Showing posts from April 3, 2014

Hamburgled: Nine Out Of Ten Fast Food Workers Have Experienced Wage Theft

Click here to view the original article.

[Common theft. As you can imagine, at most it may result in a fine that will be added to the price of your Egg McMuffin. *RON*]

By Alan Pyke, Think Progress, April 2, 2014
A new poll finds that 89 percent of fast food workers nationwide say they experience wage theft.

That means that nine out of every ten fast food workers doesn’t get the pay they earned, according Hart Research Associates’ findings. The most common violation, workers report, is off-the-clock work. About a quarter of those surveyed had worked over 40 hours in a week on some occasions, and half of that group said they didn’t get overtime pay for those hours.

The poll coincides with testimonials from two former McDonald’s managers who say these sorts of illegal labor practices were routine in their stores for years.

Flying Blind

Click here to view the original article.
[Interesting piece from a CIBC newsletter. Who needs information when you have insider lobbying and ideology? *RON*]
by Benjamin Tal, CIBC World Markets In Focus, April 3, 2014

What was the dollar value of new mortgages originated in Canada in the last quarter? What is the credit score distribution of mortgage credit in Canada? What is the share of non-conforming loans in the Canadian landscape? What is the delinquency rate of those non-conforming loans? What is the trend in re-financing and pre-payments? What is the net equity position of new and existing mortgages? What is the flow of rental activity in the country? What is the share of foreign investors in the condominium market? What is the average down payment?

The short answer to those and many other questions is that we simply don’t know. The gap between the importance of the real-estate market to the economy and the lack of publicly available information on it is mind-boggling. Granted, ha…

Fair Elections Act Will Hurt Aboriginal Voting: First Nations

Click here to view the original article.

[I believe this to be true - this bit of realpolitik will help to silence some of the most vocal and persistent opponents of Harper's pet oil and gas projects. *RON*]

By Bruce Cheadle, CP / Huffington Post, 04/03/2014

OTTAWA - Gladys Christiansen had a question of her own for the Conservative government as she testified Thursday before a parliamentary committee studying controversial election law changes.

"The government continually stresses the accountability of First Nations," Christiansen, the human resources director for Saskatchewan's Lac La Ronge Indian Band, told MPs.

"What about the government's accountability to Canadians?"

Christiansen was one of three First Nations representatives and among five witnesses in all Thursday, who uniformly criticized a massive rewrite of Canada's election rules because of the difficulties it will present for some electors.

Bill C-24, dubbed the Fair Elections Act by the gover…

Romeo Dallaire: Tory Complaints Over Veterans Costs 'Pissing Me Off'

Click here to view the original article.

["...the government argues there is no 'social contract' between the country and its soldiers, despite their commitment to lay down their lives without question, and that promises made by past governments to care for the wounded are not binding on current and future governments." *RON*]

By Murray Brewster, CP / Huffington Post, 04/03/2014

OTTAWA - There are rumblings in the corridors of power on Parliament Hill that MPs have grown impatient with the cost burden imposed by Canada's military veterans, one of the country's most prominent former soldiers said Thursday.

Sen. Romeo Dallaire, a former lieutenant-general and ex-commander of the ill-fated peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, described a number of recent encounters with "politicians who are second-guessing the cost of veterans."

Dallaire — who made the comments in an interview with The Canadian Press before testifying Thursday at the House of Commons veterans co…

Kinder Morgan hearing denies or downgrades nearly half of applicants

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[Canadian democracy in action. *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, Apr 3rd, 2014

Nearly a thousand people and organizations that applied to speak out at the upcoming federal review of the proposed Kinder Morgan oil sands pipeline expansion project will literally not have their voices heard.

That's because on Wednesday, the National Energy Board said it downgraded or rejected nearly half of the applicants who applied to the upcoming hearing to review the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project from Edmonton-to-Burnaby.

“It’s a sad day for democracy in Canada, when nearly a thousand people who stepped up to take part in a complex regulatory process to have their say about a project of national significance are shut out of the hearings," wrote Christianne Wilhelmson with the Georgia Strait Alliance in a statement.

Epigenomics starts to make its mark

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[Analysis of chemical patterns on DNA shows promise for explaining disease, but few results have yet been replicated. I think a tremendous amount of money will eventually be made from epigenomics research. *RON*]
Ewen Callaway, Nature News, 02 April 2014

A methyltransferase enzyme (blue) adds chemical groups to DNA (pink), altering gene expression.

Obesity may be written not only in the genes, but also on top of them. One of the largest studies so far to probe the human epigenome — the collective name for the patterns of chemical groups that adorn DNA sequences and influence their activity — has found some tags that are linked to differences in body mass index (BMI).

Chemical alterations in a gene thought to be involved in metabolism were identified in the blood and fat cells of more than 2,500 people1, scientists reported last month. The work, led by Nilesh Samani at the University of Leicester, UK, is part of an emerging line of research that is …

Wealth Inequality Trumps Income Inequality In Canada: CCPA Report

Click here to view the original article (and a slide show on the wealthiest Canadians).
["...the country's 86 richest individuals and families — or 0.002 per cent of the total population — are getting exponentially richer and now have accumulated as much wealth as the country's poorest 11.4 million." Funny, I never see Huffington Post refer to the CD Howe Institute or the Fraser Institute as "right-leaning." *RON*]

By Julian Beltrame, CP / Huffington Post, 04/02/2014

OTTAWA - While politicians in Ottawa still can't decide who is in the middle class, a new analysis suggests wealth is increasingly gravitating to the very top.

The report by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that the country's 86 richest individuals and families — or 0.002 per cent of the total population — are getting exponentially richer and now have accumulated as much wealth as the country's poorest 11.4 million.

That's more than in 1999, when the ri…

Fair Elections Act: Sheila Fraser Slams Bill C-23 As Attack On Democracy

Click here to view the original article.

[Opposition to, and in fact outrage against, the Fair Elections Act is widespread, and there is virtually 100% opposition among those who are best informed about its implications. This is Canada's equivalent to the voter registration laws in the many US states. They are designed to curb voting by blacks and the poor. The intent here is similar, but in our case this legislation is designed, in part, to reduce the Aboriginal vote. *RON*]

By Joan Bryden, CP, Huffington Post, 04/03/2014

OTTAWA - Sheila Fraser, the former auditor general who became a virtual folk hero for exposing the sponsorship scandal, is training her sights on what she sees as a new abuse by the federal government: its controversial overhaul of Canada's election laws.

Fraser, who co-chairs an advisory board created by chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand last fall, told The Canadian Press she believes Bill C-23, if allowed to pass without significant amendments, would con…

Governments, industry must get ready for reality of climate change, forum hears

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[Insurance companies don't intend to be on the hook for the costs of climate change - creating powerful mitigation advocates from an unexpected quarter. *RON*]

By Dene Moore, CP, Huffington Post, 04/02/2014

VANCOUVER - Extreme weather events such as the flooding in Calgary and Toronto nearly kept the federal government from meeting its budget targets last year, says an insurance industry official.

Barbara Turley-McIntyre of the Co-operators insurance agency told delegates at a forum on livable cities in Vancouver that the Alberta flood alone cost the Canadian economy $4.8 billion in economic losses.

The clean-up bill came to $1.9 billion — the single most costly disaster in Canadian history — and 90 per cent of it was on the federal tab because Canadians cannot buy flood insurance.

"Those are huge numbers," Turley-McIntyre said in an interview. "There must be a way that we can come up with adaptation plans that lower those numbers …