Friday, December 28, 2007

Environmentalism for Profit

On December 18, the U.S. Senate passed such high energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs, fluorescents will be the only ones legally sold in the United States by 2012. And the clearest winner is not the environment, nor the public. It's multinational corporations General Electric and Philips, according to Timothy Carney in his article, How many lobbyists does it take to change a light bulb?. Incandescent bulbs sold for 31 cents will be replaced by fluorescent lights that cost $4.50 each. The green movement is indeed the colour of money.

On Dec. 18, the day the bill cleared its biggest hurdle and passed the Senate, GE’s stock jumped 8.8 percent, and Philips jumped 2.1 percent.

These companies will get rich thanks to energy bill, but it’s not clear the public or the environment will share the windfall GE and Philips will experience. GE makes its CFLs and other fancy light bulbs in China, while it makes its incandescents in the United States.

The light bulb law will ship more American jobs offshore, shift manufacturing to China’s dirtier and less efficient factories, and increase shipping distances. Add in the mercury, and it’s not clear how good this law is for the environment. Its clearest benefit is to the companies who lobbied for it.

Democrats came to Washington promising to end the influence of big business lobbyists. The energy bill — with its gifts to aluminum giants such as Alcoa, ethanol moguls such as Goldman Sachs and Archer Daniels Midland, and now GE, Sylvania and Phillips — shows that the doors of power are as wide open to corporate lobbyists as they have ever been, as long as the lobbyists are dressed in green.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

'Canadian' show won't rep where it's from

Kudos to Jim Bond of Picton, ON for bugging the CBC about Little Mosque on the Prairie. Back on January 17, Bond heard the program's creator, Zarqa Nawaz, tell National Public Radio that Saskatchewan is not mentioned in the show. This leaves the door open for the show to be picked up in the States and Americans can imagine the setting to be North Dakota. This is a film that received $2,513,829 from the Canadian Television Fund for eight episodes in its first season, $4,250,000 for its second, and won a "Canada Award" at the 2007 Geminis to boot!

Bond writes,

I found it shocking that a CBC series, produced and promoted with taxpayers' money, would have a policy of not mentioning a Canadian province in order to make sales in the U.S.

Without mentioning the NPR interview, I asked the CBC if Canadian content or identity was edited out of Little Mosque on the Prairie. It took five weeks, three e-mails and help of the CRTC, but the CBC finally assured me by e-mail the producers were not trying to disguise the fact the program is shot in Saskatchewan.

I then asked the CBC to reconcile its e-mail response with the clearly contradictory statements by Nawaz on NPR.

Without apologizing for giving me misinformation, the second CBC response was basically an attempt to give a smoother spin to Nawaz's eager attempts on American radio to break into the U.S. television market.

It finally admitted that "in order for the show have the broadest appeal, Saskatchewan, for example, was never mentioned by name as it could just as easily be North Dakota or anywhere else on the prairies".

But the second e-mail states there have been regular references to Toronto, "and those references have not been removed for foreign sales".

I can only conclude from this the CBC thinks Toronto has "broad appeal" and Saskatchewan does not.

Bond is not the only upset Canadian.

2007 and 2008 Tax Changes from Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Go over to our website

Check out our latest news release outlining tax changes for the New Year.

HINT: Provincial winners are Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec & B.C.

The Loser: New Brunswick...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Governments Should be Grinchy and Enforce Contracts

Government should be Grinchy with taxpayer money when it comes to government contracts. They should pretend it is March when they are grumpy and should ignore warm and fuzzy feelings to be overly generous at Christmas because contracts should be honoured and overpayment should be recovered.

Some 32,000 Western Canadians were overpaid EI benefits according to the National Post, "About 32,000 people in western Canada receiving Employment Insurance benefits got back-to-back payments, because of a technical problem at the EI Computer Centre in Winnipeg. Some of the cheques and direct-deposit payments were for as much as $804."

This is money they were not entitle to and must pay back.

In Saskatchewan $5 million in government money was overpaid to health workers. Acording to the National Post, "Government documents say at least 620 workers were overpaid between 2003 and 2005 when the previous NDP government and health service provider unions were in the midst of a complex process to amalgamate 1,200 job descriptions across the province into about 270 roles."

Again, this is money to which the recipients were not entitled and it should be paid back.

If a bank accidentally put money in your account, the law says it is not yours. If your employer overpays you, the law says it is not yours. If the government accidentally overpays you, it is not yours.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Gift for Saskatchewan Taxpayers

A gold-plated health plan for Saskatchewan MLAs has been scrapped. MLAs over the age of 50 with 10 years of service would have had to pay nothing for up to $1700 in annual health expenses. The changes, approved by the legislature's Board of Internal Economy in 2004 and finalized in December of last year, would have come into effect January 1, 2008.

"Call it a parting gift for David Karwacki," wrote James Wood of the Star-Phoenix. The outgoing Saskatchewan Liberal leader both publicized and blasted the plan, especially at the provincial election debate. A day after Karwacki resigned as leader, the board announced the deal would be scrapped and MLAs would be eligible for the same health plan as other legislative assembly employees. Wood also tells us "Board members have promised to be more open about changes to benefits in the future."

This only proves 'common sense' and transparency in government don't come without a fight. Thankfully, Karwacki was willing to take up the cause on this front.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saskatchewan Increases, Labour Decreases

Saskatchewan is changing fast. Great grain prices, soaring property values, rising resource revenues, and the greatest percentage population growth in Canada have the province zooming into prosperity. Socialist laws that allowed the government to expropriate private property and assets related to potash are being repealed. And the provincial unions are losing unbalanced priviledges and even fighting one another.

The Saskatchewan Party is changing the labour environment in only its second week in the legislature. New legislation would force union certification drives to get 45 percent of workers before being able to have a vote (up from the present 25). The gag law that prevented employers to communicate with employees during such a drive would be removed. Union certification would have to be conducted via secret ballot. Finally, Saskatchewan would join all the other provinces by having essential services legislation. Changes dubbed "democratic" and "moderate" by the labour minister Rob Norris were called "the worst legislation for workers in the country" by Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President Larry Hubich.

Never mind. These days Saskatchewan unions are locking out other unions. For more than a month, the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union has locked out the Communication, Energy, and Paperworkers Union 481. Despite negotiating healthy wage increases for SGEU over the years, the CEP has been without a contract for 2 1/2 years and has been locked out since November 6.

Strangely, the website chronicling this dispute,, actually cites this quote of the week:
“The Sask Party and their minions in the SGEU leadership will not win the day. Stay strong CEP 481 -- you have justice on your side.”

When in the past, Sask Party labour critics spoke at Saskatchewan Federation of Labour meetings, they were greeted with steely silence. How can anyone honestly suggest that a lockout that began while the NDP was in power was concocted through the minions of the Sask Party?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If the government ran Christmas

A friend of mine just sent me this. I found it funny, thought our readers would too.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


UPDATE: CTF Saskatchewan Director Lee Harding and WAM organizer Ellen Quigley speak debated on Tuesday, December 18 on Newstalk radio 650 and 980. Listen to or download the segment here. Quigley said that the event needed to be free to have the scope of impact necessary. Host John Gormley wonders if environmentalists and music fans won't pay for at least some portion of this, why should government?!

The WAM festival in Saskatoon forgot two letters--FG. The We Are Many festival should have been called With All Money From Government.

The festival is slated for August 22-24, 2008 in Saskatoon, and will feature music, theatre, visual arts, and dance – to commit participants to environmental sustainability, er, radical activism. Organizers plan for each participant to sign a
"WAM Pact" that includes 40 means of behaviour change to help the environment. A mandatory part of this pact is to sign up another 5 people. From here "community caucuses" will be formed to make environmental changes in their communities, including this radical example from their website:

For instance: the people of Montreal and Toronto could unite in agreeing never to fly between their two cities again. Together they might decide to work with ViaRail, the Quebec and Ontario provincial governments, the federal government, and Canada-based businesses to make their choice an affordable and viable one. We Are Many takes in the local and the global, and encourages collective action on every level.

Of course, ideas this radical can only be supported by government. On December 9, organizer Ellen Quigley wrote,
-- One month and two days ago, Lorne Calvert was the Premier of
Saskatchewan. As of Friday afternoon, he is an active participant in
WAM and has offered to approach people such as Shirley Douglas and
David Suzuki on behalf of the festival!

-- We now have the support of two Sask Party Ministers and nine MLAs
(provincial representatives, for the Americans on this list) from both

-- Also, 2 out of Saskatoon's 4 MPs are on board as well.

-- Not only that, but we can say we have the support of all 7 of the
City Councillors who have met with us so far. We have meetings with
the Mayor and an 8th Councillor on December 12th.

On November 12, WAM told us this:
Grants: The Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation has pledged $8000 for WAM and is applying on our behalf for significantly more. This is one of our largest single contributions to date and a major advance. We have also submitted applications for grants from the Sask Arts Board and Sask Environment's Green Initiatives Program. Grants we're working on for the near future include the EcoAction Grant and awards from the Crown Corporations.

If you think this is a waste of public money, let these groups know:
Saskatchewan Arts Board: (800)667-7526. Minister Tell:
Sask Environment: 1-800-567-4224. Minister Heppner: Phone: (306) 787-0393


Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is meddling in local Ottawa politics.

He says "I'm not going to presume to impose my standards on Mayor O'Brien or city council. As a guy from Ottawa, I'm going to ask him to carefully weigh ... what does the public interest dictate in these circumstances?"

What exactly are your standards Premier?

When you outright lied to Canada's largest provincial electorate did you resign? Did you call a referendum as you had said you would? No!

You simply signed and said what ever would get you elected. You run nasty,fear-mongering campaigns, lie at will, stay in a bubble and contantly change your position.

So seriously, Premier - your standards arent' that high. You really should just butt out...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Scrap Don't Review Health Tax

Taxpayers should keep their fingers crossed that the premier really enjoyed cutting business taxes last week, hoping he may do the same for individuals through cutting the health tax.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has reportedly tasked a committee to review the controversial health tax he imposed. The tax was imposed in his first budget in 2004 after having campaigned hard during the 2003 election using a promise to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation NOT to raise taxes.

A majority of voters in the recent election voted for parties who promised either to eliminate or reduce in part the hated health tax.

The tax generates $2.6 billion a year in government tax revenue. This is roughly equal to the amount of the government surplus DESPITE the government having increased spending by $2.2 billion more than it had budgeted this year.

Instead of reviewing the tax the government should scrap it, plain and simple. Premier McGuinty stated during the election that he would not reduce or eliminate it. Keep in mind that he promised not to reduce taxes and yet he did so for businesses last Thursday in his economic update. There is some faint that hope that he may do a u-turn on this one.

Sask Gov Keeps the Sheaf!

The Saskatchewan government has changed its mind and will not change its classic provincial logo, the wheat sheaf. A CTV online poll that showed 93% of respondents were opposed to the change. The government says it changed its mind to save taxpayers' money. However, one radio host informed me the government building across from him already had the sheaf removed before this flip-flop of intentions. How much more wasteful this could have been!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Keep the Sheaf, not the Ski Hill

Some good, some bad from the Saskatchewan government this week. The proposal to change the government logo has gone over like a lead balloon. Polls and call-in shows overwhelmingly support keeping the government logo as it is. Saskatchewan people like the logo and rightly discern that money could be better spent changing the PROVINCE in other ways.

However, the Sask Party made a good announcement just today. Unlike the last government, it's not going to run a Saskatoon ski hill for two months at a cost of $900,000! As its press release explains,

The ski hill at Blackstrap Provincial Park will not be opening for the 2007-2008 winter season because operating the ski hill would have required significant subsidization by the provincial government.

"Although the Blackstrap ski hill will not be open for the 2007/08 season, we will continue to work on developing long-term options that will provide visitors with access to high-quality outdoor recreational activities without financial support from the province," Saskatchewan Parks Service Executive Director Syd Barber said.

Last winter, following many years of private sector operation, Blackstrap Provincial Park ski hill was operated under contract. This approach resulted in a cost of more than $900,000 to the provincial government. The ski hill was open for less than two months.

This move was common sense. But it's amazing how UNcommon that is when it comes to government spending when so many clamour for handouts. Even now the Blackstrap website says this: "Please help us convince the Government that opening Mt.Blackstrap this winter is important to the Saskatoon & area ski & snowboard community. You can help by phoning or emailing Minister Christine Tell at (306) 787-0354 or"

Instead, please tell the minister she did the right thing!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's legal to pay off opponents?!

Yes, according to some lawyers in this Ottawa Citizen article.

[Ottawa] Mayor Larry O'Brien is not facing a charge based on an allegation that he offered up to $30,000 to Terry Kilrea to withdraw from last year's mayoral race because it's apparently not against Canadian law to offer to pay off an opponent to drop out of an election campaign.

The legal team working on the O'Brien file, which includes Crown attorney Scott Hutchison, an expert who has literally written a book on search warrants, reviewed the Criminal Code of Canada and found no sections that fit the alleged cash offer that was detailed in an affidavit sworn by Mr. Kilrea last December.

Mr. O'Brien was instead charged Monday with two criminal offences -- attempting to bribe and purported influence peddling -- and will have his first scheduled court appearance on Jan. 9. The mayor says he'll stay in office and fight the criminal case against him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Saskatchewan Government wants new logo

Apparently the wheat sheaf that has represented the province since 1977 isn't good enough anymore. No, just one month after voters saw Brad Wall on TV condemning NDP government spending on logos, his government announces that's just what they're going to do!

When the McGuinty Liberals changed the 42-year-old trillium logo in 2006, there was a huge backlash. Thousands petitioned the government to keep the old logo, even though they paid their favorite ad firm $219,000 for the redesign. Expect the same response in the wheat province, Saskatchewan, which still has almost half of all the agricultural land in Canada.

What next? Redesign the map of Saskatchewan? Oh wait, that's already been done.

Late-breaking news from Sask Trends Monitor tells us the government might be motivated by a desire to give people business. Work for the sake of work does not make sense either!

As Sask Trends Monitor was going to press, it appears that the provincial government was still concerned about the economic health of the cards and letterhead sector. They have announced a change in the provincial logo to supplement the previously noted growth factors and to broaden the economic impact to the graphic design industry.

Cost of smoking - part 2

Loyal readers may remember this post from a month ago regarding the cost of smoking to taxpayers. According to Alberta Health and Wellness Minister, Dave Hancock, smoking costs taxpayers $471-million each year for health care.

I pointed out that while I detest smoking, I would no longer harass any smoking friends I have because tobacco taxes are slated to generate $890-million in revenue this year. So, in essence, smokers are actually subsidizing my health care.

Shortly after putting up that post, I was contacted by Dr. Eric Crampton, Department of Economics, University of Canterbury (New Zealand). Dr. Crampton sent me a copy of an op-ed he wrote for the New Zealand Medical Journal.

It's a great read (if you own a dictionary - boy those professors use big words...) and Dr. Crampton has graciously posted it on-line for all of you who don't have subscriptions to the New Zealand Medical Journal to read.

Interestingly, he points out:

(S)mokers pay more in cigarette taxes than they ever cost the public purse. They die earlier of cheaper diseases and collect less in superannuation than do non-smokers.
So, I guess the government has another option to control rising health care costs - encourage smoking!

Seriously though, this is a great example of how often those who recommend using economic hammers (read: taxes) to off-set a perceived social ill, don't first determine if that social ill is creating an economic cost. Or, alternatively, they know there is no economic cost, yet still want to interfere with people's right to decide how to live their own lives.

This may be understandable if you are trying to get a loved one to quit smoking, but isn't it crossing the line when it's the government making the determination?

When did it become the government's job to ensure you make choices deemed to lengthen your life? They may be justified if the economic costs related to your decisions is harming others (read: taxpayers), but if that can be proven (as with smoking) not to be the case, what right does the government have to interfere?

Shouldn't government be held to the same test as doctors: Primum non nocere (First, do no harm)?

At the very least, before politicians and do-gooders are allowed to use economic tools (read: taxes) to fix a perceived social ill, they should ensure their cure is not causing further ills.

A prime example of this happened in Calgary recently when the surely well-intentioned Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, suggested a "meal tax" be introduced to help the homeless.

As I pointed out in an op-ed in the Calgary Herald a "meal tax" would do anything but help the homeless, as it would make their food more expensive and therefore lead to homeless people eating less.

Fibber hits it big...

You all remember Fibber right? The CTF's "Honesty in Politics" mascot.

Well, Fibber's relentless work during the recent Ontario election reminding voters about Dalton McGuinty's fib about not raising taxes landed the CTF third place in the "Loyalist PR 2007 'Naughty & Nice List.' "

Post-graduate public relations students from Loyalist College (Belleville, Ontario) picked a top 10 and bottom 10 list from the past year of public relations, and said that the CTF hit #3 in the 'nice' list this year with Fibber.

From their blog:

3. Canadian Taxpayers Federation – Clever use of the organization’s “Fibber” mascot took the 2007 election trail by storm

Congrats Fibber!

Slain officer denied medal of valor by G-G

Watch the video below and sign the petition here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Regina city councillor fights traffic ticket with the charter

Louis Browne, a Regina city councillor, was charged with blowing a red light in June. He doesn't deny this charge, but instead argues his Charter rights were violated when he was stopped by the policeman! Read about this classic example of trying to turn rights into wrongs.

$1 Million Flushed Away in Toronto

Talk about flushing away taxpayers' dollars or money down the drain...

The city of Toronto and its mayor proclaim to the high heavens that the city is well run, is very efficient, and there is no wasteful spending. Yet, something smells. The city council has decided to spend $935,000 on a rainwater toilet system for the Automotive Building at the CNE.

A Toronto Sun columnist writes that she can't understand how this will cost nearly a million dollars.

The cost of Toronto's crapper blows away one of the world's most expensive toilets built in Shanghai for $602,000 US as part of an art exhibit. It was designed to look like a cave.

However despite its efforts, Toronto can't claim the title of owner of the world's most expensive toilet. It doesn't come close to the cost of the space toilet project that reportedly rang in at $19 million.

Finally, the Toronto loo won't hold a flame compared to the cost of the Golden Palace biffy in Hong Kong. The palace reportedly cost $300 million Hong Kong dollars including a gold bathroom. This really is a golden throne!

Friday, December 07, 2007

EI premiums for seniors?

Workers over 65 are getting more valuable as population ages and the Canadian worker shortage worsens. Consider this from VP of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business,

But there are also pension, tax and bureaucratic red-tape issues to deal with, to make it easier to retain older workers, Braun-Pollon said.

Citing an example, Braun-Pollon said it would be worth considering if it is necessary to subtract employment insurance premiums from the paycheques of older workers employed in post-retirement jobs.

The report, released by the CFIB, noted that one in seven Canadians is now over 65 years old and that the percentage of people aged 55 to 64 has increased.

For that matter, lower EI premiums for everybody! Modest reductions in the these premiums for the past two years do little to alleviate the $51 billion surplus that EI has accumulated.

McCallion Wastes $50,000 on Self Congratulations

Taxpayer to McCallion: Stop the waste and buy the magazine.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has been crying the blues lately over budget woes, proclaiming how well run Mississauga is. Meanwhile she approved $50,000 for a handful of staff (armed with an expensive video)to go pick up an award in London, England at the World Leadership Forum, as reported in the Toronto Star

McCallion has been blustering lately that she needs more money from the federal government. Given that she spends it on silly boondoggle junkets like this, she and her council don't deserve another red cent of taxpayer money.

She, like many politicians, seems to forget it isn't their money they are wasting.

Brampton is no better. Mayor Susan Fennell and eight others in her expensive entourage attended the back-patting event as well. They cost taxpayers untold thousands to schmooze in London, England and to brag about how great they are.

Fat lot of good this does taxpayers.

If politicians spent nearly as much time thinking about ways to reduce spending than patting themselves on the back, government would be tremendously efficient. Sadly, giving themselves awards is higher on their list of priorities.

Apparently, the World Leadership Forum publishes a magazine. Perhaps a subscription would cost less than flying politicians and staff around on junkets like this.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Harder Tries to Pull a Fast One

Meet City of Ottawa Councillor Jan Harder.

Councillor Harder represents Barrhaven on Ottawa City Council and calls herself a Tax Fighter on her website. In big, bold, red letters no less.

Yet, in the November 30th edition of the Barrhaven Independent, (a local West End Ottawa weekly newspaper) she declares, "I did not campaign as a taxfighter in the last election."

Ummm, actually you did Councillor. Check your own website. If calling yourself a tax fighter on your official campaign website isn't campaigning as a tax fighter what is?

Maybe the councillor just forgot that was on her re-election website or maybe she just doesn't read it. Either way, Councillor Harder is now advocating higher taxes for Ottawa residents and is denying she ever campaigned as a Tax Fighter.

Strange, don't you think?

Warning to Barrhaven residents: Beware of politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouths.

Advice for Councillor Harder: Read your own damn website!

UPDATE: Screenshot from Ms. Harder's campaign website (it may not be up there for long...)

Whopping raises for Saskatchewan civil service

The Saskatchewan Party has outdone the fat wages of their NDP predecessors.

Ministerial chiefs of staff made about $70,000 under the NDP government, but are now earning between $85,000 and $120,000! MLAs now make a base pay of about $82,000.

Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz says "'you have to pay' to attract people with experience, but the cost will be offset by having a smaller number of ministries and fewer staff."

Smaller cabinet aside, half of this theory is disproven by the appointment of Garnet Garven, the new deputy minister to the premier. Garnet Garven is making $228,000, $29,000 more than his NDP predecessor.

Garven wasn't going anywhere. The dean of the University of Regina's School of Business when he was hired has worked in Saskatchewan all his life.

Wall also noted that Garven, besides serving in the past as president of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada in Saskatchewan, has public service experience. He was chair and chief executive officer of the Worker's Compensation Board under Grant Devine's Progressive Conservative government and has also served as a consultant providing advice to other governments, including Calvert and Roy Romanow's NDP governments.

Here's the real kicker: the Sask Party has had Garven in mind for this role for almost five years!

As Leader Post columnist Murray Mandryk noted on November 20 (and prior to Garven's appointment), the Saskatchewan Party made a document called the Thistle Project on January 10, 2003, stating how they would transition to government if they won the 2003 election. They lost that by two seats, and Garven has been waiting to be the top civil servant ever since.

Garven got his wish. But taxpayers hoping for a break on his wages did not. Garven couldn't have earned more anywhere else in the province, but he sure could have gotten less.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Carbon Neutrality Con

In B.C., new legislation mandates that all government ministries and agencies, including hospitals, become carbon neutral by 2010.

To become carbon neutral, a company would either reduce its own emissions or offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) it creates by buying credits from a project that has lower emissions.

Reducing emissions will mean fewer bureaucrats flying around in airplanes, so that may save money. But offsets? That's another question.

To emit one tonne of CO2 you would need to travel 3,200 kilometers in an airplane. But, to offset that you would need to run one 600 kilowatt wind turbine for an average year or plant an acre of Douglas fir trees. The B.C. government's emissions reduction goal is about 30 million tonnes. The taxpayer will have to plant an awful lot of trees to come up with an offset that big.

So, how much is all this going to cost? A report from the UK based Taxpayers Alliance shows that the UK sends a subsidy of almost $1 billion to other EU countries in exchange for hot air in its effort to become carbon neutral. It also shows that public sector organizations in the UK did a bad job at trading emissions. One hospital lost almost $600,000 in the emissions trading scheme. That would pay for about 600 MRI scans in a private clinic in Vancouver.

Hospitals already have enough challenges, and now their bureaucrats are going to spend time and money trading CO2? Just a thought, but maybe reducing surgical wait times should be a higher priority.

Flying High

With all of their perks, expense accounts and lucrative salaries, the Winnipeg Sun's Tom Brodbeck discovers it doesn't end there for Canada's MPs.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Saskatchewan businesses want income tax cuts

In Saskatchewan Business Magazine, Regina-based oil executive Craig Lothian believes only one thing could stop the momentum of the oil and gas industry in Saskatchewan. He says, "It's not about the resource. It's not about access to capital. The only thing we need to do still is improve the gap between personal tax rates with Alberta."

The Regina Chamber of Commerce agrees. A recent mini-survey of its members received the following answers:

"What provincial tax initiative would have the most positive impact on your business?"

38% Broad-based personal income tax reduction
19% Corporate tax reduction
19% Reduction in education portion of property tax
11% Sales Tax Reduction
10% Harmonized Sales Tax

"What is the most important economic issue that the next provincial government eneds to aggressively tackle during the first year of office?"

38% Labour shortage
19% Labour legislation, regulations, and policy
14% Government competition with the private sector
12% Private sector investment
8% Grow the population
6% Transportation infrastructure

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