Showing posts from August, 2008

Dion to meet Harper Monday

Maybe Dion is having a panic attack. Perhaps he wants to promise Harper a "sitting on of hands" that will keep the Conservative government in power, a continuation of Liberal past practice. It is hard to see why Dion would change his mind and find time for Harper. Most likely it will change nothing. When Harper decides to do something he usually does it rather than make a lot of noise and do nothing. I guess Dion wants to show that he is willing to co-operate with the Conservatives but that the Conservatives are still bound and determined to have an election. Whoopee! Thanks for the great information Dion that sure will give people confidence in the Liberals. This is from the Star.

Dion to meet Harper Monday - News - Dion to meet Harper Monday

Liberal leader Stephane Dion meets supporters in Toronto's Fairmont Royal York Hotel Aug. 26, 2008.
August 31, 2008 Bruce Campion-SmithOttawa Bureau ChiefOTTAWA - In a surprise turn-around, Lib…

Ottawa wanted U.S. to accept more lenient inspection regime.

This is from the Globe and Mail.

The U.S. is usually the country that is considered anti-regulation but in this case Canada is the country asking for looser regulations. Maple Leaf had to meet the U.S. regulations to export to the U.S. There have been no reports of any outbreaks in the U.S. from the Canadian meat. Surely, this shows that the extra precautions demanded by the US are warranted. I am sure that Harper will be anxious to put more regulations on the Access to Information Act.

Ottawa wanted U.S. to accept more lenient meat inspection regime
From Friday's Globe and Mail
August 29, 2008 at 4:37 AM EDT
OTTAWA — The Canadian government strongly opposed tougher U.S. rules to prevent listeria and lobbied the United States to accept Canada's more lenient standards, internal documents reveal.
Briefing notes prepared by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for an April 7, 2006, meeting with the board of directors of the Canadian Meat Council outline how both industry and…

Harper, Layton to hold talks amid election speculation.

The media continue the pretence that an election call is still speculation. The Conservatives are already running election ads to avoid the limits on expenditures during the campaign period. Why Layton bothers to meet with Harper is beyond me. As Duceppe said yesterday, Harper had already made up his mind to call an election. The meetings are just a thinly disguised fig leaf to make it look as if Harper had tried to work something out and avoid an election. He will not wait to meet with Dion since he wants to make the call before the scheduled by-elections.

Harper, Layton to hold talks amid election speculation
Last Updated: Saturday, August 30, 2008 8:57 AM ET
CBC News
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is meeting another opposition leader Saturday as the Conservative government continues to send signals that Canadians may be heading to the polls this fall.
The prime minister will meet with NDP Leader Jack Layton at Harper's official residence in Ottawa, a day after meeting there with Blo…

How we head to the polls, fixed dates or not.

We have precedent for the attorney general turning down a call for a general election. Governor General Jean should note that Harper has passed a law for a fixed election date. The only reason he is calling an election is because he wants to. Maybe the opposition can form a government then if Harper resigned. Of course this is a pipe dream. The governor general will go along with Harper just as the Liberals went along with the Conservatives on Afghanistan!
I notice that the Conservatives are already running election ads before the election is called. This is a sure sign that speculation is out of place and now replaced by certainty. Just as certain as that the Conservatives are trying to get around election spending limits by advertising before the election is called.

How we head to the polls, fixed dates or not
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 2:36 PM CT CBC News
Calling a federal election in this country is generally straightforward, if a bit more complicated this time arou…

Harper: Dion pushing Liberals left.

Hmm..The Liberals support the Conservatives on extending the Afghan mission. The left, at least the NDP, supports a withdrawal. The Liberals time after time refuse to defeat Conservative legislation. That must mean the Conservative legislation is leftist. No it doesn't mean that, what it means is that Harper is continually spouting nonsense. The left whether in the NDP or the Bloc voted against the Conservatives constantly. Harper not parliament is dysfunctional and we should get rid of him.

Thursday » August 28 » 2008

Dion pushing Liberals left: Harper

Andrew Mayeda
Canwest News Service
Thursday, August 28, 2008
'What's interesting about Mr. Dion is he's certainly the Liberal leader that has taken his party farthest to the left, at least since Mr. Trudeau, if not farther than Mr. Trudeau,' Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters here.
INUVIK, N.W.T. - In his strongest hint yet that Canada is headed for a fall election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thurs…

Tony Clement Embracing Big Oil and Big Brother

Nero fiddled while Rome burned but Clement meets with Big Oil and enjoys being "at the center of the political universe" while the tainted meat issue continues to spread. Whats a few poisoned Canadians compared to dining with those at the centre of the political universe? The Conservatives could care less about Canada until it is reconstructed along the lines of our neighbour to the South. Listen to our Great Helmsman Harper:

"Your country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."-Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank.
"A culture of defeat..."- Stephen Harper, negatively describing Canada's Atlantic provinces! May 2001."Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadian…

Bankrupting the bankrupt Liberals

This is an interesting and well written article by a well known Conservative strategist. Flanagan makes some excellent points. Note that Flanagan assumes that lack of funds will be a millstone around the Liberals' neck. Other things being equal this is probably true but there are times when voters become so disgusted with a ruling party that a Mickey Mouse poor as a church mouse could win. The Liberals have done nothing to merit voter support but yet they remain close to the Conservatives at the polls. It is a race to determine who is the least disgusting.
There are no doubt many reasons for the Conservatives to call an election now but Flanagan puts a new spin on the election call and his reasoning is not without some merit. However Harper also probably wants to avoid possible poor results in byelections, further digging up of dirt by committees, and worsening economic times. Dion will have his opportunity to show that he has been underestimated by his opponents. If Dion doe…

US Double Standards Kosovo versus Abkazia and South Ossetia

This is from Information Clearing HOuse.

I was not aware that the U.S. has ever occupied the moral high ground. However, this article does point out the obvious double standards of the U.S. in the contrast between its treatment of Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkazia and its own recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Russia warned the west then of the consequences for separatist movements in Georgia. No one paid the least attention.
Personally I think that the situation in Kosovo had gone too far to re-integrate Kosovo but into Serbia but it also seems that the same is true of Abkazia and South Ossetia. In any event Russia will simply ignore the objections of the west just as the west ignored Russia's objections about Kosovo. Canada delayed recognition for a time and then gave in perhaps to U.S. pressure. Russia however may not be able to get even allies to support the independence of Abkazia and South Ossetia since many of those allie…

RCMP 'disruption'' led to Canadians torture, book charges.

This is from
This sounds like an interesting book. The strategy was hardly just disruption however. There was obviously an attempt at gathering intelligence by having Almalki, Arar, et al imprisoned and tortured in Syria. Obvious too I should think is co-operation with the U.S. even though CSIS seems to have covered this up for the most part and the Arar investigation did not show CSIS and RCMP co-operation with the U.S. except that they sent plenty of unscreened evidence without any caveats. That evidence is probably what got Arar classified as an Al Qaeda agent and shipped to Syria. It seems that Canadian authorities did not know that this was to happen but one wonders about the CSIS and RCMP. Canadian intelligence authorities did inform the Americans that Arar would not be charged if sent to Canada. Wink wink nod nod. So you better send him to Syria for processing! After all that is what we did with others in the group.

RCMP 'disruption' led to Canadians' t…

Critics blast Clement's absence.

This is from the Globe and Mail.
I find it a bit odd that there should be three Conservative ministers at the Denver Democratic Convention. Unlike George Bush, Harper cannot even find time to go to the opening of the Beijing Olympics. I guess if you are going to be a junior partner in U.S. imperialism you have to get your priorities straight. What's a few dead Canadians as a result of meat contamination. Its not as if they were troops serving in Afghanistan! They are just collateral damage to a system that hasn't enough meat inspectors and a government that apparently was planning to turn the whole inspection process over to the industry itself.

Critics blast Clement's absence
August 26, 2008
OTTAWA -- Canada's Health Minister Tony Clement is in Denver this week to take in Barack Obama's coronation at the Democratic National Convention, leaving his officials in Ottawa to manage one of the largest food recalls in Canadian history.
Mr. Clement made his first pub…

Early election call won't break any promises: Harper

Of course being in a minority cannot prevent the opposition from forcing an election before the fixed date next year but Harper can prevent himself from doing so! His saying that he is not breaking any promise is a crock. Harper probably wants to call an election because he thinks that things are going to get worse in the economy and with scandals and who knows what else. Rather than let the Liberals determine the timing he will do it himself. Or maybe Harper has the impossible to resist syndrome a disease the inflicts prime ministers and premiers and paralyzes the will making it impossible to resist calling an election. This is from the CBC.
From this article it would seem that Harper may very well call an election before the coming byelections. Dion may be right that Harper worries he might not do well in those byelections.
Anyway Harper's calling the meeting with the leaders of other parties is surely a farce. I am surprised that any leaders actually agree to meet with him. A…

Layton Letter to Robert Ouellet

Actually Layton and Ouellet are in agreement about enlarging the scope of the system. Layton does not mention using other countries as models but there certainly are European models that could be emulated. However Ouellet picks the UK where a parallel private system has if anything created even more problems for the public system. Layton neglects to mention that one of the problems in the Canadian system is that the percentage of costs paid by the federal government has been declining causing considerable pressure on poorer provinces. Created 2008-08-20 16:24
Jack Layton's letter to the new President of the CMA Robert Ouellet
Robert Ouellet, MDPresident, Canadian Medical Association1867 Alta Vista DriveOttawa, ON K1G 5W8
Dear Dr. Ouellet,
I would like to congratulate you on your recent election as president of the Canadian Medical Association.
As a strong advocate of our universally accessible public health care system, I am, however, disturbed at your reported comment…

Dion on the minority government..

This is from the CBC.

Harper has blamed opposition parties in recent days for paralyzing Parliament. But Dion said the minority government is working just fine.
"One thing is sure," said Dion. "The Parliament is working. The Parliament is not dysfunctional."

Dion is right. The parliament is not dysfunctional. It is the Liberal party that is dysfunctional. It is totally incapable of preventing Harper from getting his policies approved by parliament. However, Harper does not like those nasty committees and worries about what might be uncovered. He also worries about the worsening economic situation and no doubt thinks, perhaps rightly, that the Liberals will not do all that well under the leadership of Dion. Better an election now than being defeated later at a worse time. Duceppe did not have very kind words for Harper:

"Those ideological right wingers who are leaving behind economic devastation, and blood and destruction around the world. We here are confronted…

James Laxer: The Russian American struggle over Georgia

James Laxer has a good article on the Russian-American struggle on his blog. Laxer shows the connection between the conflict and the petro-imperialism of the U.S. As Laxer mentioned there are further aspects particularly the U.S. push to have Georgia and the Ukraine as well join NATO and thus ring Russia round with states allied to the west and protected by NATO. It is actually surprising that Russia has not made stronger moves before this to contain this development. Mostly it has engaged in rhetoric complaining about the moves. The Missile Defence system is another thorn in the Russian bear's side as well.
Changes in Russia are also part of what is causing this renewed conflict. In the morality tale that is peddled in the west the U.S. is spreading democracy and Russia is becoming more authoritarian. The spread of the authoritarian disease is so severe that Russia may soon be reconstituted as the Evil Empire minus socialism. However instead of socialism we have a new capitalist r…

Doctoring Medicare

The parallel system cuts waiting times for the rich or at least those willing to pay extra and that is the significant factor. Those who could pay don't need to wait. However, we already have that scheme for those rich enough. They can simply go to the U.S. or elsewhere and pay for their treatment. As the article notes the UK parallel system has cut waiting times but not in the public system. The advantage of the parallel system is extra pay for doctors as well.
You can expect Harper to support the CMA leaders push for more private medical care.
Maybe Dion is planning a green shift for medical care.

Doctoring medicare - Opinion - Doctoring medicare
August 22, 2008
For the second year in a row, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association has used his inaugural speech to the physicians' annual convention to bash our public health-care system, vowing to fight for a parallel private one.
Dr. Robert Ouellet, who runs a string of private medical imaging cli…

Harper weighing snap election call.

Sometimes Dion's rhetoric rises to the level of common sense! He is probably right that Harper is worried about more dirt being uncovered in committee about the Conservatives and he is also worried about a worsening economy's effect upon his electoral chances. Having a meeting with the opposition seems a bit of joke. Harper: Dost thou Stefan Dion promise that thy shall have thy members sit on their hands and not impede our progress so help thee God? And if Dion does not take the pledge Harper will pull the plug. Of course Dion may not take the pledge but may wink and nod and let Harper know he will do it anyway.

Harper weighing snap election call
PM could seek writ before House resumes Sept. 15, official says
With a report from The Canadian Press
August 23, 2008
OTTAWA -- The Governor-General could be asked to dissolve Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government in the first two weeks of September if high-pressure meetings with opposition leaders do not produce a …

Will Harper Call Federal Election in September?

This is from CityNews.
I am a bit surprised that Harper would call an election when the polls do not show him winning a majority. Another minority government will hardly be much more amenable to helping out the Conservatives than this one. In fact Harper is surely wrong in saying that the opposition has been all that much of a barrier to Harper getting legislation through parliament. The Liberals have invariably supported the government. Harper seems to brook no opposition even in committees. He is beginning to look like a control freak. Voters should take note of this facet of his character before voting for him. Hold your nose and vote NDP!

P.M. Will Call Federal Election In September: Source
Friday August 22, 2008 Staff
It's not necessarily the word you want to hear on the first day after you get back to work and school on the morning after Labour Day: election.
A highly placed source within the Conservative Party says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is tantalizingly c…

Alexandre Trudeau: Leave Afghanistan now!

This is from the Gazette.
Trudeau seems to think that we are in Afghanistan to teach Afghans different values. We may be attempting to force some different values on them as he notes but our mission surely is to help the U.S. in their Project for a New American Century (PNAC) that got into high gear after 9/11. It is not just Canadian lives that will be lost but also those of other NATO nations and particularly the U.S. which has the lions share of troops. Most of all will be a huge loss in Afghan lives, the lives of those we are there to make safe!

Friday » August 22 » 2008

Leave Afghanistan now, Alexandre Trudeau says
'We have no reason to tell them how to live'

The Gazette
Friday, August 22, 2008
Canada's "aggressive" war in Afghanistan is all about "teaching lessons with weapons" and will leave nothing behind "except the blood we've lost there," the journalist son of the late prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau said yesterd…

Petro-Canada gas shortage at up to 90 stations

This is from the CBC.
Refining seems to be becoming more and more centralised in a few huge refineries. This leaves the system quite vulnerable to supply problems when production is disrupted at one of the refineries. There used to be many more smaller refineries, a system not particularly disrupted when a few refineries might have been shut down for repairs. In terms of a possible terrorist attack too this situation is far from ideal. To cause real havoc only a few refineries need to be attacked. Given the increased costs of transportation one wonders how much is really saved by closing some plants when this will increase the distances fuel needs to be transported.

Petro-Canada gas shortage affecting up to 90 stations in B.C., Alberta
Last Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2008 5:33 AM ET
CBC News
A problem at Petro-Canada's refinery near Edmonton has led to gas shortages or pumps running dry at as many as 90 Petro-Canada and independent stations in B.C. and Alberta, CBC News has l…

George Monbiot on the U.S. missile defence system.

According to Monbiot it seems that the missile defence system will not defend anyone except the profits of the military industrial complex! Note that even if the system is meant to defence against rogues states which seems very far fetched as part of the deal the U.S. agreed to install also short range missiles that are meant to defend Poland against the U.S. Even the spin doctors of USA Incorporated can hardly say those missiles are not directed against Russia. This is from the Guardian via InformationClearinghouse.

The US missile defence system is the magic pudding that will never run outPoland is just the latest fall guy for an American foreign policy dictated by military industrial lobbyists in WashingtonBy George Monbiot19/08/08 "The Guardian" -- - It's a novel way to take your own life. Just as Russia demonstrates what happens to former minions that annoy it, Poland agrees to host a US missile defence base. The Russians, as Poland expected, respond to this proposal…