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February

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    MPlib
    Mr Harper's debt - household debt now at 164% of personal income; and his government's new federal debt since 2006 at $5000/person.
    Feb 04, 2015 12:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Mr. Harper brags about the Build Canada infrastructure fund, but 87% was cut this year + 75% won't be invested until after 2019. Mr. Harper says he's for economic growth, but his growth record at 1.7%/year on average is the worst since RB Bennett in 1930s. StatsCda has slashed the job numbers it reported for 2014 by fully one-third + its latest GDP figures show a shrinking economy.
    Feb 04, 2015 11:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Good honest data! Parliament can correct this foolish mistake today by voting FOR Liberal Ted Hsu's Census Bill http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-dropping-long-form-census-caused-predicted-damage-1.1748528
    Feb 04, 2015 11:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    22 Minutes' Mark Critch was prowling the halls of Parliament today. He found some Liberals. Watch the next show for why.
    Feb 03, 2015 4:32 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Stephen Harper says the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) is sufficient "oversight" for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). But SIRC's annual report in 2014 (signed by Reformer Deb Grey) said SIRC doesn't do "oversight" at all - it's not their mandate. Further, the Harper government leaves SIRC with lengthy vacancies and appoints people like Arthur Porter (now in jail in Panama) to be SIRC Chair.
    Feb 03, 2015 11:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, two major themes: the Canadian economy is steadily sinking into more trouble + Harper govt thinks supervising spies is "Red Tape". Statistics Canada's latest "growth" numbers show a shrinking economy, and reported job creation in 2014 slashed by one-third. How can the Harper government - which appointed Arthur Porter (now in jail) to head SIRC - be trusted to provide decent supervision of CSIS?
    Feb 02, 2015 11:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Lots of interest in this assessment of Mr. Harper's fiscal record http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ralph-goodale/harper-fiscal-reputation_b_6591064.html
    Feb 02, 2015 10:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    COMPARING FISCAL COMPETENCE: BRING IT ON! With Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) actually shrinking and despite having the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett, Stephen Harper seems keen to brag about the fiscal reputation of his Conservative Party. Well, let's take a close look. To begin with, here's an interesting question: How many Conservative Prime Ministers in all of the 20th century presented Canada with balanced budgets? Answer: Only one! It was Robert Borden in 1912. Like Mr. Harper, he inherited a surplus from his Liberal predecessor (Wilfrid Laurier) and, again like Mr. Harper, it was quickly gone. On his first day as Prime Minister in 2006, Stephen Harper was handed a thriving economy that was growing at 3-percent per year or better. Close to 3.5-million net new jobs had been created over the previous 10 years. We had a consistent trade surplus. Both consumer and business confidence were high. The federal government's books were solidly balanced. The country had ended a quarter of a century of chronic deficits and had recorded a decade of surpluses. As a result, both taxes and debt were falling faster than ever before. In fact, Canada's debt ratio (i.e., the size of the federal debt compared to the size of the economy overall) had been slashed in half -- down from nearly 70-percent of GDP in the mid-1990s to about 34-percent by 2006. The Canada Pension Plan had been rejuvenated on a sound actuarial foundation for the next 75 years. The Canadian banking system was the strongest in the world. Federal Transfer Payments to the provinces were at an all-time record high, and the country was making transformative new investments in benefits for children and families; the renewal of medicare; better access to higher education and advanced skills; ground-breaking science, research and innovation; more modern public infrastructure; a more secure and healthy environment; effective global trade and marketing; and novel measures to narrow the painful life-gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. The "new" Harper government trashed a number of these initiatives and walked away from others. On the financial side of things, they quickly squandered Canada's hard-earned fiscal strength. Mr. Harper overspent by three-times the rate of inflation. He eliminated all the contingency reserves and prudence factors that had served as fiscal "shock absorbers" to get Canada successfully through untoward events like international currency crises, the SARS pandemic and 9-11. And he put this country back into deficit again BEFORE the recession arrived in the latter part of 2008. Mr. Harper likes to claim the recession "created" his deficit, but that's not correct. He put Canada into the red all on his own. The recession a bit later no doubt made it much worse, but Mr. Harper was the one who left Canada exposed and vulnerable. After a few months of denying the recession, insisting on more austerity as his only policy and projecting five years of fictitious surpluses, Mr. Harper finally had to concede (in early 2009) that he had been all wrong. He launched a belated stimulus plan. But it got so bogged down in hyper-partisanship that most of it didn't get delivered until after the recession was officially over. The legacy of this travesty is nearly $160-billion in new Harper debt. That makes Stephen Harper responsible for fully one-quarter of all the outstanding federal debt created since Confederation. It works out to just under $5,000 for every man, woman and newborn child in Canada today. And how has he tried to deal with that burden? By clawing-back funds that had been promised by the government and approved by Parliament to help vulnerable groups like Veterans. By fire sales of federal assets like community pastures across the Prairies and a valuable, historic tree nursery in Saskatchewan. By undermining environmental protection, disaster management, search and rescue, food inspection, police and security services, forensic labs, even the supervision of Canadian spies, and other elements of public health and safety. By cutting and postponing urgent investments in municipal infrastructure, housing and even National Defence. By pulling back future investments in health care and old age security. By hiking and then freezing Employment Insurance premiums at excessively high levels. By increasing -- by billions of dollars -- the federal taxes extracted from Canadians in every one of his last five budgets. And what is all this in aid of? So Mr. Harper can concoct a "balanced budget" for the 2015 election and proceed with his pet project -- Income Splitting for wealthier families. To judge this scheme, it's wise to recall the insightful criticisms of Mr. Harper's former Finance Minister, the late Jim Flaherty, who said this particular tax break is just too expensive and unfair. Income splitting will cost more than $12-billion over the government's current planning cycle, and it's benefits will go to just 14% of Canadian households -- 86% can never qualify. The wealthy will gain the most. The biggest winners will be those earning $233,000. This is not a fiscal record to boast about.
    Feb 02, 2015 4:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

January

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    MPlib
    See this. While CPR's CEO is having a hissy fit about the AG Transport Coalition, he cannot refute their data http://www.ipolitics.ca/2015/01/30/canadian-pacific-ceo-rails-against-latest-grain-transport-report/
    Jan 31, 2015 7:14 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here are two question I asked the Harper government today in the House of Commons about the economy and the Premiers' meeting in Ottawa. The Conservatives had no answers - they just ducked: Q1: Mr. Speaker, when the Governor of the Bank of Canada says a collapsing energy sector is “unambiguously negative” … … when investment, exports, jobs and growth are ALL slumping; … when the Conference Board projects the risk of a recession in Alberta, and … the Parliamentary Budget Officer says federal revenue will drop by $8-billion this year … Why is the Prime Minister NOT WORKING with the Premiers this week on a truly national effort to cope with issues … seemingly so serious … that they caused his budget to be delayed into the next fiscal year? Why snub the Premiers? Q2: Mr Speaker, snubbing the Premiers only underscores a dysfunctional relationship. A critical thing they should be doing TOGETHER is accelerating INFRASTRUCTURE. But THIS government missed most of last summer’s construction season. They punched a $1.5-billion hole in the Building Canada Fund. 75% of new funding is punted beyond 2019. But it’s not too late! Cancel Income Splitting for the wealthy. Put that $10-billion into Infrastructure. Call the Premiers over for dinner tonight. And get INFRASTRUCTURE going before spring. Why not?
    Jan 29, 2015 11:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The Harper government has increased the tax burden on Canadians in each of its last 5 budgets - here's just part of the evidence http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/01/29/harper-tories-taxes-liberals_n_6568982.html
    Jan 29, 2015 8:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HARPER GOVERNMENT TAKES RAILWAY VIEW ON TRANSPORT SERVICES After a disastrous grain handling and transportation season in 2013-14 which cost prairie producers some $5-billion in losses, it's been quieter this winter. But things may be about to heat up. Last fall's "new crop" did not produce another all-time record volume, but with the previous year's carryover the total amount to be moved this season is still close to the same tonnage that triggered such chaos a year ago. And due to highly variable growing conditions, the quality this year is also highly variable and therefore logistically more complicated to ship. Thank goodness we haven't had a harsh winter. When asked how they're doing, the railways say things are pretty much "back to normal", or at least better than last year. Overall the volume shipped is up. And recent comments from Transport Minister Lisa Raitt suggest the Harper government is content with what they see. But farmers are not. Looking at the bulk tonnages moved over a week ... or a month ... or a crop-year fails to tell the whole story. A recent report published by a collection of farm organizations, called the "AG Transport Coalition" (ATC), has examined railway performance from the on-the-ground perspective of the shipper. It's not sufficient just to "move grain". The detail matters. It must be moved in a timely manner, in response to shipping orders, to get the right product at the right export position just in time to fill the right vessel for the right customer at the right price. Grain moves along shipping "corridors" headed west, east, south and north. Some is destined for overseas, some into the US, some for domestic buyers. Some originates along main railway lines and some from community-owned shortline operators. Some is delivered through grain companies (mostly multinational corporations), some through farmer-owned inland terminals, some is delivered directly into "producer" railcars by farmers themselves. Depending on geography, different producers use different corridors. They all want to take maximize advantage of market opportunities. But they're not all treated equitably. The railways provide the best service on big bulk shipments that are easy to handle -- e.g., hundred car trains moving west from Alberta to Vancouver. But farmers using other "corridors" -- like Saskatchewan producers who want to ship south or those along a shortline -- find their rail services decidedly substandard. One size does not fit all. The basic railway approach to grain was amply demonstrated in remarks to his shareholders last year by the CEO of CP Rail. He acknowledged the transportation trouble affecting grain, but suggested his shareholders needn't worry. Grain is a captive commodity. Farmers have no competitive, commercial, regulatory or legal alternatives. The grain will always be there for the railways to move eventually. And they will always get paid in full. So time is not of the essence. But that's not how farmers see it. The timeliness of service makes a big difference to them. And this week's ATC report shows big discrepancies. So far in this crop year, the railways have supplied IN THE WEEK THEY WERE ORDERED only 50% of the hopper cars their customers called for. In total, they are 11,461 cars behind. The corridor into the US is especially weak, possibly costing sales. The ATC plans to track and report on performance from the shippers' perspective every week. Such objective, credible, accurate information, collected and published frequently by an independent authority, is essential in holding railways, grain companies and others in the logistics chain to account. It should also compel the Government of Canada to address obvious defects in public policy. The deficient grain handling and transportation system that exists today is this government's creation. They designed it like this. Inadequate capacity. No surge capabilities. No provisions to deal with exigencies like bad weather. There's no clear definition of what constitutes proper service and how it's measured. No mechanism to achieve common-sense coordination in a complex logistics chain -- there's no quarterback calling plays. No requirement for equitable treatment among corridors. The shippers are captives with no competitive commercial alternatives and no legal recourse when the system fails. The recent fines imposed on the railways (and paid to the government, not farmers) are largely meaningless tokens. What farmers need is an expeditious way to get liquidated damages to offset their losses when others screw-up. Congratulations to the ATC for a worthy initiative.
    Jan 29, 2015 7:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's a statement issued today by Liberal MPs about the continuing struggle in Ukraine http://chrystiafreeland.liberal.ca/blog/liberal-party-of-canada-statement-on-the-situation-in-ukraine/
    Jan 28, 2015 4:12 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, the nasty, over-the-top Mr Harper re-emerges. Whenever he gets so abusive, Canadians turn away. Mr Harper disgracefully insinuates that asking questions about the exact mandate he gave Canadian Forces is implicit support for ISIS. On Income Splitting, Mr Harper has no explanation for why his policy provides the biggest gains to those earning $233,000.
    Jan 28, 2015 11:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    READ: Ralph Goodale in the Huffington Post on the lack of economic coherence by Mr. Harper. Please share.
    Jan 27, 2015 2:52 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    À LIRE : La lettre ouverte de Ralph Goodale dans le Huffington Post concernant le manque de cohérence économique de M. Harper (en anglais seulement). Veuillez partager.
    Jan 27, 2015 2:51 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Mr Harper says misinforming Canadians about the mission in Iraq doesn't matter - it only matters that there is a mission. So why did Mr Harper go out of his way to promise explicitly that no Canadians would be in combat in Iraq? He knew that was a crucial point. And why did Mr Harper say explicitly that "advising" the Iraqis did NOT include "accompanying" them when that's exactly what's happening?
    Jan 27, 2015 11:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HuffPost has picked up my commentary about the odd contradiction between the Government and the Bank of Canada http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ralph-goodale/harper-bank-of-canada_b_6547982.html
    Jan 27, 2015 10:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    IF NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE, WHY DELAY THE BUDGET? The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) today released his first public analysis of the impact of plunging oil prices on federal government revenues. Those prices have dropped from about $108/barrel last June to under $50 now. The West Texas Intermediate price was just $46 at noon today. The Bank of Canada has described this situation as “unambiguously negative” as investment plans worth billions of dollars get shelved, exports sag, thousands of jobs are lost and economic growth slows. The International Monetary Fund has chopped growth projections worldwide. The Conference Board says Alberta could actually slip into recession. Several private sector banks are forecasting a significant hit on the federal treasury. How much? Assuming oil prices average about $48/barrel, the PBO says federal revenues will deteriorate by more than $8-billion this coming year – forcing the Harper government to burn through its contingency reserves and actually run a deficit in 2015/16 of some $400-million. But oblivious to all this, Stephen Harper and his Finance Minister Joe Oliver say don’t worry, be happy, all is well. They claim they’re “in a good space”. Here’s the government’s pitch: • Just ignore all those declining revenues; • Contrary to the meddlesome assertions of Employment Minister Jason Kenney a few days ago, there will be no further cuts in federal programs or services; • All Conservative campaign promises, including a large tax break for wealthier families – costing billions of dollars – will be maintained; • And there will be no deficit. But then here’s a key question: If Mr. Harper is so unequivocal about all these things, why has he punted this year’s federal budget into the next fiscal year? If all the variables are already nailed down – as he and Mr. Oliver claim – why do Canadians have to wait until April or later to see the budget? The delay doesn’t make sense, unless it has nothing to do with economics and is really being driven by the politics of an election year. Having postponed the budget and also a NAFTA meeting that was pre-set for next month with the Presidents of both the US and Mexico, Mr. Harper may be clearing February and March for an early election campaign – just beating out the prosecutors who will be taking impugned Senator Mike Duffy to trial in April. Or maybe the reason for delaying the budget into April or later is to have some means to trigger a distracting economic debate just when that Duffy trial may be getting too hot. Or maybe Conservative spin-doctors just need more time to use your tax dollars to sell the unpalatable notion of Income Splitting. They must overcome the telling criticisms of the late Jim Flaherty who graphically panned this expensive, unfair tax-break which will cost $10-billion over the government’s planning cycle and for which 86% of Canadian households can never be eligible. Whatever the excuse, the delay is an indication of weak, confused fiscal management.
    Jan 27, 2015 9:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Sombre day - 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz - the world marks Holocaust Remembrance Day.
    Jan 27, 2015 6:23 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    First day back in House of Commons Question Period - Finance Minister Joe Oliver gives a confused, unconvincing performance. He claims govt revenues are fine, no more service cuts, all promises will be kept + no deficit. So why then did he delay the budget? How do HarperCons explain their obsession with austerity, while the Governor of the Bank of Canada is calling for investments in drivers of growth?
    Jan 26, 2015 11:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    BANK OF CANADA CONTRADICTS HARPER GOVERNMENT Stephen Harper's vaunted "management" of the Canadian economy is bedevilled by serious contradictions and mediocre results. Mr. Harper once spoke enthusiastically, at home and abroad, about the central importance of Canada's energy sector. We are a global superpower in oil and gas, he said. And he looked to that one sector to be the prime driver of national economic well-being. That singular focus also shaped his fiscal policies, his views on the environment and his relationship with our biggest trading partner in the United States. When oil was priced at more than $100/barrel, Mr. Harper's unidimensional economic plan escaped scrutiny. But with market values now chopped in half, many people are asking why he put the country in such a vulnerable position. Why did he bet so much on just one commodity? And where is plan "B"? Amazingly, Mr. Harper argues there's no need for any other plan. Swallowing himself whole, he is now dismissing the petroleum industry (and by implication, producing provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta) as just minor players whose impact and current troubles are no big deal. If that's true, why did he suddenly delay the federal budget to some unspecified date beyond the end of this entire fiscal year? Ten days ago, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said low oil price were entirely manageable and had, in fact, been fully factored into his economic projections. But just 24 hours later, Mr. Oliver announced the exact opposite. The budget suddenly had to be delayed, he said, because markets were destabilized. But wait a minute, low oil prices were no last minute surprise. They've been falling since last summer. Prominent industry leaders last autumn were predicting a tumble to as low as $30/barrel. The flip-flop from sanguine to panicky made the Finance Minister look inadequate and confused. The Governor of the Bank of Canada wasn't confused. He reported last week on the consequences of a weakened energy sector - declining growth rates, thousands of lost jobs, billions of dollars in cancelled investment and a ballooning Canadian trade deficit. He said current oil prices are "unambiguously negative" for Canada. As a consequence, the Bank of Canada chopped its prime lending rate. That action and the Governor's strong language are signals of real concern about a stalling economy. It's strange indeed to see the federal government and the central bank headed in opposite and contradictory directions. The Bank of Canada is moving to stimulate greater growth, while Mr. Harper pushes more austerity - with the net effect of reducing aggregate demand. His only discernible goal is protecting his ill-conceived Income Splitting scheme (which the late Jim Flaherty rightly depicted as too expensive and decidedly unfair). It also does nothing for growth. The facts are inescapable facts. Income Splitting will cost $10-billion over the government's planning cycle. Only 14% of households will benefit - 86% cannot even qualify. And of those who do, the biggest gains go to wealthier folks, like Mr. Harper himself.
    Jan 26, 2015 5:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    University of Regina Women's Cougars defeat Alberta in basketball, 86-78. Now the men are warming up.
    Jan 24, 2015 6:26 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Congrats Chief Lawrence Joseph, former New Democrat, nominated today as Liberal candidate in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River!
    Jan 24, 2015 4:47 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Time-out in Women's Basketball at the University of Regina. Cougars are leading Alberta at half-time.
    Jan 24, 2015 4:39 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Big thanks to The London Club for great lunchtime discussion about the drivers of economic growth...better than Income Splitting.
    Jan 22, 2015 10:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Great discussion this morning with Dr Amit Chakma, President of Western University, about higher education, science, innovation and growth.
    Jan 22, 2015 8:24 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Enjoyed a stimulating meeting this afternoon with London's "Emerging Leaders" group. Now off to a public reception - all 4 area ridings invited.
    Jan 21, 2015 3:37 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Today's Bank of Canada rate cut underscores a point Liberals have made for months - Canada needs a coherent economic growth plan. Instead, Mr Harper is making it up as he goes along, no plan other than costly, unfair Income Splitting for wealthier folks. Economic growth projections for Canada are tumbling as job losses multiply, investment plans crumble and export values drop.
    Jan 21, 2015 7:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, colleagues and friends of fallen RCMP Officer David Wynn who lost his life in St. Albert, AB
    Jan 21, 2015 7:14 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The crowd continues to grow at London's Ukrainian hall - about to welcome Justin Trudeau. Great turnout!
    Jan 20, 2015 3:23 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Big crowd of Londoners filling the Ukrainian hall to welcome Justin Trudeau to SW Ontario - lots of hope+hard work!
    Jan 20, 2015 3:12 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Good grief! More evidence of confusion+dissension in Harper government. Not only are they out of gas, there's no one driving the bus! https://ca.news.yahoo.com/jason-government-source-gives-kenneys-budget-musings-cold-021000946.html
    Jan 19, 2015 7:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Packed house tonight in Scarborough Agincourt - glad to be supporting Liberal MP Arnold Chan - terrific young MP
    Jan 19, 2015 4:37 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Glad to see HuffPost has republished my Blog about Stephen Harper postponing the federal budget http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/../../ralph-goodale/federal-budget-incompetence_b_6501422.html
    Jan 19, 2015 3:52 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    FEDERAL BUDGET DELAY EXPOSES FEAR, INCOMPETENCE Sharply dropping oil prices and a weakened Canadian energy sector are revealing the limited, ineffectual nature of Stephen Harper's economic policies. Those policies, focused almost exclusively on that one sector, are too narrow. They have rendered Canadians more vulnerable and less resilient. And his government seems out of gas. Unable to cope with adverse economic developments, Mr. Harper is now retreating to a bunker. Instead of reaching out to Canadians to show leadership and build confidence, he has punted the federal budget, normally delivered in February or March, into April or later. That means Canada will go without a budget for more than this entire fiscal year. With business and consumer confidence already on shaky ground, failing to produce a budget on time sends a message of further uncertainty and incompetence. Maybe the late Jim Flaherty could have pulled it off, but not the hapless Joe Oliver. One day last week Mr. Oliver was proclaiming low oil prices had already been fully factored into all his calculations, only to swallow himself whole the next day to confess they were not. Making the Finance Minister look foolish is not good government strategy. Make no mistake, this jiggery-pokery to keep Canadians in the dark about the budget while the books are being cooked - all to salvage Mr. Harper's Income Splitting scheme for wealthier taxpayers - is dictated straight out of the Prime Minister's Office. It follows a pattern of economic ineptitude that has coloured Mr. Harper's career. In Opposition, his most noteworthy policy ideas were the elimination of the Canada Pension Plan and giving Canada a banking system like the one that failed so spectacularly in the United States. To get elected, he solemnly pledged never to diminish Canada's Old Age Security system and never to tax retirement savings in Income Trusts. Once in office, he did both. At the start of his tenure in 2006, Mr. Harper inherited (from Liberals) a decade of balanced budgets, an annual surplus of $13-billion, declining debt and taxes, an economy growing at 3% or better every year, 3.5-million net new jobs, strong banks, a sound and secure CPP, and the most robust fiscal position in the western world. In barely two years, Mr. Harper squandered it. Through reckless spending and bad management, he burned through Canada's fiscal strength in barely two years, putting this country back into deficit again in 2008. That was BEFORE, not because of, the global recession that arrived in Canada that autumn. Mr. Harper failed to anticipate the storm that was brewing. He denied any deficit. He denied there was a recession. He depicted it as just "a good buying opportunity", prescribed austerity as his only policy, and predicted five more surplus budgets. He was wrong on every count. At the beginning of 2009, he flip-flopped into a belated stimulus program that was so burdened by his craving for "political credit" that it was largely delivered only AFTER the recession was over. His legacy is $160-billion in new Harper debt - that's an INCREASE in federal debt of nearly $20,000 for every Canadian family - and Canada still hasn't recovered from the recession, now more than five years since it ended. Economic growth under Mr. Harper has averaged a meagre 1.7%. No other Prime Minister has done worse since R.B. Bennett in the 1930's. The job market remains sluggish and inconsistent. Young Canadians especially face recession-like conditions. In the meantime, led by the F-35 fighter jet fiasco (which the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Budget Officer characterized as incompetent and deceitful), the Harper regime has botched a long list of military procurements. They have neglected returning soldiers and veterans. They have undermined public safety and security. They have jeopardized environmental standards. They have failed to get Canadian resources (both grain and oil) to market. They have made a mess of Temporary Foreign Workers. The list goes on and it doesn't inspire confidence. With compounding trouble now in the resources sector - big job losses, collapsing investment plans, a ballooning trade deficit - this government's "budget-in-hiding" is yet another Harper travesty. But no one should be surprised.
    Jan 19, 2015 5:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Malanka stage full of the exciting Poltava dancers, with a big crowd celebrating Ukrainian New Year!
    Jan 17, 2015 5:39 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Natalia + members of the Poltava orchestra ready for their Malanka performance in Regina tonight. Happy New Year!
    Jan 17, 2015 5:34 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Large crowd for annual gala of Regina's Chamber of Commerce tonight, honouring incoming Chair Nadia Williamson
    Jan 16, 2015 7:49 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Acceptance speech by Nadia Williamson, incoming Chair of the Regina+District Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations!
    Jan 16, 2015 7:09 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    New Regina Chamber of Commerce Chair, Nadia Williamson, with Saskatchewan Lt-Gov, Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
    Jan 16, 2015 6:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Having a great visit with Regina Wascana constituents today at my annual Open House at my riding office. Everyone welcome!
    Jan 16, 2015 9:22 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Very interesting nature photography exhibit by Todd Mintz at Sask Science Centre - well done!
    Jan 15, 2015 4:15 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Finance Minister Oliver said just yesterday that low oil prices were already factored into HarperCons fiscal plan, so why delay the budget? Clearly this fed govt has not been telling the fiscal truth, so now they're going to hide their budget (+ likely deficit) from Canadians.
    Jan 15, 2015 11:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Postponing the federal budget is a sure sign of a weak government that's tired, uncertain and incapable of strong, wise leadership!
    Jan 15, 2015 11:23 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Beware the lack of fiscal transparency as HarperCons punt 2015 budget into April - well over a full fiscal year since 2014 budget. In times like these, the govt should be doing MORE not less to keep Canadians informed about their economy and to seek their advice.
    Jan 15, 2015 11:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    MR. HARPER'S ECONOMIC POLICIES FAIL CANADA To satisfy his political ego, Stephen Harper is obsessed with pushing the notion of "income splitting" for wealthier taxpayers. And he's doing the country a serious disservice. Mr. Harper made the ill-considered commitment to implement this scheme four years ago, during the 2011 election. It was conditional on having a balanced budget. The former Finance Minister, the late Jim Flaherty, tried twice to steer the government away from the idea. First, he noted there was no compelling economic necessity to obtain a balanced budget before the 2015 election. Mr. Harper quickly contradicted him and insisted on claiming a balance this year no matter what. The reasons are political, not economic. Secondly, just after his last budget, Mr. Flaherty warned that income splitting would be expensive and unfair because the vast majority of Canadians could never qualify. He was right. Over the government's 5-year fiscal planning horizon, Mr. Harper's scheme will cost more than $10-billion, barely 14% of households will be eligible and among those that are, the biggest gains go to the most wealthy. But still, since 2011, Mr. Harper has been focused on little else. To concoct the appearance of a balanced budget, and thus meet his income splitting pre-condition, a great deal has been compromised: • veterans have been seriously short-changed and mistreated; • public safety and security have been neglected; • major military equipment has been delayed; • a gaping 5-year hole has been torn in federal funding for municipal infrastructure; • important federal assets like community pastures and an historic tree nursery have been dumped; • job-killing employment insurance payroll taxes have been hiked and then frozen at levels that are $5-billion too high; • indeed, the net federal tax load was increased four years in a row. Besides victimizing a large number of ordinary Canadians, all these measures have one other characteristic in common with the faulty notion of income splitting -- they all do nothing for economic growth. Growth is Canada's most compelling economic priority -- to lift the middle-class and balance the books. But Stephen Harper has the worst record on economic growth since R.B. Bennett in the Dirty Thirties. Falling oil prices are now making Canada's problem even worse. The Conference Board is saying Alberta may actually fall into recession. Saskatchewan is certainly on the cusp of tougher times. Oilpatch jobs, investment plans and export values are all slumping. The Bank of Canada is warning of a serious slowdown. Government revenues will decline. The risk of deficits is looming once again. And still Mr. Harper goes whistling past the graveyard. He still doesn't get the need for growth and the federal government's strategic role in helping to drive it. To start with, he should take Jim Flaherty's advice and shelve his discredited income splitting scheme. He should also slash the massive amounts of money he wastes on government advertising and a bloated Cabinet. Instead, he could make a truly transformational investment in community infrastructure, higher learning and skills, research and innovation, more effective trade and marketing, and smart energy sustainability. These things drive growth, bolster the middle class and help balance the federal books. Income splitting does not.
    Jan 15, 2015 7:53 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Just had a great morning with students at Sedley School - what a treat! Really enjoyed it. Thanks for the invitation!
    Jan 14, 2015 8:48 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Dr John Meehan SJ, President of Campion College at University of Regina - guest speaker at Intercultural Dialogue Institute
    Jan 13, 2015 7:03 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan speaking to a roomfull of Regina Liberals - building hope for the future with hard work now!
    Jan 13, 2015 4:07 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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