Friday, November 27, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 53 — 204
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Tories not believed in Afghan torture case: Poll

By Joan Bryden
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canadians aren't buying the Harper government's assertion that there's no credible evidence Afghan detainees were tortured, a new poll suggests. Indeed, The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey indicates Canadians are twice as likely to believe whistleblower Richard Colvin's claim that all prisoners handed over by Canadian soldiers to Afghan authorities were likely abused and that government officials were well aware of the problem. — 728 words.

Cartoon by Bryan Gable, The Globe and Mail.

Hiding bad news is standard procedure

By Nipa Banerjee
The Ottawa Citizen

The Richard Colvin saga sounds much too familiar. Many departments of the government are studded with manifold incidents of a similar nature that violate our purported Canadian values. In my experience, most such violations are hidden from public eyes because the lid is capped at a very early stage. — 1,014 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:

Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

Editor's Notes

Friday, November 27, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 53 (204)

Sino-American summary sets stage for peaceful relations
while bumping shoulders as China's economy grows

Obama should take Chinese advice and apply it to Latin America

President Barack Obama said before leaving Beijing last week that the United States would properly handle bilateral trade frictions so that they would not harm the interests of his country and that of China. He said the United States has noted China's concern over the export control to China and is willing to take measures and increase high-tech product exports to China. — 397 words.

A different tune from the auditor general

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

The auditor general is the guardian of the public purse strings so it's quite astonishing to see her admonish the federal government for an instance of not spending enough money. In a special report to Parliament, Auditor General Sheila Fraser cuffed Ottawa for under funding the Marine Atlantic ferry service between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. It's guaranteed as part of Newfoundland's joining Canada. — 469 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

'For much of the late 20th century, the number of hungry people was declining, but it bottomed out in the late 1990s at 825 million. It then turned upward, reaching 870 million in 2005 and passing one billion in 2009.'

Food security and the Copenhagen Conference

Floods, drought, storms all threaten global food supply

By Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Lester R. Brown is the president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

For the 193 national delegations gathering in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference in December, the reasons for concern about climate change vary widely. For delegations from low-lying island countries, the principal concern is rising sea level. For countries in southern Europe, climate change means less rainfall and more drought. For countries of East Asia and the Caribbean, more powerful storms and storm surges are a growing worry. This climate change conference is about all these things, and many more, but in a very fundamental sense, it is a conference about food security. — 793 words.

From the Desk of Catherine Coumans, Mining Watch

Proposed Canadian law would police miners abroad

By Cameron French

TORONTO — Canada's top mining companies have lined up against a proposed law that would withhold federal investment dollars from companies found in violation of social responsibility standards in foreign countries. The private-member's bill, brought forward by opposition Liberal lawmaker John McKay in response to criticism of the behavior of Canadian miners abroad, received preliminary approval in the House of Commons in April. — 624 words.

'Let Donolo let Iggy be Iggy!'

Listening in on BC's Grits this weekend, as they gathered in Whistler to drink and argue about how to revive their falling party

Perhaps no member of Parliament stands more squarely in the path of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's political bulldozer than does Vancouver-South MP Ujjal Dosanjh. "If they need a majority," the Liberal MP said, "they have to win my riding." They came damned close last fall, when Conservative candidate Wai Young fell just 22 votes shy of toppling the former premier. — 2,134 words.

Decades of his writing proved that he was not the man for the job — if only the Liberals had been paying attention

Reading Michael Ignatieff

Whether writing on Iraq, Rwanda or Kosovo, the central character is himself

By Richard Warnica

In a professional career spanning many decades, Michael Ignatieff has been many things to many people: teacher, writer, philosopher and now politician. But in interviews, when Ignatieff describes himself, it is often his work as a journalist that he returns to. It's not surprising. In a 30-year career as reviewer, reporter, essayist and commentator, Ignatieff established himself as one of the most prolific highbrow writers of his generation. Ignatieff has written well over 100 long features of one form or another for non-academic journals since 1976. Their scope and range is remarkably wide. But read together they tell a single story, the story of Michael Ignatieff. — 1,798 words.

Popular Hillier mounts his defence

By James Travers
The Toronto Star

OTTAWA — Rick Hillier is a crowd pleaser. No matter what he's selling — the armed forces, the Afghanistan mission or a new book — his double-double common touch, can-do vigour and Newfoundland blarney reach out to listeners, win approving nods and sustained applause. — 762 words.

U.S. journalist grilled at Canada border crossing

Officials demanded to know what she would say about 2010 Olympics

CBC News

U.S. journalist Amy Goodman said she was stopped at a Canadian border crossing south of Vancouver on Wednesday and questioned for 90 minutes by authorities concerned she was coming to Canada to speak against the Olympics. Goodman says Canadian Border Services Agency officials ultimately allowed her to enter Canada but returned her passport with a document demanding she leave the country within 48 hours. — 325 words.

From the Desk of Carl Hall

Calgary '88's Eddie the Eagle returns to carry Olympic torch

The Canadian Press

Michael Edwards has been remembered as the Olympics' most-beloved loser, and the famously inexperienced British ski jumper was called everything from a clown prince to a buffoon when he placed a distant last at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games. — 781 words.

Just don't call me right-wing

I was raised conservative, but look where I've ended up!
A traditional right-winger explains why he's not a right-winger

By Rafe Mair

Denouement: the outcome of a complex sequence of events.

As one whose lifetime has been involved in a complex sequence of events, my outcome has left me a bit bewildered at what I've become — a severe opponent of "big C" conservatism because I see it as destructive of much of what I hold dear. (Before continuing, a man named David Field representing Citizens for Green Energy keeps calling me a "right-winger" in his attacks on my views which he's been sending to community papers. The idea that I'm a right-winger will probably come as an unbearable shock to Premier Campbell who, having seen me campaign long and hard for the NDP last election, had assumed quite the opposite!) My mother and father were Conservatives who always voted for Point Grey's Howard Green — even when he supported the expulsion of Japanese Canadians from the B.C. coast in 1942. In fact, when my father "bought" a paper box company from the so-called trustee looking after selling the property of the internees at a 90 per cent discount, it was mostly seen as an act of patriotism. — 1,388 words.

High-speed smuggling

RCMP plays cat-and-mouse with cigarette smugglers

'"Because the smugglers are operating on the water with no lights, we've had a guy killed on a Sea-Doo when he hit a boat going north with cigarettes and he was coming south with marijuana. It's crazy," said Sgt. Michael Harvey, spokesman for the RCMP Cornwall detachment.'

By Richard J. Brennan, Ottawa Bureau
The Toronto Star

CORNWALL, Ontario — From beyond where the moon sparkled on the river came the sound of a high-powered motorboat. The engine throttled back for an instant, as if waiting for a signal. Then the big outboard kicked to life, and headed into shore where its cargo was scooped into a waiting SUV. Only moments later, both the SUV and the boat had disappeared into the night. So goes the cat-and-mouse game played out nightly — and occasionally during the day — on the St. Lawrence River in the Cornwall, Ont., region, pitting contraband cigarette smugglers against the RCMP customs and excise division. — 1,808 words.

Matt Bors, November 20, 2009 (

As the guns fall silent in South Sudan
women strive to make their voices heard

By Miriam Gathigah
Inter Press Service

JUBA, South Sudan — The guns have gone silent — except for sporadic conflict in parts of the vast South Sudan region, such as the Eastern Equatoria State. It may not be the absolute end of the conflict in the region, but it is a reason for renewed hope. — 1,000 words.

The Moore Saga

Eva Golinger acknowledges Michael Moore's retraction of his ‘drinking with Hugo Chavez' story
But hammers Moore for wasting precious TV time that could have been used to tell the truth about Venezuela

By Eva Golinger

Editor's note: For the background to this story, please visit "The (unfortunate) lies of Michael Moore (about Hugo Chavez," from the October 23, 2009, edition of True North Perspective.

The New York Times did a "story" today on my reaction to Michael Moore's fairy tale about meeting with President Chávez in Venice this past September. The article, written by Simon Romero, was published in both the print and online editions of one of the world's most important newspapers. — 1,025 words.

China, India Lead South-South Cooperation

By Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS — China and India have been singled out as two countries that have established vibrant economic and financial links with the developing world and played key roles in strengthening South-South cooperation over the last 10 years. — 826 words.

China debates legal spying on citizens

'I think people's personal freedoms should not be violated under any condition.'

'According to the procuratorate, more than 9,000 officials were found guilty of corruption in the first six months of the year, including embezzlement, bribery, dereliction of duty and rights violations.'

By Wang Jingqiong
China Daily

Wiretapping and eavesdropping should be used in investigations of corruption, a prosecutor has said. Zhu Xiaoqing, deputy procurator-general at the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said current laws about investigative methods are not elaborate enough. — 408 words.

Hong Kong urged to relax over Shanghai competition
China able to handle even more than two Disneylands

By Joy Lu
China Daily

HONG KONG — Competition from Shanghai will not hurt Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL), according to its largest stakeholder, the special administrative region's government. — 408 words.

Cuba rejects dictatorship claims as just more U.S. fiction
Cites applause of approval by UN Human Rights Council

By Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver
Granma International

HAVANA — Human Rights Watch (HRW) is again going too far against the Cuban Revolution in a vain attempt to sully the island's impeccable work for the dignity and authentic human rights of more than 11 million Cubans. — 765 words.

Argentine couple ready for region’s first same-sex marriage

Agence France-Presse

BUENOS AIRES — A gay man tying the knot next week in Latin America's first same-sex marriage predicted Thursday that his ground-breaking wedding will inspire other homosexual couples to follow suit. "Our December 1 civil wedding service will launch a new campaign in the coming months in different major cities to allow same-sex couples to do the same," said Alejandro Freyre, 39, at a press conference here. — 325 words.

Berlusconi is sexual record-breaker, says prostitute
and doesn't take anything to prompt his sex drive

By Tom Kington
The Guardian

The Italian prostitute at the centre of a sex scandal involving Silvio Berlusconi has explicitly claimed for the first time that she had sex with the Italian prime minister. Since first alleging she spent a night last November at Berlusconi's Rome residence, Patrizia D'Addario has limited herself to saying she shared a bed with the 73-year-old prime minister. But in Gradisca, PresidenteTake Your Pleasure, Prime Minister — D'Addario writes: "He told me he wanted contact with my skin, he held me tight, he took my breath away. I took him inside me, he suffocated me with kisses. — 356 words.

Putin promises free apartments to veterans by 2012
and to family members of veterans who have died

By Irina Filatova
The Moscow Times

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday promised to provide housing by 2012 for all military officers who have retired in the last 20 years. The government has shown increasing urgency in its goal to provide adequate housing for servicemembers, with next year looming as a deadline for providing World War II veterans with their long-promised free apartments. — 732 words.

Corrupt Nigeria may be a better modernization model for Russia than China
China provides the death penalty for what bureaucrats get away with in Russia

By Vladimir Ryzhkov
The Moscow Times

Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma deputy from 1993 to 2007, hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Russia's ruling elite are dazzled by China's success. China, which will have 8 percent growth in 2009, has quickly become the third-largest economy in the world. Moscow finds not only the economic success of its eastern neighbor increasingly attractive, but its political system as well. — 1,083 words.


Gilbert Levine, giant of Canadian labour
Crucial figure in union merger that created
Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1963

By Blair Redlin
CUPE Research Representative, Burnaby, British Columbia

Gil (Gilbert) Levine — an inspiring leader of Canadian public sector unionism for more than half a century — died of acute leukemia on November 16th, 2009. He was 85. Gil was arguably the founder of modern labour research in Canada. He was the first Research Director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Prior to that, Gil was a crucial figure in the merger of the National Union of Public Employees and the National Union of Public Service Employees that resulted in the creation of CUPE in 1963. — 570 words.

Health Watch

Overweight? Eat less!

'Our digestion and metabolism are still run by what Vuksan refers to as a "prehistoric gut. Our bodies have not changed while food has become enhanced to satisfy taste," he says. Portion control becomes a distant memory when hunger hits and hot fries, sizzling burgers and juicy pizza waft at us. "We are humans with a prehistoric gut and desires, and so we eat it all."'

By Jane Van Der Voort
The Toronto Star

Battling extra weight with healthy eating can be less about the food in front of you and more about what you do with it. Simply eating less, under threat of obesity-related chronic diseases, would seem an easy answer as baby boomers lay claim to being the heaviest, most at-risk population on the planet. — 980 words.

Laughter in the court of Judge Harold Wright

Exorcising your excess potato-consumption

This is a very good exercise for those who have put off exercising. This is the day to begin moving to better health.

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides.

Hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.

Then try 50-lb potato bags, and then eventually, try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

Winston Churchill: Give us the tools and we'll finish the job

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.

Chinese writer urges respect for climate change problem
but warns against ambitions of those who pretend lofty ideals

'How can those industrialized countries, which owe huge carbon debts to the world, occupy the moral beacon of achieving a greener and better world?'

'While enjoying the better-off after diligent and entrepreneurial work, the Chinese ... still abide by the appeal of the ancient sage Lao Tzu, stay in harmony with the universe.'

By Yu Zheng
China Daily

Yu Zheng is a writer with Xinhua News Agency.

I keep coughing after a brief visit to a sizable developing nation - not because of a possible A(H1N1) infection but the continuous exposure to strong smell of fuel and pollutants on roads of the country, where 20-year-old obsolete cars rattled everywhere. — 648 words.


Intel: Chips in brains will control computers by 2020

Brain waves will replace keyboard and mouse, dial phones and change TV channels

By Sharon Gaudin

By the year 2020, you won't need a keyboard and mouse to control your computer, say Intel Corp. researchers. Instead, users will open documents and surf the Web using nothing more than their brain waves. Scientists at Intel's research lab in Pittsburgh are working to find ways to read and harness human brain waves so they can be used to operate computers, television sets and cell phones. The brain waves would be harnessed with Intel-developed sensors implanted in people's brains. — 705 words.

Annals of Education

Girl, 14, on fast track to Peking University
Trial stirs public controversy on education

By Cao Li
China Daily

SHANGHAI — A 14-year-old female student from Jiangsu province is poised to step from the textbooks into the history books after she was tipped to enroll at one of China's top universities, thanks to a pilot program aimed at improving the country's university entrance system. Hong Xinge, from Tianyi High School in Wuxi, is believed to be the youngest of 90 students nationwide to receive nominations from their headmasters to attend Peking University. — 622 words.

Britain to require teaching of evolution

By Greg Hurst

Evolution is to become a compulsory subject for study in all state primary schools. The Government announced yesterday that Darwin's theory of how life evolved through natural selection would be a legal requirement in science teaching from September 2011, although it will be left to schools to decide how this is done. — 403 words.

Become a True North 10 per center

True North Perspective invites our readers to join us in celebration of our 200 series, that began with the Friday, October 30, 2009, Edition — #200.

While most of our readers are in Canada and the United States we are being read in growing numbers in as many as 88 countries. October saw us reach a record number of 59,493 hits. Ever more high-end readers are finding satisfaction in what we publish. However, we're operating at a severe financial deficit. That's why we're asking readers, effective Edition 200, to become True North Perspective 10 per centers.

Ten per cent of 200 is $20. If all readers were to send in $20, it would help ease us back from the edge of financial desperation. We need the nourishment. We are happy to rely on our readers to provide. Please take time to give this request a key moment of attention by mailing your 10 per cent to:

Carl Dow, True North Perspective, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Toyota recall applies to only a few Canadian cars

The Canadian Press

Toyota Canada says an investigation into potential problems with floor mats in some Toyota models that forced a recall of four million vehicles in the United States does not affect vehicles sold in Canada. — 317 words.

Taxing the speculators

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Should we use taxes to deter financial speculation? Yes, say top British officials, who oversee the City of London, one of the world's two great banking centers. Other European governments agree — and they're right. "Unfortunately, United States officials — especially Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary — are dead set against the proposal. Let's hope they reconsider: a financial transactions tax is an idea whose time has come. — 800 words.

Dubai request for debt 'standstill' raises fear

By Barbara Surk
Associate Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Just a year after the global downturn derailed Dubai's explosive growth, the city is now so swamped in debt that it's asking for a six-month reprieve on paying its bills — causing a drop on world markets Thursday and raising questions about Dubai's reputation as a magnet for international investment. — 1,075 words.

Mongolia has the world's biggest undeveloped coal deposit
and China just next door has the world's hungriest market

By Christian A. DeHaemer

When I first met Dolgorsürengiin "Slippery" Sumiyabazar at the Mongolian BBQ in downtown Ulaanbaatar, I took notice. He had Jim Peckham's mashed-up ears and a game face that said he could take your head off. Sumiya is a national hero. He won the traditional wrestling tournament in 2006 after finishing second for a number of years and is also Chairman of the Board for the National Investment Bank of Mongolia (NIBM), in addition to being an elected member of the city council and in charge of the budget committee. In other words, he has accomplished more than most. — 993 words.

Spirit Quest

There are a variety of spirits abroad in the world
Beware of those that seek to dominate society

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Fascism is a dirty word. No one likes to be called by that designation. But what is fascism really? Whenever we hear the word we think of Hitler's Germany or Mussolini's Italy. The term was derived from the Latin and Italian meaning the fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an ax. They were an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrates. Furthermore, the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. Nothing wrong or despicable about that. — 942 words.

Amazing grace or tragic optimism?

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

I have always been intrigued by survivors such as Martin Gray, Viktor Frankl and many others who despite incredible hardship survived, forged a new life for themselves and contributed to the betterment of humanity. Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning is considered to be one of the most important contributions to psychiatry since Freud. Through his experience in the Nazi death camps, Dr. Frankl developed the theory of logotherapy which is a modern and positive approach to the mentally and spiritually disturbed personality. — 789 words.

After five years, CRTC approves Al-Jazeera English's Canadian distribution

CBC News

Al-Jazeera English, the English-language service of the Qatar-based broadcaster, has been approved for distribution via satellite in Canada. Ethnic Channels Group Ltd., a Toronto-based satellite service, had applied in February to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for permission to carry Al-Jazeera English. — 544 words.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia now in stores

Ottawa author Randy Ray and his co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth Canadian book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which is now available in stores and on the authors' Web site at:

The latest Ray-Kearney effort is best described as a "greatest hits" book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus a considerable amount of new material.

In one big book readers will find all the trivia and facts about Canada they need to know: there are stories of important Canadian artifacts and history including what became of Canada's World War II spy camp.

All regions and provinces are covered, as well as important Canadian figures like John Molson, Elizabeth Arden and Russ Jackson.

If that isn't enough there will also be pieces explaining whatever happened to such Canadian icons as the last spike, labour leader Bob White, hockey tough guy Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, the first skidoo, swimmer Marilyn Bell and the first Tim Hortons donut shop.

Some items are "classics." Others are little known facts. Approximately 25 per cent of the material has never before appeared in print.

This fascinating Big Book brings together for the first time in one package the most notable facts and trivia from the archives of the trivia guys' collection.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia is published by The Dundurn Group of Toronto.

In case you missed it ...
The Old Man's Last Sauna
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

The short story, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story, in the Friday, April 24 edition of True North Perspective, concludes the collection titled The Old Man's Last Sauna, written by Carl Dow. On Friday, April 17, you'll find O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series began Friday, February 20, with Deo Volente (God Willing). The second, The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Friday, February 27. The third, Sharing Lies, Friday, March 6. The fourth, Flying High, Friday, March 13. The fifth, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, Friday, March 20. On Friday, March 27, One Lift Too Many, followed by The Model A Ford, Friday, April 3. The out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only, Friday, April 10. The series closed Friday, April 24, with the collection's namesake The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

Website may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a website to promote his publicity services, which he offers to authors, publishers and companies. Mr. Ray has helped many clients get their message out across Canada on CTV, CBC Radio, CH-TV, A-Channel and Global TV, and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers. Mr. Ray's web site is: He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

Link not working? Story not loading? Can't click on the links? Got another computer problem? Never fear! Carl is here!

If you have any problems with accessing the newsletter or problems with your computer, send an email to Carl Hall , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Manager, Business and Publicity

Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia

Alex Binkley, Ottawa
Dennis Carr, Vancouver
Rosaleen Dickson, Ottawa
Tom Dow, Sudbury
Bob Kay, Montréal
Randy Ray, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, Ottawa
David Ward, Ottawa
Harold Wright, Ottawa