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Showing posts from February, 2007

More on the Iacobucci Inquiry

Finally a little more information on this inquiry. I sent an email to Stockwell Day on January 11th and several followups but have had not answer as to when the inquiry will begin or if there will be a website. The Liberal and NDP justice critics have not responded either. The only responses have been from the office of my own MP but neither of those answered the questions. Why have these email addresses if no one answers queries?

Attention News Editors:

Commissioner Frank Iacobucci appoints staff
OTTAWA, Feb. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, who has
been appointed as Commissioner to conduct the Internal Inquiry into the
Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad
Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin, is pleased to announce the appointment of
certain senior members of the Inquiry's legal and administrative staff.
Mr. John B. Laskin will act as Lead Counsel. Admitted to the Bar in 1979,
Mr. Laskin is a senior partner at Torys LLP in Toronto, …

Three large oil sands projects approved in four months!

I really do not have the knowledge to comment much about the environmental impact of these projects but I did see a CBC documentary that present a lot of damaging data that should make regulators think twice about allowing development at an escalating pace such as this. Also, it seems absolutely stupid to allow developments with no value added features such as an upgrader. This just leaves the value added profits to the US where much of the production will be exported.

Regulators approve third large oilsands project in four months
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 | 2:29 PM MT
The Canadian Press
Imperial Oil's $7-billion Kearl oilsands mine received conditional approval from regulators Tuesday, making it the third massive new oilsands project to get the go-ahead in the last four months.

Imperial celebrated the "key approval" by provincial and federal regulators, but environmentalists said it proves no attention is being paid to the cumulative effects of oilsands de…

Ottawa Tory claims there are extremist elements in Liberal Party

No doubt from some Conservatives point of view there are extremists in the Liberal party and also in the NDP! The Conservatives are trying to portray the Liberals as soft on terrorism or something of that nature. The recently repealed provisions were passed in the aftermath and over-reaction to 9/11. They have never even been used and were hardly necessary anyway. Harper and some of his party are probably not helping their cause with the type of character assassination and ad hominem rhetoric that they are engaging in these days.


MP's 'extremist' comment draws Liberal fire
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | 6:06 PM ET
CBC News
Liberals are demanding that a Conservative member of Parliament apologize for saying that there are "extremist elements" within the Liberal party.

"We know there is an extremist element in the Liberal party generally that has been very vocal in opposing measures that are designed to combat terrorism," Ottawa Tory MP Pierre Po…

Foreign visitors down in Canada

One factor not noted is that the Mad Cow Disease regulations impact on hunters. They cannot take their kill of deer, elk, etc. back to the US. I did not realise that there was a problem with lineups at the border. Surely the same is true of Canadians going into the US but their numbers are up. I imagine that the strength of the looney is a big factor.
Canada would probably be wise to try to diversify the tourist market to attract people from Asia and other areas. Americans can easily find the same sort of territory and attractions within the US without travel to Canada.


In Depth
Economy
Where are the visitors?
Last Updated February 26, 2007
CBC News
As the world's tourist industry continues growing, Canada's is shrinking. (CBC) The UN's World Tourist Organization called 2006 a record year for tourism. With 842 million arrivals and a growth rate of 4.5 per cent, the industry continues a four-year streak of sustained growth.

Africa's rate of growth was nearly twice the w…

Canadian premiers push for relaxed border rules

Interesting that the tourist expenditures of Canadians in US are more than the other way around. I wonder if tourism from the US is down the last while. It would seem that since the Canadian dollar is worth less than the US there would be more US expenditure here. Perhaps it is the snowbirds make the difference!
I wonder if the Canadian government is making any money from the processing of so many more passports.


Premiers push Washington to relax border rules
Last Updated: Monday, February 26, 2007 | 12:23 AM ET
CBC News
Three Canadian premiers are in Washington to press for an easing of the U.S. rules that will require a passport to cross the land border.

At a joint news conference on Sunday to start the four-day visit, Manitoba's Gary Doer, Ontario's Dalton McGuinty and New Brunswick's Shawn Graham said new rules requiring a passport will hurt cross-border trade and tourism.

The premiers said they are getting a sympathetic response from U.S. governors, who will also face t…

Detainees react to Supreme Court ruling on Security Certificates

Some people have pointed out that the detainees are "free" to leave Canada but this freedom is to go to countries where they face torture or perhaps even death.


Detainee ruling comes after 'years of hell'
Last Updated: Friday, February 23, 2007 | 3:37 PM ET
CBC News
Relatives of the men arrested under the federal government's national security certificates praised a high court ruling Friday ordering a new system, while expressing fear that their legal battles are far from over.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously the certificate system is unconstitutional and has given the federal government one year to rewrite the law.

"It's the happiest day of my life," said Mohamed Harkat, who was interviewed by CBC Newsworld from his home in Ottawa.

He said he was "crying for 3½ years in jail" as he continued asking authorities what evidence they had against him.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, writing for the court, said the process of hearing s…

Why US will not admit Arar's Innocence

This is from the Globe and Mail. Another reason is that Arar still has an appeal pending on his suit against the US government.


A world of Maher Arars
Why won't the U.S. admit Maher Arar's innocence? It may be fear of precedent. Tales of other suspects seized and sent abroad to face torture are beginning to come to light in Europe. This week, those stories helped bring down the Italian government. And as Doug Saunders reports, this could be just the beginning.
DOUG SAUNDERS

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

E-mail Doug Saunders | Read Bio | Latest Columns
On an October evening five years ago, a Gulfstream III executive jet appeared in the sky above Rome and requested a landing at Ciampino Airport, a small military and tourist-flight destination on the ancient Via Appia. On board the 14-seat plane were two pilots, a steward, five CIA agents and a tall, elegant Canadian wearing a green sweater, a pair of jeans and metal shackles.

The Gulfstream, registered to a CIA-connected firm…

North American Security and Prosperity Initiative

This is an interesting account of plans for deep integration of Canada US and Mexico. It is virtually undiscussed by the mainstream media. I am finally realizing that many important issues are virtually ignored by mainstream media while the public are fed sensational stories such as the trials of serial killers. The eventual outcome of this process would be a North American Union dominated by the US.As with NAFTA the US would be assured of preferred access to the natural resources particularly oil of Canada and Mexico.


Timeline of the Progress Toward a North American Union
Canadian, U.S., and Mexican elites, including CEOS and politicians, have a plan to create common North American policies and further integrate our economies. This plan goes by various names and euphemisms, such as "deep integration", "NAFTA-plus", "harmonization", the "Big Idea", the "Grand Bargain", and the "North American Security and Prosperity Initiative"…

North American Competitiveness Council Aims at Deep Integration of US and Canada

While there was some discussion of this on TV and on Newman's CBC Politics program I found virtually nothing on it on the CBC news website or even on Google Canada news. Very important matters are being discussed with little coverage and with no participation except by CEO's, and their servants in government. There is supposed to be a report of what the NACC recommended in the public domain but I haven't hunted it down as yet.

Ottawa Meeting Aimed At Integrating North America (Meera Karunananthan)
Rabble.ca, February 23, 2007

North American integration will be the primary focus of a high-level trinational meeting taking place in Ottawa today. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Trade Minister David Emerson and their Mexican counterparts.

“While recent media reports have claimed that the meeting will focus on border security,” says…

Arar still to be on US no fly list. Canadian security certificates unconstitutional

Friday, February 23, 2007
US still to keep Arar on no-fly list: Canadian Security Certifcates Unconstitutional

Of course the US has never apologised for misleading Canadian officals, indeed lying to them, or for sending him to Syria instead of Canada. It is great that the Supreme Court has found security certificates unconstitutional but probably the Conservatives will find some way of amending the legislation to make it legal and the status quo can remain for a year.

'We agree to disagree' with U.S. on Arar: MacKay
Last Updated: Friday, February 23, 2007 | 5:44 PM ET
CBC News
Canada and the United States "agree to disagree" on the status of Maher Arar, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said Friday alongside his U.S. counterpart, Condoleezza Rice.

MacKay, Rice and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa spoke at a press conference in Ottawa following a day of high-level talks on a range of issues, including trade, security and flu pandemic response plans.

"We …

Canadian security certificates and sending off to torture

This is an update of an earlier story. The security certificates are not new and I gather are not even part of the special terrorist provisions passed after 9/11. As the article points out they have been around since 1978. They seem to be an earlier abomination. The fact they are not applied to citizens doesn't change the fact. As the article also points out Canada can claim no high ground concerning sending someone off to be tortured. It is almost certain that at least one of these defendants would be tortued in Egypt if not killed.

Canadian security
Security certificates and secret evidence
Last Updated February 20, 2007
CBC News
Mahmoud Jaballah says he's no terrorist and he's never been charged with any crime in Canada. But since 2001, Jaballah has been in a Canadian jail because the government of Egypt says he's part of a terrorist organization called al-Jihad. The Canadian government believes that and says he's not a legitimate refugee, so it's trying to depor…

Harper chastises Liberals and defends US rendition in effect

This is from Hansard Nov. 2002. Note that Harper shows no concern for the rendition of Arar, no doubt because he is a suspected terrorist. He defends the US decision since Arar is a Syrian citizen. He complains in effect that the Liberals are soft on terrorism and should not have granted Arar citizenship. Of course the Liberals in turn defend the RCMP who were feeding the US and Canadian officials false information that was subesequently also leaked to Canadian news media. This link comes from this site.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
[Oral Questions]
* * *

[English]

Terrorism

Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the government's right hand does not know what its left hand is doing when it comes to national security.

The foreign affairs minister said for two months that the United States had offered no justification or information for the deportation of Maher Arar. Yet we now know that the RCMP knew of Arar's activities. They questioned him…

Canadians asked to stop transferring prisoners to Afghan authorities

If Afghanistan is a sovereign country you would think it would have control of all prisoners. Of course it doesn't. Many prisoners are in US controlled prisons. Anyway a solution that allows the Canadians to check on treatment of prisoners transferred seems to be a reasonable solution.

2 groups ask court to stop transfer of Afghan prisoners
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | 3:16 PM ET
CBC News
Two human rights groups said Wednesday they are taking legal action to stop Canadian soldiers from handing over their prisoners in Kandahar to Afghan security forces.

The practice exposes the prisoners to possible abuse and torture and is a violation of international law, Amnesty International and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said in Ottawa.

It also contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they said.

The groups said they will file an application to the Federal Court of Canada asking for a judicial review of the practice, which is allowed under the Canada-Afghani…