Sunday, September 30, 2007

Apology sought over NDP comment on Karzai speech.

Afghanistan is unlikely to get an apology from Layton. The evidence is fairly clear that there was at least a considerable input into the speech by the military. Dawn no doubt exaggerates in saying that the military wrote it but surely that is expected of politicians! Karzai wanted to taylor his speech to what would be most effective in the Canadian context, something that is hardly surprising. Naturally puppets want to appear independent and you shouldn't show their strings or exaggerate their number. It is not polite.

Apology sought over NDP comment on Karzai speech
Last Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2007 | 5:01 PM ET
CBC News
Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada says his country wants an apology from the NDP for alleging that Canada's defence staff essentially wrote Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech to Parliament last year.

Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada speaking to CBC Newsworld on Sunday.
Omar Samad told CBC Newsworld on Sunday that one of his colleagues has demanded the NDP retract the accusation and apologize, because Afghan officials found it "insulting."

"We wrote the speech as Afghans and the president of Afghanistan delivered it to the Canadian people in Parliament, and that's where we stand," Samad said.

"It's an outrage that a political party here would not do its homework properly, would not go far enough into looking into this matter, would not understand how diplomatic relations, bilateral relations and arrangements for a visit work and would make such an allegation," he told Newsworld.

Continue Article

Last Tuesday, NDP defence critic Dawn Black showed a government document suggesting a team of Canadian military advisers provided "key statistics, messages, themes, as well as overall structure" of Karzai's speech, given on Sept. 22, 2006.

Black said the document, obtained through an Access to Information request, shows that the initial draft of the president's speech was prepared by the Strategic Advisory Team, described in media reports as a group of mostly Canadian officers acting as advisers to the Karzai government.

"What Canadians heard was not the voice of the Afghan people, but the talking points of the Department of National Defence," said Black, whose party has called for the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan.

NDP Leader Jack Layton said Sunday he met with Karzai last year and was told by the Afghan president that there had to be a negotiated settlement in his country, and yet there was no mention of it in his speech to Parliament.

"Why not?" Layton asked. "Was he being told by Canadian officials and [Prime Minister] Stephen Harper's office that he shouldn't mention that a negotiation was a better way to go? He told me that in person virtually days from the date he made that speech.

"The evidence that we unearthed shows that Mr. Harper, through the officials, was trying to influence what Mr. Karzai said," Layton said. "We should be very concerned about that."

Last week, the ambassador said he and several other Afghan advisers prepared their own versions of the remarks and the final speech went through several drafts, which Karzai edited himself.

A Liberal Majority

Unless there is a sudden swing with the next ten days it does not look promising for the Conservatives. I hope some NDPers are not voting Liberal to try and keep the Conservatives out. Where an NDP win is possible it makes more sense to vote for the NDP. It does not look as if the Conservatives are at all likely to win a majority.

Ontario Liberals on course for majority: poll
The Ontario Liberals are on their way to a majority, say a new poll conducted for the CanWest News Service.

Don Butler, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, September 28, 2007 Article tools
* The Liberals have opened up a 10-point lead over the Progressive Conservatives and are on track for a majority victory in the Ontario election, says the latest poll done for CanWest News Service.

According to the Ipsos Reid survey, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have the support of 43 per cent of decided voters, compared to 33 per cent for John Tory’s Conservatives. The NDP and Green party trail with 17 per cent and six per cent respectively. Only five per cent of Ontarians are still undecided.

“It’s not over until it’s over, but it’s a yawning gap,” John Wright, Ipsos Reid’s senior vice president, said Friday.

“The reality is it’s going to be a hard climb for Mr. Tory to win. It’s going to be very difficult to turn this ship around.”

Using an aggregate of five recent polls, including the latest Ipsos Reid survey, DemocraticSpace is now projecting the Liberals to win 60 seats, a comfortable majority in the 107-seat legislature.

The projection projects the Conservatives to win 35 seats and the NDP 12, while the Green party to be shut out. At dissolution, the Liberals held 67 seats, the Conservatives 25 and the NDP 10, with one independent. The legislature has added four seats due to a reorganization that takes effect with this election.

The Liberals’ 10-point lead is their largest since the campaign began Sept. 3, breaking open what had been a stagnant contest. The previous Ipsos Reid survey on Sept. 20 gave the governing Liberals a narrow three-point edge over the Tories.

The Liberals now lead in every region of the province except southwest Ontario. They lead by a two-to-one margin in Toronto and are narrowly ahead in the critical 905 belt around the city. In Northern Ontario, Conservative support has collapsed to an astonishing six per cent.

In Eastern Ontario, the Liberals now sit at 42 per cent, while the Tories have slipped to 36 per cent. In hotly contested Ottawa-West Nepean, Liberal cabinet minister Jim Watson has edged ahead of Tory challenger Mike Patton.

Results of the poll lend credence to Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara’s boast a week ago that voters will return a Liberal majority on Oct. 10.

They also suggest McGuinty’s public musings this week about a possible minority government may have been a strategic feint, designed to keep wavering Liberal voters from defecting to the NDP.

The Ipsos Reid poll of 800 adults, conducted from Sept. 25-27, shows the Conservative promise to extend public funding to faith-based schools remains a millstone around the party’s electoral neck.

Two-thirds of voters oppose the idea, with 51 per cent strongly opposed. Only three in 10 Ontarians support it, with just 13 per cent strongly in favour.

Wright said the issue “essentially has blocked out the sun” for most voters.

“Mr. Tory hasn’t been able to get off the issue of faith-based funding. It’s being raised in his caucus, it’s being raised on the hustings, and he’s still engaging in conversation about it.”

Nor have Tory’s more recent promises to allow greater private delivery of health services and permit the sale of Ontario craft beer and wine in corner stores been helpful.

“These are not campaign pieces that broaden your support,” Wright said. “Every single one of them diminishes your support.”

The Conservative campaign has also been hobbled by its negative focus, he said. Virtually all the Tory television ads, for instance, zero in on McGuinty’s broken promises.

“While negative advertising works, you have to offer an alternative,” said Wright. “And that message, whatever it is, simply hasn’t penetrated the electorate.”

Though the Conservatives have made leadership a focus of their campaign, the poll suggests the strategy hasn’t worked. Asked who would make the best premier, 33 per cent name McGuinty, 32 per cent choose Tory and 16 per cent pick NDP leader Howard Hampton.

Asked if there was any good news for the Conservatives in the poll, Wright responded with a blunt, “No.”

A measure of the Conservative weakness is that the party now ranks last as the second choice of voters, behind even the Green party. The NDP has the greatest second-choice support at 26 per cent, but only 15 per cent name the Tories as their second choice.

“The Tories are at the bottom of the list,” Wright said. “It’s remarkable.”

Though Tory was widely seen by pundits as the winner of the Sept. 20 televised leaders debate, that hasn’t translated into votes.

“While he may have won the academic debate, he didn’t win the political debate,” said Wright. “What’s clearly happened is there has been a drop in momentum.”

One tiny positive for the Tories is that 74 per cent of Conservative supporters say they are “absolutely certain” to vote on election day, compared to 68 per cent of intended Liberal voters.

But even if only those voters cast ballots, Wright said the Liberals would still be in majority territory at 42 per cent support, compared to 35 per cent for the Conservatives.

The poll is considered accurate within 3.5 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

Ottawa Citizen

© CanWest News Service 2007

New Democrats sense a new momentum

The momentum does not seem to be translating in more seat projections. The projections have been for 12 seats for some time, a bit better than last election but hardly much to cheer about. The Liberals seem to have the real momentum and it might bring them to a majority. I hope this is incorrect but that is how it looks.

New Democrats sense a new momentum
The prospect of a minority government is bringing the party and its election platform back from the political margins

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

September 27, 2007 at 5:54 AM EDT

TORONTO — Howard Hampton changed the shape of the Ontario election campaign this week with just seven words.

The New Democratic Party Leader was asked what conditions he would impose for propping up a minority government after the Oct. 10 election. He had been asked the question before and had always replied that it was important to let voters speak before getting into those machinations.

But he broke out of the straitjacket at a campaign stop in Waterloo on Monday and telegraphed to the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives that they would have to deal with the six major planks in the NDP platform in return for his support: "You have to address these six commitments."

In one sentence, Mr. Hampton brought into the open the unspoken reality that Ontario voters may not reward any of the parties with a majority government. His comments also brought the NDP out of the electoral wilderness and made it a force to be dealt with for the first time since the early 1990s.

Enlarge Image
Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton arrives at a campaign stop in Toronto yesterday. (CP/Frank Gunn)

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Internet Links
Ontario election 2007: Latest news, analysis, photos, interactives and more.
The party has been marginalized in the past three Ontario elections. In 1995, voters were desperate to get rid of Bob Rae's NDP government and in 1999 and 2003, thousands of New Democrats voted Liberal in an attempt to keep the Conservatives out of office.

"This is a different election," Mr. Hampton said in an interview. "The last two elections progressive voters just wanted to do one thing - they wanted to drive a stake in the heart of Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution. This election, ideas matter."

It didn't seem that way in the first two weeks of the campaign, however. Voters were talking about just two issues - whether Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty was a liar and whether Conservative Leader John Tory had lost his mind by proposing to spend public money on faith-based schools. In that context, the methodical introduction of the NDP platform by Mr. Hampton seemed to get lost.

Mr. McGuinty's subsequent acknowledgment that he could be reduced to a minority government guarantees that the NDP will be part of the main conversation until voting day. The bonus for Mr. Hampton in talking about a minority could be that NDP voters will not be as strongly tempted to vote Liberal for strategic reasons because they can be assured that a left-wing agenda will be promoted within government.

Ryerson University political scientist Gregory Inwood believes most individuals haven't yet confronted strategic voting but the prominence given this week to the possibility of a minority government will get core NDP supporters thinking about it.

"My gut feeling is that this core will hold for the NDP," he said.

This new wrinkle adds to what had already been a buoyant mood among New Democrats. Pre-election polls put the NDP's support level in the high teens, a modest improvement from the 14.7 per cent of the vote the party received in the 2003 election when it elected just seven MPPs, one less than was needed for official-party status.

Four subsequent by-election victories - including stunning upsets in the ridings of Hamilton East, Parkdale-High Park and York South-Weston - have restored the party's hopes of a successful 2007 campaign. Mr. Hampton said the NDP is competitive in a number of seats across Ontario but party strategists are focusing their hopes on seats in northwestern Ontario, Hamilton, Toronto and Windsor.

The party can't afford riding polls - it groups them in clusters - so it can't pinpoint what's going on but strategists think both seats in Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie are up for grabs, even though this would mean overturning substantial Liberal pluralities. They believe voters will want to punish the Liberal government for the region's economic decline.

"We're seeing an exodus of people, the loss of over 43,000 jobs in the forestry sector alone, the loss of almost a billion dollars in wages and salaries, whole communities having their economic base destroyed," said Mr. Hampton, who represents the northern riding of Kenora-Rainy River.

Lakehead University economist Livio Di Matteo agrees that the perception the Liberals haven't stemmed the decline of the forestry sector will be crucial in the election. "It will tend to bleed support from them," he said.

The NDP is even more buoyant about Hamilton, where three Liberal incumbents have resigned and left contests wide open. The fact that the Conservatives are picking up support for their tough-minded policy on the native occupation at Caledonia encourages New Democrats that the splits will break their way.

"We'll be disappointed if we win one and we might even be disappointed if we win two," a senior party official said.

It will be tougher in Windsor against two high-profile Liberal cabinet ministers - Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello - but party officials are hopeful in Ottawa Centre, where the Liberal incumbent is not running. They also think that close second-place finishes in 2003 in London-Fanshawe and Oshawa can be turned into victories if strategic voters come back home.

Mr. Hampton throws Brant, Cambridge and 10 Toronto ridings - including Davenport and Etobicoke North - into the possible-win column if the vote splits optimally.

Whatever happens, the NDP Leader is convinced the party has finally been let out of the doghouse by voters who remembered the high taxes and fiscal chaos of the Rae years. He recalls that in the past two campaigns, "on almost any radio open-line show, the first question you were asked was, 'Are you dead yet,' or, if not that, 'Why aren't you dead?' " "Now, in this election," he added, "people are actually looking for what we bring to the debate."

Hampton's conditions

The conditions NDP Leader Howard Hampton has set for supporting a minority government:

A rebate of up to $450 annually in the health tax

An immediate boost to a $10 minimum wage

Tougher global-warming regulations

A new school-financing formula to account for all school board expenses

Higher standards for long-term-care treatment

A rollback of tuition fees to 2003 levels

Cost: $9.1-billion

Elected NDP candidates


in 2003, compared with 72 Liberals, 24 Progressive Conservatives


in 1999, compared with 59 Progressive Conservatives, 35 Liberals


in 1995, compared with 82 Progressive Conservatives, 30 Liberals


in 1990, compared with 36 Liberals, 20 Progressive Conservatives

New Feature: Recommend this article

Taliban reject Karzai's offer of talks

This is hardly news or unexpected. The Taliban will not negotiate with Karzai until the foreign occupation of Afghanistan is ended. Karzai would not end that even if he could because he would not be in power and likely would not stay in power without foreign support. On the TV clips his US private guards are clearly visible in their dark glasses. Dynocorp has the contract.
The offer was a propaganda ploy but perhaps there is a hope that some Taliban will break off and join the government. It is interesting that Karzai has none of the standard blather about not negotiating with terrorists.

Taliban spokesman rejects Karzai's offer of talks
Last Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2007 | 8:42 AM ET
CBC News
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's offer of peace talks has been rejected by a Taliban spokesman, who on Sunday repeated a position he anounced earlier this month, saying there would be no negotiations until foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

Karzai told reporters on Saturday that he wants to meet with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and is willing to give the insurgent group positions in government. But Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi turned down the proposal.

"The Taliban will never negotiate with the Afghan government in the presence of foreign forces," Ahmadi told the Associated Press. "Even if Karzai gives up his presidency, it's not possible that Mullah Omar would agree to negotiations."

Karzai's offer came shortly after a suicide bomber disguised as an Afghan soldier killed 30 people in Kabul. The victims included 28 soldiers who were on a bus taking them to work. Two civilians near the bus explosion were also killed.

Karzai's office, meantime, said Sunday that there is talk among some Taliban fighters about laying down arms.

"They want to live in peace and have a comfortable life with their families," Karzai spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said. "There is serious debate within their ranks, but this is a process that takes time."

About 50,000 foreign soldiers under NATO and U.S. command are stationed in Afghanistan. The international forces are preparing to hand security responsibilities to the Afghans and are hoping the transfer will take place by 2011.

In the last session of Parliament, Canada's defence minister, Gordon O'Connor, said the military is committed to keeping soldiers in Afghanistan until the end of February 2009.

Earlier this month, the new defence minister, Peter MacKay, said Canada has made it clear to its NATO allies that they cannot count on Canadian troops, totalling more than 2,000 in southern Afghanistan, to continue the combat mission after that. MacKay said he'll have a final decision before a NATO meeting in Romania next April.

Encana issues royalty warning

Even as it records record breaking profits EnCana warns that the Alberta government better not ask for more of the cream. The cries are predictable but even if some specific areas such as gas may attract less investment the gas is still there and prices are likely to go up in time. A slowdown in investment in Alberta might not be all that bad but with US demand for Canadian oil and gas it is unlikely to slow down that much. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a bit of breathing space while those increased royalties give Alberta the money to invest in much needed infrastructure that is lagging behind growth. It will be interesting to see if Stelmach will yield to corporate pressure or to what degree.


EnCana issues royalty warning
Threatens to cut $1-billion in spending if report's recommendations are adopted in full

September 29, 2007

CALGARY, EDMONTON -- EnCana Corp., Canada's largest energy company, waded into the debate over Alberta's royalties system yesterday, warning that it would slash $1-billion from planned 2008 spending of $3-billion in the province if recommendations to increase the government's take from the industry are adopted in full.

Randy Eresman, EnCana's chief executive officer, said the royalty changes as proposed would reduce the number of wells drilled in Alberta, with wide-ranging consequences, from fewer hotel bookings to less new car purchases, warning in general of "extensive job losses."

Talisman Energy Inc. and Nexen Inc., two other industry heavyweights, echoed EnCana's concerns in subsequent interviews.

It was the strongest industry assault yet on a landmark report issued earlier this month by an independent panel that concluded Alberta has been missing out on billions of dollars in energy money.

"My message to everyone is let's just calm down," Premier Ed Stelmach told reporters after learning of EnCana's statement. He repeated that the province aims to strike a balance between fair royalties and encouraging industrial development. "We're analyzing all the recommendations."

The Alberta legislature is rife with rumours that Mr. Stelmach may call a snap election later this fall after his government decides what to do about royalties. He has long said, however, that he would prefer to wait until spring at the earliest to take Albertans to the polls.

EnCana, North America's largest natural gas producer and a growing oil sands operator, said it is in favour of a balanced conclusion on royalties. This was a contrast with what industry almost uniformly said earlier this year when energy companies during the public review of the issue insisted there was no need for changes.

"We are open to changes to Alberta's royalties," Mr. Eresman said in the statement. He did not give interviews yesterday.

EnCana, which booked the biggest profit in Canadian corporate history last year, said most of its potential cutbacks would be in natural gas. It refused to say what it means for its oil sands developments.

"I don't want to get into specifics, because they're very complex," EnCana spokesman Alan Boras said.

The review panel's report indicated that, under its recommendations, about 80 per cent of more than 100,000 natural gas wells in Alberta would pay less royalties, based on 2006 prices. EnCana said the changes would hurt future development, arguing that many new opportunities "will simply not be economically viable." Mr. Eresman said he would move capital spending to other places the company works, areas that include British Columbia, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas.

Talisman Energy, which produces about 80 per cent of its natural gas in Alberta, has already said it is cutting back on spending because of low gas prices and also said it would look at moving capital to other regions of the world if the new rules are adopted.

"We're likely to cut our capital [in Alberta] by more, but we're still working it out," Jim Buckee, who stepped down as Talisman's CEO this month, said in an interview, adding that higher royalties don't work at current gas prices. "Maybe if the gas price is in double figures, then there's some room, but there's no room now."

Nexen is still assessing the impact of the proposed changes on its projects.

"At this point, we obviously share the same concerns as EnCana," said Carla Yuill, a Nexen spokeswoman.

Most of the attention over the royalties report has been on the oil sands but, based on the recommendations, additional dollars would initially come from conventional oil and gas production, which still attracts more capital spending than the oil sands. While industry players are conceding the oil sands can absorb higher royalties, much of the worry centres on conventional production, indicated by EnCana saying most of its cuts would come in gas.

Sept. 28 Ontario election Seat Projections

The Liberals have gained one seat from the last projection on Sept. 27 and the Conservatives have lost one. Personally I would be just as happy if the Liberal total went down a bit and the NDP up and result in a minority government. The way the vote is going the Liberals could very well gain a majority. Perhaps a Liberal majority might make Harper a bit more cautious in his Throne Speech but I hope not. A fall federal election would be a good thing for all Canadians and in particular bloggers! This material is from democraticspace. The site has projections for areas and specific ridings as well.

Update 24: Liberals in Majority Territory
Friday September 28th 2007, 10:13 am
Filed under: Canadian Politics, - 2007 ON Election

The latest projections from DemocraticSPACE have the Liberals holding a slim majority. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are now projected at 60 seats (6 more than is needed for a majority) based on average support of 41.5%, John Tory’s Progressive Conservatives with 35 seats and 34.0% support, and Howard Hampton’s NDP with 12 seats and 16.0% support. Frank de Jong’s Green Party is projected at 7.0% support and no seats, and all others at 1.4%.

Projections are based on a weighted average of the last five polls conducted by leading pollsters, including the latest not-yet-released Ipsos-Reid poll (through 27 Sept). Poll data is calibrated regionally and adjusted for individual candidates, providing the most accurate predictive model available. Current projections are based on 3,362 surveys conducted between 18 and 27 Sept and have a margin of error of +/- 1.69%.

LIBERAL 60 seats 41.5% support
PC 35 seats 34.0% support
NDP 12 seats 16.0% support
GREEN 0 seats 7.0% support
OTHERS 0 seats 1.4% support

Tory shrugs off troubling poll results

Whatever the cause recent seat projections and polls are not favoring Tory.This article gives some of the Conservative northern policy. Coming from a rich constituency it is not surprising that Tory's strategy is to make things easier for the natural resource industries who are exploiting the North's riches. He wants to make them more competitive---contribute less to government coffers and pocket more.
This policy will ensure more goes into Conservative coffers as well.

Sunday » September 30 » 2007

Tory shrugs off troubling poll results in Ontario

Mary Vallis
CanWest News Service; National Post

Sunday, September 30, 2007

THUNDER BAY, Ont. -- Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory is dismissing polls suggesting he has handed the Liberals another majority victory with his call to fund religious schools.

"I haven't seen too many hockey games declared at the end of the second period," Tory said Saturday during a campaign stop in Thunder Bay, Ont., where he announced his strategy to help the North. "We're two-thirds of the way through this campaign."

The latest CanWest News Service poll suggests the Liberals have the support of 43 per cent of decided voters, while the Conservatives trail with 33 per cent.

An aggregate of recent polls shows the Liberals could win another majority and that Tory is struggling solely because of his controversial policy.

When a reporter pointed out the coach of the losing team often changes strategy at the start of the third period, Tory chuckled.

"The coach is doing his job," Tory said. "Stay tuned."

Despite dissent in his caucus over his proposal to fully fund faith-based schools, Tory insists his plan involves enough public consultation that a referendum on the issue is not necessary.

"There's plenty of time within that entire process to make sure that we do the right thing, the right way," Tory said. "I'm very committed to continuing to listen to people and making sure that we continue to explain the policy, which I think is something that is the right thing to do."

Garfield Dunlop, the incumbent Tory candidate in Simcoe North, called for a referendum on the matter earlier this week.

The Conservatives also been taking heat over where Tory would find his proposed $1.5 billion in "efficiencies" within the provincial government. Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals are warning the voters of looming cuts and job losses.

But Tory says he will consult civil servants as his "key advisers" to determine how the money can be saved. He added his plan would result in "improvements to services" and "perhaps reallocations of people from one place to another."

"We're short of people over here doing things we really need, and frankly we've probably got far too many people over there doing something really useless shuffling of papers that's just getting in the way of citizens going about their work," Tory said.

The Conservative leader has been trying to keep media following his campaign focused on different parts of his platform each day, although the question of faith-based schools inevitably arises.

This weekend Tory laid out his strategy to revitalize Ontario's North, promising to roll back McGuinty's "punitive diamond mine tax grab" and provide hundreds of millions of dollars for roads and higher education.

The Conservative leader also outlined his party's plan to revitalize struggling communities by moving government jobs out of Toronto.

"I want people everywhere in this province to be able to find a good job and enjoy an unparalleled quality of life," Tory said outside a closed lumber mill in Thunder Bay Saturday morning.

"But I want to go beyond that and work with northern communities so more people from outside this region will choose to come here."

Rebecca Johnson, the Conservative candidate for Thunder Bay-Atikokan riding, said the decentralization plan would appeal to former northerners living in the Toronto area. "I see this as an opportunity for people to move back to northwestern Ontario," she said.

"In Thunder Bay, you can get to work in 10 to 20 minutes. Then you can go hunting and fishing after work, and you can go skiing. People want to do that."

Tory also pledged to invest $150 million in rural and northern roads in the first year of a Tory government and spend another $300 million by the end of a first mandate.

He promised to spend a further $100 million on research and development for northern universities and colleges.

If elected, the Conservatives would also reduce the heavy load of regulations on flight schools and reduce the "regulatory burden" on the mining and forestry industries to keep them competitive, Tory added.

The Liberals originally announced a diamond royalty in March that would have imposed a 13 per cent tax on profit from Ontario's diamond mines and later reduced the tax to a maximum of 10.4 per cent.

The Liberals argue the tax is "similar to, and competitive with, other Canadian diamond-mining jurisdictions."

"Doesn't John Tory want Ontarians to receive their fair share from companies that are profiting from use of our natural resources?" the Liberals asked in an e-mailed statement.

Tory was to be in Toronto Sunday for an all-candidates meeting in Don Valley West, where he is running in a tight race against Liberal Education Minister Kathleen Wynne. The controversy over faith-based schools is expected to be front and centre.

The Conservative leader said he is confident he will win the Toronto seat, and that his party will win the election.

"I will be sitting here four years from now discussing my re-election campaign, defending my record," he said.

National Post

© CanWest News Service 2007

Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

Two Contrasting Views on Nuclear Power

Neither of these articles are very well documented, however they illustrate diametrically opposed views by prominent people.

First Helen Caldicott's critique of nuclear power. Caldicott has often been criticized for shoddy research but still much of what she has to say is no doubt on the mark. This is from the following site.

Nuclear Power Isn't Clean; It's Dangerous
By Dr. Helen Caldicott, 9/3/2001

Among the many departures from the truth by opponents of the Kyoto protocol, one of the most invidious is that nuclear power is “clean” and, therefore, the answer to global warming.

We heard this during the last round of talks in Bonn, and we can expect to hear more of the same as we move closer to the next round of Kyoto talks that are coming up in Marrakesh in October and November.

However, the cleanliness of nuclear power is nonsense. Not only does it contaminate the planet with long-lived radioactive waste, it significantly contributes to global warming.

While it is claimed that there is little or no fossil fuel used in producing nuclear power, the reality is that enormous quantities of fossil fuel are used to mine, mill and enrich the uranium needed to fuel a nuclear power plant, as well as to construct the enormous concrete reactor itself.

Indeed, a nuclear power plant must operate for 18 years before producing one net calorie of energy. (During the 1970s the United States deployed seven 1,000-megawatt coal-fired plants to enrich its uranium, and it is still using coal to enrich much of the world’s uranium.) So, to recoup the equivalent of the amount of fossil fuel used in preparation and construction before the first switch is thrown to initiate nuclear fission, the plant must operate for almost two decades.

But that is not the end of fossil fuel use because disassembling nuclear plants at the end of their 30- to 40-year operating life will require yet more vast quantities of energy. Taking apart, piece by radioactive piece, a nuclear reactor and its surrounding infrastructure is a massive operation: Imagine, for example, the amount of petrol, diesel, and electricity that would be used if the Sydney Opera House were to be dismantled. That’s the scale we’re talking about.

And that is not the end of fossil use because much will also be required for the final transport and longterm storage of nuclear waste generated by every reactor.

From a medical perspective, nuclear waste threatens global health. The toxicity of many elements in this radioactive mess is long-lived.

Strontium 90, for example, is tasteless, odorless, and invisible and remains radioactive for 600 years. Concentrating in the food chain, it emulates the mineral calcium. Contaminated milk enters the body, where strontium 90 concentrates in bones and lactating breasts later to cause bone cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. Babies and children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults.

Plutonium, the most significant element in nuclear waste, is so carcinogenic that hypothetically half a kilo evenly distributed could cause cancer in everyone on Earth.

Lasting for half a million years, it enters the body through the lungs where it is known to cause cancer. It mimics iron in the body, migrating to bones, where it can induce bone cancer or leukemia, and to the liver, where it can cause primary liver cancer. It crosses the placenta into the embryo and, like the drug thalidomide, causes gross birth deformities.

Finally, plutonium has a predilection for the testicles, where it induces genetic mutations in the sperm of humans and other animals that are passed on from generation to generation.

Significantly, five kilos of plutonium is fuel for a nuclear weapon. Thus far, nuclear power has generated about 1,139 tons of plutonium.

So, nuclear power adds to global warming, increases the burden of radioactive materials in the ecosphere and threatens to contribute to nuclear proliferation. No doubt the Australian government is keen to assist the uranium industry, but the immorality of its position is unforgivable.

NOTE: Dr. Helen Caldicott is founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Next: An article by James Lovelock, the inventor of the Gaia hypothesis and a noted Green scientist. This article simply ignores the issue of storage and downplays the danger of accidents. It is illustrative of the other side of the coin. It also shows how authors are often shallow and propagandistic. Caldicott is not much better. This comes from this site.

James Lovelock:
Nuclear power is
the only green

We have no time to experiment
with visionary energy sources;
civilisation is in imminent danger.

Published in The Independent - 24 May 2004

Sir David King, the Government's chief scientist, was far-sighted to say that global warming is a more serious threat than terrorism. He may even have underestimated, because, since he spoke, new evidence of climate change suggests it could be even more serious, and the greatest danger that civilisation has faced so far.

Most of us are aware of some degree of warming; winters are warmer and spring comes earlier. But in the Arctic, warming is more than twice as great as here in Europe and in summertime, torrents of melt water now plunge from Greenland's kilometre-high glaciers. The complete dissolution of Greenland's icy mountains will take time, but by then the sea will have risen seven metres, enough to make uninhabitable all of the low lying coastal cities of the world, including London, Venice, Calcutta, New York and Tokyo. Even a two metre rise is enough to put most of southern Florida under water.

The floating ice of the Arctic Ocean is even more vulnerable to warming; in 30 years, its white reflecting ice, the area of the US, may become dark sea that absorbs the warmth of summer sunlight, and further hastens the end of the Greenland ice. The North Pole, goal of so many explorers, will then be no more than a point on the ocean surface.

Not only the Arctic is changing; climatologists warn a four-degree rise in temperature is enough to eliminate the vast Amazon forests in a catastrophe for their people, their biodiversity, and for the world, which would lose one of its great natural air conditioners.

The scientists who form the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2001 that global temperature would rise between two and six degrees Celsius by 2100. Their grim forecast was made perceptible by last summer's excessive heat; and according to Swiss meteorologists, the Europe-wide hot spell that killed over 20,000 was wholly different from any previous heat wave. The odds against it being a mere deviation from the norm were 300,000 to one. It was a warning of worse to come.

What makes global warming so serious and so urgent is that the great Earth system, Gaia, is trapped in a vicious circle of positive feedback. Extra heat from any source, whether from greenhouse gases, the disappearance of Arctic ice or the Amazon forest, is amplified, and its effects are more than additive. It is almost as if we had lit a fire to keep warm, and failed to notice, as we piled on fuel, that the fire was out of control and the furniture had ignited. When that happens, little time is left to put out the fire before it consumes the house. Global warming, like a fire, is accelerating and almost no time is left to act.

So what should we do? We can just continue to enjoy a warmer 21st century while it lasts, and make cosmetic attempts, such as the Kyoto Treaty, to hide the political embarrassment of global warming, and this is what I fear will happen in much of the world. When, in the 18th century, only one billion people lived on Earth, their impact was small enough for it not to matter what energy source they used.

But with six billion, and growing, few options remain; we can not continue drawing energy from fossil fuels and there is no chance that the renewables, wind, tide and water power can provide enough energy and in time. If we had 50 years or more we might make these our main sources. But we do not have 50 years; the Earth is already so disabled by the insidious poison of greenhouse gases that even if we stop all fossil fuel burning immediately, the consequences of what we have already done will last for 1,000 years. Every year that we continue burning carbon makes it worse for our descendants and for civilisation.

Worse still, if we burn crops grown for fuel this could hasten our decline. Agriculture already uses too much of the land needed by the Earth to regulate its climate and chemistry. A car consumes 10 to 30 times as much carbon as its driver; imagine the extra farmland required to feed the appetite of cars.

By all means, let us use the small input from renewables sensibly, but only one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy. True, burning natural gas instead of coal or oil releases only half as much carbon dioxide, but unburnt gas is 25 times as potent a greenhouse agent as is carbon dioxide. Even a small leakage would neutralise the advantage of gas.

The prospects are grim, and even if we act successfully in amelioration, there will still be hard times, as in war, that will stretch our grandchildren to the limit. We are tough and it would take more than the climate catastrophe to eliminate all breeding pairs of humans; what is at risk is civilisation. As individual animals we are not so special, and in some ways are like a planetary disease, but through civilisation we redeem ourselves and become a precious asset for the Earth; not least because through our eyes the Earth has seen herself in all her glory.

There is a chance we may be saved by an unexpected event such as a series of volcanic eruptions severe enough to block out sunlight and so cool the Earth. But only losers would bet their lives on such poor odds. Whatever doubts there are about future climates, there are no doubts that greenhouse gases and temperatures both are rising.

We have stayed in ignorance for many reasons; important among them is the denial of climate change in the US where governments have failed to give their climate scientists the support they needed. The Green lobbies, which should have given priority to global warming, seem more concerned about threats to people than with threats to the Earth, not noticing that we are part of the Earth and wholly dependent upon its well being. It may take a disaster worse than last summer's European deaths to wake us up.

Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources. We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of cancer from chemicals or radiation. Nearly one third of us will die of cancer anyway, mainly because we breathe air laden with that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen. If we fail to concentrate our minds on the real danger, which is global warming, we may die even sooner, as did more than 20,000 unfortunates from overheating in Europe last summer.

I find it sad and ironic that the UK, which leads the world in the quality of its Earth and climate scientists, rejects their warnings and advice, and prefers to listen to the Greens. But I am a Green and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy.

Even if they were right about its dangers, and they are not, its worldwide use as our main source of energy would pose an insignificant threat compared with the dangers of intolerable and lethal heat waves and sea levels rising to drown every coastal city of the world. We have no time to experiment with visionary energy sources; civilisation is in imminent danger and has to use nuclear - the one safe, available, energy source - now or suffer the pain soon to be inflicted by our outraged planet.

James Lovelock is an independent scientist, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis which considers the Earth as a self-regulating organism, and a member of EFN - the association of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy -

Albertans an "easy-sell" for nukes?

Edwards really doesn't provide any evidence that Albertans are any more naive about nuclear power than anyone else. It seems that in the mainstream press and thought nuclear power is now thought to be safe and even "green"--see the next post where I include an article by a Green nuclear supporter.
As I recall the original objections to nuclear power were not from environmentalists so much as mainstream conservative free market economists. Nuclear power apparently is not economically feasible without state support and subsidies. Among the state supports in Ontario is a bill that limits liability for accidents!
Just the problem of storage of radioactive wastes strikes me as a reason to avoid nuclear power. We are storing problems for future generations.

Albertans an 'easy sell' for nukes
Hanneke Brooymans, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Saturday, September 29
EDMONTON - Nuclear companies are taking advantage of naive Albertans who haven't yet learned about the risks of nuclear energy, says a long-time critic of the nuclear industry.

Gordon Edwards is a mathematician with Vanier College in Montreal who has spent 30 years advocating for nuclear responsibility. He was brought in by local environmental groups to inform Albertans about the potential risks of nuclear energy.

"I think both (French nuclear company) Areva and (Atomic Energy Canada Ltd.) AECL are enthusiastic about the degree of naivete because it means it's easier to sell it," he said during a meeting with The Journal's editorial board Friday.

But Energy Alberta Corp., which has proposed a plant next to a lake 30 kilometres west of Peace River, says it's actually quite the opposite.

It would be easier to try to build something in Ontario, where residents are used to nuclear power, than trying to convince Albertans living in the land of oil and gas that nuclear power is a good idea, company spokesman Guy Huntingford said.

Edwards said he is worried Albertans don't understand what they could be getting themselves into and that it will be an irreversible decision.

"Once you opt for nuclear power, you have made a decision to turn a part of Alberta into a radioactive waste dump," he said.

Even if the province isn't chosen as a national storage site for spent nuclear fuel, there are still large volumes of radioactive filters, rags, resins, debris and contaminated equipment that will become the property of Alberta, he said.

The Energy Alberta proposal calls for two 2,200- megawatt twin-unit reactors. The plan is to have the first one operating by 2017. That project recently began a regulatory process with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Edwards said Albertans shouldn't place their faith in the commission to ensure the plant will not affect the health of the public or the environment.

"You can't rely on the safety commission to look after you. The safety commission has a track record of supporting the industry and never refusing to grant a licence."

The commission disputes these claims. Regardless of stakeholders' interests, the CNSC's priority is and will always remain safety, said Aurele Gervais, a commission spokesman in an e-mail response.

"It considers it crucial to preserve public confidence and trust in the fairness of the regulatory decision-making process. Maintaining an arm's-length relationship to government and industry is a critical element to sustain that confidence."

Bush, Harper and Friends: An Environmental Production in Five Acts

Laxer does not post all that often but when he does it is original material and usually quite interesting. This is from his blog.

The Bush-Harper approach is to use the Green flag to attack the Greens.
By spouting green rhetoric without tough action Bush and Harper actually contribute to global warming by increasing the ambient hot air that will cause some people to fall asleep when they need a cold blast to wake them up to the dangers of global warming.

Bush, Harper and Friends: An Environmental Production in Five Acts

At a White House-sponsored climate change conference in Washington DC this week, President George W. Bush told participants that he favoured a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as long as each nation decides “for itself the right mix of tools and technology to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective.”

Bush steadfastly refuses to commit the United States to any scheme of mandatory emission reduction obligations. The US-led process---Stephen Harper is an enthusiastic participant---is transparently aimed at sidelining the UN-organized talks that are to begin in December in Indonesia. The UN talks will attempt to draw up a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol which would take effect in 2012.

The UN agreement would involve tough, mandatory commitments of the kind the Bush administration rejected when it refused to sign on to Kyoto. Even though Canada ratified Kyoto, the Harper government has dropped any attempt to reach its targets and supports the Bush administration’s view of the way ahead.

The Bush approach has been evolving for years. To avoid inconvenience to big corporate polluters and the free enterprise system, the Bush approach has been an unfolding drama in five acts: deny; deceive; delay; defang; and deep-six.

1. Deny. Act One was the outright denial that if global warming was occurring at all, it was being driven by the emission of greenhouse gases as a consequence of human activities. Following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan who believed that trees were a source of pollution, George W. Bush and Stephen Harper thought the global warming theory was a sneak attack on free enterprise cloaked in the garb of science. Beneath that garb were anti-capitalist demagogues.
2. Deceive. When outright denial became an embarrassment in the presence of people who could read and write, the corporate allies of Bush and Harper turned to deception, in the form of cooked “science”. Petroleum and coal companies sponsored their own studies, designed to cast doubt on the validity of the global warming hypothesis. Corporate funded “experts” emerged to claim that no evidence existed to suggest that human activity was responsible for climate change. The “experts” were much like the tobacco company-financed “scientists” who used to pour cold water on the connection between smoking and lung cancer.
3. Delay. As the case made by genuine scientists became more definitive, and almost universally accepted, Bush, Harper and friends turned to delay. Instead of signing on to the Kyoto targets and the process which will design more rigorous targets for the future, they changed the subject to that of finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “while keeping our economies growing” as Bush said this week. For Bush and Harper, economic growth was the lodestar that was never to be compromised. If reducing greenhouse emissions could be achieved without slowing growth that would be fine.
4. Defang. Not happy with the Europeans and others who were determined to reduce emissions even if this proved costly, Bush, Harper and friends have launched a process with a cheerier outlook. They are joining the battle against greenhouse gas emissions as long as this does not discommode big industry and big energy. It will all be voluntary, putting the future of humanity in the hands of technology and the corporations. If the free market can’t save us, then what can?
5. Deep-Six. This week George W. Bush, with the support of the Harper government, launched a flank attack on the international campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto process has been a unique initiative in the history of our species to counter a unique threat. Bush wants to share in the rhetoric of that struggle because he has no political choice. But his loyalty remains where it has always been, with the great corporate legions, and their drive for profits. That loyalty, the product of ideology and material greed, is rooted in the faith that the corporations will come up with an answer and catastrophe will be averted. And if not, at least this generation of corporate leaders will still reap their rewards.


I have not had a chance to read Klein's book yet but this review seems more positive than some other recent reviews I have read. Some reviewers are quite upset and dismissive of Klein's views. However, Stiglitz is much more even handed perhaps because he himself of late has been also critical of the prevalent "theology" of free markets.
As I have mentioned in another post, Friedman's role is perhaps overemphasized although he was directly involved in Chile as an advisor to Pinochet. In Russia the shock was delivered more by a Harvard School featuring the likes of Jeffrey Sachs who not only delivered a privatisation shock but made themselves in some of the deals it would seem.
Stiglitz's term "bleakonomics" is a great neologism.


Published: September 30, 2007
There are no accidents in the world as seen by Naomi Klein. The destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina expelled many poor black residents and allowed most of the city’s public schools to be replaced by privately run charter schools. The torture and killings under Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile and during Argentina’s military dictatorship were a way of breaking down resistance to the free market. The instability in Poland and Russia after the collapse of Communism and in Bolivia after the hyperinflation of the 1980s allowed the governments there to foist unpopular economic “shock therapy” on a resistant population. And then there is “Washington’s game plan for Iraq”: “Shock and terrorize the entire country, deliberately ruin its infrastructure, do nothing while its culture and history are ransacked, then make it all O.K. with an unlimited supply of cheap household appliances and imported junk food,” not to mention a strong stock market and private sector.


The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

By Naomi Klein.

558 pp. Metropolitan Books. $28.

Free-Market Mischief in Hot Spots of Disaster (September 10, 2007) “The Shock Doctrine” is Klein’s ambitious look at the economic history of the last 50 years and the rise of free-market fundamentalism around the world. “Disaster capitalism,” as she calls it, is a violent system that sometimes requires terror to do its job. Like Pol Pot proclaiming that Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was in Year Zero, extreme capitalism loves a blank slate, often finding its opening after crises or “shocks.” For example, Klein argues, the Asian crisis of 1997 paved the way for the International Monetary Fund to establish programs in the region and for a sell-off of many state-owned enterprises to Western banks and multinationals. The 2004 tsunami enabled the government of Sri Lanka to force the fishermen off beachfront property so it could be sold to hotel developers. The destruction of 9/11 allowed George W. Bush to launch a war aimed at producing a free-market Iraq.

In an early chapter, Klein compares radical capitalist economic policy to shock therapy administered by psychiatrists. She interviews Gail Kastner, a victim of covert C.I.A. experiments in interrogation techniques that were carried out by the scientist Ewen Cameron in the 1950s. His idea was to use electroshock therapy to break down patients. Once “complete depatterning” had been achieved, the patients could be reprogrammed. But after breaking down his “patients,” Cameron was never able to build them back up again. The connection with a rogue C.I.A. scientist is overdramatic and unconvincing, but for Klein the larger lessons are clear: “Countries are shocked — by wars, terror attacks, coups d’état and natural disasters.” Then “they are shocked again — by corporations and politicians who exploit the fear and disorientation of this first shock to push through economic shock therapy.” People who “dare to resist” are shocked for a third time, “by police, soldiers and prison interrogators.”

In another introductory chapter, Klein offers an account of Milton Friedman — she calls him “the other doctor shock” — and his battle for the hearts and minds of Latin American economists and economies. In the 1950s, as Cameron was conducting his experiments, the Chicago School was developing the ideas that would eclipse the theories of Raul Prebisch, an advocate of what today would be called the third way, and of other economists fashionable in Latin America at the time. She quotes the Chilean economist Orlando Letelier on the “inner harmony” between the terror of the Pinochet regime and its free-market policies. Letelier said that Milton Friedman shared responsibility for the regime’s crimes, rejecting his argument that he was only offering “technical” advice. Letelier was killed in 1976 by a car bomb planted in Washington by Pinochet’s secret police. For Klein, he was another victim of the “Chicago Boys” who wanted to impose free-market capitalism on the region. “In the Southern Cone, where contemporary capitalism was born, the ‘war on terror’ was a war against all obstacles to the new order,” she writes.

One of the world’s most famous antiglobalization activists and the author of the best seller “No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies,” Klein provides a rich description of the political machinations required to force unsavory economic policies on resisting countries, and of the human toll. She paints a disturbing portrait of hubris, not only on the part of Friedman but also of those who adopted his doctrines, sometimes to pursue more corporatist objectives. It is striking to be reminded how many of the people involved in the Iraq war were involved earlier in other shameful episodes in United States foreign policy history. She draws a clear line from the torture in Latin America in the 1970s to that at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay.

Klein is not an academic and cannot be judged as one. There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets. Indeed, the case against these policies is even stronger than the one Klein makes. They were never based on solid empirical and theoretical foundations, and even as many of these policies were being pushed, academic economists were explaining the limitations of markets — for instance, whenever information is imperfect, which is to say always.

Klein isn’t an economist but a journalist, and she travels the world to find out firsthand what really happened on the ground during the privatization of Iraq, the aftermath of the Asian tsunami, the continuing Polish transition to capitalism and the years after the African National Congress took power in South Africa, when it failed to pursue the redistributionist policies enshrined in the Freedom Charter, its statement of core principles. These chapters are the least exciting parts of the book, but they are also the most convincing. In the case of South Africa, she interviews activists and others, only to find there is no one answer. Busy trying to stave off civil war in the early years after the end of apartheid, the A.N.C. didn’t fully understand how important economic policy was. Afraid of scaring off foreign investors, it took the advice of the I.M.F. and the World Bank and instituted a policy of privatization, spending cutbacks, labor flexibility and so on. This didn’t stop two of South Africa’s own major companies, South African Breweries and Anglo-American, from relocating their global headquarters to London. The average growth rate has been a disappointing 5 percent (much lower than in countries in East Asia, which followed a different route); unemployment for the black majority is 48 percent; and the number of people living on less than $1 a day has doubled to four million from two million since 1994, the year the A.N.C. took over.

Some readers may see Klein’s findings as evidence of a giant conspiracy, a conclusion she explicitly disavows. It’s not the conspiracies that wreck the world but the series of wrong turns, failed policies, and little and big unfairnesses that add up. Still, those decisions are guided by larger mind-sets. Market fundamentalists never really appreciated the institutions required to make an economy function well, let alone the broader social fabric that civilizations require to prosper and flourish. Klein ends on a hopeful note, describing nongovernmental organizations and activists around the world who are trying to make a difference. After 500 pages of “The Shock Doctrine,” it’s clear they have their work cut out for them.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a university professor at Columbia, was awarded the Nobel in economic science in 2001. His latest book is “Making Globalization Work.”


Canadian Doctor Shortage to Worsen

Rather surprising that income differentials between Canadian and US doctors is not mentioned as a factor. Perhaps less doctors are being drained off to the US now but I imagine there is still a net loss to the US. Canada as well as the US makes up for shortages by importing doctors from less developed countries.
Fees for medical school are so high it must be difficult if not impossible for many lower income students to attend. As the article notes we need to increase the capacity of our medical schools to come even close to producing the number of doctors we will need. A shortage of doctors will probably increase demand for a two tier system so that the better off can jump queues.

Doctor shortage to worsen, conference told
Last Updated: Saturday, September 29, 2007 | 3:19 PM ET
CBC News
Canada will face a worsening shortage of doctors over the next decade unless governments put more resources into medical schools, physicians said at a national conference Friday.

Dr. Andrew Padmos, CEO of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, said the shortage is the biggest issue affecting health care today and the numbers won't improve unless governments expand medical school enrolment.

On a per-capita basis, Canada trains half as many doctors as Britain, Padmos said at the college's annual meeting in Winnipeg.

Dr. Derek Puddester, a psychiatrist and researcher at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, said the difference in work practices between older and younger generations of doctors is also cause for concern.

He said increasing career and personal pressures on "baby boomer" physicians will exacerbate the shortage of medical professionals in Canada.

Health Canada estimates that by 2010, Canada will be short 5,800 physicians. However, Puddester said new physicians tend to work fewer hours than established doctors, a productivity difference that could translate into a real shortage of 10,400 physicians.

Older doctors can't continue 'self-sacrificing' pace

"Boomer physicians are frequently responsible for both their children and parents, and are feeling the effects of aging bodies," he said. "They also work extremely hard, often at a pace that is self-sacrificing — it simply isn't sustainable forever.

"At the same time, younger physicians are demanding greater life-work balance and balk at working the long hours common amongst their older colleagues.

"This is a significant challenge for those who lead and fund health services, and translates into difficulty with timely access to care for patients." Puddester said.

He said while younger physicians may have a different perspective on work-life balance than older ones, they are more likely to take a holistic approach and are adept at working in teams. They're also more committed to protecting time with their families, friends, and selves.

Tories plan get-tough national drug strategy

The Tories are able to push their agenda in some areas such as crime since the opposition does not want to be seen as soft on crime. However, the opposition should be able to push to save the harm reduction programs although perhaps it is a hard sell so to speak even to save those. As the US we are moving towards a hard position on crime. How long will it be until we have private prisons, captive labor in prisons, and much larger prison populations. The US has managed to have the highest incarceration rate in the world and has developed a profitable prison-industrial complex. No doubt Harper thinks that is a good model for Canada. It creates the climate of fear within which Conservative policies thrive.

Tories plan get-tough national drug strategy
Last Updated: Saturday, September 29, 2007 | 9:24 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Health Minister Tony Clement will announce the Conservative government's anti-drug strategy this week with a stark warning: "The party's over" for illicit drug users.

"In the next few days, we're going to be back in the business of an anti-drug strategy," Clement told The Canadian Press. "In that sense, the party's over."

Shortly after taking office early last year, the Conservatives decided not to go ahead with a Liberal bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Since then, the number of people arrested for smoking pot has jumped dramatically in several Canadian cities, in some cases jumping by more than one third.

Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax all reported increases of between 20 and 50 per cent in 2006 of arrests for possession of cannabis, compared with the previous year.

As a result thousands of people were charged with an act that, under the previous Liberal government, was on the verge of being decriminalized.

Continue Article

Police forces said many young people were under the impression that the decriminalization bill had already passed and were smoking up more boldly than they've ever done before.

Clement says his government wants to clear up the uncertainty.

"There's been a lot of mixed messages going out about illicit drugs," Clement said in an interview Saturday after a symposium designed to bring together Canada's arts and health communities to combat mental health issues.

There's also a health-care cost element to suggesting to young people that using illicit drugs is OK, the minister said.

"The fact of the matter is they're unhealthy," Clement said. "They create poor health outcomes."

Wrong message
For too long, Clement argues, governments in Canada have been sending the wrong message about drug use. It's time, he says, to take a tougher approach to dealing with the problem.

"There hasn't been a meaningful retooling of our strategy to tackle illicit drugs in over 20 years in this country," Clement said.

"We're going to be into a different world and take tackling these issues very seriously because (of) the impact on the health and safety of our kids."

The Conservatives' wide-ranging $64 million anti-drug strategy is expected to combine treatment and prevention programs with stiffer penalties for illicit drug use, and a crackdown at the border against drug smuggling.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day will join Clement in announcing the plan as part of a range of initiatives to be unveiled by the Tories surrounding next month's throne speech.

'Enforcement is harm reduction'
Clement has suggested in the past that he opposes so-called harm-reduction strategies for combatting illegal drug use, including safe-injection sites where nurses provide addicts with clean needles and a safe place to use drugs.

At a Canadian Medical Association meeting last month, he was quoted saying "harm reduction, in a sense, takes many forms. To me, prevention is harm reduction. Treatment is harm reduction. Enforcement is harm reduction."

The following day, a petition signed by over 130 physicians and scientists was released, condemning the Conservative government's "potentially deadly" misrepresentation of the positive evidence for harm reduction programs.

Vancouver's Insite safe injection clinic is facing a December 31 deadline for the renewal of a federal exemption that allows it to operate.

Advocates say safe-injection sites help to prevent the spread of serious diseases, including AIDS and hepatitis by preventing users from sharing needles while opponents say the sites simply promote illegal drug use.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Greenpeace delivers mock radioactive wastes to Dwight Duncan

I am amazed at the fact that the two major parties are contemplating large increases in nuclear power production. As Greenpeace points out the waste problem is unsolved and will get worse as time goes on. There seems to be a new belief that I find hard to fathom that nuclear power is safe and harmless to the environment.

— Greenpeace activists delivered a mock barrel of radioactive waste to the constituency office of Dwight Duncan today to draw attention to the million year legacy of radioactive waste that will be created by the Liberal's $40 billion nuclear energy plan. Activists outside the office held "Nuclear – Wrong Answer" signs and unfurled a banner reading "Stop The Waste: No More Nuclear Power."

"Dwight Duncan needs to state publicly where he plans to store Ontario's stockpiles of radioactive waste before he creates yet more waste for future generations. If he is not comfortable storing waste in Windsor, he owes it to Ontarians to say where it will be stored," said Bruce Cox, executive director of Greenpeace Canada.

As energy minister, Dwight Duncan is responsible for the government's plan to spend over $40 billion building 14,000 MW of nuclear stations – the largest nuclear building boom in the world – that will increase Ontario's production of radioactive waste. Despite this massive commitment to nuclear power, the government has failed to say where it would put the high-level radioactive waste (spent fuel) from its nuclear energy plan, often passing on responsibility to the federal government.

"Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan's biggest legacy will be a million years of radioactive waste," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. "Passing the buck to the federal government is not an option. You make it, you own it," said Stensil.

This government needs to take responsibility for its policies and tell Ontarians where and how this waste will be stored for a million years before building new reactors."

Before the release of their energy plan in 2006, some high-profile Liberals made public statements against storing waste in Ontario. Premier McGuinty said Ontario "would have its say" if it was selected for a radioactive waste dump. Ontario Northern Affairs Minister Bartollucci has said that Northerners will "raise hell" if the federal government tries to dump waste in the North.

"The nuclear waste problem is not solved, so it's unethical for the McGuinty government to move forward with its nuclear plans," said Stensil. "We have the technology, know-how and resources to build a clean energy supply. All that's lacking is the political will."

There is already over 30,000 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste at reactor sites in Ontario. A federal agency, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), is currently looking for a community to step forward to permanently take the waste.

Environmentalists say that solving the problem of radioactive waste is similar to any effective and socially acceptable waste management strategy: it depends on stopping nuclear waste production.

Bruce Cox is speaking this evening about energy issues at the University of Windsor.

Oil companies plan NAFTA suit over research demands

This suit just shows how NAFTA limits the manner in which contracts can be used to further the interest of local economies. Governments naturally would prefer to write in special clauses into contracts the produce benefits for people in the contract area but under NAFTA this could be illegal. The oil companies might very well win.

Oil companies plan NAFTA suit over research demands
Last Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2007 | 4:22 PM NT
CBC News
Two U.S. oil companies drilling oil off Newfoundland are planning a lawsuit under the North American Free Trade Agreement over demands that they spend money on research in the area.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Murphy Oil Corp. are seeking about $50 million in damages from the federal government, challenging how the Hibernia and Terra Nova offshore oil projects are structured.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board requires that the companies operating in the fields spend a portion of their profits on research within Newfoundland and Labrador.

Exxon Mobil has a majority stake in Hibernia and a minority stake in Terra Nova. Murphy Oil has a minority stake in Hibernia, the first of three oil fields to go into production on the Grand Banks.

Both companies have filed notices of intent to sue within a 90-day notice period required under the trade agreement.

The offshore petroleum board is a federal-provincial body that regulates the petroleum industry.

The companies blame the Newfoundland and Labrador government for insisting on greater local benefits through the development agreements.

The companies claim that the board's research demand, enacted in 2004, violates the terms of NAFTA.

Hibernia began production in December 1997. The first oil was drawn from Terra Nova in January 2002.

Danny Williams, currently campaigning for re-election as Newfoundland and Labrador's premier in an Oct. 9 election, made fighting oil companies for greater benefits a hallmark of his first term.

Williams managed to negotiate a purchase agreement for an equity stake in the pending Hebron megaproject. When talks broke off in early 2006, Williams singled out Exxon Mobil for delaying the agreement.

A tentative deal, in which Newfoundland and Labrador will have a 4.9 per cent ownership stake in Hebron was announced in August.

Williams subsequently released an energy plan that calls for a standard 10 per cent equity stake in future oil and gas developments.

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Dion rejects calls for removal of party's director

This seems a bit suspicious. This could be a way of undermining Dion. The last thing the Liberal party needs is this type of infighting at this time. Whether it is people inside the Liberal party or others outside trying to create an impression of conflict it is a bad scene unless you are Stephen Harper!

Dion rejects calls for removal of party's director
Last Updated: Friday, September 28, 2007 | 2:33 PM ET
CBC News
Stéphane Dion has rejected calls by some senior Liberals that the party's national director be fired over comments he allegedly made regarding hiring more francophone Quebecers.

During a closed-door meeting in Ottawa last Sunday, Jamie Carroll was confronted about the need to hire more francophones for Dion's staff.

According to some witnesses, Carroll is said to have responded: "Do we also have to hire people from the Chinese community to represent the Chinese community?"

Carroll's alleged comments were leaked to Le Journal de Montreal. But others at the meeting have said Carroll was taken out of context.

Speaking in Halifax on Friday, Dion agreed, saying he believed Carroll's comments have been misinterpreted and that he has full confidence in him.

"I know how much the Quebec distinctiveness, the cause of the French language and the multicultural reality of Canada is key for him," Dion said.

Continue Article

Others, however, say that Carroll should be removed from his post.

Robert Fragasso, president of the Liberal Party's Quebec wing, who was also at the meeting, said party supporters in Quebec were shocked and surprised by his remarks.

"We have the impression that we have gone back 40 years," Fragasso told the Montreal Gazette.

Some Liberal caucus members, including Montreal MP Pablo Rodriguez and former heritage minister Liza Frulla are calling on Dion to fire Carroll.

"It is not only shocking, it is revolting," Frulla told the Gazette.

In a statement Thursday, Carroll explained the nature of the conversation, saying that he never meant to insult Quebecers or Chinese-Canadians.

"It was agreed that we should both increase the number of francophone Quebecers working in the national office, and maintain our party's long-standing commitment to official bilingualism," he said.

"I should note that in addition to this discussion, I commented on the need to find ways in which to effectively communicate with — and reach out to — the growing number of ethnically diverse groups that now compose Canada's electorate."

Canada defends policy on Afghan clans

This article makes clear that aid projects are not based upon local needs so much as the need to bribe people to support the Karzai government. The aid is a carrot and the special forces operations of Enduring Freedom are the stick.
The commentators here do not even comment on the killing of two mullahs or who might have done it. One person does mention that confidence that is built up in 100 days can be lost in an afternoon. He might have said in one raid and killings but he didnt. One wonders if the Canadians know what the special forces are doing and accept their roles. The Canadians are the good cops and the US special forces the bad cops.
In the light of this article it should hardly be surprising to anyone that the
Taliban will target aid workers since in these cases at least they are simply another form of battle against them. In the present situation it seems that aid is so integrated into the war against the Taliban and other opponents of Karzai that Canada should stay out period. We are simply being used as junior partners in US imperialism.

Canada defends policy on Afghan clans

From Friday's Globe and Mail

September 28, 2007 at 12:38 AM EDT

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canada will not immediately try to douse the anger that flared up this week in a village near Kandahar city after two religious teachers were killed in their homes, a military officer says, in a case that reveals the way Canadian forces are handling rebellious tribes.

The raid by foreign soldiers that left two mullahs dead on Wednesday was only the latest reason for upset in the village of Senjaray, a suburb of Kandahar city. Almost all of the people who protested in the hours afterward were members of the Alizai tribe, a group that often feels disenfranchised by the new government. They claim they're denied reconstruction projects and shut out of positions of influence in the local administration.

A Canadian official confirmed yesterday that some of the Alizais' complaints have a factual basis. Villages considered hostile to the government are shut out of assistance programs in the hope they will become more compliant, and that policy won't change just because the Alizais are shouting “death to Canada” in the streets, said Lieutenant Derrick Farnham, a civilian-military liaison officer at Canadian headquarters in Kandahar.

“We try very hard not to be reactionary, to go and quell anger and solve it immediately,” Lt. Farnham said. “That's something that has been done in the past, and it's been termed the ‘great game' in Afghanistan, where locals play one side off the other in terms of getting treats and gifts, and that's something we want to avoid.”

The Canadian civilian-military co-operation unit, known as Cimic, is responsible for handing out valuable reconstruction contracts, and the bundles of cash often represent the first benefits of government control that villagers experience after the Taliban have been driven away.

The Cimic team has mapped the districts west of Kandahar according to their alignment with the government and concentrated on helping villages that seem most eager to co-operate, Lt. Farnham said, on the theory that disgruntled villages will envy the money dished out to their pro-government neighbours and try to emulate them.

This strategy of reinforcing good behaviour runs against the historical methods that foreign powers have used to subdue the restive tribes of Afghanistan, the lieutenant said. The British and the Soviets both tried to buy off their enemies, he said, but the benefits didn't last and both empires eventually failed to secure the country.

“We don't want to be in a situation where we're just seen as bribing people who have a grudge against us,” he said.

“When we make progress, it's sometimes described as glacial. It can't be fast, and it probably wouldn't be best to be fast. It has to be small steps that are steadily forward.” He acknowledged that the Canadian strategy might aggravate anti-government sentiment among some tribesmen, but added that it's impractical to launch projects in areas where they're not welcome.

“It may harden attitudes,” he said. “But we are not invited into many areas. We have tried to go into some areas, we have tried to do development there, but we're not wanted.” Besides projects, the Canadians can also help by listening to villagers' concerns, he added.

“Just giving them a forum can really count,” Lt. Farnham said, although he said he isn't aware of any plans to hold meetings with the people who protested this week.

The protests have set back Canadian attempts to build trust among the people who live near a strategic stretch of highway outside Kandahar city, another military official said.

“You can build it [confidence] for 100 days and in one afternoon you can lose it all,” he said.

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Assembly touts electoral reform

This is an article on the MMP from a smaller paper in Orangeville. Although the author claims that the candidates did not take a clear stand on the MMP, three out of the four seem to speak in favor, at least from what is reported. The NDP sees the MMP as positive, the Liberal as exciting, and the Green as solving the problem of people being elected with much less than a majority of the popular vote. As for the complaints that the referendum was being sold like laundry soap, wouldn't the MMP makes for cleaner politics! Anyway political advertisements certainly are like product ads more and more and that is because it is a product that is being sold. If the public don't buy your product you don't get to rule..

Assembly touts electoral reform
By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter

In what seemed at times like an advertisement for laundry soap - the one in which "real people" speak of the virtues - the audience at Tuesday's all-candidates meeting was shown a video presentation by The Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform.

The Assembly, convened in March 2006, spent about a year studying various kinds of democratic elections, and came up with a system called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation, as a means of ensuring that political parties have a percentage of representation in the legislature that's closer to their share of the popular vote than in the present, "First-Past-the-Post" system.

Greg Verner said that between advance voting that runs from this Saturday until Election Day Oct. 10, electors will be asked to cast two ballots - one for their favourite candidate and a second for their favourite party, in the first Ontario referendum since one on Prohibition in 1924.

Mr. Verner, a retired Dufferin teacher, represents Elections Ontario.

He said before the meeting he had made presentations at fall fairs and various society meetings, and found that as many as 75 per cent of the people he talked to had no concept of what the referendum was about. Some weren't even aware there is a referendum.

Ted Alexander, representing the Citizens Assembly, presented a video purporting to show how the members had arrived at their recommendations.

'Similarly to soap ads that feature "real people"on TV, the video had a succession of members all touting the recommended new system.

Oddly, neither the video nor a brochure being sent to households answered all the questions that voters logically might ask about the system.

The MMP would reduce the number of electoral districts with directly elected representatives to 90 from 107, and raise the number of MPPs to 129 from the present 107, but there was no explanation of whether this would involve a realignment of electoral districts or how that would be done.

Supporters of the reform do point out that, with a multiple party system, the ruling party seldom has a clear majority of the popular vote.

They say MMP would correct that.

The four candidates Tuesday night did not appear to have a clear stand on the issue, except to the extent that the referendum would give the people a clear choice between the present system and the recommended one.

Liberal Betsy Hall, the first in rotation to respond to an audience question about personal stands on the issue, said she found the process "exciting. The people decide what democracy will look like."

Green Party Rob Strang said, under the present system, any candidate (in Dufferin Caledon) might win with (more than a quarter) of the popular vote.

He said the MMP system would mean that "if you don't like the candidate, you can still vote for the party."

NDP Lynda McDougall found MMP and the referendum "a positive thing."

PC Sylvia Jones described it as "ultimately a public choice."

According to the rules, the referendum would require 60 per cent of all votes cast, plus a majority of votes in "50 per cent plus 1" of all 107 ridings, i.e. a majority in at least 64 seats, to win.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

BC Municipalities reject TILMA

This is from this site. It is not surprising that the municipalities should be upset about TILMA since Alberta and BC negotiated it without even consulting the municipalities. Of course the whole SPP business is done behind closed doors but often with the CEOs of big North AMerican companies as an advisory group the NACC.

BC municipalities reject TILMA
Posted by Marc Lee under TILMA, BC.
September 26th, 2007
Comments: none

This week in Vancouver, the annual meetings of the Union of BC Municipalities are talking TILMA. The BC government signed the deal without consulting municipalities, and it is now in effect. Over the next two years, however, municipalities have an opportunity to seek exemptions from the agreement, although their appeals would go to Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen who would then have to negotiate on their behalf with his Alberta counterpart. If no deal is reached, the full force of TILMA would apply to municipalities, and in the interim they are to behave as if it does.
Needless to say, lots of municipalities are unhappy with this intrusion into their policy-making space. On Monday, Minister Hansen – who has been denying that the deal will have any consequences while insisting miraculous economic benefits – spoke to a workshop of municipal councillors and mayors. Municipalities have now done their own legal analyses of the pitfalls of TILMA’s investor (and other) provisions, and based on this, the word is that Hansen left the room with his tail between his legs.(*)
Below is a copy of the resolution that was passed by the UBCM almost unanimously today, and a summary of the Monday workshop by Caelie Frampton of the Council of Canadians (reposted from this site):
Whereas the provincial governments of British Columbia and Alberta have entered into a Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), which came into effect on April 1, 2007 and which is intended to liberalize trade, investment and labour mobility beyond the level provided by the Agreement on Internal Trade that was brought into effect for British Columbia on March 31, 2002;
AND WHEREAS TILMA has the potential to have far reaching negative impacts on local government objectives:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities review the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between British Columbia and Alberta, and enter into discussions with the provincial government and local governments, with the intent of either making changes to the agreement to more specifically address local government concerns, exempt local governments from the agreement, or request that the Province withdraw from the agreement altogether.

Afghans block highway shouting "Death to Canada"

From these reports it would seem that it is US soldiers associated with Operation Enduring Freedom who were responsible for the killings. The operation should be renamed Operation Enduring Hatred. The action has just made the situation more difficult for NATO troops including the Canadians in particular who are the main presence in the area.
It makes one wonder if the government or the NATO forces know about or have any control over these special operations. Apparently not. If I were involved with NATO I would be hopping mad to put it mildly. These people kill and then disappear into the woodwork leaving the Canadians to face the wrath and vengeance of the locals.

Afghans block highway shouting 'Death to Canada'
Protest follows killing of two clerics

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

September 27, 2007 at 5:02 AM EDT

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — The death of two Afghan clerics in an overnight raid has ignited an unusual protest against foreign troops and sharply increased the volatility of a district that is critical to Canadian success in southern Afghanistan.

Shouts of "Death to Canada!" were heard among the clamour yesterday on the main highway west of Kandahar city, as an estimated 300 to 400 protesters voiced their anger against the violent searches of local homes.

Neither the Canadians nor other NATO soldiers were involved in the raids, a military spokeswoman said; the only other foreign troops operating in the area belong to U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom, a counterterrorism force.

Local elders held meetings last night to discuss the uproar.

Many of them said they now understand the Canadians were not to blame for the killings, but they predicted that Canadian soldiers will bear the consequences because they're the most powerful force in Zhari district, and most ordinary people can't distinguish between Canadian and American troops.

Haji Sadullah Khan, 40, a grape trader, was among the first people who found the bodies of the religious teachers lying in their blood-spattered bedrooms. Mullah Janan, about 28 years old, had been shot in the mouth and chest; Mullah Habibullah, a few years younger, had bullet wounds in his torso.

No weapons were visible in their home, Mr. Khan said, and the two mullahs had a reputation as peaceful men who taught children at small mosques in the district. Like several other people interviewed in the neighbourhood, Mr. Khan was incensed by an announcement on local television that the raid had targeted mullahs who served as judges in illegal Taliban courts.

The slain men belonged to the Alizai tribe, a group disenfranchised from the government, and their deaths happened in a Kandahar suburb known as Senjaray, south of Highway 1, a ramshackle warren of mud huts that is notorious for hiding Taliban. Insurgents were spotted among the protesters yesterday, and elders say it took some effort to dissuade the mob from marching into Kandahar city.

These events will make the district more dangerous, Mr. Khan said, though the people remain divided.

"There are two opinions now," he said. "If the foreigners behave like they did last night, they are not good for us, and we will fight them.

"If they do good actions, build schools and roads, they are okay, and they should stay in Afghanistan."

He continued: "If they leave, the Taliban will take over, and we don't want that either. So we don't know what to say."

House raids are always unpopular in southern Afghanistan, where violating the privacy of a home is considered a more serious affront than it is under Western traditions. Foreign troops have repeatedly targeted Senjaray for such sweeps. Villagers say the previous raid happened a week ago, when nine men were rounded up and taken to a special forces base in Kandahar city.

The latest raid started in the middle of the night as armoured vehicles drove into Senjaray with their headlights off, residents say.

Soldiers broke through the small wooden door of the mullahs' modest mud-walled house, and neighbours soon heard gunshots, and the screams of women and children.

The wife of one of the slain mullahs later told her neighbours that her husband seemed to know one of the soldiers' translators, and they exchanged some words before he was killed.

"The woman told us that the brothers were speaking with the soldiers before they were shot," said Haji Shaista Gul, 48, a wealthy farmer who owns roughly 10 hectares of farmland in the area. "The mullah said to a translator, 'You are an ordinary man, I know you, you know me.' And after these words, they shot him."

After the shooting, the foreign soldiers searched two more homes and left the village, residents say. Nobody ventured into the mullahs' house to see what happened until daybreak, when a crowd gathered to investigate the wailing inside.

Their wives and children are now destitute, the neighbours said, because the mullahs had few assets and survived only on zakat, the money paid by worshippers to the mosque.

Their bodies were taken to a mosque and buried near the highway around mid-morning. The funeral drew a crowd, which lingered and later blocked the road for hours. An unidentified man with a megaphone rallied them in protest as they chanted slogans against the foreign troops.

"This is the biggest protest we have had in years," said Hyat Ullah, 21, the son of local parliamentarian Habibullah Jan. "We ask the foreign forces to be very careful, to avoid getting into personal fights between people. These things make big problems."

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Sept 27 Seat Projections: Ontario election

The most recent projections have the Liberals winning a few more seats even though the vote share is not much changed for the Liberals it has gone down a little for the Conservatives. The Liberals are up three seats from last time and the Conservatives down 3..
As of Sept. 27
Liberals 59
Conservatives 36
NDP 12

Here are the ten wealthiest and ten poorest ridings in Ontario. Note that 7 of the 10 wealthiest ridings elect PCs. I guess the moral is if you want your riding to be rich vote PC. If you want it to be poor vote NDP ;) All this material plus the projections come from DemocraticSpace.

What are the wealthiest and poorest ridings in Ontario? Here’s your answer (based on the latest figures, which are from the 2001 census):





Not surprisingly, 7 of the top 10 wealthiest ridings are currently projecting for the Progressive Conservatives, and, if you look at the full list, it’s clear that the NDP’s seats are generally low-income (11 of 12 are below average, while one is about average). Interesting that PC leader John Tory choose to run in what is easily the wealthiest riding in the province