Profiles in criminal Canadian bumblefuckery: Canadaland on the Ford Family

Dynasties is the latest special series from Canadaland Commons, a podcast that deeply investigates the sleazy, dysfunctional wealthy dynasties that dominate Canadian politics, media and business. Read the rest

CBC sues Canada's Conservative Party for using short debate clips in campaign materials

Canada's Conservative Party is terrible, and it has terrible policies, and it will be terrible for Canada if they are elected. I already voted against them with my mail-in ballot. That said, the CBC is 100% wrong to sue the Tories for copyright infringement over the inclusion of short debate clips in Conservative campaign websites and tweets. Read the rest

CN Tower's management company claims that any picture of the landmark building is a trademark violation

The CN Tower is a giant radio antenna and tourist attraction on Toronto's lakeshore; it's an iconic part of the city's skyline, and has been since it was built at taxpayer expense; today, it's owned by a Crown Corporation that insists that any reproduction of the Tower is a trademark violation. Read the rest

Dynasties: in-depth reporting on the wealthy, influential political and corporate families that not-so-secretly rule Canada

The latest podcast from the Canadaland network (previously) is Dynasties, wherein host Arshy Mann delves into the scandals, backroom deals, and secret string-pulling employed by the "great families" of Canada, where wealth and political power have been gathered into just a few hands, all clinging tight to that power. Read the rest

Video surfaces of Canadian Prime Minister in blackface

A day after a photo emerged of Justin Trudeau in brownface, as an Aladdin-esque genie at a 2001 party, the other shoe dropped: video of him fully blacked-up in a minstrel wig. The video dates from the 1990s.

CBC News:

The video was shot in the early 1990s, however it’s not clear where it takes place.

The video, obtained exclusively by Global News, shows Trudeau covered in what appears to be dark makeup and raising his hands in the air while laughing, sticking his tongue out and making faces. He’s wearing a white T-shirt, and his jeans are ripped at the knees. It appears as though his arms and legs are covered in makeup as well.

You can't trickle-truth when you don't control the faucet. Read the rest

Hasan Minhaj roasts Justin Trudeau on climate hypocrisy

If Vladimir Putin didn't convince you that good pecs and hair do not qualify you to govern, I give you Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime ministerial princeling whose years in office have proven that there is no policy so progressive that he will not back it -- provided he never has to do anything to make it happen. Read the rest

Critical essays (including mine) discuss Toronto's plan to let Google build a surveillance-based "smart city" along its waterfront

Sidewalk Labs is Google's sister company that sells "smart city" technology; its showcase partner is Toronto, my hometown, where it has made a creepy shitshow out of its freshman outing, from the mass resignations of its privacy advisors to the underhanded way it snuck in the right to take over most of the lakeshore without further consultations (something the company straight up lied about after they were outed). Unsurprisingly, the city, the province, the country, and the company are all being sued over the plan. Read the rest

Tour of the Universe was the best ride this 1980s kid ever took

The 1980s were a pretty sweet time to be a lower-middle class kid in Ontario. Marineland (which I now know was a terrible place for the whales, dolphin and deer they held captive there) and African Lion Safari were only a few hours away, for most of us. Canada's Wonderland, our first major theme park, opened its gates in 1981 and there were miniature golf courses, freaking everywhere. Not a one of them held my Star Wars-focused attention like Tour of the Universe did.

Housed in the basement of the CN Tower, Tour of the Universe was a space flight simulation ride set in the far-flung year of 2019. Upon entering Spaceport Toronto, passengers would be issued a round-trip ticket to Jupiter before passing through security, intergalactic customs and being subjected to a medical—inoculation against the Ganymede Rash and Alien Dropsy were a must. Upon entering your shuttle to Jupiter and strapping in, you'd be subjected to a quick, immersive space adventure: the 'trip' took place on a large screen inside of the cabin built out of the bones of a 747 flight simulator that was moved around on hydraulics in time to the action on the forward display. It was the first ride of its kind, anywhere in the world. American kids would have to wait a number of years for a similar experience when Disneyland picked it up and retooled it as Star Tour.

Image via YouTube Read the rest

How Quebec's health-care system uses "vaccine whisperers" to keep "vaccine hesitancy" from turning to anti-vax

A French neonatal specialist named Dr Arnaud Gagneur has created a "vaccine counselling" program within Quebec's health-care system that uses a non-judgmental technique called "motivational interviewing" with parents of newborns to allay their fears about vaccines. Read the rest

My Life on the Road — Staying Still

I've been back in Canada since May and I am certain I am losing my mind. It's a certainty that takes hold of me, every year.

We come home because we have to. As Canadians, we can only stay in the Untied States for a maximum of six months at a time. This past year, we stayed just shy of five months in the United States and, another two, down in Mexico. We drove back across the Canadian border with a few days left to spare. This dates-in-da-States wiggle room is important as I sometimes have to head south for work. I'd rather not get into dutch with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Being back in Canada for half the year is , a must if we want to hold on to our sweet-ass socialized medical care (which we totally do.) and for my wife to return to work. While she's a certified dive instructor, she also loves the land-locked gig she works for half of the year. We also come home because we want to. I have few friends and work remotely. Disappointment and distrust have left me happy in the small company of my partner, our pooch and a few well-chosen friends that I seldom see. My missus? Not so much. Community is important to her. Her sister's family—now my family—means the world to her. Reacquainting herself with her people, each year, brings her a happiness that I try hard to understand. I love to see her light up around her friends. Read the rest

Mounties accidentally stream homicide press conference with Facebook's cat filter turned on

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police aren't known for their sense of humor—especially in instances where investigating a senseless murder. When it's a double homicide, you can taste the gravitas right through your television or laptop display. Last week, a British Columbia RCMP press officer of telling the world that two young travelers—Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23—were found to have been shot to death, near Highway 97: It's a strip of road that runs from B.C.'s border with Washington all the way up to the Yukon. The RCMP's detectives are on the case. Deese and Fowler's people were notified. Everything was being handled as professionally as possible.

Until Facebook stepped in with that stupid kitty cat video filter of theirs.

From The Daily Beast:

Canadian police held a somber press conference this weekend to deliver details on a double homicide, but viewers tuning in on Facebook Live were left baffled: The police officer speaking about the slaying was shown with cat ears and whiskers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia later explained that an “automatic setting” on Facebook Live had accidentally been switched on when they were announcing news about the killing of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend. After re-recording the entire press conference minus the “cat filter,” Sgt. Janelle Shoihet apologized for the “technical difficulties” viewers experienced the first time around.

So, that's awkward and awful.

On the off chance that anyone reading this has any information linked to the case, you'd be doing society a good turn by contacting the Dease Lake RCMP detachment at 250-771-4111

Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of Len's Steal My Sunshine

For your records, the hook was sampled from Andrea's disco hit More More More. It happens all of a sudden at about 2:19 in this video:

Isolated for your repeat pleasure:

You can buy Steal my Sunshine on tape cassette from Alcopop! records. Read the rest

Canada-shaped coin issued by Royal Canadian Mint

Illustrator Alisha Giroux was drawing the map of Canada "for fun," when she noticed that its shape aligned with the shape with animals.

CBC News:

She turned Quebec into a snowy owl taking flight, and Ontario into a loon with its wings folded. British Columbia, meanwhile, became a spirit bear.

Giroux decided to design a two-colour version of her map for Canada's 150th anniversary and posted it online. About a year ago, she received a call from the mint, with an offer to have her design featured on a coin...

The coin also includes Giroux's initials just below a chickadee representing New Brunswick, something she said "hasn't quite sunk in."

The Royal Canadian Mint is now offering this 3 oz. pure silver Canada-shaped coin for $340. It's guaranteed to never fit in a vending machine.

That's Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse side of the coin.

(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest

Billionaire newspaper monopolist family cancels editorial cartoonist after anti-Trump drawing

Canada's Irving family is one of the richest in the world, owning more land than anyone except the British royals and the Catholic church; they also own virtually all the media in New Brunswick, as well as the industries that those newspapers cover, and they augment their media control over the public discourse with a ruthless approach to their critics. Read the rest

Uber drivers in Toronto unionizing to take on The Man

Working for a ride-sharing company like Uber or Lyft can be a tough gig that offers low pay, long hours that keep drivers on there road and away from the people they love and, at times, wheeling under dangerous working conditions. In some parts of the world, pissed off drivers have walked off the job and protested their crappy working conditions and demanded--and I know this is crazy--a living wage. Up here in Canada, we tend to do things with a little more of a socialist flare.

From Gizmodo:

First announced on Monday, Uber drivers based in Toronto expressed their intention to join the United Food and Commercial Workers, a 250,000-strong trade union which operates in both Canada and the U.S. The actual number of drivers who had signed cards was not released, but during a press conference this afternoon, UFCW Canada staffer Pablo Godoy claimed their support had hit the “high hundreds” and were growing rapidly.

The move comes at a time when Toronto's city counsel is attempting to sort out a balance between cab companies and the ride share operations that have been drinking their milkshakes. With this in mind, there couldn't be a better time for Uber drivers to invest in the power of a union. That said, there's still a number of legal issues to be ironed out before Toronto's Uber drivers are rubber stamped as a bona fide part of the union and afforded the protections that membership in UFCW provides.

Given the amount of trouble that Uber has had in recent years in locales like New York where the city has implemented strict living wage laws for ride share drivers and in Cancun, where they were forced to suspend operations to keep their people safe from pissed off taxi and colectivo drivers, its possible that the company might just consider not giving it's Toronto employees a tough time, at least in the short term: even giant, plundering corporations need a breather from all the bullshit they generate, every now and again. Read the rest

Mystery saint giving out $100 bills and encouraging notes in eastern Canadian town

It's been a crackerjack year, hasn't it? Kids are being held in concentration camps, whole species are disappearing from the face of the earth, our weather is absolutely borked and drinkable water is fast disappearing in many locales around the world. Everything is terrible!

Except for when it isn't.

From The Globe & Mail:

An anonymous benefactor who secretly placed a $100 bill and an unabashed message of positivity in a Nova Scotia park has delighted and intrigued the town’s residents.

The bill was taped to a New Glasgow, N.S., gazebo in a Ziploc bag with a note encouraging the finder to spend the money on something that brings them happiness and to remember the good in the world.

It was found by town employee Doug Miller while setting up for a funding announcement over the weekend.

As detailed in a photo on the Globe & Mail's website, the note reads: To whoever finds this $100 bill -- it is yours! I hope it will bring you joy and that you will use it for your enjoyment. Always know that there is good in the world and joy to be found. I hope you know, or will learn, that you are priceless and worth more than any paper or plastic. I hope you will always choose to be happy.

A hundred bucks is a lot of cash, to most people. To others, it's a fart in a mist. No matter how you're situated for cash, I'm sure you'll agree that it's nice to occasionally run across a news story where nothing is on fire, spreading like the plague or about to die at the hands of the military industrial complex. Read the rest

Never Trust a Nation

Formed in 2014 by civilian volunteers caught up in the depravity of the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD), commonly known as The White Helmets, worked to move vulnerable non-combatants from harm's way. They delivered essential services such as first aid and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to areas that foreign NGOs fear to tread. It's thought that since the SCD's inception, they've been responsible for saving well over 100,000 lives, with 204 White Helmet volunteers dying in the process. At most, those working the debris fields of what were once proud Syrian cities on behalf of the SCD were paid $150, per month. Aside from this stipend, it's largely thankless, incredibly dangerous work.

For their efforts, the White Helmets came under threat from the Syrian government and their influence-horny Russian allies. With much of the financial and logistical support that had been offered to them by the west drying up as the Syrian Civil War wound down, SCD volunteers were left with few safe places to hide, few resources and seemingly, few allies.

Then, something amazing happened.

As reported by the BBC, in July of 2018, the Israeli military yoinked 100 White Helmet volunteers and their families--a total of 422 people--out from under the noses of the Syrian military and their allies. The Kingdom of Jordan was cool with giving the White Helmets a place to hang, so long as it was on a short-term basis. Canada offered to grant 10 of the White Helmets and their families asylum. Read the rest

More posts