Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Winnipeg Free Press: Students send 59 cents to Harper, ask others to do same for refugee health
The goal is to get enough support from the Canadian public that the federal government will reverse its decision to cut supplemental health benefits to refugees during their first year in Canada.

59 Cents Campaign
It shows people finding loose change in couch cushions and sock drawers, then mailing it to the prime minister.

We at the 59 Cents Campaign find the Canadian Government’s decision to cut portions of refugee healthcare by means of the Ministerial Order of Hon. Jason Kenney, published April 25, 2012 to be unacceptable.

We believe that if Canadians stop to consider the effect which these changes will have on the most vulnerable portion of our global society, that our country’s annual savings of 59 cents per person to keep the Federal Interim Health Program open for refugees will be seen as insignificant.

The changes are set to take effect June 30, 2012, therefore, we have put together the 59 cent campaign in which we are asking all Canadians to place 59 cents in an envelope and send it to the Prime Minister’s office to let him know that we will not stand for these cuts.

In 2011 Canada was proudly a place of hope and healing to 25,000 refugees; this is a fact in which we take pride and wish to take pride in for generations to come.

Singer and Youtube sensation Maria Aragon sings ‘O Canada’ on Canada Day in 2011.

Canadian singer Melanie Fiona sings ‘O Canada’ at the 2011 NBA All Star Game.

“O Canada” performed by Mark Donnelly along with the Great Vancouver crowd in GM Place.

Equinox Quartet singing the “O Canada.” (Suns-Raptors Game 2009)

Geddy Lee, member of rock band RUSH, sings the anthem for the 1993 All-Star Game.

‘O Canada’ as sung by the Habs fans at the Bell Centre.

Nikki Yanofsky singing the Canadian Anthem for the Vancouver 2010 opening ceremony.

Anne Murray sings both the American and Canadian national anthems, at a Toronto Blue Jays game on June 5, 1989.

Sarah McLachlan singing the anthem in 1996.

Justin Bieber sings a part of ‘O Canada,’ on the Lopez Tonight show.

Canadian singer and songerwriter Jann Arden singing O’ Canada at the Grey Cup Game in Vancouver on Nov 27, 2011.

Alanis Morissette sings the anthem at the Stanley Cup Playoffs Finals in 2007.

Céline Dion sings ‘O Canada’ in 1992.

‘O Canada’ as sung by the Rexall crowd before the Oilers’ Stanley Cup playoff game vs. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2006.

Canadian National Canthem: ‘O Canada’ Performed With Molson Beer Cans, Bottles


Are Canadians paying more for products than Americans?

The price gap between Canadian and U.S. goods is shrinking, but it’s still too high. Despite a dip of six per cent from last year, products are still 14 per cent less expensive in the U.S.

With data from BMO Capital Markets, here are the goods Canadian consumers are paying more for.

*All U.S. prices have been converted to Cdn. dollars, unless otherwise noted.


Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.)7%

For years, the price gap on books has taunted Canadians from the back flap, where the retail tag for both Canadian and U.S. prices are printed for all to see. Yet consumers north-of-the-border should also know it’s not just in-store they’re getting ripped off. While BMO Capital Markets found a random sampling of in-store books cost seven per cent more in Canada than they did in the U.S., a similar price discrepancy exists online. On, for instance, the housewife-approved Fifty Shades paperback trilogy costs $38.51. On Just US$28.71, or $29.43 in Canadian dollars.

Running shoes

Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 37%

Of a random recent sampling of name brand running shoes in the U.S., BMO Capital Markets found the average cost of five pairs came to $106.73. Yet the average cost of those exact same shoes, when observed at Canadian retailers, skyrockets to $145.99. At a price gap of 37 per cent, no other goods studied by BMO cost more in Canada when compared to prices in the U.S.


Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 8%

By the most recent numbers, Canadian residents take more than 50 million visits to the U.S. each year. And who could blame us? Even simple items like Blu-ray movies cost less in the U.S. The real-dollar difference may be only a few bucks per high-definition movie, but on a percentage basis Blu-rays lay claim to a Canada-U.S. price gap even larger than that of books.


Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 11%

It isn’t just small items costing Canadians more. There has been plenty of ink spilled on whether it makes sense for Canadian drivers to buy cars south of the border, but BMO Capital Markets’ numbers make a compelling case to make the trip. According to a random sampling of seven vehicles, the bank’s study found an 11 per cent price gap on cars between countries. On an auto costing in the low-to-mid $30,000s, that’s the equivalent of a nearly $3,500 difference on the retail tag.

Birthday cards

Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 9%

Even celebrating a birthday appears to cost Canadian consumers more. At a low cost of $5.45 each at many stores, Canucks aren’t exactly breaking the bank on birthday cards each year. But at an average cost of nearly 50 cents less per card in the U.S., birthday cards are just another example of Canadian shoppers spending more on trivial goods than their American counterparts.

Gap shirts

Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 19%

BMO’s Capital Markets’ survey does not just cover generic goods. As many cross-border shoppers note, items found at stores that exist in both Canada and the U.S. are often much cheaper in America. A recent sampling of a kids t-shirt at clothing retailer Gap found a sizeable price discrepancy, despite being the exact same garment on both sides of the border. The shirt, according to BMO, costs nearly $5 less in the U.S.

Lawn mowers

Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 32%

Effective June 1, new duty-free limits were implemented, effecting how much Canadian shoppers can purchase in the U.S. On visits lasting more than 24 hours, consumers are now able to bring back $200 tax-free (up from $50), and on visits lasting more than 48 hours, consumers can bring back $800 tax-free (up from a two-tiered system that previously allowed between $400-$750 before). That ought to ensure more big-ticket items like lawn mowers — BMO recently found a 32 per cent price gap on the same Toro lawn mower — are brought back by Canadians shopping abroad.

Golf balls

Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 12%

Cross-border price gaps are tied to exchange rates, so as the loonie goes often the difference between Canadian and U.S. goods goes, too. Today’s 14 per cent price gap may seem large, but once upon a time it was nearly twice that. In the fall of 2007, goods in Canada cost a stupefying 25 per cent more than they did in the U.S. At that rate, golf balls would have cost as much as 21 per cent more in Canada than they do in the U.S. — nine per cent more than what BMO observed them at in its most recent study.


Increased cost in Canada (as compared to U.S.): 17%

It would appear the printed word simply costs more in Canada than it does south of the border. Books, as we covered earlier, are much cheaper in the U.S., and so too are magazines, which cost as much as 17 per cent more in Canada. Such price discrepancies extend to subscriptions, too. Before tax, a yearly subscription to Sports Illustrated costs $39 for U.S. readers. For Canadians, that same subscription costs more than $66 each year (though there is a small premium included for international shipping).

Source: Money MSN

Do the residents of Nunavut really pay a lot when compared to the rest of Canada?

The numbers coming out of Nunavut last week were staggering: $14 for two litres of milk; $19.29 for a jug of orange juice; $104.99 for one measly case of water. It’s no wonder residents have taken to protesting, crying out over the high prices for food.

In Nunavut, food is expensive, but how much does it cost in the rest of the country? With data from Statistics Canada, here’s how food prices stack up among the nation’s provinces and territories.

* StatsCan data current as of the latest comprehensive nationwide survey, conducted in 2009.

13. Saskatchewan

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 9.1%

The average Saskatchewan household forks over $6,344 per year for food. Of that, 24 per cent is spent at restaurants, a higher amount than the national average.

12. Alberta

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 9.2%

Albertan households spend $84,980 per year on consumer goods, the most of any province in the country. Out of this large overall amount, spending on food is just a blip on the radar. Alberta households spend $7,570 on food each year — the most among Canadian provinces — though that accounts for just over nine per cent of total consumption.

11. Ontario

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 9.5%

Each year, Ontario households spend $7,284 on food, with $1,645 of that doled out at the province’s restaurants. That’s only $137 a month at diners and eateries, on average, but it’s also the third-highest such mark in the entire country.

10. Manitoba

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 9.8%

In theory, Manitobans should all be sleek and slender. According to Statistics Canada, the average Manitoba household spends just $6,520 on food annually, the third-lowest amount in the country. Amazingly, the residents of one of Canada’s territories (you’ll read about them soon) is forced to spend more than double what Manitobans do each year on food.

9. British Columbia

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 10.3%

British Columbians must be the most social people in Canada. That, or they don’t like to cook. The average B.C. household spends $1,818 in restaurants each year, according to Stats Canada, the highest total in the entire country.

8. Yukon

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 10.7%

Yukon is the one territory that doesn’t have ‘territory’ food prices. Unlike Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, many items, like those spotted in this recent Whitehorse Shoppers Drug Mart flyer, cost just as little in Yukon as they would across the rest of the country. The average Yukon household spends less than $7,500 on food each year, fewer than what households in provinces like B.C. and Alberta do.

7. New Brunswick

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 10.9%

The average New Brunswick household spends just $6,691 per year on food. But then, when your household spending totals just $61,210 — one of the lower marks in the country — that $6,691 makes up nearly 11 per cent of total annual spending.

6. Nova Scotia

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 11.0%

The amount Nova Scotians spend on food, just under $6,700 per year, might seem like a lot, but in fact food spending is below average by a number of measures. Total food spending in Nova Scotia is less than the national average ($7,262), as is what Nova Scotian households spend at grocery stores ($5,273, compared to the national average of $5,658) and restaurants ($1,369, compared to the national average of $1,577).

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 11.3%

Households in Newfoundland and Labrador might not spend the least each year on food but the eastern province does hold one distinction. Newfoundland and Labrador households spend just over a grand each year ($1,001) at restaurants, the lowest mark in the country by more than $250.

4. Northwest Territories

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 11.5%

Households in the Northwest Territories spend over $9,500 per year on food, which is 31 per cent more than what Ontario households spend. But even though NWT food costs are the second-highest in Canada, the territory falls just fourth on this list thanks to a high total household spending ($82,970 each year, the country’s third-highest amount).

3. Prince Edward Island

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 11.8%

If you told a family in, say, Quebec or B.C. that yours only spends $6,720 on food each year, they’d say you must be able to retire at 40. But in P.E.I., where total food spending is low, residents are not necessarily enjoying the good life. P.E.I. households spend just $56,900 in total on consumer goods each year, the lowest rate in all of Canada.

2. Quebec

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 12.0%

The cost of food takes up 12 per cent of the average Quebec household’s yearly spending, which is the second-highest rate in Canada. But such a mark seems to be the effect of low overall household spending, not high food prices. Quebec households spend $7,215 per year on food, less than the national average; however, they spend just $60,120 on total consumer goods each year, the fourth-lowest rate in the country.

1. Nunavut

Amount of annual household budget spent on food: 17.5%

The loudest protests over Canadian food prices come from Nunavut. While Nunavut households spend $84,440 on consumer goods each year (the highest amount in Canada), food is by far the greatest drain on the resources of the territory’s consumers. Nunavut households are forced to spend $14,815 on food each year, more than double what households in eight provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador) need to feed themselves.

Elizabeth May’s Budget Quiz: Take The C-38 Test The Green Party Leader Is Challenging Tory MPs With

What “work” will no longer be covered under the Navigable Waters Protection Act?
> Bridge
> Pipeline
> Culvert
> Hydro dam
> None of the above
> All of the above

What act allows for increased offshore seismic activity?
> National Energy Board Act
> Canada Oil & Gas Operations Act
> Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board Act
> Coasting Trade Act
> Fisheries Act
> None of the above
> All of the above

Which one of these laws is not changed in Bill C-38?
> Species at Risk Act
> Canadian Environmental Protection Act
> Nuclear Safety and Control Act
> Nuclear Liability Act
> Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
> None of the above
> All of the above

Which of the following acts is NOT in C-38?
> Parks Canada Agency Act
> Navigable Waters Improvement Act
> Auditor General Act
> Wage Earner Protection Program Act
> None of the above
> All of the above

What change to the Fisheries Act prompted four former fisheries ministers to protest?
> Section 39 (c)
> Section 41 (1)
> Section 35 (1)
> Section 65 (3)
> None of the above
> All of the above

True or False: All changes to environmental laws in Bill C-38 are in Part 3, which is why the sub-committee on finance examining environmental laws was mandated only to look at Part 3.
> True
> False

Which of the following is NOT in C-38?
> Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act
> Criminal Code
> Corrections and Conditional Release Act
> Seeds Act
> Food and Drugs Act
> All of the above – none is mentioned in C-38
> None of the above — they are all mentioned in C-38

C38 repeals a number of acts. How many acts are repealed?
> 2
> 3
> 6
> 8
> 10
> None of the above

Which of the following bodies or positions are NOT dissolved by C-38?
> The Public Appointments Commission and its secretariat
> International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development
> Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal
> Canada Industrial Relations Board
> National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
> First Nations Statistical Institute
> The National Council of Welfare
> Assisted Human Reproduction Agency
> The office of the Inspector General of Canadian Security and Intelligence Service
> All of them eliminated
> None of them eliminated

How many new acts does C-38 create?
> 2
> 3
> 5

Part 1: Bill C-38 – Tory MP David Wilks
Bill C-38: Ten Ways This Budget Failed
Old Age Security
One of the many changes in C-38 is that of raising the qualifying age for Old Age Security from 65 to 67, a move which will hurt Canada’s low-income seniors, as 40% of OAS recipients earn less than $20,000 per year and 53% earn less than $25,000.


The government is closing the files of Federal Skilled Workers who applied for Permanent Residency prior to 2008, without any opportunity for review or appeal of this decision. This past week, Justice Donald Rennie of the Federal Court found that this move was illegal, stating that applicants with applications determined eligible for processing were owed a duty of fairness and the consideration of their submissions.

Parole Board Hearings

Changes to the parole board will eliminate in-person hearings in some instances, which, in the words of the Canadian Bar Association “is critical to the process.” As the CBA explains “By attending the hearing, the offender whose parole is suspended has the opportunity to learn what the Board members believe the facts to be, to correct them if necessary, and to provide other relevant information.” The measure will not result in cost-savings — rather it prejudices fundamental rights and procedural fairness while also being constitutionally suspect under the Charter.


Many of the proposals in Bill C-38 will haveparticularly deleterious consequences for the environment. Indeed, this bill rewrites Canada’s laws on environmental assessment by repealing the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, repealing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, weakening our environmental laws respecting protection for species, and derogating from established Aboriginal rights in the matter of environmental protection.

Food Inspection

Similarly, cuts are also being made to various food inspection agencies that help keep Canadians safe and secure, while ensuring that the food chain is not contaminated. The government has yet to explain how these cuts would not prejudice the health and safety of Canadians or how food safety would be maintained in the absence of complete and adequate funding.


Sixth, Bill C-38 eliminates a series of libraries and archives throughout different departments as part of the latest budget cuts, including the Canadian Council of Archives. These changes affect historians, researchers, the media, Parliament and the public — all of whom deserve to have this information preserved in addition to access to it.

Research Facilities

C-38 cuts research facilities and closes federal labs. Indeed, it changes some research funding programs such that they only provide grants when research has direct commercial application. Such changes move Canada away from being a leader in R&D, and will likely result in the loss of some of our best and brightest scientists.


The true nature of the scope of public service cuts in this bill — and the cost of these cuts — bill still remains unknown. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimates that in addition to the 19,200 positions being eliminated in budget 2012, there will be a further 6,300 jobs cut as a result of the government’s previous strategic reviews that have yet to be implemented, and a further 9,000 cuts as a result of the government’s budget operating freeze.

Aboriginal Health Funding

In the matter of Aboriginal health funding, despite the fact that Aboriginal suicide rates run as high as 11 times the national average, the Conservatives are cutting the Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy.


In the matter of pay equity, clause 602 of Bill C-38 eliminates federal contractors’ obligation to respect pay equity by removing the obligation of the Minister to ensure pay equity among Federal contractors. This will have serious consequences for women’s access to employment, and, as the Canadian Federation of University Women put it,“The proposed amendment to the FCP, could weaken the requirements and enforcement of employment equity for a significant number of employers, and could reverse progress towards economic and social equality in Canada.”

MONTREAL – A Quebec student activist was arrested while heading to his sister’s funeral Monday, an act his lawyer described as “completely inhumane.”

Read more …

Marilyne Veilleix, graduate student of Information Science at the University of Montréal:
My trip to jail for reading 1984 on the metro (First-Hand Account)