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Spotted on CBCNews.ca: Sun., May 29

Categories: Canada, World

G8 aid: Do you agree with Canada's position on 'Arab spring' funding?

220-li-g8-leaders-rtr2mxlh.jpgCanada will not pledge any new money in a $20-billion fund for "Arab spring" countries transitioning to democracy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this week.

France is pushing strongly for G8 countries to mobilize financial support for Egypt and Tunisia in order to protect early democratic reforms. While Canada agrees, it argues the money should flow through international monetary institutions such as the European Investment Bank and World Bank.

Canada already pays more than $12 billion a year into those agencies.

Multilateral lending institutions constitute "the best way to get a co-ordinated international response," Harper told reporters covering the G8 conference, in Deauville, France, late Thursday night.

We asked you whether you agreed with Canada's position on "Arab spring" funding. As of 3 p.m. ET Sunday, more than 1,600 votes were cast. Nearly 56 per cent of respondents supported Harper's decision not to pledge new money.

"Harper is right," BGrigg wrote. "No money should go directly to these countries until they hold democratic elections AND elect the right people, who will work with the West, instead of against it."

Kensington Smyth, the 23rd argued there's no guarantee that contributing any special financial aid would help the citizens of these countries. "Don't be so naive as to think that graft and corruption has disappeared simply because of a regime change. Furthermore, do we fund every popular uprising simply because other nations are getting sucked in?"

"You know what? We've been helping the Arab countries for decades," I'mottahere said. "Does anybody see any strong tangible proof it helped - the people? Okay, a few roads there, a few schools here. Where is the progress report?"

newbie33, however, expressed concern about how this decision would affect Canada's international reputation.

"Funny, Canada has lost a lot of respect at the UN and in the eyes of developing nation[s]. This is just going to make things worse. When did we become like the old 'Bush' regime?"

Quebec: Should it get more seats in the House of Commons?

layton-opposition-220.jpgOpposition Leader Jack Layton says he believes Prime Minister Stephen Harper is prepared to find common ground with the NDP and give Quebec more seats in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives proposed in April that Canada's three fastest-growing provinces should get more seats in the House of Commons by 2014, with Ontario gaining 18 seats, British Columbia gaining seven and Alberta five.
 
Under the proposed legislation, all other provinces, whose populations are not growing as quickly, would be guaranteed to keep the number of seats they have. Quebec currently holds 75 out of 308 seats, 24.4 per cent of seats, despite having 23.2 per cent of Canada's population.

Some Quebec politicians insist the province won't accept anything less than its current number of seats.

Layton's statement generated a lot of discussion on CBCNews.ca. We asked you whether you believed Quebec should gain more seats in the House of Commons in the proposed reshuffle.

As of 3 p.m. ET Sunday, more than 1,900 votes were cast. Nearly 84 per cent of respondents said "no."

"Their seat allocation, and the allocation to all the other provinces should be based only on their population," nuckfan. "If the population is up ... more seats. If the population is down ... fewer seats. Why should a vote in Alberta be 'worth' more than one from Nova Scotia? Equal representation based on population distribution is fairest."

"Layton´s tactics are wrong," argued Carter M. "He knows very well that in our democracy the number of seats are based on population. Seat distribution is based on population. Layton´s tactics will cause trouble and division between the rest of Canada and Quebec."

Fubarspeaks offered this suggestion.

"How about keeping the number of MPs exactly what it is now, and simply redrawing the federal riding lines to keep an even proportion of constituents? And why, exactly, are federal ridings defined by provincial borders? These are representatives of a federal government, not an extra layer of provincial politicians. How about redrawing ridings to cross these boundaries? Because I really don't think the solution to better government is to put more heads on the payroll."

Commenter AndrewW.Peebles, however, said people shouldn't dismiss the idea of giving Quebec more seats so quickly. "Quebec has the 2nd largest economy in Canada... I'd say that entitles them to a little consideration."

PM visits site of Nazi massacre in Greece

220-li-harper-greece-620-rt.jpgPrime Minister Stephen Harper continued his official visit to Greece on Sunday with a visit to a mountain village that was the scene of a Second World War massacre.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou joined Harper and his wife Laureen at the Kalavryta Sacrifice Monument about 200 kilometres west of Athens, where Nazi soldiers executed about 1,000 men and boys on Dec. 13, 1943.

The German occupation forces rounded up all men and boys over the age of 14, took them to a hill overlooking the village and gunned them down. The atrocity was committed in response to attacks by Greek guerrilla fighters.

"Wow ...when people talk about WWII it's usually about the UK, Poland, France, etc....never heard about this event in Greece and it just adds to the sadness of how many lives were affected during this time," andreamad wrote. "I can't even imagine the terror those men and their families felt. We can only hope such things will never happen again."

AlwaysTheMusic thought the visit was "a meaningful and respectful gesture by Harper."

ranger246 agreed. "The honorable thing to do Mr. Harper. This story is one more reason why all the perpetrators of such atrocities, then and now, must be hunted down and brought to justice."

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