Diogenes's blog

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Disgraceful - Alberta's Stand on Securities Regulation

I'm mad, mad at the politicians in my home province of Alberta.

There are a number of blogs on this site that have touched on the need for a single national securities regulator in Canada.

By constitution, Canadian securities regulation is a provincial jurisdiction. So we have 13 different securities regulators! Only one other country in the world (out of 191 tallied) has this curious, provincial arrangement.

Securities regulation in Canada

Prosecution of white collar crime and securities fraud in Canada is a bit of joke. It's not hard to understand why.

Our most famous white collar criminal, Conrad Black, serves his sentence in an American prison for deeds similar to what he had practised and mastered in Canada over many years. Any legal action against him in Canada was brushed away without much trouble, like the chalk lines on his finely tailored suits.

John Felderhoff of Bre-X manages his ignominious seclusion from his Bermuda estate. He does feel very badly about the billions that investors lost; but how was he to know?.

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Never say never

purdy2 (3K)

Back in June 2008, I wrote what I said would be my last blog on a ABCP.

Until then, I had been an active and vocal member of the Facebook group Canaccord and other ABCP clients. I had written blogs about the group and the topic, posted links to news articles and sent e-mails to a whole gaggle of MP's. I was consuming every story I could find on Goggle News.

I was a Facebook ABCP group junkie. Worse yet, I didn't even own any of toxic paper or live in Canada at the time. It was a vicarious life.

Why would I care, you ask? Because I am Canadian! This curious connection to home was my nirvana. Does that make sense? Take off eh?

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Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar

hoarFrost (57K)

There have been exploding noises throughout the neighbourhood for the last two days. They happen more often now, and with darkness coming early, we have been treated to the odd burst of color sparkles appearing here and there.

dec31a (46K)

I love the noises here. The air is moist and heavy and carries the sound like the sea. Holland is densely populated and though we are in a quiet neighbourhood, every now and then we hear a big BANG or explosion.

One of us will say "What the HELL was that?" (usually me), and we go to a window or the balcony to look. But we never see anything and it never seems to be of consequence.

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Heathrow Revisited

I absolutely dreaded coming back through Heathrow because if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong at Heathrow. When they opened the new Terminal 5 not long ago so much luggage was lost they had to sent it to the Italians to get it sorted.

But here we are. As far as I can tell, we landed on time and with minimum fuss. Off the plane, down some stairs and on to a waiting bus. The bus departs soon after we seat ourselves and a TV announces that we will be at terminal 1 in seven minutes. We are. We breeze through security. No queues. Security staff are pleasant and speak perfect english. I don't even have to remove the laptop or charger from the backpack.

We have a cup of coffee. I have this great smoked salmon and crayfish salad while we are waiting, did not care for the beet salad prison food served on the plane. Everything is on sale here. The £ is $1.70 CDN and almost at par with the Euro. I'm astonished. I buy a pair of Reluctant Traveler shoes, the kind that will handle a walk in the park in 100km winds after freezing rain. The shoes are a great price!

The world is upside down. I am enjoying Heathrow, I am buying stuff in London at the airport and it's a great deal. I am impressed with the efficiency and experience of this airport. Have I died? Perhaps this is limbo?

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Year end blogging

sandCastle1 (50K)

Picking up where we left off, in our last episode, our reluctant traveller is thinking about packing for another trip…

Monday, Dec 15

Tomorrow I go for an MRI and the day after we leave for Calgary.

As I write this it is -28°C in Calgary, but this is set to improve. By the time we arrive, all things going as forecast, it should be a balmy -18°C. and sunny.

Pack the sun-screen honey, we're going home!

Tuesday, Dec 16

Had the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) today, a weird experience. Forgot to remove my wedding ring but it wasn't a problem. There was this pump running in the background throughout the session that made me think of the car in the Disney movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

I was given a pair of ear muffs to deaden the sound and a rubber bulb to squeeze if something was wrong. They attendant tells me "No one can hear you if you yell".

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Cultural learnings and Snow jobs

snow (19K)

Calgary - We were home for the holidays, and yes, the world is turning upside down.

My home province Alberta is one of the biggest generators of greenhouse gases in the world, thanks to the honest business of oil extraction from the tarsands.

In spite of these efforts to warm the world and keep it moving, it is a bone chilling -28°C here as the plane touches down. It gets a little better over the next few days, maxing out at -19°C for a time, with brillant sunshine, crunchy snow, and conversations captioned in the clouds that billow from each breath.

Yes, it is beautiful in a way. I check the weather back in Holland - it's +8°C a and sunny! I smile for the camera. I think about brass monkeys.

It is a white christmas across Canada, the first in 37 years! While we personally manage to avoid most of the chaos, cancelled flights and lost luggage that so many other air travellers experienced, we were able to share in the simultaneous boredom and terror of driving on Calgary's extensive network of skating pathways, which, under more favorable weather conditions, serve as roads.

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Another trip

sandCastle1 (50K)

Wow, it has been a long long time between updates, the last being over six months ago.

We had an interesting trip to Armenia. I left that country pretty convinced that capitalism worked better than communism, as examples of the ugly sides of both systems are on display. Outrageous opulence within view of sprawling shabby Soviet-era apartment blocks.

A week after our return, I had a total wipeout riding my bike, and separated my left shoulder. 2½ months to recuperate from that setback and still some way to go.

Then in October the Canadian dollar dropped 20%. The stock market losses have been double that. Things continue to melt or freeze in the markets, depending on your perspective.

Today I go for an MRI and tomorrow we leave for Calgary. As I write this it is -28°C in Calgary. But this is set to improve. By the time we arrive, it should be a balmy -18°C. and sunny. Pack the sun-screen honey, we're going home!

I'm thinkin' 2009 is going to be a much better year!

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More Random Notes


Today is the last blog on ABCP, or more precisely, the Facebook group called Canaccord and other ABCP clients. It's been fun.

The new JAB pages, our version of a blog site, now offers new navigation buttons Prev blog and Next blog.

And a checkbox selection lets you see an optional 3 month calender of blog dates.

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Asshole Backed Commercial Paper

purdy2 (3K)

financial analyst This blog will (hopefully) mark the end of the series on Asset Backed Commercial Paper. It all started on March 4 with a blog file named Asshole Backed Commercial Paper, intended as a spoof on the ABCP fiasco.

That version started off with the words "Today's rant is about the Canadian Financial Establishment."

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ATM Bank Fees in Canada

Bank machine

Maybe I shouldn't complain. I don't own any ABCP, or a Blackberry, or even a car or a house. I travel light. But I do have a Canadian bank account. And I have used bank machines around the world.

We live in Holland now (and we ride bikes). We have lived in London, where everything costs more than it should; and we have travelled a bit - India, Equador, Norway, South Africa, Germany, France and more.

In all of these places we almost always succeed in obtaining money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at one of the local banks. This is not a big challenge in most places.



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