Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The cost of satisfying the Opposition's demands

Is the Opposition asking legitimate questions, or are they purposely asking unanswerable questions to waste taxpayers' money and the government's time?

It takes the government roughly $60 per hour per person to research Opposition questions.  Some Opposition questions are purposely lengthy, sometimes listing over 100 sub-questions within a single question, according to Parliamentary Secretary Kellie Leitch.

The highlights:
Liberal MP David McGuinty on library funding: $6,000
NDP MP Peter Stoffer on IT spending: $15,733
Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux on announcement backdrops: $15,358 (a total of $46,228 including 3 other questions he asked)
NDP MP Alexandrine Latendresse on government letterhead: $21,600 (a total of $39,000 including 2 other questions he asked)

And, the whopper... Liberal MP Frank Valeriote on vehicle procurement policies: $150,000

Should the Opposition be allowed to waste taxpayers' money as they please?  Is asking this question an "attack on democracy" or an attempt to put a price on the Opposition's obstructive and wasteful process?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kevin Page's misleading statistics

This, my friends, is why the proper use of statistics is important:

I’ve surveyed my colleagues and a few other friends who work in the Public Service.  We’re pretty sure we’re not seeing about $70,000 from what Kevin Page says we should be.

But what is Page really saying?  He’s saying the average public servant makes that much.  Here’s his math:

$43.8 Billion / 375,500 = $116,644
Federal government’s human resources budget / number of federal employees = $114,100

(Page’s calculations also include the cost savings of early severance payouts, resulting in the $2544 difference)

Simple, right?  Wrong!

Such is the easily misleading opportunity presented when looking for an average rather than the mode.  The mode, in simple statistics, is the number which occurs most frequently.  In other words, what Page should be presenting is what most public servants cost taxpayers, which should be significantly less than $114,100 per year.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, most public servants make $60,000 per year.  Even adding in pensions, medical and dental coverage, and other minor human resources expenditures, it’s incredibly unlikely that most employees are costing Canadians upwards of six figures per year.

Page's suggestion is a deliberate attempt to lump in an EX-05 (making $198,300) with an AS-01 (making $30,375).  The average between these two people is $114,338, but knowing this neither sufficiently accounts for the person making $200,000 nor the entry-level employee making 15% of that.

All employees do not cost the same – not even close.  What’s probably happening here is the top 20% of earners accounting for over $300,000 in expenditures each, with the vast majority certainly not benefiting or raking in over $114,000 per year.

Page, an educated individual, certainly knows this.  But his office’s pursuit for outrageous attention-grabbing headlines is apparently more important than providing accurate, relevant data.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ottawa's light rail project finally off the ground

First, let me state that it's excellent to see progress finally being made on Ottawa's light rail project.

However... for a $2.13 billion, 5-year project, why wouldn't it at least connect Kanata and Orleans?  Not to mention leaving out Rockcliffe and Gatineau in the north, and South Keys and Manotick in the south.

As it stands now, all this route does is replicate the existing Transitway in an attempt to relieve stress from the downtown core.

With 30 trains on the tracks at all times (increasing to 55 by 2031), and a one-way trip from Tunney's Pasture to Blair Station taking less than 24 minutes, is there any reason why at least a few trains wouldn't run further north, south, east, and west?

What are your thoughts?  Is this proposal sufficient?

Submit your team name for Ottawa's new football and soccer teams

Further to my earlier article on why naming Ottawa's football team the Ottawa Highlanders is a good idea, naming suggestions are now open: http://www.nameourteams.com.

Take a few seconds and choose a name which suits Ottawa's history, culture, and identity.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Justin Trudeau: he'll tell you anything for your vote

2010: Liberal MP Trudeau: The gun registry saves lives:

2012: Liberal leadership candidate Trudeau: the gun registry was a failure.

2010: Liberal MP Trudeau: Canada is in bad shape because Albertans are running Canada:

2012: Liberal leadership candidate Trudeau: insists he's all about bringing people together, and not pitting region against region.

Can you imagine such leadership as head of the Liberal Party or - shriek - head of Canada's government?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another NDP Filibuster on the Horizon

Another NDP filibuster is on the horizon.  Luckily, this one, taking place tomorrow evening, is only expected to last 8 hours and deals with 1600 amendments.

NDP's recent filibustering history:
June 2012: NDP filibusters committee hearings on F35 costs
June 2012: NDP filibusters committee hearings on F35 costs
June 2011: NDP filibusters Bill C-6 (restoring Canada Post services) for 58 hours

... Have other NDP filibusters to add to this list? Send them to me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Elections Canada makes exceptions for Liberals to break laws - AGAIN!

We already know this entire "robocall" conspiracy originated in Guelph, and that it was from the Guelph Liberal campaign rather than anyone else.

So, why hasn't this story been the centre of the media's attention?

Anti-Tory robocalls received in Guelph days before election

Valeriote campaign behind anti-Tory robocalls

We also already know Elections Canada makes exceptions for Liberals to break the Canada Elections Act, while no one else could ever hope to be so lucky.

Well, here are more of those same exceptions in response to Marty Burke, the Conservative candidate in Guelph who tipped off Elections Canada about the Liberals' fraudulent robocalls:

July 25, 2012 
We are satisfied that the message in question originated from [the Valeriote campaign] and that the authorization statement was inadvertently omitted. We also note that the cost of the message had been reported with the electoral campaign return of Mr. Valeriote.
 In light of the nature and specific circumstances surrounding the omission, the fact that this is the first complaint regarding advertising by the Valeriote campaign, and because the Commissioner received full and prompt cooperation, the Commissioner has concluded his investigation and will not be seeking any formal enforcement measures in this matter.
Your correspondence also alleged that the number displayed had no call back capability and that such calls may have been made on weekends after 6pm.  These allegations raise no issues under the Canada Elections Act and are outside the Commissioner's jurisdiction.

Got it?  First offence, full cooperation, and allegations outside the Commissioner's jurisdiction?  All charges dropped and no "formal enforcement." So why are they investigating robocalls at all?

Have further information on the Guelph robocalls or the real robocall story? Send them to me.