Canada’s Harper Targets Balanced Budgets For Re-election

The top 3 telecom companies in the country are Bell, Rogers and Telus. The study reports have been revealed on Wednesday, which emphasises on the finding that U.S. users may well be jealous of the urban users in Canada and the kind of wireless speed they enjoy. The 2-month long study conducted in August and September was performed in 13 metros of Canada, including Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto. It was also conducted in Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal. The study results mark Rogers as the winner in providing the fastest wireless network which Bell as well Telus does not fall much behind. While the magazine tested uploads and downloads of data like apps, photos and video, it did not put mobile phone calling quality under the scanner. PC Magazine had a similar test in the U.S. as well, which declared Long-Term Evolution network by AT&T as the fastest in the country. On the other hand, the prices charged by wireless providers in Canada are significantly higher than what is charged in the U.S. – the study says. U.S. providers like T-Mobile and Sprint still rule the market for those who have a tighter budget. The U.S.

EU, Canada set to conclude free-trade deal

A Senate expenses scandal implicating Conservative lawmakers has dogged the prime minister this year and undermined his efforts to keep the publics focus on his economic record. Nigel Wright, a former managing director at Toronto-based private-equity firm Onex Corp. (OCX) , resigned as Harpers chief of staff in May amid a police investigation following the disclosure he paid about C$90,000 ($87,200) to Senator Mike Duffy to help cover ineligible expense claims. Although Conservatives have fallen in public opinion polls since the scandal broke, Harper continues to have an edge on economic issues, surveys show . Consumer Issues Canadians should be allowed to purchase individual channels from cable television providers, rather than having to buy packages, according to the speech, and the government will encourage wireless firms to lower domestic roaming fees. Harpers administration has tussled with the countrys largest telecommunications providers — BCE Inc. (BCE) , Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B) and Telus Corp. (T) — seeking to limit their power and open the market to more competition. Throne-speech promises also included expanding no-cost basic banking services and closing the gap between U.S. and Canadian prices for consumer products. Canadian families work hard to make ends meet, and every dollar counts, the prime minister said in the televised speech, which was given in the parliamentary chamber that houses the Senate.

(The Canadian Press/Chris Young) It has grown secretive, it’s expensive, and it’s out of control. David Christopher, OpenMedia.ca Complaints Over Ford Brothers Drug Allegation Coverage Rejected Canadian Dollar Closes Higher as US Debt Deal Reached Mounting concerns over online government surveillance have spurred more than 30 organizations to form a coalition that aims to watch out for Canadians privacy rights. The move comes amidst revelations that Canadas ultra-secretive electronic spy agency may have illegally targeted Canadians within the past year, and fears that the controversial Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act could be re-introduced now that Parliament has resumed. The Protect Our Privacy Coalition spans the left-right political spectrum and includes citizen-based and civil liberties groups, privacy advocates, First Nations, labour groups, businesses, and academic experts. [The coalition] was formed in response to the concerns Canadians have over the governments dragnet collection of our really sensitive and private information, says David Christopher, communications coordinator for OpenMedia.ca, an open-internet advocacy group leading the coalition. It has grown secretive, its expensive, and its out of control. According to Sharon Polsky of the Privacy and Access Council of Canada, a member of the coalition, there are more than 100 federal laws that allow sensitive data to be gathered, used, and shared internationally without anyones knowledge or consent. The main force behind this data collection is the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), whose operations will soon be housed in a new $1.2 billion complex in Ottawathe most expensive Canadian government building ever constructed. But recent revelations have brought to light questionable discernment in the agencys surveillance practices, and critics say oversight is sorely lacking. In August, CSEC watchdog and retired judge Robert Decary said the agency could be engaging in potentially illegal spying during a review of its activities over the past year. A small number of records suggested the possibility that some activities may have been directed at Canadians, contrary to the law, Decary wrote in his report, saying he was unable to conclude whether the snooping was legal or not because of unclear and incomplete records. CSEC has also been linked to the infamous National Security Agency phone and Internet surveillance program in the U.S., leaked earlier this year by Edward Snowden. The Canadian agency played a role in the NSAs efforts by handing over control of an international encryption standard that allowed it to build a back door to encrypt data, according to documents obtained by the New York Times. More Oversight Needed Leading cyber-researcher Ron Diebert has warned that oversight of CSEC is really thin, and its historically cozy relationship with the NSA could put Canadians at risk of surveillance. In the latest scandal, it was revealed last week that CSEC has been conducting industrial espionage against Brazil on behalf of the NSA. These revelations have prompted concerns that the spying could do permanent damage to Canadas relationship with Brazilan important Latin American ally. It really points to the fact that we need much greater oversight and much greater transparency over what [CSEC] is up to, says Christopher. Canadians deserve a public, democratic debate about CSEC and the role that it should play, because CESC is conducting these activities in the name of all Canadians. The governments Privacy Commissioners office has said it wants to find out more about CSECs activities and is conducting its own investigation into whether the agency is illegally spying.

Canada: Who Will Keep an Eye on the Spies?

“The talks are now well advanced” and the two will meet in Brussels “with the aim of concluding negotiations on an accord that offers both sides major opportunities,” Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said on Thursday. The two men will then brief the press on their discussions, Bailly said, declining to give details of the accord which remain to be settled. Overnight, Harper said “we will soon complete negotiations” on a free-trade accord which began in 2009, with Barroso tweeting that he hoped to conclude quickly. Many observers see a deal, which has proved difficult to conclude, as a possible template for EU talks with the United States on TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which is touted as one of the biggest free-trade accords ever. Brussels and Washington have held a first round of discussions and are committed to making speedy progress but there are a host of differences to settle. According to EU figures, bilateral trade in goods last year was worth 61.7 bn euros ($84.0 billion), with Canada the 11th largest trading partner of the European Union, while the 28-member bloc was its second most important market after the United States. Official sources told AFP earlier the deal would give the European Union increased access for cheese sales, one of the last hurdles. On several previous occasions officials on both sides have said a deal was imminent but deadlines passed and no announcement was forthcoming. Negotiations were begun in 2009 with the expectation they would be concluded by late 2012 but they became deadlocked over a few issues, mainly in agriculture. Canada asked for increased European access for its beef while the EU sought to lower tariffs of up to 300 percent shielding Canada’s dairy industry from imports of European cheeses. A transatlantic deal would give Canadian companies access to 500 million European consumers and eliminate 98 percent of Canadian tariffs on EU goods. Politics & Government ‘If I Could, They Would Already Be in Jail,’ Sheriff Grady Judd said Good Morning America NEWARK, N.J. (AP) U.S. senator-elect Cory Booker said Thursday he’s ready to go to Washington and is not afraid if he “breaks dishes” trying to serve his constituents in New Jersey.