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Game of Phones

By Michael Osborne
April 17, 2014 at 13:33PM Le 17 April 2014 à 13:33PM

When you play the game of phones, you win or … you go to court.

Canada’s telcos play the game of phones in an attempt to knock out their competitors. They launch newer and better phones and wireless networks on a regular basis, supported by advertising that claims that their newer and better phones and wireless networks are better than those offered by their competitors. They strike back at each other’s advertising by launching court proceedings seeking injunctions or by complaining to the Competition Bureau. Injunctions are now rarely granted; the courts seem content to let the telcos joust amongst themselves.

Recently, however, the Competition Bureau entered the arena, bringing a false advertising case against Rogers. The result was that Rogers was fined $500,000 for advertising that turned out to be true.

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Putting lipstick on the Act

By Kim Covert
April 17, 2014 at 13:30PM Le 17 April 2014 à 13:30PM

It is perhaps a testament to the degree of controversy raised by the Conservative government’s proposed Fair Elections Act that the Senate’s Legal and Governmental Affairs Committee would be given a (rare) opportunity to preview the law while it is still in the committee stage in the House.

The Senate committee heard from 21 witnesses over six days and released its report this week. While headlines trumpeted the idea that Conservatives in the Senate were “pushing back” against the government – after all, Conservative senators had made nine (count ‘em! NINE!) recommendations for changes to the law – critics say their proposed changes amount to window-dressing.

“What Conservatives senators have really done is give the government cover to suddenly shift course, drop their bullying demeanour and pretend to be reasonable and conciliatory then go ahead and pass a deeply flawed bill with nothing more than cosmetic tweaks,” Tim Harper wrote in the Toronto Star.

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Stolen SIN numbers: Should we worry?

By Yves Faguy
April 16, 2014 at 10:04AM Le 16 April 2014 à 10:04AM

It’s obviously a key item for crooks, but Dan Williams, of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, tells the National Post that the SIN, on its own is worth very little:

“It’s very rare that we’ll hear from somebody that his SIN was used with someone else’s name or a fake name. If all that was lost [from the CRA] was just a collection of SINs, from what we see, it would be appear that they wouldn’t be able to get much,” Mr. Williams says. “It’s name, date of birth, SIN — when [crooks] have all of that, then it’s easy for them to apply for cellphones, credit cards, the whole nine yards.”

If you're thinking of taking out identity theft insurance, you might want to read this first. Surprise, it might not offer as much protection as you would likely hope for.

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Is CETA a bigger deal than NAFTA?

By Yves Faguy
April 15, 2014 at 15:47PM Le 15 April 2014 à 15:47PM

Jason Langrish, who heads the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business and was deeply involved in the launch of negotiations for a Canada-EU trade agreement, spoke about the importance of the proposed CETA at last week’s CCCA National Conference.

On whether CETA is bigger than NAFTA:

“It is. It’s largely because it’s a more comprehensive agreement, it goes into areas that NAFTA doesn’t even come close to touching. When NAFTA went into force 26 per cent of products went duty free. When CETA goes into force, 99 per cent of products will go duty free. Now of course, the NAFTA drove the trading relationship that was well developed between Canada and the United States so it represented a very different type of arrangement. The CETA is an agreement that goes behind the borders and it  recognizes the modern nature of business which is global value supply chains, investment, access to public procurement markets, protection of intellectual property rights and the mobility of qualified professionals and intercompany transferees. So it’s in that context that the CETA is a bigger and more comprehensive agreement than NAFTA.”

On how negotiations got off the ground:

In 2006 the business community pushed Jean Charest to be the political champion for a Canada/EU comprehensive free trade agreement and he jumped on it right away and in fact we struck a deal, it was in November and he said “I will take care of the politics, you take care of the business support”.

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The truth hurts

By Yves Faguy
April 15, 2014 at 14:43PM Le 15 April 2014 à 14:43PM

Yes, the federal government ran into another wall last week at the Supreme Court of Canada. Michael Spratt shakes his head, arguing that the top court’s latest ruling in R.v. Summers and R. v. Carvery should surprise no one:

The truth is that there is little empirical support for the government's justifications on limiting judicial discretion when it comes to to the consideration of an offenders time spent in pre-sentence custody - C-25 is yet another example blind ideological legislation.

Lisa Silver piles on: The rulings are as clear as they come – in stark contrast to the law itself:

First, the main judgment in the Summers case, written by Madame Justice Karakatsanis, is clear, concise (at least for a SCC judgment) and readable. Second, the main basis for dismissing the Crown appeal is the government’s lack of clarity in defining the meaning of “circumstances” that justify enhanced credit under s. 719(3.1). Conversely, third, is the seemingly clear intention of the government to “cap” the credit at a 1:1.5 ratio. However, fourth, are the clearly defined and “well-established” and “long-standing” sentencing principles, which included enhanced credit for the lack of parole eligibility during pre-trial custody. In order to “overturn” these principles, Parliament must, fifthly, use clear and explicit language in the legislation.

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