Monday, May 15, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

With all the real health services that they could fix- the ministry of health parasites have decided to go after farmers markets and other "free"markets". Stop them now before they cause more damage and hardship-PR
Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "
Province Targets Farmers' Markets

James Wallace for the Osprey News Network
Queens Park - Saturday, May 13, 2006

On any given weekend, thousands of Ontario families hike out to a local farmers' market to shop for vegetables, crafts, meats, furniture, maple syrup and the usual soup to nuts piled on wooden stands and displayed under linen tents.

They have been enormously popular with urban and rural consumers for decades, serve as important tourist attractions in many communities, contribute significantly to regional economies and put a few bucks into the pockets of farmers, craftsmen and local merchants.

So it should come as absolutely no shock whatsoever that the provincial government is contemplating plans to regulate, red tape and otherwise drive farmers' markets out of existence.

Proposed food safety guidelines in a 48-page draft document prepared in March for the Ministry of Health will require farmers' markets to meet the same stringent measures applied to restaurants, grocery stores and large scale commercial food producers and distributors.

They contemplate, for example, lab tests for home-made jelly, that honey made by local bees contain no more than 17 per cent moisture, recommendations that every market have two bathrooms (one for staff, one for the public), sinks and hand-washing facilities, log books to record food thermometer temperatures during cooking and that farmers and merchants take courses to become certified food handlers.

Bob Runciman, the MPP for Leeds Grenville, said the reach of the proposed measures also won't end at farmers' markets.

'It's pretty expansive,' Runciman said. 'They'll be"

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tax relief is needed- PR

Sun, May 14, 2006 Time for gov't gouging to stop By TOM BRODBECK

If you want to find out how much the federal government has been over-charging us as taxpayers, check out the latest 2006 budget papers.
There's a whole section on how Ottawa has consistently been racking up massive budget surpluses since it balanced the books in 1997.
That in itself is no great secret. We've heard about larger than anticipated surpluses for years.
But what the budget does this year is take a closer look at the issue, including what can be done to end this perpetual over-charging.
Every year since 1997, the federal government has projected a modest surplus, including a $3-billion contingency fund which, if not used, went to pay down the debt.
It was good policy. And debt has been paid down to some extent (although we've still got a very long way to go).
Trouble is, because of high taxation -- including more than a decade where tax brackets weren't indexed to inflation -- and the massive employment insurance surplus racked up every year, Ottawa was taking in billions more a year than it projected.
Which simply means we were over-taxed.
On average, since 1997, the federal government's surplus was a staggering $5.6 billion more than projected. Over eight years, that's nearly $45 billion.
It's a massive amount of money. And it came right out of our pockets.
Instead of giving it back, though, they spent most of it, usually in a year-end frenzy to shore up political support.
Polite way
"This reduced the scope for parliamentarians and Canadians to have an informed debate on how these fiscal dividends were allocated," the 2006 budget says.
That's a polite way of putting it.
Another way of putting it is that taxpayers were screwed.
We paid far more than we should have.
There are valid reasons why government can have unanticipated surpluses. The economy can do better than expected, for example, generating more tax revenue than estimated.
That's fine. It's going to happen.
But when it happens every year, and at such high levels, there's a systemic gouging going on that has to stop.
The explanation in the budget, based on an independent review by the International Monetary Fund, is that the federal government's fiscal projections have been more cautious than other countries since the mid-1990s.
In plain English, that means Ottawa was deliberately underestimating its revenues in order to keep taxes high, knowing full well that by the end of the year, they would be awash in taxpayer dough.
And why would they do that?
Because if you believe in big government, if you think government should play a significant role in people's lives, you need the money to spend on big, universal programs, such as the so-called national child-care program.
By consistently underestimating revenues, government every year had a whack of money to splurge on all kinds of federal programs, with the hope of winning political credit for their efforts.
What they should have done is used realistic projections and given us our money back by way of broad-based tax relief.
At the very least, we should have all received rebate cheques in the mail.

Focus on Outcomes - Rev. Harry Lehotsky - Outcomes a better measure of success

Ecellent idea for making government work PR - Rev. Harry Lehotsky - Outcomes a better measure of success: "Things will never change if we don't start focusing more on outcomes than process.
I felt like shouting 'Amen!' But I wasn't in church, and such enthusiasm for common sense seemed like it might not be appropriate.
This Wednesday I attended the 10th anniversary of Opportunities for Employment -- an employment training program that embodies what happens when you focus more on outcomes than process.
The organization was founded on a revolutionary principle. The agency would make itself as accountable for their performance with their clients as their clients would have to be in the workforce. Opportunities for Employment would get paid only if their clients succeeded in holding a full-time job for at least six months. "

Getting our ship in order Strong dollar speaks volumes - Editorial - Strong dollar speaks volumes: "Under Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien and finance minister Paul Martin, the Canadian dollar sank to less than 63 cents US at various times. What a disgrace. How embarrassing. No wonder financial experts around the globe talked about us having a 'northern peso.'
We had one of the largest federal accumulated debts in the industrialized world, our combined federal, provincial and municipal taxes were the highest in the G-7 -- and on average 20% higher than in the U.S. Coincidentally, our productivity was 20% lower than in the U.S., which certainly told a story. "

It is no coincidence our 90-cent dollar has arrived just three months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives won the Jan. 23 federal election and just a week after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled his first budget.
From New York to Zurich to Hong Kong, the world now knows we are getting our ship in order.

Friday, May 12, 2006 - Editorial - The right to judge judges - Editorial - The right to judge judges: "The rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile public opinion. There is certainly no guarantee or presumption that a given list of constitutional principles is complete, even assuming the good faith intention of the drafters to provide such a catalogue ... Judges have the duty to insist that legislative and executive branches of government conform to certain established and fundamental norms, even in times of trouble.'
Some might say McLachlin was simply saying judges must follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law and rule based not on what is popular, but on what is constitutional.
Others might say she was defending such controversial decisions as the Supreme Court 'reading in' sexual orientation into the charter, which many people saw as judges improperly exercising 'godlike' power.
That's the view Vellacott expressed and it's a valid one.
At least it would be, if our politicians truly believed in another charter right -- free speech. "

Tories smell new scandal over gun registry costs

At least we can clean it up-no meetings just do it PR
Tories smell new scandal over gun registry costs: "'When they gave out that $273-million contract, they broke every rule in the book,' Breitkreuz said, echoing the phrase that Fraser made famous in her audit of the $250-million sponsorship program."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 : Attack on judiciary shatters strategic silence

What are the unwritten constitional principles? PR This will make for a livly debate in the future. : Attack on judiciary shatters strategic silence: "Mr. Vellacott was apparently drawn out by a speech Chief Justice McLachlin delivered in New Zealand in December. It explored the notion of 'unwritten constitutional principles' -- principles thought to be so fundamental to society that judges may occasionally use them to underpin a ruling.
Chief Justice McLachlin reasoned that laws cannot encompass all possible situations. 'In sum, the rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile positive opinion,' she said.
To those of conservative mind, the speech was a red flag to a bull; a declaration that all manner of cases can be justified by reference to vague, 'unwritten constitutional principles.'
Ironically, Chief Justice McLachlin is widely seen as being loathe to strike down legislation under the Charter of Rights, often taking pains to bow in the direction of Parliament and its legislative agenda.
The best-known use of unwritten principles in recent years was the Quebec Secession Reference ruling, where the court cited four unwritten principles -- federalism, democracy, the rule of law and respect for minorities -- to create a blueprint for the possible partition of Canada.
However, University of Toronto law professor Sujit Choudhry noted that in a 2005 ruling pitting the B.C. government against several tobacco companies, the court also took a strong position against 'trivializing' the Constitution with extravagant interpretations of unwritten principles.
Mr. Vellacott's attack brought a highly unusual retort from Chief Justice McLachlin: She categorically denied his allegation that she had ever referred to judges as having 'almost God-like powers.'
Prof. Levy said the response can b" : PM's spring cleanup casts pall over Ottawa : PM's spring cleanup casts pall over Ottawa: "PM's spring cleanup casts pall over Ottawa
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Ottawa � The Harper government's new accountability measures are creating an atmosphere in political Ottawa where accepting free tickets to gala concerts, fundraising dinners and other cultural events is frowned upon."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Brault sentenced to 30 months for sponsorship fraud

Brault sentenced to 30 months for sponsorship fraud: "Ad man Jean Brault got 30 months in prison after a judge condemned him Friday as one of the greedy masterminds who became rich off sponsorship fraud.
Brault, 52, was sentenced for stealing at least $1.2 million from money meant to raising the profile of the federal government in the wake of the 1995 referendum. "

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tory Budget "For him, Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper score 6.5 out of 7 in being good conservatives. The budget, he said, passes the conservative test by cutting taxes; assuming that people can spend their money more effectively than the state; allocating serious money toward debt reduction; planning to withdraw from areas of provincial jurisdiction; reining in runaway spending; and funnelling tax relief to promote a more competitive economy."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - Editorial - Lighten our load, Mr. Harper

Relief please- We need the money more then you do PR - Editorial - Lighten our load, Mr. Harper: "Anyone who thinks Canadians aren't ready for major tax relief in today's budget -- the first federal Conservative budget in 13 years -- needs a reality check.
Most taxpayers are more than ready -- as indicated by the Fraser Institute study released last week showing that the total tax hit is now approaching 50% of the average Canadian family's income. And these aren't 'rich' people.
They're average families earning just under $61,000 per year, who now pay $28,467 in total taxes, more than they spend on food, shelter and clothing combined. "