Showing posts from November, 2009

Pfizer executive officer appointed to health funding body

Since the reality is that lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry no doubt have great input into govt. funding decisions I guess that the government thought that no one would question the appointment of a pharmaceutical executive officer to the funding board itself. The conflict of interest is obvious but then perhaps what is good for the pharmaceutical industry must be good for Canada. After all don't we want more research here and wont all that investment create more jobs etc. etc. etc. as the mantra goes. This is from the CBC.

Appointment of Pfizer exec to health funding body criticized
Last Updated: Friday, November 27, 2009 5:32 PM ET Comments88Recommend52Anna Sharratt, CBC News
Prominent bioethicists have expressed alarm at the recent appointment of a senior pharmaceutical executive to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the government's funding arm for medical research.

They hope to have their concerns about the three-year appointment of Dr. Bernard Prigen…

Air passenger bill of rights grounded

Perhaps the best Maloway can do is bring the matter to public attention and this may put pressure on the Conservatives to come up with a bill. Private members bills rarely get passed but they can help light a fire under the governing party to consider important issues such as this.

Committee grounds air passenger bill of rights
Globe and Mail

.New Democrat MP Jim Maloway's efforts to forge an air passenger bill of rights are veering off path. Under his private member's bill, the Winnipeg MP said he wants to shift power to consumers and clamp down on airlines whenever flights go awry. But the federal transport committee stalled for six months, and then voted by a 7-4 margin to send the bill to the House of Commons without amendments, Mr. Maloway said in an interview yesterday. He blamed the Bloc Québécois for joining the Conservatives in opposing his bill. Faced with the airline industry's lobbying, Mr. Maloway said he was willing to make compromises, but to no avail. The MP …

CMA wants national debate on health care issues

The Assoc. is certainly correct there needs to be a national debate on the issues mentioned but the CMA seems bound and determined to have more offloading of costs to individuals from the govt and this will make medical care more regressive in that quality of care will depend upon income and ability to pay. It will be a boon for private for profit interests who already have a gold mine in providing drugs and equipment for the system. If the CMA has its way there will be more private clinics etc. which will rake in profits for doctors. Instead of more being covered under the public system there will probably be less. No doubt the CMA would like to see the Canada Health Act changed so that there can be more co-pays.
The patient's charter of rights is a good idea but patient groups should be involved as important stakeholders. Certainly it is a postive move that the CMA should bring this matter up.

Canadian Medical Assoc. writing patients' charter, wants national debate
By Susan…

Hillier: Colvin testimony on torture ludicrous.

Hillier is just one giant puffed up buffoon with a humongous mouth. This should make him an excellent Conservative candidate because he is also praises the military every time he has a chance and to give him his due he does stand up for his troops.Perhaps the Conservatives might not be that happy if Hillier were to be in parliament because he could be a loose cannon who might not buckle under to Harper. Hillier's testimony should be contrasted with that of another military official involved Michel Gauthier:

Michel Gauthier
Position: Retired lieutenant-general who was the former commander of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. Gauthier was responsible for all of the Canadian Forces' overseas missions. He ran Canada's military mission in Kandahar from his Ottawa headquarters. Colvin says he sent some of his memos to Gauthier.

Response to Colvin's testimony: In an email to CBC News, Gauthier said the following:

"First of all let me say I am deeply troubled by Mr. Colvi…

McKay and Hillier attack Colvin the Whistleblower

This is truly a disgusting spectacle. MacKay and Hillier both are beneath contempt. This is meant to warn anyone who dares question the teflon integrity of the top brass in the CANADIAN FORCES and the CANADIAN GOVERNMENT that they will pay dearly for it. At least Natynczyk has the integrity and guts to come out and admit that several times transfers were stopped due to concerns about torture. There had been earlier concerns of torture and the transfer protocols had been changed which in itself is evidence that the brass new about torture. But Hillier and his buddy MacKay have the motto: Hear no evil, see no evil and shut up everyone.

Globe and Mail

.The Harper government is training its guns on a diplomat whistleblower who says Canada was complicit in the torture of captured Afghan prisoners, trying to undermine Richard Colvin's credibility as pressure builds to hold a public inquiry into the matter.

“There are incredible holes in the story that have to be examined,” Defence Ministe…

Malalai Joya on the Afghan Mission

Joya has always been opposed to the occupation but she has also opposed the Karzai government and the warlords. She pointed out in parliament that there were warlords with atrocious human rights records in the Karzai govt. The reward for her criticism was to be suspended from the body. Apparently such criticism violates the rules. What kind of parliament is that? She has been a thorn in the side of both the Taliban, the Warlords and the occupation forces and as a result she wears the burqa whenever she goes out to avoid being recognised and no doubt assassinated.

'Liberation was just a big lie'Outspoken Afghan MP says Canadian mission is a big waste of time
By Olivia Ward
Malalai Joya, who was in Toronto to promote her book, A Woman Among Warlords, says Canada and the United States should pull their troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. (Nov. 18, 2009)

She sleeps in safe houses, with a rotating squad of bodyguards securing the doors. She goes out only in a billowing bur…

Ipsos Reid Poll: Ignatieff behind Dion!

No doubt some of those in the Liberal party who were glad to see Dion pushed out will be wondering whether it was a good idea. Or perhaps they will just sharpen their knives for a new round of suicidal attacks on their own leader. Harper must be smiling. Instead of a green shift we seem to be getting a blue shift under Ignatieff! This is from the Vancouver Sun.

Ignatieff behind Dion in latest poll
By David Akin, Canwest News ServiceOctober 25, 2009
A new poll shows support for the federal Liberal party has weakened so much that, were an election to be held today, Michael Ignatieff would lead his party to a worse showing than his predecessor, Stephane Dion, did last October.

"The Liberals, these days, just have no traction at all," said Darrell Bricker, CEO of polling firm Ipsos Reid, which provided its latest results exclusively to Canwest News Service and Global National.

Dion received 28% of the popular vote last fall. The Ipsos Reid poll suggests that, last week, the Liberals…

Arar's lawyer: Afghan torture a case of deja-vu.

The vicious attack by Peter MacKay on Richard Colvin is truly alarming. MacKay strikes me as worse than his Reform Party comrades. Not only is he a promise breaker but he tries to discredit a civil servant just for blowing the whistle. It is clear that the government did know that something was going on since they had already changed their practice after earlier complaints. That upper echelons had never heard about what was going on is completely incredible. There has obviously been tacit acceptance of the practice of torture but for the sake of expediency the reality has been ignored and then denied when it is revealed. This is from the Star.

Arar-case lawyer sees torture déjà vu
Afghans' rights record should have led officials to suspect prison abuse, Cavalluzzo concludesRichard J. Brennan

Afghanistan's widely criticized record on human rights should have been enough for Canadian officials to suspect detainees in Afghan prisons were being tortured, says Paul Cavalluzzo, the s…

Critics say Tory flyer suggests Liberals are anti-Semitic

While the flyer may not directly suggest that the Liberals are anti-Semitic they suggest it quite obviously.
Of particular note was Ignatieff's criticism of Israel's tactics in Lebanon his first lesson in how the truth on human rights is trumped by political expediency when it comes to Israel. To suggest the Israel might have committed war crimes is just beyond the political pale in polite discourse. Such comments cause collateral political damage that is just not worth it. Ignatieff very quickly changed his tune and has never looked back since! This is from the Toronto Star.

PM's Jewish pitch hits a new low, critics sayTory flyer suggests Liberals are anti-Semitic
Richard J. Brennan

OTTAWA–Angry Liberals Wednesday accused the Conservative government of reaching a new political low by circulating flyers characterizing the Liberals as anti-Semitic.

The flyers, which feature a photo of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, target ridings with large Jewish communities.

They accuse the Li…

Khadr to face military commission in the US.

As the article notes the US has never recognised the fact that when apprehended Khadr was a juvenile and should be considered a child soldier. The military commissions are also as the article also points out a second class system of justice in that among other things hearsay evidence can be presented and evidence derived through coercion is admissible. Of course justice for terror suspects in the US is a farce in any event. Obama for example has already declared that the suspects to be tried in civilian courts will be found guilty! So much for the presumption of incidence. Of course as the article points out the whole idea of trying some in military courts and others in civilian courts has no justifiable rationale. All should be tried in civilian courts. Of course the government no doubt knows that if Khadr were tried in a civilian court they would probably lose. They want to only try those in civilian courts who they are certain to convict!

- Original - -

‘New’ Military Co…

Conservative policy: Pretending to protect consumers.

The Conservative government is assuring itself of ample support from people associated with the credit card industry. While making motions as if to ensure consumer protection at the same time they are assuring the industry that there the code of conduct will not be enforced. This article is from this site. There is no mention of what Ignatieff had to say on the issue.

Voluntary code of conduct for credit and debit won’t protect consumers

OTTAWA – Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty today once again revealed the Harper Conservatives’ disregard for consumers with his announcement of a voluntary code of conduct for Canada’s credit- and debit-card industries.

“Why is this government hesitating to introduce legislation that would guarantee consumers are protected?” asked New Democrat Consumer Protection critic Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury). “These delays will only make it that much harder to hold these companies to account since once the new debit networks are active, it will be a much greater …

Harper India tour aims to build relations, nuclear co-operation.

A good idea for Canada to diversity its trading relationsips and depend less on US trade. India is no doubt weathering the recession better than the US and Canada could increase trade with India. Recent US changes with respect to providing India with nuclear technology no doubt contributed to Harper's attempts to get on the bandwagon. Pakistan may not be happy with these moves. The trip to India may also be useful in convincing Canadians with an Indian background to vote Conservative!

Harper's India tour aims to build relations, grow nuclear co-operation.

By David Akin, Canwest News Service

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrapped up a three-day tour of India Wednesday with visits to two of the country's holiest places, the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the world's largest Hindu temple in New Delhi, where he prayed for world peace.

``I took the Swami's advice when I was in the BAPS temple and said a prayer for world peace and, of course, it's hoped for mor…

Sellinger (Manitoba) still not considering harmonizesd sales tax

Even though the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce has been urging the Manitoba NDP to introduce the harmonized sales tax Sellinger so far has resisted. It is not a politically popular move although business groups such as the Chamber claim it will make the province more competitive. Sellinger claims there are other ways to achieve competitiveness. The short article can be found at CJOB.

Ingatieff may soon be as unpopular as Dion!

This article seems to blame Ignatieff's decline on the fact that he attempted to force an election. While this may be a factor it is hard to gauge how much. Ignatieff has not brought forth any clear policy ideas nor has he even been very effective in his criticisms. Bland slogans such as: We can do better, are a poor substitute for imaginative policy. The best that can be said is that the Liberals at least are not losing more ground so that Harper will not be tempted to inject a posion pill in some legislation to force an election in the hope of gaining a majority. At least Ignatieff cannot be accused of coming near Dion territory in at least staking out some definite policy such as the Green Shift. In fact Ignatieff is perhaps shy of saying anything significant because the Conservatives might pounce on it. This is from the National Post.

John Ivison: Ignatieff closing in on Dion territory

Andrew Barr, National Post
The good news for Michael Ignatieff in a new Nanos Research poll …

MacKay: Afghan election not prettty but useful

Useful to pull the wool over the eyes of those convinced by his rhetorical tripe. The election was obviously filled with fraud and was paid for and overseen by the occupying forces. The Afghan people are not the important people involved. It is the western taxpayers who foot the bill in money and lives who must be convinced of the legitimacy of the Afghan government. I have never understood why anyone w0uld ever vote for this guy.

Afghan election process 'not pretty' but useful: MacKay
CBC News
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has promised reforms to root out the corruption that has undermined trust in his administration. (Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press)Canada's defence minister says the process of electing Afghan President Hamid Karzai, while flawed, produced a result that was important for stabilizing the country in advance of Canada's troop withdrawal.

Peter MacKay, speaking from the Canadian military base in Kandahar, said Canada was still committed to its partnership wi…

Khadr to face US military commission.

The Obama administration is in many respects just a continuation of the abomination administration of George W Bush. Although some changes have been made to the military tribunals they are still capable of relying upon hearsay evidence plus evidence may be used which was obtained by coercion. Ignatieff has spoken out earliers about Khadr. Will he speak out again?

Khadr to face U.S. military commission
Decision 'devastating and shocking,' lawyer says

A U.S. military commission will resume hearing the case against Omar Khadr, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday, the same day the Supreme Court of Canada heard a federal government appeal in his case.

It is unclear when or where the 23-year-old inmate will face charges, but he is one of 10 high-profile detainees to be sent to the U.S. to face justice.

Five of those inmates, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will be on trial in a federal civilian court in New York City.

Five o…

Conservatives still lead Liberals by ten percentage points.

The movements do not seem large towards any party although the Conservatives seem a bit better in Quebec. In some of the western provinces the NDP seems to be picking up a bit. Within a week however there is not likely to be much change. Certainly the Liberals are now as quiet as can be about bringing down the Conservatives! Ignatieff just does not seem to be doing anything much to improve Liberal fortunes. The strategy must be to rely on Harper defeating himself by some missteps. But Harper is a seasoned politician and perhaps he has learned a little from past missteps. He hasn't as yet used his lead to taunt the Liberals into a position where they cannot back out. This is from CBC.

EKOS Weekly: Ooh, look - it's a perfect ten!
By Kady O'Malley
A perfect ten point lead that the Conservatives have over their nearest rivals, that is, which is still the Liberals, just to be clear. We've almost hit that point in the narrative cycle during which the occasional pundit will star…

Ignatieff past remarks on Royals may haunt him.

The problem with having written quite a bit in the past is that anyone can search through the writings and cherry pick passages that might be embarassing such as those cited here. Personally, I think Ignatieff would be an embarassment even if he had written nothing. The two main parties are both so bad it always amazes me why they get so many votes compared to minor parties. I suppose everyone wants to pick one of the winners even though neither of them represent what the voter wants!

Ignatieff could be haunted by past musings on royals
By RANDY BOSWELL, Canwest News Service

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, visit Brigus, N.L. yesterday. The town is the historic home of Captain Bob Bartlett, who led Robert Peary's expedition to the North Pole in 1909.
Photograph by: CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES VIA REUTERS, Canwest News ServiceWhen Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff meets Prince Charles for talks next week during the future king's visit to Ottawa, the opposition leader may have t…

Stelmach wins 77 per cent support for his leadership

The media always seems to be down on Stelmach. Stelmach is not the choice of the party elite and power brokers especially those associated with Calgary and the oil patch. He did much better in the provincial election than people thought he would and he has done better at this convention than many thought. I wonder if the Wild Roses are becoming less disgruntled rural right wingers and more urban prickly Calgary thistles, disgruntled urban power brokers.

Stelmach still the man for the Tories Share with friends

RED DEER, ALTA. — From Monday's Globe and Mail

.Despite receiving a strong vote of confidence from his party, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach still has a lot of heavy lifting to do in order to satisfy both Progressive Conservatives and other grumpy Alberta voters.

"[The result] puts the Premier in a position of comfort ... but indicates to him there is room for improvement," Edmonton Tory MLA Thomas Lukaszuk said Saturday, shortly after Mr. Stelmach r…

The meaning of the Swastika

I was looking through a group of birthday greeting cards from the early nineteen hundreds this morning. Lo and Behold there was a swastika prominently displayed in one corner of the card. This reminded me that the swastika originally had nothing to do with the Nazis but symbolised good luck:

Until the Nazis used this symbol, the swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.

Even in the early twentieth century, the swastika was still a symbol with positive connotations. For instance, the swastika was a common decoration that often adorned cigarette cases, postcards, coins, and buildings. During World War I, the swastika could even be found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division and on the Finnish air force until after World War II."""

Originally the direction of the symbol whether clockwise or counterclockwise did not change the symbolism but later some cultures associate…

James Travers: Ill winds blowing for Harper's ship of state.

Perhaps in the future, but right now there doesn't seem to be any wind at all in the Liberal sails according to recent polls. Ignatieff is going nowhere it would seem. The problem of swine flue vaccine will probably blow over quickly and although the economy is not doing as well as the Conservatives may have thought it is still on the road to recovery it would seem.
It is rather ironic that Harper should be charged with runaway spending. The Liberals would have spent just as much if not more on a stimulus package. However the tax cuts do no doubt cause part of the deficit but then these are part and parcel of the Conservative ideology and it is quite possible that Liberals too might have passed these crying out that they were a great stimulus since they put money in people's pockets to be spent. What would help defeat the Conservatives is some genuine new policies by Ignatieff rather than dumb slogans such as: We can do better. Yeah sure!.

Travers: Ill winds blowing for PM&#…

Do Canadians Embrace New Role for the Military>

An interesting article which shows the characteristics necessary to be a senior writer for the Globe and Mail. Start out with an interesting headline but then do not provide any evidence for your claim. This article in fact itself provides considerable evidence against what the headline claims. As the article mentions there is majority opposition for our role as a warrior nation especialy in Afghanistan. How can the Globe print such nonsense as this? In case anyone is interested since the article does not bother to quote any actual polls. Here is some 2009 actual polling on Afghanistan from Wikipedia.

October 2009 Innovative Research Group poll: The majority 76% of Canadians oppose keeping any Canadian military forces in Afghanistan beyond 2011: 53% want to end the military mission "and concentrate exclusively on humanitarian work and reconstruction", and 23% want Canada to "end to all of its activities, military and non-military" and "get out" completely …