Canada’s Porn Problem

Canada apparently has a porn problem — not enough of its porn is, well, Canadian,

Wednesday, the CRTC [Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission] issued a broadcast notice saying AOV Adult Movie Channel, XXX Action Clips and the gay-oriented Maleflixxx were all failing to reach the required 35% threshold for Canadian content.

Based on a 24-hour broadcast schedule, that translates to about 8.5 hours of Canadian erotica a day.

Thank goodness someone is watching out for Canadian porn stars.

Canada Pulls Out of UN Racism Conference

The Associated Press reports that Canada has withdrawn from next year’s planned United Nations Conference on Racism planned for South Africa. Like the previous UN Conference on Racism in 2001, this one is slated to be yet another UN Conference on Israeli Bashing.

As Salon noted in its coverage of the 2001 Conference, the Conference in fact featured incidents of anti-Semitism,

Inside the U.N. conference grounds and within its tents, the rhetoric and agitprop were also white hot. Fliers were found with Hitler’s photo above the question: “What if I had won? There would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed.” A press conference held by the Jewish caucus was cut short by a rowdy group of Iranian women, one of whom screamed, “Six million dead and you’re holding the world hostage!”

This time around, the UN has ensured that a similar debacle with Libya elected to chair the event, Cuba as vice-chair, and Iran on the organizing committee. Presumably, the Sudanese government may be offered the keynote this time around.

HSUS Activists Reportedly Not Happy at Being Caught on Film

Pro-seal hunt filmmaker Raoul Jomphe claims that representatives with the Humane Society of the United States were displeased that the caught them on film ignoring the suffering of a seal that the animal rights activists were using as a prop for a fund raising video.

According to the Ottawa Citizen,

In the documentary . . . the animal rights activists pulled the dying seal out of the water as it tried to escape, and continued filming their promotional video. It is not known how the seal was wounded.

According to Jomphe and his documentary, the HSUS activists filmed for over an hour while the seal lay suffering.

Interviewed in Jomphe’s film, HSUS activist Rebecca Aldworth says she only had the seal’s well-being in mind,

I asked somebody to pull the seal out, because at that point I was thinking there might be a chance of getting the seal back to land. If this seal could still crawl, an hour later, could still swim, maybe there was a chance we could bring the seal back to the Atlantic Veterinary College and save the seal.

Jomphe said that based on the condition of the seal, he would have humanely killed it rather than allow it to continue to suffer.

Source:

Activists Angry at being caught on tape. The Ottawa Citizen, March 5, 2007.

Lego Loses Canadian Trademark Lawsuit — Thank Goodness

The other day I mentioned Lego’s longstanding financial problems and why I think it has had such problems earning profits. One thing I left out was Lego’s focus on silly lawsuits. All other things being equal, a company that decides to deal with its competitors in the legal arena rather than the marketplace is a company that has completely lost its direction.

Lego’s trademark lawsuit against rival Mega Bloks was especially egregious. Lego’s patents on its plastic bricks began running out in the 1970s — in Canada it lost its patent protection in 1988.

Rather than try to out-compete Mega Bloks and other competitors, however, Lego has tried to exclude them from the marketplace with ridiculous trademark lawsuits. Since its patent has run out, Lego has claimed that it has a trademark on the look and feel of its plastic bricks, and that any companies that make plastic bricks compatible with Legos are violating that trademark.

The Canadian Supreme Court unanimously rejected this bizarre line of reasoning, correctly noting that,

Trademark law should not be used to perpetuate monopoly rights enjoyed under now-expired patents.

. . .

The fact is . . . that the monopoly on the bricks is over, and Mega Bloks and Lego bricks may be interchangeable in the bins of the playrooms of the nation — dragons, castles and knights may be designed with them, without any distinction.

Unlike the privately-held Lego, which is bleeding money, the publicly traded Mega Bloks recently posted a $20.4 million profit in the 3rd quarter of 2005. On the other hand, the general view among plastic brick aficionados is that Lego bricks are much higher quality and Mega Bloks are, in general, cheap Lego knock offs.

Also some of the stories referenced here incorrectly state that Mega Bloks bricks are not compatible with Legos. Mega Bloks, like Lego, manufactures a number of different sized bricks, and its “Micro” bricks are, in fact, compatible with standard Legos.

Sources:

Mega Bloks wins SCOC ruling on Lego trademark. CBC News, November 17, 2005.

Lego can’t block toy maker Mega Bloks, says Supreme Court of Canada. Allan Swift, Canadian Press, November 17, 2005.

Optimizing Polar Bear Hunting and Fees in Nunavut

The Canadian territory of Nunavut occupies almost 1/5th of that country but is home to only about 30,000 people — and quite a few polar bears. The territory is occupied largely by Inuit who have long hunted polar bear, and is also home to a multi-million dollar industry in selling polar bear hunting permits to foreigners.

But how the annual polar bear quota is managed and how to best optimize the money earned from the hunt are topics that came to the fore this summer.

In July, the Polar Bear Specialist Group warned that as the Arctic appears to be shrinking from the increase in global temperatures, polar bear habitat is likely to decline as well which could put population pressures on the polar bear. It warned that by 2055, the polar bear population worldwide could decline by up to 30 percent.

Scott Schliebe, a researcher with the Polar Bear Specialist Group, told the CBC News,

We’re seeing some fairly significant reductions in the actual area that pack ice occupies in the Arctic, and we’re seeing some thinning in the thickness of the ice.

Schliebe and his fellow researchers issued their warning after Nunavut announced it was going to increase polar bear quotas for 2005. Again, Schliebe told the CBC News that his group believes Nunavut has overestimated the number of polar bears, adding that,

We would like those levels to be adjusted to the current population abundance estimate, 950 animals, and we would like the adjustment to be calculated as sustainable over time,

Nunavut announced in January that it was increasing the 2005 quote by 28 percent, saying that the population of polar bears is on the increase. But if the CBC is to be believed, its method of determining the polar bear population leaves a lot to be desired,

Nunavut’s environment minister, Olayuk Akesuk, says government officials decided to increase the quota after consulting with Inuit elders and hunters about how much the bear population has increased.

He said the government is open to making more decisions like this on the basis of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge.

“We will respect more the say of the community and we want to see more of Inuit knowledge and western science included into one,” he said.

Especially given the potential profit from polar bears, such increases should be based on sound scientific estimates of the number of polar bears, not hunters opinion about the status of the bear population.

When it comes to profiting off of the bear hunt, however, an economic study of the bear hunt suggests that Nunavut is not maximizing the money it could make off the hunt. In a study funded by Nunavat and the Safari Club, Dr. George Wenzel of McGill University found that of the $2.9 million hunters spend on the polar bear hunt, only half of that ends up in the pockets of the Inuit.

One of Wenzel’s major findings was that the Inuit may be underpricing polar bear tags. Currently it only charges $30,000 to $35,000, depending on the specific locale, to hunt a polar bear. Wenzel noted that in contrast U.S. hunters pay up to $400,0000 to hunt bighorn sheep in Alberta. As Wenzel told Nunatsiaq News,

If you can sell a sheep for that much, I’m sure you could sell a polar bear for more money than is coming in.

Currently, only about 50 polar bear hunt tags are sold to outside hunters. The rest are used by traditional Inuit hunters. Wenzel estimated that if Nunavut sold all its polar bear tags to outsiders, it could increase its income from the hunt to $14 million annually even if it stuck with the current $30,000 to $35,000 price.

Sources:

Nunavut hunters can kill more polar bears this year. CBC News, January 10, 2005.


Rethink polar bear hunt quotas, scientists tell Nunavut hunters
. CBC News, July 4, 2005.

Boost price for polar bear hunt, researcher says. John Thompson, Nunatsiaq News, August 26, 2005.

Matt Prescott and Lara Sanders Pull Off Marriage Proposal Stunt

Animal rights activists Matt Prescott and Lara Sanders pulled off a marriage proposal stunt at an August 5 New York Yankees-Toronto Blue Jays game at Rogers Center in Toronto.

Prescott, who works for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, paid $250 to reserve a marriage proposal to be broadcast on the stadium’s Jumbotron. When the Jumbotron camera focused on the pair, Prescott held up a sign saying,

John Bitove and KFC Cripple Chickens

Bitove is the owner of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and KFC Canada.

Well, this is certainly an improvement on Prescott’s last big idea. He’s the idiot at PETA who came up with the “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign.

Source:

Man proves he’s not chicken. Craig Smith, Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh), August 9, 2005.

Lovebirds Engage KFC During Yankees-Blue Jays Game. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, August 2005.