There has been a lot of talk in the Canadian mainstream media and from the mainstream Canadian political parties about the middle class, but almost no discussion of the working class. Even the (slightly) left-of-centre New Democratic Party (NDP) keeps using the buzzwords “middle-class families” instead of “workers” or “working-class people”.
I understand they do it because the PR consultants told them it would help them attract potential swing voters, who are irrationally scared off by honourable but misunderstood terms like “socialism”, “labour movement” and “leftist”, but it’s still disappointing. It drives me nuts when Conservatives and Liberals spread the (Read more…)
This blog’s unofficial slogan has been “Tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, today.” After this week’s Conservative backpedaling on income splitting, we may need to change it to “Today’s conventional wisdom, seven years ago.” Or we could just stick with “You read it here first.”
My first-ever blog post, Income Splitting Redux, argued that this tax policy “would benefit an affluent minority at the expense of important public programs and create a disincentive for women to engage in paid employment.” I made the same case in an opinion editorial published in The Ottawa Citizen seven years ago this month (Read more…)
Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE.
The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website at http://cupe.ca/economics/missing-action-federal-budget-2014 together with CUPE’s press release at: http://cupe.ca/economics/federal-budget-2014-help-hurt-canadian
Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014 CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response
Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget
Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper government calls the 2014 federal budget “The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities.” Little could be further from the truth. Instead it’s a budget that glosses over the problems facing Canadian workers and continues to (Read more…)
Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney, Canada’s second-worst prime minister (Harper is the worst).
Stephen Harper and Silvio Berlusconi, disgraced former prime minister of Italy.
Vic Toews and Stephen Harper. Toews is a disgraced former Conservative MP with fascist tendencies and a sleazy personal life.
Pamela Wallin and Stephen Harper. Wallin is a disgraced Conservative senator who fraudulently misused senate expense money for personal and partisan purposes.
Bev Oda and Stephen Harper. Oda is a a disgraced former Conservative MP who misused tax money for personal benefit. She also fraudulently altered a government document.
Rob Anders and Stephen Harper. Anders is (Read more…)
Stephen Harper and Pierre Poilivere, the minister in charge of dismantling democracy in Canada.
Stockwell Day, Chuck Strahl and Stephen Harper. Day and Strahl are disgraced former Conservative MPs who now work as sleazy lobbyists.
Tom Flanagan and Stephen Harper. Flanagan, who is Harper’s political mentor and former colleague, is a creep who has said many creepy things.
Stephen Harper and Hamid Karzai, the corrupt president of Afghanistan.
Stephen Harper and Andrew Prescott, the alleged “Pierre Poutine” in the Conservative election fraud phone scandal.
Michael Sona and Stephen Harper. Sona is one of the alleged footsoldiers in the Conservative election (Read more…)
Harper-&-Rogues Gallery – Part 1
Recent news that the drummer in Stephen Harper’s terrible cover band was charged with sex crimes re-emphasizes the fact that Harper loves to surround himself with sleazebags, crooks and various ne’er-do-wells. That’s because he is one of them. Here is part one of a gallery of photos of Harper with undesirables. From top to bottom, Harper is with:
1. Phillip Nolan (on the far right), charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation over alleged incidents while he was a school teacher.
2. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s quasi-fascist, corrupt, bigoted president.
3. Justin Bieber (Read more…)
Crappy New Year 2014: Canada’s economy in the shitter
Yes, it’s the economy, stupid! As of January 2014, the Canadian economy continues to be shite, swirling down the toilet. The Harper Conservatives are flushing our country down the drain.
When I say “the economy”, I mean the real, boots-on-the-street, money-in-your-pocket economy, job market and standard of living, not the abstract, pie-in-the-sky “economy” that’s measured in charts and graphs that reduce the concept of economic health to little more than GDP and corporate profits.
It’s infuriating that so many in the media – even those who are usually critical of the (Read more…)
This piece was first published in the Globe & Mail.
In a move that caught everyone off-guard, Canada Post announced a five point “action plan” last week that included phasing-out home delivery of the mail over the next five years, making Canada the only G7 nation to do so. Why? To “protect taxpayers.”
Of all the reasons that merit discussion as to whether letter carriers belong to a redundant class of workers, like the milkman or iceman, taxpayer protection isn’t one. This Crown corporation is more likely to make money than lose it.
Canada Post and (Read more…)
Federal Industry Minister James Moore on the federal government’s role (or lack thereof) in reducing child poverty in Canada is basically: let others worry about it:
“Federal minister says child poverty not Ottawa’s problem:
“Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.” That from Federal Minister of Industry James Moore… He says it’s the responsibility of the provinces to deal with child poverty, and Ottawa has no plans to step in.
In honour of James Moore attitude (and apparently the Conservative Government’s), I present you with this equivalent attitude:
Federal Industry Minister? An appropriate (Read more…)
On November 25th, I made the following submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
1. Introduction and Context
Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Committee, as Members of Parliament review the second budget implementation bill for the budget of 2013.
It is a particular honour to appear as a witness, since this committee will only hear eight hours of testimony from witnesses — including one hour from the Finance Minister — over (Read more…)
Buried in the federal government’s recent Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections are figures showing the Harper government is set to squeeze federal government’s role to the smallest it has been in seventy years. (Bill Curry at the Globe also just wrote about this, but without figures further back than 1958).
Total federal government spending as a share of the economy is projected to drop to a 14% share of the economy by 2018/19. This would be the lowest since at least 1948. Because the government has tied the federal public service up in knots, actual spending will likely (Read more…)
I’m sick of reading and hearing people say things like “It’s not fair to suspend those senators without pay, without conducting a full investigation and giving them their day it court.”
The dishonourable Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau have already been proven guilty of embezzling from the Canadian taxpayers and of abusing the public trust. They have already been proven to not live in the houses they claimed as primary residences. In the cases of Duffy and Wallin, they have already been proven to not even live in the provinces that Harper appointed them to represent.
In (Read more…)
Whenever a new study or article comes out proving that the Canadian job market, compensation packages and standard of living are dwindling for most workers — especially young Canadians — the knee-jerk response from right-wing reactionaries is to sputter: ” Move to Alberta!” or “Go into the trades!” or “Go into the trades in Alberta!”
First, this is not a national economic plan. They are simplistic sermons by simple-minded blowhards who won’t let their ignorance hold them back from scolding others.
Second, many Canadians from across Canada have already taken those paths or are in the (Read more…)
I downloaded this image from Facebook. It perfectly sums up what Canadians are experiencing under the disgraced Harper Conservative government. The traitorous scum are slowly destroying Canada bit by bit, scandal by scandal, crime by crime, sell-off by sell-off, treason by treason. They are deliberately trying to wear us down until we stop caring that our country is being sucked dry by parasitic sociopaths. Do not give them the satisfaction.
Obviously, as you know, it is very clear by all objective measures that:
The Harper Conservatives are the most scandal-ridden government in Canadian history.
The Harper Conservatives are the most (Read more…)
This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.
Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, and erodes trust that a democratically governed system is working for the benefit of the majority.
It’s a conversation that is heating up in Canada, as two new, articulate voices were added this week to Canada’s federal political scene. Journalists Chrystia Freeland (Liberal) (Read more…)
This piece was published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.
Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty:
1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability.
2) There was virtually no change in the rate of home ownership between 2006 and 2011. It was 68.4 per cent in 2006, and 69 per cent in 2011.
I’ll explain the significance of both; but first, let’s consider how (Read more…)
Monte Solberg, the former Conservative cabinet minister responsible for Employment Insurance, proposed to eliminate the program in a recent Sun Media column:
An alternative would be to self-insure. Employee and employer premiums would accumulate in an account in each worker’s name. Including interest, anyone who managed to stay employed through their lifetime earning even a modest income would stand to collect several hundred thousand dollars at retirement.
The concept of insurance is that pooling premiums from many people provides enough money to compensate only those who suffer losses. It makes no sense to assume that saving up each individual’s (Read more…)
Stephen Harper, Benign Dictator Gallery 3: Man of the people
This week, somebody posted an old quote by Stephen Harper (Canada’s worst prime minister) calling our country a “benign dictatorship”. That – combined with seeing Harper’s ridiculous staged photos from his northern propaganda tour – inspired me to put together a small sample of Harper in his some of his best dictator poses. There are pictures of Harper pointing at things, Harper waving at his photographer, Harper pretending to be in the military, Harper getting saluted, Harper hanging out with kids, and other fake scenes that would make Kim (Read more…)
Stephen Harper, Benign Dictator Gallery 2: Pretending to be in the military + being saluted
This week, somebody posted an old quote by Stephen Harper (Canada’s worst prime minister) calling our country a “benign dictatorship”. That – combined with seeing Harper’s ridiculous staged photos from his northern propaganda tour – inspired me to put together a small sample of Harper in his some of his best dictator poses. There are pictures of Harper pointing at things, Harper waving at his photographer, Harper pretending to be in the military, Harper getting saluted, Harper hanging out with kids, and other fake (Read more…)
Stephen Harper, Benign Dictator Gallery 1: Waving, pointing and staring
This week, somebody posted an old quote by Stephen Harper (Canada’s worst prime minister) calling our country a “benign dictatorship”. That – combined with seeing Harper’s ridiculous staged photos from his northern propaganda tour – inspired me to put together a small sample of Harper in his some of his best dictator poses.
There are pictures of Harper pointing or staring at imaginary objects, Harper waving at his photographer, Harper pretending to be in the military, Harper getting saluted, Harper hanging out with kids, and other fake scenes that (Read more…)
Stephen Harper, Canada’s scandal-ridden prime minister, went on a pre-election campaign tour in mid-August, raising funds for the Conservative Party and participating in highly choreographed, obviously staged photo ops (with nobody around but paid staff and a few hand-picked, highly screened locals).
As you know, Harper billed this whole propaganda tour to the Canadian taxpayers instead of the Conservative Party, because Harper falsely portrays these campaign trips as official government business.
During this propaganda-fest, Harper declared to a crowd of fawning Conservative Party fans: “What I’m telling you is that with the NDP and the Liberals, what you see (Read more…)
Here is a blast from the past. A drunken, bloated Conservative senator Mike Duffy acts like a pompous, over-stuffed bag of Conservative shit, trying to defend Conservative overspending of our tax dollars by himself and 26 other recently appointed Conservative senators. NDP MP Peter Stoffer rightfully tears a strip off that Conservative porker. This was in early November 2009!
This exchange was brought on by the release of a study showing that the herd of Conservative senators appointed by Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper in 2008 and 2009 could end up costing Canadian taxpayers $177 million. Knowing what we know (Read more…)