May 29, 2006

May 29, 06 #4: A Hodgepodge

Justices need more money ... to preserve their ... independence?

Tories plan to reject 11% raises for judges Janice Tibbetts, CanWest, May 27, 2006. via Anne_mcm, 5/28/2006

[....] The recommendations would immediately increase judges' salaries to $240,000 from $219,400. Chief and associate chief justices would earn $263,000. Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, would earn $308,400 and the other eight Supreme Court judges would each receive $285,600. ....

Justice Robert Blair, president of the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association, said he has written Federal Justice Minister Vic Toews pleading the judges' case.

"Judicial independence is at stake here," said Blair, an Ontario Court of Appeal judge. [....]

Please, Sir, may I have some more ... judicial independence.

Media & GG

Governor General warns against sensationalism in Canadian journalis James Keller, May 25, 06

HALIFAX (CP) - Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean cautioned Thursday against sensationalism and gossip replacing critical news reporting, urging an audience of journalists to remember their civic responsibility.

Without narrowing in on specifics, Jean painted a bleak picture of the dangers of transforming journalism into a commodity, where sales figures and deadline pressures erode the quality of reporting. [Is this an arguement for keeping the Liberal Propaganda Organ / CBC? Spare us!]

[....] media concentration leads to lifeless, one-sided reporting that sees local news fall through the cracks.

"The long-term consequences of seeing things in the same way, of reporting the world in the same voice, are also hampering the free flow of ideas and preventing the diversity of content," she said. [What does she want here?]

A Senate standing committee has staged hearings on the state of Canadian media, including media concentration.
It's expected to make recommendations this summer.

Media, Conservatives -- BellGlobeMedia/CBC would have no reason to fear ... would they?

TiVo sets its sights on Canadian market -- Video recorder: Company hopes to form links with cable, satellite providers -- Rogers? Bell ExpressVu? Barbara Shecter, Financial Post, May 25, 06

[....] In the U.S., TiVo has deals with cable and satellite operators to integrate its software into the set-top boxes that deliver channels to viewers.

The features of TiVo, pictured, include the ability to rewind live programs and a "recommendation engine" that selects shows to record based on the consumer tastes demonstrated by past recordings.

Rogers' PVRs don't have that latter function

Klein issues warning on sharing the wealth -- Premier threatens to pull province out of revenue-sharing deal with Ottawa Katherine Harding and Brian Laghi, Globe and Mail, May 25, 06

EDMONTON and OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Ralph Klein vowed yesterday to fight "tooth and nail" to protect his province's vast natural resource wealth, including possibly dropping out of Ottawa's revenue-sharing program with other provinces if energy income is included in the equalization formula.

[....] He also said it would be politically unwise to include resource revenues in the equalization formula because while Alberta might be reaping the benefits of high oil prices today, the good times may not last forever and "provinces ought not to depend on [this money] to sustain programs."

Ralph Klein vs Equalization Changes via caspar34, 5/24/2006

I think Klein is right and will have support from many provinces. If anyone is interested in a good read about why to exclude non renewable resources go here:

1. Resource revenues have been nothing but trouble for the equalization program
2. Removing nonrenewable resources would vastly simplify the program
3. Having nonrenewable resources in equalization produces perverse incentives
4. Having nonrenewable resources in the formula causes fiscal problems for Ottawa
5. Having resource revenues in equalization is arguably unconstitutional [See reasoning included.]
6. Having nonrenewable resource in equalization does not make economic sense
7. The equalization formula double counts the fiscal capacity from resources
8. Removing resources would allow the program to reflect all province’s fiscal capacity
9. Removing non-renewable resources would mean very small adjustments for recipients
10. The politics of the proposal look good

Check the rest -- interesting. Then check the AIMS site and the site's list of contributors [includes John Crosbie], et cetera.

Memory Lane: Atlantic Institute for Market Studies -- Equalization

Equalization and natural resources: Bill Watson on AIMS' paper -- The case for taking oil, gas (and heat) out of equalization Non-renewable resource revenues fuel ongoing debate The National Post, 30/6/01

Analysts from Eastern and Western Canada Agree on Need to Change Equalization -- Emphasis must be on building Atlantic region’s capacity to pay its own way. Dated: 29/5/01

[HALIFAX] — AIMS today released two new major papers on equalization and the future of Atlantic Canada: Equalization: Milestone or Millstone? (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) by Roland T. Martin, former Deputy Minister of Finance for Newfoundland and a noted expert on public finance in Atlantic Canada, and Taking off the Shackles: Equalization and the Development of Nonrenewable Resources in Atlantic Canada (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) by Kenneth J. Boessenkool, a distinguished policy researcher and author based in Calgary, Alberta. [....]

PQ: Quebec urges federal government to respect climate change treaties CNEWS, May 25, 06

The initial Quebec resolution tabled by the Parti Quebecois condemned the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not respecting the Kyoto accord.

The second motion, proposed by Environment Minister Claude Bechard, called on Ottawa to contribute financially to Quebec initiatives to deal with climate change as well as urging it to respect international treaties on climate change.

Kyoto commits Canada to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Why respect a treaty that wouldn't have done much, if anything, to reduce climate change? For more on this scroll down to the Kyoto posts:

Poverty groups to picket Stratford -- Activists on the prowl ... again Guy Dixon and Kate Taylor, May 25, 06Globe and Mail

OCAP [Ontario Coalition Against Poverty ] plans to bring in a busload of protesters. Clarke wasn't able to say whether protesters would try to disrupt the opening-night production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus ....

The coalition of activist groups is seeking not only to mobilize the poor, but specifically to raise social-assistance rates by 40 per cent. [Hiring buses is not cheap. Search their funding sources; first, make a guess where it will lead.....]

Search: "Perth County Coalition Against Poverty, has invited the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and the Ontario Common Front"

More networking and 'rights' -- control and global governance alert

Trials, tribunals and tribulations -- "It's a battle between B.C. lawyers and activists over whether human rights laws go too far--or not far enough"-- Personally, I smell a UN, activists' skunk in these 'rights' groups Terry O'Neill, Western Standard, May 8, 2006

[....] Led by former human rights commissioner Mary Woo Sims, and armed with a new study, the activitsts are pressing B.C.'s Liberal government to reverse its three-year-old decision to eliminate the B.C. Human Rights Commission. [....]

On March 30, the University of Victoria's International and Human Rights Law Association, and the activist group, B.C. Human Rights Defenders, released a report concluding that B.C. is the only province without a human rights infrastructure that measures up to the Paris Principles adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993. The principles call for states to create human rights institutions with broad powers to hear claims, investigate, collaborate with and advise governments and NGOs, and "combat all forms of discrimination."

[....] B.C.'s human rights code, like others in Canada, contains a provision outlawing publication of anything that "indicates" discrimination or is likely to "expose" someone to hatred or contempt. No discrimination need occur to prove an offence. [....]

Read more on what Alan Borovoy has to say about this and "anti-free speech provisions should be on the table"

In March, Toronto lawyer A. Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, wrote that he and fellow human rights activists "never imagined" the legislation they created a generation ago would "be used against freedom of speech" .... since rights activists are agitating for code amendments, anti-free speech provisions should be on the table, too.

Media Bias

Re: Harper to avoid national media, claiming bias News Staff, May 24, 06

There was a cozy little relationship between members of the Ottawa Press Gallery and the Liberal government. No, Mike Duffy, the press gallery hasn't been doing its job. Via TV I have watched you cozy up to the former government(s) and their MP's and spokesmen, I have listened to former PM Mulroney speak of how he was treated by the press, and I have watched the pettiness toward PM Harper. You were not doing your job over years of Liberal governments and Canadians expect more. Where were the mainstream media's investigative journalists while Canadian taxpayers were being fleeced? At the Press Club dinner? Dining on the Hill? Speed-dialing your favourite leaker, getting your slant or spin for the day and then having more time for schmoozing?

"The Parliamentary press gallery does its job, which is asking the government questions," Smith said on CTV's Mike Duffy Live from Ottawa.

[....] In spite of the negative bits [of media spin which is largely leftist/Liberal spin], Harper's government is off to a good start with voters. Recent polls have placed the party above 40 per cent, which could put them on track toward a majority government.

The Ottawa Press Gallery ... from someone with experience of it

I heard this weekend that the OPG elect a president or leader who then parcels out the questions to a few, not all reporters -- thus maintaining control over the type of questions asked and whether some questions will never get asked ... also whether the reporters chosen lean more toward Liberal or Conservative. Since there was an incestuous relationship between the press gallery members and the previous (Liberal) government(s) (socializing, schmoozing, leaking .....), it was a cozy little arrangement to get the Liberal spin out. Now, with Conservatives elected, the OPG don't like losing this control and since, reportedly, the one who ran / runs the show does not like or lean toward Conservative thinking, the walk-out was political, as much as anything ... perhaps with a little hatred and attempt at gotcha Harper thrown in.

That is from someone who knows how it works and who will remain nameless.

We are not the Opposition Andrew Coyne, National Post, May 27, 2006

To understand the current flap between the prime minister and the press gallery, in all its triviality and its pettiness, tune in sometime to the annual Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner. (They used to be off the record; lately they have been televised, or at least videotaped.)

The dinner is an occasion for le tout Ottawa to gather together for a night of riotous good fun. The party leaders are expected to give amusing, self-deprecating speeches making light of the controversies of the day. The guests, for their part, are supposed to shed their partisan or professional affiliations for the night and share a cup of good cheer, rather like professional wrestlers after a bout.

The whole thing, in short, is one big collective wink. [....]

Very good article

...As General Sherman once said "Four hostile newspapers are more dangerous than ten thousand bayonets"... comments from bkbja, starboardside and contraryminded, May 25, 06

1. Only the press gallery in Ottawa is affected. Harper is willing to speak with press in every city he goes to. So it is not the entire media that Harper is not speaking to.

2. The list is designed to control the order in which questions are asked. No one is controlling the types of questions."

In response to 1. I agree that this is partly true. The press gallery has more knowledge but oftentimes in the scrums I've seen, the questions are not so much probing as accusatory (this includes when Liberals were in power).

[....] With all the talking coming out of the press gallery in Ottawa, not once has anyone mentioned tough questions that Harper refused to answer. All they have complained about is the fact that they don't want to be put on a list and selected to ask questions. And yet no one has explained why this would result in an inability to report the news accurately or honestly. [....]

Joan Bryden: Liberal leadership hopeful Joe Volpe has received $54,000 in donations from two drug company executives and their wives and kids

[....] employees and family members are each entitled to give a maximum of $5,400. [Read the details on this one ... DONATIONS FROM THE CHILDREN OF THE WELL-TO-DO]

[....] Elections Canada and the Liberal party said there's nothing wrong with taking out loans, provided they are repayable at a commercial rate of interest within 18 months. The law governing donation limits would apply to any money collected to pay off the loans.

Bob Rae, the former Ontario NDP premier, has received a $100,000 loan from his brother, Power Corp. executive John Rae.

Rookie Toronto MP and renowned academic Michael Ignatieff has received two loans totalling $125,000 from his campaign director Ian Davey, son of former senator Keith Davey.

You must remember this .......

Maersk Dubai incident sheds light on stowaways -- re: whistleblowers Steve McLeod, May 27, 06

When asked if he'd go to police again if confronted with a similar instance of abuse, his reply is quick and emphatic.

"No, no," Broas says. "I don't care anymore because they don't care about me. It's not my business anymore.

"Nobody's going to look after you. Even if you do a good thing, it's not worth it."

[....] ALLEGATIONS: Four of the ship's crew claimed the officers put three Romanian stowaways overboard during two voyages in the spring.

OUTCOME: Only Shiou went trial and he was acquitted when the Taiwanese court ruled there is no evidence the stowaways actually died.

Remember Canada's own whistleblowers? Scroll down for Hansard link posted earlier.

Thus far, in this thread, the posters are civilized with each other -- not the case with several other threads. I like reading what other people think about products like this.

VOIP discussion thread: Vonage, Shaw, Comwave, Cogeco -- Rogers not mentioned yet but Bell / Sympatico is compared. If you have experience, why not leave a message for readers? May 29, 06
In the East, which of those companies is available? Make a guess.
e.g. Ne0_North, 5/29/2006

I use VOIP with Cogeco. Its sort of VOIP anyway. The Telephone modem ports to the Cable line instead of the RJ-45 cable so the signal is on a sub-carrier like the digital cable and internet service.

My Bell bill was $80 and now I pay half that for the phone bill added onto my Internet/Cable TV package. Signal is good and clear. In 6 months I've only had a message problem twice and it didn't last long before I was able to retrieve them. I think someone made a mistake once and I was without Cable/Internet and Phone for 12 hrs (overnight) once. I think someone unhooked my cable at the apartment mainbox, but you can't tell the service people anything if you are a mere [know]-nothing customer :)

The only thing you may consider is that you may not be able to make direct international calls outside North America without a Calling Card type long distance Card.

My pick against VOIP would be the same as with the internet generally -- lack of security compared to land lines. I have heard that land lines are hacked though, too. People who know about these things say to wait until there is greater security, and also, when there are more companies offering service -- minimal at present. Any comments?

CANADA -- The creature sprang in front of its prey, its hindquarters exposed, its paws raised above its shiny mane, caught in the headlights of international attention.

[....] The assembled leaders gathered at the Summit of the European Union, Latin American and the Caribbean in Vienna were caught off guard yesterday during a group photo shoot when a young woman wearing a thong, bra and knee-high black boots emerged on the stage holding a banner declaring ....

Sponsorship lawsuit grows to $63 million -- "the Tories have increased the lawsuit from $40 million" Allan Woods, CanWest, May 26, 2006

OTTAWA — The federal government will spend about $665,000 in lawyers fees alone — plus court costs — in order to recoup the $63 million it says was lost in improperly awarded contracts related to the federal sponsorship scandal.

The cost of the lawsuit was revealed as the government said Friday it was including Nicolas Gosselin and Groupaction subsidiary Alleluia Design in the civil lawsuit that was launched under the previous Liberal government, originally against 19 defendants for more than $40 million. [....]

Seeing Trudeau through open eyes Conrad Black, National Post, May 27, 2006

The first volume of Max and Monique Nemni's semi-official life of Pierre Trudeau is a worrisome read ... [subtitled] "Son of Quebec, Father of Canada."

[....] He believed that Britain initiated the Second World War, and that Nazism and Soviet Communism were "two Bolshevisms to be combatted by expiatory prayer." This cannot be blamed on the priest-ridden condition of Quebec at the time. The overbearing leader of the Quebec Church, J.-M.-R. Cardinal Villeneuve, former fire-breathing French Canadian nationalist though he was, urged full participation in the war, praised the British to the skies, banished anti-war priests to monasteries and urged the faithful to "give generously of our very blood, for the [Allied] victory of God and man, that the world may again know days of peace and justice." The young Trudeau wasn't listening; he was apparently fighting the Blitzkrieg with pious incantations. [....]

Worth reading this one

Microsoft shows off JPEG rival By Joris Evers, Staff Writer, CNET

SEATTLE--If it is up to Microsoft, the omnipresent JPEG image format will be replaced by Windows Media Photo.

[....] In his presentation, Crow showed an image with 24:1 compression that visibly contained more detail in the Windows Media Photo format than the JPEG and JPEG 2000 formats compressed at the same level.

Still, the image in the Microsoft format was somewhat distorted because of the high compression level.

Typically digital cameras today use 6:1 compression, Crow said. Windows Media Photo should offer better pictures at double that level, he said. "We can do it in half the size of a JPEG file." [....]

Canada’s main wars over the last 100 years, and the Prime Ministers who sent the troops. timwest, 5/28/2006

Liberals divided on Afghan mission ....

* Boer War: Sir Wilfred Laurier (Liberal)
* World War I: Sir Robert Borden (Conservative)
* World War II: MacKenzie King (Liberal)
* Korea: Louis St. Laurent (Liberal)
* Kosovo: Jean Chretien (Liberal) [Also, check what JC contributed soon after 9/11 -- posted last week on this site.]* Afghanistan: Paul Martin (Liberal)

Perhaps they should consider a retraction on the war mongering label leveled against the Conservatives.

Is this correct, Libs?

Re Military: The above via How PM Cornered Opponents Contributed by: 4Canada
I was actually surprised at how few Liberals gave a "Nay". I was expecting an overwhelming "Yay" from them. 4Canada

There is an article published May 18, 06 by James Travers.

I suspect NATO can provide plenty of support without Canada.

But Mr Travesty sees no need to explain reality to his readers. That would spoil a nice chance to score points off the government.

Trash journalism.


Check out his reasoning.

Related to Canfor

I had posted on Canfor and its school in China May 27, 06 -- link below.

Google Search:
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Diversification Fund to assist in the marketing and promotion of blue stained ... target conversion cost for Canfor's Houston sawmill is $73 per mfbm. ...

An alternate to pdf: Via a search of DSpace

Title: Water storage of pine - A strategy to mitigate losses due to mountain pine beetle
Authors: MacDougall, Gerald L. Issue Date: 2005
Abstract: The pine forests of BC are currently subjected to an epidemic infestation of mountain pine beetle.
This paper provides a review of the history and extent of the infestation, a report on the likely economic effects of extensive pine mortality and an evaluation of a strategy to mitigate some of the projected negative economic impacts. Because of the infestation's scale, the limited shelf-life of dead standing timber, and milling capacity constraints, a majority of the affected pine will not be salvaged. The merchantable value of some of the affected timber could be maintained by storing it in lakes. Lake storage involves substantial carrying charges as logging costs are incurred in the near term while the timber will be processed and sold at some time in the future. Incentives will likely be required and it is recommended that the Province defer stumpage, facilitate regulatory approvals and appoint a "Facilitator of Innovation". Description: Research Project (M.B.A.) - Faculty of Business Administration - Simon Fraser University
Appears in Collections: Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

FHTR May 27, 2006: #2 -- Canfor hopes Chinese school will build wood market -- "a school in China funded by Canadian forest company Canfor Corp. to teach wood-frame construction techniques to planners, designers and builders." or original article Gordon Hamilton, CanWest News Service, May 25, 2006

Opposition MPs say they will fight softwood legislation


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