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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Budget 2012: Continuing to Fortify Canada’s Economy

Follow the budget discussion on Twitter with #Bdgt12
See the full budget online at: http://www.budget.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.html

The federal government has just released Budget 2012: Jobs, Growth, and Long Term Prosperity.  This budget is the next step in the medium-term Economic Action Plan, and it will continue to grow Canada’s jobs and economy while focusing on balancing the budget.

Of course, we can already predict that the Liberals and NDP will vote against this budget. Their high-tax plans which kill jobs while recklessly experimenting are simply not compatible with the Conservatives’ approach: low taxes for Canadians and the best conditions for businesses to create jobs.

When Canadians overwhelmingly voted for a Conservative majority on May 2, 2011, they knew Conservatives had a track record of making promises and keeping them.  In fact, in a previous article, I meticulously researched every campaign promise and found that the government has already implemented or began discussions on implementing 92 percent of their promises.

Canadians know the global economy remains fragile. Canadians know that, although Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has created the best economy in the G7, circumstances can change very quickly.

We must all recognize that government spending must be reduced, and that a balanced budget should be the default type of budget for all governments.  Families every day have to live within their means, and the government should be no different.

The only parties that believe in reckless deficit spending are the NDP and Liberals, who have constantly proposed drastic tax hikes on everything to pay for their opportunistic, short-sighted policies.  As such, Conservatives should consider implementing balanced budget legislation just as Mike Harris did in Ontario. A balanced budget should be required, by law, and in the event the government wishes to enter deficit spending they should submit a referendum to the electorate stating: a) by how much; b) for how long; and c) how the deficit will be paid off.

In fact, the few campaign promises that remain to be implemented hinge on the budget being balanced by 2015. Promises such as the Family Tax Cut, doubling the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Adult Fitness Tax Credit, and providing the initial funding for the F35 jet fighters will be implemented only after the budget is balanced in 2015 and the Conservatives return to another majority government.

Just a few of the highlights of the 2012-2013 federal budget include:

·          Most importantly, there are no new taxes or tax increases, unlike the Ontario Liberal government’s budget
·         The CBC’s budget will be cut 10% over 3 years
·         The government expects Canada's GDP will increase 2.1% this year and 2.4% in 2013.
·         In April 2023, OAS and GIS will be eligible to those 67-years-old. This does not affect anyone who is 54 years-old or older as of today.
·         Pennies will not be produced past fall 2012, and they will gradually be phased out.  Debit and credit transactions will still be to the cent.
·         In 2010-2011, Canadians saved $3.1 billion through tax reductions.
·         19,200 government jobs will be reduced over three years, including 600 senior executives and 7,200 through attrition
·         The Canadian Environmental Protection Act will be reviewed to ensure stringent regulations protect the environment.
·         The Board of Internal Economy will adjust the pension plan of parliamentarians, taking effect in the next parliamentary session
·         The Public Service Pension Plan will be adjusted so that public service employee contributions equal, over time, those of the employer (50/50). Comparable changes to the contribution rates will be made to the pension plans for the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Parliamentarians.
·         Starting April 1, 2012 and on a go-forward basis, the prior years of service of former members of the Canadian Forces who join the public service will be recognized for the purpose of calculating vacation entitlements.
·         Since 2006, 380,000 seniors have been removed from the tax rolls as a result of the government’s income tax amendments.
·         Funding for health care will continue to grow from $27 billion in 2011–12 to a minimum of $38 billion by 2018–19.
·         $50 million will give youth training and employment opportunities.
·         $330.8 million will support water quality and water infrastructure on aboriginal reserves.
·         The Hiring Tax Credit for Small Businesses will be extended for an additional year
·         $5.2 billion over 11 years to allow the Coast Guard to renew their fleet

Countries world-wide are faced with the task of balancing their budgets in a time of global economic uncertainty.  The challenge is no different for the federal government here as well as the provincial governments too.  We must all support cost-cutting measures over the next term to ensure our country remains the best in the world.

Follow the budget discussion on Twitter with #Bdgt12
See the full budget online at: http://www.budget.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.html

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NDP precedence means Mulcair must resign, demand public inquiry

It's official: the NDP's voting process was subject to a DDOS attack, in which more than 10,000 computers were involved.

This clarification comes days after fragmented and confused NDP messages.  At first this was an enormous attack - Dippers said this was the result of the Conservatives (and perhaps even the mysterious Pierre Poutine) interfering with their voting process.  Nevermind that they didn't clarify the difference between "hacking" and a DDOS attack - they made up their mind Conservatives were responsible.

Then they said "nah, we're fine. Nothing happened.  All is well."

Then the NDP president came on the air and said "yes, there was a DDOS attempt but nothing happened."

And now this news.  Which is it?!

Let's also remember for a second that Scytl, the company contracted to create and conduct the NDP's vote, is a Spanish company.  What ever happened to standing up for Canadian jobs and families, NDP?

But most importantly, let's remember the precedent set by the Dippers screaming "election fraud!" at the top of their lungs when the robocall issue first arose.  They demanded a public inquiry and a byelection for even the attempt to interfere in the electoral process.

So the same applies here, doesn't it?  We must a) demand a public inquiry and b) hold a byelection to determine the rightful Leader of the Opposition.

It's only fair.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome to Canada's new Socialist-in-Chief

It’s been a long-fought political battle, but Canada finally has a permanent Leader of the Opposition and a new “Socialist-in-Chief.”  I’ve pondered whether this title or “Socialist-in-Waiting” is a better fit for the new NDP leader.

But regardless of the title, one thing is for sure: the NDP will continue its demands for job-killing tax hikes.  While their coincidentally well-released ad says new leader Thomas Mulcair and the NDP are “fighting for your family,” they forgot the fine print, which should continue “by raising taxes on everything you own and use. But don’t worry, we’ll ensure our union buddies get you a nice salary to compensate for our short-sighted economic policies.”

He'll be Canada's leading socialist voice for at least the next three years.

Even the Globe and Mail, a relatively liberal newspaper, says the NDP is “still not a credible alternative.”  According to the Globe, the NDP remains heavily indebted to labour unions (especially public sector unions), and their bold ideas (such as a Crown corporation for generic drugs or an “insanely great” CBC) have not gained traction.

We can also predict another aspect of the future of the NDP for sure: Mulcair’s record will become public and will undoubtedly be used in future information ads.  While the NDP will decry these “attack ads” as being slanted, unfair, or simply untrue, the fact remains that there is no attack ad more effective than one that uses a person’s real record and words against him or her.

Coincidentally, this is also why American “attack ads” are inherently different from Canadian ones: Canadian attack ads (by the Conservative Party, at least) have been produced using real quotes and policies advocated by the recipient.  The only “Amercian-style” attack ad I’ve seen in Canada was the one where the Liberal Party ridiculously claimed Stephen Harper would have the military on every street corner in Canada.

We know how well that went.

But what then can we expect to see from Mulcair’s record?

On merger with the Liberals, Mulcair said: “No matter where these progressive forces come from, we will make sure we have enough Canadians to form the next government.”

When Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Special Forces, Mulcair proposed a conspiracy that Osama was not actually dead – first saying there was no proof, then saying if there was proof then it must have been staged.


He supports the Kyoto Protocol, the failed international environmental policy which would have cost Canada $14 billion ($1600 for every family) had we not withdrawn earlier this year.  Does your family have $1600 to throw into Mulcair’s environmental dream?

Also in his campaign, Mulcair proposed:

A cap and trade system – the same one already proposed by the NDP which was costed to an astounding $12.6 billion per year (yes, billion) and hike gas taxes 10 cents per litre.  That would in turn raise the cost of everything that relies on vehicle transportation to get from point a to point b – basically everything you own.

“Improving women’s equity on boards and committees” – straightforward affirmative action language suggesting the current boards and committees (which ones?) just aren’t the same without more women on board.

“Anti-Scab legislation:” straight from his union endorsees, no doubt, Mulcair has proposed to make it illegal for workers to want to work while their greedy unions demand more from private companies.

Of course, all of this is damning evidence against a leader supposedly “fighting for your family.”  The NDP will proclaim these quotes are wrong or false, while Canadians will be left to determine the truth.

Welcome, Tom.  I hope you’re ready for the ride.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When did "RoboGate" become "anything-Conservatives-have-ever-done-Gate"?

Well, we now know the “Robocall Scandal” went nowhere because it turned out the NDP and Liberals had no evidence to back up their outlandish claims.  Now they’re desperately grasping at anything even remotely related to the original issue in an attempt to keep the spotlight on this issue instead of discussing something actually relevant.

They’re failing miserably.

In my past articles I've pointed out the same deliberately misleading and false statements repeated again and again by the Opposition parties.  From the beginning we’ve seen the media focus exclusively on questioning whether Conservatives were to blame instead of questioning all parties about their involvement in robocalling voters.  And when it became obvious the NDP and Liberals had no evidence of their claims whatsoever, they figured repeating the same false claims would make them true.  Indeed, all we really know is that we don’t know very much.  We know someone made a few calls somewhere, using RackNine (a legitimate business not tied to any party), using a fake name and a fake cell phone.

But allowing the RCMP and Elections Canada to do their investigation just isn't good enough, so the Opposition is turning any issue whatsoever into an attempt to throw at Prime Minister Harper what I’ve called “the Harper is scary file.”

The latest addition to this file is the claim that Harper’s Conservatives blocked increased auditing powers for the Chief Electoral Officer.  The request actually stems back to 2008, when CEO Marc Mayrand requested “the power to request supporting documents from political parties for their expenses.”

The National Post complained that, when asked why, Harper and Parliamentary Secretary Dean Del Mastro “sidestepped questions”.  The Globe and Mail, meanwhile, recognizes this is a “trap:” the Conservatives either have to agree to expand the CEO’s powers or reject the request and “be seen denying it more authority during a serious controversy over alleged election fraud.”

Why has no one stated the obvious: Elections Canada already audits campaign expenses!

Really.  Mayrand is asking for powers his department already has.  Here’s how it works:

  1. The campaign takes place in accordance with the Canada Elections Act and appropriate spending limits.  Information on the financial aspect of a campaign is available through Elections Canada.  Candidates and their Official Agent are also given this heavy workbook from Elections Canada, which details exactly how campaign finances are to be handled.
  2. Within 3 months following Election Day all claims must be paid.  The campaign’s bank account must be closed and the campaign must not have any outstanding liabilities or financial commitments.
  3. The campaign’s Official Agent then passes all documentation to a provincially-certified Auditor who was chosen before the election, who audits all expenses and provides a statement of whether the books are accurately and honestly reflected.
  4. Here’s where it gets interesting: the audited information is then sent to Elections Canada for an additional audit!  It’s not rocket science; Elections Canada states it right here:
    1. Within four months after Election Day, the campaign must submit to Elections Canada:
                                                               i.      Candidate's return, including the declaration in part 1, signed by the candidate and the official agent
                                                             ii.      Auditor's report, checklist and invoice
                                                            iii.      Candidate's Statement of Personal Expenses
                                                           iv.      All supporting bank statements, cancelled cheques, deposit slips, loan agreements and vouchers
                                                             v.      Candidate's Statement of Gifts or Other Advantages Received

What happens when this documentation is submitted?  It’s audited by Elections Canada!  In fact, you can track these audits online as they are completed: anyone can see everything from how much money an EDA made to how much money was spent during the Liberal Party leadership race.  You will note that Elections Canada requires all supporting documents: everything from lunch receipts to buying photocopy paper is sent to Elections Canada to verify the accuracy of the expense statements.

So why is the CEO demanding that his office be given powers his staff already have?  If the CEO does not feel his employees are doing their work properly it falls to his leadership to make the appropriate adjustments.  This is nothing more than a request by the CEO that has blown up in the political arena into something it totally is not.

But you’ll never hear that in the media.  To them this is just another “issue” to add to “the Harper is scary file.”

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Did Harper break Election Day campaigning rules?

With all of this robocall talk, the NDP and Liberals have been dragging up every possible complaint to throw at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, since they've now figured out there is absolutely no evidence against the Conservatives or the Prime Minister. Go figure!


One of the claims making a come back is that Harper broke the campaigning on Election Day ban.  Interestingly, you'll notice that none of the mainstream media covered this angle, because the claims are pure bogus!  The claim originates from this article by The Examiner's Jeromie Williams, who says Harper "defied Elections Canada rules and regulations that state no campaigning may be done during the media blackout on election day" when Harper told CKNW's radio show host Bill Good "It is certain that I will vote, and I encourage all other people to vote, and I encourage people to do the same as me and vote Conservative."


The first telling sign this claim is bogus is that there is no rule which states campaigning cannot be done on Election Day!

Seriously.  Here's the Canada Elections Act.  In fact, "campaigning" or "a campaign" isn't even defined!



The closest section that could bar campaigning is s. 323, which says you cannot "transmit election advertising."


So what is "election advertising"?  s. 319 tells us:

“election advertising” means the transmission to the public by any means during an election period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated. For greater certainty, it does not include

(a) the transmission to the public of an editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter, a commentary or news;"



Well. That was fun.  If only Williams had actually read the Elections Act instead of condemning Harper's perfectly legal actions.