Canada Letter

Canada's Most Fascinating News

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Why we moved our Silicon Valley startup to Canada

Russ McMeekin, writing for Venture Beat »

CBRE, a U.S.-based commercial real estate and investment firm, recently ranked Toronto as the fastest-growing tech center in North America, with Vancouver and Montreal not far behind.

Long overlooked by the global tech community, Canada’s tech industry is coming into its own. In recent years, several U.S. tech giants have established offices here, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Last November, Fujitsu placed its global artificial intelligence (AI) center in Vancouver, British Columbia – not Silicon Valley.


Through its Superclusters initiative, Canada has invested more than a billion dollars in AI research and development in just the past three years. A first-of-its-kind initiative for the country, the initiative has seen cities from Toronto and Vancouver, B.C. to Montreal and Edmonton emerge as significant centers of AI innovation.

With federal funding and encouragement, top universities across Canada have incorporated AI into every part of their curricula. If you are a student taking a college accounting course, you will also learn about the latest AI tools in the field and where it’s heading. This means thousands of graduates from Canadian universities understand and appreciate the power of AI as they enter the workforce, in addition to the already abundant reservoir of talented data scientists.

Read the whole article at Venture Beat »

Here’s an interview Russ McMeekin did with Amanda Lang for Bloomberg on August 20, 2019 »

Stephen Marche on the Liberals and Justin Trudeau

Stephen Marche, writing in The Atlantic »

The 2019 election is a test for Canadian progressives: style or substance. The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is the most successful progressive government in the world. It instituted a carbon tax and legalized marijuana. Last year, for the first time, Canada settled more refugees than any other country. Because of higher government benefits, child poverty is at its lowest level in history. Economic growth this year reached 3 percent. That is what Trudeau has done. He also appeared in brownface at an Aladdin-themed costume party in 2001 at the age of 29.

Canadian progressives, like progressives all over the world, must decide whether they care more about the pursuit of social and cultural change, through the eradication of racist and sexist imagery, or the pursuit of transformative policies. In 2015, Trudeau promised both. He was the shining ideal of maximum wokeness, imposing a gender-equal cabinet and offering as the explanation, “Because it’s 2015.” Well, it’s 2019 now.


The main criticism from Trudeau’s opponents on the right has usually been that he’s a spoiled brat—a son of privilege—not up to running the country. A faker. The brownface debacle has now become, on the left, a symbol of his lack of real commitment to progressive values. But the cross-party consensus that Trudeau is slight and phony doesn’t survive even a cursory examination of his record. An independent assessment by two dozen Canadian academics found that Trudeau has kept 92 percent of his campaign promises, the most by any Canadian government in 35 years. He is measurably, demonstrably the most sincere and effective prime minister in living memory. He is the rare case of a man whose virtue-signaling has distracted from his real virtues.

Read the rest of Stephen Marche’s article at The Atlantic »

App gives rural BC doctors 24/7 access to medical specialists

Laura Sciarpelletti, writing for CBC News »

The Critical Outreach and Diagnostic Intervention (CODI) video call system was recently installed in hospitals in the Peace Region of northeastern B.C., following other rural areas of the province.

Dr. Don Burke, who developed the iPhone and iPad app, says rural physicians face challenges like low resources, minimal specialist backup and few to no nurses, as well as geographic isolation.

“There was an incredible need for this,” Burke told Carolina de Ryk, host of Daybreak North.

Vancouver teen develops app to help detect Alzheimer’s disease in seniors
Emergency room doctors in communities including Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge can now contact specialists 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It could be to seek advice when dealing with an overdose, heart attack or a coma with unclear causes, Burke said.


Vancouver police officer struck by distracted driver while ticketing another distracted driver

Put your phones down. Nothing on your phone is more important than the safety of others. I’m sure it can wait. And if it can’t, pull over somewhere safe and attend to your phone then.

CBC writes »

Police say the officer had pulled over a distracted driver and returned to their unmarked SUV, which had its lights and sirens activated, to write the ticket.

As the officer filled out the paperwork, a Mazda coming from behind drifted onto the shoulder and rear-ended the officer’s vehicle.

“The officer seated inside the vehicle was injured and has been off work ever since,” Vancouver police Sgt. Aaron Roed said Wednesday.

B.C. to introduce legislation to eliminate the semi-annual time change

British Columbia Premier John Horgan expects the B.C. government to introduce legislation this fall eliminating the semi-annual clock adjustments.

A recent provincial government survey showed more than 93 per cent of B.C. residents supported a permanent move to daylight time.

Horgan would prefer to make the switch in co-ordination with Yukon and the western states.

The U.S. states of Washington, Oregon and California are considering similar moves.

More » The Canadian Press via CTV News


Canada’s Krista DuChene wins masters division at Berlin Marathon

Doug Harrison at CBC Sports writes »

The Brantford, Ont., resident won the masters (40-and-over) division in Berlin and finished 12th overall on the women’s side in a time of two hours 32 minutes 27 seconds. DuChene hadn’t clocked 2:34 since her 2:29:38 from Rotterdam in 2015.

Read more »

More at Canadian Running

Google celebrates Harry Jerome on what would have been his 79th birthday

The Google Doodle for September 30, 2019 in Canada honours Harry Jerome, a Saskatchewan-born runner, was a three-time Olympian and world-record setter.

From Google »

“Never give up” was a fitting motto for Harry Jerome, the Canadian athlete who broke barriers as he broke records. Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Toronto-based guest artist Moya Garrison-Msingwana, depicts the statue of Jerome that stands in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. That city also hosts the annual Harry Jerome International Track Classic, a meet named in honour of the champion sprinter.

Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on this day in 1940, Harry Winston Jerome broke a Canadian record for the 220-yard sprint at age 18, soon earning an athletic scholarship to the University of Oregon. His grandfather John “Army” Howard had been the first black athlete to represent Canada in the Olympics. Jerome and his younger sister Valerie both carried on the family legacy, traveling to Rome to compete in the 1960 Olympic Games.

Although a pulled muscle prevented him from running in the finals, Jerome went on to represent Canada at two more Olympic Games, winning the bronze medal in 1964. He also won gold medals in the Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games. Starting in 1960, Jerome would equal or break four world sprinting records over the course of his career.

In 1969 Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invited Jerome to help set up Canada’s Ministry of Sport. He was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada in 1971 and later named British Columbia’s Athlete of the Century. Inspiring young athletes of colour to pursue their dreams and achieve their fullest potential, Jerome traveled across Canada holding sports clinics for high school students.

His life inspired the documentary film Mighty Jerome and his legacy is celebrated each year with the Harry Jerome Awards, which recognize excellence in Canada’s black community.

Here’s to a champion who never gave up.

More at Google »

Janani Whitfield at CBC News has some background on the efforts to educate and bring recognition to Harry Jerome »

Heavy snow blanketed southern Alberta over the weekend, wallops Calgary

And it’s still September.

Read about it at the CBC »


Canada Post racking up $1 million per year in parking fines

Colin Perkel at The Canadian Press writes »

The information, obtained by The Canadian Press through freedom of information requests, indicates the bulk of the citations are in and around Toronto.

“To meet the needs of Canadians, our employees have to routinely park their vehicles,” said Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton. “With the concentration of addresses in urban downtown cores and a rising demand for pickups and deliveries, this can cause challenges, not just for Canada Post but for all delivery companies.”

Read more »

Increasing number of Canadians are being banned from entering the USA

Cathy Kearney and Clare Hennig at the CBC write »

The bans are the consequence of so-called “expedited removals” which are decided by an immigration officer and don’t go before a judge, and are a “troubling trend” according to lawyer Len Saunders because of how arbitrary they can seem.

“Until recently, I never would have expected people to get these expedited removals so randomly,” said Saunders, who practices immigration law in Blaine, Wash. and has clients who have been banned.

“It’s very, very indiscriminate how they are doing this.”

Canadians generally are allowed to stay for up to six months in the U.S. as a tourist but it’s up to the traveller to prove they are just visiting and not planning to stay permanently.

Read more »

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