Oh, Canadians!
A Tribute to Canadians Who Make A Difference

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh Canada- we stand on guard for thee

One of the things that I love most about our country is that we have an inherant sense of fairness. Many people around the world might interpret it as naivity. I am truly grateful that our government has submitted our contention with Russia over arctic sovereignty to the UN for adjudication. Who needs any more military posturing?

I had an American relative who often belittled Canada for our lack of military saying that we counted on the US to protect us. My son said it best when he retorted to him on one occassion. The jist of what he said is -the only country that Canada has ever needed protection from is the United States of America. From their public doctrine of 'Manifest destiny' which says that they are destined to own all of North America to their ongoing 'jokes' on Fox news and in other places about invading Canada they have often made their attitude toward us quite clear. The US is the only country that has ever invaded us. They are the only ones who try to tell us what stance we must take on the world stage. They are our relatives, our friends, our major trading partners but they are not benign to us as a neighbour. In fact, their exploitative interests will always come before our own in our own country. They are a country where 85% of the wealth belongs to 1% of the people and they are a nation that has brainwashed their own people into believing that any sort of union or worker coalition is evil and that any form of government that does not encourage exploiting the poor and the sick is full of 'commies'.

I once had a friend who was an FBI agent and he used to call us 'Pinko commies". He was absolutely irate when the Canadian government ordered his car full of agents out of the country when they illegally entered Canada with their guns to chase down a suspect that they were tailing. Can you imagine what would have happened if a Canadian police force illegally entered the US chasing a criminal?

As my son once said in response to that American relative who said that the US has to protect Canada- If anyone ever tried to invade Canada and they would  learn the same lessons that the Napolean and Hitler learned in invading Russia and that the US learned in Vietnam- namely that they have bitten off more than they can chew. The US only wants to 'protect' Canada as a buffer zone between them and the enemies that they make on the world stage.

James Cameron and the Oil Sands

I thought that James Cameron probably came to see the oil sands with his mind made up. After all, the movie AVATAR certainly had a strong environmental position. Now, I see this trip as an excellent example of people with divergent ideologies coming together to show why they feel and believe as they do. The economic benefit of the oil sands is obvious. The livihoods of many depend on it. Taking oil from Canada and shipping it to the US is obviously far more secure and expends less for transportation. There are two strong sides to this story.

After spending three days meeting industry leaders, politicians and people living downstream, the moviemaker called for a slowdown on oilsands development. Cameron also believes independent experts should be brought in to monitor their environmental impact. Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada, John Bennett, saya Cameron managed to do something he hasn't been able to do in 12 years: get the ear of the Alberta government.Bennett says Cameron's concerns are the same ones his organization and other environmental groups have been raising for years.

He says when you have enough oil to last 300 years, there's no reason why production should be doubling every decade.Bennett believes Cameron will continue monitoring and speaking out about what's happening in the oilsands, adding his visit will lead to increased global scrutiny of the tar sands.Cameron says one short-term solution would be to bank the approval of future tailings ponds until new technology can be developed to remove the toxic pits.The man behind such blockbusters as Titanic and Avatar says Alberta's oilsands are a gift but could end up a curse, if not managed properly.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harper's media strategy criticized

It doesn't appear that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's poor relationship with the news media is improving much. Journalism associations from across the country have rapped the Harper government on the knuckles over its tight information control. In an open letter, journalist organizations say the governing Tories' actions pose a threat to the public's right to know.

The letter notes that now, even no-comments are starting to be delivered off the record. The letter also describes how elected people and federal employees are muzzled, images are heavily staged, and Access to Information requests are blocked by political staff. The letter is signed by the heads of the parliamentary press galleries in Ottawa and some provinces, as well as journalism associations.

The letter calls on reporters to push back by refusing to accept vague email responses to substantive questions that require an interview with a cabinet minister. The Prime Minister's Office gave no response to a request for comment on the letter.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/06/11/mtl-harper-media.html#ixzz10dgCNDNO

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Canadian Film Makers

Canadian filmmakers make their name with low-budget, inventive films

By Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald September 25, 2010 8:50 AM
In the early 1980s, maverick filmmakers Bruce McDonald and Atom Egoyan entered into Canadian cinema mythology by stealing attention from the Toronto International Film Festival with an impromptu screening of their student films on Bloor Street.

The directors, who would go on to become two of this country's most recognizable filmmakers, decided to present their student films in a burst of guerrilla marketing just as the festival was in full swing. It worked. Festival officials, believe it or not, were charmed. The stunt even made its way into the festival's official history this year. More importantly, the two young directors made their mark at a time when even veteran Canadian filmmakers had a tough time getting noticed for their work.
"We set up a projector on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto," says McDonald. "We had a screen and plugged into some local stores with a long extension cord and we showed our movies. That was our way of being a part of the festival. We were on the news. We got more press doing that than if we had our 12-minute student film in the film festival."
A few years later, McDonald's first feature film, 1989's Roadkill, picked up the festival's $25,000 Best Canadian Feature award, and Egoyan, of course, went on to make such influential homegrown classics as The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica.
The story reinforces McDonald and Egoyan's reputation as scrappy, against-the-grain filmmakers and points to the long-held view that Canadian directors need to think outside the box when it comes to gaining traction in a country notorious for ignoring its own filmmakers. Given the difficulty of getting films greenlit in this country, this year's Calgary International Film Festival has an unusually high number of entries from Canada's thin ranks of visionary filmmakers -- directors who have generally made their name not as guns-for-hire but with a body of low-budget, wildly inventive and often personal independent films.

McDonald has two offerings -- the musical dramedy Trigger and the documentary Music from the Big House -- at this year's festival, one of an incredible five movies he has either completed or has in various stages of post-production this year. Renowned indie Quebecois filmmaker Denis Cote's newest, Curling, will also be featured, as will wunderkind Xavier Dolan's sophomore feature Heartbeats, a followup to the 22-year-old actor-director's internationally acclaimed indie film I Killed My Mother. Cult director George Mihalka -- perhaps best known for his quasi-classic low-budget 1981 slasher flick My Bloody Valentine -- is back with the against-type dramedy Faith, Fraud and Minimum Wage. Calgarian Michael Dowse will present Fubar II, the well-received sequel to his pocket change-budgeted 2001 cult mockumentary about gormless headbangers in Alberta. (Fellow Calgarian Gary Burns, another director with a distinct style, was scheduled to screen his newest The Future is Now! at the festival but it was not completed in time.)

While artistic instincts are obviously key to the esthetic of these filmmakers' early works, necessity also played a role. Given the sparse funding available for films, Canadian auteurs are often forced to develop their chops in the darkness of relative obscurity, usually for small audiences.

"In the early days, I never imagined I could get hired to direct anything," says McDonald. "We always made films with our friends and created the project from scratch in a way. I was so used to doing that. Our first instinct has always been to call ourselves filmmakers, in the sense that we nurture the project. Whether we write it ourselves, or our gang writes it, we grow the project from its infancy to completion. There really wasn't much of an industry when we started, so we never really entertained the idea of 'Hey, let's go get a job.' Our jobs were like driving cabs."

English-Canadian filmmakers, in particular, can be given a certain carte blanche early on simply because so few people are watching and so little money is involved, says George Melnyk, associate professor of film at the University of Calgary.

"Maverick directors like Mc-Donald and others are the very heart of Canadian cinema because they show us our unconventional side," says Melnyk, who edited the book The Young, the Restless and the Dead: Interviews with Canadian Filmmakers. "Since only one per cent of English-Canadian film theatre audiences attend Canadian film screenings, our directors have the freedom to express themselves because so few Canadians are watching their work. That is a shame commercially, but a triumph artistically."

Dowse was among those identified as upcoming Canadian directors in Melnyk's book, part of a new wave of filmmakers who have been able to make their mark with early low-budget films that didn't owe anything to the current cinematic trends.

When asked, both Dowse and McDonald are vague about what stylistic or thematic threads link their work. McDonald's best-loved films -- Hard Core Logo, Roadkill, Highway 61-- are rock 'n' roll road movies. Similarly, Trigger is about a reunited female rock duo. Music from the Big House is a non-fiction account of Toronto singer Rita Chiarelli's musical visit to the notorious Angola prison in Louisiana.

Dowse's most personal films -- which include Fubar, its sequel, It's All Gone Pete Tong and the TV series The Foundation -- are all comedies that are partly defined by improvised dialogue and the director's reliance on a regular stable of performers (Paul Spence, Dave Lawrence, Mike Wilmot, S.C. Lim).

But both directors have dabbled in higher-budget projects, with mixed results. McDonald's 2001 thriller Picture Claire, starring Mickey Rourke, Gina Gershon and Juliette Lewis, cost $10 million and never found a distributor. He has been fairly open about how it nearly derailed his career.

Dowse's Hollywood experience was more positive, he says. Kids in America -- starring That 70's Show actor Topher Grace, who also co-produced-- sat on the shelf for a few years but is now scheduled for a theatrical release in March. It was a good learning experience, Dowse says, but admits the process of creating a Hollywood film is very different than how he has worked in the past.

"It definitely feels less personal," says Dowse. "You've got 12 cooks in the kitchen. So you don't have your hands on the steering wheel as much as you may like. It's different in that way. But it's still as funny as my other films and has the same heart to it. But when it's a bigger budget, there's more at stake and more people breathing down your neck."

Dowse is currently set to start shooting Goon in Winnipeg, a hockey comedy starring Jay Baruchel, Seann William Scott and an as-yet unnamed "major American star." Evan Goldberg, who wrote the American hits Superbad and Pineapple Express, penned the screenplay.

Dowse agrees that English-Canadian filmmakers who work with small budgets are awarded a certain freedom, but says having a continued career in the business means you have to take advantage of that freedom to get to the next level. "It gives you a little more licence," Dowse says. "But it's the same with any film. If you make a bad film, it's hard making the second one after that. You're only as good as your last film. That's the silver lining: the audience is relatively small. But I would much rather have an audience and more pressure to work under."


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canada wants a seat on the UN security counsel

Canada wants a seat on the UN security counsel

Members of the UN Security Council vote on a resolution in New York City in June. Canada is hoping to win one of 10 rotating seats on the council when the next vote is held in October 2010. (Osamu Honda/Associated Press) Every decade since its inception, Canada has had a seat on the UN Security Council. Canada's last stint in one of the 10 rotating positions ended in 2000, so it seems like Canada's turn again. But this time might not be so easy.
There are 15 seats around the circular table in the vast, 1960s-style Security Council chamber. Five are reserved for the council's permanent members: the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia. They hold a veto, so they hold the power.

The 10 remaining spots are filled by non-permanent members, each elected for a two-year term. Every year, a vote is held to fill half, or five, of those spots. These are divided up by region. In even-numbered years, like 2010, two seats are available for Western nations. Three countries have declared their desire for those two seats: Germany, Canada and Portugal. Germany is considered a lock, so, Canada is really competing against Portugal — and is aggressively pursuing the seat ahead of the vote in October 2010. The United Nations is in many ways an institution of horse-trading. Vote for me on this, and I'll support you on that. The Security Council vote is no exception, and reports have surfaced that Canada has secured pledges of support from several African nations. The Canadians have asked (and received) those in writing, an added measure of security since the vote is held by secret ballot.

Ruffled feathers

But Canada might have trouble with the rest of Africa. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada has cut from 14 to seven the number of African nations to which it directs a large share of development aid. That bothers those left out.(Despite targeting fewer nations, Ottawa has doubled the money it sends to Africa.)

The problem is that Africa sometimes votes as a bloc at the UN, and if there was enough of a movement to deny Canada the plum Security Council post, the 53 nations of the African Union might just be able to sink the Canadian effort. The next issue is Israel; specifically, Canada's stronger support for the Jewish state within the UN. Canada's shift in policy began under former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin and has been extended under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That's rattled some of the 56 nations in the Organization of the Islamic Conference. But they don't always vote together. Take Morocco, which often breaks with the OIC over Israel-related issues.

And remember: it's a secret ballot.

So, there's room for some of that horse-trading the UN is famed for. There are some clear supporters for Canada's candidacy, too. Though Portugal continues to have strong links (air, trade, language) with South America, a number of Central and South American states have become beneficiaries of Canadian aid and trade, particularly under the current Conservative government.

After a slow start, Canada's ambassadors around the world have been told to make the Security Council issue a priority. John McNee, Canada's permanent representative to the UN, is leading the charge of lobbying, coddling and trading. A top official from the Department of Foreign Affairs with a long background of expertise in African affairs has been spending much time on the continent.

Of course, this is not solely a competition of Canada against its own record. Portugal is marketing itself as a small country willing to stand up for others like it. It is not guaranteed votes by all European Union nations either — they tend to vote on their own. Diplomats involved in the lobbying for both Canada and Portugal will try to highlight the differences between each other. But the fact is, in most ways, the two countries have similar profiles — both are members of NATO, for instance — and for that reason, voting nations won't be able to shun one over the other if they are looking to vote anti-West.

If Canada succeeds it certainly would be a badge of honour if Canada gets its wish and wins a two-year seat on the council.But it would come at a time when the Security Council appears to have lost much of its moral legitimacy. When something controversial comes up, the council's answer often seems to be watered down — or often, a global response is muted by the veto (or threat of a veto) of one of the permanent members. Think about the impasse over the response to the North Korean missile tests in April, to name just one example.Still, a seat at the table will give Canada a voice in debates over some of the world's biggest issues. In recent months, the council has tackled questions surrounding: Iran and nuclear weapons, the U.S. presence in Iraq, the controversial regime of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

The first opportunity Canada would have to join the debate won't come until January 2011, when the successful nations take their seats.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/09/21/f-rfa-common.html#ixzz1073Qv8Xc

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dr. James Naismith

When Dr James Naismith invented basketball in 1891, he couldn't have dreamed that the game would become the world's second most popular sport, played in more than 200 countries, and a multi-billion dollar industry. Now his Canadian hometown is set to honour him with a statue.

The monument in the city where James Naismith invented basketball, in Springfield, Massachusetts, is the 40,000 sq ft Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.In Canada, we seem to be understated as a nation in terms of our heroes”

The museum in his hometown of Almonte, Ontario, is, well, rather more compact. A large boulder - the "Rock" - stands like an altar at the heart of the museum.It's a tribute to the inspiration for James Naismith's invention - "Duck on a Rock" - a game he played growing up.

Nine-year-old Warner Giles demonstrates the game by lobbing a rock in a familiar overhand arcing motion - knocking a stone, or "duck", off the boulder. This was the type of throw that brought the world basketball.

Born in 1861, Dr Naismith's early life was marked by tragedy. His farmer parents died of typhoid, and he and his siblings were raised by an uncle who instilled in them the values of hard work, self reliance and determination.

Athletic prowess

A high school drop-out who worked as a lumberjack, Dr Naismith later embraced education with enthusiasm. He obtained a degree in physical education from Montreal's McGill University, a diploma in theology and - after moving to the US - qualified as a medical doctor. He demonstrated great athletic prowess as a star football player and gymnast while at McGill, rising to became the university's first director of athletics. He was even credited later, by some, with having invented the forerunner of the football helmet.

The first basketball team made their bow in 1891 A deeply religious man, Dr Naismith believed that sport "could be used to lead young men to a good end". In the winter of 1891 after moving to Springfield, Dr Naismith was faced with a challenging class of "incorrigibles". This antagonistic group had to be kept fit indoors through a harsh New England winter.

After failing to occupy the men with popular indoor sports of the day, he turned to "duck on the rock" for inspiration.Instead of a rock, the players would throw a soccer ball at two peach baskets nailed high up at each end of the gymnasium. The janitor later punched holes in the bottom of the baskets after he became tired of climbing up to retrieve balls. The first game - comprising two teams of nine - took place on 21 December 1891. The final score was 1-0.

As Dr Naismith later recalled: "It was the start of the first basketball game and the finish of trouble with that class."

Olympic moment

From there, the game grew. There were suggestions that the new game be called "Naismith ball" - but the modest inventor settled on "basketball" instead.Dr Naismith lived just long enough to see basketball introduced as a new sport at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. He died in 1939. Dr James Naismith's hometown recognises his genius

But basketball aficionados might accuse Almonte of hiding its light under a bushel."We should be shouting it from the rooftops," says Stephanie Kolsters, curator of the Naismith Museum. The museum is funded by the Dr James Naismith Basketball Foundation. President Allen Rae, a referee during several Olympic basketball games, thinks the low-key remembrance might be characteristically Canadian. "In Canada, we seem to be understated as a nation in terms of our heroes," says Mr Rae.
Even now Almonte is honouring Naismith "big in a small way", according to Al Lunney, the mayor of Mississippi Mills, which today includes Almonte.

"It's long overdue," admits the mayor.

A larger-than-life bronze statue depicting Naismith with a ball and a peach basket will soon be dedicated in the town square. Kansas Sculptor Eldon Teft produced three identical versions from the same mould - one for Almonte, one for Springfield and one for Kansas, where Dr Naismith coached the University of Kansas basketball team. While organisers planto invite Dr Naismith's descendants, as well as the Canadian prime minister, to the dedication,.

Live from Yellowknife

Lights, camera, action: Yellowknife to share aurora borealis with world

The AuroraMax camera will watch for northern lights during the 'solar maximum,' which is expected to take place around 2012. The solar maximum could bring more northern lights more often. A camera being set up in Yellowknife will allow people around the world to catch the phenomenon unfold online.

The Canadian Space Agency is teaming up with partners in Yellowknife and Calgary to set up a camera that will capture images of the aurora borealis and put those images on a website.The space agency is working with the City of Yellowknife, Astronomy North and the University of Calgary on the five-year AuroraMax project. "It shares our sky with people who may have never known our sky was this spectacular," James Pugsley, president of Astronomy North, told reporters in the N.W.T. capital Wednesday.

"Part of the outreach will be saying to Canada and Canadians and people around the world is that this is what we see when we go outside at night."A specially designed camera will capture images of the northern lights several times a minute. Those images will then be broadcast on a website, in real time.
The AuroraMax project is being set up in time for scientists to watch the solar maximum, the period in which the northern lights are expected to be more frequent and active. The solar maximum is expected to take place in 2012.
The solar maximum marks the peak of sunspot activity during the 11-year solar cycle. The bright aurora displays occur when sunspots release bursts of solar wind from the sun's surface, then charged particles from those sunspots collide with gases in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Researchers like Eric Donovan, a space physicist at the University of Calgary, will use the aurora pictures to make better sense of the relationship between sunspots and the northern lights.
Donovan, who led the team that created the AuroraMax camera, said putting so many images of the northern lights on the internet could also create research opportunities for young, aspiring scientists.

"We'll have some material that says, 'Look for this ... and if you find this, then tell us.' And this could be something where a Grade 8 student could end up being involved in writing a scientific publication," Donovan said. The AuroraMax camera and accompanying website are expected to be up and running by fall.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Canadian Douglas Coleman wins Lasker Prize

Appetite-suppressing hormone

The Lasker prize for basic research was awarded jointly to Canadian Douglas Coleman, 78, of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Jeffrey Friedman, 56, of Rockefeller University in New York. They are honoured for the discovery of the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite and body weight.

In the 1970s, Coleman, who was born in Ontario and obtained his bachelor's degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, showed that mice have some sort of appetite-suppressing substance in the blood.

Friedman identified the substance in 1994 and named it leptin. People have leptin too, and the research opened new avenues for exploring the biological basis of human obesity, the foundation said.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/09/21/obesity-blindness-lasker-awards.html#ixzz10BiJ0HSm

Inuit loophole for sealskin sporrans

The Inuit said the trade ban on seal skin would threaten their way of life. Scottish kilt makers who have been prevented from making sealskin sporrans due to an EU trade ban have been handed a lifeline by the Inuit. The indigenous people in the Arctic region of countries such as Canada argued the ban was detrimental to their traditional way of life. A ruling has now temporarily exempted them from the effects of the ban, which came into force last month.

Sporran manufacturers said it would allow the continued use of the skin. Sporrans, Scottish Gaelic for purse, are worn with kilts as an essential part of tradition Highland dress. Ian Chisholm, of the Scottish Kilt Makers' Association, said: "Seals have been used down the generations. It has been a traditional skin. "The way the light hits the skin, it has a lovely sheen to it and a lustre that gives a lovely quality to it." European MPs voted in favour of a ban on the trade in seal products last May and the law came into force in August. The move followed a three-year campaign triggered by a public outcry at annual seal culls in Canada and Norway. Synthetic materials and rabbit fur have been used in sporrans as an alternatives to seal skins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Afgan Canadian Governor of Kandahar Province

Tooryalai Wesa (Pashto: توريالی ویسا) is the current Governor of Kandahar Province, after replacing General Rahmatullah Raufi in December 2008. Tooryalai Wesa was born in village Kohak in District Arghandab and grew up in Kandahar. His family and the family of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have enjoyed close relationship for a long time.

Before his appointment as the Governor of Kandahar, he lived in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada for 13 years. From 1995 to1998, he worked for the Asian Studies Center and the Center for Policy Studies in Education at the University of British Columbia(UBC). Dr. Wesa was named senior advisor to the Afghan Minister for Higher Education in 1989 and returned to Kandahar City in 1991 as founding president of Kandahar University. From 1993 to1994, he served as a guest lecturer in the University of Zurich, Switzerland. As a student, lecturer and researcher, Dr. Wesa has been associated with 10 universities worldwide and has published 20 articles including text books.

After securing his B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics & Extension from the Faculty of Agriculture at Kabul University in 1973, he pursued his M.Sc. at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Due to the civil war in Lebanon, he moved to the Department of Agricultural Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA and received his M. Sc. Degree in 1977. He obtained his Ph. D. from the University of British Columbia, Canada. His thesis was: “The Afghan Agricultural Extension System: Impact of the Soviet Occupation and Prospects for the Future”.

In addition to his career as an academic, Dr. Wesa has worked as a consultant for the Canadian Government (Statistics Canada), the US Government (USAID), British Government (DFID), the United Nations (FAO and UNDP) and several NGOs (including the SENLIS Council). Dr. Wesa speaks Pashto, English, Dari, Persian, German and Arabic. He belongs to the Mohammedzai subtribe. Dr. Wesa’s immediate family includes a wife, and three daughters.He narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on November 27, 2009 when a roadside bomb damaged his vehicle

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Studying Chemical clocks

Jessa Gamble is an award-winning writer from Oxford, who lives in the Canadian Subarctic. Now that humanity has spread right to the Earth's poles and adopted a 24-hour business day, Gamble argues that our internal clocks struggle against our urban schedules. Her work documents the rituals surrounding daily rhythms, which along with local languages and beliefs are losing their rich global diversity and succumbing to a kind of circadian imperialism.

A dynamic new voice in popular science, Gamble was awarded a 2007 Science in Society journalism award from the Canadian Science Writers Association for her first-person account of daily life at the Eureka High Arctic Weather Station. She is the author of The Siesta and The Midnight Sun: How We Measure and Experience Time.

Age vs, Educational level in Muskoka Ontario

Friday, September 17, 2010

UN to decide Canada Russia dispute

The two ministers met in Moscow Russia and Canada have said they will ask the UN to rule on their dispute over a resource-rich underwater Arctic mountain range, the Lomonosov Ridge. Both  foreign ministers said after talks they were confident their respective country's claim would be upheld. Each argued that the ridge was an extension of their country's continental shelf, allowing them to exploit any mineral resources there.

Arctic resources are becoming more accessible due to melting ice. The five Arctic powers - Russia, the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark - are engaged in a scramble to claim them.On Wednesday, Russia reached an agreement with Norway on demarcating their Arctic border in the Barents Sea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Canadian counterpart, Lawrence Cannon, both said after their meeting that the UN should rule on the ridge. "They should provide a scientific proof that it's an extension of our continental shelf," said Mr Lavrov. Mr Cannon said for his part: "We are confident that our case will prevail, backed by scientific evidence."

Russia's foreign minister also warned that Nato, of which Canada and the three other Arctic powers are members, should not become involved in settling territorial disputes in the Arctic."Our event yesterday in Murmansk [the agreement reached with Norway] shows that these problems are fully resolvable through direct negotiations and according to principles already set out between the relevant Arctic governments," he said. The Russian Geographical Society is due to host a two-day international forum on the Arctic next week.

Getty Lee Great White North

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

50-year cancer study launched in Alberta

Alberta researchers are taking part in a national long-term study aimed at answering the troubling question of how people develop cancer. Researchers with the Tomorrow Project will track the health of volunteers over the next 50 years to see what kind of factors lead to the disease. Researchers are looking for 50,000 Alberta volunteers by March 2012 who are between the ages of 35 and 69, and who have never been diagnosed with cancer. Researchers are seeking 300,000 people across the country.

The study is one of the largest and longest that has ever been undertaken in both Alberta and Canada, the province said.So far, 8,000 Albertans have signed up, said Dr. Elizabeth McGregor, a Calgary-based epidemiologist in population health research and one of the co-investigators in the study."No single researcher could build a study this large with this complexity of data and richness of data and follow it over so many years," McGregor said at Friday's launch at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.
This year, 6,200 Albertans will die from cancer and 15,900 new cases will be reported, the province says.

Volunteers will fill out a survey about their lifestyle — things such as eating habits and occupation — and give researchers samples and measurements.

From there, researchers will track the health of those people for the next five decades through medical records and followup surveys. Results will be reported as they are found, McGregor said. In most cancer studies, researchers find people already with the disease and ask them to think back, sometimes decades, to how they lived before getting sick. Researchers hope this new approach will give them a more accurate picture of what causes cancer."What we are trying to do is understand what causes cancer," Stephen Duckett, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services said. "If we understand what causes cancer we have a better chance at preventing it."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/09/10/edmonton-alberta-health-cancer-study.html#ixzz0zPjHqGI2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canadian to Head Nokia

Nokia is replacing chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with Canadian Stephen Elop of Microsoft, as the world's top maker of mobile phones aims to regain lost ground in the fiercely competitive smart phone market. The choice of a North American executive to lead a Finnish company reflects the increasing dominance of U.S. and Canadian companies in the evolution of the phone business.

Apple's iPhone has set the standard for today's smartphones, while Research In Motion's BlackBerrys are the favourite of the corporate set. More recently, Google's Android software has emerged as the choice for phone makers that want to challenge the iPhone. Analysts welcomed the choice of the 46-year-old Canadian, who has worked closely with Nokia at Microsoft and at Macromedia developing software for Nokia phones. He has also held top posts at Juniper Networks and Adobe Systems. At Microsoft, he headed the Business division, which makes Office software.

He will take over on Sept. 21, Nokia said Friday. The company's share price jumped more than six per cent on the news, but closed only about one per cent higher at 7.79 euros ($10.21) on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. was the first time that Nokia, considered by many to be part of the Finnish national identity, chose a non-Finn to lead the company that grew from producing rubber boots to leading the world in making handsets. Elop, observing that Canadians and Finns both hail from northern climes, was quick to allay fears he might move company headquarters abroad. Nokia is an outsized part of the small Nordic country's economy — and self-image.

Nokia accounts for 1.5 per cent of the small country's gross domestic product and provides employment, including through subsidiaries, for about 60,000 workers in the country of 5.3 million.Katainen said it was up to the company to decide on executive matters, including location of headquarters, adding that "what's good for Finland is that Nokia is successful." With Nokia stock down more than 20 per cent this year after two profit warnings, Nokia veteran Kallasvuo had come under increasing pressure.

Jorma Ollila, chairman of the board and former CEO credited with developing the Finnish company to an international leader in mobile phones, said Elop has "a strong software background and proven record in change management" to help Nokia meet new challenges.In high-end phones, the hardware is becoming uniform, so the software is increasingly the ingredient that makes a difference.In this, Nokia is trailing badly. It uses the Symbian operating system for its smartphones, which is older than Apple's software and wasn't designed from the ground up for touch-screen phones. Other manufacturers that used Symbian have mainly jumped to Android. "The Android camp is in the process of flooding the market with relatively cheap smartphones (that) knock the socks off Nokia's current user experience," Nomura analyst Richard Windsor wrote recently.

Symbian phones had 41 per cent of the worldwide smartphone market in the second quarter, according to research firm Gartner, compared with 51 per cent a year ago. Android phones, meanwhile, grew to 17.2 per cent from 1.8 per cent. In the trendsetting U.S. market, Android was already the dominant operating system, according to NPD, another research firm. Elop's appearance at a news conference announcing the appointment was in striking contrast to Kallasvuo's stiff press meetings made in halting English. Elop discussed ice hockey — close to both Canadian and Finnish hearts — and even jested about Finnish licorice candy he didn't like.

International leader

"My job is to take this organization though a period of disruption," Elop told reporters. "Nokia has many great assets in the smartphone arena. It's about the entire experience, it's about the platform, it's about the applications, it's about the services." Elop, 46, joined Microsoft in January 2008. Microsoft hired him away from the network equipment maker Juniper, where he served for a year as chief operating officer. "It seems that Nokia is now ready for an international charismatic leader," said Microsoft Finland CEO Ari Rahkonen. "He is an international leader with broad international networks, a very charismatic performer and very keen on technology."

In 2005, Elop became CEO of Macromedia, maker of Flash software, just months before Adobe bought the company. Flash allows people to use their web browsers to watch internet video and animation, and the software is now increasingly used on mobile phones. He is a computer engineering and management graduate from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and served as a systems executive at Boston Chicken.

Elop has played a role in the growing co-operation between Nokia and Microsoft in recent years. In 2009, Nokia launched its first laptop, a netbook with a 10-inch screen that runs on Microsoft's Windows 7 software. Previously, access to some of Microsoft's most popular web services, such as Hotmail and instant messaging, have been built into Nokia phone models.Nokia has predicted that while global mobile market will grow 10 per cent this year, its own growth will remain flat, and its ailing Nokia Siemens unit continues to see revenue fall.

Based in Espoo near Helsinki, Nokia employs 130,000 people worldwide.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/10/nokia-chief-executive.html#ixzz0zPi2BE63

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Canadian Response to 911

Crises often tend to bring out the best in people. The response in Canada to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 is a case in point.

200 or so aircraft, many of which were of U.S. registry, were heading for the continental U.S. All were diverted to alternate airports in Eastern Canada. Some were too heavy to land and had to dump fuel, before being routed to the nearest available airport. Simultaneously, over the North Pacific, commercial carriers en route from Asia to North America were being diverted to airports in Western Canada, primarily Vancouver.

NAV CANADA faced an enormous task of draining the skies under Canadian control, handling 239 diverted aircraft from overseas as well as those destined for the U.S. and Canada. All landed safely in Canada without incident. Of these, 38 went to Gander, 1 to Deer Lake, 21 to St. John’s, 8 to Stephenville, 7 to Goose Bay, 47 to Halifax, 10 to Moncton, 10 to Mirabel, 7 to Dorval, 14 to Toronto, 4 to Hamilton, 15 to Winnipeg, 6 to Edmonton, 13 to Calgary, 1 to Yellowknife, 3 to Whitehorse and 34 to Vancouver. Gander received 6,600 diverted passengers; Vancouver received about 8,500. The last aircraft to land was from the Pacific. By about 6:00 PM EDT, all planes had landed safely.

Accommodating more than 33,000 passengers and aircrew was a huge challenge for the Canadian communities, who welcomed the large number of passengers and accommodated them in their homes and public facilities. Many lasting friendship were developed during the days that these thousands of stranded passengers were welcomed into Canadaian homes. By September 16th all diverted planes had departed with their passengers for their intended destinations.

Canadians Victims of 9-11


Michael Arczynski The 45-year-old was a senior vice-president of Aon Corp.'s Manhattan office. He was a physically active man who moved to New York after nine years in London. He was a well traveled man who said that he had three homes- Montreal, London and Australia. He and his wife Lori had three children. Lori is expecting their fourth in February. Arczynski also leaves three daughters from his first marriage.

Garnet (Ace) Bailey 53 years old, director of pro scouting for the L.A. Kings, a native of Lloydminster, Sask. was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center. He was a professional hockey player. He played for many teams including the Edmonton Oilers, where he played with Wayne Gretzky. He was nicknamed "Ace" for his skills on the ice. He was starting his 32nd season as a player or scout for the National Hockey League. He is survived by a 22 year old son and his wife Kathy.

David Barkway The 34-year-old executive with BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto was visiting a client atop the World Trade Center's north tower when the first plane hit. He sent an electronic message to his Toronto colleagues, saying he was in trouble. Barkway was visiting New York with his pregnant wife, Cindy, for a three-day business trip. The couple has a two-year-old child. He was on the 105th floor when the tragedy took place and tried to contact his office in Toronto for help.

Ken Basnicki The 47-year-old father of two was in the north tower where he worked. The Toronto native was last heard from at 8:55 a.m. in a cellphone call to his mother from an office on the 106th floor. "He was notifying his mother that the place was full of smoke and he didn't think he'd find a way out," said his brother-in-law Dan Young of Ennismore, Ont. Basnicki was on his first business trip to New York. He was a physically-fit outgoing, fun-loving high-achiever who rode a Harley Davidson.

Joseph Collison Joseph Collison was born in Toronto in 1951 and moved to New York City more than 10 years ago. He was on he 102nd floor of the north tower, where he worked in the mail room of Kidder, Peabody & Co., said his sister-in-law, Janet Collison. "Joe was so caring," she said from Mississauga, where he was buried next to his parents. "Joe truly was a brother, someone who always stood beside you." Collison, who was not married, was hoping to adopt a young boy in New York that he cared for, said Janet. "Anyone who knew Joe said he was always there for you."

Cynthia Connolly Age: 40. She worked at Aon Corp. She was transferred from the Montreal office to New York in 1999. She loved pets. She had a Airedale-German-Shepherd and a pet cat. She was married to Donald Poissant, whom she wed in Montreal, a year before she left for the US.

Arron Dack The 39-year-old father of two was attending a conference in the north tower of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. He called his office just after the impact to say he was alive. Two minutes later, at 8:47, he called his wife Abigail. He was a senior executive with Encompys. Dack was born in England, and grew up in Toronto. He is survived by his wife and two children, Olivia and Carter.

Michael Egan Age: 51. Worked at Aon Corp. He worked on the 105th floor and had his older sister visiting him for a couple of weeks. Some colleagues of his said that his sister, who also died in the terrorist attack, visited his office so she could gaze over the city from his office.

Christine Egan The 55-year-old Health Canada nurse epidemiologist from Winnipeg was visiting her younger brother's upper-floor office in the second tower of the World Trade Center. She had come to New York to spend time with him, her sister-in-law and her two teenaged nephews. She was last spotted on the 105th floor, apparently to meet and old college friend.

Albert William Elmarry The 30-year-old moved from Toronto to the United States in 1999 to work in computer support for Cantor Fitzgerald. He met his wife, Irenie, on a visit to his native Egypt. She is expecting their first child at the end of March. He had worked for IBM Canada, when in Toronto. He was on the 103rd floor when the terrorists attacked.

Meredith Ewart


Peter Feidelberg Ages 29 and 34 respectively. The Montreal couple worked in offices on the World Trade Center's top floors. They worked as consultants for an insurance firm, Aon International. They both got their jobs at Aon International at the same time. They had been married for 18 months.

Alexander Filipov Age: 70. Born in Regina and lived in Concord, Mass. Was on American Airlines Flight 11 when it hit the World Trade Center. Filipov, an electrical engineer, grew up in Windsor and graduated from Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. He was hoping to get home on time for his 44th anniversary in Massachusetts. His wife Loretta felt that he lived a well-rounded life, that included golfing, skiing, and playing music. He even tried bungee jumping at 60. He is survived by three sons, Allan, David and Jeffrey.

Ralph Gerhardt The 34-year-old vice-president with Cantor Fitzgerald, a bond trading firm, called his parents in Toronto just after the first plane hit the north tower. He tried to console his parents during the call telling them not to worry. He also informed them that he was going to find his girlfriend, who worked in the floor below. He has not been heard from since.

Stuart Lee He had returned only a day before the attacks from his Korean homeland where he had taken his wife, Lynn Udbjorg, to show off his roots. He was on the 103rd floor of 1 World Trade Center, when the tragedy took place. Lee, who would have turned 31 on Wednesday, was vice-president of integrated services for Datasynapse. He spent the last hour of his life e-mailing his company, trying to figure how to get out of the building.

Mark Ludvigsen Age: 32. Worked at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. He left his native New Brunswick for US, with his parents, when he was seven. He worked on the 89th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. He proposed to his wife on a surprise trip to Ireland. He called his parents a few minutes after the attack on the North Tower to console them that he was alright. He told them that they had nothing to worry about since he was on the other wing. He has not been heard from since.

Bernard Mascarenhas 54 years old, of Newmarket, Ont., worked for Marsh Inc., which had offices at the World Trade Center. He was the chief information officer for the insurance brokerage firm. He was in New York on a five day visit to the technology department of his parent company. Marsh had 1,900 employees in the trade centers of which 295 were killed. He is survived by his wife, Raynette, and a son and daughter, Jaclyn and Sven.

Colin McArthur Age: 52. Worked as a deputy managing director at Aon Corp. He immigrated to Canada in 1977. He is originally from Glasgow. He married his wife, who also works at Aon Corp., after moving to Montreal. He has been working at the company for over 15 years.

Michel Pelletier The 36-year-old commodities broker for TradeSpark, a division of trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald, was on the 105th floor of 1 World Trade Center. He called his wife, Sophie, and calmly told her he was trapped in the building and that he loved her. She was dropping their two-year-old daughter at her first day of school. He is survived by a three-month-old son and their two-year-old daughter.

Donald Robson 52, raised in Toronto, was a partner and bond broker for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. He had spent the last two decades in New York. He was also present in the 1993 tower bombing, according to his wife. He is survived by two sons, Geoff and Scott.

Ruffino (Roy) Santos Age: 37. Worked at Guy Carpenter as a computer consultant. He was leaving the company to work for Accenture a week later. He is a native of Manila, who moved to British Columbia in the 1980's. He later moved to New York, five years ago.

Vladimir Tomasevic 36, of Toronto, vice-president of software development for Optus e-biz solutions. Was attending conference on 106th floor of World Trade Center's north tower. Originally from Yugoslavia, he immigrated to Canada in 1994. "He was my best friend and a part of him will always be with me" commented his wife to Maclean's magazine.

Chantal Vincelli Age: 38. She was a marketing assistant for Data Synapse Inc. Her biggest dream in life was to be a New Yorker. "She loved the hustle and bustle, the atmosphere, the go-getters", said her brother. She has been working in New York for five years. On the day of the attacks, Vincelli was setting up a kiosk at a trade show.

Deborah Lynn Williams Age: 35. Williams, whose maiden name was Robinson, worked for the global insurer, Aon Corp., for 15 years. She and her husband, Darren, moved to Hoboken, N.J., after being transferred to New York City by their employer. Williams, a Montreal native, gave birth to their only child six months after settling in Hoboken.

Foreign Affairs also listed a "25th victim" because of his deep Canadian roots. Thirty-nine-year-old Frank Joseph Doyle was married to Kimmie Chedel of St. Sauveur, Que. He also leaves two children. All of his relatives live in the Ottawa Valley. Doyle, an executive vice-president of Keefe Bruyette and Woods, had a home in Ste. Adele, Que.

LeRoy Holmer Canadian Connection: LeRoy Homer, 36, was the co-pilot of United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania after being taken over by hijackers. Homer was an American citizen, but his wife Melodie Thorpe was Canadian, having grown up in Hamilton, Ont. Family say Homer always knew he wanted to be a pilot. The couple, who lived in Marlton, N.J., have a young daughter. Homer previously served with the US air force in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and in Somolia.

Jane Beatty Canadian Connection: Jane Beatty, age: 53, Worked at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. She was originally from Britain and lived in Ontario for 20 years before moving to the United states. She was on the 96th floor of the North tower, when the terrorists attacked. She had survived five years with breast cancer. She celebrated the occasion just three weeks before her death. She called her husband, Bob, at 8:45, a couple of minutes before the terrorist attack.

The list was obtained from Foreign Affairs by the Toronto Star

Some Bio info. also from the CBC Website

Lenora King in China before Norman Bethune

Lenora King. née Howard. Born Farmersville (Athens), Upper Canada (Ontario). In order to study medicine she had to leave Canada to study at the University of Michigan Women's Medical College. With the support of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society she sailed to Shanghai in 1877, the first Canadian doctor to practice medicine in China. She was 60 years ahead of Dr. Norman Bethune. Dr King obtained the patronage of Lady Li, wife of the viceroy of Chilhli province in Tientsin. It was after she had attended Lady Li that she opened the first Chinese hospital for women and children. In 1884 she married a widowed Scottish missionary, the Reverend Alexander King. As a married woman she was expected to support the work of her husband, not work on her own. Lady Li opened a new hospital for Dr King in 1885, a hospital totally funded by the Chinese. In 1889 the Government of China recognized the distinguished doctor with the Imperial Chinese Order of the Double Dragon making her a Mandarin which is a similar to being a knight in England. In 1909 she organized the Government Medical School for Women so that Chinese doctors and nurses could be trained. She is a member of the Canadian Medicine Hall of Fame.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Canada lifts interest rates for third time

The Bank of Canada says the weak US economy is hindering domestic growth The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates by a quarter-point to 1% in its third rise this year. Canada became the first of the leading Group of Seven developed nations to move rates higher since the start of the economic crisis when it increased lending rates to 0.5% in June.

Canada's economy was less badly hit than other G7 members because it did not have a sub-prime crisis.But the Bank warned that growth would be held back by a weaker US economy. It added that further rate rises would need to be carefully considered because of what it called the unusual uncertainty surrounding the outlook.
The bank acknowledged that the economic growth projections in its July Monetary Policy Report were too optimistic. It blamed the weaker economy in the US, which buys three-quarters of Canadian exports, for the slower pace at home.

The most recent figures on the economy showed it had slowed sharply in the second quarter of the year - to an annualised growth rate of 2%, from 5.8% in the first quarter.But the bank sounded upbeat on domestic consumer spending and business investment. Its report said: "Going forward, consumption growth is expected to remain solid and business investment to rise strongly." The comments were taken to mean it was now more likely rates would rise a fourth time at the Bank of Canada's next meeting in October.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Apology to Canadian Chinese citizens

New Westminster will be the first municipal government in Canada to offer a formal apology to Chinese-Canadians for historic racism and discrimination. The apology, which will be offered in English and Chinese on Sept. 20, is part of a continuing reconciliation initiative undertaken by the City of New Westminster. "Discrimination has been endemic in this province," said Bill Chu, chairman of the Canadians for Reconciliation Society.

"New West was not, by any means, the only city that had a policy that was discriminatory to the Chinese," said Chu, who calls this apology "historic and courageous." Acknowledging the difficult history is part of developing a healthy relationship based on historical truth and a sense of justice, said Chu.  Mayor Wayne Wright said the city assigned senior staff to do historical research on Chinese history in the region.

"Historical facts came out," said Wright. "The Chinese community helped build our region, and we found out some of the things that went on that weren't so pleasant."  Wright said making a formal apology will be just one more step in the process of reconciliation and moving forward. Chu cites the BC 150 celebrations in 2008 as a galvanizing moment for many in the Chinese community in B.C.

"We could not find anything that defines us in that celebration," said Chu.

So Chu, along with the society, and aided by academics and first nations leaders, undertook a research project on the true history of the Chinese community in B.C. The group discovered over a thousand sites of historical significance, only two of which are officially recognized by the province. "It was very eye-opening," said Chu. "The Chinese did the railroad, yes. They were also mining for gold, farming, creating irrigation, restaurants." In 1881, census data show that 20 per cent of the non-aboriginal residents in the province were Chinese. Nonetheless, there was widespread legal and institutionalized discrimination against the Chinese, including restrictions on voting, employment and wage-earnings.

Chu said Chinese-Canadians must have a historical frame of reference within Canada in order to foster a sense of allegiance and national pride. The society hopes to see an accurate Chinese-Canadian history included in the B.C. school curriculum. "The big question now is whether B.C. as a province will take on the important task of acknowledging its own history," said Chu. The public is invited to attend the apology at 6:15 p.m., Sept. 20 at the council chamber in New Westminster city hall.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Royal+City+will+first+offer+apology+Chinese+Canadians/3499454/story.html#ixzz0z23T48EY

Prime Minister Harper

Dali Lama and Harper

Harper is a Genius

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Young Canadians win world wide water prize

A new way to clean up polystyrene waste and stop it from fouling waterways has won two Canadian teens the 2010 Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Alexandre Allard and Danny Luong of the Collège regional Champlain campus St-Lawrence and Cégep Sainte-Foy in Quebec City received their $5,000 U.S. award and prize sculptures from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at a ceremony Tuesday evening in Stockholm as part of World Water Week.

The two developed a technique that uses microorganisms and enzymes to break down the foam plastic used in many disposable cups, fast food containers and packing materials. "Expanded polystyrene [EPS] is a great threat to the environment, since it contributes to the spread of toxins such as styrene and bisphenol A into our waters," said the winners in a statement after receiving the prize. "We hope that our method will be widely used and consequently increase the water quality in the world."

Allard and Luong were among thousands of students aged 15 to 20 who competed in national competitions around the world to represent their country at an international competition held during the annual World Water Week meeting in Stockholm, which runs Sept. 3-11. They beat out water-related projects on topics of environmental, social or technological importance from more than 30 other countries. The conference is hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/08/allard-luong-stockholm-water-polystyrene.html#ixzz0yxJ8m3gk

Hockey manners

Monday, September 6, 2010


Canadians glued to YouTube, study finds

CBC News

Canadian Internet users are world leaders when it comes to watching video online, according to a study from digital tracking firm comScore Inc. The company's Media Metrix service found 88 per cent of Canadians who use the Internet viewed a video online in January; during that month Canadians watched close to 3.1 billion videos. ComScore tracks online habits in a manner similar to how Nielsen tracks television watching — through detailed analysis of a viewer base of about 25,000 Canadians.

The company also tracks online habits in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

The United Kingdom followed Canada with 81 per cent of online users watching video during the month, with Germany (79 per cent), France (78 per cent) and the U.S. (77 per cent) rounding out the top five countries. ComScore Canada vice-president Bryan Segal said the results show Canadians are "high adopters of technology."

Canadians consume all kinds of content

"We're content-heavy people," Segal told CBC News. "It's not just video, we also read more and our online habits are highly skewed to entertainment." Segal also noted that Canada's high broadband penetration, relative to other G7 nations, also means more Canadians with Internet connections are able to watch video. In Canada, half of the videos watched were through YouTube, Segal said. Megavideo.com and Yahoo were among other top video-watching sites.

The online video viewing habits of Canadians has been the subject of debate in recent weeks at a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearing into whether the Internet and wireless communications should continue to be exempt from Canadian broadcasting regulations. In particular, CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein asked many panelists whether it was possible to track Canadian content and in particular video.

Segal said comScore's data cannot measure Canadian content, as video would need to be tagged in some way as Canadian before his company could properly measure it. Experts that appeared before the CRTC argued implementing such a tracking method would be extremely difficult.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2009/03/13/comscore-video.html#ixzz0ya00ZWTs

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Michael Porter and Carbon Tax

Canadians should agitate for a progressive carbon policy rather than let Ottawa follow the mindless U.S. path, a world expert on competitiveness said yesterday in Montreal.The carbon capture-and-trade model that the U.S. "has patched together" is too complicated and blunts incentives that would enhance innovation and competitiveness, Harvard University professor Michael Porter said in a speech delivered to an audience of international business, policy and academic leaders."What we really do need is, in effect, a carbon tax. That is a very visible, transparent, fair approach that is likely to trigger the appropriate innovation," Porter told a symposium organized by the Sustainable Prosperity network.

Citing concerns about competitiveness, the Stephen Harper government has said that it will await and follow U.S. policy, including the creation of a cap-and-trade system."Unfortunately, the American government has kind of regressed in this whole area and has somehow lost their mind," said Porter, who garnered international attention in the 1980s when he challenged conventional wisdom about the impact of environmental regulation on business by arguing that well-designed regulation could enhance competitiveness.

His luncheon speech was webcast yesterday and delivered to an audience of about 80 people, including a few senior government officials.Porter asked the Canadians in his audience "to start agitating" for a change in current federal policies. "I think it's unfortunate that Canada, for once, wants to follow the U.S.," he said.

Both Porter and Daniel Esty, director of the Yale University Centre for Business and Environment. praised the implementation of a carbon tax in B.C. Esty was applauded when he said that Canada should stop complaining that it can't act on emissions to protect the environment because of competitiveness concerns. "That is really yesterday's news in a big way," Esty said.

In an interview, Porter said that carbon and energy issues are becoming critical factors in economic growth. "Even if you don't believe in climate change, we do understand the fundamental importance of energy and energy costs," he said. A carbon tax would lead to a rethinking of energy use, drive innovation in the green economy and yield profits for "first movers," Porter said.

"I think there is plenty of evidence that that works (where it has been implemented in Europe), and it has been implemented in a very intelligent way in B.C., and it's working there."It's unfortunate that the federal government has not been able to convince itself that it will actually drive and encourage economic growth," he said.Increasingly, companies will measure production by "unit energy cost" rather than labour costs, Mikael Skou Andersen, of the European Environment Agency, told the symposium.

European countries that have introduced an environmental tax while lightening corporate taxes related to payrolls have seen energy conservation, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in gross domestic products, Andersen said.

The symposium was held on the eve of an international conference on environmental economics in Montreal this week expected to draw about 1,100 participants.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/need+carbon/3214419/story.html#ixzz0yZwMZBQt

Louis Riel

Louis Riel

Friday, September 3, 2010

Order of Canada honours conferred

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean presided over an Order of Canada investiture ceremony in Ottawa on Friday, bestowing the honour on four companions, 19 officers and 30 members.

Among those named companions to the order in the ceremony at Rideau Hall:
•Willard S. Boyle, an accomplished physicist who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics, of Halifax.

•Kim Campbell, Canada's 19th, and first female, prime minister, of Vancouver.

Among those named officers of the order:

•Ivan Reitman, who directed the films Meatballs, Twins and Ghostbusters, of Montecito, Calif.

•Jack Rabinovitch, founder of the Giller Prize for literature, of Toronto.

•Burton Cummings, singer-songwriter, of Los Angeles.

•Mario Lemieux, former forward and now co-owner with the Pittsburgh Penguins, of Pittsburgh.

Among those named members:

•Gordon Nixon, CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, of Toronto.

•Tantoo Cardinal, aboriginal actress and co-founder of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company, of Vancouver.

•Jay Ingram, pioneer of programs devoted entirely to science on both national radio and television, of Toronto.

Created in Canada's centennial year, 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the country. More than 5,000 people have been invested into the order since it was created.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/03/order-of-canada003.html#ixzz0yUbscToz

Eva Vertes- A Canadian prodegy who may solve the problems of Alzheimers

Hockey Artwork

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nanorobotiques from Montreal has bacteria building pyramids

Researchers at the NanoRobotics Laboratory of the École Polytechnique de Montréal, under Professor Sylvain Martel, produced this remarkable video showing a swarm of about 5,000 flagellated bacteria--of a type which are subject to manipulation by magnetic fields--being directed to assemble six 100 μM epoxy bricks into the shape of a tiny step pyramid. IEEE Spectrum explains:

The bacteria, of a type known as magnetotactic, contain structures called magnetosomes, which function as a compass. In the presence of a magnetic field, the magnetosomes induce a torque on the bacteria, making them swim according to the direction of the field. Place a magnetic field pointing right and the bacteria will move right. Switch the field to point left and the bacteria will follow suit.

The corresponding paper title is surely one of the best I've ever read: "A Robotic Micro-Assembly Process Inspired By the Construction of the Ancient Pyramids and Relying on Several Thousands of Flagellated Bacteria Acting as Workers

Astronaut to be first Canadian space station commander

Mr Hadfield became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk in 2001 Astronaut Chris Hadfield will become the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station in 2013, the Canadian Space Agency announced.
Mr Hadfield will blast off on his third trip into space on a Russian spacecraft with five others in December 2012.The 51-year-old will take control of the station during the second half of a six-month trip.As commander, Mr Hadfield will be responsible for the crew's safety and operations on the station.
The veteran astronaut will also work as a flight engineer onboard the station during the first four months of the trip, while carrying out scientific experiments, robotics tasks and technology demonstrations.

During a trip to the ISS in 2001 to deliver and install a robotic arm, Mr Hadfield became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk.

Hockey Joy

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Canada Bans BPA

It's official: Canada has banned BPA, declaring it a hazardous substance. In recent studies dozens of scientists have linked high levels of BPA to a wide variety of health issues, including mammary and prostate cancer, genital defects in males, early onset of puberty in females, obesity, and even behavior problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.* So, go Canada for taking this important step!

Lecture- The meaning of Canada, myth, irony and compromise

Lecture- The meaning of Canada, myth, irony and compromise Dr. Roseann Runte