Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Must Be Summer...

While I understand why some of my friends in the Liberal blogosphere are exercised about Census-Gate, can you honestly tell me that this would be a story any other time of the year? No, we shouldn't be cutting the long census. No, StatsCan is not going to sell your personal, confidential information to the highest bidder. Yes, the information acquired in the long census is useful. But since when have the Tories cared about doing the right thing for Canada's future? The actual political football of the census is its impact on the new electoral map that will follow. When you hear Republicans belly-aching about the census they're worried about cities being over-counted not about any privacy concerns. However, gerrymandering is not a major part of Canadian politics and nobody expects Elections Canada to start drawing ridings that look like American congressional districts. Long census or not, we will know where the seats are going come the end of the 2011 census. Bring on the open nominations, merged ridings and all the associated in-fighting. The last redistribution brought us the epic Valeri-Copps nomination battle in Hamilton. Now that is political fodder you can sink your teeth into.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Haper's Summer of Fiscal Austerity Continues

Stephen Harper lectured the world this June on the importance of governments reigning in soaring deficits. I guess this is another "do as I say, not as I do" type of thing for the Prime Minister. Harper's belt tightening expenditures now include billions for new boats for the navy, $1 billion plus for G8/G20 security complete with a fake lake, and the latest: a 9 billion dollar no-bid contract to Lockheed Martin for fighter jets. At least the boats and G8/G20 security provided jobs for Canadians. Lockheed has a tiny (given the size of the company) operation in Canada with just 600+ of its 136,000 employees based in Canada. Why on earth did they get a no-bid contract? All of this wasteful spending will surely counteract any deficit reduction gained by the unexpected strength of the Canadian economy. I don't understand how these people can call themselves Conservatives.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Stupid Quote of the Week

Goes to Ontario Liberal MPP Kevin Flynn for his comments on youth mental health. Trying to make the case, I guess, that we need to treat mental health seriously, he said the following:

“(Mental illness is) an illness like any other illness. You don’t send a child to a different hospital when they break their arm, you send him to the same hospital you send the adults to.”

Perhaps, the MPP for Oakville should take a walk over to Toronto's renown Hospital for Sick Children more commonly known as SickKids. It seems Mr. Flynn has forgotten that the place exists along with the world's thousands upon thousands of pediatricians.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

HST Arrives; Sky Fails to Fall

The Harmonized Sales Tax has arrived in both British Columbia and Ontario. Life, surprisingly enough, kept going. The HST has been called a lot of things by a lot of people. What it is in essence is yet another tax shift away from business taxes and on to personal and consumption taxes. That's really all the HST does. That's why it is good for business and that's why people are upset about paying 8 cents more on the dollar for a liter of gas in Toronto. The HST allows businesses to account for provincial sales taxes in the same way they account for the Goods and Services Tax. GST, and now HST paid by businesses in order to produce or acquire a given product are considered to be an input tax credit. That credit can then be claimed when the business sells that product to the final consumer and charges HST. In essence, the government only receives the HST from the final consumer. All the transactions made to get it to the final consumer should be tax neutral. That's why businesses like it. It also means they pay one tax instead of two which means less paperwork and aggravation in the long run. Final consumers will only notice a difference on goods that were previously exempt from provincial sales taxes and have not been granted an exemption on the HST. Governments have tried to lessen the burden on consumers by lowering income taxes. That's it. Much ado about nothing if you ask me. Once the sticker shock wears off, we'll forget it wasn't always that way. At 5-13%, Canada still boasts a relatively low Value Added Tax when compared to many countries in Europe.
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