Brothers in Weyburn

Then this:

The so called Temporary Foreign Workers program is little better than indentured servitude. That’s a form of slavery, where the employer holds an unreasonable level of power over their workers, so the workers will not stand up for their human rights.

Ask yourself it’s a coincidence that the people in Weyburn as TFWs stayed on the job after the “restructuring”, but the long term, Canadian, employees were unable to for whatever reason(s). The reason(s) made them so embittered, they contacted the media to shame their former bosses, ending any hope of going back to work for them.

P.S. I’m hoping for a better, feel-good story out of Weyburn soon to counteract the complete nonsense it’s putting out lately.

ADDED: You can’t believe what Jason Kenney says, he’s a liar. RBC never faced fraud charges for their TFW nonsense.

Flaherty Dies, Canada’s Contemptible Finance Minister

Most people are quite cautious about what they say, but a few people have said to me, ‘Do you have cancer? … What’s going on? Are you going to die?’ That kind of thing,” he told the Globe. “And, obviously, I am not. I mean, I will die eventually, but not over a dermatological issue.” – Flaherty 2013

“The treatment involved taking a strong steroid called prednisone, which is often accompanied by serious side-effects.”
It’s always unfortunate when a human being has health problems. I too have had to take steroids for a serious allergy.

Flaherty said in his [resignation] statement that he is “on the road to a full recovery” and that his departure from politics is “not related in any way” to his health.

Unfortunately for Mr. Flaherty, he was as bad at predicting his future health as he was at managing and predicting Canada’s economy. “[March 2008 budget] will also protect the fiscal framework from a Private Member’s bill that risks plunging the federal government back into deficit.”

Canada’s former Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, died suddenly today of a heart attack. He was the only Finance Minister of the Commonwealth countries, to have been in office while his government was found in Contempt of Parliament (for hiding financial information).

The second ruling found the Cabinet could possibly be in contempt of Parliament for not meeting Opposition members’ requests for details of proposed bills and their cost estimates, an issue which had “been dragging on since the fall of 2010.”[4][7]

Concerning the Speaker’s second ruling, on March 21, 2011, the committee tabled a report[9] that found the Government of Canada in contempt of Parliament.[7] As such, a motion of no confidence was introduced in the House.[10] On March 25, 2011, Members of Parliament voted on this motion, declaring a lack of confidence by a vote of 156 to 145 and forcing an election.[11][12] The contempt finding is unique in Canadian history. In a wider context, it is the first time that a government in the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations has been found in contempt of Parliament.[13][14]

For those who say I’m being too harsh, “a man has just died”, might I note that I didn’t know this man, and in most Canadians’ case, neither did they. He was a figurehead of a very deceitful and disastrous government for our country. He presided over actions that were ruled in contempt of the Canadian people’s representatives, why should we the Canadian people not hold him in similar regard? I do not feel sympathy for Flaherty, only his family. Why should I pretend otherwise? The chances of his family surfing along and finding my unkind words this year are negligible, and if I’ve managed to offend one of his friends, I’ll note that you should have picked better friends. (Fun Fact: Flaherty picked Rob Ford as a friend.)

“Canada would not be where it is today without Jim Flaherty,” said Ford. “

Could there be a more damning epitaph?

Continue reading

Bitcoins – Where to Start?

Someone recently asked me (okay, multiple people did) where to start to learn about getting Bitcoins?
You can start here at my blog, now. A better place to look will be at one of the links below in my 15 minute introduction. Don’t put off learning, it’s the Napster of the financial world, it will change how we do banking, like Napster changed how we get and share music.

You could download the bitcoin.org client first. It’s an easy install, it’s where I began, but stalled out… 2 years ago. What’s easier I think is getting a wallet at blockchain.info instead. Make a secure password 6 words long with punctuation. Write it down, and put the password in a safe place like cash! Maybe with your insurance papers, your will, or your passport. If you croak, your family will need this password to get access to your bitcoins.

Once you have a wallet (your Bitcoin address), share it with someone who has bitcoin so they can send you some in exchange for something.

To learn how to mine bitcoins, start out trying to mine litecoins first, they are basically the same technology, so learn once, and the skill works both they basically use the same programs. minerd, cgminer, cudaminer are example program names you may use. minerd is obsolete, used for CPU mining. CUDAminer is for computers with NVidia graphics processing units (GPUs), and cgminer is specialized for ATI Radeon GPUs. You can start each of them with a .bat (batch) file with the website address of a group or “pool” of other miners like you.

It’s hard to explain any more by typing a short guide, but that should keep you busy for 15 minutes, and give you a starting point.

Also follow @jkozan and @jeffcliff1 for local & Canadian crypto-currency updates on Twitter.


If you liked this beginners guide, Bitcoin tips would be appreciated at this wallet address:
17ypGH6vUrowdyvUthgQ87wzdq9d8egQta

Valentine’s Day’s Dirty Chocolate Secret

While you’re stocking up on chocolate, as the stores fill with it for Easter and Valentine’s Day, consider only treating yourself and others if the candy is labeled Fair-Trade. Fair-Trade chocolates come where the supply chain has been verified to be ethically providing a living wage for the workers growing and harvesting the plants critical to the production of cocoa.

Only a decade ago, human rights orgs were warning that a large portion of our chocolate is the result of child slavery.
This is from 3 years ago:

Many people admire Abraham Lincoln for his effort to free slaves in the American south. Sadly, the opportunity to free people from slavery has not passed away with the 19th century. You can be a hero, and contribute to the freeing of modern-day slaves. Eat less slave-chocolate, and reward fair-trade chocolate producers even though the price you pay is higher.

Conservatives Are Not Responsible

Conservatives are not responsible for your neighbour’s children. Your neighbour’s children will be paying off debts incurred by Conservative Ministers, however. Conservatives only feel responsible for your neighbour’s children when they street race, have sex, use drugs, or are bullied. Full bellies are definitely not their responsibility, unless it’s unsafe meat. Why don’t hungry children benefit from the government’s “rigor” to “meet consumers expectations”? Are hungry children not “consumers”?

some great results

One in seven children or about 121,000 kids in British Columbia were found to be living in poverty in 2008.

The poverty rate among B.C. children below the age of six during that year was 19.6 percent. This means that one in five in this age category didn’t have enough to lead decent lives.

That was in 2010. The rate is comparable to the USA at the time.

Now the rate is 1% less, at 18.6%. That’s ‘some result’, not ‘some great results’. Maybe Moore, discounting child poverty entirely in his estimation because it means little to him personally, meant “great” in the sense that it’s the greatest (highest) rate in the country?

The authors of the 2013 Child Poverty Report Card used the most recent economic data available from Statistics Canada to issue their “dismal” findings for British Columbia.

First Call says the number of poor children in B.C. in 2011 was 153,000 – enough to fill the Vancouver Canucks’ stadium more than eight times.

“The child poverty rate rose from 14.3 per cent in 2010 to 18.6 per cent in 2011,” said the report, which used the agency’s low-income cutoffs before tax as a measure of poverty.

A common liar not shown here, who frequents Twitter, started berating National Newswatch.


I think we’ve sufficiently determined that Moore and the Conservative Party doesn’t feel responsible for poverty, it thinks the provinces are responsible. If you go to your local city council, in Regina they’ll say the province is responsible for homelessness issues. Clearly the buck stops at your provincial legislature?

Except child poverty on federally funded reserves is not a provincial jurisdiction. Try another talking point, Moore.

ADDED: Dave and RossK have more.
I too thought Moore was maybe not among the worst of the HarperCons.

Where Canada Is Going

It’s very important to Canada’s economy that we send a resource (we can’t use without killing the planet) to Communist China so their economy can continue to pollute at record pace as they ship unneeded goods to the United States and Canada so we can bury them in our landfills when we aren’t burning them to create electricity to power our other throw-away devices.

*whew*

Rogue PM

Rogue PM

I’ve predicted for a year or so that the power brokers in Ottawa will soon sense that Harper isn’t their meal ticket any longer and jump bandwagons to Trudeau because they are not loyal to the toxic CPC brand, they are loyal only to power and those who hold it for the immediate future.

This includes many in the Main Stream Media too, by the way. Watch for increasing reluctance to handle Harper with kid gloves, and a fawning honeymoon for Trudeau that lasts well past the next election. The good news is Sun News won’t be able to convince its viewers that it is now loyal to the Liberals when that power shift comes, so it will take a bigger nose-dive than Harper as his head hid in the sand this past week.


Hat tips to Mark H. and Nadine L. for the image idea.

To Vote, Or To Resolve Change

I noticed maybe a month ago that this Brand guy had a brain, and it’s a good one.

Paxman: “You’re not going to solve world problems by facetiousness.”
Brand: “We’re not going to solve them with the current system! At least facetiousness is funny.”


To detract from Brand’s point, there is still value in democratic elections, and voting. Where it’s lost value, is in races where consent to power by the majority is not really granted by anything other than their staggering ignorance of the issues and the candidates’ stances on them.

Homeless Outreach

Carmichael Outreach sent me a press release. I like to pass those along for interesting events, so here it is. {I was also tickled that a little ol’ blogger like me got this release along with the city’s print, radio, and TV media.}

Please find attached a Media Advisory for the upcoming CRU/Carmichael Research Report Release to be held at Carmichael Outreach on World Homelessness Day (Oct. 10th). The report is focused on Canadian solutions for housing that can be interjected into the dialogue of Regina’s housing crisis.

Media Advisory

Release of the Research Report
“Homelessness in Regina: Current Situation and Solutions from Other Communities”
A Community-Based Research Project
funded by the Community Research Unit of the University of Regina
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Carmichael Outreach, 1925 Osler Street, Regina

As part of World Homelessness Day, Carmichael Outreach is releasing a research report entitled “Homelessness in Regina: Current Situation and Solutions from Other Communities” conducted by Nicolina Vracar and funded by the Community Research Unit at the University of Regina for Carmichael Outreach.

Carmichael Outreach continues to have difficulty finding and maintaining housing for hard-to-house, high-needs clients. The currently employed treatment model for mental health and addiction leaves many clients caught in a cycle of blacklisting, and scrambling to find housing. Housing First has been employed as a new strategy for treatment, with tremendous success in many locales across Canada that share similar “homelessness contexts”, where clients are provided housing as a right, instead of having to earn it as a privilege.
We hope this report will stimulate new strategies for treating chronic addiction and mental health that respect and uphold individual’s humanity and dignity.

Thank you,

Tyler Gray B.H.J.
Housing Support Coordinator
Carmichael Outreach Inc.
1925 Osler Street
Regina, SK S4P 1W3
Phone: 306.757.2235
Fax: 306.757.2205
www.carmichaeloutreach.org

An Irrational Mixup at SaskPower

Ten years ago, SaskPower was spending money to promote education about Climate Change.

The poster contest is an important component of our efforts to educate the public about the climate change issue. There are increasing concerns that human activity – such as the burning of coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity – contributes to climate change, which has been associated with increased risk of droughts, heat waves and storms.

Yet a decade later its CEO and President, Robert Watson, has written the Star Phoenix dismissing a good question from a Saskatoon Community Wind representative, James Glennie, to meaningfully reduce pollution. Why isn’t SaskPower investing heavily in distributed power generation from renewable sources like wind, and solar thermal and photovoltaic? Our coal-burning crown corporation last year on its website was citing a study into solar power, conducted in the year 2000, to dismiss solar as a viable commercial power generation option. It sounded suspiciously similar to Mr. Watson’s excuses given to Mr. Glennie’s good ideas. We know technology has changed significantly since 2000, not only in computers, but in solar panels and solar thermal. Saskatchewan home owners installing net metered solar arrays, now expect to make profit on their investments, in as few as ten years pay-back time.

Instead of giving ‘Can’t-Do’ excuses for why it’s more difficult to use solar and wind in Saskatchewan’s tough climate, our crown corporation’s CEO could co-opt can-do direction from Saskatchewan people, and develop renewable energy technology right here. We can sell those adaptations abroad to other places with harsh, sunny Winters. I’m also not pleased with a SaskPower VP telling me last year, there’s a high cost for “utilities in the Northern Hemisphere” to use solar. Have they not seen what Germany, Spain, Ontario, California, and other utilities in our hemisphere are investing in? Every American border station has a large solar power installation because it’s “a high cost”? I don’t think so. Judging by SaskPower’s President’s remarks in the paper, innovation and change will come from the bottom up.

Below is a re-write of Mr. Watson’s letter to the editor, which cuts through the BS.

I’d like to provide additional information on SaskPower’s plans for a power generation mix that has served to make Saskatchewan, Canada’s worst per-capita air polluter.

Unlike fossil fuel sources, which can produce power and greenhouse gas constantly, wind and solar are not sources of greenhouse gases (i.e. they don’t cause climate change) and can meet our day-to-day requirements if we change how we use electricity. We can keep fossil fuels as emergency backup only.

Wind power is intermittent and cannot be effectively stored without innovation SaskPower is not willing or able to provide. Our province’s wind conditions allow for turbines to generate electricity nearly 40 per cent of the time, which is as much time in the day as you might directly need immediate electricity. They do not produce greenhouse gas or smog, which makes them safer than coal plants. We don’t paint windmills black to naturally heat them, so when it’s too cold outside we shut them down and lose potential generation revenue.

Solar power, in various forms, is suitable for widespread generation in Saskatchewan because the technology has improved immensely and is set to become cheaper than coal within the life-span of many coal turbines already built.

SaskPower will continue to ignore innovation so it has to invest less in retraining engineers who are really good at operating coal turbines and conventional grids, but don’t seem to have a sniff about how to create a distributed smart grid of renewable energy with a fossil fuel backup system.

Now, the real, depressing letter:

A rational mix
Robert Watson, Letter to the The Starphoenix
Published: Saturday, August 31, 2013

In response to James Glennie’s letter Blown opportunity (SP, Aug. 26), I’d like to provide additional information on SaskPower’s plans for a power generation mix that will serve Saskatchewan today and into the future.

Unlike geothermal sources, which can produce power constantly, wind and solar are not sources of baseload power (i.e. stable, constant) and cannot meet our day-today requirements due to the unpredictable nature of the source.

Wind power is intermittent and cannot be effectively stored for future use. Our province’s wind conditions allow for turbines to generate electricity nearly 40 per cent of the time. They do not produce when there is too little or too much wind (for safety reasons) or it’s too cold outside.

Solar power is not suitable for large-scale generation in Saskatchewan because of its high cost and low capacity factors.

There is certainly a place for these power sources in our generation mix – Sask-Power currently has approximately 200 megawatts of wind power, enough to power 86,500 homes. By 2017, we will have doubled our wind capacity with the installation of a new facility near Chaplain and other projects with independent power producers.

Solar power is best suited for small-scale operations and SaskPower does offer programs to encourage this.

SaskPower will continue looking at every option to ensure the future includes reliable, sustainable and affordable power.

Robert Watson
SaskPower president and CEO

And here’s the letter that kicked things off:

Blown opportunity

By James Glennie, The Starphoenix August 26, 2013

I read with interest the article, Geothermal study gets SaskPower funding (SP, Aug. 20) and think it’s admirable that SaskPower is using ratepayer funds to investigate expensive new technologies such as DEEP. One might add to these costs the $1.2-billion, carbon capture scheme at Boundary Dam.

One wonders, however, whether Saskatchewan’s long-suffering ratepayers might be better served by an analysis of technologies that can achieve the same thing at much lower cost. For instance, why is $2 million being spent to investigate a technology that is

hugely expensive and buried three kilometres below the earth, when Saskatchewan has one of the best wind and solar resources in North America? No digging required and no carbon emissions.

Very detailed and highly sophisticated electrical studies have been carried out in numerous jurisdictions worldwide that show wind and solar can reliably and economically provide 25 per cent of total electricity demand on an integrated and modern electricity system. At the same time these clean, renewable technologies have minimal technological risk, enjoy overwhelming public support and can provide massive rural economic stimulus – vital for numerous small towns struggling with lack of jobs and depopulation.

Yet despite this overwhelming body of evidence SaskPower insists that wind and, one presumes, solar will never provide more than five per cent of Saskatchewan’s electricity.

Perhaps DEEP’s $2 million would have been better spent on an independent electrical study which sets out to solve the perplexing riddle of why it is that electrons behave so differently in this corner of the universe?

James Glennie

Saskatoon Community Wind

Wake Up America

From a study that reveals increased risk of death for young coffee drinkers who have 4 cups a day or more, to a man who woke up America to the deadly automobile industry’s greed, we’ve got a full morning of reading for you, here at Abandoned Stuff.

Or that’s what I would say if I was going to write any more to fill out those blurbs.

When details of GM’s investigation of Nader became public, Senator Ribicoff and others on Capitol Hill were outraged. Ribicoff, for one, announced that his subcommittee would hold hearings into the incident and that he expected “a public explanation of the alleged harassment of a Senate Committee witness…”

Ribicoff and Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin also called for a Justice Department investigation into the harassment. “No citizen of this country should be focused to endure the kind of clumsy harassment to which Mr. Nader has apparently been subjected since the publication of his book,” said Ribicoff (1966). “Anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night have no place in a free society.” Senator Gaylord Nelson had also made remarks about GM’s investigation of Nader: “This raises grave and serious questions of national significance. What are we coming to when a great and powerful corporation will engage in such unethical and scandalous activity in an effort to discredit a citizen who is a witness before a Congressional committee. If great corporations can engage in this kind of intimidation, it is an assault upon freedom in America.” Ribicoff, meanwhile, had summoned the president of General Motors to appear at the hearings, making for a dramatic showdown in the U.S. Senate.


Also check out Canadian Killer Coffee for a [tiny] bit of a laugh.