March 25th, 2010

[LINK] "No name change for CN tower, owners say"

Thanks to rdi for pointing out that the recent suggestion that the CN Tower might be renamed was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

The owners of the CN Tower are dismissing outright a scheme by a new online used car company to pay $78-million to change the tower's name to “VG Tower.”

“We have no intention right now of selling the tower – the bricks and mortar or the naming rights,” said Gordon McIvor, vice-president of public and government affairs at Canada Lands Company, the Crown corporation which owns the landmark.

In a news release marking the formal launch of their website Tuesday morning, Vehicle Gateway Corporation announced it plans to submit a $78-million bid to rename the tower and illuminate it in the company's shade of green.

Peter Davies, a spokesman for Vehicle Gateway, denied the bid is a publicity stunt. “This is a legitimate bid,” he said in an interview.

Mr. McIvor said Canada Lands first heard about the bid through the media. When someone from the CN Tower's staff called to ask what they were up to, Vehicle Gateway refused to talk before submitting their bid next Tuesday, McIvor said.

“Letting the media know that you want to buy something before the owners is, from our perspective, highly unusual,” he said.

Mind, the CN Tower has been renamed in the past, from the Canadian National Tower (after the railway company to Canada's National Tower, but I'm not sure that many people noticed that.

[NEWS] Some Thursday links

  • The Irish church's decision, as reported by Business Week, to ask parishoners to pay the cost of sex abuse settlements has a lot of Irish unhappy.

  • When Ann Coulter came to Canada, the expected controversy over freedom of expression materialized.

  • Rwanda, The Times reports, is shifting with haste from being an outside of la francophonie to being a thoroughly Anglophone Commonwealth member-state integrated with its East African neighbours.

  • Thomas Walkon in the Toronto Star argues that pretty much all of Canada's current political elite save the current Conservative government belong to the "Red Tory" tradition of well-considered conservatism.

  • The Canadian Press' Jessica Murphy reports on how the sainthood of Québec's Brother André has inspired a sort of national pride in the first Québécois saint.

  • Over at the Globe and Mail, John Allemang writes about Nell Painter's recently published study on the changing definitions of the "white race," which at one point or another in the Anglo-American tradition excluded everyone from the Irish to the Jews to the Germans (!).

  • The Globe and Mail explains Québec's very strong opposition to the niqab in public spaces as a reaction to the province's own history of reactionary anti-woman religion.

  • In Ukraine, the New York Times reports on the many priests of the Ukrainian Catholic Church--an autonomous church linked with Rome--and who seem to be doing quite well.
  • New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island want to start exporting their lobsters to China.

  • GM's Brazilian branch is expanding its manufacturing capacity in Brazil, part of a plan to grow its market share in an increasingly prosperous South America</a>.

  • The New Scientist reports that Neptune may have acquired its oddly orbiting and rather large moon Triton through a collision with another, smaller planet.

  • Reuters reports that Israelis are attracted to settlements in the West Bank to the west of the separation fence for economic reasons like cheap land.

[BRIEF NOTE] This is what the tragedy of the commons looks like

A proposal to ban the fishing of tuna globally has recently been defeated, with Japan apparently playing a central role.

On Monday, we reported that the United States and the European Union were spearheading an effort to ban the international trade of bluefin tuna at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Now that the week is ending, so are the hopes for the proposal that could have protected the vanishing fish. It failed by a wide margin, thanks largely to the diplomatic efforts of Japan.

Japan consumes around three-quarters of the globe’s bluefin tuna catch, with almost all of it served raw as sushi and sashimi, of which it is the most sought-after variety [Christian Science Monitor]. It can be an expensive delicacy there. In addition, the transformation of sushi from a luxury dish to a cheap food available at the corner store seems to be one of the factors that has led to quickly diminishing tuna stocks. The Japanese government, while acknowledging that the species is in danger, pledged to defeat the proposal or else opt out of complying with it.

Canada supported the Japanese motion; the fisheries minister was quite happy with the failure of this ban.

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea is applauding Thursday's United Nations wildlife meeting vote rejecting a U.S.-backed proposal to ban bluefin tuna exports.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species made the right decision, said Shea. She added that responsible management practices of Canada's bluefin fishery helped swing the vote.

Japan and scores of developing nations opposed the ban, which was proposed Feb. 5 by the panel that oversees the convention. It believed the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna — popular in sushi restaurants — has resulted in a drop of more than 80 per cent in stocks since the 19th century.

"We're very encouraged by the preliminary results because Canada's position all along has been that that this species should be managed through a regional fish management program, which we have in ICCAT [International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas]," said Shea. "The challenge will be to strengthen ICCAT to ensure that conservation measures are adhered to."

Canada's management plan is one of the best in the world, said Shea.

Notwithstanding bad fisheries practices elsewhere, the whole point of a global ban on a widely dispersed fish is to ensure that the population remains intact, and that arbitrary territorial divisions that separate the--after all--highly mobile fish will not hinder the recovery. Besides, the tuna is a large, slow-growing fish; can 300 people really fish it without harming the species' viability? I am not surprised that Prince Edward Island's representatives are pleased with this: besides the neo-traditionalism of the province, the Island played a central role in the emergence of the transnational sushi culture that is so badly hurting the tuna.