Tuesday, November 22, 2005

All the Newz that didn't Fit

Well stupid Mod Blog is down now for a record five days and that's the second time in two months. So my Red Between the Lines blog of short comments on the newz is missing in action. So I will post here some of my short comments on all the newz that should have gone there.

Private pension solvency deteriorating: regulator

Yep capitalism in Canada is at it again, underfunding their pension funds in order to invest in the stock market to make a quick profit on one hand and to offset their failure to put before tax profits into their workers pensions. Remember thats 'before' tax profits, investing in pensions is a tax write off. Instead regluators have found that Canadian corporations, like their counterparts elsewhere in the G8, have rather relied on the casino capitalism of the stock market to make up their short falls. The result of course is Air Canada, Stelco, and now GM who face a crisis and use their failure to invest in their pension plans as the reason to declare bankruptcy. The latest review of the 1,300 pension plans it regulates (about a tenth of all pension plans) shows a "marked deterioration" in average solvency ratios, according to a new pension update from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). Dickson estimates that 72 per cent of federal defined benefit plans (which guarantee a certain pension benefit at a certain date) were less than fully funded in June, compared to 53 per cent last December.She warned plan sponsors not to count on higher interest rates or strong stock markets to solve all their funding problems. "In this environment, disclosure to members, and member awareness regarding the health of their plan, is key," she said.

Lord Black Calls for Legal Aid
The same American prosecutor responsible for indicting Scotter Libby,
Patrick Fitzgerald, has indicted Lord Black for fraud, and Lord Black can't find a lawyer to show up in court today. Hmm must be tough times for the media mogul, he can run but he can't hide, lets see he isn't welcome back in the UK, or the US, so I guess we're stuck with him till they extradite him . Note to Edward Greenspan the Lords lawyer, make sure he packs dear Barbara Amiel with him, we don't want her left behind since she benefited from his ill gotten gains. She has the largest shoe collection after Imelda Marcos.

Another Tax Break for the Rich

In her auditor general report Shelia Fraser finds that low and behold the reason that the Feds have not gotten taxes from Income Trusts is well, Canada Revenue didn't ask for them. And for those rich enough to have RRSP's Revenue Canada didn't bother to monitor this tax dodge either.
Fraser also chided:The Canada Revenue Agency, saying it wasn't policing the 175,000 trusts to make sure all taxes are being paid and wasn't monitoring RRSP accounts well enough to ensure taxpayers weren't contributing too much. Hmmm but if you owe them a measly hunderd bucks they are after you like you're Al Capone.

Study shows drop in federal jobs
The report shows that Newfoundland and Labrador's share of federal jobs is lower than the national average. It also says wages of federal workers working locally are several thousand dollars lower, on average, than nationally. Researcher Alison Coffin says since 1981 there has been a 25 per cent decrease in total federal government employment in the province The Federal Department of Public Works issued a statement calling for a moritorium on hiring more 'white males' last week, in favour of hiring more minorities and women. This sparked a major controversy, noted in the blogosphere and on CTV Mike Duffy's show crediting blogmiester Calgary Grit yesterday for firing off flack at Scott Brison the Public Works Minister over this. Brison recanted in the house today, after all he is a white male, even if as a gay man he could qualify as a minority. Now how will Public Works define hiring more folks and creating more jobs in Newfoundland? Next time they define minorities for quota's they had better include Newfies.

When bureaucrats go wild

Top bureaucrat in federal Public Works and Government Services bans hiring of white men — but policy didn’t last

Editor’s note: This item is a little different than what normally appears in “Courtside View” in that it’s not a court case. But it was bizarre enough to qualify for inclusion.

Public Works Minister Scott Brison moved quickly to reverse a policy put forth by the top bureaucrat in his department.

The bureaucrat recently sent a memo requiring all new hires until April 2006 to be “persons who are visible minorities, aboriginal peoples with disabilities and women.” In other words, white men need not apply.

The memo was leaked, and Brison quickly announced he had rejected the policy.

“When I became aware of the directive, I took immediate action and ended it,” he was quoted as saying in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. “I support the whole policy of inclusion but I do not support discriminating against any group in hiring practice.”

Brison expressed support for diversity, but said the memo simply went too far.

“We believe in having a public service that reflects the diversity of Canada, but you don’t get there through discriminatory hiring practice,” he said.

CUPE takes union members to court

They call themselves a 'social union' to differentiate themselves from those nasty business unions. But when the workers wildcat and sieze the national office of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, to protest a sell out contract, well just like them nasty business unions CUPE takes its members to court.
Union leader guilty of mischief

Choice In Day Care
Yep this election the Conservatives will offer Canadian parents the made in Alberta Day Care plan that gives you money to spend on public or private day care. Of course this will not solve the need for more public daycare spaces or better pay for childcare workers, nor will it ensure your children are safe in the laregly self regulated private daycare industry. Safety violations force day care closure. Caveat Emptor.

Second Hand Fumes Worse Than Second Hand Smoke
It amuses me as a smoker when the anti-tobacco lobby, which never attacks the industry just us smokers, worries about the impact of second hand smoke on us missing the other thousands of deadlier toxins we are all exposed to. They are now calling for a ban on parents smoking at home or in cars around their children.
Second-hand smoke campaigns target great outdoors For their next move, anti-tobacco advocates say they want governments to address what they consider a form of child abuse: parents who smoke in their own cars or homes with children present.
I won't argue here about the veracity of research on secondhand smoke, instead I would draw your attention to this item of research. Fumes inside school buses hurt kids: study

So while you ban smoking around kids lets let them play outside, in the fresh, cough cough, air of Toronto, with its smog alerts, and blame their ailments on the dreaded cigarette while we pack them off to school in their non smoking diesel buses.

According to the study, pollutants found in the air inside school buses can:
  • Aggravate asthma, leading to more frequent and severe asthma attacks.

  • Increase the number of respiratory infections.

  • Reduce lung function.

  • Aggravate and induce allergies.

  • Increase school-day and workday absences.

  • Increase emergency-room visits, hospital admissions and premature deaths.

  • Contribute to the development of chronic heart and lung diseases including lung cancer and asthma.
  • The study's author, Kim Perrotta, says school buses seem to be self-polluting. Emissions from the engine compartment and tailpipe can get into the cabin.
Gee these symptoms sound just like the ones the anti-smoking fear mongers use about second hand smoke. Do ya think there may be more toxins around oh say car exhaust, chemical plants, industrial smokestacks, etc. that could also account for these symptoms, more than say secondhand smoke. Naaaa

Charest, Klein look for change to health care
Oh dear what might that be? Klein says he and Premier Charest agreed health care needs to change."We are going to continue to defend vigorously a public health care system within which the private sector may play a role," Charest says.
There's the so called Third Way, now you know.

Policing the Police
"Every cops a criminal and every sinner a saint" Sympathy for the Devil, the Rolling Stones.
In the world of news one can always find stories floating around that complement each other here is case in point.
RCMP understaffed and undertrained, auditor general finds The result is: Racist e-mail spurs probes among RCMP, police A clear case for some much lacking diversity, tolerance, and human rights training.

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