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August 21, 2009

The Canadian Press reports today in numerous newspapers (including the Globe and Mail) that, "The controversy over site 41 now has environmental activist and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader appealing to Ontario's premier to halt construction on the landfill project."

"In a passionate letter to Dalton McGuinty dated Thursday, Nader said he was surprised at the fervent local protests against the dump being constructed about 40 kilometres northwest of Barrie, Ont."

"Nader, a long-time advocate for green causes, asked McGuinty not to rush to dump 'putrid waste' atop the Alliston aquifer, which is said to house the most pristine source of groundwater in the world. Nader made a surprise trip to the site last week and dug into McGuinty for not listening more closely to the vehement protests of those opposing the site."

"He said he'd like to see a one year moratorium on the site so that the pros and cons of the construction could be re-examined."

"Nader (also) urged McGuinty to use site 41 as an opportunity to create a leading zero-waste community."

August 21, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "Liberals have stroked the potential trigger of a fall election by asking Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page to examine what they say is an inflated Conservative cost analysis of their plan to revamp employment insurance."

The Liberals are questioning "Conservative calculations that peg the cost of the Liberal proposal to create uniform national standards for EI qualification at up to $4-billion."

This issue came up at yesterday's meeting of "the EI Working Group (which) was established in June to explore ways to improve fairness in EI eligibility and to examine the potential for bringing self-employed Canadians into the EI system."

"Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has the opportunity to put forward a no-confidence motion in late September if he is not happy with the working group's results."

"There are currently 58 different regional standards for EI eligibility. A person has to have worked anywhere from 420 to 700 hours in the previous 12 months, depending on the regional unemployment rate, to collect benefits."

August 20, 2009

On August 14, the Council of Canadians issued a media release noting the announcement on the official U.S. government SPP website that, "The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is no longer an active initiative and as such this website will act as an archive for SPP documents. There will not be any updates to this site."

This statement from the U.S. government can be read at http://www.spp.gov/. Our media release is at http://www.canadians.org/media/DI/2009/14-Aug-09.html.

This week, Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew writes in rabble.ca that the Security and Prosperity Partnership, "the NAFTA-plus agenda died in Guadalajara, Mexico last week. We killed it."

His article can be read at http://rabble.ca/news/2009/08/spp-dead-so-wheres-champagne.

August 20, 2009

The Toronto Star reports today, "In a display of bravado, boasts and a flexing of military might, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to stand up to nations that are already "probing" Canada's North. Harper led the charge yesterday as he took the controls of a Sea King helicopter, took the helm of a submarine as it slipped below the waters of Frobisher Bay and promised that Canada would protect its northern interests.

"We must never forget that just as the eyes of southern Canadians gaze northward, so, too, do those beyond our borders," Harper said yesterday during a visit to the frigate HMCS Toronto as it cruised the waters south of Iqaluit.

"With other countries probing our North – by sea and in the air – the work you are doing here to protect our sovereignty has never been more important," Harper told sailors assembled on the ship's bow."

August 20, 2009

In his op-ed in today's Globe and Mail, Stephen Saideman, Canada Research Chair in International Security and Ethnic Conflict at McGill University, writes, "There is much truth to the claim that Canadians have borne a disproportionate burden, suffering more casualties per soldier on the ground than nearly any other country. But this attitude suggests that Canada has been engaged in Afghanistan as a favour, rather than in its interests."

He highlights, "Canada has gained a great deal of influence because of its willingness to lead and bleed in Kandahar. While it does not see itself as a power-seeking country, having more influence, whether it is over operations in Afghanistan or in bilateral discussions with the United States, is a significant and undervalued benefit."

His line of argumentation has been seen elsewhere.

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