Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One good shill deserves another

Image: Jim Flaherty and Brian Lee Crowley

Any wonder that Brian Lee Crowley of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute wrote an opinion piece in today's Globe that supports Flaherty's proposed rip-off of Canadian pensioners in a piece entitled "We'll keep working past 65, and we'll like it"?

The is the same Brian Lee Crowley and the same Macdonald-Laurier Institute that Flaherty raised money for, using his office to do so. See: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shill for new right wing think tank the Macdonald-Laurier Institute

I suppose it only goes to prove one good shill deserves another!

Flaherty a big fan of a new think tank

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Globe and Mail

Tomorrow night, the country's Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, will host a private dinner at the Albany Club in Toronto to raise support for a new, non-partisan, private sector think tank. Called the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and designed to be national in scope but based in Ottawa, it is the creation of Brian Lee Crowley, currently president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Halifax.

Mr. Flaherty is "giving it my personal backing," he says in a letter inviting well-heeled Bay Street types to the event "and I hope that you will consider doing the same."

Having spent several years in the capital, the minister says "I can speak with some authority when I say that driving change within Ottawa is not easy. There are powerful actors in Ottawa, within the civil service, Parliament, the media and in many non-governmental organizations, that actively resist progress. ... Although I have always felt very well supported by friends and colleagues, I have clearly felt the need for independent research, support and promotion of these ideals," which he enumerates as smaller government, lower taxes and greater personal responsibility.

Mr. Flaherty continues: "That is why I strongly support Brian Crowley's project to create a national, non-partisan public policy think tank in Ottawa."

Yesterday, a spokesman for the minister said of the endorsement: "I doubt if he does it a lot."

Mr. Crowley told Nobody's Business yesterday that he hopes to launch in the fall and has already raised $1-million, adding: "Other Western countries have their most important and influential think tanks always in the national capital. Canada is really an anomaly and I think that's a big hole in our democratic infrastructure."

Mr. Flaherty came to know Mr. Crowley when the latter spent a year and a half attached to the Department of Finance as a visiting economist.

The minister concludes his pitch to potential backers of the new think tank by saying: "I'd like to see him return with a strong, independent and well-financed organization behind him to help transform Ottawa for the better, regardless of who is in power. This important national initiative deserves to succeed. Please join me in ensuring that it does. My office will follow up with you."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Send your message to Joe Oliver

Here's a delusional website designed to drum up faux nationalistic interest in opposing the process known as the environmental review of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. The website is known by the euphemistic name of ourdecision.ca

There you have a chance to "send Joe Oliver a message".

Here was my message to Joe Oliver:

Your rhetoric about foreign interests is an embarrassment. So too is your attempt to circumvent due process. Your definition of "Our" as in Our Pipeline, Our Country, Our jobs, Our decision, is exclusionary by the very nature of your actions, making it an oxymoron. Not impressed in the least by your bulldozer tactics.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund features in anti Mitt Romney video

You remember Ontario Teachers' Pension fund. They're the ones who demanded that Bell Canada lay off 2,500 workers in preparation for BCE's debt laden leveraged buyout that Ontario Teachers' was planning along with US private equity firms.

Seems that's not an isolated case, as Ontario Teachers' penchant for laying off workers as the means to make money also features prominently in this anti Mitt Romney video that's having a big impact on the Republican nomination race south of the border:

When Mitt Romney came to town

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gee, what "foreign interests" were behind Harper's killing of the Wheat Board?

The cry of opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline by "foreign interests" has become Stephen Harper's chief rallying call to steam roll its approval.

Gee, what "foreign interests" do you suppose were behind Harper's decision to shut down the Canadian Wheat Board? No party benefits more from that decision than "foreign interests" such as American agri-giants like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), on whose board Brian Mulroney sits.

‘Foreign money’ is a hypocritical diversion
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

It has been rich, even comic, to listen to the Harper government blasting away at “foreign money,” “radical groups” and Hollywood movie stars for interfering in the environmental review of the Northern Gateway pipeline that’s just starting.

Of course, such people and their money have entered the fray in Canada. It isn’t the first time (think of U.S. interventions against cutting old-growth forests in B.C.) and it won’t be the last. We live in a global world, and we share a continent with the U.S. (and Mexico) where one country’s decisions can affect the continent and planet.

Think back to last year, and the ones before that. TransCanada Pipelines sought U.S. approval for the Keystone XL pipeline to ship oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Regulatory hearings were required. Ultimately, the State Department (read: President Barack Obama’s administration) had to decide.

To influence U.S. opinion, both at the level of legislators and the general public, Canadian companies poured untold millions into the fray. They papered Washington with lobbyists, including someone who was once high up in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination and two former U.S. ambassadors to Canada. The Harper government put Canada’s entire diplomatic apparatus in the U.S. behind the Keystone campaign. The Prime Minister himself went to the U.S. and declared approval of Keystone a “no-brainer.”

These “radicals” (that is, Canadian business-at-any-cost types) and “foreign money” (read: Canadian dollars) intervened directly in the U.S. regulatory and political processes, as “foreign” interests often do to further their economic advantage. So to hear Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Prime Minister Stephen Harper railing against “foreign” (read: American) intervention in the Gateway hearings is, shall we say, a bit rich. What’s sauce for the goose really should be sauce for the gander.

The Harper government also took great public offence at the Obama administration’s decision to delay its verdict on Keystone pending further environmental studies in Nebraska, despite proponents changing the route. Mr. Harper hinted darkly that, if Americans didn’t want Canada’s oil, then someone else – presumably the Chinese – would.

The Obama administration’s decision was correctly interpreted by the Harper government as being all about U.S. presidential politics. Environmentalists had been very pro-Obama in the last election, and they’d been disappointed by his environmental record. The Keystone delay was largely about appeasing them, however temporarily. How shocking!

About as shocking as the Harper government’s rejection of BHP Billiton’s proposed takeover of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. For a government committed to an open-door policy for foreign investment, whose Foreign Investment Review Agency had been a paper tiger under the Conservatives, what could possibly have persuaded the Harper government to reject the BHP takeover, and at the last moment?

Politics, of course. The then-minority Conservatives, facing an election, feared losing as many as half a dozen seats in Saskatchewan. To save those seats, the Harper government swallowed its principles and stiffed BHP. How shocking!

The government rightly decries the length of some environmental hearings. But the opposition to the Gateway pipeline isn’t largely foreign inspired. That argument is a hypocritical diversion – hypocritical, given Canadian interventions in U.S. decisions. The main opposition comes from the multiplicity of aboriginal groups.

The National Energy Board will eventually rubber-stamp the project. It always does, but not until years of hearings – unless the Harper government changes the legislation. Even then, legal challenges will go all the way to the Supreme Court. That court has issued an opaque ruling obliging governments and private interests to consult aboriginals before using land to which they’ve claimed title.

Since B.C. aboriginals have claimed the entire province, sometimes with overlapping claims, and since the B.C. commission supposed to settle land claims has been almost a total bust, the Gateway pipeline has entered the impenetrable thickets of aboriginal politics, title and law – meaning it won’t be built for a very long time, if at all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

HST has proven to be a job-killler

Much of this excess cash held by corporations reported below came to them by way of Stephen Harper's and Dalton McGuinty's HST transfer of wealth, leaving consumers with LESS TO SPEND and more for corporations to hoard.

Their HST tax is not even close to being a job creator. more like a job killer. Politicians only think that corporations can create jobs, whereas consumers can not. I guess it helps when only one side of that equation gets to lobby Ottawa.

Imagine a policy that increases your home heating costs by 8% in order for corporations to have more cash to hoard? During a recession no less! Unconscionable idiots.

Rising corporate cash reserves raise questions about Jan. 1 federal tax cut

By: The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Profitable Canadian businesses will get almost $3 billion more in tax cuts this year — even as Prime Minister Stephen Harper complains about all the private "money sitting on the sidelines."

The last of five annual corporate tax cuts takes effect today, reducing the federal rate by another 1.5 points to 15 per cent.

The move comes as corporate Canada holds off on investment and squirrels away hundreds of billions of dollars while riding out a second storm of global economic turbulence in the past three years.

The latest figures from Statistics Canada show businesses sitting on more than $583 billion in Canadian currency and deposits through the third quarter of 2011.
Critics of the Harper government's corporate tax cuts say those rising cash reserves show that the policy doesn't help spur the economy.

But others argue business liquidity helped Canada weather the last downturn with fewer bankruptcies and job losses than the United States, and that Canadian corporations are well positioned to invest when the global economy rebounds.