Ontario’s Budget: Fodder ?

So was the McGuinty 2012 Liberal budget a bit of fodder or does it really have a goal?

After reading over the government’s information, there are some interesting points to watch and see if they follow through:

  • …$4.9 billion in planned savings from removing overlap and duplication, implementing more efficient delivery models and focusing on core business…“, so there is a bunch of duplication of services out there that can be slashed away? I’d be very curious to see the specifics on that one.
  • … $6 billion in government actions to restrain compensation for school boards, payments to physicians and others in the public sector…“, so how the “Education Premier” lines this up with his “Pro Education” stance I am not sure.
  • Pay Freezes for MPPs, Execs at Hospitals, Universities and other places. I think the MPP pay freeze is an important bit of “optics” that they need to try to sell this austerity budget.

I would strongly suggest you read through the Government’s literature, it is worth reading over once to see if you are directly affected by this (and you most likely are).

Why?

That is the question that pops into my head. If this was a majority government, I would say it is the typical McGuinty trick of giving voters all the “bad medicine” at the beginning of their mandate, so you might forget later, but this is still a Minority government (only 1 or 2 votes short of a majority, so an interesting Minority, but still a minority).

So my guesses on this are the following:

  1. The Ontario Liberals think that the voters have “punished” them already, so if they push and get another election soon, they might get a majority this time? The argument would be, “we didn’t want this election, sorry, remember we are the good guys”.
  2. McGuinty has a “turncoat” in the wings ready to come across (ensuring a majority) and thus this is the normal “front loading” of bad news from the Ontario Government. Note they didn’t implement the wholesale cuts recommended by the Drummond Report, so that seems to have been a well placed red herring as well.

Either way, it looks like Ontario politics continues on, whether this budget actually comes to pass will be an interesting story. Any other possibilities I might have missed?

We await the “Harper Government Budget 2012” as well, but in the Federal Government’s case, they can use as big a stick as they want to bash the heck out of the Government Infrastructure (in general) and Civil Servants (in specific).

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Civil Servants: Another Point of View

I have in the past used information from the Canadian TaxPayers Federation, so I feel it would be remiss of me if I didn’t include their latest YouTube video as part of my I am a Civil Servant, set of writings.

The points made by the TaxPayers Federation are valid and interesting, however, I somehow feel there is an implication that Government Employees are all overpaid, etc., in the delivery of the message (yes, they don’t say it, but I am reading between the lines). The e-mail that pointed  to the clip did include the following paragraph (which does make the point a lot clearer that Civil Servants are all RICH, or will be with their pensions):

After all, you along with every other Canadian, each owe about $6,776 and counting in additional taxes to pay for the rich federal government employee pension plan. That’s of course on top of our federal debt. Federal bureaucrat pension plans are short $227 billion due to the rich, unsustainable payouts negotiated.

Blaming Civil Servants for having a generous pension is interesting, so PSAC should have negotiated a crappier set of benefits?!? (apologies, that is flippant, but still valid) Also, another reason the pension fund is short is  due to the Federal Government raiding the fund in the 90’s, and bad investments as well (which all pension plans are now suffering through).

I believe the TaxPayers Federation will get their wish somewhat when the new Government budget comes down, and the Government will then explain how much money will be spent this year on severance packages for the LARGE cut back in the Civil Service (this will not be scalpel cuts, this will be Chain Saw hacking, similar to the early 90’s, is what my sources are saying).

Wonder what the Federation is going to say about the severance packages given to the Civil Servants? I guess that remains to be seen.

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Are Canadians Financially Stupid?

An interesting comment was left on my post yesterday about Instant Income Tax Refund systems, which made the bold statement, “…the average Canadian is stupid about money…”, and I don’t think I like or agree with that statement, but I do wonder are Canadians financially stupid ?

While I have berated folks for using Pay Day Loans, Carrying Credit Card Debt, and various other “financial running with scissors”-type issues, I hope I haven’t made my readers feel “stupid”.

Are Canadians financially stupid ? I think we have many different issues with our money, and I might describe them as:

Dunce Hat
All Those Who Agree I have a Hat for You too!
  • Naive, would be a good adjective, since a lot of folks I have met, really don’t know much about the “science of money”.  What worries me is that they don’t want to know or learn about what they don’t know. You wouldn’t do this if you had a major disease, would you?
  • Mad Cap, or Whimsical, given that this generation (or at least the one behind me) really can’t remember the bad days of the 70’s and 80’s when interest rates for loans were over 20%. There is a naive belief that interest rates of 4-5% is actually high, and I can assure you, this is very much not the case (from a man who’s first mortgage interest rate was 12% for 5 years and it was a good rate (for a while)).
  • Indiscreet, I have been told a lot of really personal financial information by a lot of folks, and more than once I have told them that divulging this information to an acquaintance might not be a very good idea.
  • Uneducated, that really sums it up nicely. Many Canadians just have not taken the time to read, or learn about the “science of money”. I think high schools really should teach more about money, because the financial parasites try to catch folks very early.

I hope that if I have used the word “stupid”, folks have not taken it to heart. Think of it more of an aggravated utterance by a friendly teacher (yes, I am not friendly and I am a crappy teacher, but you can see where I might be coming from). I don’t think my readers are “stupid”, but if you are doing those things that I constantly rant about, you really need to get Educated!

Are Canadians financially stupid?

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Optimistic Labour Numbers September 2011

Our compadres at Stats Canada put out their Labour Survey for September 2011 last Friday and the numbers were better than expected (which is always good to hear, given the gloomy info we keep hearing every day from the media).

Following two months of little change, employment rose by 61,000 in September, all in full time. This increase pushed the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 7.1%, the lowest rate since December 2008.

Pretty good news, don’t you think? Given the media pundits had been saying we would be lucky to be “holding steady” at the current rate, 61,000 new jobs is pretty darn good, way to go Canadian Economy!

Employment Numbers

Employment Numbers Looking Very Macho!

Other good news to note (for folks in Alberta and Ontario at least):

In the 12 months to September, employment has grown by 1.7% (+294,000), primarily in Ontario and Alberta. Over this period, full-time employment rose by 2.5% (+344,000), part-time work declined 1.5% (-50,000) and total actual hours worked increased 2.0%.

More hours worked (and paid for) is a very good thing for the economy, more folding money in folks’ pockets is good!

Unemployment Rate Dropping

Unemployment Graph for Past Little While

The unemployment curve has a nice dropping part to it for now as well, with the rate at 7.1% we are looking better for now too. What the ramifications of all the tom foolery and silliness down south and in Europe I have no idea what that may do for things, however, for now, we are looking much better.

The Big Table

Stats Canada also publishes a host of tables cutting their data up by various groupings and I strongly suggest you go and have a look at all of them, they are very enlightening.

Table 1 Labour force characteristics by age and sex – Seasonnally adjusted

August 2011September 2011Aug to Sept 2011Sept 2010 to Sept 2011Aug to Sept 2011Sept 2010 to Sept 2011
thousands (except rates)change in thousands (except rates)% change
Both sexes, 15 years and over
Population28,032.728,057.124.4319.70.11.2
Labour force18,706.618,733.727.1148.20.10.8
Employment17,338.717,399.660.9294.30.41.7
Full-time14,042.314,106.163.8344.00.52.5
Part-time3,296.43,293.5-2.9-49.7-0.1-1.5
Unemployment1,367.91,334.2-33.7-146.0-2.5-9.9
Participation rate66.766.80.1-0.2
Unemployment rate7.37.1-0.2-0.9
Employment rate61.962.00.10.3
Part-time rate19.018.9-0.1-0.6 …
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Population4,457.64,457.2-0.4-3.90.0-0.1
Labour force2,882.32,901.619.353.70.71.9
Employment2,478.82,494.115.367.50.62.8
Full-time1,295.21,292.2-3.028.3-0.22.2
Part-time1,183.51,201.918.439.21.63.4
Unemployment403.6407.53.9-13.81.0-3.3
Participation rate64.765.10.41.3
Unemployment rate14.014.00.0-0.8
Employment rate55.656.00.41.6
Part-time rate47.748.20.50.3 …
Men, 25 years and over
Population11,534.711,546.912.2161.50.11.4
Labour force8,386.18,391.55.428.90.10.3
Employment7,856.27,879.523.3105.90.31.4
Full-time7,253.67,282.328.7133.00.41.9
Part-time602.6597.2-5.4-27.1-0.9-4.3
Unemployment529.9512.0-17.9-77.0-3.4-13.1
Participation rate72.772.70.0-0.8
Unemployment rate6.36.1-0.2-0.9
Employment rate68.168.20.1-0.1
Part-time rate7.77.6-0.1-0.4 …
Women, 25 years and over
Population12,040.412,052.912.5162.10.11.4
Labour force7,438.17,440.62.565.60.00.9
Employment7,003.77,025.922.2120.80.31.7
Full-time5,493.55,531.538.0182.60.73.4
Part-time1,510.21,494.4-15.8-61.8-1.0-4.0
Unemployment434.3414.7-19.6-55.2-4.5-11.7
Participation rate61.861.7-0.1-0.3
Unemployment rate5.85.6-0.2-0.8
Employment rate58.258.30.10.2
Part-time rate21.621.3-0.3-1.2 …

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Fewer Blackberry Jobs and Sunday’s Best

Yes indeed, I can never miss out on using that double entendre, but with Research in Motion now flailing like Nortel in 2000 (I SAID IT! I MEANT IT!), what does this mean for Canada’s latest Tech Darling? I know a lot of folks who are at RIM, so I am not wishing the company bad luck, but they certainly did hire a lot of movers, shakers and sycophants from the Nortel Middle and Upper Management chain, I have to wonder. Is this the end? I have no idea, but I think tough times are ahead for them, and given I keep seeing notes on Facebook about BlackBerry outages, I gotta wonder?

This past week, my Twittering was across the board, given the diverse (read scatter brained) postings I made for the week:

  • I haven’t used it much but with Sunday Banking, I wondered whether it would last, and it has at my local TD branch that is for sure.
  • Given I talked about employment on Monday, I managed to show my twitter peeps what it was like in 2010 with Unemployment and Employment August 2010.
  • Given the issues that arose from me procrastinating on computers Procrastination and Finances, I point out that sometimes procrastination works, and sometimes it costs us (yes I DO mean money).
  • I went into my archive of sarcasm with Dumber than Snake Mittens, which I still love to read every once in a while.
  • Remember that time and hindsight are cruel mistresses and with Twenty Years ago is a Long Time, I point out how they have beaten on me pretty hard. Oh and 13 days after that post I was laid off by Nortel.

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