Through the wringer
Back to the con job Federal Budget 2009.
If you missed yesterday's post, please have a look: It's about how the Cons really don't care about the increasing number of unemployed in Canada. They would even deny them EI because the maximum $447 a week anybody can get -- and that's a relatively small percentage of those who need EI -- is tantamount to living high off the hog. Whoopeeee!
The good news is, not all Liberal MPs are falling into line behind their fearless probation officer. That despite the media rah-rah approval of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's nakedly political stand. Well, the media have been on the wrong side of the voters before. I remember the Charlottetown Accord.
A second Liberal MP said Friday he is prepared to vote against the Conservative budget if it is not amended to resolve what is seen as punitive measures against Newfoundland and Labrador.
Avalon MP Scott Andrews told CBC News he will "absolutely not" vote for the federal budget unless it is changed to prevent Newfoundland and Labrador from losing $1.6 billion in the next three years.
Andrews follows Judy Foote, who represents the southern Newfoundland riding of Random-Burin-St. George's, in deciding to risk a possible reprimand from their caucus, if Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff decides to endorse the budget as it is.
Andrews said, however, that Liberals from Newfoundland and Labrador are trying to persuade Ignatieff to support their cause.
Foote told constituents in an email that enough people have contacted her office about the budget that she has sufficient "hard evidence" about the feelings of constituents.
Newfoundland and Labrador's six Liberal MPs are being pressured to vote against the budget, should it not be amended to delete language that could see the provincial government lose about $1.6 billion in offset payments over the next three years.
If women are a constituency, then it makes sense that Canadian women contact the Liberal critic responsible for the status of women, Anita Neville, because the budget fails women in a huge way:
- continues the attack on pay equity in the civil service
- provides no support to the working poor or those living in poverty
- does nothing to provide desperately-needed childcare supports
- provides stimulus to male-dominated areas of the economy, further ghettoizing the “pink ghetto''
Head over to the Regina Mom for info on who and how to write.
Today's treeware column also took on the budget, but from an environmental perspective. It shows how everybody is getting burned.
My dishwasher is 16 years old.
I bought my fridge 18 years ago.
My solid steel washer and dryer just turned 31.
As for my stove, well, it was in the house when I moved in – and the Quebec manufacturer went out of business in the 1980s.
All work great, thanks to the superior construction of yesteryear, my local Greek repairman, and the fact that I have been on my own since 1991.
A couple of loads a week for the washer and drer, maybe one weekly load of dishes if I haven't had guests, and no kids to scrounge for snacks and open, close, open, close the fridge.
None of these appliances is energy-efficient by today's standards. The fridge probably consumes twice as much electricity as it needs to.
I am pretty sure the washer, which I usually run on cold, which means I need tougher and more polluting detergents, could be replaced by a newer one that requires less water.
I could spend some $3,000 to $4,000 on made-in-Canada appliances and, if not stimulate the economy, certainly tickle it, while greening my home. Everybody would win: Canadian workers, the environment and my delicates which will no longer get agitated in that old washer.
I'd do it in a heartbeat if only that joke of a Conservative budget had included appliances in its maximum $1,350 Home Renovation Tax Credit which will apply to projects like repaving the driveway or laying sod, neither of which contributes much to the environment.
So it looks as if I'll paint instead. I'll deduct the cost of the paint while paying some students to do the work – and you can bet that they won't pay taxes on the cash they get.
But hey, at least I still have my home.
As for the 60 per cent of unemployed Canadians who don't get EI, the majority of them women who have worked at minimum wage, well, I guess they can clean houses or help contractors finish basements for money under the table.
I sure hope they can find decent child care because, no matter how much retraining money the budget has allocated, it's useless to people who can't access it.
As the Progressive Economics Forum points out, the budget has "nothing to strengthen public pensions, no funding for a national anti-poverty plan, and no significant increased investments in social needs such as early learning and childcare, social services or health care.''
Way to go Stephen Harper, and your probation officer, Michael Ignatieff.
Not only did you abandon most Canadians with your tax-credits-for-the-rich-and-corporations budget – and we saw how well those worked out for Americans – but you also sold out Mother Earth as well as our children, who will inherit the deficit and pay for your political ambitions.
Sorry but I can't be had for 317 pieces of silver, or whatever my tax cut works out to be.
What's more, you did this at a time when we are looking south with leadership genius-envy. We can see U.S. President Barack Obama's economic plan, one that puts the environment and a sustainable economy at the forefront.
Especially infuriating in all of this is the Liberal response.
Watching Ignatieff bluster about holding the government to account with regular report cards yada-yada all-hat-no-cattle bluster, I couldn't help but yell at my old not-eligible-for-a-tax-credit-but-that's-okay TV, "Hello? You're the leader of the opposition! You're supposed to hold the government to account!''
Not a single concession, not one, did Ignatieff extract.
When you go to the government's budget website, the little icon up by the URL is that traditional finance ministerial shoe.
Would it be unladylike of me to suggest that I'd love to use it to kick these guys in their stimulus package?
A couple of readers, including one from the United Steelworkers of Canada, wrote to me to say that my sentiments are all very nice but there is no more appliance industry in Canada. I quote from one of the emails:
I read your column this afternoon and you hit the nail on the head but FYI there are no more White Goods Industries left in Canada they are all made in the US now. The last one to make those products was in Hamilton called CAMCO or GE but they closed a number of years ago. Most of the White Goods Industries were affected by the Free Trade agreement in the late 80s or earlier 90s and I'm not surprised that your machines are still working. We took great pride in Canadian made when Inglis was producing Washers and Dryers for the Canadian market. Too bad those great jobs disappeared.
But, if you look on GE Canada's website, and go through their product lines, you'll see a a little maple leaf symbol which denotes that model is ''Made in Canada.'' It's not all good though. Here are the dryers...which appear to be for coin laundries only. The dishwashers are made for Canadian homes. But none of the fridges are made in Canada. And it appears to be the same sad story with the ranges.
And now my mad. This was the picture 10 years ago. And now?
No wonder we're in such crummy shape!
Bring back manufacturing jobs.
One more thing: Ontario used to have tax rebates for energy-efficient appliance purchases. No longer. But still, if the feds allow us to deduct for made-in-China carpets, why can't we deduct for Energy Star appliances?
Why do the Conservatives hate the environment?
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: Beijing York weighs in. Here's some of her letter to Anita Neville, Liberal party critic for Status of Women.
The budget presented by Harper's Conservative government is a failed attempt at addressing the severe recession we are entering. Mr. Ignatieff seems to recognize this but still insists on supporting it with the proviso of periodic report cards. This is a meaningless gesture that does nothing to protect the most vulnerable, which includes many women across Canada. This budget provides little of no relief for low income, single income, unemployed and working women.
Those who are fortunate enough to still have jobs need meaningful childcare supports, something former PM Martin recognized but didn't act upon fast enough. Those without jobs or earning low incomes need refundable tax credit mechanisms to supplement household income and not increases in income exemptions and bracketing that fail to provide women with non-taxable incomes little relief. Many of the women who will lose their jobs will not qualify for EI benefits based on the current system. And lose their jobs they will since most women are employed in the retail and services sectors (including health care) and the taxation and economic stimulus measures will not create very many opportunities or protect jobs in these sectors.
But what really galls me is that the Liberals have failed to demand a reversal of the government's attack on pay equity.
If you're interested in doing something, and i hope you are, here are the deets:
Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre):
Parliament Hill Office
House of Commons
Telephone: (613) 992-9475
Fax: (613) 992-9586
Web Site: www.anitaneville.ca/
Preferred Language: English
Unit D - 729 Corydon Avenue,
Telephone: (204) 983-1355
Fax: (204) 984-3979
If you're feeling lazy, just send a link to this blog post!