International News Desk – At Home: Canadian cities are among the cheapest to live in – In Foreign News: Climate change refugees?

International News Desk – At Home: Canadian cities are among the cheapest to live in – In Foreign News: Climate change refugees?

At Home: Recent survey claims Canadian cities are among the cheapest to live in

The Mercer Human Resource Consulting agency has compiled its annual cost of living survey; a list of the most expensive cities in which to live. The survey took 143 countries into consideration and used various daily costs and transactions to calculate which were the most expensive and which were the most affordable.

While Moscow has topped the list for the second year, London moved up into second place, and Seoul dropped down into third position, Canadian cities have remained quite low and in fact have dropped their positions to assume a place lower down the list than in previous years.

Mercer says that the research is conducted by ?professional researchers in each city? (1) and that the report is meant to record the living situations of expatriates living internationally. The stores selected for the cost analysis are done so because they will stock goods and provide services that are of ?an international quality? (1).

Essentially, this information is meant for international businesses that have sent employees out of their home country to deal with foreign customers, shipment handling, or other administration and sales. Knowledge of the relative cost of living as compared to the home city can help businesses to ensure their expat employees are receiving enough money to equal their circumstances back home.

According to the Mercer data, Ottawa is the cheapest Canadian city to live in, as it ranks down at 109; Calgary took 92nd place and Vancouver took 89th ranking (2). In comparison with the rest of the world, ours is definitely one of the cheaper countries to reside in despite the common perception that with housing prices it is becoming difficult to actually establish any Canadian city as a home. While the Canadian dollar is holding strong against the U.S. dollar, it is paling in comparison to the strengthening Euro, and because of European and international inflation our cities simply remain some of the cheapest in which to live.

This is what I’ve been trying to tell everyone since I got back from Britain!

(1) Mercer Human Resource Consulting. ?Cost-of-Living Report.? Retrieved June 20, 2007, from;jsessionid=IAT1YCAJK51KCCTGOUFCHPQKMZ0QUJLW?idContent=1096705

(2) CTV News, 2007. ?Canadian cities cheap in cost-of-living survey.? Retrieved June 20, 2007, from

In Foreign News: Such a thing as climate change refugees?

According to Reuters’s AlertNet website, the number of refugees flooding into first-world countries is going to increase as a direct result of the threat of global warming and related environmental disasters. The article cites Michele Klein Solomon from the International Organisation of Migration as saying: ?All around the world, predictable patterns are going to result in very long-term and very immediate changes in the ability of people to earn their livelihoods? (1).

It seems, therefore, that the threat of global warming has not only become steep in terms of the environment, but is now a pressing issue to human rights activists who want to ensure that third-world citizens will have the means to support themselves and protect themselves in the changing weather that is purportedly coming our way.

The crisis set forth by Reuters is that the environmental degradation posed by pollution and resultant global warming will make basic living even more difficult for those people living in a fragile ecosystem with no solid societal infrastructure to keep them secure. The suggestion is that the issues of desertification, deforestation, rising water levels, and salination of existing freshwater resources will pose a major threat to people who do not have the technology or basic funding to deal with such changes in the ecosystem or environment.

A UN Wire link to the Reuters story says that experts? claims concerning the movement of refugees fleeing uninhabitable regions have been greatly diverse and that the most extreme number has been near one billion in expected climactic refugees. Certainly there can be little doubt as to whether climate change would, and may yet, escalate refugee numbers; however, the orthodox definition of ?refugee? tends to focus on political constraints and the threat to human life drawn from government or rebel bodies.

Although much debate exists on the topic of global warming, maybe it is easier to agree that pollution is causing other issues that might be a real threat to undeveloped regions of the world. It would be a tragedy if, like the UN Wire suggests, ?climate change refugees may find welcome lacking? (2).

(1) Reuters AlertNet, 2007. ?Global warming to multiply world’s refugee burden.? Retrieved June 20, 2007, from

(2) UN Wire, 2007. ?Climate change refugees may find welcome lacking.? Retrieved June 20, 2007, from