Archive | January, 2014

Avish Sood: Loving Marketing and Sports

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

One of the biggest challenges that will come up throughout your life is distraction. It’s incredibly easy to postpone your work and get involved with the wrong types of people, so you can’t lose sight of your end goal.

As South Asian community grows in Canada, it hides within itself very talented gems. These gems are its second generation. Passionate about their choices, these young men and women are integrated into the Canadian fabric and making a mark in the Canadian landscape through their hard work and perseverance.

One such example is Avish Sood. Avish has a unique career choice, but a choice he is absolutely dedicated to. With Bachelor of Commerce from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, a postgraduate degree in Sport and Event Marketing from George Brown College and education from Darden School of Business from University of Virginia in Foundations of Business Strategy, Avish has worked in sports marketing for the last few years.

Avish is sponsorship sales coordinator for Toronto Pan American Games. He was corporate partnerships and business development intern for Toronto Blue Jays, sponsorship director for Canada Cup Floorball Championships, account manager at Alkaso International and junior accountant at Rogers Sportsnet.

He was also President and Co-Founder and Board of Directors of University of Toronto Sports and Business.

Here is Generation Next’s interview with this very talented young man:

Tell us a little about your family background.

I’ve grown up in a pretty traditional family with two older sisters helping pave the way for my growth. My parents, originally from India, are two of the most hard-working people I will ever meet and they have set the standard in terms of how each of us strive to be. Our family continues to remain close and no matter how busy we are, we will always find some time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

Are you more passionate about marketing or sports?

I’ve grown up always wanting to play in the NBA but when I realized that wasn’t an option, I knew I needed another way to be involved with the sport that I love. My passion for marketing is foremost, but being in such an exciting industry certainly plays a role into how I approach work each day. As my career continues to grow, my love for both marketing and sports will play a key role in my success.

With digital media continuously changing, sales in today’s world is a tough field to be in. Do you agree or has its nature changed?

Social media has taken the world by storm, and as such there are countless opportunities for business development and relationship building. With information available at your fingertips, it’s much easier to find the decision-makers of an organization and reach out. Although technology has created a more competitive landscape, each sales person has an incredible platform to allow them to learn about their best prospects and build foundational relationships with them. Despite all of these recent changes, sales continues to be based on providing value and being genuine. If you do those two things, you will be successful.

Do you believe the South Asian community will be passionate about events like the Pan Am games especially given the fact that new immigrants are shaping much of the GTA now?

Multi-sport games always attract a wide-ranging and diverse audience. With such a cultural host city in Toronto, the Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games have an incredible opportunity to bring people together of all different backgrounds as unified Canadians, including South Asians. I am very excited to play a role in the event, as 2015 will truly be a remarkable year for the province of Ontario.

Is the attitude toward sports different in your generation from say your parents’ generation?

Older generations didn’t have as much free time and they truly had a different set of priorities compared to us. With so many different ways to be involved through fantasy, broadcast and social media, our generation has really built a closer relationship with sports that can’t be compared to others.

How popular do you think are sports like ice hockey in your generation in the South Asian community?

Despite being integral to the Canadian culture, hockey is a very expensive sport to be involved in. I’ve seen many South Asian kids get involved in basketball and soccer because they didn’t have the financial resources to purchase all the associated equipment for hockey. Despite this, players like Nazem Kadri and Manny Malhotra have been great ambassadors for hockey’s multi-culturalism and have helped spark a new generation of hockey players. You can count on more South Asian youth getting involved in the sport in the near future!

Tell us about the University of Toronto Sports Industry Conference.

The conference was created by Natan Levi, Adrian Kania and myself three years ago. Our goal at the time was to provide opportunities for students interested in a career in sports business. Despite being one of the most prestigious schools in the world, the University of Toronto didn’t have any opportunities for students passionate about following this career path. Fast forward a few years later, and the event has become Canada’s largest student-run sports conference. The event attracts students from all over North America, and has hosted some of the most esteemed professionals in the business. This year’s conference president Malcolm Mo has been doing an incredible job leading the event, while bringing on some incredible speakers for the event in March. Our goal was to really “Turn Dreams into Careers”, and I think that we are all living proof that if you want something bad enough, you can achieve it.

Who do you consider your mentor, a key influence on your personal and professional life?

As entrepreneurs, my parents are my biggest influence as I have seen their hard-work and persistence first-hand each day that they lived in this country. After I told my mom I wanted to quit my stable accounting job and pursue a sports marketing career, she fully believed in my vision with no questions asked. Not many Indian parents would have done that, but mine truly believed that I was capable of anything as long as I was passionate. The traditional roots my parents have set for me that revolve around being humble, dedicated and loyal will always be instilled in both my personal and professional life.

What are some of the challenges that South Asian youth such as yourself face, and how can they overcome them?

You will face challenges each day of your life, but the key is to not let this prevent you from moving forward with your career and personal development. There are so many resources that can help you establish yourself professionally but it’s up to you to take advantage of them. One of the biggest challenges that will come up throughout your life is distraction. It’s incredibly easy to postpone your work and get involved with the wrong types of people, so you can’t lose sight of your end goal. As lame as it sounds, write down your goals, place them somewhere visible and make sure you take active steps to achieve them. To quote Ashton Kutcher, “Opportunity looks a lot like hard work” – don’t let any job be beneath you since it might just be a stepping stone to help you land that coveted dream job. Make sure you are taking active steps to following your dream, even if it doesn’t always seem like the path will lead anywhere. The worst thing you can do for your career is standing still, so make sure you are taking steps in the direction that you want to be.

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Let’s see how Ford saves Torontonians $50 million

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

It seems as if Mayor Rob Ford is to remain in news headlines in the New Year’s too. This time it seems to be for a good cause. He is proposing to save the City $50 million. Of course skeptics and Toronto City councillors are perplexed by his claim. Mayor Ford is yet to share the details of his plan. Nonetheless his called his council colleagues “irresponsible” and “reckless” in raising taxes by about 2.23 per cent.

Ford has previously indicated a desire to cap the total tax increase at 1.75 per cent.

“All we have seen so far is a desire to increase spending. We haven’t seen any councillors present any significant efficiencies at all. In fact out of a slew of motions presented to date only one actually looked at funding savings and every other motion is to increase spending,” Ford said. “This is completely irresponsible, reckless and unsustainable. This isn’t how you run a business and this isn’t how you run your own household.”

Ford has said that he can “easily” chop $50 million off the $9.6-billion operating budget, but he has refused go into specifics on how he will go about that.

As Ford cried foul over the size of the budget, many other councillors expressed concern that it may be too lean.

Discussing the budget at city hall, Ward 21 Coun. Joe Mihevc said the city’s reserve account for weather-related emergencies must be topped up even if it means passing on the cost to taxpayers.

“We have spent a lot of money, over 100 million for the flood in the summer and the ice storm in the winter, and we haven’t topped up the reserves,” he said. “We need to say that this is the appropriate amount that we should be putting aside on an annual basis given the kinds of weather storms that we are having and yes at the end of the day it is us — the public — that will have to pay for it.”

Prior to the ice storm the city had about $30 million in reserve funds to deal with extreme weather; however those funds have since been used.


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Ontario ‘wrong’ on refugee health care, Immigration Minister says

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

They’re both ministers and Ontario residents, but Chris Alexander and Deb Matthews don’t have much else in common. He’s Canada’s immigration minister, while she handles health provincially. He’s a Conservative, she’s a Liberal. He’s from Ajax-Pickering, a riding east of Toronto, while she’s from London, to the west.

All that aside, federal ministers don’t often pick fights with the provinces, regardless of political stripe. They err on the side of even-handed diplomacy with each province. And yet, here we are, with the two in a brewing standoff.

Mr. Alexander is firing back at Ontario’s decision to fund health care for refugees whose cases Ottawa says are not legitimate. He took aim at Ontario in a press conference Wednesday, and Ms. Matthews was only too keen to fire back.

A day later, Mr. Alexander said it’s not a fight he’s backing down from.

“Ontario is wrong on this issue,” the ex-ambassador told The Globe on Thursday. “Deb Matthews – her approach wastes taxpayers’ money. It undermines our successful reforms. And it betrays genuine refugees. And we will continue to criticize if if they continue down this road. And I’m certainly not afraid of doing that, because this is a federal field of responsibility which they have chosen to enter for absolutely the wrong reasons.”

The fight began in late 2012 when Ottawa introduce immigration changes. Among them was designating “safe” countries that Canada doesn‘t expect many refugee cases from, in a bid aimed at cracking down on bogus cases. Would-be refugees from the designated countries now get quicker hearings. If their claims are actually legitimate, they enter the normal asylum process. If the claims are illegitimate, they’re deported more quickly. Ottawa says the goal is to get rid of bogus cases that clog up the system.

The crux of the Matthews-Alexander skirmish hinges on whether those suspected bogus claimants from designated countries get health care. Mr. Alexander says they should only get it once their case is accepted – essentially, once Canada agrees they’re a refugee. But Ms. Matthews announced last month Ontario would spend $20-million annually to give care to all claimants, even failed ones from “safe” countries, until their deportation date.

The two met over the issue last month. After that, “I thought he had a deeper understanding of the impact on our hospitals,” Ms. Matthews said on Wednesday, after Mr. Alexander spoke out against her move. “He is a former diplomat. He understands this issue more than others – or would be expected to understand this issue. And I’m just terribly disappointed he would choose to play politics. The fact is, [the refugee claimants] are in this country. It is the federal government’s responsibility to manage the refugee system. … Nobody’s going to turn away a woman who is delivering a baby.”

The two are in a turf war. On Thursday, Mr. Alexander suggested Ms. Matthews has no place overruling what is ultimately an immigration decision – federal jurisdiction – by providing health care, a provincial responsibility.

“We [in the federal government] have respected their political decisions including in health care, where we’ve given them 6 per cent [funding] escalators. We don’t always agree with all of it, but we recognize that’s provincial jurisdiction. This is a federal jurisdiction,” he said, adding Ontario is largely throwing money at hospital care for bogus claimants.

“You’re not a refugee if you’ve self-selected, if you’ve just woken up one day and decided you’re persecuted,” he said, adding many cases have ties to organized crime. “So we’ve taken that abuse out of the system for the most part so we can concentrate on the refugees we really, really care about.”

Deb Matthews said on Friday “To say that we are providing coverage to failed claimants is simply wrong. We are providing coverage to people who are in the process of making that refugee claim. Once the deportation date has passed, we are not covering them.”

She admitted there is some emergency care that is provided to refugees. But that is only to alleviate the burden on doctors and medical professionals.

‘To say that we are providing coverage to failed claimants is simply wrong. We are providing coverage to people who are in the process of making that refugee claim.’– Health Minister Deb Matthews

Refugees still in the process of making a claim will still need emergency care, Matthews said.

“Even the most cold-hearted person would say the right thing for the system is to clean [it] up and have a program to cover the people in that stage of the refugee process,” she said. “Almost every other province has done the same.”

She also said Alexander was misinformed.

“I object to the word bogus being applied to the people in the process,” she began.

‘Smells like politics’

‘[Refugee claimants] are not getting care better than anyone else,” she said, noting that there are only emergency exceptions for pregnant women and children, and everyone else must wait three months for care like all other new arrivals to Ontario.

She said the minister had not “done his homework” and that there was an ulterior motive behind the criticism.

“It sure smells like politics to me,” she said.

Late Friday, Alexander shot back at Matthews calling out the provincial government for a “reckless policy.”

“The sooner the Ontario government gets serious about protecting Ontario taxpayers and stops undermining the success of our national refugee reforms, the better and fairer it will be for all Canadians, including legal immigrants and genuine refugees,” Alexander said in a press release.

The minister noted that claims from democratic countries are down 87 per cent, “saving taxpayers more than $600 million so far in welfare, education and health care costs.”

Ms. Matthews, however, continues to urge Mr. Alexander to meet with local health leaders, who she says are not meant to be the ones asked to turn away claimants from a clinic. “I just don’t think it’s fair to them to make them the administrators of that,” she said.

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RRSP loan strategy to bid adieu to credit card debt.

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

By Lachman Balani


As reported in some financial magazines ,newspapers and other media, many clients are debating whether to pay down their credit card and/or line of credit debt rather than invest in an RRSP. Several are opting to pay off their debt rather than contributing to their RRSPs. However, here is a strategy to help you get the best of both worlds.

Let us suppose that you are an average person in Ontario (this works for anybody living anywhere in Canada) earning a salary in the 31.15% tax bracket and have an average perennial credit card debt of say $10,000 which, no matter how hard you try, you are unable to get rid of. Some months it may jack up to $12,000 and other months it may be at $8,000, but on the average it is always around $10,000. The interest rate on a balance is usually in the ball park of 18-20%.The minimum payment on this debt is usually about 3% of the total or $300. What follows is an outline of the strategy to bid adieu to this ‘bad’ debt and to build your assets by taking on a ‘good’ debt. A ‘good’ debt is used in the sense that the debt helps in building wealth for the future.

The Strategy 


As mentioned before you have a perpetual debt of $10,000 and instead of contributing the usual $5,000 to an RRSP that you do annually you wish to use it to pay down your debt.

If you have been in the workforce for several years and have a lot of RRSP contribution room, as is the case with most people in Canada, you can avail of what is known as a ‘catch –up’ loan (to catch up on all your available RRSP contribution room). This loan is payable in 10 years and is available at an interest rate of prime + 2.75% or 5.75% currently (the prime rate is at 3%). Should you shop around, you may find loans at cheaper rates, but I am here using a rate that many institutions offer. If you take an RRSP loan of $25,000 at 5.75%, the monthly payment is $283 (less than the minimum payment of $300 on your credit cards) if you take a 6 month deferral on the first payment. The reason you want to avail of such a deferral is that you should wait for your tax returns to pay down your credit card balance.

For simplicity, once the loan is approved and funded, you will get a tax refund of 31.15% on $25,000 or $7,787.50 once you file your tax returns in April. Since you were planning to use $5,000 anyways to pay down your debt, all you need to do now is add $2,212.50 from this $5,000 you have set aside and pay off your entire credit card debt of $10,000( $7,787.50{tax returns} + $2,212.50{own money}= $10,000) and still have $2,787.50 left over to invest or pay down your mortgage.

In summary, instead of using $5,000 to pay down your debt by half,

1. Take an RRSP loan of $25,000 and pay off the entire credit card debt so that you now have zero credit card debt.

2. You now have $25,000 invested in an RRSP, which if invested properly will grow over the years.

3. Plus you have $2,787.50 left over to do as you please.

4. However, remember that you still have to service the RRSP loan with a $283 monthly payment, less then servicing your ‘bad’ credit card debt with a monthly $300 payment.

Please note the above is an overview of the strategy.

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Canada’s New Asylum saves taxpayers’ $600 million – Immigration Minister Alexander

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

In the year since comprehensive reforms to Canada’s asylum system took effect, the number of new asylum claims from safe countries has decreased to historic lows, ensuring that genuine refugees – truly vulnerable people from some of the world’s most volatile areas – receive faster and fairer protection, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced.

“The new system is working and we are providing faster protection to those in genuine need. By reducing the number of unfounded claims, we are able to focus our resources on refugees who truly need Canada’s protection. Canadians take great pride in the generosity and compassion of our immigration and refugee programs, but we have no tolerance for those who seek to take unfair advantage of our country. The success of the new system after a year demonstrates that we have reinforced the integrity of the system and are guarding against abuse of our generosity,” stated Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister.

Asylum claims from countries that historically produced high numbers of unfounded claims have dropped by a dramatic 87 per cent. The overall reduction in asylum claims has already resulted in greater than anticipated savings to Canadian taxpayers of more than $600 million in provincial and federal government welfare, education and health-care costs. Overall savings are projected to be more than $1.6 billion over five years.

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Muslim world marred by internal divisions

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari


 Pakistan is in the grip of a new series of violent attacks by militant Islamic groups that began two weeks ago. These groups are targeting state officials, security personnel and ordinary citizens. Earlier, similar attacks were made by these groups in June-July 2013. On both occasions the civilian government and the security establishment issued tough statements and adopted some security measures. Most of this was a reaction to what the Tehrik-i-Taliban-i-Pakistan and other groups were doing. Pakistani authorities have not so far taken the initiative in the fight against terrorism.

 Pakistan is not the only Muslim country that faces internal conflicts, including violent attacks by militant Islamic groups. Several countries like Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen are facing serious internal challenges.

 The Iraq government faces a militant challenge in Anbar province where Salafi and Al-Qaeda type groups have recently established their domain in parts of that province. The sectarian issue has gained prominence in Iraq. Therefore, despite the fact, the United States troops left Iraq some years ago, it has not seen stability in parts of its territory.

 Libya has not seen stable peace after the overthrow of the government of Colonel Gaddafi and his assassination. Different tribal and Islamic-fundamentalist groups are contesting each other and the weak Libyan government.

 Syria is experiencing two-fold internal violence. A struggle for power between the Damascus government and its opponent armed groups supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The insurgent groups fighting the Bashar-al-Asad’s government are fighting with each other also. Some hardline Islamist groups with linkages to Al-Qada are also trying to eliminate those among the insurgent groups that are viewed by them as rivals.

 The internal conflict in Bahrain is a power struggle among two major groups: the government and anti-government groups. This has strong Islamic-sectarian color because the majority of population is Shia and it finds itself excluded from the power structure.

 Yemen is experiencing tribal and separatist challenges coupled with the increased activity of Al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups.

 Egypt has not obtained stable peace after the removal of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. In 2013, the powerful Egyptian Army took control of the state by dislodging elected President Morsi who was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi assumed presidency in 2012 and used his powers to strengthen his party’s political and ideological control over the state and society in total disregard to other groups. This sharpened divisions in politics, enabling the military to knock out the Morsi government. The Muslim Brotherhood’s resistance to military rule did not succeed because the resistance was done only by Muslim Brotherhood hardcore.

 Each country has its peculiar features of politics and society. Therefore, the details of the internal conflict vary from country to country but there are some common factors that are found in these Muslim countries which show that there are more than one struggle for power and ideologies going on simultaneously. Foreign interests get involved in the countries facing internal conflict and terrorism.

 The first common factor in these and several other Muslim states is the growing pressure of socio-economic inequalities. Each state has a small rich group of people, mostly the rulers or close to them. However, a large number of people suffer from poverty and under-development with little hope of improvement of their conditions. These people have little attachment with the state and get attracted to various appeals based on ethnicity, tribe, language and religion and religious-sectarian appeals.

  There is a crisis of leadership in these countries. Either the military provides leadership or a combination of military, bureaucracy and affluent tribal elite. They do not have an appeal which cuts across various divisions in the society. Consequently, the national framework goes in the background and the people think in terms of identities smaller than the state.

  Second common factor can be described as a pure and simple power struggle among competing interests where the tradition of constitutionalism and the rule of law is poor or non-existent. Therefore, invocation of law and constitution depends on the needs of a competing interest. If these help to achieve the group interest, there will be a lot of support for honoring law and constitution. If law and constitution become obstacles to achieving group agenda, these are rejected.

 Third, in the absence of competing worldly ideologies after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the decline of Communism, Islam has become political ideology for many groups. However, this has caused divisions because of hardening of differences of Fiqh schools. There is also a debate on the methods of implementing Islam of one’s choice. Whether through preaching or by coercion and violence?

  Different militant and non-militant groups are engaged in three-types of conflict. First, they are fighting against the West in order to push back its cultural and political impacts on the society. This struggle becomes more serious if the West, especially the United States, is viewed by them as a supporter of their adversary group or the state where these groups are engaged in religious and political struggle.

 Second, they often challenge the writ of the state in order to paralyze it and take its control to impose their preferred Islamic order. If that is not possible they want to create a territorial enclave for them.

 Third, these groups also compete with each other. Each militant group claims itself to represent “genuine” Islam and wants to destroy any group that does not subscribe to its view of Islam. These militant groups also fight with each other for controlling territory and material resources. Most of these militant groups subscribe to Salafi and Wahabi Islamic traditions or their local variations. Some of them describe them as an affiliate of the Al-Qaeda Islamic movement.

 These struggles, especially the intense use of violence, have caused divisions in each society and the state is either under siege by these groups or fights against these groups. This has reduced the capacity of the state to fulfill its obligations towards its citizens because continuous strife has adversely affected the economy and law and order.

 These states also become vulnerable to external intervention by the western state and other Muslim states that have some political interest in the troubled Islamic state.

 Unless the Muslim states address their problems themselves and learn to live in an environment of tolerance and accommodation, they will not overcome their internal divisions. Their economic situation is not expected to improve without adopting a more realistic approach to politics and economy and mange internal conflicts.

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Allstream Sale To Egyptian Accelero Rejected Over ‘Unspecified National Security Concerns’

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

By The Canadian Press

Manitoba Telecom Services (TSX:MTS) says the federal government has rejected a deal for it to sell its business unit Allstream to Egyptian investment group Accelero Capital Holdings due to “unspecified national security concerns.”

The Winnipeg company said late Monday it is “extremely surprised and disappointed” by the decision to not approve the deal, which was announced last May. At the time, the company valued the sale at $520 million.

“MTS Allstream and Accelero continue to believe this transaction is to Canada’s net benefit and to the best of our knowledge would not be injurious to national security,” MTS said in a statement.

The company said it and Accelero, which is owned by Egyptian telecom magnate Naguib Sawiris, have offered to “take whatever actions are necessary” to address Industry Canada’s concerns, but have been rejected.

Sawiris is an original investor in small wireless company Wind Mobile, which operates in Canada.

In a statement, Industry Minister James Moore confirmed the proposed acquisition was rejected under the national security provisions of the Investment Canada Act.

“The result of this review is that the transaction will not proceed,” he said in an emailed statement.

The minister did not specify what the security concerns may be, but said: “MTS Allstream operates a national fibre optic network that provides critical telecommunications services to businesses and governments, including the Government of Canada.”

MTS said the decision comes after Accelero had agreed to commit to invest $300 million over three years into Allstream.

“We pursued this transaction, with Accelero as our partner, in direct response to the federal government’s stated policy objectives of increasing foreign investment and driving greater competition in Canada’s telecommunications sector, so this result is very difficult to understand or accept,” said MTS Allstream CEO Pierre Blouin in a statement.

Accelero also expressed disappointment at the decision, adding that it was a surprise considering the federal government has repeatedly encouraged foreign investment in Canada’s telecom sector.

“Throughout this process, we were comforted by Industry Canada that our filings were in order, our submissions complete and constructive, and our proposed binding undertakings serious and substantive so that the transaction would meet the ‘net benefit’ test,” said Sawiris in a statement.

“We are disappointed by the government of Canada’s unfounded and unexpected decision. Accelero has an impressive track record of successful investments in many of the countries with whom Canada enjoys global strategic partnerships.

Both companies say they will continue to review their options.

Allstream, created after AT&T Canada restructured, competes in the business telecom market against Bell Canada, Telus and the other large Canadian telecommunications carriers. MTS bought the company in 2004 in a bid to gain a national presence in certain types of telecom services, mainly geared to large corporations and institutions. When the sale was announced, the company employed about 2,000 people and served about 50,000 businesses.

MTS operates Manitoba’s largest telecommunications business.

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2012 vs. 1984: Young adults really do have it harder today

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

All young adults who think they’re getting a raw deal in today’s economy, let me tell you about how it was back in my day.

In 1984, my final undergraduate year of university, tuition cost more or less $1,000. I earned that much in a summer without breaking a sweat.

When I went looking for a new car in 1986, the average cost was roughly half of what it is now. It was totally affordable.

The average price of a house in Toronto back in 1984 was just over $96,000. I wasn’t buying just then, but it’s worth noting that the average family after-tax income back then was close to $50,000. Buy a first home? Easy to imagine for new graduates of the day.

I had it easier than today’s twenty somethings, and I have no problem saying so. But quite a few others can’t see what all the fuss is about when it comes to the financial concerns of today’s young adults.

This became clear as responses poured in to last week’s column tying the Quebec student protests to the financial challenges faced by people who are trying to make the jump from college and university into the work force.

Some responses were heartfelt, like the one from a 78-year-old gentleman who said he grew up “in abject poverty on a farm” and worked to pay for his education. But other comments reflected a view that today’s young adults should just grow up.

My sense is that’s what they’re trying to do. But it’s tougher out there than some of you might know.

After earning a three-year BA (majoring in political science) at York University in Toronto back in 1984, I landed a summer job as a copy editor at The Canadian Press, the national wire service. I earned enough to spend a year in Ottawa earning a bachelor of journalism degree at Carleton University. I had to work the Christmas holidays at CP to top up my savings, but I was financially self-sufficient and incurred zero debt.

Today, financial self-sufficiency is impossible without taking breaks from school to work. The Bank of Canada’s handy inflation calculator tells us that my $1,000 tuition back in 1984 would cost $2,028 today if it increased just by the inflation rate annually. But according to Statistics Canada, the latest read on average tuition fees is $5,366.

In Ontario, the minimum wage is $10.25. A student who puts in a 40-hour work week for 12 weeks would stand to make about $4,900. That’s a sizable shortfall on tuition, never mind the cost of student fees, books and living expenses. As a parent of an 18-year-old heading to university out of town next year, I can tell you that budgeting $18,000 to $20,000 per year is prudent.

Buying a house is another point where the experience of older Canadians is unlike what today’s younger generation faces. Canadian Real Estate Association data show the average national price of a home in mid-1984 was $76,214. If houses kept up with inflation – and that would be a pretty good result all on its own – the average house would now cost $154,587. In April, the actual average was $369,677.

That’s an annualized gain of 5.8 per cent across the country. In cities like Toronto and Vancouver, the yearly increases are even more pronounced.

House prices themselves are an abstract number – the real question is how affordable a home is. Data from a 2011 Conference Board of Canada study on income inequality shows the average family after-tax income in 1984 was $48,500. In 2009, the latest date included in the study, income levels had risen to $60,000. In 1984, a house might have cost a family 1.6 times its annual income. Today, we’re looking at a multiple of something around six.

Not everything is more expensive for today’s young adults – mortgage rates were in double digits back in 1984 (but then again so were savings rates), and cars have pretty well risen in price along with inflation. And not everything is worse, at least on the surface. Today’s headline unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent beats the rate of almost 12 per cent back in the mid-1980s. Look deeper into those numbers and you find a youth unemployment rate of 18 per cent back then and 13.9 per cent today. Young adults haven’t benefited nearly as much as the overall population from declining unemployment trends.

Back in my day? Economically speaking, life was easier for the young adult.

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Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

Dr. Amitha Jocie Mundenchira


Being a doctor, I often get people at social events confiding in me about their medical issues. At one such recent gathering, I came across a bubbly entertaining person who gave me an unexpected history of fighting depression and stomach issues for years, wherein western medicine had not helped her. When I asked her how she overcame her ailments, she stated “juicing is my saviour”.

Juicing is becoming a hot health trend amongst both celebrities and the common man. Juicing ranges from squeezing fruit by hand to wide scale extraction with industrial equipment. Commercial juicing focuses mostly on fruit juices. Residential juicing is often practiced for dietary reasons or as a form of alternative medicine – so there are often more vegetables in the mixture.

There are both advantages and disadvantage to juicing. The advantages may be obvious. First, juicing allows to give the body concentrated amounts of nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits. Second, these drinks are low in toxic fats, added sugars and salt. Last, but not the least, juicing is a low-calorie diet.

However, juicing has its disadvantages too. First, there are nutritional gaps because majority of calories in the beverages come from carbohydrates including high amounts of natural sugar from fruits and some vegetables. So, it is missing protein that is needed for building lean muscle mass and for metabolic burn. Second, if the pulp is not added back after juicing, most of the fiber is lost. In short, juicing can be a high-carb, low-protein and low-fiber diet. Such a diet can cause health problems like high blood sugar, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, and fatigue. Third, juice-only diet is hard to stick to for long as liquid calories do not have the same filling power as whole solid foods.

According to the American Cancer Society, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than whole foods”. There may be a few myths that have been propagated by dedicated followers of juicing.

First, juice does not necessarily removes toxins from our system (ie to detox). If we focus on eating clean and staying active, our body has capacity to cleanse. Second, our body maintains a tightly regulated pH at all times. So, juice cleansing is not necessary to help our body achieve a non-acidic or alkaline pH. Moreover, there are no major human studies to support the proposed benefits of an alkaline diet.

Juicing can be expensive on both commercial and residential levels. Commercial juicing kits can range from $65 to $85 per day. Residential juicing can also be expensive due to the large amounts of fruits and vegetables that need to be purchased on an ongoing basis.

My recommendation would be to incorporate juicing as part of your regular diet either as a supplement or as a replacement meal. Avoid a full-on liquid diet on an ongoing basis. It is important to include larger proportions of vegetables in the juicing in order to keep calories and sugar in check.

For those interested in investing in commercial juicers, “Cold Press Juicers” may be the better than Centrifugal Juicers” even though they are more expensive and require longer preparation times. The “Cold Press Juicers” use a chewing method and use lower speeds to gently compress the fruits and vegetables. As a result, the resulting juice is of higher quality with better preserved nutrients, fiber and enzymes.

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The Game of Gimmicks: A tale of Sunny’s lost lingerie?

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

If recent incidents in the industry are anything to go by, publicity stunts have hit a new low. The latest news has it that Sunny Leone’s ‘expensive, top-of-the-line lingerie’ went missing from the sets of her upcoming film, ‘Ragini MMS-2

The source says that after some scenes of Sunny wearing grey coloured lingerie were shot, the crew was aghast to see the same missing from the sets. `Sunny is extremely particular about her lingerie and likes to wearing the best brands. Accordingly, lingerie from Victoria’s Secret -costing approximately Rs 50,000 – was ordered online,` says the source, adding that when the same was stolen from the sets, the producers had to order the same product again.

The source says that they also had to cough up a premium in order to facilitate early shipping. `Security on the sets has now been beefed up as well in a bid to prevent such unusual thefts,` says the source.

Interestingly, this is not the first time the production house has faced such a problem. A similar incident took place last year on the sets of the film, ‘Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum’, when Sarah Jane Dias was shooting her scenes in Goa. It seems that the actress, who was carrying her own designer lingerie, misplaced the same while travelling from one location to another.

When contacted, Tanuj Garg, CEO of the production house, didn’t reveal much about the theft on the sets of Sunny’s film. `My production informed me of some such incident and extra precautions were taken,` was his reply. Upon being asked about Sarah’s similar loss last year, Garg said, `Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s a coincidence. ` If this is not a publicity gimmick, then the company has to hunt down that someone with a fetish amidst the unit members.

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