Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted material for your weekend reading.

- Great (and true!) news from the CRTC:
CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein says the commission tried to stall the amendment to its prohibition on false and misleading news for 10 years, but eventually gave into pressure from the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations when it proposed its amendments in January.

But now that the regulations committee has agreed to no longer pursue the issue, the chair says the CRTC will drop it.

“We never wanted to touch this thing. We put it forward because we were ordered to do it. We did what we thought would be a workable compromise,” von Finckenstein said in brief interview Friday at the Prime Time conference in Ottawa, organized by the Canadian Media Production Association.

“I was perfectly happy with what it was before, and I’m sure at the next commission meeting, we will withdraw this attempt at rewriting.”
- The Globe and Mail takes up the idea of birth bonds in contrast to the Cons' desire to spend billions on prisons. And it's hard to imagine that many Canadians would choose the Cons' side given the choice:
Assuming Canada had extra billions in a time of large deficits, consider the birth bond – a government investment to be made each time a child is born. The investment would be held until the child turns, say, 18, and then made available for postsecondary education or an apprenticeship program. Canada has 370,000 births a year. How much could it afford to put into an ambitious investment for each newborn, instead of into jail expansion?
If Mr. Page is right, Canada could seed an education account for each newborn with $13,783. Outlandish? Maybe, but it makes more sense than prison expansion, if the government is intent on spending an extra $5-billion. Canada wouldn’t need a birth bond, anyway; net tuition paid by all students is $3.5-billion a year. Instead of Truth in Sentencing, the country could afford Free in University, with change left over.

Let’s assume, for the moment, Mr. Page is wildly out of touch, as Ottawa claims. The federal government’s published budget estimates for federal corrections show an annual hike of $861-million – 36 per cent – by 2012-13 (compared with 2009-10). Now assume, conservatively, that the provincial costs rise by the same amount as a result of the federal crime bills. For that $1.722-billion extra a year, what could Canada do that is forward-looking, and has a long-term economic payoff?

It could pour resources into research. Currently, the government spends about $3-billion on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Canada could take the $1.08-billion given to the CIHR each year and double it, and still have $700-million to spend on an enormous expansion of subsidies for master’s and PhD students.
- I'm sure we can all agree the general public is too jaded about politics to think that forgery or deception matter. Right? RIGHT?

- But at least some people do still admire Bev Oda. Take for example Tabatha Southey:
Sure, some of us were, and I imagine still are, capable of changing a C to a C+, but very few of us are “courageous” enough to change a C into a “NOT a C.” This is essentially what Ms. Oda did when she (or so she now claims) arranged for a recommendation prepared and signed by the Canadian International Development Agency to be altered to state that CIDA did “NOT” recommend that funding for the church-based foreign-aid organization Kairos be continued, when in fact continuing funding is exactly what CIDA did recommend.

This wasn't a matter of changing $7-million to $3.7-million in funding. Any of us could've done that. This was no such small feat. Fraudsters, we've found our saint.

Not only did Ms. Oda give a false impression regarding what CIDA had recommended, she oversaw the alteration of a document already signed by two signatories and possibly herself so that it would support her claim, if and when the document were ever to be examined by complete and utter morons.

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