Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mid-Week Post

Quickly now...

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed Parliament today and thanked Canada for its generosity and support:

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told Canadian parliamentarians there is no turning back to the "awful days" of the Soviet Union for his country.

The leader was in Ottawa on Wednesday, meeting with politicians and Ukrainian immigrants.

In his address to Parliament, Poroshenko thanked Canada for its unqualified support and lamented that "today, Ukrainians are paying a high price for what we believe in - freedom and democracy."

"Now is the real fight for our independence," Poroshenko said.

More than 3,000 Ukrainians have died since conflict began late last year when then-president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich declined to ratify a trade deal with the European Union in favour of forging close ties with Russia. That led to the overthrow of the Yanukovich government, which then raised the ire of Russia, and ethnic Russians within Ukraine.

Earlier in the week, Poroshenko ratified that trade deal with the E.U. but also made painful concessions to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, including allowing them to appoint their own judges, form their own police forces and participate in programs that would strengthen ties to Russia.

Harper was the only foreign leader to attend Poroshenko's swearing in ceremony last spring.
Canada also sent several hundred observers to oversee the election.

More observers will be sent to oversee Ukraine's parliamentary election Oct. 26 - something for which Poroshenko praised and thanked Canada.

"I look forward to Canadians coming to that (to) ensure (the election is) free and fair," Poroshenko said.

But he also spoke of the continuing Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and asked Canada to supply more military aid including "signal intelligence" and surveillance equipment.

Canada has already delivered several plane-loads of humanitarian aid and military supplies.

Shortly before Poroshenko's address, the government announced an additional $3 million in such funding.

That will go directly to aid groups, including the Red Cross already operating in Ukraine.

More broadly, Poroshenko talked of a global "common goal" in the fight against terror, and thanked Canada for being among the countries actively working to unite the world and send a strong message to Russia.

Oh dear:

The tumour in Rob Ford's abdomen, the discovery of which led the mayor of Toronto to drop out of the election last week, is both malignant and rare, according to medical authorities.

Dr. Zane Cohen of Mount Sinai Hospital's surgical team addressed the media today to provide an update on Ford's medical condition, which, he noted, was done due to great public interest.

He said a repeat biopsy was done Monday on "the mass," meaning the abdominal tumour.

"The diagnosis is a malignant liposarcoma," said Cohen, which is a form of cancer that arises in fat cells in deep soft tissue; it is, Cohen said, a rare and difficult tumour to treat.

"It has about 60 different cell types and that's what makes it a very rare tumour and a very difficult tumour," he said.

"We have not found cancer" in Ford's organs, Cohen noted, later adding that the tumour appears "very aggressive" based on its size after its recent discovery and that it has been growing since well before that, but Cohen added that the treatment plan is also aggressive, involving an initial three days of chemotherapy, a rest day and an 18-day "washout period" before possible subsequent 40-day cycles over the treatment plan, which Cohen said is to begin within the next 48 hours.

A hike in minimum wage ignores the cost of big government, the inflated cost of living and squeezes out those who need to work but don't let facts get in the way of a good campaign:

On Tuesday, Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats introduced a doomed-for-failure motion in the House of Commons, which would reinstate a federal minimum wage, and increase it to $15/hour.

Even if the motion somehow passed, it’s affect would be limited  it would only apply to those workers who belong to a federally regulated industry such as banking, air transport and radio and television broadcasting. 

It has, however, re-ignited the debate about the efficacy of raising the minimum wage, for all workers, across the country  a debate that has reached grand proportions in the United States. 

"Here in Canada, the minimum-wage debate has been trapped in a time warp," the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Trish Hennessy wrote in an essay praising the New Democrats for introducing the motion. 

"Provincially, any attempt to increase the minimum wage on a steady basis has been overly cautious, muted by a loud and powerful business lobby.

"[The NDP motion] is the beginning of a national conversation about the inadequacy of the current minimum wage level. It’s the beginning of a national conversation about the value of a minimum wage that is a living wage — one that can actually help a household pay all of its most basic bills, such as housing, transit to work, child care, and food."


With just five full days of campaigning to go until New Brunswickers vote on Monday, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant will be struggling to recover from the worst political media interview since St├ęphane Dion got confused in the 2008 federal election. ...

CBC Reporter Bob Jones and others reported that, despite Liberal claims to the contrary, Gallant's plans would lead to the highest tax jurisdiction in the country. The Liberals pushed back and argued that reporters were wrong.

So on Friday morning CBC offered Gallant an interview to explain the policy.

During the interview, CBC New Brunswick host Harry Forestell challenged Gallant repeatedly on his tax policy (and on other confusing aspects of Gallant's platform) but Gallant, in a tone that, at times seemed both slightly indignant and condescending, told Forestell he was wrong and kept repeating his talking points.

But my by mid-day, the Liberal war room realized their talking points were flat-out wrong.

And now, this is a real thing:


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