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   Author  Topic: Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames  (Read 137367 times)
Walter Watts
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #15 on: 2009-01-24 21:53:17 »
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Quote from: Fritz on 2009-01-24 16:52:45   

[Fritz]The Canadian government will be tabling its budget Tuesday, will the kids continue from where this thread began ... stay tuned.


Canadians duped by tax refund scam

Source: IT World
Date: 2009.01.19
Author:  Jennifer Kavur - Computer World Canada  (19 Jan 2009)

A new scam tries to extract personal information under the guise of the Canada Revenue Agency. What the taxman won't say in an e-mail

A new phishing scam is circulating through Canadian inboxes, just as 2008 tax packages are arriving in the mail.

The e-mail suggests recipients are entitled to a tax refund from the Canada Revenue Agency. In order to receive the refund, users must click on an embedded link that directs them to a Web site posing as the CRA. Visitors are prompted to fill out an online form that requests tax-related information, including Social Insurance Number, date of birth, full name and the tax amount of their returns.

“When you go to the site, the phishers have lifted all the graphics and everything from the Canada Revenue Agency site, so it all looks pretty much the same,” said Marc Fossi, manager of development in the Security Technologies and Response Organization at Symantec Corp. Two big clues point out the site’s illegitimacy, according to Fossi.

“Pretty much all Canadian government agencies have a link up in the menu to the French version of that page, where it does say 'Francais,'" Fossi said. "They were obviously using a different character set, so when they tried to get the ‘ç’ with the cedilla, they didn’t have that character…instead, you see possibly a Chinese character there,” he said.

The second clue is the URL. “It’s not cra-arc.gc.ca. It’s actually a Web site located in Taiwan,” said Fossi.

<snip>


Most here probably already know and use this tip, but in avoiding phishing scams, it is imperative that you know what URL you are going to when you click on a link. To be sure you're seeing where you're going, do this:



Once this is checked, the URL of any links (when the mouse cursor is hovered over the link) will be displayed in a status bar at the bottom of your browser window.

You can then check the URL for reasonableness, ie. if you think you're going to bankofamerica.com and the status bar at the bottom shows bankomerica.com when you mouse over the link on the phisher/scammer's phony page, you'll immediately know it.

BTW, the image above is from Firefox preferences, so if you're using a different browser, you'll need to find its equivalent setting.

If you're still using IE any version, you'll also need to get a clue.

Hope this helps, or, even better, hope you already knew all this.


Walter

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Walter Watts
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #16 on: 2009-01-25 01:00:20 »
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Quote from: Walter Watts on 2009-01-24 21:53:17   

...
Most here probably already know and use this tip, but in avoiding phishing scams, it is imperative that you know what URL you are going to when you click on a link.
...
BTW, the image above is from Firefox preferences, so if you're using a different browser, you'll need to find its equivalent setting.

If you're still using IE any version, you'll also need to get a clue.

Hope this helps, or, even better, hope you already knew all this.


Walter

I use Safari (Mac) and it has the exact same View/"show status bar" setting.

I'm awfully careful about where I wander generally, but even savvy surfers get sucked in by the scammers.

Thanks for the tip.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #17 on: 2009-01-25 15:08:45 »
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[DJ_dAndriod] and [Walter] I appreciate the advice, but,

I did notice words like "Safari" and strange cult like symbols in the upper left of [Walters] Mozilla image, an apple with a bite out of it. Since I have been co opted into using these instruments of 'goodness' I have noticed a developmental tail or human vestigial structure emerging and small lumps appearing on my forehead.

When I boot my MAC backwards it says "Steve Jobs is my supreme master; we are the chosen ones"

Should I be concerned

Fritz
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #18 on: 2009-01-25 22:19:04 »
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Quote from: Fritz on 2009-01-25 15:08:45   

[DJ_dAndriod] and [Walter] I appreciate the advice, but,

I did notice words like "Safari" and strange cult like symbols in the upper left of [Walters] Mozilla image, an apple with a bite out of it. Since I have been co opted into using these instruments of 'goodness' I have noticed a developmental tail or human vestigial structure emerging and small lumps appearing on my forehead.

When I boot my MAC backwards it says "Steve Jobs is my supreme master; we are the chosen ones"

Should I be concerned

Fritz


No need to be concerned there Fritz.

Pay no attention to your new structures.

It's all part of the master "iPlan".




Walter
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #19 on: 2009-01-27 22:35:29 »
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[Fritz]and so it begins .... interesting for those down south of us to see the trivial sums in contrast to yours involved.

Budget plunges Canada into deficit
Almost $85 million in red ink project by 2013


Source: Intelligencer
Author: Posted By Bruce Cheadle/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Date: 2009.01.26
   
OTTAWA - Down periscope!

The Conservative government dove for economic and political cover Tuesday with a federal budget that submerges Canada in a sea of red ink after more than a decade of clear fiscal sailing.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented a spending blueprint that projects almost $85 billion in deficits by the spring of 2013, when Flaherty hopes Canada's finances can come up for air.

Across-the-board income tax cuts amounting to roughly $2 billion annually were the final conservative stabilizer bolted to a rambling, make-shift budget the Harper Tories had been leaking for days with unprecedented candour.

In a remarkable document for the ostensibly centre-right government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the budget exerts Ottawa's influence on everything from multibillion-dollar credit markets to whether to build a new deck on your cottage.

"Deciding whether and how to spend the resources of our fellow Canadians is one of our most serious responsibilities," Flaherty told the newly returned House of Commons in his budget speech.

"In this extraordinary time in our history, it is also one of our most urgent responsibilities."

So urgent, said the government, that Canada has already fallen into deficit for the first time since 1996-97 and will post a $1.1 billion shortfall for the current fiscal year that ends March 31.

It's just the first of five consecutive deficits, according to Finance Department projections. And the $84.9 billion in cumulative deficits will reverse more than four fifths of the national debt repayment Canadians have managed over the past decade.

Program spending will leap 10.7 per cent to $229 billion in 2009-10, up from roughly $207 billion this year, then rise another 3.2 per cent in 1010-11 before falling slightly the following year.

In the meantime, Ottawa's ballast gates are wide open.

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #20 on: 2009-01-28 03:53:55 »
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Ah yeah, I think I heard about the massive US$5billion bailout of the Iceland banks on the BBC. I suppose the number of zeros changes depending ones' GPS coordinates, but the important thing to remember is its a big worldwide crash for just about everyone. We really are all in this together. Perhaps what we could never achieve in peace, or war, we shall achieve through poverty. A common point of global sharing, however humble or miserable. Thank Dog for those silver linings.

You may resume shooting yourselves in the heads now, my humble neighbors 
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #21 on: 2009-01-29 22:31:44 »
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Quote:
[Walter]No need to be concerned there Fritz.
Pay no attention to your new structures.
It's all part of the master "iPlan".
Walter
Sublime and brilliant !!!!  THX
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
[Mo]We really are all in this together. Perhaps what we could never achieve in peace, or war, we shall achieve through poverty.
Neat thought !
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" -Wimpy-

We've come full circle.

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #22 on: 2009-02-01 22:26:58 »
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[Fritz]Canadian's have been overly smug, but the wheels are starting to come off.

Ontario's pension plan safety net vulnerable: experts

Source: The Globe and Mail - The Canadian Press
Author: MICHAEL OLIVEIRA
Date: February 1, 2009

TORONTO — Ontario's unique pension-plan safety net that makes payments when companies go bankrupt is teetering on the edge of being wiped out and could fold if a large corporation were to go under soon, experts warn.

The provincial government is currently accepting comments on a report it commissioned in 2006 — which is the first review of pension laws in 20 years — and lead author Harry Arthurs concluded that the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund, the only such program of its kind in Canada, could soon become history.

“I think one sufficiently large company or several large companies (going bankrupt)would cause the plan to go broke,” Mr. Arthurs said in an interview, adding that the Ontario government is in no way required to save the pension-insurance program.

“They certainly have no legal obligation to bail it out ... and I think it's an interesting question — if there isn't enough money, what happens next?”
Related Articles

Since 1980, the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund has provided pensioners with up to $1,000 per month in the case that a pension plan fails to provide its full benefit, or any at all.

The program is funded by corporate payments and had been run successfully for decades.

But the report notes it's increasingly common that companies are reporting high levels of unfunded pension liabilities — shortfalls in funds needed to pay out its pension requirements — and the provincial fund is threatened by a possible “shipwreck scenario.”

That could occur if a bankrupted company with many employees flooded the fund with claims and the government found the shortfall too expensive to make up.

Similar fears have been raised in the past because of troubled companies like Algoma Steel, Massey Combines and Stelco, and special provisions were made by the government to keep the fund afloat.

But the plan last reported a deficit of $102-million, and there's no guarantee the government would be willing to again prevent a shipwreck scenario, said Simon Archer, a senior staff member of the expert commission that wrote the report.

He said a shipwreck scenario appears to be “pretty realistic” considering the plight of companies like Nortel, and struggles faced by auto makers, manufacturers and the pulp and paper sector.

“If the question is how likely is it, I'd say there's pretty good odds these days that there's going to be a major insolvency and that will put pressure on the PBGF,” Mr. Archer said.

While pensioners with large corporations would likely be among the first to be looked after in the case of a government bailout, a failure of the fund is a scary proposition for employees with smaller companies, he added.

“The big guys are going to get attention one way or another but the little guys need this insurance system to keep their pensions in place,” Mr. Archer said.

“Problem is, if you're a tiny little auto parts plant in Brantford or wherever, the government's not going to step in because you're not powerful enough, you're not big enough to attract political attention.”

The report recommends that the government not only find a way to maintain the fund, but also boost its premiums to a maximum of $2,500 a month to reflect the current cost of living.

“Nobody loses a pension, what a good public policy that would be,” Mr. Archer said.

The head of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which oversees the fund, was not made available for an interview.

A spokeswoman would not say whether the commission has estimated how many claims would prompt the shipwreck scenario outlined in the report, or how likely that outcome is.

An Ontario government spokesman also refused to comment until after the report's comment period ends at the end of the month.



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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #23 on: 2009-02-01 22:49:05 »
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[Fritz]Weekend ray of sunshine from our national newspaper.


Source: The Globe and Mail
Author: KEVIN CARMICHAEL
Date: January 30, 2009

Recession spreads to Canada's storefronts



OTTAWA - Canada's recession is spreading from the car factories to the coffee shops, reinforcing the case for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's $40-billion stimulus program and adding to the risk that he may have to do more.

The baristas, shopkeepers, financial planners, technicians and consultants that make up Canada's services industries are starting to feel the same malaise that has gripped factories and exporters for the better part of a year, new government figures show.

Output by the services sector — which accounts for 70 per cent of Canada's $1.2-trillion gross domestic product — shrank for a second consecutive month in November, exacerbating the continuing slump in manufacturing and speeding the economy's fall into recession.

It's rare for both engines of Canada's economy to sputter simultaneously, and the drop in November was steeper than most analysts on Bay Street were expecting. The double whammy caused inflation-adjusted GDP to collapse by 0.7 per cent, the biggest one-month drop since a power blackout stopped production throughout much of northeastern North America in August, 2003.

The latest piece of bleak news about Canada's economy came as the Department of Commerce in Washington reported that the United States economy shrank by the most since 1982 in the fourth quarter.

Another report by Japan's trade ministry showed factory production in that country plunged an unprecedented 9.6 per cent in December, and the British government said mortgage approvals remained near a record low at the end of 2008.

Taken together, Friday's data, reflecting some of the worst turmoil ever experienced in global financial markets, serve as a prelude for a recession that the Bank of Canada, the federal government and economists say is just getting started.

"There is no silver lining, which is something we are not used to seeing," said Sébastien Lavoie, an analyst at Laurentian Bank in Montreal and a former economist at the Bank of Canada. "It was not a blip. It's as bad as it looked. It will look the same in this quarter."

Mr. Flaherty, who presented his stimulus plan in his latest budget on Tuesday, is bracing for more bad news.

The team of private-sector analysts he surveys to come up with an economic outlook for his budget told him nominal GDP will shrink 1.2 per cent this year. Wary of forecasts that are changing dramatically by the month, Mr. Flaherty based his budget planning on a contraction of 2.7 per cent, a risk adjustment that assumes Canada's economy will generate $30-billion less than the private experts predict.

"The private sector forecasters, many of them actually have come to me and apologized for how inaccurate their data was," Mr. Flaherty told Business News Network in an interview from Davos, Switzerland Friday. "No one saw the degree to which the world economy would slow down, and how quickly that would happen."

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all of Friday's data was the confirmation that Canada's once-resilient service providers are finally beginning to stumble in the face of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

As the credit crunch and the U.S. downturn sapped demand for exports last summer, demand for services generally held up, providing Canada's economy with ballast.

The struggles that service providers are now having suggest job losses in industries such as automobile manufacturing and construction and a steady stream of grim news on the economy are taking a toll on confidence, causing shoppers to avoid the mall and businesses to think twice of taking on a consultant.

Dig deeper into Statistics Canada's latest GDP report, and the data show that output from nine of the 12 service industries that StatsCan measures dropped in November, expanding from six the previous month.

It's rare for so many services industries to suffer at once, according to Marc Pinsonneault, an economist at National Bank Financial. In September, only four components fell. Since 1997, when StatsCan began releasing monthly GDP data, there have been only two other times when output from six or more services industries dropped in consecutive months, said Mr. Pinsonneault.

"This is significant and helps to confirm that the economy turned into a recession at the end of last year," Mr. Pinsonneault said from Montreal. "It says the recession is having an effect on domestic demand. We all know there was an effect from global demand, but up to the third quarter, domestic demand was remaining vigorous."

Not everyone is convinced Canada's economy is in such dire shape.

Cameron Herold, who mentors entrepreneurs around the world, said that while factories and some commodity producers clearly are struggling, there's more life in the global economy than is being reflected in the business pages and on cable television.

"I was at the barber this morning, and he said he wished the media would stop talking about the recession," Mr. Herold said from his base in Vancouver Friday. "Every group of entrepreneurs I speak to, the optimism is quite strong. There is some nervousness, but they still want to grow their businesses."

Still, Mr. Herold, who said his business is as strong as it was a year ago, concedes the gloomy mood is getting to him.

"I'm being more cautious," Mr. Herold said. "I'm not making as many impulse decisions. It's not because I have less cash. It's the mindset that's different."


Related Articles

    * Grim economic data show world crisis deepening <snip>Separately, NEC said it would cut 20,000 jobs, including some already announced, by March 2010.

“It's a losers' union,” said SMBC Friend Securities manager Fumiyuki Nakanishi. “The domestic chip industry appears at the brink of death.”<snip>


[Fritz]And then the eternal hope

The Globe and Mail Gallery

As the global economy slumps ever deeper, Canada is expected to suffer a short, ugly recession, followed by what the central bank believes will be a strong rebound. Based on the Bank of Canada forecast, and those of other economists, the downturn that began late last year will be milder than the last two recessions and Canada will fare better than many other countries.

'We expect that this recession won't be as long as former recessions, for instance the recession in the 1990s,' said Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, left, seen here Jan. 22 with senior deputy governor Paul Jenkins after unveiling the outlook in the Monetary Policy Report Update.

While Mr. Carney projected higher unemployment, he added that 'when recoveries come, they come sharply.'


« Last Edit: 2009-02-01 22:53:11 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #24 on: 2009-02-03 20:58:58 »
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I have to wonder when crying wolf has diminishing returns, or when government, union and industry try to rise from the ashes with a viable solution .... no short term profits for the share holders in that I guess.

Cheers

Fritz


Source: 680 News Radio Toronto
Author: James Munroe
Date: 2009-02-03 17:40


Latest figures from GM shows sales down 50 per cent

The latest figures from Detroit may have General Motors singing the blues.

The big auto maker says its January sales numbers were down almost 50 per cent in both Canada and the United States.

These numbers will only encourage talk that General Motors may be considering pulling out of Canada entirely.

The Canadian Auto Worker's President of Local 222, Chris Buckley, is using conciliatory language this time around, in his dealings with General Motors.

Buckley said, "We're going to meet with GM when they come knocking on our door, and we are going to do whatever we can in a responsible manner to ensure that General Motors has a presence in Canada."

Buckley said he wants to speak with GM officials as soon as possible to pass on that the union is willing to be part of the long term solution.

If GM left Canada it would cost 12,000 direct jobs and many more spin-offs.

Currently, the company's board is wrapping up two days of meetings in Detroit.
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #25 on: 2009-02-04 21:36:48 »
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Well now the US sends us poisoned peanuts and we send them radioactive fertilizer ... hmm ...that seems fair.

Cheers

Fritz

PS: What gets flushed down the toilet from what embassy ?
 

Source: AFP @ google
Author: ...
Date: 2009.02.04

Ottawa puzzled by sewage radiation find

OTTAWA (AFP) — Sleuths searched on Wednesday for the source of radiation in this Canadian capital's sewers after two shipments of sludge were turned away from the US border for being too hot.



"So far, our hazardous materials team found nothing but background radiation levels at our waste treatment plant, and experts came in this morning but also found nothing unusual," the city's spokesman Michael Fitzpatrick told AFP.

"We can't find any radioactivity," he said.

Ottawa's solid waste is shipped to four locations in North America for use mostly as compost. Water separated from it ends up in local rivers.

Last week, US border officials turned away two shipments headed for upstate New York after detecting high levels of radiation. Since then, the shipments have been quarantined at an Ontario waste facility.

Tests on the city's drinking water and a preliminary inspection of its sewage treatment plant failed to find the source of the contamination.

Experts now are trying to identify the radioactive isotopes to narrow their source, said officials. These markers are much like DNA or fingerprints.

It is believed the irradiated materials may have entered the plant from pipes leading to the facility.
« Last Edit: 2009-02-12 20:26:51 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #26 on: 2009-02-07 19:44:01 »
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[Fritz]Canadians not wanting to feel left out of a good thing parted with their ill gotten gains as well.


Source: Globe and Mail
Author: PAUL WALDIE AND SINCLAIR STEWART
Date: 2009.02.06


Ponzi north

When people around Phillip Robinson saw how lucrative his investments were, they wanted in. Now, the Canadian link to Bernard Madoff is becoming clear, and it isn't pretty

Phillip Robinson has survived the Second World War, the Great Depression, a broken marriage and more than a few business scrapes. Now at age 83, he has one more challenge to face – surviving Bernard Madoff.

For 20 years, Mr. Robinson believed his life savings were being well managed by Mr. Madoff's New York-based investment firm. He met Mr. Madoff in 1988 and was so impressed that he sunk $4-million into his funds over the years.

His connections to Mr. Madoff surfaced in a court filing yesterday in New York that revealed the scope of Mr. Madoff's client base in the United States and Canada. The Canadians ranged from a Montreal investment firm connected to a branch of the Bronfman family, to a Marxist scholar at Dalhousie University who once played basketball with radical socialist Abbie Hoffman, to a member of the Pencer family of soft-drink fame.



It's not clear how much each invested, and sources close to a few of them said the information was incorrect.

Mr. Madoff “was low-key, very convincing,” Mr. Robinson recalled from Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré, Que., where he runs Mont Blanc and Grey Rocks ski hills. His pitch “was so convincing. I'm still half convinced.”

Mr. Robinson encouraged his two sons, daughter, brother, business partner, accountant and nephew to invest as well. Now, with Mr. Madoff facing charges of fraud in New York and allegations he ran a $50-billion (U.S) Ponzi scheme, the Robinsons have lost more than $13-million.

“I'll hang on as best I can,” said Mr. Robinson, who was already coping with a bitter divorce and a struggling business before the Madoff scandal erupted. “I'm 83 and I've lived through a lot of bumps before. It's like I tell a good friend of mine, ‘We wake up and we start fighting the dragons.'”

Much of the Canadian connection comes back to Mr. Robinson, whose encounter with Mr. Madoff two decades ago ultimately led to a string of investments.

It all began in Philadelphia when Mr. Robinson's old friend, Alfred Reischer, introduced him to Mr. Madoff.

Mr. Reischer owned an accounting business in Philadelphia, where Mr. Robinson went to university, and the two had kept in touch while Mr. Robinson built a career in real estate and as a local politician in New Jersey.

Mr. Robinson came to Quebec in 1976 after falling in love with skiing. He bought a ski hill, got married and settled down. Around the time Mr. Robinson married, Mr. Reischer began raving about some investments he'd made with Mr. Madoff, highlighting the steady returns of almost 12 per cent annually. Mr. Robinson was intrigued and his friend set up a meeting with Mr. Madoff.

Mr. Robinson didn't understand everything Mr. Madoff talked about that day, describing his investment strategy as a sequence of “put and call options,” but he took his friend's advice and jumped in. His children, brother, nephew and business partner followed suit later.

Soon Mr. Robinson's Montreal accountant, Issie Farber, took note, too. He was doing Mr. Robinson's taxes and marvelled at the investment returns. “He saw what I was earning and he asked if he could get in,” Mr. Robinson said. “So I called Mr. Madoff's secretary and I got him in.”

Sources close to the Farbers say the family could be out as much as $4.5-million. Mr. Farber died several years ago and his widow, Sandra, declined to offer specifics yesterday. “I was just watching Regis & [Kelly Ripa] on television and she was saying how many people in New York, how many people in Florida [are on the list],” Ms. Farber said. “It's very sad.”

At the time he invested with Mr. Madoff, Mr. Farber was a director of Cott Corp., where he was a well respected numbers man. He brought Cott executive Sam Pencer into the Madoff fold, according to the list of clients. A source close to the family estimated its losses at more than $10-million.

Mr. Pencer's widow, Judy, who lives in Toronto, declined comment and referred questions to her Montreal accountant, Barry Rashkovan.

Mr. Rashkovan is Ms. Farber's son-in-law and does some accounting work for her as well. Yesterday, he said he did not handle any investments for Ms. Pencer or Ms. Farber, and did mainly tax work. “I was not invested and the reason my name is on the list is because one of my clients was invested and I got the [Madoff fund] statements from one of my clients. I don't know how this client of mine got involved with Madoff in the first place,” he said.

Mr. Robinson's daughter, Nancy, used her investments with Mr. Madoff to start a charity in Boston called Citizens for Safety, which advocates for measures to stop trafficking of illegal guns. She also relied on several Madoff clients for donations. Now she isn't sure the charity can continue.

“I'm struggling to keep my house, keep my job,” Ms. Robinson said yesterday. She works full-time at the charity, which has about 1,000 members. “We just trusted that if these other individuals who were so savvy were invested then it had to be a good thing.”

The other Canadians on the list were not connected to Mr. Robinson and it is not clear if they were Madoff clients or simply on a mailing list.

One was Gerbro Inc., the Montreal investment firm for the family trust of Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman. Nadine Gut, the president and chief executive officer of Gerbro, said she cannot comment on any matters relating to the company because it is a private organization. A source close to the family said Gerbro has no investments in Madoff funds and never did and that it's a mystery how its name got on the list.

Gerald Bronfman, who is deceased, was the son of Harry Bronfman, one of Seagram founder Samuel Bronfman's brothers.

Two other names were more puzzling – Herb and Ruth Gamberg, a pair of modest, left-leaning professors who came to Halifax in the 1960s and taught at Dalhousie University before they retired.

Mr. Gamberg, 75, is regarded as one of the world's leading Marxist scholars, according to a documentary about his life under development by Halifax director Walter Forsyth. He grew up in Worcester, Mass., and on his trips home from Brandeis University he would play pickup basketball with his younger friend, Abbie Hoffman, the radical social activist who comprised part of the Chicago Seven. After coming to Canada, he helped establish the Foundation Year Program at King's College, and became one of the early members of Dalhousie's sociology department, writing on everything from prison reform to socialism to the history of Nova Scotia's political left.

Although they are retired, the Gambergs remain politically energized. They added their names to a petition nominating folk singer Pete Seeger for a Nobel Peace Prize, and were among a group of signatories protesting Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama mining project in Chile.

The Gambergs could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr. Robinson said he doesn't feel guilty for encouraging others to invest with Mr. Madoff. “Everyone has to make their own decision,” he said. “I don't blame my friends who were also getting me in.”

He feels sad for the widow of his old friend Mr. Reischer, who died four years ago and put most of his money in Madoff funds. “His wife is destitute now,” Mr. Robinson said quietly.

Mr. Robinson said he is coping alright with his financial woes, divorce and business troubles – he is preparing to liquidate Grey Rocks. “I still walk and still breathe and talk,” he said.

When asked what he will do about the $4-million he lost with Mr. Madoff, Mr. Robinson chuckled and replied: “Wait until the grim reaper calls me, I guess.”

With reports from Bertrand Marotte, John Partridge and Les Perreaux
« Last Edit: 2009-02-07 19:45:08 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #27 on: 2009-02-12 20:22:44 »
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The interesting point for me is that US and European companies are in the thick of this energy based revenue stream.

And I know how concerned MOENZYME will be that the kind gentle Canadian prairie folk are being maligned.

Cheers

Fritz


Don't buy our 'dirty' crude, green lobbyists urge Obama

Source: Calgary Herald
Author:  Jason Fekete, with files from Renata D'aliesio, Calgary Herald; with files from and Canwest News Service
Date: 2009.02.11

Less than n two weeks out from Barack Obama's visit to Canada, an international coalition of environmental groups has launched a public relations offensive urging the U. S. president not to shelter the Alberta oilsands from gritty greenhouse-gas regulations.

The Obama2Canada partners, which includes more than a dozen green groups such as Environmental Defence and Greenpeace, are engaging in a cross-border lobbying campaign in the leadup to Obama's Feb. 19 meeting in Ottawa with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The environmental organizations are trying to convince the new president to reject what they believe will be entreaties from Harper to insulate carbon-intensive oilsands production from aggressive climate-change regulations that many observers believe will be introduced by the Obama administration.

The campaign--which kicked off Tuesday with an ad in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper--features print ads and a new website, as well as asking Canadians and Americans to send petitions to the prime minister and president. Both leaders have expressed inter-est in crafting a North American climate-change deal that could include a cap-and-trade emissions reduction program.

"The message is, 'Don't buy our dirty oil,' " said Jean Langlois, campaign adviser with the Sierra Club. "It's a concern of ours that the Canadian government is still out of step with the international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change."

Developing the oilsands produces about three times as many emissions per barrel compared to conventional oil, the coalition notes, while also gobbling up enormous amounts of natural gas and fresh water.

It's the latest salvo in an ongoing war between governments and green groups about the oilsands, the second-largest oil reserves on the planet.Over the past few years, protesters have followed Premier Ed Stelmach and his ministers around the globe and intensely lobbied American lawmakers, hoping to wean the U. S. off of the "dirty" oilsands.

The Stelmach government has fired back with a three-year, $25-million public relations campaign of its own designed to improve Alberta's image and that of the oilsands. It's also announced $2 billion in seed money to kick-start carbon capture and storage, which the government is relying on to achieve most of its long-term greenhouse-gas reductions.

"We believe that the oilsands are a secure source of energy well into the future,"Environment Minister Rob Renner said Tuesday. "We can and we will develop those resources in an environmentally sustainable way and we're committed to show President Obama and anyone else who cares to hear how we're going to do it."

Roman Cooney of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said the Sierra Club's efforts are too one-sided and fail to grasp other issues related to energy development in the oilsands.

"The industry is not looking for special treatment, on the oilsands in particular, it's looking for equal treatment," Cooney said.

jfekete@tHeHerald.canwest.com
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #28 on: 2009-02-18 22:08:04 »
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So if I'm keeping track correctly: China will own our Mineral Resources, Middle East our Farmland and the US our Water, manufacturing, healthcare, food processing, hi tech, and BEER, but we do have our beavers and snow, for now.

WTF

Fritz



Source : The Globe and Mail
Author: ERIC REGULY
Date: January 30, 2009

The farms race
Wealthy countries short of fertile land are gazing hungrily at Canada's prairies
The Arab states invest their oil fortunes in the craziest things, from the proposed Mile-High Tower in Jiddah to the indoor ski resort in dry-as-dust Dubai. Perhaps the craziest idea yet is Saudi Arabian wheat. Some 30 years ago, the lake- and river-less kingdom decided it should be self-sufficient in wheat.

It worked. But the subsidies to farmers at times approached $1,000 (U.S.) a tonne. Last year, the Saudis finally concluded that desert wheat made no more sense than Nunavut pineapples. The farms will disappear within a few years, after which the country will be entirely dependent on imports. But from where?

Answer: from any nation willing to sell or lease vast tracts of its farmland and-here's the kicker-allow the Saudis to export most or all of the food grown there back home, bypassing the international market. Such "offshore farms" are a quiet, though burgeoning, form of neo-colonialism. And they have the potential to unleash a new food crisis.

The Saudis are not alone in the global land grab. Any country that worries about long-term food security because of a shortage of fertile land, and has the wealth to do something about it, is on the hunt: United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Libya, India, China, Japan, plus a number of investment and private-equity funds. A report published in the autumn by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development said that "public and private corporations and industrial groups are buying millions of hectares of land in Africa, Asia and Latin America to produce food or agrofuels."

At first, the UN and the World Bank either ignored or cautiously supported the trend. Food prices were rising and foreign investment in raising crop productivity in poor countries seemed like a fine idea. They changed their minds when they realized offshore farms were all about locking up food supplies, not boosting them for the markets. Bizarrely, one of the countries apparently most eager to welcome farmland seekers is Sudan, where 5.6 million people are being fed by the UN's World Food Program.

Watchdog groups such as Grain and the International Land Coalition also fear that poor farmers are being forced off productive land as the men with the cheques arrive. The authors of a recent Grain report said that some offshore farm deals amount to "the siphoning of fertile and probably contested agricultural lands to rich foreigners."

You can't blame Saudi Arabia and the others for taking care of the nutrition needs of their growing populations, just as the Americans and Europeans will spend fortunes, and sometimes start wars, to lock up oil supplies. In some cases, the land deals might be win-win situations, in that farm jobs are created, crop technology is transferred and some food is left on local tables. But you have to assume altruism is not the priority.

And you can already see how the offshore farmland trend could blow up. The food crisis that triggered riots in Africa and Haiti in 2008 has been tempered by falling commodity prices. It could return in an instant for any number of reasons, ranging from an oil price reversal to a drought. Imagine how suddenly hungry people would react if they knew a good portion of their country's crops were being funnelled to rich countries. Rioters might seize foreign-owned farms. To prevent chaos, the government would probably nationalize the operations.

Which brings us to Canada. This country has far more farmland than it needs to keep us fed. The land is in a politically stable jurisdiction and is incredibly cheap by developed-country standards. Calgary's Agcapita Farmland Investment Partnership, a fund that has been buying prairie farmland, has calculated that Saskatchewan's productive soil, in inflation-adjusted terms, fetches far lower prices now than it did in the early 1980s.

Agcapita partner Stephen Johnston says he's approached all the time by foreign interests seeking Canadian agricultural land. Foreign ownership restrictions on prairie farmland have blocked them so far, but that doesn't mean they're out of the picture. Foreigners might be able to lease farms or use loans or local partnerships to gain interests in the land. It's hard to imagine that Canada will not play a role as the global farmland rush gains momentum. Johnston is convinced it's just a matter of time.

Would it be in Canada's interest to turn big chunks of Saskatchewan or Manitoba into offshore farms for the UAE or China? In a country that believes in free trade, probably not. Farmers, food processors and politicians need to devise a policy before Canada becomes a target.

Eric Reguly is an award-winning columnist with The Globe and Mail. He is now based in Rome, and can be reached at ereguly@globeandmail.com
« Last Edit: 2009-02-18 22:10:07 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Canada Shoots itself in the Head : A Nation Going Down in Flames
« Reply #29 on: 2009-02-21 18:58:36 »
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[Fritz] MoEnzyme would have been proud to see the reception Obama got in Ottawa, and he had a 'Beaver Tail' to munch on as well, a new one, in his honor, was created with chocolate sauce.

Cheers

Fritz




Source: Calgary Herald
Author: Nigel Hannaford
Date: February 21, 2009

let's hope congress shares obama's love of canada

Could things be better between Canada and the U. S. with President Barack Obama at the helm in Washington?

You'd think it hard to improve on having conservative George W. Bush in the White House, and conservative Stephen Harper in Sussex Drive.

Of course, after the Liberals anything was an improvement. But, ideological sympathy indeed made for goodwill and Canadian assistance in Afghanistan was crucial.

Not that it was perfect. Bush was Mexico-oriented. Natural for a Texan perhaps, but he went to Mexico before he came to Canada. Having a president who comes here first is only a small something, but it is a something.

A bigger regret is there's only so much leaders can do. The bureaucratic bull-slugging is done further down the totem pole, where officials hammer out awkward details. Anecdotally, not all those frank, useful Republican and Conservative top-floor talks produced ground-level action. So, while the president has changed, the lower-level functionaries have not. It takes time for the president's wishes to filter down --something not helped by Obama's difficulties in getting his cabinet confirmed.

Parenthetically, after Thursday's exuberant enthusiasm --in some cases, fawning adulation--I wouldn't blame Harper if he was wondering what happened to all the people who used to complain he was too close to the Americans? Falling all over themselves to get closer to Obama by the look of things, with swooning women and a deferential media. The young woman who provided that much discussed beaver tail said she screamed for five minutes after she met the president. Such is Ottawa: Just a matter of which Americans you bring to The Hill, I guess.

Anyway, my estimate is that things will go on much the same. Obama's situation, and the general dynamics between the two countries means they can't really do anything else.

Self-evidently everybody got along: When it comes to getting a phone call answered, that matters, and much can turn on a timely word.

However, that only takes you so far. The White House, after all, is not usually where Canada's problems with America start. For example, the part played by state governments and industry lobby groups in squeezing the Canadian cattle and lumber industries should not be underestimated. Conversely, thanks to the U. S. separation of powers, the capacity of even the most well-disposed president to overrule them should not be overestimated.

Then, there's Congress.

Unlike a Canadian prime minister's tight caucus control, the House of Representatives and the Senate are not the president's possession. A generous interpretation of Obama's first month on the job would be that he allowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to run away with the stimulus package, pork and all, because his mind was on the transition. However, in a contest of wills there's no guarantee he would have won. So, while Canadians should obviously take encouragement from the evident maturing of Obama's views on protection, and his declared willingness to have Canada at the table when a North American approach to climate-change policy and energy security is hammered out, Canadians can rely only on this: House Democrats don't feel they owe this country anything. Obama may propose, but he depends on congressional favour. Hence the lack of specific deliverables at Thursday's joint conference.

That doesn't mean Harper has no leverage at all, though. Obama is anxious to draw a line underneath the last presidency for the rest of the world--the buzzword is "to hit reset"--and Canada's good offices will help. This will be especially so in April, when Obama faces his first G-20 meeting in London. Thursday's meeting laid the first bricks for a solid U. S.-Canadian approach. (It's ironic, given past Liberal soft power fixation, that it's the army's heavy lifting in Afghanistan that gives Canada credibility in Europe.)

The cliche that nations don't have friends, just interests, is a cliche because it is true. The interests of Canada and the U. S. coincide in many areas, not least energy, manufacturing and the physical security of North America. Although it is to the good that things have started well on the personal level, the relationship between the two governments will work, because it must.

But, whether things will be better remains to be seen: It is not all in Obama's hand to make it so, any more than it was in Bush's.
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