Posts from our progressive community

Why the Liberal Government is Defending Bill C-14 So Strongly

Montreal Simon - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 06:30


Because I know a lot about death, and I've seen a lot of people die, some of my friends have been coming up to me and asking the same question:

Why is Justin Trudeau's government clinging so stubbornly to its assisted dying bill C14?

My blogging friend Kirby Evans asks the same question here.

And my answer to him and the others is, for a very good reason.
Read more »

Different Folks, Different Rules

Northern Reflections - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 04:26
 
The Isle of Man tax avoidance scheme is nothing new. Linda McQuaig reminds her readers that Brian Mulroney cut the same kind of deal with the CRA:

The riveting image of the former prime minister accepting wads of cash from a notorious lobbyist — admitted by Mulroney under cross-examination at a 2009 public inquiry — was so eye-popping that it completely eclipsed another fascinating aspect of the story: the sweetheart tax deal Mulroney got from the Canada Revenue Agency after he failed to report the cash.
Although Mulroney had hidden the cash payments (totalling $225,000) from tax authorities for six years, his lawyers managed to cut a deal that allowed the former PM to avoid any fines or penalties, and only required him to pay half the taxes he would have paid if he’d obeyed the tax laws — laws that chumps like you and me are legally obliged to obey.
And the treatment of Mulroney wasn't exceptional -- for the wealthy:
The KPMG scam is undoubtedly just the tip of a gigantic tax-avoidance iceberg. Canadians for Tax Fairness, a labour-sponsored group, calculates Canada loses more than $7 billion a year in revenue due to wealthy individuals and corporations using tax havens.
Under the Harper government, this sort of tax avoidance by the rich tended to be viewed as a benign activity, a victimless crime, part of the notion that taxes are inherently bad. But, of course, that’s only true if you’re willing to go without schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, pensions and other public goods that require tax revenue.
The flourishing, highly lucrative tax avoidance business can also be blamed for the complexity of the tax system, so frequently bemoaned by right-wingers.
The folks Leona Helmsley called "the little people" have their taxes withdrawn with every pay cheque. It's their paper trail and they can't hide it. The wealthy have become very good at hide and seek. It's time the Trudeau government declared that different rules for different folks is no longer government policy. And the new policy has to have teeth. 
Image: thefeeherytheory.com

Howe, the Wings, Detroit

The Disaffected Lib - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 00:57

Gordie Howe was, if anything, the beating heart of the Detroit Red Wings. He was a Red Wing two years before I was born. I grew up thinking of Howe as the indispensable element of the Wings even with Delvecchio and Mahovlich.

Back then I lived on the Canadian side of the Detroit River in what was then the town of Riverside, adjacent to Windsor. As the crow flies we were probably a mile and a half from Hitsville USA, home of MoTown.

I remember the riots of July, 1967, what Gordon Lightfoot immortalized in "Black day in July." I was a year away from starting flight school in the air force. We went down to the river, our hangout since I was a kid. The night sky was alive with low clouds reflecting the fierce red of the fires engulfing Detroit - John R and Brush. The odd crack of a rifle answered by soldiers' automatic weapons. Patton tanks cruising down Jefferson. We were kids looking on madness. Many of our parents, people who had known the war, would have nothing to do with it. My dad, still recovering from his own wounds, was uncharacteristically quiet, deeply sad.



What must a young man from Saskatchewan made of that mayhem. But Detroit wasn't all anger and hatred. We had the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Miracles, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Commodores, Mary Wells, Gladys Night and the Pips, James Jamerson, Earl Van Dyke, Al Green and the Isley Brothers. What more could you ask for?

The Tempting Temptations



The Four Tops



Smokey and the Miracles



And there was this gang of session musicians, the Funk Brothers. A lot of them were Bluesmen from the Deep South, sons of sharecroppers. Guys like Jamerson. If you knew the clubs you could find them playing on a Saturday night - concert grade stuff. White boys were okay, sort of, but you had to be very, very respectful. Joe Hunter, Bob Babbit, Uriel Jones, Joe Messina and Pistol Allen and they were the band for everyone.



Over the years my Detroit experience distilled down to two good friends, then one. Both were veterans of Vietnam. Tim - born in Canada and a good hockey prospect - he didn't make it. A really great guy but he did not come back whole and he couldn't fix what was wrong.

Bob, dear Bob, on the other hand. Two tours and a bit. He was my best friend literally since we met and still to this day. I won't let you in on that story, not yet anyway.  A guy like me has never had a better friend.

I'm saddened by Gordie Howe's passing and, from what I've seen in the Detroit media, the Motor City is feeling the sting of his loss. To them Howe will always be one of their own. He did a lot for that town.






Harper's Legacy: Now Lockheed Martin is Threatening to Blackmail Us

Montreal Simon - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 00:54


For what sometimes seems like forever, the F-35 fighter jet has been hovering over Canada like some kind of giant bat.

And even though it has been a comedy of errors, more hot air has been expended talking about it than is blown out of its rear orifice.

And now this pathetic saga has taken another turn with its maker Lockheed Martin threatening to blackmail Canada.
Read more »

The Courage of Mauril Bélanger and the Idiocy of the Cons

Montreal Simon - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 19:43


I don't know how he did it. It must have taken all the strength still left in his dying body.

His muscles are locking up. By now he probably can't smile or even close his eyes. It's getting harder and harder to breathe.

But somehow Mauril Bélanger made it to the House of Commons for what is almost certainly the last time.

To see his bill to make our national anthem gender neutral advance to its final vote.
Read more »

Shakedown

The Disaffected Lib - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 18:44


Nice place ya got here. Shame if anything happened to it.

Translate that into Lockheed-lingo and it comes out like this - you buy any other airplane and we'll pull $825-million in contract work, Canada.

A bit of background. Lockheed has implemented a marketing strategy for the overdue, overpriced and underperforming F-35 supposedly stealthy light bomber that would make Erwin Rommel swoon.

To make the F-35 Congress-proof, Lockheed spread development and construction contracts across all but a few States. If the programme dies, there go all those jobs, jobs, jobs - enough to give any Congressman second thoughts. The company was shrewd enough to save plenty of gravy for its foreign developer partners - the UK, Canada, etc.

For a while the company said those contracts would continue even if Canada didn't ink a firm deal for the F-35, i.e. so long as the option was open. Now it's playing hardball.

If Canada goes ahead and buys something else, such as the Boeing Super Hornet, Lockheed will pull those $825 million in contracts.

"It's not really a threat," [Steve Over, Lockheed director of international sales] said in an interview with CBC News. "I don't want it perceived as a threat, but we will have no choice, if Canada walks away from F-35, except to relocate work in Canada to other purchasing nations."​

By the end of the year, Over said he expects the value of Canadian parts and sustainment contracts to reach $1 billion, with an anticipated lifetime value of $10 billion or more.

This puts the prime minister in an awkward spot. He hasn't shown a lot of spine in rough water. Presumably Lockheed was watching closely as he buckled on the Saudi Death Wagon deal. Will Slick dare risk incurring Lockheed's wrath and the fury of Canada's corporate sector or will he run true to course and just fold?
Lockheed can pretend it's not a threat but it damn well is. Are we going to do as we're told - one more time?


Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 16:16
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