Showing posts from October, 2007

Spy Agency went too far.

So the CSIS violated rights and sent him to certain jail etc. in the US even though he was a Canadian citizen and under Canadian law was liable to no criminal prosecution here. Instead of waiting for some US extradition order the CSIS managed to get him to "voluntarily" go to the US where he confessed to terrorist activity and is waiting to be sentenced. The CSIS could care less that they violated his rights and did not give him legal counsel. Those responsible will go scot free and no one will complain since Jabarah is an admitted terrorist--although who knows how the admission came about. SIRC seems to have a bark but no bite.

Spy agency went too far, watchdog says
CSIS exceeded mandate and violated the rights of Canadian `terrorist,' review panel reports

Oct 31, 2007 04:30 AM
Jim Bronskill

OTTAWA–The Canadian Security Intelligence Service violated the constitutional rights of a citizen and strayed beyond its security mandate into the realm of law enfo…

Dion: Liberals would consider repealing GST cuts

Fortunately, for Dion it is unlikely that Dion will have the luxury of worrying about that issue for some time unless he manages to gather up enough courage to actually vote against the Conservatives some time before Xmas! This is from the Star. I suppose Dion feels obliged to prattle on like this because he opposes the GST cut. Maybe he would decide to reduce corporate taxes further that would help the Liberal economy, that is donations to the Liberal party.

Liberals would consider repealing GST cuts: Dion
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | 1:55 PM ET
CBC News
The federal Liberals would consider rescinding the Conservative government's GST cuts if they come into power in the next election, Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion said on Wednesday.

Dion told reporters he would open a debate on the idea during an election campaign.

When asked by reporters whether he would reverse the tax cuts, Dion responded: "We will consider that."

Dion made the comments a day after Finance M…

The Leadership Debate in Saskatchewan

This is from the CBC.I will also post one blog commentary below this article from the following blog. I read several blogs and the opinions on Karwacki were quite divided. The blog her thought he was not bad but others thought he was terrible. It does not sound as if anyone clearly won.

Sask. political leaders pump up the volume at debate
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | 10:04 PM CT
CBC News
While Saskatchewan's political leaders kept their fingers on hot-button issues, viewers of Tueday's debate might have been excused for keeping theirs on the volume button.

The one-hour televised debate had Liberal Leader David Karwacki, NDP Leader Lorne Calvert and Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall explaining their platforms and trying to reach out to voters, but there were also numerous times where it turned into a verbal free-for-all, with shouting galore.

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall (left) looks on as Liberal Leader David Karwacki (centre) mixes it up with NDP Leader Lor…

Economic Update gives 12% cut to wealthy corporations

As this article shows the tax cuts benefit the corporate sector most and that part of it that is doing best already. As it points out the depressed areas that are not making profits will not being paying taxes in any event so they do not benefit at present by a tax cut. The half percent reduction of the lowest bracket is just giving back what the Harper government had taken away. The Liberals would probably be no better. In fact they want to show the corporations that they will give them even more! THis is from the Harper Index.

Economic update gives 12% cut to wealthy corporations, misses opportunities

Oil industry and banks are chief beneficiaries

OTTAWA, October 31, 2007: Finance minister Jim Flaherty's pre-election "fiscal update" distributed small benefits to individual Canadians and large ones to corporations. At the same time, it committed no new funding to fight climate change, repair municipal infrastructure or improve social programs.

Corporate tax was cut by ne…

Security Intelligence Review Committee Annual Report

I haven't read this yet but it seems that they have uncovered some shady dealings by CSIS that violated rights but that is hardly surprising. There are links to the full report.

Attention News Editors:

SIRC releases 2006-2007 Annual Report
OTTAWA, Oct. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - The Annual Report of the Security
Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled in Parliament today by the
Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety. The Report summarizes -
to the extent privacy and national security permit - nine reviews completed by
SIRC in 2006-2007 as well as five decisions rendered in complaints cases.
SIRC was established in 1984 to provide assurance to Parliament that the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is acting appropriately in the
performance of its duties and functions. In doing so, SIRC safeguards
Canadians' fundamental rights and freedoms. SIRC is the only independent,
external body with the legal mandate and expertise to review CSIS activities,
so it is a c…

Ottawa slow to go green: Critics

As always the government motto is: Do as I say not as I do. I am sure the hot air from the senate and parliament aggravates global warming as well.

Ottawa slow to go green, critic says - News - Ottawa slow to go green, critic says

October 30, 2007
Allan Woods
Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA — The federal government has put tough rules in place to make industry and individuals clean up the environment but it has shirked its own commitment to go green, a new audit has found.

The federal environment commissioner says Ottawa has been promising since 1992 to put in place a sustainable development strategy to clean up the actions of its departments but has little to show for it 15 years later.

"It's one of the many tools that the government introduced ... to manage environmental sustainable development well," commissioner Ron Thompson said.

"It's a matter of great concern to us that that tool simply is not working."

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser added that the governme…

Tories didn't get an election but still come out ahead

This is from the National Post. The minimum tax rate was raised by Harper to 15.5 per cent. Now it is put back to 15. Big gift for those at the lowest tax bracket. However the corporate tax rate will go from 22% to 15% by 2012.
The Liberals come out looking as if they are wimps, as they are. However, polls show the Tories actually going down in support at just 33% or so. Maybe they should be happy that the Liberals are wimps.

Ivison: Tories didn't get an election but still came out ahead
Here's hoping they didn't give out too much, too soon

John Ivison
National Post

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You knew the moment that Jim Flaherty appeared in the National Press Theatre yesterday, grinning like a Jack O'Lantern, that he'd be handing out more than peanut butter pumpkins. The Finance Minister was seeking to banish the ghost of Halloween past, when he announced his decision to tax income trusts, by distributing cash like candy in a pre-election giveaway.

While his claim tha…

Poll shows 15 per cent spread for Sask Party

This is from the Star Phoenix. Although it does not look good for the NDP there is certainly no rout because in the two large cities the NDP is still ahead. There are also a large number of undecided as yet. Much of the Sask Party vote is in rural areas where the NDP seems to have lost out entirely except perhaps for the north. I would hazard a guess that the Sask. Party will get a majority and quite possibly a substantial but I would be glad to be wrong!

Tuesday » October 30 » 2007

Sask. Party has commanding lead in poll
Numbers show Wall headed for majority

James Wood
The StarPhoenix

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

REGINA -- A new poll released Monday shows a whopping Saskatchewan Party lead and a mood for change in the province as election day on Nov. 7 looms.

The poll, conducted for the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association by Probe Research Inc. on Oct. 25 and 26, shows the Sask. Party with the support of 50 per cent of decided voters compared to 35 per cent for the NDP and 10 per cent…

Iacobucci Inquiry: Secrecy is Sacred

If Iacobucci and his Torys LLP crew have any reputation left it is sure melting fast in the hot air emanating from government that sounds just like the US mantra of national security interests. Of course the Canadian Muslim trio are not on trial but they are accused of being terrorists and have suffered at the hands of the Syrians in part it seems because of the actions of officials. Apparently there is not going to be any assessment of the evidence against the three as there was in the Arar Case.
This government is strong on human rights as long as it has nothing to do with the rights of those accused of terrorism. Arar was the first and last innocent accused who got a fair hearing in spite of the fact the no one was punished for their misdeeds. Even if Iacobucci finds there were misdeeds, no heads will roll, and the Canadians who suffered will have had no opportunity to clear their names.
The inquiry seems to be content to stonewall even censoring letters of complaint!
Iacobucci wi…

NUPGE on Sask. Election

THis comes from the NUPGE site.

The guide is available at the site above. It is in PDF form and 13 pages so I didn't reproduce it here!

SGEU Election Guide emphasizes quality public services

Protecting public services is a critical issue when Saskatchewan votes Nov. 7

Regina (30 Oct. 2007) - The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE) has produced an Election Guide to assist members in making the "important choices" that confront them when they go to the polls in the Nov. 7 provincial election.

At the top of the list is the critical question of "which political party supports quality public services," the union says.

"Quality public services make Saskatchewan a great place to live. They keep our families safe and healthy. They provide good jobs for Saskatchewan people, especially in rural areas. Protecting public services is a critical issue in this election," SGEU says.

The guide "offers some facts and potential questions …

Brad Wall

THis is a useful thumbnail sketch of Wall and his progress within the Sask. Party. It will be interesting to see if Wall goes back to the Devine privatisation scheme that shed many crown corporations to eager capitalists who now no doubt will be happy to see the NDP go. However, the NDP has done nothing to reverse the Devine actions. In fact the NDP recently sold its half interest in an oil upgrader. The NDP is little different from the Sask. Party on tax cuts including to corporations and also is reactionary on oil royaltie and says zilch about government ownership in the oil area. The NDP under Calvert as under Romanow turned sharply right and shows no sign of changing. Notice that Calvert has said boo about the Wheat Board all through this campaign. He has just written off the rural constituencies a rather ironic situation for the successor to the CCF!

Brad Wall
Swift Current [ Saskatchewan Party ]
Kevin O'Connor | CBC Online News | Updated Oct. 10, 2007

After many hours on the pra…

Flaherty poised to shell out tax cuts

There is little likelihood that the Liberals will vote against the mini-budget even though they continually oppose a cut in the GST. The last budget the Conservatives actually raised the lowest tax rate! Maybe they will give that back plus add on a lot more cuts for those already well off and of course those big corporations that always need to be "competitive".
The sales tax is a regressive tax. Economists don't seem to care about that but surely a politician such as Dione should. It makes perfect sense to cut the GST as the Conservatives are doing except that the whole tax cut policy ignores the opportunity costs of spending surplus all on tax cuts. Layton is right in that investment in infrastructure is very important. The conservative ploy however is to cut taxes so as to buy votes. When there are deficits and pressing infrastructure needs can no longer be ignored this is a great opportunity to cut social programmes.

Flaherty poised to shell out tax cuts
Income, corp…

Sale and Leaseback of federal bldgs a bad deal for Canadians.

This is from the Harper Index. This is typical of what the Harper govt., helping its friends profit at the expense of the public. Only the unions that are directly impacted by the policy seem to show much interest in the matter. Muckraking journalists do not seem to pay much attention.

Sale / leaseback of federal buildings a bad deal for Canadians - PSAC president

Government "shedding" federal buildings while banks benefit from sell-off; land claims talks save taxpayers millions.

by John Gordon

OTTAWA, October 29, 2007: The Harper government's recent Throne Speech committed to ensuring that Canada has a modern infrastructure based on a foundation of sound fiscal management. Canadians had a preview of what that might mean over the summer when Public Works and Government Services Minister Michael Fortier decided to virtually give away nine government buildings to the private sector.

Research for the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) undertaken by the economic consult…

Bob White on the Magna Deal

It is a strange kind of innovation that removes tools that make unions more powerful against the power of corporations such as the right to strike. Innovating by increasing the power of union members are certainly a good idea. The Magna deal hardly does that. As other critics have shown the Magna deal is considerably more undemocratic than standard union operations. You would think that White would surely know that Frank Stronach an opponent of traditional unions would not sign on to the Magna deal unless he thought it was in the interest of his shareholders.
While it is true that other unions also lack the right to strike it is because they are in essential services and hence are by law deprived of that right. To compare this with the Magna case is just goofy. Similarly the claim that unions do at times choose binding arbitration is not a justification for the binding arbitration in the Magna deal. Traditional unions choose to go to binding arbitration. They are not forced to do so…

Alberta Tories sending mixed election signals.

This article points out that an energy expert and advisor to the government thinks that Stelmach's royalty decisions are a sell-out, a different tune than your friendly neighbourhood oil patch PR people paint.
I don't see that Stelmach could lose in an election. He could surely campaign on his royalty scheme as a reasonable compromise that at least gives Albertans a lot more from oil and gas development than before. The arrows from left and right are not likely to do more than generate a few minor flesh wounds.

Tories sending mixed election signals
Stelmach says they're ready; insider disagrees

Jason Fekete
Calgary Herald; with files from the Edmonton Journal

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alberta Tories wrapped up an election preparedness conference Sunday in Calgary with Premier Ed Stelmach insisting the party is ready to go, despite campaign organizers saying they've got a lot of work to do.

Party officials said in a closed-door, election overview session with members that t…

Will Canada stand with its allies

NATO was a cold war defence organisation directed mostly at the USSR. After the end of the cold war it found a new mission as a handmaiden to US policy when the UN was not amenable or not capable of carrying out the policies. Of course the US had to convince NATO allies to be able to use it but that was often possible as in the defeat of Serbia and breakup of Yugoslavia.
This article is an apologia for continued involvement with the hegemon (our traditional ally) the paragon of democratic virtue and our shared values. We still have to erect our Guantanamo but we think that a former 15 year old Canadian who was there for years will get a fair trial by our traditional ally.
We should be encouraging our NATO allies not to be involved in Afghanistan and we should not be throwing away our money and that of others in an immoral and illegal occupation. Let the UK and Australia remain little yelpy running dogs of the USA.

Will Canada stand with its allies?
Oct 29, 2007 04:30 AM
Rosie DiMan…

Justice denied

This case shows the state of justice in the USA as far as suspected terrorists are concerned even when they are obviously innocent. In El-Masri's case it was mistaken identity. El-Masri has met a stone wall in the US. The same excuse of national security was used as has been used against Arar in the US. In Canada the government refuses to release documents to Omar Khadr in Guantanamo and of course it has done zilch to have Khadr sent back to Canada. The US refuses to do it. Khadr was kept in prison without charge while still just a juvenile. The Canadian govt. apparently thinks that Khadr will get a fair trial at a military tribunal in Guantanamo.!

Justice Denied

By William A. Cohn

10/26/07 "ICH" --- - It was a case of mistaken identity. It could have happened to any one of us.

And yet, in 2007 it is hard for us to imagine the ongoing nightmare endured by Khaled El-Masri, the German citizen whose story helped to expose the ugly underbelly of the US-led global war on terror.…

Sask. Election. Liberal Platform

Here is an article on the Liberal platform. Perhaps the Liberals will pick up some seats this time or at least elect their leader but even that is not at all certain it seems.

Liberal platform talks schools, tax cut, accountability
Last Updated: Friday, October 26, 2007 | 5:02 PM CT
CBC News
The Liberals unveiled their detailed election platform Friday in Saskatoon — a four-year, $1.4-billion plan centred on schools, a tax cut and accountability.

"We need Liberals elected in the legislature to make sure that our top three priorities are adequately addressed by the next government," Liberal Leader David Karwacki said in a news release.

David Karwacki says Liberals are needed in the Saskatchewan legislature to ensure fiscal accountability.
(CBC) The Liberals were shut out of all 58 constituencies in the 2003 election after Karwacki criss-crossed the province in his campaign bus. For the Nov. 7 election, Karwacki says, he focused on a smaller number of constituencies, mainly in the …

Politics of Envy and Fear in Canada

This is a from a California website. The author is a bit goofy in thinking that the NDP is socialist or even socialistic. The NDP is busy selling an interest in an oil upgrader. It has complained about Sask Party supposed plans to sell crowns when the NDP has done zilch to reverse privatisation. The NDP could be rolling in dough from uranium, potash, oil and gas but all those govt. owned companies are gone. THe NDP is now in effect advertising itself to the ALberta oil patch as having a favorable royalties regime compared to ALberta. Strange type of socialism.

Politics of Envy and Fear in Canada
October 27, 2007 1:00 AM

Saskatchewan: resource-rich and socialism-poor
PJM Saskatchewan: The attack ads are running and the half-hearted promises for change are being made. Catherine McMillan reports on the election campaign in one of Canada’s most politically-charged provinces.

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By Catherine McMillan

The Saskatchewan election campaign kicked off a full…