Friday 29 April 2011

 

Quote of the Week:

'You want a seat count? NDP 115, Conservatives 110; Liberals 65; Bloc 18. In the end, politics is possible and suddenly, so are these results. Me, I am still rooting for the NDP because I believe they're serious about us having the Canada we already have, except better.' Liam McHugh-Russell, quoted in The Globe and Mail, 735 words.


The Harper Conservatives' biggest Big Lie?

How dare Harper claim to be the 'competent' economic manager?

And why has the media given him a free ride on that falsehood?

   
  Cartoon by Steve McNabb. For much more, click here.  
 

Economy shrinks in February

By Jeremy Torobin
The Globe and Mail

29 April 2011 — The Canadian economy shrank in February for the first time in five months as the manufacturing sector suffered its biggest contraction since the worst stretch of the recession and wholesale trade also declined.

The February number casts doubt on the notion that the Bank of Canada will start raising interest rates again before the summer even as it watches for signs of hotter inflation.576 words.

By Bruce Campbell
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

26 April 2011 — I’m puzzled that the Harper Conservatives’ are getting such a free ride from the other parties and from the media on their main campaign mantra: that they are the best economic managers, that Canada is leading the international pack to economic recovery, and that Harper knows best what’s good for jobs and the economy going forward.

Let’s look more closely at the Harper record, beginning with his response in the fall of 2008 to the recession that engulfed the world, the deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In October 2008, the Harper government ordered a massive infusion of liquidity to protect the banks. However, incredulously, Harper’s economic and fiscal statement the following month completely denied the reality of Canada’s descent into recession. It blithely projected budget surpluses going forward three years. (In fact, the deficit ballooned to $55 billion in 2009.)748 words.
 

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
Editor's Notes
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 15 (274)
Friday, April 29, 2011

Vote with your heart, vote with your mind

Vote to clean out of government those who hold you in contempt

It's been a federal election campaign like no other. It started with a yawn but it's fast approaching the finish line with the sense that Canadians are prepared to break the chains of tradition that for too long have choked democracy in our country.

We have on the one hand, coalition-practicing Stephen Harper who says with a straight face that he's against coalitions and Michael Ignatieff who is terrified of being branded a coalitionist while it's working well at London where sits the mother of all parliaments, to say nothing of it being common practice in other democracies. 303 words.
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"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
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The Droz Report

A warm wind blows from the (centre) left

Jack Layton's positive campaign bears unexpected fruit

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective

I admit it. Neither I, nor anyone else here at True North Perspective, saw it coming. And even now, there is an aura of doubt, of disbelief, as we watch the polls and see the continuing assent of the New Democratic Party under Jack Layton.

Can this really be true? we wondered last week, when the New Democrats began to poll even with Canada's one-time Natural Governing Party. One poll led to another and another and another.

If stated intentions turn out to be votes on Monday, it looks like it really is true.599 words.
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Good intentions quickly dissipate for new MPs

Like the citizens who elected them, MPs often grow disillusioned with Ottawa's day-to-day realities

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

29 April 2011 — The reality of life in Parliament quickly scuttles the ambition of most new MPs to make a difference in public life and their communities, say men and women who have spent time in the House of Commons.

With a new Parliament on the way, what better time to deal with the issue?

A report on life on the Hill prepared by Samara says most MPs come “to Ottawa determined to create a different politics from that which was on offer — one where their communities were better represented, and where the political culture encouraged more citizens to pay attention to their country’s politics. — 907 words.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

Bruce Carson scandal greased by Harper's oil sands agenda

So much more than sex and sleaze at heart of Harper Government scandal

By Andrew Nikiforuk

TheTyee.ca

27 April 2011 — Everyone loves a good political scandal and the Bruce Carson affair squarely fits the bill.

A 66-year-old former senior policy advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper seemingly lobbies the government on behalf of his 22-year fiancée, a former sex worker.

She dresses in sexy lingerie. Newspapers publish lurid photos.

Ottawa talks, yet its busy gossipers recognize Carson as your average political fixer with an active sex life and a couple of criminal convictions.

Everyone that is, except the Prime Minister. Harper, a tough guy on crime, acts appalled and abruptly refers the whole matter to the RCMP.

The scandal seemingly ends.

But that's not the full truth, let alone the real scandal.5,093 words.

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F-35 service costs may be more than twice

Harper Government's estimate

By Murray Brewster
The Globe and Mail

25 April 2011 — National Defence says it's been told the unit price of the F-35 stealth fighter will be higher than the $75-million it planned for, but the military insisted late Monday it can still deliver the program on budget.

The Pentagon, in a recent report to the U.S. Congress, outlined a laundry list of cost increases in the $382-billion (U.S.) development of the advanced fighter-bomber.744 words.
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In Canada, human rights stop at the farmers' gates
 
 
By Kirk Makin
The Globe and Mail

29 April 2011 — The Supreme Court of Canada dealt a harsh blow to the union movement today, ruling in favour of an Ontario law that restricts the right of farm workers to bargain collectively.

The Court said that the constitutional right to free association guarantees that “meaningful” negotiations take place between workers and their employers – but it is not intended to police the mechanics of how those negotiations take place.1,332 words.
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The wind done gone
It wasn't a tornado but gale force winds that lashed eastern Ontario Thursday, April 28, winds that were strong enough to blow the roof off this sturdy barn near Campbellford, Ontario. Intrepid East Central Ontario Editor Ken Jeffries got drenched with rain while capturing what remained of the barn.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

A lesson to be learned from the wild geese

True North Perspective
 
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more: www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

29 April 2011 — While the wild geese are passing through on their way to their nesting grounds, we Canadians are wrestling with another election. We think we are the smartest species on this planet and yet, we can learn much by watching animals in their natural habitat.

Humans hold grudges. This is how we ended up with Mike Harris as Conservative leader in Ontario years ago. Harris proceeded to make massive cuts to education. Schools lost special services in arts, physical education, music and library. School libraries became practically dysfunctional or were taken over and run by volunteer parents. He cut budgets meant for the purchase of books, all the while throwing new curriculum our way. 712 words.
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Spirit Quest
 
 
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

29 April 2011 — “Caravaggio,” - no, its not the name of a new model of Italian motor car that zooms along the winding roads in the hills of the Cote de Solei. Nor is it an intoxicating concoction to be savoured under an umbrella at a poolside bar (as in “just ask for a “vaggi on the rocks”). It's not piquant pasta, although my mouth is watering already.
 
No, Caravaggio was an Italian painter (1573–1610). One of his masterpieces, Supper At Emmaus, (1610, located at the National Gallery in London) depicts the famous biblical scene of Jesus breaking bread with two of his disciples at the small town of Emmaus near Jerusalem. 854 words.
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ParkTales

Frances scours Parkdale in search of clean needles

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

29 April 2011 — I was visiting my Family Medicine Clinic at the local Health Centre the other day. As I was waiting in line for my number to be called, I looked around the room. There were a lot of new parents.

Some were both parents attending to their tiny offspring. Others, just the mother, or, in one case, just the father.

As I enjoyed watching these parents doting over their babies, I noticed a woman in her late 20's walk timidly into the reception area. 

You could tell she had never been there before. She appeared out of place as she shyly looked around.

I immediately went up to her and explained, "You have to take a number and in turn the receptionist will call you."

She thanked me, took a number, sat down still looking very uneasy and out of place.

Eventually the receptionist called her number. She went to the registration desk and went through the usual procedure of registration.  506 words.
 

Always worth repeating

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.


 

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We handle fiction and memoirs and full-length books

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For a free consultation please don't hesitate to contact

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Always looking forward

From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

 

WikiLeaks reveals U.S. comments on

Harper's 'about-face' on Senate reform

CBC News

28 April 2011 — WikiLeaks released hundreds of U.S. documents on Thursday, including those with comments about the Harper government's "about-face" on Senate appointments, remarks on the Liberals' "muted" response to the prorogation crisis and criticism of Canada's failure to enact copyright reform.

A leaked cable from December 2008 suggests that U.S. Embassy officials in Ottawa saw Stephen Harper's appointment of senators as "a major about-face for a PM and a party that long campaigned for an elected upper chamber. The cost of the eighteen new senators also conflicts with political messaging about the need for official belt tightening."707 words.
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Guantánamo leaks lift lid

on world's most controversial prison

• Innocent people interrogated for years on slimmest pretexts
• Children, elderly and mentally ill among those wrongfully held
• 172 prisoners remain, some with no prospect of trial or release

 
By David Leigh, James Ball, Ian Cobain and Jason Burke
The Guardian
25 April 2011 — More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba.

The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called "worst of the worst", many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.

The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there.1,315 words.
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Update: Pentagon says Manning released from Solitary Confinenment

Accused whistler-blower now held at medium-security prison while awaiting trial

By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian

29 April 2011, WASHINGTON, DC — Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking classified cables to WikiLeaks, is no longer being held in solitary confinement and is now being allowed to move among other military prisoners, according to the Pentagon.

His treatment in Virginia– which included 23 hours in his cell and being stripped down to a smock at night – was widely condemned by human rights groups including Amnesty International and the UN rapporteur on torture, who subsquently launched an investigation into conditions. 429 words.

President Obama speaks on Manning and abuses rule of law

 
Obama out-Nixon's Nixon
 
By Glenn Greenwalk
Salon.com

23 April 2011 — Protesters yesterday interrupted President Obama's speech at a $5,000/ticket San Francisco fundraiser to demand improved treatment for Bradley Manning. After the speech, one of the protesters, Logan Price, approached Obama and questioned him. Obama's responses are revealing on multiple levels. First, Obama said this when justifying Manning's treatment (video and transcript are here):

We're a nation of laws. We don't let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

The impropriety of Obama's public pre-trial declaration of Manning's guilt ("He broke the law") is both gross and manifest. How can Manning possibly expect to receive a fair hearing from military officers when their Commander-in-Chief has already decreed his guilt?1,663 words.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor
 
 
By Geoff Dembicki
TheTyee.ca

27 April 2011 — One of the world's best known climate scientists, an Australian, watched in amazement earlier this month as Canada's four federal leadership contenders debated the country's future.

"I was mystified to see that the environment just didn't rank at all," Tim Flannery, best-selling author of the Weather Makers, told Postmedia News after the televised debates.

Flannery's remarks underscore a strange reality lost on most Canadians: The international community appears to worry more about Canada's environmental commitments -- particularly around climate change -- than many of our own elected officials.

This is not just one Australian scientist's opinion. Over 400 green groups gave Canada a "Fossil of the Year" award at the 2009 Copenhagen summit, bequeathed for inaction on global warming.1,176 words.
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Science

'Exotic' planet is densest of its kind

55 Cancri e as dense as lead and has year less than 18 hours long

By Emily Chung
CBC News

29 April 2011 A rocky planet that is as dense as lead and where a year lasts less than 18 hours has been described by a team of U.S. and Canadian scientists.
 
"On this world — the densest solid planet found anywhere so far, in the solar system or beyond — you would weigh three times heavier than you do on Earth," said University of British Columbia astronomer Jaymie Matthews in a statement.
 
"By day, the sun would look 60 times bigger and shine 3,600 times brighter in the sky." 778 words.
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Annals of Education
 
 
By Marion Brady
The Washington Post
 
26 April 2011 — Standardized tests are enhancing and destroying reputations, opening and closing doors of opportunity, raising and lowering property values, starting and ending professional careers, determining the life chances of the young, and shaping the intellectual resources upon which America’s future largely hinges.

You might think that with so much riding on the tests, every civic-minded person in the country would be demanding transparency, proof of validity, assurance that every item on every test had been examined from every possible perspective.

If you think that, you think wrong.1,038 words.
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Money and Markets

Arrogance and authority

The Great Recession's 'recovery' is a tale of private gain and public loss

By Simon Johnson
Project-Syndicate
 
Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the IMF, is co-founder of a leading economics blog, http://BaselineScenario.com, a professor at MIT Sloan, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-author, with James Kwak, of 13 Bankers.

26 April 2011, WASHINGTON, DCIt is increasingly common to hear prominent American and European central bankers proclaim, with respect to the crisis of 2008-2010, the following verdict: “We did well.”

Their view is that the various government actions to support the financial system helped to stabilize the situation. Indeed, what could be wrong when the United States Federal Reserve’s asset purchases may have actually made money (which is then turned over to the US Treasury)?

But to frame the issue in this way is, at best, to engage in delusion. At worst, however, it creates an image of arrogance that can only undermine the credibility on which central banks’ authority rests. 916 words.
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Book Review

Prose to Go: Tales from a Private List

Edited by Irene Davis, Fred Desjardins, and Barbara Florio-Graham

Reviewed by Lois Henderson
New York Journal of Books
 
21 April 2011 — This collection of short nonfiction accounts is linked by a common thread of veracity and sincerity that has one reading through the whole gamut of emotions from humor to pathos.
 
Prose to Go is divided up into a number of sections, regaling the reader with humorous anecdotes (“Misadventures”), reaching out with pathos to the very heart of the reader’s awareness (“Rearview Mirror”), coming to grips with life’s milestones (“What in the World”), remembering those who have meant the most in our life (“Love and Loss”), and sharing the good times (“Exit Laughing”).448 words.
 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.