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About "david-akin"

Gemini Award-winning journalist David Akin is the National Bureau Chief for Sun Media and is based at Sun's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has covered events as varied as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual tours through the Arctic to the uprisings in Egypt in the spring of 2011 to terror trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. Akin received a Gemini Award for his reporting while he was a correspondent for CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and he was a National Newspaper Award finalist while working as a contributing writer for The Globe and Mail. His 20-year career in journalism also includes being a member of the inaugural staff at the National Post. Akin has long been one of Canada’s journalism pioneers when it comes to exploring ways to use digital media and computer-assisted tools for newsgathering and publishing. His blog, On The Hill, is nearly a decade old and he is a frequent speaker on the use of social media in communications. Akin has been named one of the 100 most influential people on Parliament Hill. A Montrealer by birth, Akin studied history at the University of Guelph. He lives near Ottawa with his wife and two children.

Facebook founder “defriends” the U.S. over taxes. Est-ce M. Hollande écoute?

- May 12th, 2012

Two news items. Draw your own conclusions. From the New York Times:

Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders of Facebook, officially defriended the United States in September, giving up his American citizenship for the more tax-friendly residency status of Singapore.

Mr. Saverin, who was born in Brazil and has lived in Singapore since 2010, plans to remain in the Asian island nation indefinitely. Singapore has a maximum personal income tax rate of 20 percent and no taxes on capital gains

via A Facebook Founder Renounces His U.S. Citizenship –

and from Bloomberg:

More wealthy French people are considering moving to the U.K. if Socialist candidate Francois Hollande wins the presidency and fulfills a pledge to raise taxes on incomes of 1 million euros ($1.3 million) or more to 75 percent, the Financial Times said.

London-based wealth manager Vestra Wealth said inquiries from French clients has climbed about 40 percent, the newspaper said. London’s prominence as a financial center combined with concerns about Hollande’s plan to tax the wealthy is spurring French professionals to consider moving, the FT said.

New border deals: More aspirational than actual changes

- December 7th, 2011

Getting any kind of a deal with the Americans these days on just about anything can be considered a big deal.

U.S. President Barack Obama is, if the polls can be believed, not having a good time of it. He has been politically neutered by his Republic opponents in Congress and in the U.S. Senate. There is a virtual logjam in Washington on most issues because those Republicans refuse to play nice with Democrats and vice versa.

And so against that background two deals announced this afternoon between Canada and the U.S. can be considered an accomplishment of sorts.

Read more…

Voting Advice Applications: Do they help with voter turnout?

- July 28th, 2011

Remember CBC Vote Compass? CBC said 2 million Canadians used it during the May 2 election. The basic idea behind the tool is that a voter answers a series of questions and then the software returns a result telling the voter who he or she is politcally aligned line with, based on the answers to the questions.

The Vote Compass tool is part of a class of software tools called voting advice applications (VAAs).

The CBC’s VAA became controversial because, as the folks at pointed out, it appeared to be “miscalibrated”. We reported that it seemed to have a default tendency to inform the user that s/he was a federal Liberal.

In any event: VAAs are often seen as a neat way to get young people or those who have never voted before interested enough in politics that they might actually want to cast a ballot.

Some European researchers took a look at this premise by examining use of a VAA used in Switzerland called smartvote and, in a paper published last year (but which i just ran across today), found that while it did indeed break through to young people, it was predominantly used by those who needed such a tool the least, namely better-educated, higher-income men.

We do not yet have a breakdown of voter turnout on May 2 by age group (turnout was higher, overall, than the 2008 election but just barely and 2008 was an all-time low for voter turnout) and, of course, the data collected by CBC through its Vote Compass is CBC’s. Would love, though, to see a story from CBC, though, that summarizes the data from its 2 million users with some possible lessons learned. (In fact: Maybe someone did that story and I missed. Would be grateful for the link if you’ve got it.)

Good luck Jack Layton and see you in September

- July 25th, 2011

My family’s thoughts and prayers are with Jack Layton, Olivia Chow and their family today and if Jack says he’ll be back in September, I believe him. Good luck, best wishes, and see you in September:

Statement from Jack Layton:

On February 5th, 2010 I shared with Canadians that I, like 25,000 other Canadian men every year, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

I have received overwhelming support from my loving family, my friends, my caucus and party, and thousands of everyday Canadians.

Their stories and support have touched me. And I have drawn strength and inspiration from them.

In the closing days of the most recent session of the House of Commons, I suffered from some stiffness and pain.

After the House rose, I undertook a series of tests at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

My battle against prostate cancer is going very well. My PSA levels remain virtually undetectable.

However, these tests, whose results I received last week, also indicate that I have a new, non-prostate cancer that will require further treatment.

So, on the advice of my doctors, I am going to focus on treatment and recovery.

I will therefore be taking a temporary leave of absence as Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. I’m going to fight this cancer now, so I can be back to fight for families when Parliament resumes.

To that end, I have requested that the President of our party, Brian Topp, consult our Parliamentary caucus and then convene a meeting of our party’s federal council to appoint an interim leader.

The interim leader will serve until I resume my duties.

I intend to do so when Parliament meets on September 19th.

I am also making a recommendation on who the interim leader should be.

I suggest that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel be named interim leader during this period.

Ms. Turmel enjoys unanimous support as the national chair of our Parliamentary caucus. She is an experienced national leader in both official languages. And she will do an excellent job as our national interim leader.

Let me conclude by saying this.

If I have tried to bring anything to federal politics, it is the idea that hope and optimism should be at their heart.

We CAN look after each other better than we do today. We CAN have a fiscally responsible government. We CAN have a strong economy; greater equality; a clean environment.

We CAN be a force for peace in the world.

I am as hopeful and optimistic about all of this as I was the day I began my political work, many years ago.

I am hopeful and optimistic about the personal battle that lies before me in the weeks to come.

And I am very hopeful and optimistic that our party will continue to move forward.

We WILL replace the Conservative government, a few short years from now.

And we WILL work with Canadians to build the country of our hopes

Of our dreams

Of our optimism

Of our determination

Of our values…

Of our love.

Thank you.

Statement from Nycole Turmel:

I think Jack’s statement speaks for itself today.

My colleagues and I are all just wishing our leader a speedy recovery.

As for the next steps, Caucus will meet on Wednesday and Federal Council Thursday to choose an interim leader. I am honoured by his recommendation, but have no further comment to make today.

Thank you.

Talk tough or be nice: Canada’s China numbers grow no matter what

- July 18th, 2011

When the Conservatives formed a government under Stephen Harper early in 2006, the government’s stance towards China was cool, to say the least. Concerned about China’s poor record on human rights and democratic reform, the Harper government seemed to go out of its way to thumb its nose at China.  In October, 2007, for example, Harper posed in his office with the Dalai Lama (left, pic taken by PMO), which the government of China called “disgusting conduct.” Harper was one of the few world leaders who did not bother going to Beijing for the opening of the 2008 Olympic Winter Games, even though Canada would follow China as host of those games in Vancouver in 2010.

Then, in 2009, Harper went to China. He was dressed down publicly by China’s number two politician, Premier Wen Jiabiao (a rebuke I took offence to as a Canadian). The following year, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Ottawa ahead of the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. Now, John Baird, in his first major trip as foreign affairs minister, is in China.

Some believed that the Conservatives shed their previously hawkish stance on China to better help Canadian firms win new business in China. Really? Let’s take a look at the trade data:

Canadian exports to China grew by 8.2%, 21.9% and 10.1% in the first three years of the Harper government, when it was “talking tough” to China. Canadian exports grew 6.5% and 18.7%  in 2009 and 2010 respectively, when the Harper government decided to take a different stance. (Data source: Industry Canada) Now: Could exports between 2005 and 2008 have grown faster if the Harper government had “talked nice” during that period? Maybe. But export growth of 21.9% in the same year that Harper was committing his “disgusting conduct” of meeting with the Dalai Lama seems pretty good to me.

Moreover, Canada’s exports to China grew relative to our overall exports. In 2005, our sales to China made up 1.65% of our overall exports. In 2006, 2007, and 2008 — the years when Harper “cooled” relations — Chinese exports accounted for 1.77%, 2.11%, and 2.17% of Canada’s overall exports. Decent growth in every year. In 2010, exports to China now account for 3.31 per cent of overall exports, up from just 1.06 per cent a decade ago in 2001.

If I had to take any lesson from these numbers it might be this: Our exports are growing because we have stuff the Chinese want to buy. It doesn’t much matter how our government behaves — they’re still buying. And if that’s the case, why not do more to stand up for human rights and democracy. We’ll still get rich selling to the Chinese!