A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pro-rogue – In favor of - unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable?

I don’t often write about the Provincial government for two reasons:- 1) there is enough anti democratic stuff going on at the federal level to keep me and a truck load of scribes employed full time just keeping up. 2) In comparison the Ontario legislature until recently has been relatively benign and generally within the normal bounds of parliamentary rules.

However this week as we now all know Mr McGinty prorogued the Ontario Legislature for an unspecified time to “to allow these discussions with our labour partners and the opposition parties to occur in an atmosphere that is free of the heightened rancour of politics in the legislature”. Nonsense! As with Mr Harper in the past it was done to avoid what was rapidly leading to a confidence motion being presented in the legislature. It may well be that given the opposition totally stopping the business of the legislature for almost 3 weeks with the contempt motions regarding the power plant fiasco that he was left with few choices but until now he has always told it like it is. This was clearly an attempt to get out from under the obvious and cynical attempt to buy votes by canceling a power plant project that was well on its way to complication at great cost to the taxpayer. What a lousy way to leave after doing a pretty good job for so long (excepting for the whole 'green' energy file)!

In other provincial news it was revealed this week that “The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development says a WTO preliminary report has found that Ontario's feed-in-tariff system is discriminatory against foreign suppliers of equipment for renewable energy generating facilities.
The feed-in-tariff system — established in 2009 — requires participating electricity generators in Ontario to source up to 60 per cent of their equipment in the province if they want to be eligible for subsidies.
Japan filed a WTO complaint against the Ontario government two years ago, arguing that the requirement amounted to "illegal subsidies" for Ontario companies. The European Union, who joined in on the complaint last year, added that the scheme goes against the international WTO provisions.
Whether you agree with the reproach of the Ontario government on the 'Green Energy' file the fact that the WTO can dictate to a government whether they can favor their own manufacturing source for supply of such equipment is favoring corporations over citizens and totally without merit.
Which brings us nicely back to the Federal scene and the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement which has similar provisions as did the NAFTA and EU agreements which certainly 'protect' foreign investments but do little to protect our sovereign right to decide how such companys operate in Canada.

Over to LeadNow...
Most Canadians have never heard of FIPA, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, because Prime Minister Harper is trying to sneak it through without a single vote or debate in Parliament. Canadians have a right to determine our future, but this agreement will undermine our democratic rights and lock us into an inescapable path of foreign-ownership and resource extraction until at least 2040.

The Canada-China FIPA is set for automatic approval on October 31st unless we get the word out now that the Harper Conservatives are trying bypass Parliament and sneak this deal by Canadians.
Alongside this deal, the Harper government is trying to speed through the sale of Nexen, a major Canadian oil and gas company, to the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), one of China’s massive state-owned oil companies.4 The $15 billion-dollar Nexen takeover will open the floodgates to a wave of foreign buyouts of Canada's natural resources.

If FIPA passes, a Chinese company can take over Canadian resources and then sue Canadian governments – provincial or federal – in secret, if the government does anything that threatens the company’s profits.

And just to finish off the week from hell we have this from the Harper regimes latest Omnibus 'Budget' ....

The Sixth Estate then points out that contrary to all the spin that is being spread as to how the MPs are finally going to pay their fair share of their gold plated pension plans that the budget says that “The applicable contribution rate for [all MPs under 71 years of age beyond their earnings limit] is just 4% “ and that “ The applicable contribution rate for [those MPs up to their earnings limit] are: 4% for 2013, 5% for 2014 and 6% for 2015

Doesn’t that just make you feel so thankful that our MPs are going to finally pay more towards their pension ..... maybe, perhaps, eventually, but not for many years!

There will no doubt be much more to come once everybody wades through the details of that 433 page budget but don’t hold your breath on your pension plan getting a 95% taxpayer subsidy.

NOTE – I found it hard to believe that with all the talk of MPs paying 50% of their pension cost the actual bill did not say so. What it does say is this “The Chief Actuary shall fix contribution rates for the purpose of the provisions of this Act that require contributions to be made at the applicable contribution rate. “ Then follows the exceptions show above setting a hard rate of 4 – 6% over the next 3 years.
The ONLY reference I can find to the 50% is this “In fixing contribution rates, the Chief Actuary’s objective is to ensure that by not later than January 1, 2017 the total amount of contributions to be paid by members under Parts I and II will meet 50% of the current service cost in respect of the benefits payable under Parts I, II and IV. “
So IF the Actuary meets his 'objective' the contributions MAY reach 50% of the CURRENT cost by the end of 2017 but unlike the next 3 years that is NOT fixed or legislated. No wonder the MPs were so quick to send this one through the system.


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1 comment:

janfromthebruce said...

thank you for posting. I'm rural and live in Ontario. Right on!