Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Reaction to Paris attack

As with most people on this planet I have been horrified by the heinous and inhuman acts committed in Paris. I will never comprehend this kind of barbaric acts of violence against innocent people because I am convinced there are no possible sane justifications for them.  

What really worries me is the reaction from Canadians and people at large to these events.  Somehow people link the acts of unprecedented cowardice and cruelty committed in Paris to the millions of refugees trying to flee precisely these kinds of atrocities which they have seen or experienced first hand.

People have asked Prime Minister Trudeau to reconsider, halt or outright cancel the humanitarian act of accepting 25,000 refugees into Canada in light of the terrorist acts in Paris last week-end.  In my opinion, this is based on fear and on false assumptions.

Firstly, people assume that the security screening to be done on these refugees is inadequate and not sufficient and that in light of the events in Paris better screening methods are required.  Are people truly convinced that Canada has no adequate nor effective refugee security screening processes currently in place especially after 10 years of Conservative government involvement?  Are we convinced that elected government officials would want to blindly and irresponsibly take the risk performing inadequate screening of refugee just to meet an election promise? Really?  Fear is what is driving this debate and what is required is level headed thinking.  What better screening do Canadians want or is it a concealed way of saying that we do not want to help all those people who have suffered horrible sufferings and require a safe haven?  Or are we looking for guaranties?

Unfortunately one must be reminded that the perpetrator of the terrorist acts in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and at the Canadian National War Memorial (whose names I do not want to cite so as not to give them more public exposure since they deserve none) were not refugees and that notwithstanding the fact that they were both born in Canada still managed to become radicalized and commit acts of terror.  There is no guaranty that any current Canadian citizen and yes,  let's admit it, that any of the best possibly screened Syrian refugee cannot and will not ever become radicalized.  There is no guaranty that acts of terror will never be perpetrated in Canada even if we stopped accepting refugees for ever.

So what are we going to do as a nation, become creatures of fear without hope for a better world and abandon our kind altruistic nature that has made and built this great country?  We have elected a government that, according to many Canadians, have given Canadians back a sense of hope and pride.  Let's not fall back into what the terrorist would love to see: a society closed on itself in constant fear of everything that is not "genuinely like us".  That is not my vision.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembrance day

Why do we wear this? A hard question to explain to younger generations but I wear it to honour those who before me faced intolerance and cruelty to guarantee the great liberties we now have in this great country!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Words about me

I asked colleagues over the years about words that describes me professionally.  I got this and I want to thank all of those who were kind enough to respond.  I got a few words that I cannot reproduce here! (Actually not) I will continue to update this over time.

Autonomous - Rob Hyde, Project Leader at Government of Canada
Hard worker - Sonia Cotrut, Project Leader at Government of Canada
Professional, thorough, efficient, dependable, proficient - Jean-Pierre Jauvin, President N-able
Accountable - Jin Zhao, Developer at Government of Canada
Tenacious/steadfast - Robert Pomedli, consultant at Government of Canada
Excellent/Well rounded skill set - Juan Luis Arroyo, Partner at MFJ Associates


The term t-account comes from the accounting principle of double entry where one entry is always reflected in two accounts. A colleague showed me in his book how you can use this very effectively to establish your value when evaluating a new job opportunity. 
On the left side you put the objectives of your future employer and on the right you put the past accomplishments that would be instrumental in achieving that objective. 
I thought I would share this insightful tool. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Reforming the canadian first past the post electoral system

Reforming the first past the post (FPTP) election system in Canada.

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau 

I have been annoyed at the method by which elections have been held in Canada for a long time.  I have seen governments come into power with a majority in the house with significant less than 50% of the popular vote.  Here is a list of recent occurrences:


Majority Government
Number of seats/
% of seats
Percentage of popular vote

This occurred in the 2011 Conservative majority with just 39.6%.  This would not be so bad was it not for some laws that were passed which perhaps should have been significantly improved or worse yet should not have passed at all. 

The last time as you know it occurred with the Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper.  I saw two juggernaut omnibus bill  (there were eight in total) namely the Jobs and Growth Act (Bill C-45) and the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (C-38) become law.  With a combined length of 900 pages and 1,200 clauses affecting 125 unrelated federal laws these were rammed through parliament without proper time for review.  The last one is the famous anti-terrorism bill C-51 that is also now law.  This is an omnibus bill in that it amends roughly a dozen other laws from the Department of Fisheries Act to the Criminal Code to the Income Tax Act.

What is most preoccupying with the Anti-terrorism Act 2015 (bill C-51 new name) is the fact that it grants Canada Spy’s agency or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) significant new powers.  Normally a spy agency has the right to collect intelligence but with this law it grants CSIS disruptive powers allowing the spy agency to do things above mere observations such as preventing a citizen to travel by revoking a passport with little or no oversight from the Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) which has been starved of staff and resources in recent years according to Craig Forcese, a law professor from the University of Ottawa.

Another disadvantage of the current system is that due to the unequal distribution of voters across ridings of different sizes it is possible for a party to win an election even though they did not have the highest number of popular vote.  This happened quite a few times in the past (see Canadian Parliamentary Review): Quebec 1966, New Brunswick 1952, 1974, Nova Scotia 1970 and in the federal elections of 1957, 1962 and 1979.

Enough on why we need a reform and let's get into my proposal for a representative form of electing our members of parliament. First in my opinion in order to be successful such a reform must meet the following criteria:

  1. The reform must be done in a manner that requires the least amount of legislative modifications. Some people may disagree but if I presented omnibus bills as a problem in general I believe that a reform should affect as few legislation as is necessary. This also ensure it’s criticism is minimized as it does not require a huge amount of time to review in committees as it will have the smallest legislative impact as possible
  2. The reform must be as easy as possible for Canadians to understand since some of the mechanics of electing representatives are not widely understood by the public at large.
  3. The result of the reform must provide true proportional representation of the people of Canada in the House of Commons. I reject the criticism whereby minority governments will be more often the norm and hence it will be difficult to implement the electoral platform. Any solution that artificially alters the representation in the House of Commons (such as the first past the post existing solution) to avoid minority government is a disfavour to Canadians.  If Canadians voted for a minority government this is what they should get.  There should be no more devious ways to alter the electoral districts such as to favour certain constituencies or requiring Canadians to vote “strategically” such as in the 2015 elections to effect a desired change. All citizens should vote for the best candidate of their choice with no other considerations.

I gave this problem a long hard think many years ago and never took the time to put it in writing because I truly believed politicians to be too cynical to ever implement something that would benefit all citizens as opposed to benefitting them. This is until the new discourse that came out during the 2015 elections from then candidate Justin Trudeau from the liberal party of Canada.

I always deplored that a huge numbers of citizens would end up not having any representative weight in the House of Commons with the current system. This is why I came up with a very simple and non intrusive way to render the electoral system in Canada truly representative of the will of its citizens. This goes a long way into restoring the confidence Canadians must bestow upon their elected representatives namely the members of parliament(MPs).  Here are the specifics of my solution to this long standing problem.

  1. Allow the current method of electing MPs in each riding i.e. the candidate with the largest percentage of votes wins the seat and becomes MPs for this riding.
  2. When all votes are tallied and each seat is assigned to a candidate the weight for a given party is calculated by taking the number of seats in the house (nsh) multiplied by the percentage of the popular vote for that party (ppvp) divided by the number of seats won by a party (nsp) as in the following simple formula:  weight = ( nsh * ppvp )/ nsp
  3. Whenever a vote takes places the number of MPs for a given party that votes in favor is multiplied by the weight for that party to calculate the total number of votes for that party.
  4. If a party has a popular vote greater than certain percentage (to be decided by parliament, I would recommend 1%) but does not manage to have any members elected in any ridings then a number of floating seats in the house would be assigned to the leader and his votes would be calculated the same way as before

For example, in the 2015 elections the weight for all parties that elected at least one Member of Parliament would be:


Number of votes
Top of Form
Bloc Québécois
Green Party
NDP-New Democratic Party
1.513318Bottom of Form


This means that every time Elizabeth May would vote in the House of Commons her vote would be multiplied by 11.5.  Every Liberal MPs’ vote would be reduced to .72, each Conservative MPs’ vote would be multiplied by 1.08, each Bloc Québécois MPs’ vote would be multiplied by 1.5 and as is the case for the NDP MPs.  This changes only requires changes in how votes are tallied in the House of Commons and does not require complex voting scheme such as multi round voting.  Of course other rules could be modified to reflect the representative nature of the new system such as the number of MPs required to be granted official party status.

This system is simple, easy to implement and would guaranty Canadians their votes would always be represented and not be ignored due to the unequal voter distribution across ridings of different sizes in the current first past the post system.




Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to invoke the Adobe Bridge CC - Photo Downloader on any arbitrary folder

As you have seen in my post Digital photography workflow I use the photo downloader from Adobe bridge as the corner stone of my workflow.  Sometimes, I am in a rush and I need to take a copy of what is in the memory card and keep it somewhere for safekeeping until I have time to process it.  What I have to do then is once I am ready, copy the folder content that was stored for safekeeping into a new cleaned up memory card and start bridge to download the images.

Here is a technique so that you do not need this copy back (which can be slow if you are copying 32 GB of images back onto a memory card).

Let assume that you have copied the memory card content to a folder say

h:\backup\memory card from houston trip

what you need to do is to look into Windows Explorer for a drive letter not in use in your computer at the moment.  Lets say this is drive P:.  You type the following command at a command prompt:

subst p: "h:\backup\memory card from houston trip"

This will create a drive P: with the content of the original memory card.  Then you type the following long command line (for Adobe Bridge CC, not sure if older version work the same) where P: represent your newly created drive with the subst command above:

"C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Bridge CC (64 Bit)\photodownloader\Photodownloader.exe" module=photodownloader params mode=direct devType=volume priDevId="P:"

And voila! You should then see the familiar Adobe Bridge CC - Photo Downloader window.  That's all folks.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Des élections au Québec, pourquoi?

Madame la première ministre Marois,

Je ne vous demanderai pas quelles sont vos motivations car elles sont trop évidentes.  La poursuite de l’opportunité prime avant tout autre chose malheureusement.  Je ne suis qu’un simple citoyen du Québec mais je vous demande une question au nom de tous les québécois et québécoises.  Comment justifiez-vous aux contribuables québécois la dépense de fonds publics (estimé par le directeur général des élections en 2012 à $78 millions) en considérant déclarer des élections générales au Québec seulement 18 mois après avoir été élue au gouvernement? N’est-il pas adéquat de s’en référer à un vote de non confiance lorsqu’on est situation de gouvernement minoritaire comme vous l’êtes présentement?

Je compte très fort sur le discernement de tous les québécois et québécoises à ne pas être dupes et de se souvenir de la leçon apprise par l’honorable David Peterson le 6 septembre 1990 en Ontario lorsqu’il crut de bon escient de déclarer des élections après moins de trois ans au gouvernement.

Je n’ai aucun espoir de recevoir une réponse de votre part car il m’est très clair que ce gaspillage ne vous importe pas le moindrement du monde.  Cependant devant un tel cynisme je me devais de poser la question au nom de tous ceux qui doivent toujours payer la note.

Mario François Jauvin,
Cantley, Québec

P.S. Il est malheureux que Mme Marois soit la seule député de l’Assemblée nationale qui pense ne pas être nécessaire d’afficher son courriel ici :http://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/deputes/index.html . Heureusementpauline.marois@assnat.qc.ca n’est pas trop difficile à trouver. On verra bien si le bureau de la première ministre « permettra » aux québécois et québécoises de continuer à l’utiliser après sa publication ici.

Philippe Couillard, Chef de l'opposition officielle
François Legault, Chef de la Coalition avenir Québec
Françoise David, Québec solidaire
Téléjournal, Ici Radio-canada
Céline Galipeau, Chef d'antenne du Téléjournal de Radio-Canada
Bernier et cie, Ici Radio-Canada
Alexandre Poirier, journaliste Astral
Annabelle Caillou, Journaliste
Richard Martineau, Journaliste au Journal de Montréal
Jacques CHAGNON, Président de l'Assemblée nationale
Jean-Marc Fournier, Whip en chef de l'opposition officielle
Marjolain Dufour,  Whip en chef du gouvernement
Justin Trudeau, Chef du Parti libéral et député pour Papineau (Québec)