- Frances Russell weighs in on the Cons' continued contempt for democracy:
The Conservatives under Stephen Harper are running an effective dictatorship. They believe they are quite within their rights to muzzle Parliament, gag civil servants, use taxpayer money for blatant political self-promotion, stand accused of trying to subvert a federal election and hand over much of Canada's magnificent natural heritage to the multinational oil and gas lobby.- Meanwhile, Bill Curry and Stuart Thompson take a look at the number the Cons have left out of the budget and find that they're again attacking the Canada Food Inspection Agency - slashing 15% of the budget from an organization which is already being told to accept an honour system from operators rather than actually functioning as a regulator.
What is even more disturbing is that the national media, with a few notable exceptions, has underplayed or ignored these developments that are a clear assault on Canada's democratic institutions and processes.
Even more frightening is the code's proclamation that federal employees owe "duty of loyalty" to the "duly elected government" and spells out how offenders can be reported.
This is a historic -- and very disturbing -- development. In genuine democracies, the civil service is expected to be non-partisan and loyal to the Crown (the nation and its citizens), not to the politicians of the current government.
How long will Canada be able to claim to be a first-world democracy if this anti-intellectual, anti-science and clearly anti-democratic climate persists in Ottawa's corridors of power?
- Glen McGregor provides a desperately-needed bit of sunlight into the shady operations of the Fraser Institute - but notes that the bulk of the organization's budget comes from millions in untraceable money from other foundations, along with seven-figure foreign donations.
- And finally, Erin Weir highlights how the Saskatchewan Party's business tax giveaways have nothing to do with economic development and everything to do with freebies for Brad Wall's corporate sponsors:
Saskatchewan already has a lower rate of 10 per cent for manufacturing and processing - the industries most able to relocate among jurisdictions. Corporate taxes do not explain Saskatchewan's loss of 4,200 manufacturing jobs in the past seven years. For example, several meat-packing plants moved to Manitoba, where such manufacturing facilities actually pay a higher provincial rate of 12 per cent.
Krawetz proposes to cut the general corporate tax rate, which applies to large resource, financial, construction and service companies. Clearly, a potash mine cannot move to another province in pursuit of lower corporate taxes.
Similarly, a construction contractor working on that mine must operate in Saskatchewan. Businesses that exploit local resources or serve local markets do not leave because of modest differences in corporate taxes.
A common misconception is that businesses can simply report their profits in whichever province has the lowest tax rate. In fact, the Canada Revenue Agency apportions each company's taxable Canadian profits among provinces based on the actual location of its sales and employees.
A corporation operating in a province must pay its corporate tax there.
(C)orporate tax rates have very little effect on private investment financed by debt, Canadian equity or American companies. However, corporate tax cuts reduce the revenue available to fund public investment in highways, bridges, schools, universities and other economically important facilities.
Statistics Canada concludes: "Between 1962 and 2006, roughly one-half of the total growth in multifactor productivity in the private sector was the result of growth in public infrastructure." The government of Saskatchewan should cancel planned corporate tax cuts and instead invest in needed provincial services and infrastructure.