Ontario Lawmakers are Stupid

Riley !

A lot of people ask me 'What are you going to do with that?' after I mention I'm going to return to school for my Master's degree. As being 'done' almost assuredly happens after you have 'started', I never paid much thought to my future after my return to school. I always figured that I would return to programming, this time within the finance industry. There is a good chance that I could fill a role here within Calgary, although I have been weighing other options as well.

Most people would agree I'm very patriotic, and I would love nothing more than to keep myself within Canada. Within Canada, the epicenter for finance resides in Toronto. Now, moving to an even larger city, with more traffic and more urbania is not very high on my list of life choices. Although if I'm going to move to a larger city, I would like to keep it in Canada. The problem: Ontario has a real thing against some dogs.

Sonja tuned me into Ontario's hate for particular breeds of dogs. After a bout of examining skill sets on a financial job website, and again realizing that over ninety percent of the financial programming jobs in Canada are located in Toronto or one of it's suburbs, I decided to dig into this so called 'pit bull ban'.

The ban comes in two parts: The original Dog Owner's Liability Act, and an amendment passed in Bill 132. The first five or so sections of the Dog Owner's Liability Act make sense. If you dog bites another person, you as the owner are liable. The later sections around search and seizure also make sense if your dog has done something to make it a 'menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals'. Sane logic around how your animal can be taken from you, what will happen to it, as well as what repercussions exist for the owner are laid out through the law. However, Section 6, as well as all of Bill 132 are completely stupid bullshit.

The Liability Act lumps Riley, an American Staffodshire Terrier, in with Pitbulls. And, Ontario does not like Pitbulls in a very big way. There seems to only be two ways an individual can own a Pitbull or one of its cousins in Ontario. The first is that you owned one before the law came into effect, and you have bent over backwards with muzzles, registration, 1.8m leashes and sterilization. The other is that your dog is a flyball competitor, registered with a kennel club which has formally (written letter) invited you to a competition within Ontario's borders.

This means as a Canadian citizen, if I want to do a cross Canada road trip, I either can't bring my dog, or I can't enter Ontario. Failure to comply could lead to 'a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both.' Seems a little steep for just owning a particular breed of dog. Especially because the process ends up with the dog being taken, and most likely destroyed.

Getting back to my future, it looks like TO is off the list. Considering my success with negotiating away The Cat, I doubt I will have any success getting Sonja to give up the dog because I landed a job in Ontario. The truth is particularly frustrating because of Riley. She is an incredibly loving dog, and is more obedient that a lot of dogs I know. A little comfort comes from facts showing that the ban in Ontario is not reducing the amount of dog attacks. Perhaps the people in Ontario will lead a charge and get the bill amended to not focus on specific breeds. After-all, if we focused on the specifics, shouldn't the man that spearheaded the law against pitbulls be working on making Saabs illegal because they stall, disorient people and cause them to ram drunken cyclists into mailboxes?


Money Matters

Jen and Matthew

If you haven't been reading globe investor, Yahoo's or Google's finance pages, or been within 10 feet of a television while the news is on you may not know that over the last couple of day's the markets have slid a few dollars. It really hurts when thousands of dollars have been shaved off of your net worth, and companies that you once invested in are trading at lows not seen in 3-5 years.

I've always been a proponent to stop loss orders, and the market barged right through a lot of my 15% barriers. But, like an idiot, I just jumped right out of one burning car and into another one with another 15% stop loss in place, three days later: whoops, there's another one. On the plus side, I haven't lost as much as I could have, because of some covered call writing.

Everything has been flying towards the bottom. TSX is down over 11% from last week, and NASDAQ over 10% on the year. It's been great fun watching people scream about a recession, and the talking heads spouting everything from the worst is over, to the free market is over. I'm not in the boat that thinks that society is coming to an end, and I'm pretty sure we'll recover. If you peek at a nice long chart of one of the averages, you'll notice that it does move down quite a bit and even including the tech bubble pop earlier this century, it always goes back up. I have the time to wait this one out.

In the meantime, it's generating a lot of buzz. I had the best laugh about the markets when Mike showed me this video



Where the Money’s At


I've been sitting on the sidelines watching the phenomenon called the stock market, and the more time I spend doing it, the more amazed I become. This particular area of interest came from a particular financial company that I think is unfairly priced at the moment, and have been reading about what's been going on 'on the street'. Reading through some message boards the usual group of crackpots were chanting and forecasting and I found a little tidbit that I just continued to read into.

At first, it was a bunch of people hacking on Jim Cramer calling him the usual pile of names you'd expect. The people decried him for manipulating people, and saying one thing while doing another in order to sock in huge profits. The stories led me through a series of videos about naked short selling, and I noticed a commonality between some of the things I was reading, namely: hedge funds.

I wish someone would have told me about this 10 years ago. Looking at some information we can see that hedge funds make people boat loads of money. The top firms on that list at least doubled their client's money in two years, and the gentlemen behind the wheel made off with millions upon millions of dollars. Not only do I want to invest in a hedge fund, I want to run one.

These guys aren't the little market makers that spin around the bid and the ask price, these guys move the market. Some of the larger funds can buy and sell whole companies, and just the news of what these guys are doing can move stocks by double digit percentages. Who wouldn't want to have that kind of clout?