Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tea leaves from Saskatchewan

Tea leaves from Saskatchewan

Moreover, now that the Obama phenomenon has passed through America's system, there is no charismatic alternative in sight, capable of leading any electorate on another tax-borrow-and-spend bender.

(Which means, watch out for charisma on the Right. My own paradoxical fear at the moment is the emergence of politicians who can articulate a neo-fascist agenda, inviting people to turn to government for centralized discipline and regulatory order, by scapegoating "the moneylenders" and other easily demonized targets, plus picking on minorities; thus preying on the same insecurities and envies the Left preyed upon to extend the Nanny State.)

I'm not sure... perhaps someone can help here... Is it Mr. Warren who has somehow described Mr. Obama while projecting those qualities to someone on the right, or is it his editor. I wouldn't think that a writer worth his salt would put a whole parenthetical thought into an article, but then again, I don't have much experience reading Mr. Warren either.

h/t SDA

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What took him so long?

No PST on clothing for children up to 17: Premier Brad Wall

Premier Brad Wall announced in a press conference on Tuesday that his government make good on their "first campaign promise" by November 15, and extend the PST exemption on chidren's clothing from those under 14 to those under 17.

I mean honestly, he's been reelected for 15 hours, and he didn't announce anything yet? What was he waiting for?

Good to see that he's already hitting the ground running. Good to see that he's pursuing a growth agenda and wants to get the province to 1.1 million in 4 years. Good also to see that he wants to pay off the debt within the next decade and hopefully sooner.

My wish list is for him to implement one of the pieces from the NDP platform - reduce the small business tax rate to zero. Having said that, they should also reduce the general corporate tax rate by a similar amount so that more money is left in the hands of those who would create jobs. The only other thing that I would like to see is for Saskatchewan to become the first right-to-work province in Canada. It is absurd that unions don't need to report financials to their members nor do they need to be accountable for how the money gets spent. David Akin was partially right on Sun News last night - he complained about the lack of accountability legislation and the fact that a corporation or union could donate whatever they wanted to a political party or candidate. This election proved him right as the unions were the ones running the negative ads while the NDP maintained their rosy positive ads. In Saskatchewan, corporations understand that they have to work with both flavours of government, and so they tend to stay out of the fight in order to avoid a certain Orange Crush of their own. Unfortunately, the unions haven't been taught that lesson, and are unlikely to ever be taught it. I would say that Ontario has a similar problem with this issue though.

One last thing - kudos to Sun News Network on the quality of their broadcast, and the chutzpah to devote virtually its entire prime time slots to a province in which it doesn't currently hold a permanent establishment, and which covers only 3% of the population of the country. It is interesting to note that not even the taxpayer funded CBC Newsworld devoted as much time or resources to our little election, never mind it's regular affiliates. For all they did, thanks Sun News.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Voters overwhelmed by issues: expert

Voters overwhelmed by issues: expert

Politically minded people are making the push to get a healthy voter turn-out today, but University of Saskatchewan political studies professor Joe Garcea doesn't think everyone will focus on what matters.

"In many cases they actually forget the issues, especially if there are too many of them."

Interesting that a political science professor would think that there are too many issues. This would speak to a lack of cohesion and coherence on the part of the NDP, and ultimately a bad campaign.

See, for the Saskatchewan Party, their job was simple - they had a massive lead and all they had to do was play defense. Don't give your opponent any more headlines than they create for themselves, and don't prolong your opponent's talking points if you can help it. In this, they did a good job, while keeping to their own narrative of framing the election as the Frugals vs the Spendthrifts. In that narrative, the NDP played right into their hands, promising everything under the sun in every sector of the province, all on the back of a single "review" of potash royalties (how can it be a review when the outcome is predetermined?).

For the NDP's point of view, Mr. Garcea is absolutely right. There were too many issues, and none gained traction. They demonized the potash industry. They demonized landlords. They promised money and tax breaks for everyone and everything. With so many different pellets in their scattergun, it's surprising that none actually hit the mark. But the problem is that with so many shots, most of them were played out before the election even began. Nothing announced in the last 28 days could reasonably be called a surprise, and given their tactic of positive advertising for themselves, and letting the unions to do their negative advertising for them, it's no surprise that nothing gained traction.

In the end, the sun will shine tomorrow, the NDP will end up with a few less seats (I'm predicting 40-18 SK Party), and business will have 4 more years to develop in this province of wide open skies and endless opportunity.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Party leaders' final-week travel plans are truly telling

Party leaders' final-week travel plans are truly telling

The Friday before the election, it's time to clear the decks.

I read the above article by Murray Mandryk, and there were a couple of questions I had for Murray:

Wall's Monday morning announcement at the Emerald Park Child Care co-op was undoubtedly a safe campaign photo opportunity that politicians love and reporters tend to hate - mostly because they are so darn effective.

First question for Murray, is why would a supposedly neutral reporter hate a campaign event that is effective?

Second question.  If reporters hate them so much, why would they bother to show up?  There is an adage in politics that you "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel".  Wouldn't it make sense that it's the reporting of the event that makes them so effective?  If a campaign event happens and nobody shows up to report it, would it really be effective?

Just a little food for thought for our "neutral" political reporters.
I can't disagree with the rest of the analysis that states that the NDP seem to be in trouble (much like the Liberals were in the last election) when they choose to target formerly safe seats to campaign in during the last week of the election rather than targeting possible seats that could be picked up.

Introducing NDP Monopoly

NDP Monopoly by TannerFM

H/T John Gormley Live & Jack FM

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sask Party and NDP Offer Misguided Housing Policies

  • The NDP and Saskatchewan Party are both promising financial incentives for
    first time home buyers, while the NDP is also promising a gst rebate for home
    builders on construction of houses under $280,000.

  • Incentives for home purchases inflate the housing market temporarily.
    Evidence from the US shows that home prices declined by $15,000 after their
    $8000 home buyers tax credit expired.

  • The tax rebates to home builders will do nothing to reduce home prices,
    since prices are set by supply and demand, not the cost of inputs. In a tight
    real estate market, the savings will not be passed on to consumers, and will
    amount to a subsidy for home builders.

  • Saskatchewan should follow the lead of US jurisdictions that have maintained
    housing affordability during economic booms. Cities such as Houston and Atlanta
    have experienced explosive growth while maintaining lower housing prices than
    Regina or Saskatoon by maintaining sensible housing regulations.

  • Read it all:

    Sask Party and NDP Offer Misguided Housing Policies: FCPP - Frontier Centre for Public Policy

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    NDP announces cost-savings calculator

    NDP announces cost-savings calculator

    As I suspected... when I used the NDP's calculator, their platform has absolutely nothing for me.

    In fact, not only am I one of the evil people that needs to pay for their promises, their platform promises to discourage business, which hurts my business.

    It also has a fatal flaw in it in that it assumes that if you own your own home, you're looking to purchase another one in the next 4 years.

    Thanks for nothing Link.

    Update: After the calculator actually worked yesterday afternoon, it told me (after checking off the box that I do indeed pay utilities) that I will save $540 from the NDP platform.

    SO.  Let's do the math - average household is 2.5 persons.  Population is north of 1.06 million.  That comes to roughly 424,000 households.  Each household saving $540 (I assume it's the default so that everyone can feel good that yes, even the NDP will benefit you) means a cost to the provincial treasury would be a further 229 million (not included in their platform).

    Now here's the rub... Not only has the NDP not mentioned these savings in their platform, other than a throwaway line about maintaining the lowest cost utilities bundle in the country, is that they have committed to increase renewable energy generation by 400 Megawatts within the next 4 years.  The costs of renewable energy generation is at minimum 50% higher than the highest cost conventional generation - Natural gas.

    Again, sorry Dwain, I don't buy it.  Thanks for nothing.

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Occupy Saskatoon issues official statement

    Occupy Saskatoon issues official statement

    In addition to economic inequality and corporate influence on politics, the statement acknowledged the struggle of First Nations people.

    They forgot to mention "union influence on politics", but then again, maybe it was an omission on purpose.

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Privatizing potash was a costly mistake

    Privatizing potash was a costly mistake |

    In researching provincial debt in Saskatchewan during the Devine days, I came across the above article on

    While I wouldn't normally send readers to rabble, nor would I view rabble as a place to receive good economic information, it interested me as to what the author's reasons were that privatizing Potash Corp was a mistake.

    After sifting through her reasoning, it comes down to one fact:

    PCS was privatized for $630 million in the 80's. BHP Billiton offered $38 Billion last year for PCS.

    Now granted, this is typical socialist thinking - assuming that the difference between the two numbers means that the people should have got more for PCS back then, and if not, then it's a subsidy or a handout.

    The problem with this line of thinking is that PCS ran for over 2 decades post-privatization as a private company. It purged its operations of political appointees. It adopted a growth strategy that didn't depend on taking the most risk adverse approach possible. In short, it made sound investments, and the management of the company did so with the best interests of the shareholders in mind, not necessarily the government of Saskatchewan or the individual's job. She also missed the point that because the privatization was made via an IPO open only to residents of Saskatchewan, there could be residents of Saskatchewan still holding their shares from that time. If that's the case, then those people most assuredly would have reaped the benefit of the company's growth in the takeover bid. One thing I know for sure though, because of that privatization, the province reaped more in taxes and royalties over the past 2 decades than they would have had the government kept it as a Crown corporation - even taking a dividend to the province into account.

    This is especially fitting considering one of the major themes of this campaign (and the NDP's biggest plank) is that they would pay for all their promised expenditures by messing with Potash Corp and the potash industry and taking more money out of the companies - money that would otherwise be used to expand operations and provide immediate and future benefits to the province.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    The 90%ers are laughing at you

    Some strong language at the end. Viewer discretion is advised. H/T Charles Adler on Facebook.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    FSIN calls for Ottenbreit ousting

    FSIN calls for Ottenbreit ousting

    Better yet - here's another idea.

    Why don't we let the voters decide who they will or will not support?

    After all, there's a reason why Jim Pankiw hasn't held office for almost a decade (and 4 Federal elections).

    With all due respect to the FSIN, resource revenues belong to ALL of the people of the province, not just a small percentage of it.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Occupy Movement summary

    The most coherent summary of the Occupy movement I've seen to date.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | Canadian Taxpayers Federation

    Wondered what the cost of all those promises would be if each party were elected? Wonder no more.

    This is a link to the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation post that tallies each party's promises as they are announced.

    It will be interesting to see what the end tally will be. The Liberal Party's platform is intriguing in that it promises a decrease in spending of $1 billion per year, however, it is silent on what happens when surpluses surpass the 50% of the royalty revenue going to the sovereign fund. Do the resource companies get a cut in their royalty rates? Do the taxpayers get tax cuts? Do corporations get tax cuts? Also, why, when the budget is balanced currently, are there no tax cuts despite a concerted effort to cut spending? Why give future governments the opportunity to reverse those spending cuts without expending a huge amount of political capital to do so.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Weekend roundup

    I didn't post over the weekend for various reasons.  I was away from home.  I had commitments to make, in short, I had life.  Turns out that I didn't need to post, because the announcement on Friday made me okay "Oop, there it is.  THERE is the NDP everyone knows and most hate".

    The NDP promised rent control on Friday.  Then they promised a Tuition freeze for post-secondary students and more money for more training spaces.  Then they promised more money for all seniors except those that are in subsidized housing.  Today, they promised 10000 subsidized day care spaces, capping fees.

    The Saskatchewan Party countered by... uhhhh.... adding to the subsidy for seniors in personal care homes, adding to the allowance for disabled persons and extending that allowance to those living on their own.  Today they announced a plan to forgive student loans for doctors and nurse practitioners who live and work in rural and northern communities.

    The whole campaign is shaping up to be a campaign of big spender vs "I'm not going to buy your votes".  If you believe the Sask Party, the NDP has racked up $2.4 Billion in new spending.  I guess we'll have to wait and see what their costed platform looks like, but one thing I do know... the NDP can't continue to make these big announcements - at some point, even the average person won't believe that royalties will cover off all that spending.

    The other question to ask the NDP is what they're going to do when the royalties dry up.  It should come as no surprise that prices rise and fall, and at some point, there will be a shortfall.  Will they retract all those promises, or will they just spend us into oblivion?  I guess it remains to be seen.

    Saskatoon's United cabs and Blueline taxis accused of breaking law

    Saskatoon's United cabs and Blueline taxis accused of breaking law

    On November 15 the CAW will press the issue further by collecting the names of all the non-unionized drivers, putting their name in a hat and randomly drawing 10 names.

    The union will notify the cab companies of those names and offer them a choice, obey the Trade Union Act or face termination.
    If you have to resort to extortion to get your way, chances are you're on the wrong side of the issue.

    I sincerely hope that these cab drivers take this to court, and would gladly pay into a defense fund to have them take it to the Supreme Court. The right to associate should always include the inverse - the right not to associate, and I believe that this right is being taken away by forced participation in unions.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Day 3: Tax cuts and tax credits

    The big news on Day 3 was the announcement from the NDP that if elected, they would drop the small business tax rate to 9%.  They also announced that they would do a deal with First Nations to give them a portion of resource revenues.

    The SaskParty countered by offering a tax credit for first time homebuyers and resoundingly rejecting a special deal for anyone on resource royalties.

    With respect to the NDP's tax cut proposal, I really have no problems with it.  As a small business owner, I would benefit from it - assuming they actually do what they say they would do.  From that perspective, I would welcome it.  In fact, I would encourage Mr. Wall to make it happen if he wins the election anyways.

    With respect to the First Nations Resource deal, I would agree with the Sask Party position - resource royalties are for the benefit of ALL of the residents of the province, regardless of the colour of your skin or how your ancestors got to Saskatchewan.  First Nations benefit in a variety of ways from the royalties flowing into the provincial coffers, not the least of which is through the building of roads and infrastructure, jobs in the sectors devoted to extracting the resources, and extra resources for schooling and social work.  Why should they take a larger piece of the pie just because of their ancestry?

    The SaskParty's proposal just piggy backs on the federal credit introduced 2 years ago to encourage home ownership.  I don't necessarily agree that the government has a role in encouraging one form of shelter over another, but this proposal will not be costly, and so it continues their week of making it look like they aren't trying to compete with the NDP on a vote buy.

    All in all, the big winners of the day seem to be taxpayers.

    There are no real losers other than the people left paying for the NDP's proposals.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    I Choose not to be part of the 99%

    I have a mortgage, consumer debt and 2 investment loans.  My total debt roughly equals my total assets.  I have a career job that I bought, and I will be at that job for life.

    I have made some good choices in life.  I've made some bad choices in life.  The fact of the matter is that I choose not to be part of the 99% not because I'm exceedingly wealthy or privileged, it's because I knew what I was getting into when I made all of those choices.  I weighed the risks and the rewards, and I understand that if even 80% of those decisions come out as good, I will be immensely successful in life.  I also am not part of the 99% because I don't believe in protesting or making someone else pay for the choices I've made in my life.  It's about personal responsibility and owning my decisions, good or bad.

    In essence folks, it's about growing up.  This is my story.  I'm not putting it in a picture, because that's lame and it's being done to death.

    Spend Spend Spend

    The NDP promises a suite of Health care goodies, including opening a bunch of "community health clinics" across the province and staffing them with nurses and nurse practitioners.  They also promise "access" to dental care for kids between 5 to 12.

    The SaskParty's announcement was to extend the Active Families benefit to 18 year olds from it's existing 16(ish) and also to extend the PST exemption on clothing to the same.

    The Sask Party's proposal is very affordable, and simplifies life in that I don't have to try to remember the different ages when things kick in or kick out.  The NDP's proposal is attempting to reverse cuts that were made in the past, but only half-assing it.  It would appear that the NDP are proposing to bring back the in school dentist in elementary school - a proposal that Devine cut in the mid 80s.  It would also appear that the NDP is trying to reverse all their rural hospital closures from the 90s, an austerity measure at the time.  All I know is that the NDP proposals are going to add some serious money to the health care budget of the province in order to make sure that there is a "hospital" accessible to everyone.  The problem is that in 20 years, we'll be complaining that there aren't enough Nurse Practitioners that want to practice in rural Saskatchewan, and the cycle will perpetuate itself.

    Kudos to the NDP for putting forth a proposal to solve a problem though.

    Winners: Health Care Bureaucracy, Unions
    Losers: Taxpayers that actually have to fund the NDPs proposal.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Day 1: Bright Futures and buying off the electorate

    The first real day of the campaign, and we have two distinct policy announcements.

    The SK Party started off their campaign with something of a noodle scratcher, while the NDP decided that the electorate likes being overtaxed and promises to guarantee it.

    The SK Party's promise on Day 1 was $500 per year for high school graduates who go on to post-secondary.  You know, to help with tuition or some such.  While this was met with puzzlement by reporters and students, wanting all the details right away, what is clear is one thing: The SK Party thinks that by doing this, by putting money into the hands of the student (or their parent, is there really a difference) they can shut up the whining about tuition increases.  My thought on tuition increases has been well documented throughout the years, but the refresher is that they should happen, they should be regular, in fact, universities should be charging full cost to students - no subsidies from the province.  This is a loser proposal because the students are still going to whine, and that lets the NDP whine.

    The NDP promise on Day 1 was a Bright Futures fund, fully funded by your tax dollars.  The details are simple - the government will put away and invest $100 million per year into a fund that can't be touched for at least 20 years.  The "Dividends" from the fund can be used for capital projects starting after year 10.  Mr. Lingenfelter tells us that it should grow to $10 Billion by 2050 or so.  First the math: In order for it to get to that magical $10 Billion, it has to average 4.25% over the next 40 years or so, and that's assuming no future governments will raid the investment income for their pet projects.  Second, the morals: Some reporters on the radio were liking this idea, likening it to the normal household which has and makes debt repayments, but also has money in savings for the future.  The problem with that line of thinking is that governments AREN'T A NORMAL HOUSEHOLD.  "Savings" for a government is overtaxation, pure and simple.  This proposal creates a big ol' slush fund that all future governments can raid at will to fund their big expansive projects that they have no business funding.  No Thanks.  Want my vote Dwain?  Promise to legislate a payment on the debt of $100 million per year and then give me my money back so that I can invest it for my own Bright Future.

    You will notice that I'm not going to cover the Liberals too much this election.  The reasoning is simple - they're running about as many candidates as the Progressive Conservatives, and it will come to virtually the same effect.  I'd love to see a true free enterprise party compete (and a fellow blogger tells me that that's what the Liberals are), but in reality the Liberals became toxic when they joined the minority NDP in '99.  I'll still review their platform and add it to the future roundup, but for all intents and purposes, this is a two horse race in Saskatchewan.

    Winner for the day:  Students
    Loser for the day: Taxpayers.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Teaching Basic Economics to Fifth Graders - Arthur Foulkes - Mises Daily

    Teaching Basic Economics to Fifth Graders - Arthur Foulkes - Mises Daily

    "But when are you going to get to the economics?"

    It was the end of my first day volunteering to teach "basic economics" to a group of fifth graders. The teacher looked bemused as she asked the question.

    "That's what I'm doing," I whispered a little curtly in reply.

    Realizing her offense, she quickly explained her meaning: "You know, with all the graphs and big words and stuff."

    I realized this teacher was under the common misperception (perpetuated by most economics professors) that economics is about math, models, and strange lands where a complete lack of real competition is called "perfect competition" and it is possible to visualize (and measure) human happiness using "utility curves."

    But I had no intention of subjecting these students to economics of this sort. My goal was far more ambitious. I wanted to show them that economics stems from ordinary human behavior in the real world we face every day. So here is what we did.

    My approach was painfully modest. I simply introduced the students to one economic concept per week.

    A little something to help the NDP over the next month or so... Read it all.

    BTW - it also helps those in the OccupyPlaces movement... at least I think it might...

    Saskatchewan politicians hit campaign trail;

    Saskatchewan politicians hit campaign trail; public to vote Nov. 7

    And now, a word from a legend in his field...

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Will Conservatives make liberal cuts to the CBC?

    Will Conservatives make liberal cuts to the CBC?

    CBC by the numbers

    - $1.16 billion — Federal funding for 2010/2011

    - $650 million — Advertising and other revenues

    - 64 % — Percentage of CBC revenues from taxpayers

    - 7,285 — Full-time employees, CBC and Radio-Canada

    - "At least 5%" and "at least 10 %" — two budget cut scenarios being prepared by CBC

    - 7.5 million — Number of unique visitors, per month, to CBC and Radio-Canada websites

    - 1 million — CBC audio podcasts downloaded per month

    - 82 % — proportion of Canadian content on CBC and Radio-Canada prime-time schedule

    - 9.3 % — CBC prime-time audience share, English Canada

    - 20 % — Radio-Canada prime-time audience share, French Canada

    - 75 — number of years, in 2011, since the creation of the CBC in 1936

    - 14.7 % — CBC radio audience share (Radio 1 plus Radio 2)

    - 19.5 % — Radio-Canada radio audience share (Premiere Chaine plus Espace musique)

    Source: CBC

    My only question when seeing these CBC provided stats, is why aren't they showing 100% Canadian Content on a government funded broadcaster?

    Why is the Canadian public paying over $1 billion for a broadcaster that doesn't solely show Canadian Content?

    Advice for the 99% movement

    Just a taste of the absurdity of the OccupyWallSt movement.

    I'm a college senior with $40K of debt. There are no jobs in my feild. My toughest decision now is whether to sell drugs or my body. I am the 99 percent.

    Read it all here

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone

    h/t SDA

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Pasta processing plant coming to Regina

    CTV Saskatchewan - Pasta processing plant coming to Regina - CTV News

    It never fails to amaze me how quickly the free market moves to fill in gaps when needless regulations are removed. It never failed to amaze me how the province(s) that produce the best milling durum in the world didn't have a processing plant to turn that durum into pasta.

    There was a movement about a decade or more ago to put a pasta plant in southern Saskatchewan. The movement even went so far as to get thousands of farmers to pay a couple hundred dollars each to become members of a New Generation co-op. That movement had met with a pasta producer across the line in North Dakota and had formed agreements to build a plant on the prairies.

    That movement was shut down by the Wheat Board for no other reason than to protect the poor farmers from themselves and those greedy industrialists. I'm happy that at the end of the day, common sense won out and some of that durum is being processed where it's produced. Let's hope this is the start of many more announcements like this.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    "Don't Be That Guy" campaign to sweep Saskatoon

    "Don't Be That Guy" campaign to sweep Saskatoon

    "For year's we've been telling young women what to do to avoid sexual assault," said Sergeant Jean-Marc Voisard.

    "We've been missing the other half of the equation- the offender."

    What's wrong with that statement? Anybody? Anybody?

    The problem is that it assumes that the man is always the offender and the woman is always the victim.

    Whatever happened to equal treatment under the law?

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    This is a full-size Lego Ford

    This is a full-size Lego Ford - BBC Top Gear

    I wonder whether it was built on company time.  If so, it cost more than the real thing.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Farmers vote to keep the Wheat Board

    Farmers vote to keep the Wheat Board

    Just over 60 per cent of wheat growers and 51 per cent of barley growers voted to keep the board's monopoly on grain sales.
    I'm going to make a slight correction here - 60 per cent of wheat growers that voted and 51 per cent of barley growers that voted, voted to keep the board's monopoly on grain sales.

    That notwithstanding, the plebiscite wasn't necessary - the government isn't adding or removing grains from the single desk. It's removing the single desk altogether.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    More evidence that the Nobel Peace Prize isn't worth the cost of the trophy...

    At the end of the day, all you really need to know...

    Is that none of these Nobel Prize winners have an interest in allowing the United States to import oil from a Western democracy.

    The letter was signed by Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams of Ireland; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel of Argentina, Tutu of South Africa, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala, José Ramos-Horta of East Timor, Jody Williams of the U.S. and Shirin Ebadi of Iran

    As Peace prize winners, you would think that they would be all for allowing the United States a source of oil that they don't have to "secure" or fight for.  I guess they're more interested in continuing the money sucking hoax of anthropogenic climate change.  Funny how no Nobel Prize winners in Economics signed the letter.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Charges dropped against pair who defended own property

    One of the best reasons why Canada needs a Castle Doctrine:

    Sun News : Charges dropped against pair who defended own property

    He made at least eight documented complaints to Peel police about thieves stealing from his yard. Hutchins supplied licence plates, descriptions, even preserved a boot print. "We did all the work for them," he argues.

    He was told to hire himself a security guard. He's not a big utility company or a brand name corporation being ripped off for its copper. Hutchins runs a small business with his three sons and doesn't have the cash to hire security or sustain thousands of dollars in losses every weekend. So when thieves broke in for the third week in a row, he hatched his plan.

    Hutchins armed himself with a baseball bat and lay in wait with his sons. When they spotted a van being loaded with his radiators, he blocked the vehicle with his own, smashed their windshield with his bat and demanded they get out. The thieves took off across the field.

    His son caught one kid while Hutchins chased the other with his truck and then got out to subdue him.

    "He was a little unco-operative so he has a few black eyes," Hutchins said at the time.

    Today he insists the thief must have fallen in the field. "I could have done so much damage to them. We were very, very careful."

    The two 17-year-olds readily admitted they'd stolen from Hutchins' yard on six different occasions and they were promptly charged with theft. Hutchins thought his problems were over.

    But three days later, he was shocked to learn the teens weren't the only ones in trouble: He and his son were under arrest as well.

    Hutchins was charged with mischief over $5,000 for smashing the windshield, assault and assault with a weapon -- the bat -- while his 24-year-old son was charged with theft because he had one of the teens' necklaces in his possession after he'd ripped it off in their struggle.

    He was defending his property, and in the process, the two 17 year olds and their burglary equipment got roughed up. There is absolutely no reason why charges should have been laid against the Hutchins family.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Next time you pay taxes

    Just remember what some people choose to do with your government enforced generosity...

    H/T: SDA/Fred

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Sun Media embracing 'shock value' over accountability: media watchdog

    Sun Media embracing 'shock value' over accountability: media watchdog

    "The value of any media organization is entirely based on whether the public sees them as reliable and trustworthy," he said. "The way we feel this is best done is by having a mechanism in place — whether it's a press council or an ombudsman — who is able to act as the agent of the public inside a media organization.

    "All media organizations have a right to their concept of a free press and free speech, but when the public is cut out of that, I think it lessens the value of that organization inside a democracy."

    I'm not sure that I understand where the OPC is coming from here. What value is this organization other than to ensure that all media outlets toe the same line? What value does this organization have other than to allow one's competitors to dictate your editorial policy? A private sector newspaper has the ultimate arbitrator of disputes that bypasses the need for an ombudsman - the right of the reader to stop reading, and the right of the consumer to vote with their feet.

    One need only view the remarks of Jeffrey Dvorkin who surmises that this move signals the move towards unaccountable "shock value" reporting to sell newspapers in order to understand this move by Sun.

    I have to disagree with Mr. Dvorkin, however - this move actually weakens and delegitimizes the OPC itself. All of a sudden, the power to tell Quebecor what they can and cannot report is gone. It's no surprise that Mr. Dvorkin is upset at the move, but I wonder if he can make the case as to what his organization did for Quebecor in the first place.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Mail watch continues...

    I was told that I was mailed a cheque "right after the postal strike was finished".  I was curious as to how long it would take for it to reach my address.

    We are now 2 weeks after the Posties went back to work, and it still hasn't arrived.  Ten business days when it could have been put into my mailbox, but not only that, 2 full weekends when it could have moved as well.  To put it into perspective, I could have walked from my house to the point of mailing and back in the time its taken this 1 envelope to run through the mail system.

    I think that this shows the true relevance of Canada Post.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the fact that the Posties first walked off the job in the heart of a modernization program which, I assume, would use more machinery and technology to sort and direct mail faster and more efficiently than people can do.  Now the Posties are struggling to clear the backlog without overtime or additional workers being allowed just simply because they refused to allow modernization to happen.  It only serves to make it even more irrelevant the longer someone has to wait for their mail.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    CBC's switch to DTV transmission will leave some viewers without access

    It should read: CBC loses justification for $1.1 Billion in subsidies.

    The CBC, however, argues that maintaining over-the-air signals for small numbers of viewers is not an efficient use of the broadcaster’s $1.1-billion parliamentary subsidy.

    It is only replacing the transmitters in places where it has a television station that originates programming: London, for example, does not have its own station; the signal is a retransmission from Toronto, while Saint John, although it is the larger city, receives a retransmission of the Fredericton signal. (Moncton, meanwhile, will only keep the French service.) 

    I have, in the past, viewed the CBCs mission as one of  ensuring coverage.  If there is one particular segment of the population who are least likely or least able to buy cable or satellite services, it would be someone in a remote locations.  These are also the areas which are likely to request or require specialty services like programming in a different language; Cree, Dene or any of the Inuit languages among them.  It would be because of these services that I would have given CBC a pass because they are currently covering all areas of gathered population with at least a repeater tower, if not a normal one.

    That stops now.

    By failing to continue to service all areas, regardless of profitability, the CBC loses all moral authority to receive my tax dollars.  The point of the subsidy isn't to ensure service in the most populous areas, the point is to ensure carriage in the least populated areas.  The point is to provide a service for a segment of the population who would have few or no other options. 

    The CBC estimates that less than 1 per cent of Canadians will be affected, but critics point out that the public broadcaster has a mandate to reach all Canadians. 
     Let's do the math...  1% of 33,000,000 is 330,000 people.  Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn encompass approximately 300,000 people.  Figure a farm trading area within range of approximately 50,000 people.  The 1 transmitter for Saskatchewan will serve 350,000 people in a population of 1 million.  That leaves 700,000 people in Saskatchewan alone who will be no longer receiving a CBC over the air signal or 2% of the population.  The Lloydminster tower may cut into that percentage, but not by much.  In essence, Saskatchewan alone proves the CBCs numbers wrong. 

    I could go through all the provinces and make an estimate of what isn't going to be covered, but I will make a guess that you will see between 25% and 40% of the population no longer serviced by the CBC without cable or satellite services.

    He said going digital in all mandatory markets would cost the CBC another $50-million, but he hopes the broadcaster might work out a plan with the CRTC to keep analog transmitters running. However, CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel said the CBC has not made any applications to maintain analog signals.
    Moreover, the CBC isn't even providing digital in all mandatory markets.  I don't need a dictionary to tell me that mandatory means MUST.

    The complaint with the cost of replacing all the transmitters is a strawman.  The United States shut down all high powered analog TV signals over 2 years ago.  They were one of the last of the completed conversion nations, the rest having made the conversion within the last decade.  To be quite frank, the CBC could have been chipping away at the conversion over the last decade in order to get it done on time and less disruptively than they are doing now.

    In short, if the CBC isn't going to service all of the population, then they shouldn't receive subsidies from the population.

    Re: Gun Registry Seperatism

    BACK OFF GOVERNMENT!: Gun Registry Seperatism: "The Quebec government, stubbornly, is considering passing a long-gun registry of it's very own if Ottawa turfs the federal one. How quaint..."

    Not only is Quebec looking to do their own registry if the federal government successfully shuts the national one down, CKOM reports that Quebec will be looking for "help" from the federal government when they do so. One can only assume that that help is monetary, but I have a thought for Quebec:

    You wanted the registry all this time, you pay $1 Billion and it's yours. The federal government will, of course, delete all information from the rest of the provinces, leaving a registry with just Quebec names. How does that sound to them?

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    The problem with public servants

    ... is that they don't know what the public actually thinks is important anymore.

    Harper to be targeted by government union:

    The union has asked its members to lobby lawmakers in their constituencies, a strategy that could be especially effective in districts where Conservatives won by a narrow margin, Gordon said. The union will also try to sway public opinion by calling attention to any services that are cut as a result of the government’s efforts to eliminate the deficit.

    “We are going to let the community know what their” lawmakers have done, Gordon said. “There were a number of them that didn’t win with too many votes,” he said, referring to Conservative lawmakers.

    The problem with this strategy, is if the general public doesn't see a problem with a particular program getting cut then this strategy may backfire.  Think of it... if the average person, who sees the government spending record amounts and in a deficit position, is told that the government cut a program that doesn't affect them, are they really going to care?  They may actually be happy that the program was cut so that the government takes care of that deficit.

    Realistically, people are only going to care if it affects them directly in the pocketbook.  To be quite honest, it doesn't take 400,000 people to write a cheque.

    "Because you have the right to be asked"

    ... Except that you don't have the right to tell your neighbour what he or she can do with their grain, just like your neighbour has no right to tell you what you can do with yours.

    Let's put the CWB issue into perspective - if they have the right to tell you who you can or cannot sell your wheat and barley to, do they then have the right to tell you who you can sell your canola, peas, lentils, mustard or oats?  Can they then tell you that you MUST seed a certain number of acres of any single crop that you won't normally seed?  Can they then tell you that you aren't allowed to seed any crops at all?

    I know this is a slippery slope argument, but this issue isn't about the freedom of farmers to pool their grains together to get the best price.  This issue is about the freedom for some farmers to vote with their feet but to still produce a crop which is by far easier and less cost intensive to sow and harvest.  Nobody is saying that the CWB can't continue after August 2012, they're just saying that the CWB doesn't have the right to force only Western Canadian wheat and barley farmers to sell to one entity.  They're saying that the CWB must compete for your business, not take it for granted.  The ending of the monopoly will eventually have ancillary benefits by reducing the red tape involved in setting up manufacturing facilities in Western Canada to process the grain that is produced here, and it allows producers to sell their grains to those facilities without having to pay to haul it to the coast, even though the grain is going nowhere near the coast.

    CWB proponents may think that they have the right to choose whether the monopoly should stay or go, but in the end, if even 1 producer votes to get rid of it, then it should be gone.  Nobody should be forced to sell to someone they don't want to.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Skipped computer test blamed for StatsCan error

    Skipped computer test blamed for StatsCan error - Saskatchewan - CBC News

    Of course, the real story is... "We screwed up, give us more money and more unfettered access to personal information."

    The documents do not indicate why the crucial test was omitted, but refer in general to "challenges in regards to funding and finding IT expertise for IT conversion, especially given the complexity and scope of the project."
    I don't care how many computer glitches you have in your data, a knowledgeable professional should have known that the information was wrong and ensured that the release wasn't done. A knowledgeable professional would have acknowledged the error and been transparent in the revision of the numbers, especially when they almost triple the growth forecast for the province. In fact, and knowledgeable professional DID spot the error and question it.

    Unfortunately for Statistics Canada, that knowledgeable professional was with RBC.

    The "Human Right" to procreate

    I’m sorry Miss Pearce, I may be soft-hearted but I’m not soft-headed. I refuse to work hard and pay for your “human right” to sponge, and rear a child who will sponge with you.

    Read it all

    H/T: Charles Adler

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Like getting beaten over the head with a big fat Rainbow stick

    As I watched this video, the only thing I could think was that Rob Ford made the right decision in not bowing to the pressure.  Not necessarily because I didn't think he should go, but because this would have happened regardless of if he had shown up.

    Just once though, I would like to see an activist actually think about the imagery that they are portraying.  The fact that they are on camera bashing Ford (in effigy) with a big stick with a rainbow handle tells you all you need to know about their frame of mind and that Pride week isn't about pride anymore.

    h/t Canadian Conservative

    Celestial Junk: Ahhhh!

    From: Celestial Junk: Ahhhh!

    10:1 ratio Democrats to Republicans, and people call Fox News unbalanced???


    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Gore: Population Needs to ‘Stabilize’ to Prevent Global Warming

    Gore: Population Needs to ‘Stabilize’ to Prevent Global Warming - By Nat Brown - Planet Gore - National Review Online

    ... from its related story at Weekly World News:

    Al Gore believes that the sterilization should be voluntary – at first – “women who are evolved will volunteer to be sterilized for the greater good for planet.” BUT, if women do not choose to sterilize themselves, Al Gore believes that the government should force women (under 25) to be sterilized.
    “We have to take drastic steps to save the planet. There are too many people – we must take aggressive action or we will all be dead,” Gore said in a speech Monday in New York.
    “When the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices – then women can have babies again.”
    I actually have a better idea, and it doesn't involve messing with the reproductive health of women world wide, although it is just as horrible. It's so simple, that I should patent it...

    Ready for it?

    Euthanize those over 75. In essence, outlaw Great Grandparents.

    Now, bear with me here, it's not as horrible as it seems. The essence of everything that's wrong with society comes down to costs. Pensions and health care being paramount. We raise an outcry because we may have to pay a very good pension to bureaucrats for decades after their working life because we don't know how long they will live. We bristle (at least, I bristle) whenever I hear someone advocating the reform of CPP in order to double the payouts to people already on the plan. We constantly have to plan our retirements around the uncertainty of our natural lives. It's generally accepted that the majority of the health care costs for a person come at the end of their life. By implementing this idea, we can avoid all of those costs, all of that uncertainty.

    Not only does this serve to reduce costs to the various levels of government, it also serves to help government in another way - there will be a set term for tax deferral vehicles such as RRSPs and RRIFs. You will force people to cash in their tax deferred accounts earlier which will result in windfall tax receipts by the government. These tax receipts can reduce the amount of tax that the average person will pay.

    It's generally accepted that someone who passes away in their 70s and beyond have lived a good long life. This is a common refrain, presumably to help the bereaved deal with their loss, but it does ring with some truth. So why don't we lock 'er in as they say? At that age, a person is generally much less productive in society anyways, so why don't we allow them to pass on?

    Sadly, this would mean another 12 years of Mr. Gore. I guess there is a downside to everything.

    Update:  Since one commenter already missed the point, I would like to point out that this was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  The fact that someone mistook this for me actually believing in euthanasia for the elderly means that I have to work on my "dripping with sarcasm writing style".

    Woman accused of spraying cops with breast milk

    Woman accused of spraying cops with breast milk | Weird | News | Ottawa Sun

    One thing's for sure... the kid'll have to spend a couple days on formula while she sobers up.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Rob Ford No Pride

    Rob Ford No Pride : News : SunNews Video Gallery

    Why is it so important that Rob Ford shows up to Gay Pride week? What possible reason is there to actually WANT an alleged homophobe at the event?

    What could possibly be going through these people's minds to want the attention and the validation of someone who doesn't share that lifestyle? Is it narcissism or lack of self-esteem that makes them crave that attention? Or is it simply a case of the media hammering home their own agenda trying to fix something that doesn't need to be fixed.

    See, the math is simple. Mr. Ford is making a choice to continue a long standing family tradition on his holiday weekend. These voters can CHOOSE to not elect him next election. I doubt that the election will hinge on whether he attends the pride parade, but it is a consideration. It's also a consideration that he treats the LGBT community no different than the straight community - that is treats it as equal and no different than anyone else.

    ... and really, isn't that the whole purpose behind the parade in the first place? To show that the LGBT community members are no different than anyone else?

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals "Think"

    Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals "Think" | The Heritage Foundation

    What happens is, they are indoctrinated into what I call a "cult of indiscriminateness." The way the elite does this is by teaching our children, start­ing with the very young, that rational and moral thought is an act of bigotry; that no matter how sin­cerely you may seek to gather the facts, no matter how earnestly you may look at the evidence, no matter how disciplined you may try to be in your reasoning, your conclusion is going to be so tainted by your personal bigotries, by your upbringing, by your religion, by the color of your skin, by the nation of your great-great-great-great-great grandfa­ther's birth; that no matter what your conclusion, it is useless. It is nothing other than the reflection of your bigotries, and the only way to eliminate bigot­ry is to eliminate rational thought.
    There's a brilliant book out there called The Clos­ing of the American Mind by Professor Allan Bloom. Professor Bloom was trying to figure out in the 1980s why his students were suddenly so stupid, and what he came to was the realization, the recog­nition, that they'd been raised to believe that indis­criminateness is a moral imperative because its opposite is the evil of having discriminated. I para­phrase this in my own works: "In order to eliminate discrimination, the Modern Liberal has opted to become utterly indiscriminate."
    I'll give you an example. At the airports, in order not to discriminate, we have to intentionally make ourselves stupid. We have to pretend we don't know things we do know, and we have to pretend that the next person who is likely to blow up an airplane is as much the 87-year-old Swedish great-great-grand­mother as those four 27-year-old imams newly arrived from Syria screaming "Allahu Akbar!" just before they board the plane. In order to eliminate discrimination, the Modern Liberal has opted to become utterly indiscriminate.
    A very interesting (and long) read

    Update: or watch the video:

    h/t: Blog Quebecois and Blazing Cat Fur

    Learn to pick your battles

    Lest you get a Giant Metal Chicken (Language caution... viewer discretion is advised)...

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall recalls legislature to force end to SGEU crop insurance strike

    Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall recalls legislature to force end to SGEU crop insurance strike | News Talk 650 CKOM

    The first time in a month that we hear a peep out of Mr. Lingenfelter, and this is what we get:

    NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter wants to see the bill before he makes any decisions. He is, however, accusing the premier of playing politics, insisting the government could have avoided the current situation by making a deal with the union at any time in the 21 months they've been without a contract.

    "Now in the middle of the flooding he's trying to look like he's saving the day when he could have solved this problem months ago," Lingenfelter insists.

    You see, it's obvious that Mr. Lingenfelter has never worked in anything resembling a management position in a company. And this, quite frankly, is reason number 45930 that I never want Mr. Lingenfelter anywhere near the province's tiller or books. To assert that it was just a matter of making a deal with the union shows what he would have done in this situation. He would have caved to their demands. They would have received everything that they wanted, no matter how unreasonable.

    Now, factor in that you have a governing party that the unions don't like with their hand on the rudder of the province, and simply making a deal is much easier said than done. Interesting though that the first time we've heard from Mr. Lingenfelter since the session ended would be to obfuscate on whether his party would support a back-to-work bill and then belittle the government's efforts to obtain a fair deal for the taxpayers of Saskatchewan. Makes me wonder whose side he's on.

    Private-Public Wage Disparities

    Private-Public Wage Disparities: FCPP - Frontier Centre for Public Policy

    According to a CFIB 2008 study, taxpayers would save $19-billion a year if publicsector wages were equalized with private-sector ones. And that only includes those civil servants with direct private sector equivalents -in other words, no police, firefighters, etc. were included.

    That's an amazing figure.  $19 billion.  That's almost 10% of the federal budget, and make no mistake, the federal budget makes up the brunt of that figure.

    The opposition were asking where the $4 Billion hole in the Conservative plans to cut spending are... this is it right here.  The media party should be trumpeting this from every platform they could find... if they had a mind towards really making sure the cuts happened rather than just trying to embarrass the governing party.  Some of Mr. Levitt's proposals on how to change bargaining in the public sector are very interesting:

    First, fire the advisors and lawyers who have brought us to this precipice and are comfortable with conceding.

    Second, take tough positions at the bargaining table and, if the union strikes (which they are less likely to if they believe this will occur), make sure the cost of the strike is taken out of the employees future salaries and benefits before the strike is settled. With one not-for-profit client I negotiated for, we told the team-sters every time our offer was rejected, the next would be less. On the third offer, they believed us and accepted the reduced offer. The next time they didn't strike.

    Third, the government should pass legislation requiring arbitrators to make comparable salary and benefits in the private sector their main criteria. Couple that with provisions requiring them to adjust wages up or down to accomplish that. If that occurred, ordering workers back to work would have teeth.
    Read it all

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    On his birthday...

    It's appropriate to show some of his most memorable quotes

    Re: Kill The Senate?

    BACK OFF GOVERNMENT!: Kill The Senate?: "NDP Pat Martin's plan to kill the senate: “ We may not be able to abolish the Senate by constitutional amendment, but we can cut off its bl..."

    Secondly, this isn't that bad of an idea for the Tories. So long as the senate refuses to pass reform legislation we can say "fine, we'll cut the taps off."
    I would point out to the author that Mr. Harper did start to cut the taps off... not through adjusting salaries which most assuredly would have to go through the Parliament, but by merely not appointing Senators to the chamber. In fact, I suspect that's his plan after the last round of appointments.

    In the last appointments, Mr. Harper filled 3 out of 4 vacancies. He never stated why he didn't fill that fourth vacancy, but as others including myself have pointed out - he doesn't need that fourth senator to maintain a plurality if not a majority throughout the next 4.5 years of government. I don't think Mr. Harper plans to fill any more vacancies until he has honestly attempted to get a reform bill through the Senate.

    The problem is that the Senators themselves (mostly Liberals) decried the tactic the last time he tried it. They even went so far as to attempt to push a bill through that requested that the Governor General appoint Senators without the advice of the Prime Minister.

    Nope, if I were the Senators, I would make minor adjustments to the bill - like amending it to add more years to the term limit, but I would let it pass. There are just some positions that are indefensible.

    Crop insurance employees walk

    Crop insurance employees walk

    Alan Evans, chair of the SGEU negotiating committee, said the province's offer of 1.5 per cent, two per cent and two per cent pay increases over three years, for a total of 5.5 per cent, is unacceptable.

    The SCIC said the union has formally withdrawn its initial wage demand of 7.75 per cent over three years and now has no monetary demand on the table.

    You know? I can understand when the sides are 10% different and nobody is budging that a strike may or may not be appropriate. I don't understand why they can't just negotiate, both sides move and get it done.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    You know it's wet when...

    I wonder how the artist feels about this addition to her art.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Darth Vader, Star Wars

    First the article (Top 10 Worst fictional dads ever):

    #3 - Darth Vader, Star Wars

    As Darth Vader, a half human, half cyborg who relishes his attempts to control the galaxy, Anakin Skywalker was the deadbeat dad. He waited years before entering the lives of his children, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, and when he did, his involvement was mostly as a sinister dark overlord attempting to kill them. So the next time your father cuts off your driving privileges, just be glad he didn't cut off your hand and immediately reveal the paternity-test results.

    and then the rebuttal:

    For almost 20 years, Darth Vader didn't even know he had children. Did you know that, TIME Magazine? Did you uncover that in your research? But unlike so many other deadbeat dads, the moment he found out, he took responsibility for his son, even saying on camera, "Luke, I am your father." He didn't even ask for a paternity test. Would the third worst father ever really do that, TIME Magazine?

    But you should read it all

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    A politician gets to the root of the CWB issue...

    "We want to give farmers in Western Canada the same options as farmers in Ontario have."
    -Gerry Ritz

    It's a short hit with audio from Mr. Ritz.  Definitely worth a look.

    Cops not probing murky MP costs

    Cops not probing murky MP costs

    Liberal Leader Bob Rae said police are free to investigate the matter once it is in the media, but it may not be necessary in this case.

    "If you find that a mistake was made or you find that there was a genuine misunderstanding of what the rules were and how they were to be applied, there are many situations in the workplace as well as elsewhere where people say ‘Well, this doesn’t look to us like a police matter,’ " he said.


    Why has the Conservative Party been taken to court over "In and Out".

    It's a simple thing - if it's illegal, then it should be prosecuted. One would think, however, that racking up 5 years of rental expenses (at about 20Gs per year) would be more than a "misunderstanding". Maybe some of the MPs who "misinterpreted" SHOULD be punished in warning to the rest of their colleagues.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Riots erupt in Vancouver after Stanley Cup loss

    Gallery: Riots erupt in Vancouver after Stanley Cup loss

    Whether you like it or not, THIS is what happens when there aren't enough police officers on hand cracking skulls and dispersing the crowd.

    I wonder when the first outcry of police brutality will surface...

    Country would lose money to privatize the CEEB

    From the Globe and Mail:

    A privatized CBC that would commission less Canadian content, spend more money on foreign programming and compete more heavily with existing broadcasters for ad revenue would generate only $1.16-billion in overall economic activity. Meanwhile, the economic impact of redirecting the CBC’s grant back into general revenues would be $1.8-billion, assuming the money was used according to the government’s current spending profile. But other private broadcasters and media would take a $500-million hit to their economic impact as they faced a new commercial competitor. So Deloitte’s final measure is that privatization would leave the Canadian economy with a loss of about $1.3-billion – or, in the language of the report, the CBC’s net value added is $1.3-billion.
    Now, I'm sure that Deloitte did the evaluation based on established methods, and I have no doubt that they had no political motivation.  I question the CBC's motivation for requesting this study, but they are acting in their self-interest, if not mine.

    Here's the thing though - Deloitte is assuming that the CBC would continue on exactly as it is currently operating, and that the industry would suffer if the CBC had to compete for all those dollars with everyone else.  Deloitte also assumes that the government wouldn't do something with that additional $1.1 Billion like doing a big fat corporate tax cut that will create jobs and additional economic activity.

    Rbairos has it correct:

    Lets think this through:

    The government takes a 1.1 billion of your tax dollars to generate 1.3 billion in economic activity.  I wonder what economic activity *we the private sector* could generate with A BILLION dollars annually?  Since when has the government *EVER* outperformed the market in anything?
    I'd like to see what their study would say about how the economy does with an extra billion dollars in the hands of people who invest and grow.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    And now... another Epic mealtime

    "Are you serious?"
    "Dead Serious."

    The Paul Martin Guide to Cutting Deficits

    The Paul Martin Guide to Cutting Deficits: FCPP - Frontier Centre for Public Policy

    Most importantly, the Chrétien-era Liberals were able to balance the
    budget, "not with large tax increases, but with substantial cuts in government
    spending." Federal spending as a percentage of GDP went from 18% in 1993 to 13%
    in 2009. And the Canadian economy prospered because of it.

    During this period, the unemployment rate fell from a high of 11.4% in 1993
    to 6% in 2007, according to Statistics Canada. Moreover, as the government cut
    spending, more resources were freed up for the private sector. As a result,
    Canada experienced high growth rates of 4-5% between 1997 and 2000.

    Let's give credit where it's due... If it wasn't for Mr. Mulroney's maneuvering to get the GST through the Senate and to get NAFTA done very little of that growth would have happened, regardless of the government's spending levels.

    Sure, when a government makes cuts that deeply, it is a strong signal to business that taxes won't go up and that now is a good time to buy that new piece of equipment, however the switch to the GST did more to take a tax burden off business than any amount of government spending cuts will do.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    The pettiness of the media, a juxtaposition

    I have to agree with BC Blue on this topic.  I just spent the whole afternoon listening to newscasts every half hour where the pompous, self-righteous jackaninny on the radio lead off with this story in that "uh-oh, look what the bad boy did now" gossipy tone.  And in reality, this is as much of a story as a local story in Saskatchewan not too long ago.

    Now, it's not a perfect juxtaposition, but the concept is still there.  On the national stage, Mr. Harper is paying the commercial rate for plane tickets for his daughter and himself to travel to Boston for the game tonight.  Of course, he needs to take security with him wherever he goes and as such it's likely cheaper to take the jet that is there for his use in order to haul all of them rather than actually flying commercial.  It's actually entirely likely that the commercial rate that he'll pay would cover the fuel and pilot costs for the 6 hour round trip.

    Now, compare that to our story in Saskatchewan, where the Leader of the Opposition was caught with his CVA vehicle in Colorado, where it was driven and left there with his wife and daughter while he flew back to attend the Legislature.  Now he says that he reimburses the province fully using a mileage rate, and that it was perfectly normal for him to use his fuel card to fill up the car, however there is something that didn't sit right with me.  As I mentioned in the post, if that were true, it would have been at least as cheap, if not much cheaper, for Mr. Lingenfelter to just rent a vehicle in Colorado for use down there rather than taking his CVA vehicle with him.

    Now the difference between these situations?  The Conservative is smeared repeatedly during news casts all day while not a peep is said during newscasts about the NDP Leader of the Provincial Opposition.  In fact, the only way that I heard about it was through the morning talk show where he replayed the news conference and discussed it for a half hour.  In both situations, the politician was acting within established policies.  The only real difference in the principle was that one was a Conservative and the other NDP.

    Gormley was right - it wasn't worth pursuing by the press when it was the NDP Leader in Saskatchewan, and it most certainly isn't worth mentioning with the Prime Minister.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    If a strike becomes the death blow for a business

    Should the striking workers get employment insurance?

    Mail volumes dropped by as much as half since strikes started: Canada Post

    All this strike is really doing is pushing people to alternative methods to ensure that their correspondence arrives in a timely manner. The only people who are using mail are those that have to use mail. When your volume drops by half during a strike, it isn't because people are necessarily sympathetic to the union cause, it's that they have had enough with an underperforming pseudo-crown corporation that costs more to deliver less service. The true test will be how much of that volume comes back post-strike.

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Puzzling Economics In Teachers' Union Negotiations | Canadian Taxpayers Federation

    Puzzling Economics In Teachers' Union Negotiations Canadian Taxpayers Federation

    The teachers union will argue that it’s difficult to pay teachers based on performance because many factors impact a student’s grade that are beyond a teacher’s control. That’s true, but at the same time, mankind has walked on the moon. Surely we can come up with a better model that’s fair for teachers and taxpayers; and is better than the status quo.

    If you pull aside a teacher you respect and ask them who the best teachers are in their school, they can tell you. So why not make peer evaluation and principal observation part of the criteria?

    One thing is for sure, the system needs a shake-up. It should begin with an economics lesson for the teachers’ union and a new pay system to help the best teachers out there.
     Just an addition to Mr. Craig's point here.  It isn't just peer evaluation and principal observation that will break the current model and allow for merit pay for teachers, you need to also survey parents.  Yes, some parents may have an axe to grind, and yes, there is more to a child's performance in school than just the teacher's actions.  That being said, there ARE ways to reward and encourage young go-getter teachers without also rewarding the lazy and uninspired.  You can set steps based on evaluation of peers and administration, you can set a portion of the step based on evaluation by parents, you can set part of the step based on the results in the classroom (ie average advancement of students based on standardized testing), you can add bonus amounts for each activity led.  You can include lunch and recess supervision as part of the 6 hour work day.  You can ensure that all teachers can write off the supplies they purchase and use in their classrooms.  There are a lot of ways to reward behaviour which is helpful to the students and the employer while penalizing the behaviour which is unhelpful.

    Of course, that isn't what the union wants - to allow anyone to be punished for their behaviour, but this is how it works in the real world. 

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Dad goes cyber-begging for house

    Sun News : Dad goes cyber-begging for house

    The Maloneys and their daughters, ages two and four, have lived in a three-bedroom townhouse in London for nearly five years. It doesn't have a fully fenced backyard, their yard backs onto a busy roadway, and rent is $900 a month -- a payment that gets harder to reach every week, Maloney said.
    A laid-off manufacturing plant worker, Maloney went back to school to become a registered nurse. But the bills started to pile up, so the 29-year-old took a job as a personal support worker.
    The family tried getting a mortgage, but were rejected because of what he called "stupid mistakes with credit cards" when he was younger.
    And so, in desperation, he turned to the Internet, setting up a blog asking for someone to buy his family a modest house.
    "I'm willing to risk extreme embarrassment for even the smallest chance that someone would see it," he said.
    First off, he's renting a 3 bedroom townhouse for $900, and he's complaining about it?


    And the only issue is that it isn't fully fenced? Really?

    I can't imagine the mindset that a person has to have to beg for someone to buy them a home rather than to do the heavy lifting involved in acquiring one for themselves, if that's what they need. I can't imagine what goes through a person's mind to expect someone else to pay for your mistakes rather than finding a second job and supplementing your income to afford the house you're in. I can't imagine what goes through your mind that makes it all right to beg for someone else to fix your problem when the solution may be to find a 2 bedroom house with a fenced backyard and force your children to share a bedroom.

    The fact is that a couple with suitably flexible full time jobs could work minimum wage and earn enough to pay $900/month for rent, as long as the rest of their lifestyle is limited. They could own and operate 1 vehicle, and they can buy their food in bulk like any other family. Steak becomes "tube steak", and eating out becomes a treat rather than a regular occurrence. They can do the heavy lifting of repairing their credit so that when things turn around for them, they can purchase a home of their own. If they're REALLY having trouble, this is the type of situation that social housing (at least in Saskatchewan) is designed for, however in Saskatchewan they wouldn't pay much less on monthly rent. All of these are suggestions which could have been done before turning to cyber-begging.

    I weep for a society where it's acceptable to beg for someone else to solve your problem, but I am glad that his wife is mortified - it gives me hope for the future. I would like to say one more thing to Mr. Maloney though:

    There are plenty of high-paying jobs in Saskatchewan. All he needs to do is look.

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Chances Are....

    Fellow contributor Aldo writes:

    I heard Adler this afternoon, and Menzoid made a joke about the hick part of Saskatchewan....

    It actually ticked me off...

    I started thinking...

    To you all Torontoans that like to make Saskatchewan the butt of your jokes....

    Chances are...

    The next time you put gas in your car... chances are... it is from Saskatchewan.
    The next time you eat a piece of bread or eat pasta... chances are... the wheat is from Saskatchewan.
    The next time you grumble about the deficit... chances are... it wasn't because of Saskatchewan.
    The next time you fertilize your lawn... chances are... the potash is from Saskatchewan.
    The next time you look at your diamond ring... chances are... the diamond is from Saskatchewan.
    The next time your CFL team is beaten... chances are... it was because of Saskatchewan.

    Posties walk off the job in Winnipeg

    Posties walk off the job in Winnipeg | Winnipeg | News | Winnipeg Sun

    The strike began in Winnipeg because that's where Canada Post began its modernization program with high-tech mail processing systems.

    The union blames Canada Post's modernization program for health and safety problems and has made sick leave a major issue in the negotiations.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had a discussion about unions with my uncle. For years, he was highly placed in Health administration, not to mention at Ipsco (which he described as having the toughest union in North America), and as such, I assumed that he didn't look very favourably on unions. I got schooled on that day, and listened to his arguments, but one of my counter arguments was that unions get in the way of businesses doing what they need to do to survive.

    Nowhere is that more evident than with Canada Post. To specifically point out that they are starting a strike in the heart of Post's modernization program speaks volumes to the true motivation of the workers and the union in this negotiation. The fact that CUPW won't go out on general strike also speaks volumes about what they think their chances will be to get a satisfactory resolution from Canada Post.

    From their point of view, I get it. They see Canada Post becoming less and less viable as email, electronic services and the internet begin to take over the market place, giving customers instantaneous service virtually free as internet has become commonplace in the home. They see this and they're scared as heck, and really, who can blame them? Will it be too far off where people can willingly opt out of a mailing address due to the decreasing use of "snail mail"? Personally, I only check my mailbox every week or so, and of the mail that is actually useful to me, most of it goes unopened as I can already access the information on the internet. Few of the packages I receive through the mail can't be received via courier - whether it's DHL, Loomis, Purolator, FedEx or the like.

    I get that by CUPW doing a general strike, they run the risk of the public finding out just how irrelevant Canada Post actually is. This puts the union in a much worse bargaining position both now and in the future, and forces them to accept much less than they would otherwise accept. This is the failure of the union - that no matter how benevolent the union can be, they can't get blood from a stone. If the company or the management can't afford what is being asked for, the union can strike all they want but they won't get it.

    An interesting use of moving sidewalks...

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    U2: disagree with the politics, love the music

    The U2 show I attended last night reminded me why some bands are timeless.  I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I enjoyed the evening, even with the minimal preaching that Bono did.

    But something bothered my girlfriend after the show.  We agreed that as minimal as the preaching was, U2 is a band that feels very strongly about some of their causes and makes no bones about using their popularity to promote those causes.

    What got the girlfriend though, was how they achieved that popularity in the first place.  This is a band that supports Greenpeace, and yet uses the resources of a small city for each and every tour stop they make.  This is a band that uses up to 450 semis to transport their stage and setup (and keep in mind that they, like many other big acts, have 2 set ups to allow for faster turnarounds on their shows).  This is a band that sucks up enough electricity during each concert to power a small city for the day.  This is a band that makes no bones about flying around the world to tour and to meet with world leaders while supporting an organization which seeks to limit the amount of resources each person uses.  All of these didn't sit right with my girlfriend.

    What didn't sit right with me is that for all the lobbying of world leaders, for all the social activism, for all their so-called power, you never hear of U2 putting any skin of their own into those games.  You never hear of them using some of their own money to solve these problems.  This, despite the fact that their tour grosses $10 million per night and netted them $130 million in earnings for the year ended June 30, 2010.

    It would be very easy for them to bump their ticket price by $10 with the extra money going directly to a specific cause (like the One campaign among others).  This alone would have seen contributions of $30 million for the last measured year.  Alternatively, they could pressure Ticketmaster or Live Nation to give the option to donate with each ticket purchase, allowing those who want to donate to do so, and those who don't to not be forced to donate.  They could also consider giving 10% of their own net to their causes just to make sure that it looks like they are doing more than talking.

    In the end, it's good that they are talking about their causes, but talk is cheap.  Their tour is a huge platform to talk, but if they aren't willing to put their own money and resources on the table, why should we?

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    Teachers' work to rule campaign begins

    CTV Saskatchewan - Teachers' work to rule campaign begins - CTV News

    The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation launched its work to rule campaign Monday, despite the decision to return to the bargaining table Sunday.

    Starting Monday teachers will not participate in extra-curricular activities until further notice, which could have an impact on graduation ceremonies.

    So my question is, why should we expect any different from teachers normally? To put it another way, why aren't all those "extra-curricular" activities codified into the teaching contract?

    At what point in history was it decided that a school should have sanctioned teams, that those teams need to be supervised by teachers, and that that supervision by teachers is unpaid labour? How about school clubs?

    It's only fair that teachers be paid for that time if it isn't truly voluntary, but I will be honest - I don't support paying ALL teachers for the voluntary activities of a few.

    Similarly, when did it become standard practice to do field trips for all classes every year? How about ski trips? Provincial championships for sports? All of these things are secondary to the educational experience, and arguably not necessary to achieve good results, and yet these are things that are paid for using voluntary labour and the taxpayer who has to fund it to make sure that everything is "fair".

    If these activities aren't truly voluntary, then again, I don't support paying ALL teachers for the voluntary activities of a few.

    If the teachers were to negotiate a per club/activity/sport incentive I would be all for it. If teachers were to drop the idea that a class trip outside of the city and spanning more than the school day, than I would be good with that too. The problem is that they had been dangling these activities in front of students for the better part of a school year and then blaming the government when these activities get cancelled. That's not negotiation, that attempted blackmail, and it's why I think the teachers have already lost.