Archive for June, 2011

Change the Moncton Event Center Concept

Here we go, again a city is trying to build a major arena/convention centre and that city is trying to get the Federal government and the Provincial government  to pay for it.

I have always expressed distaste with this idea and it is universally panned by taxpayers across the country. “Why should taxpayer dollars go to fund a facility for a team, why should the team owner not pay for it” is the general thought process.

I will admit i think slightly differently on this event centre but not enough to suggest that in this instance federal and provincial funds should be used. This “event centre” is the prime opportunity to show our ingenuity in creating appropriate financing.

The main reason why it is said we need federal and provincial funds is because the event centre will not pay for itself. It is good for the city but not financially viable.

The solutions is simple CHANGE THE DESIGN make sure sufficient commercial and residential space is available that the rental costs will cover the costs of the mortgage on the building as well as the operating costs so that any events held only have to pay for themselves and not try to pay for the building with the events.  Paying for the building through events drives up the ticket costs keeping many from attending events and reducing revenue available to neighbouring business.

The ideal of the event centre is great but a few changes to the design of the centre will reduce a major amount of the costs to the taxpayer and make this a far more feasible project with greater long term benefits.

It is not always about getting someone else’s funding for our projects, that funding should be available for other more important things like health care, police funding, education and instead be creative to make an event centre work for us and show other communities how it should be done.

Food is one of the few things that we can not do without and over the recent months and last couple of years some food prices have as much as doubled or more.

Items like bread and milk need to be at a price that those at the lowest levels of poverty can afford them. So must other forms of healthy foods like meat, seafood, cheese, vegetables etc. It has come to the point where I feel it is almost necessary to regulate prices across canada to a level that can be met by even the most vulnerable of our population.

Prices that to my mind would be acceptable on a Canada wide basis are approx

  • Bread 1$ a loaf
  • Meat  1$ a pound
  • Cheese 2$ a pound
  • Milk  1$ a litre
  • Vegetables 1$ a pound
  • Fruit 1$ a pound

Taxes on any given product should not exceed 25% of the total value of the product (including sales tax) with total value of taxes being

  • Federal 10%
  • Provincial 10%
  • Municipal 5%

The time has come, now that prices are getting out of control to start to control how much individuals pay. The reasoning for this is that we need to get our houses in order. And to do this we need to be clear as to exactly where our prices come from.

In addition to these controls we also need to include a few other tangible limits to stop price gouging. These controls include things like:

  • income tax controls (fed 10%, Provincial 10% and Municipal 5%)
  • 2% maximum profit limit on any given product
  • corporate taxation limits (fed 10%, Provincial 10% and Municipal 5%)

With a couple of other little things like Same Price for Same Product (regardless of manufacturer) or Service across Canada and standardized wages (same wages for same job) Canada wide would do wonders to bring allow our citizens a fair opportunity to care for themselves properly and make a decent living

Canada Post is considered one of the most expensive and unreliable corporations out there.

As a Residential urban customer I should be expecting door to door mail service but well over half the homes in my neighbourhood are on Super boxes. This is not due to any safety concern as many of these boxes are on side streets that see little except local traffic. This is instead a cost cutting measure that is producing differing levels of service to various people based on the willingness of the Corporation to hire sufficient staff to actually deliver the mail.

IF Canada Post will not stop using super boxes and return to actual house to house delivery then those who do not receive house to house delivery must receive a substantial discount on the cost of doing business with Canada post.

It is no longer acceptable that Canada post should provide different services to different neighbourhoods and charge the same fees to both levels of service.

Postal workers you are receiving sufficient high wages and at a time when most other corporations are tightening their belts and reducing labour costs and pension costs, you must be prepared to take a bit of a hit yourselves. In times of plenty it is well to expect the world but in times of financial crunch everyone needs to be willing to take a little less to allow things to get back on track.

I do have a lot of support for unions and what they have successfully done to create a good working environment however, more and more lately it seems that they are constantly demanding more and more and in some cases there is no more to give. Some companies have been bankrupted by the demands of unions and this does not benefit the workers or the company. Sometimes a union has to step back and ask themselves if they really are serving the best interests of their members when they refuse to back down on a contract that may be to rich for a company to handle.

Pensions are another issue that is starting to arise in many labour negotiations as many companies are finding that the pension plans they have been contributing to are no longer able to meet the payout requirements due to the recent market issues.

PENSIONS

I believe in this case it would better serve both the companies and the unions if a single pension plan scheme was set up across Canada that could guarantee a certain minimum percentage payout with employees being able to contribute extra to increase their pension benefit on retirement. This plan should be one single plan similar to the CPP that is paid into by all employees from all companies regardless of labour agreements or not and that all companies be required to pay an equal sum as the employee and or contractor(up to a standard approved across the board percentage of annual income). All top ups would be at the complete expense of the individual and that pensions would no longer be a part of negotiations.

Health benefits

I believe a single health benefit plan should be set up across Canada similar to the pension plan. Both corporation and employee/contractor would pay into it equally and self employed persons would pay the total sum (equal to total of corp. and employee payments) all benefits country wide would be equal.  Plan would be written so that payment would continue as part of the pension payout after retirement so that no one would ever  be without a supplemental health plan.

I also believe a similar program should be set up for life insurance with a caveat that if both adults in a family worked they would both be able to have the insurance plan and it would not be considered null and void by having two plans.

Little things like this which would be majorly benificial to all Canadians would do much to reduce the drain on companies and would allow much of the contention in Union negotiations to be gone. This would leave only vacation and earnings benefits and it is possible to make similar arrangements for a national workers vacation period that covers all including contract workers.

All government departments have been asked to shave money from their budgets for the next financial year. This is a laudable goal as long as it does not reduce the services rendered.

While I cringe at the though of the fact that there will be a reduction in services  due to the fact that the management in these departments are not going to accept part of the cuts being at their level, I have realized there is a way to fix this problem.

Using the Department of Health and the Department of Education as the two best examples, the solution to the financial mess is best solved by creating one single province wide department for each.

This department will equally serve both French and English populations with the single administration being a bilingual administration with the current division of French and English facilities.

The cost savings would be huge and the only loss would be the single English or single French administration as they would be combined into a single province wide bilingual administration. By maintaining the individual French and English facilities we still will meet the needs of both the English and French communities while doing our utmost to reduce the duplication of services at the administration level.

Personally I believe this would be the best way to reduce costs without reducing services offered to the population of the province.