1. Nothing says 'nineteenth-century war' like puppets and south-east Asian music, right? (I've fixed Ibbitson's error in the first line.)
ConservativeHarper government is planning a $100-million national celebration to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812 next year.
It is understood that the current plans for the commemoration include re-enactments of famous battles, the repair of monuments and plaques, a new visitor centre at Fort York in Toronto, a documentary, a national essay-writing competition and a dedicated website. Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary for Canadian Heritage, confirmed the government is keen to make the bicentennial a major event. He said the Prime Minister and Heritage Minister James Moore are intent on making sure the significance of the anniversary isn't missed.
Plaques! Website! Dedicated website, even! Essay-writing!
This regime can really spend major dough on minor crap, can't it?
But where, you ask, do the puppets come in? Because of the ignerant immigrants, of course.
One of the challenges identified by some event organizers is how to interest recent immigrants to Canada. Ms. Shaul [project manager for the City of Toronto's bicentennial commemorations] said one proposal is to tell the story of 1812 using puppets accompanied by south-east Asian music.
Are we embarrassed yet?
2. How about billions of bucks for R&D on potted plants?
This year, Ottawa and the provinces will dispense $4.7-billion to more than 20,000 Canadian companies under one of the richest R&D tax regimes in the world. But a third or more of that cash is being wasted and paid to consultants as a result of hazy rules on what’s legitimate R&D and limited government auditing resources, according to dozens of interviews with consultants, claimants and government officials.
Here's how it works. In Canada, unlike civilized places, the Harper regime does not directly fund R&D, it hands out tax breaks. But the rules are fuzzy and the paperwork is daunting, so greedy companies hire 'consultants', often the very wonks who created the program, to apply for the dough. The lack of clarity, oversight, and serious penalties promote lotsa bogus claims, which nonetheless get approved.
The program is so wildly popular that bureaucrats are vetting proposals on an 'eeny-meeny-miney-mo' basis.
And it has very little economic benefit.
At a time when experts worry Canada is falling badly behind in the global innovation race, Ottawa often touts its Scientific Research and Experimental Development program as a key part of the answer – a powerful lure to get companies to invest here and generate wealth. In fact, the government’s own studies have found the program generates almost no economic benefits. And the low risk of getting caught means too much of the money winds up in the hands of people who do little or no R&D, including small manufacturers, consultants and lenders.
The dilemma is that many claims may meet the agency’s minimum filing guidelines, and yet constitute highly dubious R&D. The result, experts said, is that Canadian taxpayers are spending billions on a program that too often delivers little or no new R&D.
Senior Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officials exposed the growing scourge of bogus claims at a series of recent meetings with industry consultants and accountants, The Globe and Mail has learned. At one of the gatherings, a CRA executive complained about unscrupulous consultants “carpet bombing” entire area codes and then flooding the agency with claims for many companies that do little or no R&D.
Money is often paid out to decidedly low-tech and routine manufacturing, such as baking gluten-free cake, making injection-moulded auto parts or growing potted roses. Carefully documented and presented as scientific investigation, this kind of work is worth millions in government cash.
. . .
Exploiting grey areas in the law has become big business for consultants. Some even brag about pitching SR&ED to businesses who don’t do conventional R&D, such as restaurants and bakeries.
Win-win-win for crooks.
Lose-lose-lose for taxpayers.
This is your Harper Regime, continuing to break government and hog-tie the next one with debt.