Canada’s Dangerously Distorted Tax Conversation

Canada and Malaysia sign deal to improve cooperation on security issues

But that discount is coming right out of the pockets of shale producers. Canada needs condensate. The U.S. has too much of the stuff. The challenge is moving it. Who’s poised to profit At the moment, the only way to export condensate to Canada is through theEnbridge (NYSE: ENB ) Southern Lights pipeline which transports 180,000 bpd from Illinois to Alberta. The problem is shipping condensate from Texas to Patoka, Illinois where the line begins. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP ) is trying to position itself as the leading condensate shipper. The company built a condensate pipeline that can move 300,000 bpd from the shale basin to the Houston area. From Houston, condensate can be shipped through a third-party Explorer pipeline to Hammond, Illinois. Admittedly Illinois is still on long way from northern Alberta. To get the condensate the rest of the way Kinder Morgan has two strategies. First, extend the Explorer pipeline to connect with Southern Lights. That link should be in service by 2014. Second, connect Explorer to the company’s existing Cochin pipeline. Propane volumes along the route have been in decline anyway.

The emerging economies have been a bright spot in global economic growth and a number of Canadian firms have capitalized. Marc Parent, the chief executive officer of Montreal-based CAE, says Canada punches “way above our weight” in the aerospace sector, and CAE’s flight simulators and pilot training are part of that success. A growing Southeast Asian middle class is a key driver, said Parent. And having a stream of top Canadian officials from ministers to the Governor General and now the prime minister visit the region in recent years has helped as well. “I can tell you it’s translated into increased business for us in Brunei, in the Philippines and other (regional) nations,” Parent told reporters. He was part of the round table group that met Harper on Saturday in a downtown hotel. Talisman Energy, Bombardier Rail, Teknion Furniture and several major financial institutions are among the Canadian firms already cashing in on regional growth. CAE Inc., does all the pilot training for Air Asia, a discount airline that’s the fastest growing in the region. Canadian business presence in Malaysia may be growing, but the Chinese regional colossus puts Canada-Malaysian two-way trade in sharp perspective and explains the fawning media coverage accorded President Xi’s visit. Canada-Malaysia commercial trade tops out at about $3 billion annually, while China is doing almost $100 billion dollars a year in trade with Malaysia. On Saturday, President Xi said he’d like to see that total hit $160 billion a year by 2017. Small wonder then that Harper is keying in on trade talks with Pacific Rim countries Malaysia included as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Those talks will be a subtext of the leaders’ summit that begins Monday on the Indonesian island of Bali, where Harper heads later Sunday.

How to Profit From Canada’s Crude Oil Shortage

Its not surprising then that even as federal taxes as a share of GDP keep hitting new lows, even after billions in cuts over the last couple of decades by all levels of government whatever their political stripe, more reductions are in store. Income splitting, for instance, would put money in the hands of middle-class families, many of whom feel stretched by decades of income stagnation. But a strong case has been made by experts that this tax cut would treat families inequitably, would create disincentives to work for some and would deprive federal and provincial governments of billions that could be used to better serve families and children say, infrastructure or child care. And yet theres no indication that any party will fight this or any other cut. Even New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair recently signalled that the NDP were full members of the anti-tax brigade. He promised that if he were to become prime minister, he would definitely not raise personal taxes Period. Full stop. though he admittedly left some room for various forms of corporate taxation. The current conversation is a consequence of the neo-liberal economic policy that began to dominate American and British politics in the early 1980s, and emerged more slowly and subtly in Canada at around the same time. In this view, economic growth and individual freedom are best served by reducing government and its influence and letting the market do its work. Politically, tax cuts were treated as a free good with little discussion of what public services would be lost and at what cost. We still get promises of tax cuts as though they will magically pay for themselves or will simply require greater efficiencies and less waste. Yet the numbers on waste never add up and the cuts inevitably lead to eroding public services, rising inequality, environmental deterioration and lost opportunity. There is no gravy train and no free lunch. But changing the conversation is never easy.

Jack Knox: O Canada, on guard for better or for verse

Her tenure was comparable to that of Admiral Karl Doenitz, who ran Germany just long enough to order its surrender after the death of Hitler. Calling Kim Campbell a former prime minister is like saying James Spader starred in The Office. If you want to get upset about tradition, consider this: In 146 years, Canada has had a female prime minister for just 133 days. (In fact, Port Albernis Campbell was also the only prime minister born in B.C.) Thats of greater concern than a minor reworking of the anthem. But jeez, people get fussed about this stuff, particularly at sporting events where the anthems get thrown around like political footballs. Canucks fans who normally mouth O Canada in a barely audible murmur thunder like the Red Army Chorus when Vancouver plays Chicago in the playoffs. Victoria lacrosse fans grumbled when a few of the Six Nations Chiefs supporters stayed seated during the anthem at last months Mann Cup. Back in 1995, when Las Vegas was in the CFL, it caused a minor international incident when some lounge singer sang OCanada to the tune of OChristmas Tree. Its not just a Canadian thing. Some Brits got in a snit when the Welsh national anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (translation: Try pronouncing that, you English bastards) was sung at the FA Cup final. In France, where publicly insulting the national anthem is against the law, the interior minister threatened to charge Parisians of North African descent who booed La Marseillaise at a France-Tunisia soccer game. Can see why North Africans might not like the song, though. La Marseillaise has a xenophobic bent, warning of foreign invaders who are, as the first verse puts it, coming into our midst/ To cut the throats of your sons and consorts. The chorus urges the French to slaughter the foreigners right back: Let impure blood/ Water our furrows. Sounds like something Voldemort would sing in Harry Potter.