What the anti-poverty debate in Canada looks like. Conservative Senator Hugh Segal proposes a Guaranteed Annual Income: Scrapping Welfare. Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, a prominent Canadian economist and public policy analyst, analyzes the cost of three Guaranteed Annual Income options and concludes that they're not workable: A Dubious Anti-Poverty Strategy (full text). Armine Yalnizyan, an economist at the progressive Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, comments. [more inside]
Across Canada a beloved and familiar face is silently disappearing. Everyday transactions in shopping centers and banks are slowly feeding a systematized extinction unnoticed by most. The object of destruction: the Canadian penny. -- via PBS NewsHour
“The most amazing beaver experience.” [YouTube]
In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, represented by Bob White, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split from the UAW to form the CAW, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer, "the best collective bargaining film ever made." You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website.
David Cronenberg: a virtual exhibition based on an exhibit at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Excellent Dissent magazine article on Rob Ford that looks beyond his disastrous single term as Toronto's mayor and examines the neoliberal strain in Canadian politics that has caused the larger problems facing Toronto, of which Ford's 2010 election is only a particularly appalling symptom.
Aboriginal people do a cheeky take in response to Ellen DeGeneres' infamous "selfie" (some proceeds went to protest seal hunting). And while people protest the seal hunts, it doesn't address food insecurity issues for Northerners. A recent report released by the Council of Canadian Academies cites many key findings, such as "many factors enable or serve as barriers to food security and food sovereignty" and "there is no single way to “solve” food security issues in the North. A range of holistic approaches is required."
A plane crashes in the bitter cold. A single survivor. A visitation. Kate Craig's Heart of Ice
Out in the field with one of Alberta's few female trappers. Emily the Trapper is smart, loves animals, and thinks your ideas about fur trapping are all wrong. [more inside]
Supreme Court of Canada kicks out one of its own. "The Supreme Court has dealt a stunning blow to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, ruling that his latest appointee to that court, Justice Marc Nadon of Quebec, is not legally qualified for the job."
Six years ago, PBS's feature documentary program, Frontline, aired Sick Around the World, a documentary examining health care systems around the world -- and specifically how all those featured were generally superior to the American system. (2008 MeFi post) Today, the American Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging brought the debate over single-payer care to Washington. C-SPAN has a fine video of the hearing, which features seven witness representing health care systems and think tanks from around the US and the world. [more inside]
On April 7th, Quebeckers will head to the polls because of a snap election called by the PQ minority government. Of course, as in this part of Canada, election time is never without controversy. Between Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard touting the benefits of bilingualism and CAQ leader Francois LeGault presenting his budget if his party is elected, it all pales to this past weekend's announcement that Quebec media oligarch Pierre Karl Peladeau is running in a riding for the Parti Quebecois. [more inside]
Postal History Corner: Canadian Postal and Philatelic History is chock full of fascinating information and high quality images and has been doing so for four years. [more inside]
26 year-old Inuk woman Loretta Saunders was working on an Honours thesis studying the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women of Canada. Her supervisor called her proposal "the most beautifully written and cared-for assignment I had ever read in seven years of university teaching." Two weeks ago, Loretta disappeared and fell out of contact with family and friends. Yesterday police confirmed that her body had been found in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway. Her disappearance is now being treated as a homicide. [more inside]
John Chen's Plan to Save Blackberry Over all, Chen wants BlackBerry to transform itself from being a “mobile technology company” that pushes handset sales to “a mobile solution company” that takes a broader approach to serving the mobile computing needs of its customers. Remaining in the handset business is important—for now, at least. “I think devices are still one component of the solution,” Chen says. “The question is, Do we need to be in the device business? That remains to be seen.”
Comedian, Mefi's own, and transgender woman Avery Edison is currently being held in a men's jail in Ontario on immigration charges, separated from the general population. Avery tweeted about her detention last night.
This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed. A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny
As part of a Globe and Mail series on the North exploring Canada's last frontier, writer Ian Brown and photojournalist Peter Power learn that the High Arctic, touted as Canada’s future, is like nothing any southerner expects. [more inside]
Young man passes through airport security with a pipe bomb, but CATSA doesn't report it until four days later. 18 year old Skyler Murphy forgot he had a homemade explosive in his luggage when traveling from Edmonton to Mexico.
Public hearings of Quebec's controversial Charter of Values is set to begin today. The proposal of Charter of Values seems to be a divisive issue in the province for native Francophones, Anglophones, and allophones. It has led to a rise of ugly incidents. Previously.
Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has become notorious for the way his government treats science. The latest news concerns the shutting of 7 of 9 regional DFO libraries across the country. Despite claims that the collections have been digitized, alarming reports are emerging that a lot of the materials, some dating back to the 19th century, were simply junked.
On a wooded hillside outside Vladivostok, Russia, fourteen Canadians found their final resting place in 1919. Five others died at sea. They were ordinary folk who had enlisted in the closing days of the Great War for service in an unlikely theatre — Siberia. Consisting of 4,209 men and one woman, Canada's Siberian Expedition mobilized alongside a dozen Allied armies in a bid to defeat Lenin’s Bolsheviks. The mission failed — in the face of a robust partisan insurgency, divided Allied strategies, and heated domestic opposition.This is their story, including over 2,000 photographs and images. Also available in French and Russian.
The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down Canada's prostitution laws saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution are arbitrary and create severe dangers for vulnerable women. [more inside]
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org[more inside]
Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada? Unfortunately, the difference between the religious right in Canada and our neighbours to the south is not so much doctrinal as it is window dressing. The Tea Party’s "late term abortion" red herring with its attendant gruesome imagery very much parallels the "gender-selection" trope of the Conservative base in Canada. It’s a matter of media and public relations, knowing your audience and playing to its sympathies.
Declassified Spy Outpost Lurks on the Dark Side of the Earth Canadian Forces Station Alert is "the most northerly, permanently inhabited location in the world, located only 817 kilometres from the geographic North Pole." On Assignment At CFS Alert. CFS Alert (Part 1). [more inside]
In a deal worth $5.2-billion, Canadian media conglomerate Rogers has obtained broadcasting rights to NHL games across Canada for the next 12 years. While the NHL and its players appear to come out winners, the deal is a blow to Canada's other media conglomerate Bell, whose sports network TSN has lost all national NHL programming just five years after winning the rights to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song from public broadcaster CBC, home to HNIC for over 60 years. As for the CBC, they will retain rights to broadcast games for four years in what president Hubert Lacroix described as a "partnership" where they will pay nothing, make nothing, and have no control over content. Considering HNIC is the only CBC English-language programming that consistently places in Canada's top 25 English TV shows and allegedly brings in up to 50% of its ad revenue and 30% of its audience, speculation regarding the future of a hockey-free CBC, last brought up during last year's NHL lock-up, abounds, with many characterizing it as a crisitunity for a clueless and complacent corporation.
The Canadian Press has released minutes from the Cabinet's discussions of abortion. The conversations began after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unconstitutional the restrictions on abortion (wiki). [more inside]
The Nextraterrestrials are a little-known group of underground rappers, producers, and DJs originally centred around Ottawa and Toronto in the 1990s with a sci-fi/conspiracy-theory/metaphysics/outer-space bent. [more inside]
A Rob Ford video has been found by Toronto cops. Toronto police chief Bill Blair says the video cannot be released or described, and will be placed before the courts because some unnamed person will be charged with extortion. While he never mentions the word "crack", he does say that the video is congruent with what has been described in the media and does not appear to have been doctored. [more inside]
Astronaut Chris Hadfield (previously) reflects on his career, life on the International Space Station, and the challenges of returning home (as well as commercial spaceflight and the film Gravity) in an interview with the Guardian.
Got a minute for Canadian history and some CanCon (prev: 1, 2, 3)? Great! Because Heritage Minutes are just that - 60 seconds of history from Canada's past. To date, there have been over 70 short segments produced, and you can watch them online at Historica Canada, and read about people and events below the videos. If you don't know where to start, here are the top 5 minutes according to a poll from 2012, and the top 10 from Macleans. But if that's all too serious for you, there are also parodies, plus more in this YouTube playlist.
isoHunt shuts down, Vancouver operator ordered to pay $110 million US fine A Vancouver resident has agreed to shut down his popular downloading website and pay a $110-million fine after settling a long legal fight with the Motion Picture Association of America. Gary Fung ran isohunt.com, a search engine for BitTorrent files, which helped users find virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software, ebooks and pornography. As of Friday, the site stated it linked to 13.7 million active BitTorrent files with 51 million users either uploading or download them. According to Alexa.com, it ranked as the 423rd top site on the web for global traffic and 167th in Canada. On his blog, Fung said he was "sad to see my baby go." [more inside]
CBC host Peter Oldring discusses customer services at Canadian border crossings with Officer Murray Swift. Five minutes of unbelievable audio.
There's a deep, dark lake here, and the cabin is perched next to the rocky shore. Old, and made of peeling, stained logs, it belongs to my grandfather, Antonio 'Pit' Allard. He's had it for as long as I can remember.
What is the case for Canada merging with the USA? With the heady 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 still fresh in our memories, Dual Citizen and Editor at Large of leading Canadian newspaper The National Post, Diane Francis, has written a book proposing "the merger of the century" describing five models for how these two great nations could join as one, and estimating Canada's resource value to the US at about C$17 trillion (US$16.5 trillion). Reactions have been mixed.
This fall, why not kayak down a drainage ditch at speeds of 35 mph?
Canadian Meredith Fitzmaurice did not expect to win last weekend's Run for Heroes Marathon, mostly because she was aiming for a 1:28 half. [more inside]
The most Irish island in the world. Booker Prize winning author Anne Enright travels to the edge of Newfoundland. (single page version, may trigger printer).
Canadian self-described "Freemen" in Alberta have recently attracted a great deal of public attention to themselves. The justice system generally takes a very dim view of their shenanigans, as laid out in one of the most comprehensively researched and bizarre judgment issued in recent memory. Here's a general overview and debunking of the arguments they use. [more inside]
For several months, bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands has been leaching out of the ground near Cold Lake, Alberta, so far amounting to roughly half of the oil leaked in the Enbridge-caused disaster in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nearby sites of high-pressure steam injection used to extract the bitumen (and which is already associated with violent seismic activity in natural gas fracking operations) are suspected to have caused fractures that push bitumen "sideways" and out to the surface. As Vice reporter Sarah Berman notes, "The oozing leaks will continue until the underground pressure subsides. How long that will take is anybody’s guess." While tons of contaminated vegetation and dead animals have been removed from the sites, access to the region and to government data by First Nation representatives has been repeatedly denied.