Saturday, December 30, 2006

Residents threaten legal action if church shelters homeless - Yahoo! Canada News

Residents threaten legal action if church shelters homeless - Yahoo! Canada News: "TORONTO (CBC) - A Toronto church's plan to shelter a dozen homeless people once a week during the cold winter months has been met by threats of an injunction from some area residents.

Plans for the temporary shelter at St. Aidan's Anglican Church, located in the affluent Beach neighbourhood, have been put on hold after a group of neighbours threatened the church with a legal injunction.
Toronto lawyer Peter Silverberg, who represents the group of residents threatening legal action, told the Toronto Star their concerns did not stem from the 'not in my backyard syndrome,' but rather from the lack of consultations and questions over whether the program is the best use of resources. He refused to speak with the CBC.
The project would have been part of the Out of the Cold program, under which dozens of churches and synagogues throughout the city open their doors to provide shelter and food to the homeless."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Investing Insight - Sympatico / MSN Finance - U.S. housing market drop tops the year's business news, says AP survey

Investing Insight - Sympatico / MSN Finance - U.S. housing market drop tops the year's business news, says AP survey

1 Housing slips Lower since the great depression

Convictions of former CEOs Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay looked like the final act of the Enron drama, but Lay died in Aspen before he was sentenced and a federal judge vacated his conviction, halting a federal effort seeking millions from Lay's estate. Skilling, 53, reported to a Federal prison in Minnesota Dec. 13 to begin a sentence of 24 years and four months.
News that executives and directors manipulated their option grants to inflate their gains rocked the executive suite. At least 195 companies disclosed federal or internal investigations and at least 59 senior executives or directors have left their companies as of Dec. 19. Among the highest profile to fall were UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s William McGuire, who was pushed out as the company's chairman and CEO, and Jacob (Kobi) Alexander, the former CEO of Comverse Technology Inc., who fled to Namibia, where he is fighting extradition.
Demand for U.S. auto makers' vehicles, especially sport utility vehicles, shrunk and their market share eroded. About 38,000 unionized Ford Motor Co. workers, more than half the company's U.S. hourly work force, said they would take buyouts. Through buyouts and early retirement, General Motors Corp. cut 35,000 jobs, nearly one-third of its hourly U.S. workers. Companies' bonds sunk into "junk" ratings and they were reduced to using plants or inventories as loan collateral.
War in the Middle East and soaring demand sent oil prices above $78 a barrel, an all-time record. The big winner from the sky-high prices were oil companies, whose profits hovered near their 2005 records. Oil prices have since fallen, but the summer's run has renewed rumblings about conservation and oil dependency.
Summer gas prices hit highs of $3.04 a gallon thanks to soaring crude oil prices, tight refining capacity and fears of another disastrous hurricane season. Increased prices began to sour the U.S. romance with gas-guzzling SUVs, hitting U.S. auto makers with another blow. Gas prices have since dropped, too, but drivers remain nervous.
The Federal Reserve halted the rate hikes that had lifted its target short-term interest rate from one per cent in early June 2004 to 5.25 per cent in June 2006. While stock traders saw a slowing economy and looked forward to rate cuts, the Fed's Bernanke said the central bank was keeping a sharp eye on inflation, which could take rates higher.
HP's boardroom infighting ended in humiliation. Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was hauled before Congress, ousted from her office and indicted for her role in a boardroom spying scandal in which private investigators lied and schemed to obtain the phone records of directors and reporters. Now the company's CEO is being asked to tell Congress about the $1.37 million worth of options he exercised just before the scandal became public.
China's economy continues to grow more than 10 per cent a year and its trade surplus with the U.S. is the largest ever. While officials are trying to slow growth and questions linger about whether Chinese banks are too loose with loans, the economy has showed only modest signs of slowing.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed above 12,000 for the first time ever, outpacing broader indexes. The Standard & Poor's 500 edged closer to its 2000 high and the Nasdaq composite index was miles behind its own record

Monday, December 25, 2006

Blogger: Venusian Issues :: Manage life positively

Merry Xmas everyone - you can make a difference next year -stand tall and firm on your positive convictions--PR

Blogger: Venusian Issues :: Manage Posts: "Arnold Toynbee, the historian, developed what he called the 'challenge-response theory' of history. In studying the rise and fall of 20 major world civilizations, Toynbee concluded that each civilization started out as a small group of people - as a village, as a tribe or in the case of the Mongol empire, as just three people who had survived the destruction of their small community. Toynbee concluded that each of these small groups faced external challenges, such as hostile tribes. In order to survive, much less thrive, these small groups had to reorganize themselves to deal positively and constructively with these challenges. By meeting each of these challenges successfully, the village or tribe would grow. Even greater challenges would be triggered as a result. And if this group of people continued to meet each challenge by drawing upon its resources and winning out, it would continue to grow until ultimately it became a nation-state and then a civilization covering a large geographical area.

Toynbee looked at the 21 great civilizations of human history, ending with the American civilization, and concluded that these civilizations began to decline and fall apart when their citizens and leaders lost the will or ability to rise to the inevitable external challenges occasioned by their very size and power.

Toynbee's theory of civilizations can be applicable to our life as well. You are continually faced with challenges and difficulties, with problems and disappointments, with temporary setbacks and defeats. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. But, as you draw upon your resources to respond effectively to each challenge, you grow and become a stronger and better person. In fact, without those setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qu"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Public Porkers News Alert- sad humour

Public Porkers

our mission statement

“Always enjoy the feast at customers expense”

How to stop the Government spending crisis

How not to save public money- being the politically farsighted and specially “gifted” person that you have become

Learn how to spend it even more unwisely by:

Promising what you can not deliver

Give yourself and your staff more money-a minimum of 25% or more should do

Pretend to give services that don’t exist-afterall a public sucker is born every minute

Pretend to be service oriented and friendly by having impersonal phone answering systems in place to minimize customer contact and increase annoyance levels so they don’t call back

Confuse and scare customers and everyone with irrelevant ,high sounding Jargon

Hire more people to insulate yourself from the customers or people you are serving

Hire more friendly outside consultants to propagate and expand your government legacy

Use proven concepts that work in industry and subvert them to a lower government standard

Buy out all competition using your political and public money strengths

Fine or Jail anything that competes with you if they don’t run away , pay homage or conform to your wishes

Stifle any opposition by starving them to death with talk or by wasting their resources

Pretend to care about what people really want and need

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Editorial - Federal reforms warrant debate

Any change in representation of government needs public debate- - Editorial - Federal reforms warrant debate: "Harper introduced Senate-reform legislation this month that puts us on the road to having an elected upper chamber. He is also in favour of fixed election dates for general elections, as well as giving more autonomy to individual MPs.
An elected Senate. Fixed election dates. A national legislature where the power resides in individual lawmakers, not the parties.

Each of these changes may seem relatively minor in isolation. But, taken together, they add up to a U.S. form of government -- or at the very least a hybrid that would function in a different manner than the Parliament we now have.
Nobody should be opposed to change. Canada's federal government, patterned after the British model, has evolved over the decades by taking on new wrinkles that serve the needs of Canadians. The structure of our government should never be frozen in time; it should continue to evolve.
And there's nothing necessarily wrong with becoming more like the United States. It's perfectly fine to adopt practices from other countries if they suit our requirements.
The point is that there's a fundamental question underlying all of the reforms that Harper would like to introduce.
And before we go modifying our institutions beyond recognition, all Canadians should have the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons before we move forward."

Monday, December 18, 2006 - Editorial - U.S. should put up or shut up on Arar - Editorial - U.S. should put up or shut up on Arar: "A Canadian inquiry has recently concluded there was no evidence linking Arar to terrorism, and he is seeking a huge financial settlement from the government of Canada for RCMP errors that Arar says helped send him on his fateful journey. "


The hottest pick this year!

It just doesn't get any better than this. Booming sector, tightly held, with
an incredible PR blitz starting up. Not only that, but the company is set to
release some smashing news.

Physicians Adult Daycare, Inc.

Symbol: PHYA
Current Price: $1.90 (+18% Friday!)
Short-Term Projected Price: $4.25
Long-Term Target Price: $10.20

As the population ages, the economic value in the US market for adult
daycare is projected to grow nearly 600%. Globally the potential market
is a staggering $45 billion.

PHYA is already hitting it big in the sector. With solid acquisitions,
expert management, and a red hot sector, PHYA is looking at record

Check your favorite news source. Check your Level 2 market data. You
will see that this one is set for an explosion.

With the huge publicity that is on the way THIS is where you want to be.
Make sure you get in early on December, 18th. Win big with PHYA!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Health waste-really discusting

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is not doing enough to ensure
that only those people who are eligible for OHIP services receive them
and that health-care providers are paid for only those billings that are
appropriate,' McCarter said in his report.
Among the problems the auditor found:
* Ontario's health ministry is already six years behind schedule
with plans to replace old red-and-white health cards with new photo
cards and estimates it will take another 14 years to finish the job;
* As first identified in a 1992 audit, there are 300,000 more
health cards than people in Ontario, most of them in border communities
and the Greater Toronto Area;
* The ministry has failed to verify citizenship documents for 70
per cent of all existing health card holders. Citizenship status for
health cards is supposed to be checked with the same provincial and
federal officials in charge of birth certificates and citizenship
documents but a huge verification backlog exists;
* Some 11,700 card holders submitted clams from different regions
across the province within a short period of time, 'possibly indicating
health-cards were being used inappropriately.
McCarter also found potential over-billing by one group of physicians of
$9.7 million since 2001; a health provider who billed $800,000 on six
health cards over four years; medical claims paid to 40 doctors whose
licences had either been taken away or expired and 'even deceased
doctors being paid OHIP claims.'
Despite evidence of fraud, including a 2004 consultant's report that
estimated OHIP fraud in the $11 million to $22 million range annually"

Saturday, December 16, 2006 - Help for the holiday blues - Help for the holiday blues: "
Interesting self help tip for the holidays=PR

Help for the holiday blues
Article By: Jennifer Gruden

For many of us, the holidays aren't always merry. Here are 10 ways to address the holiday blues.
The pressure over the holiday season to be merry and bright can be overwhelming. For those who suffer from the holiday blues – and especially those going through a difficult transition such as loss of a parent or spouse, or divorce or illness – the season represents an obstacle course over emotional pitfalls. Here are 10 ways to address the holiday blues – and when you should seek additional help.
1. Don’t cover up your feelings. It's just fine to calmly let friends and family know that you just aren't feeling the festive spirit this year. Allow them to be supportive or to give you the option to opt out of particular events. This is particularly important if you are grieving a loss.
2. Set reasonable expectations. A lot of the pressure from the holidays can stem from perfectionism. It’s just fine to buy pre-prepared treats at the store, use a gift-wrapping service, or take other shortcuts.
3. Delegate tasks to other family members. If you don’t feel up to cooking the turkey or trimming the tree this year – don’t.
4. Take time off from the holidays. Don’t feel that all your time has to be focused around the season. Get out to a park or other area that’s not all bedecked in bows and lights. If you live near a multicultural area it can be refreshing to spend time in shops and restaurants that aren’t as likely to over-emphasize the season.
5. Don’t over-spend. Financial worry is not something you need to add to your stress levels. Your family and friends will appreciate simple cards or gifts.
6. A"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Eons: Downsizing the holidays

Eons: Downsizing the holidays: "If these suggestions make you a little uncomfortable, you're not alone. Traditions are difficult to abandon, and changes in your family and circumstances can be tough to acknowledge. Giving up control can be the most challenging part of downsizing the holidays. However, there are many benefits. Streamlining your expectations to conserve time, energy, and money will allow you to concentrate your resources on what is truly meaningful about the holidays: being with family and friends, and treating one another with compassion and generosity of spirit."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More for less- how to cut the fat?

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Local MPPs defend pay hike

By Michael-Allan Marion, expositor staff
Local News - Thursday, December 14, 2006 Updated @ 12:23:12 AM

The outrage over MPPs voting themselves an eyebrow-raising Yuletide 25 per cent pay hike are a necessary price to pay to stop the Ontario legislature from becoming a political 'farm team.'

So say Liberal Dave Levac and Progressive Conservative Toby Barrett.

Levac, who represents Brant, and Barrett, from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant, support the warning of integrity commissioner Coulter Osborne that the legislature could soon become a “farm team” for the House of Commons.

Both MPPs defended Wednesday their decisions to join a Grit-Tory alliance to vote an increase in their base pay to about $110,000 from $88,771, less than two weeks before Christmas. "

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Brant-Knights of Columbus

Brant-Knights of Columbus - Editorial - Arar report misses the mark - Editorial - Arar report misses the mark: "What needs to be addressed is a culture within the RCMP which does not appear to hold anyone responsible -- save for former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli who fell on his sword -- for this mess. Many who caused this disaster have been promoted. "

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - Business - Back away: CWB

Stand your ground on freedom of choice for "independant farmers" . They are not serfs but free men who can do better then pay homage to the beaucratic wheat board monopoly. - Business - Back away: CWB: "The Tories maintain that they want to give producers choice in how they sell their grain. But that's not what farmers have indicated they want, said wheat board chairman Ken Ritter.
In the House of Commons yesterday, Strahl refused to back down, insisting he will proceed with a vote among barley farmers by February. " - Editorial - Err on side of compassion

They should be compensated for their innocent compliance to gevernment instructions - Editorial - Err on side of compassion: "After decades of both Liberal and Conservative governments denying this spraying even went on — some of it during the testing of Agent Orange for use in Vietnam — the previous Liberal government finally admitted the truth and approved a handful of compensation claims.
But, as reported by Sun National Affairs columnist Greg Weston, the federal bureaucracy has now got hold of the issue and has been trying to minimize the scope of the problem. It has also set what critics say is an impossibly high standard of proof for those making claims.
It’s time Canada erred on the side of compassion on this issue, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to do in the last election.
(American experts have linked overexposure to Agent Orange to such diseases as cancer and various immune, reproductive and nervous system disorders.)
Some of the vets now planning a class-action suit over this issue have been advised by their lawyer not to accept any federal offers of compensation because they will have to give up the right to sue.
We think our vets are capable of deciding for themselves whether a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Which is why the Tories should do what they said they would do and offer them a fair compensation deal. Now. "

Sunday, December 10, 2006 - Editorial - Resignation too long in coming

More clean up needed - a great start PR - Editorial - Resignation too long in coming

Cut the fat in government before your preach to us

Enough is enough - start running the business of government services better - lets have action not words please PR ( excellent article by Wallace)

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "However, we are pikers compared to the Europeans. In U.K. for example,
the government has ruthlessly targeted billions in efficiency savings,
for example, by aggressively expanding the use videoconferencing between
jails and courts.
Ontario has identified $806 million in annual savings through efficiency
reviews, however, it's a far cry from what's needed.
We should be pursuing measures long called for - such as electronic
health cards to reduce waste, prescription errors and medical mistakes.
If the government can declare a war on public obesity, McCarter's report
gives ample cause for government to do the same with its own fat. "

The Best & Worst of 2006

A worthhile read from Business week The Best & Worst of 2006: "The Best & Worst of 2006
This was a year of unpredictability and even downright weirdness. In our annual report, you'll find leaders, products, and ideas that left their mark—or their stain—on A.D. 2006 "

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Unintended Consequences of the Law

A sequel to the great glass story - the moral of this story is that for every action there is a competitve reaction -"not intended by the "law". Tinkering with the basic competitve process or market economic forces through legislation always has consequences . Why can governments not understand that prohibition just does not work and just let the purchaser of the service make the decisions based on their own free will?. PR

Unintended Consequences of the Law
By Tom Dyson

In 1996, an Indian software developer named Anurag Dikshit wrote a program to allow people to play poker against each other on the Internet.

It turns out people love playing poker against each other on the Internet. Since Dikshit got there first, everyone went to his website. It’s called Party Poker, and it’s now the biggest name in the online poker industry.

Party Poker isn’t the boiler-room scam you might think. It has offices all over the world, including a large call center in India with a staff of thousands. It owns a world-renowned brand name and a listing on the London Stock Exchange. Its founders can be found in Forbes’ list of billionaires.

Its no surprise the founders of Party Poker are wealthy. The business generates tons of cash. In 2005, Party Poker generated $977 million dollars in revenue.

Online gambling is illegal in the United States, yet 80% of the online poker industry’s revenue was coming from American residents. So in September 2006, the United States government tried to kill the online poker industry.

It couldn’t go after the website’s operators – they are all based off-shore – so Congress went after the banks and credit-card companies that process poker players’ deposits. It passed legislation that made it illegal for payment processors to do business with online casinos.

The announcement caused a stampede... Party Poker and the other market-listed operations got nailed. Party’s stock price fell from around 150 pence to 30 pence.

Now, three months later, it’s clear the Feds’ attempt to kill Internet poker has totally failed.

1) The game hasn’t changed. I played last night. Internet poker is as easy to play for American residents as it was before.

2) Illegal offshore casinos have cleaned up. Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars are now the biggest poker sites in the world.

Conclusion: The U.S government drops a very lucrative industry into the laps of offshore gambling criminals, while stock market investors in regulated casinos lose around $20 billion.
Congratulations, senators. Nice work.

I’m always looking for unintended consequences of the law. They almost always create juicy investment opportunities. In this case, I think Party Poker’s stock may bounce back to its former glory as the poker boom goes global. We'll see.

If the poker business is not your idea of investment grade, here’s another “unintended consequence of law” opportunity:

Sarbanes-Oxley was a piece of legislation designed to toughen up American corporate accounting standards after Enron and WorldCom. It makes companies produce an “internal control report,” which must be certified by the auditors and signed off by two company executives.

The thing is, this “internal control report” costs several million dollars to produce. For a large firm, that’s fine. But small firms can’t afford it. So instead of complying with Sarb-Ox, they ditch their U.S. stock market listing and seek financing in London instead.

According to the Economist, “50 American firms have already done so, most of them since 2004. Hundreds of others are said to be considering it.”

And according to the Financial Times, last year, only one of the top-25 IPOs by value took place in New York.

While the FT and the Economist declare the death of American financial hegemony, I’ve been looking for ways to profit. The giant financial service conglomerates, like HSBC and JPMorgan Chase, are one group I’ve identified. Their stocks have gone nowhere, while more nimble investment banks, like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, have soared.

I suspect the banking conglomerates could get carved up in a push for greater efficiency. This should release billions of dollars in pent up value and enrich shareholders. More to follow on this idea.

Good investing,


Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

iNTERESTING :Is this a iconoclast medical technology versus existing special Luditte group monopoly battle? A pardigm shift held in check by the self serving and irrelevant buggy whip thinking of the affected medical establishment. God help those that innovate for the betterment of the consummer.The message is clearly tread cautiously and beware of innovations, or better ways of doing things in Canada's over regulated and government intrusive and in your face environment.

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Great Glasses fighting another battle

Michael-Allan Marion
Local News - Saturday, December 09, 2006 Updated @ 12:00:03 AM

The embattled Great Glasses optical chain is now fighting court battles on two fronts.

Bruce Bergez, the owner of the southern Ontario chain that has a store in Brantford Mall, is appealing a judgment and a $1-million fine ordered by Justice David Crane, who found him guilty of contempt two weeks ago for for blatantly violating a court order in 2003 requiring him to follow a provincial law that says glasses and contact lenses have to be prescribed by an optometrist or physician.

Meanwhile, the College of Opticians of Ontario is launching a court action against 15 Great Glasses franchises, including the one in Brantford.

The opticians college is seeking an order restraining employees, agents and independent contractors associated with each franchise from prescribing or dispensing eye glasses or contact lenses without the prescription of an optometrist, optician or physician.

An application for the order is scheduled to be heard in a Toronto court on Dec. 19."

Thursday, December 07, 2006 - Canada News - Top cop packs it in

Wouldn't it be nice if this degree of acccountability prevailed in all of our civil service. The problem is that 30 to 40 % would have to resign maybe for Canada's betterment. - Canada News - Top cop packs it in: "'TRANSPARENT'
'I have always tried to be transparent and accurate in my dealings with the government. That is precisely why I felt it important to appear again before committee, notwithstanding the risks,'he said. 'The continuing controversy, however, makes it increasingly difficult for me and for the institution to fulfil its responsibilities to the Canadian people.' "

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 - Business - Nix gag order: CWB - Business - Nix gag order: CWB

Millions wasted on gov't credit cards: Ont. AG : Top Stories : News : Sympatico / MSN

Millions wasted on gov't credit cards: Ont. AG : Top Stories : News : Sympatico / MSN: "Millions wasted on gov't credit cards: Ont. AG
05/12/2006 3:03:53 PM

A number of Ontario's public sector workers can't account for millions in charges on taxpayer-funded credit cards, the province's auditor general finds.

Jim McCarter, Auditor General of Ontario

'I'd have to say that we noticed examples across all broader public sector areas that we looked at,' Jim McCarter said in his annual report released Tuesday.
'The number of questionable examples that we noted across the system were certainly of concern this year ... we have a lot of examples in here of what we would call really questionable expenditures.'
The report highlights include:
Spending abuses at several Children's Aid societies, which prompted an outcry last week after a draft report was leaked to the media, included purchases of SUVs worth $59,000 and expensive trips to all-inclusive Caribbean resorts.
One staff member, who was given a society-provided vehicle, also received a $600 a month tax-free car allowance.
'Numerous expenditures of hundreds of dollars at a time were made at high-end restaurants, but the purpose and reasonableness of these could not be determined,' McCarter wrote.
'The society paid, on behalf of a senior executive, for an annual gym membership worth $2,000, along with quarterly personal trainer fees of $650. Several car washes were purchased at $150 each.'
McCarter said the province must aggressively address misspending at several Children'"

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dion tells Liberals to think about next election : Top Stories : News : Sympatico / MSN

It is going to be interesting - 2 cold dispassionate intellectuals - in charge of the major political parties in Canada. This could be to our overall benifit PR

Dion tells Liberals to think about next election : Top Stories : News : Sympatico / MSN: "Dion tells Liberals to think about next election"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Thatcher given full parole; Former Saskatchewan cabinet minister spent 22 years behind bars for ex-wife's murder "

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - Canada News - Highlights of the auditor general's report: - Canada News - Highlights of the auditor general's report:: " The government is spending billions of dollars a year on hefty computer systems without the proper controls to keep project costs from ballooning many times over. Examining just seven of $8.7 billion worth of IT projects approved in the past three years, Fraser found that five lacked adequate business cases. A $2.5-million Canada Revenue Agency project aimed at prioritizing tax-collection work has inflated to a revised price tag of $147 million over five years.
- Moving contracts for soldiers, Mounties and public servants worth hundreds of millions of dollars were unfairly tendered, despite numerous warning signs of advantageous treatment toward the existing contract-holder, Fraser wrote. What's more, Canadian Forces members were overcharged thousands of dollars for property- management services.
- A significant number of Mounties with taxpayer-paid credit cards are improperly charging items including computer costs, gym memberships, car insurance and restaurant bills.
- Government-wide spending has grown to $209 billion from $162 billion in the past six years under an expenditure management system that fails to scrutinize the growth of existing programs, Fraser warns. She calls on the government to implement a new expenditure management system.
- Health Canada programs designed to regulate the safety of everything from cribs to prescription drugs may not be meeting their own regulatory responsibilities, Fraser found. Her report cites a drop in funding for core regulatory activities last year and says the department doesn't have the resources to tell whether it can meet responsibilities as regulator of drugs, medical devices and product safety" - Editorial - Fast and loose on the public dime

And the shit keeps raining on us with no relief in sight - Editorial - Fast and loose on the public dime: "Former Ottawa Rough Rider great Ron Stewart seems to have saved some of his best dekes for after he hung up his cleats.
Auditor General Sheila Fraser issued a scathing report into the ex-running back's later career as ombudsman for federal prison inmates, charging that he skipped work, billed personal expenses to the taxpayer and travelled on the public dime to destinations that had nothing to do with his duties.
Fraser found that Stewart collected $325,000 in improper or questionable salary, vacation pay and expenses in the six years between 1998 and 2004. Her probe didn't extend to the previous 21 years he held the job.
She said he was often absent from work, rarely attended staff meetings, frequently couldn't be reached by aides and charged the government for hospitality and travel apparently unrelated to his work, including five trips to cities hosting Grey Cup games.
Fraser wouldn't comment directly on whether any of the alleged misconduct amounted to criminal wrongdoing but she noted pointedly: We have referred the file to the RCMP.

There were other horror stories in Fraser's report, including:
* A sampling of seven of the 88 information technology projects launched since 2003, worth $7.1 billion, found rampant mismanagement.
* Controls on public servants charge cards were lax at the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency, though there were only a few instances of direct abuse.
* Government was not vigilant enough about recouping $82 million in overpayments under Old Age Security program.
* Treaty negotiations with First Nations in British Columbia were badly bogged down, with not a single treaty signed as costs skyrocket to $426 million since 1993.
n Scandal in the RCMP's pension and insura"

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Are we busting monopolies or encouraging them ? Is there a middle ground ?

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Great Glasses to appeal $1 million fine

By Susan Gamble
Local News - Wednesday, November 29, 2006 Updated @ 11:08:20 PM

Despite losing his optician’s licence and being assessed a staggering $1-million fine, Bruce Bergez’s Great Glasses store is open for business as usual in Brantford.

And that has angered local opticians.

Bergez, the owner of a chain of Great Glasses stores, was found guilty of contempt last week for ignoring a court order requiring him to follow a provincial law that says glasses and contact lenses have to be prescribed by an optometrist or physician. At Great Glasses, eyes are tested by a machine and, until recently, Bergez was the only optician in the 17-store chain. "

Monday, November 27, 2006 - Editorial - More bungling from tax bureaucrats - Editorial - More bungling from tax bureaucrats: "

Revenue Minister Carol Skelton ought not go to sleep one more night without correcting a couple of ludicrous tax-filing provisions implemented by her department.
Stories brought to light by Sun parliamentary correspondent Kathleen Harris give us a perfect examples of what happens when bureaucrats are let loose to develop and implement policy.
Harris tells of an Alberta businessman who owed the feds almost $2.9 million in taxes collected from employees. A few days before the money was due he dropped off his payment at his local federal tax office, where it was stamped “delivered by hand” and the cheque deposited to the Receiver General of Canada.
That, he says, is the way he has done his tax remittances for several years.
But if the businessman was expecting a federal thanks for getting his money in early, he was in for a nasty surprise. Instead he was slapped with a $287,000 fine for not making the payment at a bank.

Not only that but as far as the Revenue people were concerned, his payment didn’t even exist. They advised the business owner to pay up immediately or face potential “legal action being taken without further notice.”
CRA spokesman Jacqueline Couture said the Income Tax Act rule requiring businesses to make source deduction payments at financial institutions has been on the books since the early 1990s, but enforcement and a mandatory 10% fine only began last month.
Harris also revealed that CRA plans to refuse cash payments at government service counters.
Only in the rarefied atmosphere of a government agency can such nonsense be imagined. What company would turn away a customer who dropped by early to pay his $3-million bill and tell him to drive across town and drop "

Thursday, November 23, 2006

'A nation in canada'

Is Harper the new Bismark? Good move -every province is a nation within the greater nation . PR
'A nation in canada': "The real question is straightforward: Do Quebecers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes,' Mr. Harper said to applause from the Liberal and New Democratic Party MPs. 'Do Quebecers form a nation independent of Canada? The answer is no, and it will always be no"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Give 'em shelter: new program offers beds and meals to city's homeless

By Michelle Ruby, expositor staff
Local News - Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Updated @ 12:09:09 AM

Volunteers are needed to help run a program that aims to keep the citys homeless warm and safe through the winter.

Brantford Out of the Cold will offer those without shelter a quiet place to sleep when temperatures dip dangerously low.

The Yes Church on West Street will have beds and a meal for up to 18 people at a time. The service will be available during cold alerts, which are issued by the local health unit when temperatures fall to -15C.

Although Yes Church has been offering overnight shelter to the homeless during the winter for a couple of years providing beds for up to eight people a night the new Out of the Cold program is larger and involves several local organizations. They include Why Not City Missions, the Brant Sexual Assault Centre and Spotlight for Social Equity. "

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Mayor begins building bridges day after slim margin of victory
Expositor Staff

By Michael-Allan Marion
Local News - Wednesday, November 15, 2006 Updated @ 12:00:05 AM

Mayor Mike Hancock says hes wasting no time following his re-election Monday in forging a productive council.

Hancock, who survived with a tight 165-vote edge over challenger Chris Friel, said his first priority is to line up meetings with the four newcomers to council.

Councillors-elect Jennifer Kinneman and Mark Littell in Ward 1, Vince Bucci in Ward 2 and John Bradford in Ward 5 can expect a phone call from the mayors office.

I want to chat with them about their aspirations and how they see themselves working with the new council, Hancock said Tuesday, as candidates were busy removing election signs from lawns and buildings across the city.

I want to hear their thoughts. "

Monday, November 13, 2006 - A flower of remembrance - A flower of remembrance: "A flower of remembrance
Article By: Cynthia Ross Cravit

In November, Canadians wear scarlet poppies to pay tribute to those who have died in war and military operations. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the time the Armistice of World War I was signed in 1918 – people across the country are asked to observe two minutes of silence to remember those servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives. "

Canada commits $40 million to developing world microfinancing

Good strategy

Canada commits $40 million to developing world microfinancing: "Canada commits $40 million to developing world microfinancing Juliet O'Neill, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen
Published: Monday, November 13, 2006 Article tools

OTTAWA -- The federal government announced $40 million Sunday for small loans and other microfinance help for destitute people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The expenditure on the Nobel prize-winning method of alleviating poverty and suffering was announced as about 2,000 delegates from around the world gathered in Halifax for the four-day Global Microcredit Summit.
'Around the world, the power of microfinance is transforming lives,' Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a joint statement with International Co-operation Minister Josee Verner."

Saturday, November 04, 2006 - Manitoba - House arrest for tax fraud

An interesting precedent - Manitoba - House arrest for tax fraud: "House arrest for tax fraud

A Springfield man has been sentenced to one year of house arrest after he defrauded the Canada Revenue Agency of more than $365,000 in bogus tax returns.
Kevin Gibbons, 56, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count each of fraud and tax evasion. Judge Lynn Stannard also ordered Gibbons to pay a fine of $272,000 and perform 75 hours of community service work. " - Editorial - Tough call on income trusts - Editorial - Tough call on income trusts: "Tough call on income trusts

We would hardly have expected big business to stand up and applaud this week's federal announcement about rule changes for the way income trusts are to be taxed in Canada.
But Finance Minister Jim Flaherty found himself being backed into an increasingly tight corner under tax regulations that threatened to take billions of dollars out of federal coffers and he responded with decisive action -- something that has been in short supply in Ottawa in recent years. "

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Calm and uninspiring or brash and off the wall-which is your choice?
Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Mayor candidates in re-match

By Michael Allan Marion, Expositor Staff
Local News - Saturday, November 04, 2006 @ 01:00

Brantford is being treated to an electoral rematch in the 2006 race between Mayor Mike Hancock and predecessor Chris Friel that shows more than ever a dramatic contrast in styles.

Listen carefully, though, to the two repeat the 2003 clash that had a 15-year councillor best a nine-year mayor by 15 votes, and you’ll not hear much difference in each candidate’s vision of the city’s future.

As the race approaches the home stretch, the differences are more articulated in the intermittent criticisms that each makes of the other’s actions and decisions while in the mayor’s chair.

At 64, Hancock is sticking to the undramatic, quiet, capable, steady-as-she-goes, consensus-building style of management that saw him through the 2003 race. "

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Lets change it
Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Property tax system unfair, voters say

James Wallace
Queens Park - Friday, November 03, 2006

Few Ontario voters are happy with Ontario's controversy-plagued property
tax system, shows an SES Research/Osprey Media poll.
Just 14 per cent of those surveyed believe the province's local tax
system is fair while 31 per cent see the system as unfair, the poll
'This is definitely a pocket book issue for many voters,' said SES
Research president Nik Nanos. 'It directly or indirectly touches
'When we look at the extremes, people are twice as likely to think that
it's unfair compared to fair,' Nanos said.
However, middle-aged and older voters were more likely than younger
voters to view the property tax system as unfair, the poll found.
'Sixty per cent of middle aged Ontarians think our property tax system
is either somewhat unfair or unfair,' Nanos said.
The SES Research/Osprey Media poll found a broad range of voters
expressed some degree of concern over property taxation with 18 per cent
surveyed saying the system is 'somewhat unfair' and 29 per cent that it
is 'somewhat fair.
Property taxes have been a controversial issue in Ontario for much of
the past decade. "

Monday, October 30, 2006 - Business - Letter reveals friction at CMHC

Higher House prices? PR - Business - Letter reveals friction at CMHC: "Letter reveals friction at CMHCSharp reprimand from bank governor

OTTAWA -- A tart letter of reprimand from the governor of the Bank of Canada suggests there have been rocky relations between the bank and the embattled Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
The newly released letter from David Dodge to Karen Kinsley, president and CEO of the housing corporation, uses unusually strong language to criticize new lending policies announced by the federal corporation over the summer.
'I read with interest and dismay your press release of June 28 which indicated that CMHC would offer mortgage insurance for interest-only loans and for amortizations of up to 35 years,' says the two-page letter. "

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Jail is not the answer: advocate; Fewer charges being laid under new law

Vincent Ball
Local News - Friday, October 27, 2006 @ 01:00

City police have charged only 47 youths with crimes so far this year, but that doesn't mean fewer young people are breaking the law.

Nor does it mean there has been a huge drop in crime.

The figures, provided by police, are a reflection of the changes introduced when the Youth Criminal Justice Act came into effect in April 2003.

In addition to those charged, 279 had their offences deferred by police pending completion of a diversion program offered by St.
Leonard's Community Services"

High Taxes top issue

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Taxes top issue in November municipal election

James Wallace
Queens Park - Monday, October 30, 2006

Osprey News Network

Money is the top issue on the minds of municipal voters across Ontario, shows a SES Research/Osprey Media poll.

Almost half of those surveyed listed taxes or funding for cities as the top issue in the November municipal election, the poll found.

This upcoming municipal election is really about dollars and cents, said Nik Nanos, president of SES Research. "

Saturday, October 28, 2006 - Bid online to invest - Bid online to invest: "Bid online to invest
Article By: Jennifer Gruden
Ed has a situation many of us may have experienced in our youth. He's working his way through school in an in-demand field, and expects to be employed after graduation. In the meantime his mother offered him an interest-free loan to pay educational expenses. But Ed's found theres still a cost:
“Well, I have concluded that THERE IS a price to pay! This loan, although at zero interest, is NOT FREE. It's actually an enormous burden,” he says in his request for a loan at
That’s why he’s requesting an $8,000 (US) loan at 9.00 per cent interest. And 2 days and 23 hours before his loan request will close, he’s found it fully funded, with 182 people bidding online in order to each loan him part of the total loan.
Bidding online? Isn’t that what you do to pick up bargains at eBay? Well yes. And since February 2006, it’s also been a way for people to lend money – from tens of dollars to thousands of dollars – to other people.
'Until now, financial institutions have controlled who is able to obtain credit and the rates people pay,' said Chris Larsen, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Prosper, in a press release issued as the company came online. 'Over time, this one-sided control has bred inefficiencies and excessive margins – leading to higher rates for borrowers, and restricting people who have money to lend from entering and generating income from this vital and lucrative market.'
'Prosper gives people the opportunity to take back the marketplace for consumer credit,' said Larsen.
How does it work?
A basic transaction is fairly simple. People who want to borrow money create a l"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Consumer News - Eight Ways To Sink Yourself Financially - ArcaMax Publishing

Consumer News - Eight Ways To Sink Yourself Financially - ArcaMax Publishing: "Eight Ways To Sink Yourself Financially
Rich Acheampong
1. Don't focus on your finances

The reason most people get into debt is because they don't spend enough time focusing on their finances. You need to get a grasp of where you're at financially, keep track of your income in relation to expenses and spending habits.

2. Failure to develop a good financial plan

Eight Ways To Sink Yourself Financially
Rich Acheampong 1. Don't focus on your finances The reason most people get into debt is because they don't spend enough time focusing on their finances. You need to get a grasp of where you're at financially, keep track of your income in relation to expenses and spending habits.
2. Failure to develop a good financial plan No one would imagine going on vacation without planning for it. Yet when finances are concerned, many people don't plan. A good financial plan can be the difference between comfortable living and struggling to get by.
3. Waiting too long to invest When making investments, time is of the essence. Compound interest earns money over time; so don't wait too long to save for retirement. The longer you wait to invest, the smaller your return on investment.
4. Marrying the wrong person Who you marry has a huge impact on your finances. Couples with different views on money, create stress in their marriage. Divorce apart from the emotional pain and suffering causes financial heartache.
5. Habits Although habits seem minor, the prices add up. Buying a $1 coffee each day cost you $365 every year. Imagine how much more money you spend by eating out regularly. If you smoke, the cost of cigarettes along could drive you to quit.
6. Running up credit card balances If you carry unpaid balances on credit cards, you are already losing money in interest payments alone. Credit card companies have high interest charges that accumulate with unpaid balances.
7. Be under-insured You need to protect yourself and your family from unforeseen emergencies, sickness, accidents and possible death. The goal is to make sure that you have proper financial coverage incase anything should happen.
8. Investing in things you don't understand If I had a dollar for every sure fire stock tip... I'd be rich. Then I'd lose that money by investing in those tips. Make sure you know what you are investing in, by asking a lot of questions, don't hesitate to get another financial opinion.

No one would imagine going on vacation without planning for it. Yet when finances are concerned, many people don't plan. A good financial plan can be the difference between comfortable living and struggling to get by.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Prison ombudsman accuses prison system of ‘institutionalized discrimination’

Prison ombudsman accuses prison system of ‘institutionalized discrimination’: "Meagan Fitzpatrick,
Font: * * * * OTTAWA -- Canada’s jail system routinely discriminates against aboriginal offenders, according to the federal prison watchdog. In his annual report released Monday, ombudsman Howard Sapers outlined a number of concerns but chose to focus on aboriginal Canadians, saying they are over-represented in the justice system and treated unfairly within it.
Sapers said the general picture is one of 'institutionalized discrimination.'
'Aboriginal people are routinely disadvantaged once they are placed into the care and custody of the correctional service,' he said.
Aboriginal offenders are more often placed in maximum security prisons and in segregation than non-aboriginal offenders, Sapers reported, and that 'severely limits access to rehabilitative programming and services.' He also said aboriginal inmates are not always given the same chance at parole as non-aboriginal offenders.
Sapers said Canada’s correctional service is not responsible for the social conditions and the policy decisions which contribute to its offender population, but it is responsible for ensuring that all offenders are treated fairly.
'It is, therefore, with grave concern that today I am underscoring that the Correctional Service of Canada falls short of this standard of care by allowing for systemic discrimination against aboriginal inmates,' he said.
Sapers said his recommendations must be acted upon swiftly. Among changes to the system, Sapers wants to see more aboriginal people employed in the correctional service.

"My message to the correctional service today is to walk your talk and make real progress a priority in this area. My message to the government is to give the service the resources they need to get the job done," he said

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

One year from now we can effect change PR

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "McGuinty plots out re-election campaign

James Wallace
Queens Park - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dalton McGuinty leans back in his chair, turns slightly and nods out the
window behind him.

'You're here today, in my office, overlooking the lawn of Queen's Park,' the
Premier tells a visitor, then pauses to make a point.

'It's pretty quiet out there.'

McGuinty's Liberal government moved into the fourth and final year of its
mandate this past week. Less than a year from now, voters will get a chance
to weigh the accomplishments and failings of his party, which convinced
voters to 'choose change' in 2003.

In an exclusive interview with Osprey News, McGuinty reflected on his coming
campaign for re-election and the broad messages he'll be bringing to voters.

'For the last year, we will continue to drive hard on our original mandate,
particularly when it comes to the fundamentals,' he said, 'Getting class
sizes down, test scores up, getting wait times down, getting nurses hired
and graduating more physicians.'

'We also want to continue to work with labour and business to continue to
grow the economy, whether it's in the auto sector, manufacturing, forestry
or agriculture.'

'Beyond that, we will use that as a foundation on which we'll build our next
platform and our next set of commitments,' he said.

Those will be unveiled in the coming months but more broadly, the thrust of
McGuinty's campaign message will be twofold.

First, elaborating on his point about the relative absence of pro"

The other key theme in his campaign will directly address his greatest vulnerability - broken promises. Conservative leader John Tory recently foreshadowed what's coming at a press conference at his Queen's Park caucus office by lining the walls with signs listing broken Liberal promises. "I won't raise your taxes," one cried. "Stop school closings," said another. Others said "Unclog emergency rooms," "Balance the budget," "Provide a new funding formula for rural and northern schools," "Divert 60% of municipal garbage to recycling by 2005," "Tackle gridlock," "Close coal-fired electricity plants by 2007." Tory called McGuinty's decision to break a campaign promise by creating a new, $2.4 billion health care tax a "gross betrayal of the people" and predicted debate over broken promises in the coming campaign will be "vigorous." McGuinty made promises without thinking through their consequences and as a result was repeatedly forced to break them, he said. "I would never govern that way," Tory said. "I couldn't afford to run a business that way. I couldn't afford to run a football league that way, I couldn't afford to run charitable organizations that way." "In fact nobody runs things that way in their lives, they don't run their family life that way and yet he thinks he can run the Province of Ontario that way, Tory said. McGuinty, understandably, will ask the public to view things differently. "The other thing I would ask people to note, as they come to learn a little bit more about me. I'm not going to shrink from tough decisions," he said. "I didn't raise a health tax because I thought it would be warmly embraced by my mother, or all Ontarians," he said. "I did it because I honestly believed it was the best thing for us to do in the circumstances." Finally, McGuinty will run on a record of "recognizable improvement" in health care, education and other areas of provincial responsibility. No other government, he said, has done that - set goals, measured the results and reported back to voters. "You can count the kids in a classroom, you'll be able to do that at election time; count the test scores, count the graduations, count the wait times, count the doctors, count the nurses," he said. Come Oct. 4, 2007, all that will be left to do is count the votes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - Editorial - Let�s not point fingers - Editorial - Let�s not point fingers: "Students at Montreal�s Dawson College are too young to remember the terrible massacre at the city�s L�Ecole Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989 � but yesterday�s shootings recalled that tragedy for us all.
This time, the carnage was mercifully less than when Marc Lepine opened fire that night, killing 14 women and injuring other students, male and female, before finally killing himself.
But that is ultimately little comfort, as yesterday�s rampage by a lone gunman (who was killed by police at the scene) took at least one innocent life and left up to eight others critically injured, with 20 people shot in all. "

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bush calls CIA prisons 'vital' tool - Yahoo! News

Bush calls CIA prisons 'vital' tool - Yahoo! News: "Bush calls CIA prisons 'vital' tool "

Graham, R-S.C., said withholding evidence from a war criminal sets a dangerous precedent other nations could follow. "Would I be comfortable with (an American service member) going to jail with evidence they never saw? No," Graham said.
Also on Wednesday, the
Pentagon' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Pentagon put out a new Army field manual that spells out appropriate conduct on issues including prisoner interrogation. The manual applies to all the armed services but not the CIA. It bans torture and degrading treatment of prisoners, for the first time specifically mentioning forced nakedness, hooding and other procedures that have become infamous during the war on terror.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wages seen rising in tight labour market - Sympatico / MSN Finance

Wages seen rising in tight labour market - Sympatico / MSN Finance: "Wages seen rising in tight labour market
Posted 8/31/2006

By Louise Egan
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian companies in need of new talent will raise salaries by 3.5 percent next year to attract and keep skilled staff in a tight labour market, according to a survey released on Thursday.
With the unemployment rate at a 30-year low and a booming oil and gas industry in Western Canada sucking up new blood, many firms are hard-pressed to fill vacant positions.
The salary increase, based on forecasts of employers surveyed by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, would come on top of a higher-than-expected 3.6 percent average wage hike in the June 2005 to June 2006 period."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Great trend

Laurier driving growth Susan Gamble

Local News - Saturday, September 02, 2006 @ 01:00 Eight years ago, 39 students were rattling around in a newly created university that had little more than high hopes and great expectations. But what started so small and so slowly has burgeoned into an innovative, booming movement thats almost totally responsible for driving downtown redevelopment. And the flood of student residences, faculty buildings, classrooms, food services and resources isnt slowing, say those involved. Were in a situation where we can grow to the extent that we have buildings, says Lauriers principal, Leo Groarke. Although its still in the planning stages, this week Laurier president Bob Rosehart released the conceptual drawings of the universitys next dream project -- a massive five-storey creation to be built on Dalhousie Street, just across from the call centre in the downtown mall. The tentatively named Academic Building will have more residence beds, teaching space, a library area and a food vendor. *** First it was Laurier, then Nipissing University and then Mohawk College throwing their mortarboards into the core. Today, with close to 1,800 students flooding into the downtown for classes, the impetus of the schools is the main factor behind all downtown development, says Mayor Mike Hancock. Although plans for Laurier and Mohawk to renovate the old PUC building fell through earlier this year, that building is being eyed very seriously by Nipissing University. I can hardly wait to see a Nipissing sign on that building, says the mayor. But, he hastily adds, whats happening is about more than just buildings. This is a commitment to the city, Hancock says. The buildings are great because they keep the character of the community, but its the life thats energized here and the momentum were feeling. Its changed how we view ourselves as a city. The growth has spurred on private development, private student residences, restaurants and services. And theres no signs of that growth spurt abating. In fact, says the mayor, with the civic square work, theres been a renewed interest in the dilapidated south side of Colborne Street. With Nipissing looking to expand, the possibilities are endless. *** The numbers substantiate that optimism.

on error resume next
MM_FlashCanPlay = ( IsObject(CreateObject("ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFlash." & MM_contentVersion)))
From 39 full-time students in 1999, Laurier has leapt forward with 103 students in 2000; 200 in 2001; 295 in 2002; 632 in 2003; 922 in 2004 and 1,263 in 2005. This fall, there are 1,653 students enrolled, plus about 100 part-timers. Nipissing started with 30 students in 2002 enrolled in a concurrent program with Laurier -- so theyre counted in the Laurier total -- and thats jumped to 565 students this fall, plus an additional class of 35 area students that is an overflow from the enrolment in North Bay. Add in Mohawk students who have traditionally stayed in the east end of the city and have been coming into the core for classes at the Odeon building for the last few years. This year there are about 25 Mohawk kids in the core. This weekend marks the beginning of a mass influx of students as they return to the downtown. Laurier and Nipissing first years are assured of a residence bed, providing a more protected environment, says principal Groarke. First year is a transition year and we provide a more structured environment with dons and people watching over the students who might face issues of alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex. After that year, theyre expected to go and find accommodations elsewhere in private residences. To accommodate those second, third and fourth year students, private residences have cropped up all through the downtown -- from the 30-bed Rizzo Building on Colborne Street to a multitude of three and four bedroom houses converted for student use. Many are listed on a North American website called Some landlords, like Harold Mannen, have found creating small student residences to be a perfect sideline. I have 39 beds in the area but not all are targeted at students, says Mannen, who started the projects because of Laurier. I really love it and the kids are great. Ive had no trouble whatsoever. Mannen is also a downtown businessman, owner of the John Peel Restaurant. Theres now a vitality about the downtown that wasnt there before. Look at all the new buildings. Theres renewal happening all over and its not because of the casino. Every bit of it is due to Laurier. *** Growth doesnt always come evenly in the downtown. Groarke describes the process in terms of steps where, for a while, the schools are short of beds and classrooms, then theres a building boom and, for a while, there are too many beds and classrooms. When we started, the issue was trying to attract students. Very quickly that turned to having a problem finding buildings to fit the students. Despite the new Wilkes House and Faculty House that are just online, Laurier is back at capacity again. New housing at Lucy Marco Place (the old Y building) and the new East civic square building are welcome, but theyve come online a bit late for this year, Groarke says. Residence beds, classroom space and faculty offices have to keep apace of each other. Nipissing is also bursting at the seams, says Sandra Reid, the director of the Brantford campus. In a perfect world wed have five more offices in our building, at least three more classrooms, a gym and some large group instruction rooms. The cramped quarters mean the school is constantly problem-solving and partnering. For example, it uses the Brant Community Church when bringing large groups of students together. Aside from about 580 students who are also counted as Laurier students, Nipissing has a new class of 35 area students who are an overflow class from the North Bay campus after that location was swamped with acceptances. As well, Nipissing does a huge business in Additional Qualification courses or professional development for teachers. During the summer, for instance, 150 teachers from around southern Ontario were in the downtown upgrading their skills in Nipissing courses. Offering the concurrent courses for Laurier students to get a bachelor of education was a winning idea. With just 30 students in the program in the fall of 2002, Nipissing is growing at a dizzying pace and a switch to a five-year program for the B.Ed means automatic growth. Well have 700 students here next year and were developing whatever new courses the area school boards tell us they need for additional qualifications, says Reid. *** Laurier didnt want to own any Brantford buildings when it came to town. Now, it owns seven facilities and is planning the eighth. Part of the campuss huge success, says Groarke, is being creative in both programs and solutions. We havent duplicated Waterloo here. If youre willing to be inventive and creative and look for programs that are a little bit outside the box, you can keep attracting students. Groarke said some programs, like criminology, have been highly successful while others, like the education program done with Nipissing, hit the jackpot. President Rosehart predicts the school will soon move into the 2,500-student range which will make it more of its own entity, rather than a satellite campus. *** Theres plenty of talk about how much money the city has contributed to Lauriers growth. Rosehart calculates Brantford has corporately invested between $10 million and $12 million, but he is quick to point out that that amount is almost the same as Lauriers investment so far. The citizens of Brantford have invested privately, as well, contributing between $3 million and $4 million in donations and scholarships. Nipissing paid for the total renovation of its Market Street building -- about $1.4 million -- and expects to be sinking more into the area. Everyone is hoping the provincial government will eventually pony up some capital funds for new buildings. But in the meantime, the schools point out they and the students are making a giant contribution to the Brantford economy. A study released last year by Adventus Research in Guelph showed that construction and renovation costs are bringing millions into the downtown and the economic impact of the students, teachers and programs is between $39 million and $49 million each year. Spin off effects include restaurants, the retail food industry, housing units, retail clothing and transportation. People who dont frequent the downtown can barely believe the changes happening -- including having to make a lunch reservation at some eateries if you want a seat. Other cities are beginning to study Brantfords success in order to recreate it for their own downtowns. Theres even, says Mayor Hancock, renewed interest in the south side of Colborne Street -- the remaining dregs of the once worst downtown in Canada. Come back in 100 years and see our growth.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Telecom Decision CRTC 2006-XX

Your communication rights - use them follow this link for the full crtc ruling . A move in the right direction for customers at long last - PR

Telecom Decision CRTC 2006-XX: "Your right to register a dispute or complaint
You have the right to dispute charges and to file a complaint about the service you receive. There are processes in place to assist you if you are having difficulties getting service or answers from your phone company.
Disputing phone charges
You have the right to dispute any telephone charges on your billing statement that you believe are incorrect. If you dispute a telephone charge, the phone company will investigate your claims, and will make the results of its investigation available to you. The phone company cannot consider the charges that you are disputing to be past due, but you are required to pay the undisputed portion of your bill.
As a general rule, the phone company cannot threaten to suspend or cut off your phone service over any amounts that you are disputing (see 'Your rights when the phone company wants to cut off your phone service' section).
Various scams and frauds exist that may affect your telephone service and could lead to additional charges on your phone bill. You are responsible for keeping yourself informed and protecting yourself against various scams and fraud. For more information about known scams and fraud, contact your phone company.
You also have the right to complain to the phone company if you have any problems with the service you receive. If you have a dispute or complaint, the first step is to speak to your phone company. If the representative handling your call cannot resolve the problem to your satisfaction, you can ask to speak to the service manager or a supervisor in the customer service department.
If you are still not satisfied with the answer you are getting, you can contact the CRTC. The CRTC will ask the phone company to respond to your concern shortly thereafter. You should receive "

CRTC unveils phone "Bill of Rights"

If you are tired of being abused by the telephone monopoly -It seems that you ahve some tools to fight back . Please do so
CRTC unveils phone "Bill of Rights": "CRTC unveils phone 'Bill of Rights'
16 rights cover everything from rules about protecting privacy to right to service for disabled"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Privacy advocates warn of Big Brother

Why do we bother with a bill of rights? PR Privacy advocates warn of Big Brother: "Internet and privacy experts also fear the federal government will revamp Internet surveillance legislation as early as this fall, giving law enforcement officials and Canadian Security and Intelligence Service agents access to personal information without a warrant.

Deisman, an Internet law expert, says Internet providers have been 'intimidated' into complying with the incoming surveillance act.

'There were even suggestions that Internet service providers would have to keep people on staff to respond to police warrants on a 24-7 basis,' he said.

'If we read between the lines of this legislation, this is how the government has scared them into doing this on their own.' "

Value for money? Which deadbeat are you happy with?

Ombudsman Rips Family Responsibility Office
Ontario’s Ombudsman, AndrĂ© Marin, released a scathing report today on the province’s Family Responsibility Office (FRO).The agency is charged with enforcing child support orders in the province and, Marin found, is fundamentally failing to do its job.Here are a few facts and quotes from Marin’s press conference.
Support payment arrears are at an “all-time historical high” of $1.35 billion because of the agency’s “lackadaisical” attitude toward collection.
Welfare payments are up $200 million as a consequence and “dead beats in this province have been having a free ride on the backs the citizens of Ontario,” he said.
Just 70 per cent of the 185,000 support orders filed annually with the office are compliant, which the FRO defines as someone who pays at least 85 per cent of order. Marin found one instance where a prison inmate was deemed to be “compliant” because he was in no position to pay, and thus took the agency’s numbers “with a grain of salt.”
When confronted with specific problems, FRO offered “platitudinous excuses or outright evasions,” Marin said.“I can tell you for the last decade it has been the bane of existence for overseers in this province,” he said.“It has been a money pit for the government and it has been the source of immense frustration for those receiving child support payments.”“We need to fix this and put it to rest once and for all,” Marin said.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Alberta Mounties retain jobs despite criminal convictions, investigation finds

are there different standards for government organizations? PR
Alberta Mounties retain jobs despite criminal convictions, investigation finds: "Alberta Mounties retain jobs despite criminal convictions, investigation finds
* * * * Jason van Rassel, CanWest News Service; Calgary Herald
Published: Monday, August 07, 2006
CALGARY -- Assault and impaired driving convictions led to reprimands and pay deductions but no firings for Alberta RCMP members disciplined in the past 18 months.
The Calgary Herald used access-to-information legislation to obtain written decisions involving 10 Alberta RCMP members who have been disciplined since the beginning of 2005 four of whom were also criminally charged in connection with their conduct.
During the past 18 months, nine officers and one civilian employee appeared before a three-member RCMP panel that hears cases alleging serious breaches of the force's code of conduct."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Creative approaches to age discrimination

Job search techniques: Smashing the gray ceiling

Article By: Virginia Bola

For decades, women have chaffed at the invisible glass ceiling which prevents their moving into the high executive brackets that their competence, knowledge and skills have earned. The same amorphous barrier confronts older workers both in terms of advancement within a company and, most especially, when a job change is required. There is an adage in the military that if a rank above major has not been obtained within 20 years, it never will be. The ranks of early military retirees are sprinkled with majors who knew that 10 or 15 more years would never bring a Colonel's cluster.

How can such "unwritten rules" be fought? No lawsuit can prove that you were the best individual for the job. No employer is unintelligent enough to state that your age is the stumbling block. You sense the discrimination, you become aware of the sideways glances and the emotional response of an interviewer, but you feel powerless to change their perspective and their bias.
Sitting across an interviewing desk, often facing an individual the same age as your son, your esteem erodes and your confidence self-destructs. Impotent, humiliated, and angry, you accept that nothing you can say is going to change anything. You continue job hunting with a mounting sense of frustration and an indisputable anticipation of failure.
If you have nothing to lose, why not attack the problem head-on? Prejudice and discrimination survive only in the silence of unexamined judgments and, often unconscious, illogic. Confront the situation and at least you create the opportunity for the white light of reason to enter the fray.
Try these approaches to prompt more honest interaction and possibly more rational conclusions.
1. You need to be the one to put the age issue on the table. Offer it gently, as one area of needed exploration regarding why you fit the employer's needs. Bring it up objectively, as something that can be discussed unemotionally, without triggering lethal interviewer defensiveness.

2. Acknowledge your age as a basis for emphasizing the experience of a lifetime and the value that such experience can provide to any employer. Concentrate on describing how business has changed over the course of years and how deftly you have adapted to those changes and incorporated new ideas and technical advancements into your work performance.

3. Acknowledge common misperceptions about the weaknesses of age: hard-to-break habits, lack of flexibility, technological ignorance, and distrust of authority, especially if young. Then use your sales ability to eliminate those misperceptions, probably already resonating in the interviewer's head.

Habits: Remind your host of the ability to adapt and reshape yourself which has kept your thinking young. Stress your relish for new challenges and innovative approaches. Cite some examples from your past about how smoothly you have been able to change to new workflows and procedures.

Flexibility: Discuss your dislike of unproductive routine and your preference for trying new methods of approaching tasks. Stress those times in the past when you were able to develop creative solutions to long-term problems and how your resourcefulness helped your previous employers.

Technology: Identify new technical advances within your field and address how you have internalized those changes. If you have successfully transitioned from dictating to a secretary to email and instant messaging, if you have moved from a manual adding machine to competent computer literacy, then small changes like learning new software or novel production systems should be a snap.

Authority issues: You have attained authority in the past and you have also worked under a variety of supervisors in your long career life. Clarify your relationship with power: the respect you extend to those who are knowledgeable, the loyalty and support you offer any leader of your team, the self-respect you enjoy which allows you to participate in group goals enthusiastically without feeling that you need to be in charge or command the top title.

4. Once you have demolished the myths of age, emphasize its strengths: reliability, mature judgment, lack of impulsivity, timeliness, a strong work ethic, and the ability to perform without outside distractions such as personal relationship problems, child commitments, and social responsibilities.

Undoubtedly, there are individuals out there who have their own issues with hiring someone who reminds them of their father or who have had problems in the past with an underperforming older worker who was difficult to terminate. There will always be those you cannot reach, no matter how convincing your logic and your presentation.
There are many more who are open-minded and seek not to make rash judgments. Address their semi-conscious fears face to face and the interview may end successfully - for both you and your lucky new employer.

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a respected Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. Author of an interactive and emotionally supportive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge, she can be reached at

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Epoch Times | Worse Than Any Nightmare�Journalist Quits China to Expose Concentration Camp Horrors and Bird Flu Coverup

There is true evil in the world. Conentration camps flourish and prisoners organs are harvested for profit. Be aware , tell others of the horror and try to stop it PR

The Epoch Times Worse Than Any Nightmare�Journalist Quits China to Expose Concentration Camp Horrors and Bird Flu Coverup: "Worse Than Any Nightmare�Journalist Quits China to Expose Concentration Camp Horrors and Bird Flu Coverup
Over 6,000 Falun Gong Practitioners Detained in Secret Concentration Camp in China; 425 Bird Flu Patients in Two Facilities
Epoch Times StaffMar 10, 2006

A reporter from China who worked for a Japanese television news agency and specialized in Chinese news recently escaped to the United States after being wanted in China for reporting on controversial issues. (The Epoch Times)
[High-resolution image ] A long-time reporter who worked for a Japanese television news agency and specialized in news on China told The Epoch Times that some little-known and very frightening things are happening in China today. To protect his identity, The Epoch Times will refer to him as Mr. R."

Monday, July 31, 2006

Court crisis?

Why not fix it ? How about regular business hours - and special courts to deal with less serious matters? PR

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Courts in crisis over judicial shortage

James Wallace
Queens Park - Saturday, July 22, 2006

For the past decade, a succession of elected officials helped butter their
political bread by announcing crack downs on all manner of crime.

They've targeted child pornographers, marijuana grow house operators, street
racers and even pit bulls.

They've put more cops on street, built more jails, not only to deal with
increasing and increasingly complex crimes but to cope with a population
that has grown by several million people over that time.

Inexplicably, the same politicians have resisted hiring more judges to hear
the inevitable increase in new cases created by their crackdowns and
population growth.

As a consequence, courts across Ontario are struggling with crushing
backlogs, Crowns are increasingly being forced to plea bargain, police are
letting petty criminals off the hook and children and families are being
forced to wait for justice.

'The whole system is off balance,' Heather McGee, president Ontario Bar
Association, told Osprey News.

'It's been running thin for so long that all it takes is one major trial or
an incremental increase in population and you lose the ability to deal with
things in a timely and effective manner,' McGee said.

The current and looming judicial shortage is a significant part of the

'Our judicial complement has been more or less static for the last decade,'
McGee said.
'I think the last time new positions were created was 1999, only two positions were created.' "

Words of wisdom

  • Classic Quotes by Milton Friedman(1912- ) US economist

    A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. ------------------------
  • Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it. ------------------------
  • Governments never learn. Only people learn. ------------------------
  • Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned. ------------------------
  • History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition. ------------------------
  • I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. ------------------------
  • I'm in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal. ------------------------
  • Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation. ------------------------
  • Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "
City man to face justice in U.S.

By Susan Gamble
Local News - Saturday, July 22, 2006 @ 01:00

Brantfords Shane Ferras has lost the last of his appeals in a bid to avoid being extradited to the U.S. following a Supreme Court decision Friday morning.

Ferras, now 41, soon will be moved from the Brantford jail, where he stepped into custody on Thursday evening, to New York State to face trial on charges of fraud and money laundering as part of a high-pressure stock brokerage in the mid-1990s.

He has no further recourse, Ferrass lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said in a telephone interview from Toronto.

Theyll transfer him to the United States and, hopefully, hell get a trial as quickly as possible so the matter is resolved.

Greenspan said his client is a relatively young man with a young family and a bright future.

Working hard

While fighting his extradition order, which was signed in 2002, Ferras has been working hard as a businessman in sales, said Greenspan.

The Brantford-born Ferras was a two per cent owner in a New York brokerage house clearing $2.3 million in his few years with the company, according to court documents.

On Feb. 15, 2001, all 29 of the companys stockbrokers were arrested, including Ferras, who was back in Brantford at the time.

Despite an order in 2002 committing Ferras to be extradited, his lawyers argued that their client shouldnt been sent to the U.S. based on a case relying on hearsay evidence some of it from alleged co-conspirators who have co-operated with the American investigation.

In a surprising move, this weeks Supreme Court decision agreed to some extent. "

The trial usge must consider the las and the facts and not just be a rubber stamp

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sell the World Who You Really Are

Sell the World Who You Really Are: "Sell the World Who You Really Are
by Don Sexton, PhD
Bedrock marketing insights from the author of Trump University Marketing 101
When I was growing up, my family had a business installing water systems for country clubs, farms and housing developments. Whenever I went and worked alongside my father at those places, I could see how much people respected him for his honesty and integrity. He delivered what he promised. If a system failed at any time of the day or night, his customers knew they could call him and he would arrive promptly to fix the problem.
At that time, I had no idea what marketing was. I certainly had no idea that my father, through his honesty and integrity, was actually marketing on a very high level. But he was - and as effectively as any Fortune 500 company.
Today, I teach state-of-the-art marketing techniques at Columbia University and Trump University. But even the most advanced marketing approaches are closely tied to what my father was doing. Through his actions, he told the world that he had something special to offer.
Stop for a moment and think about the businesses in your area. There are dry cleaners, hardware stores and the rest. But are some of them known for doing something special? Is a certain dry cleaner known for its ability to get a spot out of any kind of fabric? Is a certain hardware store known for having experts on staff who patiently answer questions from do-it-yourselfers? Local merchants who differentiate themselves in that way are miles ahead of other businesses that just open their doors and wait for customers to arrive.
That ability to be special, which I learned from my father, is actually the bedrock of good marketing.

Effective marketing does not live or die on clever ads or databases. It hinges on your ability to tell customers that you have to sell that makes you different. It is a way of telling the world what you have to offer, and who you really are."

Saturday, July 01, 2006 - Editorial - A little gift for us - Editorial - A little gift for us: "The tax cut will benefit everyone and will make a small dent in the overall tax burden suffered by Canadians. Almost every time we make a purchase, we'll keep some cash that otherwise would have been sucked into the bottomless money pit that is the federal government. That is a good thing.
The Harper Tories promised the GST cut as part of their election platform and, to their credit, they managed to make good on it quickly, despite presiding over a minority government.
It's no accident that the tax cut is taking effect on Canada Day.
The symbolism is just too good for the government to pass up. What better day is there for the Harper government to demonstrate in a real and meaningful way that it's committed to reducing taxes than on our nation's birthday?
As far as we're concerned, then, it's just one more reason to celebrate living in such a great nation that's full of fantastic people and beautiful landscapes.
And if all goes according to plan, we hope to get another Canada Day birthday present in the years ahead, as the Tories have promised to reduce the hated tax by another one point, to 5%, within five years. With any luck, that would be as soon as next year. "

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

All about the ta assessment rip off -PR

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Despite that worry, Haggart said the move had to be made.

�The whole system needs to be re-evaluated. It always was hard to explain. Each time I get questions from a taxpayer I take a shot at it. They look at me while I�m talking and say, Yeah, sure.�

�It�s so confusing nobody believes anything they see or what they�re told. That�s why the system needs to be fixed.�"

Monday, June 26, 2006 - Editorial - Tories earn healthy mark

And now if we can just clean up the provincial messes and we might be in for a real service for the public or people by the government. Hmmm- lets start with an accountability act for the justice system and get our basic liberties back-food for thought . PR - Editorial - Tories earn healthy mark: "Harper took us all by surprise with his well thought out top-secret visit to rally the troops in Kandahar, where he also met with leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In mid-April, his government scored a diplomatic coup when it negotiated an end to the decades-long softwood lumber dispute with the U.S.
And in May we got a budget that, while short on the kinds of tax cuts and spending restraints we'd prefer, at least offered a variety of targeted cuts plus a $100-a-month allowance for parents with preschoolers.
We have also seen the government deliver on its key campaign promises, including a GST reduction that takes effect in a week, an accountability act to prevent a repeat of odious events like the sponsorship scandal, legislation to get tough on crime and a bill to dismantle the costly and pointless gun registry.
Opposition parties, meanwhile, have been unable to mount any kind of meaningful attack against the government. In one memorable moment they collectively dozed off and missed the passage of a budget they had vowed to fight.
Overall we'll give the Tories a B-plus for a strong first term. Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois members will have to settle for a collective D. " - Editorial - Stick to the plan, Stephen - Editorial - Stick to the plan, Stephen: "We think governments, at whatever level, ought to be providing basic services and letting the private sector take care of the rest.
That approach means the government can leave more money in the pockets of ordinary taxpayers to spend as we see fit.
The alternative -- and we've seen plenty of examples how it works -- is for government to tax, tax, tax and then spend, spend, spend on programs that inevitably grow out of control. "

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - Editorial - Guilt beyond Guite?

And the fall guy is -take your pick ! Bureacracy the new form of despotism. As usual nobody is in charge when it comes to accepting responsibility. PR - Editorial - Guilt beyond Guite?: "Is it true?
So we'd like to hear from the Liberal candidates. Do they agree with Chretien that the 'system' is working? If not, what are they going to do when they become leader to ensure that every person responsible for AdScam, has his (or her) day of reckoning? "

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - Editorial - Tax freedom? Yeah, sure

Discusting - time for change - Editorial - Tax freedom? Yeah, sure: "In other words, when you tally up all the taxes -- income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, as well as profit taxes, health, social security and employment taxes, import duties, licence fees, sin taxes on the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, natural resource fees, fuel taxes, hospital taxes, and a host of other levies -- you turn over almost as much to various governments in a year as you keep for yourself. Or to be precise, 46%.

Is it any wonder that we taxpayers are in a grumpy mood? Particularly when we look around and see almost daily examples of how governments at all three levels are wasting our money.
Every so often they make "