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Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatoon Riding the Coattails of History

Acknowledging that an important feature in Saskatoon was constructed by the government, then bragging that construction of a future valued feature (a wind turbine) was avoided by the government instead of an opportunity seized upon, is a repugnant attitude. People like Sandra are not leaving a better world for our children, and Stephen Harper’s grand-daughter.

It's Back To The Future for Harper's granddaughter! #cdnpoli @HarpersGDaughtr pic.twitter.com/9JDdd7EAWB

— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) April 22, 2015

Progressive Proselytizing: Seniors are not a good reason for doubling TFSA limit

After years of being promised whenever the federal books got balanced, it looks like the next Harper budget is indeed going to double the contribution for Tax Free Savings Accounts. This policy has long been criticized – including by me – for being a policy that disproportionately provides advantages for the rich. Indeed, the number of people capable of putting aside over $10k in savings per year while working are fairly limited. Today in parliament, Finance Minister Joe Oliver has hit back against these criticisms, effectively pointing out that there is another big group of people who are already (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Jim Prentice’s Budget: The Not-So-Subtle Language of Money

“There is no fortress so strong that money cannot take it.” — Cicero

On Mar 24, 2015 Jim Prentice sent Albertans a message of such heartless cynicism that only the most naïve amongst us would fail to understand.

Money talks.

Here’s what Jim Prentice’s Budget 2015* told Albertans.

Corporations matter, you don’t

When asked why the government did not raise corporate taxes, Finance Minister Robin Campbell replied “The corporate sector is going to do their part, but we have to do our part also.”**

This is utter nonsense.

Mr Campbell looking somber

The corporate sector did its part (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Baird Gold

It's probably nothing: Foreign Minister John Baird lobbied by Barrick Gold Corp. pic.twitter.com/drIUEvtQKB

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) March 30, 2015

It’s not easy for a long-time politician to leave public life, even if they have a golden parachute.

Progressive Proselytizing: How much should graduate students be paid?

Being a graduate student is in some sense in the middle of two extremes: being a student primarily benefiting oneself and being a paid worker benefiting society. Before graduate studies, one is an undergraduate where nobody would expect to be paid to be an undergraduate. After graduate studies, one is (hopefully) going to be paid a paid a sum commensurate with the skill the knowledge accrued during graduate studies and be doing work that, by and large, can be said to “benefit society”. During graduate studies, however  it is somewhere in between. Graduate students are both benefiting themselves by increasing their future potential (Read more…)

cmkl: Canada’s public sector keeps private sector pain at bay: Michael Babad in the Globe

Okay, that’s my take on his headline. Unlike him, I am morally and contractually bound not to repeat the enemy’s framing. At least in a headline. But apart from that Babad’s commentary in the Globe today is just about right. It’s a critique of a CFIB study complaining about how much harder life is for … Continue reading Canada’s public sector keeps private sector pain at bay: Michael Babad in the Globe →

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatchewan Needs a Real Change of Destination

Greg is making a good point in his latest column, but I had to throw in a Green campaign slogan into the title in good fun. The bottom line really is that the Sask Party is propping up the dying fossil fuels industry, while calls to divest from it are coming from around the world. There’s no stopping this change (for the better).

While the Saskatchewan Party remains bent on thinking small, any reasonable look at the world around us suggests it’s long past time for a big change in direction. And if if this year’s budget again fails (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Premier Wall Takes Potshot at First Nations Leaders’ Pay #skpoli

.@TDellerCBC I'd have to agree with the FSIN leader that @PremierBradWall took a pot shot at leaders' pay, rather than offering to help.

— John Klein (@JohnKleinRegina) March 4, 2015

The Premier said:

“It underscores the need for leadership at the local level, including — and let’s be clear — including on the part of chiefs and council,” he said.

“We also saw a report on the fact that chiefs and council in this province and right across the country get paid, as they should, for their services and some of them get paid a lot. You know, (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How Marx Presaged Today’s Canada

“The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country,” wrote Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels, in 1848, in the Communist Manifesto. I came across this paragraph in Prof. David Harvey‘s book, A Companion to Marx’s Capital, recently and the quote from the Communist […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: And Now, For the TFSA Switch!

Following up my blog post of 4 years ago about Harper’s tax break for the wealthy are stories on CBC and elsewhere regarding the TFSA folly. The increase benefits only ~39% of Canadians who’ve managed to open such a savings account.

“Harper pledges to double tax-free savings limits – but not till deficit is beat” And you have to give him credit, he’s going to be right. Because he won’t be in office when the deficit is beat, a Conservative government doesn’t know how to go out of deficit (history shows they only go into them).

“TFSA limit could (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Fossil fuel era drawing to a close…except in Canada

Adrian Wyld/CP

The following is the sequel to an earlier story by Will Dubitsky on the growing green economy and Canada’s failure to take advantage of it.

In the first part of this story, I discussed how Canadian and Quebec leaders are largely ignoring the potential of high job creation, high growth green sectors, while China, Europe and the US show real leadership in this space. Here, I will dig deeper into the policies and organizations that are foolishly banking on the Canadian resource-based economy as the key to economic development. While President Obama sits poised to veto the Keystone XL pipeline, signalling the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Christy Clark’s LNG-fueled Fudge-it Budget…and the enabling NDP

Premier Christy Clark made big election promises about managing BC’s economy (CP)

Welcome to Ruritania! Where is Peter Sellers when we need him?

We now have a legislature pretending to act like big kids do, leaders acting as if they really are in charge, a government out of control, and an opposition dedicated more to supporting the government than to raising issues.

Through the looking glass: Clark’s surreal throne speech

The Throne Speech was really quite funny when you think of it. The more LNG companies withdraw their undertaking, the more money we make. The fewer the LNG plants (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Prentice Takes a Pay Cut and You Should Too. Um, What???

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” – Anatole France

“Burden-sharing”

When Mr Prentice announced the 5% cut in MLA pay he sanctimoniously declared: “The term I’ve used is ‘burden-sharing’…no one can ask the taxpayers of this province to shoulder responsibility that those of us in government aren’t prepared to do first and foremost.”*

Ahhh…the principle of “majestic equality”.

Journalist & Novelist Anatole France

When Anatole France used the term he was being ironic; when Mr Prentice used (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Canada sued the most over trade deals, environmental protections

Prime Minister Stephen Harper with then-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao upon FIPA signing in 2012

In 1997, Canada restricted import and transfer of the gasoline additive MMT because it was a suspected neurotoxin that had already been banned in Europe. Ethyl Corp., the U.S. multinational that supplied the chemical, sued the government for $350 million under the North American Free Trade Agreement and won! Canada was forced to repeal the ban, apologize to the company and pay an out-of-court settlement of US$13 million.

Designed to protect corporations

The free trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico was (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Canada, Quebec’s political leaders blind to clean tech revolution

Part 1 of a 2-part story from innovation expert Will Dubitsky on Canada’s missed opportunity to build a prosperous green economy.

The ardent defenders of our resource economy are in no way limited to the climate skeptics who support TransCanada’s Energy East project, the Keystone XL pipeline and the tripling of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline capacity to Vancouver. There are also much larger and perhaps more influential groups of traditional resource economy supporters – the greenwashers such as Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, the majority of mainstream journalists, economists, Bay Streeters and more.

These stakeholders would have us believe that with a little tinkering of the status quo, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC income growth declines to last place in country

Photo: Tourism Vancouver

Read this Jan. 22 Vancouver Sun story by Peter O’Neil on a new study suggesting average incomes in BC actually declined from 2006-2012.

OTTAWA — B.C. experienced the worst income growth — in fact, incomes declined — of any province in Canada during the 2006-12 period, according to an analysis of Statistics Canada data by an Ottawa think-tank.

B.C.’s inflation-adjusted median income fell 2.4 per cent, from $29,917 per tax filer to $29,200, during a period when Canada’s overall employment income grew by 3.5 per cent. Median income is the midway point (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Oil prices drop as global warming rises: Suzuki

Cheaper gas means more fill-ups at the pump

With oil prices plunging from more than $100 a barrel last summer to below $50 now, the consequences of a petro-fuelled economy are hitting home — especially in Alberta, where experts forecast a recession. The province’s projected budget surplus has turned into a $500-million deficit on top of a $12-billion debt, with predicted revenue losses of $11 billion or more over the next three or four years if prices stay low or continue to drop as expected.

Alberta’s government is talking about service reductions, public-sector wage and job cuts and even (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why BC Hydro always overestimates future power demand: Economist

What BC Hydro says about its own work clearly establishes the forecast as a foundation document for future planning for new generation and distribution investments:

Load forecasting is central to BC Hydro’s long-term planning, medium-term investment, and short-term operational and forecasting activities. (1)

Because of this importance, the forecast needs to be as accurate as possible and that is where matters get interesting.

Getting the numbers wrong

An illustration of getting the numbers wrong can be seen on page 21 of the 2012 Load Forecast: “Comparison of 2011 and 2012 Forecasts”. There is a forecasting error of about 4% in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: When The Tories Left Office

I was too young in 1991 to put the news I was hearing into context. My family had worked for months on my Dad’s campaign for the Sask Liberals in Moose Jaw, and he’d come away in second place. Roy Romanow was the new Premier of Saskatchewan, and Grant Devine would soon fade into political obscurity as some of his cabinet and other MLAs would go to jail, and in the sad case of Jack Wolfe an early grave. Future Lieutenant Governor Linda Haverstock was the only Sask Liberal MLA in the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Soon, the new hospital in Lafleche (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Lang Should Be Fired Or Suspended

CANADALAND's investigation of @AmandaLang_CBC , by @sdbcraig , is now online: http://t.co/W7s8XUoX03 pic.twitter.com/FL23x8af34

— Jesse Brown (@JesseBrown) January 12, 2015

It’s been brewing for Lang for quite some months now.

Another Code Red crisis for CBC MT @JesseBrown CANADALAND investigation of @AmandaLang_CBC by @sdbcraig now online: http://t.co/Aj3IsE6mb1

— Chris Selley (@cselley) January 12, 2015

@ChuckTCBC @sdbcraig @CNDLND @JesseBrown @AmandaLang_CBC untrue like this? https://t.co/1zjFhZJs3T

— mvsyyz (@mvsyyz) January 12, 2015

.@JesseBrown @sdbcraig False & misleading to characterize these interviews as favourable, same tone and style as all her others over 15 yrs.

— Chuck Thompson (@ChuckTCBC) (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Lang Should Be Fired Or Suspended

The Common Sense Canadian: Public-Private Partnerships a bad deal for BC: Finance Ministry report

P3 skytrain construction by SNC-Lavalin killed many businesses on Vancouver’s Cambie St. (Wikipedia)

The following is republished with permission from Policy Note – the blog of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC office.

By Keith Reynolds

The BC Finance Ministry has produced a report much more critical of Partnerships BC and its activities around public private partnerships (P3s) than might have been expected by a province so committed to the practice. It raises issues of conflict of interest, dubious practices and questionable assumptions in the multi- billion dollar program. The story has received no media coverage.

While it is likely the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Which BC Corporations Would YOU Like to Euthanize?

Oh, what a list it would be!

Enbridge?

Kinder Morgan [the zombie child of Enron]?

Imperial Metals [fanciful producers of the Mount Polley Mine disaster]?

Other companies that treat workers badly like IKEA or Rocky Mountain Railtours?

Capitalism is all about worshiping Frankencorporations that are immortal, legally a human being, limit the liability of owners if the company screws up, taxed much lower than real humans, and are designed to maximize shareholder wealth while minimizing risk to capitalists and maximizing consequences for others. Raping and pillaging is just an added bonus.

But what if a company, in its cancerous (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: No, It’s the Environment, Stupid.

David Suzuki once observed that we cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment.  It shouldn’t require a PhD to grasp that yet it’s astonishing how so many well-educated people, including our political leadership, simply don’t get it.

In his year-end column, Gwynne Dyer concludes that climate change isn’t a major problem.  It’s the problem, the threat that supercedes all the rest.  It’s the Alpha and Omega, the Big Enchilada, the Sword of Damocles. …imagine that we are a panel of high-priced medicos reviewing the health status of our most important client, the human race. The first thing to (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: What’s this "fat" and "gravy" they speak of anyway?

Are schools and hospitals fat? Are veterans’ pensions gravy?

So what have we cut already? 32% of Veterans Affairs staff supporting disability, death and financial benefits for veterans. One-fifth of Canadian food inspector positions. One-third of Statistics Canada’s data analysts. One-quarter of positions in the department that handles EI claims. And in other news, Canada Revenue Agency is slated to kill 3,000 positions in a division specializing in offshore tax avoidance at the same time as it ramps up what increasingly looks to be politically motivated audits of progressive and environmental charities.

And those are cuts at the federal level. (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Wrong path, wrong time

Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and Liberal friends are like 1980 promoters excited to spend someone else’s money to open a giant disco club, despite unmistakable signs the dance craze was soon to end.

Focusing on a costly fossil fuel start-up is a mistake of giant proportion for British Columbia. The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists says we must curtail, not expand, output of greenhouse gases. Undoubtedly, fugitive methane from unconventional gas production is far worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and that is a fact ignored through contrived ignorance of industry and government regulators.

For people caught up in (Read more…)