November 3 Clippings Historic American decision capturing Alberta attention New U S policy could impact local economy

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November 3 Clippings Historic American decision capturing Alberta attention New U S policy could impact local economy Powered By Docstoc
					November 3 Clippings

Historic American decision capturing Alberta attention; New U.S. policy could impact
local economy ................................................................................................................................................... 3

Getting the word out about falls; Up to 90 per cent of tumbles are preventable............................ 5

Seniors' falls cost millions............................................................................................................................... 7

Team called in to probe Taser use; Witness says man acted oddly before arrest ........................... 8

Vote swapping puts our electoral process at risk; Practice deserves scrutiny and
skepticism ........................................................................................................................................................ 10

Taser probed at mental-health conference.............................................................................................. 12

Albertans back spending cuts ...................................................................................................................... 13

Beyond band councils ................................................................................................................................... 15

Ontario girds for funding fight with Ottawa; Duncan skeptical of Flaherty's pledge...................... 16

Hiring still strong in pockets of Canadian job market; Even as manufacturing takes a
beating, demand for professionals persists .............................................................................................. 18

Emergency-room nightmares spur calls for action; With conditions in Canada's hospitals
comparable to a Third World country, according to one specialist, doctors on the front
lines suggest ways to keep ER departments from turning into dumping grounds .......................... 20

Long-term care crisis forces bed shuffle; Nursing homes make room for assisted living ............. 22

Investigators to probe Calgary Taser incident; Man agitated, not following orders: police ......... 24

More teaching, less money .......................................................................................................................... 25

Pipeline bombers getting smarter: expert ................................................................................................ 27

Pepsico buys sunflower seed king; Distribution; Snack food giant to put brand on lips
worldwide ........................................................................................................................................................ 28

Family approach to clients and staff ........................................................................................................... 29

Job reports expected to show big losses; Analysts see sharp reversal in employment
growth .............................................................................................................................................................. 31

Job market in reverse gear; Gloomy data expected for October ...................................................... 32

Justice initiatives will boost system ............................................................................................................ 33
$80 million Saskatchewan land settlement goes to 3 native bands; 'We have to do it
right,' chief says on investing money to benefit recipients ................................................................... 34

Some relief at the pumps ............................................................................................................................. 35

Citizens urged to turn in bombing suspects ............................................................................................ 36

Canada might join security project ............................................................................................................ 37

Provinces meet over ailing economy ......................................................................................................... 38

Zapped man hospitalized.............................................................................................................................. 39

Universities eye 'painful' cuts in wake of crisis; With endowment funds taking a beating,
student aid, scholarships, hiring and academic programs could all be on the chopping
block ................................................................................................................................................................. 40

Staving off deficit addiction .......................................................................................................................... 43

In these economic hard times, divided we fall ........................................................................................ 44

Debate Over Judges' Probe Role Revived; Think twice about appointments analysts say ........... 46
Historic American decision capturing Alberta attention; New U.S.
policy could impact local economy
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A1 / FRONT
Section: News
Byline: Renata D'Aliesio, with files from Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald
Source: Calgary Herald
Despite most opinion polls and political pundits pointing to a Democratic win Tuesday, a couple of
Barack Obama supporters in Calgary aren't ready to declare the American election race over.
Mare Donly, who moved to Calgary five years ago from the United States, worries about possible
voting irregularities, while expat Rita Sirignano wonders whether long lines at polling booths will
deter voters who think Obama's victory over Republican John McCain is a lock.
"I don't know what's going to happen if he loses," Sirignano said. "Seriously, you're going to have
to scrape me off the pavement."
Interest in the U.S. election is high not only among the large population of American expats in
Calgary, but also throughout Alberta, where the next president's policy could have major effects
on the economy, most notably in the oilpatch.
Sirignano and Donly, co-chairwomen of the Calgary chapter of Democrats Abroad, have
organized an election night party at the Kilkenny Irish Pub in Calgary's northwest.
At least 140 people are expected to attend, twice as many as turned out to watch the 2004
presidential results. It's one of a handful of U.S. election parties planned in Calgary for a battle
that's created far more buzz than last month's competition between Tory Leader Stephen Harper
and Grit boss Stephane Dion.
Indeed, the eyes of the world are closely fixed on the outcome of this historic political race,
occurring in the midst of historic global economic turbulence. Several academic experts expect
the financial downturn will prompt the new U.S. government to become more protectionist,
potentially hurting some Canadian exports.
But Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach isn't worried about the province's economic engine -- oil and
gas -- getting sideswiped by a push to insulate faltering American jobs and manufacturers. The
premier is confident Alberta's main export market will remain hungry for our secure petroleum
supply.
"You've heard both candidates talking about moving away from the dependency of oil from
Venezuela and from the Middle East," Stelmach noted. "I'm comfortable we're in a good position.
Our top priority is to ensure that we develop those resources in a very sustainable and
responsible manner."
Sustainability has vaulted higher in Alberta's vernacular as domestic and international attention
intensifies on the province's vast oilsands resources.
Although a boon to government coffers and the national economy, extracting sticky, tar-like
bitumen from the ground and upgrading it into usable oil takes a large toll on the environment.
Oilsands development produces three times more greenhouse gases than a conventional barrel
of oil, leading several Canadian and American environmental groups to label Alberta's bitumen
bonanza "dirty oil."
Whether this label sticks with Washington policy-makers may become apparent after Tuesday's
U.S. election.
Ron Stevens, Alberta's minister of international and intergovernmental relations, expects changes
are looming to American environmental policies, which could impact the province's energy
industry.
"Both presidential candidates talked a great deal about the environment and the need to bring in
climate change rules in the United States on a national level. They don't have that at this point in
time, so that, of course, will be of great interest to us," said Stevens, who is also deputy premier.
Stevens doesn't anticipate that climate change concerns will wither in the face of the current
economic storm, especially if Obama wins and his party winds up controlling both houses of
Congress.
"One of the constituencies of the Democrats is the environmental groups and if they happen to
have a president and majorities in both houses, it seems to me that the environment may be
pushed by those particular constituents of the Democrats," Stevens said.
Once the U.S. election is put to bed, one Calgary energy chief executive would like to see Ottawa
and Alberta open a dialogue with the United States and Mexico about creating a long-term
continental energy strategy.
Mike Gatens, chief executive of Unconventional Gas Resources, which has operations in Alberta
and the United States, views American concerns about foreign oil dependency as an opportunity
for Canada.
"Americans view the Canadian energy supply as a lot more friendlier," said Gatens, an American
who has lived in Calgary for the past 11 years.
Witnessing how closely linked Canadian financial markets are to the recent fall in oil and gas
prices, Gatens argues it's also in the best interest of Canada and Alberta to strengthen its
relationship with its No. 1 customer.
Last year, nearly half of Alberta's natural gas production was sent south of the border, while the
United States consumed 63 per cent of the crude oil produced in the province.
Gatens will be in Texas on business when U.S. election results unfold Tuesday. He's already
voted, but won't disclose who he backed. Donly and Sirignano, however, aren't shy about
extolling the virtues of Obama.
The trio, who are among an estimated 75,000 Americans living in Calgary, have been swamped
with comments about the U.S. election from their Canadian friends.
"The whole world is kind of looking at this election," Sirignano said, noting the countless
international front-page headlines.
"I'm finding, especially this election, all my Canadian friends are super-interested in it," Donly
added with a lament. "And I wish they were more interested in their own as well."
Getting the word out about falls; Up to 90 per cent of tumbles are
preventable
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: D1 / FRONT
Section: Body & Health
Byline: Chris Zdeb
Dateline: EDMONTON
Source: The Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Two Alberta seniors wind up in emergency every hour and 17 are hospitalized
every day because of falls, the most serious health issue facing seniors.
Concerned about the alarming number of people going down and the cost of getting them back
up again, the group that pushed for mandatory seatbelts and child car seats, and campaigned to
reduce smoking has turned its sights on seniors' falls.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, falls are not a natural part of aging, and 85 to 90 per cent
are preventable, says Kathy Belton, co-director of the Alberta Centre for Injury Control &
Research. The centre has joined with Alberta Health and Wellness, the Alberta Medical
Association, the Alberta Pharmacists' Association and the Alberta Physiotherapy Association to
raise awareness of the problem and help people reduce their risk of falling.
Getting that message out to "well seniors," healthy people 55 to 65, before falls become a
problem, is the goal of the first year of a multi-year program called Finding Balance, to be
announced today by Premier Ed Stelmach.
"Encouraging them to make changes now when they are healthy will hopefully make an impact
for them as they age," Dr. Noel Grisdale, president of the AMA explains. Because once you hit
50, you start to lose bone mass, and you can't bounce back from a fall as easily as when you
were 20, 30 or 40, Belton says.
"One fall can be devastating, making you more likely to lose your independence and end up in a
long-term care facility."
People of all ages fall, but the risk increases as we age. One in three people over 65 -- or
approximately 62,500 Alberta seniors -- fall at least once a year.
In 2003, fall-related injuries resulted in 17,350 emergency room visits, 6,200 hospital admissions
and 50 deaths.
The cost of hospital admissions alone totalled $88 million. As baby boomers hit their senior years,
hospitalization costs, if left unchecked, are expected to climb to $250 million by 2033.
Worse is the toll falls take on patients and their families.
Myrtle Seguin, for example, was an active senior who loved to square dance before she fell down
six cement steps leading to the garage two years ago.
Seguin, 79, doesn't remember much about the fall because she was unconscious when it
happened. The doctor told the Type 2 diabetic she had likely had a diabetic faint.
The fall left Seguin dragging a weak and injured left leg, which required her to walk with small
steps and climb stairs like a toddler.
It was difficult to drive and get in and out of a car, so her husband or children had to transport her.
She was in constant fear of falling again.
For 19 months, Seguin bounced from one medical exam to the next, trying to get help. She was
referred to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital 12 weeks ago and started a twice-weekly
exercise program designed by physiotherapist Vickie Buttar to strengthen her core muscles and
legs, and improve her balance. Buttar also gave Seguin exercises to do at home.
It's been a long road back, but almost two years after her fall, Seguin is able to walk again, drive,
and square dance. She's also much more confident in her ability to stay on her feet.
Her advice: do everything you can to reduce your risk of falling. Stay active or get moving for at
least a few minutes a day.
Maralynne Hawkins, 65, does yoga to stay upright. It balances the post-polio syndrome that
wears down her muscles and increases her risk for falling.
She also uses a walker when she ventures outdoors, avoids going out on icy winter days, and
wears very sensible shoes.
You have to be alert to what can make you fall and be proactive, Hawkins says.
Comorbidities, the multiple illnesses such as Parkinson disease, diabetes and arthritis that can
develop as you age; and polypharmacy, taking multiple medications that can negatively interact,
both increase the risk of falls.
Seniors should regularly review their medications with their doctors or pharmacists, including
prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and wholistic herbs, all of which can
interact and negatively affect balance and attention, Grisdale says.
Make sure areas you walk through are well-lit, he adds, and remove scatter rugs which can slip
and slide, causing a tumble. And don't engage in risky behaviour such as standing on a chair or
table to reach for something or to paint.
Obstacles and tripping hazards, lack of handrails, excessive alcohol, poor nutrition or hydration
are all fall-related risk factors, Belton says.
Studies have found that a person with no risk factors has an eight-per-cent chance of falling while
a person with four or more risk factors has a 78-per-cent chance.
For more information visit the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research online at
acicr.ualberta.ca
Seniors' falls cost millions
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 3
Section: News
Byline: BY MICHELLE THOMPSON, SUN MEDIA
Slipping and falling can cause more than a scrape - officials say tumbles are costing Albertans
some serious coin.
The province says it wants to change that.
Today, it's launching Finding Balance, an awareness campaign aimed at educating seniors on
the importance of leading healthy lifestyles.
The program will include lessons on improving health and wellness, as well as tips on making
homes safer.
"Those who have cared for parents or grandparents know that as seniors age they are more likely
to fall and suffer an injury," Premier Ed Stelmach said in a news release.
"In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions for older Albertans, so
this campaign focuses on educating our seniors in avoiding the potentially very serious
consequences of losing their balance."
According to the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, seniors falling cost the Alberta
economy almost $88 million in 2003.
At that rate, the figure could swell to $250 million by 2033, the province warns.
In 2006, tumbles led the charge of injury-related hospital visits, officials said. About 20 such
admissions were logged in Alberta each day.
Of course, saving cash isn't the only concern, said ACICR's associate director.
Kathy Belton said those involved in the initiative will likely lead to a healthier flock of seniors who
will be able to enjoy independence and a higher quality of life.
Team called in to probe Taser use; Witness says man acted oddly
before arrest
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B1 / FRONT
Section: City & Region
Byline: Gwendolyn Richards
Source: Calgary Herald
A provincial team of investigators is now examining a Calgary Taser incident that left a break-in
suspect in critical condition, as the head of Alberta's civil liberties organization calls for police to
stop using the weapons.
Members of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team were out Sunday morning at a duplex
in the 500 block of 42nd Street S.E. as part of their investigation into the incident that unfolded
Saturday night.
Around 8:15 that evening, a neighbour, who did not want her name published, said she noticed a
stranger across the street. He ran toward the duplex, stopped and leaned on her husband's car to
catch his breath.
He was incoherent when he tried to say something to her husband, who was standing outside
their home, she said, adding she believed the stranger was high on drugs.
Her husband came inside, locked the door and called police, while the suspect went into the yard
and tried to break into the family's shed.
"He was stuck in our backyard. He was trying to hide between our shed and fence," the woman
said.
"He wasn't interested in stealing, he was more interested in hiding away."
As her husband was on the phone with police, she heard the sound of glass shattering.
"He went busting through the basement window (of the other half of the duplex)," she said.
Officers found the man in the basement of the vacant home.
He was reportedly agitated and not following commands, so a Taser was used. He was arrested,
but then went into medical distress, said duty inspector Vic Trickett.
The man was last reported in critical condition after he was taken to hospital.
The witness said the suspect appeared to have been badly cut by the glass.
Neighbours said the family living there previously had sold the home and were preparing it for the
new owners. No one was occupying the south half of the duplex at the time of the incident.
Robin Crane, who lives next door to the duplex, said she heard the sound of something dragging
Saturday night, but didn't investigate.
She said the previous owners moved out at the end of August.
The Serious Incident Response Team is also investigating a Taser fatality in Edmonton last week.
The team, which was launched by the province on Jan. 1, investigates incidents when the actions
of officers may have seriously injured or killed a person.
On Wednesday, a 38-year-old Edmonton man died after police used a Taser on him to stop his
rampage.
A Taser was fired twice, but Trevor Grimolfson continued to resist arrest before he was
handcuffed and then lost consciousness, officials said. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
Calgary police officers have used Tasers since September 2005.
A report released this summer examining use-of-force showed batons cause the greatest injury,
while Tasers "scored high" in safety for both officers and suspects.
The Canadian Police Research Centre report -- which examined 562 cases where Calgary police
used pepper spray, batons, Tasers or other techniques against those resisting arrest -- found
Tasers were used in nearly half of all resisting-arrest cases. However, only one per cent of
suspects were hospitalized.
Some 87 per cent of suspects sustained minor injuries or were not injured at all.
Duty inspector Keith Cain said Taser usage is not unusual and there is a policy governing their
use.
"If we have an assaultive person --they're either violent towards somebody or something, verbally
indicate they're violent or do physically assault (someone) -- that's when this level of force is
authorized."
The president of the Alberta Civil Liberties Association said officers should not be equipped with
Tasers.
"They're used as a shortcut," Stephen Jenuth said. "Too often, a Taser -- a weapon associated
with serious injury or death -- is used in cases where someone is not obeying commands and co-
operating."
Next month, a fatality inquiry will examine the events around the death of a Red Deer man who
was shocked with a Taser in August 2006. Jason Doan, 28, died three weeks later of heart
failure.
The Doan family's lawyer will make submissions on how similar incidents can be prevented in the
future.
Vote swapping puts our electoral process at risk; Practice
deserves scrutiny and skepticism
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A12
Section: Opinion
Byline: Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament, Edmonton East
Source: Freelance
The proponents of vote swapping were claiming to have influenced the outcome in some close
ridings in the October 14 federal election, undoubtedly Edmonton-Strathcona, Edmonton Centre
and even Edmonton East.
Their claims of influence show how much campaign methodology has changed since I was first
elected to Parliament in 1997. Then the Internet was just beginning to become widespread.
Political websites were a relatively new idea, many people didn't have e-mail, text messaging was
in its infancy and there was no such thing as Facebook, bloggers or computerized autodial, auto-
answer manned phone banks.
Now all these things are widespread, highlighted recently by the introduction of various proxy
vote-swapping efforts combining all or some of the latest methods. While some may see proxy
vote-swapping as an idea whose time has come, I think all aspects of it should be examined for
propriety and to see if it does a disservice to democracy.
Proxy vote-swapping appeals to individuals whose favoured party does not have a hope of
winning in their riding. To give your vote more impact, you promise to vote for your second choice
in exchange for someone from another riding voting for your first choice in that riding. For
example, if a Liberal supporter in Edmonton-Strathcona could be encouraged to swap with an
NDP supporter in Edmonton Centre, then both votes could be seen to be making a real
difference.
The key to vote-swapping success is trust. Both parties trust the other voter to vote as they have
agreed to. That may have been the case this year as Canadians generally will do something they
have agreed to. A vote-swapping agreement, verbal or otherwise, is a legal contract which, while
possibly well-intended, I believe defrauds the public goodwill of our electoral system.
The difference being made by this process of proxy bartering greatly distorts democratic
outcomes. In the last election, how many voters nationwide agreed to proxy barter their votes?
How many will agree to proxy barter their votes in the next election? If proxy vote-swapping were
declared illegal, who would have won in Edmonton-Strathcona?
When the proxy vote-swapping idea first was introduced there were questions about its legality. It
is illegal to use money to buy or barter for a vote. (Though it was legal and quite common in the
19th century, especially in the U.S. where the going price was two dollars a vote.)
Elections Canada determined that proxy vote-swapping was permissible, since apparently no
money was changing hands, and there was no perceived "material benefit" involved. Encouraging
someone to vote in a particular way is what campaigning is all about, but an organized strategic
voting plan, by biased influence groups utilizing proxy vote-swapping by bartering seriously needs
to be examined. I believe Elections Canada's earlier position should be re-examined thoroughly
by that organization and possibly by Parliament.
I believe despite Elections Canada's earlier acceptance of proxy vote-swapping in this election,
the process lacks legitimacy. When a vote is swapped or bartered, someone else is becoming
your proxy -- and proxy voting has long been illegal in federal elections. It distorts the true
expression of voter preference. Also, there is a material benefit involved in proxy vote swapping
or bartering because of the $1.95 per vote per year Elections Canada gives to political parties
based on their past electoral performance.
Elections Canada should be looking into just who is behind these schemes and the cost. It is
difficult at times to tell exactly what special interests or politically aligned group is behind a
particular website -- and legally foreigners aren't supposed to be influencing Canadian elections.
In the 2008 campaign there was controversy when New York- based Avaaz openly bought
newspaper advertising in several ridings in an attempt to influence the vote. But what controls are
there for more covert domestic attempts to distort election outcomes?
There are those in the political realm who I'm sure will take note of the success of proxy vote-
swapping and explore en-masse swapping for the next election.
More sophisticated proxy vote-swapping campaigns, involving banks of computerized phone lines
and multiple operators are coming into play. Where do they show up on an election campaign
spending report if these efforts are primarily before the election is called? There are specific
spending limits for each local campaign -- computerized phone bank call identification centres are
a luxury most cannot afford. Shouldn't detailed extensive voter identification costs in the pre-writ
period be an election expense for the candidate who hopes to benefit from them?
These efforts to establish overt bartering or proxy-swapping, whether pre-writ or during
campaigns, should be subject to Elections Canada regulation. There are few pre-writ expenditure
rules, but these must be examined as well.
Interestingly, political parties were exempted from the recently established Do Not Call List. With
proxy-vote swapping efforts voters can now expect calls from political affiliates and parties year-
round, not just in the next campaign, trying to get people to consider bartering votes from Choice
A to Choice B, particularly in ridings with close races.
There should be much concern for the financial aspect of proxy vote-swapping. In Edmonton-
Strathcona, where the proxy vote-swappers were claiming to have helped influence the votes that
gave the win to NDP MP Linda Duncan, the Liberal candidate ran a very strong, expensive
campaign. The rather lacklustre Liberal campaign in 2006 by the previous candidate pulled in 18
per cent of the riding vote. The Liberal vote this time fell to nine per cent, one per cent below the
threshold Elections Canada sets for expense rebates to riding associations. Was the vote
collapse, despite a superior effort, caused by the proxy vote-swap? Proxy vote-swapping
undoubtedly distorted the outcome of this riding both politically and financially.
The Liberals in Edmonton-Strathcona lost about 5,000 votes from their 2006 totals. At $1.95 per
year for up to four years from Elections Canada, and the loss of the 60 per cent campaign
expenses refund, the financial cost of proxy swapping could well be $80,000, for just one riding.
Nationally it could be considerably more.
The proponents of vote swapping were united in their aims in the 2008 election. They wanted to
prevent the re-election of Conservatives. There didn't seem to be any proxy vote-swapping efforts
dedicated to helping Conservatives win close races. Such efforts were hardly non-partisan. Were
proxy vote-swapping efforts registered and cost-declared for political affiliations? Did the national
or local campaigns which benefited declare the costs as election expenses?
One of the ideas underlying the idea of proxy vote-swapping is that a vote is wasted if your
candidate doesn't win. That is not what the democratic process is for.
Participation is what is critical. Participation gives ongoing support to your party of choice and
candidate. Proxy vote-swapping disenfranchises you from your party of choice in your riding,
denying the party/riding association of important future financing.
Proportional representation also has been suggested by some, such as Green party Leader
Elizabeth May, as the cure for what's wrong with Canada's first past the post system that sees
Members of Parliament elected who don't receive a majority of votes in their ridings (and a
majority government that does not receive a majority of votes nationally).
Proportional representation may seem like a great idea to Ms. May, whose party does not appeal
(at this point) to more than a small number of people. Proportional representation in 2008 would
have give the Greens more than 20 MPs based on their share of the national vote, despite not
winning any ridings. Who would these MPs be? Who would they represent? Would they be truly
representative of the electorate, or just owe their jobs to the party bosses who put their names on
a list? Do Canadians want to be governed by unelected, unaccountable patronage appointees?
The proportional representation debate continues but the issue of proxy vote-swapping must be
properly addressed by Parliament and by Elections Canada to prevent it from being an even
larger issue in the next election. We must say no to organized proxy vote-swapping, or our
Canadian electoral process is at risk of becoming truly perverted.
Taser probed at mental-health conference
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 4
Section: News
Byline: BY ALYSSA NOEL, SUN MEDIA
To zap or not to zap?
It's one of the questions being posed as police and mental health experts from across the country
meet over the next two days at a mental-health conference in Edmonton.
The issue of when to use stun guns resurfaced following the recent death of a 38-year-old city
man who was zapped twice by police.
While an independent body is still investigating that case, in other similar circumstances a rare
physical and mental state called excited delirium, which causes the sufferer to be agitated and
possess super human strength, has been to blame for deaths.
'BAD NEWS'
"What the public hears about are the bad news stories," said Dr. Dorothy Cotton, an Ontario
psychologist and one of the organizers of the conference.
"I don't want to play down the level of tragedy here ... (but) police are very well trained ... I think
it'd be safe to say in situations involving Tasers and excited delirium, it's just not known. We're
just not there yet."
Trevor Grimolfson, the 38-year-old owner of Big Daddy's tattoo shop, died last Wednesday after
police jolted him in an attempt to end a violent rampage near 153 Street and Stony Plain Road.
Meanwhile, Cotton said police are well-trained and well-informed when it comes to dealing with
those who have mental-health issues. Judging by statistics, officers have gained a lot of
experience over the years, she said.
Cotton says around 6% to 10% of the calls police receive involve people with mental-health
problems.
"Probably the most important thing is for a police officer to recognize a person may be mentally ill
and therefore may not be able to respond the way they would expect someone to. Normally, if
you don't do something a police officer asks, they don't look on that favourably," she said.
TRAINED TO RECOGNIZE
But for the past decade, police have been trained on how to recognize and deal with such issues,
she said.
The annual conference, held in different cities each year, is a way to gather and forward that
effort, she added.
"The most exciting thing about this is it's one of the good news stories about policing," she said.
The conference runs through tomorrow at the Delta Edmonton Centre Suite Hotel.
Albertans back spending cuts
The Calgary Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 15
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Byline: BY SCOTT HENNIG
While the drop in the price of natural gas and oil might ease the pocketbook-pain of motorists and
homeowners, it is going to inflict pain on the provincial treasury.
The reason is simple -- the lower the price of oil and natural gas, the less money the government
collects.
With petroleum prices dropping back to earth and oilsands and upgrader projects being shelved,
the provincial government could be looking at stagnant or even falling revenues for Budget 2009.
While the government has no control over world or North American prices of these commodities,
it still has to deal with the consequences.
Falling prices would not cause much of a problem if resource revenues were a small portion of all
government revenues, but they're not.
Last year, royalties from oil and gas revenues made up 29% of provincial revenues, down from
32% the year prior and 40% the year before that. To put this in context, provincial income taxes
were only 22% of revenues last year, 20% the year prior and 13% the year prior to that.
However, the recent upward trend in these revenues has been assisted by a booming oilpatch.
Beyond year-to-year bounces in resource revenues, oil and gas prices in the first seven months
of this fiscal year have seen more volatility than an Oilers/Flames hockey game.
Oil prices hovered around US$100 a barrel in April, then shot up to just under $150 in early July,
only to crash down to just above $60 in late October. Similarly, natural gas prices hovered around
$8 a GJ in early April, jumped to $11 in mid-June, cratered to below $6 in mid-September, and
have slowly climbed to around $7.
The impact of a $1 a barrel decrease in the yearly average price of oil is a $130-million loss for
Alberta taxpayers. For example, had the government budgeted oil to be $100 a barrel (as some
demanded) when it ended up being $70, the province would be short $3.9-billion -- roughly the
advanced education budget for this year.
Thanks to royalty rates' changes, the government will be more susceptible if prices swing wildly.
In 2009-10, a $1 a barrel decrease will result in a $211-million loss.
Under the above example, that means the province would be short $6.3-billion -- roughly
equivalent to the annual K-12 education budget.
And that is just oil. A $1 a GJ decrease in the price of natural gas is a $1.14-billion loss for the
government this year and a $1.66-billion loss next year.
The finance minister has claimed everything will be OK with this year's budget thanks to many
months of oil and gas being priced higher than expected.
However, if resource prices continue to stay low, the government might not be able to maintain its
torrid pace of spending for Budget 2009. In fact, increasing spending (without dipping into
savings) might be completely out of the question next year.
A recent Ipsos-Reid poll asked Albertans on what they'd prefer the province to do if revenues dip:
Raise taxes, cut spending or run a deficit?
Only 14% supported raising taxes. This is a good sign for those looking forward to the elimination
of Alberta's regressive health care premium tax on Jan. 1.
While running a deficit would thankfully be illegal under provincial law, only 20% supported that
anyway.
An overwhelming 73% of Albertans supported cutting provincial spending. This should be no
surprise as Alberta spends, per capita, by far the most in the country -- so there's certainly room
for cuts.
While there are many factors at play that make future revenues uncertain, what is certain is
Albertans will not accept provincial tax hikes or deficits. The polls say Albertans are prepared for
spending cuts.
Hopefully our provincial politicians are as well.
Beyond band councils
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A14
Section: Editorial
The gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal high-school graduation rates is growing,
according to a recent C.D. Howe Institute report. Despite the obvious importance of education in
improving prospects and reducing poverty among the nation's marginalized aboriginal
communities, federal, provincial and native governments have all failed to rise to the challenge.
Some excellent policy recommendations to improve aboriginal education, both on and off
reserves, have widespread support, and it is time to implement them.
An analysis of 2006 census data by the C.D. Howe Institute reveals that only 60 per cent of
aboriginal students aged 20 to 24 completed high school, compared with almost 90 per cent of
non-aboriginals. Within this average is a wide range between Inuit and on-reserve First Nations at
40 per cent, off- reserve First Nations near the middle at 60 per cent, and Métis at the high end,
with 75 per cent completion. The outcomes are widely dispersed among provinces and territories
as well.
The C.D. Howe report adopts a recommendation from the Caledon Institute of Social Policy that
on-reserve schools should be administered by an education authority rather than individual band
councils and further recommends that successful strategies be expanded among off-reserve
districts.
Professionalizing school administration through aboriginal education authorities would be a
valuable reform. An example already exists in British Columbia. Legislation has been passed to
allow the federal government to finance the authority, and the province will let on-reserve
students take exams to receive provincial high-school certification.
After a promising start, however, the C.D. Howe Institute reports that the initiative has languished
due to a lack of leadership from Ottawa and Victoria and a reluctance among band councils to
give up their power to manage their on- reserve schools. This lack of progress on the part of all
three levels of government is self-defeating, when they would all benefit from higher levels of
high-school completion among aboriginal students and the corresponding near- doubling in
employment rates.
Improving aboriginal education is no panacea. Public-health and governance issues are also
critical. But in education the federal, provincial and native governments have a good place to
start, now.
Ontario girds for funding fight with Ottawa; Duncan skeptical of
Flaherty's pledge
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A1
Section: National News
Byline: Karen Howlett
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: With a report from Kevin Carmichael in Ottawa
TORONTO -- Fears that Ottawa could block Ontario from receiving funding under a national
wealth-sharing program have sparked a fresh round of tensions between the Harper and
McGuinty governments on the eve of a finance ministers' meeting today on the economy.
The latest battle began last Thursday when federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he plans to
constrain the growth of the equalization program. His comments come just as Ontario is poised to
join the ranks of the "have-not" provinces, making it eligible for the national subsidy for the first
time.
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told The Globe and Mail last night that he interprets Mr.
Flaherty's musings to mean only one thing: The federal government will rejig the program so that
the province will not collect payments even if it does qualify for equalization. Mr. Duncan said he
takes absolutely no comfort from Mr. Flaherty's comments over the weekend that it is not his
intention to block Ontario from collecting equalization payments.
Any curtailment in growth of the $13.6-billion program could make it more difficult for poorer
provinces to provide residents with health care and other social programs.
The tensions over equalization are part of a much broader concern in Ontario that the Harper
government is tone-deaf when it comes to the economic challenges facing Canada's most
populous province. Mr. Duncan said he plans to press Mr. Flaherty at today's meeting to come up
with an aid package for the province's struggling auto sector, similar to what the United States
and Europe are proposing for their car manufacturers.
"We have always talked about our desire to work in partnership with the federal government, but
partnership means more than simply paying lip service to Ontario's concerns," Mr. Duncan said.
He accused the federal government of being "conspicuously absent" on the auto sector, which
has been the single biggest contributor to Ontario's economy, but which has fallen on hard times
because of the global financial crisis.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has waged a three-year battle with Ottawa for a fairer deal under
Confederation and has repeatedly called for reform of the equalization program to take into
account Ontario's waning prosperity relative to the growing wealth of resource-rich provinces.
The problem, Mr. Duncan said, is that the federal government cannot look at just changing
equalization without addressing other areas where Ontario gets shortchanged, including the
Employment Insurance program.
"We will look at everything they say very carefully to ensure that Ontario is not prejudiced in any
form by this change in policy," Mr. Duncan said.
Mr. Flaherty was not available for comment yesterday. He plans to outline his proposal for
changing the equalization program at today's meeting in Toronto with his provincial counterparts.
"In fact, the news for Ontario is good," he told The Canadian Press. "Ontario, in fact, will benefit
substantially."
But Ontario officials have good reason to worry. In the 1970s, when energy prices were soaring,
Ontario was eligible for equalization payments. But Ottawa changed the formula, and retroactively
clawed back the province's payments.
Since the program began 51 years ago, Ontario has paid out more than $100- billion in
equalization to other provinces; residents fund 40 per cent of the program through their income
tax payments to Ottawa. Mr. McGuinty has said he fears that the federal government will ensure
that the province is never a recipient of the program.
"One of the worst-kept secrets in Ottawa is that Ontario must never be allowed to collect
equalization," he said in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in September.
Derek Burleton, an economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, has also said it would be politically
unpalatable to have smaller regions subsidize a province that produces about 40 per cent of the
country's economic output, even if does end up qualifying for equalization.
The equalization program is designed to give money to Canada's poorer provinces so they can
provide social services comparable to the richer ones. This year, the federal government is
distributing the payments to six provinces. Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan
do not collect equalization.
Ontario's entry into the program would be a double-whammy on the federal treasury. Ottawa
would pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Ontario as well as higher payments to the other
"have-not" provinces. Equalization payments are currently capped so that the fiscal capacity of
the recipient provinces - which consists of its revenues from natural resources and personal,
property and business taxes - is not greater than that of the poorest non-recipient, which is now
Ontario.
But if Ontario joins the ranks of the have-nots, the cap would rise to the next poorest province,
British Columbia, and its fiscal capacity is much higher than Ontario's.
Hiring still strong in pockets of Canadian job market; Even as
manufacturing takes a beating, demand for professionals persists
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B3
Section: Report On Business: Canadian
Byline: Tavia Grant
The trickle of U.S. pink slips may be morphing into an avalanche, but pockets of the Canadian
corporate world are still hiring - at least for now.
KPMG is one example. When the accounting firm decided to shift bits of marketing, finance and
technology businesses from London, it could have chosen any of 20 global cities on its shortlist.
It selected Toronto, where the firm plans to create at least 200 high-end jobs over the next year -
even in this rocky financial climate.
The city's educated population, the quality of life and the cost compared with pricier cities like
New York or London were behind the decision. Now, the lower dollar is also making Canada
more affordable for foreigners.
"The current financial problems haven't really had a bearing on the decision [to choose Toronto]
and indeed, to the extent that at least an element of it was cost-oriented, in many ways there are
arguments to accelerate it," said Michael Wareing, chief executive officer, in a phone interview
from London.
It's a bright light in a darkening economic climate. Canada remains better placed to weather the
storm than most industrialized nations. Its financial system is sounder. It still has natural
resources the world wants and now, a less-expensive loonie. All of which should translate into
healthier employment picture.
Companies are still posting plenty of Canadian job ads, even in recent weeks. "It's held up well to
this point," said Patrick Sullivan, president of Workopolis.com, Canada's largest online job board.
Employers are, however, pausing longer before making hiring decisions, he said.
In the past few weeks, he's still seen postings for jobs related to health care, government and
infrastructure. Engineers and accountants are still in high demand, a trend he sees continuing for
years to come.
He's seen other areas slow, though - notably in finance jobs, along with technology. The
manufacturing sector continues to weaken and Ontario is particularly sluggish, he said.
Some companies are sticking with plans to hire, downturn or not. Edward Jones, Canada's
largest independent investment firm, still aims to nearly double the number of its financial
advisers to 1,160 over the next five years.
"We think there are a lot of underserved individual investors in Canada," said Gary Reamey,
principal of the Canadian operations.
His firm hasn't laid off anyone in the past 31 years and doesn't expect to in the coming year, he
said. It's also boosting spending on education and training for its staff.
A deepening slowdown hasn't changed that plan. "In economies like this we will actually
accelerate our financial training and investment while others are cutting back," he said. "If others
don't want to open offices in an environment like this, that's okay. We'll do it."
Most companies are more reticent about predicting how their staffing levels will change because
the economic outlook is so fuzzy. At Desjardins Group, it's tough to gauge how many people may
delay retirement plans, and that will affect recruiting plans next year, said Paul Sutherland,
director of replacement, succession, careers and staffing.
But people with professional skills like accountants remain a hot commodity.
"There's a shortage of qualified people in accounting, people who have risk- management
experience and also in certain sales areas. In those types of areas, we're always in a recruiting
mode," Mr. Sutherland said.
***
WHO'S HIRING?
In Canada, many employers are continuing to hire, though the pace is cooling. Here's what online
recruitment boards are seeing on their sites in recent weeks.
Monster.ca:
HBC is recruiting for seasonal hiring and future executive programs. It has a campaign for up to
11,000 to 13,000 hires.
Future Shop is looking for 6,000 hires in three months. This is one of their largest and fastest
ramp-ups ever.
In the West, activity in the Alberta oil and gas, and retail sectors is increasing.
Workopolis.com:
Alberta Infrastructure is hiring, and so is the City of Lethbridge. Jobs relating to infrastructure are
still strong.
Public sector, government jobs continue to grow.
Health care jobs have been particularly strong in recent weeks.
Nestlé SA, Spectra Energy, Staples and Good Life Fitness have recently posted jobs.
Accountants are in perpetual short supply. There are currently 193 postings for accountants.
Emergency-room nightmares spur calls for action; With conditions
in Canada's hospitals comparable to a Third World country,
according to one specialist, doctors on the front lines suggest
ways to keep ER departments from turning into dumping grounds
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A10
Section: National News
Byline: Lisa Priest
Emergency wards are so overcrowded, patients have had heart attacks, miscarriages and, in at
least one case, even died while in the care queue, prompting doctors to call on provincial
governments to implement waiting-time targets and to stop using the hospital department as a
patient "dumping ground."
Brian Rowe, professor and research director in the University of Alberta's department of
emergency medicine, who has done considerable research in emergency-department
overcrowding, describes current conditions as the worst he's seen in 22 years of practice.
"We've had people have heart attacks in the waiting room, we've had sepsis [blood poisoning] in
the waiting room, people seize in the waiting room and patients have miscarriages in the waiting
room," Dr. Rowe said in an interview. "It's like a Third World country. And this is not unique to
Edmonton. This is right across the country."
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is calling on the provinces to adopt a plan in
which patients are triaged, admitted or discharged within four to six hours, depending on the
severity of their condition, 95 per cent of the time. Once a decision is made to admit a patient, she
or he should be transferred out of the emergency department within two hours.
"When we decide that someone needs admission, we don't understand why they are waiting 16
hours," said Alan Drummond, the chair of public affairs at CAEP. "We just don't get it. All that
speaks to is that the emergency department is a dumping ground."
With Canadians making more than 14 million visits to emergency departments each year, the
need to remedy the system's ills has never been more urgent. That was sadly evident in
September when Brian Sinclair, a homeless man and double amputee, died after sitting 34 hours
in a Winnipeg emergency room. His death - of a preventable bladder and abdominal infection
caused by a blocked catheter - will be the subject of a provincial inquest, while the Health
Sciences Centre where he died has announced it is hiring round-the-clock staff to meet incoming
patients to avoid such tragedies.
Meanwhile, Kevin Smith, who heads Ontario's alternate-level-of-care expert panel, has an
ambitious and novel plan to move as many as 2,800 Ontario patients into nursing homes,
retirement centres - possibly even hotels and motels - to free up desperately needed space and
reduce lengthy waits in emergency wards.
There is no question that Canadians' confidence has been shaken in a health- care system where
the emergency department is supposed to be a last, reliable resort for patients who have
exhausted all other avenues.
On a blazing hot summer day at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, one of the busiest emergency
wards in Ontario, a sign posted in the waiting room warned that patients who have non-
emergencies were facing waits of five to six hours - but that didn't stop people from coming.
In one cubicle was 53-year-old Ed Elson. Complaining of chest pain as well as numbness in his
face and left arm, he waited five hours to see a doctor. Emergency physician Andre May ordered
more tests.
Mr. Elson, a prostate-cancer patient, spent a full eight hours there that day. Weeks later, doctors
had still not determined the cause of his symptoms, said his wife, Lynne.
"When we see patients, the care is good, the diagnostic services are better than when we came,"
Dr. May said. "We just can't see people in a timely fashion. "
Overcrowded emergency wards are a symptom of hospital congestion. They cause operations to
be cancelled because there are no beds for recuperating patients. Ambulances stay parked
outside for hours, unable to offload patients for the same reasons. Some patients, tired of waiting,
leave before being seen by physicians, sometimes with dire consequences. Doctors, nurses and
other health- care workers scrounge every bit of space they can find.
"Certainly we have examined patients in hallways and in clean utility rooms, " said Halifax-based
Mary-Lynn Watson, a former president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians,
"because there is physically no other place to put them."
Across the country, provinces and hospitals are trying to repair the problem.
David Levine, president and chief executive officer of the Montreal Health and Social Services
Agency, is overhauling services with an eye to reducing the number of emergency-room visits by
half.
British Columbia is opening more beds and has done a pilot project that has paid four hospitals
more money if they see patients in a targeted period of time, echoing a practice in England.
"Have we solved the problem? No," said B.C. Health Minister George Abbott, answering his own
question. "Have we improved the situation? I believe we have. This is a work in progress."
In Ontario, 23 emergency departments are subject to performance goals, where patients must be
triaged, admitted or discharged within four to eight hours, depending on the severity of their
condition. Those hospitals that do not meet a series of specific goals, which includes reducing
queues for care, are subject to financial clawbacks from the province. The initiative is likely to
expand to more hospitals next year, said Michael Schull, head of Ontario's expert panel for ER
waiting times.
Those moves alone, however, are not enough, and that's where Dr. Smith comes in. His plan to
unclog emergency rooms by moving hospital patients to other facilities is based on troubling
statistics: Roughly one in five patients in acute-care hospitals is ready for discharge but has
nowhere to go.
"There is enough of a logjam that we do need to open some transitionary capacity," said Dr.
Smith, who is also president and executive officer of St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton. "...That
includes beds, day programs, modified homecare - alternatives to being in a hospital." Dr. Smith
stressed that patients moved out of hospital will receive appropriate care.
Some alternate-level-of-care patients are already being moved to other facilities, but Dr. Smith
said the next phase, starting in April, 2009, is subject to government approval. The key, he said,
is trying to care for patients at home as long as possible.
"This agenda is not one of efficiency," Dr. Smith stressed. "It's an agenda of patient safety."
Tom Closson, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Hospital Association, which has
been gathering the data from its members, found that on any given day in July of this year, 2,800
patients were in acute-care beds waiting to be placed elsewhere. And 694 patients on average
were waiting in emergency wards for an acute-care bed.
"They can't get into the inpatient unit," Mr. Closson said. "...It's a clear indication why something
needs to be done."
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians thinks so, too. It is also asking that more
acute-care beds be added so hospitals can operate at 85-per- cent capacity; many currently
operate at 95-per-cent capacity and beyond.
Dante Morra, an internist and director of the clinical teaching unit at Toronto General Hospital,
helped found the Centre for Innovation in Complex Care at the city's University Health Network. It
identifies problems and seeks solutions for complicated patients who come to emergency wards.
"It's undignified when you're well, but when you're really sick, it's overwhelming," said Dr. Morra of
patients who wait in hallways. "It's nobody's fault, but it's just that someone has to have this on
their radar."
Long-term care crisis forces bed shuffle; Nursing homes make
room for assisted living
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B3
Section: City & Region
Byline: Tamara Gignac
Source: Calgary Herald
One solution to the chronic shortage of long-term care beds in Alberta is to transform some of the
province's nursing homes into assisted-living spaces for seniors, says Health Minister Ron
Liepert.
More than 500 elderly patients in Calgary are on a waiting list for care -- a figure health officials
blame on the population boom and soaring costs to build new facilities.
Part of the problem is that seniors are often placed in nursing homes when their medical needs
and own comfort levels are better suited to an assisted-living environment, said Liepert.
"The fact that 500 seniors are waiting for care is exactly why we have to look at a range of
alternatives," he said.
One of only two nursing homes in Lethbridge will close and reopen in a year's time as an
assisted-living facility. But Chinook Health officials say of the 120 patients living in the home, only
a handful are likely to find the level of medical care insufficient.
Those who do still require a nursing home bed will be guaranteed a space elsewhere in the city,
said Donna Stelmachovich, the health region's vice-president and seniors care director.
"We don't want everybody to have to go into a nursing home if they don't need it. The assisted-
living model . . . is about a private, very home-like space that really supports our seniors to
maintain even small pieces of wellness and independence," she said.
Seniors and their families seem to prefer it, but it's also a practical approach given the staffing
crunch for registered nurses, Stelmachovich said.
"It really is about planning for the huge number of seniors and making sure they have the right
care at the right place using our professionals appropriately," she said.
Not everybody agrees.
Hinton resident Linda Jonson describes the closure of the only nursing home in the town of
10,000 people as "an ongoing nightmare."
The facility, now designated as assisted living for seniors, has forced some families with frail
relatives to either care for them at home or drive to communities like Edson or Barrhead to
access the medical attention they require, according to Jonson, a seniors advocate who works
with the elderly.
"You don't have a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day. The same quality of care just isn't
there," she said.
If nursing homes continue to disappear, seniors will be left with even fewer options when it comes
to long-term care, suggests Lethbridge East MLA Bridget Pastoor.
"Is this a template for the rest of the province? The minute seniors move into an assisted-living
environment, they've moved down to a different level of care," said Pastoor, Liberal opposition
critic for seniors and community supports.
But far from taking away choice from seniors and their families, Liepert argues the province is
simply exploring a range of options that include home care and other less institutional alternatives
to nursing homes.
"Nobody's saying that long-term care facilities aren't going to be built -- we're always going to
need them," Liepert said. "But the only choice right now under the existing rules is to
automatically go into long-term care if you can no longer do certain things. That isn't how it should
be."
University of Calgary researchers are in the midst of a wide-ranging study that is exploring the
health of seniors living in assisted-living facilities in Alberta.
But based on evidence out of the United States, assisted living isn't perfect, said Colleen
Maxwell, associate professor in community health services
"The philosophy on paper is a good one -- everyone wants a home environment, and if you need
extra help, you want it to be in a setting that respects your dignity," she said.
"The concern is that assisted living might not meet an individual's changing needs, and because
of lower staffing requirements, there might be poorer detection of health issues."
Investigators to probe Calgary Taser incident; Man agitated, not
following orders: police
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A4
Section: Canada
Byline: Gwendolyn Richards
Dateline: CALGARY
Source: Canwest News Service
CALGARY - A provincial team of investigators is now examining an incident that left a man in
serious condition after a Taser was used on him, as the head of Alberta's civil liberties
organization calls for police to stop using the devices.
Around 8:15 p. m. on Saturday, a resident in an east Calgary neighbourhood, who did not want to
reveal her name, saw a man run toward a duplex, stopping and leaning on a car to catch his
breath.
He was incoherent when he tried to say something to her husband, who was outside their home
at the time, she said, adding she believed he was high on drugs.
Her husband came inside, locked the door and started to call police, while the man went into the
yard and tried to break into the family's shed.
As her husband was on the phone with police, "he went busting through the basement window [of
the other half of the duplex]," she said.
Officers found the man in the basement of the vacant home.
He was reportedly agitated and not following commands, so a Taser was deployed. He was
arrested and then went into medical distress, said Duty Inspector Vic Trickett.
The man was last reported in critical condition after he was taken to hospital.
On Wednesday, a 38-year-old Edmonton man died after police used a Taser on him to stop his
rampage.
A Taser was fired twice, but Trevor Grimolfson continued to resist arrest before he was
handcuffed and then lost consciousness, officials said. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
The president of the Alberta Civil Liberties Association said yesterday officers should no longer
be equipped with the Tasers. "They're used as a shortcut [more] than they ought to be," Stephen
Jenuth said.
More teaching, less money
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A14
Section: Editorial
Byline: Lorne Gunter
Column: Lorne Gunter
Source: National Post
Those who are hoping that our aboriginal citizens will be lifted out of poverty and dependence by
the billions of federal dollars currently being pumped each year into aboriginal communities and
programs -- nearly $11,000 per man, woman and child for First Nations, Inuit and Metis -- should
stop holding their breath. Money is neither the problem nor the solution.
The problem is a lack education. And until Canada corrects the education gap between its
aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens, there will be little improvement in conditions, no matter
how much money is slathered on aboriginal communities with the very best of intentions.
Last week, the C. D. Howe Institute released a fascinating, yet ultimately disheartening study on
the "education gap."
Author John Richards, a public policy professor at Simon Fraser University, first offers what
should be considered very hopeful statistics: According to his calculations based on the 2006
census, employment rates for aboriginals and non-aboriginals are nearly the same at comparable
levels of education.
Meanwhile, aboriginal Canadians with a high school diploma have an almost identical
employment rate ( just over 60%) to non-aboriginals with a diploma. Those with a trade or a
college certificate have up to 75% success, similar to that of non-aboriginal journeyman and
college grads. And, compared with non-aboriginals with degrees, aboriginal Canadians who have
completed university even have a slightly better shot at employment in their field.
In other words, where they possess the required training and skills, aboriginal Canadians do not
face barriers to finding work.
The trouble comes when looking at what percentage of both groups achieve each level of
secondary and post-secondary learning. Obtaining a high school diploma has become "nearly
universal" among non-aboriginals. "Nearly 90% have done so," says Prof. Richards. However,
even among non-aboriginals aged 20-24 "about 40% lack high school certification," according to
Richards.
More troubling still, this youngest group of working-age aboriginals may be regressing. Among
those 25-44, the proportion without a diploma is just 32%, meaning that after falling for nearly
three decades, the dropout rate may be rising among aboriginals, even as it continues to fall in
the rest of the population.
Similarly, 68% of non-aboriginals aged 25-34 have some form of post-secondary training,
compared to 50% among those 45 and older -- showing a growing commitment to education
beyond high school. Yet among aboriginals, "the proportion with a university degree among those
under 45 has increased very little relative to those over 45."
Also distressing is the news that while the generation of aboriginals aged 35-44 outperformed
those over 45 in obtaining some type of postsecondary training, the generation aged 25-34
seems to have fallen back to the older generation's levels: About 40% of aboriginals over 45 have
some education beyond high school vs. 47% of those aged 35-44, but just 42% of those aged 25-
34.
Prof. Richards contends this may indicate that aboriginal Canadians wait until they are in their
30s to go to college, trade school or university, or it may "signify a more disturbing phenomenon;
stagnation in intentions to undertake post-secondary training among young aboriginals."
Given that the four westernmost provinces have far and away the largest First Nations
populations, and that in those provinces one-in-eight children four years old or younger (one-in-
four in Saskatchewan and Manitoba) is aboriginal, the social and fiscal implications will be
staggering on the Prairies, in B. C. and in the territories if aboriginal Canadians start turning away
from education.
Prof. Richards suggests turning over on-reserve schooling to boards independent of band politics,
and that off-reserve public schools (where most aboriginal kids are taught) should increase the
involvement of aboriginal leaders and parents, "set measurable targets for improvement" and use
data to identify aboriginal students who are not achieving.
That's probably sound advice. But here's an additional idea: The decrease in aboriginal education
attainment corresponds to the recent increases in what was already hearty federal funding for
aboriginals. Perhaps we are subsidizing the decline.
While it is not possible to live lavishly on federal handouts, it is possible to do more than survive.
Concurrent with adopting Prof. Richards' recommendation, we might want to remove the
disincentives to education inherent in the current funding structure.
Pipeline bombers getting smarter: expert
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A6
Section: Canada
Byline: Jamie Hall
Column: National Report
Dateline: EDMONTON
Source: Canwest News Service
They are novices when it comes to technology, but they're passionate and they're getting smarter
about where to place their bombs. That's the theory being put forward by a pipeline security
consultant after a third explosion in less than a month targeted EnCana Corp.'s natural gas
operations in Tomslake near the Alberta-British Columbia border. "They're getting smarter, and
they're evolving as they go," said Oliver Salvador, the executive director of CQB Group Inc.
Pepsico buys sunflower seed king; Distribution; Snack food giant to
put brand on lips worldwide
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: FP11
Section: Financial Post
Byline: Gina Teel
Dateline: CALGARY
Source: Canwest News Service
Food and beverage behemoth PepsiCo Inc. has agreed to buy Albertabased sunflower and
pumpkin seed king, Spitz International Inc., in a bid to add healthier fare to its snack lineup.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but PepsiCo is working toward a closing date of Dec. 1 for
the privately held company, officials said.
Tom Droog, who started Spitz with his wife Emmy in 1982, was tight-lipped about the deal.
"The only thing I can say financially is that Stephen Harper and the tax department will be very
happy, and I hope they are going to send me a thank you note," he said.
Spitz is Canada's leading sunflower seed and pumpkin seed company with annual sales of more
than $30-million. The company began in 1982 as Alberta Sunflower Seeds Ltd., supplying the the
local bird seed market, and the Droogs vaulted to the forefront of consumer-snacking success in
1990 when they introduced Spitz, a line of roasted confection sunflower seed snacks for people.
Today, Spitz snack foods are sold in about 60,000 stores in Canada and about 30,000 stores
across the United States.
Under the deal, Spitz will continue its Alberta operations, consisting of a production facility in Bow
Island and distribution centre in Medicine Hat, and report to Frito-Lay North America, a division of
PepsiCo. Spitz employs about 70 people.
Marc Guay, president of Frito-Lay Canada, said the sunflower seed category is a natural
extension of the company's snacking brand portfolio and caters to the whole health and wellness
trend, "which we're really kind of a leader in."
Frito-Lay recently introduced True North nut snacks and also makes Doritos. "Spitz is a brand
that we've admired for a long time," Mr. Guay said.
"We have a small sunflower business at Frito-Lay, but realistically, we like to be the leader in the
categories we compete in, and this partnership allows us to become the overnight leader in the
category."
Frito-Lay won't be making any changes to Spitz's processing, brand or variety, he added.
Spitz sunflower seeds come in salted, seasoned, dill pickle, spicy, chili lime and smokey
barbecue flavours, while the pumpkin seeds are available in salted, seasoned and dill pickle
flavours. The seeds are roasted using Spitz's patented process.
"The only change I think we'll see is because of the extent of our distribution network at Frito-Lay,
the Spitz brands both in Canada and other parts of North America will get a lot more exposure,"
Mr. Guay said.
Mr. Droog agreed the deal will take the Spitz brand to the next level, which has been the couple's
long-term goal. "I'm thrilled now that they will bring the name Spitz to worldwide levels, and I can
say instead of the Spitz owners, we are the Spitz founders," he said.
The couple were approached by PepsiCo last year. "When a Fortune 500 company comes to you
and is interested in the organization, it tells you two things: That you have some value there and
that you must be running a good show, otherwise they wouldn't come," he said.
Mr. Droog and Myles Hamilton, the vice-president, will stay with the company. Mr. Guay said Mr.
Droog is very keen on having the Spitz brand and the couple's legacy live on.
"We both thought that the partnership between Frito-Lay and PepsiCo and Spitz would allow him
to do that," he said, noting Miss Vickies, Stacy's Pita Chips and Hostess brands were all acquired
by the company.
Family approach to clients and staff
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: FP8
Section: Best Managed
Source: Special to the Financial Post
Perhaps one of the worst things you could call Servus Credit Union, at least as far as its CEO is
concerned, is a large company, even though Servus Credit Union is the largest credit union in
Alberta. And that it just got a whole lot bigger -- more than doubling in size to $10-billion in assets,
2,000 employees, 400,000 members and 100 locations following a recent amalgamation with two
other Albertabased credit unions, Community Savings and Common Wealth Credit Union.
"We continue to be a small company; we just have more people working for us. We don't want to
lose that ability to be nimble and to provide our members with whatever they need," says Steve
Blakely, president and CEO. Mr. Blakely, who first got involved with credit unions about seven
years ago, came from a big bank background and views credit unions as among Canada's
greatest unknown secrets.
"When you walk into a credit union, you feel like you matter. Every customer is a member-owner.
Every employee is a member-owner. We all share in the profits of the company. People call you
by name -- they actually do that. You are not a number. Everyone has a say in what goes on in
the company. That is the key to our success."
It is an important point. After all, Mr. Blakely asks, when was the last time a shareholder in a bank
had a say in how the bank was run? "Our memberowners do. And we build our strategy around
that. We have an elected board of memberowners who take an active role in setting the direction
of the company. It's a different approach and interesting recipe. It serves us extremely well."
Indeed, Servus Credit Union has enjoyed 19 successive years of growth. And there are no signs
of slowing down. Mr. Blakely credits the financial institution's success to the commitment of its
employees.
"I'm fairly new to credit unions but because we are a member-owned business, our people are
very focused on achieving good, solid results," he says. "They want to do better every day. We
operate as a large family. People are the power and strength of this company. It's all about the
people who deliver the service to our members every day. That's what's made us successful."
In fact, that pride and focus on customer service has translated into a 94% satisfaction rating from
members for the past five years. "That is achieved by our employees, who also have rewarded us
with high satisfaction scores as well," Mr. Blakely says.
In fact, in a 2008 employee survey, 84% reported they are satisfied, 88% are proud to work for
Servus Credit Union, 86% would recommend Servus Credit Union as a good place to work and
86% believe Servus Credit Union is a good employer.
The goal is to continue to
keep employee morale high as the three credit unions become one. "We are three well-run, well-
managed companies doing very well financially," Mr. Blakely says. "People are job No. 1 here. So
the first thing we undertook with the merger was to look at our HR policies and make sure our
people are taken care of."
"What's interesting with Servus Credit Union is that employee and member pride has translated
into tremendous growth during a period of very challenging economic conditions," says John
Anderlic, partner with Deloitte's audit practice in Edmonton,
"The Servus Credit Union business model has proven to be successful time and time again. With
the recent mergers, we look forward to them shaping the financial services industry even more."
Going forward, the vision is to be the best credit union in Canada. "That means making sure that
we can continue
to be relevant for our members and our employees," Mr. Blakely says. "We want to continue to
grow in size in order to compete in a more challenging competitive environment, and we need
scope and scale to be able to do that."
To achieve that aim, all levels of the organization must buy in to the credit union's goals.
"Everyone knows what our strategic priorities are. They are measured against them, they
contribute to them and they are incented by them. There is total alignment from the bottom up,"
Mr. Blakely says.
That alignment was demonstrated earlier this year when, as a result of the credit crunch, Servus
Credit Union switched focus to deal with the liquidity issues (the lifeblood of banking) facing every
financial institution across the country and around the world.
"We have one particular advantage during this period of economic uncertainty and that's that we
are in Alberta, where the economy is a little stronger," Mr. Blakely says. "But that doesn't insulate
us from what's going on. We had the same liquidity challenges as every other significant financial
institution. As financial institutions, our focus has always been loans. That's all changed. So much
money has gone out of the system we had to refocus our employees on the liquidity needs of the
company. We began marketing some of our advantages. For example, as a member-owner you
can take part in profit sharing. We helped our member-owners understand their deposits were
safe. As a result, we were able to raise $750-million in about nine months, which shows how
nimble we are and how our employees make all the difference when faced with a challenge."
It is exactly that difference that has placed Servus Credit Union among Canada's 50 Best
Managed companies --an achievement Mr. Blakely takes great pride in. "Being one of Canada's
50 Best Managed companies is a great help to us. It tells both the outside world and the inside
world that they can be confident in the management of this company. That is huge," Mr. Blakely
says.
Not only does wearing the 50 Best Managed companies logo help the credit union get noticed in
the sea of more front-of-mind chartered banks, it is a source of pride for employees, as well. "I
often ask new employees, 'Why did you select us?'" Mr. Blakely says. "And I'm amazed at the
number of times people say, 'because you are one of the 50 Best Managed companies in
Canada.'"
To find out how the Best Managed program can help your private company, visit
www.canadas50best.com.Look for the Best Managed winners for 2008 to be unveiled in the
National Post on Feb. 2, 2009.
Job reports expected to show big losses; Analysts see sharp
reversal in employment growth
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A11
Section: Business
Byline: Eric Beauchesne
Source: Canwest News Service
The job market is where the rubber really hits the road, so expect some screeching at the end of
the coming week with news that the Canadian jobs juggernaut has suddenly shifted into reverse
and that up to 200,000 more people have been thrown out of work in the United States.
In Canada, analysts expect Friday's employment report to show job losses in October in the order
of 10,000, a sharp reversal of the 107,000 new jobs created in September.
"We expect a partial reversal of the extraordinary gain amid mounting business caution and
renewed declines in manufacturing payrolls," said Douglas Porter, economist at BMO Capital
Markets.
But with unemployment being a lagging indicator, the worst could be yet to come, he warned. "If
the economy is indeed sagging into a recession, as we expect, the real job declines will emerge
in the months ahead."
The bad economic news here, however, was expected to start today with the October sales
report from the auto companies.
"The preliminary dealer reports on Canadian autos sales will provide the first real hint on how the
economy performed in the heart of October's intense financial market turmoil," Porter said, noting
that early reports suggest a sharp drop in sales. That would not be surprising in light of the
reported steep drop in consumer confidence early in the month, he added.
In the U.S., the already steep job losses are expected to have mounted dramatically last month.
"The financial hurricane, lingering effects from the Boeing strike, and upward-tracking jobless
claims suggest employment losses accelerated in October," said Sal Guatieri, another economist
at BMO, which is projecting a whopping 200,000 jobs were lost in the month.
Americans, at least, will get some comfort from the distraction of their presidential election
Tuesday, although any improvements in their economy resulting from what polls suggest will be a
Democratic victory will be sometime down the road.
Here, along with the auto report, the week begins with federal and provincial finance ministers
meeting in Toronto today to find ways of minimizing the impact on Canadians, and on their own
government finances, of what many analysts -- including the Bank of Canada -- now project will
be a U.S.-led global recession.
The gathering, however, could turn nasty with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty having given notice
that he plans to rein in growth in equalization payments to the poorer provinces. He has also said,
however, he will not protect federal finances on the backs of the provinces, which he charged the
former federal Liberal government of doing.
Job market in reverse gear; Gloomy data expected for October
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: D9
Section: Calgary Business
Byline: Eric Beauchesne
Dateline: OTTAWA
Source: Canwest News Service
The job market is where the road really hits the rubber, so expect some screeching at the end of
the coming week with news that the Canadian jobs juggernaut has suddenly shifted into reverse
and that up to 200,000 more people have been thrown out of work in the United States.
In Canada, analysts expect Friday's employment report to show job losses in October in the order
of 10,000, a sharp reversal of the 107,000 new jobs created in September.
"We expect a partial reversal of the extraordinary gain amid mounting business caution and
renewed declines in manufacturing payrolls," said Douglas Porter, economist at BMO Capital
Markets.
But with unemployment being a lagging indicator, the worst could be yet to come, he warned. "If
the economy is indeed sagging into a recession, as we expect, the real job declines will emerge
in the months ahead," he said.
The bad economic news here, however, is expected to start today with the October sales report
from the auto companies.
"The preliminary dealer reports on Canadian autos sales will provide the first real hint on how the
economy performed in the heart of October's intense financial market turmoil," Porter said, noting
that early reports suggest a sharp drop in sales. That would not be surprising in light of the
reported steep drop in consumer confidence early in the month, he added.
In the U.S., the already-steep job losses are expected to have mounted dramatically last month.
"The financial hurricane, lingering effects from the Boeing strike, and upward tracking jobless
claims suggest employment losses accelerated in October," said Sal Guatieri, another economist
at BMO, which is projecting a whopping 200,000 jobs were lost in the month.
Americans, at least, will get some comfort from the distraction of their presidential election
Tuesday, although any improvements in their economy resulting from what polls suggest will be a
Democratic victory will be sometime down the road.
Here, along with the auto report, the week begins with federal and provincial finance ministers
meeting in Toronto on Monday to find ways of minimizing the effects on Canadians -- and on their
own government finances -- of what many analysts, including the Bank of Canada, now project
will be a U.S.-led global recession.
The gathering, however, could turn nasty with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty having given notice
in the past week that he plans to rein in the growth in equalization payments to the poorer
provinces. The warning was surprising in that it followed his vow that he would not protect federal
finances on the backs of the provincial governments, which he charged the former federal Liberal
government of doing.
With the economic slump and financial turmoil having gone global, analysts here will also be
keeping an eye on the actions of overseas central banks, with the Bank of England, the European
Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia all expected to cut interest rates in the coming
week, and by at least half a percentage point, as they try to keep their economies from plunging
into deep recessions.
Justice initiatives will boost system
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A10
Section: The Editorial Page
Source: Calgary Herald
The wheels of justice require many spokes turning together in order for the system to work. A
wide number of agencies -- police, Crown prosecutors, the courts, prison authorities and
probation officers -- collectively try, convict the guilty, help them stop reoffending and ultimately
protect the innocent.
In the wider context of reform, a move by the federal Conservatives to back away from some 12
of their earlier key, tough-on-crime initiatives, is neither unusual nor indicative of a softer
approach.
Recent news reports questioning the party's 2008 platform, which contains just 12 promises on
the justice file, suggest a shift in priority. Still, it would be wrong to conclude the government is
abandoning crime and punishment issues. Rather, the platform likely reflects enormous strides
the Tories have made in fully or partially implementing two thirds of their 2006 crime agenda.
Among the achievements pushed through a minority Parliament were raising the age of consent
from 14 to 16, mandatory sentences for those convicted of serious gun crimes, and tougher laws
to keep the most dangerous repeat offenders behind bars for life.
The government also introduced a reverse-onus for the accused when seeking bail on serious
charges involving guns. This is important because it helps local police keep gang members off
the streets and bust up organized, drug-related crime, currently wreaking violence on cities like
Calgary.
The promises the government has stepped away from are ones most likely to have little chance
of surviving constitutional challenges. For example, eliminating "artistic merit" as a defence for
child pornography. The Supreme Court has solidified its position as generously tolerant with
artistic merit as a defence. Why bother fighting to implement measurers that can't be won?
Instead, the federal government should focus its energies on achieving the achievable, thereby
bringing about true reform.
Creative initiatives abound. The Alberta government has recently launched a first-of-its-kind
program in Canada to target repeat offenders of property crimes. The idea is to intervene early,
before such offenders escalate their crimes against people, as is so often the progression.
The initiative will target 60 of the province's known 250 serious, repeat offenders. Should they re-
enter the system, a criminal history of their past will be ready for Crown prosecutors to use when
contemplating bail. Key to the program will be the services, support and supervision offered to
those who want to turn their lives around, should they choose to do so.
This is the sort of project the feds could easily support. Prosecutors gain the tools to do their jobs
and keep those who fail to reform behind bars. Those who want a second chance are given an
opportunity to turn their lives around, with the best possible chance for success.
Crime and justice continue to be a public priority. One need look no further than the reaction to
recent court rulings, whereby judges upheld the rights of prisoners in mind-boggling cases of
scandalous entitlement. It's enough to make anyone lose faith in the system.
Federal Court Judge Leonard Mandamin awarded $2,500 to a repeat rapist and murderer, Muri
Peace Chilton, because he said his ego was hurt after guards laughed when he hurt his thumb in
the prison workshop. Serial killer Gregory McMaster won $6,000 because he had to wait an extra
six months for his $125 designer running shoes.
Prisoner entitlement is so strong, two B.C. drug dealers serving time in the U.S. had the nerve to
sue Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day because he refused the grant their transfers to domestic
prisons.
There are many layers in the system, intricately working with various levels of governments and
ministries to achieve the same goals of justice. While those wheels of justice may seem to turn
slowly, with strong political leadership at the axis, reform will surely roll along.
$80 million Saskatchewan land settlement goes to 3 native bands;
'We have to do it right,' chief says on investing money to benefit
recipients
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A3
Section: News
Byline: Jason Warick
Dateline: SASKATOON
Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix; Canwest News Service
SASKATOON - Three Saskatchewan First Nations are about to receive a land claim settlement of
nearly $80 million.
It is one of the largest of its kind in Saskatchewan history.
The Cote, Key and Keeseekoose First Nations, located in east-central Saskatchewan, will
together receive a total of $78.2 million for the 12,800 acres known as the Pelly Haylands, which
were taken from them in 1899 and 1905.
The settlement, which has been in negotiation since 2000, will see the federal government pay
the bands $73.5 million for the land claim and another $4.8 million for its research, negotiation
and ratification costs.
"It's been a long wait. I'm glad it's done. It means a better future for our people," Cote Chief
Norman Whitehawk said Sunday.
"I feel the settlement was fair. This will go a long ways."
The bulk of the settlement goes to land purchases and other economic development.
On Tuesday, the bands will begin to distribute roughly $1,500 to each of the bands' on and off-
reserve members, which total roughly 5,000 people.
Whitehawk said it's important to invest the money wisely.
"We only have one kick at the can. We have to do it right," he said.
In addition to re-acquiring the Pelly Haylands, the band is also considering investing in
commercial land in such cities as Yorkton, Regina or Saskatoon.
"We have to look outside our borders," Whitehawk said.
He credited former chief James Severight and others such as Tony Cote for working hard to get a
fair settlement for the bands.
Band officials will travel through Western Canada in the coming days too get input from off-
reserve members about how to invest the settlement.
The bands and federal government had agreed to the conditions of the settlement a few years
ago, but the payout was held up by a lawsuit, which was recently dismissed.
In 1891, the federal government set aside land known as the Pelly Haylands for the use of the
three bands. However, in 1899 and again in 1905, the land was taken away.
In Saskatchewan, 40 specific claims from bands are "under review." Another 16 have reached the
next stage and are being negotiated.
Fourteen are in the hands of the Indian Specific Claims Commission, which resolves differences
once the two sides reach an impasse.
Some relief at the pumps
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 2
Section: News
Byline: BY TAMAS VIRAG, SUN MEDIA
Now might be a good time to fill 'er up.
Gas prices have hit their lowest point in more than 18 months, dipping below 90-cents a litre at
some city stations yesterday.
"It certainly makes it easier on the pocketbook, that's for sure," Bruce Forsyth said happily as he
filled up his 1995 Mazda Protege with 90.4-cent per litre gas at an Esso station on Whyte Avenue
yesterday afternoon.
"I was surprised," he added. "I wasn't counting on prices dropping this quickly."
A few pumps down, Karen Waggoner was equally glad to see the prices at the pump, which
haven't been this low since March 2007, according to Edmontongasprices.com.
"I fill up as soon as I see a good price," Waggoner said, standing next to her 2002 Honda Accord,
but added the lower prices have not tempted her to hop in her car more often.
"I drive the same, but less anxiously," she said with a laugh.
Around the country, the price of gas has mirrored the downhill trek crude oil has been taking from
its summertime high of nearly $150 US a barrel to below $70.
Edmontonians were shelling out nearly $1.40 per litre of gas in September.
Yesterday, gas prices in the city were reported as low as 87.9-cents a litre, with the average
sitting around 93 cents.
According to Gasbuddy.com, this puts Edmonton fourth on the list of lowest gas prices in
Canada, ranking just behind Hamilton, London and Toronto, all of which are about two cents a
litre cheaper.
The national average last night was 99.2-cents a litre, but provincial averages varied nearly 20
cents.
Ontario's gas was the cheapest at a little less than 93.3-cents a litre, while those in Newfoundland
and Labrador had to shell out almost $1.09 a litre.
Despite the recent trend of seeing gas prices drop every couple of days, some are fearing this
might be short-lived.
"I never thought it would come down," Dennis White said, topping off the tank of his Jeep Liberty.
"I expect it to go right back up."
Citizens urged to turn in bombing suspects
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 6
Section: News
Byline: BY RENATO GANDIA, SUN MEDIA
Dateline: CALGARY
Officials of a small northeastern B.C. city want citizens to turn in culprits responsible for the third
bombing of Calgary-based EnCana Corp. pipeline, which sent locals fearing for their safety.
Mounties say the bombers are either Dawson Creek-area residents or people familiar with
sensitive infrastructures in the oil and gas industry.
"We certainly would like (citizens) to turn in the suspects," Coun. Alvin Stedel said yesterday.
Dawson Creek city council is slated to meet today to discuss the recent violent attack. Stedel
says he expects officials will encourage people to report to police any suspicious activity in the
area.
The natural gas wellhead explosion at a site 12 km northwest of Tomslake, near Dawson Creek,
was reported to police around 12:30 p.m. Friday, more than 12 hours after the blast.
"We understand that a number of people heard the blast when it occurred, but did not call police
with the information," said RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields.
Residents of Tomslake, with a population of about 1,000, are on edge, says Stedel, while
Dawson Creek citizens are apprehensive for the safety of people living near the pipeline.
EnCana crews continued to work on closing the leak yesterday, said company spokesman Rhona
DelFrari.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 1-866-994-7473.
Canada might join security project
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 6
Section: News
Byline: BY STEVE RENNIE, CP
Dateline: OTTAWA
Canada might join a new, U.S.-led effort to gather and share intelligence about threats to energy
and environmental security, a newly released document shows.
The project, spearheaded by the U.S. Energy Department's intelligence and counterintelligence
unit, is billed as a "radically different" way of understanding security matters.
The Energy and Environmental Security Ecosystem, or EESE, will include a members-only
website for governments, industry and experts to swap information and make contacts. There
might also be face-to-face meetings.
The project, to be launched next year, is meant to improve understanding of the security
implications of energy and environmental issues, says the website's architect.
"The whole purpose of the site is to create an online space that fosters discussions,
conversations, collaborations at the nexus of energy, environment and national security," said
Ashish Soni of the University of Southern California.
"Let's say there's something happening in Latin America. Some huge environmental story or
some big shift in some energy futures, energy prices or a shortage of energy in some way.
"The notion is to bring that information to the surface and get people informed and made aware of
what's going on across the world."
Canada dispatched officials to Herndon, Va., in May for meetings to discuss the project, a report
from Natural Resources Canada shows.
A summary of the May 15-16 meetings identified energy and environmental security as weak
spots for Canada.
"In most intelligence communities around the world, this area -- and particularly the environmental
focus -- is not yet considered relevant within the dominant national security paradigm," it says.
The Canadian Press obtained the NRCan report under the Access to Information Act.
Political instability in some energy-producing nations, the manipulation of energy supplies,
competition for scarce resources including food and water, attacks on pipelines and
infrastructure, natural disasters and accidents all pose threats to global energy and environmental
security.
Uneven distribution among countries of energy supplies, such as oil and natural gas, also
heightens the risk for resource-rich nations like Canada as the world's energy needs grow.
Provinces meet over ailing economy
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 14
Section: News
Byline: BY JULIAN BELTRAME, CP
Dateline: OTTAWA
It couldn't be done in good times, but the prospect of impending bad times is being cited as the
best opportunity for breaking the ideological logjam that has characterized inter-provincial
negotiations on the economy.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his provincial counterparts meet today for the first time since
the federal election - and, more importantly, since the October collapse in financial and equity
markets - with a full agenda of troubles to tackle.
And although no one is making concessions going in, officials and other observers say the
chances of movement, while still slight, are better than at previous such meetings.
The meeting is the first in a series that culminates with a summit of the 20 leading economies in
Washington on Nov. 15 and include a meeting on the economy between Prime Minister Stephen
Harper and the provincial premiers in Ottawa next Monday.
The meetings come as the global and Canadian economies edge towards recession, joining the
United States, which is already there.
Zapped man hospitalized
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 16
Section: News
Byline: BY SUN MEDIA
Dateline: CALGARY
A man who was zapped by police while they were responding to a break-and-enter over the
weekend was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition.
Police in Calgary said they found a man in the basement of the house on Saturday night, agitated
and not following commands. Officers used a Taser to subdue the suspect, but they said they
were unsuccessful. After arresting the man, police said he went into medical distress while being
assessed by EMS.
Members of the Alberta Serious Incident Team, an independent organization that reviews
incidents involving police forces in Alberta, were at the scene yesterday.
Universities eye 'painful' cuts in wake of crisis; With endowment
funds taking a beating, student aid, scholarships, hiring and
academic programs could all be on the chopping block
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A1
Section: National News
Byline: Elizabeth Church And Paul Waldie
Canadian universities could
be forced to cut student aid, scholarships and funding for various programs as early as next
spring because of multimillion-dollar losses in their investment holdings.
The recent freefall of financial markets, coupled with a wait-and-see attitude of donors, has
campus leaders across the country preparing for the worst and hoping for
a quick recovery.
Some, such as the University of Waterloo, have already taken action, freezing most hiring for the
next six months. Others, including the University of Victoria, have issued notices saying they may
have to cut distributions from their endowment funds, which pay for scholarships and research
chairs.
Stock markets around the world are down more than 30 per cent this year and dropped roughly
17 per cent last month alone. That has cost universities hundreds of millions of dollars because
on average more than half of their endowment and pension funds are invested in financial
markets.
"We are down big time in terms of the market value of our endowment fund," said David Mitchell,
vice-principal of advancement at Queen's University in Kingston. At the end of September -
before the worst of the market woes - Queen's had lost more than $100-million in its endowment,
which had fallen to $550.6-million from $658.2-million.
Gary Brewer, York University's vice-president of finance, said the school's $300-million
endowment fund has lost roughly $45-million this year, and its $1. 3-billion pension fund is down
nearly $200-
million.
"These are substantial numbers and the implications on our operating budget could be significant
and could be directly felt in short order," Mr. Brewer said.
He said the university is also dealing with a roughly $44-million deficit in its pension plan.
Others are facing similar losses. U Vic's $150-million endowment was down about 9 per cent at
the end of September. Dalhousie University's is down roughly $30-million to $320-million, and the
University of Toronto lost nearly 9 per cent during the third quarter on its $5.5-billion pension and
endowment funds. For most schools, those losses came on top of weak investment performance
last year.
"Obviously it's painful," said Colin Spinney, treasurer of Dalhousie. The university is just
beginning its budget planning for next year and Mr. Spinney said the investment losses could
have an impact on spending. But like other university officials, he stressed the school invests for
the long term.
William Moriarty, the chief executive of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corp., which
oversees the university's endowment and pension funds, said in a recent campus-wide notice
that managing the portfolio "continues to be a challenging task." He noted that the fund has
performed better than the overall market and said "patience continues to be required."
Endowments are built from contributions by donors. The capital is invested and the income is
distributed annually to fund scholarships or endowed chairs. University endowments typically
contain hundreds of individual funds created by donors over the years for specific purposes.
Canadian universities hold an estimated $11-billion in endowment funds.
Many universities managed to build buffers in their endowments because stock- market returns
had been strong prior to 2007. But in most cases those buffers have largely been wiped out.
The investment losses compound an already difficult financial climate. Government funding and
tuition-fee increases have not kept pace with operating costs, and some universities have already
been cutting costs.
"We are planning next year's situation with really many, many unknowns," said Amit Chakma,
provost of the University of Waterloo, which plans to hold a town hall next week with faculty and
staff to explain its response to the worsening economic climate.
Dr. Chakma said Waterloo is hoping to generate more income from expanded graduate programs
and an increased number of foreign students, and will benefit from having had $75-million in new
donations in its endowment fund that had not been invested when the market crashed. Still, he
said it is "highly unlikely" that the fund will be able to pay out the same amount that it did this
year.
Sagging stock markets have also left potential donors on the sidelines. The elimination of the
capital-gains tax on donations of publicly traded securities in 2006 generated a flood of giving last
year. But with markets down, many donors are holding off or asking to renegotiate earlier
pledges.
"The stock-market situation has had a huge impact," said Marc Weinstein, McGill University's
vice-principal of development and alumni relations. "It's creating a bit of a psychology around
giving in general."
Mr. Weinstein said he remains "cautiously optimistic" that donors will come forward. The
university launched a $750-million fundraising campaign a year ago and has raised $443-million
so far that included three multimillion-dollar gifts last summer.
"It takes some of the feel-good out of it if you are donating stocks that have lost money," said
Doug Nelson, the chief development officer at the University of Alberta.
Roger Trull, vice-president of advancement at McMaster University, said the school has heard
from a lot of potential donors in the past three weeks that they would prefer to wait.
Campus leaders caution that, despite the dramatic growth in endowments over the past decade,
the income they generate represents a small portion of overall university budgets. At the same
time, they describe that money as key in attracting top students and faculty.
"This is about the margin of excellence," said Peter Smailes, treasurer of the University of British
Columbia. "It is about adding to what we already have. "
***
Endowment facts
Endowments are charitable funds in which the capital is invested and the income distributed
annually.
They are used to provide stable, long-term - sometimes perpetual - income. They can fund a
school's general mission or be used for specific purposes, such as a scholarship or a faculty
position, usually called an endowed chair.
Over the past decade, Canadian universities have stepped up the pace of their fundraising,
building up larger and larger investments to help attract top professors, fund scholarships and
provide financial aid to students. During this time, there also has been a growing trend for donors
to give money for a specific use, making it more difficult to redistribute income from endowment
funds when returns fall.
The average university endowment had just over half of its funds invested in the equity market at
the end of last year, according to the Canadian Association of University Business Officers. The
mix of assets varies, depending on the size of the endowment and the institution's tolerance for
risk.
Endowment-fund holdings can include publicly traded stocks (Canadian and international), bonds
and alternative investments such as hedge funds, private equity and real estate.
As of Dec. 31, 2007, Canadian universities held close to $11-billion in endowment funds.
Elizabeth Church
***
Top dollar
Canadian universities have stepped up their fundraising efforts in recent years. Here are the top
endowment funds at the end of last year.
Assets $ millions
1 Toronto 2,111.1
2 UBC 1,072.7
3 McGill 908.8
4 Alberta 746.2
5 Queen's 658.2
6 McMaster 434.0
7 Calgary 418.7
8 Manitoba 365.9
9 Dalhousie 349.5
10 Western Ontario 313.8
11 York 294.4
12 Carleton 238.0
13 Simon Fraser 221.1
14 Victoria (U. of T.) 220.3
15 Saskatchewan 191.7
16 Waterloo 172.5
17 Guelph 170.9
18 Victoria (B.C.) 155.7
19 Montreal 153.6
20 New Brunswick 147.1
NOTE: FIGURES AS OF DEC. 31, 2007
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
SOURCE: CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY BUSINESS OFFICERS
Staving off deficit addiction
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A14
Section: Editorial
When Canada's federal and provincial finance ministers meet today, they should look back and
recall that Ottawa's 28-year series of budget deficits did not begin with an announcement of
grand strategy, or any inkling of how long it would last. On the contrary, in 1970, Edgar Benson,
the minister of finance, clearly situated his projected $320-million deficit in specific, passing
circumstances; it was designed to end a recession by a "moderate expansion" that would not
"rekindle the fires of inflation."
Instead, what ensued were 28 wretched years of rising taxes, squeezed social services, rusting
military equipment, current account imbalances, high interest rates and constrained sovereignty,
and a lack of resolve eventually reversed by determined, painful efforts to return to surplus, after
the deficit peaked at $42-billion in 1993-94.
That is why, as poor fiscal stewardship and worse economic circumstances are leading us to
"slip" back into deficit, we must hold governments to account from the start. We cannot wait
another two decades to get serious; we must be serious even as we stray from balanced
budgets.
Deficits are economically defensible. Balancing budgets over a medium-term cycle, as John
Maynard Keynes proposed, makes a great deal of sense. As with any orthodoxy, fiscal orthodoxy
should not trump all other considerations. Governments must balance a range of factors in setting
economic policy.
But political experience in Canada shows that one deficit leads to another and another. It
becomes easy for a minority government with a short shelf life, or ministers with short tenures
(Pierre Trudeau's average was one finance minister per 2.5 years), to leave to their successors
the problem of returning to balance.
Canadians governments have squandered the surplus. They did not build enough shelter for
rainy days. Cautious economic assumptions have been set aside, and the Harper government
abandoned a $3-billion contingency fund. If federal taxation policy and spending patterns had
been frozen as of 2000, there would be a $60-billion operating surplus today; that would have
been overdoing it, but a rather smaller but still comfortable cushion would have served the
country well.
The federal government has a duty to set out for Canadians the circumstances under which it
considers a deficit acceptable, the circumstances in which it would return to a balanced budget,
and the guidelines and protections it would then put in place to maintain surpluses.
So far, much of the Harper government's talk about fiscal management has been wishful thinking.
At times, it has posed as an innocent bystander. The government won re-election on its claim to
strong leadership, and should now act to show that strength.
A recession, if one is coming, is no time to cut spending or raise taxes. A deficit, though it could
have been avoided, may now be inevitable.
The finance ministers should commence work now on a policy framework rooted in principle, not
on reacting to events as they arise. In recent generations, Canadians have suffered more than
enough from haphazard fiscal management.
In these economic hard times, divided we fall
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B2
Section: Report On Business: Canadian
Byline: Judith Maxwell
Source: Judith Maxwell is the former head of the Economic Council of
Canada and the Canadian Policy Research Networks
Stephen Harper and his Conservatives can once again call themselves "Canada's new
government." But to govern in hard times, they will need to adopt a different style from what we
have seen in their first term in office.
First, Ottawa has to find a way to co-ordinate action with the provinces and territories, just as
leaders of the industrialized countries have had to co- ordinate actions in recent weeks, despite
their natural tendency to do their own thing. Second, policy makers must be wary of deeply held
views about the role of government. As U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson discovered, such
views can lead to serious policy errors.
Mr. Harper's old style of government put the provinces and territories in a separate compartment
from the federal government. His main way of dealing with issues that spilled from the federal to
the provincial compartment was to send the province a cheque. Meetings involving heads of
government were rare, short and poorly planned. No attempt was made at problem solving.
Previous governments invested more effort but too often got bogged down by a long history of
mistrust and one-upmanship.
In economic hard times, failure to work together will be intolerable. The reason we have a
federation is that Ottawa and the provinces share the same economic and political space. And a
key function of federalism is to pool risks when the going gets rough.
All the regions of the country are vulnerable in this downturn. The Canadian economy, taken as a
whole, is diversified. But we have a lot of one-industry provinces: forestry in British Columbia,
autos in Ontario, oil and gas in Alberta and, increasingly, Saskatchewan. When all these
industries face a downturn at the same time, sharing risk becomes a bigger challenge.
In past recessions, governments could count on the "automatic stabilizers" built into tax and
spending policies to moderate the impact of recession on people and regions. But two of the most
important federal automatic stabilizers - equalization and employment insurance - are broken.
And in both cases, the compartments are not watertight - they spill over, big time, to the provinces
and territories.
Look at the equalization system used to raise the tax revenue per capita of the poorest provinces
to a common standard based on the 10-province average. TD Economics forecasts that Ontario
will become a poor province by that standard in 2009, and thus become eligible for equalization
payments. Since more than one-third of federal revenues come from Ontario taxpayers, they will
be paying a big chunk of the bill. How sustainable is that?
And look at the Employment Insurance system. It used to provide a minimum income to about 80
per cent of the unemployed, but in 2004, only 44 per cent were eligible. The fact is that large
numbers of unemployed will have no income protection in this slowdown. (The most vulnerable
are the people in the insecure jobs in retail trade, food and accommodation, which are
concentrated in the cities.) The rules are now so twisted that only 22 per cent of the unemployed
people in Toronto and Ottawa are receiving benefits.
If the unemployed can't get EI from Ottawa, their only choice is to apply for provincial social
assistance. But they can only access social assistance if they have assets of less than $5,000.
(That's in Ontario; the limits vary by province.) Since many will be poor enough to qualify for
social assistance, provincial spending will increase.
With these two policy instruments impaired, and the world economy heading into a slowdown,
federal and provincial governments will have to find new ways to moderate economic hardship.
This challenge cannot be met if governments work on their own.
The first priority then is to abandon the infrequent and unproductive dinners at the Prime
Minister's residence and establish a regular forum for constructive engagement among 13
governments whose job is to serve Canadians in good times and hard times.
That regular forum should involve heads of government, but should be supported by regular
meetings of other ministers, especially finance ministers and social services ministers.
It has to be a place where governments can establish a common understanding on the state of
the economy and society and make a genuine effort to solve problems rather than hand out
Band-Aids. Above all, they should give each other advance notice of planned actions.
It will take time to fix equalization and EI. In the meantime, they can begin a series of strategic
investments that will help the country to achieve longer-term goals.
For example:
Get ready for the next oil price shock through investments in energy conservation, a national
energy grid and renewable energy.
Use the downturn in construction to build affordable housing.
Create career options for recent graduates and new immigrants to help them gain useful work
experience now and to avoid severe labour shortages down the road.
The Prime Minister and the premiers are now scheduled to meet on Nov. 10 to discuss the
turbulent economic situation. It's up to the Prime Minister to use that occasion to initiate more
constructive engagement with his colleagues. They can begin by setting the ground rules to make
federalism work better in a period of hard times.
Debate Over Judges' Probe Role Revived; Think twice about
appointments analysts say
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A4
Section: Canada
Byline: Janice Tibbetts
Dateline: OTTAWA
Source: Canwest News Service
OTTAWA - A string of controversies with public inquiries -- the resignation of the head of the
Indian residential schools probe; a rebuke by the Federal Court of the judge who led the federal
sponsorship inquiry; the halting of an inquiry into an alleged pedophile ring because it dragged on
too long -- has revived debate over the appropriateness of judges accepting such inquiry
appointments.
With the recent scandal and intrigue beating down Canada's passion for public probes, legal
experts are questioning the role sitting judges should take in high-profile inquiries, particularly
when they risk being dragged into the political realm.
"There are clearly examples, with the wisdom of hindsight, it might have been better if the judge
had simply said no," said Manitoba Chief Justice Richard Scott, who is head of the conduct
committee for the Canadian Judicial Council.
The recent resignation of Justice Harry LaForme as head of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission on abuse at Indian residential schools should serve as a wake-up call for judges to
think twice before agreeing to take part in government-sponsored probes, say legal analysts.
Judge LaForme quit suddenly after citing "incurable structural defects" and the "paralyzing
conduct" of the other two commissioners, whom he denounced for not respecting his authority.
He also expressed fear last summer that the commission was too closely tied to government and
that the other commissioners were influenced by the Assembly of First Nations, an accusation the
group, which represents Indian chiefs, denies.
Chief Justice Scott, while refusing to cite specific examples of inquiries gone wrong, hinted Judge
LaForme would have been better off to decline the five-year appointment, a position he accepted
six months ago that put him on leave from the Ontario Court of Appeal.
"We need to be so careful about whether we say yes or no," said Chief Justice Scott. "It's a little
hard to back away and say 'Gee, the heat's a little too hot in the kitchen, I think I'll leave when
you're six months or a year into the process.'"
Judge LaForme's departure came only months after a Federal Court judge gave Justice John
Gomery a stern dressing down, ruling he was biased against former prime minister Jean Chretien
in a report on the federal sponsorship probe in Quebec. Judge Gomery retired almost two years
after he issued his November 2005 report.
Adam Dodek, a University of Ottawa law professor, said the sponsorship inquiry, called to probe
misspent millions in federal money earmarked to raise the federal profile in Quebec, was a prime
example of the type of inquiries that sitting judges should avoid.
"The problem I have is there is this idea that governments use judges to cast a cloak of
independence and depoliticize hot political issue," said Mr. Dodek. "Sometimes a judge pulls it off
... and sometimes a judges makes it worse and I think that's Judge Gomery."
In Canada, almost all public inquiries are chaired by sitting judges, unlike Britain, the United
States, and Australia. In Australia's Victoria state, for instance, judges refuse to serve on the
grounds it is not their job and they must avoid issues that might later come before them in court.
It is tradition in Canada for judges, with their reputation for independence and impartiality, to head
commissions because the job is often closely aligned to what they do on the bench -- hearing
evidence and drawing conclusions based on testimony.
Many judges accept appointments because they are public servants and they feel a duty to serve,
said Chief Justice Scott, adding there are plenty of examples of successful inquiries where the
judge's findings have made a significant contribution to public policy.
The gold standards include the Walkerton inquiry into tainted waterand the recently concluded
inquiry into Ontario's scandal-plagued pediatric forensic pathology system.
Another ongoing inquiry, however, has been marked by disarray and delay -- Justice Normand
Glaude's probe into an alleged pedophile ring in Cornwall, Ont. The Ontario government recently
ordered the inquiry to shut down in the new year and told Judge Glaude to produce a report by
July, 2009.
A Canadian Judicial Council protocol requires judges to consider whether the inquiry is
"essentially partisan in nature" before accepting an appointment.
"The closer you get into getting into the political arena, the more cautious judges should be,"
warned Chief Justice Scott.
Retired judges, on the other hand, are a natural choice to lead inquiries and commissions
because they do not have to return to the bench afterwards, he said.

November 2 Clippings

Hold the cellphone! This just in; Canada Safety Council raises eyebrows by opposing ban
on cell use while driving ............................................................................................................................... 49

Oilsands slammed ; Protesters call for halt to new development ...................................................... 51

Health ministry must heal itself; Reusing syringes for so long reveals serious problem in
system ............................................................................................................................................................... 52

Now is not the time to be timid ................................................................................................................ 54

Crisis opens way to reverse royalty take ................................................................................................. 56

No means no .................................................................................................................................................. 58

Time to get out the knife ; Conservative governments in Ottawa and Alberta clinging to
some liberal notions these days.................................................................................................................. 59

Eco terrorist has 'local knowledge' ............................................................................................................ 61

Gas pipeline blasts 'evolving': expert; More than one person likely responsible, security
consultant says ................................................................................................................................................ 62

Ft. Chip residents, activists protest oilsands intrusion; Ft. Chip residents, activists
protest oilsands intrusion ............................................................................................................................ 64

The shakeup at your local liquor store; Fifteen years after privatization, how alcohol
sales in Alberta have evolved and how it affects you, the buyer ........................................................ 65

More foster parents not the best solution .............................................................................................. 68

Oilsands the poster child of bad oil; Has the mythology overtaken the truth? ............................... 70

The word on 'dirty 'oil; ; Authors take critical look at oilsands; ........................................................ 74
Pipeline bombers' skill rising ........................................................................................................................ 76

More teens live on streets; Overburdened social agencies being forced to turn away
youth ................................................................................................................................................................. 77

Manitoba reviewing legislation, commissioning study to look at student truancy .......................... 79
Hold the cellphone! This just in; Canada Safety Council raises
eyebrows by opposing ban on cell use while driving
The Edmonton Journal
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A18
Section: Opinion
Byline: Lorne Gunter
Source: The Edmonton Journal
The Canada Safety Council opposes bans on cellphone use while driving.
The CSC worries about the wisdom of shopping at garage sales because the products purchased
at them may not meet current safety standards. It has concerns about teddy bears' eyes, wants
pellet and airsoft guns regulated and believes "minor hockey is a better game to watch and play
without bodychecking." It has wondered whether heading should be banned from youth soccer,
authored tips on building safe campfires, established guidelines for safe hot-water temperatures
(read: tepid), recommended that home gardeners warm up with stretches before pruning their
rose bushes, not "overload the bag when bagging leaves" and "pace themselves and take
breaks" and backed the Canadian Standards Council in its crusade to remove most fun
equipment from playgrounds.
In other words, name an activity in which there is risk, and the CSC is all over it. So if the safety
council says bans on cellphone use while driving are nothing but meaningless "feel-good
legislation," then you can be pretty sure they are not merely acting as a front for the cellphone
lobby.
It's not that the CSC believes there is no risk to talking on a cellphone while driving. Indeed, it
recommends avoiding the habit if at all possible.
Rather, the council has long believed that studies on the subject have been insufficiently scientific
-- based too much on other drivers' perceptions and not enough on a dispassionate examination
of accident statistics. Driving while dialling is no greater distraction than a score of other activities
that are not being banned, so ultimately cell bans don't improve road safety.
The Ontario government this week introduced legislation to ban the use of cellphones, hand-held
GPS systems, iPods and BlackBerrys while driving. Speaking Tuesday on CTV's Newsnet, the
CSC's Emile Therien described the proposed ban as "feel-good legislation. It makes people feel
good, but it really doesn't deliver tangible safety benefits."
In other words, Ontario's actions are symbolic, not substantive. Take for instance the way that
province proposes to ban hand-held cellphones, but not hands-free models.
Evelyn Vingilis, an auto-safety expert and professor at the University of Western Ontario, argues
that "research shows it's the attention that's paid, not whether it's hands-free or not hands-free"
that elevates the risk of having an accident.
Prof. Vingilis, a member of the Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals, favours a ban
on both kinds of cellphones. I do not. But at least her position is consistent; the Ontario
government's is not.
If the government of Premier Dalton McGuinty were serious about achieving its stated goal of
improving highway safety in Ontario, it would concentrate on reducing driver distractions, period,
no matter what form they take.
Tuning a car's built-in radio or CD player is as dangerous a distraction as searching for a song on
a portable MP3 player. But Ontario's legislation targets only the portable devices. Trying to type a
destination into your vehicle's in-dash satellite navigation system is as likely to cause an accident
as hunting for directions on a hand-held model, but Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley is
only going after the latter, not the former.
And he hasn't even mentioned looking away from the road ahead to read a good old-fashioned
map. That is at least as distracting as playing with a GPS (some studies say it is even more
distracting), yet Ontario has no intention of banning map-looking.
It is true some studies indicate dialling a cellphone makes a driver three to four times more likely
to cause an accident than a non-cell-using motorist, but they also find a similar elevated risk level
for putting on makeup, reaching across the seat for something, eating or drinking, talking with
passengers, checking on toddlers in their car seats, smoking, looking at billboards or scenery,
even just trying to make out what is printed on road signs.
It's clear the Ontario government wants to be seen to be doing something, even if that something
is largely useless.
Thankfully, the Alberta government has so far rejected implementing a similar ban here. But the
advocates of these bans are relentless and the Stelmach government has shown itself prone to
feel-good solutions. So Albertans can expect pressure to build for a prohibition in this province,
too.
But why have cellphones become so detested? Why are they the focus of governments and
some safety activists and not, say, eating a tuna sandwich while driving? The answer would seem
to be their visibility and their relative newness.
Earlier this year, researchers at England's Middlesex University established that cellphones have
become a sort of symbol of all that other drivers hate about their co-commuters poor driving
habits.
Talking while driving "is seen as inequitable and unnecessary, or in some way antisocial."
Likewise, "risks that are new as opposed to old and familiar are generally regarded with greater
circumspection."
By focusing so much effort on banning cells, governments may be feeding some drivers' dislike of
the devices, but they are probably not making roads safer.
Oilsands slammed ; Protesters call for halt to new development
The Edmonton Sun
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: 7
Section: News
Byline: BY TAMAS VIRAG, SUN MEDIA
The environment was front and centre for hundreds of protesters who marched through
downtown yesterday afternoon shouting "stop the tarsands" at the top of their lungs.
The demonstration, organized by the Council of Canadians - a left-leaning advocacy group -
called on the province to put a moratorium on new developments in Alberta's oilsands.
"(It's) dramatic devastation that's been happening there in a very unrestrained way with very little
oversight," Council of Canadians spokesman Dylan Penner said. "People across the country are
concerned about that. People see this not just as an Alberta issue, but something that's impacting
the country and, in fact, the world."
He said the "gold rush" in the Fort McMurray area is not sustainable either economically or
environmentally and a hold on all new developments would "provide us with a real opportunity to
look at this sanely and rationally and sustainably and choose a different path forward."
Supporters marched through downtown and down to the Legislature and shouted slogans like
"public rights before corporate profits," and "dirty fuel isn't cool, Stephen Harper is a fool," a crowd
favourite.
Reactions from passers-by ranged from a woman who honked and flashed a smile and a peace
sign to a man in a pickup truck who told those in the march to get jobs as he drove by.
"We're not saying 'stop it,' " said fourth-year political science student Dustin McNichol of the
tarsands. "(We're saying) let's rethink, let's get some better regulation, let's have some sensible
solutions to this."
During her speech on the steps of the Legislature, Maude Barlow - senior adviser on water issues
with the United Nations and Council of Canadians chairman - recounted her experiences during a
trip to the Fort McMurray area.
"What we saw yesterday on our tour were absolute dead zones. Zones where no living creature
can survive. We saw holding lakes for toxic water that, if it leaks into the Athabasca (River), could
destroy the Athabasca for miles," she said.
Barlow also expressed her concern for the First Nations people of the region, who are reporting
exceptionally high rates of cancer.
Most people at the rally, like 78-year-old Louise Swift of the Raging Grannies, believe Premier Ed
Stelmach and other politicians hold the solution to the problem.
"The government has to be responsible for making laws about pollution," she said. "Until they do
that, there has to be a moratorium."
Health ministry must heal itself; Reusing syringes for so long
reveals serious problem in system
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A10
Section: The Editorial Page
Source: Calgary Herald
The revelation last Monday that a rural Alberta hospital has been reusing its syringes as far back
as 1990 is disturbing and undermines confidence in the whole medical system.
One has to wonder who is in charge of ensuring basic medical standards are being met and why
infection control problems are still occurring in Alberta hospitals.
It's difficult to comprehend how this could happen so soon after last year's Vegreville fiasco, when
bits of flesh and blood were found on dirty tools and inside scopes reused on patients without
proper sterilization. The latest scandal may not raise eyebrows in a Third World country, where
shoddy medical practices are more common, but this is oil-rich Alberta.
Thousands of people are being contacted and told to test for HIV, and hepatitis B and C after a
manager at the High Prairie hospital finally detected and reported the widespread practice of
reusing syringes.
Syringes were reused to inject medication into intravenous lines during endoscopies from March
1, 2004, to Oct. 2, 2008. They may have also been reused during dental surgeries dating back to
1990.
It's baffling this could go on for nearly two decades when, even then, the reuse of disposable
syringes was considered unacceptable. Patients can take some comfort in hearing the chances of
infection are slim because the needles weren't directly injected into their skin, but they should
never have been put at risk in the first place.
And infection has been known to occur in this way, most recently in Las Vegas. The practice,
according to investigators, resulted in at least six people being infected with hepatitis C at a clinic
reportedly under orders to reuse vials and syringes as a way to cut costs. The problem with the
life-threatening infection is it can quietly damage the liver for years, without showing any
symptoms.
In Alberta, a series of cases -- highlighted in sweeping audits made public in June -- has put the
spotlight on patient safety. After the Vegreville incident, the provincial government introduced new
standards and procedures for sterilization and other infection control practices, acknowledging
there was no single set of regulations for health facilities in Alberta.
Staff shortages, inadequate documentation, aging and poorly designed hospitals, tight budgets
and now a restructuring of health boards into one central superboard, are only some of the
challenges ahead.
On an optimistic note, Health Minister Ron Liepert recently gave new powers and responsibilities
to the chief medical officer of health, to operate more independently. The top doctor is
responsible for monitoring and enforcing standards to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
and react to public emergencies such as a SARS outbreak.
Under the changes, Liepert will allow the position to report directly to the health minister, instead
of going through bureaucratic hoops. Still, the province has yet to find a permanent chief medical
officer and deputy chief medical officer.
Ultimately, it's Liepert who has to be accountable for a lack of governance. The syringe scandal
might be brushed off as human error, but it leaves an unsettling feeling as to what other practices
are going on that will endanger public safety.
It's indicative of a systemic failure in monitoring and enforcement of infection control best
practices.
Not only is a thorough provincial investigation needed, consequences must be taken in a manner
that ensures problems are addressed adequately.
More checks and balances are needed throughout the system, even if it means reinstituting the
team of Alberta Health investigators cut during the Ralph Klein years.
Liepert must correct course and prove wrong those skeptics who believe matters will only worsen
under a more centralized system.
Come on, health ministry, heal thyself.
Now is not the time to be timid
The Edmonton Sun
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: 7
Section: News
Byline: BY NEIL WAUGH, EDMONTON SUN
Column: The Province
A Dutchman in London tells an ex-backhoe operator turned financial stud duck from Vermilion the
news he didn't want to hear last week.
Another one had bit the bust.
And when you've ramped up your budget to $37 billion to accommodate the $180-billion in
oilsands projects your hyperventilating enterprise department insists is out there, the solemn
words of Jeroen van der Veer didn't exactly make Alberta Treasury Board president Lloyd
Snelgrove's day.
"We are watching the world economic situation carefully," the Royal Dutch Shell chief executive
blurted over the speakers on his third-quarter conference call.
"We are steering the Shell ship in rough waters," he added, even though $147 US per barrel oil in
July translated into a $10.9 billion profit.
"But so far, OK."
Unless you are Lloyd Snelgrove. What the Dutch oilman had to say next was the last thing he
wanted to hear: Shell's ongoing Albion Sands expansion north of Fort McMurray is still a go.
It's already under construction, so it's too late to stop now, although the reclusive new owners of
the BA Upgrader did just that, walking away from the partially completed project.
So did Statoil. And the Petro-Canada Fort Hills upgrader. Opti/Nexen have put a stall on their
Long Lake expansion, too. Same goes for Suncor's Voyageur monster. EnCana and Total are up
next.
"Clearly there's a significant industry inflation with tight labour markets in Alberta," the Dutch oil
boss lamented. "Several competitors projects have been delayed."
Then the bad news. Shell's "second expansion" - another upgrader at Shell's sprawling Scotford
works - is now officially on the shelf.
"We will wait for costs to cool down before any new expansion decisions," van der Veer sniffed.
Now is the time for some catskinner logic and backhoe economics, which more often than not
beats what the brainiacs in the Calgary oil towers and red-suspender geniuses in the financial
houses were predicting until the stock, commodity and capital markets went into meltdown mode.
Certainly that's what Whitecourt MLA George VanderBurg was asking when he put the hot light
on Lloyd.
"Given that Shell is making these decisions on sound economic indicators and best interests to
it's shareholders," VanderBurg pestered, "can we expect the government to take the same
prudent steps?"
So is Snelgrove about to finally put his foot on the brake and admit that a $37-billion budget
monster might be a little hard to keep feeding? Nope, it's going to be pedal to the metal for the
Marwayne Trail's Big Unit.
"We have an obligation to continue to build," Snelgrove said. "There's a slight difference."
Vanderburg countered: "Wouldn't this not be a perfect time to just park a project?"
This got Snelgrove revved up even more.
"This may be an opportune time for us to build and probably get a better price."
The world's biggest company, which posted a surreal $14.8-billion profit in the third quarter, is
also thinking like Snelgrove. At least on the surface.
"Some of the other oilsands projects may be slowing down," Exxon Mobil vice-president David
Rosenthal told shareholders on his webcast last week.
"That could actually prove some benefit to us to lower costs."
So as it stands now, Exxon Mobil's huge Kearl mine and upgrader "looks like a robust project."
It also give Big Oil's biggest an excellent opportunity to whipsaw Ed Stelmach's struggling Energy
Minister Mel Knight in his failed attempts to get Exxon Mobil and the other Syncrude partners to
sign on to the new royalty framework.
Crisis opens way to reverse royalty take
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A10
Section: The Editorial Page
Byline: David Yager
Column: David Yager
Source: Calgary Herald
"Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think
well of oneself." Consider this 1927 quote by famous poet T.S. Elliot when judging the political
leaders of the world as they struggle to mitigate the impact of the stunning meltdown of the global
financial system.
No matter what any politician may have stood for in the past, today they're all eating humble pie.
Past policies and platforms are in the dustbin as governments attempt to stabilize the economy.
Trillions of dollars are being made available to rescue international capital markets. The level of
co-operation is unprecedented and all governments are using the same tools -- loosening credit
and injecting cash.
American free market Republicans have committed hundreds of billions to stimulative tax refunds,
loan guarantees, buying shares in banks, and purchasing questionable mortgages and debt
securities. Besides orchestrating global cooperation, France bought 30,000 unfinished residential
properties to stabilize house prices. Switzerland, Britain and Japan are supporting their banks.
Iceland, Ukraine, Hungary and Pakistan have turned to the International Monetary Fund to meet
international debt obligations. Russian-backed banks are bailing out selected humbled oligarchs.
Middle Eastern oil producing countries are funding banks, propping up their stock markets and
giving cash directly to citizens.
Canada is not immune. Only two weeks after winning an election on the soundness of the
Canadian economy, Ottawa is musing about a return to deficit spending as corporate taxes fall.
We're being assured that red ink will precede major spending cuts. Ontario has announced a
deficit. Auto parts and insurance companies are lobbying the feds for financial support. Pension
funds want looser regulations as the value of their retirees' future income shrinks.
What do world governments have in common in the face of this economic tsunami? Pouring cash
into the economy. No regrets, only how much, when and where. The gravity of the current mess
is so awful that there are no complaints from taxpayers or voters. The world's most fiscally
conservative politicians may be holding their noses, but they're still signing the cheques.
However, there remains one politician who is determined to extract more cash from the private
sector in 2009 -- Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. Stelmach intends to pass into law the New
Royalty Framework, estimated in 2007 to collect about $1.4 billion annually. This makes
Stelmach a political maverick, a renegade, a lone wolf. As world governments move together in
one direction, Ed's going the other way.
What's more astonishing is the government that plans to take the most should need it the least.
Alberta has huge budget surpluses and billions in capital reserves. Meanwhile, the wheels are
falling off Alberta's oil and gas industry because of collapsed commodity prices and tightened
credit. Oilsands projects and drilling programs are being cancelled or postponed. Drilling budgets
are being redirected from Alberta to areas offering higher returns. The only thing falling faster
than the value of our mutual funds is Alberta's natural gas production. This will jeopardize future
royalty income.
Why Premier Stelmach is so determined to raise royalties when the oil industry is so unequivocal
he should not, remains the subject of intense speculation. The pundits figure it's a test of political
manhood; big mandate versus big oil. But more commentators are wondering if this is such a
good idea right now.
In the oilpatch, the very generous say Stelmach is well-intentioned but doesn't understand how
the oil business works. The less generous figure he's stubborn and unwilling to admit he's wrong.
What the rest say is unprintable. One thing is certain -- nobody can remember when the premier
of Alberta and the province's major industry were so polarized.
What's not widely understood about the New Royalty Framework is that it has two components;
streamlined regulations and higher royalties. Alberta could easily pass the new regulatory
framework into law, but lower the royalty rates.
For our 500 employees across Alberta, I pray this happens. Now is the wrong time to extract
more cash from the oil industry. Alberta's private sector will do much better in 2009 if the
government adjusts its plans like everyone else in the world is being forced to do.
Opportunity knocks for Premier Stelmach. He may be the only winner from the global financial
disaster. The door is wide open to reverse his royalty increases with no political damage. All he
has to do is walk through it.
David Yager is a Calgary oil service executive. His column appears the first Sunday of every
month.
No means no
The Edmonton Sun
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: 15
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Byline: BY NEIL WAUGH
Column: Editorial
The pointy-headed politicians in the pointy-headed building downtown may have finally met their
match.
Step forward, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, and tell Edmonton's distracted Mayor Stephen
Mandel and his increasingly loony-left council how it is - especially when it comes to their logic-
defying decision to commit scarce taxpayer dollars to a world fair bid.
Mandel's plan for Expo 2017 remains one of city hall's most closely guarded secrets. And it
appears to be council's conscious decision to keep Edmonton's long-suffering property taxpayers
conveniently in the dark until this runaway train is so far down the track there's no stopping it.
At the same time, they'll come up with lame excuses why another double-digit tax hike is
unavoidable.
Ironically the $2.25 million council unanimously approved last week to prepare a bid for the 2017
fair - for which few if any Edmontonians are waiting breathlessly - could have gone a long way to
providing the 100 new cops and support personnel that police Chief Mike Boyd says he
desperately needs.
The bid is contingent on the province bucking up for half the money. And it's pretty clear that
"other levels of government" will be expected to pick up most of the fair's tab, which early
estimates place at over $4 billion.
Last week, Stelmach put his foot down.
"Not at this time," he told reporters. "Today our priorities are health, education and infrastructure."
Not goofy fair buildings that have a shelf life of only a few months and no practical use
afterwards.
"We have to be careful about making commitments further down the road," the premier said.
He did leave a crack in the door "if there's an improvement in our economy and some
predictability in the markets."
But for now, for Mandel and his fair folk, it's what part of "no" don't you understand?
Especially after yet another multi-billion-dollar upgrader project was put on hold by Royal Dutch
Shell last week.
It also seems rather strange that council went ahead with the bid before telling Edmontonians the
location of the fair, although it's transparently obvious it's the City Centre Airport lands.
Edmonton's historic airport remains a significant component in Alberta's transportation
infrastructure. It's future should be decided on much more thought and planning than a six-month
long, B-list world fair.
The new NHL arena that Mandel wants to build for Oilers owner (and Forbes magazine
billionaire) Daryl Katz also appears to be interwoven in city council's complex and secretive plot.
Stelmach should be commended for putting a stop to this nonsense, until Mandel and council
come clean with Edmonton taxpayers and explain exactly what they are doing with our money.
And why.
Time to get out the knife ; Conservative governments in Ottawa
and Alberta clinging to some liberal notions these days
The Calgary Sun
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: 21
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Byline: BY ROY CLANCY
Column: Editorial
You can't tell who's who these days without a program.
Last week, we heard Liberals preaching like fiscal conservatives. And Conservatives sounding
suspiciously like liberal apologists for profligate government spending.
Although the federal Conservatives promised "no deficit" during the election, Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty says his government is now "less certain" of a balanced budget and some economists
say the government will go into the red next year to the tune of $10 billion.
Former Liberal PM Paul Martin insists the Harper government must, under no circumstances, run
a deficit.
To his credit, during his years as finance minister, Martin managed to slay a $42-billion deficit,
even if critics say he did it on the backs of the provinces and municipalities.
Now Flaherty is suggesting it might be misguided to balance the books in the face of a financial
crisis because it might cause long-term damage to the economy.
How very liberal of him.
Closer to home, we have Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft flogging the Progressive
Conservatives for their free-spending ways. "The big cheque Tories are an embarrassment to
sensible spending," he said.
"They're spending funds like confetti for photo-ops."
Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove pooh-poohed Taft's view of the province's fiscal
fortunes as "gloomy."
Even though Snelgrove might be singing "Don't worry, be happy," the way the economy is
headed, it looks like provincial revenues could take a multi-billion-dollar hit from shrinking
corporate tax revenues and oil and gas royalties.
Fortunately, Canada is in better shape than most countries to weather the economic storm and
Alberta is cushioned by the fact it has no debt and is still on tap for a significant surplus.
But it's disturbing to hear Premier Ed Stelmach suggest his government might sacrifice savings if
it must "to protect the jobs and programs that we have."
We know Alberta has had challenges related to growth, but budgeted spending has grown 30% in
the last two years, far more than any government in the country. What happened to fiscal
conservatism?
The federal government also faces some difficult choices as a result of its GST cuts.
Its apparent willingness to go into deficit for the first time in a decade looks suspiciously like it isn't
willing to relinquish massive spending promises made to buy political support across the country
during the election.
Isn't the notion that massive government spending is needed to stimulate the economy the kind of
chatter usually heard on the other side of the House of Commons?
The role reversal is baffling.
In our fair city, no such confusion exists. Mayor Dave Bronconnier, a one-time federal Liberal
candidate, has never pretended to be anything but a tax-and-spender.
As city council begins budget deliberations, Calgarians are looking at a 22% tax hike over three
years, along with substantial hikes in utilities and user fees.
As their savings and home values erode, taxpayers are in no mood to sit back and watch council
heap a heavier tax burden on their backs.
Hostility to the city's lavish spending has been brought to a fever pitch by a plan to spend $25
million on an artsy footbridge over the Bow.
It's become a symbol for lavish spending that has drawn the ire of taxpayers.
As Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart points out, the city is reluctant to take anything off the table when it
come to funding its priorities, which appear endless.
Meanwhile, at the kitchen table and the boardroom table, it's a different story.
Families and businesses know in tough times, you adjust your spending and try to lay away some
savings in case of an emergency.
In this changing climate, political leaders at all three levels of government need to bite the bullet
and rein in the lavish spending to which they've become addicted.
Forget the liberal notion of new tax hikes. It's time to take a knife to budgets that have grown
bloated after years of prosperity.
Eco terrorist has 'local knowledge'
The Edmonton Sun
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: 10
Section: News
Byline: BY SUN MEDIA
Dateline: CALGARY
Public safety concerns are escalating following a third bomb blast that damaged a northern B.C.
pipeline network owned by Calgary-based energy giant EnCana Corp.
The latest explosions came closer to populated areas and the bombers may be local, RCMP Sgt.
Tim Shields said yesterday. Investigators are following numerous leads but they say the person
or persons responsible for the destructive bombing "have local knowledge" and may be from the
Dawson Creek area, he said.
If they're not locals, they must have spent a significant amount of time studying the area, he
added.
The explosion at a natural gas wellhead at a site 12 km northwest of Tomslake, near Dawson
Creek, was reported to police at around 12:30 p.m. Friday, more than 12 hours following the
blast.
"We understand that a number of people heard the blast when it occurred but did not call police
with the information." Shields said this often happens when people think somebody else will
inform authorities.
EnCana crews remained at the scene yesterday, trying to stop the flow from a gas leak.
Company spokesman Rhona DelFrari said the leak is small, and there is no dangerous hydrogen
sulphide leaking from the damaged area.
DelFrari said the company is required to have emergency plans in place for its wellsites.
"The plans tell us exactly when we have to alert the public if they could possibly be at risk," she
said.
"In none of these cases was there ever any indication that the public was at risk, or that we
actually needed to alert people, but we did it out of courtesy to some of the nearby residents."
The first blast took place Oct. 11 about 50 km east of Dawson Creek and left a two-metre crater,
but didn't rapture the steel gas line.
The second bomb was set off Oct. 16, also about 50 km east of Dawson Creek, and damaged a
section of a pipeline which caused a small sour gas leak.
Gas pipeline blasts 'evolving': expert; More than one person likely
responsible, security consultant says
The Edmonton Journal
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A3
Section: News
Byline: Jamie Hall
Dateline: EDMONTON
Source: The Edmonton Journal
They are technology novices, but they're passionate and they're getting smarter about where to
place their bombs.
That's the theory being put forward by a pipeline security consultant after a third explosion in less
than a month targeted EnCana's natural gas operations in Tomslake near the Alberta-British
Columbia border.
"This one caused a breach, so these guys are definitely getting better at their bomb placement,"
said Oliver Salvador, who has experience protecting pipelines overseas. "They're getting smarter,
and they're evolving as they go." Salvador is the executive director of CQB Group Inc., which,
among other things, provides security and risk assessment for the oil and gas industry.
He was commenting on the latest explosion, which was discovered by a contractor Friday around
noon about 12 kilometres northwest of Tomslake, near Dawson Creek, B.C.
The blast is believed to have occurred about 12 hours earlier, just before midnight Thursday.
Although many people have since reported hearing a loud noise that night, no one told police at
the time.
"This often happens when people think that somebody else will inform the authorities," Dawson
Creek RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields said.
"We of course would rather have duplicate calls to ensure that we are aware of any potential
situation." This latest explosion occurred at a wellhead, where the natural gas comes out of the
ground. The previous two were located at spots where the pipeline, which runs mostly
underground, comes above the surface at an intersection known as a "riser." EnCana
spokeswoman Rhona DelFrari said the targeted wellhead was "low volume" and has been
producing since the late 1990s.
She characterized the gas leak as "tiny," and the damage to the wellhead as a "dent." As of
Saturday afternoon, company engineers were still at the site working to stop the leak, which
DelFrari said could take as little as a few hours or as long as a couple of days.
In the meantime, the leak poses no danger to the public, she said.
Salvador believes a group, rather than a single individual, is responsible for the bombings.
Team effort "That would be a lot of work for one person; he'd have to do all the intel himself, all
the reconnaissance, the bomb-making, the bomb placement," said Salvador.
"It's always easier to accomplish multiple bombings in a team." He said whoever is responsible
clearly knows the region and isn't intimidated by the presence of added security in the area.
The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team had been in the region investigating
the previous bombings. On the night of the third blast, a security guard was stationed at the
entrance to the remote site.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the only access.
"This is a very remote area," said DelFrari. "There are fields and trees, so it's a challenge to
secure." Added Salvador: "Whoever they are, they've got a lot of drive and a lot of guts. They're
probably very emotionally involved." He said it's possible the attackers believe they are putting on
a "good show" in an effort to pressure EnCana, but genuinely do not want to cause human
casualties or environmental damage.
"It could be some local yokels who've been able to avoid the cops and do some damage and
who'll call it off as soon as they come close to getting caught," Salvador said.
But worrying to police is the pattern of the bombs themselves, which has seen the explosions
"come closer to populated areas," Shields said.
Investigators continue to follow numerous leads, but say they need the public's help in identifying
the person or people responsible.
Sold B&B Laurie Embree ran a bed and breakfast a few hundred yards from the site of the most
recent bombing until a year ago, when she sold it and moved to Dawson Creek.
She said while EnCana is a good corporate neighbour, the very nature of what the company does
has impacted the quality of life residents in the community cherish.
"If whoever is doing this is someone who has lived here all their lives, or farmed the land, or
trapped, or did anything that allowed them to delight in the solitude and pristine nature of this area
..." she said, then paused.
"Well, let's just say this oil thing has made a huge difference, and it's not always 100-per-cent
welcome." The first two bomb sites were found in October after an unsigned, handwritten letter
was sent to the Dawson Creek Daily News warning EnCana to close operations and leave the
Tomslake area by noon on Oct. 11.
"We will not negotiate with terrorists, which you are as you keep on endangering our families with
crazy expansion of deadly gas wells in our homelands," the letter stated.
The first blast site was found Oct. 12.
On Oct. 16, a second bomb was detonated under a pipeline, leaving a crater that caused a minor
leak that was quickly contained.
Ft. Chip residents, activists protest oilsands intrusion; Ft. Chip
residents, activists protest oilsands intrusion
The Edmonton Journal
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A15
Section: Cityplus
Byline: Clara Ho
Dateline: EDMONTON
Source: The Edmonton Journal
Mike Mercredi is ready to fight what he calls the "slow industrial genocide" that oil companies are
waging on the people in his hometown of Fort Chipewyan.
Last year there were over 20 deaths in the community of 1,200 people. Many were cancer-related
deaths, which Mercredi said are linked to the oilsands activities in nearby Fort McMurray.
"Let's put a lid on it and slow things down," he said. "The graveyard is getting full."
Mercredi was among the group of 200 activists who marched through downtown to the legislature
grounds Saturday afternoon demanding a halt to new approvals for oilsands projects.
As they walked down Jasper Avenue from the Crowne Plaza Hotel, they waved signs and large
banners with messages such as "Oil boom, planet doom" and "Crude is rude" while cars drove by
and honked in support.
The march was organized by the Council of Canadians who were in Edmonton hosting their
annual general meeting.
Supporting the aboriginal residents of Fort Chipewyan who have been impacted by oilsands
development were Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan, Friends of Medicare executive
director David Eggen and members of the local Raging Grannies activist group.
Duncan said the economic downturn provides an opportunity for the federal and provincial
governments "to bring people together, figure out a strategy, and figure out how we're going to
consider environment and human health."
Assembling on the steps of the legislature building, Maude Barlow, the United Nations' newly
appointed water adviser, said oilsands activities need to be slowed down for the sake of future
generations.
"This is not a sustainable future, this is a death future. This is a future that rapes from the planet
so that we can continue to live a certain lifestyle for a few more years and leave our children with
the legacy of a dying planet," she said.
Barlow clarified that she's not calling for to end all oilsands activity. Rather, she is rejecting the
approval of new projects while recommending a full, environmental assessment to find safer,
more sustainable ways of mining energy.
Barlow's message was the focus of this year's annual general meeting, which started Friday and
ends today.
One of Saturday's workshops, led by Council of Canadians energy campaigner Andrea Harden-
Donahue, Greenpeace oilsands campaigner Mike Hudema and Parkland Institute director Gordon
Laxer, examined the need for a Canadian energy strategy in the wake of peak oil and climate
change.
Laxer said he is advocating for a strategy that would supply Canadians first to develop a strong
environmental policy as well as "ensure that Canadians don't freeze in the dark in an international
supply crisis."
Harden-Donahue argued there would not be jobs lost in the slowing of oilsands activities, but
more green jobs available in the renewable resources industry. And Hudema urged workshop
attendees to consider the human impact of the oilsands on northern communities such as Fort
Chipewyan.
As for Mercredi, he said he would keep fighting to spread the message to slow oilsands
development. "When faced with death, you do whatever you can to survive. So I'm going to fight
to the end."
The shakeup at your local liquor store; Fifteen years after
privatization, how alcohol sales in Alberta have evolved and how it
affects you, the buyer
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A3
Section: News
Byline: Valerie Berenyi
Source: Calgary Herald
"The big fish are eating up the little fish."
That's John Dong's succinct assessment of how the industry is shaking out long after Alberta's
first private liquor outlet, a cold beer store in Innisfail, opened in October 1993.
Fifteen years ago, the provincial government uncorked a fundamental change in how Albertans
buy alcohol when it privatized all 304 of its Alberta Liquor Control Board stores.
On the anniversary, it's interesting to see how the industry -- now four times the size -- is evolving
and if those changes will affect consumers enjoying the province's competitive prices and the
largest selection of booze in Canada.
The intensely competitive industry is going through a process of consolidation -- eat or be eaten.
"We're being eaten up by chains," explained Dong, president of Royal Liquor Merchants in
Calgary. "These guys are coming after us and very aggressively buying us up." Ironically, Royal
Liquor Merchants is itself a small chain of four liquor stores, with a wine shop at Eau Claire
Market, two outlets downtown and another in the southwest neighbourhood of Haysboro.
Dong's modest empire took root in 1993, when the accountant and former controller in the City of
Calgary's finance department successfully bid on the ALCB outlet at 17th Avenue and 11th Street
S.W., a primo retail location.
His wasn't the first private liquor store in Calgary; that distinction goes to Stir Crazy, which
opened in November 1993 at Northland Village Shoppes, only to close about two years later.
Royal Liquor Merchants did $8 million in sales in its first year of business, and eventually Dong
grew his operation to eight stores before it shrank to four. Some were culled when their leases
expired, but the crown jewel, his high-volume Beltline store, was swallowed up in 2007 by a
bigger fish, Liquor Stores Income Fund.
"They gave me an offer I couldn't refuse," admitted Dong, adding what the fund really wanted was
to gulp down his whole operation.
The liquor store food chain When the Tory government changed the rules governing the sale of
liquor in 1993, it said it wanted to encourage free enterprise. Thirsty for opportunity, hundreds of
Albertans opened small private outlets. There are now 1,201 liquor retailers in the province.
But much like the mom-and-pop corner stores that got hammered by 7-Eleven and Mac's, which
in turn are being clobbered by supermarkets open 24/7, so too has gone the booze biz in Alberta,
said Greg Flanagan, a finance economist with the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute.
Take the Liquor Stores Income Fund, which bought Dong's store. It started with independents
Liquor Depot, opened in 1993, and Liquor World, launched a year later. The two merged in 2004
and established Canada's first liquor store income trust.
The Edmonton-based fund then went on a tear, buying up stores, other chains and in 2007 its
biggest acquisition, Liquor Barn Income Fund with its 81 stores.
With brands Liquor Depot, Liquor Barn, OK Liquor and Grapes 'n Grains under its belt, the fund is
now Canada's largest private retailer of liquor by number of stores, with 206 retail outlets in
Alberta, B.C. and Nova Scotia.
The fund went international in July, when it announced an agreement to acquire 19 Brown Jug
liquor stores in Alaska.
Irv Kipnes, chief executive of the Liquor Stores Income Fund, said his organization plans to
continue with its aggressive growth strategy and own up to 230 stores by year end.
The numbers confirm chains are taking a bigger bite out of the local market. According to a study
by Doug West, a professor of economics at the U of A who's been tracking privatization for 15
years, 25 per cent of private liquor stores in Calgary were chains in 1995; 10 years later, chains
comprised 52 per cent of the market.
Geoff Last, the Herald's wines and spirits columnist and a longtime wine merchant, said the retail
liquor industry can now be neatly divided into three types:- The small, general liquor stores,
usually family-run, duking it out for market share and trying to avoid being bought;- The specialty
"boutique" stores, staffed with well-trained employees, that have carved out a profitable niche
selling higher-end, often exclusive wines and spirits; and- The chain liquor stores and,
increasingly, chain supermarkets like The Real Canadian Superstore, Costco and Calgary Co-op
with their handy stand-alone liquor stores nearby.
Last is concerned most about the little guys.
"They're forced to go up against the Co-ops and the Liquor Depots of the world. Basically, they've
bought themselves a job, but can they survive?" Laura Wright, executive director of the Alberta
Liquor Store Association, an industry organization, believes they can, pointing out that of the
1,201 retail outlets in the province, about 800 remain single store operators.
"Small operators are community based," Wright said. "Their business tends to recoup itself after a
big box store opens." Consumers at top of the food chain Unless they work or invest in the
business, how much does the shake up at their local liquor store affect average Calgarians? West
wrote a comprehensive report for the Fraser Institute in 2003, 10 years after privatization, in
which he concluded that while alcohol prices and government revenues had remained flat,
customers could raise a glass to more choice and better hours.
Since then, he's crunched more numbers, finding there were 18,000 Albertans per liquor store in
1993 versus 4,000 of us for every liquor store in 2005.
"It wasn't a pleasant experience," said West, describing long lineups out the door and down the
block in advance of Christmas and long weekends before privatization.
In 1993, Albertans could choose from 3,325 alcoholic beverages; now they can pick from 15,433
products, according to figures from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
Albertans are "spoiled consumers," said Last. "We have an absurd amount of product to choose
from, considering our population base." Of course, not all of those products are available at all
stores, and prices vary wildly, making savvy shopping a must.
Before privatization, government stores offered a broad range of products at a fixed price, said
Flanagan. "Now you have to be a better consumer to get the best price." He predicts continued
amalgamation of outlets into chains and believes fewer players controlling more of the market
may result in rising prices.
That could happen, said West, but he added that growing chains might be able to realize
efficiencies, thereby offsetting price increases.
"Unfortunately, we do not have any evidence at the moment on the direction that prices might
move with the growth of chains in retail liquor store markets," West said.
Or like much of the high-low mentality that already pervades our shopping habits -- we'll pick up
socks at a big box store, buy jeans at a chain store and treat ourselves to a unique item at a
boutique -- the same may hold true for our liquor purchases. We'll load up on the sales at a chain,
dash out for a bottle or two from the corner liquor store and splash out with a carefully chosen
selection from a specialty store.
---
Then
- Number of liquor stores in Alberta in Sept. 1993: 304 retail outlets (202 Alberta Liquor Control
Board stores, 30 beer stores, 23 wine stores and 49 agency stores)
- Number of ALCB stores in Calgary: 25, plus one Big Rock beer store
- Number of ALCB full and part-time employees before privatization: 1,300
- Number of liquor products available to Albertans: 3,325
- Oct. 21, 1993: Alberta's first private liquor store opens in Innisfail
- Nov. 22, 1993: Calgary's first private liquor store opens
- Liquor sales for 1993: $1 billion
- Government revenue: $424 million
Now
- Number of private liquor stores in Alberta as of August 2008: 1,201 (1,110 retail liquor stores; 90
general merchandise liquor stores in rural locations)
- Number of licensed retail outlets in Calgary: 275
- Number of full and part-time employees working in retail liquor outlets in Alberta as of July 2008:
4,000
- Number of liquor products available to Albertans: 15,433
- Liquor sales (fiscal year 2007-08): $1.96 billion
- Government revenue: $660 million
Source: Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
More foster parents not the best solution
The Edmonton Journal
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A19
Section: Letters
Byline: Dr. David McConnell
Source: The Edmonton Journal
In high-income countries the world over, child welfare authorities seem to face many of the same
intractable problems. Recent media reports of children being looked after in hotel rooms, for want
of appropriate alternative care options, are all too familiar.
The proposed solution always seems to be the recruitment and training of more foster caregivers.
This is, at best, only a partial solution.
There are two sides to the equation: supply and demand. We need to increase the supply of
foster caregivers to meet the demand for out-of-home care. At the same time however, we must
work on reducing or at least slowing the demand. There are at least two ways we can do this.
One is prevention: supporting vulnerable families and averting the need for child removal. Two is
ensuring that children are not needlessly taken from their families.
The portrayal in the media of extreme cases of child maltreatment, and official statistics showing
an exponential increase in child maltreatment reports, have created the impression there are
scores of children needing to be rescued from cruel and uncaring parents.
The reality is that most child-protection cases do not feature battered babies or sexually abused
children, and evidence of wilful maltreatment, if present, is rarely clear or compelling.
Typically, child-protection cases involve parents who are struggling -- under pressure and with
limited resources and support -- with the challenging task of parenting.
I have had the opportunity to review child welfare investigations and court cases in Australia,
England, and now Canada. I have found that most cases involve children and families living on
the fringe. They are families contending with poverty, disability and/or poor health, crowded
and/or unsafe housing and neighbourhood conditions, and debilitating social isolation. They are
families in need of support.
Child-protection authorities will insist that taking children away from their parents and families is a
last resort to protect them from harm. Within the constraints of the existing system and resources,
that may be so.
There are, however a number of reasons why alternatives to child removal may not always be
fully explored. One reason is summed up by the saying, "people with hammers look for nails."
Our child welfare authorities receive countless reports of suspected child maltreatment each year.
When these are investigated, the professionals involved are, naturally, looking for children at risk.
That is, they are looking for children at risk rather than families in need of support and, naturally,
they find what they are looking for. Of course these categories are not mutually exclusive.
The point is that the perspective we take and the way we have been trained to think about "the
problem" determines what we decide to do about it (i.e., provide support and/or remove the child).
Another reason is that child-protection authorities have become risk averse. Child-protection work
is an extremely challenging and thankless task. On a daily basis, child-protection professionals
have to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. They are expected to predict the future
(e.g. what will happen if we do not remove this child?) and there is precious little in the way of
good science or technology to guide them. Notwithstanding, when the unforeseen and
unforeseeable tragedy occurs, the child-protection authority is readily criticized in the media.
(Historically, child-protection authorities have been criticized for removing too many and not
removing enough children; they are damned if they do, damned if they don't.) Reacting to such
public criticism, child- and youth-protection professionals may be more inclined to apply the rule
of thumb, "when in doubt, remove the child."
A third reason why alternatives to child removal may not be fully explored is that many child- and
youth-protection professionals are, by their own admission, ill-equipped to work with many of the
parents and families they encounter. They do the best they can with the skills they have.
But many lack the knowledge, skills and resources they need to effectively engage, assess, and
assist parents, particularly those with learning difficulties and/or complex mental health issues.
These parents are often wary or fearful of agencies and, consequently, skilful mediation may be
needed to gain parent trust and co-operation, but mediation services are either unavailable or
rarely used. Even if mediation is available and effective, support options are usually limited: Few
support services can accommodate the particular support and learning needs of these vulnerable
parents and families.
Notably, the limited supply of foster caregivers helps to keep the inclination toward child removal
in check.
Under these circumstances, workers have little choice but to explore alternatives. This, however,
is not a good reason to limit the supply of foster caregivers: If we cannot offer families the support
they need, we may end up leaving children in vulnerable situations.
We have to focus on reducing demand. A whole-of-government approach is needed to address
the adversity and social deprivation that underlies child maltreatment. Child- and youth-protection
workers have to be appropriately trained. And appropriate alternatives to foster care -- that is,
properly resourced family support options -- have to be created or expanded. The current focus
on increasing the supply of fosters caregivers is understandable, but it is not a sufficient or
sustainable solution.
Dr. David McConnell, associate professor, department of occupational therapy, University of
Alberta
Oilsands the poster child of bad oil; Has the mythology overtaken
the truth?
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: B1 / FRONT
Section: City & Observer
Byline: Kelly Cryderman
Source: Calgary Herald
When choosing a project, director Leslie Iwerks looks for stories of underdogs.
The Santa Monica filmmaker's last documentary, Recycled Life, focused on Guatemala City
residents who spend their days rummaging through a toxic, 14-hectare dump to find food and
materials. Narrated by actor Edward James Olmos, the film about the poorest of the poor eking
out a living was nominated last year for an Academy Award.
This year, Iwerks -- the granddaughter of legendary animator Ub Iwerks, who first drew Mickey
Mouse for Walt Disney -- is tackling another issue she considers just as worrisome.
"It's around Fort Chip, and it's around the oilsands in general. It's about the issues back and forth
and the unanswered questions," Iwerks said.
Titled Downstream, the short film focuses on the struggles of John O'Connor, the doctor who
raised the alarm about what he believes to be unusually high rates of rare cancers in the Fort
Chipewyan region. First Nations leaders believe pollution from the oilsands may be behind what
O'Connor calls the "clusters" of illness.
The Alberta government has said so far there is no evidence to support higher cancer rates, but
more studies are being done.
"It's the underclass. They are the people who aren't being heard and their issues are not being
addressed," Iwerks said of Fort Chipewyan residents.
"I just felt like it was important to bring to light this subject in America," she said. "Where are we
getting our oil to feed our insatiable desire?"
In the past, few outside investment circles or Alberta's oil and gas industry paid attention to the
oilsands. But now the oilsands account for more than half of Canada's total oil production. The
last two years have seen an explosion in interest around the world in the massive developments,
and their resulting health and environmental concerns.
The term "dirty oil" has now become common.
The outside scrutiny is changing the way Albertans and the provincial government view the
oilsands development, which has accounted for much of the staggering wealth and unending
supply of jobs.
Iwerks' documentary -- which has been shortlisted as a potential Oscar nominee and is headed
for wide distribution -- could bring untold new attention to the concerns of O'Connor and the
residents of Fort Chipewyan.
It is just one in a host of films that have been produced or will be produced about environment
fears and the oilsands, with titles that include Toxic Alberta, H2Oil, The Tarsands: The Selling of
Alberta and Connecting the Drops. There was even a made-for-TV movie called Burn Up, which
focused on the shadowy dealings of a fictional oil company with a stake in the oilsands.
The Canadian star of the production, Neve Campbell, visited the oilsands last month, after which
she said she was "horrified by the pace and scale of development in the tarsands, and the weak
response by our federal and provincial governments."
Andrew Weaver, a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the United Nation's
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's massive final report, said it's clear "the oilsands
have become the poster child of bad oil."
"It's not only the (greenhouse gas) emissions, it's also the use of water -- the exploitation of
enormous quantities of river and ground water. And then the horrible, toxic sludge that's left over
in these ponds. It's like a full-circle environmental problem. And that's why it's being targeted,"
said Weaver, a University of Victoria climatologist.
How things have changed. Two years ago the Herald wrote about an Alberta producer, writer and
crew that came up with the concept for an oilsands documentary called Pay Dirt. They
approached TV networks CTV and CBC.
Both networks passed on the idea in 2005, saying it was too regional.
But when 60 Minutes decided to do a 20-minute piece on Alberta's oilsands in December 2005, it
consulted with the Pay Dirt producers and used the documentary for research purposes. That
prompted a turnaround at CBC.
American, British, German and Australian journalists are now making the trek to Fort McMurray to
write not only about the jobs and the town flush with cash, but also the toll on human health,
wildlife and water. Across Canada, the oilsands have become a lightning rod for the movement to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Just one in a parade of environmental groups, Greenpeace assigned a full-time oilsands
campaigner in the summer of 2007 and created a mock Travel Alberta website that beckoned for
tourists to come to Alberta's "open pit paradise." Last week, Maude Barlow took a tour of the
oilsands. The longtime anti-globalization activist and newly appointed water adviser to the UN told
reporters the oilsands resemble Mordor, the dark, blasted landscape of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of
the Rings books.
But not everyone agrees the attention the oilsands receives is totally warranted.
The mythology of the oilsands has overtaken the truth, said David Keith, a climate change
specialist who spends much of his time working on CO2 capture and storage at the University of
Calgary.
"I'm not saying it's good and we don't need to do anything about it," Keith said.
"But I think it's fair to say that the attention is out of proportion for its actual environmental impact.
It shouldn't be the be-all and end-all of Canadian environmental policy," he said.
"It makes it harder to make sensible decisions."
For instance, Alberta's coal-fired power plants produce more greenhouse gas emissions than the
oilsands, and Keith says urban sprawl is more of a concern when it comes to land issues.
Some critics, however, such as writer and activist Andrew Nikiforuk, believe the oilsands still
aren't getting enough attention. With about $180 billion in planned oilsands investment, he said
it's unbelievable major Canadian media outlets don't staff permanent bureaus in Fort McMurray.
"It's not a Canadian or Alberta story now. It's a global story," said Nikiforuk, who recently released
Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.
World focus on the environmental impacts may have begun when former U.S. vice-president Al
Gore famously criticized the oilsands in Rolling Stone magazine.
"For every barrel of oil they extract there, they have to use enough natural gas to heat a family's
home for four days," Gore told the magazine in 2006 as he promoted his documentary An
Inconvenient Truth.
"But you know, junkies find veins in their toes. It seems reasonable to them because they've lost
sight of the rest of their lives."
In the two years since then, media outlets have paid more attention to concerns about emissions
and water quality in Fort Chipewyan.
Last April brought the spectacle of 500 ducks drowning in a Syncrude tailings pond, which made
national and international news.
There is no indication media attention will abate anytime soon. Simon Dyer, who focuses on the
oilsands for the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, said he spends at least an hour a
day responding to media calls. It's quite a difference from the mid-1990s, when the institute was
appearing alone at oilsands' project hearings.
"There's no other part of our economy that is talking about tripling its greenhouse gas emissions,"
Dyer said. "Politicians are looking with one eye to protect the oilsands and, as a result of that,
holding back climate policy across Canada."
The Alberta government is guilty of that, as well, said the leader of a First Nations group in Fort
Chipewyan.
"The Alberta government has to change its policy in regards to development in the area," said
Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan. "With no regulatory processes in place to protect
the environment, everything is going to be lost and forgotten. We're going to end up with a big
mess."
The international attention, he added, "is helping to a degree. It's helping to raise awareness."
But with the attention also comes confusion and even myth-making about the oilsands.
Some reports have said the oilsands cover an area the size of Florida, even though the actual
work is taking place on just a small percentage of that.
If you type "Alberta," "oilsands" and "documentary" into Google, the first hit you get is Toxic
Alberta from director Spike Jonze's edgy online station, VBS.TV. At one point in the documentary,
director and host Eddy Moretti states Fort McMurray is responsible for two-thirds of Canada's
greenhouse gas emissions. In an interview last week, Moretti acknowledged he got that wrong.
Still, the oilsands aren't pretty on camera, and extracting oilsands oil produces significantly more
emissions than conventional processes. While the oilsands development accounts for five per
cent of Canada's emissions now, it is predicted to account for eight per cent of the country's
emissions in 2015.
"The amount of carbon emissions, they're not so high right now," said Shannon Walsh, the
Montreal-based director and writer of H2Oil.
"But it's the projected increase over the next number of years . . . at a moment when all of us are
realizing the impacts of global warming."
The Alberta government's concern about its reputation being trashed has resulted in a number of
initiatives, including ministerial visits around the globe and promotion of what officials described in
a recent press release as "Alberta's efforts to balance environmental protection with development
in the oil sands."
The major ticket item from the province has been $2 billion targeted at projects to capture and
store industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
The government has also launched a $25-million, three-year campaign to boost the province's
"brand" -- a move that came after particularly heavy criticism of the oilsands' environmental toll
this year and last. The government is now holding focus groups with Albertans and other
Canadians to determine how the province is perceived.
Roxanna Benoit, managing director of the Public Affairs Bureau, said oilsands are just one of
many issues being looked at. But in part, the campaign will highlight the wealth that has come out
of the oilsands, along with the industriousness and ingenuity it took to get the bitumen out of the
ground.
"When people are paying attention to what we're doing here we've got to be in a position to tell
them our story," Benoit said. "If we don't tell them our story, others will."
Industry is responding too. In June, oilsands producers launched an educational and discussion
website.
David Pryce of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it's important for his
members that "the correct information and the balanced information gets out."
Emissions from the oilsands will grow, he said. But the industry is taking steps to balance
environmental concerns with development and hopes it will defy predictions of a three-fold
increase in emissions.
Media coverage and the work of environment groups has had some influence, Pryce added. "It
requires the industry to think about different things," he said. "We cannot work in isolation
anymore."
But with the current financial crisis -- and future growth of some oilsands projects less certain
than when oil was inching towards $150 a barrel -- many wonder whether the environmental
debate will continue as ferociously.
The Vancouver-based Ethical Funds Company's 20-page report on the oilsands last month raises
many environmental and social concerns, but adds that recession in the United States means a
pause in development is likely. "This gloomy scenario presents an opportunity to put things right,"
the report said.
Peter Sandman, a $650-an hour "crisis communication" consultant who has worked for Alberta oil
and gas companies and the provincial government, said this period is the perfect backdrop to be
forthright about environmental challenges.
"The ideal time for any company or any industry to be candid, and open, and essentially come out
of the closet about the problems of that industry, is when the economy is down," Sandman said
from his New Jersey office.
"People are less inclined to be punitive and more inclined to be forgiving, and more inclined to
sort of look out for their rational self-interest," he said.
"When times are really good, people exaggerate small problems. When times are really bad,
people may ignore big problems. Somewhere in the middle is where people are being most
reasonable about problems."
The word on 'dirty 'oil; ; Authors take critical look at oilsands;
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: C1
Section: Books & Arts
Byline: Eric Volmers
Source: Calgary Herald
Andrew Nikiforuk may feel let down by the various vanguards of Canada's establishment -- our
government, our media, our industry.
But the journalist and author acknowledges Canada can be a relatively benign place to operate if
you're a pot-stirring writer looking to topple apple carts and criticize what has been, up until
recently, a bit of a sacred cow in his home province.
"I would expect in Russia or Nigeria, someone like me would just disappear," says Nikiforuk.
"Thank God I live in Alberta. Where they just send letters to the editor."
It's a sly reference to a recent letter drawn up by the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the
provincial regulator of the oil and gas industry that gets raked over the coals in Nikiforuk's latest
book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.
The board fired off a letter-to-the-editor to the Calgary Herald before the newspaper had printed
anything about the book, pointing out what it sees as errors.
Nikiforuk, who offers a rebuttal on his website, makes no apologies for ruffling feathers. In fact, he
seems at least a little pleased that the ERCB - tar Sands: dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent
by andrew nikiforuk (douglas&McIntyre, 208 pages $20) - the tyranny of Oil: the world's Most
Powerful Industry-- and what we Must do to Stop It byantonia Juhasz(Harper Collins Canada, 480
pages, $26.99)
has opted to participate in the debate at all. Tar Sands paints an unflattering picture of oilsands
development as a poorly-planned, badly-regulated free-for-all to frantically liquidate northern
Alberta's precious bituminous sands and feed "irrational global demands."
The result, he says, is a $200-billion behemoth that has swallowed the province's economy and
identity, altered the nation's foreign policy and inflicted still-unknown damage to Alberta's
environment. Yet, he claims, it has received scant attention over the years. If such a project were
active in the U. S., Fort McMurray would have long ago been populated with newspaper bureaus
of the L. A. Times, New York Times and Washington Post, he says.
"We are just catching up with a nation-changing event with continental and global implications,"
Nikiforuk, 53, says. "This is the world's largest energy project, which is in our own back yard and
has so demonstratively changed Alberta. . . . The media has failed to really tackle this story. This
is a story that is just as dramatic as the Klondike, only 100 times better."
If oilsands development remains under-reported by the mainstream media, as Nikiforuk believes,
it has become a lightning rod for certain areas of the political spectrum, in entertainment-as-
activism. Documentary films such as To the Tarsands and Downstream have tackled the
controversy, with the latter even being shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination. The recent
miniseries Burn Up--while fictional and rather conspiratorial in nature--paints oilsands
development in Alberta as a less-than-noble pursuit.
Even Canuck-turned-Hollywood-starlet Neve Campbell has weighed in, voicing her disapproval of
the development after flying over it in a helicopter.
But unlike artists who work in those mediums, authors attempting to write the quintessential last
word on the topic face the specific challenge of painting the big picture, in all its dauntingly
complex glory. Authors like Nikiforuk need to wrap an enormous amount of scientific, geopolitical,
economic and social data into something the average reader will enjoy, or in the very least
understand. It's not an easy task, he says.
"There is so much information, and a lot of it is not readily available to the public," says Nikiforuk.
"I interviewed 100 people in Fort McMurray alone to try and get a sense of where everyone is
coming from. The book doesn't capture everything because it is so damn large. I did two years of
basic reporting just to begin to understand how big this thing was and what a true, nation-
changing development it is."
Few authors wading into the subject have much positive to say about the oilsands. There's little
discussion of green initiatives in the region, for example, or the financial benefits of the industry.
Montreal Gazette reporter William Mardsen was among the first authors to shine a critical light at
Alberta's oil industry for a mainstream audience. Last year's bluntly titled Stupid to the Last Drop:
How Alberta is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn't Seem to Care) was
an unabashed polemic, intent on shattering any comfort the average citizen may have taken in
the assumption that Alberta knows what it's doing when it came to managing resources (it's
original title: Albertans are Stupid). Tony Clarke's up-coming book, Tarsands Showdown, follows
a similar path but also delves into its geopolitical implications of how the oilsands will change
Canada's reputation and footing in the world. U. S. writer Antonia Juhasz's The Tyranny of Oil:
The World's Most Powerful Industry -and What We Must Do to Stop It, takes on Big Oil in
general, but reserves a good deal of space to bemoan oilsands development in Alberta. Dr.
Andrew Weaver, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and expert on climate change, touches on the
issue in his new book Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World.
"I don't like to pick on the tarsands, it's one part of a much bigger issue," says Weaver, who will
be speaking in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge later this month. "But what the tarsands
captures is the end-to-end environmental degradation. The wildlife activists can attack it because
of its specific impact on wildlife; the water conservation types can attack it because of the amount
of water it uses; the natural habitat types go after it because of its impact on existing habitat and
on and on. It has become like the spotted owl in the U.S. It's an icon, it epitomizes the whole
spectrum--the very worst aspects of humans interacting with the environment."
Such drama, the authors hope, will help the debate bubble up from the underground realm of
activists and scientists to the public at large, preferably a public beyond Alberta.
But as a writer, how do you ensure the average reader doesn't nod off as you passionately rail
against lax regulations, geopolitical shifts and the law of petropolitics?
"It's a challenge and different people have approached it different ways." says author Tony
Clarke, who is executive director and co-founder of the Polaris Institute in Ottawa. "I have come
at it from the standpoint, that while there's certainly economic and social impacts, there is a larger
impact from a geopolitical framework. You have to get Canadians to realize how important this
mega-project is and how it could become the centrepiece of the economy for the first half of the
21st century. We need to push Canadians to look at the deeper implications of this and how it
relates to who we are as people."
Nikiforuk says he took pains to ensure his book went beyond preaching to the converted.
Tarsands begins with a bluntly worded 22-point "declaration of a political emergency" and ends
with a 12-step plan to regain "energy sanity," which includes action the general reader can take.
In between, Nikiforuk writes not only about environmental and political concerns, but takes the
reader into the frenzied boom of Fort McMurray and along the so-called "highway to hell" that
leads to it. He tells the story of Fort McMurray physician Dr. John O'Connor, who Nikiforuk says
faced severe "political persecution"when he went public about an increase of cancer cases in Fort
Chipewyan, downstream from oilsand projects. He tells these tales with old-fashioned good
writing, whether it be describing the yearly level of carbon dioxide emitted from tarsands projects
as enough to "fill one million two-storey, three-bedroom homes and suffocate every occupant" or
the provincial and federal governments as "joyous peanut hawkers who can't believe the size of
the crowd" in Alberta's "global energy playground."
In its three-page letter, the Energy Resources Conservation Board has claimed Nikiforuk's
reporting to be either inaccurate or incomplete on issues relating directly to the board's duties as
provincial regulator. But Nikiforuk stands by his reporting and his reasons for tackling the oilsands
in the first place.
"I try to choose subjects that will make some difference to my children," Nikiforuk says. "I have
three boys in Calgary. This project has tremendous implications for young people in the province.
If we can get it under control and manage it's financial and political impact properly and reduce its
environmental footprint, then maybe we can use this project to make Alberta the greenest
province in Canada and Canada the greenest country in the world."
Pipeline bombers' skill rising
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A1 / FRONT
Section: News
Source: Calgary Herald
The third bomb attack on a remote EnCana pipeline, in the midst of heightened security, shows
the culprits are not only brazen but are getting smarter about how to cause damage, a security
consultant said.
Meanwhile, EnCana said the pipeline near the Alberta border could take days to repair.
More teens live on streets; Overburdened social agencies being
forced to turn away youth
The Calgary Herald
Sun 02 Nov 2008
Page: A1 / FRONT
Section: News
Byline: Colette Derworiz
Source: Calgary Herald; With files from the Edmonton Journal
A greater number of young Calgarians -- including teens under the age of 16 -- are seeking help
at the city's youth homeless shelters, according to local agencies.
And many of those youngsters have higher needs than ever, with some abandoning the child
welfare system and others fighting drug or alcohol addictions.
The city's homeless count last May showed there were 154 homeless youths between the ages
of 13 and 17 -- up from 56 counted six years earlier. There were another 327 homeless people
between ages 18 to 24.
One of the shelters, Avenue 15, which caters to 12- to 19-year-olds, served 838 different clients
between July 2007 to June 2008.
"We're certainly seeing more kids and we're turning more kids away," said Ronni Abraham,
director of services for the Boys and Girls Club, which runs Avenue 15.
Some of the increase is attributed to the growth of the city, with a rising number of youths running
away from homes experiencing tough economic times. There are also concerns, however, more
children in the child welfare system are abandoning their group homes or foster homes for the
streets and shelters, where there are fewer rules than the home in which they've been placed.
One young woman, who was living on the streets until six months ago, said she has been
homeless several times since she left the child welfare system at age 13.
"I grew up in the system, I grew up on the streets," said Liz, which is not her real name. "It sucks.
There's no stability.
"You don't get a lot of resources on the street." Liz, now 24, said she has noticed a growing
number of youths between the ages of 14 and 18 who are living on the streets -- and support
tends to dry up once you turn 18.
Another 17-year-old homeless girl in Edmonton, who also can't be named because she is a
former foster child, said "it's rough" living on the streets and sleeping at shelters surrounded by
crackheads and people who make her uncomfortable.
But she welcomed the attention on child welfare issues in recent weeks, suggesting it could get
help for the children who need it most.
The spotlight on children in care came to a head recently when NDP MLA Rachel Notley revealed
quarterly reports written by the province's child and youth advocate's office that raised several
instances of children being left in risky situations because there was nowhere else for them to go.
In Calgary, there weren't as many concerns raised about children being placed in inappropriate
settings.
But the issue of children leaving foster care and staying in homeless shelters was noted in a
quarterly report written by the office of the child and youth advocate in the Calgary area in
January 2007.
"We fear that youth may be abandoning the system to live in higher risk living environments, i.e.
adult shelters, the street, or with adults that will compromise youth's safety," the report said.
John Mould, Alberta's child and youth advocate, said they are aware there are some placement
issues with children in care -- including some ending up in homeless shelters.
"Those issues have been identified," he said, noting they don't know all the reasons children are
leaving the system.
Mould said, however, they are working to ensure children are placed in appropriate homes by
dealing with problems when they arise and trying to recruit more foster parents across the
province to ensure enough beds.
According to statistics from the Calgary and region child services office, there are currently 2,123
children in foster care. Of those, 1,028 are located in private foster homes and 135 are housed in
group homes. Others stay with family and friends.
Unlike in Edmonton, children in Calgary are not being put up in hotels as a result of a shortage of
beds, said Trevor Coulombe, a spokesman for Children and Youth Services.
Still, he said they could always use more beds, noting they are aware some older children in care
are abandoning the system for youth shelters.
"It happens, for sure," he said.
Statistics provided by the Calgary Homeless Foundation suggest there was a total of 71 children
who went to youth shelters from the child welfare system last year.
The province and the agencies working with youth both said those youth are arriving at shelters
on their own.
"For the most part, they have troubles and they are kids who in some instances have had multiple
placements and chose not to stay in those placements," said Madelyn McDonald, an associate
director of Wood's Homes Exit Youth Shelter, which houses about 15 youth a night. "So they end
up or make their way to the shelters." The Boys and Girls Club sees similar cases at Avenue 15 --
and notes it's not the best way to deal with youth who have been in the child welfare system.
"No one would argue that a shelter is a placement," said Abraham, "but it is an essential aspect
of the service.
"Youth have choices and sometimes it's the only choice youth are willing to make." Tim Richter,
president and chief executive of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, said it is a positive
development that youth have overnight accommodation and programs offered by the various
shelters catering to young people.
"They do their best to help these kids," he said. "You worry that they are there for an evening, but
then what happens to them?"
Manitoba reviewing legislation, commissioning study to look at
student truancy
The Canadian Press
Sat 01 Nov 2008
Section: National General News
Byline: BY CHINTA PUXLEY
WINNIPEG _ Manitoba is commissioning a study on school truancy amid warnings that poverty
and the growing influence of gangs are keeping kids out of school.
The province's NDP government wants someone to examine every aspect of truancy in Manitoba
_ from suspension and expulsion to absenteeism and dropping out.
Although the education department is asking for ways to improve school attendance, a copy of
the public tender obtained by The Canadian Press warns that ``funding should not play a major
element in these recommendations.''
Joanna Blais, director of programs and student services with the province's Education
Department, says the province wants to get a handle on how the number of kids not attending
school and explore ideas to keep them in school longer without additional funding.
``When students leave school early, they often leave without all of the literacy and numeracy
skills that we would hope kids would have,'' she said. ``It certainly closes doors for them . . . it
changes the life pattern when kids leave school early.''
In a 2003 study, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found Canada
had the fifth worst truancy rate among 27 developed countries. The study found 26 per cent of
16-year-old students in Canada were absent six or more days per school year.
Canada's territories had the highest school-absence rates hovering above 60 per cent, while
Ontario had the lowest at 44 per cent. In Manitoba, just over half its students were absent six or
more days.
The provincial government is particularly interested in why students are skipping school or
dropping out entirely, Blais said. She couldn't say how much the province has budgeted for the
study, which will also include a review of current legislation and successful intervention programs
across Manitoba.
Experts say the focus on student absenteeism couldn't have come at a better time. With the
floundering economy pushing more people into poverty and gangs becoming increasingly
influential, truancy is a growing concern.
In Winnipeg, the province's largest school board had about three per cent of the student body _
more than 1,000 kids _ with unexplained absences on their record last school year.
This year, the board set up an attendance hotline and e-mail address for people to report truant
kids. It also pays about $150,000 for two full-time truancy officers to track down missing students
and persuade them to return to school.
Dushant Persauld, superintendent of schools for the Winnipeg board, says truancy is more of a
problem in poor areas where families are constantly on the move, looking for cheaper housing or
better jobs. With the economic downturn driving more families to the brink of poverty, Persauld
says truancy rates will likely rise.
Kids who aren't in school are more likely to fall in with the wrong crowd and get into trouble, he
added.
``It's a concern for all of us. We don't want any kid to miss school for any length of time.''
Bill Rumley has been chasing after kids for 25 years as a truancy officer whose private business
is employed by four Manitoba school boards. He says the influence of gangs is becoming more of
a problem.
``Sometimes it's desire to belong (to a gang). Sometimes you are intimidated and pushed into it,''
he said. ``If it was my child out there, not attending school . . . I would hope someone would come
to bat for me and help me. The problem is as big as it gets when it's your child.''
Parents whose kids miss school in Manitoba risk being taken to court and fined up to $500 for
each of their children who are out of school.
In Alberta, an attendance board has the same power as a provincial court and can fine parents up
to $1,000 for truancy.
Ontario recently raised its drop-out age to 18 and students who drop out earlier can run the risk of
losing their driving privileges. Students and parents can face fines of up to $1,000 while
employers can also be penalized for hiring a student during school hours.


November 3 Clippings

Historic American decision capturing Alberta attention; New U.S. policy could impact
local economy ................................................................................................................................................... 3

Getting the word out about falls; Up to 90 per cent of tumbles are preventable............................ 5

Seniors' falls cost millions............................................................................................................................... 7

Team called in to probe Taser use; Witness says man acted oddly before arrest ........................... 8

Vote swapping puts our electoral process at risk; Practice deserves scrutiny and
skepticism ........................................................................................................................................................ 10

Taser probed at mental-health conference.............................................................................................. 12

Albertans back spending cuts ...................................................................................................................... 13

Beyond band councils ................................................................................................................................... 15

Ontario girds for funding fight with Ottawa; Duncan skeptical of Flaherty's pledge...................... 16

Hiring still strong in pockets of Canadian job market; Even as manufacturing takes a
beating, demand for professionals persists .............................................................................................. 18

Emergency-room nightmares spur calls for action; With conditions in Canada's hospitals
comparable to a Third World country, according to one specialist, doctors on the front
lines suggest ways to keep ER departments from turning into dumping grounds .......................... 20

Long-term care crisis forces bed shuffle; Nursing homes make room for assisted living ............. 22

Investigators to probe Calgary Taser incident; Man agitated, not following orders: police ......... 24

More teaching, less money .......................................................................................................................... 25

Pipeline bombers getting smarter: expert ................................................................................................ 27

Pepsico buys sunflower seed king; Distribution; Snack food giant to put brand on lips
worldwide ........................................................................................................................................................ 28

Family approach to clients and staff ........................................................................................................... 29
Job reports expected to show big losses; Analysts see sharp reversal in employment
growth .............................................................................................................................................................. 31

Job market in reverse gear; Gloomy data expected for October ...................................................... 32

Justice initiatives will boost system ............................................................................................................ 33

$80 million Saskatchewan land settlement goes to 3 native bands; 'We have to do it
right,' chief says on investing money to benefit recipients ................................................................... 34

Some relief at the pumps ............................................................................................................................. 35

Citizens urged to turn in bombing suspects ............................................................................................ 36

Canada might join security project ............................................................................................................ 37

Provinces meet over ailing economy ......................................................................................................... 38

Zapped man hospitalized.............................................................................................................................. 39

Universities eye 'painful' cuts in wake of crisis; With endowment funds taking a beating,
student aid, scholarships, hiring and academic programs could all be on the chopping
block ................................................................................................................................................................. 40

Staving off deficit addiction .......................................................................................................................... 43

In these economic hard times, divided we fall ........................................................................................ 44

Debate Over Judges' Probe Role Revived; Think twice about appointments analysts say ........... 46
Historic American decision capturing Alberta attention; New U.S.
policy could impact local economy
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A1 / FRONT
Section: News
Byline: Renata D'Aliesio, with files from Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald
Source: Calgary Herald
Despite most opinion polls and political pundits pointing to a Democratic win Tuesday, a couple of
Barack Obama supporters in Calgary aren't ready to declare the American election race over.
Mare Donly, who moved to Calgary five years ago from the United States, worries about possible
voting irregularities, while expat Rita Sirignano wonders whether long lines at polling booths will
deter voters who think Obama's victory over Republican John McCain is a lock.
"I don't know what's going to happen if he loses," Sirignano said. "Seriously, you're going to have
to scrape me off the pavement."
Interest in the U.S. election is high not only among the large population of American expats in
Calgary, but also throughout Alberta, where the next president's policy could have major effects
on the economy, most notably in the oilpatch.
Sirignano and Donly, co-chairwomen of the Calgary chapter of Democrats Abroad, have
organized an election night party at the Kilkenny Irish Pub in Calgary's northwest.
At least 140 people are expected to attend, twice as many as turned out to watch the 2004
presidential results. It's one of a handful of U.S. election parties planned in Calgary for a battle
that's created far more buzz than last month's competition between Tory Leader Stephen Harper
and Grit boss Stephane Dion.
Indeed, the eyes of the world are closely fixed on the outcome of this historic political race,
occurring in the midst of historic global economic turbulence. Several academic experts expect
the financial downturn will prompt the new U.S. government to become more protectionist,
potentially hurting some Canadian exports.
But Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach isn't worried about the province's economic engine -- oil and
gas -- getting sideswiped by a push to insulate faltering American jobs and manufacturers. The
premier is confident Alberta's main export market will remain hungry for our secure petroleum
supply.
"You've heard both candidates talking about moving away from the dependency of oil from
Venezuela and from the Middle East," Stelmach noted. "I'm comfortable we're in a good position.
Our top priority is to ensure that we develop those resources in a very sustainable and
responsible manner."
Sustainability has vaulted higher in Alberta's vernacular as domestic and international attention
intensifies on the province's vast oilsands resources.
Although a boon to government coffers and the national economy, extracting sticky, tar-like
bitumen from the ground and upgrading it into usable oil takes a large toll on the environment.
Oilsands development produces three times more greenhouse gases than a conventional barrel
of oil, leading several Canadian and American environmental groups to label Alberta's bitumen
bonanza "dirty oil."
Whether this label sticks with Washington policy-makers may become apparent after Tuesday's
U.S. election.
Ron Stevens, Alberta's minister of international and intergovernmental relations, expects changes
are looming to American environmental policies, which could impact the province's energy
industry.
"Both presidential candidates talked a great deal about the environment and the need to bring in
climate change rules in the United States on a national level. They don't have that at this point in
time, so that, of course, will be of great interest to us," said Stevens, who is also deputy premier.
Stevens doesn't anticipate that climate change concerns will wither in the face of the current
economic storm, especially if Obama wins and his party winds up controlling both houses of
Congress.
"One of the constituencies of the Democrats is the environmental groups and if they happen to
have a president and majorities in both houses, it seems to me that the environment may be
pushed by those particular constituents of the Democrats," Stevens said.
Once the U.S. election is put to bed, one Calgary energy chief executive would like to see Ottawa
and Alberta open a dialogue with the United States and Mexico about creating a long-term
continental energy strategy.
Mike Gatens, chief executive of Unconventional Gas Resources, which has operations in Alberta
and the United States, views American concerns about foreign oil dependency as an opportunity
for Canada.
"Americans view the Canadian energy supply as a lot more friendlier," said Gatens, an American
who has lived in Calgary for the past 11 years.
Witnessing how closely linked Canadian financial markets are to the recent fall in oil and gas
prices, Gatens argues it's also in the best interest of Canada and Alberta to strengthen its
relationship with its No. 1 customer.
Last year, nearly half of Alberta's natural gas production was sent south of the border, while the
United States consumed 63 per cent of the crude oil produced in the province.
Gatens will be in Texas on business when U.S. election results unfold Tuesday. He's already
voted, but won't disclose who he backed. Donly and Sirignano, however, aren't shy about
extolling the virtues of Obama.
The trio, who are among an estimated 75,000 Americans living in Calgary, have been swamped
with comments about the U.S. election from their Canadian friends.
"The whole world is kind of looking at this election," Sirignano said, noting the countless
international front-page headlines.
"I'm finding, especially this election, all my Canadian friends are super-interested in it," Donly
added with a lament. "And I wish they were more interested in their own as well."
Getting the word out about falls; Up to 90 per cent of tumbles are
preventable
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: D1 / FRONT
Section: Body & Health
Byline: Chris Zdeb
Dateline: EDMONTON
Source: The Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Two Alberta seniors wind up in emergency every hour and 17 are hospitalized
every day because of falls, the most serious health issue facing seniors.
Concerned about the alarming number of people going down and the cost of getting them back
up again, the group that pushed for mandatory seatbelts and child car seats, and campaigned to
reduce smoking has turned its sights on seniors' falls.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, falls are not a natural part of aging, and 85 to 90 per cent
are preventable, says Kathy Belton, co-director of the Alberta Centre for Injury Control &
Research. The centre has joined with Alberta Health and Wellness, the Alberta Medical
Association, the Alberta Pharmacists' Association and the Alberta Physiotherapy Association to
raise awareness of the problem and help people reduce their risk of falling.
Getting that message out to "well seniors," healthy people 55 to 65, before falls become a
problem, is the goal of the first year of a multi-year program called Finding Balance, to be
announced today by Premier Ed Stelmach.
"Encouraging them to make changes now when they are healthy will hopefully make an impact
for them as they age," Dr. Noel Grisdale, president of the AMA explains. Because once you hit
50, you start to lose bone mass, and you can't bounce back from a fall as easily as when you
were 20, 30 or 40, Belton says.
"One fall can be devastating, making you more likely to lose your independence and end up in a
long-term care facility."
People of all ages fall, but the risk increases as we age. One in three people over 65 -- or
approximately 62,500 Alberta seniors -- fall at least once a year.
In 2003, fall-related injuries resulted in 17,350 emergency room visits, 6,200 hospital admissions
and 50 deaths.
The cost of hospital admissions alone totalled $88 million. As baby boomers hit their senior years,
hospitalization costs, if left unchecked, are expected to climb to $250 million by 2033.
Worse is the toll falls take on patients and their families.
Myrtle Seguin, for example, was an active senior who loved to square dance before she fell down
six cement steps leading to the garage two years ago.
Seguin, 79, doesn't remember much about the fall because she was unconscious when it
happened. The doctor told the Type 2 diabetic she had likely had a diabetic faint.
The fall left Seguin dragging a weak and injured left leg, which required her to walk with small
steps and climb stairs like a toddler.
It was difficult to drive and get in and out of a car, so her husband or children had to transport her.
She was in constant fear of falling again.
For 19 months, Seguin bounced from one medical exam to the next, trying to get help. She was
referred to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital 12 weeks ago and started a twice-weekly
exercise program designed by physiotherapist Vickie Buttar to strengthen her core muscles and
legs, and improve her balance. Buttar also gave Seguin exercises to do at home.
It's been a long road back, but almost two years after her fall, Seguin is able to walk again, drive,
and square dance. She's also much more confident in her ability to stay on her feet.
Her advice: do everything you can to reduce your risk of falling. Stay active or get moving for at
least a few minutes a day.
Maralynne Hawkins, 65, does yoga to stay upright. It balances the post-polio syndrome that
wears down her muscles and increases her risk for falling.
She also uses a walker when she ventures outdoors, avoids going out on icy winter days, and
wears very sensible shoes.
You have to be alert to what can make you fall and be proactive, Hawkins says.
Comorbidities, the multiple illnesses such as Parkinson disease, diabetes and arthritis that can
develop as you age; and polypharmacy, taking multiple medications that can negatively interact,
both increase the risk of falls.
Seniors should regularly review their medications with their doctors or pharmacists, including
prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and wholistic herbs, all of which can
interact and negatively affect balance and attention, Grisdale says.
Make sure areas you walk through are well-lit, he adds, and remove scatter rugs which can slip
and slide, causing a tumble. And don't engage in risky behaviour such as standing on a chair or
table to reach for something or to paint.
Obstacles and tripping hazards, lack of handrails, excessive alcohol, poor nutrition or hydration
are all fall-related risk factors, Belton says.
Studies have found that a person with no risk factors has an eight-per-cent chance of falling while
a person with four or more risk factors has a 78-per-cent chance.
For more information visit the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research online at
acicr.ualberta.ca
Seniors' falls cost millions
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 3
Section: News
Byline: BY MICHELLE THOMPSON, SUN MEDIA
Slipping and falling can cause more than a scrape - officials say tumbles are costing Albertans
some serious coin.
The province says it wants to change that.
Today, it's launching Finding Balance, an awareness campaign aimed at educating seniors on
the importance of leading healthy lifestyles.
The program will include lessons on improving health and wellness, as well as tips on making
homes safer.
"Those who have cared for parents or grandparents know that as seniors age they are more likely
to fall and suffer an injury," Premier Ed Stelmach said in a news release.
"In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions for older Albertans, so
this campaign focuses on educating our seniors in avoiding the potentially very serious
consequences of losing their balance."
According to the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, seniors falling cost the Alberta
economy almost $88 million in 2003.
At that rate, the figure could swell to $250 million by 2033, the province warns.
In 2006, tumbles led the charge of injury-related hospital visits, officials said. About 20 such
admissions were logged in Alberta each day.
Of course, saving cash isn't the only concern, said ACICR's associate director.
Kathy Belton said those involved in the initiative will likely lead to a healthier flock of seniors who
will be able to enjoy independence and a higher quality of life.
Team called in to probe Taser use; Witness says man acted oddly
before arrest
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B1 / FRONT
Section: City & Region
Byline: Gwendolyn Richards
Source: Calgary Herald
A provincial team of investigators is now examining a Calgary Taser incident that left a break-in
suspect in critical condition, as the head of Alberta's civil liberties organization calls for police to
stop using the weapons.
Members of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team were out Sunday morning at a duplex
in the 500 block of 42nd Street S.E. as part of their investigation into the incident that unfolded
Saturday night.
Around 8:15 that evening, a neighbour, who did not want her name published, said she noticed a
stranger across the street. He ran toward the duplex, stopped and leaned on her husband's car to
catch his breath.
He was incoherent when he tried to say something to her husband, who was standing outside
their home, she said, adding she believed the stranger was high on drugs.
Her husband came inside, locked the door and called police, while the suspect went into the yard
and tried to break into the family's shed.
"He was stuck in our backyard. He was trying to hide between our shed and fence," the woman
said.
"He wasn't interested in stealing, he was more interested in hiding away."
As her husband was on the phone with police, she heard the sound of glass shattering.
"He went busting through the basement window (of the other half of the duplex)," she said.
Officers found the man in the basement of the vacant home.
He was reportedly agitated and not following commands, so a Taser was used. He was arrested,
but then went into medical distress, said duty inspector Vic Trickett.
The man was last reported in critical condition after he was taken to hospital.
The witness said the suspect appeared to have been badly cut by the glass.
Neighbours said the family living there previously had sold the home and were preparing it for the
new owners. No one was occupying the south half of the duplex at the time of the incident.
Robin Crane, who lives next door to the duplex, said she heard the sound of something dragging
Saturday night, but didn't investigate.
She said the previous owners moved out at the end of August.
The Serious Incident Response Team is also investigating a Taser fatality in Edmonton last week.
The team, which was launched by the province on Jan. 1, investigates incidents when the actions
of officers may have seriously injured or killed a person.
On Wednesday, a 38-year-old Edmonton man died after police used a Taser on him to stop his
rampage.
A Taser was fired twice, but Trevor Grimolfson continued to resist arrest before he was
handcuffed and then lost consciousness, officials said. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
Calgary police officers have used Tasers since September 2005.
A report released this summer examining use-of-force showed batons cause the greatest injury,
while Tasers "scored high" in safety for both officers and suspects.
The Canadian Police Research Centre report -- which examined 562 cases where Calgary police
used pepper spray, batons, Tasers or other techniques against those resisting arrest -- found
Tasers were used in nearly half of all resisting-arrest cases. However, only one per cent of
suspects were hospitalized.
Some 87 per cent of suspects sustained minor injuries or were not injured at all.
Duty inspector Keith Cain said Taser usage is not unusual and there is a policy governing their
use.
"If we have an assaultive person --they're either violent towards somebody or something, verbally
indicate they're violent or do physically assault (someone) -- that's when this level of force is
authorized."
The president of the Alberta Civil Liberties Association said officers should not be equipped with
Tasers.
"They're used as a shortcut," Stephen Jenuth said. "Too often, a Taser -- a weapon associated
with serious injury or death -- is used in cases where someone is not obeying commands and co-
operating."
Next month, a fatality inquiry will examine the events around the death of a Red Deer man who
was shocked with a Taser in August 2006. Jason Doan, 28, died three weeks later of heart
failure.
The Doan family's lawyer will make submissions on how similar incidents can be prevented in the
future.
Vote swapping puts our electoral process at risk; Practice
deserves scrutiny and skepticism
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A12
Section: Opinion
Byline: Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament, Edmonton East
Source: Freelance
The proponents of vote swapping were claiming to have influenced the outcome in some close
ridings in the October 14 federal election, undoubtedly Edmonton-Strathcona, Edmonton Centre
and even Edmonton East.
Their claims of influence show how much campaign methodology has changed since I was first
elected to Parliament in 1997. Then the Internet was just beginning to become widespread.
Political websites were a relatively new idea, many people didn't have e-mail, text messaging was
in its infancy and there was no such thing as Facebook, bloggers or computerized autodial, auto-
answer manned phone banks.
Now all these things are widespread, highlighted recently by the introduction of various proxy
vote-swapping efforts combining all or some of the latest methods. While some may see proxy
vote-swapping as an idea whose time has come, I think all aspects of it should be examined for
propriety and to see if it does a disservice to democracy.
Proxy vote-swapping appeals to individuals whose favoured party does not have a hope of
winning in their riding. To give your vote more impact, you promise to vote for your second choice
in exchange for someone from another riding voting for your first choice in that riding. For
example, if a Liberal supporter in Edmonton-Strathcona could be encouraged to swap with an
NDP supporter in Edmonton Centre, then both votes could be seen to be making a real
difference.
The key to vote-swapping success is trust. Both parties trust the other voter to vote as they have
agreed to. That may have been the case this year as Canadians generally will do something they
have agreed to. A vote-swapping agreement, verbal or otherwise, is a legal contract which, while
possibly well-intended, I believe defrauds the public goodwill of our electoral system.
The difference being made by this process of proxy bartering greatly distorts democratic
outcomes. In the last election, how many voters nationwide agreed to proxy barter their votes?
How many will agree to proxy barter their votes in the next election? If proxy vote-swapping were
declared illegal, who would have won in Edmonton-Strathcona?
When the proxy vote-swapping idea first was introduced there were questions about its legality. It
is illegal to use money to buy or barter for a vote. (Though it was legal and quite common in the
19th century, especially in the U.S. where the going price was two dollars a vote.)
Elections Canada determined that proxy vote-swapping was permissible, since apparently no
money was changing hands, and there was no perceived "material benefit" involved. Encouraging
someone to vote in a particular way is what campaigning is all about, but an organized strategic
voting plan, by biased influence groups utilizing proxy vote-swapping by bartering seriously needs
to be examined. I believe Elections Canada's earlier position should be re-examined thoroughly
by that organization and possibly by Parliament.
I believe despite Elections Canada's earlier acceptance of proxy vote-swapping in this election,
the process lacks legitimacy. When a vote is swapped or bartered, someone else is becoming
your proxy -- and proxy voting has long been illegal in federal elections. It distorts the true
expression of voter preference. Also, there is a material benefit involved in proxy vote swapping
or bartering because of the $1.95 per vote per year Elections Canada gives to political parties
based on their past electoral performance.
Elections Canada should be looking into just who is behind these schemes and the cost. It is
difficult at times to tell exactly what special interests or politically aligned group is behind a
particular website -- and legally foreigners aren't supposed to be influencing Canadian elections.
In the 2008 campaign there was controversy when New York- based Avaaz openly bought
newspaper advertising in several ridings in an attempt to influence the vote. But what controls are
there for more covert domestic attempts to distort election outcomes?
There are those in the political realm who I'm sure will take note of the success of proxy vote-
swapping and explore en-masse swapping for the next election.
More sophisticated proxy vote-swapping campaigns, involving banks of computerized phone lines
and multiple operators are coming into play. Where do they show up on an election campaign
spending report if these efforts are primarily before the election is called? There are specific
spending limits for each local campaign -- computerized phone bank call identification centres are
a luxury most cannot afford. Shouldn't detailed extensive voter identification costs in the pre-writ
period be an election expense for the candidate who hopes to benefit from them?
These efforts to establish overt bartering or proxy-swapping, whether pre-writ or during
campaigns, should be subject to Elections Canada regulation. There are few pre-writ expenditure
rules, but these must be examined as well.
Interestingly, political parties were exempted from the recently established Do Not Call List. With
proxy-vote swapping efforts voters can now expect calls from political affiliates and parties year-
round, not just in the next campaign, trying to get people to consider bartering votes from Choice
A to Choice B, particularly in ridings with close races.
There should be much concern for the financial aspect of proxy vote-swapping. In Edmonton-
Strathcona, where the proxy vote-swappers were claiming to have helped influence the votes that
gave the win to NDP MP Linda Duncan, the Liberal candidate ran a very strong, expensive
campaign. The rather lacklustre Liberal campaign in 2006 by the previous candidate pulled in 18
per cent of the riding vote. The Liberal vote this time fell to nine per cent, one per cent below the
threshold Elections Canada sets for expense rebates to riding associations. Was the vote
collapse, despite a superior effort, caused by the proxy vote-swap? Proxy vote-swapping
undoubtedly distorted the outcome of this riding both politically and financially.
The Liberals in Edmonton-Strathcona lost about 5,000 votes from their 2006 totals. At $1.95 per
year for up to four years from Elections Canada, and the loss of the 60 per cent campaign
expenses refund, the financial cost of proxy swapping could well be $80,000, for just one riding.
Nationally it could be considerably more.
The proponents of vote swapping were united in their aims in the 2008 election. They wanted to
prevent the re-election of Conservatives. There didn't seem to be any proxy vote-swapping efforts
dedicated to helping Conservatives win close races. Such efforts were hardly non-partisan. Were
proxy vote-swapping efforts registered and cost-declared for political affiliations? Did the national
or local campaigns which benefited declare the costs as election expenses?
One of the ideas underlying the idea of proxy vote-swapping is that a vote is wasted if your
candidate doesn't win. That is not what the democratic process is for.
Participation is what is critical. Participation gives ongoing support to your party of choice and
candidate. Proxy vote-swapping disenfranchises you from your party of choice in your riding,
denying the party/riding association of important future financing.
Proportional representation also has been suggested by some, such as Green party Leader
Elizabeth May, as the cure for what's wrong with Canada's first past the post system that sees
Members of Parliament elected who don't receive a majority of votes in their ridings (and a
majority government that does not receive a majority of votes nationally).
Proportional representation may seem like a great idea to Ms. May, whose party does not appeal
(at this point) to more than a small number of people. Proportional representation in 2008 would
have give the Greens more than 20 MPs based on their share of the national vote, despite not
winning any ridings. Who would these MPs be? Who would they represent? Would they be truly
representative of the electorate, or just owe their jobs to the party bosses who put their names on
a list? Do Canadians want to be governed by unelected, unaccountable patronage appointees?
The proportional representation debate continues but the issue of proxy vote-swapping must be
properly addressed by Parliament and by Elections Canada to prevent it from being an even
larger issue in the next election. We must say no to organized proxy vote-swapping, or our
Canadian electoral process is at risk of becoming truly perverted.
Taser probed at mental-health conference
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 4
Section: News
Byline: BY ALYSSA NOEL, SUN MEDIA
To zap or not to zap?
It's one of the questions being posed as police and mental health experts from across the country
meet over the next two days at a mental-health conference in Edmonton.
The issue of when to use stun guns resurfaced following the recent death of a 38-year-old city
man who was zapped twice by police.
While an independent body is still investigating that case, in other similar circumstances a rare
physical and mental state called excited delirium, which causes the sufferer to be agitated and
possess super human strength, has been to blame for deaths.
'BAD NEWS'
"What the public hears about are the bad news stories," said Dr. Dorothy Cotton, an Ontario
psychologist and one of the organizers of the conference.
"I don't want to play down the level of tragedy here ... (but) police are very well trained ... I think
it'd be safe to say in situations involving Tasers and excited delirium, it's just not known. We're
just not there yet."
Trevor Grimolfson, the 38-year-old owner of Big Daddy's tattoo shop, died last Wednesday after
police jolted him in an attempt to end a violent rampage near 153 Street and Stony Plain Road.
Meanwhile, Cotton said police are well-trained and well-informed when it comes to dealing with
those who have mental-health issues. Judging by statistics, officers have gained a lot of
experience over the years, she said.
Cotton says around 6% to 10% of the calls police receive involve people with mental-health
problems.
"Probably the most important thing is for a police officer to recognize a person may be mentally ill
and therefore may not be able to respond the way they would expect someone to. Normally, if
you don't do something a police officer asks, they don't look on that favourably," she said.
TRAINED TO RECOGNIZE
But for the past decade, police have been trained on how to recognize and deal with such issues,
she said.
The annual conference, held in different cities each year, is a way to gather and forward that
effort, she added.
"The most exciting thing about this is it's one of the good news stories about policing," she said.
The conference runs through tomorrow at the Delta Edmonton Centre Suite Hotel.
Albertans back spending cuts
The Calgary Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 15
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Byline: BY SCOTT HENNIG
While the drop in the price of natural gas and oil might ease the pocketbook-pain of motorists and
homeowners, it is going to inflict pain on the provincial treasury.
The reason is simple -- the lower the price of oil and natural gas, the less money the government
collects.
With petroleum prices dropping back to earth and oilsands and upgrader projects being shelved,
the provincial government could be looking at stagnant or even falling revenues for Budget 2009.
While the government has no control over world or North American prices of these commodities,
it still has to deal with the consequences.
Falling prices would not cause much of a problem if resource revenues were a small portion of all
government revenues, but they're not.
Last year, royalties from oil and gas revenues made up 29% of provincial revenues, down from
32% the year prior and 40% the year before that. To put this in context, provincial income taxes
were only 22% of revenues last year, 20% the year prior and 13% the year prior to that.
However, the recent upward trend in these revenues has been assisted by a booming oilpatch.
Beyond year-to-year bounces in resource revenues, oil and gas prices in the first seven months
of this fiscal year have seen more volatility than an Oilers/Flames hockey game.
Oil prices hovered around US$100 a barrel in April, then shot up to just under $150 in early July,
only to crash down to just above $60 in late October. Similarly, natural gas prices hovered around
$8 a GJ in early April, jumped to $11 in mid-June, cratered to below $6 in mid-September, and
have slowly climbed to around $7.
The impact of a $1 a barrel decrease in the yearly average price of oil is a $130-million loss for
Alberta taxpayers. For example, had the government budgeted oil to be $100 a barrel (as some
demanded) when it ended up being $70, the province would be short $3.9-billion -- roughly the
advanced education budget for this year.
Thanks to royalty rates' changes, the government will be more susceptible if prices swing wildly.
In 2009-10, a $1 a barrel decrease will result in a $211-million loss.
Under the above example, that means the province would be short $6.3-billion -- roughly
equivalent to the annual K-12 education budget.
And that is just oil. A $1 a GJ decrease in the price of natural gas is a $1.14-billion loss for the
government this year and a $1.66-billion loss next year.
The finance minister has claimed everything will be OK with this year's budget thanks to many
months of oil and gas being priced higher than expected.
However, if resource prices continue to stay low, the government might not be able to maintain its
torrid pace of spending for Budget 2009. In fact, increasing spending (without dipping into
savings) might be completely out of the question next year.
A recent Ipsos-Reid poll asked Albertans on what they'd prefer the province to do if revenues dip:
Raise taxes, cut spending or run a deficit?
Only 14% supported raising taxes. This is a good sign for those looking forward to the elimination
of Alberta's regressive health care premium tax on Jan. 1.
While running a deficit would thankfully be illegal under provincial law, only 20% supported that
anyway.
An overwhelming 73% of Albertans supported cutting provincial spending. This should be no
surprise as Alberta spends, per capita, by far the most in the country -- so there's certainly room
for cuts.
While there are many factors at play that make future revenues uncertain, what is certain is
Albertans will not accept provincial tax hikes or deficits. The polls say Albertans are prepared for
spending cuts.
Hopefully our provincial politicians are as well.
Beyond band councils
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A14
Section: Editorial
The gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal high-school graduation rates is growing,
according to a recent C.D. Howe Institute report. Despite the obvious importance of education in
improving prospects and reducing poverty among the nation's marginalized aboriginal
communities, federal, provincial and native governments have all failed to rise to the challenge.
Some excellent policy recommendations to improve aboriginal education, both on and off
reserves, have widespread support, and it is time to implement them.
An analysis of 2006 census data by the C.D. Howe Institute reveals that only 60 per cent of
aboriginal students aged 20 to 24 completed high school, compared with almost 90 per cent of
non-aboriginals. Within this average is a wide range between Inuit and on-reserve First Nations at
40 per cent, off- reserve First Nations near the middle at 60 per cent, and Métis at the high end,
with 75 per cent completion. The outcomes are widely dispersed among provinces and territories
as well.
The C.D. Howe report adopts a recommendation from the Caledon Institute of Social Policy that
on-reserve schools should be administered by an education authority rather than individual band
councils and further recommends that successful strategies be expanded among off-reserve
districts.
Professionalizing school administration through aboriginal education authorities would be a
valuable reform. An example already exists in British Columbia. Legislation has been passed to
allow the federal government to finance the authority, and the province will let on-reserve
students take exams to receive provincial high-school certification.
After a promising start, however, the C.D. Howe Institute reports that the initiative has languished
due to a lack of leadership from Ottawa and Victoria and a reluctance among band councils to
give up their power to manage their on- reserve schools. This lack of progress on the part of all
three levels of government is self-defeating, when they would all benefit from higher levels of
high-school completion among aboriginal students and the corresponding near- doubling in
employment rates.
Improving aboriginal education is no panacea. Public-health and governance issues are also
critical. But in education the federal, provincial and native governments have a good place to
start, now.
Ontario girds for funding fight with Ottawa; Duncan skeptical of
Flaherty's pledge
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A1
Section: National News
Byline: Karen Howlett
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: With a report from Kevin Carmichael in Ottawa
TORONTO -- Fears that Ottawa could block Ontario from receiving funding under a national
wealth-sharing program have sparked a fresh round of tensions between the Harper and
McGuinty governments on the eve of a finance ministers' meeting today on the economy.
The latest battle began last Thursday when federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he plans to
constrain the growth of the equalization program. His comments come just as Ontario is poised to
join the ranks of the "have-not" provinces, making it eligible for the national subsidy for the first
time.
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told The Globe and Mail last night that he interprets Mr.
Flaherty's musings to mean only one thing: The federal government will rejig the program so that
the province will not collect payments even if it does qualify for equalization. Mr. Duncan said he
takes absolutely no comfort from Mr. Flaherty's comments over the weekend that it is not his
intention to block Ontario from collecting equalization payments.
Any curtailment in growth of the $13.6-billion program could make it more difficult for poorer
provinces to provide residents with health care and other social programs.
The tensions over equalization are part of a much broader concern in Ontario that the Harper
government is tone-deaf when it comes to the economic challenges facing Canada's most
populous province. Mr. Duncan said he plans to press Mr. Flaherty at today's meeting to come up
with an aid package for the province's struggling auto sector, similar to what the United States
and Europe are proposing for their car manufacturers.
"We have always talked about our desire to work in partnership with the federal government, but
partnership means more than simply paying lip service to Ontario's concerns," Mr. Duncan said.
He accused the federal government of being "conspicuously absent" on the auto sector, which
has been the single biggest contributor to Ontario's economy, but which has fallen on hard times
because of the global financial crisis.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has waged a three-year battle with Ottawa for a fairer deal under
Confederation and has repeatedly called for reform of the equalization program to take into
account Ontario's waning prosperity relative to the growing wealth of resource-rich provinces.
The problem, Mr. Duncan said, is that the federal government cannot look at just changing
equalization without addressing other areas where Ontario gets shortchanged, including the
Employment Insurance program.
"We will look at everything they say very carefully to ensure that Ontario is not prejudiced in any
form by this change in policy," Mr. Duncan said.
Mr. Flaherty was not available for comment yesterday. He plans to outline his proposal for
changing the equalization program at today's meeting in Toronto with his provincial counterparts.
"In fact, the news for Ontario is good," he told The Canadian Press. "Ontario, in fact, will benefit
substantially."
But Ontario officials have good reason to worry. In the 1970s, when energy prices were soaring,
Ontario was eligible for equalization payments. But Ottawa changed the formula, and retroactively
clawed back the province's payments.
Since the program began 51 years ago, Ontario has paid out more than $100- billion in
equalization to other provinces; residents fund 40 per cent of the program through their income
tax payments to Ottawa. Mr. McGuinty has said he fears that the federal government will ensure
that the province is never a recipient of the program.
"One of the worst-kept secrets in Ottawa is that Ontario must never be allowed to collect
equalization," he said in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in September.
Derek Burleton, an economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, has also said it would be politically
unpalatable to have smaller regions subsidize a province that produces about 40 per cent of the
country's economic output, even if does end up qualifying for equalization.
The equalization program is designed to give money to Canada's poorer provinces so they can
provide social services comparable to the richer ones. This year, the federal government is
distributing the payments to six provinces. Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan
do not collect equalization.
Ontario's entry into the program would be a double-whammy on the federal treasury. Ottawa
would pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Ontario as well as higher payments to the other
"have-not" provinces. Equalization payments are currently capped so that the fiscal capacity of
the recipient provinces - which consists of its revenues from natural resources and personal,
property and business taxes - is not greater than that of the poorest non-recipient, which is now
Ontario.
But if Ontario joins the ranks of the have-nots, the cap would rise to the next poorest province,
British Columbia, and its fiscal capacity is much higher than Ontario's.
Hiring still strong in pockets of Canadian job market; Even as
manufacturing takes a beating, demand for professionals persists
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B3
Section: Report On Business: Canadian
Byline: Tavia Grant
The trickle of U.S. pink slips may be morphing into an avalanche, but pockets of the Canadian
corporate world are still hiring - at least for now.
KPMG is one example. When the accounting firm decided to shift bits of marketing, finance and
technology businesses from London, it could have chosen any of 20 global cities on its shortlist.
It selected Toronto, where the firm plans to create at least 200 high-end jobs over the next year -
even in this rocky financial climate.
The city's educated population, the quality of life and the cost compared with pricier cities like
New York or London were behind the decision. Now, the lower dollar is also making Canada
more affordable for foreigners.
"The current financial problems haven't really had a bearing on the decision [to choose Toronto]
and indeed, to the extent that at least an element of it was cost-oriented, in many ways there are
arguments to accelerate it," said Michael Wareing, chief executive officer, in a phone interview
from London.
It's a bright light in a darkening economic climate. Canada remains better placed to weather the
storm than most industrialized nations. Its financial system is sounder. It still has natural
resources the world wants and now, a less-expensive loonie. All of which should translate into
healthier employment picture.
Companies are still posting plenty of Canadian job ads, even in recent weeks. "It's held up well to
this point," said Patrick Sullivan, president of Workopolis.com, Canada's largest online job board.
Employers are, however, pausing longer before making hiring decisions, he said.
In the past few weeks, he's still seen postings for jobs related to health care, government and
infrastructure. Engineers and accountants are still in high demand, a trend he sees continuing for
years to come.
He's seen other areas slow, though - notably in finance jobs, along with technology. The
manufacturing sector continues to weaken and Ontario is particularly sluggish, he said.
Some companies are sticking with plans to hire, downturn or not. Edward Jones, Canada's
largest independent investment firm, still aims to nearly double the number of its financial
advisers to 1,160 over the next five years.
"We think there are a lot of underserved individual investors in Canada," said Gary Reamey,
principal of the Canadian operations.
His firm hasn't laid off anyone in the past 31 years and doesn't expect to in the coming year, he
said. It's also boosting spending on education and training for its staff.
A deepening slowdown hasn't changed that plan. "In economies like this we will actually
accelerate our financial training and investment while others are cutting back," he said. "If others
don't want to open offices in an environment like this, that's okay. We'll do it."
Most companies are more reticent about predicting how their staffing levels will change because
the economic outlook is so fuzzy. At Desjardins Group, it's tough to gauge how many people may
delay retirement plans, and that will affect recruiting plans next year, said Paul Sutherland,
director of replacement, succession, careers and staffing.
But people with professional skills like accountants remain a hot commodity.
"There's a shortage of qualified people in accounting, people who have risk- management
experience and also in certain sales areas. In those types of areas, we're always in a recruiting
mode," Mr. Sutherland said.
***
WHO'S HIRING?
In Canada, many employers are continuing to hire, though the pace is cooling. Here's what online
recruitment boards are seeing on their sites in recent weeks.
Monster.ca:
HBC is recruiting for seasonal hiring and future executive programs. It has a campaign for up to
11,000 to 13,000 hires.
Future Shop is looking for 6,000 hires in three months. This is one of their largest and fastest
ramp-ups ever.
In the West, activity in the Alberta oil and gas, and retail sectors is increasing.
Workopolis.com:
Alberta Infrastructure is hiring, and so is the City of Lethbridge. Jobs relating to infrastructure are
still strong.
Public sector, government jobs continue to grow.
Health care jobs have been particularly strong in recent weeks.
Nestlé SA, Spectra Energy, Staples and Good Life Fitness have recently posted jobs.
Accountants are in perpetual short supply. There are currently 193 postings for accountants.
Emergency-room nightmares spur calls for action; With conditions
in Canada's hospitals comparable to a Third World country,
according to one specialist, doctors on the front lines suggest
ways to keep ER departments from turning into dumping grounds
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A10
Section: National News
Byline: Lisa Priest
Emergency wards are so overcrowded, patients have had heart attacks, miscarriages and, in at
least one case, even died while in the care queue, prompting doctors to call on provincial
governments to implement waiting-time targets and to stop using the hospital department as a
patient "dumping ground."
Brian Rowe, professor and research director in the University of Alberta's department of
emergency medicine, who has done considerable research in emergency-department
overcrowding, describes current conditions as the worst he's seen in 22 years of practice.
"We've had people have heart attacks in the waiting room, we've had sepsis [blood poisoning] in
the waiting room, people seize in the waiting room and patients have miscarriages in the waiting
room," Dr. Rowe said in an interview. "It's like a Third World country. And this is not unique to
Edmonton. This is right across the country."
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is calling on the provinces to adopt a plan in
which patients are triaged, admitted or discharged within four to six hours, depending on the
severity of their condition, 95 per cent of the time. Once a decision is made to admit a patient, she
or he should be transferred out of the emergency department within two hours.
"When we decide that someone needs admission, we don't understand why they are waiting 16
hours," said Alan Drummond, the chair of public affairs at CAEP. "We just don't get it. All that
speaks to is that the emergency department is a dumping ground."
With Canadians making more than 14 million visits to emergency departments each year, the
need to remedy the system's ills has never been more urgent. That was sadly evident in
September when Brian Sinclair, a homeless man and double amputee, died after sitting 34 hours
in a Winnipeg emergency room. His death - of a preventable bladder and abdominal infection
caused by a blocked catheter - will be the subject of a provincial inquest, while the Health
Sciences Centre where he died has announced it is hiring round-the-clock staff to meet incoming
patients to avoid such tragedies.
Meanwhile, Kevin Smith, who heads Ontario's alternate-level-of-care expert panel, has an
ambitious and novel plan to move as many as 2,800 Ontario patients into nursing homes,
retirement centres - possibly even hotels and motels - to free up desperately needed space and
reduce lengthy waits in emergency wards.
There is no question that Canadians' confidence has been shaken in a health- care system where
the emergency department is supposed to be a last, reliable resort for patients who have
exhausted all other avenues.
On a blazing hot summer day at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, one of the busiest emergency
wards in Ontario, a sign posted in the waiting room warned that patients who have non-
emergencies were facing waits of five to six hours - but that didn't stop people from coming.
In one cubicle was 53-year-old Ed Elson. Complaining of chest pain as well as numbness in his
face and left arm, he waited five hours to see a doctor. Emergency physician Andre May ordered
more tests.
Mr. Elson, a prostate-cancer patient, spent a full eight hours there that day. Weeks later, doctors
had still not determined the cause of his symptoms, said his wife, Lynne.
"When we see patients, the care is good, the diagnostic services are better than when we came,"
Dr. May said. "We just can't see people in a timely fashion. "
Overcrowded emergency wards are a symptom of hospital congestion. They cause operations to
be cancelled because there are no beds for recuperating patients. Ambulances stay parked
outside for hours, unable to offload patients for the same reasons. Some patients, tired of waiting,
leave before being seen by physicians, sometimes with dire consequences. Doctors, nurses and
other health- care workers scrounge every bit of space they can find.
"Certainly we have examined patients in hallways and in clean utility rooms, " said Halifax-based
Mary-Lynn Watson, a former president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians,
"because there is physically no other place to put them."
Across the country, provinces and hospitals are trying to repair the problem.
David Levine, president and chief executive officer of the Montreal Health and Social Services
Agency, is overhauling services with an eye to reducing the number of emergency-room visits by
half.
British Columbia is opening more beds and has done a pilot project that has paid four hospitals
more money if they see patients in a targeted period of time, echoing a practice in England.
"Have we solved the problem? No," said B.C. Health Minister George Abbott, answering his own
question. "Have we improved the situation? I believe we have. This is a work in progress."
In Ontario, 23 emergency departments are subject to performance goals, where patients must be
triaged, admitted or discharged within four to eight hours, depending on the severity of their
condition. Those hospitals that do not meet a series of specific goals, which includes reducing
queues for care, are subject to financial clawbacks from the province. The initiative is likely to
expand to more hospitals next year, said Michael Schull, head of Ontario's expert panel for ER
waiting times.
Those moves alone, however, are not enough, and that's where Dr. Smith comes in. His plan to
unclog emergency rooms by moving hospital patients to other facilities is based on troubling
statistics: Roughly one in five patients in acute-care hospitals is ready for discharge but has
nowhere to go.
"There is enough of a logjam that we do need to open some transitionary capacity," said Dr.
Smith, who is also president and executive officer of St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton. "...That
includes beds, day programs, modified homecare - alternatives to being in a hospital." Dr. Smith
stressed that patients moved out of hospital will receive appropriate care.
Some alternate-level-of-care patients are already being moved to other facilities, but Dr. Smith
said the next phase, starting in April, 2009, is subject to government approval. The key, he said,
is trying to care for patients at home as long as possible.
"This agenda is not one of efficiency," Dr. Smith stressed. "It's an agenda of patient safety."
Tom Closson, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Hospital Association, which has
been gathering the data from its members, found that on any given day in July of this year, 2,800
patients were in acute-care beds waiting to be placed elsewhere. And 694 patients on average
were waiting in emergency wards for an acute-care bed.
"They can't get into the inpatient unit," Mr. Closson said. "...It's a clear indication why something
needs to be done."
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians thinks so, too. It is also asking that more
acute-care beds be added so hospitals can operate at 85-per- cent capacity; many currently
operate at 95-per-cent capacity and beyond.
Dante Morra, an internist and director of the clinical teaching unit at Toronto General Hospital,
helped found the Centre for Innovation in Complex Care at the city's University Health Network. It
identifies problems and seeks solutions for complicated patients who come to emergency wards.
"It's undignified when you're well, but when you're really sick, it's overwhelming," said Dr. Morra of
patients who wait in hallways. "It's nobody's fault, but it's just that someone has to have this on
their radar."
Long-term care crisis forces bed shuffle; Nursing homes make
room for assisted living
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B3
Section: City & Region
Byline: Tamara Gignac
Source: Calgary Herald
One solution to the chronic shortage of long-term care beds in Alberta is to transform some of the
province's nursing homes into assisted-living spaces for seniors, says Health Minister Ron
Liepert.
More than 500 elderly patients in Calgary are on a waiting list for care -- a figure health officials
blame on the population boom and soaring costs to build new facilities.
Part of the problem is that seniors are often placed in nursing homes when their medical needs
and own comfort levels are better suited to an assisted-living environment, said Liepert.
"The fact that 500 seniors are waiting for care is exactly why we have to look at a range of
alternatives," he said.
One of only two nursing homes in Lethbridge will close and reopen in a year's time as an
assisted-living facility. But Chinook Health officials say of the 120 patients living in the home, only
a handful are likely to find the level of medical care insufficient.
Those who do still require a nursing home bed will be guaranteed a space elsewhere in the city,
said Donna Stelmachovich, the health region's vice-president and seniors care director.
"We don't want everybody to have to go into a nursing home if they don't need it. The assisted-
living model . . . is about a private, very home-like space that really supports our seniors to
maintain even small pieces of wellness and independence," she said.
Seniors and their families seem to prefer it, but it's also a practical approach given the staffing
crunch for registered nurses, Stelmachovich said.
"It really is about planning for the huge number of seniors and making sure they have the right
care at the right place using our professionals appropriately," she said.
Not everybody agrees.
Hinton resident Linda Jonson describes the closure of the only nursing home in the town of
10,000 people as "an ongoing nightmare."
The facility, now designated as assisted living for seniors, has forced some families with frail
relatives to either care for them at home or drive to communities like Edson or Barrhead to
access the medical attention they require, according to Jonson, a seniors advocate who works
with the elderly.
"You don't have a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day. The same quality of care just isn't
there," she said.
If nursing homes continue to disappear, seniors will be left with even fewer options when it comes
to long-term care, suggests Lethbridge East MLA Bridget Pastoor.
"Is this a template for the rest of the province? The minute seniors move into an assisted-living
environment, they've moved down to a different level of care," said Pastoor, Liberal opposition
critic for seniors and community supports.
But far from taking away choice from seniors and their families, Liepert argues the province is
simply exploring a range of options that include home care and other less institutional alternatives
to nursing homes.
"Nobody's saying that long-term care facilities aren't going to be built -- we're always going to
need them," Liepert said. "But the only choice right now under the existing rules is to
automatically go into long-term care if you can no longer do certain things. That isn't how it should
be."
University of Calgary researchers are in the midst of a wide-ranging study that is exploring the
health of seniors living in assisted-living facilities in Alberta.
But based on evidence out of the United States, assisted living isn't perfect, said Colleen
Maxwell, associate professor in community health services
"The philosophy on paper is a good one -- everyone wants a home environment, and if you need
extra help, you want it to be in a setting that respects your dignity," she said.
"The concern is that assisted living might not meet an individual's changing needs, and because
of lower staffing requirements, there might be poorer detection of health issues."
Investigators to probe Calgary Taser incident; Man agitated, not
following orders: police
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A4
Section: Canada
Byline: Gwendolyn Richards
Dateline: CALGARY
Source: Canwest News Service
CALGARY - A provincial team of investigators is now examining an incident that left a man in
serious condition after a Taser was used on him, as the head of Alberta's civil liberties
organization calls for police to stop using the devices.
Around 8:15 p. m. on Saturday, a resident in an east Calgary neighbourhood, who did not want to
reveal her name, saw a man run toward a duplex, stopping and leaning on a car to catch his
breath.
He was incoherent when he tried to say something to her husband, who was outside their home
at the time, she said, adding she believed he was high on drugs.
Her husband came inside, locked the door and started to call police, while the man went into the
yard and tried to break into the family's shed.
As her husband was on the phone with police, "he went busting through the basement window [of
the other half of the duplex]," she said.
Officers found the man in the basement of the vacant home.
He was reportedly agitated and not following commands, so a Taser was deployed. He was
arrested and then went into medical distress, said Duty Inspector Vic Trickett.
The man was last reported in critical condition after he was taken to hospital.
On Wednesday, a 38-year-old Edmonton man died after police used a Taser on him to stop his
rampage.
A Taser was fired twice, but Trevor Grimolfson continued to resist arrest before he was
handcuffed and then lost consciousness, officials said. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
The president of the Alberta Civil Liberties Association said yesterday officers should no longer
be equipped with the Tasers. "They're used as a shortcut [more] than they ought to be," Stephen
Jenuth said.
More teaching, less money
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A14
Section: Editorial
Byline: Lorne Gunter
Column: Lorne Gunter
Source: National Post
Those who are hoping that our aboriginal citizens will be lifted out of poverty and dependence by
the billions of federal dollars currently being pumped each year into aboriginal communities and
programs -- nearly $11,000 per man, woman and child for First Nations, Inuit and Metis -- should
stop holding their breath. Money is neither the problem nor the solution.
The problem is a lack education. And until Canada corrects the education gap between its
aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens, there will be little improvement in conditions, no matter
how much money is slathered on aboriginal communities with the very best of intentions.
Last week, the C. D. Howe Institute released a fascinating, yet ultimately disheartening study on
the "education gap."
Author John Richards, a public policy professor at Simon Fraser University, first offers what
should be considered very hopeful statistics: According to his calculations based on the 2006
census, employment rates for aboriginals and non-aboriginals are nearly the same at comparable
levels of education.
Meanwhile, aboriginal Canadians with a high school diploma have an almost identical
employment rate ( just over 60%) to non-aboriginals with a diploma. Those with a trade or a
college certificate have up to 75% success, similar to that of non-aboriginal journeyman and
college grads. And, compared with non-aboriginals with degrees, aboriginal Canadians who have
completed university even have a slightly better shot at employment in their field.
In other words, where they possess the required training and skills, aboriginal Canadians do not
face barriers to finding work.
The trouble comes when looking at what percentage of both groups achieve each level of
secondary and post-secondary learning. Obtaining a high school diploma has become "nearly
universal" among non-aboriginals. "Nearly 90% have done so," says Prof. Richards. However,
even among non-aboriginals aged 20-24 "about 40% lack high school certification," according to
Richards.
More troubling still, this youngest group of working-age aboriginals may be regressing. Among
those 25-44, the proportion without a diploma is just 32%, meaning that after falling for nearly
three decades, the dropout rate may be rising among aboriginals, even as it continues to fall in
the rest of the population.
Similarly, 68% of non-aboriginals aged 25-34 have some form of post-secondary training,
compared to 50% among those 45 and older -- showing a growing commitment to education
beyond high school. Yet among aboriginals, "the proportion with a university degree among those
under 45 has increased very little relative to those over 45."
Also distressing is the news that while the generation of aboriginals aged 35-44 outperformed
those over 45 in obtaining some type of postsecondary training, the generation aged 25-34
seems to have fallen back to the older generation's levels: About 40% of aboriginals over 45 have
some education beyond high school vs. 47% of those aged 35-44, but just 42% of those aged 25-
34.
Prof. Richards contends this may indicate that aboriginal Canadians wait until they are in their
30s to go to college, trade school or university, or it may "signify a more disturbing phenomenon;
stagnation in intentions to undertake post-secondary training among young aboriginals."
Given that the four westernmost provinces have far and away the largest First Nations
populations, and that in those provinces one-in-eight children four years old or younger (one-in-
four in Saskatchewan and Manitoba) is aboriginal, the social and fiscal implications will be
staggering on the Prairies, in B. C. and in the territories if aboriginal Canadians start turning away
from education.
Prof. Richards suggests turning over on-reserve schooling to boards independent of band politics,
and that off-reserve public schools (where most aboriginal kids are taught) should increase the
involvement of aboriginal leaders and parents, "set measurable targets for improvement" and use
data to identify aboriginal students who are not achieving.
That's probably sound advice. But here's an additional idea: The decrease in aboriginal education
attainment corresponds to the recent increases in what was already hearty federal funding for
aboriginals. Perhaps we are subsidizing the decline.
While it is not possible to live lavishly on federal handouts, it is possible to do more than survive.
Concurrent with adopting Prof. Richards' recommendation, we might want to remove the
disincentives to education inherent in the current funding structure.
Pipeline bombers getting smarter: expert
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A6
Section: Canada
Byline: Jamie Hall
Column: National Report
Dateline: EDMONTON
Source: Canwest News Service
They are novices when it comes to technology, but they're passionate and they're getting smarter
about where to place their bombs. That's the theory being put forward by a pipeline security
consultant after a third explosion in less than a month targeted EnCana Corp.'s natural gas
operations in Tomslake near the Alberta-British Columbia border. "They're getting smarter, and
they're evolving as they go," said Oliver Salvador, the executive director of CQB Group Inc.
Pepsico buys sunflower seed king; Distribution; Snack food giant to
put brand on lips worldwide
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: FP11
Section: Financial Post
Byline: Gina Teel
Dateline: CALGARY
Source: Canwest News Service
Food and beverage behemoth PepsiCo Inc. has agreed to buy Albertabased sunflower and
pumpkin seed king, Spitz International Inc., in a bid to add healthier fare to its snack lineup.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but PepsiCo is working toward a closing date of Dec. 1 for
the privately held company, officials said.
Tom Droog, who started Spitz with his wife Emmy in 1982, was tight-lipped about the deal.
"The only thing I can say financially is that Stephen Harper and the tax department will be very
happy, and I hope they are going to send me a thank you note," he said.
Spitz is Canada's leading sunflower seed and pumpkin seed company with annual sales of more
than $30-million. The company began in 1982 as Alberta Sunflower Seeds Ltd., supplying the the
local bird seed market, and the Droogs vaulted to the forefront of consumer-snacking success in
1990 when they introduced Spitz, a line of roasted confection sunflower seed snacks for people.
Today, Spitz snack foods are sold in about 60,000 stores in Canada and about 30,000 stores
across the United States.
Under the deal, Spitz will continue its Alberta operations, consisting of a production facility in Bow
Island and distribution centre in Medicine Hat, and report to Frito-Lay North America, a division of
PepsiCo. Spitz employs about 70 people.
Marc Guay, president of Frito-Lay Canada, said the sunflower seed category is a natural
extension of the company's snacking brand portfolio and caters to the whole health and wellness
trend, "which we're really kind of a leader in."
Frito-Lay recently introduced True North nut snacks and also makes Doritos. "Spitz is a brand
that we've admired for a long time," Mr. Guay said.
"We have a small sunflower business at Frito-Lay, but realistically, we like to be the leader in the
categories we compete in, and this partnership allows us to become the overnight leader in the
category."
Frito-Lay won't be making any changes to Spitz's processing, brand or variety, he added.
Spitz sunflower seeds come in salted, seasoned, dill pickle, spicy, chili lime and smokey
barbecue flavours, while the pumpkin seeds are available in salted, seasoned and dill pickle
flavours. The seeds are roasted using Spitz's patented process.
"The only change I think we'll see is because of the extent of our distribution network at Frito-Lay,
the Spitz brands both in Canada and other parts of North America will get a lot more exposure,"
Mr. Guay said.
Mr. Droog agreed the deal will take the Spitz brand to the next level, which has been the couple's
long-term goal. "I'm thrilled now that they will bring the name Spitz to worldwide levels, and I can
say instead of the Spitz owners, we are the Spitz founders," he said.
The couple were approached by PepsiCo last year. "When a Fortune 500 company comes to you
and is interested in the organization, it tells you two things: That you have some value there and
that you must be running a good show, otherwise they wouldn't come," he said.
Mr. Droog and Myles Hamilton, the vice-president, will stay with the company. Mr. Guay said Mr.
Droog is very keen on having the Spitz brand and the couple's legacy live on.
"We both thought that the partnership between Frito-Lay and PepsiCo and Spitz would allow him
to do that," he said, noting Miss Vickies, Stacy's Pita Chips and Hostess brands were all acquired
by the company.
Family approach to clients and staff
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: FP8
Section: Best Managed
Source: Special to the Financial Post
Perhaps one of the worst things you could call Servus Credit Union, at least as far as its CEO is
concerned, is a large company, even though Servus Credit Union is the largest credit union in
Alberta. And that it just got a whole lot bigger -- more than doubling in size to $10-billion in assets,
2,000 employees, 400,000 members and 100 locations following a recent amalgamation with two
other Albertabased credit unions, Community Savings and Common Wealth Credit Union.
"We continue to be a small company; we just have more people working for us. We don't want to
lose that ability to be nimble and to provide our members with whatever they need," says Steve
Blakely, president and CEO. Mr. Blakely, who first got involved with credit unions about seven
years ago, came from a big bank background and views credit unions as among Canada's
greatest unknown secrets.
"When you walk into a credit union, you feel like you matter. Every customer is a member-owner.
Every employee is a member-owner. We all share in the profits of the company. People call you
by name -- they actually do that. You are not a number. Everyone has a say in what goes on in
the company. That is the key to our success."
It is an important point. After all, Mr. Blakely asks, when was the last time a shareholder in a bank
had a say in how the bank was run? "Our memberowners do. And we build our strategy around
that. We have an elected board of memberowners who take an active role in setting the direction
of the company. It's a different approach and interesting recipe. It serves us extremely well."
Indeed, Servus Credit Union has enjoyed 19 successive years of growth. And there are no signs
of slowing down. Mr. Blakely credits the financial institution's success to the commitment of its
employees.
"I'm fairly new to credit unions but because we are a member-owned business, our people are
very focused on achieving good, solid results," he says. "They want to do better every day. We
operate as a large family. People are the power and strength of this company. It's all about the
people who deliver the service to our members every day. That's what's made us successful."
In fact, that pride and focus on customer service has translated into a 94% satisfaction rating from
members for the past five years. "That is achieved by our employees, who also have rewarded us
with high satisfaction scores as well," Mr. Blakely says.
In fact, in a 2008 employee survey, 84% reported they are satisfied, 88% are proud to work for
Servus Credit Union, 86% would recommend Servus Credit Union as a good place to work and
86% believe Servus Credit Union is a good employer.
The goal is to continue to
keep employee morale high as the three credit unions become one. "We are three well-run, well-
managed companies doing very well financially," Mr. Blakely says. "People are job No. 1 here. So
the first thing we undertook with the merger was to look at our HR policies and make sure our
people are taken care of."
"What's interesting with Servus Credit Union is that employee and member pride has translated
into tremendous growth during a period of very challenging economic conditions," says John
Anderlic, partner with Deloitte's audit practice in Edmonton,
"The Servus Credit Union business model has proven to be successful time and time again. With
the recent mergers, we look forward to them shaping the financial services industry even more."
Going forward, the vision is to be the best credit union in Canada. "That means making sure that
we can continue
to be relevant for our members and our employees," Mr. Blakely says. "We want to continue to
grow in size in order to compete in a more challenging competitive environment, and we need
scope and scale to be able to do that."
To achieve that aim, all levels of the organization must buy in to the credit union's goals.
"Everyone knows what our strategic priorities are. They are measured against them, they
contribute to them and they are incented by them. There is total alignment from the bottom up,"
Mr. Blakely says.
That alignment was demonstrated earlier this year when, as a result of the credit crunch, Servus
Credit Union switched focus to deal with the liquidity issues (the lifeblood of banking) facing every
financial institution across the country and around the world.
"We have one particular advantage during this period of economic uncertainty and that's that we
are in Alberta, where the economy is a little stronger," Mr. Blakely says. "But that doesn't insulate
us from what's going on. We had the same liquidity challenges as every other significant financial
institution. As financial institutions, our focus has always been loans. That's all changed. So much
money has gone out of the system we had to refocus our employees on the liquidity needs of the
company. We began marketing some of our advantages. For example, as a member-owner you
can take part in profit sharing. We helped our member-owners understand their deposits were
safe. As a result, we were able to raise $750-million in about nine months, which shows how
nimble we are and how our employees make all the difference when faced with a challenge."
It is exactly that difference that has placed Servus Credit Union among Canada's 50 Best
Managed companies --an achievement Mr. Blakely takes great pride in. "Being one of Canada's
50 Best Managed companies is a great help to us. It tells both the outside world and the inside
world that they can be confident in the management of this company. That is huge," Mr. Blakely
says.
Not only does wearing the 50 Best Managed companies logo help the credit union get noticed in
the sea of more front-of-mind chartered banks, it is a source of pride for employees, as well. "I
often ask new employees, 'Why did you select us?'" Mr. Blakely says. "And I'm amazed at the
number of times people say, 'because you are one of the 50 Best Managed companies in
Canada.'"
To find out how the Best Managed program can help your private company, visit
www.canadas50best.com.Look for the Best Managed winners for 2008 to be unveiled in the
National Post on Feb. 2, 2009.
Job reports expected to show big losses; Analysts see sharp
reversal in employment growth
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A11
Section: Business
Byline: Eric Beauchesne
Source: Canwest News Service
The job market is where the rubber really hits the road, so expect some screeching at the end of
the coming week with news that the Canadian jobs juggernaut has suddenly shifted into reverse
and that up to 200,000 more people have been thrown out of work in the United States.
In Canada, analysts expect Friday's employment report to show job losses in October in the order
of 10,000, a sharp reversal of the 107,000 new jobs created in September.
"We expect a partial reversal of the extraordinary gain amid mounting business caution and
renewed declines in manufacturing payrolls," said Douglas Porter, economist at BMO Capital
Markets.
But with unemployment being a lagging indicator, the worst could be yet to come, he warned. "If
the economy is indeed sagging into a recession, as we expect, the real job declines will emerge
in the months ahead."
The bad economic news here, however, was expected to start today with the October sales
report from the auto companies.
"The preliminary dealer reports on Canadian autos sales will provide the first real hint on how the
economy performed in the heart of October's intense financial market turmoil," Porter said, noting
that early reports suggest a sharp drop in sales. That would not be surprising in light of the
reported steep drop in consumer confidence early in the month, he added.
In the U.S., the already steep job losses are expected to have mounted dramatically last month.
"The financial hurricane, lingering effects from the Boeing strike, and upward-tracking jobless
claims suggest employment losses accelerated in October," said Sal Guatieri, another economist
at BMO, which is projecting a whopping 200,000 jobs were lost in the month.
Americans, at least, will get some comfort from the distraction of their presidential election
Tuesday, although any improvements in their economy resulting from what polls suggest will be a
Democratic victory will be sometime down the road.
Here, along with the auto report, the week begins with federal and provincial finance ministers
meeting in Toronto today to find ways of minimizing the impact on Canadians, and on their own
government finances, of what many analysts -- including the Bank of Canada -- now project will
be a U.S.-led global recession.
The gathering, however, could turn nasty with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty having given notice
that he plans to rein in growth in equalization payments to the poorer provinces. He has also said,
however, he will not protect federal finances on the backs of the provinces, which he charged the
former federal Liberal government of doing.
Job market in reverse gear; Gloomy data expected for October
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: D9
Section: Calgary Business
Byline: Eric Beauchesne
Dateline: OTTAWA
Source: Canwest News Service
The job market is where the road really hits the rubber, so expect some screeching at the end of
the coming week with news that the Canadian jobs juggernaut has suddenly shifted into reverse
and that up to 200,000 more people have been thrown out of work in the United States.
In Canada, analysts expect Friday's employment report to show job losses in October in the order
of 10,000, a sharp reversal of the 107,000 new jobs created in September.
"We expect a partial reversal of the extraordinary gain amid mounting business caution and
renewed declines in manufacturing payrolls," said Douglas Porter, economist at BMO Capital
Markets.
But with unemployment being a lagging indicator, the worst could be yet to come, he warned. "If
the economy is indeed sagging into a recession, as we expect, the real job declines will emerge
in the months ahead," he said.
The bad economic news here, however, is expected to start today with the October sales report
from the auto companies.
"The preliminary dealer reports on Canadian autos sales will provide the first real hint on how the
economy performed in the heart of October's intense financial market turmoil," Porter said, noting
that early reports suggest a sharp drop in sales. That would not be surprising in light of the
reported steep drop in consumer confidence early in the month, he added.
In the U.S., the already-steep job losses are expected to have mounted dramatically last month.
"The financial hurricane, lingering effects from the Boeing strike, and upward tracking jobless
claims suggest employment losses accelerated in October," said Sal Guatieri, another economist
at BMO, which is projecting a whopping 200,000 jobs were lost in the month.
Americans, at least, will get some comfort from the distraction of their presidential election
Tuesday, although any improvements in their economy resulting from what polls suggest will be a
Democratic victory will be sometime down the road.
Here, along with the auto report, the week begins with federal and provincial finance ministers
meeting in Toronto on Monday to find ways of minimizing the effects on Canadians -- and on their
own government finances -- of what many analysts, including the Bank of Canada, now project
will be a U.S.-led global recession.
The gathering, however, could turn nasty with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty having given notice
in the past week that he plans to rein in the growth in equalization payments to the poorer
provinces. The warning was surprising in that it followed his vow that he would not protect federal
finances on the backs of the provincial governments, which he charged the former federal Liberal
government of doing.
With the economic slump and financial turmoil having gone global, analysts here will also be
keeping an eye on the actions of overseas central banks, with the Bank of England, the European
Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia all expected to cut interest rates in the coming
week, and by at least half a percentage point, as they try to keep their economies from plunging
into deep recessions.
Justice initiatives will boost system
The Calgary Herald
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A10
Section: The Editorial Page
Source: Calgary Herald
The wheels of justice require many spokes turning together in order for the system to work. A
wide number of agencies -- police, Crown prosecutors, the courts, prison authorities and
probation officers -- collectively try, convict the guilty, help them stop reoffending and ultimately
protect the innocent.
In the wider context of reform, a move by the federal Conservatives to back away from some 12
of their earlier key, tough-on-crime initiatives, is neither unusual nor indicative of a softer
approach.
Recent news reports questioning the party's 2008 platform, which contains just 12 promises on
the justice file, suggest a shift in priority. Still, it would be wrong to conclude the government is
abandoning crime and punishment issues. Rather, the platform likely reflects enormous strides
the Tories have made in fully or partially implementing two thirds of their 2006 crime agenda.
Among the achievements pushed through a minority Parliament were raising the age of consent
from 14 to 16, mandatory sentences for those convicted of serious gun crimes, and tougher laws
to keep the most dangerous repeat offenders behind bars for life.
The government also introduced a reverse-onus for the accused when seeking bail on serious
charges involving guns. This is important because it helps local police keep gang members off
the streets and bust up organized, drug-related crime, currently wreaking violence on cities like
Calgary.
The promises the government has stepped away from are ones most likely to have little chance
of surviving constitutional challenges. For example, eliminating "artistic merit" as a defence for
child pornography. The Supreme Court has solidified its position as generously tolerant with
artistic merit as a defence. Why bother fighting to implement measurers that can't be won?
Instead, the federal government should focus its energies on achieving the achievable, thereby
bringing about true reform.
Creative initiatives abound. The Alberta government has recently launched a first-of-its-kind
program in Canada to target repeat offenders of property crimes. The idea is to intervene early,
before such offenders escalate their crimes against people, as is so often the progression.
The initiative will target 60 of the province's known 250 serious, repeat offenders. Should they re-
enter the system, a criminal history of their past will be ready for Crown prosecutors to use when
contemplating bail. Key to the program will be the services, support and supervision offered to
those who want to turn their lives around, should they choose to do so.
This is the sort of project the feds could easily support. Prosecutors gain the tools to do their jobs
and keep those who fail to reform behind bars. Those who want a second chance are given an
opportunity to turn their lives around, with the best possible chance for success.
Crime and justice continue to be a public priority. One need look no further than the reaction to
recent court rulings, whereby judges upheld the rights of prisoners in mind-boggling cases of
scandalous entitlement. It's enough to make anyone lose faith in the system.
Federal Court Judge Leonard Mandamin awarded $2,500 to a repeat rapist and murderer, Muri
Peace Chilton, because he said his ego was hurt after guards laughed when he hurt his thumb in
the prison workshop. Serial killer Gregory McMaster won $6,000 because he had to wait an extra
six months for his $125 designer running shoes.
Prisoner entitlement is so strong, two B.C. drug dealers serving time in the U.S. had the nerve to
sue Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day because he refused the grant their transfers to domestic
prisons.
There are many layers in the system, intricately working with various levels of governments and
ministries to achieve the same goals of justice. While those wheels of justice may seem to turn
slowly, with strong political leadership at the axis, reform will surely roll along.
$80 million Saskatchewan land settlement goes to 3 native bands;
'We have to do it right,' chief says on investing money to benefit
recipients
The Edmonton Journal
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A3
Section: News
Byline: Jason Warick
Dateline: SASKATOON
Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix; Canwest News Service
SASKATOON - Three Saskatchewan First Nations are about to receive a land claim settlement of
nearly $80 million.
It is one of the largest of its kind in Saskatchewan history.
The Cote, Key and Keeseekoose First Nations, located in east-central Saskatchewan, will
together receive a total of $78.2 million for the 12,800 acres known as the Pelly Haylands, which
were taken from them in 1899 and 1905.
The settlement, which has been in negotiation since 2000, will see the federal government pay
the bands $73.5 million for the land claim and another $4.8 million for its research, negotiation
and ratification costs.
"It's been a long wait. I'm glad it's done. It means a better future for our people," Cote Chief
Norman Whitehawk said Sunday.
"I feel the settlement was fair. This will go a long ways."
The bulk of the settlement goes to land purchases and other economic development.
On Tuesday, the bands will begin to distribute roughly $1,500 to each of the bands' on and off-
reserve members, which total roughly 5,000 people.
Whitehawk said it's important to invest the money wisely.
"We only have one kick at the can. We have to do it right," he said.
In addition to re-acquiring the Pelly Haylands, the band is also considering investing in
commercial land in such cities as Yorkton, Regina or Saskatoon.
"We have to look outside our borders," Whitehawk said.
He credited former chief James Severight and others such as Tony Cote for working hard to get a
fair settlement for the bands.
Band officials will travel through Western Canada in the coming days too get input from off-
reserve members about how to invest the settlement.
The bands and federal government had agreed to the conditions of the settlement a few years
ago, but the payout was held up by a lawsuit, which was recently dismissed.
In 1891, the federal government set aside land known as the Pelly Haylands for the use of the
three bands. However, in 1899 and again in 1905, the land was taken away.
In Saskatchewan, 40 specific claims from bands are "under review." Another 16 have reached the
next stage and are being negotiated.
Fourteen are in the hands of the Indian Specific Claims Commission, which resolves differences
once the two sides reach an impasse.
Some relief at the pumps
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 2
Section: News
Byline: BY TAMAS VIRAG, SUN MEDIA
Now might be a good time to fill 'er up.
Gas prices have hit their lowest point in more than 18 months, dipping below 90-cents a litre at
some city stations yesterday.
"It certainly makes it easier on the pocketbook, that's for sure," Bruce Forsyth said happily as he
filled up his 1995 Mazda Protege with 90.4-cent per litre gas at an Esso station on Whyte Avenue
yesterday afternoon.
"I was surprised," he added. "I wasn't counting on prices dropping this quickly."
A few pumps down, Karen Waggoner was equally glad to see the prices at the pump, which
haven't been this low since March 2007, according to Edmontongasprices.com.
"I fill up as soon as I see a good price," Waggoner said, standing next to her 2002 Honda Accord,
but added the lower prices have not tempted her to hop in her car more often.
"I drive the same, but less anxiously," she said with a laugh.
Around the country, the price of gas has mirrored the downhill trek crude oil has been taking from
its summertime high of nearly $150 US a barrel to below $70.
Edmontonians were shelling out nearly $1.40 per litre of gas in September.
Yesterday, gas prices in the city were reported as low as 87.9-cents a litre, with the average
sitting around 93 cents.
According to Gasbuddy.com, this puts Edmonton fourth on the list of lowest gas prices in
Canada, ranking just behind Hamilton, London and Toronto, all of which are about two cents a
litre cheaper.
The national average last night was 99.2-cents a litre, but provincial averages varied nearly 20
cents.
Ontario's gas was the cheapest at a little less than 93.3-cents a litre, while those in Newfoundland
and Labrador had to shell out almost $1.09 a litre.
Despite the recent trend of seeing gas prices drop every couple of days, some are fearing this
might be short-lived.
"I never thought it would come down," Dennis White said, topping off the tank of his Jeep Liberty.
"I expect it to go right back up."
Citizens urged to turn in bombing suspects
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 6
Section: News
Byline: BY RENATO GANDIA, SUN MEDIA
Dateline: CALGARY
Officials of a small northeastern B.C. city want citizens to turn in culprits responsible for the third
bombing of Calgary-based EnCana Corp. pipeline, which sent locals fearing for their safety.
Mounties say the bombers are either Dawson Creek-area residents or people familiar with
sensitive infrastructures in the oil and gas industry.
"We certainly would like (citizens) to turn in the suspects," Coun. Alvin Stedel said yesterday.
Dawson Creek city council is slated to meet today to discuss the recent violent attack. Stedel
says he expects officials will encourage people to report to police any suspicious activity in the
area.
The natural gas wellhead explosion at a site 12 km northwest of Tomslake, near Dawson Creek,
was reported to police around 12:30 p.m. Friday, more than 12 hours after the blast.
"We understand that a number of people heard the blast when it occurred, but did not call police
with the information," said RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields.
Residents of Tomslake, with a population of about 1,000, are on edge, says Stedel, while
Dawson Creek citizens are apprehensive for the safety of people living near the pipeline.
EnCana crews continued to work on closing the leak yesterday, said company spokesman Rhona
DelFrari.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 1-866-994-7473.
Canada might join security project
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 6
Section: News
Byline: BY STEVE RENNIE, CP
Dateline: OTTAWA
Canada might join a new, U.S.-led effort to gather and share intelligence about threats to energy
and environmental security, a newly released document shows.
The project, spearheaded by the U.S. Energy Department's intelligence and counterintelligence
unit, is billed as a "radically different" way of understanding security matters.
The Energy and Environmental Security Ecosystem, or EESE, will include a members-only
website for governments, industry and experts to swap information and make contacts. There
might also be face-to-face meetings.
The project, to be launched next year, is meant to improve understanding of the security
implications of energy and environmental issues, says the website's architect.
"The whole purpose of the site is to create an online space that fosters discussions,
conversations, collaborations at the nexus of energy, environment and national security," said
Ashish Soni of the University of Southern California.
"Let's say there's something happening in Latin America. Some huge environmental story or
some big shift in some energy futures, energy prices or a shortage of energy in some way.
"The notion is to bring that information to the surface and get people informed and made aware of
what's going on across the world."
Canada dispatched officials to Herndon, Va., in May for meetings to discuss the project, a report
from Natural Resources Canada shows.
A summary of the May 15-16 meetings identified energy and environmental security as weak
spots for Canada.
"In most intelligence communities around the world, this area -- and particularly the environmental
focus -- is not yet considered relevant within the dominant national security paradigm," it says.
The Canadian Press obtained the NRCan report under the Access to Information Act.
Political instability in some energy-producing nations, the manipulation of energy supplies,
competition for scarce resources including food and water, attacks on pipelines and
infrastructure, natural disasters and accidents all pose threats to global energy and environmental
security.
Uneven distribution among countries of energy supplies, such as oil and natural gas, also
heightens the risk for resource-rich nations like Canada as the world's energy needs grow.
Provinces meet over ailing economy
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 14
Section: News
Byline: BY JULIAN BELTRAME, CP
Dateline: OTTAWA
It couldn't be done in good times, but the prospect of impending bad times is being cited as the
best opportunity for breaking the ideological logjam that has characterized inter-provincial
negotiations on the economy.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his provincial counterparts meet today for the first time since
the federal election - and, more importantly, since the October collapse in financial and equity
markets - with a full agenda of troubles to tackle.
And although no one is making concessions going in, officials and other observers say the
chances of movement, while still slight, are better than at previous such meetings.
The meeting is the first in a series that culminates with a summit of the 20 leading economies in
Washington on Nov. 15 and include a meeting on the economy between Prime Minister Stephen
Harper and the provincial premiers in Ottawa next Monday.
The meetings come as the global and Canadian economies edge towards recession, joining the
United States, which is already there.
Zapped man hospitalized
The Edmonton Sun
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: 16
Section: News
Byline: BY SUN MEDIA
Dateline: CALGARY
A man who was zapped by police while they were responding to a break-and-enter over the
weekend was rushed to hospital in life-threatening condition.
Police in Calgary said they found a man in the basement of the house on Saturday night, agitated
and not following commands. Officers used a Taser to subdue the suspect, but they said they
were unsuccessful. After arresting the man, police said he went into medical distress while being
assessed by EMS.
Members of the Alberta Serious Incident Team, an independent organization that reviews
incidents involving police forces in Alberta, were at the scene yesterday.
Universities eye 'painful' cuts in wake of crisis; With endowment
funds taking a beating, student aid, scholarships, hiring and
academic programs could all be on the chopping block
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A1
Section: National News
Byline: Elizabeth Church And Paul Waldie
Canadian universities could
be forced to cut student aid, scholarships and funding for various programs as early as next
spring because of multimillion-dollar losses in their investment holdings.
The recent freefall of financial markets, coupled with a wait-and-see attitude of donors, has
campus leaders across the country preparing for the worst and hoping for
a quick recovery.
Some, such as the University of Waterloo, have already taken action, freezing most hiring for the
next six months. Others, including the University of Victoria, have issued notices saying they may
have to cut distributions from their endowment funds, which pay for scholarships and research
chairs.
Stock markets around the world are down more than 30 per cent this year and dropped roughly
17 per cent last month alone. That has cost universities hundreds of millions of dollars because
on average more than half of their endowment and pension funds are invested in financial
markets.
"We are down big time in terms of the market value of our endowment fund," said David Mitchell,
vice-principal of advancement at Queen's University in Kingston. At the end of September -
before the worst of the market woes - Queen's had lost more than $100-million in its endowment,
which had fallen to $550.6-million from $658.2-million.
Gary Brewer, York University's vice-president of finance, said the school's $300-million
endowment fund has lost roughly $45-million this year, and its $1. 3-billion pension fund is down
nearly $200-
million.
"These are substantial numbers and the implications on our operating budget could be significant
and could be directly felt in short order," Mr. Brewer said.
He said the university is also dealing with a roughly $44-million deficit in its pension plan.
Others are facing similar losses. U Vic's $150-million endowment was down about 9 per cent at
the end of September. Dalhousie University's is down roughly $30-million to $320-million, and the
University of Toronto lost nearly 9 per cent during the third quarter on its $5.5-billion pension and
endowment funds. For most schools, those losses came on top of weak investment performance
last year.
"Obviously it's painful," said Colin Spinney, treasurer of Dalhousie. The university is just
beginning its budget planning for next year and Mr. Spinney said the investment losses could
have an impact on spending. But like other university officials, he stressed the school invests for
the long term.
William Moriarty, the chief executive of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corp., which
oversees the university's endowment and pension funds, said in a recent campus-wide notice
that managing the portfolio "continues to be a challenging task." He noted that the fund has
performed better than the overall market and said "patience continues to be required."
Endowments are built from contributions by donors. The capital is invested and the income is
distributed annually to fund scholarships or endowed chairs. University endowments typically
contain hundreds of individual funds created by donors over the years for specific purposes.
Canadian universities hold an estimated $11-billion in endowment funds.
Many universities managed to build buffers in their endowments because stock- market returns
had been strong prior to 2007. But in most cases those buffers have largely been wiped out.
The investment losses compound an already difficult financial climate. Government funding and
tuition-fee increases have not kept pace with operating costs, and some universities have already
been cutting costs.
"We are planning next year's situation with really many, many unknowns," said Amit Chakma,
provost of the University of Waterloo, which plans to hold a town hall next week with faculty and
staff to explain its response to the worsening economic climate.
Dr. Chakma said Waterloo is hoping to generate more income from expanded graduate programs
and an increased number of foreign students, and will benefit from having had $75-million in new
donations in its endowment fund that had not been invested when the market crashed. Still, he
said it is "highly unlikely" that the fund will be able to pay out the same amount that it did this
year.
Sagging stock markets have also left potential donors on the sidelines. The elimination of the
capital-gains tax on donations of publicly traded securities in 2006 generated a flood of giving last
year. But with markets down, many donors are holding off or asking to renegotiate earlier
pledges.
"The stock-market situation has had a huge impact," said Marc Weinstein, McGill University's
vice-principal of development and alumni relations. "It's creating a bit of a psychology around
giving in general."
Mr. Weinstein said he remains "cautiously optimistic" that donors will come forward. The
university launched a $750-million fundraising campaign a year ago and has raised $443-million
so far that included three multimillion-dollar gifts last summer.
"It takes some of the feel-good out of it if you are donating stocks that have lost money," said
Doug Nelson, the chief development officer at the University of Alberta.
Roger Trull, vice-president of advancement at McMaster University, said the school has heard
from a lot of potential donors in the past three weeks that they would prefer to wait.
Campus leaders caution that, despite the dramatic growth in endowments over the past decade,
the income they generate represents a small portion of overall university budgets. At the same
time, they describe that money as key in attracting top students and faculty.
"This is about the margin of excellence," said Peter Smailes, treasurer of the University of British
Columbia. "It is about adding to what we already have. "
***
Endowment facts
Endowments are charitable funds in which the capital is invested and the income distributed
annually.
They are used to provide stable, long-term - sometimes perpetual - income. They can fund a
school's general mission or be used for specific purposes, such as a scholarship or a faculty
position, usually called an endowed chair.
Over the past decade, Canadian universities have stepped up the pace of their fundraising,
building up larger and larger investments to help attract top professors, fund scholarships and
provide financial aid to students. During this time, there also has been a growing trend for donors
to give money for a specific use, making it more difficult to redistribute income from endowment
funds when returns fall.
The average university endowment had just over half of its funds invested in the equity market at
the end of last year, according to the Canadian Association of University Business Officers. The
mix of assets varies, depending on the size of the endowment and the institution's tolerance for
risk.
Endowment-fund holdings can include publicly traded stocks (Canadian and international), bonds
and alternative investments such as hedge funds, private equity and real estate.
As of Dec. 31, 2007, Canadian universities held close to $11-billion in endowment funds.
Elizabeth Church
***
Top dollar
Canadian universities have stepped up their fundraising efforts in recent years. Here are the top
endowment funds at the end of last year.
Assets $ millions
1 Toronto 2,111.1
2 UBC 1,072.7
3 McGill 908.8
4 Alberta 746.2
5 Queen's 658.2
6 McMaster 434.0
7 Calgary 418.7
8 Manitoba 365.9
9 Dalhousie 349.5
10 Western Ontario 313.8
11 York 294.4
12 Carleton 238.0
13 Simon Fraser 221.1
14 Victoria (U. of T.) 220.3
15 Saskatchewan 191.7
16 Waterloo 172.5
17 Guelph 170.9
18 Victoria (B.C.) 155.7
19 Montreal 153.6
20 New Brunswick 147.1
NOTE: FIGURES AS OF DEC. 31, 2007
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
SOURCE: CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY BUSINESS OFFICERS
Staving off deficit addiction
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A14
Section: Editorial
When Canada's federal and provincial finance ministers meet today, they should look back and
recall that Ottawa's 28-year series of budget deficits did not begin with an announcement of
grand strategy, or any inkling of how long it would last. On the contrary, in 1970, Edgar Benson,
the minister of finance, clearly situated his projected $320-million deficit in specific, passing
circumstances; it was designed to end a recession by a "moderate expansion" that would not
"rekindle the fires of inflation."
Instead, what ensued were 28 wretched years of rising taxes, squeezed social services, rusting
military equipment, current account imbalances, high interest rates and constrained sovereignty,
and a lack of resolve eventually reversed by determined, painful efforts to return to surplus, after
the deficit peaked at $42-billion in 1993-94.
That is why, as poor fiscal stewardship and worse economic circumstances are leading us to
"slip" back into deficit, we must hold governments to account from the start. We cannot wait
another two decades to get serious; we must be serious even as we stray from balanced
budgets.
Deficits are economically defensible. Balancing budgets over a medium-term cycle, as John
Maynard Keynes proposed, makes a great deal of sense. As with any orthodoxy, fiscal orthodoxy
should not trump all other considerations. Governments must balance a range of factors in setting
economic policy.
But political experience in Canada shows that one deficit leads to another and another. It
becomes easy for a minority government with a short shelf life, or ministers with short tenures
(Pierre Trudeau's average was one finance minister per 2.5 years), to leave to their successors
the problem of returning to balance.
Canadians governments have squandered the surplus. They did not build enough shelter for
rainy days. Cautious economic assumptions have been set aside, and the Harper government
abandoned a $3-billion contingency fund. If federal taxation policy and spending patterns had
been frozen as of 2000, there would be a $60-billion operating surplus today; that would have
been overdoing it, but a rather smaller but still comfortable cushion would have served the
country well.
The federal government has a duty to set out for Canadians the circumstances under which it
considers a deficit acceptable, the circumstances in which it would return to a balanced budget,
and the guidelines and protections it would then put in place to maintain surpluses.
So far, much of the Harper government's talk about fiscal management has been wishful thinking.
At times, it has posed as an innocent bystander. The government won re-election on its claim to
strong leadership, and should now act to show that strength.
A recession, if one is coming, is no time to cut spending or raise taxes. A deficit, though it could
have been avoided, may now be inevitable.
The finance ministers should commence work now on a policy framework rooted in principle, not
on reacting to events as they arise. In recent generations, Canadians have suffered more than
enough from haphazard fiscal management.
In these economic hard times, divided we fall
The Globe and Mail
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: B2
Section: Report On Business: Canadian
Byline: Judith Maxwell
Source: Judith Maxwell is the former head of the Economic Council of
Canada and the Canadian Policy Research Networks
Stephen Harper and his Conservatives can once again call themselves "Canada's new
government." But to govern in hard times, they will need to adopt a different style from what we
have seen in their first term in office.
First, Ottawa has to find a way to co-ordinate action with the provinces and territories, just as
leaders of the industrialized countries have had to co- ordinate actions in recent weeks, despite
their natural tendency to do their own thing. Second, policy makers must be wary of deeply held
views about the role of government. As U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson discovered, such
views can lead to serious policy errors.
Mr. Harper's old style of government put the provinces and territories in a separate compartment
from the federal government. His main way of dealing with issues that spilled from the federal to
the provincial compartment was to send the province a cheque. Meetings involving heads of
government were rare, short and poorly planned. No attempt was made at problem solving.
Previous governments invested more effort but too often got bogged down by a long history of
mistrust and one-upmanship.
In economic hard times, failure to work together will be intolerable. The reason we have a
federation is that Ottawa and the provinces share the same economic and political space. And a
key function of federalism is to pool risks when the going gets rough.
All the regions of the country are vulnerable in this downturn. The Canadian economy, taken as a
whole, is diversified. But we have a lot of one-industry provinces: forestry in British Columbia,
autos in Ontario, oil and gas in Alberta and, increasingly, Saskatchewan. When all these
industries face a downturn at the same time, sharing risk becomes a bigger challenge.
In past recessions, governments could count on the "automatic stabilizers" built into tax and
spending policies to moderate the impact of recession on people and regions. But two of the most
important federal automatic stabilizers - equalization and employment insurance - are broken.
And in both cases, the compartments are not watertight - they spill over, big time, to the provinces
and territories.
Look at the equalization system used to raise the tax revenue per capita of the poorest provinces
to a common standard based on the 10-province average. TD Economics forecasts that Ontario
will become a poor province by that standard in 2009, and thus become eligible for equalization
payments. Since more than one-third of federal revenues come from Ontario taxpayers, they will
be paying a big chunk of the bill. How sustainable is that?
And look at the Employment Insurance system. It used to provide a minimum income to about 80
per cent of the unemployed, but in 2004, only 44 per cent were eligible. The fact is that large
numbers of unemployed will have no income protection in this slowdown. (The most vulnerable
are the people in the insecure jobs in retail trade, food and accommodation, which are
concentrated in the cities.) The rules are now so twisted that only 22 per cent of the unemployed
people in Toronto and Ottawa are receiving benefits.
If the unemployed can't get EI from Ottawa, their only choice is to apply for provincial social
assistance. But they can only access social assistance if they have assets of less than $5,000.
(That's in Ontario; the limits vary by province.) Since many will be poor enough to qualify for
social assistance, provincial spending will increase.
With these two policy instruments impaired, and the world economy heading into a slowdown,
federal and provincial governments will have to find new ways to moderate economic hardship.
This challenge cannot be met if governments work on their own.
The first priority then is to abandon the infrequent and unproductive dinners at the Prime
Minister's residence and establish a regular forum for constructive engagement among 13
governments whose job is to serve Canadians in good times and hard times.
That regular forum should involve heads of government, but should be supported by regular
meetings of other ministers, especially finance ministers and social services ministers.
It has to be a place where governments can establish a common understanding on the state of
the economy and society and make a genuine effort to solve problems rather than hand out
Band-Aids. Above all, they should give each other advance notice of planned actions.
It will take time to fix equalization and EI. In the meantime, they can begin a series of strategic
investments that will help the country to achieve longer-term goals.
For example:
Get ready for the next oil price shock through investments in energy conservation, a national
energy grid and renewable energy.
Use the downturn in construction to build affordable housing.
Create career options for recent graduates and new immigrants to help them gain useful work
experience now and to avoid severe labour shortages down the road.
The Prime Minister and the premiers are now scheduled to meet on Nov. 10 to discuss the
turbulent economic situation. It's up to the Prime Minister to use that occasion to initiate more
constructive engagement with his colleagues. They can begin by setting the ground rules to make
federalism work better in a period of hard times.
Debate Over Judges' Probe Role Revived; Think twice about
appointments analysts say
National Post
Mon 03 Nov 2008
Page: A4
Section: Canada
Byline: Janice Tibbetts
Dateline: OTTAWA
Source: Canwest News Service
OTTAWA - A string of controversies with public inquiries -- the resignation of the head of the
Indian residential schools probe; a rebuke by the Federal Court of the judge who led the federal
sponsorship inquiry; the halting of an inquiry into an alleged pedophile ring because it dragged on
too long -- has revived debate over the appropriateness of judges accepting such inquiry
appointments.
With the recent scandal and intrigue beating down Canada's passion for public probes, legal
experts are questioning the role sitting judges should take in high-profile inquiries, particularly
when they risk being dragged into the political realm.
"There are clearly examples, with the wisdom of hindsight, it might have been better if the judge
had simply said no," said Manitoba Chief Justice Richard Scott, who is head of the conduct
committee for the Canadian Judicial Council.
The recent resignation of Justice Harry LaForme as head of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission on abuse at Indian residential schools should serve as a wake-up call for judges to
think twice before agreeing to take part in government-sponsored probes, say legal analysts.
Judge LaForme quit suddenly after citing "incurable structural defects" and the "paralyzing
conduct" of the other two commissioners, whom he denounced for not respecting his authority.
He also expressed fear last summer that the commission was too closely tied to government and
that the other commissioners were influenced by the Assembly of First Nations, an accusation the
group, which represents Indian chiefs, denies.
Chief Justice Scott, while refusing to cite specific examples of inquiries gone wrong, hinted Judge
LaForme would have been better off to decline the five-year appointment, a position he accepted
six months ago that put him on leave from the Ontario Court of Appeal.
"We need to be so careful about whether we say yes or no," said Chief Justice Scott. "It's a little
hard to back away and say 'Gee, the heat's a little too hot in the kitchen, I think I'll leave when
you're six months or a year into the process.'"
Judge LaForme's departure came only months after a Federal Court judge gave Justice John
Gomery a stern dressing down, ruling he was biased against former prime minister Jean Chretien
in a report on the federal sponsorship probe in Quebec. Judge Gomery retired almost two years
after he issued his November 2005 report.
Adam Dodek, a University of Ottawa law professor, said the sponsorship inquiry, called to probe
misspent millions in federal money earmarked to raise the federal profile in Quebec, was a prime
example of the type of inquiries that sitting judges should avoid.
"The problem I have is there is this idea that governments use judges to cast a cloak of
independence and depoliticize hot political issue," said Mr. Dodek. "Sometimes a judge pulls it off
... and sometimes a judges makes it worse and I think that's Judge Gomery."
In Canada, almost all public inquiries are chaired by sitting judges, unlike Britain, the United
States, and Australia. In Australia's Victoria state, for instance, judges refuse to serve on the
grounds it is not their job and they must avoid issues that might later come before them in court.
It is tradition in Canada for judges, with their reputation for independence and impartiality, to head
commissions because the job is often closely aligned to what they do on the bench -- hearing
evidence and drawing conclusions based on testimony.
Many judges accept appointments because they are public servants and they feel a duty to serve,
said Chief Justice Scott, adding there are plenty of examples of successful inquiries where the
judge's findings have made a significant contribution to public policy.
The gold standards include the Walkerton inquiry into tainted waterand the recently concluded
inquiry into Ontario's scandal-plagued pediatric forensic pathology system.
Another ongoing inquiry, however, has been marked by disarray and delay -- Justice Normand
Glaude's probe into an alleged pedophile ring in Cornwall, Ont. The Ontario government recently
ordered the inquiry to shut down in the new year and told Judge Glaude to produce a report by
July, 2009.
A Canadian Judicial Council protocol requires judges to consider whether the inquiry is
"essentially partisan in nature" before accepting an appointment.
"The closer you get into getting into the political arena, the more cautious judges should be,"
warned Chief Justice Scott.
Retired judges, on the other hand, are a natural choice to lead inquiries and commissions
because they do not have to return to the bench afterwards, he said.

				
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