Coyne: Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty’s new gig as a lobbyist is problematic (1)

The last time we heard from Dalton McGuinty, he was testifying before a committee of the Ontario legislature on his election-eve decision to cancel the construction of two electricity plants, at a cost, it was belatedly revealed, in excess of $1 billion. McGuinty was, as ever, unrepentant. “It’s never too late,” he admonished the committee, “to do the right thing.”

Or the wrong thing, apparently. A year and a half after his tire-screeching departure from office, the former premier has registered to lobby the government he led, on behalf of an educational software company, Desire2Learn, that benefited from millions of dollars in grants from that same government. What is more, neither McGuinty nor any of his erstwhile cabinet seatmates seem able to see why anyone would have a problem with this. Which sort of tells you why it’s a problem, and why this government has run into so many such “problems.”

For their benefit, then, if nothing else, let’s step through this. Pretend for the moment that the company never received any benefit from the government during McGuinty’s premiership, including a $4.25-million grant in 2011. It would still be wrong for McGuinty to be lobbying the government on its behalf.


See Also:

#1 — McGuinty’s lobbyist job just plain tacky

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Morning Update September 19th, 2014 (10)

CNews | Court won’t reimburse Winnipeg man falsely accused of child murder

WINNIPEG — R.B. and his wife lost custody of their children for five years and spent over $100,000 defending R.B. against a charge he had murdered their 13-month old foster son before a judge tossed out the case, ruling there was absolutely no evidence to support a conviction.

Now, the same judge has rejected a motion that the Crown be ordered to pay the exonerated man’s court costs.


#2 — CTV | ‘T-Rex’ of winters ahead: Old Farmer’s Almanac

Brace yourself: the Old Farmer’s Almanac has revealed its predictions for Canada’s upcoming winter season, and it’s not great news.


#3 — Globe | Unknown bones found on Red River banks as search prepares for missing women

Bones found by volunteers scouring the shores of Winnipeg’s Red River for missing persons’ remains have been turned over to police for forensic analysis – the discovery prompting a call for more native-led searches for clues about Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women.


#4 — Postmedia | Dealing with foreign fighters who return home must go beyond imprisonment, experts say

With reports surfacing that some westerners fighting in Syria and other conflict zones have become fed up with what they signed up for, governments are wrestling with how to deal with this disillusioned bunch if they come home.


#5 — Sun | Wife of slain man said farm was being watched

LONDON, Ontario – The wife of a Caledon, Ont., man shot to death on the weekend recently told friends she’d gone to police after being frightened by men photographing and watching their farm.



#6 — BBC | Ebola outbreak: Guinea searches for missing health team

Guinea has sent a team to find missing health officials who were attacked two days ago while visiting a village to raise awareness about Ebola.


#7 — CNN | 707-horsepower ‘muscle car’ gets 22 MPG

Even though it’s being called the “most powerful muscle car ever,” the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is not the biggest gas guzzler out there.


#8 — Fox | Battle-tested Walker fights to keep job in Wisconsin

Cutting the ribbon on a new facility in Waukesha, Wis., local businessman Gunner Lyslo told Gov. Scott Walker, “Maybe this is something you will do in the White House.”


#9 — DM | Did gravity set Earth’s plates in motion?

The Earth’s outermost shell is constantly moving, dragging continents apart and pushing them together.

But exactly what caused this colossal movement three billion years ago has been a mystery.


#10 — WT | Hillary Clinton blasted by the left in secret emails

Emails making the rounds among leftist voices show former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might not be the shoe-in Democratic presidential pick after all — many consider too hawkish and far too buddy-buddy with Wall Street.


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Williamson: The Scottish Disease (5)

The Scots aren’t alone in dreaming of secession.

On Thursday, Scotland will decide whether it intends to remain part of the United Kingdom or go its own way as a separate nation. Inspired, Catalonia has renewed its campaign for independence from Spain. Earlier this week, it became clear that San Francisco venture capitalist Tim Draper’s “Six Californias” initiative — which would have seen the state subdivided into six new polities, in effect allowing affluent Silicon Valley to secede from the state’s poor interior and the vulgarians down south — would not proceed to the ballot, having failed to secure sufficient signatures in the petition stage. Secession talk, indulged with varying degrees of sincerity, is a staple of the culture of my home state of Texas. Soy-latte radicals dream of a great liberal secession from red-state rednecks. The libertarian economist Michael S. Rozeff writes wistfully of personal secession, the “panarchism” of Paul Émile de Puydt.

Part of the allure of secession is sentimentality, rank romanticism rooted in tribalism. What a land the Scots might make for themselves if only they were relieved of the burden of sharing a kingdom with the English! (Answer: Norway’s welfare state, Sweden’s cultural dynamism, Italy’s solvency.) And which of the last true-believing pilgrims in the Church of Hope and Change, his fraying Shepard Fairey T-shirt his only protection against the chill of the frozen-foods aisle at Trader Joe’s, does not dream of living in a nation with no SUV-driving Rick Perry voters who drink cheap beer un-ironically? The popularity of survivalist fantasy literature and apocalypse-preparedness television programs, and the jaunty attitudes associated with them, suggest that dread is not the main feeling associated with doomsday portents: Having grown disenchanted with the world as it is, they welcome its end. Dr. Manhattan surely speaks for many of us: “These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.” Dr. Manhattan retreated to Mars when he’d had enough; most of us only dream of a cabin in the woods.

[Good Read]

See Also:

#1 — Scottish nationalism has prospered because British identity has withered

#2 — Parliament could be recalled on Saturday if Scotland votes Yes

#3 — The 30 questions on independence which remain unanswered less than 24 hours before polls open tomorrow

#4 — Nigel Farage accuses Alex Salmond of inciting riots


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Afternoon Update September 18th, 2014 (10)


#1 — CNews | Poroshenko thanks Canada for help during Ukraine ‘fight for our independence’

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


#2 — CTV | Rob Ford diagnosed with ‘difficult’ malignant tumour; doctor optimistic about treatment

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been diagnosed with a rare and “fairly aggressive” type of malignant tumour, the doctor overseeing his care announced Wednesday.


CTV | Rob Ford’s diagnosis: What is liposarcoma?

#3 — Globe | CN faces first fine under Fair Rail act for failing to move enough grain

The federal government is imposing a fine on Canadian National Railway Co. for failing to comply with an order that it move a minimum amount of grain each week.


#4 — Postmedia | Federal cabinet to back Tory backbench MP’s Reform Act

The federal cabinet has decided to support a backbench Conservative MP’s bill that promises to alter the power structure on Parliament Hill. The development virtually assures its passage in a key parliamentary vote next week.


#5 — Sun | City of Burnaby loses bid to stop Trans Mountain pipeline work

VANCOUVER – The City of Burnaby lost its bid Wednesday to halt survey work for the Trans Mountain pipeline, but the mayor remained defiant.



#6 — BBC | Australia raids over ‘Islamic state plot to kill’

Australian police have carried out major anti-terror raids triggered by a call from a senior Islamic State militant for “demonstration killings”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.


#7 — CNN | Report: Officer Wilson testifies before grand jury in Ferguson shooting case

(CNN) — Shortly after being given more time to weigh evidence in black teenager Michael Brown’s fatal shooting, a Missouri grand jury heard from the man at the center of it — Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson — a local newspaper reported.


#8 — Fox | As UN General Assembly session opens, botched computer project engulfs peacekeeping operations

As the United Nations this week launches its General Assembly session, it is struggling behind the scenes to cope with a colossal high-tech fiasco that has threatened to undermine its multibillion-dollar record-keeping for peacekeeping activities, and perhaps much more.


#9 — DM | Dwarf galaxy’s ‘giant dark heart’

Nestled in the heart of a dwarf galaxy 54 million light years from Earth is a black hole so big it makes up 15% of the star cluster’s total mass.

The supermassive black hole, discovered at the centre of galaxy M60-UCD1, is said to have a mass equivalent to 21 million suns.


#10 — WT | Benghazi probe looks set to go deep in 2016 race

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Republican chairman of a special House panel on Benghazi charted a course Wednesday for his investigation to stretch deep into a 2016 presidential election that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton seems likely to enter.


Posted in Afternoon Updates | 1 Comment

Hodges: Scottish independence – The Union wasn’t strong enough to withstand one rogue poll (10)

It’s over. Tomorrow the people of Scotland will go to the polls and turn their backs – reluctantly – on independence. Three more polls published this morning align with all those previously published (save one), showing that the majority are preparing to place their cross in the box marked “No”.

The lead is currently a slender 4 per cent. But that excludes a significant number of supposed “don’t knows”. If someone hasn’t made up their mind to take the leap in the dark with Alex Salmond by now, they never will. I predict that the margin of victory for the No camp will be larger than many people suspect.

But that victory will be a hollow one. Because over the course of this campaign, if we have learnt nothing else, we have learnt this: whatever it is the Scots are voting for tomorrow, it is not a United Kingdom.

There have been many passionate and sincere appeals on behalf of the Union over the past couple of years. There will be several more over these final hours. But they are appeals on behalf of a ghost. What this campaign has exposed is that for all the brave words, the Union is nothing more than an apparition. We have all heard the legends about it. We’ve been told of its mythical powers. But try to actually touch it, and it melts away.

[Good Read]

See Also:

#1 — Alex Salmond should be praying for a narrow No

#2 — Europe goes back to the Middle Ages

#3 — Outraged Swiss village of 1,000 residents forced to raise taxes

#4 — Pity England, pity Scotland: governed by fools and charlatans

#5 — Moscow warns against panic as ruble plunges to historic lows

Afternoon Update:

#6 — BoC agrees to sell UK loan portfolio

#7 — Ceasefire is a myth in Donetsk

#8 — Bets on unstable pound soar as Scots vote

#9 — Spain PM warns independence votes ‘torpedo’ EU

#10 — EU jobs summit ‘postponed indefinitely’

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ISIS goes underground in stronghold Raqqa

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure.

In the city of Raqqa, 450 km northeast of Damascus, residents say ISIS has been moving equipment every day since Obama signaled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria.

ISIS activists who typically answer questions on the internet have been off line since then.

Its leaders have not given a direct response to Obama: his speech last week was not mentioned in a video released on Saturday showing the beheading of British hostage David Haines by an ISIS militant.

As the United States tries to assemble a coalition to fight ISIS, the jihadist group appears to be trying to leave as much uncertainty as possible about its strategy.

Facing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, ISIS fighters abandoned heavy weaponry that made them easy targets and tried to blend into civilian areas.

In anticipation of similar raids in Syria, the group may already be doing the same.


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Missouri, Alabama schools drop Michelle O’s lunch program

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – New federal school food regulations promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama are becoming a massive headache for many schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program.

Those schools and numerous others across the country are ditching the federal regulations and the funding that comes with them to save their cafeteria programs, which have experienced a nose-dive in sales and skyrocketing waste since the new rules were implemented in 2012.

At Notre Dame, school officials turned to the professionals at My Daddy’s Cheesecake, Papa John’s, Tractors Classic American Grill and Chick-fil-A to bring in nutritious and tasty meals students enjoy for “restaurant Wednesdays,” reports.

Notre Dame’s lunch participation had dropped to about half of its 565 students and 65 faculty members under the federal guidelines, but jumped drastically to about 75 percent once officials did away with the tight restrictions on calories, fat, sodium, whole grains, and numerous other aspects of school meals.


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Braid: Planes may be grounded but other abuses continue

It’s an odd meeting to imagine — a cabinetload of ministers, many of them frequent flyers, voting unanimously to sell their airborne entitlements.

New Premier Jim Prentice walks in and says: That’s it, we’re selling the planes.

Unanimously they bark — yessir!

This had to happen, but the hypocrisy is enough to make you jump for the sick bag.

From the new finance minister, Robin Campbell, to the most junior returning ministers, they’ve flown for years on Canada’s most elaborate provincial government airline, without guilt or apology, and often with belligerent defiance.

It’s government business, they cried. It helps us serve the people. We can get to every corner of Alberta.

As recently as March, just before ex-Premier Alison Redford quit, ministers were defending the fleet and excusing her travel.


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Water levels in the Great Lakes are up in 2014

Yes, more rain dropped on your favourite lake this year and spoiled your picnics. Yes, the water in that same lake was chillier.

But the summer swim you might have lost also translated into a huge gain for Great Lakes levels. Not since February 1999 have water levels been this high — “high” this time meaning they’re finally at levels at or close to the century average.

The rebound in lake levels, particularly in Michigan and Huron, has all been enough to blow experts’ more modest forecasts out of the water.

The one big reason: “lots of precipitation,” says Derrick Beach, water resources engineer with Environment Canada’s boundary waters issues unit.

Lake Superior, for example, experienced 142% of the rain it normally sees in August and September. And some of that naturally flowed to lakes Michigan-Huron (hydrologists consider them one lake system) and to the lower lakes.


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