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William Watson: Brexit is One Battle in the War on Gargantuan Government



The 52 per cent of British voters who opted for Brexit can’t all be bigoted, ignorant, embittered ex-factory workers. The British are the people who gave us “fair play,” after all. We inevitably project our own prejudices onto such things but my guess is “getting control back” was crucial in many Brits’ decision to vote Leave.

But is their sense of having lost control the result of Europe? Or of gargantuan government, wherever it’s headquartered? My bet is gargantuan government.

Take our current national experience with assisted suicide. The Supreme Court strikes down the existing law. OK, so the old federal government was run by mean-spirited, unsympathetic Tories. They hadn’t actually given us the prohibition against assisted suicide, which was longstanding. But never mind. So we have an election and bring in a young, with-it, “Because it’s 2015” government. It deliberates and proposes. The House of Commons discusses. The Senate chimes in but backs off. And so we get a law. Not the law the most militant advocates favour. But an appropriately cautious first step in what reasonable people recognize is a very dangerous innovation: legalized killing.

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Looks like democracy works. We elected. We debated. We resolved. We came up with a reasonable response to a hard question. Not everybody is happy but a change is made. And then what happens? Ten days later — just a week and a half — somebody challenges the law. Nice Justin Trudeau, it seems, is really no better than Harper. The petitioners couldn’t get the result they wanted out of what was pretty clearly a thoroughly democratic process. So they ask the Supreme Court to impose it instead. We don’t get to decide. The court will decide. Who’s in control here?

As one of 79,832 voters in my federal riding, I don’t actually feel that close to my MP. But I can at least vote against him if I think he or his party badly screw up something I care about. I can write a letter to a Supreme Court judge, I suppose, maybe even to every Supreme Court judge. But I can’t vote them out. And yet they control policy. How frustrating is that?

For many of us, Ottawa is a far-away place — farther than Brussels is from most places in Europe. So consider something quintessentially local. I live in a small Montreal borough that, like Britain, opted for at least partial self-government when given the opportunity in 2006 to de-merge from Montreal. There are 5,085 people in my town. Our town council, like many across the country, I suspect, is forever discussing dogs. Where should people be allowed to walk their dogs? After years of debate and two or three false starts, council decided to build a state-of-the-art, fenced-in dog run. Perfect! Only problem: For many of us it’s at the wrong end of town. On days when we don’t have 15 minutes to get to the dog run, 15 minutes to run the dog and 15 minutes to get home, it’s very handy to let the dog run on a soccer field that’s just two minutes away and where, until the dog run was built, we were allowed to run dogs between October and April, i.e., not during soccer season. But council decided that with the dog run in place, running privileges on the soccer field could be withdrawn.

We don’t get to decide. The court will decide. Who’s in control here?

This is, I readily concede, a completely petty example. If you don’t have a dog, you may even think it’s a ridiculous example. But that prohibition against running our dog, who loves to run (unless we’re badly misreading her), constituted a significant downgrade of our enjoyment of our leisure. I can’t actually think of anything Ottawa has done in recent years to affect our lives so directly and negatively — apart from inflicting the annual misery of tax time.

We went to council, along with a couple of dozen other dog-runners, to protest. Council declined to alter its decision but also, it seems, declined to enforce its new by-law. The dogs ran all winter without anyone being ticketed. Good for council! Good for local control!

Unfortunately, council is not always so reasonable. If we want to change our drafty old front door, as we’re thinking of doing, we have to get a permit approving the colour and design of its replacement (really). If we want to put a tool shed in the backyard, we have to get a permit and pay a percentage of the cost in tax — a small percentage, to be sure, but still…

Other monopolies also intrude on our well-being. A couple of years back I had a run-in with Canada Post, which wanted me to put a railing on some front steps its evaluator deemed dangerous. (You can judge them for yourself here.) In a way, these petty local tyrannies are even more aggravating because they are so arbitrary and unnecessary.

It’s true, as many commentators have observed, that getting rid of Brussels doesn’t get rid of the Brits’ own homegrown annoyances. I expect many Leave voters would say, “Yes … but one battle at a time.”

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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