Category Archives: Atlantic

Big fish and little fishes?

Will Brison soon hear the patter of little feet chez eux?

One of only 34 Grits elected to the new Parliament, Mr. Brison said he and husband Maxime St. Pierre are thinking of starting a family. “I don’t want to have one of Canada’s first same sex divorces,” he said when asked if he is considering another leadership race. “If you’re going to make that commitment, I not only want to be a parent, I want to be a good parent and that’s something we both feel strongly about.” [link]

“Ye gods and little fishes!”

The debt clock

Have  you have seen the Canadian Taxpayer Federation debt clock when it made a number of stops in NS recntly?  It was in Kentville today. All of us should keep this issue in mind as we head into a spring election.

No one seems to relish the thought of another election – except a local municipal one.

Gallery

Atlantica Party news

We follow news of the Atlantica Party as we are hopeful that this party might eventually be an alternative to the “same old, same old”.  Here is a recent notice from the AP which may be of interest to readers. … Continue reading

Flip flops

Our ever creative MP Scott Brison is giving the boots to the government over the economy. This is to be expected we suppose.

Liberal MP Scott Brison held a news conference on Friday morning to say Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will unjustly try to take credit for Canada’s sound financial and banking system when he gives a speech in Washington next week.

“This Conservative government wrecked Canada’s finances after inheriting a $13-billion budget surplus from the previous Liberal government and then created a record $56-billion deficit,” the opposition finance critic said.

“Furthermore, it was our Liberal government that ensured our banking system was well-regulated and it was the strong financial prudence and regulatory prudence that protected Canada from the worst of the global financial crisis.”

But may we point out this writing from when the shoe was on the other party foot?

PAUL MARTIN-A PC VIEW              Scott Brison

Paul Martin is widely credited for having presided over a period of economic expansion and deficit elimination, but these advances in the Canadian economy were more the results of the decisions and policies of the Mulroney government.

Meanwhile, Martin neglects to counter serious economic problems that developed during his watch, including a flagging dollar slow productivity growth and elevated household debt. These oversights should be seen as his true legacy

…The deficit did disappear under Martin’s watch, but that had more to do with the bold initiatives taken by his predecessors than anything done by his government. Whereas the Mulroney government focused on policies to prepare Canada to prosper in the 21st century, the Chretien-Martin government has focused on short-term politics, not long- term policies for growth and prosperity. …

Mr. Brison is a party animal. We do not therefore believe him whatever he says.

Related:

Casey never did endorse Baillie’s lead­ership, never provided a friendly salute upon his ascension, unchallenged, to the leader’s post. They are not friends, to put it mildly.

On Monday, Casey told me in an in­terview that she had not been considering a run for the permanent leader’s job. “No, I was not,” she insisted, tossing it off as being unable to take a stand one way or the other while she held the interim post.

I don’t believe that. I think she was organizing and getting ready to go when the waves of innuendo hit.

We have a question. Is there any credible conservative leadership in this province?

Batten down the hatches

UPDATE: From AccuWeather;

I see Environment Canada is going with tropical storm warnings for all of the south coast of Nova Scotia. Even with the ideas that I wrote above, I would still have hurricane warnings for the south facing coast of Nova Scotia.

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Continue reading

Smokers win one

Bob Gee is feeling pleased no doubt with the recent decision which admits that his rights have been limited.

A Kentville store owner has won the first round in his fight with the province over tobacco regulations.

A provincial court judge has agreed with Bob Gee that a law banning tobacco displays in retail stores violates his constitutional rights. [CH Aug. 18]

Unfortunately, this is only the first battle in a longer war. The Province will come back and may win the next round with the argument that the “public good” overrides his personal rights.

The judge’s decision means that the province must prove that infringing Gee’s constitutional rights is reasonable and for the public good. The province will make that argument at a hearing in the second phase of the case. A date for that hearing will be scheduled for Oct. 6.

In the meantime, the legislation remains in effect, said Graham Steele, the acting minister of health promotion and protection.

Where does it stop and who decides what is for the public good? As Thomas Sowell points out the most important decision is “who makes the decisions”.

They aren’t experts

We read a disturbing item in the Advertiser today. It reads in part -

Kings County Council has voted in favour of sending correspondence expressing concern over the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities , the premier and the prime minister. … this is about creating awareness and sending a message to offshore drillers.  (no online link that we could find.)

What expertise do Kings County Councillors have on this subject? We know why they might be concerned about the effects of such an accident on our shores, but what do they hope for? What message do they want to send to drillers? Go away, we don’t want you? We expect they will advocate for a moratorium as Wolfville did for Uranium exploration.

In our experience Councillors are not even well versed in a subject which is central to Municipal government -ie. how the property tax system works. Why do they think they have the expertise to advise on off shore drilling? They haven’t a clue, but the pressure could do great damage.

There is already a chill on the local industry.

And blind fear is driving the situation in the US.

We know we will be accused of not caring about the environment, but we do.  Our point is such things should be handled by people educated in the field and who can rationally assess the risks so that we don’t needlessly shoot ourselves in the foot.

Atlantica our Wild Rose Party?

There’s a new boy on the block. The Atlantica Party is now an official, recognised party and …

… its president says it intends to run a candidate in every riding at the next provincial election.

The Atlantica Party’s Jonathan Dean said the new entity will run on a platform promoting fiscally conservative policies and Continue reading

Taxpayer alert! – Provincial Bailout?

We think every taxpayer should know that our the provincial Premiers will be asking for a bailout. Equalization payments are expected to drop and the provinces won’t be willing to tighten their belts any more than our municipal governments are.

Specifically, some premiers are seeking a guaranteed floor on equalization payments at their current levels. Doing so would commit the federal treasury – the taxpayer – to spending a minimum of $14.8 billion each year on Equalization, regardless of how provincial economies perform.

Given that payments are projected to fall between 10 and 15 per cent, an Equalization bail out would require the Harper government to top up the program between $1.5 and $2.2 billion a year. This money, unbudgeted, of course, would have to be funded through assuming more debt, taking $2 billion a year from other programs or raising taxes. None of these is a wise choice.

The quote is from Kevin Gaudet of The Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Do we, the taxpayers, think any of these are wise choices?

When our household incomes take a hit we do something to cut costs. Shouldn’t our governments at every level do the same? We all benefited from the strength of the Alberta and Ontario economies in higher equalization payments; now that they aren’t doing so well the Premiers want to keep  payments at previous levels by introducing a “floor”. This will add considerably to national debt – our debt, that we, our children and grand-children will pay.

... recipient provinces have refused to prepare for a decline in payments. As a result they are begging the federal government to bail out the program. Taxpayers should not reward this poor planning by running up more federal debt.   This new demand to keep Equalization payments at these all-time high levels may either pit east against west or may cost taxpayers even more.

British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan don’t receive Equalization payments. Their premiers either will band together to oppose this program bailout or they will trade their acquiescence to a guaranteed floor on payments for some other expensive sop.

They reasonably could argue that a federal bailout would siphon even more federal general revenues east, especially to Quebec. In essence western taxpayers would further subsidize a $7-a-day daycare program in Quebec, for example. Western premiers will want this stopped or will demand ‘their fair share’ in exchange.

We are not hopeful that Darrell Dexter will join the western provinces in rejecting the “floor” proposal, but he should. We are also not hopeful that Harper will resist a concerted effort by the Provinces, given that a 56% of equalization payments go to Quebec; politically that’s where the Conservatives have to garner favour.

What can we do? We can speak out to our local, provincial and federal masters and tell them that enough is enough. We need smarter not more expensive governance.

Also,  the Can Federation of Taxpayers has no presence in Atlantic Canada, but they would like one. And they don’t run on debt or depend on the public purse but on individual contributions.

there’s an old saying that you can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent.  That’s especially true for the CTF.

The CTF receives no money from large corporations, unions, foundations or government.  We do not have a charitable tax number.  Our growth is grounded solely in the voluntary contributions of thousands of concerned taxpayers from coast to coast.

It would certainly be a benefit to have an Atlantic group speaking out on Maritime issues, working for us the taxpayers. Think about visiting their site via the link above and contributing on line to the fund they have started to establish a presence here. Or you can do this by calling 1-800-667-7933.

Let’s learn from Sweden!

There’s an article in today’s CH entitled “HRM goes to Sweden: Who will learn what from whom?” which suggests that HRM has lots to learn from Sweden.You can get the tongue in cheek tone of the piece from this summary:

You know in retrospect maybe there’s not all that much the Swedes can learn from the HRM delegation about energy, housing and public transportation. On the other hand, maybe the Swedes would like to know more about cat bylaws. [The article is not to be found at the moment on line so we quote from the tree killing copy.]

We agree. The delegation, which is on a fact-finding mission, could learn a lot from Sweden.

The author of this piece, Mr. Hughes, is apparently a visiting professor with the Global Energy Systems research group at Uppsala, Sweden.  Regarding energy, he mentioned how about half the homes there are heated from community central heating plants [is it feasible to replicate district heating in a country less compact and less densely populated than Sweden? ]  He mentions extracting heat from sewage treatment plants [ we'd just be happy if sewage was treated in HRM, for a start]. Similar laudable aspects of Swedish life are touted in housing and transportation – they keep old buildings, have height restrictions, encourage the use of bicycles and run their buses on bio-fuel. We don’t doubt these are worthy things the HRM officials could observe. But he doesn’t mention cost and he doesn’t mention taxes. Perhaps Mr. Hughes could tell us how Sweden managed these things  and are lowering taxes too! Yes, Sweden has lowered taxes in each of the last 4 years! Now that we would like HRM to learn and pronto.

Sweden’s government will lower income taxes for a fourth consecutive year in 2010 to get more people to take jobs and boost the economy, which slipped into its first recession since 1992 last year.

The government will cut income taxes by another 10 billion kronor ($1.46 billion) in 2010, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told a news conference today in Stockholm. It will reduce fees small business pay by 1.2 billion kronor to create more jobs in the Nordic region’s largest economy, which shrank an annual 6 percent in the second quarter in its second largest contraction in at least 15 years.

We think Sweden’s taxes were probably pretty high to begin with but it might be instructive for the HRM big wigs to ask about the cost of Sweden’s  aforementioned improvements  and how cutting taxes now fits into that picture.

The government has already cut income and company taxes by almost 80 billion kronor, or about 2.6 percent of gross domestic product, since coming to power in 2006 after 12 consecutive years of Social Democratic rule. It cut the corporate tax to 26.3 percent from 28 percent this year and lowered the general payroll tax by 1 percentage point from 32.4 percent in an attempt to make Sweden more business-friendly. [Source]

Sounds like the electorate has spoken in Sweden.

Related: We could learn from the Danes too but that is fodder for another post.