The (Right) News Rundown
- A long election night is over, and it's the closest election I've ever cognizantly witnessed. Polls ran from 8am-8pm, with results showing soon after. It took until 1am until all the changes were compiled, and at least 6 seats were won within 200 votes.
- As of right now, 44/87 seats are needed for a majority in BC. Pending counting of absentee/advance ballots, BC Liberals have 43 seats, NDP have 41, Greens break through with 3 seats on Vancouver Island. We won't know until May 24th for sure what the composition of the Legislative Assembly will be.
- While the absentee ballots are counted, Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon has asked Christy Clark to stay on as Premier at least until the final results are in.
- Courtenay-Comox on mid Vancouver Island could tip the balance one way or another. The NDP won this seat with just 9 votes.
- With a voter turnout of just around 57%, it's true as always that your vote matters.
- Advance turnout went from 11% in 2013 to 20% in 2017, but this did not appear to translate to more people voting. Around the same percentage of people voted in 2013 as in 2017.
- Many outlets (eg CBC) claiming that "Liberals won a minority", not true
- Many other outlets (eg CBC) claiming that "Vote splitting with the Greens elected the Liberals again", also not true
- Polls conducted just before election were actually right for once, projecting uncertainty with the Liberals and NDP in a virtual dead heat.
- Many are reporting that the Green Party hold the balance of power, with quite a few suggesting that the Greens form a coalition with the NDP since they share a good deal of policies.
- However, if the recounts flip one way or another, the Green Party may not be necessary for the Liberals to maintain power. Nevertheless, all of the leaders have been holding discussions.
- As of today, we don't know how the election results will end up. A few things are sure though: The media has not been reporting this correctly, and that there needs to be a way to count absentee/advance votes closer to election night so our province is not held in an uncertain limbo again.
- The Alberta government will be conducting a review of how municipalities use photo radar.
- "My concern is that there's a strong public view that photo radar has gone beyond just enforcing safe traffic and has become, in some cases, a bit of a 'cash cow' for municipalities," Mason said Thursday.
- “The review started two to three months ago, Mason said. The government also wants to compile information on how photo radar locations are chosen, traffic statistics and how much money municipalities are collecting from the program.”
- “As an example, Mason noted the use of photo radar, and resulting revenues, have increased since the city of Edmonton took over the program from the police."
- Edmonton issues 0.8 photo radar tickets per licensed driver while Calgary issues 0.42 tickets per licensed driver per year.
- Ontario has 5 fatal crashes a year per 100,000 drivers. Alberta has 12.1 fatal crashes a year per 100,000 drivers.
- Ontario hasn't had photo radar since 1995. The Ontario government brought back photo radar for school zones in late 2016.
- The question that must be asked and asked thoroughly of the municipal politicians and bureaucrats is: Is photo radar making our roads safer or has it turned into a major revenue stream? Following from this, photo radar is likely to become one of the key issues in this fall's civic elections.
- The Liberals plan to spend $8,337 per person in 2017. The all time record sits with the former Conservative government who spent $8,375 per person in the midst of the 2009 recession.
- At $8,337-per-Canadian, federal spending in 2017 is equal to $22.84 per Canadian, per day.
- In contrast, the projected per-Canadian spending by Harper’s Conservatives prior to their defeat was set at $7,760 — or, $21.26 per Canadian per day
- Interestingly of note, this report only covers "program" spending, that means it does not include money spent on paying down our national debt.
- The lowest spending in the post-world war period came in the 1990s under the Chretien government who only spent about $5,500 per person.
- Those listeners will recall that the most recent fiscal update forecasted deficits up to $120b by 2022.
The Firing Line
- Trudeau's majority government has passed just 17 government bills since their election October 19th 2015, about a year and a half ago.
- This is a much fewer amount than other previous majority governments, including Harper's term from 2011-2015 (But the article does not provide any comparison numbers)
- Only 2 Liberal private member's bills have passed in the same amount of time.
- Many proposed bills are still making their way through committees, the HoC or the Senate. None are noted as about to imminently pass
- Almost a year ago, the Senate sent back a bill to the HoC for amendments, but the matter has not been raised again. 7 other bills are currently in the Senate right now.
- So the question is, is the Senate holding up the government bills? Not really. Many are being sent back for changes, but they are not getting rejected outright. Many bills sent back by the Senate are done so after consultation on how to improve them.
- Listeners are probably reminded of last week's episode 15 in which the Government vowed to shut down debate in order to pass their legislative agenda. They're not above blaming others for the fact that they have done so little governmental work.
- The fact is clear - the Liberals made all these grandiose promises a year and a half ago to Canadians, but have not bothered to actually pass many laws. Perhaps it's a good thing they haven't put their fingers into too many areas?
- The federal government has spent at least $14,500 (U.S.) on custom Snapchat filters over the past year to mark celebrations and events tied to Canada’s 150th anniversary, the NHL’s centennial and Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to new documents tabled recently in Parliament.
- After a research question by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, the numbers surfaced, with the money mainly spent by Canadian Heritage.
- One filter cost $10,000 for an NHL 100 event in Toronto on January 1, 2017. The document said that 859 accounts had used the filter, attracting 43,086 views in total.
- The other filters — costing anywhere from $19 to $536 — were customized for 19 different locales across Canada for New Year’s celebrations on December 31, 2016.
- Their use varied widely as well. The filter made for Iqaluit, which cost $114, was only used three times and viewed in 134 instances. Toronto’s, by comparison (which cost $211), had 953 uses and 37,031 views. Moncton’s, which cost $56, reported usage statistics as “not applicable.”
- The frivolous spending on Snapchat filters will no doubt remind listeners of the money spent on cardboard cutouts of Trudeau used by Canadian embassies.
- It's understandable that the Canadian government would want to spend money to promote Canada worldwide and to encourage tourism, but surely there are better ways that spending ridiculous amounts of money on Snapchat filters that are barely viewed by the public.
Word of the Week
Frivolous - defined by dictionary.com
- characterized by lack of seriousness or sense: “frivolous conduct.”
- self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose.
- given to trifling or undue levity: “a frivolous, empty-headed person”
- of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice: “a frivolous suggestion”
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Frivolity of Government
Teaser: Uncertainty rules the fortnight in BC, photo radar comes into question in Alberta, and the federal government spends and spends while moving at a slow pace. But no worry, there’s always your Trudeau cutout or government funded Snapchat filter!
Recorded Date: May 13, 2017
Release Date: May 13, 2017
Edit Notes: Government spending start.