Friday, May 20, 2011

Me 4 the Senate

Again the papers are filled with angry people complaining about the latest appointments by the Prime Minister to fill vancant Senate seats. As you may have read and heard, the Prime Minister decided to appoint some more eminent people to the Senate, most of them just happened to be defeated Conservative candidates. Then again, this does not make them eminent, in fact their view of politics and the nation is so important that their voide has to be heard. Now there has been a lot of anger regarding the appointments. In fact it seems to be the great unifying factor right now in Canada, with newspapers united in criticizing the appointments.

Of course, I think with the Spring we've had, it wouldn't take much to get Canadians angry. Our only hope is that the city of Winnipeg will get an NHL team and joy will return to the Dominion.

However, we do need to stop this blatant display of partisan entitlement. After all this has never happened ever in the history of Senate appointments ever! I mean, when the Liberals were in power, this never happened. All their appointment represented the cream of Canadian society, just because most of them happened to be members of the Liberal Party of Canada was just a co-incidence.

However, we need to do something and so I want to suggest and lobby myself for a Senate Seat. I know the Prime Minister regularly reads my blog (!) and so I need to present my credentials for this august position.

First of all, I am a middle-aged, white unilingual Southern Ontario male, in others words the most oppressed minority there can be. Also I probably represent the exact demographics of the average Conservative voter. The good news, I didn't vote Conservative. So my appointment cannot be seen as partisan, but rather one that will bring diversity to the Senate. I will represent the average Canadian, which is one of the most unrepresented groups in Canada. All those special interests and eminent people sorts, when we really need is a regular person up there to represent all the other regular people in the country. Seriously what does a lawyer know about being regular?

I promise I won't sit as a Conservative or a Liberal. I could sit as an independent, or a Green or even a Pirate ( Pirate Party of Canada).

I think I have all the qualification, perhaps got to find that $4,000 worth of land, which shouldn't be difficult. If anyone has a lot to lend you will have a job in Ottawa.

I promise to show up on time, to vote when I'm supposed and not involve in any treason, indictable offense or even infamous crime. I will work hard for my $132,000 a year salary which I will pull in until I turn 75.

So Prime Minister Harper, next time you need a Senator, I am your Man.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The SD Card Tax

The title of the recent ZDNet blog says it all: Canadian SD card buyers are all Criminals. The people who run the non-profit (alledgedly) Canadian Private Copying Collective has decided that because you can download content onto SD cards, including micro SD cards then people MUST be copying music onto them, after all, what else would Canadians use such devises. After all, we are a nation of thieves and cutthroats. This group are the ones that collect all the levies from blank cassettes and CD-R to distribute to the various drug dealers and pimps, oops, sorry to the artists, performers, writers of music. In fact they have a whole document on the distribution plan, you can read it here. If you look closely, you can discern the groups that get the money are the artists, the songwriters and publishers AND, a big surprise, the Record Labels. There is also the methodology for the calculations, which is based upon airplay and sales. So you can believe its slightly slanted to major artists and major recording labels. Now of course they try to distribute it fairly, although a look will reveal the last year data indicates the group didn't distribute near half their gain to artists. So what happens to that which isn't given out, another blog posting.

The big news from this group is they have decided to included blank SD cards, the wording of their requests is:
blank audio recording medium” means
(a) a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto
which a sound recording may be reproduced, that is of a kind
ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose and
on which no sounds have ever been fixed, including
(i) recordable compact discs (CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio,
CD-RW Audio),
(ii) electronic memory cards, and
(b) any medium prescribed by regulations pursuant to sections
79 and 87 of the Act (« support audio vierge »);

The last lines is left blank so they can add anything they want. if there is anything else they can think of as possibly being used for piracy could fall under that catagory. This is the same group that wanted to place a levy on all ipods and, one presumes, iphones.

Here is the amount they want"
3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the levy rates shall be
(a) 29¢ for each CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio or CD-RW
(b) 50¢ for each electronic memory card with 1 gigabyte of
memory or less, $1.00 for each electronic memory card with
more than one gigabyte of memory but less than 8 gigabytes of
memory, and $3.00 for each electronic memory card with
8 gigabytes of memory or more.

Michael Geist had the following post to consider the danger of this possible levy. His concern is the levy is awful for a media that keeps dropping in price. I went to Factory Direct and discovered you can purchase a microSD card, 2GB for $3.88. Well, not any more, the levy would add another dollar, which would represent a 25% increase in the price, plus the tax that would be calculated on the levy. The problem the levy would remain the same even though the base product is going down in price. The other issue is that for the most part, SD cards are used for photography. They are used in digital cameras and camcorders. Yes they are used in cellphones but usually for taking videos and photographs. Cameras are not MP3 players, they are used to create media, not download it for use later.

I have a number of cards, some I still use, others are 'retired'. For the ones in my camera and camcorder, there is no music, only pictures and videos. I have a few mp3 of songs from my CD on they one in my cellphone, but for the most part I use it for storing my media, not anyone else's.

So this group wants even more money from Canadians. They alledge to give to artists, but their own charts reveal this is false.

So what are we to do, well one would be to write:

The other might be to, if this levy happens, to find alternative sources for your SD cards, ebay comes to mind.

If there is any hope, the Conservative Government has not been interested in listening to the CPCC in the past and hopefully they won't with this one. It's just ridiculous enough to engender enough anger to make the government decide to ignore this one and refuse to budge.

It's the least we can do.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Riding of Brant

Well tomorrow is the big day. The first thing I want to write is for all of you who can vote to do just that. It's simple, it's straightforward and makes you feel good. The only problem we have in Canada is we don't get any stickers that will get us a free coffee at Starbucks or Tim Horton's, although I doubt if the latter would ever happen. Still you can vote and feel good in yourself. I should say that some talk about electronic voting, to appeal to the younger an hipper age groups-because we know the younger generation can't figure out to put a pencil to a piece of paper. It's simple to do, come on why make the simple complicated. Plus the problems of electronic voting is that it will probably be proprietary software and we would never know if the system was hacked or not.

Let's talk about Brant riding. What do I think of the local candidates? Here we go:

Phil McColeman

Since I have met and know him I can say he is a good person and sincere in his efforts to serve the people of Brant. He did a few things which got under the dander of his critics, such as putting his website address on the Canadian flags he sent in the mail. This was an effort to help Brantford win some title as the place with the most Canadian flag on display. Ours is on the front door. It could be a rookie mistake, still a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

He likes to point out that the government did start on the road of settling land claims with the negotiation and signing of an agreement with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. When one considers the challenges of land claim settlements in this region a start is still a start and hopefully it demonstrates these issues can be settled in an honourable way that satisfies all parties. As well, he talks about his involvement with the local Laurier Brantford campus and how the Conservatives are putting money into post-secondary education. He also points out he can call up the Prime Minister and present the concerns of Brantford to high office.

There was someone in our neighbourhood passing out flyers. Also he keeps sending the address to the polling booth to Jo-Anne.

He is liked by the people of the riding and is spoken of highly.

Lloyd St. Amand

I can say this is another candidate I know personally. I have sat down and broken bread with him at a few Rotary meetings. He is a gentleman. He is also the former MP of the Riding. Like Phil he is well-known and well liked.

He does bring a lot of parliamentary experience and does have the right pedigree. He also does have the experience to represent the region to government and likely would be a very strong voice for Brant in the House of Commons.

As I said, I have met and talked with him, both in formal and informal encounters and I would say that if I ever thought of voting for a Liberal, it would be Lloyd St. Amand. Talking with people I hear the same message, they like Lloyd, they would vote for him, but the one problem they have is the leader of the Liberal Party. It seems Iggy is a bit of a boat anchor to him.

He has also canvassed personally in my neighbourhood.

Marc Laferriere

This is the only candidate I have not personally met, so I can only discern about him from what I've read and heard. I should start by saying he is a person who has used the Internet and Social Media to the best way of getting his message out. He post pictures of the groups and events he has been a part of and of the workers of the campaign. He has a twitter and facebook page. He uses all the strategies made famous by George Smitherman and his successful run for the Office of Mayor of Toronto. These methods proved very successful for Mayor Smitherman (tug-tug) oh excuse me (whisper whisper whisper) he's not the Mayor of Toronto? But didn't he use social media effectively (whisper whisper). Well, who's mayor then?(whisper whisper) Rob Ford? Well, he used social media effectively didn't he? (whisper whisper whisper) No? Oh, well, I see. Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, Marc is using the same methodology used by George Smitherman and his unsuccessful bid for mayor.

He's been campaigning for the NDP since 2009, he came up with the brilliant idea of having a $0.90 dinner to meet the leader of the NDP. This was done during the time Prime Minister Harper was having $90.00 a plate dinners.

He has caught the eye of people beyond Brant, one article talks of one of President Obama's campaign team members supporting his campaign. Even the National Post has taken notice of him and concludes the Brant is one of those riding the NDP could win on May 2nd.

As of this evening, no NDP canvasser has been in the neighbourhood, I suppose they didn't want to face the Powerline North Park Posse.

Nora Fueten

Another good candidate. Seems to be going with the strength of the party, which is the rural area and not so much the urban place. Even though I support the Green Party of Canada, she really hasn't had a high profile presence in the north end of the City.

One comment and article is her call for support of a high speed rail link, which would go through Brantford. This would do well for the city and its infrastructure. Also make commutes to major cities such as Hamilton and Toronto easier for the people of Brantford.

So this is my round up of the candidates.

Just remember, Vote May 2nd