Monday, December 31, 2012 

Obama, Republicans reach deal on fiscal cliff; Senate vote expected tonight

"President Obama and Senate Republicans reached a sweeping deal late Monday that would let income taxes rise significantly for the first time in more than two decades, fulfilling Obama’s promise to raise taxes on the rich and averting the worst effects of the “fiscal cliff.”
 
Vice President Biden arrived at the Capitol just after 9 p.m. to explain the details of the pact he negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). A Senate vote on the package could be held by 10:30 p.m., beating a midnight deadline, Democratic aides said. The Republican-controlled House will begin considering the bill on Tuesday, with a final vote expected in the next day or two.

The agreement emerged after White House officials gave in on the last contested issue, yielding to GOP wishes on how to handle estate taxes, aides said.

The revelations about the pending deal came after President Obama had said a deal was “within sight,” and House Republican leaders announced they would hold no votes Monday night, making it appear that that the nation would go over the “fiscal cliff” for at least a day.

The Senate was moving, however, toward a late-night on the agreement negotiated by McConnell and Vice President Biden. With the House likely to reconvene at noon on Tuesday, a deal appeared imment that would cancel historic tax hikes for most Americans.

“I think it’s highly likely that some time this evening there’ll be a vote on the Senate side,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Monday evening as he emerged from a meeting with fellow Republicans and signaled that talks are continuing. “This is one of those things that could well go into the early morning by the time it goes to a vote. ... I think they’re attempting to get the legislative language in order and vote on it tonight, you know, 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning, whatever.’’

Regardless of whether an agreement is reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, many Americans are all but certain to face a broad hike in taxes starting Tuesday because of the expiration of the payroll tax cut, which was enacted in 2011 as a temporary measure to boost economic growth. The increased payroll taxes, combined with hikes affecting the very wealthy, would effectively mark the end of a prolonged period of declining taxation that has become a defining characteristic of the American economy

The announcement that the GOP-controlled House would not vote on New Year’s Eve came after Obama urged lawmakers to “stop taxes going up for middle-class families, starting tomorrow,” and he called on them to remain focused on the needs of the American people rather than politics"
Washington Post

-New York Times has more ..

 

Harper government bills that enraged First Nations and sparked Idle No More

"The federal government continued to strengthen our relationship with First Nations over the last year."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
2012 Year End Statement

One of the first questions that people ask about the Idle No More movement is what the movement is all about. While the historical injustices experienced by First Nations are too many to list, activists say the current government is pushing through a range of new bills that violate treaty rights.
"Never in history has there been so many bills regarding and impacting First Nations been pushed through the House of Commons at one time," Idle No More Bill Breakdowna document released by activists, reads. Below is an excerpt adapted from the document, outlining the eight bills and amendments which have sparked protests across the country.
I. Land Surrenders
• This process prevents any debate or Grand Chiefs to present views of amendments
The Indian Act changes with zero consultation of communities
• Lowers threshold for the surrender of reserve lands
• It is no longer the majority of the band list that determines such a surrender of such reserve lands, but just a handful of people (e.g. five representatives in attendance, with three voting "yes")

II. Navigable Waters Act

• The federal government vacates jurisdiction over waters, parks, fisheries, etc. and the responsibility and duty to consult, honour treaty rights
• Allows Provinces to have more powerful expropriation powers
• The current federal government has expressed wishes to “unlock” First Nations' lands for the maximized benefit of Canadians

Bill S-2: Family Homes of Reserve Matrimonial Interests of Rights Act

• Does not recognize any First Nation by-laws that already set out matrimonial property laws
• For the first-time in history, legal rights can be given to non-Indians over holds on lands on-reserve
• Land, protected under treaties, exclusively for First Nations, can be given and transferred to non-First Nation people through this bill
First Nation Education Act
• Incorporates and imposes provincial laws into First Nation education on reserves
• The bill violates treaty right to education
• The federal government wishes to nationalize, control and legislate the treaty right to education
• Federal authorities with hand jurisdiction to the Province – not just stepping away from treaty obligations, but also funding obligations

Bill S-212: An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act
• Non-Derogation of Aboriginal and Treaty rights
Bill S-212: First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill and FNPOA
• The 1887 Dawes Act (United States) in Canadian form (privatization of reserve land: will take community-held reserve lands and divide up into individual parcels)
• This land can be sold to non-Indians and corporations, like any provincial lands, under provincial laws and registries, with no Aboriginal or Treaty rights associated anymore
• In the US, the biggest land grabs of indigenous land were not from treaties, but from the Dawes Act
• After the Dawes Act, more amendments were set to go and over half of the privatized lands were given to government, military, and corporations for resource extraction
• To put a pipeline (e.g. proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline) through a community, the community’s consent is no longer needed:  just the individual people whose property the pipeline would go beneath

Bill S-8: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
• Will give the federal government the power to set up rules and regulations around water and sanitation and will be able to force Chief and Councils to do whatever federal authorities see as necessary on water
• They can demand that Chief and Councils fix water systems, but if there is no money to do so, it is taken from band operating funding formulas (that pays for housing, social assistance, etc.)
• If the federal government’s contractors mismanage a project, the federal government is not liable and they indemnify themselves from getting sued
• Transfers jurisdiction and pushes provincial laws on reserve lands
Bill C-428: Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act

• Rob Clark’s Bill to Repeal the Indian Act altogether
• Gets rid of old provisions with zero consultation or with the consent of First Nations people
• Doesn’t acknowledge a band’s abilities to pass band by-laws
• Takes away the power of bands to pass by-laws to prohibit alcohol on reserves – by taking power away to create by-laws and govern
• As paternalistic and colonial as the Indian Act is, it currently protects a reserve from Provincial Laws, protects reserve Treaty Rights, prevents taking reserve land, prevents mining and development and pipelines


Bill C-27: First Nations Financial Transparency Act
• This bill will force First Nations to open up all the books, source revenue, and business revenue (for the public)
• Failure to make business information public can result in being taken to court and having funds to the community cut off
• Currently, if leaders speak up, they risk having budgets slashed
• The average salary for a First Nation leader is $36,845, while the salary of the average Canadian is $46,345
Vancouver Observer

 

'Heavy Handed' Harper Happy That Canada Is #1 Nation For Business - Too Bad It's Not #1 Nation For Its CITIZENS!!


Stephen Harper is a bully who despises democracy for getting in the way of his plan to further enrich the interests of the wealthy.

By ramming hundreds of pieces of legislation through in his infamous 'Omnibus Bills' he attempts to hide details and to prevent debate in the nation.

The sooner Stephen Harper is no longer Prime Minister of Canada, the better that average working Canadians will be.

Happy New Year to everyone who spoke out or acted out against the Harper Gang this year.

-Winnipeg Free Press

Monday, December 24, 2012 

Merry Christmas - 2012


Merry Christmas - 2012 from 'Buckdog'!

Here's wishing a wonderful and peace filled  Christmas to all who drop by! I'll see you in a few days. All the Best!
Leftdog
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Sunday, December 23, 2012 

Gun Crazies Are A Threat To US National Security ...


-NRA President David Keene's Son Is a Serving 10 years For Road-Rage Shooting  


 -Woman Decorating Church Shot; 1 Of 3 Killed In PA Shooting  

-Gun Crazies Try To Deport Piers Morgan


-Assault Weapons Ban Talk Sparks Run on Gun Stores  

-Hope for consensus on gun control diminishes  

-Gun deaths top 100 post Sandy Hook

-Firefighters shot at/ 2 killed while fighting blaze

Saturday, December 22, 2012 

The 'Craziest Man On Earth' - Best Headline Ever ...


.... however .... 

So while it’s easy for us Canadians to watch in horror as the NRA spouts nonsense, perhaps we should take note of the fact that the nonsense was carefully salted with phrases like “national media machine” and “the press and political class here in Washington.” That’s not accidental. The NRA is not even trying to fight reason with reason.

The sales job goes like this: Never mind what the elites say. Never mind the studies, the differences among countries that suggest policy might matter. There’s no way to prevent or reduce violence so the only answer is to arm the “good guys.” There are monsters out there. Buy a gun. And stick it to those people in Washington who don’t know anything about real life.
As Taylor said, it’s absurd. I hope, I really hope, that it’s one gamble too far for the NRA. Maybe there is a limit to what somebody can sell in populist packaging. I hope reason will prevail.
But I fear that the NRA knows exactly what it’s doing.
Ottawa Citizen

 

Winter Solstice At Stonehenge - 2012 (14th Mayan Baktun Commences)



This was taken yesterday morning - December 21, 2012 at Stonehenge in England .. showing the first light of the Winter Solstice and the first day of the new Mayan cycle .. Baktun 14.

The Mirror

Friday, December 21, 2012 

The Globe & Mail Doesn't Want Me To Link To Their Online Stories And Send Readers Their Way

 
Over the last few years, I have linked 523 posts on this blog to a story or item in the online version of the Globe & Mail. As a result, a number of you have been redirected to their site ... read their stories and seen their advertising.

Well .. the Globe & Mail no longer wants to maintain that relationship.

I have now used up my '20 complimentary visits' to their site and they want cash on the barrel head from me to send readers their way. I have written a number of emails over the last week to the Globe & Mail administration but they simply don't get it ..... fine.

Kiss my butt  Globe & Mail.

I simply cannot see how you think this is a winning marketing strategy to grow your readership.

Been nice to have helped you gain readers up to now ... but ... this is goodbye.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 

It Is Becoming More And More Evident That The USA Has Slipped Into Complete Insanity ...


-The KKK Will Confront the Westboro Baptist Church At Newtown Funerals  

-Virgina Law would order schools to arm teachers  

-Tennessee Is Considering A Plan To Secretly Arm Teachers  

-Michigan Considers Arming Teachers  

-Newtown Survivors Unable to Sue Gun Manufacturers Because of NRA Sponsored Law
 
-Texas & Oklahoma Legislators Look At Arming Teachers
 
-Gov Mike Huckabee Says Newtown Killings Happened Because God Has Been Removed From schools  

-Focus On The Family Claims Gay Marriage The Reason For Newtown Massacre

-Teaparty Nation Blames Teachers Unions And Lack of Corporal Punishment For Newtown Massacre .. Recommends Everyone Homeschool Their Children Now ...

-The Primary Weapon Used In Newtown Shooting Is Still Available In Over 1700 US WalMart Stores
 
... I think my long term plan of leaving North America and moving somewhere else may have to be moved up a smidge .... 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 

How the NRA (National Rifle Assc) Successfully Fought Gun Control Measures By Connecticut Legislature


Connecticut’s 30-Bullet Magazine Ban Failed After NRA Pressure

 Magazines that fed bullets into the primary firearm used to kill 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school would have been banned under state legislation that the National Rifle Association and gunmakers successfully fought. 

 The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Adam Lanza, 20, used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle with magazines containing 30 rounds as his main weapon, said Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance at a news conference yesterday. 

A proposal in March 2011 would have made it a felony to possess magazines with more than 10 bullets and required owners to surrender them to law enforcement or remove them from the state. Opponents sent more than 30,000 e-mails and letters to state lawmakers as part of a campaign organized by the NRA and other gun advocates, said Robert Crook, head of the Hartford- based Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, which opposed the legislation. 

“The legislators got swamped by NRA emails,” said Betty Gallo, who lobbied on behalf of the legislation for Southport- based Connecticut Against Gun Violence. “They were scared of the NRA and the political backlash.” 

 Proponents abandoned the legislation, which drew opposition from gunmakers including Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) In addition to the e-mails and letters, more than 300 pro-gun activists, including many NRA members, attended a committee hearing to oppose it, said Gallo, a Hartford-based lobbyist for more than 35 years. 

The Fairfax, Virginia-based NRA, which describes itself as the nation’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, works to defeat gun limits nationally and in states, and has successfully championed permissive firearms laws. 

Since a 1994 federal assault-weapon ban expired in 2004, Congress hasn’t enacted major firearms regulations other than a law aimed at improving state reporting for federal background checks. The gun lobby’s power was illustrated during the 2012 presidential campaign when, after mass shootings, neither President Barack Obama nor his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, called for restrictions on gun ownership. 

In Newtown, Lanza also had two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, and fired hundreds of bullets, said Vance. Authorities also took a shotgun from the car he drove, Vance said. The guns belonged to Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, according to a law- enforcement official who asked for anonymity because of a continuing investigation.

Bloomberg News

Monday, December 17, 2012 

Sask NDP Leadership Candidate - Erin Weir Calls For CPP Expansion And OAS Replacement

"Now is not the time to enrich the Canada Pension Plan." 
Hon. Jim Flaherty
Minister of Finance - Canada
(The guy who gave $114 Billion tax dollars to bail out Canada's Banks!!!)

Weir Calls for CPP Expansion and OAS Replacement


With finance ministers meeting to discuss issues including the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir is proposing to strengthen retirement security.

“The Government of Saskatchewan should join other provinces in pushing for a significant expansion of CPP rather than dragging its feet,” said Weir. “Expanding CPP is the most efficient way to extend reliable, portable and indexed defined-benefit pension coverage for all Saskatchewan workers.”

Weir is also proposing a provincial benefit equivalent to Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Saskatchewan seniors aged 65 and 66 if the federal government proceeds with hiking the age of eligibility to 67. As outlined in the accompanying backgrounder, this measure’s peak cost in 2030 would equal the ongoing annual revenue loss from the Sask. Party’s proposed corporate tax cut.

“Plan A is to elect a federal NDP government that would reverse Conservative cuts to Old Age Security. But if the Government of Canada does phase out benefits for seniors aged 65 and 66, we should be prepared to phase in an equivalent provincial benefit,” said Weir. “A provincial NDP government could pay for these pension benefits by reversing the Sask. Party’s no-strings-attached corporate tax break.”

To receive Old Age Security, one must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years. The equivalent provincial benefit could require 10 years of Saskatchewan residency to prevent people from relocating here simply to collect it.

“As well as improving universal public pensions, we must better protect workplace pensions in the public and private sectors,” said Weir. “Saskatchewan legislation should require immediate vesting, terminal funding and no reductions in defined benefits for retirees as long as the employer remains a going concern. To safeguard pensions in the event of bankruptcy, Saskatchewan should initiate discussions with other western provinces about establishing a regional pension benefits guarantee fund.”

Sunday, December 16, 2012 

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall May Want To Pay Attention To British Security Intelligence Report On Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei


Chinese Telecom giant could be cyber-security risk to Britain - PM may blacklist Huawei if report declares it a threat:

"Britain could face a damaging multibillion-pound trade war with China and see the roll-out of economically vital 4G mobile internet services derailed if an intelligence report, due to land on David Cameron's desk within the next two weeks, finds that the UK operations of the Chinese communications giant Huawei represents a threat to the UK's cyber-security. [...]   

Concerns over the potential for state cyber-espionage involving Huawei has recently seen the US House of Representatives' intelligence committee recommend that the Shenzhen-based company be restricted from operating on US soil. In Australia it has been excluded from bidding to supply the lucrative national fibre network. A similar move is under consideration by Canada. [...]

The US House of Representatives' report was critical of how Chinese firms, including Huawei, co-operated with its investigation. It said Chinese companies believed any internal information was a "state secret" that could only be made public if approved by the Chinese government. This, the intelligence report concluded, "only heightens concerns about Chinese government control". It admitted that the lack of evidence limited any clear-cut conclusions. However, the report insisted that Chinese telecommunications "provide an opportunity for the Chinese government to tamper with the United States telecommunications supply chain".
On the technological "vulnerabilities" of particular Huawei products or components, the report said it did not attempt a full evaluation, but nevertheless said it "took seriously recent allegations of back doors, or other unexpected elements" in key telecoms products.

Huawei denies any link between its international business operations and state-sponsored cyber-spying. Its official response to the US report said the allegations were "a monstrous, market-distorting, trade-distorting policy precedent that could be used in other markets against American companies".
Independent.UK


-Previous Buckdog Blog posts concerning Brad Wall's ill considered contract with Huawei ...

Friday, December 14, 2012 

Hundreds March In Regina As Saskatchewan’s First Nations Fight Against Harper's Bill C-45

(Photo courtesy Stewart Manhas)

(Photo courtesy Don Healy , Regina Leader-Post ...)

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s First Nations are “idle no more.” On Thursday, hundreds of aboriginals and their supporters marched down snowy Regina streets in protest of the Harper government’s passing of Bill C-45. Similar walks have taken place across Canada throughout the week.

“I’m standing in solidarity with my people because I’m tired of the government’s imposition and governmental discrimination policies; I’m tired of it all. They try to determine what is best for us, we know what we want, we have our own policies, we know how to govern ourselves,” said Courtney McKay, 22.

Bill C-45, known as the Jobs and Growth Act, is 457 pages of legislation, making it one of the larger bills passed in the last 20 years. In total, it will amend or affect 37 acts.

Of utmost concern for the protesters is changes to the Navigable Waters Act, the Fisheries Act and a separate private members bill that could repeal or significantly change the Indian Act.
“Bill C-45 is going to affect our water ways, and its going to destroy our land and our resources,” said McKay.

After walking 3 1/2 kilometres from 5th Avenue to the Legislative Building, First Nations leaders took to the steps to a roaring crowd of 400 chanting “idle no more.” Glenn Pelletier, a Cowessess First Nation counsellor, denounced the Harper government for not consulting First Nations on any of the changes.

While drums were beating and the smell of burning sage surrounded the crowd, Michelle Rae McKay pointed out that 89 per cent of Canadian land is owned by the crown and First Nations have a right to that land. She said the country’s aboriginals are made up of sovereign nations and Canada has “no right” to tell them what to do.

Edmund Bellegarde, tribal chairperson for File Hill Qu’Appelle tribal council, echoed that sentiment in a scrum with reporters. “Our inherent rights to self government has to be the end result,” he said.

The “idle no more” movement has gained traction from coast to coast in the past week. Bellegarde said the future of the movement is in the hands of the government and its response. “We will continue to advocate, we will continue to march, we will continue to rally, we will continue to rally this movement. The voices of our people (are) idle no more,” he said, adding the power of First Nations networks is starting to be seen. “It’s only going to get stronger,” he said.

Many speakers spoke about the importance of young people, of which there were many on Thursday, in ensuring the aboriginal voice is being heard in Parliament.
Rain Poorman, 14, fears for the future of his education if the conservatives remain in power.
“I’d like to see Stephen Harper stop Bill C-45,” he said.
dfraser@leaderpost.com
-CTV Regina has more photos ...

Thursday, December 13, 2012 

Premier Brad Wall Strips SaskPower Bank Account Of $120 Million AND Then Immediately Raises Power Rates To Sask Families


Here's how things work in Saskatchewan. Brad Wall is a right winger who does not like Crown corporations or public enterprise of any kind. But, because the Saskatchewan Party lost the 1999 and 2003 Elections over the matter of 'privatization' .. Wall has pledged to leave the Crown corps alone.

However ideology quite often trumps electoral promises for Premier Wall.  As a result, Wall has the bad habit of stripping every nickel he can find from Saskatchewan's utility crowns in order to hand out even more tax breaks to the oil and potash industry. 

Wall's fiscal policy forces Saskatchewan's utility crown corporations to borrow money from the bank and then to 'contribute' the borrowed cash as a 'dividend' to the province's General Revenue Fund. 

Well .. he's at it again. $120 Million stripped from Saskatchewan Power Corporation will go into the mix for more corporate tax cuts and Saskatchewan families will have to pay for it with an increase to their power rates.

"The Sask. Party’s approval of a five-per-cent power rate hike is a direct result of its raid on the Crown last year. The Sask. Party government took $120 million from SaskPower’s bank accounts last year. Now, businesses and families will pay $90.8 million more for power in 2013.

Trent Wotherspoon, the NDP’s critic for SaskPower, said the out-of-pocket increase is a sneaky way of taking more from businesses and families. “SaskPower has been forced to turn to the wallets of everyday families,” said Wotherspoon. “The Sask. Party’s surprise, last-minute cash grab from the Crown is another way of getting more money from Saskatchewan people -- not to improve SaskPower, but to cover for the Sask. Party’s budget mistakes.”


Wotherspoon said that current demands on SaskPower mean the Crown should retain its own funds to reinvest in infrastructure and improved services to promote smart growth. The dividend raid was a last-minute surprise, after a budget-time Sask. Party promise not to strip SaskPower’s profits.


“Unfortunately, taking an extra five per cent from your pocket won’t get SaskPower ahead,” said Wotherspoon. “The rate increase is necessary only to pay off part of the Sask. Party’s raid.” 

NDP Caucus 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 

Conservative Carbon Tax Attack on Mulcair Based on one "Tweet" by Economist Jack Mintz



The following guest post was written by Kevin Grandia and was published on DeSmog Blog on Dec 10/12.

Right now, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative party are blaketing the airwaves with a US-style attack ad campaign against NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
In one of the ads the very serious voice-over tells us that "according to experts Mulcair's carbon tax will raise gas by 10 cents a litre."

A little research finds that the "experts" in the ad, are in fact a singular expert named Jack Mintz, who in a news release correcting a tweet he made in April of last year estimated that the NDP carbon tax plan, put forth by the now-deceased NDP leader Jack Layton, not Mulcair, would result in a gas price hike of 10 cents a litre.

Interestingly enough Jack Mintz sits on the board of directors of Imperial Oil Canada, which is owned by ExxonMobil. Regular readers of this site know that ExxonMobil has a long and sordid history when it comes to attacks on climate change science and policy.

Now to be sure, I am not proposing some grand conspiracy here. Mintz is a well known and respected economist, has been outspoken and insightful on his views about pricing industrial carbon emissions, and in fact supports the idea of a carbon tax. According to a recent Maclean's Magazine article, Mintz says he thinks that:

"...the appropriate approach to pricing carbon is a carbon tax, not a cap-and-trade system."
And further, Mintz claims in the Maclean's article that it was an academic report co-authored by Mintz that was the basis for the Liberal Greenshift plan that was attacked so visciously by Harper and the Conservatives in the Stephane Dion days of the Liberal Party of Canada.

While Mintz's 10 cents per litre hike in gas prices may be correct, the only source I can find for his projection is in this news release Mintz issued about an inconsistent tweet he made.
You would think that a national ad campaign by the ruling federal party would be based on more than a news release about a tweet!

(An interesting side note is that the media contact on the Mintz release is none other than Morten Paulsen, someone well known to DeSmogBlog).

Two other sources I found that made projections on the Layton carbon tax plan put the price at a much lower estimate of around 4 cents a litre.

So it seems an actual cost projection for the plan is up in the air with different experts landing on different price points. But listening to the Conservatives' latest ads you would think there is no debate about the outcome of the NDP's plan and that it is with great certainty that Mulcair and his party will drive Canada into the ground with a 10 cent per litre hike in the price of gas.
This stinks.

I spent the last two years living in Washington, DC where the airwaves are full of viscious political attack ads. In the U.S. Presidential election that just concluded we saw more half-truths and outright lies spouted by politicians and talking heads than possibly any other time in US political history.

Canada has always held itself to a higher standard when it comes to political debate. It is a shame that Harper and his partisan allies think they have to resort to such petty tactics to win elections. For better or for worse, the Conservative Party rules our country and they need to treat Canadian democracy with the respect it deserves, not stoop to new lows in deceptive attack ads.

DeSmogBlog.com

Monday, December 10, 2012 

Brad Wall Puts Iconic SGI Building Up For Sale In Regina

SGI building up for sale: Sask. Party’s fire sale continues

The Sask. Party government has put the iconic SGI building in Regina up for sale.

“The potential sale of SGI’s headquarters is yet another Sask. Party surprise, yet another public asset sell-off,” said John Nilson, NDP leader. “Putting SGI on the market raises a lot of questions for taxpayers. People are wondering if this is a sign that the Sask. Party needs another cash injection to prop up the bank accounts. The Sask. Party government owes it to Saskatchewan people to present a business case for selling a valuable asset.”

The NDP said the potential sale should have been discussed publicly before putting the SGI building on the market. SGI’s black-and-bronze building is 33-years old. It houses the head office and Regina Operations Centre for the Crown corporation.

“SGI occupies a structurally-sound, perfectly-located and purpose-built tower,” said Nilson. “It’s just common sense to consider maintaining that asset.”

The NDP has been critical of the Sask. Party’s surprising return to an agenda of privatization and sell-offs throughout the fall, which included the privatization of the profitable personal information Crown corporation, ISC.

 

"Harper's Nexen Decision Puts the Ball in Premier Brad Wall’s Court" - Erin Weir



Sask NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir is calling for the provincial government to prepare for Chinese ownership of Nexen, which has 1,300 producing natural gas wells in Saskatchewan according to its last annual report.

“The federal Conservative decision to approve the Nexen takeover means that provincial governments must manage Chinese-state ownership of our natural resources,” said Weir. “Prime Minister Harper has put the ball in Premier Wall’s court.”

Harper’s statement approving the takeover acknowledged, “The larger purposes of state-owned enterprises may go well beyond the commercial objectives of privately owned companies.” In national TV commentary and a feature interview printed in Saskatchewan newspapers the week the Nexen bid was announced, Weir raised concerns that a company owned by the Chinese government might aim to supply Saskatchewan resources to China at lower prices.

Lower prices would normally mean lower royalty revenues for Saskatchewan people. However, the provincial government has the authority to prescribe the price to which royalties apply.

“We should strengthen the Ministry of Energy and Resources’ monitoring capacity so that it can step in if a foreign government under-prices our commodities,” said Weir. “Unfortunately, the Sask. Party government has said nothing about the Nexen takeover or how it will respond.”

Harper’s statement also included the following line: “Canadians have not spent years reducing the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments, only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead.” However, that is happening in Saskatchewan, as Weir noted in a letter to the editor printed in the July 25 Globe and Mail. “Privatization” shifted SaskOil from being owned by our provincial government to being part of Nexen, which will now be controlled by the Chinese government.

Sunday, December 09, 2012 

'Justin Trudeau' ... the musical




 
 Featuring "Justin ... get yer gun" !

This is going to be the 'feel good' production of 2013.  I can hardly wait! .....

Friday, December 07, 2012 

We Hear A Lot Of Hype About Premier Wall's 'Saskatchewan Advantage' - Here's The Reality: Case # 2

Homeless man found frozen to death behind Prince Albert store

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – Social agencies say the freezing death of a man highlights the issue of homelessness in the northern Saskatchewan city of Prince Albert.

James Benjamin Roberts, who was 49, was found behind a Michaels store in a retail district on Tuesday. People who knew Roberts, also known as Ben Dahl, say he had no place to call his own.

Edna Bruce, manager of the YWCA’s Our House, says services for the homeless are barely skimming the surface of what is needed.

She said many people with no where to go hang out in the warm doorways of stores until they’re told to leave.Bruce says shelters can be so overrun that many people coming in for a bed are sleeping in the lobbies at night.

“It just makes your heart tighten up, because you see these people every day and it could be anyone next,” said Bruce. “We have a folder of the people who have died since we’ve been here, which is five years, and there’s about 20 people who have died for various reasons.”

Bruce said Roberts had stayed with the YWCA a couple of times when the shelter first opened, but never requested to stay again.

“He came here and had coffee, warmed up, sat in our lobby and visited with people.”

A shelter user named Stephanie said she remembered Roberts coming in after a night outside. “I didn’t know him that well, but I did know him when he was coming in here,” she said. “When he came in here his face was just frozen in the mornings.”She said Roberts had been staying out every night, more than likely behind a building in an attempt to get out of the wind.

An autopsy is to verify the cause of death, but police do not suspect foul play.
Metro News

 

We Hear A Lot Of Hype About Premier Wall's 'Saskatchewan Advantage' - Here's The Reality: Case # 1


Regina homeless man too sick for shelter, not sick enough for hospitalization

REGINA — The executive director of Carmichael Outreach worries Regina’s homeless population will fall through the cracks this winter, after her calls for help Thursday went unanswered.

Danielle Goulden made eight calls to six different health-care branches when a homeless man who Goulden described as severely incontinent and in declining health showed up at Carmichael in the morning.
Each one referred her to another. The man’s story calls into question what services are available for those who are too sick to stay in a shelter but not sick enough to warrant hospitalization. Stuck somewhere in the middle, Goulden worries about his fate.

“It’s really a prime example of how someone falls through the cracks of the system and is put out onto the street on a freezing cold day,” Goulden said in a telephone interview.

The 54-year-old man has been visiting the outreach centre for years, Goulden said. His health has been quickly deteriorating over the past six months in particular.He visits nearly every day, but Goulden became alarmed Thursday. The man had trouble walking and wore pants that were soaked with what looked like “days’ worth” of urine.

Concerned, Goulden called the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) and was referred to the provincial government’s HealthLine. A nurse there suggested Goulden contact Mobile Crisis Services, a non-profit intervention hotline, but a representative with that organization told Goulden to call EMS.

Goulden ended up calling 9-1-1. Paramedics responded, but said the man’s needs did not warrant hospitalization. They suggested Goulden call the health region’s Crisis Response Team, which referred the call to the health region’s admission and discharge department.

Three hours and numerous calls later, Goulden was still stuck at square one. Citing patient confidentiality, the RQHR could not comment specifically on the case or explain why Goulden’s calls were passed on to various points of contact within its organization. “We cannot speak publicly about the specifics of any individual’s case without their written permission,” Lisa Thomson, a spokeswoman with the health region, wrote in an email. She added that those in similar, non-urgent situations can visit a medical clinic or health centre, contact mental-health services or go to the hospital.

According to Goulden, the man has been admitted to hospital more than 100 times in the past six months. His stays have been short-term most of the time. “Do you know how much it costs the health-care system to admit someone that many times in a six-month period? It is more costly to do nothing than to actually get him long-term care,” Goulden explained, growing frustrated. “It just doesn’t even make sense.”

By early afternoon Thursday, Carmichael staff changed the man’s clothes and he was back on the street. Goulden believes he was eventually taken to hospital, but that could not be confirmed.
“These guys just float around, the weather is getting worse, and it’s scary.”


Merry Christams to ALL members of the Saskatchewan Party ....

Thursday, December 06, 2012 

Only Once Has Canada's Minister of Defence Taken Part In A 'Peace Keeping Mission' Since Harper Became PM


Pity ... we were once a proud and respected nation that put our military between warring parties ... Harper has turned us into his idea of a 'warrior' nation. Yesterday was the first 'peace keeping mission' that Canada's Minister of Defence has been involved with in many, many years.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 

Mr. Scheer stood by saying nothing during the incident.....



‘Don’t threaten my House leader!'

Thomas Mulcair  
Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada 

National Post coverage

 

Conservative Van Loan Gives Finger To NDP Leader Mulcair on Floor of House of Commons - CTV News


A verbal altercation between Government House Leader Peter Van Loan and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair occurred in the House of Commons Wednesday, briefly disrupting proceedings.
It wasn’t immediately clear what transpired, but NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen accused Van Loan of giving the middle finger to Mulcair.
Heated exchange between Van Loan, Mulcair in House | CTV News

We also now learn that although the Conservatives insist that everyone else abide by the 'letter of the law' ... they always seem to want to bend rules for themselves:

iPOLITICS has more ....

"Fundamentally, the problem was one of attendance.
It was about much more than that, really, but basically, that was the issue New Democrat House leader took to the Speaker after question period Wednesday.
Cullen’s contention was that, prior to the final vote on C-45 that would send the government’s fall budget implementation bill to third reading, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty wasn’t in the House. Given that it was his bill, the NDP contested that he should have been there, and since he wasn’t, the vote technically didn’t count.
“The motion put to the House was moved by a member who was not in his place, and was therefore indisputably out of order, preventing a legitimate vote from being held,” Cullen told the House during his point of order after question period. “There are clear rules set out for all members to follow in terms of how motions must be constructed and proposed, so that we’re all working on a level playing field. Those rules even apply to a minister of finance.”
Rather than it being Flaherty who moved that the bill be concurred in on Tuesday night, Cullen said, it was the Government House leader, Peter Van Loan.
Van Loan disagreed, saying that the Chair at the time, Joe Comartin, “interpreted properly… the intention of the government. It was obviously the intention of the government that the bill be moved.” That is, just because Flaherty wasn’t there didn’t make the vote invalid. Rather, procedure dictates that any other cabinet minister can make the move on his behalf.
Outside in the Foyer, Cullen made his case to reporters.
“The rules of the House are incredibly simple, and for the most basic motions or bills that an MP moves, you got to be there,” he said. “The House voted incorrectly last night on the government’s implementation act.”
In the House moments earlier, Liberal interim leader Bob Rae pointed out that, whether there was a re-vote or not, the result was bound to be the same.
“It’s difficult to believe that anyone thinks that, whether or not the minister of finance happened to be in his chair or not, the result of that vote would have been any different in any way, shape, or form,” Rae said. “Either the House can vote again on the same issue and reach the same conclusion and the same result, otherwise let’s get on with the debate on third reading.”
In the end, Speaker Andrew Scheer pointed out that it was the case that any cabinet minister could have moved the motion prior to the final vote on Tuesday night, and that at the time the Chair had not noticed Flaherty’s absence – something he said was an oversight.
Following that decision, there was somewhat of an altercation between the two parties.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 

Premier Brad Wall Says Saskatchewan Has The ONLY Balanced Budget In Canada - Sask Provincial Auditor Says 'YOUR BOOKS ARE WRONG ... HUGE Deficit'!


Saskatchewan's right wing administration is boldly proclaiming that this province has the ONLY balanced provincial budget in Canada. Today, Saskatchewan's independent, non-partisan Provincial Auditor said something QUITE different from what Premier Wall has been saying:

Government General Revenue Fund Financial Statements Wrong, Says Provincial Auditor

REGINA, Sask., December 4, 2012 – The Saskatchewan Government uses “two sets of books” to report its finances despite longstanding recommendations to stop this practice, says Provincial Auditor Bonnie Lysyk in Volume 2 of her 2012 Report, released today. In the Report, Lysyk states that the Government’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) financial statements contain significant errors and are materially wrong.

Most provinces in Canada present their finances to the public using only one set of financial statements - Summary Financial Statements - which are prepared in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles. In Saskatchewan, however, the Government uses two different sets of financial statements depending on the message it wants to send to the public regarding the state of its finances.


When discussing debt or balancing the budget, it most frequently refers to the GRF statements – a custom that is both poor practice and misleading to the public, particularly when those statements contain significant errors.


For example, the GRF statements for March 31, 2012 excluded $6.12 billion in pension liabilities and $100 million of related pension expenses. “An omission of this magnitude is similar to a company not including in its financial statements all relevant information for its shareholders, such as the financial results of a mine it owns that is losing money,” says Lysyk. “The ‘creative accounting rules’ that the Government uses for the GRF allows it to communicate to the people of Saskatchewan that the GRF budget is balanced and there is a surplus when in actual fact, there is not.” For the year ended March 31, 2012, the Government reported a surplus in the GRF of $352.3 million. What it should have reported was a deficit in the GRF of $46 million.


If the Government used proper accounting rules, the forecasted GRF surplus of $56.2 million in last week’s 2012-13 Mid-Year Report would have actually been a deficit of $528.3 million.



-CTV Regina has more ....

-So does the Regina Leader-Post ....

-CBC Sask, however, has chosen NOT to cover the Prov Auditor's position on Saskatchewan's so called 'balanced' budget ... ???

Monday, December 03, 2012 

Even Brad Wall's Supporters Question His Phony Claim That Saskatchewan Has The 'Only' Balanced Budget In Canada

 The following post was published at 'Saskatoonhousingbubble' blog on November 27, 2012. It is written by a supporter of the Saskatchewan Party and challenges Premier Wall's claim (repeated by every mindless MSM outlet in the province) that the Sask Budget is 'balanced':

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Is the Provincial Budget Really Balanced?

Today we heard the "Provincial budget is balanced" but in reality The Province of Saskatchewan Statement of Debt has increased by $1 Billion in 6 months.  What is going on here? Huh? What?  I thought they said "balanced budget?" Before we get to that,

From
Newstalk 650
In a news conference at the legislature on Tuesday, Finance Minister Ken Krawetz acknowledged the government has been saved from a deficit in part because of that one-time transfer from the feds.
"There would be other things that we would be looking at in terms of expense management absolutely. I mean that's the benefit of a mid-year projection. We're able to look at all of the sources that provide additional dollars and we're able to look at where we're able to adjust expenditures" he said.
He admitted the heavy reliance on resource revenues continue to make the province vulnerable.
"There will be challenges for the financial planning for 2013-2014 and beyond."  Provincial debt is staying on track at just under $4 billion, yet Crown debt -- particularly at SaskPower --continues to rise.

So the province has a "balanced budget" because of a one time transfer from the feds.  Actually, $95 Million to be exact.  Oh, and remember the surplus is $12 Million.But the numbers also show that Crown debt has increased from $4.4 Billion to $5.3 Billion since March.  But according to the way accounting is done:

From the Government of Saskatchewan




* Some Crown corporations and other organizations have obligations to other
entities. The General Revenue Fund is not responsible for this other debt.

So the General Revenue Fund is not responsible for this other debt.  That is fine, but then do not count the use of Crown money on the revenue side if you do not use Crown debt on the liability side.  And we should note that that there was a $47.7 Million increase from Crown transfers to the General Revenue Fund.  It seems like we are paying down the mortgage, but increasing the line of credit to fund capital expenditures.  At the end of the day, taxpayers in Saskatchewan are being saddled with more debt.


So we need $142 Million of extra cash to get to a surplus of $12 Million.


I like Brad Wall, I voted Sask Party last election.  But I don't like when the numbers are played around with.  Tell us the truth.  I guess it does not matter what party is in, the little guys get screwed and lied to. 



Just for those who are wondering, we can see in the next few graphs total debt has shrunk from over $12 billion in 2004 to just over $8 billion in 2011. From 2004 to 2007, the NDP paid down about $1 billion in debt, while the Sask Party has paid down about $3 billion since 2007.



Total debt has increased since 2009. Once 2012 is done, I will add the new numbers to the graph.
Here is how it looks when we break down debt from Crown corporations and debt from the General Revenue Fund.

The big reason provincial debt was paid down?  Resource revenues.  The list below shows the year and resource revenues * 1000.  ie 2008-2009 = $4.6 Billion in resource revenues.  That is why the government paid down so much debt.  But the good times don't always last and governments need to learn how to spend wisely.

Why did resource revenues go through the roof in 2008?  The commodity bubble of course!

Here is Potash



Here is Uranium

Here is Oil




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