Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE WRIGGLING MORNEAU

   NP:  OTTAWA — Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre repeatedly tried to squeeze answers out of Finance Minister Bill Morneau during a marathon Commons session Tuesday night that featured a barrage of questions on the potential costs of the federal carbon tax for Canadian families.
   Poilievre was the first political rival to get a crack at Morneau during the special session, which lasted several hours.
   Opponents have been keen to crack the minister’s message-track veneer. On Tuesday, their attempts included trying to expose what the government’s carbon pricing plan will cost an average Canadian household.


THE ARROGANT DOMINIC LEBLANC

   Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc defended his decision to award a lucrative clam harvesting quota to an Atlantic Canadian company with ties to the Liberal Party and to his family, telling the House of Commons on Tuesday that his wife has a lot of relatives.
   Mr. LeBlanc is being investigated by Canada’s federal Ethics Commissioner after he ordered the allocation of an Arctic surf-clam quota worth millions of dollars to a partnership between Indigenous groups and a company led by the brother of a Liberal member of Parliament. In addition, one of the participating Indigenous groups is led by a former Liberal MP.
   Documents filed in court as part of a legal challenge of the Fisheries Minister’s decision by an aboriginal band in Newfoundland and Labrador revealed that the Indigenous corporation that is part of the winning bid, Five Nations Clam Co., was originally headed by Gilles Thériault, who is the first cousin of Mr. LeBlanc’s wife, Jolène Richard.

VIRTUE-SIGNALING HORWATH HAS NO ANSWER

   Toronto Sun:   On Tuesday morning — to kick off the third week of the Ontario election campaign — NDP leader Andrea Horwath was pressed at her media avail about the cost of declaring Ontario a sanctuary province.
   I was glad that the question was put to her since I’d been trying for two days, with little success, to find out from her assorted media handlers whether her crazy Sanctuary Province concept had been costed out — especially in the wake of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s warnings last Friday that the flood of refugees into our Sanctuary City are creating a shelter and fiscal crisis.
   But instead of actually answering the question — remember Horwath has proven to be a proficient tap dancer — she launched into her virtue signalling talk contending, at least that’s what it sounded like, that the idea is all about treating illegals who are ill and come “bleeding” into an emergency ward.

HYPOCRISY THRIVES IN THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE

  It is important to note that Canadian officials were admitted into the United States to warn members of ethnic immigrant communities in the United States that if members of those communities were to enter Canada illegally they would face deportation.
   Could you imagine how Mexico would react if the Trump administration sought permission to have U.S. government officials enter Mexico to warn Mexicans and members of Mexico’s ethnic immigrant communities that they should not seek to enter the United States without inspection because they would face arrest and deportation if they made that attempt?

WHY NOT ABOLISH PERFORMANCE PAY?

   The Trudeau government is changing the rules to claw back the performance pay and bonuses paid to deputy ministers and other top-ranking federal executives if they are found guilty of misconduct or mismanagement.
    For the first time, the government will be able to recoup performance pay from its most senior executives should information come to light that would have changed the performance rating they were given that year.
    The new rules will affect 160 full-time governor-in-council appointees (GICs) who are appointed by cabinet and eligible for performance pay – these include deputy ministers, associate deputy ministers, heads of agencies and CEOs of Crown corporations. Nearly half are deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers. Most GICs serve “at pleasure.”
   But there are another 6,480 executives working in government entitled to performance pay who won’t be affected by the new rules.

LYNX STARE-DOWN

 A man in Ontario came across two lynx staring each other down and shrieking at one another on a rural road.
The two cats wail at each other throughout most of the video, and from time to time appear to almost headbutt each other. About halfway through the filming, one of the cats even goes to swipe at the other.

BATTLES OF AB vs BC CONTINUES

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has launched a lawsuit and is prepared to ask for an injunction and damages against Alberta over that province’s recently passed fuel restriction law.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

CLEANING UP WYNNE'S MESS

   Toronto Sun:  Just weeks remain until Ontario’s provincial election when patients can vote in a new government that is willing to engage with frontline doctors and nurses to address the worst health-care crisis in Ontario’s history. It’s a crisis created by years of neglect, mismanagement and deep frontline cuts by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal government.
    Ontario’s doctors are now into their fifth year without a contract and enduring a seventh year of cuts to their frontline patient care. This is unprecedented in Canada.
    Just months after winning the 2014 election, Wynne’s government stopped negotiating with physicians and started to unilaterally cut. Since 2015, this has amounted to more than $4-billion in reckless cuts to the frontline care that doctors provide to 14 million patients. These cuts are ongoing, averaging nearly $100-million monthly and have resulted in clinic closures, 1 million patients going without family doctors, waiting lists for some specialties exploding to beyond three years, emergency room gridlock and operating room closures.

CHINA VS USA RE: IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL

   Conventional wisdom has it that China stands to benefit from the US withdrawal from the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran, particularly if major European companies feel that the risk of running afoul of US secondary sanctions is too high.
   In doing so, China would draw on lessons learnt from its approach to the sanctions regime against Iran prior to the nuclear deal. China supported the sanctions while proving itself adept at circumventing the restrictions.
      However, this time round, as China joins Russia and Europe in trying to salvage the deal, things   could prove to be different in ways that may give China second thoughts.

RESTORING INTEGRITY TO EPA

   For decades the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has gotten away with creating regulations that lack sound scientific basis, costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars without solid evidence that those costs were justified.
   It’s done this in two ways.
   Sometimes it’s simply thrown out scientific results and regulated to satisfy a political pressure group. That was largely the case when in 1972, contrary to its own scientific findings but under heavy pressure from environmentalists, it banned the use of DDT, the most effective, least expensive, safe pesticide by which to control or eradicate disease-carrying insects like mosquitos and lice.
    At other times the EPA has built new regulations on “secret science”—studies whose authors refuse to grant other scientists access to the data, computer code, and methodology behind them. Such studies are not subject to replication by other scientists. Yet replication is the acid test of scientific research.

ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL

    Before his tip sparked a divisive witch hunt, former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer helped to secure $25 million for the Clinton Foundation.
    Downer arranged one of the largest foreign donations ever made to the Clinton Foundation in February 2006. He and former President Bill Clinton signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” that purportedly dedicated the substantial funding to a project meant to provide screenings and drug treatment for AIDS patients in Asia.
    The donation, originally intended for the Clinton Foundation, was then rerouted through an affiliate — the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). The project was lauded for its help in China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam, but auditors criticized its “management weaknesses” and inadequate budgetary oversight.

ANOTHER LIBERAL PROMISE RE CAR INSURANCE

   The Ontario Liberals are promising to stop auto-insurance companies from using the location of customers’ homes to calculate premiums, saying this will bring “immediate relief” for drivers.
   The campaign promise on Thursday was another stab at the auto-insurance issue for the Grits − who fell short on their pledge in an earlier election to reduce rates by 15 per cent – and was quickly questioned by their political opponents and the industry.

TRUMP DEMANDS INVESTIGATION OF OBAMA ADMIN.

   President Donald J. Trump announced his decision to demand an official investigation of former President Barack Obama’s administration on Sunday for infiltrating or surveilling his presidential campaign for political reasons.
    “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

Trump frequently blames investigations of his campaign on Obama, suggesting that politically motivated investigators were unfairly targeting his campaign.

ITALY'S NEW GOV'T WILL CHALLENGE EU

Chaos and instability are more or less the normal state of affairs when it comes to Italy's national government. But the formation of a new government expected today, two months after voters handed more than 50% of the vote to two populist parties (Five Star and The League) promises more strife and uncertainty than usual. Now the European Union faces the probability of defiance by a major member-state.

Monday, May 21, 2018

CAMPUS SNOWFLAKES WHINING OVER DEBT

   A group representing hundreds of thousands of students across Canada has launched an online campaign calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to make billions of dollars in student loans interest-free.
    In a series of Facebook ads, the Canadian Federation of Students says the federal government shouldn't be profiting from student loans and should follow the lead of five provinces that have eliminated interest charges.

SOAP-OPERA DRIVEL ON THE BACKROADS OF GPR

   The provincial Liberal candidate in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell is a former Tory who quit the party because of the way Patrick Brown ran it. He’s now being helped by another former Tory who quit the party because of the way Doug Ford is running it.
    Most places, with power in sight, the Progressive Conservatives are putting a really brave face on in the name of party unity. In this riding, not so much.
   Rachel Theriault, a Progressive Conservative volunteer who’d been working for Tory candidate Amanda Simard, left the campaign noisily on Thursday night, with an open letter

HAMAS ENGINEERS ANOTHER CRISIS, BLAMES ISRAEL

    NP:  So, an entirely typical episode of Middle Eastern geopolitical theatre. Hamas, beset by massive and self-inflicted economic and political problems, engineered a crisis it can blame Israel for. It used Gaza’s citizens as cannon fodder and only stopped when threatened directly. Israel responded with justified force after taking extraordinary steps to avoid needless civilian deaths, although some are sadly inevitable. (When Israel sent trucks full of medical supplies into Gaza this week to help with the injured, Hamas refused to admit them. Evidently, the kind of people who push civilians into the line of fire don’t mind if they later die for lack of treatment.).
     And the response of the international community was … to condemn Israel. As always. Still, it’s important to remember that it’s familiar because we have seen it so many times before, even if it seems we’re doomed to never learn from it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau played his own small but predictable part this week in issuing unfair accusations against Israel. “Reported use of excessive force and live ammunition is inexcusable,” he said. “It is imperative we establish the facts of what is happening in Gaza. Canada calls for an immediate independent investigation to thoroughly examine the facts on the ground …”

LIBERALS LECTURE NDP ON DEFICITS

   PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — Ontario's New Democrats, often accused of fiscal incompetence, made a $1.4-billion annual costing mistake in their election platform, the party's leader was forced to admit on Sunday.
    At the same time, Horwath downplayed the problem, saying it would have little affect on the party's campaign platform — or what could be achieved if the NDP were to form the government after the June 7 vote.
  "It doesn't prevent us from doing any of the things that we believe we can do to help get rid of hallway medicine for example, and fix seniors' care in our province," Horwath said on her campaign bus in eastern Ontario. "The deficit will be a little bigger than expected, but we still will be on the trajectory to balance."
    Not surprisingly, however, the Liberals saw it differently. Added up over the five years laid out in the NDP's budget calculations, it would make for a projected deficit $7 billion greater than initially calculated.

EASTERN STATES SUCKED INTO WIND TURBINES

     Several eastern US states are planning major investments in offshore wind. Wind turbines are touted as clean, green, and economically sound. But experience from around the world shows that offshore wind systems are both expensive and at high risk for early system degradation.
     The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia have signed executive orders or passed laws to procure offshore wind systems valued at billions of dollars. Officials are eager to win leadership in what is perceived to be a new growth industry. The US Department of Energy has funded over $200 million in offshore wind research since 2011
    Wind turbines sited off the eastern US coast must survive brutal weather compared to offshore turbines in Europe. From March 1 to March 22 of this year, four powerful extratropical cyclones, called nor’easters, battered our east coast from Virginia to Maine. These storms produced ocean storm surges, large snowfalls, wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour, and even 20 tornados.

EARTH TO TRUDEAU

I’m not sure what reality Justin is living in, but here is the reality on Earth:
     One third of Canadians have stretched themselves so thin that they can no longer cover monthly bills and debt payments, according to a survey …
     Thirty-three per cent of respondents … admitted to being stretched beyond their means on a monthly basis, marking an eight-point increase since MNP's last survey in September …
     … almost four in 10 respondents … admitted they regret the amount of debt they've taken out in their lifetime.
    … Forty-two per cent of respondents … said they'll be in financial trouble if rates rise much higher. Moreover, nearly one-third said they could be forced into bankruptcy because of rising interest rates.

ONTARIO FARMLAND PRICES UP IN 2017

   Ontario farmland prices increased everywhere. Overall, Ontario farmland prices were up 9.4 per cent. That’s the third highest percentage price increase in Canada, trailing only Saskatchewan’s 10.2 per cent and Nova Scotia’s 9.5 per cent. Ontario was up 4.4 per cent in 2016.
   Farmland values soared from 2011 to 2014, with double-digit percentage increases each year, including a whopping 30.1 per cent in 2012.
    J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief agricultural economist, does not believe 2017’s large increase is the start of a new trend. He noted that the majority of transactions were in the first six months of 2017, when interest rates were at a record low. When rates went up in the second half of the year, sales slowed down. He expected interest rates to increase at least once in 2018.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

CBC's ODIOUS CAROL OFF

UPDATE: May 18, 2018: (12:02pm EST). True to form, two days after conducting a hostile and combative interview with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael, Oren, CBC As It Happens and Anchor Carol Off doubled down yesterday evening by giving a platform to Avner Gvaryahu, the Executive Director of the anti-Israel and radical organization known as “Breaking the Silence” to condemn Israel.
H/T SDA


BAGPIPER TICKETED FOR HIS SGIAN DUBH

   Turns out the sgian-dubh isn’t such a big deal after all.
   The Montreal bagpiper who was ticketed by police for carrying the ceremonial knife will see the item returned to him and the case dropped.
   Jeff McCarthy announced the news Friday evening on Facebook.
   “Ticket cancelled. I’ll be getting my knife back,” he posted. “Prosecutor doesn’t want to press on with this. THE END. VIVE L’ÉCOSSE.” The post was punctuated with a symbol of the Scottish flag.

PM PREENS WHILE CANADA CRUMBLES

   Rex Murphy, NP:  The Trudeau government vastly overestimates and overpraises the power of “our example to the world.” This is quite natural. Every author is the ideal reviewer of his own book. But to earn even that dubious international status, look at the costs at home. Canada’s carbon tax, and its high zeal for the cause, cannot, in any substantial way, change the equations of the world’s atmosphere. We are incidental to the problem, if indeed it is a problem. Whatever Canada does, or does not do, will not accelerate the crisis or diminish it, in any way that is meaningful.
     In its zeal to be seen as champion for a problem we have minimal capacity to cure, this government has roiled the Canadian political landscape, stirred a current of rage in Alberta, set provinces bitterly at odds with each other, shattered the governing party in Ontario, placed useless taxes on an already depressed industry, and chased billions of dollars of investment money out of the country. Most grievously, it has already indicated to the world that Canada is a very inhospitable place for any projects large in scale that in any way might wander under the eyes and objections of global warming zealots, the politicians who support them, and governments that are their willing partners.

PRIVATE PROSECUTION AGAINST ONTARIO ENVIRONMENT MINISTER

   Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has filed a “private prosecution” against Ontario’s environment minister Chris Ballard.
    WCO says that Ontario’s environment ministry has received 4,394 complaints — more than one complaint a day for 11 years — and has only responded to 97 of 1,394 complaints about wind turbines from 2015 and 2016.
    That’s a steep decline, however, from 2006 to 2014, when the ministry did not respond to over half of the 3,000 complaints, a WCO report stated. Only 1 per cent of complaints were considered to be a “priority” response. Many complaints were about the noise and vibration generated by turbines, although they’ve also drawn complaints about disorienting shadow flicker the blades cause when the sun is behind them, well-water issues, sleep problems and headaches.

TRUMP-HATING JOURNALISTS SELF-DESTRUCT

Klavan:  American journalists hate Donald Trump so much they have become exactly what he says they are: the purveyors of fake news.
   But now that it turns out the FBI and CIA leadership may have been subverting our political process to try to thwart Donald Trump, the Times has become a sort of megaphone for the excuses and spin of the Deep State wrong-doers.
   On Thursday, with Devin Nunes relentlessly digging out the facts, and a reputedly damaging inspector general's report on the way, the Times attempted to help anonymous Fed sources spin, play down and obscure what is now obvious to any honest observer: the Obama administration abused its power for political purposes and nowhere so badly as in the DOJ's investigation of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

ETHICS WATCHDOG WILL INVESTIGATE LEBLANC

  OTTAWA — Canada’s ethics watchdog is investigating federal fisheries minister Dominic LeBlanc’s decision to award a lucrative fishing licence to a group in Atlantic Canada with ties to the Liberals and LeBlanc’s own family.
   Ethics commissioner Mario Dion launched an investigation last Friday under the Conflict of Interest Act, his office confirmed. The ethics probe comes after the Conservatives raised concerns about connections between the Liberals and the winner of a new Arctic surf clam licence, a partnership between Nova Scotia-based Premium Seafoods and the Five Nations Clam Company, which includes Indigenous communities in the four Atlantic provinces and Quebec.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

HONOURING THE CALGARY SCHOOL

    The Calgary School is, at its core, an ad-hoc band of four amigos — all University of Calgary political science professors — who shook Canadian political academia out of its Marxist and socialist rut, and not only spoke truth to power, but wrote it in bestselling textbooks, books and most accessibly, in newspaper columns, that influenced thought and politics clear across the country.
    On Monday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation gave its annual tax fighter award to Barry Cooper, Tom Flanagan, Rainer Knopff and Ted Morton during an elegant affair at the Calgary Petroleum Club “in recognition of providing leadership, mentorship and intellectual ammunition in the battle for lower taxes, free markets and limited and accountable government.”
    It’s impossible to fully measure their impact on Canadian society, but it’s safe to say that Canada would be a much poorer place, both literally and figuratively, were it not for the rigorous scholarship and accessibility of the work of these four men and the many people they mentored and influenced with their particular brand of common-sense politics.
    Fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets used to be scoffed at for decades, as did ideas of entrepreneurship and smaller government. These four men helped make those ideas worthy of debate and implementation.

A CLARIFICATION IS NECESSARY, PM TRUDEAU

   WASHINGTON — The United States declared the NAFTA countries were nowhere close to a deal in a statement Thursday designed to douse expectations that an agreement might be just a few minor adjustments away.
     It rebuffed an effort from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and several high-ranking staffers who were in the U.S. on Thursday urging a quick deal.
    U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer rejected the idea that an agreement was within imminent reach. He cited big differences on intellectual property, agriculture, online purchases, energy, labour, rules of origin, and other issues.
    "The NAFTA countries are nowhere near close to a deal.... There are gaping differences," Lighthizer said in an evening statement.
    Trudeau had spent the day promoting the idea that an agreement was now within reach.

DIFFERENT RULES FOR LIBERALS

    TORONTO — On the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2012, an Ontario Liberal candidate suggested the attack that killed thousands was an inside job.
     “911, was it really a terrorist attack or another conspiracy for cover up? As soon as it happened back in 2001, I thought: ‘how can the US Defense be so weak? I thought the US had LET it happen so they can declare war,” Amanda Yeung Collucci wrote on Facebook on Sept. 11, 2012.
    This week the Liberals have called for the resignation of four candidates on the Progressive Conservative and NDP rosters because of past offensive comments. But the campaign is backing Collucci, calling her a “respected local Councillor.”

TORONTO'S INFLUX OF REFUGEE CLAIMANTS

   TORONTO — The mayor of Toronto says the city will need to open an emergency reception centre over the next seven days to deal with an influx of refugees claimants.
   The federal and Ontario governments should take action to relieve the growing pressure refugee claimants are putting on the city's shelter system, John Tory said Friday, as he asked for support with the issue.
    Tory said 10 new refugee claimants are added to Toronto's shelter system each day, and 334 additional refugee claimants have arrived since he last appealed for help on April 26.
    At the current rate of arrivals, Tory said Toronto projects that refugees will represent more than 50 per cent of the city's shelter residents by November.

Friday, May 18, 2018

TRUMP DONATES SALARY TO VETERANS AFFAIRS

   President Donald Trump donated his first quarter 2018 salary to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their caregiver programs – including support for mental health and peer support – continuing in his tradition of donating his salary each quarter.

CAF MEMBERS DEPLOYED TO BC FOR FLOOD AID

   Hundreds of troops from the Canadian Armed Forces will soon be in B.C. to help with flood relief efforts, just as provincial officials are warning the weekend could bring another surge of water.
   More than 140 members were deployed from the Edmonton area Wednesday evening, and a second deployment of 175 personnel is expected to arrive on Friday, according to an Armed Forces spokesperson.
  Across the province more than 4,500 people remain under evacuation orders and another 7,100 are on alert, meaning the residents must be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Thirty-six local states of emergency have been declared and 13 First Nations band councils have issued resolutions in response to emergency situations.

ANGST RIDDEN GREENIES ADMIT BIOFUEL FAIL

   FP:   The ethanol mandate was born more than a decade ago of good intentions: to reduce tailpipe emissions as part of a larger strategy of tackling global warming. The result has backfired. Admits Henry Waxman, the U.S. congressman credited with the legislation’s passage in 2007, “it’s clear that the RFS has been a net-negative for the environment. Not only has the RFS failed to spur significant development of truly advanced fuels, but conventional biofuels like corn ethanol and soy biodiesel are destroying wildlife habitat at home and abroad, polluting waterways, and increasing global warming pollution.”
    To make amends, Waxman now chairs Mighty Earth, a global environmental organization that is spearheading efforts to kill the environmental monster he helped launch. Its recent report, which calls biofuels “dirtier than dirty old oil,” notes that “soy and palm biodiesel have two and three times the emissions of fossil fuel.” This week his angst only increased with the Trump administration’s decision to permit year-round sales of 15-per-cent blends, which will worsen air pollution in hot summer months.

ANOTHER STINKING DEAL BY ONTARIO LIBERALS

   G&M:   In January, 2018, the Ontario Gaming GTA LP, a partnership between the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and Brookfield Business Partners, completed the purchase of a bundle of casino operations from the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation, including Casino Woodbine, Casino Ajax and Great Blue Heron Casino. The deal is part of the OLG’s sale of almost half of its casinos and slots over the last three years.
    On May 9, it was disclosed that the OGGTA purchased the bundle for $158-million, which is less than one times the annualized earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of the bundle, based on first-quarter results. That’s an acquisition multiple much lower than many expected. Reminiscent of the privatization of Highway 407, the sale involves a massive transfer of wealth from the Government of Ontario, and ultimately all Ontarians, to the private sector. This is yet another example of the government’s inability to receive maximum value for its assets, limiting its capacity to service its soaring debt and pay for essential social services.
    The bundle should have been sold at a multiple far in excess of one times EBITDA. In North America, casino and gaming assets trade publicly for an enterprise value of eight to 13 times EBITDA. Within two days of Great Canadian’s financial disclosures of the deal’s terms its stock price jumped by 36 per cent, adding some $840-million of market value to the company, which one could argue implicitly values the acquired bundle at $1.7-billion, or an enterprise value of eight times EBITDA. Since the OLG only received $158-million for the bundle, it suggests that the government has left as much as a staggering $1.5-billion on the table.

OIL TANKER BANS AND TRANS MOUNTAIN

   Ivison, NP: The Liberals have done it to themselves. Just as Henry Ford’s customers could have any colour of Model T car, as long as it was black, so the Liberals can have any pipeline they want, as long as it’s Trans Mountain.
   By reducing the number of options, they are now engaged in the politics of last resort to push through Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project.
    But if they hadn’t blocked Northern Gateway, raised the regulatory bar on Energy East to unattainable levels and imposed an oil tanker moratorium on the west coast, they wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of a need to fund a de facto nationalization of Trans Mountain.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

FBI RAN SPY OPS ON TRUMP CAMPAIGN

    Leakers to the New York Times confirmed in a story published on Wednesday that the FBI had run a spy operation on the Trump campaign that involved government informants, secret subpoenas, and possible wiretaps.
    The story comes ahead of the release of the pending Department of Justice inspector general report on the FBI’s actions during the 2016 election, and likely is an attempt by the leakers to paint the FBI’s efforts in the most flattering light possible.
   But the story revealed that the FBI – which is supposed to be an apolitical agency – was spying on the Trump campaign through phone records and with “at least one” human asset.

FBI, DOJ BROKE LAW IN CLINTON EMAIL PROBE

   A new report suggests an imminent Inspector General (IG) report may rule that FBI and Justice Department officials broke the law in their handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
    Investigative reporter Paul Sperry said Thursday that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has “found ‘reasonable grounds’ for believing there has been a violation of federal criminal law in the FBI/DOJ’s handling of the Clinton investigation/s,” adding that the top watchdog official has “referred his findings of potential criminal misconduct to Huber for possible criminal prosecution.”

NOTLEY'S NEXT STEP IN TAP SHUTOFF TO BC

    Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the NDP government plans to pass Bill 12 Wednesday.
    “At the end of the day today, Alberta will be equipped with new tools to assert our rights to control the flow of our resources to British Columbia.”
   Bill 12, entitled Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, gives Alberta the ability to retaliate against B.C. if shipment of energy products is restricted.

CUSTOMS AGENTS MOVE TO QUEBEC FROM GTA

    Border and customs agents are being pulled from the Greater Toronto Area to handle a a “significant” influx of asylum seekers across the U.S. border into Quebec over the summer months.
   The move is expected to lead to delays for travelers embarking from overseas and U.S. flights at Toronto’s Pearson International airport – the country’s busiest airport – and land-border crossings in southern Ontario.

MORNEAU STILL POUTING

    Morneau was seriously offside with the CFIB in the summer of 2017 with his proposed tax changes for small business — reforms that were eventually rolled back in the face of a massive outcry from doctors, farmers and entrepreneurs all over Canada.
   But even before that uproar last summer, Morneau had been rebuffing the CFIB’s requests for a meeting — and he certainly hasn’t been available since.
   “This is new, to have a government that is so afraid of criticism that it won’t meet with us,” Kelly said.
  Though tax reform has faded out of the headlines and much of the outright fury of 2017 has died down, Kelly says that a lot of bad feelings linger — and that Morneau’s inaccessibility isn’t helping to dispel the dismal state of relations between the government and small business.


72% ONTARIANS: CARBON TAXES ARE MONEY GRAB

    The online poll of 1,197 Ontarians didn’t just tell us carbon taxes are unpopular. It found 72 per cent of Ontarians think they’re just a government tax grab – even a majority of Liberal supporters said so; it also found 67.7 per cent think that carbon taxes are “a pointless symbolic gesture that will cost Ontarians a lot of money and do little for the world’s climate.”
    The carbon tax, a technical mechanism to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, is no longer a question of policy – in Ontario, at least, it’s a matter of faith. The Ipsos poll suggests Ontarians have lost faith.
Darrell Bricker, chief executive officer of Ipsos Public Affairs, noted polls regularly find a majority of Canadians are concerned about climate change. But now Ontarians are starting to equate climate issues with actually paying something. “That’s where the rub is coming in,” Mr. Bricker said. In Ontario, climate ranks far lower in voters’ concerns than hydro rates.
   Ontarians don’t seem to believe carbon taxes reduce emissions. Mr. Bricker said people don’t really see the effect, so they see it as tax grab.

TRUDEAU HAS THE POLITICAL DEPTH OF A FINGER BOWL

   EDMONTON — Alberta United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney is standing by his personal attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom he called empty and clueless.
    Kenney says, from his experience, Trudeau struggles with nuanced political issues, particularly the contentious debate around the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
   "I know Justin. He doesn't have a clue what he's doing. This guy is an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl," he is quoted as saying.
   "He can’t read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin, OK."

AUSTRALIA'S GOT IT RIGHT

   The Australian government deploys military forces to intercept boats filled with migrants, who are then detained in offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
   Joe Bissett, a former longtime federal immigration official and researcher, said Australia's approach serves as a strong deterrent and it does not deserve international scorn. Countries like Canada are helping the wrong people by welcoming asylum seekers instead of assisting more legitimate refugees, he said.
   "I think Australia's got it right and we've got it wrong," he said. "If you keep taking them in, they'll keep coming."  

  

LIBERAL POLICIES DRIVING AWAY INVESTORS

   ATCO chief executive Nancy Southern, one of Alberta's most prominent business leaders, lashed out at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during her company's annual meeting on Tuesday, blaming his policies for scaring away investors and questioning his leadership.
   Speaking on the same day Trudeau arrived in Calgary to make a civic funding announcement, Southern told shareholders and employees that watching Canada's economic competitiveness decline is "heart-breaking" and makes her want to cry. Southern pointed to increased regulations, labour laws and taxes as reasons why companies would rather invest outside of Canada.
   ATCO, best known for its utilities business, continues to spend in Alberta on infrastructure projects but is diversifying through major acquisitions and expansion in South American, Australia, Mexico and the United States.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

HER IQ THE SAME AS THE CONTENTS OF A DIAPER

    When sexuality educator Deanne Carson went on Australian news network ABC to talk about consent, her analogy completely took a turn.
    To understand and teach children why consent matters, Carson told the broadcaster that parents, for example, should ask their babies for consent before changing their diapers.
    “‘I’m going to change your nappy now, is this OK?’ Of course, the baby isn’t going to respond … but if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you’re letting that child know that their response matters,” she told ABC.

1559 APPLICATIONS REJECTED BY LIBERALS

   More than 1,550 applications were rejected for grant money through the Canada Summer Jobs program this year because of “issues” related to a controversial new box on the form, according to the federal government.
     Under rules introduced last winter, organizations must check off a box on their application confirming that both their “core mandate” and the job they want to use federal money to fill respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — as well as other rights.
   But some faith-based groups, backed by the Conservatives in the House of Commons, have said they can’t check the box without violating their beliefs surrounding abortion or LGBTQ communities. They’ve argued that the government has no business forcing its own ideology on them.

LIBERAL CONCERN BASED ON VOTE LOSS

   The Liberals have switched to more hardline messaging around asylum seekers, say pollsters and observers, as the government’s response has left it open to attack in the face of increasing irregular border crossings and charges from the Conservatives that the Grits are soft on border security.
    Politically, the challenge and vulnerability for the Liberals is especially acute among first-generation and new-Canadian communities, said Jackie Choquette, vice-president at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which both parties have been targeting and fighting over for several elections.
   “That’s traditionally been a huge area of support for the Liberal Party,” said the former provincial Liberal staffer, and an area where they could lose votes

MORNEAU WILLING TO INDEMNIFY TRANS MOUNTAIN

   OTTAWA — If Kinder Morgan wants to abandon plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, there are plenty of other investors out there willing to take up the cause — and they will have the backing of the federal Liberal government, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says.
    The government is willing to "provide indemnity" to any investors, be they the project's original architects or otherwise, to ensure the controversial Alberta-B.C.. project is able to proceed, Morneau told a news conference Wednesday.
    The announcement, coming on the very day when the company's Calgary-based Canadian operation is scheduled to hold its annual meeting, bore the hallmarks of an effort to ratchet up the pressure in advance of Kinder Morgan's May 31 deadline.

THE RELIGION OF RACISM

   If you don’t believe that racism is significant, you challenge their entire reason for being.
   And the religion of racism meets these challenges by manufacturing a racial crisis as it strings together anecdotal incidents from a Waffle House to a New York City apartment to a student dorm to a coffee shop, to support its unified field theory of universal bigotry and suppress skepticism about its powers.
    The puritanical panic has less to do with fear of racism than the emotional needs of the witch hunters. Informing on your neighbors, denouncing fellow students and becoming the center of attention is emotionally fulfilling for the same psychological reasons that it was for the Salem accusers, the Parisian mobs of the French Revolution and the rampaging Communist students of the Cultural Revolution.

SECOND GENERATION GREEN BULLSH!TTER

    WASHINGTON – Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, urged the Catholic Church and other “faith communities” to become climate change activists and preach about taking action on the issue.
    “I actually think that [preaching is] one of the main things that could actually break through on this issue. One of the ways that we could break through on this issue is if people really start to think deeply on another level about it; on a moral and spiritual level and are moved from a different kind of place to take action, to raise it with their elected representatives, to make it inform their individual choices but also our political agenda, to be constantly saying, why are we building up more fossil fuels? Why don't we switch to a new renewable energy?”
   Gore, the eldest daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, compared the climate change movement to the civil rights movement.

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL GETS SCHOOLED

On Tuesday morning, Nikki Haley spoke at the United Nations Security Council meeting regarding the embassy move in Israel and the violence in Gaza that took place on Monday.
Ambassador Haley's remarks were perfect and on point. That's her style: She calmly and deliberately carpet bombs the UNSC with reality.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

LIE DETECTING COMPUTER KIOSKS AT BORDER

  • A virtual border agent kiosk was developed to interview travelers at airports and border crossings and it can detect deception to flag human security agents.
  • The U.S., Canada and European Union have tested the technology, and one researcher says it has a deception detection success rate of up to 80 percent, or better than human agents.
  • The technology relies on sensors and biometrics, and its lie-detection capabilities are based on eye movements or changes in voice, posture and facial gestures.

SOROS'S OSF GETS THE HUNGARIAN BOOT

   Re-elected last month, Mr Orban campaigned under a "Stop Soros" banner
  On Monday Mr Orban said the "Stop Soros" package had been "one of the most important questions of the election", AFP news agency reports.
  "Hungarians voted for it... what we said we would do, we will do," he said on a visit to Warsaw,
  Open Society Foundations (OSF), which funds non-governmental organisations (NGOs), says it will move its operation to the German capital, Berlin.

LAWSUIT BLOCKS OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CENTER

    A federal lawsuit filed by a Chicago nonprofit in an attempt to block the Obama Presidential Center from being built in Jackson Park accuses organizers of pulling an “institutional bait and switch” by shifting the center’s purpose away from being a true presidential library.
    Protect Our Parks Inc. also claims in its lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, that the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago don’t have the authority to transfer public parkland to nongovernmental entity such as the Obama Foundation.
   It has long been expected that the Park District would sell the land to the city for a nominal amount and the city would enter into a long-term lease with the Obama Foundation. The lawsuit, which also names three Chicago-area residents as plaintiffs, argues that such a maneuver would violate state law and represents “a short con shell game, a corrupt scheme to deceive and seemingly legitimize an illegal land grab.”
   The plaintiffs accuse the Obamas of committing an about-face on original plans for the Jackson Park site to be home to a national presidential library that would hold historic documents and archives from Barack Obama’s presidency under the National Archives and Records Administration’s supervision.

ATWAL DENIES MAKING THREATS

   Court documents show Jaspal Atwal was charged last month with threatening Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, host of a daily Punjabi-language talk show broadcast online by Media Waves Communications.
   His lawyer, Marvin Stern, says Atwal denies threatening the radio host.
   "There was a conversation between the two of them in the parking lot of the radio station in question," Stern said.
  "But there were no threats issued by Mr. Atwal whatsoever."

DEFENDING VICE-ADMIRAL MARK NORMAN

   A fundraising drive to help pay legal bills for Vice-Admiral Mark Norman — accused of leaking cabinet secrets — has netted almost $120,000 in donations.
   Nearly 1,000 people — among them a former federal cabinet minister and retired naval officers — have stepped up to contribute.
    Norman's case returns to court Tuesday; two days have been set aside for planning and procedural matters.
  Norman, 54 — a career naval officer and currently the vice chief of the Defence staff — is charged with a single count of breach of trust.
 The federal government rejected his request for legal assistance.

LIBERALS AMENDING CRIMINAL CODE ON THE SLY

   OTTAWA — A federal proposal that would allow prosecutors to suspend criminal charges against companies in certain cases of corporate wrongdoing has been quietly included in the Trudeau government's 582-page budget legislation.
   In fact, its inclusion was so discreet, even one Liberal MP studying the legislation was caught by surprise.
   The government intends to move forward with an amendment to the Criminal Code to create an optional tool for prosecutors that's sometimes referred to as a "deferred prosecution agreement."
   Such agreements are designed to encourage more companies to come forward to self-report corporate crimes and to identify individuals for prosecution. If it lives up to its end of the bargain, the company as a whole would avoid facing serious criminal charges, which could include bribery, corruption and insider trading.


SOARING GAS PRICES

   Gas prices shot up across Canada on Saturday, with costs expected to keep soaring over the summer.
   Rising oil prices, the value of the Canadian dollar and the 2010 introduction of the HST have been blamed for the skyrocketing prices.
   “Even for someone who uses 60 litres a week like I do, you’re looking at an additional $500 to $700 a year more in costs just to get from point A to point B,” Dan McTeague, an analyst for GasBuddy.com, said to CTV Toronto. “And most people aren’t driving around for kicks and giggles. In fact, they need to get to where they have to go.”
 

NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS IN PRISONS

   OTTAWA - The federal prison service plans to introduce needle exchange programs in a bid to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases among inmates.
However, Correctional Service officials have raised concerns about syringe needles being used as weapons.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said the proposed new program "represents a dangerous turning point" and accused the prison service of closing its eyes to drug trafficking in prisons.
The initiative "poses a real threat for correctional officers and will put the lives of many inmates at risk," the union added.
In its announcement, the Correctional Service said the safety and security of staff, the public and inmates are of utmost importance.

NO SHAME AT HYDRO ONE

   The board members of Ontario power utility Hydro One voted to boost compensation for their own part-time jobs to $185,000 a year, at a time when the company's share price was falling, CBC News has learned.
The document shows the board approved the following compensation increases (effective since Jan. 1, 2018)
     $70,000 raise for the chair of the board (to $330,000).
     $25,000 raise for regular board members (to $185,000).
     $5,000 raise for directors who chair the audit and human resources committees (to $25,000 above their board compensation).
    The board of Hydro One is already under fire for sweetening the severance pay of its top executives. CEO Mayo Schmidt would receive at least $10.7 million if he is fired in the wake of either government intervention with the company or a government move to replace the board.

Monday, May 14, 2018

OPENING USA EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM, ISRAEL

  Jerusalem (AFP) - The ceremony to inaugurate the United States' controversial embassy in Jerusalem began on Monday after deadly clashes along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel earlier in the day.
   The ceremony moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem began with the US national anthem.
   US ambassador to Israel David Friedman then spoke and President Donald Trump was given a standing ovation when he mentioned him.
   Friedman referred to the embassy's location as "Jerusalem, Israel" drawing wild applause.

SUPREME COURT RULES, GETS IT RIGHT!

   OTTAWA — A garage owner should not be held responsible for the terrible injuries a teen suffered when he and a friend stole a car from his lot and crashed it in a “tragic set of events,” the Supreme Court of Canada said Friday.
   The duo headed to nearby Walkerton but crashed en route. The passenger was left with catastrophic brain injuries and his litigation guardian sued the friend, the friend’s mother and Rankin for negligence.
   The trial court found the garage 37 per cent liable and apportioned other liability at 23 per cent for the driver, 30 per cent to the mother and 10 per cent to the injured teen. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the findings.
   The Supreme Court, however, found the garage owed no duty of care to the injured passenger.


LET THE GAMES BEGIN...

Pierre Leroux, the Liberal candidate in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, says it will be several days before he and his team can replace dozens of election signs that were stolen overnight Saturday night in a what he called a “co-ordinated and targeted” attack.

TRUDEAU'S BLATANT VOTE-BUYING

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a byelection for the Quebec riding of Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, only days after pledging $60 million in federal funding for an aluminum-smelting project in the area.


TOO MUCH POWER TO ENVIRONMENT MINISTER

   Bill C-69 leaves the federal environment minister and cabinet with a lot of power over which industry projects that undergo environmental assessments are ultimately approved. Some of those powers are held over from the previous assessment process, while others are new.
   Under the bill, the environment minister would have the power to squash projects he or she feels are not in the public interest. The minister would also be able to set conditions on a proposed resource project’s approval—as is currently the case—requiring specific measures to mitigate harms caused by the project.
    The minister could also decide to reject projects before or after an environmental assessment is carried out. The federal cabinet is also allowed to weigh in collectively on whether projects are in the public interest and other decisions, and the lengthy bill allows the federal foreign affairs, natural resources, and finance ministers to be consulted or play minor roles in the implementation of the act and environmental assessments.
   The minister and cabinet could together decide to put off their decisions on approving projects, including pipelines, indefinitely, if they so chose, by taking and renewing extensions to deadlines set out in the act.


NDP MP MOORE TAKING LEGAL ACTION

   OTTAWA — New Democrat MP Christine Moore says she's taking legal action to fight a former soldier's allegations of sexual misconduct, which she describes as a "total lie" aimed at attacking her credibility.
   In an exclusive interview, Moore told The Canadian Press she intends to bring a defamation lawsuit against Glen Kirkland, as well as columnists Neil Macdonald, Christie Blatchford and Rosie DiManno, who reported on the matter.
   "To want to do that because I dared to denounce people who behaved inappropriately, I think it's horrible," she said, referring to her role in the recent investigation into her colleague Erin Weir, as well as Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews in 2014.
   All three men were expelled from their respective caucuses following the investigations.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

12M MILLENNIALS STILL LIVE WITH MOM

   Nearly 25 percent (12 million young adults) of all American millennials will travel lightly this Sunday because most of them reside in their parents’ basement
   According to the Zillow analysis, the combination of inflated rents, housing affordability, and wage stagnation over the last decade have driven many millennials back to their parents’ basement, but the report notes the trend has increased even though the U.S. labor market improved. Nearly 12 percent of millennials living with their moms are unemployed, while “28 percent of recent college grads live with their parents, up from 19 percent in 2005,” said Zillow.
  Happy Mother's Day.

VOLCANIC DESTRUCTION IN HAWAII

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -
   Sixteen active lava fissures have opened in Leilani Estates, where lava has destroyed dozens of homes and is threatening more.
  The fissures are scattered across the large Puna subdivision, home to about 1,700 residents who are now under mandatory evacuation orders.

CONFISCATING WEALTH FROM ILLINOIS HOMEOWNERS

    An audible gasp went out in the breakout room I was in at last month’s pension event cosponsored by The Civic Federation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. That was when a speaker from the Chicago Fed proposed levying, across the state and in addition to current property taxes, a special property assessment they estimate would be about 1% of actual property value each year for 30 years.
    Evidently, that wasn’t reality-shock enough. This week the Chicago Fed published that proposal formally.
   It surely ranks among the most blatantly inhumane and foolish ideas we’ve seen yet.
    Homeowners with houses worth $250,000 would pay an additional $2,500 per year in property taxes, those with homes worth $500,000 would pay an additional $5,000, and those with homes worth $1 million would pay an additional $10,000.

PARIS KNIFE ATTACKER KNOWN TO POLICE

   The man behind a deadly knife attack in central Paris was born in Chechnya and had been on police radar for radicalism, and his parents have been detained for questioning, French authorities said Sunday.
   Counterterrorism investigators are working to determine whether the man who stabbed five people in a busy neighborhood in the heart of the French capital Saturday night had any help. The attacker killed a 29-year-old man and wounded four others, before being shot by police.

MASSIVE FLOODING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

   Temperatures are rising across the province heading into the weekend, meaning the flood risk is far from over.
   Currently, 1,993 homes are under an evacuation order and 930 homes are on evacuation alert.
   Global News has compiled some photos and videos from the communities hit hardest by the flooding.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

$875M SCOOP SETTLEMENT APPROVED

    SASKATOON — A federal judge has approved a multi-million-dollar settlement for Indigenous people who were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous foster homes in the so-called '60s Scoop.
   Justice Michel Shore made the ruling in Saskatoon after two days of hearings in which survivors spoke for and against the proposal.
    The settlement includes $750 million for the survivors, $50 million for an Indigenous healing foundation and $75 million for legal fees.
   Last October, the federal government said the proposed settlement was for about 20,000 survivors who were moved between 1951 and 1991.

LIBERAL PRIORITIES

   The Trudeau government's representative in the Senate says the chamber will extend its session into the summer if that's what it takes to pass two new laws to regulate recreational cannabis use.
   Sen. Peter Harder told CBC Radio's The House he's made it clear to his colleagues that bills C-45 and C-46 must be passed before the chamber breaks for the summer.
   "We will sit 'til it's done," he said. 
 Meanwhile, the impaired driving law is still being debated by the Senate.

JASPAL ATWAL ACCUSED OF UTTERING THREATS

CTV:  The attempted assassin whose photo-op with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau sparked a major controversy earlier this year was recently charged with uttering threats.
   Court records show Surrey, B.C. resident Jaspal Atwal is accused of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in connection with an alleged incident on April 23.

Friday, May 11, 2018

WYNNE IS CONCERNED AT ELECTION TIME

    Toronto Star:  A Star investigation at Southlake Regional Health Centre, a hospital in Newmarket, found patients in the mental-health unit often find themselves among three people sharing a room designed for a single patient. Hospital officials said Southlake has among the highest volume of mental health patients, but the lowest number of in-patient beds in York Region.
   When asked about the investigation, Wynne said the difficulty came from the fact that increased awareness of mental-health issues puts more strain on the system.
   “Your story — which is great — is about a mental health situation in a unit that was built about a decade ago, that was state-of-the-art at the time,” she said.


THE ETHICS OF THE ETHICS COMMISSIONER

   Doherty, the Conservative fisheries critic, alleges the government's effort to expand ownership in the fishery — by clawing back part of an existing quota held by Clearwater Foods and handing it to a group with Indigenous representation — violates the Commons conflict of interest code because it enriches the brother of a sitting Liberal MP and a former Liberal MP.
     According to a letter obtained by CBC News, Mario Dion, the Ethics Commissioner, told Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty that he was imprecise in the wording of his initial request for an investigation, and cited sections of the conflict of interest code that would not apply to a decision made by a cabinet minister in his capacity as a minister of the Crown.
     "As the decision taken by Minister LeBlanc was taken in his capacity as a minister rather than in relation to his parliamentary duties, the Code has no application in the present situation," Dion wrote in a letter marked "confidential.
WHAT?


TRUDEAU'S APOLOGY TOUR

   CTV:  Yet given the rest of Canadian history to scour for suitable mea culpa material, Trudeau has raised the art of getting all misty-eyed and remorseful in front of the cameras to an art form.
    But there’s been nary a hint of Trudeau remorse at having a shortage of judges free those accused of serious crimes; barely a shrug of regret at breaking a campaign vow on electoral reform; no sign the government feels sorry about lingering deficits; and only a surge of blacked-out pages by way of response to his vow to deliver open and transparent government.
     The point is that the sheer volume of apologies dilutes the value of putting a parliamentary spotlight on sad chapters of our history. And with an election on the horizon, so many coming so quickly carries the distinct whiff of politicking.

BULLYING MAY VINDICATED BY REPORT

    From the get-go, May vehemently denied she was a bootstrap brute. “I am consistently opposed to bullying,” she told reporters after the matter became public. “I’ve stood up to bullying numerous times.”
   Three individuals expressed dismay over May’s intolerable conduct: former interim executive director Rob Rainer, who accused the 63-year-old leader of “verbal and emotional abuse”; Diana Nunes, the party’s director of finance for a decade until she was axed in 2015, who recalled numerous instances where May allegedly “threw a fit” and yelled at employees, describing May as “mean to the core”; and another former staffer, Vanessa Brustolin, a short-term party organizer in Manitoba and Ontario, who asserted that May had yelled at her on three occasions, further claiming she’d been terminated after complaining about the behaviour.
    Well, boo-hoo.
   On Thursday, May got her piece of flesh vindication: The complaints did not constitute workplace harassment, at least as defined by Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Without merit.

LIBERALS' ORGY OF PORK-BARREL POLITICKING

  Global News,  Akin:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday a $60-million injection of federal funds into a new organization which will develop advanced aluminum manufacturing techniques, an announcement that is likely to benefit voters in a vacant Quebec riding where Trudeau is widely expected to call a byelection as soon as this weekend.
   Trudeau’s announcement capped off 10 days of various Liberal MPs and ministers showing up in the vacant riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord to hand out nearly $5 million in cheques and interest-free loans to various local organizations, an orgy of pork-barrel politicking not found in a database maintained by Global News of more than 20,000 spending announcements stretching back to 2008.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO UPDATE

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) - A large explosion in Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Wednesday may mark the beginning of more violent, explosive eruptions that could spray rocks for miles (kilometers) and dust nearby towns in volcanic ash and smog, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE IN SYRIA

    In what is now being described as the "most direct confrontation between Israel and Iran in decades," Israel exchanged fire with Syrian and Iranian forces during a late-night showdown that ended early Thursday morning.
    The exchange came days after Israel called up reserve troops to the Golan Heights, the disputed border region.
   It also followed by less than two days President Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Iran deal. Trump said Tuesday that the US would swiftly reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted following the 2015 agreement.

LIBERALS' TOTALITARIAN TENDENCIES

   OTTAWA SUN:   Canada’s former religious freedom ambassador says the Trudeau government is displaying “totalitarian” tendencies with its controversial changes to the student summer jobs program.
   Andrew Bennett, who until 2015 was Canada’s only envoy devoted exclusively to religious freedom abroad, used the label repeatedly in an interview ahead of his launch today of a new religious freedom think-tank that he will be leading to stimulate public discussion on the role of faith in public life.

USA OUTSMARTED CANADA ON OILSANDS

    Edmonton Sun:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, finally realizing that the oilsands are a vital part of Canada’s economy, is struggling to get Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline built.
   There’s only one problem. While Canada certainly needs the pipeline to get our land-locked oil resources in Alberta to B.C. for export to global markets, the bigger battle has already been lost.
   The result is that the U.S., not Canada, has become the global “energy superpower” that former prime minister Stephen Harper envisioned for our country when he came to power in 2006.

VANCOUVER MAYOR IS A DESPERATE MAN

    Calgary Herald:  Should Albertans even bother getting mad at a guy like Gregor Robertson, the lame-duck mayor of Vancouver?
    Probably not. His belief that protesters will stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and his absurd claim that Alberta’s oil and gas sector “represents such a tiny percentage of the overall economy and job count,” sound like the words of a desperate man.
    The truth is Robertson and his anti-pipeline allies are losing. The tide is turning against them, if an Albertan may use a maritime metaphor.
    Polls consistently show strong and rising support for the expansion, in B.C. and across the country.

ANBANG CHAIRMAN SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS

Vancouver Sun: SHANGHAI — Chinese state media say a court in Shanghai has sentenced the founder of the Chinese insurance company that owns billions in B.C. assets to 18 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to fraudulently raising billions of dollars from investors.

IT'S TIME FOR SERIOUS PENSION PROTECTION

    When we address insolvency legislation and argue that super-priority status should be extended to unfunded pension liabilities, we get quite a different response from, often, the same sponsors, financial community experts, and bureaucrats. They now argue that pension protection is a huge issue. Protecting pensions would be “disastrous,” cause more companies to collapse, threaten commercial lending in Canada, and significantly constrain growth. In the past, the policymakers, the public, and politicians nodded and agreed with the “experts.”
   In short, the same sponsors, financial community experts, and bureaucrats say the problem is so small it’s not worth addressing as an insolvency funding issue; and yet say that if addressed in insolvency it will cause companies to collapse and threaten all commercial lending in Canada. So which is it?
    Sears has opened the eyes of the public and politicians to high-level fundamental moral issues of balance and fairness in current Canadian insolvency legislation. They are now also looking at and challenging these past “truths.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

CHRISTINE MOORE'S GLASS HOUSE

   Blatchford, NP:  With these vague complaints, Moore set in motion Weir’s temporary suspension from caucus, the usual secret lawyer’s “investigation” of the allegations, and last week, Weir’s expulsion from caucus by leader Jagmeet Singh.
    What most Canadians outside the Hill don’t know is that it was also Moore who was behind the 2014 ruination of two Liberal MPs, Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti.
    Then Tuesday came a story by CBC’s Neil Macdonald, about how, after former Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry soldier Glen Kirkland testified at a 2013 House of Commons defence committee (Moore was a member), she invited him to her office.  There, he said, she poured him a couple of gins, even though he told her he was on antidepressants and painkillers.
  Then she allegedly stalked Kirkland a bit, once showing up at a golf course where he was playing with friends, another time at the doorstep of his Brandon, Man. house.

COST OF PIPELINE CONSTRAINTS IN CANADA

Fraser Institute:  Despite the steady growth in crude oil available for export, new pipeline projects in Canada continue to face delays related to environmental and regulatory impediments as well as political opposition.
      Canada's lack of adequate pipeline capacity has imposed a number of costly constraints on the nation’s energy sector including an overdependence on the US market and reliance on more costly modes of energy transportation. These and other factors have resulted in depressed prices for Canadian heavy crude (Western Canada Select) relative to US crude (West Texas Intermediate) and other international benchmarks.
   In 2018, the average price differential (based on the first quarter) was US$26.30 per barrel. If the price differential remains at the current level, we estimate that Canada’s pipeline constraints will reduce revenues for Canadian energy firms by roughly CA$15.8 billion in 2018, which is approximately 0.7 percent of Canada’s national GDP.


CANADIAN BANKS INCREASE MORTGAGE RATES

   Canada’s Big Six banks have all increased their benchmark fixed-rate mortgage rate, a move analysts say could trigger a rise in the Bank of Canada’s qualifying mortgage rate as early as Wednesday, making it more difficult for some to take on home loans.
    The Bank of Nova Scotia on Tuesday became the last of Canada’s biggest lenders to raise its posted rate for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage – from 5.14 per cent to 5.34 per cent. They also increased the posted rates for other fixed-rate term lengths.

RUSHING IN & OUT OF IRAN

   Bloomberg: In boardrooms and corner offices across Europe, executives are assessing the fallout of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, which threatens to choke off an investment boom that started after the country returned to the international fold two years ago.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

FLOOD DEVASTATION IN NEW BRUNSWICK

     Flood waters have peaked in the province, leaving behind massive destruction.

ETHICS COMMISSIONER ASKED TO PROBE FISHERY BID

    A Conservative MP is asking the federal ethics commissioner to investigate the bidding process that awarded a lucrative Arctic surf clam license to a group with Liberal links.
    In his letter to Mario Dion, the newly appointed ethics watchdog, Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty alleges the government's effort to diversify ownership in the fishery — by clawing back part of an existing quota held by Clearwater Foods and handing it to a group with Indigenous representation — violates the Commons conflict of interest code because it enriches the brother of a sitting Liberal MP and a former Liberal MP.
   Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

LESS THAN 1% ILLEGAL ASYLUM SEEKERS DEPORTED

    Fewer than 1% of more than 28,000 illegal asylum seekers have been removed from Canada so far.
    Once an application for asylum has been received by the federal government, it takes about 19 months for the initial assessment and another 10 months for a final decision to be issued. A backlog of cases and a shortage of staff to process the applications have contributed to the wait times.
    On Monday in Montreal, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen explained that efforts were being made by the federal government to address the backlog.
   "To further strengthen our border security operations and our ability to process asylum cases, budget 2018 invested $173.2 million towards managing irregular migration," Hussen said.
   "As part of this allocation, budget 2018 allocated $74 million towards the Immigration Refugee Board, and this will be used to hire 50 new decision makers in the refugee protection division of the Immigration Refugee Board, and 14 new staff in the refugee appeal division."

MEDICAL DISORDER; DOCTOR DISCIPLINE

A Toronto Star investigation reveals dozens of doctors licensed to practice in both the U.S. and Canada either lied about or failed to disclose their disciplinary or criminal histories. 
This is Part 3 of the series of articles.



CARBON COST: $5.4 BILLION IN 2018

  Toronto Sun:   Since the Trudeau government won’t tell Canadians how much carbon pricing is costing them this year, I will.
   It’s $5.4 billion, only counting the four provinces — Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and Quebec — that already have it.
   The Ontario government predicts it will raise $1.98 billion this year from carbon pricing; Alberta $1.4 billion; B.C. $1.2 billion; Quebec $545 million.
   The Trudeau government will get at least $265 million through the federal Goods and Services Tax because of carbon pricing, meaning it’s already not revenue neutral for the feds, despite their claims.

RANK HYPOCRISY OF BC GOV'T

   FP:  CALGARY — While the British Columbia government wages war against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, its own employees are invested in the U.S. company behind the $7.4-billion project.
   The British Columbia Investment Management Corp. (BCI), which manages the pension funds for B.C.’s public sector workers, owns stakes in the Canadian oil and gas industry as well as pipeline companies Kinder Morgan Inc., Enbridge Inc. and Pembina Pipeline Corp. Houston-based Kinder Morgan’s Canadian subsidiary, Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., is developing the Trans Mountain Expansion. Kinder Morgan owns about 70 per cent of the voting interests of the Canadian unit. BCI does not hold shares in Kinder Morgan Canada.
    Recent disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show BCI has increased its exposure to Kinder Morgan in recent months even as the province has escalated its efforts to block the project, according to data gleaned by the Financial Post. The most recent SEC filings show BCI purchased an additional 21,214 shares during the fourth quarter of 2017 in Kinder Morgan, which recently suspended work on the pipeline.

CANCEL GREEN ENERGY ACT, TEAR UP GREEN CONTRACTS

   FP:   Ford could easily keep his promise to slash Ontario’s skyrocketing power prices,  without the deep indebtedness Wynne would be incurring, by following through on what the Liberals fear most: repealing the Green Energy Act and challenging the odious renewable-energy contracts that Liberal governments parcelled out to their cronies.
   “We’re troubled by the fact that Doug Ford would recklessly tear up a contract, where an agreement had already been signed — a harmful signal to businesses looking to invest in Ontario,” recently stated Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault, in trying to sidetrack any effort at ending the lavish deals with the wind and solar companies that enriched his party with donations, while impoverishing electricity billpayers. “And not just that, cancelling contracts would leave the province dealing with major lawsuits and penalties and likely increase electricity rates due to these costs.”
    Thibeault must know that he’s wrong in law and in history: Governments in Canada — and especially Ontario governments — have a long history of tearing up ill-advised contracts they’ve entered into, most prominently in the electricity sector. The practice of governments tearing up contracts, in fact, is as old and well established as the electricity sector itself.

PRETENDING NOT TO SEE IRAN'S LIES

   It is feared among much of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and Europe that Netanyahu's presentation will give President Donald Trump an excuse to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Their panic is obvious. The Boston Globe reported that, in spite of the Logan Act, the master of the Iranian deal, former secretary of state John F. Kerry, has been secretly working with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to salvage the agreement...and his tattered legacy.
   As for Europe, it's in a fix. If Trump reinstates sanctions, which were suspended in 2016, when the deal went into effect, France and Germany will have a bitter choice to make: either trade with Iran or trade with the U.S. This disrupts the norm that Europe prefers, of having its cake and eating it, too.
    Time will tell what the Trump administration decides to do on May 12. Whatever it is, Netanyahu's presentation will still have a profound effect in Tehran. That's because in this caper, the Israelis were not content with just scanning the top-secret papers of Iran onto a flip drive and carrying it out in their pockets. Rather, the Israelis physically took a half-ton of documents from the Iranian vault.

Monday, May 7, 2018

TAXPAYERS SAY NO TO PIPELINE FUNDING

   A majority of Canadians back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that has sparked a fight between British Columbia and Alberta but few want to see the government devote public money to backstopping the project, a new poll indicates.
    More than two-thirds of Canadians support, or somewhat support, enlarging the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline that runs between Alberta’s oil sands and ports in British Columbia, a Globe and Mail poll conducted by Nanos Research says. Forty-seven per cent of respondents said they support it and another 20 per cent said they somewhat support it.
   The poll, conducted April 28 to May 4, found 16 per cent oppose the expansion and 11 per cent somewhat oppose it. Six per cent were unsure.

EAST COAST CLAM SHENANIGANS

   One of the Trudeau government's signature acts of Indigenous reconciliation is being challenged in court, exposing the fierce competition between First Nations for a shellfish quota worth millions — and the jockeying by one of Canada's leading seafood companies to keep control of the fishery.
     Hundreds of pages of records filed in Federal Court offer new insight into the controversial decision in February to award 25 per cent of Canada's Arctic surf clam quota to Five Nations Clam Company, led by Elsipogtog First Nation of New Brunswick and its industry partner Premium Seafoods of Arichat, N.S.
    The bright red tongue-shaped seafood is exported to Asia for sushi, and the new First Nations quota — some 9,600 tonnes a year — is a prize worth tens of millions of dollars.