Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spaghetti man

Yesterday, I wrote the Senate would hear a question on Brian Mulroney and Airbus. Today, it happened:


Terry M. Mercer (Liberal):

Honourable senators, I rise today to direct questions to the Leader of the Government in the Senate regarding a more than 10-­year-­old story of corruption in high places, a story called the Airbus scandal or the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney had what has been characterized as an unusual financial relationship with one Karlheinz Schreiber, a relationship shrouded in industry, which involved others as well.

Canadians will remember that Mr. Mulroney brought a lawsuit against the Government of Canada for alleged damage to his reputation regarding monies that he denied having received from Mr. Schreiber. These allegations have been pursued against Mr. Mulroney through the Canadian Department of Justice and the RCMP.

Mr. Mulroney was subsequently awarded a magnificent sum of $2.1 million to satisfy his hurt feelings. It has since been revealed that Mr. Mulroney may have lied under oath about receiving monies from Mr. Schreiber.

There is now evidence that Mr. Mulroney received three allotments of $100,000 cash at various hotels in Canada and the United States from Mr. Schreiber. It was unclear whether the cash was in brown envelopes, whether they were $100 bills, $20 bills or whether the envelopes were slipped over or under the table.

It is now apparent that Mr. Mulroney's defence, who joined the initial stages of the court proceedings, has unravelled, exposing Mr. Mulroney's real behaviour.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm that new proceedings have begun against Mr. Mulroney in order to recover the monies paid to him by the Government of Canada?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)), Conservative:
I thank the honourable senator for his question. The premise of the question is totally false, and there is nothing more to be said on this matter.

Senator Mercer:

According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, the Department of Justice explored the possibility last February, after this government took office, of setting aside the 1997 $2.1 million settlement with Mr. Mulroney because of allegations that the former Prime Minister had indeed accepted $300,000 in cash from German­Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

Recently released documents show that a department official prepared a draft briefing note outlining how, under Quebec law, the government might seek to set aside Mr. Mulroney's settlement. The draft briefing note was written shortly after CBC program, The Fifth Estate, aired a documentary that described allegations that Mr. Mulroney accepted cash from Mr. Schreiber that had been withdrawn from Swiss bank accounts linked to the Airbus affair, information that I spoke about earlier. This information also reveals that the then newly Minister of Justice, Vic Toews, office requested the briefing note in the first place. On February 9, the minister's office asks for information on the Schreiber case.

I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate again: Can she confirm that new proceedings will begin against Mr. Mulroney in order to recover the monies since the government's own Department of Justice is wondering why this settlement was ever made in the first place? When will Canadians get their money back?

Senator LeBreton:

I thank the honourable senator for his question. Again, what he states is totally false. I invite him to repeat those statements outside the chamber.

Mr. Mulroney has done nothing wrong or illegal and the premise of the honourable senator's question is false. This matter is settled and there is absolutely no truth to what the honourable senator has just stated. There is no truth to The Fifth Estate program, which appeared at this time last year. The matter is closed. Mr. Mulroney is a wonderful individual, was a very good Prime Minister and does not deserve this kind of treatment.

Speaking to the Nation

I wish I had the time to go to Montreal Thursday (12:30 at McGill's Leacock Pavillion) to hear Gilles Duceppe make his pitch to the students of McGill University. Maybe today's crop of undergrads might actually buy what Duceppe is selling, but I suspect, back in the day, Stephen Leacock, a man who understood economics, history and humour, would have dimissed the separatist project with a boozy laugh.

Fixed election dates

Not dates for fixed elections.
Remember this one?


Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act.
(This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to provide that, subject to an earlier dissolution of Parliament, a general election must be held on the third Monday in October in the fourth calendar year following polling day for the last general election, with the first general election after this enactment comes into force being held on Monday, October 19, 2009. The enactment also provides that the Chief Electoral Officer may recommend an alternate day if the day set for polling is not suitable.)


It's being studied in a Senate committee this week, and it looks like it will pass. Effectively, there would be an election campaign period of about seven weeks (the time between Labour Day and Election Day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Harper on Kyoto, 2002

From Maclean's rapidly-improving web page comes a CP story on Harper's 2002 letter on on the Kyoto accord, sent out when Harper was leader of the Canadian Alliance.
Maybe he should have stuck to his guns so we could have a real, adult, informed discussion on climate change instead of the damned juvenile posturing I seee in Parliament and on TV.
I'm going to be a heretic and say I agree with Harper about the carbon credit scheme, another one of Maurice Strong's bizarre schemes to transfer cash from wealthy countries to the third world. What do you think these countries will do with that money? My guess: use part of it to build more factories and stimulate economic growth so their citizens have more cars, need more electricity, burn more fossil fuels.
The science on Kyoto is still shaky. Yes, there is some very distressing climate change. The climate, however, is always evolving. What's the base line? The 1930s, with its years of prairie drought and hard winters? The mid-19th century, which was the end of the Little Ice Age? The early 13th century, when the Little Ice Age began and the world was warmer than it is now? Roman times, when North Africa was far wetter and was the breadbasket of Rome?
I want to read several good, objective books discussing the impact of man on the climate. Feel free to list some in the comments section.

Quote of the day

Mike Lake (Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, CPC):

As for the opposition leader's now famous dog named Kyoto, my seven year old daughter could name every one of her stuffed animals A-plus, but she would still have to take responsibility if she earned an F on her report card.

(Narrowly beats out this:

Ken Dryden (York Centre, Lib.) :
Mr. Speaker, last night was a very special night that I can only wish for everyone some day in their own way.)

Dryden's number was retired by the Canadiens last night.

Auditor-General fires environment commissioner

In her press release, Sheila Fraser says the Environment Commissioner is "leaving...to pursue other opportunities".
Like resume writing and EI form-filing?
It's not nice when officers of Parliament tap-dance around the truth -- or worse.


The Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, has appointed Ron Thompson, FCA as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) on an interim basis, effective today. He will be replacing Johanne Gélinas, who is leaving the position to pursue other opportunities.

Mr. Thompson joined the Office of the Auditor General in 1977 and has served as an Assistant Auditor General since 1985. He has been responsible for financial and performance audits, including several with environmental and sustainable development components. Mr. Thompson has agreed to defer his retirement plans temporarily in order to serve as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on an interim basis until the next Commissioner is named.

Ms. Gélinas was appointed Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in August 2000, following a career as an advisor to business and to federal and provincial governments on environmental and sustainable development issues. She succeeded the first Commissioner, Brian Emmett, who served from June 1996 to January 2000.

Ms. Fraser thanked the outgoing Commissioner for her service to the Office of the Auditor General, to Parliament and to Canadians. “Madame Gélinas and her team have done valuable work assisting Parliamentarians through their audits of government’s management of its environmental and sustainable development responsibilities,” she noted.

The Auditor General also announced that she is taking this opportunity to review the Office’s environmental and sustainable development audit practices. This review will be similar to reviews of its financial and performance audit practices that the Office has undertaken in recent years.

The Auditor General plans to complete the review by this fall, and hopes to begin the search for a new Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development shortly afterwards. In the meantime, Ms. Fraser will work closely with the interim Commissioner.

The position of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was established in December 1995 by amendments to the Auditor General Act. Appointed by the Auditor General, the Commissioner leads a group of auditors specialized in environment and sustainable development. The Commissioner is responsible for assessing whether federal government departments are meeting their sustainable development objectives, and for overseeing the environmental petitions process, and reports to Parliament on behalf of the Auditor General.

Great Moments in talking Points: Climate Change Denier, Part II

Dion kicked off Question Period today by alleging, again, that Harper is a "Climate Change Denier".
I really have to wonder who's advising Dion on his English phraseology. "Climate change denier" is a phrase that reeks of cynicism and is, quite simply, a smear. It invokes images of "holocaust deniers", lumping people who have qualms about buying the entire climate change issue with people who deny the existence of death camps, gas chambers and mass graves.
As a member of the family of a holocaust victim, I take great offence.

After Question Period, Liberal environment critic David McGuinty used the phrase during press interviews:


He (Harper) still is a climate change denier. I don’t believe it for a second. A month ago, two months ago in the Toronto Star he said that this was so-called climate change or so-called greenhouse gases. Not only that but he went as far as betraying his fundamental ignorance about the fact that he’s going to lose a lot of money -- we’re going to lose a lot of money in this country if we don’t aggressively pursue the Kyoto agenda and go out and make a lot of money, as my leader says."


McGuinty might remind himself that his brother, Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, refuses to shut down the largest single greenhouse gas emitter in Canada, the Nanticoke coal-powered electricity generating station.

Then Dion says it again, in his scrum:


Question:
Mr. Dion, what about this — Mr. Dion, en anglais, this letter, sir, that was released today?

Stéphane Dion:
Of Mr. Harper?

Question:
Of Mr. Harper?

Stéphane Dion:
One among so many others that shows that Mr. Harper has been consistently a climate change denier.

Today's scoops

Bernard Roy, former Chief of Staff to Briam Mulroney and chief counsel at the Gomery Inquiry, has been appointed to head the Montreal Port Authority.
The announcement hasn't been officially announced, but word is spreading on the Hill.

* * *

While none of the Opposition parties in the House seem too interested in corruption, the Senate will be asked in mid-week to look into the issue of Brian Mulroney's acceptance of $300,000 in cash from Airbus Karl-Heinz Schreiber for consulting about a "pasta business". Schreiber is still fighting extradition to Germany, where he's wanted for his role in a bribery scandal that destroyed the Christian Democrat government and ended the career of Helmut Kohl. Schreiber's bail is guaranteed by, among others, former Trudeau finance minister Marc Lalonde and retired Tory minister Elmer McKay, who's father of foreign minister Peter McKay.

Such a small world.

Those crazy vert paleontologists

Miniaturisation is not uncommon in nature: waist-high woolly mammoths hung on in a few Russian Arctic islands until the time that the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. But people?
Labelling these people "hobbits" was a terrible thing to do, cheapening an important scientific discovery with yet another pop-culture reference. The argument over whether these small people were actually a different species of human or were Homo sapiens with some rather deastic health problems has gone on for some time.
Now, supposedly it's settled. The question that lingers, however, is this: How long did that species last? Are they still around? The locals have considerable lore about small people sneaking into their villages and ripping them off. But then, many cultures have "little people" stories. Are they folk memories of a time when small people co-existed with modern man? Are they stories of these small people of Indonesia, passed by story-tellers to the far ends of Eurasia?
It's all pretty bizarre.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cheapening the Holocaust

Stephan Dion and his handlers think it's cute to call Stephen Harper a "climate change denier", and, when reporters in the scrum ask him if he's paralleling climate change to the Holocaust, immediately goes into weasel mode:

Reporter's question:
You're using the term climate change denier. Is that akin to equating disagreeing with you on Kyoto with denying the Holocaust?

Hon. Stéphane Dion:
No, no. That the prime minister is denying climate change. He said that many times. He was opposed to any initiative the Liberal government did in the past. He threatened the government to go in election because we wanted to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
He's still a denier regarding climate change.


Now, here's how it should be done: straight, with facts, concise. Liberal environment critic David McGuinty knows his file:


Question:
Mr. McGuinty, the UN Climate Change Report is coming out Friday. How important of a report is this for policy makers?

David McGuinty:
It's going to be an extraordinarily important report because it's going to tell us, I'm sure that the situation is actually more grave than we actually thought it was. It's going to tell us that the last 12 months has been a colossal waste of time. The government does not consider environment a priority. It's not in the Throne Speech.
It's not in the economic update. It wasn't one of their so-called five priorities. We know and Canadians know even this new Clean Air Act was not required. We could have regulated greenhouse gases under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act from the beginning and this farce of a game, Bill C-30 could have been stopped and we could be moving now to regulate greenhouse gases.

What I Learned Today

Things I'd either forgotten or just hadn't learned:

* Ottawa is more interesting when the House is sitting.
* The Chretien years were long ago and far away.
* Very few people on Parliament Hill get to speak their minds, or even use them.
* Never, ever order the fake crab fried rice in the fifth floor cafeteria. It is utterly disgusting.
* The Library of Parliament is the most beautiful man-made space in Canada.
* Magazines, especially those that deal with serious issues, are dying fast. Pick up a copy of Time, the Economist, the latest Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine and Maclean's and see. Yes, it's a slow time of year for ads, but there are some pretty obvious problems. Magazines like the New Yorker, Harpers and the Atlantic seem to be swimming against the tide. My take? Quality of writing, provincialism and stale ideas are problems in the sick publications. The ones that do relatively well spend a lot of money on very good writing.
* Bloggers are politically important only in the minds of bloggers and "mainstream" journalists. Anyone who does this for anything other than fun, as a form of intellectual doodling, or in hopes of attracting anything more than a handful of friends, will almost certainly be disappointed.
* We're nowhere near an election right now.
* Canada is fatally wounded, and its chance of recovering -- being anything more of a federal state than, say, the EU -- is non-existent. I blame the "Quebec is a Nation" resolution, and I suspect, unless Harper strips naked and climbs the outside of the Peace Tower with cleats and carrying Belinda Stronach, the resolution, and its awful fallout, will be what history remembers him for. And I think it doesn't matter what he does, even if he's in for a decade.
* The provinces have managed to sluff a lot of trouble onto the national government, and it's now stuck permanently on Ottawa. And Quebec is not the worst offender. Ontario and Alberta, especially in the areas of environment and spending, have escaped from taking serious responsibility for the two most important political files.

QP: Day 1

Pre QP Highlights:

Watching Ralph Goodale praise Joni Mitchel, listing her greatest hits and the bands she's been connected with and inspired, makes me wonder if maybe Ralph had another life. The mental picture of Ralph grooving to Joni is one that just doesn't -- or shouldn't -- stick long in my mind.

* * *

Good news and bad news for Ken Dryden:
They're retiring his hockey sweater number.
And Dion made remarks about it in h'Englush.

* * *

Here's the gist of the leader's round of questions:

QP starts with a Dion-Iggy left hook on Harper's environment policy, answered by Harper and Baird (the only two people who are allowed to make statements of substance).

Dion to Harper (in French): Do humans create gasses that create climate change?
Harper: Yup. And the Tories, unlike the Libs, will spend to fix the problem.

Dion: "Will 'Arper admit he's a climate change denyer?

Harper: You not only have to believe something, then do something about it. "This member, when in government, signed the Ktoto protocal, then did nothing to get it done."

Dion: When he was in opposition, PM did everything he could to stop climate change initiatives...

Harper: The Liberals did nothing, had no initiatives.

Iggy: Will Canada work with international partners to develop long-term and binding plan?

Baird: Yes. "But it also takes real action in Canada..."

* * *

Duceppe raises a question on the Boeing contract: Where's Quebec's 60% of the spin-offs?

Harper: Government does not intend to interfere in the distribution of contract work.

Duceppe: But there was no call for bids? Ontario's auto industry is protected. Why should Quebece not have its 60%?

Harper: Boeing was the only company that could meet the specs. If Quebec becomes independent, Quebec won't get any spin-offs.

Duceppe: We'll see, after we get independence.

Maxime Bernier, in pink shirt and tie: There will be work for everyone. "This government will not interfere in private contracts."

* * *

Jack Layton, in French: Will the government speed things up in the special committee to do something about climate change?

Harper: We are taking action.

Layton: Tory ideas drawn from the terrible record opf the previous administration. Both the Liberfals and the NDP brought more than 40 witnesses to the committee. They should get a delay of game penalty.

Harper: Lists off the money spent on various environment initiatives.

The CBC's take on it, which is pretty accurate. Here's CP's take via the Globe and Mail.

Very sad news

Heartbreaker.

Day 1 of the new session

MPs are chewing up the rug on the International Bridges and Tunnels Act.
Could be big news if you're in Prescott, Brockville, Gananoque, Niagara Falls, Windsor, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie and Fort Frances, ON.
Most of our trade moves across those bridges. The vast majority of international tourism uses them, too.
There's a handful of MPs in the house, ten at most.

The Passed Torch

Looking frail, old and very well-taylored, Allan Fotheringham just came into the press gallery office. Older journos are a reminder to me how tenuous is just about any "media heavy"'s existence. A change in management, the whim of an editor, and you're gone. Not just as a columnist, Hill reporter or an employee. You, as a person, are nothing in political reporting. Your place in the hierarchy, and the interest of many "friends", depends solely on your position, which is rarely earned and is always in someone else's gift. And, with gthe sorry state of media, most journos have no chance of finding a new job if they lose the ones they have. At best, like so many other Hill reporters, they might find work as a lobbyist or shilling as a PR person at a government agency. Not exactly glory. That's why I've believed it's so important to be able to do other things. People may laugh at the bug below and mock me for posting it, but it's worth about $5,000. Even better, to make that five grand (in equity. It's not for sale), I didn't have to kiss anyone's ass or watch every word I've said and written. I've sometimes stepped on my own toes, but it feels good to be free.

New kind of trilobite


This rather nasty and ugly bugger turned up while last fall's fossil crop was being cleaned. Not pretty, but it is something completely new.
For the lay person, it's a trilobite that looks like a blend of two other ones, a "missing link"
For the trilo fans, it's a lower Bobcaygeon Fm. (Middle Ordovician) cheirurid that was found in a unit that contains fairly common Gabriceraurus and has the general shape and the spine configuration of that trilobite, but has the pustulation of a Bufoceraurus. 3.5"
Found in Ottawa, On.

Kindler, gentler beatings

The Syrians say they no longer use the same kind of nasty interogation techniques that made them look bad in the Maher Arar affair. It's the first indirect confirmation that Arar was, in fact, worked over by the Syrians. It's also a fairly good explanation of why Syria isn't getting the volume of traffic from the U.S. that it did back in the days when Arar was packed off to Damascus.

Grim news for the North

This merger is almost certain to be the kiss of death for several mill towns, especially Thunder Bay, where both companies own large mills.

UPDATE
Did Hill reporters ask Natural Resources minister/lumber czar David Emerson about this today?
Nope. Instead, they were interested in whether Emerson ruffled feathers in China by bringing up China's human rights problems while visiting China during the Parliamentary break.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Superbowl slamdunk

How do you snuff a Liberal leader who tries to portray himself as a smart, left-of-centre technocrat?
Remind people he can't deliver the goods.
Now, it won't work unless the Tories can convince people they can do better.

Using links

Well, I figured out how to use links.
It was annoying to want to quote articles and not know how to link to complete versions. This is going to make the blog a lot better.


The House resumes tomorrow. People are no longer treating this like an election session.
If we do continue through the winter, spring and into the fall, some of the Tories' criminal law legislation might actually get out of committee, through the House and into the Senate. There are about ten bills that have the ire of the criminal bar, and I expect groups like the Canadian Criminal Lawyers Association and the Canadian Bar Association will be camped on the Hill, especially in late spring and in the fall.
Afghanistan will induce lots of puffery, though no one will likely change positions on this. Crushing the Taliban by taking the war to them ,wherever they are, establishing a more solid regime than Karzai's -- maybe a return to the monarchy -- and declaring victory seems to me like a workable exit strategy.
In Iraq, US-British forces need to do the same thing. The execution of Saddam might have been a good time to go. I suspect the end result of this war will be the partition of Iraq and, to maintain peace, a mechanism for sharing oil revenues between the parts of Iraq that have oil and those that do not.
You'll hear lots about environmental policy, but the media won't clearly explain that the big polluters -- oil wells and coal-powered electricity generators -- are under provincial jurisdiction, as are car exhaust inspections and most other environmental rules. While Dalton McGuinty's liquor monopoly plays "Green" by starting recycling of booze bottles, Ontario Hydro's Nanticoke power plant remains the biggest polluter in the country. Anyone who thinks mainstream pols like Harper and McGuinty have had some kind of environmental awakening is dreaming.
I'd expect a few rabbits being pulled from some hats: an expanded investigation into shady ad dealings by the Liberals across the country; some bail-outs for cities in the midst of budget battles; the killing off of the wheat board.
This is an election year in Ontario, and probably in Quebec and Alberta. With some luck, people will realize what a sleazy regime we have at Queen's Park. There are some upstanding members of the provincial Cabinet -- smart, good people like Jim Watson -- but the election machine is operated by sleazebags for sleazebags. The only way it will be cleaned up will be through public demands for meaningful lobbying and campaign contribution laws. Ottawa is partway there. Toornto hasn't moved on this at all, and I blame, partly, the Queen's Park press corps.
And just a hunch, a gut feeling really: we're going to see a merger in the media that will piss everyone off, something really big like Rogers/Maclean's/the Sun chain or TorStar/Sun or even CanWest/Torstar or CanWest/Globemedia.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Comments

This Blogger software really has problems. I can't seem to get comments enabled.

Blogging?

Blogging is so 2006.

But if you're looking for the Kinsella archives, they're here:
http://mdbourrie.googlepages.com/kinsellaarchives


Otherwise, when -- or if -- I'll post, it won't be about that silly old bore.

I'm still very booked up these days, but there are some things I'm tempted to blog on. Please check back in a few days.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just in case somebody stops by...

The e-mail came to me a while back from B'nai Brith.
Two questions:
(1) What happened to this wicked resolution?
(2) Why haven't bloggers and the media covered this?
I suspect many high-profile bloggers are more concverned with sucking up to the OSSTF and other unions than in doing thr right thing.




Follow-up:

The resolution was turned down
This was the right thing to do. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict won't be solved by the OSSTF, especially by the union passing resolutions that are so blatantly biased towards one side.
Israel-Palestine is an issue that many people are very emotional about. Palestinian and Muslim children, and Jewish children, attend Ontario's secondary schools. Jews and mid-East Muslims teach in those schools. There should be places where all sides can feel sheltered from this ugly fight, and the schools are one such place. The union should stick to issues of salaries and working conditions, and not take up sides in an issue that doesn't directly affect its members in the course of their work. CUPE, too, is playing out of its league.

-----------------------

On Thursday, January 18, 2007, the Council of the Secondary Teachers Bargaining Unit (STBU) (part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation – District 12 Bargaining Unit) will be voting on one-sided motions that vilify Israel. In December, 2006 we alerted you about a similar motion calling for support of the CUPE-Ontario’s boycott of Israel. Your vocal opposition made the difference and that motion was removed from the agenda. It is time to make your voices heard once again.

What can you do to oppose these motions, which does not advance union interests, but instead seeks to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel?

FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE ISSUES.

The STBU Council which is made up of local union representatives from the district will be meeting beginning at 4:30 pm on Thursday, January 18, 2007. The agenda and motions before the STBU Council can be viewed at http://www.osstfd12.com/artman/documents/council/agen_jan_07.pdf

The proposed motions are in step with the anti-Israel propaganda that has increasingly been advanced at the union level, often at times not reflecting the point of view of individuals belonging to these unions and in whose name the vicious anti-Israel falsehoods are being spread.

Five Points Against the STBU Anti-Israel Motions

Similar One-Sided Motions on the Arab-Israeli conflict have been widely condemned by international human rights groups.
This proposed motion casts Israel as the lone villain solely responsible for hostilities in the Middle East. Notably, it fails to mention the use of terror by Palestinian factions or Hezbollah. Recently, such one-sided resolutions of the Arab-Israeli conflict have been widely condemned. Note:

Amnesty International’s condemnation of a similarly worded resolution taken at the United Nations Human Rights Council concerning Israel-Lebanon conflict which “put politics before lives.” Source: http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE020142006
Human Rights Watch concluded that another one-sided Human Rights Council resolution on the situation in the Palestinian Territories “failed to address acts of violence by Palestinian armed groups or to recognize that Palestinian authorities can help to resolve the situation.” Source: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/06/isrlpa13701.htm

Every Country has the Universal Human Right to Live in Security
The Resolution neglects any mention of Israel’s right to defend itself - a right accorded to all states - and instead calls its response to continued rocket attacks and kidnappings “aggression.” It makes no mention of the legitimate rights of all people to security and assumes Israel has built a security fence which serves no purpose but “separation” and the intentional imposition of hardship on the lives of Palestinians.

The Proposed Motions Support Sponsoring Terrorist Organizations:
The call to end sanctions by Canada is a call to support Hamas, a terrorist group outlawed by Canada, which has consistently refused to recognize the state of Israel, is infamous for its use of suicide bombers to maximize civilian casualties, and advocates the destruction of Israel. This position not only goes against the position of government bodies internationally, it also violates Canadian government policy. Furthermore, the OSSTF resolution implicitly advocates a policy that is in direct contravention to Canadian anti-terror legislation.

The Proposed Motions Introduces a Biased View of the Conflict into Ontario Classrooms.
Rather than serving the cause of peace and understanding, this motion calls on the provincial Human Rights Committee to develop pedagogic materials that pick sides. These motions violate equity policies that govern teachers in their classrooms.

The Incoherence of the Proposed Motions.
Why do these motions isolate Israel, a Western democracy, when gross violators of human rights such as Sudan, China, and Iran are regularly ignored by the union? Why is there a double-standard when it comes to Israel? Teachers in Great Britain had the moral clarity and courage to defeat similar resolutions and reject any suggestion of boycotts for just these reasons. Do Canadians?

Other points to consider

It follows on the Canadian Union of Public Employee’s Ontario (CUPE-Ontario) Resolution 50 which was passed this summer. B’nai Brith Canada charged that the resolution was inherently biased and discriminatory, betraying a politically-charged agenda, which did nothing to advance the cause of Middle East peace. At the time, B’nai Brith Canada circulated a Manifesto denouncing the CUPE-Ontario boycott and reaffirming support for democratic Israel, which was signed by more than ten thousand Canadians. The Manifesto exposed the boycott for what it was: a thinly veiled attempt to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel. This document can be accessed by clicking on the following link: http://www.bnaibrith.ca/CUPEPetition.html.

The OSSTF-D12 in its newsletter (“The D12 Voice”, Volume 8, No. 2, November 2006) published articles in support of the CUPE-Ontario boycott. The CUPE article in D12 Voice refers to Israel as the “racist, violent system”. This is in the face of relentless terrorist activities against Israeli civilians and the brutal killing of young children by Palestinian “militants” just in the news. Individuals wanting to consult this material for background purposes can click on the following link:

http://www.osstfd12.com/artman/documents/D12_voice/2006_2007/November_06.pdf

The resolution also follows on CUPE’s Educators for Peace and Justice “education tour” launched last month which furthers the anti-Israel campaign.

Clearly this one-sided campaign that furthers untruth and propaganda must be stopped. . This issue directly affects members of the OSSTF-D12 union, but resonates far beyond – impacting on the Ontarian and Canadian community as a whole.

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT. Express yourself in an informed but at all times civil manner.

IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE OSSTF:

i)Be sure to make your views known to your local bargaining unit and president. It is your local rep that will be voting on the motions. Contact your local union representatives and the executive of OSSTF (District 12). Tell them that such motions have no place in your union. The contact information for the OSSTF executive is available by clicking on the following link:
http://www.osstfd12.com/artman/publish/article_89.shtml

IF YOU ARE A CONCERNED COMMUNITY MEMBER:

ii) Share the information provided here as widely as you can: via email, phone or fax. Call the OSSTF-D12 office to express your concerns. Write letters so that the immediate impact of these letters will be felt.

Phone 416-393 8900

Fax 416-393-8912

Email the District 12 president Doug Jolliffe at djolliffe@osstfd12.com.

*Further Contact info for executive officers is available by clicking on the following link:

http://www.osstfd12.com/artman/publish/article_22.shtml.

iii) Write letters to the editor of the d12 Voice voicing your opposition: d12voice@onebox.com OR send via fax 1-877-302-3681. Don’t stop there. This is a wider community issue. Write letters to your local newspapers as well.