Top Weekly Canadian News: 13/02/09

The first installment of a recurring post: Weekly Canadian News – a weekly collection of important news regarding this great country.

1.     The RCMP has officially recognized the ‘high risk of death’ associated with taser use, and has limited its officers to its use only on individuals who pose a clear threat to the public or police. This shortly after the first peer review from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) raised concerns about Canada’s taser use and treatment of aboriginal people which was called ‘shameful’. It means Mounties can no longer shock people who are simply ‘actively resistant’ to officers’ orders, according to RCMP Commissioner William Elliott. Story at the Globe & Mail, CBC News, and the Toronto Star.

2.     Newsweek World View writer Fareed Zakaria says Canada is not only surviving this global financial crisis: “The country is positively thriving in it.” Some excerpts:

  • “Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it’s Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world. America’s ranked 40th, Britain’s 44th.”
  • “The Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasn’t grown in size; the others have all shrunk.”
  • “Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses, and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position. The government has restructured the national pension system, placing it on a firm fiscal footing, unlike our own insolvent Social Security. Its health-care system is cheaper than America’s by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of GDP, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes. Life expectancy in Canada is 81 years, versus 78 in the United States; “healthy life expectancy” is 72 years, versus 69. American car companies have moved so many jobs to Canada to take advantage of lower health-care costs that since 2004, Ontario and not Michigan has been North America’s largest car-producing region.”

3.     Rick Mercer has a fantastic bit explaining the politics of Canada called, “Everything you wanted to know about Canada but were afraid to ask.” Video here.


About brent

Motorcycles, movies, music, photography, politics. These are a few of my favourite things.
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