Interview with Advocate Dr. Lukacs re Bill C-49 (aka passenger rights bill) senate hearing

Wednesday, 21 March, 2018

Here is my video interview with Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate, to talk about his Senate hearing presentation (with Q&A) yesterday re Bill C-49 (the so called air passengers rights bill). Dr. Lukacs’ senate presentation and Q&As portion starts at around the 10:36:17am mark of the video.

Minister of Transport Hon. Marc Garneau (@MarcGarneau) is expected to testify again in front of the Senate committee next week to address some of the concerns. Dr. Lukacs hope the minister will be “asked some very tough questions about the air passenger rights issues“. Dr. Lukacs sees “no reason why tarmac delay should be more than 90 minutes“; “no reason why passengers should not be getting compensation for delays caused by the airlines’ own maintenance issues“; “no reason why third party complains by public interest advocates advocating for public interest should be barred“.

Interview with Advocate Dr. Lukacs re Bill C-49 (aka passenger rights bill) senate hearing

Dr. Lukacs and his Air Passenger Rights group have been more effectively using social media (Twitter: @AirPassRightsCA, Facebook page: AirPassengerRights, website: AirPassengerRights.ca) in raising Air Passenger Rights issues. In one recent tweet, a video clip of Minister Garneau was shown (see below) where he stated in his senate hearing testimony he has “never ever said that the Bill of Passenger Rights is contained in the legislation” and then followed by Hon. Garneau saying, in a House of Commons CPAC video clip, “and on top of that we’re providing a Passenger Bill of Rights“.

In the above tweet, the one click weblink bill-c49.ca directs people to a AirPassengerRights.ca web page with a quick and easy way to send a letter of complain to senators expressing their concerns re Bill C-49.

By the way, Leslie MacKinnon of iPolitics has done a really good report “Advocate raises alarm about more tarmac delays caused by air passengers rights bill” and is worth a read to understand the issues with background stories & news.


Passenger Rights Advocate interview re Supreme Court of Nova Scotia appeal of Air Canada denied boarding Small Claim Court case

Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Here is my video interview with Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate, re Supreme Court of Nova Scotia appeal of Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia decision (Paine et al. v. Air Canada – SCCH No. 460569).

Dr Gabor Lukacs interview re Supreme Court of N.S. appeal of Small Claims Court decision

Ref: Jan 15th, 2018 CBC News report of this story “Judge reserves decision in Air Canada case involving compensation for missed flight – ‘Air Canada cannot avoid its obligation to pay,’ says passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs


Air Transat $295K penalty for tarmac delay deemed agency’s “publicity stunt” by Rights Advocate

Thursday, 30 November, 2017

Here is this reporter’s extensive video interview with Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gabor Lukacs re Air Transat Tarmac Delay $295,000 Penalty (legal notice of violation) (press release). An extensive timecoded-links (allowing user to directly jump into the video)  with extensive notes and transcripts of the interview has been included below for your ease of references.

[Note: the video itself should be the authority of what were said as accidental transcription errors are quite possible.]

0:18 Reporter (KL) asks Dr. Lukacs (GL) to explain the CTA’s (Canadian Transportation Agency) Air Transat Tarmac Delay $295,000 Penalty. How the $295,000 was likely decided? Is it a good decision for Canadian Air Passengers?

1:24 Dr. Lukacs (GL) sees the $295,000 penalty as a “publicity stunt by the CTA to support the government’s effort to pass Bill C-49 [commonly known as passenger bill of rights (CBC news article) (read the text of bill (searchable via Parliament), PDF image via CBC)].”

1:35 KL: Why would you say this is a “publicity stunt”?

1:38 GL: The CTA “pretends it has teeth, pretends it issues a big fine while in reality, the fine has been waived.”

1:46 KL: How come? On paper and the press release, Air Transat has been fined $295,000. Even around the world, BBC news has been reporting the same $295,000 fine.

2:13 GL: “According to the media release, Air Transat will not have to pay money that it pays passengers. In other words, it can take the amount of the fine and pay that to passengers. However, it comes out to $500 per passenger and Air Transat has already pay to many passengers $400 as I checked back in August [2017].”

2:40 KL: I see in the previous CTV report you sent me. Air Transat already paid $400 to some passengers. Now $500 is like nothing [not much more]?

3:00 GL: Two problems. 1) Under the law, CTA cannot waive or reduce the amount of penalty that has been set out in notice of violation. Once the notice of violation has been …

3:46 GL (2) The notice of violation has been botched. It identifies two violations and each violations can only carry a maximum fine of $10,000.

4:00 KL: Notice cites only two violations and it cites specific sections of the law (which the reporter admits he isn’t clear about them and their legal limitations) but from GL’s reading, each violations can ONLY be fined up to $10,000?

4:28 GL: “If they treat a WHOLE AIRPLANE LOAD OF PASSENGERS being locked without water and food and air as a SINGLE violation as it transpires from the notice of violation, then each of those violations can only carry $10,000 penalty. What I think is breach of each passenger’s right is a separate violation and therefore for each passenger [of the 590 passengers in total] the agency can issue $10,000 for a total of $5.9 million which makes us see how little penalty has been issued if you look at things properly.”

5:25 GL: Two simple questions for the CTA: Q1) How the fine was determined? Based on what calculations? Q2) What gives the agency any authority to waive the fine that has been issued under the notice of violations? GL is not aware of any such power in the Canada Transportation Act.

6:00 GL: Whatever penalty they [CTA] put in the notice of violation, they cannot after the fact … waive part of [the fine]

6:13 KL: You are saying CTA has no power to say, within the $295,000 fine, if Air Transat has or will pay any amounts to passengers, those amounts can be deducted from the fine. (It should be NOTED that in this CTV August 4, 2017 news “Air Transat offering $400 to passengers stranded in Ottawa“, Air Transat has already “offered monetary compensation ($400) as a gesture of good faith” long before the hearings and the new “penalty”.)

6:41 GL: Further discussions about the fine calculations and maximum penalties.

7:11 GL: If CTA counts each passenger as a separation violation, then it is only $500 per violation, then by CTA’s own guideline, it would be exceptionally low! If treated as 590 separate violations, then it would be unreasonable in each case to fine the airline only for $500.

7:38 GL: Personally GL thinks each passenger should be treated as a separate violation but if one looks at the notice of violation, it is NOT how the notice reads.

7:50 KL: Ask about precedent setting power of such a big and high profile case.

8:13 GL: Discuss the numerical side of the fine calculation … vs the actual “Notice of Violation” (the legal foundation of the fine as the reporter understands from GL’s explanation) which states TWO violations. […] Either way you look at it, the penalty doesn’t make sense! TWO violations: Max $20,000. If seen as 590 separate violations, then the fine should be close to a few million dollars!

9:08 KL: Some passengers were unhappy of the CTA’s penalty. The reporter imagines himself in the shoes of the trapped and locked up passengers (for over 5 hours) and he would be unhappy with a $500 “penalty” or compensation!

9:37 GL: Very troublesome.

9:43 KL: What do you expect to see happen? Air Transat has no problem agreeing with CTA’s determination and paying the penalty. Are there any recourse for passengers that got stuck on those planes?

10:49 KL: How will a challenge benefit those affected passengers? Will the passengers be able to get more [monetary compensation]? Individually negotiate a higher amount …

11:07 GL: The message has to be clear that “the penalty is issued and waived at the same time”! ‘We issue the penalty but also waived it is what happened! “Thats what I would like to put a stop to.” […] “The agency cannot play fast and loose to show some good statistics that we issued a big amount of penalty but at the same time say we are not collecting it, we are waiving the amount. Thats dishonest. Thats a form of intellectual dishonesty. Something that borders on fraud to the public because the public hear, ‘Oh, there is a big fine issued.’ but actually the fine is not being collected. So if you are ti fine a person, the fine has to be collected.”

11:59 KL: Just to clarify. Is GL using waive because money paid or to be paid to passengers, etc can all be deducted from the $295,000 fine? Sooner or later, with whole bunch of deductions, Air Transat may not pay anything or very little as fine to CTA?

12:39 GL: “Yes. And there is an important issue of the Rule of Law here! That if the law says the agency can NOT waive penalty, then the agency cannot waive penalty. There is nothing in the law that permits doing this. So it is difficult to understand how this came to be. And what type of arrangement, what type of communication took place between CTA and Air Transat that lead to this outcome. What negotiation took place? It is troubling. I’m concern that something inappropriate happened in the background.” […]

13:41 KL: Obviously, you have no evidence that Air Transat and CTA had made any backroom deal or anything?

13:49 GL: The timing looks suspicious that they waive the penalty and Air Transat is going to comply. The way that the amount seems to be very close to what they already paid. It looks suspicious. We don’t know for sure but one thing I like to make sure that this type of backroom deal is not possible because the law doesn’t permit that. So even if they want to make this kind of backroom deal, the law is there to ensure that if a fine is issued then a fine has to be collected.”

14:22 KL: You want to appeal because of the precedent setting power of cases like this?

14:32 GL: “It is MORE than precedent setting power. It concerns the Rule of Law. The Parliament decides to grand the agency certain power, the agency cannot overstep those boundaries. If they issue a notice of violation, the have to stay within the confine of the law. The law says they can issue notice of violation. Nothing in the law that would allow them to rescind a notice of violation on the basis of some amount that has been paid. Thats not the power the enforcement officer has. The notice of violation has been issued at that point. They become functus officio. They’ve done their jobs.”

15:13 KL: Would you worry about unintended consequence that if you challenge the decision, and then the court agree with you that the fine can be $20,000 maximum which amounts to next to nothing?

15:31 GL: “It would show how inadequate the legislation is for sure. And it will also uphold the rule of law. The Rule of Law as a principle is more important than any kind of Air Passenger Rights. It is a far bigger, it is the corner stone of democracy. If we abandon the Rule of Law as a principle for some financial benefit, then we loose the backbone of our society!”

15:56 KL: Thats an interesting claim. Will see what GL decides in the coming days. Thanks a lot Dr. Lukacs for explaining the decision to me and the viewers. This, to me, is an important and precedent setting and obviously you mentioned Rule of Law is at stake here.

16:21 GL: Thank you very much.

P.S. Traditional news media like CBC, CTV, Global, TorStar, BBC have done different reporting of this story (some including background and some with passengers interview). Worth a read and watch.

P.P.S. Since this reporter first wrote about the 2009 Supreme Court of Canada “Grant v. Torstar Corp., 2009 SCC 61” decision,  this reporter has tried his best to keep the idea of “Responsible Communication” in mind in all his reporting.


Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview post “Delta Air Lines Inc. v. Gábor Lukács” Supreme Court case oral arguments

Wednesday, 4 October, 2017

Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview at Supreme Court post Dr. Gábor Lukács' oral arguments - thumbnail

Dr. Gábor Lukács, Air Passenger Rights Advocate, presented his oral arguments at the Supreme Court of Canada for the first time. Have a watch of a video clip of Justice Russell Brown asking Dr. Gábor Lukács questions during the Supreme Court hearing.

Justice Russell Brown asks Dr. Gábor Lukács Qs during Supreme Court case with Delta

The following is an interview with Dr. Lukacs soon after the hearing finished while he was still at the Supreme Court of Canada when everything were still fresh in his mind. Some linked timecodes and rough notes are included but all notes are rough, and the video is the real authority of what were said.

Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview at Supreme Court post Dr. Gábor Lukács’ oral arguments

0:00 Reporter Kempton Lam (KL) thanks Dr. Gabor Lukacs (GL) for doing the interview. GL talks about where he is located.
0:30 [KL:] How do you feel right now after appearing in front of the 9 Supreme Court Justices?
1:03 [GL:] Particularly impressed by Justice Malcolm Rowe.
1:58 [GL:] Also impressed by how respectful the hearing was. And how interested the judges were in the case.
2:14 [GL:] On a personal level …
2:50 [KL:] The Judges’ probing questions and pointed comments/observations fascinated me, can you talk about your experiences? How do you feel about the case itself after the hearing?
4:27 [GL:] I think the star of the day is the Amicus Curiae Mr. Benjamin Zarnett.
4:37 [GL:] Also very impressed by Byron Williams, Counsel for Council of Canadians with Disabilities able to achieve in 5 minutes.
5:04 [KL:] I try to clarify if I had the right Amicus Curiae Mr. Benjamin Zarnett in mind. (note: I did)
6:15 [KL:] My impression of Amicus Curiae’s arguments and I ask GL to share his take.
6:53 [KL:] How do you feel about your own presentation? What is your main take away? Read the rest of this entry »


Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview in advance of Supreme Court case with Delta Air Lines

Tuesday, 3 October, 2017

Interview Dr. Gabor Lukacs re Delta Air Lines Supreme Court case

Here is my 2017/Oct/02 Audio interview with Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate, talking about his Supreme Court of Canada case with Delta Air Lines. Here are some rough notes and timecodes (link points) in the interview.

0:00 Independent reporter Kempton [K] asked Dr. Gabor Lukacs [G], Air Passenger Rights Advocate, how is he feeling two days before he appears in front of Supreme Court of Canada Judges?
0:49 [K:] Any special preparation one day before your first Supreme Court appearance? (Yes, G is scheduled to teach a match class Tuesday morning!)
1:20 [G:] Teaching twice a week this term helps my public speaking skills.
2:13 [K:] Not a good idea to lecture the justices? G explains how is it like appearing in front of Supreme Court justices.
4:25 [K:] Briefly explain what this case with Delta is about? And your role?
5:25 G gives a great analogy using a speeding car driving 160km/h down the highway. Who can complain about it?
6:35 G explains Federal Court of Appeal sided with his reasoning and ruled against the CTA (Canadian Transportation Agency) and said it was unreasonable to dismiss the complain.
7:15 G talks about the various PDF files (see reference) filed by him, Delta and other parties. [K’s apologies here re misunderstanding of the pages of documents filed.]
8:22 G explains to K an Amicus Curiae (an impartial adviser) is hired by the Supreme Court and paid for by Attorney General of Canada. And four interveners: ATTORNEY GENERAL (ONTARIO), CANADIAN TRANSPORT AGENCY, INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION, COUNCIL OF CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES.
9:32 [K:] So the COUNCIL OF CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES agrees with you and Delta against you. Are there some against you and with you?
11:17 [K:] So roughly how much time have you put into preparing for the case?
13:02 [K:] Have you been to the Supreme Court as a tourist before? How will you feel when you step into the court for the first time arguing a case? Read the rest of this entry »


Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview re Passenger Bill of Rights

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017

Transport Minister Marc Garneau - Passenger Bill of Rights news conference

The following is my video interview with Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate, to talk about the new Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (Bill C-49).

Air Passenger Rights Advocate interview re new Passenger Bill of Rights

Legal References:

Dr. Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Advocate (FB page), notes references:

News References:

Government news release References:

(May 16, 2017 CBC News Live video, Transport Minister Marc Garneau takes questions about the government’s air passenger bill of rights bill)


Passenger rights advocate calls Federal Court of Appeal NewLeaf ruling a “Game Changer” as Court clarifies Flair Air is responsible

Friday, 16 December, 2016

20161215-federal-court-of-appeal-case

(note: see Dec 20th news updates below with @FlairAirlines & @newleaftravel comments Win-win-win for #CDN travellers as a result from @AirPassRightsCA court challenge.)

In a short/precise and yet powerful judgement (PDF file) by the Federal Court of Appeal today dismissing an appeal (2016 FCA 314) by Air Passenger Rights advocate Dr. Gabor Lukacs, the court effectively also clarified and defined the source of protection that Dr. Lukacs has been seeking for passengers. While the reseller, NewLeaf in this case, is not required to hold an air license, ultimately the licensed air carrier, Flair Air in this case, is responsible.

Lukacs explained in an in-depth Skype video interview with this reporter stating [emphasis added],

The appeal was dismissed but the reasons [see note 1 below for more details] really resolved a very significant issue that now it is clear that passengers will have a recourse against Flair [note: Flair is the “licensed air carrier” in this court case] no matter what. […]

The Federal Court of Appeal made it clear that the fact that NewLeaf is involved in selling tickets still keeps Flair fully responsible for the entire operation. So Flair cannot walk away from any kind of responsibility on the basis that ‘it wasn’t us, it was NewLeaf’. If Flair choose to enter into this kind of relationship with NewLeafFlair will have to face the consequences if anything goes wrong.”

Lukacs interview re 2016 Federal Court of Appeal judgement

Lukacs looks at the judgement as a win for passengers because from the passenger’s point of view Flair is responsible and can no longer point at NewLeaf if things go wrong. The ruling makes it clear that Flair is responsible to the passengers whether they have a contract with them or not.

NewLeaf’s reaction to the judgement

NewLeaf’s reaction to the judgement via Facebook (screen capture & Facebook link),

The federal court of appeal ruling that has dismissed the case between Gabor Lukacs and the CTA/NewLeaf essentially means the courts rule in favour of Canadians continuing to save money on air travel with NewLeaf!!

It is true that the case has been dismissed but one wonders if both NewLeaf‘s and Flair‘s legal teams have time to really carefully read and digest the full implications of the court ruling yet?

Flair’s reaction to the judgement

At press time, Flair has not issued any press release re this judgement yet and its publicly published “Tariff – Flair Airlines Ltd for NewLeaf flying” remains the July 22, 2016 version.

Given Mr. Chris Lapointe, Vice-President Commercial Operations for Flair stated a few months ago in July 2016 that “it’s not built into our financial model for Flair “to foot the bill and take the risk of people being stranded” (see “note 2 financial model” below). One has to wonder if there will be any serious business renegotiations between NewLeaf and Flair? Or is Flair now willing and able to accept the financial risks and responsibilities (e.g. “prescribed liability insurance”) that the Court of Appeal has now clarified it has?

References

note 1: Quoting from paragraph 8 of the judgement (2016 FCA 314) [emphasis added],

Further, the licenced air carrier [reporter’s note: Flair in this case] will be required to hold the prescribed liability insurance. Put more broadly, licenced air carriers are regulated under the Act when they provide an air service. The involvement of a reseller does not obviate the requirement that licensees comply with all of the obligations imposed upon them under the Act.”

note 2 “financial model”: In a transcript of a conversation between Lukcas and Mr. Chris Lapointe, Vice-President Commercial Operations for Flair Airlines Ltd taken on July 8, 2016 filed with the Federal Court of Appeal (top of electronic page 189 of this Motion Record (PDF file) – Court File No.:A-242-16) [emphasis added],

Mr. Lukcas: […] And, you know, if Flair is willing to foot the bill and take the risk of people being stranded and look after —

Mr. Lapointe: No, we’re not. We’re not. I’m not — no, no, we’re not. We don’t — it’s not built into our — it’s not built into our financial model, Gabor. We’re not — I’m not saying that we’re going to — we did that once before, it cost us a quarter-million dollars, and we did it and because we did it — because we realized we had to do it, right.

Dec 16, 2016 Update: Quoting Financial Post “Both sides claim victory after Federal Court of Appeal dismisses NewLeaf case” report by Kristine Owram (with emphasis & reporter’s note added),

“I was thrilled that (the court) actually saw that the CTA had got their ruling correct,” said NewLeaf chief executive Jim Young. “We weren’t worried too much about it in the past because we knew we’d prevail but I was glad to see that it’s now closed.”

Lukacs said his main goal was to ensure passengers are protected, and he was relieved to see the court’s finding that “passengers will still be covered, and so protected, by the terms and conditions of carriage set out in the tariff issued by the licensed air carrier operating the aircraft on which the passengers travel” — in this case, Flair.

“This is a case of losing the battle and winning the war,” Lukacs said. “I was extremely pleased with how concerned the court was about protection of passengers.”

Flair president Jim Rogers did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but he indicated in July that his airline was not responsible for passenger protection since it is only supplying the aircraft. [reporter’s note: This echoes the transcribed phone conversation between Lukacs and Mr. Chris Lapointe, Vice-President Commercial Operations for Flair Airlines described in note 2 above.]

The contract with the passenger is with NewLeaf and they have a passenger protection plan in place,” Rogers said at the time.

Dec 16, 2016 10:37pm Update: CBC Calgary has this report of NewLeaf Calgary launch, “Up in the air: Will Canada’s newest air travel company take off? – There will be a third option if you’re flying home for the holidays

Dec 20, 2016 11:01am update: Quoting CBC News to clarify NewLeaf and Flair Air’s positions, “Flair Air liable for passenger rights, not ticket reseller NewLeaf, judge says” (with emphasis and reporter’s notes added),

Jim Young, CEO of NewLeaf Travel Company, said he was happy with the appeal’s dismissal. He said Flair Air and NewLeaf had already been operating under the agreement that the airline was ultimately responsible for ensuring passenger rights. (reporter’s note: This clarification by Young is significant.)

“In fact, the tariff that we had published is still the tariff today. We’ve made no changes to it,” Young said.

Tariffs are the agreements between passengers and airlines that lay out rights and responsibilities. The Canadian Transportation Agency recommends airline passengers treat tariffs like a contract, and that they understand the terms and conditions spelled out in them.

Young said if passengers run into an issue such as a flight cancellation or lost baggage, they should first contact his company, NewLeaf, to resolve the issue. Young said the first response is referring passengers to the tariff.

“We operate on behalf of Flair as the passenger reservation system,” he said. “We accommodate them based on the terms and conditions in the tariff.”

Passengers who are not happy with NewLeaf’s response can still file a formal complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency, but they would do so naming Flair, the airline operator.

Flair Air owner Jim Rogers confirmed his company is ultimately responsible for meeting the tariff agreement with passengers.

He said his company is “pleased to accept the decision as per our tariff.” (reporter’s note: This clarification by Roger is very significant and gets passengers the protection they deserve without ambiguity.)


A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Thursday, 25 August, 2016
A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

A Look Back: 10 Years of Banff World Media Festival

Ten years ago in June 2006, I was awarded a CTV Fellowship to attend the prestigious Banff World Television Festival. Since then I’ve attended to report on most of the yearly Banff World Media Festival (Banff’s new name). Based on my personal experiences, I recommend the annual Banff gathering be something someone working in media/entertainment industry should attend at least once in her/his life (and may be even yearly). Great way to pitch projects to concentrated groups of decision makers from around the world, to meet and make friends with industry peers, and learn from the many Master Classes you given by some of the best creatives in the industry.

Take this year as an example, knowing HBO Chairman and CEO Mr. Richard Plepler will attend the 2016 Banff, I did some research including watching these two videos to prepare. And I ended up learning lots from attending and meeting Richard in his Company of Distinction Keynote: HBO’s Richard Plepler Banff World Media Festival Banff. And yes, I felt totally honoured when Richard compared me to his mother after I asked him about his work experience at “RLP International quoting what I learned from his commencement speech to the Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2015!

Let me share just another highly insightful and fun to watch video from the 2016 Banff:  In Conversation with Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award Recipient Russell Peters. I love Russell Peters even more as I heard the etalk co-host Lainey Lui asked Russell, “You’ve been making this kind of money for the last few years and you are still hustling, 250 shows, 120 cities, 25 countries, you are still hustling with an immigrant work ethic!

(More info on Russell‘s new show “The Indian Detective“)

In the last 10 years, I’ve met and interviewed a lot of creatives and senior executives at Banff. The following are some samples of my video interviews.

*2010) Meeting someone I really admire like Ricky Gervais was epic and wonderful for me. I was able to capture his “Award for Comedy Speech” which I think is better/more fun than the official Banff version shot with more expensive video equipment. (watch and read my full 2010 report of Ricky here)

And asking Ricky a brief question on the 2010 Banff red carpet was something I still remember fondly today, six years later.

*2008) Two years before I met Ricky, Banff attendees had the pleasure to meet the highly successful producer Jon Plowman (photo) who came to Banff to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as former head of BBC comedy and producing/executive producing great shows like Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, Little Britain, and The Vicar of Dibley! I wrote a brief report in 2008 but didn’t shoot any video. I did walk up to meet Jon and personally thanked him for his great work!
*2011) Mike Farah, President of Production, Funny or Die
,
*2010) TiVo CEO Tom Rogers interview,
*2013) Watching “VICE co-founders Shane Smith & Suroosh Alvi at Banff 2013” was a lot of fun and then interviewing “Shane @ Banff ” was awesome given how much VICE Media has grown since 2013! (Aug 18th, 2017 update: CNN, “‘Vice News Tonight’ has breakout moment with Charlottesville coverage“, full short doc segment on YouTube Aug 14th “Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO“)

*2012) “Masterclass with Terence Winter creator of Boardwalk Empire at #banff2012” (more info on Boardwalk Empire)

*2012) And my video interview with “Terence Winter, Creator of Boardwalk Empire at banff 2012

*2011) Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson,
*2010) Tony Lacavera, Globalive & WIND Mobile Chairman audio interview, (It was fun for me interviewing Tony, an University of Toronto alum, over the years. In March 2016, Shaw Communications Inc. closed its acquisition of Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion.)
*2008) David Hoselton (Producer of House) (I LOVE House so it was interesting for me to know that creator David Shore and producer David Hoselton were University of Toronto Law School buddies.)
*2012) Duncan Fulton, SVP Canadian Tire, talks about cutting edge advertising/e-commerce technologies at #banff2012 (Since then, Duncan has been promoted to President FGL Sports Ltd in March 2016.)
*2007) Jane Mote, Director of Life Style, UKTV,
*2007) Vicky Taylor, Editor, Interactivity, BBC Television,
*2007) Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic,
*2007) Greg Goodfried, Co-creator and Executive Producer, Lonelygirl15, (note: In 2012, AdAge reported that “Everyday Health Buys Lonelygirl15 Producer EQAL in Expansion to New Genres” quoting TechCruch which “pegged the price at $15 million plus a $5 million earn-out“. EQAL founders are Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried.)
*2007) Dawn Airey, Director of Global Content, ITV,
*2012) Paul Chard – The most interesting person at #banff2012 to me,

One of the most insightful people I’ve met at Banff
*2009) Gary Carter’s Storytelling in the Digital Age (2009) (Long list of videos, highly recommended even the 2009 content may seem a bit dated)

Attended and filmed,
*2012) “In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory)“,
*2010) “William Shatner speaks with ‘The Big Bang Theory’ creator and showrunner Bill Prady“,
*2012) “Conflicts in Reality TV and psychological profiling – The Chicken or The Egg – Most fascinating and controversial session at 2012 Banff
*2010) “Ian Brennan, creator/writer Glee (19 Emmy nominations) @ 2010 Banff” (extensive video)
*2013) “Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks about Veep and other topics at Banff World Media Festival 2013

*2012) This was a lot of fun and insight for me, “Master class Q&A with Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

*2006) Finally, It was my honour to meet and listen to Oscar winning director & writer Paul Haggis at my absolute first Banff in 2006. I wish my “professionalism” hadn’t stopped me from asking for a photo! Oh well, something I have regretted ever since. Anyway, the story of how Paul broke into Television is something I will likely remember for the rest of my life! Enjoy!


*** More
2016 Banff World Media Festival stuff and one 2012 Master Class with Chuck Lorre (creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory).

*2016) I think Girls is one of the most cutting edge and funny TV comedies in recent years. I had the pleasure this year to attend and listen to Jenni Konner talk in person. And I enjoyed the session very much.

Comedy Master Class with Casey Bloys and Jenni Konner (note: Casey Bloys is senior vice president, HBO Entertainment)

*2016) I didn’t know the name Jay Baruchel but after watching this, I discovered I’ve watched A LOT of Jay‘s stuff without knowing his name and I LOVE them all! Very insightful: “In Conversation with Canadian Award of Distinction Recipient Jay Baruchel

Further references:

*2016) Richard Plepler: Stick with the Optimists (background research for Banff 2016)

*2016) HBO CEO Richard Plepler: Full Discussion @The Paley Center for Media (background research for 2016)

*2016 Banff) “The Night Of” Master Class: A Closer Look at HBO’s Limited Series Model featuring Academy Award-winning writer Steven Zaillian. After watching the video, I realized one of my favourite films “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was written and directed by Steven and he talks about it at timecode 16:10.

*for 2016) Westworld: Teaser Trailer (HBO) (brand new to viewers at Banff, publicly released after 2016 Banff)

*2012) In conversation w Chuck Lorre (Creator: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

P.S. On a personal note, I want to thank Scott Benzie, Lindsay Nahmiache, Robert Montgomery, and, for the last 10 years, many other team members for their kind help at Banff and arranging my press credentials, etc. I really enjoyed attending Banff and I’m happy to share what I learned with my readers/viewers.

It has taken me some time to create this post and I am still amazed how many great creatives and industry senior executives I’ve met and tried to learn from all these years. And there are still some that I haven’t listed! Like in 2009 when I met and interviewed Ron Moore who amazingly re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (BSG)!

Let me mention something most people might have missed. For a few years in a row, I noticed Tony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive & former WIND Mobile Chairman, was sponsoring the Banff CRTC Breakfasts. (see my 2010 report) A side benefit was Tony got some “face time” to chat with CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein (photo of the two at CRTC Breakfast). Well, to me, that was money well spent in the long game of business! As you may know, this March 2016 WIND Mobile was sold to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6 billion.

If you ask me, I say the C$1.6 billion deal has to be one of the biggest deals that Banff World Media Festival has *indirectly* facilitated! Pretty cool!


Chat with Air Passenger Rights Advocate Lukacs re: urgent NewLeaf injunction

Saturday, 23 July, 2016

Update July 29, 2016 report: “Ontario law governing NewLeaf internet sales has “deficiency”, Statutory Registrar acknowledges
Update July 28, 2016 report: “NewLeaf Travel blocks reporter after TICO Clarifies report
Update July 27, 2016 report: “TICO Clarifies NewLeaf Offers Ontario Flyers Limited Protection
====
This reporter got two chances this Friday July 22nd morning and mid-afternoon to interview Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács to talk about his urgent interlocutory injunction against NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. All of the legal files are public court records and Dr. Lukács has dated them and posted them in this directory.

One of the particular useful and detailed file is the 410 electronic pages PDF file “2016-07-21–Lukacs–motion_record–urgent_injunction_and_stay–DIGITAL-R.pdf“. See also the three referenced court documents below (sections highlighted in screen captures).

Here is the reporter’s Interview with Dr. Lukacs re: Urgent interlocutory injunction against NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. 

Highlight #1) How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added) (reference: court filing PDF file)

How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added)

How NewLeaf thinks credit card purchase will protect traveling Canadians. (with highlight added)

Highlight #2) How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added) (ref: court filing PDF file)

How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added)

How Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gábor Lukács disagrees with NewLeaf. (with highlight added)

Highlight #3) Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf. (ref: court filing PDF file)

Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf.

Latest Federal Court of Appeal directive to NewLeaf.

NOTE 1: This reporter sent an email out early Friday July 22nd morning to invite Jim Young, CEO of New Leaf Travel, to tell his company’s side of the story in a Skype video interview but have not received any reply as of press time (early morning 1:30am MST Saturday July 23rd).

NOTE 2: This is a developing story with NewLeaf being directed by the Federal Court of Appeal to “file its affidavit in support of its letter of response” by noon EST July 23, this reporter will try to post new updates as soon as practical.


China expert: poorly thought-out one-child policy ends but China needs to do more (exclusive interview)

Thursday, 29 October, 2015
20151029 China to allow two children for all couples

20151029 China to allow two children for all couples

After 35 years, China’s ruling Communist Party finally announced after a key meeting on Thursday (today October  29th, 2015) via its official Xinhua News Agency that the country will “allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy“.

For those unfamiliar with China’s one-child policy, it was first introduced in 1978 and formally launched nationwide in 1980 to “rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl.

China expert Dr. Ning Wang at Arizona State University (Dr. Wang is the co-author of “How China Became Capitalist” with late Nobel prize winning economist Ronald Coase) shared his view about the ending of China’s one-child policy in an exclusive interview with this reporter.

Dr. Wang stated (emphasis added), “After more than 30 years, the one-child policy finally came to its end. It was a rushed policy, poorly thought-out, implemented with violence and brutality. It has done more harm to the Chinese people and the Chinese civilization than any other policy implemented since the beginning of reform.

Wang continued, “While we celebrate the end of the one-child policy, we have to recognize that to allow a couple to have two children is far from enough. In the first place, the replacement level fertility rate is 2.1; this is, each woman should give birth to a bit more than two children simply to keep the population stable. In addition, some women will have one child only or no child at all. It is hence critical for other women to have 3 or even more children.

Wang concluded the interview by stating, “how many children a family wants to have is their private business — I cannot think of anything else more private. The state should stay away from such private decisions. If the state wants to be remain active, it can invest in education and health care, particularly in rural areas.

Here is a video excerpt of Dr. Wang interview with Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase on China’s One-Child Policy conducted in 2013, a few months before Coase passed away at 102 years old.

P.S. With a foresight of 30 years, Hong Kong University economics professor Steven N. S. Cheung in 1985 published the article “A society without brothers and sisters” (“沒有兄弟姐妹的社會“) discussing China’s one-child policy. Cheung wrote in the newspaper Hong Kong Economics Journal,

(rough English translation:) “If continued, 10 or 20 years later, Chinese youth will have no brothers or sisters. With further passing of time, everyone will have no uncles or aunts. Everyone, other than their parents, will be kinless!” (original Chinese: “長此下去,一二十年後,中國的青年都沒有兄弟姐妹。再過些時日,所有的人都沒有叔、伯、姑、表――除父母以外,每個人都是舉目無親!“)

While the word “everyone” was probably a literary device, thus a bit exaggerated, the world that Cheung foretold has unfortunately come true in 2015 for many Chinese as they, other than their aging parents, are basically kinless.


Hello Kitty is not a cat! Video interview with LA Times reporter who started worldwide debate

Saturday, 30 August, 2014

Hello Kitty is NOT a cat? Really?! In recent days, people from around the world have expressed shock as they found out Hello Kitty is not a cat from articles quoting “Hello Kitty is not a cat, plus more reveals before her L.A. tour” by Los Angeles Times reporter Carolina A. Miranda. My in-depth and exclusive Skype video interview with Miranda talks about what lead her to write the article and different aspects of the Hello Kitty brand. Have a watch of the interview as it was a ton of fun to conduct and should be a lot of fun to watch.

To be honest, this reporter is one of the people who was shocked to find out Hello Kitty is not a cat from reading Miranda’s article. And then changed my mind again Read the rest of this entry »


interview Horatio Tsoi, former HKTV documentary producer/director

Sunday, 27 October, 2013

This is my Cantonese interview with Horatio Tsoi, former HKTV documentary producer/director on 2013/10/27 訪問蔡錦源港視前高級編導.


Cantonese interviews with HK Legislative Council members Claudia Mo & Alan Leong Kah-kit

Sunday, 27 October, 2013

The following are two Cantonese interviews with HK Legislative Council members Claudia Mo & Alan Leong Kah-kit.

立法會 毛孟靜 議員政總十月二十一曰訪問

立法會 梁家傑 議員政總十月二十一曰訪問


Halifax mathematician gets bumped Air Canada passengers $200, $400, or $800 compensation

Friday, 30 August, 2013

In a decision released today, the Canadian Transportation Agency ordered Air Canada to increase, starting September 18th, 2013, its cash compensation when it bumps passengers off a plane.

Quoting the decision, “Air Canada now has to revise its denied boarding compensation regime by September 18, 2013, to reflect the following compensation provisions:

Less than 2 hour delay = 50% of the base amount [i.e. $200]
Between 2 and less than 6 hour delay = 100% of the base amount [i.e. $400]
6 hour delay or more = 200% of the base amount [i.e. $800]
* The base amount is established as $400

This compensation applies solely to involuntary denied boarding, and does not relate to situations where a passenger volunteers to be denied boarding for whatever compensation Air Canada wishes to offer.”

Canadians have Halifax mathematician Dr. Gábor (Gabi) Lukács to thank for because the decision today is a direct result of his 2011 complain against Air Canada. Lukács said in an extensive video interview,

This is a very very good news for all Canadian passengers, everybody who travels  by air within Canada because it recognizes that passengers are entitled to be treated with respect as equal parties to the contract.” While Lukács was reluctant to estimate the total hours he had spent to launch the complaint and reply to Air Canada’s submissions since 2011, one of the document submitted was 47 pages long including exhibits!

Upon hearing the interviewer suggesting this delay compensation should be named after Lukács, similar to mathematical theorems were named after Euclid or Gauss, Lukács paused to think for a moment and then thoughtfully insisted that,

“… it doesn’t matter where it was me or somebody else who got those [air passenger] rights. What is important [is] that those rights are put in place. And that people will now have better treatment. It doesn’t matter it was me, or my neighbour, or my friend or you, or that person in another city who made those changes. For me, it’s a question of I’ve learned enough about airlines to know that something are just wrong and against the law. And when I happened to see that, like in the case of what happened in Ottawa airport, I cannot just walk by and do nothing. I feel a responsibility.

Knowledge gives some responsibility. When you know that something is wrong, and you have quite a good idea of how to fix it, that does impose on you some level of moral responsibility, social responsibility. And so the issue of air passenger rights needs a face in Read the rest of this entry »


Priceless: Tommy Hilfiger Defending my “Fashion Honour”

Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

2013 Tommy Hilfiger at Fox LA defending my "Fashion Honour"

I LOVED & enjoyed the chance to ask Tommy Hilfiger @tommyhilfiger a question. (Tommy’s Facebook) And then it turned into a super #epic moment (at 2:07 of the clip) for me to watch Tommy defending my “Fashion Honour” at Fox LA Google+ Hangout! Thanks +Maria Quiban +Tony McEwing +FOX 11 Los Angeles for the #awesome hangout!

FOX 11 Google+ Hangout: Tommy Hilfiger Talks About His New West Hollywood strore


Interview with “Father of Computing in Canada” re Google Car, Google Glasses, Alan Turing

Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

 

20130212 Father of Computing Kelly interview - pix

Interview with “Father of Computing in Canada” Prof Gotlieb re Google Car, Google Glasses, Alan Turing

This is an extensive interview with Professor Emeritus C.C. Kelly Gotlieb, (Wikipedia) “Father of Computing in Canada”, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Feb 2013 interviewed by Independent reporter Kempton Lam
KL: Kempton Lam
KG: Professor Emeritus C.C. Kelly Gotlieb
Table of content (with time codes):
0:00 KL: Introducing Professor Emeritus C.C. (Kelly) Gotlieb, “Father of Computing in Canada”, University of Toronto
0:29 KL: My question about Google Driverless Cars. Three US states already has law permitting testing of Google Driverless Cars. Talking about California governor signed the bill, “SB-1298 Vehicles: autonomous vehicles: safety and performance requirements” into law.
2:07 KL: Bill SB-1298 allows Google to test the Google Driverless Car provided Google pays a $5 million insurance, and provided there is a driver in the car.
2:21 KG: “That’s what I expected.”
2:35 KL: My concerns were concerns raised by Kelly in an earlier speech of his.
2:47 KG: listing some of the concerns he has with concepts like Google Driverless Cars. “United States is a very litigious society.”
3:12 KG: Google Driverless Car gets into an accident, whose to blame? And who can you sue? The person who wrote the program? Google who authorize the car? Car manufacture? The person who is in the car? Or all of the above? […] Lots of questions to be asked when failure happen. Read the rest of this entry »


Interview with Yasmin Nakhuda, owner of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey, re upcoming court case

Tuesday, 22 January, 2013

Yasmin Nakhuda & Darwin (IKEA) Monkey

Late last night, I interviewed Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda, owner of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey over the phone. Have a listen to the extensive phone interview first before you leave any comments. If your comment don’t show you have actually listened to the interview, I reserve the right to not approve it. I have seen way too many comments on articles/posts about this issue that have gone totally out of control elsewhere (CBC and other media outlet) and I won’t let it happen here. So please keep your comments brief, to the point, and don’t make any personal insults or groundless attacks. Disagreement is fine, strong critique is ok, but pointless insults are decidedly NOT!

As the issue of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey is in front of a court (case is scheduled to appear in front of a judge on Jan 31, 2013) and hotly discussed/debated amongst Canadians, all the readers comments will be heavily screened & monitored me. We are civilized people and many of us are Canadians so we are better than those people who cannot ground their arguments in facts and reasons. Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got it wrong with his so call “Reason before Passion (La Raison Avant la Passion)“, in our social media age where anyone and everyone can have their worldwide platform and LIVE video broadcast channel, we must aspire to have “Reason alongside Passion.

Have a listen to my extensive phone interview Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda, owner of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey

Research & reading materials

1) Have a read of Toronto’s animal control by-law.
Toronto-by-law 1184_349

2) Can anyone help me here? I like to find the court filings by Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary online. Have the Sanctuary or its lawyer posted these documents online? If you know where to find them, please leave a note in the comment as I would like to read them.

3) I found the court filings by Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda online here at her lawyer’s website and I found them useful to read. I suggest you read them to understand what were said under oath by Officiers Joseph Florillo and David Behan describing what exactly happened during the own process of them taking Darwin.

Highlighted Transcript of Officer Joseph Fiorillo Jan 17 2013
Summary of Transcript of Officer Joseph FiorilloJan17 2013

Highlighted Transcript of Officer David Behan Jan17 2013
Summary of Transcript of David Behan Jan17 2013

Concluding thoughts and Personal notes

After interviewing Yasmin for over 40 minutes last night, I cannot disagree more with people who hear or know about the case from reading a headline here and there and watching a minute or two of news clips and then went on to insult Yasmin, her family, and even her children. Lets ground our discussion and look at the facts and situation surround this specific case of the lovely Darwin (IKEA) Monkey.

On a very personal note, I hope and wish for wisdom in the judge for this case and that the best outcome for Darwin will be delivered. Yes, may be I’ve watched way too many episodes of Judge John Deed (especially loving the earlier seasons 4, 1, and 2), I hope the judge for this case is as wise or wiser than Judge Deed!

P.S. Thanks again to Yasmin for her time to be interviewed by me. And special thanks to Calgary Public Library for stocking great TV DVDs like Judge Deed. Not unlike pure mathematics, we sometimes learn a lot more about justice from a fictional drama than real life court cases that can be very messy at times.

P.P.S. I wrote a light hearted “funny” piece about Darwin “Top 10 Reasons why Monkey Darwin shops at Ikea & No charges by T.O. police!” on Dec 10th, 2012. Even it was meant to be a funny piece, I do insist on my thinking and comments to be solidly grounded. Compare to that time, I think my positions and views have now definitely changed given the new information I have come to learn about this case.


CBC Dragon Brett Wilson redefines Success and talks Mistakes in extensive video interview

Saturday, 24 November, 2012

Brett new book interview pix - 2012

Over the last four years since June 2008, I’ve the pleasure to interview Brett Wilson (businessman & philanthropist, “Dragon with a heart”) many (see my 2008 pre-Dragons’ Den interview videos) and many times. I also slowly get to know Brett from industry events (we’ve met at Banff World Media Festival quite a few times (see 2009 interview)) and from his annual charity garden parties (thx Brett for inviting me & my better half). I can honestly say the “up close & in person” Brett is pretty much the same nice & straight talking no non-sense guy that many viewers of CBC’s award-winning Dragons’ Den have come to know and love.

Earlier this afternoon, I had the pleasure to conduct an insightful, open and frank video interview with Brett to talk about his Globe & Mail best-selling book “Redefining Success: Still making mistakes“! I hope you enjoy my interview with Brett as much as I in conducting it. Please share this article & video. And comment too.

note: this article is cross-posted by me at examiner.com

Brett & Kempton at 2010 Garden Party with book cover


Interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Neurochip co-lead researcher

Friday, 17 August, 2012

Interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Neurochip co-lead researcher

Earlier this month I had a fascinating interview with Dr. Naweed Syed, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, head of University of Calgary Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. Dr. Syed is one of the lead researchers behind neurochip − “a microchip with the ability to monitor several functions of the brain.Neurochip is “a novel lab-on-a-chip technology that, through an ultra-sensitive component built directly on the microchip, also enables direct imaging of activity in brain cells.”

In one fascinating part of the interview, Dr. Syed talked about Parkinson’s patients who have really bad tremors and don’t respond to drugs anymore. Currently, surgeons insert a deep brain stimulation electrode to allow the patients to stimulate the electrode themselves which release dopamine to stop the tremors. Unfortunately, the electrode can continue to stimulate the brain cells beyond the limit. Resulting in what is known as excitotoxicity. (Too much dopamine constantly being produced and brain cells being over excited.) In essence, nobody is there to tell the electrode when the stimulation is enough and can be stopped to avoid damage because there is no loop going back to tell it. Dr. Syed suggests implanting a two-way link where machines (capacitors and transistors) and the brain cells can talk to each other to better control the stimulation loop and avoid/reduce the problem of excitotoxicity.

Have a watch of my extensive interview with Dr. Syed to hear of his explanations and the background info in his own words for the latest advancement in research in neurochip.

As an alumnus of University of Calgary, it makes me really proud to see cool research done in Calgary, Alberta. At the same time, near the end of the interview, I asked Dr. Syed about the challenges of getting the required funding for the research program to succeed and to keep doing cutting edge researches right here in Calgary. Given the achievements his team has made so far, I would hate to see any of these world class scientists leaving Canada to go to United States/China, etc because our three level of governments and private industry partners are not putting in the needed funding to keep doing these ground-breaking researches that can lead to better medical devices, better drugs, etc right in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

On a personal note, a very close friend has Parkinson’s and I hope the device Dr. Syed talked about can be developed, tested, and approved soon so that my friend and other Parkinson’s patients can benefit.

News references:

University of Calgary, UToday “New advances for neurochip

CTV News (with video), “U of C researchers achieve major milestone

Calgary Herald, “New microchip helps take detailed images of brain – University of Calgary researchers achieve new milestone


Social media video interview with Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ontario expert Jean Turner-Floyd

Tuesday, 14 August, 2012

Social media interview with Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ontario expert Jean Turner-Floyd

Astute readers may remember I had insightful chats with social media experts from Toronto Police (see video interview) and UK Police (video interview) few weeks ago. Well, after some planning, I had the pleasure to talk to Royal Canadian Mounted Police “O” Division (Ontario Division) (English: @RCMPONT, French: @GRCONT) social media expert Jean Turner-Floyd (@jturnerfloyd) two weeks ago about how RCMP “O” Division is currently using social media to help with policing work. I really appreciate Jean taking time in sharing her insights.

Following is my video interview with Jean.

P.S. When I find more time, I still plan to write up an in-depth article (possibly also conducting one or more interviews) to allow Canadians (and citizens in other countries) to see how social media tools have been used by police forces from around the world. And may be opportunities for police forces to learn from each others. Stay tuned.


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