2007-09-30

Two New Canadas Every Year: 6,621,660,975 people and counting

Did you know, that according the the US Census Bureau, the world population increased by 77 million people last year? That is like having two new Canadas every year. Or an extra USA every four years!
 
In the couple of minutes that it took to write this, the world population went up by over 2000 people.
 
Something else to ponder:
 
Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2050
--------------------------------------------------------
Rank Country or Area                          Population
--------------------------------------------------------
   1 India                                 1,807,878,574
   2 China                                 1,424,161,948
   3 United States                           420,080,587
   4 Nigeria                                 356,523,597
 
Better get used to those Nigerian email scams eh!
 
 

Ktahkomiq Toloposusu

Ktahkomiq 't-acehlal. Ahtolakonutome.
 

A Lower American Dollar May Save the Planet

Save the planet, take some time off.
 
At face value, lower carbon emissions seems relatively easy. Compact homes and compact cities would go a long way to reduce carbon emissions ( think local). However, and this is important, you must not save money with these lifestyle changes.
 
If you save money by not having a car, like I am at the moment, all you will do is displace the problem. Because if you save it, you will spend it. You could even argue it is even worse if you don't spend it, because the bank will loan your money to people who will (multiplying effect).
 
Spending money is a problem. How can you spend money and not contribute to global warming? Think about it, it's not that easy. Products and services that use energy derived from electric dams, nuclear facilities and solar power have a lower impact than products made from fossil fuels (natural gas, oil and coal); that should be obvious. But it isn't neutral. Dams and nuclear facilities require plenty of fossil fuels to power all those trucks and construction equipment. Perhaps even worse, the people employed in nuclear plants have good salaries (could Homer Simpson afford a four bedroom house and two cars if he didn't work in a nuclear facility?).
 
Nuclear power runs on uranium that needs to be mined and trucked all the way to the nuclear plant (which, contrary to the mine, isn't located in Manitoba). Wind farms require all those windmills that don't grow on treas. They are made out of materials that need to be mined and manufactured. Ditto for solar panels.
 
Even going green and only buying recycled products uses up energy (perhaps not more energy than non-recycled products, but energy nonetheless.).
 
The solution is to make yourself slightly poorer. Yes, you will save a small fortune by saving money taking the bus, but if you no longer work overtime, you might break even.
 
The lower American dollar collectively makes Americans poorer. In case you hadn't noticed, there are over 300 million Americans. That is a lot of slightly poorer Americans. Americans who have less money to spend on oil to heat their big houses and big cars. Americans who have less money to buy Chinese products (made using coal).
 
Of course, there are ways to spend money that have lower carbon impacts. Anything labour or intellectually demanding is a good example.
 
All I wish for is a rational debate. Nothing irks me more than some jerk  planting a tree in a park to offset recent carbon emissions. That tree, unless harvested, is carbon neutral, it wont offset nothing. Sure it will remove carbon in the beginning, but it will all be released when it dies and decomposes.
 
Further reading:
 
From me:
 
From others:
-
 

Non au Blackberry, vive le Minitel! Canadian Spies Speak French.

English Follows.
 
Selon Le Figaro, il est interdit pour les fonctionnaires et politiques du gouvernement français d'utiliser le Blackberry car les courriels pouraient être intercepté par le Canada, les États-Unis, le Rauyaume-Uni, l'Australie ou d'autres membres d' Echelon.
 
Cela ne me surprends pas du tout. Même que je m'étonne qu'un foncitonnaire avertie penserait à utiliser ce produit. Lorsque j'était fonctionnaire, on écrivait le moins possible à cause de la loi sur l'accès à l'information (on avait peur du peuple!).
 
Margeret Tatcher a déjà utiliser les services d'Echelon pour espinonner contre son propre cabinet. Ça serait donc peut être une bonne idée pour les Canadiens d'utiliser ce produit (et le courriel en général) le moin possible.
 
Une solution possible serait d'utiliser un code inconnu, genre la langue crie ou Inuktituk. "Saas as chi papihiiyaanikan kaa pirnihiiyaarnakanch" fait moins cool que "the bird has landed" qu'on voit dans les films amércain, mais serait plus sûre. Peut être un hybride: "le timmiaq a atterie".
 
Zone d'interdiction du paurngaq.
 
*********English*******
 
Accordint to Le Figaro, the French governement has made it clear to its employees in a recent memo that using the Blackberry is unsafe. Apparenly,the existence of the  Echelon anlgo spy network has the French governemnt thinking that maybe internal French communication could be spied on via servers in Canada and the UK. After all, Echolon was used by Margeret Tatcher to spy on her own cabinet ministers!
 
I'm surprised high level civil servants would even consider using a Blackberry. When I was a provincial civil servant, we were instructed to use as litle written communication has possible, because of the freedom of information act.
 
Perhaps the ironic solution for the French would be to use a languague unknown to Echelon: Cri or Inuktitut.
 
"Saas as chi papihiiyaanikan kaa pirnihiiyaarnakanch" is perhaps not as cool as the ubiquious "the bird has landed" we see in American movies, but it might be safer.
 
Warning, you are know enterning a paurngaq free zone
 
Hat tip to Ethisphere.

2007-09-29

Irritating twits: Dalton McGuinty et. al.

 
Dear Dalton,
The federal government has no legal means to give money to municipalities. In addition, the federal government reduced the GST by one percentage point last year, giving provinces the clear opportunity to raise their provincial sales taxes. None did.
 
If the federal government gave one sixth of national GST revenue (on percentage of the 6% GST) to provinces on a per capital basis (how else could they), then Ontarians would loose money!
 
Yours truly,
 
Altavistagoogle.
Moncton, New Brunswick.
 
From today's Toronto Star:

Sep 29, 2007 04:30 AM
Robert Benzie
Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Premier Dalton McGuinty has sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper demanding that one percentage point of the GST be given to Toronto and other Ontario cities faced with massive budget problems, the Star has learned.

In the wake of Harper's Thursday announcement of a $13.8 billion federal budget surplus, McGuinty wrote a three-page letter to the Prime Minister urging Ottawa to help Ontario's cash-strapped municipalities with new funding for infrastructure and public transit.

"By providing the equivalent of one cent of the Goods and Services Tax, the federal government would add more than $1.9 billion per year to the financial foundations of municipalities large and small across Ontario," the premier wrote.

"The City of Toronto would receive an additional $400 million a year from this initiative, helping them address major transit funding pressures that the Toronto Transit Commission is currently facing," McGuinty continued.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has been pushing for a one cent share of the GST ever since he was re-elected last November.

McGuinty wrote, "Communities large and small are asking the federal government for this support, including Toronto, Ottawa, Fort Erie, North Bay, Oshawa and many others."

His letter comes as two public opinion polls were released, one showing a tight race and another showing a Liberal majority after the election on Oct. 10.

An Environics poll gave the Liberals 39 per cent of the decided vote, compared with 34 per cent for the Tories, 20 per cent for the NDP, 7 per cent for the Green party, and 21 per cent undecided.

An Ipsos-Reid poll released last night projected a Liberal majority, giving the party 43 per cent of the decided vote, the Tories 33 per cent, the NDP 17 per cent and the Greens 6 per cent.

The Liberals now have 67 of the 103 seats in the Legislature, the Tories 25, and the NDP 10. There is one vacancy. Four additional seats are up for grabs on Oct. 10.

McGuinty also used his pitch to Harper to request federal money for major transit projects already proposed by the province and municipalities, but yet to be fully funded.

"We would also like to urge the federal government to move immediately to release the funds needed to begin building the Spadina subway extension and the Mississauga Transitway and Brampton AcceleRide projects," wrote McGuinty.

"And we would like the federal government to commit to your one-third share of our historic $17.5 billion MoveOntario 2020 plan – $6 billion," he added, noting that by 2011, Queen's Park will have increased annual funding to municipalities by $2.8 billion compared to 2003.

Although Harper and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty reduced the GST from 7 per cent to 6 per cent – and promise to eventually slash it to 5 per cent – they have resisted calls from Miller and others for a share of the tax.

On Thursday, the prime minister and Flaherty, in Toronto to announce a surplus $4 billion greater than forecast, insisted Ottawa is already doing enough for the GTA.

Last June in Calgary, federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said he opposed Miller's "One Cent Now" campaign for the same reason as he was against Harper's GST cut.

Dion told reporters at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting that Ottawa needs the money to reduce poverty.

"The Prime Minister is committed to decrease the GST by one additional point – that's $5.5 billion. I will use it to fight poverty, and I will work with municipalities on that," he said at the time.

McGuinty reminded Harper in his letter that "a strong Ontario is fundamental to a strong Canada."

"Working together, we have made progress on behalf of Ontario families, specifically on the funding of supports for newcomers to Ontario, and per capita funding for health care," wrote the premier.

"But there is much more to be done – not just in the area of federal-provincial relations, but in federal-municipal relations," the letter continues.

"Just as Ontario is the economic engine of our country, our cities are the economic engine of our province. Our municipalities face tremendous pressures and that, in turn, is placing pressure on property taxpayers."

NATO Does Not Apply in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean isn't covered by the North Atlantic Treaty. Canada could bomb any foreign subs in the Arctic Ocean and not worry about retaliation from NATO members, including the nation of the sub we bombed (assuming all our ships are safe in the Atlantic, where they belong).


The North
Atlantic
Treaty


Article 5
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of
them in
Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all
and
consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them,
in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised
by
Article 51
of the
Charter of the United Nations
, will assist the Party or
Parties so attacked
by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with
the other Parties, such
action as it deems necessary, including the use of
armed force, to restore and
maintain the security of the North Atlantic
area.
Any such armed attack and
all measures taken as a result thereof
shall immediately be reported to the
Security Council. Such measures shall
be terminated when the Security Council
has taken the measures necessary to
restore and maintain international peace and
security .

Article 6 (1)
For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on
one or more of
the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:
on the
territory of any of
the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian
Departments of France
(
2),
on the territory of or on the Islands under the
jurisdiction of any of the
Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the
Tropic of Cancer;
on the
forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the
Parties, when in or over these
territories or any other area in Europe in
which occupation forces of any of the
Parties were stationed on the date
when the Treaty entered into force or the
Mediterranean Sea or the North
Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.


List of NATO members.

2007-09-27

Cars Crashing Sells Cars in Europe



English: "The safest ensemble in the world." -- "Eight models with 5 stars in the euro NCAP crash test." Ironically, filmed in the USA.

NATO, what is the point?

Isn't the point of NATO that we don't have to have soldiers "protecting" every square km of the country. Isn't that why we are in Afghanistan, on the other side of the freaking world? To defend our NATO allies (in this case the USA, that was attacked by a dozen local residents, none from Afghanistan).

Now, in addition to being in Afghanistan, we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars "defending" the Artic against potentially greedy NATO members... By the way, these are dollars that we could be spending making the CBC commercial free (like the BBC is in the UK) or covering the price of pharmaceuticals (as is the case in most of Europe), or having one of the lowest income tax rates in the developed world (as is the case in the USA).

We could also be more generous with foreign aid (like our allies the Danes), helping democratic countries, that often spend very little defending themselves against imaginary enemies, develop. But nooooo. Instead, we are spending all that money defending the frozen north (only in the Summer; in the Winter the place defends itself) against potential invaders (Europeans and Americans) who might use our waters to gain quicker access to communist China.

Am I missing something here?

Could we at least build a road or train track so we can get there before they do? In case someone does invade us, I'm not sure sending our ships via Saint-Pière and Miquelon (France) Greenland (Denmark) and Alaska (USA) is the best idea. Because folks, even if we build fort knox up there, the frozen soldiers, Inuit or not, will need supplies.

And no, Canada does not have any way of transporting equipment to the north, in the Summer, other than by the air or water. So in that sense, Afghanistan is practice!

Hey, I'm all for supporting democracy. But spending money to get it in Afghanistan seems rather odd since we seem to be supporting communist China on a daily basis thanks to our addiction to dirt cheap labour. China, by the way, is an ally of the military government of Myanmar (aka Burma), a government that thinks it is OK to shoot unarmed monks (and why shouldn't China be an ally, they've shot monks themselves in the past.

---------
Update: September 29th. Post corrected to reflect the fact that Sweden is not part of NATO (with Finland and Ireland, the only EU countries not part of NATO)
---------

My previous rants againts NATO:

-"Does Gerard Kennedy Support NATO?"
-"If I Ran Canada"

Others on the subject:
-Could "Cold War" be being redefined as I type?
-canada out of afghanistan

With the Higher Dollar, Rogers, Cogeco, Videotron, Shaw, ExpressVU and Star Choice Are Ripping Us Off

A good chuck of our cable or satellite bill goes to pay for American channels and Canadian cable channels loaded with American content. So where is the currency rebate eh?
 
As far as I see it, cable and satellite companies are getting rich of our backs. Ditto for cable channels loaded with American content (for example, TMN).
 
Now, you could argue that Canadians were getting American content at a rebate all those years, but that would only be a valid argument if Canadian channels start paying MORE for the American shows.
 
Advertisers are also getting fleeced. If Homer costs the same as last year, why are Canadian advertisers forking over the same amount of cash to Global? Worse, American companies are forking over MORE money (in American dollars) to Global TV to reach Canadians that are watching American TV.
 
By the way, The Office (9PM ET)  and My Name is Earl (8PM ET) premiere tonight on NBC (The Office is carried 2 hours earlier in the Maritime on Global).

Taking Advantage of the High Canadian Dollar When Travelling

Here are some tips before you go nuts booking foreign travel to take advantage of the high Canadian dollar.
 
1st: Avoid Europe. The Canadian dollar hasn't appreciated at all compared to the Euro or British Pound. In fact, you could argue that the Canadian dollar is now worth less (depends on when you compare it to)!
 
2nd: Some countries link their money to the US dollar, 100% : Panama, Lebanon, Ecuador, El Salvador, East Timor, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Honk Kong, Cuba (subject to change), Saudi Arabia. Some countries are linked to a basket of currencies, including the US dollar. These countries include China, Syria and Kuwait.
 
3rd. Enjoy the American influence. The more a country is dependant on American customers, the better. Even oil rich Mexico's currency has depreciated compared to the Loonie.
 
4th. Be obvious. Disney World is about 19% cheaper than last year. But good luck finding special deals available only to Canadians. Those days are gone (I think). Don't forget that products in the USA made in other countries won't be that much cheaper than here. Worse, don't forget that many American products (such as construction materials and oil), are imported from Canada.
 
5th. The more you spend, the more you save. Until recently, everything in the USA seemed expensive. So you knocked off a star on the hotel or restaurant. Perhaps you even ventured into a grocery store or a ubiquitous fast food outlet. Saving was easy, because you felt as if the entire country was trying to rip you off. Now everything will appear like a good value. Worse, the more you spend, the more stars you add, the more that comparative value will increase. So just like your cable bill, spending more than you intended to will be easier than ever.
 
6th. Labour and real estate. That is where the saving should be. Cheaper hotels and lower restaurant bills. Everything else, notwithstanding the Canadian dollar profit markups, will be about the same price as back home. So get your hair cut, get a massage and go to restaurants.
 
-thequestionclub @ 2007-09-27T15:57:00

Il y a 2 heures par The Question Club  
Clearly the strengthening of the Canadian dollar is a big deal in Canada , but I know Americans who were unaware this was happening, and continued to claim that we were at 67¢ compared to the American dollar. ...

-There's Goes that European Vacation

-More than PAR??

-The sinking dollar

-International Travel Becoming More Expensive

2007-09-26

I Hate Toronto Because Toronto Sucks

Let's All Hate Toronto (I hate Toronto so much I'm boycotting this documentary, which I haven't seen and assume is terrible because it is about Toronto.)

Actually, I think most people hate Torontonians more that they hate the city. However, that would violate Canada's hate laws. So instead, we hate Toronto. But just so you know, "I hate Toronto" is code for "we hate you, because you live in Toronto". Nothing personal, just that you are one of them.

"Toronto's biggest problem is that it consists entirely of people from places like Saint John N.B. who are 'instantly entranced' and 'remain so today'." ( F S from Canada, Comment section of the Globe and Mail's April 14 article: Toronto: Love it? Hate it?)

Most people who speak English here in Moncton are former residents of Toronto (I have no statistics to back this up, but it feels that way). Hence, they are Toronto rejects. They left Toronto for various reasons. In Toronto speak, they are failures. The people who are successful in Toronto, stay in Toronto. The residents who are unsuccessfully either starve to death or move away.

That said, here in Moncton, Toronto is almost irrelevant. Sure, if you work for a bank or Canadian telecom (and many do), then Toronto is home to the irritating HQ and or marketing department. However, many of the employers in town have nothing to do with Toronto. Imperial Oil comes to mind (800 employees). The papers are owned by locals (the Irving family). The beer is local to NB (Moosehead). The grocery store (Sobeys) has its HQ in Halifax. Insurance is under provincial jurisdiction and is a major employer in town.

In fact, if, as in the USA, banking was a provincial jurisdiction, then Toronto would be even less relevant. I'd add telecommunications to the list. Perhaps then Toronto would be less hated.

-Stay in Toronto and You Will Die. Move to New Brunswick ;
-Immigrants Should Visit Canada Before Moving to Toronto ;
-New Yorker Emigrates to Toronto and ends up Unemployed .
-Toronto Sucks .
-Does Tony Blair Speak Better French Than You Do?

And completely unrelated (except that he was the only non-Torontonian Liberal Leadership Candidate):
-Stephane Dion is a Former Separatist!
-Police Academy (1984), the only good movie to ever feature Toronto.

Other Blogs/web sites:
-Don’t Hate Toronto
-Mr Toronto

Windows Vista: le New Coke de 2007?

Au début je croyais que c'étais des objections aux changement/progrès. Mais de plus en plus, j'ai l'impression que Windows Vista n'est simplement pas un bon système d'opération (comme Windows 2000 ou Millenium Edition).
 
Commentaires intéressant sur le site de Branchez-vous.

2007-09-23

The code of conduct is Ethically Offensive

I like the proposed "code of conduct" for Progressive Bloggers. Werner Patels would be kicked out/not allowed back on, and that would be fine by me.

However, it is important when writing a code, to avoid all typos. I'm pretty sure the author meant "ethnically offensive" and not "ethically offensive".

Ethnically offensive would be, for example, Acadiens are a bunch of..., fill in blank.
Ethically offensive would be, for example, saying that it is ok to steal food from hungry children when you have plenty of food yourself.

Tallest Tower: Tell Me When

What would be the point of having a long male appendage and only use if for self satisfaction? That is basically what Dubai is doing with its tallest building ( Burj Dubai). The observation deck for us mere mortals will be 442 meters high on the 124th floor. Well, you can go higher in the CN tower at 447 meters!

From page 5 of the Burj Dubai newsletter: The Burj Dubai observatin deck located 442 meters above ground will be the highest publicly accessible observation deck in the world.

From the CN Tower web site: Think you're high enough now. Think again. Sky Pod, the World's Highest Public Observation Deck is located at a dizzying 447 m (1,465 ft.).

Would you travel to the other side of the world to go up five meters less than in Toronto?

Since 1976, there hasn't been a taller observation deck built, anywhere. That is nuts!

The World Trace Center had an obeservation deck on the roof of the building, where it should be, at 420 meters.

So please, if you build a tall building, yeah, it is great that we can look up and see how tall it is, but it is way better when we can get intimate with it and climb all the way up!

But it isn't too late. Burj Dubai, please move your observation deck up a couple of floors!

The world's tallest structure is the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota which, as we all know thanks to Michael Moore's TV Nation (Episode 3, August 2, 1994), is the least visited State of the USA.

Think about it Dubai. Raise the observation deck or become as irelevent as North Dakota, the State who's former governor wanted to change its name to promote tourism!

Hat tip to wmtc.

Furthur reading:
-En français: Burj Duabai, plus haut.
-Toronto, tourist meca
-Toronto, Wasp-ville no more
-Burj Dubai is Dubai Tower in Arabic
-Burj Dubai ((Arabic: برج دبي "Dubai Tower")

2007-09-22

Sean Beckett is a Cross Border Tax Cheat

Currency: Q. What has changed since the 80s? A. the GST.

"I shop mainly in the U.S., due to our high taxes. With no sales tax on clothing in many states, and a moderate sales tax, huge savings to be had! Plus, better retail service and selection ."

Sean Beckett, Toronto

(letter to the Editor, Toronto Star).

Well Sean, as almost everything sold in the USA is made in China, you have to pay duty when you cross the border back into Canada. Worse, you have to pay the GST. Or, if you live in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the HST (GST plus provincial tax). This also applies when you buy online, except you also have to pay a processing fee and, if you order with UPS, an outrageous company fee.

But lets stick to taxes. China may be in the WTO, but it by no means enjoys free trade with the USA. So there is American duty included in the price you pay down there. Duty is almost nothing, but it is not nothing (a few percentages).

Sales taxes are low in the USA, but in most places, they do exist. There is even a municipal sales tax in New York City.

When your item crosses the Canadian border, unless you have been in the USA a couple of days (24hrs, $50 exemption(1), 48hrs, $400 exemption, 7 days, $750) , you have to pay Canadian duty calculated based on the price you paid, including taxes. Then, you have to pay GST on that total.

Depending on the price you paid in the USA, it might still be worth it. But don't forget the price you paid for those American dollars. Many credit cards will charge you a 3% foreign currency charge. You will pay similar charges at the bank. Thankfully, the duty and the GST you pay at the Canadian border is payed in Canadian dollars.

For us New Brunswickers, forgetaboutit. Maine has a 5% sales tax, and we have to pay the 14% HST on the total paid when crossing the Canadian border (even if we cross in Ontario or Quebec!).

The chances of getting caught bringing back goods are relatively slim. However, if you shop in a border town, and if you are trying to save money on a day trip, presumably you are, be forewarned that Revenu Canada will financially reward people who tell them about cross border shoppers (you can check their web site).

THAT might be the only way to save money, write down the license plate numbers of a few dozen Canadian plates you see at the mall and hand it to the border official. Just don't forget to pay income taxes on any money you "earn" from Revenu Canada...

(1) If the goods you bring in are worth more than CAN$50 in total, you cannot claim this exemption. Instead you have to pay full duties on all goods you bring in.
-----------
According to A and A Contract Brokers, non-North American clothing has a duty of 20%. Try their nifty online calculator.

US sales tax table.
The ones we care about:
*New York (plus municipal*, where applicable*): 4%*
Maine: 5%
+Vermont: 6%+
-New Hamshire: 0%-
Michigan: 6%
Minnesota: 6.5%
North Dakota: 5%
Montana: 0%
Idaho: 6%
Washington: 6.5%
Florida: 6%. (According to Wikipedia: A "discretionary sales surtax" (...) is 1% in most counties.)


*(From Wikipedia) New York has a 4% state sales tax. All counties and some cities add local taxes ranging from 3% to 5.5%. The combined sales tax in Utica, New York, for example, is 9.5%. In New York City, total sales tax is 8.375%, which includes 0.375% charged for the benefit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). As of January 4, 2006, New York State has again eliminated sales tax on all clothing and shoes up to $110.00 per item. Most counties and cities have not eliminated their local sales taxes on clothing and shoes. There are however, 11 counties and 5 cities (most notably New York City) that have done so. The counties where the year-round exemption will apply include: Chautauqua, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Hamilton, Madison (outside the City of Oneida), Rensselaer, Tioga, Broome, and Wayne. The cities where the year-round exemption will apply include: Gloversville, New York City, Norwich, Olean, Binghamton, and Sherrill.

+(From Wikipedia) Vermont has a 6% state sales tax. Purchases of clothing and footwear are not taxed. 10% rooms, meals and alcohol tax. The City of Rutland adds 1% local sales tax on rooms, meals and alcohol. The towns of Williston, Manchester, Burlington and Stratton add a 1% local optional sales tax.[44]

-(According to Wikipedia: New Hampshire does, however, levy a tax on meals, room occupancies, motor vehicle rentals, cigarettes, beer, wine, gasoline, and use of electricity (55 cents per megawatt-hour) and phone services (7 percent).

2007-09-16

Rogers Call Centres

In case you were wondering where your hard earned money goes, here is a list of Rogers call centres (note that none are in India):
 
Hat tip to member 18143 at www.digitalhome.ca 
(as posted 2007-01-30)
 
Brampton, ON
Burnaby, BC
Kitchener, ON
Toronto, ON
Ottawa, ON (First Party)
Ottawa, ON (Third Party - SITEL)
Moncton, NB
St. John's, NL (First Party, Only handles Newfoundland RBO Cable Customers during the daytime, closed in the night)
St. John's, NL (Third Party - ICT)
Montreal, PQ (Third Party - SITEL)
Halifax, NS (Third Party - ICT )
Miramichi, NB (Third Party - ICT)
Peterborough, ON (Third Party - ICT)

Calgary, AB (Wireless Only)
Montreal, PQ (First Party Wireless Only)
 
Now shush! Top Gear is on BBC Canada...
 

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion

Excellent Documentary
I just justified my cable bill again by watching the excellent documentary Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion on the Documentary Channel.
 
You Are Supporting Evil
This blog was written, and is probably being read, on a computer that helps finance the Chinese army that pays for the occupation of Tibet. Unless, that is, you own a partially American made computer in which case the tax revenue from any profit is financing Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Goodness you are evil.
 
"Free" Tibet
After watching Tibet: Cry of the the Snow Lion, it is very hard not to feel enormous empathy for the Tibetans who, at the very least, as a people, have lost control over their own destiny. As individual, most of the 6 million residents of that region didn't have that much power before the Chinese invasion, as Tibet was not a democracy, by any stretch of the imagination. And nothing would lead us to believe that it would become one, if it were somehow "liberated' from Chinese control.
 
Do As We Say, Not As We Do
More pointedly, as you look down on the Chinese and their obvious mistreatment of the Tibetans power class (and perhaps all Tibetans), you have to wonder about the North American treatment of Aboriginals. In all three countries that form the great continent of North America (Mexico, the USA and Canada), Aboriginals are at a significant disadvantage economically, politically, religiously and culturally.
 
Aboriginals are North America's Tibetans
As a percentage, there are way more Aboriginals in Canada than Tibetans (4% vs 0.5%). And yet the land "reserved" for aboriginals in North America is significantly smaller than the gigantic chunk of China that is Tibet. Of course, the comparison fails mainly because North American Aboriginals (aka Indians) are not a homogeneous group. They have many different languages, customs and religious beliefs.
 
Cultural Genocide
And yet Canada has two "official" languages, both European. Native Inuktitut speaking residents of Canada's northern territory Nunavut have to vote, and go to school, in their second language, be it French or English.
 
In recent years, two foreign born Canadians were named Governor General. Never has an Aboriginal held that honor. Canadians are fearful of even giving symbolic power to an Aboriginal.
 
I('m) Like Lisa Simpson
Some of us would like to listen to our inner Lisa Simpson and support the Free Tibet Movement , unfortunately, noticing the sacrifices we'd have to make to correct our collective mistreatment of Aboriginals (ie, make reservations larger), we tend to listen to the overbearing presence of our inner Homer Simpson.
 
Me, Me, Me
Screw Tibet and screw the Palestinians, I just bough an Ipod Touch (Apple's Ipod Touch is made in China and the company is quite profitable and therefor pays a lot of US taxes (The American government gives billions in military aid to Israel , yearly)).
 
Not Being Evil is Hard Work and I'm Generally Quite Lazy
Let me know if you know of any Aboriginal made computers/hand held media devices.
 
 
Canada's dubious treatment of Aboriginals:
 
Within the justice system, there are untold numbers of stories of unlawful arrest, police violence, abuse, shootings and false convictions of Aboriginal people. In Saskatchewan, allegations that the Saskatoon police forcibly abandoned Aboriginal men on the outskirts of town in freezing weather, in what is referred to as "starlight tours," led to the establishment in 2002 of a provincial commission of inquiry on Aboriginal people and the justice system. Similar commissions have been held in Manitoba and New Brunswick. Canada's mistreatment of Aboriginal people in the justice system and by police authorities is routinely cited in the annual reports of groups like Amnesty International, and has prompted investigative visits by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights.
 
-THE REMOVAL OF ABORIGINALCHILDREN: CANADA ANDAUSTRALIA COMPARED
this assimilation process revolved around a policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families to be raised in institutions in order to facilitate their assimilation into white ways.
 
 In Canada, the federal government has offered a formal expression of regret together with an assistance package worth US$245 million for native aboriginals who suffered physical and sexual abuse widespread in residential schools that operated across the country until the 1970s .
 
The Big Tree Treaty of 1797 opened the lands west of the Genesee River and allotted
200,000 acres of land for reservations, Tonawanda being 45,509 of those acres. By 1856
the Tonawanda lands had been reduced to 7,547 acres.

Listen to your iner Lisa:
 
 
Or not:
 
Posts about the documentary Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion:
20 août 2007 par Pema  
Cry of the Snow Lion is a dramatic documentary that takes viewers through the astonishing recent political history of the country. Filmed during nine remarkable journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. Spending over ten years making ...
 
-Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion
11 juil 2007 par China Documentaries  
Ten years in the making, this award-winning feature-length documentary was filmed during nine journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. Cry of the Snow Lion brings audiences to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" with an ...
 
 
-The Beginning
20 juin 2007 par Joseph's Blog  
The history of Tibet has been documented in many places. If you'd like to see a film that captures the situation I recommend to you Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion. It isn't an easy documentary to watch, but it is a very powerful one. ...
 
-Torture in Tibet
6 juin 2007 par The maiden  
And what this means is that the American consumer is helping to fund torture in Tibet. Think of this the next time you go shopping. ______. -A couple of good video resources:. Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion. Voices in Exile ...

 

2007-09-14

It is OK to Kill Puppies for Fun: Barbara Amiel

The latest MacLeans post by Barbara Amiel makes Werner Patels sound coherent. Is MacLeans _paying_ her for this nonsense?
 
According to Amiel, if rich people hunt for fun, then clearly poor urbanites should be able to organise dog fights. Never mind that in the example she brings up, the dog fight organiser is a multi-millionaire and that the vast majority of hunters are not rich.
 
Here is a moral cheat sheet Barbara:
Hunting baby seals is OK. Staging baby seal fights, not so much. The size of your bank account is irrelevant.
 
 
In other Macleans news, Paul Wells is clearly suffering from culture shock and it isn't translating into good posts (by his standards, by this blog's they would be OK, but I'm an amateur, or am I).

Dog Blogs are Immoral

I don't own a pet. I think it is inhumane for people to own animals for pleasure. However, some people clearly do derive pleasure from pets and even blog about them .
 
I have a few questions: if owning a pet is inhumane, is blogging about a pet more inhumane? Do people derive pleasure from other peoples' pet blogs? Do pet blogs increase or decrease the number of pets out there? Are pet blogs viral, increasing the likelihood of other pet blogs?
 
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how can I make money from this? Because this is clearly an opportunity.

2007-09-13

I did It! 101.52 dollars for blogging

Total Earnings:
 
$101.52
 
 
Ironically, now that the American dollar is essentially worthless (well, at par with the Canadian Buck), I'm finally eligible to get some cash from Google for all those adds on my blog (you only get paid when your account tops a hundred). When the cash falls into my bank account next month, I'll finally be able to consider myself a "professional" blogger.
 
Now, granted, US$101.52 for a years work (or was it two?) isn't much, but how many people get paid for their hobby? Of course, when factoring in electricity and Internet fees, I didn't really earn any money. But I could have had I blogged at the library!
 
If I could offer some free advice to you budding professional bloggers: build an audience before worrying about generating money from advertising. Advertising is quite time consuming. The companies keep changing the rules. Chapters, for example, has switched advertising partners so often I've completely lost track of who they are with now. Blockbuster is now out of the game and I am supposed to remove the link from my blog. Working for zilch is no fun at all.
 
Content, content, content. That, in my opinion, is the name of the game. Freshness, sure, controversy, debate and excitement, why not; but content is what will earn you the bucks later on. The post you wrote a year ago that still generates cash, that is the sweetest cash of all.
 
Long live the Internet. And may today's rants provide me with the occasional Moosehead when I retire in 30 years. :-)
 
Roger, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

2007-09-09

I Just Bought a Newton er, Ipod Touch!

I haven't been so excited about an online purchase since, well, ever!

And I'm not locked into an AT&T data plan for 3 years and I didn't have to pay anybody to "unlock" it (as would be the case with the Iphone).

More to the point, I have finally found an affordable device to take advantage of Moncton's free WiFi Internet.

For some reason, the Ipod Touch is more expensive in Canada (C$329) than in the USA (US$299). Perhaps differing duty rates are the cause (US$299 X C$1.06 is $316.94)?

Anyway, I just bough a 8Gig movie player/picture viewer/MP3 player/Wireless web surfing mini computer with a 3.5 in screen for $329 at The Source by Circuit City (formerly Radio Shack) using Online Interact.

Now all I need is a bit of Duck Tape to attach my cell phone and my Sansa (wich has FM radio capabilities), and I'll be all set.

For those of you with credit cards, you can also buy one at apple.ca and Future Shop online.

-iPhone: Why All the Advertisement?
-iPhone in Canada: Not.

*****Update (2007-09-09 15:48)********
No Camera! I guess I'll need more duck tape. Buyer's remorse setting in...

I am Xenophobic

 
Hi, my name is Sam and I am xenophobic. I realised that yesterday at work. Perhaps it is because I'm getting older, or perhaps it is because I've been in New Brunswick (Canada) for a couple of years. But yesterday, surrounded by foreign citizens, taking call after call from foreigners (80%), I started to seriously doubt the rationale for allowing so many immigrants into Canada.
 
One customer tried to convince me that polygamy was a good idea and that South Africa was the place to be. And, as usual, my day ended with "does anybody there speak Spanish?". -No, this call centre is in Moncton, New Brunswick. Perhaps I can transfer you to our Indian call centre. Maybe you will have better luck with them eh.
 
Here are two examples of why we shouldn't allow immigrants into Canada for free.
-Neo-Nazis in Israel (and no, they aren't Muslim)
 
Yes, I realise that we charge immigrant processing fees and filling out the forms is quite time consuming and often requires hired help. But I'm talking serious money. If Chinese at the beginning of the last century were willing to fork over today's equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars to come to Canada, surely immigrant today would be willing to do likewise. We could even set up a student loan type program to allow in poorer immigrants.
 
Immigration should be win win. And right now I'm not winning. I can't immigrate anywhere because Canada doesn't have any mobility agreements (notwithstanding lame NAFTA) and worse, I'm convinced my employer is paying lower wages because of all the foreign students willing to work for them.
 
At the very least, lets ban foreign students from working. Allowing foreign students to work is just brain dead stupid. Are they here to study or are they here to work?

2007-09-01

Werner Patels Could Replace Barbara Amiel

If Barbara Amiels ever retires, I nominate Werner Patels to replace her.
 

I have been in this racket of blogging (mostly, political blogging) for a while now. What never ceases to amaze me is the amount of time and effort some people will put into analyzing me and tracking everything I do and/or write.

Today, for example, checking on my visitor stats for my political blog, I noticed a surge in searches leading to various of my sites (and those of others) that all clearly served only one purpose: tracking my presence in the blogosphere. This became especially apparent when I saw that a certain someone (or a certain number of individuals) really started digging into my blogging past, looking for and at, for example, comments I posted to other people's blogs several years ago.

For those who don't know, I am actually quite well known in Canadian politics and/or the political blogosphere. Government ministries and agencies, for instance, regularly run specific Google searches for my name if they want to read my latest opinions on current affairs.

I don't pretend to be an opinion-maker, but that's how, apparently, a lot of people see me. In fact, many of those who are opposed to my particular political views are outright scared of what I might write -- so scared in fact that they will do everything in their power to discredit me (and, as I mentioned at the start of this piece, spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy on such efforts).

I am merely an observer of the political scene (a highly experienced and educated observer, but an observer nonetheless). The decision to blog/write about politics was born of a need to vent -- after all, the world has become such a mess that it's hard not to explode whenever the news comes on.

It is true, though, that I hope to sway readers in some way -- preferably away from those parties and other influences that I deem noxious and harmful (e.g., in Canadian politics, that would be the Liberal Party). I must be quite successful, given how my opponents crap in their pants whenever I publish a new article or column.

Be that as it may, they can do, say and write whatever they want -- it's no skin off my nose. They're only wasting their time because I can't be silenced. And, so far, anyone who has tried to discredit me only managed to discredit themselves, wrecking their reputation in the process.

Since most of them are uneducated welfare cases who spend all their waking hours blogging at the expense of people like me (i.e., someone who works for a living and pays taxes), I take comfort knowing that they're kept busy -- otherwise, they'd be hanging around street corners begging for spare change (then again, one of them has actually become a "blogging panhandler" recently, asking readers for spare change).

Yes, I have more education in my pinkie than most of them could ever achieve in three or ten lifetimes (for starters, they can't even spell, which makes reading their blogs a horrendous exercise in futility). Sure, I am an arrogant A-hole, but when you are blessed and privileged enough to be one,  why not?

Werner Patels is Banned from the Internet

You got to give credit to a guy behind his computer in Edmonton when he is able to make so many people angry. And he certainly succeeded with me last year. I did the background check, Google Mapping his place of work and home, plotting revenge. I don't even remember HOW he made me angry, just that he did.
 
Ti-guy, on Red Tory's blog, suggested googling "Warner Patels" "banned".
 
Wow, this guy has talent!
There is even an anti-Warner Patels blog.
 
I'll save you the trouble of googling the people he angered:
 
- Werner Patels banned from TC for abusive behaviour : Announcements ...- [ Traduire cette page ]

Werner Patels has been banned from this website and won't be allowed to restore his membership at any point in the future. We have been forced into this ...

- Cherniak on Politics- [ Traduire cette page ]

He got banned on many sites throughout the blogsphere. In July or August, ... I vote to censure Werner Patels. Posted by Jason Cherniak at 7:52 AM ...
jasoncherniak.blogspot.com/2005/12/censure-werner.html - 238k -

-Born With A Tail: Ze Verner Uber Alles - [ Traduire cette page ]

He's got a long history of getting himself banned from even the most innocuous ... 12:16 AM; Werner Patels said... My lawyer advised me to keep reposting my ...

- Born With A Tail: Ze Verner!- [ Traduire cette page ]
Subject: Werner Patels banned from TC for abusive behaviour ... Werner Patels has been banned from this website and won't be allowed to restore his ...

-The Nexus of Assholery: Oh, He's So Angry - [ Traduire cette page ]

Werner Patels said... It's no wonder RT has already suffered one heart attack: .... (Sorry, I have to address you here seeing as you've banned me from your ...

-Werner Patels and Gerard Kennedy Make Me Laugh.

-An Eye on Werner Patels

-Some of Werner Patels comments on my blog or about my blog (or its author):

Werner Patels said...

It's not the information, but the tone with which it is delivered. You are a nutjob and I have already forwarded your articles to the Iggy campaign, so that they can distance themselves from you and your kind.

Werner Patels said...

Whether his name is Chris or Sam, he is a psychopath. He should be removed from Liblogs.

Werner Patels said...

By the way, I was among those who contacted the Iggy campaign to draw their attention to that psycho. I was very happy to see that they responded almost instantly.

 

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