset over VPN use to access U.S. Netflix, it should take it up with Netflix. Instead, focusing on consumer VPN use by suggesting that the solution lies in blocking legal technologies in order to stop consumer access is a dangerous one. Countries like China have tried to regulate VPNs, while Iran and Oman have tried to ban them. A Canadian attempt to do so would be subject to an immediate legal challenge, particularly since virtual private networks are widely used within the business community and play a crucial role for consumers in preserving user privacy, enabling access to information, and facilitating free speech. There is no indication that the Canadian government has any interest in targeting VPNs, but it comes as a shock to hear a Rogers executive calling for them to be shut down

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-03-30 11:39:31

Looking back 10 years at how our national sovereignty was being kicked about.



The Invasion of Canada[/size]

Source: Global Research (
Author: Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Date: 2005.12.31

[img width=200 height=200]

A recent Washington Post article entitled:

Raiding the Icebox; Behind Its Warm Front, the United States Made Cold Calculations to Subdue Canada, by Peter Carlson (30 December 2005),

focuses on a detailed US Plan to Invade Canada entitled “Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan — Red,” It was formulated in the late 1920s, approved by the US War Department in 1930, updated in 1934 and 1935, withdrawn in 1939 and declassified in 1974. (See complete WP article below)

Following the publication of the WP article, which was casually presented as political humor, Canadian network TV and print media were quick to dismiss the matter outright.

It was in a bygone era. It no longer applies: the US administration would never dream of actually invading Canada.

Yet upon more careful examination, an ongoing plan to annex Canada to the US, is still (unofficially of course) on the books. The underlying procedure, however, is not straightforward as in the case of an outright military invasion (e.g. under the 1930 “Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan — Red”). Today, it involves what the media refer to as “Deep Integration”, which constitutes a more polite term for “Annexation”.

“The Icebox” in the WP article refers euphemistically to a country we call Canada, a vast territory of strategic significance for the US, with tremendous resources extending from Coast to Coast; South from the St Lawrence Valley to the North West territories and the US Alaska border.

US Northern Command

The “invasion” of Canada is in many regards a fait accompli, a done deal. In 2002, when US Northern Command (NorthCom) was launched, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated unilaterally that the US Military could cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters.

More specifically, the redesign of Canada’s defense system has been discussed behind closed doors at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM). US Northern Command’s jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.

Rumsfeld is said to have boasted that “the NORTHCOM – with all of North America as its geographic command – ‘is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.

This “bi-national integration” of Canada has, since 2002, been the object of continuous negotiations between Washington and Ottawa. Upon the completion of these negotiations, Canada is slated to become member of NorthCom in 2006.

A year ago, in November 2004, I addressed these issues in a detailed article entitled:

Is the Annexation of Canada Part of the Bush Administration’s Military Agenda

While the article was widely circulated and debated on the internet, it was never cited or quoted by Canada’s mainstream media.

A shortened version of the article was submitted for publication as an Oped piece to a major Toronto daily paper, which initially expressed interest in publishing it.

Following several email exchanges, the shortened article was accepted for publication on three separate occasions. But it never appeared in print. A few months ago, the article, received a 2006 Project Censored Award by the University of California, Sonoma, School of Journalism.

With a view to promoting debate as well as media awareness prior to the January 2006 federal elections, we reproduce the following documents:

1. The article in the Washington Post entitled: Raiding the Icebox; Behind Its Warm Front, the United States Made Cold Calculations to Subdue Canada, by Peter Carlson, 30 December 2005.

2. Is the Annexation of Canada Part of the Bush Administration’s Military Agenda, by Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, November 2004

3. US, Canada and Mexico rollout border plans, by Shaun Waterman, UPI, July 2005

4. “Securing the North American Security Perimeter” Dismantling the US Border, Bringing Canada and Mexico into Fortress America, June 10, 2005 CNN

5. Mexico and U.S. put “Security Perimeter” on fast-track, Mexidata, by José Carreño, May 20, 2005.

6. The Bill to Annex Canada into the US (1866). [Text of Bill approved by the US Congress in 1866. The latter preceded the 1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia and the subsequent establishment of the Canadian Confederation under The British North America Act of 1867. Read the text of this Bill carefully. It is still relevant. Incidentally the term "Icebox" was first used in relation to the Alaska Purchase.]

Raiding the Icebox; Behind Its Warm Front, the United States Made Cold Calculations to Subdue Canada

by Peter Carlson, Washington Post, 30 December 2005

Invading Canada won’t be like invading Iraq: When we invade Canada, nobody will be able to grumble that we didn’t have a plan.

The United States government does have a plan to invade Canada. It’s a 94-page document called “Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan — Red,” with the word SECRET stamped on the cover. It’s a bold plan, a bodacious plan, a step-by-step plan to invade, seize and annex our neighbor to the north. It goes like this:

First, we send a joint Army-Navy overseas force to capture the port city of Halifax, cutting the Canadians off from their British allies.

Then we seize Canadian power plants near Niagara Falls, so they freeze in the dark.

Then the U.S. Army invades on three fronts — marching from Vermont to take Montreal and Quebec, charging out of North Dakota to grab the railroad center at Winnipeg, and storming out of the Midwest to capture the strategic nickel mines of Ontario.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy seizes the Great Lakes and blockades Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific ports.

At that point, it’s only a matter of time before we bring these Molson-swigging, maple-mongering Zamboni drivers to their knees! Or, as the official planners wrote, stating their objective in bold capital letters: “ULTIMATELY TO GAIN COMPLETE CONTROL.”

It sounds like a joke but it’s not. War Plan Red is real. It was drawn up and approved by the War Department in 1930, then updated in 1934 and 1935. It was declassified in 1974 and the word “SECRET” crossed out with a heavy pencil. Now it sits in a little gray box in the National Archives in College Park, available to anybody, even Canadian spies. They can photocopy it for 15 cents a page.

War Plan Red was actually designed for a war with England. In the late 1920s, American military strategists developed plans for a war with Japan (code name Orange), Germany (Black), Mexico (Green) and England (Red). The Americans imagined a conflict between the United States (Blue) and England over international trade: “The war aim of RED in a war with BLUE is conceived to be the definite elimination of BLUE as an important economic and commercial rival.”

In the event of war, the American planners figured that England would use Canada (Crimson) — then a quasi-pseudo-semi-independent British dominion — as a launching pad for “a direct invasion of BLUE territory.” That invasion might come overland, with British and Canadian troops attacking Buffalo, Detroit and Albany. Or it might come by sea, with amphibious landings on various American beaches — including Rehoboth and Ocean City, both of which were identified by the planners as “excellent” sites for a Brit beachhead.

The planners anticipated a war “of long duration” because “the RED race” is “more or less phlegmatic” but “noted for its ability to fight to a finish.” Also, the Brits could be reinforced by “colored” troops from their colonies: “Some of the colored races however come of good fighting stock, and, under white leadership, can be made into very efficient troops.”

The stakes were high: If the British and Canadians won the war, the planners predicted, “CRIMSON will demand that Alaska be awarded to her.”

Imagine that! Canada demanding a huge chunk of U.S. territory! Them’s fightin’ words! And so the American strategists planned to fight England by seizing Canada. (Also Jamaica, Barbados and Bermuda.) And they didn’t plan to give them back.

“Blue intentions are to hold in perpetuity all CRIMSON and RED territory gained,” Army planners wrote in an appendix to the war plan. “The policy will be to prepare the provinces and territories of CRIMSON and RED to become states and territories of the BLUE union upon the declaration of peace.”

None of this information is new. After the plan was declassified in 1974, several historians and journalists wrote about War Plan Red. But still it remains virtually unknown on both sides of the world’s largest undefended border.

“I’ve never heard of it,” said David Biette, director of the Canada Institute in Washington, which thinks about Canada.

“I remember sort of hearing about this,” said Bernard Etzinger, spokesman for the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” said David Courtemanche, mayor of Sudbury, Ontario, whose nickel mines were targeted in the war plan.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he’d never heard of the plan. He also said he wouldn’t admit to knowing about such a plan if he did.

“We don’t talk about any of our contingency plans,” he said.

Has the Pentagon updated War Plan Red since the ’30s?

“The Defense Department never talks about its contingency plans for any countries,” Whitman said. “We don’t acknowledge which countries we have contingency plans for.”

Out in Winnipeg — the Manitoba capital, whose rail yards were slated to be seized in the plan — Brad Salyn, the city’s director of communications, said he didn’t think Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz knew anything about War Plan Red: “You know he would have no clue about what you’re talking about, eh?”

“I’m sure Winnipeggers will stand up tall in defense of our country,” Mayor Katz said later. “We have many, many weapons.”

What kind of weapons?

“We have peashooters, slingshots and snowballs,” he said, laughing.

But the Canadians’ best weapon, Katz added, is their weather. “It gets to about minus-50 Celsius with a wind chill,” he said. “It will be like Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. I’m quite convinced that you’ll meet your Waterloo on the banks of the Assiniboine River.”

As it turns out, Katz isn’t the first Canadian to speculate on how to fight the U.S.A. In fact, Canadian military strategists developed a plan to invade the United States in 1921 — nine years before their American counterparts created War Plan Red.

The Canadian plan was developed by the country’s director of military operations and intelligence, a World War I hero named James Sutherland “Buster” Brown. Apparently Buster believed that the best defense was a good offense: His “Defence Scheme No. 1&#8243; called for Canadian soldiers to invade the United States, charging toward Albany, Minneapolis, Seattle and Great Falls, Mont., at the first signs of a possible U.S. invasion.

“His plan was to start sending people south quickly because surprise would be more important than preparation,” said Floyd Rudmin, a Canadian psychology professor and author of “Bordering on Aggression: Evidence of U.S. Military Preparations Against Canada,” a 1993 book about both nations’ war plans. “At a certain point, he figured they’d be stopped and then retreat, blowing up bridges and tearing up railroad tracks to slow the Americans down.”

Brown’s idea was to buy time for the British to come to Canada’s rescue. Buster even entered the United States in civilian clothing to do some reconnaissance.

“He had a total annual budget of $1,200,” said Rudmin, “so he himself would drive to the areas where they were going to invade and take pictures and pick up free maps at gas stations.”

Rudmin got interested in these war plans in the 1980s when he was living in Kingston, Ontario, just across the St. Lawrence River from Fort Drum, the huge Army base in Upstate New York. Why would the Americans put an Army base in such a wretched, frigid wilderness? he wondered. Could it be there to . . . fight Canada?

He did some digging. He found “War Plan Red” and “Defence Scheme No. 1.” At the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., he found a 1935 update of War Plan Red, which specified which roads to use in the invasion (“The best practicable route to Vancouver is via Route 99&#8243;).

Rudmin also learned about an American plan from 1935 to build three military airfields near the Canadian border and disguise them as civilian airports. The secret scheme was revealed after the testimony of two generals in a closed-door session of the House Military Affairs Committee was published by mistake. When the Canadian government protested the plan, President Franklin Roosevelt reassured it that he wasn’t contemplating war. The whole brouhaha made the front page of the New York Times on May 1, 1935.

That summer, however, the Army held what were the biggest war games in American history on the site of what is now Fort Drum, Rudmin said.

Is he worried that the Yanks will invade his country from Fort Drum?

“Not now,” he said. “Now the U.S. is kind of busy in Iraq. But I wouldn’t put it past them.”

He’s not paranoid, he hastened to add, and he doesn’t think the States will simply invade Canada the way Hitler invaded Russia.

But if some kind of crisis — perhaps something involving the perennially grumpy French Canadians — destabilized Canada, then . . . well, Fort Drum is just across the river.

“We most certainly are not preparing to invade Canada,” said Ben Abel, the official spokesman for Fort Drum.

The fort, he added, is home to the legendary 10th Mountain Division, which is training for its third deployment in Afghanistan. There are also 1,200 Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

“I find it very hard to believe that we’d be planning to invade Canada,” Abel said. “We have a lot of Canadian soldiers training here. I bumped into a Canadian officer in the bathroom the other day.”

Invading Canada is an old American tradition. Invading Canada successfully is not.

During the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold — then in his pre-traitor days — led an invasion of Canada from Maine. It failed.

During the War of 1812, American troops invaded Canada several times. They were driven back.

In 1839, Americans from Maine confronted Canadians in a border dispute known as the Aroostook War.

“There were never any shots fired,” said Etzinger, the Canadian Embassy spokesman, “but I think an American cow was injured — and a Canadian pig.”

In 1866, about 800 Irish Americans in the Fenian Brotherhood decided to strike a blow for Irish independence by invading Canada. They crossed the Niagara River into Ontario, where they defeated a Canadian militia. But when British troops approached, the Fenians fled back to the United States, where many were arrested.

After that, Americans stopped invading Canada and took up other hobbies, such as invading Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, Grenada and, of course, Iraq.

But the dream of invading Canada lives on in the American psyche, occasionally manifesting itself in bizarre ways. Movies, for instance.

In the 1995 movie “Canadian Bacon,” the U.S. president, played by Alan Alda, decides to jump-start the economy by picking a fight with Canada. His battle cry: “Surrender pronto or we’ll level Toronto.”

In the 1999 movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,” Americans, angered that their kids have been corrupted by a pair of foulmouthed, flatulent Canadian comedians, go to war. Canada responds by sending its air force to bomb the Hollywood home of the Baldwin brothers — a far more popular defensive strategy than anything Buster Brown devised. Moviegoers left theaters humming the film’s theme:

Blame Canada! Blame Canada!

With all their hockey hullabaloo

And that bitch Anne Murray too!

Blame Canada! Shame on Canada!

But it’s not just movies. The urge to invade Canada comes in myriad forms.

In 2002, the conservative magazine National Review published an essay called “Bomb Canada: The Case for War.” The author, Jonah Goldberg, suggested that the United States “launch a quick raid into Canada” and blow something up — “perhaps an empty hockey stadium.” That would cause Canada to stop wasting its money on universal health insurance and instead fund a military worthy of the name, so that “Canada’s neurotic anti-Americanism would be transformed into manly resolve.”

And let’s not forget the Web site InvadeCanada.US, which lists many compelling reasons for doing do: “let’s make Alaska actually connected to the U.S. again!” and “they’re just a little too proud” and “the surrender will come quickly, they’re French after all.”

The site also sells T-shirts, buttons, teddy bears and thong underwear, all of them decorated with the classic picture of Uncle Sam atop the slogan “I WANT YOU to Invade Canada.”

What’s going on here? Why do Americans love to joke about invading Canada?

Because Americans see Canadians as goody-goodies, said Biette, the Canada Institute director. Canadians didn’t rebel against the British, remaining loyal colonial subjects. They didn’t have a Wild West, settling their land without the kind of theatrical gunfights that make for good movies. And they like to hector us about our misbehavior.

“We’re ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ and they’re ‘peace, order and good government,’ ” Biette said. “So if you’re a wild American, you look at them and say, ‘They’re just a bunch of Boy Scouts.’ “

Canadians are well aware of our invasion talk. Not surprisingly, they take it a bit more seriously than we do.

When “The West Wing” had a subplot last winter about a U.S.-Canada border incident, Canadian newspapers took note.

When Jon Stewart joked about invading Canada on “The Daily Show” last March, Canadian newspapers covered the story.

When the Toronto Star interviewed comedian Jimmy Kimmel last year, the reporter asked him: “Is it only a matter of time before America invades Canada?”

“I’m not sure,” Kimmel replied.

In 2003, the Canadian army set up an Internet chat room where soldiers and civilians could discuss defense issues. “One of the hottest topics on the site discusses whether the U.S. will invade Canada to seize its natural resources,” the Ottawa Citizen reported. “If the attack did come, Canada could rely on a scorched-earth policy similar to what Russia did when invaded by Nazi Germany, one participant recommends. ‘With such emmense [sic] land, and with our cold climates, we may be able to hold them off, even though we have the much weaker military,’ the individual concludes.”

Etzinger, the Canadian Embassy spokesman, isn’t worried about an American invasion because Canada has a secret weapon — actually thousands of secret weapons.

“We’ve got thousands of Canadians in the U.S. right now, in place secretly,” he said. “They could be on your street. We’ve sent people like Celine Dion and Mike Myers to secretly infiltrate American society.”

Pretty funny, Mr. Etzinger. But the strategists who wrote War Plan Red were prepared for that problem. They noted that “it would be necessary to deal internally” with the “large number” of Brits and Canadians living in the United States — and also with “a small number of professional pacifists and communists.”

The planners did not specify exactly what would be done with those undesirables. But it would be kinda fun to see Celine Dion and Mike Myers wearing orange jumpsuits down in Guantanamo.

Copyright, Washington Post 2005

Is the Annexation of Canada part of Bush’s Military Agenda?

By Michel Chossudovsky

June 20, 2005 Global Research, originally published in November 2004 – 2004-11-23

SUMMARY [For the complete article published by Global Research click here ]

Territorial control over Canada is part of Washington’s geopolitical and military agenda as formulated in April 2002 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “Binational integration” of military command structures is also contemplated alongside a major revamping in the areas of immigration, law enforcement and intelligence.

At this critical juncture in our history and in anticipation of the visit of George W. Bush to Canada on November 30th, an understanding of these issues is central to the articulation of a coherent anti-war and civil rights movement.

For nearly two years now, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada’s defense system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

The creation of NORTHCOM announced in April 2002, constitutes a blatant violation of both Canadian and Mexican territorial sovereignty. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced unilaterally that US Northern Command would have jurisdiction over the entire North American region. Canada and Mexico were presented with a fait accompli. US Northern Command’s jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.

NorthCom’s stated mandate is to “provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need.”

(Canada-US Relations – Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR),

Rumsfeld is said to have boasted that “the NORTHCOM – with all of North America as its geographic command – ‘is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.’” (Ibid)

Following Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s refusal to join NORTHCOM, a high-level so-called “consultative” Binational Planning Group (BPG), operating out of the Peterson Air Force base, was set up in late 2002, with a mandate to “prepare contingency plans to respond to [land and sea] threats and attacks, and other major emergencies in Canada or the United States”.

The BPG’s mandate goes far beyond the jurisdiction of a consultative military body making “recommendations” to government. In practice, it is neither accountable to the US Congress nor to the Canadian House of Commons.

The BPG has a staff of fifty US and Canadian “military planners”, who have been working diligently for the last two years in laying the groundwork for the integration of Canada-US military command structures. The BPG works in close coordination with the Canada-U.S. Military Cooperation Committee at the Pentagon, a so-called ” panel responsible for detailed joint military planning”.

Broadly speaking, its activities consist of two main building blocks: the Combined Defense Plan (CDP) and The Civil Assistance Plan (CAP).

The Militarisation of Civilian Institutions

As part of its Civil Assistance Plan (CAP), the BPG is involved in supporting the ongoing militarisation of civilian law enforcement and judicial functions in both the US and Canada. The BPG has established “military contingency plans” which would be activated “on both sides of the Canada-US border” in the case of a terror attack or “threat”. Under the BPG’s Civil Assistance Plan (CAP), these so-called “threat scenarios” would involve:

“coordinated response to national requests for military assistance [from civil authorities] in the event of a threat, attack, or civil emergency in the US or Canada.”

In December 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks, the Canadian government reached an agreement with the Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, entitled the “Canada-US Smart Border Declaration.” Shrouded in secrecy, this agreement essentially hands over to the Homeland Security Department, confidential information on Canadian citizens and residents. It also provides US authorities with access to the tax records of Canadians.

What these developments suggest is that the process of “binational integration” is not only occurring in the military command structures but also in the areas of immigration, police and intelligence. The question is what will be left over within Canada’s jurisdiction as a sovereign nation, once this ongoing process of binational integration, including the sharing and/or merger of data banks, is completed?

Canada and NORTHCOM

Canada is slated to become a member of NORTHCOM at the end of the BPG’s two years mandate.

No doubt, the issue will be presented in Parliament as being “in the national interest”. It “will create jobs for Canadians” and “will make Canada more secure”.

Meanwhile, the important debate on Canada’s participation in the US Ballistic Missile Shield, when viewed out of the broader context, may serve to divert public attention away from the more fundamental issue of North American military integration which implies Canada’s acceptance not only of the Ballistic Missile Shield, but of the entire US war agenda, including significant hikes in defense spending which will be allocated to a North American defense program controlled by the Pentagon.

And ultimately what is at stake is that beneath the rhetoric, Canada will cease to function as a Nation:

Its borders will be controlled by US officials and confidential information on Canadians will be shared with Homeland Security. US troops and Special Forces will be able to enter Canada as a result of a binational arrangement. Canadian citizens can be arrested by US officials, acting on behalf of their Canadian counterparts and vice versa. But there is something perhaps even more fundamental in defining and understanding where Canada and Canadians stand as a Nation.

The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. It has formulated the contours of an imperial project of World domination. Canada is contiguous to “the center of the empire”. Territorial control over Canada is part of the US geopolitical and military agenda.

The Liberals as well as the opposition Conservative party have embraced the US war agenda.

By endorsing a Canada-US “integration” in the spheres of defense, homeland security, police and intelligence, Canada not only becomes a full fledged member of George W. Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing”, it will directly participate, through integrated military command structures, in the US war agenda in Central Asia and the Middle East, including the massacre of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the torture of POWs, the establishment of concentration camps, etc.

Under an integrated North American Command, a North American national security doctrine would be formulated. Canada would be obliged to embrace Washington’s pre-emptive military doctrine, including the use of nuclear warheads as a means of self defense, which was ratified by the US Senate in December 2003. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The US Nuclear Option and the “War on Terrorism” May 2004)

Moreover, binational integration in the areas of Homeland security, immigration, policing of the US-Canada border, not to mention the anti-terrorist legislation, would imply pari passu acceptance of the US sponsored police State, its racist policies, its “ethnic profiling” directed against Muslims, the arbitrary arrest of anti-war activists.

For text of complete Article by Michel Chossudovsky click here

US, Canada and Mexico rollout border plans

by Shaun Waterman, UPI, June 28, 2005

WASHINGTON — The United States and its North American neighbors say they will set up a trusted traveler scheme for the whole continent by 2008, and will this year develop a plan to respond together to major terror attacks and other incidents.

Trusted traveler programs enable people who provide biometric personal data — like fingerprints or iris scans — pay a fee and submit to background checks to use special travel lanes at border crossings.

The idea is to speed processing for those travelers not thought security risks, and whose identity can be verified biometrically.

A Department of Homeland Security statement Monday said that air and sea ports would also be included.

The program, first unveiled last week at a House panel by homeland security official Elaine Dezenski, would incorporate both NEXUS and SENTRI — the two trusted traveler programs currently run at the U.S. border.

DHS spokesman Russ Knocke told United Press International that details of the scheme — including whether it would employ biometrics — have yet to be finalized, but added that biometrics was “the direction everything’s moving in, identity-wise.”

Answering reporters’ questions about the scheme in Ottawa Monday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said “the way forward ultimately, not just with respect to North America, but with respect to the world, is biometrics.”

The program is part of a hugely ambitious initiative launched by President Bush, Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on March 23 this year, following their summit at the president’s Crawford, Texas ranch.

Ultimately, the Security and Prosperity Partnership for North America, as it is called, aims to standardize border admissions procedures — watchlist checks, visa processing and document standards — to the point where “all travelers arriving in North America will experience a comparable level of screening,” according to a homeland security fact sheet.

The program was announced Monday following a meeting in Ottawa, Canada, between Chertoff and his opposite numbers — Mexican Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan.

The three were joined by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Canadian Minister of Industry David Emerson and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Fernando Canales.

The meeting, the first in a series of planned follow-ons to the March summit, also agreed that the three nations would work towards “compatible biometric border and immigration systems,” announced the elimination of a series of regulatory barriers and other impediments to cross-border commerce, and committed to a comprehensive plan for responding together to major terror attacks and other incidents.

Within 12 months, the fact sheet says, the three nations will have established “protocols for incident management that impact border operations (and for) maritime incidents, cross-border public health emergencies and cross-border law enforcement response.”

Co-operation on incident response will also include “interoperable communications systems” and joint preparedness exercises, including one ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The United States and Mexico also agreed to form joint intelligence-sharing task forces along their border “to target criminal gang and trafficking organizations.”

The three countries also committed to work towards “compatible criteria for the posting of lookouts of suspected terrorists and criminals” and “real time information sharing on high risk individuals and cargos.”

This last element of the plans may prove controversial in Canada, where public opinion seems concerned that a closer security relationship with the United States might jeopardize Canada’s traditionally welcoming attitude toward asylum seekers or require an unnerving degree of information sharing.

The case of Maher Arar has dramatized Canadian concerns about counter-terror cooperation. Arar is a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was shipped to Syria — where he was tortured — by U.S. authorities after Canadian intelligence identified him to them as a suspected associate of a suspected terrorist.

“The real time sharing of information with U.S. security agencies about a foreigner visiting Vancouver with no intention of entering the United States seems certain to cause a stir,” opined the Toronto Globe and Mail earlier this year, adding that just such transparency would be necessary to the most ambitious visions of a common U.S.-Canadian security frontier.

In Mexico, attention is fixed on different questions about the partnership — which Mexican officials refer to as the Security, Prosperity and Quality of Life Partnership.

“Why has the initiative not included funding provisions for reducing the economic gap between Mexico and the United States and Canada?” asked a Mexican reporter of Chertoff and Gutierrez.

Copyright UPI, 2005

“Securing the North American Security Perimeter” Dismantling the US Border, Bringing Canada and Mexico into Fortress America

CNN, June 10, 2005


DOBBS: Border security is arguably the critical issue in this country’s fight against radical Islamist terrorism. But our borders remain porous. So porous that three million illegal aliens entered this country last year, nearly all of them from Mexico.

Now, incredibly, a panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations wants the United States to focus not on the defense of our own borders, but rather create what effectively would be a common border that includes Mexico and Canada.

Christine Romans has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RELATED: Internationalizing US Roads

Task force urges creation of ‘Fortress America’

New PNAC/neocon front group pushing tri-national ID on 9/11 corpse

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Capitol Hill, testimony calling for Americans to start thinking like citizens of North America and treat the U.S., Mexico and Canada like one big country.

ROBERT PASTOR, IND. TASK FORCE ON NORTH AMERICA: The best way to secure the United States today is not at our two borders with Mexico and Canada, but at the borders of North America as a whole.

ROMANS: That’s the view in a report called “Building a North American Community.” It envisions a common border around the U.S., Mexico and Canada in just five years, a border pass for residents of the three countries, and a freer flow of goods and people.

Task force member Robert Pastor.

PASTOR: What we hope to accomplish by 2010 is a common external tariff which will mean that goods can move easily across the border. We want a common security perimeter around all of North America, so as to ease the travel of people within North America.

ROMANS: Buried in 49 pages of recommendations from the task force, the brief mention, “We must maintain respect for each other’s sovereignty.” But security experts say folding Mexico and Canada into the U.S. is a grave breach of that sovereignty.

FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: That’s what would happen if anybody serious were to embrace this strategy for homogenizing the United States and its sovereignty with the very different systems existing today in Canada and Mexico. RESOURCES: AZTLAN – the plan for ‘reconquista’.

ROMANS: Especially considering Mexico’s problems with drug trafficking, human smuggling and poverty. Critics say the country is just too far behind the U.S. and Canada to be included in a so-called common community. But the task force wants military and law enforcement cooperation between all three countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Indeed, an exchange of personnel that bring Canadians and Mexicans into the Department of Homeland Security.

ROMANS: And it wants temporary migrant worker programs expanded with full mobility of labor between the three countries in the next five years.


ROMANS: The idea here is to make North America more like the European Union. Yet, just this week, voters in two major countries in the European Union voted against upgrading — updating the European constitution. So clearly, this is not the best week to be trying to sell that idea.

DOBBS: Americans must think that our political and academic elites have gone utterly mad at a time when three-and-a-half years, approaching four years after September 11, we still don’t have border security. And this group of elites is talking about not defending our borders, finally, but rather creating new ones. It’s astonishing.

ROMANS: The theory here is that we are stronger together, three countries in one, rather than alone.

DOBBS: Well, it’s a — it’s a mind-boggling concept. Christine Romans, thank you, as always.

There is no greater example than our next story as to why the United States must maintain its border security with Mexico, and importantly, secure that border absolutely. The police chief of the violent Mexican border town, Nuevo Laredo, was today executed. It was his first day on the job.

Alejandro Dominguez, seen here at his swearing-in ceremony, was ambushed by a number of gunmen several hours just after that ceremony as he left his office. The assassins fired more than three dozen rounds that struck Dominguez.

He was the only person who volunteered to become Nuevo Laredo’s police chief. The position has been vacant for weeks after the previous chief of police resigned. The town is at the center of what is a violent war between Mexican drug lords. The State Department has issued two travel warnings for Americans about that area just this year. And amazingly, the Mexican government calls those State Department warnings unnecessary.

Still ahead, the military recruiting crisis is escalating. New questions tonight about the viability of the all-volunteer military. General David Grange is our guest.

And “Living Dangerously,” our special report. Rising population growth in the West, dangerous water shortages, the worst drought arguably ever. We’ll have that report for you next.


RECOGNIZING the contributions of the OAS and other regional and sub-regional mechanisms to the promotion and consolidation of democracy in the Americas;…

Copyright CNN 2005

Mexico and U.S. put “Security Perimeter” on fast-track

by José Carreño, Mexidata, May 20, 2005

Washington, D.C.- Task force groups from the U.S. and Mexico are working together, on a fast-track basis, on in-depth reforms to national security relations between the two countries.

The delegations are working on the creation of a “North American Security Perimeter,” that among other factors includes the identification of targets vulnerable to terrorism along the common border.

Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Foreign Relations, said that the negotiations are going well, with an initial session for proposals scheduled for June.

The border area security plan is being discussed at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Mexican National Security and Investigation/Research Center (Cisen) levels.

National security officials and analysts noted that authorities in both countries have suggested the possibility of terrorist attacks on tourist destinations frequented by U.S. citizens

Copyright Mexidata 2005

The Bill to Annex Canada into the US (1866)

A Bill for the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and for the organization of the Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia. (Annexation Bill)

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States is hereby authorized and directed, whenever notice shall be deposited in the Department of State that the governments of Great Britain and the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Canada, British Columbia, and Vancouver’s Island have accepted the proposition hereinafter made by the United States, to publish by proclamation that, from the date thereof, the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and the Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, with limits and rights as by the act defined, are constituted and admitted as States and Territories of the United States of America. SEC. 2 And be it further enacted, That the following articles are hereby proposed, and from the date of the proclamation of the President of the United States shall take effect, as irrevocable conditions of the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and the future States of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, to wit:


All public lands not sold or granted; canals, public harbors, light-houses, and piers; river and lake improvements; railway stocks, mortgages, and other debts due by railway companies to the provinces; custom-houses and post offices, shall vest in the United States; but all other public works and property shall belong to the State governments respectively, hereby constituted, together with all sums due from purchasers or lessees of lands, mines, or minerals at the time of the union.


In consideration of the public lands, works, and property vested as aforesaid in the United States, the United States will assume and discharge the funded debt and contingent liabilities of the late provinces, at rates of interest not exceeding five per centum, to the amount of eighty-five million seven hundred thousand dollars, apportioned as follows: To Canada West, thirty-six million five hundred thousand dollars; to Canada East, twenty-nine million dollars; to Nova Scotia, eight million dollars; to New Brunswick, seven million dollars; to Newfoundland, three million two hundred thousand dollars; and to Prince Edward Island, two million dollars; and in further consideration of the transfer by said provinces to the United States of the power to levy import and export duties, the United States will make an annual grant of one million six hundred and forty-six thousand dollars in aid of local expenditures, to be apportioned as follows: To Canada West, seven hundred thousand dollars; to Canada East, five hundred and fifty thousand dollars; to Nova Scotia, one hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars; to New Brunswick, one hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars; to Newfoundland, sixty-five thousand dollars; to Prince Edward Island, forty thousand dollars.


For all purposes of State organization and representation in the Congress of the United States, Newfoundland shall be part of Canada East, and Prince Edward Island shall be part of Nova Scotia, except that each shall always be a separate representative district, and entitled to elect at least one member of the House of Representatives, and except, also, that the municipal authorities of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island shall receive the indemnities agreed to be paid by the United States in Article II.


Territorial divisions are established as follows: (1) New Brunswick, with its present limits; (2) Nova Scotia, with the addition of Prince Edward Island; (3) Canada East, with the addition of Newfoundland and all territory east of longitude eighty degrees and south of Hudson’s strait; (4) Canada West, with the addition of territory south of Hudson’s bay and between longitude eighty degrees longitude ninety degrees; (5) Selkirk Territory, bounded east by longitude ninety degrees, south by the late boundary of the United States, west by longitude one hundred and five degrees, and north by the Arctic circle; (6) Saskatchewan Territory, bounded east by longitude one hundred and five degrees, south by latitude forty-nine degrees, west by the Rocky mountains, and north by latitude seventy degrees; (7) Columbia Territory, including Vancouver’s Island, and Queen Charlotte’s island, and bounded east and north by the Rocky mountains, south by latitude forty-nine degrees, and west by the Pacific ocean and Russian America. But Congress reserves the right of changing the limits and subdividing the areas of the western territories at discretion.


Until the next decennial revision, representation in the House of Representatives shall be as follows: Canada West, twelve members; Canada East, including Newfoundland, eleven members; New Brunswick, two members; Nova Scotia, including Prince Edward Island, four members.


The Congress of the United States shall enact, in favor of the proposed Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, all the provisions of the act organizing the Territory of Montana, so far as they can be made applicable.


The United States, by the construction of new canals, or the enlargement of existing canals, and by the improvement of shoals, will so aid the navigation of the Saint Lawrence river and the great lakes that vessels of fifteen hundred tons burden shall pass from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to Lakes Superior and Michigan: Provided, That the expenditure under this article shall not exceed fifty millions of dollars.


The United States will appropriate and pay to “The European and North American Railway Company of Maine” the sum of two millions of dollars upon the construction of a continuous line of railroad from Bangor, in Maine, to Saint John’s, in New Brunswick: Provided, That said “The European and North American Railway Company of Maine” shall release the government of the United States from all claims held by it as assignee of the States of Maine and Massachusetts.


To aid the construction of a railway from Truro, in Nova Scotia, to Riviere du Loup, in Canada East, and a railway from the city of Ottawa, by way of Sault Ste. Marie, Bayfield, and Superior, in Wisconsin, Pembina, and Fort Garry, on the Red River of the North, and the valley of the North Saskatchewan river to some point on the Pacific ocean north of latitude forty-nine degrees, the United States will grant lands along the lines of said roads to the amount of twenty sections, or twelve thousand eight hundred acres, per mile, to be selected and sold in the manner prescribed in the act to aid the construction of the Northern Pacific railroad, approved July two, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and acts amendatory thereof; and in addition to said grants of lands, the United States will further guarantee dividends of five per centum upon the stock of the company or companies which may be authorized by Congress to undertake the construction of said railways: Provided, That such guarantee of stock shall not exceed the sum of thirty thousand dollars per mile, and Congress shall regulate the securities for advances on account thereof.


The public lands in the late provinces, as far as practicable, shall be surveyed according to the rectangular system of the General Land office of the United States; and in the Territories west of longitude ninety degrees, or the western boundary of Canada West, sections sixteen and thirty-six shall be granted for the encouragement of schools, and after the organization of the Territories into States, five per centum of the net proceeds of sales of public lands shall be paid into their treasuries as a fund for the improvement of roads and rivers.


The United States will pay ten millions of dollars to the Hudson Bay Company in full discharge of all claims to territory or jurisdiction in North America, whether founded on the charter of the company or any treaty, law, or usage.


It shall be devolved upon the legislatures of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Canada East, and Canada West, to conform the tenure of office and the local institutions of said States to the Constitution and laws of the United States, subject to revision by Congress.

SEC 3. And be it further enacted, That if Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, or either of those provinces, shall decline union with the United States, and the remaining provinces, with the consent of Great Britain, shall accept the proposition of the United States, the foregoing stipulations in favor of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, or either of them, will be omitted; but in all other respects the United States will give full effect to the plan of union. If Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall decline the proposition, but Canada, British Columbia, and Vancouver island shall, with the consent of Great Britain, accept the same, the construction of a railway from Truro to Riviere du Loup, with all stipulations relating to the maritime provinces, will form no part of the proposed plan of union, but the same will be consummated in all other respects. If Canada shall decline the proposition, then the stipulations in regard to the Saint Lawrence canals and a railway from Ottawa to Sault Ste. Marie, with the Canadian clause of debt and revenue indemnity, will be relinquished. If the plan of union shall only be accepted in regard to the northwestern territory and the Pacific provinces, the United States will aid the construction, on the terms named, of a railway from the western extremity of Lake Superior, in the State of Minnesota, by way of Pembina, Fort Garry, and the valley of the Saskatchewan, to the Pacific coast, north of latitude forty-nine degrees, besides securing all the rights and privileges of an American territory to the proposed Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-05-02 16:44:34

I have been seeing this Meme more and more as the establishment is polarizing their requirements with the folks that are really struggling to get by in the country. The self serving left wing lobby is doing the same it seems to me and are part of the rhetoric Meme. This is so clearly a matter of civil rights and governance the Senate was designed to balance, when the ruling government goes to far; so far zip.



Kill Bill C-51, choose courage, Canada: opinion [/size]

Source: National Observer (
Author: Wes Regan
Date: 2015.03.08

[img width=500 height=400]

In my opinion, Bill C-51 is not a response to terror. This bill is "fear itself." Across Canada on March 14, Canadians will come out to show courage and strength and protest Bill C-51.

Growing up, I used to fall asleep to the sound of my mom and her church friends singing around the piano at the end of their Bible study meetings. One of the songs I remember most clearly coming from down the hall as I dozed off is Be Not Afraid. It is a soothing and beautiful song. Dozens of times throughout the Bible, we are encouraged, if not commanded, to be courageous.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. It’s hard not to with all the terror and fear that our government and media is so fixated upon as this election year unfolds. The Conservative Party is even putting out images of masked men with quotes about bombing West Edmonton Mall. Edmontonians, including one conservative MLA, and one Conservative Member of Parliament, have been troubled by this hyperbolic sensationalism. They say they feel that it crosses a line.

Like many others in Canada, I'm troubled about another line the Conservative Party of Canada has helped us all cross, the threshold of 350 parts per million of carbon emissions in our planet's atmosphere.

Growing up I used to enjoy wandering in the hills of West Kelowna behind my elementary school. I loved the smell of the pine needles, sap, wild flowers and tall grasses, the breeze swaying and bristling the trunks and branches above me.

Now, when I go home to visit I’m greeted by dead forest as the mountain pine beetle marches north with every warming year.

This is a terror that is tangible.

The terror of seeing the beautiful world I grew up in descending into ruin and a government that appears to be doing everything it can to ignore and deny this, if not accelerate it, as it dismisses environmental concern. Even seeks to criminalize it.

We are not the political fringe. We are a large group that spans party lines and our concerns are backed not only by scientific inquiry, but by the legitimacy of the experiences and local knowledge of those whose lives and lands are threatened by increased fracking, pipelines and coal trains —ostensibly the "critical infrastructure" that exists for "economic stability" and the "national interest" as laid out in Bill C-51.

As someone who cares about the environment I’ve had a range of fears for years now, and they seem to grow with every year the Harper government is in power.

Further to the pine beetle destroying our Canadian forests, I've been concerned with mega droughts in the United States at a time when our province is giving our water away to multinational corporations, and Ottawa removing protection of it altogether.

I fear what rising inequality and stagnant wages are doing to Canadian society. I fear government inaction on important issues affecting Canadians, like 2,000 missing and murdered Canadian aboriginal women, while it holds secret meetings with multinational oil and gas companies.

My latest fear is that the RCMP is labeling my friends, professional colleagues and I as radicals and a growing security threat to Canada because of our concerns over the impacts of resource extraction and distribution in our communities, and on Canadian water, soil and air.

I’m concerned for my First Nations friends in particular, who seem particularly at risk of being targeted for defending their ancestral lands against forms of industrial development that threaten their livelihoods.

Bill C-51 and the recently leaked RCMP documents show this country's government to be taking us in a deeply concerning direction, not dissimilar to that of Peru with its "license to kill environmental protestors" law. The RCMP recently called us a radical "anti-petroleum movement," but I don’t see it that way. We're much more than that.

We are a clean air and drinkable water movement.

We are a clean technology and sustainable business movement.

We are an honour-the-treaties and respect-our-communities movement.

We are a pro-democracy movement.

We are concerned Canadians. Very concerned. And we deserve better than to be spied on, threatened and marginalized by our own government.

There is much to be concerned about, including religious extremism of varying types, but right now it seems nobody is trying to make Canadians afraid more than the Harper government itself, in order to sell this bill as the solution, and itself as the government who will protect us from the monsters lurking in the shadows.

But it will not protect us from climate change, or poisoned water, or species extinction.

To hold on to power, it would trample the very constitution it is beholden to abide by in defense of our free society, while ignoring and dismissing these and many other social and environmental challenges entirely.

What we are seeing unfolding before us is an attempt to leverage fear in the Canadian populace in order to pass legislation that legal scholars from the across the country have raised grave concerns about. Others have opined that this is setting the tone for this coming election, a campaign that plays off of fear and anxiety. With such irresponsible legislation the Harper government is putting party above nation and politics above the public.

“We have nothing to fear but fear its self," Franklin D Roosevelt once famously said. His words ring true any day, but more so today, as opportunistic politicians sew the seeds of paranoia and fear in the mind of the Canadian public.

Bill C-51 is not a response to terror. This bill is "fear itself" and in my opinion demonstrates how the Harper Government underestimates both the Canadian public's courage and our intelligence.

More than this, the bill is an assault on Canadians, our rights, our privacy and our values, and Parliament should kill it.

Join your fellow Vancouverites March 14th at the Vancouver Art Gallery and others protesting Bill C-51 Canada wide. Stand up with the growing coalition of non-partisan Canadians to say no to Harper's fear mongering.



Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-07-13 00:27:19

... sigh.



Source: theregister (
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Date: 2015.07.11

[img width=300 height=200] lawyers appear confused by this internet thingy

Updated The organisers of the Pan American Games in Toronto, which start this week, require that people seek formal permission to link to its website at

Under the website's terms of use, amid piles of incomprehensible legalese seemingly designed to hide from the fact that social media exists, it is decreed that no one is allowed to use one of those hyperlink thingies to connect to the website unless they first get approval. It reads:

Links to this Site are not permitted except with the written consent of TO2015™. If you wish to link to the Site, you must submit a written request to TO2015™ to do so. Requests for written consent can be sent to TO2015™ reserves the right to withhold its consent to link, such right to be exercised in its sole and unfettered discretion.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that the $2bn sports event – effectively a mini-Olympics – also appears to have trademarked the term "TO2015." Which makes about as much sense.

Incredibly, this is not a misreading of the terms, and it doesn't appear to have been a mistake either. Instead, it's about the increasingly insane approach that intellectual property lawyers are taking to sponsors – and non-sponsors – of sporting events.

Alongside such gems as forcing people to put tape over their own computers if a computer company is a sponsor, and stopping people for drinking anything that isn't a sponsor drink (if there is a drinks sponsor), now it seems the Pan Am Games lawyers have decided they need to prevent the internet from entering the hallowed sponsor world.

Strictly speaking, anyone who links to the website or even anyone who uses the games' own hashtag of #TO2015 is violating its terms, and could be sued. Although not a court in the land would actually enforce it.

It's also worth pointing out that the website has yet to add a robots.txt file or other technical method to stop search engines from indexing and linking to the site, so they are effectively forcing Google et al to unwittingly and automatically break its own rules.

But then, we were already assuming that the people who wrote the terms of use are not exactly up with the times.

Just to be on the safe side however, we wrote to the organisers asking for their permission to link to them for this article. We politely emailed:

Dear Pan Am Games lawyers,

Welcome to the internet.

We would like to seek permission to link to your website for a story we are writing about how ludicrous it is that you are requesting people to ask permission to link to your site.

It is only fair that we warn you the article is likely to be critical of yourselves and contain a good degree of mockery.

We should also note that we will link to your site regardless of your response. But all the same, it's nice to have permission.

And before you ask: there's no need to ask us for permission to link to the story when it's up. It happens all the time.

Good luck!

The response?

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: Technical details of permanent failure…

Let's hope the organisers are better at running games than they are servers. ®
Updated to add at 1935 UTC, 1235 PDT on Sunday, July 12

The masterminds have pulled a U-turn: they have updated the website's terms and conditions following the publication of our story on Saturday to excise the demand for written permission to link to the site. This is a screenshot of the original text...

...and this is the new text:

The use of or embedding of content from this Site is not permitted except with the written consent of TO2015™. Requests for written consent can be sent to TO2015™ reserves the right to withhold such consent, such right to be exercised in its sole and unfettered discretion.

Oh, did we just ruin someone's weekend?

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-07-18 23:44:59

Seems the Liberals are continuing the tradition started with the Harris Conservative of selling of all the revenue generating parts of the Ontario government for a short term fix, because they have bungled the debt crisis and continued to allow politicians to rake in the the dollars, for what. Yet another way of hiding the truth of what really happened to the Natural Gas Power Station buy out ?

As new share holders bleed Hydro One for profits, it will amount to holding Ontario's citizens hostage and sucking the money out of their pockets to pay for electricity. Close to a billion dollars from Hydro One in revenue, each year, will now be funneled to the banksters and investors; for what. Will these potential investors choose safety at our power plants or profit; could we have the same disaster as Japan because of greed and short sighted government ?



Ontario Liberals pull veil of secrecy over Hydro One sell-off [/size]

Source: The Globe and Mail (
Date: 2015.06.02

[img width=500 height=200]

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has pulled an iron curtain over Hydro One, ensuring one of the largest privatizations in the province’s history will unfold in secret.

The Liberals’ omnibus budget bill passed a final vote in the legislature Wednesday. The legislation, which will allow the government to start selling off the Crown corporation on the stock market later this year, contains a raft of clauses that remove public oversight of the company.

The bill strips the provincial auditor-general, financial accountability officer, ombudsman and several other independent watchdogs of their right to investigate Hydro One and resolve customer complaints. It also bars freedom-of-information requests and shields Hydro One employees’ salaries from the Sunshine List of provincial workers earning more than $100,000.

These provisions all take effect as soon as the bill is signed into law – even though none of the shares may be sold for months and the government could remain the company’s majority shareholder for years as it slowly sells down its stock.

Ms. Wynne is selling 60 per cent of Hydro One in a bid to raise $4-billion to put toward building new transit lines; another $5-billion from the sale will go to pay down debt.

The Liberals argue that private investors will pay more for Hydro One’s stock if the company is not subject to independent oversight. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said last week that allowing public accountability officers to scrutinize Hydro One “would not be friendly to the securities sector.”

Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk doesn’t buy that argument

“If Hydro One is supposed to operate very openly and transparently – it’s going to be publicly traded – I don’t see how another layer of oversight negatively impacts its operation or impacts share value,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “I would think shareholders would get more comfort with an additional layer of oversight.”

With passage of the bill, Ms. Lysyk will be allowed to examine how Hydro One’s privatization affects the government’s public accounts – effectively, how much money comes into government coffers from the sale – but will be barred from looking at anything larger.

“We won’t be able to assess whether there is value for money from that sale,” she said.

Ms. Lysyk and seven other independent watchdogs took the unprecedented step last month of jointly writing Ms. Wynne asking to keep their oversight of Hydro One.

“The sale will be done in complete secrecy.… We will never know if we received a fair value, a true value for Hydro One or if the people of Ontario were short-changed,” Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said. “What are they trying to hide?”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath vowed that, even after the legislation is passed, the Liberals will have a fight on their hands. The NDP has organized town-hall meetings, protests and a petition to whip up opposition to the sale. She said she hoped the pressure would be enough for the government to change its mind before it floats the initial public offering later this year.

Opinion polls suggest a majority of voters are against privatizing the electricity system, meaning the Liberals could be in for a bumpy ride as they press forward.

But Mr. Chiarelli dismissed such concerns this week. He compared the Hydro One sale to the Liberals’ introduction of the harmonized sales tax in 2010: The tax was unpopular at the time, but the government was re-elected anyway.

“There was an issue called HST, which was considered a horrendous initiative. The media was on it, I had to answer questions for it, et cetera,” he said. “There are very, very significant issues that you deal with in government that are the right thing to do moving forward. Or, at least, they are one of the right things that might be available moving forward.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-12-03 18:28:11

As Lucifer points out that democracy might not be the best solution; we have this indictment that seems to support that thesis. This little missive is just the tip of the iceberg to a long history of epic fails we are paying for in our electrical bills in Ontario.



Ontario’s Liberals have completely broken the electricity system [/size]

[img width=600 height=300]

Source:The Globe and Mail (
Author: Globe editorial
Date: 2015.12.03

In politics, as we wrote Wednesday, people get upset about the little things. Remember Bev Oda’s $16 glass of orange juice? In the context of a 12-figure federal budget, or ministerial trips justifiably running into the tens of thousands of dollars, some overpriced OJ hardly mattered. And yet it galled. Small misdeeds are relatable. A big, complicated and massively costly government screw-up, in contrast, sometimes leaves people cold.

Let’s see if this warms you up. On Wednesday, Ontario’s Auditor-General announced that, between 2006 and 2014, thanks to incompetence and mismanagement on the part of the province’s Liberal government, Ontarians overpaid for electricity to the tune of $37-billion. And over the next 18 years, consumers will be overpaying to the tune of another $133-billion.

Let’s try to put those numbers in context. Electricity overpriced by $170-billion is equivalent to $12,326 in excess costs for every man, woman and child in Ontario. Over 27 years, that averages out to $457 per person, per year. According to Statistics Canada, the average Ontario household has 2.6 people, so for the typical family, we’re talking about a power utility bill roughly $1,188 higher than it should be – every year.

The inflated costs cover both consumers and business, so some of that shows up not on the consumer’s bill, but on the tab of the province’s businesses, which then pass those costs on to customers.

Why is Ontario’s electricity so costly? Because the Ontario government has for the past decade been running the province’s power sector with something approaching the skill of Soviet commissars. It has politicized decision-making, taking it out of the hands of independent experts. It deliberately broke the system, creating huge new costs without benefits. And it doesn’t seem to know how to fix it, or want to.

For example, the auditor finds that the province is paying twice as much for wind power as American utilities, three and a half times as much for solar power and, in the most exceptional incident of economic illogic, has a biomass plant in Thunder Bay producing electricity at 25 times the average price in the rest of the province.

No, this isn’t a $16 glass of orange juice. It’s you and your family buying 85 of those $16 orange juices, this year and next year and every year after, forever. Enjoy. You’re paying for it.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2015-12-03 18:45:59

cough .... yet another huge government fail at our expense; this time the 'sancta sanctorum' of why we like our Canadian Political system Health Care. A big cheer to Elizabeth Church for pursuing this important issue with well writing articles.



A damning report on the province’s troubled system [/size]

[img width=600 height=300]

Source:The Globe and Mail (
Author: Elizabeth Church
Date: 2015.12.02

Ontario’s Health Minister is promising a new model for home care that directs more money to front-line services after the release of another damning report on the province’s troubled system.

The latest findings are in the annual report of Ontario Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk, and describe a system in which the care available varies depending on where a person lives and the time of year, performance targets are often missed and not enough is done to ensure agencies contracted to deliver care are doing their jobs.

The new report is the second instalment of an 18-month investigation into the workings of the home-care system. In a report issued in September, the Auditor-General advised the province to take a “hard look” at the way home care is delivered after finding that as little as 61 cents of every dollar spent goes to face-to-face client services. The earlier report also found gaps in the levels of care offered across the province.

A report to the government from a blue-ribbon panel in the spring called on the province to make home-care services easier to navigate and more accountable. An investigation by The Globe and Mail also found a system plagued by uneven access to care, byzantine processes and a troubling lack of transparency for patients and family caregivers.

The province is expected to release a policy paper as early as this month that will propose scrapping the existing system that delivers care through 14 agencies called Community Care Access Centres, and giving more authority to the province’s local health networks.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins said on Wednesday that the discussion paper will address many of the issues raised in this audit and other reports, including the structure of the system and inconsistency in care.

“What I am aiming to do is find the best of what works and bring it together in perhaps a new model and direct more scarce dollars to front-line services,” he said.

Ontario has moved more aggressively than other provinces to transfer an increasing amount of care out of expensive hospitals and long-term care and into the home, but the system for delivering that care has been a lightning rod for criticism for several years.

The latest report by the Auditor-General takes an in-depth look at three of the province’s 14 access centres – the Central CCAC based in north Toronto, the North East CCAC based in Sudbury and the Champlain CCAC based in Ottawa.

It found inconsistencies in services, in policies on issues such as wait times and standards of care. For example, people assessed with similar needs would receive five hours of weekly personal support to help with activities such as bathing in one region, eight hours in another and 10 in the third. Eligible clients who applied in July would get support at that time, but would be put on a waiting list if they applied in September, when the agencies, which cannot run deficits, were trying to balance their books by year end.

Such delays or lack of personal support for some clients “could aggravate their health condition and cause them to suffer unnecessarily,” the report says.

“The basic issues that we started with are still there,” Ms. Lysyk said at a news conference to discuss the report.

Most home care in Ontario is delivered under contract by non-profit agencies and for-profit companies, but the audit found CCACs do not consistently visit these providers to ensure they are complying with contract terms or deal with under-performance in a consistent way.

The Auditor-General’s annual report also looked at the performance of the province’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks – the agencies expected to gain new powers under forthcoming provincial reforms.

In the eight years since the LHINs were created, the audit found the province has failed to define their role clearly or establish measures to judge their performance.

“This makes it difficult to determine whether they are delivering value for money,” Ms. Lysyk concluded.

Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek questioned why the province is taking so long to make reforms, and said he will look for targets and goals when the Liberals unveil their plan.

“How can you fix a system when you don’t know what you are looking for at the end of the day,” he said.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-03-28 22:56:30

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east -central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for nearly 40 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area.

And a Province with no political candidates a reasonably human being would willing want to vote for this coming June 8th 2018 election.

So with this incredulity, little turds of note to me, will be deposited in this appropriately named thread in an effort to underscore my despair.

Cheers Fritz

When you are seen to run a financially undisciplined nanny state, a pre-election spending spree is a bad idea [/size]

Source: Macleans (
Author: Jen Gerson
Date: March 27, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

As a rule, voters love to be bribed with their own money. However, I am cautiously pessimistic that this maxim is not going to work for the Ontario Liberals.

The election is only three months away and Premier Kathleen Wynne—deeply unpopular and behind in the polls—is handing out multi-billion dollar spending promises like a charity Santa gleefully tossing free toys to kids on Christmas Eve.

A $2.1 billion investment over four years in mental health. Free prescription drugs for seniors over the age of 65—nevermind that seniors are now the wealthiest demographic in the country, and this proposal would replace the means-tested Ontario Drug Benefit program. A $2.2 billion program to expand free childcare for kids older than 2-and-half until they reach Junior Kindergarten.

Oh, and there’s more to come.

Coming soon: Maclean’s is launching a new daily political newsletter. Sign up here >>

The budget has yet to drop, but the Liberals’ pre-election throne speech included promises to reduce hospital wait times, boost dental coverage, to expand access to home care, increase post-secondary grants. You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets an electric car!

At the risk of offering a radically non-contrarian opinion, this feels both desperate and too obvious.

As someone who has advocated for a national childcare program as a necessary precondition to give women equal access to the workplace, an explanatory caveat is required here; any such program should be reasonable, transparent and fully costed—ideally by redirecting inefficient childcare benefits, or by raising taxes.

No free childcare advocate is suggesting that such a program be implemented as part of a broader plan to bribe the Ontario electorate into re-electing Kathleen Wynne. Certainly, no one should expect such a program to be announced before the province has a credible plan to deal with deficits, $312 billion in debt and annual debt servicing costs of $12.3 billion.

READ MORE: Is Doug Ford’s victory a ‘lifeline to Wynne’s Liberals’?

Ontario already has one of the largest debts of any sub-national entity in the world. Its top line items are: health care, education, social services and debt interest.

There is a time and a place for debt; but the time right before interest rates are about to rise and another recession seems statistically probable is not it.

“Our debt-to-GDP remains stable, and it is below 40 per cent,” Wynne said to reporters on Monday, ahead of a Wednesday budget largely expected to run another hefty deficit. “Those are the metrics that we are focused on.”

This statement is untrue and the ratio is meaningless to average folk. The debt-to-GDP ratio has steadily increased under Liberal rule.

The figure that should matter is how much money is going to service that debt—money that could otherwise go to the fancy social spending the Liberals love to promise.

It seems that the Liberals would do well to present themselves as responsible fiscal stewards committed to budgetary reform. Perhaps a credible plan to reduce cost-of-living by easing tax burdens. An audit of government spending. A sane path to escaping what looks perilously close to a debt spiral.

Clearly, the Liberal government is trying to out-flank the NDP to its left. But in doing so, it’s leaving itself open to charges on its most vulnerable front. Wynne’s attempts to massively increase the social welfare state just weeks ahead of an election is exactly the wrong approach for a party fighting the perception that it is irresponsible, corrupt and profligate. Every multi-billion dollar handout that hits the front page only compounds this problem.

Add to this, the Ontario government once again appears to be on the outs with its own auditor general. Last week, Bonnie Lysyk gave a report to a Queen’s Park committee suggesting the Liberals were using dodgy accounting practices to obfuscate the fiscal realities of its Fair Hydro Plan during an audit of its Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

She also said the IESO and its external accounting firm, KPMG, provided “non-truths” to obfuscate accounting glitches.

Nevermind, everyone was getting cars.

It’s difficult to fault the spending priorities of the Wynne Liberals, per se. If Ontario were in the black and its people didn’t feel so excessively pinched by the tax man, supports for things like mental health and childcare would be fine. These are the sorts of things on which right-thinking and benign Liberal governments are apt to spend cash.

But when the general consensus is that your government is a financially undisciplined wannabe nanny state that probably can’t be trusted to direct any of these funds effectively anyway, spending promises will only breed resentment. Who wants a government that takes dollars and gives back dimes?

The last government that went on such an obvious pre-election spending binge was Stephen Harper during the closing days of the 2015 election campaign. He sprinkled infrastructure fund promises around the country ahead of the vote. Look how well that worked for him.

If the only thing the Wynne government can come up with to encourage people to vote for her is to throw more money around, this isn’t going to end well.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-03 16:11:32

The real consequences of the liberal government's legacy of mismanagement.

Cheers Fritz

Arts education squeezed out across Ontario schools, new report says [/size]

Source: The Toronto Star (
Author: Victoria Gibson Staff Reporter
Date: April 3, 2018

[img height=200 width=400]
Annie Kidder, director of People for Education, released a report Tuesday that suggests arts education is being squeezed out, inequitably funded and delivered by underqualified teachers in schools across Ontario. (Vince Talotta / Toronto Star file photo)

Some ‘barely have storage space,’ let alone enough free space to teach the arts, according to a new People for Education report.

Arts education is being squeezed out, inequitably funded and delivered by underqualified teachers in schools across Ontario, according to a new report released Tuesday.

Schools in Brantford’s Catholic board “barely have storage space, let alone additional space for any learning outside the normal classroom environment,” one principal reported, when asked about their arts offerings for the report.

“Our teaching staff allotment doesn’t afford us the opportunity to have specialist teachers,” added a principal in the Lambton Kent District School Board in southwestern Ontario.

And in the province’s largest French-language board, one principal reported that their arts space would soon be “lost,” converted to a daycare.

Read more: Fundraising widens gap between have and have-not students, report finds

Toronto schools raise less money than rest of region

As fundraising gap grows, Toronto’s wealthy schools leaving poor schools behind

It’s a system where schools’ arts budgets can range from a luxurious $100,000 per year to a meagre $500 — with those budgets often determined by parents’ ability to fundraise — according to the 2018 arts education report from People for Education.

The report crunches numbers to paint a picture of inequity in public education, particularly taking opportunity away from students at smaller rural schools, schools with higher levels of poverty and schools with lower levels of parental education.

“We were really struck by principals talking about difficulties having a big enough budget for musical instruments, relying on parents for fundraising, concerned about teachers not having enough specialized training to be able to deliver really good strong arts programs,” said Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education.

“But I think that the overall concern of principals and of ours is the inequity that’s kind of built in, because schools are relying on fundraising for their arts budgets.”

The Star has previously reported on the fundraising gap between schools in the province, with some bolstering their budgets with up to $150,000 in “extras” every year. Until recently, there was no provincial funding dedicated to the arts, the new report notes.

“School boards can determine how much funding they allocate to schools for the arts, and beyond that schools can fundraise for things like arts excursions, visiting artists or musical instruments,” the report says.

Instruments can sit stagnant and broken in some schools, until the end of the year when budgetary bottom lines are determined, one principal from Dufferin Peel’s Catholic board reported. Even then, the principal said those instruments might not be fixed — there may not be any money for it.

In elementary schools, the report found that only 4 per cent of schools that responded have an annual arts budget of more than $5,000; 27 per cent have a budget of less than $500 for arts per year.

In secondary schools, 20 per cent fall in the higher end of funds with more than $10,000 per year. Only 3 per cent are still below $500 in arts funding per year.

The impact of arts education on students has been under the lens in the United States recently, through the exploration of the theatre and public speaking experience gleaned in school by teen survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas — many of whom have since taken on the role of public voices in the U.S. gun control debate.

Kidder said the discussion of those teens’ arts education is relevant “in a number of ways” to People for Education’s newest report.

“I think what it points to is that, through arts education, all students can learn, yes, how to be articulate and communicate, but also to persist and be resilient,” she said, also listing collaboration, social-emotional skills and empathy as by-products of arts education.

“Through learning music or drama or dance or fine arts, you learn to practise. You learn to persist when things don’t work out, and to go back in again.”

“No matter what you do as an adult — in your job, in your life, as a citizen — these are foundational skills.”

Arts budgets appear to be connected with the availability of arts program space in elementary schools, the report notes. Teaching and learning in the arts requires a great deal of space, for instruments, supplies, movement or otherwise.

Principals who participated in the People for Education report “frequently cited” a lack of specialized space as a barrier to providing arts education. The issue was particularly severe for schools at ministry-defined capacity for students, Kidder said.

“Does your school look empty if you’re keeping classrooms open for arts space?” she asked.

This year’s data showed elementary schools in urban areas as being three times more likely to have a budget over $5,000. Rural schools, they wrote, are also less likely to have specialized arts teachers and arts learning spaces. One principal from Keewatin-Patricia District School Board noted that recruiting qualified teachers to come to their smaller communities was a challenge.

“We did feel that despite the widely recognized importance of arts education, that there is not necessarily equitable access to arts programs and resources, and arts enrichment,” Kidder said. “And we’re really worried about that.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-03 16:15:36

How little has changed!

Cheers Fritz

“all unicorns and rainbows”[/size]

Source: youtube (http://)
Date: 2015


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-09 15:37:59

Meanwhile in a smaller community far from the 'Big Smoke' some serious discussion about consequences and a poke: "reached into their bag of vote-buying tricks to try and save themselves" .

Cheers Fritz

Good, bad and ugly in provincial budget [/size]

Source: Highlander News (
Author: April 4, 2018
Date: Lisa Gervais

[img height=200 width=400]

There’s “good, bad and ugly” in last week’s provincial budget, Minden Hills mayor and former county warden, Brent Devolin, says.

The ‘good’ he told his council March 29, is that the government is investing $500 million over three years in a bid to enhance broadband in northern and rural communities. Included in the pledge is specific spending directed at bettering Eastern Ontario’s cellular coverage, and money to aid the creation of a satellite network that will provide intenet access to remote communities.

The Eastern Ontario Regional Network has been lobbying for just such a provincial government spend for more than a year. Devolin called the announcement “a watershed moment” for Haliburton County.

He added that he had talked to Conservative MPP Laurie Scott and she indicated her party would also support such an initiative if it forms government after the June election.

However, the bad and ugly included a projected $6.8B deficit, Devolin said, as well as a failure to do anything to address Ontario’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficit gap. The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce said the Ontario Government is harmonizing with the federal government’s eligibility criteria, leaving more than 20,000 employers paying $100 million more in employment health tax over the next three years.

In addition, businesses will be phased out of the small business deduction if they earn between $50,000 and $150,000 of passive investment income in the taxation year, resulting in an additional $350 million in new taxes for Ontario businesses.

“Although the government is making smart investments in skills development, the ever-rising cost of doing business in Ontario is hindering economic growth,” said chamber vice president Linda Baumgartner. “The Ontario Budget not only fails to provide the offsets our members need, it will leave some businesses, including small businesses, paying more in taxes.”

She said they’re also concerned with the “precarious fiscal situation” the newly announced investments will create. However, she added they do support regional economic development funding, new dollars for public transit, the broadband spend, and additional resources for apprenticeship and skills development. Scott said in a press release, “the 2018 provincial budget is a thinly-veiled attempt to pull the wool over Ontarians’ eyes. That’s what I’m hearing from people in our community, and they’re right to be cynical. Predictably, the Wynne government has reached into their bag of vote-buying tricks to try and save themselves.”


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-11 23:21:27

Interestingly it just doesn't reflect the news stories I've seen.
Cheers Fritz

Ontario Votes 2018: Poll Tracker
Source: CBC (
Author: CBC News
Date: April 11, 2018

[img height=400 width=550]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-19 22:30:21

The subtle malevolent nature of the media is as usual pandering to the power brokers that are gaming the system. The Green Party is a serious option and omitted from most news stories. The best solution that can be realistically hoped for is a minority PC with the Greens in the opposition. That means if you have your wits about you; vote Green. Both the NDP and the Liberals need to be eradicated, so sentient beings can reassemble them into a useful part of our society again.

Cheers Fritz

How Facebook will be a battleground in the upcoming Ontario election [/size]

Source: City News (
Author: Cynthia Mulligan
Date: April 19th, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]
Imaged posted by TVO:

If you’re a Facebook user living in Ontario, there’s a strong chance you’ll see an ad from one of the provincial party leaders as we head into election season.

But you won’t see a random advertisement. It will likely be specifically catered to you based on your gender, age, where you live and what you do.

It’s called ‘microtargeting’ and political war rooms are getting more and more sophisticated at the practice. They can find you with laser precision and send you a tailor-made ad.

Here’s how it works: political parties can use the information from your profile and determine your age, where you live, and can assess your likes and shares to pinpoint your interests.

Facebook has 23 million users in Canada

Tom Yawney, with Toronto-based The Influence Agency, has experience buying ads and placing targeted advertisements on Facebook. He says advertising on Facebook is cheaper than traditional media and the messages also have the potential to be shared.

“It puts a lot of power in the hands of politicians and, apples-to-apples, it costs less typically than television, radio, billboards, and it’s more targeted,” said Yawney.

“Often times, whether it’s television, radio or newspapers, it’s one mass message to everybody, regardless of male, female, age, interests, it’s one mass message. So this is to really segment that message, make it more specific.”

Studies have shown that users are more likely to trust a post shared by a friend or family member.

Yawney believes after the fallout from the U.S. election, this style of advertising on social media will have to be regulated. The problem is: how do you regulate something that is global?

“A lot is known about us through Facebook… they say that if you aren’t paying for something you may be the product. So I think people need to keep that in mind when putting something online, if you’re not paying for the service, no monthly fee, then the info you willingly share is used as a mechanism to run advertisements.”

CityNews has checked to see how each party is using Facebook in this election.
Doug Ford’s Conservatives:

65,000 people follow their page
It has live streaming video with reporter style stand-ups from the campaign and dozens of ads, including one specifically addressing healthcare for people in Brockville

Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals:

Nearly 12,000 people follow their page — the lowest of the three parties
There is video but none of it is live. As for ads, there are quite a few including one for Mitzie Hunter and targets people concerned about healthcare in Scarborough

Andrea Horwath’s NDP:

About 21,000 people follow their page
They have no ads but they do have video content

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-19 22:40:53

Well putting my misgivings of the TSB's Post Modernists - Neo Marxist indoctrination camps: Toronto Schools, aside; this is certainly a step in the right direction. Now if we can teach the kids the Arts, Science and Language skills and critical thinking, they'll be able to step up to plate.

Cheers Fritz

Founded in 2002, CIVIX’s highly successful Student Vote [/size]

Source: ONtario Teacher's Federation (

[img height=200 width=500]

In June, Ontarians will be heading to the polls to elect their government for another four years. OTF encourages all members not only to vote but to take the time to get involved in supporting the candidate of their choice. As well, it is a great time to get students involved in our democratic process. This page offers a few links which you may find helpful both personally and as a teacher.
Student Vote

Founded in 2002, CIVIX’s highly successful Student Vote has become the main resource for teachers across Canada to inform and educate students about importance of civic engagement. The program is based on the belief that the best way to learn about democracy is to experience it. Designed for both elementary and secondary school students, the Student Vote program steers students through the entire election process. In essence, it is a parallel election for students under the voting age. Students learn about government and the electoral process, research the parties and platforms, and discuss relevant issues. Finally, they run their own E-day, taking on the roles of deputy returning officers and poll clerks and casting ballots for the official election candidates.

The popularity and success of Student Vote with both teachers and students was confirmed by an independent evaluation commissioned by Elections Canada. The evaluation found that 100% of teachers said they would like to participate in Student Vote again and 96% indicated that they agreed that participating in Student Vote improved their confidence with teaching politics, Canadian government and civics. With students, 83% said they would vote in the future and 90% believed that it is our responsibility as citizens to vote in elections.

Some of the recent successful projects have been the 2015 Federal Election, the 2017 Nunavut Territorial Election, the 2017 B.C. Provincial Election and the 2017 Nova Scotia Provincial Election.

Student Vote provides the guidance and resources needed for the classroom. Many schools have already registered for the Ontario 2018 provincial election.

But it’s not too late. Register now at

Elections Ontario

Elections Ontario runs the provincial elections in Ontario. It is non-partisan and responsible for protecting the integrity of the electoral process.

Following are some of the resources Elections Ontario offers:

Voting rules! This program, geared to Grades 5 and 10 students, features lesson plans, activities and clear information on democracy, elections and voting in Ontario and Canada. It includes two teacher toolkits at no cost, one for Grade 5 and one for Grade 10. Each program finishes with the class administering and delivering a mock election.

Ontario register for future voters – a page for 16 and 17 years old Canadian citizens who reside in Ontario to register and be automatically transferred to the Voters’ List when she/he turns 18.

Voting in Ontario brochure – a brochure which describes the electoral process and voter’s rights, geared to those turning 18 years of age.

All available at Learning about elections.

[bold]Ontario’s major political parties[/bold]

Green Party of Ontario

Ontario Liberal Party

Ontario NDP

Ontario PC Party

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-19 23:26:02

The whole Wiki page on Ontario Hydro One is really a must read!

Cheers Fritz

Hydro One [/size]

Source: Wiki Ontario Hydro One (
Author: Wiki
Date: last update 2017

[img height=200 width=500]

On October 29, 2015 Premier Kathleen Wynne confirmed rumours that the province planned to sell 60 per cent of Hydro One[16] ("broadenening of ownership").[17] Some of the proceeds from the sale of shares would be used to begin financing of Premier Wynne's 10-year plan for public transit and infrastructure projects in addition to reducing the provincial deficit.[16][18]

The plan was criticized by many,[19][20][21] including Stephen LeClair, the new financial accountability officer for Ontario. LeClair warned that the sale of an entity that generated a $750-million profit[22] in 2014[23] would lead to a long term negative financial impact for the province.

The sale will certainly provide short term benefits, generating an estimated total of $9 billion[21] at a time when the provincial government is "desperate for money" (according to The Globe and Mail), with one of the largest subsovereign debts in the world.[24] The estimated revenue will not all be a windfall for the provincial coffers however, since roughly $5 billion is earmarked to pay down Hydro One's $8.5 billion debt.[20]

The balance of the revenue from the Hydro One sale would help meet the targets laid out by the provincial Liberal government in its April 2015 budget. Although the budget announced some austerity measures, there was no indication of any new revenue sources. Even so, the plan was to reduce the Province's estimated budget deficit by $2.5 billion to $8.5 billion in the 2015-16 fiscal year, then to $4.8 billion in 2016-17 and to have a balanced budget by 2017-18, according to Finance Minister Charles Sousa.[25] This promise was made in spite of increasing demand for government services due to an aging population, at a time when "... a slowing domestic economy are putting downward pressure on its revenue streams,” according to Ed Clark, Wynne's chief advisor on government assets, as quoted in The Globe and Mail.[24]

On November 5, 2015, the province began the first phase of the process, with an initial public offering (IPO) of 81.1 million shares (equivalent to 13.6% of Hydro One) on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was the largest IPO in Canada since 2000.[26][27] The estimated proceeds from this IPO were expected to total $1.83-billion.[21] This was the first step in the long-term goal of gradually selling 60 per cent of the utility. Three more offerings, roughly the same size, are expected to follow.[21]

Finance Minister Sousa told stated on November 4, 2015 that the Hydro One IPO was already "oversubscribed" at that time, with more advance orders than the shares that would be available.[26] On November 5, 2015 the stock closed at $21.62, up 5.46 per cent or $1.12 from the IPO price of $20.50, with more than 18 million shares sold.[20] Although this is not necessarily indicative of a rosy future for the share price, Sousa was optimistic. “Every uptick on the market is an indication the future offerings will net even greater proceeds benefiting all Ontarians.”[20] However, shares dropped 3.9 percent on 2 December 2015 because of the Auditor-General warning that the cost of replacing outdated transmission assets was $4.47 billion, information that might continue to depress the share price. Hydro One responded by indicating that steps were under way to increase reliability: "There are several initiatives under way to ensure investments strike the appropriate balance between reliability and cost."[28]

Some consumer advocacy groups and some analysts have raised red flags, concerned with the risk of increasing electricity costs under a privatized Hydro One.[29][30] On the other hand, Brady Yauch, executive director of the Consumer Policy Institute[31] discussed the potential benefits in a Comment (op/ed) item in the Financial Post, including "lower rates for ratepayers".[32] His premise is based on the potential increase in productivity of Hydro One under private control, "something that the government has failed to do adequately", bringing high salaries into line, and reducing pension liabilities in future, with employees contributing higher amounts to their pensions. "Given the government’s performance over the last 15 years, it calls for hopeful optimism...," in his opinion.[citation needed]

A secondary offering of 72.4 million Hydro One shares, equivalent to 14.5%, in April 2016 generated $1.7 billion in revenue for the provincial government. Crown corporation Ontario Power Generation purchased 9 million of the shares, giving it a 1.5% stake in Hydro One.[3]

In May 2017 the Ontario government completed the third and final sale of Hydro One shares worth $2.8 billion.[33] With the completion of this offering, Ontario holds 49.9% of Hydro One's common shares.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-04-25 10:39:45

Latest Polls. I sure wonder what rabbit the Liberals will pull out of their bag of tricks as we near Junes 8th election day. Surely Doug Ford has some skeletons the Liberals can run up the flag polls. It has all been far too civilized today.

Cheers Fritz

Progressive Conservative Majority, Liberals lose party status if an election held today[/size]

Source: Forum Research (
Author: Lorne Bozinoff
Date: April 20, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]
image-TVO Current Affairs

Toronto, April 19th - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by The Forum Poll™ among 1126 Ontario voters, the gap between the Progressive Conservatives and their provincial challengers has widened once again, with almost half (46%) saying they would vote PC if an election were held today. One-quarter (27%) say they would support the NDP, while one-fifth (21%) say they would support the Liberals. Few (4%) would support the Green Party or another party (2%). Respondents most likely to say they are supporting the PCs include those aged 45-54 (52%) or 55-64 (50%), male (59%), and anyone earning more than $40,000 including: $40,000-$60,000 (47%), $60,000-$80,000 (47%), $80,000-$100,000 (49%), and the most wealthy (50%), parents (51%), the least educated (56%), living in Eastern (50%) or Southwestern Ontario (48%), or the 905 (49%). Respondents most likely to say they are supporting the NDP include those aged 34 and younger (33%), females (33%), earning $20,000-$40,000 (29%) or $40,000-$60,000 (32%), with a college/university degree (30%) or post-graduate degree (29%), and living in Toronto (30%), Southwestern Ontario (28%), or Northern Ontario (29%). Respondents most likely to say they are supporting the Liberals include those aged 55-64 (24%) or 65+ (27%), female (26%), the least wealthy (29%), with a post-graduate degree (30%), and living in Toronto (28%).

PC Super-majority on the Horizon If an election were held today, we project a PC majority government with 94 seats. The NDP would serve as official opposition with 23 seats, while the Liberals would secure only 7 seats, one too few for party status in Ontario’s legislature. More than half of Ontarians think the PCs will win More than half (54%) say that the PCs will win the provincial election. One-fifth (19%), about the same as current Liberal support, say it will be the Liberals. 1 in 10 (10%) say it will be the NDP. A hopeful few (1%) say it will be the Green Party, while one-sixth (16%) don’t know who will win. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) of PC supporters think the PCs will win. Contrast that support with (54%) of Liberal supporters who think the Liberals will win, and the quarter (27%) of NDP supporters who say they NDP will win. Ford approval and disapproval even, Wynne still low Kathleen Wynne see’s approval from one-fifth (18%), and disapproval from three-quarters (73%). Only 1 in 10 (9%) say they do not know. Her net favourable score (Approve-Disapprove) is -54. Doug Ford’s approval and disapproval are even, with (37%) saying they approve and (40%) saying they disapprove. One-quarter (23%) say they do not know. Doug Ford’s net favourable score is -3. Andrea Horwath sees the best net favourable score, with approval of (37%) and disapproval of (32%). A third (31%) say they do not know about Andrea Horwath. Her net favourable score is +5 “The bump in support following the Liberal budget is gone,” said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, President of Forum Research. "The Progressive Conservatives are back where we’ve seen them for the past year, and Doug Ford looks on track to be Premier in a few months. While campaigns matter, and it’s hard to count out an effective campaigner like Kathleen Wynne, the fact that the shine from the Liberals’ billions of dollars of promises has already diminished, must be a blow to their chances.” Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.

Read more at:
Copyright ©Forum Research Inc.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-05-02 18:12:05

As Ontario's economy is expected to declined in the next years. The Liberal budget takes us further into debt and they lied about it. The various public services are running on vapours, and are no longer able to deliver on their mandates. The provincial health services are being run by appointed folks that are not subject matter literal on health care. Doctors are continuing to have their pay reduce and are marginalized in any say, on how health care is delivered.
Equality of out come, and compelled speak tribunals take us unapologetic back to Stalin and Mao's socialist disasters. The liberals are not liberals but post modernist neo-Marxists that at the same time endorse crony big business welfare.

Cheers Fritz

Economic and Budget Outlook, Spring 2018 [/size]

Source: Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (
Author: fao
Date: May 2, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

For 2018-19, the FAO projects that Ontario’s budget deficit will increase sharply to $11.8 billion, the result of higher spending from the 2018 Budget combined with only a weak gain in revenue. Going forward, the FAO projects a continued deterioration in Ontario’s budget, with the deficit reaching $12.7 billion by 2020-21.

Importantly, the FAO estimates that Ontario was facing an $8.1 billion deficit in 2018-19 prior to the introduction of the 2018 Budget.

In this context, the government introduced the 2018 Budget which included a broad range of new public spending initiatives. While many of these new programs would provide significant social and economic benefits for Ontarians, the government has not raised adequate revenue to pay for them, adding to continued deficits over the outlook.

Large, on-going deficits will contribute to a steady increase in Ontario’s debt over the next three years. The FAO projects that Ontario’s net debt will increase by almost $70 billion, reaching $394 billion in 2020-21, pushing the net debt-to-GDP ratio to 42 per cent, well above today’s ratio of 39 per cent.

To address the budget deficit, the government introduced a ‘fiscal recovery plan’ which projects a balanced budget by 2024-25, based on restricting the growth in program spending. The fiscal recovery plan provides few policy specifics, but assumes that the government will dramatically cut spending growth from an average of 4.2 per cent over the next three years, to just 2.1 per cent from 2020-21 to 2025-26.

Based on the FAO’s analysis, severely restraining the growth in program spending, below the pace of population growth and price inflation, could lead to a balanced budget by 2025-26. However, this plan implies that the Province would have to lower spending by approximately $15 billion, or eight per cent, by 2025-26.

Even with the significant spending restraint planned by the government in the 2020s, Ontario’s debt burden would remain elevated, and the Province would miss its 2023-24 net debt-to-GDP target by a wide margin.

The Province Will Not Meet its 2023-24 Net Debt-to-GDP Target

[img height=300 width=500]

The 2018 Budget postpones deficit recovery, leading to the accumulation of additional debt into the 2020s when demographic pressures on the budget will intensify. This additional debt will increase the challenge of stabilizing Ontario’s public finances, shift the burden from the baby boom generation to younger Ontarians, and would leave future governments with less flexibility to respond to future crises, including recessions.

Alternate fiscal plans that address the deficit would also involve difficult trade-offs. Raising revenue leaves less money for households to spend and businesses to invest, and would contribute to the already moderating pace of economic growth.

However, achieving continued spending restraint may be more difficult in the coming years. The government has been limiting spending growth since 2010, and many public services are currently facing budget pressures.

[img height=300 width=500]

... more on the site

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-05-10 00:51:17

It will be interesting how close the pollsters are getting this.

Cheers Fritz

The Maclean’s-Pollara Ontario Election Poll: Welcome to third place, Liberals [/size]

Source: Macleans (
Author: Paul Wells
Date: May 7, 2018

[img height=300 width=550]

On the eve of the official kick-off of the Ontario provincial election, Kathleen Wynne’s governing Liberals have fallen to third place and the second-place NDP has considerable room to grow, according to a shocking new poll.

The online poll of 1,010 eligible voters, conducted on May 3 and 4 for Maclean’s by Pollara Strategic Insights, shows that support for the Liberals has declined since other recent public polls. Among decided voters, the Progressive Conservatives led by Doug Ford enjoy a strong lead with 40 per cent support. The NDP led by Andrea Horwath is in second place with 30 per cent. That leaves Wynne’s Liberals way back with 23 per cent.

The campaign is moving into a more intense and unpredictable phase. The first televised leaders’ debate is Monday night on CITY, followed by the dissolution of the legislature and the formal campaign launch on Wednesday. “This campaign’s going to matter,” Don Guy, the owner and chief strategy officer of Pollara, told Maclean’s. But his results show further room for the Liberals to fall and for the NDP to climb. Strong support as respondents’ second choice suggests Horwath’s NDP “has a lot of room to grow,” Guy said, whereas Wynne and the Liberals “aren’t even close to bottom yet.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-05-21 17:25:13

The Media is losing it![/size]

Usually I let the media prattle on these days, as their demise is self evident, and they are desperately trying to stay solvent by giving folks what they want to consume, in an effort to sell their wares.


When a story is so totally baft and incredulous, in it’s misinformation and omissions, I have to wonder about a lapse in the space time continuum or have thoughts of the possibility of renumeration incentives at play.
The correct Ontario Liberal government is so far left of left Lenin and Mao would shake their heads and at the same time selling our province to global conglomerates and doling out incentives to their corporate buddies.

The Health care system is crippled with tribunals aka LINS that are staffed with non medical folks across geographical areas that have little in common in their requirements. Doctors are getting the wealthy bad people treatment and vilified (5 pay cuts in 5 years; euphemistically call salary discounts by the Liberals), while the system is flooded with administrators and the pay of medical support staff is raised and their work load diminished as doctor are required to decrease services and preventive medicine to save money.

The education system as shifted to a neo-marxist post modernist training camp that is crippling our children to be the fragmented drones willing to be the money for nothing social contract recipients. (spend and hour on the TSB website or look at the teachers unions support of the Venezuelan communist government).

The sell off of our infrastructure; roads, bridge construction, power generation power infrastructure to foreign companies.

The insane new labour rules that are untenable for most businesses to manage or understand; time off, sick leave, emergency time off; is just bizarre world that is killing businesses.

The tribunals that by pass our legal system to enforces speech and social behaviour, just like Lenin and Mao and Hitler and Chavez enacted to destroy the very fabric our legal system that has evolved over hundreds of years to safe guard us, and keep us unified as a society and culture, is being gerrymander by the liberals.

The current Liberals are a misguided pack of self serving pretend
do gooders that have under mined our future.

The current Liberals have to be obliterated.

Hopefully in the future a real Liberal party in balance with the Conservation Party to steer Ontario to a viable future, were we all have access to: equal opportunities, a reasonable cost of living, a thriving business ecosystem in which everyone can contribute, and a viable safety net for those that need it, can be realized.

Stop the lies !

Cheers Fritz

[color=purple][size=6]Kathleen Wynne was the premier we didn’t deserve

Source: The Toronto Star (
Author: John Barber
Date: May 17, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

I come not only to praise Kathleen Wynne, but also to bury her. The auspices for her government are so dire that a eulogy today hardly seems premature. Writing it now lets us imagine what settled opinion in the future, freed from the toxic fog of the current campaign, might make of Wynne and her six-year premiership.

Certainly four years of Premier Doug Ford will be more than enough to clear the air. But even before that, I suspect Wynne will emerge in hindsight as the bold leader of the most capable and effective government Ontario has enjoyed since the heyday of the fabled Big Blue Machine. She will be remembered as the best of her generation, representing Ontario at its best
The partisan fog during the election campaign was thick enough to obscure even the plainest facts regarding Wynne’s Ontario. The province boomed under her government, enjoying record high employment, record low unemployment and sharply rising wages — especially for the lowest paid workers. Under Wynne, the province emerged as one of North America’s top magnets for foreign investment, just behind California, with Google leading the parade. The good times rolled on.

And Kathleen Wynne took the blame, her popularity plummeting as the economy soared. Suffice it to say that current public opinion in Ontario will seem just as mysterious in the future as it does today.

In this weird world, the premier’s greatest accomplishments proved to be her worst detriments. Her error was to assume that solving problems would win popular support. The opposite happened, as it turned out. But Wynne never stopped solving.

Michael Warren, who began his career as a key operative of the Big Blue Machine that once ruled Ontario so capably, put it well in a 2017 column that decried the opportunism and emptiness of that same Progressive Conservative Party now.

“Meanwhile,” he wrote, “the Liberals are stacking up policy initiatives like cord wood.”

It's probably safe to say that no one-term government ever passed as much significant legislation as Wynne’s. Her boldness in addressing social-justice issues and labour-law reform surpassed anything achieved by Bob Rae’s NDP. Her government made massive investments in transit and twinned them with the most progressive planning legislation in North America. It took concrete action against climate change. It successfully championed a groundbreaking pension reform, invested heavily in child care and early learning, cut Hydro rates, expertly cooled an overheated housing market, moved quickly to protect vulnerable tenants, took action against sexual assault and harassment, offered free pharmacare to youth, and led Canada in the installation of renewable energy.

Even when you disagreed with some aspect of the program, the sheer activism of Wynne’s government was undeniable. Also, it would seem, the problem: Wynne did too much, she pushed too hard, she modernized too earnestly — and refractory old Ontario rebelled.

There were certainly some deep reasons for Wynne’s downfall apart from those most often cited by her critics. Otherwise we are left to believe that she lost the 2018 election because of festering grievances over an ancient gas-plant scandal that failed to prevent her election in 2014, when they were fresh.
The frequently uttered charge of “corruption” was no more persuasive. As a journalist who spent a good part of his career face-to-face with real political corruption, I’m astounded how freely that word is tossed around today. By any objective measure, the Wynne government was the cleanest in decades. The only thing that came close to a scandal was a ludicrous bribery charge against her aide, Pat Sorbara, which a judge dismissed before the prosecution had finished presenting its non-case.

Likewise, Wynne's government excelled in implementing its ambitious agenda. There was no e-health boondoggle, no ORNGE Air scandal, no gas-plant fandango, no real-estate scams. Wynne’s tenure was a master class in political management — and, in the face of populist derangement, it turned out to be terrible politics.

She failed because she was too ambitious, she failed because she never resorted to easy deceptions. She failed because she’s a woman, and because she’s gay. She failed because she's Ontarian, at the mercy of Ontarians, and we’re as ugly as anyone.

The future will judge, and what it will say is that we didn’t deserve her

The current Liberals have to be obliterated. Stop the lies ! [/size]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-05-23 17:42:24


Source: Pollara (
Author: Macleaens
Date: May 23, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

Since our pre-writ poll, the NDP have made notable gains (38% +8 ) and the PCs have dipped (37% -3 ), resulting in a statistical tie among decided voters. The Liberals have dropped 5 points to 18% support.


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-06-02 15:27:28

I did not see this coming; but it is an interesting strategy for the Liberals to have Kathleen Wynn admit defeat and ask voters to vote for liberal candidates to mitigate a PC majority.

Sadly it is the kind of self serving gamesmanship the Liberals are prone to, for selfish reason allowing Ontario to be 'governmentally' crippled with a minority parliament is their wish.

The arrogance that Wynne is the problem, trying to deflect that the entire Liberal Party is a Fascistic Socialist nightmare for Ontario that though oligarch handouts and social engineering, has broken our province; it needs to be decimated, so a true Liberal party can be built.

We need a majority Government to undo the 'bizzaro' world the Liberals have created.

I sure hope everyone stick to their convictions and votes all Liberals out.

Cheers Fritz

Stay the Course; DO NOT vote for any Liberals[/size]

Source: (http://)
Author: various
Date: June 2, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

Tory leader Doug Ford had little to say about the announcement, noting only that the election is about change and people are fed up.
“A vote for the Liberal Party is a vote to keep the next government in check. A vote for the Liberal Party is your best bet to make sure that the next government is not a majority government. And that the next government is held to account to all voters.” -Wynne-

That went well ... NOT

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Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-06-03 13:05:00

All the polling as of June 1st 2018.

Cheers Fritz

2018 Ontario election Predictions June 1st 2018[/size]

Source: Calculated Politics (
Date: June 1st 2018

The site has great break down of all the pools and ridings.



[color=red][size=6]NDP lags, PCs retake lead in Ontario election after final debate: Ipsos poll

Source: Globalnews (
Author: Monique Scotti   
Date: May 28th, 2018

Indeed, turnout could prove to be the deciding factor in this election, especially in ridings where the race is too close to call. A full 82 per cent of PC voters responding to the Ipsos poll said they were “completely certain” they’d turn up to vote, while among NDP voters it was 69 per cent and among Liberal supporters it was 65 per cent.
That aligns with patterns Bricker has seen in the past.

[img height=600 width=500]


Source: Electionarium (
Date: May 16th 2018

PC:75, NDP:36 Lib:13 Green:0 Other:0[/size]

[img height=300 width=500]

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-06-06 20:16:13

Interesting review

Cheers Fritz

2018 Ontario election newspaper endorsements [/size]

Source: Macleans (
Author: Maclean's
Date: June 6th, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

2018 Ontario election newspaper endorsements: Doug Ford or Andrea Horwath?
News outlets from across the province weighed in as to who would be the best choice for Ontarians in the 2018 provincial election

On Thursday, Ontario will decide its next premier. As in past elections, editorial boards at several newspapers from across the province have weighed in with who they think voters should support—though in an era of unending media consolidation, shared editorials across chains are now commonplace.
With Kathleen Wynne essentially conceding that she won’t be Ontario’s next premier, and with her party far back in the polls, no major paper has endorsed her. Which leaves Doug Ford’s PCs and Andrea Horwath’s NDP.  Even then, some outlets couldn’t bring themselves to choose.
Here’s where the papers stand:
READ ALSO: Ontario election 2018 platform guide: Where the parties stand on everything

The Toronto Star said: “Ontario voters should back NDP to stop Doug Ford”“What’s at stake in Thursday’s election is the future of the province. That’s more important than any strictly partisan choice and progressive voters should think beyond their loyalties to a particular party. They shouldn’t risk giving Doug Ford the chance to drag this province backwards, and in the great majority of ridings that means supporting the New Democrat.
Ontarians are obviously looking for change: the polls are clear on that. But the same polls show the majority of people in this province are fundamentally progressive.”

The Globe and Mail endorsed neither of the parties:“The choice is thus between a PC government led by Doug Ford and an NDP government led by Andrea Horwath. Neither is desirable, albeit for different reasons. With the PCs, the leader is a profound problem, while the state of the party itself is also a worry; with the NDP, it’s the party’s platform…
The electorate cannot vote for leadership where it does not exist, or for platforms that are wrong for the times. So if you are lucky enough to have a local candidate who embodies integrity and principle, we encourage you to support him or her.”

The Hamilton Spectator and Niagara Falls Review, both owned by Metroland, endorsed Horwath:
“One thing is clear. We cannot endorse a candidate and party who didn’t even go to the trouble of properly filling out the job application. That’s disrespectful. Say what you want about Patrick Brown and Christine Elliott, but they wouldn’t have shown Ontarians the disdain demonstrated by the Doug Ford PCs.
So, the NDP by default? That would be our view. But there are solid Green and Liberal party choices in many ridings, and there are candidates worth supporting for local as opposed to party reasons. We wish you the best of luck as you make your choice.”

The Toronto Sun, owned by Postmedia said vote Ford:“Unlike Wynne and Horwath, Ford knows efficiencies can be found in government. That controlling public spending will lower Ontario’s $12.5 billion a year in interest payments, money saved that can be used to improve public services. This won’t happen overnight given the enormity of the financial hole the Liberals created.
But the way to start digging out begins with the election of Ford and the PCs on June 7.”

Several Postmedia newspapers (including the National Post, London Free Press and Windsor Star) also endorsed Ford:“An inexperienced premier Ford will nonetheless have experienced, credible legislative veterans around him. The lack of a proper campaign platform is certainly worrisome, but in reality, given the Liberals’ affinity for cooking the books, no party’s campaign platform will survive the first day. Accountants will need free rein to assess Ontario’s true fiscal status — something the Tories have pledged to arrange without delay. Only then will it be possible to produce anything like a realistic, costed plan.
So, while this is probably not the best choice Ontario has ever had, it is a clear choice: the Liberals must go and the NDP must not win. Ontario would therefore best be served by a Progressive Conservative government led by Doug Ford.”

Waterloo Region’s The Record said think local, instead:“Yet the two major alternatives offer limited consolation in an increasingly polarized political landscape. On the right is a Progressive Conservative Party with an erratic populist — Doug Ford — as its leader and a ramshackle platform that has not been fully costed.
On the left is a New Democratic Party captained by the more congenial Andrea Horwath but encumbered by rigid doctrine and spending-spree plans that would shackle a new generation of Ontarians with even more unsustainable debt.
In this era of unreason and instability, we would counsel Waterloo Region voters to seek reason and stability. Support the candidates who best know this community and can represent our interests, whether in government or opposition.”

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-06-06 21:18:06

No wait, less then a week before the election this story breaks, yeah right, just coincident; no sleaze bag politics involved.

Cheers Fritz

That late-breaking estate lawsuit might actually help Doug Ford[/size]

Source: eSpeak (
Author:Matt Gurney Radio Host Global News
Date: June 5th, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford makes an announcement at Capri Pizza during a campaign stop in Cambridge, Ont. Andrew Ryan / The Canadian Press.
Anyone who closely watched Toronto City Hall during the Rob Ford mayoralty can’t be surprised at the latest development on Ontario’s campaign trail: Renata Ford, the widow of the late Rob Ford, is now suing his brother Doug (and the family business, Deco Labels).
The lawsuit alleges, in effect, that Deco is struggling, perhaps even failing, and that Doug and his surviving brother Randy are keeping it afloat by improperly using the remaining financial wealth of the late Doug Ford, Sr., patriarch of the Ford clan. This, Renata Ford’s suit alleges, is denying her and her children family wealth that is rightfully theirs.
READ MORE: Doug Ford, brother named in $16M lawsuit by widow over Rob Ford’s estate
That’s a fast summary of the legal filing, and none of it has been tested in court. But there’s still something almost predictable about it all. When you know the Fords, and follow them across the years, you learn to expect ... well, things like this.
When the news first broke, my first instinct was that this was dangerous for Ford’s campaign for premier. Polls are indicating that Ford seems to be on the cusp of a majority government, but it’s a tight, volatile race.

until that’s proven, the public has every right to suspect that this is a stunt. Further, it will probably be years before a case like this is actually litigated, if it goes that far.

That’s the luck part. But Doug Ford himself has responded well.
He’s refused to answer questions by reporters about the state of his company’s books, saying that that will come out in court and he’ll be vindicated. He’s repeatedly expressed dismay and shock at the lawsuit, and has noted (I’m sure rightly) that he did a lot for Renata and the kids over the years, including financial support during tough times. He’s said, repeatedly, that his main concern is the welfare of his niece and nephew.
Renata Ford poses with her husband, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, at a charity gala in 2011. John R. Kennedy / Global News.
His campaign, meanwhile, has also released a statement attributed to his mother, which asserts (without proof) that Renata Ford is troubled, suffering from serious addictions. That allegation is certainly plausible, as those who’ve followed the Ford family know.
I winced a bit at the bold assertion that Renata is an addict — though I’m pleased that, at long last, the Ford family can spot addiction. That wasn’t always the case, as readers may recall. In any event, if Renata needs help, I certainly hope the children are being looked after in the interim.
But for Ford, this story probably broke too late to hurt him, and by responding calmly, as a wounded family man, he’s reminding voters of one of the Ford family’s admitted strengths: a sense of loyalty and unity. He’s also showing genuine human vulnerability, something he’s not usually good at.
Doug Ford obviously would not have sought this. But it doesn’t seem to be hurting him.

In a weird way, it may actually help. And there’s only 55 hours or so to go.

Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-06-06 21:18:52


Title: Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
Post by: Fritz on 2018-07-04 23:20:55

So there you have it. With minimal outrage, Ontario went from a very left of center Liberal Government to a Conservative Government.

Popular Vote
PCs 40.63% up 9.38%
NDP 33.69% up 9.94%
Green 4.62% down 0.22% (but there leader was elected).
Other 1.75% up 0.24%
Liberials 19.3% down 19.35% (with only 7 seats lost official party status)

Of note his first actions were; to increasing staffing of nurses and stop the annual 2% reduction in Doctor's pay that has been in effect for the last 6 years.

Lets hope this rabbit hole is better for Ontario residence then the last one.

Cheers Fritz


Source: Electionarium (
Author: Electionarium
Date: June 8th, 2018

[img height=300 width=500]

Incoming Ontario Premier Doug Ford sits with members of his cabinet prior to being sworn in during a ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto on June 29, 2018.

TORONTO — Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government was sworn in Friday. Here is a list of the new ministers:

Doug Ford — Premier and minister of intergovernmental affairs

Christine Elliott — Minister of health and long-term care and deputy premier

Caroline Mulroney — Attorney general and minister responsible for Francophone affairs

Monte McNaughton — Minister of infrastructure

Lisa MacLeod — Minister of children, community and social services and minister responsible for women's issues

Lisa Thompson — Minister of education

Todd Smith — Minister of government and consumer services, and government house leader

Laurie Scott — Minister of labour

Peter Bethlenfalvy — President of the Treasury Board

Raymond Cho — Minister for seniors and accessibility

Steve Clark — Minister of municipal affairs and housing

Victor Fedeli — Minister of finance and Chair of cabinet

Merrilee Fullerton — Minister of training, colleges and universities

Ernie Hardeman — Minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs

Sylvia Jones — Minister of tourism, culture and sport

Rod Phillips — Minister of the environment, conservation and parks

Greg Rickford — Minister of energy, northern development and mines, and minister of Indigenous affairs

Michael Tibollo — Minister of community safety and correctional services

Jim Wilson — Minister of economic development, job creation and trade

John Yakabuski — Minister of transportation

Jeff Yurek — Minister of natural resources and forestry

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