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September

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    MPlib
    In QP, Finance Minister Oliver factually wrong. Accuses previous Lib govt of increasing EI rates. Libs in fact cut EI premiums 12 years in a row. HarperCons' EI scheme is totally unrelated to job creation - if a small business gets to more that about 12 employees they lose $2200. This badly mangled EI tax credit is clumsy way to try to heal wounds in Small Business sector from the HarperCons' Temporary Foreign Worker fiasco.
    Sep 15, 2014 12:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In QP, Justin Trudeau punches a big hole in HarperCons' Employment Insurance plan which caps growth + creates an incentive to fire people. He calls for a full EI refund to every employer who creates a new Canadian job - could generate 175,000 of them.
    Sep 15, 2014 11:37 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Glad to welcome 4 new MPs to House of Commons today, including Liberals Adam Vaughan and Arnold Chan Campaign. Congratulations!
    Sep 15, 2014 11:29 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A POOR RESPONSE TO BAD JOB NUMBERS & A WEAK ECONOMY Principled officials in the federal Finance department will be chagrined to think some people might blame them for the Harper government's mangled response to the problem of excessively high, job-killing EI payroll taxes. Announced last week and characterized as a way to reduce the EI cost burden on small businesses, the new policy is a design fiasco that caps job generation, creates an incentive to lay people off and stunts both growth and ambition. So badly structured, it is not possibly the brain-child of Finance officials. It's a political concoction foisted on them by the Prime Minster's Office. Remember the context. Since 2010 - through the four most recent post-recession years - the Canadian economy has exhibited no consistent ability to grow, and job creation has been particularly paltry. Last month alone, the private sector shed nearly 112,000 jobs while the participation rate in the job market declined yet again. For the entire year just past, the whole Canadian economy produced a meagre 81,000 net new positions, most of them in just one region and 80% part-time. There are some 230,000 more unemployed Canadians today than before the 2008 recession. Mr. Harper has no specific agenda for economic growth and his record on this score is the worst of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett. Part of the problem is his constantly escalating Employment Insurance payroll taxes. Announced in 2010, these Harper tax hikes raked in an extra $600-million in 2011, plus another $1.2-billion in 2012, then another $1.8-billion in 2013, and another $1.8-billion this year. That's a grand total of $5.4-billion in higher taxes taken from the pockets of employees and employers in the most job-killing manner possible. Calculations done by the government's own Chief Actuary in the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions show the Conservatives are collecting billions of dollars more than necessary to fund employment insurance claims. With his economic record so poor, the fall sittings of Parliament about to begin and a federal election just around the corner, the purpose of last week's EI announcement was to show some action. But what a farce! All employers and employees will still have to pay their full EI premiums at the full rate. That's money out of their pockets right up front. Then, later on, at tax time - if they're small enough - they may be able to claim some of those premiums back as a federal tax credit. This is a complex and convoluted way of trying to confer a benefit on small businesses. There is no linkage to "incremental jobs created". If you employ more than about 10 employees, you don't qualify for any tax credit at all. There's no premium break for employees whatsoever. And what happens if an employer gets to tax-time and finds there are a couple of workers on his/her payroll that put the small business over the threshold for getting the tax credit? Those "extra" jobs are in jeopardy! Instead of encouraging more jobs, business ambition and economic growth, the way this latest policy is contrived actually puts a cap on job generation in the small business sector and imposes a penalty on those who would strive to do better. Should there be relief from Mr. Harper's excessively high payroll taxes? Absolutely! Liberals have been making that argument for at least four years. But the scheme the Conservatives devised last week is deeply flawed and deficient.
    Sep 15, 2014 4:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Balloons of hope released over Regina's Wascana Park to launch 34th annual Terrry Fox Run - thanks to RCAF for flypast!
    Sep 14, 2014 9:29 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Regina Optimists Dolphin Swim Club turns out en masse for today's Terry Fox Run - part the team fighting cancer!
    Sep 14, 2014 8:22 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The smile of a Canadian hero - remembered and honoured around the world!
    Sep 14, 2014 8:01 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    One of the historic banners on display in Regina this morning as people are gathering for the Annual Terry Fox Run
    Sep 14, 2014 8:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    My friend + former colleague Mark Carney speaking in Saskatoon today at the 2014 Banff Forum. Excellent event.
    Sep 13, 2014 1:09 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Civility in Canadian Politics - Has it declined in recent years? COMMENTS TO THE BANFF FORUM Saskatoon, Sk -- September 12th, 2014 By Hon Ralph Goodale, PC, MP (Wascana) Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada The short answer is yes, especially in the past nine years. There is less camaraderie. Less good will. Hyper-partisanship seems to trump everything else. Political opponents are seen not just as competitors to be defeated in elections, but moral evil-doers to be destroyed. And the ends will always justify the means. There are exceptions in Parliament. I think of Michael Chong on this panel. And Peter Stoffer in the NDP. And Bob Rae and Justin Trudeau among my Liberal colleagues and their commitment to what Laurier would call "sunny ways". But they often get swamped in a scripted sea of abuse. Their good will is repaid with insults and invective. This damages the dignity and the usefulness of Parliament. That undermines democracy. It consolidates power in the hands of a small autocratic Executive Branch and the zealous, unelected "boys in short pants" who serve in the backrooms of that Executive. To some extent, the cause of Parliament's malaise is bad behaviour by individual MPs. But to a larger extent, that bad behaviour is just a symptom of a larger problem. And that larger problem is Parliamentary structure and procedure that is not geared to reflect the best of democracy. My Leader, Justin Trudeau, has acknowledged that point, and has taken some bold steps to start to change things: * regular pro-active disclosure of MP expenses; * a more non-partisan, non-patronage and truly independent Senate; and * stronger Access-to-Information rules and procedures. Justin has also refused to respond Attack-Ad for Attack-Ad to the abuse that is thrown his way. Let me mention six other ideas that merit consideration: * a preferential ballot instead of our "first-past-the-post" system; * more free votes in the House of Commons; * stronger, clearer and real Parliamentary control over government spending; * a truly independent Parliamentary Budget Officer; * explicit limits on the use of Omnibus Bills and Prorogation; * adequate funding, investigative powers and enforcement authority for Elections Canada to root out voter suppression and electoral fraud. These things could make a tangible difference toward greater civility in politics and better Canadian democracy.
    Sep 12, 2014 4:28 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's more evidence of a weak economy and a government that's indifferent to the realities of middle-class Canadians http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/majority-of-canadian-workers-living-paycheque-to-paycheque-survey-1.1999947
    Sep 10, 2014 9:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    At Gordon First Nation last night for 2nd annual "Memory Walk" to remember Missing + Murdered Aboriginal Women.
    Sep 10, 2014 4:22 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The brand new Semple Gym at Luther College - official opening today. LIT will have a spectacular new venue. Congrats!
    Sep 09, 2014 9:28 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Happy to join a lot of excited people today at the opening of great new facilities at Regina's Luther College High School
    Sep 09, 2014 9:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Sell-out crowd for this morning's University of Regina Athletics Breakfast to support the Cougars and Rams - always a great event.
    Sep 09, 2014 7:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Regina sportscaster Rod Pedersen interviewing Richard Peddie at University of Regina President's Breakfast for Athletes
    Sep 09, 2014 6:55 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Today is Awareness Day for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, the leading cause of preventable developmental disability in Canada. Thanks to FASD Network of Saskatchewan for your leadership.
    Sep 09, 2014 5:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's an interesting commentary, demonstrating public weariness with personal abuse in political life http://www.swbooster.com/Opinion/Letter-to-the-editor/2014-09-04/article-3858316/Voters-want-better-government-not-politicians-scoring-political-points/1
    Sep 08, 2014 10:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A WEAK ECONOMY AND A HAPLESS GOVERNMENT After last month’s debacle at Statistics Canada over the official job numbers for July, observers might be forgiven for wondering if the most recent figures for August (published last Friday) are accurate. The once-proud agency, long suffering now under a government that doesn’t much believe in data-based decision-making, could ill-afford another hit on its credibility. But public reaction to the August labour market report quickly moved on to the substance of what it revealed – a struggling economy that simply isn’t generating jobs. Instead of gaining some 10,000 new positions in the past month, as predicted, employment fell by some 11,000. Despite regular monthly population growth, participation in the labour force continued to decline in August by another 0.1% – meaning that another 21,000 people stopped looking for work. Some of those would have taken normal retirement. Many others just gave up their job search in frustration. As a result, the August unemployment rate stayed flat at 7.0%, while both the number and percentage of Canadians gainfully at work dropped yet again – more evidence that the economy is not producing jobs at a sufficient pace. Compared to the period in 2008 just before the recession, there are nearly 230,000 more jobless Canadians today. Some private sector economists call this situation “shocking”. Others say it’s “dismal”. Whatever the descriptor, it’s not good. And the problem seems to be chronic. To paraphrase the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the Canadian job market is a “serial disappointment”. Looking back a full year, only a meagre 81,000 jobs have been created in this whole country through the past 12 months. More than 80% of them are just part-time, meaning poorer job quality, lower wages and less security. Most seriously, the largest job losses in August were in the private sector – some 112,000 of them, gone! That’s the worst private sector job-loss record, ever. Public sector employment increased a bit, as did the numbers of people claiming to be self-employed. But good solid private sector jobs went up in smoke. In the fall of each year, the Government of Canada publishes a mid-term “Fiscal and Economic Update”. It’s due in just a few weeks. Will the Harper government continue to show passive indifference and do nothing – behaving like a hapless spectator, paralyzed by ideology, incapable of influencing the course of events, content to watch jobs deteriorate and disappear? Or will they at least try to be more useful? If they had the will and gumption, they could roll-back some of their excessive Employment Insurance payroll tax increases which are running up a multi-billion-dollar EI surplus and unnecessarily killing jobs in the process. They could join the “Team Canada” trade missions, led by provincial Premiers, in a concerted effort to brand and sell more Canadian goods and services abroad. They could develop a credible environmental framework for resource projects which would earn Canadian energy producers greater access to international markets at better prices. They could tear down barriers to higher learning and skills, and strengthen homegrown Canadian science and innovation. They could accelerate, instead of stalling, federal investments in truly transformative public infrastructure to help drive jobs, growth and productivity – as recommended by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Provinces, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge, the Canada West Foundation, the Canadian Council of Chief Executive Officers, the C. D. Howe Institute, and many more. But don’t hold your breath. This is not a government that lets human need, good advice or hard evidence get in the way of its ideology or partisanship.
    Sep 08, 2014 5:07 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    I'm proud to sign a national petition today in support of Canadians for a New Partnership with Aboriginal peoples. http://www.cfnp.ca/declaration/
    Sep 05, 2014 10:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Lots of action both inside and outside the Beer Garden at University of Regina Welcome Week. Have a great year!
    Sep 04, 2014 9:14 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    For 2nd time this stormy summer, federal weather radar station at Bethune is broken - leaving Saskatchewan more vulnerable.
    Sep 04, 2014 5:49 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    University of Regina - welcome week! 14,000 + students. Biggest ever enrolments of Aboriginal students and International students.
    Sep 03, 2014 10:56 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Check this blog “Only Stephen Harper Stands in the Way of an Effective Government" http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ralph-goodale/harper-and-premiers_b_5751470.html
    Sep 02, 2014 10:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Now in Sask Legislature - each plaque in the Afghan Vigil Memorial bearing a poppy signifies a fallen Saskatchewanian (3/3)
    Sep 02, 2014 8:37 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    All the Afghanistan Vigil plaques, now touring Canada, come from the original memorial site in Kandahar (2/3)
    Sep 02, 2014 8:30 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Part of Canadian Forces traveling memorial including engraved plaques for all who died under Canadian command in Afghanistan (1/3)
    Sep 02, 2014 8:25 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    PREMIERS SHOW LEADERSHIP IN VOID LEFT BY MR. HARPER I've watched a good many Premiers Conferences during my 26 years in Parliament. This year's get-together in Charlottetown has to rank among the best for both substance and tone. On healthcare, services and facilities for the elderly, and retirement incomes for middle-class Canadians, the Premiers were right on-target with the insecurities that preoccupy a big portion of Canada's population all across the country. Provincial leaders were also in synch with decent Canadian values in their support for a Public Inquiry (or some reasonable facsimile) to get definitive answers and action with respect to 1,100 missing or murdered Aboriginal women. On public infrastructure to help drive jobs, growth and productivity, on energy options to make Canada a clean and sustainable energy super-power, and on a coherent pan-Canadian marketing effort to overcome chronic trade deficits, the Premiers were touching on several elements of a sensible economic growth agenda for the country. On all these topics, they sounded informed, reasonable and pro-active, but what they lack is a willing federal partner to work with. In nearly nine years as Prime Minister, Mr. Harper has had only two brief meetings with all the Premiers in the same room at the same time. And on the issues raised in Charlottetown - healthcare, elder-care, pensions, the missing and murdered women, infrastructure, sustainable energy, and a "Team Canada" approach to trade and marketing - Mr. Harper has largely abandoned the field. There is a void at the top. He shows no interest in cooperative federalism. His solitary, even belligerent style is not conducive to working with others. And clearly, Mr. Harper doesn't share many of the Premiers' values or priorities - even though they reflect the views of a big majority of ordinary Canadians. Before the Premiers even had time to get home from PEI, Mr. Harper had his tightly-scripted Finance Minister deliver a federal "no" on virtually every issue. There will be no federal partnership and certainly no new financial commitment. Mr. Harper has only one priority, and that is eviscerating the Government of Canada in every way he can. He simply doesn't believe any government is capable of anything good or valuable. So, he says, it's best to chop them to bits. His views are likely coloured by the failings of his own inept and ethically-discredited regime which has so bruised and limited Canada over the past nine years. But our governance doesn't need to be that bad. The Premiers gave Canadians a glimpse of some greater potential last week in Charlottetown. Weary of ideological agendas, mediocre outcomes and the wedge politics of abuse and division, people are ready for big changes in how Ottawa works and who it works for. Imagine a federal government ready and willing to be a constructive team player on healthcare, the elderly and pensions. Imagine a federal government that really wants to understand and tackle the societal issues that contribute to the loss of 1,100 Aboriginal women. Imagine a federal government determined to make infrastructure investments of a truly transformative magnitude, converting the temporary value of low interest rates into long-term capital assets. Imagine a federal government ready to work with provinces on that crucial intersection between energy and the environment, thereby helping to win greater global access for undervalued Canadian resources. Imagine a federal government that marshals the private sector and all levels of government in globally effective "Team Canada" branding and marketing, reversing Canada's chronic trade deficit and stimulating more jobs and better wages at home. Only Stephen Harper stands in the way.
    Sep 01, 2014 5:24 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

August

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    MPlib
    And for the Saskatchewan Riders the Labour Day Classic ended well!
    Aug 31, 2014 5:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The game-ball for Labour Day Classic, Saskatchewan vs Winnipeg, arrived in Mosaic Stadium with RCAF skydiving team.
    Aug 31, 2014 5:24 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A big crowd of families at Mosaic Stadium for "Play it Safe" Day. Excitement building for Rider Labour Day Classic tomorrow.
    Aug 30, 2014 12:52 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Evergreen Taoist Monks from Vancouver preside at ceremonies in Regina to open 23rd annual Dragon Boat Festival.
    Aug 29, 2014 11:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Dragons await awakening in Regina today to launch the 23rd annual Dragon Boat Festival this weekend on Wascana Lake.
    Aug 29, 2014 11:07 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    John McCallum and I finished our day of consultations in Regina today at the Immigrant Women's Centre - great people!
    Aug 28, 2014 4:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    John McCallum and I are privileged to meet some great people working on immigration issues at Regina Open Door Society (RODS).
    Aug 28, 2014 2:37 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    John McCallum and I had useful discussions today with Saskatchewan business leaders about Temporary Foreign Workers debacle in a province with 3.4 percent unemployment.
    Aug 28, 2014 12:54 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Glad to have my friend and colleague John McCallum in Regina today - talking about Temporary Foreign Workers and Immigration.
    Aug 28, 2014 9:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    There is jubilation in Rider Nation this morning as the news is confirmed that Weston Dressler is back with the Saskatchewan Roughriders - at least for one season. We're sorry the NFL gig didn't work out, but delighted that he's now back with the Riders! Green is the colour!
    Aug 28, 2014 9:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Glad to accept Joel Kreutzwieser's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge today - in memory of my friend Rick Wackid. My challenge goes to Gainer-the-Gopher. Donate! http://youtu.be/WIyYH0QdD8k
    Aug 27, 2014 8:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Glad to see Premier Wall is united with all Premiers to bring closure to grieving families and learn facts aboutt prevention. http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Saskatchewan+premier+Wall+backs+public+inquiry+missing+murdered+aboriginal+women/10147650/story.html
    Aug 25, 2014 3:20 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The flag of Ukraine raised in front of Regina's City Hall to mark the anniversary of Ukraine's Independence in 1991.
    Aug 25, 2014 12:11 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A HARD LOOK AT MR. HARPER'S ECONOMIC RECORD When the next federal election rolls around, likely next spring, Stephen Harper says he wants to campaign on his economic record. Well bring it on. That record is highlighted by some spectacular failures. Military procurement is one of them -- specifically the proposed acquisition of F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace Canada's aging CF-18s. The botched process started in 2006 and is still nowhere near completion. The plane isn't even operational and costs have ballooned from $9-billion to close to $50-billion. The Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General have depicted the management of this file as both incompetent and deceitful. The Temporary Foreign Workers Program is another big Harper government screw-up. That program operated with decent success for more than 30 years until the Conservatives messed it up with glaring instances of sloppy administration, lax enforcement, depressed wages, displaced Canadian workers and mistreated foreigners. The government's proposed corrections have infuriated both employers and employees, both domestic and foreign. Another example of the Harper regime failing to get big economic things right is pipelines. A fundamental role of the Government of Canada is to open up markets abroad for Canadian resources and help create responsible and sustainable ways to get those resources to those markets. In the case of western Canadian energy products, we're suffering multi-billion dollar price penalties every year because Mr. Harper has failed to move the yardsticks a single inch forward on any major pipeline project since he first took power nearly nine years ago. He also failed on western grain handling and transportation. The grain system Mr. Harper imposed didn't have enough capacity, nor any surge capability, nor any provision for adverse circumstances (like bad weather). There was no coordination, no transparency, no accountability, no competition, and no realistic legal recourse for captive shippers. Millions of tonnes of grain got stranded. Frustrated global customers just walked away. Mr. Harper's system cost farmers something over $5-billion last year. On trade policy more generally, the Conservatives boast about the number of trade deals they're working on. But only six are fully concluded and implemented, and together they represent just 2% of global GDP. The bigger ones are the better part of a decade away from fruition. And there remains a big difference between just signing deals and actually increasing the trade that gets done. For most of Mr. Harper's term, Canada has suffered large trade deficits, a situation the Bank of Canada has described as a "serial disappointment". On fiscal management, in 2006 Mr. Harper inherited a decade of balanced budgets with annual surpluses of some $13-billion and financial flexibility over the ensuing five years projected at close to $100-billion. But in less than three years, he blew this country's fiscal security. He overspent by three times the rate of inflation and eliminated all the contingency reserves and prudence factors that had protected Canada against unforeseen trouble. Thus, Mr. Harper put us back into the red again BEFORE, not because of, the recession that arrived in late 2008. That reckless mismanagement caused the burden of the recession to be much greater than it needed to be. More that $160-billion in new federal debt -- Harper debt -- was created. That's close to $20,000 in new Harper debt for every Canadian family. At the bottom line, close to 240,000 more Canadians are out of a job and looking for work today than before the recession. Five years on, Canada's economy remains weak and uncertain. Stephen Harper has produced the poorest economic growth results of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett in the 1930's. Yes, bring it on. It would be a pleasure to campaign on Mr. Harper's economic record.
    Aug 25, 2014 5:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    This was an amazing Saturday in Regina's Wascana Park! The Canadian National Canoe and Kayak Championships were held on Wascana Lake. There was a ColourVibe run to raise funds for the Regina Humane Society. The "Summer Invasion" of rock bands and extreme sports filled the grounds in front of the Legislature, wrapping up with Hedley performing. Just outside the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Iron Will Family Day attracted a big crowd of families, having fun, supporting the Children's Hospital Foundation and remembering little Wm Rattray. And the annual Mustard Festival was just around the corner. Not to mention all the individual activities going on all over the Park. All goes to validate the good reasons we had 10 years ago to refurbish Wascana Lake with the BIG DIG. A major infrastructure project. It has paid multiple dividends to this community and will continue to do so for years to come.
    Aug 23, 2014 9:40 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The historic plaque unveiled this morning at St Basil's Parish Centre in Regina commemorating WW1 internment of Ukrainians.
    Aug 22, 2014 10:15 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    SOLEMN COMMEMORATIONS FOR UKRAINIAN-CANADIANS The next few days will be filled with extra emotion for the nearly 1.25-million Canadians who trace their family heritage to Ukraine -- including about 13% of Saskatchewan's population. At 11:00 o'clock local time this morning, August 22nd, at more than a hundred locations across Canada (including St. Basil's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Regina) historical plaques will be unveiled marking a very sad dimension of Canada's participation in World War One -- that is the arbitrary internment in Canada of thousands of Ukrainian and other eastern European immigrants out of ill-founded fear about their loyalties during that global conflict. Authorized by an Act of Parliament, the internment was a deeply regrettable abrogation of human rights and civil liberties. Without specific cause, due process or natural justice, people of certain ethnicities were forced into 24 heavy labour camps for the duration of the War, and even two years longer. Once branded "enemy aliens", their lives, livelihoods and reputations were severely compromised. Now a hundred years later, the installing of these plaques is an effort to acknowledge, commemorate and educate Canadians about what actually took place in those dark days of fear, suspicion and xenophobia between 1914 and 1918. We like to think such things just don't happen in Canada, but they did -- long before the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms would render them unconstitutional after 1982. And this internment wasn't a solitary incident. Ukrainians and other minorities faced another period of irrational victimization in the 1920's and 30's when, in the name of patriotism, the Ku Klux Klan got a foothold on the Prairies and actually helped to elect a short-lived government in Saskatchewan. Then there were more internments in World War Two. And let's never forget the devastating legacy of Indian Residential Schools. As Mary Haskett reminded us so powerfully, it is vital that such sorry chapters in our history are not glossed over, but remain properly documented and remembered down through the years, so their painful but valuable lessons can be learned and future mistakes avoided. I am pleased that Sir Wilfrid Laurier, in Opposition during WWI, broke from the wartime "union" government over this issue back in 1917. Fast-forward nearly 90 years, I am also pleased that Prime Minister Paul Martin entered into an Agreement-in-Principle with several Ukrainian-Canadian organizations in 2005 which launched an "acknowledgement, commemoration and education" process to help get Canada to the point we're at today. That national agreement was actually signed right here in Regina in the UNF hall. And the initial funding was in my 2005 budget. It was former House of Commons Speaker, Peter Milliken, in 1991 who was the first MP to call for the righting of this historic wrong. And it was former Dauphin MP Inky Mark who presented a Private Member's Bill to move it forward. But most of all, it was the dedication, persistence and hard work of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Shevchenko Foundation and other groups and individuals who carried the flame unfailingly to the unveilings taking place today. Thank you and congratulations to all. Adding to the emotions on this weekend -- beyond the internment plaques -- will be a host of activities marking the events of 1991 that brought on Ukraine's Independence. And we are all painfully aware of the tortured course of events since, from the euphoria of the Orange Revolution in 2004 to the despair, violence and loss of life brought on by the unconscionable aggression of Vladimir Putin. Even as we try to learn from historic errors made in Canada a hundred years ago, we need to be unshakeable in standing with and for the freedom-loving people of Ukraine today. While supporting the country 's security requirements, Canada also needs to invest in the institutions and traditions of democratic development and an effective market economy in Ukraine because that is the fertile soil in which enduring freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law can take root and flourish.
    Aug 22, 2014 5:56 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Following National Summer Caucus meeting yesterday in Edmonton, now having a busy, productive day in Regina with Honourable Stephane Dion.
    Aug 21, 2014 12:07 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Justin Trudeau speaks to hundreds of people in an Edmonton Park as part National Liberal Caucus mtg.
    Aug 19, 2014 10:18 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Crowd gathering in an Edmonton Park to welcome @JustinTrudeau and National Liberal Caucus for annual summer mtgs.
    Aug 19, 2014 10:15 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    WAS MICHAEL SONA A SOLITARY ROGUE ACTING ALL ALONE? The big political news this past week was the long awaited verdict in the infamous "robocall" trial of Conservative staffer, Michael Sona. He was convicted of committing "election fraud" in the Guelph constituency in 2011, and is now awaiting his sentence. Sona was accused and found guilty of participating in an elaborate scheme to prevent voters in that year's federal election from casting ballots against the Harper government. This perversion of democracy took place when some 7,000 eligible voters received automated "robocalls" on election day telling them, falsely, that their poll locations had been changed at the last minute. Those phone messages were lies, and the only thing the 7,000 voters had in common was their intention NOT to vote Conservative. The attempt to suppress their votes -- i.e., election fraud -- was obvious. That Michael Sona was convicted was no great surprise. What is surprising -- and troubling -- is the clear and common view among the trial Judge, the prosecutor and the defence counsel that Sona was not likely a solitary miscreant off on a romp of his own, but must have had some help. This contradicts the Conservative line that Sona acted alone. Even though he was one of their most faithful soldiers, his Party quickly threw him "under the bus" to take all the blame all by himself. But is that credible? The Defence, the Crown and the Judge all think not. Furthermore, in a separate court case last year, a Judge of the Federal Court hearing other robocall evidence made the explicit finding that election fraud did, in fact, occur in a number of places in the 2011 campaign, and the most likely source of the information used to identify susceptible voters was the Conservative Party's massive and highly secretive database. So who could get access to that database? And how? What was the system for skimming off the names to be misled? Who devised the technology? Was the system hacked? Has any such hacking been reported to police and investigated? Why did one of Sona's Conservative colleagues have to get an immunity agreement from the Crown before he testified -- immunity from what? Why did another key player in the Conservative campaign refuse even to be interviewed by Elections Canada, and then suddenly moved to Kuwait? Troubling questions call for answers, but they won't be forthcoming from the Party brass who maintain that Sona was just a devious one-man show run amock. So the burden of getting to the bottom of this affair and protecting the integrity of our democracy falls to Elections Canada. But wait, the Harper Conservatives have just changed the Elections Act. The power to investigate election fraud is no longer vested in Elections Canada (an agency that reports to Parliament). Instead, it now comes under the wing of the Department of Justice (an integral part of the government). Those who carry the investigative responsibility have a steep hill to climb to demonstrate their independence and their unfettered determination to protect the public interest. And furthermore, the investigators still don't have the power, requested by Elections Canada but withheld by the government, to compel reluctant witnesses to disclose what they know about bad behaviour. That power could make a difference in dealing with someone seeking an immunity deal or considering a quick trip to Kuwait. #####
    Aug 18, 2014 12:58 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Regina Symphony about to start their 18th summertime performance - from the Roughrider Theme to 1812 Overture
    Aug 17, 2014 4:01 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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