Saturday Morning Coffee

International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.

A Penny a Day…

As tax season comes to a close and accountants climb back in to their hiding places, the mood is either exuberant (“Yay, I can go on vacation! ) or dismal (“oh no, where do I cut back?). Unfortunately for the most of us, it is the latter. Nobody likes to do taxes – it’s not pleasant – but it’s one of life’s small things that are sometimes necessary, like a trip to the dentist, which will hopefully lead to a better quality of life – better health care, better roads, efficient civil service – all those nice things that make Canadian spaces some of the nicest ones  in the world. If it’s for those reasons, then my disdain for the taxman lessens a little bit as it disappears out of sight for another year. However, it’s when money – my hard earned money – that gets spent on ridiculous things that could have been spotted at Wal-Mart of half the cost or done more efficiently by my 12 yr old neighbour.  I’m not in the marketing business or know the most efficient plans for production, but I know how to balance my budget and I don’t think I can say the same for our government.

We’re all going through rough times and cutting back is necessary – finding money that otherwise wasn’t there. That’s why I’m wondering why exactly Ontario and Alberta’s GST & PST will be combined in to the new HST? It costs a lot to change something like that – money, man power and, well, more money. It claims to be the same percentage, in a different package, but it smells more like a marketing a markup. Last night’s CTV news delicately put it that haircuts, alcohol and construction supplies will be marked up after June 1st.

And so, we must look elsewhere – and yes, it’s come to this – to our own Members of Parliament. Ironic isn’t it, that the government yields the ability to look at everyone else finances, but we rarely get to look at theirs? And it’s looking like we won’t get that chance as the MP’s are refusing to let the Attorney General take a peek. Why would they do that other than to hide the elaborate escapades and bloated bank accounts? If you were really working for the people you represent and want to share in their burden, you’d at least allow the pro’s to take a peek and make suggestions about where to cut back, wouldn’t you?

Finding money is tough! Despite being reprimanded by the US, the UN and the EU, Canada is persevering and will find that money if it’s the last thing they do! Unfortunately it comes in the form of oil and in collaboration with China – I’m not so sure if this is the type of business that we want, from environmentally compromising to politically damaging, it doesn’t look good. Shouldn’t we learn from the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?

In the meantime, it may be true that unemployment rates are slowly shrinking, but not in the way that most of us hope – favoring the low skilled and leaving the managers, executives and highly educated out in the cold. This is not wise, as they are the ones that might have been able to bring in more revenue and therefore more tax opportunities for the province and country. And attracting that type of business is daunting, though not as tough as you might think. Canada’s a great place to do business – close enough to the US border that trade with it is accessible; the dollar is nearly on par; the market has just as much spending power as what Americans do, if not more; and the quality of life and attractiveness of our cities would make any new exec be pleased. Of course, business varies from sector to sector, but in a nutshell – all we’d need to do is create tax incentives for development and support growth opportunities.

Canada is not the US and it never will  be, so finding money and cutting back will always be a challenge. Canadians aren’t dumb either, we know how great our country is and so we don’t let the cost our our taxes deter us from loving it. Our government, however, is a different story; unaccountable MP’s; investment to destroy the environment and lack of work for trained professionals. I love Canada, but the recent ways that we’ve been tackling our economic woes isn’t the way to make Canada better.

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One comment on “A Penny a Day…

  1. Ken
    16/05/2010

    From here on the Gulf coast, I very much agree with the hope that everyone learn lessons from what is going on. BP and the government seem to be very much “floundering” in how to address a situation that seems to have been relatively foreseeable, but for which there was obviously no planning. But tying this back in to your previous post about stress, do appreciate that the challenges you describe are found everywhere. Not being tongue in cheek to suggest that Africa is a great place to learn to escape stress in the face of poor governance and less affluence.

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This entry was posted on 14/05/2010 by in Canada, conservation, Economics, environment, Ethics, Natural Resources, policy, Politics, Trade.

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