Saturday, February 28, 2009

Water footprint

Water is a scarce commodity... and we live in an age in which, for better or worse, people of all kinds are obsessed with reducing their "carbon footprint." Now there are more footprints to worry about: water footprints.
The Wall Street Journal recently gave some examples of this sort of thing:

It takes roughly 20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer, as much as 132 gallons of water to make a 2-liter bottle of soda and about 500 gallons of water, including water used to grow, dye and process cotton, to make a pair of Levi's stonewashed jeans.
Other examples include the nearly 35 gallons of water behind every cup of coffee, the 700 gallons behind the typical dyed T-shirt, and the 630 gallons to produce a single hamburger.

So a water footprint is basically how much water you use to produce a given consumer good. There is a lot more attention focused on reducing this water footprint, especially since water-scarcity issues are cropping up a lot more these days.

You may be familiar with these numbers: Two-thirds of the world's population face water shortages by 2025, according to the United Nations. And according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, about 36 states face water shortages by 2013.

These issues may not seem so pressing to you, since every time you turn on the tap, the water flows. And you can get all the bottled water you can buy at any grocery store. Unless you live in the Western states, where water rights are more of a concern, you may not appreciate water-scarcity issues.

But it is an important issue for industrial users of water all over the world. Nike, Pepsi, Starbucks, Levi's, and about 100 other companies recently held a conference in Miami on reducing water footprints. So this is serious business.

It's not just an attempt to be eco-friendly, either. It's nothing but good old-fashioned greed that compels companies to think about their water usage. If you are Coca-Cola, you need a good water supply. And you can't have locals railing at you for depleting their already low water supply to make fizzy sugar water. Coca-Cola either finds ways to use water more efficiently or the locals will shut production down.

The Journal notes in passing SABMiller's experience in Tanzania. SABMiller makes Miller Lite, Peroni, and Pilsner Urquell. Its factory in Dar es Salaam depleted local aquifers, causing them to grow increasingly salty. Meanwhile, the city has water shortages already. SABMiller has to find a way use water more efficiently or it will go out of business in Tanzania.

These kinds of stories repeat themselves in different settings all over the world. As one manager for the Freshwater Footprint Project for the World Wildlife Fund said, "Three billion more people are going to be on this planet" by 2050. "Somehow, we're going to have to use the same amount of water we use today."

Nalco is right in the heart of this issue. Nalco's customers are industrial users. Nalco's services improve water efficiency. The company also offers services to reduce air pollution, treat industrial wastewater, and more. In this, Nalco is the global leader, with a 17% global market share. It's bigger than GE in water.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Municipal accountability- auditor general position needed

What we need is more aountaility the savings would be enormous . " auditors general have become more popular due to their use by senior levels of government.
"Everybody's heard the name Sheila Fraser," he said, referring to the federal public servant. "Everybody's concerned now where any dollar is going." We need some innovative thinking in this area - Brantford should consider this and the Brant Taxpayers Coalition should endorse this move .

C-K may get new position Posted By TREVOR TERFLOTH, THE DAILY NEWS In the interest of municipal accountability, the idea of an auditor general will come before council on Monday.

An administrative report released yesterday stated the main task would be performing value for money audits, as well as ensuring transparency and providing council with independent advice.

This report didn't make a recommendation on the position, but simply introduced the concept.

The function of this position differs from an external auditor, who concentrates on financial statements. The auditor general is not required to be a municipal employee, and in this case, would work on a contract basis.

"Should council wish to create an AG office, we would recommend an initial two-year pilot project during which its effectiveness can be evaluated," the report stated.

Including salary, benefits, professional development and equipment, the position would cost approximately $140,000.

However, the report stated some of the costs could be offset through savings found by the auditor general.

As the item is in Monday's consent agenda, it would take an act of council to bring it up for discussion.

Gerry Wolting, general manager of corporate services, said councillors wished to look into the idea after the recent budget deliberations.

West Kent Coun. Bryon Fluker said auditors general have become more popular due to their use by senior levels of government.

"Everybody's heard the name Sheila Fraser," he said, referring to the federal public servant. "Everybody's concerned now where any dollar is going."

According to the report, other municipalities with an auditor general include Toronto, Ottawa, Oshawa and Markham.

Fluker said it could be more efficient if the auditor general's duties were shared with other taxpayer-support organizations, such as school boards and the hospital.

However, he said there could still be controversy on spending.

"Value for dollar can often be very subjective," he said.

The Chatham-Kent Coalition of Concerned Citizens -- which is now on hiatus -- had called for an auditor general review in 2005.

Bob Kominek, who was a member, said the $140,000 cost for an auditor general would be "paltry" compared to the millions of dollars he believes are spent needlessly.

"I would go for that," he said. "Our taxes keep going up, and I don't believe we're getting value for our dollar."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Native leaders willing to work out deal with city - Brantford Expositor - Ontario, CA

Native leaders willing to work out deal with city - Brantford Expositor - Ontario, CA: "Eventually, a formula would have been implemented to allow Six Nations to benefit financially from development projects.
But MacNaughton said both the Confederacy and elected councils had decided in a joint meeting last Sunday not to consider the draft memorandum, 'not because of its contents,' but because they believed an agreed process involving strict confidentiality was not being followed.
It was 'tainted' by a leak from Brantford's council immediately following its consideration of the document in a closed-door session last week, he said, and was further violated when Brantford Mayor Mike Hancock released it to the media.
MacNaughton also recounted an instance from last week when 'some lawyer' held up a document in a proceeding and said: 'There's an agreement' -- when it was still supposed to be confidential until all councils had a chance to review it.

He further insisted the memorandum was supposed to remain in a process of confidentiality all the way to the table of the ongoing land claims negotiations involving Six Nations, Canada and Ontario.
The leak not only 'disrupted' the process, he said, it also raises concerns in the eyes of Six Nations about the motives of Brantford council.""

"Interesting - the problem can be solved but not with those who breach confidentiality by grandstanding . In this case the adage -Loose lips sink ships-has proven true- discustingly" PR

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time to put cap on public salaries

Wow -some common sense at last "Here's what doesn't make sense:

You don't go into deficit to give pay hikes to civil servants. That simply builds in more and enduring deficits. Now is the time to hold the line on obscene civil service salaries. There are very few people who are actually worth more than $250,000 on the public dime.

Cap public sector pay. Put an end to bonuses. You think they'll quit for the private sector? Not a chance. It's cold out here. " PR

Time to put cap on public salaries

It was a rare glimpse of humanity you don't often get in rough-and-tumble scrums.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan made a frank admission about just how close to home the fallout from the economic meltdown has hit.

Duncan, whose Windsor riding has been devastated by the havoc in the auto sector, has clearly seen the pain close to home.

Asked if he was daunted about the tough road ahead, he had this to say: "Frankly the challenges I face as finance minister aren't nearly as challenging as families who lose a job," Duncan said.

"I have a little house on a little cul-de-sac of 20 houses and I can tell you that even among my neighbours and friends and families what has gone on is deeply troubling."

It was refreshing to have a minister in a "this too will pass" government admit the unemployed are more than just numbers in a pie chart.

Duncan will deliver his budget on March 26.

It will be pivotal -- a document that could well define his government. Revenues are down and the demands on the public purse have never been higher. As the unemployment rolls soar, welfare costs will skyrocket.

Having wrestled public sector unions to the ceiling in salary negotiations, Duncan's going to have to come up with billions of dollars to pay for those pay hikes.

What worries me is the tacit permission we have given politicians to rack up big deficits.

I suspect Premier Dalton McGuinty is also concerned, and that's what prompted him to give a flurry of interviews where he talked about "stimulus

In tough economic times it makes sense to build public infrastructure. But you should build only what you need.

We need new roads, new sewers and an improved electricity grid.

When the Toronto Stock Exchange can't function because of a power outage, it's time to fix those hydro transformers.

It makes sense to build new rail lines, so people outside the downtown core have access to good mass transit.

Here's what doesn't make sense:

You don't go into deficit to give pay hikes to civil servants. That simply builds in more and enduring deficits. Now is the time to hold the line on obscene civil service salaries. There are very few people who are actually worth more than $250,000 on the public dime.

Cap public sector pay. Put an end to bonuses. You think they'll quit for the private sector? Not a chance. It's cold out here.

Don't give contracts to cronies. We need a nonpartisan arbiter with integrity to police the cash as it goes out the door.

If you're going to bail out the auto sector, union members are going to have to make concessions.

The unemployed, people who are doing twice the work for half the salary, people who are just hanging on by their fingertips, will not buy in to a budget that bails out fat cat car execs and well-paid auto workers. Ditto for public sector and auto worker pensions. Their gold-plated defined benefit plans have tanked? Too bad.

You can't expect taxpayers who have no pensions to bail out people who do.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to kick-start their domestic auto sectors, some European countries are offering big cash bonuses to taxpayers to buy new cars.

That makes sense. It would get workers back on the line and give hard-pressed workers a break.

I'll bet on budget day Duncan will be watching for the drapes to twitch around his street. My guess is his neighbours will be his toughest critics.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

feeding on failure industry

Feeding On Their Own Failure

Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard, National Post, February 03, 2009

but is defined by the fact that its members are the initiators of the reactionary policies that maintain native people in the state of dependency that all three groups supply. They are the bureaucrats who instigate useless, money-gobbling policy programs, then quit the government and head the program. This raises critical issues about spending waste or trough feeding - PR


Caregivers face a conflict of interest: Their advice, when followed, diminishes the demand for their services. Practising doctors and dentists make their living by treating health problems, not in eradicating their source. The dichotomy is reflected in many areas in which services are created to respond to preventable conditions.

The charity and poverty industries are examples. No one suggests that handing out soup and blankets to the homeless will affect the homelessness situation. Charity fundraising depends on whatever disease or disaster is the object of the campaign. Although fundraisers are rarely in a position to actively maintain the conditions that assure the need for their services, whole industries have developed around conditions for which the real remedy is fundamental change.

There is, however, a socially accepted industry that provides a product, the consumption of which actively increases the need for more. It is funded by Canadians through labour exploitation and taxation, and it is highly profitable. The Aboriginal Industry is an amalgamation of lawyers, consultants, anthropologists, linguists, accountants and other occupations that thrive on aboriginal dependency. The industry's strategy is pushing atavism -- reverting to the past for solutions to present problems.

The magnitude of the industry's processes can be seen in the number of government agencies among the participants. In addition to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, almost every government department now funds an aboriginal division and numerous programs that target the aboriginal population. Such funding enables the Aboriginal Industry to pursue endless negotiations, the main function of which is to pave the way for more meetings.

It is important to point out, however, that the actions of the Aboriginal Industry are not necessarily a case of vulgar opportunism -- like the hypothetical dentist proffering candy; its motivations are far more subtle and complex. Many members of the Aboriginal Industry are not even aware that they are part of it. There is no conspiracy being perpetrated by the lawyers, consultants and anthropologists working for aboriginal organizations. What exists is a natural impulse to follow material interests, to veer ultimately toward self-interest. It is understandable that industry members advocate policies that lead to jobs, contracts and payments to members of their group. Politics is all about interests, and so it is hardly surprising that political actors turn out to be self-interested.

What is notable about the Aboriginal Industry is its altruistic posture. Its members claim to be trying to "work themselves out of a job," while they pursue initiatives that ensure the continual need for their involvement in aboriginal policy. The atavistic programs and services they advocate as aiding "self-determination" actually maintain native dependency and dysfunction, thereby justifying demands for increases in government funding. And while they may truly believe their intervention is beneficial, their interests tend to prevent them from examining inconvenient facts and theories that would reveal the destructive character of the initiatives they propose and implement. Their arguments supporting current aboriginal policies become a form of mystification, and everyone involved in the industry is inclined to support them because they are all benefiting from keeping the processes going.

It is important to point out that there is a diversity of motivations within the Aboriginal Industry itself. First, there is the idealistic group, emotionally motivated by a sincere desire to help native people. Some uncritically accept that the best future for aboriginals is some level of return to the Rousseauian ideal, whereby they will live in some kind of mythic pre-contact Eden. Others simply support whatever aboriginal organizations demand because of the belief that this must be what aboriginal peoples "want."

A second group can, for lack of a better term, be considered professionals. They are hired to promote the cause within the capacity of their discipline. Their role is to fill the demand for a predetermined purpose; they may teach, consult, supply professional services and so on. Their attitudes range from cynicism to disinterest.

A third group often encompasses the attributes of the first two but is defined by the fact that its members are the initiators of the reactionary policies that maintain native people in the state of dependency that all three groups supply. They are the bureaucrats who instigate useless, money-gobbling policy programs, then quit the government and head the program. They are the linguists who promote unilingual native language teaching in elementary grades, then develop course materials and teach them, sentencing the children to a future of low academic achievement and the resulting social dysfunction. They are the anthropologists who encourage a backward spiritualism and mythology in which they themselves do not believe, but which keeps native people in a convenient state of passivity. And especially, they are the lawyers who collect enormous fees for conflicts they initiated, for agreements that require endless negotiations, for land claims settlements they use as retirement funds. - Excerpted from Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation, by Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard, published by McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Save Canadian beef at MacDonalds - a hoax

Editors note and clarification : The supposed source of the the Macdonald beef boycott responded indicating that this is a hoax that he did not author. MacDonalds uses Canadian Beef. We apologize to him and our readers for any inconvenience. We have modified our information accordingly . We have left the modified information to show how hoaxes are made- and why it is important for readers to be skeptical of all inter net unchecked information sources. In the future we will be more careful with our information .Hoaxes are not funny , not cleavor -they damage people,companies and resources.

This is from a reader that has a beef that I believe is worth printing . For those that are concerned , I suggest that you write/e-mail MacDonald's in protest, copy your MP and start a petition to protect your quality Canadian beef supply. Boycott if you think it is effective and make as many people aware of the situation as you can PR



I'm sure those of you who aren't in the cattle business don't
understand the issues here. But to those of us whose living depends on
the cattle market, selling cattle, raising the best beef possible... This
is frustrating.

This will keep us from ever stopping there again, even for a drink.
The original message is from the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association
Canadian cattle producers are very passionate about this. McDonald's claims that there is not enough beef in Canada to support their restaurants.

Well, we know that is not so. Our opinion is they are looking to save money
at our expense. The sad thing of it is that the people of Canada are the
ones who made McDonald's successful in the first place, but we are not good
enough to provide beef.

We personally are no longer eating at McDonald's, which I am sure does not
make an impact, but if we pass this around maybe there will be an impact

Please pass it on. Just to add a note:

All Canadians that sell cattle at a livestock auction barn have to
sign a paper stating that we do NOT EVER feed our cattle any part of
another animal. South Americans are not required to do this as of yet.

McDonald's has announced that they are going to start importing much
of their beef from South America.

The problem is that South Americans aren't under the same regulations as Canadian beef producers, and the regulations they have are loosely controlled. They can spray numerous pesticides on their pastures that have been banned here at home because of residues found in the beef. They can also use various hormones and growth regulators that we can't.

The Canadian public needs to be aware of this problem and that they may
be putting themselves at risk from now on by eating at good old McDonald's.

Canadian ranchers raise the highest quality beef in the worldand
this is what Canadians deserve to eat. Not beef from countries where
quality is loosely controlled. Therefore, I am proposing a boycott of
McDonald's until they see the light.

I'm sorry but everything is not always about the bottom line, and when it
comes to jeopardizing my family's health, that is where I draw the line.

I am sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it
to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) ... and those 300 send it to at
least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) ... and so on, by the time the message
reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over
THREE MILLION consumers!
I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you?
Acting together we can make a difference.. If this makes sense to you,
please pass this message on.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Whistleblowers needed to protect stimulus package

This article by FAIR makes sense PR

Canada has also made little use of whistleblower protection—a highly effective method of combating misconduct and fraud. A 2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers study showed that whistleblowers uncovered far more fraud than internal audit and all other management control systems combined. The study, which polled 5,400 senior executives from 40 countries, found that 43 per cent of corporate frauds had been initially detected by employee tip-offs.

The lesson is clear: top-down controls such as regulatory oversight and corporate governance standards are not sufficient: they need to be augmented by strong mechanisms that enable employees to safely report suspected misconduct.
This is why the U.S. is moving to strengthen its already wide-ranging whistleblower protection legislation. However, on this important front we Canadians are essentially naked.

For government whistleblowers the Accountability Act’s much-touted “ironclad protection” has been a huge disappointment, as predicted by critics even before this loophole-ridden legislation was passed into law. The new whistleblower watchdog, the public sector integrity commissioner, watches over approximately 400,000 federal public servants in a secretive bureaucracy that spends about half a billion dollars every day. It defies belief that, during her first year of operation, with a staff of 21 and a budget of $6.5-million, commissioner Christiane Ouimet has been unable to find a single occurrence of wrongdoing in the entire federal public service.

As for private sector whistleblowers, the government has not even made a pretence of any effort to protect them. While Canadians who work for corporations listed on a U.S. stock exchange may have some protection under the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, Canadians in the private sector have no such shield against corporate reprisals.

What this means in practice is that conscientious employees who courageously come forward in an attempt to halt misconduct not only have their allegations ignored, but are typically subject to the most determined and vindictive reprisals, orchestrated by their bosses, in order to silence and punish them. Most lose their careers and their livelihood, and in the process many also lose their families and their health.

We all lose as a result. Our government departments and corporations, unable to purge themselves of these self-serving actors, lose touch with their values and their purpose. And both investors and employees lose as our businesses stumble, shedding jobs and market value while our governments fumble.

In tough economic times it becomes even more important to ensure that scarce resources are available for vital services like education and health care, rather than being wasted.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper should follow U.S. President Barack Obama’s lead by providing real protection for both government and private sector employees who report misconduct. By doing so he would not only help to safeguard his multi-billion dollar stimulus spending, but would help protect the integrity of our institutions, our economy and our democratic way of life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Q-jumpers: Injured man dies after rejection by 14 hospitals - Yahoo! Canada News#links

Q-jumpers: Injured man dies after rejection by 14 hospitals - Yahoo! Canada News#links

Canada is free, but what about you?

Canada is free, but what about you? Good question .I am less free because I do not do enough to protect my freedom. I let others take away my rights by not speaking out , I deserve what I get because of my lazy complacency and blind indifference to abuses. Thank you for reminding me that I have a personal responsibiity to keep Canada and myself free by voicing my opinions and making a tipping point and pivotal difference through real action. PR

Posted By Christi Chartrand Brantford

The more I think about Canada, and look around at all of the wars going on around the world, I am truly grateful to be where I am. I am free ... well, at least more "free" than others.

It's true, I don't have bombs blasting all around me, but the guns in schools and on the streets still frighten me.

It's true, I am free to believe in whatever religion I choose, but I must be careful, because even the slightest thing can offend my fellow freedom fighters (such as a nativity on my front yard).

I am free to live on a peaceful street, but must be sure to lock my doors at night, too many children disappear these days. I am a woman, and even though I have many rights, I am still scared to go out alone at night.

I am free to have children, but not necessarily free to keep them. I am free to vote and I do, but the majority of the country doesn't. Canada is free, it's true, but how free are you? Christi Chartrand Brantford

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gridlock Myth Busters

Lets start a new group called Gridlock Myth Busters- everyone can add value with suggestions to break or slay the need more to solve gridlock myth. Be a dragon slayer get involved

Gridlock Myth Busters- Comments on the age of golden health Care

There is a grass root movement growing that wants to fix institutional service and product delivery lapses and problems. Gridlock Myth Busters is such a group of enlightened people. They participate in the system, hear and see the challenges and make constructive actionable suggestions to solve common problems and public challenges.

These public system challenges, artificial or real, are often gridlocked by the inability of the in place service providers to make constructive alternatives available to those they serve. A combination of factors, such as a lack of focus, lack of urgency, lack of economic necessity often ensures that customer service gridlocks and their resulting poor service results become the accepted and tolerated public practice.

Gridlocks are expensive

Scarcity ensures high prices and even higher delivery costs
The marginal return of more public funding is low, despite apparent self serving and aggressive denials of those that profit and administer the often self- imposed service /product gridlocks that they provide

The Hospital gridlock myth

Common cited hurdles for poor end user service

• Not enough beds and money
• Not enough qualified health care providers
• Cannot do because of restrictions and red tape
• A buck passing attitude of” Not our responsibility”
• Blind do nothing complacency rewards

The result -a hardening of the public care artery

The hardening , gridelock or constriction of services is the result of limiting care capacity to hospitals and government Long term care beds. All resources are not used to solve the capacity challenge. This ensures limited high cost publlc funded care .

Why do we always need more ? The need more money myth explored and busted

Necessity is the mother of innovation

Reality check suggestion

Manage your resources better
Use all available beds
• Use all available care resources
Change restrictions and delayer overlapping administration services
• Use new technology
• Maximize existing plant and equipment use
• More suggestions available….

How would you solve the gridlock problem?

The Gridlock Myth Busters can be confidentially reached at

With your consent -we will pass your suggestions on to those that can make a difference for both comment and action

Canadian Justice-fact or a process fiction?

A friend of mine showed great courage and fortitude by seeking justice and redress in the Federal Tax Court yesterday.With a intelligent layman's skill. he sought a resolution of 63 vexing rights issues in Judge Woods court in Hamilton . We wait to see what happens.Whose justice will be served? Will there be real precedent setting law making based on merit with a thinking justice or more of the same - the checked form list legal process?

I admire those that stand firm to their convictions - my friend is such a champion. He is a person who has no fear and is proceeding to defend his beliefs with honour and conviction. Lets see what his critics and the paid drones say and remember Thomas Jefferson.

"He who fears criticism," declared Thomas Jefferson, "is hopeless. Only those who do things are criticized. The idler is lost sight of in the march of events—but the doer is watched and criticized. To hesitate for fear of criticism loses the battle while the doers march on to victory and triumphs.

"If your cause is right, be not afraid of criticism: Advocate it, expound it, and, if need be, fight for it. Critics always will be, but to the strong-minded they are a help rather than a hindrance. As the horse spurts forward when prodded with the spur, so the doers forge ahead under the lash of criticism. Take your part on life's stage and play your part to the end. Stand for that which is good [that which is right]. Be a doer, not a drone. Look the world in the face and let the critics criticize."

In my view, my friend is the victor no matter what the ruling.PR

Monday, February 09, 2009

Trade you. Barter is back in Russia - International Herald Tribune

Trade you. Barter is back in Russia - International Herald Tribune: "Trade you. Barter is back in Russia
By Ellen Barry Published: February 8, 2009

MOSCOW: Does the Taganrog Automobile Factory have a deal for you! Rows of freshly minted Hyundai Santa Fe sport utility vehicles are available right now. In exchange — well, do you have any circuit boards? Or sheet metal? Or sneakers?"

Barter-Problem or opportunity? Should GM,FORD ,et al barter the excess car inventory? Can the government barter redundant fixed resources that cost money to hold and vield no return ?Are inflationary mega government bailouts any better?PR

Top judge adds voice to debate over legal fees

McLachlin's nudging of the legal profession was part of a speech in which she decried the lack of affordable legal help in Canada. She said that some courts report that more than 44 per cent of cases involve self-represented litigants.

Unbundlingis thriving in the U.S., but is in its infancy in Canada, where the concept is being promoted by law societies in British Columbia and Alberta. Lawyers effectively act as consultants for their clients for any work that the clients can do themselves.

In a 2008 report, a Law Society of British Columbia task force described unbundling as "a midway option between full service representation and no representation."

The report notes that lawyers must come to terms with the fact that self-representation is not going away because legal information is easily obtainable online. The "cultural shift" of the information age is making legal information easily obtainable online by a new generation of computer-savvy litigants.

"Many of these litigants will not see the value in hiring a lawyer to collect and process information they might easily collect themselves."

Canadian Lawyer magazine, in a survey published last summer, reported that the average "going rate" in Canada for a two-day trial civil is $25,220. It costs an average of $1,250 for a bail hearing, $4,820 for a separation agreement and $6,600 for a child custody and support agreement, said the survey of 300 lawyers.

To cope with an escalation in go-it-aloners, courts are scrambling to offer how-to guides, tip services, checklists and some are even setting up storefront kiosks that offer legal help.

Knowledge empowers people and breaks expensive traditions -Good for the Inter-net knowledge which is affordable and available- PR

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Liberals avoided financial oblivion with Iggy's coup - Brantford Expositor - Ontario, CA

Liberals avoided financial oblivion with Iggy's coup - Brantford Expositor - Ontario, CA: "Liberals avoided financial oblivion with Iggy's coup"

intereting assessment of Real politics in action- and the strategy that caused the change came form the Frontier Centre - small focused intelligent people are the tipping point. PR

Monday, February 02, 2009

Equalization- we are not equal in Canada

The entitlement debate continues- Who shall have,and who pays for the entitlements? PR Some think that we can do better and that our regional subsidy system is not transparent, it is not sustainable and it is driven by excess.

"Expressed another way, without a federal equalization and transfer payment program, Ontario “keeps” its $981 per person and much more, while the traditional have-not provinces would suffer revenue hits akin to recently plunging equity values.

This is high risk stuff for all. We have entire populations that see their economies in very unrealistic ways, have a complete sense of entitlement to the subsidies and have little real understanding of the full extent of their dependence on B.C., Alberta, Ontario taxpayers. (Saskatchewan is more complicated. It is a “have” province for the purposes of equalization; it is a “have-not” when all federal transfers are calculated.)

To the extent that the current crisis weakens the capacity of the principal contributing jurisdictions to pay for all this, populations in the recipient jurisdictions are open to all the risks associated with a sudden disruption. "

Bubbles normally have at least four distinct characteristics.

First, the arrangements which lead to bubbles are not transparent and are complex to the point that they are incomprehensible to most people. Observers have agreed for decades that our system of regional subsidies qualifies on this score. So also does the sub-prime mess.

Second, bubbles are driven by expectations and entitlements that have no realistic basis in history or actual need. Again, there is little doubt that the recipient jurisdictions qualify on that score, to judge by their public sectors and expectations for generous government programming which greatly exceed general standards elsewhere in North America. The similarity to American and European housing expectations – the root cause of so much of the current financial turmoil – is remarkable.

Third, bubbles are unsustainable. Equalization payments to other regions in the past four years, largely from Ontario and Alberta taxpayers, have grown four times faster than Ontario’s growth. And equalization payments to Quebec have grown over that period by ten times the rate at which Ontario grows. Now, with Ontario joining the equalization recipients, such growth in payments will fall hard on BC and Alberta.

While Flaherty’s decision, also announced Monday, to limit growth in equalization payments to the growth in the economy helps in the short-term, it does nothing to address ridiculous imbalances of the sort where Ontario (to say nothing of Alberta or other provinces which are net payers) loses massive amounts of money through overall federal redistribution even though and at the very time Ontario’s economy takes a hit.

Fourth, the bursting of bubbles is not controlled by anyone and its actual timing is unpredictable. If we’ve learned nothing else in the past two months, we’ve learned that.

The federal role in all this is analogous to the role Wall Street bankers played in the current financial crisis. Ottawa has put in place a wide variety of subsidies for regions without ever examining, in a public way, the aggregate impact of them. It also took no steps to measure the largest of these – equalization – against its intended impact because it didn’t even bother to measure program comparability, the avowed goal. Finally, Ontario’s federal legislators took no serious steps to understand the problem, a governance failure that ranks with the failure of boards of directors and regulators in the United States to understand the full impact of securitization and the packaging of sub-prime loans.

Our regional subsidy system is not transparent, it is not sustainable and it is driven by excess.