Thursday, April 26, 2018

THE NERVE OF YOU!

    Part rap superstar, part fashion icon, part professional provocateur, Kanye West turned heads on social media on Wednesday when he posted a picture of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
   Chicago-based crooner Chance the Rapper seemed to show his support for fellow Chi-Town artist Kanye West’s beliefs about free thinking by pointing out that black people should not feel obliged to support the Democratic Party.


COMEY CLAIMS FBI NOT POLITICIZED

  Breitbart:  Former FBI Director James Comey charged that the Trump administration views "institutions of justice with contempt -- as just another piece on the board" to be manipulated.
 Comey, on a media tour to promote his new book, fielded questions Wednesday evening from students and faculty at his alma mater, William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., in a live CNN townhall.
  One member of the audience asked, "In your experience with the Trump administration, what did you feel was the attitude of the administration towards established government institutions such as the FBI? Did you feel that -- did they feel that these institutions were antagonistic towards the goals of the administration or was there some level of willingness to cooperate in your experience?"
    "The FBI is not politicized -- that's nonsense. The FBI, though, is being politically attacked and the reason that is so dangerous and so stupid -- even if you're a Republican, we need those institutions. All of us need those institutions and there's a reason that Lady Justice wears a blindfold, so she's not peeking out to see what president this or president that thinks about her decisions," he said. "Without that blindfold, one of the major pillars of this democracy is lost and that is -- should be deeply worrying to all of us, including Republicans in Congress who know better."

MORE CONCERNED ABOUT LANGUAGE THAN THE ATTACK

Three Front National municipal councillors in the French city of Limoges are to be prosecuted after writing an article in a local magazine highlighting an assault on a hospital worker allegedly committed by a newly arrived migrant.

PHONY BONO CALLING OUT PHONY TRUDEAU

   After the love is gone...... CTV,  OTTAWA -- Justin Trudeau is being lampooned in a new video by the anti-poverty organization led by his friend and U2 frontman Bono for not having a concrete plan to advance his feminist agenda at the G7.
   The one-minute video by the One Campaign, which is to be released today, pokes fun at the prime minister, citing his many photo-ops, his "cool socks" and even dressing up as Superman for Halloween.
   "We like your style, prime minister, like how you play with pandas, photobomb a prom pic, dress up as Superman or show off your cool socks," intones the voiceover, accompanied by various still photos of Trudeau in the aforementioned scenarios.
   "You talk a good talk, prime minister. But where's your plan?"

WHY KIM JONG UN's HEAD IS SQUARE

  BEIJING -- Research by Chinese geologists suggests that the mountain above North Korea's main nuclear test site has likely collapsed, rendering it unsafe for further testing and requiring that it be monitored for any leaking radiation.
  North Korean nuclear tests have caused seismic events in Chinese border towns and cities, forcing evacuations of schools and offices, sparking fears of wind-born radiation and leading to a backlash among some Chinese against their country's unpredictable traditional ally.
   Ties between the sides have been deteriorating for years, although Kim made a long-anticipated visit to Beijing last month after China's implementation of United Nations economic sanctions reduced trade between them by as much as 90 per cent.
   The findings by the scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China may shed new light on North Korean President Kim Jong Un's announcement that his country was ceasing its testing program ahead of planned summit meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump.

"SEVERE CONSEQUENCES" OF CHANGING IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

   BBC:  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has questioned the legitimacy of efforts by the US and its European allies to change a nuclear deal with his country, saying they had no "right" to renegotiate a seven-party agreement.
   The US and French leaders announced on Tuesday that they were working on a "new deal" that would expand and extend the terms of the 2015 accord.
   Mr Trump has said the US will reimpose sanctions on Iran suspended under the deal on 12 May unless Congress and European powers fix its "disastrous flaws".
   The five other parties to the accord - France, the UK, Germany, China and Russia - see it as the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and want Mr Trump to continue waiving the sanctions while they try to address his concerns.

AG: ONTARIO'S DEFICIT IS REALLY $11.7BILLION

   Toronto Sun: “We concluded that the Pre-election Report is not a reasonable presentation of Ontario’s finances,” Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk says in her bombshell review of an Ontario’s finances report submitted by the government.
   The auditor general says the province’s operating deficit this year is really $11.7 billion, 75% higher than what was projected in the spring budget.
   Any political party coming into office after the June vote would face a minimum $5 billion deficit – even without matching the billions in promised new spending announced by the Wynne Liberals in their spring budget, Lysyk said.

ONTARIO DUBBED PUBLIC FINANCE DUNCE

   MONTREAL—The bad news just keeps piling up for Ontario, with a provincial election just around the corner. Not only has a key ratings agency just downgraded the province’s financial outlook from “stable” to “negative,” but the Ontario government’s borrowing costs are, for the very first time, higher than those of the Quebec government.
   Even if Quebec has long been known for its poor management of public finances, Ontario, because of its deteriorating management, is now competing for the top prize in terms of financial recklessness, shows an Montreal Economic Institute publication launched today.
   “When you look at debt, spending, and taxes, Ontario looks more and more like Quebec. This is due in part to Quebec’s improved performance recently, but also to the deterioration of Ontario’s public finances over the past decade and a half,” says Jasmin Guénette, vice-president of the MEI and co-author of the publication.


BC FIRST NATION SUPPORTS TRANS MOUNTAIN

  A B.C. First Nation is speaking up in favour of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
   Chief Nathan Matthew of the Simpcw First Nation says he wants to address the impression that B.C.’s Indigenous communities are united in their opposition to the project.
   “That’s why we thought it was time to let people know that there are, or there’s at least one First Nation out there that has an agreement that they’re willing to say we have this agreement."

FORD MOTOR TO TRIM $25.5BILLION

   Dearborn — Ford Motor Co. plans to trim $25.5 billion in operating costs by 2022 and cut its North American passenger car lineup by more than 80 percent, eliminating the Taurus, Fiesta, Fusion, C-Max and Focus sedans within a few years.
    CEO Jim Hackett said Wednesday that Ford will not make the next generation of those sedans, confirming months of reports that the automaker was considering cutting some of its unprofitable car models in favor of trucks and SUVs. The Mustang will be soon be Ford’s only car; the new Focus will launch next year in North America as the Chinese-built Focus Active crossover.
    That’s a deeper cut to the car lineup than industry analysts expected. That move, coupled with the reduction in operating costs and a plan to reduce capital spending from 2019 to 2022 by $5 billion announced Wednesday, come from the “fitness” initiative Hackett outlined in October.

YOU'RE AN INDEPENDENT GOVERNOR, STICK TO YOUR JOB

   Stephen Poloz was accused by a senator of “straying too far” from his mandate by endorsing the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- an accusation the Bank of Canada governor said he firmly rejected.
   Senator David Tkachuk, a lawmaker from the opposition Conservatives, cited comments Poloz made in a speech last month about the effects of child-care policy on labor force participation. He also said Poloz has been “heard to endorse” deficit spending and infrastructure spending.
   “As far as I know governor, your job is inflation-targeting, monetary policy,” Tkachuk said during a Senate hearing Wednesday in Ottawa. “People have to have confidence that you’re an independent governor, and I think you may be straying a little bit beyond your mandate with these statements and creating a perception that you’re a little too close to the government in power.” He later said, for emphasis: “I think you are straying too far.”

THOSE GENEROUS CANADIAN TAXPAYERS

   March Madness is a long-observed phenomenon in Ottawa which sees federal departments quickly spend all of their remaining annual budgets in the last month of the fiscal year to avoid losing the cash altogether in the following budget – a use-it-or-lose-it strategy.
   The bonuses paid to some executives in government are also partly dependent on how close to budget they are at year-end, since they're expected to spend all of their budgets in order to fully enact programs and services approved by Parliament.
   On Feb. 20, Shared Services Canada sent an urgent order to Bell Mobility for about 31,000 smartphones, with delivery required within five weeks in order to qualify as 2017-2018 expenditures.
  And that's just ONE department.
Oink oink.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

LIBERALS TAKING FIRE OVER STALLED TRANS MOUNTAIN

   OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government found itself taking fire over the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from opposite flanks Wednesday: accused of helping to finance pipeline protesters on the one hand, and rigging the review system in favour of the project on the other.
     Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer led off question period with the revelation that one of the successful applicants to the government’s Canada Summer Jobs program is a B.C. group looking to hire someone “to help … stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project.”
    “Does he not realize that he is funding the very groups that are protesting against the project that is in the national interest?” Scheer demanded.

MERKEL'S PICKLE

   German chancellor Angela Merkel's goal for her White House this Friday would be humorous if it weren't so pathetically typical of what America often faces. Here's a brief background on the episode I reference.
   Ever since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and started encroaching on the Ukraine, Western Europe has been demanding that the U.S. sanction the Russians. Whatever was done, however, never seemed to be enough to satisfy the enlighten muckety-mucks in Europe. That brings us to today. President Trump – you know, the man who is said to be beholden to Putin – has recently issued strong sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. So far, so good.
   But now Merkel and the rest of the German political establishment have flip-flopped. They want President Trump to exempt their country's companies from these tough new sanctions. Frau Merkel plans to bring this request up at her scheduled meeting with Trump at the White House this week on April 27, along with Germany's concerns about America's newfound attitude toward unbalanced trade, Iran, and Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord.

ENBRIDGE PIPELINE PROJECT DEALT A BLOW

   This week, an administrative law judge in Minnesota delivered a report for the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Enbridge's application to replace and expand the Line 3 pipeline. Instead of providing a clear verdict about whether the pipeline should be approved, the report complicates the situation even further.
   The PUC will make the final decision on the project in June. Experts say the commission often follows the recommendations it receives.
   "There's a ton riding on this project — not only for Enbridge, but for the whole basin, in general, in Western Canada. It's a very important project," said Patrick Kenny, an analyst with National Bank in Calgary.

THE CUMULATIVE & COSTLY REGULATORY BURDEN

   The food manufacturing sector faces a severe challenge to being internationally competitive because of the rising cost of doing business in this country, says Carla Ventin, Vice-President of Government Relations for Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC).
   The operating environment for food companies is already not competitive with their rivals in the United States, she told the Senate agriculture study on the state of the country’s food value-added sector.
   Food processing is the largest employer in manufacturing in Canada and its more than 6,000 manufacturing facilities employ more workers than the auto and aerospace sectors combined.
    “Our member companies are increasingly concerned with the cumulative and costly regulatory burden,” she said. “Costs relating to energy, labour, taxes and inputs are adding additional pressure on Canadian food manufacturers.

REAL INDIAN CHALLENGES FAUXCAHONTAS

   A candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts who describes himself as a “real Indian” is suing the city of Cambridge for demanding he remove his signs that say his challenger, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), is a “fake Indian.
   Shiva Ayyadurai, who is running for the Senate as an independent, filed a federal lawsuit Sunday accusing the city of Cambridge of violating his First Amendment rights under the Constitution for demanding he remove his signs attacking Warren for her unfounded claims of Native American ancestry, the Washington Times reported.
   Ayyadurai’s campaign bus, which has been parked for more than a month in front of an office building he owns, displays signs depicting the progressive Massachusetts senator in an Indian headdress next to a picture of himself with his campaign slogan: “Only a REAL INDIAN Can Defeat the Fake Indian.”




CARAVAN MIGRANTS NUMBERS DWINDLE

   Several reports indicate that the fragments of the “migrant caravan” are now arriving south of the U.S. border with Mexico. Border Patrol officials in California and Arizona said they have not seen any illegal border crossings between ports of entry this week.
   Over the weekend, about 600 migrants arrived via train in the northern Mexican city of Hermosillo, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The group plans to continue to Tijuana in the next few days.
   Late last week, about 50 migrants from Central America arrived in Tijuana, Reuters reported. “Since peaking at around 1,500 people, the so-called migrant ‘caravan’ has dwindled under pressure from Trump and Mexican migration authorities, who vowed to separate those migrants with a right to stay in Mexico from those who did not,” Reuters states. Juventud 2000 director Jose Maria Garcia told the wire service that some crossed the border and requested asylum. He said more are expected in Tijuana in the coming days.

THE MURDERING MISOGYNIST

   G&M:  The passage of a full day added new layers to the profile of the man accused of perpetrating the worst mass murder in decades in Canada – a young man with developmental disorders who failed as a military recruit and publicly embraced a toxic misogynist ideology.
   Alek Minassian, 25, appeared in a north Toronto court Tuesday morning wearing a white police-issued jumpsuit to face 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. He was arrested Monday afternoon minutes after a white van drove more than two kilometres down Yonge Street in the northern part of Toronto, hitting pedestrians along the way.

A LIBERAL MP WALKS INTO A BAR...

   A Liberal MP who is facing an allegation of assault after a weekend visit to a Halifax bar is speaking out, calling the whole thing a case of mistaken identity.
   Francis Drouin, who represents the eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, has issued a statement detailing his version of what happened in Halifax in the early hours of Saturday morning.

BERNIE SANDERS'S CUNNING PLAN

  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is set to unveil a plan that would give American workers who want or need jobs guaranteed government jobs that pay at least $15 per hour and have health benefits.
    The progressive Vermont senator’s guaranteed jobs plan would entitle any American a job or job training in U.S.-funded projects in infrastructure, the environment, caregiving, and education, but he did not provide a cost-estimate or plan to fund the proposal, the Washington Post reported.
   A representative from Sanders’ office said no funding estimate was available for the project because staffers were still crafting the proposal.

A FORCEFUL RESPONSE? FROM THIS GOVERNMENT?

   Conservative MPs are urging the federal government to take "immediate action" to halt illegal border crossings, describing the flow of asylum seekers from the United States as a "crisis without a plan."
   Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel tabled a motion in the House of Commons on Tuesday calling on the Trudeau government to come up with a strategy by May 11 to deal with the spike in migrants crossing the border between legal checkpoints.
   Rempel said she worries that the absence of a more forceful response from the federal government to illegal border crossings could erode Canadians' support for immigration.

DONORS PULL FUNDING FROM U OF ALBERTA

   Backlash toward the University of Alberta is escalating, with donors pulling funding and rallies being planned, but the school's president says he won't compromise academic independence by reversing a decision to award David Suzuki an honorary degree.
    Although some of the school's own faculty staff have spoken out against the decision, U of A president David Turpin confirmed Tuesday the university will go forward in awarding the controversial environmentalist an honorary doctor of science degree this spring.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

LIBERAL IDENTITY TRADE

   Ivison, NP: Welcome to the concept of identity trade.
   François-Philippe Champagne, the trade minister, tweeted out Sunday that Canada will launch three “landmark” trade missions this year — the first-ever LGBTQ2 mission; the first-ever mission devoted to indigenous business owners; and a women in business mission.
   In the old days — before Champagne revealed his cunning plan — trade policy was based on promoting goods made by low-cost Canadian producers to other countries that might want to buy those goods at competitive prices.
    In Champagne’s world of identity trade, “it’s time for more ambition and a whole lot more of us in the game”, particularly if you are a hyphenated business owner with an eye for some free government money. That should, of course, have read “with an eye for rapidly growing export markets.”

A GOOD NEWS DOG STORY

  A 17-year-old blue heeler remained in the Australian bush overnight with a 3-year-old girl who had wandered away from her home and gotten lost.
   Max the dog showed incredible loyalty by staying with the little girl, sleeping with her on a cold night and alerting searchers in the morning.
  For his heroism, Max was named an "Honorary Police Dog."

WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE JAMES SHAW

  A man who many consider a hero for wrestling a gun away from the suspected shooter in a Tennessee Waffle House raised more than $45,000 for the victims’ families.
   James Shaw Jr., 29, raised $45,668 as of Monday evening from more than 1,200 donors on GoFundMe for the victims in less than 24 hours, surpassing the original fundraising goal of $15,000.
   “Please take the time to donate as all of the proceeds will be given to the families,” the page reads. “Thank you again for your generosity and blessings!”
   Shaw suffered a gunshot wound on his elbow and burns on his hand from grabbing the rifle from the gunman who opened fire on patrons at the restaurant Sunday morning, killing four people and injuring at least three more.

ELECTIONS ONTARIO INVESTIGATING COMPLAINT AGAINST WYNNE

  Elections Ontario says it is investigating a complaint made by the Ontario PC party, arguing that Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne is using taxpayer-supported government announcements to “make political statements to attack her political opponents.”
   In a conference call with reporters on Saturday afternoon, Former MPP Frank Klees said Wynne has targeted the PCs, and more specifically leader Doug Ford, while making announcements about government functions.
   “In the last three weeks, the Liberals have held campaign-style announcements on the taxpayer’s dime, the total cost according to our calculations is $292,500,” Klees said. He added the party is aware of 39 events in the last three weeks, at an average cost to the public purse of $7,500 per event.

WAITING FOR THE LIBERAL STAMP OF APPROVAL

   OTTAWA — It was February 2017 when the first letter about anti-abortion groups and the Canada Summer Jobs program landed in Labour Minister Patty Hajdu's office.
   The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada wanted Hajdu to keep crisis pregnancy centres — which offer an anti-abortion spin on pregnancy counselling — from getting summer-jobs funding. Applications were already being reviewed, and the centres were likely on the list, the letter warned.
   Religious leaders who met with Hajdu in late March left with the impression there might be some movement on the wording, but a government official said Hajdu only agreed to a review and gave no hint that the language dealing specifically with reproductive rights would be removed.


MURDERING BA$T@RD IN A VAN

   TORONTO — The man suspected of running down numerous pedestrians on a bustling stretch of Yonge Street north of downtown Toronto is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning.
   Police say charges against Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., will be revealed at that time.
    Minassian was arrested after a brief sidewalk standoff with a lone police officer not far from the carnage where a van killed 10 people and injured 15 others. Police have not yet released the names and ages of the victims.

Monday, April 23, 2018

ARAB ANTI-SEMITISM IS NEWS TO MERKEL

   German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced the emergence of "another form of anti-Semitism" from refugees of Arab origin in Germany, in an interview with Israeli television broadcast on Sunday.
   "We have a new phenomenon, as we have many refugees among whom there are, for example, people of Arab origin who bring another form of anti-Semitism into the country," Merkel told the private Channel 10 network.
   The chancellor added that “to our regret, anti-Semitism existed in Germany even before this,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
   In the interview, Merkel said the German government had appointed a commissioner to fight against anti-Semitism.

HOW WYNNE MAKES $BILLIONS OF DEBT DISAPPEAR

G & M:   The Ontario government’s Fair Hydro Plan reduced Ontarian’s electricity bills by about 25%. But the government’s books don’t reflect the costs. The Auditor-General of Ontario says the government used “bogus” accounting to hide the debt from their books.


A VERY BAD WEEK FOR ANTI-TRUMPERS

   Sadly for Trump foes, the U.S. economy is thriving: Market indicators this week continued to rise, pointing to a “robust” 2018. Jobless claims are near a 45 year-low, and “job openings are near a record high, and scattered but growing shortages of skilled labor are forcing companies to increase pay or improve benefits to attract or retain employees,” according to an assessment by MarketWatch.
    Several polls this week show the double-digit lead that Democrats had in the generic congressional ballot at the end of last year is nearly gone. Issues such as immigration and gun control are backfiring, while most voters credit Trump—not Obama—with the strong economy: The Democratic Party is bitter, listless, and devoid of any winning message or policy agenda.
    Which brings us to the week’s worst news for the Left and NeverTrump Republicans, who have devoted 100 percent of their energy to taking down the president via Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government before the 2016 election: The credibility of the investigation and the key players involved in the scam is disintegrating.

HIGH ETHICAL STANDARDS OF BANKS

    A CIBC financial adviser says she and her colleagues are "stunned" that a recent report by Canada's banking regulator did not find widespread instances of customers who were upsold due to pressure on employees to meet sales targets.
   "I can't even explain to you how disheartened we all were," says the financial adviser. CBC has confirmed her employment, but is not identifying the woman because she fears she would lose her job.
   "We've been waiting for a year for this report," she says. "It's very hard, because it doesn't feel accurate."
   The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) recently released the findings of a review of sales practices at the country's six big banks. It was prompted by a series of Go Public investigations last year, revealing intense pressure on bank employees to sell customers products and services they may not need in order to meet sales targets.


NOT LISTENING TO THE EXPERTS

  The Edmonton girl made headlines and melted hearts in 2016 with images of her expertly rolling along in a homemade wheelchair that her father fashioned from a foam baby Bumbo seat, a cutting board and bike wheels.
   At four-months-old, Evelyn was diagnosed with cancer and a tumour on her spine left her paralyzed below her arms. After several rounds of chemotherapy, doctors announced she was in remission, but the paralysis was permanent. They told her parents she could be fitted for a wheelchair after she turned two.
  Her parents didn't listen and, a few months later, the tot was in her homemade chair. And now, her blond hair long enough for bitty pigtails, Evelyn is hitting the gym and walking - with the help of machines.

VANCOUVER MODEL OF DRUG TRAFFICKING & MONEY LAUNDERING

   Criminal syndicates that control chemical factories in China’s booming Guangdong province are shipping narcotics, including fentanyl, to Vancouver, washing the drug sales in British Columbia’s casinos and high-priced real estate, and transferring laundered funds back to Chinese factories to repeat this deadly trade cycle, a Global News investigation shows.
   The flow of narcotics and chemical precursors — and a rising death count in western Canada caused by synthetic opioids — is driven by sophisticated organized crime groups known as Triads.
   The Triads have infiltrated Canada’s economy so deeply that Australia’s intelligence community has coined a new term for innovative methods of drug trafficking and money laundering now occurring in B.C.   It is called the “Vancouver Model” of transnational crime.

THE MORAL INDIGNATION OF THE AMORAL

  Toronto Sun:  Fired ex-FBI head James Comey told ABC News “chief anchor” George Stephanopoulos that Donald Trump is “morally unfit to be president”? Think about this. Comey offered this assessment to Stephanopoulos, whose former boss, first candidate and then President Bill Clinton, was credibly accused of rape and sexual assault, had sex in the Oval Office with an intern, and then lied about it under oath, for which he was impeached.
  But Comey tells Stephanopoulos that Trump is “morally unfit to be president”?

WALMART MUSCLES IN ON MILK INDUSTRY

  Smith confirms that Walmart’s decision to open a milk bottling plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., played a part in the decision to fire the dairy farmers. “The introduction of new plants at a time when there is an industry-wide surplus of fluid milk processing capacity forced us into this position,” she said.
   According to Matt Gould, a dairy industry analyst based in Philadelphia, the new Walmart plant, which is supplied by its own cows and will be able to produce about 3 percent of the total annual US milk, could not have come at a worse time for farmers.

NO DATE FOR FINISHING PIPELINE EXTENSION

   Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the federal government sees advantages in getting the Trans Mountain pipeline extension built “rapidly,” but can’t offer a timeline for getting the job done.
    Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempt to mend fences between Alberta and British Columbia over the contentious project, B.C. Premier John Horgan remains staunchly opposed to the pipeline, which he fears could lead to a catastrophic oil spill along his province’s coast.
   Morneau said the time for expressing concerns about the $7.4-billion project -- which the Liberal government approved in 2016 -- has passed.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

WICKED BAD TIMING, FRANCIS

  The alleged incident occurred early Saturday in Halifax, hours before the federal Liberals took part in anti-harassment forum.
   An Ontario Liberal MP, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell riding, says he is facing an allegation of sexual assault following an incident in Halifax early Saturday morning.
   Halifax Regional Police are investigating an alleged assault they say happened just after 2 a.m. AT on Brunswick Street across from Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax, near where the Liberal Party policy convention was being held.
   Francis Drouin's office confirmed an allegation had been made against him.


RECORD-BREAKING ONTARIO LIBERALS

  Toronto Sun:  When McGuinty made that excuse for breaking his promise and dramatically raising taxes, Ontario’s public debt was $138.8 billion.
  The debt expressed as a percentage of the provincial economy (debt-to-GDP-ratio) was 27.2%.
  And taxpayers were paying $9.6 billion annually in interest on debt.
  Today, after 15 years of Liberal rule, under McGuinty and now Wynne, Ontario’s public debt is projected at $325 billion this year, a 134% increase since 2003 — far outstripping population, inflation and economic growth.
 Today’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 37.6%.


WYNNE'S SMEARS AND LIES ON DISPLAY

Toronto Sun, Marin:  It’s the classic case of Liberal hypocrisy. Between Wynne’s lying attack ad and her party’s “erroneous” tweet, it’s rich of her to point the finger at Ford as one who traffics in smears and lies.
  She predicted the election campaign leading to the June 7 election will be “vicious.” Her actions so far seemed determined to make it so.

READING IT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO VOTE LIBERAL

  Maclean's:  On Friday night, at the Liberal Party national convention in Halifax, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau addressed a crowd of party members. For half an hour, speaking at times directly to her family seated before the stage, Grégoire Trudeau told personal stories and reinforced the importance of volunteers on the ground.
  "Late nights at the office … Justin sticks to it because of all of you … and I want to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, you can count on us, Justin and I, and we are also counting on you, every single one of you. And Justin, my love, all the people in this room have your back.”

JUDGE LAMBASTES LEGAL AID ONTARIO

    Toronto Star:  In a landmark decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward J. Koke has ruled that Legal Aid’s ongoing support of Kathleen Anne Worrod was an “abuse of process” that undermined the public interest and wasted precious judicial resources meant for low-income Ontarians.
  Worrod’s case forced the family of Muskoka landscaper Kim Kevin Hunt, 57, to needlessly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of its own money on legal bills, the judge said, ruling that Worrod and Legal Aid are now on the hook.
   As well, Koke said, Legal Aid funding paid for an expert report in 2015 that found Hunt was intellectually incapable of making independent decisions. That finding, the judge said, should have triggered Legal Aid to stop supporting the case. Worrod’s defence at the trial was built on the premise that Hunt was capable of consenting to marriage.
   Koke said Legal Aid failed to “properly and conscientiously” monitor the “meritless” case against Hunt.

ANTI-SEMITIC & DUMB AS A ROCK

  Trayon White is the D.C. Council member who explained that Jewish financiers control the climate and create natural disasters to gain political control.
   To his credit, White has been trying to make amends. Reportedly, he attended a Passover Seder. In addition he visited the Holocaust Museum.
   Unfortunately, the museum visit will only reinforce the “dumb as a rock” tag while doing little to overcome the view that he’s anti-semitic.

SANCTUARY COUNTY FOR GUN OWNERS

  Effingham County, Illinois, on Monday became a "sanctuary county" for gun owners.
  The county board passed the resolution on an 8-1 vote and directed its employees not to enforce any new state law that would “unconstitutionally restrict the Second Amendment.”
  Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler said that the action is largely symbolic and will not control decision-making by law enforcement.

NO THOUGHT OF STOPPING THEM AT THE BORDER

  TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s government has pledged to help the province of Quebec cope with a growing influx of asylum seekers crossing from the United States, as officials say the province is reaching “saturation point.”
   The vast majority of these refugee claimants crossed into the primarily French-speaking province of Quebec, where the influx sparked political tensions in an election year and backlash from anti-immigrant groups.
   The government must also determine how refugee claimants will travel, and asylum seekers would have to be willing. “We can’t tell people where to go,” said Mathieu Genest, a spokesman for federal Immigration and Refugees Minister Ahmed Hussen.
“If someone is using the U.S. as a conduit to get to Canada it means that they are not using the visa for what the visa’s intended for.”

WIKILEAKS THREATENS COUNTER SUIT AGAINST DNC

  For those wondering how much emotional progress the Democrats have made in the last 16 1/2 months or so, the Democratic National Committee announced on Friday that it is suing the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and WikiLeaks for interfering with the 2016 presidential election.
  WikiLeaks responded: We're counter suing you for fun -- and also because you're lame. "Voters! WikiLeaks took away our right to lie about rigging the primary!" That's some serious one dimensional chess right there.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

WYNNE PLAYING IDENTITY POLITICS

   He does not hesitate when he calls Kathleen Wynne “the most dangerous woman in Canada.” For her part, cat’s got her tongue.
   Just when you might have thought that burning her way through billions of dollars to turn Ontario into a have-not province with a massive debt, while inadvertently putting a lid on investment and business expansion, was Wynne’s most sinister play on her peeps, a clinic psychologist and University of Toronto professor comes along to tell us of offences even worse.
    According to Peterson, she is not even a Liberal. She has moved further left than the NDP. Identity politics is her socialist agenda, creating victims by identifiable groups since the working class is doing just fine. Under Wynne’s watch, universities fanned the flames of hate-filled protests against so-called hate speech that turned out to be simply a difference of opinion. Peterson says she is also responsible for campus social justice tribunals and a human rights tribunal that don’t let the law get in the way of ideological judgments.


STUDENTS SAY REGULATE THE SECOND AMENDMENT

   A small group of mostly high school students gathered in front of the White House on Friday as part of the National School Walkout, an anti-gun protest launched by a Connecticut teen following the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school in February.
Following a moment of silence plus 13 seconds to honor the 13 people shot and killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, the group walked to the Capitol where speakers lashed out at Republicans and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
   "And so too must we regulate the Second Amendment,” Berlin,  a student at a D.C. high school who told Breitbart News he organized the local protest,  said. “Just as the freedoms of the First Amendment are subject to rules and regulation so too must be those protected under the Second.”
  “No amendment is absolute,” Berlin said. “Your right to a gun does not supersede my right to graduate high school.”

DNC HAS CREATED THE ROPE TO HANG ITSELF

    President Trump is eager to go head-to-head with the DNC which filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit on Friday against several parties, including the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization - alleging a "far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump
    Hours after the Washington Post broke the news of the lawsuit, Trump tweeted "Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC server that they refused to give to the FBI," referring to the DNC email breach. Trump also mentioned "the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton Emails."

STEYN SHOW DISAPPEARED; CRTV RESPONSIBLE

   Mark Steyn:  Today, Thursday, in the New York Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan, Judge Eileen Bransten confirmed the award to yours truly in the matter of CRTV vs Steyn. Short version: We won.
    For those readers new to this wretched business, last February CRTV canceled my TV show on their subscription network and fired me, precipitating the worst year of my professional life. Over the course of the last twelve months I've been asked regularly by various people: Why don't you just walk away?
   Which is a fair question, with a very simple answer: I couldn't walk away because CRTV sued me for ten million dollars. All this "claimant"/"counterclaimant" mumbo-jumbo obscures the reality: CRTV were the plaintiffs, they brought the suit, they dragged me into a pit of legal hell.

NEW LEADER OF CUBA NOT A RADICAL REFORMER

    Miguel Diaz-Canel, the 57-year-old vice president of Cuba, is set to assume the presidency a day after members of Cuba’s national assembly named him the sole candidate to succeed a dynasty that began when Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.
   While Diaz-Canel’s relative youth, civilian background and advocacy for reforms such as internet access for Cuban civilians have stoked optimism about an economic policy shift, multiple experts on Cuba told FOX Business that the life-long Communist Party member is unlikely to buck the system – especially with Raul Castro installed as head of Cuba’s only political party through 2021.
    With Castro still in control of the political landscape and longtime Communist party hardliners still populating key government positions, economic reforms are expected to unfold at a slow and uneven pace. Any significant changes to economic structure, such as a rollback in restrictions on private industry, could stoke social tensions and destabilize the government’s hold on the island.


REPUTATION OF FBI IN TATTERS

   The media scoff in feigned outrage at President Trump’s claims that the FBI has a reputation that is in tatters. But the last 15 years of leadership of the FBI under Mueller and Comey have largely shown that to be true because of how the FBI handles it cases.
   Yesterday, Comey told Meghan McCain on The View, “Public confidence in the FBI is its bedrock.” That’s true. And the lack of confidence in the FBI is not the result of Trump and his insults but a pattern of abuse of prosecutorial discretion going back 15 years or so. Mueller is responsible for 10 years of that.
    The denizens of DC no doubt have had great interactions with Mueller and the men he put in charge of high-profile cases. But those who were wronged in the Anthrax, Libby, AIPAC, Enron, and other cases might have a different view. Those who observe how differing rules have been applied to people in seemingly partisan fashion should not be dismissed.

WYNNE GETS UGLY

  NP, McParland: Even when you see the train coming at you, it’s a shock when it hits. Such is the case in Ontario right now, where the Liberal government has ensured the coming election campaign — which hasn’t formally been called yet — will be one of the ugliest and demeaning in memory.
   Premier Kathleen Wynne cemented this when she launched an extraordinary blitz of invective at opposition leader Doug Ford on Wednesday.
   It was as predictable as an onrushing train, yet unsettling nonetheless, that a sitting premier would so quickly turn a political contest into a barrage of insults against an opponent. In particular given Wynne’s justification for her attack: it was, she said, an attempt to alert voters that the race was bound to be nasty. “It’s crystal clear that this is going to be a vicious campaign,” she said. So, to let people know things might get ugly, she got ugly.

PREFERENTIAL ACCESS TO TRUDEAU CABINET MEMBERS

   OTTAWA — A Facebook executive with ties to the ruling Liberals was grilled today about his preferential access to senior members of the Trudeau cabinet, even though no one from the social-media giant, including himself, is a registered lobbyist in Canada.
   In his appearance before a parliamentary committee, Facebook Canada's public policy head Kevin Chan was questioned by New Democrat MP Charlie Angus on why he had yet to register as a lobbyist, given the fact he's met senior cabinet members, including Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
     Chan, ex-policy director for former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, defended himself by saying it was unnecessary for him to register since the proportion of his lobbying activities falls short of the Lobbying Act's 20 per cent minimum threshold.
    He also insists, for instance, that his meeting with Morneau strictly involved him showing the minister how to set up a Facebook Live event to broadcast a budget speech.
Nothing to see here, move along....

TRUDEAU'S SUCCESS: NO AMMUNITION FROM TRIP

  The Official Opposition barely mentioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's foreign travel this week. Instead, Conservatives mostly used question period to rehash the PM's excursion to India two months ago, and the unforced errors that plagued it.
   So the Trudeau government succeeded at least in not giving its enemies any fresh ammunition — which surely came as a relief to a PMO blindsided by the scandal over a convicted attempted murderer's invitation to an official event during the India visit.
   Trudeau's three-stage itinerary — Peru, then Paris and on to London — was all business, all the time, conducted this time in sober suits instead of gold-threaded kurtas. He left his family at home and there were no cultural events of any kind.

Friday, April 20, 2018

GOP ABANDONED ITS POSITION AS FISCAL HAWKS

   The Tea Party wave that thrust Republicans into power eight years ago was based on a simple notion: the U.S. government spending binge must end to avoid economic Armageddon. Apparently, the more things change, the more things stay the same in the D.C. swamp.
   In a cruel twist of irony, on March 23, 2018 (exactly eight years to the day after Obamacare was signed into law), President Donald Trump signed a 2,232-page omnibus spending bill.
   Republicans claim that because they have only 51 votes in the Senate, they must increase spending to gain Democrats' support. This false premise serves only to justify Republicans' fiscal irresponsibility and unwillingness to drain the swamp.
   The bloated, pork-filled omnibus bill is a complete rebuke of the Republicans' purported values of limited government and fiscal restraint. The GOP has abandoned its position as fiscal hawks. Republicans are now complicit with Democrats in burdening future generations with today's wanton spending.

NAMES THAT WILL SURFACE AMID INVESTIGATIONS

     With Inspector General Michael Horowitz submitting a criminal referral for fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe; and with knowledge of federal prosecutor John Huber paralleling Horowitz for months within the investigation; it might be worthwhile going through the names of some officials likely to surface in the next few days/weeks.
    The most interesting people in the ongoing investigation are those principals who clearly were in/around the center of 2015/2016 activity; were caught in 2017, yet remain inside the FBI and DOJ National Security Division (DOJ-NSD) ie. Main Justice.

LIBERALS' $7BILLION SLUSH FUND

   NP:  The Liberal government’s latest attempt to circumvent the scrutiny of the House of Commons is a streamlining of the budgetary process that would limit Parliament to vote just once on all the spending measures in the recent budget.
      It’s the budgetary equivalent of the kind of omnibus bill the Liberals said they would never introduce.
    The vote would give Treasury Board president Scott Brison unprecedented discretion over $7 billion, on the promise that the House will be informed about all the messy details at a later date.

MEDICAL GRADS EXPECTING TO BE JOBLESS

    The strained national matching system leaves medical students with no guarantee they can practice where they’re most needed once they get their MD, or at all. Here’s the broken system that got us here and what needs to happen to reverse the trend.
   Medical students and faculty are calling for changes to the way graduates apply for and “match to” residency positions, amid expectations that a record-high number of Canadian graduates will go without a residency post in 2018.
    Graduating medical students are matched to available residency positions by the nationwide Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) algorithm in two rounds. Students rank their top program choices, and medical schools, which run the residency programs, rank their top candidates.

BRITAIN'S DISASTROUS GREEN GOV'T SCHEMES

   Christopher Booker: What a parable for our times the great diesel scandal has been, as councils vie to see which can devise the heaviest taxes on nearly half the cars in Britain because they are powered by nasty, polluting diesel.
   This week, it was announced many diesel drivers will soon have to pay fully £24 a day to drive into Central London, while 35 towns across the country are thinking of following suit. Already some councils charge up to £90 more for a permit to park a diesel car.
   This is only the latest in a seemingly endless flow of examples of supposedly ‘green’ government schemes which, one after another, turn out to have been standing common sense on its head, at a cost which is rocketing up by billions of pounds a year.
   There may be other competitors for the title of the greatest scandal in Britain today, but this is so crazy that it is time we all woke up to how damagingly mad it has become.



ZIMBABWE'S RECOVERY AFTER MUGABE

   LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it would strongly support Zimbabwe’s re-entry to the Commonwealth and praised President Emmerson Mnangagwa for impressive progress since Robert Mugabe was toppled in a military coup.
   Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth network of 53 mostly former territories of the British Empire in 2003 after Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe from its independence in 1980, was criticized over disputed elections and land seizures from white farmers.
   Mugabe cast himself as a liberation hero but opponents said he turned Zimbabwe into an economic basket case and international pariah. He was forced to step down in November during a coup and Mnangagwa is now president.

UN SECURITY TEAM FIRED AT IN SYRIA

    BEIRUT—Assailants opened fire at a UN security team visiting the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, an official said Wednesday, forcing it to retreat to its base and further delaying a fact-finding mission by outside experts to examine the claims.
     Gunmen shot at the UN team in Douma on Tuesday and detonated an explosive, leading it to return to Damascus, said the head of the international chemical weapons watchdog, Ahmet Uzumcu. He did not identify the assailants.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

WYNNE'S RESULT: ONTARIO'S CREDIT RATING LOWERED

   Lilley:  Moody’s downgraded Ontario’s credit rating today from “stable” to “negative” and how some warnings about the books in the future. The reason for this downgrade? The Wynne budget that ramped up spending in a bid to stay in power.
    While this budget may not be implemented post-election, in Moody’s opinion it highlights growing spending pressure that will need to be addressed in the near future. As the economy is expected to slow, with real GDP growth forecasted to fall from 2.7% in 2017 to 1.7% by 2021, revenue generation will be slower than previously recorded, limiting the province’s ability to rely on revenue growth to balance the spending pressure.
    Higher spending, slowing economy, that means lower government revenue and more borrowing. Check out what Moody’s said about the province’s debt levels.The province’s debt is expected to measure 233% of revenues in 2017/18, up from Moody’s previous estimate of 227%. Financing to fund deficits and capital spending will continue to push the debt burden higher, with Moody’s expectations that it could exceed 240% by 2021/22. Moody’s assesses this level of debt to be elevated compared to similar rated peers. Increased debt financing will also occur during a time of rising interest rates, which will accelerate the increase of the province’s interest expense.

ADDING MORE SLOP TO THE HYDRO ONE PIG TROUGH

  G & M:   The board of directors of Hydro One Inc. approved changes to the company’s executive compensation policies last year, making it much costlier for the government to intervene in the utility.
   The revisions would increase the amount of severance paid to the chief executive if he is fired after the board is replaced, or after the government passes any legislation aimed at either capping executive pay or that negatively affects Hydro One’s ability to meet its corporate performance objectives. The changes were disclosed in March in the company’s latest shareholder proxy circular, but were given the green light by the board last November.

A MASTER AT PLAYING THE CANADIAN COURT SYSTEM

   Vancouver Sun, Blatchford;   Nicholas Cypui (Nick) Chan, the alleged Calgary gang leader who this week beat organized crime and murder charges for the second time in two years, is a most curious fellow who is also keenly aware of his rights — every last one of them.
   Chan hasn’t just twice defeated the best efforts of police and prosecutors to prove he is the “directing mind” of the violent FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) gang. During lengthy stays behind bars, he has also enlisted the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the correctional ombudsman, the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons, the vehicle of civil lawsuits and prison pastors and psychologists to help him assert those rights.
    In other words, Chan is possibly the most allegedly dangerous “vexatious litigant,” as those who so frequently resort to the courts are called, in the entire country.

WHEN GREENIES P!SS OFF EACH OTHER

  Vancouver Sun:  University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach is openly denouncing his employer’s decision to award an honorary degree to activist and broadcaster David Suzuki.
   But unlike many Albertans who have denounced the award because of Suzuki’s anti-oilsands politics, Leach’s issue is with how the former Nature of Things host has spent years defaming economics as “brain damage.”
   “There’s no way I’d share a stage with David Suzuki … not a chance,” Leach wrote in an extended Twitter thread describing an encounter with the environmentalist roughly 10 years ago.

A CASE OF BEER

   The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the constitutionality of a New Brunswick law that ensnared a man who brought home beer and liquor from neighbouring Quebec.
   The unanimous high court decision today effectively preserves the current trade regime, saying provinces have the power to enact laws that restrict commerce if there is another overriding purpose — in this case the desire to control the supply of alcohol within New Brunswick.

LIBERAL MP KHALID & THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS

   Toronto Sun, Furey:  “A week after the gassing of Syrian children, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid brought greetings to one of Assad’s worst apologists on behalf of Justin Trudeau. Canada needs an answer why this happened,” Conservative Senator Linda Frum posted to social media, leading a charge that was later echoed by MPs in Question Period.
   Khalid’s response? “Like any MP, I engage with a diverse array of individuals, stakeholders and groups in my community – many of them I don’t agree with,” she posted online, adding “I’m proud that our government has forcefully condemned the Assad regime and I too condemn in the strongest of terms the recent chemical attacks. I’ve worked hard on these issues in my subcommittee on international human rights.”
  The blowback was heavy – with critics noting that it’s a bit much to hide behind the cloak of “diverse” stakeholders as justification for posing in smiling photos with questionable individuals.
    And while Hanna is the one getting all of the attention, it was the man he and Khalid had gathered to honour who deserves a bit more coverage as well. It was at that same event that Khalid gave out an award to Amin El-Maoued, who does public relations for the group Palestine House, which lost federal funding in 2012 due to its “pattern of support for extremism,” as the federal government put it.

FROM BAD TO WORSE IN CHINA'S STOCK MARKET

   With the market's attention focused on how the China-US trade wars impact the US stock market, many have forgotten to check in on China's markets. And it is here that Bloomberg commentator Kyoungwha Kim notes that things are going from bad to worse, as despite the recent spate of good economic news, the local market just can't rally on good news, an indication of the "nightmare facing China's leaders."
The reason: Trump may have accidentally stumbled on China's Achilles heal:
... the Shanghai Composite has failed to track the recent bounce in the S&P 500. The selloff in Chinese stocks has deepened since Xi Jinping’s speech in Boao to open up the world’s second-largest economy, increase imports and protect intellectual property rights.
  The case of ZTE being banned from buying American tech products revealed the hurdles for the "Made in China 2025" strategy that’s supposed to upgrade the economy from a manufacturer of quantity to one of technology-driven quality.


LAWMAKERS SEND CRIMINAL REFERRALS TO SESSIONS

   Republican lawmakers on Wednesday sent a slew of criminal referrals to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a number of Obama administration officials and senior FBI employees for violations of the law in connection to the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations.
   Specifically, they sent criminal referrals to Sessions for: former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, for separate violations.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

ENGINE EXPLOSION IN MIDAIR

   A woman was nearly sucked out of a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday when an engine exploded in midair, causing shrapnel to shatter the jet’s window, according to terrified passengers.
   The left engine of Flight 1380 — bound for Dallas from LaGuardia Airport — suddenly burst around 11:30 a.m. as the plane was near Philadelphia, passengers said on social media.
   A piece of shrapnel from the explosion blew out a window, and a female passenger was partially sucked out the hole, sending her fellow fliers scrambling to her rescue
  The hero commercial pilot who safely landed a Boeing 737 full of passengers after shrapnel from an engine explosion breached the cabin was a former Navy pilot and one of the first women to take the stick of an F/A-18 fighter jet, according to reports.


USA HARDWOOD BURNED FOR UK BIOFUEL

Delingpole:   Greenies are up in arms over another environmental scandal of their own making. A TV documentary, shown on Britain’s left-wing Channel 4, has been shocked to discover that old hardwood forests in the U.S. are being chopped down, exported to the UK and burned for what is laughably being billed as “green” energy.

R.I.P. BARBARA BUSH

As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family.  Amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection," the statement said. "She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well. The president and first lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mrs. Bush.


PREDICTION:ANOTHER MULTI-$MILLION PAYOUT COMING

    A sweeping $27-million lawsuit against the federal government brought by a Sudanese-Canadian who was detained overseas — and not allowed to return home for six years — is headed back to court, CBC News has learned.
   The Justice Department had been involved in settlement talks with Abousfian Abdelrazik but abruptly walked away from a recently scheduled mediation session, said Abdelrazik's lawyer.
   "They said they could not provide us with any reasons," said Paul Champ. "They were looking more at the polls than at their principles, and, unfortunately, I think that's probably why they withdrew."

TRUDEAU SAYS CANADA OPEN FOR INVESTMENT

   Calgary Herald: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is traveling through Europe this week, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with world leaders as he charmingly promotes Canada as a nation that is open for investment.
   Meanwhile, we at home are left to muse about Trudeau’s seeming inability to ensure that such opportunity truly exists in Canada and for Canadians.
   Despite his many promises, Trudeau has done nothing to ensure the Kinder Morgan pipeline will become a reality. His unwillingness to take an authoritative and supportive stand behind the project now has investors in the $7.4-billion pipeline prepared to take their dollars elsewhere. Thousands of jobs, the viability of Alberta’s economy and Canada’s “open for business” status are all at stake, yet Trudeau appears content to remain on the sidelines as tensions rise across the country, with threats of interprovincial trade wars and constitutional challenges.

TRUDEAU'S POLITICALLY MOTIVATED PIPELINE DECISIONS

   FP:  In 2014, TransCanada filed regulatory applications for the Energy East pipeline project to move Alberta oil to refineries in Montreal and New Brunswick, while providing vital access to Atlantic tidewater. The project would have replaced the hundreds of foreign-flagged oil tankers that sail up the St. Lawrence each year carrying half a million barrels per day to Montreal, and would use existing pipelines formerly carrying natural gas. The project had all the hallmarks of a win-win nation builder. But, in the face of strident opposition from politically influential Quebec, the Trudeau government imposed an “upstream emissions test” on Energy East, blatantly ignoring the emissions emanating from foreign oil suppliers and those hundreds of tankers carrying their oil. The government then required a restart of the entire NEB regulatory hearing process with newly appointed board members. Realizing that the Quebec votes were more important to the Trudeau government than their project, TransCanada abandoned the project after spending $1 billion.
    The Trudeau government’s cynical and politically motivated elimination of Northern Gateway and Energy East left the Trans Mountain expansion as the lone route left to getting Alberta oil to tidewater. But it should have been perfectly clear that the project would face vastly more strident opposition than the other two projects.

PREDICTED: 400 ASYLUM SEEKERS PER DAY IN QUEBEC

    Montreal Gazette:  The Quebec government says it is facing the prospect of even more asylum seekers entering the province from the United States this year and wants the federal government to come up with a plan to deal with the influx.
   The number so far this year has tripled to 6,074 from about 2,000 during the same period in 2017 and is forecast to increase significantly this summer, Immigration Minister David Heurtel said Monday.
  “Even the numbers we’re getting from the federal government show us that the situation is different, there’s going to be more asylum seekers, so we need a new plan,” he said.
   Heurtel said projections suggest there will be up to 400 crossings a day this summer, compared to 250 in 2017.

BUREAUCRATS TO TRUDEAU: HIDE THE NUMBERS

  Lilley:   Hmmmmmm, funny that. Higher support for immigration when the public felt the numbers were lower, lower support when told the actual numbers. What is the department’s advice to senior management? Hide the truth.
   Effectively, top bureaucrats are warning the government, not to tell the public the real immigration numbers lest support for immigration fall. In other words, lie to the public to keep them onside.
   I wonder how the public would feel if they knew the real total intake for 2016 was 848,000 people and not 260,000 as the poll claims.

ONTARIO'S HALLWAY HEALTH CARE

    To relieve the congestion in ERs, hospital administrators have been forced to use what they euphemistically call “unconventional spaces.” In Yerxa’s case, it would end up being a spot in the hallway. In other instances, it is an office, a sunroom, a conference room, a TV room or even a bathroom, with the bed placed between the toilet and bathtub. There’s often no door, no curtain, no call button, no space for loved ones. If a wound needs inspecting or a private detail has to be discussed, it happens out in the open. If you need a bedpan, you just do your business right there.
     Since her time at Sunnybrook, the hospital-bed crisis has only escalated. Typically, there’s respite in the summer, after the flu season is over, but last summer that didn’t happen. “The surge from last winter hasn’t gone away,” Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, told me in December. “All across the GTA, you’ve seen hospitals spike as high as 140 per cent at any given moment.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BULLISH & BEARISH CASES FOR OIL

  Geopolitical events specifically could help keep Brent above $70 through April and May, which comes on the back of a substantial decline in oil inventories.
  The investment bank, Barclay's, significantly tightened its forecast for Venezuelan production, lowering it to 1.1-1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d), down sharply from its previous forecast of 1.4 mb/d. That helped guide the bank’s upward revision for its price forecast for both WTI and Brent in 2018 and 2019, a boost of $3 per barrel.
    The flip side is that the explosive growth of U.S. shale keeps the market well supplied, and ultimately forces a downward price correction in the second half of the year, Barclays says. In fact, the investment bank said there are several factors that could conspire to kill off the recent rally. One of the looming supply risks is the potential confrontation between the U.S. and Iran. The re-implementation of sanctions threatens to cut off some 400,000 to 500,000 bpd of Iranian supply.
    But Barclays says these concerns are “misguided,” with the risk overblown. “Yes, it should kill the prospects for medium-term oil investment, and yes it could destabilize the region further, but we struggle to accept a narrative that the market had been expecting big gains in Iranian output over the next several years anyway.” Moreover, the ongoing losses from Venezuela are also broadly accepted by most analysts. “Therefore, it is worth suggesting that in both of these countries, a dire scenario may already be priced in,” Barclays wrote.
   Ultimately, the current price levels could be “as good as it gets,” Barclays argues. The bank forecasts Brent will average $63 per barrel this year and only $60 per barrel in 2019.

CHINA SLAPS 178.6% TARIFF ON USA SORGHUM

   In response to reports that the US is ramping up the "third front" in its trade spat with China by authorizing another investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 - this time, aimed at obstacles that prevent US tech firms from competing in cloud computing and other high-tech industries - China has, as we anticipated, retaliated by slapping tariffs on US sorghum imports.
   Yesterday, the US also revealed that it would stop US tech firms from selling components to Chinese telecom giant ZTE after accusing the company of lying during settlement negotiations - eliciting an angry response from Chinese officials, who urged US lawmakers to create a "fair, just and stable legal and policy environment" for Chinese companies, according to Xinhua.
   Like Chinese tariffs on US pork products that were imposed earlier this month, the sorghum tariffs aren't merely a threat: Rather, China says they will take effect on Wednesday, per Bloomberg.
  US sorghum imports will incur a 178.6% tariff, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a preliminary ruling on Tuesday.

MULTI-$BILLION FACEBOOK PHOTO-SCANNING SUIT

  A federal judge ruled Monday that millions of the social network’s users can proceed as a group with claims that its photo-scanning technology violated an Illinois law by gathering and storing biometric data without their consent. Damages could be steep -- a fact that wasn’t lost on the judge, who was unsympathetic to Facebook’s arguments for limiting its legal exposure.
   Facebook has for years encouraged users to tag people in photographs they upload in their personal posts and the social network stores the collected information. The company has used a program it calls DeepFace to match other photos of a person. Alphabet Inc.’s cloud-based Google Photos service uses similar technology and Google faces a lawsuit in Chicago like the one against Facebook in San Francisco federal court.
    Both companies have insisted in court that gathering data on what you look like isn’t against the law, even without your permission. But under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, the companies could be fined $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person’s image is used without consent.

USA GOV'T BANS SALES OF COMPONENTS TO CHINA'S ZTE

   SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - A move by the United States to ban American firms selling components to the Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp will also hit a target closer to home: Qualcomm Inc, a U.S. company that is a major supplier of chips for ZTE’s phones.
    The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped a seven-year ban on sales to ZTE on Monday for breaking terms of an agreement reached last year after it was caught illegally shipping goods to Iran.

NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO TOUCH HIS ROBES

     Jerry Brown, the California governor who was in town to talk climate change with Premier Kathleen Wynne, was snubbed Monday by the Progressive Conservatives, who refused to allow him to address the Ontario legislature.
    “We were hoping that Governor Brown would be able to speak to the legislature,” Wynne told reporters. “The Conservatives blocked that because I think, essentially, they don’t want to talk about climate change. They don’t want to talk about that problem. They don’t want to talk about solutions. And that is extremely short-sighted.” 
    Wynne “held a campaign-style event alongside the California governor on the taxpayer dime,” said Simon Jefferies, a spokesperson for the Progressive Conservatives
   “At this event, (she) bragged about Ontario’s expensive cap-and-trade carbon tax that makes life harder for Ontario families and our economy more uncompetitive.”

CHILDREN OF CATHOLIC PRIESTS

   TORONTO STAR:    Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy when they’re ordained. But when they break that vow, their children are left to live a lie
   Canadian children of priests have struggled with guilt and suffered from being forsaken by their fathers. Pressure is mounting for the church to hold priests accountable as parents.

DANIEL JEAN'S LATEST VERSION OF EVENTS

   G & M: As media-briefers go, Daniel Jean may be the world’s most incompetent. At least, judging by what the Prime Minister’s national security adviser told a Commons committee on Monday.
   Mr. Jean told the committee that when he briefed reporters in February on Justin Trudeau’s gaffe-filled trip to India, he was not alleging a conspiracy. He only wanted to refute incorrect reports that claimed security agencies knew in advance that failed assassin Jaspal Atwal was on the guest list for two of Mr. Trudeau’s receptions and did nothing.
    On Monday, Mr. Jean testified that the briefing was not aimed at protecting the Prime Minister, but defending the reputation of Canada’s security institutions.
   But if it was just an effort to correct the record, it spread a gob of confusion. His damage control left a crater. Yet, in his testimony, Mr. Jean did not seem to know what went wrong.

LATEST MANOEUVRE IN BC - AB PIPELINE FIGHT

  VICTORIA — All sides in the escalating dispute over the Trans Mountain expansion project appear to be digging in with the Alberta and British Columbia governments clashing over fuel prices and Indigenous and political leaders warning of civil unrest
    Tensions escalated Monday with B.C. Attorney General David Eby threatening to sue Alberta over legislation it introduced to restrict the flow of oil, gasoline and natural gas leaving that province, which could boost fuel prices in B.C.
   "The immediate recourse that's available to us is to potentially sue the Alberta government for an unconstitutional piece of legislation," he said.

Monday, April 16, 2018

ENVIRONMENTALISTS RED-WASHING PIPELINE FIGHT

   Cancellation of the Trans Mountain pipeline would cost B.C. First Nations hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits, job training, and employment and business opportunities, according to Cheam Chief Ernie Crey.
   Crey has emerged as a leading voice for the First Nations that stand to benefit from the project, calling out environmentalists for “red-washing” their fight against the $7.4 billion expansion of the pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby.
  “We have a vigorous environmental movement in B.C. and they have learned that they can use aboriginal communities to advance their agenda,” he said.

DEAR RAUL - HOW'S THAT COMMUNISM WORKING FOR YOU?

   When Castro steps down Thursday after two terms as president he will leave his successor a host of problems that are deeper than on the day his brother Fidel formally handed over power.
   Cuba has nearly 600,000 private entrepreneurs, more than 5 million cellphones, a bustling real estate market and one of the world's fastest-growing airports. Limited internet use is expanding fast, with thousands of Cubans installing new home connections this year. Foreign debt has been paid. Tourism numbers have more than doubled since Castro and President Barack Obama re-established diplomatic relations in 2015, making Cuba a destination for nearly 5 million visitors a year, despite a plunge in relations under the Trump administration.
     On the other side of the ledger, Cuba's Soviet-style command economy still employs three of every four Cuban workers but produces little. Private sector growth has been largely frozen. The average monthly state salary is $31 — so low that workers often live on stolen goods and handouts from relatives overseas. Foreign investment remains anemic. The island's infrastructure is falling deeper into disrepair. The break with Washington dashed dreams of detente with the U.S., and after two decades of getting Venezuelan subsidies totalling more than $6 billion a year, Cuba's patron has collapsed economically with no replacement in the wings.

TRACKING MILITARY & SPY SHIPS FROM HOME

  NP:   If he can find the ship or aircraft — using sites such as marinetraffic.com and flightradar24.com — that usually means it has turned on its transponder, a device that broadcasts location. Broadcasts to anyone who cares to pay attention — including potential military adversaries.
   And yet, navies like Canada’s, citing security concerns, rarely divulge that information themselves, even to the families of sailors in far-flung locations, Watkins notes.
   “While DND doesn’t put out a press release saying, ‘Today a Canadian ship moved through the Bosphorus Straits into the Black Sea,’ the Russians know, the Iranians know, the Chinese know. Everybody knows, except the Canadian public,” he said. “I don’t really know what the idea of that is … other than hiding what they do.”
   A Canadian Forces spokesman did not comment directly on Watkins’ work, but said the military is open and transparent about its members’ activities, “with strict consideration for operational security.”

FANTASY WORLD OF JOURNALISTS & COMMENTATORS

   Klavan:  If you're too ungrateful to thank God for living in America, at least you can thank Him for the fact that you're not living in the imaginations of our journalists and commentators. Good golly! The catastrophes going on in those dank and fetid places would be just terrible if they were actually happening in real life.
    Consider the mind of Carl Bernstein over at CNN. There's a bona fide constitutional crisis going on in there! I know this because Bernstein said so. "We're in a constitutional crisis," he said. What's the constitutional crisis, you might ask. The constitutional crisis is that reporters say sources say the president of the United States is thinking about firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller! Wow. That is a crisis. It's like that time a guy cut me off in traffic and I wanted to kill him so they had to take him to the morgue. The imaginary world is dangerous.

SNOW, ICE, RAIN & WIND HAMMER ONTARIO AND QUEBEC

   Tens of thousands of people across southern and central Ontario remained without power Monday morning as the province's massive ice storm transitioned to drenching rain.
   Provincial power utility Hydro One said its crews were working to reconnect more than 76,000 customers, while Toronto Hydro said the number of customers in the dark had shrunk to 10,000 from about 40,000.
   In most cases the crews were dealing with power lines and poles downed by high winds or ice-coated trees that snapped during the storm.
   The mix of snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, rain and powerful winds that battered the region Saturday and Sunday made driving treacherous, with provincial police reporting more than 1,450 non-fatal crashes on the highways surrounding Toronto over the two days.