The Shotgun Blog
Friday, July 24, 2009
Human Rights Museum Wants More of Your Money
Construction on The Canadian Museum for Human Rights , which started in April of this year, is taking place Winnipeg and set for completion in 2012. So far they have begged for, and gotten, $160 million dollars of government money.
Is it well spent?
Officials at The Canadian Museum For Human Rights announced earlier this year that they would require an extra $45 million in donations because rising construction costs had driven up the price by 17 per cent.
On Friday, they announced plans to approach various provinces and the City of Winnipeg to help foot the $310-million bill.
So they screwed up by not budgeting properly. And who will hold the bill for their screw up? The Canadian public, everyone of us.
And why wouldn't they beg for government money? Corporate welfare is a blight, yet time and time again government cozies up to their buddies in big business and makes deals that benefits their friends, giving millionaires more money for their projects and businesses, while the average middle class person (the majority of Canadians) are forced to pay for it.
Force people to pay for a Human Rights Museum, ironic.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Green Party: We need welfare!
Here's the email I just received from the Green Party:
Today Jim Flaherty is expected to announce that the Tories will cut the public subsidy to all federal political parties. It is disguised as a response to the economic crisis. It is actually a scheme to destroy Harper's political opponents. It is an assault on fair financing rules brought about through sweeping reforms. These reforms were designed to eliminate the power of Big Money in our elections. Harper wants that power back.
(Wow. I suppose it doesn't matter whether or not the rules were effective. All that matters is that the rules were "designed to eliminate the power of Big Money". Of course, the government doesn't count as "Big Money." The government counts as "Big Mommy." And, as we all know, Big Mommy can do no wrong. At least not on purpose. She might screw it up, but she always means well. And that's gotta be worth something... /sarcasm)
This could well be the biggest challenge ever to face the Green Party of Canada.
What does this mean for Canadians?
It means that Stephen Harper is using this political ploy to distract attention from his failure to provide a meaningful package to stimulate the economy. He is continuing his attempt to undermine democracy in this country. It means that smaller parties such as ours that are trying to make a difference in the Canadian political landscape will be effectively shut down. It means our voices will be silenced.
(Yes. You'll be "silenced." Or, put differently, you'll have to go out and ask Canadians for money like every other decent organization. Get off our backs, and collect money the ordinary, decent, Canadian way: Either sell us a product we want, or ask for our money. Stop taking it without asking us.)
What does this mean for us?
It means that the $1.95 GPC receives for every Canadian that voted for us will be lost. That amounts to more than 50% of the Green Party’s operating budget. Like all parties, we now have debts from our recent successful election campaign. Our priority is to pay these debts off quickly. To do so without the fair public financing system is a significant challenge. This threatens our very existence.
(Can't you get $1.95 from every Canadian who voted for you by asking for it? Or would you rather just have someone else reach into their pockets and take it for you? Somehow, I feel absolutely no sympathy for the Green Party. Strange, don't you think?)
This is the debate debacle all over again. The Conservatives once again are trying to strong arm Canadians so they can push through their agenda. It’s nothing short of a bullying tactic masked as an attempt to help Canadians during the economic slowdown.
We have to fight this tooth and nail. We need your support, we need you to spread the word about this threat to democracy and we need you to contribute financially right now, so we have the resources we need to shut this down!
Green Party of Canada
(Sorry, Green Party, you're on your own this time. Raise money the way the rest of us have to. Get off government welfare. Please. Separately, I've not been a big supporter of the Conservative Party of late. To be honest, I think they've sold out small government libertarians and conservatives for the sake of political power. But that doesn't change the fact that this is a good idea -- a great idea -- and should be supported by the rest of us.)
Friday, August 22, 2008
Corporate Welfare Alert #2 – Feeling blue over blueberry subsidies
This week, the Conservative government announced $185,000 in funding to the B.C. Blueberry Council to “help ensure a profitable future for British Columbia's blueberry growers.”
The announcement was made by Nina Grewal, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood-Port Kells on behalf of Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. The funding will come through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program.
"Canadian blueberries are enjoyed around the world thanks to the hard work and expertise of our growers," said MP Grewal. "The Government of Canada is committed to the long-term viability of the blueberry industry and is working with farmers to find innovative and sustainable initiatives."
According to Will Van Baalen, Executive Director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, "without this support, many of our research projects and other initiatives would go undone."
So without $185,000 in taxpayer money, important research in blueberry growing would not get done. Hmm. That doesn’t sound right.
There are 450 blueberry growing families in BC. If each family came up with $411, they could replace the loan coming from taxpayers. Is that an impossible amount of money for blueberry farm families to come up with in order to “ensure a profitable future” for their industry? I don’t think so.
I did a quick Google search to get an idea for the value of a blueberry farm. I called the owner of the first property I saw listed, a 70-acre blueberry farm near Langley. It is for sale for $7.7 million.
So is it unfair to ask land-rich blueberry farmers with an industry association in place to finance research and business development that will “ensure a profitable future”? Surely that’s a better solution than making the profits of 450 blueberry farms the responsibility of every taxpayer.
Of course, the latter approach will do little to keep Nina Grewal in office, but maybe that's a good thing for taxpayers.
UPDATE: I got a call tonight from Will Van Baalen, Executive Director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, in response to my question about their membership numbers. The Council has 625 members, which means it would take only $296 per member to replace the $185,000 loan from the federal government.
Taxpayers and PETA-philes agree: corporate welfare stinks
Is a zero-interest federal loan to a Quebec company part of a Tory vote buying scheme? I asked Canadian Taxpayers Federation national director John Williamson.
Should vegetarians be forced to subsidize the meat industry? The PETA-philes say “no.”
And what can be done to improve private sector lending to growing Canadian businesses? Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young commits to a strategy that could help phase out corporate welfare completely.
Read all of this and more in the latest Western Standard news story “Does it take Tory pork to process pork?” here.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Corporate Welfare Alert #1 – Does it take pork to process pork?
The Minister of Canada Economic Development, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, today announced a $195,000 zero-interest loan to Charcuterie L. Fortin Ltd. The Quebec-based delicatessen has been in business for 40 years and is the largest pork processing plant in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region.
I’m as bullish on pork as the next guy...probably more so, but why does a company with a 40 year proven track record need a $195,000 loan from the taxpayers? If Canadian banks aren’t doing a good job lending to businesses like Charcuterie L. Fortin, perhaps the Conservative government needs to open the sector to more foreign competition.
And what about private investors? Charcuterie L. Fortin has shareholders, why not bring in a few more? I know it’s hard to find investors in this market, but what if the Conservatives scraped the capital gains tax as they promised in 2006? That would help attract more investment in seemingly sound business ventures like Charcuterie L. Fortin.
But if they do insist on being in the business of corporate lending, why doesn’t the government charge interest? It costs money to lend money. First, there is the risk on not getting the money back. Then there is the cost of administering the loan. Let’s not forget the opportunity cost of not being able to lend that money elsewhere, or even the cost of not using that money to pay down the national debt. And, of course, with Canada’s central bank expanding the money supply at 12%, there is the cost of inflation. $195,000 is worth more today than it will be 10 years from now.
(I called Canada Economic Development and asked for the terms of the loan period. They didn’t know. Only a government department would announce a loan without including the terms of the loan.)
So let me now ask Western Standard readers -- does it really take pork to process pork?