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Showing posts from January, 2017

Justin Trudeau uses divide and conquer tactic on health care funding

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Just before Xmas last December the Liberal government offered the provinces a little more than half of what the previous right-wing Harper government had been paying Canadian provinces.

As mentioned in a previous Digital Journalarticle, the offer ran for just one day. There was no discussion of alternatives such as the 5.2 percent increase put forth by the premier of Prince Edward Island. Finance Minister Morneau's offer was 3.5 percent over five years. The Conservatives had been paying six percent. The rate will go back to three percent in April unless there is an agreement. The provinces were angry that the Liberal government came with a take-it-or-leave it attitude. They had hoped that there would be discussion and a negotiated agreement. The tactic shows the Liberal government is not willing to negotiate with the provinces but will try to impose policy on them, a policy far less liberal in its funding then that the right-wing Conservatives had been following. Ever since the me…

Canada's ethics commissioner to investigate Trudeau family vacation on private Bermuda island.

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Mary Dawson, Canada's ethics commissioner said that she was satisfied that a letter to her by Conservative ethics critic Blain Calkins brought up issues regarding a Trudeau family vacation that met the requirement for an investigation.
The Trudeau familytook a vacation to the private island home of the rich philanthropist and spiritual leader Aga Khan in Bermuda: Aga Khan is also transliterated as Aqa Khan and Agha Khan;[1] born 13 December 1936) is the 49th and current Imam of Nizari Ismailism, a denomination of Isma'ilism within Shia Islam consisting of an estimated 25 million adherents (about 20% of the world's Shia Muslim population).[2][3][4][5] The Aga Khan is a British[6] business magnate,[2][7][8][9] racehorse owner and breeder.[7][10]His worth is estimated at around $800 million USD. Aga Khan was the first faith leader to address a session of the Canadian parliament on the 27th of February 2014. He has received honorary degrees from several Canadian universities. T…

Chrystia Freeland new Canadian International Trade Minister banned from Russia

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In a surprise move, Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, replaced prominent Liberal Stephan Dion by Chrystia Freeland who had been serving as international trade minister.
Freeland is banned from Russia as part of Russian counter-sanctions. In 2014 after the referendum and Crimea's joining Russia, the Harper Conservative Government imposed sanctions on some Russian officials. Russia responded by sanctioning 13 Canadians. Freeland responded in a tweet in March 2014: "Love Russ lang/culture, loved my yrs in Moscow; but it's an honour to be on Putin's sanction list, esp in company of friends Cotler & Grod." Freeland is a proponent of personal asset seizures and travel bans a part of an economic sanctions program against Russia. She visited Ukraine on behalf of the Liberal Party. She met with MP Petro Poroshenko who was subsequently elected president of the Ukraine. She owns an apartment with her sister in Kiev overlooking Maidan square. Freeland is known for…

Liberals break promise to plug tax loophole for the rich

The loophole involves executives taking remuneration in stock options rather than cash. If the price of the stock is lower than the market the difference is taken as remuneration. An executive can claim a 50 percent tax deduction. when selling the stock.
The decision to not plug the loophole was made after pressure on Finance Minister Bill Morneau by bigwigs from the financial elite.Liberal campaign literaturefrom the 1915 election proposed that as many as 8,000 people were claiming an average of $400,000 a year through the loophole. In the campaign the party platform called the loophole a disproportionate benefit for the wealthy and promised to cap the benefit at $50,000. One of those who contacted the new Liberal government was John Manley himself a former Liberal finance minister who now heads the Business Council of Canada. In November of 2015 Manley wrote: “Doubling the tax rate with a retroactive impact on existing options would be unfair. Allow for a gradual phase-in of the cha…

Many Canadians believe that their province will not do well in 2017

A new Angus Reid poll shows that for most Canadians 2016 was a bad year. The survey of 5,128 Canadians found that those surveyed from Newfoundland and Labrador were most pessimistic with 57 percent predicting more bad than good in the province in 2017.
Just 16 per cent had a positive view of 2017. The online survey was released Tuesday. Dave Korzinski, research associate at Angus Reid Institute wrote by email to BNN: “Newfoundland has the highest unemployment rate of the provinces polled. We also attribute some of this to the slow energy sector in 2016, which has really hit people hard." A summary of the findings of the survey can be foundheretogether with a link to the entire survey. Ontario residents were also pessimistic about the New Year, with 47 percent thinking there would be more bad than good in 2017. Ontario has a large provincial debt, and high energy prices. The Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne has the lowest approval rating of any provincial premier. Albertans plagued …

Provinces and federal Liberal government fail to agree on health-care funding

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The federal government and the provinces have failed to reach an agreement on health-care funding. The Liberal government had offered $11.5 billion to increase targeted spending on home care and mental health.
The Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Monday, December 19, that the government has now taken the offer off the table. The Canada Health Transfer (CHT) will go back to only a three percent increase on April 1, 2017. Morneau had offered to increase the transfer to 3.5 percent over five years but the provinces rejected this.Morneau complained: "We came to the provinces with a significant offer of funds ... We're disappointed we weren't successful." Morneau ended the meeting early Monday. Federal health minister Jane Philpott said: "This was an historic offer. I think there is widespread agreement that the systems themselves need some transformation, and we're going to continue to look for ways to do that." The provinces were angry that the federa…

Canadian debt-to-income ratio reaches record high

(December 17) In the third quarter of 2016 the Canadian household debt to income ratio rose to a record high as borrowing continues to increase faster than incomes.
According to Statistics Canada the ratio went up from 166.4 percent in the second quarter to 166.9 percent in the third. This means that for every dollar of income earned by a Canadian household almost 1.67 is owed in debt. However,Benjamin Reitzes,an economist at BMO Capital Markets said the half percentage point increase was actually below seasonal norms and the smallest increase in the third quarter since 2000. Reitzes thinks that the ratio could flatten somewhat in 2017 especially as in areas such as the Vancouver housing market has cooled, and restrictions on mortgage may slow down activity a bit in 2017. Statistics Canada reported that in the third quarter, adjusted disposable income increased by 1.0 percent while debt rose by 1.3 percent. By the end of the third quarter total household market debt rose to a humongou…