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Strombo to join Cherry and MacLean on Hockey NIght in Canada

Posted March 10, 2014 by Jes

From the red couch to the hockey desk.

If you were wondering what George Stroumboulopoulos was going to be doing after the George Stroumboulopoulous Tonight show (formerly The Hour) ends this season – we have news. He is leaving CBC…he’s not going to CNN (that was a short lived dream, killed by ratings), but to Sportsnet to join Ron MacLean and Don Cherry for Hockey Night in Canada next season when Rogers gets the rights to NHL coverage. No that was not a sentence long typo.

Strombo and Cherry. What do you think? No news on how this will actually be formatted. We all know Don loves to be the soul talker. I can’t imagine there being room for another sound on that panel that isn’t Don being Don and Ron’s sighs.

What other big changes await Hockey Night once it makes the move to Rogers? In time, we shall see.


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He wasn’t perfect…

Posted February 3, 2014 by trashee

… but no one is. Yet then PM Chrètien led by example back in 1993 when he came to power and significantly cut his Ministers’ budgets.  Tired of the ballooning Ministerial budgets under Mulroney, he cut their Chiefs-of-staff and told them to rely more on the advice of public servants. Not a bad move. Would […]

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Passenger rail in Canada is in crisis

Posted April 7, 2014 by Elizabeth May

There has been a lot of attention of late to what moves on Canada’s rails. Train derailments, disasters such as Lac-Mégantic and near-disasters, such as the railcars loaded with toxic diluents that were suspended on a crumbling bridge over the Bow River during the June Calgary floods, have focused on the threat of unsafe rail cars and inadequate infrastructure. It really matters to accelerate the complete phase-out of the unsafe DOT-111 cars moving hazardous goods. Tragedies such as Lac-Mégantic must never happen again.

It really matters to ensure that grain farmers can move their harvest and that farmers in British Columbia have that grain as feed for livestock. Back in December 2013, farmers on Vancouver Island were desperate as a mere three-day supply of feed for livestock remained. High-cost and last-minute trucking got grain to the feed mills, but it was a very close call.

With the attention on serious concerns on our freight traffic, it is easy to miss the looming crisis in passenger rail.

VIA Rail is in trouble. While billions have been committed to VIA by the Harper administration, a very welcome investment, the spending has been concentrated in the Windsor-Quebec corridor, leaving the transcontinental, remote and rural rail service at risk.

Passenger rail in Canada is in crisis. The long-standing service The Ocean between Montreal and Halifax has lost half of its service in VIA cuts, from six days a week to only three. This route has existed since 1875, built as part of the Intercolonial Railway. Meanwhile, CN Rail has put 70 km of track between Bathurst and Miramichi, N.B., up for sale. It no longer uses that stretch for freight. The remaining user is VIA. Leaders from municipal governments, CUPE, local NGOs, Green MPs, and New Democrats have been pressing to keep the trains rolling from Montreal to Halifax.

Can we afford $10-million for this track? Considering that the February 2014 budget document (which I will insist we should call the “annual thick brochure” since it does not actually include a budget), committed $10-million to two years’ worth of snowmobile trails, I don’t know how the Harper Administration can credibly say “no.” I don’t think they want New Brunswickers imagining the 70 km passenger rail gap being handled by snowmobile relays.

At the other end of Canada, on Vancouver Island, rail service between Courtenay and Victoria is desperately in need of a new agreement, investment in rails and a new station in Victoria. The Island Corridor Foundation claims a tentative agreement has been reached with VIA Rail and the Southern Railway of B.C. to resume vital daily service on the E and N Corridor Railway, a claim VIA denies. With a growing population on southern Vancouver Island and the potential for properly scheduled passenger rail taking thousands of commuter vehicles off the road, this link is essential. We need the minister to ensure parties reach a firm agreement.

As the Toronto-Vancouver Transcontinental The Canadian snakes its breathtaking way across Canada, it must not be forgotten that just as is the case with The Ocean, while wealthier tourists love the bedroom and dining car service, lower-income Canadians need the economy train. Linking the country from coast to coast (sadly missing Newfoundland and Labrador at this point) is part of the national identity.

It could be improved by adjusting the route along the Great Lakes. One of the world’s most spectacular and popular scenic rail rides was the run from Sudbury to Thunder Bay. It was also profitable. Restoring it would add to the sustainability of VIA, and help boost Canada’s flagging tourism.

As VIA faces financial and ridership targets, the cutbacks inevitably cause a drop in passenger miles. The Ocean dropped four per cent last year, but its service was also cut in half. If its route through New Brunswick is not secured quickly, The Ocean could lose a whole season of tour operators and travellers—a disaster from which it would be unlikely to recover.

Unlike Amtrak, south of the border, VIA has no enabling legislation, no statutory mandate. Just before resigning her seat, Olivia Chow put forward a private member’s bill to establish such a legislative mandate. That bill should be taken up by Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and used as a way to put her stamp on the sustainability of rail in Canada.

We need to overhaul the system for rail travel in Canada. We need to stop sabotaging VIA by the historical mistake of giving freight the ownership of tracks built through public investment. We need to update and modernize track to allow for high-speed rail along those routes where it would be profitable, starting with Edmonton to Calgary.

It is a feeble excuse to abandon passenger rail claiming our geography works against it. Why then do we maintain, at public expense, a vast highway system? Why do cars and trucks travel for free on our highways, when rail is stigmatized for requiring subsidies to operate? It’s time to get Canada’s rail, for freight and people, back on track.

Originally published in The Hill Times 

New article in @TheHillTimes by @ElizabethMay on the crisis in Canadian #rail

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One really stupid thing government spent money on

Posted April 15, 2014 by Jason Kirby

The Abbotsford Heat hockey team leaves town, and foists a massive bill on taxpayers

The post One really stupid thing government spent money on appeared first on

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Easy Canadian Olympic Project

Posted February 9, 2014 by Gail Bartel

Here is an easy Canadian Olympic project.  I got the idea from the logo for the Canadian Olympic Development program. I’m currently making an Olympic file folder book with Grade 1 at my latest residency.  This will be on our back cover.MATERI…

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More delays and cancellations at Pearson as deep freeze continues

Posted January 8, 2014 by The Canadian Press

TORONTO – The deep freeze enveloping the Toronto region abated somewhat early Wednesday, but…

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Bell launches Quebec-only $80/month plan with Unlimited calling, texts and 4GB data

Posted April 9, 2014 by Ian Hardy

Quebec continues to be a hotbed of competition and the carriers are volleying back and forth for consumers hard earned dollars. Bell is the latest carrier to launch a promo plan that entices people to sign-up or switch. The “Voice and Data Plus 80″ is a Quebec-only plan that costs $80/month and includes unlimited nationwide


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Nobel laureates condemn Keystone as climate-change trigger

Posted April 16, 2014 by William Marsden

WASHINGTON — Ten Nobel Peace Prize winners from as far afield as Yemen, South Africa and Argentina have signed a letter asking U.S. President Barack Obama to deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oilsands bitumen to […]

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Shoppers Drug Mart

Posted March 18, 2014 by What's Different in Canada


Shoppers Drug Mart (or simply “Shoppers” to most people, or “Pharmaprix” in Quebec) is an only-in-Canada pharmacy chain with over 1,200 locations across the country. Most Canadians don’t know that Shoppers also has ties to Poland, Israel and China via the Super-Pharm brand, but the company is now owned by Loblaws. Canadian homes are stocked with Life Brand generic goods from Shoppers like soap and painkillers, and many girls in Canada are familiar with the “last resort makeup” if you can’t go back home before a night out. Unlike most loyalty programs, Optimum points are actually worth collecting, and getting an iPod after a year of normal shopping is common. One thing about Shoppers that may surprise Americans: you can’t buy cigarettes there.  

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Maclean’s Interview: Olivia Chow on past, present and her next move

Posted January 20, 2014 by John Geddes

The MP talks to John Geddes about life, love and why she may bid to become Toronto’s next mayor

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Interview: From Head of House to Homeless, Ika Wong gets evicted from the Big Brother Canada house

Posted March 30, 2014 by Jes

This week on Big Brother Canada the girls tried once again to get out Heather and ended up back-dooring one of their own. Every year they say it and it’s true. All girls alliances never work.Rachelle won HoH and nominated her nemesis Heather and the ne…

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The stage is set, the puppets are in place

Posted April 11, 2014 by MariaS

With powerful billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and George Soros buying politicians left and right … I don’t see any sanity in the foreign policies of  America.  As both these individuals are hell bent on destroying Muslim countries in order to safeguard Israel … the world will keep seeing wars initiated by the USA, on the slightest possible pretext, against Muslim countries who dare to so much as breathe an insult towards Israel.  Loss of multitudes of innocent people and the growth of hatred towards America and Israel is something we need to come to terms with …. because that’s in our future and in the future of our descendants.

I hope Canada does not go the way of America…. although Stephen Harper and many of his Cons are placing Israel’s well-being in equal proportions to Canada’s well-being.  You can’t keep your feet in two boats and expect to keep your balance … and that’s another reason why so many Canadians are against dual citizenship…. and IMO, if the Conservatives lose the next election it will be because they have been paying far too much attention to Israel’s well-being.

Although, the writer below is throwing dirt at only the GOP candidates,  that is only half the story.  There have been several rumors of Hillary Clinton and her associates having met with both Adelson and Soros at frequent intervals in the not too distant past.

Dana Milbank writing at WashingtonPost:
….GOP candidates kiss up to billionaire Sheldon Adelson.    

Who wants to marry a billionaire?
John Kasich does. So do Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush.

When Sheldon Adelson, the world’s eighth-richest person, according to Forbes, let it be known that he was looking for a Republican candidate to back in the 2016 presidential race, these four men rushed to Las Vegas over the weekend to see if they could arrange a quickie marriage in Sin City between their political ambitions and Adelson’s $39.9 billion fortune.

Adelson was hosting the Republican Jewish Coalition at his Venetian hotel and gambling complex, and the would-be candidates paraded themselves before the group, hoping to catch the 80-year-old casino mogul’s eye. Everybody knows that, behind closed doors, politicians often sell themselves to the highest bidder; this time, they were doing it in public, as if vending their wares at a live auction.

As The Post’s Philip Rucker reported, Kasich, the Ohio governor, kept addressing his speech to “Sheldon,” as if he were having a private tete-a-tete with the mega-donor (Adelson and his wife spent more than $93 million on the 2012 elections) and not speaking to a roomful of people.

Walker, the Wisconsin governor, pandered unabashedly by giving the Hebrew meaning of his son Matthew’s name and by mentioning that he displays a menorah at home along with the Christmas tree. And Christie, the New Jersey governor, gushed about his trip to Israel and the “occupied territories.”

That was a gaffe. Pro-Israel hawks consider the term pejorative and, at any rate, the more relevant occupied territory at the moment is the Republican Party — wholly occupied by billionaires.

In addition to Adelson, two of the world’s other top-10 billionaires, David and Charles Koch (combined net worth: $81 billion) are pouring tens of millions into the 2014 midterm elections in an effort to swing the Senate to Republican control. These and other wealthy people, their political contributions unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, are buying the U.S. political system in much the same way Russian oligarchs have acquired theirs. (Super-rich liberals such as Tom Steyer are spending some of their fortunes to help Democrats, but they are pikers by comparison.) Spending by super PACs, a preferred vehicle of billionaires, will surpass spending by all candidates combined this year, predicts Kantar Media, which tracks political advertising.

This pay-to-play culture is, at best, unseemly. What makes it ugly is when it becomes obvious just how much the wealthy corporate interests get in return. As it happens, two such instances were on display Tuesday on Capitol Hill, as one congressional committee examined how Caterpillar Inc. avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes while another panel probed how General Motors was allowed to produce cars with a lethal safety defect for more than a decade………..

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INTERVIEW: Big Brother Canada’s Kyle Shore after the backdoor

Posted March 14, 2014 by Jes

Last night on Big Brother Canada, Kyle Shore became the second houseguest evicted and the first backdoor evictee of the season.After King Paul’s reign as HoH, the crown was passed off to Andrew. Paul didn’t do himself any favours during his week on top…

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Le crucifix, thème de la prochaine élection québécoise

Posted February 6, 2014 by Claude Dupras

La solidarité des Canadiens-français et la fibre politique que la France leur a léguée constituent les raisons principales de leur présence relativement importante au Canada. De peuple conquis, bafoué, diminué, la nation canadienne-française a trouvé les grands chefs politiques et religieux dont elle avait besoin pour remporter des victoires importantes. Elle a toujours su tirer son épingle du jeu, même quand les règles établies visaient à la contrôler, l’assimiler ou l’angliciser. Le Clergé lui a enseigné la solidarité, ce qui l’a sauvé des jours noirs depuis la conquête et lui a permis de vaincre, de se maintenir et de progresser. Les hommes politiques ont su bénéficier de cette solidarité pour défendre la place du peuple français d’Amérique dans ce grand pays et assurer leur survivance.

De 66 000 Canadiens-français au moment de la conquête, nous sommes, aujourd’hui, plus de 8 millions sur le territoire canadien et cela malgré le départ, à partir de 1861, de milliers d’émigrés Québécois vers les filatures du Nord-Est des USA à cause du manque de travail. Ils y sont restés et ont fondé des familles. En 1930, on évaluait leur nombre à 900 000. On voyait des « Petits Canadas » dans les états du Maine, du Vermont, du Massachusetts, du New Hampshire, du Rhode Island et du Connecticut. Aujourd’hui, leurs descendants se chiffrent à plus de 3 000 000. Mais dans le « melting pot » américain, ils ont perdu leur langue française.

C’est le taux de fécondité élevé, surnommé « la revanche des berceaux », conséquence de la rigide position du Clergé relativement au devoir conjugal et à la famille, encouragé par les nationalistes, qui a permis aux Canadiens-français non seulement de compenser largement pour les exils volontaires de ses enfants mais aussi de contrebalancer, depuis la conquête, le flux de l’immigration anglaise de familles nombreuses. Cette méthode fructueuse démontra, plus que tout autre, la solidarité des Canadiens-français.

De plus, pour tâcher de résorber les effets du manque de travail, le Clergé a encouragé la colonisation pour développer l’agriculture dans de nouvelles régions du Québec, telles la Mauricie, les Bois-Francs, le Saguenay et les Laurentides. Plus tard, la Gaspésie et finalement l’Abitibi. Omniprésent dans la vie des Canadiens-français, il a aussi posé des gestes importants qui ont assuré la protection de leur langue française et de leur religion, par exemple :

. En 1774, Monseigneur Briand, l’évêque de Québec, n’hésite pas une seconde à soutenir la Couronne britannique contre les colonies britanniques américaines qui invitent les Canadiens à s’engager avec elles dans une guerre d’indépendance. Mgr Briand aime la politique de conciliation des Anglais mais redoute surtout le fanatisme anticatholique des américains. Pour défendre la Colonie, une milice canadienne-française est formée en toute hâte et vient gonfler les rangs de l’armée du Gouverneur Carleton qui n’a que 1 500 soldats. Usés par un hiver particulièrement rigoureux, les Américains battent en retraite devant 10,000 hommes fraîchement débarqués d’Angleterre. Le Québec ne fera donc pas partie des futurs États-Unis. Si les Américains avaient gagné, parlerions-nous encore français ? La solidarité prêchée par Mgr Briand a fait la différence.

. En 1788, Monseigneur Hubert constate que dans son grand diocèse les Canadiens-français sont en voie de paupérisation et victimes d’un nombre croissant d’injustices, qu’ils développent une rancœur grandissante contre les Anglais, qu’ils font preuve d’indifférence devant la faible administration anglaise et qu’ils s’insurgent contre la quasi-monopolisation des commerces de la fourrure du Nord-Ouest et du blé par les Anglo-Écossais qui profitent de leur situation pour s’emparer aussi de la richesse foncière. Bouleversé, Mgr Hubert cherche à persuader Carleton mais sa réponse ne le satisfait pas. Appuyé par les siens, il décide de se rendre à Londres et de faire part de ses constatations directement au gouvernement anglais. Devant ce plaidoyer et d’autres, Londres réagit et adopte la troisième constitution du Canada qui divise le pays en deux provinces : Le Haut-Canada et le Bas-Canada, pour tenir compte des préjugés et des coutumes des habitants français et veiller à leur conserver la jouissance de leurs droits civils et religieux. Mgr Hubert a fait ce qu’il avait à faire.

. Vers 1850, Monseigneur Bourget, évêque de Montréal, a l’ambition de faire du catholicisme un instrument capable de résister au pouvoir protestant. Il lance un programme de retraites paroissiales qui opèrent une véritable conversion en profondeur. Il mélange religion et politique. On assiste à un retour en force de la religion catholique. L’évêque encourage aussi les Canadiens français à se lancer à la conquête de l’Ouest du continent. Il affirme : « Le meilleur moyen pour un peuple de conserver sa foi est de la propager au loin ».

. Le 2 mai 1949, Monseigneur Charbonneau, archevêque de Montréal, lance un vibrant appel en faveur des familles éprouvées par la grève de l’amiante : « La classe ouvrière est victime d’une conspiration qui veut son écrasement et quand il y a conspiration pour écraser la classe ouvrière, c’est le devoir de l’Église d’intervenir ». Il réclame de Québec un code de travail qui soit « une formule de paix, de justice et de charité » et demande une quête pour aider les grévistes. Par ailleurs, il appuie la non-confessionnalité dans les œuvres alors que les évêques sont contre. Aux infirmières, il propose une association professionnelle commune alors que les évêques veulent deux associations, une catholique et l’autre protestante. Il fait l’apologie du CCF, le parti socialiste, alors que les évêques croient que l’Église possède une doctrine sociale capable de guérir tous les maux. Devant le manque de Canadiens-français dans le monde des affaires, il propose d’introduire le bilinguisme dans tout l’enseignement de son diocèse. Il prononce de grands discours favorables au nationalisme économique. Il prend beaucoup d’autres positions d’avant-garde avant d’être démis par le pape. Ses idées et ses actions ont fait leur chemin et montré la voie vers le futur aux Canadiens-français.

. Il y a aussi les milliers de maisons d’enseignements des communautés religieuses comme celles des Jésuites, des Frères des Écoles Chrétiennes, des sœurs Sainte-Croix, des sœurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie et tellement d’autres qui ont su éduquer une grand nombre de Québécoises et Québécois en leur enseignant les cours élémentaire, secondaire, classique ou scientifique et qui ont produit des femmes et des hommes qui sont devenus dirigeants de la nation et d’entreprises de toutes sortes. Sur cette base solide s’est bâti le système d’éducation d’aujourd’hui. Il en fut de même dans le domaine hospitalier et d’autres.

Tout ce qui précède n’est qu’un très bref aperçu de l’histoire du Québec et de l’importance du Clergé et de l’église catholique dans son cheminement. Le crucifix accroché au mur de l’Assemblée Nationale au-dessus du siège du président a été placé là, en 1956, pour marquer le passé religieux et historique du Québec.

Il semble de plus en plus probable que le Québec sera en élection générale bientôt. La premier ministre Pauline Marois a le vent dans les voiles et vise à changer sa minorité parlementaire en une forte majorité. Les deux derniers sondages, favorables à son parti et à sa personne, la motivent à profiter de la situation. D’autant plus que son projet de charte sur « les valeurs québécoises » ou « la laïcité », on ne sait plus comment le nommer, visant à défendre tous signes religieux ostentatoires portés par les employés du gouvernement, attire un nombre important de Québécoises et Québécois.

Le débat sur la charte expose clairement la profonde division qu’elle crée chez les Québécois. On est pour ou on est contre, on n’est pas entre les deux. Le seul groupe uni à 90% (mon évaluation) pour la charte est celui des séparatistes. Pour eux, ce n’est pas son contenu qui compte mais le fait qu’elle plait à une majorité de l’électorat francophone. Ils y voient l’argument capable de rallier au Parti Québécois (PQ) les circonscriptions électorales actuellement entre les mains des autres partis politiques afin que leur parti puisse imposer un autre référendum sur la séparation du Québec de l’ensemble canadien.

Aujourd’hui, le PQ, au nom de la laïcité, veut décrocher le crucifix de l’Assemblée nationale et le placer dans une pièce voisine qui n’a aucun rapport avec l’Assemblée Nationale malgré qu’il ait été une valeur québécoise importante depuis la découverte du Canada. De son côté, l’opposition libérale, qui favorise aussi la laïcité, veut maintenir le crucifix à sa place actuelle. S’il y a élection, cela deviendra possiblement un des thèmes de la campagne électorale. Croyez-le ou non !

Pourtant la devise du Québec est : Je me souviens !

Claude Dupras

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Finance, Budgets And Shuffles

Posted April 3, 2014 by Elizabeth May

In the last few weeks, there were a few shake-ups on the Canadian political scene. Allison Redford resigned as Premier of Alberta, the Supreme Court ruled that Stephen Harper’s new Quebec appointee did not meet the requirements of the Constitution, and his long-serving Finance Minister, playing that role since 2006, Jim Flaherty resigned.

All three events seemed to catch pundits by surprise. Regrouping, the commentaries poured in for Mr Flaherty’s ‘steady hand’ over the last eight years. It made me reflect on the nature of budgets and the real bottomline of Canada’s finances.

It was a rare privilege to hear Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page speaking March 13, hosted by Salt Spring Forum. His commitment to public service, to evidence-based decision-making and to the institutions of Westminster Parliamentary democracy is unparalleled. He has sacrificed for these principles, in particular for his commitment to the principle that Parliament must control the public purse.

That principle is simply no longer respected. Parliament is marginalized as the Prime Minister’s Office pushes through fiscal decisions for which Parliamentarians have inadequate information.

As Parliamentary Budget Officer, Page went to court to obtain information to which Parliamentarians are entitled. He went to court to obtain the details of where cuts had been made throughout the Government of Canada and how those cuts had affected public service.

Even after the court ruled that the PBO had the right to such information, over a year later and despite continued efforts from Page’s successor at PBO, the information is still being denied.

On February 11, 2014, Jim Flaherty brought down what will be his last ‘budget’. However, that document should not be described as a budget. It did not contain the basic elements of a budget. There was no statement of total revenue, of expenditures, and no bottom-line. There was no breakdown, department by department of how the money is to be spent.

Here’s a pretty standard definition of a budget, as related to government spending:

A ‘budget’ is a plan for the accomplishment of programs related to objectives and goals within a definite time period, including an estimate of resources required, together with an estimate of resources available, usually compared with one or more past periods and showing future requirements. (Smith, Robert W. and Thomas D Lynch. (2004) Public Budgeting in America. 5th Edition. Pearson; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 37.)

Years ago, I used to go to the budget lock-ups and read budgets that did include such information, but no longer. I have suggested, and not lightly, that we should stop calling the spring economic propaganda device a ‘budget’. It should be called the seasonal ‘thick brochure’.

The only news media to make note of these new-style budgets was The Economist (February 15, 2014) in its editorial, ‘Canada’s budget: Something doesn’t add up.’

It opened with this sentence, ‘Central to the sovereignty of parliament is that it, not the executive, should ultimately control the public purse. It ends with this: ‘So much for sovereignty.’

The Economist quoted Kevin Page: ‘the system is broken,’ a point Mr Page made in spades in his comments on Salt Spring.

While we have ‘budgets’ that no longer meet the definition, Mr Flaherty has re-organized the revenue flow to Canada’s Consolidated Revenue accounts. Dramatically reduced have been the revenues from corporate taxation. Slashing the corporate tax rate is something about which Conservatives boast, but it has been so steeply reduced that Canada now has the lowest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Some may recall Mr Flaherty’s framing of these cuts as liberating the ‘job creators’. But Canada’s unemployment rate remains rather flat, at 7 %, (and twice that level for youth).

Meanwhile, corporate bank accounts are awash in so much cash that it is now labeled ‘dead money’. The term, first used by the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, described over $600 billion worth of cash—equal to an astonishing 32% of our GDP. It isn’t creating jobs. It isn’t being invested in research and development. It is doing nothing.

Cutting the GST and dozens of other boutique tax-cuts have been criticised by even conservative economists. Flaherty and Harper have vastly complicated the tax code, serving up highly specific pandering cuts, eliminating what had been budgetary surpluses even before we hit the 2008 financial crisis.

There will be debates about the legacy of Mr Flaherty as Finance Minister. Largely, as is the case for all ministers in this administration, his freedom of action was severely limited by the tightly centralized PMO operation under Stephen Harper. Still, it is my hope that we can focus attention on the fundamentals. We need to return to fiscal decisions supported by evidence. Parliament must control the public purse. And we need a budget that actually allows Parliament to understand what is being planned with the nation’s finances.

Originally published in Island Tides

New @IslandTides article from @ElizabethMay – Finance, Budgets And Shuffles #cdnpoli

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Hundreds line up to pay respects to Jim Flaherty

Posted April 15, 2014 by The Canadian Press

Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the former finance minister a day before his state funeral

The post Hundreds line up to pay respects to Jim Flaherty appeared first on

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New Democrat MP trying to embarrass us: Sri Lanka high commission

Posted January 8, 2014 by The Canadian Press

Diplomats say Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s claims of political intimidation are erroneous

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The Glass Bottle Houses of PEI

Posted April 9, 2014 by Anonymous

The Summer before I became pregant with my oldest, my husband and I took a two week road trip to the East Coast of Canada! It would become our last child free vacation! We traveled straight through Quebec and spent a few nights in each of New Brunswick…

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People with chronic conditions want to use e-tools to manage their care: study

Posted April 16, 2014 by The Canadian Press

By Helen Branswell THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — A new study suggests Canadians are interested in using electronic communications to help manage their health care, though few are currently using these tools. The study used data drawn from a Statistics […]

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Landscape Inchies Part 2

Posted March 14, 2014 by Gail Bartel

Here is part 2 of the inchie tutorial.We will be making these 3 inches, Canadian Shield, Atlantic, and Great Lakes region.MATERIALS REQUIRED:- wc paper inches cut to 3″x3″- scrap piece of heavy paper- white tissue paper- glue- green painter’s tape- dis…

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Someone in Ottawa was handing these out today

Posted January 21, 2014 by What's Different in Canada

Someone in Ottawa was handing these out today 

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Harper’s evasion speaks volumes on Canada’s failed Copenhagen targets

Posted April 2, 2014 by Anonymous

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is calling on Prime Minister Harper to provide real answers as to whether Canada has officially given up on combatting climate change.

In Question Period today, the Prime Minister side-stepped a question from Green Leader Elizabeth May on Canada’s projected failure in meeting the emissions reduction targets set out during the 2009 Conference of Parties (COP 15) in Copenhagen.

Under the Copenhagen agreement, Canada had pledged to reduce total emissions by 17% over 2005 levels by the year 2020. Instead, the federal government predicts that by that time our emissions will have been reduced by barely 1%.

In responding to May’s question, the Prime Minister made only vague reference to greenhouse gas emissions, and completely ignored the question of Canada’s Copenhagen targets.

“It has been clear since 2006 that Stephen Harper has never understood that the climate crisis is a real threat to our future — to both the economy and global security. Having shamefully withdrawn from Kyoto, Stephen Harper is now running away from his own pledge to other world leaders in Copenhagen,” said the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “The IPCC report made it clear that the opportunity to avoid global tipping points is shrinking. We cannot afford delay, procrastination and denial. We can no longer afford Stephen Harper.”

Below is a transcript of the exchange between the Green Party Leader and Prime Minister Harper:


Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the IPCC released its first update in six years on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, demonstrating that even low degrees of warming globally can lead to abrupt and irreversible changes, threatening global security and even human civilization itself.

In 2009, the Prime Minister committed this country to join the world to avoid those small changes in temperature. My question to the Prime Minister is given that Environment Canada now projects a 100% failure rate in meeting our 2020 target, are the government and country still committed to the Copenhagen target? If so, when will he publish a credible plan?

 Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as you know, the government remains committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while doing so in a way that obviously respects Canadians’ jobs and protects our economy. I am happy to note that under this government for the first time in history we have both growth and jobs and we actually are seeing emissions reductions. The government will continue to work on getting our emissions down.



Nicholas Gall
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916



Harper’s evasion speaks volumes on Canada’s failed Copenhagen targets #climate #cdnpoli

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Canadian Financier is warning about tech bubble

Posted April 10, 2014 by MariaS

Is history about to repeat ?  

David Friend of CanadianPress at YahooFinance:
Financier Prem Watsa says some of the biggest names in technology, like Facebook and Twitter, are headed towards disaster because their stock prices have soared too h…

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What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada?

Posted January 8, 2013 by Tim McSorley

This piece was originally posted on the Media Co-op. For more #IdleNoMore coverage, click here.

MONTREAL—There is a prevailing myth that Canada’s more than 600 First Nations and native communities live off of money—subsidies—from the Canadian government. This myth, though it is loudly proclaimed and widely believed, is remarkable for its boldness; widely accessible, verifiable facts show that the opposite is true.

Indigenous people have been subsidizing Canada for a very long time.

Conservatives have leaked documents in an attempt to discredit chief Theresa Spence, currently on hunger strike in Ottawa. Reporters like Jeffrey Simpson and Christie Blatchford have ridiculed the demands of native leaders and the protest movement Idle No More. Their ridicule rests on this foundational untruth: that it is hard-earned tax dollars of Canadians that pays for housing, schools and health services in First Nations. The myth carries a host of racist assumptions on its back. It enables prominent voices like Simpson and Blatchford to liken protesters’ demands to “living in a dream palace” or “horse manure,” respectively.

It’s true that Canada’s federal government controls large portions of the cash flow First Nations depend on. Much of the money used by First Nations to provide services does come from the federal budget. But the accuracy of the myth ends there.

On the whole, the money that First Nations receive is a small fraction of the value of the resources, and the government revenue that comes out of their territories. Let’s look a few examples.

Barriere Lake

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have a traditional territory that spans 10,000 square kilometres. For thousands of years, they have made continuous use of the land. They have never signed a treaty giving up their rights to the land. An estimated $100 million per year in revenues are extracted every year from their territory in the form of logging, hydroelectric dams, and recreational hunting and fishing.

And yet the community lives in third-world conditions. A diesel generator provides power, few jobs are available, and families live in dilapidated bungalows. These are not the lifestyles of a community with a $100 million economy in its back yard. In some cases, governments are willing to spend lavishly. They spared no expense, for example, sending 50 fully-equipped riot police from Montreal to break up a peaceful road blockade with tear gas and physical coercion.

Barriere Lake is subsidizing the logging industry, Canada, and Quebec.

The community isn’t asking for the subsidies to stop, just for some jobs and a say in how their traditional territories are used. They’ve been fighting for these demands for decades.


Attawapiskat has been in the news because their ongoing housing crisis came to the attention of the media in 2011 (MP Charlie Angus referred to the poverty-stricken community as “Haiti at 40 below”). More recently, Chief Theresa Spence has made headlines for her ongoing hunger strike. The community is near James Bay, in Ontario’s far north.

Right now, DeBeers is constructing a $1 billion mine on the traditional territory of the Āhtawāpiskatowi ininiwak. Anticipated revenues will top $6.7 billion. Currently, the Conservative government is subjecting the budget of the Cree to extensive scrutiny. But the total amount transferred to the First Nation since 2006—$90 million—is a little more than one percent of the anticipated mine revenues. As a percentage, that’s a little over half of Harper’s cut to GST.

Royalties from the mine do not go to the First Nation, but straight to the provincial government. The community has received some temporary jobs in the mine, and future generations will have to deal with the consequences of a giant open pit mine in their back yard.

Attawapiskat is subsidizing DeBeers, Canada and Ontario.


The Lubicon Cree, who never signed a treaty ceding their land rights, have waged a decades-long campaign for land rights. During this time, over $14 billion in oil and gas has been removed from their traditional territory. During the same period, the community has gone without running water, endured divisive attacks from the government, and suffered the environmental consequences of unchecked extraction.

Sour gas flaring next to the community resulted in an epidemic of health problems, and stillborn babies. Moose and other animals fled the area, rendering the community’s previously self-sufficient lifestyle untenable overnight. In 2011, an oil pipeline burst, spilling 4.5 million litres of oil onto Lubicon territory. The Lubicon remain without a treaty, and the extraction continues.

The Lubicon Cree are subsidizing the oil and gas sector, Alberta and Canada.

What will Canada do without its subsidies?

From the days of beaver trapping to today’s aspirations of becoming an energy superpower, Canada’s economy has always been based on natural resources. With 90% of its settler population amassed along the southern border, exploitation of the land’s wealth almost always happens at the expense of the Indigenous population.

Canada’s economy could not have been build without massive subsidies: of land, resource wealth, and the incalculable cost of generations of suffering.

Overall numbers are difficult to pin down, but consider the following: Canadian governments received $9 billion in taxes and royalties in 2011 from mining companies, which is a tiny portion of overall mining profits; $3.8 billion came from exports of hydroelectricity alone in 2008, and 60 per cent of Canada’s electricity comes from hydroelectric dams; one estimate has tar sands extraction bringing in $1.2 trillion in royalties over 35 years; the forestry industry was worth $38.2 billion in 2006, and contributes billions in royalties and taxes.

By contrast, annual government spending on First Nations is $5.36 billion, which comes to about $7,200 per person. By contrast, per capita government spending in Ottawa is around $14,900. By any reasonable measure, it’s clear that First Nations are the ones subsidizing Canada. (2005 figures; the amount is slightly higher today.)

These industries are mostly take place on an Indigenous nation’s traditional territory, laying waste to the land in the process, submerging, denuding, polluting and removing. The human costs are far greater; brutal tactics aimed at erasing native peoples’ identity and connection with the land have created human tragedies several generations deep and a legacy of fierce and principled resistance that continues today.

Canada has developed myriad mechanisms to keep the pressure on and the resources flowing. But policies of large-scale land theft and subordination of peoples are not disposed to half measures. From the active violence of residential schools to the targetted neglect of underfunded reserve schools, from RCMP and armed forces rifles to provincial police tear gas canisters, the extraction of these subsidies has always been treated like a game of Risk, but with real consequences.

Break the treaty, press the advantage, and don’t let a weaker player rebuild.

Idle? Know More.

The last residential school was shut down in 1996. Canadians today would like to imagine themselves more humane than past generations, but few can name the Indigenous nations of this land or the treaties that allow Canada and Canadians to exist.

Understanding the subsidies native people give to Canada is just the beginning. Equally crucial is understanding the mechanisms by which the government forces native people to choose every day between living conditions out of a World Vision advertisement and hopelessness on one hand, and the pollution and social problems of short-term resource exploitation projects on the other.

Empathy and remorse are great reasons to act to dismantle this ugly system of expropriation. But an even better reason is that Indigenous nations present the best and only partners in taking care of our environment. Protecting our rivers, lakes, forests and oceans is best done by people with a multi-millenial relationship with the land.

As the people who live downstream and downwind, and who have an ongoing relationship to the land, Cree, Dene, Anishnabe, Inuit, Ojibway and other nations are among the best placed and most motivated to slow down and stop the industrial gigaprojects that are threatening all of our lives.

Movements like Idle No More give a population asleep at the wheel the chance to wake up and hear what native communities have been saying for hundreds of years: it’s time to withdraw our consent from this dead end regime, and chart a new course.

Dru Oja Jay is a writer, organizer, Media Co-op co-founder. Co-author of Paved with Good Intentions and Offsetting Resistance.

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Family Day

Posted February 14, 2014 by What's Different in Canada

Family Day is a provincial holiday occurring on the third Monday in February in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and P.E.I. In Manitoba and P.E.I. it’s called Louis Riel Day and Islander Day, respectively. BC, ever the unique little snowflake, celebrates Family Day on the second Monday of February starting last year, and in Newfoundland, kids get the day off but nobody else. It is roughly the equivalent of President’s Day in the states, and the name has just about the same amount of significance: none. Expect worse transit hours, reduced access to liquor and random restaurant closures. 

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Welcome to Stephen Harper’s Banana Republic

Posted April 7, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

#PMSH goes #BananaRepublic: the (un) #FairElectionsAct lets incumbents SUPERVISE their own election! #cdnpoli — Politics, Re-Spun (@PoliticsReSpun) April 6, 2014 Just how stupid does Stephen Harper think we are? He thinks that we’re fine with the idea that incumbent parties should be able to pick the poll supervisors in the next election. I kid […]

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Poilievre open to Senate proposals for changing election bill

Posted April 15, 2014 by The Canadian Press

Proposed changes don’t go anywhere far enough, say critics

The post Poilievre open to Senate proposals for changing election bill appeared first on

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Autumn in Bowmont and Baker Parks – Calgary, Alberta

Posted January 24, 2014 by hikingwithbarry

It is fair to say an Autumn day in the southern foothills of Canada’s Rocky Mountains is more subtle than the explosion of color enjoyed by our eastern friends in the Maritime Provinces, Québec and Ontario.  We may not be particularly competitive with Manitoba, Saskatchewan, … Continue reading

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How Cold Was It?

Posted January 9, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Cold enough for Hell to freeze over bunky! (Hell, Michigan!)

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When hockey players betray their country

Posted March 5, 2014 by Colby Cosh

Martin St. Louis asked out of an NHL contract while simultaneously using its terms for geographic leverage

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HGTV Critical Listing’s Host Lisa Colalillo

Posted April 9, 2014 by Sonya

Lisa Colalillo is a real estate junkie. She’s got that extra sense for sniffing out the best deals for potential home owners and gives solid advice on home ownership. She is also the energetic and fun-loving co-host of HGTV’s Critical […]

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Cda absent in NATO moves on Ukraine

Posted April 16, 2014 by Staff

OTTAWA – NATO has laid out plans to beef up its presence in eastern Europe, and Canada is noticeably absent from the list of countries that have acknowledged they’ll send military forces. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance’s secretary general, said … Continue Reading

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When government deems a park as sacred and organizes a “pilgrimage?” Tweet Poo!

Posted March 20, 2014 by Joel Johannesen

Total confusion! The upcoming “Earth Day” (barf) promises lots of pure, natural, “organic,” un-man-made, Earthy stuff to do. If, that is, as a normal person, you can ignore the left-wing aura that envelopes the obviously politically tainted “Earth Day.” For example, you could do like the Muslims do when they embark on their sacred pilgrimage, […]

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PMs admit they differ on Israeli settlements but Harper refuses to criticize

Posted January 21, 2014 by The Canadian Press

JERUSALEM – Canada and Israel have differences of opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite…

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Greens celebrate victory of Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation in defending traditional territory

Posted April 3, 2014 by Anonymous

OTTAWA/VICTORIA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, today joins BC Green Party Leader Adam Olsen in celebrating the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation’s victory in blocking the opening of an unsustainable and environmentally destructive commercial herring fishery on the Nation’s traditional territory.  

The Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, located on BC’s central coast, had previously requested and had been granted the voluntary closure of critical herring spawning habitat in Kitasu Bay. The herring have been a staple food for the coastal community for generations.  

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea had sought to re-open a commercial herring fishery in the area, against the advice of scientists and senior officials within her own department. In response to the Minister’s decision, the Kitasoo/Xaixais Heriditary Chiefs led a protest blocking commercial fishing boats from accessing Kitasu Bay.

In a statement released Monday, Kitasoo/Xaixais Stewardship Director Doug Nealoss and the First Nation’s elected and hereditary chiefs declared that the bay had been closed to fishing, noting that “The success of our fishery relies on the predictable spawning patterns which we have learned, and sufficient abundance of herring, which we have protected in Kitasu Bay since time immemorial.”  

Yesterday, DFO officials had attempted to negotiate access for the commercial fishing boats, but the request was denied by Kitasoo/Xaixais Nation elected Chief Clark Robinson Sr. It now appears that the department will not be pursuing further negotiations at this time. 

“It was reckless and ill-advised of Minister Shea to contradict her own department’s scientists and attempt to re-open this fishery,” said federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “Fishing the herring of Kitasu Bay to exhaustion would have been an ecological disaster and an appalling violation of this First Nation’s treaty rights.” 

“The Kitasoo Nation has stood firm in defending their land and water, and we applaud the peaceful resolution they have achieved,” said BC Green Party Leader Adam Olsen. “Today marks an important victory for First Nations rights, and for the ecological integrity of our coast.” 



Nicholas Gall
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916


Greens celebrate victory of Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation in defending traditional territory

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Jim Flaherty … RIP

Posted April 10, 2014 by MariaS

From Globe&Mail:
….Former finance minister Jim Flaherty has passed away, only weeks after resigning his cabinet post.

Emergency crews were called to the 64-year-old’s Ottawa condo Thursday afternoon. A source said he died of a massive heart attack.

Several police cars were parked outside Mr. Flaherty’s Ottawa home, in the Byward Market area. Police are expected to make a statement shortly……..

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Good evening. Here’s your totally useless news report from your crackerjack journalists, for Friday.

Posted March 14, 2014 by Joel Johannesen

So… what the heck are “encounters” with police? And how many “encounters” with police by one or two thugs does it take to wake up a reporter… 12? 97? How about 120? Still asleep? 300? OK how about 460-odd? Does that wake you up?

Apparently the magic number of police encounters is well over 700.

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