August 6, 2013

SpaceX awarded contract with Canada Space Program

Spacex, a private sector space exploration and technology company based in Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a contract for Canada’s largest space program.

The program is the ADARSAT Constellation Mission, which is designed to provide maritime surveillance, disaster management, and ecosystem monitoring capabilities. This wil provide Canada with the ability to monitor polar ice conditions, oil pills, ship movements, forest fires, wetlands and coastal changes.

The contract with Canadian space company MacDonald, Dettwiler, and Associates will transport three satellites to orbit in 2018. “SpaceX appreciates MDA’s confidence in our ability to safely and reliably transport their satellites,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and COO. “We hope this agreement is the second of many with MDA”, the company said in a press release.

SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

Filed under Aerospace and Aviation, Canada by

August 9, 2007

Disney buys Club Penguin for $700 million

Club Penguin, a virtual world for kids, has been bought by the Walt Disney Company. The deal is valued at $700 million: $350 million in cash now, and another $350 million if performance targets are met through 2009, according to a report in Venture Beat. The company, based in British Columbia, has more than twelve million total users — mostly kids 6-14 in North America — and including more than 700,000 paying subscribers. It says it is completely funded through subscriptions. Founded in March 2005, Club Penguin features avatars of animated penguins that live in an antarctic virtual world. Users can play games together, chat, and furnish virtual homes with virtual accessories. Subscribers choose to pay between USD$5.95 per month and USD$57.95 per year to “[d]ress up your penguin, decorate your igloo, be the first to discover new areas and lots more.” The purchase shows that Disney is hungry to get into online gaming, a market that is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. One analyst expects US spending to hit $725 million in 2008, up from $375 in 2006.

Filed under Canada, Media and Entertainment, Mergers and Acquisitions by

June 19, 2007

California Republican Party hires political director through H-IB Program

If this wasn’t so funny, it would be sad- or if it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny- I’m not sure which.  In any event, I thought America had an over-supply of right-wing political operatives- do we really need to import them?

The California Republican Party has decided no American is qualified to take one of its most crucial positions — state deputy political director — and has hired a Canadian for the job through a coveted H-1B visa, a program favored by Silicon Valley tech firms that is under fire for displacing skilled American workers.  Christopher Matthews, 35, a Canadian citizen, has worked for the state GOP as a campaign consultant since 2004. But he recently was hired as full-time deputy political director, with responsibility for handling campaign operations and information technology for the country’s largest state Republican Party operation, California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring confirmed in a telephone interview this week.

In the nation’s most populous state — which has produced a roster of nationally known veteran political consultants — “it’s insulting but also embarrassing … to bring people from the outside who don’t know the difference between Lodi and Lancaster … and who can’t even vote,” said Karen Hanretty, a political commentator and former state GOP party spokeswoman.

U.S. Department of Labor records show the state Republican Party applied for an H-1B visa to fill the job of “political consultant” and was granted a visa labor certification in March 2007. The three-year H-1B visa does not become valid until Oct. 1, 2007, government records show.

Party officials said Matthews has been working in the interim under a “TN” visa — a renewable one-year special visa for Canadian and Mexican professional workers created under the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Matthews was hired by Michael Kamburowski, an Australian citizen who was hired this year as the state GOP’s chief operations officer. But neither new official has experience in managing a political campaign in the nation’s most populous state — and as foreign citizens, neither is eligible to vote.

Kamburowski, a former real estate agent who sold property in the Dominican Republic, is a permanent U.S. resident in the process of obtaining American citizenship and does not require a specialized work visa, state GOP officials said. “There are talented Republicans in California, and the message that (party chair) Ron Nehring is sending is that there’s no talent pool here,” Hanretty said.  The state party and its 58 county operations face several challenges, Hanretty said, including “redistricting on the ballot, uncertain legislative races ahead of us … and a number of Republican congressmen who are under federal investigation and are going to be challenged by Democrats.  “Who will help these candidates?” she asked. “A couple of foreign transplants who don’t know the political landscape and don’t know the history of the complicated politics in California?”

Filed under California Politics, Canada, Immigration by

June 1, 2007

Undisclosed doners finance Schwarenegger’s Canada Trip

The D-Day Blog has weighed in on the Schwarzenegger Canada junket- and if you thought what we wrote was harsh this guy nails it:

This is about the eighth time I’ve seen a report similar to this one that undisclosed donors are financing a Schwarzenegger trade mission… The excuse put forth by the Governor’s spokespeople is always the same: this SAVES taxpayer money because they don’t have to finance these trade missions! Really? What about all the corporate welfare checks that get cut as a result of this access? What about all the watered-down regulations that cost taxpayers, not only with money but with public health and quality of life? What about the state contracts that could go to lower bidders who don’t have the same relationships (read: bribery poke) with the Governor? .. It should frankly be outlawed for a private company with business before the state to finance the Governor’s travel, especially when it’s supposed to be official business. This is government for sale from the guy who was supposed to be such a big reformer because he was richer than dirt. This is also why I’ve been so adamant about the CDP-Chevron donation. Influence peddling in the capital is an epidemic that needs to stop.

Filed under Business Events and Trade Shows, California Politics, Canada, Governor Schwarzenegger, Opinion by

Ebay buys StumbleUpon for $75 million

Venture Beat reports that eBay has acquired StumbleUpon.  Seems like a good move- Stumble Upon is a fun and interesting community:

Auction giant eBay has acquired StumbleUpon, an San Francisco company that helps people “stumble upon” and share new sites related to their interests, for about $75 million.  In a statement this afternoon, eBay said the acquisition will give it “exposure to a fast-growing community-based service” that has around 2.3 million users, and that StumbleUpon is attractive because it shares similarities with eBay’s concept of community.  The deal size is not large relative to other deals we’ve seen lately, but it is a big coup for the founders, who moved from Canadian to San Francisco more than a year ago, and were self-funded until March of last year. They raised a round of $1.5 million from Google’s founding investor, Ram Shriram, Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, Topic founder Ariel Poler, angel investor Ron Conway… Once people download is toolbar, StumbleUpon shows you Web sites that you can rate as good or bad. It starts showing you more of the types of sites you appear like, based on those sites have been rated highly by other people that have voted similar to the way you have. It does the same for videos, people and product information.  It makes money by showing an ad every hundred or so stumbles.  With no marketing, the StumbleUpon community has grown 150 percent from last year and delivers some five million new recommendations a day to its user base, the company said.

Filed under Canada, Information Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions by

May 30, 2007

More influence peddling on Schwarzenegger’s Canada Trip

The Sacramento Bee has covered Governor Schwarzenegger’s three day mission to Canada, and noted that of the fifty-two business delegates on the trip “a third of those going represent interests that have donated to Schwarzenegger’s campaign”. As with his other “trade missions” this has been funded by the “California State Protocol Foundation” a special “non-profit” set up by some of California’s major corporations to pay for these junkets. The trip includes many of the usual suspects- among those attending will be a lobbyist for Pacific Gas and Electric, former California Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim, and of course California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg, who is an officer of this “Foundation”.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said- apparently with a straight face- that the political donations “had nothing to do with the selection of delegates”, and Zaremberg expects us to swallow the same thing, “”There are people on the delegation who might have given to the foundation and people who didn’t give to the foundation,” he said. “It isn’t a part of the criteria to go on the trip.” Yeah, right.

It seems as if it doesn’t matter how many reputable publications cover the corruption that has crept into the State’s international business policy under the Schwarzenegger administration. They are not listening, and they apparently don’t care. It is important for people to know that this administration is not “pro-business” as they want you to believe – they are “pro-corporation” – and there is a big difference. The State government is absolutely sick with sole source deals and no-bid contracts, and this administration is completely closed to outside input and ideas. These guys are so administratively incompetent they can’t even manage to answer letters written to them by ordinary citizens. Don’t take our word for it, call or write them yourself and see what happens- if you are not a big shot, they are simply not interested.

The Schwarzenegger administration is driven by publicity- not by good public policy. They apparently have no concept of “the greatest good for the greatest number”. It is possible to organize a trade mission in the public interest, especially if it is part of a larger coordinated program, but that is not what this administration is doing- this Canada trip, and Schwarzenegger’s other “trade missions” really have been “junkets” – in the worst sense to the term. What the seem to want is more of that fawning media publicity that seems to feed this behavior. This time, let’s not give it to them.

Filed under Canada, Governor Schwarzenegger, Opinion by

May 1, 2007

Silicon Valley Startup to Build World’s Largest Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant in Canada

“A solar power plant in the Great White North? Thin-film solar startup OptiSolar has signed a deal to build a 40-megawatt photovoltaic power station about 180 miles west of Toronto. The project, to be rolled out in 10-megawatt stages, will be – for the moment – the world’s largest PV power plant. Canada isn’t exactly known for its sunny skies but it does offer something solar power companies won’t find south of the border: a premium price for green electricity. The Ontario government will pay OptiSolar 42 (Canadian) cents a kilowatt hour – nearly 10 times the standard rate. In this case, Ontario signed a 20-year contract at that rate with OptiSolar’s Canadian subsidiary.”

Filed under Canada, Energy Industry, Silicon Valley by

March 20, 2007

Governor to lead Trade Mission to Canada

Governor Schwarzenegger will lead a trade mission to Canada on May 29, 2007 and return May 31, 2007, his office announced today. The Governor will be visiting the cities of Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, and his press release says he will focus on promoting California trade and tourism, discuss ways of reducing the effects of climate change while boosting economic growth and look at creative ways to finance infrastructure: “I am very excited to visit Canada – our state’s second largest trading partner. Californians share so much with our neighbors to the north – whether it is a desire to protect our environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions or our entrepreneurial spirit. I look forward to meeting with Canadian government officials to share the benefits of our state’s burgeoning cleantech industry, promoting California as a travel destination and encouraging Canadians to buy California’s goods and services,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. The Governor also claimed that his previous trade missions had been a success: “We have already seen great success from our past trade missions to Mexico, China and Japan, and this mission will continue on in that tradition of success”. There was no information on the Governor’s site about who will be participating in this trade mission.

Filed under Canada, Environment and Climate, Governor Schwarzenegger by

March 17, 2007

British Columbia Premier meets with Governor Schwarzenegger

“British Columbia’s policy wonk premier headed down to California Thursday where he met with Hollywood action hero Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to plant the first seeds of what’s being billed as an ambitious Pacific Coast green plan. The Los Angeles meeting between Gordon Campbell and the Terminator was a private affair where the two political leaders started to map a strategy for a green summit later this spring in British Columbia. Campbell said the two leaders want to launch a climate change initiative that could potentially include the Canadian and United States governments.”

Filed under Canada, Environment and Climate, Governor Schwarzenegger by

March 11, 2007

Argon Venture Partners Opens Offices in Silicon Valley and Calgary, Alberta

“Argon Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital investment firm, has announced the opening of its U.S. and Canada offices in Calgary, Alberta, and Silicon Valley, California. With two senior partner offices, Argon becomes the world’s first cross-border venture capital firm located in the U.S. and Western Canada. Argon will focus on early-stage opportunities in information technology, including semiconductors, systems, software infrastructure and related services. The firm has created unique relationships on both sides of the border. In Western Canada, Argon owns one of the top angel organizations, and has established unique relationships with technology transfer offices and government agencies.”

Filed under Canada, Venture Capital by

February 21, 2007

Canadian Mounties recruitment ads appear on L.A. gang websites

This has got to be an ominous development. The LA Times has reported the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were forced to pull their recruitment ads after they appeared on Internet sites run by the notorious 18th Street gang, thought to be one of the largest and most violent gangs in the world. According to Wikipedia:

The 18th Street Gang is a Los Angeles-based Latino/Hispanic street gang but the gang also is Asian and Native members. It is considered by many gang analysts to be the largest gang in the United States in terms of membership, and one of the most violent gangs in the world. It is estimated that there are over 20,000 members of 18th Street in Los Angeles County alone.

The 18th Street gang grew out of an older Los Angeles gang, the Clanton Street Gang (after the street that was their home base). In the 1940′s, Clanton Street was changed to 14th Place due to the high number of Zoot Suit Pachucos ‘hanging-out’, as well as the war effort’s need for simple addresses. The Clanton gang was active in Los Angeles for decades and comprised several generations of well-established Mexicans living in America; more recent Mexican immigrants and Chicanos that wanted to join Clanton were rejected. From these rejects the 18th Street gang was born.

The gang has since grown to be California’s largest street gang, with membership in the tens of thousands. Out of the this, it is estimated that about 60% of its members are illegal immigrants, according to a confidential report last year by the state’s Department of Justice. While the majority of the gang’s activities occur in Los Angeles, the gang is active throughout the United States and other countries, including Canada, Peru, Mexico, and El Salvador.

Members of the gang frequently tattoo “18″ or “XV3″ on their bodies (occasionally covering their entire bodies.) The gang is divided into five subsets or ‘sides’: North, East, South, West and South Central Los Angeles. Furthermore, each side has its own cliques or mini gangs. 18th Street members often fight several rival gangs, the most notorious of which is the MS-13.

Filed under Canada, Legal and Criminal Issues by

February 13, 2007

Hansen makes deal with Pepsi for distribution in Canada

“Shares in (Corona-based) Hansen Natural Corp. got a boost Monday on news the company partnered with PepsiCo Canada to bottle and distribute its popular line of energy drinks. Monster Energy, Lost Energy, Joker Mad Energy and other Hansen energy products which will be distributed through Pepsi’s network in Canada. PepsiCo will employ its bottling systems, distribution facilities and sale force for the product line. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Canada by

February 6, 2007

Boeing building four C-17s Cargo Jets for Canada

“The Boeing Co. and the Canadian government signed an agreement for four C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets. The freighters will be used by Canada’s Department of National Defence. One C-17 costs approximately $200 million and is built on Boeing’s production line in Long Beach.”

Filed under Aerospace and Aviation, Canada by

January 16, 2007

Canada Prime Minister invites Schwarzenegger to Canada for trade talks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has formally invited California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Canada. Harper and Schwarzenegger met in December at the airport in Mexico, where they were both attending the inauguration of President Felipe Calderon. The governor told Harper he wanted to come to Canada on a trade mission and the prime minister “encouraged him to come,” said Genevieve Desjardins, spokeswoman for the prime minister.
The Vancouver Sun

Filed under Canada, Foreign Relations, Governor Schwarzenegger by

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