Archive for May, 2011

The government vrs the Saskatchewan Teachers

If you want to check the numbers and the arguments on both sides I got some links for you.

In this corner, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation looking for a 12% raise over one year. 

In this corner we have the wildly popular Saskatchewan government, flush with oil and potash royalty revenue offering 5.5% over 3 years.
Main point: Saskatchewan teachers only want to be paid half-way between what Manitoba and Alberta teachers get. Main point: Saskatchewan teachers are already paid between one and three thousand dollars more than the Canadian average.  No need for a big increase.
Second point: Saskatchewan teachers have lost purchasing power since 1983, the 12% wage increase only moves teachers back closer to the place they were at in the 80’s. Second point: CPI (inflation) has gone up 33% and teacher wages have gone up about 55% since 1997.

Which side do I find more compelling?  I hate to say it because I’m friends with a lot of teachers but I’d be closer to the government’s position.  5.5% over 3 years would be a hard pill to swallow given that inflation is running over 3% with food and fuel factored in.  The Government’s offer should be at least at the level of inflation.

I don’t think it is fair or reasonable to expect the Saskatchewan government to pay anything close to the absurd and unsustainable levels Alberta compensates all sorts of public sector employees.  Alberta has really wrecked things for other provinces because they have been able to afford paying people what other provinces simply can’t afford to pay.   In doing this they drain the talent from other less wealthy provinces hurting the rest of the Canada to benefit themselves.  Now Alberta can’t balance the budget at historically high oil prices.  I don’t think it would be wise to follow their example.

I don’t find the argument about purchasing power from the 1980’s compelling.  the 1980’s was an era of unsustainably high government spending. 

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If a 144,000 JW’s disappear tomorrow we’ll be crappin our pants

I’m just sayin that’s all.

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Welcome back Jets!

The Flames could always use another easy team to kick around in their division.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the old Jets/Canucks hatred rekindled.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Go Jets Go!

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Sober thoughts on the Harper victory

Yesterday a little less than 4 in 10 Canadians got what they voted for.  As much as the the other 60% might want to complain about the seeming unfairness of the vote splits 40% is still a lot of votes.  The Liberals have won majorities with that much of the popular vote in the past. 

People involved in partisan politics can lose their perspective.  They get so worked up they exaggerate the weaknesses of their opponents and turn a blind eye to the failings of their own side.  I would say to those on the progressive side of the spectrum that Canada is still Canada.  The country is not going to fall apart.  I would say the same thing to Conservatives if Jack Layton became PM.  I don’t believe Harper has an evil secret agenda.  I’m pretty sure we’ll see things like the long gun registry and the wheat board go but these are not dramatic changes.  4 years isn’t enough time to erase the legacy of Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney and Chretien even if someone wanted too.  Politicians that get a taste of power like to keep it, and I’m very sure the Conservatives know that if they tack too far to the right they will lose at the end of their term.

What saddens me the most is how Canada has now become more polarized.  More than half of this country dislikes Harper strongly or moderately.  Harper carved out his majority by doing things that would energize a minority of Canadians for him and turn a majority of Canadians against him.  We have given permission for our politicians to engage in distasteful and dishonest tactics.  Voter turnout bumped up but it is still historically low.  Even with 60% of Canadians showing up at the polls more people failed to show up than voted for the winning party.

The future holds some serious challenges for our nation.  On that point I actually agree with Harper.  We have the financial instability south of the border and in Europe combined with soaring energy and food prices.  This next term is going to be something of a political poison pill.  I cannot predict the future but I believe the next 4 years are going to be very turbulent. 

If Harper doesn’t begin to transition us to a more responsible sustainable economy perhaps the provinces will.  In Saskatchewan the right of center government just announced a Carbon Capture and Storage retrofit for one of the nastier coal plants in the country.  It is a 1.2 billion dollar project that will burn coal and store CO2 in the ground.  It doesn’t rank high on sustainability but it is certainly more responsible. If Canada were to invest the equivalent federally it would be close to 40 billion dollars.   It really is a very big deal for my province.

We will see how things work out.  There will be no excuses about uncooperative parliaments this time.  It will be interesting to see if they really do hold to true Conservative principles. 

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About this whole Osama Bin Laden king

I get the impression people don’t understand decentralized networks.  Kill one node, even an important node, isn’t going to kill the system.  What we need to kill are the conditions that breed terrorism.  The west is sounding a little too triumphant these days.

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