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Calgary and the Homeless

homeless2 (52K)

I'm from Calgary, lived there almost 47 years. I subscribed to the Calgary Herald for many of those years. Now, even though I live in another country, I can read the news back home in the Herald or the Globe & Mail, the National Post or even the Edmonton Journal, using the miracle of the internet. The other "papers" offer better reporting and it's free.

The memory is a bit fuzzy because it was many years ago, but it was in a Calgary Herald editorial that I first saw the terms poverty/homeless/food bank (can't remember which) and growth industry used in the same sentence. It was a clever but cynical turn of phrase, calling into question the motivations of some bleeding heart liberal attempt to advance socialism in this part of the country.

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Point & counterpoint

Do we need a national regulator?

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach

The government of Alberta has stated that it will oppose the establishment of national securities regulator. They argue that it is a provincial responsibility, accorded to it by the constitution. They have offered few other reasons why this should be an exclusive right.

Canada has had many expert panels and commissions over the years that have consistently recommended replacing Canada's patchwork of 13 regional regulators with a single national regulator. The latest panel was chaired by Tom Hockin, the one before that by Purdy Crawford, architect of Canada's recent ABCP restructuring.

Purdy Crawford

Economists and other experts on these matters have almost all agreed that a single regulator in Canada would be a good idea, both for investment and protection of investors.

Why then, the resistance?

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Mad as hell, again

purdy2 (3K)

I'm mad, mad as hell, over Alberta's resistance to a national security regulator.

I have rejoined Facebook under a new name and rejoined their group "Canaccord and Other ABCP Clients". An internet activist is reborn.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach

The ABCP fiasco is coming to a close after 18 months but retail investors will not be celebrating until the money is in a mattress, so low is the trust in lawyers, committees and banks.

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Disgraceful - Alberta's Stand on Securities Regulation

I'm mad, mad at the politicians in my home province of Alberta.

There are a number of blogs on this site that have touched on the need for a single national securities regulator in Canada.

By constitution, Canadian securities regulation is a provincial jurisdiction. So we have 13 different securities regulators! Only one other country in the world (out of 191 tallied) has this curious, provincial arrangement.

Securities regulation in Canada

Prosecution of white collar crime and securities fraud in Canada is a bit of joke. It's not hard to understand why.

Our most famous white collar criminal, Conrad Black, serves his sentence in an American prison for deeds similar to what he had practised and mastered in Canada over many years. Any legal action against him in Canada was brushed away without much trouble, like the chalk lines on his finely tailored suits.

John Felderhoff of Bre-X manages his ignominious seclusion from his Bermuda estate. He does feel very badly about the billions that investors lost; but how was he to know?.

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Year end blogging

sandCastle1 (50K)

Picking up where we left off, in our last episode, our reluctant traveller is thinking about packing for another trip…

Monday, Dec 15

Tomorrow I go for an MRI and the day after we leave for Calgary.

As I write this it is -28°C in Calgary, but this is set to improve. By the time we arrive, all things going as forecast, it should be a balmy -18°C. and sunny.

Pack the sun-screen honey, we're going home!

Tuesday, Dec 16

Had the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) today, a weird experience. Forgot to remove my wedding ring but it wasn't a problem. There was this pump running in the background throughout the session that made me think of the car in the Disney movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

I was given a pair of ear muffs to deaden the sound and a rubber bulb to squeeze if something was wrong. They attendant tells me "No one can hear you if you yell".

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Cultural learnings and Snow jobs

snow (19K)

Calgary - We were home for the holidays, and yes, the world is turning upside down.

My home province Alberta is one of the biggest generators of greenhouse gases in the world, thanks to the honest business of oil extraction from the tarsands.

In spite of these efforts to warm the world and keep it moving, it is a bone chilling -28°C here as the plane touches down. It gets a little better over the next few days, maxing out at -19°C for a time, with brillant sunshine, crunchy snow, and conversations captioned in the clouds that billow from each breath.

Yes, it is beautiful in a way. I check the weather back in Holland - it's +8°C a and sunny! I smile for the camera. I think about brass monkeys.

It is a white christmas across Canada, the first in 37 years! While we personally manage to avoid most of the chaos, cancelled flights and lost luggage that so many other air travellers experienced, we were able to share in the simultaneous boredom and terror of driving on Calgary's extensive network of skating pathways, which, under more favorable weather conditions, serve as roads.

Diogenes's picture

ATM Bank Fees in Canada

Bank machine

Maybe I shouldn't complain. I don't own any ABCP, or a Blackberry, or even a car or a house. I travel light. But I do have a Canadian bank account. And I have used bank machines around the world.

We live in Holland now (and we ride bikes). We have lived in London, where everything costs more than it should; and we have travelled a bit - India, Equador, Norway, South Africa, Germany, France and more.

In all of these places we almost always succeed in obtaining money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at one of the local banks. This is not a big challenge in most places.

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Home from the holidays


I stayed at my Mom's for Christmas this year, which was kind of weird because the last time that happened was almost 35 years ago. I remember why. There was not enough room for me. There is still not enough room for me.

It's her castle and the rules are love it or leave it. A simple and effective strategy that has worked, for the most part.

Mom claims that she watches hardly any TV even though the TV is almost always on. She likes news, weather, and shows like Wheel of Fortune; programs with no time commitment or plot. After all, she has a busy retirement.

The favorite over the holidays was channel 106, which I shall call The Fireplace channel because it featured a crackling fire set in a cozy 32 inch fireplace. Every now and then, a poker appears to stoke the fire.

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Merry xmas from WAL-MART

In the days leading up to Christmas I saw a lot of xmas news, which are stories of interest, served up in the absence of real news.

In Calgary, these were features on how much shoppers spend at christmas and how Calgary leads the nation in per-capita gift-buying. Wal-mart stores were open 24 hours in the week leading up to Christmas to serve the demand.

On Christmas Day, Walmart issued a press release that outlined plans to have stores open 24 hours a day for boxing week.

I'm not quite sure how their employees greeted this news or how many knew of it before Christmas. It's not hard to imagine a few Walmart people being called on Christmas day and informed of a change in plans, of a new night shift slot that needs to be staffed.

Walmart is clearly the leader on this. Other stores will blindly follow suit, for fear of being crushed by the competition.

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Canada Post-Third Class

I went to the mailbox around noon today and picked up the latest edition of The Economist for some lunchtime reading.

Economist (6K)

For readers here in the Netherlands, or in London, where I lived a few years ago, this would be the beginning of a real boring blog. But in my hometown of Calgary, Canada, that opening paragraph would be pure fiction, even fantasy.

Mail is NOT delivered on Saturday in Canada (though it once was), and certain pieces, like magazines, crawl through the system at a snails pace.

I can speak with some authority on this. We have made use of all three national postal systems in the last four years. I subscribe to one magazine, the Economist, and we have moved back and forth between these countries in recent years.



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