Well the long awaited announcement is coming today! The announcement that I believe was going to happen about a week before the Federal Election.
CHCH news announced on the 7:00am news that Bruce Power has intentions of building a Nuclear Plant in Haldimand County near Nanticoke.
As we all know our Elected Council in Haldimand County has already endorsed a Nuclear Plant on our behalf. Now some on Council will argue this fact and say all they have said is that they are all for an EA assessment.
Janet Fraser was told by Council that her right to be heard on the Nuclear Issue was premature a few months ago. Well Janet it seems now is the time to apply once again to speak to council on this issue! Will this make a difference?
Haldimand County sent letters to the upper levels of government in support of an EA assessment and the Mayor has said on a number of news releases that Haldimand County is in favour of a Nuclear Plant in Haldimand County.
Bruce Power has always stated that they would not build a Nuclear Plant in a community unless it is a "willing host". Well are we a "willing host" according to Bruce Power? Time will tell.
Let's see now if "Our Voices" will be "Heard"!
Here is an article on the announcement today;
Nanticoke eyed as site for nuclear power plant
Approval process could take at least 5 years
Oct 31, 2008 04:30 AM
Nuclear power-plant operator Bruce Power will signal to Queen's Park and the federal regulator today that it intends to build a new nuclear plant in the small community of Nanticoke, next to the massive coal-fired generating station that's slated for shutdown in 2014, the Star has learned.
Duncan Hawthorne, president and chief executive officer of Bruce Power, is expected to announce at an event near Nanticoke, along the north shore of Lake Erie, that his company is seeking a site preparation licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The application would start an approvals process likely to take five years before construction can begin. "I can't provide you with any details at this time," said company spokesperson Steve Cannon.
There's no guarantee such a plant will get built. The Ministry of Energy recently selected Darlington as the site of the province's newest nuclear plant in 20 years, to be operated by Ontario Power Generation.
Bruce Power lost its bid to construct and operate that first plant next to its existing facilities near Kincardine. Sources say Hawthorne is betting that the province will need more reactors.
Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman could not be reached for comment.
Industry experts say Nanticoke is considered an ideal site for a nuclear plant because of its location, lakeside access and ample access to high-voltage transmission lines.
The community is also used to having a power plant in its backyard and is worried about the loss of 600 jobs after the coal plant is shut down – though there would likely be a five-year gap between the shutdown of the coal plant and the first operation of a nuclear plant.
Hawthorne has spent two years courting the small communities in the region. In February, Norfolk and Haldimand counties sent letters to Premier Dalton McGuinty asking for the go-ahead to file for a site application, which triggers an environmental assessment.
Some area residents are cool to the idea of a nuclear plant. "Just because our mayor think it's a good idea doesn't mean the community members do as well," Victoria Smith, 24, told the Star. "I can assure you that's not the case."
Friday, October 31, 2008
Well the long awaited announcement is coming today! The announcement that I believe was going to happen about a week before the Federal Election.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I thought it was time for me to tread in risky waters and voice my opinions on the Federal Election of 2008. As the long weekend is on our doorstep, most of us will be enjoying the beautiful weather this weekend, family and friends and a feast for Thanksgiving. Then we will "all" be going to the polls on Tuesday October 14th! So this will be my last post on the Federal Election.
I am going to give my predictions and I look forward to hearing yours!
First my opinions on the Leaders of the main Parties;
Elizabeth May I believe did an excellent job in proving that the Green Party is more than a one-issue party. She also expressed her support of the proportional voting, and mentioned that Dion and Layton were not in agreement, while Harper supported proportional voting. May states "Vote with your Heart".
Stephen Dion stated that the Green Shift Plan is revenue neutral and are tax cuts, when in fact the plan is neither neutral nor a tax cut. I think most Canadians are not buying into his plan and he has tried to back peddle his way out, but it certainly doesn’t look good when a promise is being broken half way through an election campaign. Dion also stated I say the truth better in French then English, I have no idea what that means but it is a bit scary. Dion also states that the Liberals are centre, I thought they were left. So does he mean that they lean one way one day and the next day they lean another way?
Jack Layton criticised Dion for being absent in the house and said that he is the only voice against Harper. When speaking to the press after one of the debates, Layton said he was not interested in the job of the opposition party. He also states that the PM does not care about Canada or Canadians! Yesterday Layton compared the times we are in with the depression, now that scared the hell out of me. When asked by the press to explain what he meant, he dodged the question.
PM Stephen Harper I believe is very grounded and at a time of great turmoil in the world’s economy we need a Leader that is not going to scare us half to death. Harper has admitted that we are in tough times, but reminded us that out of the G7, Canada is the strongest Country. Harper also reminded us that Canada has tight controls on our banking system and we are not in the same situation that the US is in.
Now back to the local candidates and issues.
During the Liberals contest/nominations in Haldimand/Norfolk there were three nominees. Eric Hoskins, Victoria Young, and Ken Hewitt of Caledonia. When it was all said and done, Eric Hoskins won by "1" vote over Ken Hewitt. If Ken Hewitt had won and was running as the Liberal candidate for Haldimand/Norfolk would things have been different? Would Gary McHale have ran as an Independent in Haldimand/Norfolk against Ken Hewitt? Just a thought!
Another thought as I am talking about nominations/contests. Each association (Liberals, NDP, Conservative, and Greens) had their contests and chose their "Candidate" that will best represent their parties. It is now our responsibility to choose the candidate that represents the "Party" we want to see in power.
Back to my thoughts on the local Candidates in Haldimand/Norfolk.
Steven Elgersma Christian Heritage Party; God love him! Steven has a good sense of humour, he made us chuckle a few times during the debate in Kohler. Last election the CHP party garnered around 559 votes and I predict their votes will be around the same.
Ian Nicols, NDP; I didn’t find him very knowledgeable about local issues. His answer for the land claims was ridiculous. He basically stated that if elected he would make everyone sit at the negotiating table and not leave until it was done! This is not a "realistic" answer. The NDP platform in my opinion would put us on our knees. Last election the NDP garnered around 6500 votes and I don’t see a lot of gain in their numbers.
Eric Hoskins, Liberal; He hasn’t lived here in many years. He didn’t seem to be in touch with what the issues are in Haldimand, especially in regards to the farmers. He had no real answer for the Land Claims issues, but had lots to say about what Finley and the Conservative government has not done. The Liberal Green Shift plan is too risky for me in these uncertain times. The Liberal platform would also put us on our knees. I will talk about my predictions for the Liberals later on in my blog, as this one gets a bit tricky! Bob Speller lost his seat to Diane Finley; he garnered around 18,500 votes.
Stephana Johnson, Green Party; Stephana is very knowledgeable on the party platform but seems to be out of her realm against the feuding that is going on between the Liberals, Conservatives and the Independent. Again the economy is in turmoil and I think the carbon tax is a hard sell. The Greens carbon tax includes a 1% hike in the GST as well. The Green party garnered around 560 vote’s last election and I predict that they will get around the same this time.
Diane Finley, Conservative Party; Diane Finley is not only our MP for Haldimand/Norfolk she is a cabinet minister, which means she is in the elite circle of "24" of the closet people in Canada to PM Stephen Harper. This is quite an honour to be chosen out of 308 MP’s across Canada. Diane Finley defeated Bob Speller the Liberal MP in Haldimand/Norfolk in 2004; he was also a cabinet minister.
During the debate in Kohler when she was accused of not being here for the residents of Caledonia, she went on to explain how her week goes. She goes to Ottawa on a Sunday night and comes home on a Friday night. She attended over 300 "official" functions in the last 2 ½ years. But it seems for many in Haldimand County this has not been enough! You can be the judge on that one.
As the incumbent she is in the most difficult seat out of all the candidates, and spends most of her time defending what she has been doing. This is not unusual as every election whether Municipal, Provincial or Federal the incumbent is always in the same position. Diane Finley won the last election with around 25,800 votes.
Gary McHale, Independent; Gary has been a voice for many residents in Caledonia/Haldimand for the last two years. He has stated many times that he has put his life on virtual hold to fight for their rights. I have had dealings with Gary McHale in the past and we have always agreed to disagree.
This is an excerpt from Gary’s campaign site;
If Dr. Eric doesn’t understand that the media are one of the most important weapons against injustice and political ineptitude, then he needs to throw in the towel right now. The use of media as a tool of change is not the only thing he doesn’t grasp. As Gary said last night, neither Hoskins or Finley understand that the Caledonia issue isn’t about land claims, it’s about the lawlessness that has victimized innocent people for more than two years. If Hoskins can’t even admit or understand that race-based policing exists, how could he possibly work to stop it?
Now when I look at the bigger picture of what is facing Canada, I wonder what will Gary McHale actually achieve if elected as an MP? Is this the right time for an Independent in Haldimand/Norfolk? Gary McHale states the Caledonia issue is not about the "Land Claims" it is about the "Lawlessness", is this not a Provincial matter?
A few points about an Independent, they come with no baggage, no party platform, and when elected usually have a very difficult time in the House. They are a voice, but how strong is that voice? In the past Independents have crossed the floor to gain a stronger voice. If Gary McHale is elected as our MP will he cross the floor to gain a stronger voice? If so, what party would he cross over to? Another question here is does an Independent have this choice, or are they asked?
The last time an Independent ran in Haldimand was in 1984, with around 55,000 votes cast he garnered around 560 votes.
Before I give you my "Party" of choice, I would like to say "Kudos" to all of the candidates in Haldimand/Norfolk. "Kudos" to their strong voices, and the belief that their party has the best platform. I know from experience that this is not an easy task.
During the referendum in the Provincial election we were asked a question in regards to "Proportional Voting". I voted no as I just wasn’t sure about some of the changes. One in particular was the "apparent secret" names in an envelope. I won’t get into this right now, but my point is that until our system changes we are voting for a party platform, not who we like or don’t like.
Unlike May’s stand I say, "Vote with Your Head".
I can almost bet a dollar that if we are in a "Minority" government again, with Jack Layton as the opposition party we will face another election within a year!
I believe that the Conservatives are the best choice for the times we are in. We need stability; we need a Majority government. We don’t need massive changes in our system in times of global uncertainty.
My vote goes to Diane Finley of the Conservative Party.
Here are my predictions;
NDP, Greens and CHP will come in with around the same numbers as last election.
Independent Gary McHale will take around 2000 votes, and the fight for the seat will be between Finley and Hoskins. I believe this will be a very close race, but my prediction is that Finley will win her seat.
The Liberals are strong in Norfolk and the Conservatives are strong in Haldimand.
My prediction is that Gary McHale will take votes away from Finley in Haldimand, which in essence are votes for Hoskins.
Now just to add a twist here, in the last election there were about 6500 votes separating Speller and Finley. I believe if Ken Hewitt had been the candidate of choice for the Liberals, he would have won the seat. Here is my reasoning; he would have taken votes away from Finley, add into the mix an Independent taking votes from Finley and well there you have it!
I am not an expert on Politics, but it has been enjoyable.
My belief is that "Every Vote Counts". Make your "Vote Count" on October 14, 2008!
Monday, October 6, 2008
This is a press release from Eric Hoskins election site.
October 6, 2008
Canadians need centrist Liberal Party, not Jack Layton's misguided plan
VICTORIA – NDP Leader Jack Layton has abandoned working Canadians with his plan to impose a job-killing $50-billion tax hike on businesses, said Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said today.
“Canadians want to get rid of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government and replace it with a party that has a real plan for jobs, our cities and the economy – not the wishful thinking of Mr. Layton, who does not understand balancing budgets or keeping taxes low,” said Mr. Dion.“We need real change, not false hope or misguided economic plans, especially in these times of financial uncertainty.
The only way to ensure that our businesses will be spared Mr. Layton’s $50-billion tax increase and Mr. Harper’s ideologically-driven hands-off approach to the economic crisis is to vote Liberal. The only job that will be saved by voting for Mr. Layton is Stephen Harper’s.”Mr. Dion reiterated his contention that only the Liberal Party represents the moderate, centrist approach that this country needs.
“A new Liberal government will be there to help Canadians when there are economic storm clouds, with a plan for the economy and an independent voice on the world stage,” he said.“A Liberal government in Canada can deliver a stronger economy, balanced budgets, stronger social programs and more help for families, working Canadians, cities and newcomers.”
Mr. Harper’s failure to present Canadians with any kind of plan in the face of the global economic crisis provides yet another example of how he places his ideology ahead of the best interests of Canadians. He continues to deny the existence of a problem and dismisses the concerns of Canadians as panic.
“More than ever we can see that this election presents a stark choice between the laissez-faire approach of the Conservatives who don’t believe in a role for government and the progressive policies of the Liberal Party and our plan for government to work as a partner with the Canadian people in these difficult times,” said Mr. Dion. Mr. Dion pointed out the only reason why Stephen Harper is in power today is because of Jack Layton and the NDP.
He reminded Canadians that when Mr. Layton voted to dissolve Parliament in 2004, he voted to kill some of the most progressive legislation in years, including the Kelowna Accord, the national early learning and child care agreements and the 10-year Plan to Strengthen Health Care.“Because of Mr. Layton’s self-serving agenda, we ended up with a Harper-Bush government, and Canadians still lack a national daycare program, reconciliation with our First Nations, fair treatment for newcomers, and a real plan for the coming difficult economic times,” said Mr. Dion.
“The real strategic vote in this election is to get rid of the Harper government and replace it with a party that has a proven record of cleaning up conservative messes while remaining true to progressive values –and only the Liberal Party can do that.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Waterford Singer Goes Green
Johnston Campaign Releases YouTube Music Video
Haldimand-Norfolk, October 5, 2008 – Waterford singer songwriter Stephen Hogg has teamed up with Stephana Johnston’s local Green Party campaign to produce a YouTube video. The campaign introduced the candidate via YouTube at the start of the race.
In the latest ad, the 50-something Hogg belts out the “Climate Change Blues.” He bemoans pollution and the climate crisis while reminding voters to “Put an X beside the Green.” The ad cuts away briefly to a voter marking a colourful ballot.
“I’ve got a Green sign on my lawn and I’m happy to do a little singing to support the Greens,” said Hogg. “We need to be thinking about the future and the next generations.” The video was shot in Mr. Hogg’s kitchen and has a folksy look with plenty of knotty pine and a woodstove in the background. The singer accompanies himself with a bluesy arrangement on acoustic guitar.
The Climate Change Blues video is available on the Stephana Johnston’s campaign website at www.hngreens.ca or at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__WNmjhdzjg . A downloadable MP3 is also available at Johnston’s website.
Candidate Johnston likes the idea of advertising on YouTube and by the internet, generally. “So many people are on the Internet that it doesn’t make sense to use more paper than we need to.” Johnston notes that the campaign does have printed materials available. “We’re keeping it to a minimum but it’s still important to have informative pamphlets and papers.”
With the election less than 2 weeks away, the Green Party candidate has participated in 3 local debates and has met hundreds of voters at almost all of the local farmers’ markets. Interest in the Greens has risen sharply since Elizabeth May took over the leadership two years ago. Ms. May’s stubborn resolve in getting a seat at the table for the televised leaders’ debates is an inspiration to Candidate Johnston.
“She mobilized her supporters using email and the internet and within 2 days, she got the action she sought. Then, she followed through last week with a superb performance. Imagine what she could do in Parliament in 4 years.”
For further information, contact:
Haldimand-Norfolk Federal Green Party Association
Haldimand "Federal Election 2008 Harper Reminds Canadians of Three Major Differences between Canada and the US."
Harper seeks to calm market worries
Conservatives also offer sweetener on child care program
Globe and Mail Update with Canadian Press
October 6, 2008 at 8:21 PM EDT
LAVAL, Que. — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper walked a fine line Monday evening in the wake of plunging markets: reaching out to reassure spooked investors but at the same time warning them off voting for rival parties –saying they can expect more turmoil if his opponents win.
Appearing on the Business News Network, he said he doesn't see any deficit in the near future, but his comments stopped short of ruling out the longer-term potential to slide into the red.
“There's certainly nothing today that says we should go into deficit,” Mr. Harper said in an interview on BNN after being asked whether a deficit could be an option “in the near future.”
Mr. Harper said that “nothing on the horizon – notwithstanding the storm clouds and they are significant – indicates to me that we should immediately go into deficit.”
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper receives a high-five during a campaign stop at a day-care in Ottawa on Oct. 6, 2008. Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election on October 14.
Conservative staff rejected the suggestion he was leaving open the door for a deficit further down the road, though, noting Mr. Harper also said “we're certainly not going to embark on deficits.”
The Conservative Leader reminded Canadians of three differences between this country and the U.S. today. He noted that the federal government is running balanced budgets, that Canada's banking system is not in crisis like its counterpart in the United States and that the housing lending sector is also relatively unscathed.
“I think we do need to remind them of some of the differences with the U.S. We are not in deficit. We don't have a mortgage crisis or banking crisis as they do in the United States. We've actually been so far this year creating jobs,” he said.
But Mr. Harper then quickly went on the partisan offensive. At a Laval, Que., rally Monday night, he warned a Tory crowd that electing rivals such as the Liberals with their proposed carbon tax would only deepen market instability.
“Today we have seen more instability in the stock market. We have seen stocks tumble, especially in the commodity and energy sectors,” he told the Montreal rally.
“What I worry is this is just the tip of the iceberg if we get a carbon tax on energy or the tax increases the Opposition wants to impose on our economy to pay for spending promises we cannot afford, Mr. Harper said.
Mr. Harper's statements followed a news release from federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty which also sought to calm Canadian investors, who saw their investments plummet again Monday.
The message from the Tory Finance Minister was that Canada's banks are far sturdier than the U.S. banking system.
“Canada's financial system has handled the persistent global market turmoil very well. Canada's banks and other financial institutions are sound and well-capitalized, and are less leveraged than their international peers,” Mr. Flaherty said.
“Canada's mortgage system is sound. The Canadian housing finance market does not have a large sub-prime component and has not witnessed the proliferation of products and marketing practices that have led to the serious problems being experienced in the United States. Canadian households have smaller mortgages relative to both the value of their homes and to their disposable incomes than U.S. households,” he said.
“According to the International Monetary Fund, the rise in Canadian house prices in recent years was fully supported by sound economic factors, such as low interest rates, rising incomes and a growing population.
Separately, the Tories emphatically played down statements made Monday morning by Mr. Harper, in which he spoke of plans to aid banks if the U.S.-led financial meltdown – or efforts to counter it – spill over heavily into this country.
They said he was merely talking about expanded powers granted to the Bank of Canada in the 2008 budget and nothing more. “We have provided more freedom to the Bank of Canada … in Budget ‘08.”
Monday morning, however, Mr. Harper suggested in French that Ottawa had a standby plan in case Canada's credit system encountered trouble.
“We have other plans, other proposals, if we have to help the banking system if there are problems in the rest of the world that affect us,” he told reporters while speaking in French this morning in Ottawa. “But I think we're in a better position than others. I am an optimist, but I think I am also a realist.”
Mr. Harper's comments in English were different, however. When asked about the fact that Group of Seven countries are considering taking co-ordinated and independent action to counter the global credit crunch, the Conservative Leader replied that Ottawa is paying close attention.
“We are also watching to make sure that any actions that are taken [elsewhere] don't have any rebound effects on us, so we are putting some secondary plans in place if that becomes necessary,” he said.
He did not elaborate on these plans, and when pressed by reporters for more details, Conservative Party officials later played down Mr. Harper's comments, saying that there is no bailout in the works.
They clarified that he was referring to the normal conversations about maintaining liquidity in the banking system that take place frequently between Bank of Canada officials and the financial sector.
During the morning press conference held to announce a pledge to sweeten child care benefits, Mr. Harper repeated his belief that Canada still does not have a crisis in its financial and banking sector.
The main concern right now, he said, is the tightening of credit around the world. Mr. Harper said he would help wherever necessary with co-ordinated action taken by Group of Seven countries to cope with the credit crunch.
But he said he doesn't want to take any actions that leave Canadian taxpayers on the hook.
“Our main advice is obviously to encourage co-ordinated action, to encourage actions that will stabilize the situation without creating a great moral hazard for taxpayers,” he said.
It was a bumpy morning for the Conservative Leader as the election campaign entered its final week.
He was in Nepean, outside Ottawa, announcing a plan to index the Universal Child Care Benefit payout to inflation, meaning it would rise each year to match increases in the prices of key goods in the economy.
The plan would only add an estimate two or three dollars to the $100 monthly cheque that Canadian parents of children under six currently receive.
He also vowed to make the benefit tax-free for single parents who are the sole supporters of their children. Each of the pledges would cost $50-million each for a total price tag of $100-million. Currently the Universal Childcare Benefit costs the treasury $2.4-billion per year.
The news elsewhere, though, was troubling: The Conservative Party was sliding in the polls, stock markets were tumbling in Asia, European countries were declaring recessions, and there was no sign of an economic recovery in the U.S.
Just after he finished his first Monday morning campaign event, the TSX opened with triple-digit losses and continued to fall.
Mr. Harper dismissed some polls that show him losing ground as the campaign enters its final stretch. It's the same late-game problem that's plagued the Tories in two previous election races. “I said at the beginning of this campaign that it will be difficult. We are in a period of economic uncertainty.”
Economists say to truly stimulate the economy, governments have to run deficits so that in effect they're spending more than they're collecting in tax revenue.
But Mr. Harper refused to run a deficit, saying it's a slippery slope.
“My resistance to running a deficit would be that history has shown there are no small deficits,” he told reporters at a campaign stop in Ottawa. “Once governments lose fiscal discipline they lose it entirely.”
The Conservatives are running largely on their record when it comes to the economy, which includes tax cuts that amount to $40-billion per year by 2012 — including faster tax write-offs for machinery— and a $1-billion community adjustment fund for smaller communities as well as a $250-million fund to help automakers.
During the campaign, they have promised approximately $7-billion of spending over a multi-year period, much of it small tax breaks.
Asked to comment on a report from Scotiabank that predicted a recession, Mr. Harper said he remains undaunted and he won't likewise make such a projection.
“Let's be clear: the prime minister of Canada isn't going to go around the country predicting a recession when we're not in a recession now,” he said in Ottawa.
He said his positive outlook is still intact – but tempered it somewhat.
“I remain fundamentally optimistic about the Canadian economy but optimistic as I have said from the beginning within the framework we're now living in – and that is a period of economic uncertainty,” the Tory Leader said.
Asked whether his campaign platform, being released Tuesday, will contain new measures to address growing economic woes, he avoided a direct answer.
“I think that the policies we've put forward this campaign are appropriate for this time,” Mr. Harper said. “We're only making promises that we know we can afford to keep.”
He defended his government's record and said he believes he's done what is necessary to buffer Canada from external economic havoc.
“Look, we're not an island. We can't pretend, and we're not pretending, that we will escape the effects of world developments,” Mr. Harper said. “But we can do is make sure that we're doing the proper things in Canada, to make sure our banking sector is stable. We've done that, we're doing that. To make sure our finances are in good position and we can invest in things that cause long run job creation.”
The Conservative repeated his soft-sell pitch for Canadians to elect a majority Tory government, saying the country will need a steady hand at the helm “We're in a period of real economic uncertainty in the world. It will really matter what kind of Parliament we elect and who is running the government,” he said.
I forgot to post this the other day. This is an article by Karen Best. I also attended the debate in Kohler and I will post a blog later on my view after all the Candidates debates are over. I will also post shortly the article on the Dunnville Debate from last week.
Finley and Hoskins go head to head in Kohler
Posted By KAREN BEST CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Eric Hoskins and Diane Finley threw barbs at one another at the first Haldimand County all candidate meetings.
Hoskins, the Liberal candidate, accused Finley, the Conservative candidate, of abandoning Caledonia and tobacco farmers and suggested she was not accessible to her constituents. She retorted saying she attends meetings like the one on Sept. 30.
The pair sparred several times at the meeting hosted by the Haldimand Federation of Agriculture. Earlier in the meeting, independent candidate Gary McHale predicted the two would engage in such exchanges.
The other three candidates sitting in front of an audience of 100 were Steve Elgersma of the Christian Heritage Party, Stephana Johnston of the Green Party and Ian Nichols of the New Democratic Party.
After receiving 13 questions on the Caledonia issue, federation scrutinizers condensed them into one question: what will the candidates do about the problem in Caledonia.
"I will sit down at the table and I'm not leaving until it's settled," declared Nichols.
McHale had a lot more to say. Along with arresting criminals and applying the law equally, he would negotiate with peaceful natives. He also wanted government to change the rules so victims of violence could sue or put a lien on native bands . "I guarantee you the violence will go away," he said.
Presently $100 million worth of lawsuits are filed over Caledonia and it will be the taxpayers who will make the payments, he pointed out.
Under the Green Party's longer range view, it wanted a livable world where non violence prevailed and social justice existed, said Johnston. With environment and health integrated, the Green vision included grass roots democracy where people share power and look out for one another and the common good.
Hoskins stood up to say this dispute cannot continue for another two-and-a-half years. "This is a perfect example of local leadership where your local MP needs to own this," he said about working with people to find a solution. "If there's one thing Diane should be on the job for it is being on the ground and working her butt off to find a solution to this situation."
He was answered by loud applause.
When he related a conversation where a Caledonia resident alleged that Finley said she could do nothing as it was not her department, Finley turned and said not true three times.
Hoskins ying he would never say it's not his problem. Along with getting the Prime Minister personally involved, the Liberal government would make the Six Nations issue a priority in Canada. He said daily negotiations, deadlines and targets are necessary to move talks.
The Liberal candidate also accused Harper's government for lack of interest and lack of hard work by those responsible to get a settlement done. In his last statement, he said Stephen Harper was wrong in saying he did not need to go to Caledonia because it is a provincial responsibility when it was a federal responsibility.
Finley started out saying that Stephan Dion had not once mentioned Caledonia in the House of Commons. "What if the deadline passes?" she asked. One audience answer was, "Cut off the money."
Negotiations are the only way to reach resolution but there is no easy solution, Finley pointed out. If there was, the great minds working on this would have found it by now.
Laughter rippled through the audience.
Finley insisted that Dalton McGuinty and the OPP enforce the rule of law. People guffawed. Continuing non plussed, she said she looked forward to a peaceful solution as soon as possible.
"Personally I want to continue to work with Haldimand County as I have done on many many occasions throughout this helping them save millions of dollars in policing costs,"said Finley. "I also want to work with them to develop infrastructure that will help them recover including the damage that this occupation has caused."
She denounced Hoskins's deadline suggestion as glib and simple. "They do not demonstrate an understanding of the situation," Finley added.
Elgersma wanted to see an aboriginal parliament established as recommended in the 1996 report by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The parliament would act as an advisory board to the House and eventually replace Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and take over its $700 billion budget. He said written records should be examined to look for proof of purchase of lands.
A member of the audience asked candidates how they will be accessible and accountable if elected. "That's what we're doing here tonight, isn't it,"Finley replied. "This is called being accountable."
From the back of the room, a man yelled, "Does that mean you will be in Dunnville Thursday (Oct. 2) night?"
The audience laughed and applauded. She did not answer.
Elgersma defended Finley saying "she may have a legitimate reason not to be". He missed an all candidate meeting scheduled on the day of his son's wedding.
"You'll see me. You might get sick of the face but I will be working for you," said Nichols.
If elected, he will spend time on the streets when he is not in Ottawa answering questions and collecting concerns and input.
Some people think accountability is being available to speak to when they are seeking votes, said McHale. Over the past two and a half years, he was around and renting halls for meetings and his contact information is available on the internet. "And you know for a fact when something is going on, the best place to find me is exactly where the problem is," he added.
Johnston said she was a strong believer in town hall meetings and hoped to hold her first one on Oct. 15.
Voters will judge accountability and representation, said Hoskins. "There's no more important issue than Caledonia right now and finding a solution to that impasse," he stated.
If elected, his campaign office in Caledonia will become a constituency office. "So I can be accessible, and I can be accountable so nobody will be putting up signs that say where is Eric Hoskins," he added.
Another hot topic was tobacco transition. Hoskins said members of all other parties but the Conservatives supported a Liberal party proposal to pay $1.74 a pound for tobacco quota. Much later Finley announced the Conservative offer, and he wondered in the deal would withstand the result of the election.
Finley said yes and pointed out that the Liberals offered one-third of tobacco players a buy out plan four years ago and forced farmers to compete against each other in a reverse auction. In response to her question about Dion delivering his plan, Hoskins stood and committed to it.
In closing remarks, Nichols reported that many people feel they are not being represented. To address that, he will meet with residents and county councils and will release information on how concerns were addressed and what is happening in Ottawa.
"I will work very hard because I will be so honoured to have your vote....and be able to stop the big corporations from stealing our money," he concluded.
For McHale, an MP is an advocate and is passionate about issues their constituents face. Referring to his activities over the past two years, he said he demonstrated commitment to fighting on behalf of people in the area. On Sept. 30, he was in court to file charges against members of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute who were extorting money from others, he stated.
"There has to be practical solutions for the real problems people are facing," he said. And MPs must fight for them regardless of personal costs.
Johnston asked people to watch Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the leaders debate and added that she didn't cross McHale's path because she ventured into Six Nations to distribute materials on proportional voting.
Hoskins held himself up as a person of integrity, honesty and trust putting voters in the driver's seat. The people select an MP who they believe will stand up for them and help them face challenges.
"Also more importantly, (a MP who) will also put community before politics," he concluded.
Finley explained that she flew to Ottawa every Monday night, worked 12 hour days on behalf of constituents and returned Friday to the riding to meet people and attend events. As a minister, she is required to represent the federal government across Canada and abroad, she p>Over the past year, Finley has undergone a few eye surgeries and is now able to drive again. Despite these other commitments, she attended 300 official events in the two counties. She said she is part of the community because this is her home.
Finley concluded saying Harper can provide security in uncertain times and has a proven track record of getting thins done.
Opening statements provided further insight into candidates, Elgersma spoke about the supremacy of God, said women used abortion as birth control and delared homosexuality as evil.
Finley itemized promises kept including reductions in GST, decreases in federal taxes for families, crack downs on violent and drug related crimes, and environmental protection. On the agricultural side, the Conservative government announced the Growing Forward program and its $1.3 billion in July.
Aso in July, the Conservative government announced a $286 million buy out program for Norfolk County tobacco farmers and $15 million for communities adapting to related economic changes.
Recognizing voters were in control, Hoskins said he would support farmers and work for their prosperity so they can make a living in that honourable profession. His party will encourage local food purchases which are safe and of high quality.
Johnston congratulated audience members for participating in democracy. The North American Free Trade Agreement is destroying farming communities when people should be buying locally, she added. This approach is interconnected with the economy and the environment, sated Johnston. Advocating stewardship of the soil and water, she also wanted to see half of student loans to be interest free until the graduate is earning a livable income.
McHale predicted Liberal and Conservative parties would deny playing a role in creating problems facing the riding today. He promised to be a thorn government's side and speak out on behalf of Haldimand Norfolk. "I will not back down. I will not be intimidated," he announced.
He mentioned that Finley and Hoskins had the opportunity to get out when they people were suffering and stand beside them. "That's what I'm going to do," McHale stated.
Nichols said he stood up as a candidate after 30 years of watching the federal government banter back and forth. "And we don't get anything," he said.
Along with a dire need for more local jobs, assistance is crucial for farmers. "Fields are empty and at the end of the lanes there are for sale signs," he said.
So residents need hope and opportunity coming from real change in federal government, said Nichols. He wanted tougher pollution laws for corporations and more physicians.
On land claims, he said both parties need someone they respect to sit at the negotiating table and more information for the public on this. "They are keeping us in the dark and feeding us like mushrooms," said Nichols.
Most of the questions received from audience were related to agriculture. On food safety and listeriosis, Nichols called for more food inspectors and accountability to the public, a point Johnston also championed. McHale took it further in suggesting a watch dog to expose facts to the public.
Hoskins pointed out that the Canadian Medical Association blamed Stephen Harper's government for the listeriosis outbreak. Doctors linked it directly to risky decisions in reversing progress on public health. For example, the Conservative government left cold meat inspection up to the meat industry.
In response, Finley said the government took the initiative on food safety in hiring 200 inspectors and launching a food safety and quality program.
On how the green shift will benefit farmers, Hoskins described farmers as the first environmentalists. He referred to praise from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and reduced reliance on fossil fuel.
Finley said farmers will be most affected and will be challenged to keep up with the competition while paying higher fuel costs. Nichols suggested talking to farmers to determine what they need.
McHale said this was a new tax disguised with a green label and promised to fight against any new taxes. Johnston took a broader look to point out that people are killing the earth and it has to stop but denounced the green shift as it allowed corporations to pay for the privilege to pollute.
To improve health care, McHale advocated tax incentives so doctors and nurses will practice in the rural area. Johnston recommended preventative measures to reduce or avoid illness. The Liberal remedy was $400 million to train and place new doctors and nurses in urban and rural areas, said Hoskins. Drug safety and expediting acceptance of foreign doctors are part of the Conservative strategy, stated Finley. Nichols said the NDP want to see a 50 per cent increase in doctors and nurses, expanded home care and cuts in hospital waits.
With senior citizens out pacing those under 30 in the farm business, candidates were asked for ideas to make agriculture an attractive career.
Johnston suggested creation of a college program for Grade 10 students to introduce them to the industry at a young age. The first priority is protecting current farmers and to hear solutions provided by farmers, said Hoskins. With costs of herbicides and other materials rising, farming requires a significant investment, said Finley who pointed out 233 agricultural research projects are underway across Canada. Elgersma said grants should be provided. Viability of current farmers comes first and will be best achieved by eliminating NAFTA, said Nichols. After watching parents lose money, children are unlikely to farm because they need money to do the job, said McHale who vowed to fight for the farmers.
On dropping production in Canada and increased government spending, Finley said the government is creating jobs by encouraging companies with business friendly policies and keeping costs down by not adding a carbon tax. If people give tithes to church, God will fill their baskets to the brim, said Elgersma about economic well being. Rolling back tax cuts for big business and a $50 billion investment in Haldimand Norfolk would make a big difference in Haldimand Norfolk, said Nichols. McHale said he would be the only one to champion riding residents' causes six months after the election.
Johnston wanted to see green jobs growing in the riding instead of purchasing California wind turbines and European solar panels. Under the green shift, diesel will rise less than five per cent starting in the fourth year but it went up 45 cents a litre under Harper, said Hoskins. He didn't raise it, interjected Finley. The issue is does one believe in the climate change issue or not, he volleyed back.
Someone asked if candidates would recall the long gun registry. Only Hoskins said no.
Article ID# 1230565
Posted by Donna Pitcher at 7:45 PM
Spectator political columnist Andrew Dreschel took in six hours of local candidates' debates and tells you who won and who lost
October 06, 2008 Andrew DreschelThe Hamilton Spectator(Oct 6, 2008)
Winner: Gary McHale, Independent
Loser: Eric Hoskins, Liberal
With Conservative incumbent Diane Finley apparently chickening out, the stage was set for star Liberal candidate Eric Hoskins to shine.
But the well-spoken Rhodes Scholar and war zone humanitarian was upstaged by Gary McHale, the well-known Caledonia activist (or, if you prefer, rabble rouser) who is running as an Independent.
Hoskins undermined his own position by first identifying the native land claims as the most urgent issue facing the riding, but offered no solution other than a deadline for negotiations which would be tepidly followed by mediation in case of an impasse. Gee, that would be different.
By contrast, McHale promised to rattle cages and maintain a media spotlight on the issue until it was solved, threatening to be the worst nightmare for the OPP and provincial and federal powers that be.
While Hoskins responsibly offered more of the same, McHale dared frustrated voters to take a risky walk with him along the edge.
NIAGARA WEST- GLANBROOK
Winner: Dean Allison, Conservative
Loser: David Heatley, NDP
As the incumbent MP, Allison is the champ. It's not enough to pummel him, you have to knock him on his can. Liberal Heather Carter threw a flurry of mostly ineffectual jabs that neither rocked Allison nor wiped the slightly smug smile off his face.
Heck, Allison was so jovially confident, he even took to trading barbs with hecklers in the audience.
New Democrat Heatley lost out by falling for Allison's jolly suggestion to tell the folks why his party is opposed to the Liberal carbon tax. When the two of them turned to trading quips about Bob Rae's defection to the Liberals, they were like a tag team.
An honourable mention goes to Dave Blysma of the Christian Heritage Party for his courageous tilting at windmills. He's so far right he thinks the Conservatives are "Liberal lite."
Liberal or Tory, same old story, according to Blysma.
Winner: Peter Ormond, Green Party
Loser: Arlene MacFarlane-VanderBeek, Liberal
Conservative incumbent David Sweet was competent, conscientious and up on every file thrown his way.
But Sweet's mild manner was overshadowed by the Green's Ormond, who has mastered the simple art of speaking directly and clearly into the microphone, filling dead space with his big voice and repetitive thoughts on climate change, renewable energy, and the green economy.
It's not at all clear if Ormond has a grasp on issues beyond the environment, but he dominated the debate.
Liberal Vanderbeek was the loser by virtue of having little to say for herself. Given that the Liberals are the only party that can threaten the Conservative hold on this riding, you'd think she'd have roared rather than snored her way through the open forum.
Winner: David Christopherson, New Democrat.
Loser: the seven other candidates
Incumbent Christopherson has been representing Hamiltonians in one forum or another for 30 years. He's a career politician. A pro's pro.
He's got electioneering down to an art form. Wind him up, watch him go.
The subject doesn't matter: immigration, education, affordable housing, jobs. It's always the same.
Christopherson starts off slow, his voice and tempo gradually rising until -- he's fully possessed by passion and conviction.
It's a shtick, but it's a winning, unbeatable one.
And that's why all the other candidates are losers. They're amateurs who don't stand a chance against this old smoothie who knows when to be assertive, respectful, humourous, and even, believe it or not, when to clam up.
Still, let's give Liberal Helen Wilson a nod for gamely stepping into the breach after the original Grit candidate took a last-minute powder.
HAMILTON EAST- STONEY CREEK
Winner: Larry Di Ianni, Liberal
Loser: Frank Rukavina, Conservative
This was a tough one. A lively, boisterous debate that was almost a split decision between Liberal Di Ianni and NDP incumbent Wayne Marston.
The knock against Marston is he's too soft. But he's clearly grown in the role of MP since narrowly capturing the riding from the Liberals in 2006, easily going toe-to-toe against the experienced former mayor.
But Di Ianni gets the nod for his defence of Stephane Dion's frequently questioned abilities as party leader. Di Ianni said Dion's not your usual backslapping politician. He's a team leader and a man of principle, whose English language skills can be improved. It was a simple, straightforward and honest answer to a question that troubles many voters.
For his part, Rukavina was too easily sidelined and tended to dodge questions rather than meet them head on.
Winner: No one
Loser: No one
A high-spirited, stimulating debate resulting in no clear winner, indicative of a tight three-way race between NDP incumbent Chris Charlton, Conservative Terry Anderson, and Liberal Tyler Banham.
Charlton coolly bagged away at the Harper government for muzzling backbenchers and the Liberals for changing priorities.
The unflappable Anderson pushed back at NDP criticisms of corporate tax cuts, pointing out that the idea is to generate jobs.
The fast-talking Banham was all about grassroot connections, fresh ideas and positioning himself as the face of the new Liberal party.
The best line went to Green's Stephen Brotherston, who pointed out that during the various debates he had heard all parties take credit for driving the cleanup of Randle Reef.
Brotherston neglected to say, however, that none of the mainstream parties took responsibility for any past failings or shortcomings.
Rough ride for Finley during debate in Caledonia
Updated Mon. Oct. 6 2008 8:40 PM ET
The Canadian Press
CALEDONIA, Ont. -- Immigration Minister Diane Finley received a bumpy reception during an all-candidates debate Monday in this town hit hard by a festering and at times violent land-claims dispute.
Finley, who is in a tough battle for re-election in the southern Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk, was greeted by tepid applause interspersed with boos by the standing-room only crowd of about 200 people, who packed a local Legion hall to listen to their six candidates.
"I'm proud to be here," the Conservative politician said in her opening comment.
"I don't know why," someone interjected, drawing the wrath of a moderator who made it clear on several occasions that heckling would not be tolerated, even threatening to have one man arrested.
While questions to the candidates included questions about energy, the environment and health care, it was clear most in the crowd had come to hear the candidates' views on the Six Nations dispute.
The dispute boiled over to an occupation of a housing development on the south end of Caledonia 21/2 years ago, at times turning violent as local citizens and occupiers clashed.
The loudest cheers and applause were reserved for maverick Gary McHale, who is running as an independent and appears to enjoy solid support among some Caledonians fed up with the ongoing occupation.
"Nobody has been prepared to step forward and help you out but me," said McHale, who has led protests against the occupation.
Echoing a sentiment commonly heard in Caledonia, McHale accused Finley of going missing in action.
"This election is about leadership, not the kind of leadership that shows up every four years and asks for your vote," McHale said.
"I can guarantee you in six months you won't see any of them."
McHale, who has pressed for provincial police to end the occupation, was loudly applauded when he told the audience their Charter rights were being "systematically violated" by a federal government that had failed to defend their interests.
Finley defended the Conservative government's approach, saying Ottawa had appointed a veteran negotiator.
As a result, the feds have made two "very significant" offers in an effort to end a land-claims dispute that dated back 150 years, Finley responded.
"Our government has been involved from the very beginning trying to resolve this situation," she said.
"(But) it won't be resolved overnight."
Also attacking Finley was Eric Hoskins, a doctor who spent years working in developing countries and who is now flying the Liberal standard.
He, too, accused her and other Conservative politicians of hiding in Ottawa.
Hoskins said a Liberal government would end the dispute by referring it to the Federal Land Claims Tribunal for a binding settlement.
The issue must take priority, he said. "None are as urgent or as pressing as the Caledonia land-claims issue," Hoskins said.
"I can feel your frustrations. They don't reflect the Canada you want. It's time for change."
Also running in the riding are New Democrat Ian Nichols, the Green party's Stephana Johnston and Steven Elgersma of the Christian Heritage Party.
For those of you that personally know me, know that I have a pet peeve with the deliberate placing of "Election Signs" on municipal property. I wrote about this when I was working with Toby Barrett during the Provincial election (signs, signs, everywhere signs). When I ran in the last Municipal Election in Haldimand County I heard the "oh I didn't know" that I couldn't put my sign there mentality.
First I would like to state that it is the "Responsibility" of each "Candidate" in "Every" election to know the local rules regarding where you can place election signs, so if any "Candidate" tells you that they can put their signs wherever they want, don't believe them! In fact some will say that if you take out their sign it is against the Law! So in saying that someone asked me what should they do if an election sign is put on their private property without their permission? I told them that if it was me I would take it out! That simple, and if I am arrested for it, So be It!
I am not saying here that there have been candidates in this Federal election that are doing this, but it is pretty close, you see it is just how your manipulate the rules. For an example, most of us that live rural have a buffer zone between our properties and the side of the road that is owned by the municipality, especially the farmers (easement). That is where some of the election signs are going up, and that is exactly what happened to the person that asked me the question.
Their are some people that will say, come on give it up, the election is only a few weeks. But it means far more than that to me. It has to do with "Credibility" and being "Accountable" for your actions.
When an individual is running in an election you will hear them promise many, many things. One of the promises that I have heard during this Federal election is "Credibility and Accountability", for me this is a very important promise. Some candidates back this up with their credentials, others just back this up with the promise that they will do what the other candidate has not done.
Back to the reason why I am writing this blog today. Yesterday we drove to Hamilton and I was floored at all the elections signs out there that are on Municipal property. One park in Dunnville right at the river was plastered with Gary McHale signs. I was quite angry with that one, as the people that were enjoying the park did not need to see "garbage" littered all over the park! Now before someone crucifies me for this comment, this was not a "personal" dig! If Hoskins or Nicolls had signs in the park I would have said the same thing.
Now I am not sure whether in Haldimand County our election sign placement is a bylaw or a policy, but does it make a difference? Do the rules always have to be "pushed" to the limit?
As we were driving down the River Rd. towards Hamilton, you could tell that there were a few candidates in the Dunnville area on Saturday, as the signs are plastered everywhere, that is everywhere on the side of the road, at intersections, on poles and even on the property of a closed business. There were only a few signs on "Private Property".
Now I can honestly say that I don't have a problem when a campaign worker puts up a few signs here and there, but the "plastering" of signs is not necessary, and is deliberately defying the rules in Haldimand and I am sure many other communities. Toronto was smart on this one, they jumped on the opportunity to make a few dollars for the taxpayers. All candidates in Toronto that want to place signs on city property can do so for a fee of $250.00. Smart move Toronto!
So back to my pet peeve. It seemed that everywhere there was a Liberal sign, there was an NDP sign and right beside was an Independent sign. Of course I am talking about signs placed where no one lives, so in saying that these signs were on Municipal property. In fact some signs where down right battling each other for the best angle. But I have to say that the signs in the Park in Dunnville really peeved me off!
These candidates that are breaking the local rules are basically in my opinion stating that they are not credible nor accountable even before they are elected. So for those of you that are going to the polls on October 14th, you might consider this: If the candidate cannot follow a simple rule before in office, how will they be once elected!
Well now that I have ranted, I do feel much better!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I have a problem with Duceppe's invitation to sit at the debate table. Now I probably wouldn't have taken that point of view, but once I heard Duceppe's comments to the press after the debate I was not impressed with him!
Duceppe is the leader of a party that only exists in one province in Canada. Do you think it was fair that he was involved in the debate? The Liberals, NDP and Greens never once attacked him, why?, the answer is simple, he can never be the PM of Canada, therefore not a direct "threat".
First I asked myself, what is the Leaders debate all about? The answer once again is a simple one, to help us make a decision on who we think is the best person to be Prime Minister of Canada, a position that Duceppe could never have.
It became clear after the debate that Duceppe had one purpose, Quebec, not Canada. So in my opinion Duceppe doesn't care what we think here in Haldimand, so he trots off to Toronto, Ontario and campaigns "against" another party. That wouldn't be a problem for me as I really don't care who attacks who, but in this case Duceppe in my opinion is playing a game in partnership with who knows who! That is dirty pool!
Here is one question the press asked Duceppe after the debate; (question not in exact words)
You are going to Toronto tomorrow to speak, why if you are not running for the Prime Minisiter?
Duceppe's answer, they need to know our point of view! If you want to stop Harper this is the way to do it! If it is good for Quebec we support it!
During the debate "Trust and Accountability" were talked about. Why would the leader of a party that has no possibility of ever being PM of Canada spend so much of his time trying to convince others of who "not" to vote for? OOPS you don't need to answer that Duceppe already did; "If it is good for Quebec we support it". So it is obvious that Harper is not giving a "blank cheque to Quebec" and Duceppe will do whatever he can for Quebec, not "Canada"!
So Duceppe runs to Toronto to campaign? No one in Toronto can vote for him unless they move to Quebec. This was only a plan to help the Liberals and NDP defeat the Harper government. Nice game plan!
My hope is that the next election the leader of the Bloc is not invited to the debate.
The Leaders Debate should only involve those that are running to be PM of Canada.
Here is what was said about Duceppe's stop in Toronto;
Bloc urges Canadians to shun Tories
By Martin Ouellet, THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO - On a rare campaign stop outside his home province, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe implored a group of elite Toronto business people on Friday to turn their backs on the Conservatives on Oct. 14.
Speaking to about 200 people at the Economic Club of Toronto, Duceppe said Canada can't afford to elect a majority Conservative government, particularly in the wake of plunging markets and the economic crisis in the United States.
"We strongly disagree with the Conservative way of managing the economy from an ideological point of view," he said.
"It is very dangerous when a prime minister makes his decisions through an ideological prism instead of a pragmatic one."
Duceppe called Prime Minister Stephen Harper's "laissez-faire" attitude toward the economy a misguided approach inspired by the likes of U.S. President George W. Bush that "lets down forestry and manufacturing industries."
While he insisted he wasn't in Toronto to tell Canadians who to vote for, he nonetheless accused the Conservatives of remaining indifferent in the face of manufacturing job losses in both Ontario and Quebec.
Claiming everything is fine with the economy is an insult to many people in Quebec, and likely Ontario, he added.
Duceppe again slammed the Conservatives for cutting arts funding and was congratulated by author Margaret Atwood who was sitting at the head table.
Atwood said she would definitely vote for the Bloc if she lived in Quebec.
"Yes, absolutely," she said "What is the alternative?" Despite his largely federalist audience, Duceppe also took a moment to plug Quebec separatism.
"I'm more convinced than ever that sovereignty is the best possible outcome for Quebec and also for Canada," he said. "This way we'll go forward as two nations, two countries respectful of each other."
Coincidentally, Quebec's intergovernmental affairs minister, Benoit Pelletier, was giving a simultaneous speech to the Canadian Club in the same hotel.
Pelletier insisted the speech on federalism had been arranged months ago and was in no way aimed at overshadowing or making a mockery of the Bloc leader's visit.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Dion's carbon tax not worth the risk
September 30, 2008
Yesterday, the final nail in the carbon tax coffin was hammered in by the Liberals themselves.
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, the most senior Liberal Finance Minister in the country, was asked a direct question about carbon taxes.
Duncan could not have been clearer in his response:
"One of the things that I think would be a mistake right now is massive shifts in the tax burden at a time when there's uncertainty."
Duncan joins a growing list of Liberals – federal and provincial, incumbent and non-incumbent – questioning the cornerstone plank in Stephane Dion’s platform.
If Liberals themselves don’t have confidence in Stephane Dion’s plan for Canada, why should Canadians?
Stephane Dion. Not a leader. Not worth the risk.
Liberals in Ontario are warning that a carbon tax will be bad for the economy. They can all see a new tax is not the way to deal with global economic uncertainty. Why can’t Mr. Dion and the federal Liberals?
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan warned against "massive shifts in tax burden at a time when there's uncertainty", saying it would be a "mistake" (Globe and Mail, September 29, 2008).
Former Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara has warned Stéphane Dion to "qualify his commitment to the Green Shift on the basis that it would only be implemented with sound evidence that it would not have negative impact on the economy" (National Post, September 20, 2008).
Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty has refused to endorse Stéphane Dion’s platform and has said that a carbon tax is not the best way to combat climate change (Canadian Press, September 8, 2008; Toronto Star, May 28, 2008).
Ontario Liberals are clear. This is no time to introduce a risky new carbon tax.
This article is from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, this is a Must Read!
Fiscal Discipline and Liberal DNA
In an election campaign where our economic future is increasingly shaping up to be the ballot question, it is not only important, but indeed a responsibility, that each party cost their platform.
To their credit, the Liberals did just that recently by releasing Richer, Fairer, Greener: An Action Plan for the 21st Century. Let's consider what the Grits have offered.The plan's whole layout is rather unorthodox. Rather than present year-by-year numbers as per government budgets and annual public accounts, the Liberal platform offers an accumulated four-year projection of how a majority Liberal government would introduce new taxes, cut existing taxes, and spend billions on a wide array of people, projects, and programs all the while balancing the books.
Over four years a Liberal government would collect $1.07-trillion in taxes and spend $1.05-trillion, leaving a surplus of slightly less than $20-billion. But the entire plan hinges on one big assumption. Their projections assume annual revenue growth of 4.5 per cent for each of the next four years. That's higher than what the department of finance presently projects and likely doesn't take into account the adverse impact of events south of the 49th.
Consider, for example, the impact if their growth projections are off by a single percentage point. A still optimistic 3.5 percent annual growth in revenues creates a shortfall of $60-billion. Subtract their platform's allowance of a $20-billion "cushion" and suddenly there's a $40-billion hole in the Liberal plan.
Would a Stéphane Dion government post $10-billion annual deficits to fund their ambitious spending agenda under this scenario?Dion says no.
He has committed repeatedly during the campaign to run balanced budgets.Would a Stéphane Dion government raise taxes to the tune of $10-billion per year to fund any shortfalls in his ambitious spending agenda?Again, Dion says no. But on this front it should be noted that Mr. Dion has also repeatedly claimed that his Party's central plank in this campaign - the Green Shift - would not impose new burdens on taxpayers. Clearly this is false.
The Liberal's Green Shift introduces a $15-billion annual carbon tax on traditional energy sources. That would be offset, in part, by lower personal and business income taxes to the tune of $9.5-billion. However, the remainder is new spending with $4.5-billion going to low income families and $1-billion toward research and development. In other words, for every $3 in new taxes only $2 will be coming back in relief. The other $1 is new spending.
There is, of course, one final option for Mr. Dion should his plan meet a shortfall: cut spending.
On this point Mr. Dion says "fiscal discipline is now part of the Liberal DNA," harkening back to 1997-98 when former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien balanced the books for the first time in nearly thirty years.How did they do it? They cut spending. Between 1993 and 1996, program spending decreased by nearly 10 percent. Cuts were made across the board. And it was explained to Canadians as tough but necessary medicine to nurse the country back to fiscal health after decades of Liberal and Conservative recklessness.
Is this something Mr. Dion would do to keep the country's books balanced?
Consider the platform - without questioning any of its revenue assumptions - says it will reallocate $12-billion in current spending and find a further $5-billion in proverbial "efficiency" savings" as part of their plan to balance the budget. Yet, not a single penny under this category of "expenditure discipline" is detailed.
If Mr. Dion can't detail committed-to spending restraint in an arguably rosy platform document, what confidence is there they could do it in the event of a not-so-unlikely economic downturn?
The Liberals have not put out a taxpayer-friendly platform; but it is a platform nonetheless and they've had the courage to release a document for voters and taxpayers to consider. Now it's time for the Conservatives to step up to the plate.