Archive for the ‘Unsolicited Political Advice’ Category

Thank God we Have a Conservative Government to Save us from Those Big, Bad Markets.

October 23rd, 2007

Nice piece in the Financial Post today by Terence Corcoran, Flaherty should tackle his own price gougers, making some reflections on Jim Flaherty’s announcement that he would meet with retailers to discuss why the price of goods hasn’t come down lock-step with the rise in the dollar. Nice to have a conservative finance minister that has so little faith in the free market, that he must intervene at the slightest provocation (and I do mean slightest).

I have an idea for Jim Flaherty: want to see the market kick into gear? Remove the duty on goods consumers bring back into Canada upon leaving the country. No need to be away 48 hours for a $400 duty free (or 7 and $750). One day in the U.S., bring back as much consumer goods as you please (booze and cigarettes subject to the usual rules, of course). This would create competition with American retailers, forcing Canadian retailers to bring their prices more in line with American prices.

This way, you see, I could get up Saturday and say, Hey! Let’s go shopping! Couple of hours later wee’re in Buffalo, buy a big screen TV, 5.5 Surround sound system for it, a HDDVD, and a bunch of DVD’s. Back at the border:

“How Long have you been out of the country?”
“Couple of Hours.”
“Anything to declare?”
“Four-thousand-five-hundred and seventy-two dollars worth of goods.”
“Any liquor or tobacco?”
“have a nice day, sir.”

Jim Flaherty says he wants the markets to work for Canadians. That’s how they would work, by adding competition, not by some busybody politicians harassing sellers.

And the big advantage is he could do it tomorrow, just issue an order in council, or whatever these guys do, and suspend the paying of consumer duties until a) Jan 1 b) Further notice. Simple, and would even be popular amongst us unwashed masses -er voters.

While we are on the subject, and speaking of upping the competition, and since the price differential in books seems to be one of the items that is really annoying people, how about eliminating those pesky Canadian ownership requirements to owning a large bookstore. Then we can get Borders/Barnes and Noble in here and give Chapters a run for their money. Problem being, I admit, this one would take a while. Unlike the issue with not paying duties, which could be implemented tomorrow.

So how about it Jim Flaherty, want to really fix the problem of consumer prices? or do you want to play big hero politician who interferes in the market, but solves nothing?

Economic Fundamentalism, Silly Politicians, Unsolicited Political Advice, whack-a-mole politics

Stephane Dion: $22.8M to proviode employment for artists

July 13th, 2007
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From a Liberal Party of Canada mailer:

There’s no question that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives’ $22.8 million cuts to arts programs like the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP) and international arts touring are putting at risk thousands of artists’ livelihoods and are hurting our arts and cultural community.

Last week at a roundtable discussion with arts and culture groups like the Writers’ Union of Canada, Mr. Dion pledged to restore the full $22.8 million cut by the Conservatives.

What is it that makes politicians think the Government of Canada, and specifically the Taxpayers of Canada, owe artists a livelihood? And as William Watson points out in today’s Financial Post:

The real reason our governments pay out all these subsides is not pseudo-scientific economic calculation but naked political fear of offending lovers of jazz or comedy or fast cars, or the hundreds of other different activities modern governments subsidize. Wouldn’t it make more sense if we all used our own money to directly support the activities we each favour?

And if some artist can’t create a livelihood under those conditions? Hey, there’s an oil patch out in Alberta that has all sorts of livelihoods available.

Silly Liberals, Unsolicited Political Advice

A Rational Union Leader?

May 23rd, 2007
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The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have elected a new leader, to replace the ever shrill Leah Casselman. Warren “Smokey” Thomas is a longtime union activist and registered practical nurse from Kingston, and he was elected in April. Regarding the union’s activism, here’s what he has to say:

“We will not practise partisan politics.”

From the North Bay Nugget

Smokey, said he will sit down with provincial leaders to get a feel for each party’s platform.

Past performance won’t be considered, he said. The primary factor will be the platform each party provides and what each would do for his union.

Holy cow! A sane and rational approach. I offer further suggestions to brother Smokey:

Don’t consult each party once, do it always.

Ignore Sid Ryan (“We absolutely oppose the Tories. We know where they took us. I would put it to Smokey that he would find out very quickly where the Tories (will go) because there was no union that suffered more (during the Harris regime) than OPSEU.”).
Really Smokey, don’t pick fights with any party, not even those big bad mean old Tories. The unions got clobbered by Mike Harris in part because they hated Mike Harris. Harris had nothing to gain playing nice with them, and they made it clear they weren’t interested in nice anyway.

Side up with whichever party you can agree with on an issue by issue basis. Support who you want in an election, but don’t burn the other bridges, and support them where appropriate.

Remember, your job is looking out for your members, not partisan politics. You have the right idea, now stick with it.

Unsolicited Political Advice