17 posts categorized "tourism"

September 22, 2008

How Do You Like These Numbers? Proof That You Can Be Progressive and Productive

The new liberal platform is about so much more than dollars and cents. It factors in the needs of everyday people (as opposed to mega-corporations) and it begins to address long-standing issues of poverty and injustice. This is a blueprint for a Canada that can make us all feel proud about our country again. We can feel that unifying sense of shared purpose that comes from pulling together to achieve shared goals: a juster, fairer, and greener Canada.

If you can't decide who to vote for in this election, I'd like to challenge you to vote for hope and change.
Cast your vote in the direction of optimism. Place your faith in someone who has a vision of a better Canada and who was tough enough to stand up against the naysayers for the past two-and-a-half years because he wanted to get to this place: a time when he could cast out his vision, share it with his fellow Canadians, and watch it take root and grow.Hopegraffitti

It's also a practical vision -- one with dollars and cents attached. I'm talking real money that will end up in your pocket (as opposed to disappearing in a non-refundable tax credit that only pays off for a select few).

It's not often that I can feel good about something from both a mom perspective (I have four kids) and a small business perspective (I have my own business), but the new Liberal Party platform has lots to offer Canadian parents and entrepreneurs.

Here's what Liberal leader Stéphane Dion had to say earlier today: "A Liberal government will get the fundamentals of the economy right," said Mr. Dion. "We will build a richer Canada by cutting taxes for all Canadian families and businesses, making them more competitive; we will build a fairer Canada by directing significant tax benefits to families with children, increasing benefits to the disabled, seniors and families struggling to achieve success; and we will build a greener Canada by targeting tax cuts to Canadians and businesses to invest in renewable, energy efficient technologies."

A Liberal government will build a richer Canada by:

  • leaving more in the pockets of Canadians by lowering the lowest- and middle-income tax rates. Lowering income taxes as much as 10 per cent for many Canadians;
  • increasing the competitiveness of Canadian small businesses by lowering the small business tax rate to 10 per cent from 11 per cent. This represents a nine per cent cut in small business taxes;
  • lowering the corporate tax rate to 14 per cent by 2013, making Canada one of the most competitive business jurisdictions in the world, driving the Canadian economy and creating jobs; and
  • investing in the future and simplifying the tax system for post-secondary students providing most students approximately $1000 each year, and extending the $400 per month education tax credit to apprentices. [This sounds great. I have two kids in college and a third who is considering an apprenticeship program.]

A Liberal government will build a fairer Canada by:

  • introducing a new $350 refundable child tax credit that will benefit all families;
  • increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors by $600 a year for low-income seniors even if they don't earn enough to pay taxes, and by $800 a year for low-income senior couples;
  • improving the employment credit for low and middle-income Canadians and putting up to $250 more into their pockets;
  • making the Disability Tax Credit refundable, significantly improving the incomes of disabled Canadians with low incomes;
  • finally indexing the Northern Residents Deduction so the tax benefit addresses the changing costs of Northern Canadians;
  • improving the Working Income Tax Credit for low-income Canadians and help them get over the welfare wall; and
  • creating a new Guaranteed Family Supplement for the poorest families with children, worth $1,225 a year more per family.

A Liberal government will build a greener Canada by:

  • providing up to $10,000 in refundable tax benefits to Canadian families for investments in energy-saving retrofits to their homes. This will improve energy efficiency, contribute to the fight against climate change and save Canadians money;
  • implementing an Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance rates, which will provide new tax benefits to Canadian businesses that invest in green technologies. As the price of fossil fuels rises, this tax benefit will
  • accelerate the investment in the technologies that will improve the competitiveness of Canadian companies; and
  • improving the Science, Research & Experimental Development tax credit, giving tax benefits to Canadians that innovate and build the solutions of the future.


"The Conservatives have not invested in Canadians, have not lowered income taxes or invested in innovation. That is why Canada has had the lowest growth and productivity since 1990," said Dion. "The Liberal Party is the only party that will lower taxes for Canadians in a progressive and effective way. Only a Liberal government will get the fundamentals right and build the economy for all Canadians."

Liberals Unveil Fully Costed Party Platform: Richer, Fairer, Greener: An Action Plan for the 21st Century

Itsawayoflife Here are the details of the Liberal Party Platform,
as released this morning.

I am very excited by this vision for Canada --
a Canada that has been MIA for the better part of three years.

I want my Canada back.

- Ann

"Liberals are proud to continue our tradition of strong economic and fiscal management.Fiscal discipline is now part of the Liberal DNA. We were the party that turned a huge deficit into eight years of surpluses, and we will continue to put fiscal responsibility first. A Liberal government will never put Canada into deficit. Period."
- Liberal leader Stéphane Dion

"Richer, Fairer, Greener," the Liberal Party of Canada's fully-costed, fiscally-responsible platform, lays out a progressive, inclusive vision to make Canada a stronger country for the next generation.

The plan includes a contingency reserve of $3 billion a year to be applied to the debt if it's not used.

The cornerstone of the Liberal platform is the Green Shift plan. This innovative and forward-thinking plan will cut income taxes, put a price on pollution, fight poverty and position Canada to be a leader in the 21st-century global economy.

Download Your Copy of the Full Plan, Including Costs:
Richer, Fairer, Greener : An Action Plan for the 21st Century


The Liberal Platform at a Glance


A Richer Canada


  • A Strong Climate for Growth: Balanced Budgets,
  • Tackling the Infrastructure Deficit in our Cities and Communities,
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Prosperity Fund,
  • Strong Rural and Northern Canada, Investment in Research & Development, Providing Access to Post-Secondary Education, Supporting Canadian Culture

A Greener Canada


  • A Plan to Fight the Climate Change Crisis,
  • Clean Air,
  • Safeguarding our Water,
  • Protecting our Health from Toxic Substances,
  • Protecting Our Natural Heritage,
  • Empowering Canadians

A Fairer Canada


  • The 30-50 Plan,
  • Investing in Our Children,
  • Health Care,
  • Women’s Equality,
  • Immigration:
  • Welcoming New Canadians,
  • EI Changes,
  • A New Relationship with Canada’s First Nations,
  • Inuit and Métis,
  • Minority Language Rights,
  • A Safer Canada,
  • Respectful Federalism

Canada and the World


  • Climate Change and Global Security,
  • Diplomacy:
  • Projecting Canadian Values Abroad,
  • Development:
  • Sharing Canadian Hope and Vision with the World,
  • Stronger Relationships,
  • Trade,
  • Defence,
  • Arctic Sovereignty

September 21, 2008

Dean Del Mastro, Peterborough Politicians Get Lesson in Transparency 101, Courtesy of Letter Writer to Peterborough Examiner

Wrongway_2 Peterborough municipal politicians and business leaders -- and, of course, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro -- were given a crash course in Ethics 101, courtesy of this letter in yesterday's Peterborough Examiner:

"We do not pay our MP to be the front man for an unnamed, private developer in a municipal matter. Our public land policies are developed in open forums with all the information on the table. This is called transparency.

"We also engage local citizens, not a cabal of special interest groups behind closed doors. It is disappointing to see our local council members and business leaders climbing on board. Seems there is a ship of fools adrift on Little Lake."

This may leave you wondering why so few people in power in Peterborough seem to understand concepts like conflict of interest, transparency, public perception, and due process.

For years, I've been defending Peterborough against all those "Peterpatch" backwater jokes.

While politicians continue to behave like this, those jokes will continue. And why shouldn't they?

Unfortunately, the joke is on us, Peterborough, because these are the people we choose to elect.

September 13, 2008

Start Re-Running the News; Truth Trainwreck


The Toronto Sun story I linked to earlier in the week -- the August 15th story that predicted a housing boom for Peterborough once (not if) the Toronto-Peterborough train starts running -- has been yanked from its original URL and republished in another section of the paper (with a September 13th publication date).

Unfortunately, the major factual error that I pointed out in Story Version 1.0 is repeated in Story Version 2.0: Despite what one or more of the four sources quoted in the article may have indicated (Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, Finance Minister and MP for Whitby-Oshawa Jim Flaherty, Peterborough Mayor Paul Ayotte, and/or Paul Dietrich, President, Peterborough Home Builder's Association), the train isn't coming to Peterborough anytime soon.

It hasn't even been approved.

Saying that the trains should be arriving in Peterborough within two years is to totally distort the truth.

So what's happening here?

The journalists I know (and I know hundreds) take their jobs very seriously.

They want to get the facts out to their readers -- in this case, people who are trying to decide where to purchase a home -- and who may want to take into account confirmed plans for rail transportation links out of Toronto.

People representing all parties, both federally and provincially, are hoping that Peterborough will soon be added to that list, but we aren't there yet. Anyone pretending otherwise is trying to score political points at the expense of the truth.

It would be interesting to know how this reporter, Heather M. O'Conner, ended up with such incorrect information about the proposed rail link to Peterborough -- the train that got fast-tracked just before budget time.

Could it be that someone had a vested interest in leading her down the wrong track?

Related: Peterborough Examiner's Take on Campaign: Local and National Del Mastro's $90 Million Idea

September 11, 2008

Is it Really Progress if We Destroy What Was Already Perfect?

Lakefielddrive_3 Can the Lakefield-Peterborough River Road devastation teach us some important lessons about Del Mastro's resort mega-project plans for Little Lake?

I took this photo a few weeks ago while I was driving between Peterborough and Lakefield.

It was the first time I had driven this stretch of road since the road crews arrived to rework this once-beautiful winding stretch of highway into a straight piece of road. The work is being done in advance of the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the canal.

The photos I took that day don't properly convey how the landscape has been devastated in the name of progress.

The tiny streams that used to follow the path of the winding road just south of Lakefield have been drained and filled with huge, ugly chunks of crushed rock.

The forest has being forced to yield to the all-mighty road.

What was once the most peaceful, scenic drive imaginable -- a route I'd go outCanaldeservesbetter_2 of my way to enjoy -- has been destroyed.

The most encouraging sign I spotted that day was, quite literally, a sign -- a bold statement posted on a tree that expressed my sentiments exactly:


Before the plans for Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro's dream of a $90 million mega-resort on Little Lake are allowed to bulldoze ahead, area citizens might want to take the time to take the drive between Peterborough and Lakefield and to ask themselves this one simple question:

Is it really progress if we destroy what was already perfect?


Peterborough residents are responding with great skepticism to the Little Lake proposal. I'll be continuing to track the responses, both positive and negative, as they continue to arrive. If you'd like to read a full found-up of responses (including the tedious and the ridiculous, they're out there, too.)

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner wonders why Del Mastro isn't being upfront about who the developer behind the proposal is: after all, if it's just an innocent brainstorming process with a buy with a good idea, there's nothing to be lost by publicly thanking this good corporate citizen for putting forth an interesting proposal, right?

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner wonders why Del Mastro is out of tune with the environmental priorities of his constituents: "In a time when politicians looking out for the interest in Peterborough should be trying to be more ecological and preserve the park spaces we have, I must question what vision Del Mastro has for Peterborough. Listen to the residents of Peterborough; Peterborough should be promoted for its natural beauty without taking away park space for condos and Imax theatres."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner makes this important point: Little Lake is indeed a 'jewel' as Mayor Paul Ayotte says, but I would humbly submit that it should not be 'taken advantage of' [as Ayotte had suggested]. It remains a jewel because it is still largely unspoilt by aggressive urban land use.

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner points out that you can't get Little Lake back once it has been destroyed: "Why would Mr. Del Mastro want to destroy what we have by building a concrete jungle right on the lake? Once the lakefront is destroyed there is no getting it back -- ever....This may be his vision for the future but there are a lot of people who are tired of having politicians push their own agenda on us and our natural environment. Future generations will bemoan the fact that "at one time we had a beautiful park along the lake here in Peterborough but that is all gone now and all we have left is concrete because politicians were so shortsighted and greedy.'"

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner asks: "So what is MP Dean Del Mastro doing to help us prepare for the realities that lie ahead? Shouldn't someone like the media and other politicians start to hold him accountable? At this time in our post-carbon civilization someone has to ask MP Dean Del Mastro what is he doing to support seniors, the poor, and the working poor and the middle class to help them prepare for their uncertain future."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner calls Del Mastro on his latest reference to the train that may be (or may not be) coming to our riding: "Once again, Dean Del Mastro has referred to the coming rail service in regard to his plan for the Little Lake development. It was my understanding that Via Rail was doing another study as to whether a commuter service is feasible (based on our MP's inflated numbers of possible users). I would like to see some proof of Via's agreement to this supposed local commuter service."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner describes the Little Lake proposal as a "kids not wanted" master plan and then calls a spade a spade: "Despite the fact that the plan proposes merely leasing the land from the federal government, and while I hesitate to mix the ugliness of politics with the absolute necessity for extreme sarcasm, the fact that this outright "free enterprise" theft of priceless public property is headed by Peterborough's right wing Conservative MP is not lost on me."

This letter writer to the Peterborough Examiner cuts to the chase: "Destroy Little Lake? Turn a pristine jewel in the midst of our city into a polluting noisemaker? Take another slice of the shoreline for nothing but commercial gain? Pave over green space to accommodate a monstrosity?" [letter continues with equal passion.]

Fear and Loathing on the Canadian Campaign Trail

I don't know about you, but I'm glad someone else is keeping track of all the missteps and nasty business on the campaign trail.

December 30, 2006

Betsy McGregor's Kitchen Table Campaign Hits the Peterborough Examiner

Today's Peterborough Examiner has a story about the "meet and greet" I hosted for Betsy McGregor yesterday. (No, it's not that I'm such a society belle that the coffee parties I throw rate coverage in the local newspaper. When the most exciting thing on the "menu" was store-bought cookies? As if!)

The article reported on a recent item in my other blog when I noted that the actions taken by my local MP had turned me -- a lifelong political spectator -- into a passionate participant in the political process.

The article then went on to describe "The Tim Horton's Summit" -- when Betsy and I met for coffee at the Tim Horton's on George Street in Peterborough and spent about two hours talking about the issues that matter most to both of us when it comes to the future of Peterborough and Canada -- and how I subsequently decided to become a member of her campaign team.

The article concluded by summarizing some of Betsy's background and experience -- she first taught at St. Peter's High School, became a veterinarian; worked for two years overseas with the United Nations; then returned to work in the civil service in Ottawa (Industry Canada, Agriculture Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Co-ordinator of the Task Force on Science and Technology for the Prosperity Initiative, Secretariat of the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee, etc.); and how she is working currently as a senior associate researcher at Trent University and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The article didn't state this, but one thing that really impressed me about Betsy is how much experience she has had in representing Canada on the international stage -- experience that would allow her to advocate for Peterborough, should she be successful in obtaining the Liberal nomination for this riding, and should she be successful in winning the next general election.

After receiving the "Head of Canada's Public Service Award" in 1998, Betsy was supported by the Canadian government  as she coordinated a two year International Working Group on Ethics, Science and Public Policy at Harvard Medical School. Just prior to leaving, Betsy designed Canada's Meech Lake Conference on Ethics, Science and Governance with top world leaders in theology, ethics, science, public policy in preparation for the Harvard think tank.

She is also clearly committed to youth leadership. Her training as a well-known motivational speaker on value-centered leadership was obvious from the way she offered encouraging words to two of my teenagers who are considering careers in science and technology. (I think this is pretty instinctive for Betsy. She has been recognized for being among the leading mentors of girls in science in Canada and part of Betsy's work at Trent is in the area of youth leadership in science and ethics. And she has served on youth leadership boards including Shad.ca, Canadian Association of Girls in Science (CAGIS), and as an advisor to Young  Inventors International.)

As you can imagine, I had a lot of information to absorb during that initial meeting at Tim Horton's. It's a good thing we swapped resumes! It didn't take me long at all to decide that Betsy's training and experience are an excellent fit for the unique challenges faced by Peterborough riding.

The Peterborough Strategic Plan (2006-2010) notes that the future of Peterborough in terms of primary target markets for business attraction, startup, retention, and expansion will be found in the following areas:

Food  processing/agri-food (35%): Betsy is a Doctor  of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the Ontario Veterinary College and  has helped to draft policy during her time on staff at Agriculture Canada;  Biotech and Life Sciences/DNA (25%): Betsy  was a member of the Canadian Delegation and government expert team  negotiating the UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human  Rights and  served several years as a member of the Joint Centre  of Bioethics, Program for Applied Ethics & Biotechnology, at the University of Toronto. Advanced Manufacturing (20%): Betsy worked at  Industry Canada where her focus was on science and technology  competitiveness, emerging markets, and ethics.
Tourism Infrastructure Development (20%):  Betsy grew up on the Kawartha Lakes and understands its importance as a  tourist destination. She is committed to fostering the tourist industry while protecting the natural environment.

Reporter Brendan Wedley did a great job with the story. I only wish the entire story was available  online so that you could read the entire piece. (The headline and the snippet that are available online don't do the story justice.)

BTW -- If you  didn't make it to my "meet and greet" (perhaps because you guessed that I'd  be serving store bought cookies or you'd heard rumors about the clutter Chez  Douglas), but you'd like to meet Betsy in a relaxed, informal setting, she's  going to be hosting "meet and greets" this Sunday afternoon (December 31st) and every Sunday throughout the month of January at 549 Homewood Avenue.  Bring your ideas, questions, and concerns about the future of Peterborough Riding.