“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache, carries with it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit.”

~~ Napoleon Hill -- American Author -- Oct 26, 1883 to Nov 8, 1970

Friday, January 18, 2019

FELDSTED: Political parties don’t stand for anything except winning power. We deserve better, but things only get better if we work at it


Every four years, we elect 338 Members of Parliament. All of them are humans with the frailty’s which all humans share. We say dumb things, make mistakes, apologize, pick ourselves up, learn from our errors, and get on with life a bit wiser.

Applying this to Karen Wang and the comments attributed to her, and then seeing her disallowed from running because a comment might negatively reflect on the federal Liberal party, is an affront to democracy.

Our political system has been turned upside down. If elected, Ms Wang’s job would have been to represent the people of Burnaby South to the best of her ability -- not to defend or protect the image or decisions of a political party.

MPs have been turfed from a party for failing to toe the party line – are we okay with that?  Political parties telling our representative how they must behave, what they can and cannot say, and how they will vote on public issues should not be acceptable to Canadians.

Since when did party disciple trump an elected MP from representing the people?  Some MPs have changed party allegiance, because they had strong opposing feelings on an issue, and could not find support in their current party.  How is this looked at within the political system?  Senior party officials have a fit when MPs jump ship.  However, we should be revolted by that!  Our elected officials are not in parliament to serve any political party.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

DAN ALBAS: There have been tax reduction efforts federally, however income taxes in many provinces have risen in addition to increases in property taxes


USED WITH PERMISSION

As many accountants and tax professionals will know, January of each year is the opening of “income tax season”; the period of time up until April 30th when in this case, your 2018 income taxes must be filed with the Canada Revenue Agency.

If you follow political discussions, you will likely have heard claims that income taxes have gone up, as well as counter claims that they have gone down. In this report, I wanted to review federal income tax changes over the past 18 years for more context on this subject.

Going back to the year 2000, there were just three federal income tax brackets, your first $30,004 was taxed at a rate of 17%, the next $30,004 up to $60,009 was taxed at a rate of 25%, and all income over $60,009 was taxed at 29%.

There were some significant changes in 2013. A fourth income tax bracket on your income up to $43,561, that would be taxed at a lower rate of 15%.

The second tax bracket was adjusted so that income between $43,562 up to $87,123 was taxed at a rate of 22%, while the third tax bracket on income over $87,123 up to $135,054 was taxed at a rate of 26%.  THEN THERE WAS THE NEW TAX BRACKET, where income over $135,054 was taxed at 29%

The net effect of these tax changes was that lower income workers earning up to $43,561 paid 2% less tax. On income in the other tax brackets there were also tax breaks of 3% with the exception of the highest tax bracket.

FELDSTED: The UN Committee, on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, is targeting Canada because we’re too nice to tell them go drown itself. Most other nations ignore these busybodies


UN committee warns that Site C dam may violate Indigenous rights agreement.  Concern over 'alleged lack of measures taken to ensure the right to consultation'
The Canadian Press / CBC News ~~ Jan 15, 2019


A United Nations committee has warned Canada that continued construction of the Site C hydro dam in northeastern British Columbia may violate international agreements.

The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination says Canada may have already violated an agreement it signed 50 years ago. That agreement commits Canada to prevent development on Indigenous land without adequate consultation.

CLICK HERE to read the full news story


The proper response is to advise the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that it has no evidence of racism, the accusation is unfounded and worthy of a slander action and to keep its nose out of Canadian internal affairs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Andrew Wilkinson, along with many of his fellow provincial LIBERAL members, are continually shelling out wads of CASH not to federal Conservatives, but instead to the Federal LIBERAL Party


So, the Federal Conservative EDA for Nanaimo Ladysmith, led by President Mark MacDonald, has felt it necessary to disavow themselves from the ONLY TRUE provincial Conservative Party.  And, WONDER OF WONDERS ... he has seen fit to drag out the age-old crap about splitting the vote.  What a load of hog-wash!! 

Must I once again remind Federal Conservatives, that seem happy to get in bed with provincial LIBERALS, that there is NO SUCH THING as a split vote. 

A vote, is a vote ... and it SHOULD BE EARNED!


Desperation?  The only non-socialist party? bcLIBERALS are an amalgamation of federal LIBERALS and federal Conservatives?   

Mark MacDonald, you do a GREAT disservice to the people of BC with your words that are little more than garbage.

Let me also say this to any federal Conservative party member.  "You should be very concerned that many in leadership roles are asking you to support a provincial party, the bc LIBERALS".

BC Liberals are a party whose leader Andrew Wilkinson, along with many of his provincial LIBERAL members, are continually shelling out wads of CASH, but not to federal Conservatives, instead it goes to the Federal LIBERAL Party.

Is that what you really want? 

Let me ask you as a federal Conservative, “Does it make any sense that MacDonald would ask you to support a party, whose federal counterparts are hell bent on ensuring the Conservative Party of Canada is never again in the role of government?”.

I find it difficult not to have anything but contempt for MacDonald, and any of his fellow EDA executive, that would agree with the statement he released today. 

It is wrong --- seriously wrong – for MacDonald to call on federal conservatives to fund, back, and support a provincial party that has a multitude of its members, including its leader, all in support of the Justin Trudeau Liberals.

That should be something that all makes federal Conservatives gag!

Constables SMITH and MARTIN: We are not, and have no interest, in just randomly showing up to your home or bar and testing you. Trust me, we have better things to do with our time



Police in Canada can now demand breath samples in bars and at home!

You may have seen the above headline in your social media feed the past few days, and I wanted to provide some clarification around this legislation update. To begin – Police are not going to randomly walk into homes or restaurants to conduct breath tests.

The title, and stories, basically make it sound like police will be randomly walking into bars and homes to demand a sample of your breath, and lay charges if you fail. The wording is designed to be sensational and make it sound like we have sweeping new powers; the fact is we can’t and don’t want to just walk into your home to test you for alcohol for no reason.

Most people are surprised to know that we could always investigate you for impaired driving if we found you sitting at a bar, or at home, after driving. What is important to note is that we can’t just do a random check, without having evidence, that you were recently operating a motor vehicle. So, we are not, and have no interest in just randomly showing up to your home or bar and testing you. Trust me, we have better things to do with our time.

There is a time and a place for this however, and you may be surprised to know that we could always demand a sample from you with sufficient evidence, even if we found you at home or in a bar. This is called conducting an impaired driving investigation. As police officers we get paid to be suspicious and conduct inquiries to determine whether an offense was committed. The below is an example of an impaired driving investigation where a breath demand after the fact may be requested:

John Doe crashes a car and flees the scene. He runs into a home or bar, to try and avoid prosecution, and is witnessed by members of the public or police. We find Mr. Doe at home or in the bar, and through our investigation we determine Mr. Doe was operating the vehicle and is under the influence of alcohol.

This type of investigation could include gathering witness statements, reviewing security camera footage, and collecting physical evidence found at the scene. In this case we demand a breath sample from Mr. Doe as part of that investigation.

This process is not new, and has not changed. 

FELDSTED: While we can express our displeasure, or ask for leniency, our standards do not apply. Government virtue signalling is a useless exercise because totalitarian states are not listening


Canadian Robert Schellenberg Sentenced to Death in China in Drug-Smuggling Case
Jessica Chin ~~ HuffPost ~~ 01/14/2019 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will do everything it can to intervene on behalf of a Canadian sentenced to death in China. ... "I will say it is of extreme concern to us as a government— as it should be to all our international friends and allies— that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply death penalty as in this case facing a Canadian".

In December, Chinese state media raised Schellenberg's case, who at that point was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was originally detained in China in 2014, with a trial that began in 2016. He was sentenced in 2018.  Courts heard an appeal of that conviction on Dec. 29, 2018, and ordered a retrial for Monday, raising the possibility of a harsher sentence.

Schellenberg was again found guilty of taking part in an international drug-smuggling ring, according to the Wall Street Journal. Drug smuggling is an offence punishable by death in China.

CLICK HERE for full story: 

Robert Schellenberg sentenced to
death, in China, for drug trafficking
Who turned the Mad Hatter loose in 2019, because honestly this situation is both surreal and bizarre?

What we know is that Schellenberg was convicted of conspiring to smuggle drugs in China. But we must keep in mind that China is a massive exporter of illegal drugs ... therefore we can probably assume her government does not take kindly to competition.

The law is not uniformly applied ... exporters with the right political connections are safe ... foreign dealers are not likely to fare well ... the penalty for drug dealing is death.

China’s decision to put Schellenberg to death is arbitrary. Every decision it makes is arbitrary and political. There is no fair, honest and independent justice system in China. Given China is ruled by a totalitarian communist regime, an accused person is completely at the mercy of the government.   

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

FORSETH: No matter what you may see or hear in the media, a child is never removed for a random or arbitrary reason. That is a myth! The goal IS to keep families together when possible


Seeing the recent news story out of Manitoba, regarding the removal of a newborn by Child and Family Services, has given me pause for thought.

Let’s start with this.  For reasons of privacy, any Child Protection Services agency in Canada, is unable at any time, to give specifics regarding any case.  Unfortunately, that puts those responsible for the safety of not only newborns, but also toddlers, young children and teens, in a challenging position. They are unable to provide reasons why a child may have been removed from a parent; that due to privacy issues and confidentiality.  

One thing should be kept in mind however; no matter what you may see or hear
in the media, a child is never removed for a random or arbitrary reason.  That is a myth!  The goal IS to keep families together when possible.  What would possible causes, in the recent or any similar case, be?  There is nothing vague about why, as I found out through exploring the Canadian Child Research Portal.  Here is what they have to say:

Child abuse and neglect include acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that result in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.  The five primary forms of maltreatment are physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional maltreatment and exposure to domestic violence.

Because of this, those in the news media -- whether TV, Radio, Newspaper, and those online -- do an extreme disservice to those who have the responsibility for the safety and well-being of children. 



I for one am sure that a social worker’s best day does not include taking a newborn child from a crying mother!


Those with responsibility to ensure babies, toddlers, and youth are safe, are obligated to do so UNDER LAW. For example, here in British Columbia, the Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect is unmistakably clear:


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Veterans Affairs fiscal faux-pas leads to hardship and hurt – the worst suffered by retirees in the lowest ranks, along with the disabled who had little other income


Anatomy of a blunder: How Veterans Affairs quietly buried a $165M accounting error.  The department found and corrected the error in 2010 - but made no efforts to compensate veterans

Murray Brewster ~~ CBC News ~~ Jan 11, 2019

It was an incredibly simple (and incredibly daft) mistake — and it led to a $165 million federal fiscal faux-pas. In 2001, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien made what appeared to be an innocuous change to federal tax forms. It separated federal and provincial tax exemptions, shuffling the basic personal tax credit from one part of the document to another.

Staff at Veterans Affairs, who administer disability awards and pensions, did not pick up on the modification to the tax law for several years, and ended up short-changing former soldiers — most of them elderly — who received disability pensions and awards benefits.

It was a mistake that cascaded, over time, into a
whopping, multi-million-dollar fiscal mess...


CLICK HERE to read the full story


This was not a blunder or an ‘accounting error’ – it was a failure to carry out responsible stewardship of our commitments to our military personnel, and a deliberate effort to hide malfeasance.  While Veterans Affairs thought no one would notice, on average, military pensioners and disabled persons lost $5.62 per person per month.

NOW ... you might not think that's a lot, but let’s do the math: 

GUNN: In a country blessed to be counted as one of the most robust and respected democracies in the world, illegal blockades and economic terrorism are NEVER an appropriate response


Early last week the RCMP began enforcing a court-ordered injunction to remove two illegal blockades in Northern B.C.  And while some may lament the 14 arrests that occurred in the process – what more could the RCMP have possibly done?

Activists had occupied some of these posts in preparation for this encounter for years. They knew full well about the court injunction and were asked repeatedly by police to abide by it. The alternative would be to allow a small group of radicalized individuals to undermine the democratic will and legal authority of an entire country.
 
In a free and functioning society, this kind of behavior is simply not sustainable, and certainly not acceptable.

In a country like Canada, that's blessed to be counted as one of the most robust and respected democracies in the world, illegal blockades and economic terrorism are NEVER an appropriate response. The pipeline in question (natural gas) has been approved by the federal and provincial governments, a majority of First Nation bands along the pipeline route and the BC Supreme Court. Let's get this thing built!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

ALBAS: I have received complaints over the fact that a true savings account is one that citizens can voluntarily withdraw from, whereas CPP contributions do not offer this flexibility



USED WITH PERMISSION

At the beginning of this month I referenced higher Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums, that will increase from 4.95%, up to 5.95%, gradually between 2019 and 2023, resulting in lower take home pay for many Canadians.


 If you have been watching television, it is possible that you may have even come across commercials from the CPP Investment Board that state “you started saving for retirement with your first paycheque.”

I have received complaints over the fact that a true savings account is one that citizens can voluntarily withdraw from, whereas CPP contributions do not offer this flexibility.  I have also received inquiries and comments about CPP and other federal government retirement programs. 

And I have heard many comments over those recent increased CPP premiums.

One common complaint, is that if a person does not live to 65, or not long after, the amount that can be transferred to spouse, after a lifetime of CPP contributions, is comparatively quite limited.

The key cost drivers behind the proposed 3.8% tax increase according to the City of Kamloops? They include provincially driven programs, additional RCMP members, increased service levels, along with inflation and wages


Not that many days ago, Kris Sims, the BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation stated that, “... people should brace for big tax hikes on a number of fronts in 2019, not the least of which is the province double dipping on the MSP and EHT health taxes”. 

Here in the City of Kamloop’s, the provisional budget indicates the possibility of a 3.38% increase in taxes for homeowners. I do NOT believe however, that the combined EHT, and final payment for MSP, are the factors greatly impacting that proposed tax increase.

Key financial cost drivers behind the increase, according to the city, include provincially driven programs, additional RCMP members, increased service levels, and inflation and wages.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1.1% increase due to new provincial rates and taxes for BC Hydro, ICBC, Employer Health Tax, and the (much maligned) Carbon Tax

  • 1.28% increase due to the addition of three Council-approved RCMP officers, as well as increased services (those would include additional transit hours, and snow clearing and street maintenance) ... and a ...

  • 1% increase due to inflation and wages. The increase is offset by increasing revenues from overall development and community growth.

And that gives, us the rationale for the proposed 3.38% tax increase.

Concerned about this, a friend of mine recently asked Kamloops Finance Department the following:

Since the city has been paying MSP for its staff, how is the new employer tax so much higher than the old MSP premiums?  Don't they cancel each other out to a significant degree?  

The response back to him, from Corporate Services Director Kathy Humphrey, and Budget and Reporting Manager Dave Hallinan (also posted on the city’s website), was:

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

GREENWOOD: “This is a ‘one and done’ that I actually can get behind”


BC Conservatives in the province today announced their candidate who will be running in the up-coming Nanaimo by-election – it will be 37-year-old Justin Greenwood. 



Advising me of the news this afternoon, a Party spokesperson stated, “Justin has been involved with our party since 2016.  He was a candidate for us in the 2017 provincial election, in the riding of Langley, where he came in behind the 2nd place NDP, and BC Liberal incumbent Mary Polak.”


We were happy to turn that experience into good use as he became a Regional Director, which then turned into a Director-at-Large following the 2017 AGM. His hard work, and enthusiasm was recognized by Deputy leader Scott Anderson, who appointed him Deputy Leader for the Party at the end of last January (2018)”



So why the riding of Nanaimo I asked Justin, who promptly responded, “I was born and raised and lived on southern Vancouver Island for just over 32 years. All my schooling was done on the island and my work is based out of Victoria. The majority of my family is on the island. In fact, both sides of my family dot the island from Sidney to Port Hardy, including Nanaimo.”



“I saw this as an important by-election. My family and friends in Nanaimo were definitely pushing me to do it. So here I am” 

He then continued, “The other three parties … Liberals, NDP, and Green Parties combined, have all increased the cost of living for not only the people of Nanaimo, but all of British Columbia. There needs to be a choice for those who demand better and I will be that choice for them in Nanaimo.”


KAMLOOPS: An invitation to join resource workers to a Brown Bag Lunch was extended to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – it was declined


According to local Kamloops ShareBC representative, Dennis Giesbrecht, there were well over 100 pro-resource supporters at the Coast Canadian Inn this morning.  Them came out during a snowy day in Kamloops, to greet Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In one of the photo’s you can see people signing a banner asking Trudeau to get the pipelines built.  In same photo (bottom right corner), you can see the brown bag lunch they had ready for Justin should he have joined them. 

Dennis Giesbrecht informed me that an invitation to meet with local resource workers, and enjoy the working mans and woman’s brown paper bag lunch, was extended through the Prime Ministers office -- there was no response to it.  Meantime, the white collar federal Liberal supporters, who could afford a $300 lunch so as to hob-nob with the Prime, did get to spend time with Trudeau.

Hmmmm … I’m pretty sure I recall something from Trudeau saying he understands the plight of the middle class.  Coming out and spending some time with brown bag lunch resource workers, might actually have allowed him to find out first hand, the current plight they face with job loses, and every increasing taxes.


I’m Alan Forseth in Kamloops.  If you have any thoughts on this commentary, I welcome you to share them below in the Comments Section.