Not any more

Archive for the ‘Politico’ Category

Harper Hearts Asbestos?

In Business, Canada, Cancer, Loss of Life, Politico, YouTube on November 24, 2011 at 23:42

Just a tad…

Well maybe not love but he’s got to be kicking a screaming at the fact our two  largest Asbestos mines (Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Que. and Lac d’amiante du Canada in Thetford Mines, Que.) have shut down.  Dang it!

“Canada’s once-mighty asbestos sector has ground to a halt for the first time in 130 years, as production of the controversial fibre has stalled in both of the country’s mines.

A shutdown this month marked a historic milestone for the Canadian asbestos industry, which at one time dominated world production and led to the construction of entire towns in Canada.

Proponents of the industry insist it’s way too early write the obituary on Canadian asbestos; they’re hoping to start digging again as soon as the spring.”  Read the full article here http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2011/11/24/asbestos-shutdown.html?cmp=rss

OCC

 

 

Doug Ford’s Crazy Adventure into LaLa Land

In Design, Government, People that Matter, Politico, Toronto, Transportation on September 2, 2011 at 17:17

Just a tad…

He’s really not as dumb as he looks..he’s dumber.

This is what Doug is proposing

ci-torywaterfront2

OCC

 

Here is what Waterfront Toronto already has in place

You can read Paul Moloney’s full article in The Toronto Star here http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1048167–australian-firm-eyeing-waterfront-mall

An Australian company that’s one of the world’s largest shopping centre owners is a driving force behind Councillor Doug Ford’s mall-based dream for Toronto’s eastern waterfront, theStar has learned.

Ford confirmed Thursday he has spoken to representatives of the Westfield Group, which has interests in 124 malls in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Brazil.

“They’re more than interested,” Ford said in a brief interview. “They have a lot of money sitting there waiting to invest in Toronto.”

If a deal came together, it would mark Westfield’s first entry into Canada, confirmed company spokesperson Katy Dickey from Westfield’s Los Angeles office.

“Toronto’s a great city, Canada’s a great country and Westfield is always looking at opportunities,” Dickey said.

But she wouldn’t elaborate, saying company policy is not to comment on “rumour or speculation.”

Veteran development lawyer Bob Onyschuk, who has close ties to Australia, said studies are needed on whether a waterfront mall could be successful.

“It’s really a matter of market studies,” Onyschuk said. “I think it would be a good site for retail — not big box retail — but that’s really a question for market analysis.”

Ford said he expected Westfield would be just one of the bidders if the city formally requested development proposals for a site in the city’s Port Lands area.

“It’s going out for RFP (request for proposals),” he said. “They’re one of the international companies that have been contacting us. We’re going to have local companies (bidding) I hope, and we’re going to extend it to the world.

“It’s going to be fabulous.”

~

CBC Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway interviews Toronto Councillor Doug Ford about proposed changes to Toronto’s waterfront.

Don’t be shocked: Doug Ford doesn’t know you either

In Authors, Celeb, Customer Service, Have to Laugh, Media, Politico, Toronto on August 11, 2011 at 21:13

Just a tad…

Norman you don’t understand.  Doug Ford doesn’t have time to figure out who’s who.  Unless you got elected, you just don’t matter.  So sit back and shut up.  Again Toronto, you voted for the guy.

OCC

You can read David Rider’s full article in The Toronto Star here http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1038034–norman-jewison-wades-into-ford-atwood-spat

“Acclaimed Canadian director Norman Jewison says he was “shocked” by Doug Ford’s dismissive comments on Margaret Atwood, accusing the city councillor of betraying the author and all Canadian artists.

Asked by CBC Radio if he had any comment on Ford’s statement last month — after Atwood criticized his desire to close libraries — that, “If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is” — the 85-year-old director of films including Moonstruck and Jesus Christ Superstardidn’t hold back.

“I don’t think we celebrate our artists like we should and other countries celebrate them. So when you get somebody in Toronto on the city council and he doesn’t know who Margaret Atwood is, that’s shocking to me. I’m just absolutely shocked,” he said.

“The world knows who Margaret Atwood is. I mean, why doesn’t he?” said Jewison, the Toronto-born, U of T-educated founder of the Canadian Film Centre on Bayview Ave.

“Where does he live — in a hole somewhere?”

Doug, let me introduce you to Toronto Born, Norman Jewison

Letters From: and To:Tony

In Business, Canada, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Law & Order, People that Matter, Politico, This Means WAR on July 22, 2010 at 16:44

Just a tad…

It’s letter writing week.  I guess a few people had to let of some steam.

OCC

This the statement sent out by Tony last night


I acknowledge with regret the resignation of Munir A. Sheikh the Chief Statistician of Canada.

There has been considerable commentary about the federal government’s decision to replace the 2011 mandatory census long form with the voluntary National Household Survey.

The Government took this decision because we do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fines, jail, or both, to divulge extensive private and personal information. We believe it is not appropriate to compel citizens to divulge how many bedrooms they have in their houses, or what time they leave for work in the morning. The Government’s approach is about finding a better balance between collecting necessary data and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians.

As I have noted previously, Statistics Canada’s preferred approach would have been to maintain the mandatory long form census. However, after the Government’s decision to replace the mandatory long form census Statistics Canada was asked to provide options for conducting a voluntary survey of households. One of the options provided – the voluntary National Household Survey – was chosen.

A voluntary long form survey offers challenges that do not exist in the case of a census that uses coercion to compel completion. Nonetheless, by working together with the professionals at Statistics Canada I believe we can compensate for these challenges and offer data-users high quality and accurate information.

I have relied throughout this process on the frank and open advice of Statistics Canada and the Chief Statistician. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all employees of Statistics Canada for the hard work and dedication that has made Statistics Canada one of the best national statistical organizations in the world.

Until a permanent successor can be found Wayne Smith, Assistant Chief Statistician, Business and Trade Statistics, will act on an interim basis.

Now from the PMO’s office

From: “Alerte-Info-Alert” <Alerte-Info-Alert@pmo-cpm.gc.ca>

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010

To: Alerte-Info-Alert<Alerte-Info-Alert@pmo-cpm.gc.ca>

Subject:

Resignation of the Chief Statisti cian / Démission d u statisticien en chef

Resignation of the Chief Statistician

Today, Minister Clement acknowledged, with regret, the resignation of Munir Sheikh, the Chief Statistician of Canada.

Our reasons for replacing the mandatory census long form with a voluntary national survey are clear:

We do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fines, jail, or both, to divulge extensive private and personal information. It is not appropriate to compel citizens to divulge how many bedrooms they have in their houses, or what time they leave for work in the morning.

Our approach is about finding a better balance between collecting necessary data and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians. It is unfortunate that Mr. Sheikh did not share these objectives.

Until a permanent successor to Mr. Sheikh is chosen, Wayne Smith, Assistant Chief Statistician, Business and Trade Statistics, will act on an interim basis.

We are confident that Statistics Canada’s employees will continue the hard work and dedication that has made Statistics Canada one of the best national statistical organizations in the world.

And finally a statement from National Statistics Council

34720711-National-Statistics-Council-Statement-on-the-Resignation-of-Dr-Sheikh

ACMLA Letter to Tony Clement concerning the 2011 decision to cancel the mandatory Long-Form Questionnaire

(with permission from Andrew Nicholson, president ACMLA)

The Honorable Tony Clement, MP Minister of Industry House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Clement

As President of the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA) (http://www.acmla.org/), I am writing to you to express the surprise and disappointment of our membership in the Government’s decision to cancel the mandatory Long-Form Questionnaire for the 2011 Census. The information gathered from the Long-Form census has contributed greatly to the education and research activities of Canadians over many decades. Its replacement by a voluntary National Household Survey raises many concerns from our membership.

We are an active Association with over 70 members from across Canada who play a pivotal role as geographical information providers and educators. We find the information provided by the Long-Form census is vital for providing a greater understanding of Canada and its diverse regions to our users. For example, determining accurate levels of income or immigration patterns is possible with data collected from the Long-Form Census questionnaire. Moreover, as geographical information professionals, we map and visualize the data, and provide mapping/visualization capabilities to our researchers so they are able to analyze the data for research purposes. The results and impact of such research are then carried forward into other public and private endeavours for the benefit of all Canadians.

Part of the value of the Long-Form Census was its mandatory requirement that 20% of the population complete it. While this may have seemed an onerous task for a few participants, most gladly participated knowing that everyone else selected in the 20% sample is equally obligated to fill out the Long-Form as part of their civic duty. Moreover, the value and long term benefit for the whole population, including educators and policy makers, has been immense. Replacing the mandatory Long-Form with a voluntary National Household Survey form just raises more issues especially concerning the validity and value of the data collected. For example, will many people take the time to voluntarily fill in a 50+ question form? If there is a low participation rate, how can anyone really rely on the data as being an accurate snapshot of the Canadian population? Though it has also been argued that the Long-Form is intrusive and raises issues of confidentially, this is completely untrue as Statistics Canada has been meticulous in anonymizing census data to protect the confidentially of all participants. This has worked very well in the past for both Census participants and the users of Census data.

As geographic information professionals and providers/curators of geospatial information, we are also concerned by the lack of information pertaining to the future dissemination of Census and National Household Survey data at smaller geographic levels such as Census Tracts and Dissemination Areas. On Statistics Canada’s website, it states that the National Household Survey “will conduct and release the results of this survey applying the same methods and standards used for all of its surveys”. Most of Statistics Canada’s other survey data is only available at a provincial or Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) at best. This will not be acceptable for users who rely on such data at a neighbourhood level to conduct research or make important decisions and recommendations. Mapping employment numbers at a provincial or CMA level will be especially limiting for educational and research purposes.

The mandatory Long-Form questionnaire has been a cornerstone of census data collection for decades and its value should not be discounted. The rich datasets that have been produced have been vital components in almost every area and activity of Canadian society. The decision to abolish it and replace it with a voluntary survey has simply not been well thought out and will only hinder decision-makers at all levels of government, not to mention the research and innovation pursuits of our students and academics.
We respectfully recommend that you reconsider this decision and implement the mandatory Census Long-Form Questionnaire in time for the 2011 Census.

Sincerely,
Andrew Nicholson, President, ACMLA
GIS/Data Librarian
Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road North
Mississauga, Ontario
CANADA
L5L 1C6
Phone:(905)828-3886
andrew.nicholson@utoronto.ca

This is the text of a letter sent to Industry Minister Tony Clement on behalf of the Executive Council of the Canadian Economics Association.

Michael R. Veall
Department of Economics, McMaster University
Hamilton ON L8S 4M4

July 6, 2010

The Honourable Tony Clement, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Industry
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
minister.industry@ic.gc.ca

Dear Minister Clement,

The Executive Council of the Canadian Economics Association has asked me to write to you to express its concerns at reports that you have decided to replace the mandatory long form in the Census with a voluntary survey.

Important and reliable data have been collected by the Census long form for over a century: for example occupation and school attendance were first collected in 1871, wages and salaries in 1901, working weeks in 1911 and highest level of schooling and the number of rooms in dwellings in 1941. The Census is thus a precious record of our progress as a nation. The proposed change jeopardizes this legacy by risking the quality of the data. For example, it may be impossible to determine whether a new trend in the 2011 data is the consequence of real change or just the different method of collection. The 2011 Census could be costly failure.

We understand that this is a complex issue given the participation resistance from some individuals. (We address this in the attached memo.) But the purpose of the Census is to ensure that public policy is based on the best possible knowledge. Many firms also depend upon the reliable, detailed, small area data provided by the census long form. Therefore, we ask that there be an opportunity for consultation, open to both users and the general public. The discussions would seek to balance the benefits of the data with privacy concerns. If there is inadequate time for such consultation, our view is that the risk of losing the embedded value in the Census is too great, and that the change should be delayed. A number of intermediate measures are possible, including running the new survey in parallel on a smaller sample as a test.

Making this change without consultation will damage Statistics Canada’s currently outstanding reputation inside and outside of Canada and will leave Canada with a Census that is significantly less useful than those of the countries that Canada compares itself against. Please provide an opportunity for consultation. The Canadian Economics Association would be pleased to assist in any way it can.
Sincerely yours,

Michael R. Veall, President-Elect, Canadian Economics Association

cc/ Office of the Prime Minister,
Dr. Munir Sheikh, Chief Statistician of Canada

Here is the text of the memo referred to in the letter:

Eliminating the Mandatory Census Long Form: Why It is Important to Consult
Canadian Economics Association Executive Council, July, 2010

1. We understand that the reason for the elimination of the mandatory long form was objection from those who did not wish to participate. Some such objections are principled (although there are principled objections to many requirements of modern society, such as paying taxes). But we are concerned that some resistance has been fuelled by untruths that Statistics Canada does not respect data confidentiality and that serious penalties for nonparticipation are widespread. Indeed, perhaps the potential fine should be reduced and the possibility of a jail sentence should be eliminated given that these just give targets for those who wish to register protest. Perhaps also the penalties for confidentiality breech could be increased.

2. One reason to keep the Census completely mandatory is that it provides Statistics Canada with the internal mandate to ensure everyone is included. Without the mandatory provision, data for the lower and higher income groups in particular tend to become unreliable, as there is often significant underreporting*. This is a huge information gap. If we miss the top end, we won’t know much about those who pay the most taxes and make some of the most important contributions to our society. But perhaps missing the bottom end of the income distribution is even more important. This includes some of the most vulnerable. They tend to have disproportionate interaction with government: with the health care system, the criminal justice system, the immigration system and the social assistance system. How can we know how policies are working if we do not have a data tool for use in assessment? Crucially, the long form also provides fine geographical detail for local policy analysis including things like city, school and hospital planning, as well as for private sector use. This is at risk.

3. Estimates from Statistics Canada surveys such as the Labour Force Survey depend upon information from the Census. The data quality issues are broader than just the Census.

4. We understand the privacy concerns. But much of the information is already reported to various levels of government (e.g. local property tax assessors, the Canada Revenue Agency). However, the Census collects the data consistently and at once, so that it is possible to examine relationships between variables such as education and income.

5. A consultation would allow the costs and benefits of potential changes to be considered. As our letter emphasizes, the current Census data is an asset of tremendous value because it allows long-term analysis of Canadian trends and can be compared internationally to the Census of the United States and to those of other countries. If this change goes through, it is possible much of the value will be lost. Certainly if this change is made without consultation, the damage to Statistics Canada’s reputation nationally and internationally will be significant: the perception will be that there was no weight given to data quality in the decision making process.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2010

Broad coalition calls on government to reverse census decision

Representatives from business and finance, health and social services and other levels of government say the long form is vital to the country’s health and wellbeing

TORONTO—A surprising coalition of diverse voices came together today and called on the federal government to maintain the long form census. The group was comprised of representatives from a number of organizations — from Canadian banks to community-based organizations — as well as policy think tanks and other concerned groups.

Don Drummond, former Chief Economist of TD Bank, urged the government to keep the long form database, which is essential to ensuring decisions made by policy makers, businesses and all levels of government are well-informed and based on evidence.

“This is a key tool for tracking how Canadians are doing over time,” Drummond said.

“Scrapping the long form means we will no longer have a reliable picture of the makeup of our country — and will waste years of data tracking important trends related to the health and wellbeing of Canadians.”

Today’s call follows an announcement that the government will eliminate the long form census in 2011, which contains comprehensive information about Canadians like education level, income, employment, ethnicity and language.

“We simply could not plan vital public health services — like our H1N1 response strategy — without understanding our city at a neighbourhood level,” said Carol Timmings, the Director of Planning and Policy at Toronto Public Health.

The significance of having reliable census data at a local level was echoed by Gillian Mason, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Community Partnerships at United Way Toronto. “Information obtained from the long form census is imperative to United Way’s work in the community,” Mason said. “Without this detailed information we will not be able to adequately identify and respond to the needs of our community.”

Mel Cappe with the Institute for Research on Public Policy called on the government to reconsider its position in the interest of sound public policy, saying the decision will make Canada a poorer country — unable to understand who we are, what our problems are and what policies are necessary to make Canada a better place.

“This government has demonstrated a willingness to listen and change their mind when it’s in the best interests of the country,” Cappe said. “I urge the government to reconsider — there is so much at stake.”

A Letter to Tony from the masses ~ An Open Letter From

Craig Alexander – President, Canadian Association for Business Economics and Chief Economist, TD Bank

Rachel Bard – CEO, Canadian Nurses Association

Ken Battle – President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Marni Cappe – President, Canadian Institute of Planners

Mel Cappe – President and CEO, Institute for Research onPublic Policy, and former Clerk of the Privy Council

Debbie Douglas – Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Don Drummond – Donald Matthews Fellow and Distinguished Visiting Scholar, School of PolicyStudies, Queen’s University, former Chief Economist of the TD Bankand former ADM of Finance

Nicholas Gazzard – Executive Director, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada

Ken Georgetti – President, Canadian Labour Congress

Roger Gibbins – President and CEO, Canada West Foundation

Al Hatton – President and CEO,United Way of Canada –Centraide Canada

Alex Himelfarb – Director, Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, and former Clerk of the Privy Council

Dr. Matthew Hodge – President,National Specialty Society for Community Medicine

Jan Kestle – President, Environics Analytics

Frances Lankin – President and CEO, United Way Toronto

Roger Martin – Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Nik Nanos – President and CEO, Nanos Research

Dr. Cordell Neudorf – Chair, Canadian Public Health Association

Mark Stabile – Director, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto

Penni Stewart – President, Canadian Association of University Teachers

Peggy Taillon – Executive Director, Canadian Council on Social Development

Mike Veall – President Elect,Canadian Economic Association

Carol Wilding – President andCEO, Toronto Board of Trade

… these are PDF’s so just click on the hyperlink

34551711-Census A Census letter from James Rajotte, MP from Edmonton-Leduc

Clement Census Letter ~ Charles Stolte Chair, Canadian Urban Transit Association

keeping_canadians_in_the_dark ~ Charles Stolte Chair, Canadian Urban Transit Association

Why there is no love for Alberta

In Alberta, Canada, Government, Loss of Life, Oil, Politico, South of the boarder, The Social, The World, YouTube on July 16, 2010 at 08:52

Just a tad…

The Calgary Stampede is on this week.  Instead of enjoying the thousands of people coming to the event, organizers have had to bring out the PR police to thwart all of the negative arrows being thrown at them.  This of course isn’t new for the Stampede, however after 5 animal deaths, that black eye isn’t getting any better.  On top of Calgary’s bad news, the province of Alberta is feeling the hate as well.  Thinking about visiting Alberta for a vacation?  Maybe a trip to oil trailing pond might be up your alley.  Bird watching would be fun.  As long as you enjoy watching oil soaked feathers.  Corporate Ethics International is making the point that as bad as Gulf Spill is,  Alberta, Canada is doing so much worse.  As a Canadian I’m not feeling so good about looking this bad, but also as a Canadian I know, at least with oil situation, I’m not helping to make the situation any better.  No car this weekend.  TTC I’m you bitch, where are going?

You can download a PDF version of the Ed’s letter to the US here

OCC

You can read Petti Fung’s full article in The Toronto Star here

Stampede horse deaths spark debate

Animal welfare advocates say more are calling for historic event to be shut down

There have been animal injuries or death almost every year at the Calgary Stampede but the death of four horses within 24 hours has left organizers of the event reeling and critics renewing their calls to stop the use of animals for entertainment.

Two of the horses died from heart attacks, and two were injured so badly they were ordered euthanized at the scene.

Stampede officials call the deaths “unfortunate,” but animal welfare advocates say the debate is changing.

“It is unusual and it is unfortunate,” said spokesman Doug Fraser, with the Calgary Stampede. “To lose an animal regardless of the circumstance is difficult for the Calgary Stampede and the owners.”

Last year, there were four animal deaths, including three horses and one steer that had suffered a spinal cord injury during a rope steering competition.

Desiree Arsenault with the Calgary Humane Society said the rash of deaths has altered public attitudes.

Last year, she said, about 70 per cent of people talking about the Stampede were in favour of the rodeo events, which carry prizes worth $2 million, while 30 per cent were animal rights advocates who said horses and steers should not be used for entertainment.

This week, Arsenault said she estimates that the numbers have changed and now 50 per cent want to keep the rodeo while the other half want to see the events shut down.

You can read Kim Guttormson’s article in the Calgary Herald here

U.S. ads call for Alberta boycott

Oilsands spark push to keep tourists away

Billboards in four American cities compare oil-covered birds in the Gulf of Mexico with dead ducks in a Syncrude tailings pond. The ads, calling the oilsands the “other oil disaster” and asking would-be visitors to rethink a trip north, spurred immediate reaction from politicians and the oil and tourism industries.

“The Alberta government needs to think about the fact that in the coming years they have the potential to become the environmental South Africa of the Western Hemisphere,” said Michael Marx, executive director of Corporate Ethics International, which is leading the campaign, referring to the former apartheid regime. “Over time, when the potential tourists, who tend to be wealthier and better educated, see what’s going on in Alberta, they’re not going to want to support it.”

Premier Ed Stelmach, who recently took out a half-page ad in the Washington Post defending the oilsands, said the continued bashing and misinformation is frustrating.

“But it also gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the facts of the situation,” Stelmach said, noting he was showing a delegation from Japan around the Stampede on Wednesday. “Once people are here and see for themselves, they appreciate Alberta and the natural landscape.”

Toronto is going to get it’s own Chunnel

In Business, Customer Service, Design, Flight, Me Myself & I, Money, Politico, Toronto on July 15, 2010 at 07:53

Just a tad…

When you tell people that have never taken a flight on Porter Airlines from Billy Bishop Airport, that it takes about 2 minutes to get to the actual airport from the check in terminal, there like “no big deal”.  Then you explain they have to take a ferry across to get to the terminal. They start laughing.  “What do you mean a ferry?  Does the moving sidewalk break down a lot?  It’s ok I’ll walk, no big deal.”, they say. I explain that there is no moving sidewalk, no actual physical connection to airport.  You have to jump on boat.  I’ve never understood the battle to stop the main land from connecting to the island.  It just makes sense.  In the past they probably could have made it so the 511 streetcar could ride right into the airport.  How cool would that have been?  Not cool enough I guess.  So now they’re spend $45 million to dig a hole and have you walk under the water to the airport.  All sorts of non-fun that will be.

OCC

Taken from the President and CEO’s remarks for 2010 Annual Meeting which you can read in full here

“According to an annual poll the TPA conducted in May and June, 56 per cent of Torontonians said they support a pedestrian tunnel to the island airport paid for by passengers through an Airport Improvement Fee. John Wright of Ipsos Reid will tell you more about that in a moment. But it is clear that a majority of people support improving access to the airport, and that is why we are moving forward on a proposed pedestrian tunnel underneath the Western Channel.

And understand — this is a pedestrian tunnel only. It will not be able to carry vehicles. It will be paid for by passengers. And it will be both functional, and beautiful, and something Toronto can be proud of. The TPA is currently conducting a full Environmental Assessment – or EA — of this project. Let me assure you that we are going well beyond our obligations under the EA statutes required by federal agencies. We will be studying the cumulative impact of this tunnel not just on the airport, but on those who live and work nearby.

We are pleased to report that Toronto’s Board of Health has acknowledged our EA criteria for the tunnel. We look forward to working closely with the Board of Health and other stakeholders to make sure this project is considered a crucial and compatible piece of transportation infrastructure. I want the pedestrian tunnel – and everything about the Billy Bishop airport – to be compatible with a waterfront that everyone can enjoy, however they wish to enjoy it.”

You can read Cory Ruf’s full article in The National Post here

Construction on island tunnel to start in 2011

Councillor Adam Vaughan, a vocal opponent of the airport’s expansion, said the tunnel is a “pipe dream” that will not increase traffic to the terminal.

“I don’t think the tunnel is a viable proposition, he said. “There are a number of unanswered questions”

He said public support for tunnel to the island is dwindling because Toronto residents and tourists will not be able to use the pathway to access island beaches, residences and attractions.

On July 9, the Toronto Port Authority released a study conducted by Ipsos Reid claiming 56% of Torontonians who were sampled supported the link, down six percentage points from 2009.

Mr. Vaughan also said the Port Authority is unaccountable, and the claim that the construction of the tunnel will use no public money is dubious at best. “[The Toronto Port Authority] is a rogue federal agency spending taxpayers’  money,” he said.”

You can read The Informer’s full article in Toronto Life here

Island airport to get tunnel, money, passengers and Air Canada

The shortest ferry ride in the world is about to be sidestepped by a $45 million investment from the Toronto Port Authority: an underground pedestrian bridge leading to Billy Bishop airport. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2011, and the 123-metre tunnel will be built 30 metres below Lake Ontario. The costs will be covered by airline users through an airport improvement fee hike, as well as by the private sector. Geoffrey Wilson, the TPA’s president and CEO, told CTV that the improvement fee will be raised from $15 to $20, but will not exceed that amount and will still be below Pearson’s $25 improvement fee.

Tech Tuesday: Cory Doctorow explains why copyright sucks in Canada

In Business, Canada, Law & Order, Politico, Tech, UK on July 13, 2010 at 13:38

Just a tad…

Does anyone really understand Canada’s Copyright Law?  Anyone?

OCC

You can read more articles from Cory Doctorow at guardian.co.uk here

Canada’s copyright laws show Britain’s digital legislation is no exception

A few months ago, Britain’s archivists, educators, independent artists and technologists were up in arms over the digital economy bill, a dreadful piece of legislation that ignored all the independent experts’ views on how to improve Britain’s digital economy; instead, it further rewarded the slow-moving entertainment companies that refused to adapt to the changing marketplace and diverted even more public enforcement resources to shoring up their business-models.

The bill was passed despite enormous public outcry, without real parliamentary debate, in a largely empty house, hours before parliament dissolved for the election. Despite reassuring promises to their constituents, huge numbers of MPs just didn’t bother to show up for work that day, allowing the bill to slip through (my own MP, Meg Hillier, sent me a letter to tell me that she was “concerned” that the bill was up for a vote without debate, but she voted for it anyway).

Well, here’s some good news for Britons: you’re not the only country whose laws are for sale to oligarchs from the entertainment industry. In my native Canada, a farce worthy of the worst moments of the Digital Economy Act is playing out even as I type these words.

Some background: there have been two recent attempts to reform Canadian copyright law. Both failed, due in large part to an unwillingness on the part of lawmakers to conduct public review or consultation on their proposals (though they were happy to have closed-door meetings with lobbyists representing offshore entertainment giants). The minority Tory government is now fielding a third attempt, called Bill C32 (Canadian bills have much less interesting names than their UK counterparts; here, we’d probably call it The Enhancement of Digital Life Through Extreme Punishments for Naughty Pirates Bill of 2010).

C32 follows the widest-ever public consultation on Canadian copyright. More than 8,300 Canadians filed comments in the consultation, and they spoke with near unanimity: “We don’t want a US-style copyright regime.”

The US’s copyright law was last reformed in 1998, with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which provided for near-total protection for “digital locks” (also called “DRM,” “TPM,” “copy prevention,” “copy protection” – this explosion of names being the legacy of two decades’ worth of attempts to rebrand an unpopular idea in the hopes of making it stick). In the US version of the law, breaking a digital lock is itself a crime – even if you’re breaking it for a perfectly legitimate reason.

For example, Apple uses digital locks to make sure that the only programs you can run on your iPad and iPhone come from its own App Store. The App Store has lots of conditions on it that are ripe for competitive challenge – it scoops a hefty 30% commission from software creators, and imposes prudish conditions on the presentation of “adult” content (previously, Apple has rejected an ebook reader because it could be used to call up the Kama Sutra, a dictionary because it contained “naughty” words, the Pulitzer-winning political cartoons of Mark Fiore because they “ridiculed public figures” and a comic book adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses because you could see the characters’ willies – in each case, they reversed themselves after public outcry).

But breaking the digital locks on your iPad so that you can buy apps from someone other than Apple is against the law – even though there is no copyright infringement taking place. Quite the contrary: marketplaces where creators exchange their works for money is the kind of thing you’d expect copyright law to encourage, rather than prohibit.

Nearly all of the respondents to the Canadian copyright consultation said that they didn’t want to repeat America’s 12-year-old mistake. Yes, they said, let us have protection for digital locks, but only if you’re breaking them in order to commit an act of actual copyright infringement. Protecting the locks themselves is bad policy.

I was one of those Canadians. As a Canadian author (my latest novel, For the Win, is presently on the Canadian bestseller lists), I believe that I should have the major say in the destiny of my copyrighted works.

If I want to authorise a reader to break a digital lock to move her copies of my books from a Kindle to a competing ebook reader, that should be my call. Certainly, the mere act of putting my works into a digital locker shouldn’t give a company the right to usurp my copyright: copyright protects authorship, not assembling electronics in Pacific Rim sweatshops.

Only 46 of the 8,306 commenters thought otherwise. These 46 commenters advocated replicating America’s failed experiment in Canada; everyone else thought the idea was daft. You’d think that with numbers like 46:8260, the government would go with the majority, right? Wrong.

When minister of industry Tony Clement, and minister of heritage James Moore, published the text of their long-awaited copyright bill, Canadians were floored to discover that the ministers had replicated the American approach to digital locks. Actually, they made it worse – the Americans conduct triennial hearings on proposed exemptions to the rule; Moore and Clement didn’t bother with even this tiny safeguard.

The ministers have been incapable of explaining the discrepancy. When confronted on it, they inevitably point to the fact that their bill also establishes numerous “user rights” for everyday Canadians (for example, the right to record a TV show in order to watch it later), and suggest that this is the “balance” that Canadians asked for. When critics say, “Yes, you’ve created some user rights, but if a digital lock prevents their exercise, it’s against the law to break the lock, right?” the ministers squirm and change the subject.

It’s enough to leave you wondering whether the ministers understand their own bill. Indeed, Clement recently appeared on the public broadcaster TVOntario show Search Engine and promised that his law allows journalists to break a digital lock for the purposes of investigative reporting (according to lawyers, scholars and everyone else who’s read the bill, he’s wrong).

If they don’t understand their bill, perhaps it’s because they weren’t really in charge of what went into it. According to the former head of staff for minister of foreign affairs Maxime Bernier: “The prime minister’s office’s position was, move quickly, satisfy the US; we don’t care what you do, as long as the US is satisfied.”

It’s clear the US government has made a top priority out of ensuring other countries cut their throats just as stupidly as America did with the DMCA’s digital locks rules. Last week, the Obama administration’s newly minted IP enforcement czar, Victoria Espinel, reiterated America’s priority to use its trade muscle to force countries into adopting US-style copyright rules.

American industry is pleased by this. A shadowy new Canadian “citizens’ group”, Balanced Copyright For Canada, looks to be the work of the big-four labels, with a membership composed of employees and executives of the labels’ Canadian subsidiaries (the membership lists were taken offline hastily after this was publicised).

Moore seems to be cracking under the strain of supporting the unsupportable. He has publicly denounced opponents of his bill as “radical extremists” (these “extremists” include the Canadian Bookseller Association, the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Library Association, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and MPs from all the other parties). He then denied having made the remarks, blocked voters from following him on Twitter when they asked him about it, and has remained silent on the subject since videos of him making the remarks surfaced.

So, Britain, rejoice. It’s not just our government that can be bullied into voting against the public interest by big content’s power-brokers – Canada’s just as weak and pitiful.

The New GG is a MAN!

In Canada, Customer Service, Government, It's About School People, Politico, YouTube on July 8, 2010 at 15:48

Just a tad…

Well for all of those who felt Wayne Gretzky, Don Cherry or William Shatner, should have been chosen as our next Governor General, at least this person is old, white and a man.

Joking aside I’m not one to cheer for much that Harper does for our country, however this pick, from all accounts is a good one.

He may not have the TV flair of  past CBCer’s Adrienne Clarkson

and  Michaëlle Jean

but the soon to be  former President of the University of Waterloo looks like he’ll more than make up for that with political understanding of how the Government works, and doesn’t work.

OCC

You can read Tobi Cohen and Mark Kennedy’s full article in the National Post here

Incoming GG vows to defend Canadian heritage

OTTAWA — Calling him a man who “represents the best of Canada,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced legal scholar David Johnston will be Canada’s next Governor General.

Johnston, 69, the bilingual president of the University of Waterloo is expected to assume the role Oct 1.

“My wife and I have always believed that service, whether it is to family, community, university or country is our highest calling,” said Mr. Johnston in a speech Thursday. “We are proud to have this opportunity to serve Canada and our fellow citizens.

“As the representative of the Queen of Canada, who is our country’s head of state, I pledge to be a stalwart defender of our Canadian heritage, of Canadian institutions, and of the Canadian people.”

Mr. Harper and Mr. Johnston met earlier Thursday morning ahead of the official announcement.

“Mr. Johnston has a strong record of public service, a broad base of support and an impressive list of achievements,” Mr. Harper said in a statement Thursday morning.

“He has extensive legal expertise, a comprehensive understanding of government and a deep appreciation of the duties and tasks now before him.”

Mr. Harper chose Mr. Johnston upon the advice of a special committee created to look at all the possible candidates.

The committee met for several weeks and consulted hundreds of people in the process.

A spokesman for Mr. Harper said Thursday that the process was deliberately constructed so that Mr. Harper would get non-partisan advice and that the next governor general would represent all Canadians, not just the current Conservative government.

“David Johnston represents the best of Canada,” Mr. Harper said…

…Mr. Johnston is set to take over for Gov. Gen. Jean, whose term officially ends on Sept. 27. Gov. Gen. Jean will then begin a four-year post as special envoy to Haiti for the United Nations.

A relative unknown when she first stepped into the role on Sept. 27, 2005, Gov. Gen. Jean became a favourite among the masses both within and outside Canada.

This country’s first black in the post, Gov. Gen. Jean was the third woman to hold the post and among the youngest to reside at Rideau Hall with her Quebec filmmaker husband Jean-Daniel Lafond and school-aged daughter Marie-Eden.

Fluent in five languages, the award-winning Radio-Canada and CBC television journalist fled her native Haiti during the authoritarian regime of Francois Duvalier at age 11.

She settled in Quebec and studied languages and literature at the Universite de Montreal before continuing her schooling in Italy.

During her mandate, she launched a new Governor General’s Award in recognition of culinary and gastronomic excellence and won over many hearts during an emotional visit to her native Port-au-Prince after Haiti was ravaged in an earthquake.

Although she came to be known for her intelligence, poise and charm, Gov. Gen. Jean’s reign was not without controversy.

You can read Gloria Galloway and John Ibbitson’s full article in The Globe and Mail here

Next governor-general unveiled

…The 69-year-old was chosen by a special committee appointed by Mr. Harper and led by Kevin MacLeod, the Canadian Secretary to the Queen and Usher of the Black Rod for the Senate – considered to be Parliament’s top protocol posting.

Mr. Johnston was likely chosen for his constitutional knowledge and level-headedness, observers say. The committee reportedly nixed candidates from the sports, entertainment and art worlds, preferring someone who is well versed in the inner workings of federal government.

The Sudbury, Ont., native became a highly respected legal expert after studying at Harvard, Cambridge and Queen’s University. He captained the hockey team at Harvard, nabbing a spot as a minor character in a novel his dorm mate was writing at the time. Erich Segal’s Love Story became a pop-culture icon in the early 1970s.

Before becoming president of the University of Waterloo, Mr. Johnston spent 15 years as the principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University.

His legal work dipped into the political realms, and he was lauded for being non-partisan, having worked for both Liberal and Conservative governments…

Courtesy of the Prime Minister of Canada website here

PM welcomes appointment of David Johnston as Governor General Designate

8 July 2010

Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today welcomed the appointment of David Johnston as the Governor General Designate.  Mr. Johnston, a respected lawyer and academic, will assume his new duties as Governor General on October 1.

“Mr. Johnston has a strong record of public service, a broad base of support and an impressive list of achievements,” said Prime Minister Harper.  “He has extensive legal expertise, a comprehensive understanding of government and a deep appreciation of the duties and tasks now before him.”

Currently serving as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Mr. Johnston has also served as President and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University and has held teaching positions at several prominent Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario.  He has published extensively and has served as Chair, member or advisor to two dozen government agencies, boards and roundtables.

“David Johnston represents the best of Canada,” said the Prime Minister.  “He represents hard work, dedication, public service and humility.  I am confident he will continue to embody these traits in his new role as the Crown’s representative in Canada.”

The Governor General Designate was selected following extensive national consultations by an expert advisory committee.  His exemplary record of public service has earned him the respect, support and admiration of many prominent Canadians in politics, government, academia, parties of all stripes, and in every region of the country.

Mr. Johnston resides outside of Waterloo, Ontario.  He is married to Dr. Sharon Johnston.  They have five children and seven grandchildren.

Does there need to be a review of the security measures for G8&G20?

In Canada, G8 & G20, Government, Law & Order, Politico, Toronto on June 27, 2010 at 14:32

Just a tad…

Amnesty International Canada calls for an independent review of security measures that were put in place for the G8 & G20 Summits.  Mr Harper..it’s your move

OCC

You can read Stewart Bell’s full article in the National Post here

Police begin round up of riot suspects; PMO blames ‘thugs’ for G20 violence

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief spokesman blamed “thugs” for the riots, and said the federal government did not regret choosing Toronto as the site for the summit.

“What we saw yesterday, like I mentioned last night, is a bunch of thugs that pretend to have a difference of opinion with policies and instead choose violence in order to express those so-called differences of opinion,” Dimitri Soudas, Mr. Harper’s director of communications, said today.

“You know, people do disagree on issues. Leaders that meet all the time don’t necessarily see eye to eye. But you don’t see people burning up police cars and breaking windows.”

Mr. Soudas praised the work of the police, who responded to riots that broke out in the downtown core on Saturday as G20 leaders were gathering behind a fenced-in security zone.

He said that the federal government’s priority from the start was to ensure the safety of leaders, their delegations and international media, and the residents of Toronto.

“What you did see yesterday — and I saw what the rest of you saw on television — was the men and women in police uniform ensuring that these thugs don’t rampage across the city and create even more damages.”

In the wake of Saturday’s riots, questions have emerged about the wisdom of the Mr. Harper government’s choice of Toronto for the G20 summit. Originally, the plan was for Canada to host just one summit — the G8 — in the town of Huntsville, located in the Muskoka region north of Toronto.

Last December, Mr. Harper announced a second summit of the G20 leaders would be held in Toronto immediately after the G8

Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
Annual General Meeting 2010
Closing Communiqué

As the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada (English branch) concluded today in Toronto, Amnesty International members from across the country expressed their very deep concern that important rights associated with peaceful protest have suffered considerably in the city over the weekend.

In connection with the G20 leaders summit, the heavy police and security presence that has permeated the city for several days, as well as acts of vandalism and other violence by numbers of individuals, have contributed to an atmosphere of apprehension and fearfulness that has led many individuals to refrain from or limit their involvement in peaceful demonstrations and other activities.

At a time when the public should be encouraged to actively engage in debate and discussion about pressing global issues, the security measures that were put in place in Toronto in the lead up to the G20 Summit held in the city instead narrowed the space for civic expression and cast a chill over citizen participation in public discourse.  Many thousands of individuals did take part in public events such as the “People First” demonstration during the afternoon of June 26, but felt apprehensive while doing so.  Many others did not take part out of a sense of unease and fearfulness.

In meeting in Toronto at the same time as G8 and G20 leaders have held their summits in Canada, Amnesty International members have sought to draw attention to important human rights issues that should be priority concerns for both bodies. We have highlighted that it is a particularly key juncture in the development of the G20 as an emerging body that will exert growing influence on world economic, political and social affairs.  We have emphasized, therefore, that we look to them to take action to ensure that human rights are brought to the heart of the global effort to fight poverty, particularly through the millennium development goals.  We look to them to ensure that respect for universal human rights will become the hallmark of their deliberations and decision making.

Yet at a time when human rights need so very much to come to the fore, we have instead witnessed and experienced a curtailment of civil liberties.  On the streets, protesters were faced with high fences, new weaponry, massive surveillance, and the intimidating impact of the overwhelming police presence. Combined with uncertainty and worry about unclear powers of arrest, this created an atmosphere in which countless individuals felt unable or too fearful to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly and participate in rallies and other events which would have offered them an opportunity to express their views on a range of important national and international issues.

We unequivocally condemn the acts of vandalism and violence that have been carried out by numbers of individuals, particularly during the evening of June 26.  Such acts are criminal and undermine the safety of the many thousands of individuals involved in peaceful protest.  We recognize that police have a responsibility to respond to such actions, to protect public safety, prevent damage to property, and ensure the safety of leaders and other officials attending the G20 Summit.

There are concerns, however, about possible police excesses, including reports of journalists being arrested or constrained in the course of covering confrontations between police and demonstrators.  In one reported case, the journalist was apparently beaten in the course of being arrested. Nearly 500 people are reported to have been arrested, as of the morning of June 27th.  Witnesses have reported that some of those arrested appear to have been engaging in peaceful protest. It has not been possible to get clear information about which tactics and weapons police have deployed in the course of securing specific areas and responding to incidents of both violence and legitimate protest. This lack of clear information has further fueled misunderstanding and fears about police actions as protests are expected to continue.

The amount of money, reported to be in excess of $1 billion, that has been spent on security measures in Toronto over the past several days has been unprecedented.  Yet on one hand extensive acts of vandalism and other violence were carried out and on the other hand thousands of individuals felt nervous and uneasy about exercising their right to engage in peaceful protest.

This cannot become the hallmark of how the G20 conducts its business.  Instead, we call on G20 leaders to ensure that future Summits are carried out in ways that maximize rather than restrict rights associated with peaceful protest, particularly freedom of expression and assembly.

Lessons must be learned from these events.  We call on the Canadian government and the government of the province of Ontario to cooperate in launching an independent review of the security measures that were put in place for the G8 and G20 Summits.  The review should include opportunities for public input and the results should be released to the public.  Among other issues, the review should consider:

• The impact of security measures, including decisions about the location and venues for the two summits, on the protection of human rights, including the freedoms of expression and assembly.

• The ways in which police operations and the use of legal provisions such as the Public Works Protection Act have impacted the rights of the many thousands of people living, working and operating businesses within and near the G20 security zone.

For further information contact:

Elizabeth Berton-Hunter
Media Officer
Amnesty International Canada (English branch)

Email: berton-hunter@amnesty.ca
Cell phone: 416 904 7158

Naked in Huntsville

In Canada, G8 & G20, Government, Have to Laugh, Media, Politico, Toronto on June 25, 2010 at 07:52

Just a tad…

Of course all the talk has been about the G20 in Toronto over the past few weeks, we’ve forgotten about our friends 225 km away.  The G8 in Huntsville.  Well this morning Oxfam Canada made a bold “naked” statement for all to see.  Enjoy the weekend everyone.  Hopefully the police state will be all but gone by Monday, but I doubt it.

OCC

You can read Oxfam Canada’s full state on their website under The naked truth revealed today in Huntsville, Canada here

Scott Stinson does a great write up in Posted about “What exactly is the G8 anyway?”, which you can read in the National Post here

You can read Juliet O’Neill’s full article in the National Post here

G8 countries fall $10B short of aid commitments: report

OTTAWA — The world’s eight wealthiest countries released an “accountability” report on Sunday showing a shortfall of about $10-billion in previously pledged official aid to the world’s poor.

The report said the Group of Eight countries account for about 70% of official development assistance, suggesting the G8 share of the $10-billion shortfall from 2005 summit pledges in Gleneagles, Scotland, is about $7-billion.

The report prompted Oxfam, World Vision and other non-government agencies to call for the establishment of a clear plan to get back on track at the G8 summit Prime Minister Stephen Harper hosts in Huntsville, Ont., next weekend.

The G8 countries are Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

The report by G8 officials was designed to showcase “accountability” — a theme Mr. Harper has singled out to define the June 25-26 summit.

But other than the official aid shortfall, the nearly 90 pages did not contain much clear information on how close or how far the G8 countries are, as a group, from delivering on more than 50 development-related pledges and plans from past summits that it examined.

The report was partly an exercise in finding standard measures, language and currency to try to track G8 member progress.

The aid shortfall comes from an estimate by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that official development assistance from its 33-country Development Assistance Committee would increase by $50-billion annually by 2010 from 2004 based on specific commitments made at the Gleneagles Summit and a United Nations millennium summit.

You can read the full article in the Times & Transcript website here

TORONTO – Discussions about the plight of the world’s poor are spilling over the G8 agenda and into the larger, more inclusive G20 – despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s initial hope to confine development mainly to the G8.

African and Latin American delegations steadily made their way to a heavily secured resort in Huntsville, Ont., yesterday to join the world’s most powerful leaders in their discussions about delivering billions of dollars for maternal and child health today and tomorrow.

But there were signs that the G8 would no longer be in complete control of the development agenda, even though Harper has frequently said that the discussion belongs among the like-minded, rich donors that make up the G8.

Numerous sources say Korea, the next host of the G20, has won backing to accelerate its plan to make development a central component of G20 responsibility.

With G20 giants such as China, India and Brazil not only actively confronting their domestic poverty issues but also becoming more involved internationally, the time has come for the larger group to become more than a club for financial crisis resolution, they say.

“His thinking has not carried the day,” said Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada.

While the G8 summit in Huntsville will focus on maternal and child health, G20 countries are expected to ask their officials to develop a far broader development agenda that would embrace public-private co-operation in infrastructure and green technology, encourage small business and state-run enterprises, and target the poorest of the poor.

“Ever more members of the G20 recognize that if they’re going to be providing leadership on issues globally, part of that is development,” said Fox.

Oxfam and dozens of other non-governmental organizations have been urging both summits to remember that the financial crises hurt the most vulnerable first. They are asking the world leaders to live up to previous commitments and put forward billions of dollars more, for international aid.

They took their causes to the streets of Toronto and Huntsville on Wednesday, with publicity stunts in both locations. But there was none of the usual bustle on Toronto’s streets. Commuters worked from home and tourists stayed far away from the barriers erected to keep protesters well back.

The barriers will stay up until Sunday night, after the G8 and the subsequent G20 wrap up.