A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

EI update, Online application useless!

Having found out that it is necessary to provide a copy of your separation papers to your local EI office before your claim can be “processed, and having done that prior to filing our last biweekly report we were still left wondering where our cheque was.

Guess what folks, all that online application and sending in our reports for the last 16 weeks was a total waste of time. We have been informed that it takes 28 days to “process” our application AFTER they get the hard copy!! Only then will we START receiving benefits. Why then did they ask for, and receive, biweekly reports as to our status without ANY indication that the application had not, and would not, even be looked at until physically put in their hand.

I will repeat here that there is no mention of this ANYWHERE in the online application OR in the online biweekly report submission. The only thing the online application does is save a couple of minutes of the staffs time and mislead the worker into thinking that things are in hand.

That the phone in help line to check up on your claim continues to say “your claim has been received and we are working on it” during this period is just one more insult. They are lying, they are NOT working on it but simply ignoring it!!

I note also that my letter to the Minister, the EI web feedback, and to all the political leaders AND my local MP have all thus far gone unanswered.

So much for all the BS about helping all the thousands of recently laid of workers, if you are a regular and know the system you are fine but those who have held down a steady job for years and are first time applicants, and who assume the online application is just that, are screwed!

Here is what they say - After you complete the application
A confirmation number will be generated as proof of filing after you submit your application. If you have any additional information, changes to make or if you do not receive your confirmation number, please call 1(800) 206-7218 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Do not complete another application on-line.

“Do not complete another application on-line” simply wait around whist we do absolutely nothing with it!

Thanks Service Canada, some service!

Update – it seems that when visiting the EI office to see the status of your claim, the staff CANNOT ACCESS THAT INFORMATION FOR YOU!!
Our claimant was given the phone on a direct line to some distant location and still had to wait on hold for about 30 min to get an update. WTH is this, are these frigging folk still in the dark ages, you go to the EI office they cant tell you where you stand and they cannot give you access to your claim information and their direct line has a ½ hr hold.

I am stunned, this story gets weirder and weirder by the moment!

Update Mar 3rd - The good news is that after they have examined your paperwork that within about two weeks you should recive payments backdated to when you first became elegable. We are pleased to report that we have now recived payment back to aproximatly two weeks after the period our seperation pay covered.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

EI - The Numbers

Stats Can has just released the numbers for folks on EI receiving benefits, and it should not be a surprise that the number of workers RECEIVING EI is up over 16% year to year. Bear in mind that this is for December and average across Canada, before the crunch really hit, and that typically it takes a month or more AFTER applying before the claim get “processed”. In our own case its now been almost 3 months and we are still not “receiving benefits”!

From Stats Can
In December, 538,200 Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up 25,000 or 4.9% from November, after seasonal adjustment.
The number of Canadians receiving regular EI benefits rose by 79,100 between December 2007 and December 2008, a 16.6% increase. The number of men receiving benefits went up 21.7% while for women the number increased by 8.6%.
The number of regular beneficiaries were up in all provinces and territories compared with the same month a year earlier, with the largest increases occurring in British Columbia (+33.2%), Alberta (+30.3%) and Ontario (+29.6%).

BC – 49,790 receiving EI Alberta – 20,381 Ontario – 167,840

I note that even though the other provinces are affected similarly percentage wise, it is Ontario where by far the most Families are affected, by a factor of 3:1 to the next worst numbers. Given that, at least here in Ontario there has been a steady list of layoffs and pending layoffs from mid December on through January and February which do not show on these stats here is my prediction.

I expect Ontario numbers to show %100 increase over the previous year in EI benefits being paid out by May (given that the stats are 30 to 60 day behind and payments are delayed by 30 to 60 days on average). In 2006 the annual amount paid out was 12 billion (all of Canada), I’m guessing 5 to 8 billion for Ontario alone this year! I also predict that thing are not going to improve much over the summer and that thousands of these folk are going to be “off the list” by fall and still have no job. It not called doom and gloom, just reality!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Political Definitions, beware labels.

Political Partys and political views are often labeled with Right, Left or some other definition. It has never been really clear to me EXACTLY what these terms mean and so I went looking. It is clear that very few of the “labels” really fit the actual practical application of the ideology except perhaps for the Neo-Con. Each is a mix of views LEANING, more or less, towards a particular label. It seems clear to me that the Liberals are not liberal, the Conservatives are not conservative and the NDP are not socialist. The Greens do not fit in any of the traditional “labels” except to say that they are “on the left” which also encompasses everything from communism to anarchy.

This post is my way of saying, beware labels and getting to closely attached to the terms Conservative or Liberal or any other ideology supposedly followed by any particular political party because such labels are false and misleading. Be carefull what you wish for. “Most governments while claiming to be of one sort of system are actually a combination of many. The US, for instance, many call it a democracy when in fact it is a federal republic, although at times, depending on who is running the country, has also been very capitalist, full of bureaucracy, and an oligarchy”

Here are some definitions (my highlights) of interest gleaned from the internet mostly from here which generally seems to agree with other such writings.

Conservative, the political view that things should stay the way things are. Belief in little or no socialized spending.

In politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are terms often defined as politics that seeks to uphold or return to traditional authorities and/or the liberties of a civil society and the preservation of the domestic culture, usually in the face of external forces for change. ...

Right-wing, rightist - Several methods of conservative, reactionary or fascist political ideologies which is supportive the main features of the current social and economic order, accepting all of its inequalities of wealth, status and privilege. Right wing ideologies tend to emphasize the values of order, patriotism, social cohesion, and a personal sense of duty. Acceptance of the status quo.

Neo-Con - A shortened term for "new conservative", which unlike the traditional conservative, is more about conserving "moral" values (pro-life, no stem cell research, prayer in school...but very much in favor of the death penalty) over traditional conservative values. Traditional conservatives do not identify with neo-cons because some of the actions of this movement are deemed to destroy the economy, environment, civil liberties, privacy and the essence of a free society in favor of a few in the class of power and it favors a vocal minority of the religious Right. The neo-cons are viewed as blinded from seeing the whole picture because they can only see their own mission and refuse to see anything else.

Liberal, having political or social views favoring reform and progress and the protection of civil liberties, tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.

In politics, left-wing, the political left, or the Left are terms that refer to politics that seek to reform or abolish existing social hierarchies and promote a more equal distribution of wealth and privilege. ...

Left-wing, leftist - A broad range of political ideology that is denouncing the of economic and social inequality in the present order of society and advocating the adoption of vigorous public policies to reduce or eliminate these inequalities in opposition of the political agenda of the rightist. Common political paths include socialism , communism , social democracy, welfare statism, contemporary American liberalism and anarchy.

socialism - An "economic, social and political doctrine which expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class. ...Socialism refers to any of various economic and political concepts of state or collective (i.e. public) ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods and services.

Green politics is a political ideology which places a high importance on ecological and environmental goals, and on achieving these goals through broad-based, grassroots, participatory democracy. ...
The Greens are an ecologist political party to the left of the political spectrum

Communism - Any ideology based on pure equality of the ownership of all property, a class-less social structure, and economic production and distribution to be directed and regulated by means of an economic plan that embodies the ideals of the community.

Anarchism - The fundamental belief that the state, laws and all forms of government authority is unjustified, oppressive and illegitimate. Therefore the government should be abolished and social and economic issues be carried out by means of voluntary and consensual arrangements.


Finally just so we know what we are talking about, these terms are very relevant in today’s political world

Democracy - A government where political power is fully in the hands of the people. Governmental systems in which the citizens exercise this power directly through general assemblies or referenda to decide the most important questions of law or policy.

Capitalism - Private ownership of the businesses of a society with the freedom of private owners to use, buy and sell their property or services on the market at voluntarily agreed prices and terms, with only minimal interference with such transactions by the state or other authoritative third parties.

Oligarchy - Rule over the many by a few. While one could read this to mean any type of governmental system because there are always a few in power leading or speaking on behalf of the many, the term "oligarchy" is more in reference to the type of system where a small group with the same principles band together to assure their agenda or will is accomplished. In essence, it is a government on behalf of this small group and not for the people. The people of this government is to serve the will of the leaders to their end.

Dictatorship - Government by a single person or group of people who are in no way held responsible to the general population. Their discretion in using the powers and resources of the state is unrestrained by any fixed legal or constitutional rules.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Municipal Green Association

Richard Murray recently posted a very interesting proposal on the Green Party Blog which I thought was worth giving a little more light of day. The only problem that I see would be keeping “politics” out of the municipal arena, not that in many cases it is not bubbling beneath the surface already.

His proposal is to create the Canadian Municipal Green Party Association (CMPGA), which would have five objectives:

To encourage Canadians to become involved in the Canadian political system,2. To educate members of the CMGPA in the workings of their local municipal government,3. To train members on how to campaign for office,4. To train members on how to hold office, and5. To provide a grassroots communications forum for those involved in municipal politics……….

This Association would not be a political party. The CMGPA would exist to encourage and support the involvement at the municipal level of individuals who believe the fundamentals of the Global Greens, The Green Party of Canada and their provincial Green Party……………..

There are two reasons why the Green Party at both the provincial and federal levels should support the CMPGA:
Participatory Democracy is one of our fundamental principles, and
Municipal politics serves as a training and recruiting ground for both provincial and federal politics…………..

There would be three functions the CMPGA would carry out;
Encouragement to the general public to learn about and be active in Canadian politics.1. “While we would naturally prefer you to be a member of the Green Party, we consider it a victory if you decide to become active in any way.”2. To be an information and training resource to our members. This would primarily be through the Internet.3. To encourage our members to share information and help each other. This would be through forums on the Internet and through meetings.

Do read the whole thing, we do need fresh blood in our political system and this may be one way to help those interested in getting involved.

Update – See the CMGPA website.

This one would be a great one for discussion on our local Green blog, but is seems to MIA, where are you Shane? I do hope that the “maintenance” does not mean the end of ShaneJolly.com. Maybe we should resurrect Saugeen Community Blog

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

EI Update


You may file your application on line and fill in the reports every two weeks as requested but NOTHING WILL HAPPEN until you visit the local office. Once there it takes just a couple of minutes to confirm and stamp your paperwork. When asked about the confusion about on line application the EI rep simply snickered and said “There is lots of that happening”

Obviously the workers in the field are fully aware of this problem, why then is there no instruction anywhere for applicants to attend the office.

On line Application – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

Application received paperwork – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

Bi weekly reports on line – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

Employment records – NO SUCH INSTRUCTION

I shall be writing to my MP and the minister responsible with a cc to the opposition on this one. I suggest if you have also gone through this you also contact your MP.

Drop back later to see a copy of my letter!

Once again a T/H to Scott at http://randboro.blogspot.com/ for making us aware of this.

UPDATE.. Here is that letter:-

Hon. Diane Finley
Minister for Human Resources and Social Development.


I draw your attention to a major flaw in the on-line Employment Insurance application and reporting system which is causing unnecessary hardship and angst amongst many of the thousands of recently laid off workers.

Many workers have chosen to apply for EI using the on line web site provided and this process is reasonably easy and straight forward. After filing we receive a letter by mail acknowledging receipt of our application and saying it is being processed, calls to the 800 line after filing our by-weekly reports say the same thing.

Unfortunately this is NOT the case, after waiting many weeks and having still not received any payment we discovered (from discussions with other EI recipients) that it is a requirement to visit the local EI office IN PERSON before any application can be processed. This process took just a few minutes once we were aware that it was necessary and made the drive to the nearest office.

The problem is that there is no indication that this visit is necessary on ANY of the paperwork received or on ANY of the on line instructions and guidance viewed when applying or filing reports. An applicant using the on-line system simply is left thinking that the EI application is being processed and that funds will be forthcoming, is in fact told that on-line, on the 800 line and by mail when in fact it is actually stalled until such time as they personally visit the EI office.


I do note that some applicants have, upon enquiring, received this information via an operator on the 800 line however all, ourselves included, have experienced great difficulty in getting that far as the lines are so busy that we are advised each time to “try again later”. I further note that both the telephone help personnel and the office personnel are aware of this problem and nothing is being done to correct it.

May I suggest that you give this immediate attention by putting this information on the 800 line when checking the status of one’s claim, putting it on the post application information provided on-line and putting on the information provided after one completes an on-line by-weekly report.
Not providing this information to those that choose to apply on-line is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE.




Larry Miller MP Miller.L@parl.gc.ca

Bill Murdoch MPP bill_murdochco@ontla.ola.org

Stephen Harper MP/PM Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

Jack Layton MP Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

Michael Ignatieff MP Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca

Elizabeth May leader@greenparty.ca

Owen Sound Sun Times http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/

The Rural Canadian http://ruralcanadian.blogspot.com/

Scott Murray http://randboro.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 13, 2009

E.I.C.F. (unEmployment Insurance? Cluster F…..)

Like many others, members of my family are out of work, one even has the “good fortune” the be eligible (so far as we know) for assistance through the EI system. After waiting now 16 weeks from the date of the EI application (on line) we have seen no sign of any payment. Then I saw this from Scott Murray, his CV says “ Professional Writer” so I will let him take it from here……

Well, about an hour ago, I finally got through to a Service Canada calling queue, and only waited a couple of minutes before speaking with an agent. (Recall that before today, their 1-800 number's outgoing message had been telling me they were too busy to handle my call, and I should try later.)I found the maze of back & forth using their touch-tone response system was not very productive for my purposes. "All questions must be answered and no response may be entered until the full question is asked. Press 9 for 'no' and 1 for 'yes'. Press * to hear the question again..."

But the woman I finally spoke to was fantastic, helpful and on-the-ball. She knew about the feature that restricts applicants from going back in and changing the End Date of their employment (or anything else for that matter), and was the first to mention the following bit of information, which I found to be pretty crucial to the whole process:I have to personally visit my local Service Canada Centre, Record of Employment in hand, during business hours in order to get the ball rolling. And here I had assumed (because there is nothing on their website saying as such, nor in the letter they mailed to me) that I could enter the information online, thus saving a federal employee from carrying out this task manually.

Cut to Scotts previous post……

Being a hip, online type of guy, I decided to start by setting up an account and application on the Service Canada website ……..Before long, I found the form and started filling it out………. Well, ITIL best practices for online service delivery demand an email notification and Access Management in the form of a username and password - the standard sort of thing Yahoo or Google or most utilities and online banking use for security, validation and service customization/quality of service. Nothing like that over at Service Canada. As far as I can tell, they have their own proprietary practices, and I'm sorry, but they ain't the best……….

Yeah, Scott and every government department seems to have a different “system”…….
Back to Scott…..

I did get a form letter in my (snail-) mailbox the following week, with an "IMPORTANT PERSONAL ACCESS CODE" (four digits) but no specific link on their website to actually, you know, enter my Access Code on, and, you know, actually access my application or anything.They did include a 1-800 number, good during business hours and evenings. This proved to be useful after I was unable to navigate on their site back to my application, nor to any login button or place I could enter my spiffy four-digit "Access Code".However, all three times I have tried to use the 1-800 number, I received a message telling me all their lines were busy and informing me to try again later. I wasn't even given an option to wait in a queue for the next available agent. Yikes.

My turn now………..

Firstly, indeed that letter with fancy access code does not direct one to the on-line by weekly report web page, it just briefly mentions in passing servicecanada.gc.ca , digging down through the mess to find the right place to report in can be a challenge, I got lucky when googling for the EI information first off and saw it come up, visited and saved the link. If I could have found it again without help is something I will never know!

Now back to the “help” line and what we are told or more specifically NOT told…….

Upon failing to get any joy on the 800 number (more on that in a bit) we tried calling the local EI office number and were treated to 5 or more minutes of reciting all the 800 numbers that we were unable to get any human response from followed by the message that no one at the local office could help us then “click” . No humans there either I guess.

Going back to the 800 number that Scott has detailed above it is worth noting that in the preamble to the on line application, which one is asked to read and sign off on, it is stated “you may also call the Telephone Information Service at 1 800 206 7281 and select Option 1 to hear details of your payment” .

That may well be true but there are two things that are a bit of a problem here. 1) after 16weeks we still get the message “we have received your claim and are working on it”, NO “you must attend your local office before your claim can start” and 2) the most frustrating bit is that once again you must wait though several minuets of BS before it will accept that Option 1, one would think from reading the above that an earlier response would be accepted!

There is also some mention of accessing further information on line by applying for an “epass”, this can get you into not only EI info but your pension, child allowance and the like info. Trouble is that is does not seem to “like” my computer or it would seem Scotts.
The typical response when we try is …….
At this time, epass Canada does not officially support your browser, your Java Virtual Machine (JVM) or your operating system. However, you may still be able to access epass Enabled Services by clicking Continue below.”

Hmmmm, good luck with that…….
Strange that we have no trouble getting to on-line bank accounts and other secure sites….

To add to this whole CF we should note that as Scott has mentioned after filing an on line application we get a letter in the mail saying “we are working on your claim a decision will be made soon” again no indication that any other action is required. In fact if we read the confirmation page after our electronic application is filed it says “”If your are entitled to receive benefits, your payment will be issued usually within 28 days from the date of filing your claim”. Nothing here about attending the local office?

Now who is lying, the dickheads who designed the on line system or the nice lady that Scott actually got to speak to. Ya pays yer money and takes yer choice but yer sure as hell aint gona get yer money!

More on this to come after a visit to the local EI office, hope the queue there is shorter that the one on the phone lines!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Going Green

An open letter to Elizabeth May, the Green Party and my fellow citizens.

For some time now I have been considering what, if any, political party I should support federally when next we, the citizens of Canada, get the chance to show who we trust to run our country. It is a difficult choice, do we vote for the best of the worst that are currently playing political games in Ottawa or do we try and get some fresh blood and ideas in the House in the form of either independents or Greens or other minority partys? After watching the government and the opposition parties over past year or so I have come to the conclusion that our only hope of any change for the better, as opposed to the ever increasing downward spiral of democratic deficit currently in effect, is fresh blood. The only real chance of that happening is to start by electing a few Green MPs, something that I believe is a real possibility next time around IF this fledgling party can get their ideas and platform out in the public eye more and convince folk that the alternative, that being more of the same, is unacceptable. Part of that message must be that not only are the Greens for doing thing different in regard to the environment but they are committed to doing things different, as in real open, honest and democratic, in parliament whilst at the same time pushing for change in our electoral system to make our MPs more accountable.

Now you must understand that I do not agree with ALL their ideas or conclusions, but I recognize that no one can please all of the people all of the time and we must all come to the best compromise. I for one am uncomfortable with the total removal of nuclear power from our mix of electricity supply and have some concerns about the price our rural citizens are paying to provide power for our urban neighbors with power from gigantic wind farms. However a little flexibility on these points can go a long way towards alleviating my concerns, build the wind farms offshore when ever possible, have sufficient nuclear available to cover time when wind or solar is not on line, and so on.

I did read the “alternative” stimulus package proposed by the Greens and whilst was not in 100% agreement found little that I could strongly disagree with. It is a shame that only those of us who found mention of it in Elizabeth’s blog and a few others even knew it existed. This should have been out front and center whilst all that budget debate was taking place, only if the Green party ideas are “in the news” BETWEEN elections will they be able to make that leap to elect some MPs to the HoC. In this regard the “Green Insider” has some very good ideas and it is well worth reading his ongoing series of articles.

Now the important bit from my point of view, and a part of the platform that needs to be heard loud and clear is this:-
During the last election the Green Leader was the only one that really expressed any concern about the way our parliamentary democracy is being eroded, our systems being systematically ignored, the manner in which we elect our representatives being compromised, and other such concerns. THIS is the issue that needs to be the focus of ALL honest and caring MPs and potential MPs. Unless our democratic processes are protected and enhanced, we the people, will soon lost the ability to have any real effect upon government. Many citizens already have given up, witness the miserable turn out during the last election, read a few blogs, once you separate the really partisan commentary you will see that so many are just sick and tired of the political games being played on our dime!

One of the other things that really strikes a chord with me is the Support Local mantra that would get our economy working from the bottom up instead of the top down. We have all seen where the “global economy” crowd have brought us to, we must indeed stop giving foreign nations and multinationals more control over our lives than our own citizens enjoy.
So whilst I generally agree with the Green Party platform, will almost certainly be voting for my local Green candidate, who in this area a least has a damn good chance of getting elected if his message is not lost in the pre election media blitz from the other lot, I ask all Greens and the Party Executive to consider this………

If individuals, political partys, the PMO, or others in, or with access to, government can ignore or change the rules to suit their own purpose, if MPs blindly vote with the party despite their personal or constituent’s views, then our Democracy will rapidly go from what is now at times an oligarchy to a defacto dictatorship. It is this that MUST be the focus of any party that wishes to win the trust of the public, those that sit back and do nothing are no less guilty than those who seek to destroy it.

As long time MP David Kilgore said in one of his speeches “All too often in Canada and elsewhere there has been a tendency to equate democracy with the holding of elections, forgetting that democracy must be continuously nurtured – not just once every four or five years. Democracy demands vigilance, and a willingness to pose difficult questions and to take risks. I do not mean by that only taking to the streets to complain about what is wrong, but also advocating constructive alternatives.”
More from David and more links at my post here

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snow on the Roof

On old farts, sagging roofs and politicians.

Recently I emerged from my winter funk long enough to visit with another old fart who like myself finds it tough dealing with this never ending winter. After the usual moaning about the temperature - a balmy minus 21 that morning, the price of fuel – cordwood up to $85, the speed that the liquor bottle goes empty………, we eventually started talking about political choices. Or more correctly the lack thereof. The two of us who combined have a total of over 120 years of study at the school of life came to the conclusion that non of the political partys currently representing the people in the HoC have anything to really offer us, their leaders are all pretty much a lack luster lot, a failing that is now particularly obvious with the change in regime south of us. They keep talking about “helping” the working man when they have little or no idea of exactly what that means. Most, if not all of them, have never been on a factory floor except to use the workers as a background for some announcement of a hand out to some corporation, the closest they have been to having a conversation with the typical worker is a meeting with some highly paid union leader who himself represents the elite of our working society. They are it seems, totally out of touch with the majority in our society that do not make $50,000 to $70,000 a year but might make half of that with both mom & dad working (if they can find a job).

The jobless figures recently released show just how rough it is going to be, giving tax credits to few folks just is not going to cut it. So many of us will be out of work or making so little that not only will we not have extra to spend on nonessentials but even if we did the tax “savings” are so minuscule as to make no difference anyway. Much of the “downturn” is related to “confidence”, or the lack thereof in our collective ability to see our way forward, In my view it is pretty hard for the “people” to have confidence when NONE of our political leaders could lead a conga line let alone our country. The only thing any of them seem to care about is themselves and their rich and powerful buddies, they will do almost anything including play games with our democratic processes in order to keep or get power.

What does any of this to do with clearing roofs? Well, apart from both us old codgers having white hair, one of us being more follicly challenged than the other, it goes like this.…… Having just viewed the wood shed and noted the sagging rafters weighed down by the excessive amount of snow load on the roof and navigated my creaking old bones up on top to shovel the accumulation off before it collapsed, I did find a comparison.

It seems that our democracy is showing signs of strain, but despite some of those that may well be hurt by its collapse pointing out the cracks in the supports, no one seems willing to get up there and do any shoveling. It is true that what they would have to shovel is not light and fluffy but probably stuck in place, difficult to tell apart from the supporting structure and may well stink, but someone had better start doing something about it pretty damn soon. As when we cleared our roof one would land up with a big pile off to the side which may also get in the way, but unlike our snow pile which will eventually go away when spring arrives, the clearing of the stuff blocking our way to change and increased room for the peoples choice will not simply melt away. Even if that were true it’s a long cold parliamentary winter with no forecast of when spring will arrive, if ever!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ohh Canada…………..

Its hard to know where to start, I will simply summarize some recent news without further comment ……………..

Kevin Page told a parliamentary committee Thursday the government's claimed $39.9 billion stimulus package over two years is effectively about 20 per cent smaller, at $31.8 billion. And he adds that a portion of the smaller amount may not find its way into the economy because $10 billion is contingent on shared spending by other levels of government. The difference will mean the extra spending is unlikely to create or save the 190,000 jobs projected by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Page said, estimating the number at closer to 120,000.

Federal inspectors spend more time certifying Canadian exports of fruits and vegetables than making sure that the plants and produce that come into Canada are bug- and disease-free, the Auditor-General has found

The recession hit home where Canadians live last month as a massive 129,000 workers joined the ranks of the unemployed and the country's jobless rate surged to 7.2 per cent. It was the worst monthly employment drop in at least three decades, topping figures seen in either of the two previous recessions in the 1980s and 1990s. Almost all the jobs were full-time and were mostly in a battered manufacturing sector that has been most affected by the severe downturn in the United States. The carnage was everywhere. Ontario shed 71,000 jobs, half in the manufacturing sector. British Columbia and Quebec workers were also hit hard with losses of 35,000 and 26,000 respectively.

Our new Environment Commissioner, picking up where his predecessor left off:
"Due to the nature of federal-provincial trust funds, it will be difficult for the government to support its claim that the $1.5 billion it is spending on the Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund will actually achieve the target it has set for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.........
The federal enticement to board city buses and subways was a key component of the 2006 Tory election platform and has cost $635 million over the last three years. "Increasing the use of public transit . . . will help ease traffic congestion in our urban areas and reduce air pollution that dirties our air and affects our health," the Conservatives said when they introduced it in 2006. Environment Canada initially said the credit would shave emissions by 220,000 tonnes a year from 2008 to 2012. The department later dramatically lowered that prediction to 35,000 tonnes per year.
"Given the lowered figure, the tax credit will have negligible impact on Canada's greenhouse gas emissions," Vaughan reported Thursday.
Not a surprise after this from December……………

After eight years during which the United States was consistently derided as the most obstructive force in international climate negotiations, Canada moved into worst place today, receiving the "Colossal Fossil" award for having done more than any other country to drag down talks at the UN climate negotiations in Poznan.


A Liberal analysis of the first $1 billion worth of specific projects financed by the Building Canada Fund concludes that 77.8 per cent of the money went to Tory constituencies.

And finally the icing on the cake………
The UN body called for immediate international action to force Israel to allow fuel, food, medicine and other essential items to be sent into the Gaza Strip.
The statement passed 30 to 1, with 15 countries abstaining. Canada was the only country to object the call which also urged Tel Aviv to reopen the border-crossings, sealed since Hamas began governing Gaza in June 2007.

There are days when I ashamed to say I am Canadian!

T/H to Far and Wide for much of this.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pot meet Kettle!

Yesterday MP Bill Casey stood up in the House and revealed that unknown Conservatives had approached his local RCMP detachment with accusations of embezzlement, apparently regarding a cheque issued by the Conservative Party just prior to his being thrown out of the Party for doing his job. The accusations were false. The cheque was returned by the riding association and the Con-bots knew it. Mr Casey is not the first ex Conservitive MP to be on the receiving end of this sort of attack, I suspect Garth Turner could give him a blow by blow synopsis of the Con tactics on this one!

This brings to mind other such false accusation which in each case seem to mirror what the Party faithful have, or are, doing and getting away with it. In this case we have the Con’s falsely accusing a (now) independent MP, one that all agree is a particularly honest and respected man, of “embezzling party funds, this by a Party that even now is under investigation for taxpayer fraud in the funding of the election finances.
Then we have the manual issued by the Con’s on how to disrupt committees followed by accusing the opposition of making parliament “dysfunctional”. The constant accusation of the proposed coalition being “undemocratic” this after two years of concerted attempts to undermine our parliamentary democracy inside and outside the House. There have been many other occasions when I have said to myself “wait a minute, isn’t that what THEY just did” but I cannot recall them all, I should have been keeping better records!

Just consider this each and every time the Conservatives, their “leader” or their “spin machine” accuses an opposition MP or Party of wrong doing you had better check and see when they did the same thing. About the only thing they haven’t accused others of is manipulating the press, spreading misinformation and excessive false advertising, maybe that is just a little too close to home?

The other big news from my point of view was that 6 Liberal MP’s showed that they truly represented their constituents by voting against the budget where it was particularly hard upon their area. Finally we are seeing a few MP’s with gonads, how nice of Igniff to “allow” them to vote on behalf of their constituents! It is long past time for ALL our MP’s to start representing US instead of the Party!