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Calgary looking at taxing home businesses

The report also says the city should explore ways to try and tax the digital market.

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A City of Calgary financial task force says the city should start taxing home businesses.

The extensive report by the Financial Task Force said the city should “develop and implement a tax on home-based small businesses that would become more prevalent due to the transition to the new economy.”

“Consider a different tax rate if a home is used as an office but address the trend toward increased home-work.”

The report, in the works since September, was handed over to city officials on Monday.

It also says the city should explore ways to try and tax the digital market.

“Develop and implement taxation for e-commerce revenue generated from local consumption of goods and services not reflected in bricks and mortar,” the report states.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation slammed Calgary city council for failing to focus on spending cuts during the downturn. 

“If the city was half as creative at trying to find savings as it is at trying to squeeze more money from taxpayers then a lot more of Calgarians’ problems would have been solved by now,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director.

“Giving more tax powers to big spending Calgary councillors would be like dumping water into a leaky barrel, it’s not going to solve the problem. Families and businesses need meaningful tax relief and that means city councillors need to start tightening their belts like everyone else.”

Council identified the need for a Financial Task Force after changes in the economy resulted in a prolonged decline in demand for downtown office space and a growing supply of inventory that negatively impacted property valuations, the city said in a release.

It caused a significant redistribution of the tax base that these properties previously carried to other properties. 

“The work presented today by the Financial Task Force is a critical piece of Calgary’s economic plan for the future. It has validated many of the steps already underway and has introduced some new ideas for consideration. As we build a city for everyone, this will help inform our actions to keep taxes low while delivering efficient, high quality services,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. 

Some of the recommendations are possible to implement in the near-term with council direction and dedicated resources, while others are longer-term solutions that will require cooperation and collaboration with other orders of government, other municipalities and adjacent counties, the city said.

The report can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Liberal Internet censorship plans no laughing matter

Provisions of the bill “are designed to chill speech” and would impose a “censorship regime” on Canadian internet users, said the Society.

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Jokes will be banned on the Internet if the Liberals get their way, says the Canadian chapter of the Internet Society.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the group has petitioned Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s department to drop his censorship bill.

“The scheme as a whole is aimed at the suppression of speech and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society,” said the Society whose members include a former federal judge.

“This is completely wrong,” the society wrote in a submission to the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Cabinet said if re-elected it would introduce Bill C-36 An Act To Amend The Criminal Code that lapsed in the last Parliament.

Provisions of the bill “are designed to chill speech” and would impose a “censorship regime” on Canadian internet users, said the society.

“The censorship regime is designed to favour censorship over free speech,” it said.

Parliament in 1970 banned hate speech under the Criminal Code, but Bill C-36 would expand the ban to legal content “likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group” under threat of $70,000 fines or house arrest.

The Department of Justice June 23 said the measures “would apply to public communications by individual users on the Internet, including on social media, on personal websites and in mass e-mails,” blog posts, online news sites, “operators of websites that primarily publish their own content” and user-comment sections.

“The proposed legislative scheme is contrary to the guarantees of free speech enshrined in the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms as it applies to lawful speech,” wrote the Internet Society.

“The Charter protects not only the expressive rights of Canadians but the right of Canadians to access the expression of others.”

Society board members include Konrad von Finckenstein, a former federal judge and ex-chair of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, former CRTC commissioner Tim Denton, three corporate lawyers, a former treasurer of the Canadian Media guild and ex-director of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

The Society called Bill C-36 a “wholly unprecedented” measure.

“A certain humility is necessary when Canada attempts to take on the role of policing all harmful speech, everywhere, in the name of protecting the sensibilities of Canadians,” it wrote.

“The scheme is unworthy of consideration by Parliament. Its implementation would diminish the rights of Canadians while failing in its purpose of protecting Canadians from internet harms. The proposal should be withdrawn.”

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Allison: Official bilingualism creates a regional power imbalance

Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

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Bilinguals make up only 18% of our population, yet they dominate our federal institutions.

The reason for this is no secret. Canada’s official bilingualism, legally enshrined in the Official Languages Act (1969), gives a distinct advantage to one class of Canadians; bilinguals, over all others. The Act requires that federal institutions provide services in both French and English. The result is that 40% of federal public service jobs are “designated bilingual.” This means that some 300,000 jobs which make up our federal bureaucracies are available only to 18% of Canadians and closed to the other 82%

What does this mean for regional representation in our federal institutions? It means overrepresentation from Quebec and underrepresentation from the West. About 45% of Quebecers are bilingual whereas only 7% of those in the prairie provinces are bilingual. Thus, the pool of qualified candidates for federal public service jobs is going to be overwhelmingly filled with Quebecers while having scarcely any Westerners. As spokesman for Canadians for Language Fairness, Gordon Miller, writes: “The Official Languages Act has allowed this group [the “Laurentian elite”] to dominate the federal government bureaucracy and further entrench the dominance of the Eastern provinces in federal affairs.”

The Laurentian elite does dominate the federal public service. A total of 67% of the federal public service is made up of Quebecers and Ontarians and only 11% are from the prairie provinces. Of course, official bilingualism is not the only cause that has explanatory power in the case of this discrepancy. The federal capital being located on the border between the two most populous provinces also plays a significant role in determining the regional makeup of the federal public service (a separate and distinct advantage that the Laurentians have over Westerners in controlling federal institutions). In fact, 42% of federal public service employees live in the National Capital Region in Ottawa-Gatineau.

But, when it comes to those who rise the ranks in Canada’s federal bureaucracy, official bilingualism provides an explanation for its overwhelmingly Quebecer makeup. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal Marc Noël, the Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson for the National Film Board of Canada Claude Joli-Coeur, the Director and CEO of the Canada Council of the Arts Simon Brault, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Stéphane Perrault, and the Director of CSIS David Vigneault are all Quebecers. The board of directors for the CBC, is also made up of 33% Quebecers with only one member hailing from the prairie provinces — Jennifer Moore Rattray from Manitoba. As Washington Post columnist, J.J. McCullough, suggests: “It is really hard to argue that by some massive coincidence the most qualified people for all of these jobs just happen to be Quebecers.”

Indeed, it is no coincidence. Since all federal institutions must provide services in both French and English, it is likely to have a bilingual in charge of these federal bureaucracies in order to ensure that these institutions run smoothly. As a result, Quebecers with their disproportionate number of bilinguals, have come to dominate the highest ranks of these bureaucracies.

Official bilingualism lays the groundwork for these regional disparities in Canada’s federal bureaucracies. Quebecers are overwhelmingly more likely to be bilingual than Westerners. As such, Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

Andrew Allison is a PhD philosophy student at the University of Calgary
andrew.allison@ucalgary.ca

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Sask removes QR codes from vaccine passports

Residents will be able to download their proof of vaccination record on Saturday, but the QR code will not be included.

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Saskatchewan is temporarily removing QR codes from its vaccine passports after privacy breaches were found.

The government said the vaccination records of up to 19 residents have the potential to display another person’s QR code.

The province said one person’s private information has been “erroneously captured.”

That person has been notified, as has the Office of the Information and Privacy Officer of Saskatchewan.

Residents will be able to download their proof of vaccination record on Saturday, but the QR code will not be included.

“Citizens who have already printed/downloaded/captured the QR code on their COVID-19 vaccination record between September 19-24, are asked to destroy/delete any records with their COVID-19 QR code as the code will be made invalid,” the government said in a release.

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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