Archive for March, 2011

Privately Run BC Ferries Get Rate Hikes

Mile Zero of the Trans Canada Highway begins down at Beacon Hill park, at the Pacific Ocean.  It is where the highway, that runs across the nation starts, and seeing as how there is no bridge to the mainland, well, that would mean that the Ferry System is part of that highway system.  Wouldn’t it?

Yet our brand of Harper Conservatives in BC, called the Campbell ( now Christy Clark ) Liberals leased out the BC Ferries to a private organization.  

As of the first, a car & driver will have to pay to go one way, from either Nanaimo or Victoria to Vancouver almost $50.  Fares to the minor routes is also going up, but at least not as much as BC Ferries asked for.

One prime example of why we need Government oversight of things like ferries, like cable, like hydro, and other critical resources.  Like the Oil Industry perhaps?  We are getting an increase, but at least they aren’t dropping minor routes or gouging them as they wished.  Small comfort to those who rely on those ferries, but better than nothing.

I don’t mind paying a user fee to cross the water, but when the Province owned & operated the Ferry System, it didn’t pay the head honcho A MILLION BUCKS A YEAR either.

Sure costs have gone up, mainly due to the cost of fuel. Yet not one single political party has the balls to put a lid on that insanity. Hell, the Oil Industry went & bought themselves a Government.  It is called the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

I may not be the sharpest tac in the box, but I think I know what Free means, and what Trade is. Hell, I think I have a pretty good understanding of what FREE TRADE means, but damn, all these deals Harper makes with other countries, sure doesn’t come close to my understanding of FREE TRADEHow about you?

As I see it, Free Trade means we trade goods with others, and there are no added costs such as taxes and duties.  Right?

So how come, these deals all come with strange strings attached to them, like determining how we support our local industries?  ( Can we say softwood lumber and NAFTA? )

All I know is that while we sign away our lives with these deals, the benefits we get seem to be rather minimal, at best. I mean let me see, we had a free trade deal with Uncle Sam, yet when Stelco needed unfettered access to US markets, it didn’t happen. Least not until US Steel bought Stelco.

So we lost our only steel manufacturing, along with all those nice jobs, despite Free Trade.

How about BC that lost its wine industry, not to mention the devastating impact it had on our lumber industry.  Jobs were lost, but hey, they sure were booming for the US.

Seems to me that the way Mr Harper works out these free trade deals, is that Canadian Businesses get sold out to foreign interests, the high paying jobs get shipped overseas and we wind up being the consumer for those goods, that were once made in Canada.

All I know is, that we continue to lose manufacturing jobs, high paying high tech jobs, while our free trade partners get those jobs.  At the same time, I find what was once Canadian Made goods, replaced by inferior but just as pricey, foreign goods.

I mean I am sorry but I am a Canadian. I’d like to walk into Zellers or the Bay, (both no longer Canadian Companies by the way) and buy actual goods, MADE IN CANADA!

Like fat lot of good NAFTA has done for our lumber industry, for our cattle industry, or even our car manufacturing. Sure did squat for our Steel Industry, and hell even our oil industry is importing jobs now, thanks to Mr Harper & his free trade deals.

Seems to me that under Stephen Harper, Free Trade means we sell our industries to foreign companies, who promptly move them out of Canada, then we buy back the goods we used to make, at the same price or higher price.

I guess, under Stephen Harper, wanting to buy Canadian is actually more akin to Treason. After all, we have to support the foreign economies, and let business operate where it can cut its costs the most, without needing to cut its prices to consumers.

Thank you Stephen Harper, but I’ll pass…  Anyone But Harper.

Selling Off Our Hydro Utilities

It is the age old question, for us Canadians.  Just what level of Government Control ( Interferance ) do we expect, in our daily lives.

The perception is that:

IF you are a Conservative, you want very little Government interferance. You expect less Government, relying on the Private Sector to handle most things, such as Pensions, Health Care, Hydro, etc.

IF you are an NDP ( labelled Socialist for some reason ) you expect the Government to have its finger in every pie there is. From Health Care to Dog Catcher, the Government has a department to handle it.

IF you are a Liberal, you supposedly expect a 50/50 blend of Government Support. You supposedly want Universal Health Care, even Public Utilities, but you draw the line at Dog Catcher, at setting anything more than basic guidelines for Education & Workers Rights.

IF you are a Green, well supposedly the Environment trumps it all, and that is the focus of your agenda. You want to insure that both Government & Business meet high environmental standards.

The lines get blurred in reality, more so when you are talking about Public Utilities, such as Hydro. ( you know, the big electric company )

In Ontario they sold off their Hydro to Private Business, and from what I’ve gathered, most people there aren’t pleased with the service. There has been some pretty big stinks about the quality of service, and the rates being charged.

Here in BC, the Liberals ( frankly they are more Conservatives, Social Credit, than what I perceive as being Liberals ) have toyed with the idea of selling off BC Hydro. Now they too, claim that Private Business operating Hydro would be more effecient, but is it?

Read the rest of this entry

Frankly, I am tired of the Media & Politicians telling us what is important to us, the average bloke. I mean like when was the last time any of them had to actually manage a household budget?

Stephen Harper talks more about his tax cuts and tax incentives than any of the others, but when was the last time he had to manage living on a budget of less than $30,000 a year?

Michael Ignatieff talks about student loans for books, and small business incentives. He’s even got a new daycare plan out, but when was the last time he had to figure out how to pay for the Hydro Bill as well as Daycare or pay for going to work in his SUV?

See, if you look after the least fortunate, you are also looking after the needs of the upper Middle Class and even the wealthy. IF you look after the higher end of the Middle Class & Wealthy, you are hurting all who are below that income threshold.

So to me, it just makes common sense, to start working for those who need the most help. Like the people on fixed incomes, on the lower end of the wage scale.

There is something else to consider. If you are well off (whatever that actually means, who knows) you have the things like a house, like relatively new appliances, furniture, car, etc.  Now if you are young, at the low end of the wage scale, you need all those things, but hey, you can’t afford them.

Single Moms, or Dads, need daycare more than the wealthy preppie couple who pull down over a hundred grand between them.  I mean Harper talks about income splitting, but you know, you need to have that income in the first place.  Many simply don’t.

Now we can expect huge Electric price increases, to go along with the ever rising fuel increases.  Just who is going to be able to afford all that?

What galls me, is that the excuse for the upcoming rate hikes in electric costs, is due to the Hydro companies building new dams, new plants, & upgrading the delivery of power. ( new lines, etc. )

I don’t know, but when I was in business, the cost wasn’t paid by the consumer. IF I wanted to fix up my store, I took it out of my profits, expecting that it would generate increased sales, which would generate increased profits.  I certainly didn’t go and raise my prices, so the consumer could pay for my upgrades.

IF I needed a new cash register, I didn’t say to my customers, oh you are gonna have to pay more, so I can get a new till. I took it out of my profits.  So how come the Utility Companies are doing the opposite?

They make a profit, so how come my rates have to go up, to pay for their upgrades? 

So tell me Mr Layton, Mr Duceppe, Ms May, Mr. Ignatieff & Mr Harper…   what are your plans to deal with these rising utility costs?

Gee, I wonder why?  ( rolling on the floor laughing because it isn’t like any advertising is actually truthful, whether a political ad or not. )

Day 1 of this campaign was riddled with all that there Coalition Talk, but it is interesting to see how much those attack ads were actually truthful, or NOT. In a way, the attack ads by Stephen Harper are, in my mind, an insult to me, a voter. I mean come on, to piece together a bunch of outtakes, then to make it seem like something totally different, is just plain wrong.

To assume I won’t remember the details, or in this case, that the Liberal Party leader was Stephane Dion, not Michael Ignatieff is insulting.

And yet, like Lemmings, Conservative supporters rally around those very lies, harping on how Ignatieff is out to form a coalition, if we don’t give poor sweet innocent Stevie Boy a majority.

I don’t understand our world today, because you know,  A LIE IS A LIE NO MATTER WHAT YOU CALL IT.