Future Shop “gift” to Toronto schools; Albta & sex-change funding; Honda shelves green product; Court demands Federal rethink on Indian Status; Cdns mellow over God v. Darwin – HEADLINES 14 April 2009

Radio Broadcast, 1934 Julia Eckel, oil on canvas;

Radio Broadcast, 1934 Julia Eckel, oil on canvas

Story selection for Take 5 National News on 14 April 2009.  CIUT 89.5 FM.

We’re not fringe and rabble – Alberta’s Transgendered community is on the march
Question Period in Edmonton’s provincial legislature will be flooded with over thirty transgendered people today – as they fight to reverse a government decision to stop funding sex-change surgery.

Alberta’s Health Ministry stopped funding sex-change procedures as part of its 2009 budget – they cost anywhere from eighteen to seventy thousand dollars.

Mercedes Allen, a Calgarian due for a sex-change before the funding was removed says it’s important to show politicians and the public that the transgendered community is made up of many professionals and is not just QUOTE “fringe and rabble and such.”

The aim in filling Question Period is to show politicians the surgery is not cosmetic, but a medical necessity for those who believe they were born in the wrong body and are the wrong sex.

And if the government doesn’t move to reinstate the funding?  The group plans to file a human rights complaint en-masse this Wednesday.

A similar human-rights complaint in Ontario forced the government to reinstate funding for the surgery, 10 years after the province delisted it.

Wanna hit Future Shop after school?
That’s what high school students might be asking if the Toronto District School Board accepts the technology superstore’s gift.

It wants to give two high schools in poorer neighborhoods $50,000 each for computer labs.

But the money comes with strings. The labs must be painted in Future Shop’s Trademark colours – light grey with a red border.  And they have to be within seven kilometres of a Future Shop store.

Naming hasn’t been discussed yet.  But if the Future Shop sponsored-computer lab in Surrey B.C. is any indication, it will be – it’s called the Future Leaders Tech Lab.

It’s the first gift to the Toronto School Board under its controversial new rules passed in February, allowing donors to attach names or signage to school facilities.

Future Shop is looking to donate to five schools this year as part of a pilot project.

Too many meds
The chief reason Canadian Seniors are hospitalized are side effects from all those drugs.

A new survey from Statitics Canada finds Canadians aged 80 and up fill five times as many drug prescriptions a year as the average citizen.

In 2005 each person over the age of 80 averaged 74 prescriptions annually.

Many seniors take a cocktail of drugs prescribed by different specialists – many are commonly prescribing antidepressants and sedatives – these are mixed with a number of pills to treat a chronic ailments ranging from high blood pressure, to diabetes, to Alzheimer’s.

CBC News Backgrounder

A Toronto-based green-fuel company goes belly up
With the big three automakers under the American Government’s thumb to green and streamline or go bust – Honda has shut down of one of its eco products.

It’s Toronto-based company, FuelMaker, was the only company in the world making an –in-home natural gas refueling system.  Called Phill, the system allows homeowners to take natural gas from their home gas line and compress it into fuel to put in their cars.

Last week Honda announced it was shutting the Toronto company, leaving 60 people without jobs.

It also leaves the owners of the 14,000 FuelMaker compressors currently in use, including 500 in Canada, wondering how they’re going to fill up.

Natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline and is already the leading alternative fuel source for U.S. commercial fleets powering 10 percent of American mass transit buses and 5 percent of those in Canada.

But Scientific American reports getting natural gas into private vehicles suffers from the classic chicken and egg problem.

There weren’t enough fueling stations to attract car buyers – and there weren’t enough natural-gas fuelled cars on the roads to install more pumps.  Honda’s at-home converter was supposed to solve all that but it’s $5000 price tag persuaded many green consumers go with a hybrid instead.

But this might not be the end of Fuelmaker – Honda’s looking hard for buyers and its in talks with a natural gas distribution company.

A Van Doo soldier is killed in Afghanistan – before their tour even starts
Quebecois Trooper Karine Blais, now has the sad distinction of being the second Canadian female soldier ever to die in combat. She was 21-years old.

On Monday afternoon, the vehicle Blais’s was riding in hit an improvised explosive device, killing her and wounding four others, north of Kandahar city.

Blais was serving as part of the Royal 22nd Battle Regiment, better known as the Van Doo’s.

Her death is the first for the Quebec-based battlegroup who officially start their six-month tour in Afghanistan today but soldiers have been phased in over the last few weeks.

Mounties could be on the hook for Robert Dziekanski’s death
The inquiry into Robert Dziekanski’s death resumes in Vancouver today – but the public hearing may be just the beginning for the four RCMP officers involved in the death by taser.

B.C.’s Attorney General, Wally Opal, told CBC News yesterday that the decision not to lay charges against the four officers is not final.  He cited contradictory evidence emerging at the Inquiry, in which the officers testimony often clashes, as a main reason to consider laying charges.

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2 Comments

Filed under journalism, news, Toronto

2 responses to “Future Shop “gift” to Toronto schools; Albta & sex-change funding; Honda shelves green product; Court demands Federal rethink on Indian Status; Cdns mellow over God v. Darwin – HEADLINES 14 April 2009

  1. The future shop story is very interesting. On one edge it makes me feel icky, on another it makes me wonder if the company is missing the boat. Will kids really respond to this — they are pretty savvy, and may see right through this “creative advertising…” And if the goal for F.S. is to help kids get ahead and THEN when they are adults with solid jobs have them be loyal F.S. customers, well if they actually DO help these kids get ahead — I’m o.k. with that trade-off for society. Your thoughts, oh thrifty-goddess?

  2. Yes, this story makes me tingle in all the wrong ways. I think you’re right that kids are savvy – but you can’t argue much with the power of subliminal messaging. And I think a $25,000 computer lab in return for possibly turning thousands of teens into loyal customers in the future is Cheap. I also think you’re giving F.S. too much credit with the missing the boat thing, they’re hitting up kids at the exact time they’re making firm choices about where to buy technologies and how… However the mighty bargains and selection offered online may often trump the store just down the road.

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