Monday, 14 March 2011

Puppets and Potted Plants

I'm thinking of starting a series, 'Your Morning Piss-Off'. I know, I know, there will be no shortage of material under the Harper Regime, and, in fact, today there are two Morning Piss-Offs.

1. Nothing says 'nineteenth-century war' like puppets and south-east Asian music, right? (I've fixed Ibbitson's error in the first line.)
The Conservative Harper 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.


Nadine Lumley said...

▌♥ ▌

Check out Catch 22 Tories;

it's a multi-partisan group with a national strategy for voting.

::: (\_(\ ...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*
*: (=' :') :::::::: Catch 22 Tories :::::::::::
•.. (,('')('')¤...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*...*
2008 Federal Election Results by Riding in excel sheet


In 2006, Harper won his "minority" government by 4,502 votes in 11 ridings across Canada. That's it.

Having an extra illegal $1.3 million to throw around helped cinch the election for them.

Abusing the advertising rules by using no-chance ridings to divert money and bolster their advertising in competitive ridings is illegal when the party's reached its cap. It is more than an accounting or administrative error. It is yet another deliberate manipulation of the voting system to achieve an undemocratic result.

k'in said...

Remember during the G20 jackboot fest when the "authorities" went around and chopped down all the trees? Because they were paranoid that the "scary" protesters were going to rip them out of the ground (!!!) and use them as weapons?

Maybe they are hoping to R&D plants with big-ass superhero roots to thwart future protesters and their big muscles.

Sixth Estate said...

I wonder if Ms. Shaul was able to say that with a straight face. The Chinese puppet edition of the War of 1812?

fern hill said...

Here's Nadine's link made clickable.

Is there a name for that kind of creativity, Nadine? Keyboard art?

fern hill said...

Ah but k'in, then we get into an R&D arms race.

fern hill said...

Sixth Estate: one of the reasons I hadda leave PR, couldn't keep a straight face. Seriously, I had a co-worker assigned to elbow me in the ribs when I was about to crack up. Ribs were taking a lot of punishment. I quit.

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