Recently, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called upon the Harper regime to commit $12 billion annually in infrastructure funding. This request takes on even greater urgency in light of the challenges we are and will be facing as we reap the consequences of climate change.
Fiance Minister Joe Oliver’s response:
Wynne’s request is “divorced from fiscal reality.”
“We are not going to engage in a wild spending spree, which will create massive deficits and increase the debt. . . . We will also not jeopardize our top credit rating and we will not add to the intergenerational burden,” he said.
At the same (Read more…)
Shorter Joe Oliver: Sure, we’re getting thoroughly lousy results after years of setting our economic policy based almost exclusively on corporate interests, with special privileges for the resource sector. But I’ve got an idea: what if we instead based our economic policy even more exclusively on corporate interests, with even more special privileges for the resource sector?
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Linda McQuaig criticizes the Cons’ use of the tax system to try to silence charities who don’t match their political message: PEN now joins Amnesty International, the David Suzuki Foundation, Canada Without Poverty, the United Church and other groups that, having criticized an array of Harper policies, have been obliged to devote precious resources to defending themselves from a special probe of charities ordered by the Harper government.
This beefing-up of tax audits of charities is particularly striking when compared to Harper’s laid-back approach to auditing the real bad guys: corporations and (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- Linda McQuaig discusses how a renewed push for austerity runs directly contrary to the actual values of Canadians, who want to see their governments accomplish more rather than forcing the public to settle for less: Their formula for achieving small, disabled government is simple: slash taxes (particularly on corporations and upper-income folk), leaving government with no choice but to cut spending — or risk deficits and the wrath of Moody’s, Ivison, the National Post, etc.
The Harper government, deeply committed to this ideology, has followed the formula closely. It has slashed taxes (Read more…)
Unfortunately, the CP’s coverage of the Parliamentary Budget Office’s assessment (PDF) of Canadian tax policy over the past few years seems to largely miss the point – and the initial lack of attention to a major issue has been spun by the Cons into something even worse.
So let’s highlight what should be the most remarkable piece of news: The financial gains from cumulative PIT and GST/HST changes since 2005 skew toward households with larger incomes when measured in absolute dollar terms. Reductions to the personal income tax rate on the lowest tax bracket, and increases to the basic exemption (Read more…)
As I've mentioned recently, I can't be sure whether Stephen Harper is now in a state of total denial, or totally broken by scandal, or just totally insane.But either way it's deeply disturbing, and one does have to question whether he's fit to remain in office. For there he was in the House of Commons today, still refusing to apologize for smearing the Chief Justice. Still claiming he did no wrong, still thinking he can walk away from the controversy. Or as Aaron Wherry puts it more crudely, still delivering a flaming bag of dog poop.Read more »
I have to admit that sometimes I can't decide whether Stephen Harper and his Cons are an insane clown posse, or just circus clowns who are so dumb they're dangerous.But today at least that choice was a little easier.Because the leader of the Con posse was in Germany, scaring the bejesus out of the Germans.Read more »
All who find change unsettling will be reassured by the following video from today’s Question Period, the House’s first day back after a two-week break. Nothing has changed. Tory arrogance and contempt for Canadians is in full display:
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Assorted content to end your week.
- Stewart Prest writes about the Cons’ war against experts: (I)n modern democratic states one of the most important sources for non-partisan information and expertise is the government itself. Government bureaucracies are the only institutions in the world today with the access, the resources, and the motivation to systematically monitor and study the entirety of a country’s population and the extent of its human and natural environment.
Examples are legion, from statisticians to health officials to diplomats to environmental scientists. They exist throughout the much maligned but nonetheless vital bureaucracy of the country. Crucially, (Read more…)
Well he's off to Ukraine today to try to pose as Great Warrior Leader by inflaming a dangerous crisis for crass political gain. Which is scary enough.But there's another scary story doing the rounds in Ottawa. And that's the one about how Stephen Harper wanted to replace Jimbo Flaherty as Finance Minister with nobody less than HIMSELF.Read more »
It looked like a mob meeting, with big black cars and burly bodyguards to keep reporters away.Or as Tom Mulcair called it, the gathering of some secretive cult. But it was only Oily Joe Oliver's hush hush swearing in ceremony. Read more »
Well I see that little Jimbo Flaherty has fallen off his mole hill for the very last time.Or left Stephen's Harper's murky pond. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has resigned. He is the biggest fish to swim out of Prime Minister Harper's pond since then-Environment Minister, and de facto second in command in the Cabinet, Jim Prentice, left to make oodles of money in the banking business.But not before rhyming off a short list of his accomplishments, and ignoring all his failures.Read more »
It’s not a huge surprise, but it’s still big news. After 8 years, the only Finance Minister Stephen Harper has ever known and loved is calling it quits:
Jim Flaherty steps down as finance minister
OTTAWA – Jim Flaherty is leaving the federal cabinet after more than eight years as finance minister to prepare for a return to the private sector, saying the move is unrelated to his recent health problems.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to name his replacement Wednesday.
Flaherty, who delivered his final budget last month, said he made the decision with his family earlier (Read more…)
Well you'd think Stephen Harper and his pipeline pimps would be celebrating the U.S. State Department's decision to declare the Keystone project almost good to go.The State Department released a report on Friday concluding that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution, leaving an opening for President Obama to approve the politically divisive project.But strangely enough they're not. They're worried, angry, and bitter about BILLIONAIRES !!!Read more »
“Take a second to really look at what you hear.” – Neil Young, singer/songwriter
Neil Young knows how to rile up a crowd. In a 15 minute press conference* to kick off his Honour the Treaties Tour with Diana Krall he said some things that sent Big Oil and a number of Canadians into orbit. Some of these guys are well past Pluto and show no signs of coming back!
Unlike other eco-celebrities like James Cameron, Robert Redford and Darryl Hannah, Mr Young’s comments can’t be dismissed with a disdainful wave of the hand…because (Read more…)
Shorter Joe Oliver: We Conservatives are so committed to building trust and relationships with First Nations, we feel we can safely ignore a report saying we’re failing miserably on all fronts and instead claim all the necessary work is done. So who wants to partner up with us?
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Nick Cohen writes that the corporate sector is home to some of the most dangerous cult philosophy in the world: (T)he language of business has become ever more cultish. In the theory of “transformational leadership”, which dominates the business schools, the CEO is a miracle worker. In Transformational Leadership, by Bernard Bass and Ronald Riggio, he is described, not by some gullible Forbes hack, but by two supposedly intelligent American academics. The transformational leader “inspires” his follower to “achieve extraordinary outcomes”, they say. He “empowers them” to “exceed expected performance” and show (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Frances Russell finds that authoritarianism and bozo eruptions are two of the defining characteristics of right-wing politics in Canada: Put simply, the double standard states “ I can do it but you can’t because…” followed by a lengthy list of inequalities: because I’m better than you; because I’m older than you; because I’m smarter than you; because I’m richer than you; because I have more power than you; because I’m a man and you’re a woman;…because, because, because.
The double standard holds different people more, less, or not at all accountable for their (Read more…)
While most news stories focus on Enbridge and the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, Kinder Morgan is working to expand its own pipeline operation straight into Vancouver.
The head of Kinder Morgan thinks Old Joe isn’t doing his company any favours lately by running his mouth.
Remember back in early 2012 when Joe Oliver denounced opponents of West Coast oil pipelines as foreign-funded “radicals”? The federal natural resources minister’s comments may have done Canada’s oil industry more harm than good. So argues the president of major pipeline builder Kinder Morgan Canada, who recently told a Calgary business audience that “fanning (Read more…)
Uh oh. It looks like Stephen Harper has been exposed. He's been trying to fool the Americans into thinking he's a REAL environmentalist, so Obama will give him his precious Keystone pipeline. But being called a tongue biter, or a muzzler, by the New York Times, isn't going to help.Read more »
OMG. How embarrassing. I see that old Con man Joe Oliver just won't give up. Once he tried to fool us into thinking that the water from the tar ponds would be safe to drink. Now he's in New York trying to scam the Americans into believing that the Cons are real environmentalists. Read more »
I’ll generally concur with Paul Wells’ take on Barack Obama’s reference to Keystone XL yesterday. But it’s worth taking a slightly closer look at both the broad issue framed by Obama, and the Cons’ narrow means of avoiding it.
The point of greatest significance in Obama’s speech was indeed the mention that as a general rule, any project which exacerbates climate change isn’t in the U.S.’ national interest. But it’s hard to see how that standard could be applied to Keystone XL and not to a wide range of regulatory and trade arrangements – meaning that a single (Read more…)
Assorted content to end your week.
- For all the talk of fraud and cover-ups among the Cons this week, the most important story on that front looks to be the release of Judge Mosley’s decision on Robocon – featuring findings of fact based on the best evidence presented by the Cons (and affected voters) that the 2011 election was marred by electoral fraud facilitated by the Cons’ voter database, and that the first Cons covered it up by destroying the records which would have allowed investigators to determine who was actually responsible, then engaged in questionable tactics to keep (Read more…)
Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes- Political Blogger
Canada has changed and is still changing before our very eyes. We are being governed by ‘thugs in suits’ and we are going downhill at an alarming rate.
Who will stop them?
Well the NDP and Liberal’s are trying, but of course joining forces to derail Harper and take Canada back seems not to be as enticing as pretending that one or the other could become PM one day.
Their ‘Canada can wait policy’ is worrisome and could play into the Harper crowds hands.
Well in any case it seems as though ‘Harper and his Wrecking (Read more…)