Thursday, May 31, 2018


A deal to fix the transportation link has an unknown price tag.


   OTTAWA — If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is willing to go to the wall to save the Trans Mountain pipeline and get oil to Canada's west coast, federal Conservatives say he should be equally willing to do the same to revive a pipeline that would have brought oil to Canada's east coast.
   And at least one Liberal backbencher is echoing that sentiment.
    A day after Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the federal government has made a $4.5-billion offer to buy Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan and will build the expansion to the pipeline itself in order to overcome political opposition in B.C., Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt questioned Wednesday why Trudeau wasn't putting up the same fight to save Energy East.


   G&M:   Canada’s spy agency is being warned that New Zealand, one of this country’s closest military allies, has been deeply affected by a Chinese government campaign of foreign interference.
    The new report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service cites “a curtailing of freedom of speech, religion and association for the ethnic Chinese community” in New Zealand and a “corrupting influence on the political system through the blurring of personal, political and economic interests.”
    The report says China has worked to co-opt the New Zealand business, political and intellectual elite but also made targeted financial contributions through business figures with links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and worked to bring Chinese-language media, Chinese community groups and ethnic Chinese politicians under control. Beijing has also used corporate takeovers and partnerships with companies and universities to gain access to military technology, commercial secrets and other strategic information.


    Donald Trump's remarkable and unpredicted victory in 2016 unleashed perhaps the pinnacle of all unintended consequences. By their ongoing nonsensical reaction to the Trump victory, the American left has exposed and validated their irrationality, obliviousness, and immaturity. As an immigrant to the United States, and thus a sideline spectator of the panorama that is American society, and someone who has spent most of his adult life in the field of international finance, I have been fascinated by the characteristics of the American left as compared to its counterparts in the rest of the world – and why the vast majority of Americans, who are essentially conservative or moderate, not only tolerate, but acquiesce to the left's temper tantrums and manipulation of the culture.
   On the surface, there may appear to be similarities to the left in other nations; however, when it comes to the motivation and personality quirks, it is only the left in Britain that bears any resemblance to the American left. In fact, the American version consistently denigrates "old white guys" as the scourge of humanity while ostensibly promoting the philosophy of "old white guys" such as Hobbes, Hegel, and Marx. In reality, American leftism is a unique amalgamation of socialism, Darwinism, and oligarchism requiring an army of foot soldiers who dwell in a state of permanent adolescence.


   A 41-year-old former Russian soldier-turned-journalist reported to have been assassinated on Tuesday, faked his own death as part of an elaborate sting operation by Ukraine to bust an actual hit planned by Russia, according to the head of the SBU, Ukraine's national security service.
    Babachenko fled to Ukraine in February 2017 after he says he received threats and could be arrested following his work as a presenter for Ukraine's ATR TV. He has been one of Russia's most recognizable war correspondents, and has spoken out about Russia's actions in Syria and Ukraine in recent years.


   For the third year in a row, California residents set a record for the most common sexually transmitted diseases. More than 300,000 cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis were reported in California last year. A state health department report released in May showed that’s a 45 percent increase since 2013 and the highest number since 1990.
    Dr. Heidi Bauer, chief of the California Health Department’s STD Control Branch, said half of the chlamydia and a third of the gonorrhea cases were reported in people under the age of 25.
  Getting the blame for the situation: smartphones, stigma and racism.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


   The EU was set up as some kind of eternal prison, a concept most familiar to us in the way Christian churches depict Hell.
   Rule number 1 for any organization: there must always be an escape, a way out. If there isn’t, that’s what will break the whole thing in the end.  Every system must always be designed with inbuilt redundancy.
  Paolo Savona understands that, and he said there must be a way to leave the euro. For Brussels and Rome, that means he’s not acceptable as a finance minister, no matter his competence, experience or credentials. It reeks of desperation on the ‘establishment’ side more than anything.
   And now the entire financial world is in panic and turmoil. It’s ironic to see people decrying the sudden weakness in Italian “sovereign debt” at the same time they see pointed out, as if that were still necessary, that Italy is no longer a sovereign country. Think maybe there’s a clue to be found somewhere in there?


   “We have to ask the question whether the tax cuts that they’ve brought in in the United States are sustainable,” said PM Trudeau, as he outlined his economic vision.
    In pursuit of his goal of building an economy that can thrive over time, Trudeau said he's willing to accept losing a short-term edge to the U.S.
   “We’re not engaging in a race to the bottom,” he said, rejecting what he described as a “ruthless” economic approach in the U.S. propped up by deficit spending.
   Instead, Trudeau championed investments in education and healthcare, targeted immigration and responsible borrowing as ways to quell populist unrest.


   The lead engineer responsible for designing and implementing a key component of the Green Energy Act – the FIT and Micro-FIT programs that saw billions of dollars in green-energy contracts awarded to solar and wind companies – tells Global News in an exclusive interview the Liberal government ignored expert advice that, if followed, could have saved Ontario electricity customers billions of dollars in unnecessary spending.
   He also says the government never provided details of public promises about how much the plan would cost Ontarians – even though he asked the ministry responsible to provide this information two months before the Green Energy Act was passed.
   In February 2009 – two months before the Green Energy Act was passed – George Smitherman, the then-energy minister said the plan would add about one per cent a year for 15 years to the cost of electricity bills in Ontario. He later repeated this message before a government committee studying the act.
   “I have no info on the basis for [the] one per cent rate impact over fifteen years,” wrote MacDougall, referring to comments made by Smitherman. “I asked the ministry for details on this a while ago and never heard back.”


    Conservative Immigration critic Michelle Rempel said she is frustrated at the lack of details provided by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale regarding questions on the numbers of individuals who have been removed from the country after illegally claiming refugee status by crossing the border irregularly.
    "I suspect that number is exceptionally low... there's no way (Goodale) doesn't have that number," Rempel said.
    "I think it's because their plan isn't working and they don't want to be held accountable by Parliament or by the Canadian people and that's why they're withholding this data."


    Ivison, NP:  You couldn’t make this stuff up. On the day the Auditor General released a report blasting “incomprehensible failures” in the government’s capability to do much of anything, the Liberals announced that Ottawa is getting into the pipeline business.
      Michael Ferguson’s report found there were fundamental failures of project management and oversight in implementing the Phoenix pay system; that Indigenous people had been let down yet again by their government; and that delays in decision-making by the public-private partnership building the Champlain Bridge replacement in Montreal had cost $500 million — money that, it turns out, could have been spent buying roughly 127 km of pipeline for the government.
     Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer accused Justin Trudeau of using taxpayers’ money to buy his way out of his own failure. And there is something in that. If the Trudeau Liberals had not shut down all other options to move Alberta’s oil — by fiat, unachievable regulatory targets and a tanker ban — we wouldn’t be in this mess.


   Toronto Sun articles:
Etobicoke Centre NDP candidate Erica Kelly, who posted that she would not be sad if “gun nuts” were blown up by a drone, has now apologized for the comment.
    Scarborough-Agincourt NDP candidate Tasleem Riaz’s 2013 Facebook post of Hitler saluting with the quote, “If you don’t like a Rule … Just Follow it … Reach on the Top … and Change the Rule,” was still up this week, the PCs say.
   Now one of the NDP’s star candidates has been caught red-handed bashing the police. In 2006, Gurratan Singh, the brother of federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, carried a protest sign that said 


   One of the biggest controversies surrounding Tesla right now is the company's Autopilot feature that it is included with vehicles and sold to the public as a feature that provides autonomous driving. Critics of the company have been quick to point out that at the Model 3 handover event, Elon Musk basically said that people could "sleep" while in their cars with Autopilot engaged - and as the toll of accidents involving Autopilot continues to accelerate, it is becoming more and more obvious that this isn’t even close to being the case.
  The latest incident was this morning, where it was reported on Twitter by Laguna Beach police that a Model S sedan traveling with the Autopilot function on slammed into a parked Laguna Beach police car.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


 Lilley, Toronto Sun:  
“We’re just gonna, ya know, print money and buy ’em all back.”
   That is how NDP candidate Joanne Belanger answered when asked by her local radio station, CJBQ in Belleville, how her party would buy back Hydro One.
   Belanger was laughing as she said it. Maybe she was joking. Or maybe, like the NDP platform on energy, there just isn’t the depth on this issue for a party that could form government.
    The NDP is proposing to buy back Hydro One while cutting rates by 30% and to cancel Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne’s ridiculous Fair Hydro Plan.


    NP:  GENEVA — The Syrian government of President Bashar Assad has been accused of using chemical weapons, barrel bombs and torture against its own people during a seven-year civil war.
  On Monday, it took up the rotating presidency of the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament.
  The move was met with outrage from Western governments, but there was little they could do to prevent Syria from taking over the world’s only permanent multilateral body for negotiating arms control agreements for four weeks.


   In recent days, Ford has been hammering at the NDP, saying the party is not ready to govern, and lauded his team as “ready, right out of the gates on June 8” — the day after the election.
   However, when asked when a platform would be released — the PCs are the only party without one — the message was that one is on the way and that his campaign announcements are all a part of it.
  However, while Ford has provided the costs for his pledges, he has not said how a PC government would pay for them.


   MONTREAL—A Montreal factory owner has been found guilty of illegally manufacturing pistol-sized submachine-guns — some of which were used by Toronto criminals — after claiming in court he thought he was making paintball guns.
   “It had to look as real as possible,” Jean-Pierre Huot, 61, owner of Perfection Metal Inc., testified in court.
   Huot was found guilty by a jury on Saturday of six counts of making prohibited firearms and silencers. He was acquitted of two charges of possession of an unloaded weapon with easily accessible ammunition.


   OTTAWA – Over her 32 years with the RCMP, Commissioner Brenda Lucki says when it comes to the culture in the RCMP, she’s seen mistakes and has been the one to make them. Now, she’s pledging to do better and implore the members under her to do the same.
  "It's how you handle the puck, so to speak, afterwards, and what you do to make that wrong right. And it’s like I say, it’s never too late to do the right thing," Lucki says in her first sit-down television interview since being appointed.
   In five years the national police force will celebrate its 150th year and Lucki’s vision is to create a "more tolerant, more inclusive and absolutely more respectful" RCMP, saying that the women members who spoke up about being harassed was “a wakeup call” to not let history repeat itself.


   A number of Canada's big banks are under investigation for possible violations of the consumer rules that govern financial institutions, top officials from Canada's financial consumer watchdog told members of Parliament Monday.
   However, officials from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) were tight-lipped, refusing to say which banks are being investigated or exactly which rules they are alleged to have broken.
   In many cases, the results of investigations will remain a secret. Officials say the results of some investigations may become public and be published on the agency's website. However, the agency has no plans to let complainants know if their complaints weren't investigated, or if they were investigated and weren't found to be grounded.


   Canada is likely to buy Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline and its controversial expansion project in a bid to ensure it gets built amid fierce opposition, according to a person familiar with the talks.
    Buying the pipeline outright has become increasingly likely and is now the most probable option for the Canadian government, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private. The deal, a value for which hasn’t been publicly reported, will be announced as soon as Tuesday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet meets in Ottawa.
   “We are going to get that pipeline built,” Trudeau said Tuesday morning heading in to the meeting.
    A purchase would mark a stunning development for Trudeau’s government -- effectively nationalizing the country’s highest-profile infrastructure project until an operator can be found.



   Michaelle Jean's  tenure as secretary-general of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie has been dogged by reports that the former governor-general of Canada was indulging regal tastes.
   There was a $500,000 renovation for the Paris apartment put at her disposal, a $20,000 grand piano to put in it, a chauffeur and car for her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond. France’s l’Opinion newspaper reported her entourage spent $50,000 in four days at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.
    Ms. Jean has argued her expenses were for the good of the Francophonie, or even part of a disinformation campaign against her. The Canadian government defended her, and endorsed her bid to keep the job.

Monday, May 28, 2018


  Italian President Sergio Mattarella announced his rejection of Italy’s populist coalition government Sunday evening in what is being billed as one of the worst days in Italian political history.
  Mattarella’s move is being widely interpreted as a rejection not only of the government but of the national will as expressed in democratic elections, and massive demonstrations are expected Monday. The Italian president was reportedly under heavy pressure from Brussels, Berlin, and other centres of European power to abort the eurosceptic government, which they viewed as a threat to European stability.
  While it appeared that Mattarella would have no choice but to confirm the elected government, in the end he decided against it, underscoring his opposition to the coalition’s choice of economy minister and his fears that the new government would end by pulling the country out of the Europe Union’s common currency, the euro.


   In the most recent fiscal years, however, Alberta’s net asset position has flipped from positive to negative and the province is quickly racking up debt.


Hawaii looks more like a hellscape as Kilauea volcano continues to billow toxic ash into the sky and the Big Island records 270 earthquakes in one day


   NP: TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal leader is promising to introduce legislation that would lower the province’s debt, suggesting her party is the only one with a feasible financial plan.
   Kathleen Wynne says the legislation would require 100 per cent of unspent dollars to go towards reducing debt when the province beats its fiscal projections — something she says her party has done every year for the past four years.


   OTTAWA — Conservative MP Maxime Bernier has reproached a fellow MP for being too focused on the colour of her skin.
   In a Twitter message published Saturday afternoon, he accused Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who is black, of thinking "the world revolves around (her) skin colour."
    Bernier was reacting to a Globe and Mail article in which the author says Caesar-Chavannes "focuses less on policy and more on personal matters."
   Bernier quoted that passage in his tweet, adding that it's an approach vastly different from his own.
   "That's the main difference between us," he wrote.
   "You think the world revolves around your skin colour. My goal is to bring better policies to all Canadians. That's an MP's job."

Sunday, May 27, 2018


   We all know how much money the Wynne government has squandered and wasted in inane, poorly thought out and unneeded projects as well as by changes of mind. It is in the billions of taxpayers’ money.
  Last fall, it was decided the Angus Seed Plant, located in Angus, Ont., and operating under the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would be closed effective September 2018.
    The not-for-profit tree seed collection service was started in 1923 and was the sole supplier for Ontario’s reforestation projects. Seeds are collected from mature, healthy specimens across the province, extracted, sorted, tested and stored in freezers until ordered by tree farms such as the Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville.
   In the grand scheme of things, supporting the continuation of the Angus Tree Seed Station, which has always been a non-profit and government-supported, operation, is a no-brainer. Given a choice, I would rather my tax dollars go there than for cancelled energy plants, renewable energy faux pas, paying the U.S. to take excess electricity and the like.


   Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is resuming contract talks with its train operators and signalling workers after they overwhelmingly rejected the company’s offer in a vote ordered by the federal government.
   The Calgary-based railway has offered two per cent annual wage increases and $1,000 to each member to drop a series of filed grievances.
   The Teamsters bargaining team rejected the offer and was unhappy that the fatigue of its members wasn’t addressed by the company.
  The vote came as the country’s two large railways have been regaining momentum following the challenges of a tough winter that slowed service, particularly for grain.


    Rallies were held Saturday in five B.C. cities to support the Trans Mountain pipeline project, as the deadline looms this week for Kinder Morgan to decide whether to build its $7.4-billion pipeline expansion.
   The rallies were held to bolster support for Kinder Morgan ahead of the Texas-based company’s May 31 deadline to receive certainty that the project can be built despite strong opposition in B.C.
    “These are people who want responsible economic development in this province,” said Throness, at the Langley rally. He emphasized the National Energy Board has determined the development to be safe.
  “We want to tell the premier (John Horgan) to stop contradicting himself in lawsuits for and against the pipeline and to shake hands with (Alberta) Premier (Rachel) Notley and to say let’s bring responsible economic development to this province,” he said.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


   Behar: … So, I ask you, was the FBI spying on Trump’s campaign?
   Clapper: No, they were not. They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence which is what they do.
   Behar: Well, why doesn’t he like that? He should be happy.
  Clapper: Well, he should be.


    Delingpole:  Every now and then, I find myself having to explain to Americans what has become of the amazing Brexit revolution, which they heard about a lot at the time (the vote was in June 2016) because in many ways it was the precursor to the Trump revolution.
    When I tell them that virtually nothing has been achieved in the two years since, that the Remainer establishment has been doing everything in its powers to frustrate the democratic will of 17.4 million Leave voters, they’re astonished.
     “How can this be?” they want to know.
     Well, the number one reason, I’d say, is Theresa May. She’s a Remainer by inclination and by public record. She’s utterly in thrall to the Remainer-dominated Civil Service. She lacks the imagination or ideological backbone to make a persuasive case for a fairer, freer, friendlier Britain outside the shackles of the European Union.


    Tommy Robinson, a British activist and journalist, has been arrested outside a Leeds courtroom for livestreaming information about a Muslim gang on trial for raping and grooming hundreds of victims, some as young as eleven. Robinson was taken immediately to prison.
   The ongoing trial regards the heinous rape of children as reported by the UK Metro News: "Twenty-six men and two women appeared before a judge at Leeds Crown Court charged with offenses including rape, trafficking, sexual activity with a child, child neglect, child abduction, supplying drugs and making of indecent images of children."
    Hundreds of children were allegedly raped and the defendants are now awaiting a verdict in this case. Muslim rape gangs have been an ongoing problem all over England and the British government has been actively trying to hide the widespread crimes from the public by imposing draconian sanctions for reporting on these trials.
    Robinson has been arrested before for reporting on similar trials in the past and because he was on a 13-month remanded sentence when he was arrested on Friday, he was put directly in prison, where he is at risk of being attacked by Muslim inmates. Unlike in America, the British media are forbidden from reporting on certain trials, purportedly to avoid prejudicing the jury, but many believe it is to keep the truth from the public. Robinson disobeys the law because he believes, rightly so, that the people are being denied the right to know what is happening in their country.


   OTTAWA -- Four cadets from the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Que., have been accused of desecrating a Qur'an with bacon and what a senior commander described as "bodily fluids."
  The alleged incident is said to have occurred during a cottage party involving a group comprised largely of first-year students from the military college.


Almost 900 people have been evacuated from two fire-threatened eastern Manitoba First Nations, with another 200 expected to touch down in Winnipeg by the end of Thursday, as a 20,000-hectare fire continues to burn toward the communities of Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi.


  Canada's natural resources minister says there's no guarantee that Ottawa can reach a deal with Kinder Morgan to keep the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project alive.
  Carr said Ottawa doesn't want to see Alberta restrict exports of oil and gas to B.C.
    "No one wants this to happen," he said. "There are politics in these provinces that are influencing the way the leaders of those provinces are acting."
   The federal government's only goal is to see the project proceed, he added. And though the pipeline falls under federal jurisdiction, he said, the path forward appears to have been stalled by Kinder Morgan's response to B.C.'s tactics.


   Calgary Herald: Although I’m just one of 13 people receiving honorary degrees in June, my award has stirred up controversy. As flattering as it is to be made the fulcrum of debate surrounding fossil fuels, climate change and humanity’s future, this isn’t about me. After all, what I say about economics, planetary boundaries and the need to shift priorities is no different than what economists, scientists, philosophers and numerous other experts around the world have been saying for years.
     If nothing else, it’s good that a healthy debate about corporate influence over academic institutions and issues around climate-disrupting energy sources has emerged from it.
    Too often, though, the discussion has strayed from topics that need attention into personal attacks. If a university, especially one in the heart of oil country, isn’t the place to air a range of ideas about the geophysical, social and economic consequences of profligate fossil fuel use, we should be worried about the future of academic inquiry.
   He conveniently forgets this event from his past.  And this one.


    Calgary Herald:  The world’s largest oil exporter just made quite a policy swerve. Within six weeks, Saudi Arabia has gone from advocating higher prices to trying to stop the rally at US$80 a barrel.
   The U-turn scrambled the outlook for oil markets, hit the share prices of oil majors and shale producers and set up a diplomatic wrangle with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
     What changed? The supply threats posed by the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran oil exports earlier this month and the quickening collapse of Venezuela’s energy industry are both part of the answer, but they’re secondary to Donald Trump. On April 20, the president took to Twitter to lambaste the cartel’s push for higher prices. “Looks like OPEC is at it again,” he tweeted. “Oil prices are artificially Very High!”


   NP:  OTTAWA — It was open rebellion from the opposition as the House of Commons erupted in yelling and desk-slamming Friday morning with MPs protesting the Speaker’s decision to cut off a point of order about the Liberal government’s alleged “slush” fund.
     The extremely loud and unusual ruckus began as opposition MPs rose in solidarity with NDP MP Daniel Blaikie, who was outlining procedural arguments against the government asking Parliament to approve $7 billion of spending all at once in this year’s main estimates. The government says the money will be used on budget promises.
   Speaker Geoff Regan had cut Blaikie off after about 15 minutes, citing his right to move on after he’s heard “enough” on a topic. He then interrupted procedural arguments against that move from Blaikie, Conservative House leader Candice Bergen and Tory finance critic Pierre Poilièvre, before trying to move on to ordinary House business.

Friday, May 25, 2018


    Initial reaction to Macron's speech was one of nearly unanimous disappointment over a missed opportunity. "We were expecting concrete policies," said the mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois, Bruno Beschizza. "For now, there is nothing practical. I came out empty-handed."
   An estimated six million people - around one-tenth of France's population - live in 1,500 neighborhoods classified by the government as Sensitive Urban Zones (zones urbaines sensibles, ZUS), priority targets for urban renewal.
   Back in Paris, Macron admitted that France has "lost the battle over drug trafficking in many cities." He promised to announce a new plan to combat drug trafficking "by July."
   President Emmanuel Macron has substantially scaled back plans to rehabilitate France's banlieues — poverty-ridden and crime-infested neighborhoods with large Muslim populations — and has instead called on local mayors and civil society groups to find solutions at the grassroots level.


   A sweeping set of new data privacy regulations descending on Europe is leaving internet companies in the U.S. scrambling to overhaul their practices to avoid steep penalties.
   Companies like Google, Twitter, Yelp and Uber have in recent weeks sent notices to their users about updates to privacy policies and user agreements aimed at making their data collection practices more transparent.
  The moves are part of an industry-wide effort to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on Friday and forces companies to give full disclosure about what they do with the digital data they collect and offer their users more control over their information.


The Saudi-led Arab military coalition destroyed on Wednesday two boats of the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels threatening a commercial oil tanker in the Red Sea, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) state news agency WAM reports.


Wednesday at the New York State Democratic Party’s convention in Long Island, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton declared that Democrats “believe in facts.”


    MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Fifteen people were injured Thursday night when two men entered an Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., and detonated what police described as an improvised explosive device.
   Peel Region police said they received a call about the explosion in the Bombay Bhel restaurant, located in a plaza near Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue, just after 10:30 p.m.
  "There were two individuals seen entering and detonating the device and two individuals that were seen fleeing the restaurant," Const. Iryna Yashnyk told reporters at the scene.


    OTTAWA—Toronto Mayor John Tory says he’s “frustrated” by Ottawa’s lack of response to private and public appeals by the city for federal funding and resources to cope with an influx of refugee claimants that is straining shelters.
   “We’ve been talking to them basically nonstop . . . We just haven’t had any indication of any help at all. Zero,” Tory said in an interview Thursday.
“I just don’t think that’s fair,” he said of a growing crisis that is expected to cost municipal taxpayers at least $64.5 million in 2017 and 2018.


    More than 2,000 people have been forced from their homes, at least 600 from the Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations, as dozens of wildfires blaze through Manitoba.
   There are 51 fires currently active in the province. Eighty firefighters from Ontario and two water bombers from Quebec are helping local teams battle the blazes.


    OTTAWA — A flyer circulating in the United States assists asylum seekers crossing the border at Roxham Rd., calling it “the irregular unofficial crossing.”
    The leaflet bears the logo of Plattsburgh Cares, an organization that helps refugees. It details the steps to take for asylum seekers who intend to cross into Canada irregularly.
   The flyer informs migrants that they will need to take a taxi to arrive at Roxham Rd., and that the fare should not cost them more than $77.50.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


  The Highway for Heroes Tree Campaign just grew again in Scarborough.
   School children from Scarborough’s Chief Dan George Public School, members from the Rotary Club and the 42 Canadian Brigade Group of the Canadian Armed Forces dug into a hard clay field and planted 500 trees just east of Meadowvale Rd. and Hwy. 401 Thursday — all for a good cause.
    When a member of Canada’s Armed Forces dies in combat, his or her final journey is along the Highway of Heroes from CFB Trenton to the coroner’s office at Keele St. and Hwy. 401. The goal is to plant trees to honour the fallen soldiers 


   The “deep state” is in a deep state of desperation. With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying, they know a reckoning is coming.
   At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton“matter,” but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a yearlong investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret “no aides allowed” meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac.


   Mr. Trudeau accused the opposition of “flinging mud” and maintained that Fisheries Minister Mr. LeBlanc was only trying to implement the government’s policy of reconciliation with Indigenous people by opening up areas of the economy to native bands.
   “Our decision to include the participation of Indigenous people was part of our work to renew relations with Indigenous people,” he said.
    The group that won the surf clam licence had the lowest percentage of Indigenous ownership among the bids submitted. At the time it was chosen, the group was still searching for Indigenous partners to join the bid and did not have a fishing vessel.
   For the second day in a row, opposition MPs pressed the Liberals to tear up the licence agreement worth millions of dollars that was awarded earlier this spring.


   OTTAWA – U.S. President Donald Trump is taking aim at Canada, calling his neighbour to the north "very difficult to deal with" and "very spoiled."
    Trump’s scolding comes amid reports in U.S. media that the White House is considering steep tariffs of 25 per cent on imported vehicles.
   Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Trump levelled the same accusations against Mexico, in regards to the ongoing NAFTA negotiations.


  OTTAWA – The Senate has passed legislation declaring the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the national interest.
   On Tuesday, Senators sent the House of Commons Bill S-245, which seeks to have the federal government declare the project "to be for the general advantage of Canada."
   The Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Act was introduced by independent Sen. Douglas Black in February, and passed all stages without amendment.Now, Black is calling on the federal government to pass his bill as soon as possible, saying if he was the prime minister he would have done so today.


   OTTAWA — The federal government has blocked the proposed $1.5-billion takeover of Aecon Group Inc. by a Chinese state-owned company for reasons of national security.
   After markets closed Wednesday, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains confirmed the government's decision to prevent CCCC International Holding Ltd. from acquiring the Aecon construction firm.
   The Trudeau government had been warned by experts to proceed cautiously when weighing any investment bids by Chinese state firms and to be as transparent as possible in reviewing the proposed deal.


    No striking workers — including teachers — would be legislated back to work if an NDP government is elected June 7, New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath says.
    “It’s a pretty heavy’s very much against our values,” Horwath said Tuesday, citing her party’s labour roots in a wide-ranging, one-hour session with the Star’s editorial board streamed live on the internet, including questions from readers.


    Alberta's environment minister says there is a steadfast, "non-factual, vicious form" of climate denial among those on the right of the political spectrum.
    But she insists that most Albertans are "progressive folks" who share the government's view that climate change is real and action is warranted.
     Shannon Phillips made the comments at a summit near Ottawa last week on women climate leaders, after National Observer asked the minister how her government plans to deal with recent surveys showing some public skepticism over the threat of climate change and the benefits of putting a price on carbon pollution.


   CALGARY - With just over a week remaining until the May 31 deadline set for abandoning its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, no suitors have publicly emerged to step into builder Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.'s shoes.
     Analysts and observers say they remain perplexed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau's comment last week that "plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project," after the federal government said it would offer an "indemnity" or insurance to guarantee it is built.
     Kinder Morgan said Monday it has nothing to add to last week's statement from CEO Steve Kean in which he repeated the May 31 deadline and said that discussions are ongoing but "we are not yet in alignment."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


   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.


   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.


   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.


  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?


   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.


 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.


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


   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.


   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.


   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.


    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.


   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.


   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.


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


   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.


   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


    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 …”


   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.


     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.


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 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


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.


   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.


   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.


   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.


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.


  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


    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.


   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.


    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 — 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


   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.


   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.


   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.


   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.


   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


    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.


   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.”


    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.


    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 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.


    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.


   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."


   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."  



   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


    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.