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July

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    MPlib
    Glad to help officially open the campaign office for Louis Browne - great Liberal candidate in Regina Lewvan!
    Jul 17, 2015 5:13 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    If Joe Oliver is against "job killing payroll taxes" why did the Harper government increase job killing EI payroll taxes by $10-billion since 2011? Joe Oliver says all money in CPP always belongs to pensioners themselves. Such an investment in personal security cannot be a tax! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-wont-help-ontario-establish-provincial-pension-plan/article25538987/?cmpid=rss1&click=dlvr.it
    Jul 16, 2015 4:32 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Distinguished Citizenship Judge Terry O'Malley presiding over one of his last ceremonies after 6 great years of service to Canada
    Jul 16, 2015 1:43 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Another huge crowd for today's citizenship ceremony - the 7th this week in Regina - welcoming more than 800 new Canadians
    Jul 16, 2015 1:43 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Over the past 30 years, the contrast is clear - Liberals balance budgets + grow the economy; Conservatives run deficits + recessions. Mr Harper's economic growth record is the worst of any Prime Minister in 80 years. This new recession in 2015 is all on his watch. Mr Harper's hapless, blame everyone else attitude is a large downside risk to our economy + the well-being of the middle class.
    Jul 15, 2015 7:24 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Harper government blames everyone but themselves for Canada's NO GROWTH economy - all on their watch, this is Harper's recession! NO GROWTH economy means sluggish employment, stagnant incomes, low job quality, worries about Cost of Living, deflated expectations. Canada seriously needs a new + better economic plan focused coherently on growth, jobs + fairness. Stop undermining Bank of Canada.
    Jul 15, 2015 1:54 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    More than 150 new Canadians, family + friends awaiting this afternoon's Citizenship Ceremony at Regina's Conexus Arts Centre
    Jul 15, 2015 1:23 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Citizenship Judge O'Malley opens another ceremony - to administer Oath to Canada to nearly 100 new Canadians at Conexus Arts Centre
    Jul 15, 2015 9:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Bank of Canada has done more "emergency surgery" cutting interest rates. When will Harper government stop undermining central Bank? What's the point of having the Bank of Canada pro-growth monetary policy while Harper government persists in contradictory restrictive fiscal policy? With Bank of Canada slashing its growth projections (almost in half), Canada is likely running a deficit - so Mr Harper's budget rationale is dead!
    Jul 15, 2015 7:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    67 new Canadians yesterday in Regina, 72 more this morning, now 71 more this afternoon - listening attentively to Citizenship Judge O'Malley!
    Jul 14, 2015 1:12 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Instead of election gimmicks to buy voters with their own money, Canada needs a smart plan to invest in real growth. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ralph-goodale/feeble-economy-feedble-le_b_7784582.html
    Jul 14, 2015 12:43 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Citizenship Judge Terry O'Malley speaking to 72 new Canadians, taking Oath to Canada today at Regina's Eastview Community Centre
    Jul 14, 2015 9:16 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The HarperCons are boasting about their family benefits scheme, but why settle for less when a much better plan is available? Check out the Liberal plan. It's more focused, linked to income, indexed + tax-free. Bigger payouts for 9 out of 10 families. The Liberal Child Benefit plan is more generous, but also more fair. And greater fairness helps to drive greater economic growth.
    Jul 14, 2015 6:05 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A great room full of new Canadians, their families and friends at Royal Saskatchewan Museum to be sworn in as new Citizens today.
    Jul 13, 2015 1:43 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    FEEBLE ECONOMY, FEEBLE LEADERSHIP: Listening to Stephen Harper talk about the economy, you get the distinct impression that someone else entirely must have been running the country for the past 10 years. Since 2006, Canada has been stuck with the weakest economic growth record in eight decades. Most recently, our GDP has actually been shrinking - for four months in a row, maybe more. Growth forecasts for this year as a whole have been slashed by 25-30%. Job creation is weak and sporadic. It markedly slowed in the second quarter of this year compared to the first, and the first quarter was barely mediocre. There are 200,000 more jobless Canadians now than just before the 2008 recession. That recession was milder than expected. It lasted less than one year and ended more than six years ago. But still, Canada has not recovered - and it's all on Mr. Harper's watch. Job quality is at its lowest ebb in 25 years. Long-term unemployment is increasing. Young people are especially vulnerable. Incomes are largely stagnant (except for the most wealthy). Household debt is near record highs. Inequality is getting worse. Business investment is down. Manufacturing is in the doldrums. And Canada has just recorded five consecutive months of massive trade deficits - the worst ever. This is Mr. Harper's record. So what does he have to say? First he blames that recession six years ago. Then the Americans. Then China. Then Europe and especially the Greeks. Canada's troubles are always somebody else's fault - according to him. Mr. Harper looks rather pathetic taking the coward's way out, denying all responsibility. Apparently, he doesn't remember that period between 2006 and 2008 when he over-spent by three-times the rate of inflation, mangled the tax base, eliminated all the contingency reserves and prudence factors from the budget-making process, and put Canada back on the verge of deficits again - BEFORE there was any recession to blame. Mr. Harper made us vulnerable. He doesn't remember squandering - in less than three years - a decade of balanced budgets, annual surpluses of $13-billion and the strongest fiscal position in the western world. He doesn't remember ignoring the warnings about failures in the US housing market and the American banking system which were about to plunge the world into that 2008 downturn. Mr. Harper denied Canada would be seriously affected, preached more austerity and promised loudly never to run a deficit. He was wrong on every count. And when he couldn't deny reality any longer, he devised a stimulus program that was so mired in petty partisanship that it didn't get started until after the recession was officially over. He followed that up with net federal tax increases in five consecutive budgets - including $10-billion in higher, job-killing Employment Insurance payroll taxes. Mr. Harper undermined the long-term federal financial commitment to health care and old age pensions. He under-funded public safety, emergency preparedness and national security. He down-graded the country's scientific capacity. He slashed federal support for municipal infrastructure and for summer jobs for students. He even clawed-back vital benefits from veterans and returning soldiers. So now Canada is on the cusp of another recession, and Mr. Harper wants us all to believe that he bears no responsibility. Worse still, he wants us to accept the notion that we're helpless and can do nothing about it. He refuses to consider any plan to replace his expensive and discriminatory tax breaks for the wealthy with sensible investments in the true drivers of growth and jobs - infrastructure, higher learning and skills, science and innovation. Mr. Harper is simply wrong - again. You need look no further than the Bank of Canada. While the government insists on restrictive fiscal policies, the central Bank is going in the opposite direction, adopting a pro-growth stance by cutting interest rates. That's the only tool the Bank has at its disposal and it comes with a significant downside - it inflates consumer debt. That downside could be avoided if the Harper regime would stop contradicting the Bank of Canada, pull in the same direction and help drive real growth.
    Jul 13, 2015 6:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    After door knocking in Wascana, a nice stop at a very busy Farmers Market in downtown Regina - great produce!
    Jul 11, 2015 11:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Just visited wildfire evacuation centre at Evraz Place in Regina with my friend Gary Tinker from Pinehouse. Here's today's fire map. Shout-out to Evraz staff, doing a great job, along side Red Cross. Big issue now is how to help people re-settle in their homes.
    Jul 10, 2015 1:46 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    By independent expert analysis, the Liberal Plan for #fairness would lift more than 300,000 children our of poverty - far more effective than either NDP or Conservative proposals.
    Jul 10, 2015 8:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A DISMAL ECONOMY On Stephen Harper's watch as Prime Minister, the performance of the Canadian economy has been mostly pretty dismal. He has the worst record on economic growth of any Prime Minister since the 1930's. Job creation is slow and sluggish. Job quality is at its lowest ebb in 25 years. Incomes are stagnant. Canada has posted more than 50 monthly trade deficits. Household debt is near a record high. And the public debt carried by the federal government has ballooned by $157-billion. June ended with the sorry news that our economy shrank again in April - that makes four months in a row, two-thirds of the way back into recession. All the major private sector economic forecasters have slashed their growth projections for Canada, by as much as 25% or more. And the downward spiral continues. Last week, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said Canada has already slid into recession. On Monday, the TD Bank agreed that was likely the case. And Statistics Canada reported the first decline in capital investments in this country since 2009. On Tuesday, the latest trade figures were released, showing yet another huge monthly trade deficit in May (the 5th month in a row) for a cumulative total of $13.6 billion in the hole so far this year. On Wednesday, Statistics Canada published figures showing that after-tax incomes are basically stagnant, and inequality has widened. The Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank issued statements calling for the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates again to bolster the faltering economy. And today, the International Monetary Fund issued another downgrade for Canada, joining the OECD in projecting meagre 1.5% growth for all of this year - down by nearly one-third from what the IMF was predicting just three months ago. Meanwhile, the Harper government remains officially oblivious. They have no strategy to drive greater growth and more jobs. Their only clear policy is more discriminatory tax breaks for high-wealth households - adding to inequality and making real growth more difficult. Canada clearly needs a new and better economic plan.
    Jul 09, 2015 4:26 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Congratulations + best wishes to Peter Stoicheff, the new President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan. I also want to say thank you + well done to Gordon Barnhart who served so ably in this role during a challenging period.
    Jul 09, 2015 9:42 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Poor Joe Oliver looks foolish trying to maintain the economic fictions he's being fed by "kids in short-pants" in PM's office http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/slow-canadian-economy-could-be-spurred-by-u-s-joe-oliver-says-1.3141461
    Jul 07, 2015 3:15 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Jean-Pierre Taschereau + Canadian Red Cross volunteers doing an excellent job dealing with 13,000 evacuees from Sask's wildfire disaster
    Jul 07, 2015 9:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The evidence is overwhelming - Stephen Harper's economic plan is failing miserably. Canada needs a new plan + real change http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-07/canada-trade-deficit-unexpectedly-widens-as-exports-slide
    Jul 07, 2015 7:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Former Prime Minister Paul Martin in fine form on the economy, education and global affairs before a receptive crowd in Regina. Much respected.
    Jul 06, 2015 12:13 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Full house at Conexus Arts Centre to welcome former PM Paul Martin to Regina - looking forward to his talk on Canadian economy.
    Jul 06, 2015 11:30 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Lots of challenges handling needs of 13,000 dislocated people, but Canadian Red Cross is widely acclaimed as doing great job (2/2)
    Jul 06, 2015 10:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    After good conversation with U of R President Timmons, Paul Martin, Louis Browne and I spent some time with forest fire evacuees on campus (1/2)
    Jul 06, 2015 10:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Thinking of all those in Northern Saskatchewan who have been affected by the wildfires. The Canadian Armed Forces and Red Cross have been called in to assist with the situation. CBC news is reporting 13,000 have had to be evacuated from their homes, and is the largest evacuation Saskatchewan has ever experienced. Ralph Goodale and the Rt. Hon Paul Martin have met with First Nations and locals about the situation. Please consider donating to the Canadian Red Cross to assist those in need. If you are in Saskatchewan, the local Salvation Army is taking donated goods as well. Together, we as Canadians can help make a difference even from afar. Every little bit helps. http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b71b47a81da6e7d67dc2f2074&id=36452497bc&e=64ca3b0e90 #Saskatchewan #skfires
    Jul 06, 2015 9:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Right Honourable Paul Martin now meeting with University of Regina President Dr Vianne Timmons - about education, especially Aboriginal education.
    Jul 06, 2015 9:01 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Right Honourable Paul Martin speaking to a breakfast group in Regina this am - talking about the critical challenges of Aboriginal education.
    Jul 06, 2015 7:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    My thanks to former FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph for making it possible for Paul Martin and me to meet with PAGC Emergency Committee.
    Jul 06, 2015 6:56 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    WILL FISCAL FANTASIES WORK A SECOND TIME? Through the summer of 2008, as the world slid into an economic recession brought on by US housing market and banking failures, the Harper government in Canada kept spinning a yarn that all was well. After all, they were planning an election for that fall. Since taking office in February of 2006, they had surfed along quite comfortably on the economic and fiscal momentum they inherited from their Liberal predecessors. The last thing Stephen Harper wanted was to dampen the public mood with honest talk about a recession and how he was squandering the nation's capacity to cope with one. During his first two-and-a-half years, Mr. Harper overspent by nearly three times the rate of inflation. He mangled the federal tax base. He eliminated all the contingency reserves and prudence factors from federal budget-making. And he put Canada back on the cusp of a deficit once again - all before any recession actually arrived. When it hit, the global downturn made Canada's situation worse, but it was Mr. Harper all on his own who made us vulnerable. As trouble approached, the Conservative strategy was "deny, deny, deny". They dismissed the likelihood of a recession. We'll all just have "good buying opportunities", Mr. Harper claimed, and there was absolutely no possibility of a federal deficit, or so he said. That was his line in 2008 and he was sticking to it - until the election had come and gone, and then hard reality settled in. The Canadian economy was indeed in recession, and five falsely projected balanced budgets became seven consecutive deficits. Had the Harper government lied to Canadians? Or were they just breathtakingly incompetent? It doesn't much matter. Either way, it's unacceptable. And it shouldn't be allowed to happen again. Fast-forward to the summer of 2015. Another election is looming in the fall, just as economic storm clouds are gathering. The Canadian economy recorded "negative growth" -- i.e., it shrank -- in each of the first four months of this calendar year. Every credible private sector forecaster has revised their growth expectations downward. They're having a morbid debate about whether another recession has already arrived, or is Canada just suffering a prolonged period of dismal results with little or no growth. It's a telling point that the latter is their best-case scenario. And what do we hear AGAIN from the Harper government? Don't worry, be happy. The plummeting figures coming from all the private forecasters one-by-one aren't real until we actually hold a meeting and hear from them all together. And in any event, it's all somebody else's fault. Canada is just a hapless victim. There's nothing we can do to help ourselves to better results. How pathetic! The very least Mr. Harper could do is stop contradicting and undermining the Bank of Canada. In January, Governor Poloz said the Canadian economy was "atrocious". To try to drive some growth, he used the only tool at his disposal and cut the Bank's prime interest rate. That has contributed to ballooning levels of consumer debt. But he downplays that problem as a mere "side effect" of the "emergency surgery" he had to perform. The Governor is using strong language to highlight the pressing need for greater sustained and sustainable economic growth. He has pushed this theme from his first days in office, as did his predecessor Mark Carney. And how has the Harper government responded? By going in exactly the opposite, restrictive and wrong direction. The Conservative obsession with concocting the appearance of a balanced budget - all so they can give a couple of expensive tax breaks to high-wealth households - has reduced aggregate demand and increased inequality (which in turn undermines growth). Most seriously, the Harper government has refused to work in tandem with the central Bank on a sensible pro-growth plan - one that's built around investments in public infrastructure, access to higher learning, the advancement of science and innovation, and an astute understanding of the undeniable link between environmental integrity and successful economic growth. Mr. Harper's economic plan is tedious and threadbare, and it has failed. It's time for real change - to get Canada growing again.
    Jul 06, 2015 6:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    THE INDEFATIGABLE PAUL MARTIN! I look forward to welcoming former Prime Minister Paul Martin back to Regina tomorrow (Monday). He's been in Saskatoon today, and yesterday the two of us were in Prince Albert getting a better sense of the impact of the wildfires raging across the north. We met with Grand Chief Ron Michel and the Emergency Measures Committee of the Prince Albert Grand Council - including many Chiefs, Vice-Chiefs, Councillors and staff - and we visited the evacuation centres which are helping those who have been displaced. Over 100 fires continue to burn. More than 51 communities have been affected. Over 13,000 people have been evacuated. This is a huge disaster which demands national attention. Canadians will want to respond with concern and generosity. The Chiefs had made a request for the involvement and support of Canadian Forces personnel. It's good to see they will be made available. The skill and strength of our military could be utilized both in battling the blazes and in managing the complex logistics of taking care of evacuees. Communications is a critical imperative in dealing with any emergency. Federal and provincial authorities need to stay in close contact with affected communities and Aboriginal leaders to ensure the most effective and empathetic reponses are provided in this crisis. The Red Cross has been on the scene from day-one. Trained volunteers have arrived from across the country. They are doing an amazing job of caring for the evacuees. But the task is huge and it's not clear when/where it will end. In the longer term, northern Saskatchewan will require a concerted federal/provincial/Aboriginal action plan to resettle those who have been displaced and to help them rebuild their lives and livelihoods. The northern economy has taken a huge hit. Full recovery will not be quick nor easy. And looking to the future, we need a full impartial assessment of federal, provincial and Aboriginal capacities to cope with disasters of all kind, and the protocols and resources that can be accessed on an emergency basis. Mr. Martin was well-received in the north. There is obviously a large reservoir of respect for the man, especially because of his passionate work as Prime Minister on the Kelowna Accord for Aboriginal peoples, and because he has continued to work tirelessly on such priorities as Aboriginal education - long after he left public life. These topics will no doubt come up again tomorrow in Regina, as will the sad state of the Canadian economy -- now two-thirds of the way back into another recession. It will be useful to hear Mr. Martin's perspective as probably the most effective Finance Minister in Canadian history. ###
    Jul 05, 2015 8:53 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A message from Justin Trudeau about the wild fire crisis in northern Saskatchewan. Bit.ly/1TeCf1Q
    Jul 05, 2015 8:35 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Recovery from fires in N.Sk will be expensive+will take a long time. Lots of public support+close consultation w/ FNs needed(2/2)
    Jul 04, 2015 5:34 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    With former PM Paul Martin + PA Grand Council - fires in N.Sk getting more dangerous, LaRonge now being totally evacuated(1/2)
    Jul 04, 2015 5:34 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Just finished meeting with Prince Albert Grand Council Chiefs - very impressed by their passionate concern for people facing fire disasters.
    Jul 04, 2015 4:58 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Travelling with the Right Hon Paul Martin today to Prince Albert to talk with First Nations leaders about key issues in Northern Saskatchewan -- including fires
    Jul 04, 2015 1:33 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    My colleague Ralph Goodale has news for the Finance Minister, who seems to have his head stuck in the sand: In the last five weeks, RBC dropped its 2015 economic growth forecast for Canada to 1.8%. Scotiabank and TD are saying 1.6%. BMO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) say 1.5%. CIBC is projecting 1.4%.
    Jul 04, 2015 9:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Big shout-out to Regina Treaty / Status Indian Services (RT/SIS) for organizing annual Tamra Keepness BBQ.
    Jul 03, 2015 11:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Lots of Regina Police Service volunteers helping out today with community BBQ remembering Tamra Keepness.
    Jul 03, 2015 11:16 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    People gathering in Regina's Core Park for annual BBQ to remember Tamra Keepness - missing now for 11 yrs.
    Jul 03, 2015 11:14 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HARPER, OLIVER CLING TO BOGUS GROWTH ASSUMPTIONS According to Stephen Harper's Finance Minister, the Canadian economy will still achieve growth this calendar year of at least 2%. Believe it or not, that's what Joe Oliver apparently told Bloomberg News this week. Despite the fact that our GDP shrank not only through the entire First Quarter of this year, but also unexpectedly in April too, Mr. Oliver is sticking to his April 21st budget projection of 2% growth overall for 2015. In a bizarre twist of reasoning, he says that was the consensus figure obtained from a survey of private sector economists in March, and somehow it just doesn't matter that they've all since revised their projections significantly downward. "We haven't met again with the private sector forecasters as a group," says Mr. Oliver, "so that number (i.e. 2%) has not been adjusted." Talk about sticking your head in the sand - if you don't want to hear what those private forecasters will tell you, then just refuse to call them together for an updated projection. It's embarrassing to have the country's Finance Minister look so foolish! Just in the last five weeks, RBC dropped its 2015 economic growth forecast for Canada to 1.8%. Scotiabank and TD are saying 1.6%. BMO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) say 1.5%. And CIBC is projecting 1.4%. Do the math. Compared to the 2% projection laid out in the budget, the consensus among these private forecasters is now down by more than one-fifth. That's a big decline. And it won't be overcome by wishful thinking or willful blindness. The consequences are real. Among other things, a growth rate that's more than 20% lower than what was assumed in the budget, means federal revenues will be lower than expected too. Lower revenues present the probability of a federal deficit once again. Given that Mr. Oliver was projecting only a razor-thin surplus of just $1.4-billion in any event, it's quite likely that slower growth means Canada is once again back into red ink. When will we know for sure? Not until the federal books for this year are formally audited. When will that get done? Not until the fall of 2016. Well after the federal election - isn't that convenient? The likelihood of a deficit this year is also enlarged by all the jiggery-pokery that went into the concoction of that $1.4-billion "surplus" in the first place. It wasn't just economic growth assumptions that were too rosy. To contrive their "surplus", the Conservatives also mistreated veterans and lapsed more than a billion dollars in federal funding that Parliament had previously approved. They underfunded the military, the RCMP and other public safety agencies. They carved a gaping $5-billion hole in federal funding for public infrastructure. They sold off federal assets ranging from the government's shares in General Motors and certain foreign embassies to local community pastures and an historic tree nursery in Saskatchewan. And they hoisted taxes, most especially Employment Insurance payroll taxes which have been frozen at excessively high levels until 2017. So what's wrong with the government running this deficit? Three things: First, they are pretending not to, and that's dishonest. Secondly, it totally destroys the stated rationale for their large, discriminatory tax breaks for wealthier Canadians which were supposed to be conditional upon balanced budgets. And third, the Conservatives still have no coherent plan to drive sustained and sustainable economic growth and to achieve greater fairness - especially for the middle class and all those working so hard just to get there. #####
    Jul 03, 2015 4:41 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A big Canadian Flag - now 50 yrs old - and lots of kids on the parade square at RCMP Depot Division for Canada Day Sunset Ceremony
    Jul 01, 2015 6:31 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Over at Government House, the Lieut-Gov's Garden Party is featuring Rory Allen + Orchestra on Canada Day.
    Jul 01, 2015 1:38 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Legion Colour Party signals the beginning of Canada Day events in Wascana Park in Regina.
    Jul 01, 2015 11:59 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Lots of great local produce at today's Canada Day Farmers Market in Regina.
    Jul 01, 2015 9:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    CANADA DAY Happy Canada Day on this smokey July 1st across Saskatchewan. Thinking of the thousands dislocated by brush and forest fires and now in shelters in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and North Battleford. Great work being done by emergency workers everywhere - special shout-out to the Red Cross providing support to the evacuees.
    Jul 01, 2015 7:12 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    I want to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day! Bonne Fête Canada! https://youtu.be/f0TPoiLbeW4
    Jul 01, 2015 7:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

June

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    MR. HARPER'S BUDGET RATIONALE HAS EVAPORATED The Harper government failed to produce a budget through the entire 2014-15 fiscal year. Do you remember why? They claimed they were uncertain about unstable energy markets and had to delay their budget long enough to get reliable data. So how has that worked out? Finally tabled on April 21st, the 2015 federal budget assumed overall economic growth for Canada this year at 2%. That much growth, the Conservatives said, would generate sufficient revenue for the federal books to be balanced and for Mr. Harper to proceed with the two expensive tax breaks that he had promised for high-wealth households. Those discriminatory tax breaks have now been legislated. But the economic growth assumptions used to justify them have gone up in smoke. The Canadian economy will NOT grow by 2% this year. In fact, in the first quarter of 2015, our economy not only stalled, it actually shrank in each of January, February and March. For the second quarter, we'll get the official figures in a few weeks, but more bad news is expected. The economy may not be shrinking any more, but it's not growing much either. The last half of 2015 may be better, but according to all the major bank economists and the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), Canada will be lucky to eke out an annual growth rate of about 1.5%. That mediocre performance is well below what the Conservatives were claiming at Budget time, barely two months ago. It's well below what they need to balance the federal books. And it's therefore well below what's needed to justify Mr. Harper's tax breaks. Paltry economic growth is not just this year's problem. It has been a defining feature of Stephen Harper's government. Since he came to power in 2006, Mr. Harper has the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett in the 1930's. But don't blame me, he will say, it's all the fault of that nasty 2008 recession. But that recession was shallower than expected. It lasted less than a year. And it ended six long years ago. So why is Canada still languishing? Well, Mr. Harper says, put things in context - aren't we doing better than every other country in the G-7? The short answer is no, we're not. Canada hasn't been on top of the G-7 in jobs and growth for several years now. Among the 34 leading countries tracked by the OECD, it's projected that 24 will grow faster this year than will Canada. And in the larger group of IMF countries, more than 130 are likely to do better. It's time to stop the excuses. Mr. Harper has been in charge for nearly 10 years. No one else is to blame. His economic plan has failed. Instead of an obsession with tax breaks for the wealthy, the Government of Canada needs to be riveted on the drivers of sustained and sustainable economic growth. That's what will lift our living standards and bolster a more prosperous middle class. That's what will help boost all those who are working so hard just to get to the middle class. And that's what will enable the federal books to be balanced on a sound and sustainable foundation. For all these reasons, Justin Trudeau is proposing a new economic plan for Canada. It's rooted in fiscal responsibility with two prime goals -- greater growth and fairness. It includes a more generous, non-taxable and fully indexed Canada Child Benefit. A 7% middle class tax cut. A major boost for public infrastructure. Better access to higher learning and skills. Investments in science and innovation. More effective trade and marketing. And the restoration of Canada's environmental credibility. Mr. Trudeau's plan represents real change. Stay tuned. There's more to come.
    Jun 29, 2015 7:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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