Beginning on the first Saturday in July, The Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities is bringing the historic Speakers’ Corner from Hyde Park to Oceanside. At various locations in the Parksville Community Park, beginning at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, July 4th, a soapbox will be available to anyone who wishes to speak their mind on any matter of importance to the speaker. It may include politics. Click here more info.
The truth about Harper’s Child Care “Benefit”
This week the Harper Conservatives hit a new low. Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre raced around the country in an election-style campaign to promote Harper’s child care cheques, but there’s one thing he hasn’t told families: the new child “benefit” is taxable.
That’s right. Taxable. Which means that the Harper Conservatives are not only trying to buy our votes with our own money, they also plan to take BACK a hefty chunk in April - after the election.
Most benefits are taxable, but here’s the catch -- while bringing in the new child “benefit” the Conservatives also just quietly axed our $2,225 child tax credit. After all’s said and done, that means a typical working parent will receive just $13 a month to cover skyrocketing child care costs.
Thirteen dollars. Not a single child care space, not affordable care and nowhere near an actual plan - just $13. That’s not even enough to buy a pack of diapers.
The scary thing is this could work - millions of cheques are arriving in people’s mailboxes right now, and most of the Canadians Harper is targeting simply don’t know that this is a cheap trick to try to buy their votes with their own money and leave them with little to show for it. They’ll see the hundreds of dollars in their bank account, not realising it’s going to get clawed back at tax time, leaving them barely better off overall.
At over 60 pages, Bill C-51 -- the Anti-Terrorism Act -- is a heavy read. The bill proposes a myriad of radical changes to Canadian law and to Canada's national security apparatus, many of which seriously jeopardize the rights and freedoms of Canadians while promising little improvement to public safety.
Lawyers at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association have gone over the bill paragraph by paragraph, and we've outlined the parts of this document that concern us most. Please read more by clicking on title to read their concerns.
Back in 2006, the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, right-wing Conservative Stephen Harper warned that "You won't recognize Canada when I'm through with it." After nine grueling years, that's already true in many ways. But now, Harper is going even further in his re-make of the country. Under new and pending legislation, Canada is moving rapidly towards the creation of a police state, with major curtailments of civil liberties. In recent weeks, the Harper Conservatives have introduced and/or passed several pieces of legislation that run roughshod over Canadians' Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Constitutional rights, giving draconian powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Please read more by clicking on title.
Federal funding to Medicare to reduced by $36 Billion over the next ten years. With this reduction in funding, Medicare might not exist until the 2019 election! Like it or not, Canadians will be voting for public health care in the next federal election in 2015.The only cost increasing in our Canadian Medicare is the cost of pharmaceutcal drugs. The American private system costs thousands of dollars in premuims per year.
One of the more pressing responsibilities for CSIS and the RCMP is conducting surveillance. This activity is labour-intensive, as it takes about 32 individuals to follow one suspect surreptitiously 24/7 for an extended period of time. The cost of experienced personnel, including salary, equipment and overhead, would run about $150,000 a year. So, for CSIS and the RCMP to collectively follow 100 high-risk targets, we’re talking about a $240-million increase to each agency’s budget.
That works out to about a 10 per cent increase to the RCMP budget and a 50 per cent increase for CSIS, hardly an unreasonable increase for CSIS, given that we are now at war with terrorists in the Middle East.
If the Harper government is truly serious about keeping us safe, it needs to stop forcing our national security officials to scrape by with limited resources.
For Canadians to be as secure as possible from threats, it is going cost money. But the expense is more than worth it.
Colin Kenny is former chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Please read more by clicking on title.
The Federal Court has nuked the Conservatives effort to stop the courts from hearing a legal challenge to some of the results of the 2011 federal election. With the support of The Council of Canadians, individuals in seven of the more than 40 affected ridings legally challenged the results under the Canada Elections Act. In June, the Conservatives petitioned the court to dismiss the challenge. Please read more by clicking on title.
Our collective institutions are similarly at their weakest points just as we need them to be at their strongest and most imaginative. Our democracy — including political parties — is increasingly unable to deliver what it once promised, let alone what we want. Universities are increasingly corporatized, jettisoning traditional ethics for corporate loot to pay their bills. Regulations developed over decades to protect us are either being eliminated or simply unenforced by governments whose job it once was to ensure our safety. Major media, which once, nominally at least, entertained the notion of political debate about society’s direction, have been hijacked by corporatist ideology and are thus rendered incapable of seeking the truth, let alone telling it. Please read more by clicking on title.
The Alberta Federation of Labour called for an inquiry Tuesday after it obtained a government list of more than 4,000 companies given approval to hire temporary foreign workers last year, many in the service industry.
"You look down this list and what you see is McDonald's, Tim Hortons, and Subway. This list goes on. It stretches the bounds of credibility that all of these employers have been using temporary foreign workers to hire skilled workers," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, on CBC News Network's Power & Politics. Please read more by clicking on title.
In the land of government plenty -- that vast landscape populated with the tax dollars of Canadians -- there is no shortage of politicians willing to hand out and defend subsidies to business and no dearth of corporations willing to take the cash. Please read more by clicking on title.
In January 2013, the International Monetary Fund reported that Canada's implicit subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies amount to $787 per Canadian. That's more than $3,000 a year for a Canadian family of four.
Chrysler wants $700-million to "preserve" 4,600 jobs. Do the math and that's over $152,000 per Chrysler job. Since 2003, including the 2009 bailout cash, and to 2013, the federal and Ontario governments have offered up $17.2-billion to various automotive companies courtesy of taxpayers. Corporate welfare is failed industrial policy for many reasons, but the evidence shows the cash overwhelmingly ends up with existing industry players who can afford to lobby for subsidies. Please read more by clicking on title.
Chrysler’s latest contribution to this oeuvre, a demand for nearly $500 million in public funds to keep its Windsor minivan plant open, is distinguished only by its brazenness. Of course, even with these periodic ransom payments, plants have still closed and jobs have still been lost: Since 1965, the National Post reports, nine assembly plants have closed, while employment in the broader industry has shrunk by more than 50,000 jobs in just the last decade alone. But there can be little doubt the industry is a good deal larger than it would have been in the absence of all this special treatment — including the 2009 bailout, to which the two levels of government contributed a combined $13.7 billion, only a fraction of which has been repaid, or ever will be. Article by Andrew Coyne. Please read more by clicking on title.
I am encouraged by the “occupy” movement spreading around our world. Finally we are talking about capitalism and thinking critically about the kinds of worlds we are currently co-creating due to the massive structural adjustments done to our modes of developments beginning in the 1970’s.
Most of these adjustments were done by stealth, prompted in part by the likes of the Fraser Institute, the CD Howe Institute, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Council of Corporate Executives. Please read more by clicking on title.
Dr. David Suzuki endorses the Occupy Movements of The World and slams the system of corruption where "Corporate Greed" is controlling the society of all peoples of the world. Destroying humanity and our entire planet in the process.
The news that the federal Conservative government’s omnibus budget bill included a clause that will allow American police officers to cross the international border and make arrests should be deeply disturbing to all Canadians. Please read more by clicking on title.
Our criminal justice system is by no means perfect, but the omnibus crime bill will send us back to a 19th century punishment model. Here are some reasons why Canadians need to speak out against this legislation. Please read more by clicking on title.
The overall crime rate in Canada is at its lowest level since the early 1970s, and serious crime is similarly falling. This is good news, of course. And it may in large part be due to the fact that police staffing levels are at a 30-year high nationwide. Please read more by clicking on title.
The new laws will actually provide less public safety, not more. Hundreds of non-violent offenders will now attend “con college,” learning many dubious skills. Inmates will come back to the street bitter and angry at the treatment they have received. And many more of them will be released without any supervision whatsoever.Please read more by clicking on title.
Budgets are about choices, they reflect a government's values and priorities. With a $250 billion federal budget, the Harper Government could choose to invest in programs like universal child care or pharmacare... or spend that money on corporate tax cuts, prisons, and fighter jets. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives(CCPA) has created a poster and a short video to help illustrate the choices between this and that. Which would you choose?
After watching the above video, try to develop your own budget using the CCPA's interactive budget tool based on their Alternative Federal Budget. You can choose the programs you think are important, but watch out though, budget choices have consequences.
Recently, two leading economists added their voices to those warning of a looming affordability crisis in Canada's public health care system. On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to make it worse.Please read more by clicking on title.
Watch this moving speech by retired Kootenay MLA Corky Evans at The Common Sense Canadian's "Take Back Our BC" townhall tour event in Nelson, BC. Once again Corky was teamed up with the touring Rafe Mair. The inimitable Evans discusses globalization, the loss of our social democracy, and the need for citizens to become engaged in the political process to reclaim their environment and public resources. Note that it was at the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities’ conference in 2008 called “BC for $ale” that the dynamic duo of Rafe and Corky made their first appearance.
Renowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki speaks about the environment, the economy, climate change and our future. In this six part video, Suzuki makes strong case that the economy must include the environment. See his six part speech video by cliking on the links below:
Budgetary Bill C-9 is the Conservatives' third attempt to remove Canada Post's exclusive rights to handle international mail. This will limit the Canada Post to make money for supplying public services. Please read more by clicking on title.
Stephen Harper has done what all prime ministers do when their governments are in trouble: rearrange faces. Historically, cabinet shuffles are more style than substance, and here the prime minister honours a venerable tradition.
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Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month 5pm at Trillium Lodge, Multipurpose Room 401 S. Moilliet Parksville, B.C.
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