Health care reform has been on the agenda of every level of government in the country for the past two decades, not to mention every health and academic institution and think tank. Citizens have been bombarded with messages that the public system is not sustainable without “meaningful” system change. A common theme heard from elected officials is how hard it is to push change, there is just so much public resistance.
Peruvian economist and World Bank poster child Hernando de Soto Polar visited Vancouver in October to speak in favour of the establishment of individual property ownership ("fee simple") on First Nations Reserves in Canada.
The First Nations Property Ownership (FNPO) conference -- hosted by the First Nations Tax Commission -- paired de Soto with a select roster of indigenous leaders, lawyers, economists, and scholars from across British Columbia and Canada to promote a proposal that would allow fee-simple title on reserves.
The greatest tragedy in BHP Billiton's $38.6-billion (U.S.) bid for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) is that the Government of Saskatchewan previously sold PCS for just $630 million. This privatization was the worst fiscal decision in the province's history and has been aggravated by subsequent royalty giveaways to private potash companies.
PCS was created in 1975 as a provincial Crown corporation. The Saskatchewan government privatized it in 1989, selling all of its shares by 1994.
Presumably, the proceeds were deducted from the provincial deficit. Borrowing $630 million at 10 per cent interest, compounded over two decades, would have added $4.2-billion of provincial debt by now.
Did you know that the Conservative minority government is smuggling certain controversial measures into its upcoming federal Budget Bill C-9? While all eyes are on the Rahim Jaffer/Helena Guergis scandal, some other shady business is getting overlooked.
Items that might prove unpopular, exposed to the light of public scrutiny, are being packaged and sold as part of a Budget that is quickly working its way through Parliament. The Conservatives are counting on the opposition's reluctance to have an election to get their Budget approved. But it is essential that the package is opened and its contents handled with care.
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In the future, when people ask where Stephen Harper went wrong, the pundits will say that he messed with the postal service.
This might be the place where a union rep such as myself would do some chest-thumping about the militant history of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). I could talk about the other Prime Ministers who took on the postal workers and lost. I could talk about the fight for maternity leave, or jailed union leaders... But it is not simply CUPW that is hitting back against Harper.
And that is the point.