Saturday, October 25, 2008
We have come to a full circle.
Despite all the human intelligence at our disposal and coupled with all the state of the art technology we have failed to build a sustainable, peaceful, healthy and prosper society for ourselves and for our future generation.
The calamities of the past year, reminds me of Ayn Rand's masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. Society fails due to ever increasing influence of state in market. One may notice, that the calamity that we are experiencing are due to the complete opposite reason --lack of governance.
In a panel discussion organized by Columbia University Earth Science Institute, (http://www.earth.columbia.edu/worldeconomy/), George Soros, Financier and Philanthropist, described systems imperfect he then added that human beings are imperfect as well.
In the past few months, all of us, more or less, have followed politics (more than ever, I would say) despite the fact that over the years our hope in them has diminished. (Case in point: less than 59% of Canadians voted in the past election.) We have seen governments that are inefficient, self-serving, bureaucratic --simply put-- good for nothing.
Therefore, it is in the hand of you and I; simple, ordinary, hard working citizens, to build a sustainable present and prosper future in our communities. Although, we may be imperfect, but we have witnessed enough mistakes to know right from wrong, I believe.
Monday, October 13, 2008
A list of key promises in the 2008 federal election campaign
Mon Oct 13, 5:48 PM
By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - Key promises in the federal election campaign, with projected costs where applicable and available:
- -Two-cent-a-litre cut in taxes on diesel and aviation fuel over four years. $600 million a year once fully implemented.
- -Reinstate veterans' benefits for Second World War veterans who have lived in Canada for more than 10 years; $9 million a year.
- -A near-complete withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan in 2011.
- -Allow 49 per cent foreign ownership of airlines and foreign ownership of uranium mines.
- -Maternity, parental leave benefits for entrepreneurs who pay into EI. $150 million annually, financed by EI premiums.
- -Tax credit for first-time homebuyers to claim up to $5,000 in closing costs for a rebate of up to $750. $200 million a year, fully implemented.
- -Ban kid-friendly flavours and additives from tobacco products and require cigarillos to be sold in packages of at least 20. No cost provided.
- -Increase the Senior Age Credit by $1,000, saving those in the lowest tax-paying income bracket about $150 a year. $400 million a year.
- -$85 million in tax breaks for families where one spouse forgoes full-time work to care for a disabled family member.
- -Introduce maximum life sentences for offenders as young as 14 convicted of first-or second-degree murder; maximum 14-year sentences for youths who commit violent crimes.
- -Teens over 14 who commit serious crimes would no longer have their identities protected.
- -End conditional sentencing, also known as house arrest, for 30 serious crimes, including robbery, theft, and arson.
- -$113 million over five years to crack down on environmental crime, including maximum penalties of $6 million for companies and $1 million for individuals.
- -A consumer protection package including an Internet anti-spam law, a ban on charging for unsolicited text messages and a crackdown on gas-pump tampering. No cost provided.
- -Prohibit the export of bitumen to countries without carbon-emission targets equivalent to Canada's.
- -$24 million to foster development of international cruise destinations along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
- -New tax credit for parents of children under 16 enrolled in eligible arts programs; $150 million a year.
- -Let charities and not-for-profit groups set up RESPs for kids from low-income families.
- -$2,000 incentives for apprentices who complete eligible training programs to ease shortage of workers in skilled trades. $60 million a year.
- -$400 million more over four years for the repayable Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative and Automotive Innovation funds.
- -Abolish industrial tariffs on imported machinery and equipment. $345 million.
- - $10 million over four years for 50 new teaching-hospital residencies.
- -$5-million incentive fund to attract Canadian doctors working abroad.
- -$5 million over three years for pilot projects to recruit and retain nurses.
- -$15 million over four years for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, plus $10 million over two years for the National Lung Health Network.
- -$50 million for the University of Waterloo's Institute of Quantum Computing, for research and teaching in quantum information.
- -$500 million over five years to expand broadband Internet access across Canada.
- -A Guaranteed Livable Income supplement for the poor. No cost provided.
- -A new carbon tax of $50 per tonne and new taxes on toxic chemicals.
- -Forgive 50 per cent of student loans for successful graduates. No cost provided.
- -More money and research grants for post-secondary institutions that focus on renewable energy and conservation. No cost provided.
- - Shift consumption taxes to environmentally harmful products and services and away from income and products, activities that do no harm. No cost provided.
- -Cut corporate tax by $50 for each tonne of carbon-emission reductions. No cost provided.
- -Increase GST to six per cent to finance infrastructure improvements, with expanded exemptions on food, children's clothing and books. No cost provided.
- -"Green Shift" carbon tax on fossil fuels, offset by income and business tax cuts. Income tax cuts of up to 10 per cent. Cut the small business tax rate to 10 per cent from 11 per cent. Lower the corporate tax rate to 14 per cent by 2013. Overall, $90 million in lost revenue for the treasury over four years.
- -$70 billion over 10 years for municipal infrastructure.
- -$1.2 billion over four years to help farmers adjust to green technologies.
- -Restore the $3-billion contingency fund abandoned by the Conservatives.
- -Create $1-billion Advanced Manufacturing Prosperity Fund to help manufacturers retain and create jobs.
- -Add $350 to existing $1,200-a-year child-care allowance. Create a new supplement for the poorest families with children, worth $1,225 a year per family.
- -National daycare program with 165,000 spaces. $1.25 billion a year, fully implemented.
- -End military mission in Afghanistan in 2011.
- -Restore the Court Challenges Program and double budget to $6 million a year.
- -$50 million to upgrade Canada's food safety system.
- -$10,000 per household in refundable tax benefits for energy-saving home retrofits. $600 million.
- -More robust energy efficiency standards for building codes and home appliances.
- -$250 million over four years to curb the spread of the mountain pine beetle.
- -$250 million to modernize and "green" fishing vessels and protect fish stocks in Canadian and international waters.
- -$100 million to improve Canada's small-craft harbours.
- -$420 million over four years to help increase the number of doctors, nurses and medical technicians across Canada.
- -$900 million over four years to create a new plan for catastrophic drug coverage.
- -$500 million more a year for university-based research and a $100-million research fund for scientists, researchers and grad students.
- -A poverty plan to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by at least 30 per cent and the number of children by at least 50 per cent.
- -Reverse the immigration measures brought in by the Conservatives and spend $800 million to help new Canadians and reduce the immigration backlog.
- -Bring back the Kelowna Accord and work with aboriginal peoples, provinces and territories to improve native health, education and housing. $2 billion.
- -Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors by $600 a year for low-income seniors.
- -200,000 student bursaries of up to $3,500 per year over four years, and guaranteed eligibility for $5,000 student loans, regardless of parental income.
- -Simplify the tax system for post-secondary students, providing most students about $1,000 a year.
- -Restore cuts made by the Conservatives to arts and culture funding and double the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts.
- -$75 million to bolster security at ethno-cultural centres and places of worship across Canada.
- -Restore $6 million in funding for Quebec's National Optics Institute.
- -A summit meeting on the economy with economists, regulators and premiers within 30 days of forming a government.
- -Finish mapping the Arctic seabed by 2013 and re-instate an ambassador for the North, to strengthen northern sovereignty. No cost estimate available.
- -A moratorium on expansion of Alberta's tarsands; require oil companies to reclaim land strip-mined for petroleum production. No cost provided.
- -$8.2 billion over four years to create, protect and foster growth of "green-collar" jobs and manufacturing.
- -A "cap-and-trade" system to create incentives for big business to reduce their emissions. No cost provided.
- -Slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. No cost provided.
- -A price-monitoring agency to investigate price spikes and consult with provinces about regulations. No cost provided.
- -Cap credit-card interest rates at five per cent over prime.
- -Outlaw automated banking machine fees, saving consumers at least $104 per year.
- -$120 million a year in additional funding for women's groups.
- -$1,000-a-year grant to all undergraduate or equivalent students who qualify for student loans.
- -$1 billion over five years to expand medical and nursing schools, increasing the number of student spaces by 50 per cent.
- -$125 million a year to forgive student loans for medical-school grads who spend 10 years as family physicians.
- -$100 million for skills training and job creation.
- -Comprehensive review of Canadian banking regulations. No cost provided.
- -Income averaging for artists and a $20,000 annual tax break on income generated by copyright and residual revenue. No cost provided.
- -Scrap Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement within six months of forming government.
- -A new Ministry of Consumer Protection to investigate and prosecute gas-pump gouging and collusion. No cost provided.
- -$1 billion a year on a new catastrophic drug plan.
- -Reverse corporate tax cuts, raising rate to 22.12 per cent from 19.5.
- -Monthly cheques of up to $400 to replace existing child benefits, including the Conservative payment of $100 a month per eligible child. No cost provided.
- -$5 billion over five years to improve health care, housing and infrastructure for First Nations communities.
- -$1-billion national home-care program for seniors.
- -A national child-care program calling for 220,000 spaces annually in the fourth year. $1.4 billion in the first year.
- -Raise $2.5 billion a year in carbon auctions and reinvest the money in public transit and other green initiatives.
- -Re-introduce a national minimum wage and immediately set it to $10 an hour.
- -Direct one cent per litre of federal excise tax on gasoline into public transit; $400 million a year.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Work boots are piled up yesterday in front of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s campaign office in his riding of Whitby-Oshawa.
Hundreds of Canadian Auto Worker union members gathered to present Flaherty with work boots collected from laid-off workers from across the province.