Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Budget propaganda campaign

Star Phoenix:

...They make taxpayers and voters feel good about the government, the finance minister and the budget. And that's not an appropriate way to spend taxpayers' dollars," MacLean told reporters at the legislature Tuesday.

"When the implicit message in the advertising is that Andrew Thomson is looking out for you, that's not acceptable."

But Thomson was unapologetic about his presence in the ads.

"One of the reasons that I'm in them is that it's my budget and it's one of the opportunities I have to remind people that this is a budget that we've introduced," he said.

No, Minister. It's our budget.

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who is 'ours'?

'Ours' meaning the people of Saskatchewan?

'Ours' meaning the Taxpayer's Federation?

or

'Ours' meaning the business funding behind the Taxpayer's Federation?

A challenge to your 'Taxpayers' Federation. Do not reveal your list of contributors but tell the public what percentage of your funding comes from business and what percentage comes from the 'Taxpayers' that you support. As a lobby group, I think you owe that to the 'Taxpayers'.

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

Shawn said...

I thought commies like Thomson always spoke of the people's this and that. Maybe they only use that term when they are robbing some group or other blind.

David MacLean said...

I always know we're doing well when people start demanding to see our supporter list.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't asking to see your supporter's list David. I was asking to know what percentage of your funding comes from individuals and what percentage comes from businesses. Why is this a secret? If you are truly a 'taxpayer' federation, implying you're mainly funded by individuals, I think you'd have more credibility revealing that say 80% of your funds came from individuals. Hell, I might even sign up if I knew you weren't a proxy for businesses primarily.

David MacLean said...

If we were a proxy for business, we wouldn't oppose subidies, we wouldn't oppose special tax breaks.

I'm not sure of the figure, and frankly, you aren't joining the CTF.

Anonymous said...

So you're not allowing me to join? How interesting. Where is your charter saying whom can and whom cannot join?

But you still aren't answering my basic question. Why will the Federation not reveal their percentage of funding from businesses versus taxpayers? Why should people take your group seriously without knowing what segment of society is supporting it?

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

David MacLean said...

Oh you can join if you want, I will even send you a package if you send your mailing address. But that's just not going to happen.

Mike Stefaniuk said...

I have a question, how many individual members do you have across Canada, and how many in SK?

David MacLean said...

Last I checked we have 72,000 supporters across Canada and around 20,000 here in Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

Of the 20,000 Saskatchewan individual members, are all of these active? Meaning that they have paid dues or fees within the last year? I also assume you are not taking any businesses or organizations and counting all of them as individual members. If so, I tip my hat to you and regard you with a lot more respect.

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

P.S. I'll send you my postal address when I get home from work. Would also be interested in seeing any voting rules, how people get elected to the board, and how individuals are hired to work for the organization.

David MacLean said...

Sounds good.

There is one voting rule: You vote with your membership dues. If you don't like what we're doing you don't renew. It's the ultimate form of accountability.

Anonymous said...

So how does the board get elected or appointed then?

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

Adam Taylor said...

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has over 72,000 supporters across Canada.

The average supporter of the CTF is a regular, hardworking taxpaying Canadian who can't stand to see governments waste their money on everything from kickbacks to their friends and cronies, potato farms and the skeet-shooting registry.

The CTF has many supporters who are small businesses, etc. but hardly giant corporations as you suggest.

As David pointed out, the CTF opposes subsidies, and special tax breaks - hardly the stuff of a group in bed with corporate Canada!

Most supporters are beleaguered taxpayers who need a voice against defenders of big-government, special interests and those who think government programs will cure all our problems.

Canadians can be trusted with their own money - if they choose to spend it on beer, popcorn, and Milli Vanilli cassettes, that is their choice because they earned it.

We stand up for the little guy. In hockey terms, we take on the biggest goons of them all - the GOVERNMENT (S).

Anonymous said...

Adam,

I never suggested that the CTF was funded primarily by 'big business'. I suggested that maybe it was primarily funded by businesses, period. I haven't seen anything from David to contradict this.

If the CTF is primarily funded by taxpayers, then they should just tell us what proportion of their funding comes from individuals and what proportion comes from businesses. That would go a long way to shooting down detractors of the organization.

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

Chad Moats said...

I just tried to "join" and the website took me to a donation screen, no mention of a membership.
What is your average donation from individuals ?

Adam Taylor said...

Most organizations have dues.

In exchange for donating financially, supporters get regular updates of CTF initiatives and activities, particpate in our many advocacy campaigns, petitions, etc. get our in-house publication 'The Taxpayer' mailed to their door six times a year, direct access to a talented communications and research staff and a voice in setting the CTF's advocacy agenda through our annual supporter survey and regular contact with CTF staff.

This is what you get when you become a supporter of the CTF - and MORE!

People can get hung up on every little micro-detail if that floats your boat, but supporting our organization is voluntary and over 72,000 people across Canada have voluntarily donated their hard-earned tax money to support our efforts in keeping taxes low, exposing government waste and making public officials more accountable to the people that elect them.

If you disagree with the CTF you probably don't support them and that is your choice.

Given our 15 yr. history, steady growth, laundry list of accomplishments and national profile, I would say we have more supporters than detractors.

Chad Moats said...

What is your average donation from individuals ?

Anonymous said...

How do directors get elected for the CTF board? Is it by someone voting or by what criteria? Who chooses them?

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

Adam Taylor said...

I'm not sure what the average donation is...

Not very much though - We are an organization that is funded through the modest donations of thousands....

Sorry, Chad, I don't have an exact number for you.

David MacLean said...

I think the average donation in Saskatchewan is around $200.

Adam Taylor said...

Chad:

You should bring up the average - how about you donate $500?

HAHA!

Anonymous said...

Hey Adam,

How do directors get elected for the CTF board? Is it by someone voting or by what criteria? Who chooses them?

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

David MacLean said...

We're doing our best to answer these questions as thoroughly and honestly as we can. But we're not going to do this again. In fact, I have answered these questions hundreds of times.

I know the Commonwealth often asks these questions and so do unions. No matter how many times we answer them, they keep coming back. It's a game.

Our Board of Directors are all volunteers from across the country. When there are vacancies on the Board they search for candidates and appoint the successful one.

In terms "corporate" funding -- perhaps one per cent comes from corporations. The vast majority of our supporters are farms and small businesses across Canada. But they don't look to us to advocate for businesses, other groups do that.

So, most of our supporters are rural and operate their own business (farms in many cases).

As time goes by we are getting more urban support -- particularly in Ontario.

That's it guys. Full exclosure. Move on to the issues.

David MacLean said...

Just spoke to my CEO. The average donation is $160.

David MacLean said...

And, you guys should appreciate that Harry Van Mulligen met with our board of directors in 2004. We had a nice chat, and he met the entire organization.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good David. That answers all my questions. The organization is one where the top continues to vote for its own directors. There is no input from the grassroots as to whom are the directors for the organization. And the primary source of funding comes from small businesses, including farms.

Thanks but I'd rather join a more democratic organization and one that really is funded by individual taxpayers.

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

David MacLean said...

I had a sneaking suspicion you would say that. Thanks for your interest, Todd.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this budget campaign is propaganda, and has everything to do with the NDP abusing tax dollars for their partisan purposes.
And they shoud apologize for not lowering taxes years ago! First they strangle the province, now try to take credit for giving us a little oxygen! what nerve! chutzpah, even!

Mike Stefaniuk said...

I have a serious question. I believe in the good of government and that it does improve both quality of life and the functioning of markets (if used properly). I don't think taxes are too high. My biggest concern is with ensuring taxes are spent on good programs. If I were to take out a CTF membership, would my views be welcome, or would the membership be hostile towards me?

old timer said...

Please note how McLean will never say that they have 72,000 'members' - they always protect the true nature of the operation by saying that they have "72,000 'supporters'. They do not have 72,000 members -PERIOD- They have 12 members who handpick their Board of Directors. McLean is only a staffer. You will NEVER hear from any elected officer of the association. They have salesmen who receive commission for the money they bring in from their 'supporters. They hate it when I call them on this. There was a time you could actually be a 'member' - long ago I was a Member of the old Saskatchewan Taxpayers Federation. This was all before McLeans time so do not be hard on him. But things happened internally long ago and a new structure had to be created. What you see here is the new entity.

Chad Moats said...

How many employees does the CTF currently employ ?
What is the average salary of a CTF employee?
Would that include sales people?
What commision % do they recieve from donations sold ?
Thanks for your cooperation.

Shawn said...

Wow, amazing the lengths some will go to to avoid the main topic of the post.

One last thing, I guess some folks only feel membership or support is valid if it is coerced a la union dues. The concept of voluntarily supporting an organization is apparently foreign to them.

To David and the CTF, keep up the good work. Be worried if the gov't trolls STOP blundering around the site.

Anonymous said...

Shawn,

I'm not a government troll. I'm employed by a private firm and am not on the dole from the government in any shape or form.

There is a lot I disagree with when it comes to our current government. For example, I personally think that the liquor stores should be sold off and they should be put in private hands. I also am very much in favour of expanding our uranium mining and perhaps even power generation in the province.

But I also choose to question who runs organizations that put forward opinions, whether or not I agree with them. There's a lot I do agree with the CTF on but there's a lot I don't too. I just want the organizations I support to be transparent and what they say they are. If you don't demand the same accountability, that's fine by me. But many people do want that and they do have the right to ask questions. We might not have the right to get an answer all the time ;-), but in a free society, questions should always be able to be asked.

-Todd
http://www.doublecool.com

Mike Stefaniuk said...

So can I take out a membership or not? If so, can I influence what actions or ideology the CTF embraces? Or can I only donate money without any say into how the CTF is run?

Anonymous said...

Mike:

I am from Woodstock, ON. I have been a supporter/member of the CTF since 2003 when Dalton McGuinty told the voters of Ontario he wouldn't raise taxes and did just that in his 1st act as premier. I was enraged and felt let down. I decided I would give some of my hard-earned money to a non-partisan group that would stand up to any offside government.

They are nobody's patsy and I can tell you that when the Conservatives were in power in Ontario, the CTF held their feet to the fire. I am told they are quite the thorn in Ralph Klein's side too and just today I saw their federal director on CTV expressing disappointment at Stephen Harper's backing down on improving the out-dated federal Access to Information Act.

These guys stand up to anyone - Conservative, Liberal, and NDP and I respect them for it.

Yes, the CTF has a clear agenda. It is not open for debate with every yahoo who trolls blogs all day and wishes to be a stick in the spokes for everything said and done by the CTF.

If you would seek to compromise the established goals and tactics of this organization, I suspect your $ is not wanted or needed.

Moats: You are the troll of trolls. Your actions and comments on this blog have been nothing short of disgraceful - pretending to be an elderly, dying senior citizen to try and make your point. You clearly love high taxes, put special interests ahead of the common interest and love huge government, and I suspect nothing your NDP masters do could ever be wrong in your eyes. This is where you and the average CTF supporter differ.

We could care less who is in power - its what they do with that power that interests us and drives us to support 3rd party advocacy groups like the CTF.

Both of you need to stop your attacks on the CTF - debate is fine. They don't troll your blogs and discredit every little micro-detail, so why do it to them?

The CTF is an advocacy organization - it's mission is clear and all those who agree SUPPORT it. The goals and tactics of the organization are determined by consulting supporters so this top-down stuff is a steaming pile of bull plop. Since becoming a supporter, I've filled out three annual surveys and this is how the agenda is determined. That is grassroots my friends.

Can you guys please stop the silliness - neither of you really plan on supporting the CTF so what is your real goal? To discredit the CTF to the point of people like me not renewing? Good Luck!

Mike, your comments as of late were really great and I enjoyed reading them and your debate with David MacLean. That is why I come to this blog - to hear both sides and allow the debate to flourish.

But when the attacks get off-base and seek to damage the fine work this organization does it does upset me because as a supporter I feel this is one transparent organization and I am glad to give them $107 bucks per year.

-Willard Teevens
Woodstock, ON

Mike Stefaniuk said...

I'm gonna be honest, I knew nothing of the CTF's membership or how their organization worked before today. Dave and Adam were very open and I appreciate that. I do want honest debate and I will try to stick to that, but there will be uncomfortable questions. I can assure you I am no troll, yesterday was the first time I ever posted on this blog. However, if you think that they answers they have given or the questions we have asked discredit them in any way, well.....

But I do have one last serious question. To David and Adam (and I hope you answer my previous questions), you indicated that you get a lot of farm support. Further, you guys made it quite clear that you oppose subsidies and corporate welfare. So do you guys support all of the subsidies that we provide to our agricultural sector?

Chad Moats said...

I would also like to applaud the openessfrom David and Adam, thank you but my calculations, and Math was never my strong suit, put your total donations in the $1.2 Million range annually, would that be correct ?
This leads me to wonder if it is possible to run a national lobby group on such paltry funds?
I am hoping that your employees make more then minimum wage because your wages would eat up most that revenue or I could be wrong in adding it up.

David MacLean said...

Fair question. The farm situation is an emergency, and it's hard to argue against government aid during emergencies. The real cause of the farm crisis is not the weather, it's US and European farm subsidies. Canadian subsidies actually look reasonable in comparison. In the long term we need to find another solution, I don't think anybody disagrees with that. Our supporters tell me every day "I can make it as long as prices are reasonable."

The prices aren't reasonable. They're a joke. And it's entirely due the market distortions created by the europeans and americans.

At the end of the day people have to make a business decision -- and I suspect there will be lots of folks leaving the farm this year.

David MacLean said...

Chad, we are a non-profit. If you know anything about the non-profit business, you know nobody is getting rich. Eh Adam?

Mike Stefaniuk said...

So David, I agree with you that prices are skewed in world markets. There is market failure here. So will you agree with me that when there is market failure, government intervention is warranted?

Chad Moats said...

So its minimum wage or is it incentive based ?
I know your Reps get a 25% commission ?
So how many employees, on salary or wage earner do you have on staff ?
Thanks in advance.

Maryjane said...

David ... You said:" If we were a proxy for business, we wouldn't oppose subsidies, we wouldn't oppose special tax breaks."
Then:"Most of our supporters are rural and operate small businesses (farms in many cases.)"
Therefore, since many of your supporters are farmers and you NEVER oppose subsidies and special tax breaks for agriculture, you ARE a proxy for the farm sector. You do not speak for average, hardworking, rank and file taxpayers.
Question: Can farmers and small businesses write off the cost of membership in the CTF against their income tax?

David MacLean said...

Mary Jane -- They can't write donations off as deductions. And the makeup of the org is different in different provinces.

Mike Stefaniuk said...

Do i get an answer to my question?

Maryjane said...

But David, You say you oppose subsidies but the CTF has yet to meet an agricultural subsiy it didn't like. How can you speak with any credibility while applying this blatant double standard?

PA Grizzly said...

Stefanuk, not a busy day at the office today? You phone bills at work.

Mike Stefaniuk said...

Actually I was quite productive today thank you very much. Had a good day at the office, but thanks for asking.

Shawn said...

You know, there is no difference between how the CTF operates and how greenpeace operates.

Anonymous said...

I just heard a budget add on the radio: it featured a sacharine voice telling me how Saskatchewan is the best place to live... basically, all thanks to the NDP and teh new cult of personality centred on this Andrew Thompson or Tomson fellow.... I found it sickening, frankly. It sounded like propaganda, and it is the tactic of every oppressive and irresponsible regime.

Anonymous said...

Hey Todd Doublecool...

How does your boss at your "private firm" feel about you posting to a blog 8 times a day during the work day?

Its that kind of commitment to productivity that's going to keep Saskatchewan a have-not province.

Well done, you are a Saskatchewan hero.

Samra said...

Funny how the NDP locusts on this board have managed to hijack the original topic of the post. I guess it's their version of a union picket or something.

DS said...

It's funny that when a topic turns into a serious discussion about the CTF and how it operates it is seemingly being quickly buried by posts from the CTF.

Seriously, 3 posts concerned with the GST cut and the associated income tax issue?

And a post linking to an article from January concerning the NDP?

I could care less who the CTF represents. It just amuses me that an organization that calls for transparency in government pulls the veil of secrecy when questioned about its very own transparency.

David MacLean said...

ds, did you see how much time we dedicated to answering questions from you guys?

The GST cut is a big issue for us, as you can probably imagine.

sask.taxpayers federation said...

An across the board tax cut for middle income wage earners would be better. The more you buy the more GST you pay. So buy less? It's cheaper for the gov't to cut the GST. This gov't doesn't care about the middle class, they wish we weren't around. We wield a lot of clout. Most of us are baby boomers. Retirement is in the future. Tory times are hard times. That is a historical fact.

David MacLean said...

The CTF calls for an increase the basic personal exemption to $15,000 -- which would removing thousands of low income people from the tax rolls all together.

Maryjane said...

David... Since you will not or can not refute my observation that your organization is nothing more than a proxy for the farm lobby and that in fact you are in favor of higher taxes for the rest of society to pay for subsidies for your "donors", I can only conclude that you whole-heartedly concur.

DS said...

Mr. MacLean,

I have seen you answer some of the question posed in this post and in the "Update: Sask budget advertising" post but the operative word is some. Just because you answer a portion of the questions it doesn't mean that you will get full marks.

As for the GST cut. I agree it is a big issue for you guys but three posts that esentially say nothing new? And a post referencing an article from January? I'm sure that even you can understand the optics of the situation.

Anonymous said...

I resent the fact that the NDP are using our money for propaganda. I also resent the fact that they are hiding a deficit using the fsf. I also resent the fact that they ahve finally seen the light on cutting corporate taxes, but not before costing this province thousands of jobs and young people. You trolls can rant about the "farm lobby" or "baby boomers" or "operative words", but none of this excuses the impropriety or the damage Calvert's NDP have caused to this province.

Anonymous said...

How much did this crew waste announcing a fictional ethanol plant?
How much did they waste covering up Spudco?
How much on the Future Wide Open campaign (hidden in the Crowns)?
How much promising "the cheapest utilities"?
etc...
This half mil is nothing! who cares!

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

The meadow lake pulp mill deal was set up by Grant Devine's tories.
All gov't advertise. You guys are PO'd because this is a political positive announcement for the NDP.

Anonymous said...

"positive politica annoucement"? It's what should ahve been done years ago! The NDP should be apologizing for not cutting corporate taxes years ago, instead they are spending tax dollars propagandizing! Shame on them and their blind defenders!

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

We couldn't afford to do it years ago. They were busy paying off tory debt.

right to work said...

The NDP has doubled the debt since taking control of the purse and crown debts have in some cases tripled. Good job!

Maryjane said...

right to work.....Ya got numbers to back that up?

Right to work said...

Maryjane
Provincial debt 1991 was 3.686 bill.
1992 was 5.999
1993 was 6.587
1994 was 7.769
1995 was 7.641
1996 was 7.622
1997 was 8.255
1998 was 8.170
1999 was 7.161
2000 was 7.069
2001 was 7.004
2002 was 7.802
2003 was 7.757
Sask Power also has a 1.91 billion dollar debt but continually pays dividends and then borrows more money to operate. Is that how you balance your books??
The auditor Fred Wendel has continually told the Gov to quit this practice but it looks good in the Press to "balance" the books and lulls the public to sleep.
Actually The CTF pushed the NPD to institute balanced budget legilation, so the finance ministers juggle with the crowns to do it through the phony stabalization fund that has no cash!
The Devine Gov did run up debt as did all the other governments in Canada at the time becasue of a recession, but if he hadn't funded the pension plans that were previously underfunded it wouldn't have looked so bad!

Brick Wall said...

RTW,
How do those numbers come out in % of GDP ?
The current debt is 16%, well under the 20% claimed by many economists to be the equilibrium before you get diminishing returns.

Anonymous said...

who cares, Brick: what's our gdp? oil, gas, uranium and a shrinking population. your prevarications do not change the fact that the debt has been rising and that the fsf is a decption.

Brick Wall said...

So what were those numbers as a percentage of GDP?
Changing the subject, all you neocon fascists are the same way. You practicing your goose step right now ?
The GDP to Debt ratio is a very important fiscal number, anything below 20% means the more you pay down the less you save. FSF is used to balance the budget over cycles, I believe Gordon Brown does the same thing. Bob Linner, the much heralded City Mgr in Regina uses Reserves funds to balance his budgets. He drained PA's and now Regina's. This is much worse then using a short term credit line but since your the economist, you must know better.

Anonymous said...

Brick: Sakatchewans GDP per capita is the second lowest in the 60 states and provinces in N.A.
Municipalities are not by law allowed to run a deficit

David MacLean said...

Reserve funds actually has cash money in them. The fiscal stabilization fund, doesn't, and never has had money in it. It's debt, just like the rest of the GRF debt.

sask.taxpayers federation said...

It's all paper losses. Not real losses.

Anonymous said...

stf is making fun of himself. He has lapsed into real self-parady, not paper self-parady.

sask.taxpayers federation said...

You live in fantasy world. Grant Devine Gov't was the worst and crookedist gov't in history. Pull your head out of yer arse and face up to the truth. Me thinks you are trying to make a bunch of crooks(the Tories) look good. They were a bunch on monkeys admit it. They couldn't administer an enema. It's fools like yourself that make the tories look bad.

Anonymous said...

uh...ok, stf: more self-parady, eh? enough, already, take it easy on yourself, you've proven your point!
(stf, sometimes propoganda backfires!)

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