September 30, 2020

Covid Journal, Sept 30, 2020

By admin

Flipping the (Snow)Bird to the Canadian Taxpayer

This is the kind of story that makes me want to bang my head on the wall.

Canadian ‘snow birds’ that still feel it’s their right to go to Florida (or elsewhere in the US) during a pandemic.

The borders are closed. Why should they think that they would be able to skirt this closure?

This mindset is so mind boggling, frustrating and irresponsible. Me and my family have basically been in lockdown for six months and this group of people is basically flipping the (snow)bird at the rest of Canada.

I glanced through the comments with this CBC article and the sentiments seem to be pretty universal: if they go, they aren’t welcome to use Canada’s health care system if they return. Many go further and just say ‘don’t come back’.

I suggest a few additional measures: a declaration that they are required to sign when they leave Canadian customs (ie. a legal, signed document) that confirms they will take their chances and pay for any treatment out of their own pockets and a mandatory test followed up with a minimum one month isolation … if they return.

Why Public Investment Should Equate to Public Ownership

I’m in a testy mood today. I’ve seen a lot of the usual ‘Covid this’ and ‘Covid that’ stories, but there’s been a constant theme since March 2020 of spend, spend, spend to make sure that things stay afloat. Eventually, someone will insist that the bill is due.

Which is why I firmly believe that as we spend, spend, spend on different projects, commercial leases and other capital assets, the Canadian public should also be entitled to a stake in whatever they’re buying.

Right? This IS still a capitalist world, correct? Granted, so many millions of ‘mom and pop’ shops had to close BECAUSE of government requirements, but as we help everyone get back on the ground (as we should), our governments should also expect a participation stake.

Just a silent ownership. No interference with how business is done or do your best to avoid conflict(s) of interest.

Here’s a good example: a few days ago, news came out about a significant investment of both the provincial and federal governments inĀ  Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT).

It’s great: it’ll bring broadband to about 300 people (I’m being sarcastic – it’s actually just a little less than 3,000) who will be gouged at a later date by the partnership companies with SWIFT (eg. Bell, Rogers, Cogeco).

This investment may be a regurgitation of a 2016 commitment to SWIFT (neighbouring in the financial range of $500 million).

Each of the provincial and federal governments contributed about $65 million to the project with the most recent announcement. It wasn’t clear if this were additional funding, but if it is, that would bring the tally closer to about $700 million for 3,000 residents.

Wowzers! That’s a LOT of fiber!

My point: when our governments are arm-twisted into these kind of arrangements, they need to take a stake in the game and collect a percent of revenue until all debts / financial commitments are returned.

Why so harsh? Because the primary beneficiaries in this deal are not new internet subscribers. It’s the telecom companies that will be raking it in over time with excessive rates being charged to the new customers.

Honestly, a better solution would have been the public ownership of 100% of the fiber being installed with the government leasing it out to whomever wanted to pay the government rates. Think public utilities like hydro-electric dams in the early 1900s.