Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Obesity in Sight

Statistics Canada released a report recently detailing some of the changes in the average Canadian diet (Statistics Canada, 2005). The results are not encouraging. Among the trends that have been noted is that we’re using fewer fresh vegetables and more fats. It might not be all bad however, because even though vegetables have dropped from an average amount consumed yearly of 75.7 kg to 74.8 kg, the bulk of this decrease was in potatoes. This vegetable is predominantly served as chips or French-fries.

Our intake of fresh fruit has gone up slightly. For instance, the amount of pineapple we eat has doubled to 800 grams per person per year. However, there’s a reasonable chance that my wife and I have skewed this result (we eat a ridiculous amount of pineapple).

Most concerning of the reported changes, is that while amounts of juices, fresh vegetables and processed vegetables consumed are all decreasing, our consumption of fats and oils has increased over half a kilogram per person per year. With my recent experience of a family member being required to go to the hospital for what was may have been a diet and exercise issue, these are statistics we all need to be concerned about. The changes in diet cost all of us in various ways, including through our taxes.

Statistics Canada (2005, October 18). Food consumption, 2004. The Daily. Retrieved November 1, 2005, from

Get an Education? Why not go to the Stampede Instead?

At least, I think that’s the message that the Alberta Provincial Government is trying to send with their latest decision on how to spend the Alberta budget surplus. Both the Edmonton Northlands Society and the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Society will be receiving 35 million dollars to upgrade their facilities (Alberta Gaming, 2005). The total of 70 million dollars would actually cover the entire amount that Athabasca University takes in from tuition fees over the course of a year, with a small bit even left over.

Does anybody really think that whatever new facilities these societies build will bring about a significant increase in the tourism dollars the facilities bring in? After all, if you’re out in Ontario and you heard that the Calgary Stampede had renovated the Grandstand to look more modern, would that really be the deciding factor in you choosing to come out to Calgary?

On the other hand, AU’s tuition being cut in half would be a huge incentive for more people, both in and outside of Alberta, to take courses and send their money to Alberta. Okay, so no tuition cut is going to be named after a politician, but it still seems like a better deal to me.

Alberta Gaming (2005, October 19). News release: Province provides $70 million to Edmonton Northlands and Calgary Exhibition and Stampede for planned facility upgrades. Retrieved November 1, 2005, from

Ontario – A Province Out of Time

The Ontario government has recently announced a plan to extend daylight savings time to match the recent changes taking place in the United States (Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (2005). The plan would make it so that daylight savings time extends from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, or nearly 8 months.

When the bulk of your year is under daylight savings time, really, shouldn’t it be called standard time? With the other period being called evening savings time or something like that?

Personally, I hate daylight savings time. It makes it harder for me to wake up in the mornings. As well, it means I’m up later than I want to be at night simply because it’s still light out when it would seem to be a reasonable time to go to bed. Who wants to go to bed when it’s light out?

Then of course, there’s the way it’s done, which seems totally backwards. Can someone please tell me why on earth we’re trying to save daylight in the summer? There’s already too much daylight in the summer. It’s already daylight 16-18 hours a day at its peak here in Calgary. Further north, in Edmonton or Athabasca, I’m sure it’s even worse. Yet in the winter, when we’re down to six or seven hours of daylight, does anybody think of maybe trying to save daylight then? No, we get up before the sun, sit in our offices while the sun is out, and go home just as its setting.

Now the reason the United States is supposedly changing is because it will “save energy.” Here’s a wild thought, if we really want to save energy, reverse the standard and daylight savings. After all, it’s not like an office will turn the lights off because it’s sunny outside. So who cares whether it’s daylight while we work or not? If we want to save energy, we need daylight when we come home after work.

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (2005, October 20). News release: Ontario to change daylight saving time in 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2005, from