Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More Liberal Adscam Sleaze - It Never Ends

By STEPHANIE RUBEC,

SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, OTTAWA SUN

OTTAWA -- In their final hours, Paul Martin's Liberals secretly cut a $40,000 cheque to cover the costs of a longtime Liberal's challenge of the AdScam report.

And ex-PM Jean Chretien's right-hand man Jean Pelletier has appealed to the Conservative government to dip into federal coffers for more.

Only hours before losing his seat to the Conservatives Jan. 23, former Treasury Board President Reg Alcock signed off on a $40,000 payment to help Pelletier cover some of his legal fees in his challenge of Justice John Gomery's findings.

Treasury Board President John Baird chastised his Liberal predecessor for sticking taxpayers with Pelletier's legal fees.

"This is nothing more than the Liberal party lining up for one more pass over on the gravy train," Baird said, adding Alcock had the option of turning Pelletier down.

Pelletier announced his intention to challenge the findings of the AdScam report in the first week of the election in December -- shortly after Chretien launched a legal challenge on his own dime.

Pelletier is arguing that Gomery erroneously believed former sponsorship head Chuck Guite, who testified that the PMO had a stranglehold on sponsorships and used it to funnel funds to Liberal-friendly ad firms and into sovereigntist ridings.

Alcock directed Pelletier's lawyer Guy Pratte to submit his bills directly to the justice department for payment, indicating that the federal government would cover the hourly costs of the lawyers to a maximum of $40,000.

The payment is in addition to the $600,000 in legal fees taxpayers have already picked up for Pelletier's lawyers during the Gomery commission.

Baird said the only people who should have their legal fees picked up by taxpayers are working public servants.

"This has got to end and it disturbs me, and if anything can be done legally about it, I'll do my best," Baird said.

NDP Pat Martin accused Pelletier and the Liberals of using the treasury as an ATM.

"It speaks to an appalling lack of judgment by Reg Alcock," Martin said.

Soldiers Agree With Conservative's Media Ban

Tue Apr 25, 07:44 PM EST


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CP) - The grief of war widows and families is an intensely private matter that doesn't need to be on display for the whole country to see, a number of Canada's fighting troops said Tuesday.

Still raw from the events of last weekend, when four Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb, the Conservative government's decision to ban the media from covering the arrival ceremonies of war casualties back in Canada was greeted with cautious approval.

"They already know when someone dies down here," said Bombardier Hugo Girouard, a gunner from Shilo, Man.

"Why dramatize more what is already dramatic?"

The bodies of Lieut. William Turner, Cpl. Matthew Dinning, Bombardier Myles Mansell and Cpl. Randy Payne arrived at an eastern Ontario military base Tuesday afternoon.

Live television coverage from afar showed a military aircraft land at CFB Trenton, with a long line of military brass and family members waiting on the tarmac.

A camera mounted on a satellite truck caught images of a bagpiper and honour guard among those waiting for each flag-draped coffin to be lowered from the aircraft.

Four times, eight pallbearers carried a coffin on their shoulders to a waiting hearse, their solemn march led by a white-robed clergyman.

Media couldn't go near enough to identify officials nor relatives participating in the procession.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor announced a reversal of the former Liberal government's policy that for years allowed the media to cover the sombre arrival ceremony.

When asked what their biggest concern would be should something happen to them, very nearly all the soldiers who agreed to speak Tuesday said they preferred grieving family members be shielded from what they consider to be the sometimes ruthless intensity of the media spotlight.

In late March, when Pte. Robert Costall was killed in a possible friendly fire incident in nearby Helmand province, many soldiers reacted with horror and disgust when specifics of his autopsy made headlines in a national newspaper.

"All of the details shouldn't be given to the Canadian public because I don't think they need to know everything," said Girouard.

Whenever a soldier dies overseas, there are usually two so-called ramp ceremonies to which the media have open access.

The first is the departure, a stoic final salute from comrades in arms, most of whom line an airfield tarmac as the casket is loaded onto an aircraft for the final journey home.

Upon arrival in Canada, the solemn observance is repeated, with the grieving relatives there to receive their loved one.

"I believe that should be a family and private moment," said Cpl. Greg Gorecki, of 1 Combat Engineering Regiment.

"I support the decision."


If a family member chooses to talk to the media, that's their prerogative, but they should not be put on display, complained several soldiers.

"All of the coverage the media has here on Kandahar airfield is all the coverage the media has to have," said Gorecki.

"I think once the event has been covered, it doesn't need to be exposed any more."

Following recent departure ceremonies at Kandahar airfield, for both Costall and the latest casualties, many soldiers openly grumbled about the presence of journalists and cameras. They considered such time to be their private farewell and cited how the Americans bar the media altogether from both services.

In more even-tempered moments, most troops readily admit that coverage of the ramp ceremonies in southern Afghanistan has been important because it reminds Canadians of the sacrifices they and their comrades have made.

Closing off media access to those events would be far more disturbing, soldiers said, because not showing caskets would imply that this conflict has no cost, or worse, had become an embarrassment.

An army spokesman said there is no plan to shut down the access of journalists to the departure ceremony.

"In the first place it is for us to say au revoir to our fallen comrades," said Maj. Marc Theriault. "But it is also a testimony that can be brought to the public about the kind of job Canadian soldiers are doing here."

When did our media become such whiners?

National Post
Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The media in Canada are no longer simply reporting on the story, they have become the story. For weeks, Canadian media consumers have been spoon-fed an endless series of lamentations from some members of the Ottawa press corps over media access.

First, it involved efforts by the Prime Minister's Office to vet what Cabinet ministers say, then over the government's decision not to permit scrums after Cabinet meetings and again recently over Prime Minister Stephen Harper's insistence on choosing who can ask questions at his news conferences. The latest auto-furor has erupted over the government's decision to safeguard the privacy of family members mourning four Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan by refusing to make the return of the bodies to CFB Trenton into a photo op.

No matter that Canadians have already been treated to four days of blanket coverage of the deaths, or that the ceremony on Monday in which their comrades paid their moving last respects and the soldiers' coffins were loaded on to a military plane was open to the media. The gang here want a piece of the action, too. They want to have access to the grief of the wives, parents and children of the dead soldiers. But they should ask themselves, what conceivable public interest would be served by facilitating their demands? At what point does the legitimate need to cover the story of fallen soldiers cross the line into paid voyeurism?

We would argue that in the case of the four soldiers, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has struck the correct balance between openness, with swift release of the sad news of the deaths and the identities of those killed followed by access for the media to the ceremony held at the base in Afghanistan, and privacy. As the minister said in a statement, "There is a time to mourn ... The repatriation of our fallen soldiers back to Canada is a private and solemn event between the families and the Canadian Forces." This was intended as a show of respect, but many in the media prefer to characterize the "media ban" as a cynical ploy to manipulate public opinion, or worse, an assault on fundamental freedoms.

Get over it, guys: the world does not revolve around your need to file 800 words for tomorrow's edition.

Canadians may well be wondering how it is that the working conditions for reporters in Ottawa have suddenly become one of the nation's most pressing concerns. The answer is, of course, they are not, and all will return to normal once Belinda Stronach or Don Cherry or someone else does something goofy in coming days, so these people have something to write or talk on-camera about.

Until then, expect more whining.

Big Government Liberalism Does Its Damage

Updated Wed. Apr. 26 2006 2:55 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

The government has been reaching deeper and deeper into taxpayers' pockets since 1961, with the total tax bill for the average family increasing by 1,600 per cent or $26,792, according to a new report from The Fraser Institute.

The report, dubbed Tax Facts 14, was released Wednesday, and takes a hard look at how taxation is affecting the pocketbooks of taxpayers.

It comes just one week before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government releases its first budget, which is expected to include a promised 1 per cent cut to the GST.

The government has defended the cut as the fairest way to ensure all Canadians benefit from a tax break, but critics say they fear it will displace reductions to personal income tax that were planned by the previous Liberal government.

The Fraser Institute study finds that Canadians now pay more annually in taxes than they spend on shelter, food and clothing combined.

In 1961, the average household earned $5,000 and paid $1,675, or 33.5 per cent, of that in taxes. The average family in 1961 spent $2,824 on food, shelter and clothing per year.

In 2005, the report found, the average family earns $60,903, and spends $28,467 of that, 46.7 per cent, on taxes. The average family now spends $22,167 on food, shelter and clothing per year.

The increase in spending on shelter represents a climb of 1,006 per cent, while spending on food has jumped by 481 per cent and spending on clothing has increased by 439 per cent.

The report indicates that income tax accounts for the largest portion of the tax Canadians pay, at about 32 per cent. Other taxes, however, such as contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance premiums, and a variety of other taxes including motor vehicle fees and property taxes add up to round out the remaining two thirds of the tax bill.

The Fraser Institute report also underscores the disparity between earners and taxpayers at both the high and low ends of the spectrum.

In 2005, 60.3 per cent of all income in Canada was earned by the top 30 per cent of families, who also paid 66.3 of the taxes.

In contrast, the lowest 30 per cent earned only 7.8 per cent of all income and paid 4.3 per cent of all taxes.

Niels Veldhuis, the co-author of the report and senior research economist at The Fraser Institute, pointed out that the distribution of income is less polarized than it appears at first glance, because earners are consistently moving through the income grid.

"Income mobility data has repeatedly shown that there is not a permanent underclass in Canada stuck in a low income group," Veldhuis said.

The report found that most young people entering the work force start out in the low-income bracket and work up to the middle or high-income group, with their incomes peaking in middle age before beginning to drop as they age towards retirement.

Another interesting phenomenon illustrated by the report is the way the Canadian taxation system penalizes ambitious earners who climb the income ladder.

In one example, a fictional Canadian who earned $2,750 in 1961 paid $960 in taxes, equaling 34.9 per cent.

In the following 44 years, however, his income rose steadily until it reached $122,657 per year in 2005. At that point, he would pay $62,278, or 50.8 per cent, in taxes.

Between 1961 and 2005 the subject's income increased by 4,360 per cent, but his tax rate increased by a much higher rate of 6,387 per cent
.

"Canada's progressive tax system imposes an ever increasing burden on people as they earn more income," stated Veldhuis, "Clearly our tax system is sending the wrong message when it penalizes people for being successful."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Liberal Filled Senate to Stonewall Conservative Accountability Act?

As I recall in the recent election, Stephen Harper was slammed by the leftist media and the opposition parties for stating the obvious....the senate is filled with liberals. He indicated that getting legislation passed would be challenging - as usual Harper is right.

Last week, the Conservatives released the new Federal Accountability Act to Parliament (#1 promise fulfilled), but already the majority of liberal senators have indicated they will fight the bill tooth and nail.

So lets get this straight, the Conservatives bring legislation before parliament to clean up liberal corruption which nearly destroyed the country, and now the liberal hacks in the senate will stonewall this legislation?. So they basically want to ignore the will of the people in Parliament, not really surprising considering we are talking about the libranos here.

The Conservatives are justified in being outraged, the liberals,the Bloc, and the NDP will have no choice but support this legislation because the public is demanding it.

After 13 years of massive systemic liberal corruption, it is time for the Conservatives to clean house, and they are doing so because Canadians voted for Conservatives to form government. (something the CBC and the Red Star still haven't figured out.)

The liberals don't like this bill because it limits corporate and union donations to political parties. The Conservatives raise all their funding by normal Canadians like me sending in $20, but the liberals rely on handouts from Bay Street, and all their other mafia-connected revenue streams.

If the senate stops the passage of the Accountability Act, the public will be outraged and this will validate Harper's statements in the election.

If this bill is stopped by the senate, then all Canadians better take a good hard look at our government and demand changes and subsequent abolishment of the senate.

The senate is right now is a liberal filled cash trough where cast-offs and liberal party bagmen are rewarded, a national disgrace that needs the Accoutability Act more than any other government institution in Canadian politics.

Should Military Service Be Mandatory?

By RACHEL MARSDEN, Toronto Sun

While Canadians soldiers were busy “peacekeeping” (i.e., fighting terrorists) in Afghanistan last weekend, a Taliban spokesman told The Canadian Press: “We think that when we kill enough Canadians, they will quit war and return home.”

He’s talking about the country that sent 600,000 troops into World War I, and captured Vimy Ridge from the Germans 89 years ago this week after both the French and Brits had failed. The same nation that saw 15,000 Canadians fight alongside their Allied cousins on D-Day in World War II.

What has caused our international image to become so tarnished? Decades of weak-kneed, pansy-fannied liberalism, that’s what. My solution: Two years of mandatory military service for every Canadian, right out of high school.

Here’s the rationale:

Too many of our spoiled kids go straight from mom and dad’s basement into the ivory tower of academia, where they hone their skills in the fine art of leftist BS. Noam Chomsky didn’t give these kids their freedom — soldiers did. That’s who they should be learning their politics and history from, along with some useful trades and skills.

Too many Canadian youths are fat and lazy. Just look at basic training as one big ParticipAction program.

Nothing says “gender equality” better than a woman who knows her way around an M16 assault rifle. I suspect violence against women in Canada would decrease dramatically.

PM Stephen Harper says he wants to recruit 23,000 new soldiers. Young people won’t even vote unless they can speed-dial it in, a la American Idol. Unless Harper plans to fight and defend our interests using PlayStations, good luck with those recruitment goals without mandatory military service.

The ripple effect on immigration: If all immigrants knew Canada’s “freebies” had to be earned through mandatory military service by their children, it would screen out any leeches. Also, those hell-bent on killing “infidels” would think twice about coming here if their kids had to fight alongside said infidels to defend western democracy.

Toronto Mayor David Miller has said young people need jobs so they don’t shoot up the city. Here’s a job that will redirect their misguided enthusiasm.

Of course there will be those who “conscienciously” object to military service and those who are so psychologically incompetent or just plain inept that you wouldn’t want them handling a sharp pair of scissors, let alone a weapon. These people will become experts at peeling potatoes and various other domestic tasks. Those who master the cheese grater can graduate to babysitting polar bears in the Arctic for the duration of their service term. Establishing a military presence up there is one of Harper’s goals anyway.

A final clarification for lefties about to go into convulsions: Mandatory military service isn’t a wartime “draft.” The former increases the talent pool, whereas the latter can weaken a country’s military might — and we wouldn’t want to ruin Canada’s reputation as a worldwide military superpower as seen by people like, say, that Taliban spokesman, would we?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Quebec As Usual Wants Everything

Mike De Souza, CanWest News Service

Published: Monday, April 10, 2006

OTTAWA - A new battle is brewing between Quebec and Alberta over booming oil and gas revenues.

With provincial and territorial premiers meeting in Montreal this week to talk about transfer payments, Quebec is demanding changes that would make Alberta share more of its riches.

Quebec says it's being shortchanged under the system, which redistributes wealth between the have provinces and have-nots.

But Alberta's newly appointed Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Gary Mar says the province is already happily paying its membership fees to Confederation.

"Overall, Canadians should recognize that resource revenues generated here in Alberta already benefit the rest of Canada fairly dramatically," said Mar, who was sworn in last week.

"Alberta is a very proud part of Confederation. We are willing to pay our fair share ... ."

Ottawa collects more taxes generated by oilsands than the Alberta government does, Mar stressed.

Meanwhile, Albertans paid $29 billion in taxes to Ottawa last year, and received only $17 billion in government services in return, he said.


"It's a tremendous benefit to all of Canada to ensure that the proper exploitation of the resources in Alberta continues to go on."

Studies done by an environmental policy think-tank and the Library of Parliament, however, suggest federal government assistance to the oil and gas industry is giving Alberta an unfair advantage.

"Canadians across the country are providing billions of dollars in tax subsidies, tax breaks to the upstream oil and gas industry," said Matthew Bramley, climate change policy director for the Pembina Institute.

The study, released last year, concluded that the oil and gas industry had received $8.3 billion in direct or indirect government aid from 1996 to 2002.

Overall, the oil and gas industry across Canada has received about $66 billion in aid from the federal government from 1970 to 1999, according to a Library of Parliament study released by the Bloc Quebecois.

While some of the programs have since been cancelled, Bramley said the industry still benefits from hundreds of millions of dollars in government programs. Industry officials in Alberta say most of the money was spent on offshore drilling incentives in the Maritimes and northern territories.

Quebec says it wants the transfer- payment system changed so that all natural-resource revenues are included in calculating a province's wealth.

While Quebec's revenues from its renewable resources such as hydroelectricity are factored into its wealth, the revenues from the oil and gas industry are now left out of the calculation in the complex equalization formula, says Hugo D'Amours, spokes-man for Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

Bloc environment critic Bernard Bigras said Ottawa should also take steps to reward Quebec for meeting Kyoto protocol targets in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Michael Chong said Ottawa will begin negotiations with the provinces to settle his party's promise to resolve the fiscal imbalance once it has a look at three different discussion papers, including one to be released in the next budget.

My Comment - Since 1961, Alberta has paid $201 billion more to Ottawa (and mostly to Quebec)than it has received in transfer payments, so Quebec can go to hell. That province in its wacky leftist policies has created its own problems, let them dig themselves out for a change...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Liberal Hypocrisy

By LORRIE GOLDSTEIN

So let's get this straight. According to Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will have a big fight on his hands from the Grits if he does either of the following things:

(a) Fails to implement the national daycare plan that the Liberals promised in the 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2004 federal elections and never, ever delivered.

(b) Cuts the GST from 7% to 6% even though former prime minister Jean Chretien promised to scrap the GST entirely in the 1993 federal election and never ever delivered.

So what's the Liberals' logic here? That Chretien can fib about scrapping the GST but Harper can't shave one lousy point off it?

Goodale's argument is that the Grits won't allow Harper to pay for his GST cut by scrapping income tax cuts the Liberals promised. That's rich. Perhaps the Liberals can show us the law they passed authorizing those income tax cuts?

What really happened is that two weeks before the Liberals fell on Nov. 28, Goodale introduced a desperate "bribe us with our own money" economic statement that retroactively lowered income tax rates to Jan. 1, 2005.

Harper is honouring the 2005 cuts, but not the ones the Liberals introduced at the last minute for 2006, just before they lost a non-confidence vote. That's Harper's right. Why should he have to deliver a Liberal election promise? Would Goodale have implemented Harper's GST cut if the Grits had won the election?

That said, I agree with John Williamson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that Harper should cut both the GST and deliver the Grit income tax cuts, not because he has to dance to Goodale's tune, but because the !@@!?! Liberals had so much of our money stashed under the mattress that we all deserve a big tax break.

As for the Liberals' so-called "national daycare program," as long as they and the pro-daycare lobby, who might as well be Liberal shills, keep pretending that's what the Grits delivered just before they fell from power, the more important it will be to keep setting the record straight.

It was not a national daycare program. All it was, was a promised money transfer of $5 billion to the provinces over five years (which either side could bail out of with a year's notice) for daycare-related -- often vaguely related -- programs. It set no national standards. It was a series of one-on-one deals with the provinces. If any Liberal tells you it was a "national daycare program," ask them this: "What guarantees did you receive when you made the deal with Quebec that it would spend any of this money on daycare?" Watch them stutter.

The truth is, a real national daycare program would cost about $10 billion a year and would send Canada plunging back into deficit. Harper's plan to give parents $1,200 (taxable) annually per child under age 6 to help defray the costs of child care isn't a national daycare program either. But unlike the Liberals, he never pretended it was.

And while we're on the subject of Liberal horse manure, here's a handy quote for future reference.

Remember, when the Liberals were in power, how they accused Harper of plotting to wreck the country every time he talked to the Bloc? Remember how Belinda Stronach said she bolted from the Tories to the Grits because of it?

Well, here's Interim Liberal Leader Bill Graham, quoted by The Canadian Press this week, about how the Liberals now intend to work with the Bloc to "moderate" the Tory government. Said Graham: "There are many things in politics where the Liberal party and the Bloc Quebecois are on the same wavelength." Really? You mean like hypocrisy?

By the way does Stronach know about this? Does she have any comment? Is she now going to re-rat to the Tories?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Alberta PC Convention Results

Voting PC Party delegates (I would be one of those 1,200 people) stunned the cabinet, party caucus and all Canadians by only giving Premier Klein 55% approval rating as leader.

Why did the grassroots party members decide this was the best course of action?

Several reasons, which include:

1. An eighteen month leadership race is ludicrous and would've fractured the party greatly. (same thing happened to librano Jean Chretein)

2. Since the 2004 election, Premier Klein has coasted on his past fiscal record, with little or no clear plan of where the province and the party was going. (this would not change with a further eighteen month leadership race)
With a province projected to post $8-12 billion in surpluses in the next two years, we need bold decisive leadership, not reliance on past achievements.

3. Premier Klein has opened his big mouth when he should be quiet, in the last federal election (prior to January 23rd) he predicted a liberal minority, and cost Harper an election by creating healthcare controversy allowing the liberal mafia to attack the Conservatives. (even though the libranos gutted healthcare transfers to the provinces by $30 billion)

4. Premier Klein and his red tory cabinet have not listened to the grassroots about policy formulation, arrogance is rampant in his cabinet. They had better listen now, because they work for the party, not the other way around. This is what Ralph did not do, listen to his own party.

5. Premier Klein is a tax-and-spend liberal, he has blown billions that has not been in the throne speech and annual fiscal budget. This gives the public the impression that planning is done on the cuff and fiscal Conservatives cannot stand for that.

6. Premier Klein refused to implement Healthcare reforms even though he has openly talked about it for years, once again giving the impression of weak leadership.

Its safe to say Ralph Klein has done Alberta proud by making tough decisions a decade ago, the province is in far better shape because of his leadership.

However, Alberta now needs new dynamic and strong leadership as it becomes the economic powerhouse in Canada, and around the world.