Showing posts from October, 2012

Recession leads to steep decline in quality of life in Canada

The Canadian Well-being index shows that since the onset of the recession between 2008 and 2010, the quality of life deteroriated by 24%. Canada's GDP, in contrast, declined by only 8.3% during the same period. The Canadian Well-being Index compilation is led by researchers at the University of Waterloo, Roy Romanow, former NDP premier of Saskatchewan, co-chairs the advisory group to the researchers. Between 1994 and 2010 the Canadian GDP rose 29% but the Well-being Index grew only 5.7% during the same period. Romanow said: "When Canada's economy was thriving, Canadians only saw modest improvements in their overall quality of life.But when the economy faltered, our well-being took a disproportionate step backward." The report itself noted: "Despite years of prosperity, our economic growth has not translated into similar significant gains in our overall quality of life,.Even more concerning is the considerable backslide Canadians have experienced since 2008.&quo…

Canadian government rejects Petronas takeover bid for Progress Energy

Industry Minister Christian Paradis, announced on Friday that the $5.2 billion offer by Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas for Calgary-based Progress Energy Resources, had not met Canada's "net benefit test" and therefore will not be approved.
In his statement Paradis said:
"I can confirm that I have sent a notice letter to Petronas indicating that I am not satisfied that the proposed investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada. Due to the strict confidentiality provisions of the [Investment Canada] Act, I cannot comment further on this investment at this time,." Petronas will have 30 days to make additional representation and to add further undertakings that might alter the decision. After that period, Paradis will confirm his first decision or approve the deal.
Paradis said that Canada had a long-standing reputation for welcoming foreign investment. I just wonder if there is not some static coming from the U.S. about the Harper government wel…

CRTC rejects $3.4 billion takeover bid by BCE for Astram Media

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected the Bell $3.4 billion deal to buy Astral Media. The Canadian regulatory commission claims that the deal would give BCE too much market power and threaten competition in the media. The CRTC rejected the proposed deal unconditionally. Many analysts thought that the deal would go through but with conditions attached. Jean-Pierre Blais, chair of the CRTC said: "BCE failed to persuade us that the deal would benefit Canadians. It would have placed significant market power in the hands of one of the country’s largest media companies. We could not have ensured a robust Canadian broadcasting system without imposing extensive and intrusive safeguards, which would have been to the detriment of the entire industry." The proposed deal was one of the largest takeovers ever sent to the CRTC. It was also the first major decision for newly installed commissioner Blais. If the deal had been approved, BCE would have owne…

Peter Mansbridge and Stratford Crew Do Gangnam Style Parody

Peter Mansbridge, the anchor of the CBC National news report, takes part in an parody of the famous, Gangnam Style, South Korean pop single by singer PSY.
Parodies of the South Korean pop song, Gangnam Style, are legion. Digital Journal has reports on two political versions. One features Mitt Romney and another Barack Obama. .
There are also parodies that feature cartoon characters and even North Korea. Now the veteran CBC news announcer has entered the fray. He does his best, together with members of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, including cast and crew of 42n Street and The Pirates of Penzance. On his Twitter account , that has a link to the video,Mansbridge says:
"Be kind. I know I can't dance or sing but it's all good fun for a great Festival Theatre!" He is a keen critic of his own performance!
The CBC has a list of the top ten parodies of the Gangnam Style.together with links to the videos. Number one on the list is Lifeguard Style.
group of lifeguards…

PBO head Kevin Page at loggerheads with Harper government

Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Conservative government of Stephen Harper face a showdown. Page gave officials in 56 departments until this Wednesday to provide him with information about cuts and savings in the budget. In March of 2008 Page was appointed Parliamentary Budget Officer. In 2006 the Conservative leader, Stephen Harper, ran on an accountability theme. For the most part, the Conservative government has failed to be accountable whenever possible. However, Harper did create the PBO or Parliamentary Budget Office as part of his promise to make government more accountable, even though he gave the office less power and independence than many advocates of the office wanted. Kevin Page was regarded as a safe choice for head of the PBO when he was appointed in March of 2006. Page had spent 27 years as a behind-the-scenes-economist in the government. Top-level Conservatives found him acceptable. Page had even worked closely with Harper as a key economic policy…

Complaint that Harper nude painting is sexual harassment is dismissed

The complaint by Albertan Curtis Stewart alleged that a nude painting of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was sexual harassment. The painting called "Emperor Haute Couture" by Kingston artist Margaret Sutherland made headlines back in May this year when it was displayed in a Kingston library. The artist painted the nude as a satire after she was peeved by a number of Harper government moves, including the elimination of the long term census and the closure of some prison farms.Sutherland said: “The political message is to look for yourself and don’t necessarily believe the party line." . The title of the painting, Emperor Haute Couture carries a satirical reference to the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," in which a vain king parades around naked. The painting was sold to an unknown buyer for the asking price of $5,000 in late May. Curtis Stewart filed the complaint in May shortly after the nude was first displayed and caused an uproar. In the…

Coyotes extend range and enter urban settings in North America

As human population density increases across North America, many carnivore species' ranges become more restricted. However, the opposite is happening with the coyote. In contrast with the wolf, the coyote is able to adapt even to urban areas. The Greater Toronto Area is just one urban region where coyotes are becoming relatively common. The Natural Resources Ministry is warning people to be wary of coyotes. In the spring, as the weather warms up, the coyotes have offspring and are looking for food. While coyotes mostly feed on small mammals such as voles and mice and rabbits, they are virtually omnivorous. Out on the range they hunt chickens, lambs, calves, and sheep but in the city your cat or small dog will do in a pinch. They will raid your garbage at night too. In some areas coyotes are being observed that are much larger and heavier than the average coyote. In many cases these may be hybrids of wolves and coyotes. Coyotes in the northern parts of North America tend to be lar…

XL plant in Brooks did not follow all safety protocols properly

The XL plant in Brooks, Alberta, at the center of the huge beef recall in Canada, was not following some safety procedures properly according to the head of the Canadian Food Inspection agency. Some beef at the plant was contaminated with E. coli. George Da Pont, head of the CFIA, claimed that the XL plant did not always follow the "bracketing" procedure that is called for when traces of contaminants are found. The agriculture minister Gerry Ritz described the process as follows: "When we find a shipment that has a contaminant like E. coli, such as we've found, we do what's called bracketing. And we take out the shipment ahead of it and the shipment behind it and search those out, and everything is brought back. That's the safety valve." According to Da Pont the XL plant at Brooks Alberta did not always follow the bracketing procedure.: "What we found is that the plant was not doing appropriate trend analysis when they had spikes [in E. coli] the p…

Canadian Beef Recall from Alberta plant extended

For the fourth day in a row, the most extensive beef recall in Canadian history has been extended. Beef from an XL Foods plant in Brooks Alberta has been contaminated with E. coli bacteria. The recall has been expanded in the province of British Columbia. Twenty retail chains in the province have pulled products from their shelves as a result of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expanding the recall from the XL Food plant. The huge recall has resulted in more than 500 products at thousands of different retail outlets being pulled recently. Consumers are being warned not to consume, sell, or serve the meat. even though cooking the beef well will kill the bacteria. Experts say it is still safer to throw out suspect meat. The products were manufactured at the XL plant in Brooks Alberta on August 24, 27th through to the 29th and September 5. The overall list of suspect products is now so long that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency advises consumers to ask their grocers directly if bee…