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17 December 2008

10 December 2008 was the 10th day of the sixth month of the 3rd year of Canadian national consciousness rising to invincibility, as indicated by the following press reports:

10 December 2008

The Canadian Economic Press - Canada's international indebtedness at 33-year low (10 December 2008) Canada's net international indebtedness fell to a 33-year low of C$58.4 billion at the end of the third quarter, as the value of foreign assets increased more than liabilities, Statistics Canada reported. International assets rose for a fourth straight quarter to C$1,343.3 billion, up 3.2% from Q2.

From the Statistics Canada report: . . . net foreign debt fell by C$13.1 billion to a 33-year low of C$58.4 billion in the third quarter. This represented 3.6% of Canada's gross domestic product, down from 4.4% in the previous quarter. . . . Direct investment abroad by Canadian firms rose by C$30.6 billion to C$593.7 billion in the third quarter, on the largest outflows by Canadian companies in four years. . . . Foreign direct investment in Canada rose by C$9.0 billion to C$525.7 billion in the third quarter . . . . With increases in outward direct investment dominating, Canada's net asset position on direct investment amounted to C$67.9 billion, the highest level since the first quarter of 2007.

The Globe and Mail - Spirit of philanthropy is thriving (10 December 2008) The corporate giving spirit is alive and well, according to a new report by Imagine Canada, a non-profit that promotes charitable donation. 'There has been a paradigm shift toward corporate contributions to charities as the era of big government declined,' says Michael Hall, Imagine Canada's vice-president of research and author of the report. The survey, conducted in late 2007 and early 2008, of 93 of Canada's largest companies found that 97 per cent made financial donations to charities and non-profits, with a median value of C$340,000. Half of the donor companies exceeded the standard of giving 1 per cent of pre-tax profits, as recommended by Imagine's 'Caring Company' programme.

The Globe and Mail - Investor groups focus on bottom line to bring about change (10 December 2008) Shareholder involvement in 'corporate social responsibilities' (CSR) is gaining traction in Canada, say experts such as Jordan Berger, head of responsible investment at Mercer (Canada). Shareholders are increasingly using annual meetings, proxy materials, and old-fashioned public relations to nudge public companies into action over everything from environmental protection to employment practices. 'There is most definitely a rising tide of shareholder resolutions being filed,' says Myrna Khan, senior vice-president and general manager of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility in Vancouver. The not-for-profit advises businesses on how to bring their operations into line with CSR expectations. Today's push for social responsibility is based on the understanding that embracing high standards on the environment, employment, and other social issues reduces risk and ultimately leads to improved financial returns.

The Calgary Herald - Dutch airline service lands back in Calgary (10 December 2008) After a 12-year absence, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is resuming service to Calgary, with non-stop flights to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to start 3 May 2009. The service will connect Calgary to the famed Amsterdam hub—Schiphol is often voted Europe's top airport—from which travellers can connect to more than 65 destinations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Irene Bakker, honorary consul of the Consulate of The Netherlands in Calgary, said the service is important to Alberta's Dutch community. 'We have 100,000 Dutch people living in the whole province of Alberta, so it's very important to have a connection with Calgary,' she said.

CBC News - Canadian tech firms offered deals to expand into China (5 December 2008) The Chinese government and the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), the technology industry's advocacy group, have launched a programme to encourage Canadian companies to expand into one of China's fastest-growing regions. The CATA-China Business Portal, officially announced at a conference in Toronto, will seek to attract Canadian technology firms to the Xishan economic zone, centred around the city of Wuxi, about 130 kilometres from Shanghai. Technology companies will be wooed to the region by China's government through a C$1.8-billion plan, which includes enticements such as rent reductions, recruiting awards, income tax rebates, and training subsidies.

The Canadian Economic Press - Average price of gas in Canada lower for 12th consecutive week (10 December 2008) The average price of gas Canadians paid at the pumps last week continued to fall for the 12th consecutive week, with prices down on average another 3.9 cents in the week ending 9 Dec., according a weekly survey by Calgary-based MJ Ervin & Associates. The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in Canada for the week was C$0.768, down from C$1.377 reached 12 weeks ago (and the lowest since the first week of 2005). The survey showed Kingston, Ont. had the lowest average price in the country, at C$0.689, down 7.6 cents from the prior week. The price decline in Kingston was the most dramatic in the country.

The Toronto Star - Solar power gaining ground on conventional energy (10 December 2008) Getting electricity from the sun in Ontario is expected to be cost-competitive with conventional forms of grid power by 2020, though some experts at Canada's premier solar technologies event say the crossover point could come much earlier. Andrew Kinross, a director with Burlington, Mass.-based Navigant Consulting, told attendees at the Canadian Solar Industries Association annual conference that utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects could reach 'grid parity' without subsidies between 2020 and 2023 if fossil fuel prices increase as expected. New advancements in solar technologies, particularly high-volume thin film manufacturing, also promise to dramatically lower the cost of making solar modules. The technology is improving so rapidly that some manufacturers told the Star that grid parity could come by 2015 based on the amount of sun Ontario gets over the course of a year—and sooner in sunnier jurisdictions. The Canadian market shows huge potential, Kinross said. More than 500 megawatts worth of solar projects are in the pipeline, a backlog that would have represented 17 per cent of the global market had products been shipped and installed last year. A joint venture between Toronto-based SkyPower and Baltimore-based Sun Edison announced Tuesday that it had raised C$80 million in financing from German bank Nord/LB for its 'First Light' solar farm in Ontario.

The Financial Post - Canada hits wind energy milestone (10 December 2008) Canada has become the 12th country in the world to surpass 2,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity. It takes 85 wind farms to generate that 2,239 MW, and this accounts for 1% of Canada's electricity demand. Canada's installed wind farm capacity is currently able to power more than 600,000 houses. The Canadian Wind Energy Association aims to produce 20% of the country's energy needs by 2025. This would be enough to power 17 million homes.

The Globe and Mail - Raw-milk farmer wins MPP's support (10 December 2008) An Ontario farmer's drive to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk direct to the consumer is being backed by a proposed private member's bill from MPP* Randy Hillier. The bill will recognize the legitimacy of purchasing unpasteurized milk products directly from a farm. 'Willing buyers and sellers who are knowledgeable and responsible people should not have to break the law to exercise freedom over their diet,' Mr Hillier said. The proposed bill will not cover retail sales of unpasteurized milk, but will focus on protecting the direct consumer-farmer relationship, Mr Hillier said, noting he plans to have the bill before the Ontario legislature early next year. [*Member of the Provincial Parliament]

The Canadian Press - Medical schools urge limits to drug makers' influence on students (10 December 2008) There may soon be no more free lunches in Canadian medical schools. No talks given by physicians' experts paid handsomely by pharmaceutical companies. Or unsupervised meetings with drug reps. The association that represents Canada's medical schools announced Tuesday it is endorsing the principles that lie at the core of rules such as these introduced by its American counterpart earlier this year. The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) said the aim is to limit the influence the pharmaceutical industry has on medical students and residents, and assuage the public's concerns about the perceived cosiness between medical schools and drug makers. The board of the association voted in mid-November to endorse the principles espoused in the April 2008 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. It made public that decision on Tuesday. The US report urged medical schools to bar drug and medical device manufacturers from offering free food, gifts, or travel to students and faculty. It suggested faculty and students should be banned from accepting so-called 'ghost-writing' services—where someone else authors a paper that is submitted under the recipient's name—and prohibited from accepting payment to attend industry-sponsored events. 'And there's no question that the next step is [that] each of the Canadian faculties, independently and collectively from AFMC, along with our hospital partners and industry will have to have a discussion now about how do these principles articulate themselves in our context here in Canada,' Irving Gold, the association's vice-president of government relations and external affairs, said. 'The public has to trust that the doctors that they see do not have any debts to pay to individual pharmaceutical companies or the sector as a whole.'

These are a few of the news reports reflecting Canada's rising invincibility from the growing Yogic Flying groups across Canada and the Invincible America Assembly at Maharishi University of Management and Maharishi Vedic City, USA.

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