This is hopeful

QMI reports,

Ottawa envisage de faire des coupes de l’ordre de 10 % dans son prochain budget, soit l’équivalent de 8 milliards $ par année, a précisé le ministre du Tourisme et de la Petite entreprise, Maxime Bernier.

Jusqu’ici, le gouvernement de Stephen Harper a toujours précisé que deux scénarios étaient envisagés quant aux coupes budgétaires, soit des compressions de l’ordre de 5 % ou de 10 %. Or, il semble qu’on ait retenu cette deuxième option.

Ottawa plans to make cuts of about 10% in its next budget, the equivalent of $ 8 billion a year, said Minister of Tourism and Small Business, Maxime Bernier.

So far, the Harper government has always said that two scenarios were considered with respect to budget cuts, cuts in the order of 5% or 10%. It seems that we have chosen the second option.

John Snobelen on Ronald Reagan

The Toronto Star reports,

“All three candidates are saying the same thing — it’s kind of just with different levels of vitriol,” said [Snobelen, a] 57-year-old former MPP, seen as the most moderate of the three contestants.

“Reagan’s 11th commandment is not a bad thing to follow,” he said, referring to former U.S. president Ronald Reagan’s party-first axiom that “thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

Snobelen, from the Toronto Sun,

I vividly remember the day when my friend and colleague Rob Sampson resigned as Ontario Minister of Corrections.

The questions surrounding Minister Oda are more sinister than those that confronted Sampson. She is accused of misleading (read … well, you know) Parliament about her role in the defunding of Kairos. The specifics of how (or not) the word not came to be on a document aren’t important. What is important, at least to me, is the notion of what it is to be an honourable member of the government.

The definition of ministerial responsibility is always subject to the judgment of the government of the day. Reasonable people can disagree over where the bar should be set. But honour is a personal matter.

My friend Rob Sampson did the honourable thing. Oda should do the same [and resign].

We’ve seen the 11th commandment broken many times during the GOP debates. And, we’ve seen the Canadian conservative analogue of it broken during this Ontario PC race for PCPO President. But let’s not pretend that one candidate is above it all.

KXL: Buffett boon from Obama opposition

Bloomberg News reports:

Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.

Pipeline shipping costs remain lower than rail, and a lack of readily available tanker cars may create a bottleneck.

The availability of tank cars may create a temporary “hiccup” in transport capacity, according to Tony Hatch, an independent railroad analyst in New York. Rail cars are “a pretty hot commodity,” as a result of demand from oil producers in North Dakota, he said.

Buffett has been a big ally of President Obama. His personal secretary is even sitting with Michelle Obama tonight for the State of the Union address, according to POLITICO. Buffett and his secretary have become willing talking points for the Obama administration,

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s longtime secretary will be joining first lady Michelle Obama in her box at tonight’s State of the Union, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer announced on Twitter.

Debbie Bosanek, who has worked for Buffett for nearly two decades, has become a symbol in the White House’s fight over the tax code and economic fairness. Obama is expected to renew his push for the so-called “Buffett rule” that would bring investment taxation levels into line with income taxation levels — and ensure that upper income earners pay rates as high as middle-class Americans.

“Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett,” President Obama said in September, when he unveiled his American Jobs Act proposal. It’s a trope that Buffett himself has repeated, as he has campaigned for higher taxes on investment income.

Meanwhile, shipping oil via pipeline instead of via train costs $3 less per barrel. On one hand Obama and Buffett are hiding behind an image of reluctant capitalism, but when it comes to the energy costs of the middle-class, Buffett wins without hesitation.