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    A Balanced Budget Isn’t A ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ Thing

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    Individuals, regardless of political bent, rarely incur deficits in their home on an annual basis.

    Yes, it’s more of a challenge for people who are poor or who have financial restraints to balance their budgets compared to those who have much deeper resources, but ultimately, they must balance their budgets.

    These days, it seems someone’s life is measured by how well they’ve managed to control their financial impulses, regardless of what political stripe they wear.

    We all have to make choices, some painful and awkward, that send us on the proper path towards financial independence.  To fail in this means surrendering our lives to bankers, pay-day loan companies and credit card usury.

    Which makes the whole discussion about deficits in Canada at the federal level very confusing for the average Canadian.

    Stephen Harper hasn’t been able to create a surplus in nearly all the years that he’s run Canada and yet claims he’s the only one capable of running the country from a sound fiscal perspective.  This is like claiming it’s OK to run to the credit card company to finance your mortgage.

    Under Stephen Harper the fiscal deficit has EXPLODED and he’s asking us to allow him to continue?

    (And white-collar rich and old white men that should know better continue to believe this horse shit?)

    Justin Trudeau says it’s OK to run up deficits in the wake of the election because, well, we may have to.  The only ‘positive’ legacy the Liberals have are the years when Paul Martin was finance minister and Canada had half a chance of emerging from the financial restraints imposed by mafia-like organizations like the Moody’s or Dominion Bond Rating Service.

    Tom Mulcair and the NDP are the only main party promising to control themselves when elected to office and maintain a balanced budget.  If you don’t believe the promise, look to the records of provincial NDP management:

    Let the numbers speak for themselves …

    I won’t bore you with my own bias.  Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves:

    Fiscal-Record-balance-yrs1

    More importantly, consider the share of GDP compared to fiscal deficits:

    Fiscal-Record-GDP-jpg

    My sentiments?

    I personally believe that every financial house should be in order.  We should encourage saving, reward investment in our community and our peers and grow from our own pool of financial resources.

    It must start at the federal level and the federal government needs to HELP all other levels of government and even households get their budgets in order.  But they MUST END passing the buck to lower levels that are not in a position to finance projects and services for all Canadians like the Harper government has for the last decade.

    We can’t afford it.

    Ultimately, those in charge of the federal budget should be able to balance the budget any time, regardless of the market circumstance, by making sure they ‘pull the right levers’ and make prudent investment choices with the money provided by hard working Canadians.

    Balancing a 2015/2016 budget will be quite easy when you consider the Harper giveaways to the rich and elite in this country:

    • Tax Free Savings Accounts
    • Harper’s ‘RRSP home loan’
    • The hundreds of billions proposed for military expenses like the failed F-35, Canada’s involvement with crimes against humanity via Saudi Arabia and General Dynamics, etc.
    • Extensive (and expensive) tax cuts to the highest echlons of corporate elite
    • Elimination of the spousal tax plan in favour of something more equitable for ALL Canadian families
    • Cancellation of the billions in subsidies to Canada’s resource and extraction companies (especially oil) in favour of more universal programs for any entrepreneur or small business.
    • Termination of tax deductions that only benefit the elite (eg. sports and music programs for kids) or carbon wasters (eg. gas write-offs come tax time).
    • Endless armies of cabinet ministers and their volumes of staffers created by Stephen Harper over the last decade, costly taxpayers millions on needless bureaucracy.

    And so on.

    See, a balanced budget is just about setting different priorities and attacking those expenses or programs that make no sense to the AVERAGE Canadian.

    Do you want a Canada that only looks out for the 1% or one that balances support for all industries with support for individuals?

    Do you want a Canada that supports all individuals, regardless of their ‘status’ as a Canadian, be it rich, poor, etc?

    When politicians get into fisticuffs about who can run up the bigger deficit, just ask them what largesse Stephen Harper has created and how quickly they’ll be able to take it down.

    Stephen Harper Breaches Economic & Political Etiquette

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    Sadly, there’s no opportunity to blame Stevie ‘I can’t manage the economy’ Harper for the economic ills in China or the slide in oil.

    (Even though I would love to blame him …).

    BUT … we can blame him for a substantial breach in political etiquette.

    Stephen Harper engaged in a private conversation with the Bank of Canada Governor.

    No one knows what was discussed in this call.  There were no other staffers on the call (to our knowledge).  There was no script of the call taken (again, to our knowledge).  We don’t know, maybe, if Stephen Harper instructed the BoC Governor to modify monetary policy so it would help steer the Canadian economy away from recession status.  We also know that Poloz refuses to use the word ‘recession’ even though we are in one.  Was he being told to continue to avoid that dreaded word, lest he wind up in the salt mines of Harper’s political naysayers?

    It’s going to open questions.

    Now, I’m not a lawyer or expert with public policy, but Stephen Harper should act quickly to disclose what was discussed before the Bank take any action because if the Bank does take action under his guidance, this could compound into a VERY serious issue that all Canadians should be concerned about.

    Realistically, there should be no interference with monetary policy, nor should monetary policy be used for political gain, as Jim Stanford with the Progressive Economics Forum suggests.

    As he is technically no longer the Prime Minister of Canada (Parliament is dissolved and the writ has been dropped), the candidate for Prime Minister has obtained access that all other candidates for Prime Minister should have.  Understandably, there should still be discussions, but there should also be RECORDS of these discussions.

    In the past, when other political candidates and leaders have suggested discussions with the Bank of Canada Governor, they were pressured to issue an apology.

    Stephen Harper’s act of political interference with Bank of Canada policy could very well become the next political scandal.

     

    So … should Stephen Harper issue an apology, like candidates and politicians before him?  If so, when will this happen?

    He won’t.  Because he won’t.

    If that doesn’t make sense to you, you don’t understand why Stephen Harper and his cabal has to be voted out of office in October.

    Let’s talk about the lies that Stephen Harper tells every time he opens his mouth.

    Failure to do would so translate to even more political positioning and erosion of important separations of institutions from the ever-growing power grab from the PMO.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Stephen Harper Has Offered the Opposite of Good Economic Management

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    Stephen Harper has clearly put all of his eggs in one basket.

    Any good economist, portfolio manager or leader knows that you diversify in order to moderate risk.

    Stephen Harper came to power by pitting parts of Canada against each other.  He has spent decades leveraging Western frustration and reliance on resources with Eastern manufacturing and slightly more progressive attitudes.

    He has built a political career on leaning on the oil industry to elevate his regions of choice and it has been at the expense of a diversified economy.

    This recent story from Canadian Dimension paints the true story about how obsessed he truly is with the Tar Sands and how he’ll piss away tens of millions of dollars on PR and lobbying for a single industry as opposed to working to promote Canada on a whole.

    And once oil hit the skids and tanked to nearly $40 per barrel (while Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper delivered a budget based on $75 per barrel), we’ve all been caught with our collective pants down and our dollar depressed to unprecedented levels.

    A proper audit of Stephen Harper’s budget will clearly demonstrate that they have delivered a deficit YET AGAIN and are lying about this reality.

    This kind of economic volatility is exactly the opposite of what Stephen Harper has been promising to Canadians.  His last decade of leadership has been a complete nightmare for both importers and exporters that rely on a stable exchange rate.  Those that believe Stephen Harper is ‘stable’ and helps stay the course are idiots.

    It’s very clear that Canada needs leadership that will play up the value of our resources but at the same time, will proactively work on balancing our ‘economic basket’ so that we’re not exposed to any single change in global attitude towards something as unstable as the Tar Sands.

    I think most will agree that Canada has a LOT to offer.  We have vast environmental, natural, intellectual, mechanical and other resources that the world wants.  We just have to pull our heads out of the (Tar) Sands in order to see this.

    The ONLY party that I and other Canadians should support will be that party which talks about moving forward.  I agree that we need to leave the Tar Sands in the ground.  I agree that Canada has for FAR TOO LONG been a resource supplier for those that control us.

    Canada will only truly become Canada when we stop relying so much on the demands of other countries.

    Who’s willing to bring us forward?

    Category: economics, Steve

    On Harper’s War on (the Wrong) Drugs

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    Stephen Harper has promised to get tough on drug crime in Canada.

    He will put an end to the Constitutionally upheld right to drug treatment centres in Vancouver.

    He will make everyone who tokes on a bong or joint a criminal.

    He will vastly expand the ridiculously expensive incarceration infrastructure – all at the expense of average Canadians – just to be the ‘tough on drugs’ guy.

    Honestly, I don’t know what he’s smoking, but he’s insanely out of step with the rest of Canada.

    Prescription drugs account for just as many deaths (if not more) in Canada than ‘illegal’ drugs.

    And yes, I’m making that up because Statistics Canada no longer tracks these numbers and gives sociologists and lawmakers something to work with.

    But here are some of the facts that I’ve been able to collect after a quick Google search:

    • The harm associated with psychoactive prescription drugs has emerged as one of the leading public health and safety concerns across North America.
    • Canada is now the second-largest per capita consumer of prescription opioids (exceeded only by the United States), according to the International Narcotics Control Board (2013). Globally, North America consumes approximately 80% of the world’s opioids.
    • Deaths related to prescription opioid use doubled in just over 10 years in Ontario, from 13.7 deaths per million people in 1991 to 27.2 deaths per million people in 2004 (Dhalla, et al., 2009).
    • Some First Nations in Canada have declared a community crisis owing to the prevalence of the harms associated with prescription drugs (Dell, et al., 2012).
    • Between 2005 and 2011, there was a 250% increase in the number of emergency room visits related to overdose, psychosis, etc related to prescription drugs.
    • Problematic opioid use is the leading cause of demand for methadone clinics in Canada.
    • Illegal use of Fentynal is one of the fastest growing markets and causes of gang violence and crime.
    • Prescription drugs are now one of the leading causes of vehicle-related accidents and deaths.
    • Legal substances (tobacco and alcohol) account for nearly 80% of the total cost of substance abuse (roughly $32 billion) compared to $8 billion for illegal drugs.

    The ‘tough of drugs’ stance is a complete smoke and mirror tactic used by the Cons to play to their base that’s probably fucked up on ‘Hillbilly Heroin’ (ie. Fentynal, Oxydodone).

    Stephen Harper has to get with the 20th century and understand that the drug companies that are lining his pockets are the culprits here.

    Category: health, Steve, Uncategorized

    What Do Jimmy Carter and Morgan Wheeldon Have in Common?

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    They both believe that Israel is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the treatment of Palestinians.

    In a recent interview with Truthout (sponsor them here), Jimmy Carter insinuated that Israel has instituted a permanent state of apartheid against the Palestinians.  Only, he wouldn’t call it ‘apartheid’.

    The reason Carter won’t directly say Israel is using apartheid is that it is

    an actionable crime under the Rome Statute, ratified in 2002, that created the International Criminal Court. To the extent that the judges there are affected by public opinion and international norms, the public stance of someone of Jimmy Carter’s stature is potentially important if Palestine brings an action against Tel Aviv on this basis.

    The accusation – sorry, insinuation – has hurt Jimmy Carter.  Members of his foundation board resigned in a very noisy manner and he’s now being rejected for speaking engagements.

    And the point … Morgan Wheeldon, now formally of the NDP, removed himself as a candidate because of the accusation that he said Israel was engaged in ethnic cleansing of the region.  Carter said this too, reminding us that a one-state solution (as prescribed by Israel and endorsed by the Stephen Harper Conservatives) would require annexation of Palestine and retention of a “Jewish-majority vision of Israel by keeping the Palestinians stateless and excluded from the vote. So Carter wouldn’t use the word (lest that become the only headline), but he accepted the argument for the use of the word. Surely that amounts to the same thing.

    That is, apartheid.

    Based on the NDP removal of Morgan Wheeldon as a candidate, I now look to the Green Party of Canada as the only voice of reason in this discussion:

    Green Party MPs will:

    • Endorse the recognition of a Palestinian right to statehood within the internationally recognized borders as described in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that adheres to pre-1967 borders and incorporates an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations;
    • Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law;
    • Protect as inviolable the right of the State of Israel to exist, in the absence of fear and conflict;
    • Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests;
    • Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided;
    • Call on Israel to stop expansion and the building of illegal settlements beyond the 1967 borders;
    • Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.
    • Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed-upon honest broker to engage in bi-literal and multi-lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis

    Category: Uncategorized

    Two Food-Related Myths Shattered

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    (For those wishing to take a break from Canada’s election).

    In other news …

    I was browsing Cryptogon.com (what I call a selective consolidator) this morning and came across two headlines that were health-related:

    Meat and Dairy Saturated Fats Not as Bad as We’ve Been Told …

    Those natural fats – olive oils, fat from animals used dairy products and other treats, eggs, chocolate – won’t kill us, but should still be used in moderation, according to Canadian researchers.

    In fact, it turns out that manufactured fats (margarine, trans-fats, etc) are deadly dangerous for our health and we should stay away from them.

    The researchers involved still seem somewhat on the fence for a number of items and stick to the ‘traditional’ recommendation that you shouldn’t go eat a dozen butter-based cookies, but they definitely pit natural vs manufactured foods products as ‘good vs evil’.

    For dietary reasons, I’ve had to eliminate a LOT of fats.  It’s tough and I fail often.  That said, I avoid manufactured products (think dried package goods) and ‘fresh baked’ items from major department stores unless they explicitly say that the oils are natural.

    I’m fine with butters and cheeses, but I choose stuff that’s salt-reduced.

    Anyways, the next story is …

    Teflon Kills

    This in-depth article on Dupont, Teflon and the chemical industry sheds some light on the substance that most North Americans use on a daily basis and don’t even know it.

    ‘Non-stick’ is certainly very helpful when it comes to cleaning, but it stays with us.

    I’m not a scientist, journalist, researcher or anyone else that might be qualified to pass judgement on this for everyone else to act on, but …

    We moved over to cast-iron pans years ago and will never look back.  As you purchase these pans, all you have to do is ‘season’ them by adding some oil (olive, grapeseed, etc) to the pan, warming it slowly and then rinsing it with water and a soft scrub pad.

    Dry it immediately so it doesn’t rust.

    NEVER use soap on the pan.

    Once seasoned properly, the pan is basically non-stick.  Just be careful not to crank the heat on it.

    Why Am I Bringing This Up?

    I use this blog to rant about a lot of things, but my primary focus is to voice concerns about how we’re being manipulated to buy shit.

    I believe we must be vigilant to protect ourselves and educate ourselves about how to live our lives cleanly and respectfully of the planet and what it gives us.

    This also means that government, the media, corporations and research organizations cannot always be trusted or have the best interest of their citizens or consumers in mind.

    And here’s my point … there’s nothing wrong with science.  I can’t imagine a more creative, ambitious and energizing time to be alive and science leads the way.

    However, I don’t trust CORPORATE science to deliver objective and 100% safe recommendations when it comes to things like vaccines, GMOs and other things that go into my body and that of my child.

    There it is.

    Let the name calling begin.

    Category: Uncategorized, vaccine

    On Stephen Harper’s Attack of the Ontario Pension Ambitions

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    Stephen Harper has chosen to stick his nose into someone else’s business.

    What else is new, right?

    In this case, it’s all about the Province of Ontario’s ambitions concerning their own pension plan.

    What Canadians – and most importantly, the people of Ontario – are NOT being told is that this is a VERY significant power play.

    It’s about financial independence for the province of Ontario, which the federal Cons are not fans of.  The more we collect here (Ontario) for Ontarians, the less dependent we are on decisions from Parliament Hill and the CPP.  It’s essentially what Alberta’s fund was all about (until the Cons destroyed it).  An Ontario-funded pension could potentially have a mandate of considering Ontario ventures and companies first before looking outside the border, balanced with a mandate of maximizing ROI.

    In the past, the CPP has been significantly over-weighted in resource stocks, including oil, benefiting oil producing provinces (eg. Alberta).  A forward-looking Ontario can instead invest in renewable projects, technology companies and other ‘local’ businesses that benefit the people of Ontario.

    Even though I personally find the attacks embarrassing for Stephen Harper, the federal Cons have made it an election issue because (a) they can easily describe it as a tax, (b) it distracts from their complete failure to manage the economy as they pretend they do and (c) they are attacking Liberals in the process.  People tend not to differentiate between provincial and federal politics, so it’s an easy win for the Cons.

    Wynne and the rest of Ontario should tell Stephen Harper to bugger off and mind his own business.  However, since he doesn’t do that very well, the Ontario pension plan is a perfect deflection.

    Category: Uncategorized

    The Leading NDP Need to Show Leadership

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    By not cowering away from two important sore points in Canadian economic and political policy:

    1. The Tar Sands are killing Canada and its reputation on many different levels.  Leaving Tar in the ground is OK by me.
    2. Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, and yet it seems offensive to speak the truth about what’s happening in the world.  By removing Morgan Wheeldon, the NDP are complicit in the crimes being committed by Israel.

    Tom Mulcair:  you have (had?) the lead.

    Prove you’re a leader.

    Take a tough stand on these and other issues and stop playing into Harper’s hands.

    Canada will reward you when you do.

    Reaction to McQuaig Fuel Awareness of Harper’s Lack of Plan

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    And lies about managing the economy.

    A good manager looks at all of the resources, talents and opportunities of a country, not just a single industry.  Stephen Harper is NOT a good manager because he is obsessed with one aspect of our economy – at the expense of all others.

    The Tar Sands in Canada account for just 2% of our GDP, but Stephen Harper and the Conservatives would have us believe that they are the ‘Golden Goose’ that lays all eggs for Canada.

    Rotten eggs, that is.

    Linda McQuaig – NDP candidate for Toronto Centre – recently repeated what millions of scientists, analysts, environmentalists, politicians and Stephen Harper himself have committed to in signing international declarations concerning limiting carbon emissions.

    We need to leave the tar in the ground if we’re going to survive the 21st century.

    So why then are McQuaig’s comments generating so much controversy?

    Because it proves Harper and his cabal have no plan.

    Yes, they’ve agreed to limit emissions globally, but they do not have a plan to engage the country’s largest polluter, the Tar Sands, as a means of addressing these commitments.

    Yet another example of Stephen Harper’s mouth writing cheques his ass can’t cash.

    Old White Men Hold the Key #elxn42

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    Old white men may be the deciding factor in this election.

    EKOS data shows that they are an important deciding factor, especially those men who are 65 or older.

    EKOS-20150731_slide04

    It’s more than likely that ALL of us know someone in this category.  They just want to be left alone when it comes to government poking around, they’ve had enough of intrusive politics to last a lifetime (and let’s face it … they have) and they’re almost always voted Conservative because they play into that popular Stephen Harper meme that demands ‘stability’ and ‘staying the course’.

    Of course, if your dad or older brother or uncle or teacher is just like my dad, MOST of their news and content comes from mainstream media, a disturbingly tentacled organization owned and operated by a handful people that also profit (coincidentally) from ongoing ads and promotions from the Stephen Harper Government (TM).

    They help spread the lies of Stephen Harper.  They too ask those questions stupidly and idiotically repeating the meme that there couldn’t possibly be someone else in the universe that could take the reins without the country falling into the abyss.

    The great challenge is that they believe the lies that are spun every day.  I can still hear an important father-figure saying ‘Mike Duffy is a great guy’ shortly after he ripped a new hole for Stephane Dion.

    The countless times I’ve also heard ‘who’s qualified to run the government’ and I shout out ‘my dog’, ‘an ant’, ‘a robot’, ‘a plant’, ‘anyone but Stephen Harper’ but it falls on deaf ears because I’m seen as being tainted the other way.

    And guess what?  We are falling into an abyss.  Privacy is no longer.  Human rights, financial independence, environmental stability and the economic future of Canada have all been carved to bits so the Hair can stay in control.

    Beg and implore them to act and vote for their children and grandchildren and work against Harper and his machine.  Remind them that you can tell Harper is lying … is when he opens his mouth.  His myths about economic prowess and security for the nation are nothing but delusions of grandeur.  Convince them that the future of Canada deserves something more optimistic, bright and hopeful and not dark, cynical and cheap.

    If they still resist, use analogy:  if an old white guy were kicking a visible minority, would you report it to the police or accept $5 for looking the other way?  Right now, Stephen Harper is that bully kicking at everything Canada SHOULD be and he’s bribing you with a few petty tax breaks or financial incentives that the vast majority of these people can no longer afford.

    So please, do it for Canada:  speak with these old white men and beg them to reconsider who they vote for.  Talk about strategic voting or give them tools so they can be informed.

    Everyone’s future depends on it!!