Liberal Majority Government! Stephen Harper Resigns. I Hope the Tax Increase Was Worth It!


Well, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada are forming the next government of Canada – a Majority government, no less.

I cannot help but feel deep down inside that there was so much hatred directed at the Prime Minister and that people voted to remove him from office and chose the Liberals over the NDP to do so.

Unfortunately, the electing of the Liberal Party also brings with massive debt and after the spending spree the Liberals intend to go on, the deficit is going to increase at a rapid rate, and as we all know, the Liberals need money to pay for their promises and that money comes from you and I, the taxpayers of Canada.

UGH.

I hope the desire to remove Harper is worth the headaches we’ll be suffering with Justin in command, and I’m not just talking about their out-of-control spending.

Here are some great Justin oops which hopefully will not be occurring as leader of the country;

Unlike Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne who has made MANY mistakes but covered them up with flat denial, avoidance and threats of lawsuits, Justin Trudeau has not appeared to understand the importance of thinking before he speaks.

During the controversy surrounding Bill C-51 – a bill where by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), and 17 other government agencies are granted the authority to combat threats to Canada’s national security, preferably without infringing on Canadians’ Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Liberal leader who voted for the Bill, has now admitted that his support for the Conservatives Bill might have been a mistake…

During the Maclean’s Magazine leaders debate, Trudeau responded to the conversation around the Liberals’ support of C-51, with these four words: “Perhaps it was naive.”

Here is how he voted on the Bill;

https://openmedia.ca/blog/whos-our-side-heres-how-your-mps-voted-bill-c-51

To give Trudeau the benefit of doubt, it was a tough decision to make, I’m sure. I heard him stumble and bumble over the easy questions about which shampoo he uses and which Avenger was his favourite, so maybe this way just a difficult question for him to answer.

He does like to go (vote) with the crowd… He knows legalizing pot is popular with the kiddies.  Personally, I believe pot should be legalized and taxed because the government can use the revenue to counter the health care costs associated with medical issues stemming from drug use.  Heck, they should legalize it and then increase EI funding and the length of time EI benefits are in effect to accommodate all the happy people…

He knows taxing the “rich” or the “1%” is popular with the other 99% of Canadians, and he knows that increasing spending to get stuff done is super-popular.  What he will soon realize is that whatever tax increase he throws towards the “1%” is not going to be enough to offset their massive spending increase which is coming down the pipe.

Oh, and the 1%… Who are these awful rich people who get all the tax breaks according to Trudeau?!? In Canada the highest Federal tax paid is 29% for those making over $138K per year. Add that to the provincial rate, and in Ontario, for example, someone making over $138K can pay over 42% of their income in tax. (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html). Are these the people he will be targeting? Or, is Justin going after the REALLY rich people who based on very basic mathematics make the most money, but also pay the most back in taxes!

Trudeau hates small businesses, and this should become very evident in the Liberals first budget.  Trudeau believes small business owners create businesses as a vehicle to hide their massive incomes.  Doesn’t every 1%’er want to have to deal with the Canada Revenue Agency on a daily basis, be responsible for the income of their employees and paying taxes to keep the economy ticking so the Liberals can come in to power, increase taxes and call them frauds… Don’t think so.  I predict he’ll stop the small business tax decrease that the Conservatives brought in.  Even though the Liberals and the NDP have agreed to keep it, if elected, it’s a certain no go in my opinion.

I believe in discussing facts, so I went to the Liberal Party of Canada’s website, to the link for “My platform”, to make sure I presented his promises in a fair and reasonable manner. Unfortunately, because I was unwilling to click that I would be / or might be voting for Justin, I was not able to get in to the secret Liberals playground. Instead, I had the option to use a search option to add what I want from the Liberal Party.

I entered this; “Fiscal responsibility, Responsible spending, Respectful spending, Respect for Taxpayers money, Lower taxes, Do not raise taxes, accountability for words and actions.”

The search engine was not able to find a match for any of these items in the Liberal’s platform!

Oh my.

Deep down inside, I feel that the Liberals and their leader know that only in Ontario will citizens tolerate out of control spending and corruption by continuously voting in the same government which increased taxes, delisted services and has caused absolute chaos with teachers and soon doctors.

I believe there really is a left-wing media bias in Canada and sadly, I even predict that in their first (or second budget) the Liberals will even restore funding to the CBC, but not extend any funding to any other media outlets, especially to any who do not share their rosey view of the world.

When Trudeau said, “The budget will balance itself”, he believed it.

He also has very poor judgement. He accepted Conservative hand-off Eve Adams, who was being dropped by the Conservative party, and who then lost her nomination bid to Marco Mendicino. Where were the questions surrounding his judgement as has happened to Stephen Harper regarding his appointment of Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin to the Senate.

Trudeau also publicly mistook Russia’s opposition leader Boris Nemtsov (who was shot dead in Russia) with former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov (whom he had met with), in a press release.

Or when he called a Conservative member a “Piece of Shit”, then went on a potty mouthed tirade where you can see that he actually enjoyed it without thinking for a moment about the implications down the road (http://operationmaple.ca/laugh-out-loud/justin-trudeau-swears-house-of-commons.html)

So much like his Dad…

Or, when being interviewed on Les francs-tireurs, Trudeau said, “Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda.”

He also said Canada would be better served if there were more Quebecers than Albertans in charge.

Trudeau did apologize, and then tried to explain away his thoughtlessness by saying he didn’t hate Albertans but that his comments were directed the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who rose to power as an MP from Calgary, which he really thinks makes it all okay…

But he doesn’t just hate Alberta… He hates all of Canada, except Quebec. As a MP, Trudeau told Radio Canada; “I always say, if there came a point where I thought Canada really was Stephen Harper’s Canada … maybe I’d consider making Quebec a country. Oh yes. Absolutely. I know my values very well even if I no longer recognized Canada.”

(http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/14/trudeau-says-hell-help-quebec-separate-if-harper-gets-his-way)

There is even a story – recently removed from the Internet – where Justin Trudeau declared that if aliens came from outer space, they would have the same rights as human beings, and would be granted Canadian citizenship…

Now I’m sure that the puppeteers pulling the strings of Trudeau are in full spin control, teaching Justin how to correct his oops and explain that clearly each and every comment has been taken out of context or manipulated by the evil Right-Wing media in Canada – wait, we don’t have that option so much anymore – then it must be Stephen Harper’s fault for forcing Justin to speak this way.

He’s young… ish.

He’s hip… ish.

He’s trying to keep up with the success of Ben Mulroney, but he’s just going to promise himself into a corner and ask every Canadian to Ben Dover.

On October 19th the Canadian public have made a choice, and I have a few words for voters in Canada… Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware!

I hope PM Trudeau v2.0 doesn’t embarrass the country, because after all the selfies have been taken, he still has to do the right thing.  Having former PM Stephane Dion as his Minister of Foreign Affairs is laughable and quite frankly frightening…

Time will tell.  Wait until his first budget and we’ll see how these predictions stand up!

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Provincial Election Primer 2014: St. Paul’s. Undecided? Read this! (updated)


The provincial election is coming up fast – On June 12th, 2014 and Ontarians have a very tough decision on their hands. Stuck with 3 underwhelming candidates for Premier of Ontario, the field would appear to be wide open as to who will win and whether the government will be a majority or a minority.

Expect another coalition government, propped up by the NDP again, but expect this time that PC leader Tim Hudak (if he’s still there and not replaced by Doug Ford) will actually force the Liberal government to add some Conservative goodies into the budget as Premier Kathleen Wynne did for the NDP every time.

But I wanted to take a look at the riding I live in, St. Paul’s, an affluent Toronto riding almost completely residential and includes both the mansions of Forest Hill and the multicultural neighbourhoods that straddle St. Clair Avenue west of Bathurst Street.

Thank you to the CBC for all of this data below;

The population in this riding from the 2006 census is 111,131, down 1.2% since the previous census taken in 2001.  Politically, Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins has held this seat since beating PC Sue Ann Levy in a by-election in 2009 by 5,330 votes.  The seat had previously been Liberal, held by Michael Bryant since 1999.  Bryant relinquished his seat in May 2009 to lead Invest Toronto.  Bryant quit Invest Toronto after being charged in the death of bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard in downtown Toronto (the courier you may recall grabbed a hold of Bryant’s car and was threatening him when Bryant sped away and Sheppard flew off his bike on the street where he died).

You could say this riding is somewhat of a Liberal strong hold, which is interesting considering this riding contains the second largest amount of wealth in all of Canada, and typically wealth = Conservative, and that south of St. Clair is very left-wing.  For this reason I am constantly amazed that there is no strong Conservative candidate in the area campaigning for the removal of Hoskins.

Take the last provincial election from 2011.  Dr. Hoskins easily won after garnering 25,052 votes, or 58.41% of the vote.  Second was PC Christine McGirr with only 8,971 votes, or 20.92%.  The NDP candidate David Hynes came in right behind McGirr with 7,121 votes, or 16.60% of the vote, and votes were given to the Green Party candidate, Judith Van Veldhuysen (1,172, 2.73%), the Libertarian candidate John Kittredge (332 votes, 0.77%), the Family Party candidate Mike Rita (88 votes, 0.21%) and these two parties;  SPO Keith Pinto (83 votes, 0.19%)
and NOH David Vallance (73 votes,  0.17%).

A Liberal landslide, and having just moved into the riding, I did not see or hear from or of McGirr at any point in the campaign, but did receive tons pricy, glossy flyers from Hoskins.  The same held true this year – more on that later.

Let’s take a closer look at the riding’s demographics, and compare the rate in the riding to the provincial average and the average in Canada.  Of note will be the extremely low unemployment, the above average number of seniors but what should really jump out at you is the average annual household income figure and the percentage of people in this riding with a post-secondary degree.  It’s outstanding and a really good reminder for kids to stay in school!

From 2006 census:

Unemployment Rate:

St. Paul’s 6.2%
Ontario 6.4%
Canada 6.6%

Seniors:

St. Paul’s 15.67%
Ontario 13.56%
Canada 13.71%

Home Owners:

St. Paul’s 20.11%
Ontario 26.61%
Canada 26.92%

Average Family Income:

St. Paul’s $166,814
Ontario $90,526
Canada $82,325

Post-Secondary Degrees:

St. Paul’s 48.41%
Ontario 33.54%
Canada 33.35%

This riding is pre-dominantly Jewish, followed by Philippino, then Caribbean, and Native Canadian.

 

The 2014 Candidates

Conservative Justine Deluce
Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins
NDP Luke Savage
Green Josh Rachlis
Libertarian John Kittredge
Freedom Party of Ontario Mike Rita

So let’s take a closer look at the candidates:

Deluce, being the newcomer and with very little literature on the street and no buzz, she is the candidate people will vote for if they do not vote for Hoskins, so she is playing the come and find me game.  So I did.

Justine Deluce is bilingual, and is / was, the COO at Chestnut Park Real Estate, so she understands the challenges of running a business in a competitive environment, and she also must be perfectly aware of some key concerns for Ontarians – and the folks in St. Paul’s – of creating and maintaining jobs, and keeping the economy rolling.  If the “bubble” ever bursts, it’s the owners of these $2 million – $10 – million dollar homes who will need to create new businesses, downsize their homes and keep employing quality people and keeping the economy driving, so knowing this, Justine takes aim at pointless red tape which act as barriers to progress. 

Justine believes in fiscal responsibility, transparency and being accountable for the management of taxpayer dollars.  SCORE!
Being in real estate, Justine already has the proven experience of working in an industry where success is synonymous with trust, accountability and knowledge.  SCORE!
Fittingly, Justine served at Queen’s Park as a senior policy advisor for several Ministers in the Health and Long-Term Care and Citizenship, Culture and Recreation portfolios.  If you recall the demographics in the St. Paul’s riding, these were all key concerns among the community.Justine has volunteered and raised funds for a number of not-for-profit organizations in her community including, Project Sunshine, Home Horizon, the Royal Ontario Museum, The Power Plant Gallery and the True Patriot Love Foundation.  She has a particular interest in the issues of mental health, addictions and related research.Justine has a BA in French from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. She also earned her Private Pilot’s Licence at an early age. She has lived in Toronto since 1987.
The current MPP is Dr. Eric Hoskins, and honestly, after living in the riding for 4-years and being as politically active as I am, I have yet to see Dr. Hoskins, except come election time.  I find his pamphlets to be self-promoting and rightly, he shy’s away from Kathleen Wynne  as much as possible.  The current, and 4th flyer received at my house is a letter-sized 4-page glossy with a full-size picture of the Doctor.  Without even having to open this, I can tell you what I will see inside;
Dr. Hoskins is a great guy.  He’s helped poor people overseas, he is involved in helping the poor and impoverished and he will have pictures of himself at events representing each and every demographic in our community.  There will be a picture of him at a synagogue, probably with Jewish men wearing kippot (because it’s the best way to distinguish these men from any other male, right?), and with a Philippino female, with a Jamaican man, and with seniors (usually women), children (all smiling of course) and with his family and probably one with Premier Wynne.  It’s his thing.  He’s a candidate for everyone!
But what has he accomplished in this community?  What has the last 3-years brought us, which would entice us to put an “x” by his name again?
I cannot think of anything, but according to his flyer he AND Premier Wynne have added nearly 500,000 net new jobs in Ontario.  Okay, but this riding has an unemployment rate at 2%, meaning this is just a statistic and otherwise unimportant.
Invested $295 million in a Youth Jobs Plan which has created over 11,000 jobs for the 2% unemployed in his riding where almost half of the people have a post-secondary degree and according to Statistics Canada live in a family with an average household income of almost $170,000.
Invested $15 billion in transit including the Eglinton LRT, which is an utter disaster just north of the St. Clair disaster which he watch unfold.  If Dr. Hoskins were to knock on doors and ask the community in HIS riding he would find out that people in HIS riding are fed up with the planning behind, the construction underway and the lack on direction given to the LRT – set to open in 2020, by the way – and are fed up with not being able to use their roads or leave their driveways without having to wait in a line-up of cars for 15 minutes.
Standing up for tenants and protecting their right to affordable rent in a riding where houses start at $1 million dollars, if they want to rent in this riding, they don’t need your “support”.
Standing up for seniors, and low-income residents by raising the minimum wage even though studies have shown that every cent increase in the minimum wage places small businesses in financial distress as already high property taxes, low community support and increasing costs across the board result in streets in his riding like Eglinton and St. Clair to be devoid of businesses which do not have the words “MASSAGE” glowing in neon come nightfall.  I guess it’s easier to buy a vote by offering more money to those in the community with the least.
Dr. Hoskins protects our environment in the riding of St. Paul’s because earlier this year the Liberal party put policies in place to end the use of coal to generate electricity.  So now every $10 million dollar house on the other side of Bathurst Street – the ones with the solar panels installed on them – are going to have to get rid of their coal fireplaces… Damn.  Too bad traffic gridlock on Eglinton an St. Clair have seen car emissions spike.
Dr. Hoskins vision includes this last item, “Responsible and sustainable community development with genuine community engagement”.  I’m not sure what that means, I mean, I do, but in reality, it’s a throwaway line saying very little.  Personally, I’d like to actually see Dr. Hoskins in the community other than at photo opportunities and I would like to see a political flyer tailored to the community – with successes for the community – and not a self-promoting piece of literature about his and Kathleen Wynne.
I think Dr. Hoskins has lost touch with what the job description is for a Member of Provincial Politics in the riding of St. Paul’s.  His policies are not aimed at the riding and none of his personal achievements warrants any votes for him from this riding, let alone the gift of representing our riding again for any length of time.
Sadly, I don’t think people in this riding take the time to see the damage done by the McGuinty / Wynne tandem.  They know the NDP are not right for Ontario (hello Bob Rae) and they compare Tim Hudek to Mike Harris because that is what the Liberals have to do in order to turn the attention away from their complete devastation of the province of Ontario.  Once a “have” province, now a “have not” province.
All things being considered, and with 3 underwhelming choices for Premier, think logically about what Ontarians did after Mike Harris cut, cleaned house and Ontario went on for years as a powerhouse.  They exercised their democratic right and voted in another party.
I think it’s time to exercise our democratic rights and send a very clear message to the Liberal Party in Ontario.
(Apologies to NDP candidate Luke Savage – he lost me when I saw he lives in the Annex – but he will get the left-vote but I have serious concerns that even with a Masters in political science, he cannot understand the complexities of this community and the way to handle the amount of wealth here without wanting to re-distribute it.)
Even bigger apology to Green Party candidate Josh Rachlis who commented below, and included a link to a song he wrote about St. Paul’s.  I strongly suggest you listen to the song and take a look at Josh’s platform.
The Green Party has always intrigued me because of the importance of keeping the planet healthy and keeping our food and water safe for consumption, however, I have always felt their policies were either poorly defined or an after thought.  After having a look at Josh’s platform, I no longer think that.
Aside from being very bright – I can pick that up just listening to Josh speak, I think if the playing field were even among parties, he would be right in the thick of things come election night.
The Green Platform includes:

1. Focus on your job by lowering payroll taxes for small businesses

2. Get you home faster by paying for the transit infrastructure we need

3. Invest in your home to help you save money by saving energy

4. Improve your children’s education by merging the public and separate school boards

5. Make good on our promises to address child poverty

6. Give young adults a chance to contribute to our world

7. Putting your food and water first by protecting farmland and water

8. Getting our fair share by making industry pay a fair price for our shared resources

9. Restore your confidence that our communities & natural heritage will not be damaged by development

I honestly have no idea what the first point entails and I worked at Revenue Canada (Canada Revenue Agency for 11 years, most of them handling payroll, and I believe the only reduction employers can make is to reduce the actual tax component of the payroll source deductions because a reduction in CPP reduces the amount employees have for retirement and a reduction in EI reduces the amount employees pay into the system, thus the amount they are able to take back out should they need to.

Numbers 2 and 3 are great, although a little vague, while number 4 is a brilliant idea to reduce costs and increase service.  Number 9 is also a great initiative.

So while I would like to see a little more detail in their platform, I believe the Green Party needs to take the next big step and either merge with an existing party, or force the issue and start getting candidates into parliament.

 

All-in-all, voting is your democratic right!  So get out there and vote!

The Occupy Movement and their Social Agenda Revealed. Where Did it Go Wrong?


English: Signs at the Occupy Boston demonstrat...
“Our movement is too big to fail”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across a post in a Facebook community group from someone claiming to be “organizer” of the Occupy movement here in Ontario.  He had just dropped this post in the group until it was removed a couple of hours later.  I can’t say for sure that he is with the real Occupy movement, but after reading through his message I can say the message of stamping out corruption through occupation of public spaces is lost.

Here is the posting from the Facebook group, in their words, not mine;

“The Peoples ISSUES OF FOCUS what would satisfy us ,addressing the issues that are essencial to the people
#1 ,poverty,
#2..homelessness
#3 affordable housing,
#4)transportation.
#5)education
6)job creation
7).police abuse of authority
#8): political abuse of authority,
#9)..maintaining children rights
10)water/food safety and accessiibality…”

So spelling mistakes aside, I’ve never felt that this movement spoke for me, and I’m not the 1% they detest, but after seeing this list, I am certain that I cannot offer them my support, nor am I comfortable with them settling in on public lands (disrupting the 99% they claim to speak for) while they dance, read and sleep there waiting for any or all of the items on this list to be fulfilled.

I’m not even sure where to begin when I look at this list… I thought the whole “agenda” of the Occupy movement was to bring attention to how corrupt they feel the 1% are.  If that was the message, then yes, I do agree that those with considerable amounts of money who take advantage of those without should be held to a higher accord, but where myself and the Occupy folks differ is that I feel anyone could be in the 1% if they really wanted to. Hard work, a great invention, knowing the right people, getting a solid education, being born into a family with considerable wealth… All these options except probably the last one are available to everyone and not every person or corporation in the 1% are corrupt or take advantage, just like not everyone in the 99% gives a crap about this list of social wrongs that they pledge to eradicate – mainly through taxing those who have the most money.

From my perspective in Canada, the “abuse of authority” items, that the police and politicians abuse their authority – that people have lost their civil liberties – just doesn’t make sense to me.  In democratic countries all citizens have the right to free speech – provided we are not slandering or offending others, and we have the right to be free, be any religion we like, abide by the laws of the land and vote in elections for whomever we want.  All of this freedom makes the Occupy decision to settle in to major cities, camping their way to eviction, that much more puzzling.  What did they gain?  Nothing.  They did more harm to the land they settled on and the communities they disrupted.

If the Occupy movement is really upset with the way businesses operate in 2012, then they should be delivering their messages in a different way to make an actual point and the organizers of the Occupy movement should also come clean about their true objectives here.  If you hate Apple, for example, because you disagree that they are paying a low wage to their employees in another country, then don’t bring your iPhone to the rally.  If you never liked the GAP sweatshops, then don’t wear GAP clothing.  You can’t suck and blow at the same time.

What really puzzles me are the folks who claim to be against banks and the fees and interest they charge yet I’ll bet dollars to donuts that there are several members of their families who have investments in these big banks and require the dividend cheque to supplement their earnings.  To remove those fees and interest charges and increase taxation of the banks would ultimately remove the money from the pockets of elderly people on fixed incomes and those seeking to add to their income through investing in the markets.  Surely that is not what the Occupy movement stands for…

Imagine how a movement like this would go over in countries like Syria, Venezuela, Cuba or Iran? In these countries people have no rights. They cannot vote for whom they want, they cannot comment negatively against the ruling government or they are tortured, jailed or killed. These countries treat citizens, especially woman, like crap and in a couple of these countries they consider homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

So in Canada, how exactly are the government and police abusing their power and against whom are they doing this?  Is it by their enforcing of laws and rules? Is it because they protect property rights of those citizens who educate themselves, work hard to buy property and expect it to be safe from thieves and poachers?  I’m sorry but I don’t buy that there is that much political or police abuse and I certainly do not see it.  I’ve always believed that if you kept your nose clean and stayed out of trouble you would be fine.

What about children’s rights? Is sitting in a park in Toronto going to help bring awareness to the abuses that children encounter in countries where their parents sell them, or make them work in sweat shops for pennies a day to help support their 10 brothers and sisters?  And about poverty, homelessness, available community housing and job creation.  All of these are choice people make and it is very unfortunate that the choices are not made by the people it impacts the most, but were choices made by their parents and their parent’s parents.  No one wants to be homeless but if there is an underlying condition which went undiagnosed homelessness is the result. 

This is exactly why in Canada the tax rate is at almost 50% for the highest income earners and that is to provide a social netting for those put in these unfortunate situations.  If the Occupy movement doesn’t think this is enough or that the money is being sufficiently allocated then I would love to hear their opinion on how it can work better.  To understand how taxation works for individuals and corporations would go a long way towards determining what is fair for them. 

The original intent of taxation was not to subsidize those who could not do it on their own, but rather to collect money to purchase weapons for the war.  Nowadays wars and paid for on credit and the have-nots – apparently 99% of us – need the 1% to put more of their money into the economy to help us out.

If I work harder, educate myself more and get a better, higher paying job, then I contribute more to society.  How is that a bad thing and how is it that I owe more money back in the community in taxes?  But making more money I am contributing more when I buy a bigger house and pay even more taxes in property taxes, then I buy more items for my house and my family and those dollars go back into the local economy and support the stores and the people working in the stores.  I eat out more or visit more local attractions and that supports the service industry and again the people who work in it.  We volunteer and that gives back to the community.  Heck, on my increased wage, more taxes are taken off than before.  Occupy, I am not in the 1% but I am not who you are angry at, nor are the people and businesses you disrupt through your sit-ins.

I think deep down inside that this generation – so unkindly dubbed the entitlement generation – is angry at themselves for letting life pass them by while getting things handed to them by their parents and the Internet.  Now that the economy is in the tank they realized they have to work and starting at the bottom sucks.  We all started at the bottom as children of immigrants or recent immigrants and we have either seen our parents work their way up, or we ourselves have put in long hours, took extra education and held multiple part-time jobs.  We didn’t have the Internet to answer questions, we used encyclopedias.  We wanted music, we saved money and bought it and movies… In the theatre.  So excuse us if we see this type of social action for what appears to be short-sighted or selfish reasons and we dismiss it because we already know it is not going to enact the changes it wants.

If the Occupy movement were truly ready to enact change then they would have to do it with thought and clear communication. Using Twitter, a company whose creators and owners are certainly in the 1% for a call to action seems hypocritical but with social media now a part of our everyday lives it is also a necessity in getting the message out.  So with software companies off the Occupy landscape then they must come up with a list of the most evil companies around.  The ones polluting our lands, starving their employees, exploiting children and where the senior executive are bilking their company of billions of dollars so they can only afford to dole out pennies in a corporate dividend.  Then, once identified, take a list of this concerns public and give the company 2 weeks to fix it, then after than boycott the firm until it crumbles to its knees.  That is how you enact change.

This aint Woodstock, folks.  Any other avenue to achieve meaningful change is lost on the generations that preceded you.

Thursday Thirteen – 13 News Stories that matter to this urban daddy


This weeks edition of the Thursday Thirteen focuses on 13 new stories which matter to this urban daddy living in North America’s 7th largest city.

You may recognize some and others may be new to you.  Please take the time and see what matters.

Here we go!

13.  Anyone find the irony here?  TaxMasters, a firm that advertises it can help consumers facing problems with taxes, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

TaxMasters, earned revenue by getting their customers to pay advance fees of $2,000 to $8,000 allegedly by misstating the help they could provide people with unpaid IRS tax bills.  It has been reported that in some cases, TaxMasters claimed they would reduce people’s tax bills by up to 90% but when they were not able to, they kept the advanced fees and moved on.

The Better Business Bureau says it has received more than 1,000 complaints about TaxMasters over the course of the last three years.  In their bankruptcy filing, TaxMasters stated their liabilities – money owing to creditors – between $1 million and $10 million and their assets to be less than $50,000.  This is what happens when you have commissioned sales people pitching services which involve the government.  No one can truly appreciate the inner workings of a government agency or departments unless they have working in one, or worked with one over a period of time.

12.  Library workers in Toronto go on strike over job security for the full-time and part-time workforce.

For those of you not in Toronto, you should know that recently, the Toronto government has been looking at libraries – in addition to all other public bodies – as an area to save city taxpayer dollars.  As the 7th largest city in North America, Toronto has a conservative mayor who wants to tighten up spending, reduce waste and not have to keep increasing taxes in order to meet obligations and this is not being accepted by the strong left-wing contingent in the downtown core.

As a result of this mention of libraries, a rallying cry came out about how much libraries are used in this day and age even though people are using iPads, and Kobo readers and downloading reading materials.  Internet has reduced the reliance on libraries much in the same way that Wikipedia spelled the end for encyclopedia’s.

Unionized library staff, clearly concerned, started campaigning to keep libraries open and began to justify some of the very large – over $100K salaries – and reinforced the need for libraries in the City of Toronto.  The mayor clarified that there was no intention to close libraries, but are librarians really worth $100K/year.

The issue had since did down until they went on strike – closing the libraries as of Monday.

If there ever was a way to show the mayor and the local government that the City can do some cost cutting in the library system, it will become perfectly clear when the public show they can live without libraries.

Nice job union!

11.  Some wack-job, now identified as being Mohammed Merah, a  24-year-old member of al-Qaeda who had escaped from prison in Afghanistan is behind the killing of 3 French soldiers one who was Muslim, and a Rabbi and 3 children at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

Police found explosives his brother’s car, and have arrested his brother, mother and an acquaintance of the brother.  He said he wanted to kill the Jewish kids in revenge for Palestinian children being killed in Israel, and the soldiers for France’s participating in the war in Afghanistan.

This morning he jumped out of the apartment building he was in while shooting, only to become a pancake upon his bodies arrival to the ground.  Oh well.  I hope he suffered.

10.  Reports out of Israel indicate that several of the prisoners returned to the West Bank and Gaza strip in the Gilad Shalit swap have been re-arrested during failed attempts to kidnap Israeli citizens…  How does that expression go?  “Stupid is as stupid does”.

9.  Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has signed a $96 million dollar, 5-year contract to play for the Denver Broncos, meaning current QB Tim “G-d Bless Me” Tebow has not been traded to the New York Jets.  It’s not that I’m against athletes getting that kind of money – I am – but that almost billion dollars would help build a lot of stuff in these tough times… Like maybe Toronto’s subways.

Huh?  What?!?  Peyton Manning, not Preston Manning… Oh.  Move on.  Nothing to see here.

8.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are falling.  The Toronto Raptors are falling.  The Toronto Rock… falling.  Go Jays Go, 16-4 in MLB spring training coming into Thursday which puts them second to the 14-3 Detroit Tigers for the best record in the entire league!

7.  Show of hands for who wants to bring back the death penalty for the killers of Tori Stafford.  I have both hands up…

6.  Quebec students are planning a “massive protest” against rising tuition hikes.  Really?  I’m sorry I must not be paying enough taxes so that I can provide you with subsidized tuition.  Poor baby.  When I went to university, I – gasp – got a job to pay for my tuition.  I even worked during the school year.  I think we’re really getting a glimpse into Generation “me”, with the G20 riots against capitalism, then the “Occupy” movement against greed, and the protests against rising tuition… This generation really does just want to get things for free and not have to work for it, or put in any time.  It’s not like the Internet kids, where you just go download stuff for free.  you’ll see once you grow up, when the next generation starts stealing your hard work that it really sucks.  Life’s not fair.  Deal with it!

5.  Some employers have been asking potential applicants for access to their Facebook accounts during the hiring process.  I suspect with all that has gone on in social media, people posting nude pictures, or inappropriate things about their jobs or drug pictures employers want to make sure they’re hiring solid candidates who can grown with the company and represent it well.  I 100% do not agree with this policy, however, as a huge user of social media, the candidate should be able to communicate the messages that I have always done, that my Facebook profile only has pictures of my family.  I do not identify my employer.  I never, ever blog or tweet about my employer and representing your employer your number one priority.

Let them look.  They probably already have, but don’t give them reasons to pass you over.  Keep your profile clean.  You want a friend to see you drinking, or in a bathing suit, send it to them.  Don’t post it online!

4.  Torontonians and suburban 905ers  will be seeing new area code overlays with 437 being added to 416/647 exchange and 365 being added to the area now served by the 905/289 codes.  Did you know that the 416  area code is one of 86 original area codes established in North America in 1947.  The western part of the original 416 code was split into the 519 area code in 1953 and the remaining portion outside of the city was split into 905 in 1993. This geographic split made it easy for people referring to the suburbs rather than the city because it could simply be called the 905.  647 and 289 came on board in 2001.

Area code 387 has also been reserved for future use in what will soon be the 416/647/437 area.

3.  An “abnormal” amount of a protein – called prostaglandin D2, found in the bald spots of the scalp of men who are losing their hair – causes male pattern baldness, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered.

Knowing what causes male pattern baldness could lead to new treatments.

A different prostaglandin, F2alpha, is known to increase hair growth.

2.  Google announced today that through their Street View technology, we can now all explore portions of the Amazon Rain Forest.  The pictures were taken along the Rio Negro in Brazil last year using camera-mounted three-wheeled bicycles have been woven into Google Maps, allowing users to virtually venture on waterways and trails and in even villages.

Some key things to look out for; Take a virtual boat ride down the main section of the Rio Negro, float up into the smaller tributaries where the forest is flooded, enjoy a hike along an Amazon forest trail, see where Brazil nuts are harvested, and you might even see an animal or 2

1.  Air Canada.  Ahh, to be unionized.  Air Canada has been bailed out by the Canadian government and Canadian taxpayers so many times its ridiculous, but then out of nowhere on Thursday the ground workers staged a wildcat strike meaning they held up over 70 flight.  People were trapped in airplanes on Toronto’s Pearson International Airport runway and baggage was slow to move from plane to terminal.  As a result of this illegal strike, 37 workers were fired.

But wait.

As a payback to Canadians who has contributed hard-earned tax dollars into this carrier to allow they baggage handlers to keep their jobs, the union backed off the strike only if the workers were re-instated and the airline promised not to punish them now or in the future.

What a gig.

And union leaders wonder why the majority of citizens how come to be fed up with unions.  Take this as yet another example.

Toronto viewed south from Bloor
Toronto viewed south from Bloor (Photo credit: Small)

OMG, Would the Liberals just give it a rest already! You’re toast. Accept it.


The Canadian political scene, or #cdnpoli on Twitter has been a buzz the past couple weeks around an apparent misleading recorded phone message sent out in “contentious” ridings this past Federal election.

The Liberals are crying foul because they feel someone purposely sent prerecorded messages to the electorate in tight ridings advising the residents that their polling station had changed, sometimes sending the voters 20km out of their way causing them to miss their opportunity to vote.

I say alleged because no one has an actual recording of this message and thus all allegations are based on hearsay.  Why would anyone lie to discredit the Conservatives???  Nawwww.

I’m pretty sure the Conservatives came forward and said a 23-year-old campaign staffer was responsible and that he has resigned but while the Liberals drum up much-needed press for the party, let’s not forget the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I can remember a week before that federal election getting calls from Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett and MP Dr. Eric Hoskins both with recorded messages asking me if I wanted to take part in their “virtual town Hall”.  Here’s the kicker.  In both cases I hung up and in both cases when I picked the phone back up, the message was still playing.

Oh oh.

That’s illegal.  They cannot tie up my phone line with their propaganda spam.  The phone should disconnect the second I hang up, but it did not.  I wish I could find online the regulations from Bell Canada showing that organizations cannot tie up phone lines.  As well, in hindsight, I was mightily pissed off and wanted to complain and I recall Urban Mummy encouraging me to do just that, however, I chose not to.  If I knew the Liberals were going to use this Robocall item to stay relevant, I totally would have complained, gone to the press, or, wait, reported it myself on my blog. 

It’s not like this happened once or twice, either.  Since we moved, we had both ridings phone-spamming us and subsequently tieing up our phone lines after because heaven forbid someone would hang up in the middle of a recorded message by 2 politicians who I have never seen in either riding except at election time.  I don’t know where they get these photos for their campaign brochures… It’s surely not in the ridings.

But alas, I did not report it.

So Bob Rae, while you’re pressing for an inquiry, be careful what you wish for… This “scandal” will be swept under the carpet soon enough and yet another Liberal scandal wouldn’t look so good on the heels of your much-needed press, now would it?

Not that it would impact Toronto voters who blindly vote these guys in election after election.

 

Click.

This picture below is apparently of Carolyn Bennett, whom I have never seen in my riding in the almost 12 years I have lived here.  I could not find a picture of Dr. Eric Hoskins, and I didn’t want to post a picture of former NDP Premier of Ontario, bob Rae.  Shudder.

This is Carolyn Bennett, Liberal MP for St. Pa...