Monday, March 31, 2008

Opposition parties target Tories on immigration tactics

This is from the CBC. Tacking on things to bills is common in the U.S. As an admirer of the U.S. Harper has imported the practice into the Canadian parliament. It is a heinous practice since it usually lumps together matters that have nothing to do with one another and it is impossible to defeat one issue but pass the other. Not that this will make much difference since the Liberals will probably pass anything until their polls improve. No doubt the Liberals disapprove of the content of the immigration law changes and will wax eloquent about how horrible they are. This will give the new members of the Liberal team a chance to exercise their vocal chords before they sit on their hands.

Opposition parties target Tories on immigration tactics

Opposition members accused the government on Monday of using a parliamentary trick to push through sweeping changes to Canada's immigration policies before the House of Commons' annual two-week Easter break.

The proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are embedded in the 136-page budget-implementation bill the Tories tabled in the House earlier this month.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said the government must allow for an open and complete debate on the proposed measures, which propose greater selection powers to limit the number of new immigration applicants.

"Instead of presenting independent legislation, why are they trying to sneak this change through the back door?" Dion said.

Dion also decried the proposed changes, saying they would give the immigration minister exorbitant powers to choose some immigrants while shutting the door completely on other candidates.

The Liberals ensured the vote on Bill C-50, a confidence motion, did not bring down Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, but the bill must still be debated and sent to committee before returning to the House for a final vote. Both the Bloc Québécois and NDP voted against the bill.
The prime minister responded by saying the measures were necessary to deal with a backlog of more than 800,000 immigration applicants left over by the previous Liberal government.

He said the backlogs made it harder to ensure the country's workforce needs were being met and called the five and six-year delays some applicants face "unfair."

'We need immigrants'
"That's why we made it a confidence motion … and we appreciate the support of the Liberals," Harper added.

But New Democrat MP Thomas Mulcair said the government had "stolen a page from the American playbook" and defied parliamentary tradition by including the measures in the budget bill that "relied on the weakness" of the Liberals.

He also accused the Tories of trying to create a system where some nationalities will be excluded from Canada.

Immigration Minister Diane Finley defended the changes, saying they would create a "streamlined" system of handling applicants.

"We need immigrants," Finley said. "We need their talent."

The changes would give the immigration minister the authority to instruct immigration officers to set limits on what types of immigrants — "by category or otherwise" — can have their applications processed each year.

A CBC without an orchestra can be sound step for Radio 2

This is from the Star. Terauds lauds Baird's defence of CBC management's decision. Yet Terauds never bothers to find out if as Baird seems to suggest that Radio Symphonies are archaic remnants of the past no longer necessary in the internet age. Did Terauds the Critic bother to critique Baird's defence. No. Not at all. I just Googled "radio symphonies". There are oodles of them and not just in large countries such as Russia but in cities and regions. For example in Germany there are: The Stuttgart Radio Symphony, The Cologne Radio Symphony, and the South West German Radio symphony. There are also many in smaller countries: The Danish Radio Symphony, The Slovak Radio Symphony, Austrian Radio Symphony, Finnish Radio symphony, Netherlands Radio Symphony. So I guess we are too small and poverty stricken to afford one CBC Radio Symphony.

A CBC without an orchestra can be sound step for Radio 2

Mar 29, 2008 04:30 AM
John Terauds
Classical Music Critic

Don't mess with what we know and love – especially if it's our music.

We treat our radio stations like an infant who has grown attached to her first teddy bear.

CBC Radio 2 has for years been the favourite plush toy for the country's classical music listeners.

Like many a teddy, our radio network has lost its eyes somewhere along the way. The fur is stained and matted. The ripped fabric around the neck has let some stuffing spill out.

It's not pretty. But no matter. Radio 2 is ours and we're not letting go.

Yesterday, our cash-strapped national public broadcaster announced that it is disbanding the 70-year-old CBC Radio Orchestra this fall. This comes on the heels of significant changes to Radio 2 programming that include moving much Toronto radio production to Vancouver. CBC Records is also closing its classical division.

Wails of anguished reaction are already reverberating across Canada.

It's the dumbing down of Canadian culture. Our composers will no longer have an outlet. Classical-music lovers will be denied their favourite tunes. Children will never be introduced to the joys of Mozart and Beethoven.

Toronto-based Canadian Music Centre executive director Elisabeth Bihl was one of the louder voices of alarm yesterday, citing the important role Radio 2 and the CBC orchestra played in helping foster new music in the country.

Asked how many new compositions were commissioned by the CBC orchestra in recent years, Bihl initially had no idea but, in a later call, gave last year's number as 18.

It's like that with the rest of us. Shocked by news of losing yet another oasis of familiarity in our daily lives, we forget to think about the precise value this institution may have, other than making us forget the inexorable passage of time.

I'm willing to bet it's not what is being changed that scares us most. It is change itself – in any form.

In a conversation yesterday afternoon, CBC Radio 2 producer Matthew Baird, who will join the migration of classical music production from Toronto to Vancouver in the coming months, was eloquent in his defence of CBC management.

Baird explained that it costs about $400,000 to produce an eight-concert CBC Radio Orchestra season in Vancouver. Given musicians' pay scales, "this is three to five times more than it costs to do remote broadcasts" – from a concert hall.

So, instead of broadcasting to the entire country from a Vancouver base, Radio 2 can beam concerts from any venue from St. John's to Toronto to Victoria for a fraction of the expense – while still doing justice to our vast geography.

What's wrong with that?

Radio orchestras were set up 70 years ago because it was too difficult to move around the big, heavy analogue broadcasting equipment – not because there was something inherently better in having an orchestra in your studio.

The whole notion of a national broadcaster, linking people otherwise isolated from a national culture, needs to be more flexible in the Internet age. After all, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio and the BBC are only a few mouse clicks away.

In the same way, the CBC is now a portal to Canadian culture for the rest of the world, not just ourselves.

Wouldn't it be nice if our portal truly reflected the country – so our rich and ever-regenerating indie pop and rock artists and burgeoning world and world-fusion musicians can get equal airtime (and bandwidth) with the venerable Toronto and Montreal symphony orchestras?

That's where Radio 2 is going – while still guaranteeing listeners several hours of classical programming every day. We should be proud – not angry – that the CBC is willing to take this kind of risk.

No breakup yet for Dion, Ignatieff

This is from the Star. Hebert gives some insights into the Quebec Liberal situation. I don't know where Hebert gets the information that Ignatieff is anxious to have the next campaign over with. I understood that it is Dion who wants an election and that Ignatieff and Rae are holding him back because the troops are not ready nor are Canadians ready to vote for the Liberals. With Rae on the front benches Dion's "star" will be barely visible. To demote Ignatieff would simply cause more unrest. The best thing for Dion is to go for an election and at least be able to hold his head high. Maybe Canadians will forgive him for being so wishy-washy and vote for him.

No breakup yet for Dion, Ignatieff

Mar 31, 2008 04:30 AM
Chantal Hébert


By all accounts, the emergency meeting that Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion held with his demoralized Quebec team last week had an uncommon share of surrealistic moments.

Some of Dion's organizers were astounded by his repeated assertions that things were looking up for the party in Quebec.

A CROP poll published on the weekend put numbers on the disconnect between the leader's appreciation of the situation and the Quebec reality. It had the Liberals nine points behind the Conservatives province-wide and in dead heat with the NDP for a distant third place in francophone Quebec with satisfaction with the Harper government running at 55 per cent.

The most surrealistic moment of the meeting came when a Dion loyalist accused Michael Ignatieff of high treason and called on the leader to expel him from the caucus and the party.

While Dion nipped that suggestion in the bud, he has been urged to consider a variety of scenarios designed to clip the wings of his former leadership rival.

On that score, it is widely expected that Bob Rae's entry in the House of Commons today will translate into a de facto reduction of Ignatieff's profile.

Over the past year, Dion has also recurrently been under pressure to demote Ignatieff from his position as deputy leader. That pressure intensified over the course of last week's Quebec mutiny.

It has been a pattern since Dion became leader that whenever he is in trouble in Quebec, all fingers point to Ignatieff as the source of the mischief.

Given that the province's Liberals massively supported Ignatieff bid for the leadership, it has been easy and ultimately only too convenient to see a conspiracy under every Quebec rock that has tripped Dion along his uncertain way. Without Ignatieff's supporters there simply would not be much of a Quebec Liberal wing.

Given the dismal poll numbers, there is no doubt that the vast majority of Liberals in Quebec would rather go with someone other than Dion as their leader in the next federal election.

Some would actually go to extreme and absurd ends to try to get their wish. It would also be in Ignatieff's interest, in as much as he still wants the job, to have another shot at it sooner rather than later.

But none of his strategists think that could realistically happen before the next election. Moreover, it is hard to connect Ignatieff's presumed impatience to have the next campaign over with and the delaying tactics of the Quebec wing.

More than any Liberal constituency, it has gone out of its way to warn that a quick trip to the polls would result in a full-fledged disaster.

Still, in the wake of last week's events and in the climate of suspicion that presides over the party's affairs, only Dion's fear of a potential caucus revolt may be keeping Ignatieff in the deputy leader slot.

That is not a small consideration. There has been nothing in his performance since the leadership campaign in December 2006 to cost him his commanding caucus support.

In the circumstances, a public rebuke to Ignatieff could do for Dion what Jean Chrétien's public breakup with Paul Martin accomplished and bring his weakened leadership to a tipping point.

This is the day when Dion introduces a bolstered Liberal team to the Commons, but that also means there are a few more scorpions in the official opposition bottle.

Chantal Hébert's national affairs column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
This is from CTV. With the decline in the Quebec polls the threats from Dion are empty. Even though the Liberals are completely opposed to the new immigration legislation they cannot afford to oppose it. The tired old slogans about making parliament work and Canadians not wanting an election are already being trotted out by some Liberals.

Parliament to resume with more Liberal threats
Updated Sun. Mar. 30 2008 5:13 PM ET

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- The election guessing game resumes Monday with Stephane Dion continuing to hold out the possibility that he'll finally pull the plug on Stephen Harper's minority government.

The Liberal leader's threat rings increasingly hollow, coming in the wake of disappointing byelection results and a new round of internecine sniping among party militants in Dion's home province of Quebec.

Indeed, some top Liberals have urged Dion to cut the incessant sabre rattling and frankly admit the party is in no position to fight an election this spring. They fear that repeatedly threatening an election and backing down -- a pattern that Dion has followed throughout the fall and winter -- is only making him look indecisive and exposing the party to ridicule.

But Dion is determined to keep his options open as Parliament resumes after a two-week Easter break.

"It's unavoidable that it will be an issue, will we have an election or not ... It's part of life when you're in a minority situation,'' the Liberal leader said in an interview.

Dion said Liberals will take the plunge when he concludes the time is ripe "for us to replace this very bad government.''

"We'll choose our time, and we need to be ready at any time.''

He shrugged off suggestions that he's courting ridicule.

"I don't worry. I don't see anything ridiculous in what I have said. It's completely normal for a party to take into account timing issues. In politics, timing is a lot.''

Some top Liberals believe Dion's threat of a possible spring election is aimed primarily at imposing some discipline on unruly party members. Others privately suggest he may actually have to follow through on it to avoid an open rebellion over the summer.

He'll have plenty of opportunities to bring down the Harper government should he choose to do so.

Eight opposition days are scheduled before Parliament breaks for the summer, any one of which could be used to propose a motion of non-confidence in the government. Indeed, the spring sitting opens with three consecutive opposition days -- Liberal, Bloc Quebecois and NDP.

While neither the Liberals nor the Bloc intend to propose confidence motions this week, the NDP is weighing the pros and cons of proposing one on Wednesday.

Embarrassing the Grits

New Democrats are tempted to immediately embarrass the three new Liberal stars -- Bob Rae, Martha Hall Findlay and Joyce Murray -- who'll be sworn in on Monday. The trio won byelections on March 17 promising to stand up to the Tory government and would doubtless find it awkward to be forced to abstain on their first test.

"As you know, we've brought those kinds of motions before and certainly we don't rule them out. We'll assess each opportunity,'' NDP Leader Jack Layton said in an interview.

Aside from opposition days, the government will face a series of confidence votes throughout the spring on its budget implementation bill and spending estimates.

Liberal insiders say the budget bill -- which contains controversial provisions giving the government the power to pick and choose immigrants -- is the most likely to provoke an election. New Canadians are the bedrock of Liberal support, and Dion will be hard pressed to allow the changes to pass unchallenged.

However, he likely has a couple of months to decide since the bill must still be debated and sent to committee before returning to the Commons for a final vote.

On budget matters, both the NDP and Bloc have made it clear they'll vote against the government.

Layton said the fact that his party didn't fare well in the byelections -- ending up virtually tied with the upstart Green party in three of four ridings -- hasn't altered his determination to defeat the government.

"Look, all we're doing is saying we're voting against what we don't believe is right. That's what we're going to do. If it's a confidence motion . . . and the House falls, then voters will tell us whether they agreed that we should've stood up to the Conservatives or not.''

For his part, Conservative House leader Peter Van Loan evinced little concern that the government could fall over the next three months. He seemed more interested in the potential for leadership jockeying on the Liberal benches as Rae, onetime NDP premier of Ontario, grabs some of the spotlight from deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, his erstwhile college room mate and leadership rival.

"There will be a different tone now that you'll have at least two folks on the other side who are waiting to become leader of the Liberal party,'' Van Loan said.

Dion countered that Rae and the other two new MPs will showcase one of the big differences between himself and Harper.

"I have a much better team than him and I am much more collegial than him, much more as leader able to work with the others without (feeling) threatened by them. The real strength of a leader is not to have a one-man show.''

Rae's arrival may end up highlighting another difference between the two parties: their prescriptions for curing Ontario's slumping economy.

Liberals intend to go on the war path against Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his recent charge that Ontario's high corporate taxes make it "the last place'' to invest. But Van Loan signalled that the Tories intend to counter any criticism by reminding voters of Rae's high-deficit, high-tax tenure as premier during a severe recession in the early 1990s.

"We remember his record on the economy very well, and if Liberals want to embrace those kinds of policies, which it seems they want to do, then that'll only reinforce the idea that the best economic managers in the country are the people who are in government right now in the Conservative party.''


Minimum wage in Ontario to go to $8.75 per hour

Typical negative reaction from business which is understandable given that economic conditions are already not that great for many businesses. Yet the minimum wage raise is hardly as large as the legislator's wage increase of 25 per cent in 2006! Strange that when there is so much concern about an economic decline that no one notes that the increased wages will stimulate the economy because it is likely to be spent rather than saved.

Minimum Wage Rises To $8.75/Hr, While MPPs Get Salary Hike Of Their Own
Monday March 31, 2008 Staff
Ontario workers in minimum wage jobs will see more money in their pockets starting Monday.

That's when their hourly rate jumps from $8 to $8.75, one of a series of planned hikes for the province's lowest paid employees. The next 75-cent increase happens a year from now, and the following on the same date in 2010, eventually bringing minimum wage to $10.25 per hour.

"We've done it in a way that is aggressive but gradual to allow businesses to adjust, so that we don't hurt the very people that we're trying to help," Labour Minister Brad Duguid said, adding that the increase means Ontario minimum wage earners are the highest paid in the country.

However business leaders suggest now's not a good time to be increasing minimum wage, given the dark economic outlook. Satinder Chera, Ontario director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says increasing wages forces some business owners to reduce benefits or hire fewer people.

"No one begrudges giving those that are struggling to make ends meet a way forward," Chera said. "But we've always said to the government that there are other options."

Progressive Conservative Bob Bailey agrees, contending economic conditions should be considered before such a decision is made, saying, "Anybody that's in business and having a problem already - this could be just enough to make layoffs."

Labour groups on the other hand contend the current minimum wage, at $8.75, is still too low for most to make a living on and that many have to juggle several jobs to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, provincial politicians will also see more in their bank accounts come next paycheque. The base salary for an MPP is set to increase to a little higher than $116,000 annually, up from $113,000. That's an increase of just more than three per cent. That jump follows a 25 per cent hike in December of 2006 and comes out to 35 per cent higher earnings over the past two years.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Poverty of Ontario's Liberals: The 2008 budget

This is a detailed critical analysis of the Ontario budget from a left perspective.
The best that can be said about the McGuinty budget is that a Flaherty budget would be worse! There are a few good programs as well. But from the point of view of the working and middle class it offers little comfort in what seems a likely slowdown.

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 93 .... March 29, 2008

The Poverty of Ontario’s Liberals:
The 2008 Budget
Bryan Evans

The 2008 Ontario budget is a particularly revealing political statement. Until now, the McGuinty Liberals have had a comparatively stable economy to contend with. Year over year since 2003, they have been able to very modestly expand public spending. How times change. The crisis within the manufacturing sector has deepened and now threatens to spill over into other sectors from tourism to construction. March 25th, budget day, was an opportunity for decisive action, to break with the constraints of convention and experiment. This was not to be the case, and instead, feeling very much like we returned to the days of Bill Davis, the McGuinty government opted for ad hoc, partial and incoherent measures.

The Ghost of the Common Sense Revolution
Ontario’s fifth Liberal budget since ascending to government in 2003 steadily continues along the trajectory set in their first budget. The daily sparring match between Ontario’s Liberals and the Harper Conservatives would lead one to conclude that indeed the Common Sense Revolution (CSR) is vanquished in Ontario and relegated to the federal scene. The reality is that Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution of 1995 to 2003 still haunts McGuinty’s cabinet table. It isn’t a matter that the McGuinty Liberals share the crude and aggressive view of what ails Ontario but rather they remain cowed by this legacy and in a fundamental sense do share with the CSR the view that progress will come from the top down and ultimately salvation is an individual responsibility. To be fair, federal Tory finance minister Flaherty’s demand that Ontario cut its general corporate tax rate from 14 to 10 per cent was not heeded. Such a move would have cost Ontario $2.3 to $3.5 billion in revenue. While Flaherty is keen to see all governments follow his path of permanently incapacitating themselves through deep tax cuts, the McGuinty government is not yet prepared to go down that path, at least to the same extent. However, one of Flaherty’s key demands, that the capital tax on businesses be eliminated has in fact already been legislated in Ontario and will come into effect in 2010. Moreover, this budget includes various business oriented tax cuts which will cost the Ontario treasury $750 million. This business tax cut is nearly 300 per cent larger than the ‘anti-poverty’ proposals made in this budget which total some $267 million. Indeed, the essence of the Common Sense Revolution lingers.

Return to the Training Trap
The signature piece of Budget 2008 is the $1.5 billion "Skills to Jobs Action Plan." This set of programs is intended to address the crisis in Ontario’s manufacturing and forestry industries in particular by providing workers with opportunities to re-train for new occupations. One component of this package will help approximately 20,000 laid off workers head back to school for a two year program by providing as much as $30,000 per student per year depending on individual circumstances. In addition, apprenticeship training will be expanded to allow for an additional 32,500 new apprentices by 2011. The problem is not the principle behind these initiatives but rather their inadequacy given that more than 200,000 jobs have been lost in these sectors and the stark reality that the Ontario economy is not generating sufficient numbers of high-quality jobs to replace them. The question will soon arise, as it did in the early 1990s, training for what? This further expresses the consistent Third Way policy theme of the McGuinty Liberals that investments in human capital – skills, knowledge, education, training – is our route to global competitiveness. The problem is that capitalism seeks to locate production where the factors of production, in particular people, are the cheapest. Eastern Europe and India, too, have their share of highly skilled workers who work at a fraction of the cost. The other aspect of this policy is that it papers over the real problem. Sweden, for example, has used active labour market policies such as training as a means to simply hide its unemployed.

For Want of an Industrial Strategy
Back in the late 1980s, the Liberal government of David Peterson established a new forum within the Ontario state – the Premier’s Council – as a mechanism to obtain alternative policy advice. The multi-partite Council had a neo-corporatist structure consisting of representatives from labour, business, government, and universities. This Council produced a rather sophisticated industrial strategy which envisioned a significant degree of provincial state activity in working with capital in building a high-wage economy in Ontario. Both elements of the governing Liberal party and the senior public service balked at the general thrust of these proposals. The Council further set the stage for the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board (OTAB) which coordinated the delivery of skills development and training as Ontario went through the massive restructuring of the 1980s. Moreover, OTAB was governed by a multipartite board which included labour and other social groups. Under the Rae NDP the number of Premier’s Council was expanded to encompass social and economic policy more broadly. These were rather robust proposals which while by no means seeking a rupture with capitalism, did seek to avoid the aggressive flexibilization strategies of Reagan and Thatcher which assaulted unions, the working class and the poor. This was the post-Keynesian strategy of ‘progressive competitiveness,’ anchored in leveraging high-skilled, high value-added production as a means to good jobs at good wages, while simultaneously giving greater sway to liberalised markets nationally and locally and globalized markets internationally. It failed as an alternative to neoliberalism, simply becoming one of the varieties by which neoliberalism multiplied across Canadian jurisdictions and internationally across conservative and social democratic regimes alike.

The legacy of progressive competitiveness has been only ever so partially retrieved by the McGuinty Liberals. What now passes for industrial policy is a regime of tax supported bribes and a modest infrastructure development program. It is not that these are not necessary in the moment but that they are precisely that – momentary. These are all short-term and inadequate responses which beg for more investment, more planning, and more coordination. Budget 2008 presents even less of an alternative to neoliberalism than what the Peterson-Rae governments experimented with in the 1990s.

As noted above, the budget proposes $750 million in tax cuts for business. In addition, there is an unfocussed, scatter-gun dolloping of funds in sectors as diverse as agriculture, festivals, interactive digital media, artistic and cultural industries, veterinary research, and wine production. All in all a rather incoherent allocation of expenditures which has all the hallmarks of Ontario’s tradition of using state resources as an instrument of local and regional elite patronage. Let’s be clear. These initiatives do have merit. But they lack serious co-ordination and coherence to be much more than one-off and short term band-aids.

The Poverty Agenda: Addressing Symptoms but Not the Cause
If Budget 2008’s poverty reduction proposals are any harbinger of where this much touted initiative is heading, then we have a great deal to be concerned with. Of course, the dental care proposal is a good start, as is the nutrition program. But $100 million for social housing is a debacle in the midst of a long-term affordable housing crisis. A major housing development program would generate employment and provide affordable housing to those who need it. Again, this is not a plan for the long-term but rather a gesture. The 2 per cent increase in social assistance rates proposed here will do nothing to reduce poverty. In fact, it goes some way to institutionalizing poverty. And indeed the minimum wage rises to $8.75/hour. A full $1.25 short of what poverty activists and unions have demanded. But more importantly, and insidiously, the McGuinty poverty reduction strategy seeks to define poverty into the most manageable morsels.

The 40 per cent of Ontario workers who have seen their incomes decline over the past decade is simply too big of a problem to even attempt to grapple with. The days of dreaming big are certainly over in the world of neoliberalism. But any serious anti-poverty strategy must come to grips with those who are in a precarious place. They may not be the impoverished of today but are merely one lay-off, one accident, or one illness away from joining those in the bottom decile. This is despite a more than 60% growth in Ontario’s GDP (Armine Yalnizyan, Ontario’s Growing Gap, 2007, 5 and 12). It must be further said, that this broad-based stagnation has also occurred at a time of steadily declining unemployment. Again, we must, if honest, return to the fact that working is not working for significant numbers of Ontario workers and dealing with symptoms will ultimately enter into a crisis of its own. As economist Armine Yalnizyan observes in a study of polarization in Ontario: "As inequality grows, those who can afford to pay will drive the prices of all the basics – the housing market, the education market, the market for caring services, (nannies, home care, and health services). The result could be a shift in focus from public solutions to private solutions and, perhaps unwittingly, driving costs up for everyone, whether they can afford to pay or not" (22).

The Impoverishment of Liberalism
Looking forward, the cracks in the foundations cannot be papered over with largely ad hoc and insufficient measures to address the most palpable symptoms of the current economic downturn. The Ontario Liberals indeed have more progressive options but these compose the path not taken. The legacy of the Common Sense Revolution has left Ontario underfunded. And this has not been addressed by nearly 5 years of Liberal majority government. Ontario loses $16 billion every year in tax revenues as a result of the enduring fiscal policy of Harris and Eves. In addition, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has suggested that Ontario move to fill in the fiscal void left by the tax cuts of the Federal government (Pre-Budget Fiscal Update, 7). The growing gap between the rich and the ‘rest of us,’ as economist Hugh Mackenzie puts it, can only be addressed if Ontario moves to restore a progressive income tax regime. Left as it is, the top 1 per cent of income earners will continue to ‘enjoy’ disproportionate tax savings.

The federal Tories have been campaigning, in their war of words and demands that Ontario cut corporate taxes, to lay the blame for Canada’s deteriorating economy on the reluctance of Ontario’s Liberals to cut corporate taxes. As we’ve seen, cutting corporate taxes has been a consistent theme of the McGuinty Liberals. It is just that their approach is slower. Both the federal Tories and the Ontario Liberals have contributed to structuring fiscal incapacity into the very fabric of Canadian fiscal policy and federal-provincial relations. Both governments continue to actively disable their respective states, and thus the ability to deliver public services, through an ongoing policy of tax cuts. How they differ is a matter of degree and intensity but the tendency is the same. Moreover, both governments lack the planning and coordinative capacities, and deliberately so, that would contribute to an ability to effectively deploy public resources toward mitigating the real problems confronting working Canadians and communities. Hiding our unemployed, defining poverty out of existence rather than actually dealing with it, and handing out uncoordinated pots of money with no strategic objective will get Ontario no where.

A real industrial strategy is necessary which looks forward not to next year or the year after that but 25 years. The potential fiscal resources are there for a sustained program of public investment in key sectors such as public transit, social housing, environmental technologies, and sustainable and value added resource extraction and development. This would require, of course, a revitalized and militant labour movement anchored in a new socialist politics. That the NDP is no longer capable of either putting forward such an agenda or being that kind of political agency was again revealed the tepid responses by leader Howard Hampton and the NDP caucus to the budget, even outshining the dismal performance of the fall election.

But, perhaps, we can all rest easy after all and be assured that the cracks in the foundations of Ontario’s economy will soon be under repair. In a small passage of the budget, the beginning of a new development strategy was announced. None other than Richard Florida, grand popularizer of Clintonism (America’s ‘Third Way’), has been handed the job of studying Ontario’s workforce and making recommendations to improve Ontario competitiveness. Together with Roger Martin, dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, they will compose what will no doubt be a ‘breakthrough strategy’ for Ontario in how to sustain capitalist prosperity in a world of global competition, continual innovation, pulsing urban creativity, and the like.

Rather than stress about the dismal state of manufacturing jobs, the intensification of work, declining living standards, global warming, we should all stroll through Toronto’s Kensington Market, latte in hand, and discuss Ontario’s economic future. For Florida, it is the ‘creative class’ which makes history and the economy hum (and for Rotman we could add the MBA grads). As British urbanist Jamie Peck put it, Florida’s vision works well within "neoliberal development agendas, framed around interurban competition, gentrification, middle-class consumption and place marketing" (‘Struggling with the Creative Class,’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, December 2005, 740). Hold on, wasn’t it one slice of the ‘creative class,’ the financial engineers, the mathematical wizards of derivatives, those sophisticated MBA holders, who got us into this mess? Expect more of the same.

Bryan Evans teaches public administration at Ryerson University.

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Poll paints grim picture for Liberals in Quebec.

This is from CTV. Ignatieff seems to realise the necessity for unity. However the front bench of the Liberals will be expanded to include Rae and poor Dion will be the dimmest light of the three Liberal stars. He will have even more competition.
Given these polls I would predict there will be no election. Ralph Goodale on TV today was spouting the old line about Canadians not wanting an election and that Canadians want parliament to work. Goodale helped out Dion by plumping for Joan Beatty to run in Saskatchewan! Now he helps him out with garbage rhetoric.
It will be easy for Liberals to swallow their pride and support the Conservatives. They haven't any pride left.

Poll paints grim picture for Liberals in Quebec

Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion speaks to reporters after a meeting in Montreal Friday March 28, 2008. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Jean Lapierre of La Presse speaks to CTV's Craig Oliver on March 30, 2008.

L. Ian MacDonald of The Montreal Gazette speaks to CTV's Craig Oliver on March 30, 2008. News Staff

Updated: Sun. Mar. 30 2008 3:22 PM ET

A new poll paints a devastating picture of a Liberal party completely reduced to a rump in Quebec if an election were held today.

"For the Liberals, they are in a worse position than they were in the middle of the sponsorship scandal," political commentator Jean Lapierre told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

Political commentator L. Ian McDonald told Question Period that the CROP poll, conducted for the La Presse newspaper, establishes the Conservatives as the federal brand outside Montreal -- especially as the Bloc Quebecois sags.

The Bloc, which has been the province's dominant party, is down to 30 per cent support. The Tories are nipping at the sovereigntist party's heels with 29 per cent. The Liberals have only 20 per cent support, and the NDP are at 15 per cent.

"But when you drill down inside those numbers, they're awful for (Liberal Leader Stephane) Dion," McDonald said.

For francophones, who comprise about 85 per cent of Quebec voters, support breaks down this way:

Bloc: 35 per cent
Tories: 30 per cent
Liberals, NDP: Tied at 15 per cent
A key region is Quebec City, the so-called 418 region. The news for the Liberals there is even worse:

Tories: 41 per cent
Bloc: 25 per cent
NDP: 17 per cent
Liberals: 14 per cent
"Quebec City is Mr. Dion's home town. He's in fourth place in his home town," McDonald said. "A leader without a base is like a prophet without a homeland."

Dion currently represents a Montreal-area riding -- Saint-Laurent - Cartierville.

Lapierre said the bad news isn't confined to the Liberals.

"The Bloc has never been in such bad shape," he said, noting the party has lost 12 points of support since the 2006 federal election.

Lapierre credited Thomas Mulcair, elected in Montreal's Outremont riding byelection last fall (a take-away from the Liberals) and appointed deputy leader, with improving the NDP's fortunes in Quebec.

And he said the Liberal brand continues to be hurt in Quebec by the sponsorship scandal.

Deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff tried to downplay the poll's results.

"We are the one political formation, this has been true since Laurier, that says to Quebeckers come and work together to make a great country called Canada in which French Canadians and English
Canadians work in partnership and harmony, in which the French identity of their country is recognized as being foundational to who we are," he told Question Period.

"We've got to get back to that simple message. Come and make this place, Canada, a great country. When we do that, they always listen. They always come to us and they always will."

Dion's leadership

The poll follows a week in which Liberal dissension in Quebec has publicly boiled over, with some critics openly taking potshots at Dion's leadership and the state of the party.

Dion in turn called for party discipline.

"The reality is that Mr. Dion is trying to kill the messenger," Lapierre said, adding Dion probably couldn't win more than 10 seats if an election were held today.

More ominously for Dion, McDonald said Ontarians like to vote for a national government. If the Liberals are seen as moribund in Quebec, it could start affecting their chances in Ontario, he said.

"When you're a federal leader coming from Quebec, usually the question is can you deliver Quebec," Lapierre said. "And right now the answer is a resounding 'no'."

This explains the dissension. "They (the dissidents) are trying to give him a warning, but he doesn't want to listen," he said.


With people taking potshots at Dion's leadership, those perceived as his potential successors have been drawn into the infighting.

Ignatieff was alleged to have said Dion lacked the stature to be leader, but he has denied making any such statement.

"This is just rubbish," he said Sunday.

"It never pays to underestimate Stephane Dion. He has an extraordinary tenacity. That's the thing that strikes you day after day after day. Because sometimes there's a lot of pounding you get as an opposition leader. He stood up to it all. And I hope I can help him. My job is very clear. It's to make him the next Prime Minister of Canada and that's what I'm trying to do."

Many of those opposed to Dion in Quebec supported Ignatieff in the leadership race.

"I get up occasionally, pick up the phone and say in French, t'aissez vous, which means shut up in English," Ignatieff said.

"He's called for discipline. I called for discipline. We will win when we're united, and we will certainly hang separately if we're disunited, so that's the message I've been sending. It's the message he's been sending, and we're at one on that issue."

With the House of Commons set to resume on Monday, the talk may again return to election timing. Asked if Parliament can survive until fall, Ignatieff said, "I can't tell you."

There are rumours that Dion might reshuffle his front bench to give newly-elected MP Bob Rae, who finished third in the leadership race, a prominent role on the front bench.

"To the best of my knowledge, the front bench, there will be some changes to the front bench, but changing me is not one of the things we're discussing," Ignatieff said.

"This is an incredibly strong team. I can't remember now off the top of my head how many people on our team have had cabinet experience, but it's a hell of a good list and it's a hell after good team. And when Canadians look at our team versus their team, they're going to think, 'I like that team, that Liberal team'."

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.


We have all heard of Stagflation. I just wonder if we will not see a period of Recflation (RECession and inFLATION) in the U.S. and elsewhere. By increasing the supply of money and lowering interest rates the Feds in the U.S. are making other goods more expensive. Add to this the fact that basic foodstuffs are increasing in price because of decreased supply, and increased costs for transportation, packaging, etc. The high price of oil increases the price of fuel, transportation, and all products such as plastics that depend on oil production. Diversion of agricultural production into ethanol does not help either.

Harper dampens expectations ahead of NATO summit

This is from the Globe and Mail.Actually the article makes it clear that there is no danger at all that the conditions set by Harper will not be met. If no one else will come through the U.S. will. They should since we are providing cannon fodder, and aid for their mission. We even are giving Boeing a big boost with Chinook helicopters. As a reward we will get them sooner than ordinary!

Harper dampens expectations ahead of NATO summit

The Canadian Press

March 28, 2008 at 5:03 PM EDT

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared to dampen expectations Friday that all of Canada's demands on Afghanistan will be met during next week's NATO leaders summit in Romania.

While he remains confident the military alliance will come through with 1,000 reinforcements and extra equipment, Mr. Harper suggested it all might take more time to accomplish than the two-day meeting among 26 leaders.

“I anticipate in the weeks to come there will be additional commitments made in Afghanistan by some of our allies,” he said while visiting northern Quebec.

“I don't think we will necessarily finish that process at Bucharest but we will finish it in the very near future.”
It was widely expected that French President Nicolas Sarkozy would use the gathering of NATO leaders on April 2-4 to announce that his country was sending additional troops. Instead, he largely made his intentions known during a visit this week to Britain, prompting an immediate uproar back home.

It's not clear whether French troops would go to eastern or southern Afghanistan, but there is a strong suggestion they'll likely deploy to a province south of Kabul. Such a move would free American troops to bolster the Canadian positions in Kandahar.

The House of Commons recently voted to extend Canada's military mission in war-torn region, as long as NATO provided 1,000 more troops and the Defence Department came up with battlefield helicopters and unmanned surveillance planes.

The general expectation had been the matter would be settled during the meeting in Bucharest, the ancient capital of the former East Bloc country.

Federal Liberals, who helped Conservatives pass the extension motion over NDP and Bloc Quebecois opposition, have said they wanted an answer about reinforcements at the summit.

The lengthening of the mission to July 2011 was approved prior to the summit in order to strengthen Mr. Harper's hand with major allies who've thus far been reluctant to commit troops to the restive southern region.

Last week, Defence Minister Peter MacKay confirmed that Washington had assured Ottawa that it would backstop the Canadian demand for extra troops if no European member of NATO came forward.

Mr. Harper said Friday he had a “high level of certainty” Canada would get what it wanted.

“It's all moving along very well,” he told reporters.

The Defence Department has already put in requests for unmanned reconnaissance drones.

It has also asked the U.S. Army if Canada can slip ahead of an American order in the Boeing production line and obtain quick delivery of six CH-47-D Chinook helicopters.

In Halifax on Friday, Mr. MacKay said a deal wasn't completed yet.

“We're very close,” he said, responding to questions at an announcement on the 2011 Canada Games.

“I just want to put on the record, the time frame that was initially envisioned was February '09, but we hope to have those helicopters in theatre well in advance of that deadline.”

The February 2009 deadline was set down in the Manley commission report, which Mr. Harper used as a starting point for the government's motion.

The five-member independent panel, which reported in late January, said Canada's involvement in Kandahar should cease within a year unless the allies committed extra troops and equipment.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chile, Cybernetics, and Socialism

Here are three articles on Socialism in Chile under Allende and the role of Simon Beer and others who attempted to use cybernetics in planning. The first is from the NY Times. The second is from the Financial Post. The final article is from the
National Post and was written by the son of Stafford Beer who was the cyberneticist who helped Allende.

March 28, 2008 / New York TIMES

Santiago Journal

Before '73 Coup, Chile Tried to Find the Right Software for Socialism

SANTIAGO, Chile — When military forces loyal to Gen. Augusto Pinochet
staged a coup here in September 1973, they made a surprising
discovery. Salvador Allende's Socialist government had quietly
embarked on a novel experiment to manage Chile's economy using a
clunky mainframe computer and a network of telex machines.

The project, called Cybersyn, was the brainchild of A. Stafford Beer,
a visionary Briton who employed his "cybernetic" concepts to help Mr.
Allende find an alternative to the planned economies of Cuba and the
Soviet Union. After the coup it became the subject of intense military

In developing Cybersyn, Mr. Beer changed the lives of the bright young
Chileans he worked with here. Some 35 years later, this little-known
feature of Mr. Allende's abortive Socialist transformation was
remembered in an exhibit in a museum beneath La Moneda, the
presidential palace.

A Star Trek-like chair with controls in the armrests was a replica of
those in a prototype operations room. Mr. Beer planned for the room to
receive computer reports based on data flowing from telex machines
connected to factories up and down this 2,700-mile-long country.
Managers were to sit in seven of the contoured chairs and make
critical decisions about the reports displayed on projection screens.

While the operations room never became fully operational, Cybersyn
gained stature within the Allende government for helping to
outmaneuver striking workers in October 1972. That helped planners
realize — as the pioneers of the modern-day Internet did — that the
communications network was more important than computing power, which
Chile did not have much of, anyway. A single I.B.M. 360/50 mainframe,
which had less storage capacity than most flash drives today,
processed the factories' data, with a Burroughs 3500 later filling in.

Cybersyn was born in July 1971 when Fernando Flores, then a
28-year-old government technocrat, sent a letter to Mr. Beer seeking
his help in organizing Mr. Allende's economy by applying cybernetic
concepts. Mr. Beer was excited by the prospect of being able to test
his ideas.

He wanted to use the telex communications system — a network of
teletypewriters — to gather data from factories on variables like
daily output, energy use and labor "in real time," and then use a
computer to filter out the important pieces of economic information
the government needed to make decisions.

Mr. Beer set up teams of computer programmers in England and Chile,
and began making regular trips to Santiago to direct the project. He
was paid $500 a day while working in Chile, a sizable sum here at the
time, said Raúl Espejo, who was Cybersyn's operations director.

The Englishman became a mentor to the Chilean team, many of them in
their 20s. On one visit he tried to inspire them by sharing Richard
Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," the story of a seagull who
follows his dream to master the art of flying against the wishes of
the flock.

An imposing man with a long gray-flecked beard, Mr. Beer was a college
dropout who challenged the young Chileans with tough questions. He
shared his love for writing poetry and painting, and brought books and
classical music from Europe. He smoked cigars and drank whiskey and
wine constantly, "but was never losing his head," Mr. Espejo said.

Most of the Cybersyn team scrupulously avoided talking about politics,
and some even had far-right-wing views, said Isaquino Benadof, who led
the team of Chilean engineers designing the Cybersyn software.

One early challenge was how to build the communications network. Short
of money, the team found 500 unused telex machines in a warehouse of
the national telecommunications company.

Cybersyn's turning point came in October 1972, when a strike by
truckers and retailers nearly paralyzed the economy. The
interconnected telex machines, exchanging 2,000 messages a day, were a
potent instrument, enabling the government to identify and organize
alternative transportation resources that kept the economy moving.

The strike dragged on for nearly a month. While it weakened Mr.
Allende's Popular Unity party, the government survived, and Cybersyn
was praised for playing a major role. "From that point on the
communications center became part of whatever was happening," Mr.
Espejo said.

"Chile run by computer," blared The British Observer on Jan. 7, 1973,
as word of the experiment began leaking out.

But as the country's political and security situation worsened, Mr.
Beer and his Chilean team realized that time was running out.

Mr. Allende remained committed to Cybersyn to the end. On Sept. 8,
1973, he gave orders to move the operations room to the presidential
palace. But three days later the military took over; Mr. Allende died
that afternoon.

Military officials soon confronted Cybersyn's leaders, seeking to
understand their political motivations. Mr. Benadof said he was
interrogated at least three times. Mr. Espejo, after being questioned,
was warned to leave the country; two months after the coup he fled to

The military never could grasp Cybersyn, and finally dismantled the
operations room. Several other Cybersyn team members went into exile.
Mr. Flores, who was both economy and finance minister in the Allende
government, spent three years in military concentration camps. After
his release, he moved with his family to California to study at
Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, where
he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy.

He later was one of the inventors of the Coordinator, a program that
tracked spoken commitments between workers within a company, one of
the first forays into "work flow" software. He became a millionaire
and returned to Chile, where today he is a senator representing the
Tarapacá Region.

Mr. Beer, who died in 2002, helped some team members secure college
teaching positions in England. That included Mr. Espejo, who dedicated
himself to advancing cybernetics.

"The Chilean project completely transformed Stafford's life, and he
obviously had a huge impact on all of us," Mr. Espejo said. "Clearly,
his work was not recognized during his lifetime. But what he has
written will remain for a long time."

Here is the Financial Post article.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Presented by
Socialist dreams always turn totalitarian
Peter Foster, Financial Post
Published: Saturday, March 01, 2008

On Nov. 12, 1971, Salvador Allende, the president of Chile, sat down in the presidential palace in Santiago opposite a large, bearded Englishman named Stafford Beer.

Allende, a committed socialist, had been in power for a year, during which he had unleashed a wave of expropriations and populist measures that threatened massive inflation. The economy was in turmoil. Beer, the eccentric founder of "cybernetic management," had come to lay out a master plan for control of the rapidly expanding nationalized sector of the Chilean economy. On a sheet of paper, Beer drew the "neurological" basis for his system. Allende, who had trained as a doctor, reportedly "immediately grasped the biological inspiration behind Beer's cybernetic model and knowingly nodded throughout the explanation."

Beer sketched his "viable system model" based on five hierarchic levels. After he had drawn the top "box," he declared theatrically: "And this, companero presidente, is you." Allende leaned back and with a broad smile said: "At last, the people."

Two years after his first meeting with Beer, Allende was killed during the coup that installed the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

He has since become an icon for crushed socialist dreams. This view is reflected in Naomi Klein's recent book, The Shock Doctrine. Strangely, however, Ms. Klein makes no mention of Stafford Beer, who provides valuable insight into what "socialist control" looks like in practice. Ms. Klein's oversight is especially puzzling since Stafford Beer's story has a strong Canadian angle. In 1973, he gave the CBC Massey lectures with the telling title: Designing Freedom. He lived much of the latter part of his life in Toronto, and consulted to several levels of Canadian government.

Leftist commentators such as Ms. Klein persistently claim that socialism

has "never really been tried." Those countries that called themselves socialist or Communist were always either repressive perversions of the ideal, or were thwarted by the dark machinations of their capitalist enemies. The latter is the conventional leftist take on Chile, and certainly has an element of truth. The U.S. companies that Allende expropriated indeed ran to Washington, which sought to undermine his regime. However, the left inevitably fails to put enough emphasis on the role of Allende's own policies in destroying the Chilean economy. While his Keynesian delusions and reflexive grab for assets would have been damaging enough, they were as nothing compared with the regime's naivete in supporting Beer's "Project Cybersyn," (a word formed from melding "cybernetics" and "synergy.")

Beer was a larger-than-life character, a polymath who dabbled in Eastern religions, poetry and painting. He was also a well-known management consultant who had previously held senior positions in the British steel and the publishing industry. Beer was a specialist in operations research (OR), the study of organizing systems to produce the required results, and had melded OR with cybernetics, the science of control mechanisms which had been founded by Norbert Weiner. Above all, however, Beer was a committed socialist.

Beer's Cybersyn utilized a network of telex machines that ran the length of Chile. These theoretically provided the real-time data from state factories and mines that would then be fed into a specially programmed central computer. The whole operation would be overseen from a control module, the "Opsroom," that resembled the deck of the starship Enterprise. There, seven controllers would act in a "symbiotic relationship" with the computer "to amplify their respective powers in one new synergy of enhanced intelligence." The seven would sit surrounded by numerous screens -- including an eight-by-four-foot master screen -- in ergonomically designed swivel chairs. These chairs' arms featured a series of knobs that the controllers would bash to control the commanding heights of the Chilean economy. The knob thumping was intended by Beer as part of the "drama" of cybernetic control: centralized government as performance art. (More practically, it was based on the assumption that the seven masters of the economy would be keyboard illiterate. Beer apparently didn't want women typists in the room.) Nationalized enterprises would be dynamically modelled in terms of "quantified flow-charts" that would give the central puppeteers all they needed to know. Glitches would be indicated by "algedonic signals."

True to solid socialist principles, this enormously elaborate system would, according to Beer, facilitate worker participation. How wasn't clear. The Russian and Cuban revolutions had somehow missed out on this "democratic" element, but Chile would be -- as with every socialist experiment -- "different." It wasn't.

Beer rejected accusations that his system was Orwellian, but was soon speaking the language of thinly veiled threats. Opposition was allegedly rooted in the "vindictiveness" of the "rich world." Media criticism was written off as part of a corporate plot. Those who had been expropriated had to "talk the new language [of cybernetic viability] or get out." Those who refused to leave were accused of "polarizing" society.

Cybersyn, not surprisingly, never became fully operational, and its only alleged success was in helping the government respond to a nationwide 1972 strike. But that was a very long way from running the public sector, much less an economy. Meanwhile, U.S. computer guru Herb Grosch wrote: "It is a good thing for humanity, and for Chile in particular, that [Cybersyn] is only a bad dream." (Beer got expressions of interest in his system from the repressive regimes in South Africa and Brazil).

What saved Cybersyn from descending into utter farce and/or totalitarian nightmare was the Pinochet coup. According to his credulous biographer, Beer subsequently wondered if the "success" of his experiment might havehastenedAllende's fall and the "demise of democracy."

Beer went off to live for some years in isolation in a cottage in Wales, then went back to consulting. In a speech he gave in 1990, he admitted-- while castigating the Thatcher and Reagan regimes -- that countries seemed to "go into chaos" as soon as he arrived. He died in 2002, apparently without ever grasping why.

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

Finally the National Post article:

Allende was no totalitarian
Simon Beer, National Post
Published: Saturday, March 29, 2008

As Stafford Beer's son, I was saddened to read Peter Foster's article of March 1, "Socialist dreams always turn totalitarian." Foster seems to have rather a poor grasp of the politics, economics and business management involved in President Salvador Allende's Chile in general and Stafford Beer's work in particular.

He misses the point about the "at last the people" anecdote. Stafford Beer ended with "… and this companero presidente ..." whereupon Allende finished the sentence for him "… at last -- the people." The point is that it wasn't about the president, but about the people. The way Foster writes it, it doesn't make any sense at all.

To claim the Chilean economy was in "turmoil" is fallacious. Allende's super-inflation model was a deliberate act. The premise being that if 5% of the population have all the money and 95% have none, then inflate the cost of everything and subsidize the poor, who receive food, clothing, education and housing for free. The rich meanwhile, have to pay $50 for a loaf of bread and don't even think about a mink coat. To claim this is "turmoil" shows a misunderstanding of the circumstance. Allende knew exactly what he was doing.

Foster's comment that "project Cybersyn never became fully operational" is demonstrably wrong. The distinguished Cybernetician Raul Espejo was responsible for the day-to-day running of the operations room with his colleagues until the American-backed coup d'etat put Pinochet in power, forcing Raul to escape to England. His colleagues? Well, some escaped, some were imprisoned and tortured and some were killed. So tell me again, Mr Foster, about socialist totalitarianism.

Foster quotes Herb Grosch (who knew nothing about what took place or was achieved in Chile). Perhaps Henry Kissinger, who played such a big part in Allende's death, would have been more apposite: "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."

It wasn't Allende, a democratically elected president, remember, who herded people into the national stadium and machine-gunned them, it was America's puppet dictator Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet (with the help and support of the American State Department and the CIA), tortured and murdered many thousands of Chilean people for which he would be harangued as a war criminal until death saved him even greater public ignominy. Foster's premise that socialism turns to totalitarianism seems weak in the extreme when using Allende's Chile as a paradigm. Chile produced most of the world's copper; America wanted it. The Chilean government was truly "thwarted by the dark machinations of their capitalist enemies," despite Foster's assertion to the contrary.

Foster suggests "the left inevitably fails to put enough emphasis on the role of Allende's own policies in destroying the Chilean economy." Not surprising, really. The fact that these policies were outside the American accounting norm may be hard for Foster to understand, but then, I suggest his understanding of the whole project is, at best, a little weak.

The summation of Stafford Beer's life, with its paucity of information, is rather akin to suggesting that Kennedy was a man who liked women, dabbled in politics and died. Stafford Beer was indeed a polymath. His books on Cybernetics and decision-making in management are read and respected around the world. Cybernetics is now an international business philosophy. If you enter Stafford Beer into Google, you get 137,000 references. To deride him for his politics is both irrelevant and asinine.

Foster reveals his lack of understanding of the interconnected telex machines that ran the length of Chile, "theoretically" providing real-time data. "Theory" becomes "reality" once the system is working.

And work it did. As for the operations room, he totally misses the point yet again because he fails to understand how the chairs worked. Beer proved that "girls working at keyboards" were not necessary to input data into the system. This could all be achieved by the controls in the arm of the chair: a whole new concept of system control in 1972. That was why "girls working at keyboards" were not required. It wasn't some misogynist plot. Foster describes Cybersyn as "an enormously elaborate system," yet in truth, Cybersyn was a deceptively simple system offering democratic inputs at every point along the operational chain. There were literally thousands of inputs, filtered so that the data weren't overwhelming. Had Foster understood the Cybersyn system, he would have known this.

Foster isn't always wrong, "…Chile would be -- as with every socialist experiment --different. It wasn't."

How true. It was the American politicians and their military, coupled with the CIA and Pinochet, that guaranteed that it wouldn't be.

Foster suggests that Stafford Beer expressed the view that criticism of Cybersyn was part of a "corporate plot." On the contrary, Beer understood corporate inadequacy and its inability to function as a viable system. He wrote many books on the subject. The corporate world would have been incapable of organizing such a plot. More likely, he riled against ill-informed members of the press, writing simplistic text about matters that they didn't understand and couldn't be bothered to adequately research.

Quod erat demonstrandum, Mr. Foster.

Perhaps we should leave the last word to Henry Kissinger, that champion of freedom-loving people everywhere: "The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer." - Simon Beer is Stafford Beer's son.

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


Dion: Liberals to assess best odds..

Well at least Dion has dispensed with his usual rhetoric about Canadians not wanting an election etc.etc. anything but the real reason. However, it is unlikely he will dispense the sitting on hands ritual or dispense with the practice of letting bills pass that the Liberals abhor and vigorously and vacuously lambaste in parliament.
April is the cruellest month breeding limp Liberals out of the dead land. Pace T.S. Eliot.

Liberals to assess best odds, Dion says

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

March 29, 2008 at 8:16 AM EDT

OTTAWA — The Liberals will judge coming confidence votes in Parliament on their own self-interest and their shot at victory in the ensuing election, leader Stéphane Dion said yesterday.

"We will determine the timing of the election when we will have the best odds of winning," he said in an interview that will run on the French-language TVA network tomorrow.

"It's rare that the population wants an election, but we can feel it when the fruit is ripe. And at that time - it's not up to me to tell you when; it's part of the strategy that we keep close to our chest - there will be an election."

Mr. Dion's acknowledgment that he is waiting for winning conditions before going to the polls came after a tough week in Quebec, where his leadership was challenged by activists who said the party is ill-prepared for a vote.

Election timing is a crucial issue for the Liberals as the House reconvenes on Monday after a two-week Easter break, with several confidence votes to come as the budget moves through the minority Parliament.

The budget bill includes controversial changes to immigration rules, which the Liberals oppose. In addition, there are always confidence votes in the spring as MPs are required to approve routine government spending.

But the Liberals have refused to vote in large numbers on confidence motions for months.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Jack Layton have openly derided Mr. Dion's stand, which is getting mixed reviews in the Liberal caucus.

Liberal MP Denis Coderre openly complained this month about the situation, saying his "hands are starting to hurt and I'm tired of sitting on them."

Mr. Dion has invoked a number of other reasons to justify his past refusals to bring down the Harper government, including the high expense of a general election.

Sask. government to release nuclear power report

On nuclear power the Sask Party and NDP are like two peas in a pod. The NDP did not release the report because they wanted to develop nuclear power but the report probably shows many of the problems with such development. Now the Sask. Party which out of power clamoured for its release has yet to release it. Imagine the minister of Enterprise and Innovation hasnt been enterprising enough to read the report yet!
The Environment Minister can't find the report! What sort of half-awake half-baked ministers are these? One minister had read the material and poos poos its importance and says that it may not even be made public. You can gather from all this that the report is important in that it shows the problems with nuclear power, the last thing either the NDP or the Sask. Party wanted to hear. Will the NDP take up the task of a good opposition and like the Sask. Party demand the report's release?

Sask. government to release nuclear power report
Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2008 |
After once criticizing the NDP government for "dithering" on making a nuclear power report public, the ruling Saskatchewan Party is now getting ready to release the information itself.

"Our commitment to release it is going to be kept," Premier Brad Wall said Thursday.

The development comes after being in power several months and follows some mixed signals from cabinet minister.

In 2005, then-Opposition leader Wall told a business group that SaskPower had done work on how Saskatchewan might use nuclear power, but the NDP government had refused to table the information. Saskatchewan is the world's leading producer of uranium, but doesn't have nuclear reactors.

Making the report public was the only way Saskatchewan people could know for sure whether or not a nuclear power plant was a good idea for the province, Wall said.

"All we get from the NDP is more dithering," Wall said, according to the text of his Dec. 8, 2005, speech to the North Saskatoon Business Association.

Wall also said then that within months of a Saskatchewan Party government being elected, Enterprise Saskatchewan would be directed to make SaskPower's nuclear power information public.

After four months in power, that hasn't happened. Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart said Wednesday he hasn't read the SaskPower report.

He also confirmed what Environment Minister Nancy Heppner said in January — that the government could not find the report.

"That, as far as I know, is still the case," Stewart said.

However, one of Stewart's cabinet colleagues, Crown Corporations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff, said he has read the material. He said the information is not substantial and may not be made public.

"I've had a chance to look at those documents," Cheveldayoff said. "One involves siting, but it was a very elementary study that has some commercial confidentiality to it."

The Opposition New Democrats don't buy either story.

It's more likely that the government doesn't want things in the report made public, such as the high cost of such a plant and the possible risk to the people who live near it, New Democrat MLA Frank Quennell said.

"I think the report certainly raises the serious consequences of a nuclear accident, given where a nuclear reactor would have to be located," said Quennell, a former minister responsible for SaskPower who was briefed on the contents of the report.

According to the report, a nuclear power plant would be located near a water source and close to a population centre, he said.

Meanwhile, after CBC News asked the government about the report and what ministers had said about it, there were signs the file was being moved back to the front burner.

Wall has instructed SaskPower to gather all of the documents related to the nuclear power file with an eye to making as much of it public as possible, a spokesman for the premier said.

Friday, March 28, 2008

U.S. fears over honey bee collapse..

This is from the BBC. Maybe some good buddy of Bush needs to get into bees before much will be done. At least around my area in Manitoba there are also quite a few problems with bees.

US fears over honey bee collapse
By Heather Alexander

The US bee population fell by about 30% last year
The pollination of crops by bees is responsible for a third of the food produced in the US.

One in every three mouthfuls has been touched by their tiny feet; but our six-legged friends are in trouble.

They are getting sick and leaving their hives. Without bees, food gets more expensive - some products could disappear altogether.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) emerged last year, and by spring 2007 bees were dying in huge numbers - over the year as a whole the total bee population fell by 30%.

Some beekeepers lost closer to 90%, and the fear is it will get worse.

Beekeeper Gilly Sherman says: "It's worse than last year, and last year was worse than the year before, so it's bad, and there are a lot of good big beekeepers that are having a lot of problems.

"I think we're coming in for a big train wreck."

Few answers

He has moved his bees to Bakersfield, California. The state's Central Valley is home to the largest managed pollination event in the world - 1.5 million hives are transported there on trucks.

That is almost every commercial hive in the country. Without bees there would be practically no almonds, and it's the same for many other crops. Apples, strawberries, even onions, all depend on bees.

Bees are frozen to preserve them for research
Yet despite their importance, there is still no answer to the problem of CCD.

Its causes remain a mystery even after a year of intense publicity.

Part of that is due to lack of funding, say researchers, who rejoiced at the news that Haagen-Dazs, the ice cream maker, is donating $250,000 to their cause.

At Penn State University, nestled in the Pennsylvania countryside, scientists spend day and night working on the problem.

Bees are collected and kept at freezing temperatures to preserve them so they can be ground down to show up viruses, bacteria and other pathogens - basically anything that causes disease.

Many different types have been found, so it is proving difficult to know what the main cause is. A parasite called Nosema ceranae, which infects the bee's guts, has been found too.

Raj Singh, who made one of the most recent discoveries, says: "We have found some of the honey bees that are uninfected bringing in pollen pellets from the field, and those pollen pellets were actually infected - that's one of the routes of virus transmission that we've found."

But he admits they are far from finding the "silver bullet" and even further from knowing how to stop it.

Limited funds

Entomologist at Penn State, Diana Cox Foster, says it is an urgent problem.

"We do feel that we need additional monies to come in for grants to work on this problem," she said. "We also need to have collaboration internationally to address what the role of different pathogens is."

Beekeeper Gilly Sherman is moving his hives
She acknowledged that a quarter of a million dollars from Haagen-Dazs isn't much when faced with such a mysterious problem, but says better offers from higher authorities are few and far between.

"At the Senate and at the House of Representatives, at the federal level, they have said that they are quite interested and they would like to help a great deal but we haven't yet seen the monies being released for this.

"It is of concern, and hopefully other people will start to see it that way before it hits us in the supermarkets."

Bees' influence on supermarket shelves is vast. As well as fruits and vegetables, it could get as far as beef and dairy products because cows are fed alfalfa - another bee-pollinated plant.

Of course honey would disappear altogether without bees. More money and more commitment to research are called for to keep this essential industry going.

In a world so dominated by man it may come as a big shock to realise there are some things we cannot do without nature's help.

The Conservatives giveth and the Conservatives taketh away

The Conservatives seem to be very smart at being stupid. They don't just not invite the opposition in the first place but invite them and then disinvite them. Duhhh.. The communiciations woman for the Conservatives doesn't know why! Might we suggest because they are stupid. At the last minute someone suggested that they should not give the opposition a chance to make points. So we invited them who cares. The press doesn't like us anyway and the Liberals are self-destructing so there is no alternative to us. The Conservatives do not seem to even care that they lied about the reason for uninviting the opposition. Vote for a third party come election time people. Neither of the main parties deserve anyone's support.

Opposition miffed at being uninvited to NATO meeting
Last Updated: Friday, March 28, 2008 | 1:51 AM ET Comments32Recommend14CBC News
Opposition MPs are irate that they were invited, and then promptly uninvited, to next week's NATO leaders summit in Romania.

Liberal MP Denis Coderre says the opposition should be invited to next week's NATO meeting in Romania.
(Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)
A day after the Conservatives sent out detailed invitation letters outlining itineraries and flight schedules to all three opposition parties, the Tories backtracked on the offer.

"Lo and behold, yesterday we were disinvited," NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar told CBC News on Thursday.

"Ludicrous is what it is. It's very strange and quite disturbing."

The Conservatives told their Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois counterparts that NATO had decided at the last minute to limit the size of the Canadian delegation attending the three-day meeting in Bucharest. But NATO spokesmen told CBC News and opposition MPs that NATO had not imposed such a cap.

The Conservatives offered no further explanation on Thursday as to why the invitations were revoked.

"I absolutely can't explain what happened with that," said Sandra Buckler, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"But I can tell you that this is a government delegation and that on this trip there will be no pairing [of opposition critics with government officials]."

Liberal MP Denis Coderre said the decision not to include the opposition on the trip flies in the face of the recent Manley commission report, which called for the Conservative government to be more open and accountable about the mission in Afghanistan.

Coderre, the Liberal defence critic, also accused the Conservatives of lying about the reasons for the cancelled invite.

"The official Opposition has tried at every opportunity to work in a constructive fashion regarding our mission in Afghanistan, but once again we see from this government an unacceptable level of partisanship, going so far as to hide the facts from Canadians," Coderre said.

NATO expected to discuss troop request
At the NATO meeting, which runs April 2-4, foreign leaders are expected to discuss Canada's request to have 1,000 extra NATO soldiers back up the 2,500 Canadian troops who are participating in the NATO-led mission.

There are currently about 42,000 NATO soldiers working in Afghanistan.

The call for 1,000 extra troops is key for Canada. Earlier this month, the House of Commons passed a motion to extend Canada's mission in Afghanistan past 2009, provided more troops and equipment are sent to help the Canadian military.

The motion, which was drafted by the Conservatives but included input from the Liberals, passed because both parties rallied together to vote in its favour, despite opposition from the NDP and Bloc.

Coderre said he's surprised the Conservatives would not include his party in the NATO meeting after the two parties worked together.

"It was a Canadian motion, but now it seems it's a Conservative trip," Coderre said.

This is not the first time the Conservatives have left the opposition off an invitation list.

In December, Harper's government broke a long-standing tradition by deciding not to invite opposition MPs to the United Nations' climate change meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

With files from the Canadian Press

Liberal leader urges 'discipline'.

The Liberals are a disaster not waiting to happen but happening all the time. Dion fumes in fury at Conservative legislation and then lets it pass. Ignatieff and Rae are front row prima donnas waiting for their chance at center stage. Liberal rhetoric is so transparently driven by the state of the polls rather than anything else such as principles that it is embarassing to see politicians who are otherwise quite intelligent trying to convince the people of what is obviously false. For the life of me I can't see why more people do not vote for third parties both right and left.
Dion should bite the bullet and defeat the Conservatives before Liberal stock enters the Great Depression.

Liberal leader urges 'discipline' - Canada - Liberal leader urges 'discipline'

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion talks with reporters after the caucus meeting on March 12, 2008. "We will decide when an election shall come," he says. Dion implores detractors to curb dissent as discontent in Quebec wing threatens an election effort

March 28, 2008
Sean Gordon
Quebec Bureau Chief

MONTREAL–Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is taking on the grumblers in his party's fractious Quebec wing, warning that open dissent risks torpedoing the Liberals' electoral chances.

Dion was in Montreal to meet with the party's Quebec executive, where roiling internal opposition broke to the surface this month, and he implored his detractors to keep their criticism in the family.

"If we are not disciplined now . . . we risk not being disciplined in an election. And in an election, an iron discipline is required to win," he said.

At a news conference, Dion ordered a conspicuous show of unity, standing with more than a dozen executive members.

"As the leader I am entitled to greater discipline," Dion said. "We have a lot of work to do, and we know that. We also know anything is possible when we work hard . . . and when we have discipline, which has been lacking lately, but it will come back, let me tell you. Isn't that right?"

"Yes," the executive members answered in chorus.

Asked by reporters whether recent disgruntlement was evidence of a greater malaise over his leadership, Dion was categorical.

"No. It's a lack of discipline," he said, adding he doesn't plan to hit dissenters with any sanctions.

Dion said his party is ready for an election, but he signalled the Liberals won't topple the minority Conservatives over proposed changes to the Immigration Act that would give the minister sweeping powers.

"It's unacceptable . . . It's something that we need to study closely, and we will use every means to ensure it will be looked at in committee," he said. "We will not strategize publicly. Mr. Harper has abandoned his power to call elections . . . I have that power and I exercise it. We will go into an election when we think it appropriate to go into an election."

Despite Dion's efforts to calm the waters, there are still evident problems in the Quebec wing. Membership numbers have dwindled, contributions are lagging, and dozens of the province's 75 ridings have yet to nominate candidates – although a Liberal official insisted more than 50 have been "identified."

Leadership rival Michael Ignatieff, the party's deputy leader, and Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP, held a fundraiser in Montreal this week to help offset debts incurred in the race, and was quoted in La Presse as telling a supporter: "Mr. Dion was a good minister, but he doesn't have the stature of a leader."

The remark set the cat among the pigeons among Liberals, and was immediately denied by Ignatieff, who released a terse statement insisting: "The statement directly attributed to me . . . is entirely false."

"No one has the right to call my loyalty into question," it continued.

But some Liberals interviewed think it was inappropriate for Ignatieff to be raising money in a province where the coffers are bare and where it will be harder for the party to tap donors if they have already committed part of their $1,000 annual limit to Ignatieff.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Campers not terrorists: Lawyer

This is from the Star. It really sounds as if this group had grandiose schemes but little practical sense of how to carry them out. They sound like a bunch of incompetent blowhards who are such hardened disciplined jihadists that they can't even poop or piss outdoors.
This is the first information we are getting from the defence side. Of course just as the police wants to picture the group as very dangerous well organised terrorists the defence wants to give quite a different view. However, the contrast is certainly stark. Nevertheless it seems clear they certainly had violent plans in mind even though it sure looks as if they lacked the skill and means to carry them out. I don't quite understand why the names are withheld to ensure a fair trial. How would releasing names cause the trial to be unfair?

Campers not terrorists: Lawyer - GTA - Campers not terrorists: Lawyer

March 27, 2008
Isabel Teotonio
Staff Reporter

In the dead of winter, the terror suspects ventured off on a camping trip without a proper tent.

They couldn't handle the cold, so they slept in their cars and marched around to keep warm.

They routinely trekked off to Tim Hortons for washroom breaks and coffee runs.

That was the picture that emerged yesterday in a Brampton court about the activities at a so-called jihadist camp that members of a homegrown terror cell are alleged to have attended.

It is a vastly different portrait than the one painted by the Crown on Tuesday at the opening of the trial of a youth who is charged with belonging to the Toronto 18, a group that is accused of plotting to bomb several targets in southern Ontario.

According to a Crown factum of expected evidence, some of the accused frequented a 12-day camp near the town of Washago, Ont., where they practised military-style exercises in camouflage gear and undertook firearms training with a 9-mm firearm.

But a different story surfaces in a factum filed by defence lawyer Michael Moon, who represents one of the 14 adults arrested with four youths in a massive police sweep in 2006 for belonging to an Al Qaeda-inspired cell.

"In fact this hapless `F-Troop,' who ventured into the deathly cold of winter without a proper tent, or in fact sufficient or proper supplies of any kind, was reduced to sleeping in the vehicles at night to prevent freezing to death; trooping off to Tim Hortons multiple times per day for coffee and use of the bathroom, tending the fire, and marching with the primary purpose of staying warm."

The factum marks the first time any document challenging the Crown's case has been made public by a member of the defence team. It was filed in response to a Crown application seeking a limited publication ban on the identities of the adults during the youth's trial.

The Crown argues the expected evidence could prejudice the future trials of the adults. Since the arrests, charges against three youths have been stayed. Of the adults, 10 are in jail and four are out on bail.

Moon supported lawyer Paul Schabas, who represented various media outlets including the Star, in blocking the ban. The "orgiastic and self-congratulatory" press conferences held by police and government officials after the arrests, but before any pre-trial publication bans were imposed, robbed the accused of a fair trial long ago, Moon said.

According to him, most of the men and youths who frequented the camp were not aware it was "a boot camp" to select a "few good men" for a future training camp.

He also alleged that police informant Mubin Shaikh purchased the ammunition used in the handgun and lied to his handlers about the presence of a firearm.

Moon also notes that the "jihadist ambitions" of one of the camp organizers were limited "by the fact that he has neither the means, skill or opportunity to put them in place."

"He has been described as `blowing smoke' ... and without `two cents to rub together'" reads the factum, describing that particular organizer as Walter Mitty. It went on to quote Shaikh as saying that individual had "fanciful plans" of storming Parliament and beheading politicians.

Arguments on the issue of a limited publication ban ended yesterday, with the judge reserving his decision. In the interim, the media can report on the proceedings without identifying the adults.

The trial resumes next week, with more motions to be debated before witnesses takes the stand in May.

Top court questions Ottawa's motive on Khadr file

This is from the Globe and Mail. Other articles have pointed out much more clearly that the interrogation itself was illegal. In spite of the pleas of Canadian lawyers and being the only country not to intervene on behalf of its citizens imprisoned in Guantanamo Harper does nothing. Canada has reduced itself to the level of the U.S. That is not compliment. Fortunately, there are still many in the U.S. and Canada who recognise the irony of two countries who claim that they stand for human rights nevertheless supporting a legal process which resembles the Star Chambers of old. It is fortunate that we still have some legal basis to challenge the government. The U.S. lawyers for Khadr have also done excellent work on his behalf. Whether it will make any difference at all is in some doubt. When the process failed the U.S. earlier and charges were thrown out because the accused had not been shown to be enemy combatants the authorities just rewrote the script.

Top court questions Ottawa's motive on Khadr file
Justices pepper federal government on how and why it passed on sensitive information to U.S. prosecutors


March 27, 2008

OTTAWA -- The federal government's motives in the Omar Khadr terrorism case came under sustained fire from the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday, as a government lawyer sought to justify its suppression of evidence.

Observers in the packed courtroom had barely settled into their seats for the historic case, when several judges began to pepper Justice Department lawyer Robert Frater with questions as to how and why sensitive information was passed on to U.S. prosecutors.

They challenged Mr. Frater to reveal whether Canada sought restrictions on how the United States could use the information - gleaned during three interrogations that Canadian security agents held with Mr. Khadr in 2002.

"Obviously it was shared for a purpose," Mr. Justice Ian Binnie pressed Mr. Frater. "You are the one who knew how it was shared, and whether there were restrictions."

Mr. Khadr was captured by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002, when he was 15. He was charged with murdering U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Speer by throwing a hand grenade, and has been held in the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since October of 2002.

Bolstered by legal intervenors, Mr. Khadr's defence team is trying to show that he was illegally interrogated, and that his responses became the underpinning for the charges.

In one of several harsh indictments of the government yesterday, B.C. Civil Liberties Association lawyer Joseph Arvay said the affair is a "classic case" of why the courts must come to the aid of unpopular citizens abandoned by their government.

"We are dealing with an individual who is in this black hole in Guantanamo Bay; for whom the U.S. political process doesn't work; who may be seen in Canada as a pariah; and for whom the Canadian political process doesn't work," Mr. Arvay said.

Mr. Frater insisted that the interrogation was a routine security procedure, and that it would be an unwarranted leap of logic to assume that it played a role in the U.S. decision to prosecute.

But several judges prodded him to explain the way the information was passed to the United States - rather than making the Khadr defence team and the court itself try to guess what took place.

"The issue is: Did it have an impact on the prosecution?" Madam Justice Rosalie Abella told Mr. Frater.

"Here you have an opportunity to tell us," Mr. Justice Morris Fish said. "It is not too late. If there is information the court needs - or to put it less urgently, ought to have - I don't understand your concern about giving evidence. Counsel, over the years, have many times given admissions of fact."

But Mr. Frater insisted, "I would be committing exactly the same sin I've accused the other side of committing - going outside the court record to give evidence."

Mr. Frater portrayed Canada as being little more than a bystander in the case. He said that if Mr. Khadr wants to obtain transcripts of his interrogation - information he ought to have no trouble remembering, anyway - then he should request it in the U.S. court system.

Mr. Frater also argued that ordering the disclosure of evidence to Mr. Khadr would create a dangerous precedent that would enable any Canadian charged abroad to make disclosure demands.

In a submission for the Criminal Lawyers Association, lawyer John Norris said the government cannot shirk its responsibilities under the Charter of Rights just because its officials are outside the border.

"Whether or not Canadian officials took the Charter with them when they went to Guantanamo Bay, it was undoubtedly waiting for them when they got home," he told the court.

After the court reserved its decision in the appeal, Dennis Edney, a lawyer for Mr. Khadr, told reporters that the entire case has begun to unravel as more information seeps out involving alleged torture Mr. Khadr suffered and the unreliability of the evidence against him.

"What does it take for our government to right this wrong?" he asked.

Mr. Edney said that part of the problem Mr. Khadr faces is public outrage over pro-al-Qaeda statements from his family members in the past.

"It's a shame that Omar Khadr should suffer because of his family ... and that Canadians can't distinguish between a man suffering in horrible conditions in Guantanamo Bay and family members who say stupid things."