Editorial: Wynne’s Ontario Liberals masters of debt (1)

If there’s one thing Ontario’s Liberal government is good at, it’s racking up debt.

Under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s net debt soared by 89% from 2007-08 to 2013-14.

According to the Fraser Institute, that’s the fastest growth rate by far among all of the provinces and the federal government. (The next highest is Alberta at 68.4%.)

Ontario’s public debt in 2013-14 was $269.1 billion, up $126.7 billion from $142.4 billion in 2007-08.

This year, Ontario’s deficit is projected at $12.5 billion, higher than the combined deficits of all the other provinces and the federal government.

The Wynne government says its final deficit number for this year will be under $12.5 billion ­- the fifth year in a row the Liberals will beat their own deficit projections.

But that’s only because finance ministers underestimate revenues and overestimate expenses at the start of each year, so they can claim to beat their own numbers, which means nothing.

[More]

See Also:

#1 — Public sector pay, perks drowning Ontario in debt

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Morning Update August 21st, 2014 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Break up Beer Store ‘quasi-monopoly,’ study urges

Ontarians would be able to buy cheaper and more varieties of alcohol if their provincial government would uncork competition, a new report by C.D. Howe Institute says.

[...]

#2 — CTV | Montreal’s abandoned airport too costly to repurpose

Almost four decades ago, Mirabel International Airport was Montreal’s gateway to the world for the Olympic Games. Now it is a decaying, abandoned wasteland facing demolition, after the city failed to come up with a reasonable plan to repurpose the facility.

[...]

#3 — Globe | Staffing cuts strain Justice Department

The Conservative government has been sharply reducing the expertise on hand in the Justice Department, even as its tough-on-crime agenda continues to be a major priority, with dozens of laws being debated and changed at the same time.

[...]

#4 — Postmedia | Bill 3 hearings unlikely to ease pension tensions

Quebec City — All sides agree Quebec’s $3.9-billion municipal pension plan deficit is reaching crisis proportions that will only worsen if nothing is done.

[...]

#5 — Sun | Ottawa’s top civil servant tweets his retirement

OTTAWA – Canada’s top civil servant took to Twitter Wednesday morning to announce his departure.

[...]

WORLD

#6 — BBC | US hospital hack ‘exploited Heartbleed flaw’

The theft of personal data belonging to about 4.5 million healthcare patients earlier this year was made possible because of the Heartbleed bug, according to a leading security expert.

[...]

#7 — CNN | Man shot and killed by St. Louis Police

(CNN) — St. Louis police shot and killed a young African-American man Tuesday after authorities say he brandished a knife.

[...]

#8 — Fox | Officials looking to identify location, executioner in ISIS video showing beheading of American journalist

U.S. intelligence officials were analyzing Wednesday a video released by Islamic militants showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, focusing on identifying the surrounding landscape and the British accent of his executioner.

[...]

Fox | Twitter trying to block gruesome images of Foley killing

#9 — DM | Tanks, artillery and 1,200 fighters ‘march into east Ukraine from Russia’

Russian tanks, weaponry and fighters rolled into Lugansk, east Ukraine, just as the rebel-held city was poised to fall to government forces, Ukrainian officials claimed today.

[...]

#10 — WT | Illegal immigrants file applications to force Obama’s hand on stopping deportations

Nearly a dozen illegal immigrations announced a campaign Wednesday to force President Obama’s hand on halting deportations, saying they would file papers demanding to be let into the existing program granting so-called Dreamers legal status, even though none of them qualify.

[...]

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Lowry: Free Rick Perry (5)

The absurd charges against Texas’s governor are an attempt to wound him politically.

It tells you much about the laughable indictment of Texas governor Rick Perry that it has made him a figure of bipartisan sympathy.

Perry was indicted last week for the offense of vetoing an appropriations bill. Not vetoing an appropriations bill in exchange for a bribe. Not vetoing an appropriations bill as a favor to a donor. Not vetoing an appropriations bill in excess of his lawful authority. But simply vetoing an appropriations bill.

That Perry could, in theory, face more than 100 years in prison stemming from this veto is so mind-bogglingly stupid that even Democrats and mainstream journalists have been taken aback.

The whole matter has its roots in the drunken-driving arrest last year of Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. Police pulled her over for driving erratically. Video of the stop shows Lehmberg failing all manner of roadside tests and nearly tipping over as the polite officers try to keep her upright.

By the time she’s at the jail, she’s a parody of an entitled public figure. She blusters. She whines. She belittles. She threatens. She kicks and bangs. Her behavior is so outrageous that she has to be restrained like Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

[Good Read]

See Also:

#1 — Rick Perry’s flimsy indictment: Our view

#2 — Texas Gov. Perry Turns Himself In

#3 — Perry: ‘I Will Fight This Injustice with Every Fiber of My Being’

#4 — DeLay: Perry Must Be Prepared for Conviction, Jail Time

#5 — Perry Charges Put Spotlight on Prosecutor

“He was raised by a single mother in modest circumstances in San Antonio, according to U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio, who said he has known Mr. McCrum for more than 20 years”

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Afternoon Update August 20th, 2014 (10)

CANADA

#1 — CNews | Open gate lets zoo visitors get too close to giant panda

TORONTO — For a brief moment on Sunday, only a metal chain-link fence separated Toronto Zoo visitors from a five-year-old male giant panda.

[...]

#2 — CTV | Quebec premier condemns Montreal pension protest, police apathy

MONTREAL — Premier Philippe Couillard has condemned a raucous pension reform protest at Montreal city hall and the perceived inaction of local police as it quickly degenerated.

[...]

#3 — Globe | Toronto police board hopes to name new chief in January

The Toronto Police Services board has officially begun its search for a new police chief, and hopes to announce a replacement for Chief Bill Blair by January of next year.

[...]

#4 — Postmedia | Canadian doctors want freedom to choose whether to help terminal patients die

Canada’s doctors say they should be free to choose whether to help terminally ill patients kill themselves if the federal ban outlawing euthanasia is overturned.

[...]

#5 — Sun | London man charged in townhouse explosion

LONDON – Families forced from their homes by an explosion in a drug lab are drawing comfort from charges against a London man, a community worker says.

[...]

WORLD

#6 — BBC | Ebola crisis: Liberia orders curfew and quarantine

Liberia has imposed a night-time curfew and has quarantined an area of the capital Monrovia in a bid to halt the deadly Ebola outbreak.

[...]

#7 — CNS | The 35.4 Percent: 109,631,000 on Welfare

109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded “means-tested programs” — also known as welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

[...]

#8 — Fox | ObamaCare tax not meeting revenue target because companies not paying, audit finds

An ObamaCare tax on medical devices is falling short of its revenue target because thousands of companies aren’t paying it, according to a government audit released Tuesday.

[...]

#9 — DM | So much for summer

Bitter Arctic winds could plunge parts of Britain into the coldest spell of August weather for almost a century.

Thermometers are set to plummet as a stubborn band of low pressure drags air in from the north – with two weeks of wet, windy and cold weather on the horizon.

There is even a chance of snow and sleet over the mountains of Scotland as it dips to near freezing overnight.

[...]

#10 — WT | Palestinian rockets, Israeli airstrikes resume after negotiators walk out

A fragile truce between Israel and Hamas crumbled Tuesday, as the Palestinian militant group fired rockets into the Jewish state and Israeli officials responded with airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and by withdrawing its negotiators from talks in Cairo.

[...]

Posted in Afternoon Updates | 1 Comment

Russian import ban fuels food price rises (10)

Food prices are rising in parts of Russia and experts say the state embargo on imports of Western food appears to be making things worse.

Since the ban was imposed on 7 August imported pork used in processed meat in Moscow has gone up by 6%, Russian business daily Kommersant reports.

In St Petersburg food prices have risen 10%. That inflation occurred even before the impact of sanctions.

Russia’s ban on many Western foods is retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine.

The St Petersburg government’s economic policy chief, Anatoly Kotov, said the pork price had risen by 23.5% and chicken by 25.8%.

On Monday, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he did not expect the ban on food imports to lead to price rises or shortages in the shops. But he also said he hoped the ban – introduced for a year – would not last too long.

[More]

See Also:

#1 — Bulgaria suspends South Stream gas pipeline project

#2 — How independent is the independent Bank of England?

#3 — Back Door to Britain

#4 — Foreigners Dump Record Amount of US Securities, But Who the Heck Is Still Buying?

#5 — Putin, Poroshenko leader to meet EU officials Aug 26

Afternoon Update:

#6 — France seeks international meeting to tackle Islamic State -Le Monde

#7 — Shares in shipping group Moeller Maersk surge on strong profit

#8 — Ukraine’s mismanaged economy

#9 — ECB in policy limbo, boxed in by its own plans

#10 — Sicilian hilltop houses on sale for one euro, great view included

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We could find alien life but politicians don’t want to, claims scientist

While alien life can be seen nightly on television and in films, it has never been seen in space.

Not so much as a microbe, dead or alive, let alone a wrinkle-faced Klingon.

Despite this lack of protoplasmic presence, there are many researchers – sober, sceptical academics – who think that life beyond Earth is rampant.

They suggest proof may come within a generation. These scientists support their sunny point of view with a few astronomical facts that were unknown a generation ago.

In particular, and thanks largely to the success of Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, we can now safely claim that the universe is stuffed with temperate worlds.

In the past two decades, thousands of planets have been discovered around other stars. New ones are turning up at the rate of at least one a day.

More impressive than the tally is their sheer abundance. It seems the majority of stars have planets, implying the existence of a trillion of these small bodies in the Milky Way galaxy alone.

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Palin Goes ‘Grizzly’ on Big Oil-Industry Tax Breaks

Even on the rare occasions when they agree with her, it seems Democrats cannot refrain from taking shots at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The source of the latest friction between the left and the grass roots’ favorite “Momma Grizzly” is a ballot measure that would end tax breaks the state of Alaska awards to big oil companies.

Palin, who as governor staunchly opposed energy deals seen as favoring big oil companies at the expense of Alaskan taxpayers, opposes the tax breaks. She supports Ballot Measure 1 on Tuesday’s Alaska primary ballot, a veto referendum that would repeal an industry-friendly arrangement enacted last year.

The issue dates back to Palin’s time as governor, when she reformed sweetheart energy deals and presented legislation, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share or ACES, limiting the influence of Big Oil in the state legislature. That legislation passed by a large bipartisan margin.

But according to Palin, oil-industry lobbyists and their friends in Juneau were soon able to regain their influence following her departure from the statehouse.

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Half of badly wounded soldiers not getting disability cheque

OTTAWA — A new report by Canada’s veterans watchdog says nearly half of the country’s most severely disabled ex-soldiers are not receiving a government allowance intended to compensate them for their physical and mental wounds.

Veterans ombudsman Guy Parent also concluded that those who are receiving the permanent impairment allowance, along with a recently introduced supplement, are only awarded the lowest grade of the benefit.

The criteria used by federal bureaucrats to evaluate disability do not match the intent of the allowance, and that the guidelines are too restrictive, the report said.

“The evidence presented in the report clearly demonstrates that many severely impaired veterans are either not receiving these benefits or may be receiving them at a grade level that is too low,” Parent said in a statement.

“This is unfair and needs to be corrected.”

[More]

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Ontario debt growing faster than any other province

TORONTO – Ontario’s net debt has soared by 89% since 2007-08 — a rate faster than that of the federal government or any other province, a new Fraser Institute report says.

The government of Ontario added $126.7 billion to the net debt over that relatively small time period, the report says.

“Quebec has the highest debt per person at $22,300, while Ontario has the second highest with $19,879 per person, followed closely by the federal government at $19,567 per person,” the report says.

“The combined federal and provincial debt is $34,905 for every man, woman and child living in Canada.”
Debt payments leave less money available for health care and education spending or tax relief, the report says.

Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli said he and his caucus colleagues did not vote in favour of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s budget — neither when first introduced in the spring nor when brought back in the summer after the provincial election — because they believe the spending level is unsustainable.

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