Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

National

Small-business lobby group sharpens criticism of Liberals’ carbon-tax program

Published

OTTAWA — An organization of small-business owners that helped spearhead a public campaign against the Trudeau government’s tax-change proposals for private corporations is sharpening its criticism of the Liberals’ forthcoming carbon-tax program.

The carbon tax has generated intense political debate across the country and it’s destined to be a key campaign issue in October’s federal election.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released a poll Tuesday that says the majority of its members believe the carbon tax is “deeply unfair.”

Most of its members, the report also said, worry they’ll be unable to pass along the bulk of the extra carbon-tax costs to their customers, leaving smaller businesses in a position where they’ll have to subsidize household rebates under the program.

The survey, however, could be self-reinforcing. More than two-thirds of CFIB members polled didn’t support any kind of carbon pricing to fight climate change.

The online survey was completed by 3,527 CFIB members in the four provinces — Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — that will have to follow the Trudeau government’s carbon-pricing system as of April 1 because they don’t have their own regimes. 

The lobby group, made up of more than 110,000 small- and medium-sized businesses, represents a small segment — just under 11 per cent — of Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses.

Still, the organization has found success in the past as a critic of government proposals.

In late 2017, CFIB helped lead a vocal campaign against Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s package of tax-reform proposals for private corporations. The campaign spent months criticizing his plan, warning it would hurt the very middle class the Trudeau government claimed it was trying to help.

Morneau defended the proposals by insisting they were designed to stop wealthy owners of private corporations from unfairly taking advantage of the tax system.

In the end, the uproar forced him to back away from some elements of his plan.

CFIB has strongly opposed the federal carbon-tax plan out of concern it will pile on too many costs for smaller companies.

The Liberal government believes carbon pricing, which has been in place for years in provinces like British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta, is one of the best ways to lower emissions. The Liberals argue pollution is already getting expensive for Canadians as costs from climate-change-related weather events have climbed to more than $1 billion a year.

The federal climate-change plan also includes efforts to develop clean-fuel standards, create new energy-efficiency building codes and phase out electricity generation from coal.

“Our plan puts a price on what we don’t want — pollution — so that we can get to what we do want: a better future for our kids and our grandkids tomorrow, and money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadians today,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau tweeted Tuesday.

The opposition Conservatives have repeatedly called the Liberal system a “tax grab” that will hurt the bottom lines of small businesses and families, kill jobs and make the country less competitive. Moving forward, the Tories warn carbon-tax bills will only get bigger.

Several provincial leaders have also become vocal opponents of the federal program.

Under the program, Ottawa says 90 per cent of the revenues it collects will be returned via rebates to households in each of the four provinces. Consumers will get by far the largest share because the government expects them to ultimately pay most of the new costs, passed down from businesses.

The CFIB poll, conducted in November, says about 80 per cent of respondents didn’t think it would be easy for them to forward costs on to their customers. It found 55 per cent of those surveyed didn’t expect to pass on any of the additional costs, while 25 per cent said they will be able to pass on less than 25 per cent of the extra costs.

“These findings should be deeply worrisome to public policy makers,” said the report, which also repeats CFIB’s concerns the carbon tax will arrive the same year that businesses’ Canada Pension Plan premiums start to rise.

“It means small firms will be forced to find the resources to pay the tax from the business itself, which means it may come at the expense of wages, jobs or future business growth.”

CFIB is calling on Ottawa to limit the impact on smaller businesses, including reassurance the same proportion of revenue collected from these firms is returned to them.

Ottawa has said 10 per cent of the revenue from the carbon tax will be dedicated to a program to help organizations, such as schools, that are unable to pass on the costs via higher prices. 

Part of this portion — worth about $1.5 billion — will also be used to help small- and medium-sized businesses adapt to carbon pricing over the next five years, the government has said.

“We are still working with small businesses on how revenue from carbon pollution pricing will be returned to support Canadian businesses to reduce their emissions and their costs, and become more energy efficient and competitive,” Sabrina Kim, a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, wrote in an email.

— Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press





Agriculture

151st Cowichan Exhibition includes new category: best home-grown pot

Published

on

VICTORIA — One of Canada’s oldest fall fairs is putting a new twist on its annual showcase of local livestock, produce and fruit by adding a new category for best home-grown marijuana.

The Cowichan Exhibition in Duncan, B.C., which dates back to 1868, has created a best cannabis category to embrace legalization and celebrate local pot growers, said exhibition vice-president Bud James.

The fair starts Friday and the cannabis entries will be on display in the main hall at the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds along with the region’s top vegetables, fruits and baked goods. First prize is $5, second is $3 and third place gets a ribbon.

“We just decided this year, because it’s an agricultural product, and it’s been grown in the valley for years, and now that it’s finally legally grown, we would allow people to win a ribbon for the best,” said James.

He said fair officials believe the Cowichan cannabis category is the first of its kind in Canada.

An official at the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, a non-profit organization representing rural and urban fairs, said she had not heard of any other cannabis judging contests prior to the Cowichan Exhibition, but couldn’t confirm it was the first.

A fall fair in Grand Forks, B.C., is also judging local cannabis, but the event starts Saturday, one day after Cowichan’s fair. Those who enter the competition in Grand Forks can compete for best indoor- and outdoor-grown cannabis.

James said fair organizers contacted the local council and RCMP prior to adding the cannabis category. The mayor and council did not oppose the contest and the RCMP referred organizers to B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, the agency monitoring retail sales of non-medical cannabis, he said.

Organizers decided to go ahead with the event after its plans were not rejected, James said.

“Our interpretation of the rules are you can’t make it attractive to people under 19 years and we are not making it attractive,” he said.

James said the cannabis entries will be placed in a glass display case and the individual entries will be sealed in clear zip lock plastic bags.

“It’s being judged to the same standard of judging garden and field produce,” he said. “It’s done by uniformity. You want all three buds to be the same size, same shape, same colour. It’s also the dryness, texture and smell. It’s exactly the same way you would judge apples or carrots or hay bales. It’s all done the same way.”

James said the contest doesn’t involve sampling the product.

Bree Tweet, the manager of a medical cannabis dispensary in nearby Ladysmith, will judge the marijuana entries, said James.

The exhibition received 18 cannabis entries and James said the contest created a buzz at the fair.

“The enthusiasm of the entrants, the people bringing their entry forms, they are so enthusiastic it’s unbelievable,” he said. “They are so thrilled that it’s happening, that we’re doing it because they’ve been waiting for years for legalization and now, they finally got it and now they have a chance to show what they can do.”

James, who has entered his prized Dahlia flowers at past fairs, said the addition of the cannabis category has exceeded expectations with the 18 entries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Education

School board defends book pictured on principal’s desk after online uproar

Published

on

A Toronto-area Catholic school board says an online firestorm that erupted after a book on how to teach black students was photographed on a principal’s desk stems from a misunderstanding over the book’s contents.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board says the book, titled “The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys,” has a provocative title but is actually a helpful resource on tackling racial and cultural oppression in education.

Michelle Coutinho, the board’s principal of equity and inclusive education, says such materials are a particularly useful reference given how diverse the student population is in the district and at that specific school.

The controversy emerged this week after a Brampton, Ont., high school, Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, posted a photo of its new principal on Twitter.

The photo, which shows the book on her desk, set off heated debate, with some suggesting it was a sign of racism or incompetence, or a prop meant to bolster the school’s image.

The image was also shared on instagram by 6ixBuzzTV, a popular account with roughly 1.2 million followers.

“LOOOOL. No principal should make it this far while subsequently needing a book like this,” one person wrote on Twitter. “She a bad principal,” wrote another.

Some defended the book, however, and the principal’s efforts to educate herself. “She’s making an effort to connect with her students, it’s more than most principals do,” another tweet read.

The board said it was surprised by the uproar and hoped people would look up the book before jumping to conclusions based on its title.

The principal intends to address the photo in a public announcement and invite any students with lingering questions to see her, said Bruce Campbell, the board’s spokesman.

The book, written by three researchers and published in 2017, aims to improve outcomes for black students by helping teachers create learning environments in which they feel nurtured and engaged. The title references the fact that white women make up the bulk of the teaching force in the U.S.

Coutinho said the book asks educators to challenge the biases they may bring into the classroom.

“We know that we’re steeped in a colonized kind of world view and how do we break out of that in our everyday practices?” she said, noting it has been used in the board’s anti-oppression training in the past.

Cardinal Ambrozic’s new principal was involved in a book study at several schools that delved deeply into the text last year, Coutinho said.

“If we’re going to make any changes to the education system, we have to start talking about these things and talking about them openly and honestly without shame or blame.”

 

 

 

 

 

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

september, 2019

tue06augAll Daysun29sepHot Mess - Erin Boake featured at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery(All Day)

Trending

X