Saturday, December 16, 2017

THE HIDEOUSLY CORRUPTED "RUSSIA INVESTIGATION"

STEYN:  The above text explains why Mueller hired the same-old-same-old Hillary crowd for his supposed "independent" investigation into Trump: The same people had to run both investigations because otherwise the new investigators would discover the shenanigans of the old investigators. Putting Strzok and Page on the team was the FBI's way of protecting itself.
 Nobody should accord this wretched and corrupted pseudo-investigation the figleaf of respectability. Even in the federal justice system, no successful prosecution by this conflicted team would withstand appeal.

THE FBI'S SHIP OF FOOLS

Of the many astonishing revelations now emerging from the Russia investigation, not enough has been made of the fact that Peter Strzok -- that Zelig of the FBI who mysteriously appeared at every controversial moment -- was second in command for counterintelligence.
That's right, counterintelligence -- that activity "designed to prevent or thwart spying, intelligence gathering, and sabotage by an enemy or other foreign entity."
And yet that same Mr. Strzok was conducting a clandestine extra-marital affair with an FBI colleague over thousands of text messages that could be and likely were (more of that in a moment) intercepted by those same foreign intelligence agencies -- or were, at the very least, recklessly exposed to them.
Now you don't have to be James Jesus Angleton or even have read a novel by John le Carré to know one of the most important vulnerabilities in the intel world is just such dangerous liaisons, frequently used for blackmail of all sorts.

CANADIAN FIRMS DEAL WITH NAFTA UNPREDICTABILITY

  More than a quarter of Canadian firms could move part of their operations to the United States amid uncertainty over the future of the NAFTA trade pact, the nation’s export credit agency said on Friday.
   Canada sends 75 per cent of all goods exports to the United States and could be badly hit if Washington walks away from the North American Free Trade Agreement. One way to cushion the potential blow is to set up shop in the United States.


SPECTACULAR PUBLIC RELATIONS FAIL AT TD CANADA TRUST

  TD Canada Trust has apologized to an Ontario family and released more than $846,000, hours after CBC News reported that their original bank draft had been lost by UPS.
  Taylor and her husband John had been involved in a lengthy, three-way David vs. Goliaths battle after courier company UPS lost the first draft and TD — which had issued it — appeared to be in no rush to issue a new one.

SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES NEEDED FOR DANGEROUS DRIVING

A careless driving conviction under the provincial Highway Traffic Act carries the risk of six months in jail, a $2,000 fine and — which has always struck me as most absurd — a paltry two-year driving prohibition, with reinstatement not even subject to recertification under Ontario’s demonstrably ineffective driver training and testing regime.
And that doesn’t happen often. Only about 20 per cent of those charged with careless driving in Ontario are convicted — 6,700 out of 34,084 in 2016. Just 16 were sentenced to jail time. Most people head into traffic court to fight a careless driving charge just as they would had they been caught speeding or running a red light, hoping to beg and plead their way down to something less ruinous to their insurance bill. Most succeed. It’s no different in cases when someone dies.

ELECTRIC CAR PROPAGANDA

Clean Energy Canada says electric vehicles represent a number of economic opportunities for Canada, including for auto parts manufacturers and the mining sector, spurred on by demand for the minerals and metals needed to make the lithium-ion batteries.
If Canada doesn't jump on board more quickly, the rest of the world is going to snap up those opportunities and we'll lose out, says the report.
In addition to addressing price gaps, a national strategy could also make policy recommendations or provide funding for additional charging networks, and encourage municipalities and provinces to break down barriers for people to charge their cars at home and at work.

Friday, December 15, 2017

OUTBURST OF DEMOCRACY AT OTTAWA CITY COUNCIL

Mayor Jim Watson rightly acceded to the demands of those who believe the city should do more to fix up what we own by proposing that the one-time windfall be applied to help repair our roads, buildings, sidewalks and so on.
Pity he couldn’t have done it with a modicum of grace.
Instead, Watson launched into an ill-considered attack on councillors who had the temerity to criticize his budget. What they were really doing was attacking the professional integrity of the staff that put the budget together, Watson said.
A stinging criticism, but miles off base. Councillors were proposing a different approach, not attacking staff. Besides, the big decisions on the budget are made in the mayor’s office, not by city staff.

SWINDLING $MILLIONS IN IMMIGRATION SCHEME

In the tightly-knit world of Vancouver’s wealthy Chinese immigrants, Paul Se Hui Oei stood out for his ties to some of Canada’s most powerful politicians and his mastery of cultivating guanxi, or personal relationships, that attracted legions of Chinese clients eager for his assistance in gaining a legal foothold in Canada.
But behind closed doors, the authorities say, Oei, a prominent immigration consultant and philanthropist, ran an elaborate fraud scheme, pocketing millions from investors, including many Chinese citizens led to believe their investment would help them secure permanent residency in Canada. Instead, the authorities say, he spent the money on luxury cars, beauty pageants and donations to political parties.

CANADA'S PROBLEM-PLAGUED SHIP BUILDING PROGRAM

Canada should scuttle its problem-plagued shipbuilding program and instead launch a series of fixed-cost competitions to ensure it quickly obtains icebreakers, supply ships and frigates, a new report argues.
The study warns that the federal government’s efforts to build new ships are years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. The report’s author, Prof. Michael Byers, recommends dumping the current process and re-launching an expedited procurement that would save money by using only fixed-price competitions and off-the-shelf ship designs.
In addition, the report proposes shelving the plan to build a heavy polar icebreaker in Vancouver, recommending instead an expedited fixed-price competition for the conversion or construction of four to five medium icebreakers. With climate change reducing the severity of ice conditions in the north, Byers argues, the project to build a ship of the size and ice-breaking capacity of the planned polar icebreaker is excessive and overly expensive.

KENNEY WINS BY-ELECTION

CALGARY — Former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney has won a seat in the Alberta legislature.
The leader of the United Conservative Party is the victor of a by-election in Calgary Lougheed, easily beating out six other candidates, including provincial Liberal Leader David Khan.

GENEROUS ONTARIO TAXPAYERS


TORONTO — Ontario is offering businesses rebates of up to $75,000 for buying electric and other low-carbon vehicles.
Ontario already offers rebates for individual drivers of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles that cost up to $150,000.
The Liberal government has so far doled out $75 million of those rebates to vehicle owners, but that so far hasn't translated into vast numbers of vehicles. The official data for 2017 isn't yet available, but at the end of last year, electric vehicles represented less than one per cent of all passenger vehicle sales in Ontario.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

DEADLY DIVERSITY VISAS

MALKIN:  Capitol Hill’s national security priorities are screwier than a Six Flags roller-coaster.
Instead of immediately shutting down one of America’s stupidest visa programs, which helped bring us yet another murder-minded jihadist this week, bipartisan Beltway politicians are pushing to preserve and expand the illegal immigration pipeline. Republicans and Democrats in Congress want a “fix” for the Obama administration’s executive amnesty covering nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants — and they want it pronto.
Translation: Protecting border-hopping “DREAMers” is a more important priority in Washington than protecting Americans from infiltrators exploiting the diversity visa lottery.


MUELLER'S WITCH HUNT

If there is any remaining doubt in your mind that Special Counsel Mueller's probe is anything but a farcical, politically-motivated witch hunt, then you'll be summarily relieved of those doubts after watching the following exchange from earlier this morning between Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

"GREEN" POWER BOONDOGGLES SCREWING TAXPAYERS

NP:   From Bonavista to Vancouver Island, from the Arctic Circle to the Great Lake waters, this land really belongs to electric-power monopolies and politicians who routinely bulldoze property rights, ratepayers, taxpayers and the regulators that have become puppets of governing political string-pullers.
They promised green and clean. What they deliver to Canadians instead is expensive and in the red. From coast to coast, provincial governments continue to plow ahead with power-generating mega-projects and green-power schemes whose only certain output is massive debts and soaring costs to deliver electricity that may never be needed.

IGNORE THE $500MILLION IN GST REVENUE

The Liberals are expected to introduce legislation next year to allow the federal government to impose a carbon price on provinces that don't meet the federal standard on their own.
The Liberals have said any revenues generated from the system would stay in the province or territory where they are generated — a stance provinces have questioned, since the federal government earns money through the five per cent tax charged in the final cost of a good or service.

INVESTIGATING BEIJING'S SUBTERFUGE IN CANADA

As Australia continues to reel from lurid revelations about the extent of Beijing’s influence-peddling, espionage and propaganda operations in that country, Conservative Senator Linda Frum says Ottawa should follow Canberra’s example by launching an inquiry into the extent of Beijing’s subterfuge in Canada, and by tightening laws to prevent Beijing from meddling in Canadian political processes.

AUSSIE F-18s NEED A LITTLE WORK

   Australia spent over $1 billion on its fleet of aging F-18 fighter jets over the past 10 years — before the Canadian government decided to buy 18 of the vintage Australian aircraft as a stopgap until Canada begins acquiring a new fighter fleet in 2025.    
   In a statement released by the Department of National Defence, the government said the Australian planes will undergo more technical work to bring the squadron to a “similar configuration” as Canada’s current fleet of CF-18s, which also date back to the 1980s.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PREDICTING OIL PRODUCTION AND DEMAND

True to its perpetually optimistic form, OPEC, which last month for the first time conceded the threat posed by rising US shale production, sharply raised its demand forecast for cartel oil in 2018, ahead of the OPEC meeting at the end of November.
And, according to OPEC's latest market report for the month of December, demand is set to continue rising, with global oil demand projected to grow at around 1.53 mb/d in 2017, in line with last month’s forecast. China is projected to lead oil demand growth in the non-OECD, followed by Other Asia – which includes India – and OECD Americas.  Which means that an unexpected Chinese landing, whether hard or soft, will have an adverse impact on oil in addition to all other commodities.

TOO MUCH OIL, NOT ENOUGH CAPACITY

Heavy Canadian crude fell to a three-year low against benchmark prices Tuesday as bottlenecks on pipelines and rail networks crimped exports.
Canadian crude’s discount to West Texas Intermediate futures has widened more than US$10 since August as pipeline companies including Enbridge Inc. rationed space amid high Western Canadian inventories. Rail cars struggled to catch up on deliveries after line disruptions over the past two months.

LIBERAL ETHICS ON DISPLAY

OTTAWA — Liberals followed a secretive, unethical process to nominate a new ethics commissioner and force a decision before a long winter break, opposition parties say.
He wondered if Mario Dion, whose work as Public Service Integrity Commissioner was panned by Canada’s auditor general, was fit for the job. But “it’s impossible,” he said, to figure that out in his allotted seven-minute question-and-answer period during a last-minute, one-hour committee meeting the day after Dion’s nomination was announced.
During the hastily-convened committee, Dion would not commit to completing ongoing investigations into the prime minister and finance minister if he got the job.



REPLACING OLD JETS WITH OLD JETS

Liberals say the 30-year-old Aussie jets are needed in the interim to address a "capability gap" keeping Canada from fulfilling its commitments to NATO and NORAD. Some defence experts have told HuffPost, however, that no such gap exists, with one retired colonel calling it a "figment" of the government's imagination.
When Scheer questioned the wisdom in "replacing" decades-old jets with more decades-old jets, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shot back that while new planes were needed "many, many years ago, the previous Conservative government dropped the ball.

HISTORY OF HYPOCRACY ABOUT JERUSALEM

President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had barely sunk in when predictions of a looming catastrophe started to make waves in the mainstream liberal media.
The fact Turkey has now taken the lead to speak for the Palestinians is rich with irony considering the Ottoman Turks colonized the Arabs for over 600 years and Jerusalem was kept a backwater city of no significance. As the Pakistani historian Mobarak Haidar recently wrote, “Muslims of the world have no religious basis to rule Jerusalem.”

PRAISING POLICE OFFICERS

Four Port Authority police officers ran towards the explosion triggered by Monday’s failed terrorist attack in Port Authority Bus Terminal, risking their lives and subduing the jihadist responsible.

Officers Drew Preston, Jack Collins, Sean Gallagher, and Anthony Manfredini successfully subdued terror suspect Akayed Ullah as he tried to detonate a “low-tech explosive device” in a subway corridor near the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday morning.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

$7.8MILLION SETTLEMENT FROM COMPANIES SELLING FETAL TISSUES

Two Yorba Linda biomedical procurement companies have reached a $7.8 million settlement with the Orange County, California, district attorney’s office following allegations they illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue.

The settlement requires DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics — a sister company — to permanently close its operations in California and pay $7.8 million through donations and biological materials to a medical school, reports the Orange County Register.

TERRORIST'S WAR ON CHRISTMAS

On Monday, a would-be suicide bomber caused injuries to himself and three others when he set off a pipe bomb that blew up near New York City's Port Authority bus terminal. After the incident, authorities said 27-year-old Akayed Ullah was inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) and planned to detonate the bomb right in front of Christmas posters.
Ullah, an immigrant from Bangladesh, reportedly chose the site due to the Christmas theme, and aimed to remind Americans of the ISIS attacks to European Christmas markets.

THE SCOURGE OF FENTANYL

Illicit overdoses claimed 1,208 lives in British Columbia between January and October of this year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.
It says the latest figure compares with 683 deaths during the same period last year.
The service says fentanyl was detected in 999 of the confirmed and suspected deaths so far in 2017, an increase of 136 per cent from the same period last year.


ONTARIO LIBERALS ON TRACK FOR $4BILLION DEFICIT

TORONTO – Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the Liberal government will run a deficit this fiscal year, despite claims it has balanced the budget.
In a new report Monday, the Financial Accountability Office said the Liberals will run a $4 billion deficit in 2017-2018, and will continue to be in the red over the next few years.

POLAR BEAR TRAGEDY PORN

For example, that bit where the emaciated bear reaches with his sad paw into that rusting trash can in search of something, anything, to eat. As you watch, you want so desperately to help him….
The footage was filmed on Baffin Island in Canada. Surely, if you or I had been there, we could have found something edible to push that stricken bear’s way: maybe a visiting delegation of performance poets, abstract artists and avant-garde musicians who arrived by antique sailing ship on a Rockefeller-Foundation-funded arts project to “raise awareness” of melting icecaps; or a group of Greenpeace activists(aren’t bears attracted by strong smells?) on a No To Arctic Drilling protest; or one of the plethora of explorers on another of those deep and meaningful eco-expeditions, sponsored by one of those big reinsurance companies whose business model largely depends on scaring potential clients into thinking global warming is a serious problem.

CHINESE TAKEOVER OF CANADIAN CONSTRUCTION GIANT

When Canada’s largest construction group signed a $1.5 billion deal to be acquired by state-owned CCC International of China in late October, the company’s chairman, Brian Tobin, called it “a very positive outcome”.
It remains to be seen whether the merger will be equally positive for other Canadians.


REVEALING THE MONEY LOST TO TAX AVOIDANCE

A Liberal senator is asking the government's budget watchdog to flex his legislative muscles and take the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to court to reveal how much money is lost to tax avoidance.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has been fighting with the CRA for five years for information to evaluate Canada's "tax gap," the difference between taxes that should be received and the amount that actually end up being collected.

CONTINUE CONSTRUCTION FOR SITE C DAM

VICTORIA — B.C.’s New Democrat government will continue building the Site C dam, choosing to finish the contentious project started by the previous Liberal government rather than pull the plug during mid-construction.
B.C.’s business community and trades groups celebrated the move, while environmental organizations and First Nations called it an appalling betrayal of the NDP’s past promises.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A GUIDE TO PANTS-DROPPING FOR THE NEW MAN

STEYN:  For years, the more straightforward feminists have stomped around in fierce T-shirts demanding, "What Part of NO Don't You Understand?" Quite a big part, it seems. I didn't realize "No" includes one complimentary grope with optional pants-drop and positioning of feminist hand on aroused male genital area. If she doesn't go for it, well, no hard feelings (except on your part): just extricate your fingers from her underwiring and move on to the next broad. Your feminist credentials are impeccable: you didn't rape her, so give yourself a pat on the back and the next one a pat on the butt.

ALL-POWERFUL KIM JONG UN

PYONGYANG, North Korea – Making a bizarre claim, the North Korean media claimed that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un can control the weather.
According to North Korea’s state media, Kim Jong Un controlled the weather when he scaled a sacred mountain. The dictator is said to have dressed in smart leather shoes and climbed the 2,744m high Mount Paektu.


EU INCREASINGLY UPSET BY POLAND IGNORING THE RULES

  Behind the noise of Brexit negotiations, the talk in the European Union this year has been that there’s potentially a bigger problem in the east. And the prospect of another rupture looks to be increasing.
   The mood in Brussels is that EU institutions can no longer stand by and watch a country that’s the biggest net recipient of European aid thumb its nose without paying some sort of price. Few people are discussing Poland following Britain out of the bloc, but a protracted conflict is getting more likely.
  This week, Poland's refusal to take in mainly muslim refugees was referred to the European Court of Justice along with Hungary and the Czech Republic.


THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND....

Sunday on CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources,” while discussing the network misreporting on alleged contacts between Donald Trump Jr. and Wikileaks, The Atlantic senior editor David Frum said the worst mistakes press organizations have made has occurred during an “overzealous effort to be fair to the president.”

SEND THE ROHINGYA REFUGEES HOME

The Rohingya refugee problem isn’t going away until the Rohingya insurgency is over. It started just three short months after Burma’s independence in January 1948, and it has churned more or less continuously in Rakhine state for the last 70 years. The latest insurgent attacks precipitated what is now the seventh major flood of refugees to Bangladesh, totaling some 1.3 million Rohingya.
   What is needed is for the U.N. and other bilateral, regional and non-state actors to start planning for permanent resettlement of the refugees in Muslim countries that already host large Rohingya populations.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

MISSING $TRILLIONS; AUDITING THE PENTAGON

The Pentagon is no stranger to criticism over serious waste and purposefully sloppy accounting.  A DoD Inspector General's report from 2016 - which appears to be unavailable on the DoD website (but fortunately WAS archived)- found that in 2015 alone a staggering $6.5 trillion in funds was unaccounted for out of the Army's budget, with $2.8 trillion in "wrongful adjustments" occurring in just one quarter.
In 2015, the Pentagon denied trying to shelve a study detailing $125 billion in waste created by a bloated employee counts for noncombat related work such as human resources, finance, health care management and property management. The report concluded that $125 billion could be saved by making those operations more efficient.

NO ONE DIES ALONE

The nurse contacted members of Calgary’s military community asking for veterans to sit with him so he wouldn’t die alone of throat cancer
“At the end of my shift I posted ‘he’s got nobody’ and by the time I woke up it had gone to Newfoundland and back and someone was at his bedside.”
That same group arranged a memorial for McKenzie at the Kinsmen pavilion in Strathmore on Saturday.

OWLS VS RATS IN VANCOUVER

A spike in owl sightings in downtown Vancouver could be good news for ridding the city of pesky rodents, a wildlife group says, but there’s a downside for the birds.

JUDGE: SUPREME COURT RULING PROTECTS PREDATORS

NP, BLATCHFORD:  The Marakah case revolves around text messages, and whether it’s reasonable for a sender to have a reasonable expectation of privacy over messages once they land in a recipient’s phone.
McLachlin in effect said that it is; Moldaver said that’s absurd.
In a savage dissent, Moldaver says McLachlin’s decision will add to “the complexity and length of criminal trial proceedings” in a system already stressed to breaking, overburden police and prosecutors and “leads inexorably” to the conclusion that sexual predators who send explicit or threatening messages to a child may be able to prevent those messages being seized by police without a warrant – even if the child herself or a parent hands over the phone with the messages

REMEMBERING THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION

In a city of almost 60,000, a number greatly inflated from the projected census of 50,000, due to the hundreds of soldiers and sailors and war workers that had taken up residence in Nova Scotia’s capital city, nearly 2,000 had died as a result of the explosion that followed the collision of the overloaded munitions ship SS Mont Blanc and the Belgian relief ship SS Imo in the tricky shipping channel called, The Narrows, located between the two communities.

WHO CARES? IT'S JUST TAXPAYERS' MONEY

While Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report on Ontario government blunders in the electricity sector uncovered millions of dollars of waste this year instead of billions, it also revealed something especially disturbing.
That is that electricity regulators haven’t fixed easily correctable problems they’ve known about for up to 15 years, that could have saved Ontarians at least $100 million on their hydro bills and probably more.

VENEZUELA'S FINAL CHAPTER

Venezuela’s oil production is falling precipitously despite increased demand and rising prices. Quality is dropping. The market for their heavy crude production is diminishing and won’t rebound anytime soon.
    The regime won’t pay their bills or invest in their own infrastructure or maintenance. They have chased away international business by seizing assets or demanding services they won’t pay for. The Maduro regime has run out of “Other People’s Money.”
   Their population is suffering horribly from shortages of food, medicine, and human rights. There has been no uprising only because the regime has so far treated the military better than the general population


WHY JERUSALEM MATTERS

For nearly two millennia following Jerusalem's destruction in antiquity the yearning for their sacred city was so intense that Jews everywhere would conclude their Passover with "Next year in Jerusalem."

In the darkest hours of the Russian pogroms Jews would pray for Jerusalem.

As they were led to the gas chambers in the Holocaust Jews would cry out for Jerusalem.

During the Six Day War when the first Jewish soldiers reached Jerusalem's Western Wall they bowed and wept in prayer. After so many centuries, they had at last returned to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem meant redemption. The end of exile. The return to their ancient homeland. Nationhood.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

CHRISTMAS DECORATION FAILS

Pitiful attempts at Christmas décor.

ACADIAN FRENCH LANGUAGE LESSONS

The French spoken by some Acadians in New Brunswick is sometimes called Chiac.  It's a version of the language that is sprinkled with English words.
Halle ta frame: ” ‘Halle ta frame’ is like ‘hurry up.’ It’s like, ‘Get going. Halle ta frame. C’mon.’ ”
Tcheu dose: “Basically it’s like, ‘What a d–k.’ I say that all the time.”
Tcheu plaise: “What a useless d–k.”
Baye d’la gas: “It’s like, ‘Go for it.’ ”

FLYING CARIBOU IN ONTARIO

The Ontario government plans to move endangered caribou off an island in Lake Superior by helicopter to save the animals from a pack of wolves.

NEB RULES IN FAVOUR OF TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE

B.C.’s Environment Minister is sharply criticizing a National Energy Board ruling in favour of Kinder Morgan Canada’s efforts to bypass Burnaby bylaws that stand in the way of its Trans Mountain expansion project.
“I’m shocked at the ruling and frankly I’m angry on behalf of British Columbians,” George Heyman said in an interview Thursday. “We’re reviewing the decision and exploring any options we have to appeal this decision. This is exactly why we’re fighting this project in Federal Court.”
Gregory McDade, Burnaby’s lawyer, said the municipality will consider an appeal.
“We think the evidence was clear the municipality was regulating in good faith,” he said in an interview. “The NEB has ruled yet again in favour of the company, against  the interest of the municipality, and that is a great concern to us.”

SUPREME COURT RULING ON TEXT MESSAGES

Canadians sending texts can expect that those will remain private even when they land in the recipient’s inbox – but that right is not absolute.
In a significant but nuanced ruling Friday morning, the Supreme Court of Canada acquitted a Toronto man whose text messages to an alleged accomplice were used by police to secure seven convictions for trafficking illegal firearms, ruling that the man had expected the texts to remain private.

LIBERALS' PROBLEMATIC BORDER SCREENING BILL

A contentious Liberal bill that would give U.S. border agents authority to conduct extreme pre-screening of people and goods going from Canada into the U.S. won overwhelming support in one of its final tests in the Senate today.
The proposed amendments from Liberal Senator Serge Joyal were centred on objections to the legislation from multiple human rights and civil liberties advocates who opposed the sweeping powers that would be given to U.S. border agents to frisk, screen and question travellers before they leave Canadian territory.
As part of reciprocal arrangements inside the U.S., Canadian border agents would be allowed to do the same kind of clearance screening south of the border, for travellers and cargo heading into Canada.

STOP CHINA'S TAKEOVER OF AECON

When it comes to foreign governments and domestic assets that have a strategic sensitivity, Canada needs to be clear and consistent about its investment boundaries with other countries. This is particularly true when the investment has a national security component.
There is no clearer example of the need for urgent action on this front than the pending $1.45 billion sale of construction giant Aecon to China’s state-owned construction giant, CCCI. Even if you don’t know Aecon by name, you almost certainly have used an Aecon-built road, bridge, airport or power plant. Aecon built the CN Tower, Vancouver’s SkyTrain and the Halifax Shipyards.
   "China’s track record in Canada is abysmal and includes a request to the Supreme Court of Canada, by a Chinese engineering giant a handful of years ago, to exempt it from our laws after it breached safety violations and ignored our courts following workers’ deaths. The Court refused to hear the case. Fines were never paid.”

CHINA'S VIEW ON TRUDEAU'S PROGRESSIVE AGENDA

"I'm a huge supporter of progressive views on gender equality, human rights, environmental protections and labour conditions, but despite the nice-sounding rhetoric, trade agreements are just not effective in pushing that agenda forward," says Martha Hall Findlay, CEO of the Canada West Foundation, a think-tank that looks at Western Canadian issues.
She says trade agreements turn potential trade partners away.
"We like to think of ourselves as being nice and the rest of the world likes us. But when it comes to these trade agreements ... we're coming across as being patronizing, we're coming across as arrogant and frankly, we're coming across as being naive," Hall Findlay tells The Current's Friday host Piya Chattopadhyay.
"The rest of the world is playing chess and we're coming with our checkers."

Friday, December 8, 2017

BRITAIN AND EU SETTLE ON DIVORCE DEAL

Britain and the European Union struck a divorce deal on Friday that paves the way for talks on trade, easing pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May and boosting hopes of an orderly Brexit.

AL FRANKEN; NOT SO FUNNY NOW

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said Thursday he will resign from Congress in coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations and a collapse of support from his Democratic colleagues, a swift political fall for a once-rising Democratic star.
Franken, the former comedian who made his name on "Saturday Night Live," had originally sought to remain in the Senate and co-operate with an ethics investigation, saying he would work to regain the trust of Minnesotans.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

UNBIASED REPORTING FROM MSNBC

Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” while discussing President Donald Trump’s expected announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews said evangelical Christians have “crazy ideas” and “mythical” beliefs about Israel.

CANADIAN HEALTH CARE WAIT TIMES BREAK NEW RECORD

Why are wait times the longest reported in Canada right now?
“We’ve been doing this survey for over 20 years now and at 21.2 weeks, this is definitely the longest wait times we’ve recorded in Canada. The simple and short answer of why this is happening is because there actually hasn’t been any real shift in policy during this time to address this issue.”

DRAMA QUEEN MP

How else is it even possible that seven words uttered in her presence seven months ago have caused her “great stress” and “negatively affected” her work environment and, according to CBC sources, had her weeping last week as she recounted the horror to her Liberal caucus mates?
Accept the apology and move on.

APPALLING COMMENTS FROM DISABILITIES MINISTER

According to Fiona Sampson, spokesperson for the Thalidomide Survivor Task Group, when they met with Hehr on Oct. 19 asking for help, he told them:
“Everyone in Canada has a sob story. Lots of people have it bad in Canada – disabled people, poor people, not just you”; “Well, you don’t have it as bad today as adults as you did when you were kids,” and, given their shortened lifespans, “So, you probably have about 10 years left now. That’s good news for the Canadian government.”

AUDITOR GENERAL'S ANNUAL REPORT

Ontario electricity ratepayers are paying millions for power generators' ineligible expenses — including scuba gear and raccoon traps — and are footing the bill for large industrial companies' savings, the province's auditor general reported Wednesday.
Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said in her annual report that the Independent Electricity System Operator hasn't implemented repeated recommendations from the Ontario Energy Board, including one that could save ratepayers $30 million a year.
Lysyk also wrote that teachers and other school board employees are taking more sick days — almost 12 days each per year up from nine days five years ago — that more families are waiting for social housing than are actually living in social housing, and that Ontario is paying tens of millions to send cancer patients to the U.S. for stem cell treatments because the capacity doesn't exist in the province.

ALBERTA-SASKATCHEWAN PLATE FIGHT

EDMONTON — Alberta promised a court fight and mocked Saskatchewan's lagging economy following a move by its neighbour to the east to ban Alberta licence plates on future job sites.
"(Saskatchewan Premier) Brad Wall needs to smarten up, and he has one week to kill this ridiculous restriction, or we're going to be taking him to court," Alberta Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous said Wednesday.


CANADIAN PRESS CALLED OUT BY CHINA

Talking over screen shots of recent Globe articles, he made a sarcastic reference to the idea of Canada X-ray scanning every imported Chinese shoe to "check if it is produced democratically." Or should China, he asked, check every grain of imported Canadian wheat to see "if it is so rich in capitalism that we might choke to death eating it?"
Canadian media should understand "how little influence their country has in China," he said. And to Canadian authorities, he added: "If you continue to trade with China and benefit from it, you shouldn't let your foul-mouthed media continue their deeds."

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

MUST BE ANOTHER LIBERAL STRETCH GOAL

In response to another question that day, she added: "Our efforts have borne fruit, as we are about to recoup $25-billion."
However, the NDP seized on a news report in Monday's edition of La Presse, a Montreal media organization, that the CRA could not confirm that these amounts had actually been recovered from taxpayers or even estimate how much money would eventually be paid back.
"Nobody knows where that number is coming from," NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice said during Question Period. "Does the minister know that there is a difference between identifying an amount and recovering that amount?"

GENEROUS ALBERTA TAXPAYERS

Alberta’s NDP government is creating a new $1.4-billion fund to help industry reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technology.
The biggest chunk of the funding, which will be doled out over seven years, sees $440 million earmarked for oilsands projects that will help companies increase production while reducing emissions.

EXPLOITING DEFECTS IN ONTARIO ENERGY SYSTEM

TORONTO — A natural gas plant in Brampton, Ont., "gamed" the system and ratepayers out of approximately $100 million, a regulatory investigation found — and it's not alone.
The Ontario Energy Board quietly posted a report online last month that was largely complete about a year ago into Goreway Power Station, concluding it repeatedly exploited defects in the system over several years.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

PROFITS OF CANADIAN BANKS

It's a staggering sum of money. So huge it's hard to get your head around. The Royal Bank of Canada made nearly $11.5 billion in profit over the past year. That's profit. Royal is tops, but the other banks are no slouch in the profit department either.
Now, square that with all the seemingly petty fees, the annoying ATM charges, the aggressive sales tactics, and in some cases sales people breaking the law. Put together, you can see how the banks make such a mountain of money. You can also see why so many Canadians love to hate them.

CHINA MASHES THE LITTLE POTATO

Justin Trudeau arrived in China in the belief that his hosts had accepted the fundamentals of his "progressive trade agenda." .  He fully expected to announce the launch of  formal free trade talks Monday.
  He left empty handed, which is going to make this a very long week.

RULES FOR MEN ON UNZIPPING

Christie Blatchford: 
If a woman wants to see it, she will ask. If she does not ask, do not assume she is shy and secretly wants you to take it out

FEDERAL FUMBLES REPORT

WASHINGTON – Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) has identified areas of “wasteful and inefficient” spending across the federal government in his latest “Federal Fumbles” report in a bid to prevent future increases to the growing national debt.
“The IRS has a program to improve tax return auditing procedures but does not fully utilize it. IRS’ most recent analysis estimates that $458 billion a year is lost due to incorrect or fraudulently filed returns,” read Lankford’s report.
According to the “Federal Fumbles” report, “Last year, DOT gave $1.04 billion to expand the San Diego trolley line by 10 miles (so just under $100 million a mile). Money could have paid for 100 to a 250-milelong four-lane highway.”

PROF: EATING MEAT PERPETUATES PATRIARCHY

“The decision to become vegetarian does not itself destabilize gender, but the subsequent social interactions between vegetarian and meat-eater demand gender enactment — or resistance,” she explains in her article. “Refusing meat therefore presents opportunities, in each social interaction, for the binary to be called into question.” She suggests that such a decision to forego meat consumption in a social setting may be a political act of resistance against the gender binary.


TRAVEL BAN BACK INTO EFFECT

President Donald Trump’s travel ban is once again to largely go back into effect after the Supreme Court of the United States stayed two lower courts’ injunctions Monday.


Monday, December 4, 2017

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT

China has pushed strongly for a unified cyber governance regime, but other countries, business groups and firms have criticized its strict stance. Officials have sought a greater role for China in strengthening global internet governance.
China ranks after the United States, Japan, France and Estonia, the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies said in a report released at China’s World Internet Conference in the eastern town of Wuzhen.
“We should promote the establishment of a multinational, democratic and transparent global internet governance system,” it said. 


SOUTH KOREA & USA LAUNCH AERIAL DRILLS

The United States and South Korea went ahead with large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday, a move North Korea had said would push the Korean peninsula to “the brink of nuclear war”, ignoring calls from Russia and China to call them off.

A MERRILY DIVERSE CHRISTMAS IN THE UK

The annual Christmas tree in Derby, UK.

PROPAGANDA WE'RE EXPECTED TO STOMACH

We can start with the premise for the visit, as articulated by Prime Minister Trudeau himself. “A strong relationship with China is essential to creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and growing the Canadian economy.” This is of course the kind of boilerplate that anyone should be capable of recognizing as hogwash on methamphetamines, but never mind that. Let’s not even entertain any speculation about how loudly President Xi Jinping and his ministers will laugh at Trudeau’s comical claim that a “closer relationship” will mean “more opportunity to hold regular, frank dialogue on human rights issues like good governance, freedom of speech, and the rule of law.” Under Xi’s tyranny, Beijing has dropped all pretence that it is on some long march to the rule of law and democracy. But let’s not dwell on that.

ICE AGE CAVES OF MONTREAL

Only 10 metres below the streets and park's of a residential Montreal neighbourhood there lies a network of ice age caverns that no human had ever seen until a few weeks ago.

SCRAPPING THE GREEN ENERGY ACT

  Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown promises to scrap the Liberals’ 2009 Green Energy Act if he wins the June, 2018 election.
  This badly flawed and dictatorial legislation has cost Ontarians a fortune.
   It is the legal underpinning of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s, and before her premier Dalton McGuinty’s, disastrous and ruinously expensive plunge into green energy.

ANOTHER ONE OF WYNNE'S STRETCH GOALS

Ontario is envisioning a future in which millions of electric vehicles are on the roads, but analysts predict consumer uptake will remain far off the government target for 2020, despite tens of millions of dollars in subsidies.
The Liberal government has been encouraging electric vehicle sales by doling out $75 million in rebates to vehicle owners, offering various other incentives and programs, installing a network of charging stations and spending $1 million to open an electric vehicle education centre.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

MY LAND, MY TREES, MY PROPERTY

There are better solutions to woodlot stewardship than government regulation.
 

SOLAR ENERGY NIGHTMARE FOR BLIND RIVER, ONTARIO

The answer involves an ambitious power utility, an Ottawa consultant who helped point the town toward its federal money before millions were paid to two companies he was involved with, and a puzzling trail of accounting that is ultimately trumped by more questions about failed oversight at every level of government.
This is the story of Blind River and its hopes for solar power and energy riches — dreams that turned into a financial nightmare.


DO THE RICH PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES?

There is a common and mistaken impression in Canada that the country’s top earners are getting away with paying relatively little tax. This misperception has been fuelled by governments, especially the current federal government, which has invoked “tax fairness” to justify recent tax changes such as the creation of a new and higher top personal income tax rate of 33 percent—an increase from the previous top federal rate of 29 percent.
The fact is that Canada’s top income-earners pay a disproportionate—and growing—share of all taxes collected by government.

COMPARING FBI TREATMENT OF FLYNN VS CLINTON

Trump also mused about the differences between the FBI investigations of Mike Flynn and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her?” Trump noted on Twitter on Saturday night. “Rigged system, or just a double standard?”

ACID ATTACKS ON THE RISE IN LONDON, ENGLAND

The number of assaults is increasing rapidly.
The British capital saw 454 acid attacks reported last year, up from 261 in 2015 and 166 the year before.

FEMINISM, FAKE INDIAN, FBI & FLYNN FLAM

This has been a busy week and a sad one for the neo-feminists, the media, and #NeverTrump conservatives. It was a good one for those who believe we have for too long allowed a bunch of self-selected ninnies to drive both the news and the government.


VENEZUELA'S PURGE OF OIL INDUSTRY OFFICIALS

In a purge as dramatic as that of Saudi Arabia or the Hollywood-media industrial complex, Venezuela has booted the most powerful names in its oil industry, with 65 officials arrested for corruption.  Unlike the other purges, this one isn't about change or lawbreaking – just gang warfare to consolidate President Nicolás Maduro's socialist grip on power.

SHAKING UP MIDDLE EAST POLITICS

Big cracks are appearing in the political tectonic plates of the Middle East, however. Years of weak oil prices, rising Iranian power in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and an invigorated Egypt determined to return to its powerbroker role are factors. But the biggest is the emergence of an ambitious Saudi prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
There are sharply opposed views of this new player. Most international pundits are skeptical of his motives and ability to deliver massive change, and worried he will trigger a region-wide conflagration. Some Arab analysts have been quietly applauding his bold moves against the sclerotic power structure at home, and Iran internationally.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

COMPASSION FATIGUE AT HOSPITALS

An Ottawa man had such a distasteful experience in the Civic hospital emergency room that he drove himself to another hospital with a broken arm, an event that occurred one month before another man was shown a similar lack of compassion at the Civic.
A hospital official later apologized to the man who broke his arm and said it had taken corrective action, but he now doubts that after reading about the similar incident last week.

TWO-FACED TRUDEAU

The Trudeau government is reportedly in the process of rewriting Discover Canada — the citizenship guide given to all newcomers to study before taking the citizenship test. The current guide tells newcomers, in no uncertain terms, that barbaric cultural practices are not tolerated in Canada. The Liberals have hinted that they intend to remove this warning.
“Canada’s citizenship guide informs newcomers that female genital mutilation is a crime in Canada. However, Canada’s prime minister has decided to delete this information,” said Rempel, also noting that the United Nations condemns all types of FGM and considers the practice a human right’s violation.

WHEN BACON BECOMES A THREAT

Recently I spoke at Stanford University, but few people were in attendance. This was not because my appearance had aroused little interest, but because Stanford administrators and Leftist students made sure that as few people as possible heard me.
Why did they do this? Because for the academic Left and the Left in general, “Islamophobia” is a much bigger threat than jihad terror

A FRENZIED SCRAMBLE AT THE FBI

The revelation last year of an unorthodox tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch set off a frenzied scramble at the FBI to track down the source, newly released documents show. 
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which on Thursday released 29 pages of FBI emails related to the 2016 meeting, said the messages show officials were more concerned about the leak than the substance of the report

LATEST ATTEMPT AT PHIXING PHOENIX

The federal government shifted its position on new training for the Phoenix pay system and is now making it mandatory for all employees and managers in its bid to stabilize the pay crisis.  
The new training program will be mandatory and that all employees should be given the time to take the required online or in-person courses. 
The training begins Dec. 4 with an initial rollout of 13 courses on GCPedia, the government’s intranet.
That will be followed by another 33 courses in mid-January, including instructor-led training for human resource staff and compensation advisers.

RAISING THE $20 LIMIT FOR DUTY FREE ONLINE BUYS

Canada is being pressed for freer trade in online goods by a number of American states, with eight state governors writing a letter seeking an expansion of Canada's low limits for online, duty-free purchases.
   Their letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer says the NAFTA talks are an opportunity to review the $20 limit for what Canadians can buy online without paying duties on foreign goods.
The Retail Council of Canada says a higher limit could create an uneven playing field to the detriment of domestic vendors — who are stuck charging federal and provincial sales taxes which average 12.3 per cent across the country.
They say the U.S. doesn't have similar concerns — the U.S. has no federal sales tax.

Friday, December 1, 2017

ALBERTA NDP'S CHRONIC BUDGET PROBLEM

“Firmly but compassionately tightening our belts” — that’s the key political phrase for the second quarter of 2017-18.
This tightening will have to eliminate annual deficits above $10 billion. The latest deficit forecast is $10.3 billion for this year.
That’s down $183 million from the Q1 forecast; progress, to be sure, but glacially slow.
A tight belt won’t solve this problem. It needs a compactor.

CANADA'S RELIANCE ON FOREIGN FINANCING

Canada’s reliance on foreign financing rose to near record levels in the third quarter as exporters continue to struggle.
The country’s current account deficit — what it needs to borrow from the rest of the world to finance spending — widened to $19.3 billion, the third highest on record. Economists had forecast a $20 billion deficit

CLEARING MORE LAND FOR CORNFIELDS

The Ontario Liberal government is increasing its mandate for ethanol in gasoline to 10 per cent from the current 5-per-cent requirement, as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions from fuels.
In a notice issued this week, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change indicated it would amend its ethanol-in-gasoline regulation to increase blending requirements to 10 per cent by 2020, while reducing emissions from the fuel.


SMART BUSINESS PEOPLE; DUMB POLITICIANS

But while multilingual greetings may seem like common-sense customer service to Montreal retail workers like Sadat, Quebec's provincial politicians appear to disagree.
On Thursday, the legislature unanimously adopted a motion calling on store clerks to stick with a simple "bonjour" when addressing customers instead of the hybrid "bonjour/hi" often heard in Montreal.
The national assembly members voted 111-0 in favour of the motion, which is not coercive.