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Found 7 results

  1. Canada to switch to plastic bills next year Last Updated: Saturday, March 6, 2010 | 2:19 PM ET CBC News They say money doesn't grow on trees. Well, the federal government has taken that adage to heart — it announced earlier this week that Canada's paper-cotton banknotes would be replaced by newly designed plastic ones next year. It's part of a plan to modernize and protect Canadian currency against counterfeiting. The new plastic bills, made from a polymer material, are harder to fake, recyclable, and two to three times more resistant to tearing, the Bank of Canada said. Australia has used polymer banknotes since the 1990s, and an Australian company will provide the material for Canada. Several other countries have adopted polymer banknotes including New Zealand, Vietnam and Romania. The new notes won't be in circulation until sometime in 2011. In the meantime, the central bank is keeping mum on what the new bills will look like. "I can't divulge that information because they will be issued in about 18 months — that's a long ways away," said Bank of Canada spokesperson Julie Girard. "We want to keep a little bit of information from potential counterfeiters so they don't get a leg up and start producing any counterfeits." CBC News wanted to get some local Canadians' impressions of the polymer bills. Reporter Sandra Abma took an Australian banknote and a classic cotton-paper Canadian bill and asked people on the streets of Ottawa to compare. The opinions were mixed. "It would be easier to lose, I think," said one woman, after rubbing her fingers on the polymer bill. "It's soft and smooth and it could slide out easier." "This feels like Monopoly money actually," said a young man. "It's like I took this out of a board game and then went to buy Timmy's with it." Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/03/06/ott-plastic-money.html#ixzz0hXA51DI4
  2. Looking to the skies for answers: a second look at gondola transit Mayor Rob Ford seems to favour tunneling transit underground in Toronto. But a growing number of international cities, including some in Canada, are casting their eyes to the sky at an unconventional mode that’s cheaper, cleaner and quicker to build than subways and light rail. Two years ago, when the Star ran a feature on gondolas as public transit — yes, essentially heavy-duty ski lifts — many Toronto readers and politicians said it was crazy talk. That was before Councillor Doug Ford floated his vision of a lakeside monorail and his brother’s plans for a privately funded Sheppard subway rang increasingly hollow. Meantime, interest in gondolas has grown in Canada and abroad. Why not a gondola, asked Professor Amer Shalaby, a University of Toronto transportation engineer, who has studied them as part of a multi-modal transportation plan for Mecca, Saudi Arabia. They could be used to carry pilgrims to the hajj from satellite parking lots around the city. Its roads are so congested that pedestrians and cars compete for space. Although he’s not advocating gondolas for Toronto, Shalaby doesn’t think it would hurt to look at them. “It’s not out of the blue. A number of jurisdictions around the world have started using this as a public transit mode,” he said. A video on his website notes that “aerial ropeway transit” is a great solution where there’s no room at street level. Stations could be integrated into existing buildings or built over the roads. A gondola doesn’t offer the same capacity as a subway but it could move 5,000 to 6,000 passengers an hour, “which is good compared to a streetcar line,” said Shalaby. The Queen streetcar line carries about 1,800 people per hour at its busiest point in the morning peak, according to the TTC. That’s compared with about 30,000 on the Yonge subway, 2,100 on the Spadina streetcar and 200 to 300 on a neighbourhood bus route. Meantime, Vancouver is releasing a business case in January for a gondola that would transport commuters up Burnaby Mountain to Simon Fraser University and a nearby residential development. “Because it’s on top of a mountain, it gets snow before ground level. Right now we serve the university with very large articulated buses that have to go up and down that hill. There are 10 to 15 days a year they can’t make it to campus because road conditions are so poor,” said Ken Hardie, spokesman for TransLink. Although a gondola hasn’t yet qualified for Vancouver’s long-term transit plan, its environmental benefits could help make the case. An electric powered aerial cable system is cleaner than a diesel bus, he noted. Calgary had also been looking at a gondola to connect its C-train to hospitals and the university. But the project has been set aside as the city looks at expanding its light rail and bus services. , however, has issued a request for proposals from companies interested in studying an overhead cable car that would connect the Metro with a shopping mall and future entertainment-park complex.Mountain backdrops, however, seem to make cities more receptive to gondolas. Hardie admits Vancouver officials were inspired by the Peak 2 Peak gondola that opened in Whistler in 2008. It uses pioneering three-rope technology — two lines support the cabin and one pulls it across the line. It moves faster and offers better stability and wind resistance than other cable systems. The Peak 2 Peak carries over 2,000 people an hour one-way, scooping up 28 skiers every 49 seconds. It could probably carry a few more people per cabin without skis, said Steven Dale, a transportation planner who splits his time between Switzerland and Toronto. “I would have the easiest job in the world if there was a club for transportation planners who ski,” says the founder of the Gondola Project and Creative Urban Projects. With its ravines, Toronto’s topography hardly qualifies as flat, said Dale. The Don Valley is the most obvious place to string a cable, he said. It’s a potential alternative to a downtown relief subway line to take some of the load off the south end of Yonge, he said. If Ontario Place were redeveloped, a gondola would also solve what transportation planners call the “last-mile problem.” That’s the issue of carrying people from rapid transit stops the last mile to their destination. It could shuttle people to Ontario Place from Union Station without adding to the downtown congestion. GONDOLA PROJECTS • Laval, Que., has issued a request for proposals to study a gondola to connect the Metro subway with an entertainment complex. • Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is considering a gondola among the solutions for safely ferrying pilgrims to the Hajj from satellite parking lots around the city. • The London Thames Cable Car opens next year, although it is mired in controversy over the cost, which has soared. • Venezuela and Colombia have embraced cable technology and now Rio de Janeiro is opening one and planning to build more. • Algeria is building three. • The African Development Bank has issued a request for proposals to explore a network of gondolas in Lagos, Nigeria. • The Roosevelt Island Tram in New York was reopened last year to connect with Manhattan. • First "Urban Concept" system in Koblenz, Germany designed to act and look like public transit will shuttle visitors across the Rhine to an international horticultural show. Source: Steven Dale and The Gondola Project http://www.thestar.com/news/transportation/article/1110111--looking-to-the-skies-for-answers-a-second-look-at-gondola-transit#.Tws1TClRmX4.twitter
  3. Construction slowdown looms VIRGINIA GALT Globe and Mail Update August 7, 2008 at 6:22 PM EDT The head of construction powerhouse EllisDon said Thursday he is “very wary and very concerned” about where the Canadian economy is going. “I am worried right across the country that things are tightening up and that a year from now we are going to see a drop-off,” Geoff Smith, the company's president and chief executive officer said in an interview after Statistics Canada reported that the total value of building permits fell 5.3 per cent in June to $6.3-billion. Economists had projected a decline in the value of building permits issued in June, but not of the magnitude that Statistics Canada reported. The consensus had been for a 1 per cent drop Mr. Smith expressed concern for the construction industry as a whole Thursday, although EllisDon has not yet experienced a drop in demand for the heavy construction in which it specializes. “Over the short term, we [at EllisDon] are still seeing a reasonably healthy market. A lot of that is in public sector work and infrastructure rebuilding work,” he said. “But I certainly understand that once you get outside of that space, the big hospital and infrastructure spending, that things are quite tight in the industry,” Mr. Smith said. Statscan reported Thursday that the slowdown in the residential sector resulted in a month-to-month decline of 4.4 per cent to $3.6-billion in June. And in the non-residential sector, the value of permits decreased by 6.6 per cent to $2.8-billion, due to declines in industrial and commercial building intentions, Statscan reported. Mr. Smith said major commercial and industrial customers are being “more careful” about committing to new projects. However, the outlook is not nearly as bleak as in the 1990s, “where things just dried up very dramatically,” he said. The market is cooling, but new projects are still being planned, added Sandy McNair, president of Toronto-based Altus InSite, which conducts market research for governments, lenders, building managers and the heavy construction industry. “No-one's gone crazy and thinking they are going to start 30 new buildings tomorrow. But on the other hand, there is no sense that the sky is falling and our world is about to end either,” Mr. McNair said. Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Millan Mulraine said in a research note that the decline in the value of building permits was broad-based – and “on a city-by-city comparison, the report was fairly ugly.” The value of permits issued in Montreal was down 12.1 per cent, in Calgary down 15.2 per cent, in Vancouver down 13.4 per cent and in Saskatoon down 16.7 per cent, Mr. Mulraine wrote, adding that the overall value of building permits is now 9.1 per cent lower than in the corresponding period last year. Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf said in an economic report Thursday that Canada's housing market is entering a “sustained downturn” and he expects Canadian home builders to pull back “substantially” in response. Bank of Montreal economists had expected June building permits to decline 3.1 per cent, “as the housing market continues to cool and non-residential intentions retrace part of the prior month's massive gain,” the bank said in a research note. The steepest decline occurred in Ontario, where the value of building permits was down 7.9 per cent to $2.3-billion, due mainly to a 15.8 per cent decline in plans for non-residential buildings, Statscan said. The decline in Ontario's residential sector was 1.7 per cent. Alberta posted a 7.5 per cent decline, due to a 19.6 per cent drop in the residential sector. British Columbia and New Brunswick also experienced declines in both the residential and non-residential sectors, Statscan said. “In contrast, intentions rose 3.5 per cent in Quebec, with gains in both the residential and non-residential sectors.” Overall, there was a slight increase in the value of permits issued for single-family residences – up 1.8 per cent to $2.3-billion. But there was a sharp drop in the value of permits issued for multiple-family dwellings. “Municipalities issued $1.3-billion worth of permits for multi-family housing in June, down 13.8 per cent, a second consecutive monthly decrease. Most of these declines occurred in Ontario and Alberta,” Statscan said. “It is now becoming clear that the Canadian housing market is continuing to cool, as the level of activity moderates to more sustainable levels,” the TD Bank said in its research note. “And we expected this correction to continue at a measured and orderly pace.” Mr. McNair said the month-to-month data on non-residential building activity tends to be “lumpy” because these tend to be larger projects “and the decisions don't get made evenly spread out across the 12 months of the year.” There is “a reasonable level of activity going on across the country” right now, he said. “Edmonton has never had more construction activity in 20 years in terms of office building activity. Calgary is extremely active as well. Toronto has a healthy level of construction activity going on right now. Ottawa, even Montreal, have a healthy level of activity under way,” Mr. McNair said. “They have got their permits and they are building them out.” Mr. McNair said the residential sector appears to be stable as well, although construction activity is moderating from the rapid pace of the past few years. “It [residential] is moderating, but it's not going over a cliff the way it has in the United States,” he said. Comme si c`était surprenant que Montreal aille bien..... Globe and mail cr**
  4. J'aime les anecdotes qui ont valeur symbolique... By DAMIEN CAVE Published: January 12, 2009 MIAMI — A financial adviser from Indiana disappeared into the Alabama woods early Monday after faking a distress call and parachuting from a small plane that crashed in Florida. The police in three states were looking for the pilot, identified as Marcus Schrenker, 38. No one was hurt in the crash. According to the police in Santa Rosa County in the Florida Panhandle, where the plane went down, Mr. Schrenker turned up safely about 220 miles north of there. And there is evidence that Mr. Schrenker was an experienced pilot who might have been trying to fake his own death. His life seemed to be unraveling. Court records show that Mr. Schrenker’s wife filed for divorce on Dec. 30. A Maryland court recently issued a judgment of more than $500,000 against one of three Indiana companies registered in his name — and all three are being investigated for securities fraud by the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, a spokesman, Jim Gavin, said. Mr. Schrenker has at least a decade of experience as a pilot, according to the airport in Anderson, Ind., where he departed Sunday evening. But the police said that within hours of taking off, he issued a distress call. He told air traffic controllers that he was bleeding profusely and that the windshield of his Piper PA-46 turboprop had imploded. The control tower told him to try to land nearby, but instead he “appears to have intentionally abandoned the plane after putting it on autopilot over the Birmingham, Ala., area,” the police in Santa Rosa County said. He next appeared in Childersburg, Ala., about 30 miles to the southeast, when he approached local officers at a store and said he had been in a canoeing accident. He was wet from the knees down and carried what the police described as “goggles that looked like they were made for ‘flying.’ ” After checking his Indiana license, the officers drove Mr. Schrenker to a hotel. After learning of the abandoned plane, they returned, but his room was empty. Witnesses said a man believed to be Mr. Schrenker wearing a black toboggan cap had run into the woods next to the hotel. He has not been seen since. The telephones at Mr. Schrenker’s home and one of his companies, Heritage Wealth Management, have been disconnected. His piloting skills, however, can be seen in a YouTube video in which he flies under bridges in the Bahamas. “This stunt,” it says, “should not be tried by any pilot that wishes to stay alive.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/us/13plane.html?_r=1&hp#
  5. Canadian Commercial Paper Plan Likely to Be Approved By Joe Schneider June 3 (Bloomberg) -- A Canadian judge will probably approve a plan to convert C$32 billion ($31.8 billion) of frozen commercial paper to new notes by the end of the week, though court appeals may keep investors waiting months to get their money back. ``I will have a decision with reasons by Friday,'' Ontario Superior Court Judge Colin Campbell said at the end of a hearing in Toronto today. ``I'll approve,'' unless there's something in his notes that convinces him to change his mind, the judge said. Lawyers representing some of the noteholders have already indicated they plan to appeal Campbell's ruling once it comes out. Some investors object to the plan's limitations on lawsuits targeted at the banks and brokers that sold the paper, which hasn't traded since August. James Woods, who represents 18 companies that want to sue including pharmacy chain Jean Coutu Group Inc., said if the judge rules as he indicated, his group will likely file to the Court of Appeal. ``If we find fraud against banks that are not ABCP dealers, there is no recourse,'' Woods said, urging the judge to reject the proposal at today's hearing. ``It's inconceivable.'' New notes may be issued as early as the end of June if there are no appeals, said Purdy Crawford, a lawyer who led a group of foreign and Canadian banks and pension funds that drafted the proposal. All appeals must be exhausted before the notes are issued, he said. Quick Appeal ``We can't close until we get the sanction,'' Crawford told reporters. ``I am assured by our lawyers that the Court of Appeal will agree to an expedited hearing.'' The insolvent asset-backed paper hasn't traded since August, when investors shunned the debt on concerns about links to high-risk mortgage loans in the U.S. A group of foreign banks as well as Canadian lenders and pension funds led by Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec negotiated the so-called Montreal Proposal in August. The plan would convert the insolvent 30- to 90-day debt into new notes maturing within nine years. Banks agreed to provide funding to back the new notes on the condition that they be given immunity from any lawsuits stemming from the sale of the notes. Campbell said in a May 16 ruling he wasn't satisfied protection from lawsuits over potentially criminal conduct such as fraud was fair, and he delayed approval. The banks agreed to change the plan to allow limited suits under certain conditions within nine weeks following the plan's approval. Possible Fraud Campbell criticized the lawyers opposing the plan for failing to provide examples of potential outstanding fraud. ``So we defeat the plan on the off chance that there is something out there?'' Campbell asked. Once the new notes are issued, investors can hold them to maturity or try to trade them in the secondary market. Some clients of Canaccord Capital Inc. will be paid in full for their debt, under an agreement announced by the Vancouver-based brokerage in April. The case is Between the Investors Represented on the Pan- Canadian Investors Committee for Third-Party Structured Asset- Backed Commercial Paper and Metcalfe & Mansfield Alternative Investments II Corp., 08-CL-7740, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto). To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Schneider in Toronto at [email protected] http://www.bloomberg.com/index.html?Intro=intro3
  6. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100312/mtl_un_report100312/20100312?hub=Canada UN urges Canada to take action against discrimination Brian Daly, ctvmontreal.ca Date: Friday Mar. 12, 2010 3:37 PM ET Montreal is one of several cities where ethnic Canadians are facing rampant discrimination in policing, education and labour, says a wide-ranging report issued by the United Nations. The document follows a visit to Montreal and other Canadian cities by Gay McDougall, the UN's Independent Expert on minority issues. Among the communities she visited last October was Montreal North, which was still tense more than a year after the police shooting death of teenager Fredy Villanueva that triggered widespread riots. She said many people expressed concerns about Quebec's system of police investigating each other when civilians are hurt or killed during police operations. "Montreal North residents claim that investigations of police misconduct have not been independent," she wrote. Community members told the UN envoy that they want an independent civilian body to probe any allegations of police misconduct. McDougall agreed. "It is essential … that mechanisms of civilian oversight are strengthened where they exist or established where they do not." Profiling McDougall's report also raised concerns about racial profiling, echoing observations in a report issued earlier this week by the Quebec Human Rights Commission. The UN report heard from people who described racial profiling as systemic. Response Montreal police had a chance to defend their practices during a meeting with the envoy. Her report said police provided information on their zero-tolerance policy towards racial profiling. "They pointed to specialist expert committees established with advisory roles, including on racial profiling and with respect to specific communities," said the report. "They rejected claims of excessive force and impunity." A civilian police ethics commissioner and outside police forces oversee officer conduct across the province. But McDougall wrote that "police representatives acknowledged that the process currently fails to have the confidence of the community," adding that government officials are trying to improve the system. Recommendations McDougall also visited Toronto and Vancouver, where she noted similar concerns by ethnic communities. She issued a number of recommendations: Cracking down on racial profiling in all areas of society: Ensuring that ethnic groups have access to jobs while penalizing employers that practice racial discrimination: Making sure that provinces enforce existing employment equity laws: Ensuring that governments recruit, retain and promote minorities to senior posts: Gathering more detailed demographic data on Canadians to get a better picture of ethnic communities: Increasing political participation of minorities Ensuring that anti-terrorism measures don't violate human rights Granting better access to legal aid and human rights agencies.
  7. New broom sweeping Montreal clean INGRID PERITZ June 8, 2007 MONTREAL -- In Montreal this spring, a new army of enforcers is taking command of the streets and spreading fear in back alleys. They're tough, eagle-eyed - and armed with big brooms. The city in Canada best known for its insouciance and laissez-faire ways is suddenly aspiring to be Singapore on the St. Lawrence. This year, Montreal has declared war on trash. Besieged by criticism that downtown had become an open-air dump of litter and bulging trash bins, city hall made a clean sweep of it by adopting a bylaw on "civility, respect and cleanliness." Since last Friday, property owners downtown have become responsible for cleaning up in front of their homes and businesses. Fines start at $125 and reach $4,000 for repeat offenders. "This is probably the toughest bylaw of its kind in Canada, if not North America," said Benoît Labonté, mayor of Montreal's downtown borough. "There are no warnings, just tickets for violations. We mean business." Mr. Labonté has scheduled a news conference this morning to reveal the fruits of the new crackdown: In just seven days, the city's "trash troopers" issued about $70,000 in fines. Montreal was inspired by cities like New York and Paris, which turned around their notoriously unkempt appearance in a few years, Mr. Labonté said in an interview yesterday. "If it's good enough for New York and Paris, it's good enough for Montreal." Montreal has always had anti-trash rules on the books, but it put muscle this year into applying them: Ten more trash inspectors downtown, 189 young "cleanliness brigadiers," as well as 1,400 new garbage bins, 700 ashtrays and four solar-powered trash compactors valued at $4,700 apiece. Some people worry Montreal will get so clean it will be antiseptic. And the more cynical wonder if Mayor Gérald Tremblay isn't picking an easy target because it's a lot tougher to solve intractable problems like his woeful revenue sources. Still, many agree the city had let cleanliness slide in recent years, and civic pride with it. Complaints mounted about overflowing garbage cans, oozing back-alley dumpsters, and cigarette butts outside office buildings after no-smoking rules went into effect. "We'd let things go in the last few years, and it was visible," said Claude Rainville, head of a business development group in Montreal's Latin Quarter. "The industrial quantities of butts. The trash containers. It just wasn't welcoming." And the tough anti-litter talk isn't the only effort aimed at making Montrealers less unruly. Montreal police last year added 133 officers to its traffic squad to curb the notoriously bad habits of city drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In the first four months of this year, police issued nearly 3,500 tickets for jaywalking, and plan to crack down on the habit through the summer, said Chief Inspector Réjean Toutant. "I understand that this is part of Montreal's culture. But that's no reason to let things go," he said. No smoking, no jaywalking, no littering - is Montreal losing its joie de vivre? Éric Montpetit, a political scientist at the University of Montreal, studied the city's litter problems and said the new efforts are long overdue. But the trash crackdown does appear to fit into a larger pattern. "Montrealers have long been the exception in Canada. We've been less disciplined and maybe a little less polite. But that wild side is also part of the city's charm," said Prof. Montpetit, who has lived in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Now, the efforts at behaviour reform may signal a shift. "Maybe," he said, "we're starting to Canadianize Montrealers."