Hello Canada. My name is Ben and Allan has kindly passed me the reins of BlogsCanada.ca – I have big plans for the website so please stay tuned. I’m still getting used to the back-end of the website so please bear with me for the next few weeks as I slowly figure everything out. Over […]
Dear Readers……., and friends! It has been an interesting time, as well as a time that saw major changes in my personal and working life, but now it is time to let others take on the responsibility of populating these pages with interesting and informative news and gossip. Ben Clarke is the new owner of […]
Dear Readers: There is a lot of confusion about whether Monty Python is really funny …………., or not! What I mean is that some sketches like “The dead Parrot” are among the funniest things I have ever seen, and some other stuff is just plain stupid. BUT. I have to admit that when they ARE funny, […]
Dear Readers: Hey kids, I ran across this article today and since Ontario Place opened when I was still quite young, (teens) and these photo’s and video’s brought back a whole bunch of memories! Any kid who spent time in Toronto during the 1970s, 80s and 90s surely fostered blissful, orange-soaked memories at Children’s Village […]
Dear Readers: The Washington Post hit the nail right on the head (Or did they just kick the cat?) when they published this article today! By Michelle Singletary How much is your cat’s life worth? Or your dog’s? Would you take out a credit card specifically to pay for veterinarian care for your cat? Would […]
2015 is shaping up to be a monumental year for the international climate movement, and Earth Day Canada wants to show the world that Canadians are supportive of meaningful climate action. As such, Earth Day Canada is creating a 2015 Earth Flag on which we will collect signatures from people across the country who are […]
Dear Readers: Aficionado’s of online medieval manuscripts—whoever you are—may be intrigued to know about a 14th-century image of Yoda, wide-spread ears and all, NPR reports. (That’s right kids, Yoda lived for over 900 years, so this was a drawing of him when he was middle-aged!) But is it really him? “I’d love to say that it really […]
Firefighters desperately trying to locate voices crying “Help” and “Fire” trapped in an inferno found the desperate pleas came from two parrots. Crews in Boise, Idaho were called to the blaze on Friday night. After arriving on the scene they heard cries of “Help” and “Fire” from inside leading them to believe several people were […]
The woman’s husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet she had stayed by his bedside every single day. One day, when he came to, he motioned for her to come nearer. As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, “You know what? You have been […]
Dear Readers: Lots of things confusing me today bunky, including a bit of confusion about how ya can get a free meal just for being old! There are many perks of growing old — seeing your kids have kids, wearing shirts that say “World’s Best Grandma,” calling rowdy youngsters “whippersnappers” and more — and getting discounts […]
Dear Readers: Today we have a couple of stories from opposite ends of the spectrum that show just how crazy things are getting in this world! The Meitiv family, who is once again battling CPS in Maryland over allowing their children to go to the playground unsupervised. (Photo: Facebook) The Maryland parents investigated by Child […]
Dear Readers: You usually forgiving reporter is slowly getting fed-up with individuals and special interest groups who hold society to ransom with whatever stupid bullshit they go on about! The latest case is about a certain Alain Simoneau of Saguenay Quebec who went to a local council meeting seven years ago and decided he didn’t like them saying […]
Dear Readers: Your ever faithful servant and reporter tries to keep up with all the latest news so that we can supply you with the latest poop on what’s going on in your world ………., and this one takes the cake! “Hey, wanna go see the body?” may seem like an odd thing to hear at […]
Dear Readers: Your long suffering reporter fervently believes in that old axiom, “The French are the best second raters in the world” and this article does nothing to dispel that belief! A Montreal man is criticizing Quebec language laws after a clerk at a local Toys “R” Us told him he was wasn’t allowed to purchase […]
O.K. folks, read the following article, and then remember ……., ya heard it here first! A survey by dating social network site Skout, cheese heads get more action. Skout surveyed a total of 4,600 people. Grilled cheese yields more sex, better people! Thirty-two percent of grilled cheese lovers reported having sex at least six times […]
The Ontario government tried to introduce a new sex education course to public school kids a few month ago and it included such things as discussions about masturbation, trans-gender issues, same sex couples and much more. Now I’m bringing this up for a couple of reasons kids. First of all, we’re not sure if some […]
A man turns to his wife in bed and whispers “Did you know it’s National Orgasm Day?” “Oh, what a pity,” she smiled, “Right in the middle of National Headache Week !!” ———————————— SENIOR TRYING TO SET PASSWORD WINDOWS: Please enter your new password: USER: cabbage WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 […]
Seems I don’t know who to believe anymore kids! The CBC is on a campaign to flog what they call the missing and/or murdered native women across Canada and it makes the news every night. You would think there is a vat network of guys like Robert Pickton who are abducting and killing girls left right […]
No name calling, no hatred, no political agenda. CANADIAN COMMENT APPEARS AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE AND IS MEANINGFUL. THERE IS ALSO SOME RECENTLY ADDED BRITISH COMMENT. This pilot hit the nail right on the head in his open letter. A newspaper stated that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling […]
Well boys and girls, here is a woman who would make Alf the Alien proud! Serial husband killer and North Carolina death row inmate, Blanche Taylor Moore, requested this weekend that her last meal be a kitten — a live kitten The prison administration is required to accept all last meal demands of any kind. Thus, they will obtain […]
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WINNIPEG—Under Henry Burris’ smile is the ache, and you can find it if you look. He’s had a marvellous career, a Hall of Fame one, one Grey Cup, but the idea of Bad Hank — the label given his worst moments, of which there have been a few — hangs over him. He talked earlier in the week about how he had to trust his reads, make the throws. At 40, playing for the underdog Ottawa Redblacks, it felt like Burris needed this.
In the 103rd Grey Cup, in front of 36,634 in the freezing Manitoba night, Burris was handed the ball with three minutes and 81 yards to go. A chance.
But he could only get them to midfield. He took a sack. He waited to get the ball back. There was enough time.
Edmonton, however, was the best team in this league for a reason. They hammered the ball, hammered it again, strangled the clock. Burris never saw the ball again, and Edmonton won its first Grey Cup in 10 years, 26-20.
After a quick start, it felt like the underdog Redblacks were holding on, trying to ride a powerful bull. Edmonton is so full of explosive players, and every time they were defused you could almost hear the relief. Meanwhile, Burris was starting to make squirrelly throws after a surgical start, and you could see caution creep in. Edmonton kicker Sean Whyte missed one field goal in the first half, and doinked one off the upright in the second.
Everything Burris was throwing was short and safe, and that wasn’t going to do it. Ottawa still led 20-18 with a little over four minutes to go, because its defence had been making enough plays between big gains for Edmonton’s dangerous skill players. In only their second year of existence, in this strange year, the 12-6 Redblacks weren’t given much of a chance, until they gave themselves one.
But the Eskimos drew two pass interference calls that totalled 65 yards on a single drive, and scored on a third-and-goal from the one. It was enough.
It had started, strangely, with a lumberjack controversy. The lumberjacks are students from Algonquin College who serve as Redblacks mascots, and were en route to Winnipeg when the CFL somehow upheld the complaint from the Eskimos that having the lumberjacks on the sideline cutting a slice of a log after each Ottawa touchdown would constitute “a competitive advantage.”
Sheesh. The compromise involved lumberjacks but no cutting, or the CFL justice equivalent of cutting the baby in half. Edmonton’s complaint was, as Redblacks owner Jeff Hunt put it, “petty.”
But then the game became something where every little thing mattered. The Eskimos were 7.5-point favourites, and you could actually see the difference — an offensive line full of giants, huge cornerbacks, towering receivers who can run by you and laugh. The Eskimos went 14-4 with Reilly missing half his games, and finishing ninth in the league in passer efficiency when he did play. They tore 14-4 Calgary apart last week.
And then Burris took the field. His first pass was a tricky one, and was batted away instead of being intercepted. And then Burris carved his way down the field, completing five passes to five different receivers, and suddenly it was 7-0 Ottawa. Edmonton’s Kendall Lawrence fumbled the kick return, and Burris smoothly sliced his way to another touchdown in four plays. A missed convert later, it was 13-0 for the underdogs, 6:09 in. The lumberjacks couldn’t saw the wood, but were excited nonetheless.
And then, Edmonton flexed, slowly. A field goal. Pressure on Burris. The strongest-armed QB in the league saw Chris Williams streaking downfield on the next play, though, and . . . the ball just slipped as he threw it, flopped around, and was intercepted. Bad Hank. And you wondered: If the ache is right beneath the surface, how much would Burris worry about another bad throw? How badly does the 40-year-old not want to be Bad Hank?
Reilly hammered home a touchdown six plays later to make it 13-10, and the worry lines started to appear for Ottawa. A Redblack offside negated what might have been a fumble-return touchdown. Edmonton’s pressure started to crash home like an avalanche finding a little mountain village, and one possession after that, Burris threw a couple passes that looked dangerous, and Ottawa had to settle for a field goal. With 12 seconds left in the half Reilly smashed home a nine-play touchdown drive. Edmonton, after that start, led 17-16 at the half.
The tug of war carried on, deep into the night, and Burris, who made the game look so easy to start, saw his stable of four star receivers disappear, saw Eskimos crash into his backfield, and couldn’t find the solution. The game was easy, until it was hard.
There was quiet turbulence this week, in a league that used to veer into heavy weather. Still no player drug testing plan. The looming question of the league and concussions. Canada’s national Inuit organization asking Edmonton to change its name, and other voices chiming in. The game sellout was aided by tickets distributed free to local high schools, and the commissioner had his first bad day. It wasn’t perfect.
Neither was the game, and neither was Burris. He will still smile. But this one will hurt.
Gene editing has already been used to fight diseases, but there’s now hope that it might eliminate the diseases altgether. Researchers have shown that it’s possible to eliminate facial muscular dystrophy using a newer editing technique, CRISPR (Clus…
Gangbangers all in a row, behind prison bars.
The verbal quagmire of Ontario penal jargon refers to it as “inmate incompatibility,” a situation best avoided by — here’s another priceless phrase — “numeric balancing.”
In plainer English, that means sprinkling inmates across a jail so that members of the same street gang (Security Threat Group) would not be on the same range, thereby duplicating an identifiable crew’s menace as it exists on the outside.
Plainer still: Don’t toss these violent, sworn-ally hoods together. The risk factor of harm resulting — to prison staff but more frequently to other inmates — is demonstrably high.
At the now-shuttered Don Jail, back in 2008, an intake officer looked at the repeat-offender details of Jason Clive Walters, a low-ranking member of the notorious Malvern Crew, and assigned him to Range 3A South whilst awaiting trial for multiple weapons-related charges. That apparently made “numeric balancing” sense because there were no other Malvern associates in the unit.
But Range 3A South contained half a dozen inmates identified as belonging to gangs, most notably Tyshan Riley, arguably the nastiest gangbanger ever to rise from the heap of street thugs in Toronto. Riley was kingpin of the equally villainous Galloway Boyz.
The Galloway Boyz and the Malvern Crew were intense, blood-soaked rival operations. Toronto residents will recall the mayhem they caused a decade ago.
Riley was in custody and on trial in ’08 for first-degree murder in the shooting of two innocent men, one killed and the other wounded. (He would later be convicted and sentenced to life and later still receive another 18 years for shooting two other likewise innocent teenagers.) All the charges arose out of the ongoing feud between Galloway and Malvern. It was Riley who allegedly led the “ride squads” that drove into Malvern territory and fired at people they believed were part of the Crew.
While incarcerated and before those convictions Riley racked up 23 misconduct charges — 20 of them after arriving at the Don — including five assaults or threats and three for possession of a knife or shank.
Yet the intake officer never stopped to think: Maybe putting Riley and Walters in close quarters, on the same range, was a lousy idea. He focused solely on the aforementioned “numbers game.”
It was, as Justice Arthur Gans would observe, “a recipe for disaster.”
And because of that disaster, Walters — a gang boy himself — has just been awarded $3.2 million from the province in a successful civil suit over the severe lifelong injuries he suffered in a shower attack orchestrated by Riley on Nov. 19, 2008.
The pitiful details of that assault are contained in the Superior Court judgment Gans issued following the August civil (jury) trial. The reasons for the award were only recently released. Another judge handled the award assessment and pegged the settlement at $3.75 million. But it then went back to Gans, who trimmed the figure by 15 per cent because Walters hadn’t asked to be placed in protective custody, which would have removed him from Riley’s reach.
An ordinary person who suffers extensive injuries as the result of, say, a car accident where the other driver is held responsible could receive award damages totalling many, many millions, depending on the lifetime care involved. “What makes this case striking is that it was a high level gang member against a really low-level guy who was part of a gang,” Walters’ lawyer, Andrew Canman, told the Star on Sunday.
Canman took over the case after the claim had been filed and he met with Walters’ mother, who now is responsible for her son’s extended care needs. What he saw was a hard-working single mom living in a tough neighbourhood who’d done her best to steer her children away from the gang lifestyle. Now she’s burdened with the ever-after costs of a son who will never be able to live independently.
Walters required two craniectomies — removal of skull sections — and was hospitalized in acute care for six months and then sent to a rehabilitation facility for a further 16 months. He was left paralyzed on one side of his body and needs a cane to walk. He suffers from aphasia, a brain condition that has left him often unable to articulate or understand words. He’s 33 years old.
This is what happened in the Don shower-toilet area next to the “day-room” — where inmates were obliged to remain from “sun-up to sun-down” — on Range 3A South, as recounted at trial by a witness inmate who testified, despite the “con-code” which heavily discourages “rat culture.”
Walters was ambushed by Riley — Gans accepted the witness’ ID and Riley was the only Galloway Boyz in the unit at that time — and was put in a chokehold, dragged behind a waist-high partition and subjected to a vicious beating that rendered him unconscious while other inmates congregated around, effectively, perhaps deliberately, obstructing the view of the unit officer on duty at the control desk.
Gans concluded that the assault had been foreseeable and the Ministry of Correctional Services, with oversight of the Don, failed to protect Walters while he was in custody.
“Jason was actually in the day area for less than five hours over the three days,” he was at the Don Jail, says Canman. “And he was carried out on a stretcher.”
A colossal misjudgment, putting Riley in pounding proximity to Walters, and authorities should have known better.
Not an infrequent occurrence either. At the murder trial of rapper/serial killer Mark Moore earlier this year, the key prosecution witness — a former associate — apologized to the jury for gaps in his memory caused by head trauma. He, too, had been beaten in jail earlier, allegedly by Moore, when put in the same holding cells at the University Ave. courthouse, despite a no-contact order.
The Crown has indicated it will appeal Gans’ decision.
“Jason’s mother hasn’t seen a penny of the money yet,” said Canman. “Maybe she never will.”
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Overflowing house Friday night as a bunch of things were happening as well as the Jam. Politicians came by, lots of artists were networking, Rocky Mt Lo led a ribbon […] . . . → Read More: PostArctica: Special Event – Jam Report #5
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will perform a delicate dance at the climate change negotiations in Paris this week, where the Canadian delegation will encourage the world to do so much more — while leaving many details of its own efforts for later.
“What’s the new Canada going to do?” Jennifer Morgan, the global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute, asked during a telephone news conference call earlier this month as she previewed negotiations at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) beginning Monday.
That question summed up the incredibly high expectations for the new Liberal government when it comes to Canada taking on a bigger role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, after climate activists and even other world leaders had painted the previous Conservative government as environmental laggards.
“Canada’s back,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has said in many speeches and news conferences in the lead-up to COP21, even while acknowledging that both Conservative and Liberal governments of the past have failed to do enough.
While using the lofty rhetoric of regime change on the one hand, though, the Liberals have also been working hard to manage expectations when it comes to what Canada will do at the meeting itself.
After all, the Liberals decided to stick with the carbon emissions reduction target set by the Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper — 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which is the weakest of all the targets submitted by G7 countries — instead of coming to the table with a more ambitious one.
The Liberals are instead promising to meet with the provincial and territorial premiers within 90 days of returning from Paris to negotiate a “pan-Canadian framework” that would include a new national target and individualized plans to meet them, which would likely involve carbon-pricing policies for the provinces that do not already have them.
“To get a new target we need to figure out what actions are required to get there,” McKenna said at a news conference Sunday in Paris.
Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C., said he expects most people at COP21 to be understanding of this position.
“I think people are hoping that Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadian government will come and signal Canada’s back in the game and wants to be a leader, wants to take more ambition both on domestic mitigation and on climate finance and other fronts, but I think there will be some recognition of the need for the new government not only to get its own act together at the federal level but to consult extensively with the provinces, which have been taking leadership on this issue,” Meyer said during a telephone news conference last week.
New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, critic for the environment and climate change, noted the Liberals knew well ahead of time that COP21 was on the calendar.
“I don’t know how much sympathy they are going to get in the world for asking for a late slip, that they couldn’t get their homework done on time for some reason or another,” said Cullen.
In some ways, the expectations are even higher after Paris, where the Liberals want to lead provinces — albeit allowing them the flexibility of individualized plans — into the low-carbon economy of the future.
The Liberals have promised a $2-billion Low Carbon Economy Trust.
They have also promised to pour $125-billion over the next decade into infrastructure investments, which many believe presents an opportunity for further action on climate change.
“That could result in a major transformation in terms of the Canadian economy and its relationship to climate change,” said Michael Byers, the Canada Research Chair in global politics and international law at the University of British Columbia.
Stewart Elgie, a law professor and director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Ottawa, said one of the biggest challenges will be figuring out who takes on the biggest — and the smallest — burden when it comes to meeting national targets.
“Every jurisdiction is going to have to do its share to meet the national objective. That doesn’t mean they all have to do exactly the same thing,” said Elgie.
“If you are an oil and gas producer providing fossil fuels not just to Canada but the world, you’re not going to be able to achieve the same level of absolute emissions reductions and provinces that are not oil and gas producers,” Elgie said.
Conservative environment critic Ed Fast said his party is going to be challenging the Liberal government to ensure public funds are spent efficiently, especially when it comes to their talk of incentives and disincentives.
“Governments are notoriously bad at picking winners and losers and right now my fear is that the government is going to start arbitrarily picking winners and losers and will again do a very poor job of that. We believe that market-driven initiatives, private-sector initiatives within the appropriate incentivized environment are probably the way to go,” Fast said.
It’s easy to imagine a piece of art in your head, but making it real is another matter if you’re not an artist. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply describe what you wanted? WordsEye is trying just that. Its beta web app lets you describe a scene…
Last Sunday hell froze over, or so it seemed to many Albertans. Alberta’s NDP premier, Rachel Notley, unveiled her government’s Climate Leadership Plan. She was surrounded by representatives from NGOs and aboriginal groups as well as the CEOs of Suncor, … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Notley Reads the Tea Leaves: The Climate Leadership Plan
This will be Kobe Bryant’s final season in the NBA … he just made it official by penning a love letter to basketball. Kobe says the 2015-16 season will be his last in the Lakers purple and gold — and any other uniform. In the letter, posted …
Two climate scientists (and friends) are taking the long way to the climate talks.
Theirs is an epic Pole to Paris journey — to spread climate awareness.
The Arctic marathon
It is about 9 p.m. in Guise, a small town in northern France and Erlend Moster Knudsen is on the phone. He sounds cheery, there is no sign of fatigue in his voice. He may as well have been at a spa all day.
But he has been running all day — about 30 kilometres.
“I feel good,” he says. “I’m in France, getting closer to Paris. But I still have 300 kilometres to go.”
Knudsen, 29, has a Ph.D. in Arctic climate studies and is one half of the Pole to Paris initiative: a pair of human-powered journeys starting in the South and North and meeting in Paris for the United Nations convention on climate change.
The idea came after Knudsen met Daniel Price four years ago at a summer school in Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole. The two climate scientists were frustrated. They were sitting behind their desks doing research and writing papers “and there was this big challenge and yet it was not well known … not understood among the general public really,” Knudsen says.
And that is how the idea behind Pole to Paris was born — to spread climate education, to get people involved in a new, adventurous way.
“People care about what is happening … they want their leaders to take action. They want the planet to stay healthy,” Knudsen says.
“It is just as simple as that.”
His marathon started on Aug. 3 just above the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway. Since then, he has run 2,200 kilometres through four countries.
Norway, he says, was a challenge. He was running in the mountains alone carrying a backpack of 15 kilograms. For the most part, he depended on the kindness of strangers for food, showers and a night’s stay.
“I would get up early in the morning, start the day by doing mental exercises and remind myself that why I am doing this and why it is important,” he says.
He gave a talk almost every day and collected stories of people who have been affected by climate change.
In the U.K., Belgium and France — the other three countries he has covered — his backpack has been lighter (about 10 kilograms), food and lodging more accessible. And he has been able to run with other people.
Knudsen will arrive in Paris Friday.
“What I hope to see there is that we get past this point where we just blame each other, where we have this kindergarten mentality where we say ‘I don’t want to do anything until you do anything’,” he says.
But finally, “we need a binding agreement and that is going to be the toughest one.”
From Antarctica on a bike
By the time Daniel Price arrives in Paris Friday, he will have biked over 10,000 kilometres through 19 countries over seven months — the last few days of which he’s spent in the snowy, vertical Alps.
“It was absolutely beautiful,” he says.
Price, a British scientist who specializes in Antarctic climate, says the bike ride and his transformation from a scientist to a spokesperson has been successful.
“For people to respond to a problem, they first have to understand it,” he says. “We have to reach that tipping point where enough people are saying, ‘Hey, I think we should be doing something meaningful about this ASAP.’”
Climate change, he says, is a particularly difficult problem because it’s abstract to many and isn’t an in-your-face issue. “But what people must realize is that eventually it will be,” he says. “Once temperature increases are locked in, there isn’t really anything we can do. And that is where the urgency of the situation comes in.”
Even though scientists have been loud and clear in their warnings that climate change will lead to catastrophic floods, heat waves and famines — which in turn will cause poverty and trigger massive migrations — studies show that many people are still not convinced. A survey in early November showed that only 54 per cent of people in 40 countries believe climate change is a serious concern. That number was only 45 per cent in the U.S. and just 18 per cent in China.
In their ambitious pilgrimage to Paris, both Price and Knudsen have tried to find new and better ways to spread the word: that climate change is happening, and that it is caused by human beings.
Their aim has been to reach as many people as possible and inform them about the urgency of climate change.
Price says the Gobi Desert and the Alps were physically very tough. There were some setbacks, too. His ride should have been about 17,000 kilometres but he was refused a tourist visa in Russia — he ended up having to take a train from Mongolia to Latvia.
In the last 32 hours, he has covered 350 kilometres.
Once in Paris, Price and Knudsen’s plan is to give talks and hold small events. There, they’ll be joined by flags they’ve carried that will have made it all the way from the poles. (Price’s bike ride began in New Zealand — as close to Antarctica as was feasible — but the flags had accompanied the men on earlier research trips to the poles).
“Our main focus was to raise awareness ahead of (Paris talks) over the last few months,” he says. “In Paris, we will be rounding up the journeys and hopefully engaging more people in the climate change narrative by telling our stories.”
Few international talks have hogged headlines like the Paris climate talks that start Monday. They will run until Dec. 11 and at least 147 heads of state are expected to attend.
Here’s why the Paris talks are so crucial.
What is happening in Paris?
Every year for the last two decades, world leaders have got together for a United Nations convention on climate change. Monday, over 40,000 delegates from all over the world are meeting in Paris for two weeks. World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are expected to sign an agreement outlining the steps that more than 190 countries must take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — and save the planet.
Why do we need this deal right now?
Existing agreements on emissions run out in 2020. The Paris talks should produce an agreement for at least the decade after that and perhaps even later, when the effects of rising temperatures are expected to become severe.
Is this emissions agreement really important?
Yes. Climate scientists warn if emissions continue unabated the earth will warm more than 2 degrees Celsius and we’ll pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes irreversible. Scientists say the impact of natural disasters could wipe out low-lying islands and trigger famines as a result of droughts and floods.
Current emissions trajectories indicating we are heading for a rise of about 5 degrees Celsius. Current temperatures are up around 0.8 degrees Celsius from 100 years ago, and scientists say that has contributed to frequent natural disasters.
For John Smol, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University, the problem is too big to dither over. “Greenhouse induced climate change is a global problem and therefore needs a global solution,” he says.
“We cannot continue with the old and tired excuse that we are not going to do anything until every country agrees to sign on. This is just crazy and living in denial.”
What is likely to happen in Paris?
The final deal is tough to predict, but here is what we know already: the EU will agree to cut its emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030. The U.S. will cut its emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025. China will agree that its emissions will stop increasing by 2030.
The countries responsible for over 90 per cent of global emissions have publicly come up with their targets, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. These will largely determine whether an ambitious 2015 agreement is made, leading to a low-carbon future.
How hopeful are experts?
Depends on what you mean by “hopeful.”
Jason Thistlethwaite, the director of University of Waterloo’s Climate Change Adaptation Project, says countries will, at best, agree to voluntarily enforce their own domestic emissions reductions targets “with a UN oversight mechanism that assesses whether countries are meeting their emissions targets.”
He says it is unlikely that there will be any legal enforcement of these targets, “which means we are unlikely to fulfil the global commitment to keep temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.”
Why has a global agreement been so elusive?
That’s due in part to differences between the developed world and developing countries, including India, China, Ethiopia and the many small island nations.
Leaders of these poorer countries say that developed nations have a responsibility to take the lead on climate change. They argue carbon emissions from industrialized countries have been the biggest contributor to climate over recent decades. They also say that the cheapest and most efficient way for their economies to catch up is through fossil fuels. Burning oil and coal is hardly environmentally friendly, but renewable energy sources tend to be incredibly expensive. Fossil fuel use is how Western nations grew to be the powerhouses they are today, after all.
In turn, the developed nations have balked at paying unimaginable sums of money to reduce emissions without getting a strong commitment from the rest of the world.
Let’s talk about the Green Climate Fund.
The Green Climate Fund was established in 2010 to help developing countries fight climate change. Money from the fund will be distributed over the next several years — though it likely has nowhere close to the $100 billion it needs by 2020.
Some experts believe that the fund will get a big boost in Paris. But questions about how it will function remain.
Are there any world leaders who will play a bigger role than others?
French President François Hollande is expected to be front and centre at the conference, says Simon Dalby, a professor at Laurier University and CIGI chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. As host, the French government has the responsibility to ensure the success of the talks. Ahead of the meetings, Hollande has banned climate change-related marches, a move that has put him in the spotlight, says Dalby.
Xi Jinping and Barack Obama, the Chinese and American presidents who signed a historic emissions deal last year, will play a larger role than others at the summit.
Dalby says he would like to see Trudeau “do something. But we have a lot of ground to catch up after a decade of obstructionism.”
Today, the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health and Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, c…
|exactEarth president Peter Mabson. Photo c/o TheRecord.|
Cambridge, Ontario based exactEarth is thinking big and they aren’t shy about making their intentions known.
Currently, exactEarth provides satellite tracking services to the global maritime market. On November 23, 2015 they took a minority ownership position in Myriota of Adelaide, Australia, as announced in press release, “exactEarth Invests in Satellite ‘Internet-of-Things’ Technology Company.” Myriota makes technology that connects devices globally.
This move is part of a strategy to get a piece of what’s predicted to be the next big technological development: The Internet of Things (IoT). Peter Mabson, president of exactEarth, confirmed the strategy in a November 23, 2015 article at The Record.com, “ExactEarth investing in Internet of Things startup.”
Many people don’t understand what the IoT is. Although at this point different definitions exist, Forbes magazine outlines one of them in the May 13th, 2014 article, “A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things’.”
|Daniel Lee (at bottom right), giving a presentation on “Internet of Things Monetization; Challenges and Chances,” at the 2014 Internet of Things Conference, which was held from October 20th – 21st, 2014 in San Francisco, CA. It’s worth noting that, as more and more devices are connected to the IoT, the connector of choice is likely to be the existing satellite communications system, which already hosts a surprising amount of internet traffic and which will expand to handle the increasing demands for bandwidth. Screenshot c/o HTML5DevConf & IoTaconf.|
The key concept is this:
… the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.
This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig…
… the analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices…that’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).
The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.
It’s easy to see why a satellite data company like exactEarth would want a piece of the IoT. Why just monitor ship activity when you can get a piece of monitoring everything?
So how does exactEarth’s latest move fit in to what they’ve done up until now?
|Screenshot from the November 2015 Forbes “The Internet Of Things” video. As outlined in the video, ATM’s were one of the first IoT devices as early as 1974; by 2020 approximately 250,000 vehicles will be on our roads and also connected to the internet; by 2020 the food and beverage industry could annually save up to 15% of their current costs through the adaption of IoT methodologies and the IoT will add between $15 – 20 trillion USD’s to global GDP over the next twenty years. Screenshot c/o Forbes.|
COM DEV, a hardware provider to the satellite industry, must spin off exactEarth into a separate company as part of its recent, proposed sale to New Jersey based Honeywell International. The details of the sale are outlined in the November 7, 2015 article, “Should the proposed COM DEV sale to US based Honeywell trigger the Investment Canada Act?”
Whether or not COM DEV will have anything to do with exactEarth going forward is unknown.
Hisdesat, on the other hand, remains part of the strategy. As described on their website, “Hisdesat Servicios Estratégicos S.A. was founded in 2001 as a government satellite services operator to act primarily in the areas of defense, security, intelligence and foreign affairs. Since 2005 we have been providing secure satellite communications services to government agencies from various countries, and we are currently developing new earth observation and maritime traffic information (AIS) satellite constellations.”
Another exactEarth partner, Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Florida, bills themselves as “a world leader in space, geospatial and remote sensing solutions.” The connection between exactEarth and Harris is covered in the July 5, 2015 article, “The REAL Story Behind the Upcoming (Maybe) exactEarth IPO.”
The three companies combine satellite constellations, data capture and management, data processing and delivery systems, and secure communications expertise. This is where exactEarth’s minority ownership of Myriota comes into play.
Myriota bills themselves as a company with “Global Reach for the Internet of Things.” Adding a system designed specifically for the IoT pulls everything exactEarth has together for that Next Big Thing.
The IofT concept is a slow developing process that will take many years. Now is probably the best time for a company to build the structure needed to be a significant player in what could turn out to be the next revolution in technology.
Who says Canadian companies can’t think big?
Glen Strom is a freelance writer and editor with a background in business and technical writing. Follow him on Twitter @stromspace for the latest on Canadian space stories.
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting a lot of love from climate change campaigners these days simply because he doesn’t insult them.
It was 13 years ago. Jean Chrétien’s government ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the Liberal prime minister proclaimed “Canada is a good citizen of the world.’’
It was four years ago. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives pulled Canada out of the protocol. “Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past,’’ said his environment minister, Peter Kent.
After more than a decade of spinning our wheels — or worse — on climate change, why is there hope a new Liberal government under Justin Trudeau and a new cast of provincial premiers will make the tough decisions on the environment that have eluded our political leaders in the past?
Why might there be the political will in 2016 that has not been there before — why now might our leaders for once look past the horizon of the next election and shake us from our climate torpor?
The question of political will, not science or economics, is central to any significant Canadian action at home after the Paris climate summit and while the political alignment in this country raises expectations today, it may be only marginally better now than then, says the man who was at the centre of the Kyoto debate.
“It is not a night-and-day difference,’’ says David Anderson, the environment minister for Chrétien and then Paul Martin, who recalled those climate struggles of the past in conversation from his Victoria home.
“We have a better opportunity now because we do not have the disinformation campaign being waged by the oil and gas industry. They are not actively trying to trip up Canadian policy today as they did then.’’
The mainstream media is no longer the portal it once was for climate deniers, Anderson says, and Trudeau has begun talks with the provinces from the bottom up, not the top down. Given the history of oft-acrimonious federal-provincial relations in this country, that is key, he says.
During Kyoto negotiations, Anderson lived with the threat of a constitutional confrontation and court action if Ottawa tried to force federal measures on provinces, particularly Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec. Only the NDP government of Gary Doer landed on Ottawa’s side, largely because it was seeking hundreds of millions of federal dollars for a power project on the Nelson River.
Today, Trudeau has more progressives around him. On the continental front, he will have an ally in Barack Obama. The Chrétien Liberals were dealing with the George W. Bush Republicans.
Provincially, New Democrat Rachel Notley in Alberta and Kathleen Wynne in Ontario are early in mandates and are offering more than lip service to climate change. Anderson had to deal with Ralph Klein and Mike Harris and, in his home province, Gordon Campbell was an early resister before he later introduced a carbon tax, now frozen by Premier Christy Clark. A B.C. task force Friday recommended that tax not only be unfrozen, but doubled over the next five years.
Trudeau is primed to move early in his mandate and can leverage his early popularity to push premiers on measures that will ultimately prove unpopular, if required.
Although various polls in recent days indicate Canadians would pay more for products and services in the name of reducing emissions, the reality of what it would actually take, smaller vehicles, smaller homes, a shrinking lifestyle, has not actually been spelled out. Once the bill is actually presented to voters, the support will quickly decline.
That’s where political courage comes in.
It is common for newly arrived leaders to think boldly in the early days of their mandate before being dragged into the weeds of reality. Trudeau’s time to not only think boldly, but act boldly, is at hand. He has repeatedly told us his children are the reason he sought the land’s top political office.
Anderson believes there is one test of political will ready and available for testing.
A 10-cent-per-litre federal excise tax — a carbon tax — at the pumps could generate $5 billion for federal green initiatives.
The time is right. Gas prices are relatively low and Canadians have shown they are willing to pay higher prices.
Will it be seen as kicking the energy sector when it’s down — the Harper argument of the past and the argument of Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall today — or will it result in the political courage to strike when opportunity arises?
It is something Trudeau should at least float, Anderson believes.
Late 2015 offers us a perfect storm. There is enhanced public awareness and the political stars at home appear to be aligning. Great expectations on climate are not misplaced.
Tim Harper is a national affairs writer. His column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter:@nutgraf1
Tim Harper is a national affairs writer. His column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. email@example.com Twitter:@nutgraf1
AMMAN, JORDAN—A trickle of Syrian refugees seeking to leave Jordan flowed into Canada’s processing centre in Amman on Sunday, the first day of operations at what will eventually become the hub of much of the Syrian refugee resettlement program.
Ninety people were put through a multi-step process, some under the eye of three federal cabinet ministers who travelled to the Jordanian capital to see first hand how their plan to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada by the end of February actually looks.
“We have learned also there is positive things to report in terms of progress,” said Immigration Minister John McCallum as he stood in the cavernous military exhibition facility now being leased to Canada by the Jordanian government.
More at thestar.com
“The processing centre had its first day of operation today, that will ramp up over time and get more intense. We also heard the good news that exit permits are not an issue in Jordan, so that’s positive.”
McCallum was joined by Health Minister Jane Philpott and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. They flew to Amman late Saturday, spending the day meeting international aid and UN officials and Jordanian leaders on Sunday and then flying straight back to Ottawa.
Canadian reporters were not permitted to report on their visit until they left the country, for what officials said were security reasons, but both the UN and Jordan’s King Abdullah II posted words and photos of the trip on Twitter during the day.
Refugees whose cases are being processed at the Jordanian facility represent only some of the 15,000 Syrians the government is seeking to resettle itself. Applicants are being told to expect travel by the end of February, the deadline the government has set.
McCallum said it’s still an achievable goal.
“Let’s be optimistic,” he said.
Flights will depart from a civilian airport across the way from the centre carrying not just Syrians from Jordan, but also those from Lebanon.
But all the final details of how many and when are still being hammered out, he said.
“This being the first day there are a few kinks to work out and we also want to look at how to improve things,” he said.
An immigration official who briefed the ministers repeatedly noted how plans continued to change and develop, suggesting that while the centre’s goal is to process 500 people a day, that workload will be a challenge.
The reception point is ready, lined with rows upon rows of grey plastic chairs. The interview booths are set up with white tables and blue banquet chairs flecked with gold. The military has 10 biometric machines ready to go, though on day one only four were in operation.
But one key problem right now is capacity for medical screenings.
Officials are currently only scheduling medical appointments elsewhere until they can beef up availability of services on site. One option is getting the International Organization for Migration or the Red Cross to run clinics; the other is to have the military deploy a field hospital.
Privately-sponsored refugees — who make up the majority of the 10,000 people the government says it will resettle by year’s end — will not have their cases flow through the registration centre but are likely to depart on flights from the same airport. Those planes could begin leaving as soon as next week.
Those whose cases are being handled by the hundreds of Canadian civil servants and soldiers now in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, are refugees selected by the United Nations refugee agency from a pool the international body is actively looking to resettle. An estimated 4 million people have been declared refugees from the Syrian war.
Some will come from the Zaatari refugee camp, which the ministers visited earlier Sunday. They were briefed by the camp manager and aid organizations on the challenges at hand, including ensuring adequate water supplies and food for the camp’s 80,000 residents.
Philpott said she was struck by the scope of the issue.
“While obviously we’re all thinking about 25,000 who will come to Canada, we need to remember there are more than a million refugees living here in the country,” she said.
She’ll have a personal reminder to take back — both Philpott and Sajjan purchased paintings created by children at the camp.
The one Philpott chose was painted by a 13-year-old boy named Hamza and depicts a woman trudging up a set of stairs, with a yellow sun setting against a blood red sky.
On her back, a burden in the shape of Syria.
Philpott asked Hamza whom the woman represented, and he said no one in particular, just all women.
“Because women do carry countries on their backs,” Philipott said.
Many of the refugees Canada will resettle will be women, some alone, some heads of families.
The ministers observed several families being processed through the system Sunday, telling them through translators that Canada is excited to welcome them but didn’t have time to speak with them in depth.
One surprise confronting Canadians is that the families being referred by the UN are larger than expected. Rather than four or five people, it’s often eight or nine.
McCallum said he viewed that as a positive.
“I think given Canada’s aging population, not only are the children sweet-looking but they’re very good for Canada more generally speaking,” he said.
Since Nov. 4, 153 Syrian refugees have come and another 928 have been issued visas, according to the government.
Numerous countries order their internet service providers block The Pirate Bay, but its home country of Sweden won’t be one of them… at least, for now. A Stockholm court has ruled that Sweden can’t make ISPs block the piracy site, since those compa…
More than 7,000 crammed into the TD Place arena to get a glimpse at the second-year Redblacks as they challenge the Edmonton Eskimos for the Canadian Football League championship Sunday evening.
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CALGARY—Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice took the stage as master of ceremonies and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi also paid tribute at a packed public memorial service for a provincial politician killed while helping a motorist in a snowstorm.
Prentice told mourners at Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Sunday that Manmeet Bhullar would have been “surprised and humbled at the response to his death.”
But he said Bhullar’s life inspired Canadians in every corner of the nation.
Bhullar, who represented the riding of Calgary-Greenway in the legislature as a Progressive Conservative, was on his way to Edmonton from Calgary last week when he stopped to help after coming across a motor vehicle accident north of Red Deer.
As the 35-year-old got out of his vehicle he was struck by a semi that had lost control, and he later died in hospital.
Bhullar served in three cabinet portfolios — Service Alberta, Human Services and Infrastructure — under the previous PC government.
“He did not fear death. His faith was absolute. He always said that he would return to God when he was needed,” Prentice said, paying tribute as other speakers did about Bhullar’s Sikh faith.
Nenshi, meanwhile, talked about how Bhullar’s turban has been an inspiring message to other Canadians.
“It says to every single kid in this community that it doesn’t matter what you look like, or where you come from, or what you wear on your hear or who you worship or whom you love, it doesn’t matter,” Nenshi said.
As human services minister in 2014, Bhullar took action following a newspaper’s investigative series revealing that 45 children had died in government care over a 14-year period. Bhullar put through changes allowing names and cases to be made public in the future.
“He stood up for the most vulnerable people in our society, for children in care. He said ‘We’re not doing right by them,’” Nenshi said. “That was the point where I saw those broad shoulders soften a little bit.”
Tributes were also read from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, and a video eulogy was played from Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
Bhullar’s sister, Tarjinder Bhullar, thanked family, friends and Canadians during the service for the large outpouring of condolences.
“Never when my parents immigrated to this country over 40 years ago, would they have imagined that one day their son would be this loved by Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians as one of their own,” she said.
Fetty Wap’s real life trap queen is a serious bitch … but a freakin’ cute one. Fetty just got an American Bully, and TMZ has learned the puppy was a gift for his infant daughter. Tyrone Carter owns Different Breed Kennels in CA, and says he fi…
NBA star Jahlil Okafor says he vows to get his life together and NOT be a distraction to his team … after being involved in several concerning off-the-court incidents … including a street fight in Boston.
Number of episodes of “The EZRA LEVANT SHOW!!” posted during the week of November 22-29: 5. Number of episodes of “The BEST OF THE EZRA LEVANT SHOW!!” posted during the week of November 22-29: 7….
We see your true colors shining trough.
Former Top Gear co-host Jeremy Clarkson isn’t just working on a new motoring show for Amazon… he’s helping the internet giant pitch its vision for delivery drones, too. Amazon has unveiled a splashy new Prime Air ad where Clarkson shows off a new,…
As the Government of Canada has stepped up efforts to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, communities from coast to coast to coast are also preparing to welcome Syrian refugees with open arms.
The Government of Canada has announced a goal of bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February, 2016. The majority will be government-assisted refugees who will go to communities across Canada, where organizations with support servic…
Looks like Ryan Seacrest is OUT of the dating pool — his girlfriend of about 9 months is sporting a big ole rock … the kind that says we’re engaged. Ryan and model Renée Hall hopped a flight in London today, and she was wearing a diamond…
There was an item I forgot yesterday – in the story on how the New Brunswick government is going to cut costs, I didn’t mention one of its targets – funding to universities. the government is thinking of a funding formula based on the performance… . . . → Read More: The Decarie Report: Nov. 29: Sunday odds and ends.
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The Liberal government needs to listen to ordinary Canadians, consider legitimate concerns, and not talk down with a lot of smug-sounding expert-speak
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In which Kensington Palace cracks the whip to bring me back to work several hours early, by releasing these on the Twitters. But what are five hours of lying on the sofa watching TV and shoving leftover queso dip in my mouth, after all? Imp…