Daily Archives: October 15, 2008

A Timely Video for Remembrance Day in Canada – “A Pittance in Time”


On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store’s PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Why a Canada-EU deal matters


European Union and a Canadian Free Trade Agreement

European Union and a Canadian Free Trade Agreement

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

Canada has long had an interest in enhancing its economic links with an increasingly affluent and united Europe, partly to provide greater diversity in its trade and partly for the broader geopolitical reason of becoming more active in the Atlantic community. During the past 50 years, Canada has sought those enhanced economic links through liberalized trade and investment, mainly in the multilateral General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In light of technological change, however, Canada decided that, with the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement of 1988, it would also seek viable bilateral and regional deals while supporting the creation of the new World Trade Organization to succeed the GATT.

More recently still, the Doha round of trade talks has been suspended indefinitely after seven years of desultory debate. In light of the unfortunate fact that the multilateral route currently shows little promise, Canada has embarked on something of the same policy as the United States, the European Union and a host of other countries, developed and developing alike, in seeking “WTO-plus” bilateral agreements that can be seen as building blocks on the way to renewed multilateralism. Accordingly, having first joined the United States and Mexico in the North American free-trade agreement, Canada has more recently concluded bilateral deals with several Latin American countries and demonstrated the practicality of a transatlantic accord by agreements with Norway and Switzerland (in the context of the European free-trade area).

But a free-trade or other trade-enhancing agreement with the EU, now the world’s largest market, remains the major goal. In addition to being Canada’s second-largest trading partner, the EU is also Canada’s second most important source and destination for foreign investment. Yet Canada is one of only eight WTO members without preferential access to the European market (which Mexico, among others, enjoys). With the reduction or removal of remaining barriers to trade and/or investment, bilateral exchanges will grow substantially.

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Dow Drops over 700


September retail sales are grim, and a report on manufacturing in the New York area shows a sharp contraction. Crude oil falls below $75. JPMorgan surprises the Street with a profit. Intel reports a profit jump but cautions that demand will be weak.

By Charley Blaine and Elizabeth Strott

The Dow Jones industrials fell below 9,000 again today as stocks were slammed by disappointing reports on retail sales and manufacturing.

The gloom on Wall Street deepened this afternoon when the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, an anecdotal look at the economy, painted a picture of weakening business, with almost all sectors falling back except agriculture.

The economic worries weighed as well on crude oil, which fell below $75 a barrel for the first time since August 2007. Energy stocks slumped in response.

At 3:45 p.m. ET, the Dow was down 607 points, or 6.5%, to 8,704. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index tumbled 77 points, or 7.7%, to 921, and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 126 points, or 7.1%, to 1,653.

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Harper likely to proceed with full platform


STEVEN CHASE
October 15, 2008

CALGARY — On the surface, another minority government mandate would appear to frustrate Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s plans to enact all of his $8.67-billion in campaign platform promises. But with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s future in question after his party’s loss, Mr. Harper could have free rein if the Liberals abstain on Commons votes. The Tory Leader has already said he would interpret a win as a mandate to proceed with his full platform.

The Tories’ tough-on-crime plans will be the most controversial in the Commons.

Measures likely to proceed more easily Allocating another $400-million for key manufacturing sectors in Ontario and Quebec: $200-million each for the Automotive Innovation Fund and the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative.

Slashing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment by $345-million a year.

Giving self-employed Canadians access to employment insurance parental-leave benefits.

Extending country-of-origin labeling to all consumer products instead of just food.

Sweetening the $100-a-month universal childcare benefit to index it to inflation and make it tax free for single parents who are the sole supporters of their children.

Allocating $500-million over four years for farms and farm towns.

Reaffirming the ban on bulk exports of water.

A question mark hangs over the Tory crime agenda Eliminating long guns from the firearms registry.

Eliminating the Criminal Code’s “faint hope” clause, which allows criminals to seek early release.

Allowing Canadian victims to sue the sponsors of terrorism, including states designated as sponsors of terrorism.

Amending the Criminal Code to make pregnancy “an aggravating factor in sentencing if a woman is assaulted or killed,” but the Tories would not initiate or support legislation to regulate abortion.

Making registration and DNA sampling mandatory for sex offenders and dangerous offenders.

The Senate

Mr. Harper wants to limit terms to eight years and establish a new selection process, but Liberal senators could frustrate him until 2010 when retirements shrink their ranks.

Limiting Ottawa’s scope

The Tories will introduce measures to constrain Ottawa’s ability to intrude on provincial powers.

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Daimler to close Ontario truck plant: 1,400 jobs to go


Daimler AG is shuttering two truck-making facilities, one in St. Thomas, Ont., at a cost of 2,300 jobs, the company announced Tuesday. Daimler is closing the St. Thomas plant and another in Portland, Oregon as part of the company’s strategy to pare down its ailing truck operations and save $600 million US.

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The bigger story: Justin Trudeau wins Montreal riding. Will he become the next leader of the Liberals


Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

Globe and Mail Update

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau, heir to one of the most famous names in Canadian politics, will succeed his father to Ottawa after securing a victory in the Montreal riding of Papineau last night.

Mr. Trudeau’s campaign headquarters erupted in chants of “Jus-tin, Jus-tin, Jus-tin” as his victory was announced.

Greeted by cheers from his supporters, Mr. Trudeau promised to fight for social justice and against Tory policies, especially on the environment.

“Canada once again chose to tell Stephen Harper, ‘We just don’t trust you with a majority’,” Mr. Trudeau, flanked by his wife, Sophie Grégoire, said in the theatrical voice that Canadians came to know when he delivered the eulogy at his father’s

He acknowledged that carrying the Trudeau name wasn’t always easy during the campaign. Speaking to reporters, he said he weathered the personal attacks against him by recognizing he was being targeted “because of my name, not because of me.”

He said that while his father’s presence was always with him, he is now is the father of an 11-month-old himself.

“I’m a father now, not a son,” he said.

Margaret Trudeau, his mother, said she hoped politics would be kind to her son, “but I have no illusions.”

“I’m very proud of Justin. This is what Justin wanted and as a mother I wanted him to fulfill his dreams,” she said in an interview.

Mr. Trudeau, burdened by an image as a lightweight, campaigned hard after a tough nomination battle in the Montreal riding of Papineau. Now the 36-year-old political neophyte will head to Parliament, 43 years after his father, Pierre Trudeau, was first elected as an MP. Read More


The bigger story: Canadian Election is the lowest in history at only 59 percent


CLOSE TO 10 MILLION CANADIANS DID NOT BOTHER TO VOTE!!!

OTTAWA — Early figures indicate Canadians avoided the ballot box more than ever before on election day.

Just 58 per cent of eligible voters visited the polls — from a high of 69 per cent in Prince Edward Island to 48 per cent in Newfoundland, according to preliminary numbers.

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Harper wins again, gaining 16 seats and some in the precious 905 region around Toronto


By ROB GILLIES Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press

Oct. 15, 2008, 4:05AM

Harper wins big in the election

Harper wins big in the election

OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday he will reach out to all parties during the global financial meltdown after his Conservative Party won in national elections but fell short of a parliamentary majority.

Harper had called Tuesday’s elections early in hopes of getting his party a majority, and in doing so he became the first major world leader to face voters since the financial crisis.

Instead, the Conservatives will once again be forced to rely on opposition support to pass budgets and legislation — as it has had to since a 2006 election victory.

Harper sought to put a good face on the results Wednesday, pointing to an increased number of seats and pledging cooperation.

“We have shown that minority government can work and at this time of global economic instability we owe it to Canadians to demonstrate this once again,” Harper said. “We hold out a hand to all members of all parties asking them to join together to protect the economy and weather this world financial crisis.”

With nearly all the returns in, Canada’s election agency reported on its Web site that the Conservatives had won or was leading in races for 143 of Parliament’s 308 seats, an improvement over the 127 seats the party had in the previous Parliament.

The Conservative Party needed to win 155 seats to govern on its own.

The Liberal Party, long Canada’s top party, suffered a severe drubbing, dropping to 76 seats from 95 in the previous Parliament, according to the election agency. Bloc Quebecois won 50 seats, the New Democrats 37 and independent candidates 2.

Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion, in his concession to Harper, offered his “full cooperation in these difficult economic times.”

The party winning the most seats generally forms the government, with its leader becoming prime minister. The opposition parties could unite and topple Harper if they won enough seats for a majority, but analysts said that was unlikely because the parties have no tradition of forming such coalitions.

The opposition Liberals have typically been the party in power, forming the government for most of Canada’s 141 years. But the left-of-center vote was divided among four parties, giving an edge to the Conservatives.

Dion’s campaign was hindered by his unpopular plan to tax all fossil fuels except gasoline and by perceptions he is a weak leader. A former professor from French-speaking Quebec, Dion also suffered in other regions because he frequently mangles English grammar and his accent makes him hard to understand.

Dion said Canadians have asked him to be their official opposition leader, a signal that he’s not ready to step down at this point.

If Dion was ousted as leader after a loss, he would be just the second Liberal leader to fail to become Canada’s prime minister. The only other was Edward Blake, who led the party to defeat in the 1882 and 1887 elections.

Many Canadians complained Harper was slow to react as the global credit crisis worsened. He hurt himself by saying during a debate that Canadians were not concerned about jobs or mortgages. A few days later, he said stocks were cheap — just before Canada’s main stock exchange had its worst week in almost 70 years.

Harper later said he knows Canadians are worried and stressed that Canada’s economic and fiscal performance contrasts to the more dire situation in the United States.

Voter turnout Tuesday about 59 percent, the lowest in Canadian history. It was unclear how much stringent new proof-of-identity requirements affected the turnout.