Tuesday, July 17, 2018


  NP:  With tensions over asylum seekers mounting between Ottawa and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s new PC government, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel wants to give provincial immigration ministers another chance to air their grievances — and Lisa MacLeod says she’d happily do so.
  At Monday’s emergency meeting of the House of Commons immigration committee, opposition members will try to put some political pressure on the government by urging their Liberal counterparts to examine the problem, as well as the pressure it is putting on provinces.
   Rempel will introduce a motion calling on the committee to “undertake a study to review the adequacy of the federal government’s response to the impact of increased asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the United States.”


   Last fall, an analysis by the parliamentary budget officer estimated national pharma care would carry a hefty cost in the neighbourhood of $20 billion a year. That's about one percentage point of Canada's gross domestic product and twice Ottawa's annual deficit projections in each of the next few years.
   Page said there's a solid argument to be made for national pharma care because it would help Canadians save significantly on their out-of-pocket drug expenses and create more consistency in terms of health costs across the country. The 2017 parliamentary budget office study estimated such a plan would save Canadians more than $4 billion every year on prescriptions.
   But Page said Ottawa's books are already facing a difficult fiscal situation and warned the federal balance sheet would become unsustainable if it assumed the full cost of such a program.


   One year after the trade deal took effect on Canada's 150th birthday, July 1, 2017, has any tangible progress been made?
   The president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Dan Kelly, said, "It's slow-going." The process lacks concrete timelines. He's still waiting for the inter-provincial trade committee to set priorities, let alone roll back barriers.
   "I don't think there's anything that has changed, other than a commitment to start some work," he said, laughing a bit when asked to identify which specific irritants have been settled between provinces in the deal's first year of operations.


   Blatchford, NP:  The City of Toronto’s records in its Facilities Management division, where fake fire inspectors regularly won contracts to make sure municipal buildings were safe, are so bad that Toronto Police can’t even launch a fraud investigation.
   The schmozzle in the department came to light when city auditor general Beverly Romeo-Beehler received serious allegations about a trio of companies – York Fire Protection, Advance Fire Control and Advanced Detection Technologies Corp. – which had been doing business with the city for about a decade.
   The same man, Rauf Ahmad, is the “directing mind” behind all three.
  The allegations included double-billing, overcharging for work not done, phony double-bidding for city contracts, the company using multiple false identities (including employees who would change shirts, now wearing one with a York logo and then one with the Advance Fire logo, depending on where they were working), shifting company names and suspect addresses (the headquarters for one of Ahmad’s companies was a Birchmount Road mosque) and its long history of poor performance and shoddy work for the city somehow failing to prevent it getting new or even enriched contracts.


WWII bomber touches down in St. Hubert, Quebec

Monday, July 16, 2018


   The Israeli team secretly reached the warehouse holding the materials and broke in during a tight time window when it knew the building would be unguarded, the officials said. To avoid drawing attention to the nondescript facility, Iran hadn’t posted full-time guards, they said, but rather relied on alarm systems that the Israeli agents disabled.
  The Israeli operation was first revealed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an April press conference in which he declared that the stolen documents proved Iran had lied for years in claiming it didn’t have a nuclear-weapons program.
  In a lengthy briefing at a security facility here last week, senior Israeli intelligence officials disclosed additional details about the operation. Those include specifics on how the documents were removed from Iran; the existence within the documents of the warhead designs, for which Israel said Iran got unspecified foreign assistance; the operation of a secret explosives-testing facility that international inspectors had long searched for in vain; and a scramble by Iranian officials to keep their nuclear program alive after international inspectors concluded it had been suspended.


   The neocons, not to mention members of military-industrial complex, are furious at the thought of losing Russia as the biggest global bogeyman responsible for tens of billions in bottom line profits to US defense corporations.
  Former Obama-era CIA Director - and ubiquitous tweeter of anti-Trump rhetoric - John Brennan just unleashed the most aggressive comment yet on the Trump-Putin Summit, claiming it was an act of treason.
  "Donald Trump's press performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes and misdemeanors,'" Brennan tweeted. "It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???"