Monthly Archives: December 2011
“In some cases, in order to protect global issues some sacrifice for national interest is worth it in the long run. Global warming, these things, they suffer everybody.” DALAI LAMA
By Alex P. Vidal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — When reports started crisscrossing the news websites recently that Canada has formally withdrew from Kyoto Protocol, I experienced my first global warming-generated chill while I was in Toronto.
It happened again Wednesday evening before I flew here when I picked up an abandoned daily paper in a bus from Toronto’s St. Catherine of Siena Church: Canada is getting pummeled from pillar to post as a result of Environment Minister Peter Kent’s announcement, following a marathon UN climate conference in South Africa, at which nations agreed to a new roadmap for worldwide action, that “We are invoking Canada’s legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto.”
Kent said, “Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change. If anything, it’s an impediment. We believe that a new agreement with legally binding commitments for all major emitters that allows us as a country to continue to generate jobs and economic growth represents the path forward.”
The Kyoto protocol, which was put in force on February 16, 2005, is an international agreement that sets a target reduction of GHG emissions for 37 industrialized countries and European communities starting from 2008 to 2012. Specifically, it requires an average reduction of five percent from the GHG emission recorded in 1990.
To aid the countries in achieving their targets, the Kyoto Protocol allows “emissions trading” or the selling of excess allowable emission of carbon dioxide of a country to another country that is still behind its target reduction of GHG emission. The protocol also offers the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which allows Annex I countries to meet their targets by implementing emission-reduction projects in Non-Annex I countries. These projects can earn saleable credit emission reduction (CER) credits where each credit is equivalent to 1 ton of CO2 that can be accounted in attaining the Kyoto target. Through CDM, Annex I countries are able to not only meet their emission reduction target but also assist Non-Annex I countries in attaining sustainable development through partial profit from CER.
Another mechanism implemented by the Kyoto Protocol is Joint Implementation where an Annex I country can earn emission reduction units (ERU), each unit equivalent to 1 ton of CO2, from emission reduction projects of another member country of Annex I.
However, the Kyoto Protocol is not a complete success because some of the member countries have failed to meet the agreed targets.
It was reported that Canada agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6.0 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, but its emissions of the gases blamed for damaging Earth’s fragile climate system have instead increased sharply.
Saying the targets agreed to by a previous Liberal administration were unattainable, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government last year unveiled its own measures aimed at curbing emissions, in line with US efforts.
Pulling out of Kyoto now allows Canada to avoid paying penalties of up to CAN$14 billion (US$13.6 billion) for missing its targets.
Kent also cited major impacts on Canada’s economy that will be avoided by withdrawing from the treaty.
“Under Kyoto, Canada is facing radical and irresponsible choices if we’re to avoid punishing multi-billion-dollar payments,” Kent said, noting that Canada produces barely two percent of global emissions.
“To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car, and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agricultural sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory, and building in Canada.”
AFP reported that for Kyoto supporters, the anticipated Canadian pullout was expected to be a symbolic blow and badly damage a UN climate process already weakened by divisions.
Last week at the UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, Kent had already said that Kyoto was “in the past” for Canada.
“It is an agreement that covers fewer than 30 percent of global emissions, by some estimates 15 percent or less,” the Canadian minister said.
The conference on December 11 approved a roadmap towards an accord that for the first time will bring all major greenhouse-gas emitters under a single legal roof.
If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.
But environmentalists have called it porous.
Kent said that in the meantime, Canada would continue to try to reduce its emissions under a domestic plan that calls for a 20 percent cut from 2006 levels by 2020, or as critics point out, a mere three percent from 1990 levels.
AFP said the latest data last year showed that Canadian carbon emissions were currently up more than 35 percent from 1990.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries such as the Philippines are called to pass and implement national measures that shall advance the international community’s agenda pertaining to environmental preservation through the reduction of greenhouse emissions (GHGs) in the atmosphere.
Pursuant to the provisions in this treaty, the Philippines passed national legislations to uphold the agreements embedded in the Kyoto Protocol. The Clean Air Act of 1999, otherwise known as Republic Act 8749, was enacted in order to arrive at an effective air quality management program that will mitigate the worsening problem of air pollution in the country.
Reinforcing the country’s drive towards a healthier environment was the enactment of the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003) that aimed at providing a comprehensive solution to the country’s garbage problem.
By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Ontario — The story of a man and a woman caught having sex inside a train last December 11 grabbed headlines and continued to occupy prominent spaces in major dailies here even as train officials described the incident as “scandalous” after it was witnessed by children.
Police have charged the couple, believed to be homeless and intoxicated, with engaging in a lewd act on both the subway car and platform in the middle of the afternoon.
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) chief general manager Gary Webster said in a statement he was relieved the couple in the impromptu tryst were not TTC employees.
“On the same light note, we were just pleased it wasn’t two TTC employees involved. That was our first concern when that happened,” Webster was quoted as saying by The Toronto Sun.
The incident was caught by video taken by a fellow passenger. “Sex in the city–there has to be a better way,” screamed Toronto Metro’s December 13 issue.
“The incident happened aboard a southbound train around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A rider saw the couple–described as intoxicated and ‘old enough to know better’ by TTC spokesman Brad Ross–having sex and activated the passenger assistance alarm, said Ross,” reported the Toronto News Service. “The train stopped and a TTC guard boarded and kicked the couple off at Spadina station.”
They clearly weren’t satisfied and continued on the platform, it was reported.
“A video apparently shot by a passenger shows the train stopped as a man lies on top of a woman, moving rhythmically with his bare buttocks exposed. A TTC employee stands at a reasonable distance and appears to curse at the couple to stop,” added the report.
A passenger described to The Toronto Sun what he saw: “Everybody sort of turned around and looked, then they’d look at the person across from them, then look back (at the couple). We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”
Report said after the couple got off the subway car, “it was cleared of passengers and cordoned off before the train pulled out of Spadina station. The train car was taken out of service and cleaned once it reached the end of the line.”
They were charged and transported to the hospital due to their inerbriation, it was learned.
The TTC is the quick, convenient and safe way to get around Toronto. The subway system is linked with buses and streetcars.
By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Ontario — The gestures displayed by members of the caregiver community here in assisting the two caregivers who passed away recently is very admirable. In times of sorrow, we can always count on the benevolence and humility of our compatriots in this part of the world.
Before Maria Cleofe Tadia, 41, and Maria Precy Limpiado, 40, succumed to illnesses one after the other, “their legacy has touched so many lives especially among the caregiver community,” Faye Arellano wrote in the community news of the Filipino Bulleting here.
“Everyone agrees that the two certainly impressed upon them a new and meaningful relationship founded on the real spirit of love and friendship.”
Arellano narrated that “the death of Cleofe on November 1 brought together members of the community from far and wide in an overwhelming support to repatriate her remains to her native town of Oton in Iloilo, Philippines.
“The concerted efforts of the faith community, led by Fr. Ben Ebcas Jr., Pastor of the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, made it possible to satisfy fully the cost of the funeral arrangements which amounted to $7,500. An additional $4,000 was also sent to Cleofe’s aging mother, Magdalene, in Iloilo shortly following the wake in Toronto.”
Arellano wrote further that “despite having no family or relatives in Canada, Cleofe’s friends demonstrated an outpouring of support in order to fulfill her mother’s plea to see the remains of her daughter for one last time.
“It has been more than five years ago that Magdalena last saw her daughter who left home to work overseas. Cleofe first worked in Taiwan then Hong Kong prior to coming to Canada in September of 2009.
“Filipino staff from Balmoral Funeral Homes assumed the responsibility of preparing the funeral service for Cleofe without seeing any deposit to do the work. A word from Fr. Ebeas was good enough for them to start the necessary work from picking up Cleofe’s body from the hospital morgue to rendering a dignified funeral service at a North York chapel.
“By the evening of November 6th, a throng of people from the Legion of Mary; OLA; St. Joseph Convent, to name a few, attended the chapel together with Cleofe’s personal friends for a one-night vigil service led by Fr. Ben who will visit Cleofe’s mother and deliver in person any remaining donation for the latter’s welfare when he goes home to the Philippines early next year.”
Cancer-stricken Limpiado, on the other hand, passed away in her mother’s arm on October 7, added Arellano. “It was so beautiful and touching to see everyone in the community do their part to help someone in need,” Arellano quoted Caregivers’ Ministry volunteer Marife as saying during the wake. “This is very reassuring to see especially by those of us working as caregivers who do not have families and relatives in Canada.”
Limpiado was surrounded by her loved ones in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines when she died. Arellano said Limpiado’s plight came to light when she appealed for help to the Filipino community in 2009.
“Without a job,” Arellano disclosed, “stripped of OHIP coverage and with mounting hospital bills, Limpiado sought the help of the community through the Caregivers’ Resource Centre (CRC) led by Terry Olayta. The community appealed to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to grant Limpiado permanent status on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate ground.
“Limpiado also actively took part in the community consultation with Minister Kenney, who eventually granted her permanent residence status. The consultation, along with community mobilization, resulted in reforms to the immigration laws and regulations in April 2010.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — I am not against members of so-called “third sex” but I am against pedophiles who sexually abuse and expose children to danger and violence.
That’s why when a suspected pedophile recently tarried in my Facebook wall and made a “friend request,” (he probably thought I have many children friends here) I did not only reject him, I also blocked him. I also warned “Art Jimeno” a.k.a “James Fabella” and “Rocky Leung” that if he did not disappear permanently, I would see to it that he was manacled and thrown to the calaboose as soon as he attempted to think of invading the social network for his bestiality.
Pedophiles are everywhere. They are in sports leagues, churches, schools, fraternity groups, scout organizations, social networks, among other “sanctuaries.”
I recalled this incident while watching the early morning news this morning (December 9). The CBC News lady anchor who delivered the news described as “major” the news that Scouts Canada has issued a blanket apology to any former scouts who were sexually abused by its volunteer leaders.
This was accompanied by the video of a high ranking official of Scouts Canada apologizing before the Canadian TV. The story was indeed “major” because it dislodged the other controversial story about an RCMP officer accused of assaulting and sexually harrassing four female colleagues in the 1990s.
The youth organization also announced that it has hired an outside company to review its past records and appointed an expert panel to examine whether its current child protection policies are working.
Scouts Canada’s announcement comes nearly two months after an investigation by CBC News.
It was reported further that Steve Kent, the organization’s chief commissioner, said in a video and written statement that the organization “sincerely and deeply” apologizes to any and all former scouts who suffered harm at the hands of leaders.
“Our sincere efforts to prevent such crimes have not always succeeded,” said Kent, who is also a Newfoundland politician. “We are sorry for that. We are saddened at any resulting harm.”
The announcement comes nearly two months after an investigation by CBC-TV’s The Fifth Estate found that Scouts Canada kept a “confidential list” of pedophiles barred from the organization and also signed confidentiality agreements with child sex abuse victims.
The investigation revealed that Scouts leaders abused about 340 children from the 1940s until present.
BY ALEX P. VIDAL
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — A group of Japanese tourists recently visited the place here where their compatriot had been swept over and presumed to have drowned last August 15 this year to offer flowers.
The group, composed mostly of students from Japan and led by Akira Kawabata, 28, lamented that four months since 20-year-old victim Ayano Tokumasu was swept over the falls while holding an umbrella, her body was not yet recovered until today.
The young Japanese woman, who disappeared after she lost her balance and fell, studied English at the Hansa Language Centre in Toronto.
Niagara Falls police confirmed surveillance footage from the visitors centre showed a young woman believed to be Tokumasu holding an umbrella, straddling a safety railing and looking at the falls.
“But when she got up to climb back over the railing, she lost her balance and slipped into the rushing waters near the brink of Horseshoe Falls,” CBCnews Toronto had reported.
Police searched the waters below the falls on for several days but were unable to find the woman, report added.
Some of her friend and family members in Japan, which was immediately notified of the accident, had also visited the place.
The Associated Press reported that according to Niagara Parks Police in Ontario, “two female students in their 20s from the Toronto area were visiting the falls around Sunday night when one of them climbed onto a railing near the river’s edge and sat on a block pillar, with her legs straddling the railing.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, she was enjoying the view from Table Rock when she was swept over Horseshoe Falls.
Police report said the woman stood up, lost her footing, and fell from the railing, which was located along the Canadian side of the Niagara River. The river is estimated to be 80 feet upstream from the edge of the falls.
The Montreal Gazette reported that “the strong current is what carried the woman to the falls.” After Niagara Parks police examined surveillance video, they claim “it appears that no one else was involved in this tragic accident.”
BY ALEX P. VIDAL
EDMONTON, Alberta — In Canada, it’s the system that works, not power and influence wield by big shots and prominent politicians like in the Philippines and other Asian countries.
The biggest story in this Canadian city here today should inspire law enforcers in the Philippines and teach them to enforce the law without fear and favor.
For violating the law — or for having been accused of violating the traffic law — Edmonton MP Peter Goldring has voluntarily withdrawn from caucus after he was charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test early Sunday following a fundraiser at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in north Edmonton.
“Our government takes drinking and driving very seriously,” Edmonton Journal quoted Sara MacIntyre, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s press secretary as saying.
She couldn’t comment further while the case is before court, except to say Goldring, 66, has withdrawn until charges are resolved, reported the Journal which has not received return call from Goldring as of this writing.
Edmonton police spokesman Chad Orydzuk reported that Goldring was charged with refusing to provide a breath sample using the roadside screening test. Orydzuk said police pulled over the car near 95th Street and 153rd Avenue about 12:30 a.m. Dec. 4, three blocks from where Goldring held his annual constituency fundraising dinner at the Ukrainian Youth Association near 97th Street and 153rd Avenue.
Report said more than 100 people attended the Saturday night dinner, which featured a roast beef and perogy dinner along with a silent auction and a cash bar.
Edmonton-Castle Downs MLA Thomas Lukaszuk was the keynote speaker and sat at the same table as Goldring. He declined to say whether he saw Goldring drinking or whether the MP was intoxicated.
“I’m not qualified to judge that,” Lukaszuk said, adding he was talking to constituents for much of the evening.
The patrol that pulled Goldring over was in support of a broader Checkstop program, which wrapped up before individual police units spread out to do roving checks.
“They’re tasked with identifying and arresting suspected impaired drivers,” Orydzuk said. He couldn’t say if Goldring’s vehicle was seized, which is only done when safety is a concern. Someone drove Goldring home, Orydzuk said, since the charge brings an immediate 24-hour licence suspension, followed by a 21-day grace period and then a three-month licence suspension.
If convicted, Goldring faces a minimum $1,000 fine, up to five years in prison and potential restrictions on driving.
University of Alberta law professor Steven Penney said the charges of refusing a breath demand and that of impaired driving are “of equal seriousness.”
Under the Criminal Code, both charges carry the same penalties, including a driving suspension and fine.
Penney said refusal charges are actually easier for the Crown to prove than impaired charges, and aren’t often taken to trial.
“We don’t see them challenged very often, except when there is a charter argument that the police did not have the proper grounds to demand a sample,” he said.
Goldring has been a member of Parliament since 1997. In 2009, Goldring opposed proposed legislation changes that would allow police to screen all drivers with roadside breathalyzer tests, whether or not officers suspected the drivers had been drinking.
“It is safe to say everyone is opposed to drunk driving — but there are civil liberty issues involved,” Goldring posted in an article on his website at the time. “There is the presumption of innocence and the right to not self incriminate.”
Leila Moulder, president of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Edmonton chapter, said she was surprised to hear about the charge.
“It comes as a huge disappointment especially in light of the new legislation that’s around and all the buzz in the media right now, just to have this as one more challenge that we’re faced with,” Moulder said, making reference to proposed legislation under Premier Alison Redford to suspend the licences of motorists charged with having more than .08 blood alcohol content. Drivers who blow between .05 to .08 blood alcohol content will also face tougher sanctions.
“It’s unnerving, especially when somebody is in an elected position, a position of authority in the public eye,” Moulder said. “You need to have that greater responsibility and there was a lack of such responsibility in this issue.”
New Democratic Party MP Linda Duncan said Goldring has set a poor example.
“It’s disturbing in a number of areas,” the MP for Edmonton-Strathcona said.
“Of course, everyone in Alberta’s aware of the government pushing for stricter standards for impaired driving. So one would think elected officials would set a higher standard. Coming from a youth event? That’s pretty incredible.”
Duncan said the incident exposes the tough-on-crime federal government “for the hypocrites they are,” and noted that one Edmonton volunteer organization has in the past asked MPs to help drive intoxicated people on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
“This is the opposite of what we should be doing as elected officials,” she said of Goldring’s alleged actions on the day of the incident.
She also said it was “pretty reprehensible” that Goldring, in 2009, wrote that he was concerned about the risk to civil liberties of a proposal by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to require drivers to provide breath samples even if there is no grounds for suspicion.