The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke
Thursday, September 29, 2005
"After announcing his retirement Tuesday, New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass told several high-ranking officers that he had been forced out by Mayor Ray Nagin, the officers said Wednesday.
They said Compass told them the decision came on the heels of a heated confrontation with the mayor. The officers spoke only on condition that they not be named.
Reached Wednesday by e-mail, Nagin said that those accounts were "inaccurate."
Compass could not be reached for comment. "
"City Hall has been rocked by a scandal centring on allegations of cronyism and sexual misconduct among senior officials, some with close political links to Mayor David Miller. As they prepared to debate more than 200 recommendations from the hard-hitting Bellamy report on municipal corruption, prominent politicians, including Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, are struggling to explain the presence of friends and relatives on the city payroll."
They reduced funding by $20 billion-promise to put $13 billion back with the bulk coming in years 4 & 5 so- Canadian Forces at the breaking point.
"The budget for the Canadian Forces needs to be doubled to about $30 billion a year if Canada is to secure the country and its sovereignty, says a new report by the Senate Defence Committee.
"At some point, the elastic snaps. And we think we're at that point right now," Sen. Colin Kenny, the chair of the committee, told a news conference Thursday."
In other words- out of touch with their constituents-How does a guy making over $250,000/yr+ expenses have the gall to ding the beleaguered taxpayers
for $1.29 for a pack of gum?Probably because he knew it would be rubber stamped without a second thought.If the Mint isn't a part of the government who owns it, the USA? private enterprise? Any decrease in profit by increased expenses leaves the government (Canadians) with less money.
They never got Al Capone on the murders -he ended up in the slammer because of taxes. That $1.29 pack of gum is going to resonate through the nation.It's the little things in daily life that the public understands.While they are getting hosed at the pumps ,property taxes are going up,there are too many in government living high off the hog while the Canadians that pay them have to tighten their belts.They don't seem to have much respect for taxpayers' dollars.
Disaster preparation ,4 years after 9/11 and after the London bombings and after Katrina are basically a disaster.The recent exercises with maximum
publicity and minimum personnel participating were nothing more than photo ops.There are about 10,000 first responders in Toronto yet only about 250 participated in the simulated disaster.Seems like the only kind of preparation is the cross your fingers kind.
Where's the simulation where there are 5000 casualties that have to go to the hospital? You can have all the paper plans you want but there is nothing better than doing actual simulations with sufficient numbers of people so they have the necessary experience if the time comes to implement it. There 's a reason that there weren't a lot more deaths at the WTC on 9/11. There had been plans in place for evacuations after the 1993 bombing and they were practiced.The only thing they practice here when it comes to public safety is spinning.
"What plans (exist) if B.C. has a major earthquake? What plans (are there) if a tsunami hits the East Coast?" said Granatstein, whose report into the state of Canada's part-time soldiers, sailors and pilots concluded there's no communication between army, navy or air force reserves when it comes to crisis planning.
"Can you really get equipment and people and help to us any faster than what happened in New Orleans, where the Americans have all kinds of resources?"
Granatstein stresses that the military is aware of the shortfalls, but the federal government has not put enough money into the system to make any significant impact. He said the Liberals' $13 billion allocated for rejuvenation of the military is part of a long-term plan.
"The problem is that 90 per cent of that money comes in years 4 or 5 of the plan, and a minority government making plans for 2009 and 2010 is pretending," he said.
The report's findings will be discussed at a conference of military leaders in Calgary in December."
Because the public is an easy mark.........when those supposed to be watching out for taxpayers' dollars are asleep or worse
"Surely, the issue here is the questionable judgment displayed by Dingwall in submitting and the board in approving expenses for everything from pricy club memberships to $6.04 for four Tim Horton's coffees and a donut. For gawd's sake, when you make $277,000 a year, pay for your own damn coffee and donuts!"
The $1.29 pack of gum, that he couldn't pay out of his own pocket, tells how much they care about protecting the public purse.
"According to a recent study by two Ryerson University journalism professors:
* Almost half of all Canadian television news directors, the individuals who have the most influence in determining what political news is covered on your favourite nightly newscast and how it is reported, vote Liberal.
* A TV news director working at the tax-funded CBC is almost three times more likely to vote for the NDP in federal elections, compared to his or her counterpart in the private sector.
* When this research was compiled in 2002, just over one in 10 (11.4%) of all private sector news directors said they would vote for the Canadian Alliance. However, not one news director at the CBC described himself (or herself) as an Alliance voter. "
Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I understand that David Dingwall, another Liberal appointee and head of the Mint, resigned today over the misuse of taxpayer dollars. However, this action takes place only after evidence of this waste and abuse was exposed by the opposition through access to information and reported by the media.
Can the Prime Minister tell us why this Liberal culture of waste and scandal is only stopped once it is actually exposed publicly?
Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Dingwall has dedicated most of his life to public service. He has been a member of Parliament. He has been a cabinet minister in the Government of Canada and he has been the head of the Mint. May I just simply say that under his tutelage at the Mint, the Mint has now been returned to profit.
The fact is that I have accepted his resignation, but let me just say that he gave the reasons for his resignation. Among them was that he does not want any distraction at the Mint while he replies to that kind of an allegation.
* * *
Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, on another matter, I was glad to hear that the Prime Minister did call the representatives of the families of the murdered RCMP officers yesterday to apologize.
I do want to return though to the substance of the question. The police families generally have been demanding mandatory minimum prison sentences. The Minister of Justice said after the tragedy in Mayerthorpe, “We have said before and I will repeat again that...mandatory minimums serve neither as a deterrent nor an effect.”
Will the Prime Minister take some action and impose mandatory prison sentences for serious, violent and repeat crimes?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we appreciate that there is no greater responsibility for a government than to protect the safety of its citizens, no greater responsibility than to protect the rights of communities and the rights of people in those communities.
Therefore, we have said and continue to enact, and it needs to be appreciated with regard to gun related crime that we take it with the seriousness that it deserves. There are at this point mandatory minimum penalties of up to four years to a maximum of life imprisonment for 10 serious offences committed with a firearm.
Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the minister says that mandatory minimum sentences do not work. I can give a reason why we need mandatory minimum sentences.
Paul Coffin, one of the Liberals involved in the sponsorship scandal, was in Montreal yesterday to give a lecture on ethics.
That is his sentence for defrauding the taxpayers of $1.5 million.
Does the Prime Minister find that acceptable?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the matter the Leader of the Opposition is referring to is currently before the courts. I cannot comment. I will repeat today that the case falls within the jurisdiction of the provincial Crown.
Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the families of the four murdered RCMP officers have called for mandatory prison sentences for marijuana grow ops. There were some members over there who actually believed that at one time. The families also want Bill C-17, the marijuana decriminalization bill, scrapped.
Family spokesman Reverend Schiemann said that the Roszkos of this world are laughing at us. He is worried that the Mayerthorpe tragedy could happen again.
The families say it is time to draw the line, but the government, instead of tightening the drug laws is actually slackening them. Decriminalization is a step in the wrong direction.
When will the Prime Minister commit to shelving Bill C-17 permanently and getting on with tightening our laws in the country?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member of two things.
Number one, that bill is a result of a unanimous recommendation by a parliamentary committee which included members of the opposition of that committee.
The second thing is that the bill calls for four new offences to combat grow ops with enhanced penalties. We would ask for the opposition's cooperation to enact that rather than to obstruct it.
Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we thank the professor of justice for that little lecture, but he is wrong. The Liberal government's legacy will be leniency on drugs in Canada, soft on drugs and soft on crime generally.
Crystal meth labs are proliferating around the country. This highly available and addictive drug is having a devastating impact on the lives of Canadians. Just this week, a $2.5 million crystal meth lab was shut down, and B.C. municipal leaders are calling for more drug laws as well.
The Prime Minister knows Bill C-17 can actually increase drug use. When will the Prime Minister show some leadership for a change and introduce mandatory minimum sentences for—
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice.
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member was not paying attention this summer. We moved to reschedule crystal meth. This now increases the penalty from 10 years to life imprisonment with regard to the production and distribution of crystal meth.
The opposition ought to look at what the law is rather than speak in ignorance of the law...........
Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last year, David Dingwall, a former colleague of the Prime Minister in the Chrétien cabinet, spent over $1 million of taxpayers' money. He has resigned, and good riddance. However, the problem goes much further than Mr. Dingwall.
What happened? After the spendthrift ways of André Ouellet at Canada Post, why did the Prime Minister do nothing to stop wasteful spending by his old cronies?
Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question, but I will answer it again.
As I just said, Mr. Dingwall has dedicated his life to the public service. He has been a member of Parliament and a minister and, until today, President of the Royal Canadian Mint. He has just resigned, at a time when the Mint is making a profit. He has just resigned, in part so that he can respond to these allegations.
Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Dingwall has redefined the whole concept of loose change, that is for sure.
Let us look at the facts. The Prime Minister has not tightened the rules, even after David Dingwall lobbied the government when he was an unregistered lobbyist. Every penny wasted by David Dingwall happened on the Prime Minister's watch. Even after André Ouellet resigned from Canada Post, no rules were changed whatsoever. I guess the deal is: do not get caught.
Ten million dollars went to the Prime Minister's friends over at Earnscliffe, and then he appointed more friends to the Senate. Is this muck really Jean Chrétien's fault?
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I simply point out to the hon. member that he might want to go back to last spring and read the report that we tabled in the House and the new instructions to the crown corporations on how they handle their governance in these matters. Each one of them has appointed an audit committee, has strengthened their internal audit functions and the overall policy has been described as leading corporate governance in the country.
Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in 2004, Liberal patronage appointee David Dingwall spent over three-quarters of a million dollars on numerous lavish dinners, excessive international travel, a free car and a swanky limousine, and let us not forget the exclusive golf club to which taxpayers paid for him to belong.
The Prime Minister cannot defend this unbelievable further episode in the Liberal pork opera that his administration has become. By becoming an apologist for Mr. Dingwall and condoning this misconduct, when will he admit that he is encouraging more of the same?
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member to be a little cautious in the words that he uses. Every expense that Mr. Dingwall incurred was reported to his board and was consistent with the guidelines. The corporation that he heads does not receive taxpayer funding. In fact, the corporation that he heads and that he turned around so it reported a profit pays a dividend to the Government of Canada.
Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I thought former porkmaster general André Ouellet, who spent $2 million of taxpayer money without receipt, was the prince of pork, but the new undisputed king of swining and dining is absolutely David Dingwall.
The Prime Minister seems totally incapable of reining in the profligate spending of he and his colleagues and this is just the lastest in a serious of blatant abuses perpetrated by the government against Canadian taxpayers. Dingwall's spending spree took place under the Prime Minister's watch. When did he know or is he going to use the wilful blindness defence again?
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the way that member accounts for things, I could take his office and travel expenses and I could say he is a $600,000 member.
The reality is every expense that was incurred was incurred within the policy of the Mint, was vetted by its senior financial officer and was approved by its board. If he thinks there is something improper there, he should write to the Mint, take it outside of the House and have this discussion with Mr. Dingwall who is now free to do so......
Technology Partnerships Canada
Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC): Mr. Speaker, here is something more about former minister David Dingwall. It had been reported that he had received $350,000 to help Bioniche obtain a grant through Technology Partnerships Canada. This is expressly forbidden by the government's own rules.
Yesterday we learned, however, that Bioniche has in fact paid back $460,000 to the government for violating its agreement. That is more than $100,000 difference.
Will the industry minister come clean on this issue and tell us how much money was paid to that former Liberal cabinet minister?
Hon. David Emerson (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has a contractual relationship with the companies that are in receipt of contributions under Technology Partnerships Canada. We have audited those programs and we have found breaches in those contracts. We are remedying those breaches and recoveries are being made to taxpayers.
Of the $2.8 billion in TPC funds that have been put out, we have got back $14 billion when we consider the amount that private sector companies have spent on innovation in Canada.
Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC): Mr. Speaker, $2.8 billion, 5% repayment, that is the truth about what the government has recovered. The fact about any proprietary information is that this is taxpayer money and taxpayers deserve an answer to these questions.
There is a discrepancy here between $350,000 and $460,000. Why does the government continue to hide how much money former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall received?
Hon. David Emerson (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the government's relationship, under the technology partnerships program, is defined in contracts with business. We are dealing with those contracts, we are remedying the situation and the Canadian economy is benefiting. It is nearly 90% small business that benefits from these programs.
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Justice stated that the Criminal Code is full of examples of mandatory prison sentences, including murder and firearms. He also said that American defence lawyers say that mandatory prison sentences do not work. Big surprise there. The fox wanting to help the chickens out here.
Is the minister proposing to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for murder and firearms offences because he philosophically is opposed to those mandatory prison sentences?
Hon. Paul Harold Macklin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he is philosophically opposed to mandatory prison sentences and yet we have mandatory prison sentences. Those are in danger. Property crime rates in Vancouver and Winnipeg have now overtaken the worst American cities. In addition, thousands of serious violent offenders, including methamphetamine dealers, are getting house arrest, and the minister argues that mandatory prison sentences for murder and firearms offences do not work.
Is the minister proposing to eliminate them?
Hon. Paul Harold Macklin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am not certain what the hon. member does not understand about the word no.........
Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC): Mr. Speaker, just when Canadians were digesting the immigration minister's buffet of expenses, the foreign minister has some explaining to do about his chauffeur's European vacation. As if $8,200 is not bad enough to see the Eiffel Tower, his chauffeur then spent an additional $1,800 to go sunbathing in South America.
When most Canadians can barely afford to go on vacation, how can the minister justify this blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars?
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House that during my official visits I have always brought two staff members with me. This is quite reasonable compared to any other foreign minister who travels.
I can assure all members that there is plenty of work with the long hours we keep. We make sure we keep in contact with Ottawa all the time and do the work that is necessary.
Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC): One has to apply that suntan lotion sparingly, Mr. Speaker.
The Challenger logs show that, when he travels abroad, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is usually accompanied by an RCMP security detail. On two occasions, however, he took his chauffeur along as a “personal security advisor”.
Why did the minister rely on the RCMP for certain trips, but take his chauffeur/security expert on these two trips?
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I can explain it very easily. Anytime I travel on official business, I take two members of my staff with me. This is our practice. There are never more than two staff members. There is plenty of work for two staff members during official visits, to make sure we keep in contact with Ottawa all the time.
I can assure the hon. members that the staff members I take along fulfill their duties very well and very professionally.
"But the avian flu may not remain trivial for long. The virus — known as H5N1 — changes very quickly. Humans have no natural immunity to it. And infected birds may be able to transit it before they show symptoms. Any virus with these characteristics could devastate the human population while causing massive economic and social chaos.
And, indeed, they have: Influenza viruses like avian flu have caused the greatest pandemics in world history. They mutate continually, making it almost impossible to wipe them out entirely. Even today in the United States, the flu kills over 30,000 people each year. But past epidemics have been much worse. Between 1918 and 1919, the Spanish Flu killed 40 million people around the world. Most were children and young adults. Given the world has nearly four times more people and far more efficient means of travel, another pandemic could spread more quickly and kill more people than before. If it were to become transmissible between humans, avian flu might kill 160 million to 200 million people."
An imam who wrote a book on how to beat your wife without leaving marks on her body has been ordered by a judge in Spain to study the country's constitution.
The judge told Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, imam of a mosque in the southern resort of Fuengirola, to spend six months studying three articles of the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights.
Mr. Mustafa was sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined about $2,600 last year after being found guilty of inciting violence against women.
A judge released him after 22 days in jail on the condition that he undertake a re-education course.