Almost 7 years ago, while going through some personal issues, I made a terrible mistake and ended up being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of California. It was a dark period in my life, but I have moved on and learned my lesson. This spring, however, my intoxicated driving conviction […]
We are excited to announce the official Canadian launch of the instanews Android app and instanews iOS app. The instanews mobile app enables anyone with an iPhone or Android phone to share breaking local news with nearby people more effectively than on existing platforms. Quickly and easily publish your own local news stories, and discover […]
Hello fellow Canadian bloggers, I want to take a moment to introduce you to my new mobile app launching next month on iOS and Android. It’s called instanews, and it empowers everyone to be a reporter and makes it extremely easy to share photos, videos, and information with nearby people. You could essentially think of […]
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. There is a new owner of BlogsCanada.ca, […]
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 […]
“Today, I am pleased to note a significant step in Canada’s journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Our government welcomes the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador’s ruling in favour of the proposed settlement agreement negotiated bet…
September 30, 2016 – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – The Government of Canada values the role of post-secondary institutions as they help equip young Canadians with the education and training they need for future careers that will help them join a strong, healthy middle class. Today’s combined federal and provincial investment of $20.84 million for research infrastructure in Prince Edward Island will do just that by fostering the training needed for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow.
September 30, 2016 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – The Government of Canada values the role of post-secondary institutions as they help equip young Canadians with the education and training they need for future careers that will help them join a strong, healthy middle class. Today’s $32.19-million investment at Dalhousie University will do just that by fostering the training needed for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow.
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) recently released its highly anticipated body camera report. The report highlighted several key findings from the 10-month pilot study which has resulted in Chief Mark Saunders asking the Police Services Board to allow for the approval of equipping all front-line officers with the technology.
Despite the potential of this study, the TPS pilot was poorly designed, methodologically flawed, and a big waste of $500,000 of government funded money. As a result, a significant opportunity to study and test the effectiveness and efficacy of this technology fell by the wayside.
There were several limitations of this study; however, the most significant limitation is the fact that the data are based on opinions and perceptions of body camera effectiveness. Two main findings include: 1) most of the community members who responded to the surveys supported body cameras and believed they will make the police more accountable; and 2) many of the officers support the use of body cameras.
There is nothing wrong with these two findings. They are important and do provide some insight into what the public and the police think of the technology. However, opinions and perceptions do not ensure nor guarantee accountability.
It appears as if the TPS are making excuses or deflecting the attention away from the significant methodological limitations of the study. For example, the report states that, “[i]n terms of achieving the pilot goals, the quantitative results were not compelling, though they did perhaps indicate trends that would have become clearer in a longer study… Although ‘the plural of anecdote is not data,’ anecdote can be compelling and can influence belief and expectations.”
If the study was properly designed and executed, the data would have been more compelling and conclusive than what the report indicates. Because the TPS failed in this respect, we know more about what the public and the police think the cameras may do rather than what the cameras have actually done. The $500,000 funding provided by the provincial government does not appear to have generated a strong return on its investment given the meagre results.
The study should have employed a much stronger methodological design. This is not the first body camera study. The TPS should have consulted with researchers in other settings that tested body cameras and seriously considered replicating the methodology employed in those.
For example, the Rialto, California study employed a strong research design that aimed at testing whether body cameras reduced the use of force and/or citizen complaints against the police. Although this study was not perfect, its design was far more advanced than Toronto’s. If the TPS replicated Rialto’s research design, they would have had real, generalizable data that could better determine the effectiveness and efficacy of body-worn cameras.
Another major takeaway from the study concerns the high costs associated with the technology. The TPS are estimating that a five-year body camera program will cost approximately $51 million (and this is a conservative estimate). There are several misconceptions regarding the costs of implementing body cameras for police services. Particularly, there has not been an economic or cost-benefit study around body camera implementation so we really do not know about definitive or long-term costs related to the technology.
The report fails to take into account alternative cost-saving strategies such as cloud-based storage which is relatively cheaper than storing data on internal hard drives. Because the TPS did not use cloud storage for the pilot, this may be a reason why they did not include it in their estimates. However, this raises concerns with the study in that it was not comprehensive and not entirely accurate since it did not take into account other cost-saving options for future body camera implementation.
It should be noted that although the TPS do overstate the costs of a body camera program, there are several unknown costs that are associated with the technology and some may not be known until years into a program. However, the estimate suggested in the report should not be taken at face value.
What needs to be addressed is the fact that the TPS are calling for widespread deployment of body cameras for all front-line officers despite knowing the true value of this technology. This is a critical concern moving forward especially when the agency is in the midst of cutting costs to its $1-billion-plus budget.
The results from the TPS body camera study are informative, particularly for other police services across the country. Even though the study was poorly designed, it may be a blessing in disguise because the “positive results” claimed by the TPS will set off a domino effect for other police agencies in choosing whether to test body cameras. For example, shortly after the TPS report was released, the Ottawa Police Service announced that they will begin a pilot program beginning in 2017. It is only a matter of time before other agencies follow suit.
These other services that decide to study body cameras must develop methodologically sound research designs with the help of academic and independent research teams. After more than a year, we still do not know if, and how effective police body cameras are. The TPS failed to shed any further light on this. More research is urgently needed, and stronger methodological designs are necessary in doing so.
It may take some time before we can expect any conclusive results on the effectiveness of body camera technology. If the Toronto Police Services Board approves the request for full body camera deployment, policy makers must develop consistent and uniform guidelines around the deployment and use of body cameras for and by all police services in the country. This is imperative to ensuring that all police services and officers are accountable on the same level and in the same manner.
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In Canada’s North, winters commonly dip below -40°C and it is essential to have a heating system that is up for the challenge. The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CanNor, today announced a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) investment of $75,000 to help upgrade the Dawson City Arts Society’s deteriorating heating system at the historic Odd Fellows Hall.
There has been much reported lately on why our existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system needs to be replaced by an electoral system that produces results that are more proportional to how voters have voted. By way of example, this piece in…
Canadians who are visually impaired or print-disabled will benefit from a wider availability of books and other copyrighted print materials.
The Government of Canada Commemorates the National Historic Significance of
Nine Mile Portage and Willow Depot
This amazing image from the robotic Spitzer Space Telescope shows infrared light from the well-studied Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) a mere 700 light-years away in the constellation of the Water Carrier Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and…
Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union. (Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
With no new investment in Canada from the Detroit Three automakers, there would be no jobs, no benefits and no pensions…
Minister Diane Lebouthillier announces $107 million to support students and postdoctoral researchers, the awarding of 19 Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela, and $14.5 million in renewed funding for the Canadian Research Data Centre N…
The Government of Canada has implemented a $4.6 million economic development fund to assist the residents of Churchill, Manitoba, and communities along the Hudson Bay Rail Line, recently affected by the suspension of grain operations through the Port o…
The Government of Canada celebrates the national historical significance of Mount Hermon Cemetery
Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the Sun and its planets formed. By studying the gas, dust and structure of the nucleus and organic materials associated with the comet, via both remote and…
“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.” Clarence Darrow
Social Justice is a cause dear to Frank Baylis, Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard. When his mother immigrated to Canada from Ba…
As a progressive voter, it was disappointing to watch the sunset press conference — hastily organized on the banks of the Fraser River earlier this week — announcing the federal approval of Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG project. Hosted by the Minis…
Never watched it. Never had to. Mark Twain said, “You don’t have to eat an egg to know it’s rotten,” and that’s good enough for me. But still: A lot more whimsy got integrated into clutch design during the 1960’s, which allowed them to be both accessible for the common woman and, if not quite […]
Premier Wynne has removed the “net zero” requirement from government employee contract bargaining, effectively re-opening the floodgates of wage increases for bureaucrats and other unionized government employees.
“Net zero” bargaining was the governm…
From day one, it has seemed so obvious to me that, paradoxically, I find myself sputtering when I try to explain it. There have been a few helpful “primers” so far, but this one is outstanding — particularly considering its author, whose surname a three year old who somehow spent a lot of time in […]
Hot tip, ladies: If you ever meet a man who calls Elvis Costello his “hero,” run screaming into the night… Anyhow, the original was entitled “A Dream Come True: Metro Editor Meets Lifelong Hero, Elvis Costello.” Yes, the New York Times Metro Fucking Editor… An earlier version of this article misspelled the given name of […]
Here’s a complete answer to those annoying gits who claim that climate change isn’t man made.Step OneShow them this list.Global warming and severe storm events of increasing intensity, frequency and duration; both cyclical and sustained droughts and fl…
This time it’s Windsor, Ontario. Insurers won’t carry the losses any longer. Governments are expected to make good “once in a century” calamities that now arrive every few years. That can’t last. It won’t.Welcome to the Anthropocene.
Justin Trudeau is “an outright liar,” one chief says.
If the Libertarian presidential candidate wants to be taken seriously, he should stop embarrassing himself—and his cause—in major interviews.
Some hate him for his rhetoric, while others cheer the Republican nominee as the surest way to see America bite the dust.
Prime Minister Trudeau has just changed his mind again on climate change. After admitting at the recent G20 meetings in China that Canada is “not ready” to ratify the Paris Agreement, Trudeau has now decided to ratify it before any agreement on carbon …
Ottawa, September 30, 2016-Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada officials will provide a technical briefing by teleconference for media tomorrow on Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives …
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will host a one-day public forum about Asian carp, at Toronto’s AllStream Centre on the Exhibition grounds on Monday, Oct. 3.
A villager searches for gold in discarded waste rock from Barrick Gold Corp’s North Mara mine in the district of Nyangoto, Tanzania. Millions of pounds of waste rock are piled high around communities where almost half the people live on less than 33 cents a day. (Photo: Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Significant sums in Canadian “aid” are spent promoting international mining initiatives.
In a press release last week, Ontario-based Carube Copper said it acquired “over 500 square kilometres of the most prospective ground in Jamaica based on historic showings, the work completed and reported in 1993 by the Canadian International Development Agency (‘CIDA’).”
Canadian aid has facilitated similar work elsewhere. Researching Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation I discovered examples of Ottawa funding the collection of geological data in Tanzania, Angola, Cameroon, Niger, Uganda, Kenya and elsewhere. Long-time West Africa-based freelance journalist Joan Baxter describes a chance encounter with Canadian geologists in her 2008 book Dust From Our Eyes: an Unblinkered Look at Africa:
“Another CIDA employee I met one evening in Bamako [Mali] told me his work with CIDA had been a long-term project to map the mineral resources of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. When we spoke, he was on a two-year sabbatical from CIDA, working with Canadian mining companies that had taken out concessions in that country.”
Ottawa has financed various mining-related educational initiatives. CIDA sponsored the Zimbabwe School of Mines, a mid-1990s government-industry collaboration, and financed a Senegalese school for geomatics (combining geography and information technology to map natural resources), which received an added $5 million in 2012.
In 2014 Ottawa announced $12.5 million for the Project Strengthening Education for Mining in Ethiopia “to develop more industry driven geology and mining engineering undergraduate programs” at Ethiopian universities. In 2012 CIDA put up $25 million for the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID), a university-hosted think tank, which International Development Minister Julian Fantino told a Mining Association of Canada meeting would “be your biggest and best ambassador.”
In the most significant boon to international mining firms, Canadian aid has helped liberalize mining legislation.
While mining education and geological data collection indirectly benefit Canadian mining companies, millions of dollars have been ploughed directly into corporate social responsibility projects. One example was a $4.5-million grant to Lundin for Africa, the philanthropic arm of mining giant Lundin Group of Companies, for its operations in Ghana, Mali and Senegal, and Ottawa also put up $5.6 million for a project between NGO Plan Canada and IAMGOLD near the company’s mine in Burkina Faso.
These aid projects are often about mollifying local opposition to mining projects. In 2012 CIDA invested $500,000 in a World Vision Canada/Barrick Gold project in Peru described as “tantamount to running a pacification program” while between 2003 and 2005 Calgary-based TVI Pacific dispersed tens of thousands of dollars in Canadian aid money to a community opposed to its mine on the Philippine island of Mindanao.
The gold processing plant under construction in Argentina at Barrick Gold’s Pascua-Lama mine site. (Photo: REUTERS/Barrick/Handout)
In the most significant boon to international mining firms, Canadian aid has helped liberalize mining legislation. Authors of Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World’s Mining Industries, Alain Deneault and William Sacher, cite Botswana, Zimbabwe, Guinea and Zambia among the countries where Canadian aid has shaped mining legislation.
Gwendolyn Schulman and Roberto Nieto write: “Canadian cash, technocrats and know-how have also been involved in rewriting mining codes in Malawi, Ghana, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo (with, in this last case, civil war as a backdrop).”
In the best documented example, Ottawa began an $11-million project to re-write Colombia’s mining code in 1997. CIDA worked on the project with a Colombian law firm, Martinez Córdoba and Associates, representing multinational companies, and the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), an industry think-tank based at the University of Calgary. The CIDA/CERI proposal was submitted to Colombia’s Department of Mines and Energy and became law in 2001.
“The new code flexibilised environmental regulations, diminished labour guarantees for workers and opened the property of Afro-Colombian and indigenous people to exploitation,” explained Francisco Ramirez, president of SINTRAMINERCOL, Colombia’s State Mine Workers Union. “The CIDA-backed code also contains some articles that are simply unheard of in other countries,” added Ramirez. “If a mining company has to cut down trees before digging, they can now export that timber for 30 years with a total exemption on taxation.”
The new code also reduced the royalty rate companies pay the government to 0.4 per cent from 10 per cent for mineral exports above 3 million tons per year and from five per cent for exports below 3 million tons. In addition, the new code increased the length of mining concessions from 25 years to 30 years, with the possibility that concessions can be tripled to 90 years.
“Aid” has helped Canada’s companies dominate a global mining industry often mired in conflict and criticized for providing meagre benefits to local communities. It’s hard to understand why this would be considered “aid.”
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Following their speeches at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference, Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, along with Todd Stone, Minister…
I’m sorry to you Liberal faithful but it’s a more than fair question. What happened to all that stuff about the Liberals being progressive? Oh dear.
In September, the Liberal government took a hard line stance with a public union, held steady to the Conservatives’ greenhouse gas targets, approved a liquefied natural gas plant and pipeline assailed by environmentalists and Indigenous groups, and some say signalled it may extend, rather than curtail, powers to spy on citizens granted by the Harper government’s controversial Bill C-51.
For good measure, Trudeau’s Liberals also suggested making it easier for businesses to bring more temporary foreign workers to Canada, taking a position even Harper had backed away from after abuses of the federal program hit the headlines. The Conservatives tightened restrictions on who can hire foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Earlier this month, a Liberal-dominated Parliamentary committee released a report recommending easier access to the program for businesses.
Minister McKenna will be joining her provincial and territorial counterparts to hold a press conference at the conclusion of their meeting. A media photo opportunity will precede the conference.
Canadian organic producers and processors will benefit from new trade opportunities following the signing of an expanded organic arrangement between the governments of Canada and Switzerland.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, tabled the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) Annual Report entitled Maintaining Momentum in the House of Commons.
The presidential debate in a nutshell