Thursday, 25 August 2011

Taking a break

Taking a break. I don't expect to start posting regularly again until the next election campaign starts up (although I may post from time to time if Harper does something particularly outrageous).

Some other Harper commentary:

Lawrence Martin, author of Harperland.

Jeffrey Simpson.

Commentary by Canadian economists: Economy Lab, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Lawrence Martin on Layton's death

Lawrence Martin: Layton’s death a devastating blow to the left.
Jack Layton was the left’s great hope. The great hope is gone and the timing for the country’s social democrats could hardly be worse.

For a country channelling swiftly in a Conservative direction, Mr. Layton’s was the one big voice on the other side that was heard, that was respected, that had the potential of slowing and maybe even reversing the tide.

Jack Layton was the little guy’s politician, a rock-hard champion of the underdog and social justice. He was to the New Democratic Party what Jean Chr├ętien, particularly in his earlier incarnation, was to the Liberal Party. The departure of Mr. Chr├ętien left the Liberals without an anchor, and the passing of Mr. Layton could well do the same to the NDP.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Jack Layton's last letter to Canadians

Jack Layton passed away yesterday, at 61. His final letter to Canadians:
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

... To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

... My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Doug Griffiths on Alberta's fiscal gap

From Alberta, Canada's richest province: Most Tory leadership hopefuls say taxes, royalties won't rise.
Of the six candidates - Doug Horner, Gary Mar, Rick Orman, Doug Griffiths, Alison Redford and Ted Morton - the majority believe their provincial government has a problem with its spending, not revenue generation.

Five of the six hopefuls say they won't adopt or aren't considering any sort of tax hike, with Griffiths the lone candidate to suggest a review of taxes and revenue may be needed.

He points to the glaring gap between the roughly $12 billion in corporate and personal income taxes raised and the $39 billion in annual spending - including $15 billion on health care alone.

The rest of the cash comes largely from non-renewable resource dollars, federal transfers, and liquor and gambling revenues.

"We don't pay for the services we get. We rely on royalties and then we wonder why we ride this roller-coaster? Maybe we should review the tax system and pay for what we get. That's all I'm saying. That's why it's part of that whole big fiscal discussion we need to have," Griffiths said in an interview.

Indeed, a report released in the spring from the 12-member Premier's Council for Economic Strategy, chaired by former federal Tory cabinet minister David Emerson, said Alberta must stop using royalty revenues to fund day-to-day operations.