Archives for the month of: March, 2012

When celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched his crusade against so-called “pink slime,” a processed beef product added to burger patties in the U.S., the world watched in horror. The media was buzzing with stories about how beef off-cuts were being processed with ammonium hydroxide, then mixed with hamburger meat.
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Pink Slime – 70% of America’s Beef is Treated with Ammonia

McDonald’s in the U.S. stopped using the stuff this January, and the media was quick to condemn the US Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program for buying the product.
Health Canada doesn’t permit the use of ammonium hydroxide in meat products, so there’s no pink slime in our burgers. But should Canadians be feeling smug?
R. Holley, Ph.D. (Guelph)
Microbial ecology of food spoilage; meat, poultry, dairy; food safety
Richard Holley, a food science professor at the University of Manitoba, not only thinks “pink slime” is fine, he thinks it’s a better alternative to what is typically done in Canada.

“I see this as not an unreasonable process from a scientific perspective,” he says. “It enables the recovery of high-quality protein from meat that otherwise would more than likely end up as mechanically separated.”

You’ve no doubt noticed the words “mechanically separated” on many a meat label. It’s a process that’s been used for some time in Canada, and other parts of the world, where carcasses are put through a high-pressure filter and all the tissue is extracted, even some spinal fluid.

Mechanically separated meat products can only be used in products that are frozen, because it has high bacterial numbers,” says Holley. “What we’ve got here, with ammonium treated beef, is a chemical intervention that’s reducing potential for E. coli contamination.”
Joe Schwarcz – Biography
According to McGill chemistry professor Joe Schwarcz, the process is nothing to worry about.
“Neither the dissolved ammonia, nor the ammonium hydroxide it forms, presents a health concern,” Schwarcz wrote in a recent Montreal Gazette article.“Ammonia is a product of protein metabolism and therefore routinely forms in the human body. It ends up being converted into urea which is then excreted in the urine.”
So is Canada better off without pink slime? Or, as food columnist Ari Levaux asks in the Atlantic, “Is pink slime any worse than pink cylinders, yellow nuggets, brown breakfast sausage patties, or any number of mystery meat products?”

“Probably not,” he writes. “And for what it’s worth, it isn’t even slimy.”

What about the carbon monoxide-treated meat?
Shoppers who judge the freshness of meat by its pink color may be deceived by a relatively new industry practice of treating meat with carbon monoxide, critics say.

The meat industry defends the use of carbon monoxide to help meat retain its pink hue, saying large sums of money are wasted when sellers throw away meat that is still safe to eat but is not as attractive because it is slightly brown. Read more ….

70% of ALL beef and chicken (including organic) has been treated with Carbon Monoxide Gas. It can make bad meat look good. How many people have become poisoned by this chemically altered meat that we are eating and feeding our children?
Not only it’s a method of passing off decayed meat as fresh, but this shows that governments work on behalf of Big Business and NOT for the people.
Any possible side effects?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas which essentially replaces oxygen in the blood. When individuals are exposed to higher levels of CO, it begins to cause detrimental effects after binding to a molecule in the blood that normally carries oxygen, known as hemoglobin. Lower levels of exposure results in headaches, confusion, fatigue, and nausea, while higher levels of exposure could result in unconsciousness, death, or long-term negative neurological effects.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ annual look at CEO compensation looks at 2010 compensation levels for Canada’s highest paid 100 CEOs and finds they pocketed an average of an average $8.38 million in 2010 – a 27% increase over the average $6.6 million they took in 2009.

Even in these turbulent economic times, the average of Canada’s CEO Elite 100 make 189 times more than Canadians earning the average wage.

The full report, Canada’s CEO Elite 100: The 0.01% is available here.

You can also visit our interactive counter, The Clash for the Cash: CEO vs. Average Joe, to find out how much these contenders have earned so far.

Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (original article can be found here)

Over the past 4 years, the Canadian people have paid $137.4 billion in interest on money borrowed from private banks whereas the Bank of Canada could legally print the public’s money into existence rather than borrowing it at interest. “They’ve paid out this huge sum because our government has failed to abide by the law.”

Bill Abram, a retired high school teacher and activist on Vancouver Island, B.C., explicates the trick of fractional reserve banking.
The Crime of the Canadian Banking System 1/4


The Crime of the Canadian Banking System 2/4

The Crime of the Canadian Banking System 3/4

The Crime of the Canadian Banking System 4/4


This is how we could improve Canada’s financial situation. We have our own publicly owned central bank and laws in place allowing us to borrow money from it interest free!

The government is calling the budget a plan for Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity. “In this budget, our Government is looking ahead not only over the next few years but also over the next generation,” said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “The reforms we present today are substantial, responsible and necessary. They will ensure that all across government we are focused on enabling and sustaining Canada’s long-term economic growth.” However, while the budget does include many investments, it also make a number of cuts and changes that will save money. Here are some of the highlights.

The government is cutting spending by $5.2 billion on an ongoing basis, but it says it will not reach that total until 2014-2015. The feds says 70 per cent of these savings will come from “operational efficiencies.” The planned reduction in spending is expected to result in the elimination of 19,200 public service jobs over a three-year period, 4.8 percent of total federal employment. The government expects 7,200 of those positions to be eliminated through attrition. Six hundred executives positions are expected to be slashed. Roughly $900 million will be spent making these job cuts, on things such as severance and benefits. After 2014-2015, the public service cuts will save the federal government $5.23 billion per year.

The government is cutting the budget of Canada’s national broadcaster by $115 million per year by 2014-2015. Currently, the CBC’s total budget stands at roughly $1.1 billion per year, making for a cut of roughly 10 per cent.

The Canadian penny will be eliminated this fall, a victim of inflation, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced in the budget. The cost of producing a penny is 1.6 cents, and the coin is now worth only 1/20th of its original value

The government says it has no intention of building any new prisons, despite the passage of the omnibus crime bill which some experts suggests will increase the number of people incarcerated. The Tories plan to slash $295 million from Corrections Canada by 2014-2015. The RCMP will also receive major cuts, $195.2 million by 2014-2015. But the government will spend $9.6 million over three years to combat counterfeiting.

The government is moving to alter the current process for the environmental assessment of resource-based projects. They plan to move to one review for one project and to give these reviews a definite deadline. The change will affect the Northern Gateway pipeline. Additionally, the government wants to focus resources on reviewing the largest plans with the greatest potential for environmental impact. The feds says they will do this while continuing to protect the environment. The government says this change is aimed at simplifying a complex system of reviews that imposes costly delays and deters investment. Canada’s first near-urban national park will also be declared in the Rouge Valley in suburban Toronto. Other highlights include: – By 2014-2015, Environment Canada’s budget will be reduced by $53.8 million per year. – $50 million will be spent over two years to protect species at risk. – $13.5 million over two years strengthen pipeline safety. – $47 million over two years to pay for regulatory responsibilities for the Alaska Pipeline Project. – $165 million over two years for resource development. The feds are eliminating the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, a group of experts who advise the government on environmental matters.

The government is increasing the eligibility age for receiving Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income from 65 to 67. The change will be made starting on April 1, 2023 and will be fully implemented by January 2029. The government will also allow individuals to choose to defer payment for a maximum of five years starting in July 2013. If a person does defer, they will receive a larger adjusted pension than if they had begun collecting at 65. The government says it is making the changes primarily due to demographic shifts. The pending retirement of the Baby Boomers will increase the total cost of the program from $38 billion in 2011 to $108 billion in 2030.

The feds are planning to reduce Health Canada’s budget by nearly $310 million per year by 2014-2015. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will consolidate many services, reducing what the government calls duplication, in order to achieve some of these savings. The government will also eliminate Assisted Human Reproduction, a group involved in the study of potential uses for stem cells. They also propose: – Expanding GST/HST and income tax breaks for health care services. – $51.2 million over two years to improve food safety.

The government is making an investment of more than $1 billion in science and technology. Canada currently lags behind other similar economies in terms of private sector investment in R&D and overall innovation, according to the government. Here are a few highlights of the spending: – $400 million to help increase venture capital investment by businesses. – $100 million for the Business Development Bank Of Canada for venture capital investment. – $110 million per year for the Industrial Research Assistance Program. – $105 million over two years help pay for innovation in the forestry sector. – $500 million over five years for the Canada Foundation for Innovations to pay for new competitions. Funding will start in 2014-15.

The government will revamp the immigration system by killing a backlog of 460,000 skilled foreign worker applicants by sending them their money and applications back. Up to $130 million will be spent refunding fees to skilled worker applicants who paid under outdated criteria. The feds are planning to improve the system for the recognition of foreign credentials The government will move to ensure businesses first look to domestic sources of labour before using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The budget will implement the Beyond the Border security pact with the United States (The Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and the Action Plan On Regulatory Cooperation). But the coming changes don’t mean the Canada Borders Service Agency will escape cuts. The department’s budget will be reduced by $143.4 million by 2014-2015 It will also seek to streamline for the process of bringing goods home from abroad by increasing the dollar amount exempted from tariffs for travellers.

The budget seeks to continue the government’s work to expand Canada’s international trading relationships. “Our government is undertaking the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history,” said Flaherty. In his speech, Flaherty also signals that, while the U.S. will remain our largest trading partner, Canada needs to open its export economy to emerging economies. China, India and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are mentioned by name. However, there will be cuts. The International Assistance Envelope, which includes the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the International Development Research Centre the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Natural Resources Canada, will be cut by $377.6 million by 2014-2015. Most of that money will come from The Canadian International Development Agency — $319.2 million. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada will be cut by $29.1 million. The federal government also plans to find $80 million in saving by selling official residences abroad.

The budget touts the government’s progress in modernizing the Canadian forces through major investment. However, the Defence budget is about to fall substantially. Some of this reduction will come from improvements in efficiency, but much will come from the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. The cuts will amount to roughly $1.12 billion by 2014-2015. According to Armine Yalnizyan, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, these cuts are over and above the roughly half a billion announced during a previous round of strategic review. The size of the military will not shrink but it won’t grow either. The regular Canadian Forces will remain at 68,000 members and the reserve force at 27,000. Veterans Affairs will also be on the receiving end of cuts – $66.7 million by 2014-2015. The budget will also provide 5.2 billion for the Coast Guard over the next 11 years.

The government is eliminating the Trudeau-era youth program Katimavik. The feds say the program benefits a very small number at an excessive cost per person.

The budget reduces spending on Fisheries and Oceans by $79.3 million by 2014-2015 The department will undergo a substantial restructuring. Services will be consolidated and the size of its motor vehicle fleet will be cut. It will also focus less on research, relying more on academia.

The government will spend $275 million over three years on First Nations education. The money is budgeted for the building and renovation of schools on reserves. The feds are also set to spend $27 million over two years on the Urban Aboriginal Strategy. $330.8 million will also be provided over two years to build and expand water infrastructure on reserves.

Coming changes to MP Pensions are not outlined in the budget. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the changes he wants to make, increasing pension contributions by the MPs themselves and raising the age of eligibility will have to be discussed.

Employment Insurance
The government is making a number of changes to Employment Insurance (EI) it says are aimed at creating a more efficient program. -$387 million over two years for matching benefit amounts to wages in different local labour markets. Depending on the unemployment rate in the region, claimants will need between 14 and 22 weeks to qualify for EI. -$74 million over two years to help make sure claimants benefit from getting a job. EI claimants will be able to keep 50 per cent of their earnings without getting their benefits clawed back. – Limiting premium increases to no more than 5 cents per year. – $21 million over two years to improve the content and timeliness of information provided to job seekers.

Global BC | Budget highlights

— Production of the penny to cease this fall, saving an estimated $11 million a year.

— Deficit projected to fall $8.5 billion, to $24.9 billion for 2011-12, to decline to $21.1 billion next year and to disappear by 2015.

— More than $5 billion in cuts to annual federal spending by 2014-15.

— Job cuts: 19,200 federal positions to be eliminated, or 4.8 per cent of the federal workforce.

— Age of eligibility for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement to gradually move to 67 from 65, beginning in 2023.

— $5.2 billion over 11 years to renew and refit the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet of vessels and helicopters.

— Eligible Canadians to be allowed to defer old age security for a maximum of five years, beginning in 2013, in exchange for higher benefits.

— $1.1 billion in research and development over five years, plus $500 million to encourage venture capital investment by the private sector.

— First Nations reserves: $275 million over three years for schools and education, $330.8 million over two years to improve water systems and water quality.

— CBC to lose 10 per cent of annual funding.

— Return $130 million in fees to nearly 300,000 would-be Canadian immigrants to eliminate backlog in skilled-worker applications;

— $482 million over two years to improve the effectiveness of the employment insurance system, including incentives for accepting work and ensuring benefit levels align with local labour market conditions.

— Cap on annual increases to employment insurance premiums until operating budget is balanced.

— $205 million for a one-year extension of a temporary hiring credit for small businesses.

— $50 million over two years to provide job skills training for young people.

More tax exemption room for cross-border shoppers
Canadians who like to shop across the border will now be able to bring back far more items duty and tax-free as a result of the federal government significantly lifting the exemption limit.

Canada to say goodbye to the penny
Canada’s one cent coin is set to become a victim of the latest Conservative government budget.
NDP pushed for the decision>>
Budget business boon
RIM CEO resigns
Not that austere
Federal budget 2012: A $5.2 billion chop
The budget will see the eligibility for Old Age Security, a benefit worth $6,000+ annually, rise by 2 years.
‘We must take action’>>
MP pension reform bill to be introduced in fall
Contributions to rise soon, benefits reduced later
Budget to put brake on MPs’ pensions
Tories ponder cuts to MP pensions after watchdog details lucrative trough
Put MPs’ pensions on block with OAS
Federal Budget 2012: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty scrambles to limit fallout on MP pensions

A Vancouver woman alleges Earls Restaurants’ popular Albino Rhino beer demeans her deliberately. Chain explains>>


Albino Rhino Beer Review: Leffe Brune




Richard Vincent “Rick” Mercer (born October 17, 1969) is a Canadian comedian, television personality, political satirist, and blogger.

Rick Mercer is Canada’s equivalent to The Daily Show. The man is our very best political satirist.

Mercer is known for making fun of Americans, but in his latest rant on Conservative attack ads he turns his comedic cannons back at us, Canadians.


Mercer targets a recent Tory commercial aimed at Liberal how-much-longer-are-we-going-to-have-to-keep-calling-him-interim-leader Bob Rae.

A Bob Rae attack ad from the Conservative Party targets the interim Liberal leader’s record as premier of Ontario.

Bob Rae wants to be Prime Minister
Bob Rae: if he failed at running a province, why does he think he can run a country?


The CBC comedian laments the “new normal in Canada — the never ending campaign” that he was hoping would disappear after the Tories won their majority. No such luck: “Welcome to hell.”

Mercer wonders why the Tories are bothering to attack the leader of the third party in the Commons at all. A Conservative friend had an answer.

“Why not? We’ve got so much money we could buy every ad available in a seven-game playoff series and the Olympics, and we’d still have more money left over than all the parties combined.”

And there’s the rub. We’ve gone American. Politics controlled by cash and elections plagued by dirty tricks have become the new norm. Except where they have checks and balances, we have practically unfettered power. Like he said, “Welcome to hell.”

Rick Mercer Robocalls Rant: Comedian Calls For Action From Governor General
Rick Mercer has delivered another robocalls rant and this time he wants action. Mercer is calling for the Governor General to appoint a Royal Commission to investigate the widening election scandal. Mercer says there is no hope of the cabinet calling a judicial inquiry to investigate their own party, because “That’s like asking Don Cherry to donate his brain to science. It’s not going to happen.”
















Trudeau Calls Kent Piece of ‘S–t’

Canada’s Environment Minister doesn’t know what ozone is?

Rob Anders (Conservative MP) falls asleep in Parliament

NDP MP does his hair, appears to fall asleep in Parliament

NDP MP does his hair in Parliament again

Conservative MP Jim Hillyer celebrates vote against the gun registry with gunshot gestures

Conservative Jim Hillyer “apologizes” for air gun gesture

Vic Toews vs. Vic Toews

NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan thinks Canada has only 9 million people

Sleeping in the House of Lords

Employment hotbeds in Canada.

Has Canada’s economic power shifted to the west? Are all the best jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan? Some people would say yes — and with good reason. Earlier this year, the Conference Board of Canada projected that Calgary (pictured), Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon would post the strongest economic growth in Canada in 2012. There’s strong international demand for their natural resources, and some locals are reaping the benefits. Further, the government of Saskatchewan is only one of two provincial governments expected to post a budget surplus in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. So things are looking pretty rosy in the Prairies.

But just how good is Western Canada for jobs? What about the rest of the country? MoneySense has crunched numbers on 190 Canadian cities in order to find out which are the best for employment. See if your city cracked our top 10.

For our full methodology on how we crunched out numbers, click here.

10. Grande Prairie, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 28
Population growth: 152
Household income: 11
Discretionary income: 14
Average house price: 112
Average time to buy: 25
Doctors per 1,000: 106
Health professionals: 123
Transit: 109

Grande Prairie only finished 95th in our overall rankings, but when it comes to jobs, this mid-sized city in western Alberta is a frontrunner. Its residents have the 11th highest household incomes in the country out of the 190 cities that we surveyed. Like many of its Albertan neighbours, Grande Prairie is reliant on the oil and gas, forestry and agriculture industries. This city is also a major transportation hub in the Peace River Country and is located on the CANAMEX trade route, which links Canada with the United States and Mexico.

More from MoneySense:
Canada’s worst places to live
Best places rankings: How did your town do?
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Canada’s ideal city interactive

9. Canmore, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 5
Population growth: 110
Household income: 6
Discretionary income: 3
Average house price: 186
Average time to buy: 161
Doctors per 1,000: 7
Health professionals: 49
Transit: 158

Canmore certainly benefits from its proximity to Banff National Park, which attracts tourists year-round. That means jobs are plentiful in the recreation, food and beverage, and hospitality sectors. In fact, out of our top 10 places for jobs, Canmore has the lowest unemployment rate and the second highest household income. But on the opposite side of the spectrum, Canmore has some of the least affordable housing in the entire country.

10 unusual interview mistakes

8. Burlington, Ont.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 38
Population growth: 17
Household income: 20
Discretionary income: 29
Average house price: 153
Average time to buy: 105
Doctors per 1,000: 54
Health professionals: 122
Transit: 37

Burlington has the distinction of being the only city in Ontario on our jobs list. Located on the western edge of Lake Ontario, Burlington is ideally situated for people who’d like to commute to either Hamilton or the Great Toronto Area. It’s no wonder that Burlington’s population growth is booming. According to the government of Ontario, the majority of the province’s population increase over the next 25 years will come from new immigrants. Many of them will undoubtedly wind up in Burlington.

7. Lethbridge, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 10
Population growth: 71
Household income: 61
Discretionary income: 20
Average house price: 94
Average time to buy: 70
Doctors per 1,000: 130
Health professionals: 34
Transit: 92

Lethbridge lays claim to the most affordable housing amongst cities on our top 10 list. And when it comes to work, Lethbridge has the 10th lowest unemployment rate in the entire country. According to Economic Development Lethbridge, a not-for-profit organization, there are 48 firms in the city employing more than 100 people, many of which are in the public sector. Those organizations employ roughly 41 per cent of the city’s workforce.

6. Regina, Sask.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 9
Population growth: 1
Household income: 43
Discretionary income: 81
Average house price: 104
Average time to buy: 61
Doctors per 1,000: 73
Health professionals: 51
Transit: 57

People are rushing to Regina, which currently ranks number one in our population growth category. The city enjoys a low unemployment rate and its economy is driven by the oil and gas, potash and agricultural sectors. In January, the Conference Board of Canada projected that Regina’s economy would expand by 2.9 per cent in 2012. That’s a slowdown from last year’s numbers, but still leaves Regina placing fourth in economic growth amongst Canadian CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas).

5. Edmonton, Alta

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 33
Population growth: 68
Household income: 40
Discretionary income: 22
Average house price: 134
Average time to buy: 106
Doctors per 1,000: 46
Health professionals: 41
Transit: 23

Edmonton is yet another economic powerhouse in the Prairies and the city benefits from being the closest urban centre to the Alberta oilsands. But it’s not all oil and energy in Edmonton. A good portion of the city’s workforce, for instance, is employed in the public sector. Edmonton is also home to the University of Alberta, which is one of the country’s finest places for post-secondary education. On the U of A campus you’ll find the National Institute for Nanotechnology, which has a business office that assists local nanotechnology firms.

4. Calgary, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 42
Population growth: 95
Household income: 8
Discretionary income: 7
Average house price: 164
Average time to buy: 70
Doctors per 1,000: 59
Health professionals: 98
Transit: 11

On average, Calgarians are making more money than residents of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and the city boasts a lower unemployment rate than all three. Calgarians also have more leftover cash to save, spend and invest. So it comes as no surprise that Calgary has emerged as an economic power in Western Canada. And it turns out the rest of the world has noticed as well. In January, the Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization in the United States, ranked Calgary as Canada’s leading economic performer on a list of worldwide metropolitan areas.

3. St. Albert, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 22
Population growth: 31
Household income: 9
Discretionary income: 10
Average house price: 173
Average time to buy: 130
Doctors per 1,000: 46
Health professionals: 15
Transit: 48

St. Albert enjoys the benefits of being close to Edmonton, though its residents easily outrank Edmontonians in average household income and discretionary income. The city also has the distinction of employing the highest percentage of health professionals in the general population amongst cities in our top 10. In the next couple years, the City of St. Albert is hoping to lure more tourists and establish its moniker as ‘the Botanical Arts City.’

2. Red Deer, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 17
Population growth: 17
Household income: 31
Discretionary income: 11
Average house price: 119
Average time to buy: 58
Doctors per 1,000: 72
Health professionals: 42
Transit: 64

Much like Burlington, Red Deer benefits from its proximity to two large cities — in this case, Edmonton and Calgary, both of which take roughly 90 minutes to reach by car. However, Red Deer outranks its high-profile neighbours with more affordable housing, ideal population growth and a better employment rate. According to Red Deer Region Economic Development, 90 per cent of land in the region is dedicated to agricultural production.

1. Strathcona County, Alta.

Rankings out of 190 cities:
Low unemployment: 17
Population growth: 85
Household income: 4
Discretionary income: 13
Average house price: 152
Average time to buy: 35
Doctors per 1,000: 46
Health professionals: 38
Transit: 69

Strathcona County is yet another prosperous city in the Edmonton area. So why does it rank No. 1? For starters, Strathcona County locals make the most money in our top 10 and the unemployment rate is enviable. A good portion of its workforce commutes to Edmonton for jobs in health care and manufacturing. East Edmonton and Strathcona also count several industrial employers within their boundaries, including Imperial Oil, Enbridge, Suncor and Shell Canada. In other words, there is no shortage of major corporate employers to keep thousands of Strathcona County locals in well-paying jobs.

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