Our gas tax pressure is really getting people talking -- check the google hits...
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The verdict is in. Regina city workers voted to reject the latest offer from the City. As of today, all services (garbage collection, buses, leisure centres) will be terminated.
There are a lot of questions that need answers.
We need to know whether city wages have increased over time (intuitively you know they have, but we need it in writing). And we need to know who will benefit from a raise for the unions. Will it only affect those at the top of the payscale? Don't city workers get COLA increases when they are at the top of the scale? There is a dearth of information out there.
We'll get some answers, don't you worry.
In 1995, the year Ottawa’s gasoline tax jumped from 8.5 to 10 cents per litre the hike was labeled a “deficit elimination measure” by then-Finance Minister Paul Martin. Canada’s deficit was vanquished in 1997-1998, but the deficit reduction tax remains and the federal government’s gouging at the pumps continues even with multi-year, multi-billion dollar surpluses.
Another contributor to growing federal gasoline tax revenues is the GST and HST (paid in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador). The GST and HST are charged on the full pump price, gasoline taxes included. The tax is levied on Ottawa’s 10 cent per litre fuel excise tax as well as provincial taxes, which range from a low of 9 cents/litre to a high of 20.5 cents/litre.
As pump prices climb, Ottawa rakes in even more GST revenues. Between 1996-1997 and 2004-2005, GST revenues from gasoline sales increased from $909-million to $1.2-billion – a 31 per cent increase. At current price levels, the federal treasury will collect at least another $300-million over the next year — bringing total GST revenues from gas to over $1.5-billion.
Posted by David MacLean at 10:51 AM
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The lead editorial in today's Leader Post (subscriber only) is pushing for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to move to Regina, and say it just "makes eminent sense."
Regina has been abuzz since a rumour started making the rounds that the feds might move Indian Affairs closer to the people it serves.
Of course, 400-600 new bureaucrats in Regina would be a huge shot in the arm for the local economy, but just imagine the cost. Think of all the 'crats who will simply refuse to leave Ottawa and will rightly demand significant severance. Imagine the cost of purchasing or leasing new office space and all the logistical hassles that go along with it.
The LP says it "makes sense" for three reasons:
1) The majority of aboriginal people live in Western Canada. This is funny because in the very same article, they point out that Ontario actually has the most natives of any province. However, 62 per cent of natives do live in the western provinces and territories. But really, what difference does it make if you 600 KMs from Indian affairs or 2000? It's not going to make a lick of difference for the average person.
2) Moving the staff to Regina would be a "shrewd political move" for PM Paul Martin as he "strives to convince western Canadians he wants to end their sense of alienation from Ottawa." Huh? Are they serious? Uproot hundreds of people from their homes and ship them to Saskatchewan while spending hundreds of millions in the process for no more than crass politics and public relations?
3) First Nations people have long complained about centralized decision-making in Ottawa/Hull. Oh please! Does the LP editorial board really believe having decisions made in Regina will feel any less centralized? The "centralized" feel is due the very existence of INAC, and new address on the letterhead will do nothing.
In his column "In Defence of Stephen Harper" August 29, 2005, Michael Taube calls me "stupid".
Why does Taube think I am stupid? Because I have criticized the federal Conservatives for failing to offer voters a principled, pro-free enterprise alternative to the Liberal Party.
Well, I stand by that criticism. In my view, the last thing Canada needs is a Conservative Party with a "Liberal Lite" agenda. What Canada does need is a political party that proudly and unabashedly stands for less government, lower taxes and individual freedom.
And by the way, Conservatives that stand for true small "c" conservative values usually win elections. That’s how Ronald Reagan won. That’s how Margaret Thatcher won. That’s how Mike Harris won. Does Taube think they are all stupid too?
Gerry Nicholls, Vice President
National Citizens Coalition
Posted by John Williamson at 9:41 AM
Monday, August 29, 2005
Alberta is confusing all the pundits who were predicting an $8 billion surplus this year by prediction a $2.8 billion surplus.
I bet I know why the surplus is so small. Have you looked at Alberta spending lately?
I give up. I'm convinced that the only way to reduce spending in that province is to cut taxes so deeply so that it forces The Party to control spending.
Posted by David MacLean at 4:12 PM
Kate at SDA on the beating drums
of the wealth expropriation crowd...
"Watch for that chatter to spike if Alberta continues to muse about the elimination of provincial income tax - something that I hope that comes to pass, if only to see what little blood there is drain from Lorne Calvert's face as he contemplates a Saskatchewan economy limited to civil servants and crown employees living off each other's taxes and utility bills."
Posted by David MacLean at 12:30 PM
Sun columnist Michael Taube mistakes the CTF for a political party. What part of "non-partisan" does he not understand?
Posted by David MacLean at 11:09 AM
Sunday, August 28, 2005
While Ontario is carping about slipping into "have-not" status and calling for increased handouts from Ottawa, economists are saying it's all about government spending.
TORONTO (CP) - The policies of past premiers are more to blame for Ontario's current fiscal challenges than the $23-billion gap between what the province pays Ottawa and what it gets back to help fund federal services, economists say.
"The fiscal gap and the idea of Ontario becoming a have-not province are related, but not closely related," says BMO Nesbitt Burns economist David Watt.
"The major part of the problem in Ontario over the past few years is on the spending side, and unimaginative policy decisions, and we haven't really done much on the fiscal side to sort of stem problems with the increased spending."
I will say this, however: Is there any doubt the equalization program is a complete disaster, and needs to be scrapped ASAP?
Posted by David MacLean at 11:18 AM
Friday, August 26, 2005
Wow, a breath of fresh air. New Alberta CTF spokesman Scott Hennig makes his debut.
Posted by David MacLean at 12:42 PM
Wow. The province is building a special terminal for government aircraft for $1 million.
The Sask Party correctly asks why they didn't just lease existing space...no real response from the province.
Hmmm...MRI unit or air terminal for politicians?
As I type, I am writing the the Freedom of Informaton request:
"Please provide the cost-benefit analysis of building a stand alone government air terminal..."
Ralph Klein has reportedly made former Deputy Minister of Finance Peter Kruselnicki his new Chief of Staff. Kruselnicki replaces outgoing COS Rod Love.
Kruselnicki has a reputation around Alberta government circles for being hard-nosed and aggressive, and was around when all the good things happened in Alberta (those were the days, eh?).
We can only hope that he will play a role in tax cuts that have been trial ballooned by Premier Klein of late.
Of course, Kruselnicki is a regular reader and we have some suggestions for him now that he has the undivided attention of the Premier.
1. Protect taxpayers with legislation, to require that a referendum be held prior to the introduction of any new taxes or tax increases. This would fulfill a long-standing promise of Premier Klein, and would accord with the wishes of 83% of Albertans.
2. Control spending with legislation. Alberta’s spending on government programs is up 90% in eight years, compared to 15% population growth and 23% inflation.
3. Reduce Albertans’ tax burden by $1.5 billion, by abolishing the health care premium tax ($893 million) and the 3% hidden sales tax on insurance ($191 million), and allowing parents a per-child tax exemption ($200 million) and reducing provincial property tax by one sixth ($200 million).
4. Abolish the health care premium tax for all Albertans. Abolishing this tax for seniors was a small step in the right direction, but a family with children, earning $35,000 per year, must still pay $1,056 per year.
Come on Peter, you know you wanna!
Update: Rod Love is reportedly leaving Klein's government to work for Jim Dinning, the next Premier of Alberta.
Posted by David MacLean at 11:45 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Send your comments via the web, at http://www.gomery.ca/
Sponsorship inquiry judge will ask public to comment on scandal
(Gomery-Public)Source: CPAug 25, 2005 12:37
The sponsorship inquiry is asking ordinary Canadians for their comments on the scandal.
Justice John Gomery is asking people to submit their comments through the inquiry website or by mail.
The inquiry will also hold five roundtable meetings with the public across the country between now and the end of October.
Gomery says he wants the views and perspectives of the public to help him put together recommendations on clearer accountability in government.
Anyone who wishes to comment has until Oct. 28 to send in a submission.
© 2004 The Canadian Press
Posted by Adam Taylor at 2:04 PM
The Strike to End All Strikes is brewing in BC. BC teachers have been working without a contract for a year and according the The Province, they plan on going to the wall for class size limits.
But as the writers point out, a new study by CD Howe can't find a relationship between smaller class sizes and better educational outcomes.
Regardless, teachers unions always say they are striking for class sizes but fold like cheap lawn furniture for a pay raise.
Posted by David MacLean at 11:21 AM
Alberta is looking at cutting personal and corporate income taxes. It's great news for taxpayers there, but better news considering that tax cuts might help control obnoxious spending levels.
There is a famous bumper sticker that used to be common around Alberta. It read: "Dear Lord, Please give us another boom. I promise not to piss this one away."
Alberta is currenty mid-stream on this boom.
Posted by David MacLean at 10:19 AM
The last thing Winnipeg needs is another tax, and Mayor Sam Katz would be wise to recognize that sooner rather than later.
Someone at City Hall has cooked up yet another way to gouge taxpayers that want to build new homes in Winnipeg - charging "impost fees" to the developers (who will then put the cost onto the consumer) of a new suburb in Winnipeg, Waverley West. These fees, which are really just another tax, can be as high as $6500/lot.
Posted by Adrienne Batra at 6:55 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Regina city unions are refusing to collect bus fares or leisure center fees, and have launched an advertising campaign telling people they can now use city services for "free," courtesy of the unions.
Imagine if you worked for a private company and as part of job action you started giving away the products to whomever wants them. How long do you think that would last? Time to privatize these services.
Posted by David MacLean at 3:30 PM
Those redneck swedes are cutting ridiculously-high taxes on alcohol in half, and lamentably Norway may have to follow suit.
Watch closely, because we're pretty sure you will see no significant increase in the consumption of alcohol in either country, contrary to what the state-run liquor advocates tell you.
Posted by David MacLean at 3:13 PM
The drums are beating for a better deal for Ontario, with all eyes on Alberta.
It's only a matter of time until Ottawa makes a grab to try to even things out.
The reality is that Albertan's have been sending billions to Ottawa for years, with hardly a peep from them. They should probably keep their heads down.
Posted by David MacLean at 10:54 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I was at the "New Deal" announcement this morning that will see $148 million gas tax dollars sent to Saskatchewan over 5 years for environmentally friendly infrastructure projects.
There was a very surreal moment when Finance Minister Goodale was inviting various stakeholders to formally sign off on the deal and pose for the big photo-op. He invited Don Schlosser from the Saskatchewan Urban municipalities Association, Neil Hardy from Sask Association of Rural Municipalities and the provincial minister of municipalities.
Realizing he had forgotten the "big guy," Goodale quickly turned and said with a laugh to the Prime Minister "please come forward, Prime Minister, it is your money."
Don't you see? The Prime Minister came to Saskatchewan bearing gifts, for which we all should be grateful!
Being the prickly pears we are, we weren't so grateful this morning.
Posted by David MacLean at 3:17 PM
Paul Martin has rejected lowering gas taxes.
Nevermind that 1.5 cents a litre was imposed as a deficit reduction measure and should have vanished 7 years ago along with the budget deficit.
Nevermind that the GST is a tax on tax.
Nevermind that taxpayers are being gouged.
Paul Martin and Ralph Goodale have everything under control.
Send a message to Ralph Goodale and Paul Martin and tell them to stop the HIGHWAY ROBBERY.
Minister of Finance
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Department of Finance Canada
140 O'Connor Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Posted by Adam Taylor at 8:18 AM
Monday, August 22, 2005
“I conclude that there is room for the federal government to do more in investing the fuel taxes collected in Saskatchewan into the roadways of Saskatchewan. The taxes you collect, you spend on the roads; the taxes we collect, we spend on the roads, and now I think it’s time for Ottawa to do the same.”
~Premier Calvert speaking to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, March, 2003.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
The federal government's gas tax sharing plan does not reflect the needs and priorities of taxpayers.
Read all about it here.
Complete with commentary from the CTF's David MacLean, the "Adrienne Batra of Saskatchewan!!"
Tell Ottawa to USE IT OR LOSE IT!
The feds are high on gas tax revenues, while us lowly taxpayers are running on fumes.
Posted by Adam Taylor at 7:15 PM
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Ok, so let's get this straight. We need $2 billion more than $8 billion Indian Affairs spends every year, and this time we really, really are going to "dramatically" reduce poverty.
It might...as long as that $2 billion was divided up evenly and given to aboriginal people. Another government program? Don't think so.
The goal, according to one official, is to stimulate the formation of a large Native middle class.
The federal government is also talking about a so-called Marshall Plan for education -- a reference to the massive and successful U.S.-led program to rebuild a devastated Europe after the Second World War.
A federal education fund will help create regional school boards to assist on-reserve schools, which currently have no outside support to assess students or recruit teachers.
There was one bright light in this speculative story however, something we have been pursuing for a long time: native land ownership. On this they have it right.
Bands will be encouraged to take advantage of recent legislation that will allow them to move away from communal band ownership and towards the fostering of greater individual home ownership, a key source of wealth creation for most non-Native Canadians.
More freedom, fewer handouts.
Posted by David MacLean at 4:05 PM
This from the Brandon Sun...
The taxpayer advocate tail appears to be wagging the Conservative dog yet again.
Within a day of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation lambasting Tory leader Stephen Harper for not pressing Ottawa to reduce gasoline taxes, Harper came out and advocated for the feds to stop double taxing gas with GST and to reduce the 1.5 cent-per-litre surtax introduced as a deficit-fighting measure in the mid-1990s.
As soon as the Tories did that, the rest of the caucus hopped on the “me-too” bandwagon, including Brandon-Souris MP Merv Tweed. On Thursday, Tweed issued a news release calling for gas tax to be reduced, hours after Kildonan-St. Paul MP Joy Smith crafted one about exactly the same thing. Keep in mind as well that Tweed told the Brandon Sun two days earlier the gas tax was too great of a windfall for the government.“This time of year, particularly with the harvest just starting, I can’t believe the government hasn’t made some moves on it,” Tweed says.
Perhaps the government hasn’t made some moves because until now it hasn’t been pressured to do so by its main political opponents. The CTF has been after the government to reduce gas tax for some time, but its criticisms are predictable and easily ignored. Why is it the Tories and their leader, who have been out all summer supposedly connecting with average Canadians over the barbeque, can’t make any noise about the biggest bread-and-butter issue on people’s minds until they are shamed into doing it by the CTF?
Canadians need their government-in-waiting to be at least a little more proactive if they’re prepared to hand it the reins of government anytime soon.
Posted by David MacLean at 3:44 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
The CTF's July/August issue of the Taxpayer takes direct aim at the federal government's ineffective monopoly on health care. How many more Canadians have to suffer and die on waiting lists before the politicians listen?
Interested in receiving the Taxpayer at home? Click here.
Posted by Adam Taylor at 12:36 PM
This from London Fog...So well-said that I "borrowed" quite liberally, but the point is worth repeating.
According to the London Free Press, the Ontario government has found another use for your money and is reinstituting post-secondary grants for up to $3,000 to about 16,000 low-income students. Chris Bentley, London West MPP and Colleges and Universities Minister, is positively smug about the redistribution:
"Let's be clear — that's not a loan, that's a grant," Bentley said at a news conference at the University of Toronto. "We're back in the grants business."
… which is another way of saying, "we're diversifying our crime portfolio." As a student myself who has about $25,000 in student debt and is going to be nicked for a lot of taxes next spring and every spring after, Bentley's audacious appropriation and redistribution is going to make it more difficult for me to pay off my own debt, which was incurred without duress much like everyone else who attends university without immediate financial means. With the already substantial subsidization of post-secondary education and the availability of loans, both public and private, low income is not a deterrent to pursuing higher education except in the minds of those who allow it to be an obstacle and of poverty activists, attested to by the droves of students already borrowing to avail themselves of the opportunity.
Posted by David MacLean at 12:23 PM
It's encouraging to see we may have reached the tipping point on health reform. The formation of advocacy groups is an excellent sign.
Posted by David MacLean at 10:04 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Posted by John Williamson at 3:28 PM
Murray Mandryk in today's Regina Leader Post...(subscriber only)
“While the local CTF office hasn’t been as directly critical of the Saskatchewan Party as the federal wing has been of the Conservatives, it’s hard not to notice that the taxpayers federation has been filling the void on the right when it comes to issues like criticizing the NDP for reopening already-negotiated contracts with public sector unions, fat salary increases for deputy ministers and even public investment in industries like pork processing.”
Posted by David MacLean at 1:23 PM
Things are looking up today. On the radio this morning I hear Stephen Harper is calling on Ottawa to cut fuel taxes. Better late than never. He correctly points out that the feds can cut gas taxes "without breaking a sweat."
I get to work, and I read that the Nova Scotia government is considering dropping part of their gas taxes.
The CTF says it is time Ottawa end its gas gouging. This can be accomplished with three easy steps. First, Ottawa should end its GST/HST tax on tax bite. This will lower the price, on average, by 1.5 cents a litre (and 3 cents in NB, NS and Nfld. because of the 15% HST). Next, scrap the deficit elimination tax, which will save another penny and a half. Lastly reduce the federal levy by 2 cents, bringing the total saving to motorists to a cool 5 cents a litre.
Just get it done. And do motorists a favour for once.
Posted by David MacLean at 10:32 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
We need our Opposition to be a vigorous defender of our interests. We need them to expose and slow the outrageous waste of our tax dollars that has become a sad and debilitating reality in Canada. We need them to stand up and advocate policies that provide less waste, more accountability, and lower taxes.
They just aren't doing it.
Posted by David MacLean at 3:45 PM
The Canadian average gas price is now over $1- per litre.
As 38% of the pump price is tax, the Feds can and should cut gas taxes.
For starters, they could drop the 1.5 "deficit reduction" portion of the excise tax. Also, the feds could end the tax on tax by removing the GST that is currently charged on the full pump price.
Demand that Ottawa Cut Gas Taxes! Taxpayers are fuming and running on empty...
Posted by Adam Taylor at 3:19 PM
Monday, August 15, 2005
Canucks are wrong to think Canada's health care system is adequate as is.
People dying on waiting lists is unacceptable. People having to suffer in pain on waiting lists in unacceptable. Barring people from spending their own money on health care services is unacceptable.
Canada's Soviet-style medical system needs reform. Tell Paul Martin and Ujjal Dosanjh to unplug their ears, get their heads out of the sand, and reform our crumbling system, before more Canadians die and suffer.
Posted by Adam Taylor at 12:48 PM
Saturday, August 13, 2005
The always outspoken Charles Adler poses some pointed questions in his column today (Winnipeg Free Press) to PM Paul Martin and Governor General designate Michaelle Jean.
Posted by Adrienne Batra at 10:18 AM
Friday, August 12, 2005
So reads the headline in today's Winnipeg Free Press.
Premier Gary Doer's wife, and the spouse of former Chairman of the Crocus Board and the Manitoba Federation of Labour(MFL), Robert Hilliard, are co-owners of Viewpoints Research Ltd. - a polling company which received $75,000 in no-bid contracts for services provided to Crocus.
For months, the media and Opposition have been looking for a direct link to Premier Doer and the Crocus Fund, aside from the obvious ties the NDP has with MFL. It doesn't get much more direct than this, and that is why the Premier should be calling for a public inquiry so that he can explain what he knew and when.
Crocus shareholders and all taxpayers deserve to know what happened with the failed Labour Sponsored Fund.
Posted by Adrienne Batra at 2:19 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2005
The original argument for imposing higher gasoline taxes was to curb consumption. But consumption has chugged along and so has governments’ tax take. Between 1985 and 2003, gasoline sales steadily increased at an average rate of just over one per cent per year. According to Statistics Canada, retail gasoline sales in 1985 were just over 32 billion litres and just over 40 billion litres in 2004.
Posted by David MacLean at 12:12 PM
Venerable talk show host John Gormley had one of his snap polls this morning and 60 per cent of callers wanted gas tax relief.
And yes, this poll is 100 per cent scientific with no measurable margin of error. (!)
Sign our petition here calling on the feds to give us all a break at the pumps.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Check out Ian Urquhart's column in the Toronto Star - is this another another freespending trip by our MPPs?
Looks like it.... We wanted to know so the CTF Ontario office sent a letter to MPPs on the Committee for Electoral Reform asking that they either show the value in their proposed $200,000 junket or please, cancel the trip! It's still in the planning stages so if you want to share your thoughts on their travel plans, email the chair of the committee Caroline di Cocco at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Tasha Kheiriddin at 1:57 PM
Politicians of all stripes can't resist the temptation to spread the love a.k.a. tax dollars. President Bush just signed a $286.4 billion, that's right, billion, highway bill which includes over 6,000 special pet projects. Under the guise of infrastructure, the bill allocates over $2 million for landscaping along the Ronald Reagan freeway....
Posted by Sara MacIntyre at 1:11 PM
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Of course, this doesn’t stop the government from trumpeting their overwhelming success in economic development. Industry Minister Eric Cline said the job increases are a “testament to the diversification and strength of Saskatchewan’s economy.”
The economy is diverse if by “diverse” you mean the difference between various government departments. Cline also warns that this growth is a “double-edged sword” in that they are now having trouble filling some positions.
For taxpayers, an unfilled government position isn’t a liability, it’s a blessing.
Since 1995, our provincial government has grown its payroll by 12,190 bodies and hiked the average wage by 22 per cent. The number of working people sticking around in Saskatchewan to pay these wages is in slow but steady decline.
Sound like trouble?
In a measure of the intensity of the feelings, Yoji Nagaoka, a member of an anti-Koizumi LDP faction, hanged himself last week after voting in favour of the postal legislation. Heizo Takenaka, the minister behind the reforms said: “The rejection is a major blow to Japan’s future and its economy.”
Posted by David MacLean at 12:22 PM
Monday, August 08, 2005
Natuashish is a plantation with the government as absentee landlord, but the absence of work makes it, in fact, far more destructive than the cotton fields of Virginia ever were. How many more generations of the most lavishly endowed underclass on the planet have to be destroyed in the name of Canadian "caring"? We need to blow up Indian Affairs and end the compassionate apartheid that segregates natives from Canadians.
Posted by David MacLean at 11:31 PM
According to the most recent Sask Trends Monitor, the number of people who are employed in the field of "public administration" has grown by 5,000 since 2000 (13.7 per cent). Meanwhile, the province's population remains stalled at less than a million.
While total employment was up 1.4 per cent from last year, most of that growth "was among those 55 years of age."
Posted by David MacLean at 1:37 PM
The CTF has long advocated for a parallel public-private healthcare system, which resembles more of an European model than a US model of healtchcare delivery.
Tom Broadback of the Winnipeg Sun recently penned a column to illustrate how supporters of the existing healthcare monopoly use the US comparison as a "fear" tactic.
Posted by Tanis Fiss at 11:06 AM
If your party is too loud at a provincial park, if you speed through construction zones or if you evade your taxes, be prepared to pay more in Friendly Manitoba.
Posted by Adrienne Batra at 11:01 AM
Last week the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Aboriginal Division released a column advocating for the creation of an ombudsman for aboriginal affairs.
According to Edmonton Sun columnist, Mindy Jacobs, the CTFs recommendation received applause from the editor of "First Perspectives", a Manitoba-based native newspaper.
Posted by Tanis Fiss at 10:55 AM
Friday, August 05, 2005
How can a democratic society maintain a tax court system where the taxpayer is guilty until proven innocent? How is it possible that this remains a sad reality in Canada?
The state can assess your income and send you a bill. If you don't agree with that bill, you must file a complaint. The government will then take you to court, where they are not require to prove their case. The taxpayer must prove their innocence against an army of bureaucrats and lawyers.
Of course, it's not the large corporations that get smoked in tax court -- it's the little guy who runs a gas station or a fast food stand. The government knows a big business has the resources to put up a prolonged fight, so they don't even bother.
When will taxpayers be afforded the same rights as criminals and terrorists?
Posted by David MacLean at 12:25 PM
Nobody is pulling punches anymore with regard to FNUC. Philosophically we have to hold our noses at the thought of a race-based university. Now, we must deal with a massive scandal that is only going to get worse. Will they even open their doors this fall? The stench of corruption is overwhelming. It's only a matter of time before we're tallying up the tax dollars lost.
This from the SP today:
Morley Watson, vice-chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations who serves as chair of FNUC's board, apparently considers directors' approval of his high-handed interference in university affairs a mere technicality. Despite his insistence that fiduciary concerns, not political power-plays, led him to take actions that have demoralized university staff and raised concerns about FNUC's future, serious questions remain about what is going on. It doesn't help when The SP uncovers e-mail records that indicate Watson ordered FSIN to pay $4,000 to a woman three days after she swore an affidavit alleging wrongdoing by her brother-in-law and FNUC vice-president, Wes Stevenson, who was suspended and later fired. It doesn't help when, despite Watson's assurances that no one is treading on academic freedom, senior university officials lose their jobs after daring to criticize what's going on at FNUC.
Posted by David MacLean at 11:08 AM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Saskatchewan's pork industry has really hit a rough spot of late. The most prominent set back was the shut down of World Wide Pork in Moosejaw.
As with too many struggling businesses in Saskatchewan, taxpayers own a chunk of this outfit in the form of $2 million in debt. I wrote a column recently on the subject which garnered this rant from agriculture minister Mark Wartman in a weekly newspaper:
The Government’s only investment in Worldwide Pork is in the form of debt. We are a secured creditor: the debt is secured by the plant and equipment. The private sector owners of the company are working on a restructuring plan and have asked for time to implement that plan.
Contrary to what Mr. MacLean suggests, the Government of Saskatchewan is not planning on a “bail-out” for Worldwide Pork. However, we will continue to work with the owners in an effort to see the plant resume operations and its 270 staff return to work.
In today's LP, we see this item on World Wide Pork.
Hal Cushon, the assistant deputy minister of Agriculture, said the government needs to see a business plan first and has no intention of becoming a major investor in Worldwide Pork.Notice the not-so-subtle change in tone. They went from "we aren't going to bail them out" to "we won't be the first to to bail them out."
"We won't be the first investor or the major investor in it," Cushon said.
Perhaps they won't be the first, or the biggest. Why directly subidize the operation when there other, less transparent ways? A bigger concern than the government throwing more good money after bad is the prospect of the labour sponsoured Golden Opportunites coming is as white knight.
Rick Van Beselaere, counsel for Worldwide Pork, said that Farm Credit Canada is prepared to consider a $2 million to $3 million cash injection into the company. In addition, Golden Opportunities, a provincial labour-sponsored venture capital fund, has expressed interest in investing in the company, Van Beselaere said.Anyone remember Crocus?
Tread carefully, and not a single tax dollar should touch this operation.
The Supreme Court of Canada has suspended it's decision that banning private health options is unconstitutional for 12 months to help prevent "chaos."
The current system is chaos. Paying for your own medicine in a timely fashion is quite orderly.
Posted by David MacLean at 1:04 PM
What is it with cost overruns for multiplex/sportsplex facilities?
The citizens of Whitehorse may have their taxes increased by 2% in order to cover cost overruns of janitorial services.
But, why increase taxes, would it be more fair to have the users of the facility pay more?
What are your thoughts?
Posted by Tanis Fiss at 9:58 AM
Earlier this year the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), advocated their proposal; to provide each of the 90,000 former Indian residential school students living in Canada, with $10,000 and an additional $3,000 for every year an individual attended one of the schools.
The federal government has even go so far as to plan a meeting this fall to discuss the lump sum payment idea. But I guess the AFN decided not to wait that long.
The AFN has filed a $12 billion lawsuit against Ottawa on behalf of the 90,000 former Indian residential schools students. If successful, each of the former students could receive as much as $130,000 each.
Posted by Tanis Fiss at 9:36 AM
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
It may not seem likely, but former communist countries of the European Union (EU) are showing signs they could soon outpace countries like France and Germany.
The reasons are many, but pro growth economic strategies such as flat taxes and embracing globalization seem to be key factors. To read more, and to learn what Canada could and should implement, check out the latest MacLean's.
Posted by Tanis Fiss at 9:44 AM
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz faced one of his toughest battles since he was elected just over a year ago. Contracting out the remainder of the city's garbage collection services passed through city council with a slim 9-7 vote, but to his credit, Mayor Katz stuck to his guns to get the job done. In his weekly column in the Winnipeg Sun, Katz has some strong words on competitiveness and one of his fellow councilors.
Posted by Adrienne Batra at 8:32 AM
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
From the PMO:
Five have been summoned to enter the Red Chamber and called themselves Senators, only these guys don't have to be able to skate. (or even show up)
At a cool $119, 300. 00 per year, these lucky folks have just won cash for life! FANTASTIC!
These days, Paul Martin and his advisers probably just chuckle when they think of "democratic deficit" and other catchy political-bytes. That was then, this is now.
Read an earlier CTF critique of the expensive museum Canadian taxpayers call The Senate of Canada here.
Posted by Adam Taylor at 5:46 PM