Monday, April 30, 2007

When the Clock Strikes 12

No, your car won't turn into a pumpkin, but you may have to pay interest on what you owe the Tax Man. Today is the deadline for filing your taxes. It doesn't have to arrive in the Tax Man's mailbox today but it must have today's date post-marked.

Some things to consider this year are:

Are you getting good value for the hard-earned tax dollars you send to Ottawa?

Do you think you pay too much in taxes?

Do politicians and bureaucrats who waste your money tick you off?

If you answered 'no' to the first question, and/or 'yes'to the other questions, perhaps you should consider supporting the CTF - Canada's leading non-partisan citizens' advocacy group fighting for lower taxes, less waste and accountable government.

Sask: CTF statement on NDP caucus fraud case

Minister Hagel must resign.

Sask: Shotgun media relations

It's funny how, the morning after a tawdry government scandal breaks, the NDP sends out no fewer than 19 "good news" press releases before dawn.

I suspect there were a lot of PR types doing some fast typing over the past few days.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Federation of Labour: "Kiss the riders goodbye"

Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of labour says that the TILMA agreement, signed by BC and Alberta to remove trade barriers, will have perhaps the most devastating impact on Saskatchewan: The demise of the Saskatchewan Roughriders!

Says Larry:

In other words - "Sign TILMA and Kiss the Saskatchewan Roughriders Good-bye".

Why would he say such a thing? Because, theoretically, a professional football club could file a complaint under the agreement in the event that an opposing club receives a subsidy from the province or municipality.

I'm agnostic on the whole TILMA thing, but the problem with this union fear tactic is that ALL CFL clubs are hopelessly subsidized -- whether it be in the form of a near-free stadium, direct government handouts, or some other public charity scheme.

Any complaint under the agreement would be a severe scenario of pot calling kettle black, and would be laughed out of the room.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Regina, we have a problem

Statscan released provincial economic accounts for 2006 and Saskatchewan comes in dead last.

Alberta leads the way with 6.8 per cent economic growth.

The PEI economy grew five times faster than Saskatchewan's in 2006.


Taxpayers to be tapped for new hockey arena in Edmonton?

Well it depends on who you ask, or perhaps when you ask.

If you ask Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel on December 22, 2006, "we need to be creative and not burden the taxpayers"

And if you ask Mandel on February 22, 2007, "we're not going to burden our taxpayers with a $400-million or $300-million debt to have a new facility. That just won't happen."

And if you ask Mandel on April 24, 2007, "As for who is paying for this new arena, Best, Bouma and Mandel all indicated that taxpayers will have to chip in for at least part of the cost. 'But I don’t want it digging into taxpayers’ pockets all the time,' Mandel said."

And on April 25, 2007, "Mayor Stephen Mandel isn't ruling out using taxpayer dollars to make his dream of a new downtown arena a reality."

So, as many people suspected, when Mandel stomped his feet and said no to taxpayers funding a new arena, he actually meant 'maybe.'

For a complete timeline, and for by far the best commentary on this issue check out the Battle of Alberta blog, and the fine work of Andy Grabia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Canadians prefer root canal to tax audit

Ottawa – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released results of a public opinion poll in advance of Monday’s deadline for Canadians to file their 2006 income tax returns. The poll was conducted by Innovative Research Group for the CTF on (1) the tax relief in the federal budget, and (2) whether Canadians would prefer a root canal or a tax audit.

Read the rest...

Toronto's tax fighter

I don't follow Toronto politics closely at all, but Councillor Rob Ford has certainly caught our attention. Despite warnings that Toronto's budget has "hit a wall," Councillors voted to keep their free golf and zoo passes. Ford says what everyone is thinking:

With Mayor David Miller firmly in control of the budget process preceding Friday's full-council debate and yesterday's vote, that the budget would go through unscathed was close to a fait accompli.

So it was Councillor Rob Ford's annual budget-cut performance that proved the most captivating part of yesterday's debate. A renowned penny pincher, Ford has been trying for seven years to get fellow politicians to cut back on at least some of their many perks.

The councillor for Ward 2 (Etobicoke North) came agonizingly close to winning one vote yesterday, but his motion to deny councillors free passes for city-owned golf courses – worth an estimated $15,000 per year – lost on a 22-22 vote.

"They're all just self-serving individuals," he said of fellow councillors. "You saw the greed there. They blame the province (for the city's financial problems) but they still won't cut one cent of their own perks."
And this I couldn't believe:
Ford also said the city could save $59,000 by not giving out up to three bottles of wine a day to people in the city's harm-reduction program at the Seaton House shelter. And he rankled fellow councillors by suggesting an end to a series of free passes, a $40,000 media-clipping service and a $77,000 program to water plants in city buildings.

Aboriginal protesters dump garbage at Queen's Park

I don't know if the allegations by the protesters that a private company is illegally dumping garbage are true or not. And this is the point. What I do know is that if you or I wrongfully accused a company of doing something illegal we could very easily find ourselves in court defending ourselves in a libel suit.

On-reserve natives, however, can't be sued by anyone.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sask: School tax news

This is a positive announcement. Not a fan of the cynical tie between federal equalization money and school tax relief but that's how this government rolls.

On-reserve businesses

Now we're talking...

"I'm tired of handouts," said the chief, who added that now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities out there for First Nations.

Voter Turnout in Yukon Senate election

... 1 vote.

That is, if Premier Fentie gets his way.

Apparently Premier Fentie believes it's "not practical" for Yukoners to vote in a senate election, even though their counter parts in Alberta have just seen it work yet again.

However, he does think one Yukoner should get a say in who should be Yukon's next Senator - and that Yukoner is him.

No doubt if Yukon's MP resigned, it of course would be practical for the federal government to hold a by-election, but not so much for the Territorial government when it's a Senator.

Although, perhaps that's more of a commentary on the usefulness of our Senate than anything.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Al Gore tickets not a hot commodity

I just re-checked the availabilty of taxpayer-funded tickets to the Al Gore horror show on Monday in Regina.

Lo and behold I can still get primo tix in the 9th row on the blue line -- just two days before the show. In fact, I can buy the whole darn row -- 15 tickets side by side.

Maybe people have figured out they can rent the DVD for five bucks.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Reason #1857 why regulating gas prices doesn't work

In Nova Scotia: Gas stations can't compete with the artificially regulated New Brunswick gas prices.

Read the story here

Oh and in case you're wondering the "gas-price watchdog group" referenced near the end of the story isn't the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Because if it was we would have said "you will now see gas stations only react one week late to their competition within the market instead of two weeks late, huzzah!" Instead of "consumers will notice price increases more frequently."

Because that's not necessarily true.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Alberta Budget

Today at 3:30PM Alberta's Budget will be released.

Here is a blog exclusive op-ed that I wrote as a pre-budget piece, but it is starting to get a bit dated now that some potential spending numbers are being leaked.

Anyway, here it is:

Stelmach softening us up for another big spending budget
By Scott Hennig, Alberta Director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation

It could have been the environment. It could have been terrorism. But it’s not. No, this year it appears “growth” has been picked as the reason the government has “no choice” but to put forward yet another large increase in provincial spending.

During his recent Edmonton Premier’s Dinner, Stelmach suggested “there is a price to prosperity, a substantial price, as you will see.”

This not-so-subtle hint of a “substantial” hike in budget spending was likely devised to soften up PC Party members, the media and taxpayers.

How big an increase we won’t know until this Thursday, but if Premier Stelmach’s team felt it was necessary to forewarn Albertans of a spending increase, it must be large – very large.

But is it warranted?

There’s no question Alberta’s economy is growing at a faster pace than the rest of the country. There’s no question Alberta’s population is growing faster and our inflation rate is higher than any other province in Canada. But does it warrant a 10 per cent, 11 per cent or 12 per cent increase in spending this budget?

The numbers say no.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has long been arguing the Alberta government (one of the largest per capita spenders in Canada) should be limited to increase program spending by no more than the combined growth rate of population and inflation.

The CTF recommends this because it not only reflects the growth in the economy (and costs), but also the expected growth in sustainable tax revenues. If the population goes up by 2 per cent, tax revenue should also go up by 2 per cent. If inflation grows by 3 per cent, wages and therefore income tax revenues should go up by 3 per cent as well.

If spending increases are larger than sustainable tax revenue increases, governments have to find other sources of financing. In 80s and early 90s the government relied on debt to cover the shortfall. Today, they’re using resource revenues.

Of the expected $11.7 billion in non-renewable resource revenues collected by the Alberta government in 2006-07, $11.1 billion of it is either already spent or soon to be spent. If oil and gas prices drop, Alberta would be forced to cut spending, dip into savings or raise taxes to make up the difference: good reasons to limit government spending increases to the combined population and inflation growth rate.

Yet, during its last few years, the Klein government continued to increase spending by significantly more than this rate.

The year previous to Budget 2003, the combined inflation and population growth rate was 6.6 per cent. The government increased spending in Budget 2003 by 9.5 per cent. For Budget 2004, the combined rate was 4.2 per cent, yet spending was increased by 9.6 per cent. For Budget 2005, the combined rate was 3.1 per cent, yet spending was increased by a mind-boggling 14.6 per cent. For last year’s Budget 2006, the combined rate was 4.8 per cent, yet spending was increased by 9.9 per cent.

Looking back over the growth in the economy in Alberta over the past year (and you have to look back to last year because you can’t make a budget on growth rates that haven’t yet been established) Alberta’s population has grown by approximately 3 per cent, and Alberta’s inflation rate has averaged about 4 per cent growth.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation calculates the Alberta government will be justified in increasing program spending by 6.8 per cent in Budget 2007 based on current growth.

Unfortunately, thanks to the none-too-subtle of a hint given to us by Premier Stelmach, the chances of a 6.8 per cent growth in spending are starting to look quite slim. And even more unfortunate, it’s looking less and less likely this “new” government will be any different from the old government when it comes to spending increases.

Check out tomorrow's Calgary Herald to read our reaction to today's provincial budget.

Harper's makeup artist

Honestly, I'm not sure if this is a big deal or not. I sure would like to know how much that gig pays, though, and it shouldn't be this difficult to find out.

OTTAWA (CP) -- It turns out that taxpayers are picking up the tab for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's personal primper.

After two days of ducking media and opposition questions, the Conservatives finally revealed Wednesday that Michelle Muntean is on Harper's government staff.

But the revelation raises two more big questions: How much is she being paid? And why is there no government record of her employment.

Nyoto to Kyoto

Environment Minister John Baird is correct in saying that implementing the Kyoto Protocol would lead to economic ruin.

Economists have stated that some of the economic fallout would include:

Gas prices of more than $1.60 a litre over the 2008-to-2012 period;

275,000 Canadians working today will lose their jobs by 2009;

Job loss will cause unemployment rates to rise 25 per cent by 2009, and

The decline of economic activity in the range of $51 billion.

Sound like a good plan? But it will save the planet right? Not quite. The largest polluters (China, Brazil, etc.) are not required to reduce emissions.

But dare criticize Kyoto and irrational environmentalists label you a heretic. Some even use the term "Climate Change Denier" which has all the negative connotation associated with holocaust deniers. Dare question the effectiveness of such a plan and you're on par with Ernst Zundel. Is this how we debate issues in this country??

The Liberals signed and ratified Kyoto and didn't have an implementation plan. While Conservatives may be guilty of underestimating the public's interest in environmental issues, they inherited one giant mess from the Liberals.

The Liberals had almost ten years to do something on Kyoto. They talked a lot but never quite knew what their feet were for.

Are Canadians concerned about the environment? Of course they are. We have been for years. We recycle. We make a conscious effort to reduce energy and waste, etc. But are people prepared to pay new taxes, forfeit jobs and economic stabilty to try and achieve a plan that exempts many of the world's largest polluters? Not a chance - why should we?

If global warming/climate change is a global problem it requires a global solution that includes ALL countries - not just the rich and developed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Al Gore update

Thanks to Kate I went ahead and checked on the status of tickets to the taxpayer-funded Al Gore show in Regina. Turns out, just five days before the show, I can get 15 tickets in the same row in section 106 -- just 8 rows off the ice surface!

Who's coming with me?

Coyne on proportional representation

I was thrilled to see Andrew Coyne take his own paper to the woodshed this morning on yesterday's idiotic lead editorial on proportional representation.

What is it about proportional representation (PR) that turns otherwise sensible individuals into raving loonies? The debate on electoral reform has not even begun in Ontario -- the province's Citizens' Assembly has yet to formally report, though it is now known that it will recommend a mild version of PR for the voters' consideration in next October's referendum -- and already the Post has pronounced itself opposed. "PR is a bad idea," yesterday's lead editorial announced. And why is it a bad idea? Because this is exactly how Hitler started.

Well, that was only the most extraordinary flourish in a piece that careened from one train wreck to another of muddled thinking and cliched wisdom. Unable to decide whether PR would lead to fragmentation and division or consensus-driven conformity, the editorial opted for both. The problem with PR, it reported, is that small parties "breed like rabbits." Politics becomes a matter of "jostling and shifting" among "special interest parties" with "their own parochial agendas," such that "governing along any steady course becomes difficult."

That is, unless it leads to too much steadiness. The problem with PR, the same editorial reports, is that it leads to "government gridlock" in which "a real change of government becomes unlikely." Rather, it is dominated by "the same group of consensus politicians." (The ones with the parochial agendas?) But hold that thought, because "too much consensus is not the only peril." There's also the peril of too little consensus. "A really destructive faction can manipulate PR disastrously, as the Nazis did in Weimar Germany."
For those of you who are agnostic on voting reform, or not quite up to speed on the issue, a word of caution: Any opinion piece that cites Israel and Italy as reasons for not pursuing proportional representation is blowing smoke.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Little Raise for Everyone

As of April 1, a backbencher now makes $150,800 per year. Not bad. Read the latest salary info here.

Some notable salaries:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: $301,600

Any Cabinet Minister: $223,000

Opposition Leader Stephane Dion: $223,000

Committee Chair: $161,500

Committee Vice Chair: $156,300

Turning doctors into civil servants

Al, once again, has some interesting thoughts on the decline of the family doctor. This time he zeros in on the stagnating effect of the rigid, bureaucratic fee structure.

With the advent of “Universal Medicare”, Alberta physicians were put in the position of negotiating (through the Alberta Medical Association) a fee schedule that the government agreed to honor. For the most part, these negotiations were a farce, akin to a rank amateur hockey player squaring off against Gretzky in his prime. As a result, the settlements were less than inflation the majority of the time. Fortunately, physicians in the early years had the capability of “balance” billing. Unfortunately, this was soon taken away from them by the federal government and the provinces.

At this point I felt the medical profession was no longer a profession. With no ability to address changing environments in their businesses and the government “paying the piper”, physicians soon began to lose their professionalism, and, as the only means of controlling their incomes, began choosing what they would and would not do, depending on time involved, remuneration per item of service, etc. When the government declared they were taking a more business-like approach to healthcare, the physicians responded by taking a more business-like approach to their practices.

So where are we at now? Most doctors limit a visit to one complaint by the patient. Additional complaints need additional appointments. Many family docs have taken up lucrative sidelines outside of the healthcare system (eg. botox injections, hair transplants, etc). A strong trend towards walk-in clinic work and away from continuing patient care and management exists, and the number of young medical graduates choosing family medicine is continually on the decline.

I find it amazing that politicians and unions talk about health care reform in bureaucrat-speak and rarely talk about the nuts and bolts of actually delivering health services. People like Al, and not Roy Romanow, should be consulted more often.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Indian reserves the new Ireland?

Don't count on it. But Captain Capitalism saw the potential on a recent trip to Thunder Bay:

For you see on the first night of our arrival in Thunder Bay my buddy Tony and I were looking for two simple things wrapped up in one convenient place

1. A place to eat
2. A place to smoke a cigar

Knowing this wasn't Quebec we thought we might have stood a pretty good shot, but little did we know that;

1. Thunder Bay is a pithole so there were no good restuarants
2. It's just as hyper-Nazi on the smoking ban as Quebec, Minnesota and 1930's Berlin.

That's when our hotel hostess recommended Bannon's.

"You can smoke and eat at Bannon's."

"So where's Bannon's?" we asked?

"It's on the reservation."

And then I was reminded, Indian reservations, presumably the same as in the US, are technically sovereign nations that set up their own rules and laws and needn't necessarily goose-step in line with the rest of their anti-smoking-Nazi Canadian and American brothers.

So it was off to Bannon's Gas Bar we went.

Now we had made it up to Duluth from the Twin Cities on one tank of gas and we surmised that gas was a lot more expensive in Canada, so the strategy of timing our fills required us to fill up near the border, but not in Canada, hopefully get by on one tank of gas while in Canada with enough to spare to get us to the closest American gas station on the return trip.

And we were right. Canada, when you adjust for the litre (note I put the "e" after the "r" to make it truly Canadian) has gas costing about $3.70 per gallon, a full dollar more than what we were paying in the land of the free.

But I noticed something odd about Bannon's Gas Bar. Gas was a full 20% cheaper on the reservation than just 1.6 km (note the metric conversion) north across the river in Thunder Bay.

Again, I was reminded that Indian reservations are their own sovereign nations able to set their own tax rates on gas and tobacco and so forth and therefore have cheaper gas.

So Tony and I sat down at Bannon's, ordered a pizza, lit up some cigars and enjoyed our dinner, and then BAAM! It hit me.





And then my economic spidey senses started tingling. I had a cunning plan. And it was sheer brilliance.

Read the whole thing...with charts! Can anyone see the inherent problem with the premise here?

Sask: Public money helps NDP's bottom line

Saskatchewan’s NDP has a long and sordid history of using crown corporations and government department budgets to further their political interests. In fact, they have been manipulating voters with public money for so long that taxpayers have become very ho-hum about it all.

This needs to change.

Read the rest...


Things never change:

In their successful campaign to win control of Congress last fall, Democrats accused Republicans of extravagant travel paid for by lobbyists. Some of these trips carried a strong whiff of influence peddling. The worst that can be said of CODELS, and critics often say it, is that they’re junkets.

Thompson’s office said he toured the Caribbean because he now chairs the Homeland Security Committee and wanted to see vacation hot spots to “examine border security and port security.” Three other members of the delegation also brought along their spouses.

“They are going from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday,” a committee spokeswoman told The Examiner. “They do not have down time.”

At the Caneel Bay resort, where room rates reach $1,100 per night, the spokeswoman said Thompson and his wife paid the “government rate.”

But, according to the reservations department, Caneel Bay doesn’t “offer any government rates.”

Consumer tax index

Turns out Canadians spend more on taxes than they do on food, clothing and shelter.

The Canadian Consumer Tax Index, 2007, shows that even though the income of the average Canadian family has increased significantly since 1961, their total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate.

In 1961, the average Canadian family earned an income of $5,000 and paid $1,675 in total taxes -- 33.5 per cent of its income.

In 2006, the average Canadian family earned an income of $63,001 and paid total taxes equaling $28,311 -- 44.9 per cent of its income.

Friday, April 13, 2007

City of Champion wasters

Edmonton Sun's Graham Hicks (Hicks on Six) does a great job explaining why the City of Edmonton shouldn't be wasting taxpayers’ money subsidizing high-efficiency furnaces:

Why is the city wasting tax dollars, offering $500 rebates for installing high-efficiency home furnaces?

There's a good reason for high-efficiency furnaces, without city incentives.

"A high-efficiency furnace costs $1,000 to $1,300 more than a mid-efficiency furnace," says Tony Romaniuk of Romaniuk Heating and Air Conditioning. "But you recover the extra costs (through lower heating bills) in three to five years. And the furnace should be good for another 20 to 50 years."

Why subsidize something needing no subsidy? (There's another program for low-income families.)

Plus, it's token. The city has $200,000 for the program. Once 400 furnace rebate cheques go out, that's it. The CHMC suggests we have about 182,000 single-family houses in Edmonton.

Not only is it limited, it's insulting to anybody who already installed a high-efficiency furnace.

Like me. I thought about energy conservation four years ago! Gimme my rebate!

Anybody applying for this freebie would install a high-efficiency furnace in any case,

It's called saving money down the road.

Fix pot holes with our money.

Don't give it to those not in need.

Speaking of potholes, want to know how many potholes you can fill for $169,000? I know.

Media not allowed to cover Gore speech

Murray Mandryk speculates that SaskPower's track record on greenhouse gas emissions might be part of it.

You are premier of a province. You invite the foremost figure in the debate on global warming ("authority" would be a disservice to the thousands of scientists out there) to come to your province to speak on the matter. You get your public telephone utility to front the cost of this event -- an estimated $208,000 that includes Gore's $125,000 speaking fee.

So excited are you by Gore's acceptance of your invitation that you interrupt question period to make the announcement which reporters dutifully covered.

You describe this development to reporters as a momentous awareness opportunity for Saskatchewan and even suggest that Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, has become your personal epiphany.

And you agree to a media ban?

And here comes the ba-dump-bump:
So how exactly will Saskatchewan be awakened when only a potential 5,000 people -- half a per cent of our population -- will hear Gore's message? Well, according to Calvert, the audience will go forth and spread the global warming gospel.

"To quote (turn-of-the-last century anthropologist) Margaret Mead: 'Never doubt that a small group of committed people can make change. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has,'" Calvert explained to reporters Wednesday. (It was an ironic choice. The battle between Australian anthropologist Derek Freeman and Mead over her 1928 book Coming of Age in Samoa caused one of the most pitched battles over discredited scientific work in the history of the scientific community.)

Go Sens!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Socialist weeds vs. capitalist wheat

A Vancouver private health clinic that was prohibited in December from treating British Columbia residents by the provincial government has re-opened its doors to the public. The False Creek Urgent Care Centre will charge $199 for a basic medical evaluation and offer patients a menu of other services. It will operate outside the government-run medicare system and provide emergency care for people willing to pay for immediate service. Predictably, fee-for-service medicine prompted the usual howls of protest.

Read the rest....

What's $6 million?

I'm sure British Columbians are thrilled their government-owned monopoly insurance provider is dropping $6 million worth of insurance on the Olympic games in exchange for "official sponsor" designation.

Makes SaskEnergy's Al Gore sponsorship look like pretty small potatoes.

Online Poll - Vote Now

As the tax filing deadline approaches and you get ready to pay the tax man, check out our website and answer our latest poll question regarding how you'll file this year's tax return.

Come on. It will be fun. Trust me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Victor Doerksen's campaign disclosure documents now on

PC leadership hopeful, Victor Doerksen (left) was apparently the very first of the Alberta PC Party leadership candidates to disclose his campaign donations and expenses.

(They can now be found here)

According to the documents they were correct as of December 13, 2006, and according to Mr. Doerksen, the documents were left on his campaign website (now defunct) for one month following the disclosure.

I cannot confirm or refute this, as I did not check Mr. Doerksen's website during this time. I was only alerted to this in mid-February by a member of the media.

However, the apparent loss of this vital information, in large part, led to the letters we sent to the candidates (found at the bottom of this news release) offering free web-hosting on of their campaign contribution disclosures to ensure they didn't evaporate into the web ether when they too took down their campaign websites.

Thankfully, the Alberta NDP opposition was able to obtain a copy of Mr. Doerksen's disclosure documents and have graciously provided them to us for our permanent posting on our PC Leadership Campaign disclosure website found on (Note: we have 6 of 8 candidates disclosure records here)

Alberta: New taxes a comin'

Can't believe I haven't blogged about this yet, as it's been the bane of my existence for the last month, but here is the report of the Minister's Council on Municipal Sustainability.

I mentioned last night during a radio interview I would post a link to the report on our blog, and here it is.

If recommendations 4, 9, and 11 are accepted, taxpayers are going to be in for a wild ride in Alberta in the next few years.

Call your alderman, mayor, MLA, the Minister of Municipal Affairs - Ray Danyluk, and Premier Ed Stelmach and tell them to reject those recommendations.

To read what we've already wrote on this topic, click here and here.

Letter of the week

I hereby proclaim that Andre Gelinas is awarded "Letter of the week" honours.

Surely, we would all jump from the SGI Building should it be his decree. I look forward to the day he parts the waters of the mighty Wascana and I can't wait to purchase his "I Love Pat Fiacco " T-shirt.

Explain this one

How on earth were they off by this much? There were only 481 ballots to count!

In the latest Thunderchild election, Dale Awasis was originally declared the new chief, having won with 251 votes compared to the 242 cast for Wapass.

"There was a request for a recount by three individuals," said Thunderchild First Nation chief electoral officer Cheryl Wapass.

After the recount, Wapass' vote-count remained at 242 while Awasis' number dropped to 239.

Middle class guilt

Edmonton Journal's Todd Babiak has a severe case of it and he wants you to catch it too.

Guilt is a powerful social and political motivator. But not to everyone. Some people are so untouched by feelings of guilt that they litter brazenly, cuss in public, drive Cadillac Escalades to the Tim Hortons on the corner, join the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and refuse to phone their moms. I am not so lucky. The vision of that man, spending his Sunday picking up garbage, feeling confused and defeated by my unmotivated verbal assault, haunted me all day.

I sleep fine at night.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Listen to the Bunny - Do It!

Message from the Easter Bunny:

"If you believe in low taxes, less waste, and accountable government, support Canada's most vocal taxpayer advocacy organization."


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Political Pogey - Q1

Elections Canada just released the first quarter welfare payments to our beloved political parties.

You'll recall that every political party achieving 2% of the national vote or at least 5% of the vote in each riding it ran a candidate gets $1.75 $1.8725 per vote PER YEAR.

Of course, it's linked to an inflation calculator to increase the amount each year.

That worked out to a 7% bump this year, and if this trend continues it will be $2.00 next year (07-08), $2.14 (08-09) and $2.29 in (09-10).

CPP payments are also linked to an inflation calculator, however, this year they were bumped by 2.1%.

Strange that one inflation formula gives a 7% increase in payments for political parties, and another inflation formula only gives a 2.1% increase for seniors - real nice.

Anyway, here's how much they get this QUARTER:

So feel free to multiply it by 4 to find how many of our tax dollars they get this year or by 16 to roughly figure out how much they would get between each election.

It's no wonder the Conservatives can afford a 17,000 ft2 war room. Taxpayers are paying for it.

Think I'll spoil my ballot this next federal election if for nothing else but to save my $8-9 in taxes from going to any political party.

Al Gore's coming to town

And I have a sneaking suspicion he's going to tell us how to spend our tax dollars.

Strange that the crowns are bank rolling it -- not sure how a Gore speech helps Sasktel deliver internet in rural areas. Notably absent from the government press release is SaskPower -- the third largest CO2 emmitter in Canada.

UPDATE: Al Gore's personal appearance fee of $125,000 will be paid by SaskTel.

And how's this for a little big brother?

SaskEnergy is sponsoring 250 tickets enabling Saskatchewan high school and university students to attend as part of their ongoing commitment to supporting environmental education. Teachers interested in sending a team from their school can find registration information online at SaskEnergy’s web site at All participating student teams will receive a complimentary DVD copy of “An Inconvenient Truth” so they can organize an educational event in their school or community.

Students will be equipped with materials to evangelize other students. Bring on the truth squads! Very creepy, and highly innapropriate use of public money.

Cherniak jumps the shark

Normally I don't pay much attention to the big-name partisans, but I just can't avert my gaze from this spectacle.

Stephen Harper and Homer Simpson: Philosophical Soulmates?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in a pi**ing match with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

"You broke your promise," screams Williams.

"No, I didn't," retorts the Prime Minister.

"You're both wrong," replies the CTF.

Both have opted to use public money to wage their war of words. Never mind that either of these guys could simply talk to the many reporters that cover their every move.

Nope - not good enough. These guys have opted to take out full page newspaper and radio ads to make their arguments. These are partisan ads pure and simple and should be paid for by their respective parties. But party taps won't be touched for this one. These babies will be paid for by Mr. and Mrs. John Q Taxpayer.

But the Prime Minister exposes his Homer Simpson side when in today's Ottawa Citizen he justifies spending tax dollars because Mr. Williams financed his ads with provincial cash.

Two wrongs make a right - don't ya know?! Recall that Simpsons episodes where Homer says to Lisa - "Bart's right Lisa, two wrongs make a right." (paraphrase)

Well, Homer has been backed up by the Prime Minister of Canada. Recall yesterday's post on the same subject. I didn't actually think the Prime Minister Harper would use that logic. But he did!

As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

2-Wrongs Don't Make a Right

While Homer Simpson may beg to differ, most of the time two wrongs don't make a right.

And the dispute between the Prime Minister and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is no exception.

First, Danny Williams spends a couple hundred G's taking out ads across Canada denouncing the federal budget and the Prime Minister. Using public money of course.

Next, the federal government is doing the exact same thing. Again, using tax dollars.

In a related story, Premier Williams claimed he could run faster than the Prime Minister and was more successful with the ladies in high school.

The Prime Minister countered with "My house is bigger than yours and I make almost $300,000 per year."

Grow up and stop wasting taxpayers' money!

Sorry Homer, this is wrong no matter which angle you look at it from.

Shrinking Corporate Welfare a Step in the Right Direction

Yesterday, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier scaled back the federal government's medddling in the economy by cutting the budget and strenghthening the repayment conditions on Industry Canada's financial assistance programs.

This is good news, although even better news would have been to simply get out of the business altogether as we suggested in our report "On the Dole" in January, 2007.

Read the CTF's reaction to the new program here

Read additional coverage in the Montreal Gazette, and the National Post

Monday, April 02, 2007

Culture of Entitlement Alive and Well in Ottawa

Don't ever feel bad for a retiring or defeated MP. Your tax dollars will be looking after them for years to come thanks to Parliament's gold-plated pension plan.

At age 55 MP's cash in on what just may be the most generous pension plan going.

In fact, the plan is so rich - MPs themselves are embarased by it. It should be noted that while the formula for how pensions are calculated is made pubic, actual pension figures are hidden from taxpayers. None of our business I guess. The CTF bases its estimates on publicly available information.

Sure, the odd MP gripes about the number we release and sometimes scream for retractions but they never ever release the actual number.

So it goes in Ottawa - the capital city of the culture of entitlement. MP's keep their traps shut and take the money and run.

Freedom 55 baby!

Read more about this ferrari pension plan in Saturday's Citizen.

CTF You Tube Channel

Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Fan Box