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    MPlib
    MR. OLIVER SHOULD HAVE FOUGHT FOR SOMETHING BETTER One of the late Jim Flaherty's best features as Finance Minister was his willingness to push-back against Stephen Harper's excessive partisanship. Income Splitting was a case in point. Mr. Harper trotted it out as a hypothetical campaign promise during the 2011 election, to be honoured at some future date after the federal books had been balanced. Whether Mr. Flaherty disliked the idea from the beginning is hard to tell, but in his latter days in the Finance department he didn't mince words. He openly challenged Income Splitting as too costly and distinctly unfair because it would benefit "some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts of the Canadian population not at all." Mr. Flaherty pushed back. It is crucial for Finance Ministers to be able to do that. They are among the few who can speak truth to all-too-powerful Prime Ministers. Their authority in Finance can only be used sparingly, but when it's needed it should be exercised. In his final telling criticisms of Income Splitting, Mr. Flaherty opened the door to principled reconsideration. But as soon as he was gone, Stephen Harper slammed that door - right in Joe Oliver's face. And without a peep of protest from the new Minister. He is there, apparently, just to do Mr. Harper's bidding. Income Splitting will cost the federal treasury about $2-billion every year. That's a lot of money. The economy remains shaky. Revenues are uncertain, as tumbling oil prices amply demonstrate. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says a "tax expenditure" of this magnitude risks re-creating deficits. That's no doubt one of the things Jim Flaherty worried about. He would also know only too well that to make room for that $2-billion per year, he imposed hard budget cuts in such areas as services to returning soldiers and veterans, maritime search and rescue, forensic labs, immigration offices, trade offices, emergency preparedness, National Parks, the Census, employment insurance, social benefit appeals, environmental protection, Aboriginal education, public infrastructure ... and more. Mr. Flaherty would not want his "savings" to be squandered on a bad idea. Income Splitting will help fewer than 15% of Canadian households - more than 85% get left out. Single moms and dads, parents with similar incomes within the same tax bracket, those on low incomes, those without children or whose kids are at the expensive post-secondary level - get nothing from Income Splitting. And among those few who will benefit, the biggest winners are the most wealthy. That's what Jim Flaherty warned against, and it hasn't been fixed. Perhaps worst of all, Income Splitting misses the target entirely on Canada's most pressing economic problem and that's the lack of substantial, sustained economic growth. By the Conservatives' own figures, after the implementation of this misguided scheme, the Canadian economy will slow down. They are projecting a shrinking economic growth rate in each of the next five years. Surely it would be more effective and more prudent to invest now in the drivers of greater growth - like transformative public infrastructure, higher learning and skills, science and innovation - which would boost the economic prospects of all Canadians, while also reinforcing the fiscal integrity of all levels of government.
    Nov 17, 2014 5:36 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Congratulations to Regina's LeBoldus Golden Suns - Provincial High School Football Champions!
    Nov 16, 2014 5:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Big crowd at Resurrection Parish Christmas Bazaar + Bake Sale in Regina today - tis the Season!
    Nov 15, 2014 11:13 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Glad to participate in a very useful meeting yesterday about water issues on the prairies - clearly feeling the big loss of PFRA (1/2)
    Nov 15, 2014 10:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    BIG THANK YOU! We had a great nominating meeting in Regina-Wascana constituency last night. Over 200 people in a very buoyant mood. Lots of memberships and donations. Terrific speeches by national LPC President, Anna Gainey, and pundit, pollster, strategist David Herle. Over the past 21 years, we have won this riding seven consecutive times. I am honoured to have the opportunity to represent the Liberal Party in Wascana once again. Thank you. Ralph G.
    Nov 14, 2014 9:29 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    My thanks to Prairie Dog Mag and its readers in Regina - your vote of confidence is again much appreciated
    Nov 13, 2014 5:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Here’s the text of a radio broadcast I did today BEFORE the Harper Government’s Fiscal Update. All the criticisms remain only too true. CBC SCRIPT - THE NATION'S BUSINESS For November 12th, 2014 Hon. Ralph Goodale, PC, MP (Wascana) Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Good morning. "I bet almost everyone in this room knows at least one family with adult children living in the basement." That sobering observation came last week from Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz. In a large number of Canadian families (over 40%, in fact), their adult children have moved back home - or never left - because they haven't yet been able to get started on their own. And in a sluggish economy, their prospects are tough. Governor Poloz warned against statistics claiming job market improvements because those numbers typically don't capture "discouraged workers” who’ve just given up. The Conference Board of Canada reports that, for the first time in history, the upcoming generation of Canadians may not actually be able to do as well as their parents did. Middle class Canadians (and all those working so hard to join the middle class) have always had that expectation of progress from one generation to the next -- expanding career opportunities, growing incomes, upward mobility, a strong social safety net. But it can no longer be taken for granted. Canada needs a concerted plan for sustained and sustainable economic growth. That's what's missing today. And that's why Stephen Harper has the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett in the 1930s. Mr. Harper could have used this fall session of Parliament to present a strong jobs and growth agenda. But he did not. He’s focused solely on ineffectual "boutique" tax breaks for certain select beneficiaries. They will cost billions of dollars, but do nothing to stimulate more employment or make the economy stronger. For example, Mr. Harper’s “Employment Insurance Tax Credit” offers a bigger incentive to fire people than to hire them. It actually penalizes growth. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says it might help with a meagre 800 jobs over the next two years, but at the astronomical cost of $700,000 per job. Another example is Mr. Harper's Income Splitting scheme – which was challenged as too costly and unfair by none other than the late Jim Flaherty. He said, and I quote: "It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot, and other parts of the Canadian population not at all." 85% of households don't qualify. And for those who do, the biggest gains go to the wealthy. A couple raising a family on a single $45,000 income will get just $150 from Income Splitting -- that's the grand total of $40-cents a day. But those with a salary over $160,000 will get $2,000. That's what Jim Flaherty warned against. And it has not been fixed. Canadians would be further ahead with a vigorous plan for investments in community infrastructure and housing; post-secondary education, learning and skills; research and innovation; smart, clean, sustainable energy and resource development; and aggressive global branding and marketing to rebuild a consistent Canadian trade surplus. These are some elements of a better Growth Agenda for Canada, giving all Canadians a real and fair chance to succeed. And restoring that legitimate expectation of progress from one generation to the next. This is Ralph Goodale for the Liberal Party. Thank you for listening.
    Nov 12, 2014 12:28 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Another packed assembly - this one at College Park residence - paying solemn tribute on Remembrance Day in Regina
    Nov 11, 2014 12:54 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Cptn(R) Walter Martin CD (Afghn Vet) speaking at Regina's 2014 Remembrance Day service - the Brandt Centre is full to rafters!
    Nov 11, 2014 8:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The stands are full in the Brandt Centre for the Royal Canadian Legion's 2014 Remembrance Day service - great support from the RCMP
    Nov 11, 2014 8:05 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Cadets getting their last instructions before taking part in Regina's Remembrance Day ceremony at the Brandt Centre
    Nov 11, 2014 8:04 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    RCMP Pipes + Drums lining up for Remembrance Day parade at the Brandt Centre in Regina
    Nov 11, 2014 8:04 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Remembrance Day is one of Canada’s most important official occasions http://youtu.be/ufD6w20eu94
    Nov 11, 2014 8:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    That's Rick Mercer on the big screen - beamed into the "Giller Lite Bash" at Regina's Artesian. A full house celebrating the Gillers!
    Nov 10, 2014 7:32 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Royal United Services Institute Armistice Ball, Regina - 1st time this event is not held in the historic RUSI Bldg, now sadly demolished
    Nov 10, 2014 6:58 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Veteran Clint White speaks to a roomfull of seniors at "The Bentley" residence during a Remembrance Day service
    Nov 10, 2014 8:47 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    REMEMBRANCE DAY I consider November 11th to be one of the most important days of the year. It’s a day to remember all those who have served (and who are serving right now) in dangerous places around the world on behalf of Canada and the freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, diversity and pluralism, and the rule of law for which this country stands. We salute the skill and valour of all the Canadian Forces – women and men, past and present. We commend their triumphs. And we mourn those who died. We stand in awe of their sacrifice. 2014 marks a hundred years from the fateful beginnings of World War One. And 70 years from the defiant Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. We remember Korea, the Cold War, Suez and 50 years of peacekeeping. We remember the Balkans, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Libya and now Iraq. Most recently, here at home on our own soil, the tragic deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo are freshly seared into our memory. Whether it’s the losses from a century ago or just a few days ago - we WILL remember them. And we must do more. Beyond the powerful emotions of November 11th, to truly honour those who fought and those who died, we must fulfill the solemn covenant that a country makes with its fighting forces when they are sent into harm's way to defend our values and our way of life. They have stood ready to give their all. And when they come home, their country must “stand ready” for them, to meet their needs - socially, economically, physically and psychologically. Our sense of gratitude and generosity must not fail. We have much work yet to do to honour Canada's obligations to its Veterans. And we must keep the faith! Whether it's the Nazis in the 1940’s or terrorists in 2014, our foes have always had a common grim objective. They seek to undermine the way we live. They want to embed fear in our hearts and minds. They want us to be intimidated – to think differently about our surroundings and our fellow citizens, to forget who we are and what Canada stands for. We must never succumb to that fear. Yes, we can draw some big lessons from recent tragedies. We'll learn, and make effective adjustments. But we must not turn Parliament into a bunker or Canada into a police state. If we erode our rights and freedoms ... if we betray our values ... if we compromise on the way we want to live in this peaceful and welcoming democracy, then the bad guys win. We won’t let that happen. We must not and we will not give way on those very qualities of heart, mind and soul that make us different from our foes. Echoing from Flanders a century ago to the National War Memorial in Ottawa just this past October come the immortal words of John McCrae: “…if ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.” Rest easy, dear soldier. We shall keep Canadians safe. And we shall keep Canada, Canada! Lest we forget.
    Nov 10, 2014 5:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Remembrance Day is one of Canada’s most important official occasions http://youtu.be/ufD6w20eu94
    Nov 09, 2014 8:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    REGINA-WASCANA NOMINATING MEETING ... To select a Liberal candidate for the 2015 federal election: * Thursday, November 13th, 2014 * Shumiatcher Room, Conexus Arts Centre * Registration & Reception beginning at 6:30pm * Meeting at 7:00pm * Guest Speaker: National political strategist and public affairs commentator, DAVID HERLE If you are in the Regina area, please mark your calendars and plan to attend. No admission charge. Everyone welcome! This meeting is part of the national momentum, generated largely by Justin Trudeau, to elect a NEW and DIFFERENT and BETTER government for Canada. In that exciting endeavour, I'm proud to serve as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Many thanks to all those who have been so supportive and helpful through our past seven successful campaigns in Wascana. I look forward to continuing our work together. Sincerely Hon. RALPH GOODALE MP for Wascana CONTACT: RalphG@myaccess.ca
    Nov 08, 2014 8:59 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    It's a frosty night in Mosaic Stadium, but Sk Riders are widening their lead over Edm Eskimos - 23 to 4
    Nov 08, 2014 6:18 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Mosaic Corp honours terrific Rider Prez Jim Hopson at his last homegame as CEO of RiderNation - playoffs yet to come!!!
    Nov 08, 2014 4:04 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    92-year old Harold Hague, WW2 Navy Vet, is made Knight of the French Legion of Honour for helping in the Liberation of France
    Nov 07, 2014 2:12 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ecole St Andrew School Club de Souvenir lining up for photos with military dignitaries at their Remembrance Day ceremony
    Nov 07, 2014 10:27 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Some of the veterans honoured by the Lieut-Gov of Sk this am at Queen Victoria Estates in Regina
    Nov 07, 2014 9:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Proud to be with Sask Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon-Schofield at Queen Victoria Estates for the presentation of Military Service Pins
    Nov 07, 2014 8:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Carolynne Kobelsky + her "Club de Souvenir" at École St Andrew school host another terrific Remembrance service today
    Nov 07, 2014 8:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Another affirmation of Justin Trudeau's assertion that the vast majority of Canadians get nothing from Income Splitting... https://ca.news.yahoo.com/baloney-meter-does-income-splitting-plan-only-benefit-123008661.html
    Nov 07, 2014 6:07 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Harper government tax fictions persist. Their $2 billion income splitting scheme helps only 15% of Canadian households, mostly to the wealthy. Conservatives ignore the reality that a couple raising family on a single $45,000 income will get just 40-cents/day from Income Splitting. And here's the unfairness - a family with a single salary of $160,000 + higher (like MPs) will get a tax break of $2,000.
    Nov 06, 2014 11:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Harper government is funding its Income Splitting scheme for 15% of households by cancelling Tax Credits that were available to all. Their tax policy gives families with one single higher income 3 times the benefit that families with two lower incomes get.
    Nov 05, 2014 12:15 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Nov 04, 2014 4:06 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    THIS IS YOUR INVITATION! PLEASE GET INVOLVED! I hope you will join me at a Nominating Meeting next week to select the Liberal Candidate to run in Regina-Wascana Constituency in the next federal election. * On Thursday, November 13th, 2014 * In the Shumiatcher Room of the Conexus Arts Centre * Registration and reception at 6:30pm * Meeting starts at 7:00pm * Guest Speaker: Leading Canadian pollster and strategist DAVID HERLE who appears every week on the "Insiders" panel on The National on CBC television. Everyone is welcome. Please mark you calendar and plan to attend. It has been my great honour to represent Wascana in the House of Commons for nearly 22 years - through seven consecutive election victories. I would be grateful for your help and support in the campaign coming next year. The meeting on November 13th will get us started. Please let me know you're coming by sending a quick email to: RalphG@myaccess.ca Yours sincerely, HON RALPH GOODALE MP - WASCANA DEPUTY LEADER LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA
    Nov 04, 2014 10:32 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The Harper Govt in full denial about the late Jim Flaherty's candid concerns over the expense + unfairness of Income Splitting...
    Nov 03, 2014 12:20 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Canadian House of Commons, French President Hollande praises Canadian veterans who helped liberate France in WW2. To honour them, Hollande has appointed a number of Cdn WW2 vets as Knights of the French Legion of Honour. Regina's Harold Hague is one of those distinguished veterans who has been so recognized by the French Republic.
    Nov 03, 2014 8:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A REALITY CHECK ON MR. HARPER'S BOASTS ABOUT TAX CUTS Stephen Harper likes to portray himself as a great tax cutter. But before Canadians swallow that line, it's instructive to check the record. As a brand new Prime Minister in the spring of 2006, what was Mr. Harper's first tax policy decision? His Liberal predecessors had just handed him a strong and growing economy, a decade of balanced budgets and a $13-billion annual surplus. So what was his first move? Far from cutting taxes, he raised them. He hiked personal income taxes by retroactively cancelling a series of tax rate reductions put in place by the previous Liberal administration. A few months later - on Hallowe'en of 2006 - Mr. Harper spooked investment markets by imposing a toxic new Conservative tax on Income Trusts at 31.5%. He had promised never to do that, but he did it anyway. And in the process he instantly destroyed about $25-billion in the accumulated savings of some 2-million Canadians. Then after the 2008/09 recession, Mr. Harper increased the overall tax burden on Canadians, year after year, through four consecutive budgets. Among other things, he imposed higher tariff taxes on a vast array of consumer goods, escalating the cost of everything from wigs for cancer patients to children's tricycles. He extracted more taxes from credit unions and small business owners. And he raked in more than $5-billion in extra revenue from employees and employers through higher Employment Insurance payroll taxes. Still Mr Harper boasted in his 2014 budget that his collection of "boutique" tax credits and benefits had the effect of lowering the federal tax burden on the "average" Canadian family by about $3500. But that all depends on your definition of "average". You can certainly concoct an illustration that would fit the Conservative mould - a family 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 Canadian families, indeed for 70% of them, this is simply not their reality. The same is true for the "Income Splitting" announcement Mr. Harper made last Thursday. He called it a "family tax cut", but fewer than 15% of Canadian households can qualify. Single moms and dads get nothing. Spouses with similar earnings (ie, within the same tax bracket) get nothing. Families on low incomes get nothing. But income splitting will cost the federal treasury a whopping $2-billion every year. It's for reasons like these that the late Jim Flaherty openly challenged the wisdom of this scheme as too costly and unfair. "I'm not sure that overall it benefits our society," he said. "It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts of the Canadian population virtually not at all." His concerns were echoed and amplified by the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Fraser Institute, the Broadbent Institute, the 3-D Policy group, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Caledon Institute, and many others. In making decisions about tax cuts, a fiscally and socially responsible government would always ensure that any proposed cut is affordable and sustainable, fair to other citizens and taxpayers, and consistent with the government's obligations for such other priorities as the Canadian Armed Forces, mental health care for returned soldiers, the needs of veterans, funding for the RCMP and our security services, and the investments required in infrastructure, higher education, research and innovation to drive greater growth and prosperity. What's lacking in Mr. Harper's tax plan is good judgment.
    Nov 03, 2014 6:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Jellied salads at prairie fall suppers are terrific! Missing great ones at Vibank + at St Martin's in Regina tonight - on a flight to Ottawa.
    Nov 02, 2014 5:35 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Sk) can be very proud of today's awards ceremony - 11 very deserving honorees. Congrats to all.
    Nov 02, 2014 1:16 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Proud to join with Ukrainian Canadian Congress to honour my friend, the late Ed Lysyk, with 2014 "Nation Builders" award!
    Nov 02, 2014 12:42 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Big crowd in Regina today for "Nations Builders+Community Recognition Awards" hosted by Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Sask Council)
    Nov 02, 2014 11:29 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    All our hopes and best wishes are with Lisa Raitt for a speedy and complete recovery
    Nov 02, 2014 9:28 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Spookiness continues beyond Hallowe'en - daylight savings ends Sunday at 2:00am! Turn clocks back 1-hour -- except in solid Saskatchewan!
    Nov 01, 2014 5:05 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    First call for All Saints Anglican Church Fowl Supper - two sittings, both sold out, great food.
    Nov 01, 2014 3:49 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Canada's thoughts + prayers today are with the family, friends + comrades of the late Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. RIP
    Nov 01, 2014 6:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

October

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    Some impacts of Mr Harper's costly and unfair tax breaks...
    Oct 31, 2014 9:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A "CAP" DOESN'T HIDE THE UNFAIRNESS Within hours of the federal budget last spring, then-Finance Minister, the late Jim Flaherty, caused a flap in his own Conservative Caucus by openly criticizing Stephen Harper's favourite proposed tax break. For more than four years, Mr. Harper has been promoting a form of "income splitting" whereby a higher-income taxpayer could assign a portion of his/her earnings (up to $50,000) to his/her spouse to be taxed at the spouse's lower rate. Mr. Flaherty was concerned that such a policy would be expensive and quite unfair to the vast majority of Canadians. He was right. His concerns were echoed and amplified by the independent analyses of the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Fraser Institute, the Broadbent Institute, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the 3-D Policy group, the Caledon Institute, and many others. Mr. Harper has announced some policy tweaks to his plan (including a "cap" on the largest benefits going to the very wealthiest Canadians), but Mr. Flaherty's criticisms remain valid. The proposed income splitting scheme will cost the federal treasury some $2-billion annually, providing benefits to fewer than 15% of Canadian households - 85% are left out. Single moms and single dads get nothing. Spouses with similar incomes (within the same tax bracket) get nothing. Families without children under the age of 18 get nothing. The most needy and lowest income families get nothing. Through this plan, Mr. Harper is also continuing his practice of convoluting the tax code with boutique measures which narrowly reflect conservative social engineering. You have to wedge yourself into a conservative social policy pigeon-hole in order to qualify, but Mr. Harper's mould doesn't fit the reality of most Canadians' lives. And with every new measure, the tax code gets more complex and incomprehensible, making broad-based personal income tax rate reductions more and more unlikely. And that does nothing for Canadian competitiveness or economic growth.
    Oct 30, 2014 2:55 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program organized an inter-faith Prayer for Peace at the Eternal Flame on Parliament Hill this morning
    Oct 30, 2014 8:32 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    BUS DRIVERS Among a long list of votes tonight, the House of Commons has voted unanimously for Senate Bill S-221, an Act to provide better Criminal Code protection for bus drivers and other public transportation employees. While not perfect, this Bill represent a step forward in recognizing the vulnerable situation of public transportation employees and the important services they provide to the travelling public. Glad to support it.
    Oct 29, 2014 4:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau points out that effective Parliamentary and civilian oversight of security ops is crucial. He says effective oversight of Security operations is NOT ONLY about ensuring Canadian values and freedoms are safeguarded; it is also about ensuring our security agencies are doing everything possible to keep Canadians safe.
    Oct 29, 2014 11:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period, the government repeatedly declines to acknowledge that RCMP + CSIS are currently funded insufficiently. But RCMP Commissioner Paulsen says he had to shift 300 officers into National Security from organized crime and financial crime. And a CSIS rep said: "It would be foolhardy to say we have all the bases covered. We do what we can with the budget we have."
    Oct 28, 2014 11:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The military funeral begins in Hamilton - All of Canada pays tribute - Rest-in-Peace Corporal Nathan Cirillo
    Oct 28, 2014 8:57 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Chief of Defense Staff, General Tom Lawson, just outside the Cathedral in Hamilton awaiting Cpl Cirillo's funeral cortege
    Oct 28, 2014 8:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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