Category Archives: Politics

If The Flames Leave

You know it’s not going to happen because Calgary is a good market for an NHL franchise and the whole executive of the Flames organization knows it.  Brian Burke would be well served to keep his tongue wagging about hockey instead of what he thinks Calgarians need.  There are enough marginalized hockey fans in Calgary obediently paying their income tax, their excise tax, their property tax, their GST, while transferring wealth toward some neighbour’s Child Tax Benefit payment in our socialized way of life that if you piss him off just a little bit more, he’s likely to just give you the finger and walk away from those season tickets.

Here in Calgary there’s been a destructive force working on city revenues, namely commercial property tax from an office sector which is staggering through vacancies in the downtown core.  Consequently, the city has had to shift the tax burden outward and if you don’t think they’ll come for you out there in the burbs, think again once saddled (pardon the pun) with an enormous capital expenditure via one new unnecessary arena. We’ve become a people of want instead of need.  We want to keep up with the Jones’.  We want the upgraded BMW.  We want to have a nicer arena just like our rivals because our ego is bruised when the competition comes to town and they know what we know about their nice place.

Income taxes went up in 2016.  The top marginal rate is now 47 per cent and this is only of those pesky income taxes you get to pay.  Yes, the rate grows incrementally until you get there, but it was supposed to be temporary to fund world war one.  Then you and yours decided you needed an awful lot from your governments like sports arenas and a health care system that has doctors laughing at you for paying them so much.  That’s okay. They laugh in private.

Here you are in a conundrum because your favourite musician is skipping the Saddledome because of some idiosyncrasy associated with this practical structure of strength seating some 17,000.  Some beer glutton thinks he needs the extended bathroom that a new facility would provide ’cause he apparently can’t be entertained on anything less than a six pack of Molson’s best.  Then there’s the “revenue model” referenced by the silver haired hockey has beens now execs sitting lofty in their glass enclosed perches claiming more from the parking, more from concession, and more from the city ’cause “we are the culture that Canada craves”.

I say no.  I say call their bluff with a Bon Voyage to Quebec City – that market that couldn’t sustain the Nordiques back in the ’90’s.  We know that the Stampede can pack the Saddledome for the first two weeks of July.  For some reason acts still show up.  The Hitmen and Roughnecks would retain their home turf while the Circus, the Cirque….and soccer could find fame from the departed Flame. Yes Soccer and the River Dance and more music with more dates on the calendar.  There could be variety shows, acrobats, art shows and exhibits.  A modernization of the Dome’s innards could accommodate for sets made to order.  Figure skating competitions and showcases could return with frequency.  Events representing human splendour and wonder could grace a stage tired from the moribund movement of a puck too many days out of the year.  Your venue could be revived as a city centre piece for cultural reform with a return on investment actualized through solid management and imagination.

 

ABC Reports Cringe Worthy Comey Testimony

I’d call it something different than “cringe worthy”.  I’d call the details espoused by Comey in his testimony of Donald Trump nothing more than the typical bully like egocentric behavior representative of Trump’s conduct throughout the presidential campaign and what also seems now apparent in his business conduct throughout the years evidenced by the volume of law suits thrown at him.

I’ll let the lawyers dual on the subject of “obstruction of justice” but as far as my coherent rational mind sees it, if a sitting president makes a request of the FBI to drop an investigation, one should not even need to delve into the motive for such a request.  The FBI is independent of the White House and operates on behalf of the security of the nation with classified information which passes between and throughout presidential tenures.  If the FBI is confronted with data which it deems is compromising to the security of the nation, it has an incumbent responsibility to act on the data while incorporating its sense of relevancy.  These men and women are specialists in what they do and should be availed necessary funding if at their core they believe a matter requires investigation in the spirit of defending their country.

The United States citizens chose a president with values inconsistent with those necessary to occupy the oval office. It’s that simple.  However; in the two party system, I would place the blame entirely on the delegates bestowed a responsibility for anointing a genuine leader with integrity.  The sad footnote to the story is that some of the man’s ad hoc platform is what the U.S could use but now with Trump’s credibility undermined, the execution of such platform is cast in doubt.  How does the old saying go….if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck.  If it tweets like a child, emotes like a child, insults like a child, and refers to its genitalia like a child, then it’s likely a child.  Unfortunately, more drama at the executive branch will be unfolding while the U.S. copes with a national debt growth rate at the highest in its history and a dysfunctional parliament refusing to cooperate for the good of the nation.

 

Canadian Bail Out of Softwood Lumber

When you first embarked upon your career, you may have stumbled, adjusted, retooled, and re-evaluated.  Then you found your path.  If you are a highly capitalized business in Canada burdened with plant and equipment and a claim that jobs will be lost in the face of market forces, you get teary eyed and whine to governments for bail outs.  This is becoming endemic to the Canadian corporate psyche.  If you have business operations in Quebec – then governments not only wipe your tears with oodles of cash but roll out the red carpet in a direct line to the treasury.

Your governments get themselves into trouble because they cannot balance a cheque book.  Then they think in order to keep the funds flowing, they’ll need to “invest” in the plumbing that keeps the cash flowing.  They’ve got it wrong.  Capitalism is the driver of economic success.  Taxpayers expect services related to the common good and not targeted bail outs for losers irrespective of international trade agreements and barriers.

In a capitalist environment while facing international trade pressure, manufacturers curtail production until the environment once again turns friendly.  Those involved in the industry have every opportunity during a down turn in a land fostering freedom to redirect their energies just like every other Canadian is expected to do during times of career / job pressure.

I expect more of my governments handling my tax money and I bet you do too.

 

The Obvious Question in Comey’s Dismissal

Since the Deputy Press Secretary basically wiped the floor with journalists today, I’ll ask the obvious… was this Director of the FBI onto something in regard to the Russia / Trump connection which the White House came to learn leading to the firing?  Not only are there allegations that Russia interfered with the U.S. election, but Donald Trump was praising Russia during the election campaign peculiarly when Russia had recently invaded an autonomous nation while sympathizing with the Syrian Assad regime.  What is one to think?  Is it some financial interest in Russia which has had Trump adorning Vladimir Putin with praise during the election campaign?  When you fire the Director of the FBI who possesses a ten year term representative of an office needing distance from political influence, there are going to be some very serious questions that arise.  When both sides of the political aisle voice both confidence and non-confidence at various times during this man’s sensitive post and tenure, could it be that his objectivity in alignment with a purpose of national security was executed dutifully in the face of political pressure?  When nobody is happy with a man operating with such responsibility, it frankly leaves me comforted.  Upon witnessing the immature bully like behavior of this President of the United States during the election campaign, I would not put it past him to fire the Director of the FBI for fear of potential reprisals arising from actions undertaken by a smart man doing his job.  If you behave like a moron, don’t be surprised if people question your capacity for leading the free world with responsible unselfish decisions.

Thoughts on New Leader Kenney

Frankly I think Alberta would have been better served by someone different.  He’s a crony of the by-gone elitist Harper era on the federal scene and is polarizing on the controversial matters of same sex marriage and abortion.  While being taxed exorbitantly (47 per cent highest marginal rate with the new tax bracket), Albertans have little patience for their leader to be preaching social policy from a righteous pulpit.  Albertans want absolute action on fiscal responsibility so that tax rates can be lowered measurably.  While a minister in the federal government of Canada, I heard little from Mr. Kenney on the topic of measurably reducing core tax rates for Canadians.  It may have been a belief of his at the time but Mr. Harper liked to keep the media in the dark and his round table muted.  The old Harper administration tinkered with tax credits for families but did little to incite the capitalist spirit in our country for free enterprise.  I do admire Mr. Kenney’s passion and sincerity for his work but at a time when the current administration has lost control of our finances, the last thing Alberta needs is an ultra idealist being long winded on how he thinks we should run our lives. I hope I’m wrong and this man will find a way to shelve his dogma surrounding your bedroom and your doctor’s office and appeal to centrist thinking Albertans along with Wildrose supporters in a way that propels him to success in uniting the right.  As a reminder to you staunch Wildrose supporters, Danielle Smith sold out on you.  She crossed the floor – remember.  The movement is dead.  Get on board.  The alternative is socialism forever.

Islamophobia Government Motion

I premise my remarks by exclaiming that religion does not belong in the halls where governments administer legislation nor should legislation in any way be impacted by the interests of a religion.  Secondly, I harbour absolutely no bias toward one religion versus another.  Every individual should have their absolute freedom to express their religion so long as their expression does not impinge upon another’s ability to do so or for the activities of a group to function.  Symbols of a religion should not be permitted in the premises of a secular legislative assembly.  Law enforcement must dutifully execute hate laws to the letter of the criminal code and in fact if hate legislation needs to be strengthened in the context of a modernizing world, then so be it.  In fact, if it wasn’t for indifference by administrative officials in our education system, adolescent lives could have been saved from bullying.

In lieu of my premise, the more I see these headlines of special interest groups attempting to garner comfort from my government, the more I see red.  What is becoming of my governments?  Have they become counselling chambers for the dispossessed?  Have they become social engineering committees for those ill equipped to compete in a capitalist market?  Have they become meeting places for lobbyists to sojourn?  Have they become trading pits for swapping wealth?   Could there be a swath of Canada growing impatient with government overreach emerging similar to the U.S. rust belt which thrust Donald Trump into power?  Here is a message for Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley from this tax accountant who has now witnessed a 47 per cent top marginal Alberta tax rate pinned upon the most successful.  Our forefathers did not serve dutifully in war for their descendants to become extorted from financially by you! (extortion – oppressive or illegal exaction, as of excessive price or interest).  Start delivering an agenda that serves folks who fuel the salaries of those sitting on the public purse!  Get our $160 million dollar per day debt paid down by doing the responsible thing.  Rein in spending and get our country’s financial health in order so that Canadians can become unencumbered by an irrational tax rate!

Your Tax Money At Risk For Bombardier

While your CRA is charging you arrears interest, instalment interest and an egregious personal income tax rate at the same time that you may be managing debt associated with growing your small private business undertaken by earnest capitalist passion, your government is charging zero interest to Bombardier for a $372.5 million dollar loan repayable over 15 years of which no payment is due during the first two years.  This is capitalism in Canada folks.  Lobbying corporate directors of Bombardier with operations in a politically sensitive part of Canada (Quebec) are so proud of their product that they can’t seem to find investment capital outside of their government and hence you as the taxpayer now will bear the risk with an apparent zero rate of return on the prospect a success.  There’s something not right here.  Does our government not believe in capital markets in a capitalist system?  Does it not believe that investment wealth follows good news stories from companies’ aspirant to match their innovative products with financiers?  Does our government think that our first world country lacks pools of available capital?  Or, perhaps, it’s about politics and our government believes you are naive or too self involved to take issue.

O’Leary’s Quest for Conservative Leadership

This man meandered his way into the consciousness of Canadians through his activities in entrepreneurial game shows and CBC spots as political and business pundit.  Apparently, he has achieved a business win through the sale of a company and it’s evident that he possesses oratory and leadership like skills.  Additionally, he seems sincere in reaching out to deliver positive change.  However; I’m struck by his boorishness.  He seems to lack the empathy for listening to the flip side of an argument which in my estimation is a key ingredient for holding power in public office.  Canadians are looking for a leader who possesses the conviction to deliver with strength in order to convert an ideal into policy and for this it seems like this man may be ideally suited should he begin to show signs of personal humility.  He is thankfully a capitalist at a time when the socialist sentiment is beginning to erode the power of our great nation.  In contrast to the projected opinion of the journalistic elite, I believe there to be no particular political liability in a unilingual Canadian seeking the highest office in the land given that he is endowed with a motivation to learn our other official language.  When one reviews the educational and ancestral roots of our country one concludes that unilingual English Canadians should be as deserving of their quest for high office as is any other Canadian who had bilingual access as a norm to their native Canadian homeland.  Mr. O’leary’s entrance into the Conservative Party’s leadership contest should add spice to our political debate.

Joe Scarborough and Media Critics

Joe Scarborough has responded on the record to criticism that he’s cozying up to Trump while apparently representing the journalism industry. You see – he used to be a lawyer before running for Congress and to my knowledge he has no formal education in journalism. MSNBC has engineered programming around his Washington experience and unlucky but charming Mika Brzezinki co-hosts without the privilege of a co-hosting platform. Joe loves the spotlight and the sound of his own voice.  Consequently, Mika is tested to get her chances at the early morning week day time slot.  Joe’s incessant interrupting of whoever makes this the most annoying of Washington diatribes. Fortunately for the program, stalwart intellects appear as tidy side shows defusing bombastic irrational jibberish from its host.

Now, Joe feels compelled to defend his appearance with Trump on the evening of December 31st just when the big party was getting started. Trump in his wisdom wanted to meet Mika and Joe at the party to talk shop and now in a state of indignation having likely never taken formal curricula in journalistic independence, Joe is seething at his critics. Ironically the criticism is being fueled from the most professional of journalistic tools.  You guessed it – twitter.  There is no list long enough Joe of guilt ridden Washington yesteryear journalists whom you can cite in your exculpatory defense.

Election Looming

Harry Reid believes the FBI is holding back on a Russia – Trump alliance of sorts and Democrat campaign Chief John Podesta wants to cast fault with FBI Director James Comey for acting his conscience in revealing new information relevant to the country’s national security.  There’s lots of finger pointing to go around with the newest email revelation but the huge fault rests with the electorate which installed delegates assigned to nominating these two highly flawed candidates for the presidency of the United States. With eight days until the election, every fatigued player of this political tempest including voters needs to stand tall on election day and muster a best effort in determining which one of these two characters can practically carry out an agenda for the true betterment of a society.  It’s now up to the individual to administer democracy absent from a strong political foundation traditionally presented by the country’s two main parties.

These are dark days for democracy will pass because cool heads will prevail when a new office of the President comes to power.  Fortunately, there will be stronger apolitical civil servants in the wings eager to execute a mandate.

Of great concern to the U.S. is the embattled monetary system and marginalization of the poor.  Just today, there is unrest in penitentiaries due to perceived enslavement of the incarcerated.  The administration of justice on the streets is an issue as is gun violence.  Elitists in Washington have been blind to the plight of the poor.  Irrespective of the mudslinging during this political season, this illumination should be considered a positive.  Whoever wins this election is going to need to rebuild some form of trust from the unfortunate position of lacking political capital.  Immediate attention will be drawn to demanding international matters while attending to systemic problems of debt, legacy debt, and hopelessness among a large population of African American people.  Legislative cooperation in Washington has been poor during the Obama Administration.  A lot needs to get figured out all at once.  Hopefully some White Knight with a conciliatory tone emerges whom has yet to step forth on a Sunday news segment.