Monthly Archives: July 2008

Tax Propoganda Films

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As a marketer, I always find this kind of stuff interesting:

It’d be crazy … if it didn’t work on at least half the population.

Net Neutrality, the Wireless Auction & The Future of Canada’s Internet

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I’ve been toying with a couple of ideas related to net neutrality in Canada and I’ve developed a few that I’d like you to provide feedback on.

Basically, the background info is this:

  • Net neutrality will never exist in Canada because the ‘pipe’ is owned by Bell Canada, Rogers, Telus, etc
  • The recent wireless spectrum auction generated $4.25 billion for the people of Canada
  • The CBC is facing increased competition from companies that will have questionable Canadian ownership because of private equity deals and institutional owners

What I propose is that the official mandate of the CBC be expanded to include basic Internet services. We should be aggressive with this goal and go so far as to suggest that any Canadian should be able to get unfettered access to DSL services whenever they want without the expectation of being limited in the sites or locations that they can visit (obvious exclusions exist, including porn, gambling, etc).

The CBC has been very innovative with the delivery of some of its content, but its mandate of sharing this content with Canadians is repeatedly threatened by Canada’s telecom giants by throttling and other restrictions placed on services like BitTorrent and other P2P programs.

It’s this threat that necessitates an alternative.

The $4.25 billion generated from the wireless auction should be used to finance this pursuit. It would have two angles:

1. Develop of a ‘pipe’ to accommodate the CBC internet access.
2. Support of Canadian-made online media

With the first item, building a pipe on to the existing one (which is mostly owned and developed by Bell Canada and a number of other private ISPs) would be very impractical because you’d wind up paying more in access fees and ‘renting’ the existing infrastructure.

So … here’s a crazy idea: we contract with power utilities (most of which are publicly owned) and deliver DSL through them. Haven’t heard of Power Line Communications (PLC)? Here’s a little article with Wikipedia to whet your whistle:

Once the DSL problem is solved, any Canadian would be able to set up an account, access the Internet, without threat of speed reduction or other limitations.

Following that, the goal would be to foster and encourage Canadian content. This is easy: there are thousands of blogs, ezines and other sites out there that have never received funding but should. The only caveat: any publication, company or organization that has received Federal funding either from Heritage Canada or the CRTC for TV or print (or even online) is not eligible for new funding.

Obviously, such a program would never come to fruition if the Harper government is in charge, but maybe if we support someone that’s bold enough to pursue this initiative and spend money on Canada rather than tax breaks for non-Canadian companies, we’d all be much better off.

What are your thoughts?

I smell an election (before Nov 4)

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Barack Obama is visiting the world’s most important heads of state, including the leaders of Israel, Germany, France, England and even dropping in on countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and other smaller countries.

It’s unlikely that he’ll be paying Stephen Harper and his friends a visit any time in the near future. The near-slanderous release of comments from Conservative friends back when Obama was just a candidate for the Presidential race will back-fire on the Conservatives in a monstrous way (if they haven’t already).  When Barack is elected in November (no if in my mind – McCain has too much Bush on his hands), the conservatives will be on his hit list.

He seems like an upright person, but it’s likely that his cabinet will not have any time for Canadian politicians, unless they’re people that are hell-bent on getting rid of Harper and his gang.  It’s conceivable that he’ll implement a series of harsh penalties against the Tar Sands and bring forth a number of trade restrictions that will negatively affect the Canadian economy but protect the US.

He’ll also elevate the brand of ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ (hopefully) and will most likely offer significant indirect support for the Liberals and maybe even the NDP.  Dion and Layton would be smart to place a call or even make a summer visit to Barack when he gets back to show how chummy they are with him.  He has momentum and these other two leaders need to absorb some of that.

Of course, it’s his success that will induce a Canadian election before November 4.  The Conservatives will be spending like the Sex in the City cast at a shoe sale. In fact, there are rumours that the Harpies will announce a major spend (to the tune of $7 billion) for Ontario TODAY in a bid to shore up votes before calling an election.

The good news is that the Harpies are finally reacting to the sad state of manufacturing in Ontario.  The bad news is that it’s two years too late and the companies that they’ve given our money to in the last two budgets in the form of unprecedented tax cuts have failed to generate new dollars in the Canadian economy in any surmountable and sustainable way.  This is what happens when you cut and thrash as opposed to spend and build.

The other bad news is that Ontarians might actually fall for this switch in policy.  Jim Flaherty almost single-handedly ruined the reputation of Ontario’s manufacturing economy following his one-man assualt on the Ontario Liberals.  Constant talk about how unattractive Ontario is compared to other manufacturing areas had one effect:  it discouraged new investment.  Now he wants to bail everyone out using our money to get re-elected and it’s shameful, at best.

But to get back to the point … every day that Obama’s in power in 2009 is another day that the Conservatives will lose ground to more liberal perspectives.  I know I’m making a big leap in logic that Obama will be more liberal, but feel OK with this conclusion given that anything’s progressive compared to Bush III (McCain).

So … there will be an election in Canada before November 4.  And we’ll pay dearly for it in more tax cuts and spending promises that will only benefit a small handful and leave the rest wanting.

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 61 (Garamond on 888)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 61 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index

August 7, 2008

“If I’m guilty of one sin, it’s my love of Arithmomancy,” Garamond exclaimed to Hadlock as he swirled a glass of 18 year-old Lagavulin scotch. They were on their way from the airport to the OMNINet building and were driving over the 59th Street Bridge. The two were reclining in the back of their custom-made Mercedes limousine, stocked with booze, entertainment, and leather seats.

“Whatever you say, sir,” Hadlock whispered sarcastically under his breath. Before Garamond could ask what he had said, Simon spoke up, “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“Some say that Arithmomancy, or numerology to most other people, is akin to witchcraft, but I think God was a great fan of numbers and math because they are everywhere.”

“Do you mean ‘is’?” Hadlock suggested.

“Of course. Of course,” Garamond said, mildly acknowledging his mistake.

“Speaking of numbers, we should discuss the allocation of our deposits with the Central Banks of Indonesia and Morocco. They are quite anxious to make sure that they have taken care of all of our requirements, given that we’ve transferred the economic equivalent of about half of the world’s GDP.”

“All in good time, Simon,” Garamond interrupted. “Allow me a few moments of peace before we talk about our wealth. Allow me this moment to do my monologue, if you don’t mind.” Continue reading

Khadr Tape: The Torture of a Canadian Citizen

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After 6 years without charges, Omar Khadr is still being held in Guantanamo. We now see that he’s also being tortured and that CSIS is well in the know about how he’s being treated.

Oh, Canada: what are we doing when we let people treat other Canadians like this?

What really set me off when these tapes were released was the feedback of one person on CBC Radio: "We should give Khadr a Genie for the world-class performance that he’s pulled off". Bravo, you thoughtless, ignorant and cruel person. Unfortunately for the rest of us, you represent the views of about a third of Canada’s population.

Full video here: