Saturday, May 31, 2008

 

County government for rural Newfoundland?

County government for rural Newfoundland?
New system needed to collect rural tax increases: Fenwick; Cape St. George levies out-of-province landowners twice the mil rate

By Ivan Morgan
The Independent
A small-town mayor says the
province’s municipal government
structure is going to have
to change to address a host of new troubles
facing municipal service delivery
in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
Peter Fenwick, mayor of Cape St.
George, says some new form of municipal
government will be needed to
collect the bigger tax bills that he says
will come with new provincial waste
management and water services.
He also says the buy-up of land by
out-of-province residents requires a
beefed-up system.
“Very quickly, rural Newfoundland
is being bought up by people who don’t
live here,” Fenwick tells The Independent
from his Cape St. George home.
Minister of Municipal Affairs Dave
Denine says any changes to municipal
government will be grassroots in origin,
and no changes will be forced on
rural taxpayers.
“It’s not going to come from the
grassroots, because the grassroots
won’t see the problem,” says Fenwick,
who is chair of the Southwest Coast
Joint Council.
Fenwick says rural parts of the province
are served by one of two municipal
structures: municipalities or local
service districts, which are set up to
provide basic services in areas not incorporated
into municipalities.
Fenwick says the province has approximately
300 municipalities and
250 local services districts.
While municipalities are empowered
to levy and collect taxes, he says trying
to run a local service district is “terrible.”
Run by volunteers, Fenwick says
they struggle with no money, no support
from the community and no power
to deal with delinquent taxpayers,
“Their problems are legion and I
have more sympathy for them than
anybody.”
Fenwick says new initiatives announced
by the Williams government
dealing with waste management and
providing clean drinking water are
going to cost people in rural Newfoundland
and Labrador more money
— but the structures to collect that
money don’t exist in many parts of the
province.
He says a county system would be a
solution to this problem, but he is “absolutely
positive” people won’t vote
for it, fearing it will be expensive.
Which he says it will be, but people
will have to pay anyway.
Fenwick says the politics surrounding
this issue are potentially explosive,
adding most rural MHAs with a high
number of local service districts in
their constituency would have “hysterical”
voters on their hands if the county
government or property taxes were
proposed.
.
.
.
ivan.morgan@theindependent.ca

Thursday, May 29, 2008

 

Julie Couillard parle


 

Energy Corporation Structure Ensures Accountability and Competitiveness

http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2008/nr/0528n07.htm



Energy Corporation Structure Ensures Accountability and Competitiveness

The Provincial Government is taking another step forward to implement the Energy Plan with legislation currently before the House of Assembly to establish the governance and accountability structure for the province’s energy corporation and its subsidiaries.

"We have undertaken significant analysis and engaged external analysts to ensure our energy corporation is structured in a manner consistent with international best practices for government-owned corporations," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "We are breaking new ground in resource development and the energy corporation will position the province as an international player, ready and able to compete around the world."

Since 2003, the Provincial Government has taken a series of steps towards positioning the province to have greater participation in resource development. The energy corporation was established to pursue energy developments on behalf of the people of the province. Amendments to the Energy Corporation Act tabled in the House of Assembly this week establish the public accountability process for the corporation and its subsidiaries, provide for the creation of subsidiaries, and protect the corporation and the Provincial Government, to the best extent possible, from risks associated with the activities of the subsidiaries.

"The energy corporation and its subsidiaries will remain subject to key accountability and disclosure legislation while commercially-sensitive information is protected," said Minister Dunderdale. "These changes continue to ensure strong oversight while meeting the requirements necessary for this province to be a strong partner and participant in the global energy business. The corporation will be subject to similar reporting requirements as companies listed on a stock exchange."

The Office of the Auditor General will continue to have unrestricted access and oversight to the energy corporation, its subsidiaries and all commercially-sensitive information. It will also have to protect commercially-sensitive information from disclosure, in carrying out its duties. If the office has an issue which contains reference to commercially-sensitive information and the CEO does not agree to release then the office will report it to the Cabinet and notify the House of Assembly of such a report. If there is an issue not related to commercially-sensitive information, it can be disclosed to the public.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act will continue to apply, with a similar provision to protect commercially-sensitive information. If an applicant has an issue with being denied certain information, an appeal can be made to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, who can review whether the information meets the definition of commercially sensitive information. If it does meet the definition, the commissioner will request the CEO and the Board of Directors to confirm that the disclosure would potentially harm the company. If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome, the applicant can pursue recourse through the courts.

The energy corporation and its subsidiaries will continue to comply with the province’s Accountability and Transparency Act and will be subject to specific public reporting provisions that provide greater access to information by the public, including an open public annual general meeting, a consolidated annual report and annual consolidated financial statements.

"We are committed to openness and accountability in our operations," said Ed Martin, President and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and the province’s energy corporation. "It is a principle and value in our business and we see the importance of strong reporting and disclosure requirements. The success of our energy business will be built on gaining the support and trust of the people of the province as we move forward which requires openness and accountability."

The amendments also allow the corporation and its subsidiaries, to follow global best practices for procurement associated with large-scale projects and to include considerations, such as the principle of adjacency to maximize local benefits and Aboriginal interests, not provided for in the Public Tender Act. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, as a regulated utility, will continue to be subject to the Public Tender Act.

These amendments to the Energy Corporation Act will allow the corporation to deliver on the key goals and objectives outlined in the Energy Plan and ensure the corporation is structured for commercial success in competitive industries.

"We want our energy corporation and its subsidiaries to participate fully in major energy projects and enter into agreements with its private-sector partners on behalf of the people of the province," Minister Dunderdale said. "We are setting up this company and its subsidiaries for success in the energy business – success that will benefit all the people of the province. This is an important step in taking control of our natural resource developments and our future."

- 30 -

Media contacts:
Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241
tracybarron@gov.nl.ca Dawn Dalley
Manager, Corporate Communication and Shareholder Relations
Energy Corporation/Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
709-737-1315, 709-727-7715
ddalley@nlh.nl.ca

Monday, May 26, 2008

 

Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax?

Is the national liberal Revenue Neutral Carbon tax really revenue neutral or just a redesign of the system to the benefit of the majority provinces in a vain attempt to steal from the minority and give to the majority in the national parties never ending bid for power?

In other words just national energy program 2 on a larger scale. Not unlike the redesign of the Social and Health transfers to a per capita formula of transfers.

My understanding of the Liberal plan is that they want to lower income taxes for the majority and increase carbon taxes as an offset.

While this might sound good at face value but if one looks deeper and considers who will actually be impacted by this tax shift it becomes obvious that this is just one more attempt by a national party to buy votes in the majority provinces at the expense of the minority provinces.

Who has all of the carbon energy that is going to be taxed? Alberta, Sask, NS, BC, and NL.

Who has the majority of high income tax payers? Ontario and Quebec.

Who uses the most carbon on a per capita basis. The minority provinces because their populations live in mostly rural northern climates. Minority provinces due to their small populations and large geographic areas don't have large scale public transit if any at all in the case of NL which no longer has a railroad. CN Continental National.

Minority provinces have resource and commodity based economies that are highly reliant upon carbon to fuel them whereas the majority provinces have service and manufacturing based economies which can make use of carbon free energies like nuclear and Hydro as well as their federally offset funded public transit.

This new plan the national liberal party is trying to push is nothing more than the status Quo of Democratic Discrimination by the national parties against the minority provinces in favor of the majority provinces by the national parties to redesign the system so as to pander to the majority provinces where 181 seats out of a possible 308 at the expense of the minority provinces.

To top it all of it does absolutely nothing to address the real problem and present solutions to get us off of a carbon based economy.

Not one mention of a national energy corridor or help with the development of the worlds last best undeveloped hydro project the Lower Churchill with Loan guarantees basically co-signing.

To date there are only three options as I see it.

1, Revenue neutral bells curve tax re-appropriation.
2, Cp and trade a internaional global solution but still doesn't address or resolve the cause in that it doesn't provide or even promote a solution to getting us off our adiction to fossil fuels energy.
3, User Pay toll highways. Seeing as 2/3's of all fossil fuel energy is used for transportation purposes. You will never see this one in canada because it would mean the majority provinces would have to pay their fair share.

Producers vs consumers economies?

The only fair and equitable system to our people and our economy would be consumers pay seeing as we export a good portion of our fossil fuels. Anything less would be just Energy plan II and a reinstatement of a manufacturing tax through the back door geared towards stealing from the minority resource rich provinces in favor of the majority consumer provinces and would harm our national economy.

Besides don't we already have a carbon tax? Something like 30% of what you pay for at the pumps is taxes.

First things first. Nay use of carbon for purposes where here is an alternate clean energy resource available should be taxed. IE home heating stationary uses. Assuming carbon isn't being used to create the stationary energy sources. Coal and bunker C energy production would get taxed in favor of renewable energy sources.

While this would only be 1/3 of all carbon energy usage it is a usage that isn't absolutely necessary at this time and as such should be discouraged in favor of cleaner energy sources.

Cap and trade is designed to punish producers while consumers get of scott free and will continue their lifestyles unfettered.

Dual unidirectional Railroad tracks across the entire federation.
 

Ethical Ethanol

Is there any such thing when the developed world is using their abundance of farmland to grow crops to turn into fuel while large portions of the worlds population goes hungry?

North American govts have encouraged subsidized and even funded these unethical projects with little or no thought into the cause and effect to the worlds population.

By mandating a 5% ethanol blend for all fuels by 2010 we have ignored the root cause of our energy crisis and decided to look after our own interest while ignoring the worlds food issues to our detriment I fear.

While there might not be alot of things the analysts and pundits say we can control when it comes to the cost of carbon energy seeing as it is a world market we can control this one that is to only encourage ethical ethanol. That is ethanol that only comes from non food based stock or agricultural land use as well.

Ethanol isn't a long term solution and as such should not be promoted nor subsidized IMHO.

Our national parties might overlook global food shortages in order to gain favor with the voting public in there never ending quest for power.

Crimes against humanity!
 

MUN, Harris Centre Launching Online Forum

http://www.harriscentreforum.ca/

Harris Centre Launching Online Forum
May 26, 2008

Memorial University's Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development is launching an online public forum for regional governance. The forum aims to encourage public debate on regionally managed health care, education, economic development, and municipal government. The announcement takes place today at 2 pm in the Junior Common Room, R. Gushue Hall, Prince Phillip Drive on the St John's Campus.

H/T VOCM

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

 

Q tire All season studded tires



http://www.qtires.com/

Watch the video.

Since the introduction of steel-belted radial tires more than three decades ago, there have been few significant innovations in automobile tires, especially in tire safety. Until now. Q Tires is revolutionizing the tire industry. Q Tires is introducing truly innovative products that will significantly improve tire safety--tires that can save thousands of lives.

Q Tires believes that the consistent questioning of conventional wisdom leads to new and better solutions. We expect tires, like most of the products we use every day, should improve over time. Our mission is, quite simply, to create the world's safest tires.

Q Tires has assembled a talented team of experts to create a completely new approach toward tire safety and driver convenience. Our design and engineering experts and our state-of-the-art manufacturing partners on two continents deliver a truly innovative product that potentially improves safety, saves money, protects the environment, and preserves our roads.

Introducing a revolutionary new tire technology that deploys studs on demand in snow and ice. Controlled by air within the tire, these retractable studs can be extended as needed--then retracted below the tread surface when no longer required. There are no chains to add. No tires to change. No extra tires to store.

Can Q Technology save lives?
Q Tires with retractable studs are safer. Independent tests have shown that Q tires incorporating retractable studs are safer on ice than conventional studded tires, winter tires and “all season” tires.

Can Q Technology save roads?
Q retractable studded tires truly are the alternative to studded tires and chains, which cause untold damage to roads, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in road repair each year.

Can Q Technology save money?
Q retractable studded tires not only save lives, but by reducing accidents and insurance claims, they will save Q Tire owners money. And they cost hundreds less than having two sets of tires.

Can Q Technology help save the environment?
With Q retractable studded tires, there is less need to apply damaging salt and de-icing chemicals to the roads in wintertime, which leach into the soil and contaminate our groundwater.

Monday, May 19, 2008

 

Some light dog days of summer reading

Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

Smelling land by David Sanborn Scott, The Hydrogen defense against Global catastrophe.
You can also listen to three interviews with Scott on CBC ideas I think it was.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

 

Some observations here in BC

There has been a few things I have observed or taken notice of since moving here to BC.

C-Can storage and moving enterprises.
http://www.pods.com/vancouver.aspx
http://www.bigsteelbox.com/
Just one more thing that you see everywhere out here and it really is a good idea. Now as for the pods concept I think they need to rethink heir loading and off loading mechanisms. I saw a Terra trans port mobile sea can handler one time that basically had two hiabs one on either end of the truck and it picked the C-can off of the train that would be a better set up IMO as opposed to tilt bed or some other type of system.
How easy would it be to set up a storage facility with these c-Cans. Could be loaded and offloaded on site or just used on site.

mobile sign cement pyramid blocks
Gonna have to get the diggi cam out and take some pics for this one. It is like a aztec pyramid in that the top is flat and has a larger diameter pipe embedded into the top middle as well as two lifting eyes carry eyes also protruding out from the top.
Used for temporary signing or where posts keep getting broken off. Now they just get tipped over. Once again all over the place out here.

Lock-Blocks
These things are everywher and anywher eout here. They use them as barricades, Retaining walls, Foundations for garages, you name it and there is a use for these things. In fact after doing a little research there are alot more uses than I have even seen or noticed out here. They design them as roman arches with a key stone concept as well like in this picture.


Centre line Rumble strips which I talked about in another post. But I will add that I think they would be a invaluable addition to crosswalks or in advance of crosswalks or School zones or to differentiate bicycle paths from the road ways. There was an intersection just outside off Moncton that had this sort of RS a KM before the intersection to awaken drivers of the intersection.

Just some things I figured someone at home might be able to make use of.
 

NB Flooding

Just an observation and suggestion.

Having lived in NB and observed the goings on of the St John river it always occurred to me that the annual flooding of the St John river valley could easily be prevented.

The most curious thing I noticed that made me come to this conclusion is the fact that even the SJ river as far up as Fredericton is tidal waters.

yes if you know anything about NB you must be thinking how is this possible. Well I wouldn't have believed it myself unless I had seen it with my own two eyes.

That is to say I observed the SJ river flowing upstream at Oromocto. At first I was puzzled like isn't this river supposed to be flowing towards the sea and not away or for the layman down river as opposed to up river assuming you knew which was which to begin with. But is was actually something to behold like there were eddy's and currents actually flowing upstream some 150 km from the mouth of the river it is truly something to behold.

Now I couldn't tell you the height above sea level at Oromocto or Fredericton for that matter. I know that entire region of the NB province is somewhat of tidal flats really so I don't imaging that the height above sea level is that much but still for the tides to push the river current and the tidal water that far upstream really really needs to be considered when one is looking at annual flooding along the SJ river.

I can't stress this enough about the SJ river being tidal as far up as Freddy.

Now look at the reversing falls. While this may be a wonderful tourist attraction NOT. oddity IMO.

If someone namely govt were to do something substantial long lasting and meaningful to stop the annual flooding along the SJ river is would have to be done right there at the reversing falls it is a narrow gap and could easily be dammed weired whatever so as to only allow water to flow out at low tide and not upstream at high tide.

Christ it could even be dammed and utilized as a micro hydro project.

Never happen the moonbats would cry bloody murder we will lose a tourist attraction of the reversing falls. Yeah ok I know I wasn't that impressed with it. I was more impressed with the tidal bore in Moncton or up the Truro channel.

Just a thought!

Same thing needs to be considered for the SASK Winnipeg floods only in reverse and on a much broader stepped scale. Kinda like beaver dams.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

 

Newfoundland Labrador Budget 2008

Tearing down the overpass!

The biggest thing in that whole 1.4 billion surplus budget was that new and improved funding ratio's for different sized communities.

I believe it was something along the lines of 70/30 for communities under 2000, 60/40 for communities over 2000 but under 10,000, and 50/50 for larger communities.

The only draw back I can see with this improved funding regime would be that it may be somewhat counterproductive for communities amalgamating or uniting into service districts. Parishes, etc.

He said he was going to do it and IMHO this will go along way towards doing just that.

Now if the national parties would only look beyond the buying the next election with our own money and do something like this that would be inline with nation building as opposed to empire building which is what we have now with our systemically flawed political system of democratic discrimination against the minority provinces by the national parties in there never ending bid to buy power by catering to and pandering to the majority provinces where 181 seats out of a possible 308 exist.
 

CUDO's to NAFO

For recognizing the destructive and indiscriminate nature of bottom dragging. It is a first step with a marathon ahead of us especially when you consider someone else is pulling our MP marionette's strings.
 

Rumble strips

I never actually realized something so simple and taken for granted upalong doesn't exist in NL?

I commend the Williams govt for identifying such a cheap cost effective fix to protect the citizens of NL.

I was actually thinking about doing a blog on this some time ago but never got around to it.

My point was going to be that I have noticed since moving out west here that they have even improved upon the rest of canada's RS's by making the ones on the side intermittent. Lets say 10 feet of RS's and 10 feet of bare pavement.

They also put the RS's in the centre where there would be a double solid line and corners any location that swaying to the centre inadvertantly might be hazardous to your and others health and safety.

Not sure what the R&D would tell you about this suggestion but I'm thinking it would work like I'm about to explain.

That is to say paint your lines on and into the rumble strips. It might take a little more paint initially to do this but in the long run it would last alot longer due to the increased surface area. Not being run over by car truck and snow plow blades. The paint would reflect alot better from the surface facing the oncoming traffic due to the perpendicular angle at which the side of the RS would be exposed.

The Rumble strips would work even during snow storms fog and poor visibility conditions because you could feel the lines.

The paint used may need to be looked at due to the salt and road grim pooling in the RS's.

Anyway HT to DW's and his team.

Now if he would only do something about the lack of a 911 in the province. Have province my ass. We are still a minority and under a per-capita revised federal funding system we will now be forever relegated to the fringes and marginalization.
 

Canary in the cold mine



Thats one BIG HAIRY CANARY

It is also One BIG BRIGHT COLD MINE,what with the arctic having 24 hours of daylight during the summer.

Anyone who is so little and small minded to look outside their door during a snow storm and bawk at the idea of Global warming is no different that Henny Penny in reverse by saying I don't see any global warming.

On that note it only snows when the temperature is in and around freezing that is why the artic and central canada doesn't get much snow it is too cold to snow unlike moderate climates like those in and around the ocean where the ocean moderates temperatures to in and around freezing.

There is also the possibility that warmer temperates also means increased evaporation and precipitation.

Hydrogen or HELL! In a man basket.

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