Archive for the ‘Canadian’ Category


Toronto crime writer with some strange tales indeed.

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I DO love history, especially  [??] local history,
but have NEVER been a fan of MILITARY-history,

so i confess that once I’d read the battles-of-Niagara,
i didn’t get much further…

Big hardcover…unsure if I’ll keep it – donate it – garage-sale it

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Callwood is a long-respected writer in Canada and beyond. This story, about the MIS-use of the War Measures Act during WWII, is most interesting!

(During the 1970’s, when the FLQ was committing heinous actions,  the same Act was MIS-used AGAIN.
I come from a mixed Anglophone/Francophone section of Northern Ontario, and one young man in my own community was jailed for climbing up the water-tower and painting “FLQ” on it.)

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You might have seen the Globe and Mail story on RCMP intelligence reportssuggesting Sierra (along with Greenpeace and Tides Canada) are contemplating unlawful activity around petroleum infrastructure. I’m pretty sure Tides and Sierra are not, and Greenpeace might be thinking about erecting a banner somewhere.

Frankly, this kind of stuff coming from “intelligence” sources seems to be more about pleasing the intended readers in government than being truthful or realistic. In fact, most of the allegations and misinterpretations come from random internet searches.

I used to get angry every time this sort of thing happened, but I’ve grown older and (perhaps) a bit wiser?

This time I looked beyond the accusation and read what the report said. The police used words such as “assert”, “they believe”, “perceived environmental threat” and “promote a one-sided version of the actual event” with regard to climate change.

In policing terms, there is a lot more to be concerned about when it comes to climate change. It’s not just protesters the RCMP needs to be thinking about. The RCMP is an institution we will depend on as climate change causes more frequent and more severe storms. Only last week the RCMP was criticized for not having a clear plan for seizing unsecured fire arms during the 2013 Alberta floods.

Climate change is something we know–not something we “assert”. This understanding is based on science and not on anything else. It’s a real threat–not “perceived”, and the threat is, in fact, getting more significant every day. Clearly the RCMP has not kept up and does not understand what is coming their way.

I could have gotten angry yesterday. Had I, an opportunity to reach out to an important institution would have been missed. Lemons into lemonade, I say.

Instead, I wrote to RCMP Commissioner Paulson and offered to provide workshops on the urgent issue of climate change to him and his officers so they can understand why so many of us are exercising our rights to free speech and assembly.

After all, one of Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s objectives is education on environmental issues, so we have offered to provide climate change workshops to the RCMP.

I’m not naive enough to believe RCMP Commissioner Paulson will jump at the opportunity. I think I’ll need your help to persuade him to take us up on our offer.

Please send the commissioner a note, today. It will only take a few seconds.

Thanks for taking action.


John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
1510-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
(613) 291-6888
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog

Sierra Club Canada Foundation

1510-1 Nicholas St
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7

Thanks to KC

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Opération Nez Rouge volunteers helped more than 76,000 people across the country arrive home safely by acting as “designated drivers” during the holiday party season.

Some 52,000 people volunteered their time for the 31st year of the campaign, giving rides to people too tired or who had consumed too much alcohol to drive their cars themselves.

“For us, the goal of keeping the roads safe during the holiday season is once again reached,” said Opération Nez Rouge spokesman David Latouche.

People use the service by calling a hotline where drivers are dispatched to wherever the client is with their car.

The volunteers then drive the client’s car home with them, so they don’t have to get behind the wheel themselves.

Though the program is free, donations are accepted.

Making a difference

The service was available in 99 Canadian regions, in seven provinces.

As usual, the service was most popular in Quebec, with more than 55,000 rides.

“You make a difference in your communities. And you have to continue your work by reminding your fellow citizens to go home safely throughout the year,” Latouche said to volunteers.

This year, about $1.5 million in donations were collected.

Latouche says these funds will be donated to local youth organizations.

Nearing 2 million rides

Since the program began in 1984, Operation Nez Rouge has helped over 1,992,000 people get home safe.

Next year, organizers expect the program will reach two million rides.

“By approaching this historic milestone, Opération Nez Rouge is consolidating its position as a major player in road safety in the country, and establish itself as a fixture in raising awareness for responsible driving,” said Nez Rouge founder Jean-Marie de Koninck, in a statement.

Last year, Opération Nez Rouge gave more than 82,000 rides.

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Who's Right On Dynamic Scoring Ask Canada

Republicans and Democrats are once again locked in battle over whether the government should use a method known as dynamic scoring to calculate the budgetary effects of legislation. In an attempt to bridge the seemingly intractable philosophical divide, I figured the debate could use some help from a neutral arbiter. So I called Canada.

For those just joining the debate, both the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation generally employ so-called static scoring to assess tax and spending measures. This technique, largely favoured by Democrats, doesn’t take into account estimates of the legislation’s potential effect on the size of the economy and, critics contend, its broader impact on federal revenue.

Republicans and some of their allies have periodically pushed for the agencies to provide more estimates that rely on dynamic scoring, which assesses the potential macroeconomic effects of legislation, namely the changes it could produce in economic activity and employment.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who will take over as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in January, wants the CBO and JCT to make greater use of the practice, which he calls “reality-based scoring,” for tax measures. Democrats have long objected to the change, which they say would understate the actual cost of tax cuts by overestimating their impact on the economy.

For what it’s worth, the people who work for the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Canada’s equivalent of the CBO and JCT, mostly agree with the Democrats. The PBO doesn’t use dynamic scoring to estimate the cost of individual pieces of legislation.

Mostafa Askari, the assistant parliamentary budget officer, provided several reasons for the PBO’s caution about the method.

The first is that predicting the effects of policy changes isn’t as straightforward as dynamic scoring’s proponents suggest, and in some cases comes down to assumptions that are a matter of belief.

“Dynamic scoring will depend on methods and methodology that are not really standard,” Askari said. “You could have a wide range of views.”

Another reason for Canada’s decision to stick with the static method, according to Askari, is that in most cases it doesn’t make that much of a difference, a conclusion many American experts share. “The assumption is there is an impact, but that impact is not significant enough to change the views of the policy,” he said.

Finally, Askari said that dynamic scoring reflects an ideological agenda, derived from the belief that tax cuts always lead to growth.

“The source of this debate in the U.S. is supply-side economics,” he said. “It’s not an economics issue, it’s a political issue.”

The Parliamentary Budget Office was established in 2006  by a government run by Canada’s right-of-center Conservative Party. It has authority to choose how it estimates the cost of bills, though Askari said an additional reason the PBO doesn’t do dynamic scoring is that it has fewer resources than the CBO and JCT.

Nonetheless, the PBO has sometimes had to fend off political pressure. Kevin Page, who became the first parliamentary budget officer in 2008, said the Conservative government pushed him to use dynamic scoring for its tough-on-crime legislation, which included longer prison sentences. He refused.

“This upset the government, because they argued on largely ideological grounds that there were significant benefits to society,” Page said in an e-mail. “We stayed out of that debate.”

Page said dynamic scoring could be useful in some instances, if those conducting the studies have the independence (and the resources) to do it well — what he called a “systematic and consistent approach.”

It’s debatable whether Ryan’s proposal fits that description. For instance, it would mainly apply to tax measures and would prevent the CBO from considering the macroeconomic effect of major public spending bills, such as infrastructure projects or education — an approach that Askari said made no sense. (Former Republican CBO directors have made the same argument.)

The more important test will be how the CBO and JCT would handle their new assignment. If the cost of tax bills decreases significantly, the onus will be on the scorers to show how they reached that conclusion.

But if those estimates hold up to scrutiny (and prove, over time, to be largely accurate), then the debate could finally be put to rest. Until then, the Canadian example suggests there’s reason for caution.

Of course, being Canadian, the PBO would never be so blunt. “The CBO is doing a great job,” Askari said. “They don’t need advice from anybody else.”

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Evan Siddall says CMHC was a ‘shock absorber’ in the financial crisis and should not be privatized


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