Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Alexander Rutherford Loses Significance

Once again the Alberta government has announced (http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200503/17757529C8691-86B2-485F-AA2C46550780FEC1.html) its award of the Alexander Rutherford Scholarships to deserving high school students. To be eligible, the students need to have honors marks in grade 10, 11, or 12, with each year having a progressively larger amount. This year, the government is giving out over 16 million dollars.

Despite this, the scholarship itself is slowly losing significance. I graduated in high school in 1989 and received the full $2,500 that they allot for a person having honors in all three years. For me, it was a great thing as it paid for most of my first year at the U of C. However, in the almost 20 years since, the amount awarded to individual students has not increased. Today it doesn’t even pay for a single semester (http://www.starthere.ucalgary.ca/default.asp?V_DOC_ID=831). The government has plans to expand the program over time by increasing the endowment, but nothing I’ve read has ever said they plan to increase the amounts that it provides.

While I’m sure the students who receive it are happy for any help that comes their way, if the intent of the program is, as the Minister of Advanced Education David Hancock says, “one way our government is helping to encourage Albertans to advance their education,” wouldn’t it make sense if the full award enabled a student to avoid paying any fees at all for at least a single semester of university?

Dude, You’re working at Dell?

Dell Computers has a customer care center operating in Edmonton, Alberta. While the center only had its ribbon cutting ceremony in January of this year, it’s actually been operating since July of 2004. So why am I reporting on old news? I’ll tell you why: just to comment on the efficiency of our government.

On March 18, 2005, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade put out an announcement (http://webapps.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/canadexport/view.asp?id=382306&language=E) about this call-center’s opening, nearly a year after it actually begin operations. Way to go guys! Nice to know our tax dollars are paying for folks that are right on the ball.

My question is, if there’s a call-center in Edmonton, why do my support calls always get routed to India?

BC Gets their Vote On

Why, oh why is it that government representatives insist on trying to sound cool and only to make themselves seem completely out of touch? The latest example of this is the “Get Your Vote On” (http://www.wd.gc.ca/mediacentre/2005/mar19-01a_e.asp) mobile network, developed in partnership with the federal government, the provincial government of BC, and the mobile MUSE project (which is run by the University of British Columbia).

The object of the program is laudable; to get young people involved with the political process, the program will use text-messaging and instant responses to get young people start thinking about political issues. Considering that young people are taking up instant and text messaging in record numbers, it might even work.

But why the horrible, horrible, name? With all the money the federal government has doled out to marketing agencies for no reports at all, what would a marketing agency that is in tune with their demographics earn? “Get Your Vote On” is really the best they could come up with? I doubt that we’ll see many of the trend-setters in high-school and on university campuses proudly announcing their part of such a thing. Why not call it “i-Nvolved” or something like that? At least then those using it won’t feel like they have to hide it.

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