“A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans–Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft–look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.” – The Economist, The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data, May 6, 2017
The director is making several points about relationships, but he chose to do that by using robots. It’s one of my favorite short films of all time, but the reason it’s so compelling is that it presents ideas in a new and novel way. So many videos, articles, and other content meant to promote a brand or a concept just throw out some slides and text, or feature a talking head. It’s not enough.
The more career success you have, the harder job search gets. Why? As you climb the career ladder, the number of jobs that match your requirements dwindles. It looks just like a pyramid. The higher you go, the fewer the opportunities available to fit your needs. This means the job search can take even longer, but the payoff is greater. You’ll just need to keep improving your mental toughness, personal branding, and networking skills in order to compete at the higher level. It’s like going from the minor leagues to the majors. Not everyone can move up!
Advertising is just one form of marketing, though. Research, email, content creation, list curation, social media, and even customer service all contribute to an effective marketing strategy. You don’t have to become proficient in every tactic to be a successful marketer, but if you want to help your sales team operate at peak efficiency, you need to master the most critical areas.
Product consistency is one way to do that. People still recognize and drink Coca-Cola for two reasons: Its product has stayed the same (which is why New Coke infamously failed), and its logo has been consistent. Companies deliver on their brand promises just half of the time, according to a Gallup survey. If you want customers to remember you, get your employees on board with your brand’s social promise and hold yourself accountable for the quality of your products or services. When your employees fall short, don’t simply blame them for not adequately upholding your values. Instead, look for the root of the problem, whether it be lack of training, a faulty hiring process, internal software issues, or what have you.
Dozens of investors in Ontario say they were conned out of millions of dollars after fraudsters using fake names were featured as investment “experts” on their favourite radio stations — on shows they say sounded like news but were actually infomercials.
“I trusted what I was hearing on the radio,” said Tracey Conrad, who lost $15,000 after listening to the so-called financial experts on a popular radio show in her hometown of London, Ont.
The supposed foreign exchange experts were regularly featured on at least five local radio stations — owned by Corus Entertainment and Bell Media — that ran in southern Ontario between 2016 and part of 2017.
During the segments, the “experts” would often call into the radio shows from locations like London, U.K., to give financial advice, encouraging listeners to invest in what they claimed was a reputable foreign exchange investment company: Trans-Atlantic Direct.
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Conrad said she “couldn’t breathe” after getting a letter in August from her provincial securities regulator, notifying her that the men she’d listened to on the radio — regularly being interviewed by her favourite on-air personalities — are being investigated for operating what’s believed to be a “fraudulent enterprise” that was “promoted on local radio programs.”
The whole area of paid content is an ethical quagmire.– Media ethicist Stephen Ward
“At first, I didn’t even believe the letter,” said Conrad.
The case highlights the increasingly blurred line between programs that sound like news but are actually paid advertising, and how disclaimers often do little to inform audiences of the difference, says media ethicist Stephen Ward.
“The whole area of paid content is an ethical quagmire … Cases where it’s blurred cause false stories,” he said.
By the time the so-called experts were pulled off the air, Canadian investors were out more than $6 million, according to a class-action lawsuit filed against the fraudsters, their companies and Corus Entertainment. Corus owns what are now branded as Global News radio stations that featured the so-called experts on segments titled “Ask the Experts” and “The Global Market.”
Corus says it pulled the programs as soon as it heard about the concerns.
The class action was filed on Jan. 22. The allegations haven’t been proven.
‘All they had to do was make a phone call’
The so-called experts weren’t registered with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), so they weren’t allowed to operate in the province. The OSC believes they used fake names and had a fake company.
Conrad and about 30 other investors who are part of the lawsuit believe the radio stations are partly to blame for their financial losses, according to court documents.
“All they had to do was make a phone call to the security commission to find out if they [Trans-Atlantic Direct] were legally able to operate in Ontario. And if they had done that, they would have been told no and I would have all my money,” Conrad said.
The programs sounded factual, she said, and the hosts interviewing the “experts” were the same people who covered the news.
“I trust the people that are my local news reporters, that when they’re talking to somebody every single week and they’re making claims like that, that they are legitimate.”
Fraudsters disappear with money
According to the lawsuit, the radio shows aired throughout 2016 and into part of 2017. Listeners were told there was minimal risk to investing and were urged to call Trans-Atlantic Direct with investment questions.
While on air, the so-called investment experts called themselves Stewart Price and Martin Schwartz. The OSC alleges they are actually Mark Lee Singer and Bernard Justin Sevilla. According to the allegations set out in OSC documents, the men never invested the money, as promised, instead keeping it for themselves.
Trans-Atlantic’s phone number is now disconnected and its website has been taken down. Go Public reached out to Singer and Sevilla through multiple email addresses and phone numbers associated with the men, but neither returned the requests for comment.
Other investors tell Go Public they haven’t recovered any of their money and haven’t been able to reach anyone at Trans-Atlantic in over a year.
Corus calls shows ‘infomercials’
Corus declined an on-camera interview with Go Public and instead issued a statement.
Trans-Atlantic Direct purchased an hour of weekly airtime on two Corus radio stations in Ontario — AM900 CHML in Hamilton and AM980 CFPL in London — “for the purposes of airing a regular infomercial,” the company said. The program began airing in January 2016.
Corus rebranded its radio stations in 2017, putting them under the Global News name, a few months after the TransAtlantic Direct programs were taken off the air.
“The program was paid advertising,” said Corus spokesperson Rishma Govani, “and was clearly identified as such.”
“Each broadcast included clear disclaimers before, after and during the program, advising listeners that it was paid-advertising programming and that the opinions expressed during the program were TAD’s alone, and not those of Corus or its affiliates.”
However, Govani admits Price or Schwartz appeared on other radio programs, “providing opinion or commentary.” In those cases, she says, “it is likely that no disclaimer would have been provided.”
Two investors Go Public spoke with say they never heard the disclaimers on any of the programs they heard.
Corus also said Trans-Atlantic Direct was obligated to “ensure that the scripts, recordings or instructions submitted to [the stations] are in accordance with commercial and trade ethics, applicable codes and laws or bylaws in force at the time of broadcast,” and that the stations “relied on the company to comply with those obligations.”
The shows were pulled in 2017 after Corus received “certain information” and a small number of listener complaints, Govani said. Corus wouldn’t elaborate on what information it received, or provide details about the complaints.
It said it wasn’t aware of any investigation into Trans-Atlantic until several months after it pulled the program.
The company also said it intends to defend itself against the lawsuit, saying it “is confident it acted diligently and responsibly in removing the program from the air when it did, based on the information available to it at the time.”
‘Fake experts allowed to create fake’ show
Trans-Atlantic Direct also aired on three Bell Media radio stations in southern Ontario from late May 2017 until November 2017 as part of a one-hour paid program, according to Scott Henderson, vice-president of communications for Bell Media.
Cheryl Hanstke first heard about what she thought sounded like promising investment opportunities with Trans-Atlantic on one of those stations, NewsTalk 610 CKTB.
“They were presented as foreign exchange investment specialists,” Hanstke said.
By December 2017, she’d invested $20,000. She didn’t get a cent of it back, she says.
“I never once believed it was an ad. I always believed it was a gentleman who was being interviewed by the host,” said Hanstke, noting she had been listening to the the same radio host ever since moving to St. Catharines, Ont., in 2013.
“I have said again and again that the ‘fake’ experts allowed to create this ‘fake’ investment show through the various radio stations … failed to do their due diligence,” Hanstke said.
Bell Media didn’t respond to Go Public’s questions about how it vets the people on its shows, but in an email, Henderson wrote: “The program had aired on other non-Bell Media-owned radio stations, with no indication of concerns about the individuals involved with the program. When we became aware of legitimate concerns regarding TAD’s activities, we removed the program from our stations and terminated our relationship with TAD.”
Bell Media’s policies and practices related to advertising and paid programming are continually reviewed and updated, he said.
Michael Ellis, the lawyer representing investors in the class action against Corus, told Go Public he’s also preparing a lawsuit against Bell Media.
“This all gets back to the fact that these media companies were putting people on the air that were not licensed, that had no ability to do what they said they were going to do,” he said. “If they had just done a small degree of research, they would have been able to find that … and they could have kept them off the airwaves.”
Prison sentence, history of fraud
Go Public’s investigation found that the men alleged to be behind Trans-Atlantic Direct, Singer and Sevilla, have a history of theft and investment fraud in the U.S. — long before allegedly targeting Canadian investors.
In 2000, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) found that Singer committed fraud while part-owner of another Florida-based investment company, Lexus Financial Group. In that case, 90 per cent of investors lost money, according to public documents.
In the early 2000s, Sevilla was sentenced to four years in a Florida prison for eight grand theft convictions. During that period, he was also ordered to stop running an investment scam in that state after the CFTC took him to court. Sevilla is currently wanted in Florida after failing to report to his probation officer.
‘Moral obligation’ to be reliable
According to Ward, what’s now happening in Canada may have been avoided if the media organizations that aired the segments had done a better job of vetting who they put on air, and had been clear with listeners about which programs are paid advertising and which are news.
Disclaimers are often confusing, he said, especially if the tone of the programs are newsy.
“There’s great responsibility when you’re dealing especially with financial information,” Ward said. “There is a moral obligation to do as much as you possibly can to make sure the information is reliable and truthful.”
He said he’d like to see media companies clearly disclosing online their relationships with the people and businesses appearing on their programming.
Radio stations silent with listeners
Conrad said her favourite radio programs ultimately went silent on the topic of Trans-Atlantic Direct, without ever explaining why Price and Schwartz were no longer on air.
“I’m really disappointed. They have an obligation, even just to be a good human being. Why has nobody over there done something? And that’s where I think they need to be held accountable,” she said.
Hanstke tried to get answers from her local station and said she was told that someone from Bell Media’s legal department would call her back — but that call never came.
It’s been more than two years since each woman invested their money, and both say they’re still working to dig themselves out from under the loss.
NOTE: According to CBC’s journalistic standards and practices, those appearing on CBC News programs are not allowed to promote a specific financial product or solicit business either for themselves or a financial company.
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The ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in New York’s Times Square celebrating the end of the Second World War died Sunday. George Mendonsa was 95.
Mendonsa fell and had a seizure at the assisted living facility in Middletown, R.I., where he lived with his wife of 70 years, his daughter, Sharon Molleur, told The Providence Journal.
Mendonsa planted a kiss on Friedman, whom he had never met.
An iconic photo of the kiss by Alfred Eisenstaedt was first published in Life magazine and is called “VJ-Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”
Several claimed to be the kissing couple
It became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.
Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.
Mendonsa served on a destroyer during the war and was on leave when the end of the war was announced.
When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa spoke about the kiss. He said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship, who he saw care for wounded sailors.
‘It wasn’t a romantic event’
“I saw what those nurses did that day and now back in Times Square the war ends, a few drinks, so I grabbed the nurse,” Mendonsa said, WPRI-TV reported.
Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.
“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.
She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”
Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements.
Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Va., from complications of old age.
A body has been recovered from a southeast Calgary house destroyed in a weekend explosion, police confirmed Monday.
The fiery explosion occurred in the community of Douglas Glen around 4:20 a.m. MT Sunday.
Calgary police have taken over the investigation but would not comment further on the case.
Neighbours said the owner of the home is out of the country, but someone who had been renting it was unaccounted for.
Calgary fire department spokesperson Carol Henke said more than 25 calls were made to 911 in the early morning hours Sunday.
Henke said crews called to the 300 block of Douglas Glen Close S.E. found one home destroyed and at least two others damaged.
“Some callers were several blocks away,” Henke said Sunday. She said crews found a “fully involved house fire with flames spreading to neighbouring residences.”
Strong winds and cold temperatures hampered efforts to get the flames under control.
It was –17 C at the time and winds were gusting up to 40 km/h, according to Environment Canada.
“The debris pattern around the neighbourhood would indicate there was an explosion,” Capt. Paul Frederick of the Calgary fire department said Sunday.
Henke is asking anyone who has photos or videos linked to the fire to email them to her.
To read the headlines you’d think nearly every Canadian who wants a job would have one by now.
The country’s unemployment rate hit a 43-year low of 5.6 per cent in December, and in January the economy added 66,800 new jobs. That’s on top of the growth of 163,000 jobs netted over 2018, according to Statistics Canada data.
Numbers like these paint a picture of a healthy job market where workers have plenty of choice. But as labour market experts explain, that doesn’t mean everyone who needs a job can find work that fits their skills, industry and location.
Steven Tobin, executive director of the Labour Market Information Council in Ottawa, says the confusion stems from too much focus on national averages such as the overall unemployment rate or job growth.
“Those are very good indicators, and they help us really articulate a temperature check on how things are going,” he says.
“The reality is that national figures do mask the differences in the labour market that are prevailing either by geography, obviously, in a large country, and also that there are pockets of workers where there may be differences.” For example, unemployment is higher among youth and older workers than it is overall, he says.
Even economists have failed in putting too much emphasis on net job numbers, losing sight of the fact that net figures entail some people gaining jobs and others losing them, says Tobin.
Here’s a look at why those numbers — and the headlines — might not reflect reality for all Canadians.
More skill shortage than labour shortage
There’s a lot of conversation about labour shortages, but in many cases what’s really at issue is high demand for workers with particular skills and expertise.
“Quite often we conflate a skill shortage with a labour shortage,” says Tobin. “They manifest themselves kind of in the same way, which is there’s a vacancy that goes unfilled. But they’re really quite different concepts.
“If you have a region which has high unemployment, you’re not likely to be experiencing a labour shortage. But if employers are having difficulty finding people, it’s not that people are not there, but that they’re missing the skill set.”
For instance, strong demand for app developers or marketing managers does not help a line worker from the GM plant that’s set to close in Oshawa, Ont., nor does it help an out-of-work oil and gas industry veteran.
Some provinces have fewer opportunities
“One of the main sources of a variation in the Canadian market right now is different strengths across regions,” says Brendon Bernard, economist at job platform Indeed Canada.
“In provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec — where labour shortages and hiring difficulties have picked up — we have seen nice progress in a couple of key dimensions of the labour market.” Measures such as the average length of time it takes a person to find work are improving at “a fairly decent pace,” he says.
But these job market conditions are not present everywhere.
“That’s really the case in the oil-rich provinces, where wage growth used to be the strongest and jobless spells used to be quite low. Those labour markets haven’t recovered since the downturn in oil prices a few years ago,” says Bernard. The prospects seen at the national level are not “really being felt in provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
And not everyone can easily move to a province where the job market is better.
“Mid-career to older workers have established themselves in communities, invested in home ownership which either inhibits their ability to move, or they don’t have the desire to move because of families,” says Tobin.
Demand in a region may outstrip supply
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some geographic areas may be short on workers, not just because the economy is strong overall, but because housing prices have pushed those workers out of the area.
One Vancouver bakery, Solly’s Bagelry, famously closed shop for several weeks in 2017 because it didn’t have enough staff to operate.
It may be hard for workers to get by on wages around $15 per hour in Vancouver, which has the highest housing costs in the country. The benchmark home price was $1,019,600 in January, according to data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association Friday, and rent for a one-bedroom apartment runs around $2,000 a month.
Some industries are struggling
The most notable exception to the overall good news stories emerging about Canada’s job market continues to be the oil and gas industry.
“We lost about 52,500 direct jobs in 2015-2016,” says Carol Howes, vice-president of communications at Energy Safety Canada, a non-profit that advocates for workers in the oil and gas industry. “And while some of those have come back, certainly we’re not seeing the volume of activity or the requirement for the same number of workers as we lost.”
The result? Howes says the sector is seeing “a lot of discouraged workers” who may not want to come back to oil and gas “if and when things start to turn around again.”
Energy Safety Canada has been advising some of these workers on how they can transfer their skills to industries such as renewable energy and clean tech, says Howes.
As for the 2,500 workers facing unemployment with the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa, Ont., expected by December, Bernard says that, while there’s been some overall growth in auto manufacturing jobs in recent years, that comes after a long period of decline. It won’t be easy for Oshawa workers to find other jobs in the industry, he says, “given that new opportunities aren’t just springing up like they might be in other sectors of the economy.”
Not all jobs are good jobs
When we hear of job vacancies, it suggests there’s lots of choice for workers. But not all unfilled positions are ones that people can afford to take, because those jobs may not offer the salary, stability or benefits workers need.
“It’s definitely the case that jobs being plentiful doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good jobs,” says Bernard.
Over the past 10 years or so there’s been “a growing prevalence of term or contract employment and away from permanent employment. While jobs might be out there, they might not necessarily be everything that workers are looking for.”
Someone who loses a job in a decent-paying sector with low turnover could, in theory, take a lower-paying food services job, but that might not be the best decision for long-term career prospects, says Bernard.
“In that case, it might be better to hold off and look for the right fit, even if finding that match isn’t quite immediate.”
In a major shakeup to the highest ranks of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gerald Butts resigned Monday as Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary.
The bombshell departure — Butts, along with chief of staff Katie Telford, are the two most senior staffers in Trudeau’s inner circle — comes amid allegations that senior members of the PMO pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to help Quebec-based multinational engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution on bribery and fraud charges in relation to contracts in Libya.
In a statement to reporters, Butts said he categorically denies allegations that he or anyone else in the PMO put this sort of pressure on Wilson-Raybould. He said the accusation is “simply not true.”
“At all times, I and those around me acted with integrity and a singular focus on the best interests of all Canadians,” Butts said Monday.
“Canadians are rightly proud of their public institutions. They should be, because they work. But the fact is that this accusation exists. It cannot and should not take one moment away from the vital work the prime minister and his office is doing for all Canadians.
“My reputation is my responsibility and that is for me to defend. It is in the best interests of the office and its important work for me to step away,” he said.
It was not immediately clear who would replace Butts.
Wilson-Raybould announced last week she was quitting the Liberal cabinet just days after a Globe and Mail report claimed she was pressured to direct the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to sign a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) — a legal tool resembling a plea deal — with SNC-Lavalin.
The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing.
The House of Commons justice committee has agreed to study the matter. Opposition members of that body have insisted that Butts should be among the witnesses called to testify about what exactly went on inside the PMO on the SNC-Lavalin matter. Last week, Liberal members defeated an NDP motion that would have compelled Butts and Wilson-Raybould to appear.
Wilson-Raybould has taken the highly unusual step of retaining Thomas Cromwell, a recently retired Supreme Court justice, as her legal counsel as the scandal enters a new phase.
Trudeau loses long-time political ally
In a tweet, Trudeau said Butts served Canada with “integrity, sage advice and devotion.”
In addition to the political partnership, the prime minister is close friends with Butts — a relationship that dates back to their time as students at McGill University in Montreal where they were members of the campus debating club.
Born in Glace Bay, N.S., a coal-mining town on Cape Breton Island, Butts worked on public policy in Ontario before becoming a senior staffer under former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty at Queen’s Park.
While in provincial politics, Butts crafted policies designed to bolster the party’s progressive credentials. Among the actions, the government phased out coal-fired power plants, implemented full-day kindergarten and increased Ontario’s minimum wage.
After working as a campaigner at the World Wildlife Fund, Butts then made the leap to federal politics and helped chart Trudeau’s political future as leader of the Liberal Party and later prime minister.
The prime minister thanked Butts and Telford by name after clinching power in the 2015 federal election.
“Katie and Gerry are two of the smartest, toughest, hardest-working people you will find anywhere,” Trudeau said at his Montreal-area victory party on the night the Liberals captured a majority government.
“They share with me the conviction that politics doesn’t have to be negative and personal to be successful.”
Praised by his allies as a brilliant mind, and vilified by Liberal foes as the political puppet master behind the prime minister, Butts said Monday he is proud of his time as Trudeau’s right-hand man.
“While it is fashionable sometimes in some quarters to denigrate politicians and public servants, my experience is that the women and men who serve Canadians in elected office and the professional public service are honest, decent, hard-working people who put service of country beyond self every day,” he said.
A well-known policy wonk, Butts has been a vocal defender of the government’s Canada Child Benefit and an advocate for carbon pricing as a solution to climate change.
He was also intimately involved in the NAFTA renegotiation efforts — working closely with U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in particular — that produced a new tripartite trade agreement last fall.
In his resignation letter, Butts said he hoped fighting global warming “becomes the collective, non-partisan, urgent effort that science clearly says is required. I hope that happens soon.”
Butts’ past comments on the energy industry — said before he made the leap to Trudeau’s political team — have provoked the ire of oilpatch boosters.
Gerald Butts served this government – and our country – with integrity, sage advice and devotion. I want to thank him for his service and continued friendship. Please read his statement today: a href=”https://t.co/VIaEHJMMe4″pic.twitter.com/VIaEHJMMe4/a