Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Turtle flips his buddy over in a successful turtle rescue


Monday, December 8, 2014

"In 2012, 123 African-Americans were shot dead by police. There are currently more than 43 million blacks living in the U.S.A.,"


Police killings of blacks down 70 percent in last 50 years
In 2012, 123 blacks were killed by police with a gun
In 2012, 326 whites were killed with a gun
In 2013, blacks committed 5,375 murders
In 2013, whites committed 4,396 murders
Whites are 63 percent of the population blacks are 13 percent



Washington (CNN) -- Syndicated columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote this week that young black men are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than young white men. Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly had a much different take on his show Monday night, offering that more whites are killed by police than blacks.

 "In 2012, 123 African-Americans were shot dead by police. There are currently more than 43 million blacks living in the U.S.A.," O'Reilly said on his program. "

Same year, 326 whites were killed by police bullets. Those are the latest stats available." Two dramatically different statistics -- and they could both be right.

That reality, in part a result of weak local reporting and national data gathering efforts on police homicides, has long frustrated researchers and analysts who say they need to know more about those shootings.

The site reported: "The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police."

What's key is that ProPublica narrowed the scope of its analysis to the 15-to-19 age range, and adjusted for population differences to account for the fact that more whites live in the United States than blacks -- both key differences from O'Reilly's approach.



Source

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Canada's super-rich: top 1 % are a smidge less wealthy but include more women

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada's super-rich: top 1 % are a smidge less wealthy but include more women


OTTAWA - Canada's mega-rich lost ground to the other 99 per cent, say newly released figures from Statistics Canada.
The top one-per-cent of Canadian earners saw their share of the country's overall income tumble to a six-year low in 2012, the agency said in a report Tuesday.
The wealthiest Canadians, the data show, held 10.3 per cent of total earnings, a drop from a peak of 12.1 per cent in 2006.
To qualify for the exclusive club, the report said an individual had to earn a minimum of $215,700 in 2012, a feat achieved by 261,365 people who filed taxes that year.
Women represented 21.3 per cent of the ranks of Canada's super-wealthy in 2012 — nearly double their proportion of 11.4 per cent in 1982.
"Although Canadian men represent the vast majority of the top income groups, the number and share of women in (the) top one per cent reached a 31-year high in 2012," said the Statistics Canada report, which also elaborated on how much the gap narrowed overall.
"The six-year period between 2006 and 2012 also marked, for the first time since 1982, a prolonged period in which the total income shares of the bottom 90 per cent, 95 per cent and 99 per cent of Canadian tax filers rose or stabilized."
In Canada, the 2012 shift in the share of income away from the top-one per cent stood in contrast to what happened in the United States, the report said.
While super-rich Canadians earned a smaller their slice of overall income pie, Statistics Canada said their mega-moneyed counterparts in the United States raked in a bigger chunk of their own nation's wealth.
The wealthiest Americans, the agency said, saw their income share rise over the same six-year period, from 18 to 19.3 per cent.
Back in Canada, a provincial breakdown of the numbers shows Ontario still had the highest proportion of top one-per-cent earners in 2012 at 41.5 per cent, but the share plunged from its peak of 51.7 per cent in 2000.
Meanwhile, Alberta saw its proportion of richest Canadians jump to 22.8 per cent in 2012, from 12.7 per cent in 2000.
Here's a rundown of six provinces ranked by their share of Canada's top one-per-cent earners in 2012, according to Statistics Canada:
— Ontario: 41.5 per cent (down from 51.7 per cent in 2000)
— Alberta: 22.8 per cent (up from 12.7 per cent in 2000)
— Quebec: 16.6 per cent (down from 17.2 per cent in 2000)
— British Columbia: 11.1 per cent (up from 10.7 per cent in 2000)
— Saskatchewan: 2.1 per cent (up from 1.5 per cent in 2000)
— Newfoundland and Labrador: 1.0 per cent (up from 0.7 per cent in 2005)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Solved: Rogers DTA50 Analog To Digital Adapter : Solution Found To Programming Remotes




Have you been struggling with the Rogers-Canada switch from Analog to Digital?
Specifically when trying to  program the DTA50 and remote to work with your Flatscreen Television?

Well after hours and hours of trying to solve this following the lousy instructions from Rogers for their Cisco DTA50, I solved my TV remote programming issues as below, hope it works for you.

I needed a code for a Sanyo Flatscreen and there were 10 in the instructions found at the link below.
And the very first code I entered WORKED! Solved in seconds...after hours and hours thankfully I found this link with the correct programming instructions. I hope it helps you as well.





The code is 5 Digits NOT 4 digits like the older models required. Example: RCA











Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Barrie man accused of defrauding residents of more than $600,000

A Barrie man charged with defrauding local citizens of more than $600,000 was released from custody Monday after spending the weekend in jail.
Reginald Roskaft, 58, a long-time businessman, is charged with several counts of theft and fraud.
Barrie police allege Roskaft operated a Ponzi scheme and pretended he was taking the money of friends and associates to invest it under the bogus name of Trekant Group, but he kept the money for himself.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
As Roskaft stood in the prisoner’s box, Crown attorney Ann Tierney read off a long list of allegations against him, however, there is a ban on publication of those details.
The publication ban is temporary and put in place to protect Roskaft if his case goes to trial. However, if he takes the case to trial, the trial would not begin for two to four years following several court pretrials involving legal discussions.
Roskaft was allowed to go home to live with his daughter in Oshawa.
Aside from the criminal charges, Roskaft has previously been fined $250,000 in a separate list of offences by the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA).
Following a hearing last May, Roskaft was found guilty of misappropriating funds in 2010 and 2011, as well as failing to attend his own hearing and failing to co-operate with the MFDA.
“The Respondent preyed on vulnerable senior citizens, realized significant benefits by appropriating at least $111,799 from his clients and actively misled his clients about the monies advanced to him,” said the MFDA panel in its written decision which can be found on the MFDA public website.
Police say at least seven complainants have come forward. The investigation continues and police are looking for more victims.
Roskaft will be back in court Dec. 1 for a brief appearance

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PARAPROSDOKIANS.figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected;

PARAPROSDOKIANS... (Winston Churchill is said to have been a fan) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous. A few examples …

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. They begin the evening news with 'Good Evening,' then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'

13. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

18. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

19. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

20. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

21. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

23. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

25. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

26. Where there's a will, there are relatives.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

John Oliver's Best 16 minutes on Student Debt Watch It All You Will Laugh And You May Cry!

John Oliver discusses student debt, which is awful, as well as for-profit colleges, who are awfully good at inflicting debt upon 


us.

In USA Canadians shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash...CBC reports

On its official website, the Canadian government informs its citizens that “there is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the United States.” Nonetheless, it adds, banking in the U.S. can be difficult for non-residents, so Canadians shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash.
That last bit is excellent advice, but for an entirely different reason than the one Ottawa cites.
There’s a shakedown going on in the U.S., and the perps are in uniform.
Across America, law enforcement officers — from federal agents to state troopers right down to sheriffs in one-street backwaters — are operating a vast, co-ordinated scheme to grab as much of the public’s cash as they can; “hand over fist,” to use the words of one police trainer.

Roadside seizure

It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction — changing lanes without proper signalling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offence is irrelevant.
Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.
What he’s really looking for, though, is money.
'Authorities claim it’s legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse. In any case, it’s a nasty American reality.'
And if you were foolish (or intimidated) enough to have consented to the search, and you’re carrying any significant amount of cash, you are now likely to lose it.
The officer will probably produce a waiver, saying that if you just sign over the money then the whole matter will just disappear, and you’ll be able to go on your way.
Refuse to sign it, and he may take the cash anyway, proclaiming it the probable proceeds of drugs or some other crime.
Either way, you almost certainly won’t be charged with anything; the objective is to take your money, not burden the system.
You’ll have the right to seek its return in court, but of course that will mean big lawyer’s fees, and legally documenting exactly where the money came from. You will need to prove you are not a drug dealer or a terrorist.
It might take a year or two. And several trips back to the jurisdiction where you were pulled over. Sorry.
In places like Tijuana, police don’t make any pretense about this sort of thing. Here in the U.S., though, it’s dressed up in terms like “interdiction and forfeiture,” or “the equitable sharing program.”
Authorities claim it’s legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse.
In any case, it’s a nasty American reality.

Powers and justifications

Seizing suspected drug money has been legal here for decades, but after 9/11 police acquired a whole new set of powers and justifications. And they set about using them for profit.
'The Washington Post this week reported that in the past 13 years, there have been 61,998 cash seizures on roadways and elsewhere without use of search warrants. The total haul: $2.5 billion.'
The Washington Post this week reported that in the past 13 years, there have been 61,998 cash seizures on roadways and elsewhere without use of search warrants.
The total haul: $2.5 billion, divided pretty much equally between the U.S. government and state and local authorities (hence the Kafkaesque “equitable sharing” euphemism).
Half of the seizures, according to the Post, were below $8,800. Only a sixth of those who had money taken from them pursued its return.
Some, no doubt, were indeed drug dealers or money launderers and just walked away from the money. Others just couldn’t spare the expense and time of going to court.
Of those who did, though, nearly half got their money back, a statistic that fairly screams about the legitimacy of the seizures.
So does another fact: In many cases, authorities offer half the money back – money they’d claimed was proceeds of crime. And when they do issue a cheque, they almost always insist their victim sign a legal release promising never to sue.
It would also appear police like to target minorities, who tend to be cooperative and less likely to hire a lawyer.
Civil rights advocates have documented all sorts of outright legal theft:
  • The (minority) businessman from Georgia who was relieved of $75,000 he’d raised from relatives to buy a restaurant in Louisiana.
  • The (minority) church leaders who were carrying nearly $30,000 from their Baltimore parishioners to carry out church activities in North Carolina and El Salvador.
  • The young college grad with no criminal record on his way to a job interview out West who was relieved of $2,500 lent to him by his dad for the trip.
News outlets here have reported many such abuses over the years. But the Washington Post’s latest investigation exposes money-grabbing as big business.
It involves a nationwide network of enforcement agencies (except in the few states that have banned it) that operates with the help of a vast private intelligence service called “Black Asphalt” (police forces pay an enrolment fee of $19.95). The network uses consultants and trainers who either charge fees or operate on contingency, keeping a percentage of cash seized by their police pupils.
Police forces use the money to finance their departmental budgets, sometimes spending it on luxury vehicles, first-class tickets to conferences, and lavish quarters. They regard the money as rightfully theirs. One prosecutor used seized cash to defend herself against a lawsuit brought by people whose cash she seized.
It’s just human nature, really.
Give police the legal ability to take someone’s money, and to claim it’s in the national interest, and then tell them they can keep a nice chunk of it, and what other result could there be?

Travel advice

So, for any law-abiding Canadian thinking about an American road trip, here’s some non-official advice:
Avoid long chats if you’re pulled over. Answer questions politely and concisely, then persistently ask if you are free to go.
Don’t leave litter on the vehicle floor, especially energy drink cans.
Don’t use air or breath fresheners; they could be interpreted as an attempt to mask the smell of drugs.
Don’t be too talkative. Don’t be too quiet. Try not to wear expensive designer clothes. Don’t have tinted windows.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t consent to a search if you are carrying a big roll of legitimate cash.
As the Canadian government notes, there is no law against carrying it here or any legal limit on how much you can carry. But  if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, in the eyes of thousands of cash-hungry cops you’re a rolling ATM.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The 10 best jokes of the Edinburgh Fringe 2014

THE 10 FUNNIEST JOKES FROM THE FRINGE FESTIVAL 2014


1. "I've decided to sell my Hoover ... well, it was just collecting dust" - Tim Vine
2. "I've written a joke about a fat badger, but I couldn't fit it into my set" - Masai Graham
3. "Always leave them wanting more, my uncle used to say to me. Which is why he lost his job in disaster relief" - Mark Watson
4. "I was given some Sudoku toilet paper. It didn't work. You could only fill it in with number 1s and number 2s" - Bec Hill
5. "I wanted to do a show about feminism. But my husband wouldn't let me" - Ria Lina
6. "Money can't buy you happiness? Well, check this out, I bought myself a Happy Meal" - Paul F Taylor
7. "Scotland had oil, but it's running out thanks to all that deep frying" - Scott Capurro
8. "I forgot my inflatable Michael Gove, which is a shame 'cause halfway through he disappears up his own a***hole" - Kevin Day
9. "I've been married for 10 years, I haven't made a decision for seven" - Jason Cook
10. "This show is about perception and perspective. But it depends how you look at it" - Felicity Ward
HONOURABLE MENTIONS
"I go to the kebab shop so much that when they call me boss in there it's less a term of affection, more an economic reality" - Ed Gamble
"Leadership looks fun, but it's stressful. Just look at someone leading a conga" - James Acaster
"I bought myself some glasses. My observational comedy improved" - Sara Pascoe


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/comedy/the-10-best-jokes-of-the-edinburgh-fringe-2014-20140819-105uuz.html#ixzz3AwYw3OyO




2010 Best Winner was

"I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."

He won with the one-liner: "I decided to sell my Hoover ... well it was just collecting dust."
It is the first time the award has been presented to a previous winner. Vine triumphed in 2010 with the joke: "I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."
He was also runner up in 2011, 2012 and 2013. On being crowned this year's winner, Vine said: "I'm a little bit surprised but very delighted. This is the second time I've won this award, but I guess nobody loves a repeat more than Dave."
Three female comedians also feature in this year's top 10 as jokes from Bec Hill, Ria Lina and Australian Felicity Ward tickled the nation's funny bone, reflecting the overall reported 62 per cent rise of women performing at this year's Fringe on last year.



 







  Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/comedy/the-10-best-jokes-of-the-edinburgh-fringe-2014-20140819-105uuz.html#ixzz3AwYcedbv

Thursday, June 26, 2014

China is currently the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases according to a Dutch research agency.


Generating electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil produces more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any human activity, accounting for at least one quarter of all global emissions. CO2 emissions from electricity and heat have increased as coal has been the fastest growing energy source since 2000, reports the International Energy Agency. 



The energy policy of China is a policy decided on by the Central Government with regard to energy and energy resources. The country is currently the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases according to a Dutch research agency.[1][2][3] However, China's per capita emissions are still far behind some of the developed countries. In addition, China is also the world's leading renewable energy producer.[4]

Emissions by Country

In 2008, the top carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters were China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, Japan, and Canada. These data include CO2emissions from fossil fuel combustion, as well as cement manufacturing and gas flaring. Together, these sources represent a large proportion of total global CO2 emissions.
Emissions and sinks related to changes in land use are not included in these estimates. However, changes in land use can be important - global estimates indicate that deforestation can account for 5 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions, or about 16% of emissions from fossil fuel sources. Tropical deforestation in Africa, Asia, and South America are thought to be the largest contributors to emissions from land-use change globally. [3] In areas such as the United States and Europe, changes in land use associated with human activities have the net effect of absorbing CO2, partially offsetting the emissions from deforestation in other regions.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

'Cosmos' Recap: What Lead Poisoning and Earth's Age Have in Common + Lead Poisoning and Rome

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" explored the life of Clair Patterson, a geochemist who pinpointed Earth's age for the first time and also uncovered a secret: Lead contamination is a major and potentially deadly problem. The newest episode of "Cosmos," called "The Clean Room," takes viewers on a tour of Patterson's work and the industry that fought him as he tried to learn more about lead and its harmful effects.

After much time and effort, Patterson's scientific work with lead paid off, leading to a ban on lead in products like gasoline, canned goods and paint in the United States.

Eventually, after years of research, Patterson was able to say that the Earth was born about 4.5 billion years ago.

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" is a reboot of the astronomer Carl Sagan's beloved "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage."

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. It will be rebroadcast with extra material on the National Geographic Channel on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Check local listings. To catch up on "Cosmos," you can watch the previously aired episodes for free via Hulu.





A 1983 article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Jerome Nriagu, a geochemist, reopened a debate that had been dormant for almost two decades. There, and in a book published later that year, he argued that "lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the Roman empire." Yet, a review by Scarborough, a pharmacist and classicist, criticized the book as being "so full of false evidence, miscitations, typographical errors, and a blatant flippancy regarding primary sources that the reader cannot trust the basic arguments." Scarborough concluded that, although ancient authorities were aware of lead poisoning, it was not endemic in the Roman empire nor caused its fall. Waldron, a specialist in both occupational medicine and archaeology, also chastised the author for not using primary sources and being uncritical of the material he did use, concluding that "The decline of the Roman Empire is a phenomenon of great complexity and it is simplistic to ascribe it to a single cause."

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/wine/leadpoisoning.html

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

If you don't pass this on you are a Chicken...read to the end!

Sam was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young'pullets,' and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

He kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

This took a lot of time, so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to his roosters.

Each bell had a different tone, so he could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing.

Now, he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.

Sam's favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen, but this morning he noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all!
When he went to investigate, he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To Sam's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.
Sam was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Brisbane City Show and he became an overnight sensation among the judges. The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the "No Bell Piece Prize," but they also awarded him the "Pulletsurprise" as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention.

Vote carefully in the next election, you can't always hear the bells.
If you don’t send this on, you’re chicken.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Brampton couple reunited with $50M lottery ticket lost at church

Brampton couple reunited with $50M lottery ticket lost at church


A Brampton couple endured a roller-coaster ride of emotions when a lottery ticket worth $50 million went missing only to be found and returned by a person at their church.

A Brampton couple endured a roller-coaster ride of emotions when a lottery ticket worth $50 million went missing only to be found and returned by a person at their church.

Hakeem Nosiru won the Jan. 17 Lotto Max draw and was one day away from claiming the money when the ticket, which he duct-taped to the inside his wife’s purse for safekeeping, was missing after they attended church.
That sparked a frantic search of their Brampton home, with garbage bins being upended and their contents picked through piece by piece, an effort that left Nosiru and his wife empty handed and feeling “miserable.”
But that despair turned to joy after a fellow member of the congregation discovered the ticket and reunited it with them on April 1 — saying “April fools” — a return made possible because Nosiru signed the ticket with their address.
But the saga wasn’t over yet, as Nosiru gave the ticket to Ontario Provincial Police, who were investigating the matter for Ontario Lottery and Gaming to ensure there were no further snags.
Everything checked out and Nosiru and his wife Abiola were beaming for the cameras at the OLG prize centre Monday, telling reporters they were planning on travelling the world and helping out their family.
Abiola Nosiru said that when she realized her husband’s winning ticket had disappeared from her purse “I had a fly in my stomach and I couldn’t sleep for days. I couldn’t eat. I was devastated.”
“We just wanted to see the reality. And the reality is right here now,” she said, fighting back tears.
She wasn’t sure what they’ll do for the woman who ended the ticket’s exodus, but told her “I just want to say thank you.”

Ontario Are Hydro prices really so high? Damn Yes!

Are Hydro prices really so high? Letter May 25
Yes, Hydro prices are very high! Rob Graham’s letter conveniently leaves out a few facts about hydro rates.
In March, 1999, when Ontario Hydro and municipal utilities were turned from non-profit commissions into forprofit corporations and the Tories brought in hydro deregulation, the price was 4.3 cents a kWh. The top rate is now 12.9 cents, a 300-per-cent increase. During that time, inflation ran at about 30 per cent, so the price of electricity rose at 10 times the rate of inflation.
Also, this isn’t the real price of hydro. We have a deregulated electricity market (designed by Enron and their friends) now called the Independent Electricity System Operator. The market rate during the cold snap in March was 24.9 cents. The reason why most people are unaware of this market is because the price remains hidden with the Ontario Energy Board truing up rates twice a year. You guessed it, upward.
Also, $1.5 billion is now taken out of Ontario’s economy in private power profits every year. Before deregulation those profits were returned to businesses and citizens in the form of lower and stable rates under at-cost, nonprofit, public power.
We pay double what they pay in Manitoba and Quebec. The price of electricity in Ontario is only going to go way, way up. Why? Because of Hydro deregulation and privatization. Are Hydro rates really so high? Damn right they are!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ontario Elections voters have the legal right under section 53 of the Elections Act to decline their ballot (i.e. vote “none of the above”) and have it counted separately from a spoiled ballot.


In a statement released on Wednesday, Democracy Watch asked Elections Ontario — by threat of court action — to advertise the fact that voters have the legal right under section 53 of the Elections Act to decline their ballot (i.e. vote “none of the above”) and have it counted separately from a spoiled ballot.
[Section] 53. An elector who has received a ballot and returns it to the deputy returning officer declining to vote, forfeits the right to vote and the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word “declined” upon the back of the ballot and preserve it to be returned to the returning officer and shall cause an entry to be made in the poll record that the elector declined to vote.
R.S.O. 1990, c. E.6, s. 53.”
In an interview with Yahoo Canada News, Democracy Watch's Duff Conacher said that if Elections Ontario did advertise that option — as part of their outreach materials — voter turnout would indeed increase.
"There are some people who don't support any party that has a candidate in their riding or do not support any of the parties' platforms," he said.
"They may go and spoil their ballot but when you spoil your ballot nobody knows whether you're stupid or you're doing it intentionally. And that's why you have a right to decline your ballot...so you can go and vote none of the above."
[ More Ontario election coverage: First attack ads largely miss the mark: expert ]
In the future, Conacher would like to see new regulations so that ballots actually have a line that explicitly says "None of the Above" and space for voters to explain their reason for selecting that option.
"I think a lot of them would say 'don't like the voting system' or 'can't be held accountable for broken promises,'" Conacher said.
"Why not track that if you really want to know why people aren't voting for any one party?"
For their part, Elections Ontario says that their online guide and a poster of voters rights — which will be placed at every polling location — include "mentions" about the right to decline. They also note, however, that increasing voter turnout isn't necessarily just their responsibility.
"Political parties, candidates, interest groups, media and the voters themselves all have a role to play in increasing participation in our provincial elections," Andrew Willis, a communications coordinator for Elections Ontario, said in an email to Yahoo.
"We are a non-partisan agency and as such, our role is not to get individuals to vote. Rather, we facilitate the vote – and, if one chooses, the right not to vote."
What do you think? Would a 'none of the above' option entice more Ontarians -- and more Canadians -- to vote in elections?
(Photo courtesy the Canadian Press)

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