Conservatives..the FUTURE of Canada!

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So the price drop of approx. 8% has nothing to do with the fact that oil has dropped 20% over the last 3 months?

They tried the opposite with us in Ontario.  They tried to make us believe that the 4 cent a litre carbon tax was worse than the oil companies raising the price 30 cents a litre.

Only thing was, with oil dropping 20%, in Ontario the price at the pump only dropped about 7%, where's our conservative government caterwauling about that?

Some of us are smarter than that ?

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Kenny lays it on the line to Quebec!!   Either accept western oil, or give up equalization. You can’t have it both ways !!1

It's statements like that which cause reasonable people's eyes to glaze over.  Do you really think anyone believes that any Conservative government  anywhere is actually dedicated to making the p

Great synopsis from Rex Murphy. Love this part... “A fourth reas

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What was the price the last time WTI was at $53/barrel?  Probably well south of $102.9

Edited to add:

A quick extrapolation shows Edmonton should be around $0.86/litre at this price for oil.

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Canada as a united country is only in peril when the word TRUDEAU is involved  ??

Jason Kenney will challenge passage of Bills C-69 and C-48 in the courts


Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province will challenge the passage of two controversial federal bills in the courts.

Bill C-69, which changes Canada's environmental assessment process, and Bill C-48, which bans tanker traffic from a stretch of B.C.'s north coast, were both passed Thursday night in the Senate.

"The passage of these two bills not only undermines Canada's economy but also the Canadian federation," said Kenney in news release.

"Their passage brings us closer to moving forward with a referendum on a constitutional amendment to eliminate equalization from the Canadian constitution. If Albertans cannot develop our resources within the federation, then we should not be expected to pay the bills in the federation."

During the provincial election, Kenney had used the federal equalization formula, established when he was a federal cabinet minister, as a political cudgel against the Trudeau Liberals. 

The province can't unilaterally pull out of the equalization program. 

'Prejudicial attack'

Kenney said C-48 is a "prejudicial attack" on Alberta that only targets one product: bitumen. Oil moving through the recently approved Trans Mountain pipeline will not move through that section of the coastline. 

On C-69, Kenney said it's a "flagrant violation of the exclusive constitutional jurisdiction of provinces to control the development of their natural resources."

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Like his father, It’s no secret Trudeau hates Alberta !!  Yet someone who represents a riding from Quebec, he has no problem taking their money! ....Yet....he’s valiantly trying to kill off the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs!!  :Scratch-Head:


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EDMONTON – In response to a report that called for dramatic cuts to health care and education to balance the budget, Alberta’s schools have already started rebranding themselves after oil sand companies.

“In the wake of the MacKinnon Report, educators have to adapt to government priorities,” said Hal Gershwin, former Principal of East Edmonton Secondary School, now CEO of Eastern Energy, Chemicals, and Resources Limited. “Our kids will survey the playground for any presence of oil at recess and set up tailing ponds in the gym.”

After making the switch into Alberta’s non-diversified economy, we’ve only seen a boost in our school’s funding.”

The ruse is starting to see early success and attracting politicians to praise the public education’s shift into the unsustainable economy.

“I’m happy to see so many very young workers here today at Westbrook Elementary Petroleum,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a speech to school children donning reflective overalls and steel toe boots. “I stand here reminding you that we fully support what keeps our province moving: tax breaks and heavy government subsidies.”

A long paper mache pipeline snaked through the hallway while kindergarteners in the sandbox operated miniature haul trucks. The seesaws were turned into busy pumpjacks extracting what many assumed was crude oil.

“Our government agrees with your company’s textbook extraction plan and will cut whatever environmental regulation red tape that’s necessary,” added Kenney. “I know the times are tough, but I can assure you this company will not pay a dime in taxes to pay for those fat-cat patients in public hospitals.”

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So when they complain about Trudeau....

No one should feel sorry for Alberta

Of the many tactics that Jason Kenney used to win the leadership of the United Conservative Party, perhaps the most effective was the anger he stoked among his base over Alberta's perceived lot in life.

The narrative went something like this: the province is a shell of its former self; the NDP has ruined everything; the rest of the country is against us but we won't be on our knees much longer. Mr. Kenney will Make Alberta Great Again.

While it may make for a compelling, applause-inducing campaign storyline, it bears little resemblance to reality. The truth is, there are many provinces in this country that would love to have Alberta's so-called problems. They would love to be leading the country in economic growth. They would kill to have the highest GDP per capita in the land. Major cities would be thrilled if their economy was surging the way Calgary's is at 4.6 per cent, with employment, housing starts and retail sales all making remarkable gains.

Read also: Who's afraid of Jason Kenney?

This idea of Alberta as this poor, woe begotten, economic basket-case is a myth, one that opposition politicians here like to trade on. But it's a fairy tale.


There is no denying the bottom-line numbers we see in provincial budgets: A $10-billion deficit in the past provincial budget; a $10-billion deficit in the one before that. Unquestionably, a problem created by the giant hole in provincial royalty revenues created by the harsh drop in oil prices.

Still, at the same time, you have to ask yourself what is going on. In the 2015-16 budget, for instance, expenditures were $48.9-billion; in the latest budget they are $54.9-billion. In a relatively short period of time, the NDP government has added billions in spending while the province is climbing out of an oil recession. Spending is growing at a rate that exceeds population growth, plus inflation, which isn't sustainable if you aren't selling crude at $100 (U.S.) a barrel.

Now let's take a look at what's going on next to Alberta, in British Columbia, a province roughly the same size, population-wise. In its past budget, it forecast revenues of $52.4-billion (Canadian) and expenditures of $51.9-billion, for a small surplus. And B.C. does this without the help of the oil patch.

What is the biggest difference between the two? One word: taxes.

Alberta has no sales tax, B.C. has a 7-per-cent sales tax. B.C.'s corporate tax rate is higher than Alberta's too. And there are other forms of fees and levies B.C. has that Alberta doesn't. There isn't a province in the country whose tax rate is anywhere near as low as Alberta's. It is something former premier Ralph Klein called the Alberta Advantage. And believe it or not, Jason Kenney was talking throughout the campaign about bringing it back – like it's something that's been lost.



Think about this: if Alberta introduced B.C.'s level of taxation – which is the second lowest in the country – it would bring in $8.7-billion in revenue. That pretty much takes care of the province's deficit right there, without having to make any adjustments to expenditures – which Alberta politicians throughout the years have shown a reluctance to do.

Even bringing in a modest 5-per-cent sales tax would be worth, by most estimates, around $5-billion – which would make serious inroads into their fiscal problems.

But that is considered heresy in Alberta. So instead, politicians and others here moan and whine about how horrible things are, how awful the province is being treated by Ottawa and other jurisdictions, all of which is only adding to the province's woes.

It's a joke.

The fact is Alberta politicians have created much of the mess the province is in – not oil prices, not Quebec, not Ottawa, not B.C. For years, they relied on oil revenues to keep taxes low and spending high – the highest per capita spending in the country. The province spent like the good times would never end, with no plan for the day the music stopped or at least slowed down.


"Alberta's deficit is a choice and not due to broad economic factors," University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe told me this week. "We could have a balanced budget tomorrow and still have the lowest taxes in the country."

But that would be hard. That would take guts. It's much easier to complain about how mean everyone is being to them instead. Soon, however, that ploy will only engender deep, wide-scale resentment, and Alberta could feel more alone than ever.

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Yes, but it highlights what conservative policies have done to the province.  They are the richest province, and squandered it...

I will follow it up with this:

Norway’s Oil Savings Just Hit $1 Trillion. Alberta Has $17 Billion. What Gives?

Sep 26, 2017 10 min read

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund just hit a grand total of US $1 trillion dollars.

Just in case you’re wondering, 12 zeroes looks like this: $1,000,000,000,000

The number is 2.5 times Norway’s annual GDP and serves as the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. It has also somewhat predictably triggered a new round of consternation among Albertans, mourning the state of their own fund currently worth a measly $17.2 billion.

But Andrew Leach, associate professor at the University of Alberta’s business school and chair of the province’s completed Climate Change Advisory Panel, said it’s important to read past the headlines when it comes to the Norway vs. Alberta comparison.


“If I said ‘wouldn’t it be great if Alberta had a trillion dollar sovereign fund?’ You’d say ‘yeah absolutely.’ But the better question is would it have been worth the tradeoffs that would have had to been made at the time to accumulate that fund,” Leach told DeSmog Canada.

Yet we’re still faced with the reality that Norway — a country with roughly the same population size as Alberta — now has a savings fund roughly 60 times the size of Alberta’s.

What the heck is up?

Alberta Would Have Over $163 Billion Had it Gone Norway’s Way

In 2015, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce calculated that Alberta’s sovereign wealth fund would be worth $40.9 billion if it followed Alaska’s model of taxation and $163.7 billion in the case of Norway.

That same year, Mitchell Anderson of The Tyee calculated much of that difference has to do with a difference in collected royalties.

“Norway realized revenues of $87.69 per barrel in 2013. Alaska managed $38.54. And Alberta? Just $4.38 — one-twentieth what our Norwegian cousins managed to rake in,” Anderson wrote.

But it comes down to more than how royalties are collected and has to do with funds being saved or spent.

Every dollar that’s invested in a sovereign wealth fund is a dollar that can’t be spent on healthcare, education, social services or infrastructure projects — all things Alberta funds through oil revenues.

Simply put, Alberta’s savings are so low because the province choses to spend the money on iminent, rather than future, needs.

“It’s not like there was money that was only available to Alberta had they decided to save it,” Leach said.

But surely Norway had social and infrastructure costs too? So why didn’t the Scandinavian paradise end up in a situation similar to Alberta?

There are a few ways of answering this question.

Norway Favours Publicly Managed Investments. Alaska, Dividends

First, there’s the Norwegian way.

The Government Pension Fund Global was established in 1990, partially based on Alberta’s example.

Since then, Norway has diverted a full 100 per cent of resource revenue into the fund — a number especially significant since the rebound of global oil prices in the late 1990s, and since taxation rates on oil production in Norway are considerably high.

Norway has a 51 per cent tax on petroleum-related income, on top of the 27 per cent income tax. That amounts to a whopping 78 per cent total tax rate.

Compare that to Alberta’s incredibly complex royalty framework, which varies based on product (conventional oil, unconventional oil or gas), per-barrel price and stage of production.

In the case of oilsands production, Alberta takes around 10 per cent of gross revenue via royalties, and administers a 12 per cent provincial corporate income tax.

Norway’s rules are very strict about actual use of the money by the government. Until recently, only four per cent of the fund could be withdrawn per year — effectively skimming off the interest without touching the principal. It’s since been cut to three per cent.

Such a restriction helps ensure savings for future generations in an era of decarbonization while also preventing an overheating of the economy due to a sudden spiking in government spending.

Some 65 per cent of investments are in equities, with the remainder residing in real estate and fixed income. There’s actually an ongoing concern in Norway that having so much money in the volatile stock market could lead to financial catastrophe if there’s a repeat of 2008 (that’s a key reason why the diversified fund is invested in some 9,000 companies).

In addition, there are ethical guidelines that prevent investments in industries such as coal, nuclear weapons and tobacco. Canadian companies including Barrick Gold and the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan have been blacklisted from investments.

Main holdings include Royal Dutch Shell, Apple, Nestle and Microsoft.

Then there’s the Alaska example. Every year, the Alaska Permanent Fund — established in 1976 via a referendum — disperses cheques to each resident without a recent criminal record. The dividend usually amounts to between $1,000 and $2,000 per person.


Norway: doing things better than you since…forever. Photo: mariusz kluznia via Flickr

Alberta Operates With a ‘De-Facto Dividend System’

One might assume that Alberta tends towards the Norway model, despite the low amount in the province’s actual reserve.

But Alberta’s system is actually more like a “de-facto dividend system” via reduced taxes according to Geoff Salomons, PhD candidate at the University of Alberta focusing on intergenerational natural resource wealth governance.

“But people don’t realize it,” Salomons said.

In other words, instead of saving money in a Norway-like publicly managed fund, Alberta has chosen to buffer the gap between low taxes and high spending levels with oil and gas revenues.

Using oil revenues to fill provincial coffers lies at the root of what is known as the “Alberta advantage” — perpetually low income, corporate and sales taxes.

But those advantages come at high cost and with a high risk: the province is beholden to the historically volatile price of crude oil.

Price crashes throughout the decades, most recently in 2014, have resulted in huge deficits for Alberta.

Between 2014 and 2015 Alberta collected $8.9 billion in royalties. That fell to $2.8 billion 2015 to 2016. Over the last year the province added $10.3 billion to its deficit, with a provincial debt of over $33 billion.*

Alberta could choose to increase sales taxes to alleviate the reliance on natural resource revenues, as Saskatchewan recently did, but a political distaste for taxes makes that unlikely.

Salomons suggested the current system has actually resulted in a ‘baked-in’ subsidy that primarily favours high-income earners.

That’s because rich Albertans haven’t had to pay as much in income taxes over the years as they would in a less oil-rich jurisdiction. Since both the province’s previous flat tax framework and marginal tax rate system exempted very low-income earners, the poorest segment of society didn’t receive any benefit from the oil subsidies.

“The more you pay in taxes, the more you benefit, essentially,” Salomons told DeSmog Canada.

“When you start thinking about it in those terms, it’s a system that actually exacerbates inequality.”


Workers tend to an abandoned oil well in Alberta, May 18, 2017. Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta via the Premier of Alberta’s Flickr

Expectations of Oil Price Decline Shaped Alberta’s Spending

A key distinction between Norway and Alberta is fundamental assumptions about when oil and gas revenues will actually begin to decline.

Leach said that offshore oil and gas resources in Norway have always been viewed as ones with relatively short-term life and value, leading to an expectation that future Norwegians will have fewer resources than current Norwegians.

That contrasts with Alberta’s vision of developing oil and gas resources, especially the oilsands, over the period of many decades.

However, when the Alberta Heritage Trust Fund was founded in the early 1970s by then-premier Peter Lougheed, there was an expectation that conventional oil resources would be depleted within a decade.

The expectation helped justify Alberta’s push to spend money now, rather than later, helping to suppress tax rates and attract new business. Almost all the investments in the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund were made prior to the mid-1980s.

Leach said, “I don’t look at my students today and say ‘you should really save your money now for the times in the future when you have a job.’ ”

“It completely doesn’t make sense.”

Alberta Approach Subject to Boom and Bust

The Alberta approach doesn’t specify what is happening with revenue: residents don’t receive a specific amount of money in the form of a cheque like in Alaska, or long-term public savings like in Norway.

Instead, money is channeled into the province’s general revenue, effectively made invisible to the public until a major price drop and subsequent deficit occurs.

“The challenge is that makes government highly dependent on the fluctuations of the resource wealth coming in,” Salomons said.

“That’s the story of Alberta’s fiscal policy over the past 50 years: the boom and bust of the oil prices and what that’s done for our fiscal position.”

There’s also the issue of a boom and bust population.

Many Norwegians are multi-generational, with families having lengthy commitments the country. Conversely, Alberta often works to attract people who stay short-term for the work.

That creates a spend-now kind of ethos.

As Leach puts it: “You expect Peter Lougheed or early Klein to say Albertans should make some sacrifices today to save for some redheaded kid in Ontario, the son of two people from New Brunswick, who’s going to move here in 2006?”

Savings Don’t Sell In Austerity Situations

While Norway has the freedom to revisit its investment policy and Alaska can alter the amount of money it distributes to residents, Alberta’s left with little wiggle room.

Alberta’s finance minister Joe Ceci has previously stated “with the drop in oil prices, it will take some time for our government to reverse the damage” the Alberta’s Heritage Fund.

“We are committed to appropriately investing resource revenues for future generations and are working on a fiscal plan to that end,” he said.

The province’s short-term Contingency Account — previously known as the Sustainability Fund — has been significantly depleted in recent years due to the provincial deficit.

But here’s the thing: even if oil prices do bounce back, Leach isn’t sure that reinvesting in the Heritage Fund will necessarily be the best approach.

“If oil goes back to $70 or $80 a barrel and say we’re still going to make all the big cuts that people are talking about — education and healthcare and all those things — and put that money in a savings fund that’s going to invest in infrastructure in say New Zealand…I don’t know that people are going to be thrilled about that,” he said.

* This article has been updated to reflect to the fact that Alberta’s debt, not deficit, is $33 billion.

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Alberta is following the U.S. model of deconstructing public education and giving to the rich for private education.

Kenney Government Appointed Foreign, Koch-Funded Researcher to Rewrite Alberta’s Education Curriculum

Appointee supports right-wing American-style education reforms to subsidize private religious schools with public tax dollars

September 18, 2019 Share Tweet

A curriculum review panelist recently appointed by Jason Kenney’s government is an American scholar who specializes in work looking at public subsidies for privately-run religious schools.

The American researcher, Ashley Berner, confirmed to PressProgress that her work is “supported” by the Charles Koch Foundation, a right-wing organization pushing for public-funding of private and charter schools in the United States.

The Charles Koch Foundation told PressProgress it gave her research unit nearly one million dollars last year.

Last month, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange named the foreign, Koch-funded scholar as one of the experts on a panel that is tasked with rewriting the curriculum in Alberta schools — the panel includes no current Alberta teachers.

We are lucky that Ashley Berner is volunteering her time. She is a leading academic in education, and is currently the Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy.

Thank you for volunteering your time and expertise. You bring so much to the table! #abed

— Adriana LaGrange (@AdrianaLaGrange) August 22, 2019


The John Hopkins University professor told PressProgress the Koch Foundation “supports my work and that of our institute” through a major grant that runs from July 2018 until June 2020.

“The general purpose is to conduct research on policies and practices (in the US and elsewhere) that render educational pluralism both excellent and equitable,” Berner said, explaining the terms of the grant. She emphasized that the Koch Foundation is “committed to academic freedom” and her work is “non-partisan.”

She said she’s never met Jason Kenney before and, in fact, first received a phone call from LaGrange’s Chief of Staff “inquiring as to my interest in serving.”

Berner told PressProgress she is an American citizen who was born in Florida and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She said she was “honoured” to be named to Alberta’s curriculum advisory panel.

The Charles Koch Foundation also confirmed it gave nearly a million dollars to the Institute for Education Policy last year, where Berner serves as deputy director, to conduct research in her area of expertise.

“We provided the school a $932,000 grant in 2018 to support the Institute for Education Policy’s research on educational pluralism,” a Koch Foundation spokesperson told PressProgress.

According to the Washington Post, Berner’s work on “educational pluralism” was showcased as an example of research conducted with the “financial support” of the Koch Foundation during a Koch network donor retreat in California earlier this year, part of a new push by the American right to “undermine traditional public schools.”

“We’ve got to start supporting politicians who are willing to make compromises,” Berner is quoted saying on the Koch Foundation’s website.

“Americans are tired of the battles between charters and district schools; these take up too much energy and resources.”

.@JHUEdPolicy‘s Ashley Berner says that other democracies fund all types of schools, including religious ones, and America could learn from this.

— Charles Koch Fdn. (@ckochfoundation) October 10, 2018


Berner dismisses suggestions that it could seem unusual for an American with no tangible connection to Alberta to be involved in rewriting a curriculum for Alberta schoolchildren, noting she mentions Alberta in her research.

Earlier this summer, Berner praised Alberta as a “fascinating model” for American right-wing education reformers, pointing to the “expansion of non-public schools” and the “redistribution of property taxes.”

Berner’s 2017 book, Pluralism and American Public Education: No One Way to School, further praises Alberta for its funding of evangelical homeschoolers and elite private academies.

The book states: “Longstanding research suggests that private schools, particularly Catholic ones, often provide better civic preparation than public schools.”

According to Berner’s CV, she has served as an academic advisor for the Center for Education Reform, a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch donor network that advocates for charter schools, and she also currently sits on the editorial board of the “Journal of School Choice.”

Berner is also a senior fellow at the Canadian social conservative think tank Cardus, acting as an adviser on education policy. Another panelist on the curriculum review, Amy von Heyking, has also served as an adviser to Cardus.

Cardus has hosted numerous events for Kenney in the past, including one event at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum last year.

As well, earlier this summer, Berner authored a report for the Manhattan Institute, the same place where Kenney delivered a speech just this week, praising the organization as “one of America’s most influential think tanks.”

The Manhattan Institute also received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and others in the right-wing Koch donor network.

Premier Jason Kenney spoke at an event organized by the right-wing Manhattan Institute in NYC tonight. #ableg

— Dave Cournoyer (@davecournoyer) September 17, 2019


Barb Silva, Communication Director for the public education advocacy group Support Our Students, says Berner’s appointment signals the Kenney government is planning to launch a “clear attack on public education.”

“Ashley Berner is a well known advocate of privatizing public education and does so in the predictable language of education reformers,” Silva told PressProgress.

“She promotes privatization under the guise of pluralism, educational diversity and even describes privatization as equity to uniformity.”

If Kenney is truly concerned about foreign-funded activists,” Silva noted, he should be more introspective and examine his own choices.”

Earlier this month, the Kenney government ordered public school boards in Alberta to remove the word “public” from their names, a move widely regarded as a signal of Kenney’s agenda targeting public education.

Kenney government orders Alberta public schools to remove the word ‘public’ from their name #ableg #cdnpoli #cdned

— PressProgress (@pressprogress) September 7, 2019


According to Art Pope, an ally of Charles Koch and a member of his donor network, the right-wing billionaire is currently investing in education reform for the explicit purpose of pushing conservatism on children.

“The younger generation is less sympathetic and less understanding of limited government conservatism,” Pope said at a Koch Foundation event earlier this year.

“They’re more sympathetic or more willing to give not just social justice but outright socialism a chance.”

Kenney has himself expressed similar sentiments.

In a 2016 interview with Rebel Media, Kenney said he believes schoolchildren are being “hard-wired” with anti-conservative ideas by Canadian public schools, describing it as a “cultural challenge” Conservatives need to overcome.


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PressProgress Huh


Hi, we’re PressProgress.
We’re Canada’s most shared source for progressive news and information.

We’re an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces original reporting and critical analysis on important matters of public interest – we’re proud that our work has been cited as a reliable source by every major news outlet in Canada.

PressProgress is a media project launched by the Broadbent Institute in 2013. Our work focuses on investigative reporting, fact-checking and keeping tabs on issues that don’t get enough attention. We aim to break original stories that Canada’s big news outlets miss and advance stories on issues that matter to our progressive readership.

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Overall, we rate Press Progress Left Biased based on story selection and wording that consistently favors the left and High for factual reporting due to strong sourcing and a clean fact check record.

Flowing Broadbent Institute cash through NDP provides big tax breaks

By Elizabeth Thompson. Published on Aug 25, 2011 9:52pm

Update: Elections Canada said Friday that Section 405.21 of the Act prohibits a political party from soliciting or accepting a contribution if it has told the contributor that the money would be transferred to a body other than the party, a candidate, a leadership contestant or electoral district association. Click here for more. 

The system set up by the New Democratic Party to honour former leader Jack Layton’s wish for donations for the fledgling Broadbent Institute will provide donors with much higher tax deductions than they would get if they were to contribute directly to the institute, iPolitics has learned.

By flowing the donations through the party, most donors will get tax deductions several times higher than they would have gotten if they were to donate directly to a non-profit corporation or a charity.

For example, a $400 donation to the Broadbent Institute through the NDP would net the donor a $300 tax credit. However, the same amount donated directly to a charity would provide a tax credit or only $119 to $176, depending on the province.

As of Thursday morning, $125,000 had been donated to the NDP, earmarked for the Broadbent Institute.

Federal tax credits for $400 donation
To a political party: $300
To a charity: $88

While using donations to a political party to fund a separate group is unconventional, Canada’s election law appears to be silent on the arrangement. 

Brad Lavigne, a top official with the party, said the New Democrats have used party funds to donate to a non-profit or charity in the past, such as making a donation to a charity after someone has passed away. He said the arrangement allowing donors to contribute to the Broadbent Institute via the party was also vetted by the party’s lawyers.

“Our legal advice is that this is completely permissible under all the rules of governance so we’re pleased to do it and to fulfill a wish of Jack’s,” said Lavigne.

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33 minutes ago, deicer said:

the effects that will have in deteriorating society?

If this was really a true concern of yours, you would be classified Conservative. Oh No.......heaven forbid ! :whistling:


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28 minutes ago, deicer said:

we are still suffering from the conservative Harris cuts, and the current cutting to education by Ford is only making it worse. 


Busting the myth of Ontario's 'massive education cuts'

This month, after the Ford movement released its first budget, reactions from Ontario teacher unions and school board administrators was swift. Some claim the budget calls for “massive education cuts” and that schools will be starved for resources. But a closer look shows that K-12 education spending will simply return to 2016/17 levels.

First, a bit of background. Education spending in Ontario has increased significantly in recent years. A recent study found that during the 10-year period between 2006/07 and 2015/16, per-student inflation-adjusted spending on public schools in Ontario rose from $11,238 to $13,321—an increase of 18.5 per cent.

Over the same period, public school enrolment dropped from just over 2.1 million students in 2006/07 to slightly less than 2.0 million students in 2015/16—a decrease of 5.2 per cent. Ontario has been spending more and more on fewer and fewer students.

After years of declining enrolment in public schools, the last couple of years have seen small increases, with average daily pupil enrolment projected to be 2,012,000 by the 2019/20 school year. On average, over the last four years, Ontario’s enrolment has grown by about 0.06 per cent per year.

The new budget essentially calls for spending on K-12 education to be held constant in nominal terms over the next five years, increasing from $29.8 billion in 2019/20 to $30.2 billion in 2023/24. However, to get a true understanding of education spending, both changes in enrolment and price levels (inflation) must be taken into account. If the slow rate of average growth in enrolment over the last four years and current inflation remain relatively constant, real (inflation-adjusted) per-student spending will decline from a high $15,597 in 2019/20 to $14,600 in 2023/24—a difference of $997 or 6.4 per cent.

At first glance, this appears to be a significant cut in spending, but it’s important to look at this level of spending in context.

In 2016/17 Ontario spent $14,574 per-student in current 2019 dollars. This budget projects spending will reach $15,597 per student (inflation-adjusted) in 2019/20. Holding K-12 public education spending basically at current levels, coupled with modest increases in student enrolment and inflation, means that by 2023-24 per-student inflation-adjusted spending will fall back to $14,600.

Rather than a drastic cut to education spending, this is simply a return to what was spent only two years ago in 2016/17. What’s more, the government is taking four years to implement these reductions. If Ontario public schools weren’t “starved” for resources in 2016/17, they won’t be starved for resources in 2023/24.

It’s not surprising that any reduction in education spending—or even merely holding nominal spending steady—spurs swift and passionate criticism. However, when considered in a larger historical context, education spending in Ontario is simply returning to per-student inflation-adjusted spending.

And before you dismiss this as garbage...

” Fraser Institute ranked top think-tank in Canada; 18th most influential think-tank in the world “


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