Showing posts from June 16, 2014

IFAC shows how austerity will have sucked €32bn out of Irish economy

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[Ask yourself - why do ALL finance ministers around the world look just like this guy? Which is to say, like a guy who would happily authorize Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination? Ireland is one of few countries where the national press speaks out freely against neoliberal austerity - mainly because a substantial portion of the population clearly expressed its opposition to these policies in their last election. They should probably watch out for this guy. *RON*]
Eoin Burke-Kennedy, Irish Times, 17 June 2014

The full extent of Ireland’s painful austerity project was laid bare yesterday by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC). In its latest fiscal assessment report, the budgetary watchdog noted that, by the end of this year, some €32 billion in spending cuts and tax increases will have been taken out of the economy since 2008.

This equates to 20 per cent of the State’s current gross domestic product, and will be one of the most vicious …

Are Metro Vancouver Municipalities Really As Poor As They Claim?

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[This is one of the few areas where I agree with the Fraser Institute - municipalities are the last bastion of totally unapologetic tax-and-spend government in Canada. In addition to simple bureaucratic bloat, I'd be interested to see how many tax payers' dollars are going to welfare for developers. *RON*]

Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute, Huffington Post, 16 June 2014

Municipal officials in Metro Vancouver hailed the recent renewal and expansion of the Gas Tax Fund, which provides federal transfers to municipalities for infrastructure spending. But before the ink could dry on the federal commitment, Metro Vancouver vice-chairman and City of Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie argued that municipalities need even more transfers from the federal government to pay for projects like the Lions Gate sewage treatment plant.

Asking for more money is common among municipal officials. Despite soaring transfersfrom higher level governments, municipa…

Canada looks set to approve Enbridge Northern Gateway: Bloomberg

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[The federal government has until midnight to decide on the controversial pipeline project, but proponents say they feel 'optimistic' that Enbridge Northern Gateway will be approved. After the repeated international grief that Harper has given Obama over Keystone XL I will be surprised if Harper does not approve Enbridge. He might delay and prevaricate for strategic reasons, but it will be approved. How do you feel about that? What would you like to do about that? *RON*]

Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, Jun 16th, 2014

The Canadian government looks set to approve Enbridge's Northern Gateway approval, reported Bloomberg News.

"Enbridge Inc. (ENB) is poised to win government approval as soon as today for its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific coast, a major step for the project that still faces opposition from aboriginal and environmental groups," Jeremy van Loon and Andrew Mayeda wrote in Bloomberg this morning…

U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96%

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[I just now came across this month-old story. It's an excellent example of the kind of news that is virtually unreported in the mainstream media. This should have been in the headlines of every newspaper. It's a beautiful illustration of the puffed up snake oil the oil industry sells to government, investors and the public when seeking permission for a go-ahead on its projects. As the expense of finding and acquiring gas and oil rises we certainly face a situation in which, far from making money from the public coffers, the tax base will be sucked away to subsidize these private efforts. *RON*]

Louis Sahagun, LA Time, 20 May 2014
Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California's vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national "black gold mine" of petroleum. Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 1…

Canadian Wages On Par With U.S., Government Study Finds

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[Mission accomplished -- hooray for globalization and neoliberalism; our wages have been suppressed to US levels. Before you know it we'll be "competitive" with Bangladesh. *RON*]

By Dean Beeby, CP / Huffington Post, 06/16/2014

OTTAWA - Wage levels in Canada are generally in line with those in the United States, says an internal government study, suggesting the pay packets of Canadian workers pose no special competitive disadvantage.

The research, by Employment and Social Development Canada, found that since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, any average differences in the two countries' absolute wage levels have largely disappeared.

Less educated Canadians earn slightly higher wages than their American counterparts, but well-educated Canadians earn slightly less.

The result appears to be a more equalized wage economy that is well-positioned internationally to compete with Canada's largest trading partner and others.

Citizenship bill C-24 is bad policy and potentially violates Charter

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["Canada has a history of stripping unpopular groups of their fundamental rights as citizens. Bill C-24, the most radical change to citizenship law since 1947, will give government the right to quickly strip citizenship rights of inconvenient Canadians and deport them, just as they once did to Japanese Canadians." *RON*]

By Robert Addington, Vancouver Observer, Jun 15th, 2014
Robert Addington wrote the following letter to members of the Senate to express his opposition to Bill C-24, the "Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act". The bill, which passed through committee stage while repeatedly blocking expert witnesses, will give the Citizenship Minister unprecedented powers to strip citizenship.

Honourable Senators:

As a private citizen with an interest in citizenship policy (but not a lawyer or professional scholar), I have been following closely the progress of Bill C-24. I am writing to you now in your capacity as members o…

Northern Gateway Pipeline Opponents Prepare For B.C. Provincial Referendum

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[I think they would be more effective if they put their time and resources into supporting the Aboriginal community in the court system. The public tires quickly of referenda. *RON*]

By Dene Moore, CP / Huffington Post, 06/15/2014

VANCOUVER - Resigned, perhaps, that federal government approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline is inevitable, opponents of the project are formulating a plan to make sure British Columbia's politicians remain opposed to the project.
For months now, members of the Dogwood Initiative have been preparing for a provincial referendum akin to the vote that forced the Liberal government to repeal the harmonized sales tax in British Columbia.

Should Ottawa give the pipeline the go-ahead by this Tuesday's deadline and the province issues the necessary permits and authorizations, spokesman Kai Nagata said his group will be ready.

"In a perfect world, politicians would do what they say they're going to do and t…