Category Archives: Government

the 2016 Presidential Election ……err… sort of…

This election has, on every front, been the most degrading, disgusting exhibit of lying and arrogance ever.

 

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The complete and utter disrespect shown between the candidates and their representatives on an international scale shows a contempt and disregard both to each other, and regrettably the American public, never before seen with such a worldwide audience.
Not only have their handlers NOT put a stop to this highly embarrassing and debasing behaviour, but they virtually compliment it. We have heard allegations of fraud, murder, tax evasion, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, chauvinism  daily, as well as a never ending barrage of inappropriate language. The only possible upside to this is that certain talk show hosts find their shows nearly written for them by the candidates and their representatives……..at least they add some levity to the situation.
But the extremely serious side of this discussion is that fundamental civility has gone out the window, what we see in its place is an outrageous display of:
  • Lying
  • Abuse of Power
  • Sense of Entitlement
  • No Dignity
  • No Ethics or Decency
  • No Civility
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And above all, absolutely NO display of manners or class whatsoever.
Does this display, shown on an international scale, demonstrate what we can expect from the General Public, Business Executives and Senior Politicians??  That somehow it has become permissible to behave in this disgraceful and embarrassing fashion??   Has it become the norm to insult and berate others publicly with no fear of reprisal??
The basis of Civil Society is CIVILITY.  When this is lost, we can expect an exponential increase in Fraud, crime, and an increasing lack of physical security, due to the incredible sense of entitlement these individuals show.
Has becoming a public bully somehow become socially acceptable?
Manners and Class have always won out in the end, but they are taking a serious beating in this very public debacle.
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Student protest June 22, 2012

It is now 4:03 on a sunny Friday afternoon in downtown Montreal. For the last 2 hours the so called ‘student’ protest has taken over the streets of Montreal causing havoc for business owners, and the population at large.

It is the beginning of a long weekend, so they have decided that they should disturb what is left of commerce in the downtown core.
Last night, Thursday, the streets were abandoned, restaurants were virtually empty. Tourists and residents have ceased coming downtown as no-one wants to find themselves in the middle of this nonsense. To date the cost of extra policing has been well in excess of $10 million, however the cost to the society at large is far greater. I have attached photographs which clearly indicate this is NOT to do with the puny tuition increases, but is a UNION and POLITICALLY motivated protest, unfortunately the protestors and the international press has been biased by the reporting of this, and the so called loss of rights with the passage of Bill 78.

If we want to discuss the loss of rights, perhaps Bill 101 which limits the rights of the English population to conduct business in their own language, and restricts the education rights of immigrants to this province. Or we can protest increased gas prices, food prices, paying tax to educate the children we don’t have (I pay a fortune in school tax, tax going to IVF, day care, etc, and have no children…….why should I have to pay???)

Check out the banners, mostly political and union. Do not be swayed by the rhetoric.

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Blinded by Politics

Welcome to a highly charged political combat on the streets of Montreal.

What is extremely disappointing, but expected, is the total lack of honesty or transparency in this debate.

After month of protests on the streets of Montreal, shameful violence, destruction of public and private property, interruption of thousands of businesses, loss of thousands of hours of work, tens of millions of dollars of policing, ostensibly over increased tuition, the Quebec Government passed Bill 78 limiting the protestors to be obliged to give notice of public protests, and forcing them to expose their faces.

The absolute hue and cry internationally has been frankly outrageous, with the UN decrying the loss of human rights, yet the true reason for the protests is being quietly covered up.

If you didn’t read my previous blog, then I will repeat myself, this is POLITICALLY motivated, and has absolutely nothing to do with tuition, the cost of higher education in Quebec being the lowest in Canada. Tens of thousands of students and citizens are being blinded by rhetoric.

So my question to you, my reader is this, what happened to the rights of the other 95% of students who wanted to complete their school year?
What about the business owners who have suffered huge financial losses due to this protest?
What about the loss of time and revenue of the tens of thousands of citizens (myself included) who have been inconvenienced by this, and are in fact totally against it?
What about OUR rights to safe streets, metro, without fear of being in the middle of a violent mob?
What about all the businesses and public property which has been damaged and defaced?
What about the tens of millions of TAXPAYER dollars being spent on policing and damage to public property?

Oh, I guess the 95% of the population who are trying to run companies, go to school, and live our lives peacefully don’t count. Our rights are being TRAMPLED by a group of radical selfish youth …

This was always and continues to be a purely political manoeuvre by the PQ and the unions to oust incumbent Jean Charest and his Liberal Party, and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with tuition.

The problem is that the zealots are killing the city in which we all live by destroying the economy and our reputation internationally. They are driving tourists and business people out of the province, and once they have gone, they won’t come back, one only has to visit downtown Toronto to get a sense of just exactly what has been lost in Quebec. Toronto is absolutely thriving, with incredible new Hotel complexes, restaurants, theatres, and a booming financial market. Walk on Bloor, Queen West, the Theatre District, the Waterfront, and you will see endless new construction and tourists from all over the world.

Why would anyone in their right mind want to visit or invest in a zenophobic racist violent city, when Toronto is a few hundred miles away, with better weather, and the right to do business in the language of your choice. Go to the Indian part of town, Chinatown, Korea town, and see the multitude of signs in every language possible, customers all over the street with numerous shopping bags in their hands.

The Grand Prix, usually a major drawing card for wealthy tourists from around the world, was decimated this year due to the violence. Hotels, which normally are over-booked, had availability, the best restaurants had tables available, and shops on Sherbrooke Street were empty the Friday Night of Grand Prix weekend.

This is politically motivated, by both the unions and the PQ. Make no mistake. Listen to the interviews with the student leaders and the protestors, they are ranting about everything EXCEPT tuition.
The PQ is seeking new members and new future leaders, what better way than to create huge civil unrest and watch them?
The unions have taken a beating over the last few years, and the Liberals are speaking of cutting the bureaucracy, which is outrageously bloated, and needs to be cut by 30%, which, was Jean Charest’s platform for re-election…. Pauline Marois already lives in a castle, and wants to be ‘Queen of Quebec’ it should be obvious, but the rhetoric is so loud that no one can hear.

Do NOT be blinded by politics.

 

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The Student Uprising!

For far too many weeks, the City of Montreal and its inhabitants have been held hostage by a group of students who claim to be protesting an insignificant increase in the cost of tuition.

This will bring the costs to 1/3 of the tuition fees in Ontario, pennies on the dollar compared to International Students, and then, we won’t even begin to mention the cost of a University education in the United States.

The students have moved to violence, disrupted classes in numerous Cegeps and Universities, vandalized the business of innocent store owners, broken windows, burned cars, thrown molotov cocktails, rocks, bricks, and just about everything imaginable at the police while taunting them and calling them names. Now they have amended their propaganda to include corporate and government greed, and have blockaded companies such as the National Bank, Power Corporation, destroyed the windows of hundreds of business owners, including Apple, which, would be funny normally, as probably 90% of the students are walking around with iPhones, but I digress.

Last week I attended a conference at the Conference Center on St Antoine Street in Old Montreal, and lost a great amount of time trying to get through the students and police, only to be totally inconvenienced again as I parked several blocks away to be sure my car  was not vandalized, and had to walk to and from the Center from there, while paying outrageous parking costs for the privilege.

There are some interesting facts which must be discussed:

  1. The school drop-out rate for French males in Quebec is the highest in Canada
  2. It is primarily French Canadian students marching in this protest,  one does NOT see any immigrants in this protest whatsoever…..
  3. the large majority of students do NOT support these actions, and are extremely angry that they are losing their semester.
  4. most of the English students are quietly attending their classes  when their schools are not barricaded, and are trying to write their  exams, graduate and find great jobs.
  5. when one photographs the ‘students’ one sees an abundance of very  expensive designer clothes, shoes, purses, iPhones, coffees, etc.
  6. a large number of these ‘protesters’ are not students at all, and  are over 40 years old waving Quebec flags and chanting for separation.
  7. when I was in a restaurant last week, several of the leaders of  the protest were at the next table having a costly lunch with imported  beer. None of their meals cost less than $40.
  8. these supposedly ‘poor’  put upon students are out in bars and  restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights on rue St Denis, rue St  Laurent, drinking and eating posh meals.
  9. the increases are pennies a day
  10. the same people who are having their daily life interrupted and the  businesses who are being destroyed are the same people who would  potentially have offered jobs to these students. Who could possible  want to hire them now?

The reality is that the PQ government and the Unions are really behind  this movement, and the students are ignorant pawns being played in a  huge ugly political power play.

Two extremely wealthy PQ leaders were out marching and screaming for  the Liberal leader to resign. The two of them have a hidden agenda and
both live extremely lavish lifestyles at the expense of the Quebec populace. Chauffeur driven limousines, elegant massive homes decorated  with fine antiques, fine dining on expense accounts, huge Federal and  Provincial pension plans, extensive insurance coverage, and more…..

None of these arrogant lying individuals who are using the students to  play politics could care less for the futures of these students, the  financial costs to the city and to private citizens, or the incredible  damage to our reputation internationally. Our tourism accounts for a  large part of our budget and this summer is going to be disastrous.  Hotels and restaurants are already complaining of a 20% drop and are  expecting it to continue to plummet.

Yes, the same institutions who could have been hiring all these students in summer jobs!! gone.

There are ‘do not travel’ notices on international travel bulletin  boards which is giving Montreal an international ‘black eye’.

Lastly, in their arrogant disgraceful game, they have not told these  little political puppets they are manipulating that if they are  arrested and convicted, they will have a criminal record and their  futures are extremely limited.They will not be allowed to travel to the United States, they will not  be considered for many Government positions, they will not be hired in  Financial Institutions, as criminals are not hired.

Today, companies are increasingly insisting on in-depth and extremely  rigorous background checks, most of this to ascertain if the candidate
has a criminal record. They use agencies in the United States, and the  information is shared internationally.

A good friend had the following suggestion regarding the situation:

Mr Charest, you are being far too easy on the students and the  antagonists…….you should tell them to report to school by next  Monday. (choose the date) if you do not report, you will not be able  to register for next year, or your student fees will be $10,000 per  year, or you can not register in any Quebec school. The Government  will  NOT be threatened by terrorists.

The Friday Ottawa Sun had a matrix which compared Quebec and Ontario  school fees. It was interesting to note that Quebec student fees were  30% (approximately $2,200) of the Ontario student fees.

Further to that, a friend has been doing tax returns for many students  and noted that after all their deductions from the Quebec and Federal  Governments, they are actually only paying around $500 in tuition, and  many of them are living on loans or with their parents.

Time to stop the madness and wake up. This is a political play. The  students are puppets in a disgraceful protest.

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Open letter to L’office de la Langue Francais and our blind Quebec Politicians

Have any of you been to Ottawa or Toronto over the last few years?

Did you drive or simply fly on a government jet, be picked up in a limousine subsidized by the Quebec taxpayer, and taken directly to your destination?

Did you actually look out the window?

Did you SEE what is happening?

Did you actually pay attention, or was it just so much noise?

Did you see the skyline in Toronto?

Did you walk on the streets?

Did you hear the multitude of languages being spoken?

Did you see the International Big-Name designer shops lined up along Bloor Street, all full with paying clients, or notice that they are moving into larger and larger premises to accommodate the booming local market?

In looking out the windows from my corner unit on the 34th floor at the corner of Bay and Bloor, my view is increasingly blocked by the sea of mind-numbingly expensive condos being built on every street. Many start at the staggering amount of $6 million, and go up exponentially the higher the floor, and the larger the unit. There isn’t one, but a multitude of them, and more being started as far as you can see, and I can see for miles and miles in several directions, as I look out over the north and western parts of the city.
The city is awash with massive construction cranes, some areas such as the Harbourfront are wall to wall construction cranes and massive new towers.

Walking on the street in Montreal one hears what has to be some of the most appallingly spoken French in the world, yet we continue to pass restrictive laws to protect it, all the while, business is following the path of least resistance, and is heading to Toronto in droves, where it flourishes in a multitude of languages, without the constant cost and aggravation imposed by the ludicrous and restrictive language laws in Quebec. Why on earth should a Chinese company employing Chinese speaking people be legislated to do business in French because they employ over 50 people? Well, not in Toronto, they are open for business, and language is NOT an issue.

I am in Toronto monthly, and due to the nature of my business, find myself constantly in a new area of the city. Every time I am amazed at the exponential growth and wealth in the city. Coming back to Montreal all one sees is decaying bridges and roads.

The shops on Bloor are so populated at times, that they actually run out of stock of the ‘hot’ items, yet these same shops no longer have a presence at all in Montreal which speaks volumes as to the disappearance of wealth from the province.
Montreal used to be the Banking centre of Canada, and now all the head-offices have relocated to Toronto, not having to worry about protectionism, and free to do business. Instead of French, one goes to an ATM and sees Cantonese, Mandarin and a variety of other languages, to serve their clients, depending on the area of the city. It can just as easily be Portuguese as anything…

Tourists and residents in Quebec are treated poorly by surly public servants and obnoxious shop clerks who want to assert their right to speak French, yet don’t think that the person in front of them could be a wealthy tourist, or even better, a wealthy individual looking at the city with an eye of moving and investing in it, opening a business, creating jobs. This short-sighted behaviour has them all scurrying down the 401 to more pleasant climes, and cities that are ‘open for business’ regardless of the language. As the old adage goes, money talks and money walks, and it hasn’t just walked but run away from this province.

When is someone going to wake up and make Quebec a pleasant, happy, multilingual place to live and do business, where we encourage new business and innovation, without outrageous and outmoded language legislation?
Why can’t we follow the EU model, and have a population speaking 4 languages…..or even more….multilingualism certainly hasn’t harmed the hundred million or more people in the European Community….

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Copenhagen, December 2009

Aislin did a wonderful cartoon in the Montreal Gazette showing all the jets circling Copenhagen.

In another article we read that every Limosine in the city, and from elsewhere was booked solid for the entire period of the meetings, and were seen with their engines idling for hours to keep the inside of the car warm for the guest.

Protesters came from afar to be heard, wave their flags, and with any luck be seen on national television, but they never openly mention the fact that they also flew on jet planes and took taxis and limosines, stayed in hotels, and consumed coffees and food in restaurants, creating more garbage.

The newspapers and television reporters all had their own commentary on the state of the world and global warming, printing thousands of pages of newsprint.

Several thousand banquet meals were served over the duration of the conference, creating no end of garbage, laundering of tablecloths and napkins.

All the restaurants and hotels in Copenhagen were full, creating more garbage and laundry.

Thousands of gallons of fuel were consumed.

Another unsuccessful meeting where nothing was decided, but the participants all felt they were the ones who would make the changes in the world.

Meetings in Bali, meetings in Copenhagen, meetings all over the world to discuss “How to be Green”.

Other than a totally insane media spewing out hype about being socially and ethically responsible, whatever that means, and stop using plastic garbage bags, so that we now we pay for them, further fattening the pockets of the grocery stores by thousands of dollars weekly for a product which we need, nothing has really changed. Most people I know don’t plan to go to a store to purchase necessities, they see a store and remember that they need some items and go shopping. No one walks around during their business day with pockets stuffed with bags on the off chance that maybe they will need a few greens and milk. What a thought, a Senior Business Executive with a plastic bag
In his back pocket in case his wife calls and asks him to pick up milk and bread on the way home….!!!

People are having more children than ever, buying huge homes and cottages, buying more than one car, living further away from city centers, necessitating more driving, and having what ever the latest pet of the month is ostensibly for their children. One couple in London England, actually have the nerve to print a magazine about being green, but they are in their 20’s, have 4 children, numerous pets, several homes, and jet around the world on vacation regularly, sometimes commercial, but very often on private jets. It is about ‘do what I say, don’t do what I do’ …somehow they think their children are special.

The statistics on the family dog are actually staggering, each 30 pound dog creates the same amount of garbage as a human.

China no longer has the one child per family legislation, and there is still no push in the third world to stop over population, even though many of the people are dying of starvation.
India has a population explosion, and is growing exponentially with no discussion of limits of children per family.

A lifetime of rhetoric, and yet at the end of the day, the only thing which has truly changed is that the world population continues to explode and fanatical religious leaders are continuing to tell women to have babies, some of whom have over 10 children and are continuing to breed.

The only way to get serious is to STOP encouraging people to have children, and instead of paying women to have children, to pay them if they get sterilized. The current economic models are at fault, and to date, no one has actually come up with a model which encourages full employment and the promotion of innovation in order to reduce carbon emissions and garbage in order to clean up the planet.

It CAN be done.

It MUST be done.

We are losing our forests, our oceans, our fish, and much of our natural wildlife due to over-population and urban sprawl.

The biggest contributor of all the problems the world is facing regarding pollution, global warming and potable drinking water is that we have TOO MANY PEOPLE and TOO MANY PETS. Period.

The biggest creator of pollution are humans, followed by unneeded animals. Yes, I love animals and have had pets a good part of my life, but we are speaking reality here.

There is an arrogance among people that their children will somehow be special and change the world, but the harsh reality is that we need to start looking for new ways to grow the economy than multiplying.

Investment in cleaning rainwater, cleaning sewage, heating homes without fossil fuels, not wearing clothes made of synthetics, not using Styrofoam containers, re-cycling, re-use of car tires, cleaning of used oil products, re-cycling of products like paint, are but to name a few.

Encouraging people to live downtown and walk to work. Educating the people already on the planet, and putting them to work, instead of allowing high school drop-outs, high-school pregnancy, facilitating adoption of already existing
Children instead of making the process hideously long and arduous.

Cynical yes, fed up of being lectured to, yes, fed up of hypocrisy, absolutely.

Let’s change the economic models to stop encourage growth and encourage re-use and investment in new technologies.

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The Taxman Taketh, and taketh, and……

One hopes, that in death, the taxman would be forgiving, but it appears that is far from the case. Not only are they not forgiving, but they harass  and intimidate to such a point that it is abominable. Imagine, your life partner for nearly 50 years has died after a long illness, first  your joint bank accounts are frozen, and you find yourself with virtually no way of accessing your money. No end of forms to fill in at the bank, notary, and finally accountants. All the proper documentation produced endlessly, still no way of accessing your cash…months pass, the forms from the banks and government are endless, and it appears the only way to deal with the never ending saga is to hire a notary and have the accountants deal with the government. Income taxes must be filed, forms stating the value of one’s assets, and declarations, will’s to be produced….and ten  months later, when one would hope it was finally coming to an end, the government in their infinite wisdom re-assess the tax forms going back several years, and decide to charge even more tax.

This is the way the government deals with those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Do you think this is one isolated case?

Think again.

Over the last year, we have heard of no end of government bailouts for large industry with the excuse that jobs must be saved. No one has actually stepped forward to explain where all the billions of dollars which are being used are coming from. Senior executives in some of these corporations are giving themselves huge ‘retention’ bonus’ to stay, in the very companies they have pillaged and destroyed by their greed. We hear of isolated cases of lawsuits against the senior executives, but for the most part, the populace is remarkably silent. Why you ask?

For the simple reason that they are being bombarded with tax bills by the government and are scrambling around stressing out trying to figure out where that extra $2000 or $5000 is coming from when they are already stretched to the limit.

In the last year, I must have spoken to 50 people who are being re-assessed for taxes, which, in many cases were prepared by accountants and not the individuals themselves. Every myriad of additional taxation, estate tax, income tax, re-evaluation of past taxes, revision of deductions, RRSP’s, and more. In every case, the person I have spoken to is quietly freaking out as they paid a professional to prepare their taxes, and they are being re-assessed, and are under the impression that they are the only one.

The man who owns a sun tanning studio who has had a ‘life style’ audit.

The decorator who was obliged to give up his fabulous office of 30 years due to a huge back tax audit.

The small business owner who discovered his accounts were seized, and had no way to pay his employees.

The telecommuter in the IT industry who has to provide proof that the portion of his home is a certain percentage of overall square footage, and is not used for any other purpose.

The consultant who is being audited for having a smaller than usual income tax return.

The widow.

The homeowners renting out a couple of rooms in their huge empty house as a way to help pay the escalating property taxes.

The retired couple living on an increasingly small budget as their investments are losing money instead of providing an income stream.

These people are typical individuals from every walk of life, eking out a living the best they can in a world recession

It is time to speak out. We see and hear about every sort of protest except taxation. Taxation which was originally a temporary thing, and which now puts people in jail or on the street when the government seizes their bank accounts, property and wages. No consideration whatsoever as to the damage they are doing to  the credit records of the hundreds of thousands of individuals they are assessing, many times it is inaccurate, but the damage they cause is irreparable.

You are NOT the only one.

The only way this problem will go away is if everyone speaks about it openly and agrees that this strong arm approach has to stop.

Suggesting that law abiding citizens who have paid for an accountant and are being re-assessed are ‘dead-beat’s’ is neither attractive nor the truth.

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