Friday, February 15, 2013

BC the land of Fantasy Gardens once again

I planned to keep an eye on the BC Liberal throne speech and add my comments about Premier Photo Op's pre-election prescription for prosperity. I won't bother though because Vaughn Palmer wrote one paragraph that says everything that needs to be said.

Here is Palmer's version of Clark's throne speech, sans puffery:
"Listen up, voters. We're going to build a bunch of LNG terminals, create umpteen jobs, raise a zillion dollars, eliminate the sales tax, wipe out the provincial debt and we can all live happily ever after."
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Travel hint

Sitting in Doha after 11 hours in the air, waiting for a flight to Delhi. Wow, long trips are tiring, even when you have the best possible in-flight entertainment along with great food and cabin service. If Qatar Airways is a 10, Delta Airlines, which took us to New York, is a 2.

Use Qatar Airways when you have the choice.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Truth and Premier Photo Op remain strangers

David Akin's On the Hill, November 2/12, Latest job numbers: BC is number one — in job losses
" 'I’m going to run on (being) number one in job creation,' BC Premier Christy Clark told the Liberal Party of BC convention last Saturday, boasting at one point that BC had created 57,000 jobs and that that was more than any province in Canada.

"At the time, as I pointed out in a blog post, that claim was not true based on the most recent 12 consecutive months of jobs data for BC (and the country) as provided by Statistics Canada.

"On Saturday, the most recent numbers available were for September, 2012.

"Today, Statistics Canada released the numbers for October, 2012 and they were awful for British Columbia.

"B.C. was number one all right — number one in job losses among any Canadian province with 10,900 fewer jobs in October than there were the previous month in September."
Vancouver Sun writer Craig McInnes did a column in November titled, Clark's claims on job creation invite derision." He quoted the same David Akin,
"Do Christy Clark's boasts on job creation hold up? Nope. Nada. Not even close."
Another three monthly reports from Statistics Canada confirm Mr. Akin's conclusions. After a small pre-Christmas bump, B.C. jobs decreased again according to the January jobs report. B.C. and Ontario were the only significant job losers and the western province's percentage of loss was 150% that of Ontario's. Here is British Columbia's recent jobs history.



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Sunday, February 10, 2013

More ROTFL

A while ago, long tenured radio talker Bill Good told us he was offended by suggestions that certain callers get special treatment and easy access to CKNW air waves. He then spoke with a number of regular callers who confirmed that what Mr. Good had said was true. This is from ROTFL published here.
CKNW'S Bill Good, January 30, 10 am hour:
"[Producer] Jessica [Gares] and I have been, ah, oh, under attack, small attack, small people, small minds, I think, accusing us of, um, taking stacked calls. In this case, that particularly either favour the Liberal Party, or are deliberately hateful towards the NDP. And I try to. First of all, I say, what's a stacked call, or what's a planted call?"
Since the morning show host doesn't know about devious techniques employed elsewhere, I thought he might want to read Radio Daze from Tablet Magazine. An excerpt:
"Last year, a young man called in to a radio station with a problem. ...The caller told his story with passion and verve, and then asked the station’s listeners for their advice...

"Or at least he would have, had this been a real conversation. The young man...was an actor, and the staged call an audition. A short while later, he received the following email: 'Thank you for auditioning for Premiere On Call,' it said. 'Your audition was great! We’d like to invite you to join our official roster of ‘ready-to-work’ actors.' The job, the email indicated, paid $40 an hour, with one hour guaranteed per day.

"But what exactly was the work? The question popped up during the audition and was explained, the actor said, clearly and simply: If he passed the audition, he would be invited periodically to call in to various talk shows and recite various scenarios that made for interesting radio. He would never be identified as an actor, and his scenarios would never be identified as fabricated—which they always were...
"Curious, the actor did some snooping and learned that Premiere On Call was a service offered by Premiere Radio Networks, the largest syndication company in the United States and a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, the entertainment and advertising giant...

" 'Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service,' read the service’s website, which disappeared as this story was being reported... 'We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we’ll get you the right person fast.'
Now, I don't suggest that NW is hiring actors to make phone calls but I do suggest that somebody might be doing it when shaping public dialog is helpful to their purposes.



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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Job Openings - B.C. Liberal Party

The prospect of more than $100K in compensation, an extraordinary pension plan, living allowances, expenses and generous payments for special duties assigned by party leaders appear not enough to fill the slate of BC Liberal candidates, despite there being only three months until election time.

Times Colonist ace Rob Shaw writes that political watchers,
"wonder if the party is deliberately planning a late launch, having trouble recruiting candidates or merely disorganized."
I suspect a combination of reasons led by an incompetent election team finding it difficult to recruit candidates of any note.

Here are the unfilled places as of February 9. Most are faint hopes for the BC Christy Party.
  1. Alberni - Pacific Rim
  2. Burnaby - Deer Lake
  3. Burnaby - Edmonds
  4. Burnaby - Lougheed
  5. Coquitlam - Maillarville
  6. Juan de Fuca
  7. Kootenay West
  8. Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows
  9. Nanaimo
  10. Nanaimo - North Cowichan
  11. Nelson - Creston
  12. North Coast
  13. Port Coquitlam
  14. Saanich North and the Islands
  15. Saanich South
  16. Stikine
  17. Surrey - Fleetwood
  18. Surrey - Green Timbers
  19. Surrey - Panorama
  20. Surrey - Tynehead
  21. Surrey - Whalley
  22. Vancouver - False Creek
  23. Vancouver - Fraserview
  24. Vancouver - Hastings
  25. Vancouver - Kingsway
  26. Vancouver - Mount Pleasant
  27. Vancouver - Quilchena
  28. Vancouver - West End
  29. Victoria - Beacon Hill
  30. West Vancouver - Sea to Sky
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CCBC's Jim Shepard is a forger



For·ger·y

"the production of a spurious work that is claimed to be genuine."

The Claim


The Reality

We're a group of people hired to pose for a picture that istockphoto.com (a company owned by the
infamous Carlyle Group) titles: "Large Group of Happy People Standing Together." The photographer
said we had to be touchy-feely and look very, very happy. Or, we wouldn't get paid.

We don't actually come from all parts of BC; nor do we love your province, or even know anything
about it. We're 23 people trying to make a buck from whoever licenses this photo. The same
picture can be used by insurance companies, toilet paper manufacturers or other advertisers
who want a group of mostly white folks pretending to be ordinary people.

* * * * * * *

H/T - Georgia Straight's Charlie Smith, Concerned Citizens for B.C. present a misleading image of themselves via @bobmackin

* * * * * * *

When the government changes in May, the boys at Wazuku, operatives behind the CCBC messaging, may find doors in Victoria firmly shut. That would disadvantage their "relationships and networks" (ie LOBBYING) business. However, this stock photo mistake, so easily revealed in the alternative press, suggests the business is on shaky ground anyway. Additionally, a fellow PR guy is suggesting that truth is a relative concept at Wazuku.

According to Bill Tieleman, in Concerned Citizens for BC leader Jim Shepard & $1 million anti-NDP campaign has BC Rail skeletons in closet, lots of unanswered questions:
"Wazuku staffer Kirsten Avison confirmed the consulting company was running the campaign for CC4BC leader Jim Shepard, the former Canfor and Finning CEO and former advisor to Premier Christy Clark.

But last week senior Wazuku partner Steve Kukucha emailed 24 Hours, claiming that CC4BC wasn't one of its projects.
'CC4BC is simply renting office space from Wazuku. I've passed this on to Jim via email though.....I hope this clarifies things,' Kukucha wrote me on Jan. 28.
"Yet a day after that, Avison sent out an email (see sidebar) to CC4BC supporters written by Shepard -- obtained by 24 Hours and The Tyee -- stating that:
'In the days ahead, we will be airing some very direct, but factual ads that will bring the contrast between the NDP and free enterprise into even sharper focus.' "
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Friday, February 8, 2013

"This government has problems up the wazoo"

Two weeks before Sukh Dhaliwal was acclaimed BC Liberal candidate for Surrey-Panorama, he was served with six charges of tax evasion. Province columnist Mike Smyth wrote in November that the former Liberal MP was seen,
"...as a star candidate for Team Christy."
Now, the party is looking for a new star. But, if this truly was one of their exalted prospects, imagine the people at the other end of that spectrum. The Liberals, a dying party with a reputation for corruption and incompetence, are attracting almost no candidates of note. The almost certain prospect of defeat and ignominy guarantees that situation will continue as long as Christy Clark continues as leader. Instead, neophytes and cranky old folks like Darryl Plecas are stepping forward. Even candidate Plecas admitted,
"This government has problems up the wazoo,"
David Talks/The Berner Monologues offers the following in VIVE VITO!
"While a federal MP, [Dhaliwal] wrote a reference letter on official House of Commons stationary for convicted international drug smuggler Ranjit Singh Cheema. The letter was addressed to the California judge sentencing Cheema after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to import 200 kilograms of heroin. Cheema was gunned down in Vancouver last year shortly after getting out of prison.

"Dhaliwal will be a wonderful addition to the fun house in Victoria."
Megan O'Toole wrote in the National Post of June 2010 that Dhaliwal presented a petition asking Ottawa to formally recognize as "genocide" the 1984 wave of killings in India spurred by former prime minister Indira Gandhi's assassination. Her piece included this:
"Petitioners are also staging a memorial near Parliament Hill to honour thousands of Sikhs who died in the November 1984 violence, along with militants killed in the infamous Golden Temple attack months earlier.

"The timing of the petition, more closely aligned to the June Golden Temple assault and coming weeks before the 25th anniversary of the Air-India bombing, has some observers calling foul.

" 'They want to commemorate [Operation] Blue Star, the attack on the Golden Temple where a lot of terrorists were killed -- so basically the memorial is of the terrorists, not of the victims of November '84,' said Balraj Deol, a Punjabi journalist... 'This is a memorial through the back door.'

"In his letter, a copy of which was obtained by the National Post, Mr. Deol suggests elements in the Sikh separatist movement have exerted undue pressure on politicians to move their agenda forward..."
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Public comments to EAO re Narrows Inlet power projects

Comments submitted to EAO public in 2012:
"Changing lakes to reservoirs is completely different than so-called run-of-river project constructions. The significant changes to natural functioning of three alpine lakes will impact habitat and biological systems, and damage lake shore stability. Risks have been amply demonstrated by NI Holdings’ first unforeseen environmental debacle at Tzoonie Lake..."
More comment:
"The more I read about the Ramona component the more I am taken aback at how such a proposal could have reached this stage of the process. Approval by the EAO means Ramona Lake and the flow of Ramona Creek is put completely at the mercy of electric pumps on floating barges, their diesel back-ups and all of the remotely controlled valves and sensors. Catastrophic failure will be just that, catastrophic. The water will not be able to get out of the lake because it is 145 feet below the natural outlet. There is no fail safe. The waterfall and river dry up.

"To quote the proponent “spillage occurs rarely and the IFR is very steady, assuming the IFR pump is working properly”.

"It is Abbott and Costello “who’s on first?”...make electricity to power pumps to make electricity. No pump no flow. Period. When it is working, all they are required to have is 5% of the flow where Upper Ramona Falls used to be. The rest is in a steel tank waiting to come down a steel pipe. No water coming down out of Lower Ramona will be natural, it will either have come through the IFR pump or the main penstock pump. There is a large steel holding tank before the penstock.

"The complete lake/waterfall system will be completely controlled by a company that needs to make money by selling electricity. Preposterous. If this is not correct somebody better let us know before I turn on the tap and rocks come out.

"The proponent states “This is a very complicated project that makes use of natural lake regulation in coordination with run of river hydro project arrangements. It is difficult to predict, with a great degree of confidence, the pre- and post-project flows at so many locations.”

"This is not the kind of experiment to perform right over the heads of a community with their domestic water supply....never mind anywhere else there may be marine life to consider.
And more:
"I submitted a .pdf with many of my concerns but since then have noticed yet another possible issue. It appears the Ramona Lake component relies on electric pumps to pump water up over the dam and into a steel holding tank before entering the penstock. There does not appear to be any means to maintain flow in the event of electric pump failure, other than back up diesel pumps. It is conceivable for both systems to fail in adverse alpine weather conditions. This means all flow stops in Ramona. It is not just a case of opening a valve in a pipe or bypassing a turbine if this happens when the lake is drawn down 45m.

"Simply put, the water can't get out over the dam. If this is true, it goes directly against consultant Dave Bates recommendation to have a maintenance free IFR (minimum stream flow) system such that there is no chance of the river running dry because of equipment malfunction. If this is true it also means all (or a good part of) the water now sits in a steel tank first before coming down the mountain? Even the drinking water?

"This couldn't be the design....could it? At minimum it proves the system is very complicated and relies totally on controls and electronics that are remotely monitored. Not a good idea with people below."
And a note from one of the commenters:
"I am convinced some references I found on the EAO website were changed/altered/modified/updated during the course of the Public Comment period. I have cut and pasted notes in my possession that I cannot find any more on the website. This prompted my FOI on Oct 29. They cannot be allowed to change info on the run....once the proponent has submitted... they have submitted. It is apparent that my concerns are validated by the fact there is so much information to gather that they cannot possibly do it in a timely fashion. Just look at the ruling I got on yet another request for extension. Fits right in with your comment that the proponent can make more submissions but we can't.

"The whole EAO process should be thrown out on this fact alone. There should have been nothing whatsoever to report on my request. No changes or updates should have been done during the course of the public comment period. Nevermind 800 pages!"
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This delay provides opportunity for public input

Make your submissions directly to Garry Alexander, Executive Project Director, Environmental Assessment Office, since they don't seem to have reopened the project to public comments although they've provided additional time for the proponent to make more submissions. Note: Calgary based Altagas, part owner of Narrows Inlet projects, donated $8,700 to BC Liberals in 2009-2011. David Cornhill, Chairman and CEO of Altagas, donated another $5,000.

Notice also that Narrows Inlet Hydro Holding Corp. requested a delay in a letter dated January 25, 2013. That delay was granted in a letter from the EAO also dated January 25, 2013. Surely that would set a record for application, consideration and disposition, unless the delay had already been negotiated. Is this truly an independent process?


Click for the rest of this release by the WILDERNESS COMMITTEE.

Follow this Northern Insight link for additional information and photos of the Narrows Inlet projects.

Narrows Inlet by NRF_Vancouver



EAO Response by NRF_Vancouver





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Pay to play

I'm planning an article, probably Thursday pm, about campaign financing and the ludicrous conflicts of interest that exist when a government that manages public resources and taxation extracts millions of dollars in contributions from corporations whose financial interests are at stake.

I've been wading through the Financial Reports and Political Contributions System provided by Elections BC, the supposedly non partisan agency formerly headed by Craig James. Getting useful information from FRPC is problematic because Mr. James made sure the database search engine uses computer technology that is equivalent to what we used almost two decades ago. (Remember Lycos or Altavista?)

By example, enter the name ALLAN MARKIN (former CEO of Canadian Natural Resources Limited, which has donated $100,000) and FRPC reports that he contributed $100,000 to BC Liberals through three numbered companies. However, enter ALLAN PAUL MARKIN and FRPC informs that Markin gave another $160,000 to BC Liberals.

The primitive search capability at the Elections BC site means that entering JOHN A. SMITH, for example, would not report results for JOHN A SMITH, the name without punctuation. Twice, I've complained to EBC and their response is
"Your suggestion has been noted, and will be assessed as an enhancement for a future release of our Financial Reports and Political Contributions system."
That they continue to offer a database devoid of modern search capabilities, suggests they made a choice to keep it that way even though the cost of an upgrade would be minimal. The reason to not improve search capability must be strictly political.

Here are a few Tweets that I sent out during my research:








In a few days, Gwen and I will be departing for a month of travel. Trying to travel light, I'm leaving my laptop at home in favour of a tablet with Bluetooth keyboard. That means no long form new material here from the start of next week until mid-March. I'll stay in touch with events here because the political landscape is about to change dramatically.

May I suggest you keep an eye on my Twitter feed ( @Norm_Farrell ). It may not be consistently wonderful but you'll see things that are catching my attention and may also interest you.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dan's pitch to the dragons







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Monday, February 4, 2013

Anyone paying attention to political advertising?

With taxpayers on the hook for endless paid promotions of the BC Liberal government and the million dollar anti-Dix campaign waged by an aging crackpot with more money than sense, we might expect a bump in Christy Clark's reelection prospects. However, as pollster Mario Canseco notes,
“The Liberals may be doing well in winning the battle for the B.C. Conservative window shopper, but they have another battle to bring back those who don’t particularly like [Ms.] Clark and don’t regard [Mr.] Dix as a threat.”
Polling company Angus Reid surveyed British Columbians to determine attitudes toward Christy Clark and Adrian Dix. The results will not comfort BC Liberal supporters.



For more information and background, read Gary Mason at The Globe and Mail, B.C. voters accentuate the negatives in poll of Premier’s image

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The doctor's prescription

The Tyee presents testimony of Salmon Arm family physician Dr. Warren Bell to the NEB Northern Gateway hearings. Doctor's Diagnosis: Pipeline Symptom of 'Social Pathology' is a thoughtful piece, well worth reading.

Dr. Bell provides his personal cure for a disease that affects Canada today:
  • "First, we must, as a nation, work out a respectful, mutually satisfactory relationship with Canada's First Peoples -- not destroy their culture by stealth.
  • "Second, we must reform the electoral system to make it radically more representative.
  • "Third, we must alter the power balance in the federal governance system so that one person cannot pre-empt democratic processes as Stephen Harper is now doing.
  • "And fourth, we must rein in the overwhelming power and influence of the corporate sector.
"Until we do these four things, our country is vulnerable to political, social and ecological upheaval that will retard our development as a nation, and likely offer ruin to the lives of future generations."

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BC Liberal style: buy high, sell low

From BC Hydro's quarterly report for the period ended September 30, 2012:
"As a result of the high inflows, the Company sold a significant volume of surplus energy in the six months ended September 30, 2012, an increase of over 4,000 GWh as compared to surplus energy sales in the first six months of fiscal 2012. The high inflows also resulted in both the Williston and Kinbasket reservoirs spilling substantial volumes of surplus water in the summer of 2012... (emphasis added)"
In the six months ended September 2012, BC Hydro purchased 5,589 GWh of electricity from private power producers for $383 million, an average cost of $68,527 per GWh. BC Hydro didn't need private power since it was generating more than it could sell domestically, despite dumping stored water without running it through generators.

Surplus electricity sold through trade markets returned $24,580 per GWh while BC Hydro paid almost three times that unit value for private power. One could calculate an apparent loss of $246 million between BC Hydro's purchase price and its selling price for private power. However, the loss is even higher because potential power, not generated when water was spilled from dams unused, could have been had for little more than zero marginal cost.

The loss noted above is for six months only. The "fiscally prudent" Liberals are costing electricity consumers more than half a billion a year. That  affects residents and light industrial/commercial clients but also puts heavy industry at a disadvantage.

Kind of at odds with government advertising currently costing taxpayers millions of dollars.




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Aiming for a low wage economy

Christy Clark says The BC Jobs Plan is working and remains a sound strategy for our economic future.

Oh really? For whom is it a sound strategy? Let us look at some numbers.

Source: Stats Canada CANSIM table 281-0049

Over the last four years, BC ranked 7th in job growth, by percentage. More alarmingly, average weekly wages in this province have been declining steadily. In 2012, BC ranked fifth.

Source: BC Stats, December 2012 release

When NDP Premier Glen Clark left office, BC ranked second behind Ontario in average weekly wage. Under the Liberals, the province slipped to fifth position but the rate of change in weekly wages has been tenth of the ten provinces, between 2001 and 2011.

Source: Stats Canada CANSIM table 281-0027

I believe the Liberal economic plan is working exactly as designed. Their big business sponsors want this province to become a low wage economy, excepting, of course, senior bureaucrats and business leaders. That is the objective and the plan is working.



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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Stonewalling the Auditor General

According to the Canadian Press, B.C.'s clerk of the legislature Craig James is not happy with Auditor General John Doyle. During a gathering in Victoria of Canadian legislative officers, a private meeting was broadcast on speakers throughout the building. We can only guess if one of the junior staff was seeking revenge by opening the audio channel. An insider told me recently that Liberals have been experiencing push-back from civil servants as the government rushes to complete arrangements for friends before their corrupt machine is retired.
" 'There's been this disconnect and boiling animosity between this place and the office of the auditor general in terms of the propriety of certain discussions and certain statements that have been made about various audits of this place,' said James during debate at the legislature.

"...Last summer, Doyle released an audit of the financial management of the legislature that concluded the building's financial records were in such a state of disorder that he couldn't conclude if money was being properly spent.

"Doyle's report found that MLA credit card bills were being paid without receipts and the legislative assembly hadn't produced financial statements despite a 2007 recommendation from the previous auditor general...

"James said he's had a request from Doyle's office for all the financial documents relating to the 2011-2012 financial year, at least 28,000 documents.

" 'We're not interested in a fishing trip,' he said"
There is a good bit of irony here. James, talking to people from across the country who have no connection with the province and its government, dares to complain that John Doyle, an officer of the legislature pursuing duties assigned to him by statute, was wrong to talk to British Columbians about embarrassing details of sloppy financial administration by James, his colleagues and predecessors.

Craig James may be particularly sensitive because his own spending of government money has been questioned. Integrity BC had this to say about Mr. James recently in Ex-Chief Electoral Officer takes wife to Kenya on taxpayers’ tab:
"British Columbians paid thousands of dollars for the former head of Elections BC, to take his wife on a business trip to Africa and for him to later stay at an exclusive private club in Washington, D.C. and an Arizona resort.

"Records obtained by IntegrityBC via a freedom of information request also show Craig James – who has since been appointed clerk of British Columbia’s legislature – spent two-and-a-half times more on travel in 2010 than Harry Neufeld his predecessor at Elections BC did in the year prior.

"James’s $43,295 bill for travel expenses between August 25th and December 12th, 2010 followed the introduction of new travel entitlements that he authorized for himself and senior employees at the government agency..."
Craig James' defensiveness is a warning sign. Organizations being audited cannot dictate to the Auditor which records are available and which records are not. If they could, the audits would have no value. Audits, by their nature, are fishing trips. Examiners first evaluate internal control systems to determine if they are adequate and functioning. They review the commitments and capability of people exercising authority. If the systems are lacking or the individuals not competent, auditors increase the extent of review. Past financial management by legislative managers demonstrate that controls have been woefully inadequate or non-existent.

If Craig James is worth the almost $30,000 a month he costs BC taxpayers, he would know that. Keep in mind that James was appointed Clerk of the Legislature in 2011 over NOP objections. He had previously been appointed without unanimous consent to head Elections BC. After being accused of partisan conduct, he whined,
"I have been frankly saddened by the vitriolic attacks that I and my office have been subjected to in the past week.”
Words and actions suggest that Craig James has a well developed sense of entitlement and wants no auditor challenging his right to rewards. That sets off alarm bells. Bells that have already been ringing as stonewalling BC Liberals aim to prevent John Doyle from doing his job.

BC Liberals have a history of ignoring generally accepted accounting principles when following the guidelines would present the government in a poor light. From the 2012 Public Accounts,
"...the Auditor General has expressed a qualified audit opinion and provided comments on areas he believes the financial statements have departed from Canadian GAAP."
AG John Doyle faults Liberal financial management in many ways, in many departments and public agencies. Yet, this government and its supporters claim Liberals are "prudent fiscal managers." The claims and the reality are thoroughly disconnected.


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Friday, February 1, 2013

Great value in tax preparation software


If you are preparing to file your 2012 tax return, I suggest you try approved tax preparation software at STUDIO TAX.

It works perfectly well for almost everyone, enables online filing and comes at a remarkable price: zero dollars.

Of course, they do ask you, if pleased, and you will be, to make a modest monetary contribution toward product support. But that's up to you.

We've used Studio Tax in our house for a few years and I recommend it without reservation.
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Yes Bill, you are ill equipped

Nothing has changed since this article was first published May 15, 2012

Biill Good & Premier's Director of Outreach
It was an interview so tortured that I suspect Bill Good's briefing notes had fallen irretrievably from the desk just as his guest was introduced. This morning, the Corus Radio star failed to twinkle light on the glacial pace of re-implementing PST as decreed by referendum voters in July 2011.

First, there were confused attempts to find an appropriate metaphor. We're going from a WWII bomber to a 21st century jet with a pre-television, island tax in a world where we're all interconnected...

Bill B. demonstrated the trouble he has with this issue,
"For months, I've been getting questions about why is it taking so long, how is it so complicated. And, frankly, I've felt ill equipped to answer."
Well, Bill Good, you are not supposed to answer. Answering for Liberal policy is for Liberal politicians. It is not the role of a news reporter or commentator.

You are supposed to give politicians a forum to discuss and explain public policy while you hold their feet to the fire, asking questions about issues they want to skate around. You should be an informed and non-partisan interrogator, a seeker of information about all sides of a story. You should not be an advocate trying to advance the causes or policies that fit your world view or the people for whom you hold sympathy.

If you don't understand that, your program is like a WWII bomber that is sure to crash, perhaps on an island in an interconnected world.
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