Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tired of paying high prices in Canada

My trip to the US has enlightened me to the fact that Americans pay less for the same goods. OK, I already knew this, however I never knew to what extent. Stuff in the US cost on average 15% less than in Canada.  Of course this has traditionally been the case because of the strength of the American Dollar.  However, lately the American dollar isn't doing so hot.  In fact for the last few weeks the Canadian dollar has been more powerful than its American counterpart.

So why are we paying more today for the same goods?  Retailers are saying that its because the goods were purchased months ago when the dollar was low.  That too sounds logical.  I learned in business school that orders are placed months before products are placed on the shelves.  However, I also learned that purchase orders are paid months after the products are received and assuming that the PO is in US dollars, its paid in Canadian dollars at the current market price.  So that explanation doesn't hold water.

Canadians too do not accept this explanation, so they have taken matters into their own hands.  Cross-border shopping has risen in the past few weeks, and doesn't look to be slowing down.  Internet purchases have risen as well, since the only tax that has to be paid is the GST.

Its has become quite the topic, even in  Parliament. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty plans to meet with private retailers next week to urge them to reduce prices as the dollar soars in value.

It will be interesting to see what develops.  Is this just retailers trying to get away with a little extra profit while the Canadian dollar is high or do retailers simply don't know how to convert money?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My N95 was a star at the Apple store

So I am down in San Jose for a couple of weeks, and of course I had to check out the one product all Canadian Apple users want but can't get at home. I made my way down to the Oakridge mall Apple store with my N95 in hand and was immediately "attacked" by an Apple store employee, immediately seeing my N95 and asking begging me to see the N95 phone.

I immediately obliged and handed my phone over to him while I turned my attention over to the iPhone. We were both gawking at the respective phones in ours hands, and a crowd of Apple Store employees huddled around the guy with my phone. I then found out that he was an ex-Nokia employee and knew all about the N95 and was always raving about it to his coworkers.

After comparing both products and even showing it to some customers, my friend,who isn't a tech lover, walked over and said..."OK dude time to go". There was an immediate sigh from everyone huddled and we all looked at each other like kids who had to stop playing because the kid-who-had-the-ball's mom was calling him for supper.

Before I left however, we all agreed that although the iPhone is the slickest looking phone out there, the N95 is a better device, feature wise. Too bad a phone with the N95's features and the iPhone's looks doesn't exist. That would be the ultimate device!

I was looking forward to this trip to buy an iPhone, unlock it and be the first in Montreal, that I know of, to have one. Now I think I will stick with my N95.

Who would of thunk it!

Monday, September 3, 2007

When did Laval move to Outremont?

On September 17th, there will be by-elections in the federal riding of Outremont. The NDP is running Thomas Mulcair as a “Star Candidate”.

Thomas Mulcair was the MNA for the Distrinct of Chomedey, in Laval, between 1994 and 2007, where in my opinion he served his district very well. After a falling out between him and the leader of his party, the Quebec Libarals, he left provincial politics and was eventually seduced to join the NDP and run for a federal seat.

So far so good right? Everyone has the right to run for office so that they may represent the area they live in and know very well. Wait a minute! How well does he know Outremont? How long has he lived there that makes him such an expert of the area that he can better represent that area than any other Outremont citizen?

OK so my problem isn’t with Thomas Mulcair. Just the opposite, I like the guy and what he stands for. I have a problem with the the Canadian political process which allows candidates to run for any seat, even if they haven’t lived there for a long time...or ever!

Even my political party is guilty of this (I am a card carrying member of the Conservative party of Canada). Your favorite blogger tried to seek the Conservative party nomination for Laval (where I have lived for 27 years), however was not even allowed to enter my name since they wanted to run a “Star Candidate”.

So what is this rant all about? I believe elections reform should include living in the area you are going to represent, for at least 2 years. After all, isn’t an MP’s first duty to his constituents? How can you know your constituency unless you live there for a while?

Maybe I am just a little bitter.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Micheal Moore’s - Sicko

I watched Sicko last night, and must say it was an eye opener and a movie that confirmed many things I already knew, or thought I knew.

What was an eye opener wasn’t the fact that Moore accuses the US HMO’s of being profiteering companies that exist mainly to raise their stock price and secondly, if it so pleases them, to actually help their customers. What is surprising is that Americans need Moore to tell them that.

Movies like this one, are a win-win for Moore and the American public. He makes tons of money for stating the obvious. What sets him apart is that he presents these statements in an entertaining way. Why is it that Americans will only listen to an important message if its entertaining? Moore has figured that out, and so he goes forth, making entertaining-informative movies, which is the only way to grab the american audience’s attention. I do not fault him for this. Just the opposite, this capitalist salutes him!

What this movie confirmed to me was that Canada’s social medicine program, for all the faults that Canadians can find with it, is much better than our neighbor’s to the south’s way of distributing medicine.

American’s believe we have no choice in doctors, and that we have to wait months to see specialists. That is simply not true. I can see a doctor of my choosing any day I want and a specialist within a week and, god forbid, I even need a bypass, it will be done within a week as well. For the grand total of $0. Sure we pay more in taxes. However, I can live without upgrading to a new iPod every 6 months to a year, if it means I can get top-notch health care for FREE!

Micheal Moore’s Sicko is a very interesting movie. There is some controversy surrounding him of late about his “facts”. However, I see his movies less about stating facts and more about getting people to open their eyes and at least begin to ask questions.

Go watch it!