You can tell it's almost Canada Day. We are starting our annual self examination of our position in the world compared to everybody else. The Conference Board of Canada has produced a Report Card, comparing Canada to the other 16 wealthiest countries. "While Canada is still in the gifted class among nations, its report card tells the story of a country moving to the back of the class because of its underperformance in almost all subjects."
Canada's standard of living has slipped to ninth this year from fourth in the 1970s, the report said.The report compares the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.A. Canada tied with Denmark at number 9.
Here's our individual rankings. 2nd in Education High rate of secondary and college graduation. But fewer PhD graduates mathematics, science, computer science and engineering.9th in Health C…
Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest oil-and-gas company updated his room full of shareholders on the $8 billion Kearl Tar Sands Project at their General Meeting in Dallas last week.
Kearls is the planned open-pit mining operation, the size of 20,000 football fields with expected production is 200,000 barrels of bitumen a day. The Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups challenged Alberta's hasty approval of the project and a Canadian federal court in March, ordered an environmental review panel to justify its decision to allow the oilsands project in northern Alberta to go ahead. However Rex told his shareholders that he expects little delay in the $8-billion Kearl oilsands project in Alberta, despite the court challenge by the environmental organizations. "My understanding is that the project has been given a very high priority by the government of Canada and is moving along at a fairly rapid pace." Yes sir Rex, …
To avoid a repeat of last week's fiasco at the annual meeting of US mayors, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is heading to the annual meeting of western U.S. governors and premiers, this weekend.
Unfortunately, Ed has decided to speak for Canada and place a price tag on Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. From Macleans here. Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach says Canada has "protected the backs" of Americans in several wars and U.S. politicians should consider this before rejecting what some are calling "dirty" oil from the oil sands.
"We're protecting each other in the Middle East and Afghanistan," said the premier. "We've been together in both world wars. We've been good trading partners."As a Canadian, I take a little offense on this one Ed. I don't believe that Americans buying Alberta tar sands oil was one of reasons why we went to Afghanistan and although we all know it is really, really important to your province, it is certainl…
"The prime minister interrupted me... by mouthing a four letter obscenity," says Conservative MP John Lundrigan. "He mouthed two words," adds another Tory MP Lincoln Alexander to a group of reporters. "The first started with the letter F, the second word the letter O."
The accused potty mouth, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, swears he did no such thing.
Trudeau says that Lundrigan and Alexander are being "very sensitive" for "crying to mama and to television."
When pressed by journalists on exactly what happened inside the House of Commons on Feb, 16, 1971, Trudeau mutters the soon-to-be famous phrase: "fuddle duddle."
"Saturday Night Live" pays tribute to George Carlin, on Saturday, June 28, by re-airing its premiere episode that featured him as host.
Remembering Carlin, Lorne Michaels noted: "George Carlin helped give 'Saturday Night Live' its start as our first host. He was gracious, fearless, and most important of all, funny."
Carlin performed three individual monologues on the program that also introduced audiences to the "Not Ready For Prime-Time Players".
The 1975 episode also features musical guests Janis Ian and Billy Preston as well as a landmark performance from comedian Andy Kaufman.Here's George's first monologue if you really can't make the time tonight.
The EU ban only covers tobacco, not marijuana. However the Dutch and other European marijuana users traditionally smoke pot in fat, cone-shaped joints mixed with tobacco. Therefore the ban applies to the cafes, known as coffee shops, that sell marijuana. CNEWS here. "It's the world upside down: In other countries they look for the marijuana in the cigarette. Here they look for the cigarette in the marijuana," said Jason den Enting, manager of coffee shop Dampkring.Shops are scrambling to adapt. One alternative is "vaporizer" machines, which incinerate weed smokelessly. Another is to replace tobacco with herbs like coltsfoot, a common plant that looks like a dandelion and that smokers describe as tasting a bit like oregano.But most shops are just planning to increase their sales of hash brownies and pure weed - and are hoping the law isn't enforced.Although possession is illegal in the Netherlands, smokers are not prosecuted for ho…
It amazes me that oil at $140 a barrel and gas at $1.40 a litre, could end up being the worst thing that could of happen to the oil industry in Canada. It is mobilizing a North American environmental movement.
Two years ago we were being warned that Middle East oil production had peaked, and the tar sands were considered the answer to North American demand. Now the attention has shifted to the amount of greenhouse gasses being created to produce a barrel of oil and the tar sands production is being labelled dirty oil.
With the latest shocker for Alberta being the declaration from the US Mayors to boycott oil produced by the tar sands.
Alberta’s immediate response was somewhat conciliatory and slightly defensive. "I wish I could talk to all of them one-on-one,"
"This resolution suggests a lack of understanding and we hope by extending that invitation we can help set the record straight."
"Reducing greenhouse gas is an important issue, but it requires a comprehensive,…
From the CBC here.Greenpeace has launched a tongue-in-cheek website touting the tourism potential of the Alberta oil sands.
The Greenpeace-produced site promises visitors "beautiful black sand beaches [that] stretch for miles," toxic lakes and clearcut forests.
"Try open-pit paragliding and ride the unique coal bed methane and sour gas updrafts," a male announcer says over a slide show of familiar Alberta landmarks, grinning tourists and panoramic shots of the oil sands.The Greenpeace site is in answer to the $25 million campaign that CAPP is launching to improve the environmental image of Alberta's energy industry.
According to the Washington Note here, the Bush administration is going to "ask Congress" to delist North Korea from America's terrorist watch list. This request will be made today. Several sources from the State Department, CIA, DoD and the White House confirmed that the administration was moving forward on formally asking Congress to remove North Korea from the controversial watch list.
This is seen as a key confidence building step by North Korea and China in moving towards North Korea's eventual return to the nuclear non-proliferation club.Let me get this straight. When Bush took office, one of the first things he did was to cancel the North Korean fuel deal that Clinton had instigated. Clinton's deal was to assist North Korea with fuel shipments as they moved off their nuclear program.
Of course to no one's surprise except maybe the Bush Administration, Kim Jong-il immediately let the world know that he had restarted his nuclear program and even boasted that…
It appears that Harper has started touring the country during the parliamentary break getting ready for an expected fall election.
Last week Steve was out west cursing the Liberals and reminding the western nationalists about Trudeau and the NEP. This week he is in Quebec declaring that the conservatives are the true Quebec nationalists. From the Gazette.
Harper reminded a "seemingly hastily organized" group of local conservatives about his resolution in the House of Commons stating that Quebecers form a nation within Canada. "One of the proudest moments for me as prime minister is when I recognized this reality," he added.
"After the speech, Harper served hot dogs and posed for photos".I expect that we will see more photos of Steve on July 1st, in Ottawa for Canada Day, where he will confirm that Canada is a diverse nation.
At this rate I would not be surprised if Steve shows up in Southern Ontario in August, suddenly realizing that Toronto is the center of t…
CBC reports here that an unidentified man died today after being tasered by the OPP this morning.The incident happened mid-morning in Norfolk County, about 130 km southwest of Toronto.
Police said they were responding "to a report of an unwanted male person causing a disturbance," and said the man was "combative.The man collapsed at the OPP station and was taken to the hospital where he died.
There is no argument for the continued use of tasers. If proponents claim that 150 + deaths in North America is a small percentage, then they are tasering too many people. It is 150 people that didn't have to die.
Although the Bush administration quickly claimed that the oil sands production was exempt from the recently passed legislation that forbids the use of fuel made from unconventional sources with high greenhouse gas emissions, pressure is being placed on US industries and organizations to boycott tar sands produced fuels.
Today the United States Conference of Mayors meeting in Miami, have passed a resolution that urges cities to forbid the use of gasoline made with oil from Alberta's oil sands in municipal vehicles. "Tarsands oil emits up to three times the greenhouse gases in the production process per barrel as convention oil production. Our cities are asking for environmentally sustainable energy and not fuels from dirty sources such as tarsands."
"This resolution shows our willingness to take action to move forward, not backwards, which is where fuels such as tarsands oil will take us."Apparently as the price of oil increases, more Americans are becoming aware o…
Sandy Pond is part of a 38 hectare trout bearing lake near Long Harbour, NL. Vale Inco Ltd. the Brazilian mining giant that bought Inco, is now proposing to build a processing plant in Newfoundland. It has asked the federal government for permission dump 386,000 tonnes of toxic waste, every year into Sandy Pond. Sandy Pond is full of fish, with what some claim are the best brook trout in the province. "We always win the trout fishing derby and the majority of the trout came from Sandy Pond," Mr. Murphy, a local fisherman said in an interview. "I've never seen a pond that would compare to Sandy Pond. It's definitely the best fishing,"Dumping toxic waste into Canadian lakes is illegal. However amendments made to federal regulations in April, 2006, "allow mining companies to use fish bearing natural water bodies" for dump sites. And the Department of Fisheries is looking at nine new dumping sites this year, with Sandy Pond being the next one up.
On public discourse during campaigns Although often critical of his opponent on many issues, McCain didn’t once use profanity to describe Obama’s policies.Harper claims Dion is out to “screw everybody”
On environmental solutions McCain said a sensible cap and trade emissions system is a critical part of a strong environmental strategy.Harper blasted Ontario and Quebec's new cap and trade emission pact.
With her term expiring at the end of this month, Louise Arbour is stepping down from her position as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ms. Arbour is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
She was made a Companion to the Order of Canada in 2007 "for her contributions to the Canadian justice system and for her dedication to the advancement of human rights throughout the world"
She was appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on July 1, 2004, replacing Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in Baghdad along with other members of his staff the previous August.
In 2005 she took heat from the US over her Human Rights Day Statement: On Terrorists and Torturers Particularly insidious are moves to water down or question the absolute ban on torture, as well as on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Governments in a number of countries are claiming that es…
The Tories newly passed immigration reforms, which are retroactively being applied to Feb 26th, were aimed at reducing a staggering backlog of applications by would-be immigrants. However they are creating a new logjam and increasing delays. Immigrants who submitted applications after Feb. 26, have been told by that their applications are being put on hold until further notice.In typical Tory fashion and with accompanying hubris the Tories claimed that the backlog of 925,000 immigrant applications was caused by the former Liberal government’s neglect and mismanagement. And instead of trying to better manage the system by applying more resources over the last two years, the Tories decided to reform the immigration laws. In a news release issued after the legislation's passage, the immigration department said the law "will stop the backlog from growing" and help to bring in skilled immigrants in as little as six months.However, Canada receives 14,500 new overseas applicants …
Although they probably won’t be hanging a "Mission Accomplished" banner across the White House lawn, they are celebrating inside tonight. Iraq is preparing to allow four of the biggest western oil companies, BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total, to renew exploitation of the country's vast reserves for the first time in almost four decades. According to Iraq's oil minister: "The deal did not amount to the privatization of the country's oil. Instead the deal is being presented as limited 2 year support contracts where the companies will sell expertise and equipment rather than providing capital and management control of existing fields. " Although not normally interested in such deals the four majors see the contracts as a stepping stone towards an extension rights under which each company would get first preference on any future contract for the field on which it has worked. In response to why there was no competitive bidding for the concessions. which were awar…
"When Republican presidential nominee John McCain addresses a sold-out luncheon on Friday it will be hard to find a Conservative politician in the crowd."Similar to the special pre-release screening of the film "Young People Fucking" in Ottawa, a couple weeks ago, the Prime Ministers Office has warned the Tories to avoid John McCain's speech on Friday afternoon. "Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be out of town -- rumours suggest his absence is more than just convenient timing -- and he declined to meet with Mr. McCain, sources say. The Prime Minister's Office, concerned about the optics, also advised staff working for MPs to avoid the speech."Although I would agree, that most of McCain's talking points are perverse, I imagine that it might be difficult for many of the young neocons to resist hearing him speak. I assume, Harper has told Conservative MP Gary Goodyear not to fire anybody this time. From the National Post here and the CBC here.
What is it with these Tories. Tax grab, tax grab, tax grab and always at the gas pumps! That's all I ever hear coming out their mouths lately. I even think I heard them talking it up on the radio the other day. Well excuse me John, if that's the best you've got, I think I like the sound of Stephane's plan better. In an interview with the CBC, following the first day of the Federal Court case against the government for failing to comply with the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA) passed in Parliament last year, Baird said: "We'll follow the letter of the law, and we'll make our case in court. But simply put … this bill, if taken to its logical conclusion, would require us to put a 50-cent-a-litre tax on gasoline at the pumps," "And that's just not something I'm prepared to do."Well which is it John, are you not prepared to follow the letter of law and meet the Kyoto commitments of reducing carbon dioxide by 6% below the 1990 levels…
As expected the report by the subcommittee on the Omar Khadr case broke down between party lines, with a final report tabled by the majority made up of opposition members and a dissenting statement produced by the Tories.
Here's the two statements: “The subcommittee therefore believes that the Government of Canada has an obligation to ensure that its position on the case of Omar Khadr is consistent with its commitments to international human rights law, and its policies on child soldiers and on assistance to Canadians imprisoned abroad.”“Mr. Khadr could become a litmus test on Canada's commitment to impeding global terrorism and the results of our actions today could result in consequences that are not in the long-term interest of the country.” Guess which statement was made by the opposition parties and which one was created by the use of "pre-approved talking points" and a perverse belief that keeping Khadr in Guantanamo, is some sort of proof of our ferocity as a n…
Tomorrow Canada will become the first country to be brought to court for its failure to comply with domestic law and meet its international commitments to combat global warming. Friends of the Earth (FOE) will be in a Federal Court in Toronto, asking a judge to compel the Conservative government to follow the climate-change law that was passed in Parliament last June. The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA), was a Liberal private members bill, put forth by Paul Martin, that went into law in June 2007. It requires the government to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol and submit a plan showing how it would do so.
As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol Canada is expected, starting this past January 2008 through 2012 to reduce it’s greenhouse gases by 6% from the base levels set in 1990 (592 megatonnes of carbon dioxide) and the KPIA law requires the government to do so.
Government lawyers have filed papers stating that meeting Kyoto targets would plunge Canada into a "severe re…
A handgun ban isn't the answer to Toronto's gun violence. If you want to see gun crime reduced you've got to go after the criminals.A ban would divert limited police resources by going after innocent firearm owners. The Conservatives are working to fight gun crime. We want to go after the people involved in the smuggling. We say this is the way to see gun crime reduced. Luckily most of the platitudes were off their mark and missed Mayor Miller.
Meanwhile the city has just gone through another weekend of gun violence, that started with a double murder Thursday night and three more shooting by Sunday morning resulting in another man being killed and four people being injured.
Unfortunately for us city folk, when it comes to gun safety Day is all hat and no cattle. From the Toronto Sun here.
The new Tory attack ads, running on the radio, can't be polling that well if you've got this many Conservative officials out there explaing why they ran them.
According to the Globe this morning, the Tories decided to fast-track their attack ads against the Liberals to remove the focus from their own poor performance.One senior Conservative official said some Tory officials also wanted to spook the Liberals so they would not topple the government as it experienced one of its most difficult periods since taking power in 2006. Patrick Muttart, told officials the ads had been released earlier to try to blunt bad publicity over the resignation of former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier.
The Prime Ministers Office "wanted to get out and do some defining again - set the agenda," said the source. "After a few weeks of the Bernier mess, enough was enough."
Another Conservative official claims "There were fears that we would be toppled last week in the Hous…
Panorama the hard hitting, investigative news program on BBC One (similar to the Fifth Estate on CBC) has produced a report investigating claims that as much as $23 Billion may have been lost, stolen or not properly accounted for in Iraq.
Unlike the 60 minutes report from March about a successful civil, fraud case against Custer, Battles or the accepted claims by the Bush Administration that up to $8 billion was improperly accounted for, Panorama is making allegations about a much larger sum and by much larger companies, Bechtel, Halliburton and Parsons. There are more than 70 whistleblower cases revealing the scandals behind billions of dollars worth of waste, theft and corruption during the Iraq war, that the US justice department has imposed gag orders on. The gag orders prevent all involved, including the US media to discuss the cases and the real scale of the problem.
In the report Panorama spoke to some of those involved - They heard allegations of mismanagement, fraud and waste; t…
This short and uplifting Globe piece is worth a weekend read. It is about native students from Cromarty High in Thunder Bay, gradating this week from a new pilot program that was started and is is being financed by Paul Martin, our former Prime Minister.
They chose Cromarty High because it was a rather rundown former public high school that is run by Indian Affairs. The school teaches native students who come mostly from isolated fly-in communities. The pilot program, which was designed around a 20-year-old program that was developed to encourage tough inner-city kids in places such as New York and Dublin to think about business.
Encouraged with the results of this first pilot, the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative is now funding five more pilot projects in the four western provinces and in Nunavut.
“We must find out the defects by trying it out in different parts of the country,” Martin says. “We'll make mistakes, we know that. But once we get it done, we'll have the chance …
Death-defying clips from the 2008 Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, where every year fearless competitors from around the world tumble down an almost vertical hill in Gloucester, UK, chasing an 8lb Double Gloucester Cheese.
Cinders, a young saddleback pig, appeared to have a condition called mysophobia - a fear of dirt - having refused to wallow in the mud with her siblings. Her owners had the idea of fitting her with the bespoke miniature footwear to help conquer her fear.
Tim Russert, NBC journalist and political heavyweight host of "Meet the Press," has died after collapsing at NBC's Washington news bureau, a source said. He was 58 years old.
Russert, who rose from the inside world of politics where he was former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's press secretary and one-time chief of staff to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was able to successfully cross over to political journalism and rise to become one of its leading lights.
In his role as host of the seminal Sunday morning political program "Meet the Press" - which he took over in 1991 - he became renowned for his hard-nosed interviews where he frequently cornered some of Washington's cagiest political figures with tough questions.
Russert joined NBC News in 1984. In April 1985, he supervised the live broadcasts of the Today program from Rome, negotiating and arranging an appearance by Pope John Paul II - a first for American television. In 1986 and 1987 Russert led N…
The report from RCMP complaints commissioner Paul Kennedy on the use of Tasers by the RCMP, that was expected yesterday has had it's release date moved forward to next week. Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who received the report on Monday has requested the delay. Day is currently in Japan.
Day asked Kennedy to study the RCMP's Taser use, last November after Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died in October after being repeatedly zapped with an RCMP Taser and subdued by officers at Vancouver International Airport. A last-minute call from the public safety minister delayed release of what's expected to be a hard-hitting report on RCMP Taser use. The minister's office asked late Wednesday for a meeting on the report, resulting in hasty cancellation of its publication Thursday. Both Day and the RCMP commissioner Wiliam Elliott has received advance copies of the report.
There was no explanation why Day waited until Wednesday to request the meeting, given that Kennedy had anno…
That's the question I want my Liberal MP Omar Alghabra, to ask the government today. I like many Canadians, I would assume, knew of the stories about the Indian residential schools. The stories had been reported for many years. But it was not until I saw the news reports on the various groups of native people gathering to hear the speech from Harper, did I start to fully understand what was done by our federal government and the effect that it has had on generations of native peoples. As one native leader who had been sent to the residential schools said, this speech and the settlement will not restore our lives but at least now, Canadians might start to understand what was done to us in their name. I now get it. But apparently Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative back bencher for Nepean does not.
Here's a transcript from Pollievre's radio interview: And that gets to the heart of the problem on these reserves where there’s too much power concentrated in the hands of the leadersh…
If you are running for president, there is nothing better than a rocking anthem to pump up the crowds and project the sort of imagery that could help you win the keys to the White House or so says the independent here.
Where Obama has U2s permission for “Beautiful Day”, McCain has been getting turned down by the owners of each song they have used and also the owners of the songs that his handlers chose to approach. So far he has gone through Take A Chance On Me by ABBAPink Houses by John Mellencamp Theme from Rocky by someone that wouldn’t let them And most recently Johnny B Goode by Chuck BerryIn an effort to assist I was going to suggest Old Man by Neil Young, but I think Neil's switched back to the Democratic party. I do believe though that Gilbert O'Sullivan is still alive and still performing. Here's Gilbert with one of hist hits,