Dear Tumblr, this is hard to write, but…

I’m leaving you.

It’s not you, it’s… well, actually, it IS you.

When we first met, I fell so hard for your beautiful themes and elegantly simple user interface.  You were so hip, so pretty, so easy.You even had an API.

We had a great summer and fall together.

But then, things started to turn. First, I tried to put some basic HTML tables in post. That didn’t go so well. I had to switch to all HTML input. I got tired of typing in <br><br> or <p> in my regular posts just so I could format data into tables.

Then, I tried to embed a visualization from Tableau Public. No go. The best you could do was a linked image. And remember all the back-and-forth about just trying to get comments enabled?

Tonight, the final straw. I tried to embed a PDF from Scribd. You couldn’t do that, either. I searched everywhere for help, but nothing.

You are so unresponsive when I have a problem.

So, Tumblr, I”m sorry. We need a break. And yes, there is someone else now. You drove me to WordPress.

Call me sometime there at afewtastefulsnaps.wordpress.com.

I know you’ll do okay without me.

(P.S. I taking all my old posts with me, even the Chihuahuas. I’ll send someone by to pick them up when you’re not home.) 

G

Ron and Daniel, Michel and Barbara

I’ve been working on a project using Elections Canada data the past few days and staring at a lot of lines of political contributions.

I noticed there seemed to be a lot of “Ians” among Conservative Party donors, so I decided to run an analysis on the first names of contributors to each party.

I filtered out the 20 most common names on the list (mostly English Biblical mens names like John and David) to produce a list of names that would be more unique to each party.

Not surprisingly, the Conservative donor names tend to be largely WASPy, male and many from a certain era.

There are more Francophone names among the Liberals and, of course, the Bloc contributors, while female names occur more often on the list of New Democrats.

Note: These are based on my database of political contributions to parties, candidates and riding associations from 2003 to now.

Scambaiting explained

Just to follow my previous post on the chihuahuas…

I am but a complete novice in the art of scam baiting compared to the folks at 419eater.com.

Scam baiting is the art and science of engaging Internet scammers in lengthy email exchanges. The website title is drawn from the section of Nigerian criminal code used to prosecute these electronic frauds.

The trophy the scam baiters often seek is a photo of their mark holding up a sign they have been convinced will help seal the deal they peddle.

The photos typically have puerile but hilarious puns written on them.  For a full archive, check out the Trophy Room on 419eater.

(Not entirely safe for at-work viewer, depending on how Tightly Klenching Micheeks your boss is.)

Most of the scammers pictured are African, of course, and their poverty and pathos is evident in the photographs. But 419eater makes it clear that it does not tolerate racism or target Africans in particular. These people are criminals — and potentially dangerous once — who abuse the trust of others, the site notes.

In particular, check out the work of Shiver Mitimbers, the Michael Jordan of scam baiting.

"Thanks, waiting": The Cameroonian Chihuahua scam

A couple of years ago, I wrote a story for my paper about a teenager who was ripped off in an African Internet puppy selling scam. The girl wanted to buy a Paris Hilton -style “teacup” dog and her dad sent money to someone they never met. The dog never arrived.

After the story, I decided to contact the vendor for a little scam baiting. Here’s how it went:


Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi,

I saw your ad online for Maltese puppies. Can you tell me how old
they are and what gender?

Where are you located in Vancouver?


Thanks,

Glen


On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 2:13 PM, <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi,
Yes,Where precisely are you located ?
what sex are you after of ?

Thanks


On 1/12/09, Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com> wrote:

I am in Ottawa, Canada. Looking for a female Chihuahua.


On 1/12/09, teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi,
i’m located st john’s City Nfld
Had been shipping over to Ottawa,ON for Airport
pick up,unless you desire House Delivery.

Cost of Chihuahua is $500
Cost of shipping is $100

This includes the Airfare,
regs/paper works. Let me if you can afford,
So i could send pics, details alongside
steps regarding the Purchase.

PS Pups are Super Cute Perfect Teacup size babies
Thanks



On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 4:15 AM, Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com> wrote:

Air delivery is fine as long as they are still fresh. My chef needs to know how much they weigh.


from teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 1:40 PM
[Joy.jpg,Melvan.JPG,Molly.JPG]


Hi,

Sorry for the late reply, i went out yesterday and my arrival was late.

below are the pcs of the females called Joy,Melvan & Molly ,

which of them will you like to buy ? so i can send details on her.

Joy weighs 21Oz, Melvan 20Oz and Molly 18Oz.


Bother not , Shipment is via Air Canada etc


They have Animal specialists employed and take the


very best care of Puppies while on board.


Thnaks,waiting!!



from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM
subject Re: Pictures


No problem with late reply. Thanks for the photos. They look very tasty.

I’m considering buying all three, as Korean New Year is fast
approaching. Would there be a discount? Also, Molly looks a bit
skinny. Is she sick? Could she be fattened up a bit?

Glen


from teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 7:05 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com

Hi,
From there weights you have to known that Molly was the runts
of the litter and obviously has to be that small, she is not sick.
i will let you a 5% discount on the total sum. therefore the total amount
payable should be $1710. but rounding the figures.
i will prefer you pay $1700 as the total sum for all three pups.
My next mail will contain the summary of the shipping guides,
but before i proceed,
Can you tell me the level of your House Activities?
Have you had a puppy before ? if yes, what breed?



from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 8:47 AM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


Hello,

I hope you are enjoying the warm weather in Newfoundland. Make sure
you wear plenty of sun block this time of year!!!

I was hoping for a slightly larger discount, given that they could be
shipped together. How about $1,500 for all three?

I have important guests coming for the New Years dinner and want to
serve other dishes, besides the chihuahua. You would not believe the
cost of good truffles!!! Speaking of, can you suggest a wine
pairing for the puppies?

To answer your question, yes, I have had puppy before while travelling
in Vietnam. Well, I should say dog. They say it’s just like chicken
but I found it kind of gamey. I’m hoping the teacups are more tender.

How do you want to arrange payment? I have a colleague in St. John’s
who can drop off a cheque. He’d also like to get a look at the dogs.
Where are you located?



teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 11:36 AM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


I will do just that, they will be comfortable on plane.
i can let go the three at the cost of $1600.00
in this case i will get them all in same Large Travel Crate.
If you are okay let me know so i can send you the summary
of the shipping guides. Also am located in Pouch Cove some
30mins from st John’s Airport where they shall be shipped out?

Also Can you tell me the level of your House acaitivties?
You never mentioned if you had a puppy before ?

Thanks,waiting!!



"Pouch Cove"from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 12:15 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com

$1,600 sounds fair enough.

You’re in Pouch Cove? That’s fantastic! My colleague lives not too far
from there. He can drop off the payment with you before they are
shipped. It will be a personal cheque from the Heroic People’s
Agriculture Bank of Leningrad (I will endorse) made out to cash.

I’m not sure what you meant by house activities? Our home is very
safe. We like to entertain, with exotic food served often, as I
mentioned. Other than that, we listen to a lot of Norwegian death
metal and host regular seances and swingers parties. Rest assured
that, as devout Raelians, we have a strict no-hard-drugs policy on the
premises (people can shoot up outside on the back deck, weather
permitting, however).

As I said in my last note, I have had dog before but I’m not sure if
it was a puppy. It was served over noodles with some sort of
vegetable that I didn’t recognize. Maybe bok choy. I have also had
snake and once, on a dare, I ate at an Arby’s restaurant in
Ogdensburg.

Please send shipping details. We are all excited about the puppies.


from teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 5:01 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


Hi,
when i talk of House activities.
just how you home looks like, tight up, spaced out etc
how many people are resident in,
when you are not around is anybody home.


Thanks


from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 9:47 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


Oh, I see. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Normally, there are six of us at home, and there will be seven when my
wife is released from prison (parole hearing next month — fingers
crossed). My father has lived at home with us since the “accident”
but we keep him mostly in the crawl space, so not a problem. He is
always home during the day, for obvious reasons, but we let him go out
at night when there is less than a half moon or overcast skies.

In terms of space, we have about sixteen acres including the archery
range. Of greatest interest in this situation is the outdoor gas
barbecue and rotisserie spit. Oh, and the slaughterhouse, both of
which will be useful when the pups arrive.

So, as I said, it’s a very safe environment.


from teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 5:04 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


That sounds well, shipping is via Air Canada

They have Animal specialists employed and take the
very best care of Puppies while on board.

Regarding the shipping Proper, you need to send the followings.
1. Your Contact address,names including Numbers?
2 Actual date you want them shipped out?
3. The airport that you can easily access for the pick up?
4. Do you desire Airport pick up or House Delivery ?

P S, This is required at the airport and Vets service,
so i can do regs/paper works Vets Travel certs and book the flight.
It enable the Airline to give you a call when they’re about shipped ,
According to roles binding Pets Exportation Puppies are
updated on Vaccinations,Shots & Dewormings 72hours
prior to shipment. Once your desire date for shipment is known,
i’ll get her updated prior, drive down the airport,
checked on available flights. You will chose your preferred flight.
i’ll finalized Flight booking,obtain the Flight Airway bills and send to you.

These includes the
Actual time of Flight take off & Arrival,
Flight Reference & Tracking numbers.
Frequency, Equipment & Crate numbers.
Airport Terminal for the pick up.
You will uphold this alongside your Photo ID card
or Driver’s Licensed for the pick up at the airport.

Each comes along with the Followings.
CKC regs paper works,
Current Vacc Calendar,
Vets Checked records,
Shots records,
Dewormed records,
Micro-chipped
Contract Guarantee,
Health Warranty for 2year.
Nutrition and Information care booklet
showing her daily Routine.
Toys & Blankets,
Food & Water,
New Travel Crate
Puppy pee-pads

Thanks, Waiting


from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 10:02 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com

This sounds all in order but I have a few concerns

1. For tax reasons, the dogs will have to be delivered care of my
accountant, whose name and address I will furnish to you in due
course.
2. Not Bother with vets. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency checks
out all meat products traveling by air over provincial boundaries.
3. As for shipping dates, again, I will check with my chef. I know he
plans to marinade for at least 8 hours, so we have to allow for that.
I am thinking early next week. How long is the flight usually?
4. I am considering having the dogs shipped in executive class, so
they do not arrive agitated and ruin their natural flavour. I
understand this will be an added expense to me but I think it might be
worth it. Your view?
5. HAVE THE MICROCHIPS BEEN INSERTED YET?!!!! I am very concerned
about this. They could melt while the dogs are being prepared.
Imagine if one of my guests found a chip on his plate!
6. Is there an alternative to Air Canada? Does WestJet fly to St.
John’s? I like it when they tell jokes and I’m sure the dogs would
find them amusing, even in a gallows humour kind of way!

When will you send me an invoice? I will need a purchase order number
and GST number.


from teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 11:25 AM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com

Hi,
All sounds well, bother not your guest wouldn’t find chips on his/her plate,
they were microchipped last weekend.. As earlier said the pups will be fine,
there is no need for the shipment on Executive or VIP Class
unless you want to just spend extra money. Also i will be waiting on
those information regarding your accountant names and you desired
date for shipment. inorder for me to do the paper works and registration.
Westjet Flight to St John’s. The flight duration from here is approx 1H57Mins for direct flights.
i will let you an invoice once you had let me your desired date for shipment.

Thanks,waiting!!


from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 12:19 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


Apologies for the delay. With the warm weather, we were planning to
reopen the backyard swimming pool today but we’ve had problems with
iguanas getting into the filtration system. Bother not, the
exterminator is on his way.

In your previous note, you mentioned the dogs’ daily routine. Can you
tell me a bit about what they are doing while they are with you? Also
PLEASE SEND MORE PICTURES. Especially of Molly. I am still concerned
about her weight.

I just realized I never asked if the puppies are free-range. We prefer
to eat only organic, so anything you can tell me about their diet
would be helpful. Grain-fed would be fantastic!

I will call the accountant today and check on his availability for
airport pick-up. What sort of vehicle do you suggest? I’m not sure
how big the dogs are, so I suspect we may need a cube van or something
larger.


(THIS EMAIL IS MET WITH A LONG RADIO SILENCE FROM POUCH COVE. HAVE I OVERPLAYED MY HAND?)



(APPARENTLY NOT)


from teacup. mcypups <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
to sushiboy21@gmail.com
date Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 11:38 AM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


Hi,
All sounds well, how ar you doing ? guess fine,
i was wondering if you had discussed with the accountant.
as said molly is the smallest and or runts of the litter,
she obvious has be the smallest as the up.
As these are always the case in new litter.


Thanks,waiting!!!




from Glen McGregor <sushiboy21@gmail.com>
reply-to sushiboy21@gmail.com
to “teacup. mcypups” <teacup.mcypups@gmail.com>
date Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 5:26 PM
subject Re: Pictures
mailed-by gmail.com


Hello,

Yes, I spoke to my accountant. He is strongly advising against
conducting such a large dollar transaction with someone I know only
over the Internets and suggests I look elsewhere for a source of dog
meat.

With the New Years dinner so close, I am torn by this but I must rely
on his professional opinion. That’s why I have him on retainer. Were
it not for him, I’d be making little ones out of big ones for
five-to-seven years in a federal correctional facility.

Needless to say, this has thrown our menu planning into disarray. The
chef is frantically trying to find an alternative for our guests from
the consulate. Needless to say, we will need a fuck of a lot of
kimchi to fill the void left by the chihuahuas. He’s pickling cabbage
in my jacuzzi as we speak.

My apologies for the inconvienence but, as my accountant points out, I
don’t even know who you are.

How is the weather today?

"All the single ladies (and gents)"


As long as I have lived in Ottawa, I have had cab drivers tell me there are three single women for every single man living here.

The theory was that women are massively overrepresented in the public service. It is true there are more women than men working in the federal government, but nowhere near three times as many.

As for their marital status, can’t really say but if you’re looking for love on Valentine’s Day, best to go west, young wo/man.

Skiing spots Banff and Whistler boast the highest Indigenous populations of singletons.

There’s always Iqaluit, too, but, well, y’know…. it’s Iqaluit.

Vancouver is the big surprise entry here in 2006 census data from Statistics Canada (percentage of population over 15 years of age who have never married).

Canada27.6 %
Banff (Alta.)45.3
Whistler (B.C.)44.7
Iqaluit (Nvt.) 40.1
Vancouver (B.C.)36.2
Montréal (Que.)35.8
Victoria (B.C.)34.6
Greater Vancouver A (B.C.)34.6
Lloydminster (Part) (Sask.) 33.9
St. John’s (N.L.)33.8
Joliette (Que.)33.4
Shippagan (N.B.)33.2
Yellowknife (N.W.T.)33.2
Saskatoon (Sask.)32.8
Toronto (Ont.)32.5
Charlottetown (P.E.I.) 32.5
Thompson (Man.) 32.2
Edmonton (Alta.)32.1
Whitehorse (Y.T.) 31.8
Nicolet (Que.)31.7
Québec (Que.)31.4
Regina (Sask.) 31.3
Inverness, Subd. B (N.S.) 31.2
Slave Lake (Alta.)31
Prince Albert (Sask.)31
Burnaby (B.C.)30.9
Nelson (B.C.)30.8
Grande Prairie (Alta.) 30.7
Red Deer (Alta.)30.6
Sherbrooke (Que.)30.6
Prince Rupert (B.C.)30.6
The Pas (Man.)30.5
Longueuil (Que.)30.5
Winnipeg (Man.) 30.5
Westmount (Que.)30.4
Baie-Saint-Paul (Que.)30.3
North Vancouver (B.C.)30.3
Alnwick (N.B.)30.2
Saint John (N.B.)30.2
Fredericton (N.B.)30.1
Campbellton (N.B.) 30.1
Waterloo (Ont.)30
Big Lakes (Alta.)30
Wood Buffalo (Alta.)30
Ottawa (Ont.) 29.9
Calgary (Alta.)29.9
Fort St. John (B.C.)29.9
Moncton (N.B.) 29.8
Rimouski (Que.)29.6
Windsor (Ont.)29.6
North Battleford (Sask.) 29.6

Hewer of wood, namer of streets after trees

The Larch I was playing around with Where the Streets Have Your Name and became curious about the frequency of street names in Canada.

Using some open data sources, I was able to pull together a list of the most-common street names in Canada (long and tedious bit about the methodology appears below the table).

Oddly, “Second” is the most frequent street name in towns, villages and cities across the country. This seems counterintuitive until you realize that “First Street” is usually the main drag in a town and prone to renaming, often for a local hero or something bland imposed by provincial authorities.

Thus, what should be called First Street in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, is now Mitchell Street. Instead of First Street in Denzil, Saskatchewan, there is Highway 676.

The remaining numbered streets follow Benford’s Law, so there are fewer Fifths than Fourths and Ninths than Eighths.

The top of the list also includes the blancmange Main and Park, of course, but a unique Canadian quirk is Railway so high on the list. This is due to the number of towns that sprung up along the Canadian Pacific Railway line, particularly on the Prairies.

Victoria is also a nice reference to our former Queen, in keeping with the era in which many of Canada’s smaller towns acquired proper street names.

And then there are the trees: Maple (and des Erables), Pine (des Pins), Birch, Spruce, Cedar, Willow, Poplar. Monty Python fans will be disappointed that “The Larch” does not make the top 200. There’s only 87 Larch streets.

RankStreetNumber
1Second1891
2First1833
3Third1540
4Fourth1237
5Main972
6Fifth875
7Sixth858
8Park781
9Seventh738
10Railway714
11Maple710
12Pine535
13Church523
14Birch516
15Victoria513
16Eighth506
17Spruce499
18King498
19Cedar489
20Ninth465
21Willow444
22Tenth443
23Poplar437
24River422
25Sunset420
26Elm408
27Centre403
28Queen382
29Mill373
30Oak366
31Lakeview337
32George321
33James319
34de l’Eglise316
35Smith311
36Albert307
37des Erables299
38William293
39Martin285
40North284
41Campbell278
42Elizabeth276
43John276
44Riverside276
45Wilson272
46Aspen271
47Principale263
48Charles254
49Lake253
50des Pins251
51Scott251
52Wellington251
53Nelson249
54du Parc248
55Taylor247
56Ross246
57Beach245
58Forest245
59Hillcrest243
60Bayview241
6150th240
62Evergreen240
6349th238
64Saint-Joseph238
65Thompson238
66Water238
67Hillside237
68Bellevue235
69West235
70Fraser233
71Cameron232
7248th231
73Douglas231
7451st226
75des Cedres226
7652nd224
77Riverview222
78Hill220
79Centennial219
80Eleventh217
8116th216
82Thomas214
83des Bouleaux212
84Highland212
85Ash208
86Station208
87Roy205
88Richard204
89Robert202
9053rd199
91MacDonald199
92Hamilton195
93Murray195
94Robinson195
95Johnson193
96Alexander192
97du Moulin192
98Lakeshore191
99Saint-Pierre190
100Anderson189
101Arthur188
102Elgin188
103Gordon187
104Heritage187
10547th186
106Mary186
107Churchill184
108East184
109South184
110Miller183
111Edward182
112Princess182
113Woodland182
114Champlain181
115Stewart181
116York181
117Balsam180
118Industrial179
119Meadow179
1205th178
121Young178
122Brown177
123Juniper177
124Laurier177
125Front176
126Twelfth175
127Stanley174
128School173
129du Lac172
130Kennedy172
13155th171
132Rose171
133de la Montagne170
134Hemlock170
135Saint-Louis170
136Graham169
137de la Rivi?re167
138Green166
139Henry166
140Bay165
141Walker165
142Airport164
143Eagle164
144Ridge162
145Mountain160
146Alder158
147Baker157
148Bell157
149Chestnut157
150Orchard157
151David155
152Russell155
153Sunrise153
154Gagnon152
155Union152
156Davis151
157Parkview151
158Clark150
159Grant150
160Kelly150
16145149
16246149
163Sherwood149
164Dufferin148
165Valley148
166Garden147
16754146
168McDonald146
169Greenwood145
17013144
17115144
172Cherry144
173Lorne143
174Mitchell143
175Moore143
176Ontario143
177Saint-Jean143
178Wallace143
179Bernard142
180Cartier142
181Fairview142
182Tamarack142
183Lakeside141
184Beaver140
185du Ruisseau140
186Morin140
187Bridge139
188Raymond139
189Prince138
190Broadway137
191Walnut136
192High135
193Jackson135
194Pleasant135
195Cemetery134
196des Saules134
197Jones134
198Royal134
19920132
200Cardinal132
Methodology: I thought pulling together this list would be a relatively simple task, but it was surprisingly complex. I couldn’t find any open-data sources with a full list of street names across the entire country. The best I could do was an enormous map file (an .shp) called the National Roads Network.
I imported this 250 MB file into ArcMap, a GIS program and found that while it includes what appears to be every street in the country, it doesn’t identify the community in which it is located. Worse, many streets list in the file are broken down into multiple segements, so Bank Street in Ottawa is listed multiple times and difficult to distinguish from Bank Place in Kamloops.

In order to sort this list, I needed to assign each street to its nearest town, village or city. Here, ArcMap was indispensable. I used a “spatial join” to calculate the distance of several million street segments to the nearest community. Even on a fast computer, this took a while.

Once each street segment was assigned its closest community, I exported the records to MySQL and used a GROUP BY to cluster the streets by community, then count the number of unique records you see listed above.

The approach in not perfect. Ideally, I would have had shapefiles with polygons for the boundaries of every community in the country. That’s not available for free, yet.

So, the number counts are probably not perfect, but close enough for fun. * Note: For the sake of simplicity, French and English versions of numbered streets were counted together, so that Second, 2nd, and 2e are grouped.

Tracking Harper government bills

This one speaks for itself. The majority of the bills introduced by the government that haven’t made it into law died when Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued parliament.

The data show that 42 per cent of Tory bills have made it into law, so far.

Really, this was just a chance to play around a bit more with Tableau Public, which I’m loving, even though they don’t offer a Mac client (yet).

How they voted on transgender equality bill

NDP MP Bill Siksay’s private member bill amending the Criminal Code to protect transsexuals and transgender people passed in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Much of the attention on the vote was focused on a block of socially-less-conservative Conservatives who supported the bill, House Leader John Baird among them.

But also interesting were the social-conservative Liberals who voted against the bill. All of them represent suburban Toronto ridings with sizable ethnic communities, who are not believed to be as liberal in their attitudes towards such issues.

(Note: four Bloc Quebecois MPs paired with four Conservative MPs and didn’t vote. It cannot be inferred how they would have voted.)

Government’s own data shows crime, taxes not priorities for most Canadians

Last spring, the Department of Finance hired Harris/Decima research to poll Canadians on the current state of the economy and their concerns.

Not surprisingly, when Canadians were asked which issue the government should focus on, “the Economy” rated at number one on the list — but not for everyone. Women, the data show, put health care ahead of the economy.

And what of crime? The Harper government is spending a yet-unquantified number of billions of dollars on expanding prisons and reforming sentencing.

But if crime is a priority among Canadians, they aren’t telling pollsters. Only 2 per cent identified crime as the top issue, the same level as those who thought taxes are the number-one issue.

The poll combined telephone and online interviews of 2,101 respondents. The department paid $35,000 for the survey.

Chinese head tax redress a bargain for feds

The Harper government scored major points in the Chinese community when it announced redress payments of $20,000 for families affected by Chinese head tax.

One major pay-off for the Tories was a win in the Vancouver area of Richmond, with a large Chinese population.

The head tax was charged on new Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1923 in Canada and between 1910 and 1949 in Newfoundland, before it joined the confederation.

An estimated 82,000 head tax certificates were issued. But according to data tabled in the House of Commons recently, survivors of barely 1 per cent of those who paid made claims for redress. Total cost to the feds was just over $15 million.

Applications856
Eligible785
Ineligible71
Submitted after Mar. 31, 200817
Total pay-outs$15,700,000