Plame and Giffords: Separated at Birth

Saw some footage of Valerie Plame today and it reminded me of Congresswoman Giffords. That's all. Kind of a "Whoa!" moment.


Capitaine Quebec

The last time I was in Quebec City was September 2009, the 250th anniversary of the Battle of 1759. The cover of Urbania magazine that month featured a portrait by Simon Duhamel of Capitaine Quebec. It was a gorgeous photo-illustration, and I regret to this day that I didn't pick up a copy of the magazine.

But I was poking around some old notes and found a reference to the cover that refreshed my memory. I searched around and ultimately found the cover and a making of video, then discovered the photo on Duhamel's website. Here is the photo in all it's glory:


Harper's Latest Lie: Corporate Taxes

Last Friday Stephen Harper claimed that his government's tax regime of lowering business tax rates since 2007 has gained more revenue for Canada, benefiting us all.

"I can't emphasize enough the importance of keeping our tax rates low and competitive. We have legislated in this country—in 2007, some years ago now—we legislated a series of lower business tax rates.

"We are now seeing the benefits of that, we’re seeing businesses move here, we’re seeing businesses locate their North American operations here, as compared with the United States, because of the situation.

"Now, the opposition has been critical of this, but the fact of the matter is that we are gaining mor
e revenue from the business sector by having low rates than we were by having high rates. So this is in the interest of everybody. It's the direction we're going to continue to go in."

- January 7, 2011 in Welland, ON

I don't get the impression that the business sector is contributing more revenue from the Department of Finance's own data tables. Over the last four years under Paul Martin's stewardship as finance minister then Prime Minister, and the two years prior to Harper enacting his corporate tax cuts, revenue from corporate income nearly doubled from $22.2b (2002-03) to $40.6b (2007-08). Tax revenue from corporate income as a share of total tax revenues peaked at 20.0%. Since the rates were cut from 22.12% to 18% among other measures, revenues have plummeted, to $29.5b in 2008-09 and $30.4b in 2009-10.

Some may blame the economic downturn for the experience of the last few years. Though individuals suffered through the downturn as well, they have contributed disproportionately to government revenues. From 2007-08 to 2008-09, the share of revenues contributed by personal income tax increased from 55.5% to 60.6%, while the share from corporate income tax fell from 20.0% to 15.4%.

Harper/Flaherty intend to shrink the share of corporate income tax even further even as the economy recovers. Flaherty's 2010 Budget projects that it will take until 2013-14 for corporate income tax revenues to rebound to 2005 levels ($31.7b) [Table 4.2.4, p.176]. By that time, Flaherty projects that corporate income tax will contribute just 13.9% to total tax revenues, while personal income tax will contribute 62.6%.

Though his own Department of Finance projects that the revenues from corporate income tax will fail to recover to their peak levels by 2015, Harper made the bald-faced lie that "we are gaining more revenue from the business sector by having low rates than we were by having high rates." Instead, his cuts to corporate taxes exacerbate our fiscal imbalance and force individuals to shoulder a greater share of the tax burden.



Kady O'Malley, the CBC's Parliamentary Pixie, posted some ho-hum Access to Information documents to her Inside Politics blog today. Without any explanatory notes! Please tell me what to think, Kady!

So I read them, and shrugged at first.
Correspondence - June through October 2009

Proposed Letter Exemption Rejected

Final Letter Exemption Approved

Then I posted this as a comment:

So...what, exactly?

Is it a story that the stodgy gc.ca sites lack the Zazz! and Pop! of the Economic Action Plan proposal? Hardly.

Perhaps the story is that the Privy Council Office inappropriately sought to distinguish the look and feel of the EAP site from standard government sites?

Maybe there's a story in the fact that the decision was made, even after a request for a stronger rationale, to deny the PCO request for exemption? And the letter from Vic Toews is right there advising the the Minister of Finance. But this decision was mysteriously and inexplicably reversed over staff recommendations.

I know where you're really going with this: the Economic Action Plan site and the Conservative Party of Canada site bear striking resemblances. The Look and Feel of the EAP certainly has more in common with the CPC than any other Party's site with respect to page layout and colour scheme. The EAP site bears little resemblance to the Look and Feel of government sites.

Judge for yourself: [see gallery below]
EAP: http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/
CPC: http://www.conservative.ca/
LPC: http://www.liberal.ca/
NDP: http://www.ndp.ca/
DoF: http://www.fin.gc.ca/fin-eng.asp

Now, is any of this important enough to get worked up about? I'm not sure. It suggests to me that the PCO is branding the Government's stimulus spending as Conservative spending—remember those giant novelty cheques with the big C?

Perhaps this is another case for Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson.


The Reagan Diaries

Stephen Colbert plugs the Reagan Diaries tonight, "the name of a great bar in the DC area. Their signature cocktail? The Trickle Down, where the bartender keeps giving your drink to the rich guy next to you until he vomits in your glass."

The Reagan Diaries (amazon.com)
Trickle Down Economics (wsj,com)