Showing posts from January 27, 2015

Tax Haven USA: The Vortex-Shaped Hole in Global Financial Transparency

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[More on the financial crapification of the global economy by the banking branch of the corporatocracy. *RON*]
By Nicholas Shaxson, adapted from a post on the Tax Justice Network. Posted by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism, 27 January 2015.

Yves here. Nicholas Shaxson’s landmark book on tax havens, Treasure Island, described how the US was the biggest sponsor of what Shaxson called “offshore,” or tax havens and tax secrecy. He tells us how the US is working to keep it that way.
If people stash their wealth or earn income overseas, that is just fine — as long as their tax authorities get the information they need to tax that wealth or income according to the law, and as long as money laundering and financial crimes can be effectively tracked, and so on. Where there are cross-border barriers to legitimate tax collection, law enforcement and other instruments of democratic societies, then there is an offshore problem.

The only credible way to provide th…

How the federal government plans to end homelessness

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By Vicky Stergiopoulos and Sam Tsemberis, Evidence Network, undated.

[An undated article from the Manitoba-based Evidence Network. This group provides great evidence-based, non-partisan backgrounders on a large variety of (health-related) topics, often used as OpEds in major newspapers. The Housing First approach is highly effective. *RON*]
A version of this commentary appeared in the Toronto Star, Huffington Post and the Guelph Mercury

Something largely overlooked by wide media coverage of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2013 was that it marked a significant change in the way we will tackle homelessness in this country. The Plan includes an investment on ending homelessness by providing five years of renewed funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), and placing a strong emphasis on the Housing First approach.

The sizeable investment, $119M per year for 5 years, is commendable in two ways: it increases the funding cycl…

B.C. Mine Safety, Permit Process To Get $10 Million Funding Boost: Clark

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[A photo of the actual barn door Clark will be closing now that this toxic horse has already bolted: *RON*]
By Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press, 26 January 2015

VANCOUVER - A mining disaster and increased pressure to speed up the mine-review process in British Columbia has prompted Premier Christy Clark to promise more funding.

Clark told a crowd at Roundup 2015, the annual mineral exploration conference in Vancouver, that her government would hike the budget this year for B.C.'s Ministry of Mines and Energy by nearly $10 million in an effort to improve safety and efficiency.

"We're increasing resources so that we have more boots on the ground, performing more inspections," said Clark on Monday.

"(We're) making sure, in light of what's happened at Mt. Polley, that we all recognize our greater responsibility to … ensure that mining is done safely and mining is done in a way that maintains public confidence and publi…

What if First Nations (and their poverty) were counted?

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[It's not a large impact, but I had no idea that this was so. *RON*]
By David MacDonald,, 27 January 2015

Kudos to the Globe and Mailfor their front page story on Jan. 23 highlighting the fact that the official unemployment rate does not count First Nations reserves. You heard that right: First Nations reserves, some of the poorest places in the country, are not included in the official unemployment rate.

As unbelievable as that sounds, the reality is even worse. Reserves are regularly excluded from all of our regularly updated measures of poverty, wage growth, average incomes etc. The exception to this rule is during a census, i.e. every four years (and as a result of legislation making the long-form census voluntary, concerns have been raised about the future reliability of these data). Otherwise, reserves -- some of the poorest places in Canada -- are statistic-free zones: out of sight…out of mind.

As someone who works regularly wi…

Burnaby gains an unexpected ally in the fight against Kinder Morgan

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[A nice little collage of articles setting out the state of the play. Oil company CEOs might be feeling a little isolated these days. Municipalities continue to play a unexpectedly key role in the fight against pipelines in BC - see also Pipeline info inadequate, Langley Township says. Even Christy Clarke - like Harper, she is above all a political survivalist - has woken up to smell the coffee, thus Kinder Morgan needs to disclose more on safety plans, says B.C. Premier Christy Clark. Now we have SFU scientist Lynne Quarmby, recently arrested as a protester on Burnaby Mountain, running as a federal candidate in Burnaby. All of which leads to the supreme irony of Harper announcing that oil just isn't all that important to the Canadian economy. *RON*]

Justine Hunter, The Globe and Mail, 25 January 2015

Since last spring, the city of Burnaby has been trying to extract from Kinder Morgan a copy of their Emergency Response Plan.

In light of the co…

Global unrest rising over income inequality’s economic impact

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By Peter Ladner, Business in Vancouver, 27 January 2015

[Peter Ladner, co-founder of Business in Vancouver, apparently having figured it out as well, says "even Mitt Romney has figured out" that massive inequality is bad for the economy. No doubt, in his view, only very, very large inequality is necessary. But this does spell out what the 1% fears at the point - unrest. *RON*]

First came the Oxfam report that the richest 85 people in the world – who could all fit on one B-Line bus – are as wealthy as the poorest 50%. Then, shocking in a lesser and different way, the former – and possibly future – U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said reducing income inequality should be one of the pillars of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

What? Mitt Romney, the same man who in 2012 dismissed inequality concerns as “envy” and “class warfare,” now can’t deny that this has become a central issue. It’s finally getting harder to ignore …

Harper says there’s more to the Canadian economy than oil

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[With an election in the offing, and with his unrelenting support for oil and gas having dragged the economy into deficit territory, Harper does a complete 180 on his previous position expounding Canada as a booming petrostate. And yet (small wonder Harper refuses to release his budget), the Parliamentary Budget Office says the Federal Deficit Will Remain This Year If Oil Prices Stay This Low*RON*]

Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail, 22 January 2015

Stephen Harper is playing down the impact of energy on the overall Canadian economy, noting that other sectors will help keep growth strong during hard times for the oil patch.

The Prime Minister, who has previously promoted Canada abroad as an emerging energy superpower, stressed the importance of small business, manufacturing and innovation during an event in St. Catharines, one of many Southwestern Ontario communities that have lost manufacturing jobs in recent years.

“It’s obviously significant for…