By Alan Parker - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
Cards replicate ‘sickly sweet’ grow-op smell
The smell of cultivated marijuana is spreading across England this week, courtesy of Crimestoppers U.K.
The crime-fighting charity is mass mailing scratch-and-sniff cards which replicate the smell of growing cannabis plants to help homeowners identify possible marijuana grow ops in their neighbourhoods. Police will also hand out the cards.
A total of 210,000 scratch-and-sniff cards will be distributed this week in areas of England which Crimestoppers says police have identified as “hot spots” of marijuana cultivation. The cards are more than a publicity gimmick. Crimestoppers U.K. says it hopes citizens will scratch, sniff and possibly call Crimestoppers to pass along an anonymous tip.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
It hardly fits the city’s tolerant, multicultural vision, but white Britons are now the minority in London
The most startling bit of data buried in last December’s U.K. census was the sharp decline of the white British population in London. Over the past decade, it turns out, the British capital has seen roughly 620,000 white natives move out. That’s like the entire population of Hamilton up and leaving over the course of 10 years. As a consequence, white Britons now make up a minority of the city’s residents, at just 45 per cent, compared to 60 per cent in 2001.
It’s a disconcerting trend, smacking as it does of “white flight,” the mid-to-late 20th-century American population shift that saw much of that country’s white middle class abandoning crime-ridden city centres for leafier, more racially homogenized suburbs. That shift left many American cities divided along racial and class lines, with some commentators blaming it for leaving many downtown cores (Detroit’s, for instance, or Cleveland’s) husks of their former selves.
But in Britain, where racist attitudes have seen a sharp decline, the trend seems particularly out of step—especially in a multicultural capital like London. Interestingly, the census also revealed that the nation’s mixed-race population has risen to 12 million and mostly resides in London. So the rather awkward questions left to the population experts are: who are these fleeing white British, where have they gone, and why are they leaving?
By Rosemary Westwood - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM - 0 Comments
Londoners payment benefits may depend on their diet and gym regimen
If you really want to see benefits from working out, consider a move to the central London area of Westminster. There, overweight Londoners could see their benefit payments rise and fall depending on how often they hit the gym. Under the controversial new proposal, a family doctor could prescribe exercise to obese patients, who would then be rewarded with financial incentives if they followed the doctor’s orders—or be penalized if they didn’t. “You could use council tax benefits to incentivize people to undertake more healthy activities,” says Jonathan Carr-West, of the Local Government Information Unit, the think tank that wrote the report for Westminster city council. Obesity costs Britain about $8 billion a year, he notes. “We have to try and be innovative, and we have to try and be radical.” The idea made headlines across the country—and drew scoffs from the medical establishment. The British Medical Association’s Lawrence Buckman, a family doctor, said when he heard the idea, “I thought it was a joke.” But Carr-West isn’t bothered by criticisms. “Doctors haven’t been able to solve this problem,” he says. “We need to try something else.” The report comes ahead of a dramatic change in health administration that will see local councils take control of public health care budgets from the National Health Service in April. “It’s a preventative measure to save money,” says Carr-West. And a whole new way to monetize pounds.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 6:20 AM - 0 Comments
LONDON, Ont. – Lawyers for an Ontario mayor who is facing criminal charges stemming…
LONDON, Ont. – Lawyers for an Ontario mayor who is facing criminal charges stemming from his time as a Liberal member of Parliament will appear in court today.
Joe Fontana was charged in November by the RCMP with fraud under $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents.
Police say the value of the alleged fraud is $1,700, and the London Free Press has reported that a Government of Canada cheque for that amount was given to a London club to cover a deposit for the wedding reception for Fontana’s son in 2005.
Fontana’s first court appearance on the charges is set for Tuesday, but his lawyer Gord Cudmore says the mayor won’t be in court.
Lawyers will be appearing on his behalf and the case is expected to be adjourned to another date.
Fontana has refused to step down as mayor while the charges are pending, denying any wrongdoing and Cudmore says he will be pleading not guilty.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 2:05 PM - 0 Comments
The charges of fraud, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents were filed against him Wednesday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police following an investigation of more than two months. They relate to a $1,700 cheque issued by Public Works Canada that was used to pay the Marconi Club — a London social club. A copy of the stub from that cheque was obtained by The Free Press and published five weeks ago. The invoice number on the cheque stub, dated April 6, 2005, matched that of the Marconi Club invoice issued about six months earlier. A former Marconi Club manager told The Free Press Fontana later produced a similar cheque for the $18,900 balance owing. He said he remembered the payment clearly because he had to chase Fontana six months to get it.
At the time, Fontana was a Liberal member of Parliament for London North Centre and federal minister of labour and housing. He was elected mayor in late 2010 and is midway through his four-year term.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Ahead of the fall sitting, the NDP leader goes to Windsor.
“It was important to come here because this area feels the effects of the policies of the Harper government,” said Mulcair. “The manufacturing sector has been hit particularly hard here … Yet the government puts all its eggs in the resources basket while manufacturing loses hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
“We’re losing the balanced economy that Canada had built up since the Second World War. It’s been destabilized by the choices of the Conservatives.” Long-term, good-paying manufacturing jobs with pensions are being replaced by part-time jobs in the service sector that don’t come with a pension, Mulcair said.
Canada has put “all its economic eggs in the resource basket,” he said, and must include the environmental costs of developments such as the oilsands if it wants to compete internationally. “That’s had an effect of artificially raising the value of the Canadian dollar, which has made it increasingly difficult for manufacturing companies in this area to export. That’s one of the leading causes of the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector,” Mulcair told reporters. “We’re not against the development of the oilsands, that would be foolish. We are saying that we’re against the development that’s going on now because it’s not sustainable.”
“The manufacturing sector has been particularly hard hit for the past five years” in Ontario, Mulcair said while touring Pro-Fab Plastics Ltd. on Bruce Street.
Mulcair tells 570 News it was quite impressive, “it’s very promising and a great way to create jobs for the future, and they’re the best kind of jobs, high tech jobs” ”I think that its a model to be followed across Canada and the region needs to be congratulated for being such a leader in this area.” Mulcair says jobs in Canada tend to be created by small and medium size businesses, and that they are the key to helping the Canadian economy rebound not giving tax breaks to big corporations, like banks and gas companies.
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, August 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM - 0 Comments
Especially the cyclists, much to the surprise, and annoyance, of the French
The French, who know a thing or two about cycling, have taken an intense and suspicious interest in Great Britain’s extraordinary success in all things bicycle at the London 2012 Summer Games. Well, if they’re upset now, they’d better brace themselves for what Britain’s geek squad of sports engineers has planned for the future. Spray on clothing, anyone?
Britain’s medal haul prompted the French newspaper L’Équipe to commission a poll on the issue. The result: 70 per cent think the British must be cheating, somehow.
When Jason Kenny won gold in the sprint, back when Britain just had a lowly five golds in track cycling alone, it was all too much for second-place Grégory Baugé of France. He turned the resulting news conference into an inquisition. Peppering Kenny with questions about his preparation, and why British cyclists always seem to peak at the Olympics.
France’s cycling team director Isabelle Gauther questioned how the British were gaining so many valuable tenths of seconds? Are they using “magic wheels,” she wondered in one interview. That prompted a typically understated response from Chris Boardman, the British cycling team’s head of research and development. “The main thing about the wheels,” he said, “is that they are round.”
Ah, but it’s not nearly that simple. The magic is in the science, and no sport has benefited more than cycling.
There’s the wind tunnel work that Canada among other countries also do to tweak bike, helmet, riding suits and rider positions. There’s carbon fibre bike frames and cranks, special saddles and handle bars and silk tires for the velodrome bikes, inflated to massive pressure. It’s the little things that count; witness one member of Britain’s cycling science team with the title: “head of marginal gains.”
But all that is old-school compared to what the British engineers have on the drawing board. They offered a tantalizing peek in a paper recently published by Britain’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Herewith a sample:
Developments in nanotechnology mean ‘spray on clothing’ could become a reality within a matter of years. A liquid-repellent coating would keep the rider dry, and thus lighter, while a protective coating could make helmets tougher without adding weight. Triathletes could use ‘spray chambers’ to change clothing instantaneously between the swimming, cycling and running events, tailoring their outfit for each event.
Phase change’ tyres
UK engineers are beginning to develop materials that, using nanotechnology, are able to change shape depending on certain conditions. This could have a transformative impact on sports equipment. Oars could bend as they hit the water to improve their hydrodynamism, ship hulls could naturally bend into corners or bicycle tyres could vary their tread depending on terrain.
3D printing, is set to revolutionize manufacturing in the coming decades. Sport will be no exception. Engineers could produce virtually any piece of equipment, including shoes, minutes before the event to suit the exact weather conditions or even the athlete’s physical condition, compensating for any injuries they may have.”
The report touches lightly on the ethics: do such advances give an “unfair advantage” to those that win the technological arms race, it asked. Not surprisingly, the teckkies aren’t inclined to think so. Engineering, it notes, “has gone hand in hand with sporting success since the ancient Greeks first turned a lump of stone into a smooth, aerodynamic discus.”
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, July 27, 2012 at 8:44 AM - 0 Comments
So, finally, it’s the opening morning of the XXX Summer Games. (Warning: don’t type that into your search engine)
It’s the morning of the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Summer Games and, ho-boy, I’ve seen this movie before. There’s a national biorhythm—an emotional arc de triomphe, if you will—that plays out during the span of every Olympics I’ve attended. I saw it in Calgary in 1988 and in Vancouver in 2010 and in a bunch of other Olympics in between.
It begins on the high of winning the Olympic bid, then it peaks and troughs many times over the long years of preparation. The successes, as the winning city basks in international limelight, are soon worn down by doubts, fears, cost concerns, internal bickering and impatience with a process that takes so bloody long that it seems the whole country is in the back seat of the family Buick screaming “Are we there yet?”
And then we are.
So, finally, it’s the opening morning of the XXX Summer Games. (A word of warning: don’t type that into your search engine because we’re talking Roman Numerals here and not the sort of, um, unsanctioned activities that a Google search will turn up.) But I digress.
What the Brits have been experiencing is an amped-up version of the anxiety that any good host feels in the moments before a pile of guests arrive at your home for an elaborate dinner party. You cast your eyes about the house and realize that, whoa! you really should have shampooed the rug, and the canapés got a bit singed, you neglected to ask if anyone has food allergies and, oh, my, whatever are we going to talk about with all these strange people?
Today, a read of the morning papers reveals the inevitable next phase. The door has been thrown open, you’ve shoved drinks at the guests and, by God, we just might pull this off! As the Guardian said in its lead editorial today: “London has a smile on its face and the country seems to have a sense that the next 17 days may actually be pretty wonderful.”
Or as The Times opined: “As the Games begin, we must remember that it is not only the athletes who have the attention of the world. All of Britain does. With the perfect combination of humility and pride, we should bask in it.” And, finally, the Daily Telegraph: “The Games of the XXX Olympiad, to give them their official title, promise to be one of the greatest spectacles this country has seen, to be remembered, we hope, for all the right sporting reasons.”
If anyone should know how this arc of angst goes, it’s Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency and the savior of the scandal-plagued 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. And yet he put his foot in it while visiting London, expressing to NBC anchor Brian Williams that he found the security cock-ups and the threats of labour unrest “disconcerting.” He wondered if the country will come together and celebrate. “That’s something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.”
Well, the newspapers here are aflame. Never mind that their scribes shouted the same doubts from their bully pulpits only yesterday. That a foreigner said more or less the same things, expressed in the mildest possible terms, is interpreted here as a major diplomatic blunder. “’Nowhere man’ Romney loses his way with gaffe about the Games,” quoth the Times.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, quick to read the welcome switch in national mood, fired back at Romney. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Ouch, take that, Utah!
Oh yes, the Games have begun.
By Patricia Treble - Friday, July 20, 2012 at 3:28 PM - 0 Comments
When the London Olympics open on July 27, the world’s eyes will be focused on the athletes, the celebrities taking part in the opening ceremony and Queen Elizabeth II, who will officially open the 17-day event. Lost in that crowd will be the woman perhaps most responsible for getting the Games to the British capital. But Princess Anne seems to thrive in being upstaged, even if one of those people will be her own daughter Zara, a skilled horsewoman who completing for Britain in the three-day eventing challenge.
Anne, who was a European three-day champ in the 70s and who rode (and fell) for Britain at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is known as the workhorse of the Windsor clan for maintaining a punishing schedule. In addition to her other duties, Anne, 61, is head of the British Olympic Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Before London was selected in 2005, she played a key role in lobbying for London to fellow IOC members, something she’s never done in the past. She even got her mother, the Queen, to host an Olympic reception at Buckingham Palace.
In May, just before receiving the Olympic torch in Greece, Sebastian Coe, the former gold-medal sprinter who heads the London organizing committee, said, “Her commitment and passion for this is absolutely extraordinary.” When we have a board meeting at midday she has often opened two hospitals and a school by then.” British Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson concurred: “She is one of the great unsung heroes of this whole process. She played a key role in delivering the bid, she is president of the British Olympic Association, she sits on Seb’s board and she has 30 years experience of international sport. Because she is who she is she never asks for any thanks or praise, but she has played a remarkable role in this, and it is completely unheralded and largely unthanked.”
So it was typical that when Anne received the Olympic torch in Greece, she quickly handed it off to the über-photogenic David Beckham. Now, as the final countdown starts, she’s getting her due, though it’s more of a pat on a back than gushing prose. When the Washington Post recently ran an Associated Press article about Anne, its anaemic headline was “Princess Anne: not the flashiest, but when it comes to the Olympics, the princess has her fans.”After all, this is a woman who is famously rude to those who waste her time: Her favourite oath? “Naff off,” which is a variation of f–k off. And, she’s well into middle age, her harsh hair style hasn’t changed in decades, nor have her clothes, which are so endlessly recycled that the tabloids virtually celebrate when she looks well turned-out.
Still, for someone who’s been in the public eye since her birth, she sounds relieved that she doesn’t have to be an athlete today. “I would have found it really difficult to do it on a home patch—much easier to have done it elsewhere. I’d hate to be doing it now,” she said in an interview to BBC Sports. “All the things the electronic media have opened up, simply didn’t exist when I was doing it. Some people do find it a help, I am sure, but I suspect for others that’s a difficult level of intrusion to manage.”
But don’t mistake those concerns for fear. She’s not easily intimidated. For decades, she’s tramped through Third World villages as part of her three-decade long stint as president of Save the Children Fund. And in 1974, there was an attempt to kidnap her when a mentally ill Ian Ball ambushed her car outside Buckingham Palace in March 1974. Her bodyguard, another policeman, her driver and a passing journalist were all shot. As the BBC later recounted, “In a document written for prime minister Harold Wilson, the princess said the only thing that had stopped her from hitting Ball was the thought that he would shoot her.”
Given the massive security operation blanketing London, we hope that’s one thing Anne doesn’t have to worry about this summer.
By Julia De Laurentiis Johnson - Friday, July 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM - 0 Comments
Forget queues: Why not drink good coffee, walk through flower markets, and get up close and personal with some street art?
London is a city so crammed that walking down the street on any given day is like a game of human pin-ball. Olympic London will be worse: as in, waiting-in-line-all-day-to-get-into-the-Tate Modern worse. Wouldn’t you rather avoid the masses and see the city like a stay-cating Londoner? Sure you would. Here’s an unconventional guide to sightseeing in London:
Wake up and what’s on your mind? Coffee, of course. There’re lots of great coffee shops in London but only one where you can learn latte art from a World Barista champion between your sips of flat white. A few years ago, Gwilym Davies was running his coffee cart in East London when his friends entered him in the World Barista Championship competition on a whim. When the flat cap-wearing Yorkshireman won the title in 2009, the charming cart was soon overrun and Davies opened Prufrock’s, a laid-back café and learning space. You can just sit and sip in the café or, as the café’s namesake poem suggests, dive in and measure out your Saturday with coffee spoons: Prufrock’s offers three-hour classes in Brew Methods, Coffee Tastings and Latte Art, among others.
Don’t want to work so hard for your cup? Full Stop Café is great to watch weekenders browse Brick Lane market. Bonus: it also serves handcrafted ales from Redchurch Brewery, made just up the road.
Coffee buzz kicking in, you’d probably like to do some shopping. You don’t need a red toy phone booth and under no circumstances should you buy a reusable Harrods bag. The Columbia Road Flower Market is capable of giving you that souvenir experience we all hope to find when we travel and it will put your senses to work. There’s that rainbow of blossoms lining the street, the strong sniff of hollyhocks from the stall next door, and then there’s all that yelling. Men with gold chains and cockney accents holler things like ‘Lilies fer a fiver! Buy ‘em for your wife, buy ‘em fer someone else’s wife!’ You’ll feel like an extra in Guy Ritchie Presents London! with blooms instead of bullets. Don’t forget your camera – this place is rich in photo-op gold. On your way out, pick up some irises to brighten up your hotel room. Go around closing time to get the best deals. Sunday 8 am – 2 pm.
Most art galleries in London are free and the streets, spilling over with graffiti, are no different. London is known for its incendiary street art—this is, after all, the land of Banksy. And there are many pockets across town where you can witness a slice of the London art scene as it happens – amazing artists paint the walls in the sunken ball courts at Stockwell Park Estate almost weekly in the summer. The Leake Street tunnel by Waterloo station is easily accessible and was the site of Banksy’s 2008 Cans Festival, an urban street art party where artists from around the world came to beautify the tunnel. Brick Lane and Old Street is street art central in London. Curtain Rd, Holywell Lane and Rivington St. are packed with so many stencils, posters and coats of spray paint, you’ll feel like Alice in graffiti wonderland.
London is an old city. And sure, sometimes those ancient buildings can make you feel like you’re in an open-air museum. But most main streets have some combination of 30 chain stores, like Carphone Warehouse,Tesco and Willam Hill betting shops, giving them a terrible cookie-cutter effect. You’ll need a pretty good imagination to feel the spirit of Swinging London in Soho or the refinement of the Edwardian gentry in Kensington. But Highgate Cemetery on the north end of town looks utterly frozen in time. The sprawling cemetery, packed with crooked headstones and weeping stone angels wrapped in dense ivy, is a morbid and beautiful monument to the Victorian obsession with death. It’s the resting place of Karl Marx, poet Christina Rossetti and writer George Elliot, among others. Go on a misty day for full effect. The West Cemetery can be viewed only by tour and it’s worth it – you’ll feel like you’ve time travelled.
Instead of Googling a restaurant online (and scrutinizing the menu beforehand so you know exactly what you’ll be ordering), The School of Life has a more innovative idea on how to dine. The resource centre, originally set up as a school to get through the school of hard knocks, not only offers classes with philosophical titles like “How to be Creative” and “How Necessary is a Relationship,” but they also host intimate meals where diners are encouraged to weigh in with their own ideas and experiences. Think of it like a diner’s salon. Gone are the ‘what do you do for a living’ banalities and other cocktail-hour platitudes. At these dinners, you’re likely to intimately relate to how someone feels about the concept of guilty pleasure or how to best develop compassion before even knowing their name. Next month, they’re hosting a Picnic with Thoreau in a secluded London park. Sip Pimm’s and nibble potato salad while discussing self-discovery and purpose, with strangers!
If that’s too intimating, The Holly Bush in Hampstead is the most charming pub in London. You’ll get standard English fare like beef & ale pie with Eton mess for dessert. Walk the Hampstead streets and admire the chocolate box houses, as you digest.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday, the Harper government announced $12 million in funding for Dr. Oetker to help the German food processing company set up a frozen pizza factory in London, Ont. The Canadian Restaurant and Food Association, while also noting the effects of the supply management system, is displeased.
We create jobs and play a key role in the economy in every community across Canada. We do this without handouts or special assistance from government. Our members are deeply troubled that your government is using tax dollars, paid by our members, as a direct subsidy to their competitors who threaten their market share and ongoing businesses viability. This is on top of the $7-million subsidy this same pizza manufacturer received from the Government of Ontario last year.
Your government’s announcement today may be good news for this foreign-based multinational, but it is precisely the opposite for CRFA members. They are asking why is your government so ready to give multi-million-dollar taxpayer handouts to their competitors, while a “Made in Canada” policy penalizes them.
The Conservatives say the new plant will create over 300 jobs. (When the Ontario government made its announcement, the math was a bit different.) For 300 jobs, a $12-million investment works out to $40,000 per job.
By Leah McLaren - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 2:05 PM - 0 Comments
While the two municipal politicians diverge in their weaknesses, they are united in their charms
Consider for a moment the improbable parallels between the newly re-elected mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Toronto’s scandal-embroiled leader, Rob Ford. Both are outspoken, gaffe-prone conservatives with a clownish fallibility that is as appealing to voters as it is often appalling. Both have been underestimated to the ultimate detriment of their political opponents and are defined by their obsession with bikes. (Johnson rides his everywhere while Ford would like to see them more or less banned from the roads.) Both loathe unions and graffiti, love senior citizens and commuters and never saw a tax they didn’t want to cut. Even their names lend themselves to similar diminutives: BoJo and RoFo. Creepy, huh?
Their similarities even extend to their oddly distinctive looks. Zaftig, rumple-suited and childishly tow-headed, the two men share a squishable Pillsbury Doughboy quality that belies a deeper ambition and steel. To the unacquainted, both mayors appear vulnerable and as slow-moving as overfed lab rats, and yet each managed to storm city hall on his first attempt despite the cards being stacked against him. More remarkable still, both accomplished this feat in roughly the same way—by tirelessly courting the outlying edges of their respective cities rather than the downtown core. Here in London, political commentators described this effect as the “Boris doughnut,” while in downtown Toronto, they call it “revenge of the suburbs.” In both cases, appealing to the suburbs is a strategy that’s worked well—in Johnson’s case twice. Last week the London mayor was re-elected over his Labour rival Ken Livingstone by a narrow three percentage point margin, a crucial win for the British Tories who were otherwise humiliated in recent local elections across the country.
By Patricia Treble - Friday, May 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM - 0 Comments
Leah McLaren just landed on the front page of the Spectator with a tale of how the Queen nearly got an earful from her in response to a regally innocuous and unmistakably British “How do you do?” at a Buckingham Palace reception. The Canadian London correspondent had just found out she was pregnant and had to restrain herself from crossing the “Too Much Information” line with Her Maj.
On the way home she burst into tears.
“I wasn’t crying because of the baby — in fact I was delighted to be pregnant — I was crying because I was having a child with a Englishman who was firmly committed to England. And that meant I could never go home.”
And with this, McLaren has come full circle. For ten years ago, she made waves with another Spectator piece, one tellingly titled: “The tragic ineptitude of the English male.” Back then, she now writes:
“I concluded as a result that most British males were borderline alcoholic, fearful of women, socially and emotionally retarded and, because of the archaic boarding school system (I confined my dating to a small west London sample), probably repressed homosexuals as well.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 3:57 PM - 0 Comments
A note from the office of International Development Minister Bev Oda.
On Tuesday, Minister Oda apologised unreservedly in the House. All incremental costs, that should not have been expensed, including the car service in London, have been repaid.
It is not clear when exactly aThe repayment related to the minister’s use of a limousine was made today. The opposition pressed the matter yesterday afternoon.
After the original report on Monday of her luxurious stay in London, the minister’s office said that she had repaid the difference in costs for accommodation and the cancellation fee (at a total of $1,353.81). Canadian Press pegs the car service bill at $3,000.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 23, 2012 at 7:36 PM - 0 Comments
For the sake of valuable perspective, Open File figures out how much a posh glass of orange juice would cost in Montreal.
The CBC puts the total amount repaid by Bev Oda today at $1,353.81.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 23, 2012 at 10:22 AM - 0 Comments
If you’re planning a trip to London, International Development Minister Bev Oda has some tips.
Oda was originally supposed to stay at the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel, site of the conference on international immunizations she was attending. Instead, she had staff rebook her into the posh Savoy overlooking the Thames, an old favourite of royalty and currently owned by Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia…
The bill for three nights at the Savoy last June set back taxpayers $1,995, or $665 a night. The government still had to pay for a night at the hotel she rejected, costing an additional $287. An orange juice Oda expensed from the Savoy cost $16.
Today’s math problem: If the government cancelled the F-35 purchase and reallocated that money to the ministerial travel budget, how many more nights at the Savoy could the Harper government afford?
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM - 0 Comments
Metro readers in London were greeted this morning with the image of Stephen Harper waving happily from an Electro-Motive locomotive.
I’ve asked the NDP how they support the claim of “$5 million in tax giveaways to EMD” and will report back if or when I have a response. Mike Moffatt has already quibbled with this idea.
Update 5:25pm. The NDP responds that it’s on the “public record” and has been “covered in many stories.”
[The] company benefitted from 5 million credit on locomotives. Also from capital cost allowance. And also as a profitable company from Harper’s blind corp tax cuts. Harper went to EMD to tout how measures like these would keep jobs in london. He was wrong. That’s the clear message of the ads.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 12:58 PM - 0 Comments
The McGuinty and Harper governments blame each other for the situation at Electro-Motive in London.
Ottawa could have prevented the loss of hundreds of jobs at an Ontario locomotive plant if it had acted to modernize Canada’s “outdated” foreign investment laws, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday … However, the federal government said a month ago that the takeover was never looked at by Investment Canada because it fell under the $300-million threshold. A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office said the government sympathizes with the workers, but there was nothing Ottawa could do. ”This issue fell entirely within the powers of the McGuinty government, there was no ability for the federal government to intervene,” spokeswoman Sara MacIntyre wrote in an email. That’s not true, McGuinty said. What happened at Electro-Motive wasn’t a labour relations issue, “and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.”
Whatever the Harper government’s lack of jurisdiction, Conservative MP Ed Holder says he arranged calls between Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and the parties involved.
I helped arrange discussions with the federal Labour Minister between the Company, the Union and the Mayor. These were in an effort to get everyone back to the bargaining table … The calls took place in mid-January.
Ms. Raitt released a statement about the dispute on January 5.
Meanwhile, Mike Moffatt busts the myth that Electro-Motive received a direct subsidy from the Harper government. And the House is spending the day debating the following NDP motion.
That this House condemn the decision of Caterpillar Inc. to close its Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ontario, with a loss of 450 jobs, and that of Papiers White Birch to close its Quebec City plant, with a loss of 600 jobs, and call on the government to table, within 90 days, draft amendments to the Investment Canada Act to ensure that foreign buyers are held to public and enforceable commitments on the ‘net benefit’ to Canada and on the protection of Canadian jobs.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM - 0 Comments
Peter Julian, already speaking at a certain volume, attempted to oblige, punctuating his question with exclamation points.
“When(!) is the government going to show leadership? When is it going to work on a jobs plan so that Canadians(!) can get back to work?
The subject here was the recent closure of Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ontario—a closure notable not only for the 450 individuals it put out of work, but because the plant was once selected as an ideal scene to demonstrate the Prime Minister’s economic stewardship. And so a silly picture of Mr. Harper pretending to conduct a train is now a symbol of some kind. And so Mr. Julian was yelling this afternoon in the general direction of the Finance Minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 3, 2012 at 11:13 AM - 0 Comments
March 2008. He also toured the Electro-Motive Diesel plant on Oxford Street where he met many of the firm’s 900 employees. Harper said his visit to the rail locomotive plant was intended to highlight tax measures from his government aimed at keeping manufacturers competitive.
Today. The company that owns the locked-out Electro-Motive plant in London, Ont. has decided to close the plant permanently. Progress Rail Services Corp., a subsidiary of U.S. construction conglomerate Caterpillar, announced “it is regrettable that it has become necessary to close production operations at the London facility,” in a release on Friday. The company locked out 450 workers from the facility on Jan. 1. Costs were the main factor in the dispute, with the company pushing employees to take a 50 per cent pay cut.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM - 0 Comments
The prepared text of John Baird’s speech to an audience in London, England today.
Good evening, I am pleased to be with you tonight and it’s a real pleasure to be back in London – one of the world’s truly great cities and one of my personal favourites. I would like to begin by thanking Canada’s High Commissioner here in London – Gordon Campbell – and his team, for making this visit possible.
One of the reasons I – like so many Canadians who come here to vacation, study or work – so enjoy being here is because, in a very real sense, it feels like coming to a familiar and welcoming place. That sense of the familiar is all the more welcome, given that so much of the world is undergoing a fundamental transformation.
Power is rebalancing and, with it, opportunities are changing, for Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as for our allies and friends. This presents for Canada and Canadians both challenge and opportunity: to shape the relationships and institutions for a new century; to promote free societies and open markets; and to engage with new and sometimes, unfamiliar power brokers.
By Michael Petrou - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Many of those struggling to get by in the British capital are former immigrants from Eastern Europe
When the European Union expanded its borders eastward in 2004, more than half a million Poles took advantage of the newly opened border to pack up and move to Britain. They were joined by thousands more Czechs and Slovenians, and after the EU expanded again in 2007, migrants from Bulgaria and Romania.
Many thrived. Suddenly traditional English pubs were staffed by servers with Eastern European accents. The new arrivals were so ubiquitous in the trades that “Polish plumber” became a catchphrase.
Inevitably, however, thousands have also floundered. Estimates vary, but a disproportionate percentage of homeless in London are from Eastern Europe, most of them Poles. And when they do stumble, they fall harder than the locals. Migrants who have not worked full-time for more than a year do not qualify for many social assistance programs, such as housing benefits. Last year, a charity worker found homeless Poles roasting rats. Continue…
By Katie Engelhart - Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 15 Comments
The view from a flat above a dollar store on Camden Road
You know you’re in England when locals gather at the scene of a prospective riot armed only with cups of tea. On Camden High Street in central London—just across from the dank, urine-scented waters of the once-bustling Regent’s Canal—residents gathered Tuesday evening on the rooftops of boarded-up buildings to await pandemonium. They brought cameras and refreshments.
The night before, the neighbourhood was visited by hundreds of rioters, who wrestled with police from nightfall to early morning. The clash was part of a wave of violence that started Saturday in rough-and-tumble Tottenham, then spread, immobilizing large swaths of North London. Quivering (only slightly) in my bed, in a flat above a dollar store on gritty Camden Road, I listened to sirens, the patter of running and some especially foul-mouthed hollering.
A day later, Masud stood guard in front of his Camden Road convenience store. After Monday night, he was feeling nervous and planned to close early. His young employees were stationed up and down the street, ready to report the first sign of trouble. “I’ll close the minute I see something,” Masud said. As we talked, three Northumbria Police vans barrelled down the road. Evidently, the city had called for national backup.