Showing posts from September, 2007

Apology sought over NDP comment on Karzai speech.

Afghanistan is unlikely to get an apology from Layton. The evidence is fairly clear that there was at least a considerable input into the speech by the military. Dawn no doubt exaggerates in saying that the military wrote it but surely that is expected of politicians! Karzai wanted to taylor his speech to what would be most effective in the Canadian context, something that is hardly surprising. Naturally puppets want to appear independent and you shouldn't show their strings or exaggerate their number. It is not polite.

Apology sought over NDP comment on Karzai speech
Last Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2007 | 5:01 PM ET
CBC News
Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada says his country wants an apology from the NDP for alleging that Canada's defence staff essentially wrote Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech to Parliament last year.

Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada speaking to CBC Newsworld on Sunday.
Omar Samad told CBC Newsworld on Sunday that one of his collea…

A Liberal Majority

Unless there is a sudden swing with the next ten days it does not look promising for the Conservatives. I hope some NDPers are not voting Liberal to try and keep the Conservatives out. Where an NDP win is possible it makes more sense to vote for the NDP. It does not look as if the Conservatives are at all likely to win a majority.

Ontario Liberals on course for majority: poll
The Ontario Liberals are on their way to a majority, say a new poll conducted for the CanWest News Service.

Don Butler, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, September 28, 2007 Article tools
* The Liberals have opened up a 10-point lead over the Progressive Conservatives and are on track for a majority victory in the Ontario election, says the latest poll done for CanWest News Service.

According to the Ipsos Reid survey, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have the support of 43 per cent of decided voters, compared to 33 per cent for John Tory’s Conservatives. The NDP and Green party trail with 17 per cent and si…

New Democrats sense a new momentum

The momentum does not seem to be translating in more seat projections. The projections have been for 12 seats for some time, a bit better than last election but hardly much to cheer about. The Liberals seem to have the real momentum and it might bring them to a majority. I hope this is incorrect but that is how it looks.

New Democrats sense a new momentum
The prospect of a minority government is bringing the party and its election platform back from the political margins

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

September 27, 2007 at 5:54 AM EDT

TORONTO — Howard Hampton changed the shape of the Ontario election campaign this week with just seven words.

The New Democratic Party Leader was asked what conditions he would impose for propping up a minority government after the Oct. 10 election. He had been asked the question before and had always replied that it was important to let voters speak before getting into those machinations.

But he broke out of the straitjacket at a campaign s…

Taliban reject Karzai's offer of talks

This is hardly news or unexpected. The Taliban will not negotiate with Karzai until the foreign occupation of Afghanistan is ended. Karzai would not end that even if he could because he would not be in power and likely would not stay in power without foreign support. On the TV clips his US private guards are clearly visible in their dark glasses. Dynocorp has the contract.
The offer was a propaganda ploy but perhaps there is a hope that some Taliban will break off and join the government. It is interesting that Karzai has none of the standard blather about not negotiating with terrorists.

Taliban spokesman rejects Karzai's offer of talks
Last Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2007 | 8:42 AM ET
CBC News
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's offer of peace talks has been rejected by a Taliban spokesman, who on Sunday repeated a position he anounced earlier this month, saying there would be no negotiations until foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

Karzai told reporters on Saturday th…

Encana issues royalty warning

Even as it records record breaking profits EnCana warns that the Alberta government better not ask for more of the cream. The cries are predictable but even if some specific areas such as gas may attract less investment the gas is still there and prices are likely to go up in time. A slowdown in investment in Alberta might not be all that bad but with US demand for Canadian oil and gas it is unlikely to slow down that much. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a bit of breathing space while those increased royalties give Alberta the money to invest in much needed infrastructure that is lagging behind growth. It will be interesting to see if Stelmach will yield to corporate pressure or to what degree.


EnCana issues royalty warning
Threatens to cut $1-billion in spending if report's recommendations are adopted in full

September 29, 2007

CALGARY, EDMONTON -- EnCana Corp., Canada's largest energy company, waded into the debate over Alber…

Sept. 28 Ontario election Seat Projections

The Liberals have gained one seat from the last projection on Sept. 27 and the Conservatives have lost one. Personally I would be just as happy if the Liberal total went down a bit and the NDP up and result in a minority government. The way the vote is going the Liberals could very well gain a majority. Perhaps a Liberal majority might make Harper a bit more cautious in his Throne Speech but I hope not. A fall federal election would be a good thing for all Canadians and in particular bloggers! This material is from democraticspace. The site has projections for areas and specific ridings as well.

Update 24: Liberals in Majority Territory
Friday September 28th 2007, 10:13 am
Filed under: Canadian Politics, - 2007 ON Election

The latest projections from DemocraticSPACE have the Liberals holding a slim majority. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are now projected at 60 seats (6 more than is needed for a majority) based on average support of 41.5%, John Tory’s Progressive Conservatives with 35 seat…

Tory shrugs off troubling poll results

Whatever the cause recent seat projections and polls are not favoring Tory.This article gives some of the Conservative northern policy. Coming from a rich constituency it is not surprising that Tory's strategy is to make things easier for the natural resource industries who are exploiting the North's riches. He wants to make them more competitive---contribute less to government coffers and pocket more.
This policy will ensure more goes into Conservative coffers as well.

Sunday » September 30 » 2007

Tory shrugs off troubling poll results in Ontario

Mary Vallis
CanWest News Service; National Post

Sunday, September 30, 2007

THUNDER BAY, Ont. -- Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory is dismissing polls suggesting he has handed the Liberals another majority victory with his call to fund religious schools.

"I haven't seen too many hockey games declared at the end of the second period," Tory said Saturday during a campaign stop in Thunder Bay, Ont., where he anno…

Two Contrasting Views on Nuclear Power

Neither of these articles are very well documented, however they illustrate diametrically opposed views by prominent people.

First Helen Caldicott's critique of nuclear power. Caldicott has often been criticized for shoddy research but still much of what she has to say is no doubt on the mark. This is from the following site.

Nuclear Power Isn't Clean; It's Dangerous
By Dr. Helen Caldicott, 9/3/2001

Among the many departures from the truth by opponents of the Kyoto protocol, one of the most invidious is that nuclear power is “clean” and, therefore, the answer to global warming.

We heard this during the last round of talks in Bonn, and we can expect to hear more of the same as we move closer to the next round of Kyoto talks that are coming up in Marrakesh in October and November.

However, the cleanliness of nuclear power is nonsense. Not only does it contaminate the planet with long-lived radioactive waste, it significantly contributes to global warming.

While it is claimed that …

Albertans an "easy-sell" for nukes?

Edwards really doesn't provide any evidence that Albertans are any more naive about nuclear power than anyone else. It seems that in the mainstream press and thought nuclear power is now thought to be safe and even "green"--see the next post where I include an article by a Green nuclear supporter.
As I recall the original objections to nuclear power were not from environmentalists so much as mainstream conservative free market economists. Nuclear power apparently is not economically feasible without state support and subsidies. Among the state supports in Ontario is a bill that limits liability for accidents!
Just the problem of storage of radioactive wastes strikes me as a reason to avoid nuclear power. We are storing problems for future generations.

Albertans an 'easy sell' for nukes
Hanneke Brooymans, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Saturday, September 29
EDMONTON - Nuclear companies are taking advantage of naive Albertans who haven't yet learned about the …

Bush, Harper and Friends: An Environmental Production in Five Acts

Laxer does not post all that often but when he does it is original material and usually quite interesting. This is from his blog.

The Bush-Harper approach is to use the Green flag to attack the Greens.
By spouting green rhetoric without tough action Bush and Harper actually contribute to global warming by increasing the ambient hot air that will cause some people to fall asleep when they need a cold blast to wake them up to the dangers of global warming.

Bush, Harper and Friends: An Environmental Production in Five Acts

At a White House-sponsored climate change conference in Washington DC this week, President George W. Bush told participants that he favoured a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as long as each nation decides “for itself the right mix of tools and technology to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective.”

Bush steadfastly refuses to commit the United States to any scheme of mandatory emission reduction obligations. The US-led process---…


I have not had a chance to read Klein's book yet but this review seems more positive than some other recent reviews I have read. Some reviewers are quite upset and dismissive of Klein's views. However, Stiglitz is much more even handed perhaps because he himself of late has been also critical of the prevalent "theology" of free markets.
As I have mentioned in another post, Friedman's role is perhaps overemphasized although he was directly involved in Chile as an advisor to Pinochet. In Russia the shock was delivered more by a Harvard School featuring the likes of Jeffrey Sachs who not only delivered a privatisation shock but made themselves in some of the deals it would seem.
Stiglitz's term "bleakonomics" is a great neologism.


Published: September 30, 2007
There are no accidents in the world as seen by Naomi Klein. The destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina expelled many poor black residents and allowed…

Canadian Doctor Shortage to Worsen

Rather surprising that income differentials between Canadian and US doctors is not mentioned as a factor. Perhaps less doctors are being drained off to the US now but I imagine there is still a net loss to the US. Canada as well as the US makes up for shortages by importing doctors from less developed countries.
Fees for medical school are so high it must be difficult if not impossible for many lower income students to attend. As the article notes we need to increase the capacity of our medical schools to come even close to producing the number of doctors we will need. A shortage of doctors will probably increase demand for a two tier system so that the better off can jump queues.

Doctor shortage to worsen, conference told
Last Updated: Saturday, September 29, 2007 | 3:19 PM ET
CBC News
Canada will face a worsening shortage of doctors over the next decade unless governments put more resources into medical schools, physicians said at a national conference Friday.

Dr. Andrew Padmos, CEO…

Tories plan get-tough national drug strategy

The Tories are able to push their agenda in some areas such as crime since the opposition does not want to be seen as soft on crime. However, the opposition should be able to push to save the harm reduction programs although perhaps it is a hard sell so to speak even to save those. As the US we are moving towards a hard position on crime. How long will it be until we have private prisons, captive labor in prisons, and much larger prison populations. The US has managed to have the highest incarceration rate in the world and has developed a profitable prison-industrial complex. No doubt Harper thinks that is a good model for Canada. It creates the climate of fear within which Conservative policies thrive.

Tories plan get-tough national drug strategy
Last Updated: Saturday, September 29, 2007 | 9:24 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Health Minister Tony Clement will announce the Conservative government's anti-drug strategy this week with a stark warning: "The party's over" for ill…

Greenpeace delivers mock radioactive wastes to Dwight Duncan

I am amazed at the fact that the two major parties are contemplating large increases in nuclear power production. As Greenpeace points out the waste problem is unsolved and will get worse as time goes on. There seems to be a new belief that I find hard to fathom that nuclear power is safe and harmless to the environment.

— Greenpeace activists delivered a mock barrel of radioactive waste to the constituency office of Dwight Duncan today to draw attention to the million year legacy of radioactive waste that will be created by the Liberal's $40 billion nuclear energy plan. Activists outside the office held "Nuclear – Wrong Answer" signs and unfurled a banner reading "Stop The Waste: No More Nuclear Power."

"Dwight Duncan needs to state publicly where he plans to store Ontario's stockpiles of radioactive waste before he creates yet more waste for future generations. If he is not comfortable storing waste in Windsor, he owes it to Ontarians to say where it …

Oil companies plan NAFTA suit over research demands

This suit just shows how NAFTA limits the manner in which contracts can be used to further the interest of local economies. Governments naturally would prefer to write in special clauses into contracts the produce benefits for people in the contract area but under NAFTA this could be illegal. The oil companies might very well win.

Oil companies plan NAFTA suit over research demands
Last Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2007 | 4:22 PM NT
CBC News
Two U.S. oil companies drilling oil off Newfoundland are planning a lawsuit under the North American Free Trade Agreement over demands that they spend money on research in the area.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Murphy Oil Corp. are seeking about $50 million in damages from the federal government, challenging how the Hibernia and Terra Nova offshore oil projects are structured.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board requires that the companies operating in the fields spend a portion of their profits on research within Newfoundland a…

Dion rejects calls for removal of party's director

This seems a bit suspicious. This could be a way of undermining Dion. The last thing the Liberal party needs is this type of infighting at this time. Whether it is people inside the Liberal party or others outside trying to create an impression of conflict it is a bad scene unless you are Stephen Harper!

Dion rejects calls for removal of party's director
Last Updated: Friday, September 28, 2007 | 2:33 PM ET
CBC News
St├ęphane Dion has rejected calls by some senior Liberals that the party's national director be fired over comments he allegedly made regarding hiring more francophone Quebecers.

During a closed-door meeting in Ottawa last Sunday, Jamie Carroll was confronted about the need to hire more francophones for Dion's staff.

According to some witnesses, Carroll is said to have responded: "Do we also have to hire people from the Chinese community to represent the Chinese community?"

Carroll's alleged comments were leaked to Le Journal de Montreal. But others at…

Canada defends policy on Afghan clans

This article makes clear that aid projects are not based upon local needs so much as the need to bribe people to support the Karzai government. The aid is a carrot and the special forces operations of Enduring Freedom are the stick.
The commentators here do not even comment on the killing of two mullahs or who might have done it. One person does mention that confidence that is built up in 100 days can be lost in an afternoon. He might have said in one raid and killings but he didnt. One wonders if the Canadians know what the special forces are doing and accept their roles. The Canadians are the good cops and the US special forces the bad cops.
In the light of this article it should hardly be surprising to anyone that the
Taliban will target aid workers since in these cases at least they are simply another form of battle against them. In the present situation it seems that aid is so integrated into the war against the Taliban and other opponents of Karzai that Canada should stay out…

Assembly touts electoral reform

This is an article on the MMP from a smaller paper in Orangeville. Although the author claims that the candidates did not take a clear stand on the MMP, three out of the four seem to speak in favor, at least from what is reported. The NDP sees the MMP as positive, the Liberal as exciting, and the Green as solving the problem of people being elected with much less than a majority of the popular vote. As for the complaints that the referendum was being sold like laundry soap, wouldn't the MMP makes for cleaner politics! Anyway political advertisements certainly are like product ads more and more and that is because it is a product that is being sold. If the public don't buy your product you don't get to rule..

Assembly touts electoral reform
By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter

In what seemed at times like an advertisement for laundry soap - the one in which "real people" speak of the virtues - the audience at Tuesday's all-candidates meeting was shown a video prese…

BC Municipalities reject TILMA

This is from this site. It is not surprising that the municipalities should be upset about TILMA since Alberta and BC negotiated it without even consulting the municipalities. Of course the whole SPP business is done behind closed doors but often with the CEOs of big North AMerican companies as an advisory group the NACC.

BC municipalities reject TILMA
Posted by Marc Lee under TILMA, BC.
September 26th, 2007
Comments: none

This week in Vancouver, the annual meetings of the Union of BC Municipalities are talking TILMA. The BC government signed the deal without consulting municipalities, and it is now in effect. Over the next two years, however, municipalities have an opportunity to seek exemptions from the agreement, although their appeals would go to Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen who would then have to negotiate on their behalf with his Alberta counterpart. If no deal is reached, the full force of TILMA would apply to municipalities, and in the interim they are to behave as i…

Afghans block highway shouting "Death to Canada"

From these reports it would seem that it is US soldiers associated with Operation Enduring Freedom who were responsible for the killings. The operation should be renamed Operation Enduring Hatred. The action has just made the situation more difficult for NATO troops including the Canadians in particular who are the main presence in the area.
It makes one wonder if the government or the NATO forces know about or have any control over these special operations. Apparently not. If I were involved with NATO I would be hopping mad to put it mildly. These people kill and then disappear into the woodwork leaving the Canadians to face the wrath and vengeance of the locals.

Afghans block highway shouting 'Death to Canada'
Protest follows killing of two clerics

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

September 27, 2007 at 5:02 AM EDT

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — The death of two Afghan clerics in an overnight raid has ignited an unusual protest against foreign troops and sharply incre…

Sept 27 Seat Projections: Ontario election

The most recent projections have the Liberals winning a few more seats even though the vote share is not much changed for the Liberals it has gone down a little for the Conservatives. The Liberals are up three seats from last time and the Conservatives down 3..
As of Sept. 27
Liberals 59
Conservatives 36
NDP 12

Here are the ten wealthiest and ten poorest ridings in Ontario. Note that 7 of the 10 wealthiest ridings elect PCs. I guess the moral is if you want your riding to be rich vote PC. If you want it to be poor vote NDP ;) All this material plus the projections come from DemocraticSpace.

What are the wealthiest and poorest ridings in Ontario? Here’s your answer (based on the latest figures, which are from the 2001 census):