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Author Topic: Out of Ottawa  (Read 12698 times)

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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #90 on: June 30, 2011, 10:17:29 AM »
Quote
The parliamentary shuttle bus service has always struck me as taxpayer-funded overkill, but not until I sat there in the same spot for a half-hour or so did it become apparent just how ridiculous the service is. Seated outside a building that I had reached as a result of a leisurely, aimless — and short — stroll, I saw shuttle buses arrive with a regularity that would shame a municipal service and with an efficiency in terms of passengers-per-trip that would drive private carriers out of business. One conclusion was obvious: how much do we pay for all this?

That's a question, not a conclusion. 

I suspect the answer would be that it's cheaper than a fleet of chauffeur driffen cars on standby and there's an element of security (not just personal) for those involved.

Unless I missed a refernce, frankly I'm astonished that a journalist wouldn't have considered this. ???
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Offline Jesso Yewno

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #91 on: October 27, 2011, 11:28:51 AM »
Liberals say Ferguson not bilingual enough to be AG

Allege he lacks proficiency in both official languages
CBC News ,Posted: Oct 26, 2011

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2011/10/26/nb-liberals-oppose-michael-ferguson.html
 
Liberal Leader Bob Rae said Wednesday that the Liberal caucus will oppose the nomination of Michael Ferguson as federal auditor general.
In a release, Rae's office said Ferguson, New Brunswick's former auditor general, "does not seem to meet many of the criteria laid out in the government’s own job description, including proficiency in both official languages."
Ferguson was appointed New Brunswick's auditor general in 2005. He left the job almost a year ago to become deputy minister of the provincial Finance Department.
Harper officially nominated Ferguson for federal AG Tuesday. Ferguson’s appointment must be approved by a resolution of the Senate and the House of Commons.
Rae said there was no consultation following the decision.
"Not only did his resume lack experience of a national scope, we now learn he is not proficient in both of Canada’s official languages," Rae said in the release
A Liberal request for further study in committee was not acknowledged, according to the release.
"For some time now all officers of Parliament have been bilingual, and rightly so," Rae said.
"The successful applicant must not only demonstrate a grasp of the complexities and nuances of national issues, but he or she must also have the ability to study matters in both official languages. This is the only way to ensure fair and credible investigations and decisions."
 

Offline BristolUK

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #92 on: March 07, 2012, 11:17:21 PM »
Time to remove this as a sticky?
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Offline Jesso Yewno

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Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #93 on: March 31, 2012, 01:32:55 AM »
NDP votes against flag freedom bill

By Brigitte Pellerin, QMI Agency ,March 29, 2012
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2012/03/29/19566176.html

OTTAWA - One of the first acts of the NDP under newly elected leader Thomas Mulcair was to vote against a bill encouraging Canadians to "proudly display the National Flag of Canada."

The Conservatives and Liberals voted in favour of Bill C-288, the National Flag of Canada Act, sponsored by Tory MP John Carmichael and Heritage Minister James Moore.

A previous version, introduced last year, included fines and up to two years in jail for condo boards or housing authorities that try to prevent Canadians from flying the flag.

The new version contains no such penalties.

The NDP faced some criticism for not displaying enough Canadian flags during last weekend's leadership convention.

Offline Jesso Yewno

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #94 on: April 05, 2012, 05:59:28 PM »
MPs crowd the trough while preaching restraint on others

Kelly McParland , Apr 5, 2012 , National Post

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/04/05/kelly-mcparland-mps-crowd-the-trough-while-preaching-restraint-on-others/

One of the great benefits of budgets to governments is the ability to bury the unpleasant under mounds of excess information.  So much news comes out of most budgets that it takes considerable time to digest it all properly. The public attention span, never great, has been dramatically whittled away by technology that turns minutes into hours. Most people can barely focus long enough to absorb the bullet points of a budget that could extend for hundreds of pages.

So people may have noted in passing that last week’s federal budget glossed lightly over the issue of MP pensions and compensation. But then it was on the other things, like the giant, fantastic disaster of the government’s jet procurement program, for instance. Tory MPs may not like the attention they’re getting over that mess, but can comfort themselves in knowing their retirement plans won’t be affected. And guess which issue they care about more.

Pensions have become a major issue across the country. While just about everyone hopes to ease into retirement at some point in life,  financing that dream has looked increasingly imperiled. The question of how to pay for their old age affects most of the population, except for politicians. Governments across the land have become increasingly vociferous in their alleged determination to cut costs by reining in the pay and benefits enjoyed by public servants, except themselves.

But federal Members of Parliament still get a free ride. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shows no fear of a confrontations with union leaders or provincial counterparts. He recently re-opened his unseemly sparring match with Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, declaring, “I’m waiting for the Ontario government to grow up, quite frankly, this is a sad government, badly mismanaged now for almost nine years. The result is the rating agencies around the world are looking at the Ontario government and going, actually we don’t even trust your credit-worthiness.”

Upsetting his fellow MPs is evidently a more fearsome task, however. Mr. Flaherty told Global News in a post-budget interview that he’s still working on plans for MPs, and there will be changes in due course.

    “We have to have some more consultations, discussions about the age, but we’re moving the age for public servants up and the intention is to do the same for Members of Parliament. We have to you know be consistent if we ask that public service to go in a certain direction that we go in the same direction as well. The most important thing though is the contribution to the pension plan because that’s a lot of money and that will make a huge difference. So the public service will move toward a 50 percent contribution and we will too as Members of Parliament; that will be accomplished gradually, starting in 2013, but we will be there at 50 percent by 2016. That’s a lot of money.”

Spot the difference. The government was brave enough to raise the eligibility age for Old Age Security from 65 to 67 over an extended period. It had no trouble summoning the nerve to increase the retirement age for civil servants and reveal plans to make them pay more for their pensions. But when it comes to MPs, much more care and caution is required. There need to be “more consultations.” Concern has to be shown for MP expectations, and their ability to adjust.

    “Members of Parliament get elected on a certain basis with certain expectations and they have families and so on. The key is that the next group of parliamentarians who will get elected in 2016 or 2015, whenever it is, the next election that they will know what the rules are as they get elected and as they seek public office, this is only fair. But we’re not waiting until then. We’ll start the changes next year, 2013.”

Why all the delicacy? Why the wait? What makes the career expectations and family concerns of MPs so much more critical than those of every other Canadian? Mr. Flaherty’s pledge that he’ll get around to this stuff next year sometime — if other issues don’t intrude, presumably — is hardly reassuring. Delay is a tool politicians often deploy when they’re hoping to avoid action.  Mr. Flaherty notes that getting MPs  to pay 50% toward their own (rich, guaranteed) pensions (collectible at age 55 and after just six years in office) is “a lot of money.” He’s correct on that, as  many teachers will know, since they’re already contributing at that level. MPs make much more than teachers — $157,000 plus perks for MPs, versus about $90,000 for teachers in Ontario. If teachers can afford to pay at that level, what’s the big problem for MPs that they need five more years to get there?

One canard in this discussion has been the extra $100,000 added on a prime minister’s pension at age 65. The Liberals sought to make hay on this, not realizing it was their own revered Lester Pearson who introduced the provision, and the sainted Pierre Trudeau who lowered the qualifying age from 70 to 65. Pearson may have needed the money; Trudeau certainly didn’t, nor did later Liberal leaders John Turner or Jean Chretien, both of whom made a tidy pile while not in office, or shipping magnate Paul Martin.  Of all the longer-serving prime ministers dating back to John Diefenbaker, in fact, Stephen Harper is probably the least wealthy.  He lives on a salary; his prime ministerial pay may be the most he’s ever made. Considering the vast riches other leaders amass by leveraging their years in office — think Tony Blair, Bill Clinton — an extra $100,000 for Canadian prime ministers doesn’t seem out of line. And it’s sure odd that the Liberals only noticed it once their boss wasn’t the recipient, don’t you think?

Offline Notme

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #95 on: April 05, 2012, 08:20:43 PM »
 ??? and you are surprised about it

BIGOTRY
   a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own
RACIST
The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. .

Offline Jesso Yewno

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #96 on: April 05, 2012, 08:30:16 PM »
Not surprised at all.

It's just that if all my posts lean to the right, I might fall over.  :laugh:

Offline Jesso Yewno

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Re: Well it's official. We're having a spring Federal Election.
« Reply #97 on: April 07, 2012, 12:20:03 AM »
Stephen Harper has ridden the wave of Western ascendancy

Tasha Kheiriddin  April 6, 2012 ,National Post
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/04/04/tasha-kheiriddin-stephen-harper-has-ridden-the-wave-of-western-ascendancy/

Stephen Harper: Transformational Prime Minister.

Those are five words that no one would have thought to string together seven years ago. But his government’s latest budget, as well as his trip to Washington this week, reveal an agenda that could profoundly change the nature of this country — even if it’s not the “hidden agenda” that Canadians have been told to fear.

For years, the left has crowed about a Conservative plot to make Canada a bastion of social conservatism and small government. There are a few nuggets to support their claim. For example, this April the government will be allowing debate on a private member’s bill that could open the door to limits on abortion. But, even if they are introduced, such limits would be subject to a non-whipped vote in Parliament, with no guarantee of passage.

Instead, the real interest of the Prime Minister appears to lie less in transforming the country’s morality and finances, and more in shifting the geographical axis of power from central to Western Canada.

His latest budget bets heavily on resource extraction, namely oil and gas, as the economic engine of the country. Environmentalists, get out of the way: Make too much noise opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline, and Revenue Canada will pull your charitable licence.

Unemployed Canadians, move “where the jobs are” — i.e., the oilfields of Western Canada. Universities partner with the private sector to produce research with practical applications — like that done at the Centre for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta, whose founding sponsor is Imperial Oil.

This week in Washington, Mr. Harper went a step further: Playing the role of Canadian nationalist, but not in the peacekeeping, medicare-loving, politer-than-you-Americans stereotype we have come to expect from our prime ministers. Instead, he talked tough, essentially telling Barack Obama and the American public that if they want our oil, they better approve the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, or we’ll sell it to the Chinese.

If things go Mr. Harper’s way, he will accomplish the ultimate aim of Preston Manning’s Reform party, and then some. Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, Reform’s battle cry was “the West wants in.” Shut out of decision making, with Ottawa favouring central Canada on everything from procurement to public service appointments, westerners rebelled, and formed a new party to make their voices heard. That party ultimately folded back into (some would say subsumed) the federal Tories, at just the time that demography and economics favoured the West’s ascendancy.

Indeed, Mr. Harper did not engineer this power shift; he is riding a wave that has been cresting for the past decade. As Ontario’s manufacturing sector erodes and Quebec loses demographic clout due to slower population growth, head offices have migrated to Calgary: According to Calgary Economic Development, in 2010, 114 called the city home, up from 78 in 2000.

The 2011 census revealed that Saskatchewan went from negative to positive population growth, up from -1.1% between 2001 and 2006, to 6.7% between 2006 and 2011.

Manitoba’s rate of population growth doubled since 2006. At the same time, Ontario’s rate of population growth was the slowest since the early ‘80s.

Despite these numbers, Mr. Harper is still taking a gamble. He needs three elements to make his plan work. First, the world price of oil needs to stay high. Second, Canadian environmentalists need to be kept at bay: While Ottawa can change approval processes, it cannot control the court system, which is likely where groups will head to stall development projects. Third, political polarization needs to continue, with the NDP attracting leftist support while the Liberals stay squeezed in the middle, siphoning off anti-Harper votes.

In this, Mr. Harper has an ally in new NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, who represents the party’s best chance of keeping its Quebec seats, as well as building a “New Labour”-type centre-left coalition.

Offline Jesso Yewno

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Out of Ottawa
« Reply #98 on: April 12, 2012, 12:11:41 PM »
Ottawa phasing out federal cheques paid to Canadians by 2016


Receiver General issues more than 300 million payments a year. Roughly 77%  are already direct deposit.

By Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter ,QMI Agency , April 12, 2012
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2012/04/11/19620376.html

OTTAWA - The cheque will no longer be in the mail.

The Conservative government is enhancing its paper-free initiative by phasing out federal cheques paid to Canadians by 2016 and using direct deposit instead.

The initiative begins immediately and will save taxpayers about $17.4 million annually by 2014 before it's fully implemented two years later.

"Increasing the use of direct deposit will contribute significant savings through the reduction in the use of paper and related cheque-printing and delivery costs," Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said Wednesday.

The Receiver General issues more than 300 million payments a year. Roughly 77% of those are already direct deposit.

Each cheque the government issues costs 82 cents compared to 13 cents for a direct deposit.

Canadians who live in remote areas and do not have access to financial institutions will be excused from the new payment system.

All other citizens and businesses have four years to register for direct deposits, and can do so on the Receiver General website or from federal departments owing them money.

Offline Jesso Yewno

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Out of Ottawa
« Reply #99 on: April 20, 2012, 09:56:50 PM »
Conservatives want unemployed to fill jobs going to temporary foreign workers: Jason Kenney

“If you don’t take available work, you don’t get EI ”

Sarah Boesveld,   April 20, 2012, National Post

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/04/18/conservatives-want-unemployed-to-fill-jobs-going-to-temporary-foreign-workers-jason-kenney/

Ottawa is preparing to crack down on employment-insurance recipients who are not seeking work in areas where employers are forced to bring in foreign workers to fill jobs.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the government wants to reduce disincentives to work by creating a “greater connection” between the EI program and the temporary foreign worker program, which is under Mr. Kenney’s purview.

“What we will be doing is making people aware there’s hiring going on and reminding them that they have an obligation to apply for available work and to take it if they’re going to qualify for EI,” Mr. Kenney told the National Post editorial board on Wednesday. He was touting immigration reforms that will try to streamline the entry of immigrants and foreign workers, favouring entrepreneurs, innovators and those with high quality professional credentials.

The reforms would require unemployed Canadians to accept local jobs that are currently being filled by temporary foreign workers.

“Nova Scotia province-wide has 10% unemployment, but the only way Christmas tree operators can function in the Annapolis Valley is to bring in Mexicans through this agricultural worker program,” he said, also pointing to the increased number of Russians working in Prince Edward Island fish processing plants and Romanians working at the Ganong chocolate factory in New Brunswick.

“Even on the north shore of New Brunswick, which has the highest unemployment in the province, the MPs keep telling me the employers definitely need more temporary workers. What’s going on here?”

The government will consider more measures to ensure the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will continue to meet those labour needs by “better aligning” the program with labour demands, according to budget documents. At the same time, businesses will have to have made “all reasonable efforts” to recruit from the domestic labour force before they seek workers from abroad.

When an employer looks to the government for a labour market opinion, which is one step in getting approval to hire foreign temporary workers, Mr. Kenney said the government will soon point out the number of people on EI in that employer’s region and ensure the people collecting EI are aware of that job opportunity.

“If you don’t take available work, you don’t get EI,” he said. “That’s always been a legal principle of that program.”