February 15, 2013

No wonder many Canadians skip jury duty

Filed under: Cancon, Law — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:18

I’ve only ever been summoned for jury duty once, and that was about 20 years ago (I was lucky to not be in the pool for the Homolka case, which was in the courts at that time). I showed up on Monday morning, sat around reading my book for a couple of hours, then was dismissed. Repeat on Tuesday and Wednesday, then we were told our services wouldn’t be needed for the rest of the week. I was lucky not to lose any pay for performing my “civic duty” thanks to my employer-of-the-time, but most people are not so fortunate:

Let’s talk about jury duty. That much-despised civic responsibility in which we are asked to play a role in one of the world’s best justice systems.

Being summoned is viewed by many as an unwelcome interruption of their daily lives and, often, a punishing financial burden. It is ignored by hundreds, if not thousands, of Canadian every year.

And why? Well, most suggest a mix of lost wages and low compensation plays a role in it. Not to mention the hassle of having to listen to people talk all day long. But is it really worth chasing and punishing those who refuse to serve? And if so, shouldn’t something be done to make serving less punishing?

How bad is the pay? Pretty bad indeed:

Those selected to serve on jury duty have no protection from lost wages, although their employer is legally mandated to give them time off. And the compensation they receive is minimal.

So how much do jurors get paid? It is not a lot.

In Nova Scotia, jurors receive $40 a day plus mileage. Ontario pays jurors $40 a day once they have served more than 10 days, and $100 for every day over 49.

Alberta provides $50 per day of service, as well as travel expenses and possibly accommodations. The Northwest Territories gratefully pays $80 per day.

Quebec jury members get a much more generous deal:

Quebec residents called to participate in jury selection receive the cost of public transit or mileage and parking costs. They can also receive more than $45 for meals and as much as $138 to cover overnight accommodations.

Those selected to be a juror receive $103 for every day of the hearing and deliberations. That amount increases to $160 on the 57th day of service.

There are bonuses for working into the night and for Sundays and holidays, childcare allowances and psychological therapy after the trial.

H/T to Bob Tarantino for the link.

May 17, 2012

Official response to UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food

Filed under: Cancon, Government, Health, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:09

As you’ll know if you’ve been visiting the blog for a while, I’m not a cheerleader for the federal government and I often disagree with their policies and statements. However, I can’t find much to disagree with in this:

May 16, 2012 (OTTAWA, ON) — The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, today issued the following statement:

Today I met with Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

As an aboriginal person from the North, I was insulted that Mr. Schutter chose to “study” us, but chose not to “visit” us.

In fact, Mr. De Schutter confirmed to me that he did not visit a single Arctic community in Canada during nearly two weeks of travel within Canada.

I asked him what stance he would take in his report on uninformed, international attacks on the seal and polar bear hunt that make it harder for aboriginal hunters to earn a livelihood. I told him that I would be reviewing his final report closely, to see if he makes any recommendations to activist groups to stop interfering in the hunting and gathering of traditional foods.

I was concerned that he had not been fully informed of the problems with the discontinued Food Mail program that subsidized the shipping of tires and skidoo parts, as opposed to Nutrition North, which improves access to nutritious and perishable foods.

He made several suggestions that would require the federal government to interfere in the jurisdiction of other levels of government. It was clear that he had little understanding of Canada’s division of powers between the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government despite his extensive briefings with technical officials from the Government of Canada.

Our government is surprised that this organization is focused on what appears to be a political agenda rather than on addressing food shortages in the developing world. By the United Nations’ own measure, Canada ranks sixth best of all the world’s countries on their human development index. Canadians donate significant funding to address poverty and hunger around the world, and we find it unacceptable that these resources are not being used to address food shortages in the countries that need the most help.


August 31, 2011

Far north transportation solution: heavy-lift dirigibles?

Filed under: Britain, Cancon, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:11

It’s like the airborne equivalent of the monorail: the wonderful solution to various air transportation problems. Unfortunately, they usually fail to live up to expectations. A joint British-Canadian effort to introduce heavy-lift airships for transportation in Canada’s far north hit the news today:

Last week, Yellowknife-based Discovery Air signed a preliminary agreement with British aviation startup Hybrid Air Vehicles to buy a fleet of futuristic dirigibles to haul cargo and supplies across the Canadian North

Costing $40-million each, the massive vehicles will be able to haul 50 tonnes of cargo, stay in the air for several weeks at a time and use a fraction of the fuel consumed by standard fixed-wing airliners.

By comparison, the largest aircraft in the current Discovery fleet can only carry 7,000 pounds and stay aloft for a matter of hours before refuelling.

The new vehicles, which are still in the early testing phase, may look like little more than sleek reboots of Depression-era dirigibles, but actually are a unique marriage of four different aviation technologies, say designers.

“It actually works more like an airplane than an airship,” said Gordon Taylor, marketing officer for Hybrid Air Vehicles.

The aircraft fly using a combination of aerodynamic lift and helium buoyancy, manoeuver by using a helicopter-style thrusters and they land on a curtain of air like a hovercraft.

It’ll be great if they can work as designed, and also survive the extreme weather conditions of Canada’s far north, but the smart money isn’t likely to bet that way.

August 14, 2010

QotD: Canadians and booze smuggling

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Law — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:28

Colourful, aggressively marketed and bad for you unless consumed in moderation, spirits have a lot in common with breakfast cereal. And just as Trix are for American kids only, Canadian adults are denied quite a number of wonderful products, many of them taken for granted abroad. It’s the fault of our provincial booze monopolies, of course. The only remedy for now is to cross the border and spend those 96¢ loonies. Rather than filling the trunk with discount Smirnoff on your next trip to the States, I would suggest bringing home some of the alcoholic flavours you cannot buy here, as listed below.

Review the rules on alcohol importing on the Canada Border Services Agency’s website at beaware.gc.ca. The best policy is honestly declaring what you have; if you’re over the limit you’ll just have to pay taxes and duty (unless you live in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories, which restrict the amount of booze you bring into the country).

Also note: Alberta residents are advised to use the search function at alberta-liquor-guide.com before making any suitcase-stuffing plans. There’s a chance the products below are available at home. Surprise, surprise: The lone province that doesn’t put shelf-stocking decisions in the hands of bureaucrats offers a superior selection.

Adam McDowell, “Happy Hour: Making the most of cross-border booze shopping”, National Post, 2010-08-13

Powered by WordPress