Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Smoking Ban in High-Rise Apartments?

Smoking Ban in Apartments???

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman floating the Idea of opening a Debate of whether smoking should be banned in "some" high rise apartments or Not. Growing pressure to curb the deadly effect of second hand smoke and the fact that many public places already declared smoke free and all work places are now have a designated smoking areas or some are no smoking at all.

While Smitherman said he would rather see market forces drive landlords to declare their buildings smoke-free, he acknowledged it would be worth having the discussion about whether legislation would be necessary to back up any ban.

"We’ve got to look at it from a regulatory standpoint," he said. "We sure will do that. There will be a good discussion. But there is a lot of power in the hands of the people."

Now here are what all the other parties have to say about the Health Minister's Idea of a Debate on this Issue:

Premier Dalton Mcquinty (Il Supremo) said:
Who previously ruled out banning smoking in cars where present of children saying it is a slippery slope, doesn’t like the Idea of his Health Minister "That’s not something we’re considering, no," he said when asked whether anti-smoking laws should be extended to apartment buildings.

Irene Gallagher of the Ontario Free Tobacco-Network said:
that "two polls conducted last year for the network suggest that people want the choice of living in a smoke-free building."

Some 64 per cent of respondents to the poll said they would prefer a smoke-free building over one where smoking was permitted, while 46 per cent of apartment dwellers said smoke from their neighbours had seeped into their units.

"If they want to open up this debate in the legislature, that’s good," Gallagher said:
"It would get people talking. We need the industry to respond to market demand by offering some choice".

Vince Brescia, president and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario said:

"Landlords can’t evict a tenant who has a pet, let alone enforce a smoking ban", Brescia said.
"We agree with the concept of choice . . . but we’re prevented from providing that choice by Ontario law".

Hilary Short, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association said:

" if the province can do something to mitigate the harmful impact of second-hand smoke, it should act. I think it’s very well worth a debate," she said. "Any reduction in people’s exposure to second-hand smoke would be very positive. I think it’s a great idea."

And from the Two Opposition Parties:

New Democrat Shelley Martel said:

" the province can’t duck this issue for long."
"The yardsticks have moved a long way," said Martel, noting many critics didn’t think it would be possible to impose a ban on smoking in workplaces — something that’s now commonplace.

Tory (Conservative) Leader John Tory said: (notice the leader's name and the party are the same)

" it’s not worth talking about regulating what people do in the privacy of their own apartments. The province would be better off improving the building code to stop smoke from drifting from unit to unit than legislating their behaviour, he said.
"People have a refuge, which is their home," he said:
"Where does it stop? What do you start telling people what they can and can’t do in their homes?

There you have folks. The Minister of Health floating the idea to start the debate. The important personalities already said their pieces and now it’s the turn of the others that matter most, the tenants of high rise apartments, the landlords of high-rises and the taxpayers and voters of this province. Let the debate starts....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Charter Challenge on Prostitution Filed..

Constitutional Challenge Against Prostitution Filed in Superior Court of Ontario...
A charter challenge against a three specific sections of the Criminal Code relating to Prostitution has been filed by the Three Sex Trade Workers on behalf of all sex trade workers in Ontario and Canada.

The Act of Prostitution in Canada is Legal in Fact, but the three Provisions in Criminal Code deny the Worker the safe Legal Option which to safely conduct the business of Prostitution which is Legal in the first Place.

The Criminal Code Sections - Keeping a Common Bawdy House, Living on the Avail and Communication for the Purpose of Prostitution Violates the Rights and Freedoms of the sex workers by depriving them their right to liberty and security in a manner that is not in Accordance with the Principles of Fundamental Justice.

One-time dominatrix Terri Jean Bedford, along with Valerie Scott, a former sex worker and executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, and Amy Lebovitch, a current sex worker, launched the challenge on behalf of all Canadian sex workers.

The case is being handled by an Osgoode Law Professor Alan Young and a Team of law professors and students who all believe that the law violates the women’s rights by the ever-present danger they face in the streets.

Alan young pointed to the on-going trial of Robert Pickton, a pig farmer from British Columbia who was charged of the Murder of dozens of Street workers in his Farm. And Young noted that this horrific story is just the tip of the Iceberg, there are thousands of women who face the danger of assault and murder as the work the streets every night and day.

If the challenge is successful and the three sections of the criminal code are struck down, it will open the way to have the prostitution to become organized, regulated industry, even unionized and can even go on strike and maybe we can get rid of the Pimps as well...

But before I go, Section one of the same Charter has this to say:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms
Rights and freedoms in Canada

1 - The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Now it's up for the good professor and his team to argue that those limitations on the rights of our sex trade workers are indeed not justified. My take, they are not justified and they law should be struck down, they are archaic laws and make no sense, because prostitutions in fact is Legal, these limitations only hinder the conduct of business that is legal, and make people criminals doing things that are non-criminal in the first place. This country has matured and evolved to the point that we can handle another progressive move forward...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Household Hazardous Waste..What are they and how to dispose of them Safely

Today, March 22, got hold of the City Circular titled WASTE WATCH and it again reminds All City Residents of proper disposal of all different categories of waste properly and this time it focuses on Household Hazardous Waste.

We all know that our environment is deteriorating badly more than we want. Our water supply are becoming not only scarce, but in some instances and in some specific locations become Unsafe for consumption.

We may already know that household hazardous waste includes items such as pesticides, engine oil, batteries and electronics devices. But it’s what we may not know that can hurt our environment. For example, are we all aware that household hazardous waste also includes unused Medications?

Medications are serious Business and require careful and special handling. Making sure that unused medications are disposed of properly is just as important as properly taking and storing them. Old and unused Medication, prescription and over the counter, is Toxic, disposed improperly could enter the environment and contaminate our lakes, rivers, groundwater and soil and eventually affect every one of us.

Cough medication, pain killers, birth control pills and most prescriptions are a few examples of the household hazardous waste that should be kept out of the Garbage and Recycling, and NEVER poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet.

So how do we disposed of properly our unwanted medications? Simply gather them in their original packaging and drop them off to the Your Local Hazardous Waste Depot or check with your Local Drug Stores if they have a Program of proper disposal of unwanted medications. Check with your Local Authorities for their Hazardous waste programs.

For Toronto Residents: if you have 10 letters of more of Hazardous Waste call this number for a Toxic Taxi for a Free Pick up - 416-392-4330 or go to to find a drop off location nearest you..

For used syringes, needles and medical waste, put them in tightly sealed and labeled container and drop them off at your local Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Depot.
Remember, we are not just saving this planet for the future generations, we do, for ourselves...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A very Happy Man named Lucky - Newest Canadian Millionaire

Friends call him Lucky and Saturday He hit a Big One..

For six years, labourer had been working 2 jobs to bring wife, sons from Sri Lanka.

Today, he’s Canada’s newest millionaire after picking up his $18 millions Tax Free Loto 6/49 jackpot for Saturday St. Patrick’s Day draw.

Since moving to Canada from Sri Lanka six years ago, he'd been playing the lottery and working to bring his wife and two sons, ages 10 and 7, to live with him.

"Shocked," he said of his wife's reaction to the news.

He said his family would be coming "very soon" and then they'd have a big celebration.
He said he'll be buying a house for his family with the winnings.

Luckyrajah Paramanathan, whose first language is Tamil, landed his winning ticket at a Sunny Convenience Store at Eglinton Ave. E. in Scarborough on a free play from a previously purchased ticket.

He said he hadn't decided as yet whether to quit his two jobs – cleaning swimming pools on contract for the city of Toronto and as an apartment maintenance worker.

He'd been earning about $48,000 a year and sharing an apartment in Scarborough with a friend

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mass Transit...Where do we need them?

The dedicated electric rail mass transit system, though very effecient are not universally accepted, especially by the local merchants who claim that they are killing businesses along their routes...

The City of Toronto announcement of a l5- year $6 Billion plan to add 120 kilometres of electric light-rail transit lines along seven corridors through Toronto and carry 175 million riders a year is workable in every levels in Theory, but for most skeptics and critiques it is but a pipe dream.

First there is no Capital funding for the Transit Authority in the City’s Capital budget for such project and secondly, it needs a firm commitment from the Provincial and Federal Governments for funding such a Huge project.

It is to be acknowledged that Toronto is the Economic Engine of Canada. And the People who power that engine, majority of whom live outside the city and commute by different modes, by trains, by driving or by buses. So it doesn’t make sense to have a very efficient Transit System inside the city when most of the people working in the city can’t even get to the city in time because of the jammed highways, and not equally efficient regional transit systems.

As we are getting aware of our environment and the damage the vehicles emission cause to it, and the long range program of Mass Transit is a very attractive alternative to our Love Affairs with our Cars and Gas Guzzlers SUVs and CrossOvers. But the program should be regional and national in scope to get the most benefits and returns from the substantial capital outlays for its implementations. An Electric Bus or Streetcar or Train carrying 100s of passengers is always environmentally friendly than a car with a driver only passenger..

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Black is Black (Black Noir)

Baron Black of Crossharbour, the fallen Media Mogul, finally has his day in court.

The Long awaited Trial of Media Baron Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour for what the layman’s term as the Crime of Milking his own Business for personal wealth along with other three officers of the Company will start today with Jury Selection at Chicago Criminal Court.

A little back ground about Lord Black. He was a very successful businessman, and also an accomplished writer of Novels and Biographer of famous personalities including Napoleon and FDR. He is also known for his pompous attitudes and for so many his superlative arrogance. He once sue Prime Minister Jean Chretien for thwarting his acceptance of British peerage offered by the Queen at the advice of PM Tony Blair, by citing the Nickel Resolution of 1919, by which the House of Commons resolve that the Monarch should not confide Titular Honours to Canadians as it is not compatible in a democratic society.

But Black being Black and vain as he is, renounced his citizenship when the court ruled against his lawsuit. Now, he wants his citizenship back, just in case, to avail the exchange prisoner program, where Canadians may serve their sentences in Canadian penitentiary if they chooses to. I doubt if he will be ever granted his citizenship back, but nobody underestimate Lord Black, he is a fighter and he is even confident that the U.S. has no case against him.

He is defended by one of Canada’s top defense lawyers, Eddie Greenspan and in the U.S. side by Eddie Grenson, also the top gun defense lawyer from Chicago land.

On the prosecution side, a team of four Asst. U.S. attorneys headed by Lead Prosecutor Eric Sussman, and under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the same Prosecutor who directed the case against Martha Stewart and most other high profile business crime cases.

Excerpt from the Toronto Star Article:

The case against Conrad Black, which is factually a case against four defendants, three of whom are oft forgotten, can be told simply in three parts. Like a play.

Act I was the rising up of shareholder activists resulting in the raining down of a report by the so-called "special committee," which documented the alleged looting of the corporate treasury by Black and others. The "kleptocracy," as the report's authors famously said, was driven by insiders as they "ravenously" siphoned cash from the corporation and into their own pockets.

Act II was the indictment – or rather indictments – brought by United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who alleged that payments "disguised as non-competition fees" enriched insiders who "made it their job to steal and conceal."

Act III will be the trial itself, pitting the U.S. Department of Justice against Black, Jack Boultbee, Mark Kipnis and Peter Atkinson.
Propelling the action between the acts has been Conrad Black's long-time partner, David Radler, who, in September 2005, pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud, thus ensuring for himself a prison sentence and, via his co-operation with prosecutors, enabling the scriptwriting of Acts II and III.

Black himself is predicting a Shakespearean extension to the drama, in which there will be an Act IV: redemption. In recent weeks he has availed himself of unobstructed air time as he set about his campaign of self-exoneration, most of which coverage.

Details and more articles on Lord Black visit the link:

Friday, March 09, 2007

Tagged by snglguy...

Tagged by snglguy with the meme (the second time, first one from verns)
and here’s the meme:

1 - Who is the first blogger you met?

Who else but no other than " icychiq", or the bibs, my darling niece which I accidentally stumbled upon in the WEB, and even before that I don’t even know what’s blogging all about (heard about it) and never seen one. But as soon as she found out, she outa of here, she changed her url and her "true name" as if I’m interested of reading her entries.. Hi bibs, no expletives, I saw some before.

2 - Who is the blogger you most want to meet?

I’m new to this "thing", so I can’t make up my mind yet who is the one I wanted most to meet.
But long before, I started blogging, and later found out that the intrepid, talented and very courageous investigative journalist, Ms Sheila Coronel is also a blogger, well If ever just to shake her hands and say hi to the journalist I most admired.

3 - Who is the ‘I can meet, want to meet, but somehow never got to meet’ blogger?

Well, let’s say if I have a tenth or even a hundredth of what Opra Winfrey has, I’ll take a charter flight to the Philippines this Spring and make an Entry on my Site with the envite all 'blogfriends' to come and let’s have a "blog party" in time for Election and celebrate and enjoy the Circus of the process of Electing the people who’s going to be the subject or more of our blog entries (mostly rants and curses) until the next election, of course at my expense and maybe Abalos will ask me to explain why I won’t get deported for Electioneering..

4 - Who are the group of bloggers that you most want to meet?

Given the time, I’d like to meet most of the bloggers I visit frequently, but since most of them are halfway the world, and realities are not that easily hurdled, I’m just as happy meeting most of them in cyberspace and that’s the way it is supposed to be, otherwise it will be just like our regulars friends, the non-bloggers one, and the mystery will be missing.

5 - Do you have any bloggers/blog readers that you would like to meet right now?

Right now, there’s jef (thinking aloud) the very first one who commented on my blog, after about my hundredth entries (no, maybe a dozen) if he is not so busy with his new job right now and there is this guy who tagged me now, snglguy, because there is this very pretty Pinay at Tim Hortons coffee, didn’t talk to me for a year thinking I’m Chinese, then she saw me wearing a Pinoy Big Brother T-shirt and decided to ask me if I’m Pinoy, and she forgot that she looks like a Canadian 'white' herself (maybe mestiza). So maybe I'll be able to ask snglguy to help me trace my "bloodline" all the way to Genghis Khan (was he Chinese?). And of course "ang guapa nga vernaloo" to learn a few tricks to make my site looks as good as hers in layout, just layout, cuz I have no contest when it comes to contents. Or maybe the talent is contagious, I won’t mind getting infected.

Well, here you go, struggling but was able to finish this one and get it over with. Not tagging anyone, 'cus just about everyone is tagged by snglguy anyways..To the memes and mamas, you all have a very nice weekend and I need one to get rid of this sniffs, sniffs...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Guaranteed Income for All Canadians --- Guaranteed Dignity...

An example cited by the Article on how a typical working poor live on an income from a part time job and the Governments (Federal and Provincial) benefits and claw back for Welfare recipient as compared to what a Working Poor will Receive under the Guaranteed Income Scheme now proposed by many social economists and getting the attention of Political Leaders and is listed as the top Priority of the Federal Government. The actual scenario may not be similar but the goals is to assure that all Canadians will be able to live in Dignity.

Families further ahead under income plan...
Myriam Canas-Mendes' actual income/deductions for March (based on February earnings)
Welfare Allotment
Basic needs, including the Canada Child Tax Benefit and National Child Benefit Supplement: $559
Shelter $583
Special diet (Canas-Mendes is a borderline diabetic):$585
Shelter fund, an allowance to cover heating costs from December to May: $183
Earnings: $879.44
Total: $2789.44
National Child Benefit Supplement: $226.42
Earnings: $439.72
Total deductions:$666.14

TOTAL INCOME: $2,123.30

Canas-Mendes' March income under a Guaranteed Annual Income Plan as suggested by economist Mike McCracken
Guaranteed Income Allotment
Adult: $1,000
1st child: $1,000
2nd child: $500
Earnings: $879.44

TOTAL INCOME: $3,379.44**

* In lone-parent families the first child would qualify as equivalent to a spouse.

**This is computed as a monthly income.
Further it is recommended to increase the child allowance for lower income children to $5,000 annually from the current $3, 283.

This is one among the plans suggested and the question is what’s the hold up?

"The Idea of entitlement". Many people don’t like the idea and when they hear about ‘guarantee’ most will equate with rights without the responsibilities.

And many also fear that with sufficient guaranteed income, many will just choose not to work. But in the contrary it will force Employers, because of the shortages of labour to offer attractive options for people to join the labour force, thereby making the program reserve only for those who can’t and are not capable of making a descent income..

It is expected that the Province of Saskatchewan, who’s government for the more than 3 decades is under the same New Democrats ( Socialists) will be the first jurisdiction to implement this Plan, as it did with the now Guaranteed Basic Health Care for all Canadians.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Holy Profit

The Gates at Paul Melnichuk's, pastor of Prayer Palace, (a breakaway charismatic evangelical church), country spread feature gold detailing. After worshipping at the Prayer Palace this morning, Hyacinthe Houghron will, as she does every second Sunday, stuff her tired green minivan with a small feast: six coolers of homemade soup, a mountain of sandwiches, cakes and sweets.

Loaded down with second-hand clothes pulled from the ceiling-high piles in her hair salon, she'll give out the goods to homeless people on downtown Toronto's grittiest streets.
Missions like this aren't cheap for people like her and other volunteers at the church. "We're poor folks," says Houghron, describing the majority of the 3,000-strong congregation who attend the spaceship-shaped church at Hwy. 400 and Finch Ave.

The hairdresser scrapes together $600 of her own money each month to keep up the program because the Prayer Palace – one of Canada's largest evangelical churches – stopped running it five years ago. Other charitable works, like a promised orphanage in Brazil, either dried up or never materialized.

Meanwhile, the three white pastors – Paul Melnichuk and his 40-year-old twin sons, Tim and Tom – lead lavish lives in contrast to the mainly working-class black families that make up the bulk of the church.

Between them, the pastors have amassed a real estate fortune worth about $12 million. Each owns a multi-million-dollar country estate north of Toronto (Tim's is worth as much as $5.5 million), they share a Florida vacation villa, and the pastors and their wives drive luxurious cars – among them a Porsche Cayenne SUV, a Lexus RX 330 SUV and a Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 convertible.

Congregants are largely unaware of the pastors' extravagant lifestyles.

"Wow," says Leslie Stewart, 63, who works in a paint factory six days a week and gives 10 per cent of his income to the church. "I never heard of anything like that. But if I release my tithe and they misuse it, they have to face God."

The Star was unable to get access to the Prayer Palace's internal documents, and so could not determine if money donated by congregants went into the pastors' houses.

The church and the pastors refused requests for an interview. In response to a series of written questions, the Star was told that the church exists "to point people to a better life through Jesus Christ." The church provided a long list of charitable works, including Houghron's homeless work, which were counted as its own.

During sermons the pastors exhort worshippers to give generously if they want the Lord's blessing. "What's half a million dollars to a congregation like this? Peanuts," 72-year-old Pastor Paul thundered one recent Sunday morning, asking members to help fund an "evangelical explosion" in Toronto. In another sermon, he said: "Abraham received wealth, blessing and prosperity – not because he worked, but because he believed in a God that was bigger than the economy."

The Canada Revenue Agency, which regulates charities, has a policy that forbids it from discussing specific charities. In response to a general question, a CRA official said strict rules govern the use of charitable donations and assets. People involved in a charity cannot financially benefit from their efforts.

From the Sunday Star, March 4, 2007 Cover Story...

For More details and pictures go to:

Friday, March 02, 2007

Equality---Gay Survivors Win Benefits

The Supreme Court of Canada says it was UNCONSTITUTIONAL for Canada Pension Plan to deny Survivors Benefits to Gays and Lesbian, ending one of the last Battles for Equality for Homosexuals.

But instead of ordering the Federal Government of Retro-active payments of Benefits to l985 when the Guarantee of Equality first come into force, the SC bowed to the choice of the Parliament to limit payment back to 2000 when the Government first tried to update its discriminatory law to include Sexual Orientation.

The ruling means the federal government will now pay out about $50 million to $75 million in back payments to about 1,000 gay and lesbian individuals whose spouses are deceased. From now on, those surviving spouses will continue to receive monthly cheques averaging about $500.

Of the 1,500 people who originally joined the class action against the federal government, about 500 have since died, and their estates are not entitled to claim the benefits, the court ruled.

In 1985, the Charter, which protects against discrimination on grounds such as age, colour, race or sex, did not specifically include sexual orientation
Equality Rights: Charter Or Rights and Freedoms-

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

But over the years, the Supreme Court of Canada "read in" such protection, and ruled the Charter does prohibit such unequal treatment against homosexuals. The biggest case was M v H in 1999, when the high court extended spousal support payments under family law to same-sex couples.

In yesterday's ruling, Justices Louis LeBel and Marshall Rothstein wrote that the federal government – whose job it is to decide "the distribution of government resources" – was attempting to correct a wrong soon after that 1999 ruling. They said it acted in "good faith" given the legal uncertainty that existed up until that point, stressing the fact that the law was evolving.

"Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse for an individual who breaks the law, ignorance of the Constitution is no excuse for governments. But where a judicial ruling changes the existing law or creates new law, it may, under certain conditions, be inappropriate to hold the government retroactively liable."

Under the current Chief Justice, the trend of court when face with rights claims and remedies that entails considerable spending, it has the tendency to be much more differential to the expertise of the legislature and the legislative choices.

The Decision although may not all what the claimants want, is still a landmark for now the Equality among individuals is complete...