Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rob Ford's campaign team created a fake Twitter account and wrote more than 150 messages under the guise of being a George Smitherman supporter

This May not be legal at all!

Ford team uses fake Twitter account in campaign

Rob Ford's campaign team created a fake Twitter account and wrote more than 150 messages under the guise of being a George Smitherman supporter during the Toronto mayoral campaign.

The news came to light this week in and extensive profile by The Globe and Mail that a deputy communications director set up the fake account to flush out a potentially damaging audio tape.

Fraser Macdonald, 24, created a fake profile for a fictional woman named Karen Philby.

Through the account, the user appealed to a man who had an audio tape of Rob Ford seemingly promising to buy him OxyContin off the street, in order to do damage control.

But Philby's profile remained active, smearing mayoral candidates throughout the campaign, including Smitherman and Ford, all while posing as a Smitherman supporter.

According to her Twitter profile, which included a Smitherman banner, Philby was a "Downtown gal who likes politics, my cat Mittens, and a good book."

The @QueensQuayKaren account has since been removed from Twitter but the Torontoist blog has posted a history of messages it sent out.

"I can see Ford's appeal. I don't agree with him on everything, but the man speaks the truth," reads one message posted six days before the election. "George needs to improve on that."

Other posts call former candidate Sarah Thomson a "village idiot," suggests someone, presumably Rocco Rossi, "looks like Mr. Potato head with only eyes and a mouth," and refers to Smitherman as the "takes it up the middle candidate … in that he is centrist."

In a message from his personal Twitter account on Saturday, Macdonald refers to the account as "one of the many ways the Ford campaign outsmarted the competition."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

McAfee Now shipping Network Access Control (NAC),

McAfee strengthens Network Access Control solution

28 October, 2010

McAfee has announced that the McAfee Network Access Control solution is now shipping with unique integrations to the McAfee Network Security Platform which, for the first time, unifies McAfee Network Access Control (NAC), McAfee Network IPS and McAfee Network Threat Behavior Analysis capabilities. This integration provides complete internal network visibility and access control managed from one console.

Additionally, McAfee Network Access Control has received several recent industry accolades that validate the company's unique approach to solving the toughest challenges in network security. The integration of NAC, Network IPS and behavioural analysis tools provides enhanced visibility across the network, to enable unprecedented security through the pre-admission assessment of devices and user identity as well as post-admission monitoring of activity.

A November 2009 report by Forrester Research, Inc. entitled, "Market Overview: Network Access Control (NAC)," studied 18 different NAC vendors and at the time McAfee offered the widest variety of features and functions that was looked for. In addition, Forrester named McAfee one of the NAC "Vendors to Watch," saying that the combination of NAC, IPS and behavioural analysis technology will be "a strong complement to its client security suite."

"Customers have come to rely on McAfee for the best network protection available, and our commitment to them is to continue to innovate and break the moulds of traditional network access control capabilities," said Rees Johnson, senior vice president and general manager, Network Security at McAfee. "We believe the accolades we've received over the past year validate our product strategy and traction in the market. We will continue to deliver on customer demand by providing powerful new tools that extend visibility into the vast unprotected areas of the network."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Harper trips nearly $7 million in 2009-10.

OTTAWA — He travelled to foreign destinations ranging from New Delhi to Copenhagen — 15 trips in one year. So just how much did it cost Canadian taxpayers to send Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his aides abroad?

Nearly $7 million in 2009-10, according to documents tabled in Parliament Thursday.

To be exact — $6,904,790.

It was a busy year for Harper. With the global recession raging, there were international conferences with other politicians in the G20 to plot an economic strategy. Then there were the routine gatherings of world leaders in the G8, NATO, APEC and the Commonwealth.

Not to mention foreign trips to China and India, the two emerging economic powerhouses Canada wants to do more trade with.

Harper's press secretary, Andrew MacDougall, said Thursday that the prime minister aims to get results when he travels abroad.

"It's important that Canada's voice is heard," said MacDougall.

"Yes, these things do cost money but we do remember that we are at the service of the taxpayer and that we bring back results that we can point to and say, 'This is what we accomplished on behalf of all Canadians.'"

MacDougall said it was critical for Harper to meet other leaders as they met "to keep the global economy on track," and that his trip to China led to a new Chinese policy that will see more tourists from that country visiting Canada.

On his foreign trips, Harper is accompanied by a crew of aides that varies in size. There is always a core group from the Prime Minister's Office and Privy Council Office, as well as more bureaucrats from key departments, particularly Foreign Affairs. Sometimes, Harper brings MPs on the journey.

Here are the trips from 2009-10:

- Strasbourg, France, to attend the NATO summit. ($129,769)

- Port of Spain and Jamaica to attend the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago and then visit to Jamaica. ($446,419)

- London, England, to attend the G20 Summit. ($247,770)

- Aquila, Italy, to attend the G8 summit and visit Rome. ($769,325)

- Singapore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Amritsar to attend the APEC summit in Singapore and make visits to India. ($1,365,920)

- Prague to attend the Canada-European Union Summit. ($249,752)

- Guadalajara, Mexico and Panama City to attend the North American Leaders Summit and visit Panama. ($320,738)

- Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. ($531,278)

- New York City and Pittsburgh to attend the G20 summit. ($298,136)

- Normandy, France, to attend the D-Day anniversary. ($275,224)

- Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum. ($606,959)

- New York City to attend a session of the United Nations General Assembly. ($181,291)

- Washington and New York City for meetings and media interviews. ($225,054)

- Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul for meetings with foreign leaders. ($856,737)

- Copenhagen to attend a climate change conference in Denmark. ($400,418)

Read more:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Supreme Court of Canada sides with N.B on tobacco

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed with costs the leave-to-appeal applications of several tobacco manufacturers seeking to overturn key rulings of New Brunswick courts.

Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Philip Morris International and other companies sought to overturn previous decisions of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal and the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench in the provincial government's lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers.

Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the contingency-fee agreement entered into by the provincial government with outside counsel.

"We are happy with the Supreme Court of Canada's decision as it confirms our ability - and indeed, the ability of other provinces - to make use of contingency fee arrangements in cases of this magnitude," said Attorney General Marie-Claude Blais.

"It also confirms our ability to limit the commitment of public resources to pursue such claims under provincial legislation."

The courts have rejected the tobacco companies' challenges and confirmed the right of the provincial government to retain external lawyers on a contingency-fee basis to advance New Brunswick's claim under the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act.

New Brunswick is one of several provinces pursuing litigation against the tobacco industry in relation to alleged tobacco-related wrongs in order to recover damages for health-care costs.

"We are anxious to move this case forward and to have the provincial government's claim determined by the Court of Queen's Bench as soon as possible," Blais said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bill to end abuses in overseas mines up final vote.

OTTAWA — A Liberal private member's bill that makes it illegal for Canadian mining companies to commit human-rights abuses abroad faces a "very tight" final vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Toronto MP John McKay's bill calls for "corporate accountability" of mining, oil and gas corporations in developing countries.

It follows what he says is growing evidence of abusive behaviour — despite some companies' claims to the contrary.

"Regrettably, the facts show otherwise," said McKay. "They show companies involved in human-rights abuses, they show companies involved in using rape and murder as measures of security in order to secure their sites, they show companies operating without licenses in countries, they show significant environmental degradation."

The bill would punish companies found to be engaging in immoral behaviour by putting sanctions on their Export Development Canada funding, as well as removing embassy promotion. EDC is an export credit agency that provides financing and "political risk" insurance to companies that invest abroad, sometimes in volatile regions.

McKay's bill narrowly passed in an April 2009 vote of 137 to 133. It then languished at the committee stage for over a year due to extensions and prorogation.

If passed, the legislation would set up a "quasi-administrative" process within the Department of Foreign Affairs to investigate complaints.

McKay said Canadians possess a "wilful blindness" toward the issue, perhaps not understanding that Canada represents over 60 per cent of mining companies around the world.

"Canada is a world leader in this, in the extractive industry . . . what happens here has got worldwide influence," he said.

McKay also acknowledged the pull of the industry itself.

"I don't think you can ever underestimate the power and the influence of mining companies in the corridors in Ottawa and everywhere else," he said. "They're immensely influential, and they've got very deep pockets, and they are able to get the attention, shall we say, of people who are decision-makers."

The MP said that Wednesday's vote is expected to be "very tight."

"We're always trying to turn people to see the light . . . We'll see how (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) goes to get people around," he said.

Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan said he "fully intends to vote against it," citing concerns that if the bill was passed, it could drive mining companies out of Canada because it would create unnecessary red tape for them.

"Mining companies are headquartered in Canada not because they're actually doing mining here, but because Canada has a historically well-developed expertise (in the field)," he said.

"Those companies could just as well move their headquarters elsewhere," said Van Loan. "If we create a very unlevel playing field between Canada and other countries that could be perfectly good locations for headquarters, perfectly good sources for capital and markets, we will find that we will lose those businesses and the jobs associated with them.

"Paradoxically, because Canadians are such good corporate citizens, we're actually encouraging them to abandon their good practices here and go elsewhere abroad where they will be less constrained by the discipline of the Canadian marketplace and Canadian society."

A mining industry representative called the bill's goals "laudable," but said the means to get there have him concerned.

"Canadian mining companies are global leaders in the area of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and the objective of a bill like C-300 is laudable, and to be commended," said Paul Hebert, a spokesman for the Mining Association of Canada.

"But the way this bill is constructed, we don't feel it would accomplish what it intends to accomplish," said Hebert. "We're concerned that what it would do is punish Canadian mining companies not based on their behaviour but based only on complaints. Effectively, what it would be doing is opening a complaints desk at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), and all complaints would have to be reported regardless of substance."

Hebert said that the bill would put more power in the hands of the minister of foreign affairs in responding to complaints, instead of giving it to an independent ombudsman.

"We feel there are more constructive ways forward to promote, support and improve corporate social responsibility," he said, pointing to DFAIT's appointment of Marketa Evans as Canada's first counsellor of corporate social responsibility for mining.

Evans' role will see her help in "resolving social and environmental issues relating to Canadian companies operating abroad," a DFAIT statement from last week read.

The counsellor, while not imbued with the power to render verdicts in disputes, would file an annual report with the minister of natural resources and the minister of international trade on how Canada's mining companies handled themselves abroad.

But some unlikely support for McKay's bill came Tuesday — from south of the border.

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat who introduced a bipartisan bill that would require American energy companies to disclose what they pay for oil, gas and minerals from U.S. and foreign governments, said he supports McKay's bill and planned on sending a note to all MPs, urging them to pass it.

"I've never had a U.S. senator lobby for my legislation," said McKay.

According to McKay's office, EDC investments in 2008 helped facilitate more than $27 billion in business in the mining sector.

Read more:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Veteran Bruyea gets apology : Personal info of outspoken critic ended up in ministerial briefings.

The federal government has apologized to Sean Bruyea, a Canadian Gulf War veteran and Veterans Affairs critic whose sensitive personal and medical information was illegally shared by officials in the department.

It comes after the federal privacy commissioner found Veterans Affairs officials broke the law by including Bruyea's medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment in ministerial briefing notes and also sharing it with a veterans' hospital.

In an interview with CBC News on Monday from Ottawa, Bruyea said he and his wife broke down in tears when they first heard about the apology.

"It's been quite a trying five years, so for us, it means a lot," Bruyea said.

In a statement, Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn also said the government is immediately launching an "expedited mediation procedure" to resolve Bruyea's legal case against the government and several departmental officials.

"I was very troubled to learn that personal information concerning you was shared among public servants who had no need for this information in order to do their work," Blackburn said in his statement.

"I recognize that this information sharing has caused you needless suffering and anxiety, and for that the government and I are truly sorry."

The minister also acknowledged for the first time that other veterans might have been subjected to similar privacy breaches.

"I also extend my sincere regrets to anyone who may have gone through the same situation," Blackburn said.

Bruyea started a $400,000 court action after learning through access-to-information requests he filed that his privacy rights were breached.

But he insisted the lawsuit was not about the money, but his way of trying to fix the system "so it doesn't happen to any other veteran or any Canadian, for that matter."

"I'm very grateful for the apology and I don't want anything to distract from that, but we cannot trust that the bureaucrats who did this wrongdoing will fix it themselves," Bruyea said.

From Gulf War vet to Veterans Charter critic

The decorated former intelligence officer fought for years for modest monthly disability pension from Veterans Affairs after being medically released from the military in 1996 with symptoms of Gulf War syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He became an outspoken critic of the 2006 Veterans Charter's replacement of life-time guaranteed pensions for veterans with a one-time lump-sum payment.

Privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart found that Bruyea's personal information ended up in March 2006 briefing notes of the former minister in charge, Greg Thompson, while his medical information, including diagnosis, symptoms and prognosis, were also found in a second ministerial briefing note dating back to 2005 under the former Liberal government and then minister.

In her report released earlier this month, Stoddart said she found it "alarming" that Bruyea's information was shared "seemingly with no controls" among departmental officials "who had no legitimate need to see it."

Bruyea said the actions of department officials left him and his wife in a "humiliating state of powerlessness and vulnerability" and in "constant terror" of what the department, which controlled 100 per cent of his income at the time, would do next.

Blackburn, who got the Veterans Affairs portfolio eight months ago after Thompson left politics, has pledged to act on Stoddart's recommendations and vowed to increase penalties for bureaucrats who break the rules.

Read more:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tories await stimulus program audit Auditor General Sheila Fraser will release the report

OTTAWA — Canadians will learn the answer Tuesday to a question that could turn federal politics upside down. Has Auditor General Sheila Fraser found shortcomings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s much-touted economic-stimulus program?

Ms. Fraser will release a report that includes an audit of the stimulus package from the 2009 budget, when the Conservatives rushed billions of dollars out the door to rescue the economy.

For months, speculation has been mounting about whether the report will be politically explosive or contain only minor revelations that would barely wound the Tories.

Two questions are at the heart of the matter: Did the Harper government bend the rules and allocate funds to economic-stimulus projects that didn’t qualify for the money? And did a disproportionate share of the cash get funnelled into ridings held by Conservative MPs?

Ms. Fraser is expected to provide an answer to the first question, and likely stray away from the second. Still, if she finds the government unduly acted in haste as it hurried to limit the political damage of the recession, it could leave the Tories scrambling to protect their claim of being good fiscal managers.

Moreover, the irony of Ms. Fraser’s report isn’t being lost on federal politicians.

It was Ms. Fraser who released reports in 2002 and 2004 that exposed shoddy spending controls in the Quebec sponsorship program established by the Liberal government then in power. This led to an RCMP investigation, an inquiry and the conclusion by many Canadians that the Liberals were using public funds to feather their own political nests.

The problems initially unearthed by Ms. Fraser also ignited voter anger, gave Harper a convenient campaign issue, and eventually led to the election of the Conservatives in 2006.

Is history about to repeat itself?

NDP MP Thomas Mulcair says he thinks it might.

“When the Liberals were faced with a real national unity crisis in the wake of the near-death experience we all went through in the 1995 referendum they convinced themselves that the normal rules don’t apply, the emergency is too great, and we got the sponsorship scandal,” he said.

“The Conservatives, looking at a real worldwide economic crisis, said the danger is too great, the normal rules don’t apply and they went ahead with their so-called infrastructure spending. What we’re going to learn probably from Sheila Fraser is that the normal rules were being bent.”

Mr. Mulcair said such a finding would be “devastating” for the Conservatives because the criticism will come not from political foes who can be attacked, but from an auditor general with “moral authority” and great credibility.

For her part, Ms. Fraser has been cautious to avoid publicly tipping her hand. Her office said the audit examined 11 programs under the government’s Economic Action Plan and “what steps it took to ensure that only eligible projects were funded.”

The audit also probed how the government complied with “financial management and environmental requirements” for the program.

Perhaps the best hint of what to expect came in a letter she wrote to the senior bureaucracy in 2009 as she launched the audit of the stimulus plan.

“I appreciate that managers will face challenges in implementing the plan, given the very tight time constraints. They will need to balance the government’s wish to move quickly with the requirement to exercise due regard; this will require a sound analysis of risk, and appropriate delivery mechanisms commensurate with those risks. The program design — notably the degree of flexibility and the specificity of eligibility criteria — will be a critical aspect of managing the plan.”

Ms. Fraser’s report on Tuesday also contains the audit findings of other issues that could prove embarrassing for the Tories: A military acquisition program of two helicopters (the Cyclone and Chinook); government preparedness for animal disease emergencies; the regulation of large banks; and tax shelters for people who give to charities.

“I have a feeling they’re going to get their butts kicked on Tuesday,” said Mr. Mulcair.

Liberal MP John McCallum said he isn’t so sure the audit on stimulus spending will be very informative. Apart from learning whether the Tories “followed their own rules,” he’s not counting on learning much from this report.

He said the real damage could come from a second audit being conducted by Fraser’s office of the stimulus program. It will examine the results of how the funds were spent, but the report won’t be released until the fall of 2011.

Mr. McCallum said Canadians deserve answers to a wide range of questions.

“Were all the environmental rules followed? Was the allocation of the funding politically neutral or not? Was the tendering process appropriate? There’s all sorts of questions that would be nice to get answers to, but my guess is those won’t come until 2011.”

The Tories have always delivered twin messages on the program: They discount research by opposition parties that suggests Conservative ridings have tended to benefit from the stimulus package. And while promising to provide oversight of the program, Mr. Harper’s ministers said they couldn’t guarantee perfection.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in a speech just weeks after the January 2009 budget, spoke of how he was trying to quickly kick-start the economy.

“There will be some mistakes made,” he admitted, saying even Ms. Fraser knew this would occur.

“So is it worth taking a risk that there will be some mistakes? My answer is yes. The much greater risk is that — and I’ve had this discussion with the auditor general — we don’t act in time and that we see tens of thousands of Canadians suffer more than they have to.”

Read more:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

'I wondered if I would get the job if I applied for it today,'Auditor General Sheila Fraser tells CBC.

Sheila Fraser reflects on end of AG term

'I wondered if I would get the job if I applied for it today,' she tells CBC


CBC News

Auditor General Sheila Fraser might not be deemed eligible for the job she has held for a decade based on the new job requirements that appear in the ad seeking her replacement, she joked in a CBC interview.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser's 10-year tenure is set to expire in May 2011. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

The government's ad seeking a new auditor general to replace Fraser after her term ends May 31, 2011, reads:

"Being a team player, [the successful candidate] will also be action-oriented and will possess a constructive approach."

In a lengthy interview to air Saturday on CBC Radio's political affairs program The House, Fraser reflected on the new job description and her 10-year tenure.

"I wondered if I would get the job if I applied for it today," Fraser said.

There has been speculation on the Hill as to what the term "team player" means within the context of a role that is supposed to be an arm's length overseer of government.

The House airs on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on CBC Radio 1 and is replayed at 12 a.m. on Sunday.

But Fraser isn't as concerned as other critics have been.

"I know there are a couple of people who sort of have expressed concern about what that actually means, but you do have to work [with others]," she said. "It is important that the auditor general establish good, professional working relationships with a number of people."

On Tuesday, Fraser will release her first audit into the federal government's stimulus spending program.

There will be a second report on the topic next year, but Fraser won't be around for that one.

"When I'm gone, it will be my successor who will have the pleasure of tabling that," she said.

One report Fraser will be around to table is an audit of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner's office.

Commissioner Christiane Ouimet resigned earlier this week after employees complained of a "difficult" work environment that had caused several of Ouimet's subordinates to leave the office.

Fraser said in the interview she plans to table her audit into that office before her term ends.

Read more:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Supreme Court of Canada has sent a case involving a newspaper reporter who refused to reveal confidential sources in a federal sponsorship scandal back to a lower court.

Canada court sends reporter sources case back to Quebec

22 October 2010 at 14:58 ET Canada court sends reporter sources case back to QuebecThe Supreme Court of Canada has sent a case involving a newspaper reporter who refused to reveal confidential sources in a federal sponsorship scandal back to a lower court.

In the 9-0 ruling, the court ruled that Daniel Leblanc could shield his sources if it was in the public's interest.

The Globe and Mail reporter's case has now been sent back to a Quebec court.

The scandal stems from advertising firms being paid with government money in the 1990s in exchange for no work.

Continue reading the main story

Related stories

Canada PM wins no-confidence vote

Canada MPs quiz former minister

Ottawa 'damaged' by funds scandal

The Quebec Superior Court court permitted lawyers from La Groupe Polygone, one of the advertising firms named in the scandal, to question Mr Leblanc in court about the identity of his source used in the stories he broke about the government sponsorship programme.

But Mr Leblanc said he would rather go to jail than reveal his source.

Weighing public interest

In the ruling, the Supreme Court also gave the Quebec court a set of guidelines with which to decide the case.

The lower court must "balance the importance of disclosure to the administration of justice against the public interest in maintaining journalistic source confidentiality", the ruling said.

After coming out of the courtroom, Mr Leblanc told reporters he was confident he would be able to prove the newspaper stories were in the public's interest.

La Groupe Polygone is being sued by the city of Ottawa which hopes to retrieve some of the $35m (£21m) that company allegedly over-charged the government in the 1990s.

In 2004, Canada's auditor-general issued a report which said that in the late 1990s, the governing Liberals systematically channelled at least $100m from a $250m government programme to advertising and communication agencies with ties to the Liberal Party, for little or no work.

The scandal assisted in driving the Liberal Party in Quebec out of power.

Friday, October 22, 2010

RCMP shakes up top management : Several senior RCMP members who complained about Commissioner William Elliott, shown in June, have been forced out or simply left.

RCMP shakes up top management


CBC News

The RCMP has shaken up its management team, creating two new executive positions under Commissioner William Elliott.

Several senior RCMP members who complained about Commissioner William Elliott, shown in June, have been forced out or simply left. (Canadian Press)

The positions of deputy commissioner east and deputy commissioner west have been created, a letter from Elliott to RCMP staff obtained by CBC News says. The positions will be in Halifax and Vancouver, respectively. Existing deputies Gary Bass and Steve Graham will assume the western and eastern roles, respectively.

In addition, the deputy commissioner positions Pacific region, northwest region, central region and Atlantic region have been eliminated. The responsibilities of the former regional deputy commissioner positions are being assumed by the new deputies east and west.

"No further changes to our regional structure or reporting relationships are being made at this time," the letter read.

'I am confident we are on the right track.'

—RCMP Commissioner William ElliottElliott also appointed some new provincial commanding officers: Assistant Commissioner Dale McGowan becomes commanding officer in Alberta, Chief Supt. Russell Mirasty in Saskatchewan, and Chief Supt. Alphonse MacNeil in Halifax.

The moves come after some other senior RCMP officers complained about Elliott to some of the highest levels of the federal government on two occasions in July. They accused Elliott, who became the first civilian to head the Mounties in July 2007, of being verbally abusive, closed-minded, arrogant and insulting.

An independent "workplace assessment" of the fractious RCMP also found that the tepid pace of reform inside the police force frustrated some Mounties.

At a news conference Thursday, an upbeat Elliott acknowledged his "shortcomings" but said the problems that have divided the force's upper echelons are in the past.

"I am confident we are on the right track," he said. "We are moving forward."

Still, Elliott declined to comment on a report from earlier this week that said Raf Souccar, deputy commissioner for federal policing, had been asked to leave the force.

He said that following the summer complaints, all members of the senior executive, including Souccar, had agreed to work together.

Read more:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

WOW Norway 'petroleum fund' tops $500bn

Norway 'petroleum fund' tops $500bn

Norways public finances have benefited significantly from its access to North Sea oil Norway's oil-fueled state pension fund has grown to a massive 3 trillion Norwegian kroner (£324bn; $513bn), the country's central bank has announced.

The size of the "petroleum fund" means that, unlike other developed countries, Norway has little to worry about when it comes to state pension provision.

The government can spend some 600,000 kroner ($103,000; £65,000) on pension costs for every Norwegian.

Norway started investing proceeds from its North Sea oil revenues in 1996.

Initially, 1.98bn kroner was invested, but rising equities and big rises in oil prices have seen the size of the fund grow.

"The fund has grown faster and bigger than most people expected since getting its first inflow of capital in May 1996," says Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the fund.

"A surge in oil prices since 2002 increased the size of capital inflows.

"Increased equity investments, particularly in emerging markets, also helped the fund's growth."

The pension fund is the world's second-largest sovereign wealth funds.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Robert Bruce "Rob" Ford Criticism and controversy! 20/10/2010.

Criticism and controversy

Ford and fellow councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who occupies a neighbouring ward, have often scrapped with each other and these exchanges have made headlines in local newspapers.[16] Controversy erupted when several councillors reportedly heard Ford call Mammoliti "Gino boy" in the debate over the 2002 budget.[17] Mammoliti filed a complaint for the ethnic slur.[18] Mammoliti's son Michael filed his papers to run against Ford in the 2003 municipal election, but withdrew at the last moment.[19] In March 2003, in a debate over the budget of the Toronto Zoo, Ford called Mammoliti, who chairs the zoo board, a "snake" and a "weasel" in council.[20][21] In September 2010, Mammoliti endorsed Ford for Mayor.[22]

In 2002, Ford strenuously objected to the possibility that a homeless shelter would open in his suburban Etobicoke ward.[23][24] Later in the same year, he was quoted while berating an anti-poverty activist, "Do you have a job, sir? I'll give you a newspaper to find a job, like everyone else has to do between 9 and 5."[25] In 2005, Ford told a homeless protestor, "I'm working. Why don't you get a job?"[26]

In 2006, allegations arose of his conduct at a Toronto Maple Leafs game. Two audience members alleged Ford instigated a shouting match.[27] Security at the Air Canada Centre later ejected Ford from the venue. Initially, Ford denied involvement, claiming mistaken identity. The following day, Ford confirmed the allegations and announced his apology to the couple.[28] He cited "personal problems" as a reason for his behaviour.

Further controversy erupted in a Toronto City Council session when Ford argued against the city spending $1.5 million on AIDS prevention programs. Ford stated that "(AIDS) is very preventable," and that "if you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's bottom line."[29] With respect to the increasing rates of women contracting the disease, Ford said; "How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men."[29]

Again sparking controversy in March 2008, during a debate at City Hall, Ford said, "Those Oriental people work like dogs. They work their hearts out ... that's why they're successful in life. ... I'm telling you, Oriental people, they're slowly taking over, because there's no excuses for them. They're hard, hard workers." He drew criticism for those remarks from Mayor David Miller, budget chief Shelley Carroll and other councillors.[30][31]

In 1999, Ford was arrested in Miami for driving under the influence (DUI) and marijuana possession charges.[32] According to the statement recorded by the arresting officer, Ford was acting nervous, had blood shot eyes and had "a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath". Ford threw his hands up in the air and told the police officer, "Go ahead, take me to jail."[33] Until he was questioned by reporters,[34] Ford said that the marijuana charge had "completely, totally slipped my mind" because the more serious issue during that arrest was the DUI charge.[35] Ford initially denied the DUI charge, claiming instead he was arrested because he "refused to give a breath sample".[36]

Ford garnered controversy again in August 2010 after endorsing Pastor Wendell Brereton, who is running for city councillor in Ward 6. Pastor Brereton has suggested online that same-sex marriage could “dismantle” a “healthy democratic civilization.” Ford has said in regards to Pastor Brereton that “We’re together. We have the same thoughts." Ford also has noted that he supports traditional marriage, preferring that model to same-sex marriage. "I always have," he stated. "But if people want to, to each their own. I’m not worried about what people do in their private life. I look out for taxpayers’ money."[37][38]


1.^ a b "Toronto city councillors, Rob Ford". City of Toronto, Accessing City Hall. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-26.

2.^ Diebel, Linda. Rob Ford’s complicated life. The Toronto Star. April 23, 2010.

3.^ Grossman, David (2009-09-13). "Rob Ford a team player to schools". Toronto Star.

4.^ "10 Worst Councillors". NOW Magazine. 2003-07-03.,9,2003.

5.^ Bilton, Chris (2010-07-07). "Beware the unmuzzled Rob Ford". Eye Weekly.

6.^ "Councillor Blames Politicians' Perks For Your Tax Hike". City News. 2007-04-24.

7.^ a b Vincent, Donovan (2007-03-19). "Who are big spenders at city hall?". Toronto Star.

8.^ Griffiths, Jeff (2007-11-08). "Councillors Office Expenses – Councillor Ford and Councillor Holyday".

9.^ Vincent, Donovan (2007-11-27). "Reveal expenses, Ford told". The Toronto Star.

10.^ Byers, Jim; Maloney, Paul (2007-03-08). "City decays as debt climbs". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-04-26. "I can't support bike lanes..."

11.^ "Recording of Toronto council session during which Rob Ford comments on cyclists". 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2010-09-24.

12.^ Hume, Christopher (May 26, 2009). "One small lane for mankind". The Star (Toronto). Retrieved May 22, 2010.

13.^ Grant, Kelly (2010-05-08). "Reprimand Ford for confidentiality breach, integrity commissioner says". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-05-08.

14.^ "Ottawa's attempt to tax councillors' perks, expense budgets rejected by city".

15.^ Rider, David (2010-04-30). "Councillors ordered to return free transit passes". Toronto Star.

16.^ Cowan, James. Ford is known for his outbursts. National Post. February 28, 2003 p. A11

17.^ Wanagas, Don. "Sorry, Wrong Number". Toronto NOW online edition. Retrieved 2007-04-26. "...hardcore Conservative Ford allegedly called neo-Liberal Mammoliti a 'Gino boy'..."

18.^ Lu, Vanessa. City hall verbal scuffle is over. Toronto Star, 15 April 2003, p. B02 The city spent $30,000 investigating Mammoliti's complaint.

19.^ No Byline. Ford hopes new team has 'right' stuff. The Toronto Star. October 13, 2003, p. B02

20.^ No Byline. Childish behaviour. Toronto Star. March 1, 2003, p.E06

21.^ "Recording of March 2003 council session". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-09-24.

22.^ ". Mammoliti endorses Ford for mayor". 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-10-01.

23.^ "Not in My Ward". Toronto NOW online edition. Retrieved 2007-04-26. "This is an insult to my constituents to even think about having a homeless shelter in their ward..."

24.^ "Recording of Toronto council session during which Rob Ford comments on preferring a "public lynching" to having a public meeting to discuss a homeless shelter in his ward". 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-09-25.

25.^ Moloney, Paul. Councillors to activists: Get a job --- Noisy expulsion follows protest over housing sale. Toronto Star. October 30, 2002, p. B04

26.^ Porter, Catherine. Protestors storm council; OCAP denounces homeless plan Clarke shouts, Miller leaves. Toronto Star February 2, 2005 p. B03

27.^ James, Royson. Ford can forget his mayoral dreams. He was on private time, Ford says. Toronto Star. May 3, 2006. B05. Ford's statements include, "You right-wing communist bastards," and "My sister was a heroin addict and was shot in the head."

28.^ "Ford admits lying to media about drunken outburst". CBC News, Toronto. 2006-05-03. Retrieved 2007-04-26. "I reflected on it last night, and talked to my family. I came forward and admitted (that I lied to the media about not being at the game). That's all I can do. I mean, I'm not perfect"

29.^ a b "Councillor Rob Ford Under Fire Over AIDS Comments". CHUM Television, CityNews, Toronto. 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2007-04-26.

30.^ Lu, Vanessa (2008-03-06). "Ford rebuked for Asian comments". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-03-06.

31.^ Gray, Jeff (2008-03-06). "Ford draws rebuke, saying Oriental people are taking over". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2008-03-06.

32.^ Dempsey, Amy (2010-08-19). "‘Go ahead take me to jail,’ Ford told police". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-08-19.


34.^ Jenkins, Jonathan (2010-08-18). "Ford dodges pot bust in Florida". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2010-08-19.

35.^ Grant, Kelly (2010-08-19). "Ford forgot marijuana charge, confuses impaired driving charge". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-08-19.

36.^ Lamberti, Rob (2010-08-19). "'Go ahead, take me to jail': Ford during 1999 arrest". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2010-08-19.

37.^ Grant, Kelly (2010-08-05). "‘Ford’s endorsement of pastor for council stokes fear among gays’". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-09-25.

38.^ Alcoba, Natalie (2010-08-04). "‘Fundamentalist pastor drops out of mayoral race, endorses Rob Ford’". National Post. Retrieved 2010-09-25.

39.^ a b David Rider. Rob Ford kicks off mayoral campaign. Toronto Star. March 26, 2010. [1]

40.^ Royson James. Rob Ford proves popular at mayoral campaign launch. Toronto Star March 29, 2010.[2]

41.^ David Rider. Rob Ford's bid for mayor will tilt campaign to the right. Toronto Star. March 22, 2010 [3]

42.^ Rider, David (2010-05-06). "Ford punishes campaign worker for Twitter message". Toronto Star.

43.^ Alcoba, Natalie (2010-08-17). "Computer inside Toronto Star company edited Rob Ford’s Wikipedia entry". National Post.

44.^ "Yours vaguely, Rob Ford". Toronto Star. 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-08-31.

45.^ "Rob Ford issues “vague” policy response: Toronto mayoral frontrunner slips up yet again". Macleans. 2010-08-27. Retrieved 2010-09-04.

46.^ Ford sued for $6 million by Boardwalk Pub owner Toronto Star. October 12, 2010.

47.^ "Rob Ford opens huge lead in mayor’s race.". Toronto Star. 2010-09-19.

48.^ "Ford holds commanding lead in Toronto Mayoral race". Nanos Research. 2010-09-21.

49.^ "Frontrunner Rob Ford losing steam in Toronto mayoral race: poll". The Globe and Mail. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2010-09-28.

50.^ "Contest grows tighter as Thomson drops out, endorses Smitherman". The Globe and Mail. 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2010-09-29.

External links

Rob Ford profile on City of Toronto website

Rob Ford's personal website

Rob Ford for Mayor

Rob Ford Condemning Councillors' "free perks"

Rob Ford's 2010 Council Expenses

Ford fest was fun in Eye Weekly

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Valedictorian slams MP Vic Toews I love it!!.

It was a valedictorian speech the University of Winnipeg and MP Vic Toews will never forget.

With Toews sitting a few feet from the podium, Erin Larson scolded the university for giving the Conservative MP an honorary law degree.

“The decision to give an honorary law degree to someone who is best known amongst my generation of students as being a vocal opponent to the expansion of human rights, is questionable at best.” said Larson.

Upon leaving the stage, Larson did not make eye contact with a clapping Toews, who referenced her remarks during his address. He said he was humbled to receive the award but hoped his modesty was not a sign to some he should not receive the honour.

“It appears that there are already a few who have asked that question today,” said Toews

U of W President Lloyd Axworthy later condemned the comments as inappropriate.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Toronto Police Service Controversies and allegations of misconduct

Controversies and allegations of misconduct

A mandatory Coroner's Inquest took place into the police killing of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica. Although accounts differ, it is generally accepted that Reodica was part of a group of Filipino teenagers pursuing a group of white teenagers on May 21, 2004, following altercations between the two groups. Plainclothes Toronto police officer Det.-Const. Dan Belanger and his partner Det. Allen Love were in the process of arresting Reodica when he was shot by the officers, the teen died in hospital three days later. Belanger and his partner, Det. Allen Love, were eventually cleared by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) who accepted their story that Reodica lunged at them with a knife.[8]

In response to the recommendations of the Coroner's Inquest jury, Chief Blair recommended that all plainclothes police officers be issued arm bands and raid jackets bearing the word 'Police' in an effort to increase their visibility in critical situations. Unmarked cars, which are already equipped with a plug-in police light, will also be supplied with additional emergency equipment, including a siren package. The proposals will be phased in over three years beginning in 2008. Undercover officers will also have to wear, carry or have access to standard police use-of-force options such as pepper spray and batons.[9][10]

In 2004, eight people were shot by Toronto Police, and six of them died from their wounds. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigated each shooting, but found all of them to be justified.

In 2005, the police force was faced with a spike in shootings across Toronto and increased concern among residents. Police Chief William Blair and Mayor David Miller asked for additional resources and asked for diligence from residents to contend with this issue. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to work with Toronto to fight crime.

In July 2007, Toronto Police were involved in an international incident in which their members pepper-sprayed, tasered, and handcuffed members of the Chilean national soccer team in an attempt to keep control of crowds after their semi-final match in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. A police spokesman explained on CBC Radio on the programme Here and Now that police took action against individual members of the Chilean team when they "displayed aggressive behaviour" by vandalizing a bus and arguing with fans. The actions of the police were criticised by the TV and print media in Chile,[11][12] and initially also in Canada, but following a news conference and more detailed description of behaviour by the Chilean team the criticism (outside of Chile) was withdrawn. FIFA president Sepp Blatter later apologized to the Toronto mayor for the incident, and instigated disciplinary action against the officials and players of the Chilean team.[13]


1.^ Policing costs skyrocketing

2.^ Toronto Police in 1834 - 1860 "Formidable Engines of Oppression"

3.^ a b Toronto Police in the 1850s The Gangs of Toronto and the Call For Reform

4.^ Toronto Police 1834 - 1860 "Formidable Engines of Oppression"

5.^ Toronto Police in 1859 -1875 The Militarization of the Constables

6.^ Military-Intelligence Functions of the Toronto Police During the U.S. Civil War Era and the Fenian Threat

7.^ History of the Toronto Police Part 4: 1875 - 1920

8.^ Police killed unarmed teen, family says

9.^ Jeffrey Michael Reodica Inquest Jury Recommendations, Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario

10.^ Toronto Police Services Board, Minutes of the Meeting of April 26, 2007, pages 85-90

11.^ Chilean soccer team involved in melee with police

12.^ La

13.^ FIFA vows action after U-20 brawl


15.^ "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Greater Toronto's Top Employers Competition".

16.^ [1]

17.^ Swainson, Gail (January 16, 2009). "Toronto police duo saddles up for Obama". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-01-16.

 External links

Toronto Police Official Site

Toronto Police Services Board

History of Policing In Toronto

Toronto Police History

Toronto Police history 2

22 Division Toronto Police Service Rovers

Inquest into Jeffrey Reodica shooting begins

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bombardier Aerospace bets on big new business jets.

Bombardier Aerospace is adding two large business jets to its Global series of aircraft — one capable of carrying eight passengers non-stop to New York from Mumbai, India, the other boasting what the company says will be the largest cabin in its class.

The Global 7000 and Global 8000, featuring new wing designs and new General Electric engines, will join the Global 5000 and Global Express XRS in the lineup Bombardier introduced in 1996, the Montreal-based plane maker said Saturday.

"By extending this great aircraft family, we are once again offering a business jet travel experience that is unmatched and ahead of its time," said Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft.

The Global 7000 is to enter service in 2016, with a cabin designed for 10 passengers that the company said will be 20 per cent bigger than the current industry leader, and a non-stop range of 13,500 kilometres. The Global 8000, to follow in 2017, will have a range of 14,600 kilometres, "farther than any other business jet," Ridolfi said.

Both planes are to have a top cruising speed of just over 900 km/h.

The new wing design will "significantly optimize aerodynamic efficiency," Bombardier said, while next-generation GE TechX 16,500-pound-thrust engines will provide fuel-economy and emissions improvements.

Other features will include windows 80-per-cent larger than on current Global aircraft, a baggage hold accessible during flight, a lie-down crew rest area and a sizable galley.

Bombardier did not provide an estimate of the cost of developing the Global 7000 and 8000 or indicate prices for the aircraft.

It noted that the specifications are approximate, as the program "is currently in the development phase and as such is subject to changes in family strategy, branding, capacity, performance, design and/or systems."

Read more:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Canada not ready for shale gas boom : Will Canada’s Water be Protected in the Rush to Develop Shale Gas?

Canada’s fledgling shale gas industry faces a growing clamour for tighter regulations and greater protection of local water sources amid fears that aggressive drilling techniques carry a heavy environmental cost.

The enormous potential of shale gas resources is considered a “game changer” in the North American energy landscape, promising large supplies of relatively low-cost fuel for decades. But the industry is encountering stiff opposition in Quebec, New York state and other jurisdictions where residents and environmentalists worry that drilling techniques using chemical-laced water, a process known as fracking, pose a threat to drinking water and wildlife.

. .

Will Canada’s Water be Protected in the Rush to Develop Shale Gas?

As Quebec holds raucous and divisive hearings over the future of its promising shale industry, a new study to be published Thursday by the University of Toronto argues that Canadian regulators are wholly unprepared for the shale gas boom that is sweeping North America.

“To date, Canada has not developed adequate regulations or public policy to address the scale or cumulative impact of hydraulic fracking on water resources,” says the report by Ben Parfitt, a Victoria-based researcher whose work was commissioned by the water program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

Mr. Parfitt said the federal government is virtually absent from the discussion, while provinces issue oil companies with individual water-use permits despite having little understanding of the cumulative impacts of increasing drilling activity, no public reporting on the chemicals or amount of industrial water withdrawals and no systematic mapping of the country’s aquifers.

Without a more robust regulatory approach, “rapid shale gas development could potentially threaten important water resources, if not fracture the country’s water security,” Mr. Parfitt wrote in the study, which will be formally released Thursday at a day-long Munk School conference.

The international oil industry is investing heavily in North America shale plays. Just last weekend, Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM-T17.99-0.19-1.05%) announced it is teaming up with Norway’s Statoil ASA for a $1.3-billion (U.S.) acquisition of properties in Texas’ Eagle Ford shale. As well, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) said it is investing $1-billion for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s Eagle Ford play.

In Canada, companies like Talisman, Encana Corp., (ECA-T30.58-0.10-0.33%) and U.S-based Apache Corp. are planning massive investment in northeastern B.C. and western Alberta, notably in the prolific Horn River and Montney plays. Companies are also eager to develop Quebec’s Utica shale zone and in New Brunswick. As well, the industry is applying the drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques to other oil and unconventional gas fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan – using high-pressured, chemically-treated water to break open tight formations and release the trapped hydrocarbons.

The industry acknowledges that massive expansion of shale development through hydraulic fracturing could threaten water supplies if not properly done, but insist that provincial regulators and the companies themselves are prepared to meet the challenge through water recycling, and tapping salt-water aquifers.

In northeastern B.C., “there is a realization the full-blown development in some of these shale regions is going to tax the water availability if we go forward with a traditional, business-as-usual approach to how water is used,” said Kevin Heffernan, vice-president of Calgary-based Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas, a industry-backed association.

“And certainly the industry is very, very aware that shale-gas development is water intensive and is working hard to find approaches that are going to make sense for the long term,” Mr. Heffernan said in an interview.

But Mr. Parfitt suggests the industry – with the blessing of the B.C. regulator – is forging ahead with development plans in British Columbia and elsewhere while key questions remain unanswered.

While the industry claims there is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing has contaminated aquifers, the researcher cited a number of cases in the United States where ground water was tainted during nearby drilling activity. And there is no requirement in Canada for companies to disclose what chemicals they use in fracturing – as there is in several states.

As well, there has been no assessment in B.C. – or other provinces – of how the industry will be able to dispose of massive amounts of waste water that is produced during the drilling, a key concern regarding possible surface water contamination.

“The pace of the shale gas revolution demands greater scrutiny before more fracture lines appear across the country,” he said.

Learn more in our Investor Learning Centre

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dozens of G20 accused have charges dropped .. Charges withdrawn for 90 Quebecers

Dozens of G20 accused have charges dropped

Charges withdrawn for 90 Quebecers


CBC News

The Crown has dropped charges against more than 100 people who were arrested during the G20 summit in Toronto.

Ninety of those defendants were Quebecers who travelled to Toronto to protest the summit, which ran June 26-27. A group of them had taken a bus from Montreal to Toronto that weekend and were sleeping on the floor at the University of Toronto graduate students' union building.

They were rounded up by Toronto police early in the morning of June 27. They were charged with a number of offences, including unlawful assembly and conspiracy-related charges.

All of those people had their charges dropped Thursday because of a lack of evidence. Many of them did not appear in court in person, rather, they celebrated on the steps of the courthouse in downtown Montreal.

Lisa Perrault, a Montreal social worker and a member of the group Anti-Capitalist Convergence, was among those arrested on June 27. She was held at a temporary detention centre for three days before being charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

She said dropping more charges is an admission that they shouldn't have been arrested in the first place.

"It's all to show to people that they are not welcome to say what they have to say because that's what is going to happen to them."

'Charges were frivolous'

Julius Grey, a Montreal lawyer who has been a fierce critic of the policing during the summit, agreed.

"Well, it says what we knew from the start, those charges were frivolous, there was no evidence, that they knew of no conspiracy," he said.

Some 1,100 people were arrested that weekend, but only 308 were eventually charged. Before Thursday, charges were dropped against 69 of those people. To date, only six people have been convicted.

Most of those charged were held in a makeshift detention centre, then released on bail — just like Perrault.

"My rights weren't respected," said Maryce Poisson, who was arrested along with Perrault.

"I felt really stressed about that. And I still had visions about what happened in jail. I think it is something that's really traumatic."

Montreal man arrested

Meanwhile, Toronto police announced Thursday that they had arrested a Montreal man in connection to G20-related vandalism.

Youri Couture, 22, faces six charges, including assaulting a police officer, wearing a disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of dangerous weapons.

Police allege that during the G20 summit, Couture smashed the windows of a coffee shop, causing more than $18,000 in damages.

Police also allege he assaulted a police officer with a weapon during the meeting of world leaders.

Read more:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service shared information about Abousfian Abdelrazik with "foreign partner agencies" prior to his arrest and detention in Sudan in 2003, the federal government has admitted

CSIS shared Abousfian Abdelrazik information with foreign partner agencies

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service shared information about Abousfian Abdelrazik with "foreign partner agencies" prior to his arrest and detention in Sudan in 2003, the federal government has admitted The Canadian Security Intelligence Service shared information about Abousfian Abdelrazik with “foreign partner agencies” prior to his arrest and detention in Sudan in 2003, the federal government has admitted.

It made the admission in a statement of defence filed this week with the Federal Court in response to Abdelrazik's $27-million lawsuit against the government and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

The 34-page defence firmly denies Canada was complicit in Abdelrazik’s 2003 arrest by Sudanese authorities and asserts Canadian officials took “reasonable steps” to assist in Abdelrazik’s repatriation to Canada.

It also says CSIS did not share any information and intelligence about Abdelrazik with Sudanese authorities before his arrest in that country.

In his lawsuit against the government, Abdelrazik alleges Canada was responsible for his detention in Sudan and violated his constitutional right to come home.

The 47-year-old Sudanese-Canadian spent nearly six years in prison or forced exile in Sudan before the Federal Court ordered the government to repatriate him last year.

Paul Champ, Abdelrazik’s Ottawa lawyer, said Wednesday the decision to share information about Abdelrazik with agencies in other countries was “improper and negligent” because, he believes, it was likely passed on to the Sudanese.

“One way or another, the information that led to his detention and arrest came from Canada,” he said.

The government’s statement says Abdelrazik came to the attention of CSIS in the late 1990s “because of his associations with Montreal-based supporters of Islamist extremism.

“CSIS had reasonable grounds to suspect that (Abdelrazik) constituted a threat to the security of Canada by virtue of suspected links to international terrorism,” the statement of defence says.

CSIS agents interviewed Abdelrazik four times between April 2001 and February 2003 outside his home or at nearby public places.

After his arrest in Sudan, two CSIS agents interviewed Abdelrazik in October 2003. The purpose, the government document says, was to collect information and intelligence on “potential security threats.”

Abdelrazik asked the agents to tell his children in Canada where he was. But the agents declined, the defence statement says.

Champ said the defence corroborates many elements of Abdelrazik’s version of events.

“For the most part, we’re really happy with the defence,” Champ said. That Abdelrazik was able to accurately recall so many meetings and discussions “shows a lot about his credibility,” he said.

One of Abdelrazik’s meetings was with Deepak Obhrai, Cannon’s parliamentary secretary. The two met in March 2008, a month before he sought refuge in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.

The government’s defence confirms that Abdelrazik told Obhrai he’d been tortured while in custody, lifted his shirt and “briefly pointed to some places on his body.”

In response to Obhrai’s questions, Abdelrazik said he’d been beaten with a hose and made to stand for hours, adding that this was done at the request of Canada, the defence states.

It also says Obhrai asked Abdelrazik about his views on “various conflicts, including Israel and Palestine.”

Champ said the document’s account of the meeting largely corroborates Abdelrazik’s own version.

It also confirms that Obhrai “thought this was a good opportunity to question a Canadian citizen about his views on Israel and Palestine, as if that had any bearing whatsoever on his plight.”

No date has been set to hear the lawsuit, though a case management conference is scheduled for Oct. 26.

Last month, the Federal Court rejected a government motion to throw out parts of the lawsuit, as well as an attempt to have Cannon removed as a defendant.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

oh this is good!: Restaurant owner sues Rob Ford

The owner of a Toronto pub located on city-owned beachfront land said Tuesday he plans to sue mayoral candidate Rob Ford for libel over comments the controversial politician made earlier this year.

The lawyer for George Foulidis, who owns the Boardwalk Pub on Lakeshore Boulevard in the Woodbine Park area of the Beach, confirmed to CBC News that Ford was served with papers naming him in a $6-million libel suit.

The action came after Foulidis demanded that Ford apologize for suggesting he bribed city officials to extend his lease on the pub to 2028 without opening up the food services concession, which Foulidis has run since the 1980s, to other bidders.

Ford refused to back down from his comments.

The lawsuit says Ford made the claims "purely for political purposes."

At issue are comments Ford made to the Toronto Sun in August about the city's renewed deal with Foulidis's company, Tuggs Inc., which also expanded his licence to sell merchandise and alcohol in other parts of the beachfront.

The mayoral candidate told the Sun editorial board the contract "stinks to high heaven" and "smacks of civic corruption."

Foulidis said at the time that the comments have damaged his reputation, hurt his business and caused embarrassment to his wife and family.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Read more:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) ... Canada. Its name in French is Centre de Toxicomanie et de Santé Mentale.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is a consortium of mental health clinics at several sites in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its name in French is Centre de Toxicomanie et de Santé Mentale. (The acronym CAMH is most commonly pronounced "Cam-H".)

Among the focuses of the organization are the assessment and treatment of schizophrenia, mood & anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. There is also a focus on addictions to alcohol, drugs, and problem gambling at the former ARF site. CAMH also has a Law and Mental Health Programme (forensic psychiatry and forensic psychology) and is a major research centre.

CAMH is a teaching hospital with central facilities located in Toronto and 26 community locations throughout the province of Ontario. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

In October 2008, CAMH was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, CAMH was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[1]

Contents [hide]

1 Facilities

1.1 Clarke Institute of Psychiatry

1.2 Addiction Research Foundation

1.3 Donwood Institute

1.4 Queen Street Mental Health Centre

2 References

3 External links


CAMH was formed in 1998 as a result of the merger of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, the Addiction Research Foundation, the Donwood Institute and Queen Street Mental Health Centre.[2]

] Clarke Institute of Psychiatry

CAMH College Street siteThe hospital was founded in 1966 and named the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, after Charles Kirk Clarke, a pioneer in mental health in Canada.

Much of their work focuses on forensic psychology and research designed to shape public policy.[citation needed]

The former Clarke Institute building is now referred to as the College St. site of CAMH.

Addiction Research Foundation

ARF was founded in 1949. H. David Archibald, who had studied at the School of Alcohol Studies at Yale University, was hired by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in 1949. His mandate was to determine the scope of alcoholism in Ontario. He was named executive director when ARF opened and remained in that post until 1976. Focusing initially on outpatient treatment, their first facility was Brookside Hospital in 1951, expanding to branch offices and new locations in 1954, the same year they set up in-house research. In 1961, they expanded their mission to include drugs, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Research Foundation. In 1971, they expanded to a clinical teaching hospital called the Clinical Research and Treatment Institute. In 1978 ARF opened the School for Addiction Studies and expanded their international role in policy rdevelopment and research. Following ongoing recession in the 1990s, ARF was folded in 1998 into CAMH.[3]

[edit] Donwood Institute

Beginning in 1967, it had 47 beds and a 4-month waiting list in the 1980s. Focusing on substance abuse, boasted a 65% recovery rate for general population and an 85% recovery rate for physicians.[4]

[edit] Queen Street Mental Health Centre

This facility stands on what was once called the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, which opened on January 26, 1850. The facility had a series of names including the Toronto Lunatic Asylum and 999 Queen Street West.[5]

Reforms were made after a series of deaths at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre and newspaper accounts of involuntary drug treatment, electroshock therapy and prison-like conditions.[6][7]

[edit] References

1.^ "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Canada's Top 100 Employers Competition".

2.^ Scrivener, Leslie (February 25, 2007). Breakout at the asylum. Toronto Star

3.^ Blocker JS, Fahey DM, Tyrrell IR. Alcohol and temperance in modern history: an international encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO 2003. ISBN 1576078337 pp. 3–4.

4.^ Shilliday, Greg (May 15, 1983). The Donwood Institute: resort of last resort. Can Med Assoc J. 1983 May 15; 128(10): 1220–1221.

5.^ Everett, Barbara (2000). A Fragile Revolution: Consumers and Psychiatric Survivors Confront the Power of the Mental Health System. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 0889203423

6.^ Goar, Carol (June 13, 2008). Mental health progress and pain.Toronto Star

7.^ (January 1, 2002). No straitjacket required: a growing and vocal group of psychiatric survivors argues that diagnosing mental disorders is just a way to stifle social dissent ... This Magazine

 External links

CAMH website

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanksgiving (Canada)

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Canadian French: Jour de l'Action de grâce), occurring on the second Monday in October (since 1959), is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is also celebrated in a secular manner.

On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:

“ A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October. ”

Canadian Thanksgiving coincides with Columbus Day in the United States and the Dia de la Raza in most of Latin America.

Contents [hide]

1 Traditional celebration

2 History

3 References

4 External links

[edit] Traditional celebration

Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia being the exceptions. Where a company is regulated by the federal government (such as those in the telecommunications and banking sectors), it is recognized regardless of status provincially.[1][2][3][4][5]

As a liturgical festival, Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental-European Harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, and scriptural selections drawn from biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.[citation needed]

While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of the three-day weekend, though Sunday and Monday are the most common. While Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways. The Thanksgiving weekend, given that it invariably falls at the very end of the summer, is traditionally a perfect time to put away the patio furniture, close the cottage and pull the boat up, thus getting ready for the long cold winter.

Owing to Canada's proximity to the United States, American traditions such as parades and football have crossed the border and been adapted into Canadian traditions. The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade serves as the nation's only Thanksgiving Day parade and, as a result, gets significant national attention, being broadcast nationwide on CTV and A. Canada's top professional football league, the Canadian Football League, holds a nationally televised doubleheader known as the "Thanksgiving Day Classic." It is one of two weeks in which the league plays on Monday afternoons, the other being the Labour Day Classic. Unlike the Labour Day games, the teams that play on the Thanksgiving Day Classic rotate each year.

Various First Nations in Canada had long-standing traditions celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Canada's First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Cree and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.[6]

Canadian troops attend a Thanksgiving service in the bombed-out Cambrai Cathedral, in France in October 1918The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean.[7] Frobisher's Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations by Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, in 1604 onwards also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their First Nations neighbours.

After the Seven Years' War ended in 1763 handing over of New France to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year. After the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the newly independent United States and came to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

Starting in 1879 Thanksgiving Day was observed every year, but the date was proclaimed annually and changed year to year.[citation needed] The theme of the Thanksgiving holiday also changed each year to reflect an important event to be thankful for. In its early years it was for an abundant harvest and occasionally for a special anniversary.

After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11 occurred.[citation needed] Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays, and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.


1.^ "Paid public holidays".

2.^ "Thanksgiving - is it a Statutory Holiday?". Government of Nova Scotia. Retrieved 2008-10-13.

3.^ "Statutes, Chapter E-6.2" (PDF). Government of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved 2008-10-13.

4.^ "RSNL1990 Chapter L-2 - Labour Standards Act". Assembly of Newfoundland. Retrieved 2008-10-13.

5.^ "Statutory Holidays" (PDF). Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, Canada.

6.^ "The History of Thanksgiving - First Thanksgiving".

7.^ "Canada's first Thanksgiving: Frobisher set stage for our celebrations in different spirit than U.S.".


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rob Ford On The Record.

On The Record.

Ford on Cyclists

Every year we have dozens of people who get hit by cars or trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day. – March 7, 2007

Ford on Asians
Those Oriental people work like dogs. I’m telling you, the Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over. – March 5, 2008

Ford on HIV/AIDS

If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line. These are the facts. – June 29, 2006

Ford on Immigration

The situation is out of control. There should be a refugee freeze in Toronto. At some point we have to shut the door…we are the laughingstock of North America. – March 12, 2003

Ford on Conservation Signs

You’d have to be ret#rded if you can’t see frickin’ water in front of you. I don’t really know what we’re trying to accomplish by putting up signs and telling people, yeah, underneath this bridge there’s water. – May 20, 2009

Ford on Homeless Shelters

This is an insult to my constituents to even think about having a homeless shelter in their ward. – April 17, 2002

Rob Ford in Action

Rob Ford on Homeless Shelters

Rob Ford on Cyclists

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday there is no place here for the American Miranda rule

Waiting to have your lawyer present before you speak with police doesn't work in Canada anymore.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday there is no place here for the American Miranda rule which gives a suspect the right to have a lawyer present during questioning.

The judges rejected that right in three separate rulings, but the justices were sharply divided.

In the main case, they ruled 5-4 that the charter of rights does not confer a right to have a lawyer present during interrogation.

Calgary lawyer Balfour Der says you still have the right to speak with a lawyer before you are questioned, but that lawyer does not have to be in the room when you are questioned by police.

He says you also have the right to diligently look for a lawyer but you can't just sit around with the excuse your lawyer is out of town or you can't find one.

Der adds, police can question you all they want, but you can choose not to answer.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Commissioner finds Veterans Affairs 'seriously mishandled' personal info.!

A Canadian Gulf War veteran is calling for a full public inquiry after the federal privacy commissioner found Veterans Affairs officials broke the law by sharing his sensitive personal and medical information.

An emotional Sean Bruyea said the officials in the department deliberately "crossed the line" in an attempt to discredit him as an outspoken opponent to the 2006 Veteran's Charter by including detailed information about his medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment in minister's briefing notes.

Bruyea, who has brought a $400,000 court action against the federal government, said he felt vindicated by the commissioner's findings but called on the federal government to apologize to all veterans.

"An apology would let us live in peace and start to rebuild the shattered trust between the government of Canada and the disabled soldiers," Bruyea said during an interview on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon.

He said the actions of department officials left him and his wife in a "humiliating state of powerlessness and vulnerability" and in "constant terror" of what the department, which controlled 100 per cent of his income at the time, would do next.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper placed the blame squarely on the department's bureaucrats, saying "the fact that some in the bureaucracy have been abusing these files and not following appropriate processes is completely unacceptable.

"We will ensure that rules are followed, that the recommendations of the privacy commission are implemented [and] that if this behaviour continues, there will be strong sanctions against it," the prime minister told reporters Thursday at an aerospace announcement in Winnipeg.

But Bruyea said the Prime Minister's Office "completely ignored" hundreds of pages of requests he sent about his case.

Privacy breaches 'alarming': commissioner

Bruyea's personal information ended up in March 2006 briefing notes of the former minister in charge, Greg Thompson, while his medical information, including diagnosis, symptoms and prognosis, were also found in a second ministerial briefing note dating back to 2005 under the former Liberal government and then-minister.

In her report, Stoddart said she found it "alarming" that Bruyea's information was shared "seemingly with no controls" among departmental officials "who had no legitimate need to see it."

Stoddart's office also found that documents containing Bruyea's medical information were sent to a veterans' hospital without his consent. While there were other briefing notes containing personal information, Stoddart found those were prepared for the "purpose of a ministerial response to particular issues raised by the complainant and therefore the content appeared appropriate."

The commissioner added she was also deeply concerned that officials from numerous branches of Veterans Affairs, including program policy, communications and media relations, were involved in discussing and contributing to the briefing notes and also had full access to them.

No apology from Blackburn

Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn says he will immediately start implementing the privacy commissioner's recommendations and 'correct this situation.' (CBC)Stoddart recommended the department immediately revise its protocols for handling personal information to ensure it is shared only on a need-to-know basis, and provide training to employees about appropriate personal information-handling practices.

Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, who took over the portfolio eight months ago after Thompson left politics, says he's now looking at increasing penalties for bureaucrats who break the rules.

Blackburn called what happened in Bruyea's case "grave and unacceptable" and said the department is immediately taking steps to implement her recommendations.

"It's very embarrassing for our department to have that kind of documentation saying we were wrong," Blackburn said. "And I'm telling you, we will implement all those recommendations and it won't be the end of that. We'll go further."

But the minister stopped short of apologizing personally to Bruyea or saying if anyone in Veterans Affairs would be fired as a result of the commissioner's findings.

"This case is before the court," Blackburn told the CBC's Solomon. "It’s for this that I cannot speak on this specific case."

Bruyea said Blackburn spoke with him shortly before his CBC interview and told him he was legally bound not to apologize. He said he told the minister he understood he "has a frustrating job."

"I understand that the bureaucracy in Veterans Affairs doesn't like him," Bruyea said. "I told him that means he's doing a good job if he's actually disagreeing with them."

NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer said the commissioner's findings show the need for a full public inquiry into the matter.

"These members of the military serve their country, they deserve respect and if their information is being used like confetti through the department, then what these people need is a full inquiry to ascertain exactly who, what, when, where and why," he told CBC News. "Why would they do this?"

Read more: