He specializes in applying statistical methods to forecast demand and/or sales. His research interests include human development in Canada and South Asia, forecasting housing market dynamics, transport and infrastructure planning and development.
Murtaza Haider is working on a book, Getting Started with Data Science: Making Sense of Data with Analytics (ISBN 9780133991024), which will be published by Pearson/IBM Press in Spring 2015.
He is an avid blogger and also blogs weekly about socio-economics in South Asia for the Dawn newspaper.
Murtaza Haider holds a Masters in transport engineering and planning and a Ph.D. in Urban Systems Analysis from the University of Toronto. He is also an adjunct professor of engineering at McGill University.
Months have passed since the attack in Lahore, and the police have not yet laid charges. The lack of social justice is a recipe for disaster, chaos, and mob rule. The scenes from Islamabad and Ferguson, Missouri, are indeed two manifestations of the same problem. Toronto has escaped riots because its citizens hold dear the principles of social justice and equality.
The concern about Canadian housing markets is largely driven by the higher rates of house price appreciation in Canada's large urban markets, such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. In the early eighties, the average housing prices in local housing markets were similar in magnitude to that of the overall Canadian average.
The Harper government has mastered the art of selective morality. When it is convenient, Mr. Harper takes cover behind international law to attack those he disagrees with on ideological or religious grounds. And those with whom he has an ideological or religious connection, his government wilfully ignores their indiscretions. This selective application of morality is at odds with the principles of social justice, which all Canadians hold dear.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently forced Oxfam Canada to exclude "preventing poverty" from their mission statement in order to keep their charity status. Now a fundamental question needs to be answered. Why does the CRA think that charities have to wait for individuals to fall into poverty's trap before the charities can help the disadvantaged? Isn't prevention better than a cure? The bigger concern, however, is with a black-and-white definition of poverty. The assumption that one is not poor one day, but wakes up to be poor the next day is completely flawed.
An ad in the Globe and Mail reveals the extent of harm the Harper Conservatives have inflicted on Statistics Canada. Because of poor quality, Statistics Canada is not releasing data at finer spatial scales because the Harper Conservatives killed the mandatory long-form Census and replaced it with a voluntary survey of dubious quality.
It's a sad day for Toronto as a family will hold funeral for a seven-year-old girl. She was hit by a van near her home. Her death is an unimaginable loss to her family and the community. This loss of life should compel us to think about making our streets safer for all, but especially for pedestrians and bicyclists, who are more vulnerable than others are. The tragedy is raising questions about the harmful impacts of increased traffic on residential streets.
Some transit experts argue that commute times by high-speed rail transit are shorter. It is true for individual trips, but not for the entire communities. Commuters in transit-dependent communities, with ready access to subways, can take faster transit to their destinations, however shorter duration trips are enjoyed only by those whose trip lengths are shorter. With $29 billion in transport infrastructure spending already earmarked for Ontario, Steven Del Duca and Kathleen Wynne, will receive tons of unsolicited advice. They should, however, base their investment decisions on sound analysis rather than conjecture.
While the leading candidates for Toronto's mayoral elections -- Olivia Chow, David Soknacki, Karen Stintz, and John Tory -- were unanimous in realizing that mobility was the number one issue for the City. The transit plans they revealed had one thing in common: they only have partial solutions and pet projects for Toronto's mobility troubles.
The Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite, is far from perfect. It has failed to create a shared sense of nationalism in Iraq that unites the Shiites and Sunnis in peaceful co-existence. However, Prime Minister Maliki remains the world's best hope against the Jihadists who, if left unchecked, would continue to wage wars against Shiites and the West.
The biggest loser in this election is not the Hudak Conservatives, but the NDP. Had Ms. Horwath not defeated the May budget and triggered this election, she would have kept the minority Liberals hostage to her dictates. While the NDP is set to gain an additional seat in these elections, it has lost all legislative power it enjoyed only a few weeks ago. Hardly a success by any measure. Tim Hudak's Conservatives ran a far right Tea Partish campaign that took comfort and strength in ideology, flawed as it may be, and not in rationality.
The Conservative platform is off the economic track as it invokes analogies and comparisons that defy the economic fundamentals. Ontarians on June 12 have to vote on their future. They can choose to invest in Ontario's education, health, and infrastructure. Alternatively, they can choose to become the victims of false analogies.
Research in pedagogy shows that children learn much better in smaller classrooms. Tim Hudak, if elected, has promised to increase classroom sizes and the student-teacher ratios. The Ontario elections could very well be a vote on the learning outcomes for millions of school-going children. Tim Hudak, the leader of the Ontario's Progressive Conservatives, is campaigning to increase the classroom size by two to three students and the student-teacher ratio, in addition to numerous other proposed cuts to the Ontario's education system. This may require parents to learn more about learning before they vote on June 12.
The modern economies are all about competing on data and analytics. While smart governments and businesses are investing in collecting data and raising armies of data scientists, Statistics Canada is starving under the Harper government. Smart planning needs robust data and sound analytics. The Canadian government should learn from the global experts who are highlighting the advances their governments and businesses have made in data and analytics. Starving nation's statistical agency is the wrong policy in a data-centric world.
You don't hate your commute, it's your job. A Statistics Canada survey revealed that workers who disliked their jobs were much more likely to hate their commutes than those who liked their jobs. Our hatred of the morning commute may be driven by our unsatisfactory jobs. Extensive surveys of workers in Canada have revealed that our love-hate relationship with daily commutes is much more nuanced than what we had believed it to be.
Boko Haram may seem like a remote African tribe that abducts girls, threatens to kill them, and marries them off against their will. Some introspection would reveal that the same tendencies are alive and instrumental in all Muslim societies.
As Ontario inches closer to elections in June, two distinct visions emerge for the provincial economy. The Liberals propose investments in physical and social infrastructure, which will require running a deficit in the short run. The Ontario Conservatives, however, balk at the idea of deficit financing and propose stringent spending cuts.
Toronto's long commute times have become a constant refrain dominating the public discourse. Many believe that the commute times are excessive. However, if the laws of physics and common sense were to prevail, Toronto's 33-minute one-way commutes make perfect sense.
John Baird, Canada's foreign minister, may be barking up the wrong tree. He has identified and targeted Iran as the threat to Canadians. However, it is the Saudi Arabia-based charities that pose the greatest threat. As long as the Saudi charities continue to fund militancy and chaos across the globe, Canadians must stand on guard.
Canada should have gotten it right by now. A 146-year-old country of immigrants should know how to integrate them. The recent census data however suggests that not to be the case. The data focusing on labour outcomes paints a dismal picture for many immigrant groups, especially those who are considered a visible minority. The Canadian data suggests that while the immigrants are able to improve their prospects over time in their adopted homelands, the initial years of struggle are always painful.
Muslim societies have evolved into places where revenge is confused with justice, forgiveness with weakness, and peace with cowardice. These are the places where unholy men wage holy wars against unarmed civilians, pitting Muslims against other Muslims.