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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for April 20th, 2007

“If YOU were Prime Minister… tour”

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I have simply copied an email I got in my inbox from the David Suzuki Foundation

Note what item #1 is!

We are not alone – this is the view we share with the thousands of Canadians who cared enough to talk to Suzuki

You think Harper will listen?


OTTAWA – Today, David Suzuki will present the findings from the “If YOU were Prime Minister… tour” on Parliament Hill.

The “If YOU Were Prime Minister…” tour revealed the environmental priorities and vision of Canadians during its four-week, coast-to-coast mission.

The message that emerged from your feedback was loud and clear: you are ready for action and want clear strong national leadership on environmental issues.

Canadians showered us with more than 600 videos and 30,000 ballots and email submissions.

A team of volunteers sorted though all of this information, and we were inspired to see the bold ideas. Canadians seem to be far ahead of their elected leaders on environmental protection.

Here were the top 5 themes that emerged:

1. Build a sustainable, affordable public transportation system.
2. Introduce a carbon tax system to help meet our Kyoto commitments.
3. Entrench the right to clean water, breathable air and a safe food supply in the Constitution.
4. Identify and protect the habitat that species at risk need to recover.
5. Institute a national program to penalize polluters and reward green initiatives.

Dr. Suzuki will present the findings to the Ottawa press corps this morning, and then meet with the Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment; Stéphane Dion, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition; and Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party.

To read the findings and view the video and written submissions, visit:

Written by Stephen Rees

April 20, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Payday borrowers have few, if any, options, federal study finds

with one comment – Canada – National

Why does it take three years for a study like this to emerge? And why is Canada legitimizing this business? The criminal code makes it an offence to lend money at extortionate rates of interest (defined as over 60% per annum). That crime is known popularly as “loan sharking” – the mob has always had it as one of its specialty niches since it fits so well with protection rackets. The government now proposes to relax this law and allow the provinces to regulate it. But simply because they operate out of bright yellow store fronts and have corporate structures and business licences does not make these operations any more worthy.

They are taking advantage of the poorest people and making profits off their misery. They are part and parcel of the decline into poverty of the least able in our society. They are the ugly face of capitalism. The inevitable consequence of the systematic cut backs in the social safety net. As a society we have obligations, to protect and defend the weak against exploitation. The continued chorus against “waste” that always goes with cries for lower taxation inevitably ends up with more cuts to social services, and adds to the ignominy heaped on those forced by circumstance to look for help.

I would have liked to seen prosecutions. I would prefer that municipalities refuse licences to these businesses – and the pawnshops.

There is a desperate need everywhere for micro credit. In third world it has been shown to be one of the fastest and most effective ways of ending the cycle of poverty. Getting rid of the vultures – the loan sharks – the people who prey on the poor – means that we must take away their business. Fortunately we have some very successful credit unions who display a social conscience more attuned to community needs than either banks or government. Licensing pay day loan companies must stop to allow these initiatives to take root.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 20, 2007 at 7:23 am