Friday, November 30, 2007


Shooting Back; Video Vigilantism

Now here is a good idea to help bring criminals to justice if not stop it out right. By giving ordinary mortals a way of collecting evidence on their oppressors and bringing criminals to justice without violence.

Moe often than not the biggest road block to bringing criminals to justice is the lack of evidence either because the eye witnesses are disposed of or they are to afraid to give testimony for fear of repercussions. But with a campaigh like this no witness testimony is required the evidence is captured either on film or video and is irrefutable.

Something like this could even be used to positively identify taliban and other insurgents without fear of reprecussions.

Disposable cameras would be a cheap and effective way to achieve something like this. Ideally without a flash so as not to give away the photographer utilizing ASA 400 or better.

Another use for this type of initiative would be to build up good relations with the locals in providing them proof that they exist. Like one lady from Africa said when she received a photo of her kids she proudly announced now I have proof if here kids ever mysteriously went missing she would have proof.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Let’s play connect the dots Telegram editorial

Atlantic Wallboard Ltd. in New Brunswick is on the list as having received a $35-million conditionally repayable loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to build a synthetic gypsum wallboard manufacturing plant.

The $90-million plant was touted as Canada’s “most modern wallboard operation in Canada” by its main proponent, the J.D. Irving empire.

The project was announced in February.

Five months later, in July, Lafarge closed its gypsum plant in Corner Brook — at the time, a company spokesman blamed “increasing competition in the Atlantic region along with a slumping wallboard market.”

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Post card campaign to pressure National parties to act now

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Black Tickle NL third word conditions

Monday, November 26, 2007



HHO generator


Researcher sets saltwater on fire; hyrdogen using radio waves

-- Last winter, inventor John Kanzius was already attempting one seemingly impossible feat -- building a machine to cure cancer with radio waves -- when his device inadvertently succeeded in another: He made saltwater catch fire.

Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations.

The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said.

The discovery is "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years," Roy said.
"This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Roy said. "Seeing it burn gives me the chills."

Roy will meet this week with officials from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to try to obtain research funding.

The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen — which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit — would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.

Yet another water breakthrough HHO.

Stan Meyers water fracturing into hydrogen.

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Two wrongs don't make a right Mr Harper

Have you noticed how whenever the CRAP party gets into trouble or can't justify their stance they always refer to someone else's wrongs.

Well if it was wrong for someone else to do it by your own admission and highlight don't you think it is wrong for you to do it as well?

Just think of this when you hear Harpers NCC Neo Conservatives of Canada rebut.

Greenland plans fibre optic link to Newfoundland

Greenland plans fibre optic link to Newfoundland
Last Updated: Monday, November 5, 2007 | 4:06 PM NT
CBC News

A Greenland telecommunications company is preparing to lay an underwater fibre optic link to Newfoundland, in a $1-billion bid to improve phone and internet service.

TELE-Post is hoping to overcome poor international connections by laying the Danish island's first communications line, which will run from Greenland to Newfoundland and then to Iceland.


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Thursday, November 22, 2007


revenge of geograpy from The Independant

Revenge of geography

Print this Article

By Courtesy (St. John's)
The Independent
Friday, November 16, 2007

Joan Forsey

Guest Column

It’s been called the revenge of geography: Quebec’s refusal to allow Newfoundland and Labrador to transmit electrical energy through its territory. In other words, there shall be one market for Labrador electricity — Quebec, and on Quebec’s terms.

Quebec’s revenge-of-geography policy, dating from the 1960s, was designed to penalize Newfoundland because it, and not Quebec, was confirmed as owner of Labrador by a British Privy Council decision in 1927.

As just about everyone knows, that policy has enabled Quebec to reap (rape?) billions of dollars from the upper Churchill — an estimated $19 billion by the end of last year.

What is less widely recognized, or at least acknowledged, is that Quebec’s revenge-of-geography policy also penalizes Canada as a whole, Ontario in particular, and in doing so contributes to global warming.

That’s because in cutting off Newfoundland and Labrador’s access to electricity markets, the policy has blocked the development of the clean, renewable electrical energy of the lower Churchill for more than three decades — thereby limiting Canada’s ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Every political party in Canada claims that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the environment is a top priority.

Yet, how many politicians — apart from those in Newfoundland and Labrador — have you heard speak out against the revenge-of-geography policy? Granted, politicians wouldn’t call it that; they’d pussyfoot around it.

But how many have raised their voices to say, “Canadians want clean, renewable power from the lower Churchill,” and followed up by pressuring the federal government to facilitate its development and access to it? Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who until last month was Ontario’s minister of Energy, is among the relatively few.

Of course, Quebec’s revenge-of-geography policy has had other adverse effects, apart from those on the environment.

By cutting off Newfoundland and Labrador’s access to energy markets and blocking the development of the lower Churchill hydroelectric project for so many years, it has denied Canadians access to what Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro CEO Ed Martin has said would be relatively cheap power.

It has also prolonged Canada’s dependence on the United States’ electricity system, and reduced Canada’s security of supply (remember the blackout in central Canada caused by problems in the U.S. system in 2003).

If none of that matters to the federal Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties, surely their oft-stated commitment to protecting the environment should motivate them to speak up.

For example, it’s time for Stephen Harper, Stéphane Dion, and Jack Layton to acknowledge the following:

No. 1: Quebec’s revenge-of-geography policy has limited Ontario’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve its air quality. Ontario has already twice extended its deadline to get rid of its coal-fired power plants — from 2007, to 2009, to 2014.

Ontario’s Finance Minister Dwight Duncan visited the lower Churchill site when he was minister of Energy.

“It’s astounding, the opportunity there, both for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the First Nations, the Innu people, and for the people of southern Ontario. It’s a wonderful opportunity … the power is economic, quite apart from the obvious green benefits associated with it,” Duncan told a “green power corridor summit” in Ottawa earlier this year.

“I look forward to the day,” he said, “when Ontario doesn’t have to pay $200 to $300 a megawatt hour to a coal plant in Ohio to import on a hot summer’s day and we can spend that money in Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba to help build our north, help our First Nations, get those communities off diesel, and clean up our environment.”

Revenge has meant that, rather than being able to buy clean, renewable energy from Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario has had to continue to produce its own greenhouse gases plus pay Ohio to produce the greenhouse gases that float up from Ohio to pollute southern Ontario even more.

(However, Ontario will be able to get clean electrical power from Manitoba, thanks to the $586.2 million the federal government said last March it would give Ontario to help fund green projects, among them an electricity transmission link to Manitoba.)

No. 2: The revenge-of-geography policy limits Canada’s ability to become the leader it says it wants to be in addressing climate change. The federal government, in October’s Speech from the Throne, said, “The world is moving on to address climate change and the environment, and Canada intends to lead the effort at home and abroad.”

The federal government could, if it were serious about wanting to “lead,” facilitate the development of the lower Churchill’s clean, renewable energy and help make it available to those, like Ontario, seeking to protect the environment.

But that would annoy Quebec. And for the federal government, winning House of Commons seats in Quebec is obviously more important than fighting climate change.

No. 3: The revenge-of-geography policy all but kills the idea of a truly national energy grid.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which backs such a grid, has pointed out, “Canada has the resources and potential to become a clean energy superpower. In order for that to be realized, action is required to facilitate transmission from areas of supply to areas of need.”

The lower Churchill is an area of potential supply; Ontario has long been an area of need. But Quebec policy has restricted Labrador’s access to markets for decades.

It is true, however, that Quebec, which sells electricity to the United States, has since the mid-1990s been bound by U.S. regulations requiring suppliers to open their transmission lines to competitors. However, if the revenge-of-geography policy continues, Quebec could deny Newfoundland and Labrador access to its transmission lines on grounds of lack of capacity.

So should a “national” energy grid ever materialize, it could well turn out to be, in reality, a “nearly national” energy grid, leaving out Newfoundland and Labrador (as in the case of the nearly national newspaper, the nearly National Post).

It’s no doubt politically incorrect to say this, but all the results of the revenge-of-geography policy serve to highlight, not just the hypocrisy of the federal government, but also the hypocrisy practised by Quebec with regard to environmental concerns.

reduction objectives

An Angus Reid climate change survey earlier this year found that of all provinces Quebec was most in favour (77 per cent) of Canada living up to its Kyoto commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In May 2006, Quebec’s Environment minister urged other provinces to pressure the federal government to honour the Kyoto Protocol. And back in 2002, a Quebec Environment minister stated, “Quebec is fully prepared to do its share, its fair share, to help achieve Canada’s reduction objectives.”

One would think that its “fair share” would include facilitating, if it could, the development of clean, renewable energy anywhere in Canada — even that of the lower Churchill. But the latter would require Quebec to allow Newfoundland and Labrador to transmit electrical power through its territory — which is highly unlikely.

Jean Lesage, when he was premier of Quebec, stated the case clearly in 1965 during negotiations regarding the sale of electricity from the upper Churchill. “We will never permit, under any condition, others to build a transmission line on Quebec territory, or let others transport the energy produced at Churchill Falls whatever the destination of that energy, whether it be the United States or the other provinces.”

So Quebec, the sole province to urge the federal government to ratify Kyoto, is also the sole province with a long-term policy (nearly half a century) that has actually limited Canada’s ability to fulfill the obligations of Kyoto.

But don’t expect federal politicians — despite their professed commitment to protecting the environment — to mention it. There are 75 federal seats in Quebec.

Joan Forsey, a Newfoundlander living in Toronto, is a former journalist who has been researching and writing about Canadian economic and political affairs for more than 30 years, including seven years as a writer on the staff of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Not much I can add to this article it pretty much says it all other than the fact that the Lower churchill negotiations were a farce and Hydro Quebec was in a conflict of interest by sitting on the BRINCO board and having insider info on the state of their finances.

If you doubt me here you should read the MUN Harris center's report on the negotiations leading up to the infamous Upper Churchill contract "Origins of an Impending Crisis".

The best term for quebec in this as with most cases is "Dog in the Manger" if I can't have it no one can Hypocrites to the core.

The other point i would like to mention is that although most would tend to blame the national political parties at first glance. If you were to delve a little deeper you would see that it isn't so much the national political parties because in reality they are all the same it is the system which is flawed in that there is no equal representation for the members of this so called federation.

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Monday, November 19, 2007


Prov govt helps in opening up markets to fresh sea food

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is supporting this flight by guaranteeing cargo loads during a startup period. This means that if an individual flight does not achieve a full complement of cargo, the Provincial Government will pay for the shortfall on the total cargo capacity, provided that there is a minimum of 10 tonnes of seafood on the flight. Shippers using the flight will pay commercial rates that can be expected for a cargo aircraft. However, this new initiative will provide them with the opportunity to use a service that is not currently available in the province. The Provincial Government will provide funding of up to $288,000. This will be provided through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program that is part of the provincial portion of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy.

Fly Fresh Freight is a joint venture of PF Collins Ltd. and Atlantis Aviation Consulting. PF Collins Ltd., a well-known, provincially-based company, is the largest international trade services provider based in Atlantic Canada.

"Our government is committed to growing business development opportunities throughout the province particularly through the establishment of a competitive infrastructure and the right investment climate for business," said Minister Oram. "PF Collins has a long history of excellent services to its customers and is fully aware of the issues involved in the movement of perishable products. Atlantis Aviation Consulting brings an extensive business and aviation network with a strategic understanding of the air cargo industry, including its decision-making processes, limitations and opportunities to this initiative."

A weekly non-stop return flight from Iceland to Gander will place seafood at a major air cargo hub that is well-positioned for distribution throughout Europe. Iceland Air will land in Gander once each week, take on the cargo of seafood and return to Iceland.

This is a much better us of public money to help the struggling NL fishery than EI or early retirement IMHO.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Innovative scheme to protect cod stocks

A fishing boat which featured in the BBC series Trawlermen has become the first to successfully take part in a pilot scheme to protect cod stocks.

The prawn boat Fruitful Bough was independently observed while it avoided catching cod.

Under the initiative, skippers are given extra days at sea if cod forms less than 5% of their catch.

The Peterhead vessel, skippered by James West, succeeded in meeting that target.

The scheme is part of a bid to stop unwanted fish being caught, protecting vulnerable stocks.

Funded by the Scottish Government and jointly developed with the industry, the pilot scheme aims to test how effective such incentives are in conserving cod stocks.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Waste Water Plus Bacteria Make Hydrogen Fuel - Study


Newfoundland Labrador NAFO seat

Newfoundland Labrador should have a seat on NAFO and a veto on any decisions concerning decisions ottawa makes concerning NL's continental shelf.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Hyrogen break through

Hydrogen brewing gets an electrical boost

* 22:00 12 November 2007
* news service
* Mason Inman

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* Bruce Logan
* Patrick Hallenbeck, University of Montreal
* Angenent Lab, Washington University in St Louis

A new microbe-powered device can extract up to 99% of the available hydrogen from biological compounds that have stumped previous attempts to ferment fuel from plant waste. The secret is to give the bugs a helping hand with a kick of electric charge.

Hydrogen is an attractive environmentally friendly fuel because burning it creates only water as a waste product. But finding an efficient, clean way to produce hydrogen in the first place is difficult.

Fermenting organic material using microbes is one possibility, but generally produces poor yields. Microbes reach a chemical dead end once sugar from material has been broken down into acetic acid, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. That releases at best only a third of the hydrogen in a molecule of the sugar glucose, for example.

CRAP tory support drops

Did Tory support drop because of the Schreiber affair or because of the tories support of the death penalty?

Russian salmon figures don’t add up, says report

EAST Asian countries are importing between 50 and 90% more Russian Sockeye salmon than Russia is reporting as caught, according to a new report from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, and WWF.

One guess where that extra salmon is coming from.

Soft shell King crab could fetch premium prices

HE King crab can now be eaten without removing its shell, if it is handled and prepared right after moulting, when the shell is completely soft, says Norwegian research institute, Fiskeriforskning.

The shell and crab can then be consumed once the mouth, stomach, intestine and gills have been removed.

Soft-shell crab is an exclusive product at Asian restaurants, and soft-shell crabs can achieve five times the price than the equivalent crab with a hard shell.

Robert Dziekanski Vancouver Tazer killing

This seems to be the full raw footage and not just the excerpts and sound bites you get on the MSM.

I for one would like to apologize to Mrs Dziekanki and express my sincerest apologies for the behaviour of our national police.

This man just made a transcontinental flight and believe you me it is no picnic especially for a man his size and the way they have configured the seats nowwa days.

He spoke no english was basically trapped inside the secure area for 10 hours with no food or water.

I think he broke the computer just to draw some attention to his plight.

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Mulroney Shreiber Terms of Ommision


Agricultural Land Reserve

They have a thing out here in BC called Agricultural Land Reserve ALR.

Basically it means all Agricultural land is locked in for agricultural purposes.

Now it can be unlocked but it has to be well justified and takes a long process.

Now with urban sprawl Agri land is what I would call the low hanging fruit. It isn't like there isn't lots of land that could easily be developed for residential purposes with a minimum of preparation and increase in cost but unless the ALR is protected it would be used up unwisely.

I heard one time that there is only 5% of the land in NL that is Agricultural Land. That leaves 95% of the land mass in NL for residential development and urban sprawl.

1000$ saving a race, random thoughts

While I think Premier Williams and the Socially Progressive Fiscally Conservative party of NL have the best of intentions with this policy they may need to tweak it a bit to get the results they want.

basically there are three parts to the policy to increase the NL population through incentives to have children.

1, 1000$ for each child.
2, increase in paternity leave allowance.
3, Adoption included in the 1000$.

I think there was also something in there to address child care?

So here is what I think should be tweaked.

the 1000% should only be paid for the third child. This would serve to ensure no parent would go into parenthood without already knowing what parenthood entails.

By encouraging the third child it would serve to increase our population versus only two children which would only serve to maintain the status Quo at best.

There are 6,500,000,000.00 6.5 Billion people in our world.

By only giving the incentive for the third child the arguments that crack heads and welfare bums will be having children to get the money would be disposed of.

Any plan to increase our population through birth could be advanced by a minimum of 9 months but more likely 5-9 years depending upon the age of the child.

The most informative and shaping years are the teen years.

Our small communities are very well prepared to handle an increase in the adopted children.

Women who might be reticent to have their own child due to carreer or body issues would be more inclined to adopt.

I have no problems with the paternity allowance top up.

I think the adoption option should be encouraged more.
the 1000$ should be available for the first child.

All or most of the adoption fees should be paid for.

The department of adoption should be stream lined.

Adoption would be a better option than immigration in that the adopted children would be integrated into our society and culture.

Where as Immigrants come with their own culture, heritage, religion biases etc. Adopted children will be raised as an integral part of our culture and society.

We have to pay for language training anyway for a vast majority of immigrants.

Adopted immigrant children would be more likely to grow up and call NL home where as Immigrants all seem to move to the larger centres and live in communities of their own like kind.

Adopted children don't come with experience, wealth, training.
We might not get federal funding for adoption language training versus Immigration.
There will be a time lag from adoption to work force, but this might not be much different than language training.

Mulrooney "With Bells on"

If bells means lawyers then yes I guess he is right because he will be there with the best lawyers money can buy to try and buy the truth or at the very least a shadow of doubt.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


marble mountain Zip tours
Oh boy can't wait for this to get up and running. I'll be booking a ride this summer hopefully.

Here is a youtube vid of the Whistler zip line.

Beginner Better than your honey moon!

Crazy mad man advanced.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

A 'super grid' for Europe?
Contributed by: N Say
[What about a super grid for Canada? -- NSay]

Analysis: A 'super grid' for Europe?

Published: Nov. 2, 2007 at 10:39 AM
Print story Email to a friend Font size:By STEFAN NICOLA
UPI Energy Correspondent

BERLIN, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Europe’s electricity grids are old and often not capable of providing trans-border, much less trans-continent energy security. Yet one German energy expert has come up with a visionary scenario that would overhaul the grids, increase energy security and at the same time help avoid climate change.

Gregor Czisch’s dissertation has rattled the energy world. Its main claim: Given the political will, Europe could within a few years meet 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, at no cost difference to today’s fossil fuel-based system. The scenario includes the construction of a high-voltage direct current European super grid linking all countries in Europe, and the continent externally to Africa and the Middle East.

"We have the technical abilities to build such a super grid within three to five years," Czisch, an energy systems modeling expert at the University of Kassel, told United Press International in a telephone interview. "We just need to commit to this big long-term strategy."

Experts agree Europe’s grids are old and desperately need new investment, especially as the European Union plans to significantly increase the share of renewable energy sources. It's likely that the dominant source will be wind energy, resulting in fluctuating energy levels.

Czisch and several others call for a direct current, as opposed to today’s alternating current grid. A new high-tech grid would make sure that the fluctuating electricity generation from renewables is smoothly dispersed.

A new network of direct current power lines would be able to transport large volumes of electricity generated in one region to consumers in another, by allowing electricity to quickly flow in either direction. Resource shortages in one area could thus be absorbed by surpluses elsewhere, true to the motto: If wind isn’t blowing in the North Sea, it does in the Baltic Sea or in North Africa.

Czisch based his scenario on an intricate calculation based on detailed climate, political, economic, logistic and demographic data from all over the world. It would rely on some 70 percent wind energy, backed up by storage hydropower and biomass. "Some of the best wind capacities lie in deserted areas, such as in Siberia, Kazakhstan and the Sahara," Czisch told UPI. "And then you have the coastal region of Morocco, which has excellent wind capacities."


Czisch’s proposal has sparked the interest of several politicians and large energy utilities, but observers say political interest does not equal political will, especially for such a massive project, which would completely turn our fossil fuel-based system into a renewable one.

And then there is the 27-member European Union, a politically overblown and slow body when it comes to groundbreaking long-term decisions.

Czisch said he has some hopes the United States, a country with huge hydropower potential, wind and solar-thermal power resources, can one day take the lead, because there, the problem of coordinating such a system would be much smaller.

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Scott Simms national Liberal party campaigns in ireland

Unsinkable election sign floats into Irishman's hands
Randy Boswell, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, October 05, 2007

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rejected rampant speculation about a federal election this fall, but a Newfoundland Liberal MP's campaign sign has already popped up -- on a beach along the northwest coast of Ireland.

In a bizarre case of transatlantic politicking, a lawn sign urging voters to support Bonavista-area Liberal candidate Scott Simms has come ashore about 3,500 kilometres away -- on the Irish isle of Achill -- after apparently spending more than three years bobbing its way across the ocean.



Newfoundland Labrador "County government system in wings"

County government system in wings, towns told
Last Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2007 | 11:59 AM NT
CBC News

A county system of local government will likely be implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador within the next two to four years, a municipal advocacy group says.

Wayne Ruth, the president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, says a county system is inevitable. Wayne Ruth, the president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, says a county system is inevitable.

More than 50,000 people — or 10 per cent of the province's population — live in dozens of unincorporated communities, where taxes may be cheap but services are often minimal.

Wayne Ruth, president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, said a county system similar to that used in other provinces could solve several problems at once.

"We don't have people that are volunteering for councils. We don't have people volunteering for fire departments or recreational groups [either]," Ruth told CBC News.

Real player link to story.

I must say from the little I know of municipal and town governance it is about time.

In fact I have been thinking about doing a blog on this for awhile but just didn't feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to feel comfortable in making any assertions.

While this story doesn't goes very much in depth on the relevance of Counties or parishes or whatever other name provinces use to achieve similar objectives it does spell out the basics.

United we stand divided we fall!

As for the fear mongering in this piece that a county system will cost people more in taxes, from what I can tell it would seem the Rural secretariate or federation of municipalities would be able to walk right into this role. The boundaries would seem to have already been established as well.


Thursday, November 01, 2007


Why Tax Cuts Make Us Weak By Murray Dobbin

Why Tax Cuts Make Us Weak

Taxes are the price of a civilized society.

By Murray Dobbin

November 1, 2007

So here we go again, another round of huge tax cuts as the country continues
down the road to a neo-con dystopia. Over the next five years the revenue
that pays for the things Canadians say they want will drop by $60 billion.
There are cuts to the GST, to personal income taxes and corporate taxes --
with the latter dropping by 2012 to 15 per cent (from 21 per cent today), an
outrageous corporate giveaway, giving us third world status in the "attract
investment" race to the bottom.

It is the continuation of a 20 years process of diminishing the country -- a
conscious plan implemented by three prime ministers from both the Liberal
and Conservative parties. Between 1984 and 2006 the federal government,
which is supposed to be looking after the interests of the country,
voluntarily gave up over $250 billion in revenue -- an amount that would
have made a huge difference in the quality of life of Canada. We can now add
$60 billion more. Provincial governments are equally culpable.

It's not hard to list the things we could now be enjoying as a country had
those cuts not been made, especially taking into account the annual revenue
we would have: a national child care program, a national pharmacare program,
a home care program, social housing, radical cuts in tuition fees, and the
elimination of this country's staggering infrastructure deficit, estimated
to be between $60 billion and $120 billion.

Why business needs taxes

Of course, the conservative voter would say, this is a mostly a left-wing
wish list. But look more closely at what could be done with these surpluses
and with a return to tax levels of the fairly recent past. Take the
infrastructure deficit: the crumbling of our municipal services like sewer
and water, our roads and bridges, and our ports. Spending on these things is
hardly a left-wing fantasy. It is business which depends on these things at
least as much as ordinary citizens and communities.

We hear ad nauseam about Canada having to be globally "competitive," but how
on earth can we be competitive if our bridges are actually falling down, as
they are in Quebec? Does the corporate elite in this country really believe
that the only thing governments need to do to remain competitive with other
jurisdictions is to cut taxes? We have been cutting taxes on corporations
for 15 years to the point where we now tax them considerably less than they
do in the U.S. But still we aren't "competitive."

The role of corporate tax cuts in spurring investment has always been
exaggerated by big business. Surveys of CEOs over many years have shown that
the income tax rate usually plays a secondary role in investment decisions.
The more important issues include the cost of borrowing, availability of
trained workers, energy costs, the reliability of transportation
infrastructure, access to markets, and land costs. The issue of income tax
is only important if you actually make an income.

And what about child care, another purely left wing demand? Hardly, if you
take seriously all the corporate hand-wringing about the worsening labour
shortage. What do the tax-cutters think will solve the labour shortage? Tens
of thousands of Canadians have long since given up even looking for work
because child care is so expensive it would absorb most of their take home
pay. A major Health Canada study [ ] revealed that
deteriorating conditions in work/life balance was the key factor in Canada's
plummeting birth rate. No wonder there's a labour shortage -- we aren't
making workers any more.

What about a pharmacare program? The lack of such a universal program costs
large companies hundreds of millions each year -- both in terms of the costs
of drugs within medicare and the cost of the health plans they provide their
employees. Tuition fees? How is it good for competitiveness if fewer and
fewer young people can actually go to university -- and those that do are
saddled with $30- 80,000 in debt? Social housing? Ask the Vancouver Olympic
Organizing Committee if they think having thousands of people living on the
streets makes us internationally competitive -- they are panic stricken
about Vancouver's image.

Truly 'competitive' nations

Will yet more tax cuts make us more "competitive" as Finance Minister
Flaherty said in his economic update? If the figures of the World Economic
Forum -- the most elitist international forum on the planet -- are to be
believed, more tax cuts will actually have the reverse effect. In 1999, the
year before Paul Martin introduced his huge tax cuts, Canada was 5th in the
competitiveness sweepstakes. After seven years of tax cuts we are in 16th
place.[ ] Who beats us?
Amongst others, the Nordic countries, which collect half their GDP in taxes
each year. Nine of the 15 countries ahead of us have higher taxes.

This draconian slashing has nothing to do with competitiveness. It is
ideology run amok. It is no secret that Stephen Harper has a visceral
contempt for what Canada became after the Second World War. But he can't get
rid of government directly so his plan is to gradually starve it to death.
The relentless attack on the tax base creates the useful crisis corporate
governments need to justify cutting social programs, environmental
protection and other social roles of government. Keep cutting taxes and
revenue and eventually you get deficits.

The continuing savaging of government revenue is the throwing down of the
gauntlet by the right to all those who support activist, social democratic
government. The problem is that no one in the constellation of Canadian
progressive groups, including national unions, seems willing to take up that
gauntlet. While these groups are making admirable efforts to keep medicare
public, to lower tuition fees, to establish universal child care, to create
social housing and increase foreign aid, none of them have yet taken on the
critical, national task of fighting tax cuts. Yet all of these things depend
on government revenue. Without that revenue any political victories on these
issues will be pyrrhic ones.

It is long past time that civil society organizations, especially national
unions, take up the challenge presented by massive reductions in government
revenue. Let's mobilize Canadians around the conviction that taxes are the
price we pay for a civilized society.

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