Thursday, March 02, 2017

For Today

Lots going on...

They spend because they are Liberals:

A Senate committee warns that the Liberal government could end up wasting billions in new infrastructure money unless it develops a detailed strategy to dole out the cash in the coming years.

The national finance committee said in some cases, the only metrics that Infrastructure Canada uses to measure success are the number of projects completed and the value attached to them — how much money goes out the door rather than what the money is buying.

Absent a strategic plan, the government can't develop meaningful objectives or performance measures, leaving parliamentarians and Canadians in the dark about whether the infrastructure program will meet the Liberals' goal of growing the economy. 

The committee's report released Tuesday morning recommended the Liberals craft a plan to make sure the government invests enough in infrastructure, and invests in the right places — particularly in trade infrastructure to move goods towards Europe and Asia — to ensure an economic return.

The federal government is set to dole out $186 billion in infrastructure money over the coming decade, with almost half of that stemming from the Liberals' new infrastructure plan.

"The operational plan is let's get X number of dollars out and Y number of projects," committee chairman Sen. Larry Smith said in an interview. "Is that the measurement that we want to be using when we're talking about $186 billion?
There is a reason why we are $14 billion in debt.

All hat, no brain:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has worked hard in the last year to show Albertans that it is listening to their concerns.

While spending Wednesday in Calgary campaigning for a pair of pending federal byelections, he noted the Liberal government has adjusted employment benefits for hard-hit resource workers, invested in infrastructure and approved an oil pipeline to new markets.

The previous federal government said for 10 years that it supported Alberta and the oilsands, but was unable to get a pipeline built to any ports, said Trudeau.

"That's not spin. That's not a political argument. Those are facts and everyone here in Alberta knows that," he said.

The West tends not to be a Liberal stronghold and for good reason:

Alienating the West is not the first rodeo for the Trudeaus.

That blinkered horse has been ridden before.

It began in 1980 when Papa Pierre drew up the National Energy Program in a failed attempt to unilaterally take federal control of Canada’s largely Alberta-based petroleum industry.

He had Energy Minister Marc Lalonde as his sidekick, a Quebec politician whose caricature by Alberta cartoonists made him look like a combination of Oil Can Harry and Snidely Whiplash.

The NEP, seen as thievery, effectively imposed revenue-sharing burdens on oil in Alberta to lessen the effects of higher gasoline prices in other parts of the country.

It made Trudeau and Lalonde the most hated men in the West.

The NEP enraged Albertans, and led to decades of resentment against the federal Liberal government, even triggering calls from Albertans to separate from Canada and go it alone.

It also led to one of the most famous memes of the day, back when there were no memes, of course, only bumper stickers.

Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark,” those bumper stickers read.

Fast forward now some 37 years, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken over the alienation of the West where his late father left off, shooting off his own mouth recently with off-the-cuff comments about “phasing out the oilsands.”


Federal Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau was certainly dumb to say in a 2010 interview that Canada works better when Quebecers are in charge rather than Albertans.

Those are the facts, Justin.

Alberta the beautiful.

Also in "Liberals are Denebian slime-devils" news:

Soaring electricity bills in Ontario will see an average 17-per-cent cut this summer, a year before the provincial Liberals bid for re-election, but those savings will ultimately cost ratepayers billions in extra interest payments.


The federal government is pledging up to $20 million to fund sexual health and abortion-related projects as part of an international campaign to fill a gap created by President Donald Trump's decision to ban U.S. funding for abortion-related programs.

People are pro-abortion, not "pro-choice". People who truly believe in individual freedom (for one of the concerned and over four feet tall parties at least) don't push for abortion like it's going out of style, particularly when abortion is not illegal in the US and women will die more from heart disease and cancer than not having abortions they don't need.

 Trudeau needs voters blocks so, no, he won't co-operate with Trump:

Canadian and U.S. officials are working on a plan to tackle asylum seekers crossing into Canada illegally, with American officials keen to discover how they entered the United States in the first place, said a source familiar with the matter.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is set to visit Canada this month for talks on the border and the influx of people, said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Hundreds of people, mainly from Africa but also the Middle East, have walked across the border, seeking asylum. They are fleeing President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigrants, migrants and refugees agencies say.

It is not common to have so many asylum seekers based in the U.S. looking for refuge in Canada over such a short period.

Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said the majority of people crossing in recent weeks held valid passports and U.S. visas.

The influx poses a political risk for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who faces pressure from the left, which wants him to let more in, and from the right, which fears an increased security risk. He must also ensure the issue does not complicate his relations with Trump.

"We are talking with our counterparts in the United States to ensure that we're addressing this situation properly," Trudeau told reporters in Calgary, Alberta.

Speaking of Trump:

President Donald Trump's new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary U.S. travel ban, American officials say, citing the latest draft in circulation. Trump is expected to sign the executive order in the coming days.

Four officials told The Associated Press that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq's inclusion on the list given its key role in fighting the Islamic State group.

Citizens of six other predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — will remain on the travel ban list, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the order before it is signed. Those bans are effective for 90 days.

This Iraq:

An Austrian court has found eight Iraqi nationals guilty of gang-raping a German tourist during New Year celebrations in Vienna.

The Iraqi men, aged between 22 and 48, were given prison terms of between nine and 13 years for the attack, which took place in the early hours of 1 January, 2016.

A ninth suspect was cleared of all charges, the court said.

The men had all arrived in Austria as migrants between May and December 2015.

Five had been given asylum status after reaching the European country.

A hospital in Quebec re-hangs a crucifix for what it vulgarly terms "religious neutrality":

After a patient complained last month about the presence of a large crucifix on the wall of the publicly funded Saint-Sacrament Hospital in Quebec City, management determined that in the interest of the “religious neutrality of the state,” it should come down.

It seemed a reasonable response in a province where religious symbols are frequently seen as an affront to secularism. A bill now before the National Assembly would prohibit Muslim women who wear the face-covering niqab from receiving government services in the interest of “fostering adherence to State religious neutrality.”

But when it comes to religious symbols in Quebec, some are more equal than others.

After being confronted with a violent threat, a scolding from government ministers and a petition signed by more than 13,000 people, the hospital announced Wednesday that it was restoring the crucifix to its place inside the main entrance.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said Wednesday that he does not think “people from other cultures” are bothered to see Christ hanging from a cross in the provincial legislature or in a hospital.

“Managing this question of diversity does not mean turning our back to our heritage and our history,” he told reporters.

(Sidebar: oh, shut up.)

Catholic clergy helped build Quebec - towns, churches, hospitals and even breweries and now the province of Quebec cannot, for one moment, man up and own its history?

That is why it is the new failed Islamist state sandwiched between Ontario and New Brunswick.

Perhaps the heart attack was caused by the VX smeared on his face:

A North Korean envoy rejected a Malaysian autopsy finding that VX nerve agent killed Kim Jong Nam, saying Thursday the man probably died of a heart attack because he suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The death of Kim, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s ruler, has unleashed a diplomatic battle between Malaysia and North Korea. The autopsy is especially sensitive because North Korea had asked Malaysia not to perform one, but authorities carried it out anyway, saying they were following the law.

Also Thursday, amid growing fallout from the killing, Malaysia announced it is scrapping visa-free entry for North Koreans.

Malaysian officials say two women smeared VX nerve agent — a banned chemical weapon — on Kim’s face as he waited for a flight at Kuala Lumpur’s airport on Feb. 13. Kim died within 20 minutes, authorities say. No bystanders reported falling ill.

Pretty lame, North Korea.

If there remains any doubt that Obama has had nothing but loathing for the US and its electoral process, let this rest the case:

In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald Trump and Russians — across the government. Former U.S. officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling is not duplicated in future U.S. or European elections and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.

This is a good story:

Late one night last September, the teenager had been walking back to his parents’ home from work, an 11-kilometre trip from Benecia to Vallejo, Calif.

Duncan had been making the long commute on foot each day since July, after the timing belt and an engine valve on his 2001 Volvo had broken. Without enough money for repairs, he at first got a few rides from friends and co-workers – but soon decided he would try to walk to avoid burdening others.

“To me, it was like a challenge to see if I was willing to do whatever it takes to get to work,” Duncan, now 19, told The Washington Post then.

Day by day the walk became easier, and gradually he thought little of the two-hour-and-15-minute journey each way. He would have no way of knowing that his daily routine would first prompt a surprise gift from the local police – then inspire thousands of people to give far more.

But to Cpl. Kirk Keffer of the Benicia Police Department, who was patrolling that area that September night, the sight of a lone pedestrian in that part of town after 11 p.m. was startling.

“Usually in the industrial area there’s no foot traffic, so it was kind of weird to see someone walking around on foot,” Keffer told The Post then.

He stopped his patrol car and called out to Duncan to ask if he was OK.

Duncan admitted later that he was nervous.

“I thought, OK, um, did I do anything wrong?” he said in September. “Is he going to put me in cuffs? I didn’t do anything bad.”

Duncan explained to Keffer he was walking 11 kilometres home, just as he did every day. Shocked, Keffer cleared out the passenger seat in his patrol car and offered Duncan a ride home.

On the ride home, Keffer got to know the teenager: Duncan had just graduated from Jesse Bethel High School in 2015. He had gotten a job at Pro-Form Laboratories in May, where he worked on the packaging line from 3 p.m. until about midnight. He was saving money for college and enjoyed being around his co-workers, he said – but really wanted to be an officer with the California Highway Patrol, to follow in the footsteps of some relatives who were in law enforcement.

By the time Keffer pulled up to Duncan’s parents’ house that night – all of 15 minutes later, by car – the police officer was impressed. He commended Duncan on his work ethic, dropped him off and drove back to the station.

Still, he couldn’t get Duncan’s commute out of his head. Keffer mentioned his interaction to his shift supervisor, who, like Keffer, happened to be a board member of the Benicia Police Officers’ Association.

“So I hit him up and say, ‘I just had this contact with this young man,’ ” Keffer said then. ” ‘He’s walking five hours a day, and I think it should be rewarded. What if we help him out?’ ”

They emailed the rest of the board to seek approval to buy a bicycle. It was, he said, one of the fastest votes they’ve ever taken: Within an hour, enough board members wrote back in agreement. And so, the following day, Keffer visited Wheels in Motion, a local bike shop, to pick out a $500 bike with a reliable gearing system that could handle Benicia’s steep hills. The bike shop’s owner loved the teen’s story so much that he also donated a lighting system, brake light and helmet.

Keffer and some other Benecia police officers surprised Duncan after work a few days later.

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