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Found 22 results

  1. Interesting article: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/09/can-quebecs-church-based-curse-words-survive-in-a-secular-age/
  2. Six Canadian cities out of 50 have the winning combination that attract migrants * Six Canadian cities out of 50 have the winning combination that attract migrants Calgary, Waterloo, Ottawa, Vancouver, St. John’s and Richmond Hill have what migrants are looking for when choosing where to locate, according to the Conference Board’s second report assessing the attractiveness of Canadian cities. Read the report here. “Cities that fail to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant,” said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. “These six cities come out on top across all rankings, so they appear to have an overall winning combination that is attractive to migrants. Although it would be hard to imagine a more diverse group of cities, each has particular strengths that make them magnets to newcomers, both from within Canada and abroad.” City Magnets II: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of 50 Canadian Cities, analyzes and benchmarks the features that make Canadian cities attractive to skilled workers and mobile populations. The performance of these cities is compared on 41 indicators grouped across seven categories: Society, Health, Economy, Environment, Education, Innovation, and Housing. The challenge in determining overall attractiveness is that when individuals are choosing a new city, they value attributes of city living differently. Weights were computed for each of the seven categories. For migrants with a university degree, the Education category matters the most (21 per cent) in the decision to locate, followed by Society (20 per cent), Innovation (19 per cent) and Economy (13 per cent). Migrants without a university education consider, in an overwhelming fashion, that the Economy category matters the most (33 per cent) and followed by Society (20 per cent). “In deciding where to live, university-educated migrants prefer cities with higher Education and Society outcomes. Migrants without a university education place more value on a city’s economic strength,” said Lefebvre. “However, the study shows that a city that is attractive to a certain type of migrant ends up being attractive to all, so policy makers must be cautious in crafting policies aimed at attracting university graduates only.” Overall Grades The six “A” performers – Calgary, Waterloo, Ottawa, Vancouver, St. John’s and Richmond Hill, Ont. – range between big and small cities, from the West Coast to the East Coast, and include both urban and suburban centres. Specifically: * Calgary’s strong economic results come as no surprise given its performance over the past decade, but the city also ranked first in Innovation and second in Housing. * Waterloo’s worldwide reputation for high-tech excellence in education and business is well deserved. Ranked number-one in Education, Waterloo also posted strong results in Economy, Innovation and Housing. * Ottawa reaps the benefits of a strong and well-educated public sector. The nation’s capital excels in Innovation and Education, and, apart from Health, scores well across all categories. * Richmond Hill, a fast-growing city north of Toronto, has become the second most diverse city in Canada. A well-educated workforce contributes to its high scores in the Education and Innovation categories. * Vancouver enjoys an enviable climate and a vibrancy that comes from its young, diverse, and multicultural population. * St. John’s has achieved a strong productivity level that even surpasses that of Calgary and Edmonton. It is also a stellar performer in Health and Environment categories. The “B” class includes 14 cities – Edmonton, Victoria, Markham, Vaughan, Kingston, Oakville, and Guelph are consistently in the top half of this group. The City of Toronto also earns an overall “B” grade. Although held back by lacklustre results in the Health and Environment categories (too few physicians for such a large population, and too many days of poor air quality), the City of Toronto leads all cities in the Society category, particularly the proportion of foreign-born population and the proportion of population employed in cultural occupations. In all, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) obtains five of the top 14 spots. The Toronto CMA attracted 35 per cent of Canada’s immigrants (about 85,000 per year) between 2001 and 2006, but this is partly offset by migrants – 25,000 annually – leaving for other Canadian cities. London, Halifax, Lévis, Regina, Québec City, and Burlington also receive “B” grades. A total of 21 cities get “C” grades, including three of Canada’s largest urban centres: Winnipeg, Montréal, and Hamilton. Although an overall “C”, Mississauga – with its high number of immigrants – gets a “B” in attractiveness among university-educated migrants. Four of Vancouver’s suburbs – Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Surrey – earn “C” grades, as does nearby Abbotsford. Generally, Vancouver’s suburbs lag behind in Health and Economy. Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Kitchener, Barrie, Saskatoon, Moncton, Brampton, Kelowna, Thunder Bay, Peterborough, St. Catharines, and Sudbury also get “C” grades. The “D” class includes nine small or mid-sized cities – four in Ontario: Oshawa, Brantford, Windsor, and Cambridge; four in Quebec: Longueuil, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, and Laval, and Saint John, New Brunswick. Along with struggling economies in most cases, seven of these nine cities have shown little population growth, while the other two posted a decline in population (Saint John and Saguenay). These nine cities are also clustered near the bottom of the Innovation and Education categories. Performance By Category * Society – Canada’s largest cities post the best results, with Toronto and Montreal capturing the only two “A” grades. Toronto’s suburbs rank highly, as do Vancouver and Victoria. * Health – Small and mid-sized cities dominate this category, which mainly measures per capita access to care. Only Kingston and St. John’s get “A” grades. Vancouver and Quebec City are the only big cities to rank in the top 10. Suburban cities, which rely on services located in the urban cores, face the greatest challenges – 10 of the bottom 12 are neighbours of either Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. * Economy – Although the rankings are based on 2006 data and pre-date the recession, the Conference Board expects cities with strong economies back then to rebound and post the strongest showing following the downturn. Calgary, Edmonton and Vaughan earn the only “A” grades in the ranking; Edmonton’s strong economy makes it particularly attractive to non-university educated migrants. Five Toronto-area suburbs make the top 10. Ottawa and Waterloo also rank in the top 10. * Environment – Seven of the eight cities in British Columbia included in this report earn “A” grades and dominate the top 10 rankings, due largely to good air quality and a mild climate. Montreal ranks last and Longueuil is also near the bottom. Mississauga, Burlington, Vaughan and Oakville also earn “D” grades. * Education – The “university towns” of Waterloo and Kingston outclass their counterparts and earn the only two “A” grades. Small and mid-sized cities dominate the results for teachers per student population, with four small Ontario cities (Burlington, Waterloo, Peterborough and Guelph) grabbing all the “A” grades on this indicator. * Innovation – Calgary, Richmond Hill and Ottawa get “As” for Innovation. Cities with broad manufacturing or resource-based economies generally fare less well in this category. * Housing – Small and mid-sized cities generally do the best in this category, thanks in particular to relatively affordable housing. The Quebec City suburb of Lévis leads all cities, and five other Quebec cities rank in the top 10. The opposite is true for all eight B.C. cities, where homes are generally expensive. As a result, these cities fall in the bottom half of the rankings and five of them, including Victoria and the Lower Mainland cities, get “D” grades. http://www.muchmormagazine.com/2010/01/six-canadian-cities-out-of-50-have-the-winning-combination-that-attract-migrants/
  3. http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Gazette+exclusive+EMSB+pitches+tout+fran%C3%A7ais/2414008/story.html This is much needed. And not all of it should be spent on grammar reciting either (as is often the case). I think a big part is just being able to learn to get use out of it. Practice comprehension and conversational skills first, then worry about written skills. Although I had great French teachers in school, how was I (or anyone else) to become fluent by spending only 4-5 hours a week on it? This compared to living the rest of the week entirely in English (except for the Habs/Expos game back in the day). Having said that, English instruction should be toughened up as well. The quality of written English of a good portion of university peers is downright abysmal. They should have to pass a stringent English exam to get accepted into a regular program (if they fail, they should take a year-long mini program designed at teaching them proper written and spoken English). From what I have heard, they offer English-Second-Language courses that are taught by immigrants with heavy accents (notably from Ukraine and China). WTF?
  4. Let's organize a protest against hooligans! Am I the only person in this city who cares enough to propose something like that?
  5. My mother was telling me today at work, that people complained about "Remembrance Day". They consider it a federalist holiday She works for Margaret Bourgeois school board. I honestly have no clue how some people can be so stupid. I just wish those people would get fired from their jobs. They shouldn't have a right to work for the government or be teaching. Goes to show how dumb some people are in the education system. If these people don't want to remember family members or their friends for what they have done. They shouldn't be part of this society and go live somewhere else. There is a few other choice words I would love to say, but I have to keep this civilized.
  6. (Courtesy of The Guardian UK) I wonder if anyone from the PQ or BQ heard or read about this Probably not seeing they dislike the English language. So I guess Canadian / Quebec history is safe for now, until one of them comes out of their narrow-minded shell and sees this
  7. BOCOM SEA TURTLE INDEX The Bank of Communications Sea Turtle Index provides a unique tool to compare university cities at once as education and investment locations, looking at: - Educational returns: Quality and reputation of education vs value for money - Real estate returns: Openness, potential returns and risk with regard to real estate investments - Financial returns: Openness, growth prospects and risk with regard to financial investments - Work experience: Work and pay prospects for overseas graduates - Social experience: Quality of the social and cultural experience on offer OVERALL WORLD RANKING: 1. MONTRÉAL 2. LONDON 3. HONG KONG 4. TORONTO 5. CAMBRIDGE 6. OXFORD 7. BOSTON 8. SYDNEY 9. ZURICH 10 NEW YORK Source
  8. Very interesting opinion on the current state employment trend http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/05/digital-economy-work-for-free Merci au site MTLCity pour cette suggestion: http://w5.montreal.com/mtlweblog/?p=27514&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
  9. In search of a dream To persuade voters of the need for reform, India’s leaders need to articulate a new vision of its future Sep 29th 2012 | from the print edition WHEN India won independence 65 years ago, its leaders had a vision for the country’s future. In part, their dream was admirable and rare for Asia: liberal democracy. Thanks to them, Indians mostly enjoy the freedom to protest, speak up, vote, travel and pray however and wherever they want to; and those liberties have ensured that elected civilians, not generals, spies, religious leaders or self-selecting partymen, are in charge. If only their counterparts in China, Russia, Pakistan and beyond could say the same. But the economic part of the vision was a failure. Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the independence movement, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, left the country with a reverence for poverty, a belief in self-reliance and an overweening state that together condemned the country to a dismal 3-4% increase in annual GDP—known as the “Hindu rate of growth”—for the best part of half a century. That led to a balance-of-payments crisis 21 years ago which forced India to change. Guided by Manmohan Singh, then finance minister, the government liberalised the economy, scrapping licensing and opening up to traders and investors. The results, in time, were spectacular. A flourishing services industry spawned world-class companies. The economy boomed. Wealth and social gains followed, literacy soared, life-expectancy and incomes rose, and gradually Indians started decamping from villages to towns. But reforms have not gone far enough (see our special report). Indian policy still discourages foreign investment and discriminates in favour of small, inefficient firms and against large, efficient ones. The state controls too much of the economy and subsidies distort prices. The damage is felt in both the private and the public sectors. Although India’s service industries employ millions of skilled people, the country has failed to create the vast manufacturing base that in China has drawn unskilled workers into the productive economy. Corruption in the public sector acts as a drag on business, while the state fails to fulfil basic functions in health and education. Many more people are therefore condemned to poverty in India than in China, and their prospects are deteriorating with India’s economic outlook. Growth is falling and inflation and the government’s deficit are rising. Modest changes, big fuss To ease the immediate problems and to raise the country’s growth rate, more reforms are needed. Labour laws that help make Indian workers as costly to employers as much better-paid Chinese ones need to be scrapped. Foreign-investment rules need to be loosened to raise standards in finance, higher education and infrastructure. The state’s role in power, coal, railways and air travel needs to shrink. Archaic, British-era rules on buying land need to be changed. Among economists, there is a widespread consensus about the necessary policy measures. Among politicians, there is great resistance to them. Look at the storm that erupted over welcome but modest reformist tinkering earlier this month. Mr Singh’s government lost its biggest coalition ally for daring to lift the price of subsidised diesel and to let in foreign supermarkets, under tight conditions. Democracy, some say, is the problem, because governments that risk being tipped out of power are especially unwilling to impose pain on their people. That’s not so. Plenty of democracies—from Brazil through Sweden to Poland—have pushed through difficult reforms. The fault lies, rather, with India’s political elite. If the country’s voters are not sold on the idea of reform, it is because its politicians have presented it to them as unpleasant medicine necessary to fend off economic illness rather than as a means of fulfilling a dream. Another time, another place In many ways, India looks strikingly like America in the late 19th century. It is huge, diverse, secular (though its people are religious), materialistic, largely tolerant and proudly democratic. Its constitution balances the central government’s authority with considerable state-level powers. Rapid social change is coming with urban growth, more education and the rise of big companies. Robber barons with immense riches and poor taste may be shamed into becoming legitimate political donors, philanthropists and promoters of education. As the country’s wealth grows, so does its influence abroad. For India to fulfil its promise, it needs its own version of America’s dream. It must commit itself not just to political and civic freedoms, but also to the economic liberalism that will allow it to build a productive, competitive and open economy, and give every Indian a greater chance of prosperity. That does not mean shrinking government everywhere, but it does mean that the state should pull out of sectors it has no business to be in. And where it is needed—to organise investment in infrastructure, for instance, and to regulate markets—it needs to become more open in its dealings. Compare contrasting GDP and population levels across India’s states with our interactive map and guide India’s politicians need to espouse this vision and articulate it to the voters. Mr Singh has done his best; but he turned 80 on September 26th, and is anyway a bureaucrat at heart, not a leader. The remnants of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, to whom many Indians still naturally turn, are providing no leadership either— maybe because they do not have it in them, maybe because they have too much at stake to abandon the old, failed vision. Sonia Gandhi, Nehru’s grand-daughter-in-law and Congress’s shadowy president, shows enthusiasm for welfare schemes, usually named after a relative, but not for job-creating reforms. If her son Rahul, the heir apparent to lead Congress, understands the need for a dynamic economy, there’s no way of knowing it, for he never says anything much. These people are hindering India’s progress, not helping it. It is time to shake off the past and dump them. The country needs politicians who see the direction it should take, understand the difficult steps required, and can persuade their countrymen that the journey is worthwhile. If it finds such leaders, there is no limit to how far India might go. http://www.economist.com/node/21563720
  10. Economic meltdown : The Big Fix Article Tools Sponsored By By DAVID LEONHARDT Published: January 27, 2009 NYC Times I. WHITHER GROWTH? The economy will recover. It won’t recover anytime soon. It is likely to get significantly worse over the course of 2009, no matter what President Obama and Congress do. And resolving the financial crisis will require both aggressiveness and creativity. In fact, the main lesson from other crises of the past century is that governments tend to err on the side of too much caution — of taking the punch bowl away before the party has truly started up again. “The mistake the United States made during the Depression and the Japanese made during the ’90s was too much start-stop in their policies,” said Timothy Geithner, Obama’s choice for Treasury secretary, when I went to visit him in his transition office a few weeks ago. Japan announced stimulus measures even as it was cutting other government spending. Franklin Roosevelt flirted with fiscal discipline midway through the New Deal, and the country slipped back into decline. Geithner arguably made a similar miscalculation himself last year as a top Federal Reserve official who was part of a team that allowed Lehman Brothers to fail. But he insisted that the Obama administration had learned history’s lesson. “We’re just not going to make that mistake,” Geithner said. “We’re not going to do that. We’ll keep at it until it’s done, whatever it takes.” Once governments finally decide to use the enormous resources at their disposal, they have typically been able to shock an economy back to life. They can put to work the people, money and equipment sitting idle, until the private sector is willing to begin using them again. The prescription developed almost a century ago by John Maynard Keynes does appear to work. But while Washington has been preoccupied with stimulus and bailouts, another, equally important issue has received far less attention — and the resolution of it is far more uncertain. What will happen once the paddles have been applied and the economy’s heart starts beating again? How should the new American economy be remade? Above all, how fast will it grow? That last question may sound abstract, even technical, compared with the current crisis. Yet the consequences of a country’s growth rate are not abstract at all. Slow growth makes almost all problems worse. Fast growth helps solve them. As Paul Romer, an economist at Stanford University, has said, the choices that determine a country’s growth rate “dwarf all other economic-policy concerns.” Growth is the only way for a government to pay off its debts in a relatively quick and painless fashion, allowing tax revenues to increase without tax rates having to rise. That is essentially what happened in the years after World War II. When the war ended, the federal government’s debt equaled 120 percent of the gross domestic product (more than twice as high as its likely level by the end of next year). The rapid economic growth of the 1950s and ’60s — more than 4 percent a year, compared with 2.5 percent in this decade — quickly whittled that debt away. Over the coming 25 years, if growth could be lifted by just one-tenth of a percentage point a year, the extra tax revenue would completely pay for an $800 billion stimulus package. Yet there are real concerns that the United States’ economy won’t grow enough to pay off its debts easily and ensure rising living standards, as happened in the postwar decades. The fraternity of growth experts in the economics profession predicts that the economy, on its current path, will grow more slowly in the next couple of decades than over the past couple. They are concerned in part because two of the economy’s most powerful recent engines have been exposed as a mirage: the explosion in consumer debt and spending, which lifted short-term growth at the expense of future growth, and the great Wall Street boom, which depended partly on activities that had very little real value. Richard Freeman, a Harvard economist, argues that our bubble economy had something in common with the old Soviet economy. The Soviet Union’s growth was artificially raised by massive industrial output that ended up having little use. Ours was artificially raised by mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and even the occasional Ponzi scheme. Where will new, real sources of growth come from? Wall Street is not likely to cure the nation’s economic problems. Neither, obviously, is Detroit. Nor is Silicon Valley, at least not by itself. Well before the housing bubble burst, the big productivity gains brought about by the 1990s technology boom seemed to be petering out, which suggests that the Internet may not be able to fuel decades of economic growth in the way that the industrial inventions of the early 20th century did. Annual economic growth in the current decade, even excluding the dismal contributions that 2008 and 2009 will make to the average, has been the slowest of any decade since the 1930s. So for the first time in more than 70 years, the epicenter of the American economy can be placed outside of California or New York or the industrial Midwest. It can be placed in Washington. Washington won’t merely be given the task of pulling the economy out of the immediate crisis. It will also have to figure out how to put the American economy on a more sustainable path — to help it achieve fast, broadly shared growth and do so without the benefit of a bubble. Obama said as much in his inauguration speech when he pledged to overhaul Washington’s approach to education, health care, science and infrastructure, all in an effort to “lay a new foundation for growth.” For centuries, people have worried that economic growth had limits — that the only way for one group to prosper was at the expense of another. The pessimists, from Malthus and the Luddites and on, have been proved wrong again and again. Growth is not finite. But it is also not inevitable. It requires a strategy. II. THE UPSIDE OF A DOWNTURN TWO WEEKS AFTER THE ELECTION, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, appeared before an audience of business executives and laid out an idea that Lawrence H. Summers, Obama’s top economic adviser, later described to me as Rahm’s Doctrine. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Emanuel said. “What I mean by that is that it’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before.” In part, the idea is standard political maneuvering. Obama had an ambitious agenda — on health care, energy and taxes — before the economy took a turn for the worse in the fall, and he has an interest in connecting the financial crisis to his pre-existing plans. “Things we had postponed for too long, that were long term, are now immediate and must be dealt with,” Emanuel said in November. Of course, the existence of the crisis doesn’t force the Obama administration to deal with education or health care. But the fact that the economy appears to be mired in its worst recession in a generation may well allow the administration to confront problems that have festered for years. That’s the crux of the doctrine. The counterargument is hardly trivial — namely, that the financial crisis is so serious that the administration shouldn’t distract itself with other matters. That is a risk, as is the additional piling on of debt for investments that might not bear fruit for a long while. But Obama may not have the luxury of trying to deal with the problems separately. This crisis may be his one chance to begin transforming the economy and avoid future crises. In the early 1980s, an economist named Mancur Olson developed a theory that could fairly be called the academic version of Rahm’s Doctrine. Olson, a University of Maryland professor who died in 1998, is one of those academics little known to the public but famous among his peers. His seminal work, “The Rise and Decline of Nations,” published in 1982, helped explain how stable, affluent societies tend to get in trouble. The book turns out to be a surprisingly useful guide to the current crisis. In Olson’s telling, successful countries give rise to interest groups that accumulate more and more influence over time. Eventually, the groups become powerful enough to win government favors, in the form of new laws or friendly regulators. These favors allow the groups to benefit at the expense of everyone else; not only do they end up with a larger piece of the economy’s pie, but they do so in a way that keeps the pie from growing as much as it otherwise would. Trade barriers and tariffs are the classic example. They help the domestic manufacturer of a product at the expense of millions of consumers, who must pay high prices and choose from a limited selection of goods. Olson’s book was short but sprawling, touching on everything from the Great Depression to the caste system in India. His primary case study was Great Britain in the decades after World War II. As an economic and military giant for more than two centuries, it had accumulated one of history’s great collections of interest groups — miners, financial traders and farmers, among others. These interest groups had so shackled Great Britain’s economy by the 1970s that its high unemployment and slow growth came to be known as “British disease.” Germany and Japan, on the other hand, were forced to rebuild their economies and political systems after the war. Their interest groups were wiped away by the defeat. “In a crisis, there is an opportunity to rearrange things, because the status quo is blown up,” Frank Levy, an M.I.T. economist and an Olson admirer, told me recently. If a country slowly glides down toward irrelevance, he said, the constituency for reform won’t take shape. Olson’s insight was that the defeated countries of World War II didn’t rise in spite of crisis. They rose because of it. The parallels to the modern-day United States, though not exact, are plain enough. This country’s long period of economic pre-eminence has produced a set of interest groups that, in Olson’s words, “reduce efficiency and aggregate income.” Home builders and real estate agents pushed for housing subsidies, which made many of them rich but made the real estate bubble possible. Doctors, drug makers and other medical companies persuaded the federal government to pay for expensive treatments that have scant evidence of being effective. Those treatments are the primary reason this country spends so much more than any other on medicine. In these cases, and in others, interest groups successfully lobbied for actions that benefited them and hurt the larger economy. Surely no interest group fits Olson’s thesis as well as Wall Street. It used an enormous amount of leverage — debt — to grow to unprecedented size. At times Wall Street seemed ubiquitous. Eight Major League ballparks are named for financial-services companies, as are the theater for the Alvin Ailey dance company, a top children’s hospital in New York and even a planned entrance of the St. Louis Zoo. At Princeton, the financial-engineering program, meant to educate future titans of finance, enrolled more undergraduates than any of the traditional engineering programs. Before the stock market crashed last year, finance companies earned 27 percent of the nation’s corporate profits, up from about 15 percent in the 1970s and ’80s. These profits bought political influence. Congress taxed the income of hedge-fund managers at a lower rate than most everyone else’s. Regulators didn’t ask too many hard questions and then often moved on to a Wall Street job of their own. In good times — or good-enough times — the political will to beat back such policies simply doesn’t exist. Their costs are too diffuse, and their benefits too concentrated. A crisis changes the dynamic. It’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before. England’s crisis was the Winter of Discontent, in 1978-79, when strikes paralyzed the country and many public services shut down. The resulting furor helped elect Margaret Thatcher as prime minister and allowed her to sweep away some of the old economic order. Her laissez-faire reforms were flawed in some important ways — taken to an extreme, they helped create the current financial crisis — and they weren’t the only reason for England’s turnaround. But they made a difference. In the 30 years since her election, England has grown faster than Germany or Japan. III. THE INVESTMENT GAP ONE GOOD WAY TO UNDERSTAND the current growth slowdown is to think of the debt-fueled consumer-spending spree of the past 20 years as a symbol of an even larger problem. As a country we have been spending too much on the present and not enough on the future. We have been consuming rather than investing. We’re suffering from investment-deficit disorder. You can find examples of this disorder in just about any realm of American life. Walk into a doctor’s office and you will be asked to fill out a long form with the most basic kinds of information that you have provided dozens of times before. Walk into a doctor’s office in many other rich countries and that information — as well as your medical history — will be stored in computers. These electronic records not only reduce hassle; they also reduce medical errors. Americans cannot avail themselves of this innovation despite the fact that the United States spends far more on health care, per person, than any other country. We are spending our money to consume medical treatments, many of which have only marginal health benefits, rather than to invest it in ways that would eventually have far broader benefits. Along similar lines, Americans are indefatigable buyers of consumer electronics, yet a smaller share of households in the United States has broadband Internet service than in Canada, Japan, Britain, South Korea and about a dozen other countries. Then there’s education: this country once led the world in educational attainment by a wide margin. It no longer does. And transportation: a trip from Boston to Washington, on the fastest train in this country, takes six-and-a-half hours. A trip from Paris to Marseilles, roughly the same distance, takes three hours — a result of the French government’s commitment to infrastructure. These are only a few examples. Tucked away in the many statistical tables at the Commerce Department are numbers on how much the government and the private sector spend on investment and research — on highways, software, medical research and other things likely to yield future benefits. Spending by the private sector hasn’t changed much over time. It was equal to 17 percent of G.D.P. 50 years ago, and it is about 17 percent now. But spending by the government — federal, state and local — has changed. It has dropped from about 7 percent of G.D.P. in the 1950s to about 4 percent now. Governments have a unique role to play in making investments for two main reasons. Some activities, like mass transportation and pollution reduction, have societal benefits but not necessarily financial ones, and the private sector simply won’t undertake them. And while many other kinds of investments do bring big financial returns, only a fraction of those returns go to the original investor. This makes the private sector reluctant to jump in. As a result, economists say that the private sector tends to spend less on research and investment than is economically ideal. Historically, the government has stepped into the void. It helped create new industries with its investments. Economic growth has many causes, including demographics and some forces that economists admit they don’t understand. But government investment seems to have one of the best track records of lifting growth. In the 1950s and ’60s, the G.I. Bill created a generation of college graduates, while the Interstate System of highways made the entire economy more productive. Later, the Defense Department developed the Internet, which spawned AOL, Google and the rest. The late ’90s Internet boom was the only sustained period in the last 35 years when the economy grew at 4 percent a year. It was also the only time in the past 35 years when the incomes of the poor and the middle class rose at a healthy pace. Growth doesn’t ensure rising living standards for everyone, but it sure helps. Even so, the idea that the government would be playing a much larger role in promoting economic growth would have sounded radical, even among Democrats, until just a few months ago. After all, the European countries that have tried guiding huge swaths of their economies — that have kept their arms around the “commanding heights,” in Lenin’s enduring phrase — have grown even more slowly than this country in recent years. But the credit crunch and the deepening recession have changed the discussion here. The federal government seems as if it was doing too little to take advantage of the American economy’s enormous assets: its size, its openness and its mobile, risk-taking work force. The government is also one of the few large entities today able to borrow at a low interest rate. It alone can raise the capital that could transform the economy in the kind of fundamental ways that Olson described. “This recession is a critical economic problem — it is a crisis,” Summers told me recently. “But a moment when there are millions of people who are unemployed, when the federal government can borrow money over the long term at under 3 percent and when we face long-run fiscal problems is also a moment of great opportunity to make investments in the future of the country that have lagged for a long time.” He then told a story that John F. Kennedy liked to tell, about an early-20th-century French marshal named Hubert Lyautey. “The guy says to his gardener, ‘Could you plant a tree?’ ” Summers said. “The gardener says, ‘Come on, it’s going to take 50 years before you see anything out of that tree.’ The guy says, ‘It’s going to take 50 years? Really? Then plant it this morning.’ ” IV. STIMULUS VS. TRANSFORMATION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S FIRST CHANCE to build a new economy — an investment economy — is the stimulus package that has been dominating policy discussions in Washington. Obama has repeatedly said he wants it to be a down payment on solving bigger problems. The twin goals, he said recently, are to “immediately jump-start job creation and long-term growth.” But it is not easy to balance those goals. For the bill to provide effective stimulus, it simply has to spend money — quickly. Employing people to dig ditches and fill them up again would qualify. So would any of the “shovel ready” projects that have made it onto the list of stimulus possibilities. Even the construction of a mob museum in Las Vegas, a project that was crossed off the list after Republicans mocked it, would work to stimulate the economy, so long as ground was broken soon. Pork and stimulus aren’t mutually exclusive. But pork won’t transform an economy. Neither will the tax cuts that are likely to be in the plan. Sometimes a project can give an economy a lift and also lead to transformation, but sometimes the goals are at odds, at least in the short term. Nothing demonstrates this quandary quite so well as green jobs, which are often cited as the single best hope for driving the post-bubble economy. Obama himself makes this case. Consumer spending has been the economic engine of the past two decades, he has said. Alternative energy will supposedly be the engine of the future — a way to save the planet, reduce the amount of money flowing to hostile oil-producing countries and revive the American economy, all at once. Put in these terms, green jobs sounds like a free lunch. Green jobs can certainly provide stimulus. Obama’s proposal includes subsidies for companies that make wind turbines, solar power and other alternative energy sources, and these subsidies will create some jobs. But the subsidies will not be nearly enough to eliminate the gap between the cost of dirty, carbon-based energy and clean energy. Dirty-energy sources — oil, gas and coal — are cheap. That’s why we have become so dependent on them. The only way to create huge numbers of clean-energy jobs would be to raise the cost of dirty-energy sources, as Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade carbon-reduction program would do, to make them more expensive than clean energy. This is where the green-jobs dream gets complicated. For starters, of the $700 billion we spend each year on energy, more than half stays inside this country. It goes to coal companies or utilities here, not to Iran or Russia. If we begin to use less electricity, those utilities will cut jobs. Just as important, the current, relatively low price of energy allows other companies — manufacturers, retailers, even white-collar enterprises — to sell all sorts of things at a profit. Raising that cost would raise the cost of almost everything that businesses do. Some projects that would have been profitable to Boeing, Kroger or Microsoft in the current economy no longer will be. Jobs that would otherwise have been created won’t be. As Rob Stavins, a leading environmental economist, says, “Green jobs will, to some degree, displace other jobs.” Just think about what happened when gas prices began soaring last spring: sales of some hybrids increased, but vehicle sales fell overall. None of this means that Obama’s climate policy is a mistake. Raising the price of carbon makes urgent sense, for the well-being of the planet and of the human race. And the economic costs of a serious climate policy are unlikely to be nearly as big as the alarmists — lobbyists and members of Congress trying to protect old-line energy industries — suggest. Various analyses of Obama’s cap-and-trade plan, including one by Stavins, suggest that after it is fully implemented, it would cost less than 1 percent of gross domestic product a year, or about $100 billion in today’s terms. That cost is entirely manageable. But it’s still a cost. Or perhaps we should think of it as an investment. Like so much in the economy, our energy policy has been geared toward the short term. Inexpensive energy made daily life easier and less expensive for all of us. Building a green economy, on the other hand, will require some sacrifice. In the end, that sacrifice should pay a handsome return in the form of icecaps that don’t melt and droughts that don’t happen — events with costs of their own. Over time, the direct economic costs of a new energy policy may also fall. A cap-and-trade program will create incentives for the private sector to invest in alternative energy, which will lead to innovations and lower prices. Some of the new clean-energy spending, meanwhile, really will replace money now flowing overseas and create jobs here. But all those benefits will come later. The costs will come sooner, which is a big reason we do not already have a green economy — or an investment economy. V. CURING INEFFICIENCIES WASHINGTON’S CHALLENGE on energy policy is to rewrite the rules so that the private sector can start building one of tomorrow’s big industries. On health care, the challenge is keeping one of tomorrow’s industries from growing too large. For almost two decades, spending on health care grew rapidly, no matter what the rest of the economy was doing. Some of this is only natural. As a society gets richer and the basic comforts of life become commonplace, people will choose to spend more of their money on health and longevity instead of a third car or a fourth television. Much of the increases in health care spending, however, are a result of government rules that have made the sector a fabulously — some say uniquely — inefficient sector. These inefficiencies have left the United States spending far more than other countries on medicine and, by many measures, getting worse results. The costs of health care are now so large that it has become one problem that cannot be solved by growth alone. It’s qualitatively different from the other budget problems facing the government, like the Wall Street bailout, the stimulus, the war in Iraq or Social Security. You can see that by looking at various costs as a share of one year of economic output — that is, gross domestic product. Surprisingly, the debt that the federal government has already accumulated doesn’t present much of a problem. It is equal to about $6 trillion, or 40 percent of G.D.P., a level that is slightly lower than the average of the past six decades. The bailout, the stimulus and the rest of the deficits over the next two years will probably add about 15 percent of G.D.P. to the debt. That will take debt to almost 60 percent, which is above its long-term average but well below the levels of the 1950s. But the unfinanced parts of Medicare, the spending that the government has promised over and above the taxes it will collect in the coming decades requires another decimal place. They are equal to more than 200 percent of current G.D.P. During the campaign, Obama talked about the need to control medical costs and mentioned a few ideas for doing so, but he rarely lingered on the topic. He spent more time talking about expanding health-insurance coverage, which would raise the government’s bill. After the election, however, when time came to name a budget director, Obama sent a different message. He appointed Peter Orszag, who over the last two years has become one of the country’s leading experts on the looming budget mess that is health care. Orszag is a tall, 40-year-old Massachusetts native, made taller by his preference for cowboy boots, who has risen through the Democratic policy ranks over the last 15 years. He received a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, later joined the Clinton White House and, from 2007, was the director of the Congressional Budget Office. While there, he devoted himself to studying health care, believing that it was far more important to the future of the budget than any other issue in front of Congress. He nearly doubled the number of health care analysts in the office, to 50. Obama highlighted this work when he announced Orszag’s appointment in November. In Orszag’s final months on Capitol Hill, he specifically argued that health care reform should not wait until the financial system has been fixed. “One of the blessings in the current environment is that we have significant capacity to expand and sell Treasury debt,” he told me recently. “If we didn’t have that, and if the financial markets didn’t have confidence that we would repay that debt, we would be in even more dire straits than we are.” Absent a health care overhaul, the federal government’s lenders around the world may eventually grow nervous about its ability to repay its debts. That, in turn, will cause them to demand higher interest rates to cover their risk when lending to the United States. Facing higher interest rates, the government won’t be able to afford the kind of loans needed to respond to a future crisis, be it financial or military. The higher rates will also depress economic growth, aggravating every other problem. So what should be done? Orszag was technically prohibited from advocating policies in his old job. But it wasn’t very hard to read between the lines. In a series of speeches around the country, in testimony to Congress and in a blog that he started (“Director’s Blog”), he laid out a fairly clear agenda. Orszag would begin his talks by explaining that the problem is not one of demographics but one of medicine. “It’s not primarily that we’re going to have more 85-year-olds,” he said during a September speech in California. “It’s primarily that each 85-year-old in the future will cost us a lot more than they cost us today.” The medical system will keep coming up with expensive new treatments, and Medicare will keep reimbursing them, even if they bring little benefit. After this introduction, Orszag would typically pause and advise his audience not to get too depressed. He would put a map of the United States on the screen behind him, showing Medicare spending by region. The higher-spending regions were shaded darker than the lower-spending regions. Orszag would then explain that the variation cannot be explained by the health of the local population or the quality of care it receives. Darker areas didn’t necessarily have sicker residents than lighter areas, nor did those residents necessarily receive better care. So, Orszag suggested, the goal of reform doesn’t need to be remaking the American health care system in the image of, say, the Dutch system. The goal seems more attainable than that. It is remaking the system of a high-spending place, like southern New Jersey or Texas, in the image of a low-spending place, like Minnesota, New Mexico or Virginia. To that end, Orszag has become intrigued by the work of Mitchell Seltzer, a hospital consultant in central New Jersey. Seltzer has collected large amounts of data from his clients on how various doctors treat patients, and his numbers present a very similar picture to the regional data. Seltzer told me that big-spending doctors typically explain their treatment by insisting they have sicker patients than their colleagues. In response he has made charts breaking down the costs of care into thin diagnostic categories, like “respiratory-system diagnosis with ventilator support, severity: 4,” in order to compare doctors who were treating the same ailment. The charts make the point clearly. Doctors who spent more — on extra tests or high-tech treatments, for instance — didn’t get better results than their more conservative colleagues. In many cases, patients of the aggressive doctors stay sicker longer and die sooner because of the risks that come with invasive care. The first step toward turning “less efficient” doctors, in Seltzer’s euphemism, into “efficient” doctors would be relatively uncontroversial. The government would have to create a national version of his database and, to do so, would need doctors and hospitals to have electronic medical records. The Obama administration plans to use the stimulus bill to help pay for the installation of such systems. It is then likely to mandate that, within five years, any doctor or hospital receiving Medicare payment must be using electronic records. The next steps will be harder. Based on what the data show, Medicare will have to stop reimbursing some expensive treatments that don’t do much good. Private insurers would likely follow Medicare’s lead, as they have on other issues in the past. Doctors, many of whom make good money from extra treatments, are sure to object, just as Mancur Olson would have predicted. They will claim that, whatever the data show, the treatments are benefiting their patients. In a few cases — though, by definition, not most — they may be right. Even when they are not, their patients, desperate for hope, may fight for the treatment. The most pessimistic point that Orszag routinely made during his time on Capitol Hill was that the political system didn’t deal well with simmering, long-term problems. It often waited until those problems became a crisis, he would say. That may be a kind of corollary to Rahm’s Doctrine, but it does highlight the task before the Obama administration. It will need to figure out how it can use one crisis as an excuse to prevent several more. VI. GRADUATES EQUAL GROWTH A GREAT APPEAL of green jobs — or, for that matter, of a growing and efficient health care sector — is that they make it possible to imagine what tomorrow’s economy might look like. They are concrete. When somebody wonders, What will replace Wall Street? What will replace housing? they can be given an answer. As answers go, green jobs and health care are fine. But they probably aren’t the best answers. The best one is less concrete. It also has a lot more historical evidence on its side. Last year, two labor economists, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, published a book called “The Race Between Education and Technology.” It is as much a work of history — the history of education — as it is a work of economics. Goldin and Katz set out to answer the question of how much an education really matters. They are themselves products of public schools, she of New York and he of Los Angeles, and they have been a couple for two decades. They are liberals (Katz served as the chief economist under Robert Reich in Bill Clinton’s Labor Department), but their book has been praised by both the right and the left. “I read the Katz and Goldin book,” Matthew Slaughter, an associate dean of Dartmouth’s business school who was an economic adviser to George W. Bush, recently told me, “and there’s part of me that can’t fathom that half the presidential debates weren’t about a couple of facts in that book.” Summers wrote a blurb for the book, calling it “the definitive treatment” of income inequality. The book’s central fact is that the United States has lost its once-wide lead in educational attainment. South Korea and Denmark graduate a larger share of their population from college — and Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom are close on our heels. Goldin and Katz explain that the original purpose of American education was political, to educate the citizens of a democracy. By the start of the 20th century, though, the purpose had become blatantly economic. As parents saw that high-school graduates were getting most of the good jobs, they started a grass-roots movement, known as the high-school movement, to demand free, public high schools in their communities. “Middletown,” the classic 1929 sociological study of life in Indiana, reported that education “evokes the fervor of a religion, a means of salvation, among a large section of the population.” At the time, some European intellectuals dismissed the new American high schools as wasteful. Instead of offering narrowly tailored apprentice programs, the United States was accused of overeducating its masses (or at least its white masses). But Goldin and Katz, digging into old population surveys, show that the American system paid huge dividends. High-school graduates filled the ranks of companies like General Electric and John Deere and used their broad base of skills to help their employers become global powers. And these new white-collar workers weren’t the only ones to benefit. A high-school education also paid off for blue-collar workers. Those with a diploma were far more likely to enter newer, better-paying, more technologically advanced industries. They became plumbers, jewelers, electricians, auto mechanics and railroad engineers. Not only did mass education increase the size of the nation’s economic pie; it also evened out the distribution. The spread of high schools — by 1940, half of teenagers were getting a diploma — meant that graduates were no longer an elite group. In economic terms, their supply had increased, which meant that the wage premium that came with a diploma was now spread among a larger group of workers. Sure enough, inequality fell rapidly in the middle decades of the 20th century. But then the great education boom petered out, starting in the late 1960s. The country’s worst high schools never got their graduation rates close to 100 percent, while many of the fast-growing community colleges and public colleges, which were educating middle-class and poorer students, had low graduation rates. Between the early 1950s and early ’80s, the share of young adults receiving a bachelor’s degree jumped to 24 percent, from 7 percent. In the 30 years since, the share has only risen to 32 percent. Nearly all of the recent gains have come among women. For the first time on record, young men in the last couple of decades haven’t been much more educated than their fathers were. Goldin and Katz are careful to say that economic growth is not simply a matter of investing in education. And we can all name exceptions to the general rule. Bill Gates dropped out of college (though, as Malcolm Gladwell explains in his recent book, “Outliers,” Gates received a fabulously intense computer-programming education while in high school). Some college graduates struggle to make a good living, and many will lose their jobs in this recession. But these are exceptions. Goldin’s and Katz’s thesis is that the 20th century was the American century in large part because this country led the world in education. The last 30 years, when educational gains slowed markedly, have been years of slower growth and rising inequality. Their argument happens to be supported by a rich body of economic literature that didn’t even make it into the book. More-educated people are healthier, live longer and, of course, make more money. Countries that educate more of their citizens tend to grow faster than similar countries that do not. The same is true of states and regions within this country. Crucially, the income gains tend to come after the education gains. What distinguishes thriving Boston from the other struggling cities of New England? Part of the answer is the relative share of children who graduate from college. The two most affluent immigrant groups in modern America — Asian-Americans and Jews — are also the most educated. In recent decades, as the educational attainment of men has stagnated, so have their wages. The median male worker is roughly as educated as he was 30 years ago and makes roughly the same in hourly pay. The median female worker is far more educated than she was 30 years ago and makes 30 percent more than she did then. There really is no mystery about why education would be the lifeblood of economic growth. On the most basic level, education helps people figure out how to make objects and accomplish tasks more efficiently. It allows companies to make complex products that the rest of the world wants to buy and thus creates high-wage jobs. Education may not be as tangible as green jobs. But it helps a society leverage every other investment it makes, be it in medicine, transportation or alternative energy. Education — educating more people and educating them better — appears to be the best single bet that a society can make. Fortunately, we know much more than we did even a decade ago about how education works and doesn’t work. In his book, “Whatever It Takes,” (and in this magazine, where he is an editor), Paul Tough has described some of the most successful schools for poor and minority students. These schools tend to set rigorous standards, keep the students in school longer and create a disciplined, can-do culture. Many of the schools, like several middle schools run by an organization called KIPP, have had terrific results. Students enter with test scores below the national average. They leave on a path to college. The lessons of KIPP — some of the lessons, at least — also apply to schools that are not so poor. Last year, the Gates Foundation hired an economist named Thomas Kane to oversee a big new push to prepare students for college. Kane is one of the researchers whose work shows that teachers may matter more than anything else. Good teachers tend to receive high marks from parents, colleagues and principals, and they tend to teach their students much more than average teachers. Bad teachers tend to do poorly on all these metrics. The differences are usually apparent after just a couple of years on the job. Yet in a typical school system, both groups receive tenure. The Obama administration has suggested that education reform is an important goal. The education secretary is Arne Duncan, the former school superintendent in Chicago, who pushed for education changes there based on empirical data. Obama advisers say that the administration plans to use the education money in the stimulus package as leverage. States that reward good teaching and use uniform testing standards — rather than the choose-your-own-yardstick approach of the No Child Left Behind law — may get more money. But it is still unclear just how much of a push the administration will make. With the financial crisis looming so large, something as sprawling and perennially plagued as education can seem like a sideshow. Given everything else on its agenda, the Obama administration could end up financing a few promising pilot programs without actually changing much. States, for their part, will be cutting education spending to balance their budgets. A few weeks ago, I drove to Shepherd University in West Virginia to get a glimpse of both the good and bad news for education. Shepherd is the kind of public college that will need to be at the center of any effort to improve higher education. Located in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley, it attracts mostly middle-class students — from the actual middle class, not the upper middle class — and it has a graduation rate of about 35 percent. Several years ago, the state of West Virginia started a scholarship program, called Promise, in part to lift the graduation rate at places like Shepherd. The program is modeled after those in several Southern states, in which any high-school student with a certain minimum grade-point average (often 3.0) and certain SAT scores gets a hefty scholarship to any state school. When West Virginia officials were designing their program, though, they noticed a flaw with the other programs. The students weren’t required to take a course load that was big enough to let them graduate in four years. In some cases they were required to keep a minimum grade-point average, which encouraged them, perversely, to take fewer courses. Many students drifted along for a few years and then dropped out. So West Virginia changed the rules. It offered a bigger carrot — free tuition at any public college — but also a stick. Students had to take enough courses each semester so that they could graduate in four years. Judith Scott-Clayton, a young economist who analyzed the program, concluded that it had raised the on-time graduation rate by almost 7 percentage points in a state where many colleges have a graduation rate below 50 percent. Given those results, the Promise scholarship might seem like an ideal public policy in a deep recession. It pays for school at a time when many families are struggling. It keeps students busy when jobs are hard to come by. It also has the potential to do some long-term good. But nearly everyone I interviewed in West Virginia — the students, the president of Shepherd and other education officials — worried that financing would be reduced soon. The program is expensive, and state revenue is declining. Something has to give. VII. A MATTER OF NORMS WHAT STRUCK ME ABOUT the Shepherd students I met was that they didn’t seem to spend much time thinking about the credit requirement. It had become part of their reality. Many college students today assume they will not graduate in four years. Some even refer to themselves as second- or third-years, instead of sophomores or juniors. “It’s just normal all around not to be done in four years,” Chelsea Carter, a Shepherd student, told me. “People don’t push you.” Carter, in fact, introduced herself to me as a third-year. But she is also a Promise scholar, and she said she expected to graduate in four years. Her younger sister, now in her first year in the program at Shepherd, also plans to graduate in four years. For many Promise scholars, graduating on time has become the norm. Economists don’t talk much about cultural norms. They prefer to emphasize prices, taxes and other incentives. And the transformation of the American economy will depend very much on such incentives: financial aid, Medicare reimbursements, energy prices and marginal tax rates. But it will also depend on forces that aren’t quite so easy to quantify. Orszag, on his barnstorming tour to talk about the health care system, argued that his fellow economists were making a mistake by paying so little attention to norms. After all, doctors in Minnesota don’t work under a different Medicare system than doctors in New Jersey. But they do act differently. The norms of the last two decades or so — consume before invest; worry about the short term, not the long term — have been more than just a reflection of the economy. They have also affected the economy. Chief executives have fought for paychecks that their predecessors would have considered obscenely large. Technocrats inside Washington’s regulatory agencies, after listening to their bosses talk endlessly about the dangers of overregulation, made quite sure that they weren’t regulating too much. Financial engineering became a more appealing career track than actual engineering or science. In one of the small gems in their book, Goldin and Katz write that towns and cities with a large elderly population once devoted a higher-than-average share of their taxes to schools. Apparently, age made them see the benefits of education. In recent decades, though, the relationship switched. Older towns spent less than average on schools. You can imagine voters in these places asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” By any standard, the Obama administration faces an imposing economic to-do list. It will try to end the financial crisis and recession as quickly as possible, even as it starts work on an agenda that will inspire opposition from a murderers’ row of interest groups: Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Coal, the American Medical Association and teachers’ unions. Some items on the agenda will fail. But the same was true of the New Deal and the decades after World War II, the period that is obviously the model for the Obama years. Roosevelt and Truman both failed to pass universal health insurance or even a program like Medicare. Yet the successes of those years — Social Security, the highway system, the G.I. Bill, the National Science Foundation, the National Labor Relations Board — had a huge effect on the culture. The American economy didn’t simply grow rapidly in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. It grew rapidly and gave an increasing share of its bounty to the vast middle class. Middle-class incomes soared during those years, while income growth at the very top of the ladder, which had been so great in the 1920s, slowed down. The effects were too great to be explained by a neat package of policies, just as the last few decades can’t be explained only by education, investment and the like. When Washington sets out to rewrite the rules for the economy, it can pass new laws and shift money from one program to another. But the effects of those changes are not likely to be merely the obvious ones. The changes can also send signals. They can influence millions of individual decisions — about the schools people attend, the jobs they choose, the medical care they request — and, in the process, reshape the economy.
  11. http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/09/06/whos-the-smartest/ Comment? Le gouvernement Harper ferait-il ce genre de coupes? Nooooooooooooonnnnn............
  12. http://www.conferenceboard.ca/Libraries/PUBLIC_PDFS/7517_MontrealScorecard_IdQ_RPT-FR.sflb Our productivity, GDP per capita and education levels are quite bad compared to other cities comparable in size.
  13. IluvMTL

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    http://www.sketchup.com/ Products SketchUp Pro SketchUp Make 3D Warehouse Extension Warehouse SketchUp Viewer SketchUp Mobile Viewer [*]Industries Architecture Construction Light Construction & Remodeling Engineering Commercial Interiors Kitchen, Bath & Interior Design Landscape Architecture Urban Planning Game Design Film & Stage Woodworking 3D Printing K12 Education Higher Education [*]Buy New Sketchup Pro Licenses Upgrade a License Renew Support Corporate Solutions Student & Educator Licenses [*]Learn Learn Center Forum Help Center Resources Training Video Tutorials The easiest way to draw in 3D You love what you do. Now love how you do it. What's New?Why SketchUp? MasterSketchUp.com Download SketchUp Get good fast There’s a reason SketchUp is synonymous with friendly and forgiving 3D modeling software: we don’t sacrifice usability for the sake of functionality. Start by drawing lines and shapes. Push and pull surfaces to turn them into 3D forms. Stretch, copy, rotate and paint to make anything you like. If you want to be productive within a couple of hours, you’ve come to the right place.Ready to start learning? Download today, then... ... watch a getting started video. ... learn about SketchUp's tools. ... ask a question in the SketchUp Forums. Find a 3D model of anything Find a 3D model of anything Why model everything from scratch? Whether it’s a chair for the room you’re designing or a rhino for your zoo, you’ll find almost anything you need in SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse, the world’s biggest repository of free 3D models. And anyone can use 3D Warehouse to store and share models. Upload your best work and become a SketchUp legend.Curious what you’ll find in 3D Warehouse? Go ahead, search for a model now… Turn models into stellar drawings Turn models into documents At some point in most 3D projects, you’ll need to turn your model into a set of drawings that gets the point across. LayOut in SketchUp Pro lets you add model views to pages, choose drawing scales, adjust line weights, and add dimensions, callouts, and graphics. Make a change to your SketchUp model, and find it reflected automatically in LayOut. And when it’s time, export PDFs, images and CAD files.Ready to start making staggeringly beautiful documents? Start learning LayOut now.Make SketchUp yours Make SketchUp yours SketchUp is meant to be customized. Thanks to our Ruby API and an amazing community of developers, today you can explore an entire universe of extensions. These are add-on tools built to solve the kind of 3D modeling problems that might otherwise leave you scratching your head. Need to draw 3D moldings? There’s an extension for that. Wouldn’t it be cool to bend your models to fit a curve? That’s possible, too. Photorealistic rendering? Definitely. If you can imagine a SketchUp extension, chances are it already exists.Start customizing your SketchUp today: browse Extension Warehouse.
  14. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Obituary+David+Azrieli+touched+many+parts+society/10014707/story.html By Paul Delean, THE GAZETTE European-born David Azrieli, who fled the Nazis as a teenager, fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and then found fortune in Canada, died Wednesday at age 92. According to Forbes magazine, the Montreal-based real-estate developer and businessman was one of the richest Canadians with an estimated worth of $3.1 billion. He also was one of the most generous, contributing more than $100 million to philanthropic causes around the world, many of them in the fields of medical research, education and the arts. “It’s a great loss,” said Susan Laxer, president of local Jewish organization Federation CJA. “He literally changed the landscape in Israel with his office towers and architecture, and with his philanthropy, he touched many parts of our society and community. Through his legacy, he’ll continue to touch the lives of many people.” Norma Joseph, professor of religion and associate-director of the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies at Concordia University, described him as “a formidable person, very strong-minded. And he used his mind for a wonderful vision of community and building.” The institute got its start in 2011 with funding provided by the family foundation, “but he did more than give money. He also gave his personal time and effort,” Joseph said. Born into a Jewish family in Poland, Azrieli escaped ahead of the Nazi occupation and kept moving, winding up in British Mandate Palestine in 1942. He studied architecture at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and fought in Israel’s war of independence before settling in Canada in 1954. In a rare 1973 interview with the Montreal Star, he said he arrived here with no family connections and “literally, penniless.” “Nobody gave me anything,” he said. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Université de Montréal and working at a number of jobs, he had enough saved for his first solo project in 1957, construction of four duplexes on vacant lots he purchased in Ville D’Anjou. It was the start of a real-estate juggernaut that would eventually include thousands of apartment units, office buildings and shopping centres in Canada, the U.S. and Israel. Among his local holdings is the downtown Dominion Square Building housing The Gazette, acquired for $78.25 million in 2005, and the Sofitel Hotel. The Azrieli Group also held interests in companies active in the fields of energy, water and finance. He remained its chairman until last week when daughter Danna succeeded him, a move prompted by his medical condition. A sometimes controversial figure, Azrieli made headlines in the 1970s when he razed the former Van Horne Mansion on Sherbrooke St. and erected a 17-storey office tower on the site. In 1984, he sued The Gazette for libel over an editorial about a local development, but lost. “From the times of the pyramids to those of the skyscrapers, the works of architects and builders have been monuments to their glory or to their shame,” Superior Court Judge Paul Reeves said. “They build before the public eye and the public rightfully says whether it likes or dislikes what it sees.” In his later years, Azrieli split his residency between Israel and Westmount. “I have two homelands,” he once said, “two places that I love and where I have been blessed to do what I love best.” Active in and supportive of Jewish causes throughout his lifetime, he served as president of the Canadian Zionist Federation and in 2008 authored a book called Rekindling the Torch: The Story of Canadian Zionism, which told the story of the contribution of Canadian Jews and non-Jews to establishment of the state of Israel and their continuing support for the country. He also made Holocaust remembrance a personal crusade after it took from him two siblings and both parents. “This is my vision, to be able to use the tangible rewards of my career in building and construction to create a legacy for education and educational institutions in both of my homelands,” he said. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Azrieli also was a “chevalier” of the Ordre National du Québec. Married for 57 years to Stephanie Lefcort, he had four children: Rafael, Sharon, Naomi and Danna. He died surrounded by family at his country home in Ivry-sur-le-Lac, Que. [email protected]
  15. Montreal’s economic development lags behind that of other Canadian cities and it needs greater political and economic powers to turn around its sagging fortunes, says a new study. It’s time to realize that Montreal is a motor of the Quebec economy that contributes more than it gets back, said BMO President L. Jacques Ménard, the chancellor of Concordia University. He unveiled the 162-page study by BMO Financial Group, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, on Tuesday. “Montreal finances more than half of the public spending across Quebec, even, in fact, the Colisée,” said Ménard, referring to controversial plans to build a new arena in Quebec City. Yet Canada’s second-biggest city has no more powers than small towns like Ste-Adèle or Mascouche, Ménard said. Forced to rely on property taxes to finance repairs to its crumbling infrastructure, Montreal needs to be recognized and promoted as Quebec’s metropolis, he said. “We have to get away from the unfortunate idea, I think, that wrongly presents the development of Montreal as being antithetical to that of the regions,” he said. With slow population growth, stagnating personal income and sagging economic growth, Montreal has lost 20 per cent of its major head offices in 20 years, the report noted. A comparison with five other Canadian cities shows that Montreal’s GDP grew by only 37 per cent over the past 15 years, compared to 59 per cent on average for Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver. Montreal’s population only grew by 16 per cent compared to 33 per cent for the other cities. Unemployment remains at about 8.5 per cent in Montreal compared to 6.3 per cent in the other cities. And Montrealers’ disposable income has risen by only 51 per cent in 15 years, compared to 87 per cent for residents of the other five cities. “It has to do with the lack of us trying to create a milieu where ideas, people and technology conjugate to create innovation and to contribute to what you could call the new economy,” Ménard said. “One has to try and imagine what is Montreal going to look like 10 years from now? What are the new things we’re going to be doing and exporting that we’re not doing today?” he asked. For solutions, the report looked to seven world cities that have successfully regenerated their economies after going through periods of decline. They are Boston, Manchester, Melbourne, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle. Researchers identified strategies all of the successful cities used to become more competitive in the global economy, Ménard said. They included strong municipal leadership, support from higher levels of government, centres of excellence that acted as catalysts for growth, improved quality of life and transportation, a focus on human capital at universities and colleges, and development of a strong identity or brand for the city. With its effervescent cultural scene, cultural diversity, cheap rents and key industries like aerospace, technology and medical research, Montreal has enormous potential to thrive, the report said. Ménard said one way to achieve that potential is to unleash the talent and expertise concentrated in its five universities (including the Longueuil campus of the Université de Sherbrooke) instead of treating institutions of higher learning simply as service centres. “Montreal is a revolving door,” he said, noting the city loses as many residents as it gains. Even though the city has a huge student population, it retains few graduates because most leave in search of better opportunities, the report found. Corruption scandals and the divisive debate over the charter of values also make the city a less attractive and welcoming place, it said. Researchers interviewed more than 50 community leaders from a variety of fields, including cultural industries, education, finance, industry, health, community organizations, politics and technology to delve into challenges facing the city. Ménard emphasized the initiative is non-partisan and said it was only a coincidence that the report, which was 18 months in the making, is coming out just before a provincial election campaign. Premier Pauline Marois is expected to call an election in the coming days or weeks. “They say coincidences can be lucky. If the revitalization of Montreal is part of the debate in the coming weeks, I think it will be good for Quebec,” he said. Ménard said Montreal is sorely neglected by other levels of government. “When you look at the Champlain Bridge, the Turcot Interchange, the state of our roads, I don’t think they would have tolerated that in Ottawa, or in Quebec City, or even in Toronto,” he said. He said he hopes Montreal will be front and centre in the coming election campaign. “If they mention the word Montreal more than 100 times, I’m going to break out the champagne because it doesn’t happen very often,” he said. Ménard said he hopes to rally citizens from all walks of life to join the effort to revitalize the city. A public meeting is planned for June 13 at the Palais des Congrès and will include people from business, higher education, social agencies, the arts and youth organizations. Mayor Denis Coderre said he fully support the initiative and will do all he can to achieve the dream of putting Montreal back on the road to prosperity. “I’m inspired today,” he said. [email protected] You can download the report, in French, here: http://www.bmo.com/ci/files/Creer_un_nouvel_elan_a_Montreal.pdf « PREVIOUS 1 2 View as one page NEXT » © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  16. L'idée n'est pas de répartir le débat ici, juste de mettre en ligne ce qui s'écrit sur le Québec à l'étranger. Free lunches, please Protests against tuition fee increases could help an unpopular government May 5th 2012 | OTTAWA | from the print edition Sure beats studying IN THE past year students protesting over the cost of university education in business-friendly Chile have captured the world’s attention. In recent months their counterparts in statist Quebec have taken up the cause. Since February about a third of the province’s 450,000 university students have boycotted classes to oppose the tuition-fee increases planned by Jean Charest, the province’s Liberal premier. Some have blocked roads and vandalised government buildings. On April 25th and 26th around 115 people were arrested, following evening protests that turned into window-smashing in central Montreal. Quebeckers have long seen cheap university education as a birthright. The decision by the centrist Liberals to double fees in 1990 was one reason why they lost control of the province. Their successor was the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ), which responded to a student strike in 1996 by freezing tuition fees for 11 years. But Mr Charest is now in a fiscal squeeze. He has promised to cut a C$3.8 billion ($3.8 billion) deficit to C$1.5 billion this year. Quebec spends 4.6% of its budget on universities, mainly because its fees are the lowest among Canadian provinces. In humanities and social sciences, which have the highest share of striking students, Quebec charges C$2,845 and C$2,629 a year, a bit over half the average in all other provinces. To help close the gap, Mr Charest proposed raising annual fees by a total of C$1,625 over the next five years. When the protests began the government vowed not to negotiate. It soon backtracked, proposing making student loans easier to get, linking repayment to income after graduation, stretching the fee increase over seven years and offering an additional C$39m in bursaries. But the student groups insist on an absolute tuition freeze. Their hard line may help Mr Charest at a tough time. He would love to call an election before an inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry, which may leave his party squirming, begins in June. But his government is unpopular: an April poll found that 73% of Quebeckers are unhappy with its performance. The opposition PQ has allied itself with the protesters, even putting the students’ red-square logo on its website. That may prove unwise: a recent online poll found that 79% of Quebeckers oppose raising income taxes to pay for universities. If the Liberals can tie the PQ to the movement’s intransigence, Mr Charest might yet risk an early vote and hope to eke out a win. http://www.economist.com/node/21554254
  17. With a goal to make John Abbott College a leader in health-related fields, a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony took place Tuesday for the CEGEP's new science and technology building. The new five-storey, $30-million project will house facilities to train nurses, ambulance technicians and pharmaceutical technicians. "This will train students in English in areas where we have a shortage of qualified workers," said Education Minister Line Beauchamps. To be completed in 2012, the building, equipped with geothermic heating, will benefit from $8 million in financing from federal and provincial governments. http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100831/mtl_JAC_100831/20100831?hub=Montreal
  18. 'Continue to lag significantly behind non-blacks on every success indicator' http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Invisible+barriers+hurt+black+Montrealers/2699666/story.html BY MARIAN SCOTT, THE GAZETTEMARCH 19, 2010 MONTREAL – Black Montrealers face "invisible barriers" to employment, education and home ownership that make them twice as likely to be poor and unemployed as the rest of the population, according to a major demographic study by McGill University. "Blacks continue to lag significantly behind non-blacks on every indicator of success," said the report by the Montreal Consortium on Human Rights Advocacy Training, led by social work professor Jim Torczyner. The comprehensive study, which examined employment, housing, youth, justice, immigration and education among the city's 173,000-member black community, is a follow-up to one in 1998. It shows that poverty and inequality continue to haunt black Montrealers, whose average annual income is $22,701, compared with $34,196 for the population as a whole. Unemployment among black Montrealers is more than twice as high: 13.4 per cent vs. 6.6 per cent. In Montreal - home to one in five black Canadians - the black population surged by 38 per cent from 1996 to 2006. One in two black Montrealers is under age 25. With the city's black community expected to rise by more than double, to 381,000 from 173,000, in the next 20 years, according to a recent Statistics Canada study, Torczyner called for a coordinated strategy to combat pervasive social and economic ills. "I think that study and this study provide a wakeup call, that we need to bring together the best minds in the black community, in government, in business, in labour unions to work together and find a solution," Torczyner said. "It's just a matter of the political will to move it forward and that will is necessary because it won't go away. It hasn't gotten better in 10 years." Almost half of black children in Montreal live in poverty and almost one-quarter of black females age 15 or over are single parents. Among black women age 45 to 64, more than one in three are single parents - that's 3 1/2 times the rate among non-black women. One-quarter of Montreal blacks age 25 to 44 are university graduates, compared with one-third of non-blacks in that age group. But even with an equivalent or better education than their non-black counterparts, blacks earn dramatically less, the report said. Only 30 per cent of blacks with a master's degree or doctorate earn $45,000 or more a year, compared with 54 per cent of non-blacks with graduate degrees. Only 23 per cent of blacks with a bachelor's degree earned $45,000 or more, compared with 42 per cent of non-blacks. Almost seven of 10 blacks in Montreal have an annual income of less than $25,000. Only one-third of blacks own their own homes, compared to two-thirds of non-blacks. Frances Waithe, a community worker with the Desta Black Youth Network in Little Burgundy, called the study saddening and worrisome. "I'm concerned because 50 per cent of the black community consists of youth under 25," she said. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  19. Toronto : Moving on out - to 905 Crazy' property taxes have forced the hand of hundreds of T.O. businesses in recent years By BRYN WEESE, SUN MEDIA Three years ago, Les Liversidge packed up his successful law office and moved out of Toronto. He didn't go far. Liversidge took his practice, his law books and his taxes across Steeles Ave. into Markham. It wasn't a move he wanted to make, rather a "simple business decision" to escape Toronto's "crazy" taxes. He's far from alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of Toronto's businesses over the past several years have packed up their shops, factories and offices and moved to the 905. In the iconic Danforth area, for example, 30% of retailers there now won't be around next year, according to a neighbourhood business survey. Toronto's high commercial property taxes are making rents uncompetitive and unaffordable, city business groups say. 'MOM AND POP BAKERY' "If you're paying $10,000 in taxes for your little mom and pop bakery, you'd have to bake a lot of buns just to pay your tax bill," said Judith Andrew, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Ontario, which has more than 4,000 members in Toronto. "I could see for many people, unless you absolutely had to be in the city, you'd want to run your business somewhere else." Liversidge sold his Willowdale office (a house he "loved" that had been converted into a commercial space) at Yonge St. and Steeles Ave. when it no longer "made sense" to keep it because of burdensome taxes. "I don't remember what my taxes were when I bought (the building) in 1992, which to me means they were not significant," Liversidge said. He recalls paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6,000 and $8,000 in taxes annually. But a dozen years later, thanks to property tax changes, provincial downloading, double digit spending and tax increases by city council, Liversidge's tax bill, like those of every business in Toronto, went through the roof. His taxes hit $27,000 a year by 2005. "More significant, I think, was a lack of predictability," Liversidge said. "I had no confidence that commercial real estate taxes would be controlled in any reasonable way," he said. He now rents about the same amount of space in a new, modest-sized three-storey office building. His rent is less than what his taxes were in 2004 in Toronto, even though the two buildings are only about five minutes apart. JOB GROWTH STAGNANT "I would much prefer to be in Toronto, but it makes no sense," Liversidge said. "If this building was located 300 yards south (on the other side of Steeles in Toronto), I don't think I could afford it." In 2005, the property taxes on a 250,000-square-foot office in the 905 were roughly $800,000 less than in Toronto. These numbers come from a study the City of Toronto conducted and are the most recent available. Business groups, however, maintain the numbers are still reasonably accurate and applicable today. As a consequence, employment growth in the 905 skyrocketed while job growth in the city has been stagnant and even suffered erosion. Between 2000 and 2006, the 905 region added more than 300,000 jobs while Toronto lost 23,700 jobs. Looking further back, over the past two decades, the 905 has added 800,000 jobs while employment in Toronto is still about 20,000 below its peak in 1989. Back in 2002, a city report optimistically projected 1.84 million new jobs would be created by 2031, a number officials now suggest is less a "goal" and more a "target." The falloff is in part attributable to migration of business, particularly small and medium-sized companies, in everything from manufacturing, and accommodation to administrative support and transportation. Toronto's commercial and industrial taxes are higher than its neighbours for several reasons. In part, relatively lower residential property taxes have put more of a burden on businesses operating in the city. "It's all well and good to cushion residents ... however, at a certain point, people don't have to be here and they do leave," Andrew said. Also in part, Toronto's business education tax rates are higher than those paid in the 905. That's supposed to change, but not until 2014. The bottom line, for business, is a tax disparity they can't afford to ignore. Cindy Anisman, a spokesman for Kingsdown Sleep Systems, credits moving from the intersection of Hwys. 401 and 400 to Vaughan two years ago with their company's growing success. Their facility in Vaughan is 120,000 square feet and employs more than 100 people. "We needed to expand our business, and the only place that you could actually find an area big enough was north in Vaughan," she said. "Taxes are lower, and utilities in a brand new building are a lot cheaper, too." 'NO-BRAINER TO MOVE' "It was a no-brainer to move," she added. "We're just sorry we didn't make this move earlier." Toronto officials are fully aware of the taxation problem, and council has passed several new measures to try to stop the bleeding. Three months ago, the city started a new program that allows manufacturers to improve their buildings or create a new building and get a "tax holiday" from higher taxes for a decade on the upgrade. "It's the first of its kind anywhere, I believe," Christine Raissis, director of the city's strategic growth and sector services, told the Sunday Sun. For the past few years, the city has also waived development charges on new commercial and industrial buildings, which it collects to pay for infrastructure such as roads and sewers. "We forgo those, partly on the basis that our business and commercial property taxes are higher, so we're trying to do what we can in the short term to balance that (tax) differential," said Randy McLean, the city's economic policy manager. "We're forgiving the front end development charges because we want the jobs." It makes a difference. For a 100,000-square-foot industrial or small office development, those charges would amount to $827,000. Toronto has also implemented a three-year-old plan to lower its commercial to residential property tax ratio to 2.5 to 1 within 10 years from its current 4-1 ratio -- to narrow the gap between what homeowners pay relative to business owners. It's still dramatically higher than ratios in 905 communities but Andrew from the CFIB said at least Toronto is "heading in the right direction." Other critics are less understanding. "The city's proposal to bring the tax ratio in line ... is worthless because, at a minimum you're looking at 10 years before they achieve that level," said Lionel Miskin, v-p of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. "And each year your taxes still go up, but the residential tax rate is going up faster than the commercial rate." "Maybe people will be happy about it in 10 years, if there is anyone working in the city anymore," he added. "I would say it is a crisis situation." But Toronto council isn't the only level of government responsible for this city's jobs and businesses relocating to the 905. Provincial education taxes are also a sore point. In 2007, the Ontario government unveiled plans to equalize business education taxes across the province. 'VITALITY IN THE CITY' Historically, Toronto's Business Education Taxes were significantly higher than those paid in the GTA and will remain higher until the province completes its equalization plan in 2014. Steven Sorensen, who chairs the Toronto Office Coalition, argues city and provincial measures need to be put in place sooner if the city is serious about retaining businesses and creating jobs. "I think the benefits of introducing these measures in a more prompt fashion would pay off many times over in terms of the economic growth and vitality in the city," he said. The city counters the cost of lowering the commercial tax ratio sooner would cost $600 million to $700 million. However, the argument of when to lower taxes may be moot. For the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, the only real solution to the city's high business taxation woes is to develop a new taxation system. The BIA association believes Ontario's property tax assessment system, which regularly updates the tax value of properties, is flawed and unfair. The CFIB also thinks the city needs to focus on its core duties -- roads, public health, welfare and parks -- and curtail its spending habits to make Toronto more tax competitive. In fact, a recent survey of its Toronto members -- all of them small and medium-sized businesses -- found 86% think the city needs to eliminate wasteful spending. Among other things, the CFIB wants the city to contract out more services for competitive bidding, and do away with its fair wage policy, which requires private non-union companies doing work for the city to pay their employees city rates. But the city, for its part, rejects the notion Toronto's taxes are posing a crisis for the business community. In fact, the city argues, there are currently three new skyscrapers being built in the downtown core for a total estimated investment of about $1 billion. BANKS, STOCK EXCHANGE The city is still the financial capital of Canada, home to the headquarters of five of the country's six national banks, 90% of Canada's foreign banks and the nation's largest stock exchange. There is also growth in several important industries, namely computer systems, finance, health and education, which Raissis argues creates a synergy with the outlying areas of Toronto, whose specialty is mainly manufacturing. "The performance of 905 is important to Toronto, and the performance of Toronto is important to 905," she said. "It's one economic region, but it's not homogeneous." "We are not here to compete against the 905, we're all here as a region to present Toronto as an international market place," she said.
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