Ontario Residents Rant About Election

From this morning’s impromptu coffee chat with some local residents at Tim Horton’s. These are some comments I gathered from a small group of coffee sippers this morning and tried to get it as close to what I heard as possible. So don’t attack me please, just give your thoughts to what has been aired.
Doug Ford was on CP24 this morning talking about Patrick Brown cutting a deal with Christine Elliott to endorse her in return for keeping his seat. If that is true, there are now three things that are of concern about Elliott;
1) That she is playing the same old backroom deals that have tainted the Ontario Liberal government’s reputation over the last few years,
2) Her lack of loyalty to the party as expressed through her accepting a job from Kathleen Wynn, and
3) Her philosophy and approach as shown through the debate last week showing her unwillingness to take out the brook and clean out the waste, dust and nonsense from Kathleen’s attack on Ontario’s traditional lifestyle and family structure.
If the Conservatives are to win the next election, they need to elect a leader who is capable of representing the people with a clear focus on every Ontarian and break lose from the corrupt relationships with special interest groups for the sake of looking good among ill-informed voters. Then they need to campaign hard to make sure that they get as many Ontarians out as possible to vote!
Then they need to have a clear plan to:
1. Help average taxpayers with being able to earn a living and afford their own house. Unless you’re a government employee or union worker in Ontario, it’s almost impossible to buy your first home without family help. This has to change. With homes costing over $1M and the new mortgage rules/stress test, banks unwillingness to lend, even someone earning $250,000 can’t afford to buy a home without a significant down payment. At $244,000 individuals have to give the government 55% of each additional dollar they earn and they only get to keep 45%. How is this ‘regressive tax system’ fair or even good for everyone when the best and brightest leave once they get to those income levels?
2. Support small business (which accounts for 90% of job creation in Canada) through
a) reducing red tape and regulations. The Liberal’s have shown their dislike of small business with statements like ‘if you can’t afford to pay more for wages you shouldn’t be in business’. This philosophical attack on small business has to be reversed. They should be saying, ‘how can we help you hire more people and give them the opportunity to earn more as they add more value to your business’.
b) the redundancy of unions and the Ontario labour act has to be addressed. We don’t need both. So, decide on which way you want to go and focus on it. Once the government started dictating wages and other terms of employment it basically has replaced what unions were originally meant to do…stop the exploitation of workers and provide them with security. Well the government is doing that directly now. So why are companies forced to double regulation?
3. Electricity expenses. If you want to have union jobs that result in higher wages than other jurisdictions we compete with, then you have to reduce other expenses. Why are we paying so much more for electricity than we should? We can’t even compete with mass production or automation because we’re competing with countries with much lower energy costs. Find a way to drop electricity expenses for manufacturers in Ontario.
4. Housing availability and traffic congestion. Wynn has thrown money at the same old things that have created these problems to begin with. The underlying issue with traffic and affordability is supply and demand combined with the NECESSITY FOR DAILY TRAVEL. In Europe they got it right when they have people living where they work. Why are we having people commute 30-40 kms to get to work? Create the incentive and support to have people work closer to home. Adjust zoning to include commercial in residential neighbourhoods. Make it more affordable to build houses in different areas on non-fertile farm land. Why are we paying an upwards of $25,000 per unit for building/development permits, t hen paying double land transfer taxes in Toronto? The government is taking as much as $100,000 in these and related taxes just to build a home. Why? This money goes to general expenses (bureaucracy?).
5. Quality of education. The quality of education in Ontario has dropped significantly over the last 25 years! I’ve come across some really bad teachers in the school system who shouldn’t be allowed near children, let alone teach them. Why is it so hard to get rid of these bad teachers, but more importantly, WHY IS THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PUTTING TEACHER JOB SECURITY AHEAD OF THE EDUCATION, DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH OF THE CHILDREN? Wynn was so interested in sex education, but she did nothing for addressing the quality of education issue or how to deal with the Teacher’s Union which is allowing some teachers to destroy the self-confidence, motivation and future potential of young children. What is your plan?
Your thoughts? 

Money Transmitter Licenses and Canadian First Global Data in the U.S.

Almost every U.S. state requires a state license in order to transmit money into, out of or within the state. These licenses are expensive to acquire and to maintain and establish a financial barrier of entry.

Licensing requirements include the following considerations:

  • applicant’s financial condition
  • applicant’s net worth
  • amount of business for the previous year
  • anticipated business for the upcoming year

The cost of acquiring a license average more than U.S. $175,000 per state and the annual renewal fees on average are more than U.S. $135,000.

In addition to the various state requirements,  money transmitters must also register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Registration is valid for two years before it needs to be renewed. Money transmitters must use the BSA E-Filing System to submit initial registration forms and renewals. There are both civil and criminal penalties for money services businesses that do not register with FinCEN.

In effect, these regulations help to validate the worthiness of the companies that acquire the money transmitter license. Given the financial investment and the corporate strength in order to acquire the licenses, companies that are granted licenses achieve a degree of credibility.

It is believed that it is more difficult for foreign companies to acquire these licenses. However, given Canada’s highly developed, regulated and structured financial industry, Canadian-based companies are afforded a strong reputation internationally.

One Canadian, publicly traded company, First Global Data Inc. (traded as v.fgd on the TMX) is an international financial services technology (“FINTECH”) company. The Company’s two main lines of business are mobile payments and cross border payments. First Global’s proprietary leading edge technology enables the convergence of compliant domestic and cross border payments, shopping, Peer to Peer (“P2P”), Business to Consumer (“B2C”), and Business to Business (“B2B”) payments. First Global enables its strategic partners and clients around the world with our leading edge financial services technology platform.

First Global Data (www.firstglobaldata.com), according to their most recent press release, has acquired 31 money transmitter licenses. “We continue our focus on US wide licensing as the more State licenses First Global has, the larger the market opportunity for our services such as Happy Transfer launched on the WeChat social messaging platform with our China-based partner LianLian; for the Company’s First Global Money international remittances services which delivers into Latin America, India, the Philippines and other very large markets; for domestic USA peer to peer and mobile payment services; and for additional cross border payment services the Company intends to provide to consumers across the USA”, said Andre Itwaru, Chairman and CEO of First Global Data Limited.

This company is  positioned to strategically take advantage of Canada’s financial industry reputation, leveraging our access to the U.S. market and bridging it with Asian demand. With a stock price at under CDN$0.30, I’m curious to see the value of the users it has acquired through partnerships. With Canadian Schedule A banks paying thousands of dollars for credit card customer acquisitions, this company’s value might already be well beyond its stock price.

See related post: First Global Data Appoints Top Notch CFO

Arab States Sever Qatar Ties Over Terrorism and Flights Are Suspended

Five arab states; Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and the UAE (United Arab Emerates) are severing diplomatic, land, sea and air relations with Qatar because of its support of terrorism.

As a result of diplomatic tensions in the Middle East, both Etihad and Emerates Airways have suspended all flights to and from Doha, the capital of Qatar until further notice. According to Emirates Airlines, the suspension which is at the instance of the United Arab Emirates Government, will take effect on the morning of 6 June 2017 and will continue until further notice.

The last flight (EK847) leaving Dubai for Doha will depart at 02:30 a.m. on 6 June, 2017, and the last flight (EK848) leaving Doha for Dubai will depart at 03:50 a.m. on 6 June, 2017. These last flights promise to be both sober and stressful as passengers, no doubt, will ponder the possibility of terrorist retaliation.

In addition, Etihad Airways will suspend all flights to and from Doha as of June 5th, 2017 until further notice.  According to the airline, the last flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha (EY391) will depart at 9:35 p.m. on June 5th, 2017 and the last flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi (EY398) will depart 10:50 p.m. on June 5th, 2017.

Additional airlines, including Saudi Arabian Airlines, EgyptAir, Flydubai, and Air Arabia,  have either already suspended flights to Doha or planning to do so.

It is about time that the arab states take some action towards global peace and the elimination of terrorism. This action comes after a series of terrorist attacks which has resulted in citizens around the world demanding political leaders put an end to ISIS terrorist activity. Leaders across the developed world are taking strong positions and planning more drastic measures to deal with terrorism and ISIS in particular.

With so much brutality, the peaceful citizens of the world have had enough and the politicians know it.

A Public Bus Driver, a Dead Passenger and Marijuana

This week, Torontonians found themselves looking in astonishment at a picture of a damaged bus that had rear-ended a truck. In the “accident” a woman passenger died. Torontonians struggled to understand how a bus driver could drive his bus at considerable speed into the rear end of a huge truck. Coffee shops were filled with conversations about how many public transit accidents and deaths have occurred involving Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) vehicles in 2011 alone.

The driver of the bus was 52-year –old William Ainsworth. Speculation ran wild as readers wondered about the skills, mind-set and condition of the Ainsworth involved in this week’s accident. Then this morning the media reported that the TTC driver had drugs in his possession.

What is even more interesting is that after the crash, the driver refused a TTC drug test which killed one passenger and injured 13 others. According to Detective Constable Carl Anderson, police officers at the scene did not conduct a police drug test because they had no reason to think the driver was intoxicated. Which leads many Torontonians to wonder what the police constables thought was the reason that the TTC driver drove a public bus into the rear end of a truck.

Many TTC riders believe that a TTC driver is regularly monitored and tested for intoxication and the influence of drugs. The fact that even after a crash, a TTC driver was not tested pretty much removes any comfort that TTC riders may have in the TTC’s drug monitoring.

One can’t help but ask why a TTC driver would refuse a drug test after being in a crash. Wouldn’t a test prove that he wasn’t intoxicated or under the influence, thereby making it easier for the TTC to defend against lawsuits? The only logical explanation is that the TTC driver was hiding something. It is possible, that the consequences of the outcome of the test would be worse than not taking the test.

Conveniently, it wasn’t until seven hours later that the police found what they believe “might have been marijuana”. Really…they couldn’t tell?

As an example of how similar situations are handled in other cities, on May 12th, 2008 in Bullitt County, Kentucky (United States) a bus with more than 50 elementary school students drove into a ditch. The driver was Tammy Capps (37) who was immediately put in jail to face criminal charges and also lost her job. According to Eric Farris (Bullitt County Board of Education attorney), “All bus drivers who are involved in any kind of accident is tested afterwards to determine if there is any alcohol or narcotics present in their system…There was a positive finding of marijuana in the driver’s system.” In addition bus drivers for the school system are subject to routine and random drug tests throughout the year.

The William Ainsworth accident and how it was handled does not reflect well on the bus driver, the TTC, Mayor Ford and Toronto Police Services. The information released by the media and information in reference to Ainsworth leads one to come up with at least one story of how a public bus driver ended up crashing his bus into the rear end of a large  truck, which killed one passenger (Jadranka Petrova, 43) and injured 13 others.

If the driver of a private car had crashed into the rear end of a large truck, resulting in the death of a passenger, that driver would be charged with at least careless driving and possibly manslaughter. What was the Ainsworth charged with?

It will be interesting to see how the TTC handles this. If they don’t end up firing Ainsworth then the riding public will lose much faith and confidence in Toronto’s public transit, even more than has already been lost with the scandals of the last two years. If Mayor Ford doesn’t do something, then the voters will look poorly upon him. As for police services, it is unknown what they can do at this point however, with the death of a passenger the public expects some serious charges.

It will be quite an accomplishment if the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents Transit workers, gets away without firing Ainsworth or having him charged.

Even more interesting will be watching what Ainsworth’s attorney does to keep him out of jail and avoiding liability from the crash. As for the stress Ainsworth must be facing, it could be enough to lead one to smoke.