Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Day in Toronto

Our nephew, Andrew Moir, had a film he made called "Just as I Remember" showing at the "Hot Docs" film festival in Toronto.  Hot Docs is a festival for documentary films, and although it is smaller than the Toronto International Film Festival (or TIFF), it is still quite a big deal by our standards, showing about 250 documentary films.  A link to the IMDB synopsis of Andrew's film is here:


Since December 2011, there has been a commuter train, called the GO train, that runs from Kitchener to Toronto.  We both like rail travel, even though we rarely travel that way in North America. So we decided to try it out.  There are only two trains a day from Kitchener running into Toronto, the last one being 7:07 AM.  Convenient for commuters, not so good for tourists going to a 4:00 PM movie, but .. oh well.  At least we can walk to the train station from our house.  And the train is a double decker, so I imagined the view from the top would be pretty good.  Actually, the upper deck is not really that high, as the lower deck is near the ground.  Also, the tracks do not often run at ground level, so I never got much of a feeling of being up high except when we were next to the station.  But it was fun seeing the back yards of all these houses and businesses on the way in to Toronto.


Paying for the train was a learning experience.  As it is a commuter train, apparently they do not have a person selling tickets at the train station. (machines are no good, because we need to ask dumb questions)  So a few days earlier, we went to the Kitchener bus station, where we ended up buying a "Presto Card" pass.  This card is loaded with a certain amount of money, and each time you make a trip, you touch the card to a reader to get on, and then touch it again to get off.  If you forget to touch it getting on, you can be fined, if they catch you.  If you forget to touch getting off, your card will continue to pay for the train that you are no longer on, until the card is worthless.  OK, a little bit scary, but we can handle it.  We loaded up our two cards with exactly the amount of money for a return trip to Toronto.  When we got to the train station, we found out, by watching other people, where the Presto card tapping post was (not on the train, but on the platform!). Then we walked to the place where the front car would be, thinking we would get a good view.  This was a long walk, because the train has ten double decker cars, but because it also has two separate locomotive engines, we could not see to the front, and we couldn't even give the driver advice.

The complications continue.  We needed to return abut 9 PM, but the last train would have already left.  But GO Busses keep running, so the last bus back to Kitchener would be around 11 PM, although we would need a transfer at Mississauga.  Although this setup seemed complicated, we went ahead with the plan.  But then we met another nephew at the film, who offered us a ride home, so our Presto Passes are still left with about $15 each unused on them.  But that money can be used at a later date if we want to go to Toronto again.  (and we probably do.)

It was a misty day in Toronto on April 29, but we never got caught in any rain.  We arrived at Union Station about 9:00 and immediately compromised our health by going to Cinnebon for coffee and one of those things that cinnebon sells.  (I just call it a cinnebon, but I'm sure it has a name).  I always go there on my way to the December motorcycle show, it's a hard habit to break when you smell the cinnebons baking.  Then Mary Ann wanted to see the Skywalk, going from Union Station to the Convention Centre.  Across from the Convention Centre, is the Roundhouse Park.  It is an outdoor museum of trains, and in the actual roundhouse is the Steamwhistle Brewery, with free beer and $10 brewery tours.  Unfortunately they did not open until 12:00, and we had other things to see.  It only took about 20 minutes walking from Union Station to the Entertainment District, where the film was playing later at the TIFF Lightbox Theatre. So to kill more time, we walked about 20 minutes further to see the Kensington Market. Mary Ann likes markets, so this was a good walk, as we also passed through Chinatown on the way to Kensington.

The Kensington Market is not one big market building, it is an area covering several blocks around Kensington Avenue, where there are lots of little businesses. As you turn the corner from Dundas onto Kensington, you are instantly struck by the funkiness of it all.  And actually Dundas is quite funky, too, but in a different way, as it is still Chinatown.  Kensington has graffiti, narrow streets, motorcycles, bicycles and scooters parked everywhere. Many people look like they are either from the fifties, or possible from some alternate post apocalyptic universe.  And this is still early Monday morning.

In the afternoon, we met up with some of Mary Ann's family who had come to see the film.  The theatre was normal size, I don't know why I expected it to be a small screening room.  And surprisingly (to me) it looked about 3/4 full, or maybe more.  Not just family members either.  They mostly went to the Saturday showing, which was sold out.  That's why we had to go Monday. Andrew's film was under 20 minutes, but was being shown together with a longer documentary, so it felt like watching a normal length movie.

So now we are home again, and with our partly used Presto cards, we will find it much easier to plan our next outing to Toronto.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Killer Domestic Drones, Did Rand Paul Change His Mind?

There is a bit of a debate about the use of drones to kill people.  Over the last ten years, the use of drones has increased, and the technology has moved forward.

Basically, a drone is a remote controlled airplane.  I guess the actual definition continually varies, but to me it means an airplane with a video camera in it that relays the view back to a remote operator.  Apparently the real definition of drones includes non-human non-remote computer controlled aircraft, but I think that is an entirely different thing.  For me, the key thing about drones is that they are using human intelligence.  The controversial use of drones is to assassinate suspected terrorists with missiles fired from the drone, which results in a lot of collateral damage (i.e. probably innocent people killed or maimed in the strikes.)

Recently, the US administration announced that they would expand the use of drones to Americans as well as foreigners, which resulted in a great outcry. Then it was announced that absolutely no Americans would be killed in America.  This targeting of Americans would only be if these people holding American citizenship were overseas engaged in anti-American terrorist plots (or suspected of doing so).

But now we come back to America.  Rand Paul, the libertarian politician and son of Ron Paul, filibustered the use of drones in America. But  after the Boston Marathon bombings, Rand Paul backed down and said that he never opposed using drones in an immediately threatening situation, for example a person coming out of a liquor store, after committing a robbery,  with a gun and fifty dollars.

The Young Turks (Cenk Uygur rant about Rand Paul's about face)

Rand Paul (Before Boston bombings)
“No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court,” 

Rand Paul (after)
“If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him,” 

A political blogger commenting on Rand Paul

How can we ever have an intelligent debate about topics like this when people appear to be willing to shift their position dramatically depending on how they feel on a given day?  I believe this is a dramatic shift in position, although many right wing conservatives do not think it is.  Apparently, for right wingers, it was so obvious drones would and should be used for killing bad guys, that they forgot to mention it.  They are only opposed to drones flying over their outdoor hot tubs.

More questions: Since when is somebody carrying a gun fair game in the USA?  I thought there was this thing about "the right to bear arms"?  I am probably missing something, but when this person comes out of the liquor store with a gun and fifty dollars, how do you know that he committed the crime?  And is he (she) really an immediate threat?  Wouldn't that depend on what kind of gun they were carrying, on where they were pointing it, on whether it was loaded, or if maybe it was a toy gun?  I'm thinking that a person coming out of the liquor store with a gun and $50 is relatively harmless unless you try to stop them.

A domestic police drone would probably not be equipped with Hellfire missiles.  At least I hope not.  Some possible weapons a domestic drone could be equipped with would be smaller guns, rubber bullets, tear gas, a taser, paintball bullets, maybe a net?   A domestic drone only needs to detain, slow down, or track an individual.  A foreign drone  kills mainly because it operates without human police assistance.

Being a Canadian, I don't really understand the USA, but I remember back in the early nineties, in Panama City Beach, Florida, seeing a sign "Drive Thru Liquor and Machine Gun Rental".  Assuming I went in there and rented a machine gun, then the person behind me in line pulled a robbery, I could be killed by a drone on my way out. (according to Rand Paul's scenario.)

Picture: Huffington Post comments on drones replacing police helicopters

Friday, April 19, 2013

There Are No Mushroom Head Helmets in Motorcycling

I found a picture on Ebay from "Essential Gear" selling a beanie helmet.  In the picture, the essential "problem" with beanie helmets is explained this way. If I may restate the case, as fairly as possible, the seller says a thick helmet is too big and bulky, while a thin beanie is sleek and attractive.  Therefore you should buy a sleek and attractive beanie to satisfy the legal requirements for riding with a helmet.

Let me open my rant with a discussion of "what is attractive".  In all honesty, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder.  And apparently, the eye of the beholder can be gullible enough to believe just about anything. If you look at these helmets, with an open mind, you will notice that there is nothing particularly attractive about the teenie weenie skull cap.  Come on now, be honest with yourself, nobody else will be.  In the right light, it looks stupid.  Possibly even stupider than the "Bulky and unattractive" helmet.

It seems to me that many motorcyclists have been taken in by the story line about a big helmet makes you look like a mushroom.  Let's get that cleared up once and for all.  The "bulky" size of helmet we are talking about is approximately the same as military helmets used on all sides of all the wars in the last 100 years.  It is also approximately the same proportions as construction worker hard hats.  I have never heard any talk about the embarrassment of looking like a mushroom while landing on the shores of Normandy on D-day.  People should not be taken up by this so-called "mushroom head" nonsense.

Now that I have had a chance to clear the air a little, I will say that there may be a bit of a problem with the bulky helmet.  That is because all heads have slightly different shapes.  Often the inner shape of the helmet's EPS liner, will not be the same shape as the head.  This can leave air gaps, and create pressure points. So when you buy a helmet, especially a half-helmet, you should try to get one that happens to be the same shape as your own head if at all possible.  This helmet will generally sit a bit lower than a non-conforming helmet.  It's like how a round peg fits a round hole much better than a square hole.  Unless your head is square, of course.  Anyway, I have taken the liberty of photoshopping the helmet picture to show what it would look like if it fit properly. I added a third picture at the right. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell if the helmet fits right in the store, but I'm convinced that with time, people will find a way to make helmet liners conform better to people's skull shapes.  A  helmet that sits a bit lower has a lower centre of gravity, and covers the skull a bit better at the ear level.  And it is a bit less likely to come off in a crash, too.

Compare how close each helmet comes to the top black line in the picture.  The left helmet is right at the top.  The beanie is way below the line, meaning that very likely there is no "crumple" zone to protect the top of the head in case of an impact with a motionless object.  And the helmet at the right (fitting correctly) seems to have less crumple zone, but actually it is only because the gaps have been eliminated, not because any styrofoam liner is removed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trudeau vs. Harper About Bombers

Canada's Federal Liberal Party has a new leader, Justin Trudeau, son of the famous Pierre Trudeau who was Prime minister of Canada during the seventies.

Already, it looks like there is a battle between the present Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and Justin Trudeau.

The opening salvo, fired by the Conservatives, was a round of attack ads, taking Justin's words, quoting him as saying "Quebecers are better than the rest of Canadians."*  And the ads continue on to say "Trudeau is in over his head."

Now back to real life, and hours after the bombing of the Boston Marathon, Justin says in a CBC interview, (in part) "we have to look at the root causes".

Was Justin's comment an attack on the Prime Minister?  Whether it was an attack or not, it did draw return fire from the Prime Minister. A few hours later, then Stephen made a statement that people should not be sitting around rationalizing or making excuses for bombers.  All we should do is make sure we have harsh punishments.

And now the ball was in Justin's court.  He could back down and apologise to the Prime Minister. Or he could ignore the jibe.  Or, I guess he could tell the Prime Minister to shut up and mind his own business.  What did Justin do?

Justin said [something like] the Prime Minister should rethink how far he wants to go in politicizing tragedies.

This really got the Conservatives fired up, and there were counter-counter attacks on the CBC program "Power Politics with Evan Solomon".  On that show, the NDP (Now Canada's official opposition party) jumped in on the side of the Conservatives, saying an apology from Justin Trudeau to Stephen Harper would be nice.

This is not over yet.

There is obviously some kind of school yard fight going on.  The new guy has shown his face in the playground, and words get exchanged with Stephen, the kid with the biggest entourage.  Some might call him the bully. So the way you view this altercation will depend on your view of Stephen Harper.  I personally am leaning toward cheering on Justin.  He has certainly shown willingness to stand up for himself.  But can he also be disciplined and in control of his emotions?  In my opinion, the worst he could do would be to apologise for that simple statement.  Because it is actually true that we need to look at what might be motivating these psychopaths.  Yes, you heard that right.  Even psychopaths have some kind of motivation.  And it is possible to know what it is, and we need need to know what it is. Harsh punishments cannot be the only answer.  A Liberal must not apologise for supporting a scientific approach.

* P.S. Is it true that A. Quebecers are better than the rest of Canadians? B. Justin really said that?

As I was born in Quebec I am inclined to agree with A. although it may not be a good thing for a politician to say publicly.  But it seems that for B. the answer is no, that is not what Justin said.  The conservatives edited a sentence in order to isolate those words.  I think that tells you a lot more about the tactics of Conservatives than it does about Justin Trudeau.

Picture: Photoshop job by "The Lost Motorcyclist"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is the Prius a High Performance Car?

It is not unexpected that many car enthusiasts hate the Toyota Prius.  After all, even before the Prius there were many who hated Toyota because it was foreign.  And many hated Toyota because it was a death trap (the runaway acceleration scandal).  Also we know there are many people who hate environmentalists, who often drive a Prius.

So the Prius has a lot of baggage to deal with, especially in the USA. However, in California it is outselling the Ford F-series pickup trucks, which surprises me.


I was reading an article in Jalopnik.com, about this latest development.  The article itself was highly critical of the Prius, and many of the follow-up comments were as well.  There were two often repeated claims, first that the Prius damages the environment more than a Ford pickup truck, because of its battery technology.  And the second is that the Prius must not be referred to as a high performance car, because high performance implies speed, and not efficiency.

Is the Prius really that hard on the environment, compared to say a for F250 pickup truck?  Well, it's easy to make a claim like that, but takes some time to disprove.  I didn't see any sources for this improbable fact. And frankly I get tired of bullshit-like claims being made with no supporting facts, which then take a lot of my time to investigate.  I think its time for a new rule.  If you want to make an improbable claim, you need to cite authoritative sources.  (e.g. not Fox News or the Heritage Foundation)  I remember a few years ago writing a blog answering a critic who claimed that a bicycle created more CO2 than a car.  People will make stuff up, I just wish other people had enough common sense to ask for proof, instead of absorbing stories as if they were the gospel truth (by the way the gospel is .....  oops I must not get off track here).  The link to my blog about why a bicycle saves more gas than a car is below, that was back in 2009, when I made more of an effort to respond to stupid and unsupported claims.


Now, a more interesting claim, because it is actually believable, that a Prius is not a High Performance vehicle, because it does not go fast.  Most people would think that, and I sort of understand why.  So I am the one taking a position that has the burden of proof.  And I am willing to accept the challenge.

The history of high performance cars has always had something to do with speed, but it has also always had something to do with efficiency.
A practical car could not even be made until fuel efficiency reached a point where the car was able to carry it's own fuel.  Most NASCAR fans cannot remember a time when fuel efficiency was so bad that a car could not physically carry its own fuel  around one lap of a track. OK that never happened at a NASCAR race, because you could not have NASCAR until practical cars were invented.   But today, it's quite different and we sometimes completely ignore the aspects of efficiency in a high performance machine.  Well the spectators often do, anyway.  But the race teams, the engineers and drivers all know the importance of efficiency.  After all, they have certain limitations on the amount of fuel they can carry.  The rules often (I should look this up, of course, but I think it is ALWAYS, not just often) stipulate maximum size of a gas tank, and maximum displacement of the engine. Given these parameters, your performance is governed by, or limited by your efficiency. Performance is a combination of speed and efficiency. And additionally, in Formula One racing, I believe that pit stops to refuel have been banned.  A lot of racing fans hate this because they think it makes the entire race nothing more than a fuel economy rally.

So if it is true that hybrid technology is a high performance item, then you would expect that outright race cars may use hybrid technology to increase their efficiency and therefore overall speed.  The 24 Hour Le Mans race is an example.  It is not exactly the same type of hybridization of the Prius, but it is using the same principal, of capturing braking energy to use for a temporary boost in speed.


Picture.  It's just a joke, more or less. http://forums.forzamotorsport.net/forums/thread/5202580.aspx

Friday, April 12, 2013

Try Going Just One Day With No Texting and Driving

            Sounds good my man. seeya soon ill tw |

Alexander Heit, 22 years old, was in the driver's seat, head down, while the car carrying him was drifting into oncoming traffic. The oncoming driver slowed and avoided a collision, but when Alexander looked up, he over-corrected, and rolled his car. Officers found his cell phone with a partially complete text message at 5:16 p.m.

His parents released an image of the message, hoping no one else has to die while texting and driving.

What lesson do we learn from this?

  • Do not text and drive
  • Pay attention to other cars (and trucks) erratic behaviour while driving, as there are many other people texting and driving.
  • Do not over correct when you finally do get a chance to look up.
  • Buy a car that has a low centre of gravity, with wheels set wide apart so that it resists rolling.
  • If you must text and drive, do it only for important messages. As far as I can see, this message was not important.  But if you are  following a terrorist in a schoolbus with hostage children and a primed nuclear warhead, go for it.  And by "go for it" I mean contact 911, not to text your buddy that you'll be delayed for a bit, but you'll see him later.
  • If you must text and drive, (see above)  keep it short.  (i.e. "CU" is shorter than "sounds good my man. seeya soon ill tw")  And actually, that would have been even longer if Alexander had not been killed before the end of the texting.

Here is a link to an article, it has a video with a commercial intro, so if you don't like that sort of thing, try the second link


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Of Harley Riders and Helmets

I have been looking at replacing one of my helmets, as I have seen very inexpensive helmets that look safer than a few of my own helmets. During my research, I came across a thread with an age-old question, but because of the lively interest and revealing comments, I decided to summarize it here. It is on the HD Forums, and the thread has 73 pages of responses (I didn't count individual comments.) The topic is stated, interestingly as "Real Harley owners don't wear full face helmets?"


So where do I start?  I think I will go with "What exactly is a "real" Harley owner?  Obviously, anyone who owns a "real" Harley Davidson should be considered as a real Harley owner, even if they got it for no money down, 0% interest, and no payments until 2025.  Even if they stole it, I guess you could say they "own" it now. But renting and borrowing a Harley don't count.  If you paid your own money fair and square, you are a real Harley owner, even if you also own motorcycles of other brands.  But I don't think that's the meaning of "real Harley owner", from the context of this message.  The intended meaning is based on a belief that there is a perfect, average, possibly even stereotypical "real" Harley owner.  And the original poster, named Apaolo, who asked the question, does not consider himself a "real" Harley owner, even though apparently he really owns a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  And I guess he thinks it is important to act like this imagined real Harley rider.

An interesting aside, before we get to the "real" answer to this question.  When Apaolo (the original poster) bought his Harley, the salesman at the Harley shop commented that Apaolo was "the youngest person he had ever sold a Harley to".  So Apaolo is .... 28 years old?  Are you kidding me?  Or maybe the salesman had only been in this line of work a couple of weeks.  Anyway back to the story.

I do find it refreshing that almost none of the replies to this thread argued against the safety of a full face helmet.  It used to be that this was a contentious issue, where many riders complained that wearing a helmet made you less safe.  Apparently that bogus argument is done with now.  So the jury is in, and full face helmets ARE safer than beanies which are in turn safer than a bare head.  This is now accepted by the vast majority of motorcyclists, even among those that do not wear a helmet.

The most common answer?  A real Harley owner (whatever that is) apparently does not give a fly*** f*c* what anyone else thinks of what he is wearing.  I'm not so sure this is true, but I do understand where they are coming from.  Motorcyclists in general are kind of nonconformist, and pretty much have to be that way to ride a motorbike.  They all understand the very real dangers involved, and mostly respect an individual's right to stack the odds of survival in their favour.

On the other hand, it seems to also be true that when groups of riders ride together, they tend to have similar attitudes toward helmets.  Helmeted riders do not like riding with helmetless riders, and vice versa.  I think I understand this, because the logic is quite simple.  If somebody in my group crashes during a ride, I am kind of squeamish about looking at them if they have brains spilling out.  So, to prevent this squeamishness from happening to me,  I would rather ride with people who have well protected heads.

From what I saw of the answers:

Many Harley riders do wear full face helmets, especially where the law requires some kind of helmet anyway, or where it's really cold, or where there are lots of bugs or rocks flying through the air, or when they go on long tours, or when they are on the freeway.

And some do not wear helmets, (if not required by law), or wear smaller helmets  for example if they are just going down to the corner store, or it is really hot outside, or if it is 1940 and they are in the middle of Nevada and there is no traffic around.  Some people just like the feel of wind in their hair, or have bad claustrophobia in a helmet.  One rider said he never wore a helmet but always rode with a gun for protection, which I found interesting.  I wonder where he rides that a gun is more important than a helmet.  Anyway....

I didn't go through every single comment, but I didn't see any that argued against the safety of the full face helmet, and I didn't see any that criticised Apaolo for wearing a full face helmet.  One helmetless rider admitted that Apaolo had more sense than he had for wearing a helmet.  Another offered to wave to Apaolo, regardless of choice of headwear.

Picture: Hell's Angel motorcycle rider wearing a full face helmet. Can't see the bike though, maybe it's not a Harley?  http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hells-angels4.htm

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Who Owned More Slaves, Grant or Lee?

The answer to the well known question about General Grant, which is "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb", is Grant. That question was more like a joke or a riddle than a real historical question.  But there is a real historical question: "Did General Grant own slaves?"  This is a very interesting question, given that Grant was the top General fighting for the Union in the US civil war, and that many people argue whether or not the war was mainly about slavery.  (and I assume everyone knows the Union was the side allegedly opposed to slavery)

The problem with trying to research questions like this is that there is no one source of "truth" in the U.S.A. (or maybe any country, but the distinction is really obvious in America)  So you may find in one book, that Grant did own slaves, thus proving that the Civil war was NOT about slavery.  And you may also come across this quote from Robert E. Lee, the top general of the Southern Confederate states (the ones who allegedly supported slavery)

"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil." Robert E. Lee December 27, 1856

That quote, along with Grant's ownership of slaves seems to prove that the war  was not really about slavery.

But hold on just a minute.  If you are to learn anything about the "truth" it is that truth can be manipulated.

By doing some further research, you will find out that Grant bought a slave and set him free.  Does that mean that Grant "owned" slaves?  Of course it does.  From the moment a slave is bought, you own him until the moment you officially set him free, which will take at least a few days, or so I imagine.  It's true, Grant owned slaves.  Or one slave, anyway.  And you will also find out that this slave helped Grant build a log cabin, before being set free.  And that later on Grant hired him again on salary as a free man.  And you will also find out that Grant's wife inherited slaves, and that Grant did not set them free until the end of the war. From there you can dig deeper and deeper and never find the truth.

On the other hand, you can research Robert E. Lee's statement about slavery ("as an institution")  being evil.  And then find out that Lee had slaves and whipped them, and sold their children to break up the family units.  And that although Lee knew that slavery was evil, he also "knew" it was ordained by God, and God would forgive the evil (but necessary) deeds of the slave owners.  And that Lee hated abolitionists a lot more than he hated whipping his slave women.  And again the further you dig, the harder it becomes to root out the truth.

For every argument there is a counter argument.  For every interpretation, there is another interpretation.

Be careful when seeking the truth, it's easy to get lost and never find your way home.


The Book on Amazon  "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" claims Grant owned slaves.

Book Review of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" by right wing Christians

Wikipedia article on Grant

Another bash at Grant vs Lee, with lots of interesting comments at the end.

General Lee's views on slavery in a letter (The whole letter is on this page, not just a cherry picked quote)

Picture: The house built by Grant and his slave from this page.  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/94503889/

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Royal Bank Foreign Worker Project Goes Too Far

There is a story creating some concern in Canada, about our biggest bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, hiring foreign workers to replace Canadian workers.  All by itself, this would not be enough to cause outrage, as we have been doing this for years. But now there is a combination of circumstances that could make this "the straw that broke the camel's back".

- Canadians are aware that good jobs have been shipped overseas for many years: Computer jobs, phone answering jobs, manufacturing jobs. I don't know how many jobs have gone overseas, but I am aware of many local industries and offices that have simply closed down.  I think it is widespread enough to harm our economy, if not now, sometime in the future.  We know jobs pay a lot lower wages overseas than in Canada, and I guess we understand why.

- Canadians may not be aware that many jobs even in Canada are filled by foreign workers on temporary visas.  Over 100,000 in 2001 growing to over 300,000 in 2012.  It used to make sense, because these are mostly jobs we don't care for such as fruit picking.  They are supposed to pay Canadian wages, though really it's not, because Canadians apparently cannot afford to work for those wages any more.

- There are also high tech jobs, or skilled jobs that not enough Canadians are trained for.  I personally know at least one person who was recruited overseas to work in Canada in such a job.  I think there is a need for a limited amount of this type of recruiting.  These jobs are also supposed to pay Canadian wages.

But this is just too much: Unskilled foreign workers on temporary visas, replacing Canadian workers, at a lower salary, in Canada, recruited to do a job that some Canadians have invested their own time and money at University and college to qualify for.  I don't care if it's a mistake, or a loophole, or an accident, or any other excuse. If this continues, even the CEO's job may be outsourced.  After all, it would improve the corporation profits by $10,000,000 per year (the CEO salary, minus whatever we have to pay the replacement on a temporary CEO work visa).  The resulting executive decisions couldn't be any more short sighted.

I am somewhat at fault myself, as a shareholder in the Royal Bank.  And so the only decent thing to do is begin divesting shares in favour of some company that does not outsource its jobs, if there are any left.

Already, we have a case in Canada going before the court, where Chinese temporary workers were hired by a Chinese mining company to work in a mine in Canada.  Once again, it was a combination of circumstances.  As I understand it, the Chinese company bought mining rights in Canada.  The Canadian government assumed that there would be jobs for Canadians in the deal.  The Chinese company put out help wanted ads, but no Canadian miners qualified, so they were forced to bring in Chinese workers on "temporary" work visas.  Is appears that one of the requirements listed for the job was fluency in speaking Mandarin.

I looked up some of the facts in the Globe and Mail article here:


Picture: From a foreign worker application support website