It's the ten-year anniversary of NAFTA
this week. Has it been a success? [more inside].
Harvard Mouse Not Patentable In Canada The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a 5-4
judgement Thursday that the so-called Harvard mouse cannot be patented in Canada.
The decision here
is the inventor of the board game Scruples
, and the author of A Long Way to go for a Date
. He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto and taught
at the University of Winnipeg. He now publishes his prolific writings
online. He is also completely
"You'd better listen to what you've been told / You better listen to the radio."
Just when you thought Internet radio was dead
, Canada's national radio broadcaster is providing an alternative: an Internet Radio Magazine
. Their weekly cultural offering presents arts, entertainment, and news -- complete with an eclectic, ear-pleasing soundtrack. You'll come for the clever use of the medium and good content, but you'll stay because there's nowhere else on the Web where you'll find the Joel Plaskett Emergency and the Weakerthans in regular rotation. This isn't your father's public broadcaster
The Massey Lectures
are the CBC's annual effort to give exposure to eminent minds working on 'big ideas' in the realm of social criticism. This year's lecturer, Margaret Visser, undertakes a very engaging attempt to explain and undermine fatalism. The site links to transcripts and audio files of some past lectures. Some Canadian book-learnin' for those of you who aren't sleepily digesting your Thanksgiving turkey!
Canadian Royal Commission: medicare a 'moral enterprise, not business venture'.
After 18 months of talking to Canadians, former premier of Sastatchewan, Roy Romanow, has releases the final report from the royal commission on health care. The word is: public is good, and it's gonna cost us. Also see CBC coverage
including video of the release.
: American media are unsurprisingly preparing to publish details of Vancouver's Pickton case despite a Canadian publication ban
. Are media blackouts censorship, necessary for justice, or both? Or are they just doomed to fail
when you can just, you know, do stuff like this
Argentinian Blood Pops?
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
is warning consumers about "reddish-brown spots" that were found in Lipo Brand lollipops from Argentina. "Based on available information, consuming the candy is unlikely to pose a health risk...however, consumers may wish to exercise caution by not consuming this product." I guess you should always stick with candy
you know is safe to eat.
If you see only one /switch spoof this season,
see this one. [quicktime movie] And decide whether you want to /switch... to Canada.
What happened to intent to commit a crime?
Jalbert, a resident of Pohenegamook, Que., was arrested on Oct. 11 after failing to stop at the local border crossing. He had crossed into a neighbouring Maine town to fill up his truck with gasoline before a weekend hunting trip. U.S. officials noticed a hunting rifle on his front seat. A subsequent computer search by American authorities revealed that he had a criminal record in Canada, related to a 12-year-old breaking and entering conviction. Now he's facing four months in jail. An editorial in the Maine newspaper The Portland Herald called the decision to keep Jalbert locked up "odd" and said he "is no threat to anyone (unless you're a duck)."
The art of being Canadian is often making do. Same-sex marriage is a national hot-button issue right now. What rights
should homosexual partners have? What does it mean to the church
? There comes a new option in the debate: civil union
, not quite marriage, but more than just shacking-up. Will this be enough to satisfy as many as possible under the circumstances?
"We're very sorry, but the DEA has asked us to arrest you."
A Canadian citizen, on a connecting flight between Canada and Ireland, is pinched in the Netherlands at the request of the US government. To prevent
him from testifying in a Canadian drug trial?
This isn't about agriculture.
Today, twelve prairie farmers have surrendered themselves to RCMP, rather than pay a fine for their illegal activities. Their mutual crime was choosing to export their wheat crop independently
, rather than through the Canadian Wheat Board
. Are state-run agricultural monopolies appropriate, especially when their authority is exerted unevenly throughout the country? Do you think the action taken by these farmers is justified?
An important breast cancer test is now unavailable in British Columbia
because of the American company which holds the relevant patent. The B.C. Cancer Agency
has been forced to stop the tests after legal threats by Utah-based Myriad Genetics Inc.
, which has a patent on two genes that can signal whether a woman may develop hereditary breast cancer. I think this is a perfect example of why patenting genes is a terrible idea. Via Slashdot
However you spell it, it sounds like good news.
After five years of lobbying by the Aborigines, Australia set aside a huge chunk of the central Outback yesterday as the country’s largest national park. At 38,000 sq mi (98,000 sq km), Ngaanyatjarra is twice the size of Switzerland. This comes on the heels of the Canadian government's plans
for ten new national parks and five new marine conservation areas over the next five years, a move greeted with skepticism
by some. (And then there are those that say national parks are obsolete anyway)
. Has anyone been to any of these places?
As the Alberta government ratchets up its campaign against the Kyoto Protocol
(and the Canadian government's support thereof), two environmental groups release a report that argues that Canadians could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent
and save $30 billion a year in the process by 2030 (PDFs of the report summary
and full report
). And, if reducing emissions starts at home, you can apparently cut your own energy bills and emissions in half
simply by stopping leaks and drafts in your house.
Canada Customs & Revenue Agency detains pro-Israel papers.
Newsletters, from the California-based Ayn Rand Institute
, defending "Israel's moral right to exist" that were destined for the University of Toronto, were confiscated so that the newsletters can be determined whether they constitute hate propaganda. The newsletter in question [pdf]
was to be handed out at a at a meeting on Sunday. Dr. Brook, author of the newsletter, admits it is "radical" but isn't this censorship?
Ontarians wait up to 30 weeks for key tests
Waiting lists for common exams to detect major diseases are growing at an alarming and outrageous pace in Ontario, says the National Post.
The Waiting lists are longest ever
, One million people waiting for medical treatments
, A Hostpital
with no nurses or beds, and, Medical errors killing thousands
Over the pond... more bad news. 36-hour hospital wait for 87-year-old
, and worse yet, Woman dies 'after hospital wait'
Bad news for govt. run health care, or media hype?
So how would you spend your retirement?
In the grand tradition of the backyard Falcon
and Gundam (link in Flacon thread), a retired Canadian Navy officer built a German submarine. In his garage. With "egg poaching cups and a motor from his wife’s blender", among other items. Sadly, he died before its launch. (more inside)
"You know, you cannot exercise your powers to the point of humiliation for others. That is what the Western world -- not only the Americans, the Western world -- has to realize. Because they (the have-nots) are human beings too. There are long-term consequences if you don't look hard at the reality in 10 or 20 [or] 30 years from now... I do think that the Western world is getting too rich in relations to the poor world. And necessarily, we're looked upon as being arrogant, self-satisfied, greedy and with no limits. And the 11th of September is an occasion for me to realize it even more." Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien reflects on September 11th
, and not all Canadians agree with him
Canada's long term viability in question amongst canadians
"only 30 per cent of Canadians are certain we will have an independent country 25 years from now". Sure it's a link about canada, but I'm sure it has plenty of North American and Global relevance, doesn't it?
Canadian Prime Minister surprises with pledge to put Kyoto accord to Parliament.
Until now, with resistance from the oil-rich western provinces, Canada has been luke-warm on Kyoto. PM Jean Chretien surprised all of us (a pleasant surprise, for many) by making the announcement today at the Summit in South Africa. The PM recently announced that he'll be leaving office in 18 months - leaving him with a lot of power and little accountability - possibly working on his own legacy rather than for the good of his country. So far so good.
Matthew Good's manifestos.
The opinionated leader of the defunct Matthew Good Band has written a series of "manifestos" since 1997. For the uninitiated, Mr. Good has managed to insult many major Canadian bands, alienate his own band, and sell millions of albums while doing it. Since this hardly sums him up, you can read more about him here
Wild goose chase
- "British wildlife experts are mourning the loss of Kerry the goose after tracking him by satellite all the way from Ireland to an Eskimo's kitchen in Arctic Canada." No, seriously.
Da liddle guy checks out (in 18 months)
Jean Cretien, the Prime Minister of Canada, has just announced he's stepping down thereby avoiding a party revolt and also neatly sinking his main opponent's chances. Will Canada ever find another PM who is as politically astute and at the same time as cartoon-like and embarassing (cough) Mel Lastman (cough)? Favourite memories, please.....
"The Royal Bank, last year, refused to open an account for the "No Committee 2006" saying it believed the committee was violating the human rights of gays and lesbians."
(The No Committee being an anti-gay group whose only reason to exist is to oppose bringing the gay games to Montreal.)
The Royal Bank stated that "we will not knowingly open and operate bank accounts for groups whose express purpose is to incite discrimination against minorities."
You have become a nation of monsters, America. Hypocrites. Murderers. Fools.
A letter by a Canadian published in the Baltimore Chronicle
to all Americans. Is this merely displaced anger; a worthless rant, or does this feeling come from a more real problem?
This year three first rate Canadian painters have passed away: Kazuo Nakamura (b.1926)
, was a member of the Painters 11 (flash site, doesn't seem to be working right now, short articles here, and here)
. Jean-Paul Riopelle (b. 1923)
was a member of Les Automatistes
whose Le Refus Global
helped to completely reshape Quebec culture. Riopelle passed away last March. Finally, Michael Forster (b.1907?)
was a WWII vet and a war artist
. He passed away in July.
Homer Simpson is Canadian, says Groening.
In Montreal for a performance of "The Simpsons", Matt Groening noted his dad was born in Canada and Homer is named for him so... "That would make Homer Simpson a Canadian"
He goes on to say the show will be on for at least another 14 years.
That should give us something to talk abio
Are English Men The Worst Lovers In The World?
Oh yes, absolutely, says Canadian columnist and "acknowledged beauty" Leah McClaren
after her disheartening experience in London. And, truth be told, I've never heard any woman friend, whatever her nationality, actually praise their enthusiasm, sensitivity, or prowess. But are Canadians any better? Are Italians really the best of the latin lovers? Are Frenchmen only at their best when adulterous? Are American liberals too self-conscious? Stereotypes
are fun and, like clichés, methinks there may be something to them...
Do you, Adam, take this man Steve, to be your lawfully wedded husband ... "... a panel of Ontario judges ordered Parliament to broaden its definition of marriage to include gay men and women, the first decision of its kind in Canada. "
Rulings on cases in BC and Quebec to follow.
Good news for the Canadian Tourist industry, at any rate. So far the only heartbreak in all this is the utter lack of Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, and Pottery Barn stores in Canada for these people to register at.
"Because everyone deserves to die of a heart attack before they hit forty, the Quebecois invented poutine. Poutine is the best thing to happen to the potato since just about....ever."
"We think of an orange as a constant, but in reality it's not."
Canadian study finds that fruits and vegetables have lost much of their nutritional value in the last decades--potatoes, for example, have lost 100% of their Vitamin A. The reason, it appears, is mass production and a market that values appearance over substance. Is this symptomatic of deeper problems within a system where produce travels so far before reaching the consumer? Here in B.C., for example, the stores are full of California produce, despite the fact that we grow much the same fruits and vegetables locally.
Life is Simple
I'm not even going to pretend to understand this.
On the other hand, I really like the styling, beyond the images.
'You will stay in Saskatoon, you will stay in Moose Jaw': Plan would force newcomers to agree to live outside biggest cities for three to five years
A new idea would have immigrants forced to live in rural Canadian communities for the first 3-5 years to offset the fact that young Canadians are fleeing them for the opportunities in the big cities.
I sympathize with the loss that rural Canada is facing, I just don't see this working out the way proponents expect.
Ottawa Citizen publisher fired for criticizing Chrétien.
CanWest Global keeps it real for the little guy once again by continuing to silence dissident voices. The Citizen's own coverage of the sacking
is, unsurprisingly, scant on details.
Pimps and Gangs Subtracted From Math Test "Rufus is a pimp for three girls. If the price is $65 per trick, how many tricks per day must each girl turn to support Rufus' $800 per day crack habit?"
So reads a math test from a now suspended Canadian teacher, apparently modeled after this joke
Alberta's sex-offender web site:
public service, or invitation to vigilante justice?
Canadian high speed ISP's are putting caps on downloads/uploads.
Could this spell the beginning of the end of P2P? The "basic" DSL package offered by Bell Canada will now give users 5 gigs up and 5 gigs down. For the average user, this is more than they'll ever use for e-mail, surfing, etc. But for users downloading movies and warez, it could be the end for them unless they're willing to cough up $7.95 CDN / gig - and most won't. Cable modem subscribers in Ontario will also be seeing a similar plan put into place in the next several months.
Drug War Roundup III A 70% increase in the price of cigarettes seems to have dropped
the teenage smoking rate by 7%. On May 15 you heard the Drug War Czar say anti-drug ads were a flop
. He announced a new campaign
the next day. San Franciscan test subjects in a medical marijuana study say they're given "low-potency ditch weed
." Subjects in a similiar study in Canada say the weed they're given is way too good
. Lastly, Canada is debating whether to decriminalize
smoking pot on the heels of a committee conclusion that it doesn't lead to hard drug use, committing more crimes or driving fast.
The Prom is On
for a gay teen who wants to take his boyfriend to his prom at a Roman Catholic school, as ordered by the court. This dispute has been making news in Canada for a few weeks. I thought it an interesting story because it touches on sexuality, morality, law, the church and education all at once. I wasn't out when my prom came around, so I went with a friend who knew about me. We had a blast, but a more romantic date would have been nice too.
Controversial new bill
to lay out reproductive technology guidelines. Canadian version of this battle doesn't seem to feature as many religious wackos. It's just not as fun without them.
Just a defacto "Nope".
"Refugees" from the US seeking asylum in Canada will no longer have any hoops to jump through. The hoops are to be replaced by impenatrable legal barriers, otherwise known as "inking the deal".
Operation Snipe: To rescue 76 US hostages?
"Joined by the US and Canadian troops, more than 2000 British-led Special Commando forces under "Operation Snipe" are gearing up efforts to launch a major attack to rescue around 76 soldiers who were arrested by the Taliban and Al Qaida forces during the battle in the snow covered Arma Peaks of Paktia Province in March this year, highly credible sources have confided to PNS."
Can Renee get political asylum in Canada over drug charges?
Over half of those in US federal prisons are in on drug charges, and one in five of those people are there on cannabis-related charges. In a word, this is wrong. It is time for Canada to once again act as the conscience of our neighbors to the south, as we did during the final days of slavery, providing a sanctuary at the end of the Underground Railroad; as we did in the final days of the Vietnam War, providing a haven for its conscientious objectors. Once again it is time to tell America, both firmly and with compassion, "what you are doing is wrong." To do so and to act thus, is a Canadian tradition and an obligation to the world at large.