8 Ways to Prevent World War Three at Your Holiday Dinner

8 Ways to Prevent World War Three at Your Holiday Dinner

BY DEEPAK KASHYAP, READERSDIGEST.CA

Don’t see eye to eye with family members on a hot-button political issue? Relationship and wellness expert Deepak Kashyap shares tips on how to prevent your holiday dinner from descending into a heated political deb

How to Prevent Politics From Derailing Your Holiday Dinner

Getting the family together for holiday dinner can be fun and festive—but it can also be fraught with tension. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, chances are, you’ll find yourself at odds with the views held by some (or all!) of your family members over the holidays. These political differences can actually strain your relationships to the point that you begin to dread—or even avoid—getting together for the annual holiday dinner. Before things reach that stage, try these simple strategies for defusing political tensions at the holiday dinner table—and even beyond.

1. Focus on the reason you’re together.

Don’t lose the sight of the reason why the family has come together for holiday dinner. You’re here to party, not to persuade. If a political argument erupts, try reiterating the need for gratitude and celebration: it’s not every day you’re surrounded by people who share not only a common history, but also love for each other—and love doesn’t always require you to be in agreement.

2. Debates get heated, but discussions should stay warm.

When a holiday dinner conversation gets political, learn how to convey your dissent without conveying disrespect. Try doing this by asking questions rather then making assertions: Intelligent, respectful inquiries are what differentiate a warm discussion from a heated debate. In a debate, the tone is aggressive—usually a defensive reaction. A debater isn’t necessary evil or wrong: more likely, they’re scared of being verbally assaulted—or worse, invalidated.

3. Let curiosity replace curses.

Passion and politeness are not mutually exclusive—even when politics are concerned. You will have to go deep inside your beautiful, loving caring heart, and with all the genuine effort you can muster, find the desire to understand—and not lecture—the person you’re disagreeing with. Respond with genuine, respectful curiosity every time you’re faced with an opinion that you don’t share.

4. Practice humility.

Have the humility to recognize that political opinions are not facts, and facts make sense to us based on our opinions. No matter how educated and rational you might be—and regardless of which side of the political spectrum you sit or which causes you’re fighting for—it’s important to remember that we can never know all of the facts all of the time. Facts join together to make a pattern based on our pre-existing beliefs, and this is true not only for your radical activist uncle, but for you as well. Intellectual humility will not only make you feel less defensive, but will also make you a true student of life. It is only certainty of self–righteousness that begets violence in words and actions.

5. Love doesn’t mean submission to your values.

Love doesn’t require you to see eye-to-eye in every aspect of life. In fact, demanding absolute compatibility of political views will only alienate others—even the potential allies of your cause. As the award-winner writer Alain de Botton points out, compatibility should be the consequence of love, and not always its pre-requisite.

6. Remember that stupidity is not a crime.

Even if someone shares an uneducated opinion, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to express that opinion. One of the ironies of living in a free country is that it guarantees our right to be stupid: In fact, it’s essential to the working of democracy that we allow dissenting voices to be heard, no matter how absurd those voices may seem to us.

7. Examine your own lack of empathy.

It’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—let alone walk a mile in them—when your own political views are narrow and rigid. When having a conversation with someone whose perspective runs completely counter to your own, it’s easy to dismiss their arguments as evil and bigoted. It’s also intellectually lazy and counterproductive on your part. Instead, try to show a genuine interest in understanding their hopes and fears. You don’t have to agree with your aunt’s views on abortion, but you can at least empathize with the reasons she feels so strongly about the issue.

8. When all else fails, run interference.

If all else fails and World War III seems inevitable, practice avoidance and diversion. Reroute the heated political conversation along a safer course, changing the topic to the weather, your health, gardening, or your love for puppies. It might be a bitter pill to swallow, but it can be worth the effort if it helps keep the peace with the ones we love.

 

 

Canada is one step closer to expanding preclearance operations with the U.S.

Expanding preclearance will enable faster travel between Canada and the United States, provide access to more American airports, bolster trade, better protect our rights and increase security.

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, highlighted the importance of Bill C-23: An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United Statesreceiving Royal Assent. This important milestone brings Canada and the United States closer to implementing the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America.

Once enabling regulations are in place, Canada and the United States can ratify the Agreement and start expanding preclearance operations to other modes of transportation – land, rail and marine – in addition to new locations in the air mode. The Agreement also opens the door to explore possibilities for cargo preclearance. The regulations for the air mode are expected to be in place by the end of 2018.

Quote
“The Government of Canada is committed to making the Canada–United States border more efficient and secure. Earlier this year, the Prime Minister and President announced their intention to accelerate the completion of preclearance to additional cities. Today we are one step closer to expanding preclearance – making travel faster for Canadians and bolstering trade, while also protecting our rights.”

– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Quick Facts

  • Almost $2.5 billion in two-way trade passes between Canada and the United States every day, in addition to more than 400,000 travellers.
  • At their meeting in February 2017, recognizing the success of preclearance operations for travellers, the Prime Minister and President committed to accelerating the expansion of preclearance operations to additional cities and to establishing preclearance operations for cargo.
  • In the spirit of a more efficient and secure border, they also committed to examining ways to further integrate our border operations.
  • The mutual respect of both countries’ laws and sovereignty is a fundamental principle of the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance. All U.S. preclearance activities in Canada will have to be carried out in a manner consistent with Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bill of Rights, and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • The Agreement allows for reimbursement of cost recovery of new preclearance operations, which are anticipated to be covered by the facility operator.

SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

Insuring Autonomous Vehicles In The Fabulous New

Bennett Jones LLP

In Blade Runner 2049, Nexus-9 replicant Luv asks the LAPD’s Lieutenant Joshi, “In the face of the fabulous new your only thought is to kill it? For fear of great change? You can’t hold the tide with a broom.”

While autonomous vehicles will not necessarily present the same challenges to society as an army of remorseless, bioengineered, self-replicating androids, the tide of fully autonomous vehicles is coming. The U.S. Secretary of Transport stated at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto show that he expects driverless cars to be in use all over the world within the next 10 years. Audi, BMW, Toyota, and Ford have all promised fully self-driving cars between 2020–2022. Driverless cars are now an inevitable “fabulous new” that will bring about great change. This will impact every business connected to the automotive industry, including insurance companies.

The Scope of Change

The change that fully self-driving autonomous vehicles will bring and the way our relationship with the car will change cannot be understated. Eventually there will be a complete passing of the baton from driver to car when vehicles are in control of their key functions. Liability for collisions will shift from the driver to the manufacturer. The CEO of Volvo has publicly said the company will accept full liability when one of its cars is in autonomous mode. On December 1, 2017, the California Department of Motor Vehicles dropped language from its proposed robot car regulations that would have let self-driving car automakers escape liability for crashes and shift the burden to consumers.

Many commentators have focused on the perceived negative sea-change that autonomous vehicles may wreak on the motor vehicle insurance markets. Fully autonomous vehicles are predicted to lead to a substantial reduction in motor vehicle accident claims, meaning lower premiums and tighter margins, and possibly competition from vehicle manufacturers themselves—as the focus of motor vehicle insurance shifts from individual driver characteristics to the make, model and software of the vehicle.

But with great change often comes great opportunity. Insurers who are quick to understand and adapt to the fabulous new may gain first-mover advantage in three key areas:

Cybersecurity

Insurance will be required for vehicle owners to protect against theft, unauthorized entry, ransomware, hijacking of vehicle controls, identity theft and privacy breaches.

Product Liability for Sensors and Software Algorithms

Manufacturers will need coverage for failures in communications systems, software (bugs, memory overflow, product defect, malicious coding by rogue employees) and hardware (sensory circuit failure, mechanical failure, camera vision loss, radar failure).

Public Infrastructure

When smart roads are built as public works, governments will need insurance for cloud server systems that manage traffic and roadways, as well as the failure of external sensors and signals.

It should also be kept in mind that while predicted to be safer, miscalculation by AI could lead to different accidents—things humans simply would not do. Collisions, when they occur, could also be more severe if fully autonomous vehicles travel at higher speeds than are currently allowed. In the shorter term, there could even be an increase in collisions and claims because humans will not understand the limitations of semi-autonomous (as opposed to fully autonomous) vehicles. Self-driving cars will also interact for some time with human-driven ones and human error. Moreover, while the focus of insurance may move from the characteristics of the individual to the vehicle, the essential insurable risks will remain the same, including accident, mechanical failure, vandalism, and theft.

The tide of self-driving cars is not going to stop. But insurers who move with it can make the most of the opportunities in the face of the fabulous new.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

Insurance Regulators to Introduce Full Cost Disclosure for Segregated Funds

The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) published its position paper on segregated funds which outlines the regulators’ expectations regarding the information that is to be provided to segregated fund contract holders. The position paper follows a significant amount of research and stakeholder engagement on potential gaps in the information currently provided for segregated funds, behavioral economics and disclosures provided for similar financial products.

The new expectations for segregated fund disclosure come at a time of increasing demands and requirements for a greater degree of transparency in the financial services industry. Consumers and regulators around the world are calling for more detailed and practical information to assist in decision making as well as to promote a better understanding of product suitability and performance.

“Times are changing and so are consumer needs. Consumers want to understand and be able to compare the products that are available to them. But, they also want to know what it is going to cost,” Patrick Déry, Chair of the CCIR said. “The new disclosure framework will ensure that consumers are informed of not only the performance of their segregated funds, but also all of the details of what it costs.”

The new disclosure framework to which Mr. Déry refers introduces a significantly heightened degree of information consumers will receive in terms of the costs. Currently, consumers are provided with information on the key features of the insurance contract as well as the risks and past performance of the funds included in the contract when purchasing a segregated fund. Additionally, consumers receive periodic statements regarding the performance of their funds. With the new increased disclosure requirements, consumers will continue to receive this information, however they will also receive additional details regarding the costs related to the contract’s insurance features as well as the distribution and administration costs of the segregated fund.

The position paper outlines a host of other measures intended to improve consumer protection beyond cost disclosure. These include an expectation that needs-based sales practices should be adopted with copies of the rationale for sales advice being provided to consumers and a requirement to disclose incentives related to travel and accommodations.

Segregated funds are often compared to mutual funds as they both involve the pooling of financial assets, diversification and professional management. However, segregated funds differ significantly from mutual funds in that segregated funds are life insurance contracts that guarantee 75% to 100% of the contract holder’s contributions, thereby mitigating the risk of loss for the contract holder.

With the introduction of the “Client Relationship Model Phase 2” or “CRM2” for mutual fund disclosure, the information provided to consumers also differed between the two products. With the expectations outlined in the CCIR position paper being introduced, consumers can now expect a more consistent experience when purchasing segregated funds and mutual funds. The similarities in requirements extend beyond the disclosure of distribution costs and will also include aligning the requirements for the delivery of updated Fund Facts, establishing consistent risk classifications used for the funds and promoting an equivalent standard of care for those dealing in segregated funds and those dealing in mutual funds. The position paper also recommends that insurance regulators consider harmonizing or adopting the Know-Your-Product due diligence requirements that currently apply to mutual funds.

In early 2018, the CCIR also intends to publish a prototype disclosure document for segregated funds. The prototype will provide an example of what compliance with the new disclosure requirements will look like. The content and structure of the prototype form were subject to extensive consultation with industry members and through comprehensive consumer focus group testing.  It is important to note that the insurance regulators will not introduce a prescribed form for segregated funds disclosures. Insurers will be required to ensure that consumers are provided with all of the new information outlined in the CCIR’s position paper, however they will have flexibility in terms of the layout and look of their disclosure documents.  In addition, insurers will be able to adapt their disclosures to ensure that the language and terminology are consistent with the insurance contract and Fund Facts documents.

Further information on the segregated funds initiative is available on the CCIR’s website (www.ccir-ccrra.org).

About the CCIR:

The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators is a national association of insurance regulators that traces its roots back to 1914. The mandate of the CCIR is to enhance insurance supervision and regulation to serve the public interest and to foster increased cooperative supervision and information sharing among regulatory authorities.

SOURCE Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR)

B.C. government expects changes in 2018 to help collect fraud penalties, pursue criminal convictions

By GORDON HOEKSTRA 

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said Tuesday her government expects to take steps in the new year to improve fine collections and increase emphasis on court convictions of fraudsters.

Under consideration is whether more investigators are needed at the B.C. Securities Commission, for example, or more resources are needed to pursue criminal convictions, said James, who spoke to The Vancouver Sun’s editorial board.

“That’s a conversation the Attorney General (David Eby) and I have been having. If a case is recommended (for prosecution) it needs to be a priority. And that is a challenge in the judicial system, where, there are lots of issues and priorities coming forward.”

James has already asked the securities commission to provide proposals on how it will improve collection of fines from fraudsters.

Those are being reviewed now, she said.

Other ideas being examined include expanding information sharing with the Canada Revenue Agency, said James. “We are not closing the door on anything,” she said.

Some changes may need legislation, which could affect the timing of implementation, noted James.

The B.C. government’s actions follow a Postmedia investigation reported last month that found criminal convictions have been rare and less than two per cent of $510 million in fines issued to fraudsters by the securities commission had been collected in the past decade.

Among significant fraud cases where police have decided not to pursue an investigation are separate Ponzi schemes carried out by West Vancouver-resident Virginia Tan and Surrey resident Tom Williams.

In a 2016 securities commission judicial panel decision, Williams was banned from B.C.’s capital markets and fined $21.8 million for carrying out an $11.7-million Ponzi scheme involving 123 people. The RCMP told victims the case was not a big enough fraud and it did not have the resources for an investigation.

In an April 2017 settlement agreement with the B.C. Securities Commission, Tan was banned from B.C.’s capital markets and fined $3 million after admitting to carrying out a $30 million Ponzi scheme since 2011.

The Vancouver Police Department said it believed the case was better handled by the securities commission.

Neither Williams nor Tan have paid their fines.

Following the Postmedia investigation, one of the Tan Ponzi scheme victims, Peter Doetsch, who lost more than $4 million, said he contacted the North Vancouver RCMP to interest them in launching an investigation.

In a speech earlier this month to an anti-corruption conference in Vancouver, Eby, the attorney general, citing the Postmedia investigation, said there is no question B.C. has preferred to pursue fraud cases through securities commission investigations and penalties over police investigations and criminal charges.

There is some sense in that, said Eby, including that securities commission tribunals offer a faster process with more relaxed rules of evidence.

The downsides are obvious: penalties at securities commission tribunals are less serious than criminal convictions, said Eby.

“For a senior who has been cheated out of his or her retirement savings, a tribunal penalty seems like a shallow consequence, or a cost of doing business, for what makes a much bigger difference to their life than a petty theft that might result in a criminal record for the perpetrator,” he said.

Eby said he didn’t want to discount the difficulty of collecting penalties.

However, he said, with fewer than two per cent of penalties collected, and limited criminal charges going ahead, the message is obvious to those who might wish to participate in white-collar crime — you’ll have a better chance to get away with it in B.C.

This is not acceptable, Eby said, which is why he wants to increase the likelihood of fraud cases being treated with the prosecutions they deserve.

Source: Vancouver Sun

Housing market expected to slow next year, but prices still forecast to rise

TORONTO _ New stricter mortgage rules are expected to slow the housing market next year, but prices are still expected to rise about five per cent, according to a report by Royal LePage.

In its market survey forecast, the real estate firm says its house price composite, which measures prices in 53 Canadian cities, is expected to increase 4.9 per cent next year to $661,919.

A new stress test for homebuyers who don’t need mortgage insurance will be required starting next year.

The new rules are expected to reduce the maximum amount buyers who have a down payment of 20 per cent or more will be able to borrow starting Jan. 1.

The Royal LePage report suggests home prices in the Greater Toronto Area are expected to increase 6.8 per cent in 2018, while the Greater Montreal Area is expected to see an increase of 5.5 per cent.

Greater Vancouver is expected to increase 5.2 per cent in 2018.

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