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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

US papers lead with a called-for delay in Iraq’s elections.

UK papers serve up lots of news from Zimbabwe.

The French are closely watching the man who might be their next President.

The incumbent is with Paul Martin at La Francophonie. Like Stephen Harper this weekend, the PM is saying one thing for ears and another for oreilles. The Mayor of Quebec is po'd at him in any language.

Back in Ottawa, some in the parliamentary press gallery are pooh-pooing the Judy Sgro story. However, the queue-jumping stripper continues to play big across Canada, with the notable exception of the Montreal Gazette--where feministas have been running the show in the absence of the Editor.

The New York Times sets up George Bush’s visit. The editorial board looks at drug regulation and global warming.

Meanwhile, federal officials are scrambling to get ready for the Pres. (Here's my take.)

Nicholas Kristof explains why the US should stay in Iraq. David Brooks has good news about poverty.

The Washington Post also sets up the Bush visit. The editorial board is onto Afghanistan ’s drugs and freedom of the press, while their counterparts in Los Angeles look at stem cell research and wolves.

The Globe and Mail fronts Maher Arar, more fax on CIBC, Ukraine and strippers.

Inside, Campbell Clark reports on La Francophonie, Mark MacKinnon on Ukrainian media.

The editorial board looks at Paul Martin promotion of “the responsibility to protect,” which is getting a cool reception because it

“clashes with one of the oldest and strongest tenets of international affairs. For generations, it has been assumed that as long as one nation did not attack or invade another, it could do more or less what it wanted within its borders…. Intervention is a tricky business, and the world is feeling its way forward on this issue. That is why it is so important for Canada to keep talking up the responsibility to protect. For all the doubts and objections, it is an idea whose time has come. Canada is just the country to push it forward.”

That's BS: Martin is getting a cool reception because his interlocutors know that Canada would do very little of the protecting.

In commentary, Rex Murphy obviously knows nothing about music (“It is impossible to understand the popularity of some ancient bands and singers…without allowing for considerable numbing of the brain, and a benign stupor that buried their dreadful lyrics beneath the radar of any self-regarding consciousness. The entire fame and popularity of Bob Dylan is only explicable on a similar subtraction of critical response.”).

However, he makes an interesting point on the differing treatment of tobacco and grass:

“I think what we're seeing here is another illustration of that wonderful irony that goes under the rubric of The Law of Unintended Consequences Peer pressure and remorseless rudeness (driving smokers out of doors) has whittled away at the cohort that looked to tobacco for a friendly lift during each day's many mortifications. But vague signals of approval toward marijuana as an alternate solace, its much-hyped value as a “medicinal” tool (remember the tired line from every party, “I only drink for medicinal purposes”), and the official moves to decriminalize pot, have worked to celebrate the mellowing weed.”

Jeff Simpson supports the Blair/Bush emphasis on democracy and says Canada should get on side:

“For the foreseeable future, U.S. foreign policy's principal focus will be the arc of crisis from Morocco to Pakistan. Within that arc lie four of the world's most potentially or actually dangerous states: Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Countries that want a hearing in Washington will be accorded one, in part, by what they have to say about, and contribute to, stability in that arc. For Canada , that obviously does not mean military muscle; indeed, the United States ' proclivity to use military means to solve political problems, as in Iraq , sometimes makes everything worse.

What Canada can contribute is the means to promote democracy, law and civil society in the countries within this arc, as part of a larger effort extending to a number of countries. Such an effort would not make headlines. It would not produce miracles. There would be setbacks and heartbreaks, as in today's Ukraine.

But it is work Canada can and should do on a much greater scale, provided the proper institutions are in place and with adequate budgets, neither of which applies today. Indeed, the whole effort to promote democracy, law and civil society abroad appears to be going backward, courtesy of the Martin government's foreign-policy review, now in the PM's office.

Unless Paul Martin himself, or a group of ministers, intervenes at the 11th hour, what emerges from the foreign-policy review will be worse than the status quo.

What is needed is an agency at arm's length from the government that can work with all sectors of Canadian society (labour, universities, political parties, bar associations), be non-partisan, encourage and co-ordinate the existing, valuable efforts being made by scattered groups, but have the capacity to act itself.

Call it Democracy Canada, proudly bearing a Maple Leaf, to augment, not replace, what is already being done, because the problem with existing methods is that they lack profile, money, co-ordination and focus.”

Margaret Wente visits Linda Sams’ BC salmon farm and trashes,

“the David Suzuki Foundation, one of the chief opponents of farmed salmon, is well funded by U.S. organizations such as the Packard Foundation. Its message is also supported enthusiastically by the government of Alaska , which wants to keep B.C. out of the farmed-salmon business to protect its own wild-salmon market.

For the Kitasoo First Nation, salmon farming has been a spectacular success. Four years ago, their remote community of Klemtu survived on welfare. Then they teamed up with Marine Harvest. Now every household has a job in salmon farming or processing, and the people have new skills. The Kitasoo retain final say over anything that could affect the environment in their traditional territory. “If it was doing damage to the environment, we wouldn't hesitate a minute to shut it down,” says band chief Percy Starr. …

Linda Sams has complicated feelings about Mr. Suzuki. Unlike him, she's not an absolutist. “You can probably find many good things in his work,” she says. Recently her son's class was assigned to write stories about environmental heroes, and the teacher suggested David Suzuki. “To many, many children he's a hero,” says Ms. Sams. “But for people in our industry. . .” She sighs. “He's a very, very powerful man.”

Heather Mallick is no fan of George Bush but admires a colleague at the Toronto Star who, like her, is a rabble.ca regular:

“The decent thing to do with U.S. President George W. Bush is, as political commentator Thomas Walkom has suggested, to charge the man with war crimes the minute he puts a boot on our soil. Violation of Nuremberg laws and UN rules, use of torture, planned civilian catastrophes, where to start with his shameless evil is the real problem.

But Canadians won't be decent. We'll be realistic. We are not going to arrest him or even photograph his irises as he crosses the border. Our PM is going to put on that eternal jovial look that works only for men in his weight class, say “How ya doing, George?” and hand over the store.”

Today, the Star stuffs Maher Arar and fronts Bhopal twenty years after, gay survivor benefits, a new offer to Ontario doctors and tolerance/intolerance in Holland.

In the Toronto Sun, Christina Blizzard is onto Ontario doctors; Michael Coren is onto US deserters.

Inside the Star, Graham Fraser is with the PM at La Francophonie. Susan Delacourt and Jim Travers set up next week’s Bush visit. Ralph, too, wants a say.

Peter Calamai weighs in on research spending. Lynda Hurst looks at the ticking Doomsday clock.

Mitch Potter reports on the decision of Marwan Barghouti (“a self-proclaimed architect of the four-year Palestinian uprising jailed for his role in planning attacks against Israel”) not to contest the presidential election; you wouldn’t know the chap murdered a Greek Orthodox monk, among others.

Ian Urquhart says the Ontario Grits are losing union allies. Daniel Girard reports on the aftermath of the Alberta election.

Ombudsman Don Sellar says the Star must correct its errors more quickly. I’ll say.The editorial board weighs in on childcare in Ontario and Tinseltown North.

The National Post fronts Ukraine, Judy Sgro and a big divorce award to an unfaithful wife. Yikes, it sure ain't easy being rich.

Inside the Post, entrepreneur Rod Bryden is on the brink. Andrew Coyne weighs in on the immorality of corporate subsidies.

Adam Radwanski is onto gay-ed in Toronto . Robert Fulford looks at a new book by David Horowitz, who crossed from the Left to the Right many years ago:

“Horowitz's new book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Regnery), describes the latest blind alley down which the left has stampeded. Put plainly, American leftists responded to 9/11 by going over to the side of the enemy, radical Islam. They are captives of what Horowitz calls "neo-communism," a combination of romantic yearning for the Soviet empire and unreasoning hatred of capitalism and U.S. power. In practice, this means they sympathize with any force Washington opposes.

After 9/11, when the Americans began fighting the Taliban, leftist demonstrators declared the war in Afghanistan "racist." As Horowitz says, "Within weeks of the most heinous attack on America in its history, radicals had turned their own country into villains."

The editorial board sees progress in Iraq, and says Sgro must go, at least temporarily.

Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette stuffs Sgro and fronts an RCMP raid, seniors’ housing and Ukraine. The editorial board weighs in on a new hospital proposal.

The Ottawa Citizen fronts Arar, Ukraine, life in an Iranian prison and emergency preparedness, or the lack thereof.

The editorial board pans Paul Martin’s international performance; their counterparts at the Calgary Herald poop on Alberta ’s lobbyist rules.

Posted by Norman Spector on November 27, 2004 | Permalink


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