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 on: June 15, 2010, 12:55:48 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
On July 1st, Ontario and BC will join the roster of provinces harmonizing their provincial sales tax with the GST. Many goods and services that currently have no PST will suddenly jump 8% in cost as the new combined tax extends the tax-man's reach deeper in our pockets. This includes such basic necessities as hydro, natural gas, and gasoline, along with funerals, lawyer fees, memberships, web design, and internet access.

In British Columbia, former premier Bill Vander Zalm has spearheaded an anti-HST petition to delay implementation of the controversial tax, and subject it to a referendum. Legislation exists in BC to trigger a referendum if a petition gathers the signatures from at least 10% of the eligible voters in every riding. As of June 14, the threshold has been exceeded with 15% of residents signing their name in opposition to the HST.

Ontario has no such petition mechanism, and nobody has taken the lead towards organizing against to the HST here, although some opposition politicians spouted insincere-sounding hyperbole against a tax they would readily embrace if in government themselves.

As a small business owner, the Ontario government has provided their best propaganda to convince us of the coming Pollyanna.

"On July 1st, the HST comes into effect throughout Ontario, replacing the PST and GST. For businesses, it means updating accounting and invoicing systems and taking advantage of tax cuts because of Ontario's tax changes. These tax changes will help your business grow. Learn how you can prepare. Talk to your accountant or visit"

So, business computer software will be updated magically for free, staff will be trained at no expense, and new opportunity awaits! For some reason, an 8% increase in taxes is being touted as a tax cut. This is called governing by convolution, and politicians rely on this technique to fleece taxpayers while pretending there will be net benefits.

They go on to state, "You should modify accounting, billing and invoicing systems, cash register and point-of-sale systems, including web interfaces and automatic payments, to switch to HST and remove PST." All must be ready to operate flawlessly under the new system on July 1st. It appears that government spin doctors have completely underestimated the cost and complexity of making business changes that are by no means trivial, especially for small businesses.

Having a computer system fail or crash is a major business liability. Most businesses could only survive a few days without the ability to bill customers, and the costs of catching up from a system failure are astronomical.

If we are not convinced at the greater efficiency and profit margins that have been promised, the Ontario government provides us with the final compelling arguments, "Assess the impact of HST on budget and business plans to account for lower costs and shifts in business purchasing."

There is a divergence between what they want this to mean, and what reality will face business owners next month. This is the government voodoo where business costs are supposed to be lower, resulting in the paradox of cost savings being passed on to consumers, higher profits, and new hiring - all direct benefits attributed to the HST. Only an overpaid bureaucrat could invent a scenario where lower prices, substantial IT costs, and new staff result in a positive impact to the bottom line.

The entire scheme seems to hinge on the wishful thinking that suppliers will actually pass on any savings at the wholesale level that they actually might generate. Not long ago, it took the threat of federal legislation to bring prices of goods imported from the United States down when our dollar had been flirting with parity. While quick to jack prices on US goods when our dollar dipped to the sixties, they never really did pass any savings along to retailers on the rebound, a disparity that remains evident today.

More proof of the government's flawed projections can be asserted by examining the GST decrease. No evidence was found of any savings being passed on to consumers. In fact, the price of gas actually rose when the GST cuts were supposed to save a penny per litre. If corporations have a chance to line their pockets even more, history shows they will.

Dalton McGuinty has proven to be quite adept at buttering his bread on both sides in order to mislead Ontario voters. He's misrepresented a scenario where businesses will be paying more for everything, doing more paperwork, hiring more people, and relying on purchases from consumers who are stretched even more thin by McGuinty's tax grab.

McGuinty has long insisted that costs will be lower by adding more tax at the barrel-head and every step up the supply chain. Unlike BC, Ontario voters seem destined to roll over and pay through the nose, without questioning McGuinty's flawed logic. One lesson we should have learned is that McGuinty is not inclined to tell us the truth. Only now has McGuinty started to reluctantly admit that the costs of his HST will be far higher than he was telling us.

During the last election, he pledged to not pursue the HST, then became mesmerized when Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty dangled some shiny trinkets to make him sign on. Being the biggest tax grab in Ontario history, McGuinty simply could not resist. He thumbed his nose at the legislature, refused to hold public meetings, and cut off debate in order to give us the tax.

As just about everything starts costing us more, remember Dalton McGuinty arrogantly snubbing taxpayers by telling us we have to wait until the next election to have any say in the matter. On top of the eHealth scandal, Ontario Hydro Sunshine Club domination, and general government waste, voters will have plenty to vote against, and nobody to vote for.

 on: January 19, 2010, 01:43:22 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
There he was, on the front page of the Chatham Daily News again. Not announcing new jobs. Not attending his first important conference. Not even defending his utter incompetence by allowing a prospective industry to drop off the radar after getting elected himself under fallout from similar (allegedly fraudulent) accusations. Nope, mayor Hope is playing games again. Literally.

Many people expected some creative positive spin in the Chatham Daily News following revelations that Chatham-Kent lost a factory to Tillsonburg because nobody bothered to follow up with the entrepreneur. We weren't quite expecting to learn, in the true symbiotic photo-op style mayor Hope and the newspapers are famous for, that Hope has been busy rolling the dice promoting Chatham-Kent using his own unhurried technique.

Mayor Hope believes the future of Chatham-Kent lies in being included on a square of a special edition Monopoly board game. In a way, such trivial pursuits are only fitting for a mayor that treats our tax dollars like play money.

No doubt, he wants his auspicious caricature posted prominently above a less conspicuous "Chatham-Kent" label. In his mind, we needn't pursue meaningful business leads when we can compete with the likes of Toronto, Shawinigan, and Kawartha Lakes for a slice of cardboard rec-room notoriety.

This is an interesting strategy for prosperity. Somebody should remind him that monopoly money isn't real despite having numbers in big, friendly, easy-to-read denominations. Of all the factors potential investors consider when choosing locations to do business, inclusion in a Hasbro game is not liable to tip the board in our favour. It certainly didn't help the establishment formerly located at 745 Seventh Avenue.

With little record of substance to defend, we are only too accustomed to peculiar events staged to promote the mayor instead of the mayor promoting Chatham-Kent in a manner that's meaningful to investors. Mayor Hope continues to act as a lame duck leader, content to take instructions from handlers and smile for his daily media appearance waving from the window. There are still a couple of potential scandals he may need to spin before he uses up all the newspaper's film. Of course, they've had to go digital to accommodate all his photo needs.

Is this board game a genuine opportunity to promote Chatham-Kent, or simply one more in a long string of games - like missing meetings to tip-off basketball, missing conferences for some PR to announce the Olympic torch, and ignoring Retrofest to watch baseball in Tilbury? Even if it has merit, Hope's intentions are already suspect based on his Peter-and-the-wolf grin.

Nevertheless, we might as well cheer for our hometown. The mayor claims we can vote more than once, and his election ethics have already been exonerated so we should trust he knows how to work the system to his advantage. Visit to vote early and vote often. If Hope gets his dream, Chatham-Kent will bump the Boardwalk. Being an election year, perhaps voters will remove these distracting games from the mayor's office with a long walk down a short board.

 on: January 18, 2010, 12:43:30 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by SurveySez
This Mayor and his buddy Mary Lee were so confident of being first out the recession that they dropped a few big leads and figgured they could afford to. Mayor Randy Hope - What Me Worry? At what point will this guy start excepting his responsibility and stop blaming Gagner for his incompetance? Whose advising him anyway, idiots? He actually let a factory get away right under his nose. Guess it's okay when he forgets to follow up something important 'cause he beleives Chatham-Kent will be the FIRST OUT. The CAO and his wife at ED will make sure Mayor/CEO Hope doesn't wear this.

 on: January 18, 2010, 12:32:00 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by SurveySez
I'm convinced. People like Kominek should not be allowed anywhere near our council. What self-serving rubbish! 3 Guesses who his campaign manager is and the first 2 don't count. Those quotes are Proof that we need more educaion not less!! What a coward. Can't even admit to being a member of the only group that would have him as a member. NO MORE SECRET SOCIETY'S RUNNING CHATHAM-KENT!!!

 on: January 18, 2010, 12:25:39 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by SurveySez
I here that counciller Tom McGregor fancies a stab at the top job. He should stick to ward 5 on council 'cause he's handling all of Wallaceburg by himself. He'll only split the vote and we HALF TO GET RID OF CLUELESS HOPE! Their isn't anyone on council fit to be Mayor right now but at lease McGregor is a decent counciller. Sulman thinks he can do it but he shoudl be disbarred for helping Mayor Hope muzzle his opponents by having innocent people sued. Sulman should know better then to abusing the court. WE NEED CHANGE!!!

 on: January 15, 2010, 11:27:29 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
C-K may get new position

Note: this article first appeared in the Chatham Daily News around February 27, 2009. They own the copyright and are responsible for its content. It is reproduced here as fair use for reference since the original article is no longer on the web. They retain all rights and copyright.

In the interest of municipal accountability, the idea of an auditor general will come before council on Monday.

An administrative report released yesterday stated the main task would be performing value for money audits, as well as ensuring transparency and providing council with independent advice.

This report didn't make a recommendation on the position, but simply introduced the concept.

The function of this position differs from an external auditor, who concentrates on financial statements. The auditor general is not required to be a municipal employee, and in this case, would work on a contract basis.

"Should council wish to create an AG office, we would recommend an initial two-year pilot project during which its effectiveness can be evaluated," the report stated.

Including salary, benefits, professional development and equipment, the position would cost approximately $140,000.

However, the report stated some of the costs could be offset through savings found by the auditor general.

As the item is in Monday's consent agenda, it would take an act of council to bring it up for discussion.

Gerry Wolting, general manager of corporate services, said councillors wished to look into the idea after the recent budget deliberations.

West Kent Coun. Bryon Fluker said auditors general have become more popular due to their use by senior levels of government.

"Everybody's heard the name Sheila Fraser," he said, referring to the federal public servant. "Everybody's concerned now where any dollar is going."

According to the report, other municipalities with an auditor general include Toronto, Ottawa, Oshawa and Markham.

Fluker said it could be more efficient if the auditor general's duties were shared with other taxpayer-support organizations, such as school boards and the hospital.

However, he said there could still be controversy on spending.

"Value for dollar can often be very subjective," he said.

The Chatham-Kent Coalition of Concerned Citizens -- which is now on hiatus -- had called for an auditor general review in 2005.

Bob Kominek, who was a member, said the $140,000 cost for an auditor general would be "paltry" compared to the millions of dollars he believes are spent needlessly.

"I would go for that," he said. "Our taxes keep going up, and I don't believe we're getting value for our dollar."

Here are other items to be dealt with during Monday's meeting:

* Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Ken Tremblay and Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network CEO Gary Switzer will discuss the recent Hay Group report, which recommended the closure of the Sydenham campus emergency department.

* Council will vote on officially declaring a disaster in Wallaceburg due to the recent flooding. This would enable the municipality to be eligible for the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

* A traffic report will come forward concerning the intersection at Talbot Trail and Erieau Road, where a fatal collision occurred last September.

Article ID# 1454195

 on: January 15, 2010, 11:15:23 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
Related Links

Kominek seeks North Kent seat

Discredited Group Rears Up Again - But Nobody Admits Membership

Group plans to use Old Petition to Force Forensic Audit

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Epp / Sun Media Chatham
To: Austin Wright
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 11:03 AM
Subject: re letter to the editor

Austin: I've edited the letter you've sent me so as to avoid any potential legal action with the group that you make reference to. Nonetheless, the edited version, I believe, reflects what you're trying to say about the audit.

It's been reported that the Chatham-Kent Coalition of Concerned Citizens is again asking for a municipal audit.
Those who have been following this secretive group might remember that they collected 7,000 signatures in 2005 supporting a failed bid to obtain "an official audit of all resources and finances in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to answer all concerns of citizens and taxpayers."

Perhaps this group should reveal its directors and members to the public. If R.O.C.K. is indeed behind the effort, then we can be certain that this is just a thinly-veiled attempt to resurrect the de-amalgamation debate.
Is this a clever ploy to destabilize an already dysfunctional council so the province will step in and put things back the way they were in the good old pre-amalgamation days?

Before I learned the true costs and consequences, I was a supporter of the audit concept. But the municipal books are already audited annually to the province's satisfaction, which is why the original petition was refused.
Citizen groups have a democratic right to muddy the municipal landscape, but we should demand no less than the transparency of knowing the individuals behind unregistered coalitions.

Such audits rarely reveal anything anyway that those being examined don't want discovered.

Austin Wright
40 Tasan Crescent
Chatham ON  N7L 4V1


Peter Epp
Editor - Chatham This Week, Farm Market, Spirit of Bothwell

 on: January 15, 2010, 10:57:24 AM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
A candidate has filed papers to run in Ward 4. Robert Kominek is retired from Navistar. Local media reports that he wants to eliminate funding for education, health care, and social services. Kominek has also been fingered in the media as a representative of an enigmatic citizen's group that allegedly employs a strategy of purchasing anonymous defamatory advertising, then hiding out until after the limitation period runs out to evade justice.  Councilor Weaver was the victim of an ambush from this group in the last election, but to this date, nobody ever took responsibility.

Kominek was served notice asking him to admit if he had any role in placing defamatory election advertising, or having a part in the Chatham-Kent Coalition of Concerned Citizens, but he did not respond.

Back in 2005, over 7,000 citizens signed a petition to request an audit into municipal spending. In 2007, Kominek acted as public spokesman for a renewed effort to re-label the 2005 petition for use in demanding a complete forensic audit, which was not what the original petition stated it was for.

Attempts to expose their plan to use signatures from 2005 for a different purpose were muzzled by the media, who claimed they were afraid of facing legal trouble from the group, even though unregistered coalitions do not have legal capacity to litigate anything. Nobody would disclose any names of group members, and everyone queried by the media stated the Coalition had been on hiatus. It seems odd the media were afraid of them to the point where their activities and motives became off limits.

People like Kominek would move Chatham-Kent backwards. Maybe we better not cut any spending on education with this kind of mindset out there trying to gain political power. Be wary of candidates with Mr. Kominek's connections and background. We do not need a repeat of the dirty politicking that happened last time.

 on: January 06, 2010, 09:00:09 PM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
At long last, we are in an election year, when the electorate will finally get a few moments of ear time from our politicians. Who might run? We know of at least one person willing to stand up against the lobbyists and secret syndicates to brave the minefield they are likely plotting again in the mayoral race. The only other question is whether Randy Hope will run for re-election once the truth of his term starts coming out. In my opinion, there's plenty the public doesn't know, but I may be biased because I've seen documents they haven't. Wink

What might the mayoral election look like in 2010?

 on: October 24, 2009, 05:23:14 PM 
Started by MapleCityStar - Last post by MapleCityStar
Was Dave Van Kesteren wrong to sign his name on a ceremonial cheque?

Have the Conservatives gone too far promoting their party when doling out taxpayer money?

Are the Liberals on to something or grasping at straws?

What do you think of Mayor Randy Hope showing up whenever he hears a camera turn on? He's had an impressive run of fluffy photo ops that appear almost daily in the media. Is Hope getting unearned attention after 3 years of accomplishing nothing? Has the local media been constantly campaigning on Hope's behalf in preparation for 2010 elections?

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