CTF in the News

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Governments fund activist WAM festival

As the CTF predicted, Saskatoon's We Are Many Festival turned out to be a very activist event. It was not attended by 50,000 as it hoped (it was more like 9,000), but it did get the government money it was hoping for: $22,500 each from municipal, federal, and provincial governments. Participants signed a WAM pact commiting themselves to environmentally friendly actions, to get others to sign the WAM pact, and evidently to lobby governments. The Star-Phoenix reports:

Many people were signing the pact in order to have their voice heard on a political level.

"I think it's important. The government has its head in the sand when it comes to environmental issues," said Gwen Russell.

"I'm signing the pact to send a message to City Hall," echoed Gerry Burgess.

Others at the festival were free to add their thoughts to an environmental wish-list that would be sent to city officials following the festival.

The list boasted a number of wishes, including lower bus fares, better cycling routes and "ban plastic water bottles and Styrofoam." ...

Political representatives from every party in the province stopped in for a visit, as well as city councillors.
In essence, the City of Saskatoon used taxpayer dollars to look green, fund a lobby and bring Fred Penner to town. On top of all this, they waived their condition that the event have an admission fee. The result: a taxpayer-funded, free advocacy party.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sask needs $350 million in school tax relief

Saskatchewan relies on school property taxes more heavily than any other jursidiction in Canada. The province provides just 50.8 percent of school funding and puts the remaining 49.2 percent on property taxes.

The problem? Property taxes are regressive and place a higher burden on low-income earners and farmers than their incomes call for. The Boughen Commission in 2003 (p. 18 on this pdf) found that property taxes represented 2 percent of incomes for those making $100,000 or more, steadily increasing to 10 percent of income at the lowest bracket of under $20,000.

It's high time that Saskatchewan's provincial government increased its share of school funding and lowered its property taxes. It's also a good time to facilitate school choice as Alberta did by funding charter and private schools.

Read all about it in a newly released CTF report "Solving the Problem".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ontraio Municipal Infrastrcture Cash

Premier McGuinty today announced he will hand out another $1.1 billion for municipal infrastructure. This money comes from the $1.7 billion surplus the government ran. While it is good to see tax dollars going to useful projects, the extra cash means the govenment over-taxed Ontarions by a lot last year.

Cities should not have to go begging for cash out of year-end suprluses. Surpluses shouldn't exist. They should be reduced through tax relief. A Gas Tax Accountability Act would, by law, give cities 100% of gas tax revenue in the province. Currently only about half of gas taxes collected goes to cities. The rest goes to fund government pet projects.

So, the Premier should enact the law guaranteeing this money every year. Spend more on what people do want - roads; and spend less on what they don't want - waste.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Success?

While many are quick to criticize Canada's "poor showing" at the Olympics, few are willing to define what "success" looks like. The criticism usually begins with something that compares us with the United States and ends with the usual call for throwing more taxpayer dollars at the "issue".

For obvious reasons we can't compare our Olympic medal total with the United States. For starters, their population of 300 million people is almost ten times that our nation's. Not to mention the fact that the United States has a much longer summer for training.

What would be appropriate when considering success for our nation, is Canada's medal haul on a per basis with other countries. Below is a per capita medal earnings comparison between Canada and the top ten medal earning nations.


1) Australia 1:572,222
2) United Kingdom 1:1,691,666
3) South Korea 1:2,050,000
4) France 1:2,133,333
5) CANADA 1:2,553,846
6) Italy 1:2905000
7) Germany 1:2,942,857
8) Russia 1:3,126,666
9) United States 1:3,845,569
10) Japan 1:5,534,782
11) China 1:16,835,443

Suddenly, Canada's one medal for every 2,553,846 people is looking pretty respectable. As you can see, when compared with the top ten medal earning nations, Canada places fifth. Those that are keen on comparing us with the United States can take solace in the fact that on a per capita basis, their nation currently ranks 9th.

Further, as Kevin pointed out, our current total of 13 medals has already passsed the 2004 total of 12. Perhaps it's time for the critics to stop bashing our nation's "poor showing" and to start by cheering our men and women on for their great showing.


Sources:
Population totals - CIA World Fact Book - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
Medal standings (as of Wednesday morning) - Official 2008 Olympic Web Site - http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/INF/GL/95A/GL0000000.shtml

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cutting Art Subsidies a Good Plan


Tory subsidy cuts to arts groups is an important first step in freeing taxpayers from buying art they don't want.

We must remember that government subsidies to any business person, including artists, are paid for with tax dollars. Travel subsidies can create wasteful, if not perverse outcomes - after all, if Canadians produced world-class art, and then marketed it effectively, people would notice.

Worse yet, artists who aren't subsidized must now pay higher taxes to fund those who are somehow determined worthy by government bureaucrats or handmaidens. Not only that, subsidized artists may create more art than there is a market for, making it even more difficult for unsubsidized artists to live from their art.

Taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook to finance the international junkets of anyone.

Olympic Cash Back

When Canada's medal count was sucking last week, the athletic welfare community whined they need more money. Now that the medal count is up to 13 - already better than the last Summer Olympics, are they willing to give back some cash?

In the end the question is the same, when is enough enough. For culture welfare and athlete welfare no amount is too much, they seem to argue.

What will it be, pools or potholes? Roads or races?

If taxes were lower individuals could choose to which charity they would provide their support - a church, a dance group or an athlete. Instead, in Canada, we have high taxes and big brother government chooses who gets the cash.

Go figure!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sask income tax relief for fall?

This from the Leader-Post...

The Saskatchewan Party government will address the province's rising cost of living -- possibly with tax cuts as early as this fall -- as it doles out the cash filling provincial coffers, said Premier Brad Wall on Thursday....

Wall said government MLAs at their two-day caucus retreat in Waskesiu have heard the message "loud and clearly" from the public.

"The question then is the solution. And as I've said in the past, the broader the base of the solution the better it is as public policy," he said in a telephone interview from Prince Albert National Park. "The best way to provide a broader sharing of some of the prosperity we see in the province is taxes. The other way is more targeted help," he added without specifying what the latter option entails.

Wall would not directly answer whether there will be tax reductions announced this autumn as part of the government's promised financial plan or it will wait for next spring's budget.

However, the fall is a possibility.

The Sask. Party has talked about reductions to both education property and income taxes, with Wall noting that changes to the latter affects a broader group of citizens.

If there is any tax reduction in the fall it would appear more likely to fall on the income side, as government MLA Jim Reiter's report on a long-term solution to lower education property taxes is not due until early 2009.

Enlisting the Youth League and the Spies

Npower, the fourth-largest energy provider in the UK, launched a series of ads encouraging children to monitor and report on energy crimes to fellow-students in their classrooms.

Children are directed to the company climate crime website and encouraged to download cards to monitor their families climate crimes.

Why would an energy company want households to use less energy? This is part of the UK government's requirement for energy companies to promote conservation.

Although BC Hydro hasn't become quite so Orwellian, the David Suzuki Foundation already has a similar program in Ontario with Ontario Hydro, called Powerwise.

Marketers understand how effective marketing to children can be to set up lifelong preferences, so this may just be a cynical attempt by Npower to create future customers.

But as Adolf Hitler well understood, "he alone who owns the youth gains the future."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Amateur Games Funding - Pools or Potholes?

With Canadian athletes coming up regrettably short in the medal count so far during the current Olympics we are seeing the usual refrain - if we funded them better we would do better.

Canadians must decide what their priorities are for government funding. If we are to increase athletic funding, how will we do it? Tax hikes? Program cuts? Corporate welfare and regional development programs ought to be cut, for sure. Should the money go to building pools or fixing potholes? Should it fund running or roads? Not to mention that tax relief is sorely needed. As well, this call for more funding for athletics comes on the heels of calls for billions more to be injected in cities, in transit and in infrastructure.

By the way, Sport Canada already spends over $111 million a year to support a long list of athletic organizations. Over 1,900 athletes received another $23 million in grants of up to $18,000 per year. As well, we are paying for the Vancouver Olympics; costing $2.1 billion and counting so far. This works out to over $250 million a year on amateur sport. There are other excellence in sports programs as well. Just how much is enough?

It is not as though there is a shortage of games that we fund: Francophone Games, North American Indigenous Games, Arctic Winter Games, Canada Summer Games, Canada Winter Games, Pan Am Games, University Games, Commonwealth Games, Winter Olympics, Summer Olympics, the Gay Games and every provinces' respective games as well.

Perhaps the problem is a lack of focus, with money spread out across 1900 carded athletes and as can be seen by the numbers of games we support. Sport Canada funding goes to tonnes of organizations also; Canoe Association, Blind Sport Association, Deaf Sport Association, Cerebral Palsy Sport Association, Aboriginal Sport Circle, and the Centre for Ethics in Sport, just to name a few.

It seems to be the Canadian way never to say no to anyone so all are treated equally. Well, the medal count indicates the results of this approach.

Interestingly, Australia spends $250 million a year. They have 16 medals so far. Yet, their swimming coach is already calling for increased funding. It seems that no level is ever enough to make people happy.

Unions drive up taxes, costs

Twenty-two U.S. states have Right to Work laws which protect employees from being fired for refusing to join or pay dues or fees to a union. Compared to the 28 states without such legislation, household incomes are higher, the cost of living is 18% lower, and tax freedom day comes 9 days earlier: April 18.

Alas, in Canada tax freedom day is June 11, and right to work laws don't prevail nearly as much. More information on workers' rights in Canada can be found at LabourWatch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wall wants Sask debt elimination plan

Premier Brad Wall is in a two-day meeting with MLAs to discuss policy direction. For the first time, there's strong indication the Saskatchewan government is considering a debt repayment schedule.

Wall said he has received about 1,200 responses so far from the public to government and Sask. Party queries for opinions about what should be done with extra revenue. It has split roughly one third each between debt, infrastructure and taxes, he said.

The government will lay out a financial plan in the fall and Wall said he likes "the discipline of a debt-reduction, debt-elimination plan" with time frames and targets for the remaining $4.7 billion in debt.
This is something the CTF suggested to the province and you can too, if you click here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

900 days, 15 bureaucrats, and $500,000 from Alberta taxpayers


That, according to Ezra Levant, was the government effort put into investigating whether he was guilty of a human rights violation. In the Western Standard, he published the Danish cartoons that offended Muslims and caused riots around the world. In an 11-page decision, the commission turned down the complaint. After $100,000 in legal bills and the mixed tone of the eleven-page decision, Levant is only somewhat happy, as he explains in this radio interview and on his website. An excerpt....

The two complaints cost Alberta taxpayers in excess of $500,000 and, according to access to information documents, involved no fewer than 15 government bureaucrats. What a scam – on the part of the complainants, who were able to wage “lawfare” against an infidel without paying a cent; and on the part of the HRC, as a make-work project.

Fire. Them. All.

You can see the Notice of Dismissal here.

You can see my press release on the subject here.

I’ll have an Op-Ed in the National Post, and it should be available here.

Is this a victory? I suppose, in a narrow technical sense, it is. I’m off the hook now for both of the HRC complaints. That’s two legal battles done – though I’m still up to my eyeballs fighting defamation suits and other legal actions that the human rights industry piled on top of these complaints.

But I’ve read the dismissal letter three times now, and each time it makes me more angry. Because I haven’t been given my freedom of the press. I’ve simply had the government censor approve what I said. That’s a completely different thing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sask Energy Lowers Request

The day before public hearings on Sask Energy's proposed rate hike would be announced, the utility has suddenly found room to lower their rates! Hmmm...

This pleasant news comes from the Leader-Post.

In mid-July, SaskEnergy announced it would seek a commodity rate of $10.21 per Gigajoule (GJ) to cover its costs. That would have meant an increase of about $35 a month for the average homeowner.

Now, SaskEnergy is seeking a rate of $8.71/GJ meaning residential customers would pay on average $21 a month more. That's up from the $6.57/GJ that customers are currently paying.

This said, natural gas prices have truly gone through a freefall in July, as this chart originally posted here shows.


The NYMEX natural gas futures market had a similar pattern.


This futures forecast in July predicted the drop, but thought it would spike again before year's end.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Massive pay hikes to bureaucrats spell higher taxes

The massive pay hikes for B.C. deputy and assistant deputy ministers announced Friday show the provincial government is out-of-touch with taxpayers ability to continue to pay for an expanding public sector.

The province says its new pay schedule for executive level public service employees will bring B.C. more in line with other jurisdictions across Canada, but the deputy minister to the Premier's salary increased by 43%, from $243,936 to $348,600, making her the highest paid of any province. Meanwhile, the average weekly wage rate in B.C. went up by 3% (not corrected for inflation) between 2006 and 2007.

The government seems to be taking its cue from its own 30% pay hike last year. Unfortunately for those of us left to pay these bills, municipal politicians and city workers have also jumped on the pay hike bandwagon.

There is only one taxpayer, and at this rate, these pay hikes have the potential to spiral completely out of control, leaving taxpayers with less and less of their own money to spend.

At the same time, these pay hikes create upward pressure on salaries in the private sector, making it more difficult for businesses to hire scare labour resources. This could have serious long-term consequences for economic growth in the province, because the private sector creates wealth and the government redistributes it. We can expect lower economic growth in the future if government forces up labour costs and raises taxes to pay for them.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Artists Won't Travel on Taxpayer Dime

...reports the Ottawa Citizen.

The Conservatives are cancelling the $4.7-million PromArt program, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, because most of the money "went to groups that would raise the eyebrows of any typical Canadian," said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity...

The recipients singled out by the Conservatives include:

- $3,000 to Toronto-based experimental rock band Holy F--k for a week-long tour of the United Kingdom.

- $5,000 to former CBC broadcaster Avi Lewis, who now works for Arab television network al-Jazeera and who is described in a Conservative memo as "a general radical," to help pay for his travel to film festivals in Australia and Argentina.

- $16,500 to send Tal Bachman, a best-selling recording artist and the son of The Guess Who's Randy Bachman, to South Africa and Zimbabwe for music festivals.
Comedian Andy Jones got $11,000 to tour Australia, The Gryphon Trio received $13,200 to travel and play in the U.K., and three Quebec dance groups received a combined $500,000 to help them travel through the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sask gov wants MORE INPUT!


Not since Johnny 5 in Short Circuit has anyone said "More input" more often. After wanting feedback on municipal revenue sharing, education property tax, and where to put windfall revenues, the province of Saskatchewan now wants public input on even more issues!

The Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport has released a report on a 30 year perspective of arts funding in Saskatchewan. They want feedback by August 22 on where to go forward. Click here to read the report and fill out the survey.

The government also wants to know if municipal terms should be extended from three years to four. Click here to read more and submit feedback. The deadline is September 1, as it is for the first three issues mentioned above.

Sask says no to native business subsidy

A hog plant project proposed by the Fishing Lake band in Saskatchewan won't be getting any help from the provincial government, according to the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.

"We don't provide grants to any business. We aren't interested in subsidizing," said June Draude, First Nations and Metis Relations Minister.

That said, Big Sky Farms of Humboldt helped pay for a business plan for the hog plant. The province is a majority shareholder in Big Sky, with $27 million in equity. The hog industry is in tough times as feed prices are high.

Public unions have $200 G to spare

Station 20 West, a proposed inner-city Saskatoon project with the former NDP government as a large partner, is going ahead with a few less components. Its current fundraising goal of $2.4 million has a headstart. Many dollars have already come in through churches, individual donors, and large donations from public sector unions. Civic society is picking up the slack, and taxpayers are still paying for portions of this project--directly and indirectly.

Station 20 is an inner-city project that will include a grocery store co-operative on 20th Street between avenues L and K. Since the Saskatchewan Party government withdrew in March an $8-million commitment, plans have been scaled down to a two-storey, 19,000-square-foot building...

A pair of earlier $100,000 donations from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses and Canadian Union of Public Employees have pushed the fundraising total to almost $350,000.

Global warming not world's biggest problem

Bjorn Lomborg, the Skeptical Environmentalist, head of the Copenhagen Consensus and voted by the UK newspaper in 2008 "The Guardian" to be one of the 50 people who could save the planet, brought together eight of the world's top economists, including five Nobel laureates, to rank the problems humanity faces and which ones, if combated, would create the most good today and in the future.

Unsurprisingly, global warming's first appearance on this list comes in at 14th place, well after vitamins for children and international trade reform. That's because combating global warming costs more than the benefits received - 90 cents of benefit for every dollar spent, according to Mr. Lomborg.

Providing micronutrients for 80% of the 140 million children who lack essential vitamins in the form of vitamin A capsules and a course of zinc supplements would cost just $60 million per year, according to the analysis. More importantly, this action holds yearly benefits of more than $1 billion.

In effect, this means that each dollar spent on this program creates benefits (in the form of better health, fewer deaths, increased future earnings, etc.) worth more than 17 dollars. Seems like a good investment. Let's hope our policymakers start broadening their research so we are not left worse off down the road.

http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/Default.aspx?ID=953

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wanuskewin and taxpayers deserve better

The Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon was meant to be a showcase for the culture and history of the Plains Cree. But in a letter to the Star-Phoenix, Colin Butler says it should be shut down until it's rejuvenated into something worth going to. His closing comments follow:

Politically incorrect as it may be, the taxpayers' dollars finding expression in Wanuskewin (the current project has an overall cost of $10.2 million) should not be returned to the previous management of this heritage site. Let's learn from experience, and provide accountability, professionalism and competence. The best predictor of future outcomes is past behaviour.

From a world-class site, receiving international approbation and patronage, to the decrepit and embarrassing facility it became, is not a journey to be repeated.

Wanuskewin deserves better -- and so do taxpayers.

Edmonton Arena Reports

A few months ago, the City of Edmonton released a report on the potential for a new NHL arena in Edmonton. Among other things, it called for a new tax (disguised as a Community Revitalization Levy) to be implemented to pay off the loan for a new arena.

I've talked about the CRL in the past, and so have others.

In doing research for the report, the Mayor's committee paid HOK Sport, CS&L, and Dr. Mark Rosentraub to write reports for them.

They released the Rosentraub report, and it can be found HERE, but they never released the HOK Sport report nor the CS&L report.

The claim was that it contained proprietary information about locations and the financials of the Edmonton Oilers.

Fair enough when it comes to the location, land speculators would love to see the potential areas where an arena might go, but it's not that hard to figure out a few of them (hint: just look at large parking lots or empty fields near Edmonton's downtown).

But if taxpayers are being asked to build an arena for the Oilers, they should be able to see their financials to see if they are actually the paupers they claim to be. Clearly their new owner won't be able to hide his wealth quite as well.

Just for fun, I decided to FOIP the City of Edmonton for copies of these reports, as well as any draft copies of the final report.

I got back a heavily redacted copy of the HOK Sport report, a fairly intact copy of the CS&L report and 12 drafts of the final report.

Our news release and 3 of the drafts can be found on-line HERE.

And for your reading pleasure, the HOK Sport report is HERE, and the CS&L report is HERE. (I've taken the liberty of converting them to searchable pdf files, so they are a bit larger than normal, but still an interesting read.)

I'd recommend any serious NHL fan give the CS&L report a read. It's quite fascinating.

Roughriders Rumoured to get Domed Stadium


Although all the talk so far has been on a $50 million expansion of Mosaic Stadium, the latest rumour is that the Roughriders will get a new domed stadium. The Riders' play-by-play man Rod Petersen discusses the proposal on his blog.

That this project will be heavily publicly funded is already given away in Petersen's statement, "And don't for one single second say we shouldn't have a dome! This is the way it HAS to be in order to get it approved." However, this doesn't have to be the approach, as Dr. Mark Rosentraub told the City of Edmonton regarding its proposed new arena. Others say from an economic standpoint, stadiums, teams, and sporting events are overrated.

***UPDATE***
Rod Petersen has removed his post. However, the discussion continues at the Rider Fan website.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lawsuit victory leads to bailout program

Recently, the federal government collected fines and civil compensation from tobacco companies totaling $1.15 billion for orchestrating a cigarette smuggling operation in the 1990s. Within days, the feds followed with $300 million aid to tobacco growers and surrounding communities. Ontario's ag minister says nobody told her about the buyout and she strongly disagrees with the way it is being financed. Click here to find out more.

Global warming runaway train

The global warming train has left the station here in B.C. Our provincial government has enacted a carbon tax and the cost paid by families and businesses for traditional energy sources will increase every year. Global warming promoters have exaggerated the possible damage to Mother Earth, creating a hysteria that has shifted the global warming debate from an environmental possibility to a vote-getting tool.

The consequences of global warming are vastly overstated. For example, Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," claims sea levels will rise by 20 feet over the next 100 years, flooding places like New York and Florida. In fact, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the organization looked to by environmental groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation for their global warming data, claims sea levels will only rise by about one foot.

Should we be worried about a one-foot rise in sea level? Well, to put it into perspective, the sea level rose by about one foot over the past 100 years. Did anyone notice? Not really. However, this convenient exaggeration plays into the hands of politicians who use the public's fear to justify higher spending and the higher taxes needed to pay for that spending.

Do we want our legacy to be billions of dollars wasted on faddish pursuits that did virtually nothing for global temperatures a century from now? Or, do we want to make decisions based on actual science to achieve a cleaner environment in our lifetimes? Although the global warming train may have left the station in B.C. it should be derailed before it does any real damage.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Gobernator terminates global warming in schools


California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated a bill that would requires climate change to be added to the school curriculum. The measure would have required future science textbooks to include climate change as a subject.

The governor said he opposed educational mandates coming out of the state capital. But according to Patrick Michaels, a climatologist from the University of Virginia and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he may have been worried. If children discovered in homework assignments that California climate change law, if applied to the entire US, would affect global warming by one 5,000ths of one degree, they might start questioning whether all the global warming fuss was much ado about nothing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Taxpayers fund partying bureaucrats

The BC government likes to celebrate success, which in itself is not a bad thing. The problem, however, is the lack of cost control.

Last year, the government spent $100,000 to celebrate civil service achievements. This year, they spent $500,000. At that rate, next year the taxpayer could be on the hook for $2.5 million in partying expense.

Governments have no incentive to control costs like a regular company, because they don't need to worry about losing money or going out of business - they just raise taxes. This is another example of the government's blank cheque approach when in comes to spending on their pet projects, especially now that it is in election mode (the provincial election is in May 2009).

The other issue is government competing for scarce labour with private companies in this province. If the government raises wages and spends on lavish parties to attract labour, private businesses also have to raise wages and hold lavish parties. Over time, business has difficulty competing and may have to shut down. Let's remember - businesses create wealth, governments redistribute it.

If the government continues on this trajectory, we can expect slower economic growth and higher taxes in the future.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Feds grant $53,000 for lego

Unbelievable, but true.

Taxpayers have picked up the tab for a group of Newfoundland junior high school students to attend a world Lego robotics competition in Atlanta, Ga., for the past five years.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the economic development agency for the region, has paid for a group of about 10 students and two coaches to travel to Georgia for the event from St. Francis School, a junior high school in Harbour Grace, every April since 2004, at a total cost of $53,861....

"ACOA’s mandate is regional economic development, not Lego-building," said Mr. Williamson. "This is a question of federal priorities and the federal government putting money into Lego building blocks as opposed to infrastructure in this part of the country.

Mr. Williamson said it was "absurd" to spend money on a Lego contest when there are wharfs and sidewalks that need repairing. "There are so many areas in which the government could spend money here in Atlantic Canada," he said. "And $10,000 to $15,000 handed to a municipality for infrastructure could be meaningful."

CBC and CRTC Staff Suffer From Bureaucratitis

Two studies out this week are said to reveal high levels of job-related stress at two of Canadian taxpayer funded organizations, first the CRTC now the CBC. What the studies really reveal is how much change is needed in the public sector. Less coddling and more private-sector initiatives.

Too few over-paid under-worked bureaucrats have any appreciation of what it is like to work in the private sector. They suffer from a sense of entitlement acting like a bunch of spoiled children. They enjoy high pay; gold-plated pensions; job security; tonnes of vacation days, sick days, personal days; and, training and travel on the public dime. Very few private sector workers enjoy any of these benefits let alone all of them.

In the private sector workers must perform against targets, worry about job security and few enjoy any pension at all. Bureaucrats need to get over themselves. Management should help them by imposing private sector pay, perks, pensions, and performance measurements. Maybe then they would appreciate just how cushy they have it.

Here is what the stories are reporting about how the 'crats are whining about how bad they have it. According to today's Ottawa Sun, almost half of CBC's 10,000 employees suffer from "high levels" of psychological distress related to their working conditions, according to a 2005 "wellness" survey of 4,630 staff obtained through the Access to Information Act.

Yesterday, it was reported that nearly six in 10 employees of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) say they're thinking of quitting their jobs within five years.

One in seven also says discrimination has adversely affected their career progression at the broadcast regulator.

Enough whining already, get over it and realize how good they have it. If they don't like it, they can quit and see how easy it is in the private sector.

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