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I am JCVdude aka Joe Vass. As a Freelance Videographer, Producer & Photographer my passion & focus is travel and travel related videos; to show the incredible beauty of destinations in the hopes of intercepting and inspiring others to travel. I have chosen YouTube, as my delivery system as it is the World's 2nd Largest Search Engine, it accomodates HD & 3D video and in using it, we are viewed in over 200 Countries World Wide.

With my partner, Cindy Aspden, our JCVdude YouTube Channel is the 17th Most Viewed Channel All Time in Canada. With an average of 100,000 views per day to our broadcast channel, we continue to be featured by Mainstream Media: Google Canada in the London Free Press reported, "Another wildly successful Canadian YouTube star is JCVdude."

Our collections of videos include a wide variety of content as we explore our world and it’s beauty; incredible alpine resorts, beautiful Caribbean resorts, Jazz Festivals & interviews with the great Buddy Guy, Talent Contests, Tours, Nature, Cuisine, Sporting Events, Arts & Culture and more, including Charitable and Non-Profit Events. 

Our philosophy is 'YOLO' ~ You Only Live Once. Tomorrow isn't promised to any of us so live life to it's fullest and with passion. My goal has always been to travel and document through video, the world and it's wonders and beauty. I film and produce video to allow my viewers the feeling that they are 'there' - in the destination themselves and also to whet their appetite to go ~ to travel and see & experience for themselves. 

We love travel! We are passionate about travel and passionate about documenting our travel. Never without our cameras, our day starts before the sun rises and ends late into the night. This is our passion!! 'YOLO'!!

We welcome you to our Channel ~ http://www.youtube.com/JCVdude

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Freelance HD Videography, Editing & HD Video Production

Freelance Photography

YouTube & New Media Specialist: 
#17 - Most Viewed (All Time) - Canada 
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

New rules unlikely to affect Chinese takeovers of Canadian companies

NOTE THE DATE OF THIS ARTICLE 

Date: Friday, 11-January-2008

New rules unlikely to affect Chinese takeovers of Canadian companies: Emerson

BEIJING (CP) - The new national security test on foreign takeovers in Canada should have little impact on China's ability to buy out Canadian firms, including in the much-eyed resource sector, International Trade Minister David Emerson said Tuesday.

The minister told reporters in a conference call from Bejing that he assured Chinese officials during his visit there that the new guidelines proposed by Industry Minister Jim Prentice were not designed to thwart Chinese investment in Canada.

"Canada is anxious to have Chinese investments in Canada, including investments from the (state-owned) China Investment Corp.," he said, adding that Chinese officials welcomed his reassurance.

He said the rules outlined by Prentice in December were not meant to discourage acquisitions from state-owned corporations, but only to ensure these companies "are operating as economic and commercial companies not as a political arm or corporate arm that is simply delivering a political strategy in another country."

Although he did not elaborate, Emerson appeared to signal that he considers Chinese investments through its sovereign wealth fund to be primarily business related, rather than political.

Responding to the high level of foreign takeovers in Canada during the past few years, the government appointed a blue-ribbon panel to study the issue last summer, but also announced in December that it would take a closer look at state-owned takeovers as part of a national security test.

Prentice announced that the guidelines would apply on the "rare occasions when foreign investments by state-owned enterprises with non-commercial objectives and unclear corporate governance and reporting may not benefit Canadians."

He gave no examples of such takeovers, but many interpreted the new rules as being directed mostly at China, a government that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had openly criticized for its human rights record.

Among other things, the guidelines will assess whether a Canadian business to be acquired by a non-Canadian, state-owned enterprise will continue to have the ability to operate on a commercial basis regarding:

-the participation of Canadians in its operations in Canada and elsewhere;
-support of ongoing innovation, research and development; and
-the appropriate level of capital expenditures to maintain the Canadian business in a globally competitive position.

The government will also consider whether Canadians will be appointed as independent directors, employed in senior management positions and whether the Canadian business or its new foreign owner lists shares on a Canadian stock exchange.

Emerson, who wrapped up his visit to China on Tuesday before heading to Mongolia, also expressed optimism that a tourism agreement with China can be signed.

But if China keeps stalling, he said, Canada will have no choice but to launch a complaint to the World Trade Organization because he said China's Approved Destination Status agreement with the U.S. and 132 other countries discriminates against Canada.

This article was saved and reposted. This is because upon a Google search for the archive, this was what remained; (The article requested is no longer available.)





















Saturday, December 8, 2012

Guide to Family Medicine and Residency with Jade



We had the amazing opportunity to speak with an amazing young woman just starting her first year Residency in Family Medicine. Here's her story . . .

Friday, November 30, 2012

Jewel of the Caribbean - Xcalak Mexico



In the south of the Yucatan Peninsula is Costa Maya with the town of  Mahahual and  about 50 or so km away, Xcalak. Both are gems, with Mahahual being larger with boutique hotels, many restaurants and services. Xcalak  is smaller and if you check on a map, it is actually at the end of a peninsula so it is south enough to be by location in Belize.

The main activities that attract tourists and visitors is the amazing clear waters for diving and snorkeling, great sport fishing in the mangroves and on the flats and bird watching is also becoming popular. There are kayak excursions to take you further away from civilization into this spectacular area.

music by   Artist: Keyn project  Title: sapphire

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tarpon - Feeding the Giants



We were just hanging out at the marina in Key West when we had our first tarpon encounter!! Amazingly fast and strong! So of course we headed to the nearest bait shop to give them a little treat. :)

Western Union 136 ft Schooner - Key West Florida



We LOVED Key West! It's like stepping into another world. The sunset celebration is a must! This is an historic sail boat and according to the skipper, the BEST place to see celebrate the sunset of Key West. A beauty!

Deadly North American Rattlesnakes and African Mamba



One of the largest collection of venomous snakes I've ever seen This is at Reptile World Serpentarium in Kissimee, Florida. It is the project of the renowned George Van Horn, who twice a day conducts a Venom milking show for visitors. A MUST see.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Our Prime Minister is, first and foremost, a bully

Comment Response to:  

"One fact above all needs to be understood about the Harper government. Our Prime Minister is, first and foremost, a bully and his followers emulate him with enthusiasm. Closely allied with this bullying is an obsession with secrecy and stifling dissent.

Many people will remember Harper’s government kicking Canadian churches out foreign development programs because of the churches’ respect for human rights over profit. The Conservative government worships at the altar of profit and is vicious in its attacks on any church that dares to question its conduct. In short, for ‘Harper Conservatives’, churches that take the gospel seriously are ‘the enemy’.

The latest Tory assault on democratic rights combines an attempt to stifle free speech with an assault on another faith community. Today it is Mennonites who are being told not to proclaim the gospel, but to get on board with the celebration of warfare and profiteering or suffer the consequences.

This attempt to kill two birds (freedom of religion and freedom of speech) with one shot (financial punishment) is quite consistent with other Tory actions, including voter suppression and other electoral misconduct, that reveal a deep contempt for democracy on the Conservative benches in Parliament. Conservatives in Ottawa talk about the need for democracy in other countries while strangling it at home.

A great many of our grandparents and great grandparents came to Canada seeking religious freedom. Thousands of Canadians went overseas in World War I and World War II to defend democratic freedoms and human rights. Today we have the revolting spectacle of Conservatives trying to prop up their popularity by celebrating war while, at the same time, doing everything they can to cripple the religious and democratic freedoms so many of Canadian veterans have fought and died for.

This week I have been watching programs about both World Wars on television and wondering how many veterans are weeping in their graves. Thousands and thousands of Canadians from every part of Canada died to protect and preserve the religious, democratic, and other human rights we so cherish.

Today those rights are being cast aside and trampled under foot by politicians who seem to have more of an affinity for the evil governments our veterans fought to defeat than for our own democracy. All that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to look the other way. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for people to decide profit or power or greed is more important than human rights.

I wonder how many dead veterans would say they gave their lives to create a country where making a profit takes priority over human life. One hopes Canadians will use their ballot in the next election to do more than send a bunch of bullies to Ottawa who, it seems, would feel right at home with book burnings and torchlight parades." ~ via dallas mcquarrie

THANK YOU Dallas McQuarrie! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

BREAKING: "I am strongly opposed to this deal" James Bezan, Con MP. Chair, Standing Committee National Defense.

It's time that all Conservatives speak up. 

The following is an e-mail from Conservative M.P., James Bezan (riding of Selkirk Interlake) to Jill Winzoski a reporter with the Selkirk Record dated October, 18, 2012:

Dear Jill,

Thank you for sharing your concerns and expressing your apprehensions regarding the bid by China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOCC) to take over the publicly traded Canadian oil company, Nexen. This is an important subject that I am quite concerned about…

I would like to note that I am strongly opposed to this deal, and I have raised my concerns directly with Cabinet as well as with the Prime Minister. As I have stated to my colleagues in Cabinet, due to China’s dismal record on human rights and freedoms, I take particular exception to allowing a state-owned company from China to purchase a Canadian company. The communist Chinese government continues to fail to grant even the most basic of human freedoms to its citizens, as they strip away their national wealth to invest around the world. CNOOC’s past possible human rights abuses and failure to report oil spills is something I am also very concerned about…

As a Conservative, I am in favor of keeping markets open in Canada, however I do not support allowing state-owned and state-controlled enterprises to take over publicly traded Canadian companies, as these state-owned and controlled business [sic] are not on the same level playing field as other free enterprising corporate entities. Markets should operate in a manner that allow [sic] for fair and proper investment. State control, through financial manipulation and investment, do [sic] not allow for openness or fairness to the average investor. Large amounts of state investment distort markets for all other participants, while limiting other opportunities.

It is important to note that although caucus members such as me personally oppose this deal, should Minister Paradis feel the Nexen bid meets all requirements under the Investment Canada Act and the Competition Bureau Act, there is little that can be done to stop it…

Sincerely,

James Bezan, MP.
Chair, Standing Committee on National Defense.


Source: ipolitics

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THE RIGHT TO OUR DEMOCRACY IS AT STAKE!!


"In 1973 The David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission’s symposium on democracy resulted in a document entitled 'The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies'. It warned “an excess of democracy” was creating a governability problem in the western world."

Problem for who??

Enter NAFTA. 
"The main point of NAFTA was to maintain the 'economic miracle' and make sure nothing happened to it."

What's an Economic Miracle? 
"'Economic Miracle' means that for the overwhelming majority of the population, things are collapsing but the number of billionaires is going up about as fast as the increase of poverty."

According to the USA . . .
"You have to maintain that. In 1991 the USA did a study and found there "was one cloud on the horizon that they had to worry about, and that's what NAFTA was for.

The 'cloud on the horizon' was the fear that there might be a democracy opening in Mexico. If there is a democracy opening, that could be dangerous because then people might try to get government to follow policies that WOULDN'T be increasing the 'economic miracle' but might be just improving the welfare of the population. They had to make sure there wasn't any democracy opening. And that's the point of NAFTA."

What is the point of NAFTA?
"The point is to lock them into so-called reforms so even if this terrible thing happens and there IS a democracy opening, there isn't a lot they can do about it."
(All quotes from "For a Free Humanity" by Noam Chomsky)


Why should Canadians care? 
Since harper has had his majority, he has been in a frenzy to sign trade agreements. All trade agreements will function to a greater or lesser degree to how NAFTA functioned in Mexico and how it still is damaging Canada.

NAFTA and other so-called 'trade' agreements are NOT 'trade' agreements but in fact, are corporate treaties or laws written to limit and even prevent democracy while enhancing corporate power and wealth. Today, Canada is facing it's most dangerous and damaging corporate treaty yet; FIPA with China.

What can you do?

1. Call your MP and the PM!
2. Write a Letter to the Editor of a major newspaper.
3. Sign the petitions below.
4. Tell your family and friends why FIPA is the Frightening Investment Protection Agreement. (Further reading below)

Sign Petitions:

LeadNow: Stop the Canada-China FIPA and Nexen takeover
Council of Canadians: Harper must tear up the Canada-China investment treaty
The Green Party: Stand up against the sellout to China
Clayton Ruby, ForestEthics: AN OPEN LETTER TO HARPER: STOP FIPA

Video: 
Deep Rogue Ram: The Canada-China Trade Deal
Canadian Gree Party: Elizabeth May: Canada-China Investment Treaty

Monday, July 9, 2012

Birding in British Columbia 2012



Just a sample of the birds we filmed in British Columbia in the last couple of months. Some are migratory, some are rare like the The Long-billed Curlew and some are common like the Canada Geese.

Caribbean Hideaway Escape ~ Mahahual, Mexico



Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico has stollen my heart. The people, the beauty, the fishing, the snorkeling . . . *sigh* The spotted ray that's in the avatar and the video startled me. I wasn't far off the beach snorkeling and it was very curous about me. lol

Perfect uncrowded Caribbean getaway... music by Alexander Filippov 05 - Epizode 1

Caribbean Crocodile Adventure ~ Banco Chinchorro, Mexico



Banco Chinchorro is a coral atoll about an 1 1/2 hour boat ride off Costa Maya in Mexico. It's like stepping into another world!!

Hundreds of crocodiles live wild and free at Banco Chinchorro Mexico, the small coral atoll 35km off shore from Costa Maya.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Be Angry at MULRONEY - The Real Story of the National Energy Policy & Alberta Oil


By Robin Chat in Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper


1956 The Pipeline Debate



The Conservatives' foreign affairs critic, Diefenbaker began warning about the danger of American money flowing into Canada to dominate Canadian industry. Then in May of 1956, he had his chance to pick an issue that could define his political direction.
Prime Minister St. Laurent and his Liberals introduced legislation to have the Canadian government lend $80 million to the U.S.-controlled Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Ltd., to build a pipeline from Alberta to Winnipeg in order to export natural gas to the United States.

"The loan was the key to a deal with high-flying Texas tycoons who for half a dozen years had been wheeling and dealing with the so-called "minister of everything," C.D. Howe, minister of defence production, minister of trade and commerce, and all-powerful in the St. Laurent government. 

The autocratic Howe demanded that the loan go through quickly so the pipeline could be finished before the next federal election, and he induced the government to impose closure to limit debate on the measure ... Diefenbaker, and other Tories seized on the arrogance of Howe and the Liberals to begin the most raucous episode in the House of Commons in this century, the infamous "Pipeline Debate." (1)


Dief was in high form:

"John Diefenbaker shouted about the Liberals' "brutalitarian tactics" and "executive absolutism," but he had equally poisonous contempt for the buccaneering Texas tycoons – "those Texas millionaires; those pampered pets" – especially Clint Murchison, C.D. Howe's friend and the central Trans-Canada Pipe Lines financier, whom Diefenbaker called a "pirate" who was "financin' by finaglin'." 
He accused the government of "playing around with . . . these adventurers from Texas and New York, trading away Canada's national resources at the expense of the Canadian people." The deal, Diefenbaker said, would make Canada "a virtual economic forty-ninth state." (1)

The Liberals had a strong majority and the legislation was passed, but it would come back to bite them on the butt.

That August, then Tory leader George Drew fell ill and John Diefenbaker would win the leadership. And though considered a long shot, he built his campaign on the "Pipe-line debates"


Dienfenbaker travels the nation

"With eyes flaming, arms flailing and shoulders and jowls aquiver, Diefenbaker travelled the nation, fervently drying out for "One Canada!" and exultantly proclaiming, "I have come here with a vision of our nation's destiny." It was a "Canada first" vision expounded with visceral nationalism. "I have but one love, Canada. One purpose, its "greatness," he would say. Canadians hadn't heard such a magnificent spellbinder since the heyday of Sir John A. Macdonald.And he did what many people thought impossible, becoming prime minister in 1957.

Soon after the election he commissioned Henry Borden, to help to establish an energy board, primarily to help the Alberta independent oil producers to find a market for their crude oil by building a pipeline from Edmonton to Montreal. Their opponents, the large, international oil companies, found it more profitable to use imported oil in their Montreal refineries.

National Oil Policy

The most influential individual at the hearings was Walter J. Levy, a New York oil consultant, who proposed that the pipeline not be built and that Alberta oil be exported to the US while Montreal continued to be supplied from abroad. In its reports the commission accepted this recommendation, and called it the National Oil Policy. (2) Not everyone was happy with the arrangement.

"The aim of the National Oil Policy was to promote the Alberta oil industry by securing for it a protected share of the domestic market. Under the policy, Canada was divided into two oil markets. The market east of the Ottawa Valley (the Borden Line) would use imported oil, while west of the Borden Line, consumers would use the more expensive Alberta supplies. For most of the 1961-73 period, consumers to the West paid between $1.00 and $1.50 per barrel above the world price, which, just before the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and price increase, stood at around $3.00. They also paid proportionately higher prices at the pump than Canadians east of the Borden line." (3)

This meant that Ontario paid the higher Alberta price and were restricted from shopping for a better deal, while foreign owned companies in Montreal, got to import cheaper product.

So while those who ascribe to old 'Western alienation theories', for 12 years Ontario paid 33-50% more for oil and gas, to ensure that Alberta had a ready market. And this decision was made by an oilman from New York. For our part, it enabled Canada to avoid the Mandatory Oil Import Quota Program, introduced by Eisenhower in 1959. So Alberta oil also went to the U.S., and the Americans were able to buy Alberta oil cheaper than we could in Ontario.


Political Climate and Strategy Change

When JFK came to power, the relationship with the United States deteriorated greatly, since he and Diefenbaker genuinely disliked each other. There was one small deal that Dief did secure "by finaglin'".

The U.S. then had a trade embargo against Communist China, where Canada had been shipping wheat. Because Imperial Oil was a subsidy of an American company, they were not allowed, under U.S. trade law, to fuel the tankers delivering the wheat. Kennedy gave him this concession (5), but after that it was war.
Canada's national energy strategies began with John Diefenbaker, and changed with the political climate, the price of oil, and who happened to be in the White House at the time. The only ones who didn't like the NEP were the corporate sector, especially the Americans who had found such a compliant partner in Ernest Manning. "... as an Albertan* he had double reason for hating the NEP. It was an attack on the petroleum industry in general, and it discriminated against petroleum companies that were foreign owned - like Imperial Oil. And now Harper witnessed the flight from Alberta of a caravan of oil rigs. Exploration slowed almost to a halt . . . Idle cranes towered beside the skeletal frameworks of unfinished buildings as practically all activity died."(1)


Mulroney cancelled the program -

This sounds more like an argument that would come from the National Citizens Coalition or the Fraser Institute, but the fact of the matter was that the reason those cranes were idle and buildings unfinished was because Brian Mulroney cancelled the program, under pressure from the West, leaving them no protection from OPEC.
"In the fall of 1985, the latter tragedy befell Alberta's oil industry. The OPEC cartel failed to agree upon a world oil price. The result was a global free-for-all among producing nations. Canada's oil and gas producers were caught in the middle. Having recently gained freedom from the NEP, Canada's oil and gas industry was not protected as the price of oil dropped from US $27 per barrel . . . to $8 per barrel by August 1986. . . Forty-five thousand oil workers lost their jobs." (2)

So Alberta's wounds were self inflicted. And yet many Westerners still suggest that they would never vote Liberal because of Trudeau and the NEP, when in fact it was Mulroney they should have been angry with. 


Revisionist history and good PR has turned this into a mythical bogey man.

"It's time to rise up to drive down harper's poll numbers!"

"Things we didn't hear in the 2011 Election from Steven Harper:

  • that US Officers would be allowed into Canada to arrest Canadians under US Law. 
  • the destruction of Fish Habitat Legislation
  • raising Old Age Security to 67 


It's time to rise up, to drive down harper's poll numbers so much, that he will be driven from office like Gordon Campbell was in British Columbia.


This is a Democracy.

A Democracy is not that every few years we get to vote and we get to elect a dictator and then we all go to sleep until there's a chance we can remove them in the next election. Between elections, an engaged citizenry is the best check on the abuse of power" 



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Welcome to the new ɐpɐuɐϽ.

Government of Canada Renamed 'The Harper Government'




Harper government monitoring facebook, YouTube and social media


This is the face of Harper's Canada.
G20 case reveals 'largest ever' police spy operation - Canada - CBC News



█████Everything ██ is █ fine ▌redacted █████ for ██ your █ safety ▌█████ and ██ security █ ▌have █████ a ██ nice █ day! ▌

Via Robin Chat and Red Forneri ‎











catching jellyfish in Key West



I wanted to just cross the road from our hotel & do some snorkeling while staying in Key West. A little exploration first & I discovered this little bay was full of jellyfish. Not so good for snorkeling. lol

handling poisinous snakes - Reptile World



Some of the worlds most venomous snakes require the most care at handling. I was also shocked at the size of some of their fangs! 

milking deadly venomous snakes - Reptile World Florida



Without anti-venom being readily available and administered, a bite from any of these snakes could be deadly, in a very short time.

BTW all the containers at the milking station contain venomous snakes.

This is at the Serpentarium in St. Cloud, Florida.

Snakes, snakes and more snakes - Reptile World Florida



They're so very beautiful. This was one of the most extensive collection of snakes I've ever seen. This was at the World of Reptiles Serpentarium in St. Cloud Florida.

Snakes, love'em or hate'em. There's no middle road, I find them intriguing, love to see them but at a distance and having a glass between the serpent and I is a good thing.

There are a lot of snake collectors in Florida and serpentariums, even a reality show made around the capture of invasive pythons and boas.




When we were in Orange County we heard on the news of a local man reaching behind a wood pile and getting bit by a coral snake, Florida has a large healthy population of venomous reptiles.

Turtle Museum ~ Key West, FLORIDA



I LOVED Key West, Florida.

It was about was about 36C with humidity that made it feel over 40C. But, who cares! It was so amazing there. We wondered around on the piers this day and I stumbled into the Turtle Museum.

Great curator, lots of history and entertainment with tunes played on dulcimers! There's just no place that compares to the feeling in Key West.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

FOLLOW THE SEA TURTLE - BEAUTY OF NATURE



I was snorkeling just off the beach of the Barceló Maya Tropical Resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico and happened on this beautiful young sea turtle.

Such an exciting chance encounter in the warm shallow water of the beautiful Caribbean!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reasons to Oppose the Federal Budget Bill #C-38

via Douglas Connors home page:

"You only need to be concerned over one of these to come out and express your displeasure at the way ALL of these are being rammed down our throats without the slightest bit of examination, discussion, or negotiation. And almost none of it was in the election platform of a year ago.”"

There were those who heeded the call made above to visit Member of Parliament's offices to show opposition to what I call the O-B-B the Omnibus Budget Bill, Bill C-38 which wihen passed into law will make the changes listed below . I came across this just now on a Facebook site and thought I'd pass it on:

"Some pics from the BlackMark protests today." http://2012federalbudget.tumblr.com/


Anita Nickerson’s 'List of Reasons to Oppose the Federal Budget Bill'

Bill C-38 has something in it for everyone.

Concerned about the Environment? This bill:

- repeals The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act;
- dismantles The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;
- excludes concerned citizens from assessments of major projects like the Enbridge pipeline;
- downloads responsibility for most environmental assessments to provinces;
- gives final say over pipeline projects to Conservative cabinet ministers­regardless of environmental impacts.
- lays off the entire Canadian scientific community looking at ocean contaminants. Did you know we have a lot of coastline?  Meaning there’s a lot of ocean not being examined, which will impact the worldwide science in this area.
- eliminates habitat protection from The Fisheries Act;
- limits the waterways protected by The Species at Risk Act and The Fisheries Act;
- dismantles the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, leaving natural areas vulnerable

Perhaps you are concerned about Health. This bill:

- shortchanges cash-strapped provinces of expected health transfers by $31 billion;
- weakens food and drug regulations at the discretion of the Minister of Health;
- ends vital Auditor General oversight of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
- paves the way for private contractors to perform food safety inspections.

Is it Employment that interests you? This bill:

- forces Canadians to work two years longer, to age 67, to qualify for Old Age Security;
- cuts workers off Employment Insurance if they don’t take any job the Minister of Human Resources deems “suitable”;
- repeals The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act;
- removes federal contractors from the protection of The Employment Equity Act.
brings in foreign workers and allows them to be paid 15% less than our minimum wage.

Is it Democracy that interests you? This bill:

- reduces the Auditor General’s powers to hold government accountable to Canadians;
- removes independent oversight from 12 key government agencies­including the - Northern Pipeline Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canada Revenue Agency;
- eliminates organizations that produce independent policy research­including Rights & Democracy, the National Council of Welfare, and the First Nations Statistical Institute;
- dissolves the Public Appointments Commission designed to ensure key positions are assigned based on merit instead of insider connections;
- allows the FBI to come into Canada and arrest Canadians on Canadian soil.

You only need to be concerned over one of these to come out and express your displeasure at the way ALL of these are being rammed down our throats without the slightest bit of examination, discussion, or negotiation. And almost none of it was in the election platform of a year ago.”

This list was created by Anita Nickerson, who volunteered to lead the Kitchener-Waterloo Blackmark day of action. Additional thanks to Jennifer Ross for compiling this ever-growing list.

WE NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BAN SUCH OMNIBUS BILLS!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A MESSAGE FOR ALL NON-GREEKS

by Ros Grypari

Although I am not Greek, I love Greece dearly and it has been my second home for nearly 40 years. Over the last two years I have watched a lot of finger pointing and accusations being aimed at this unequaled, beautiful cradle of democracy and I have one question for you:

How would your country's people have coped, if your nation's history had followed the same path that Greek history has followed?

Ironically, the Greeks, the creators of democracy, have only been a FREE, "democratic" nation for a mere 38 years, since their infamous junta fell in 1974! Think about it! For over 600 years the Greeks have not had any leaders that they could trust! They were under a violent and barbaric Turkish rule for 400 years! The only way to survive was by bribery and corruption! 

Vastly outnumbered, they fought with unparalleled bravery from 1821 to 1829 to overthrow the Turks and they eventually won - but then - in 1831, the three great powers of Europe (Great Britain, France and Russia) decided that the newly independent Greeks should have a monarchy, so they sent them a 17 year old Bavarian/German prince to be their king, accompanied by 3 very austere Bavarian/German advisors! (Sound familiar?)

From 1863, thereon, the Greek monarchy came from Denmark. The foreign imposed monarchy was finally overthrown, after 153 years, by the military junta in 1967, after which the Greeks suffered a further 7 years of terror at the hands of the generals! The monarchy's permanent removal was, unsurprisingly, decided in a referendum by the Greek people in 1974. 

Apart from the Turkish rule, the foreign imposed monarchies and a dictatorship, the Greeks also suffered terribly during the German and Italian occupation during WWII, which left them deeply in debt, devastated and destroyed, in spite of their courageous resistance. Once again, the Greeks had an immense struggle, being forced to use whatever means it took, just to survive! Is it a wonder that they are sick of foreigners interfering with their affairs? What other nation in the developed world has been so oppressed, by so many other nations AND a military junta (which was ALSO imposed by a foreign power!) for the last 600 years? 

Years of foreign imposed rulers, occupation and tyranny does NOT foster trust . . .

Understandably, ever since 1974, when "democracy" was finally restored, the Greek people have nurtured a deep mistrust of all their politicians and leaders. Greek citizens rarely get the advantage of tax breaks and rewards for being honest that one expects in a civilized, democratic society. 

Greek politicians, having been tarred with the same corrupt brush as their tyrannical predecessors, have always stolen from their people and used bribery and blackmail to get them to vote for them! Avoiding paying taxes has, largely, been an unspoken agreement between the RICH Greeks and the politicians, who had a mutual, unspoken agreement to turn a blind eye! 

But the rich and the politicians are NOT the ones who are paying the punishment for the mess that they have got Greece into! It is the poor, the pensioners and the middle classes who are being forced to pay - and they are on their knees! The last nail in the coffin for Greece appears to have been George Papandreou, the most recently elected Greek Prime Minister (whose mother is an American!)

More foreign leaders imposed on Greeks . . . 

Mr. Papandreou was born and raised in the United States, not even coming to Greece until 1974! Following his removal, last year, the Greeks have had yet another leader imposed on them by foreign powers! A BANKER "technocrat", of all people! (There's no need to say whose side HE is on!) This is a watershed moment for Greece. 

The Greek people are desperately fighting for change and for survival, yet again - but it is a bloody battle and this time they are up against the EU, the IMF, the ECB AND all the world banks! After all, Ancient Athens wasn't built in a day and modern Athens and Greece will, somehow, have to be re-built out of the ashes, with a new model of honesty, transparency and fairness. 

The Greeks have a very long and hard road ahead. From where will they find the strength do this on their own, when they have been so defeated and bled so dry? They really can't take any more pain and unless other countries do something to HELP the Greek people, sooner or later, your own country will be the next victim in the bankers' sights, in this sinister war of finance! (NB: The majority of the loans that you hear about, that are supposedly going to "help" Greece, are NOT going to the Greek people - they are going to the world's banks to pay the VAST amounts of interest that have been incurred on the relatively small amount of debt that is owed by Greece!)

The Greek people need help and support . . .

It is a country of only 11 million people, so they need a lot of help and support! Capitalism appears to be imploding, worldwide, and it is the Greek people who are paying for it dearly, suffering more than anyone outside of Greece can imagine. 

So, to those of you who, mistakenly, think that the Greeks have brought this crisis upon themselves - please think again! The Greek people are NOT to blame! The combination of hundreds of years of foreign interference/imposition AND the corrupt and greedy bankers, worldwide, are the ones to blame! They have taken advantage of the corrupt government in Greece and have chosen the Greeks as the weakest and easiest victims to prey on for their first meal, using them as an experiment and picking the Greek bones dry in the process! However, there appears to be a tsunami of support building for the Greeks, which is beginning to spread across the world. It could be the last ray of hope for Greece!  (by Ros Grypari)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ACTION LETTER: Stop Online Spying Bill #C30

click title to read more.

Here's how you can respond: 

To: kevin.sorenson@parl.gc.ca;Randall.Garrison@parl.gc.ca; francis.scarpaleggia@parl.gc.ca; Jay.Aspin@parl.gc.ca; Ryan.Leef@parl.gc.ca; brent.rathgeber@parl.gc.ca; Sylvain.Chicoine@parl.gc.ca; Marie-Claude.Morin@parl.gc.ca; Jasbir.Sandhu@parl.gc.ca; candice.hoeppner@parl.gc.ca; rick.norlock@parl.gc.ca; Wai.Young@parl.gc.ca

Subject: Examination of Bill C-30

Dear Chair, Vice Chairs, and Members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security:

Like so many Canadians, I am worried about the overreaching nature of Bill C-30 as it is currently drafted. I feel that proper study of the Bill must consider:

The notion that current investigative powers of law enforcement are insufficient. In my view, law enforcement must provide compelling evidence that this is so.

The warrantless disclosure of ISP/telecom customer information. This strikes at a bedrock principle of privacy law and is rightly opposed by the privacy and civil society community.

The possibility that police might bypass new reporting requirements in relation to disclosed subscriber information. The legislation must ensure that all ISP/telecom disclosures are logged and reported.

Section 23 of the Bill, which imposes a gag order on Internet providers, preventing them from informing affected subscribers of disclosures of information. This provision is undemocratic, and must be removed from the bill.

Section 487.0195 of the Bill, which grants ISP/telecoms full criminal and civil immunity for warrantless disclosure of information. ISP/telecoms must not be allowed to and encouraged to comply with warrantless data preservation and production.

Section 14 of the Bill, which gives government an array of powers to order ISP/telecoms to install surveillance equipment to allow for more simultaneous interceptions than is otherwise specified in the law; to comply with additional confidentiality requirements not otherwise specified in the law; to meet additional operational requirements not otherwise specified in the law; to install surveillance equipment provided by the Minister. These provisions to circumvent limitations in the law, and determine not only surveillance capabilities but the surveillance equipment itself, must be dropped.

The ISP/telecom regulatory framework. Capability requirements, requirements for ISP/telecoms to assist with testing surveillance capabilities, requirements for them to disclose the names of all employees who may be involved in interceptions, reporting requirements in relation to technical capabilities, and the draconian inspection powers of Section 34 must be closely examined and found justifiable before this proposed legislation is passed.

Oversight of lawful access. The government should follow the advice of Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian by establishing an independent agency devoted to surveillance oversight.

Limits of the law. The law must be limited in its application to serious crime only, and limited in its use to law enforcement officials dealing with serious criminal matters.

The cost of lawful access. Before proceeding with the legislation, Canadians are entitled to a detailed, independent regulatory impact assessment that provides a realistic analysis of the costs created by Bill C-30 for implementation of surveillance technologies, operational costs, and resources needed for oversight.

Section 64, which makes it clear that future regulations relating to implementation of the bill will be required. The public is entitled to see all the regulations before the bill is passed, and all the regulations must be reviewed by and voted upon by the House of Commons.

Privacy laws. Given the close correlation between privacy and security, the government should commit to moving forward with reforms to the private sector privacy law (PIPEDA) in conjunction with lawful access.

Canada’s commitments in the Beyond the Border Action plan around information sharing. There is the potential that information gathered will be information shared with any U.S. police department or security agency making a request. Bringing Canada’s policies in line with U.S. policing norms without putting in place checks and balances on when and how much information is shared with other countries goes against a fundamental recommendation of the Arar Commissioner. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Thank you for your attention to these very serious concerns.

Sincerely,
Name, Address, Postal Code

(Letter via Dianne Varga)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Urgent Appeal to the Rest of Canada

by Max Silverman on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 5:10pm

*PLEASE continue to spread this note and the information contained therein, but *PLEASE* hold off on sending your cheques for a day or two while we figure out the most secure way to receive your donations. We are working on a cheque-in-the-mail and onliQC,ne option.*
*I will be in Toronto all week if anyone would like a presentation to your union/committee/organization.*

Request for solidarity and support for the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Sisters, brothers,

            We write you during a dark time for democratic, human and associative rights in Quebec with the following appeal for your help and solidarity. As you have no doubt heard, the government recently enacted legislation that amounts to the single biggest attack on the right to organize and freedom of expression in North America since the McCarthy period and the biggest attack on civil and democratic rights since the enactment of the War Measures Act in 1970. Arguably, this recent law will unduly criminalize more law-abiding citizens than even McCarthy's hearings and the War Measures Act ever could.

            Among other draconian elements brought forward by this law, any gathering of 50 or more people must submit their plans to the police eight hours ahead of time and must agree to any changes to the gathering's trajectory, starttime, etc. Any failure to comply with this stifling of freedom of assembly and association will be met with a fine of up to $5,000 for every participant, $35,000 for someone representing a 'leadership' position, or $125,000 if a union - labour or student - is deemed to be in charge.  The participation of any university staff (either support staff or professors) in any student demonstration (even one that follows the police's trajectory and instructions) is equally punishable by these fines. Promoting the violation of any of these prohibitions is considered, legally, equivalent to having violated them and is equally punishable by these crippling fines.

            One cannot view this law in isolation. In the past few months, the Québec student movement - inspired by Occupy, the Indignados of Spain, the students of Chile, and over 50 years of student struggle in Québec; and presently at North America's forefront of fighting the government's austerity agenda - has been confronted by precedent-shattering judicial and police repression in an attempt to force the end of the strike and our right to organize collectively. Our strike was voted and is re-voted every week in local general assemblies across Québec. As of May 18th, 2012 our committee has documented and is supporting 472 criminal accusations as well as 1047 ticket and penal offenses. One week in April saw over 600 arrests in three days. And those numbers only reflect those charged with an offense, without mentioning the thousands pepper sprayed and tear gassed, clubbed and beaten, detained and released. It does not mention Francis Grenier, who lost use of most of an eye when a sound grenade was illegally thrown by a police officer into his face in downtown Montreal. It does not mention Maxence Valade who lost a full eye and Alexandre Allard who clung to life in a coma on a hospital bed for days, both having received a police rubber bullet to the head in Victoriaville. And the thousands of others brutalized, terrorized, harassed and assaulted on our streets.  Four students are currently being charged under provisions of the anti-terrorist laws enacted following September 11th.

            In addition to these criminal and penal cases, of particular concern for those of us involved in the labour movement is that anti-strike forces have filed injunctions systematically from campus to campus to prevent the enactment of strike mandates, duly and democratically voted in general assemblies. Those who have defended their strike mandates and enforced the strike are now facing Contempt of Court charges and their accompanying potential $50,000 fines and potential prison time. One of our spokespeople, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, will appear in Superior Court under such a charge for having dared say, on May 13th of this year, that "I find it legitimate" that students form picket lines to defend their strike.

            While we fight, on principle, against this judicialization of a political conflict, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the struggle on the streets has been, for many, transferred to the courtroom and we must act to defend our classmates, our friends and our family.  This defense needs your help. Many students have been denied access to Legal Aid to help them to defend themselves. This, while students filing injunctions to end strikes have been systematically granted Legal Aid. While sympathetic lawyers in all fields of law have agreed to reduced rates and alot of free support, the inherent nature of the legal system means we are spending large sums of money on this defense by the day.

            It is in this context that we appeal to you to help us cover the costs of this, our defense. Not only must we help those being unduly criminalized and facing injunctions undermining their right to associate, but we must act now and make sure that the criminalization and judicialization of a political struggle does not work and set a precedent that endangers the right to free speech and free assembly.

            If you, your union, or your organization is able to give any amount of financial help, it would make an undeniable difference in our struggle.  In addition to the outpouring of support from labour across Quebec, we have already begun to receive trans-Canadian and international solidarity donations. We thank you for adding your organization's support to the list.

            If you have any questions, please contact us via email legal AT asse-solidarité.qc.ca. Telephone numbers can be given to you in a private message. You can also send you donation directly to the order of "Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante" (2065 rue Parthenais, Bureau 383, Montréal, QC, H2K 3T1) noting "CLASSE Legal Committee" in the memo line.

In solidarity,

Max Silverman
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Volunteer with the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Andrée Bourbeau
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Delegate to the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Emilie Charette
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Delegate to the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Emilie Breton-Côté
Law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal
Volunteer with the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Harper DEMANDS even more secrecy! Worried yet? YOU SHOULD BE!

As the official newspaper of the Government of Canada published since 1841, the Canada Gazette is one of the vehicles that Canadians can use to access the laws and regulations that govern their daily lives.

Government departments and agencies as well as stakeholders from the private sector are required by law, to publish certain information in the Canada Gazette. The official newspaper is published under the authority of the Statutory Instruments Act and of the Statutory Instruments Regulations.

The Canada Gazette contains formal public notices, official appointments, proposed regulations, regulations and public Acts of Parliament from government departments and agencies. It also contains miscellaneous public notices from the private sector.

Harper is ending the requirement to publish with C-38. This affords them the opportunity to work in secret. Worried?? If not, you should be.

Tell people. Tell CARP. Tell Opposition MPs. Tell everywhere you can. Who wants a secret Canadian government???? Is this what our troops fought and died for? Is this what we want to leave our children and grandchildren?

TELL and keep TELLING.. YELL IT from the rooftops!!!

  • Here is a list of Opposition MP email addresses:
          http://www.facebook.com/groups/292671928599/doc/10150862571603600/
  • Link for Omnibus Austerity Budget Bill C-38
via Robin Chat
Member of C.R.U.S.H (Canadians Rallying to Unseat Harper) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Frogs



We were up Iron Mountain, near Merritt, British Columbia and visited one of our favorite lakes. To our surprise, we were greeted by frogs! They were amazing!!

Frogs are amphibians in the order Anura.

Frogs are widely known as exceptional jumpers, and many of the anatomical characteristics of frogs, particularly their long, powerful legs, are adaptations to improve jumping performance.

Due to their permeable skin, frogs are often semi-aquatic or inhabit humid areas, but move easily on land. They typically lay their eggs in puddles, ponds or lakes, and their larvae, called tadpoles, have gills and tails to develop in water. Adult frogs follow a carnivorous diet, mostly of arthropods, annelids and gastropods. Frogs are most noticeable by their call, which can be widely heard during the night or day, mainly in their mating season.

The distribution of frogs ranges from tropic to subarctic regions, but most species are found in tropical rainforests. Consisting of more than 5,000 species described, they are among the most diverse groups of vertebrates. However, populations of certain frog species are declining significantly.

music is by Kendra Springer 09 - Where Sky Meets Sea

ACTION ELECTION FRAUD: Compel Conservative Party to Disclose Records to #EC - Letter |

Please use as is, or modify.


To: thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca; bob.rae@parl.gc.ca; Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
Cc: pm@pm.gc.ca

Subject: Elections Canada and its investigation
Importance: High

May 16, 2012

Dear Opposition leaders:

I wasn't aware until today that Elections Canada has not issued a production order to legally compel the Conservative Party to hand over relevant records and is instead relying on voluntary disclosure. http://bit.ly/JLmfRw

What we know about the Conservative Party is that disclosure, even necessary disclosure as in the instance of the F-35 procurement or the costs of Bill C-10, is not its strong point.

What we know about Elections Canada is that the Chief Electoral Officer was hand-picked and appointed by Stephen Harper. We also know that the Chief Electoral Officer cut a deal over the electoral fraud that took place in 2006, so none of the Conservative Party members who stood to go to jail actually did. And we know that Elections Canada has kept secret the rulings it has made on the 2,982 complaints it has investigated across the last fifteen years.

I am not confident in the will of Elections Canada to properly investigate the electoral fraud of 2011 and apprise Canadians of their findings, so I ask you today to once again call for a fully empowered, transparent public inquiry to delve into this sordid affair and report back on it.

Such a call might have the added benefit of reminding the Conservative Party of the need to conduct everyday parliamentary business according to democratic principles and processes. It seems that every day, they transgress without a whole lot of nuance to it.

Sincerely,
(Name, Address, Postal Code)


Via Dianne Varga, Continuous Letter Depot on Canadians Rallying to Unseat Harper

Friday, May 11, 2012

QUESTION CONSERVATIVE VALUES - The Harper Gov't Mistake

Environmentalists are under attack by the harper government - again. In fact, it's an ongoing harper government war on Canadian Citizens concerned about Canada's environment---our incredible nature and wildlife.

How sad it is that the harper government who campaigned on 'values' seems to have lost sight of what 'values' means:
  •  "Culturally defined standards held by human individuals or groups about what is desirable, proper, beautiful, good or bad that serve as broad guidelines for social life." (Sociological Definitions)
 
Looking up the Conservative Values, the harper government in it's own words states:  "We will promote the recognition that freedom only thrives in the context of responsibility . . ." (Conservative Values Canada)


This is exactly what Canadians are doing in defending our environment --- 


The great harper government mistake---

There appears, to be a colossal harper government disconnect and/or yet another election deception. Rather than promote, the harper government has declared WAR on Canadians and Canadians' rights to the Conservative Values of "freedom" and "responsibility". Below are examples of the harper government responses to Canadians who practiced the Conservative Values. 

  • "Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has accused "environmental and other radical groups" of trying to use money from "foreign special-interest groups" to hijack hearings on a pipeline that would bring Alberta oilsands bitumen to a port on the British Columbia coast."

  • "Environment Minister Peter Kent even raised the specter of criminal activity in a recent interview broadcast on CBC Radio's The House. Asked by host Evan Solomon if the government is trying to silence environmental groups by taking away their charitable status, Kent raised concerns about money laundering."

  • "Some groups with charitable status have been going well beyond the CRA guidelines for what is acceptable practice as a charitable agency," Kent said. "And there has also been concern that some Canadian charitable agencies have been used to launder offshore foreign funds." The minister was not available to speak to The Canadian Press."

  • "Let me ask you this, honourable senators: If environmentalists are willing to accept money from Martians, where would they draw the line on where they receive money from? Would they take money from Al Qaeda, the Hamas or the Taliban?,” said Senator Plett."

  • “Are you smoking pot and taking money from Martians?” said Senator Plett.

Has the harper government reached a pinnacle in absurdity and in their own words, 'baseless smear' (BS)? This behaviour is very reminiscent of US politics. I guess what the harper government routinely forgets is that THIS IS CANADA (Red, not blue and maybe he shouldn't have renamed our government?) 

Canadians respect leaders that are responsible and accountable. The harper government antics seem nothing more than childish and/or bullying, making them appear foolish and laughable both nationally and internationally. Considering their behaviors, wouldn't you question the harper government values? 



Sunday, May 6, 2012

ACTION: Stop CPP investments supporting Israel’s military, police, prisons

PLS read and sign petition!.... 

COAT’s research cites data from hundreds of sources to expose 64 corporations that have two things in common:

  1. they profit from links to Israeli government institutions, agencies and corporations that hide behind the euphemisms of "defence" and "homeland security," and
  1. the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) held shares in these companies, with a market value of $1.4 billion in 2011.

The CPP also holds shares in many corporations that invest their wealth in military and so-called "security" industries that support Israeli apartheid. This is done directly, or through venture capital funds like Vertex, see pp. 50-52.

There are 16 million CPP contributors and beneficiaries who have been forced to invest their retirement savings in corporations with varying degrees of complicity in Israel’s system of apartheid, its occupation of Palestinian lands, its military/"security" industries, and its aerial bombardments of Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2008-2009).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

ACTION: STOP THE BUDGET #STB

STOP THE BUDGET(STB) Action #1:

Below are the email addresses of five Conservative MPs, along with some suggested text. Please email them and report back with a comment to help us keep track of the campaign's progress.

Find us at: STOP THE BUDGET


The five MPs listed below are the "Asbestos abstainers" (see http://ow.ly/aIGzw).

Pat Davidson:        pat.davidson@parl.gc.ca
Royal Galipeau:     royal.galipeau@parl.gc.ca
Jim Hillyer:           Jim.Hillyer@parl.gc.ca
Ed Holder:             ed.holder@parl.gc.ca
James Rajotte:      james.rajotte@parl.gc.ca



Be sure to email them all separately!

Here is some suggested text. Use it, or write your own. Above all, please be respectful.

Dear Honourable XXX,

When the vote on banning asbestos was called, you had the courage and strength of character to abstain. I respectfully ask that you not participate in the upcoming Budget vote -- call in sick instead. 

The gutting of 50 years of environmental legislation will have profound implications for the health and safety of Canadians. There is quite simply no justification for ramming sweeping changes through in an omnibus budget bill. Please defend our democracy and insist that the environmental provisions be separated from the Budget, discussed in the appropriate committees and thoroughly debated in the House.

Sincerely,
(Name, Address, Postal Code)

Thank you to PBO Kevin Page. Have you written yet?

Our Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) is Mr. Kevin Page. He has been tireless and instrumental in keeping Canadians informed about the truth of many of the harper government actions and policy choices. He has pointed out many discrepancies and deceptions of the harper government.

Many of us have written long and/or short emails to thank Mr. Page for his fact-find and honest reporting. (See below) I hope you feel inspired to write after reading Daryl-Mary's letter, and Kevin's response to her. This is Mr. Kevin Page's email: PageK@parl.gc.ca



From: Daryl Smith
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 07:06 PM
To: Page, Kevin

Subject: A Thank You Note

Dear Mr. Page,

I am just an ordinary Canadian, now a senior citizen, who is terribly concerned about the direction our country appears to be traveling, and about the government that is steering it there.

In 1973, I came here from England with my little family and our dog - already in love with this wonderful country I had researched for two years, where warmth and honesty and acceptance, along with a real will to protect vulnerable people and the environment, seemed to be the at the very core of Canada's heart. Long before I set a foot on Canadian soil, I cried when I heard the singing of "Oh Canada". I was so proud that this would be my country, and the future for my children.

I still shed tears when I hear our anthem played. But for very different reasons now. This time I am grieving, for all that we have lost, and are about to lose. For the deceptions and manipulations coming from our own government -the very people we should be able to trust to do what is best for all Canadians; for the future of our country; and for our influence on and in the world around us.

It feels as though we are spinning downwards, out of control, and that there is nothing and no-one powerful enough that can reach out and halt the descent. Maybe there isn't. However, there are good people still to be found; people who care about Canada, and who do have a voice. I most certainly consider you one of them.

I don't doubt that there have been unpleasant consequences for you and your staff for standing up in parliament for what is right and honest, and for refusing to be cowed by the forcefulness, accusations, and denials of the Conservative Regime. I am sorry, I cannot bring myself to call it a government, but it does not govern - it controls. I am angry, yes, and very sad. I am also afraid. And I want to thank you from my heart for being one of the people who gives me hope that truth and fairness are still alive in this country, and that maybe, maybe, these qualities can still prevail.

I am very sorry that you will be leaving your position in 2013, it will be a great loss for Canada. However, I cannot blame you for it one bit. I hope that whatever you do in the future will be fulfilling for you, and I can't help speculating (or wishing perhaps) that maybe we will be seeing your name on the ballot at the next election. We need all the good people we can find! Thank you again for all you do for Canada and for Canadians. I can tell you that you are appreciated by a great many Canadians besides myself. Please keep up the great work you do for us all.

Wishing you the best.
Sincerely,
Daryl-Mary Smith (Ms)



Dear Daryl

Thank you very much for sharing your story and concerns for Canada and your kind words of support for the work of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

There is a quote from Albert Einstein to the effect that "in the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity". I like this quote.

To be honest, I did not want to be the Parliamentary Budget Officer for professional and personal reasons. Many of my colleagues in the public service budget community thought it would be very difficult given some of the problems associated with the legislation that set the office up and a pervasive culture of governments and public service towards secrecy (control message; limit debate)

From a personal perspective my wife and I lost a son in an accident five and half years ago. This is a terrible struggle that many parents have endured. I did not think I had the energy and I was concerned about the impact on my wife and two other childrens. Work can be a very selfish endeavor.

George Bernard Shaw said "without change, there is no progress". We need progress as you point out. We need change. It has been a true honor to be your Parliamentary Budget Officer. We have built a small and dedicated team of like minded bean counters that enjoy this type of public service. We will do everything we can within our mandate to promote transparency and the use of financial analysis in debate. This work has been for good for my soul (the selfish part). My family is doing better. Our departed son Tyler has taught us all that there is nothing permanent in life (perhaps with the exception of love we share with family and friends) so let's get the most out of the present.

Daryl, please do not be discouraged. The values that you brought to Canada are still here (my wife came to Canada from England in 1967; her father shared your perspective and vision). In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. I thank you for making the connection. You have given me inspiration. It is an honor to serve you. I will do my best not to let you down.

Wishing you and family great health and happiness.

Kevin