SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN: BUDGET 2012 . . . (alternative title: Oh Cana – DUH? Buy jets, forget the rest . . . )

Hi Canadian friends,

Did you enjoy Stephen Harper’s financial Guru Jim Flaherty’s cuts in last weeks’ Canadian budget?

Not if you’re . . . planning to retire soon, trying to immigrate to Canada, hacking from a sickness caught from living near the Oil Sands of Northern Alberta, etc.



A GIFT TO ALL CANADIANS – THE JETS (not the Winnipeg hockey team):

Well, check out this CBC article’s statement, and try not to gasp:

“Canada has budgeted $9 billion for the purchase, training and maintenance of the jets. The government plans to buy 65 F-35s, but Fantino said there are “a lot of variables.””  Read more:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/03/16/pol-fantino-f35s-could-be-delayed.html

What the fajita?  $9 billion?  And you’re cutting necessary expenses left, right and centre?


GIFTS FOR IMMIGRANTS:

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the Let’s-befriend-all-the-immigrants-and-get-them-to-vote-for-Conservatives Harper flunky, made his announcement, summarised in the following statement:

“More than 280,000 people who have been waiting years for a decision on their immigration files could be soon be chopped from the list as the federal government moves to streamline its immigration practices.” – Read more:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/04/01/montreal-immigration-budget-backlog-skilled-workers.html


GIFTS FOR SENIORS (and the rest of us who are aging fast):

65 to 67?  For my Baby Buster generation?  Thanks Flaherty and Harper!  Your pensions will be looking pretty good!

“Millions of Canadians woke up Friday with some disheartening news about their work lives and financial future: they may now need to work two years longer than initially planned.

The Conservative government’s budget announcement on Thursday of a plan to gradually increase the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 67 from 65 will have profound impacts on the lives of Canadians across the country.” – Read more: http://www.canada.com/business/Budget+2012+What+changes+Canada+pensions+mean/6388443/story.html#ixzz1qtyEmp3z


“The Stephen Harper regime has decided– without an election mandate, and without any consultation whatsoever–to fundamentally remake the way in which Canadians approach their retirement years.

It’s breathtakingly brave, or breathtakingly stupid, depending on your political affiliation: Harper’s Conservatives have chosen to deny Canadians access to old age benefits until age 67–and not age 65, as they have been paying for, and expecting, for a half-century.

It is, fundamentally, a reordering of the social contract between citizens and government. It is an undeniably historic move. And all that remains to be seen is whether Canadian senior citizens, and those approaching retirement years, will let Harper get away with it.” – Read more: “PCs bite hand of those who elected them”, http://www.lfpress.com/comment/2012/04/02/19581611.html

 

CONSERVATIVES BENDING OVER BACKWARD FOR THEIR OIL BUDDIES:

 

Read this load of rubbish: http://www.troymedia.com/blog/2012/04/02/budget-2012-goods-news-for-canadas-ethical-oil/

 

Ethical Oil?  “Ethical” meaning let’s give the rich Texans who own most of the Oil Sands another few billion in the pocket?  What about screwing up the environment for 100s of years?  What about killing people living in and around the Oil Sands with oil-and-other-pollutant-related diseases?  What about the First Nations living around there?  What about the rest of Canada?

 

FORCING ENBRIDGE DOWN OUR THROATS:

 

More from the load of trash commentary I quoted above:

“Consider the proposal for the Northern Gateway project. As the Globe and Mail reported, “Federal officials say the current Gateway review has been under consideration for 50 months and isn’t scheduled to conclude until the fall of 2013.” Under new rules, Flaherty says, review hearings should take at most 24 months. If the project is deemed safe – as all evidence thus far suggests it is – then there’s no reason Canadians should have to wait two or three times that long to realize the benefits a project like Northern Gateway promises.” – Read more: http://www.troymedia.com/blog/2012/04/02/budget-2012-goods-news-for-canadas-ethical-oil/

 

Opponents?  Just fast track it!

 

Trace this budget development back to a couple months ago when Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver brazenly called on all Canadians to back up the Enbridge Project.  He even resorted to calling opponents to the project radical environmentalists supported by American-tacticians such as socialist billionaires (George Soros – his organization’s response: “The Open Society Foundations are not funding environmental groups in Canada to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline”, http://www.vancouverobserver.com/sustainability/2012/01/11/george-soros-open-society-foundation-denies-involvement-northern-gateway) and Hollywood jet-setters (maybe James Cameron, director of Titanic and Avatar)? 

 

Here’s his open letter to Canadians re: Enbridge: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/an-open-letter-from-natural-resources-minister-joe-oliver/article2295599/

 

Mr. Oliver really knows how to talk with his foot in his mouth:

 

– Complaining about opponents to the Oil Sands having foreign input, whilst the Enbridge Project is plum FULL of foreign influence: 

 

This is the largest industrial project in the entire world. We don’t have enough capital in Canada to finance it therefore we have welcomed foreign investment from the US, France, England, China, and other countries – companies who see the economic prospects for the development of our resources and are investing tens of billions of dollars to advance the creation of infrastructure which will help us in our in our historic choice here to diversify our markets to Asia.”

 

Right after this statement, Oliver was caught with his pants down on CBC’s As It Happens (http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/weekly/2012/01/09/featured-northern-gateway-minister/):

 

“Carol Off : But I guess the question is .. the concern here is that foreign influences do not have Canada’s best interests in mind. How is it that you can trust the foreign oil companies who are intervening to have Canada’s best interests in mind?

Oliver : Because they’re investing in Canada and their financial success is tied to the success of the projects which are Canadian projects which will generate employment and economic activity for Canada.

Carol Off : But not necessarily tied to the protection of the Canadian environment and to Aboriginal rights.

Oliver : Those issues have to be dealt with by objective regulatory review which will hear the interests of the Aboriginal communities and of environmental groups. I have no problem and neither does the government have any problem with Canadian environmental groups presenting their case because at the end of the day we want these projects to be safe for the environment and safe for Canada.

Carol Off : Mr Oliver, thank you for your time.”  Read more:  http://creekside1.blogspot.ca/2012/01/enbridge-joe-oliver-and-his-19-radical.html

 

– Enbridge and First Nations: 

 

“The developments we are looking at have the capacity to be truly transformative to a lot of aboriginal communities. This is really a tremendous opportunity to transform communities that have been socially dysfunctional, that haven’t had economic opportunities, haven’t had employment opportunities . . . What we want to do is provide the economic opportunity to give them hope, to move them from despair to hope, where their youth can be employed, where people of all ages have an opportunity to have jobs that will provide them the chance to have a good, even a great, standard of living.”  Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Oliver+says+dysfunctional+aboriginals+could+benefit+from+development/6344133/story.html#ixzz1quGoNBYf

 

An OIL PIPELINE is going to bring Hope and a New Future to Canadian aboriginals???  

 

Looks like the First Nations have another idea: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/decrying-federal-bully-tactics-bc-natives-vow-to-block-pipeline/article2367739/

 

True Conservative (read: Reformed/Alliance Party) thinking: we’ve got the power, we will get our pet projects done in our time, in our way.  Who cares about Aboriginals and everyone else in the way of the new proposed pipeline, phooey to the environment, and we’ve got Texan and other corporate Oil buddies to appease!

 

OPPOSE THE OIL SANDS, GET MORE UNDER BIG BROTHER’S WATCHFUL EYE: 

 

“The Conservative government will keep a closer eye on environment-focused charities accused of breaking rules that cap their political activity, cracking down on groups that allegedly engage in politically charged work beyond the legal limit.

Thursday’s budget arms the Canada Revenue Agency with $8-million over two years to ensure charities devote their resources to charitable work and to improve transparency by asking them to disclose the extent to which their political activities are funded by foreign sources.

 

The revenue agency says a charity is allowed to devote up to 10% of its total annual resources to political activities, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this week the government has received “a lot” of complaints from Canadians who worry their donations are going toward political action rather than charity work.

 

“There is clearly a need, in our view, for more vigilance,” Mr. Flaherty said.

Opponents of the move say this is part of a government ploy to silence oil-sands critics and those who oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline project, claiming the crackdown fits into a pro-business, anti-environment budget.”   Read more:  http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/30/are-new-guidelines-for-charities-just-upholding-current-law-or-a-way-to-silence-oil-sands-critics/

 

AMERICAN REPUBLICANS AND CORPORATE FLUNKIES RUNNING THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT? (or at least having GREAT influence):  

 

Remember that Harper and the Convervatives’ power base is Alberta.  And Alberta is choc-full-o’ Americans, I’m assuming the kind who vote Republican, love guns, and work in big corporations?

 

“In all of Canada, there are roughly 750,000+ Americans as permanent residents, or 3% of the national population — around 33,000,000 give or take.

But in Calgary, Americans make up 11% of that city’s population, or around 110,000 to 125,000 U.S. ex-pats living in a city with a population of one million

This makes Calgary the city with the greatest American influence. After all, 11% of the population is a sizeable chunk, no matter how you look at it. 

 

Of course, all of these numbers are rough estimates. It seems the U.S. ex-pats don’t all register, so it’s hard to get a true picture of just how many Americans live among us. Who knows how many live outside of the major cities? It appears those in charge of statistics don’t look at the smaller settlements.” Read more:  from http://lmmartin.hubpages.com/hub/Lyndas-guide-for-Americans-in-Alberta

 

“About a million U.S. and dual citizens live in Canada, the U.S. Embassy estimates . . . ‘There are a lot of them. There may be a hundred thousand U.S. citizens, U.S. green card holders living in Alberta . . . ,” says Roy Berg, Moodys LLP Tax Advisors.  Read more: Global News | Hundreds of thousands in Canada must meet Aug. 31 deadline or face punitive U.S. fines


HEALTH CARE:

Remember all the provincial leaders travelling to Ottawa to talk to Harper about Health Care a couple months back?  Recall how leaders from Newfoundland to BC got NOTHING from it, except a time to fraternise with each other?


Well, here come the cuts, and they’re coming with Harper’s infamous Non-Negotiation and Let’s-Do-Everything-On-the-Sly style:

“Despite Charest’s and other Canadian premier’s objections that Ottawa is acting unilaterally in an area where negotiations used to be the norm, the budget moves ahead with the new transfer formula which will take effect in 2014.”  Read more:

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/29/budget-moves-ahead-with-new-health-care-formula-despite-provincial-objections/

 

FIRST NATIONS:

 

Well, the Conservatives are boasting about spending half a billion on First Nations: 

 

The government will invest $275 million over three years in education and job training, and almost $331 million over two years to build and renovate on-reserve water systems.

Citing statistics that show Canada’s youthful aboriginal population is booming, while the rest of Canadians are rapidly aging, the budget said First Nation, Inuit and Metis people will become an increasingly important source of Canada’s labour force growth.

The aim of the targeted spending, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Thursday in his budget speech, is to “unlock the potential of Canada’s First Nations children.”  Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/29/canadas-young-aboriginal-population-a-focus-in-2012-federal-budget/

 

This seemingly big number does not please everyone: 

 

But the $275 million allocated for both early literacy programs and for building and renovating schools is a mere pittance of what is needed, said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy.

 

“In our discussions with Ottawa, it was $500 million to try to bring education to an equal footing,” he said.

 

First Nations children receive, on average, $2,000 to $3,000 less than non-native kids in per-pupil education funding. Many say underfunded native education is a national crisis, one that has led to an extremely high dropout rate and a lost generation of aboriginal kids.

 

And the $330 million over two years Ottawa has set aside to renovate water infrastructure falls short of what the federal government’s own report recommended, Beardy added.

 

That study recently reported $4.9 billion was needed, over 10 years, to clean up the water supply in reserves across the country.  Read more: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1153805–federal-budget-2012-first-nations-say-budget-commitments-fall-short

 

Wow.  9 billion on stupid airplanes to fight  . . . whom?  Well, the Worst Case Scenario says: First Nations!

 

Douglas Bland, a former Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel of 30 years service, has been warning about an Aboriginal Uprising, and recently published a novel with this title (see http://www.amazon.com/Uprising-Novel-Douglas-L-Bland/dp/1926577000#reader_1926577000).  

 

Here is a summary of his book: 

 

A root cause of terrorism in far-away countries, Canadians are told, is poor, desperate young people who turn their frustrations and anger on their “rich oppressors.” Uprising brings this scenario home to Canada.

When impoverished, disheartened, poorly educated, but well-armed aboriginal young people find a modern revolutionary leader in the tradition of 1880s rebellion leader Louis Riel, they rally with a battle cry “Take Back the Land!” Theirs is a fight to right the wrongs inflicted on them by “the white settlers.”

They know their minority force cannot take on all Canada. They don’t need to. A surprise attack on the nation’s most vulnerable assets—its abundant energy resources — sends the Canadian Armed Forces scrambling and politicians reeling. Over a few tension-filled days as the battles rage, the frantic prime minister can only watch as the insurrection paralyzes the country. But when energy-dependent Americans discover the southward flow of Canadian hydroelectricity, oil, and natural gas is halted, they do not remain passive.

Although none of Canada’s leaders saw it coming, the shattering consequences unfold with the same plausible harmony by which quiet aboriginal protests decades ago became the eerie premonitions of today’s stand-offs and “days of action.”  From http://www.bluebutterflybooks.ca/catalogue/item/uprising

 

Bland wrote one article last year called “How to Prevent a Native Uprising” (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/how-to-prevent-native-uprising-134955768.html).  Here’s a piece from a Bland-written article called “Risk of Aboriginal Insurgency” in 2010 with a similar theme:

 

Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, on recalling the 1990 national emergency at Oka, Que., carefully warned Canadians that “First Nations are ever-mindful of the potential that these events could be repeated.” It would be a grave mistake for Canadian leaders to dismiss his words as mere political rhetoric.

Other aboriginal leaders continue to warn Canadians that unless Canada’s relations with its young, fast-growing aboriginal community are not addressed effectively and soon, then a nationwide challenge — armed or unarmed — to Canada’s sovereignty awaits us. How might such an insurgency unfold and could it succeed?

Theory suggests that where significant grievances affect a large segment of a society these so-called root causes can provide the fuel for a rebellion. Recent research suggests that root causes alone do not sufficiently explain why insurgencies erupt. The better question is: “What makes insurgencies feasible?”

Insurgencies become feasible in circumstances where a high proportion of an aggrieved population is composed of young men (15 to 34 years of age) and a nation’s economy depends on exports (meaning more than 20 per cent of GDP) that must travel through a large, rugged, under-populated and difficult-to-defend territory. In these circumstances the “feasibility of an insurgency is almost inevitable.” All that is required to set the root-cause fuel ablaze is a serious security incident — Oka times 10; an overreaction by police as at Burnt Church in 2001; or the arrival in Canada’s aboriginal community of a fiery, national leader to rally “the people in a righteous campaign against the oppressor government” — a reincarnated Louis Riel, perhaps.

Canada’s aboriginal people live in a swamp of root causes. According to the Canada Census of 2006, 1.7 million Canadians claim to be aboriginal. Of this total about 750,000 are First Nations and of these about 50 per cent live on one of 2,700 reserves. It is Canada’s fastest growing demography, increasing by 45 per cent in the last six years, six times faster than the non-aboriginal population. It is also Canada’s youngest population — half the people are under 24 years of age and 34 per cent of aboriginal children are younger than 14 years. The median age for Canada’s non-aboriginal population is 40.

Fewer than 24 per cent of these young people graduate from high school and a large percentage simply do not go to high school. The unemployment rate for young people on reserves runs at over 40 per cent.

More than 40 per cent of houses on reserves require “major repairs” and a high percentage are habitated, uninhabitable “crowded dwellings” — meaning in reality more than 10 people live in a simple three-bedroom building with primitive facilities.

No one needs a military education to understand that Canada’s sovereignty is vulnerable because its economy is vulnerable and its economy is vulnerable because its resource-based production and transportation infrastructure (accounting for approximately 20 per cent of Canada’s GDP) is undefended and probably indefensible.”  Read more: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/risk-of-aboriginal-insurgency-99087879.html

 

On January 23rd, 2012, a famous BC Chief waned of an uprising: 

 

“On Monday, a B.C. native leader warned that Canada could face an Arab Spring-style “uprising” if Harper doesn’t give a clear indication in his meeting with aboriginal leaders that he’s prepared to take their concerns seriously.

“We must do better. The honour of the Crown and the very integrity of Canada as a nation is at stake,” Stewart Phillip, grand chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said in a news release issued by the Assembly of First Nations’ B.C. wing.

“Otherwise, an aboriginal uprising is inevitable.”  Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/24/stephen-harper-pledges-to-reset-the-relationship-after-aboriginal-uprising-warning/

 

Fighter jets . . . useful for officials who want to quiet down anyone they consider a threat.  It could be First Nations, or “radical” environmentalists, Muslims, Enbridge or Oilsands opponents, or . . . maybe you and me.  Hmmmmmmmm . . . .

 

For the truth,

 

Dimitri

 

Here’s a summary of the Budget from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: (http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/federal-budget-drags-canada-age-austerity-think-tank):

 

Federal budget drags Canada into age of austerity: Think tank

National Office | News Release

Issue(s): Government finance

Projects & Initiatives: Alternative Federal Budget

March 29, 2012

 

OTTAWA—All Canadians will pay the price for a federal budget that will result in significant job losses, weaker environmental protection, and unnecessary cuts to cherished public services, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

 

The CCPA says once the government’s three rounds of spending cuts are fully implemented, they will have resulted in a total of over 70,000 full-time job cuts (35,000 in the public sector and 37,000 in the private sector) and could raise the unemployment rate to 7.8%.

 

“This may be a 2012 budget but it’s got the 1930s written all over it,” says CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald. “Federal austerity, combined with provincial austerity budgets, will create a fiscal drag on Canada’s economy.

 

“We are dismantling public programs and peeling back income supports such as Old Age Security without asking profitable corporations and the wealthy among us to do their part. We saw a similar story unfold in the 1930s and it didn’t end well. History is repeating itself.”

 

“After six Harper budgets, the corporate share of federal revenue has fallen to 1930s levels, millionaires are paying taxes at rates last seen in the 1920s, and the top 1% are capturing more of the gains from growth than at any time in history,” says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan.

 

“This budget fails to address the pressures of a middle class losing ground and young people struggling to find work,” says Yalnizyan. “It takes us backward in terms of retirement and environmental protection. With the exception of education and water needs for First Nations, it ignores the need to repair our aging infrastructure. The books will be balanced, but we’ll all pay the price.”

 

The CCPA is also critical of the lack of transparency within the budget, saying many planned job and service cuts weren’t spelled out today. 

 

“Budgets are about making clear your plans to Canadians but, on many fronts, what this government tabled today was a hide-and-seek budget,” says Macdonald. “This budget raises more questions than it answers. You can’t get rid of the deficit this quickly without inflicting a lot of pain on Canadians. Whether it’s a hatchet job or death by a thousand tiny cuts, Canadians will pay a steep price—one this government could have avoided.”

 


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About sleepless in turtle island

Hi, I´m Dimitri. I have lived in Turtle Island for awhile now, so my cultural understanding is slowly improving. Also, I can see things in this place that boggle my mind. Thus this blog...
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