Saturday, April 26, 2008

Handling A Transit Strike--New York Style

I feel terrible for all the Torontonians stranded and inconvenienced by the TTC strike. I remember well another TTC strike in 1992. I was working at King and Bay and living in North York. In the mornings, I was able to catch a ride most of the way downtown with one of my roommates who had a car. However, because of my unpredictable hours, I was on my own when it came to getting home in the evening. It took me almost THREE HOURS to walk home straight up Yonge Street. And as those of you familiar with Toronto's geography well know, my trek was almost entirely UPHILL! By the end of the third day, I had quads that could crush an anaconda.

The New York Transit System has been subject to strike action three times (you can find a history of these labor disputes here After a particularly nasty, twelve-day stoppage in 1966, legislation was passed making transit strikes illegal. There was an illegal, two-day transit strike the week before Christmas in December 2005. At the time, I was living in Midtown Manhattan and walked everywhere so I wasn't particularly inconvenienced. However, most people weren't as lucky as me and the city was thrown into a state of chaos during the busiest shopping week of the year. As part of the aftermath of the strike, the union was fined and its leader, Roger Toussaint, was sentenced to a jail term.

Ontario should follow the New York model--transit strikes should be declared illegal. And if a union breaks the law, its leader should be sentenced to time in jail, preferably with a hulking cellmate called "Bubba" determined to train his new "friend" to respond to the name "Princess."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Danica Patrick's Canadian Connection

Congratulations to Danica Patrick on her victory in the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300! Here's a photo of Danica with her trophy:

I did a little research and discovered a "Canadian connection" for Danica.

For those of you not familiar with Danica's racing history, you can check out her biography here: To make a short story shorter, she started racing go-carts as a kid and moved to Europe to compete on racing circuits there when she was sixteen. In 2002, when Danica was twenty, she signed with the Bobby Rahal team and moved back to North America to compete in the Barber Dodge Pro Series--sort of the "minor leagues" for Indy Car racing. As you can read here:, Danica's first race was part of the Molson Indy at Exhibition Place. Danica's road to victory lane started in Toronto! How cool is that!

Just because I'm so darned excited that she won, here's another photo of Danica, this one taken at the 2007 Indianapolis 500:

Let's hope that Danica's victory in Japan is only the first of many!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The "Slutty Chick From McGill"

Just to clarify, the "slutty chick from McGill" that I referred to in my previous post was, and is, a hypothetical creation of my imagination. At least that's my story. And I'm sticking to it.

Have a great weekend!

"You Can't Suck And Blow At The Same Time"

In discussing judicial decisions, a number of my professors at U. of T. Law School used the expression: "You can't suck and blow at the same time." I always tittered to myself under my breath when I heard it. It just sounded sort of naughty to me. I always wanted to blurt out: "Yeah, well I knew this really slutty chick at McGill who's the exception that proves THAT rule!" but I never had the guts to speak up.

Moving right along, the expression came to mind as I read about Canada's outrage over the decision of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to work with its counterpart in Australia in establishing a completely free movement of capital between the U.S. and Australia and the Canadian government's decision to block the acquisition of B.C.-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. by Minnesota-based Alliant Technologies Inc.

In case you missed it, the G&M article on securities regulation written by Andrew Willis can be found here Having practiced securities law in both Canada and the U.S., I feel particularly well-qualified to speak to the matter at hand. Recognizing that securities law is a MAJOR snoozefest for most people, let me just say two things: (i) Canada's province-based regulatory patchwork is an absolute nightmare and I can't fault the SEC for preferring to deal with a country with a national securities regulator; and (ii) certain Canadian companies can already issue their securities into the U.S. under the Canada/U.S. Multijurisidictional Disclosure System by filing their Canadian disclosure documents with the SEC.

The G&M story about the Canadian government's blocking of the MDA transaction written by Virginia Galt can be found here One of the areas that I specialized in when practicing in Canada was foreign investment review under the Investment Canada Act. Nobody ever thought that the government would actually block a deal. Worst case scenario, a foreign acquirer would be required to make certain undertakings to do, or refrain from doing, certain things. But actually blocking a deal? By a U.S. buyer? Unheard of. Not even the Liberals blocked any deals.

The government of Canada wants special accommodation from the U.S. on securities regulation while prohibiting foreign investment by U.S. businesses? Hmmmm, sounds like "sucking and blowing at the same time" if you ask me. Just like that slutty chick from McGill....

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Pride Of An NHL Father

I was channel surfing on Saturday night and stumbled across the game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames on Channel 625--that night's free "teaser" game being offered by our cable provider to showcase its NHL and Major League Baseball pay-per-view services. I'm not sure where our feed originated (the commercials made me think somewhere in the Maritimes) but it was the live Hockey Night In Canada broadcast. A real treat, indeed!

Part way through the first period, Trevor Linden's parents were interviewed. In case you missed it, it's already on YouTube here I found the interview very touching. Trevor Linden's dad did all the talking (at his mom's request) and seemed like a very, very nice man who is extraordinarily proud of his son's twenty-year career in the NHL.

The interview reminded me of a conversation that I had with my own father seventeen years ago. I was in my last year of law school getting ready to start my job as an articling student with one of the big, Bay Street-based, national law firms. I had recently seen some statistics on the number of kids playing major-junior hockey and eligible for the NHL draft and compared it to the number of students at Canadian law schools eligible for articling jobs with the major national law firms. It turned out that, on a purely statistical basis, it was tougher to get an articling job with a national firm than it was to get drafted by an NHL team.

I shared my analysis with my father and asked him what he thought. Dad was quiet for an uncharacteristically long time. "Well, don't get me wrong," he said pensively, "your mother and I are very happy for you and proud of what you've achieved." There was another pause before my father continued: "But to say that your son plays in the NHL? Now that's REALLY something!!!!!!!!"

Of course, I agreed with my father at the time and now, seventeen years later, I agree with his sentiments even more!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Q1 2008 Results

Having been posting for three months now, I thought I would share my thoughts on how things are going.

The response to my inaugural post entitled "Joining Team U.S.A." (posted on December 30, 2007) was resoundingly negative. Somebody left the comment, "Huh?" and I got an e-mail from a close friend implying that he was highly offended by my post and suggesting that I change the tone of the blog. I also took a major new orifice ripping from another friend over my "Flag Controversy Revisited" post on February 8. My friend went off on a major rant about how disrespectful it was for me to "knock the flag of the country of my birth, where I had received an inexpensive education, free health care" and so on and so forth. He wasn't the least bit mollified by my response that I was merely suggesting that the old flag was more aesthetically pleasing. My friend was hell-bent on being offended and proudly declared that he stopped reading my blog at that point and would never read it again.

Some posts that I thought would absolutely KILL didn't. I really, really like my March 27 "Lessons From My Donald Trump Doll" post but, so far, it has received relatively light readership. Same thing for my March 14 "Ho, No!" and March 9 "The Hyper-Allergenic Google Dork" posts--visits from all my regulars but, in relative terms, mostly just the sound of crickets rubbing their legs as one lonely tumbleweed gently bounces by.

So which posts have done really well? The January 9 "John McCain's Canadian Connection" post drew some significant traffic. Notable visits came from the CBC and the Privy Council Office in Ottawa. The post also received a series of hits from Arizona. I'd like to think that the last visitors were from the McCain campaign but my tracking software isn't able to provide that level of detail. My March 23 "Who Will Win? Who Will Lose? Pinkberry vs. Yogen Fruz" post also generated significant interest and some comments disagreeing with my analysis.

However, my most popular post thus far is my February 25 entry entitled "Hot Curlers!" where I wax eloquent about Canadian curling sensation Jennifer Jones' extreme hotness. Things started slow with this post. Again, just visits from the regulars. Then, all of a sudden, I was inundated with hundreds of visitors. It turns out that my post had been picked up by the blog run by The Curling News which you can check out at A special shout out "THANK YOU" to The Curling News for the coverage.

Following up on Jennifer Jones, to my tremendous delight, she won the World Championship on Sunday, defeating the team from China. Here's a picture of JJ, guiding her teammates:

Wow, love that angry look--it totally blows the needle off the Babe-O-Meter! Everything I said in my February 25 post? More true than ever!

Overall, I'm very pleased with our Q1 2008 results and look forward to continuing to do my best to educate and, hopefully, entertain!