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EARLY Federal Vote Likely in Spring

September 21st, 2014 · 18 Comments

Canadians are not supposed to go to the polls federally till NEXT Fall … but don’t bet on that!

The stars … as well as the courts, and the polls, and the issues … are all aligning for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call the vote for next Spring.

How about after a new federal budget, showing a surplus and opening the way for new income tax reductions!

Here’s why ….

A few weeks ago, former BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon calculated that by fiscal year end,  the federal SURPLUS will be even larger than federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver’s has indicated:

“Minister Oliver advised that Canada is poised to deliver a budget surplus of at least $6.4 billion early next year. I expect the government will do even better when factoring in its $3-billion forecast allowance cushion.”

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Opinion+Expected+budget+surplus+gives+hope+future+reductions/10141903/story.html#ixzz3DuBwpCou

And under current projections, the government will collect $3 BILLION more from Employment Insurance premiums in 2015 alone than it will need to cover claims.

The Conservatives have announce premium cuts for small business that will cut $550 million from those revenues …but that still leaves a lot of extra bucks stuffed  in the government’s pockets.

This recently from the site iPolitics on the web addressing Oliver: “You already have the final financial results for 2013-14 which, in our opinion, will show a deficit significantly lower than the estimate in the 2014 budget. That means there actually could be a substantial surplus this year, along with a 2015-16 surplus larger than the $6.4 billion forecast and larger surpluses in the outer years.”

What better for a government to do with a surplus than buy votes! Bribe the taxpayers by promising them SOME of their own money back.  At least until after the ballots are counted.

Especially as Harper worries about a few other not-so-positive happenings shaping up politically.

Like the trial of Senator Mike Duffy … that Harper appointee now charged with 31 criminal breaches, involving fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

Duffy is seeking an early Spring or Summer trial … so of course the pressure is ON for Harper to call an election shortly after a new Budget is handed down in early 2015 …. BEFORE the muck starts to fly in the “Honorable” Senator’s trial.

What a nightmare for the Prime Minister and the Tories to have that trial taking place during or just before a federal election!

And don’t forget Pamella Wallin: what might still come out of that debacle in the next few months?  ANOTHER  trial next Spring, Summer or Fall?

With the Prime Minister subpoenaed as a WITNESS in both?

What fun!!!  But NOT for Harper!

And then there are the polls.

Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair and the NDP have clearly been faltering  … consistently well behind Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau now … and are not only scrambling to get a platform together NOW, but will also try something new: announcing various proposals/details over the next several months … like maybe a $15 an hour minimum wage …  instead of waiting to come out with their platform during a campaign.

I suspect they realize that once the Duffy trial and testimonies does begin … Canadians will be more interested in THAT than politicans’ press conferences, photo ops or pamphlets.

With Trudeau as Harper’s REAL and GROWING concern,  I expect Harper will want to seek a new mandate before Canadians get TOO comfortable with the Liberal leader and many lose their impression that he still too inexperienced and unaccomplished for the top job.

In fact, I could even see Harper looking for an excuse to go to the people this Fall … denying Trudeau and Mulcair all those days in the Commons Question Period cutting up the government’s programs, failings, energy and environmental stances …or lack of them.

But I believe he’ll wait till Spring:  campaigning in many parts of Canada in late October and November could pose serious challenges; and, more importantly, if the Republicans in the US take control of BOTH  the Congress and the Senate, approval of the Keystone pipeline in BOTH Houses could come before Spring … a feather in Harper’s cap, both economically and  politically.

It’s all adding up … the positives and, more importantly, the negatives … making the scheduled Fall 2015 vote very unlikely.

Especially if Duffy gets his EARLY trial!

Harv Oberfeld

→ 18 CommentsTags: National

Jas Johal Quits Global TV

September 18th, 2014 · 22 Comments

Senior reporter Jas Johal gave Global TV notice Thursday  he’s leaving in two weeks.

And he’s NOT going to another TV station either: apparently although only 44, he’s had enough of the business …at least for now.

Johal is a past winner of two Webster Awards and a Radio, Television, News Directors’ Award, Can-Pro and Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Award.

He been at Global BC and Global National for about 20 years in all.

What many do not know is that I was the one …  after hearing some of his terrific work while he was working for CKNW … phoned him and told him BCTV had an opening and suggested he apply.  We talked about the transition required to move from another medium (in my case newspapers) and I said I felt he could do it quite well.  He applied … and was hired.

Good move … for Jas …and BCTV!

But he’s now leaving the news business to join an international company that’s involved in business dealings between Asia and Canada.

No doubt a good fit for that firm, with Johal having headed Global’s Asia bureau, based in Beijing and also working and reporting in India, Pakistan, South Korea and the Middle East.  Lots of knowledge …and contacts!

But it’s a loss of another senior reporter on BC’s media scene.

And of course, I can’t help buy wonder how much the current state of local television news affected his decision to move on?

Wish him well.  He deserves it.

Harv Oberfeld

 

→ 22 CommentsTags: British Columbia · Media