Saturday, September 20, 2014

The CCPA CRA Audit Explained, As it Were

So, the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for potential violations of the Income Tax Act related to charitable or non-profit organizations. The operating suspicion is that the CCPA has engaged primarily in political activities, as opposed to educational activities.

That's ridiculous, right?

Well... maybe not so much.

Writing in the Huffington Post, CCPA "economist" Toby Sanger sets out to challenge Prime Minister Stephen Harper's assertion that corporate tax cuts have not harmed Canada's overall corporate tax haul.

As it turns out, Sanger's argument hinges on the following graph:
Comically, the graph actually directly contradicts Sanger's claim. Pay close attention to how corporate income tax revenues interacted with CIT rate cuts between 2008 and 2014. Notice anything? Such as, say... modest yearly growth?

Certainly, Sanger can demonstrate an absolute decline in CIT haul between 2006 and 2014. Apparently the reader is supposed to simply presume that this is attributable to CIT rate cuts. Yet Sanger seems to have left out one crucial event that undoubtedly, undeniably affected Canada's CIT haul: the 2008 recession.

Go ahead: search Sanger's screed for the word "recession." You won't find it. It's not there.

How can an allegedly-seasoned economist like Sanger simply not mention the recession?

I think the answer is remarkably simple: mentioning the 2008 recession would remind readers that there is more to the absolute decline in CIT haul than simply CIT rates. Once the drastic drop between CIT hauls in 2006 and 2008 is revealed to be attributable to factors other than CIT rate cuts, the very premise of Sanger's article evaporates. And my bet is that Sanger knows this.

According to the Income Tax Act, charitable and non-profit organizations are tax-exempt if they engage in educational activities. But in deliberately excluding not only pertinent information -- but in fact the most pertinent information -- from his article, Sanger has crafted a piece that is not educational or even informational, but is in fact disinformational.

As such, it is inherently political.

And while neither Toby Sanger nor the Huffington Post saw fit to disclose his involvement with the CCPA, the question is still begged: does the nature of Sanger's work in the Huffington Post reflect the nature of his work for the CCPA?

If it does, the Canada Revenue Agency's audit of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is in fact well-justified... and it will likely not end well for the CCPA.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey Grievance Mongers... This is Your Time to Shine!

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (or PSAC for short) is a cancer at the heart of Canada's vast government bureaucracy. Now, to their list of offenses against the Canadian public -- which previously included endorsing separatist parties during federal elections -- we can add this:

They apparently want paid time off -- up to 10 days at a time -- to mourn "Aboriginal spirit friends."

What is an "aboriginal spirit friend," you may ask? Apparently it's "it refers to the loss of a spiritual leader in the community, such as an elder. We have negotiated bereavement leave in other agreements for such losses,” according to a PSAC spokesperson.

10 days seems a little much. Other than that, it's not entirely unreasonable... so long as the bereavement time for "aboriginal spirit friends" is only available to those who are actually aboriginal.

Otherwise, PSAC has just run afoul of something that far-left grievance mongers refer to as "cultural appropriation." It's what they accuse white people of whenever they observe a custom or even wear clothing from a culture deemed by such grievance-mongers go be "non-white." The very idea of it seems calculated to keep people of difference races or cultures separate, and is as such inherently racist, but they seem to cherish this "idea."

PSAC is entirely familiar with this "idea." It's been pushed one people at some of the events they've hosted.

I think this all begs a question: is PSAC members taking time off to mourn "aboriginal spirit friends" a form of cultural appropriation? If you take the new-age racist grievance-mongers who push this "idea" at their word, it is so long as those taking the time off are not aboriginal. But can non-aboriginal PSAC members be trusted not to attempt such an act?

Well, speaking purely anecdotally I've witnessed PSAC members on Twitter boasting about taking sick days when they are not sick. So obviously not all of them are nearly so unscrupulous as to not abuse any options available to get paid time off.

So far, I've yet to hear so much as even a single critical race theorist call out PSAC over the potential for this kind of abuse, or even demand that PSAC amend their proposal to prevent it. Odd, that, considering that this is their time to "shine."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

$15 Minimum Wage? Not as the NDP Would Have It

Well, it looks like Justin Trudeau can kiss the hard-core pothead vote goodbye. The NDP have just figured out a way to take it away from him.

At the cost of economic disaster, mind you. But all the same.

Recently, the NDP rolled out a proposal to increase Canada's federal minimum wage -- the minimum wage applicable to federally-regulated industries -- to $15 an hour. Sounds great, right? Well, not if you pay attention to history.

Here's what history tells us about raising the minimum wage, at least under certain circumstances: as of 2014, Canada's minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, was all of one cent more than in 1974. In 1974 the minimum wage in Ontario was just $2.74. Forty years later, it's $10.14. That might seem like a significant increase, until you consider that $2.74 adjusted for inflation is $10.13.

There's a reason for this: wage pressures are inflationary. And when a wage pressure is government-induced, that inflation is guaranteed. It's basic economics: if you increase the cost of an input, such as labour, entrepeneurs will increase the price they demand for their product. Suddenly everyone is paying more for everything so everyone's dollar is worth less.

So will a $15 minimum wage really improve things for minimum wage earners? As it turns out, no. Not only would it not really improve anything for minimum wage earners, it would result in catastrophic losses for the middle class, and more-bearable-losses for the wealthy. As the price of everything from housing to utilities to groceries to clothing to, well, everything will rise, swallowing up what might otherwise appear to be gains. No one gets further ahead, and everyone would fall further behind. (At least it would reduce income inequality!)

That's how the NDP would have it. But a $15 minimum wage could work without such a disaster... if accompanied by offsetting corporate and small business taxes. And we all know how much the NDP loves cutting corporate taxes.

But deep corporate and small business tax cuts -- perhaps as much as 50% of the current rate -- may be the only way to stave off the inflation that would otherwise accompany a $15 minimum wage. That puts the NDP at something of an impasse.

If they can't find it in themselves to navigate this impasse in the only workable way, the NDP's $15 minimum wage proposal would be nothing more than a blueprint for another Great Depression.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why PM Harper Deserves Consideration for Nobel Peace Prize

Previously on Bad Company, I took the signatories to a petition demanding that the Nobel Peace Prize committee reject Prime Minister Stephen Harper's nomination out to the woodshed. They didn't like it.

Not one of them substantively answered the criticisms contained in that blogpost. The reason for this is obvious: it's because they can't.

And of course they can't. The only reason to demand that the NPP committee circumvent the process of considering nominations made to it is that they're deathly afraid that Harper will get serious consideration, if not the award itself. Personally, I expect that Prime Minister Harper will get serious consideration, although I don't necessarily expect he'll win the prize.

I don't disagree with Frank Dimant that Harper has shown remarkable, even unique, moral clarity on the issue of Israel. Unlike those who signed this ridiculous petition, Prime Minister Harper knows were the blame for the conflict, and for civilian deaths in Gaza, belongs: on Hamas. They, who go out of their way to start armed conflict with Israel, then put their civilians in harm's way.

That being said, that's not the reason I think Harper warrants serious consideration for the award.

The reason in my mind is the maternal health initiative Harper has championed on the global stage. It was once said that mother is the name of God on the lips of a child. Prime Minister Harper is well aware that when you take steps to improve the health of mothers and their children you take a vital step toward alleviating health crises in the developing world.

Now I'm certain that many signatories to the "deny Harper" petition will object strenuously. Their idea of "maternal health" seems to be funding abortions in countries where the procedure is often contrary to law. Harper has wisely defied them by refusing to fund abortions as part of the MHI. This is another reason why he should be considered.

I'm not holding my breath for Prime Minister Harper to win the prize based on this achievement. If helping to stem the devastation wrought by AIDS in Africa wasn't enough to win President George W Bush the Peace Prize -- and having accomplished nothing was enough to win President Barack Obama the prize -- the Maternal Health Initiative likely won't secure it for Harper.

And that's OK, so long as the award goes to a more deserving nominee. I'm entirely open to that possibility. I'll be waiting... and watching... to see who ends up winning.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Put the Blame for Missing & Murdered Inidgenous Women Where It Belongs

Writing on, Sarah Hunt has drawn the most predictable (and racist) conclusion regarding murdered and missing indigenous women: blame whitey.

"Over the past few weeks, we have seen a rise in media coverage of violence against Indigenous girls and women following the murder of 15 year old Tina Fontaine. Discussion reached its peak last week during the annual meeting of premiers, which was seen as a venue to push for action to address the root causes of this ongoing atrocity. Yet as the meeting fades out of memory and Tina becomes the latest in the seemingly endless string of murdered young women, I fear that this flurry of dialogue and public outrage has yet again failed to bring about real change.

I fear that no amount of increased awareness and political organizing will actually end the violence if we continue along this current trajectory because we are still not shining a spotlight on the real causes of violence. No, I'm not talking about the drug use and street involvement that some journalists have drawn attention to in their portrayal of Tina Fontaine's final days. I'm also not talking about widespread poverty on reserve, or even the myriad factors that systematically marginalize Indigenous girls and women.

What this latest round of media coverage has failed to address is simply this: white male violence.

Indeed, the erasure of that violence as a topic of social and political concern is arguably a form of violence itself, as it serves to remove white men from the equation. White men get away with being unmarked by the violence they perpetrate, not at fault for carrying out a form of violation that is as old as colonialism itself. They also disassociate themselves from the institutions and systems that serve to normalize violence against Indigenous people -- systems that were designed and are largely upheld by (you guessed it) white male leaders.

For example, we have heard very little about the fact that the multiple murder trial of a 24 year old white man, Corey Legebokoff, is wrapping up this week in Prince George -- an area associated with the Highway of Tears. Indeed, no one has been connecting the dots between Legebokoff's multiple killings and the widespread violence against Indigenous girls and women in that area.

Apparently, Hunt resents the tragic facts of Tina Fontaine's last days being recounted because it impedes her agenda of just blaming the white devil. So instead she moves on to drawing some rather bold conclusions from the Corey Legebokoff trial: the white man is to blame after all.

The especially interesting thing about this is that Legebokoff is on trial for murdering four women. Of those four women, two were white and two were aboriginal. (Legebokoff is literally an equal-opportunity murderer, so far as race is concerned.) And so on the basis of half of Legebokoff's victims, Hunt casts the finger of blame at white people (especially white men) for the murders of indigenous women.

In social science, this is called a sampling error. It occurs when a subset of a statistical sample is used to draw conclusions about the sample as a whole.

So far, Hunt has found two murdered indigenous women killed by a white male. And based on this sample (of two) she draws her conclusions about the entire sample.

Well, the RCMP did not draw its conclusions based on a subset as small as two. They drew it based on the entirety of a sample of 1,181. Based on that sample of cases, this is what they concluded:

-The solve rate for murdered or missing indigenous women is practically identical tothe solve rate for non-indigenous women.
-Indigenous women were most likely to be murdered not by a stranger such as Corey Legebokoff, but by someone known to them. Either an acquaintance (30%), their spouse (29%) or other family member (24%). More than 90% of murdered indigenous women knew their killer in some way.
-The bulk of the killers of these women were men with criminal records, attained via previous violence against the women they eventually killed.

So the overwhelming majority of the murderers of indigenous women were indigenous men already known to the victim. Somehow Hunt has managed to look at this and conclude that "white male violence" is the underlying root cause.

The only way that Hunt could have even possibly reached these conclusions is to wilfully disregard the results of the exhaustive RCMP study and simply create her own out of whole cloth, with nothing more than a sampling error to support them. Why would motivate an academic to do such a thing?

It turns out that the answer is in her bio:

"Sarah Hunt (PhD) is a writer, educator and activist currently based in Lkwungen Territories (Victoria, BC) and is of Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw), Ukrainian and English ancestry. She has more than 15 years’ experience doing community-based work on issues of justice, education and cultural revitalization in rural and urban Indigenous communities across B.C. Most recently, Sarah’s research investigated the relationship between law and violence in ongoing neocolonial relations in BC, asking how violence gains visibility through Indigenous and Canadian socio-legal discourse and action."

It's only natural Hunt would be wilfully blind to the grim realities reflected in the RCMP report. Simply put: she, and the kinds of policies she has advocated, has a direct hand in this matter becoming as out-of-control as they have gotten. While indigenous women have been murdered by the violent thugs sent loose by a justice system instructed to go easy on them because they're aboriginal, she and her ideological cohorts have been telling us that if you can just hug a thug hard enough, everything will be OK.

With 1,181 murdered and missing indigenous women to show us how wrong Sarah Hunt and her cohorts are, I say "enough. It's over. You're done."

It only reaffirms my belief that there should be a Parliamentary Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, but not the one that Sarah Hunt and her ilk imagine. They imagine an inquiry as a soapbox from which they can disregard the facts, invent their own, and push their failed agenda. The result will be more missing and murdered indigenous women.

Canada needs a very different inquiry: more of a trial, with Sarah Hunt and her cohorts in the docket, answering for the policies they pushed. One in which they will not be able to evade the blame for softening Canada's criminal justice system so that it no longer even tried to protect the women who eventually wound up murdered at the hands of those who had already victimized them. A trial that will discredit them so thoroughly that, PhD or not, the public will recognize their unworthiness and we will never hear from them again. They will be relegated to the irrelevance they have so richly earned.

Then the rest of us will go on with the business of protecting indigenous women by an act so simple, obvious and intuitive as keeping their assailants in jail so that they cannot harm their victims again.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Anti-Harper Petition an Exercise in Intellectual Cowardice

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the far-left desn't like it.

Front and centre in the increasingly-public spectacle of the far-left losing their minds over it is a petition started by Calgarian Liberal hack Ed Tanas. Tanas was so outraged by the nomination, by Frank Dimant of B'Nai Brith, that he was driven to anti-Semitic comments.

I've spent some time slowly peeling back the layers of Tanas' mania at High Noon. He's not an individual bursting with credibility. So not much has to be said about he himself here.

But I will speak at further length about his petition, and just how, frankly, cowardly an effort it really is.

As explored masterfully by the Calgary Herald's Susan Martinuk, almost none of the 20,00 unhinged signatories have produced even a single valid reason why Harper's nomination should be denied:

"The real drivers behind any support for the petition can easily be detected in the comments made by its supporters. Most are a nebulous collection of hateful phrases that have no facts or logic to support their claims. According to them, Harper has 'committed crimes against Canadians' and has 'beady eyes.' He is also 'a disgrace to mankind,' 'a warmonger,' 'evil' 'an oppressor,' 'a fascist' and a 'social monster' who should be charged with 'treason.'

Frankly, these people should spend a year or two living under the rule of a Third World dictator. Maybe then they can comprehend the real meaning of such words.

Comments that state reasons (still not facts or statistics) invariably focus on Harper’s unwavering support for Israel, the 'evil, mass-murderer that kills innocent children.' A few others mention unexplained reasons such as aboriginal policies and dismantling Canada’s health-care system."

So more or less all of it is generic left-wing rhetoric, and absolutely none of it is true,... save that Harper does, in fact, support Israel. Although what the signatories say about Israel is false. Which makes that a wash.

Now here's the thing: signing this petition is an act of intellectual cowardice.

If they were true, the reasons cited by the signatories would indeed be damning of Harper's nomination. There's no question whatsoever about that. If the Nobel committee found these things to be true, there's no way Harper would be considered seriously for the award.

So if the signatories really had any confidence whatsoever that the things they say are true, they would have no objection to the Nobel committee considering Harper's nomination. By attempting an end-run around the evaluation process by petitioning the committee to reject the nomination out-of-hand, they're instead demonstrating that they have no confidence in the things they say; that they are aware that the things they say are untrue, and simply expect the nomination committee to accept them unquestioningly.

This is not to say that if the Peace Prize is awarded to someone other than Harper that what these nutjobs say about Harper is true, merely that there was a more deserving candidate. Which is, frankly, how these awards should be awarded.

There is a pro-Harper petition as well. It hasn't been circulating for as long as the anti-Harper petition, but if you believe the Nobel Peace Prize committee should consider Harper''s nomination, you could do worse than to sign it.