Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Nova Scotia Helping AU

At the annual premiers meeting, it seems that the Premier of Nova Scotia was advocating ( that the federal government take steps that will benefit AU tremendously. As part of their recommendations to the Federal Government, Nova Scotia suggested that Ottawa adjust its funding for post-secondary education to utilize a per-student basis as opposed to a per-capita basis.

For Athabasca University, which now has over 35,000 students across the globe and has virtually no limits on its expansion, funding based on the number of students would enable our university to make significant headway in services for us. Of course, the federal government has said that while post-secondary education is a priority for it, it will not be saying any time soon exactly what it’s going to do to help out. To me, this is government speak for “haven’t even thought about it yet”, so this is perhaps a good time to start getting plans and ideas to the ministers involved.

Myself, I may write Minister Ralph Goodale and give my support for Premier Hamm’s plan. Perhaps an Alberta backing a Nova Scotia plan will give it the appearance of support across the country. It certainly can’t hurt.

Smoking being Extinguished

Health Canada has recently released a report ( indicating that fewer Canadians are smoking than before, and those that are smoking are smoking fewer cigarettes on average. In 2003, 21% of Canadian’s smoked. In 2004, only 20% did. So it looks like the tide is turning and I’m hoping that soon smoking will be as frowned upon as other habits that kill innocent bystanders, such as drunk driving.

I don’t say this just because I’m a non-smoker, but because of the money that smoking costs our health-care system, dollars that could instead be put into our post-secondary education system, or even be put back into our pockets through lower taxes. Smoking is, in fact, one of the great examples of an industry that has externalized the real costs of its product. We all pay for the damage the industry causes, whether through health problems of ourselves or other people, of legal fees to fight an industry determined to make money on selling people poison,

It’s just one more thing to think about when you light up, I guess. If you don’t like how high your tax bill is, consider stopping smoking. Even if it doesn’t change your taxes in the short term, you’ll have a lot more money to pay them with.

Secret Chocolate Ingredient

As a raving chocoholic and chocolate snob, I can’t help but giggle a little at Hershey’s latest mention by the Province of Ontario. It seems that one of the workers at the plant wound up adding a little “something special” to the peanuts in Hershey’s chocolate recently, and the company was fined $50,000 ( for the health and safety violation.

The extra ingredient was a piece of the worker’s finger, as apparently Hershey’s was putting safety as a back-seat to efficiency. I tend to strongly approve of fines like this. If you want robots to do the job, build robots, but if you want people, you have to treat them like people, and that means looking out for their safety before your bottom-line.

Still, it makes me thankful that I get all my chocolate from Bernard Callebaut here in Calgary.

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