SYDNEY – The Australian city of Melbourne was named the world's most livable city for a record seventh year in a row in a global survey released by the Economist Intelligence Unit on Wednesday. Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, received perfect scores for health care, education and infrastructure, giving it a final score of 97.5 out of 100 in this year's Global Liveability Report. Austria's capital Vienna was ranked second, just 0.1 point behind Melbourne, while Canada's Vancouver followed closely in third place. The annual survey ranked 140 global cities based on stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. In a statement, Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle described the announcement as "an amazing feat that all Melburnians should be extremely proud of."
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has published an expose on a Jewish charity in Canada, which has been under investigation for using its donations to build infrastructure for the Israeli forces in violation of the country's tax rules. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Canada, one of the country's long-established charities, has been the subject of a Canada Revenue Agency audit after a complaint was filed in October 2017. The JNF funds numerous projects in Israel, such as reforestation efforts in areas hit by wildfires but it has also funded infrastructure projects on Israeli army, air and naval bases, the CBC reported on Friday. Their activities are in violation of Canadian law which prohibits charitable funds from supporting a foreign army. CBC's article details many troubling aspects of the charity's projects which, along with funding infrastructure on Israeli military bases, it has also contributed directly to the construction of at least one hilltop settler outpost - illegal under international law, and considered illegal by Israel itself.
As the Trump Administration tries to convince lawmakers to get on board with an infrastructure overhaul, Canada may provide a cautionary tale on what not to do, according to a new report. Only 11 cents of every Canadian dollar in new federal government spending on infrastructure will be spent on highways, bridges, railways and ports, according to a newly released study from Canadian public policy think-tank the Fraser Institute. It's a woeful percentage of a large sum that was supposed to jumpstart the Candaian economy. "The federal government has pinned its economic hopes on a major infrastructure spending plan, but only a small fraction of the money is going towards projects that are likely to spur economic growth," said Charles Lammam, the Fraser Institute's director of fiscal studies and co-author of the report entitled "Myths of Infrastructure Spending in Canada." Fraser researchers discovered that of the nearly $100 billion in new spending on infrastructure announced in the past year by Canada's federal government, only 10.6 percent will be spent on projects relating to transportation and trade.
The road to rebuilding America's Infrastructure is a long and winding one. Current President Donald Trump has emphasized the need to fix the nation's infrastructure. Yet, the World Economic Forum ranks the United States 10th internationally in terms of quality of overall infrastructure. The problems continue to get worse too. The White House says infrastructure problems are increasingly evident, with urban drivers spending an estimated 6.9 billion hours stuck in traffic, costing an estimated $160 billion in wasted time and fuel.
Last March, the government of Quebec floated the idea of instituting a Montreal-based international organization responsible for developing the necessary frameworks for artificial intelligence (AI). Montreal seems tailor-made for this role, considering its global leadership in AI and the sustained diplomatic activity within our city. It also stands to reason that this proposed agency's mandate should extend to the development of ethical and legal frameworks for data. This week, I had the honour of addressing the Metropolitan Montreal Chamber of Commerce to outline the significant impact that the next generation of wireless communications would have on Montreal and on Canada. Called 5G, this infrastructure will be 200 times faster than the average wireless connection speeds available today.