Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jim Stanford reminds us that any drama as to whether Canada’s budget will be balanced this year is entirely of the Cons’ own making through pointless tax slashing: Running spending cuts since 2011 now total more than $14-billion a year. Canadians experience real consequences from those cuts every day: shuttered veterans’ offices, deteriorating statistical data, questionable railway and food safety, ridiculous waits for statutory benefits and more. Federal government employment has plunged by 47,000 jobs since 2011 – explaining much of Canada’s lousy job-market performance. These sacrifices were not necessary. Worse yet, (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Fall of the Oily Messiah

For almost a decade he was able to fool countless Canadians into believing that he was the Oily Messiah.The Great Economist Leader who would lead us to prosperity down the tarry road to Greater Alberta.Even if he left the rest of the country in ruins, and the planet in flames.But yesterday that myth was officially shattered by the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Humiliation of Jason Kenney and the Desperation of the Cons

Yesterday I wrote about how Jason Kenney was embarrassed, when he claimed in a CTV interview that the government would use budget cuts to easily balance the budget. But wouldn't touch the rainy day fund set aside for emergencies, like natural disasters. Because you know, the Con regime is a RESPONSIBLE government, Only to have an anonymous Finance Department official say exactly the opposite. They're NOT planning budget cuts, but they ARE thinking of going after the rainy day fund.Which as I pointed out, left Kenney looking like an idiot or a dunce…Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Rosenberg writes about the high-priced effort to undermine public institutions and the collective good in the U.S. And Paul Krugman highlights how the Republicans’ stubborn belief in the impossibly of good government (regardless of large amounts of evidence that such a thing is possible and desirable) has produced the U.S.’ combination of waste and gridlock: On issues that range from monetary policy to the control of infectious disease, a big chunk of America’s body politic holds views that are completely at odds with, and completely unmovable by, actual experience. (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Issue that Will Destroy Him

Gosh. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I wrote about that nightmarish Ipsos Reid poll that suggested that Stephen Harper had risen from his political grave, and was heading for another majority.And I said that I couldn't wait for another poll, to see if the numbers were more encouraging.And whether the sagging economy might take him down with it.And in that regard the news couldn't be better. Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and My Horrible Majority Nightmare

It was a horrible nightmare. There was Stephen Harper in the musty basement of his House of Pain.Chained to a chair by the young fanatics running the PMO, to prevent their beloved master from blowing apart at the seams, under the weight of all that bad economic news.Or stumbling out into the street in the middle of the night, dressed only in his pyjamas, screaming: "I'm STILL a Great Economist Leader. And I'm not CRAZY !!#@!!But then just as I'm thinking oh goody, at least he's restrained. And all that bad news will surely finish him off. (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Breaking: The Harper Cons Prorogue the Budget

Uh oh. In my last post I said that I wasn't sure whether Oily Joe Oliver knew what he was doing.But it turns out the situation is even worse than I thought.One moment he's claiming we have nothing to worry about. Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the government is confident it can balance the next federal budget without scaling back on new tax measures and still turn up a small surplus, despite falling oil prices.And that he isn't really worried about oil prices tanking.The next moment he's proroguing the budget !!! Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper, Joe Oliver, and the Latest Porky Ad Scandal

As you may have noticed, Stephen Harper has stopped bragging about his government's economic record.Now it's all about the Great War on Terror, and the dangerous jihadis Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair.But then who can blame him?If I had screwed up the economy like that, I'd also be hiding in a closet.But sadly that still hasn't stopped him from using OUR money to pump out even more porky ads like this one…

Even if it is totally fraudulent.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Sad and Desperate Return to Parliament

Well after spending most of the past month travelling around the world, hopping from one photo-op to another, Stephen Harper finally returned to Parliament yesterday.And as you can see from this grainy photo, and the weird look on Candice Bergen's face, it was not a pretty sight.He was angry, he was bitter, he snarled at the opposition, and even his helmet hair looked like it was about to fall off his head.But then who can blame him eh? So much has changed in such a short time.And all his glorious delusions of winning the next election are quickly (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Sad and Desperate Return to Parliament

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Incredible Shrinking Surplus

Well it was only a matter of time before somebody totalled up the damage from the plunging price of oil.Added it to Stephen Harper's reckless decision to spend billions trying to buy votes.And concluded that the Con regime's mighty surplus has just about vanished. Read more »

Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Fearless Tax Warrior

That intrepid capeless crusader for core Conservative concepts, Finance Minister ‘Uncle’ Joe Oliver, has found yet another weapon in his utility pouch to save us from the implacable clutches of taxation. Rather than rely on a bureaucracy that may be rife with ‘fifth columnists, Oliver has decided to outsource fiscal analysis to those most acquainted with the scourge of taxation, lobby groups!

Our man’s courage in the face of sneering opposition is a wonder to behold: Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the government approved a $550-million tax credit for small business without conducting any internal analysis to find out how (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Joe Oliver’s Dangerously Reckless Budget Scam

Well as you know, I wasn't exactly impressed by Joe Oliver's totally political fiscal update, and by the way he is recklessly blowing the surplus.To try to buy votes and leave no money in the cupboard, so the opposition can't make their own spending promises.While also leaving no money for a rainy day should the economy take a dive, and oil prices keep tanking.So I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thinks that Ol' Joe, and his equally incompetent master Stephen Harper, could be leading us to DISASTER.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Joe Oliver and the Incredible Shrinking Surplus

It was hard to imagine a scarier sight, than old Joe Oliver delivering his fiscal update to an audience of Bay Street business types the other day.And announcing that Canadians should support the Cons, because he's blown the surplus trying to buy votes.So they can't trust the opposition to run or ruin the economy!!!Read more »

Montreal Simon: Tax Evasion: When the Cons Are Part of the Problem

As probably you know, the Con regime has given the Canada Revenue Agency more money to go after its enemies.While depriving it of the resources and the inspectors to go after tax evaders.Well now it turns out there may be method to that madness.

For it seems that when it comes to tax evasion, the Cons are part of the problem. Read more »

Politics and its Discontents: More Harper Acquiescence To The Corporate Agenda

As much as it is said that the Harper regime is planning to buy votes for the 2015 election by giving income-splitting to families, the reality is that Canadians are increasingly being called upon to aid and abet its agenda of ‘starving the beast‘ while at the same time subsidizing corporate profits.

As reported in The Globe and Mail, our Finance Department has quietly shelved plans to crack down on so-called “treaty shopping” by multinationals. The surprise move suspends a long campaign by Ottawa to stop what it says is rampant “abuse” of international tax treaties by (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On intended consequences

Shorter Joe Oliver: Hey, I’ve got a bright economic idea! Let’s pay businesses not to pay workers!

If there’s any long-term bright side to the Cons’ announcement, it’s that it should serve so nicely to undercut any “job creation” or “better off” narrative: surely every opposition party can identify workers who end up being denied jobs or raises to keep employers below the EI contribution threshold, and point to the Cons as the source of the problem. But on the balance, surely we’d all be better off if Oliver simply walks this one back.

Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s Reign Of Terror – A Closer Examination

While Stephen Harper’s attacks on charities have been followed here and elsewhere, the Star presents a good overview of how the offices of the CRA have been subverted by a vindictive regime that brooks no opposition to its neoliberal agenda.

The article begins with the egregious case of CoDevelopment Canada, a small Vancouver charity that works with its Latin American partners in helping to fund programs that assist the poor. Apparently, if that assistance threatens to upset the corporate status quo, a crime has been committed in Harperland.

One of CoDev’s Latin American partners is the Maria Elena Cuadra (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Could Harper Deploy Troops Against Canadians?

I was taken aback by a post from Geoff Kennedy at Parchment in the Fire entitled, “EU Advisors Advocate use of Military Against Strikes and Protests | Global Research.”

The thrust of this report is that military forces should be employed to defend the interests of the extremely wealthy from unrest among the masses.  The key author was professor Tomas Ries, currently with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.  Geoff writes:

Ries sees the central threat to “security” in a violent “conflict between unequal socioeconomic classes in global society,” which were “in vertical asymmetric tensions in the global (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Joe Oliver and the Reckless Incompetence of the Con Regime

Well I'm sure Joe Oliver is feeling pretty good about the way Statistics Canada was able to fix his lousy job numbers.And must be toasting his success with some of that water from the tailing ponds he once tried to convince us was clean enough to drink.While making plans to win the next election by bribing some Canadians with tax cuts.But sadly for poor old Olly, it appears he doesn't know what's he's doing.Read more »

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the Harper Cons’ kabuki consultations can’t mask the fact that their budgets utterly neglect what’s most important to Canadians.

For further reading…- Dean Beeby has previously reported on the disconnect between the public position on policy issues and the Cons’ budget choices, while Andy Radia also comments on the lack of public interest in tax baubles.- And both CBC and Bill Curry note that the same pattern is playing out once again, as the Cons’ anti-government orientation is taking precedence over any interest in listening to good ideas. – James Baxter writes about the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Will The Harper Promise Of Tax Breaks Continue To Seduce Canadians?

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: History repeating

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?

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

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…)

Accidental Deliberations: On poor choices

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…)