2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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steven lloyd
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Worth a good slow read this Ibbotson article. I often wonder why this productivity issue seems to never get solved. It has been an issue as long as I can remember. Are we just plain lazy?, disorganized? goofoffs? educating for the wrong things? too soft? What? Sorta funny when you consider all the emphasis on creating jobs while opening up the immigration channels to fill jobs going wanting, even in the face of high unemployment rates. Is our whole education system broken because we produce too many square pegs when the real need is to fill round holes? Too much emphasis on post secondary education and not enough on practical skills and trades? It's interesting to note the comment about productivity increasing when a recession strikes and unemployment rates go through the roof.

Excerpt from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... le1488904/


"Thursday's federal budget must confront a hard truth: We are entering a dark decade that will test the will and ability of governments across Canada.

Facing that truth and meeting it head-on will limit the pain to come. But democracies rarely work that way. The temptation for government and opposition politicians is to ignore gathering clouds, or promise to make them disappear, without saying how.

But that hard truth, those dark clouds, will not go away."

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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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I think throwing this idea to revisit the wording of Oh Canada into the throne speech was a stroke of genius. Throne speeches and budgets are something very few people pay much attention to, particularly when the detail gets distorted and interpreted in various ways by politicians and special interest groups.

But our national Anthem is something everyone can relate to (or should be able to), take an interest in and discuss. Particularly since it gained so much exposure with the recent Olympics.

It is short (I was struck by the length of Russia's anthem), and has few words presenting an easy to understand message. And since the meaning of some of the words gets changed in some people's minds over the decades, particularly in a multicultural society where so many folks' native language is not English or French, a debate about our anthem and its meaning is particularly appropriate in a time of national stress and related deliberation.

If nothing else it may serve to remind us all, particularly our politicians, to set aside idealogical differences and fights to retain or gain power, ...and work together focusing on doing what is best for the whole country with the tools that are available.

Edit to add: I think it is sad that Mr. Ignatieff chose to quickly jump on that issue in a silly effort to ingratiate himself with female voters by saying changing "sons" to something else didn't go far enough in resolving women's issues. How much more petty and irrelevant can he get?!!!

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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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NAB wrote:Worth a good slow read this Ibbotson article. I often wonder why this productivity issue seems to never get solved. It has been an issue as long as I can remember. Are we just plain lazy?, disorganized? goofoffs? educating for the wrong things? too soft? What? Sorta funny when you consider all the emphasis on creating jobs while opening up the immigration channels to fill jobs going wanting, even in the face of high unemployment rates. Is our whole education system broken because we produce too many square pegs when the real need is to fill round holes? Too much emphasis on post secondary education and not enough on practical skills and trades?

Excerpt from: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... le1488904/
Nab

A good column from Ibbitson and all good questions about productivity. Regarding education, matching needs to resources depends on the incentives students perceive. There has been a shift in recent years toward the trades, very noticeable in Alberta and Saskatchewan, so I don't think the system is terminally broken, just slow to react and reflecting a bias in favour of university over trades.

Then there is the issue of over-qualification. In the area of journalism that I'm familiar with, this is manifested in the demand that developed over the past two decades for new journalists to have master's degrees in journalism, a useless requirement on several levels that does nothing to enhance productivity, though it ensures journalists' world-view is closely aligned with the nation's elites. One can see similar requirements throughout society, and these have produced a cumulative drag on economic output. (Not in every area. In financial planning, another area I'm familiar with, more stringent educational requirements can greatly benefit planners' customers, while reducing demands on gov't.)

As well, much of gov't spending is counter-productive. This is not a criticism, just an observation. For example, military spending is largely non-productive except in terms of sociopolitical goals. Large swathes of health budgets or education budgets are counter-productive, too, though they may be considered desirable for other reasons.

The point, however, is that increasing the proportion of national output that is directed to non-economic activity inevitably places greater demand on the productive sectors. If they can't keep pace -- and the higher taxes needed to sustain ever-greater gov't spending inhibit that ability -- productivity and living standards fall. As boomers sail off into their senescence, expect this trend to accelerate.

Ibbitson is probably underestimating the challenge when he says: "We are entering a dark decade that will test the will and ability of governments across Canada."
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Federal budget to freeze foreign aid, projected to save billions
04/03/2010 6:21:00 PM
Mike Blanchfield, THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA - The Conservatives will freeze foreign-aid spending next year after honouring the final instalment of a decade-old Liberal government promise to double overseas development spending.
Thursday's federal budget boosts the International Assistance Envelope by eight per cent, or $364 million, to $5 billion or double the 2001 level.

But no new funds have been promised beyond that, in a budget that projects savings of $4.4 billion by 2015 if overseas spending remains frozen until then.

No additional money was earmarked for some high-profile international commitments, such as the maternal and child health initiative that Canada has made a priority for its G8 presidency, as well as its long-term commitment to rebuild earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Government officials said those projects would likely have to be financed out of the existing aid budget.

"This year we will increase foreign aid to another record level. Next year we will freeze spending at that level," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said.

After coming to power four years ago, the Conservatives honoured a Liberal commitment in 2001 to double the international assistance budget through a decade's worth of eight-per-cent annual increases.

Non-governmental organizations said freezing aid was an international embarrassment because, with Canada hosting the G8 this year, they were looking for a new roadmap for Canada's overseas spending plans to at least 2015.

Instead, the budget projects savings of $438 million in 2011-12, rising to $1.8 billion in 2014-15 with the removal of the annual eight-per-cent international aid increase. The budget said another $2.2 billion would be saved in the other two fiscal years in between.

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation, the umbrella group of non-government organizations, called on the government to commit to 14-per-cent annual increases for the next decade.

But the budget document said that any future foreign aid increases "will be assessed alongside all other government priorities on a year-by-year basis in the budget."

With the Harper government coming off the Winter Olympics and preparing to host the G8 and G20 summits this summer, Canada had touted 2010 as its "international year."

"This is an international embarrassment in a year when Canada hosts the world, the G8 and the G20," said Gauri Sreenivasan, the council's policy co-ordinator.

Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper "has reneged on his promise to bring our aid up to the average of all donor nations. It's hard to lead the G8 from the back of the pack."

Canada is a "global leader and continuously demonstrates this by honouring its international commitments," says the budget.

The document restated many of those commitments, made last year through the G20's economic recovery efforts, including $22 billion to the various international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank. The budget also announced $40 million to support IMF lending to poor countries.

The budget reiterated the government would match private donations toward Haiti's reconstruction to the tune of $130 million. Officials said that money would also come out of the existing aid envelope.

Canada is expected to attend the major international pledging conference on Haiti later this month. Estimates peg the rebuilding of Haiti at more than $10 billion over the next decade.

Going into the Thursday's budget, major aid agencies warned that if there wasn't some extra money earmarked for Haiti's reconstruction, or for the G8 plan to reduce the annual death rate of nine million children before age five and 500,000 women in childbirth, it would have to be siphoned from existing programs.

Major aid groups, including UNICEF, said the Harper government's child and maternal health plan would cost $400 million a year over five years.

The budget acknowledged that international efforts to lower the death rate "are far off track" but that "simple and affordable" solutions such as training health workers, vaccines, better nutrition and clean water could help.

"Canada will use its leadership at the G8 Summit in Muskoka to focus the world's attention on maternal and child health and will work to secure increased global spending on this priority," it said.
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Gawd! What is it some people don't understand about the concept of "We can't afford it right now"? :-(

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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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amen
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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There are a lot of people out there working in NGO's whose jobs depend on the government continuing to dole out foreign aid, and also a lot of "consultants" out there who like to jet off to foreign locales on junkets on the government's dime and bill the government for their time, without accomplishing much of anything. There are also a lot of people doing a lot of really good things right now in impoverished nations that are utilizing these foreign aid programs (I know some of them) and so while I support the freezing I do hope that the good people out there don't have to suffer too much. As for the junketeers - they deserve every cut coming to them - total wastes of space.
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Bill Introduced to Kill NAFTA
William B. Cassidy | Mar 4, 2010 10:53PM GMT
The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
Trade | Government + Regulation | North America
Legislation would withdraw U.S. from trade pact within six months
A bill that would end the North American Free Trade Agreement was introduced Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill would require President Obama to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA within six months.
“I voted against this legislation in 1993 because I knew that this trade agreement would lead to a decline in jobs and our industrial manufacturing base,” said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., one of 27 co-sponsors of the bill.
The bill was sponsored by 24 Democrats and three Republicans, including former presidential hopeful Ron Paul, R-Texas. Taylor said withdrawing from NAFTA would help keep jobs in the U.S. and reduce unemployment.
James P. Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters union, backed the bill. “We were sold a bill of goods about NAFTA,” he said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at [email protected]
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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GrooveTunes wrote:Bill Introduced to Kill NAFTA
William B. Cassidy | Mar 4, 2010 10:53PM GMT
The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
Trade | Government + Regulation | North America
Legislation would withdraw U.S. from trade pact within six months
A bill that would end the North American Free Trade Agreement was introduced Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill would require President Obama to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA within six months.
“I voted against this legislation in 1993 because I knew that this trade agreement would lead to a decline in jobs and our industrial manufacturing base,” said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., one of 27 co-sponsors of the bill.
The bill was sponsored by 24 Democrats and three Republicans, including former presidential hopeful Ron Paul, R-Texas. Taylor said withdrawing from NAFTA would help keep jobs in the U.S. and reduce unemployment.
James P. Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters union, backed the bill. “We were sold a bill of goods about NAFTA,” he said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at [email protected]



Well, that just makes my day!!! WOW! Thanks.

NAFTA was one of the sleezy things that Muloney slithered through on the sly.
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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grammafreddy wrote:Well, that just makes my day!!! WOW! Thanks.

NAFTA was one of the sleezy things that Muloney slithered through on the sly.

Umm, I think you missed that point that these Americans believe Nafta was bad for the US, not bad for Canada. We've been the beneficiaries of FTA, which was what Mulroney brought in (it was the Liberals who brought in Nafta in 1994), and that debate ended at least a decade ago. It was probably also good for the US.
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Homeownertoo wrote:
grammafreddy wrote:Well, that just makes my day!!! WOW! Thanks.

NAFTA was one of the sleezy things that Muloney slithered through on the sly.

Umm, I think you missed that point that these Americans believe Nafta was bad for the US, not bad for Canada. We've been the beneficiaries of FTA, which was what Mulroney brought in (it was the Liberals who brought in Nafta in 1994), and that debate ended at least a decade ago. It was probably also good for the US. :coffeecanuck:



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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government has survived its first confidence test of the new session of Parliament.

The House of Commons voted 214-84 today to reject a Bloc Quebecois amendment to the federal budget

The amendment would have forced the government to improve EI benefits and stop tax benefits to the oil industry — and use the money to help Quebec.

Only the Bloc and NDP supported the proposed change.

Earlier, the House overwhelmingly voted down an NDP sub-amendment that called for eliminating tax benefits to all big corporations.

Only the NDP supported that change.

The Liberals — who are not pushing for a spring election — didn't bother to introduce an amendment.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... le1495390/
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steven lloyd
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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NAB wrote: Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government has survived its first confidence test of the new session of Parliament.

For now the status quo is the best the NDP and Liberals (and all Canadians) can hope for. Layton takes no risk in directing his minions to vote against knowing the Liberals don't dare. What a joke.
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Re: 2010 Federal Budget - Cost cutting?

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That was quick ;-)

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MPs approve federal budget

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/03/ ... et010.html
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