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The Canadian government has spent $13.2 billion more than it has taken in so far this year, a slightly larger deficit than the one for the same period in 2012.
The Department of Finance said Monday the federal deficit was $13.2 billion for the fiscal year up to October. That’s ahead of the $11.9 billion during the same period in 2012.
But that data is skewed by two major one-time events that impacted Ottawa’s finances: The Alberta floods of last summer, and the government’s sale of $700 million worth of GM shares in September.
Excluding the two events, the annual deficit would have been slightly smaller, at $11.1 billion.
For the fiscal year as a whole, Ottawa has taken in $144.9 billion and spent $158.2 billion so far. On a monthly basis, October’s deficit was $2.5 billion, the same as the one from the same month last year.
“The Government remains on track to balance the budget in 2015,” the department said in a release.
An environmental group says more needs to be done to prevent an iconic Canadian animal from going extinct.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is releasing a report today, co-authored by the David Suzuki Foundation, on the status of woodland caribou.
CBC News obtained an embargoed copy of the report, “Population Critical: How are the caribou faring?”
It comes one year after the federal government issued a recovery strategy to prevent the woodland caribou from becoming extinct.
The caribou are listed as a threatened species at risk, largely because industrial development is destroying their habitat in the boreal forest.
Ottawa’s recovery strategy gave provinces and territories three years to come up with a plan to stop the decline of caribou herds in their jurisdictions.
The CPAWS report looks at what progress has been made in the past 12 months.
‘Caribou aren’t protected’
CPAWS national executive director Éric Hébert-Daly says there has been a lot of discussion, but little else.
“The truth is while we wait and while we plan and we do all that work, the caribou aren’t protected,” he told CBC News.
CPAWS gave three provinces and territories a medium grade for showing some signs of progress.
The rest got a low mark for doing little if anything to stop industrial development.
Hébert-Daly hopes that will change in the next 12 months.
“There isn’t really a jurisdiction yet that has really shone in terms of being able to lead the way, and so we’re looking for that in the next year,” Hébert-Daly said.
Some provinces declined to comment yesterday, saying they wanted more time to read the report.
A spokesman for Environment Canada said the department will keep working “with all jurisdictions” on recovery actions for the caribou.
“The Government of Canada has already acted to protect critical habitat in Wood Buffalo National Park (N.W.T./Alberta) and Prince Alberta National Park (Sask.),” Mark Johnson said in an email to CBC News.
EU-Canada – International affairs – Enterprise and Industry. (source/link)
The European Commission and the Government of Canada have made several political commitments to intensify cooperation between regulators. The results of business surveys, notably on the conditions/barriers for market access, have confirmed the impact of differences in regulations on EU-Canada trade and investment. As a consequence, both sides decided to explore ways and means of encouraging regulators to cooperate on a voluntary basis when creating technical regulations that they believe may have significant trade effects.
1. The current state of regulatory cooperation is recorded in the road map [106 KB] .
2. The most recent study on EU-Canada trade and investment was complited in 2009, in preparation for negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which began in October 2009. The EU and Canada have agreed that a chapter on Regulatory Cooperation should be included in this agreement.
Background to the existing cooperation activities
At the Canada-EU Summit held in Ottawa on 19 December 2002, the Commission and the Government of Canada agreed to treat this issue in two separate ways, namely to:
- “intensify our regulatory dialogue and work towards a new Framework in this field”; and
- “design a new type of forward-looking, wide-ranging bilateral trade agreement covering, inter alia, new generations issues and outstanding trade barriers”.
A voluntary framework [48 KB] for regulatory cooperation was adopted in 2004 between the Commission, led by DG Enterprise and Industry, and the Canadian government, led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada (DFAIT).
The voluntary Framework is designed to promote more effective Canada-EU regulatory co-operation, and to work towards preventing and eliminating unnecessary barriers to trade and investment while ensuring better quality and effective regulations to achieve public policy objectives, as described in the press release.
Discussions on a Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement (TIEA) began after the summit, but have since been abandoned and are now replaced by the CETA negotiations.
- CETA Free Trade Deal: Harper Heading To Europe To Conclude Pact (olduvaiblog.wordpress.com)
- EU Assures that CETA Does Not Contain ACTA Copyright Rules (michaelgeist.ca)
- EU, Canada trade deal finalized in Brussels after 4 years of negotiations (business.financialpost.com)
- Harper announces agreement in principle on European free trade (o.canada.com)
- Budget watchdog says government not giving information (globalnews.ca)
- Eisman Is Gloomy on Canadian Housing (dealbook.nytimes.com)
- Canada’s Housing Market: The Next Big Short? (cnbc.com)
- Canadian housing ripe for short bets? Famed U.S. investor thinks so (business.financialpost.com)
- Al Gore’s oilsands remarks displease Canada’s natural resources minister (o.canada.com)
- Canada takes fight for oilsands crude to Europe (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
- Joe Oliver keeps battling over oilsands (updatednews.ca)
- The Harper government has many ears (macleans.ca)
- Ontario judge blasts Harper government’s ‘tough on crime’ agenda: Editorial (thestar.com)
- Conservative MPs accuse Harper government of muzzling them on abortion (news.nationalpost.com)
- Conservative MPs accuse Harper government of muzzling them (o.canada.com)
- Al Gore’s oilsands remarks displease Canada’s natural resources minister (o.canada.com)
- Misquoted researcher offers minister lessons in climate science (globalnews.ca)
- Canada: Joe Oliver beats back accusations of climate change denial – CBC.ca (cbc.ca)
- Climate change scientist calls Conservatives ‘Neanderthal’ (cbc.ca)
- Joe Oliver on climate change: ‘Scientists have recently told us that our fears are exaggerated’ (macleans.ca)
May 2, 2012
A number of media articles over the past couple of weeks have me wondering about how quickly liberty and freedom can be lost, even here in Canada. Various levels of government have been legislating changes that can be perceived as quite Totalitarian in nature (i.e. a political system in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life whenever necessary).
First, we see increasing secrecy and closed-door decision-making regarding government actions and reactions. While this is never a good sign in a democracy, in one particular arena the government is giving itself the ‘legal authority’ to engage in ‘investigative hearings’ behind closed doors; and, any citizen that refuses to comply with this ‘authority’ faces imposed conditions on their ‘freedom’ or incarceration. In addition, any citizen can be charged if they attempt to leave the country to engage in ‘terrorist’ activities (however these might be defined). This latter provision is reminiscent of pre-crime arrests in Philip K. Dick’s novel and Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, where citizens are arrested for even thinking about committing a crime.
The government’s ideology around the issue of terrorism has been succinctly presented by one of its backbenchers, Pierre Poilievre, who on CBC’s Power and Politics stated that “…the root cause of terrorism is terrorists…”. In an attempt to highlight the different leadership styles of his party and one of the opposition parties, where he explained that his party was one of action while the other politicians were busy ‘committing sociology’ (statement by our Prime Minister when an opposition party leader suggested that Canadians need to understand the root cause of terrorism to help eliminate it). Basically, the government’s perspective is that it is evil people and their evil leaders that give rise to terrorism. There is little insight by such ideologues that it is, as Congressman Dr. Ron Paul argues in his book, The Revolution, interventionist foreign policies that see ‘our’ armed forces intervening, often quite violently, in other sovereign nations. He goes on to highlight, quite compellingly, that if we were to follow noninterventionist policies that do not create more chaos, uncertainty, and very often, death in these occupied foreign lands, then we would not see ‘terrorists’ carrying out acts of violence within our borders. The ‘blowback’ we are witnessing is a logical consequence of a people under the thumb of our intrusion into their lands.
Second, we see an increasing trend to silence opposition. Most recently, we in Canada are witnessing this in the form of restrictive policies for scientists. Eminent and world-renowned scientist David Suzuki sums up the conundrum as follows:
a) The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees “freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media communication.”
b) Science offers the best information to help guide us during an uncertain future of climate change and environmental degradation.
c) The federal government is attempting to suppress information, especially when the data runs counter to government policy, on such a broad basis that Canada’s Information Commissioner is investigating seven separate government departments for such repressive actions.
d) Environmental laws have been gutted and the funding for oversight agencies slashed.
e) Climate change reporting has seen extraordinary pressure, being reduced by some 80%.
f) Environmentalists, including Suzuki himself, have been labeled ‘radicals, un-Canadian, and money launderers,’ while also being blamed for opposition to pipelines despite never commenting on them.
This stifling of dissent or opposition is one of the steps taken by Totalitarian regimes. I have witnessed it first hand as an educator when the Ontario provincial government introduced legislation (Bill 115) that gave them the authority to impose collective agreements and working conditions on the province’s public education sector. Teachers’ federations have filed legal challenges to the implementation around this bill, arguing that it is unconstitutional. What concerned me more than the draconian implementation was the clause that stated the government and its decisions regarding Bill 115 were above the rule of law and judiciary; in other words, the courts could not be used to challenge the law, regardless of its unconstitutionality.
Finally, we see greater intrusion into freedom of the press and our public broadcaster, CBC. In its latest omnibus budget bill, the federal government has given itself the power to impose unilaterally collective agreements, salaries, and working conditions for a number of supposed arms-length Crown corporations (see Bill 115 discussion above). In addition, Canada has come under fire for repressive actions against its press, falling on the World Press Freedom Index from the top five to 20th spot. The report cites obstruction of journalists during the ‘Maple Spring’ student protests of 2012, threats to confidentiality of press sources, and attempts to pass legislation to access Internet users’ personal data without warrant.
It appears Canada has begun down a slippery slope with respect to a loss of fundamental freedoms and liberty. I believe the elite are well aware that when the economic Ponzi we live within begins to implode, we may experience severe austerity (see Europe), and social unrest will escalate significantly. Or, if the world’s central banks continue flooding the world with fiat currency printed from air and hyperinflation begins, social unrest will also fare up. Either way, the plutocratic elite will continue to repress the population for its own sake, using the narrative that it’s for our own protection.
For those who accept these changes and think they are for the best, you need to think about the parable regarding boiling a frog. If you attempt to place a frog in a pot of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out of the water; however, if you place that same frog in a pot of room temperature water and slowly increase the heat, the frog will remain in the slowly warming water until it is boiled alive. A great example of how little changes can result in a very significant change overall. As Benjamin Franklin stated many years ago, “those who would give up their liberty for a bit of safety, deserve neither safety nor liberty.”
And, as Noam Chomsky reminds us, control of the population has always been a concern for those in power, and in less violent states the control is there, just more subtle. Thus, it is always important to keep our politicians’ feet to the fire. While there are differences between repression in violent regimes and non-violent ones, there is still repression. And, such repression can take a quick leap forward given the right ‘event.’ It seems foolish and naïve for any of us to believe that our government would not turn on a dime and be far, far worse if they felt the ‘need.’ There are far too many examples of increasing Totalitarian and Fascist moves by supposedly ‘democratic’ governments not to be taking these intrusions and changes seriously, and speaking out against them repeatedly.
- Canadian academics want to remove ‘muzzle’ from scientific community (globalnews.ca)
- Stephen Harper is muzzling Tory MPs and Parliament is diminished: Editorial (thestar.com)
- Tory backbenchers to test ministers after Speaker’s ruling (updatednews.ca)
- Canada faces science muzzling probe (bbc.co.uk)
- Harper government’s muzzling of scientists a mark of shame for Canada (thestar.com)
- Investigation launched into ‘muzzling’ of federal scientists by Harper government (vancouversun.com)