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Monday, November 29, 2004

Press Review

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

US papers lead with Ukraine or Iran or George Bush’s new economic team.

In the UK, an immigration queue-jumping sex scandal--much juicier than our political peccadillo--has not abated.

In France, Gaullists have a new leader who’s interested in the country’s top job.

The New York Times’ editorial board weighs in on medical marijuana.

Bill Safire is onto the oil-for-food scandal and Kofi Annan. Harvard’s Joseph Ney looks at student visas—a problem for many but an opportunity for Canadians.

The Washington Post’s editorial board looks at Black enrolment, and the diamond trade. Sebastian Mallaby is onto medical migration.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board weighs in on oil-for-food. David Baltimore says science is fleeing the US . Greg Critser looks at Big Pharma.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board says the US can’t devalue its way to prosperity. Bret Stephens looks at cabinet-making.

Pete du Pont explains why the Democrats are in the dumpster. John Fund suspects they’re trying to steal an election.

At home, dog companions protested in Ottawa but the city is preparing for the real thing tomorrow. Meanwhile, Downsview resembled Detroit yesterday.

The Prime Minister is back in town after asymmetricaling with Jean Charest at La Francophonie on Iraq, Ivory Coast and the Mideast—which until now you might not have known were areas of concurrent jurisdiction under Canada’s constitution.

Both are pleased with the results, though for different reasons. Toronto Star and Globe and Mail readers will miss most of the byplay covered in detail here yesterday.

In their absence, Stephen Harper was doing his best to make inroads, proposing an expanded international role for Quebec.

With the Quebec wing's position on abortion, subsidies to Bombardier and young offenders, the Conservatives will be able to sell tickets to the March policy conference, which should be the best show in Montreal. 

Yesterday’s statement by Harper about bilingualism in Canada and French in Québec--our top story (reported by the Gazette)--has not been picked up by other media or the Liberals.

Tomorrow, Charest and all the premiers will get face time to express their respective beefs or lay the lumber on George Bush.

Today, the Martinis cock a pre-emptive snoot at Bush in the Star and on the front page of La Presse.

Yesterday, Bush and Condi Rice's local paper carried this piece by an American living in our midst.

Aside from the pre-visit spin, the Star fronts the L. A. Times story on Ukraine, a shoot-out in Toronto and Canadian soldiers crying in Kabul.

Carol Goar is onto the voluntary sector. Tony Clarke says big business is trying to set the Canada-US agenda.

The editorial board adds its voice to last week's call by the  National Post’s call for Judy Sgro to step aside, and weighs in on cancer care and TB.

The National Post fronts Bush, the Toronto gunfire, Ukraine and a poll showing that Canadians think the US is our closest friend.

Inside, business is brisk in Vancouver. Lorne Gunter says terrorism is not born out of poverty.

Finn Poschmann and Jack Granatstein support Canadian participation in missile defence. George Jonas is onto Ukraine.

The editorial board weighs in on freedom of the press, and says the marketplace should determine which languages are needed in the sky.

Elsewhere in the CanWest corral, the Vancouver Sun editorial board weighs in on mental health. Their counterparts in Calgary support the autism decision.

In Victoria, a Palestinian family is considering returning to Gaza. The Montréal Gazette fronts Bush, Ukraine and violence against women.

The Gaz editorial board pans Judy Sgro’s performance, and Irwin Cotler for hinting at a separate aboriginal justice system. L. Ian MacDonald says “the hurried and improvised nature of Bush's visit means nothing of importance is going to be achieved.”

The Ottawa Citizen fronts Ukraine, the RCMP and Maher Arar, city contractors going through a reporter’s trash for them, and Tom Axworthy saying Canada has lost the US’ respect. Susan Riley weighs in somewhat less intelligently on the Bush visit:

“So what is the point of his two-day visit to Canada this week? Are these "summits" anything more than a waste of money, time and energy? Of course they are. They give protesters something to protest and riot police a raison d'etre. They generate footage for the evening news and send a welcome jolt of lightning through the senior ranks of the federal bureaucracy. They create a frisson among diplomats and tagalong dignitaries -- at least among the 700 who will attend the Bush-Martin dinner at the Museum of Civilization Tuesday night. They give everyone involved the illusion that something momentous is happening.

But, if past such events are any indication and we are lucky, nothing momentous will. Nothing important will happen because there is nothing seriously wrong with the relationship between Canada and the United States. Serious compared, say, to the relationship between India and Pakistan, or Israel and its neighbours.”

The editorial board is onto music and copyright, and wants the GG’s budget cut reversed.

In the Winnipeg Sun, Gordon MacFarlane would disagree. In Toronto, Peter Worthington weighs in on the Bush visit. In Calgary, Ezra Levant poops on Ralph Klein and stamps his feet for elected Senators.

The Globe and Mail fronts Bush and beef, Arctic oil drilling, CSIS fumbling and Ukraine.

Inside, Mark MacKinnon reports from Donetsk, Stephanie Nolen from Congo and Geoffrey York from Beijing on a coal mine explosion.

Roy MacGregor says Canada-US relations have been worse—in 1812. Yours truly weighs in on the same subject.

Scotty Greenwood—a former US diplomat in Ottawa --says Canada should use Maria Schriver’s line about supporting Ahh-nold, “We’ve got your back”:

“Canada has been using a trifecta slogan when talking to Americans that is a bit out of date. The slogan goes something like this: “We're your best friend, closest ally, and largest trading partner.” While historically accurate, and a valuable perspective, that particular description of the relationship no longer rings completely true to most Americans, and certainly not to our President.

Good friend, of course; but best friend? Today, most Americans would say Australia is our best friend.

Important ally, yes; but closest ally? If forced to choose, we would probably pick the United Kingdom.

Largest trading partner? Well, yes, but not for long; soon Mexico will have that claim.”

Also in commentary, Lysiane Gagnon is onto assisted-suicide. William Thorsell reviews Daniel Libeskind’s autobiography.

Deborah Yedlin says Husky might really be taken over this time. Bruce Little serves up some fascinating numbers:

“Here's some good news about Canada 's provinces. The gap between the best and worst economic performers narrowed dramatically in the past four decades, mainly because of gains by the poorest.

In the early 1960s, average earnings of people in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador were just over half the national level. By 2003, PEI was at 76 per cent of the Canadian average and Newfoundland was close to 74 per cent. …

Ontario lost ground in the 1960s and 1970s, while Alberta made big gains, but both simply held steady in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2001-03, Ontario was 9 per cent above the national average (down from 20 per cent above four decades earlier), while Alberta was 19 per cent above (compared with slightly below average in the early 1960s).

British Columbia recorded the biggest slide — to 5 per cent below the national average lately from about 10 per cent above in the early 1960s and 1980s. Quebec gained some ground, while Manitoba and Saskatchewan slipped back.”

While the poorest made steady gains, the richest turned in showings that were consistently 10 per cent to 20 per cent above the Canadian figure. The result is that the gap between the top and bottom narrowed — to about 45 percentage points from 68 points.

John Doyle serves up the winners of his unique competition:

“The final standings in the Most Irritating Canadian (television-related) competition are as follows: 1) The Canadian Tire guy and Ben Mulroney; 2) Shelagh Rogers; 3) Gordon Pape; 4) Paul Martin; 5) Jian Ghomeshi; 6) Sheila Copps; 7) Ralph Klein; 8) The Lakota commercial guy; 9) Don Cherry; 10) Rex Murphy.”

The editorial board examines the case of Sergio Arana Martinez, who remained in Canada though ordered deported and eventually abducted and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl:

“It would be a shame if Canada squandered the good feelings much of the country has toward immigration because it allowed problems to fester. Immigrants contribute to this country's economic growth and dynamism. Canada needs tough immigration standards because it believes in immigration.”

A second editorialist dumps on Chief Julian Fantino:

“If [the police] insist on publicizing the names of those arrested, they must give equal weight to the dropping of charges or to court acquittals. Society has a powerful interest in suppressing child pornography, but not at the expense of destroying innocent lives.”

Posted by Norman Spector on November 29, 2004 | Permalink


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I am somewhat surprised that none of these media personages picked up on the anniversary of UN Resolution 181 on the partition of western Palestine. There is a 65-participant "blogburst" to commemorate the vote:


Posted by: Charles MacDonald | 2004-11-29 8:34:11 AM

Is the capitalization of the word "Black" in this context a new victory for the cause of correctspeak or just sloppy management of the shift key?

Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-29 9:30:39 AM

Neither of the above.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-11-29 11:32:13 AM

Must be Conrad Black, then.


Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-29 11:51:04 AM

Or the Black Caucus.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-11-29 3:57:50 PM

Ok, whatever you say, Norm. I look forward to the first press review in which you reference articles discussing White students, White enrollment or White supremicists....


Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-29 5:06:49 PM

How about South African Whites?

Here's one of the Encarta entries on each:

dark-skinned: belonging to an African ethnic group, or to any other ethnic group with very dark skin

pale-skinned person: a member of a people with pale skin, especially one of European ancestry

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-11-30 1:22:11 AM

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