Showing posts from December, 2009

Harper takes a holiday to pack Senate.

Harper is the most imaginative piece of crookedness we have seen in some time. In spite of his humdrum appearance he is great at using all the tricks available to advance his agenda. He saved himself from defeat last Xmas and now for no good reason except his political agenda Harper shuts down parliament. He will take the time to pack the Senate with Conservatives--this the great campaigner for a reformed Senate! I suppose he must regard the packing of the Senate with appointed Conservatives is a great leap forward. Meanwhile Ignatieff can be left to fume and fuss and try to hire some new help to put his Humpty Dumpty image back together again. This is from the Star. This is Harper's New Year's message. I am the same old Harper as last year. Happy New Year everyone.

Back to Commons shut down, opposition furious
Les Whittington

OTTAWA–Furious opposition MPs accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of muzzling the House of Commons after he moved for the second time in a little more th…

66 per cent of Canadians say Afghan war is unwinnable.

Nevertheless Canadians continue to die and taxpayers continue to pay and even after the date for the combat mission expires Harper in consultation with Obama will continue to find something for us to do and Canada will probably stay to continue our role as junior partner to the US empire. Just this evening there is a report that five more Canadians have been killed including a journalist from the Calgary Herald. The article below is from presstv.

Canadians say Afghan war unwinnable
Tue, 29 Dec 2009 05:50:26 GMT
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Two out of three Canadians say a victory in Afghanistan is impossible.
As new troops pack their bags to go to the war in Afghanistan, a new poll shows that a majority of Canadians say the eight-year conflict is not winnable.

The Ipsos Reid survey said on Tuesday that 66 percent of Canadians disagreed that "the build-up of troops will ultimately create a military victory over the Taliban."

Only 34 percent of Canadians thought the Afghan war was winnable, the poll…

Ignatieff: Canadians do not want an election.

Translation: The Liberals do not want an election. We will be back to playing Dion II with Ignatieff supporting Conservative legislation at least whenever he thinks the opposition might not support it. Ignatieff says: "somehow we got stuck with the idea that we want an election at any price". I thought that was his idea an idea the popped into his mind because he finally decided he didn't want to any longer support the Conservative government at any price. Ignatieff had better hope the Canadians do not see him as he really is before the next election since they are not likely to elect an incompetent leader.

Canadians don't want election, Ignatieff says News Staff

Updated: Mon. Dec. 28 2009 5:41 PM ET

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says that Canadians want an "alternative" to the Harper government but is backing off from earlier tough talk of forcing an election.

"What Canadians want is an alternative to the Harper government, and they want to beli…

NATO kills 10 more Afghan Civilians

So much for McChrystal's concern about civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Since regular forces are withdrawing from remote areas Special Forces are now operating to try and disrupt Taliban leadership in the areas but this is the result. The forces operate clandestinely and with impunity it would seem. They are in effect part of the department of dirty tricks. McChrystal led these forces formerly. He will use them in areas where regular forces have withdrawn no doubt along with air support that will cause even more civilian casualties. Drones are also part of this grab bag of new programs that are part of a new offensive. The drone attacks kill even more civilians but probably much less than Pakistani attacks in the tribal area which seem to involve a scorched earth policy that kills many civilians and causes massive refugee problems. But who cares about that except for the Taliban who find the camps good grounds for recruiting.

News From -
NATO Forces Kill 10 Afghan Civ…

Egypt impeding humanitarian aid to Gaza

You would think the caravan was trying to get permission to travel through Israel given the troubles that Egypt is making for them. Egypt certainly does not seem to be much a friend of the Palestinians. It is much more interested in good relations with the US and even Israel. This is from presstv.

Egypt using 'bureaucracy' against besieged Gazans

British lawmaker and anti-war activist George Galloway says Egypt is using bureaucracy as a pretext to impede humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Galloway and 449 other human rights activists who are part of the Viva Palestina aid convoy are currently stuck in Jordan, since Cairo has denied them permission to Egypt via the Red Sea.

Galloway said "it does not seem sensible to allow hundreds of tons of medicine to go off and to be spoiled and vital equipment for ill and injured people in Gaza to be stopped just because of a bureaucratic and technical difference."

The Egyptian authorities have barred the convoy from taking the most …

Ottawa politicians fail to impress voters.

Canadians are not very well satisfied with the job that politicians have done. However, politicians should take heart as we also do not expect newly elected politicians to do much if any better. So future politicians have the advantage of low expectations not as with Obama in the US where he seems doomed to defeat due to the high expectations many had for him. Should Harper or Ignatieff get in next election they can safely muddle on without worrying about increased expectations!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Presented by

Ottawa fails to impress voters: poll
Politicians have accomplished little in past year, Canadians say

David Akin, Canwest News Service

Todd Korol, Reuters
Canadians think politicians do not get along well, that they have accomplished little in the past year, and few would want their children to grow up to be one.

Results of a poll, conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National, show voters are less than impressed with their representatives in Ottawa.

However, "des…

Rough Year for Alberta Health Bosses.

There is nothing about the bosses being fired or about their pay being cut. The real rough year is for the clients of the system. The system has been centralised in a Super Board so the real losers are all those local boards who were simply shut down to completely sabotage any real local control over the system. From 660news.

Rough year for Alberta health bosses
Kelly Turner Dec 26, 2009 09:11:50 AM
From hospital bed closures to colossal line-ups for the H1N1 vaccine program, it's been a rough year for Alberta's Health bosses.

So much so, that Liberal Health Critic Kevin Taft says Health Minister Ron Liepert and Alberta Health CEO Stephen Duckett should be run out of town for what they've done to health care in Alberta.

Alberta Health also came under fire in September, after it announced plans to close 300 acute care beds in Calgary and Edmonton.

Alberta Health says it plans on creating 800 community living spaces for patients instead, something that is expected to save $50 mill…

Don't Count Ignatieff out yet!

Perhaps this article is correct. Certainly Harper did survive his bout with low poll numbers. However, there does not seem to be any sign of Ignatieff recovering very much. I think that Ignatieff''s best bet is if Harper manages to make himself unpopular. So far any attempt to boost Ignatieff's image does not seem to have worked at all. He does not seem to have put forward much in the way of policy that has engendered much positive interest. The public is often fickle however and perhaps Ignatieff can hope for the New Year. This is from the Winnipeg Free Press.

We can't count Ignatieff out yet
Liberal leader sits low in polls, but so did Harper
By: Hill Talk / Mia Rabson

OTTAWA -- Michael Ignatieff was named by Forbes last week as someone to watch for in 2010.

The magazine said that if an election is held next year, the Liberal leader could become the Canadian prime minister "with the biggest international profile since Pierre Trudeau."

The honour was met by a lot …

Single Payer group criticises Obama health care bill.

This group is for a single payer national health plan. What the Democrats have come up with now is so compromised that in their opinion it should be voted down. The insurance companies among others have so influenced the shape of the plan that it is not really a reform at all. The article details some of the msot obviously flaws in the present bill. Usually news reports are of right wing critiques of the present health care bills but many on the left also do not think what will come out of all the negotiations will be worth passing. Change is US health care it would seem will result in deform rather than reform. Any type of universal care in the US is regarded as socialised medicine a boo word in the US even though every other advanced capitalist country has some form of universal system. The US has managed to develop the most expensive system in the world with gross inequities and so dominated by well heeled corporate players that it seems incapable of being reformed.


The NDP changes its tune and its colours.

Most politicians seem to be of the chameleon species no matter what their political stripes. The NDP certainly changed its tune once Ignatieff got serious about voting against the Conservatives. Of course now Ignatieff is quiet about that as well. Layton's opportunism does not seem to have hurt his poll numbers but then it has not helped them either. The NDP seems stuck in the doldrums. The only great leap forward in the NDP seems to be that of Gary Doer the former Manitoba premier, who is now busy defending Harper's environmental policy as Canadian ambassador to the US. This is from the Star.

Hébert: For Jack Layton, a year of playing chameleon

Chantal Hébert

For Jack Layton and the NDP, 2009 was a year of greater opportunism than opportunity.

Over a period when the opposition parties took more hits from the ruling Conservatives than they inflicted, his party turned out to be the most resilient.

Unlike Gilles Duceppe, Layton did not suffer the humiliation of losing a party fortre…

Alberta Health Grinch almost stole Xmas from the mentally ill.

Alberta Health seems to be going from bad to worse ever since they managed to jettison any local control and centralise the system in a Super Board. All Stelmach needs is more unpopular policies to make sure the Conservatives drop even lower in the polls. This is from this site.

Cutback plan dropped overnight

By Archie McLean,
EDMONTON — A plan to save $70,000 a year by taking free toiletries and snacks away from mentally ill patients was overturned by the Alberta government Saturday in a hasty flurry of goodwill.

"Something like this only adds to the feelings of stress and uncertainty that both patients and families are feeling right now," Fred Horne, MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford, said about the new cost-saving measures at Alberta Hospital Edmonton.

"It will be rescinded immediately."

Horne first learned of the policy by reading Saturday's Journal. He then spoke by phone to Health Minister Ron Liepert, a member of the premier's office staff and finally Alberta He…

Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin replies to critics

The detailed information that Colvin gives is in contrast to the rhetorical and insulting garbage thrown at him by the likes of Peter McKay. Although Hellier has joined the garbage throwing crew, Natynczyk has at least been professional about all of this.

Colvin fires back at critics in military and government

Diplomat's 16-page rebuttal accuses Ottawa of dragging its feet, losing track of detainees in covert jails
OTTAWA — From Thursday's Globe and Mail

.The Canadian government lost track of some detainees transferred to Afghan interrogators in 2007 because captives were shipped to covert "black site" jails - beyond the reach of Ottawa's efforts to monitor them for signs of torture, diplomat Richard Colvin says.

This fresh revelation came as the foreign service officer fired back at critics in the military and government establishment who have dismissed his testimony alleging Canada turned a blind eye to the torture of suspects after they were handed over to Afghan …

CANDU reactor division for sale by government

Surely this is the role of government to provide opportunities for private enterprise after socialising the costs of development of the technology under state ownership. Even the Liberals do not disagree. They just want to ensure tfhat the capital is Canadian! The Liberal government in Ontario is actually doing the same thing but with corporations that are winners the LCBO and the Lotteries. It is just a shame that profitable businesses should help out the bottom line of the government rather than of the private capital that supports the two main parties.

Ottawa puts CANDU reactor division up for sale

Natural Resources minister confirms government is inviting investors to submit bids, move won't affect Chalk River facility
•Ottawa and Toronto — Globe and Mail Update

.Stephen Harper travelled the world pitching Canada's “state-of-the-art” – and state-owned – nuclear reactor technology, but finding no takers at home or abroad and facing record budget deficits, the Prime Minister is …

Unconstitutional to ban gang colours: Saskatchewan judge.

The ban strikes me as a bit ludicrous in any event. Perhaps the swastika should be banned as well or the hammer and sickle. What next? It will be interesting to see if the province bothers to appeal the decision.

Banning gang colours unconstitutional, Saskatchewan judge rules

By Jason Warick, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

A Saskatoon judge threw out charges against a member of the Hells Angels who had been charged under a new provincial law for wearing Hells Angels clothing in a Saskatoon ,
SASKATOON — Wearing gang colours in public is a matter of free expression — protected by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms — a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Albert Lavoie's decision, issued Thursday afternoon in Saskatoon provincial court, struck down a provincial law that prohibited gang members from wearing gang patches or colours in bars or other public places.

"The benefits of the legislation, in its present form, are minimal while the deleterious effects on freedom of expression are so far …

Another security certificate bites the dust..

While it is certainly heartening to see that the courts have ruled against the certificates in these cases, it is after a very long time. Almrei was after arrested in 2001! He was only released earlier this year under strict monitoring conditions. As with the case of Maher Arar much of the evidence seems to be circumstantial and not backed up or even verified. No one ever seems to suffer as a result of this sloppy work. The taxpayer ended up shelling out millions to Arar but probably the people held on security certificates will not be able to get any compensation. No one in the CSIS will suffer at all. If the Arar case is any precedent some of the players may be promoted!

Back to Man hounded by Ottawa loses 'terrorist' tag at last
Man hounded by Ottawa loses 'terrorist' tag at last
December 15, 2009

Michelle Shephard

"I cannot describe how happy I am," Syrian native Hassan Almrei said Dec. 14, 2009 after a judge threw out the security certificate against him.


Ontario Liberals look like Harper Conservatives

What next? The Liberals will sell off crown corporations even when they provide the province with all sorts of income. However, the Liberal party will get some income into its own coffers when it offers the private sector public enterprises at firesale prices. It seems to make no difference whether Liberals or Conservatives are in power they are all for making sure their corporate friends make all the profits and not the province. Although there will be a one time windfall from the sales that could be used to pay down the debt there will be a decrease in income for the province in perpetuity from the money that would have come in from Lottery and Liquor Board profits. This does not matter as long as there is more opportunity for private profit and subsequent donations to the Liberal cause. This is from the National Post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ontario looks to sell assets to bring down $25-billion debt

Ashley Fraser
TORONTO - To offset a record $25-billion deficit, Ontario's pr…

Our military mission in Afghanistan is supposed to end in 2011 but of course it won't.

No doubt the US is pleading with Harper to provide more help for this ill-conceived illegal and misbegotten mission. The Canadian taxpayer will continue to help out the US in its hopeless attempt to enforce its will in Afghanistan. We will pay not only in our money but in useless sacrifices of life and limb.

Canada preparing a military role in Afghanistan beyond 2011, say experts
By David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

Canada is sending two surveillance aircraft to Afghanistan in a move some defence analysts see as laying the groundwork for a military mission in Kandahar beyond the announced 2011 pullout date.

Although the federal government has not made any details public, the U.S. army issued a news release on Monday that an American company had been awarded a $12-million contract to modify two aircraft being provided by Canada. Work on the surveillance planes would be done in the U.S. and in Afghanistan and would be completed by June 15, 2011.

Canadian Forces officials have said their militar…

A Year to forget for Liberals

Actually Ignatieff's challenge to Harper was not entirely reckless. Ignatieff was in danger of falling into the same trap as DIon who constantly propped up the Harper government. This time Ignatieff was rescued by the NDP so he was fortunate that he did not actually have to pull the plug and probably lose the election. Surely to characterise Ignatieff's action as opportunist is rather strange since the polls were not that favorable to the Liberals and quickly turned back down. What was the opportunity that Ignatieff was taking advantage of?
The so-called age of aquiescence has to do only with poll numbers. If the poll numbers change back in favor of the Liberals the age will be history!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Presented by

A year to forget for the Liberals
Don Martin, National Post

Chris Wattie, Reuters
It didn't quite work out the way he intended, but a reckless one-sentence ultimatum from Michael Ignatieff defined the person, the party and ultimately his popularity for the en…

Ratio of Canadian Household Debt to Income of 140 percent.

Given the low interest rates it is not surprising that Canadian real estate sales are doing well and house prices are rising in contrast to the US. However as this article shows the result of low interest rates is that consumers are piling on debt as well and this may not bode well for the future especially if there are more job losses or a decrease in economic activity.

Increasing household debt stirs concern
Bank of Canada worries about jump in borrowing
By PAUL VIEIRA, Canwest News ServiceDecember 11, 2009
Rising levels of household debt and deteriorating budget balances in several countries will emerge as the most prominent risks to the Canadian financial system over the next few years, the Bank of Canada said yesterday.

In its semi-annual review of the Canadian financial system, the central bank said the level of vulnerability to an adverse near-term shock has declined modestly. Furthermore, the likelihood of a renewed global downturn has diminished since the release of its previous…

Wild Roses thorn in Stelmach's side.

These are rather amazing numbers especially after Stelmach received a 77 per cent endorsement as leader not long ago. One just wonders if the usual kingmakers are doing an end run around the Conservative party especially since the Wild Roses seem to be gr0wing strongest in the two big cities not just in rural areas.
Of course polls did not look all that marvelous for Stelmach before he gained his big majority in the last election and Ralph Klein was even worse off before he stormed back and won an election a year later. Nevertheless it is hard to put any positive spin on these results as far as Stelmach is concerned.

Wildrose No. 1 in Alberta, poll finds
Tory support falls to lowest in 17 years
By Jason Fekete, Calgary HeraldDecember 11, 2009 6:36 AM

CALGARY - The surging Wildrose Alliance would form the next provincial government if an election were held in Alberta, according to a new poll that pegs the party with a double-digit lead and the dynastic Tories at their lowest popular supp…

Top Canadian Commander admits beaten man was in Canadian custody.

To give Natynczyk his due at least he admits when he is wrong. Unlike MacKay and Hellier Natynczyk has not joined the gang who are trying to discredit the testimony of Richard Colvin the Canadian diplomat who blew the whistle on this whole affair. MacKay is such a sorry spectacle of humanity even among politicians that he ought to be asked to resign.

Top general changes story on Taliban suspect
Beaten man had been in Canadian custody
CBC News
Gen. Walter Natynczyk now says a suspected Taliban fighter abused by Afghan police in June 2006 had been detained by Canadian troops, contrary to what he said Tuesday. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's top military commander, is now saying a suspected Taliban fighter abused by Afghan police in June 2006 had been detained by Canadian troops, contrary to comments he made Tuesday.

"The individual who was beaten by the Afghan police was, in fact, in Canadian custody," Natynczyk told reporters in Ottawa on Wedne…

New Saskatchewan agency to help recruit doctors

Probably a lot of doctors esepcially specialist like to go to larger cities with a more temperate climate than Saskatchewan. There has always been a problem with getting doctors to work in rural areas. No doubt Sask. will have to continue to rely on importing doctors from foreign countries. At least this agency is a step in the right direction even though as the NDP points out it does not solve the immediate shortage.

Agency aims to address Sask. doctor shortage
By Jenn Sharp, For The StarPhoenix
December 8, 2009 8:10 AM
The province is hopeful a new recruitment agency that begins its work in the spring will help address a shortage of physicians in Saskatchewan.

The agency is aimed at bringing more physicians to rural and urban Saskatchewan and keeping them in the province.

Plans for the agency were announced earlier this year. It has been allocated $1.5 million and will be led by a nine-member board. The board members will be selected from the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), heal…

Liberals may demand product recall as Ignatieff cannot be sold to Canadians

It seems that the Liberals are just unable to find a product that they can successfully package and sell to a majority of Canadians. The tired old reliable old Harper who from time to time does a little dance or dons a new sweater seems to outsell the supposed great thinker and human rights prof. Ignatieff. Having recalled Dion since the Green Shift was seen as wildly too expensive for Canadian tastes the Liberals have now set their sights on repackaging the recycled NDP ex provincial premier Bob Rae. Maybe the party might try putting forth some new ideas instead of repackaging their products. This is from the Star.

Back to Liberal MPs plot early retirement for Ignatieff
Liberal MPs plot early retirement for Ignatieff

Angelo Persichilli

Last year at this time, the Liberals were trying to get rid of Stéphane Dion and put themselves in the hands of their saviour, Michael Ignatieff. After 12 months, they believe that Bob Rae, the former NDP premier of Ontario now turned Liberal, is the new s…

Ignatieff and Liberals will support Harmonised Sales Tax

Ivison thinks that this action shows leadership but leadership that is not suicidal as was his earlier decision to bring down the Conservative government. Actually the other decision was not suicidal at all because the NDP stepped in to save the Conservatives . However, this decision may be quite unpopular with the general public and will help the Conservatives. Given the already steep dip in Liberal poll numbers this may just make it certain that the Conservative government can rest easy this Xmas and well into the New Year.

Ignatieff stares down his MPs
Liberals will support HST

John Ivison, National Post

Blair Gable, Reuters
There's a Spanish proverb that says if you sit by the river long enough, the body of your enemy will float by.

Judging by his performance so far, patience is not a virtue Michael Ignatieff has in abundance. Many Canadians have the impression that if he can't be prime minister, he'd rather return to his ivory tower at Harvard. But yesterday the Liberal lea…

Canada re-affirms decision for 2011 Afghan pull-out.

So far Harper has shown no signs of giving in to pressure to send more troops. No doubt he fears the possible political fallout. However there still is quite a bit of time before the actual pullout, although some arrangements are already being made apparently. Possibly Harper will nevertheless simply pull out of all combat roles and yet leave considerable numbers to fill a training role or something of that type. This still would place troops in harms way. This is from the Star.

Canada re-affirms 2011 Afghan pull-out
Richard J. Brennan

OTTAWA–The United States' renewed efforts in Afghanistan will in no way affect Canada's decision to pull its soldiers out of the war-torn country by 2011, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Tuesday from Brussels, where he is attending a NATO meeting.

Cannon said while President Barack Obama's commitment of 30,000 additional troops is welcome, Canada's military role will end in July 2011 "and we will respect the (House of Com…