Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mid-Week Post

The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
A merry Diwali to all y'all.

Tax evasion for me, but not for thee!

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is allowed to continue owning shares in his family's publicly traded company because he holds them indirectly through a holding company – rules that Canada's federal ethics commissioner has said she'd like to see changed.

The former businessman has come under heavy criticism this week after The Globe and Mail revealed he is not keeping his substantial wealth in a blind trust that would place it beyond his reach – a mechanism that his boss Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has championed as the gold standard for federal ministers.

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson's office has told The Globe that ministers are not required to divest controlled assets such as publicly traded shares if they are held in an indirect manner through another corporation.

In a statement provided to The Globe, her office said the divestment requirement "does not apply to any controlled assets that reporting public office holders hold indirectly, through a holding company or other similar mechanism."

Ms. Dawson made it even more clear in a subsequent interview with CTV News Tuesday where she said of Mr. Morneau: "He doesn't hold them, the corporation holds them, that's the legal entity," she said.

Then there is no need not to include this in the Liberals' new tax scheme, is there?

Pay your fair share, Bill.


Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk stopped short of calling them crooks in her damning report Tuesday on their scheme to pay for hydro-rate cuts — their factiously named Fair Hydro Plan — by hiding the true costs of it from their bottom line.

What the Wynne Liberals essentially did to keep the costs off the public books was to figuratively go to a loan shark instead of government lender where interest rates are less onerous.
It will cost them — read, Ontario taxpayers — an additional $4 billion in interest fees, money that loan sharks like to call their “juice.”

“Anywhere else in Canada, you won’t see this done,” said Lysyk. “The government’s proposal is to treat that ($4 billion) loss as an asset.

That’s like you treating your credit card debt as an asset in your books. Does that sound right to you?

No, but voters can't do math on the spot, so ...

Oh, it gets worse:

Lysyk’s findings call to mind former federal auditor general Sheila Fraser’s devastating 2004 report that found federal officials in Jean Chretien’s government “broke just about every rule in the book” in awarding contracts during the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

The political fallout from that saw Paul Martin’s Liberals reduced to a minority government in 2004, before losing to the Harper Conservatives in 2006, after 13 years in power.

Except for one difference.

That is that the Wynne Liberals, and before them the Dalton McGuinty Liberals, have survived scandals — e-Health, Ornge, cancelled gas plants, green energy — that should have ended their 14-year political dynasty years ago.

We already know from previous elections that no matter how many scandals the Liberals cause, Ontario’s powerful public sector unions will support them at election time, while attacking whomever the Conservative leader happens to be.

We know a huge number of Ontario voters, particularly in Toronto, will stick with the Liberals no matter what.

We know many support Wynne’s Fair Hydro Plan, even though it’s a phony fix to the skyrocketing hydro rates the Liberals caused, in part, through their disastrous green energy policies.

Combine that with the fact Wynne is a smart, tough campaigner, while Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown faces an internal revolt by social conservatives who feel he’s betrayed them, and it all adds up to one thing.

The Wynne Liberals, incredibly, are still competitive heading into June’s election.
Be afraid, Ontario. Be very afraid.

And it's all because of this:

Peter Wallace was being cross-examined by Brian Gover, lawyer for former McGuinty chief of staff David Livingston.

Livingston and his former deputy, Laura Miller, are pleading not guilty to charges relating to their alleged destruction of documents about the McGuinty government’s billion-dollar decision to cancel two gas-fired electricity plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

Gover was asking Wallace about statements McGuinty had made to OPP officers then probing the matter.

McGuinty, Gover said, had told investigators that communications in his office were of an “overwhelming oral nature” — in other words, that was why there were so few documents available — and what did Wallace think of that?

It took the former secretary to the Cabinet a few minutes — he was, he said, “deeply uncomfortable” with the question — but his bottom line was unequivocal.

“I was frankly shocked by that, when I read it in the newspaper. (McGuinty’s remark was widely reported in 2014 when a police Information to Obtain a search warrant was released by a judge.)

“I simply, flatly disagree with that statement.”

I don't see why an unveiled face cannot be a condition of citizenship.  This cultural thumb-in-the-eye only reinforces a misogynist and anti-Western view that should be both socially and politically out of place:

Niqab-wearing Quebec women who want to ride the bus, visit the library, go for a medical check-up or meet with their child’s teacher are now legally required to uncover their faces while receiving provincial and municipal government services.

Quebec’s National Assembly adopted Bill 62 Wednesday morning, a controversial law that is the Liberal government’s answer to a decade-long debate over the accommodation of religious minorities in the province.

The bill passed despite opposition from the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec, which argued the legislation does not go far enough in restricting the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols.

Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée has maintained that the bill’s requirement that government services be provided and received with the face uncovered is not aimed at any religious group. ...

(Sidebar: what other religion group covers faces?)

Nicole Filion, coordinator of the Ligue des droits et libertés, a human-rights defence group, warned that the law will “have a discriminatory effect on religious groups who are targeted, in particular women.”

(Sidebar: yes, about that - "A notice stamped on mosques in the Shopian district of Kashmir allegedly from groups calling themselves al Qaeda Mujahideen and Lashkar e al Qaeda declared: “We appeal to the public that they ensure that their women observe purdah [covering heads and faces] in public places. If we spot any woman without purdah, we will sprinkle acid on her face.")

But ... but ... the Russians stole the election!

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
Oh, my! How embarrassing!

Chinese Xi Jinping reminds everyone at the party congress that he is still in charge:

Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged the Communist Party on Wednesday to “resolutely oppose” any actions that undermine its leadership as he opened a congress expected to enhance his formidable power.

Xi told the 2,300 delegates at the imposing Great Hall of the People that the country is entering a “new era” as the party pursues “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

One would expect no less from a one-party state.

And now, facts about sweet, sweet Halloween candy:

Harry Burnett Reese sold the Lizzie Bar and Johnny Bar, candy bars he named after his daughter and son, respectively. But his chocolate-covered peanut butter cup creation, which he named after himself and called Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, was his real hit.

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