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February

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    MPlib
    The first Olympic Gold in Women's Curling was won by Regina's Sandra Schmirler in Nagano in 1998. Now Jennifer Jones and Team Canada brings it home again in Sochi - undefeated Olympic champion in 2014. Congratulations!
    Feb 20, 2014 8:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    For months now, Liberals in Canada's House of Commons have urged "targeted personal sanctions" against Yanukovych Canada should also send a senior observer mission to monitor what's going on in Ukrainian jails, courts, hospitals and morgues And Canada should offer expedited, no-cost Visas to pro-democracy demonstrators in Ukraine who feel they need to leave for safety http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/ukraine-protesters-turn-to-canadian-embassy-for-refuge-from-police-clashes/article16940164/
    Feb 19, 2014 7:23 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Another positive analysis of Justin Trudeau's Senate reforms, from Sask's Dr. David Smith, one of Canada's pre-eminent experts http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-trudeaus-senate-plan-may-be-our-best-chance-at-reform/article16962197/
    Feb 19, 2014 6:17 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Check out this comment on the economy by Justin Trudeau http://youtu.be/t5Lt43E0wCI
    Feb 19, 2014 5:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    A FEDERAL BUDGET IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE With economic growth in Canada sliding downward in each of the last three years, with Stephen Harper presiding over the worst growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett, with unemployment still stubbornly high, and with 262,000 fewer jobs for young Canadians than before the recession -- the federal government should have used last week's budget to implement a real plan for jobs, growth and prosperity. But they did not. The Harper Conservatives squandered the opportunity, just as they squandered all the financial strength they inherited from their Liberal predecessors back in 2006. They were handed a decade of balanced budgets and the best fiscal position in the western world, and they blew it in less than three years. Mr. Harper turned a record surplus into a record deficit in record time. It's truly laughable to see Ministers in this tired and failing government trying to mock the energetic Justin Trudeau for his message about the pressing need for more Canadian economic growth. Justin makes the unassailable point that you cannot hack-and-slash your way to prosperity. An obsession with austerity -- i.e., cutting everything from public safety to veterans’ health benefits -- is not right for Canada. Yes, prudence and discipline are always essential. You could start by chopping the hundreds of millions of dollars this hyper-partisan government has wasted on dishonest advertising. Next, you could slash the network of new offices the Conservatives are opening for the political convenience of their Ministers across the country. There are multiple ways to cut Conservative waste. But alongside strong, clean management, another imperative is meaningful annual economic growth. There are four sources from which it can come. One is exports, but for all its ballyhoo about international trade, the Harper government is running a chronic trade deficit which got a billion dollars worse at the end of last year. Secondly, there's domestic consumer demand, especially by middle-class families, but the Harper government is totally oblivious to the hard reality that middle incomes are stagnant, while household debt has ballooned to record levels. Thirdly, growth can be driven by business investment in Canada, but businesses are piling up retained earnings, not having the confidence to invest in new ventures, staff, training or technology. Fourth, there's the public sector. When the first three are in the doldrums -- as they clearly are -- it's neither smart nor appropriate to cut government funding for measures designed to drive tangible, durable growth. So what could have been done in last week's budget? Here are four modest Liberal ideas: * Reduce Employment Insurance payroll taxes from the excessive and abusive level to which Mr. Harper has hiked them in the past three years. These are counter-productive, job-killing Conservative tax hikes which should be backed-off. * Increase federal support for better access to all forms of post-secondary learning and up-skilling. Some 70% of all future jobs will require post-secondary qualifications and only 50% of Canadian workers have those qualifications today. We must boost our achievement level. * Design a "refundable" accelerated capital cost allowance to offer more encouragement for business investment and expansion, especially by new innovative start-up entrepreneurs. * Make an immediate and transformative investment in local community infrastructure and affordable housing across the country, instead of punching a hole of more than $3-billion in federal support as the Harper government has done. All of this is eminently do-able. It certainly represents better policy than the complacency, negligence and partisanship of Stephen Harper.
    Feb 18, 2014 7:22 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here is exact Harper pledge in 2011 on Income Splitting - very detailed. Not a vague general promise. Now a lie?
    Feb 15, 2014 12:49 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HarperCons' promise of Income Splitting turns into a lie. It was not some "general" idea in 2011. They laid it out precisely. http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/02/14/jason-kenney-says-theres-no-rift-in-tory-caucus-laughs-off-leadership-talk/#.Uv-5XfldVqV
    Feb 15, 2014 11:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Feb 14, 2014 10:46 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Municipalities blind-sided by Harper's new restrictions on Building Canada Infrastructure Fund, plus a cut of over $3-billion in 1st 3-years.
    Feb 14, 2014 5:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HARPER vs FLAHERTY -- NO VALENTINE THIS YEAR! No government can let any daylight appear between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. The stability and credibility of every administration depends in large measure upon these two individuals being absolutely of one mind. They can argue policy behind closed doors, but in public they must speak with one voice. There is no such solidarity any more among the Harper Conservatives. In the 2011 election, Mr. Harper announced in no uncertain terms that once he could claim a balanced budget, he would implement "Income Splitting" for couples with children under age-18. He could not have been more explicit. And since that campaign, his obsession with austerity has been entirely aimed toward that end. That's why he's been slashing everything from food inspection, trade offices and police training to search and rescue, environmental protection and veterans. That's why there's a firesale frenzy to sell-off federal assets. That's why he has delayed military equipment and infrastructure investments. That's why he jacked-up job-killing EI payroll taxes to excessive levels. It was all to allow Mr. Harper to claim a balanced budget in the spring of an election year (2015), followed by the quick announcement of Income Splitting as his political campaign platform. But it's falling apart. In the first place, his claim of a balanced budget is artificial and unsustainable because it's not based on durable economic growth, but mostly on a series of gimmicky one-time measures concocted to coincide conveniently in 2015 (e.g., high EI taxes, asset sales, military procurement delays and stalled infrastructure funding). So Mr. Harper's "balance" is built on quicksand. Secondly, and just as serious, he is now being contradicted by Finance Minister Flaherty on the wisdom of that commitment to Income Splitting. Within hours of his own budget speech on Tuesday, Mr. Flaherty was dissing the Prime Minister's long-standing promise. He described it as expensive and disproportionately biased in favour of the wealthy. Many independent analysts -- from the C.D. Howe Institute on the right to the Centre for Policy Alternatives on the left -- have also panned Mr. Harper's proposal as bad public policy. Only a small fraction of all Canadian families would qualify for any benefit -- 85% (i.e., the vast majority of the middle class) would get nothing at all. Flaherty's surprising outburst quickly exposed some deep rifts in senior Conservative ranks. Backbenchers and Cabinet Ministers started lining up immediately to support either the Finance Minister or the promise they all campaigned on during the last election. The two cannot be reconciled. Has the Prime Minister's promise turned into a lie? For his part, Jason Kenney came out quickly and bluntly to oppose Flaherty and support Income Splitting, claiming that "Conservatives always keep their promises". Oh yeah? If their promises are always good, then where is the Health Care Wait-Times Guarantee the Conservatives pledged in 2006? Why did they kill Income Trusts and cutback on Old Age Security -- two things they solemnly said they would never to do? What happened to their more recent promise to cut taxes on diesel fuel? And what about their commitment to regulations to reduce carbon emissions in the oil and gas sector? Where is the ethanol plant the Conservatives promised near Prince Albert and what about that pasta plant they promised in Regina? Multiple Harper promises have been broken. Jim Flaherty has just driven a stake through the heart of another. And in the process, the fiscal integrity of the government has been badly damaged. Who now has the authority on financial issues? Can either Mr. Flaherty or the Prime Minister be trusted? Apparently not.
    Feb 14, 2014 4:13 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau totally flummoxes HarperCons on their massively broken Election promises - not just Income Splits. He points out that HarperCons promised a Wait-Time Guarantee, a diesel tax cut and oil+gas regulations on carbon. No answers. On Income Splitting, Finance Minister has contradicted Mr Harper - a feud that damages Conservative fiscal credibility.
    Feb 13, 2014 11:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau hows how Mr. Harper fails to understand importance of growth in underpinning a durable surplus. Mr. Harper relies on one-time gimmicks (over-taxing EI, selling assets, delaying military equipment + infrastructure) - so the surplus can't last. Mr. Harper's artificial "surplus" is concocted just like Flaherty, Clement+Baird did provincially when they ran Ontario - built on quicksand.
    Feb 12, 2014 11:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    What a great champion - Olympic bronze medallist Mark McMorris. Welcome home + congratulations!
    Feb 12, 2014 10:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Feb 12, 2014 10:17 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    NOTHING FOR THE MIDDLE-CLASS, NOTHING FOR GROWTH Tuesday’s federal budget was a dereliction of duty. It failed to acknowledge the genuine needs of middle-class Canadians, and it provided nothing to make the economy grow. The Harper Conservatives project their revenues will be down by more than a billion dollars every year going forward, reflecting Canada’s ongoing economic weakness. But instead of squarely addressing that weakness and triggering more growth, this government is papering-over its deficiencies with one-time gimmicks to concoct the false illusion that a surplus will be achieved. In 2015-16, they will claim a surplus of $6.4-billion. How do they get there? By imposing higher-than-necessary EI payroll taxes of $5.2-billion, by postponing military equipment purchases, and by selling off federal assets (like grain terminals on the west coast). But once you’ve pulled those rabbits out of your hat, you’re done. You can’t do them again. So the claimed victory over the deficit is built on quicksand. It’s not sustainable. What Canada urgently requires is a growth plan to build a solid economic foundation upon which a federal budget can be well and truly balanced. But instead, the Harper Conservatives failed to fix their so-called “Jobs Grant”. It still doesn’t exist. There is still no consensus among the partners who will be expected to pay for it. The feds are still planning to claw-back funding that provinces currently devote to the disabled. There is still not a single penny of new federal investment. It remains a total arbitrary mess, doomed to failure. On infrastructure – which the federal Department of Finance itself says is the most cost-effective way to drive more jobs and growth – there is no immediate commitment to replenish the “Building Canada Fund” for municipalities. The Harper Conservatives have punched a $3-billion hole in federal support. It will take until 2019 to get back to even last year’s funding levels. And how municipalities can access that money remains a mystery. Besides working constructively with provincial partners to get a Jobs Grant that works and a larger infrastructure plan to drive growth, the Harper government could also have taken some meaningful action on affordable housing. They could have enhanced a refundable accelerated capital cost allowance to encourage business investments in productivity and competitiveness. They could have torn down some of the barriers blocking access to all forms of post-secondary learning and skills. They could have rolled-back excessive EI payroll taxes to help employers and employees stimulate real jobs. But they didn’t do any of that. The Harper government is stale and tired. They show no inspiration, no ingenuity. They don’t seem to have the will to lead this country creatively and responsibly to a more prosperous future – one that’s rooted in genuine durable economic strength. And that’s just not good enough.
    Feb 12, 2014 4:03 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Not a peep in fed Budget about the policy screw-ups which resulted in chaos in western grain handling, costing farmers more than $2 billion!
    Feb 11, 2014 5:51 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    An interesting Budget factoid - HarperCons likely to spend more on government advertising in next 2-years than on new Job training activity
    Feb 11, 2014 5:44 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Have been in the Budget Lock-Up and doing media reactions all afternoon. Not much enthusiasm for this Do-Nothing 2014 Budget! Mr Harper's "surplus" is a false concoction based artificially on excessive EI payroll taxes, asset sales + delayed military equipment. HarperCons have no plan for economic growth. They continue to have the worst growth record since R.B. Bennett. Bad for Canada. Mr Harper denies middle-class concerns. He scoffs at parents who worry their kids won't have chance to do as well as they did.
    Feb 11, 2014 4:54 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    MR. HARPER’S REAL RECORD ON TAXES To hear him tell it, Stephen Harper is a brilliant tax-cutter. He says so incessantly. But the facts reveal a different story. His first fiscal decision after taking office in 2006 was to increase personal income taxes. Later that fall, he imposed another new Conservative tax on Income Trusts which obliterated $25-billion from the savings accounts of two million ordinary Canadians. More recently, Mr. Harper has hiked the overall federal tax burden in each of his last four budgets – taxing everything from tricycles and cosmetic wigs for cancer patients to local credit unions, small business owners and even job creation. Conservative claims about lower taxes for families need careful scrutiny. You often hear them say they are saving the “average” or “typical” family more than $3200 every year. You will probably hear that reference again in their new budget later today. But it all depends on what type of "family" you are talking about. You can construct an illustration which would fit the Conservative model -- with two parents, two children, a six-figure income and consumer spending of more than $50,000 every year (including over a thousand dollars for art lessons). But for most families -- in fact, for 70-percent of Canadian families -- this is simply not their reality. The vast majority of middle-class Canadians haven’t seen a significant improvement in their real incomes for the better part of 30 years. But their living costs have gone up and debt-loads have ballooned. For every dollar of disposable income, Canadians are now carrying $1.64 in household debt. Many are concerned about affording post-secondary education for their kids, or not having a pension from their place of employment, or finding decent childcare, or long-term care for an elderly parent. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians worry that their children will not do as well economically as they have done. And then there’s Mr. Harper’s new federal debt burden to take into account. He has run seven consecutive deficits so far (not including today’s budget), and has added more than $165-billion to Canada’s overall debt. That works out to $5,000 in new Conservative debt for every man, woman and child in this country, or $20,000 for every family of four. So all of Mr. Harper’s tax cuts are paid for with borrowed money. To help with jobs, growth and prosperity, today’s budget should roll-back the increases in job-killing EI payroll taxes which Mr. Harper has hiked repeatedly to an excessive level. It would also help if he cancelled the new tariff-taxes he imposed last year which add about $333-million annually to our living costs.
    Feb 11, 2014 5:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    As Canadians demonstrate increasing approval of Justin Trudeau's plan for Senate reform, here is more support http://www.hilltimes.com/letters-to-the-editor/2014/02/10/former-senate-ethics-officer-gives-thumbs-up-to-trudeaus-senate/37364
    Feb 10, 2014 2:49 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Feb 10, 2014 1:57 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period: HarperCons in full denial. Don't see problems for middle-class. Won't cut tariff taxes. Won't cut EI payroll taxes. Complacent HarperCons satisfied with mediocrity. Unconcerned about 262,000 fewer jobs for young Canadians. No sense of urgency. HarperCons say they'll invest in infrastructure but won't commit to filling their $3 billion hole in the Building Canada Fund for municipalities.
    Feb 10, 2014 11:49 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    BUDGET 2014 - GOAL SHOULD BE GROWTH, NOT AUSTERITY Tomorrow is federal budget day. It could be an opportunity for the Harper government to change its behaviour. But don't hold your breath. Nothing of any consequence is likely to be any different. As they've done in every budget since the 2008 recession, the Conservatives will claim once again that "jobs, growth and long-term prosperity" are their priorities. But if that's the case, what have Canadians got to show for it? * Why is unemployment stuck stubbornly at 7-percent? Why are a quarter-of-a-million MORE Canadians jobless today than before the recession? Why is participation in the labour force dropping? Why are there fewer jobs for young people who are still suffering double-digit unemployment? Why did the government squander $2.5-million on pointless tax-paid advertising to promote a "Jobs Grant" that never existed? * Why is Mr. Harper's economic growth record the worst since the dismal days of R.B. Bennett? Why was growth in Canada down last year from the year before, which was down from the year before that, which was down from the year before that? Why do international projections for 2014 show 138 other countries growing faster this year than Canada, including the United States, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia? * Why are middle-class incomes stagnant while living costs have ballooned and households are burdened with $1.64 in debt for every dollar of disposable income? Why has Mr. Harper increased the overall tax-load on Canadians in each of his last four budgets -- including higher Conservative taxes on consumer goods, payrolls, credit unions and small business owners? Why are two-thirds of parents worried that their kids may not have the chance to do as well economically as they did? For the Harper Conservatives, "jobs, growth and long-term prosperity" is little more than a slogan. It's political spin. Their over-riding obsession is austerity -- cutting the budget and cutting the programs and services of the Government of Canada on all fronts. That's what drives them. It trumps everything else. It's that insensitive ideology that has landed the Conservatives in such trouble with Canada's veterans, and many others. It's also the reason for the big hole they've punched in federal support for municipal infrastructure, even though the Department of Finance says infrastructure investments are the most cost-effective way to generate jobs and growth. Further hacking and slashing, and further negligence in the face of real needs, is not the right agenda for Canada -- not when domestic demand is hamstrung by household debt, exports are in the doldrums with a high trade deficit, and businesses lack the confidence to increase investment. Tomorrow's budget should emphasize economic growth. In particular, it should focus on significant initiatives that bolster Canada's middle-class, like greater access to post-secondary education and skills and immediate support for community-based infrastructure. Complacent tinkering and yet more government advertising will not be enough.
    Feb 10, 2014 5:07 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Lee's Restaurant in Regina is packed tonight for Chinese New Year's celebration hosted by Chinese Benevolent Association
    Feb 08, 2014 5:07 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Way to go Mark McMorris! Olympic Bronze! Congratulations! Sask is very proud!
    Feb 08, 2014 5:54 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    As Olympics open in Sochi, glad to attend closing of All Seniors Care Winter Games in Regina
    Feb 07, 2014 1:46 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Craig + Mark McMorris at JDRF Walk in Regina - Mark is the world's best Snowboarder, from SK enroute to Olympics!
    Feb 07, 2014 12:43 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Hayley Wickenheiser leads Canadian Team into Sochi today. I was proud to cheer her last Olympics + look forward to this time!
    Feb 07, 2014 5:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Stephen Harper's years in office have produced less than mediocre economic results. Check out this Before-and-After comparison.
    Feb 06, 2014 2:18 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period: IMF data, often quoted by HarperCons, shows that 138 countries are now projected to grow faster than Canada in 2014. Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, US + Mexico are among those likely to achieve better economic growth this year than HarperCons.
    Feb 06, 2014 12:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Canada's official elections supervisor contradicts Conservatives on new elections law http://globalnews.ca/news/1133215/chief-electoral-officer-strikes-back-at-govts-claim-he-wears-team-jersey/
    Feb 06, 2014 11:20 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING YET ANOTHER BUDGET SCAM The federal budget in 2013 was delivered with a lot of Conservative bafflegab about jobs and growth. But as things turned out, Canada's economic growth rate was a disappointing 1.6% (even worse than the anemic performance of the year before), and job creation was equally poor – the worst since the recession – leaving unemployment stuck stubbornly at 7.2%. So that budget was a failure, famous only for cutting services to Veterans, a fictitious "Jobs Grant" that still doesn't exist, millions wasted on ludicrous government advertising, and more Conservative tax increases (payroll taxes, consumer taxes, small business taxes, credit union taxes, etc.). In fact, it was the fourth budget in a row in which Stephen Harper increased the overall tax burden on Canadians. For municipal governments across Canada, probably the biggest let-down – some would say betrayal – in Budget 2013 was the deceptive Conservative song-and-dance around “more” money for community infrastructure. They made a big claim about "increasing" their so-called Building Canada Fund which is due to expire this year. But it's a shell-game. Mr. Harper used a ploy you might call "bundle and postpone". Simply put, he wanted to LOOK like he was making a big infrastructure investment without really putting up the money – all because of his political boast about balancing the books next year. So his infrastructure promise bundled 10 future years together and postponed most of the funding to the end of that decade – i.e., to many years down the road, well after the Harper government is long gone. The reality in the meantime is a big infrastructure cut. The Building Canada Fund will plunge from its existing level of about $1.7-billion per year, down to a meagre $210-million in 2014-15. It will stay at that reduced amount for 2015-16. That's a cut over the next two years of close to $3-billion. And it’s not projected to get back to its current annual value until after 2019. The attached graph makes this point very clearly. You can see the huge infrastructure hole Mr. Harper has created. And remember, everything to the right-hand side of that hole is not locked in. It’s just a "promise" – like Mr. Harper's other promises never to tax Income Trusts and never to cut Old Age Security and never to appoint Senators and never to let down our Veterans and never to run a deficit. Because of his multiple violations of the public's trust, close to two-thirds of Canadians say they simply don't believe Mr. Harper on anything anymore. The immediate slashing of infrastructure is only one of the problems facing municipalities. Another is the share of the meagre amount of money remaining that will actually be available for local government priorities, and how much will be gobbled up by national or provincial projects? Has some of it been pre-committed already? As well, with the 2014 construction season looming on the horizon, the federal government still has not settled the terms-and-conditions or the application process for Building Canada this coming year. No wonder municipalities are frustrated.
    Feb 06, 2014 5:49 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Right alongside a fictitious "Jobs Grant", the Harper Conservatives are equally duplicitous on Infrastructure. Here's how. http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/02/06/infrastructure-funding-yet-another-budget-scam/
    Feb 06, 2014 4:54 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    EMERGENCY DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT ABOUT THE MESS IN WESTERN GRAIN HANDLING & TRANSPORTATION: At the request of the Liberal Opposition, the House of Commons held an emergency debate Wednesday night about the failure of the western grain handling and transportation system to move anything more than an average crop. The Harper government produced no answers in response. No action plan. They had nothing to talk about but a five year study of system logistics which will provide no immediate relief. Rail car movements are months behind schedule -- right now. The problem has been evident since last fall. West coast terminals are under supplied. More than 50 ships are waiting. Demurrage costs are running at $15-20,000 per ship per day. Grain prices have dropped by up to 40%. But the Conservatives have nothing to recommend. They could amend the railway "level of service" legislation to make the definition of "service" far more explicit, and to provide farmers with the right to liquidated damages for railway failures. They could insist on adequate locomotive power, rolling stock and qualified personnel to increase throughput capacity. They could demand full transparency for the total volumes of grain booked to be shipped through west coast ports, the time frames for those shipments, and the numbers of marine vessels ordered to take delivery. They could provide some sensible, business-like coordination throughout the system to replace the current chaos. They could table a plan to maximize throughput through Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Churchill (especially while permafrost is frozen solid), and also south through US facilities if necessary. The Conservatives seem content to accept the hard reality that it will take most of next year to move the 2013 crop. That's a major betrayal of prairie farmers who were promised by the government that this sort of thing simply would not happen. Two years ago, we asked the government to establish a credible, independent, transparent system to monitor, measure and report publicly on all the consequences of the whirlwind of policy changes unleashed on the grains sector in western Canada in the past couple of years by the Harper government. They refused. You cannot manage what you refuse to measure. And the consequences have come home to roost. Yes, it was a good crop. Yes, it's been a cold couple of months. Yes, there's competition from oil and other commodities. But the government knew all this a long time ago, and just let the chaos happen. ###
    Feb 05, 2014 8:06 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HarperCons promise only "more of the same" in 2014 budget next week. An ominous threat! Check out today's Question Period: http://youtu.be/E2jnOTTzqdM
    Feb 05, 2014 12:02 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HarperCons budget last year famous for a fictional jobs grant, more government advertising, less for Veterans and higher taxes on the middle-class. In 2013 under HarperCons, Canada suffered our worst job creation since the 2008 recession + another drop in our economic growth rate.
    Feb 05, 2014 11:50 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau points out that Australia, New Zealand, Sweden + Norway are all projected to outgrow Canada this year.
    Feb 05, 2014 11:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau asks why the HarperCons have stripped Elections Canada of its investigative work. Investigations of elections fraud will now be disconnected from the evidence and expertise necessary to identify offences. Investigative work will no longer be through Elections Canada, which is responsible to Parliament - they'll only answer to the government.
    Feb 04, 2014 11:41 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    More thoughtful support from an eminent educator for Justin Trudeau's Senate reform measures http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/02/04/a-breakthrough-on-senate-reform/
    Feb 04, 2014 6:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    The appalling situation in Ukraine continues to worsen with reports this weekend of another brutal attack on a pro-democracy demonstrator. Here's an exchange from today's Question Period. Minister Baird continues to promise action, but nothing truly tangible is yet forthcoming. http://youtu.be/VhiGA-fqmQY
    Feb 03, 2014 12:24 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Outrage builds about Harper/Fantino abusive behaviour toward Veterans http://www.canada.com/news/Advocate+quits+Conservative+party+veterans+groups+prepare/9460534/story.html
    Feb 03, 2014 9:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    MAKE NO MISTAKE—FANTINO DOES HARPER'S BIDDING Last week was a busy one in federal politics. Parliament resumed after its Christmas recess. Justin Trudeau launched a major Senate reform initiative. The House held an emergency debate about Ukraine. A budget date was announced. The latest economic data reflected poorly on the Harper government. And Mr. Harper was again reminded of his ongoing ethics scandal, even while another scandal -- this one about spy agencies running-a-muck -- began to emerge. But the thing that left people slack-jawed was the outrageously disrespectful behaviour of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Julian Fantino. As a former police chief, you'd think Fantino would have some natural rapport with Armed Forces personnel. Instead, to be kind about it, he is acting like a jerk. There are close to 90,000 surviving vets from WW2 and another 9,500 from Korea. Average age, about 90. They're joined by thousands of younger veterans from various peacekeeping missions and the War in Afghanistan. They all share the distinction of having answered their country's call to put their lives on the line in dangerous places around the world. Upon returning home, some have made a successful transition to civilian life, but many have serious physical disabilities to cope with and a growing number are suffering psychological damage including PTSD. Eight suicides have been identified in just the last couple of months. Disregarding the obvious the moral obligation this country owes to its veterans and driven by Stephen Harper's manic obsession to slash budgets (no matter who gets hurt in the process), Fantino shows no compassion or even common courtesy as he goes about chopping federal services to veterans. Eight service centres across the country were shut down last Friday. Personal attention to the complex needs of retired military personnel will thus become increasingly remote and harder to access. That is what vets came to Ottawa from across the country last Tuesday to protest. They had a time and place confirmed to meet Fantino. But he stood them up. And then, as they were about to answer questions from news reporters, in blundered Fantino to insult them again -- this time right before the television cameras. He told the vets they didn't know what they were talking about. Embarrassed by toxic media coverage, Fantino read an obviously insincere "apology" the next day in the House of Commons. But the day after that, he was back on the attack, calling veterans "dupes". It was appalling. It's easy to dismiss Fantino as a miserable, insensitive incompetent, and demand his resignation. Indeed, he should be gone. But he's only a symptom of what's wrong with this government. Stephen Harper is the source of the controlling mentality. Fantino has no independence of thought or action. He's just doing what he's told. Diminished services. Closed help-centres. Reduced staff. Under-funded programs. More than 20,000 families of recently-deceased veterans denied support for dignified burials. A court battle for six long years as the government tried to claw-back veterans' pensions. A new court fight now in which the government says it owes veterans no special duty whatsoever. Soldiers tossed out of the Forces just before they can qualify for a pension. Seriously deficient resources to cope with mental health problems -- a situation so bad that even retired General Rick Hillier has called for a public inquiry. These are Stephen Harper's policies. Fantino and other Ministers are the stooges sent out to implement them. But Mr. Harper is the instigator. He's the budget-cutter. He must shoulder the responsibility and bear the shame.
    Feb 03, 2014 6:12 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's an important message about national unity from former Sask Premier Romanow http://o.canada.com/news/national/roy-romanow-ndp-50-plus-one/
    Feb 03, 2014 4:39 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    This graphic at 2014 SUMA Convention shows big hole in federal Infrastructure investment due to Harper budget cuts.
    Feb 02, 2014 3:48 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

January

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    MPlib
    Glad to see John Gormley in Regina's LeaderPost saying Justin Trudeau's Senate reforms are "worth a look"
    Jan 31, 2014 12:35 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Pleased to see thoughtful support for Justin Trudeau's Senate reforms coming from the Canada West Foundation in Calgary.
    Jan 31, 2014 10:35 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Had a great day in North Bay with Anthony Rota - DeMarco's, Mayor McDonald, City Bus Drivers, Nipissing University and Media. Talked with North Bay Mayor about municipal infrastructure needs and with bus drivers about my Private Bill C-533 on bus driver safety. Spoke and did a Q+A at Nipissing University about Democratic Reform - especially Justin Trudeau's xciting + innovative changes to the Senate.
    Jan 30, 2014 1:51 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    MR HARPER DEFENDS SENATE STATUS QUO: It was a remarkable spectacle in today's Question Period. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau laid out a specific plan to establish a transparent, non-partisan appointment process for future Senators, and acted immediately to remove partisanship and patronage from the existing Senate by removing all current Senators from the Liberal Party of Canada's National Caucus. They are now all independents. He called upon Stephen Harper to do the same for Conservative Senators -- to fundamentally change the Senate for the better without getting mired in an endless and acrimonious constitutional hassle. Mr. Harper refused. Eight years ago he promised never to appoint any Senators at all. But in fact he has appointed 59 - more than any other Prime Minister in history. And he has appointed two of them twice. By refusing to follow Mr. Trudeau's example, Mr. Harper is defending a partisan Senate, he is defending a patronage-based system, and he's defending his own political control over an institution that has become highly discredited. For many Canadians, the straw that broke the camel's back was the spectacle of political operatives in the Harper PMO attempting meddle in a forensic audit of Mike Duffy's expenses -- as described in sworn police documents. Such a process should not be under the thumb of any Prime Minister or Party Leader. That partisan connection must be severed. Without a pointless constitutional debate that's bound to fail, Justin Trudeau has laid out a way forward -- taking away partisanship, patronage and PMO manipulation. He has demonstrated courage, innovation and leadership. Mr. Harper, on the other hand, remains mired in the old politics, the very thing that has reduced the Senate to its current condition -- one that most Canadians find untenable. Trudeau for realistic and progressive change. Harper for the status quo. Which will Canadians choose? ###
    Jan 29, 2014 2:43 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    HarperCons cheer Senate status quo, because they know a Constitutional amendment is a formula for 10 years of fruitless acrimony. An independent, non-partisan, non-patronage Senate can be achieved quickly without getting trapped in a Constitutional hassle. Mr Harper emerges as the leading defender of "no change" in the Senate, so he can continue to manipulate that Chamber.
    Jan 29, 2014 11:56 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Justin Trudeau shows guts+innovation, accomplishing more real Senate Reform in one morning than Canadians have seen over the past 8 years
    Jan 29, 2014 11:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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Ralph Goodale

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