HomeEconomicsJack Layton's passing – points of agreement (2)

Continuing from part 1 to point out how sometimes the “left” tells part of the truth …

June 8


Hon. Jack Layton (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, tax breaks for big corporations are costing us a lot of money. The government claims otherwise but the facts show that the results expected from such an investment have not been achieved. Large corporations are reinvesting only a small fraction of these big government handouts and are pocketing the rest.  Where is the job creation? Why is the Prime Minister pursuing this strategy, which is ineffective and yet so costly?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, since the recession, the Canadian economy has created over 500,000 jobs. That is one of the most impressive track records in the industrialized countries. For this reason, we are rejecting the NDP’s proposals to raise taxes.

It’s possible to disagree with Layton’s criticism of corporate tax breaks if they really benefited Canadians.   Who’s right? Who’s wrong?  Layton is saying the corporations aren’t spending the money on employing Canadians.   I don’t believe taxes should be increased.    Taxes should be lowered for moral and economic reasons – it would boost the economy like nothing else.   But I think there should be just as large equal tax breaks for individuals  and I would question any special rights and status for corporations.

In any case, the issue gets simpler than that:

Hon. Jack Layton (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, let us look at a concrete example. Last year, the Prime Minister gave a gift of over $100 million to Esso Imperial Oil, a company that made over $2 billion in profit. It does not need help.  Why then is it being offered such a gift?  Can the Prime Minister tell us how many new jobs Esso Imperial Oil created with this gift of  $100 million? Where are the results?  Where are the jobs?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in comparison to the other industrialized countries, the Canadian economy has one of the most impressive track records in terms of job creation. That is why we will continue to keep our taxes low, not only for big businesses but also for small and medium-sized businesses and for everyone. It is essential that we avoid the tax hikes proposed by the NDP.

I think corporate welfare and corporate subsidies should be completely condemned in any kind of libertarian or conservative philosophy of limited government.    In the 2010 budget, the Conservatives gave some subsidies, for example, to Genome Canada.  This is not just for jobs, but it is also to help determine the direction of society, just like the billion dollars that went to the unconstitutional undemocratic G20 meeting last year.

So it seems like the PM just dismisses the accusation by implying it is some kind of tax refund.   So government and the big corporations can just muddy the water back and forth, changing the rules.  When would you call a subsidy a tax refund?  I’m all for tax refunds, but for everybody, especially people who NEED THEM down at the bottom.   Yes, it is UNFAIR what the Conservatives did if what Layton says is accurate, and it’s not socialist to say so.  And are these corporations equivalent to individual Canadian CITIZENS who are supposed to be concerned about what happens to their fellow Canadians in terms of well-being, justice, law, in terms of government spending, taxation, debt, representation, etc, who are supposed to be represented by their government and are supposed to hold their government accountable?  Is their any equivalence with a multi-national corporation?   Not at all.  Does it have any loyalty or conscience or concern about Canadians?   No, of course not.  It’s nonsense.

The government has no moral right to give these corporations money.   It should – if it can do anything positive at all – be enhancing INDIVIDUAL rights, rightful individual privileges, well-being and prosperity, of the people in general – by lowering taxes and removing burdens and restrictions from our shoulders.    Why aren’t actual people seen as privileged entities with rights?  Why is human life degraded?

Why is it that institutions and other governments and foundations and ngo’s and private think-tanks and big corporations – why do these entities have the real privileges, the real vote, the real rights?  Why are they listened to and served and obeyed by the government and not actual PEOPLE?

Answer: because it’s an oligarchy and ordinary people are living at the bottom of the pyramid, underneath it, believing in concepts of rights and justice – as part of our media and educational indoctrination – that are not reflected in the real power structure.

Hon. Jack Layton (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, one would think the Prime Minister would want to know how many jobs were created if he just gave $100 million to a large corporation. One would think he would want to know that. Canadians do. He refuses to bring in a job creation strategy. In fact, what we are presented with in the budget is a job reduction strategy and Canadians want to know what jobs, what services, what programs will his government cut.  My question is, will the Prime Minister commit today not to cut services that are key to Canadian families? They are counting on these services.

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, of course we will not cut such services, but at the same time what we will not do to Canadian families is raise taxes, as the NDP proposes.   It is due in part to this government’s reduction of taxes across the board many years ago, when we first took office, that the Canadian economy has one of the strongest job creation records anywhere in the industrialized world.  More than half a million jobs were created since the recession.  That is the kind of policy we want to keep moving forward and that is why Canadians gave us a strong mandate.

I also disagree with raising taxes.  Harper makes the point about not raising taxes but still avoids the question about corporate welfare.   If he gives the subsidies to corporations, and if Layton was correct, how does the government eventually avoid cutting services that people are dependent on, that they have paid into all of their lives?

Isn’t the government just a machine for sucking money out of the people – and then directing it to the corporations through subsidies and large contracts and debt payments, and also to politicians and bureaucrats, and ngo’s (“left” and “right”) – it’s all a one-way stream.

This left-right stuff is convenient for obfuscating what’s happening.  The left have their “point of view” and the right have their “point of view” and the listener excuses the one they like better, and the two sides cancel each other out.

The left and right politicians – as in theatre – go through the motions of expressing the frustrations of the people, even to mentioning some of the obvious problems, with the opposition taking the role of beating its head against the wall.

Hon. Jack Layton (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there are plenty of places that the government should be looking for cuts, but it is not. For example, subsidies to profitable oil companies is a start, cracking down on tax havens is another measure that could be taken, or ending corporate tax giveaways.  Instead, we have cuts to environment, to fisheries, to defence, to the National Gallery. It speaks to the government’s priorities: the corporate fat cats get the gold and Canadians get the coal.  I am asking simply, what other cuts does the Prime Minister have up his sleeve? What else are we going to hear about in days to come with regard to services that Canadians count on? Tell us a little more about—

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Once again, Mr. Speaker, this government has funded very well the essential services of Canadians and will continue to do so.  In terms of tax policy, there are a number of measures in the budget to make sure that everybody pays their fair share of taxes. I would encourage the leader of the NDP and his caucus to actually read the budget on those matters before deciding to vote against it.

Hon. Jack Layton (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it was actually a short read because the changes were highlighted in blue. I read through it in about 30 minutes.  We have seen this something for nothing approach before. Should we be surprised? The former parliamentary secretary for national defence said that he hoped there would be higher unemployment because that would make it easier to bring on people for the army.  Would the Prime Minister tell us whether he agrees with such an insult to the 1.4 million unemployed Canadians? Would he set the record straight that he does not accept higher unemployment so that more people can be recruited to our armed services?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, one of the many strong job creations in this budget is a measure called helmets to hardhats, specifically to help former members of the Canadian military find job opportunities in the workforce. I would encourage the leader of the NDP to take his blinders off to vote for these kinds of positive measures, instead of voting against veterans of the Canadian army.

This points to the reality that the government just serves the elite international corporations and their military industrial complex.   The people of a nation like Canada are just a tax and cannon-fodder RESOURCE to serve those interests who are always building their own collectivist corporate global system.

They have “important” things to do and need our debt slavery to carry these things out – for example, they have stuff to do and people to kill in Africa and the Middle East etc.  They have nations to conquer and we’re just resources building up their system the way they want it.

I already mentioned the new 2012 Earth Summit that’s coming up.  Probably you and I won’t be attending that or getting a vote.  Probably your Member of Parliament won’t either unless he’s the PM or Ted Turner or part of a private NGO group or corporation.

We didn’t get to go to the “G20” either where the government ministers got their instructions from international mega-corporations instead of from us.   The “corporate feudal” system is right out in the open and we don’t have any democratic input.  Canada just gets told what to do by THEM, not by its citizens.

June 7

In addition to the NDP (very disappointing) mostly going along with the terrible Libya policy, the other big disagreement I have with the NDP and Jack Layton is his going along with the climate change agenda (which is an important part of the corporate feudal so-called Earth Summit, Agenda 21 version 2.0.  The original Agenda 21 was in 1992).

Jack Layton praise the Conservatives for sucking up to the Green Agenda:

I welcome the return of the eco-energy home retrofit program. We
saw how much this program stimulated job creation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and helped families save on their energy

“save on their energy bills”!?  I disagree completely with the nonsense about “greenhouse gas emissions” and spending money to restrict peoples’ energy and make it more expensive.  So I have nothing good to say about that.  The Conservatives just play along and talk about “clean air” and let their supporters believe what they want.    The climate change alarmists aren’t talking about smog and toxic particles which are filtered.  They’ve demonized “greenhouse gases” like carbon dioxide, which is totally clean and non-polluting.    We breath it out all the time and we can’t help producing it if we want any heat and want to keep society actually functioning at all.  Carbon dioxide is essential for plant life and we need cheaper energy, not more expensive energy.   These people want to obsess over “eco-energy” and “home retrofit programs”.

People know how to turn down their own thermostats to “save money”.  Nobody should be paying people to supposedly use less energy.  This is Post-industrial desolation.  Again, let’s have a future instead.   We don’t need to be poor.   Let’s have more energy, cheaper energy through competition, and more freedom.   Fire up the coal plants, filter out the toxins and let’s build some stuff again HERE.

I wonder if conservative voters will notice the Conservatives just going along with the whole agenda when it comes to international agreements like the Earth Summit in 2012.  Agenda 21 was in 1992 and I wonder if people have noticed all the “sustainable development” and “sustainability” organizations surrounding them on all sides locally.  Have you noticed?   They’re private ngo’s and they’re just going to tell you how to live and take away all your property rights and freedoms locally and provincially,.  Provincial programs like “Smart Growth” and “Green Belts” and “Clean Water” etc. are all part of the resource grabs (which they sell to the “right-wing” as “privatization”), where they make up excuses to drive you off the land.

Are you really going to just let the Conservative government go along with the new Earth Summit in 2012?  You know, where they sort of pretend to be against whatever is agreed to, and have some fake attacks on them from corporate ngo’s, while they just sign everything anyway.

Jack Layton describes a consequence of Canadian socialized medicine, which he and other Canadians advocate:

Where is the effort to reach out to the five million Canadians who do not have a family doctor? We have suggested working with the provinces and territories to tackle this critical issue to provide more training spaces or adopt the CMA’s ideas in this regard which suggests that we can repatriate doctors who have gone to work abroad and bring them back here….

So he’s right, there are medical shortages in Canada.  Care is rationed under socialism.   And sure, it’s a provincial issue.  But it’s true.  Are Conservatives going to move to help improve the situation, to really change the system to something where we have more freedom and thus more health care?  Or are we all headed towards an Obama-style fascist control system over every detail of our health care and personal lives where the health care is rationed?   I’m sure there will be more “private” involvement in different provinces but will there be more freedom or less freedom?   That’s what I’m wondering.   I think it’s a good question.  I guess we’ll find out over the next few years which side of human freedom the Conservatives (provincially and federally) are on.   I mean, they pose as defenders of freedom and small government  and one of them even mentioned Bastiat and Hayek in one of the June parliamentary debates.  But the fact is that they love body scanners and police state and war.   So expanding the Police State and Big Brother, I mean, it’s a day by day, week by week fact of the times we are living in.

I mean, I never really looked at Jack Layton as the bad guy.   He was never in power, and he had some good points.   The NDP may get into power and probably they will be just like the others or worse.   But the Conservatives and Liberals have been in power and what have they done?

The old Progressive Conservative Party of the 20th century had its flavor of socialism, and brought in the income tax.  Isn’t this just a new more neo-con flavor of socialism that calls itself “Conservative”?

Are they really going to change things for the better? Aren’t they just going to introduce more and more controls over society as the other parties would?  Of course they will.   Are they really going to protect property rights through the Charter or any other way??   Give me a break.  I’ll believe it when I see it!   They’re going to sign on to the Earth Summit 2012 and they’re going to get us involved in more and more UN/US wars and bring in more and more police state measures.     And I bet they go all the way with carbon taxes.  Sure, it would be nice if they resisted that.   Will they get rid of the long gun registry this fall like they said, or will it slip between the cracks?  People should challenge them.  Don’t buy their rhetoric.  People shouldn’t look to these political parties anymore.  They should be thinking for themselves and telling governments and media and corporations what to do.

Jack Layton:

We suggested some concrete measures to help address these issues. For example, taking the federal tax off the skyrocketing heating bills that people are confronted with. We suggested capping those credit card interest rates which are really tough on families.

I agree, especially with the first point.

This budget talks about jobs but offers essentially the same old failed plan. It contains billions in corporate tax giveaways to Canada’s most profitable corporations. Billions are squandered when Canada’s corporate rates are already competitive. It contains billions for banks, big oil and other companies that do not need our help, billions that too often just pad the CEO bonuses or the corporate cash reserves.  This is not an economic policy that will generate the jobs that we need. The rate of unemployment in this country is far too high.  International observers have suggested that Canada risks being in a situation where we could have structural unemployment, in other words a basic level of  unemployment, which is dramatically higher than it should be and could act as a real block to Canadian economic success.

What is worse, in many cases these tax reductions given to companies, which have no conditions attached to them, the companies turn around, take the money and run. Oftentimes the companies will shut down the very factory that was making money in the first place and will move the jobs somewhere else where they will pay half the wage or less, where there are no protections for workers who might want to organize to have  health and safety on the job, where the workers cannot speak out for fair wages to feed their families.  With this policy and this budget, we are helping those companies to do exactly that, throw Canadian  workers out of work and allow workers elsewhere in the world to be  exploited.  How can we identify with a policy like that and say that somehow it is good for the country? The truth is that it is not. I will give concrete examples. Electrolux in Quebec is a case in point. Quite often these companies will leave their head office here so that they can continue to take advantage of the Canadian tax cuts but meanwhile they are shipping the jobs elsewhere.  Canadian workers are out of work, which means they are not paying  taxes anymore. In fact, those workers must collect employment insurance, if they are able to qualify.

Jack Layton lays it out, one side of it anyway.  Canada is being dragged down to third world standards by these “special” corporations.  And it has been going on for a while.    Do Conservatives and Liberals have anything to say about that?

Jack Layton doesn’t mention the extra special environmental “greenhouse gas” regulations being pushed on Canada as factories go overseas.   Those won’t make it easier to keep them in Canada and it won’t make it easier on us economically!   I guess he didn’t see the problem.    Come to think of it, he doesn’t seem to mention the free trade policies either in these quotes.   We know that Al Gore, for example, has pushed both policies: “free trade” and “climate change” (carbon taxes).   I’m not sure if any amount of corporate tax cuts could keep these corporations in Canada, since we probably want to maintain standards of decency.   Maybe we should let them all move to their slave-labour havens and have a proper free enterprise system with very low taxes here in Canada, where we respect human rights and freedoms.  Then we might have a future.  I guess that’s expecting too much.

In other words, what we have here is a system where a tax cut given to a corporation here can ultimately result in a Canadian worker being thrown out of work and ending up on welfare. How the heck can anyone say that policy makes any sense whatsoever for the working families of this country? The truth is that it does not and it needs to change.  Another example is John Deere in Welland, a long-standing Canadian firm that generated lots of work over many years. It took the corporate tax cut and shut down its factory. We have Vale that went on the attack against workers’ pensions.   What are we doing here? Are we trying to help in the race to the bottom so that workers in any country have less access to a secure retirement? That makes no sense whatsoever. The list includes Merck and Xstrata. I could spend the entire day reading off a list of companies that have taken the money and run. A small business will not do that.   Small businesses, which cannot transfer their jobs to China or elsewhere, will use the tax cuts to create jobs in companies here in Canada. That is why we must support our small businesses now. It is their turn.  We have to wonder whether this government has not lost
confidence in its employment  strategy. We have to wonder whether it is continuing to provide tax breaks for big corporations just to please its privileged friends.

I think he really hits the mark with these statements.

I have a short answer to his question and it is that it boils down to blinders on ideology. The economic policy of the government essentially is predicated on the notion of sink or swim. That is too bad for someone who decides to go back to work after having worked all of his or her life in the mine. It is too bad for the individual and his or her co-workers who have to go back to work at age 68. Why not 75? Why not 85? The government’s philosophy is that it is a tough world out there and one just has to make his or her own way.  We have a different view. We believe that together we can actually create instruments of policies, programs  and strategies that can give us a dignified and secure retirement.  Seniors are not looking to live high off the hog. I do not know any senior who wants to be able to live the life of luxury. All they are looking for is to be able to cover their housing and their food costs and be able to enjoy a little recreation and have something left over to give a gift to a grandchild every now and again.  We need to have a properly functioning Canada pension plan so that we are not held for ransom by the gamblers who want to roll the dice and take their bonuses and too bad if we lose money. They win either way.

Hon. Jack Layton (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, what is most disappointing about the throne speech and the budget is that the government refuses to acknowledge the employment crisis. There are 300,000 more unemployed people than there were before the recession. The jobs that the government is boasting that it has created are temporary, precarious and part-time. Why is the Prime Minister refusing to acknowledge the failure of
his job creation policies, which the people need right now?

He’s making some valid points here. That’s what I mean.   Here is the “left” telling some truth.   If the “right” can’t tell the whole truth, what good is it just to listen to the right?    So if people are only listening to one side, left or right, I guess they’re going to end up living in two totally different mental realities.   Let’s integrate truths regardless of where they come from.

In any case, it’s a legitimate point, instead of wasting so much on corporations that run off to China or on excessive bureaucratic salaries and pensions and wars and debt payments?  Why shouldn’t a lot of this tax money go to those who have paid in all their lives to the Canada Pension Plan?   It’s rightfully theirs.   It’s not for me to decide, but why not throw some more on top of that?   Or ask the taxpayers.   Why should seniors be short of anything with all this money that goes to the government?

Unfortunately there is an answer to that question “why?”, and it’s not nice.  The real purpose of our system of government, from the point of view of those who created it, was never to look after ordinary people, or even to protect their rights or provide justice.  We’re just here to be used and we’re taught by propaganda to project our own good intentions onto the government.   If you just examine what is happening in the world day by day, and the points raised in these posts, you might agree with me.




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