Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Canada Post Proudly Announces Its New Scam

I remember when this was initially announced, but I see more of it is popping up now. Canada Post is now in a partnership with MoneyGram, a company that will gladly take your money in order to transfer your money somewhere else in the world. The problem with this is that word got out long ago about MoneyGram's bad rep. Last year they paid an $18 million fine in the US for not shutting down fraud that used their service, and which they apparently often had knowledge of. More interesting is that some of the company's agents in Canada "actively participated" in the scams.

This is of course a new, great, money-making scheme for Canada Post. $8.00 for any transfer up to $500 sounds like a fabulous deal. But double that - let's say you want to transfer $1000 to the US from Canada, and suddenly the fee is $50. If I want to send something through, say, ScotiaBank, the fee is a flat $1.50. If I want to pay someone via PayPal, which doesn't require me going anywhere physical, then it can be as cheap as free.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Moya Greene, the head of Canada Post, recently told her employees that she wanted the corporation to move into secure electronic communications (exact quote is unavailable, but I can dig it up next week), which is as loony a statement as she could possible make. She'll think that that will be a moneymaker too, I know, although it seems far less likely. MoneyGram does stand to make money, but it will do so on the backs of the disenfranchised, those who don't have bank accounts or access to the internet in any decent fashion. And so they will make their way to Canada Post outlets and pay a premium to send someone money, perhaps overseas to family they support while they bust their humps working two or more jobs here. And if not MoneyGram, then one of the thousands of payday loan sites who also offer the service and combine it with their own special poverty tax.

Disclaimer: I work for Canada Post. Further disclaimer: I am doing my level best to get out of that job as soon as I can.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Novel Sale!

I'm pleased to announced that Napier's Bones, the book for which I received a Canada Council grant to research and write and which one wag had dubbed "the best book you may never get to read," has been sold to CZP, ChiZine Publications.

I'm also excited and relieved, as you might imagine. The contract has been signed, and Napier's Bones is now on their publication schedule for May 2011 release. There will apparently be a limited edition hardcover, a regular edition trade paperback, as well as eBooks, and it will be much more easily available than my previous two books.

CZP books look great: if you haven't seen them, get to a bookstore and look at (and buy, of course) David Nickle's Monstrous Affections, Claude Lalumiere's Objects of Worship, or Douglas Smith's Chimerascope, all of which are excellently produced books with, it should go without saying, fabulous fiction on the inside. And yes, the three mentioned are friends of mine. All of this is to say that I'm in excellent company and am really looking forward to seeing the final product, not just because it will be so nice to finally have this book on the shelves and in my hands, but also because I'm quite keen to see what they do with it.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Napier's Bones is my mathematical dark fantasy/suspense thriller with helpings of baseball and hockey and Romantic period literature thrown in. Hopefully it will be the best mathematical dark fantasy/suspense thriller with baseball and hockey and Romantic lit novel you'll ever read. At least for that year.

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