Black Sheep Press

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Follow the bouncing tuition cut

From Alex Usher of the Educational Policy Institute via Paul Wells

The following may seem paradoxical but true - follow the logic:

1) Take a student from a reasonably affluent family: no student loans, no grants. Assume he has tuition and fees of about $5000. His net cost is $5000 minus the value of his tuition tax credit, which is equal to 16% of tuition federally and roughly 8% provincially (it varies a bit from place to place). So $5000-($5000x.24) = $3800. Now, give this kid a 10% cut in tuition. Now his cost is $4500 and his net cost after tax expenditures is $4500-($4500x.24) = $3420. So the net benefit to this student is $3800 - $3420 = $380. In short, the $500 tuition reduction will make the affluent student better off by $380.

2) Now, take a high-need student. Say, a single independent student with need (i.e. cost minus resources) of $9000 in Ontario (the example would work in most provinces, but Ontario has nice simple rules about remission, so they’re the easiest case to explain). This student has tuition and fees of $5000. As with the more affluent youth, the net cost after tax credits is $3800. She has $9000 in loans, of which anything over $7000 will be remitted at the end of the year, meaning that effectively she is carrying a $7000 loan and a $2000 grant.

Watch what happens when you give this student a 10% tuition reduction:

a) Tuition (i.e. cost) goes down by $500

b) Therefore “need” goes down by $500.

c) Therefore, this student’s loan will be cut to $8500

d) Because the remission threshold stays the same, this student will at the end of the year have $7000 in loans and $1500 in grants. In other words, the student is no better off because the $500 gained through lower tuition gets clawed back through the student aid system.

e) IT DOESN’T END THERE. Independently, the tax people are making their calculations. Like the more affluent student, the poor student will lose $120 of the $500 benefit due to the decrease in the tax credit.

f) Therefore, giving a high-need student a $500 break on tuition means taking away $500 in grants and $120 in tuition. In other words, reducing a high-need student’s tuition by $500 makes her worse off by $120.

So what we have here is not just a case of a policy where more rich kids benefit more than poor kids because they are likelier to be in school in the first place. And it’s not just a case that the rich kids get something while the poor kids get nothing. This is a policy where the low-need kids get something and the high-need kids LOSE something.

"By spreading fear in Quebec about the Conservatives, the Prime Minister is hoping to rally disgruntled federalists behind his party. He is taking the immense risk of taking Canada down with him instead."

And the record industry tries to call people who download music crooks?

Calgary police chief settles with couple out of court over critical website

Now, prior to this, I didn't know anything about Calgary's police chief, but judging from the reaction to the site, and the methods that he employed, I tend to believe that the site had a point. So they criticized you? You don't go slap a gag order on them, that is an abuse of power and by abusing your power you simply build the case against you. When one is in a position such as Police Chief you will find that not everyone appreciates how you conduct your affairs, shutting up those who disagree however sounds a frightening lot like China or Soviet Russia and not our free and democratic country that we are all so proud to live in.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Good National Post interview with Harper

"But the public has to be challenged to be part of this clean-up. The public will evaluate who can be believed and who can't be believed. We have had a consistent position. The Liberal party is constantly changing its position. On everything. So the public shouldn't be surprised at the dishonesty we see there."

Something that seems to be widely ignored.

"If the Liberals had won a majority, they would have shut down the Gomery inquiry. Look at Somalia and APEC. These inquiries were shut down."

The Liberals were badgered into creating the inquiry by the Bloc, Conservatives and NDP last year after the Auditor-General's damning report that $250-million had been squandered or stolen in the sponsorship program.

Hopefully Harper and the Conservatives will be able to get this message out, and not be burried by Martin's Santa Claus act and the endless pleas of how Martin is as upset as everyone else but we must wait for Gomery's report, etc.

But the media isn't biased

Poll results skewed?

Of course it is also completely possible that we are simply paranoid, however this reminds me of the Saskatchewan election in '99 when right up until the votes were being counted the media was all assuming a comfortable NDP majority for Roy Romano and his merry crew of socialist quacks (though a far superior crew of socialist quacks then the socialist quacks that we are now stuck with), however once the votes were tallied it turned out that instead of the 35+ seats that the experts had all been predicting the NDP found themselves with 29 seats and a minority government, causing a lot of embarrassment for the pollsters who had been predicting the NDP majority (with the notable exception of the polling firm employed by the Sask Party which was predicting it to be far closer then the others).

So, are the polls accurate? I'd like to say that they aren't and they are attempts at misguiding the public by Liberal friendly polling firms and media, but at the same time, Canadians might simply be buying Martin's pile of crap, they bought it from Cretien for years, so why wouldn't they continue to be willing to fork out their tax dollars for more Liberal corruption, patronage and incompetence.

Did he now


From some polls that I've seen my faith in Canadian voters incredible gullibility and determination to remain under a corrupt and incompetent government has been strengthened even more. Also saw a guy on the news making the brilliant statement of "What would I rather have, corruption or missile defence?" It seems like a no-brainer to me if that was the only options, which it isn't particularly as the Conservatives haven't explicitely declared support for missile defence (though attacking it in theory doesn't make much sense, I mean, missile defense maybe it's just me, but isn't that a good thing?) and the Liberals haven't slammed the door to the idea completely either.

Also there is the vote for the Conservatives and you vote for the dissolution of Canada, which is hilarious because the reality is the other way around, the Liberals have done more to bring about the regional tensions and alienation then any one, and should they manage to cling to power, things will only get worse and in a hurry.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Support for seperation 54%

If the Liberals manage to cling to power, they'll also have to concern themselves with the west (particularly Alberta, and hopefully Saskatchewan along with them) leavin the country as well. People don't necessarily realize just how strong the anti-east sentiments are in the Prairies, perhaps because we tend to not be vocal about it, and we don't really want to leave Canada, I'm proud to be Canadian, I love my country, but I am afraid that my country doesn't love me. The Liberals certainly do not as they have done their best to split the country and drive us out over the last thirty years. Though Mulruney did his part to piss us off as well.

Austin Bay on the desolution of Canada also some thoughts from CQ on the subject

Interesting stats on EI

From Andrew Coyne

Judicial nominees seem to donate Liberal

Though I don't know if this is precisely relevent and certainly isn't news, as parties have always tended to appoint to the courts judges who are of the same political stripe as they are, I don't really think that this is in and of itself a bad thing, I mean, should the Conservative manage to win the next election they will likely appoint Conservatives as judges, because that makes sense as people who believe much the same as you will likely make judgments that you agree with and support.

Liberals are sleazy (but you already knew that)

I don't know that Martin will do this though, sure it might ensure that he manages to cling to power a little bit longer, but at what cost in the long run? It will simply leave him looking as though he is willing to do anything and sell anything to stay in office, while perhaps he will do it hoping that the public will forget about all this by the time the elections take place, I do hope that the voting public does not have the incredibly short memory that this would seem to be hoping for, along with the mess of scandal and general incompetence that already plagues him and his party. That said, I have little faith in Canadian voters to vote intelligently and not swallow the media's anti-Conservative bias.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Stephen Harper: "I will be asking our caucus to put this government out of its misery."

In a speech today Stephen Harper indicates that he intends to bring government down on the earliest possible opportunity

Unimpressed by the deal between the federal Liberals and NDP, Conservative leader Stephen Harper says he'll push his party to defeat the government at its first opportunity.

During a speech in Amherstburg, Ontario on Wednesday, Harper vowed to convene a party meeting on the subject as soon as MPs return to the capital.

"Let me be as clear as I can be today, our caucus will be meeting in Ottawa next week," he said. "This is not how Parliament should work, and as soon as we get back I will be asking our caucus to put this government out of its misery."

Harper denounces the deal

Duceppe still will not support the budget either.

At his own press conference in Montreal, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said, despite the apparent government's eagerness to incorporate other priorities, he sees nothing in the deal to inspire his party's support.

"We cannot support the government any longer," Duceppe said, noting his opposition to climate change provisions in the budget plan. Besides, he continued in English, whatever the terms of the deal, the Bloc is only interested in backing what's good for Quebecers.

"If it's good for Quebec we will support it, if it's not good for Quebec we won't support it. And the Layton-Martin deal is not good for Quebec," he said.

Deal details

Martin announced his deal with the New Democrats late Tuesday, in an attempt to bolster his minority government against parliamentary collapse.

According to their "agreement in principle", which trades corporate tax cuts for new spending on social programs, the NDP's 19-member caucus is committed to voting with the Liberals until the federal budget plan receives royal assent.

"Why are we doing it? We're doing it to make Parliament work," Martin said of the deal Tuesday night.

In an interview with CTV's Canada AM the next morning, both Treasury Board Secretary Reg Alcock and NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis were on the same message track.

"It's about working together and finding cooperative solutions that allow us to do the things we've committed to do on behalf of Canadians," Alcock said.

"Finally getting down to a relationship in the House over how we can be more productive and get things accomplished."

But that security came at a price.

To secure the support of the NDP, Martin had to agree to guarantee $4.6-billion in new investment over the next two years.

The money will come out of a projected surplus (before contingencies) of approximately $9-billion, and will go toward the environment, affordable housing, foreign aid, training, and post-secondary education.

A good chunk of the money -- $1.6-billion -- will go to new affordable housing programs. Another $1.5-billion will be given to the provinces for reductions in post-secondary tuition fees and for training programs for the unemployed.

Martin said his party also reached an agreement with the NDP to put off tax cuts for large corporations -- but keep them for small and medium-sized businesses.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the prime minister said the $3.6 billion in large corporate tax cuts will instead be put into a separate piece of legislation to be introduced when it can find support in the Commons.

"The corporate tax cuts remain intact. It's going to be up to the Conservatives to tell us whether or not they will support them,'' he told CP.

And through it all, Martin stresses that at least $4-billion will still go to debt-repayment.

"Under no circumstances will we go back into deficit," Martin said as he announced the deal. "The fiscal integrity of this country ... remains a fundamental element of our ability to finance social programs and our ability to create jobs."

The deal also includes:

  • $900-million for environmental programs and public transit;
  • $500-million for an increase in foreign aid; and
  • $100-million for a workers' pension protection fund.
From what I've heard thus far, it appears that Martin has done nothing to improve his situation, as he looks like even more like a waffling PM who has no vision and will sacrifice anything to maintain power, and worse, this deal won't actually be able to keep him in power and may have just given Stephen Harper a good reason to bring down the government.

Harper's reaction is precisely what I was hoping that he would do when I saw Jack Layton's babble on TV last night, and more so once the details began to come out. People are saying that it is a good deal for the NDP, but I'm not entirely convinced of this, all that it seems to me is that it proves that they are willing to work with and prop up a horribly corrupt government if it means affordable housing and increased spending on education.

Perhaps the worst part is that Martin didn't actually get rid of the tax cuts exactly, he essentially just increased spending.

Go Monte


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Firefox nears 50 million downloads

It has now topped 50 million

Serenity trailer released. Firefly was one of those great shows that sadly fail to catch on and get cancelled before they really have a chance to hit their stride, I've been looking forward to this movie since it was announced, which was quite a while ago now, hopefully it will do well and Universal will pick it up for the rumoured second and third installments.

Maybe someone might even pick up the show again, I can always hope?

Todd Bertuzzi not yet reinstated to NHL, the irony of his trying to get reinstated is that there isn't exactly any games getting played right now thus making his reinstatement meaningless for the moment even if he had been. I'm still of two minds as to whether or not he should be allowed back into the league, I don't like the idea of criminal charges to athletes, I think that the playing field/ice /whatever, is a different place then the 'real world' and the league should be responsible for justice for what happens in the confines of that playing surface.

That said, I suspect that Bertuzzi will be allowed back in for the simple reason that he is a star player, if it had gone the other way and it had been Bertuzzi on the receiving end things might be a completely different story.

NDP/Lib agreement in principle

I'm too tired to have any commentary on it myself

Read Andrew Coyne's thoughts instead

And this too

Monte Solberg

Cadman will now support Conservatives in non-confidence motion

Alfonso talks

Majority of Canadians want private healthcare

Putin calls break-up of Soviet Union a catastrophe

Liberals likely to lose their seats

Skydiver hits a plane and dies

"There are about 15 million jumps every year," Johnston told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. "I only know of one other case where a sky diver was struck by an airplane." Well at least he had a fairly unique death then...

V-chip for computer games

I still fail to understand exactly why these things are needed, to me they are simply an enabler of negligent parents, allowing them to shove their kid on the computer or tv and then let them to it without having to monitor what it might be that their children are doing. I would think that a parent would at least be capable of knowing what games it is that their child has and to be able to monitor how long the child has been playing but apparently I over-estimate the average modern parent.

I guess my mom was just supermom and it isn't fair for me to judge all other parents by her lofty standard...

BC scandals

More talk of NDP/Liberal budget deal

I don't know if Martin will go for the plans, as I don't think that he would be able to justify them as anything other then a desperate attempt to cling on to power.

Andrew Coyne

Corporate tax cuts? As a reader reminds me, what happened to Jack Layton's pledge to make proportional representation the price of his support? And now he's willing to settle for a few measly billions?

New poll

Parrish won't help bring down government

Outspoken Independent MP Carolyn Parrish would love to give Prime Minister Paul Martin "the middle finger" and vote against the government in a non-confidence vote. But she won't do that.

"I will not support a non-confidence motion to bring down the government," the former Liberal said yesterday.

What bothers me though is this: Parrish, banished last year from the Liberal caucus after a spate of colourful anti-George W. Bush comments, what is with the insistance that she was banished after the anti-Bush comments? She was only banished after she said that she didn't care if the Liberals won the next election. Bush-bashing and furthering the damage to Canada/U.S. relations tolerable, daring to say that you don't care if the Liberals win the next election, an unthinkable crime.

Time to oust Klein

Actually, it's been time to oust Klein for a couple of years at least. He's becoming even more of a liability then he used to be over the last year or so. He's won his election, he has no clue as to why he's still around, he's increasing spending at an uncontrolled and fairly random rate, someone needs to strongly suggest that he leaves as Paul Martin did with Cretien, I doubt that Klein will last another year in office, though I wouldn't be surprised if he gives it his best shot.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Criminals still in government admits Martin

I didn't listen to Martin on Cross-country Check-up but reading this article makes me almost wish that I had, if the majority of people phoning into the show are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore then it really bodes badly for Mr. Martin, who's prospects of maintaining government are looking slimmer with each passing day.

It's sad that Martin finally accomplishes his ambition of Prime Minister only to watch it fall apart due to scandals that he didn't precisely have anything to do with and weren't necessarily entirely under his control in any way (at least as far as we know thus far), sad not because Martin has proven himself to be any sort of a leader, but because ten years with Martin as PM would have beat the decade with Cretien at the the helm that we were stuck with instead.

I believe Paul Martin

BBC hiring hecklers?

Liberal scare tactics on healthcare getting old

No kidding, I've been sick of the non-debate as our healthcare system crumbles for years. Maybe it's just me, but I kinda think that it would be better to have a two-tiered healthcare system where somebody gets healthcare then the mess that we have right now where those with money go to private clinics anyways and the rest of us are stuck waiting in line for two years to get surgery.

I don't see how the lovers of the Canadian healthcare system can continue to blather their nonsense in support of it, the primary argument being anything else would go against some obscure fundemental principle as to what makes us Canadian. How ineffective healthcare is a defining part of what makes me Canadian is beyond me but should someone have an explanation to this they are welcome to enlighten me.

More thoughts of mine on this subject here

Interesting article

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Guidance counsellor changes American pledge, stuns and angers students and teachers

Would anyone even notice here in Canada if they took God out of the pledge? I'm not even sure if we have a pledge, if we do I don't know the words to it

On the other hand, one could forget the words to the American anthem in front of a large crowd

Conservatives in the lead

No NDP/Liberal coalition says NDP

And the candidates are lining up for the Tories

Friday, April 22, 2005

Tories and Liberals neck and neck in Ontario survey says

Warren Kinsella has been interesting to read the last couple of days. It's nice to know that the Liberals are such a big, happy family.

Monte Solberg on Jack Layton's demands that the Corporate taxes not be cut

But remember children, big businesses are bad and evil and we don't want them anyways, we'll just camplain when no one has any jobs and we can't afford the wealthfare payments, and will sit around wondering where all the jobs are off to.

Paul Martin's speech

First, Brock on the Attack had a prediction as to what he thought that Martin would say

As for what he actually said? It would be this

Text of the Harper speech here

Also a nice yahoo news story

Personally, I can't imagine that anyone will fall for Martin's desperate plea and at best all that he is doing is attempting to delay the inevitable. That said, I have watched the blatantly corrupt Liberals bounce from scandal to scandal for more then a decade without them ever really having to face the music. Maybe this is bigger, maybe Canadians (especially those in Ontario) will stand up and say that they won't take this anymore. Sadly, I am not yet completely optimistic as to this happening, Canadians have so far demonstrated a remarkable tolerance for corruption and incompetence from those in leadership, that said, in my home province of Saskatchewan there was once a Party by the name of the Progressive Conservatives.

What happened to this PC party you ask? Why, they had a scandal which involved eighteen members of the Legislative Assembly to face criminal charges, a few of them going to jail. The party was so deeply damaged that they were forced to disband themselves and their MLAs joined forces with a handful of disgruntled Liberals to form the Sask Party. Was there a point to this sojourn into Saskatchewan corruptions gone by? Not really.

The Liberals however refuse to face the electorate, refuse to be accountable for their actions, refuse to respect the ability of the individual voter from being able to come to their own conclusions about Gomery and use their votes as their way of judgment of the Liberal Party. With the hearings being aired on CPAC and the reams of information on the testimony available, I think that we as ordinary citizens can look at the evidence and come to a conclusion or two, however Scott Brison seems to disagree with this, believing that only Justice Gomery is able to view the facts and come up with a valid interpretation of it.

The Liberals hope to buy time to December and then hope that Gomery's report is the typical water-down Liberal report with a nice few recommendations that the Liberals can quickly implement and announce "see all that we are doing? We are cleaning the mess up! Aren't we a swell bunch of people, not crooks at all," and hope that the public is bored of the scandal and ready for more of the good ol' Conservatives are scary! and have a hidden agenda!, yes they want your children to be uneducated shlumps and will rip up the Canada Health Act and lock up all the gays! Because, it's not like the Liberals can run a campaign on things like say, their record.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Kyoto and the farce of global warming, part one

I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a professor on it discussing Kyoto and how its implementation would do little good in regards to solving the perceived problem of climate change. His arguments were that since Kyoto is based on reductions rather then restrictions, it does nothing towards solving the long term problem, and furthermore, countries that are exempt from it are not encouraged to begin to reduce or manage their own rates of emissions as they will look at Kyoto and operate under the assumption that it will be the frame that future treaties will use and thus they may as well pollute as much as they can before they are in a position of entering into any of these treaties.

As well, since countries such as China and India are exempt, and their industries are growing faster then the proposed targets of the countries under Kyoto, even in the unlikely event of all the countries managing to comply with the treaty it still won't actually bring about a real change in the actual emissions. So even if climate change is a great danger (which I doubt) Kyoto isn't going to have any real affect on solving the problem, and is furthermore going to hinder the finding of any solution in the future do to its poor core design.

The whole climate change thing has deeper problems then simply useless treaties that will do nothing to solve the problem. There is no actually defiinitive (or really even all that strong) evidence that A. global warming (or climate change as they have amended it to now, after the impending ice age and then expected global desert didn't exactly pan out) is actually occuring, and B. (and more importantly) that it is a man-made event and that there is anything that we can do about it.

And even if there truly is climate change, and the globe is slowly warming, is this truly a disaster as the media likes to portray it? The poles will have to warm something like 50 degrees before they are in danger of melting and flooding the earth, and it would take a very long time for such a dramatic change to take place, thus all people living on coastal areas will likely have time to get to higher ground. As it is, the result of the poles warming is actually to cause them to expand, not decrease, as with warmer temperatures they have more snow.

I'm not going to argue that it is perfectly fine to pollute up the atmosphere, or that we shouldn't be taking steps towards reducing reductions of the so-called greenhouse gases, but I don't see it to be the pandemic that it is being made out to be.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Martin: Defender of Health Care!

A few days ago Preston Manning and Mike Harris released a report in which they suggested ways in which they felt that Canada’s deplorable Health Care system could be improved. Their recommendations sound logical to me and are mostly things that I’ve long felt to be the direction that Canada should be taking, as anyone who has had dealings or knows someone who has had dealings with the Health Care System in the last few years will agree I am sure, what we are doing currently has serious problems and I would hazard to call them systemic flaws that throwing more money at won’t actually solve, or judging by the Liberals record in regards to high cost fixes, it will cost multiple times what they say it will and in the end the system will be in even worse shape then it is now.

Paul Martin took the time to accuse Stephen Harper of having a hidden agenda in regards to healthcare, in typical Martin fashion completely ignoring the YES or NO question asked by Mr. Harper. How a report by two people who are no longer directly associated with the party constitutes a hidden agenda I am not sure, but I also fail to see how Martin can bill himself as “Mr. Defender of the Canada Health Act” thereby insinuating that he is in turn defending and improving healthcare for Canadians, stating that he will “defend the Canada Health Act tooth and nail”. Leaving me confused as to where this staunch and determined defense of Health Care was when he was cutting billions of dollars in Health Care transfers to the provinces while he was Finance Minister. The Liberals have spent the last two elections using healthcare in their fear-mongering campaigns against the Conservative Party and will likely use the same tired tactic once more in the upcoming election (one which is looking like it will come sooner then later) ignoring the simple reality that A. They have repeatedly made promises to the Canadian people in regards to healthcare and have yet to make good on these promises and B. Could the healthcare system in Canada get much worse? When a person has to wait months, even years, for necessary surgery, when over one million Canadians are unable to find a family doctor, when people are dying due to lack of treatment, I hope that Canadians will take a long look at healthcare as Paul Martin, and to realize Martin and the Liberals shameful and utter failure in this area, one which they claim to be a top priority for them, how can they make any claim to effective government when they cannot make improvements on even their supposed highest priorities, I suppose they are too busy costing the Canadian taxpayer millions of dollars by canceling orders for badly needed helicopters and massively over-budget programs like the gun registry. Considering their record of contempt towards the taxpayers money, is the sponsorship scandal any wonder?