Tidbits
News You May Have Missed...

web posted August 1997

Murderess gets off with fine

If you read ESR regularly (and of course you do), you may remember a piece in May 1997's "Tidbits" about a group of animal rights activists who released about 1 500 mink from a Southern Ontario farm, resulting the death of hundreds of the little guys and girls.

Well, of the five people charged in the crime, one made a tearful apology in a Chatham court recently, not of course for causing damage to the owner of the farm, but for the fact that hundreds died. Robyn Weiner, 25, of Michigan, pleaded guilty in a Chatham courtroom to charges of break and enter and theft.

She was sentenced to two years less a day of community service and was ordered to pay her $10 000 bail fee to the owners of the Blenheim mink farm.

Five Michigan residents were charged after the mink were released from the southwestern Ontario farm. Half of the mink died ­ some were run over, others from disease ­ and the rest were recaptured. Damages were estimated at $200 000.

Weiner said she will have to live with the guilt for the rest of her life.

Well ESR doesn't think that's enough. In the past plenty of animal rights activists have called it murder when the minks were killed for their pelts. Weiner's actions directly lead the death of hundreds of mink. Weiner, to follow her logic, should have faced hundreds of murder charges, or at least manslaughter.

No justice...no peace.

Parents angry over math test's questions on drugs, murder

Angry parents in one California community complained to school board members about a teacher who gave a math test asking students to compute the street value of cocaine and a hitman's salary.

The June 26 test has added up to trouble for math teacher Charles Sanders, who passed it out to his summer class at Norte Vista High School.  

The test for the summer math class apparently was meant as a joke, but several students took it, said ninth grader Robert Salazar. "I believe the gentleman should apologize," Robert's father, Joe Salazar, told Alvord Unified School District members.

Others demanded tougher action.  "We want him fired!" said Louise Palomarez of the Mexican Political Association. "We don't want no damn apology." Sanders has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the school district.

"Of course the school district doesn't condone anything that would have any kind of derogatory references," Assistant Superintendent Art Delgado said.

A black line at the top of the test asked for the student's name and gang affiliation.

One of the question reads: "-- has 2 ounces of cocaine and sells an 8-ball to -- for $320 and 2 grams to Billy for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the balance of the cocaine if he doesn't cut it?"

Another question: "-- is in prison sentenced to six years for murder. He got $10,000 for the hit. If his common-law wife is spending $100 per month, how much money will be left when he gets out of prison and how many years will he get after he kills her for spending the money?"

Salazar said he doesn't agree with Sanders' tactics, but understood what he was trying to do.

"I believe he directed this to the minority kids," he said. "This is what you kids know, so this is how you're going to learn."

Salazar is entirely correct...this is how kids learn.

I'm not saying their not honest, just know where the money comes from

With more than $600 000 donated by the big banks alone, federal Liberals raised $14.1 million last year, records show.
Just over half the Liberal revenue in 1996 - $7.8 million - came from business donations. It raised another $6.2 million from 37 471 individuals.

Unions and others accounted for the rest, according to party accounts released yesterday by Elections Canada.

The biggest donor was the Bank of Montreal which, with its investment arm, Nesbitt Burns, contributed $140 334. All four other major banks contributed over $100 000 in similar fashion.

The Liberals raised almost twice as much as any other party, almost a full million more than in 1995. But it was still far short of the $24 million the governing Conservatives raised in 1988.

Second place in 1996 went to the New Democrats, who raised $7.5 million, followed by Reform ($7.3 million) and the Conservatives ($6.8 million).

The separatist Bloc Québécois - which does not accept any corporate or union donations - raised $1.16 million.

The biggest increase over 1995 was generated by the Reform party, which saw its revenue jump 37 per cent compared with 7 per cent for the Liberals.

Reform benefited from a $1 million bequest from the late Alberta meat-packing magnate Arthur Child.

"We were surprised and delighted," Reform Leader Preston Manning, "It came at a good time for us."

Child, the former chairman of Burns Foods Ltd., knew Manning's father Ernest when he was Alberta premier, but generally was not involved actively in politics in recent years.

The western-based Reform party took in only $908 000 from business.

The Conservatives, despite having only two MPs at the time, raised more than three times that much from business. And the Liberals took in twice as much again.

Not surprisingly, the New Democrats took in just $188 000 from business. But they received more than $1.2 million from unions.

Major contributors to the Liberals include Bombardier ($85 076), Canadian National ($59 834), Claridge Inc. ($53 406), Canadian Pacific Ltd. ($45 264), Imasco, owners of Imperial Tobacco ($43 573), Gordon Capital Corp. ($19 828) and Rothmans tobacco ($19 168). Prime Minister Jean Chrétien gave $2 700.

Major contributors to Reform include Canadian Pacific Ltd. ($34 750), the banks (the Royal was the largest, at $23 160), the Alberta Energy Corp. ($12 000) and BCE ($10 000). Manning gave $1 150.

Major contributors to the Conservatives include the banks (the Royal was the largest, at $105 431), Bombardier ($25 223), Canadian Pacific ($15 506), Dofasco ($38 897), Imasco ($38 770), and Northern Telecom ($48 130).

Conservative Leader Jean Charest gave $710.24. Former Tory prime minister Brian Mulroney and his wife Mila gave $2 500 each.

Major contributors to the New Democrats include the Canadian Labor Congress ($158 130), the Canadian Auto Workers ($120 176), and the Ontario Federation of Labor ($41 770). Leader Alexa McDonough gave $2 102.

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard did not contribute to the Bloc last year. He had donated $1 195 in 1995 when he was still leader of the Bloc.

Former separatist premier Jacques Parizeau also failed to contribute to the Bloc last year.

The day Canadians could at least keep the efforts of their production

This year Canadians worked until June 29 to pay the total tax bill imposed by all levels of government, according to calculations released today by the Fraser Institute. Tax Freedom Day was therefore June 30th.

Tax Freedom Day is the day when the average Canadian family starts working for itself. Until that date, all of a family's earnings are required to pay the taxman. Since 1961, Canada's Tax Freedom Day has advanced 58 days. In 1961, Tax Freedom Day fell on May 3rd. By 1974, it had advanced to June 8th, and in 1997 Tax Freedom Day falls on June 30th.

"Canadians have good reason to take a day off on Canada Day: they've only just paid off their total tax obligations," said Fraser Institute Executive Director Michael Walker. "But the steady advance of Tax Freedom Day is no cause to celebrate, not when six-month's earnings go into the unsteady hands of government."

Tax Freedom Day for each province varies according to the extent of the provincial tax burden. The earliest Tax Freedom Day falls on May 19th in Prince Edward Island, the latest date is July 12th in Saskatchewan.

Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Manitoba experienced an advance in their Tax Freedom Days, meaning that residents of those provinces have to work more days per year to pay off their obligations to government. Tax Freedom Day is earlier than last year in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Due to interest about the fairness of the Canadian tax system, the Fraser Institute recently began reporting the decile distribution of income and taxes with Tax Freedom Days. This distribution shows that the top 30 per cent of income earners pay 62.4 per cent of all taxes and earn 54.6 per cent of all income. The bottom 30 per cent of income earners pay 5.6 per cent of all taxes and earn 10.5 per cent of all income.

The average Canadian's tax burden is 49.3 per cent of income. Total taxes of the average family fell $392 from last year.

The Fraser Institute has also calculated what the tax burden of the average family would be today if governments had to cover current expenditures with current taxation and were not able to defer the tax burden by running deficits.

For Canada, Tax Freedom Day including deficits (or Balanced Budget Tax Freedom Day) was July 16th in 1997, an advance of 16 days over Canada's Tax Freedom Day without deficits. Ten of the 16 days are due to the federal deficit and the remainder to the provincial deficits. The latest Balanced Budget Tax Freedom Day fell on July 23rd in Ontario, an advance of 21 days over that province's standard Tax Freedom Day.

Currently, tax deferral amounts to $8.8 billion by the provinces and $17.0 billion by the federal government. This compares with $8.4 billion and $19.0 billion respectively in 1996.

A court actually rules for freedom

Ontario's Tory government has successfully fought off a constitutional challenge of its decision to scrap employment-equity legislation, passed by its New Democratic Party predecessor.

In a ruling released in July, a superior court judge agreed with government lawyers that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not require governments to legislate employment-equity.

"Although it may be highly desirable for a government, from a social or political standpoint, to enact laws in a certain area, there is no constitutional duty on it to do so," said Justice Paul Dilks of the general division of Ontario Court.

The government's only action in its Job Quotas Repeal Act of 1995 was the repeal of the Ontario Employment Equity Act of 1993, said the judge.

"It simply repeals an existing statute without making any attempt to replace it," he said.

As to arguments that the repeal removed protections against discrimination, the judge said the government maintained both the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which had been created "to combat discrimination and inequality."

The Tories "rightly or wrongly took the position that employment equity as instituted under the provisions of the Employment Equity Act, 1993, simply wasn't working," said the judge, noting that the move was part of the Conservatives' 1995 election platform.

The decision by the government to scrap the act "was a political one and, right or wrong in the political sense, was one which it was entitled to make," he said.

At a hearing in November, lawyers for a coalition that launched the challenge argued that the repeal offended Section 15 of the Charter, which says all Canadians have the right to equal benefit under law.

It's always good to see a court that actually strives for freedom...even if reluctantly.

Axworthy meets with Chinese communist puppet

I love Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy if only for the material he provides me. A few months ago Axworthy even won the Earth is Flat Award for meeting with Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro, providing him that little bit extra credibility.

Well, Axworthy is nowhere near finished meeting Communists or their stooges. On the day Canadians celebrated social programs...err...Canada Day, Axworthy met with Tung Chee-hwa, the man the Chinese Communists installed to rule over Hong Kong. Axworthy wanted to make sure that Tung followed through on his promise to hold free elections within the year.

"We just made the case that it would be very important for the international community -- Canada included -- to see an election that would be as open as possible," he said.


An opinion poll released just after the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong showed that 40 per cent
of people in Hong Kong believe housing should be at the top of Tung's list of priorities. A meager 9 per cent
of respondents said freedom of speech and freedom to demonstrate should be.


During his meeting with Castro, Axworthy's notable accomplishment was getting the Cuban to agree to consider to think about the idea of perhaps pondering more human rights. Thank god he got to Tung as well. Maybe we can get Axworthy to meet with Slobodan Milosevic and Iljia Izetbegovic and ask them politely to be nice to each other. Dictators seem to like Axworthy...

Unions Retard Productivity, Profitability, Investment, and Employment Growth

Labour unions retard the economic performance of firms, and, consequently, the competitiveness of the whole economy, according to a Fraser Institute study released recently.

Professor Barry Hirsch of Florida State University, author of the report Unionization and Economic Performance: Evidence on Productivity, Profits, Investment, and Growth, states that unions tend to decrease productivity growth, reduce profitability, retard investment in physical capital and research and development, and lower the rate of employment growth.

"Research from around the world indicates that union firms have lower levels of productivity in contrast to comparable non-union firms," noted Prof. Hirsch. "In some cases, unionized firms have profit margins which are 10-20 per cent lower in contrast to non-union firms."

This evidence suggests that Canadians should be concerned about union monopoly power and their negative impact on economic growth and our standard of living, commented Fazil Mihlar, policy analyst at the Fraser Institute.

Another fact to emerge from the study is the overall negative impact of union behavior, which leads to a reduction in research and development and other forms of innovative activity. In addition, union behavior leads to a reduction in physical capital investment. For example, the average unionized firm had capital investment which was 6 per cent lower compared to the average non-union firm. Hirsch also found that the average unionized firm has 15 per cent lower annual investment in research and development. "The reduction of investment in physical capital and research and development -- which is a necessary lubricant for long-term economic growth -- should be of real concern to Canadian policy makers," added Mihlar.

The most significant result to emerge from the study was the impact of unions on employment growth. Studies on the employment effects of unions from Canada, U.S., and Britain suggest that unions have a negative impact`. In the case of Canada, a study conducted by Prof. Richard Long supports the international evidence. Long examined the performance of 510 manufacturing firms during the period 1980-85 and found that the median growth rate of non-union firms during this period was 27 per cent compared to zero in unionized firms. After adjusting his analysis to account for the fact that unionized firms tend to be larger than non-unionized firms and tend to be in declining industries, he concluded that unionized manufacturing firms grew 3.7 per cent slower, and that non-manufacturing firms grew 3.9 per cent slower than their non-union counterparts.

Under most provincial labour codes, it is relatively easy to unionize a place of work, hence the higher rate of unionization in Canada compared to the U.S. "As a matter of public policy, it is imperative that provincial governments in Canada liberalize their labour codes. This policy prescription will potentially negate the adverse impact of union behavior on the Canadian economy," said Mr. Mihlar.

Canada names Galbraith to Order of Canada

Noted Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith was recently made an officer of the Order of Canada, one of two named this year who are not Canadian citizens.

Both Galbraith and Dr. James Hiller (co-inventor of the electron microscope), were made honorary officers of the Order of Canada, the first time honorary officers have been appointed to the Order since its creation in 1967. The category is intended to honor distinguished persons who are not Canadian citizens. Interestingly, both Hiller and Galbraith were born in Canada but became U.S. citizens.

Though one could argue the merit of governments handing out these types of awards, I have little problem with Hiller being given the honor. It's Galbraith's that I take exception to.

Galbraith's citation talks about his contribution to economics and his standing as "one of the greatest liberal thinkers of our age," but doesn't say a word about his real accomplishments.

Galbraith has been a prolific writer and advisor to U.S. presidents, pushing a belief that the U.S. had reached a stage in its economic development that should enable it to direct its resources more toward providing better public services and less to the production of consumer goods. Being a Keynesian, it shouldn't be a surprise that Galbraith believes that government spending must compensate for insufficient business investment in times of recession, recessions that are created by government.

It is Galbraith, and his spiritual father Keynes, who have got us where we got today. Statist intervention by leaders since Roosevelt have been infringing on capitalism and the free market, that is to say our freedom.

The blood sucking bourgeoisie will save us won't they?

You always hear it, whether from the NDP or some imbecile...tax the rich to support the poor! The rich aren't paying their fair share!

Okay, for the sake of argument, let's assume that anyone earning $100 000 and over is rich.

According to figures released by Statistics Canada last month, in 1995 more than 60 per cent of taxfilers reported total income of less than $25 000 while fewer than 2 per cent claimed total income over $100 000. The remaining 38 per cent had an income of between $25 000 and $100 000.

Two per cent?

You expect to maintain your bloated socialist system on the backs of about 408 000 Canadians?

That's why Clinton kept redefining downwards what he defined as rich a few years ago...because the simple matter is is that there aren't enough of the smartest to support the rest. Give it up.

Sage of South Central to be on CNBC

Larry Elder, the self-described "Sage of South Central", will sit in as guest host for Geraldo Rivera on the CNBC talkshow "Rivera Live" during the week of August 25.

Elder's afternoon drive time show on KABC-AM continues to be the target of an advertiser boycott from a shadowy leftist special interest group known as the Talking Drum Community Forum, which objects to the black commentator's right-leaning views.

While I wish Elder would have picked a higher-brow forum, let's make sure to give Elder some support!

Manning looking to unite conservatives

Preston "Canadians begged me to live in a mansion" Manning is apparently looking for a way to unite conservative vote in Ontario.

The last federal election this past June saw conservative vote divided between the Progressive Conservatives and Manning's Reform Party.

"Reform is open to discussion on how to get a single alternative to the Liberals in Ontario," Manning said on BBS's Sunday Edition. "And it's in Ontario that the biggest problem arises. . .And we have to solve that problem."

He stressed that party members are not interested in an institutional merger with the Conservatives, rather they want to find a strategy to end the Liberals' virtual stranglehold on Ontario which is aided by a divided conservative vote.

He said that his party has been much more open to the idea than the Tories.

"The leadership of the Conservative party has been extremely hostile toward Reform but at the grassroots level we are far more open than anyone else," said Manning.

Manning would be better served by remembering that the Progressive Conservative party is not conservative. Let him work for conservative votes from that supposition.

Speaking of uniting conservatives... (Updated August 9)

Roots of Change Conference Update

"The Roots of Change Conference is growing like a prairie grassfire except that this prairie initiative is not being slowed down by the Canadian Shield at the Manitoba-Ontario Boundary," stated Jim Hinter, National Communications Director of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB) "Our speakers list has come together very quickly," Hinter continued. "We planned for four speakers, one from each level of government and one from the School Board" Hinter said. "With the confirmation yesterday of Alberta Treasurer Stockwell Day, the confirmation this morning by Link Byfield, of Alberta Report and earlier confirmations from Calgary Sun Associate Editor Paul Jackson to speak at the Roots of Change Dinner planned for October 16 and Toronto Sun Money Editor Linda Leatherdale to be the closing speaker, the list of formal speakers is now all confirmed," Hinter stated.

The format for the conference will be as follows:

Thursday, October 16, 1997

Roots of Change Dinner at Osteria de Medici
Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Lou Schizas, Vantage Securities
Key Note Speaker: Mr. Paul Jackson, Associate Editor The Calgary Sun

Mr. Jackson will be speaking on his extensive experiences as one of Canada's leading political observers.

Friday, October 17, 1997:

Opening Ceremonies:

There will be a speaker from each level of government and the school board.

Municipal Politics: Mr. Jon Lord, Calgary Ward 8 Alderman.
School Board: Mr. Robb McLeod, Halton Public School Board Trustee, and former Governor of Rotary International.
Provincial Politics: Mr. Stockwell Day MLA; Alberta Treasurer and Deputy Premier.
Federal Politics: Mr. Link Byfield, Editor & Publisher of Alberta Report Magazine.

After these keynote speakers,

The conference will be opened up to the delegates to speak on the issues that they feel should be worked on by Canadian Conservatives.

Closing Speaker:
Craig Chandler, National President PGIB

Saturday, October 18, 1997

Conference delegates will break into workshops for the morning session on the topics raised on Friday.

The Afternoon session will consist of reports from each workshop to the conference as a whole.

Closing Speaker: Linda Leatherdale, Money Editor, The Toronto Sun.

Conference Closes:

Saturday Evening:
It's Calgary and after the conference, we are convening to Calgary's World Famous Ranchmans to enjoy some 'down home' Alberta Culture!

Conference Chairman: Jim Hinter
President of the Progressive Group for Independent Business: Craig B. Chandler

For more information on the Roots of Change Conference, please contact The Progressive Group for Independent Business at (403) 720-2143.

Chrétien cool on Klein

By informal consensus, many business groups and some of the provinces have decided that ESR favourite Alberta Premier Ralph Klein will head effort to keep Quebec in Canada.

That consensus did not include Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Jean Chrétien says he'll listen to any idea about how to promote national unity -- but he's skeptical about Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's advice to tear up the federal game plan and start over from scratch. "If Mr. Klein has solutions, let him convince his colleagues," the prime minister said.

Klein has suggested Chrétien should abandon two measures his government pushed through the Commons following the narrow federalist victory in the 1995 Quebec referendum. One was a resolution backing the concept of Quebec as a distinct society, the other a bill offering regional vetoes over future constitutional change to Quebec, Ontario, B.C., the Prairies and the Atlantic.

Chrétien, however, wants the two points to be added to the constitution, something that Klein stated was "not viable."

"Do you think it would be very useful at this time, to say that the federal government no longer recognizes Quebec as distinct, unique, different because of its language, culture and civil code? Would that be very useful? I think not. But if it was the solution, I'd never refuse any solution, if it would make Quebecers and everybody else happy," said Chrétien.

This is the same Prime Minister who wait until the absolute last minute to get involved in the last referendum on separation in Quebec, bring a nation to within several thousand votes of being broken apart. Chrétien's solution was to try and formalize the belief that Quebec should be treated different from everyone else in Canada.

The Canadian Health Care system works! Not.

The Fraser Institute's annual survey of hospital waiting lists shows the number of Canadians waiting for surgery in 1996 has increased by 20 797 to 172 766.

It took patients nearly 11 weeks to be treated from when they were referred to a specialist by their general practitioner. That's up from 10 weeks in 1995 and 9.3 weeks in 1993.

The seventh annual study found variations in waiting lists among the provinces. Quebecers, for instance, waited 9.6 weeks for treatment while residents of Prince Edward Island faced a 19.7-week delay.

Cynthia Ramsay, the institute's health economist who co-authored the survey with executive director Michael Walker, said patients suffer from undue anxiety and pain while they wait for treatment.

Ramsay argues the best way to avoid that is privatized health care, where the supply of services expands to meet demands of people who can afford it.

There is evidence that the long waits are aggravating health problems. Recent reports in Ottawa, for instance, indicated many doctors believe hospital emergency departments are being left to cope with the fallout of increased waiting lists as patients become increasingly ill and require emergency treatment.

The institute's study was based on information supplied by doctors in 12 different specialties across the country and "in almost every instance, the responding specialists felt that waiting times for treatment were excessive," the authors wrote.

The main factor influencing the length of waiting lists was the availability of operating room time, followed by changes in patient load and the availability of hospital beds, indicated specialists.

Yup. The socialist health care system really does work.




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