Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Brian Pallister finally has a policy idea!!

Provincial Conservative leader has
proposed to raise the personal tax

Photo from summer, as he campaigned
for leadership of the provincial

Image Source: Winnipeg Metro
Brian Pallister's proposing to raise the basic personal exemption -the threshold under which Manitobans don't pay taxes - from $8,634 to $10,617.

This announcement breaks Pallister's trend of keeping quiet about his plans for Manitoba. The policy isn't horrible, given that it'd benefit the working poor who suffer from a variety of regressive revenue generators in this province.

However, knowing that Pallister has frequently criticized "Greg S." for overspending, there's a risk that this tax cut proposal is just an attempt to "starve the beast" by playing Santa as he cuts taxes for the working poor while slashing public social investments that benefit them once in office.

While Manitoba has a lower basic income exemption than other provinces, the bottom 60% of Manitoban income earners had more money in there after tax income compared to their market income thanks to transfers Manitoba's income tax system still has a high degree of fairness and equity, regardless of the lower basic personal exemption.

If the Pallister uses his tax cut for the working poor as an excuse to cut more beneficial direct public social investments once elected, hard-working poor Manitobans will suffer. One hopes he'll chose against such an ill-advised policy, despite commitments to "reduce spending" with few specifics.           

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Policy Fix has an early October post on the per-vote subsidy and it's importance to creating a fair playing field in Manitoba politics. They not that the Free Press and Pallister CONs of this province have both opposed the vote subsidy, wrongly (as this blog has).

Cherenkov has a post out about the leaves of Winnipeg and our city's media landscape that you may find interesting.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Harper CONs vs. Refugees

The Harper CONs have switched their tone when it comes to immigration. At times, they like to portray themselves as more sympathetic to immigrants than the Liberals - who supposedly embrace the "flippant secularism of the Annex" - while at other times they take a hardline stance against refugees. Jason Kenney, the Harper Government's Minister of Immigration, has both led the microtargeting campaign for new Canadian voters and proudly defended the Harper Government's curtailment of refugee benefits.

The Harper CONs have spoken out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to new Canadians. To Quebeckers it should be evident that the Harper CONs will pander to xenophobes given their Quebec French language radio ads. But now the jig is up and people in the rest of Canadian can see clearly what the Harper CONs are willing to say about refugees, thanks to a blockheaded draft flyer from Saskatchewan Conservative MP Kelly Block.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Pallister & Plutocracy

Should people with money, such as members of the
Manitoba Club, have more influence over
political ads/finances than the
 hard-working poor of our province?

Top: Picture of Manitoba Club, obtained from
Gauche Manitoba.

Bottom: Photo of janitor, obtained
 J.G.  Janitorial Services LtD website. 
The NDP's weak when it comes to the democratic financing of elections while the Pallister CONs are just outright atrocious. They're leading an all out, open war against the democratic financing of electoral campaigns, ensuring what's effectively a "one dollar one vote" system when it comes to advertising.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

CONs & poor First Nation Child Welfare

: Child poverty rampant among
First Nations.

Image Source: CBC

Bottom: Harper at Buckingham Palace as Queen
Elizabeth II reveals a portrait of herself.

Image Source: The Chronicle Herald
There's a litany of First Nations Child Welfare horror cases, frequently sighted by critics of aboriginal self-government. There seems to be a deep, structural problem with the First Nations child welfare system, but what's the likeliest cause? How about underfunding?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Some blog stuff's messed up

UPDATE: Other bloggers are having issues with missing blogstats.

Well, my total post count's gone from over 36,000 to 10. Have no idea how that happened, but I hope whatever caused it's fixed.

I'll try to get some more posts up, btw. I've been busy but there's been so much in the news, particularly some new developments illustrating just how extensively the CONs have been microtargeting Canadians.

That's all for now.

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Media disanalogies

Image Source: The Hamiltonian
Graham Hnatiuk has a scathing critique out about the Winnipeg Free Press (WFP) and what he sees as there deep incompetence in adapting to a new, digital landscape. While there are many cheers to independent media -an attitude I happen to share - I can't help but think there's some colossal disanalogies in his piece when comparing the WFP to "online success stories" like Mother Jones.

For starters, the Winnipeg market is colossally smaller than the audience Mother Jones targets. The US has hundreds of millions of people. Even defining the market more narrowly, Mother Jones has tens of millions of potential viewers who'd be interested in their long form journalism and analysis. Winnipeg has less than seven hundred thousand. As commenter Wendy Sawatzky stated, Mother Jones relies on memberships and donations to stay afloat. To be fair, Hantiuk does note that they're a non-profit.   

But that also goes to the heart of the matter. The WFP is a business with the clear objective to make money, not just "stay afloat" or produce "quality journalism". Perhaps one could make the argument that if newspaper businesses aren't profitable anymore, than the public still deserves a news service and so it makes sense to restructure newspapers into nonprofit organizations like The Media Co-Op. But it's important to keep in mind that big distinction between for-profit newspaper businesses versus nonprofit independent media outlets.

I don't know too much about the financing of "The Great Canadian Talk Show" (TGCTS), the only independent media outlet ran by someone full-time in Winnipeg that Graham mentions. TGCTS used to be affiliated with the Red River College campus station, which was somewhat sheltered from market forces. Nevertheless, Marty Gold's succeeded post-RRC in getting enough sponsors to at least survive doing what he does full-time. Beyond that, I don't know too much about his financing model, but I doubt it could keep a larger news organization afloat.

Lastly, it should be noted that investigative outlets in America like Mother Jones don't have to deal with the threat of Canada's political libel laws, which are a powerful tool for the rich to SLAPP dissent or bad press. That tends to stifle muckraking. 

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Justin Trudeau, after beating CON Senator
Patrick Brazeau in a  charity boxing match.

Will he be as successful in his fight for
leadership of the Liberal Party?

Image Source: REUTERS/Chris Wattie posted in
 the National Post 
Son of the ever-so-popular (to many Canadians) former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau, is in the 2013 Federal Liberal Leadership race. Trudeau is running on a centre-left populist platform - promising shared prosperity, a strong middle class, more equality of opportunity and a unified Canada. A Liberal Party under his leadership would certainly compete intensely with the NDP for the centre-left section of ideological turf, especially given that building the Liberal Party in the West and Quebec seems to be a major objective of Trudeau - two key regions the NDP's seeking to establish a strong base of centre-left support in.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Manitoba Party: Same ol' bad ideas, shiny new package

Image Source: Manitoba PC logo from ChrisD
(post by Tyler Sutherland)

Alterations (strikeout & addition of
"Manitoba Party") done by The Analyst.
After opposition parties - particularly the Manitoba PCs - lost four elections to the NDP, some on the Manitoba right are starting to think that the Saskatchewan Party provides a blueprint for salvation.

The Saskatchewan Party is the rightwing party formed in the wake of the implosion of Saskatchewan's former, toxic, scandal-ladden Conservative Party. They've successfully unseated the "natural governing" Saskatchewan NDP and reduced NDP support significantly, winning over previously NDP core constituencies of public sector workers (by 52%)  and unionized workers (by 51%).

Manitoba right-wingers want to create a "Manitoba Party" (FYI: there was a already a spectacularly unsuccessfully Manitoba Party).