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Headlines June 26/06

New Leadership in U.S.-Canada Relations: Leveraging Federalism to Manage North American Integration
In the wake of the recent arrests in Toronto, Canadian ambassador Michael Wilson brought a delegation of anti-terror experts to Washington in a bid to alleviate U.S. fears that Canada is a safe haven for terrorists. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new anti-terrorism measures aimed at bolstering the safety and security at Canada's airports, railways and ports. The Canada Project will be discussing these issues as well as other developments on Tuesday, June 27...

Hillier too savvy to commit career suicide
(Quip)
...Our chief of defence staff also understands that even if the government announces this week its intention to buy 12 Chinooks for a total cost of $4.2 billion — it will be at least 30 months before our troops will take delivery (let alone begin to operate them.) This timeline of course comes well after our current commitment to Afghanistan is set to expire.
No, Hillier is not behind their PR ploy to use our front-line casualties to generate political pressure in order to acquire military hardware. Let’s hope he is able to identify the real culprit before he destroys the good general’s reputation as a straight shooter.

Foreign investments raise red flag in Ottawa
Federal bureaucrats raised concerns with the Conservative government in February over Canada's inability to protect itself against foreign investments that pose a national security threat, internal documents reveal.
A briefing book prepared for Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, obtained by CanWest News Service under the Access to Information Act, notes several other countries can block investments deemed dangerous.

Canadian lobbying concerns
The Federal Accountability Act, which was passed last week by the House of Commons, has been the focal point of the Conservatives' legislative agenda in 2006. If the Senate grants its approval in the fall, the Act will establish new limitations on lobbying activities and campaign financing. While few would object to placing limits on powerful lobby groups, recent information obtained under the Access to Information Act suggests that another form of lobbying exists that requires closer scrutiny - lobbying that is financed by the government itself.

Iran, Terror, Drugs to Top G8 Foreign Ministers’ Agenda June 29
Foreign ministers from the world’s wealthiest nations will gather in St. Petersburg Thursday to discuss the Iranian nuclear program, terrorism and narcotics, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday.
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the United States will meet ahead of the Group of Eight summit to consider Iran’s controversial nuclear research program, which Western nations suspect is being used as a cover for a weapons program. Iran has dismissed allegations, saying it needs nuclear research for energy.
Sergei Lavrov said the ministers would also consider the situation in other Middle East countries, including Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, Kosovo, and the Korean peninsula.

Get real, feds tell provinces
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has a blunt message for Canada’s premiers: Fixing the country’s fiscal imbalance will not include giving the provinces billions in extra cash.
Premiers have been squabbling over who will get what share of federal booty ever since a provincially commissioned report on the so-called imbalance recommended that Ottawa transfer almost $10 billion more each year to the provinces.

Michael Harris: War on Terror a Losing Game
What will it take to persuade this government that our military deployment in Afghanistan is a disaster for Canada? Stephen Harper bristles at the very notion of seriously debating this doomed mission. But the president of the country we are supposed to be "securing" sees it differently. Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, says that the recent deaths of 600 Afghans in the so-called war on terror is "unacceptable."

Town approves funding agreement for eco-park
Hinton is another step closer to seeing the dream of an eco-industrial park become a reality.At the June 21 regular meeting, town council approved entering into the grant and loan agreements with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). As well, council gave first reading to the borrowing bylaw needed to get the loan.The FCM administers the federal government Green Funds for municipal environment projects.The park hit a snag earlier this year after the FCM changed its funding formula for the project.The FCM awarded Hinton $3.3 million grant and a $2.2 million low-interest loan in 2005, but after the formula changed there was a question as to whether the grant or the loan money would come first.

Teen's defense looks to doctor for help
In what would be a first, attorneys are asking the Pentagon to let a retired Army psychiatrist carry out an independent, civilian mental health examination of a teenage Canadian captive held for four years inside the razor-wire prison compound.

Native peoples accuse Canada of betrayal in U.N
A coalition of indigenous peoples from around the globe on Monday accused Canada of betrayal by campaigning to bloc a
United Nations' declaration asserting their rights after backing it for years.
The declaration, in negotiation for the past 24 years and backed by many European, Latin American and Asian states, is up for approval in the next few days by the U.N.'s new Human Rights Council.
But Canada announced last week it wanted a delay for at least two years, saying the document could violate its constitution and wreck talks with its native Indians over control of land and resources.

Botswana: Did Selling Shares in De Beers Lose Us a Stake in Canada?
I seem to recall criticising our Government, a while ago, for selling shares we had in a 15 per cent stake in De Beers when we could not balance an annual budget. I called it selling the family jewels. Today, I read in The Globe and Mail of Canada, while here in Ottawa, that De Beers is opening a new diamond mine in Canada.
The Globe and Mail report by Angela Pacienza quotes Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, kicking off what he hopes will be "a homegrown diamond rush" yesterday as construction began on a billion dollar mine on the western coast of James Bay. It is the product of more than 40 years of exploration and patience, he said.

Phelps Dodge to buy Canadian rivals
Phelps Dodge, the US mining group, on Monday said it would acquire Canadian rivals Inco and Falconbridge in a C$40bn (US$35.6bn) two-part deal that will fan the battle for dominance in global mining.

So, Bob, what did you really achieve?
So what did it all achieve? A year ago 250,000 people marched in Edinburgh as the leaders of the rich world met in Gleneagles. Millions of others had campaigned through 504 organisations under the banner Make Poverty History. Across the world, 150 million more had joined the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. The 10 simultaneous Live8 concerts had been seen by 3.4 billion people. It constituted the biggest political lobby in human history.
But was it all a waste of time?
You could be forgiven for thinking so from the response of many in the immediate aftermath of Gleneagles. “The people roared and in response the G8 has whispered,” said the chair of the Global Call, Kumi Naidoo, immediately after the G8 deal was announced. Many aid agencies offered similar verdicts.

Boot camp for city officials teaches 'a culture of ethics'
Wearing lanyards and camp T-shirts, the 23 "campers" sat in a circle in the dark around a flickering TV screen. They watched horror videos of real-life public officials who went astray, tempted by bribes, nepotism, and other shady opportunities to benefit themselves over the public they were elected to serve.
The viewers' "counselors" were ethics specialists wearing "moral compasses" around their necks and putting their "campers" - city officials and ethics commissioners from Florida, Texas, and Arizona - in simulated ethical dilemmas.

U.S. and Canadian Leaders to Hold Media Availability on Energy Security
U.S. and Canadian Leaders to Hold Media Availability on Energy Security
-- Officials and executives to report on bilateral effort on key strategic issue
As the world continues to grapple with rising energy demands and growing instability, The Canadian American Business Council (CABC), will be hosting an invitation-only Public/Private sector Dialogue on North American Energy Security with an open press event immediately following the discussion.

Poll on U.S. Voter Attitudes Toward Canada And Energy Security to be Released June 27 at 10 a.m.
With oil dependence receiving interest and attention among U.S. policy makers, The Canadian American Business Council (CABC) conducted a brief poll examining the attitudes of 1,000 U.S. likely general election voters concerning Canada, generally, and the challenge of U.S. energy security.
The survey will be released on the eve of "Alberta Week in Washington", which will focus in part on the potential role Canada might play in helping America meet its energy needs in a global context of rising demand, tight supply, and instability.
"Alberta Week in Washington" is taking place in coordination with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The Province of Alberta is a feature program at the Festival, which begins on June 30th.

Pentagon budget split between rearmament and overseas wars
The Pentagon's budget equals half of the world's defense spending. Why is the United States spending so much on its military?

Scientists play out climate change debate for reluctant Rona
John Stone has an offer for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose: He'd like to brief her on climate change. With a PhD in chemical physics and 15 years experience in climate change, Dr. Stone has already given briefings on the topic to large corporations such as British Petroleum.
''I think (the Conservative government) ought to bring in two or three or four scientists, Canadian scientists, who've got no axe to grind, whose credibility is well-established, and give a neutral, balanced presentation on what the science is telling you,'' Stone said.

Ridley Canada set to appeal stay of BSE lawsuit
Ridley Canada Ltd. said on Monday it has applied for leave to appeal after the Quebec Superior Court refused to stay a proposed action lawsuit earlier this month.
Ridley wants a stay of a proposed Quebec action, pending legal determination by the Ontario Court of Appeals in a parallel lawsuit in that Canadian province. The Quebec court's decision on June 2 means the proceedings in Quebec should continue independent from the Ontario proceedings, Ridley said in a statement.

Japan has ambitious plan to fight global warming
Japan hopes to slash greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming with a plan to pump carbon dioxide into underground storage reservoirs instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, an official said Monday.
The proposal aims to bury 200 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2020, cutting the country's emissions by one-sixth, said Masahiro Nishio, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Introduced last month, the plan is still under study.

PlanetHospital, Inc. Selects CPR Strategic Marketing Communications for Patient Origination Initiatives and Public Relations Strategies
PlanetHospital, Inc., the global leader in delivering world-class healthcare quality around the globe at a fraction of the cost in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand, has chosen CPR Strategic Marketing Communications (CPR) to develop and implement a patient origination campaign, as well as international business-to-business public relations and marketing communications outreach.