Friday, July 29, 2011 

The Teaparty Is So Insane ... Even FOX's Bill O'Reilly Is Lashing Out At Them Now

FOX NewsNetwork's Bill O'Reilly is lashing out at the Republican Teaparty movement today. That's how crazy things are in the USA at the moment.


Wall Street Journal SLAMS Teaparty Republicans

"The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor."
Wall Street Journal


Seriously ... It's Time For Stephen Harper To Defend Canadian Interests And Condemn Teaparty Ideology And Tactics ... Show Some Real International Leadership For Once!

... but perhaps he and his Conservative Party of Canada agree with the Teaparty?

An Observation:
Once again Harper is sitting on his hands because when it comes down to the wire, he is a hardcore 'unfettered free market' kind of guy at heart. In other words, the irresponsible extremists in the GOP could potentially pull this nation into recession and Harper is saying nothing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 

If You Aren't Familiar With New Democrat Party Prez Brian Topp ... you soon will be

Brian Topp is President of the New Democratic Party of Canada. He is from Montreal and is fully bilingual. His experiences and political skill are impeccable. If you aren't familiar with him ... I have a sneaking suspicion that you soon will be. Brian is a great friend to Saskatchewan New Dems having worked here with Roy Romanow for years during the 1990's. Brian is a great friend and a true Canadian.

"OTTAWA—When Brian Topp was elected president of the New Democratic Party, he hoped to lead a policy renewal so that his party could show Canadians they were capable of forming the next federal government. He didn’t expect to have to lead the process for a new interim leader. But as Jack Layton is battling a new cancer and has stepped aside to focus on his health, political observers and those close to him say Mr. Topp is a strong leader who’s one of the “most stalwart” NDP staffers in the country.

“The party owes the public a careful think about what its priorities are and we need to be seen to be doing that so the public knows that they can trust us with a pretty big mandate, which is run the national government. So that’s what I was hoping and still hoping to work on as president of the party. I certainly wasn’t looking to work on a matter like this which is heartbreaking frankly,” Mr. Topp told The Hill Times Wednesday after the NDP caucus met to choose Nycole Turmel (Hull-Aylmer, Que.) as its interim leader.

“I’ve always found Jack Layton to be an inspiring man. I’ve been struck with what an incredible fighter he is. It was a privilege to sit next to him on Monday and see and feel his determination and I just really hope that this works out reasonably and in the mean time you do what you have to do,” Mr. Topp said."

Hill Times

-Brian Topp Elected President of New Democratic Party of Canada ...

Photo courtesy Jake Wright, The Hill Times

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 

Conservative Minister John Baird Has Paintings By Quebec Artist Removed And Replaced With Portraits of The Queen Of England!

I think the Conservative government sits up late into the night just thinking up ways to be idiots. Case in point .....

"Foreign service staff and art lovers are grumbling about new Minister John Baird's decorating tastes inside the lobby of his department. A pair of historic paintings by Quebec modern master Alfred Pellan were removed from their decades-old spot and replaced by a 2002 photo portrait of the Queen late last month."

Globe & Mail


If Jim Flaherty Is SO Worried About The U.S.A. Defaulting On Their Debt, Maybe He Should Phone His Right Wing GOP Pals And Tell Them To Drop The Ideological CRAP!

"Mr. Flaherty called the U.S. debt situation “very worrisome” but remained tight-lipped about any contingency plans for Canada in the case of a U.S. default."
G & M

-Here's the ideological crap that Canada's Conservatives share with the Republican Party and its demented Teaparty wing.


CFL MUST Take Action Against 'No Class' Montreal Alouette - Dwight Anderson

"Weston Dressler looked Monday like he had been on a red-eye flight from Montreal.

The left eye of the Saskatchewan Roughriders slotback was bloodshot when the CFL team returned to Regina, but he said the damage was done not by extended time on a plane but by the right thumb of Montreal Alouettes defensive back Dwight Anderson.

In the fourth quarter of the Roughriders' 27-24 victory over the host Als on Sunday, Anderson was penalized for unnecessary roughness. Television replays showed him grabbing Dressler's helmet and sticking his fingers inside Dressler's facemask.

Dressler's eye showed that one of Anderson's digits hit home.

"It's definitely surprising," Dressler said after the Roughriders landed at Regina International Airport. "You try to play this game and respect your opponents and your teammates. For a guy to do something like that, I really don't know what to say about it."

"We're going to pursue (disciplinary action by the CFL) because that was definitely intent to injure," Roughriders head coach Greg Marshall noted. "If the league is making statements about certain types of things going on in the game, then there's certainly no room for that."

That sentiment was shared by Roughriders slotback Jason Clermont ("Obviously that's not a part of football") and quarterback Darian Durant ("You don't have to go that far").

"I know Dwight off the field, so that's what makes it tough," Durant continued. "He really didn't have to do that and I'm pretty sure that he knows he got caught up in the heat of the moment of the game.

"But of course I don't agree with that. I don't think there's any room for that."

The two teams have previous experience this season with the league taking disciplinary action. Roughriders rookie safety Craig Butler was fined $750 for a helmet-to-helmet hit he put on Als slotback S.J. Green when the teams met July 9 at Mosaic Stadium. Butler subsequently appealed the fine.

The incident Sunday was the culmination of a pitched battle between Dressler and Anderson during the contest. The clash featured Anderson taking a few shots at Dressler and constantly jabbering at the Roughriders' star slotback.

"I just kind of zone him out during a game," said Dressler, who earlier in the contest escaped Anderson's coverage for a 75-yard passand-run touchdown. "I'm not sure what he was saying most of the time. I don't know if he said anything or not at that point. I just felt one thumb on my eye and I felt him really dig into it ...

"It caught me off guard a little bit, but I guess anything's possible with him out there."

After the incident, Clermont approached Anderson and said something. Asked Monday what his message was, Clermont replied: "I'd rather just keep that on the field."

"I went over and talked to him a little bit, said my piece and he kind of backed down and that was it," Clermont continued. "I didn't know what had happened at the time, to be honest. I just saw Weston on the ground."

The Roughriders are more than familiar with Anderson, who spent the previous three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders. The 32-year-old signed with Montreal as a free agent in the off-season.

For Dressler, his head-tohead matchup with Anderson on Sunday was typical of their previous run-ins.

"He's always one of those guys who wants to do those types of things out there," said Dressler, who declined to comment on the prospect of the CFL disciplining Anderson. "As a player going against him, you've just got to keep your cool and keep your head in the game and not worry about him."

Dressler said he had some blurred vision in the eye after the incident and overnight, but it was gradually clearing up Monday. Dressler, who planned to visit an optometrist to make sure there wasn't any damage to the eyeball, expects to play Saturday against the visiting Stampeders.

The biggest concern for Dressler about the incident was the Lasik surgery he had in the off-season, after which doctors told him to protect his eyes. In the wake of Sunday's incident, he's pondering another piece of protection.

"I've never been a fan of putting a visor on - I feel like it can obstruct your view at times and you can get dirt or rain on it - but now I may look into it," Dressler said. "I've definitely thought of it."
© Copyright (c) Regina Leader Post

CFL Fines Anderson an undisclosed amount (it damn well better have been sustantial!) ....

Monday, July 25, 2011 

Everything You Need To Know About The American Financial Crisis ... but were afraid to ask

1). Democratic President Bill Clinton left a Surplus in the American Budget when he handed power over to Republican George W. Bush.

2). Bush got the USA into two separate wars and gave massive, flawed, ideology based tax cuts to the rich and corporations.

3). The chickens have come home to roost ... and Republicans are to blame.


And You Still Think That We Are Not Slipping Into An Extreme Right Wing Paradise Here In Canada???

The following comments were screen captured before the Toronto SUN closed comments on its Jack Layton story earlier today:

(Click to enlarge)

H/t to Youstayclassy blog ...


New Democrat Leader Jack Layton Announces That He Has New Cancer - Taking Leave Of Absence

New Democrat Party leader Jack Layton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. He also underwent hip surgery just before the recent federal election campaign. Today he announced that he has a new cancer and is taking a leave of absence.

Under the rules of the New Democratic Party, the federal Caucus and Party executive will be consulted in order for the Federal Council to select an Interim leader during Jack's treatment and recovery. The selection of Interim Leader will be made within a couple of days.

-CBC has more ...

Sunday, July 24, 2011 

My June 27th, 2008 Post On Amy Winehouse ......

Amy Winehouse - Rest in Peace.

Monday, July 18, 2011 

How Brad Wall Introduced TILMA By Stealth In Saskatchewan

TILMA by Stealth in Saskatchewan
by Erin Weir

The Saskatchewan Party had repeatedly promised not to sign TILMA. But it signed the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) last year.

At the time, many commentators (including yours truly) noted that the NWPTA was little more than a renaming of TILMA. I see that the official TILMA website is now automatically redirecting to the NWPTA website:

Effective July 1, 2010 the TILMA (Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement) has been expanded to become the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) between British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Built on the success of the TILMA between Alberta and British Columbia, the NWPTA extends Alberta’s and British Columbia’s commitments under the former TILMA. In practice, the obligations for British Columbia and Alberta do not change under the NWPTA.

You will be automatically re-directed to the official site of the New West Partnership Trade Agreement or click here.

Progressive Economics Forum

Erin Weir is PEF Chair and Senior Economist with the International Trade Union Confederation - located in Brussels, Belgium.

Sunday, July 17, 2011 

Ottawa Bluesfest Stage Tumbles Down During Wind Storm!!

The Aftermath:

"Thousands of people were evacuated from Ottawa’s Bluesfest on Sunday after the stage collapsed during a Cheap Trick concert.

Ottawa Fire Services confirmed Sunday evening that no one was trapped underneath the stage.

Although there were initial reports of injuries, the official Bluesfest statement released via Twitter just after 8 p.m. said, “There are no serious injuries on site.”

Several minutes later, Ottawa fire tweeted that the area underneath the crumbled stage had been searched a second time.

Concertgoer Pamela Cogan disputed the Bluesfest statement, saying a pole broke off the back of the stage and hit Cheap Trick’s driver.

“I held his head until I got him into the ambulance,” said Cogan, a respiratory therapist at the Ottawa Hospital who is also trained in first aid.

She said he suffered head and leg injuries and a cut on his stomach.

“I can’t understand how people on the stage weren’t hurt,” said Cogan, who said she was standing about three metres away when the storm hit.

The Sunday evening programming at the multi-day outdoor concert was cancelled after the violent storm."

National Post

Thursday, July 14, 2011 

For Those Who Still Can't See That Harper Is Eroding Our Democracy And Personal Security ....

"Hidden deep within the federal government’s comprehensive bundle of crime legislation lies a bill that opponents claim will rob Canadians their right to online privacy as well as their cash.

During the last federal election campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to combine 11 separate crime bills into one omnibus piece of legislation and pass it within 100 days of taking power should his Conservative Party win a majority.

Having achieved that victory on May 2, advocacy groups, digital policy experts and opposition Members of Parliament have since raised alarm bells over one provision of the catch-all crime bill in particular, known as “Lawful Access” legislation.

Lawful Access legislation, they argue, would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to disclose customer information to law enforcement without court orders and to invest in new technologies allowing for real-time surveillance of their networks.

Critics argue the new legislation will grant police new powers to obtain access to that surveillance data.

“This legislation is going to be expensive, excessive and really it is quite bizarre in terms of the kind of warrantless surveillance [the government] wants to impose on Canadians,” said Steve Anderson, executive director of Vancouver-based advocacy group

“I think people are rightfully upset about that.”

More than 28,000 Canadians signed OpenMedia’s Stop Online Spying petition when the website first launched on Wednesday, more than any of the group’s previous petitions ever received on their first day. By comparison, nearly 500,000 people in total joined OpenMedia’s last major petition to oppose industry-wide usage-based billing (UBB) policies for Canadian Internet service.

“For all Canadians, [lawful access] will mean that a fundamental privacy principle will have been broken,” said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who holds the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce law.

“At the moment, our law is clear that mandatory disclosure of personal information requires court oversight. Lawful access will remove this requirement and require disclosure in some circumstances.”

Requiring ISPs to invest in new surveillance technologies to make real-time monitoring possible, which Mr. Anderson said will run into the “millions of dollars,” is another point of concern among the proposed law’s opponents.

“That cost will be passed on to us,” Mr. Anderson said.

“Either as consumers or taxpayers we will be subsidizing [an] invasion of our privacy.”

Critics contend that such laws will actually contribute very little to helping police apprehend suspected criminals.

“There has been no documented cases where police were not able to catch a criminal because they didn’t have this warrant-less, invasive surveillance,” said Mr. Anderson.

There was one instance Prof. Geist recalled when Peter Van Loan, former Public Safety Minister, raised a Vancouver kidnapping as an example of a crime that might have been solved had police been given the authority to monitor Canadian Internet users.

“But I launched an Access to Info request and found that it had nothing to do with the Internet,” he said.

In a letter sent to current Public Safety Minister Vic Toews on Friday, two Members of Parliament with the federal New Democratic Party joined OpenMedia’s coalition of more than 30 rights groups and various Privacy Commissioners urging the government to reconsider the implications of lawful access. Among other things, the two MPs contend the law would violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Allowing security services to engage in unchecked fishing expeditions on private citizens will certainly put individual rights and liberties at risk,” wrote Charlie Angus and Jasbir Sandhu, NDP digital issues and public safety critics, respectively.

“What is even more disturbing is the fact that the bill does not limit in any way the reasons for which an official or other security official might make such a demand.”

In a statement sent to the Financial Post via email Friday evening, a spokesperson from Public Safety Canada said the legislation follows similar policies recently adopted by other countries such as the United States, Australia, Germany and Sweden.

“The former Bill C-52, the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act, was created to help keep Canadians safe from those who would use communications technology in their pursuit of criminal or terrorist activities while not infringing on the Rights of law abiding Canadians,” the statement said.

“This Government is committed to providing law enforcement and national security agencies with the tools they need to prevent, investigate and prosecute serious crimes, including terrorism, in today’s modern and fast-paced technological environment.”

Financial Post


Conrad Black Eviscerates Rupert Murdoch!

"Fallen media baron Conrad Black is taking a swipe at News Corporation chair Rupert Murdoch, describing his former rival as untrustworthy, malicious, and someone who has “difficulty keeping friendships.”

In a column published in the Financial Times Thursday, Black excoriates the Sun and News of the World owner for presenting himself as a “pillar of contemporary, enlightened populism in Britain and sensible conservatism in the U.S.,” while pushing forward business enterprises that pander to base instincts and sensationalism.

“Although his personality is generally quite agreeable, Mr. Murdoch has no loyalty to anyone or anything except his company,” writes Black, former owner of Telegraph Newspapers, a competitor of News International. “He has difficulty keeping friendships; rarely keeps his word for long; is an exploiter of the discomfort of others; and has betrayed every political leader who ever helped him in any country, except Ronald Reagan and perhaps Tony Blair.”

He continues: “All (Murdoch’s) instincts are down-market; he is not only a tabloid sensationalist; he is a malicious myth-maker, an assassin of the dignity of others and of respected institutions, all in the guise of anti-elitism … His notions of public entertainment and civic values are enshrined in the cartoon television series The Simpsons: all public officials are crooks and the public is an ignorant lumpenproletariat.”

Last month, Black, 66, was resentenced to 13 months in prison on fraud and obstruction of justice charges. In 2007, the British lord and former Hollinger International Inc. chair was sentenced to 78 months in prison after being found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He had served 29 months at a low-security prison complex in Coleman, Fla., before the U.S. Supreme Court threw out two of his initial convictions over a misuse of the controversial “honest services” law. He will return to jail on Sept. 6.

While his distaste for Murdoch’s business orientations are evident in the column, Black notes that he believes it is unlikely the News Corp. chair, his son, James, or Rupert Murdoch’s close adviser, Les Hinton, committed any crimes.

Arguably, Black saves his harshest criticism for Britain’s establishment, which, for decades, has allowed Murdoch’s media empire to tar and feather public figures, celebrities and professional athletes seemingly with immunity.

“It is, on this subject at last, a time for truth. For decades Britain’s establishment professed to despise Mr. Murdoch but appeased and grovelled to him, (“I thoroughly disapprove of Rupert, but I quite like him,” was the tedious refrain),” says Black.

“There must be a reckoning with decades of establishment cowardice towards someone whose nature has been well known throughout that time. The fault is the British establishment’s and it must not be seduced and intimidated, so profoundly and durably, again.”

Meanwhile Thursday, Murdoch and his son made an abrupt turnaround, saying they will in fact appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee next week to provide evidence related to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

In a letter to the committee Thursday, Murdoch had declined to appear, but said he would be prepared to give evidence at the judge-led public inquiry, for which a date has yet to be set.

His son, James, who is deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., told the committee in a separate letter that he would only be available to give evidence in August. But public pressure and comments by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg urging the father and son to appear seem to have changed their minds.

The Murdoch’s will join News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who had already agreed to meet the committee, at the House of Commons on Tuesday when the trio is expected to be grilled by MPs over alleged phone- and data-hacking and payments to police that took place at News International publications.

Brooks was editor of News of the World from 2000 to 2003, during which time much of the hacking was alleged to have taken place, including the interception of voicemails on the cellphone belonging to murdered teenager Milly Dowler.

The change of heart comes just a day after Murdoch withdrew his much-publicized $14-billion takeover bid for British Sky Broadcasting. The deal had already lost the support of the House of Commons, which had intended to vote to demand News Corp. cease its pursuit of the digital satellite broadcaster.

Also Thursday, Scotland Yard announced it had made another arrest as part of its ongoing investigation into the alleged phone-hacking and police payments. Neil Wallis, 60, a former executive editor at News of the World, was reportedly taken into custody early Thursday. He is the ninth person to be arrested in the case."

Toronto Star

Friday, July 08, 2011 

Canadians: The New Military 'Hawks' Of The Western World (or) How Stephen Harper Militarized The Nation

"Behold the new Canadian militarism. It’s everywhere.

Hardly a week goes by without the government gushing about our troops, or bowing to a DND wish. It has become politically incorrect, practically unpatriotic, to question the military. Our government’s Afghanistan propaganda makes it sound like it was mission accomplished. And everyone is expected to be gung-ho on the war in Libya.

The government is moving ahead on the purchase of the zillion-dollar F-35 super jets which yet another study has just criticized, saying they’re unsuitable unless we’re trying to build a Pentagon-styled war machine. We now take a harder line in the Middle East than virtually any other country. We’re seldom heard on the disarmament front. We’ve lost our traditional honest broker standing at the United Nations.

The first thing on the itinerary of Prince William when he arrived was a visit to the tomb of the unknown soldier. Our smallish foreign aid output is increasingly tied to military adventures – war projects as opposed to long-term development. The military is for the first time starting to take part in our citizenship ceremonies. Our foreign policy is now, arguably for the first time, to the right of the United States.

For a country that has long prided itself on a reputation as a peacemaker, it’s a remarkable turn. Hawks of the western world? Who would have thunk it?

It’s a play to our baser instincts, instincts that are more primitive than progressive. The Conservatives’s lock-‘em-up law-and-order policy is one example of this. The glorification of the military is another.

Prime Minister Harper said recently he sees Canada’s role as that of “courageous warrior.” When interviewer Ken Whyte of Maclean’s suggested that with their post-WWII bridge-building history Canadians aren’t used to that kind of thing, the PM countered by reciting the country’s role in earlier times, beginning with the war of 1812.

Canada’s older military history was a proud one, the PM noted, and it’s something he’s bent on reviving. Of all the policy changes he has brought to Canada, the new militarism may well be the most profound.

Paul Robinson, a University of Ottawa professor who served as an officer in both the British and Canadian armies, wrote in the Ottawa Citizen this week that the government is elevating the military into a moral elite of super-citizens. This helps, he said, legitimize war and militarize foreign policy. It has become “near impossible to criticize any aspect of military operations without incurring shrieks of ‘support the troops.’” War in this country used to be something to avoid. Now, said Robinson, it’s becoming “almost the option of first resort.”

Whether Canadians accept the new militancy remains to be seen. But losing our collective reputation as peace-seekers doesn’t seem to be bothering them too much so far. Though the opposition parties campaigned in the recent election against the new fighter jets and other hard-line aspects of Tory foreign policy, their efforts – foreign policy is seldom a major factor in the country’s political calculation – didn’t register strongly with voters. One reason might be that, despite the tough noises, the Tories are ceasing the fighting role in Afghanistan.

In the broader context, Harper’s glorification of the armed services appears to fit his goal of stirring a new Canadian patriotism. Canada Day was an example as crowds of unprecedented size, displaying hero worship for non-heroes, turned out to cheer on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. As Harper beamed, Prince William spoke in superlatives about the work of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

The turnaround from the Liberal years is striking. Canadians supported Jean Chretien as he cut the military budget, maintained strong civilian control over the military and kept the country out of war in Iraq. In the mid-1990s, owing to a massive deficit, most every department took a big cut in spending. Defence was no exception. The Cold War had ended and that was a further justification for the cuts.

But there was more to it than that. For Canadians, defence spending was not a top of line priority. They appeared to be proud of their post-war tradition of urging restraint on super powers, whether it was with respect to the Suez Crisis, or Vietnam, or the Cold War, or arms-stockpiling, or Iraq. The country’s reputation abroad was that of a do-gooder. American Defence Secretary Cap Weinberger once quipped that you could put the entire Canadian military on a football field and still have room for the game.

Under the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney, there was a closer alignment with American foreign policy. But at home budgetary deficits prevented big defence outlays and in Joe Clark the Tories had a foreign minister who was cut from the Pearsonian tradition. Clark now takes a dim view of the loss of the Canadian middle role.

Despite today’s large deficit the Defence Department is not expected to face cuts to its $21-billion budget. Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie is looking at the bloated military command structure for possible savings but is meeting heavy resistance.

Stephen Harper’s father and grandfather were military buffs and the prime minister is no different. He has a genuine passion for matters military, as do many red-meat conservatives.

To those who complain that he isn’t far enough to the right, he can point to his foreign policy. This new militancy is a far cry from the Canada we have known for the last 60 years."

Lawrence Martin
© 2011
iPolitics Inc.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 

Saskatchewan Can Blame Premier Brad Wall For Allowing Terrible Mosquito Infestation To Get Worse Than It Should Be

2011 has been a wet year on the prairies. As a result, trillions of mosquitoes are breeding in every ditch, slough and creek in the province. You can't blame Premier Brad Wall for Mother nature's creations, but you sure as hell can blame him for cutting the funding that municipalities, towns and cities use to control the pests.

"There's an old saying that it's "the little things" that hurt politicians.

Look no further than tomorrow's Canada Day celebrations in Wascana Centre for evidence of the "little things" that are generating increasing criticism of city council and the provincial government.

We're referring to mosquitoes, which are beginning to make their presence felt in a big way. The crowds swatting away these pests tomorrow - particularly around dusk as they take in the fireworks display - will rightly wonder why less money is being spent to control them this year.

After all, it's been a perfect breeding season for skeeters. Following weeks of spring rain the province is basking in warm temperatures and their numbers are rising.

Though the skeeters we're seeing now are mostly of the "nuisance" variety and there's no sign yet of West Nile virus, which is carried by the Culex tarsalis variety, municipalities and the province are under fire for not doing more to control them.

Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco blames the province for cancelling the $1.1 million in mosquito control funding it provided communities in recent years, a move that has cost the city more than $200,000. On Wednesday, the city said it would debate a motion next Monday to use $200,000 from its reserve fund "to control nuisance mosquitoes up to 10 kilometres outside the city limits".

The city is already spending $300,000 inside city limits to control mosquitoes.

The provincial government says the extra funding it provided municipalities was specifically to fight West Nile virus - and there were only two confirmed cases last year compared with 1,456 in 2007. It says it will provide extra money in areas where Culex tarsalis numbers are high, but argues towns and cities can use some of the extra money they're getting under a new revenue-sharing agreement to fight mosquitoes.

Health Minister Don McMorris argued last month that it wasn't the province's responsibility "to control mosquitoes as a nuisance", just on health grounds.

We suggest McMorris and his cabinet colleagues are taking too narrow a view of this issue. Sure, fighting West Nile virus should be the priority, but all mosquitoes are a big deal given their ability to make our short summers so miserable.

The province shouldn't offload this issue onto municipalities already hard-pressed fiscally to fix roads and other infrastructure. Even though mosquito control efforts will have limited impact this year, given the extent of flooding, that's no reason to do nothing. In the context of a $10.7-billion budget, we suggest restoring the mosquito control program to take some of the sting out of vacation season.

This is one of those "little" issues that could come back to bite the provincial government if it ignores public opinion."

© Copyright (c) - Regina Leader-Post

*** Every single day, Potash Corp hauls truckloads of cash out of the province of Saskatchewan. Brad Wall has decided that his political priority is to give the resources of the province away for peanuts. Meanwhile, he goes about 'nickel and dimeing' the very citizens who OWN the potash resource. Maybe Mr. Wall could humbly approach Potash Corp., (hat in hand) and ask them if we could possibly have one hour's worth of their profit grab ... so that we can reinstate the funding previously used to control mosquitoes? ***

My yard is filled with mosquitoes .... I BLAME BRAD WALL! ;)

Monday, July 04, 2011 

Canada's Corporations Are HOARDING Half A Trillion Dollars Cash YET Harper Wants To Give Them Even MORE Tax Cuts!

Rationalizing Corporate Canada’s Cash Stash

Statistics Canada figures indicate that private non-financial corporations held $471 billion of cash in the first quarter of 2011 ($322 billion of Canadian currency plus $149 billion worth of foreign currency). Including short-term paper would bring this total to half a trillion dollars, enough to pay off the national debt (i.e. accumulated deficit).

Cash hoarding is a critical point in the debate about corporate taxes. If incremental after-tax profits are being deposited (rather than reinvested or paid out), lower corporate tax rates likely just produce higher piles of cash.

If corporate Canada already has half a trillion dollars more than it wishes to invest in physical or financial assets, there is no reason to expect that corporate tax cuts will boost investment. On the contrary, if the government collected more of this money and invested it directly, Canada would have more investment in total.

Not surprisingly, advocates of corporate tax cuts are trying to rationalize corporate cash hoarding as a normal and positive activity. The Financial Post’s Terry Corcoran recently wrote: “In tough times, corporate Canada had resources to fall back on.”

He suggests a kind of corporate Keynesianism, in which businesses build up reserves during booms and draw them down during recessions. (Accumulating cash during booms and then investing it when asset prices are depressed would be good for profits as well as economic stability.)

This story directly contradicts the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s previous rationalization that companies build up cash reserves in tough times: “businesses respond to credit crunches by holding as much cash as they can to meet their financial obligations.” In fact, corporate cash hoarding has been more of a secular trend than a cyclical or countercyclical factor.

As I noted a year ago, businesses did withdraw some $30 billion from their Canadian-dollar reserves during the recession’s first two quarters, but then quickly rebuilt those reserves to record levels. So, a $268-billion cushion going into the financial crisis yielded $30 billion of possible stimulus followed by more anti-stimulative cash hoarding.

During those same two quarters, the value of corporate Canada’s foreign-currency reserves actually increased by $16 billion, mostly because the exchange rate fell but also because companies continued to accumulate foreign currency through the downturn. Combining domestic and foreign currency, corporate Canada only reduced its cash stash from $379 billion (2008Q3) to $365 billion (2009Q1) and has since enlarged it to $471 billion (2011Q1).

As Eric Pineault showed graphically and Statistics Canada shows numerically, corporate Canada’s overall approach for at least two decades has been to stockpile ever more cash through good times and bad (with only very rare and slight exceptions). Advocates of corporate tax cuts have not provided a consistent or convincing explanation of how accelerating this ongoing cash accumulation benefits the Canadian public.

Erin Weir
Progressive Economics Forum

Friday, July 01, 2011 

HAPPY DOMINION DAY - A Retro 'Canada Day'

We used to call July 1st, 'Dominion Day' .... now we call it 'Canada Day'. Have a happy and safe one!

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