Archive for the ‘ Canada ’ Category

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.

Surprise Winners Causing Concerns

Several new NDP candidates are causing concerns. Not because they are saying all the wrong things but because some people are upset that what realistically amounts to a paper candidate was actually elected (and more then just once).

What bothers me most about this is that everyone knows that there are paper candidates in every election. They serve many purposes including giving die hard voters a place to put their vote when there is not a legitimate candidate that is interested in running in that particular riding, and even when a party feels it has no chance in a particular riding and feels that there is better ways to spend it’s limited resources then to do an extensive candidate search for a riding where they are traditionally a distant third or fourth.

What is upsetting some people (assuming they likely voted for an opposing candidate) is that a paper candidate beat out a candidate that was sourced out to run for their party with party resources put into the win. Now while there is some question about the legitimacy of some signatures on the nomination forms the truth is that no party is going to involve themselves in that type of behaviour (generally because the repercussions would be to extreme)

But the truth of the matter is this. It was going to happen eventually that an unexpected candidate with little so called “qualifications”  was going to win an election (it likely happened already in other elections but not this many at once) and in all actual fact this is probably a good thing, because now we have a good from the business leaders and lawyers class and instead we have added a strong contingent of young people and “average joe’s”.  The type of people who will be able to actually speak to the real people on the street because that is exactly who they are.

For once the people will be represented by people very similar to themselves instead of a group of elitists who think they know best what the people want, when instead they are serving their own personal interests

I think perhaps we should back away from this case of sour grapes and let the people who were elected to govern actually do their job. And if you don’t like the job they do then the next opportunity you get vote them out. 

Realistically the only complaint people have with this election is if there is actual wrong doing (campaigning outside of legal timeframes, illegal campaign funding or actual election fraud) otherwise if you don’t like the choice people made in your riding (like me) next time offer yourself up in an effort to beat them, or in some individuals cases actually make the effort to vote. But complaining  because a paper candidate won over other parties is a waste because really what it means is that the other parties and their leaders did not actually resonate with voters and the party or leader in question actually did.

The Fall of the Liberal Empire

When Jean Chretien was in power the Liberals were an almost unstoppable force. But every one must retire eventually, and when people started to believe it was getting to be time for Chretien to retire a split started to develop within the liberal party. Pretty much splitting the party in two were the group who stood solidly behind Chretien and the group who stood solidly behind his understood succesor Paul Martin. The problem with this sort of split is that it leads to hard feelings between those who feel their leader was pushed out before his time was over and those who felt their leader was held back past the time he should have been handed the reigns.

While Martin’s shortened reign was largely due to poor behaviour on the part of party brass and the fallout from this poor behaviour. However the cleansing of the party brass has left the Liberals with a leadership vaccum, one that has resulted in the liberals choosing sucessive poorly thought out leaders. This comes from two different problems.

  1. Because of a leadership vaccum in the party brass the search for leadership candidates has been stunted and some high profile, but inadequate leaders have been chosen and the (expected) successor to Ignatieff (Bob Rae) is a castoff from another party and unlikely to inspire voters either.
  2. Leadership candidates have been too self centered with high profile candidates with poor credentials being given a single election period to connect with voters and then being tossed to the wolves while the next leadership candidate is brought forward.

It is becoming quickly apparent this election that the current leadership is unacceptable to the voters and that those looking to change the current government are instead looking to the traditional third party and it is showing in the polling numbers with the NDP seeing an unprecedented surge and the numbers do not seem to be dropping.

The last time a federal party tanked this badly was when the Conservatives under Mulroney/Campbell dropped to only two seats in the legislature. Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest. While I believe the leadership should have gone to Elsie Wayne as the stronger of the two it was still the one thing the Conservatives did right. They stuck with Charest while the party was being rebuilt.

The Liberals need to learn a lesson from that rebuild and choose a fairly solid friendly face to be the face of the party while they rebuild.

At this point it appears the Liberals will drop to third place in the legislature and without a bit of luck on their side they realistically could end up fourth.  It is time to stop with the flash in the pan high profile leaders that come loaded with baggage and choose a solid workmanlike leader who will rebuild the party. (like Layton has built the NDP into a force to be reckoned with)

Watching Polling Numbers Intently

I have over the last few days been monitoring the polling numbers quite intently. Generally I have been following mostly the Ekos polls simply because during the last election their prediction was within a seat or two of the final result making their stats fairly legitimate.

So what does that mean now.

              presently           at dissolution              change

  • Conservative 131             143                 -12
  • Liberal             62               77                 -15
  • NDP                100              36                 +64
  • Green                 0                0                   nc
  • Bloc                   14              47                 -33
  • ind/oth/vacant    1                5                  -4

These numbers from most people’s perspective are incredible.  It means that the Liberals are being relegated to third party status the NDP will sit as at least the Official Opposition and the Conservatives will once again be denied their oft requested majority.

In two regions the NDP are significantly leading the polls (both the Atlantic region and Quebec) and they are surging strong in Ontario.  If these trends continue and other parts of the country get involved in this movement as well I honestly believe that the NDP could potentially get a chance to form a minority government.

A second stat that was studied that i find incredibly telling is the total first and second choice combined tally

  • Conservative   40.9 (33.9 + 7)
  • Liberals            40.3 (24 + 16.3)
  • NDP                  55.4 (27.9 + 26.5)
  • Green               20   ( 6.8 + 13.2)
  • Bloc                  10.4 (6 + 4.4)
  • other                 3.9  (1.4 + 2.5)

Using first and second choice voting options this could potentially even lead to a NDP majority government.

There is  a couple of things to suggest this election.

  1. No matter who you vote for you cant complain if you dont vote
  2. With the breakdowns currently being shown this election is perhaps the best time to vote your true intentions because it looks like the entire electoral map is going to undergo a huge facelift