Friday, December 31, 2010

Conservatives Continue To Abandon Canadian Seniors

Latest Goodale Update:


The sad outcome of last week’s Finance Ministers Meeting means 2010 will end with the federal government again showing no leadership on something that really matters to families.

The meeting was supposed to be about pensions. For two years, the Harper government has been promising to strengthen retirement incomes.

The underpinning was supposed to be an expanded Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Instead, the result was a cop-out – probably hijacked by the right-wing views of the Alberta Minister (who has always despised the CPP) and the Quebec Minister (who is trying to get some other multi-billion-dollar deal from the feds).

So improving the CPP became road-kill. It got punted to political never-never-land.

The Ministers settled for minor tinkering which they dubbed “pooled registered pension plans” (PRPPs). Run for-profit by banks and insurance companies, they’d be yet another private sector option for retirement savings – much like others already existing.

But if this is all the Ministers come up with, they will badly fail.

PRPPs won’t solve the deficiencies facing the nearly two-thirds of Canadians who don’t have adequate savings for their retirement years. Only a better CPP has the scope to do the job. It should be the central pillar of pension reform.

Why? Because it’s more familiar and comprehensive than any private sector alternative. It’s financially sound – thanks to changes made by former Finance Minister Paul Martin back in the 1990’s.

Its investment yields are the best. It doesn’t have to extract a profit margin or a management fee. And it’s secure, unlike the plans concocted by private companies like Nortel which have gone belly-up, leaving thousands of pensioners destitute.

Any reservations about premium increases can be avoided by making a supplementary CPP voluntary.

It’s time to stop stalling and get on with building an adequate CPP for the future.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

To all the Bloggers in "Blogville"... especially little Bobby and Betty Blog...

Peace, Harmony & Love (the REAL "Reason For The Season").

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" And Other Fine Religious Stuff...

Great day in the USA yesterday. Thousands of soldiers will finally get treated like humans... Good on the Yanks for finally turning the corner on the Century.

What's better is the Religious nutbar right will be tying themselves in knots trying to figure out how to turn the clock back again... Oh, they are pissed. Super pissed. It's great to see REAL religious people stand up for their fellow human beings, however.

Speaking of religious wack-jobs, what's this we hear about Pat Robertson supporting legalization of cannabis? He said on his show ("700 Club") that entirely too much money is wasted on the War on Drugs (could be used on the "War on Terror", don't ya know... to free the Holy Land, and such...), and people who have "the occasional puff" go to jail where they get influenced by real criminals...

Wow. Seems like evolution is real!

Seriously, though, WE can use this. The religious right in Canada is so up Harper's ying-yang on his "tough on crime" bs... Harper's whole reason for exisiting is his supposed "toughness" on crime. He wants to build the US-style super-prisons which Pat Robertson says "ARE NOT THE ANSWER". I think Pat's little clip should be in election ad clips this winter - played for all the church groups.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Time to Dream Again...

Ralph Goodale with a great piece about what Canada could be, if we only could dream about reaching for the stars (my interpretation)...


As another New Year approaches, it’s time to check what lies ahead for our country.

In Saskatchewan, we live in a fortunate bubble of relative economic success, driven by our natural resources. But for the rest of the country, the news is not as hopeful.

Year-end reports say Canadians are less confident about their futures. Anxieties are high. The source of this discomfort is likely rooted in two big events of this past decade that profoundly soured attitudes at home and abroad.

One was the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Those events triggered big, new security costs and procedures that continue to evolve to this day; two full-scale wars with painful casualties that touch home; and raw levels of fear that distort the way we live.

The other event was the 2008-2010 recession that brought 15 years of sustained prosperity to a screeching halt. Some 400,000 Canadians lost their jobs, living standards dropped, typical family debt-loads skyrocketed, outstripping disposable incomes by 50%.

Furthermore, while the recession is technically “over”, recovery is uncertain. Growth is sluggish. Our trade is deeply in deficit. The jobs coming back are mostly part-time. And young people trying to get their lives on-track are especially hard-hit.

The US and Europe remain wobbly. China and India want to slow things down. And consensus on coherent global action defies the G-20.

So there’s a lot of insecurity. People don’t know where to turn for confidence. That leads to policy paralysis and mediocrity, which sews more doubt.

Canada should not just hunker-down and muddle along. The opportunity cost of that fearful attitude is enormous. We’re compromising our future.

For skills, innovation, health-care, family care-giving and pension security, Canadians need a bolder, stronger plan – one that fosters ENTHUSIASM once again!

That would be a great gift for Christmas.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010



The piano playing may have been "ok". The singing, sub-par, nasal, and monotone... But THIS?? WTF?

This is a very troubled man.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Goodale Offers Good Advice To Canadian Families

Back in the 80s, when he was Leader of the Sask Provincial Liberals, Ralph Goodale was critical of the spending and deficits of the Sask Conservatives... The Province was loaded with debt, and the economy was looking to take a downturn. Poor Conservative choices on tax cuts, frivolous Conservative spending on pet projects, and poor Conservative economic outlook had that Province on the brink.

At the time Goodale was the only Sask politico advocating restraint and prudence. As the years went on, and the late 80s rolled out, Saskatchewanians realized the truth in Goodale's words.

Today Ralph offers another bit of sage advice to those who'll be wise enough to listen...


Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has been vocal this fall, warning the Harper government about the precarious state of the world economy (and Canada’s), and the corresponding vulnerability of average Canadian families.

Mr. Carney has highlighted:

• This country’s poor productivity rates and our weak capacity to innovate;

• Our middling performance in terms of learning, skills and brainpower;

• Our over-reliance on US markets for our exports and our neglect of emerging economic giants in India and China;

• Canada’s rapidly ageing population as big numbers of Baby Boomers begin to reach 65;

• The declining quality of our job market, with unemployment stubbornly higher than two years ago, part time jobs replacing full-time work, and thousands of young people giving up their search for employment.

Especially, Mr. Carney has warned about record levels of household indebtedness. Over the past five years, the debt loads carried by Canadian families have exploded – to nearly $100,000 on average.

For every one-dollar of disposable income, the typical Canadian family is saddled with $1.47 in debt – the worst in the western world. This spells high risk and vulnerability.

Given the financial turmoil in Europe (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, etc.), the chances of another global downturn are rising. Add the deteriorating situation in the United States and the American government in stalemate, and the dangers are clear.

How should government respond?

In my view, the most pressing need is to help average middle-class families deal with their most vital household costs without further aggravating their debt problems.

Offsetting some of the burdens of getting their kids into higher education, or caring for sick or ageing loved ones at homes, or securing better retirement incomes would help families make ends meet.

It would also contribute to a more inclusive workforce and greater productivity and competitiveness.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Harping Travesty

We listened to some "harping" - some called it singing - yesterday... by a desperate man trying to be something he isn't.

Stephen Harper is so desperate for support from the "ordinary" masses that he has to sully protest anthems from the most social-angst filled period in Western history... Songs which formed some of the basis and impetus for the social protest movements of the 60s and 70s...

This just shows how little Harper and his crew understand of the world around them. Every word of his political career has been based on attacking and deriding "socialist hippies". To regale them in horrible renditions of their own protest song anthems is a sign of his ignorance, pure idiocy, or shameless need for acceptance...

Perhaps he - for want of better ideas - thinks he can sing the Conservative deficit away?


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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wiki This!

Society has no idea what changes this huge publicity for Wikileaks is about to bring... There's a good discussion over at Big City Lib on this subject.

We're in a new info age, and most governments and corporations still operate in the "fax me in the morning" age. We will continue to see more and more secrets coming out.

In the 60s protest amounted to camping out in front of government buildings, standing up to authority physically (but non-violently), and having "love-ins". In the 00s and beyond, we're seeing a new wave of protest... If laws and paranoia today have created a society where protesting is dangerous, and freedoms have been so stomped on that gathering in public is considered a crime in some cases (see G8, etc.), then the only alternative is to head "underground". The net lets you do this amazingly well.

"Leaks" against corporations and governments are the new form of social protest. As more social activists learn these tools, we are only going to see a rise in such action... Imagine the tool many disgruntled employees have just found! Wikileaks was not known to most of the World prior to the initial Gulf War leaks. Since then millions around the World have bookmarked the site.

As we slowly slip from democracy to "Corporat-ocracy", we will see more and more champions of access to information step up and use these tools. Company secrets won't be so secret anymore. As a former senior management employee in several businesses, I can certainly say that "disgruntlement" is not the bastion of the frontline staff only. People who have access to "Top Secret" info are often "iffy" on their futures... Interesting to see how this continues to develop in the corporate world (Wikileaks already is home to thousands of leaks from the corporate world).

Wanna know why your newspaper chose to publish a particular slant on a story? Check Wikileaks (or the 100s of copycats sites). Need to know what REALLY was said at recent global summits? Try the Wiki...

New age indeed.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Goodale On Improving Our Railways


The Harper government seems to be in league with the railways to stifle a recent review of the poor levels of service foisted by the railways on their customers (including farmers).

The shippers of virtually every commodity transported in bulk – grain, oilseeds, pulse crops, forest products, minerals, chemicals, fertilizers, industrial goods, etc. – have complained for years that the railways over-charge and under-perform. In response, the federal government has been “reviewing” rail service problems since 2007.

The railways deny every concern, but this Service Review has exploded their myths.

It found overall rail freight service to be inadequate and undisciplined, largely because too much market power is vested in the hands of the railways. In other words, the complaints of farmers and others are legitimate, and the root problem is the railways’ near-monopoly which kills competition.

The Service Review offered eight ideas for rectifying the situation, including more commercial conduct by the railways, better notice requirements, enforceable service agreements between railways and shippers, dispute resolution procedures, better reporting, etc.

But the review fell way short on the question of implementation.

The government is giving the railways THREE YEARS to make necessary improvements – out of the goodness of their hearts. And then there might be another review. And then there might be new laws and regulations.

Horsefeathers! This “benign neglect” approach won’t work.

The railways will not fix service deficiencies on their own. They never have. If problems are to be solved, they’ll have to be forced to do it.

So why wait THREE MORE YEARS? Nothing will change – except service will get worse, and the railways will keep snickering all the way to the bank, playing farmers, other shippers and the federal government for fools.

Real solutions require new legislation and regulations. So let’s get on with it – now!

-- Post From My iPhone

Goodale Gives Rousing Speech in Surrey

Ralph Goodale was in the Lower Mainland Sunday, attending MP Sukh Dhaliwal's Annual Fund-raiser.

Speaking to a capacity crowd of 700-plus guests, Ralph spoke elequently about the two key issues of import for the Liberal Party in the weeks and months ahead... Two issues which speak to the very existence of the party, and have always been of utmost importance to this organization...

The first issue is that of this party's proud heritage of balanced budgets/surpluses, sound fiscal management AND sound social policy. This balance between economic and social considerations has always been the Liberal Party's calling card. While Harper's "Conservatives" squandered a 13 Billion dollar surplus, and put us in a further $53 Billion deficit, they use empty "slogans" to deflect from their miserable record of failure. Knowing one key "Bush-ism" they continue to mumble about "staying the course"...

The "key note" in Ralph's keynote address was the Liberal Party's firm stand for the Canadian Charter of Rights. Speaking to comments made by newly elected Conservative MP - Julian Fantino - Ralph shook his head at the disrespect and outright contempt Harper and his party show the Charter of Rights - your rights, my rights, and everyone elses rights...

In a diverse room packed with people of all faiths, nationalities, and sexual orientations - to a backdrop of bhangra dancers, Scottish Highland dancers, and South Asian prose - Ralph discussed the importance of accepting ALL people for what they are. He spoke of a Canada with selfless open arms, embracing the diverse diaspora of citizenry we have cultivated. The importance of this true reality of Canada was not lost on the crowd, which rose to ovation at Mr. Goodale's words...

Hearing Ralph Goodale's speech in Surrey last night, one cannot even question the Liberal Party's firm resolve to ensure Canadians' Charter Rights are defended at every turn... A firm resolve to ensure that wayward governments (and wayward ideologies) can do nothing to remove the rights for which our party laid a foundation over many decades - from Laurier, to Pearson, to Trudeau, and on to our modern leadership.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Goodale In Surrey For Annual Fundraiser

Ralph Goodale will be the guest of honor at the Annual Sukh Dhaliwal Fundraiser at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey at 6pm tonight...

We're not sure if any more tickets are available, but inquiries can be made to the phone number/email posted on Sukh's Facebook page...

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