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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Press Review

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

The New York Times leads with Red Cross allegations of torture at Guantanamo. On the West Coast, Ukraine leads. The Washington Post features Iran’s nukes.

In the U K, Tony Blair is defending a promiscuous cabinet minister and there’s new hope in Northern Ireland.

In France, the two Iraq hostages are back in the news after a long period of silence; the country has a new finance minister to squeeze out the golden egg without killing the goose.

At home, Tommy Douglas is the Greatest Canadian. This proves, according to CBC producer Mark Starowicz, that there’s no Darwinism in Canada.

Though the CBC went to great lengths last evening to prove the self-evident truth that we’re different from Americans, I would caution visiting US reporters not to interpret this to mean we’re a bunch of creationists up here.

Also, notwithstanding that we ended up siding with France on Iraq at the UN, I would hope no American concludes that we’re like them, speaking either of our official languages.

Come to think of it, even Canadian CBC viewers might be unaware of our differences--so light has been the coverage of l’Héxagone's distinctiveness.

In France, abortions are banned past the 12th week, gay marriage is illegal though civil unions were legalized by the previous (Socialist) government and neo-Nazis are on the rise.

Arabs live in slums that rival Harlem of the 1960s, the President’s salary is an undisclosed state secret and, were it not for immunity laws, Jacques Chirac would have been prosecuted for corruption. Oh, and an ex-foreign minister and an ex-prime minister were tried and convicted.

Today, Canadians’ eyes will be on Ottawa, yet there’s no news of the Bush visit in the Washington Post or in either coast’s Times. But, boy, are our papers ever full of it.

(From Ottawa, here’s Greg Weston’s report on the White House briefing, though you wouldn’t know it from Tim Harper’s report, and he’s in Washington.)

Only, the Wall Street Journal editorial board looks at Canada-US relations on the eve of the Bush visit (which it predicts will be stormy):

“Despite occasional disagreements, the two countries have a better relationship than any other border states in the world -- starting with the $1.2 billion in trade that crosses the border every day. Many Americans would be surprised to learn that Canada -- not Saudi Arabia -- is the biggest oil exporter to the U.S.

The U.S.-Canada relationship has been strained in recent years by disputes over Canadian exports of softwood lumber and beef and by Canada 's decision not to participate in the war on Iraq . It didn't help that until a year ago Canada had a prime minister who was openly scornful of America . But now there's a new PM, a new attitude and a new commitment to improving ties with the U.S….

There's one question on the Friends of America poll where we think the respondents got it wrong. Asked about Americans' views of Canada , only 33% of our friends to the North thought they were positive. Take it from us, the real number is far higher.”

In commentary, Joe Trippi says the Deaniacs can save the Democrat. Brendan Miniter is onto Iran.

The New York Times’ editorial board weighs in on Ukraine, whistle-blowers and drug research tests.

David Brooks explains what makes Evangelicals tick. Robert Malley and Joost Hiltermann are onto Iraq elections.

The Washington Post’s editorial board says the elections should not be postponed.

George Will is onto Putinism, David Ignatius looks at the housecleaning at the CIA.

E. J. Dionne Jr. weighs in on social security, David Broder says there may be other surprises in Bush’s second term.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board also looks at the Iraq elections, along with the marijuana case.

Robert Scheer looks at television. Dirk Laabs says the al-Qa’ida threat is overblown.

Back in the Great White North, the Globe and Mail fronts the Bush buzz in Ottawa and those whose noses are out of joint—along with Ukraine, the fax according to CIBC, and Christie Blatchford on a very lucky 11-year old girl, Tamara Carter.

Inside, Jane Taber has all the poop from Ottawa, the goat has the rest of the gossip.

Stephanie Nolen reports on fighting AIDS in Africa, and on a new radio station in Congo.

Jeff Simpson looks at two peas in a pod:

“The government of Paul Martin should give U.S. President George W. Bush a warm welcome today — by insisting that both Canada and the United States take seriously the matter of global warming.

But, of course, such a conversation wouldn't do much good, because Mr. Bush has wax ears about the problem, and Canada's own record is no roaring hell. So, even if climate change/global warming did arise in the Bush-Martin conversations, it would be a brief, platitudinous conversation. …

That's the way it is in Canada on climate change: lots of talk, plenty of position papers, endless roundtables, high-flying rhetoric but few concrete deeds. At least the serial refuseniks in the Bush administration are honest. They talk little and act less.”

Margaret Wente considers the Sgro affair:

“The worst revelation of the stripper scandal is not that Judy Sgro fast-tracked certain lucky people into Canada , or that her chief of staff held a meeting in a strip joint. It's the news that our government is complicit in human trafficking.

We give work permits to young Romanian women to do a job Canadian women don't want to do. And this job? It's to gyrate virtually naked in front of aroused men, to simulate sex while sitting in their laps, to put on lesbian sex shows, to whip the patrons' buttocks with belts, and to entice them into private VIP “champagne rooms,” where the assignment is to bump and grind (and more) against them until the men obtain sexual release or run out of money, whichever occurs first. That's not dancing, folks. It's not entertainment. It's hooking.

Strip clubs aren't really in the exotic dancing business. They're in the “ejaculation business.” That's a candid quote from Terry Koumoudouros, the strip-club owner who persuaded Ms. Sgro's chief of staff to drop by to discuss his immigration needs — after making a handsome donation to the Liberal Party. (He claims his own club is blameless.)”

Hugh Winsor is also onto Sgro:

“Maybe she and her staff are in over their heads in Ottawa . A more effective politician would have dealt with the both the dancer and ministerial permit issues head-on instead of trying to hide behind an 11th-hour reference to the Ethics Commissioner. Ms. Sgro, if she survives, has a lot to learn.”

John Ibbitson reports that the striped-pants set are disappointed that Canada may end up with no role in Iraq’s elections—we’re too late to train them and it’s too dangerous to observe them voting.

Naomi Klein says Canada should put teeth into its opposition to the US:

“If Mr. Hinzman is granted refugee status, it could well be the last straw, opening the floodgates to other U.S. soldiers who don't want to fight.

During the Vietnam War, 50,000 draft-age Americans came to Canada; a fraction of that could break the back of the war. If Canada once again became a haven for war resisters, it would mean that we were not just quietly opting out of the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. We would be helping to end it.”

The editorial board pans Canada’s spooks:

“the scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's bungling in the days and weeks before the Air-India disaster on June 23, 1985, is staggering…. Two questions. First, why did CSIS keep the full extent of its shoddy work secret for nearly 20 years? Second, has the agency changed its procedures and training to prevent a recurrence?”

Another editorialist weighs in on Ukraine:

“It is vital for the future of a democratic Ukraine that the electoral mess be sorted out peacefully. The best way to do that is to hold a new runoff election carefully monitored by neutral observers, one that is as transparent and free of taint as possible and in which both candidates have reasonable access to the national media. Once Ukrainians have confidence that their democratic rights are being protected, they should be willing to accept the results, regardless of which candidate prevails.”

The Toronto Star fronts Ukraine, Tamara, the battle for DVD supremacy and today's top story--on the Bush visit.

Inside, Mitch Potter reports Hamas is offering a hudna, which he like most everyone else mistranslates as a “ceasefire.” (It’s actually a temporary truce, and is rich in Islamic tradition, which I’ve written about in this book.)

Back in Canada, Jim Travers serves up a fine column on the truth, lies and videotape summit in Ottawa . The editorial board says Paul Martin must put his money where his mouth is if he wants to be a world player.

Tom Walkom defends the same US deserter Naomi Klein defends--and he's old enough to know something about the Vietnam war. Hans Blix says the UN can survive the US. Roy Romanow encourages Ontario to stand up to the doctors.

The National Post and Ottawa Citizen editorial boards welcome George Bush; in Edmonton , they have a beef with Bush. In Montréal, the tall foreheads support higher university tuition.

The Post fronts the Toronto shooting victim, panic attacks, Ukraine and a CanWest report of a new Canada-US weather forecasting agreement.

The Citizen fronts Rod Bryden’s financial woes and Ukraine, along with Bush and more Bush. You’d almost think Ottawans were having a panic attack.

Inside the Citizen, Robert Sibley issues an extraordinary apology for past plagiarism; we’re told he’s been re-assigned from the editorial board.

Charles Gordon weighs in on the US relationship:

“It means a lot to us, nothing to them, and the less it matters to them the more it matters to us.

Canadians are capable of the most thoughtless and vicious form of anti-Americanism. Under certain situations, such as the presence on our soil of the president -- or at least this president -- it is almost automatic.

Yet Canadians are capable of the warmest and most generous feelings of friendship toward the United States . No one could have avoided being moved by the huge rally on Parliament Hill three days after the Sept. 11 attacks. One hundred thousand people were there and their sorrow was genuine.”

In Post commentary, Premier Danny Williams blames everyone but any Newfoundlander for lousy resource deals in the past, and pleads for support in the offshore negotiations with Ottawa .

Terence Corcoran says Stephen Harper is killing conservatism. Claire Hoy says Paul Martin should appoint Alberta ’s elected senators. Paul Wells thinks otherwise, and here’s my take.

Don Martin stamps his feet and says Canada is important to the US. In a front-page column, David Frum knows what he’s writing about:

“The President is not coming to Canada to argue with Canadians about the differences that have divided the two governments in recent years. His private meetings with Prime Minister Martin and others will deal with those disagreements -- and the need to work past them. He will go to Halifax for a very different purpose: to thank the kind people of Atlantic Canada who took stranded American passengers into their homes in the days after 9/11 -- and to showcase the gallant contributions of the Canadian Forces to the military campaigns in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf ….

The methods Bush is testing on this visit will, if successful, soon go global.

Bush is working on the assumption that many allied governments feel that they have allowed their disagreements with the United States to go too far….

Bush seems to have decided that allied anger over the decision to go to war in Iraq has subsided. Whether the allies liked the initial decision or not, they seem to agree that now that the decision has been made, Iraq cannot be allowed to fail. This may explain why -- after a year of trying -- the Bush administration last week succeeded in persuading the European allies and Russia to write off 80% of Iraq 's debt.

He is gambling too that he can reconnect with the broad sensible political middle of public opinion in these countries.”

In the Toronto Sun Peter Worthington is onto missile defence. Christina Blizzard looks at health care, as does Tom Brodbeck in Winnipeg.

In Ottawa, Walter Robinson sat down with John Manley. In Calgary, Paul Jackson poops on Alberta PCs.

TOP STORY

Leaders to sign deal on ending disputes

The Toronto Star’s SUSAN DELACOURT reports:

“Prime Minister Paul Martin and President George W. Bush are expected to sign a deal today touting a "new partnership" between Canada and the United States — complete with a timetable for resolving issues such as the beef ban.”

Posted by Norman Spector on November 30, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

I just the most remarkable article on President
Bush's trip today.
The Canada Press is saying the president is here
to charm us and he better be good at it because
why? We are important to him? We don't need
the U.S.? We are such a big deal in world
affairs? We are such a strong military country
we don't need the U.S.?
This entire article was a joke, and the person
who wrote it must have a ego the size of
Toronto!
Well, I give the president points for trying,
he has never said a bad word about Canada in
public, he has tried to solve problems we have
with them and what do we do? We start thinking
he needs us for something? What? Forces?
loyalty? beef? Americans own more than half
of Canada, and if they don't some other country
does. Check it out. WE NEED THEIR TRADE AND
could even need their forces and help in the
future.

What a bunch of baloney is this? Please
Canadians, grow up. We need some maturity
in our government and more citizens to see the
fact we are no longer important on the world
stage. We have NOTHING to offer.

We certainly have nothing we can point to with
pride anymore as the government is so off the
rails they think France is the way to go.
Get busy and read about France, the only reason
they fought the war was becauses they were
make millions of dollars with Iraq being their
buddy and they are continuing to side with
Iran. What will it take for some real man to
become prime minister? Oh, well we can always
bring the french over to help out if we need too,
right?

Posted by: cjg | 2004-11-30 1:22:40 PM



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