Canadian PM Stephen Harper criticizes the planned coalition which is likely to replace his minority cabinet.
My friends, such an illegitimate government would be a catastrophe, for our democracy, our unity and our economy, especially at a time of global instability.
What Mr. Harper refers to as “an illegitimate government” would in fact be a coalition backed by the majority of the parliament. I am not quite sure about Canada but in the rest of the World it would be called democracy.
What would be the first thing you expect to see when you enter a tobacconist’s shop? It is not vegetables, fruit or milk but rather cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other tobacco products. The problem in Nova Scotia is that you are not likely to see those things at a tobacconist’s in Nova Scotia because the province has a silly anti smoking regulation which says that tobacco products must be kept out of sight under the counter.
Bob Gee, with Mader’s Tobacco Store in Kentville, has been charged by a provincial inspector for violations against tobacco laws. Gee comments to the CBC:
Our business is 95 per cent tobacco, and they’re basically telling me by charging me that I’m guilty of doing my job.
Considering that smoking is still legal and so is buying and selling tobacco to adults, you would not think that an adult entering a tobacco store could spontaneously come to buy a pack of cigarettes just because cigarettes are visible in the shop. They probably entered the shop in the first place in the sole purpose of buying fags.
This is a typical piece of legislation which can only have been thought out by bureaucrats and voted for by politicians who have little or no connection with what others call a real life. A government practised by the people for the people would have thrown a bill like this one where it belongs: into a wastepaper basket.
Tags: good friday, nova scotia
Nova Scotians are for the first time allowed to drink in bars and night clubs on the so called Good Friday today. New legislation in effect as from last summer allows pubs to have open:
Previously, anyone wishing to drink in public had to order alcohol at an eating establishment, and the cost of the drink was not allowed to be more than the cost of the food consumed.
While legislators have recognized that not everybody in a secular society shares the religious values of the majority, some commentators seem to have hard time swallowing that others may want to swallow a pint or three at any given day:
Why are we as a society so blind to the fact that this continual devaluing of our religious holidays has a direct affect on the morals and values displayed on a daily basis in our society. What message does this send to especially our young people and children?
As far as I understand, the new Nova Scotia Liquor Control Act does not force anybody to go out for a pint but just allows doing so. If I did not miss something very essential, the author of the quoted comment is still free to excercise her religious and moral believings. Why would she want to impose her believings on others?
Tags: alberta, Dave Cournoyer, ed stelmach
Dave Cournoyer is a 24 year old student in University of Alberta. He is also a political blogger affiliated to Alberta Liberals. Dave’s blog Daveberta.ca has a tagline: “alberta politics and other assorted goodies”.
In April 2007, four months after Progressive Conservative leader Edward Stelmach became the premier of Alberta, Dave bought the domain edstelmach.ca which was unregistered at the time. Dave paid 14 Canadian dollars for the registration after which the domain became his property. The CA domain name selection guidelines do not limit the amount of domains registered by one person and limitations on selecting the domain name only apply for registered trademarks.
Dave writes about his usage of the domain:
For the majority of the time I have owned edstelmach.ca, I have had the domain name forward to this blog. A week before I received the letter from Premier Stelmach’s lawyer, I changed the forwarding to the wikipedia biography of another Alberta Premier (who also probably would have not thought to register his domain name).
The other premier was Harry Strom who served as premier between 1968 and 197. He was the last Alberta premier from the Social Credit Party of Alberta.
Rather than making a phone call or sending an e-mail to Dave, premier Stelmach had a high rated law firm, Walsh Wilkins Creighton LLP, send him a letter and threaten him with a lawsuite unless he would
(a) make arrangements with your service provider by December 21, 2007, to
ensure that the Website no longer forwards to the 810g; and
(b) make arrangements to with your service provider and/or registrar to have
the Website registered in our client’s name.
The letter, signed by Tyler S Shandro, suggests that Dave has registered the domain “in bad faith”. Dave is also accused for causing premier Stelmach’s image to suffer and having interfered with his personality, image and name.
What really seems to have made the good premier’s lawyers go bananas are the modest Google ads at Dave’s blog:
Fourth, the 810g is signed up for an advertising program called “Ads by Google”, from
which you receive an income through Google.com’s AdSense program, in which
advertisements are matched to your site’s content, and you earn money. You have
therefore knowingly made a commercial use of our client’s name without his consent.
This constitutes an invasion and impairment of our client’s exclusive right to market his
personality. In which case, our client is entitled to the amount he would reasonably have
received in the market for the permission to use his name.
In an interview for the CBC Dave tells that the Google ads generate about 20 Canadian dollars a month in revenue.
Dave is not going to give up easily:
Though I am still surprised that the +150 staffed Public Affairs Bureau failed to complete the simple task of registering a $14.00 domain name, I am even more surprised that Premier Ed Stelmach’s first reaction in this situation was to threaten to sue an 24-year old blogger and debt ridden University of Alberta student. As a born and bred Albertan, I do not take well to threats from politicians. Therefore I will be seeking advice from legal counsel on how to proceed with this threat.
I am not going to state an opinion about the legal merits of premier Ed Stelmach’s case. My advise to the premier is that he should urgently start thinking about damage control instead of insisting to litigate. Messing with bloggers has seldom payed out. Mr Stelmach has already shot his own foot for far more than 14 dollars and it can only get worse unless he backs off.
The New Brunswick police are warning against flagging expensive Christmas presents. They recommend that packages should be cut shread an hidden:
”If you put these big boxes that say I just got a 52-inch plasma TV or I just got this big fancy audio system, unfortunately criminals travel and they do profile areas so you’re actually letting them know I have some really nice things in my home,” said Const. Chantal Farrah of the RCMP’s Codiac detachment.
The police also remind that serial numbers of electronics should be written down and kept in a safe place. They point out, however, that storing the numbers in a computer is not a good idea because that, too, could be stolen.
Indeed it could. Which is why I never keep sensitive data in my local drives. Storing it, serial numbers included, in web servers makes sense. Provided, of course that you adequately protect your passwords.
A phising scam through print media has been detected in Canada, the CBC reports. A fake Canada Post job ad has appeared at least in the Vancouver Sun, the Calgary Sun, the Halifax Daily News and the Kamloops Daily News. Applicants calling for the job have been faxed a fake application form. Canada Post spokesperson Lillian Au:
“Unsuspecting individuals are asked to complete the form and provide personal banking information,” Au told CBC News on Tuesday.
My humble opinion is that this one is far too obvious. Since when have postal officials anywhere in the World shown any interest in evaluating their customer service?
The Canadian Department of National Defence has temporarily closed their photography web site featuring Canadian soldiers, sailors and air force personnel. The downloadable pictures have been taken by military photographers. The site was closed because it was “not fully bilingual”.
New Democratic Party MP Yvon Godin, the party’s critic for official languages, complained the commands for downloading photos from the page were available only in English and the accompanying French-language captions were poorly translated.
“I didn’t ask them to close the website. I asked them to repair it,” Godin, who represents the New Brunswick riding of Acadie-Bathurst, told CBCNews.ca. “I just wanted it fixed.”
It has been said that one picture tells more than thousand words but you apparently need more French words to match a picture.
BBC suggests that the Canadian PM Stephen Harper may be bluffing with his statement that the tories would rather go on with their minority government till 2009 than call an early election:
Mr Harper, meanwhile, has said publicly that he would rather continue governing without seeking a new mandate until 2009.
But some commentators have suggested Mr Harper could be bluffing. They suggest he could be tempted to fight an election now – and that he could achieve this by including an unsupportable legislative item – a so-called poison pill – in the throne speech.
Opinion polls suggest that liberals might do bad and conservatives relatively well if an election were to be held within 2007. So if Mr Harper is bluffing, the liberal leader Stephane Dion may not want to call the bluff.
Regardless of who calls what, the probable outcome of a possible election could be more or less the same as the present: no party with a majority of their own. Given the situation, I see as the only alternative to the tory government that liberals and new democrats would make a deal of a coalition in case neither of them gets a majority of their own but they would have a joint majority or close to that.
The question is if they have balls enough to call it and accordingly vote out tories to force an election.
Canadian national broadcaster CBC seems to have been the last bastion of smokers among federal and federally regulated buildings in the country. As from 1st September 2007, the remaining smoking rooms in CBC buildings are going to be closed.
I herewith express my sympathy as a fellow journalist and a fellow smoker to the CBC staff.
Football is a great game. In addition to the game itself, FIFA and its member associations have made an effort to promote values like fair play as well as stood up against racism on and around the pitches. The global football community is thus making a contribution to creating a better World.
All of this is wonderful but I wonder how long it is possible or even sensible to go in educating footballers. The Manitoba Soccer Association seems to have gotten the idea of fighting what they regard as “foul language” on the pitch. As the CBC reports, any player heard swearing on the pitch will get an instant red card in all games sanctioned by the MSA. The association officials say this is necessary to “improve the game’s image”.
Banning words regarded as foul regardless of the context in which they are spoken does not sound very smart. Who is to say anyway what kind of language is foul? In a worse case players may use hitherto innocent substitute words to go around the swearing ban and thus have a polluting effect on language as a whole.
In an average football game nothing said on the pitch can be heard by the spectators. Which brings me to another point: whom does it harm if a player frustrated after missing a penalty swears his/her own misfortune? Are the Manitoba referees not experienced enough to have heard all sorts of expressions?
So my fucking message to the Manitoba Soccer Association is to cut the crap and get the hell out of making themselves look like bloody morons.
WYSIWYG or “What You See IS What You Get” seems to be the reasoning behind regulations that health officials in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia are imposing convenience stores to follow on sales of tobacco. A law taking effect this fall requires store owners to keep tobacco products out of sight in a closed cabinet below or above the counter.
The vendors are less than amused about the new regulations. It costs them money to implement the required changes and causes problems with physical space in the shops. 200 shop owners are gathering for a protest meeting in Dartmouth. Said Atlantic Convenience Stores Association chairman Mike Hammoud to the CBC:
We feel as retailers this has been very rushed through very quickly and we just don’t have the time, so we’re asking for some more time.
The authorities, however, are not even considering to give in, neither on time table nor on compensating the cost to vendors. They suggest that the extra cost should be passed on customers:
“If they are looking for other options that might be something that they would consider,” said Steve Machat, with the Department of Health Promotion, “but the department is not considering compensating vendors for the changes they need to make.”
The obvious goal of this legislation must be to cut down smoking. 22 % of Nova Scotians are smokers, compared to 19 % elsewhere in Canada. These regulations must have been at large adopted by non smokers. A smoker would know that addiction to tobacco has nothing to do with making tobacco products uncomfortable or even more expensive to buy and sell.
It does just not work that way. As a heavy smoker for 38 years I can tell the Nova Scotian government that there is no way I would forget to buy fags just because they are out of sight and more difficult to access at the store. Neither did I spontaneously start to smoke for 38 years ago just because I noticed that cigarettes are being sold by my local vendor.
If I were 12 years today, knowing what I now know about health hazards and addiction, I would probably not start smoking. So any government sincerely aiming at cutting the smoking rate should focus on convincing 12 year old kids that smoking is not a good idea. That is what I tell youngsters almost every day and strangely enough, most of them listen and believe what I say. They take my word for it because they realize that I know what I am talking about.
Intimidating smokers and shop owners has no effect on smoking rates. I would buy my fags even if I had to sing the national anthem standing on one foot to get them at the shop. But if I were a citizen of Nova Scotia, I would vote for a candidate to the provincial parliament, who would be committed to sensible actions to cut smoking rather than this insulting WYSIWYG approach. Adult smokers have the right to be treated as what they are, that is adults.
Tags: trade marks
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that copyrighting a logo does not bring exclusive right for distributing a product wrapped in a package with the copyrighted logo. Food giant Kraft Canada Inc. tried to stop Euro-Excellence Inc. from distributing Toblerone and Côte d’Or chocolates after their contract ended, claiming infringement of copyright, the CBC reports.
The Retail Council of Canada, an industry lobby group, welcomed Thursday’s ruling, saying it ensures competitive prices.
“Today’s ruling vindicates our belief in free trade and competitive international markets,” Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the council, said in a news release.
A sweet ruling indeed.
St. John’s mayor Andy Wells landed on my radar in April last year as I heard a recording of the mayor bulling Councillor Shannie Duff at a city councel meeting. Although Mayor Wells apologized (sort of) a couple of days later, he did not convince me about his sincere repent. It looks like I was right since the CBC now reports about another incident of Andy Wells using abusive language about a fellow councillor.
Councillor Keith Coombs was expressing the environmentally responsible opinion that pesticides should not be allowed for home use which prompted the mayor to make this statement:
“Your problem is that you’re a junk scientist,” Wells yelled at Coombs. “You’re like David Suzuki and Al Gore — you’re a junk scientist.”
He then went on to show his outstanding scientific standards by praising the long ago banned poison DDT:
As well, Wells says an all-out ban on DDT — the notorious insecticide identified decades ago for harmful effects on food — was a mistake. Some agencies, including the World Health Organization, are advocating for restricted indoor use of DDT to kill mosquitoes and prevent malaria.
“The worst thing ever done to the poor people in the world was to ban DDT,” Wells said.
Baring in mind the recorded incidents of foul language usage by Andy Wells, I am sure he does not mind that I take the liberty of calling him a junk mayor who should not be re-elected. The citizens of St. John’s should be ashamed to have him as their mayor.
Singh an Kaur are very common last names among the Sikh community. They are so common that Canadian immigration officials are apparently unable to keep record of all the Singhs and Kaurs who wish to immigrate to Canada. Which is why everybody carrying one of those names are asked by the officials to change their last name. Their immigration applications are denied if they do not comply.
Karen Shadd-Evelyn, a spokeswoman with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said the policy preventing people from immigrating to Canada with those last names has been in place for the last 10 years.
“I believe the thinking behind it in this case is because it is so common. [With] the sheer numbers of applicants that have those as their surnames, it’s just a matter for numbers and for processing in that visa office.”
I wonder how the Canadian government is able to keep track of all Smiths and Joneses living in Canada. So if your last name is Smith or Jones and you are considering to apply for an immigration visa to Canada, you may want to change your name for convenience of Canadian bureaucrats.
Maybe Canada should pass a law banning names alltogether. Why not just give a number to every resident? It would be so much easier for officials.
Edit: The immigration officials now say that they did not mean it that way. The letter sent to applicants with the common last names is said to be “poorly worded”.
On Wednesday, Shadd-Evelyn acknowledged to CBC News that the government does ask applicants to provide a surname in addition to Singh or Kaur “to improve client service and reduce incidents of mistaken identity.”
But she added: “This was not a mandatory requirement. There is no policy or practice whereby people with these surnames are asked to change their names.
“CIC recognizes that previous communications with clients may not have been clear on this issue and regrets any inconvenience this may have caused,” Shadd-Evelyn said.
Sounds like a classical case of damage control.
What has the Canadian PM Stephen Harper in common with glaciers? Is Harper looking the other way while the Canadian mining company Barrick causes environmental damage and contributes to indigenous people being displaced in Chile? What’s HARPERing here?
These issues were raised by a small but noisy group of protesters as Stephen Harper paid a visit to Barrick Gold’s HQ in Santiago. The protesters say that Barrick’s gold and silver Pascua Lama Project in the Andes Mountains is polluting rivers and damaging three glaciers. This results in shortage of water in the area.
CBC news quotes one of the protesters:
“There’s a shortage of water in the summertime, and it’s only sustained because of the glaciers,” one protester told CBC News. “Because of the destruction of the glaciers, there won’t be water in the short-term, there won’t be water for the communities.”
Prime Minister Harper has no such information:
Harper said Tuesday that as far as he knows Barrick “follows Canadian standards of corporate social responsibility.” He said that it was up to Chile and Argentina to determine whether the company was meeting environmental protection standards.
Barrick, on the other hand, says that global warming is to be blamed for the melting glaciers. Rodrigo Jimenez, Barrick’s local director of corporate affairs says the protesters are representing “a small minority”:
“A lot of them, as a result of professional activism … unfortunately oppose any type of development — whether it’s mining, gas or any type of project around the world,” he said.
Environmentalist in both Chile and Canada suggest that Harper’s visit to Barrick’s HQ in Santiago could be understood as a silent support for the company as there are considerations in the Chilean Congress to form an investigatory commission to examine alleged irregularities in the approval process of the Pascua Lama Project. Karyn Keenan, program officer for the Halifax Initiative says it is regrettable that Harper was not “properly informed of the issues surrounding the project”.
So it seems that the Canadian PM stuck his head in a hornet’s nest. Did he do it on purpose or of ignorance? Who is causing the glaciers to melt, or what? Was there corruption involved in establishing the project as has also been suggested? There are a lot of contradicting statements and many unanswered questions. So what the heck is HARPERing here?