Saturday, August 30, 2008

A federal government subsidy that makes me Gag

Corporate welfare is despicable enough, it doesn't need any help.

I guess Harper wants the cemetery vote in Saint-Léonard.

<Google translation>

Yes, but it happened on your watch Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, said in an e-mail to the Canadian Press on Saturday that "Alfonso Gagliano receiving a loan from Farm Credit Canada was disturbing."

"The Conservative Government believes that money should go to help farmers, not former Liberal cabinet ministers," he said.

I find it hard to believe that an individual like Gagliano and his loan application could slip through the cracks no matter what the guidelines are. Weird at best, incompetent at the least.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Graham must put a moritorium on earmark funding

NB gov't promoting more subsidized failure in the Miramichi

Those that read this blog know I am absolutely no fan of pork barrel politics, especially when it comes in the form of a backdoor earmark request made specifically for local projects that are not vetted in the usual appropriations process nor administered by accountable individuals. Furthermore, many of these earmarks have already proven to be far from successful. Miramichi is simply proof of that! In other words, they didn't work ten years ago, and they don't work now. Yours truly believes it's high time that taxpayers dollars were used wisely, not to mention, fully vetted.

Moreover, it's not only time to scale back the Enterprise ring once and for all, but there must be a moratorium placed on legislative sponsored earmarks hidden under the guise of ACOA, CDT and BNB.

Pollster Frank Graves is wrong too

There has been much speculation on what PM Stephen Harper will do after he summons the opposition leaders to his chambers. Some (mostly pundits and journos) believe the meeting to be a foregone conclusion and that [he] will pull the plug on the up-and-coming fall parliamentary session thus making a visit to the Governor General to call an early election. Again, one of the main theories being bandied about for an early election is that the PM wants to get it out of the way before the US election in November as many foresee an Obama victory as a momentum booster for the Canadian Libs:
"Pollster Frank Graves, for one, predicts that a Barack Obama victory will result in a big push - possibly a three-point gain - for the Liberals. Hence the prime ministerial rush."
Heck, it all sounds good coming from Mr. Dithers former pollster, but for reasons I listed about a month ago, the two political situations are not conducive, so therefore, the momentum in favour of Dion is capricious at best. If anything, an Obama victory would mean bad news for Dion.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Interesting medals facts

Last week I was quite critical of those in the MSM who quickly jumped on Canada's slow start in Beijing by suggesting we need more funding for the Olympics via higher taxes. Not only have most of those scenics gone noticeably silent, they are oblivious to some interesting facts regarding Canada's medal production in conjunction to its population:
While many are quick to criticize Canada's "poor showing" at the Olympics, few are willing to define what "success" looks like. The criticism usually begins with something that compares us with the United States and ends with the usual call for throwing more taxpayer dollars at the "issue".

For obvious reasons we can't compare our Olympic medal total with the United States. For starters, their population of 300 million people is almost ten times that our nation's. Not to mention the fact that the United States has a much longer summer for training.

What would be appropriate when considering success for our nation, is Canada's medal haul on a per basis with other countries. Below is a per capita medal earnings comparison between Canada and the top ten medal earning nations.

1) Australia 1:572,222
2) United Kingdom 1:1,691,666
3) South Korea 1:2,050,000
4) France 1:2,133,333
5) CANADA 1:2,553,846
6) Italy 1:2905000
7) Germany 1:2,942,857
8) Russia 1:3,126,666
9) United States 1:3,845,569
10) Japan 1:5,534,782
11) China 1:16,835,443

Suddenly, Canada's one medal for every 2,553,846 people is looking pretty respectable. As you can see, when compared with the top ten medal earning nations, Canada places fifth. Those that are keen on comparing us with the United States can take solace in the fact that on a per capita basis, their nation currently ranks 9th.

Further, as Kevin pointed out, our current total of 13 medals has already passsed the 2004 total of 12. Perhaps it's time for the critics to stop bashing our nation's "poor showing" and to start by cheering our men and women on for their great showing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Olympic dream tax" and funding not the answer

There's no question that Canada is seriously struggling at the Olympic games in Beijing this week. It's so bad that at the pace the team is on right now, our combined medal count for Athens '04 (12 medals) and Beijing will not only be less then a few third world countries --- and North Korea who don't have power at night --- it may well be less then a single US athlete. Can you say "sucking big time"?

Yes, as Canadians, historically we are good natured in that we tend to focus more on participation rather then domination, but some have even maintained that our medal problems exist because we are a nation full of lame excuses. Here are my favorites from Charles Adler:

1) We cannot do well at the Summer Games because we are a northern country. Whattttttttttttttttttttttt? You mean you have to live in a southern country to do well at Weightlifting, or Basketball, or Swimming, or Diving, or dozens of other indoor sports?

Do the winners on the winning teams all live on ocean-beach property where they just swim with the dolphins? Now if only Canadian kids had the opportunities of those spoiled beach boys growing up in North Korea - we too would have seven medals by now like they do.

2) Our government doesn't care enough. Whattttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt?
You mean the polls show this is an issue. The polls show Canadians really want the government to make national athletic achievement a priority? Political parties have an issue that is biting them in the backside - and they cannot feel it. Why can't we just admit that it doesn't matter very much to an overwhelming majority of us? If it did, a political party would swim faster than Michael Phelps to grab the gold on this issue! Every political party in this country is flying around mindlessly in the dark, a rabid blind bat, looking for an issue. If this was an issue, even the blind bats of politics would see it and seize it.

3) We don't want to win “too much” and celebrate “too much” and venerate “too Much” and hero worship “too much”. That would risk turning us into a nation of gloating Americans. As long as we don't perform well on the world athletic stage in the Summer Games, the biggest games, the ones where most of the world shows up, well as long as we aren't too competitive there, we don't run the risk of looking like we are aping the Americans. After all that is the measure of a good Canadian. We must never be too loud, too boisterous, too spontaneous, too celebratory, too triumphalist - too visible. Being invisible guarantees us that nobody could mistake for Americans.

Anyway, all these excuses and finger pointing remind me of something I read by Mark Spector in the National Post today regarding our lack of medals at these games:

"We know that back home, Canadians aren't expecting miracles. But a medal would be nice, wouldn't it?

But tell me that, back home, we're not asking each other again, "Why are we so bad at the Olympics?"

If we are, then here's something else you may have heard before: You get what you pay for at the Olympics. Medals don't fall out of trees - not at the Summer Games. They come through sheer volume of legitimate medal chances, and the countries with most darts come away with the most hardware.

So basically, here's the deal, Canada: We could be the New York Yankees, and show up here with a far greater percentage of athletes who are capable of winning - not just competing - at this level.

But it will come out of your tax dollars."

In some respects I do agree that we need more funding if we are to succeed (and place in the top three in the world). However, from what I do know, too much of that funding goes to fat Canadian Olympic bureaucrats rather then the coaches and athletes who need it. So essentially, more funding would not only mean more bureaucrats would get a free vacation to an exotic location on our dime, it would mean that our podium woes would continue to go unresolved.

Higher taxes is definitely not the answer to our low medal count.

Related: Canada's swim team suffers one-two punch, Canadians settle again for best-evers, Canadian relay team fades to fifth, Early exit for Canada's doubles team, Canada shut out in pool medal hunt, Canadians remain shut out of medals, No medals, no problem.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Citizen input v consultant led unilateralism

I see the government of this western province is looking for even more participation from its citizens on critical issues and decisions while we default to a bunch of consultants that not only have no clue what the public is thinking, they don't directly represent them either. Gee, I wonder what formula will be more successful in the long run.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

David Freddoso: Obama not an agent of change

Here's an excerpt below which I found interesting from an exclusive Human Events interview with David Freddoso:
The main lesson is that Barack Obama’s record, throughout his career, demonstrates conclusively that he has never been a reformer, that this image of “change and hope” that he projects is really a great lie. In fact there’s never been a single time in Senator Obama’s political career where he did something that was difficult and would cost him politically for the sake of needed reforms and change.


Just to give a few examples from my book, chapter one discusses at length Sen. Obama’s support for and alliances with Chicago machine politicians, that’s chapters one and two.

The “political machine” is all about using the apparatus of the government treasury, using the taxpayer’s money to keep yourself in power permanently. You put your political cronies on the payroll to help yourself get elected and re-elected and then when you’re in power you get to do things like steer pension funds and investment to benefit your pals. All of this stuff was going on.
Reminds me a lot of how Shawn Graham was portrayed by the public (an agent of positive change) prior to him entering the premier's office. Now that he is in, it's obvious from the outset that he was never about reforming economic policy or making decision that would benefit everyday NBers and our province's future. On the contrary, the most critical decisions made [economically] by this government have benefited former politicos (think strip malls, golf courses and firms that daddy sits on the board for), not to mention, there are a slew of Liberal friendly consultants and cronies living off the public purse. Quite sad since there are thousands of NBers currently struggling to make ends meet on nothing more then a minimum wage salary.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Government using taxpayer's $$ to buy good press?

It's no secret that the Telegraph Journal's press coverage has been overly generous to the government under premier Graham since they gained power, but if these allegations prove to be true, they are taking the relationship to a whole new "legally shaky" level --- or should I say altitude.

Not to mention, a relationship allegedly funded by New Brunswick taxpayers. This is not good folks.

I hope someone looks into this for the sake of taxpayers. I guess it's time for the CBC to get off their neutral fence post and start digging.

ACOA: Wasting taxpayers money since 1987

CH: "Taxpayers have picked up the tab for a group of Newfoundland junior high school students to attend a world Lego robotics competition in Atlanta, Ga., for the past five years.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the economic development agency for the region, has paid for a group of about 10 students and two coaches to travel to Georgia for the event from St. Francis School, a junior high school in Harbour Grace, every April since 2004, at a total cost of $53,861."


"ACOA’s mandate is regional economic development, not Lego-building," said Mr. Williamson. "This is a question of federal priorities and the federal government putting money into Lego building blocks as opposed to infrastructure in this part of the country.

Mr. Williamson said it was "absurd" to spend money on a Lego contest when there are wharfs and sidewalks that need repairing. "There are so many areas in which the government could spend money here in Atlantic Canada," he said. "And $10,000 to $15,000 handed to a municipality for infrastructure could be meaningful."

Funny thing is this callow junket fell under their business development program. Nice one fellas. {H/T Lee Harding}

I guess it's easy to see why there is so much "waste" and "mismanagement" in New Brunswick when it comes to these regional development programs as it's usually the same old business development hacks that end up with the earmarked cash (taxpayer's money) at the end of the day. In other words, judging from the state of economic affairs in this province over the last three decades, it's safe to say that our money has been in the wrong hands, or better yet, ended up in the wrong hands from the wrong hands.

Time to give it back to the taxpayer bubs.

Good reads: ACOA: The Lost Decade, 2005 Pre-election Spend-O-Meter, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Another Subsidy Wave Crashes Into Atlantic Canada, 2004 Pre-election Spending.