Category Archives: Canada

The High Cost of the Truth …

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In a World Filled With Deceit

The Conservatives and their well-oiled, well-bought media machine have latched on to Thomas Mulcair’s telling of the economic truth about the Tar Sands and, like true parasites, they are not about to let go until they’ve bled him to death.

Last week, Thomas Mulcair correctly reminded Canadians that we are suffering from what’s known as ‘Dutch Elm Disease’, a loose economic term that refers to how demand for a popular commodity will destroy other parts of the economy that rely on a competitive or more balanced exchange rate between trading partners.

A thorough Wikipedia article has been created over time and numerous articles are available online.  If you’re in the media, go and educate yourself and read up a little before tearing more strips off those who tell the truth.

Despite the intellectual precedent and discussion about the problem, the absolute tyrannic and sycophantic response from the Conservatives and the media prove how far they’ve gone to the ‘dark side’ of the Tar Sands and oil reliance in this country.

In fact, the Conservatives, especially Stephen Harper who pretends to be an economist, should be well aware of this economic condition and yet continue to play dumb.

It’s safe to say that TRUTH in this country is no longer allowed to exist.

Of course, the best to react:  change the rules.  The NDP should make sure that the Wikipedia post is properly updated to reflect Thomas Mulcair’s comments for a start.  They should also start a contest to create a new ‘Canadianized’ name for the problem.

In Quebec, I’d Be A Riot This Weekend

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We’re having 3 families over for a BBQ this weekend.  There will be about 15 people in total in attendance.

As Jean Charest might call it, an ‘assembly greater than 10 people’.

If I were in Quebec, would I have to apply for permission prior to having my friends over?  What would my options be now that it’s the weekend?  Should I call the whole thing off and hide in my basement?

Really, the insanity of Charest’s new draconian and authoritarian law designed to crack down on students is irresponsible and ridiculous.

ALL Canadians should be insulted.

STUDENTS:  Wake up.  Do something different.  Change the rules of the game by playing a different game.

The Opportunity For Quebec Students

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This Quebec government / student clash of wills represents a unique opportunity in all of the world (I dare say) for one group of activists to introduce, discuss and implement an incredibly new approach to doing things.

Charest is testing new grounds with his fascist assault on liberties in Quebec and this approach will bleed over into the rest of Canada.

It’s now critical that Quebec students consider the alternatives.

Here’s what we know:

  • Education has become very expensive.  Students are facing onerous bills and excessive debt when they’re finished.
  • Most new teachers aren’t paid well.  They aren’t rewarded for extra time spent with marking, creating course content and sometimes even the teaching process itself.
  • Those teachers who are paid well may or may not care about teaching anymore.  They’re so obsessed with corporate-driven research that students are nothing more than an inconvenience.
  • Text books are a rip off and the companies are owned by people that do bad things (look it up).
  • The administration staff budgets are exploding, getting ever disproportionately larger compared to all of the other cogs in the machine and routinely buried in perks and bloat that would make Croesus blush.

What’s the opportunity, then?

Start over.  Build from the ground up.

My mind is reeling with the possibilities that this presents:

  • Use of non-copyrighted materials for educational materials
  • Crowd-sourced and open-source content that speaks to everything that’s new in the world
  • Elimination of top-heavy and expensive admin staff
  • Rewrite the curriculum
  • Radically reduced fee structure that will ensure that everyone in the province gets a fair education
  • Eliminate the interaction / intermingling of ‘big business’ with research and analysis

And so on …

It’ll take at least a few years to get the basics in place, but what are you waiting for?

If there’s 300,000 students and each of you are paying an average of $5,000 per year, that’s a ‘seed capital’ investment of about $1.5 billion, give or take.

That’s a lot of opportunity!

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Analog Thinking for a Digital Age

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Wow.  Dean Del Maestro comparing digital strategy and regulation to shoes and socks?

Using this specious argument, I can’t cook chicken that I’ve bought, I can’t turn yogourt into frozen ice cream, turn my old jeans into shorts and mix my paint together for basement colours.  As one YouTube user commented, I can’t even take a bag of chips and pour them into the bowl because I’m ‘format shifting’ them into something other than what the company might have intended.

Proof again that the Conservatives are woefully out of touch with reality and incompetent when it comes to setting a proper direction for digital strategy in Canada.

Who voted for these people?

But that’s not what’s truly frightening.  What’s more horrifying (yes, horrifying) is that Bill C-11 is about to become law.  Be prepared to watch every iPod and MP3 owner go to jail or face STEEP fines because they ‘format shifted’.

Austerity: The High Cost of Tax Cuts

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For me, the word is synonymous with cowardice.  And stupidity.  And cruelty.

Austerity is an abhorrent philosophy, but a necessary evil in the age of tax cuts and giving everything away to the corporations that run this planet.

Austerity in Canada amounts to more foulness than I can possibly imagine.

I would accept elements of reduction as they address the vast waste that’s been created, but overall, Canada is a rich nation.

Austerity should not be in our lexicon.

However, since Stephen Harper’s coup of Ottawa politics in 2006, we’ve seen tens of billions in potential revenue slashed from federal finances both in terms of corporate tax cuts and the reduction of the GST (now HST).

These cuts continue a Liberal trend, where corporate taxes were cut from the range of 50% down to the 15% level (and beyond?) that the Conservatives have proposed.

Despite these cuts, we know that corporate tax cuts don’t work.

Guesstimates of the impact of corporate tax cuts are likely in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  They have failed to create jobs in Ontario and elsewhere, although many argue that the explosion in growth in resource-rich areas like Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta are related.  They’re not:  the boom they’re experiencing is simple cause and effect in relation to ever-increasing commodity prices.

And the GST (now HST).  Have you seen any benefit of ‘saving’ $0.02 when you buy your Tim’s or you go shopping for clothes and other services?  As financial matters get worse because of the structural fiscal deficit that’s been created by Jim Flaherty and the Conservatives, it’s likely that they’ll expand the coverage of the HST to include food items and other basic consumables (eg. hydro bills for basic services), expanding the regressive nature of what should be a potent economic tool for moderating excessive materialism.

So … here we are, hundreds of billions of dollars short, few new jobs to show as a result, and facing the prospect of more taxes (direct or indirect) and we enter the ‘age of austerity’.

Austerity is a philosophy.  It is an affront to human dignity and basic rights for children, in the workplace and in retirement.

All levels of government suffer as a result of these measures.  The provinces slash services and municipalities tow the line by eliminating basic wage increases.

Canadians should be going mad with rage because we’ve given so much away and we’re still VERY RICH.  We need to ask ourselves why are we picking on seniors and the sick and the poor in order to make up for billions on boondoggles like F-35s, mad spending sprees like the ‘Action Plan’ and prisons to house grandmothers caught downloading a song or two?

Because we’re now being lead by a group of hostile and cruel self-absorbed government of crooks, that’s why.