Pot for Pot … Holes

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The provinces and federal government convened meetings yesterday to discuss how to allocate their riches to be earned from the bounty of excise taxes to be made from marijuana sales when the drug is legalized July 2018.

My understanding is that they will work on a 75%/25% provincial/federal split.

(Let’s put aside the basic fact that they won’t make anything because we’re talking about WEED and it will be easy and legal to grow on your own without having a thousand middle-people ripping you off).

It’s obvious that all of the potential stakeholders can’t wait to spend their ‘pot’ of gold (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Unfortunately, they’ve left a critical partner sitting outside, begging to be let in on the discussions.

Municipalities are going broke and are being forced to pay for all of the road-building, shovels-in-ground bullshit programs that the feds and provinces have downloaded to them over the last decade.

Here’s a great example of an absurd ‘Sophie’s Choice’-like dilemma: Stratford planners and councilors recently announced that they will remove one sidewalk from streets that have two sidewalks in order to save funds over the long-term and to pay for much needed infrastructure requirements including replacement of water and electrical systems. Of course, the numbers make ZERO sense: they see an annual cost saving of $29,000 with an estimated cost of $1 million.

This is truly insane.

No municipality should have to make such a ridiculous choice.

What’s frustrating is that most smaller cities in Canada and the US are designed to act like a giant centrifuge: the spin and spin and fling people out to the periphery.

It’s done this way because it’s the easy choice.

In most cities in North America, suburban wards almost always outnumber downtown wards, usually by a significant margin.
Therefore, the model is in permanent disrepair. Detroit was first. Many more will follow, as cities do not have the same revenue opportunities that provinces (or states) and federal governments continue to enjoy.
We throw cash away on the wrong things while urban areas rot.
Hence, the ‘Stratford Solution’ of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
It’s time we consider allocating 100% of the funds to a bigger fund that will be used to direct cash to those municipalities that need it the most.  Local health care, emergency response, policing (although I don’t understand why there would be an increase in policing costs when something is being legalized), social support networks and more.
Sure … paying attention to my previous comments, I suggest an approval board and some guidance to make sure that local communities don’t use the old ‘squeaky wheel’ approach when it comes to getting their mitts on funds. Or that they’re not just blowing it on golf trips for themselves and their buddies. Maybe there should be members of the community who are allowed to oversee some of the spending.
Regardless, these funds are raised on a local basis and should be returned to the local communities and not wasted on guns, ammo and payroll boondoggles.
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Why Traditional Media Is Failing

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Here’s a timely article from the Financial Post (owned by PostMedia, which I’ll get to in a second) that slams the current BC government for having been the least friendly towards the oil and gas industry in Canada.

Frankly, if I were in BC, I would be PROUD of this headline because it shows that the BC government has stopped sucking up to the oil barrons of the world.

And they’re scared.

So they dump a pile of BS trash on the public, like they think they’re going to tell the majority of BC voters that opted for anything but the ‘sold’ Liberals

We’re at the start of stopping a vicious cycle of manipulation and control by the media, corporations and our governments.

The first step for those in BC was that they took back their government.

Now they have to put up with ‘scientific surveys’ from organizations like the Fraser Institute, a hive of right-wing manipulation since it’s inception.

Media companies routinely quote from the Fraser Institute like it’s gospel, never analyzing the data, the sources or the people funding the institution.

And this is why Canadians (and people around the world who put up with the same model around the world) are rejecting ‘traditional media’.

They are sick of the lies and manipulation.

PS About PostMedia

PostMedia and the Toronto Star recently collaborated to shutter dozens of ‘local’ media shops. I didn’t cover the story but I’m excited about what this means for our collective futures when it comes to news and information.

In other words, don’t worry. It matters for shit because it will finally … and hopefully … motivate Canadians to do what’s right for their local communities and start their own local papers or news services.

Or … we can lobby the CBC to do the job taxpayers have hired them to do and stop narrating and actually creating quality local stories.

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Harper’s Turd Continues to Stink

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Yep, that’s the best I can get with the whole ‘Phoenix’ analogy. A stink that won’t quit.

Stephen Harper hated government so much that he implemented a payroll system that wouldn’t work, wouldn’t pay employees and that would explode on the next government.

It’s a turd that keeps on stinking.

Here’s the CBC coverage here of the Auditor General’s report on Phoenix and a few other nasty turds that Stephen Harper left for the next government.

Of course, all of this begs the question: can a current government sue a previous government for complete incompetence and (potentially) intentional cruelty towards its employees?

And can the current government go after the company that’s supposed to be implementing the whole thing?

They’ve botched everything to date and if this was the private sector, the company would be (a) fired and (b) sued if evidence indicated there was a decent enough case.

Which leads to the next question: what’s the public service doing to take action in this situation? Are they sitting around playing the blame game or are they collecting evidence?

Let’s hope it’s the latter.

And finally, why persist?  You have a ‘partner’ that continues to take from the public purse while failing to do what they were hired to do.  When will our current government find another contractor to replace or repair the job?

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Proof That Science and Money Don’t Mix?

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This could easily be listed as ‘Chapter 653 of Science and Money Don’t Mix’, but I thought I’d make special note of this situation as it is possibly the most despicable abuse of power, influence and science that I’ve seen.

Ever.

To the point:  this story disgusts me.

Opioids have become a severe crisis across North America and pharmaceutical companies are FUELING the crisis.

John Kapoor, owner of Insys Incorporated, was arrested on Thursday on racketeering and fraud charges for an alleged nationwide scheme to push an extremely potent opioid drug containing fentanyl onto patients

[Kapoor] used bribes, kickbacks, and other fraudulent practices to get doctors to overprescribe the fentanyl drug, called Subsys. Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. As such, Subsys is only intended to treat severe pain in cancer patients. But according to the DOJ, many patients receiving Subsys didn’t have cancer.

The DOJ alleges that Kapoor, along with six former executives at Insys, paid doctors and pain clinics in various states to write “large numbers of prescriptions.” The department also alleges that Insys used fraudulent means to get health insurance providers to cover the harmful prescriptions.

Money wins every time when it comes to most companies, but when pharmaceutical companies and our most trusted intermediaries – doctors – become tainted by money, it becomes nearly impossible to trust medical advice.

This kind of corruption exposes the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the foul relationship between the medical community, private corporations earning money for shareholders and our governments.

We need a solution.

Let’s start with Kapoor.  If he’s proven guilty, maybe we should follow the advice of people commenting on the story and consider capital punishment over a year by gradual injection of opioids.

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Toronto MPP Proposes a Tax on Walking

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I get it … a pedestrian that didn’t look every which way didn’t happen to see you when you tried to make your last-minute turn to the right and now you’re pissed off at all pedestrians.

Maybe that was the scenario, maybe not.  Maybe you’re interested in the safety of everyone, including pedestrians, right?

Sure … I get it.

So you introduce a law that essentially imposes a tax on walking.

This is absurd.

Yes, there are pedestrians that are frequently belligerent when it comes to the use of the roads.  Maybe they’re looking down at their phone.  Maybe they’re zoned into some killer tunes.

Truth be told, I don’t care.

Here’s my issue with this:  blind people can’t see where they’re going, do they?  Disabled people in wheel chairs may not be able to do the full rotation of double checks over and over again, can they?

Are you going to tax them for not noticing when you make an aggressive turn or fail to look for pedestrians cyclists as you’re looking for an uninterrupted drive down Mt Pleasant to Queen’s Park?

As car drivers, you have an OBLIGATION to watch out for pedestrians and other hazards, regardless of what they’re doing.

Honk your horn.

Pause.

Maybe even swear at them.

But know this:  pedestrians have a RIGHT to walk at intersections and should not be threatened with spiteful pieces of legislature that might discourage walking.

This would be an outright abuse of power and a ridiculous win for the province’s car culture.

If this passes, I will push my MPP to put forward legislation that says any driver that kills a pedestrian should be tried for murder.

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