Thursday, December 31, 2009

Minister VanLoan

On March 12, 2009 I asked the following question of Minister VanLoan and never received a reply:

Mr. Minister, nuclear power is apparently an efficient way of producing a stabile source of electrical power for both use in Canada and as a means of export revenue. What seems to be holding back the development of more nuclear plants in Canada? As Minister of Public Safety I can understand that you will want to assure Canadians that all safety issues are addressed regarding the development of nuclear power. Do you have any fact-based concerns regarding nuclear power that may cause you to pause over the expansion of nuclear power generation in Canada?

I respectfully submit these questions without prejudice.

Minister Toews

On March 4, 2009 I asked the following question of Minister Toews and never received a reply:

Mr. Toews, has the Government of Canada arrived at a mutual agreement with the RCMP respecting the concerns raised by the RCMP on their Call for Backup website and if not why?

I don’t hold a membership in any political party and I respectfully submit this question without prejudice. Thank you.

Minister Ritz

On March 11, 2009 I asked Minister Ritz the following question and received no reply:

Mr. Minister, in the wake of our failing economy what measures has the government taken to provide a stimulus package for the agriculture industry in Canada?

This question is respectfully submitted without prejudice.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Minister Nicholson

I asked the following question of Minister Nicholson on March 9, 2009:

Mr. Nicholson, what evidence can you provide to me that is proof we are winning the war against organized crime and drug abuse?

I respectfully submit this question without prejudice.

On May 13, 2009 I received the following reply:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck:

Thank you for your correspondence concerning organized crime and drug-related activities. I regret the delay in responding.

First, let me assure you that, as Minister of Justice, I share your concerns and recognize the need to provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools needed to combat organized crime in Canada.

The escalation of gang violence in cities and towns across Canada is deeply troubling. The Government of Canada remains committed to tackling crime and to ensuring that all Canadians can live in safe and healthy communities, free from fear of crime and violence.

One of the Government’s key criminal justice priorities is legislative reform to combat organized crime. For this reason, I tabled Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (organized crime and protection of justice system participants), on February 26, 2009, to target this activity. For further information, please visit and

The Bill proposes amendments in four broad areas:
· making all murders connected to criminal organizations automatically first-degree murder offences;
· creating a new offence to target drive-by and other reckless shootings involving the intentional disregard for the life or safety of another person;
· creating two new offences to respond to assaults against peace officers that cause bodily harm or involve the use of a weapon and the aggravated assault of a peace officer; and
· amending the gang recognizance provision, which is a preventative court order requiring an individual to agree to specific conditions to govern their behaviour. This provision clarifies that a judge can impose any reasonable conditions and increase the period of the order to 24 months where an offender has been previously convicted of an offence involving organized crime, terrorism, or the intimidation of a justice system participant.

Bill C-14 will help to address the escalating violence perpetrated by gangs and other organized criminal groups. The amendments are the result of extensive consultations and collaboration with the provinces and territories, along with law-enforcement officials, who have expressed wide support for this proposed legislation. I believe that the proposed measures respond to the concerns of Canadians that our prosecutors and law enforcement have all the means necessary to effectively fight organized crime.

As you are aware, illegal drug use is a serious concern for many Canadians, whether in urban centres or smaller communities. Our government is taking action to address this complex problem. Consistent with our commitment to make communities safer and healthier, on October 4, 2007, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the National Anti-Drug Strategy.

The Strategy addresses and provides funding for three priority areas: preventing illicit drug use, treating those with illicit drug dependencies, and combating the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

A significant portion of the new funding for the Strategy will support prevention and treatment initiatives, including $30 million over five years for a new national awareness campaign targeted at youth and their parents. In terms of treatment, the Strategy introduces approximately $100 million over five years for new resources to support effective approaches to treating individuals who pose a risk to themselves and the community.

To complement drug prevention and treatment efforts, the National Anti-Drug Strategy provides an additional $102 million in new funding over five years to target drug producers and distributors by bolstering law enforcement’s ability to combat marijuana and synthetic drug production and distribution operations.

A Youth Gang Prevention Fund has also been established under the broader National Crime Prevention Strategy, designed to help communities prevent youth crime and to specifically focus on guns, gangs and drugs. This fund is supported by approximately $11.1 million. In addition, approximately $64 million was allocated as part of the National Anti-Drug Strategy.

In addition, the Government is committed to ensuring that the laws provide for legal penalties that are proportionate to the seriousness of drug crimes. As part of the National Anti-Drug Strategy, on February 27, 2009, I tabled in the House of Commons Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, which introduces mandatory minimum penalties for people convicted of serious drug offences. For further information, please visit and

I am confident that together these measures will form a focused approach to reducing the supply of and demand for illicit drugs, as well as addressing the crime associated with illegal drugs, thereby providing Canadians with safer and healthier communities in which to live.

Thank you again for writing.

Yours truly,

The Honourable Rob Nicholson

Minister Mackay

I asked the following question of Minister MacKay on March 9, 2009 and never received a reply:

Mr. Mackay, under what conditions would Canadian troops be required to remain in Afghanistan at their current strength beyond the year 2011?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Minister Kenny

On March 11, 2009 I asked the following question of Minister Kenny:

Mr. Minister, how many people living and working in Canada do not have a Canadian citizenship? How many people have made application to come to Canada whom are still waiting for their applications to be processed? On an annual basis are there any restrictions as to the number of people Canada is prepared to enter our country?

These questions are respectfully submitted without prejudice.

On April 23, 2009 I received the following reply:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck:

I am replying to your e-mail of March 11, 2009, addressed to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, regarding your questions about citizenship and immigration.

With regard to your first question, please see the table below for information from the 2006 Census on the number of persons living in Canada at the time of the census who were not Canadian citizens (total = 1,760,865). This includes 1,495,510 immigrants who report their citizenship as "other country" and all non-permanent residents (265,355). A breakdown by age has also been provided.

Persons living in Canada who are not Canadian citizens, by immigration status and age, Canada, 2006 Census
Source: 2006 Census Statistics Canada 97-564-XCB2006008

Total - not Non-permanent
Age Canadian citizens Immigrants residents*
Under 15 years 229,970 195,215 34,755
15 to 24 years 250,230 184,110 66,115
25 to 44 years 757,650 632,095 125,560
45 to 54 years 228,385 206,755 21,630
55 to 64 years 149,520 140,220 9,295
65 years and over 145,115 137,115 8,005
Total - Canada 1,760,865 1,495,510 265,355

* Non-permanent residents include persons in Canada as temporary residents at the time of the census (i.e., persons with a work or study permit or who were refugee claimants, and family members living in Canada with them).

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, immigrants must meet several requirements, including at least three years of residency in Canada and knowledge of an official language. They may also be required to take a knowledge test.

The vast majority of foreign-born people who were eligible for Canadian citizenship chose to become Canadian. In 2006, 85.1 percent of eligible foreign-born people were Canadian citizens.
Those who had been in Canada the longest were the most likely to hold Canadian citizenship, as they had had more time to make the decision to apply for it. The vast majority (94.1 percent) who arrived before 1961 had Canadian citizenship. Similarly, 89.1 percent of those who came in the 1960s and 1970s had become naturalized citizens. The proportion of naturalized citizens was lower (84.1 percent) among those who arrived in the 1990s.

When asked about their citizenship intention six months after landing in Canada, the vast majority (91 percent) of the respondents in the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada expressed their intent to settle in Canada permanently and become Canadian citizens. Four years later, 15 percent of the newcomers who were interviewed once again had obtained Canadian citizenship.

As of December 31, 2008, there were 997,000 people who had made an application to come to Canada as a permanent resident who were still waiting for a final decision on their application.
On November 28, 2008, the Minister Kenney announced that Canada will welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2009, the same range as in 2007 and 2008.
Rather than set a maximum limit, every Fall the Government of Canada sets a planning range for the number of permanent admissions Canada expects to welcome in the upcoming year. The overall planning range comprises separate planning ranges for the four broad categories of immigration to Canada: economic, family, protected persons and "other" (e.g., those selected on humanitarian and compassionate grounds). In setting these ranges the Government of Canada must strike a balance among the economic, family and humanitarian objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. At the same time, several other factors must be considered, such as the operational capacity to process applications.

Canada does not set a planning range for temporary residents. Applications for temporary residence are processed on a priority basis as they are received.

Thank you for taking the time to write. I trust that the information provided is of assistance.
S. Duncan
Ministerial Enquiries Division

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Prime Minister

I sent the following question to the Prime Minister on March 2, 2009 and never receieved any response:

Mr. Prime Minister, I have two questions. One question relates to your role as Prime Minister and the other relates to your role as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Why is it that all government members vote the same on matters before the House of Commons and how is this rule enforced?
Is it possible to challenge an incumbent conservative nomination and if not why?

I respectfully ask these questions as a person who holds no membership in any political party and without prejudice.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Former KGB Agent

The story surrounding a former KGB agent hiding in a Vancouver church is something the Harper government needs to resolve. Mikhail Lennikov has apparently used the church as a sanctuary from border officials since June 2009. He has apparently produced 35,000 pages of documents to prove he is not a security threat to Canada and therefore, should be allowed to stay in Canada. Two BC MP’s are calling on the Prime Minister to allow Lennikov to stay in Canada.

I have no knowledge of whether or not he is a security threat to Canada. I do believe it is time for the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada to make a decision one way or another. Going to church to worship is one thing, but using it as a sanctuary to protect one’s self from a government that can’t make a decision is unreasonable. Imagine, a person hiding in a Canadian church to protect themselves from our government. There must be some other solution. Having people believe a church is a sanctuary from the government is just wrong. Prime Minister, Stephen Harper needs to make a decision on this matter and soon!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nuclear Power for Saskatchewan

The decision by the Government of Saskatchewan in an announcement made by Bill Boyd, Minister of Energy and Resources, to shelve any plans to move ahead with nuclear generation in Saskatchewan is a mistake. It was shelved for political reasons, as the SaskParty fears the anti-nuclear activists and the longtime anti-nuclear NDP opposition. The SaskParty is more concerned about their re-election than they are about showing leadership. Nuclear generation in Saskatchewan would add a new source of revenue for Saskatchewan. Exporting energy to Alberta and California in huge amounts is an exciting prospect that is best possible with nuclear power. Further, delaying the development of nuclear power will only cost us more in the future.

We should at least move forward with a plan for Saskatchewan to be a world leader for the production of medical isotopes. The federal government was looking for a province to come forward with a proposal and Premier Wall had expressed an interest, but that too seems to be shelved.

The SaskParty needs to step up, show some leadership and move forward. Allowing a few vocal opponents to Saskatchewan’s progress will drive the province back down into that “have not province” hole and that is simply not an option I can support. Saskatchewan must shed its “next year country” syndrome and continue to move forward.

More on Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

As I write this letter, the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is about to come to an end. It has been two weeks of bickering and over the top demonstrations. I see very little positive coming out of this conference. Any decisions to deal with emissions and assistance for poor countries will cost the developed nations like Canada and the US a lot of money. It has the potential to become an economic disaster as the costs associated with attempting to fix a perceived environmental problem will come at the expense of taxpayers.

At greatest risk is our energy sector. We are all now witnessing what depressed potash sales are doing to our province’s economy as it falls deeper in debt. If any emission control targets coming out of the Copenhagen conference affect the oil and gas sector then you can just imagine how quickly Saskatchewan will fall back into being a have not province.

Climate change has been happening for billions of years and I am not convinced that the activities of humankind are the cause of climate change or global warming. Further, I am not convinced there is anything we can do that will have any meaningful effective on climate change. I am convinced it will harm our economy and our way of life.

People talk a lot about supporting measures to keep our environment clean, as they fear the notion of climate change or global warming. The problem is that people talk about it, but are not prepared to give up anything toward resolving environment issues. Either way, prepare to give up your money over environmental related costs in the future.

Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

As I write this letter we are on the eve of an economic disaster as the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (Cop15 Copenhagen) is within hours of concluding. Most agree there is a need to be responsible toward our planet’s environment. Yes, climate change is taking place as it has for billions of years. Many believe we humans are partly the cause of climate change as it regards the so-called greenhouse gas emissions we emit from our individual carbon footprints. Well, that may or may not be the case as environmentalists and scientists from around the world continue to hold conflicting conclusions over the issue. The western, capitalist, developed nations like Canada and the United States are claimed to be at the root of the problem. One thing is sure, the vast majority of people in the developed nations of the world like Canada are not prepared to surrender their lifestyle to save planet earth, assuming that is even possible.

Cop 15 has been a disaster. Finger pointing, name-calling and over the top demonstrations have been the highlights to this point. It is a highly charged political event that will produce no long term, meaningful solution to address matters regarding climate change. I am fearful those world leaders, many of whom have little regard for anything other than their vested interests and many whom hate the west and capitalism, will end up costing the developed nations billions of dollars. Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, announced the US will try to mobilize a $100 billion a year fund for climate aid for poor countries by the year 2020. The Canadian government is likely to commit funds as well since it has been targeted as a sort of rogue nation regarding climate change. These are the early signs of what may come out of Cop15 and it will likely get worse.

The cost to individuals in countries like Canada and the US will be staggering reaching thousands of dollars for each person over the next few short years. Productivity will be affected and jobs may be lost. The tar sands and conventional oil may be dramatically changed and our economy may stagnate as we send money to poor countries from our reduced energy revenues. We will be further burdened in an attempt to real in our emissions and reduce our carbon footprint. It has always been this way. Only the rich can help the poor, but when it makes the rich poor as well, then all is lost. The potential for an environmental problem to create an economic disaster is a real and imminent danger.

Keep this in mind; a barrel of oil emits nothing into the atmosphere. The reality is that four fifths of a barrel of oil is emitted into the atmosphere when you pump it through the exhaust pipe of your vehicle. Further, there are more human carbon footprints as the population increases. Even breathing is a harmful emission into our atmosphere. So are you prepared to drive a small economic vehicle and commit to fewer children as holding your breath strikes me as an extreme solution? Canada is apparently committed to reducing our emissions by 20% by the year 2020. It won’t happen. Immigrants to Canada will hamper the 20% target over the next ten years. Are you prepared to close our borders to immigrants? Well, maybe you could at least sell off your investments in energy that partly fuels the energy sector in western Canada.
Good will hunting Canadian politicians attending this conference will be held partially responsible if Cop15 Copenhagen becomes an economic disaster for all of Canada. This is one time I would like to be wrong in my assessment of an issue. Who knows, maybe I am!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Useless Inquiry

Now how bad is this?

There were 34 victims in a Cornwall child-molestation scandal, but even after a four-year, $53 million public inquiry no one knows if an organized pedophile ring was operating in Eastern Ontario.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Minister Finley

I asked the following of Minister Finley on March 28, 2009:

Madam Minister, I understand that changes to CPP benefit levels, contribution rates, CPP financing and investment policy require formal approval by Parliament. Why do these changes also require the support of two-thirds of the provinces with two-thirds of the population? Further, what other Acts of Parliament require these same conditions?

I respectfully submit these questions without prejudice.

Answer dated May 22, 2009:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck:
On behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, I am pleased to respond to your letter dated March 28, 2009, regarding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Unlike other social programs in Canada, the CPP falls under the joint stewardship of the federal and provincial governments. Given the constitutional rights of provinces to oversee social programs, benefits for seniors and retirement pensions in Canada, when the CPP was proposed as a national social insurance plan in the early 1960s, provincial governments agreed that there were merits to having a federally-administered, national retirement plan that included supplementary benefits for persons with disabilities and survivors. However, they did not give up their right to oversee such a plan and the program was designed to be one of joint federal-provincial responsibility. This is a feature unique to the CPP.

Joint stewardship of the CPP has led to a great deal of stability and the ability to engage in long-term planning. While the Plan has evolved to meet the changing needs of Canadians, such changes have been implemented on the basis of broad consensus. To this day, the federal government continues to work cooperatively with the provinces to ensure that the CPP is sustainable and reflects modern social trends of the Canadian society. Federal and provincial Ministers of Finance review the Plan's financial state every three years and make recommendations as to whether benefits and/or contribution rates should be changed. They base their recommendations on a number of factors, including the results of an examination of the Plan by the Chief Actuary. This process ensures that the long-term financial implications of proposed Plan changes are given timely consideration.

The federal government is firmly committed to maintaining a strong and stable public pension system for the financial security of Canadians. Not only must the Plan be equitable and sustainable for today's retirees, it must also meet the needs of future generations. The rules governing the Canada Pension Plan strive to strike a balance between the long-term sustainability of the Plan and fairness and flexibility to individuals in planning their retirement. Canadians may be justifiably proud that the CPP is financially viable well into the future.

I hope that my comments are helpful in explaining the legislation governing the CPP. Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to write.
Dominique La Salle
Director General
Seniors and Pensions Policy Secretariat
Income Security and Social Development Branch

Minister Finley

I asked the following question of Minister Finley on March 10, 2009 and never received a reply:

Madam Finley, can you tell me how many people in total are employed directly by the Government of Canada and at what total cost as per your most recent fiscal year? Would you please include the numbers of people employed by the Government of Canada whom are not Canadian residents or are indirectly employed by the Government of Canada through contracts or other similar means?

I respectfully submit this question without prejudice?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Minister Day

I asked Minister Day the following question on March 10, 2009 and never received a reply.

Mr. Day, we are in the grip of a great bear market of a magnitude unprecedented in Canadian history. What assurances can you provide to me that trade deficits between Canada and the US will not continue year after year until after the US economy recovers?

I respectfully submit this question without prejudice.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Minister Clement

I asked Minister Clement the following question on March 12, 2009

Mr. Minister, this question may not be your responsibility, if not, then please advise and I will forward the question to the responsible minister. My concern is why the Chalk River nuclear reactor in Ontario produces half the world’s supply of isotopes used for medical purposes. There have been issues surrounding the Chalk River reactor and when something goes wrong with the Chalk River reactor the blame ultimately falls on the Government of Canada. There are other suppliers of isotopes and a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal identifies this issue. Why must the world depend on Chalk River so heavily? Is it not possible to have Chalk River work with other suppliers of isotopes when they may have to shut down for maintenance or for some other reason?

I respectfully submit these questions without prejudice.

On June 6, 2009 I received the following reply:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck:
On behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, thank you for your e-mail regarding the Chalk River nuclear reactor. I regret the delay in replying to you.
As the matter you have raised falls under the mandate of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your correspondence to her office for consideration.
Please accept my best wishes.
Yours sincerely,
Louise Geyer
Director Executive Correspondence and Records

Then on July 24, 2009 I received the following and final response to my March 12, 2009 question:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck:
The Office of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, has forwarded to the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, a copy of your correspondence of March 12, 2009, regarding the recent shutdown of the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) Chalk River Laboratories, and the resulting disruption in the medical isotope supply. I am responding on Minister Raitt’s behalf.

I would first like to highlight the differences between the situation of December 2007, when Parliament passed emergency legislation to enable the NRU to be restarted, compared to the current situation. In December 2007, the decision to keep the reactor in a shutdown state was based on reasons not as significant as the recent decision to do so. The current situation is due to a significant technical problem, which must be addressed before the reactor can be started up again. This situation was communicated to the medical community within hours of the Government of Canada being advised of the extended required outage. Also, in 2007, due to the highly-regulated industry and complex supply chain, we were not equipped to take steps to secure alternative supplies. Today, there is a framework for international cooperation in place that allowed the global community to immediately address the serious shortage.

The health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for the Government. On June 2, 2009, Minister Raitt appeared before the Standing Committee on Natural Resources (the Committee). Her statements before the Committee underlined the importance the Government places on the security of long-term supply of medical isotopes for Canadians. We continue to work with the medical community, and Canada’s global partners, to move forward with the five-point plan to protect the health and safety of Canadians over both the short and long term:
– Minister Raitt continues to press AECL to bring the NRU reactor safely back into operation as soon as possible. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has confirmed that the heavy-water leak at the reactor poses no threat to either health or safety.
– Natural Resources Canada is working with Health Canada to mitigate the effect of supply disruptions in the short and medium term through increased information sharing with regard to isotope supply, and through work with provincial and territorial governments, and healthcare professionals, with respect to the management of isotope demand.
– Canada is actively engaging international partners to foster global solutions. At Canada’s request, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, brought together members of the international supply chain at a workshop in January 2009. The workshop resulted in widespread recognition that the security of supply of medical isotopes is an international issue that must be addressed cooperatively by all isotope producing and consuming countries. A number of measures to enhance short-term supply security have been identified through work with the NEA, including better coordination of reactor production schedules, improved information sharing between suppliers and the medical community, and more efficient distribution and use of medical isotopes and alternatives. A high-level group has now been established under the auspices of the NEA to carry forward recommendations of the January 2009 workshop.

Thank you for writing on this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Wallace Director General Electricity Resources Branch Energy Sector Natural Resources Canada

Minister Cannon

Question to Minister Cannon on March 30, 2009.

Mr. Minister, how many ambassadors, diplomatic representatives or official government representatives do we have around the world? Where are they located and what cost do they represent, including salaries, facility expenses, staff expenses and travel expenses, to the taxpayers of Canada?

I respectfully submit these questions without prejudice. Thank you.

Answer May 13, 2009:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck :

On behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, I would like to thank you for your e-mail of March 30, 2009. I regret the delay in replying. Please find below, the information you requested.

At the end of the last fiscal year for which we have complete reporting material (March 31, 2008), Canada’s network abroad consisted of 7,305 employees located in 168 missions in 109 countries, including 9 missions to multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These 7,305 employees can be broken down into two principal categories: 1,877 Canada-based employees, who are Canadian citizens operating at missions abroad and which includes 137 heads of mission (generally High Commissioners, Ambassadors and Consuls-General), and 5,428 locally-engaged employees, who are people hired in the host country in which Canada maintains a mission presence.

While our 2009 reports are not yet finalized, preliminary figures show that we had a total of 7,537 employees located in 174 missions and 110 countries.

Canada’s diplomatic and consular network represents a myriad of Canadian interests overseas. Of the 7,305 people working internationally for Canada, 2,410 of them are actually employed by other government departments, prominently amongst those being Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). There are over 30 federal, provincial and agency programs working in missions abroad. Diplomacy, consular services and trade relations remain the central business lines of Canada’s international network from this department’s point of view. In addition, this department provides common service support for all the various programs from across government operating out of the mission network.

Our 168 missions, as of March 31 2008, consist of High Commissions (in Commonwealth countries), Embassies, Consulates-General, Consulates, and Offices of the Embassy, which are satellite offices in non-capital cities providing a special and focussed program presence. 38 missions and 19% of our overseas staff are located in Africa and the Middle-East, 32 missions and 30% of our mission staff are situated in the Asia-Pacific, 16 missions in Eastern Europe and 28 missions in Western Europe encompass 25% of our overseas staff, 26 missions and 12% of our personnel abroad are operating in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 28 missions, employing 14% of our staff abroad, are located in North America.

For the exact locations of our network of missions, please consult this link which will provide you more details.

The total cost of our diplomatic and consular presence overseas in fiscal year 2008, which includes, principally, salaries, physical resources and infrastructure, protection services, telecommunications, information technology, relocation and utilities provided to our 168 missions around the world, amounts to $754,961,885. Fluctuations occur from year to year in consideration of currency gains and losses and foreign rates of inflation. They also occur because of the expansion and contraction of our total mission presence worldwide in response to decisions taken by the government to adjust programs offered via the mission network. In fiscal year 2009, the amount increased to $799,671,569 largely due to an increased number of staff abroad (by approximately 232 across all government departments) and the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar versus foreign currencies, which meant that the cost to operate missions increased.

Best regards,

Mark FletcherDirector General/Directeur général

Representation Abroad Secretariat
Secrétariat de la représentation à l'étranger
(613) 944-2905 Fax/télé (613) 944-9021 Email/courriel :

Monday, December 07, 2009

CRTC News to Ponder

CRTC clears Al-Jazeera's English service to air in Canada. Al Jazeera English, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, is headquartered in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The organization is the world's first global English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. From this unique position, Al Jazeera English is destined to be the English-language channel of reference for Middle Eastern events, balancing the current typical information flow by reporting from the developing world back to the West and from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The channel aims to give voice to untold stories, promote debate, and challenge established perceptions. With broadcasting centres in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC and supporting bureau worldwide, the channel will set the news agenda, bridging cultures and providing a unique grassroots perspective from under-reported regions around the world to a potential global audience of over one billion English speakers.

The station broadcasts news, current affairs, features, analysis, documentaries, live debates, entertainment, business and sport. Building on Al Jazeera Arabic channel's ground breaking developments in the Arab and Muslim world that have changed the face of news within the Middle East, Al Jazeera English is part of a growing network that is now extending this fresh perspective from regional to global through accurate, impartial and objective reporting. This should be interesting!

More Climategate

Climate Research Unit (CRU) scandal rocks the world. The Climatic Research Unit is widely recognized as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of climate change. It consists of a staff of around thirty research scientists and students upon which developed countries around the world have relied on to make important environment policy decisions. As a result of CRU’s computers having been hacked their credibility is now being question around the world. It has been reported that on Saturday, the University of East Anglia, in eastern England, said in a statement the hackers had entered the server and stolen data at its Climatic Research Unit, a leading global research centre on climate change. The hackers reportedly stole more than a decade of correspondence between leading British and U.S. scientists, and posted about 1,000 emails and 3,000 documents on websites. Apparently, the methodology and computer coding at CRU has for decades been less than reliable calling into question whether any of these scientists claims about our weather or global warming are even accurate. Countries from around the world will be convening in Copenhagen, Denmark, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and representatives from the Government of Saskatchewan. You really have to wonder why anyone would bother making the trip to Copenhagen other than to enjoy the trip as it is likely few will believe any thing coming out of this summit.

NDP - No Class

This past weekend I received two pieces of political propaganda in my mailbox. One was from Ralph Goodale, the liberal Member of Parliament for Regina Wascana Plains. The other was from the provincial NDP on black and white paper with a smiling, youthful looking photo of Dwain Lingenfelter, leader of the opposition, on one side and an aging, sad photo of Brad Wall on the other.

The message from Ralph Goodale was simply contact information, a calendar, a few photos showing him at work in his constituency and nice photo of him with his wife wishing Best Holiday Wishes. It was a quality piece that I suggest most people would appreciate.

On the other hand, the message from the NDP was how Brad Wall has taken us from boom to bust in two short years. It tells how the SaskParty government spending is apparently out of control with a 32% increase in just two years. It goes on to condemn the government and tell me how I will be paying more and getting less and how I am at risk with the Wall government having drained most of the $2 billion rainy day fund.

In my view, the NDP propaganda was ill timed considering we are less than three weeks from Christmas. It is not what I want to hear at this time of year regardless of the facts. There apparently is one distinct difference between the liberals and the NDP. The liberals, like Ralph Goodale, have class, which is more than can be said for the NDP based on their respective brochures received by voters, this past weekend.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Tiger Woods

People live and people die! That is one thing we all have in common, and that includes Tiger Woods. Unfortunately, almost everyone is jumping on his story. The news surrounding Tiger Woods tells us more about ourselves than most would care to publicly confess. Now consider this and see if it applies to you.

I was raised in a small Saskatchewan town of about 150 people. I was far from perfect; good at sports and a poor student as I struggled to even complete my grade twelve. Regardless, I loved and respected my parents and I respected my elders. The locals, including my educators, never believed I would ever amount to anything in life.

Now, at sixty-six years of age, I look back and see things I wish had never happened. I had failures in business, politics and my personal life. I could have been a better person, husband, parent and politician, but I wasn’t. I failed and I failed often. Why?
Because I am human and none of us are perfect. Some other person who is less than perfect reminds me of this almost everyday.

I have forgiven, but will always remember those, both dead and alive, who unfairly judged me based on my personal life and for being just a bit outspoken. I was lied about and defamed in more ways than I care to remember and, although it was painful, I survived and succeeded.

Now, if any of this confession applies to you then you should carefully consider what you say and how you live your life, which can end at any moment. If it doesn’t matter to you now it will after your death.

Tiger Woods and his family need our support, deserving or otherwise, not the continual damnation he is getting from those who are as less than perfect in some other way. I can relate to the weight of his burden.


If you are not up to speed on this news story then you can get up to speed by visiting the blog Small dead animals, which is now more commonly referred to as SDA. The blogging world beat the mainstream media on this one. It is now more effective to get current news and breaking stories off the internet than it is off mainstream media. The internet and blogging community should be credited for providing people with a broader view than what we currently receive from mainstream media.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Minister Blackburn

The following question was asked of Minister Blackburn in March of 2009 and no answer was ever received.

Mr. Minister, can you tell me what the three main sources of revenue are for the Government of Canada and what are the three largest expenditures for the Government of Canada year over year?

I respectfully submit these questions without prejudice. Thank you.

Minister Ambrose

Question to Minister Ambrose March 2009

Madam Minister, it is critical to find ways to create employment as you see the number of unemployed Canadians increasing. Have you considered meeting with the provincial Ministers of Labour to coordinate all available means of employing those seeking employment?

Saskatchewan’s Premier and the Mayor of Regina are attending a job fair in Ontario to recruit people from Ontario to relocate in Saskatchewan. This is interesting when you consider that there are thousands of qualified people in Saskatchewan, many with university degrees, that cannot find employment right here in Saskatchewan. Has the federal government considered establishing a national database that the unemployed can access online or at Human Resources Centres across Canada to post their resumes?

It seems there is a lack of coordination between the federal government and the provinces as we move through the current economic crisis. I look forward to your response.

I respectfully submit these questions without prejudice.

Answer May 2009:

Dear Mr. Birkbeck:

On behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Labour, I am writing in response to your e-mail of March 25, 2009, concerning your recommendations to create more job opportunities. Service Canada is committed to helping Canadians with the tools and services that individuals need to find available job opportunities, particularly in these challenging economic times. The Department offers valuable information and services to assist individuals in searching for employment and preparing for today's job market.

For your information, Service Canada's Job Bank Web site ( provides an electronic listing of job openings across Canada in a national database to assist job seekers in their search for employment. The Job Search function helps job seekers find currently available employment opportunities across the country. One of the Job Bank tools available to job seekers is the Job Match function, which allows job seekers to advertise their job profile and receive notices of matching jobs. A job seeker may link directly at the following address:

A job seeker may also register at the same address to receive daily job alerts if they wish to be advised when a new employment opportunity matches their job profile. Also available on that Web site is the Resume Builder that allows a job seeker to create and save several résumés along with writing tips and samples for guidance. Moreover, the Career Navigator allows a job seeker to explore other career options by answering questionnaires and reviewing labour market information pertaining to wages, other possible occupations and employment prospects.

Service Canada has also created a new "Life Events - Looking for a Job" page (, which may assist job seekers further. There, you will find links to many other job seeker resources, including income support and training information.

I wish to inform you that the Government of Saskatchewan has had a fully devolved Labour Market Development Agreement with the Government of Canada since 1999. For more information on what work opportunities and programs the Government of Saskatchewan offers, I invite you to visit the following Web site:

I hope that the above information is helpful in understanding what services are available to job seekers.
Yours sincerely,
Catherine Colterman
Director General
Service Offerings and Implementation Directorate
Citizen Service Branch
Service Canada

Minister Aglukkaq

The following question was asked of Minister Aglukkaq via email in March of 2009 and no answer was ever received:

Madam Minister, I understand Saskatchewan receives the highest per capita health transfer payments of any province in Canada.

Question: Does Saskatchewan receive the highest per capita health transfer payment of any province in Canada? If the answer is yes can you tell me why?

I hold no membership in any political party and I submit this question without prejudice. Thank you.

Nortel Pay Increases

Nortel will increase pay to top executives. This is the same company that filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009. How does this make sense when so many little people within Nortel were laid off? Fourteen of the executives will earn over $500 thousand. Interestingly, the biggest earner under the new compensation plan is former treasurer John Doolittle. He took over as head of the company's corporate group. Doolittle's total compensation has been bumped to $1.68 million this year, an increase of 1.12 million over 2008, when he earned $390,000 US in salary and an estimated $170,000 US in investment and bonus money. Isn’t all this just a bit hard to understand for the average person on the street.