Thursday, September 27, 2007

Liberals Try to Get Fibber Arrested

Fibber, the CTF Honesty In Politics mascot must be getting under the skin of the Liberals and Dalton McGuinty. The OPP have refused to arrest and charge him with assault despite Liberal efforts to do so today.

At an Ontario election campaign event this morning where the Premier was speaking at a restaurant, Fibber was on the public sidewalk trying to be in the window to wave at the Premier when Liberals mobbed him, shoved him around and tried to block him from being in the window. As a result, Liberals tried to have Fibber charged.

Although, the Ontario Provnical Police are doing a masterful job of keeping Fibber far from McGuinty, they are sane enough to ignore such silliness.

For those concerned, Fibber's 16 inch nose survived intact.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Doing what's right vs. doing what looks to be right

The Alberta government just announced they are taking the cap off of the amount of wind power that can be produced and sold in Alberta.

Wind power = free electricity = Great idea, right?

Not so much.

The reason why there was a cap in the first place is that wind power is not a stable form of generation. You only get power when the wind is blowing. The same goes for solar - you only get power when it is sunny.

Now, don't forget that you can't store electricity very efficiently or cheaply (so not really at all).

Because of this, any extra power that is produced that isn't bought is made worthless because the company can't store it and sell it later.

Furthermore, because the wind doesn't blow all of the time or at the same time and pace every single day you have to have enough back-up power ready to go at the flip of a switch when the wind stops blowing. This is also where the problems lie.

Coal generation plants aren't that easy to start up and shut down, and as such are only used for baseline load (the electricity that is needed all of the time - freezers, refrigerators, computer servers, security cameras, etc.) And since coal is cheap, so is the electricity produced by it.

Natural gas generation plants can be turned on and off at the flip of a switch. And right now they are used for peak usage (breakfast, lunch, dinner time, early evening). But because natural gas is expensive, so is the electricity produced by it.

So, what happens when you throw an unstable form of electricity into the mix. Well, at times the power being produced by the big coal plants isn't needed, but since they can't turn them off, they end up just not getting paid for the power they are producing.

If enough wind power comes on-line, and by chance it only happens to blow during the middle of the night or during the middle of the day (when we're using a lot of coal generated electricity), those cheap coal plants are eventually going to lose money and go out of business.

Leaving expensive natural gas plants to pick up more slack when randomly the wind isn't blowing.

Also, if by chance the wind happens to blow more often during peak periods, natural gas plants are going to shut themselves off and lose money too.

Alternatively, if it blows randomly during both peak and non-peak times, both lose money.

The result is we kill off one cheap form of electricity and one form of electricity that is completely reactive to our usage patterns for a very cheap form of electricity that is completely unreliable. Less forms of stable electricity leads to blackouts.

It's sort of like choosing between driving your reliable car to work or taking a bus that only sometimes shows up. Most of us would take the reliable car over an unreliable bus.

Or, both coal-fired electricity producers and natural gas-fired electricity producers charge more to compensate for their losses.

More Wind Power = blackouts and/or higher prices = bad idea

Ontario Minority Government Likely Means Health Tax Cut

The NDP don't have a long track record of proposing tax cuts. However, in the Ontario election they know a good issue when they see it.

Howard Hampton is promising eliminate the health tax for many and reduce it for some.
The NDP would offer a maximum rebate of $450 to Ontarians earning between $48,000 and $80,000. The tax would be eliminated altogether for about 1.5 million workers earning under $48,000 a year. This is the tax that Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty imposed when he broke his 2003 eleciton promise not to raise taxes without a referendum.

While it would be fairer to scrap the tax for everyone, NDP talk of a tax cut is a refreshing change.

Only the Liberals refuse to scrap, kill or abolish the tax.

The PCs, the NDP, and the Greens all are promising substantial relief from this health tax. John Tory's PCs are the only party promising to scrap it altogether.

So,with the prospect of a minority goverment any coalition will necessarily include a party who is promising relief from the hated health tax.

Thank Goodness because overtaxed Ontarions deserve it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hybrid car promise to cost big-time

The B.C. government has committed to buying hybrids for all its new car purchases. A pious concept, but pricey. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of Toyota's hybrid vehicle, the Prius, is $31,280. The Toyota vehicle most comparative in size, but not a hybrid, is the Corolla, with a MSRP of $15,785. So, the taxpayer is getting hit with almost twice the cost to help the government appear green in the lead up to the next election.

Sure, the B.C. government can take advantage of the federal government's $2,000 subsidy on energy efficient vehicles. However, it could also get the $2,000 on a Toyota Yaris, also not a hybrid, with a MSRP of $14,605, because the Yaris has an acceptable, if somewhat arbitrary, fuel efficiency rating.

This type of knee-jerk policy making points to higher taxes, more waste and less economic growth in B.C.'s future.

Liberal, Tory, Same Old Story? Not in Ontario

John Tory is a little bit of a 'johnny come lately' to the conservative cause, but better late than never. Pundits were saying his platform and that of lying Dalton McGuinty are pretty much the same. Not so.

Tory will repeal the health tax McGuinty hammered Ontario with when he broke his promise not to raise taxes. Tory is calling for private delivery of public health care, whereas McGuinty will just throw more money at the problem. Tory is talking tough on lawless native protesters, promising not to negotiate with them and impose large daily fines on individuals and organizations who protest illegally. McGuinty will continue to do nothing about it. Tory is promising to put 100% of fuel tax revenues into roads, bridges and highways (a good step towards a gas tax accountability act), whereas McGuinty only talks about the 2 cents (out of the 14.3 cents)he has given.

Threse are just four important differences. The longer the campaign goes the more we see John Tory adopting policies proposed by the CTF.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Threat of higher gas taxes to pay for ghg programs in BC

In BC, the government consults with the public to get our input on what budget priorities should be for the following year. This year, the BC government will be asking what sacrifices we will be willing to make to reduce man-made greenhouse gases. One of those sacrifices includes paying higher gasoline taxes.

We all care about the environment, but meaningful greenhouse gas, and pollution, reductions come with economic efficiency, which will drive technological advancements: not taxing energy and giving government handouts to for-profit businesses. If governments were concerned about the environment, they might consider pollution that impacts human health, including sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and water turbidity.

Priorities for next year's budget should be debt reduction, tax reform, and health care reform. The first priority in the next budget should be legislated debt reduction. We are currently making interest payments of $6 million per day to service the debt. Alberta legislated a debt reduction plan in the 1990s and now -- essentially debt free -- is able to spend the money it used to spend on interest payments to lower taxes and for other programs. B.C.’s large and unanticipated surpluses are an opportunity to pay off our debt. Instead, incredibly, the government is talking about raising gasoline taxes!

Calgary Mayor Bronconnier campaigning with your tax dollars?

Only minutes ago, I received my copy of Mayor Bronconnier's e-newsletter.

THIS is the e-newsletter in question.

I signed up for this newsletter last year and normally, I get an e-newsletter from the Mayor's office every few months. Like this one, it usually includes the City of Calgary logo, and is prepared by City of Calgary staff paid for with Calgarians tax dollars.

Mayor Dave not only sent this to citizens on September 17th, the first official day of the election campaign, but he included a link to his re-election website.

Normally (as with the NDP in Saskatchewan) the candidate (or party) wanting to use tax dollars for campaigning does so with ads featuring themselves weeks before the election, not during the election. (Not that it's proper in Saskatchewan either).

Can you imagine Premier Ed Stelmach sending out an e-mail from the Premier's website suggesting people visit the PC Party website on the first day of his election campaign?

This is completely inappropriate and an unacceptable use of tax dollars.

Unless the City of Calgary intends on sending everybody on this mailing list campaign propaganda from every other candidate, there should be a retraction and an apology for this lack of judgement.


Just heard from the Bronconnier campaign informing me that the campaign has been paying for the Mayor's e-newsletter, so no tax dollars are used in the production and distribution of this latest or any of the mayors e-newsletters.

I've struck out the appropriate sections above.

Now, that being said, I still think it is inappropriate to use the Office of the Mayor and the City of Calgary website for pro-active campaign purposes. And THIS City of Calgary website page advertises the e-news, which is again presumably paid for by taxpayers... but I obviously made that mistake once. Perhaps the Bronconnier re-election campaign is paying for the entire City of Calgary website too.

Further, the newsletter never mentions anywhere it is paid for by the campaign. It's one thing for the mayor's staff in Calgary to get a call at his mayoral office asking a campaign question, and then re-directing them to the campaign office. It's another thing completely to pro-actively send out campaign information.

Also, because the campaign is paying for the e-newsletter, it then means that any citizen who signs up for the mayor's e-newsletter is then giving their e-mail address to the campaign a database paid for by the campaign unknowingly.

Still a bit shady... but I should have double-checked to make sure services promoted and hosted on the City of Calgary website are actually being funded by the City of Calgary and not someone else...


The mayor's campaign assures us they don't use the information collected on the city website (paid for by the campaign) for the campaign.

Ironically, until this last newsletter I doubt anyone would have considered this newsletter as campaigning...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sask Libs to eliminate school taxes

THIS is a bit of welcome news. The Saskatchewan Liberal Party has stepped up and announced they would eliminate school property taxes on residential property if they're elected in the soon-but-not-yet Saskatchewan Election 2007(or 8).

The Sask Party has only promised to reduce school property taxes.

Looks like the Sask Party has some work to do...

Toronto Star Endorses CTF Plan for Cutting Fat in Toronto

A Toronto Star editorial ran today endorsing the CTF's call for a Creative Solutions Panel in Toronto to find a third way of fixing Toronto finances. Instead of raises taxes or slashing services the city could outsource, privatize, sell-off, cut costs and use ideas from a panel of experts, like they did in Winnipeg.

Of course, the Star doesn't mention the CTF but the CTF has been calling for such a panel for months now.

To read the editorial go here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dalton McGuinty: where were you 4 years ago today?

Oh, that's right, signing a promise not to raise taxes. Which you promptly broke.

Not surprisingly you didn't show up today to commemorate the anniversary. John Tory did and his people have put together a video of the event.

Public health care monopoly challenged

Former CTF-Alberta director, John Carpay (now with the Canadian Constitution Foundation) took the fight against wait-lists and the current health care monopoly to the Business News Network.

Click HERE to watch John debate Doris Grinspun of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Alberta NDP free to represent... who?

The Alberta NDP kicked-off their re-election campaign yesterday, and in today's Edmonton Sun, leader Brian Mason made the claim:

"an NDP policy of not accepting corporate money leaves the party's MLAs 'free to represent the interest of middle-class Albertans.'"

So, I figured I'd check out their claim.

In the last election the NDP took these donations from corporations:
1080800 ALBERTA LTD - $4,500.00
629075 ALBERTA LTD - $800.00
679410 ALBERTA LTD - $1,100.00
CORPORATE MPR INC. - $1,215.00

Total from corporations: $14,302.95

So, perhaps this is a new policy of not taking money from corporations?

Nope, because in 2006 they took donations from these corporations:
Al-Terra Engineering - $5,000
Bell - Western Canada - $1,000
OW Construction ltd. - $1,000
David Thompson Research & Consulting - $1,070

But this isn't a tonne of cash, so I guess regular ol' Albertans are sending in most of the dough?

Well in the 2004 election, this is what they got from unions:
AREA COUNCIL C E P - $1,000.00
C A W CANADA - $8,000.00
C E C U - $1,000.00
C E P NATIONAL -$4,000.00
C E P NATIONAL -$7,000.00
C L C - $10,000.00
C M P L - $5,000.00
C S U - $1,000.00
C U P E - $5,000.00
DISTRICT # 3 U S W A - $500.00
IRONWORKERS LOCAL 720 - $3,000.00
LOCAL 1118 U F C W - $500.00
LOCAL 183 U N A - $1,000.00
LOCAL 1900 C E P - $500.00
LOCAL 569 ATU - $3,000.00
LOCAL 6034 U S W A - $500.00
LOCAL 855 C E P - $2,000.00
U T U - $1,500.00

Total from Unions: $92,700

Plus in 2006 they took donations from these unions:
ATU Local 569 - $2,000
CUPE - $4,118.43
Canadian Machinist Political League - $2,000
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 288 PAC - $2,250
UFCW - $2,000
USWA District #3 - $5,000
United Steelworkers Local 1-207 - $1,000

Now to be clear, I don't care whether they take money from corporations, but I do think it's a bit sanctimonious to go around stating that it's a policy not to take corporate money so that you can be free of having to bow to their wishes when: a) you do take corporate money, and b) you clearly would bow to the wishes of the unions with all of the money they give you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

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