Oh, about that UNESCO designation…..

You know, the one that will be destroyed if BiopoleIII is built down the east side of the lake?

Yeah that one. The one that you keep telling us we are at risk of losing UNESCO application, even though you have never consulted with UNESCO, and the former head of UNESCO stated that the line wouldn’t automatically disqualify the area?

Got some bad news for you West Side boosters ( you know, even at the Bomber games, everyone knows West Side Sucks!)

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list

What’s that? The list of UNESCO world heritage sites? How could that be bad news?

Well, with the exception of Nahinni  and the Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek sites, most are in relative close proximity to highways, roads, power lines.

But that’s not what’s the worst news for you guys.

Banff.

That’s right, Canada’s most popular international tourist attraction sits smack dab in the middle of a UNESCO world heritage site. So the town of Banff, the Trans Canada highway, the power lines, infrastructure, ski resorts, etc. haven’t caused the loss of the UNESCO designation. But for some strange reason, you think the relatively small intrusion of the Bipole line will?

Oh, and if you think Banff is the exception, you may want to look further down the list to United States. That’s right, the most popular international tourist attraction in the US is a UNESCO site.

Grand Canyon.

And we’re supposed to be concerned that the Bipole line will endanger the UNESCO bid?

PRIVATIZER!!!!

Gawd, this is starting to get pathetic. Witness the NDP’s new ad:

PRIVATIZER! PRIVATIZER!!

You know what it reminds me of?

The Simpsons Homerpalooza episode. Where Homer wanders into a crowd of kids and they start yelling and pointing at him:

“NARC, NARC, He’s a NARC! Don’t Practice your hate crimes here NARC!!” **

And even more disgusting? Greg Selinger on CJOB this morning was asked about the negative ads they are running. His response?

I think we are running a positive campaign. We have been attacked over and over at every opportunity. And we have responded in an accurate and ethical manner.

Positive?

Accurate?

ETHICAL???

What disregard and contempt you show for the electorate!! Or do you live in a reality that is markedly different from the majority of people. Your campaign can’t be considered to come close to any of the three.

And the sad thing is that it seems like a lot of Manitobans are making their decision based on the campaign of lies and misinformation.

 

**yes, I’m aware I know too many Simpsons references!! 🙂

So I voted….

I went down to the conveniently located returning office ( a 10 min walk from my house) and voted. I`m going to be out of town on the 4th and had to hit the advance polls.

And going into the returning office, I still wasn`t 100% sure who I was going to vote for and why. But I made up my mind and marked an `X`beside a candidate`s name.

Probably as no surprise to anyone who knows me I didn`t vote for the NDP candidate. However, my reasons for not voting for this candidate may surprise many.

I don`t agree with many of their polices and campaign promises. But that`s not why I didn`t vote for them. I didn`t vote for them for the same reason I didn`t vote for the Conservative party in the last federal election. I don`t like the low road they have taken in this campaign and especially the outright lies they are propagating in their attack ads. In fact, I think these are much  more distasteful than the ads the Conservatives ran against Ignatieff. in those ads, at least the Conservatives used video clips of Ignatieff. In this current crop of ads, the NDP uses statements supposedly backed up by official record. But when you check the source the quote, you see what they are saying clearly isn`t supported by the official record. I`ve already pointed it out:

https://bgilchrist.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/the-campaign-of-misinformation-and-lies/

 

 

https://bgilchrist.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/ndp-reminds-me-of-a-colin-james-song/

Crocus? Lies.

Can’t refund $60 million in incorrectly issued photo radar tickets because people ‘pled guilty’? Lies

Roving photo radar vans are to increase safety in construction and school zones? Lies

Bipole can’t go east because it will harm UNESCO bid? Lies

Never mind all the lies about Hydro privatization

And what bothers  me the most is how blatant they are about it. Like they expect us to believe it hook line and sinker.

A party that has such little regard for the electorate will NEVER get my vote.

So who did I vote for?

That was the hard question. Do I vote for the candidate or do I vote for the party? Well, the majority of the time I vote either red or blue. So I look at it this way – If I vote for the candidate, then I vote Liberal. However, I also don’t see him winning the riding. So then I ask, what is more important to me?

If it’s my disgust at parties that outright lie to the electorate  and can’t say anything positive about their record, then I need to vote for the party that is their strongest opponent.

If it’s voting for the candidate whose I feel will make the best representative, who I have seen more in the community than anyone else, whose party’s platform in this election seems to make the most sense, then I vote for the individual.

 

Not that it really matters much anyway. Most of the health care promises are going to be done regardless of who is elected, and there isn’t much differentiating the three parties anyway ( although expanded Sunday shopping would be nice)

But whatever you do, get out and vote!

At some point someone has to address the elephant in the room…..

In politics there are elephants ( or sacred cows, depending on your party affiliation). Municipal politics have them, federal politics have them, and of course  with the election, provincial politics have them as well.

Yet nobody wants to address the elephant. In fact, the parties are doing their best to convince us all the elephant doesn’t exist at all.

So what’s the elephant I talking about? Health care spending of course.

Each party is doing their best to promise more and more spending than the other.

“We’ll hire 200 doctors and 1,000 nurses”

“We’ll hire 300 doctors and 1,500 nurses”

“We’ll hire 300 doctors and 1,500 nurses, and they’ll each be able to cure all your ailments by winking at you”

The NDP is running their campaign using scare tactics of filmon era cuts and their latest commercial seems to indicate that health care spending should not be questioned:

 

(Of course they don’t tell you that Nurse Betty Loewen was/is a nurses union leader, but I digress)

Health care spending has increased dramatically during the NDP tenure. It was 34% of core government spending in 1997-1998 ($1.9 Billion of $5.6 Billion). It’s increased to 44% of core government spending in 2010-2011 ($4.8 Billion of $10.8 Billion).

If this keeps up, we’ll be over 50% of core government spending by 2018. This is clearly NOT sustainable. And yet, with an aging population, it’s reasonable to expect the increase in health care spending to accelerate.

And what do we have the parties promising? New equipment, which is great and would get purchased as course of business anyway. More doctors. More nurses, helicopters, everything under the sun.

However, nobody has the balls to come out and say the current situation isn’t sustainable. Some serious work has to be done here, and by serious I’m dismissing the Romanow  report and its “spend more on health care” conclusion that anyone could tell would be the result when it was revealed Roy Romanow would be the report’s author.

Do we need private health care? I don’t think we do, but I do think we need a proper analysis of the idea.

What about better efficiencies in ERs ( I remember getting an x-ray and the dr. taking 3 trips to see me to get this set up because he didn’t carry the x-ray request tickets with him)?

What about a trade off? Yes, you can have public health care, but you must submit to a mandatory physical annually. Here’s your date and time -can’t make it? No health care coverage ( of course this would require some legislation to allow people time off from work?)

How about focusing on the preventative? It’s cheaper to be proactive than reactive?

What about a sin tax? Super Big gulp? 3% health care tax.

Benchmark to other provinces?

Pay to have people undergo procedures in other jurisdictions if it can be cheaper and faster?

How about NOT promising nurses they will always be the no lower than the 4th highest paid in Canada? ( not trying to diss Nurses, but that was a stupid wage concession)

 

You know what the other problem with health care increasing as a proportion of total gov’t core spending?

It takes away from other government areas. And in most cases, increased spending in these other areas can lead to decreased health care costs.

Education suffers

Social Services suffers

Safety and security suffers

Infrastructure suffers

And as a result of these areas suffering, health care spending increases.

 

I don’t know what the answers are. I do know what the answer isn’t. The answer isn’t “Spend more money” despite how the NDP would like you to believe otherwise. We need to do some serious looking into ways to reduce health care spending as a proportion of core government spending, without decreases in front line services.

But as long as the parties keep promising to outspend each other on health care, that will never happen. Instead, we’ll have 12 more years of people dying in ERs, brown envelopes, more of this:

This:

and this:

 

Of course by the time anyone has the balls to stand up and identify the elephant, it will be too late.

A winding path – but hey everyone else is doing it!

So, lots of talk around budgets and elections and balanced budgets lately.

Well, lets throw in the fiscal stabilization act and the sale of crown corporations. We’ll walk down this path, and you might be surprised to see where it leads.

So lets go back to Filmon gov’t and privatization of MTS, shall we? Back when the Conservatives were in gov’t in the 1990s, they privatized MTS. Now I’m not going to go into the debate of good or bad decision, but lets look at what happened.

The proceeds from the privatization went to two places: a) repayment of provincial debt. and b) fiscal stabilization fund.

Now, what happens when you pay down debt? Your future debt repayments decrease. No different than your household situation. And when you pay down debt, you have funds that can be used on other activities.  And if you have debt, you have to make the payments before you can spend on other items.

And putting money into the fiscal stabilization fund, well it lets you bridge finance when there are revenue issues to allow programs to continue without any cutting ( or even expand programming).

So what does all this mean….

It means that the NDP , who are demonizing the conservatives in their election ads for privatizing MTS, have been the prime beneficiary of the Privatization!

I think most would agree that had the conservatives been elected anytime in the last 12 years that they would not have spent at the level of the NDP, so the winner of the Privatization of MTS is the NDP!!

Wow – it’s a winding road, huh?

It gets better.

The fiscal stabilization act

http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/repealed/f085e.php?query=search

Note that it has been repealed. And note the date it was repealed – 2008

Look specifically at section 3(1.1):

Proceeds of sale of Crown corporation

3(1.1)      For greater certainty, the minister shall not deposit in the fund any revenue or other financial assets received by the government in a fiscal year ending after March 31, 2000 as a result of selling shares or assets of a Crown corporation in the course of a privatization of the Crown corporation.

So here’s an act passed by the Conservatives when in power. The act states that the proceeds from any sale of a Crown Corporation must go into the fiscal stabilization fund, which means they can’t be used to balance the budget or used to fund general gov’t operations.

Now, lets look at the Balanced Budget act that the NDP replaced the conservative Balanced budget Act with. Oh, you didn’t know they replaced the act with another before essentially scrapping it? Yeah, it’s interesting to see what they’ve passed, huh?

http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/b005e.php

An interesting point is that they have enacted the act to apply to the summary balance – you already know how disgusting I think that is.

But, look at this:

Proceeds from sale of Crown corporation not included in determining balance

3(2)        Revenue or other financial assets received by the government as a result of selling shares or assets in the course of a privatization of Manitoba Hydro, The Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, The Liquor Control Commission or The Manitoba Lotteries Corporation must not be included in determining whether there is a positive or negative balance for a fiscal year.

Okay, let’s do some hypothetical scenario planning here.

Let’s just hypothetically say that the Government of the time is going to privatize Manitoba Hydro.

  1. So for scenario 1, we’ll say we have a Conservative gov’t and the Conservative enacted fiscal stabilization act is in place. what happens with the proceeds of the sale? They go into the fiscal stabilization fund and can’t be used to for operating expenses or to balance the budget. Okay, that’s probably a wise course of action if you have a large one time revenue.
  2. For scenario 2, we’ll suggest that the current laws are in place and we have an NDP gov’t that privatizes Manitoba Hydro. Where do the proceeds go? Well there is no fiscal stabilization fund, so they don’t go there. And their balanced budget legislation says they can’t use it to determine if the budget is balanced. So you determine if the budget is balanced on the numbers before the proceeds of privatization ( kind of contrary to the position the NDP and AG have taken with regards to what numbers should be used- but  I digress. So where does it go? Well, it shows as a extraordinary item in the financial statements.

Okay, but then what? Well, under the fiscal stabilization act, the funds would remain there. But since that is gone what? Answer is nothing. NDP could privatize Manitoba Hydro and while not using the funds to balance the operating fund, there is nothing stopping them from using those funds in future years to fund government operations, or major capital expenditures.

Does it seem strange to anyone else that the party that is accusing another party of planning on privatizing Manitoba Hydro actually weakened the laws to protect the proceeds of any possible future privatization of a crown corporation? And that this same party actually benefitted more from the privatization of MTS than the party that did it?

Hmmm….

 

Oh, and here’s another juicy tidbit from the NDP balanced budget act:

Other adjustments in determining balance

3(3)        For the purpose of subsection (1), the net income or loss for a fiscal year may be adjusted by excluding a revenue shortfall or increase in expenses for the fiscal year that occurred because of

(a) an unanticipated natural or other disaster that affects the province or a region of the province in a manner that is of urgent public concern;

(b) Canada being at war or under the apprehension of war;

(c) unusual weather or climate conditions the fiscal impact of which was not anticipated in the budget; or

(d) a decision of another level of government or of a regulatory body that took effect after the budget for the fiscal year was tabled in the Legislative Assembly or within 30 days before it was tabled, the fiscal impact of which was not anticipated in the budget.

Anybody wanna bet that any costs related to this year’s flooding will be removed from their surplus/deficit position number?

 

 

 

 

 

It should be easy……

If you`re Hugh McFadyen, to have a 20 point lead over the NDP at this point in time. Granted, the NDP does have their cheerleaders in print (I`m looking at you Dan Lett and Mary Agnes Welch), but come on – it would be so easy for you to be 20 point up right now.

The NDP campaign is built almost entirely on fear mongering.

`The Conservatives will sell Manitoba Hydro`

That`s almost the easiest to retort! Try this response.

`Greg Selinger and the NDP have gone on for months about how they are convinced that I will privatize Manitoba Hydro. In fact, the law prevents the sale of Manitoba Hydro without public approval in a referendum.  If you can`t trust Greg Selinger to tell you the truth, how can you trust him to be premier?`

The next one

`Hugh Mc Fadyen will cancel wastewater treatment upgrades`

How about this for a comeback?

`The NDP is so concerned about these treatment upgrades that they have cancelled the upgrades themselves and obviously agree with the Conservative plan.`

The Biggy:

`Pursuing an East side route for Bipole 3 will jeopardize UNESCO designation, cancel sales contracts and cause legal problems with first nations`

 Never mind that the reason against have been trotted out again and again

`Greg Selinger and the NDP make claims that an east side bi-pole will jeopardize a UNESCO designation and cancel export sales contracts. In fact they have never spoken to UNESCO and the former head of the organization has indicated that it will not jeopardize that designation. Export sales call for green energy. If they cancel these contracts, their alternative is coal power, hardly a green energy source. And not only are several first nations on the east side of lake Winnipeg in favour of the east side route, it can be built with only traversing one first nation. Again, if you can`t trust Greg Selinger to tell you the truth, how can you trust him to be premier?`

There`s some sound bites that could be used in commercials. You can easily make one from my last blog post too. Some might say they are negative ads, but how can correcting lies be considered negative?

Instead what do we get? Boutique tax credits and extended period of deficits and a spending promises that rival the NDP’s.

This election could be in the bag for you, but instead it appears you have a NDP mole working to sabotage your campaign.

You know, that Liberal party is starting to look pretty good……..

The Campaign of misinformation and lies

Wow, finally a blog post. I’ll get around to posting my thoughts on the overall campaign  soon, but to tide you over, here is an article from Bruce Owen from today’s freep, and my reply:

 

Winnipeg Free Press – ONLINE EDITION

The Tories, Crowns and taxes

By: Bruce Owen

Posted: 09/12/2011 1:09 PM | Comments: 0 (including replies)g

This is a tough one to get your head around.

It’s an even tougher one for the Tories to sell to voters in a few sound bites.

On the one side, you have Hugh McFadyen’s Progressive Conservatives accusing the NDP of playing a shell game with the province’s finances and the other you have Auditor General Carol Bellringer saying otherwise.

McFadyen says the books are in such bad shape, the NDP have no alternative but to raise taxes to raise more revenue if they want to balance the budget by 2014.

McFadyen says if he becomes premier, his Tories won’t be able to balance the budget until 2018. Those four extra years will avoid a tax increase by reducing spending.

The NDP refute this, saying they are ahead of track on balancing the books, mostly because of Manitoba’s healthy economy.

Last week, I spent 20 minutes on the phone with Eric Stefanson, former finance minister under Gary Filmon’s Tory government in the 1990s.

He explained, patiently, why this is such an important issue for the Tories and should be for Manitobans.

The PCs also supplied the paperwork to support this, and Stefanson guided me through it.

The difference has to do with what’s called the core budget—the taxpayer-supported budget that deals with direct government services like healthcare, justice and education—and the summary budget, the budget that includes everything else under the government umbrella, like school divisions, universities and Crown corporations.

The smoking gun for the Tories is on page 4, Details and Reconciliation to Core Government Results. The blood on the floor is money moved from Manitoba Hydro ($150 million) and the Workers Compensation Board ($64.1 million) into the summary budget.

According to Stefanson, those combined payments ($191.8 million) went to improve the province’s bottom line and reduce the summary deficit, which sits at about $298 million.

“They really are not part of the core government,” Stefanson said of the Crowns. “They really are funded by ratepayers.”

Without that $191.8 million, the deficit is actually almost $490 million, Stefanson said.

Stefanson’s second point was on another page, Loans and Advances. In particular, loans and advances to Crown organizations and enterprises like Manitoba’s post secondary institutions.

The money, roughly $400 million, will only be repaid to government through future appropriations, according a note at the bottom of page 114 of the Summary Financial Statements.

“What should be really important, I think, to Manitobans is this distinction,” Stefanson said. “These advances, by and large, can only be funded in one way, because we’re running deficits, they’re being funded by debt. “I think what gets lost sight of, which is really the most important issue, is what’s the impact to the taxpayers of Manitoba. What’s happening to the real deficit? What’s happening to debt in Manitoba?

“You look at the gap that has to be closed, it can’t be done without increasing taxes.”

Then there’s the impact of the flood fight on the books plus the future of federal equalization payments to Manitoba. Then there’s the economy, and how much of it is actually driven by public sector spending, he said.

“That can’t go on forever. You can’t keep mounting debt indefinitely without repaying it. Nobody can. No government can

 

Bingo!

Stefanson is right on. Although the NDP will tell you different, they are playing a shell game. Would you say your annual household budget is balanced if you are $50K in debt, but have $50K in RRSPs? Of course not, but that’s what the NDP is doing.

One other very important point – when the conservatives were in power and introduced balanced budget legislation they were applying this balanced budget legislation to the operating fund. Since the NDP has come in, they have moved to consolidated reporting. This form of reporting was recommended by the AG, which is fine; however, the NDP has used this form of reporting to apply the balanced budget legislation not to the operating fund but to the bottom line of the summary reporting.

What does this mean? While the conservatives were in compliance with the intent of the balanced budget legislation, the NDP has used surpluses from MPI and Hydro to allow them to run deficits in the operating fund and still claim they are in compliance with the balanced budget legislation, which IMHO is an outright lie.

Why haven’t the conservatives pushed hard on this? Why hasn’t the media dug into this? Why has your colleague Dan Lett become an NDP mouthpiece in his last column and forced you to explain it properly Mr. Owen?

Why does the media ( Free Press) refuse to do proper investigative journalism and provide proper information to Manitobans about NDP government actions?

Why has it not been reported that the real reason the NDP did not refund $60 Million in illegal photo radar tickets wasn’t because people pled guilty as then Minister Chomiak said, but because it would have caused them to be out of compliance with balanced budget legislation. Why wasn’t that question asked?

Why has it not been reported that the NDP grant to the U of W for the science complex ($25 M) had to be turned into a long-term loan as it would have caused them to be offside with respect to balanced budget legislation ( wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact the owner of your paper is the U of W’s chancellor, would it?)

The NDP is conducting a campaign of misinformation and lies and several Free Press reporters are complicit in it.