Thursday, May 14, 2009

Green Bags, Tasers and Good Bad News

George Baker Weeps

The green bag will be no more as of 2011 when the new organic waste processing plant goes online. Now before all you complainers and sorting deniers rejoice in the return of the big black bag, you should know that the city intends to replace the green bag, though they do not know yet with what. "What we're intending to do is to not use non-compostable plastic bags going forward," said Janet Laird, Guelph's director of environmental services.

The next, best alternative will be to use some kind of compostable paper bag or a reusable plastic container à la the ones they use in Toronto. The final decision will lie with city council as to what direction to go in. Guelph set itself apart in the mid-90s when it established the Wet/Dry system to great fanfare and equally great controversy. It became a model for waste collection for municipalities nation-wide, and Councillor June Hofland wants to see the city stay ahead of the curve by phasing out plastic bags "It was a great idea originally… but it seems more realistic to have organics in a cart rather than a plastic bag," Hofland said adding that her concern is that there may be additional costs in retrofitting the city’s fleet of garbage trucks to adjust to new plastic containers.

Taser critique to be vetted

Concerns in a letter addressed to Guelph Police by anti-taser activist Patti Gillman will be addressed later this month at a meeting of the Guelph Police Board. Regardless though, Dave Clark, chair of the Guelph Police Services Board, says he doesn't share the concerns raised in the letter. In the letter, Gillman floats the possibility of a conflict of interest between Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths Inc. and Taser International, maker of the electro-shock devices, given that the US-based Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths has links with Taser. Gillman implied that there’s a “striking resemblance” between the Canadian Centre and American Institute. Police Chief Rob Davis assured the board at last month’s meeting that there was no conflict and the matter seemed dropped until the receipt of Gillman’s letter.

Bad News is Good News

Guelph based-Linamar Corp announced a net loss of $12.6 million for the first quarter of this year last week, which naturally sent stocks in the company up 39 per cent. No, you did not read that wrong. Linamar lost money and the price of its stock went up. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s simply because the engine parts manufacture didn’t lose as much money as they thought they were going to. In these difficult economic times, this was excellent news for the embattled auto sector. Analysts credit Linamar’s smaller than expected loss to the company’s efforts to conserve cash, while growing through takeover of contracts as car makers look for a sable supplier. "I think people felt like the plan is working," said Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar's chief executive in an interview with the Financial Times. "We're delivering on some key issues. They're not as worried about liquidity. They're not as worried about the debt. And as a result, they felt comfortable getting back into the stock." But with US car manufactures in the midst of efforts of pure survival, it’s still a bumpy road ahead.

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