Showing posts from September 12, 2014

B.C. Ferries has cost the economy $2.3 billion over 10 years

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[More of the joys of privatization and another illustration of the finely-honed financial acumen of our government. UBCM report says depressed ferry travel due to increased fare costs has hit multiple sectors across B.C. "The shocking numbers had the normally chatty transportation minister at a loss for words." *RON*]

By Michael Smyth, The Province, 11 September 2014

Some pretty simple math sums up the situation at B.C. Ferries over the last decade: ferry fares have gone way up, and ferry ridership has gone way down as a result.

Now comes a stunning new report showing just what that declining ferry ridership is costing all of us: $2.3 billion in lost economic activity for the province.

The report by the Union of B.C. Municipalities is one of the first comprehensive studies linking skyrocketing ferry fares and squandered economic opportunity.

It blames soaring fares for an overall 11-per-cent decline in ferry ridership from 2003 to 2013…

Indian drug deficiencies cause furore in Canada

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[Still up to the same tricks. And our government insurance plans largely force us to buy these generics, since they will only pay for the lowest cost drug available. *RON*]

Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu, 12 September 2014

Drugs manufactured at the Indian plant of Canadian generics giant Apotex came under fire from regulatory experts this week after health concerns were sparked by the revelation that the company sold prescription drugs that it knew were defective, according to reports.

Records published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulator show that in June this year Apotex employees at a facility in Bangalore, that makes drugs exported to North America, “did not report undesirable test results and doctored bacterial growth test records.”

Despite the FDA sending warning letters to Jeremy Desai, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Apotex, “drugs and drug ingredients banned from the U.S. market have been allowed by [the Canadian re…

Harper's planned military splurge comes at the expense of health care

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[Sounds like great support for his Peace Prize nomination... *RON*]

By Linda McQuaig,, 11 September 2014

With Ottawa's deficit about to turn into a surplus, we'll soon be able to loosen our belts a bit and fulfill our pent-up dream of splurging on new tanks and fighter planes.

Some Canadians have other priorities, of course -- investing in public health care usually tops the list in polls -- but Stephen Harper's government has already ruled that out.

Here's what Harper is actually planning to do: boost military funding and deeply cut spending on health care. None of this is secret -- although you wouldn't necessarily pick it up from the media.

For instance, given last week's busy news cycle -- what with the discovery of a ship that sank 170 years ago, the prospect of a second royal baby and the introduction of a new iPhone -- it was easy to miss a Harper spokesman saying that it is "important to continue increa…

Canada's Wealth Gap Is Growing As Poor Get More In Debt: Report

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[Welfare for the rich on the backs of Canada's poorest: "The share of wealth for the bottom four deciles shrank..." Things are right on target and on plan in Harperland; look for tax cuts for the rich prior to the election in 2015. *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 11 September 2014

Those rosy reports about Canadians’ net worth growing and the country's middle class being among the richest in the worldare masking growing inequality in the country, according to a new report.

The left-leaning Broadbent Institute says Canada’s poorest 10 per cent of the population saw their net worth drop some 150 per cent since 2005, while the top 10 per cent saw their net worth jump nearly 42 per cent in that time.

"This unequal distribution [of wealth] challenges the narrative that suggests Canadians are getting wealthier across the board," the report concludes.

The bottom 10 per cent have an average net worth of minus-$5,100, mean…

Affidavit casts doubt over downtown Vancouver casino proposal

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[Financial tom-foolery. Another shining example of the business acumen of the BC government. *RON*]
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, 11 September 2014

Paragon Gaming, which is at the centre of a major casino proposal in Vancouver, was strongly criticized by an Albertan First Nation for failing to live up to its casino and hotel agreements. The Las Vegas-based corporation, which recently recruited former BCLC chair Michael Graydon, is currently proposing to build a $535 million casino resort complex in downtown Vancouver by B.C. Place.
Graydon's got to go: ex-BCLC CEO's conflict of interest and Paragon Casino

Paragon Gaming and the Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation had established a joint venture for Eagle River Casino in Whitecourt, north of Edmonton, in 2008. By 2014, the casino had filed for bankruptcy protection, owing $100 million in debt. Paragon had initially promised to build a hotel as part of the casino, but had not followed throug…

B.C. Auditor General For Local Gov't Fizzled Quick As Canucks 1st-Round Draft

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[Since municipal governments are now often being used as the "farm team" for MLAs, look to see municipalities selected for audits that will be as politically biased as are the CRA audits of non-profits. *RON*]
Jordan Bateman , BC Dir., Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Huffington Post, 11 September 2014

We had such high hopes.

When Premier Christy Clark opened the new Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) office in April 2012, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was among the most ardent supporters. An auditor general digging into spending at B.C. city halls was bound to save property taxpayers money, and help mayors and councillors learn how to better manage the resources entrusted to them.

More than two years later, this AGLG has fizzled as quick as a Vancouver Canucks first-round draft pick.

AGLG Basia Ruta was appointed in November 2012, and took over the job officially on January 16, 2013 -- after documents obtained by CTV News report…

Child Poverty Is a Canadian Problem

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[The House of Commons resolved to eradicate child poverty in 1989. "UNICEF'S most recent report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Canada 17 out of 29 countries assessed, scoring 27th in child obesity, 22nd in infant mortality and 21st in child poverty rates." *RON*]
Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones, Paediatrician specializing in social paediatrics at SickKids and professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, Huffington Post, 12 September 2014

Hundreds of thousands of Canadian children are growing up without enough.

UNICEF'S most recent report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Canada 17 out of 29 countries assessed, scoring 27th in child obesity, 22nd in infant mortality and 21st in child poverty rates. Sadly, this isn't news. The House of Commons resolved to eradicate child poverty in 1989, but in late 2013, Statistics Canada reported that 967,000 children in this country still lived in…

Harper OKs Canada-China Foreign Investment Deal After Lengthy Delay

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[This is terrible news. This agreement - which Canada cannot get out of for more than 30 years - allows China to sue Canada if we put our national interests above those of China. It puts Chinese companies inside Canada outside of Canadian law and subject only to the binding resolutions of secret panels. Chinese companies already inside Canada can buy anything they want without a foreign investment review. In general this is a good older article on what's wrong with FIFA: Canada-China trade deal is too one-sided. *RON*]
CBC, Huffington Post, 12 September 2014

The controversial Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) was signed in 2012 and is meant to provide a framework of legal obligations and rights that would enhance foreign investment.

Harper said in 2012 that he "absolutely" expected that it will make a "practical difference."

China ratified the deal quickly, but the Harper government did…