OK all you political trivia masters — here’s one: Have a father and his son ever served as an MP at the same time in the House of Commons? We ask after noting that 30–year-old Ryan Warawa is out to seek the Conservative Party nomination in the riding of Burnaby-New Westminster, a riding currently held by the NDP’s Peter Julian. Ryan Warawa is the son of Mark Warawa, the 56–year-old MP for the riding of Langley.
Corner stores are the cornerstone of our economy in Canada. You are the heart and soul of small business. You keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive from generation to generation and many of you, I know, work long hours alongside your families. Many of you provide young Canadians with their first jobs and their opportunities to learn and to teach and to be taught the value of hard work and responsibility and the value of a dollar. So your contributions cannot and should not be underestimated and certainly are not underestimated by the new Government of Canada.
In Ontario alone, convenience stores contribute $12 billion a year to the Canadian economy and provide more than 70,000 jobs, which is an enormous contribution to the province of Ontario, Canada. As your association itself has noted, every 30 days Ontario’s convenience stores have as many visitors as Canada has people—that’s about 32 million people. This impact is profound and your determination is inspiring.
Benoit Sauvageau (left) died today in a car accident. Sauvageau was the MP for the riding of Repentigny. I knew him only because he was an effective member of some of the committees, namely Public Accounts, that I covered. He was, it seemed to me, a highly intelligent man with a good sense of humour. A former professor, Sauvageau was first elected to the Commons in 1993 and handily won in the last election, winning by a margin of more than 25,000 votes and taking 62 per cent of all votes cast.
[Wow — the Wikipedia entry for Sauvageau is already updated with news of his death.]
Here is Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe on M. Sauvageau’s death:
« C’est avec un immense chagrin que j’ai appris le décès du député du Bloc Québécois de Repentigny, Benoît Sauvageau.
Mes premières pensées vont à son épouse, Jacinthe, ainsi qu’à ses quatre charmantes filles. Je sais bien la douleur qu’elles doivent ressentir actuellement. Ensemble, ils ont construit une famille merveilleuse.
Benoît était pour nous également un membre de la famille, un frère. C’est pourquoi je tiens à assurer ces êtres qui lui étaient si chères : ses filles Laurence, Catherine, Elizabeth, et Alice, son épouse, Jacinthe, ainsi que ses parents, qui ont toujours été extrêmement présents au cours de sa carrière, que nous sommes entièrement avec eux en ces moments pénibles.
Benoît était un collaborateur de longue date. Il avait été élu la première fois sous la bannière du Bloc Québécois en octobre 1993 et il a ensuite représenté la circonscription sans interruption jusqu’à son décès tragique.
Sur le plan parlementaire, Benoît Sauvageau a accompli un travail remarquable, autant par exemple au niveau de ses responsabilités face aux dossiers liés aux langues officielles que ceux touchant les comptes publics.
Je sais à quel point il aimait son coin de pays, sa circonscription, comme il aimait profondément le Québec à qui il a consacré ses meilleures années.
Les événements comme celui que nous traversons actuellement sont toujours particulièrement pénibles. Durant les treize ans où j’ai côtoyé Benoît au sein de la famille du Bloc Québécois, je peux dire que nous avons vécu ensemble un large pan de l’histoire de ce parti. Ensemble, nous avons traversé les moments heureux comme les moments les plus difficiles.
En 13 ans, des liens très forts se créent. C’est particulièrement vrai quand nous sommes impliqués dans une aventure aussi enivrante que celle de vouloir se donner un pays. Je veux aujourd’hui simplement tenter d’exprimer l’immense vide que je ressens personnellement aujourd’hui à l’idée de son départ.
Professionnellement, Benoît Sauvageau était un député consciencieux, compétent, intègre et dédié à l’endroit des gens qu’il servait. Il a également toujours su relever les défis qui se sont dressés devant lui. Il abordait ces défis avec l’enthousiasme et la bonne humeur que nous lui avons toujours connus. Il était un homme respecté et apprécié de ses collègues du Bloc Québécois comme de ses adversaires.
En privé, Benoît Sauvageau était de ceux qu’il fait bon côtoyer. Il était un homme patient, généreux et qui illuminait son entourage par sa gentillesse et sa joie de vivre. Le matin même de son terrible décès, il faisait savoir aux gens de mon équipe à quel point il se réjouissait de ma visite qui était prévue dans quelques jours dans sa circonscription.
Croyez-moi, Benoît était de ce type de personnes qui sont appréciées de toutes et de tous. Il nous manquera beaucoup. Notre travail, lui, doit toutefois continuer. Benoît ne verra pas un Québec souverain. Soyez sûrs toutefois, et je parle ici au nom de toute la famille du Bloc Québécois, qu’une part de lui restera bien présente en nos coeurs. Nous poursuivrons la tâche comme il l’aurait souhaité.
If an election were held today — the result might be just about the same as it was on January 24. But, as pollster Nik Nanos notes, the Conservatives might not have 10 MPs from Quebec. Maybe they’d pick up one or two more each in Atlantic Canada, in Ontario, and in Manitoba and B.C.?
The key to a Conservative majorty, everyone says, is more seats in Quebec. So how’s that going? Well, according to the latest poll from Nanos’ company SES Research, Conservative support has dropped nine points in la belle province since his firm was last in the field three months ago. (35 per cent on May 9 vs 26 per cent at August 23).
The leaderless Liberals actually gained in Quebec compared to May and are up to 22 per cent. The BQ had the biggest bounceback, jumping up five points to 42 per cent. “The softening of support in Quebec this quarter should be worrisome for the Tories,” Nanos writes.
The big story in Ontario: The Conservatives are spinning their wheels (36 per cent three months ago – 37 per cent now) but the Liberals — remember: They have no leader — have jumped eight points (34 per cent then to 42 per cent now). The NDP — remember: they have a leader -has slipped in Ontario (24 then, 18 now) and nationally (18 now, 19 then).
Important note: Because of a smaller sample size at the regional level there is a larger margin of error.
Conservatives 36% (-2)
Liberals 30% (+2)
NDP 18% (-1)
Bloc Quebecois 11% (+2)
Green 5% (-1)
Undecided 12% (+4)
The pollster says this result is accurate to within 3.3 percentage points 19 times out of 20. The survey was conducted between August 18 and August 23.
“Mr. Christopher M. Henley and Mr. Douglas Reid for terms of three years; Ms. Krista L. Scaldwell and Mr. Colin D. Watson for terms of two years; and Mr. Cameron J. Turner for a term of one year. “
According to Elections Canada:
Henley donated $1,000 to two Conservative candidates in the last election. In 2004, Henley donated about $450 to Toronto-area Conservative candidates. In 2005, Henley donated $500 to the Conservative Party.
Reid gave nothing in the last election but in 2004 he gave Liberal candidate (and Speaker of the House) Peter Milliken $250 and also gave the Conservative candidate that squared off against Milliken $150. Reid is a Queen’s University professor but once “worked for a former Premier of Ontario and as a Chief of Staff to a provincial Cabinet Minister.” Who did Reid work for? It’s Friday night at 9 pm as I write this and I’d call the professor but that seems a bit obsessive … Anyone know who he worked for?
None of the other appointees donated any money to any candidates in the last two elections nor did they give any money to the Conservative party in 2005 or 2006, according to Elections Canada. According to data published by the Conservatives, none of the appointees gave to Harper’s 2005 leadership campaign.
Doing some down-and-dirty searches of available online databases (again — it’s Friday night ) I can find no connections between Scaldwell, Watson, and Turner and any political parties. If you can, I’d love to hear about it.
UPDATE:Blogger James Calder puts the spotlight on Mr. Watson. Several others, including Toronto Mayor David Miller, have also viewed Watson's appointment in much the same way that Calder does.
Apple and Dell have recently put out recalls for laptop computer batteries made by Sony Corp. On a discussion list I subscribe to, lister Simon Higgs speculates on the number-crunching that took place at corporate HQ for both companies. (All dollar figures here are in US$):
From: Simon Higgs
Date: August 25, 2006 3:32:05 AM EDT
Recalls never happen without a sound business case for them. It's a risk management strategy. The manufacturer weighs the risk of lawsuits (or similarly damaging events) versus the actual cost of the recall. Whichever is the cheaper route for the manufacturer is the route chosen.
6 million laptop batteries have a retail cost of around $774,000,000 (based on 13″ Macbook battery at $129). Assuming a manufacturing cost of $15 each, this is about $90,000,000. Whatever the real reasons, it's cheaper to pay nearly $100,000,000 in recalls than it is to preserve the status quo and only make payouts on the quiet.
My guess, and this is only a guess, is that this was prompted by the recent ban of laptops in carry-on luggage on aircraft. With a laptop in the cabin, if it's battery caught fire, there would be humans (and fire extinguishers) nearby to put out the fire. With laptops being carried in baggage, the risk of 20 (using Lauren's figure) in 6 million batteries catching fire becomes only 1 in 300,000.
Given that there are about 30,000 commercial flights per day in the US (and about 5,000 airborne at any given moment), it's not too far fetched to assume that eventually an unattended battery fire will bring down a commercial airliner. Or two. That's the risk that exceeds $100,000,000 and was what prompted (I think) the recall.
…the conventional wisdom [is] the structure of ideas that is based on acceptability . . .
–The Affluent Society (4th Edition), p. 16
Keynes, in his most famous observation, noted that we are ruled by ideas and by very little else. In the immediate sense, this is true. And he was right in attributing the importance to ideas as opposed to the simple influence of pecuniary vested interest. But the rule of ideas is only powerful in a world that does not change. Ideas are inherently conservative. They yield not to the attack of other ideas but, as I may note once more, to the massive onslaught of circumstance with which they cannot contend.
–The Affluent Society, 4th Edition, p. 17
The United States buys much, much, much, much more from the world than it sells to the world. Most economists believe that this is an unhealthy trend for the economy of the United States if it persists over the long term. Many economists also believe that, since the U.S. is the single largest national economy on the planet, this is also an unhealthy trend for the global economy. For example, for the first four months of 2006 — these are most recent stats that are available — there were only nine countries in the entire world that bought more stuff from the America bought from them.
Recently, I took a look at the most recent foreign trade numbers issued by the U.S. Census Bureau and present the following snapshots:
- For the first four months of 2006, the American trade deficit is $259.5-billion. In other words, the value of the stuff Americans bought exceeded the value of stuff Americans were able to sell to the rest of the world by nearly $260-billion — and that's just for the first four months of the year.
- For the first four months of 2006, the nations with the biggest trade surplus with the U.S. (or America's biggest trade deficits to turn it around) are (all figures in US$):
- China ($64.4-billion)
- Japan ($28.9-billion)
- Canada ($27.6-billion)
- Mexico ($19.7-billion)
- Germany ($16.5-billion)
- Venezuela ($9.5-billion)
- Nigeria ($8.6-billion)
- Saudi Arabia ($7.5-billion)
- Malaysia ($7-billion)
- Italy ($6.1-billion)
- For the first four months of 2006, the nations with a trade deficit with the U.S. (or America's biggest trade surpluses) are:
- Netherlands ($4.6-billion)
- Australia ($3.2-billion)
- Hong Kong ($2.9-billion)
- Singapore ($1.9-billion)
- Belgium ($1.7-billion)
- Egypt ($394-million)
- Switzerland ($69-million)
- Argentina ($49-million)
- That's it. The U.S. has a trade deficit with every other country in the world with which it trades.
- So far this year, the U.S. has managed to sell $327-billion worth of stuff to the rest of the world. Here are America's biggest export markets:
- Canada ($75.3-billion) (That's more, by the way, than all of the European Union countres combined; three time as much as all of South and Central American countries combined; and about six times more than the combined purchasing of OPEC countries)
- Mexico ($43.4-billion)
- Japan ($18.7-billion)
- China ($16.9-billion)
- United Kingdom ($14.6-billion)
- Germany ($12.9-billion)
- Korea ($10.7-billion)
- Netherlands ($9.7-billion)
- France ($8.1-billion)
- Singapore ($7.4-billion)
- So far — so far, at this point, being the four months of this year ending April 30 — America has bought $583.7- billion worth of stuff from suppliers in foreign countries. One-sixth of that came from Canada. Here are the countries that are America's biggest suppliers:
- Canada ($102.9-billion) (Canada sold twice as much stuff to Americans than every OPEC country combined; and more than twice as much as every South and Central American country combined; Canada also sold more to the U.S. than Japan, Germany, and the UK combined)
- China ($81.2-billion)
- Mexico ($63.1-billion)
- Japan ($47.7-billion)
- Germany ($29.4-billion)
- United Kingdom ($16.7-billion)
- Korea ($14.7-billion)
- Venezuela ($12.085-billion)
- France ($12.083-billion)
- Taiwan ($11.9-billion)
The Liberal Party press office released this statement late today:
Date: August 21, 2006
For Release: Immediate
Statement by the Honourable Bill Graham, Leader of the Opposition, on Hezbollah
On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I wish to reiterate our position with respect to the listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and should be treated as such under all applicable Canadian laws.
Hezbollah is committed to the overthrow of the state of Israel and has demonstrated in both words and actions that it is committed to a policy of violent anti-Semitism. The Government of Canada must condemn such groups as strongly as possible. The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to a policy that stresses peace and stability in the region. Hezbollah works deliberately to undermine the security of Israel and to destabilize the emerging democracy in Lebanon. That is why it was the Liberal Party of Canada that originally listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization under Canadian law and why we still strongly support keeping Hezbollah on that list. Any suggestion to the contrary does not reflect the official position of our party.
The Liberal Party of Canada believes that the Government of Canada must work with all parties of goodwill in the region to try to bring about a lasting peace that ensures the security and well-being of the state of Israel and which will allow for the growth of a truly democratic government in Lebanon.
and here's Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj reaction to a news article carried by Canwest News:
August 21, 2006
Statement from Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj
“CanWest News today reported that I support taking Hezbollah off Canada’s list of banned terrorist organizations. This is emphatically wrong. On the contrary, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and I stated that it must remain on Canada’s list because it has committed war crimes by sending rockets into civilian areas.
“What I did say, however, is that the legislation surrounding our banned list of terrorist organizations must be evaluated to ensure our role as mediator is not compromised. Currently, the legislation forbids Canada from having any discussions with those on the list, and I believe this is not the way to achieve peace.
“Canada must be a partner in any efforts by the international community to bring peace and stability to the region, and we can not play that role if we are shackled by this legislation which forbids us from even speaking to those groups on our list. Discussion, negotiation and diplomacy are paramount to a lasting peace.”