Category Archives: Politics

Loss Of Objectivity in Public Policy

Upon reading the Calgary Herald’s online comments to Rachel Notley’s letter to the editor today, I can’t help but feel dismayed by people’s vitriol. To preface this piece, I’m fiscally conservative and did not vote for Rachel Notley in our last provincial election and nor would I vote for her today. She has failed to act prudently with the public purse and public sector unions just as I had suspected. However; I do give her credit for adjusting somewhat when she took office to the market reality facing the oil and gas industry.

British Columbia has failed to honour its role in support of Canada’s industrial development. This mere fact underlies the basis which prevents the construction of increased pipeline capacity to the west coast. Ms. Notley has been an advocate of new pipeline construction. In fact, the taxpayer has now been exposed to the capital costs associated with preliminary pipeline construction because of British Columbia’s obfuscation and environmental idealism.

Unfortunately, when the electorate is exposed to politicians who have abused the public purse for their own benefit or witness politicians grand stand for social causes beyond the scope of their mandate, cynicism infiltrates objective debate thereby interfering with good decision making. People become so dug into their positions based on emotion as opposed to logic that coherent public policy is jeopardized.  The elicitation of a civil society is predicated by sound minds exchanging ideas, sourcing problems, contending with various interests, and ultimately planning and executing solutions. Canada in its size, its regional disparities, and its desire for satisfying everyone may in the end lose in global competitiveness. As a nation, we “stand on guard for thee” on Remembrance Day and on Canada Day, but do we do the same when critical industrial projects are on the precipice of deployment? Will we continue to operate from the premise that natural resources form the lifeblood of Canadian economic development or will we be naive enough to believe that service industries, computer gadgets, and the public sector will carry us all forward?

Could it be that your national government is simply reticent to thrust itself into a potential constitutional crisis over the jurisdictional rights of petroleum transport? Now that Canada’s federal government has taken an ownership stake in the Trans Mountain Pipeline, I ponder how it plans to illicit the benefits of such in the face of a provincial government which has been uncooperative. Wasn’t it Mr. Trudeau’s father who was last seen addressing elements particular to our constitution? May he have missed something?                 

Those Applauding The Budget

Imagine sitting in the House of Commons as an elected representative watching your colleagues clap to the conclusion of a budget speech which has implied yet another large deficit and no plan for paying down the national debt. Your projected national debt will be going up while your household cuts and compromises.  I never actually saw the speech because I was tending to taxpayers but I can just imagine that there was some peer pressure at work amongst liberals inciting smiles and applause. There is this justification of relative debt to GDP which apparently provides the rationalists with comfort. 

Our society has morphed into a “me first, where’s the gravy train” mentality with victimization as the root cause. Strident individualism has been superseded by “group think join the cause” deference. In apathy of a justice system unworthy of amicably resolving civil matters expeditiously, it’s now bestowed upon you the taxpayer that society through wealth redistribution will right all wrongs.

You, the taxpayer, have become a conduit for wealth redistribution. That’s really how your government views you. You are patronized by your government if self employed having taken risk. If you win, you’ll be penalized for victory through increased taxation. Hence; your aspiration may be muted thereby tempering the national pulse. In fact in time, government surmises that since it has sucked the wind out of free enterprise that it may need to invest commercially in the face of subdued capitalist interest despite banking profits at record highs.

The human spirit takes notice. It heeds the subtle intrusion of a civil liberty here and there.  It watches ego at work on the big stage. It digests impudent behaviour by those in the spotlight who dismiss legitimate claims of misconduct. Gratefully, the well endowed human spirit void of chemical inhibitors continues to elicit presence manifesting a message amidst aberrant policy.             

    

Canadian Winter and Homelessness

This is one particular story I tend to follow every year because I use it as a metric with regard to the state of the nation, humanity, and political will in a society which has continued to see the growth in disparity between the rich and the poor. Toronto is in the news today.   

Most homeless people in my opinion are homeless because of addiction, abuse, and mental health issues. They are often stubborn people who have refused help when requested to abide by certain simple civil rules in order to secure their welfare. Where their right to liberty is respected, they can find themselves on the street. Some of these folk lack the capacity to make rational decisions for themselves in a month like July when faced with the prospect of cold snap in January. Hence; we the taxpayer in good conscience humbly step forward because rightfully we disdain the discovery of a frozen lifeless body in the wee hours of a minus thirty morning. 

On the one hand we do not want to normalize homelessness by systematically adding and tracking resources because this process in and of itself expresses the frailty of the human condition. On the other hand, if we do not facilitate a structure of care then we risk failure in tending to our most vulnerable thereby blighting our reputation as compassionate souls. It is this duel that keeps us ambivalent with the issue buried beneath other supposed topics of priority. 

I, for one, am lucky enough to sit tonight behind a computer in a warm home articulating a problem that we face as a country with sound mind free of addiction and I’m blessed. I’m fully cognizant that it could be me scuttled on a mat in a putrid dank corridor of a public building fearful of the loss of one sentimental keepsake. In 1982 our country adopted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In spite of the strengths enshrined by this Charter, could this one issue be well served by a possible amendment? Could there be others? Could we redirect some wasted public money to this cause without one cent of increased tax? Could we penalize civil infractions more forcefully thereby directing proceeds to the cause? Could our tax system incentivize builders for the construction of affordable housing units?         

Latest Revelation – A Taxpayer Yet Outraged?

The tab that you the taxpayer have picked up for a 2016 Christmas vacation of Prime Minister Trudeau is $215,000 according the The Globe and Mail this morning. He took a trip along with family and friends to a private island owned by a gentleman known as Aga Khan who owns a foundation registered as a lobbyist of the Government of Canada.

You can call it a breach of ethics but I call it something a lot more vigorous unbefitting of this first world country which likes to show itself off as being clean of government corruption.  Aga Khan is supposedly a “spiritual leader” and I will emphatically state that my federal government has no business feeding my hard earned tax dollars to any “spiritual cause” let alone the grand sum of $330,000,000 (Toronto Star) disbursed  to  “foundation projects” since 1981.

The great country of Canada with its punitive taxation system can perhaps finally now come to learn that extorting (excessive taxation) its citizens for the benefit of the privileged has gone on far too long.

I fully expect the federal conservative party leader to exhibit his outrage with proceeding to either recover taxpayer money from beneficiaries of the lavish 2016 Christmas trip, or exercise whatever provision may be available in the Canadian Constitution Act to remove this man from office. 

Let me be clear…this was not a “mistake” by this man as he has referenced the violation.  This was outright willful disregard of Canadian’s money for which we put trust in our government officials for its management. Furthermore, it is indicative of a behavioral pattern in Canada where ego driven politicians begin to patronize their constituents at the first whiff of parliamentary power. 

Exercising Your Rights As A Citizen

Apparently our federal Minister of Sports and Persons With Disabilities has come under fire for behaving less than professional and he’s being held to account.  This is a good thing. The job of politics comes with the inherent task of responding to the beefs of constituents while potentially implementing worthy recommendations. Additionally, this responsibility comes with the task of eliminating roles where the government does not belong. Societies evolve and priority lists should hence follow suit. I can cut my government officials some slack now and then if they lose their cool while responding to a constituent in the heat of executing the important duties of their office.  However; there is losing one’s cool and then there’s the display of outright disrespect.

Increasingly Canadians feel impotent in jumping through the channels of government in order to have their voices heard. Hence; they understandably become emotional. I expect my government officials to be in tune with the frustration faced by Canadians because of inherent inefficiencies and bureaucracies associated with the law, legislative process, processing times of inquiries, and access to politicians. Naturally, our government has limited resources as it should and has delivered with particular protocols to aid the public but in an environment where our federal government expects to be all things to all people, folks will consequently reach out their hand for what they deem to be theirs having witnessed benefits showered upon their neighbours. When liberalism extends to socialism, this is what happens. 

I encourage Canadians with legitimate concerns to exercise their voice through the precise channels that governments make available while following up and following through administratively on their initiatives. I have experienced some success in my tax practice helping authorities understand administrative problems more fully. They have in fact thanked me for providing feedback. One’s credibility is well served having finely documented courses of action and progressive steps in resolving matters. Consequently, if a matter needs elevation, then an activist is well equipped in support of a louder voice. When society realigns with the ideals of a libertarian philosophy instead of a socialist one, these problems should be ameliorated.            

So Your Country Is Legalizing Pot

Fine….whatever. Now, we’d best see the pot smokers being the ones paying for regulatory measures and ad campaigns. This Canadian thinks that pot smokers will know enough to be versed on the risks and penalties of driving while high without the taxpayer funding an ad campaign streaming through movie houses across the land. My logical mind goes like this….I smoke pot and it creates a cerebral adjustment / impairment. Consequently, I must know the new law associated with putting myself behind the wheel of a car having ingested cannabis. I must know what my government believes to be the criteria associated with impairment and the legal sanction for non-compliance. I think it reasonable that my government having taken this legislative decision will have conducted necessary diligence in determining these criteria. Since I’m a responsible citizen, I will become informed through the channels that my government makes available to me through the internet, my local police detachment, or the office of my member of parliament. Given the proliferation of the internet for information dissemination and my government’s inclination for utilizing the resource in order to aid Canadians, could it be a reasonable strategy to inquire on the internet in order to become educated around the legislation? I suspect, yes.        

 

Calgary Mayoral Candidate Bill Smith Campaign Lesson

Things he could have done better:

1. Acknowledge issue of massive urban sprawl and management plan.
2. Profess exactly whether public funds should be used for the purpose of a new arena.
3. Strategy for getting taxes down.
4. Circulate ideas vibrantly in Nenshi strong North East Calgary.
5. Prohibit receipt of campaign financing from elite interests. Ie. maximize donor amounts.
6. Refrain from exclaiming “I love the Flames and Stampeders”. Calgarians expect impartiality.
7. Express with indignity the funding two ridiculous public art projects.
8. Clearly express position on proposed Green Line.
9. Clearly express position on prospect hosting Olympics with perceived implications.
10. Opine on at least one city expense item for reduction.

By speaking in broad strokes during the election campaign, Bill Smith in my opinion played the safety card of attempting not to offend anyone who may be leaning right. In so doing, his vagueness created the image of mistrust. The electorate has been down this path before and is growing resentful of politicians more interested in the office than in representing absolute ideas for change.

Herd Mentality Takes The NFL

Of course the U.S President of the United States, Donald Trump, should have ceased reactionary tweeting when he took office at the White House. Of course he should not have waded into this anthem kneeling chicanery enacted by NFL players through twitter. However; he is entitled to have an opinion with respect to protocols, conduct, and assembly of Americans in witness to the ceremony of the country’s national anthem.

Americans exercising their civil liberty are entitled to their opinion regarding each others’ conduct. If a citizen has a grudge to bear against their country, they have the freewill to express themselves within their law abiding rights. Each American has the autonomy to choose which way they wish to fight their civil battles within their rights. I suspect that many Americans lacking weekly television exposure while administering their own rights for justice would rather see NFL players take their grievance(s) to the appropriate forum for resolution rather than grandstanding in front of folks enthusiastic about watching some football.

I, personally, stopped watching football in 2014 upon learning of an NFL player beating his wife in a casino elevator. There was much ado about whether the player should be suspended by the league or not. The story line had morphed from the strategy of defensive alignment, pass protection, finger tip end zone catches, and fourth down late game conversions into a gong show about the conduct of privileged elite players having difficult managing themselves.

Eric Francis Response To Flames Quest For New Arena

I’m not sure that the Sikh, the Muslim, the single low income mother, or the senior on a fixed income get much civic pride out of the Calgary Flames Eric. You’re a hockey fan and I believe someone who has earned a livelihood in one form or another from the good ‘ol hockey game with an apparent bias toward a new rink when this city already has one. The demographics in this city are changing and the aforementioned groups don’t jump like city councillors at some bargaining tactic by Ken King. The utilization of tax money for special interest groups has been with us for far too long and the appetite for tolerating this form of “extortion” has evaporated! Nenshi’s notion of tax money for the public benefit of all is a credible principle of which this proposal breaches. No teary eyed victim like threat from spokespersons of multimillionaire owners are going to trump the spirit of fairness owed to taxpayers.

Colin Kaepernick Affair

It’s called grandstanding and Colin Kaepernick knew very well that he put his employment security in jeopardy the moment he decided to dishonor his country by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner.  Once Colin gets a few more years behind him and matures, he will come to realize that causes and issues need to be addressed through the hard work of active participation and not the simplified approach of convenient protest. There are very few perfect places on the planet where justice is served at every turn but an open democratic process is available to Colin should he decide that the cause so dear to him that he decides to seriously engage with the help of fellow constituents. Of his fellow Americans who have been versed in legal process and empathetic to his cause, I would think that the New York Police Department would condemn his tactic and instead rally to his cause in a fashion representative of the democratic administrative apparatus available to all Americans.  Protests have their place when conducted civilly as reinforcement to the aforementioned process citizens can access due to their citizenship right.  Once one denounces their anthem, their credibility is questioned and any employer rightfully ponders the character of such applicant.