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April

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    MPlib
    This week's 50th anniversary of the CPP/QPP celebrates a great accomplishment, but also signals what still remains to be done http://www.liberal.ca/the-cpp-at-50-rg/
    Apr 01, 2015 1:16 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period: From 2 years ago, job creation under HarperCons has plummeted by 191,000 jobs - because economic growth has collapsed. Stats Canada reports our economy has actually started to shrink. HarperCons seem content being called "atrocious" by Bank of Canada. Since HarperCons have no econ growth plan, the Bank of Canada has to use Monetary policy which risks worsening household debt. Household debt already at 165% of GDP, but without accommodative monetary policy, the Bank of Canada says Canada risks falling back into recession.
    Apr 01, 2015 12:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In reply to questions from Justin Trudeau, Mr. Harper cannot explain his cut of $9 million from youth employment programs. Neither can Mr Harper explain his squandering of another $7.5 million on tax-paid government advertising to prop up the Conservative Party.
    Apr 01, 2015 11:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Stephen Harper says he wants to write the Liberal Platform - say what? He can't even get a budget out on time!
    Apr 01, 2015 11:41 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

March

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    MPlib
    Justin Trudeau at briefing tonight on his Private Member's Bill C-613 about greater federal government transparency + access to information
    Mar 31, 2015 4:03 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period: Once again we have "No Show Joe", the Finance Minister is missing-in-action - just as "growth" stats show economy shrinking. HarperCons live on myths + fictions - the jobs they brag about were 3, 4 + 5 years ago - recent figures show worst jobs record in 40 years. HarperCons assert they "never raise taxes", but the truth fails them - through their last 5 budgets they've hiked taxes by $10 billion.
    Mar 31, 2015 11:56 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The Conservatives’ spin on jobs is getting rather stale
    Mar 30, 2015 2:56 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HarperCon MPs rant about high-debt/high-taxes. But their own government has ADDED $10 billion in new taxes and $157 billion in new federal debt. Harper government undermines the Bank of Canada—instead of driving growth, Cons only policy is a costly, unfair, no growth tax break for wealthy.
    Mar 30, 2015 1:21 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Finance Minister Oliver is reduced to clownish behaviour - PMO spin lines instead of substantive answers about growth + jobs. It is true that all governments practise politics, but people generally expect the Finance Minister, of all Ministers, to rise above the foolishly partisan. The Finance Minister's job is to inspire confidence. To squander his reputation on mindless bumpersticker slogans diminishes his value. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpK0UpEtN8s
    Mar 30, 2015 11:42 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    There's an anniversary this week that deserves some celebration—the Canada Pension Plan is 50 years old! http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ralph-goodale/canada-pension-plan_b_6967640.html The Huffington Post Canada
    Mar 30, 2015 10:33 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    THE CANADA PENSION PLAN AT 50! Lester Pearson was a remarkable Canadian. We first came to know him as a proficient global statesman, skilled in the diplomacy of multilateralism. He assisted at the birth of the United Nations, invented the concept of peace-keeping, and won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1963, he became Prime Minister of Canada. Five years in that job, Mr. Pearson never once had a majority in Parliament, but still he led one of the most productive governments in Canadian history. This past February, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Canada's Red Maple Leaf Flag -- one of Mr. Pearson's proudest accomplishments. Next year, we'll mark the 50th anniversary of national medicare, another Pearsonian legacy. And this week, the legislation that originally created the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will turn 50 years old. It passed the House of Commons on March 29th, 1965, was approved in the Senate on April 1st and received Royal Assent on April 3rd. The CPP and its Quebec counterpart came into effect on January 1st, 1966. The stated purpose of the Canada Pension Plan was to ensure all working Canadians have an opportunity to retire in dignity. It builds on basic Old Age Security to achieve greater social justice linked to progress in the economy. Established by federal-provincial agreement, the CPP is a mandatory contributory plan into which all employees and employers pay regular premiums. That money is invested to generate the returns necessary to cover the plan's benefits. As such, CPP contributions are essential long-term investments in portable retirement incomes for a large portion of Canadians, supporting their future living standards. That sounds like common sense today, but 50 years ago it took extraordinary vision, diplomacy, negotiation and persistence to get it done. National Health and Welfare Minister, Judy LaMarsh, was a dynamo at the centre of the action. Quebec Premier Jean Lesage was pivotal, along with Ontario's John Robarts. Stanley Knowles and Paul Martin Sr. were constant Parliamentary advocates. And Lester Pearson provided the driving determination. The CPP was an historic accomplishment! But by the 1990's -- with longer life expectancies, aging demographics and escalating unfunded liabilities -- doubts had arisen about the future soundness of the Canada Pension Plan. Would it run out of money? Was the investment strategy getting adequate returns? Were the benefits supportable? Was the administration strong, efficient and independent? The plan clearly required major renovations to save it, and that would take federal-provincial consensus, which is always hard to get. As part of a multi-pronged effort to restore fiscal integrity to the Government of Canada, then-federal Finance Minister Paul Martin Jr. decided to tackle the CPP challenge. He found a key ally in the Provincial Treasurer of Alberta, Jim Dinning. Ontario Finance Minister Ernie Eves was also helpful. Together, they built the business case, the social consensus and the national momentum to rejuvenate the CPP. It's an interesting historical footnote that saving the plan earned strong support across Canada -- except for provincial NDP governments in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and Stephen Harper and his Reform (now Conservative) Party. Today, the CPP ranks as one of only a handful of successful public pension plans worldwide. Its administration is competent and cost-effective. It's a distinct fund, independently managed according to investment policies that are free from political interference. It has a proven track-record as an international leader in the pension industry, generating world-class rates of return. External actuaries have recently judged the CPP to be sound and secure for another 75 years (the maximum actuaries will go). Because it's been neglected for the past 9 years, the CPP is labouring under one major limitation. The maximum regular benefit a contributor can receive is just over $12,000 per year. The average is just more than half that. Those amounts are far from sufficient to ensure retirees can maintain their quality of life, without other significant savings. But the typical 35-year-old today is saving less than half of what their parents did at that age. Three-quarters of those working in the private sector don't have access to an employer-sponsored pension plan. And of those who are within 10 years of retirement, fewer than one-third have $100,000 or more set aside to sustain themselves. Another third have no retirement savings at all. While they have tinkered with various private sector pension adjustments, the Harper government has not been helpful in dealing with basic retirement income insecurity. They eliminated previous investment tools like Income Trusts, destroying about $25-billion in value formerly in the savings accounts of some 2-million Canadians. They are delaying eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement by two years, which will take nearly $30,000 from the lowest-income and most vulnerable seniors -- most often women living alone. And Mr. Harper has vetoed every suggestion to upgrade the CPP. All of which is to say: Canada has big challenges to face in the immediate future if we're to honour Lester Pearson's ambition of a fair, efficient, adequate system of retirement income for all Canadians.
    Mar 30, 2015 5:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Congrats to Dr Roberta McKay for sponsoring Sask Healthcare Excellence Awards - tonight for the 13th time! Thank You!
    Mar 28, 2015 6:18 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    PP-PI: dropped into an interesting meeting in Regina about Community Pastures - concerned about Harper government's destruction of PFRA assets
    Mar 28, 2015 12:34 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Visiting a well-attended public workshop this morning in Regina hosted by the Islamic Social Services Association(ISSA). Mayor Fougere here, City Police +many others who provide social+public services in Regina - intercultural learning about Islam.
    Mar 28, 2015 8:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    THE FINANCE MINISTER SILENT, IN HIDING! As glum news continues to cascade over the Canadian economy, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver never seems to be available to answer any questions about his stewardship. He's frequently spotted in Ottawa, but hasn't stood up to account for himself in Question Period since March 10th. In fact, Mr. Oliver has answered questions in the House of Commons on only four days in all of 2015 -- three of those back in January. His muzzling is quite deliberate. He is not a convincing spokesperson for the government's ineffectual policies -- he's not adept at making silk purses out of sow's ears. Furthermore, with the Conservative economic record in tatters, the government wants to talk about anything but the nation's finances. That's why Mr. Oliver has been benched and you hear non-stop about fear, hate, war and terror. When you have counted almost exclusively on the energy sector to drive the national economy, and prices in that sector collapse in half, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say -- something to ease anxiety and build confidence. When the Bank of Canada calls the situation "unambiguously negative" and takes monetary policy in a direction completely opposite to the government's fiscal policy, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say. When that monetary policy could be contributing to household debt loads that are already near 165% of disposable incomes and global commentators are warning of a risky housing bubble in several parts of Canada, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say. When you're already suffering the worst economic growth record in 80 years, and all the major forecasters -- from the private banks to the Bank of Canada, the IMF and the OECD -- are projecting even slower growth immediately ahead, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say. When the pace of new job creation is at its lowest ebb (outside of actual recessions) in all the nearly 40-years that records have been kept, and job quality is the worst it's been in a quarter of a century, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say. When youth unemployment remains at double-digit levels nearly six years after the last recession ended, and there are 166,000 fewer jobs for young Canadians than before that recession began, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say. When, among those now nearing retirement, more than two-thirds have less than $100,000 saved-up to sustain themselves and one-third have no retirement savings at all, you would think the Finance Minister would have something to say. But he remains tightly muzzled, just as the government remains in deep denial about the economic realities confronting Canada's middle-class, and all those working so hard just to get there. What's required is an urgent federal budget investing in the real drivers of economic growth and jobs -- namely, transformative infrastructure, higher learning and skills, innovation, effective trade and marketing, and environmental credibility that earns greater market access. Instead, the Harper government is obsessed with one thing only -- an Income Splitting tax break profoundly skewed to the wealthy. It will cost over $2-billion every year and benefit fewer than 15% of Canadian households. The biggest winners are those with incomes of $233,000. It worsens inequality and does nothing for growth. No wonder the Finance Minister is speechless.
    Mar 28, 2015 7:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    This weekend marks 50 years since the House of Commons passed legislation creating the Canada Pension Plan (CPP/QPP)
    Mar 28, 2015 6:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Jill Morgan + Stefani Langenegger hosting CBC's "Future40" reception - honouring 40 of Sask's great young people #CBCFuture40
    Mar 27, 2015 5:38 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Some of the "Future40" young people recognized by CBC-Sk this year.
    Mar 27, 2015 5:34 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Budgets don’t write themselves! The HarperCons’ inability to produce one on time, in a whole fiscal year, does NOT inspire confidence.
    Mar 26, 2015 2:23 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Whistling by the grave yard! HarperCons can't even acknowledge the hard truth about their LOW-GROWTH economic policies
    Mar 26, 2015 12:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's the written text of the 2 economic questions I asked today in Question Period and which HarperCons could not answer: 1. Alberta is the epi-centre of the energy downturn, and yet Premier Prentice was able to table a budget today – on time, in THIS fiscal year. Premier Wall did the same last week in Saskatchewan. Economists that advise THIS government say there’s NO credible reason for further procrastination. Will the Minister stop playing peek-a-boo with Canadians and table a Budget investing in the real drivers of economic growth – transformative infrastructure, access to higher learning, innovation, effective trade, environmental credibility. Will he do that … in THIS fiscal year? 2. Decent economic growth is NOT Canada’s reality. And despite this government’s boasting -- they’re NOT doing better than the rest of the world! Last fall – BEFORE the oil downturn – the IMF projected 139 countries would grow FASTER this year than Canada. In the OECD, there are 16, including even Greece. More recently, the OECD has downgraded Canadian growth, while upgrading many others – the US, Europe, Japan, Germany, France, India. Why is this government content to have the worst economic growth record in eight decades? Again, the Finance Minister was MIA!
    Mar 26, 2015 11:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Dealing conscientiously with both security and rights! Here are Liberal amendments proposed to correct errors in Bill C-51. http://www.liberal.ca/liberals-unveil-amendments-to-address-canadians-concerns-on-bill-c-51/
    Mar 26, 2015 9:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    On jobs, HarperCons cite outdated stats from up to 6 years ago - demonstrating that their jobs record is a sad joke. Jobs growth for 15 months is at a 40 year low. In 2014, jobs growth was down from 2013, and 2013 was also down from 2012. Once again, amidst weakening economic news - more joblessness, less growth - the federal Finance Minister cannot be found.
    Mar 25, 2015 12:02 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau quotes StatsCda data revealing that Canada is suffering its poorest employment growth in 40 years, And furthermore, TD Economics is projecting a worsening unemployment rate through 2015. In reply, Mr Harper can name not a single policy to boost jobs+growth. He clings to his expensive, unfair tax break for the wealthy.
    Mar 25, 2015 11:48 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Marc Garneau and I in Question Period pressed HarperCons on their record of producing less than 1% annual growth in jobs for 15 long months. With year-over-year job growth/month averaging about 0.6% for 15 long months, HarperCons have the worst record in nearly 40 years. HarperCons insist on Income Splitting for the wealthy, defying the advice of late Jim Flaherty who said it was too costly and unfair. The Conservative Finance Minister again refuses to respond to economic questions about pathetic quantity and quality of Canadian Jobs. HarperCons cite job stats from 3-5 years ago because current data contradicts their phoney spin lines, yet offer nothing more for Infrastructure.
    Mar 23, 2015 12:03 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Congrats to Lorrie, CC and Buzz for Z99's amazing 2015 Radiothon raising funds the the Hospitals of Regina Foundation - neonatal - $770,001!!!! Great job!
    Mar 22, 2015 9:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A huge crowd today at Regina's Italian Club for this year's "Spring Free from Racism" - celebrating Canada's diversity at a vital time!
    Mar 22, 2015 12:47 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A sellout crowd at Food Fantasy 2015 - a gala fundraiser for the Saskatchewan Science Centre - great event, great crowd!
    Mar 22, 2015 4:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Happy to help celebrate the 100th anniversary tonight of the Regina Lakeshore Tennis Club - founded in 1915!
    Mar 21, 2015 6:16 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Nutrition Run/Walk - for Autism + Dietician pgms - on Regina's 1st full Day of Spring from Wascana Rehab: Go Ashley!
    Mar 21, 2015 10:14 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    It's Brain Awareness Week in Sask - finishing with Brain Bash / SMART hockey tournament at Co-operators centre
    Mar 21, 2015 10:13 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Every year, this "International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" is important - special event tomorrow in Regina! http://www.liberal.ca/statement-by-liberal-party-of-canada-leader-justin-trudeau-on-international-day-for-the-elimination-of-racial-discrimination/
    Mar 21, 2015 9:11 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Two of the Regina Family YMCA "super-heroes", launching the Y's Strong Kids Megathon - a tremendous community asset!
    Mar 21, 2015 8:23 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Welcome to spring! The snow has returned to Saskatchewan, but mercifully not as bad as Atlantic Canada!
    Mar 20, 2015 8:53 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Hearing about the 2015 Provincial Budget from Saskatchewan Finance Minister Ken Krawetz at Breakfast Briefing hosted by Chartered Professional Accountants. If a resource-dependent province like Saskatchewan can table its 2015 Budget on time (+Alberta too next week), why can't the Harper government in Ottawa?
    Mar 20, 2015 7:29 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A full house at Queensbury last night to toast retiring Sk Rider Prez, Jim Hopson, simply the best - raising $$$ for Brain Injuries
    Mar 20, 2015 3:54 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    At a great "thank you" celebration tonight for retiring Sk Rider Prez, Jim Hopson - and David Herle is in the crowd!
    Mar 19, 2015 6:27 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Happy to stop by the Z99 Radiothon in Regina's Cornwall Centre - supporting the hospitals of Regina Foundation.
    Mar 19, 2015 12:33 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Randy Boissonnault + Amarjeet Sohi are great Liberal Candidates in Edmonton. High profile, well respected + working hard!
    Mar 17, 2015 7:32 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Beginning my day in Edmonton at a fundraising breakfast with Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre) + Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Millwoods)
    Mar 17, 2015 7:19 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Happy St Patrick's Day - when the whole world is Irish!
    Mar 17, 2015 6:14 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Just spent a great couple of hours with Calgary MLA Kent Hehr, the Liberal Canadiate for Justin Trudeau in Calgary-Centre.
    Mar 16, 2015 6:40 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    5 Days for the Homeless - Regina, SK--Just part of a terrific University of Regina team raising $$$ for homelessness. From yesterday til Friday. Good luck+thank you! #5D4H_Regina
    Mar 16, 2015 8:25 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    5 Days for the Homeless - Regina, SK --Just part of a terrific University of Regina team raising $$$ for homelessness. From yesterday til Friday. Good luck+thank you! #5D4H_Regina
    Mar 16, 2015 8:24 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HARPER GOVERNMENT PROVIDES FISCAL NEGLIGENCE, NOT LEADERSHIP At a time when Canadians need some competent economic leadership, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver is mostly absent from the House of Commons these days. And when he does show up, he seems both puzzled and muzzled - allowing junior Ministers to answer finance questions with meaningless "talking points" written in the Prime Minister's Office. That's a serious problem for Canada. A sign of weakness. The Finance department has been rendered totally subservient to the partisan requirements of the PMO. There's no sense of confidence in the Minister. His job is just to be the mouthpiece for whatever Mr. Harper wants said. It's quite a pathetic spectacle. On one occasion when he was allowed to speak for himself last week, Mr. Oliver went on a strange tirade against the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The CIBC had just contradicted the Harper government on Canada's job market, pointing out serious problems of poor growth and declining quality. Mr. Oliver depicted the CIBC as some rogue outlier, practising "sham" economics. The trouble for Mr. Oliver is that many other experts agree with the CIBC - including the TD Bank, the Bank of Canada, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Morgan Stanley, York University, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and others. They can't all be a sham! Mr. Oliver embarrassed himself. At the same time, his excuse for punting the federal budget into April or May or later - forcing Canadians to go through more than an entire fiscal year without a budget plan - began to blow up in his face. He said the delay was all because of the uncertainty about oil prices. But the provincial governments of both Saskatchewan and Alberta are more fiscally dependent on oil revenues than is the federal government. Yet Saskatchewan will be able to table its 2015 budget this Wednesday (March 18th) and Alberta will do so on March 26th. If they can get their acts together, why can't Canada? This point was also underscored last week by all the major private sector economists who advise the federal Minister. They say the global market price for oil is now as stable and predictable as it's going to get, so there is no credible reason for any further stalling. The real problem is that economic realities just don't fit well with the political argument Mr. Harper wants to present in this election year. He wants to say that everything is rosy, that he's done a great job, and now is the time for big tax cuts for the wealthiest of Canadians. But none of that is true. His own projections were forecasting a declining economic growth rate for Canada, even before the drop in oil markets. As the CIBC and others pointed out, the job market is not generating either the quantity or the quality of new employment that Canadians need. A big majority of middle-class Canadians, and all those working hard just to get to the middle-class, are feeling more and more insecure. They're worried about the daily cost-of-living, their household debts, the high costs of higher learning for their kids, the inadequacy of their own retirement savings. And Mr. Harper is trying to tell them that they'll just have to accept all that - because now is the time for a big tax cut that will benefit only 14% of Canadian households (86% can never qualify). It will cost more than $12-billion over the coming budgetary planning cycle, with the biggest gains going to those with income over $233,000. But no tax fairness for the middle-class. Nothing to drive greater economic growth or more and better jobs. Nothing to bolster community infrastructure, or greater access to post-secondary education, or science and innovation. Nothing to correct Mr. Harper's chronic trade deficit. Nothing to ensure we have the environmental credibility necessary to secure access to global markets for our valuable resources. Considering all of that - maybe it's understandable why the Finance Minister has nothing much to say.
    Mar 16, 2015 5:16 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Going to the Kramer Imax Theatre at the Sask Science Centre to see D-Day documentary
    Mar 15, 2015 4:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Some young Bollywood Dancers cut loose at "A celebration of cultures" at Regina's Glen Cairn community centre.
    Mar 15, 2015 12:58 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Community Connections: A celebration of cultures at Glen Cairn Community Centre in Regina today. Great show. Canada is a multicultural country. It's embedded in our Constitution and a fundamental characteristic of what Canada is all about. We dare not take our multiculturalism for granted. It's a precious but fragile achievement, and our greatest gift to the world.
    Mar 15, 2015 12:46 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Just visited Regina's annual Tavria Ukrainian Dance Festival - a great show! Congrats to all dance teams+Chair Carolyn Griffin!
    Mar 15, 2015 10:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    One of the photos on display tonight at a Regina fundraiser for Engineers Without Borders - this pic is from Ghana
    Mar 14, 2015 5:40 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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