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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here we go again. Now that Khadr has been awarded $10 million dollars in lieu protections inherent to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, next up is some malcontents working over at Canada’s spy agency. Apparently a group of four is looking for $35 million from you the taxpayer because they were called names in the work place. They were likely bullied. It’s probably true. Unlike other Canadians who have been in such situations who would have tendered their resignation and moved along, these folks have learned some things that I bet you never picked up in grade school regarding “The Charter”. Forget free speech or supervisor’s incompetence in dealing with complaints. Now it’s “The Charter” which could potentially impact you the taxpayer for years and years to come because of the evil nature of some of your fellow Canadians.
This will be a very interesting case because it could be precedent setting for any employer and not just the civil service. Employers dismissive of deploying proactive positive work place climates or who become lax in executing such measures could be faced with law suits from the “victimized”. This could be just one more overlay of business risk which would likely disenfranchise many employers from hiring. Obviously I do not condone or tolerate racism, bigotry, harassment or discrimination in the work place but I am one Canadian who believes in the free enterprise system and the activities inherent to keeping such a system vibrant. I believe that any Canadian who does not feel that they are treated properly should seek out a climate or create one that does. I also believe that any organization which tolerates behavior of the aforementioned is doomed for failure because of the inherent morale and productivity issues that consequently arise. Whistle blower legislation providing employment security for complainants in the civil service is a reasonable measure.
This taxpayer is getting sick and tired of paying off the malcontents. If you don’t like a situation, leave it but don’t come looking for my wallet because you were too lame to put the free enterprise system to work for you.
So why does Donald Trump Jr. feel compelled to hire a criminal defence attorney if there was nothing unscrupulous, unethical, or illegal about his meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin during his father’s election campaign? Why should he need a lawyer when at every turn regarding the Russian investigation, Donald Trump, the President is espousing “fake news?” What is one to think when the President’s son in law makes oversights on disclosure forms regarding contacts with Russian officials? Why would an attorney general of the U.S. also withhold information relevant to contacts with Russia? Why would a U.S. attorney general be receiving payments from Russia? Why would the President of the U.S. even consider a son in law for such position of “adviser” when a volume of other candidates would be much better equipped for the role? What is one to think when the President’s son is forced to reconcile his motive behind a meeting once information comes to light via Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Manafort that the intention was to acquire Democratic campaign party dirt? If there had been Clinton damaging campaign material provided to Donald Trump Jr. via this meeting with the Russian lawyer, what would he have done with it in the event that the material was elicited through surreptitious means? Why is Russia afforded any diplomatic grace at all in the context of operating under U.S. sanctions for the incursion of Crimea? Why can’t we get the straight goods from the President of the U.S. regarding his absolute position of Russian election meddling given that the FBI has proven that Russia in fact attempted to interfere? Does the president not subscribe to findings made by the FBI? Is the President privy to evidence unavailable to the FBI? Has President Trump been briefed on the evidence behind the FBI’s conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere in the election? If not, why not? Could it be that the FBI is mistrustful of the president given what they’ve already discovered? Is the relationship between the White House and the FBI now fractious in the context of Comey’s firing? Is President Trump reticent to besmirch Putin in lieu of President Trump’s business activities in Russia? Why would President Trump in private ask fired FBI Chief Comey to stop the Russian investigation in spite of material evidence if the President didn’t have something to hide? Did the President have something to hide inside his tax return regarding Russian income sources? Why all the buffoonery over a tax return and not just disclose it? Why the kind words toward the leader (Putin) of a corrupt occupying nation of a sovereign state during an election campaign?