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July

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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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    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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    MPlib
    Long-serving school bd trustee + now South Okanagan Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk speaking tonight in Penticton.
    Jun 27, 2015 7:20 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Working w/Karley Scott - Metis originally from LaRonge, Sk - terrific Lib candidate in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola
    Jun 27, 2015 6:16 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Kelowna-Lake Country, proud to campaign with Liberal Steve Fuhr - an excellent candidate - big crowd for rally + fundraiser
    Jun 27, 2015 1:39 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Started today w/Lib Candidate Cindy Derkaz in Vernon, great meeting with Vernon Chamber of Commerce about a new economic plan for Canada.
    Jun 27, 2015 11:59 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Just arrived in Kamloops. Talked to my old friend Len Marchand. Now getting ready to visit TRU w/ 2015 Lib candidate Steve Powrie.
    Jun 26, 2015 4:09 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    10 distinguished graduates this year from Regina's Huda School - congratulations! Very glad to be here once again.
    Jun 25, 2015 2:11 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    REAL CHANGE A few days ago, when Justin Trudeau released his 32 proposals for a Parliament and government that are more transparent and fair in serving the needs of Canadians, he noted that after 10 years of Stephen Harper things in Ottawa are pretty badly broken. Major repairs are urgently required. The Conservatives in response denied all problems. Everything is just fine, they said. Today, in a Peterborough court room, the Prime Minister's former Parliamentary Secretary and chief spokesman for ethical matters (Dean Del Mastro) was sentenced to jail for violating Canada's election laws. And he wasn't the first or the only one of the Prime Minister's trusted appointees to face such a fate. Canada does indeeed need REAL CHANGE. The election this fall can open the door. Look up the details of what Justin Trudeau has proposed at: realchange.ca ###
    Jun 25, 2015 9:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Saskatchewan Express performs a tribute to Sk's own Connie Kaldor - Sky's are bigger than anywhere else!
    Jun 24, 2015 5:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Glad to drop into the AGM of the Regina Immigrant Women's Centre - a vital community service and asset!
    Jun 23, 2015 6:14 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Part of the performing company at tonight's Saskatchewan Express Gala in Regina - congrats again to Carole Gay Bell!
    Jun 23, 2015 6:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Lots of cooks, lots of people at community breakfast opening 2015 Urban Treaty Days at RT/SIS Gathering Place this morning
    Jun 23, 2015 8:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Justin Trudeau speaking at Canada 2020 says Stephen Harper's hyper-partisanship has compromised his ability to deal with President Obama. A Canadian Prime Minister must be able to deal with US Presidents from both Parties - every PM before Mr Harper understood this. To have presence + exercise influence in US, we need to know what their interests actually are, not just what we wish they were.
    Jun 22, 2015 10:28 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Justin Trudeau takes the stage before a full house at Canada 2020 to talk about the Canada-US relationship
    Jun 22, 2015 10:13 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    AFTER 10 YEARS OF MR. HARPER, MUCH IS BROKEN IN OTTAWA - INCLUDING THE CRA Stephen Harper is well into his 10th year in office, and Canadians are tallying the carnage of that scorched decade. A prime economic example reaches back to the 2011 election. Mr. Harper promised big tax breaks, worth billions of dollars annually, to high-wealth Canadians - despite the clear reality that the economy was weak, the proposed cuts were expensive and unfair, and middle and lower income people had larger and more pressing needs. As a sop to fiscal responsibility, Mr. Harper made his tax breaks "contingent" on his government first balancing its budget. That signalled a major assault on federal programs and services. He pledged that "front line" service delivery would not be reduced - only redundant public servants in the government's "back offices" would be affected, he said. That sounded like nonsense at the time, and it was. Services and service delivery standards have been severely compromised. Just ask WW2 veterans, or younger soldiers returning from recent wars and suffering PTSD. Ask someone trying to reach a human-being to talk to about Employment Insurance, or a pension problem, or an immigration application that's two years over due. Or ask about the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Taxpayers have been treated to a litany of service failures in this key department over the past several months. First it was the letters CRA was sending to taxpayers. They were incoherent computer-generated gibberish that no normal person could possibly understand. Even departmental officials were at a loss to make sense of their own correspondence. Then it was the quality of the tax information being handed out by CRA, especially to small businesses. It was wrong 25% of the time. Taxpayers with a complaint were told to go to the CRA Ombudsman, but that position has been vacant for a year. CRA has closed all of its "service to the public" offices. Its budget for "service" has been chopped by more than 25%. Staffing is down by 20%. The department is directing Canadians to its telephone call centre to pick up the slack. And even that is proving to be a debacle. Data obtained from CRA this past week shows an appalling level of bad performance. Last year, some 12-million Canadians tried to call the tax department for information, help or advice. Collectively, they made more than 60-million phone calls. Two-thirds of those calls were never answered. They got a busy signal and hung up. For those taxpayers who persisted in trying to get through by making call-after-call over a full week's time, still 20% never made it. The figures so far this year show even worse service -- 78% of the calls incoming to CRA are not getting answered. For all these reasons, Justin Trudeau has promised a major overhaul of the tax department. To start with, new performance standards for CRA services will be established to raise the bar, measure results and report publicly. This must apply urgently to the quality of correspondence and the accessibility of the call centre. Our aim will be the achievement of operating practices that treat taxpayers as "clients". For example, where the department notices that someone is entitled to a benefit or deduction which they are not actually receiving, they should pro-actively contact that taxpayer to let them know. CRA could also offer to file routine tax returns for lower income Canadians and those on fixed incomes when their financial situations remain largely unchanged from previous years. There could be more support for Canadians who want to file their returns on-line with no paper forms. Greater efforts should be made to go after international tax evasion. The CRA should halt its partisan harassment of charities. And the government should clarify the rules on charities to reaffirm the important role that non-governmental organizations can and should play in the development of public policies. The trouble at CRA is just one aspect of the brokenness that Stephen Harper has inflicted upon Canada. For a more comprehensive look at Justin Trudeau's plan for fair and open government, go to: www.RealChange.ca
    Jun 22, 2015 6:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    UMOJA Drummers from Jack Mackenzie School, led by Marlene Hinz, great opening to JazzFest Multicultural Day!
    Jun 21, 2015 12:57 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    ReginaJazzSociety finishes its 2015 JazzFest today with their annual Multicultural Day featuring Joyce Moreno - at the Ramada
    Jun 21, 2015 11:54 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Thanks to Merv Armstrong and his "Swervin" team for a great "mini-indy" go-cart racing event this weekend in Regina's City Square - raising funds to fight leukemia and lymphoma.
    Jun 21, 2015 10:53 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Lots of people all day at the African Food Festival in Regina - terrific cultural diversity, enriching our community.
    Jun 21, 2015 6:21 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Toasting "Good-Ale" in Regina with Niall O'Hanlon!
    Jun 20, 2015 6:30 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Now at O'Hanlon's across from Victoria Park in Regina. On tap they are featuring "Ralph's Good Ale" - Great Beer, great Pub!
    Jun 20, 2015 5:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Honoured to join Her Honour, Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieut-Gov of Sk, for today's awards ceremony of the Order of St John
    Jun 20, 2015 2:48 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    With Sk Roughriders' Gainer the Gopher - all set for 2015 QC Pride Festival Parade in Regina
    Jun 20, 2015 11:27 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Regina Police Service + RCMP well represented in this Year's QC Pride Festival Parade.
    Jun 20, 2015 11:27 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Regina's Hillberg+Berk are on exhibit at Bazaart today. They have designed pieces for HM Queen Elizabeth.
    Jun 20, 2015 10:25 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Some of the interesting crafts on display + for sale at this year's Bazaart - just outside Mackenzie Art Gallery.
    Jun 20, 2015 9:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Saturday is "Bazaart" craft sale at MacKenzie Gallery in Regina. Tonight, "Dimensions" Fine Craft Awards honour the artisans
    Jun 19, 2015 6:33 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Another Nat'l Aboriginal Day Grand Entry today in Regina - this one in North Central hosted by the Circle Project. Great celebration.
    Jun 19, 2015 3:18 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Murad Al-Katib says Transportation review should be done before year-end - among other things, Canada needs better Infrastructure.
    Jun 19, 2015 1:17 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Murad Al-Katib says federal cuts have gone too far in areas like Stats Canada (need good data), + the Canadian Transportation Agency needs more authority.
    Jun 19, 2015 12:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Murad Al-Katib says he's a well-known capitalist Conservative, but the Environment matters because it matters to our customers. This is point Justin Trudeau makes - apart from its moral imperative, Environmental integrity is a market access imperative too.
    Jun 19, 2015 12:44 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Regina Agi-entrepreneur Murad Al-Katib, speaking at Farm Progress Show in Regina - he's part of Emerson's review of rail transport
    Jun 19, 2015 12:24 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Some of the extraordinary new farm equipment at Canada's Farm Progress Show in Regina this week.
    Jun 19, 2015 12:17 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Now in Regina's Victoria Park, Elder Norma Jean Bird says a prayer to open more festivities honouring National Aboriginal Day
    Jun 19, 2015 11:21 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Saskatchewan is so proud of Terrence Littletent, world champion hoop dancer and today organizer of the National Aboriginal Day Pow Wow at Thomson School
    Jun 19, 2015 11:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Part of the Grand Entry today at a PowWow at Thomson School in Regina to cebrate National Aboriginal Day
    Jun 19, 2015 10:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    CONSERVATIVE HYPOCRISY ON “PAYROLL TAXES” In an attempt to vilify any proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan, the Harper Conservatives try to make an argument that higher CPP premiums would constitute a “payroll tax”. And they’re against it. But the late Jim Flaherty said there was strong support for an enhanced CPP and called for a modest, phased-in, fully-funded expansion. Public opinion research suggests that 60% of Canadians quite readily agree. Mr. Flaherty’s successor, Joe Oliver, is incoherent on the topic. He admits that all the funds that go into the CPP do not belong to the government. They always belong to the pensioner as a long-term investment in retirement security, and the CPP Investment Board is getting “impressive results”. Still, a few weeks ago in the House of Commons, Mr. Oliver said this: “What we will not do is reach into the pockets of middle-class Canadians with a mandatory payroll tax…” Based on the government’s actual behavior, that statement is 100% false - because the Harper Conservatives have imposed massive mandatory new payroll taxes with respect to Employment Insurance. In 2011, they increased EI premiums and thus extracted some $600-million more in new higher EI payroll taxes. On top of that, in 2012, they extracted $600-million more. And in 2013, they extracted another $600-million more. So by 2014, this government was collecting close to $2-billion per year more through higher EI payroll taxes. They then froze the rates at that artificially inflated level, and they will remain frozen until 2017. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says they are at least $5-billion too high. The evidence is irrefutable. Between 2011-2016, the Harper Conservatives have, in fact, reached into the pockets of middle-class Canadians with a mandatory payroll tax. What Mr. Oliver condemns with respect to CPP, his government has implemented with respect to EI.
    Jun 18, 2015 5:44 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    I'm happy to join Justin Trudeau in sending this greeting to the large and growing Muslim community in Regina. https://www.liberal.ca/justin-trudeau-on-ramadan-mubarak-2015/
    Jun 18, 2015 4:32 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    As Parliament closes this week... The Harper government leaves $157-billion in new Conservative debt, $4400 for every man, woman + child. Harper government leaves 53 months of trade deficits + the worst economic growth record in 8 decades. There are 200,000 more jobless Canadians than before the recession - 24 OECD countries growing faster than Canada.
    Jun 18, 2015 12:07 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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