Friday, January 2, 2009

Start off the New Year w/t a new tax cut

Gotta love it. Plus, for personal taxpayers, the new tax-free savings account [TFSA], which came into effect just yesterday, is perfect timing. Happy New Year!


On both sides of the border.

Update - EI, EI, OHHHHHHH!

Off the subject of tax cuts, I agree with Monte Solberg on this one, especially since I have viewed the darkside of EI in my home province of New Brunswick. Let's just say, there has to be incentives restored to ensure ppl go to work a majority of the 52 week work period. Having too many of your citizens relying on EI (when they don't need to be) is not only damaging to those who chose this route, it is (as Monte says) a drag on entrepreneurship, initiative and creativity. Essentials for a healthy economy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Savoie & Senate Reform

I don't find myself agreeing with a lot that Professor Savoie says with regards to the economy and Atlantic Canada, but i do agree with his views on senate reform. Although, it's a measure that must be done in the name of democracy, not to tout more pet projects, corporate welfare and regional development. That approach hasn't worked for decades with an appointed senate and it won't work with an elected one either.

Btw, it's too bad Savoie is coming out with this now as he could have counseled Graham on (or even prevented) his decision to throw a monkey wrench into the senate Bill S-4 back in 07. Oh well.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Conservatives back down on subsidy reform for political parties

Update: If this poll isn't proof that parliament, mainly the opposition, is at a disconnect with real Canadians on the ground, I don't know what is. Glad to see the public/voter is once again the voice of reason when it comes to taxpayers dollars in Canada.


Let's just say I'm very disappointed they blinked on this one as you know how much I dislike subsidies and/or corporate welfare, especially when they're earmarked to parties that want to break the country up. Looks like the fat wallets of political parties are the winners and taxpayers the losers, even in these tough, recessionary times.

Although, I see it [annual subsidies to political parties] all may be just cover for larger cuts to the overall size of government and its daily operations. H/T Kevin Gaudet

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Debating the debate to nicely debate

If this isn't a harbinger of things to comein parliament, I don't know what is. From Silver-Powers:

Rob always teases me about borrowing material from the Conservative War Room. Today, I am appropriating some from my Liberal friends, particularly their commentary about the NDP and Bloc, sadly and reflexively saying they oppose the Speech from the Throne - well just because they do. It is unfortunate some people can't demonstrate enough maturity to recognize there are bigger issues at play than simple partisan politics. Anyway Rob, here are the points from your war room:
-- Once again the NDP and the Bloc are proving that they are nothing more than professional opposition parties.
-- Canadians don't want partisan bickering, they want solutions to this serious economic crisis.
Arguing about not arguing. Go figure. (H/T Tim Powers)

Monday, November 10, 2008

If this isn't a case for electoral reform...

...I don't know what is? From Andrew Coyne's Blog:

"I’ve seen this graph in a couple of places, but as someone sent it to me I’ll post it here. It combines falling turnout with growing electoral fragmentation to track the decline over successive federal elections in the winning party’s “mandate,” expressed not as a share of the popular vote, but of the overall electorate. (Not sure if this means registered voters, or the voting-age population, but it doesn’t make a huge difference either way.)

I haven’t checked the numbers, but they look about right. It’s a pretty depressing picture: governments are now claiming “mandates” with the support of barely two voters in 10." (H/T nbpolitico)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obamanomics = Massive drain on wealth creation

National Post columnist Jacqueline Thorpe has an excellent acticle on Obamanomics. Here it is in its entirety (Hat tip Roy Eappen):
As the fervour fades, the world will have to get used to a new word: Obamanomics.

It means tax hikes for the rich, tax cuts for the poor and middle class, a promise to renegotiate NAFTA, greater union power, windfall taxes on oil and gas profits, higher taxes on capital gains and corporate dividends and more comprehensive health care coverage.

Obamanomics is essentially about taking more money from the rich and giving it to the poor, plain old-fashioned "neighbourliness" as Mr. Obama has described it.


Or, as others have remarked, taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who don't.

Under his income tax plan, Mr. Obama says he will provide tax cuts for 95% of Americans. He will do this by repealing Bush tax cuts -- set to expire in 2010 -- and bumping the top rates back to 36% from 33% and to 39.6% from 35%. Individuals earning over US$200,000 and families over US$250,000 will see sizable tax increases. This includes sole proprietors of businesses such as lawyers, accountants or plumbers called Joe.

Since 38% of Americans currently do not pay federal income taxes, Mr. Obama will provide them with refundable tax credits. Under his plan, 48% of Americans will pay no income tax.

"For the people that don't pay taxes, he is simply going to write them a cheque," says Andy Busch, global foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets. "That is income redistribution at its worst and produces very little value."

Other plans include raising taxes on capital gains and dividends to 20% from 15% for families earning more than US$250,000. He plans to leave the corporate tax rate at 35%, which in a world of rapidly falling rates, looks positively anti-business. He will introduce windfall taxes on oil and gas companies but offer US$4-billion in credits to U. S. auto-makers to retool to greener cars.

Much has been made of Mr. Obama's plan to renegotiate NAFTA to make it more labour-friendly, though no one seems to believe he will actually make it more protectionist.

The bottom line is this: Obama's economic plan is likely to be a drag on growth and it will cost money. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates Obama's program would add US$3.5-trillion to U. S. debt over the next 10 years, including interest. His plans for health care-- which may be delayed by financial necessity -- would tack on another US$1.6-trillion.
Just a thought, but maybe he can start making good by returning some of the money that got him to the white house in the first place.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hartsfield's Landing; The ultimate exit poll

[click on image]

Many West Wing fanatics will remember the 2002 episode "Hartfield's Landing" (a fictional town) which was "based on Dixville Notch, an unincorporated small village in the Dixville township of Coos County, New Hampshire, USA. Dixville Notch is best known in connection with its longstanding middle-of-the-night vote in the U.S. Presidential Election, including during the New Hampshire primary." Since 1960 election, all the eligible voters in Dixville Notch gather at midnight in the ballroom of The Balsams. The voters cast their ballots and the polls officially are closed one minute later. The result of the Dixville Notch vote in both the New Hampshire primary and the general election are traditionally broadcast around the country immediately afterwards. A similar tradition in the community of Hart's Location, New Hampshire began in 1948; theirs was discontinued in the 1960s in light of the abundance of media attention, and revived only in 1996. (Wikipedia) Twenty-six voters took part in the 2004 elections.

Anyway, according to the associated press: "Democrat Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, where a loud whoop accompanied the announcement in Tuesday's first minutes. The town of Hart's Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Independent Ralph Nader was on both towns' ballots but got no votes."

A harbinger of things to come? Josh Lyman would definitely say it is. But who knows? If anything, it's definitely a very good sign for Obama since "the notch" in NH has a slight lean to the right politically and has never been favorable to a democrat (not even winners like Clinton, Kennedy, Lyndon B or Carter). Other then Obama, Hubert Humphrey is the only Democrat to actually win the notch.

Here are some of the recent past results:

1984 (Reagan- 29, Mondale- 1)

1988 (HW Bush- 34, Dukakis- 3)

1992 (HW Bush- 15, Perot- 8, Marrou- 5, Clinton- 2)

1996 (Dole- 18, Clinton- 8, Perot- 1)

2000 (W Bush- 21, Gore Jr.- 5, Nader- 1)

(W Bush- 19, Kerry- 7)

I guess only time will tell now. But judging from that odd trend in NH, this could turn into a possible mini impeachment (referendum) of George W Bush's unjust war. Anyway, have a great election night. For those who want a good election primer, I have posted one below.

BBC's Guide to US election night

Best policy course: Cut federal spending

It appears that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has heard Canadians voice their opposition to deficit spending. He is now looking at cutting federal budget costs which is good news for everyone!

Although, it's too bad it took an economic crisis to get there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Did Canadian taxpayers save the Bloc Québécois?

[Click on image to enlarge]

I know it's a little late to be revisiting the last Canadian general election, but when it comes to my hard earned tax dollars and how they're used, any time or place is fair game. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was clicking around a few public policy websites last night and happened to stumble upon this fascinating report on campaign finance by Frontier Centre's Mark Milke. Let me tell you, What Saved The Bloc Québécois in the 2008 Election: Public Money is a great read from opening to closing — but what caught my eye above and beyond everything else was the bar graph illustrated above.

For those who find it difficult to read the graph straight up, the blueish green bar to the left represents dollars earned from public sources (specifically the $1.95-per-vote given to registered federal parties annually by Elections Canada), while the grey bar indicates private donations. As you can see from all five examples, the party whose public funding far exceeded its private funding was the separatist party, the Bloc Québécois. They received almost 12 times as much public funding as they did from private donations. No other party even came close to that unbalanced level of financing. As a benchmark, take a look at the Conservatives, their private funding actually exceeded the funding received from public sources. Quite a drastic difference from the pathetic $73,704 the separatist raised since 2008 compared to the $1.5 million we gave 'em in that same time period. A comparative public/private ratio which works out to around 20:1 running up to the fall election. Brutal.

Anyway, as I see it, it's bad enough that the Bloc Québécois (in their 18 years of existence) only passed 4 pieces of legislation in total, not to mention, all the hefty federal pensions they built up over the years via our tax dollars, but for them to be using our money to rescue their fortunes in the last election is ludicrous to say the least. I mean honestly, how many seats did we buy the Bloc anyway?

Let's just say, my consciences hopes it was zero, but my gut suspects it was a lot more --- at the very least a handful. In my books, even one is one too many, especially when you're talking about our tax follars funding separatist. I mean really, can anyone else think of another example — in any Western country — of a government who fully funds a party or group with the intent of breaking their country?

Only in Canada my dear Watson.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blogging the non-blogging in New Brunswick

I've been blogging a long time in New Brunswick, for close to four years now. Let's just say, I've seen many good and bad ones come and go, including Charles' original. :) But never have I witnessed a time when there have been so many daily bloggers inactive all at once:

[nbpolitico, spinks, j@ckp1ne, Countering the Nanny State, Blogcastnb, Sorry Centrist, To Be Announced, NB Tory Lady, Voice of the Association, Atlantic Insight, Muddy River Tories]

Thank goodness Gyps, Awareness, Koom, Burton Front, Alec Bruce, Harold Doherty, Workout Rob, Dubya Dubya, Chucky and David are taking up the slack. Without them, the province would be voiceless. Well, unless you count Irving and the mainstream media. lol

**Btw, congratulations to Gypsy for holding court at Carleton FreePress for the past year. His efforts and others there should be commended by us all. Let's hope they make a comeback.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I agree with former Premier Bernard Lord

Former Premier Bernard Lord hit the nail on the head in the Times and Transcript this morning with regards to the federal Liberal party:
"I think the Liberal party of Canada has some serious issues in rebuilding. It's not just the question of the leader, and if they think their issues are only because of Stéphane Dion, I think they are missing a part of the big picture," said Lord, noting the party's struggles in Western Canada and Quebec.

"The fact is, they are completely not there in some parts of Canada."
I'll even elaborate a little further in saying, if they [Liberals] don't address their party divisions and lack of vision through a policy and rebuilding process, much like the New Brunswick PC party failed to do recently, then they are destined to make the same mistakes over and over again no matter who's at the helm. And yes, that even includes Frank McKenna, who btw, has little to no experience leading a party who doesn't hold all or most of the seats. Good luck with that.

Anyway, it could be just me, but the Liberals appear to still be in a serious state of denial to their overall political situation federally.


It would seem Globe & Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson agrees with both Lord & I. Not only that, he sees the Liberal coalition built in the 70s as a total non-factor: "The coalition that sustained Pierre Trudeau has largely vanished. No more Quebec. No more industrial Ontario. No more swaths of support in Western Canada." As Gerry Nicholls would say, "The Trudeau Empire has fallen and it can't get up."

Even morer

Peter C Newman: "Lester Pearson understood that allowing a new generation to take over was the cure for what ailed the Liberals, even if it meant being displaced, eight years later, by the Phantom of the Canadian Opera, Pierre Trudeau."

This is exactly what the Liberals need to do, and it's exactly what the PCs under Clark and Reform party under Manning did when they handed over important portfolios to budding young superstars like Peter Mackay, Stephen Harper, Monte Solberg, Chuck Strahl, Jason Kenney, John Herron, Scott Brison, Keith Martin, Rahim Jaffer, Grant McNally, Jim Pankiw, etc.

It's funny b/c I remember telling a colleague of mine in Ottawa around the year 2001 about the fact the Liberals had no new blood coming up through the system. Not on the party executive, not amongst staff, none in the caucus. Near the end of the Chretien era, they were a stalled entity. And now they are seriously hurting because of it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Blog for Election Junkies

Just so you know, I will be over at New Brunswickers Paint the Political Picture for the remainder of the 2008 federal election. So if you want full election coverage from a New Brunswick perspective, don't hesitate to click on the link above. See you after the election.

A true conservative warrior that will be missed

As Gerry Nicholls notes, [today] we are losing a very special advocate of the conservative movement to the other side of the pond:
Today is John Williamson's last day as federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Starting in a few weeks John will be taking graduate courses at the London School of Economics, which is pretty darn impressive.

And while I certainly wish John luck with his studies across the pond, his departure also makes me a little sad because the Canadian conservative movement will miss him.

For the six years he led the CTF, John was a consistent and principled champion of freedom who held politicians to account, regardless of their partisan stripes.

We need more of that in this country, not less.
I second that. Good luck, my friend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Economic Case for Tax Havens

Here's an excellent Youtube video regarding Tax Havens and their benefit to the economy which Dan (from Cato) passed along. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dion death watch, a tale of two Bourque polls

Poll #1 (Fri., March 2nd, 2007)
Poll #2 (Wed., September 3rd, 2008)

It's funny how the farmer from the 'chi [McKenna] can be quickly disregarded as a contender for the leadership of the Liberal party. From second in '07 to off the list completely in '08. A year sure does make a big difference with his popularity on Bourque Newswatch.

Just so you know, even Robert Thibault made the 2nd cut.


Speaking of McKenna, I see there is another local journo that is touting him as a saviour to the so-called boring Stephens in Ottawa. Talk about being out of touch with the rest of the country. I mean, come on, not only is Frankie baby getting too old compared with the current Prime Minister, he possesses a squeaky, less then authoritative voice that ranks him up there with Ross Perault. Not to mention, other then a cup of coffee as Canadian Embassador in the US, he hasn't done anything constructive other then doing the Liberal cocktail circuit and padding his own wallet. Get a grip, Marty.

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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Obama victory will be bad news for Dion

I usually don't get into raw politics much on this blog, but I couldn't help but take exception to a statement made by Lawrence Martin of the Glib and Frail in his column a few days ago regarding an Obama victory ultimately helping the Liberals and Dion in the next general election campaign. Here's what he said:
"The Liberals want to perform reasonably well in the by-elections, then push for a general campaign in the fall. Their ideal scenario is for a vote to come in November on the heels of a rising liberal tide - an Obama victory - in the U.S. presidential election."
Now I can understand every left-of-centre journalists' dream to have the North American power corridor occupied by two very Liberal minded political leaders, however, if you stop for a second and let a few little facts get in the way of clear utopianism, you realize that an Obama victory should be cause for concern for the Dion led Liberals in the next campaign, not cause for optimism. Why?

Well, let's take a look at the political landscape, not to mention, the national poll situation of both the US Democrats and the Canadian Tories for a moment.

First off, much like Democrats, the conservatives under Harper are searching for that last piece of the puzzle that will snap the long hold on power held by their political opponents. In other words, for the Democrats, that would mean regaining the white house; for Harper, that would entail forming a clear majority in the House of Commons.

Unfortunately for Stephane Dion (and Lawrence Martin's scenario above), that's not where the similarities end with Harper and Obama.

What is more important here is that both Obama and Harper have failed to move the polls an inch since gaining the political spotlight. Why is this so significant? Well, the usefulness in national polls is in getting rough ideas of a candidate's popularity, and more importantly as a judge of momentum. It is on this latter score that both Harper and Obama have had some serious concern heading into a general election. In other words, it's cause for concern personally for Obama, as for Harper, it raises doubts on whether or not he can actually sell his party's message to the entire national electorate.

For instance, on June 4th, Rasmussen Reports released its first daily tracking poll of the U.S. general election (3,000 likely voters over three nights, with a margin of error of +/-2%), and it showed Obama 47%, McCain 45%. Fifty-seven days later, the Wednesday, July 30 poll showed Obama at 48% to McCain's 46%-virtually no movement. In the interim, neither candidate has shown movement outside the margin of error.

North of the border, a Nanos tracking poll completed April 9th, 2008 (847 Canadians 18 years of age and older and accurate within 3.4 percentage points) showed the conservatives and Liberals deadlocked at 36 per cent. A scenerio much like Obama's personal numbers, although it's Harper's party numbers, not his personal numbers, that have shown virtually no movement.

So, with that being said, what would a rising Liberal-Democratic tide south of the border and a significant Obama victory mean for Harper and his party? Well, it would indicate two things. First, that v
oters weren't truly paying close attention, and so minimal movement in the polls was to be expected prior to a race. And secondly, that the strength of a leader during the crucial part of an election campaign means way more to a candidate ultimately forming government, then do a few national polls done months in advance of the real race (or convention in Obama's case).

Furthermore, what the polls say and what the electors do in the next election, I believe, is still up for grabs. So clearly, an Obama landslide victory would defy the current numbers as would a Harper majority. Which is why, in retrospect, the Dion Liberals should be praying for an Obama defeat, not a victory like Mr. Martin has indicated.

As the latter, as I explained above, would not be trending in favour of Mr. Dion.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oliver Stone's "W" trailer

I came across this leaked version of Oliver Stone's upcoming biopic of President Bush, "W" on Facebook earlier today. The reason I say 'leaked' is because it's not supposed to premier until later tonight. Anyway, there's been a lot of skepticism about this particular film, especially since Oliver Stone hasn't directed a good flick in many years and his previous political films have been far from riveting. Although, I have to admit, upon first glance of the trailer, this looks well put together, and potentially interesting. It's scheduled to debut in theaters just in time for the November election:

Canada: a tax friendly environment?

This has to be encouraging news for the feds. Now, if only Shawn G and co. can do something about the regressive personal income taxes and the Small Business Corporate Income Tax Rate.

Doing the policy dirty work, getting no electoral credit

It's quite ironic that the three Canadian cities that are ranked in the top 10 (for having a competitive tax advantage over their global counterparts) are Vancouver - 4th, Montreal - 6th and Toronto - 7th.

All cities that the federal Tories have helped along with their excellent tax policies, but can't seem to breakthrough in --- electorally.

Let me tell you, if I were Harper's communications director, I'd start letting local candidates better sell the positive aspects of their economic policies (as a primary message) to their local constituencies instead of controlling the message too much insofar as to avoid bad press. Come on, lower taxes (both personal and corporate) is an easy sell, especially when your opponent is selling higher ones sprinkled with side deals that benefit his party in favorable jurisdictions.

I mean, it's better then the perceived current alternative which hasn't budged the polls in your favour one bit for months, right? Anyway, I guess only time will tell if the tories' new math and strategic sell job will "truly" include all areas of the 905, 416, 514, 604 and 778.

It has to, if they want to increase their odds at forming a majority.

Born free. Taxed to death

Speaking of high taxes, bloated gas prices and outrageous text messaging fees, it would seem that a majority of Canadians have a common pent-up anger about them, which btw, supposedly unites us.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ontario's outrageous federal dependency

Still whining, even after billions and billions has been earmarked (via corporate welfare) for the auto industry over the past two decades;
The lead editorial in Today's Halifax Chronicle Herald provides fodder for the argument that the Ontario Premier really is the small man of confederation that he has been accused of.

McGuinty is whining that Ottawa should give Ontario more cash. Of course, he does this the same day the the Toronto Star runs a front page story about how the feds are committing $7.8 billion for Ontario infrastructure. So much for his timing.

Ontario is flirting with a recession and Mr. McGuinty has spent the provincial cupboards bare, so there is no cash for him to provide the tax relief necessary to help fix things. Why is that? Because he has spent like a drunken sailor - more than twice the combined rate of inflation and population growth for five straight years. He has created almost as many government jobs as private sectors jobs. In fact, more government jobs than Mike Harris, Ernie Eves and Bob Rae combined!

If the feds want to help out Ontario they could scrap equalization altogether and reduce taxes by the same amount. It is better that Ontario taxpayers and businesses get the cash without the Premier getting his mitts on it because he has proven already that he can't be trusted to manage it responsibly.
Any more whining for federal handouts (not to mention excessive spending) and McGuinty's province may very well become the "new" New Brunswick. Although I'm sure the press will pick up on it there.

To fly banana or not to fly banana? That is the $55,000 question

People who read this blog know I'm a huge critic of wasteful subsidies earmarked for ridiculous pet projects. However, this one most definitely takes the cake for the most outrageous proposed project funded by taxpayers ("proposed" because it didn't get off the pun intended). Anyway, if you don't believe me, take a look for yourself. I have to tell ya, that's a lot of banana cream pie.

Monday, July 21, 2008

That'll explain it

It's good to know there is a reason why my prayers haven't been met for a more free economic society in New Brunswick. LOL!

Friday, July 18, 2008

New technology, same old concept

I see Bombardier has launched a "new family of fuel-efficient, single-aisle commercial airliners" called the CSeries (known as the Green planes program to enviro nuts). To tell you the truth, it's not a bad initiative since these planes will release up to 20 per cent less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Plus, when complete, they will fly four times quieter and deliver huge energy savings .

Unfortunately, that's where the compliments end for Bombardier (and this deal) as this announcement was seriously muddied by the fact that Canadian taxpayers will once again be on the hook for these new planes, to the tune of $350 million (funding which was originally approved by the Martin Libs back in '05).

Quite disappointing since this not only proves that the federal tories are the same as the Liberals when it comes to corporate welfare, it also demonstrates that Maxime Bernier, though a shacky Foreign Affairs Minister, wasn't that bad an Industry Minister, at least not as bad as statist Jim Prentice.

Update: Quebec Libertarian Pierre Lemieux has an excellent article on the subject of subsidies and bombardier over at Liberty in Canada. It's definitely worth the read. Great job, Pierre!

Related: Bombardier shares get a lift from C-Series Taxpayers, Coyne Chides aerospace subsidy, On the Dole (pg.18), I think he will get an argument from Tasha on his stance in the last three paragraphs, Taxpayers to risk more then $100,000 per job, CSeries video.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NBT: Put it all down on your debt Nova Scotia

Only days after agreeing to an $870 million Crown share settlement, I see the MacDonald government is sending out mixed signals on how it will be invested. Some for the 100-series highway project? Some for education? Some for this? Some for that? When does it end?

Remember, former Premier John Hamm put $830 million on the debt from the Atlantic accord in 2005. Let's hope the current government does the same and puts 100 per cent of the offshore windfalls towards the deficit. Anything less would be fiscally irresponsible.

Related: Why we deserve our billion bucks, Crown-share revenues should go on debt, Offshore Energy Payment Issue Almost Resolved,Crown share deal sets the table, Large day for offshore, Ottawa, N.S. Reach Deal On Payments, Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia Resolve Crown Share, N.S. lands $867M windfall.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Green Shift" quickly shifting from shift to shaft

As kit pointed out over at Spink About It, last week Ontario Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff was on record wherein he admitted that Dion's carbon tax, or as his boss calls it 'Green Shift', was anything but an environmental policy, but rather "the most aggressive anti-poverty program in 40 years," which would ultimately "transfer wealth from the oil patch to the rest of the country."

And as National Post columnists Lorne Gunter demonstrates, Boshcoff sure wasn't kidding when he said "transfer wealth from the oil patch":
Two weeks ago, Mr. Dion intimated that while Alberta and Saskatchewan have just 13% of the national population between them, their economies could -- should -- pay up to 40% of the cost of his carbon tax because they produce 40% of Canada's carbon emissions.

At about $16-billion a year in new carbon levies, the Green Shift would cost each Canadian about $500 a year -- just under $2,000 for a family of four. Mr. Dion has promised to return that amount in the form of income tax cuts and subsidies. His proposal would "shift" part of Canadians' tax burden from income to energy consumption.

But if won't shift it evenly across the country. By aiming his taxes at producers, rather than consumers, Mr. Dion clearly means to extract more of his new revenues from some provinces than others -- not coincidentally the provinces that seldom elect Liberal MPs.

The share of the green taxes he wishes to impose on Alberta and Saskatchewan would work out to nearly $1,500 per capita, or $6,000 per family. In the rest of the country, the load would be just $325 per person or $1,300 a family.

And it's not as though Albertans, in particular, aren't making a disproportionate contribution to federal finances already.

In addition to fuelling the federal budget surplus, Albertans contribute about $4,000 more per person to federal finances than they receive back in federal program spending. By comparison, the fiscal deficit Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty frequently speaks of for his province is just over $1,500 per person per year, and Green Shift wouldn't raise that to $2,000.

Add together what Albertans are already contributing to Confederation with the green surcharge Mr. Dion is proposing, and Alberta families would be kicking in more than $20,000 extra per family if the Liberals are ever returned to power.
No wonder it's being deemed the Green Shaft. Because it really is! And trust me, it really must be bad if Harper's cowboy outfit got runner up in the news [today] because of it. Though I have to admit, this outfit sure beats the 2005 version he wore during the barbecue circuit.

Update: Phil (aka Voice of the Association) has an excellent post on how Dion's 'Green tax' is not an environmental plan, but an economic plan that redistributes wealth to areas that are generally more vote-rich for Liberals. Give it a read.

Related: Harper ridicules Dion proposal as 'green shaft', Green shift gives life to Dion, Will Canadians support a hard-nosed approach to climate change?, Hot and bothered over climate.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Industry Canada's $4 Billion Dollar Boondoggle

Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post makes a case against the Government of Canada's [specifically Industry Canada's] wireless spectrum auction; or as he sees it for cell users, a Wireless Tax.

Yes Mable, Carbon Taxes Really Do Suck

In other tax related news, two out of every three Canadians have tuned out Dion's regressive national carbon tax policy. Another note of interest was the fact that only Albertans hate the policy worse then Atlantic Canadians (as 79 per cent thinks it's "a bad idea").

Not a surprising reaction after what you see happening in British Columbia as "taxpayers are paying more for gasoline and most other energy sources as a result of Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell’s introduction of a carbon tax. The levy went into effect on July 1 and gasoline taxes increased by 2.34 cents a litre (the additional tax paid by consumers is actually 2.46 cents/L when the GST tax-on-tax is factored in). Vancouver, which today has the highest taxes on gasoline, saw pump prices jump to over $1.50. The province’s carbon tax will also hit natural gas, propane, diesel and jet fuel. It will rise again on Canada Day over the next four years unless high energy prices and voter furry prompts Mr. Campbell to rethink his policy."

I see truckers in New Brunswick seem to agree it's bad policy.

Related: Environmental consulting firm suing Liberal Party, Dion's Green Shift isn't as painless as it sounds, Carbon tax confusion everywhere, More holes in Dion carbon tax, Most oppose carbon tax.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ontario picking winners and New Brunswick losers

Just remember, the following statement below came from a New Brunswick cabinet minister whose statist Liberal government (and province) has never EVER embraced the private sector, whether it be the IT sector, energy, forestry, consulting, agriculture or the fishery. But alas, as Keir says, the private sector -- within a free market -- will miraculously be the champion in New Brunswick when it comes to nuclear (article here):
"Let's say Ontario doesn't (choose the ACR-100), they pick Areva. The private sector here is going to say 'hold on, we'd better slow down here, because I don't want an orphan technology', but it's the private sector that's going to make that decision, not NB Power, not Francis McGuire, not Jack Keir, not our government" he said, "It's the private sector that's paying the money, it's the private sector that will pick the technology. I can clearly tell you that every indication I've been given from the private sector investors that I've talked to is that AECL is their (preferred) technology."
Not that I want to delve into their politics, but it would seem that once again the NB government has ended up with the short end of the stick because of the manner in which they played their cards (policy-wise). Although, when you lose, it's nice to blame it on something you can't control, or never believed in, like the private sector. Don't worry Jack, most of us know the real reason why.

Ipsos Reid poll out of touch with Atlantic Canadians

Blogger Right from Alberta makes some great points regarding the latest Dominion Institute and Ipsos Reid poll, specifically part 1, called "THE PEOPLE, PLACES, EVENTS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND SYMBOLS THAT DEFINE CANADA." I found his Harper comments interesting:
While I am disappointed that P.E.T. comes in at #1 nationally I am impressed that our current Prime Minister, after 2.5 years in a minority government, comes in at #8, sandwiched between Tommy Douglas and Lester Pearson (some might say that's pretty good company). Former PMs Martin, Chretien, and Mulroney (I intentionally excluded Campbell and Clark since they reallly didn't serve long enough to have any legacy what-so-ever) don't rank in the top 10.

The only region in Canada where Harper doesn't rank in the top 10 is in BC. And, this is where the Conservatives should pay close attention, in Quebec Harper ranks as #3 (just behind PET). Heck, Harper only comes in at #7 in Alberta.

Let's just say I [too] felt disappointed with regards to P.E.T's #1 ranking, but I won't get into that right now as I found a few other things interesting about the overall rankings, specifically the Atlantic Canada rankings. First of all, how on earth did Celine Dion finish sixth amongst Atlantic Canadians? I can see the argument behind her finishing first in La Belle Province (which she did), but one would think that same regional mentality would have propelled Anne Murray past Dion in Atlantic Canada, no? I guess the only explanation I can figure is that Ipsos must have called all fifty maritimers that like Celine. Other then that, I really don't think she is deserved of a top 20 ranking in our neck of the woods, let alone a top ten ranking.

Furthermore, though I was quite impressed with Harper's #7 ranking, I found it a bit curious since I suspect there are many that still haven't forgiven him for his 2002 comments. In other words, he still has a lot to prove to Atlantic Canadians in the next few years before he merits that kind of ranking. That being said, I was very pleased to see Terry Fox, Wayne Gretzky, Sir John A. and Anne Murray on the list as they are all iconic Canadian figures (even with Atl. Canadians). Too bad the "Canadian Soldier" didn't make the cut as they sacrifice so much.

Monday, June 30, 2008

NBT: Boudreau's spending out-of-control

A $75.9 million dollar summer frenzy of spending

For a government whose Finance Minister made "finding more revenue" an excuse for raising taxes on NBers in '07 (not to mention, not reducing the debt.), they certainly appear to have rebounded quite well as they've spent more money in a week on industry subsidies, upgrades and pilot projects then most government's of small provinces spend in just under a year. Take a look at the corporate welfare [end of the month] June madness (June 23rd-27th):
  • Cooke Aquaculture Inc. receives $3 million forgivable loan.
  • Flakeboard Co. receives a $6.7-million term loan.
  • Fraser Papers Inc. receives $40 million term loan.
  • Atlantic Hydrogen receives $2-million grant.
  • Boiestown's Red Pines Park receives $200,000 for "comfort station."
  • TD Insurance Home and Auto receives $1.12 million forgivable loan.
  • Agriculture producers receive $650,000 grant to bring land into production.
  • Week long summer camps receive $440,000 cash injection.
  • Multi-k pilot project announced to help young Aboriginal NBers discover basketball.
  • York manor nursing-home receives $21.8 million forgivable loan.
Now I ask you, does the above spending pattern by your finance minister match his verbal commitment to maintain, and run, a fiscally responsible department so as to keep the books balanced and the debt down? Let me answer my own question, not by a long shot.

Moreover, the above is evidence that the March 2007 tax hikes were done for only one reason and one reason alone, and that's to satisfy this government's need to buy voters off with their own money.

In other words, it sounds like more of the same from these, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend. Let's face it folks, out-of-control spending has two pernicious affects on New Brunswick's budget. Firstly, keeping debt on the books in Fredericton handcuffs the government's ability to spend where necessary (and to provide meaningful tax relief) as $607 million of our tax dollars are sent (in the form of debt service charges) to pay off the $6.5 billion dollar debt. Secondly, this type of spending will most likely be handed over to a future generation of NB taxpayers. Thus, putting their futures in jeopardy (that is, if any of them decide to stay after graduation).

Let's face the facts, NBers can't afford anymore spending sprees like the $75.9 million dollar one that Boudreau and co. just went on last week. Time to show a little (or make that a lot more) restraint boys.

A bit of this, a bit of that

Here is a round-up of the week's best articles (both Canada & US):

Dion carbon tax, NEP 2? - Juliet O'Neill, The Ottawa Citizen
Flaherty: Hey Premier Pinocchio, cut taxes! -
Naysayers begin to grow - Bill Curry, Globe & Mail

Hey BC, Happy CO2 Tax Day - Miro Cernetig, Vancouver Sun
Carbon Tax: It won't work in Canada - Jonathan Kay, National Post
Stephane Dion: King of Pain - Alan Caplan, Edmonton Sun

Republicans Must Rein in Earmarks - Rep. Jeff Flake, Human Events
The Energy Quagmire - Ken Blackwell, New York Sun
Obama's Social Security Fine Print - Donald Luskin, Wall Street Journal

NB Education Plan: Spend, spend, spend!
- Elizabeth Church, G & M
If you do not succeed, then fail, fail again - Times & Transcript
Corporate welfare summer madness: $43 million in under a week - TJ

Let Millionaires Spend - Samples & Shapiro, Cato Institute
Senate GOP Not Ready to Act on Earmarks - Clarke & Hunter,
McCain In Canada Strikes Nerve - IBD Editorials

H/T: Pat Toomey, Club for Growth

Friday, June 27, 2008

Harper Tories: Party of protectionism?

We all remember reading about the 1911 general election and how Liberal Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier would ultimately turn that election into a referendum on free trade in hopes Canadian voters would finally embrace reciprocity. Well, we all know how that worked out for the great statesman from Saint-Lin, Quebec.

Well, according to Maclean's scribbler Andrew Coyne, those days of federal Liberals fighting for free trade, lower taxes and individual liberty may well be back (as he sees an emerging political trend):

For fifty years or more, conservatives have also said that prices are the vital signaling device of a market economy, informing consumers, workers, investors and businesses as to the costs of different choices. But now, suddenly, they’re irrelevant. Subsidies — sorry, investments — are the new Tory orthodoxy.

We may be witnessing one of those historic exchanges in which the parties sometimes engage, where each takes on the ideological position that the other used to occupy. Just as the Liberals were once the party of free trade, and the Tories the party of protectionism, only to see those positions reversed in the 1980s, can it be that the Liberals are about to become the party of markets and tax cuts, while the Tories embrace regulations and subsidies?

It makes one wonder if we'll ever see the day when there is a true conservative party in this country. There hasn't been one yet. Geesh!

Section 13 (1) debate...Ezra wins!!

For anyone interested in section 13 (1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the ongoing controversy/debate over the limits of free speech, I recommend you watch this hour long CPAC video from the 30th annual Canadian Association of Journalists conference. It's basically a whole lot of Ezra Lavant letting loose on Ian Fine, the fallacious senior counsel at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Trust me, it's must see tv for anyone who believes very strongly in the protection of free speech. So don't delay folks. Pull up a chair, grab some beer and popcorn and enjoy the proceedings. I know I did.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't change the channel, this is as bad as it gets

Many who have taken the time to read this blog over the past year or so know perfectly well that I am absolutely no fan of the practice of corporate welfare, whether it be in the form of a loan (forgivable loan) to a declining industry or to a company that is churning out healthy quarterly profits. It's all bad.

In other words, I think that the free market should ultimately decide the fate of a company, firm or mill, not government bureaucrats and politicians who have a history of picking losers with our tax dollars.

It's interesting, because some strong advocates of corporate welfare in New Brunswick (and let me tell you, there are many) see my criticisms as far too harsh in that I am not being completely fair to the other side. Well, to them I say: maybe you're right. On second thought, I take that back, especially after reading this blunder.

H/T Gypsy-Blog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just for fun, I guess?

I'm a bit bored this afternoon, so just to add to the silliness of the day, I bring you the Obama poster-maker (via IMAO):

Trust me, I could have said worse. Not enough words I guess. lol

Medical marijuana to minors? Whadaya think?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dion can learn a few more tricks from Graham

A snippet from today's Telegraph Journal (snip, snip, snip) :
What the federal Liberals label green-tax shifting, the Graham Liberals call re-balancing the tax system. The proposed policies in New Brunswick will, if enacted, result in a stronger, more dynamic economy. The province is on the right track - smart tax reform is being considered along with tax relief.
I'm glad Williamson is optimistic. However, I have to live under the current tax system in New Brunswick, and as far as I'm concerned, until these tax reforms are enacted, I'm still being unfairly gouged.

Furthermore, from what I have witnessed in the last twenty months, when it comes to this government, whether it be enacting election promises from the Charter for Change, moving forward with recommendations from the Self-Sufficiency report, following benchmarks from the appointed Population Growth Secretariat, sticking to reforms suggested in the report on Post-Secondary Education, their "will" to make the tough decision, and stick with it, is lacking in spades. So if we are banking on them to make the tough decisions recommended in the Green paper on tax competitiveness, then let me tell you, we will be "shift out of luck" once gain.

Plus, as I've said thousands of times on this blog, you can make all the changes you want to the tax code, but if you don't change the political culture of picking winners and losers via corporate welfare, then it will be all for not.

Unfortunately for NBers, it looks like we have a lot of "talk" going on with regards to tax reform and a lot more "action" when it comes to the status quo, especially corporate welfare and increased spending.

Definitely a lose/lose for New Brunswick taxpayers and business.

Update: I see at least one person values "record over rhetoric" when it comes to the current government's tax policies.

Related: 'Shift' hits the fan, N.B. Liberals increase taxes for all, N.B. Liberals face public scrutiny following difficult legislative session, More corporate welfare for AV Nackawic, The summer of Stéphane, Carbon tax primer, Dion to pair income tax cuts with carbon levy, Dion's carbon tax flip-flop, Dion's day of transformation, Dion's 'green shift' to reduce taxes by $15 billion, N.S. premier opposed to notion of carbon tax but not dismissing idea outright, Liberal 'Green Shift' plan to offset carbon tax with tax cuts, Low-income households would see biggest gains, Carbon taxes: Cash grab or climate saviour?, Don't believe Dion's carbon-tax claims: Prime Stephen Minister Harper.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bathurst High School - "Celebration of the Spirit"

I just read the speech Ken Dryden gave to the graduating class at Bathurst High School on Facebook. Let me tell you, I had trouble holding back the tears. Anyway, I think all of you should read it (click links to remember the victims):
I am a father and I am a son.

As a son, I played basketball too. As you are the Phantoms, we were the Rams. And I loved playing high school basketball just as much as I loved playing hockey. Hockey we could only play on teams outside school. Basketball was my chance to play on the school team. To represent the school; to show off in front of my friends.

As a son, I didn’t fear. I only dreamed and fantasized about the future.

As a father, I watched our two kids, Sarah and Michael. I loved to watch them do whatever they were doing, sports included – basketball included. It was the chance to watch them grow up.

As a father, I dreamed and fantasized for them too, and sometimes I feared.

On January 12th, I was here in New Brunswick, in the midst of a national anti-poverty tour, giving a talk in Fredericton. And as a father and a son, when I heard the news, like everyone else in the country, I felt at least a little of what you were feeling here.

The Boys in Red.

I played all my minor hockey, year after year, for a team called Humber Valley – we wore red.

I played Junior B for the Etobicoke Indians – we wore red too.

I played university hockey at Cornell. We not only wore red, we were “The Big Red” – that was our nickname.

Then I played on the Canadian National Team – and wore red.

Then I went to Montreal. We were the “bleu, blanc et rouge”, the blue, white and red, but really we were the big, proud red of the Montreal Canadiens.

I played for Team Canada in 1972 against the Russians – and wore red.

All my life as a player, every team I played on, I wore red too.

The Boys in Red.

A team. Not just individuals doing whatever they want whenever they want to do it. Players and coaches – together. With personal and selfish needs too, with a personal need to do well, to feel important, to matter, to belong. But with an even bigger personal need to go through something with others, together, as a team – to hope together, to imagine and dream together, to work together and play together; to win together, to lose together; to fail, to triumph, to feel awful, to feel great, to feel down in the dumps, to feel over the moon – together. To do what teammates do – at moments when things go wrong, when you’re hurt or sick or not playing well, to have your teammate “pick you up”, as teammates say, and for you to do the same for them. A team. Working towards that goal you, as players and coaches, set for yourselves at the start of a season – an Etobicoke High School basketball championship or a Stanley Cup, a New Brunswick High School Triple A basketball championship. For what brought you together in the first place. For the biggest prize you can win. A team.

The Boys in Red.

Then on January 12th, your season changed.

Then what your season was about, what your team was about, what brought you together, the biggest prize you could win – changed.

It wasn’t about winning the championship anymore. It was about surviving, pain, deeper than you’ve ever felt before. About loss. About not knowing what to do, where to go.

But teams hang together. Players and coaches hang together. You hope and dream, work and play, win and lose, fail and triumph, feel down in the dumps and over the moon – together. And if someone is having a hard time, with the hurt and pain, if the mountain seems too high, player or coach, you pick each other up because that’s what good teammates, good friends, good neighbours do.

The Boys in Red.

In hockey, we talk of the “7th man,” in football the “12th or 13th man;” in basketball, the “6th man.” The fans, all those around us who hope and dream so hard they want to do whatever they can to help. Since January 12th, this community, this whole community, has been the “6th man.”

The Boys in Red.

This community has been that because all of you have needed each other more than you have ever needed each other before. Because life is a team sport and no one can do it alone.

The Boys in Red.

What is this team playing for now? For the future. For life. For each other. For those here today and those who aren’t. Still picking each other up, still needing each other – always, forever.

The Boys in Red.

Graduation is a time of memory. And because it is, this year it is a wonderful time and a difficult time. What to feel. What to do. What to say. What is right?

As human beings, we have a need to grieve – and we have a right to smile, to laugh, to celebrate.

We have a need to remember – and we have a right to carry on.

As human beings, we have an obligation to life itself. To live.

To live well.

That’s what we owe ourselves. Player or coach – that’s what we owe each other.

The Boys in Red.

I am here today because all of us, all Canadians, want to play on this team.

I am here today because, like all Canadians, I am a Boys in Red too.