Friday, April 30, 2010

A special message from the CTF

On this, tax deadline day in Canada, I felt that this commentary was appropriate.

FED: Rise of the Taxers | Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In other news, the sky is blue

Nursing conduct complaints rise

I would say that I am surprised, but I'm really not given my experiences with the health care system in this area.

Not to say that all nurses are necessarily bad, per se, but there are a few bad apples that are spoiling the whole next generation.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Don Martin: Harpers G8 abortion stand hard to comprehend

Don Martin: Harpers G8 abortion stand hard to comprehend

Actually, it's not all that hard to comprehend Mr. Harper's stand on abortions through the G8. Just yesterday, he was stating that there are many worthwhile ventures into which funds can be allocated. It just so happens that abortions aren't very high on the list.

And why not one might ask? It comes down to a question of economics and utility, but not withstanding the rational arguments, here's one that should suffice:

Third world parents rely on their offspring to support them in their later years. For that reason, couples will have as many children as possible in order to ensure that enough children survive to provide that support. Also as a result, abortions will rarely be chosen unless there are extenuating circumstances.

It is a different culture and a different set of values, but to make a long story short, Malaria, Famine, continuous war, Aids, dictators - these are all problems that the Western world should devote their resources to. These are all problems which could potentially eat up all the allocated resources and beg for more. Each of these problems on their own could gobble up the allocated resources and beg for more. Because of this, there would be no need to add more problems to the mix.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Credit where credit is due

Credit where credit is due.

The article from the Globe and Mail speaks very highly about the turnaround of Saskatchewan's economy and the current boom that it is experiencing. There are, however, detractors, pointing to the rising costs of housing and consumer goods as more and more people come here to work and live. These detractors give credit to the NDP for laying the groundwork of this boom, however they place blame for all of the social ills squarely on the Saskatchewan Party. Clearly, there needs to be credit placed where credit is due.

It is true that the NDP laid the groundwork of the current boom by making changes to the tax and oil royalty structures. This would seem to lead one to believe that it is a given that tax cuts regardless of how they are done are a good thing. Leave us be honest though, that the NDP would not have made these changes if they didn't have the Saskatchewan Party breathing down their necks in the polls. The income tax changes came as a result of the Vicq Commission and followed many other provinces in Canada. The royalty changes took a page out of the Saskatchewan Party's own playbook, as did the PST cuts in 2006. Yes, that is right folks, the NDP implemented these ideas from across the aisle not because they thought they were a good idea, but in order to hold onto power in the following provincial election.

Of course, more credit where credit is due - the NDP ruled 75% of the time during an 80 year period where the population of the province remained relatively stagnant and the resources of the province remained largely under utilized, and the labour laws allowed unions to tighten their grip over many sectors of the economy.

After all, let's give credit where credit is due.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Don Martin: Jaffer knocks lobbyists into political gutter

Don Martin: Jaffer knocks lobbyists into political gutter

If ever there was good fallout to a political scandal, this would be it. The fact that lobbyists will likely undergo an increased chill in Ottawa is good news for everyone's pocketbooks.

I don't begrudge a person for lobbying for their own personal benefit or those of their friends to the government. I don't begrudge a person lobbying the government for increased funding for their own pet cause - AIDS awareness, more cancer drugs, more kidney transplants, what have you.

What I DO begrudge is an organization getting money from the government and turning that money over to someone who has no personal stake in an issue and telling them to lobby the government for more money. This is where I hope that the lobby chill will affect everyone. Like I said - the less attention that is paid to lobbyists, the better it is for everyone's pocketbook.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Senior SEC staffers caught surfing porn during crisis

Senior SEC staffers caught surfing porn during crisis

Best comment on the subject... "Maybe they were doing this to learn new ways of screwing the American people"

But I kid. The fact of the matter is that obviously there were too many people and not enough work for the SEC if they could pay people who were not being productive to THAT degree, and quite frankly, there needs to be a little bit of a cull of people so that the right size can be determined.

I liken this to the recent provincial government announcement that seeks to reduce the public service by 15% over 4 years. I know public service employees who were deeply affected by this move, and a hiring freeze didn't help matters much either, but here's the thing. You don't know who you don't need until they are gone and not missed. It so happens that the department that I am referring to cut 6 positions out of a total of 10 or so. One of those positions was a contracted receptionist who was clearly missed because she had her position again within 3 weeks of the cuts. There are others, however, that won't be missed, and these are the people you don't find out are extra until they are gone. By cutting staff, there also becomes a necessity for innovative thinking which will normally supplant the need for additional staffing.

Both of these reasons are a normal function of private enterprise. When it becomes your money being spent, a person would tend to be more careful about the decisions that they make. They make decisions based on what is best or palatable for themselves, as all people do whether they admit it or not, and will normally be prepared to work harder or do without if there is some gain for themselves. This is the difference with government management in that there IS no direct connection to the money that would make someone act in a self-interested way. This is the reason why private enterprise will generally succeed where government enterprises may fail in a free market.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is this what my tax dollars should go to?

Couple lobbies for in-vitro fertilization health coverage

So, let's review the facts of the case.

Man and woman marry young and start trying to have children young. They try for 11 years, during which time they are each diagnosed as being infertile. Now, I may not be a rocket scientist here, but when 2 halves of a couple are each diagnosed as infertile, something tells me that this is nature's way of saying that they shouldn't reproduce.

I'm going to clear the air here and state categorically, that I have no issues with reproductive science. I am mildly pro-life in so far as I can imagine very few circumstances where I would support an abortion for someone close to me.

This really has nothing to do with science though. This is a couple wanting to reproduce without paying for it themselves. Now, I feel for this couple, I really do. I can't imagine the stress that they are under in trying to reproduce themselves when it clearly isn't working. That being said, I know that there are hundreds and thousands of orphans in Canada who would really like a home, perhaps instead of forcing the government to pay for an expensive treatment so that you can have your own, you could take a few of those kids off the government's hands.

Oh, and one more thing? A province with billion dollar deficits that takes more than half of all equalization payments paid out by the federal government probably shouldn't be a government you point to for best practices. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Two-fer this morning

Peter Foster: Earth Day’s kick in the ash

Rex Murphy: Save the Earth ... or else

It's Earth Day, and that means a double header of articles about the environmental movement.


Maxime Bernier: Toward a proud, responsible Quebec

Maxime Bernier: Toward a proud, responsible Quebec

After seeing Mr. Bernier kicked out of cabinet for leaving sensitive information at his girlfriend's house, I assumed at the time that it would be the last we ever heard of him. Of course, his riding, on Election Night 2008, was to be a riding "in play" and assumed that his lead in votes would drop like a stone.

The opposite happened that night, and I have to say that everything I've heard from Mr. Bernier since shows me that he seems to get it. He seems to understand what the average Canadian wants and needs. He and I seem to be of the same opinion that receiving equalization payments from the federal government by our respective provinces is fundamentally bad, and those provinces should be encouraged to take steps to reduce their dependence on the federal government teat.

The only problem I have is that he is one teaspoon in an ocean of Quebecois. The "Tea Party" demonstrations in Quebec 2 weeks ago weren't about bringing smaller government sanity to the province, it was about keeping the same size of government with someone else paying for it. Clearly, Quebec won't reform unless they suffer the same problems as Saskatchewan encountered in the early 90s - awash in debt and with bond ratings on the government bonds dropping like a stone. Outmigration due to high taxes and high government intervention. Capital flying to other more friendly provinces. Clearly it will take a collapse in Quebec without the federal government backstopping them in order to prop them up.

I think that Mr. Bernier is right - Quebec won't separate, that would be disastrous for them if they did. Personally, I think their bluff should be called each and every time they start talking about it.

After all, "distinct" doesn't necessarily mean "special".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Growing Canadian Pension Divide: The Haves vs. the Have-Nots

Growing Canadian Pension Divide: The Haves vs. the Have-Nots | Canadian Taxpayers Federation

And another story from Don Martin about the same topic.

It seems to me that pensions are a contentious topic, but I have to think that a good portion of it is based in envy and entitlement. I know unionized people that are upset that the government is attempting to negotiate away their defined benefit pension plan. I know people who receive a defined benefit pension plan and would gladly trade their plan for a plan that they can contribute to themselves.

What it comes down to is the death of an entitlement that first came into popularity during a time in history when wage freezes forced companies to be creative in how they rewarded their employees for good work. Now, like unions and forced government pensions, the rationale for the idea no longer exists, but the idea is allowed to run rampant.

I agree with Mr. Martin that MP pensions are outrageously high. I agree that there won't be an election until after those 74 MPs reach their 6 year entitlement (Nearly half of which are Conservatives, which is logical considering that the Conservatives and NDP are the only parties to gain large numbers of seats since 2004.) I also agree that this should be an idea on the radar for politicians to take the lead in ensuring that belt tightening hits all sectors.

Now if only someone can explain to me how government pensions increased in value while all others decreased, and why it's my responsibility to ensure that a GM auto worker enjoys a comfortable retirement.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A response to Lori Johb

Little to boast about

Dear Lori,

Thank you for your letter to the Star Phoenix listing the negatives of this have province that you have pointed out. While reading your letter, I noted that you missed a few haves. Let me elaborate:

You have the right to speak your mind about the government.

You have the right to force your union to actually NEGOTIATE the contract you are obviously despairing over rather than complaining about bills that were passed 2 years ago.

You have the fortunate position of living in a province which was virtually unaffected by the recent recession.

If you prefer, you have the ability to contact your brethren in other provinces who are settling for much much less than what your recent offer from SAHO contained.

Finally, you have the right to seek employment in another province or country if you don't like it where you are. Good luck finding employment though, I hear that not many others were as lucky as we were throughout this recession.

h/t NDP Watch

Another "Proud to be a Saskatchewinner" moment...

National Post editorial board: From Saskatchewan, a great idea on human rights

It is good to see the province leading the pack on dismantling a government institution rather than continue to fund it perpetually because it would be politically incorrect to shut it down.

In this case, the province is making the right call. There should be some semblance of fairness put back into the "Human Rights" industry as it sits right now. Don't get me wrong, there are some situations where people are clearly violating a person's rights and should be mediated into treating all people equally, however there are a lot of times when the "Human Rights" industry clearly went too far.

When you force a restaurant to hire someone who can not wash their hands as often as necessary, you've gone too far. When you punish a restaurant for asking someone smoking pot right outside their front door to move away from the door, even if it is medical marijuana. When you punish a condo association for not giving into the demands of a 400 lb woman who wanted to shorten the distance from the door to her vehicle. When you punish a stand up comedian for firing back at a lesbian couple who was heckling him. When you punish a publisher for publishing a politically incorrect article about a certain religion who invites criticism. When you do all of these things, there should be some check or balance to say "you've overstepped your boundaries".

In this, the Saskatchewan government is absolutely right. To be quite frank, I'm surprised that this wasn't the original solution when mediation does not result in a satisfactory solution. With this change, more than just due process comes into play. The ability for costs to be awarded to the defendant in the event that the prosecution loses takes away all "the process is the punishment" ability because it allows the defendant to recoup any costs they may have otherwise had to sink into this endeavor.

And that is the true benefit to shuffling the process into the court system after an agreement can not be reached through mediation. Kudos to Saskatchewan.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Support for Sask. Premier Brad Wall dips: poll

Support for Sask. Premier Brad Wall dips: poll

So let me see if I have this straight... the Saskatchewan Party took power with 52% of the vote, and is now past the honeymoon phase of their government with 58% support?


Okay. Let's go with that. After 9 months of the "worst recession since the 30's". After their $2 Billion misstatement on Potash revenues in last years budget only to be in an $800 Million deficit at year's end (rather than the $2 Billion they should have been in).

Yup, the honeymoon is over, and like most honeymoons, the marriage continues with both sides ACTUALLY STILL LIKING EACH OTHER.

It'll be interesting to see what the media says when the economy rebounds and the polling numbers go back up again.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tension Between FSIN And Environment Ministry | News Talk 650 CKOM

Tension Between FSIN And Environment Ministry | News Talk 650 CKOM

So let me see if I get this right...

FSIN is upset because the Environment Ministry is no longer giving them money to fund not one but SEVERAL positions within FSIN whose job it is to provide a liaison to the Ministry who has a duty consult...

...except the Ministry doesn't actually use those people, being told to consult with the individual First Nations instead of the people whose job it is to liaise.

Yup... I don't see a problem with these positions becoming unfunded. Follow the money.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Not-so-Great Recession

Not-so-Great Recession

This is how the current "recession" in Canada will play out.

The authors, though the are economists, as missing one little analysis though. On a Real GDP Decline per Quarter basis, this IS the most severe drop since 1954, which registered a drop of 1.3% per quarter compared to 1.2% per quarter during the current recession.

That notwithstanding, the authors are making a valid point, and one that I've understood since they started crying "Depression" 3 years ago - that the majority of it is blowing things out of proportion, that there will be no soup lines, work camps, sweeping social programs that take care of the people resulting from this one. This recession won't register as more of a blip in decades to come.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's the middle of April, are you angry enough for a flat tax?

Are you angry enough for a flat tax?

Actually, I don't think ANYONE can really get angry enough to support one tax or another, but there are certain cases where it makes sense.

Think of it... Your tax return includes more demographic information than it contains real income calculations. Your accountant works to help you make money rather than trying to help you save income taxes. It would be a complete change in attitude, and if you set the exemptions up properly, there would be no issue with lower income persons paying a disproportionate share.

But that's the thing... everyone has their own ideas of what or what is not a disproportionate share of income taxes. If you ask the people at Policynote, it's not enough that low income people pay little or no tax in British Columbia, business owners should be forced to pay higher and higher wages as well for no tangible benefit. It's not even thought of that often the business owners being forced to pay a minimum wage are often living on much less than minimum wage themselves. There is no discussion there that a low minimum wage encourages workers to educate themselves out of their minimum wage jobs, that very few permanently employed workers work for minimum wage, and that the largest force pushing wages higher isn't the minimum wage but a shortage of qualified workers. I, of course, digress.

The point is that few people like taxes, but nobody will say what they feel their proper level of taxation is.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the less money in the hands of the government, the better off everyone is... I haven't seen a lot of people that necessarily disagree with that statement, and the agreement crosses the political spectrum.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

HIV rise sparks warning

HIV rise sparks warning

You know, I really should leave this one alone....

Wait, what am I saying, of course I shouldn't leave it alone.

When it comes to a jump in HIV infections in Saskatchewan which happened to coincide with an increase in the number of needles handed out to drug users for free, well, that's a little too much of a coincidence for this conservative minded person.

So here's the thing, why don't we stop beating around the bush. The fact is that injection drug users will go where they can get their equipment for the cheapest. The drugs will follow the users, no matter where they go. So with all due respect to those people whose job is to advocate for these people and provide services to them, it is time that we stop helping these people. It's time for a little bit of an experiment. What experiment, you might ask? Well, it's simple.

Stop giving out free needles like they are prepackaged candies. Start going back to a 1 to 1 to 1 system. What is this system? Simple. One needle gets exchanged for one needle and one counseling session. No exceptions. No giving buckets full of needles. No exchanging buckets full of needles by children who are obviously not using them themselves. Nope, one needle out for one needle in and a counseling session.

Maybe doing this will force injection drug users to change their lives around. And if it doesn't?

Well, the sooner they leave for greener pastures or die from an injection related illness, the better it will be for all of us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

SaskTel Borrowing Money Despite Profit | News Talk 650 CKOM

SaskTel Borrowing Money Despite Profit | News Talk 650 CKOM

And this folks, is really not news. Let's pick a random company headquartered in the province and rewrite the headline based on that company:

"Cameco borrowing money despite profit"

"PCS borrowing money despite profit"

"Mosaic borrowing money despite profit"

Nope. None of these would be news either.

It is obvious that the people reporting this story, and the person writing this story, have absolutely no knowledge of how business is normally conducted. It is also obvious that the people writing and reporting this story have an agenda that has nothing to do with Sasktel running their operation profitably. For these people, here's a little lesson.

Capitalists borrow money to invest into projects. Good money managers will borrow money to invest in projects regardless of how much money is in their bank account. In short, this is a normal business practice for ALL companies - Borrow money, develop a mine, use the mine to generate more revenue. Borrow money, develop a mill, use the mill to process ore and generate more money. Borrow money, purchase equipment to expand your network infrastructure, use new technology to open up a new market. Borrow money, purchase a truck, use the truck to generate more revenue.

Can you spot the SaskTel application of capitalism? Did it really look any different than the other 3 examples? The answer? No, because it isn't any different.

The fact of the matter is that Sasktel's dividend, while the largest in years, is on par percentage-wise to many of the dividends paid out from 1999 to 2003 (Page 44). For 5 years straight, SaskTel's coffers were emptied by the government of Saskatchewan leaving very little money in the corporation to invest in new technology and new infrastructure. For 4 years straight (2000-2003), Sasktel's long term debt hovered north of 390 million, while the government snagged 90% or more of the profits of the corporation for the general revenue fund. For 5 years straight (1999-2003), Sasktel's debt ratio hovered between 38% and 42% while in 2008, it was down to 27.3%.

In short, Sasktel has room to borrow. Sasktel should borrow to upgrade its networks. The dividend paid by Sasktel to the provincial government this year is only $50 million more than it was in prior years and as a Sasktel representative has stated in the story:

SaskTel insists it would borrow money this year regardless of these political decisions because of the demand for the 3G network.
In short, this was Sasktel borrowing to invest in a technology which would allow it to open up new markets and expand its revenues and product lines. The new technology will allow Sasktel's customers to use their cell phones world wide, and will expand wireless internet technology further than it currently reaches.

I think that it is a decision long past due.

Monday morning funny

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A western pick for Rideau Hall

A western pick for Rideau Hall

In reading the article, I noted something - that the Times Colonist only picked former premiers and Prime Ministers from BC.

A simple wikipedia search revealed a few people who would do just as well of a job without the idealogy of recent partisan politics to get in the way. That said, if the person had to be from BC, here would be my candidates:

Garde Gardom. A recent Lieutenant Governor of BC, Mr. Gardom has been a Liberal and a Social Credit politician in British Columbia. This puts him somewhere in the centre of the spectrum politically. The fact that he has been a Lieutenant Governor means that he knows and understands what is expected of him in the position. His only drawback is that at age 85, he may not last out the 5 year term of office.

David Lam. Also a former Lieutenant Governor of BC, Mr. Lam has led a non-political life of business and philanthropy. Nominated to the position by Brian Mulroney, he served the position until 1995. His only drawback would seem to be his age - at 86, he also may not last out his term.

Jim Pattison. While he was born in Saskatchewan (and really, how many British Columbians weren't born in Saskatchewan), hopefully this wouldn't be held against him. A member of the Forbes list, and one of the richest people in the country, hopefully this too wouldn't be held against him. During a nonpolitical life where he has worked hard, he also has done some philanthropic acts, including heading Expo '86 in Vancouver, and donating 6 figures to the CBC so that Vancouver Canucks away games in the 2009 playoffs could be broadcast in HD. His only real drawback seems to be his age, however being younger than the previous 2 candidates, this may be a strength.

In short, here are 3 people who hail from British Columbia who would seem to be amply qualified for the job. Perhaps instead of recycling current and recent politicians, it would be in the country's best interest to choose a candidate not for their looks or their party affiliation, but for their ability to do the job.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The sordid saga of Guergis and Jaffer

I was going to write a few comments this morning about Helena Guergis and the fact that the media seems to be going out of their way to damage a junior cabinet minister who really has no power in the government. I was also going to write some comments about how really all she had done is throw a tantrum when she was in the wrong and employ a staffer who writes glowing letters to the local newspapers under an alias.

That was before Ms. Guergis resigned from cabinet and was banished from the Conservative caucus.

Do I think that it was unfair to associate her husband's actions with her in order to make her look that much worse? Yup. Is it really anybody's business how her house was purchased, considering it was a branch loan officer in Edmonton that approved the mortgage terms and not the corporate office? Nope. Did Ms. Guergis and her husband have a better Privacy complaint than Mr. Fife and Ms. Taber had an ethics complaint in that matter? Yup.

Do I think that she deserved to be out of cabinet because of some of the things that she did? Yup, and so she's now gone.

I think that it should go without saying that if the PMO drops a colleague from cabinet and caucus and further initiates a conflict of interest, ethics, and RCMP investigation into her actions and those of her husband, then they are officially on the outs with the party. May the story end here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

FNUC lays off workers

CBC News - Saskatchewan - FNUC lays off workers

Amazing - 13 paragraphs and not a word about the true reason why these staff members are being laid off.

So just to be clear, let's review the case.

So the true reason why these lay offs are happening is that the university was completely mismanaged for years, and when held accountable for that mismanagement, they protested the punishment rather than stepping up and trying to help out.

Here's the thing, and there's no way to get around it. The former Board of FNUC was largely composed of chiefs and other aboriginal dignitaries appointed through FSIN. When the governments pulled funding, these were the first people to go. There was protesting, there was complaining, there were cries of racism and pleas to reconsider that would tug at the most ardent lefty's heart. But in that whole progression of the story, there was one thing that was missing.

FSIN never once stepped up to attempt to replace the funding from its own coffers. Not once did FSIN attempt to ensure that students would be able to complete their school years. Not once has FSIN made any visible attempt to save these jobs, outside of using every trick in the book to shame governments into restoring the funding without any changes on their part.

And quite frankly, that's all you need to know about FSIN and their regard for their people's right to education.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nova Scotians brace for tax increases, deep spending cuts

Nova Scotians brace for tax increases, deep spending cuts

There are times when I'm glad to live in Saskatchewan.

In Saskatchewan, our government made some tough decisions in order to "balance" the budget. I know, people will say that it isn't balanced, and I would agree with them - except that it is balanced according to the historical understanding of the word as used by the NDP governments before this one, but I digress. They made some choices which seemed unpopular - freezing spending and making an attempt to cut fat from the public service mostly through attrition. The one thing that I noted though is that the Saskatchewan government largely left taxes alone. This will have the dual effect of attracting people to the province and allowing business to grow. Yet people complained and protested.

Reading about the Nova Scotian budget, not only did they raise consumption taxes, they too are seeking to reduce their public service by 1000 positions, largely through attrition. That represents 10% of the Nova Scotian public service, and not a peep out of the unions about this budget.

Now, I know that the difference is that this is an NDP government handing down Nova Scotia's budget and cuts, compared to a neo-conservative right wing Saskatchewan Party government bringing down Saskatchewan's budget, but it sure puts things into perspective juxtaposing the very different reactions to a similarly substantial cut to the public service.

Yup, some days it's good to live in Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Health tax is regressive and brutally unfair

Health tax is regressive and brutally unfair

Except that it really isn't.

I get it. People think that people with more money should pay more tax. I understand your point. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I do understand where that point is coming from.

My point is that at some point, you have to stop trying to punish "the rich" for having a good income. At some point, "the rich" will decide that they aren't getting enough benefit from their altruistic paying of more and more tax and find somewhere else to be, somewhere else to earn their money, and somewhere else to pay their tax.

My point is also, that at some point, as regressive as it may seem, the people who aren't paying tax need to pay something into the system for the benefits they receive. At some point, those who benefit must pay some price in order to receive their benefits. If those who benefit don't pay anything, then they acquire a sense of entitlement. They feel that they are entitled to those benefits, and if they are forced to pay something to receive those benefits in the future, then protests and riots happen.

The fact is that Quebec is one of the highest taxed regimes in North America, and yet it still has billion dollar deficits. At some point, their "progressive" social programs, their list of entitlements has to be funded, have to be fully paid for, or they will eventually be taken away.

I'm glad that Mr. Charest et al have started making some tough decisions, and I have no doubt that at some point when a portion of the cost of those entitlements is pushed onto those receiving the benefits, then a weeding process will be undergone to find those programs which are truly benefiting the greatest number of people for the least cost.

Some interesting statistics about a Democratic congress

I don't normally push something from the United States. While I'm interested, and it does affect me in a trickle down sort of way, it is not something that interests many.

This post did interest me though. It interests me in that it statistically dispels myths. It interests me in that it puts the effects of the current direction of policy in the United States government on the table and forces fact into the equation.

h/t SDA

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rex Murphy: Please dont call it human rights

Rex Murphy: Please dont call it human rights

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Murphy. "Human rights" are becoming a joke, and eventually there will be a backlash against this stuff. My only hope that there aren't too many more of these wild and wacky decisions before the public starts getting upset.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Don Martin starts out his column with the following sentence:

First a hug, then the hammer.
The headline for the article suggests that this is a bad thing, but let's look at it closer...

Why is it a bad thing if unsuccessful refugee claimants are shown a quick exit after they are judged unworthy to become Canadian.

The politically correct theory being floated is that everyone DESERVES to live in Canada, regardless of how they got into the country. This theory extends that everyone living in Canada DESERVES to be helped out via the social safety net. More often than not, however, that isn't the case.

It SHOULD be the case that those people who have unsuccessfully applied for refugee status should be given a quick exit. Their welfare shouldn't be our problem. It is the country's welfare that should be our primary concern.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

FNUniv supporters still seek $7M in federal funding following $3M investment announcement

FNUniv supporters still seek $7M in federal funding following $3M investment announcement

A $3M Slap in the Face

So there was a mixed reaction to the announcement from the federal government this week that will see FNUC receive $3,000,000 from the federal government to allow the university to finish out its academic year.

What bothers me is a couple of pieces of the article:

BigEagle said the federal government and the university are "kind of" on the same page when it comes to the students. She said her job has been to ensure the students could complete their winter semester, but she said the one-time funding does not allow a future plan for the students.
The point I'm going to make here is a point that someone should say in this whole debate. The federal government is committed to providing education to First Nations students. Period. To be quite frank, the government doesn't (and really shouldn't) care how that education is delivered, as long as it is completed. To say that you are "kind of" on the same page with that means that you're really not on the same page with that vision. I have no doubt that she wants education provided, however I think that they are miles apart on how that education is done, especially when you read this comment:

She said the worst-case scenario would mean lay-offs would have to take place.

"We need assurances past August so that our liability issues are addressed," said BigEagle.

All of a sudden, we're not talking about making sure her people are educated, she's talking about making sure that her people are EMPLOYED. To be quite frank, that isn't a direct concern of the federal government either. The idea behind governmental funding of education is to ensure that training is done properly so that a highly trained workforce can use that training to create efficiencies.

When I read from students and Board members that they may turn the money down, especially when that money was specifically earmarked for programs and provision of education, my first thought was "great, apparently they didn't need the money anyways". The more I hear this outcry, the more I am happily confident that the federal government is doing the right thing.

The treaties provided for education to the poor natives who had to make a transition into the white man's way of life back in the 18th and 19th century. I have no doubt that many people want them to continue that transition even now. But I'm going to dispel one myth that obviously Ms. Bigeagle holds dear:

"The federal government has an obligation based on the treaty to provide funding," she said. "They have a fiduciary responsibility, so the fight will never be over."
There is no mention in the Treaties of a segregated First Nations university. There is nothing in the Treaties that says the government has to give money to such an institution. The Crown DOES have a contractual obligation to provide education, but that hardly extends to a fiduciary duty. To be quite frank, it is Ms. BigEagle`s fiduciary duty to encourage that education in her people, regardless of how it is delivered. Hopefully she learns this soon.

And to the rest that want to refuse the funding? G'ahead. You're only hurting yourself.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Next Conservative populist move

Conservatives to campaign on killing $30-million subsidies to political parties

An idea whose time has come...

The idea is to make political parties more dependant and reflective of their membership by removing all other sources of funding, including corporate and union donations.

I can't say that I'm surprised that the Conservatives would resurrect this policy. Of the 5 major parties, they are the ones that are both the most and the least affected by this policy. The Conservatives raise roughly the same amount in donations as the other 4 parties combined, and as a result, would be better capable of fighting an election campaign against any other party without the subsidy. They also bring in substantial dollars from the subsidy as well, meaning that they would be less capable of maintaining their election readiness between elections as they have been doing for the last 4 years.

The net result though is that the Conservatives are simultaneously trying to cripple their opponents while making a populist show of detaching from the public teat. While many people would not applaud this move, mostly those people who would not vote Conservative regardless of what they do, many people will applaud this move, precisely because it will have the effect of pushing parties to adjust their platforms to be popular for a segment of the population or die. It no longer allows parties to rely on the government to feed their hunger.

Personally, I applaud the move and hope that the Conservatives will look at more reforms to ensure that political parties are accountable to the people who elected them, and not the people they oversee.

Banishment of party affiliations anyone?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

On the anniversary of a massacre...

Peter Shawn Taylor: The Frog Lake Massacre mystery

I wasn't aware of this massacre, despite now living in the area. Interesting reading for the anniversary of the massacre.