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Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Saskatoon as a “foreign speck of dust”

In Canada, Customer Service, Government, Saskatchewan, South of the boarder, This Means WAR on August 17, 2012 at 15:15

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“This is America. This ain’t Saskatoon or Piscataway or Buddhistan or some other foreign speck of dust. This is America. We have an army. A god damn capital-A Army. A big badass American army with big ol’ guns. And that army needs soldiers. Lots of soldiers. Lots of big god damn badass American soldiers to carry some big guns and show the freaks and the geek’s what’s what. There’s Jesus in Heaven and there’s god above and he gave man dominion over all things and guess what, that man is called The You Ess God Damn Army. Now you tell me, son: where exactly do you think we should find a bunch of god damn red-blooded boys ready to kill for god and country? Should we, should we, should we look up under the couch cushions? Should we look up under the floormat? Hey, I think I left m’ god damn US Army recruits on my nightstand table! Should we look there? Hot shot? Oh, you probably think we should look up in the god damn fabric store, eh? How bout we look for one million future globe-dominating soldiers up in the La-mozz class? Is that it? Maybe we should go on down to the, to the Yankee Candle store down at the outlet mall and ask if they have any assistant managers lookin’ for a little excitement? Maybe that’s where we’ll find the future Navy SEALS of America? Maybe a bunch of posey-picking little girls will beat up the next Sad-dam? Is that it? Or do you think maybe, maybe, maybe we should, lemme just propose this to ya, maybe we should take a look down at the ol’ Nascar track? You think? Ya think that one might be a better idea, smart guy? Maybe we should go have a look at the ol’ football stadium? For some strong young fellas? Would that be alright with you, pinky? Maybe we can find a few strong young boys who know a little something about kickin’ butt down at the drag-racing spot, eh? That alright with you, Albert Einstein? Thank you so much. So if it ain’t too much trouble and all, we’re just gonna keep on spendin’ our $80 million a year sponsorin’ some stock cars and football games under the name of the God Damn Army of the United States of America, thank you very much. So stop your god damn bellyaching about it. There’s still a few good men left in Congress, thank god.”

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) [pictured] responded during the debate: “We have a volunteer military and they have to advertise for recruits somewhere. …. Do you think they should advertise at the philharmonic? Or maybe you think they should advertise at the ballet. We could surely get some burly, mean paratroopers if we advertised at the ballet.”

Peter McKay’s response, “This means WAR!”

 

 

 

 

 

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This is Regent Park!

In Government, It's About School People, Them Kids, Toronto on August 15, 2012 at 15:46

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My daughter and I would take the 506 streetcar across the north end of Regent Park and she’d ask, “why there were bars on the window.”  I honestly had to tell her that, “I didn’t know, but in a few years those bars are going to come down and you’re not going to recognize this place.”  Canada’s oldest and largest social housing project has and is changing.

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One City. Has Toronto finally gone past drawing lines on paper

In Customer Service, Government, Gravy, Me Myself & I, Rob Ford, The CBC, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on June 27, 2012 at 10:56

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This morning TTC Chair Karen Stintz outlined the new transit vision on Metro Morning (Listen Here) She explained that this wasn’t a cash grab.  This is intended as a dedicated funding plan for the future of transit in Toronto.  “Subways, Subways, Subways,” said Rob Ford during the last transit debate.  I say yes to him, but also LRTs and Bus Routes and Streetcars and Go Train.  Rob Ford may have made the debate loud but Stintz has somehow, quietly rolled out a plan, that just may work in Toronto’s favor.

The $30-billion, 30-year proposal would transform the city — taking transit to all corners of the municipality. And, with provincial and federal help, the dream scenario would cost Toronto property taxpayers $45 a year for four years.

Called OneCity, the massive plan is the brainchild of Councillors Karen Stintz and Glenn DeBaeremaeker, chair and vice-chair of the transit commission. The money, roughly a 2 per cent tax hike dedicated exclusively to transit, is bound to be the source of huge conflict at city council as early as October.

Stintz has not declared her intention to run for mayor, but this proposal will put a bull’s-eye on her back. It is also expected to embolden Mayor Rob Ford, who will vigorously oppose it because it raises taxes.

But if the plan finds traction among enough politicians at city hall — and there are enough transit goodies to satisfy councillors from all quadrants of the city — it could spark a humdinger of a battle that exceeds the rhetoric of last spring’s LRT-vs.-subway debate.

At stake are many political careers, and the commuting future of Canada’s largest city.”  Read Royson James full article in the Toronto Star (Here)

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Transit City.jpg

Transit City 2009’ish

One City 2012

ParticipACTION + Coca Cola Canada…I’m confused

In Canada, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Gravy, Media, Money, YouTube on June 20, 2012 at 09:59

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Listening to the Metro Morning before heading to work and I hear that ParticipACTION is back!  I’m thinking, pretty cool.  I so remember those old ads about getting up and getting fit.

Damn Swedes

Lazy Bones

Way To Go Canada!

Do It! Do It! Do It!

Raw Deal

Nice that the government is getting this program out to the people.  However it turns out that this is not completely a public funded initiative.  Turns out Coca Cola Canada, with their “Live Positively” social media effort is footing a large amount of cash for the programs relaunch.  Hmm Sugar Water and getting fit.  Probably not the best way to promote an active, healthy lifestyle.  Honourable Bal Gosal Minister of State (Sport) and Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health what is going on under your watch?

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I do love my Coke, but this is a stretch, do you think?

IS the CBC worth saving…

In Customer Service, Government, Media, The CBC on June 7, 2012 at 10:45

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Beyond my love for the CBC, I just love my Toronto Public Library system.  Public access to public discussion.  After finding and posting Malcom Gladwell’s interviews I searched to see if this discussion was captured because I had missed getting out to see it live.  Happy it was.  Next, I’d like to see a discussion about the present and future of CBC Music.

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The Toronto Star Talks: Whither the CBC
On April 30, 2012 Torontonians discussed the future of CBC with former CBC Vice President Richard Stursberg, fifth estate host Linden MacIntyre, Ryerson University Journalism professor Suanne Kelman, and Air Farce writer/director Percy Rosemond. Moderated by Star’s Martin Knelman

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

 

A Penny for your thought

In Canada, Government, Money on April 12, 2012 at 14:24

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So a couple weeks back, the Canadian Penny bit the dust during the federal budget…but don’t think that this was the end of the killing.  Saving $10 million or so is one thing.  How about saving $100 million!  Enter the MintChip! Actually I’m not sure how much they would save but Canada Mint wants us to go all in digital.  The first two answers in the FAQ reads like this, “The Royal Canadian Mint launched the MintChip Challenge to enlist the help of software developers in creating proofs of concept highlighting the potential advantages of the MintChip technology.

MintChip can be characterized as an evolution of physical money, with the benefits of being electronic. MintChip is based on two technical propositions: the creation of secure integrated circuit chips to hold electronic value and a secure protocol that allows the transfer of value from one chip to another and ensures the integrity of the MintChip system. It operates without the need for personal identification, thereby maintaining the user’s privacy.

MintChip security tokens can be stored in many ways: on MicroSD cards, on USB sticks, or remotely in the cloud, with no physical access to the token.”  Hackers unite!  You’re going to make my money for my government.  Royal Canadian Mint, why can’t you just stay retro?

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A 24 to 19 loss isn’t losing by 2 votes

In Customer Service, Government, Gravy, Rob Ford, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on March 23, 2012 at 10:46

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Doug Ford: “Yes there was money. Both sides were fighting for the same chunk of money. This decision was won by 2 votes. Mammoliti was away today. Two votes.”

I actually got to watch all 30+ hours of the Toronto City Council debate on LRT’s vs Subways.  It started on Wednesday, March 21st, 2011

Beyond all of the cat call, and lack of any understanding by Doug and Co., I’m happy with the result, but still amazed by the lack of understand from the Mayor and his inner circle.   There was no plan to pay for subways.  “A pie graph would be nice. Just something that would show where the sources of funding would come from.” from Councillor Josh Colle.  That was the single largest reason why he lost the vote.  The last minute plan to create a parking tax to bring $100 million was a start but in the end, wasn’t even supported by the mayor.  Councillor Jaye Robinson, a member of the Mayor’s executive said it best during the debate yesterday,

“To me it’s a very disappointing day for Toronto if this indeed goes through, because most international cities that have revered best practice transit system have a grid that’s looped so that you can get around your city in a seamless manner.

The connectivity I think is very important to Torontonians, because people have to get across the city to work, live and play. And if you can’t do that without getting on and off different systems and have to go through complicated transfer points, that is not an effective system. I did vote for the LRT on Eglinton, and I stand by that vote, because it was seamless, you don’t have to transfer when the LRT becomes at grade or below grade.

I would like to see a subway on an incremental basis go across Sheppard. Councillor [Mike] Del Grande put forward a great motion because it proposes a revenue tool. I’m disappointed that the Mayor didn’t rally behind that motion. I think that’s very disappointing. I want to work with the Mayor, I want to work with all members of council, but I think it’s unfortunate that he didn’t back that very critical motion. We definitely have to [build Sheppard] on an incremental basis but that’s not a bad thing.

Residents have been saying to me for years, why haven’t we for decades been building one subway station at a time? And we haven’t done that and now we’re in this place where we have to have a knee jerk reaction and move forward, but is that truly what’s right for the city of Toronto?”

The second reason is the continued barking that the LRT is a Streetcar.  Councillor Raymond Cho tries to explain it Doug Ford.

His brother, mayor Ford has already stated that he’ll be rallying the troops for his re-election in 2014. “Obviously the campaign starts now and I’m willing to take anyone on to fight streetcars against subways in the next election and I can’t wait for that,” he said.  It’s over Rob…deal with it.

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You just have to laugh out loud

Honest to goodness, sensible TTC Transit Planning

In Government, Gravy, Rob Ford, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on March 14, 2012 at 10:46

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You look at this graph and you’re like, “hey this makes sense, right?”

https://i0.wp.com/fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lrtsubways2.png

It just makes sense.  You can read Matt Elliott’s full piece at FordForToronto.com here

All I can say to the new TTC CEO is have fun Mr. Byford!

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Rob Ford writes for the Globe & Mail

In Customer Service, Government, Gravy, Have to Laugh, Rob Ford, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on February 23, 2012 at 15:29

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Try to enjoy it.  Please visit the original page here in the Globe & Mail.  The comments alone are worth it.

ISAAC RANSOM/CITY OF TORONTOOCC

A better way to retool Toronto’s ailing TTC

Toronto is one of the most congested cities in North America, something that costs our economy $6-billion every year, according to the Toronto Board of Trade. The impact on families is just as bad. The average Toronto commute is 24 minutes longer than in Los Angeles: That’s 100 hours a year better spent playing with children, exercising or even working a little longer to save for vacation. This is a quality of life issue, not just an economic one.

 

Major transit systems in Toronto are built and managed by the Toronto Transit Commission, an organization that came into its own in the 1940s with the construction of its first subway. Today, the TTC is a designated essential service moving more than 1.5 million customers every day.

The TTC is a jewel in Toronto’s crown – but it has lost its shine. It has become a large, inefficient organization. Just over a year ago, I told the TTC it needed to make serious improvements. I wanted to see cleaner vehicles, subway stations and better customer service over all. While the TTC has made some changes, real improvement requires top-down leadership. It’s not just another project.

The TTC’s core business model was developed at a time when federal and provincial governments provided major operating subsidies. Rightly or wrongly, that time is over. It’s time for the organization to undertake a complete rethink of its mission, vision and fundamental business model. The TTC needs to reduce its cost base while maximizing the value of its real-estate assets, its retail opportunities and its licensing opportunities. In short, a new leader is required to reshape the TTC and move it forward with a vision that will serve Toronto to the end of this century.

The TTC must become a sustainable, world-class transit system that connects people with jobs, homes, families and recreation. It must be rapid and reliable. Operational excellence should produce superior customer satisfaction and outstanding efficiency. This will attract new riders out of their cars, reducing congestion and commuting times.

I passionately believe a world-class city builds world-class rapid transit. Toronto’s old “Transit City” plan, with projected vehicle speeds only slightly faster than buses, was never planned to be rapid. Subways will make Toronto a world-leading 21st-century city.

A hundred years from now, Toronto will have more subway lines providing reliable high-speed transportation for millions more people. The only real question is whether we will start building those subways now, or wait another 20 years and build them at 10 times the cost. Inevitably, though, we will have subways.

I believe we should start building subways now. And we shouldn’t stop.

We can afford subways. Gordon Chong’s recent report on the Sheppard subway identifies a number of revenue sources, including development charges and tax increment financing. His estimates are conservative and many industry sources say these can produce more revenue than he projects. Dr. Chong also identifies a number of additional revenue tools that can fill in any funding gap that may exist.

According to KPMG, a modest parking levy could generate more than $90-million annually. That would fund a public-private partnership model to build the Sheppard subway and generate ongoing revenue for future subway expansion. Some partnership models don’t require any taxpayer funding in the first few years. Parking revenue during those years could fund early implementation of a bus rapid transit solution in the Finch corridor. With such funding available, Toronto should move forward with a Sheppard subway plan.

With a revitalized, modernized TTC and a commitment to start building subways now and keep on building them, Toronto will continue as Canada’s economic engine. In fact, Toronto can become the world’s preferred city for raising a family, building a business and enjoying an urban vacation. The time to start is now.

STOP THE CBC SMACKDOWN

In Business, Canada, Celeb, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Have to Laugh, Media, The CBC, YouTube on November 30, 2011 at 07:47

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The good people at Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have put out new ads to show a “worst-case scenario arising from the government’s hostile attitude toward the CBC.” Enjoy!

CBC’s The National Redone

CBC has been sold to a US Investor and Wrestler Promoter

CBC Radio Remix 666

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FRIENDS launch STOP THE CBC SMACKDOWN

Ottawa (29 November 2011) The Conservative Party is gaining the trust of voters when it comes to Canadian culture and the CBC, but that trust could quickly evaporate if forecast cuts to the national public broadcaster’s parliamentary allocation come to pass.

These findings emerge from a national opinion survey sponsored by the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

If Stephen Harper’s criticism of Canadian culture during the 2008 election campaign that many observers believe cost the Conservative Party a majority government was the low point in the public’s estimation of Mr. Harper’s trustworthiness on cultural matters, this survey provides some good news for the Prime Minister.

The survey found that the Conservative Party leads the other two major parties as the most trusted to handle matters of national culture and identity (Conservative Party 27%; NDP 24%; and Liberal Party 14%). 

The Conservative Party is most trusted by 3 in 10 voters (29%) to protect the CBC, second behind the NDP, which enjoys the trust of almost half of voters (46%) and ahead of the Liberal Party (25%).

“The Conservatives promised time and again before and during the election campaign to maintain or increase CBC funding.[1] It would appear Canadians, who in overwhelming numbers support public broadcasting, are responding in a supportive way,” said Friends spokesperson Ian Morrison.

But, the survey also found that the government’s hostility toward the national public broadcaster and its cost-cutting agenda could put the Conservative Party off side with voters, a strong majority of whom want to see the CBC’s budget maintained or enhanced.

  • When asked what advice they would give their MP on how to vote in the House of Commons concerning funding for CBC, 46% would counsel maintaining CBC funding at current levels, while another 23% would advise their MP to vote in favour of an increase. Only 17% favour decreasing CBC funding.
  • 52% believe that Canada’s level of funding of its public broadcaster is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture vs. 21% who disagree.

“A ten percent cut to the CBC’s budget, as the Conservatives are contemplating, would have devastating consequences that would be visible and of great concern to the vast majority of Canadians.  In addition, the steady attack on the CBC by various government MPs could change the direction of public support in on this issue,” Morrison said.

CBC budget cuts could undermine the Conservatives’ new-found trust on matters related to culture and put them at odds with a majority of their own base.  Among Conservative Party supporters:

  • 57% would advise their MP to maintain or increase funding for the CBC.
  • 63% think the CBC plays an important or very important role in protecting Canadian culture and identity.
  • 64% give the CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain
  • 70% believe that the federal government should be somewhat or very responsible for ensuring that Canadian programming and content on television and radio is protected.

Voters who identify the Conservatives as their second choice also strongly support public broadcasting:

  • 81% would tell their MP to maintain or increase funding for the CBC.
  • 78% think the CBC plays an important or very important role in protecting Canadian culture and identity.
  • 84% give CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain
  • 75% believe that the federal government should be somewhat or very responsible for ensuring that Canadian programming and content on television and radio is protected.

The survey found that Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government carry a reputation for being hostile to Canadian culture and the CBC:

  • Half (52%) of Canadians think Canada’s level of public broadcaster funding is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture, and 55% think Canada’s level of public broadcaster funding is indicative of the federal government’s treatment of the cultural sector overall.
  • Half (50%) think the Harper government is underfunding the CBC so that it can turn it into a private, commercial broadcaster. Only one in four agree that privatizing and commercializing the CBC is the right thing to do.

CBC remains extremely popular with Canadians, who by wide majorities give the CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to present programs that inform, enlighten and entertain (77%) as well as its mandate to serve the broadcasting needs of Canada’s regions (68%)

In defence of our national public broadcaster, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is launching STOP THE CBC SMACKDOWN, a satiricaonline campaign calling on the Conservative government to keep its election promise to maintain or increase CBC funding.

“This effort dramatizes what is perhaps our greatest fear – one that grows with each passing day’s events on Parliament Hill – that the Conservative government secretly intends to privatize some or all of our national public broadcaster, selling it to the highest bidder.  Two SMACKDOWN videos portray this worst-case scenario arising from the government’s hostile attitude toward the CBC,” says Friends’ spokesperson Ian Morrison.

The videos feature messages from the new CBC’s new owner, Lance Fury.

A personal friend of the Prime Minister and a former professional wrestling promoter from the US, Lance has purchased the CBC for an undisclosed amount.  In his video messages, the new owner-operator of the former public broadcaster outlines a radical overhaul of CBC News and his plans to introduce commercial advertising to CBC Radio.

Fury says, “Canadians are gonna love this.  I mean, let’s be honest.  They’re very unique in that they’re just like Americans, except for the Quebeckians, who are more like the Puerto Ricans.  But now that I’m here, there will be something for everyone.  But don’t worry Canada, I won’t be touchin’ your wheat.”

“As the survey demonstrates, the CBC continues to enjoy high levels of public esteem.  The video campaign is about lifting those numbers off the page to demonstrate that without great care and support for our national public broadcaster, the new found gains in public trust the Conservatives have achieved could be short lived,” Morrison said.

The online survey of 2022 adult Canadians conducted from November 4 to 10 has a margin of error of +/- 2.18%, 19 times out of 20.  The survey was designed and administered by political scientists, Daniel Rubenson, Associate Professor at Ryerson University and Peter Loewen, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.  The survey was fielded by the national polling firm Angus Reid/Vision Critical.