Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You Asleep at the Switch Again George?

One Million Ontarians Without a Doctor

Josh Pringle Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Ontario Medical Association estimates Ontario is short more than two-thousand physicians.

The Ontario Government is being urged to launch a full campaign to reduce the doctor shortage in the province.
The OMA says the province must retain doctors already practicing in Ontario and bring back those doctors who are working in the US.

One million Ontarians don't have a doctor.
ED: Maybe all that cash for transit and MPP pay raises could have been better spent eh guys? Get in the game Minister Smitherman.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach's campaign contribution list now on-line

Alberta's new premier, Ed Stelmach has released his partial campaign contribution disclosure lists.

"Partial," because he's only disclosing those donors who are willing to be disclosed.

He's apparently the third candidate (out of 8) to do so.

You can view Ed's disclosure documents here on Ed's website, but only until March 15, 2007 when his campaign site is shut down.

Or... you can check out all of the candidate disclosure documents as they become available, permanently on-line by visiting the PC Leadership Campaign Disclosure website on

The CTF decided that since most of the candidates have already or are about to take down their campaign websites, we didn't want to see these vital public disclosure documents vanish. So as they become available we'll put them on-line permanently.

Ireland is now richer than the United States

While income taxes are higher than US rates, the Captain notes Ireland's corporate tax rates are a fraction of those in the US.

Chew on some chart:

And as for Canada....

Sask: Bye-bye rainy day fund? (updated)

Further to previous post on Saskatchewan Finances: What do you do when revenues are rising by at least 7.7 per cent and are better than ever?

Well, if you are this government you start drawing down your savings.
The government did not touch the $887 million in its fiscal stabilization fund "saving account"but Thomson said it will be drawn down by several hundreds of millions of dollars in the budget.
Update: In looking back at past government announcements I came across this news release. First off, it claimes the 2001-02 budget was "balanced." This is false. The provincial auditor showed a $483 million deficit that year. It was simply more accounting trickery from the NDP government.
That release also reminds us of how quickly things can change in the economy.
"The Public Accounts close the books on a very difficult year for the Saskatchewan economy," Cline said. "The combination of drought, falling commodity prices and the global economic downturn meant provincial revenues tapered off from the dramatic growth shown in 2000-01. Lower revenue from oil and natural gas was offset in part by higher federal transfers. Corporation Income Tax revenue was also less, due in part to the economic slowdown but also to the backlog in processing on the part of the federal government and the reduction in rates for small business."
That was just five years ago. Imagine what a slowdown would do to government finances at current spending levels. Since 2002, government spending has increased by a whopping 18 per cent.
Later in the press release, Cline reflects on the purpose of the fiscal stabilization fund.
Cline said the eighth consecutive balanced budget underlines the importance of having a 'rainy-day fund' in the form of the Fiscal Stabilization Fund. "The year-end financial results for 2001-02 highlight an improvement in revenues over what was forecast in the 2002-03 provincial budget. Combined with careful spending, this meant that $131 million less was required than forecast from the Fiscal Stabilization Fund to balance the budget for 2001-02. This leaves us better positioned to meet the challenges for the 2002-03 fiscal year and beyond."
You know what? It wasn't raining in 2002, and it certainly isn't raining now. It's clear the government should change the name of the FSF to NSF -- the "NDP Slush Fund."

Monday, February 26, 2007

From the "oh this is rich" file...

Remember the story about Lyall Thomson?

He's the guy who was paid $179,000 in severance for four months of work as the Superintendent of the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB).

He was paid that thanks to a no-fault clause in his contract that allowed either party to terminate the contract at any time provided that notice was provided or payment in-lieu. It also allows for no blame to be assigned to either party.

He was given no notice, and as such received the equivalent of one-year's salary.

At the time, the CTF argued that no-fault contracts were stupid, because when dealing with tax dollars, taxpayers have a right to know whether they are being spent wisely.

Maybe Mr. Thomson was a complete screw-up and the $179K was a small price to pay to get rid of him. Maybe Mr. Thomson was a maverick trying to shake the status quo and the board didn't like his moxie.

Either way, it's pretty tough for voters to decide whether to re-elect their board members this October when they don't know whether they are making prudent decisions.

Well Mr. Thomson is back in the news, and he's trying to reach into our pocket again by suing the Edmonton Public School Board for $2.25 million for ruining his reputation by not disclosing their reason for his termination.

According to the CBC Story:

In a statement of claim filed Friday in Court of Queen's Bench, Thomson alleges he received little or no feedback on his performance and was never informed his job was in jeopardy.

But on Jan. 10, two trustees went to Thomson's office, read him a letter of termination, gave him a cheque worth one year's salary, and told him to turn over his keys and leave the building immediately, the lawsuit claims.

His lawyer, Barrie Chivers, said the board needs to explain its actions.

"The board is a public body and it owes a duty to its employees, it owes a duty to its public, and one of those duties is that it has to act in a fair and reasonable manner," he said.

Ironically, the stupid no-fault contract the EPSB signed may just win them this suit, but it could cause another one.

I'm no lawyer, but for starters, if Mr. Thomson's reputation was damaged by the board not explaining his termination, too bad. He signed the no-fault contract and that clause doesn't allow the board to explain.

However, according to board chair: "The district has received a statement of claim and the statement contains unproven allegations. And the district will be vigorously defending the claim," said Bev Esslinger.

If the Board comes out too aggressively and attempts to explain why they terminated Mr. Thomson, they may violate the no-fault clause in his employment contract and open themselves up to another lawsuit.

Either way, the board has already given Thomson $243,734.25 for a little over four months of work. They had better not settle, cave or pay him one more taxpayer cent.

Adding to the list of deficits: The gym deficit

Provincial ministers of sport have identified a brand new threat we all need to worry about: The Culture and Recreation Deficit.

While we have never heard this figure before, it now appears Saskatchewan has a $750 million deficit of gyms, swimming pools and performance theaters. Moreover, it's the taxpayers' problem.

The last significant federal investment in sport and recreation infrastructure took place in the late sixties. In Saskatchewan, efforts to enhance physical activity levels are being hampered by a lack of adequate access to facilities. The culture and recreation infrastructure deficit in Saskatchewan is estimated to be in excess of $750 million. In December, the province announced the Building Communities Program, which is contributing $100 million over three years to help communities meet some of these needs.

Sask: State-run wireless internet

Here is one example of how the government is spending money as fast as it's coming in: Free wireless internet access in Saskatchewan's four largest cities.

Saskatchewan will provide free internet access in the downtown and other business reas of the province's four biggest cities beginning in May.

Premier Lorne Calvert and the minister responsible for information technology, Andrew Thomson, made the announcement on Monday in Saskatoon.

"It contributes significantly to the image of our communities and makes them an even more attractive place to invest and to do business and to visit," Calvert said.

It gets worse -- the government will be the Official Censor!
The limited speed service will be free to anyone with a laptop or desk-top computer and Wi-Fi adaptor, available for less than $100. It will block adult sites or sites that promote hate.

Sask: Third quarter update

1) Government revenue is up nearly $600 million from budget (7.7 per cent)

2) Government spending is up $531 million from budget (7.4 per cent)

3) Total provincial government debt is scheduled to drop by only $156 million

The boom times are here, so why can't we pay down the debt in a significant way? And why must the politicians spend money as fast as it's coming in?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sask: Time for a single rate tax

As we write in our recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget, it's time for the Saskatchewan government to finish the job it started last year. There is consensus that the province needs to be more competitive in order to attract workers and investment. The government made great strides last year in reducing business taxes, now it's time to finish the job.

It's time to adopt a single rate income tax. We recommend setting the rate at 11 per cent, with basic personal exemption of $15,000. It's aggressive, it's bold and it sends the right message. Forget all the government advertising and let the facts tell the story.

Single rate taxes are recognized around the world for fostering economic growth, productivity and wealth creation.

Let's get it on.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do You Thinks It's Easy to Hail a Cab?

OTTAWA: Access to Information documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reveal that St├ęphane Dion’s chauffeur billed taxpayers $14,225 for Montreal hotel and travel expenses.
In addition, documents show during the 2005 Kyoto conference in Montreal, Mr. Dion opted to lodge at a hotel at a cost of $5,548, even though he maintains a residence in Montreal where he is the Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent–Cartierville.
Just Another Limousine Liberal –
For the period July 2004 to November 2005, records show Mr. Dion’s chauffeur billed $14,225 in 98 separate expenses for trips between Gatineau (the capital region) and Montreal. The expenses include transportation costs, meals, telephone charges, etc.
Mr. Dion is quick to lecture Canadians on the need to cut greenhouse gases yet as environment minister he opted to drive to Montreal, keep his chauffeur in the city and bilk taxpayers $14,225.
Quel Leadership!
Read the complete article here
The Chauffeur's bills here
Mr. Dion's hotel tab here

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Victoria council votes to eliminate tax-free pay perk

Big kudos to the Victoria City Council for voting to eliminate their archaic one-third tax free status on their council salary.

It's an unfortunate remanence from the days when politicians had to pay out of pocket to travel by motor-coach, train or zeppelin to get to Ottawa or their provincial capital a couple times a year to vote.

Now that most politicians have not only salaries, but a handful of other allowances (travel allowances, education allowances, office budgets, clothing allowances, health care spending accounts, RRSP contributions, pensions, and transition allowances) it's clearly time to eliminate the special tax-free status that only a select handful of Canadians enjoy.

Read the story here.

As mentioned in the story:

MLAs in B.C. lost the privilege in 1996, and Ontario, Manitoba and Nova
Scotia have also opted for a more transparent system.

Tax-free status has also been eliminated for civic politicians in Vancouver,
Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.

Not mentioned in the story, but the Province of Saskatchewan also recently joined that category of full taxpayers, as did the City of Calgary. Thanks to a bit of CTF prodding in both Saskatchewan and Calgary.

Unfortunately, the City of Edmonton, passed on the opportunity to become more transparent, instead opting to raise council salaries by 13%, their "car allowance" by 30% and their "RRSP allowance" by 87% (the later two are also 1/3 tax-free if you can believe it). Not to mention a generous hike to their "transition allowance".

(note: the quotations around "car allowance" and "RRSP allowance" are due to the fact that neither is a real allowance. Both are paid out as cash on their regular paycheques and don't have to be used for either stated purpose -- meaning you don't have to even own a car to get your "car allowance" in Edmonton).

If you live in Edmonton, sign our petition.

Quebec is a disaster...(UPDATED: BC budget full of pork)

The good news:

  • They are cutting taxes -- including cutting the manufacturers capital tax.

The bad:

  • The province is in debt to the tune of $122 billion, and they are forecasting a $1 billion deficit. In election years, that tends to be code for $4 billion or so.

Then there is BC....

The good news:

  • $1.5 billion in tax cuts -- including a 10 per cent cut to income taxes.

The bad news:

  • HUNDREDS OF MILLLIONS in new spending.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pics from 2007 Teddies

Recap of Winners:

Senator Colin "King of the Skies" Kenny (Federal)

Hydro One Board, AKA "Culture of Entitlement Committee" (Provincial)

City of Edmonton, "Yo-yo Tourism" (Municipal)

Dalton "Gepetto's Lad" McGuinty (Lifetime Achievement)

Read the full list of nominees here.

It's that time again!!!

It's an annual tradition rivalling the SuperBowl, the Grey Cup, and the Stanley Cup.

Congratulations to Dalton McGuinty for his lifetime achievement award:
Lifetime Achievement Teddy – Dalton McGuintyAll the great ones own a memorable line that confirms iconic status. These lines usually become ingrained in peoples’ minds and can instantly be associated with the person who said it and what show it was articulated in. There are numerous examples. Clark Gable had his “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” in Gone with the Wind. July Garland said “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” in the Wizard of Oz.

Which bring us to our latest inductee in the Teddies lifetime achievement category, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. Mr. McGuinty made two significant statements that ensure he will be long remembered by taxpayers. First, as Liberal Opposition leader on the election trail in 2003 he repeatedly told voters: "I won't raise your taxes, but I won't cut them either.

But he didn’t stop there. He showed up at a downtown Toronto hotel and signed a pledge drafted by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that committed a Liberal government to abide by the Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act. Above his signature, read: "I, Dalton McGuinty, promise that if my party is elected as the next government, I will not raise taxes or implement any new taxes without the explicit consent of Ontario voters.

"The Liberals won that election and Dalton McGuinty became Premier of Ontario. Yet, six months later, he broke that promise, ushering in the largest tax hike in Ontario’s history in the form of a so-called “health premium.” Voters called it a tax and the Big Lie.

Since then, Premier McGuinty has continuously blamed his predecessors for all his troubles, delivered 3 deficit budgets, ramped up spending, and continuously whined to the federal government for more handouts. Handouts for what taxpayers ask? In December, 2006, the McGuinty Liberals ushered in a 25 per cent pay increase for MPP’s. Does this sound like someone to be trusted with tax dollars?

A Teddy is awarded to Mr. McGuinty in recognition of his many accomplishments. “In just four years, Dalton McGuinty truly has amassed a lifetime of achievements and for that we honour him as this year’s recipient of the lifetime achievement Teddy. Congratulations Premier McGuinty,” concluded Batra.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

New on

The folly of the Saskatchewan government meddling in the economy.

It's not easy being green in British Columbia.

Alberta health premiums: Myths and lies.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kyoto costs...continued

Surly has a great Kyoto rant...and a challenge.

I'm praying that Harper meets their demands and tables a detailed plan that will allow Canada to meet its targets under the Kyoto Accord. Promise to impose massive carbon taxes on industry, utilities, oil companies, the works, so that everyone's heating, electricity, and automobile fuel bills double, and the costs of all consumer goods similarly increases. Set out plans to impose hefty fines on heavy industry be it the oilpatch in Alberta, automakers in Ontario, or that perennial Liberal corporate welfare favourite in Montreal, Bombardier if they don't meet impossibly stringent energy use and emission targets. Demand impossibly high fuel economy standards for all new cars sold in Canada and introduce a ban on all SUVs and pickup trucks bought for personal use that will be phased in by 2012. Axe Canada's current supply-side management regime for milk, eggs and dairy which grossly favour Central Canada on the grounds that food for Canadian markets should be grown locally to cut down on CO2 emissions caused by transporting the products to market. Table plans for a ban on future immigration to Canada in order to keep our population down so that we will not have more people emmitting CO2.

Sask: One less crown corporation

Without plugging any particular company, I'm proud to report the MacLean household has one less crown corporation in it. We're SaskTel free, baby, and loving it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"How much could that Kyoto thing cost us?

...and who will we be paying money to? You mean taxpayers will be paying it? Are you kidding me?"

A conversation I had today.

Baird has a great analogy:

"It's almost like saying around the world we've signed a protocol to all go on a diet and lose weight and instead of losing weight, we gain 35 pounds. But we somehow get an out by paying someone in Russia to lose weight for us. And by the way, they don't lose weight. This just compensates them for weight they lost 20 years ago."


I think some tories have discovered our web poll on income trusts (scroll down). Anyone care to push back?

The Saskatchewan planned economy

This is ridiculous.

CIC will commit up to $60 million to the Fund over seven years. A group of Saskatchewan credit unions and other partners will commit up to $40 million over the same period. The group includes Conexus Credit Union, Cornerstone Credit Union and Innovation Credit Union (formerly BCU Financial and Southwest Credit Union).

“The Apex Investment Fund will act as a mechanism to improve development and investment in Saskatchewan communities,” Conexus Credit Union board president Dennis Anderson said. “It provides the opportunity for both small and medium-sized Saskatchewan businesses operating in key sectors of our economy to be successful.”

Coffee beans and ATM fees

While Jack Layton campaigns for state-controlled ATM fees, Venezuelans are out of coffee.

Just saying.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How far has the worm travelled?

Doing interviews with Charles Adler can be a very strange experience. You never know where the conversation will go, and how fast (and Charles really grinds the gears). We started out talking about the radio contest gone wrong and the Saskatchewan Party's (and others) total over-reaction when the conversation turned into...well...this.

Spending madness

It strikes all politicians...

"When it comes to spending at the last minute, the Harper government has torn another page from the old government's playbook, and what's maddening about it is that this is a playbook that the Conservatives in opposition routinely criticized," said John Williamson, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

"It's February madness now."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Greatest charts ever

Big hat to tip to the captain for pointing this out. Very informative presentation with great visuals and an important message.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Everybody start googling now to find out whether these guys ever received a penny from a private company!

On precisely anticipated consequences

Surprise, surprise. Young teenage workers are losing their jobs because of an Arizona minimum wage hike.

But, what's with this guy?

Tom Kelly, owner of Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream Parlor in Phoenix, voted for the minimum-wage increase. But he said, "The new law has impacted us quite a bit."

It added about $2,000 per month in expenses. The store, which employs mostly teen workers, has cut back on hours and has not replaced a couple of workers who quit.
What a shock! I'm sure Tom had no idea that passing a law forcing his and other businesses to pay a certain wage would negatively impact their ability to operate.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Spicy insurance debate

Go to CJOB and click on audio vault to listen to a good discussion on public vs. private auto insurance. I think private wins.

I love how the government guy falls back to the trusty old chestnut: Private insurance is more expensive because they have to pay out dividends. Never heard that one before!

Go to February 8, at around 9:00 a.m.

Sask: Something fishy here

So, what exactly was the purpose of forming Victoria Park Capital? We thought it was to de-politicize the portfolio and have it more professionally run. Perhaps its more about the government avoiding accountability for some decisions -- and taking credit for others as it suits them.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How to bury an airplane

How about in the health budget?

Canada's Next Contribution to Space: One Big Banana

It's a bird, It's a plane, Nope it's a 300-metre long banana flying over Texas. Thanks Canadian Taxpayers.

Who are the bananas that signed off on this? Will we be sending in the Canadaarm to peel this thing?

Your tax dollars at work...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On doing your homework

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Lawrence Joseph is not happy with the CTF position on urban reserves. In fact, he took some time yesterday at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association annual convention to let delegates know exactly how he felt.

The chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is accusing the Canadian Taxpayers Federation of "spreading lies" about First Nations development and taxation.

Speaking to mayors and councillors at the annual meeting of the SaskatchewanUrban Municipalities Association in Saskatoon on Monday, FSIN chief Lawrence Joseph said recent statements by the taxpayer lobby group about urban reserves are "garbage."

And what are the "lies" the CTF is spreading?
In an article titled Let's Talk Taxes dated Jan. 30, the taxpayers group criticized Piapot First Nation's interest in having an urban reserve in the heart of Regina. The group said it would be unfair competition for other businesses in Regina if the reserve had a gas bar and grocery store operating tax free.

Joseph said the taxpayers federation's stance that urban reserves will undermine municipal tax bases is simply not true.

Did I really say that "urban reserves will undermine municipal tax bases"? Well, let's take a look and see:
As for local services, the city must negotiate a “service agreement” in which the band agrees to pay the municipality an amount equivalent to what they would have paid in property taxes without “reserve” status.

I explicitly said that service agreements can ensure an amount equivalent to property taxes are paid. Although, in the case of the proposed Regina urban reserves, the local school board won't receive it's share of the taxes.

The problem is not the property tax, but all other taxes like provincial and federal corporate taxes, income taxes for employees that live on reserve, as well as the tobacco and fuel taxes that aren't collected.

If Lawrence Joseph is going to call us liars, he better do his homework.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Congratulations, Saskatchewan taxpayers!

You now own two chairlifts and a snow groomer. I'd wager a guess that the new publicly-owned ski hill still won't make money. Just a hunch.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Climate change push is on

Instapundit says it nicely:

THE BIG GLOBAL WARMING PUSH IS UNDERWAY: I won't take it seriously until they ban private jets and stretch limos.

No, seriously. A Gulfstream III releases 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour. How can we demand "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans when our leaders -- including those who call for the sacrifice -- are flying in jets like this? If commercial first-class isn't good enough, they should stay home.

I'll add to that in saying I won't take it seriously until they are calling for all coal-fired plants to be converted to nuclear.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Alberta to eliminate health care premiums?

Maybe. But if Health Minister Dave Hancock gets his way, Albertans income taxes would be going up too.

Health care premiums need to go, but if Hancock thinks he's going to get away with raising our taxes at the same time, perhaps he needs to go too.

Read the article here

Listen to a radio interview on CHQR 770 I did this morning here

And sign our petition here

School taxes going up . . .AGAIN!

Manitoba school boards are going to once again dig a little deeper into our pockets. It's time for the provincial government to step in and freeze taxes and step up to the funding plate!

CTF You Tube Channel

Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Fan Box