Category Archives: Editorials

Ontario, You Are In Deep Trouble

Regarding the announcement that Moody’s has placed Ontario on a downgrade watch, CTV News reports Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan as saying:

That is not a downgrade. Spin take: while not being a downgrade on debt, it is certainly a downgrade in outlook.

This does signal that they will continue to watch us carefully. No kidding.

It challenges us to continue to meet the targets that we have so far met. Spin take: we’re not sure, Dwight, how you continue to meet a target that is already met unless there is a real risk that the result of meeting the targets is at risk of being reversed. In other words, we’re in over our heads and barely treading water.

But Dwight has a solution as the Vancouver Sun reports: We are going to have to be relentless in pursuit of transformation to ensure we are focusing our resources on those pivotal areas for job growth in the future. Huh? Such as the “green” jobs the province has been promoting? We’re living in a Dilbert cartoon.
Zero Hedge has a more in-depth discussion of Moody’s assessment. They quote a Ms. Wong of Moodys:  If a credible plan to address the fiscal imbalance and stabilize the debt burden is not implemented in the next provincial budget, expected in March 2012, downward pressure on the province’s Aa1 rating would emerge.

Acts of War

First Progression

Recently, as part of NATO operations in the Mideast, Canadian planes bombed Libya. We are curious as to how the Canadian military came to commit an act of war against a sovereign nation. Who gave the orders? What was the political process that resulted in such orders being given? What was parliament’s involvement in authorizing an act of war against another country? We are pursuing these questions with the Canadian government. However, past experience would suggest answers will take months as communications (otherwise know as “the buck) are passed between bureaucrats and bureaucracies.

This week we were disturbed to see (Pete, Walt … Read the Paper) that the Canadian frigate HMCS Vancouver will be posted off the cost of Syria. Ostensibly to extract Canadian citizens should such become necessary, we note it is well positioned to engage in hostiles towards Syria and Iran if the region should blow up.

The Americans have been increasingly aggressive in their posturing towards Iran. As Zero Hedge noted yesterday, they have positioned the carrier battle group CVN77, the G.W.H. Bush, off the coast near Syria. Later, Zero Hedge posted another article on the Russian response to this and recent moves of the Americans in Eastern Europe. For whatever reason, it is clear the Americans have reactivated the cold war. The Russian response can be seen in this YouTube video (if English subtitles do not appear, click the “CC” on the control bar at the bottom).

We think this is simply posturing in the ongoing game of geopolitical chess. Our concern is that Americans may be good at playing poker, but America’s enemies – Russia, China, Iran for starters – may be better players of games of strategy like chess. Do the American’s want to call?

Which brings us back to Canada. Our concern is, based on how easily we invaded Afghanistan and bombed Libya. We could end up in a costly global hot war before Parliament and the Canadian people could finish their current tweets.

Pete, Walt … Read the Paper

The Department of National Defense, in a news release today titled Minister [Peter] MacKay announces continued Canadian naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea, identifies the Canadian mandate for continuing operations in the Mideast as “limited to detection and deterrence of activities related to terrorism.” It further notes that “the NATO fleet deployed on Operation Active Endeavour has contributed to enhanced security and stability in the Mediterranean Sea.”

General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff echoes this idea: “We will continue to work alongside our NATO allies to build upon our successes and to bring stability to the region.”

As a first comment, the “detection” option ensures we can be there forever if we wish. We think the “deterrence option” is sufficiently vague to allow us to do whatever we wish while we’re there, including such acts of war as bombing sovereign nations.

While this was page 6 news in today’s Ottawa Sun, the front-page headline was “Cairo explodes”. And since we stopped bombing Libya, the peace in the Mideast has been marked by new deadly riots in Egypt, atrocities and virtual civil war in Syria, and recent news reports that Israel and/or the US is going to attack Iran – or not.

After Libya, we’re not sure the Mideast needs a continued Canadian contribution to stability. But that’s not really why we’re there, is it?

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