Tuesday, October 30, 2012 

No matter what columnists with Leader-Post / Saskatoon Star Phoenix write ... the Sask Party is nervous about the NDP leadership race ...

Hot on the heel's of their TV attack ad, the Saskatchewan Party is now using the proceedings of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly to show how nervous they are over issues being discussed in the NDP Leadership Campaign.

Case in point is the logic challenging 'Member's Statement' delivered today by Sask Party MLA & former cabinet minister, Daryl Hickie:

Mr. Hickie: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Saskatchewan's NDP [New Democratic Party] leadership candidates have at least one thing in common: they refuse to stand up for Saskatchewan. When asked by the media yesterday about whether they support their federal leader's Dutch disease attack on Western Canada's resource sector, one of the candidates said he supports Thomas Mulcair's position.

NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir told reporters he was in complete agreement with his federal leader's position that our resource sector is bad for Canada. At least we know where he stands, unlike two of his leadership rivals sitting in the Saskatchewan legislature. When reporters asked the members for Regina Rosemont and Saskatoon Massey Place whether they support Thomas Mulcair's Dutch disease diagnosis, they dodged reporters' questions with evasive language, refusing to answer with a simple yes or no if they agree with the federal leader.

I'm sure both members are familiar with Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, who called the Dutch disease argument a "scapegoat," "overly simplistic," and dead "wrong," and went on to say, "The strength of Canada's resource sector is a reflection of success, not a harbinger of failure."

Mr. Speaker, we still don't know where those two members stand on Mulcair's attacks against Saskatchewan's economy, but I'm sure these members now have something to say, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. 

 This is well beyond any tongue in cheek political antics between political rivals  ... it is a concerted effort to try and interfere with public perception of the NDP's internal leadership debate and selection process.

-Alberta Budget explains how the economic condition known as 'dutch disease' is affecting the Alberta economy  

(Recommend this post to other Progressive Bloggers)

Monday, October 29, 2012 

Sask NDP Leadership Candidate Erin Weir Welcomes Brad Wall's Childish Attack Ad

Saskatchewan's Right wing Premier, Brad Wall, is obviously getting worried that NDP leadership candidates are getting more press than he is ... hence the launch of a Sask Party attack ad right in the middle of the NDP leadership campaign.

The Erin Weir campaign has officially welcomed Wall's childish attack ad. Anything that promotes discussion of the real issues is good for the province. 

Expect the focus and public discussion to quickly move towards the massive natural resource give away that Brad Wall is conducting in Saskatchewan. 

(Recommend this post to other Progressive Bloggers)


"Sandy will be an historic storm" - The Weather Network

Sandy will be an historic storm – as of Sunday evening, this is a virtual guarantee as all forecast models are in strong agreement, predicting the worst case scenario of a landfall just south of New York City late Monday.
This storm deserves the hype, but it is very important to separate the US impacts from the Canadian impacts.

Southern Ontario is going to take the hardest hit from Sandy. There will be wind and rain in Quebec and the Maritimes, and even snow in Northeast Ontario, but the worst conditions are likely in Southern Ontario. However, this is unlikely to be an epic storm for us – rather, Sandy’s impact will be on par with a strong fall storm, the type we see every few years. Strong winds from Sandy will lead to some scattered power outages. It will be very windy later Monday into Tuesday morning - guaranteed - the only question is how strong the gusts will be.

Peak gusts for most places should remain below 100 km/h – still strong enough for some trees to come down and some power outages, but not heavy damage.

The exception to this will be along the southern shores of the Great Lakes. In fact, Sarnia may end up seeing some of the strongest winds of anyone Monday night – not what you’d think considering Lake Huron will be farther from the centre of the storm than Lake Ontario.

This storm will behave more like a large fall storm than a hurricane once it has moved inland, and the northerly wind blowing down the length of Lake Huron coupled with colder air on the backside of the storm means that areas around Sarnia may see wind gusts in excess of 100 km/h.

This could be enough to cause significant shoreline erosion and potentially infrastructure damage.
Motorists in Southern Ontario should keep in mind that a strong grip on the wheel will be needed on the Burlington Skyway and Garden City Skyway, especially Monday night.

Recent rainfall has saturated the ground in Southern Ontario, and with heavier rain developing later Monday as Sandy’s moisture moves in, some flooding is possible. However, this is not expected to be a Hurricane Hazel type historic rainfall.

Weather Network

Sunday, October 28, 2012 

Earthquake Zones And Heavy Oil Pipelines Are A Very Dangerous Combination .... just sayin'

The powers behind 'Big Oil' really don't care about anything except huge profits. "Screw the environment .. screw aboriginal land .. screw wildlife ... let's just get this crude oil to China".


Friday, October 26, 2012 

First Poll Released In Sask NDP Leadership Race

 (Click on image to enlarge ... )

The Erin Weir campaign is releasing the results of a telephone poll of Saskatchewan NDP members conducted last week. The survey found a close race for the provincial leadership with dramatic differences in support between geographic areas.

Among the minority of New Democrats who were decided, Trent 
Wotherspoon had a modest overall lead based almost entirely on support in Regina. Erin Weir and Cam Broten were tied for second, with Broten’s support almost exclusively concentrated in Saskatoon.

“The sitting MLAs have a head start in their home cities, but this 
leadership race should not be a Regina-Saskatoon rivalry,” said Weir. “We need a leader with broader provincial appeal based on the policy ideas they represent.”

“Most party members remain undecided,” said Weir. “Last week’s poll suggests that I have a solid base upon which to build support across the province.”

The poll was conducted through automated phone calls to the NDP 
membership list between October 14 and 18.  The above results include only those who responded.

“Although it was not a scientific poll, the results seem consistent 
with other indicators,” said Weir. “Fundraising reports suggest a close race provincially and endorsements reflect the same geographic distribution of support as our poll.”

Erin Weir Campaign


NDP Government would return age of eligibility for Old Age Security to 65

Today, in a speech before the Annual General Meeting of the seniors’ organization CARP, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced that a New Democratic government would restore the age of eligibility for Old Age Security benefits to 65.

More than 300,000 Canadians over the age of 65 are currently living in poverty and an alarming number of them are in a fragile situation.

Eight million Canadians have no pension plan from their employer and many are unable to save enough for their retirement.

The Conservatives’ wrong-headed choices and reckless cuts to Old Age Security will have significant consequences not only for seniors, but for all Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable.

“In a country as wealthy as Canada, there is simply no excuse for such a massive failure to take care of our own. We must do better. Our seniors deserve better and our children deserve better,” Mulcair said.

Canada's New Democrats

Thursday, October 25, 2012 

Donald Trump Offers $5 Million To Charity Of Obama's Choice - Stephen Colbert Counter Offers Trump $1 Million To ........

Donald Trump Offers Obama $5 Million Dollar Challenge Stephen Colbert Counter Offers Trump $1M 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 

Canada's Funeral Homes Have To Subsidize Many Veterans Funerals Because The Harper Gov't Won't - UPDATED

"The Harper Government is dedicated to supporting the brave men and women in uniform who defend our country and help keep us safe."

Oh .... really ?????

 Canadian funeral directors say they’re paying to bury war vets

OTTAWA — Canadian funeral directors say they’re routinely subsidizing the burials of this country’s most impoverished war veterans because the federal government pays so little for the service. Veterans Affairs Canada provides eligible veterans with up to $3,600 for funeral services through the Last Post Fund.

But that amount — it has remained unchanged for more than a decade — now covers only about half the cost of a veteran’s funeral, according to the Funeral Service Association of Canada.“It’s mostly the members of our association, or the families themselves, that are making up the difference,” said Phil Fredette, the association’s government relations chair.

Depending on the province, Fredette said, it now costs between $6,500 and $9,000 to provide the funeral services mandated under the Veterans Affairs Canada Funeral and Burial Program.

Among other things, the program requires funeral directors to bury war veterans in wooden caskets of a specified quality.

Some provinces, Fredette said, now pay as much or more for funeral services through social assistance.
Nova Scotia, for instance, offers $3,800 to cover the cost of a funeral and related services for a qualifying welfare recipient.

In Ontario, many municipalities pay funeral service rates of $4,000 to $5,000 for eligible social service recipients. Ottawa increased its rates last year to $4,366.

Jean-Pierre Goyer, executive director of the non-profit Last Post Fund, said “some funeral directors are not calling us anymore, they’re going right to social services.”

-Harper Still Giving A $6 Billion Tax Cut To Banks And Big Corps - Yet Won't Tell Us Where He Will Cut ... now we know!


UPDATE: (... and it's only going to get worse!)
  -Harper letter to MacKay: Cut more administration, sell surplus Defence property - Winnipeg Free Press

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 

Sask NDP Leadership Candidate Erin Weir Proposes $7 A Day Provincial Child Care Plan

"NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir is proposing a universally accessible daycare and early learning program for Saskatchewan children between the ages of two and five.

“The importance of early childhood development is well-documented and childcare costs should not prevent parents from choosing to pursue employment opportunities. Therefore, New Democrats have long advocated universal, accessible, affordable, high-quality childcare,” observed Weir. “The challenge is how to put those principles into practice. My solution is for the provincial government to directly create public childcare spaces in Saskatchewan schools.”

The Saskatchewan government currently regulates and funds childcare, but relies on third parties like non-profit organizations or individual homeowners to establish and manage childcare facilities. While Saskatchewan is fortunate to have some excellent daycares like the Regina Early Learning Centre, the overall result has been too few licensed childcare spaces that are too often situated in strip malls or other inappropriate locations.

“Publicly planned and delivered childcare could make use of existing schools that already have educational, recreational and nutritional facilities. This approach could even save some schools currently slated for closure,” said Weir. “Parents with children of different ages could take their preschool-aged children to the same location as those attending school. For five-year-olds, childcare at school would provide the equivalent of optional full-day kindergarten.”

For children between the ages of two and five, Weir would adopt Quebec’s policy of setting fees at $7 per day. Assuming a proportionally similar uptake to Quebec, Saskatchewan would need about 17,000 additional childcare spaces. As outlined in the accompanying backgrounder, the annual cost of establishing these spaces as well as lowering fees to $7 per day for both new and existing spaces would be about $180 million.

“We accept that modern healthcare and education systems require governments to provide facilities, train professionals and plan for demographic change. If childcare and early learning are equally important priorities, then our government should take an equally direct approach to ensuring the delivery of these public services,” said Weir. “As an economist, I know that the best investment we can make is in our children.”

Mr Weir has provided a fully costed fact sheet to accompany his proposal ...


Top UK Defence Expert: "British Security At Risk From Huawei"

Britain’s national security is being put at risk because a Chinese telecoms giant is being given too much access, the former head of the Minister of Defence’s cyber security unit warned.

Major General Jonathan Shaw claimed ministers were ‘compromising’ on security and ‘dealing with the devil’ in opening up to the firm Huawei. A former assistant chief of defence staff, he had specific responsibility for cyber security at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for more than three years until April.

This month a US congressional report published earlier this month that raised security concerns about Huawei and another Chinese telecoms company, ZTE.

Major General Shaw told investigative website Exaro: ‘The economy is in such a mess that the government feels that it has to compromise on security in favour of continued economic freedom. ‘So, it is dealing with the devil and I think that the government is very conscious of that now.

 ‘Certainly there are enough people in the [intelligence] agencies who are saying that, but they are also aware of the economic cost of not dealing with Huawei.‘The concern over corporate espionage is a bit like global warming. It is not today’s issue. But, by God, it is there.'
Earlier this month it emerged Huawei, which has been accused of posing a threat to America's national security, was being investigated over a controversial £2.5 billion deal with British Telecom.

‘There is the very real fear that the extent of Huawei’s current telecoms penetration could mean that in the long term we shall have lost so much intellectual property by the time we put our house in order that there will be no economy left to recover.’ Australia blocked Huawei bidding for a government contract this year, citing national security, and Canada is said to be considering following suit.

Huawei first entered the UK in 2001, and has invested especially heavily in the country since 2005. 
Last September Prime Minister David Cameron hosted Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Army officer, to Downing Street. Later Huawei announced plans to invest a further £1.3billion in the UK.

Larry Wortzel, a member of the US-China economic and security review commission, a US congressional body, said: ‘Any government should have substantial concerns about the activities of Huawei.’


-ATTENTION PREMIER BRAD WALL: Former Nortel exec warns against working with Huawei

Monday, October 22, 2012 

"Let Them Eat Tainted Beef" - Wildrose Party Leader

"Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith's response to a Red Deer man's tweet questioning whether tainted XL Foods meat could be saved to feed the poor instead of being sent to a landfill has put the Alberta politician on the defensive.

Hundreds of tonnes of the recalled beef were dumped in a Brooks, Alta., landfill over the weekend. The meat is from the beef processing plant, which is at the centre of an E. coli scare that involved more than 1,800 products."

Friday, October 19, 2012 

This Is What Sask Premier Brad Wall Calls A 'Boom'

"Saskatchewan reported a 6.2-per-cent decline in wholesale trade in August, the largest sales decrease among the provinces and the third consecutive monthly decline. [...] Sales rose in eight provinces in August, with Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec accounting for most of the national increase."
© Copyright (c)
Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 

Successive Liberal And Conservative Governments Put Canadians Health At Risk According To USDA Report

Liberal / Tory .. same old story.

Neither Canada's Liberal nor Conservative governments actually care very much about the health and safety of average Canadian citizens. All these two old time political entities care about is not ruffling the feathers of Canada's corporate sector.

This reality is abundantly clear with the release of a report on XL Foods by the United States Department of Agriculture.

"Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) sent a series of audit reports to the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) between 2003 and 2008 detailing deficiencies they had found at Canadian processing plants, including XL Foods facilities.

These audit reports list findings at XL Foods plants that included sloppy record-keeping, equipment held together by duct tape and, in one case, a gruesome scene of animal blood dripping into edible meat products."

During Liberal Administration:
"One audit in 2003 found non-compliance with food safety procedures serious enough that the company was temporarily delisted as an approved exporter to the U.S.An inspection in July 2003 at an XL Foods plant in Calgary found numerous problems, including equipment covered with meat, blood and fat from the previous day, inadequate staffing at the slaughterhouse and improper post-mortem inspection of the animal carcasses.
Across town at another company facility, inspectors found condensation dripping onto meat products in the cooler and numerous failings with required documentation. The company was delisted the same day."

During Conservative Administration:
"Another audit, released in 2008, described this tableau discovered by inspectors at an XL Foods plant: “a piece of duct tape was wrapped around the hose of the hock sterilizer, a tuft of hair on the support for the carcass skinning rail, blood and residue on the tension adjustment bob for the employee safety wire, and surplus pipes filled with blood and dirt on the floor near the hide puller. Establishment management initiated immediate corrective actions.” This inspection also uncovered problems with the electronic systems used to track the animals from slaughter to shipment."

-U.S. authorities repeatedly warned CFIA over safety problems at XL Foods facilities


How Brad Wall's 'Plan For Growth' Will Grow Washington's Treasury With No Benefit For Saskatchewan

"When an American company like Mosaic repatriates profits from Saskatchewan to the US, it pays the 35% American federal corporate tax rate minus a credit for corporate taxes paid in Canada. The combined federal-Saskatchewan rate is currently 27% (12% + 15%), well below the US threshold. Cutting Saskatchewan corporate taxes further below that threshold would force US companies operating in Saskatchewan to pay more American tax, shifting revenue from our provincial treasury to Washington with no benefit for Saskatchewan."
Erin Weir
Economist - Candidate for Leader of the Sask NDP

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall released his 'Plan For Growth' at a recent lunch meeting of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce to much corporate fanfare. 

In the plan, Wall promises an upcoming cut to the province's corporate tax rate of 12% to 10%. The proposed cut carries no stipulation that these savings must be used to create employment in the province. Premier Wall adheres to simplistic right wing ideology which assumes that the corporate tax savings will be used to create jobs in the province.

Wall's boosters are simply gushing praise for the plan .... without acknowledging some of the obvious flaws it contains:

-Murray Mandryk, Political columnist - Regina Leader-Post
-Globe & Mail


Sask NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir responds to Premier Wall’s “Plan for Growth”

"But economist and NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir noted that of the eight provinces where manufacturing sales rose from July to August, Saskatchewan had the second-lowest percentage increase. 

He added that manufacturing employment in the province is continuing to fall from 32,000 in November 2007 to 26,500 in September 2012. “While Saskatchewan manufacturing sales have been increasing, our province has lost 5,500 manufacturing jobs since the Sask. Party took office,’’ Weir said.
October 16, 2012


NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir responds to Premier Wall’s “Plan for Growth.”

Economist and NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir attended the Premier’s speech in Saskatoon today and responded as follows:

Corporate Tax Breaks 

The Premier promised to cut Saskatchewan’s corporate tax rate to 10% from 12%. Given that the current 12% is projected to collect $900 million (First Quarter Financial Report), a 2% cut represents a $150-million giveaway to profitable companies.

Deep corporate tax cuts federally and in other provinces have failed to spur business investment. A far more effective approach would be tax credits and rebates directly linked to investment and hiring, as I have proposed.

When an American company like Mosaic repatriates profits from Saskatchewan to the US, it pays the 35% American federal corporate tax rate minus a credit for corporate taxes paid in Canada. The combined federal-Saskatchewan rate is currently 27% (12% + 15%), well below the US threshold. Cutting Saskatchewan corporate taxes further below that threshold would force US companies operating in Saskatchewan to pay more American tax, shifting revenue from our provincial treasury to Washington with no benefit for Saskatchewan.
Heritage Initiative

 I agree with the Premier’s stated goal of repaying debt and saving for the future, but he has not presented a revenue plan to achieve that goal. Cutting corporate taxes and maintaining loopholes in Saskatchewan’s resource royalties will reduce revenue and slow the repayment of provincial debt, further delaying Wall’s still-undefined “Heritage Initiative.”


I agree with the Premier that we need more investment in public infrastructure, but public-private partnerships are not the right way to finance such investment. Wall bragged about Saskatchewan’s AAA credit rating, which means that the provincial government can finance capital investments at very low interest rates. Why pay private operators more to finance infrastructure at much higher interest rates?

The Premier mused about a new bridge in Prince Albert, which is urgently needed to improve access to northern Saskatchewan. However, Wall failed to clearly commit to building a new bridge across the North Saskatchewan River.

Originally posted at Saskatchewan New Democratic Leadership Blog ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 

Reaction To McGuinty's Departure CLEARLY Demonstrates The 'Messiah Wish' Of Many Federal Liberals

I'm only going to post a few words about the departure of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. The single thought I have on Dalton is a repetition of what I've posted here previously about the magical beliefs that seem to infest 21st Century Liberal Party thinking  ....

"Many Liberals believe in what can only be described as 'political alchemy'. They adhere religiously to the belief that if they can simply find the 'right' leader, they will in short order be returned to the halls of power - the political equivalent of turning base metal into gold."


Is It Time For The NDP In PEI?

The times are a changing on Prince Edward Island. The two old line partys may have had their day ... let's hope!

"You don’t have to support the NDP to realize Islanders were best served when Dr Herb Dickieson served a single term in the provincial legislature. He held not only the Conservatives, but the Liberals accountable. He raised issues neither traditional party would. And he delivered results. Without his prodding one wonders whether key public investments like publicly funded daycare would be a reality today. The NDP drove that on to the public agenda.
Something is stirring on the Island. There is a level of dissatisfaction with the Liberals and Tories rarely, if ever, seen before. You hear it in casual conversations in rural and urban communities from one end of the Island to the other.

The test for the provincial NDP is whether it can grow to take advantage."
Paul MacNeill

Sunday, October 14, 2012 

PEI New Democrats Elect Mike Redmond Leader

 "The P.E.I. New Democratic Party elected Mike Redmond as the new leader of the provincial party Saturday afternoon in a landslide vote.

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is on P.E.I. this weekend for the provincial party's leadership convention.  Two people were in the running for Saturday's vote.

Redmond, facility director at the Murphy's Community Centre in Charlottetown, beat Trevor Leclerc, who stepped down as chair of AIDS PEI to run for the leadership, in a landslide vote of 152 to 28.

The NDP has not had much electoral success on P.E.I. but Redmond said he is optimistic that can change.
"We're going to make a difference," he said, "one day at a time, one project at a time, one cause at a time, but we are going to do it together. And we're going to form government in 2015."

Leclerc said he will focus on boosting party support both federally and provincially."

(Originally posted on 'Sask NDP Leadership Campaign Blog)


Sask NDP Leadership Candidate Erin Weir Would Make Changes To Political Donation Rules

"If the Sask. Party wants to restrict union donations as part of labour review process, it's only fair to restrict corporate donations as well. One of the reasons the Sask. Party has said they want to do that is because political contributions should be up to individual citizens, not unions. That should apply to corporations, as well,"
Erin Wein
Candidate for Sask NDP Leadership

Regina Leader-Post

 Photograph by: Don Healy, Leader-Post Files , StarPhoenix

Saturday, October 13, 2012 

How cute! Young Zach Thinks The LPC Will Actually Do Something About Cannabis Decrim ... Don't hold your breath !!

 "Another very important development emerged from the Party’s 2012 biennial convention this past January, however. Liberal delegates overwhelming approved a policy pushed by young Liberals in British Columbia advocating the legalization and regulation of cannabis. The fact that 77 percent of all delegates backed the resolution proves that the issue is relevant not only to young Canadians."
Zach Paikin

I vowed to myself, sometime back, that ANYTIME I see a member of the Liberal Party of Canada talk about or suggest the lessening of penalties for simple possession of cannabis, that I would contain my cynicism and frustration long enough to address the LPC's dismal record on the matter.

Liberal booster, Zach Paikin has decided to stick his big toe into the waters of debating cannabis decrim. Surely he knows the sorry and extremely dishonest political track record of the Liberals on this issue?

 While they were in power, Canada's former Liberal government introduced marijuana reform legislation a number of times ... and then let the Bills die on the order paper session after session, year after year.


Well because they were playing both sides of the political fence as Liberals frequently do! The Liberal Party of Canada NEVER had ANY intention of EVER reforming marijuana laws! Period!

Let me explain the REAL Liberal Party policy on cannabis law reform:  
-If you are in favor of marijuana law reform, the Liberals point to their numerous pieces of proposed legislation that would lessen sentences for simple possession. They sound progressive and sincere. 
-However, if you are not in favor of marijuana law reform, the Liberals give you a knowing 'wink' and reassure you that they had NO intention of ever actually passing the many decrim bills that they introduced.

For years, pot reform advocates let the Liberals off the hook, because, 'reform was on the horizon'! The Libs were going to show progressive action on the issue. Hmmm ...that's NOT what the record demonstrates.

Young Zach would be better off acknowledging the historical hypocrisy of the LPC ... and maybe make the moves necessary to join a real political party that understands the reality of this situation - that most Canadians believe the current penalties are excessive and that actual reform is needed.

(Photo courtesy The Hill Times / Jake Wright ...)

Friday, October 12, 2012 

CBS 60 Minutes: "The Threat From Huawei" - Oct 8, 2012

The recent report by The US House Intelligence Committee concerning Huawei is causing concern in Saskatchewan in view of the $70 Million dollar contract recently signed between the Saskatchewan Party government and the Chinese company.

60 Minutes did this feature based on the House Report. 

Someone in Premier Wall's administration should watch this.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 

ATTENTION PREMIER BRAD WALL: Former Nortel exec warns against working with Huawei

(Click on pic to enlarge ... )

 Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is being forced to defend a recent contract signing between Chinese IT company, Wuawei and SaskTel.  

... but maybe that wasn't such a great idea!  

"Canadian companies should not work with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, a former security adviser at Nortel warns.

Brian Shields, who was the senior systems security adviser at failed Canadian telecommunications company Nortel, says working with Huawei is too big a risk. Shields alleges Huawei spent years hacking into Nortel's system and stealing information so it could compete with Nortel on world markets.

"These kind of things are not done by just average hackers. I believe these are nation-state [kinds] of activity," he told the CBC's Greg Weston, blaming China for the hacking.

"It was on behalf of Huawei and ZTE and other Chinese companies that could have used this information to compete against us in the marketplace. It gave them a strategic advangage. How can you survive when you have a competitor basically right there knowing all your moves, what you're doing, what you see as the future products?" Shields said.

The U.S. intelligence committee warned in a report Monday of the risk of spying that comes with working with Huawei and another Chinese telecommunications firm, ZTE. The committee said U.S. regulators should block attempted mergers and acquisitions by the firms, and that the government should avoid using components from those firms in their systems.

The head of the U.S. intelligence committee, Mike Rogers, told CBC News that Canada should also be wary.

The world’s second-largest telecommunications equipment supplier, Huawei is already providing high-speed networks for Bell Canada, Telus, SaskTel and Wind Mobile."

-Britain scrutinizes Huawei's telecoms infrastructure role   
..... but Premier Brad Wall knows better than the Gov't of the UK and the US Intelligence Committee!

Photo courtesy CBC .... 


Is Premier Wall About To Reneg On His Pledge To NOT Privatize Saskatchewan Crown Corporations?

The Saskatchewan Party lost the 2003 provincial election because then leader, Elwin Hermanson said to a reporter, "why wouldn't we look at selling crown corporations?" That one sentence resonated negatively with voters and ensured the defeat of the surging Saskatchewan Party.

Shortly thereafter, the Saskies ditched Elwin and elected the charismatic, young Brad Wall. 

New leader, Wall, was smart enough to understand that his party's right wing ideology was simply not going to fly in a province that understood the importance of public enterprise for the overall good of taxpayers. 

Under Wall's direction, the Saskatchewan Party immediately and firmly disavowed ANY crown liquidation and after 16 years of New Democratic rule, finally won an electoral mandate in 2007.

Wall's biggest challenge as Premier centers around trying to control and contain a rabid faction of his Party that lives and breaths hard right wing 'Reform Party' ideology. To appease this Right wing faction, Wall has been challenged to find ways to limit Crown enterprise in the province. Each year, Crown enterprise profits are stripped away and packaged into yet another business subsidy or corporate handout. This strategy does not kill a crown corporation but ensures that it cannot grow or expand.

But what's this? It seems that after 5 years in power, Premier Wall has now decided to stick his big toe into privatization waters. 

Information Services Corporation (ISC) is a small Saskatchewan public enterprise that oversees the maintenance of the province's land titles, birth certificates and other critical data. Wall is making moves to liquid this Crown corp because he is currently struggling to appease the hard Right in his Caucus.

Not so fast Mr. Wall ................ this will surely bite you in the butt if you are not careful!

-Official Opposition News Release

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 

Closing Potash Tax Loopholes

NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir is proposing to collect a fair return from the province’s potash by closing loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying the existing Potash Production Tax. 

“The people of Saskatchewan can collect almost half a billion dollars of additional revenue by closing loopholes in the Potash Production Tax system without changing any royalty or tax rates,” said Weir. “I would allow potash companies to immediately write off every dollar they actually invest in Saskatchewan, but stop giveaways that are not linked to new investment.” 

Specifically, he would end the indefinite holiday that exempts all tonnage above the average sold in 2001 and 2002 from profit tax, scale back the inflated 120% investment writeoff to 100% of the amount actually invested, stop the subtraction of Crown royalties from Potash Production Tax, and remove the Saskatchewan Resource Credit. As outlined in the accompanying backgrounder, these measures would increase annual provincial potash revenues by $475 million, partly at the expense of federal revenues. 

“We can’t just call for an open-ended ‘review’ of potash royalties, which leaves us open to attack by the Sask. Party and to lobbying by potash companies,” observed Weir. “We need to be specific about what’s wrong with the existing system and how we would improve it.” 

Weir has a decade-long track record of consistently advocating a better return from Saskatchewan’s natural resources. When industry and resources minister Eric Cline created these loopholes for potash companies in 2003, Weir responded in The Commonwealth that these loopholes “place business interests ahead of the public interest and run contrary to social democratic values.” 

He is also proposing a provincial savings fund for a portion of non-renewable resource revenue. “I agree with Premier Wall that, as a matter of accounting, it makes sense to pay off the existing provincial debt before creating a new savings fund,” said Weir. “But we need to collect a better return from the depletion of our non-renewable resources in order to pay down debt and start saving for future generations.” 

Today’s measures provide a net increase of $420 million in annual provincial revenue. Because resource royalties are deductible in calculating corporate income tax, the additional $475 million of potash revenue would reduce provincial corporate taxes by $55 million and federal corporate taxes by $70 million. Bottom-line corporate profits would decrease by $350 million between the three major potash companies.  
Erin Weir Campaign Blog


Ottawa Set To Ban Huawei From Bidding On Telecommunications Work - MEANWHILE Sask Premier Brad Wall Signs Business Deal With 'National Security Risk'

Brad Wall's entire political schtick is to portray himself as a wizard of business and economics. However, signing a deal with Huawei, a Chinese telco is being slammed as risky .. dangerous in fact.

"Ottawa Set To Ban Chinese Firm From Telecommunications Bid 

"Citing a rarely used national-security protocol, Ottawa has sent a signal to Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies that it would block the firm from bidding to build the Canadian government’s latest telecommunications and e-mail network. 

Shenzen-based Huawei is riding a storm of suspicion. On Monday, a powerful U.S. congressional committee called the company a threat to U.S. security and recommended that its products be excluded from government computer systems. Canada’s national surveillance and cryptology agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has warned the military of potential security risks in installing Huawei’s equipment.

The chill in relations with one Chinese company comes as the Harper government works to define an evolving relationship. The Conservatives are contemplating allowing a state-owned Chinese firm to buy a piece of the oil sands and are being encouraged by Beijing to enter into free-trade talks.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper fielding questions about Huawei on Tuesday said Ottawa recently invoked an infrequently used national-security exception that allows it to override trade agreement obligations and restrict bidders on contracts to supply parts of what’s been called Ottawa’s super network: a secure, centralized pipe for e-mail, phone calls and data.

Ottawa is being coy about which countries or suppliers will be locked out. But Mr. Harper’s director of communications hinted strongly that Huawei would be left in the cold.

“The government is going to be choosing carefully in the construction of this network and it has invoked the national security exception for the building of this network,” Andrew MacDougall told reporters during an unrelated briefing.

“I’ll leave it to you if you think that Huawei should be a part of [the] Canadian government security system,” Mr. MacDougall said.

Also Tuesday, one of Canada’s former top spies spoke out against granting Huawei a foothold in Ottawa’s sensitive phone and e-mail system.

“They pose enough of a threat perspective that I wouldn’t let them into any government networks,” Ray Boisvert, who was assistant director of intelligence for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service until he retired six months ago.

“They’re linked and tied to the Chinese state, and in my view they would, when asked, facilitate the interests of the Chinese military or the security intelligence apparatus,” he said of the privately owned Huawei. Mr. Boisvert said damage from economic espionage is now on par with the threat posed by al-Qaeda. “It has become equal to the threat of terrorism. Why? It has such long-term repercussions. The future prosperity of Canadians.”

Globe & Mail

-CBC: Huawei corruption allegations given to FBI -(U.S. intelligence committee hands over evidence of possible bribery by Chinese telecommunications giant)

Photo courtesy CBC Saskatchewan ... 


Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall Signs Business Deal With Chinese Company That Is Causing National Security Worries

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall recently traveled to the People's Republic of China to witness the signing of an agreement between SaskTel and Huawei Canada. The agreement is intended to bring next generation wireless broadband technology to parts of rural Saskatchewan. 

But there are some serious concerns with Saskatchewan's agreement with Huawei.  The fact that the United States House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee has strongly urged American firms to stop doing business with Huawei makes you wonder if Wall did sufficient 'due diligence' before signing on with the Chinese company.

SaskTel's President, Ron Styles would not disclose to reporters if any discussions have occurred with CSIS. The fact that the Harper government gave Premier Wall an exemption to bypass national security measures should start ringing some alarm bells.

"According to a scathing report released in Washington on our Thanksgiving Monday, our neighbour and biggest trade partner has deemed Huawei a threat to U.S. national security and bluntly told its own American telecommunications companies to "find other vendors." Huawei's involvement in building American networks risks the possibility of Chinese cyber-spies stealing U.S. state and commercial secrets or perhaps disrupting everything from America's power grids to its banking systems, the Congressional committee warned.

"This is your personal data. This could be your medical records, your financial records, everything that you hold dear that you think is locked away in a safe place on your computer," committee chairman Mike Rogers told the CBC, explaining that imbedded electronic bugs in Huawei gear secretly transmitting data back to China have been "reported".
"The key word there is 'new secure network'; I would not have the faith and confidence (in Hua-wei)."

[...] It is the latter point that should be of particular concern to Premier Brad Wall, who has always been quick to remind us of the value of America as a trading partner. In fact, Wall was highly critical this summer of Democrat President Barack Obama as being bad for Canada. One might suspect some Republican politicians might have similar feelings about Saskatchewan's dealings with Huawei.
Regina Leader-Post

"David Skillicorn, professor at the School of Computing at Queen’s University, said the company (Huawei) was heavily implicated in the theft of technology from former Canadian tech darling, Nortel Networks. Reports after Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 suggested hackers had wandered unimpeded inside Nortel’s networks, including the chief executive’s terminal, for a decade." 
National Post

Way to go ... Brad!


Conservatives have been making a lot of things up -'Lying Liars'!!

Canadians deserve better!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 

Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Calls Harper Gov'ts Education Spending Claims 'Fairy Tales'

"Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Minister John Duncan is using 'Pinocchio accounting' in his latest pronouncements on First Nations education funding, says the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN).

“The government’s numbers are, in fact, fairy tales,” said FSIN Vice-Chief Simon Bird. Bird invited Duncan to come to Saskatchewan and point to a single reserve school which receives more funds than the provincial system. Duncan recently held a news conference to say reserve schools actually receive more funding per student than those in the provincial system.

Duncan’s claim is in direct contrast to a host of organizations and officials, including a parliamentary committee, the auditor-general, the parliamentary budget office, the Saskatchewan government, various education commissions and others."
The Star Phoenix

-Harper Breaks Increased Education Funding Promise To First Nations - Brad Wall Does Nothing


Income Inequality In Canada - The Broadbent Institute

It's time to spark a national policy debate that reflects the steady moves by the Right to enrich corporations at the expense of average working families.

OTTAWA — "Canada is moving in the wrong direction and must address its extreme and growing income inequality, according to a new discussion paper from the Broadbent Institute.

The paper, released to Postmedia News on Monday, argues that developing a comprehensive policy agenda — which could include affordable housing, improvements to Employment Insurance, “fair” taxes and a national prescription drug program — is needed to address the problem.
What’s concerning is that inequality is getting worse instead of better, and while Canada has the financial means to turn this around, those steps aren’t being taken, said former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, the founder of the left-leaning institute.

“We’ve had this policy of slashing taxes, and particularly disproportionately, slashing the taxes of the rich. It’s time we reverse this,” Broadbent said.

“It’s not as if we don’t have the wealth, but it’s the distribution of the wealth that really matters.”
Income inequality, sometimes known as the shrinking of the middle class, occurs when there is a large polarization between the top and the bottom of society in terms of their share of economic resources, according the institute.

The Conference Board of Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have both recently pointed out that Canada is becoming more unequal, more quickly than most other countries in the OECD, Broadbent said.

For instance, the Conference Board of Canada reported in 2011 that, between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s, Canada had the fourth-largest increase in income inequality out of 17 peer countries. Canada was ranked 12th out of those countries, a slip to “below the average.”

One of the effects of this is that there’s less upward mobility, Broadbent said, adding that there’s “overwhelming” evidence that an unequal society decreases the opportunity for climbing."

 -CBC has more ...

Sunday, October 07, 2012 

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I don't know about you, but I feel that I have a lot to be thankful for!

Friday, October 05, 2012 

Sask NDP Leadership Race Heats Up Over Erin Weir's Small Business Tax Proposal

"Provincial NDP leader-ship candidate Erin Weir says he would like to see major changes to how small businesses are taxed in Saskatchewan, but a couple of his opponents argue in favour of the status quo. "

The basic philosophy behind today's announcement is replacing a no-strings-attached corporate tax break with more targeted tax measures," Weir said Thursday in Regina. 

Weir noted the current system allows Canadian-controlled private corporations to pay a provincial tax rate of two per cent, instead of 12 per cent, on Saskatchewan profits up to $500,000. "

This measure goes far beyond helping genuinely small businesses. It's become a loophole that costs the provincial government $351 million per year, according to the last budget," Weir said. 

He proposes dropping the limit to $100,000 from $500,000 and using half the increased tax revenue for credits to help small businesses and the rest for priorities such as reinstating the film employment tax credit, which was cut this year. 

All three of his opponents agree about reinstating the film employment tax credit, but two, Cam Broten and Ryan Meili, raised concerns about Weir's small business taxation ideas. "I do think that businesses that make less than $500,000 per year are genuine small businesses," Broten said. "I'm not convinced it's wise to kick all of those businesses out of the small business tax rate."  
Saskatoon Star Phoenix

-Accidental Deliberations has more ...  

-so does Canadian Political Viewpoints .... 


Conservative Cabinet Minister Gerry Ritz's 'Death By A Thousand Cold Cuts'

"That it took XL Foods until Thursday to not only take full responsibility for the E. Coli outbreak at its Brooks plant, but also to say anything about the issue at all says much. One might have thought that corporations would be more capable in these type of circumstances, given that the gold standard was established in 2008 by Maple Leaf Foods' handling of the Listeriosis crisis that led to 22 deaths nationwide.

 But the truth is that food corporations aren't directly accountable to the public. They are accountable to government regulators and we must rely on government to insure there is accountability.

That isn't what happened and - given Ritz's own 2008 experience with the Listeriosis outbreak - there's simply no excuse this time

No, we haven't heard about Ritz making any "death by a thousand cold cuts" jokes to CFIA officials. But after ducking the issue in House of Commons question period, his aide cutting off a press conference Wednesday during tough questioning, Ritz missing the (admittedly late) House of Commons emergency debate Wednesday night and being rightly pounded in the 24-hour news cycle for an arrogant lack of accountability, there's little to indicate that Ritz has learned anything.

Accountability remains his avenue of last resort. Obfuscation is his preferred path. Or so seems the case when he dismissed the largest food recall in Canadian history as no big deal. He rhetorically asked a North Battleford Rotary luncheon: "Is there an epidemic of E. coli outbreaks?"

This is a minister who views accountability as what happens when he has no other alternative."
Regina Leader-Post
October 5, 2012
Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/health/Ritz+lack+accountability/7347362/story.html#ixzz28R7TsxQk

Wednesday, October 03, 2012 

Justin Trudeau Tells Alberta That Liberal Federal Gov't Was WRONG To Implement National Energy Program (you know .. Pierre's policies)

Younger Trudeau appears to distance himself from his father in Alberta

CALGARY - Justin Trudeau appeared to distance himself from his famous father as he made Alberta the first stop on his campaign to take over the federal Liberal party.
Trudeau chose Calgary, home to the country's energy company boardrooms, to say he would never use the wealth of the West to gain votes elsewhere. 

He said it is wrong to divide Canadians over natural resources.

It's a particularly sensitive issue in a province where resentment still burns over the introduction of the national energy program in the 1980s by Pierre Trudeau, who was prime minister at the time. That was seen as a grab of Alberta's natural resource wealth to keep prices artificially low for the rest of the country.

"It is wrong to use our natural wealth to divide Canadians against one another," he said. "It was the wrong way to govern Canada in the past. It is wrong today. And it will be wrong in the future."
He didn't mention his father by name during his speech.CP via 680news.com

... I told you that Justin has no choice but a hard turn right ...


... "run away! run away"! ...

The federal food safety watchdog says there was a delay in getting data on tainted beef from the Alberta slaughterhouse now under scrutiny in the largest beef recall in Canadian history. George Da Pont began to explain this to reporters during a Calgary media availability with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz Wednesday but a federal government political communications staffer cut short the press conference

Mr. Da Pont, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, was answering a question on why the CFIA took so long to get information on particular lots of meat from XL Foods’ plant. “We did not wait five days before asking,” Mr. Da Pont said. “We asked on the sixth of September.” He said front-line staff were scouring the beef processing chain for “critical points” where E. coli might flare up. “On the sixth, we did ask for all of the information There was a delay in getting it,” he said. 

He said the CFIA doesn’t yet have the power to compel the speedy delivery of information. “We have limited authority to compel immediate communication,” Mr. Da Pont said. He said the new food safety act introduced by the Harper government – but still not passed into law – gives the CFIA more power in this regard. “There’s a provision in that to authorize us to do that.” 

Mr. Ritz’s handlers stepped in at this point to end to the press conference after only four questions, saying they would prefer to talk to journalists one-on-one. 

However later they said the CFIA would only answer technical questions about the recall. The agriculture minister declined to answer a reporter’s question on whether he was surprised to see such an outbreak occur in 2012."

The Globe & Mail

Monday, October 01, 2012 

Did The Saskatchewan Minimum Wage Board Recommend Increase To Province's Min Wage OR Is Brad Wall Just Making Things Up As He Goes Along?

The Province of Saskatchewan has a Minimum Wage Board that reviews and makes recommendations to the Provincial Cabinet concerning minimum wages.

Brad Wall has recently come under criticism for having the lowest minimum wage in Canada. Economist Erin Weir (who is a candidate for the leadership of the provincial NDP) recently co-authored an article with Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president, Larry Hubich.pointing this out.  

Just a few days later, Premier Brad Wall's government announced that they had raised the minimum wage in an attempt to end the embarrassment to our supposed 'booming' Saskatchewan economy.

But here's the BIG question ... (a question that the 'Wall friendly' Regina Leader-Post didn't ask): "Did the Saskatchewan Minimum Wage Board recommend this quick increase or is Premier Brad Wall just making stuff up as he goes along"?

Special Note to Saskatchewan Ministerial Assistants who will be reading this ... Minister Morgan made reference in the Leader-Post article to  .. "The Minister's Advisory Committee on labour legislation review also strongly supported an increase" - That is NOT the Minimum Wage Board!


Rob Anders Is Insane - Too Bad Harper Lacks The Leadership Ability To Do Something About Him

After all of the gaffes and idiocy that Rob Anders has committed .. you have to wonder what he holds over Stephen Harper that allows him to remain in the Conservative Caucus.

Harper will probably appoint him to the Senate in due course. 

... Oh and by the way .. if you too think that Mr. Anders is off his nutter ... go to Progressive Bloggers and fling this post a vote ... I want this post at the top of the sidebar folks!

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