The Liberals Are The Best Managers Of Our Economy

7 05 2012

The Liberal Party is the only party that knows that a strong economy requires both a strong business sector and a strong workforce. Only the Liberal Party knows how, and has the experience, to put forward policy that ensures the health of both sectors.

The kind of policy that drives our economic health recognizes that fiscal and monetary approaches must ensure that people are educated with the necessary skills, that people are healthy, that there are necessary safety nets available should they lose their jobs, and that their children are provided the same opportunities afforded to their parents. At the same time, fiscal and monetary policy must be managed and balanced to support business confidence and growth.

The Liberal Party ensures that policies on the environment, trade, infrastructure growth, and health and safety, are implemented in a manner that is also supportive of economic growth. The Liberal Party makes sure that focus on short term profits do not impede the long-term basis for economic health, while also ensuring that conditions for the business sector promote sustained growth through sound fiscal management.

The Liberal Party is the only party that can manage economic policy to ensure that a healthy business sector is developed and encouraged by ensuring a fair and optimal balance of taxation and government spending to provide a healthy workforce that enjoys clean air and water, and by ensuring the infrastructure necessary for sustained economic growth is in place. Appropriate arrays of regulatory approaches are tailored to provide optimal conditions for sustained business growth, and for a healthy, strong, and well compensated workforce.

Over time, in this country, and in Western civilization generally, history has shown that only with this type of balanced policy approach, centering equally on both sectors of the economy, have our economies performed optimally over a sustained period, generating wealth that is shared justly. Experiments with neo-conservative or socialist policies have consistently proved detrimental to our economic health each and every time they are implemented.

Policies that promote both a strong business sector and a strong labor force working together are the essential wealth creation engines. Economic history has proven this time and time again. By these means, only the Liberal Party has the value system, knowledge base, and skill to manage our economies to the optimal benefit of every Canadian.





‘Twas The Night Before Question Period

27 04 2012

‘Twas the night before QP when all through the House
Not an MP was stirring. Not even Head Lout!
The underlings were hung by their ankles with care,
In hopes the Greyhound soon would be there.

The Tories were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of strong mandates danced in their heads,
And Steve-O in his sweater vest with Rob Anders on his lap
Had just settled their brains for a long QP nap,

When out on the Hill there arose such a noise
Bev Oda spilled OJ all over the ^Savoy.
Away to the heliport McKay flew like a flash,
And off he was gone to a lobbyist’s bash

The cellphone in the hands of the now-fallen Sona
Gave rise to some bluster from Baird and pal Rona,
When, what to their wandering eyes should appear,
But a tweeter called Carroll, disrupting their cheer.

Over coals did they drag this lone tweeting Grit,
And in front of committee they forced him to sit.
But this bold Vikileaker was so lively and quick
They knew in a moment they were knee-deep in it.

With jowls all atremble Del Mastro did shout,
He jumped and he hollered and then did he pout,
When more rapid than eagles Carroll’s answers they came,
As he chuckled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dean! Now John! Now Peter and Tony!
Your smears are entirely made of baloney
Just hold up a mirror to see what I say
For B.S. on your side has always held sway”

And then in a twinkling they heard from below,
The prancing and pawing of a media show.
As they stared at each other, dumbfounded all round,
Down the chimney a new scandal came with a bound.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with the Opposition, mount to the sky,
Up to the House-top the F-35’s they flew,
With a fistful of hidden costs and an extra zero or two.

And then, in an instant, they heard on the roof,
The banging and clanging of a political spoof.
As they stared at the pilot, making the motor go round,
The F-35 got stuck on the ground.

He was grumpy this pilot, a right sulky old guy,
And we shuddered when he turned on us his evil blue eye!
A hiss from his tongue and a twist of his head,
Soon gave us to know we had much to dread.

He spoke many words, that made little sense,
“Fight me on this, and I’ll abolish your dear Cent”.
And holding his middle finger up in front of his nose,
And giving a nod, to the clown car he goes!

He slunk to this car, to his team gave a shout,
And away they all clugged, like an old man with gout.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“You guys are all Nazis!…Hmmm, think I’ll prorogue tonight!”

HUZZAH!!!!





Three Reasons Affirming Quebec Assent to the Canada Act

24 04 2012

Thirty years later, we still hear from some parties the myth that Québec did not ratify the Constitution known as the Canada Act, 1982, and then use the myth to political advantage.  The record needs to be set straight once and for all.

First, during the publicly televised constitution debates before the nation, all of the Canadian Premiers and the Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, signed the agreement, including René Lévesque when he used an asterisk as his “mark” on the agreement.  A “mark” such as the René Lévesque asterisk on the Constitution would, in any court of law in the land, serve as legal tender as an instrument of ratification of the agreement.  The fact that the Québec premier chose to use a mark instead of his signature is immaterial in legal terms.  A mark is recognized as such in our laws, including the laws on the books at the time.  In a challenge before the courts in this matter, the challenge would likely fail, and the courts would recognize that Québec did sign the constitution.

The fact that a few months later, René Lévesque tried to say that he didn’t sign the constitution when he put his mark on it, is no different than someone signing a contract or any other legal writ in such a manner, and then trying to extricate himself from the contract or writ by saying his mark on the contract was not a form of legal assent.  In law, the witnessed mark would serve as legal assent and signature to the contract or writ.

Secondly, the courts of the land, including the Supreme Court of Canada and Québec courts which constitute the judicial branch of our government, have accepted the Canada Act, 1982, as the supreme law of the land as duly adopted and promulgated.  We stress that the Québec courts, the judicial branch of the Québec government, fully recognize the legal validity of the Canada Act, 1982, and by doing so, has given their assent to the Act.

Thirdly, as the framers of the Constitution have repeatedly insisted, the large representation of federal parliamentarians and senators from Québec at the time voted to affirm to Canada Act, 1982.

It’s time to stop playing political football with the myth that Québec did not sign the Constitution.  René Lévesque himself ratified the agreement with his mark.





CETA and Toronto “Reasonableness”

18 03 2012

Free trade agreements between countries are made with the intention of boosting trade by broadening markets which then, ostensibly, increase output and employment. Such a scenario would be a net economic benefit to trade partners, despite the fact that there might be initial growing pains and job losses which are a natural result of a shift toward economic specialization, a by-product of trade agreements.  On the other side of the debate, anti-free trade proponents argue the net economic result is one in which factories and jobs are exported to countries with lower minimum wages and production costs. The reality is much less stark  than either of these two views suggest.

The Council of the City of Toronto has asked for a permanent exemption from the Canadian European Trade Agreement (CETA) that the federal government is currently negotiating because it felt that too much autonomy over its economic and environmental decisions would be sacrificed. Since trade agreements are legally binding on signatories, municipal governments do not have jurisdiction for agreeing to or even complying with such treaties.  Municipalities operating outside any such agreement would be in violation of the treaty and probably result in countervailing trade sanctions or penalties.

The Canadian government has not included municipalities in the negotiations assuming them to be represented by provincial Premiers (whose agreement to the treaty is mandatory). Toronto clearly feels this not to be the case.  With the backdrop of a massive manufacturing decline when NAFTA was enacted, it has been argued the net economic outcome would leave Toronto in the red – a result of manufacturing job loss. The agreement would end the ‘Buy Canadian’ policy for public purchases – a policy which has bolstered local businesses – since it would require municipal governments to consider bids from European companies when contracting with the private sector.

Unions and environmental groups have joined their voices to the anti-CETA coalition arguing that the deal could lead to the privatization of Canadian waterways, increased drug costs and foreign limitations on environmental policies. Officials of the European Union have admitted that Europe will be able to export more than Canada.

It is clearly reasonable that Toronto has serious and legitimate reservations about CETA, particularly since it has not been involved in the negotiations and since elements of the agreement will have a negative impact not only on its autonomy but also its economy.  Toronto is the manufacturing heart of Canada. With a resultant balance of trade favouring Europeans on this playing field the fortunes of Toronto will take a hit. But is it reasonable for Toronto to ask for a permanent exemption from CETA?  While the answer to this may well be in the affirmative it must be admitted that it is also not realistic. Neither the government of Canada nor the EU will agree to a deal that excludes Canada’s manufacturing centre. Since CETA will be binding on the city, the request for a permanent exclusion must be viewed as an effort to have some influence on the negotiations, to have its voice heard. From this perspective CAW President, Ken Lewenza, is correct in describing the Toronto Council move as “reasonable”.





The Treatment of the Vacuum as a Bosonic Field

30 10 2011

The Treatment of the Vacuum as a Bosonic Field, gcm





Is It Time to Restructure the Financing of our Social Programs?

30 10 2011

Now is the time not only to manage government debt responsibly, but also to restructure debt financing through the government access to capital markets.

Following the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009, governments in North America and elsewhere are faced with smaller tax revenues at a time when citizens rely more heavily on government funded social programs. This has resulted in significantly increased government deficits and debts, which in turn have put pressure on governments to reduce fiscal outlays for social programs in order to reduce the debt load.

Here, and in the United States, most of the social programs, such as health care, government pension plans and social security, employment insurance, etc., may be described as “unfunded liabilities.” This means that, with the exception of the Canada Pension Plan, social programs rely largely on tax revenues and interest bearing notes for funding, and are not supported by capital investments.

Paul Martin, while serving as Finance Minister of Canada in the late 1990s, put in place legislation that would allow Canada Pension Plan to access the capital markets in order to provide a capital base by purchasing equity funding for the Plan. Basically, the Canada Pension Plan assumed the same approach to funding as corporate pension plans. The Canada Pension Plan is now on much more solid footing with a capital and income base to weather economic storms and reduce the long-term burden on tax-payers and government debt.

Based on this experience, it would seem equally appropriate to apply the same measures to finance health care, and other social programs. For example, in the United States, the Social Security program, and government funded parts of Medicare, could be funded by the same means used by private insurance companies. In the late 1990s, former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, advocated such an approach to Social Security. That approach was not supported by Congress at the time. Our Canadian experience with the Canada Pension Plan has demonstrated the net benefit of such fiscal policy approaches.

While there will always be an ideologically based core group who advocate separation between government and private sectors, obviously there would be a net benefit to the private sector, as well as the public, if governments were to gain broader access to equity markets to fund and capitalize social programs generally. This is because, in part and over the long haul, it would bring a lower tax burden on citizens and corporations, would reduce government debt-equity ratios, and provide increased and lasting stability to capital markets.

Restructuring social programs as funded liabilities would allow governments to truly invest in the people they serve.





Can We Engage the Private Sector in Joining Governments in Funding Programs for Energy and Infrastructure Programs?

30 10 2011

The Canadian approach to funding energy and infrastructure projects should include, in future, investment funds jointly funded and managed in cooperation with the private sector.

To date, in part because many provinces in Canada generally power their electricity grids by means of government owned power utilities, the burden for raising equity for investment in the electrical power generating sector has fallen in large measure on the tax revenues accrued by provincial governments, and by the rate-payers. Strategies for electrical energy sector investment have also been developed in large measure by provincial government energy ministries which then must vie with competing budgets in other ministries, and market forces. Capital outlays for needed new electrical power developments can easily result in severe effects on government fiscal policy where those outlays are paid for by public debt instruments and tax revenues.

Some provincial governments have made the electrical energy sector more open to development by private investors, most notably in Ontario. However, huge capital investment is still needed in the province to meet forecast demand loads, which will place great pressure on the governments’ ability to manage and meet all the demands on its fiscal policy. Similar considerations apply to most other provinces in their energy sector strategies.

Ontario has also led the way in providing an overall government agency to promote and advise on investment strategies for electrical power generation, including investment in clean energy producers. This agency, the Ontario Power Authority, advises and directs the government and business leaders in matters of developing and allocating investment programs.

While this policy approach has resulted in meaningful improvements to the development of diverse and clean electrical energy supplies, huge capital outlays are still required for sustaining and building base-load power generation. It may be possible to address these funding issues by engaging private investors in a government sponsored investment fund to build capital reserves for new electrical developments, including base-load power generators.

Such a fund, structured along the lines of a mutual fund, would provide a source of capital for power generator providers where the private and public investors would be compensated by dividends arising from the revenues accruing from the new electrical power generation. It would have the advantage of funding provincial and private investments in the sector by providing a source of equity otherwise not available. It would also address impacts on the debt load on the provinces that otherwise would accrue from current approaches to funding new power plants.

Certain tax credit mechanisms may be included for private investors to apply against other capital gains and taxable revenue streams. Equity raised by the funds would be done on a “just in time basis,” and electrical power developers would be required to make interest payments on capital obtained from the fund, in advance of dividends arising from revenues that may later be realized by power generation from new power plants. In this manner, investors would be compensated in a reasonable and timely manner for capital investments in power plant construction that would take many years to complete. Companies, including government owned companies, that borrow capital from the funds would be held to strict financial guidelines to ensure that the companies are on a sound investment grade structure. Any investment capital provided by the funds would be done as a secured debt meeting applicable provincial legislation, or through other ad hoc means of reciprocal equity financing by providing direct and proportional ownership of the new plants by fund investors.

In a time of fiscal stress now impacting provincial and federal governments, new financial strategies will be necessary to address demands and impact on government’s fiscal policy. This would be true, as well, for infrastructure projects generally.

Joint government and private sector investment strategies for infrastructure investment may be just what the doctor ordered in these times of fiscal stress.