Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Sunday, June 29, 2014

MacEwan University arts programs review

Jun. 18 MacEwan University: I’m looking into college programs.  I’m going to first research programs I’m somewhat interested in.  Then I will widen my focus.  The thing is, don’t dismiss something right off the bat until you get more info.

Arts and Cultural Management: I took a few classes in this program at MacEwan back in 2005.

"MacEwan University’s Arts and Cultural Management program is unique in Canada. Students in this program have one thing in common: a love and passion for the arts!

If you’re creative and organized, then a career in arts management or cultural administration might be right for you. You could launch an exciting new career in arts marketing, fundraising, publicity, music management, event planning and much more.

The Arts and Cultural Management Diploma program comprises two years of full time study and practice. We still offer the flexibility of a certificate exit after one year, but to maximize your knowledge in arts management we encourage you to complete the Diploma program."



Learn with others who share your passion, drive and creativity. Study online or on campus in west Edmonton, Alberta to learn administrative and management skills in:
  • Audience and resource development
  • Publicity and media relations
  • Special events and project management



Interactive classes


Our instructors use a dynamic, interactive teaching style that includes discussions, group projects and seminars that help you learn by doing.

Field placement


During a two-month field placement, you’ll further develop your skills and make valuable industry connections in areas including:
  • Music and dance
  • Theatre and film
  • Visual arts
The arts and culture sector offers a wide range of career opportunities from entry-level box office or administrative positions to senior management positions. Our graduates are working in a variety of roles such as:
  • fundraisers for arts organizations
  • managers of professional theatres
  • volunteer or marketing coordinators for arts and cultural festivals
  • public programming managers in museums and art galleries
  • special event coordinators

My opinion: It used to be a 1 yr program, but now they have it a 1 yr certificate or a 2 yr diploma.  I took a few classes, and I wasn’t really interested or excited about it.  I passed the classes.  I didn’t really want to take more classes so I can manage an art gallery or movie theatre.

Design Studies: I actually looked into this when I was applying for colleges.  Here’s what it says on the site:

“The Design Studies program at MacEwan University offers a curriculum featuring a three-year design diploma that will introduce you to new ways of seeing and thinking about design - and the world in which you live. Design is everywhere. Publications, documentaries, illustrations, photographs, and physical or virtual spaces impact and influence our daily decisions. The words, how they look, the images and sounds they are used with, and the medium give visual communication designers both the opportunity and the ability to have their messages stand out.

Get prepared for a career in the exciting, ever-changing and multi-disciplinary field of visual communication design.”

My opinion: I was browsing through it, and I see that there are computer programs with designing.  The careers that come out of it are graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, etc.  I already took graphic design at NAIT and I didn’t graduate.  

I like art as in looking at it.  I go to the Stanley A. Milner library and they have art put up there with a different artist each month.  I don’t really have a talent for art.  I make collages, but it’s not really a skill in cutting up pictures from magazines and putting it together on a big piece of paper.

Fine Art: Now you have to be really good at art to get in here.  You have to send in a portfolio and your statement of intent of why you want to get into this program.  I’m not that interested or good at art to apply here.

Theatre arts: This program teaches you how to act, sing, and dance.  I like dancing, but I’m not that interested in theatre.

Theatre production: I looked into this program recently.  I already wrote about it in another weekly email.  This program is more technical with lights, sound effects, props, construction, etc.

Bachelor of Arts: I looked into it and you can major in things like: “anthropology, economics, English, history, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology.”

When I click on the careers section, it says the skills you will learn are: “critical thinking, team work, organization, creativity.”

Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music: I don’t play musical instruments.

Accounting & Strategic Measurement: "

In addition to courses in financial and management accounting, tax information technology, and business law, the Accounting & Strategic Measurement diploma gives you a solid background in communication and team building. With this skill set, you’ll be ready to take on the challenges of the rapidly changing world of business."

My opinion: I’m not good at and I don’t like math.  This doesn’t sound very interesting.

Acupuncture: I have no interest in this.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Elizabeth Gilbert/ Justin Cronin/ cancelled shows

Jun. 4 TED conference: I cut out the Globe and Mail article “The instants that sparked the ideas” by Marsha Lederman on Mar. 22, 2014:

Elizabeth Gilbert:

Elizabeth Gilbert produced a massive bestseller with Eat, Pray, Love, but that came with its share of terror. How to follow up such a huge success? She felt certain that fans of her memoir would be disappointed with whatever she wrote next. She considered giving up writing altogether.

She, weirdly, found herself identifying with her younger self – an unpublished waitress in a diner coming home daily to a mailbox stuffed with rejection letters for almost six years. It made no sense. What did constant failure have to do with success beyond her wildest dreams?

Here’s what she discovered: The answer, in both cases, was to keep doing the thing she loved not for the end game but for the activity itself. It was her love of writing that inspired her writing.

“That’s how, in 2010, I was able to publish the dreaded follow up to Eat, Pray, Love. And you know what happened? It bombed. And I was fine. Actually I kind of felt bulletproof because I knew that I’d broken the spell and that I’d find my way back home to writing for the sheer devotion of it.”

Sting: For Sting, it was a glimpse of a different kind of life that provided motivation to get out of his shipyard building town, Newcastle, and what seemed his inevitable future working there. That shipyard at the end of his street made some of the biggest vessels in the world. So big, that sometimes royalty would show up on launch day. When Sting (then Gordon Sumner) was a boy, he remembers the Queen Mother coming to town for one of those events. He stood at the side of the road, in front of his house, wearing his Sunday best and holding a Union Jack. Finally, her Rolls-Royce drew near.

“I started to wave my flag vigorously and there is the Queen Mother,” the superstar musician told the audience. “I see her and she seems to see me, she acknowledges me. She waves, and she smiles. And I wave my flag more vigorously. We’re having a moment, me and the Queen Mother. She’s acknowledged me. And then she’s gone. Well, I wasn’t cured of anything. It was the opposite, actually. I was infected. I was infected with an idea. I don’t belong on this street. I don’t want to live in that house. I don’t want to end up in that shipyard. I want to be in that car. I want a bigger life. I want a life beyond this town. I want a life that’s out of the ordinary.”

My opinion: I never read any of Elizabeth Gilbert books, but the above was inspirational.  I’m going to put it in my inspirational quotes.  I’m not really a fan of Sting’s, but I liked his part in the article too.  The rest of the article talks to Sting and the artist Lars Jan.

Justin Cronin: I wrote about him before.  I found this 2010 Globe and Mail article called “A 13-yr-old’s idea” by John Barber.  I couldn’t find the article on the internet, so I’m going to type up some things. 

Cronin is a university professor and a novelist.  He says “writing has always paid for more writing.”

It says he sold his manuscript and 2 planned sequels for $3.5 million US and the director Ridley Scott would pay $1.5 million for the film rights.

Cronin was talking to his 13 yr old daughter Iris and she loves Harry Potter.  She told him to write a book about a girl who saves the world.  She goes bike riding and he jogs as they talk about the story.  After the summer ends, it’s too dark out.  Cronin wasn’t going to write, but then thought the story seemed really good and decided to write it.
The Twelve: Here is another review of his book called The Twelve.  This is the Globe and Mail article “Apostles of apocalypse” by Zsuzsi Gartner on Oct. 20, 2012.  Here are some excerpts:

Project Noah, a secret military experiment (is there any other kind?) in Colorado, goes haywire, unleashing 12 predators, former death-row inmates injected with a DNA-altering virus, who, in a matter of weeks, lay waste to the entire United States, aided by their millions of bitten followers. (There is no mention of Canada or Mexico, and the world beyond reacts with haste to enforce a quarantine of the North American continent, laying mines along the entire coastline and blowing up the vessels of those who try to flee.)

The (d)evolution of this man (to name him would to give away too much) over the course of almost a century is a study in how a human being loses his moral compass to become a being of unadulterated evil. Cronin also manages to wring sympathy from the reader for all manner of cretins, including a hapless pedophile who gains humanity through becoming inhuman.

He invests a dizzying array of primary and secondary characters with satisfying backstories, emotional lives and distinct voices.

(Wouldn’t it be great if some of our iconic writers of fine prose and character studies followed Margaret Atwood’s lead and speculated about the future and other levels of reality, combined soulfulness with page-turning narratives?)

Jun. 9 3.5 floppy disks: I was helping my brother find his glasses in his room and I found a green Memorex 3.5 floppy disk.  From the label, it seemed the last time he used it was in high school, so probably 2004.  I tried it on the computer and it doesn’t work.  The disk looked like it was only used for one class.

A few days ago, I tried my orange Memorex disk, and it stopped working.  It had my weekly emails saved onto it.  Fortunately, I saved it also in my drafts in my email.  A gray disk stopped working back in Apr. and it had my emails saved onto it.

The orange one was used by my sister when she was in university.  I saved my The Vertex Fighter 1, 2, 3, and 4 drafts onto this before I transferred it onto another disk.

I’ll give Memorex points that they lasted this long.  They were bought in 2002.

Jun. 12 Recycle: I was talking to my friend Jessica earlier this week and she found lots of dead pens when cleaning.  I told her to recycle them at the Staples in Oliver square and she says it won’t be worth the trip to drive there to recycle it.  I told her I can take the pens from her and recycle it for her.  Seriously.  I’m very into recycling. 

The Staples also recycle batteries and printer toners.

Meet Up: Yesterday I went to my second Meet Up for screenwriting.  There were 4 more people than last time, so I met them.

Jun. 16: I went to Staples twice in May to recycle.  2 weeks ago I was going to recycle some more pens and batteries, but then I decided not to because I was kind of sick of going there.  So I should go there once a month so I won’t get bored of it.

Cancelled shows: This was awhile ago but in Fall 2013, there were a lot of TV pilots I saw.  I saw a whole bunch, but I only liked two shows where I kept watching it.

1. The Tomorrow People- cancelled
2. Marvel Agents of SHIELD- renewed
3. Dads- cancelled
4. Hostages- cancelled
5. Dracula- cancelled
6. The Blacklist- renewed
7. Sleepy Hollow- renewed
8. Brooklyn Nine- Nine- renewed
9. Believe- cancelled
10. Helix- renewed

I only kept watching Dracula and Believe, and they’re both cancelled.  I just saw the series finale to Believe on  It was a good ending.  It was a little open.  Dracula was open ended too.  The thing is with season and series finales, you have to finish some story lines and set up new storylines for the next season.

Here’s a site with all the Fall 2013 TV shows that got cancelled.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

4 Reasons to Demand Action on Women's Rights

"Yes" to IVAWA

The International Violence Against Women Act helps put the brakes on gender-based violence. Urge your Members of Congress to get on it.
Take Action!

Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter.
Dear Tracy,

Tomorrow, the US Senate is going to be talking about the most important piece of legislation in Congress supporting women and girls around the world - the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

We need every lawmaker on board. Tell your Members of Congress to commit to ending violence against women and girls by co-sponsoring IVAWA.

What can one bill do? Quite a lot, actually.

Here are 4 Reasons to Stand Up for Women & Girls Right Now.

REASON 1) No girl should be denied the right to education.
In mid-April, 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria were abducted by an armed group that opposes any form of Western education. The Nigerian government failed to act for weeks. The girls are still missing.

IVAWA would promote community efforts to support girls' education in Nigeria and train local law enforcement to respond quickly and thoroughly when women are targeted for violence.

REASON 2) No woman should fear rape or other violence every time she steps outside her door.
Take Action
The grandmother of two young gang-rape victims (Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images) .
In India, two girls - age 14 and 16 - went into a field at night to relieve themselves because they did not have access to a toilet at home. The next morning, the bodies of the girls were found hanging from a tree. They had been gang-raped. When the father of one of the girls sought the help of local police to find them, a policeman slapped him and refused to investigate.

IVAWA would help train police in preventing and responding to gender-based violence anywhere the US provides foreign aid.

REASON 3) No woman should be raped by law enforcement or denied justice for sexual violence.
Take Action
Miriam Isaura Lopez Vargas was abducted by Mexican soldiers, taken to a military barracks and held illegally for a week. Soldiers raped and tortured her there. Though she has identified her assailants, no charges have been filed. She lives in constant fear of abduction.

IVAWA would help train courts on prosecuting cases of gender-based violence and empower local women's organizations to advocate for survivor's rights.

REASON 4) Your action can make a difference.
Take Action
04-25-11 © mehmettorlak

Your camera can fight torture

Don't turn a blind eye to torture

An image from the #StopTorture tumblr campaign.
Darrell Cannon and Anthony Holmes stepped in front of a microphone and told the world about the torture they suffered decades ago at the hands of the Chicago Police DepartmeWould you have been so brave?

Join me and thousands of Amnesty International activists on June 26th to demand justice for torture survivors like Darrell and Anthony.
Take Action!

Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter.
Dear Tracy,

In front of hundreds of activists and flashing cameras, Darrell Cannon and Anthony Holmes stood up and shared their painful stories at Amnesty's annual meeting.

Electric shocks. Beatings. Mock executions. Suffocation. Humiliation. False confessions. Decades lost in prison. Torturers living without consequence. Justice delayed. Justice denied. Scars that will never heal.

This is what Darrell and Anthony stood in front of us and shared, recounting trauma after trauma. What Chicago police - under the direction of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge - did to these men, and approximately a hundred other men and women of color, hit me at my very core.

Stand with Darrell and Anthony - share a #StopTorture image.

Darrell and Anthony have told this story many times before. But authorities would not listen. Chicago lawmakers could not be convinced they deserve justice and reparations for what they suffered.

They stood up and asked for help. Now it is our chance to stand with them.

On June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Amnesty International activists are urging the Chicago City Council to pass an ordinance to provide reparations for torture survivors like Darrell and Anthony.

Submit your photo in support of torture survivors. We will share them with Chicago lawmakers so they can no longer turn a blind eye to torture.

In solidarity,

Jasmine Heiss
Senior Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Thank you so much for your support - protection for Flaminio Onogama Gutierrez

"Thank you so much for your support!"
Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez
Dear Tracy,
The message from Colombia was short but heartfelt.

Thank you for your support!” wrote Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez, an Embera Chami Indigenous rights defender who had to go into hiding because of death threats and attacks on his family.
Flaminio’s thanks came after we informed him that Canada’s Embassy in Colombia had expressed concern about his safety to Colombian authorities, and obtained a commitment that the threats he faces would be carefully investigated. This is crucial if Flaminio is to be protected from harm, and able to carry on working to defend his people.
The Canadian Embassy also reported back that they had called on the Colombian government for an investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of Flaminio’s nephews Berlain Saigama Gutiérrez and Jhon Braulio Saigama. Embassy staff relayed news that an investigation is now underway.
Your activism is behind these positive steps!
Some 10,000 of you signed our petition action to the Canadian government calling for precisely these measures to protect Flaminio and his people. Your appeals were heard!
As Amnesty supporters know, Indigenous peoples are facing a profound crisis, one you have helped us to make visible.
Click here to learn about what we have achieved together!

Tragically, the threats to Flaminio are not isolated. 
Dangerous threats to Indigenous women defenders
Just last month, 15 year-old Génesis Gisselle Gutiérrez Romero in the Wayúu Indigenous Reserve of Zahíno was traumatized by a phone call warning that she and her family would be killed.

The teenager’s mother Jakeline Romero Epiayu is a leader of a courageous women’s organization called Fuerza Mujeres Wayúu and recently travelled to Europe to speak out about the many dangers that Wayúu families now face since large-scale coal mining was imposed in their region.

Colombia’s highest court ruled in 2009 that the Wayúu are “threatened with physical and cultural extermination.”

Take action now! 
You have helped us to protect Indigenous human rights defenders like Flaminio Onogama. Help us now to protect Génesis Gisselle, Jakeline and the courageous women of Fuerza Mujeres Wayúu.

Thank you for raising your voice now! Together we can defend life and dignity!
Alex Neve
Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada
P.S. To stay informed about other ways you can continue to take action to support the rights of threatened Indigenous peoples in Colombia, visit New actions are posted in the right hand column.
If you have more time, organize a showing of our beautiful Colombia photo messages from threatened Indigenous peoples at a school, library or other space in your community. Or create your own photo message so we can make visible demands from Canada for action. For more information, contact our Colombia campaigner Kathy Price at   


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

job search/ new graduates/ English literature

May 21 Job search: I didn’t look for a job on Victoria Day long weekend.  I needed a break and nobody really puts job ads on the weekend.  Only a few people do.  Yesterday after work, I went shopping.

Today is my day off.  In the morning I helped my grandma sweep and mop the floors.  I also made lunch for both us.  It’s good that I took a break and now I am refreshed enough to do my job search today.
I took 4 days off from my job search.  Today I stayed at home all day and was very productive.  I did chores, read the business section of the newspaper, and looked for a job.  I also worked on my Linked In profile today which I haven’t done in quite awhile.
May 23 Business news:

Red Lobster: Did you know that Darden is selling their restaurant Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion?  I don’t know if all the restaurants are going to close down or be open under new management.  If it does close down, there is still Joey’s Seafood.

Sears Canada: The US Sears Holdings is planning to sell the Sears Canada stores.  For the past few years there have been thousands of layoffs and selling some locations.  Let’s see if anyone buys them.

Engineering: Today I read in the Globe and Mail “Less than 30% of engineers with a bachelor degree or higher were actually working as an engineer or engineering manager.”

I was surprised.  I thought engineering was a practical degree and could be applied to get careers. 

Hypothetical career: A few weeks ago I asked my dad if he saw me as a police officer.  He said he would be pleasantly surprised if I became one.  Then we discussed how I had to get a driver’s license.  He also mentioned how I had to be street smart.  He mentioned pyramid schemes and scams and know it right off the bat.  As for me, I have to Google to read other people’s opinions to see if it is a scam. 

I have mentioned before, I get too angry watching Cops.  I feel like I’m at a ride-along when I’m watching it.  So I would be too angry for this job.

Ryan Reynolds: On a side note, I was reading in the Globe and Mail article “Ryan Reynolds’s career takes a dark twist” by Liam Lacey on May 17, 2014.  In the article it says his brother is an RCMP officer who deals with serious crime.

On imdb: Is the youngest of four brothers. Two of his three elder brothers are policemen.

New graduates: I found this “9 Things new Graduates need to do now” by Gail Johnson. 

Get working
Pay yourself first
Establish a budget
Pay off debt
Open a Tax-Free Savings Account -- to start
Look for other ways to save and earn money
Get financially educated ASAP
Consider insurance
Travel to a developing country

There is also a little video at the end by Ashley Patterson as she talks about she paid off her college debt when she graduated in 2007.  She paid it off in 4 years.  She asked her parents and family instead of giving her Christmas and birthday gifts, give her cash.  Also instead of paying the min. on her student loan of $550, she paid it $2,200.

May 26 English literature: Today I read in the Metro that the actress Emma Watson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in the Ivy League University in Rhode Island.  Watson played Hermione in the Harry Potter films.

I had to look it up on the internet with what you can use your English literature degree for what career.

“Like many other degrees, English literature doesn't have career-specific skills, so it can feel like there are both very few – and too many – options out there.

Research shows there are a huge range of jobs on offer for those with an academic background in English. For example, 8.3% of English graduates from 2010 went into marketing, sales and advertising, while 3.8% became social and welfare professionals.

After asking our followers what jobs they have done following their degree, we also had a pretty diverse response: copywriter, PR, journalist, marketing, advertising, animator, designer, public speaker, teacher, curator, TV producer. And that's not even the full list.”

I then went to a few of other sites:

My opinion: It listed all these careers like journalism, editor, and advertising.  There is also teaching and social work.  When I read this, I thought: “An English or English literature degree is like my Professional Writing diploma.”
University of Alberta: It then lead me to check out this school.  I never applied there.  I did go to the open house.  I guess I went there to get myself more information about college in general.

Here’s what it says about the English major:

“The discipline of English undertakes to study a rich body of literature and to develop critical thinking skills necessary to read our increasingly complex world. You will learn about the way language makes meaning and how words create worlds. This analytical framework will enrich your life and prepare you for today's knowledge-based economy where the most valuable employees are critical, adaptable and creative thinkers.”

May 28 Wesco: I went to a job fair probably in Jan.  I have this card about this company called Wesco.  There is a west end location and a south location.  I looked up the jobs available in Edmonton and there are positions like warehouse associate and sales specialist.

I also have another card for Karen Currie, who is the Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist.

Careers for Community: I also picked up this card and it says: “We are a coalition of local not-for-profit charitable organizations.”  It lists Boyle Street Community Services, Canadian Mental Health Association among others.

There are only 5 positions available right now.  There’s full-time, part-time, casual, and for different organizations.

Cambridge Mercantile Group: I have this card for this Global Payment Services company.  It’s like being a foreign exchange trader.  I went to their website and the positions available are credit analyst and executive assistant, all in Toronto.

The Edmonton office is the Manulife Place.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

back to school/ research career path

May 28 Back to school: I’m reading on my old Job Boom newsletter I didn’t get to read.  It also lists articles from the Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette.  Here’s an article about continuing education from going to one- day seminar, once a week, or online classes.  It’s called “Going Back to School is Good for Adults too.”

 Many workers can also benefit from taking a type of course they may never have considered — sales. According to sales expert Tom Hopkins, author of Selling for Dummies, “even if you are not directly involved in selling products and services, you ARE selling yourself every day.”

“You sell someone on hiring you. You sell co-workers on your abilities and in getting their cooperation. You sell upper management on projects, ideas and pay increases,” says Tom.

“Having a basic knowledge of how people make ‘buying’ decisions and how to communicate effectively with them (‘selling’) is one of the best skills you can develop to get ahead in any career,” he adds.

More Ways to Learn

You can be a lifelong learner by continually looking for and taking advantage of opportunities to increase your knowledge. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Watch educational television shows. Although Canadian Learning Television no longer exists (it was replaced by OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network), educational shows are offered on cable stations including CTV Two (formerly Access TV) which has a list of programs
  • Join professional or industry associations. Many offer a variety of educational opportunities including luncheon speakers, workshops, conferences, and newsletters.
  • Take training programs offered by your employer.
  • Go on information interviews to learn about new careers from people currently working in those careers
  • Get someone to coach you in a new skill.
  • Learn by doing. Volunteer to help a local charitable organization in an area you want to learn more about.
  • Read books to learn a new skill or discover how to break into a new career.
  • Also check the Internet to find articles and e-books on a variety of career topics.

Working in the woods: Here’s an article told with pictures.  It’s in French.  The English title was “Young entrepreneur offers up gastronomic treasures.”  

Self-employment: This article called “More Canadians turning to self-employment in shaky job market” talks about the pros and cons of self-employment. 

“Andrea Zanetti is one of them. The 51-year-old is now a self-employed HR consultant, working out of her home in Caledon, Ont., after a restructuring at her large company left her without work. She wasn’t prepared for self-employment and now earns less – but says it’s worth the trade-off for more fulfilling work, less stress and no more commutes.”

Research career path: This is a good article called “Job seekers need answers before setting out on a new career path”:

When your career has stalled and you want to transition to a new job, who can help you analyze your options? Who can identify the skills you need to make the move? Who can provide solid information about the demands of the industry?

The first task, she says, is to ask “What does or does not work well for me in my job right now, since I am thinking of changing positions?” She suggests taking a hard look at the big picture. Then focus on specific aspects: the people you work with, the values of your workplace, the location, the hours or conditions, the money, the chance for promotion, the actual work you perform.

“A good idea is to reach out to professional associations that offer networking, continuing education, and perhaps, depending on the industry, pathways to accreditation,” says Wright, president of the Toronto chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF), a non-profit organization of individual member professionals who practice career coaching.

Ivory towers: Here’s an article “Students, country shortchanged by insular ivory tower attitudes.”

“What is the return on a university education? Sadly, many Canadians graduate to find that their $30,000 debt (national average) has bought them employment prospects no better than when they left high school. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimates more than 500,000 postsecondary graduates will be working in low-skilled jobs by 2016, while 1.5 million skilled jobs will go unfilled. What is the problem, and how can it be fixed?”

One of the comments by J Fishhh on the article said how his son has an engineering degree with an internship, high GPA and applied to dozens of engineering jobs in Alberta.  He can’t get one.  Something about how they’re hiring engineers with intermediate experience.

In- house training: Here’s the article “In-house training part of the corporate curriculum”:

In-house training has also been a mainstay at EY (formerly Ernst & Young), says Diana Brouwer, Canadian learning leader in Toronto. “We spend millions a year training our people.”

She estimates that 70 per cent of learning is on-the-job experience, 20 per cent coaching and mentoring and the final 10 per cent structured learning in the form of classes and online modules.

Sheet metal:  Here’s an article called “Victoria man takes STEP toward career in sheet metal.”  It was about Aaron Smith went from construction worker at $18/hr to wanting a career change:

Smith’s work is focused on building the metal air ducts in ceilings. He says he’s adapted quickly.

“I was kind of hands-on right away,” he says. “I would get shown how to do something, and then I was able to do it. ... I had had enough construction experience and whatnot, and it was something that I picked up on right away.”

At first, Smith’s pay fell to about $13 an hour when he started his work in the sheet metal trade. He’s had two raises since starting and is up to more than $18. But he will still have to deal with short work disruptions for school in each of the next four years.

He anticipates earnings potential of about $35 an hour when he receives his sheet metal worker journeyman’s licence at the end of the process.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Good news inside: Two human rights activists freed

Dear Tracy,

In the last 30 days, two unjustly imprisoned men walked free - thanks to you.

Your support as an Amnesty activist helped secure the release of prisoners of conscience Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain and Dhondup Wangchen in Tibet.

Both men were treated with cruelty while in jail. Thank you for doing your part to win their freedom.

In 2012, Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years in jail for his peaceful role in pro-reform protests. He had already been in prison for two months after being convicted for sending a tweet that criticized Bahrain's Prime Minister.

Nabeel told the appeals court that on the day of his sentencing, he was placed in a small, dark cell with a dead animal. He was left almost naked, with only a small piece of cloth to cover his genitals. This particular act of cruelty was just the beginning of the abuses that he faced during his imprisonment.

Amnesty held rallies to call attention to his case and mobilized our global movement to speak out on his behalf. In December 2012, his sentence was reduced by two years on appeal.

The role you played was made clear by Nabeel's words shortly after his release: "I have seen all the tweets and actions taken for me from Amnesty members around the world and I would like to thank them individually for all their support, you can't imagine how much it means."

Nabeel was released in late May and has committed to "redoubling efforts" to advance peaceful reforms in his country. 

In 2007, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen began an ambitious project to gather footage of Tibetans sharing their thoughts about the Dalai Lama and the coming of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Immediately after he finished filming, Dhondup Wangchen was apprehended by Chinese authorities and was detained and charged with "inciting separatism." He spent six years behind bars and endured horrific treatment and conditions.

Amnesty held rallies in front of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations and gathered thousands of signatures on post cards, letters and petitions calling for his release. We also organized a speaking tour with his wife Lhamo Tso and leveraged our celebrity supporters including Yoko Ono who took up the case.

When he was finally released on June 5, his wife said, "Six years of injustice and painful counting the days ended today. It is a day of unbelievable joy for his parents in Dharamsala, our children and myself. We look forward to be reunited as a family."1

Clear victories in human rights work are few and far between. Today, let's celebrate the freedom of Nabeel Rajab and Dhondup Wangchen. Thank you for helping defend human rights for all.


Jasmine Heiss
Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Northern Gateway: Approval without First Nations consent violates human rights

Northern Gateway: Approval without First Nations consent violates human rights 


Share our petition by email

Promote our petition on Facebook and Twitter
Share via Twitter Share on Facebook

Learn more: 

Read our press release

Dear Tracy,
You’ve probably already heard the news: late on Tuesday the federal government announced that it had approved construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The announcement comes as no surprise, given the government’s commitment to further expanding oil sands extraction. However the decision is still shocking in its blatant disregard for the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

Please help double the number of signatures by promoting the petition on Facebook and Twitter!

Share via Twitter Share on Facebook

The Constitutional protection of Indigenous rights in Canada, along with international human rights standards such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, requires rigorous precautions in all decisions that could affect Indigenous peoples’ use of their traditional lands.

Robust, good faith consultation is just the beginning. On projects with a potential for serious harm, the standard of precaution required is to make decisions only with the free, prior and informed consent of those affected.

Despite this, the federal government excluded critical Indigenous concerns such as unresolved treaty negotiations from any consideration during the regulatory review of the Northern Gateway proposal. The federal government said it would consult with Indigenous peoples after the review was completed, but failed to do so in any meaningful way. Now the federal government says that the company that wants to build the pipeline will carry out this consultation, but only within the framework of the recommendations made by the review process.

Even Douglas Eyford, the person appointed by the federal government as a special envoy on west coast energy infrastructure, has said that this is not the way to go.

It’s little wonder then that 23 First Nations have announced that they will be fighting this decision in court.

Over the last three months, more than 10,000 Amnesty members and supporters have signed our online petition urging the federal government to respect the rights of First Nations who would be affected by the Northern Gateway project.

We need your continued help to make this message heard in Ottawa.

Please help double the number of signatures by promoting the petition on Facebook and Twitter.
Share via Twitter Share on Facebook

And please continue to make your voice heard by writing to your local newspaper, contacting your member of Parliament and supporting the First Nations organizations at the heart of this struggle, such as the Yinka Dene Alliance.

Thank you, your help is urgently needed! 



Alex Neve
Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada