Archives for category: Canada


Amid the outrage over the cost of F-35 fighter jets, here’s a list of four of Canada’s largest military purchases :

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
The federal government has wanted to replace the 1980s vintage CF-18 jets since the late 90s.

Canada signed the first phase of the Joint Strike Fighter Program in 1997 and doled out $171 million in 2001 to start the second phase.

The Conservative government has maintained until recently that the total purchase and maintenance costs will be between $14 billion and $16 billion. This would make the F-35 the largest defence purchase in Canadian history.

Even so, the budget officer and critics have challenged the government’s figures, delivering estimates of up to $29.5 billion.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson reported to parliament last week that the government had misled parliament with the cost of the jets, and the project has since been taken away from Department of National Defence (DND) and given to a new secretariat in the Department of Public Works.

CH 148 Cyclone Helicopter
Liberal Defence Minister Bill Graham signed a $3.2 billion deal in 2004 for the purchase of 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters from Sikorsky International in Connecticut, to replace the aging CH-124 Sea King helicopters.

The first helicopter was to be delivered in November 2008, but there have been numerous delays and cost overruns. Former Auditor General Sheila Fraser said the cost of the program had grown to about $5.7 billion, up from an initial estimates of $5.1 billion.

In 2003, Paul Martin pegged the program at $2.8 billion, including long-term maintenance. But maintaining the old Sea Kings in order to keep them flying longer than originally planned has cost the Canadian government $500 million, bringing the total of the project to $6.2 billion.

Victoria Class Submarines
In 1998 the Canadian government purchased four submarines from the Royal Navy for $750 million. The UK decommissioned the subs in October 1994 and they sat mothballed in salt water for four years before Canada bought them. The submarines have had a number of problems, including a fire on HMCS Chicoutimi’s maiden voyage, which killed one sailor and injured others. It has not returned to service since.

There have been serious electrical problems on all three submarines, as well as rust and general deterioration.

Only one of the submarines purchased is currently fully operational, HMCS Victoria, which successfully fired torpedoes last month. The Windsor started a series of sea trials on April 11, with plans to put it into service within a year.

The bill for retrofits and repairs to the old subs has reached more than $1 billion.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay has said it will likely be another couple of years before all four submarines are fully operational.

Leopard 2A6 Tanks
Citing safety concerns as the war in Afghanistan intensified, Canada purchased 100 slightly used Leopard 2A6 battle tanks in March 2007 to replace its aging fleet of Leopard 1 tanks, built in the 1970s.

Combined with a contract for support and maintenance, the bill came to $1.3 billion, which was double the Conservative government’s estimate.

While waiting for the new Leopard 2A6 tanks to arrive from the Netherlands, the Canadian government borrowed 20 of the same tanks from Germany.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser reported in 2009 that the military failed to order adequate spare parts for the borrowed vehicles, which forced the Canadian military to take parts from some tanks in order to keep others running.

The Leopard 2A6 was also unable to accommodate mine-clearing equipment and bulldozer blades needed for some missions in Afghanistan, forcing the military to keep some Leopard 1s in service.

Fraser said at the time that the military broke its own purchasing rules, but added that it was acceptable given the urgent nature of the military’s requirements.



Alcohol sales in New Brunswick were down -1.9 per cent to $407,140,000.

Nova Scotia saw alcohol sales down -0.7 per cent with $623,628,000 in sales.

The third lowest increase in alcohol sales in the country was Quebec with a -0.6 per cent decline and $5,342,362,000 in sales.

British Columbia saw alcohol sales increase by 2.4 per cent to $3,096,440,000 in sales

Across Canada, alcohol sales rose by 2.2 per cent in 2013, translating to $21,356,713,000 in sales.

Alcohol sales in Ontario in 2012 rose by 2.9 per cent from 2012, for a total of $7,505,714,000 in sales.

Prince Edward Island saw alcohol sales rise by 3.4 per cent in 2013, for a total of $88,868,000 in sales.

Saskatchewan saw their alcohol sales rise by 3.6 per cent in 2013 to $624,200,000.

Manitoba saw alcohol sales increase by 3.6 per cent, to $710,127,000 in sales.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw alcohol sales in Canada increase by 3.2 per cent to $441,754,000.

Alberta was the province with the highest increase in alcohol sales in 2013. The province booze sales grew by 7.0 per cent for a total of $2,420,655,000 in sales.


Source: StatsCan

In green:   Percentage of income going to the top 10 per cent of earners.
In red:   Top one per cent’s share.




I found these pics on the web. They made me laugh.

Bob Mann leans against the 5 meter high snowman he built in the front yard of his London, Ontario home on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

Read more…


Canada Snowman Basketball





A glowing North Vancouver view last night





Where in Canada is the landscape eerily similar to Mars?
Check out strangely beautiful Canadian landscapes

Spotted Lake, British Columbia


Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick


Maligne Canyon, Alta.


Devon Island, Nunavut


Sable Island, Nova Scotia


Horseshoe Canyon, Alta.


The Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland


Mount Edziza Volcanic Complex, British Columbia


Columbia Icefield, Alberta and B.C.


Athabasca oil sands, Alta.





“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays


10 Things Toronto Used To Be Known For Before The Rob Ford Crack Scandal




Rob Ford: ‘I Have Smoked Crack Cocaine’

Can Rob Ford hang on? ‘Only time will tell,’ deputy mayor says

You Shouldn’t Be … Here’s Why People Still Support Ford

Rob Ford Is The Ugly Truth About The Suburbs

Rob Ford Crack: Twitter Co-Opts ‘In A Drunken Stupor’

Rob Ford Back To Work After Crack-Smoking Confession
Best Photos From Rob Ford Crack Scandal

Looking Back At Rob Ford’s ‘Drunken Stupors’ (PHOTOS)

What’s behind Rob Ford’s ‘mind-boggling’ PR strategy?


Taiwanese Animation:



“O Canada we’ve all agreed to
stand for the true north strong and free
with glowing hearts from sea to sea
we stand on guard for thee

Prominent Canadians

icons 1

Imagine how difficult it must be to be the child of an iconic Canadian. Being born a Gretzky, a Trudeau or a Richler might open doors, but with it comes the challenge of living in the shadow of greatness. Perhaps it’s that pressure that inspires many children of icons to pursue careers that put them on the path to becoming icons in their own right. It’s not always in the footsteps of their famous parents, but these second-generation icons are still making their own mark on Canada.

Ben Mulroney (a.k.a. Canada’s Ryan Seacrest) took his famous last name and trademark chin into a career in entertainment news as host of ‘eTalk.’ Though it might seem like a giant leap from his father’s role as prime minister of Canada from 1984 to 1993, the entertainment business isn’t that different from politics. Former screen stars such as Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger made the transition from acting to governing, and as the old adage goes: ‘Politics is like show business for ugly people.’

Justin Trudeau has come a long way since becoming only the second child born to a prime minister in office. He gained prominence is the public eye with his heart-rending eulogy at his father’s funeral in 2000. Voted in as MP for Montreal’s Papineau riding in 2008, Trudeau is hailed by many as a future leader of the Liberal Party.

The most recent echo of his father was in a House of Commons outburst last December. Trudeau swore atEnvironment Minister Peter Kent, mirroring his father’s notorious ‘fuddle duddle‘ moment. Some commentators even went so far as to dub Justin’s flare-up as ‘shiddle diddle.’

Toronto city councillor Mike Layton is the latest entry in a Canadian political dynasty in the making. Son of the late NDP leader Jack Layton, and grandson of a cabinet minister, Mike carries his father’s torch, fighting for progressive causes and championing environmental protection.

The name Gretzky will always be synonymous with hockey, but the Great One’s son Trevor is hoping to bring the name to new arenas with a career in Major League Baseball. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs at 17 after an impressive high school showing, the first baseman signed a contract worth a reported $375,000 in 2011.

Perhaps the least known on this list, Canadian-bred racehorse Northern Dancer was by far the most virile. Of the 635 foals he sired, 368 were race winners and 26 were champions across Europe and North America. Not bad for a horse that was too small to sell at auction and that stable hands said looked more like a golden retriever.

Founder of the NDP and architect of Canada’s universal health care system, Tommy Douglas still tops lists of ‘Greatest Canadians’ today. His daughter was Shirley Douglas, an actor who graced dozens of productions on stage and screen including ‘Road to Avonlea,’ ‘Wind at My Back‘ and ‘Corner Gas.’ She was married to actorDonald Sutherland from 1966 to 1970, and they had a son named Kiefer, who reached the heights of Hollywood glory as star of TV’s ‘24.’

As an alumni of Canadian sketch comedy group Second CityEugene Levy, along with future legends Gilda RadnerJohn CandyMartin Short and Joe Flaherty, laid the groundwork for Canadian comedians to find fame here and in the U.S.

Levy’s son Dan is the spitting image of his father, right down to the signature eyebrows and black-rimmed glasses. The younger Levy hosted MTV Canada’s ‘After Show’ before moving to L.A. to host the online pre-show for ‘X Factor USA.’

With one half of the legendary Canadian folk duo ‘The McGarrigle Sisters’ raising them, it was only natural for Kate McGarrigle‘s children to follow a musical path. Most Canadians got their first taste of the Wainwright kids on the soundtrack for the classic 1988 film ‘Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller.’

Since then Rufus has released six studio albums to critical and commercial acclaim, delving into realms as diverse as pop and opera. Rufus’ sister Martha has also found her fair share of success as a folk-rock singer-songwriter.

Many Canadians will remember Barbara Frum from her days as host of ‘As it Happens‘ on CBC Radio and ‘The Journal‘ on CBC television.

One of the pioneers of Canadian broadcasting, Frum was known for her casual and occasionally flippant interview style and for shouting ‘WHAT DID YOU FEED THE GODDAMN CABBAGE?’ to a hapless and hard-of-hearing farmer.

Her son David seems to have inherited her way with words, working as a speechwriter for former U.S. president George W. Bush. Now a Conservative columnist, David contributes regularly to the Canadian and U.S. mediascape.

Noah Richler – Mordecai Richler


Son of one of Canada’s most esteemed authors, Noah Richler carried on his father Mordecai‘s literary tradition with a vibrant career in journalism and by penning ‘A Literary Atlas of Canada.’