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Microsoft continues to slam conservatism in software

We are all doubtless aware of Microsoft's Word inability to identify the names of Republican presidents while spellchecking, although the names of Democrats sail through unopposed, but the campaign against conservatism continues.

Microsoft Bookshelf 98, a useful general reference, contains a quotations section with over 18 000 noted remarks on 1 500 topics. Certainly no Bartlet's Quotations, but one would think that at least some of those worthy words were friendly to conservatives. Think again.

After performing a search for conservative, 27 quotes came up. Of these 27, nearly all were unfriendly to conservatives...even with Newt Gingrich being quoted!

Some examples:

"All conservatives are such from personal defects. They have been effeminated by position or nature, born halt and blind, through luxury of their parents, and can only, like invalids, act on the defensive." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I do not know which makes a man more conservative— to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past." John Maynard Keynes

"There are no black conservatives. Oh, there are neoconservatives with black skin, but they lack any claim to blackness other than the biological. They have forgotten their roots." Stephen Carter

Admittedly the quotations section does include some bashing quotes under "liberals", but it's often that weak criticism you find of friends, not enemies. Of those who did slam liberalism, Benito Mussolini and Spiro Agnew are quoted. Most of the other quotes went like this:

"Liberalism— it is well to recall this today— is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded in this planet. It announces the determination to share existence with the enemy; more than that, with an enemy which is weak." José Ortega y Gasset (Bookshelf's italics)

I don't mind if Gates takes over the Internet, but I fervently pray that a product like "Microsoft School" never sees the light of day...

Ministry of Culture...still rather 1984 sounding...

One of the bigger wastes of flesh in Canadian politics, federal Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, has decided that more effort will be put toward increasing Canadian and French-language content on the Internet.

Copps, in St. John's to attend a meeting with her provincial counterparts earlier in November, said much of the information available now is in English and is American-based. 

"We must work on finding ways to create more Canadian content," said Copps.

"It was the feeling of all ministers that since this is the wave of the future, there are a lot of opportunities but also a number of challenges."

In a report released earlier this fall, the 30-member information highway advisory council called for the creation of a $50-million-a-year fund for distinctively Canadian multimedia production and an investment tax credit. 

One-third of the money should be earmarked for French-language products, said the committee. 

Copps said the federal government is studying the report, but promised during the last election to set aside funding for multimedia projects. 

In the meantime, Ottawa has funded various projects aimed at beefing up Canadian and French content through grants and joint projects with private business, said Copps.

The Quebec government has implemented a 35 per cent tax credit for all French Internet projects and spends $20 million a year to help develop French content. 

As a result, 30 per cent of all French-language web sites on the Net are based in Quebec, said the province's Language Minister Louise Beaudoin. 

"Montreal is becoming an important centre of multimedia and Internet production, which is helping young and small companies to survive," said Beaudoin.

For those of you who do not know, Quebec is the province which enforces which language its people can use in commerce, in violation of their civil rights. Earlier this year, a Montreal-area computer store was taken to task by the provincial government for having an English-only Internet site. 

Micro-Bytes Logiciels withdrew the site advertising its products and prices after receiving a notice from the Office de la langue francaise, which enforce's Quebec's language laws. 

Wait a minute, the U.S. Supreme Court did what?

The Supreme Court Tuesday unanimously overturned its 1968 ruling that the setting of maximum prices by wholesalers for retailers automatically was illegal price-fixing under the federal antitrust law.

In one of the most important business decisions of its 1997-98 term, the high court took the rare step of overruling its 29-year-old precedent and said wholesalers in some instances may set ceilings on retail prices.

Under the 1968 decision, the Supreme Court interpreted the antitrust law to mean that wholesalers automatically violate the law by setting a maximum price that retailers may charge for a product.

But Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said there have been numerous Supreme Court decisions over the past 20 years that have cast doubt on the analytical underpinnings of the 1968 ruling.

She also said in the court's 16-page opinion that there is a considerable body of scholarship discussing the pro-competitive effect of maximum price-fixing and widely criticizing the 1968 ruling.

"With the views underlying (the 1968 ruling) eroded by this court's precedent, there is not much of that decision to salvage," O'Connor wrote.

She emphasized that the Supreme Court was not ruling that maximum price-fixing always was lawful. The court simply was holding that it should be analyzed under the commonly used "rule of reason" governing antitrust cases, she said.

The ruling represented a major victory for the Justice Department, which had argued that maximum price restrictions are likely to be pro-competitive and should be considered on a case-by-case basis instead of holding them all illegal.

Quentin Riegel, assistant vice president and deputy general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers, hailed the decision as significant and predicted that its impact may be felt nationwide.

"Companies will see this as a new avenue to explore," he said, adding that food and pharmaceutical firms may be among those most likely to set maximum prices for retailers to better compete with other brands.

Keith Shugarman, a Washington, D.C., lawyer specializing in antitrust law, called the decision a big victory for consumers and producers, but said it was unclear how many industries will take advantage of the new rule.

"It is perhaps the latest example of the law continuing to catch up to the economic learning," he said, noting that price ceilings by manufacturers has been shown to lower prices.

Come on, let's give the Commies a break....they lost Russia after all

According to the Communist Party USA People’s World  magazine, at its recent convention the AFL-CIO reversed a long-standing charter policy banning Communists from active participation in its organizational or subsidiary activities.

Clinton aide speaks out on Internet anti-trust

A senior policy adviser to President Clinton recently urged a rethinking of antitrust policy for the digital age and said existing policies could be outdated.

"In the industrial age, the mere existence of a high market share was in itself evidence for antitrust action. In the digital age, we are not so sure if a high market share in itself is enough evidence to warrant action. Technologies and the market are moving so fast," Ira Magaziner told reporters.

"Ten years ago, we looked into the dominant position of Wang in the office automation market, five years ago we looked at IBM , today we look at Microsoft," Magaziner said as an illustration of the speed at which technological changes alter the market positions of individual companies.

Magaziner was in Paris at an electronic commerce conference organized by the International Chamber of Commerce.

He said he had been urging European officials not to try to regulate the Internet and the emerging business of electronic commerce, but to leave it up to the market to develop standards.

"The notion of government protection through regulation, which served us well in the industrial age, might not be the right paradigm for the digital age," he said, adding that over-regulation might actually stifle innovation.

Magaziner played down reports of a spat between the United States and Europe over encryption -- the technology needed to secure transactions and privacy on the open Internet.

"In every country there is a division between on the one hand the people at economy who see the interest of business in allowing encryption and on the other hand the law enforcement people who want to remain capable of intercepting and reading messages," Magaziner said.

He said he hoped there could be agreement on a proposal made by the United States to exempt electronic commerce from customs duties. "There was initial misunderstanding of what our proposals were," he said.

The United States is proposing that there will be no customs duties on electronic commerce and no new discriminatory taxes imposed on the Internet. It will start talks through the World Trade Organization to declare the Internet a global free-trade zone and wants to use the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) as a forum for harmonization of existing taxes on the Net, their administration and collection.

Magaziner, the main author of Clinton's July report "A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce," said he was not advocating that there should absolutely not be any taxes on the Net.

"If I have to pay a 10 percent tax when I buy a book in a store, it is normal that I have to pay 10 percent when I buy a book over the Net," he said.

Saskatchewan Progressive Conservatives vote to put party to sleep  

Over ninety years of Saskatchewan political history was laid to rest on November 9 as provincial Conservatives voted to put their party into a deep slumber, with no guarantee that it will ever be revived. 

Delegates voted 130-32 in favor of an amendment to their constitution that will render the party "inactive" for the next two provincial elections. 

It will be up to a group of 10 trustees to decide whether the party should be revived at the end of the hiatus, which is expected to last five to seven years. The trustees may decide to run 10 "paper candidates" in those elections in order to remain a registered political party. 

Although many delegates expressed sadness over seeing the once-proud party put to sleep, most had resigned themselves to the outcome. 

"I think the only practical choice that could be made was made today," said Dwight Dunn, a former candidate and past president.  

Bill Boyd, who accelerated the party's demise by leading most of his caucus to the Saskatchewan Party, said the move was difficult. 

"But it was, I believe, necessary, and I think the people of Saskatchewan agree with me." 

The Saskatchewan Party, formed earlier this year by disaffected Tories and Liberals, is now the official Opposition to Saskatchewan's governing New Democrats. 

The outcome of the meeting was never in doubt. The 2-hour debate was conducted behind closed doors, but party president Nick Stooshinoff was overheard telling delegates that if they didn't put the party to sleep voluntarily, voters would likely do it for them in the next election. 

Former leader Rick Swenson, who joined the party in his teen years and went on to serve in the Grant Devine cabinet, said the Conservative name has sustained too much damage from the ongoing caucus fraud trials to compete in provincial politics. 

In what's been called the biggest political scandal in Saskatchewan history, 11 Conservatives from the Devine administration have been convicted of fraud-related offences, three have been acquitted and six more are still before the courts. 

"A lot of these people have a deep love for their province and they want to contribute, and they feel right now the PC party in its present configuration is a hindrance to that," Swenson said. 

Following the vote, Swenson was elected to the board of trustees that will run the party. 

Paul Day, who was among the 20 per cent minority that saw a future for the party, found the outcome hard to swallow, knowing that it may spell the eventual death of the party. 

"We have a long history and proud tradition. These are difficult times for us, but in my opinion, there's nothing wrong," said Day, who ran unsuccessfully for the federal Conservatives in the June election. 

Day said it's premature to be deciding on the future of the Conservative party when it's still unclear who will lead the Saskatchewan Party and what it will stand for.

Group calls for elected Canadian Senate

"It is an absolute disgrace for Prime Minister Jean Chretien to out and out ignore Alberta's right to elect our next Senator," states Jim Hinter, National Communications Director of The Progressive Group for Independent Business.

"Jean Chretien, in 1990 promised Canadians to create an elected Senate," said Hinter. "After 23 straight Liberal appointments, it appears that this Chretien promise was as honest as his promise to 'scrap the GST'," Hinter continued. "It's time to belly up to the integrity bar Mr. Prime Minister," said Hinter.

"The concept of a EEE Senate was born in Alberta, Senator Stan Waters Alberta's first Elected Senator started a tradition which must be continued," stated Hinter. "Now is the time to send a message to Prime Minister Chretien that Albertans want to elect their next Senator," said Hinter. "We invite the Reform Party of Canada and all other groups who also advocate elected Senators to join with the PGIB in this fight," Hinter stated.

The Progressive Group for Independent Business offers a solution; "We are told the cost of electing Alberta's new Senator would be about $2,000,000.00. We propose the creation of a fund to allow ordinary Albertans to make contributions towards this fund. The Premier could set a date that all donations have to be in by and then set the date of Alberta's Senate Election."

The PGIB envisions a fund established by the province of Alberta, where Albertans along with other interested Canadians can make donations, which will pay for this important election. These funds to be held in trust to pay for not only this Senate Election but for future Senate Elections as
well.

"Albertans have an opportunity to send a message to Jean Chretien that his string of unbroken Senate appointments must stop at 23, and where better to stop that string than Alberta," Hinter concluded.

Welcome dictators! Human rights advocates? No thanks.

Ah the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit...a chance to rub elbows with dictators who have no respect for human rights. Who could upset a few days of that? Human rights activists? Well, not at first.

Before the November 24-25 meeting in Vancouver, Canada initially refused entry visas to several human rights activists from Asia. While allowing some rather shady characters who double as presidents or prime ministers, Canada blocked entry to people like nuns.

Carole Samdup, special events co-ordinator for the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development and other organizers of anti-APEC events had complained to the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy that officials at the two embassies were arbitrarily denying visas to people scheduled to speak at anti-APEC events or appear at workshops.

In one case, a nun was denied entry to Canada because she had no family ties in the Philippines and owned no property, she said.

In another case, the head of the college editors guild of the Philippines was denied entry because he had no paying job.

Samdup said the problems arose because the entry system is very subjective and up to the discretion of immigration officials.

"It depends on the mood of the person, their interpretation, which counsellor you get, how you rub them at that moment."

Immigration spokesman Denis Boucher refused to discuss the cases, citing privacy law. But he acknowledged officials often have to make a judgment call.

"There is a certain amount of subjectivity, but it has to be based on the information that the visa officer can obtain," he said.

"He just can't determine `I don't like this person's face.'"

Samdup said there were no problems at other embassies in APEC countries in obtaining visas.

Canada is an interesting nation. If it can make money from a dictator, then it pursues any strategy it can to whore for its money...if not, it piously promotes things like an international landmine treaty where it makes no money.

Canadian finance minister doesn't have facts...surprise

Last month's Tidbits section carried a piece about Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin, an article in which the learned minister stated that the Canada Pension Plan was desperately needed by Canadians so that they would not have to rely on RRSPs, and in light of October's market correction, stocks in general.

Well, there is nothing like some light being shone on a subject. The following is a recent article from The Financial Post which slams the door on politicians anywhere in the world yapping about government provided pensions. It does have some collectivist prattling in it, but look at the good parts in the article...

Revamped CPP no match for RRSP-annuity tandem

By Olev Edur
For The Financial Post

For some time, the future of the Canada Pension Plan has been in doubt. Will it be around when we retire, and in what form?

The pat answer is Ottawa has committed to maintaining retirement benefits near existing levels by boosting premiums. Under proposals being debated this month in the House of Commons, the maximum CPP entitlement will remain close to the indexed equivalent of $8,840 for 1997. However, the benefit calculation will be based on a five-year pensionable earnings average rather than the current three years.

Malcolm Hamilton, an actuary with Toronto-based consultants William M. Mercer Ltd., says this will result in a small benefit reduction, with the annual amounts depending on future inflation rates.

"The general rule is that the change in YMPE [the yearly maximum figure, which is indexed to inflation] would translate into an equivalent reduction in benefits," he says. With inflation running at, say, 2 per cent, the benefit also would be reduced by 2 per cent.

As for premiums, in 1996 they were 5.6 per cent of pensionable earnings between $3,500 and $35,400. For 1997 they were increased to 5.85 per cent on pensionable earnings of $3,500 to $35,800 (the $3,500 floor is frozen but the ceiling is indexed to inflation), and will retroactively rise to 6 per cent on your 1997 income tax return. Premiums then rise to 6.4 per cent of pensionable earnings for 1998, and continue jumping annually to 9.9 per cent in 2003. Employers must contribute half; the self-employed must pay the entire sum themselves.

But that's not the whole story. Canada's income tax system was partially de-indexed in 1985 and, since then, Ottawa has garnered a tax windfall. As The Financial Post's Jonathan Chevreau noted in a column last June, that seemingly innocuous adjustment has poured an extra $20 billion into Ottawa's tax coffers over the past five years alone. In fact, de-indexing has been such a runaway success that the government is applying it to the pension system as well.

Indexing the pensionable earnings ceiling but not the floor guarantees the plan automatic annual revenue increases, even without premium hikes. Those hikes produce a potent double-whammy.

The hikes were deemed necessary to accommodate the burgeoning pension needs of maturing baby boomers. Between 1991 and 1996, CPP benefit payouts leapt more than 50 per cent, from $10.5 billion to almost $16 billion, and that is just the beginning.

But younger people are crying foul. They argue they are being asked to shoulder the burden for an already affluent generation.

Consider the situation facing those in their teens or early 20s, studying to become self-employed professionals or hoping to set up small businesses. They get their careers going around 2003 and make a modest success of it for the next 40 years, earning today's equivalent of, say, $40,000 to $50,000 a year. At this level they would pay the maximum CPP premium, starting at $3,644 in 2003, assuming 2 per cent inflation.

By the time they retire, the premium will be $8,294 a year and they will have contributed about $227,000 in total. For this they'll receive an indexed pension starting at $21,551 a year (excluding the YMPE change).

If, on the other hand, these people were able to put all those premium monies into a registered retirement savings plan or a defined-contribution pension plan at the same yield the government's chief actuary says CPP will earn -- 3.8 per cent above inflation or, in this example, 5.8 per cent -- they'd end up with $742,664 in savings.

Tony Porcheron of Pension Counsel in Toronto calculates that for a 65-year-old male with a 65-year-old spouse, that money would currently buy an indexed joint life annuity paying $52,100 a year (with 60 per cent of that amount guaranteed for surviving beneficiaries). That's 2.5 times the CPP entitlement -- and with better survivor benefits.

"CPP plays around with the survivor benefit and it's reduced if the spouse also gets CPP," he notes.

What's more, CPP contributors get a bottom-tax-bracket credit but will be paying the premiums out of middle-bracket and eventually top-bracket income. If, as with RRSPs or pensions, they got a full tax deduction instead and were able to invest the extra money in equity mutual funds averaging a return of 10 per cent a year, it would add $118,232 to their savings. And these would be after-tax dollars rather than taxable income, as would be the case for withdrawals from an RRSP or registered retirement income fund (RRIF).

This amount would only be worth today's equivalent of about $65,000. But that is still a tidy sum, especially when tacked on top of the enhanced income stream from the annuity.

Supporters of the CPP changes argue that direct comparisons with RRSPs overlook the value of CPP's disability benefits. "It's a valid point," says Hamilton. "Some portion of this money -- but not much -- would reflect the cost of disability protection afforded by CPP."
 
Hamilton acknowledges the government has had little choice, but wishes it had been more forthright. "The [CPP reserve deficiency] exists, and while there are any number of solutions, they all boil down to either reneging on commitments to baby boomers and pensioners, or overcharging the young," he notes. "And I guess there is pretty solid political support against reneging.

 "I would have preferred that they were a little more candid about what they were doing, though. They could at least have said 'Sorry, we blew it. You young people are going to have to make a sacrifice'. It would be nice, too, if they said to the baby boomers and seniors: 'Look, the young people are taking care of CPP. You take care of the national debt so they won't have to bear that cross as well.' I like the fairness of that."
 
Porcheron is less kind: "I think the best solution is to turn CPP into a forced savings plan along the lines of a locked-in RRSP, where people can't touch their savings until age 60. The government says this can't be done, but it does not have to be any different from what it is doing now. It is already taking the premiums. The real reason they won't is because they can't [borrow] from that kind of plan like they have been doing with CPP. That is why it is in trouble now."
 
And, even more trouble may loom on the horizon for the CPP, because people are living longer. Medical breakthroughs could soon boost the average life expectancy beyond age 100. That could prompt the government to hike CPP contributions even further, or start reducing benefits.

New conservative Saskatchewan Party hammers socialists...not surprisingly they take offence

Saskatchewan's newest political force kicked off its founding convention in mid-November with a blistering attack on the governing New Democrats and calls for sweeping changes to boost business and reduce government.
 
Ken Krawetz, interim leader of the fledgling Saskatchewan Party, welcomed about 150 supporters with a rousing call to create a powerful right-of-centre political movement.
 
"This weekend, we will take a major step in building a better future for our families, our communities and our entire province," he said to loud applause. "We have a tremendous opportunity that only comes along once in a lifetime...We have been given an empty canvas upon which to paint our vision for the future of Saskatchewan that attracts business and jobs and opportunity."
 
The party was formed Aug. 8 when four Liberal and four Conservative legislators joined forces in an attempt to unite the right-wing vote. It quickly took over official Opposition status from the Liberals, who were left with just six members in the legislature.
 
Krawetz hammered the New Democrats, portraying them as business killers who ignore the will of most residents.
 
"More than ever, Saskatchewan people need that clear alternative to an increasingly arrogant and out-of-touch NDP government," he said.
 
"For most of the last 50 years, we have been governed by a party that drags people down instead of lifting them up. It's time for that to change."
 
Party members and observers then broke into groups to debate 70 no-nonsense resolutions, many of them similar to Reform party policies.
 
Most received broad support, including calls for a balanced budget, lower taxes, more privatization, a review of the welfare and justice systems, better health care, and a provision for constituents to recall legislators. A permanent leader will be elected in March.
 
Krawetz said the Saskatchewan Party is about "inclusion" and being "open-minded."

Among some of the more controversial resolutions were:

  • Looking at forcing single, able-bodied welfare recipients to perform community service.
  • Making aboriginals pay provincial sales tax on off-reserve purchases.
  • Changing the Trade Union Act to make it more business-friendly.
  • Allowing private medical clinics to operate under medicare.
  • Privatizing Crown corporations.
  • Holding parents financially responsible for the crimes of their children.

Some of those ideas had 22-year-old Michael Thelander shying away from committing his support to the party.

 "I have some issues that I agree with and some that I wholeheartedly disagree with, so right now I'm just sitting on the fence," said Thelander, a disenchanted Liberal. "I'm just here to check it out and see whether or not they're worthy of my support."

Cal Roberts had already made up his mind. The 68-year-old farmer and Reform supporter said the province needs a change and the Saskatchewan Party is it. "We need to get back to the old roots that this country was formed under," he said.

"We need to get back to a better justice system, and you can't be handing money out to everyone that asks for it. I think we need to run things in a more business-like way."

Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow, one of those arrogant and out of touch New Democrats, lashed back at the new party, describing it as being created in the dead of night "by scheming politicians."

Said Romanow, the real Saskatchewan Party is the New Democratic Party and the CCF before that.

Want to clean up the environment? Let industry do it!

A recent study by the Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement found that the province's environment industry is growing at an astounding rate, three times faster than the province's economy.

Ontario's environment industry's average annual growth rate for 1995-2000 is expected to be 15.9 per cent, the study said.

"The results are very encouraging," said Ed Mallett, president of the centre. "It's encouraging for the economy because a lot of new companies are being created who are hiring people."

Among the report's other findings:

  • Small companies are leading growth rate in both sales and jobs.
  • Sales are expected to double between 1995 and 2000, from $5.8 billion to $12.2 billion a year.
  • Jobs are expected to increase by 23,000 from 1995 to 2000.
  • Average annual wage increase of five per cent is expected between 1995 and 2000.  

The environmental industry, which employs about 200 000 in Ontario, consists of companies ranging from small specialized suppliers of technologies to large multidisciplinary consulting engineering firms.

U.S. law kicks boys out of sports

Barbara Ledeen of the Independent Women¹s Forum announced that IWF is forming a civil rights working group to study the Clinton administration's heavy-handed enforcement of guidelines aimed at making scholastic sports more gender-neutral (Title IX). She reported that enforcement on the basis of male-female proportionality has led to the disbanding of hundreds of collegiate sports programs across the nation because schools could not find the adequate number of women who wished to participate in sports.

This enforcement actively deprives men of sports opportunities solely on the basis of numbers. Enforcement of Title IX is being expanded to high school athletics and academics, and thus could threaten government grants to programs that are dominated by male students. Ledeen also pointed out the social implications of Title IX enforcement in the fact that, especially in the athletic aspect, it is being used to remove the social stigma from behavior like teen pregnancy by mandating inclusion. Get involved, contact Barbara Ledeen at 202/833-4553.

U.S. congressman presents National Right to Work Act

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) presented his National Right-to-Work Act (HR 59) that would "preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organization or to refrain from such activity." It amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act to make union membership a choice and not a mandatory obligation. The bill is currently in the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

American "expert" recommends shorter Canadian work week

If Farley Mowat is banned from entering the U.S., why can't we ban Jeremy Rifkin? He's made more appearances in Canada recently then the Lilith Tour.

A shorter work week will become a serious issue in Canada within the next five years, says the president of the Washington-based Foundation on Economic Trends.

Jeremy Rifkin says Canada is in a better position than other countries to follow the example of France, which aims to cut its work week from 39 to 35 hours by 2000 to reduce unemployment.

"This is going to be on the agenda here before the U.S.," said Rifkin, who not surprisingly consulted to the French government. "There's still a sense of a social contract in Canada. It's ready. This country is ready to lead."

Let's hope not.

Rifkin, an economist and author of the best-selling book The End of Work, loved by former Labour Secretary Robert Reich and current Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin, has warned of a looming employment and social crisis worldwide.

He was in Calgary speaking to corporate, government and non-profit leaders about his vision of a "new social contract" that would reduce unemployment and boost productivity.

A majority believes in global warming, so therefore it exists.

Ah democracy, land of the poll.

Environment Minister Christine Stewart recently released a report which purports to be the first national assessment of the environmental, social and economic impact of climate change in Canada.

Said the noted intellectual, "Almost 90 per cent of Canadians believe climate change is already occurring or will occur, and similar numbers believe that, if no action is taken, climate change will have serious negative effects on both the environment and our economy."

Interesting.

A rapidly warming climate, because of higher volumes of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, could spell disaster for some species. The polar bear, muskox and caribou could become extinct, while some vegetation and crops would be threatened and fish stocks imperiled, says the report.

Canada's forests will move north, endangering wildlife and vegetation, the report predicts. Canada's arctic tundra might also shrink by more than a third.

Finally, the report states, the great Beast will rise up, with seven horns representing the seven great industrialists who poisoned Gaia and enslave humanity.

So what does the report recommend? Involving local and regional governments in planning for climate change. Shocking that government report would recommend more government intervention in the economy

"We may not know everything, but we know enough to make avoiding action irresponsible – irresponsible to ourselves and irresponsible to future generations," Stewart said.

At least she got the first part right.

APEC meeting features Indonesian security forces keeping order in Canada

Two Indonesians arrested along with demonstrators protesting the APEC conference were members of their country's security staff, police said.

The two were dressed in ski masks, wore earphones and carried two-way radios. They appeared to be observing other protesters shouting anti-Indonesia slogans as APEC leaders gathered for meetings at the University of British Columbia, police said.

"Two members of the (Indonesian) presidential security staff were arrested for breach of security," a Vancouver police spokesman said.

He said the two men were later released and taken to the airport to fly back to Jakarta.

"The matter is being handled internally (by the Indonesians)," he said.

Indonesian President Suharto has been the target of attack over his government's occupation of East Timor.

Earlier in the day, Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said his government has been unfairly accused of human rights abuses.

"Mind you, torture happens everywhere in the world," he said. "I'm not saying that torture is not happening in many countries. But torture in Indonesia is not government policies.

"Occasionally, these kinds of things happen. Police brutality, torture during interrogation, this is not government policy."

Indonesian media reports quoted Alatas as saying his government would "take measures" against Indonesian demonstrators during the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.

Alatas said he didn't mean those simply carrying placards would be punished.

I know crime is at decrease in Canada, but I didn't know it was due to Asian help.

Politician actually slams "animal rights" crowd

Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin has taken a club to the anti-sealing group International Fund for Animal Welfare, saying it preys on the misinformed.

"Their self-indulgent splurge of advertising dollars, in my mind - and I say to the IFAW sue me and I hope you have it on video - is a campaign designed to pick to pockets of the naive and the misinformed," he thundered to the applause of 200 people at an international sealing conference in late November.

One woman in the crowd rose to make a comment but was drowned out by the clapping.

Tobin said seals are killed under strict guidelines that ensure humane treatment and full use of the carcass.

"I'm here to celebrate ... all you've done and assure you that Newfoundland and Labrador stands with you for the responsible development of a humane and profitable seal hunt for those who depend upon that resource," he told delegates from several countries, including the United States, Greenland, Iceland and Norway.

After a fashion show of sealskin products, the premier was presented with a sealskin vest, which he quickly put on.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare was expected to crash the event, but it didn't make an appearance.

The group has recruited several high-profile Canadians in it's latest attack on an industry it calls inhumane.

Many Newfoundlanders who have used the hunt to supplement meager incomes say the activists seem more concerned about the welfare of seals than of people struggling to make a living.




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