The vast green prairie, the boundless blue sky, Polaris & a Tiger Lily

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thank you to everyone that voted for me

The polls are closed and reported (for Biggar, that is). What an experience, I have learned a lot. My heartfelt thanks to the people that did vote for me, I really appreciate your trust and confidence in me. Thank you.

I will be running again in 2015, building on what I have learned since becoming leader in April of this year, and during this election. I will work hard in the next four years to grow our party and to keep bringing forward the ideas that I believe would be in the best interests of Saskatchewanians. Not having a seat in the Legislature does not mean I cannot continue to work for the people in my constituency and our province.

I am happy to see the socialists pounded so hard by the Saskatchewan Party. Since I brought my family home here in 1997, I believed that leaving a failed ideology behind (as I left an NDP administration in British Columbia behind) would be good for our province. For that reason alone, I am so very pleased to see that Saskatchewanians rejected yesterdays ideas so firmly. I sent a tweet to Mr. Wall that said:
@PremierBradWall Congratulations Mr. Premier, you & your party ran a good campaign, the people have spoken clearly
The people have voted, the election is over. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in democracy in a direct way, and I look forward to the future with optimism.

Thank you
Dana Arnason
Leader - WIP

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2 Letters to the editor of the Starphoenix November 5th 2011

Democracy hurt:
"...Can any media guru explain to the public how eliminating the coverage of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth parties running in this election supports our democratic system?..."
Lori Isinger Saskatoon

Not just the 2 private and 1 public broadcasters, but also the 2 outlets owned by Postmedia need to explain the inexplicable. The electorate deserves answers. Democratic principles demand answers.
 
Another letter from the same edition
Reason to vote:
"...Clearly needed at election time is a debate in the free style of the Lincoln and Douglas series in America about 150 years ago. In contrast, the recent Saskatchewan debate was a travesty!..."
Perhaps the next two posts below may help in understanding the travesty we have witnessed this election.
For those (non-political-junkies) without Twitter, what follows is the back and forth between me and Mr. Mandryk, about his column, starting with my original tweet at ~12:40 PM:

wip_of_sk@MMandryk Hubris? Last edition of your paper B4 #skvotes & no chance 4 my response bit.ly/ubLz5I 2U 2B in your paper #skpoli #sk2011
Link

MMandryk@wip_of_sk what is it you'd like to respond to? The column is about respecting the views all candidates put forward. I'd assume you'd agree.
Link

57dana @MMandryk Did you read the response bit.ly/ubLz5I? Are you insinuating I am running for the wrong reason? You only named 5 party's
Link

MMandryk @57dana oh for Pete's sake! No. I don't how you arrived at that conclusion. The column says precisely the opposite. Please re-read it.
Link

57dana@MMandryk 'whether PC, SP, GP, LP, NDP, we shouldn't discount the notion...all motivated by..."the Right Reasons"' No WIP in that list. Why?
Link

MMandryk@57dana it was a sincere omission. No offense intended. Sorry. That said, please understand that I don't take the WIP seriously.
Link

57dana@MMandryk Omitted sincerely? I could accept an apology for a sincere mistake; as your only product is words, your choice of them is telling.
Link

MMandryk@57dana My point, sir, is I don't take umbrage with WIP sincerity or commitment. But like 99.6 of this prov., can't agree with WIP premise.
Link

57dana@MMandryk Unlike 99.999% of this province, sir, you are an influential political columnist. And you dodged the question, omitted sincerely?
Link

MMandryk@57dana bull... What did I dodge? You're on the ballot. You should have been mentioned. But also think WIP is a joke. Honest enough for you?
Link

57dana@MMandryk You're still dodging. Was it "a sincere omission" as you said? Why the apology? Because I should have been mentioned but wasn't?
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MMandryk@57dana last tweet was clear. WIP is on the ballot and should have been mentioned in column. But I repeat: I and 99.6 think WIP is a joke.
Link

57dana@MMandryk "The column is about respecting the views all candidates put forward." Voicing your opinion that the WIP is a joke is respectful?
Link

57dana@MMandryk "I don't take umbrage with WIP sincerity or commitment" & "also think WIP is a joke" you do not see the contradiction here?
Link

MMandryk@57dana didn't say a damn thing about you, personally. Believe I said early your beliefs are sincere. I said WIP is a joke. Big difference.
Link

57dana@MMandryk The what was it you were apologizing for?
Link

MMandryk@57dana nope. No contradiction. Was talking about WIP candidates. That should have been obvious. I think WIP party/policies are a joke.
Link

MMandryk @57dana for not including you as an individual with the courage to put forward his views on the ballot. I disagree with your views, but ...
Link

57dana@MMandryk Only thing on the ballot is my name and the name of my party. The electorate relies heavily on the media to expose those views...
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MMandryk @57dana WIP not on radar because public think Sask. Independence is stupid. They're right. Not gonna waste ink to convince them otherwise.
Link

57dana@MMandryk And they will not be on the radar if you don't 'waste' ink on them. Most common response I get at doors is "no idea WIP exists"
Link

57dana@MMandryk In '05 or '06 people in the West were polled (by Western Standard) with ~30% showing as open to the idea of independence. Stupid?
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MMandryk@57dana either people are being polite or you're not asking: "Do you want Sask to be independent?" People don't take WIP premise seriously.
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MMandryk@57dana yep... Western Standard. Please. Here's my deal. If we hold a referendum and you lose, will WIP go away?
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57dana@MMandryk The name of the party was chosen to be obvious, and they are polite, open to listening, even if they don't end up voting for us.
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57dana@MMandryk "Please"? The Western Standard is (was) a joke to you as well? Here's my deal, you will get a single vote in the referendum.
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MMandryk@57dana don't want vote for you, eh? (Hope you're not offended by my Canadian accent. Damn proud of it, though.) Think that might be a clue?
Link

57dana@MMandryk Up to them to decide on their own who to vote for. Up to me to make our case. They all like the idea of a flat tax. A lot.
Link


MMandryk@57dana Somehow I don't think a flat tax is the WIP's defining issue, sir. Spit-balling here, but it might be that independence thing.
Link 

57dana@MMandryk Spit-ball noted. Education tax reform wasn't a defining issue either, but the SP govt. made it happen & the WIP first proposed it
 Link

MMandryk@57dana Look. I believe in One Canada. Our Oly. team needs Ont. forwards and Que. goalies. And 'Riders can't beat West teams.
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57dana@MMandryk Fixed election dates wasn't a defining issue either, but again, the WIP proposed it first & SP govt. made it happen.
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MMandryk@57dana Now it's YOU ducking, sir. Yes or no? Is the WIP prepared to go into the next Oly. without Crosby and Luongo? Well, without Crosby
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57dana@MMandryk No ducking, just can't take sports as seriously as election issues. Yes, no Luongo or Crosby. Can the Oly team win w/o SK players?
Link 

MMandryk@57dana OK, now I know you guys are nuts. Sask. boys can't win on large ice surface with no hitting and European refs. I am appalled.
Link
57dana@MMandryk Give 'em the same amount of time as every other team playing and practicing as a team, no matter the ice or the ref, they'll win.
Link 

There is no further response from Mr. Mandryk after 7:14 PM.

Here's the problem Mr. Mandryk, in your own words, in four sentences:

The column is about respecting the views all candidates put forward.
and
I don't take umbrage with WIP sincerity or commitment.
but
...please understand that I don't take the WIP seriously.
and
...also think WIP is a joke.

That last two are not at all respectful, just honest, and completely negate the first two.

I am (and your readers presumably are) led to believe by you that a candidate should be applauded for the courage to put forward their views, which are not a joke unless they are WIP views, a party you view as a joke, a party you do not take seriously. And when a party you do not view as a joke, that you do take seriously, adopts any of those views then they are presumably no longer a joke and you do take them seriously. Crystal clear Mr. Mandryk.

You of all people should know that words matter, especially coming from an esteemed writer like you, read by people who rely on the media to publicize different party's views for them, no matter who proposes them, or adopts them.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My response to a "columnizer"

The last newspaper edition from a Postmedia outlet before an election (leaving no chance of a response being printed in that paper) and Murray Mandryk offers this opinion piece:

Monday's vote about making a choice for right reasons

I urge you to read it first.

Unable to respond in his newspaper in the usual method, a letter to the editor, here instead is my response as Party Leader and as a Candidate:

Hubris, Mr. Mandryk? It appears you speak very knowledgeably on the topic, after 30 years in "journalism". Does offering your opinion in a newspaper really count as journalism? There was a time newspapers confined opinions to the Op-Ed (opinion-editorial) page, leaving the rest of the NEWSpaper to contain news and advertising. I'm willing to absorb "bumps and bruises" by running for political office, to bring forward my beliefs about what would best serve the interests of Saskatchewan, clearly putting Saskatchewan first and foremost. What do you run for Mr. Mandryk, aside from advertising dollars? Or would the correct conclusion be drawn simply from noting that the title of your article parrots the slogan of Mr. Yachysens campaign?

Reading your opinion (as a "columnizer", your word) about one of only 5 candidates running under the PC banner in Saskatchewan, the PC candidate who is "...active in the federal party..." and who was parachuted into the rural constituency of Biggar ("...a PC candidate in Saskatoon Fairview in 2007..."), plainly exposes your preference for the Confederation, leaving fair minded people to conclude that you prefer to leave Saskatchewan in second place. It's a valid point to consider, as your opinion is read by a public that would likely view (for now anyways) the two Postmedia outlets in Saskatchewan as fair and balanced providers of fact, notwithstanding the opinions of a political columnist written outside of the Op-Ed page.

There are still no links (4 links only) from either of the Postmedia outlets' election pages' "ELECTION RESOURCES" box to two official party websites, one being the PC's, whose candidate you made the focus of your column, and the other being my own, The Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan.

BTW, your newspapers' website still hasn't corrected the "Election Tracker" to show how many candidates the PC's and Liberals are actually running. I had two blatant errors removed from that tracker, and Mr. Lau, Leader of the Green Party, had at least one removed, but how many other errors are still contained in what could have been (and should have been) a useful tool for the electorate making an important decision in the only manner available to the average citizen to have their voices heard in a democracy?

Is there an insinuation that I am running for the wrong reasons? You state:
'But whether Progressive Conservative, Saskatchewan Party, Green Party, Liberal, New Democrat, we shouldn't discount the notion that they all motivated by the sentiment of Yachyshen's campaign slogan: "For the Right Reasons."'. I count only 5 party names above, leaving out my party, the WIP.

Your contempt for my party and its overall goal could not be clearer, Mr. Mandryk, but just to hammer home the point, you had this to say in a tweet:
"@saskboy Are you advocating the WIP have full debate participation, too? Anyone else? The Funny Hat Party? Yes, let's let the public decide."

The public relies on reading newspapers for honest (and fair) coverage of the election, even from political columnists, and you, as a writer in those 2 Postmedia outlets, and many other local and regional papers in Saskatchewan, compare the WIP to a Funny Hat Party? Hubris and contempt are an ugly combination Mr. Mandryk.

Another tweet by you:
"@wip_of_sk ... No one taking a Sask separation party seriously? Can't speak for everyone, but - will tell you I don't."

You would not respond to me (@57dana) in a Twitter conversation initially, but finally did after this tweet by me:
"@MMandryk So, you'll answer the Green Party Leader immediately but not WIP Leader @57dana? This is evidence of...? #skpoli #skvotes #sk2011"

You ponitificate on the need for conversation, but you appear to have gotten used to a one-way megaphone. Keep in mind the internet never forgets.

Of all of the ridings Mr. Yachysen could have floated into, Biggar was chosen. This made it the only riding in Saskatchewan with 5 parties running, the only rural riding where a PC candidate is running, and shock of shocks, the very riding where the Leader of an Independence Party is running.

Not hard to draw conclusions from that fact.

Media coverage so far this election

I have received some (not a lot of) coverage from the media this election:

CBC BlueSky Radio interview: podcast
CBC TV News story on my appearance on BlueSky: streaming video 0:25 seconds duration starting at 5:47
CBC Website article on the WIP
Carillon - University of Regina student paper article
Clarks Crossing Newspaper article November 2011 (scan):
Prince Albert Herald article
Leader-Post acknowledges our existence in a poll (and we're third!)

Hopefully there will be more to come.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Key issues in the General Election of 2011 - Number 3

I have visited Smalldeadanimals, a blog by a constituent named Kate, for many years now. There is a post there today which is about the "Animal rights contagion [which] is spreading to even small town humane societies". In the comment thread there is a comment by "Mark Matis" containing links to essays which I read and which prompted me to post a response (shown below) on SDA, as it is on topic, that being the "lawful authorities" are out of control:

Thanks for the link, it was a chilling read. It contains another link http://bit.ly/tgcfxW with an essay that is even more chilling. There is also a link in the comments, by Arctic Patriot (The citizenry should do some soul searching as well), which I urge readers to follow and read, as it contains relevant quotes by A. Solzhenitsyn which do apply directly to our province though all are written for consumption in the USA.
 Many years ago, into what was later to become Saskatchewan, an army unit known as the Northwest Mounted Police was sent out to pacify the Territories and they are still here as the RCMP.
Our party is calling for the removal of the RCMP from Saskatchewan and the creation of a Provincial Police Force, to both remove the "lawful authorities" ability to issue orders (which must and will be obeyed by members of the RCMP) from afar, and more importantly to re-establish the trust of the citizenry in their police, that those LEO's are indeed not above the law and will defend them from tyrannical edicts of all kinds.
These 3 articles make the case for expelling the RCMP from Saskatchewan far better than I could and I urge people to at the very least read them and to be determined to have the discussion.
Like most people and, I daresay, the vast majority of citizens in Saskatchewan, I want to live my life under the Rule of Law, not the law of the jungle, but I fully expect the RCMP to obey the orders issued to them from outside Saskatchewan, no matter how contrary to the principles of freedom and liberty those orders may be. Don't believe me? Try dodging one of the most egregious violations of the principle of being free from unreasonable search and seizure, a checkstop. How do you expect that will turn out for you? Were you foolish enough to admit to the authorities you own a gun? Then you may be charged with an offence if you do not assist the "lawful authorities" as they violate the privacy of your home.
Tyranny does not always arrive in jackboots, but can and does show up well spoken and nicely dressed but no less dangerous, as their well-intentioned(!) edicts are ultimately backed up by men with guns.
Dana Arnason
Leader-WIP
We need to have the discussion, and to resolve to do what is necessary to regain the confidence of the citizens in a law enforcement community that serves the citizenry in a just and lawful manner, with the consent of those citizens. The alternative leads inevitably to tryanny followed closely by anarchy.

I want to live under the Rule of Law as (I believe) do most people. I want to have confidence in the police, that they are doing a most difficult job in compliance within the letter of the law and in the spirit of the law, while respecting the Rights of Individuals guaranteed by centuries of common law. This will not be possible so long as the occupying force from the east is allowed to remain.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ugly, sad, and very very telling

I have received a very few requests (as Leader of our party, and as a candidate pursuing a seat in the Legislature representing the Riding of Biggar) from the media in Saskatchewan during this 27th General Election, but for the most part we have been ignored by the media, particularly by the 2 (actually only 1, as Postmedia owns them both) major newspapers, (however, the smaller regional papers have shown some interest, as has the CBC). Last Tuesday, I responded to an email from one of the reporters for the northernmost outlet, about an interactive election feature they were creating, as a useful tool for the electorate during this election.
 
During the course of our email thread, he asked "...would I be correct in saying you would like to see Crown corporations abolished...". I responded with "Our party policy does not include abolishing the Crowns...." and offered our argument against the interference of any and all public sector organizations in the private sector (expanded on further here: http://bit.ly/qlq2QX)

He then asked "Are you backing off of a previous position now because it seems to be an unpopular one?". I responded "No. Besides, how can we know if it is unpopular if no one will even discuss it? We take the word of those the media choose to report?..."

I received no further response (until much later) from this journalist. This was on the evening of the 25th of October. I am prepared to release the entire email thread, if there is any interest in the whole truth.

On the evening of the 27th I saw the first referral to our website from this interactive tracker. I went to take a look at what would be sending referrals to us from a newspaper  (which has for the most part ignored our party) website and there I found on their interactive tracker the assertion that the WIP would "Eliminate Crown corporations in favour of allowing private businesses to provide those services in an open market". I snapped a screen shot of this "Business" plank in our Party Platform, and all the other planks on this tracker attributed to the WIP, including the claim that the WIP would "Join with B.C. and Alberta to form a sovereign nation separate from Canada". This last assertion is not and has never been party policy.

This tracker was riddled with errors, including bad data not only about the WIP but the other partys as well (the Greens have only 57 candidates!?). I emailed the journalist (who had not responded since the 25th) pointing out these factual errors, but received no response from him, and did not until the evening of the 28th. In the meantime I emailed the leaders of the Greens, Liberals, and PC's, to let them know about the inaccurate information in this tracker. Only Mr. Lau responded. I cc:'d the reporter (still got no response) but Mr. Lau contacted the City Editor of the the newspaper in Saskatoon, and shortly after that I also contacted that Editor. He did respond immediately to my email, expressing that he would like "correct information only on the website", and the erroneous information was removed almost right away. The tracker also removed the links to all the party websites in the new version. Only after that did I finally receive a response from the reporter, apologizing for the late reply, assuring me the errors would be corrected, and wishing me good luck in my campaign. I did not however see any more referrals from that newspapers new version of the tracker.

What I did see was referrals from the southernmost outlet of the Postmedia newspaper chain, and quite a few of them in fact (again, from an organization that has for the most part ignored our party, big exception here: http://bit.ly/oo8emU). So I went to their election coverage page and on that page there was a link to the page which contained the interactive tracker (and yes, I snapped a screenshot), the old (riddled with errors) interactive tracker.

Once again I gave the 3 other leaders a heads up, and again, only Mr. Lau responded, letting me know he had been in touch at some length with an editor at this newspaper. I sent their city desk an email urging them to follow the lead of their northernmost outlet. I did not receive (and have yet to receive) any response from the editors of that news outlet, but their reaction was very very telling. They removed the page which showed the interactive tracker almost immediately, and then within hours removed the link to the page (now 404) from their election coverage page. The northernmost outlet at this point also removed from their election coverage page the link to the interactive tracker page. Neither have restored those links or the interactive tracker page at the time I write this. I have to question if there is any plan to restore (what should have been) this very useful tool.

And that is the state of our (major) free press in Saskatchewan. Ignore what you deem ignorable, and don't admit an error and correct it, but just spike the story.

Speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Update: Sometime around 7 PM Saturday (Oct 29th)  the interactive tracker page went back online at both the Postmedia outlets http://bit.ly/tQsc2Y & http://bit.ly/u0Sehm (be warned, still some bad data in the InfoGrid database) and the links to all 6 party websites are working, but no sign (yet) of links to those interactive tracker pages from either outlets election coverage pages, and neither (yet) has more than 4 parties in their "Election Resources" box on that page. It's not that difficult to add 3 hyperlinks to a webpage.

Another  Update: Just after 12 Noon on Sunday (Oct 30th) the hyperlink to the the interactive tracker page was restored on both outlets, although both point to the same page. However there is still some incorrect information about the other partys.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Candidates forum at SIAST

I attended the candidates forum held Oct 26th at the E.A. Davies building on the SIAST Kelsey campus, and there were some great questions from the attendees. My thanks to the students that took the time from their very busy day to show up, and to ask questions, and also to Ashlyn Yablonski for all her work coordinating the forum. Good job Ashlyn! And thanks again for getting the A/C going in time!!

Two significant occurrences from the forum:

One was that the absence of the Saskparty representative (invited but a no show) was noted by the audience. They appeared to take that lack of respect for what it was, disrespectful.

The other was the reaction from the crowd, when Mr. Yachyshen (the PC Party candidate running against me in the Biggar constituency, the only riding in the province with 5 candidates on the ballot) mentioned the Leaders televised debate held the night before (55 minutes I'll never get back), and he deplored the absence of the other four leaders of the registered parties in the debate, pointing out the lack of democratic principle displayed by the consortium of two private broadcasters & one 'public broadcaster' and encouraged by the attendance of the only two leaders invited to #skdb8.

I thanked James for bringing this up, as I was one of those leaders frozen out of that debate, and that drew applause from the crowd.

We needed more time as there were questions left unasked (due to the event going past the allotted hour), so all the candidates spent more time talking to people one to one. All in all an excellent event.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A few months ago, a documentary crew from Les productions de la ruelle, a award winning production company based in Quebec, came out to Saskatchewan to film for their production titled: THE DISUNITED STATES OF CANADA (from their website)"...The documentary is following the Canada new separatist and presents conflicts between provinces in an old fashion family dispute way." Guylaine Maroist and √Čric Ruel spent a few days here in our province filming us and conducting interviews. They are now planning on returning to Saskatchewan towards the end of the campaign, looking to capture some "action" for their documentary. This would be shots of me on the campaign trail, knocking on doors etc.
I'm used to being on the other (their) side of the lens, but it's certainly not the first time I have appeared in productions, so I'm looking forward to their visit.

Update: Unfortunately, the documentarians let me know on November 3rd that they were unable to arrange a trip to our province. C'est la vie.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just to be clear - Preferential Balloting vs Proportional Represenattion

I had a chance to listen to my interview on the CBC BlueSky program (streaming clip here) and I had mistakenly addressed Preferential Balloting ("what all the parties use to select a leader", also known as the Single Transferable Vote - STV) as Proportional Representation (something else entirely) and did not correct the mistake immediately on air. That honest mistake was then included in the CBC web article (online here) about me and our party.

Our website page about Preferential Balloting has been online since 2007, unchanged since then except to update the reference to our Chief Official Agent.

I apologize for the mistake and hope this post can be taken as an earnest attempt to correct the record by a "political neophyte" (as James Woods, lately of the Star Phoenix, labelled me).

In this day and age of a professional class of politicians, is being a neophyte really a bad thing?

Update: I joined the CBC Member Center to issue a correction on their story (can't do a thing about the BlueSky broadcast). It is sitting in moderator approval but reads;
Hi all
Glad to see people are paying any attention at all to the WIP.

I have issued a correction and apology here: http://bit.ly/odY9w7 for mistakenly addressing Preferential Balloting (which I meant to endorse as our party's official position since 2007) as Proportional Representation.

As for some of the other comments to this article; I would also be glad to live in a country where everyone is free to speak their mind without being targeted by bureaucrats, but unfortunately, Confederation is not that place. Ask Ezra Levant (2 years of punishment by the Alberta Human Rights Commission), Mark Steyn (BC HRC), Bill Whatcott (SK HRC), Connie & Mark et al from Freedominion.org (CHRC); the list is quite long of people prosecuted by quasi-judicial "Human Rights" Commissions.

35 years ago, the National Energy Program (NEP) demolished Albertas economy, (Saskatchewans economy was already in dire straights due to decades of the regressive policies of the ruling socialists), and the result was indeed a desire to leave a Confederation that was extracting wealth from the West and redistributing it to other Provinces. It should be noted that Quebec is _guaranteed_ to always be a 'have-not', and BC & Ontario are right now have-nots due to the "progressive" policies of their Provincial governments.

I apologize for the mistake.
Thanks
Dana Arnason
Leader - WIP


Update: It appears the CBC web folk will not publish my comment, leaving it sitting unapproved. I tried a comment (one sentence) in another article, and it is also unapproved. As far as I can tell, I met their guidelines, perhaps my transgression(s) could be pointed out with a message directed to me.

I'll try again, with less:
I have issued a correction and apology here: http://bit.ly/odY9w7 for mistakenly addressing Preferential Balloting (which I meant to endorse as our party's official position since 2007) as Proportional Representation.

Dana Arnason (much better looking than Ted, and my hair is real)

We'll see if this is acceptable.

Otherwise, one could rightly draw the conclusion they have no intention of allowing my comments to appear on the "public broadcasters" website.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Key issues in the General Election of 2011 - Number 2

Recently, I was making a purchase at a store, but when the merchant saw the wedding band on my finger, I was told that for you married people the GST is 7%. Well, I asked, what if I was single? The answer was 9%, unless I have a kid under 18 years of age, then it's 8%.

How can this be, I demanded.

I was told that, depending on my marital status (and a child is considered an equivalent to a spouse), different rates of tax apply.

Then the merchant spotted my car (not a beater with a heater, but it gets good mileage), and he announced that with a car like that, there is a surcharge of 3%.

What!? How can you do THAT, I asked (glad that I left the BMW at home).

The merchant told me that because I make enough money to afford such a nice car, I have to pay more tax. But, the merchant offered, if I can prove that I'm are a senior, the rate would be 5% with no surcharge...

You get the picture, (and of course I made that whole story up), however;

The GST and the PST, they are fixed at a flat rate, no matter your circumstances.

The same is not true of direct taxation (a.k.a. income tax - more on this later)

The current tax regime uses what is known as 'progressive' tax rates, and it means that if you make more money you pay a higher percentage of your income to direct taxes.

How can this be anything but unfair? Legal, perhaps, but surely not fair.

The 2 parties with elected MLA's, the Saskatchewan Party and the New Democratic Party, Sask. Section, are in a bidding war right now (the Saskatchewan Liberal Association is also participating, as is the Green Party of Saskatchewan, hard to tell with the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan), offering various exemptions to taxation, depending on your circumstances. This is not considered 'buying' your vote. No, not at all, it's just standard electioneering.

There is one sure way to make this bidding stop, and that is a flat tax, with no exemptions.

Everybody pays the same rate, and the tax return consists of a single page. Same holds true for businesses.

One tax rate, no exemptions, everyone contributes the same percentage of their income.

Alberta does it, as do many countries around the world.

And as an added bonus, there is no point in you lobbying the government for special tax treatment for your industry, as there are no exemptions.

Three years ago, the Fraser Institute published a research study on the flat tax system. A bit long but definitely worth a read.

The Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan (W.I.P.) supports a flat tax, but there is no chance the other parties (nor the media) will even want the issue raised in this election. Wouldn't it be awesome if I was wrong about that?

Perhaps if the electorate demanded the other parties address the issue, it might be brought up by the media, but if no one speaks up, it will not happen.

And that income tax (a.k.a. direct taxation) I mentioned above? The Constitution Act reserves that to the Provinces in the section titled: Exclusive Powers of Provincial Legislatures. Section 92(1) is the only place that "Direct Taxation" appears in the Constitution. And Saskatchewan doesn't even collect it itself (unlike Quebec) but rather allows the Canada Revenue Agency to do the collecting.

Don't take my word for it, go look it up.

Election issue? Not unless you the voters make it one.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Key issues in the General Election of 2011 - Number 1

A constitutionally focused government that ensures that individuals have the freedom to participate in both the supply and demand sides of the free market economy.

Keynesian economic theory rests on the assumption that government intervention in the marketplace is not only benign but can have a positive effect on the market economy, IF the government intervention is reversed when the desired effect is achieved. It is this second part that has been uniformly ignored by successive governments, as they spend money they do not have (yet, that is, received as revenues) causing government to operate under a deficit (requiring short term borrowing), which, when it is not reversed (read: paid back) becomes debt. The 'stimulus' spending by the government is a good example of this, both in Canada and the US. Time has shown that the money (which they never had but was borrowed) was wasted for almost no discernible effect on the economy.  Government fiscal policy for decades has rested on this failure to reverse the intervention, and so now there are large debts, which future generations will have to pay off, eventually. The interest payments on borrowed money drain the provincial coffers, and reduce the amount of money available for government to perform it's primary functions of delivering vital services to the people of Saskatchewan.

This is in direct contradiction to Austrian economic theory, which views all government intervention as benign at best, but generally having a negative effect on the economy. Saskatchewan has been a petri dish for decades, with massive government intervention, none of it benign, with the overall result of a moribund economy, which leads inexorably to the best and brightest fleeing elsewhere to seek success in a free(r) economy. Alberta has benefited mostly from this flight of human capital, and the economy (and population) of Alberta long ago exceeded that of Saskatchewan.

In Saskatchewan the government stifles the free market not only with over-regulation, but also with the Crowns competing with the free market for limited resources in labor, capital, credit (borrowing) and, most importantly, market share. Sasktel is a case in point, with the Crown corporation ruthlessly crushing any and all competition (most notably the small operators offering dial-up internet access). Sasktel cannot sustain undercutting the very large competitors, such as Rogers, and have been forced to concede market share.

Government has no money of it's own, but must take it from individuals, in the form of taxes (and businesses pass along any taxes they 'pay' to the end users, the individuals, as a cost of doing business) and this reduces the amount of money available for individuals to spend with the private sector. Crown monopolies reduce the choices available to individuals and choice is the driving factor in competing for market share.

Where can I, as a citizen purchase car insurance, health care, electricity, natural gas, etc. etc.? One place and one place only and that removes the competition that drives down prices as the various choices that would be available were there not a monopoly are not allowed to exist.

Furthermore, citizens (and the businesses they would own and operate if only they could) cannot compete with the Crowns, offering up choices in the delivery of goods and services, which would result in better and cheaper alternatives available to the market, as is always the case when providers are permitted to compete for market share. This also has the effect of reducing the amount of money collected by government in the form of taxes on private sector activity, as the potential employers do not hire employees. Worse, the service is then provided by public sector workers, and all their 'wages' come first from the actual taxpayers of the province. This point cannot be over-emphasized. Most importantly, wealth is not a zero sum game but is created by the private sector, something the public sector cannot do.

Allowing people in Saskatchewan to participate in both sides of the supply/demand equation would increase the wealth of the Province, and that means removing governments ability to interfere in the market economy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My life so far

As I expected, some interest has been shown about who I am and what I've done that has brought me to want to be the Leader of an Independent Saskatchewan. What follows is a brief summary of my life so far:

1957
Born in Saskatoon, as a baby I was spirited away at the behest of the Canadian Army. Dads postings moved us across The West, ending finally in Vancouver and there I was raised in a suburb, south of the city.

The 70's
After high school I chose varied jobs in the resource, manufacturing and service sectors (and a stint with a Crown Corp - BC Ferries) but my love of photography since the age of 8 brought me back to the lab again and again. I was lead processing operator for the film Happy Gilmore, developing the dailies for that and many other feature films and TV shows shot in and around Vancouver. Other labs I worked in included a custom cine lab and a large franchises central lab, where I processed custom still film from all over Western Canada.

It was in the custom cine labs print room that I saw my first IC chip, one of the owners showed me one and told me this was the future of the film industry. I had learned programming in high school, penciling in IBM data cards, and bought my first PC in 1979. Working as driver of a pit truck in a copper mine in Northern BC, I learned all I could about the Apple II Plus in my off time.

The 80's
My knowledge in a (then) cutting edge technology led to work consulting both during and after attending the BC Institute of Technology (Operations Management - Diploma of Technology 1982). As I was hired by BCIT to assist them in integrating PC's into their faculties, teaching students and instructors, I had to join the Staff Society of the school I was attending as a student.

In 1983 I began volunteering at my local cable station, to learn the video business, and within 2 years I was working as a freelance videographer in and around the Lower Mainland of BC. I worked with some of the top professionals in the business, on numerous shows, a few of which won awards. My ability with computers gave me a distinct advantage, as the industry was in the process of adopting digital standards and equipment. I was the Chyron operator hired by the Social Credit Party for their live convention coverage in Whistler BC, the year Bill Van Der Zalm won the leadership. I later operated the teleprompter for that Premiers live broadcasts to the Province of BC on more than one occasion.

The 90's
In the summer of 1997 I brought my young family on vacation to Saskatchewan, and later that year we returned for good. I had no firm job offer when we came home, but an opportunity existed to write ad copy for an up and coming local realtor. Within 2 years I was working for him full time, had him selling homes on the internet, and was responsible for all his other marketing efforts in print, TV and radio. You still see my work occasionally, on the back of buses in Saskatoon.

The 00's
My family was settled into Radisson by 2000, and I was self employed as a PC consultant focused on the Real Estate industry in Saskatoon, providing custom programming and tech support. I also did home reno's on the side and at one job met an electrician that needed a worker, part-time at first. I worked for their family owned business until 2006, leaving the trade as a Year 2 apprentice, taking a sales position at a local distributor selling a full line of MRO goods to the electrical trade.

I plan to run for a seat in the Legislature in the Riding of Biggar during the general election scheduled for November the 7th. I look forward to providing an alternative to the current choices available to voters, the choice which Always Puts Saskatchewan First.

Thanks for reading
Dana Arnason
Leader
WI Party of Saskatchewan

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Consulting with the government

I received an email today from the Director of Legislative Services,  Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, inviting me and all party leaders to a meeting to consult on changes to the Elections Act, as the government of Saskatchewan has adopted an inaugural plank in the W.I.P. platform, fixed election dates, and recognizes the need to adapt to the changes a fixed election cause.

There is no longer an urgency to composing a valid voters list shortly after the writ is dropped for a general election. Instead the enumeration can be conducted without the time constraints of an imminent election, and ideally a more accurate voter list is the result.

This is my first public act as Leader, and the opportunity to influence legislation is why I became political in the first place.

Thanks for reading
Dana Arnason
Leader
WI Party of Saskatchewan

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time for change

Hello

I'm Dana. I became the leader of the Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan on April 30th, 2011, after driving into a near blizzard in Yorkton to meet at our parties AGM.

I joined the party in 2006 and supported the parties noble cause by assuming responsibility for our online presence and as press liason. I joined the Board of Directors and served there until I took the job of Leader.

This blog was set up years ago but never used. I am going to blog here as much as I can, to share what I believe with anyone that cares to read my words.

If you are now reading this, I thank you for your time.

I encourage you to join me in putting our province first, to lift us into being the very best place on earth to live. We have it very good here in Saskatchewan and what would make it even better is to become the owners of our destiny, free from the past mistakes of empire and confident that we can be a vivid example of how very good life can be.

Thanks
Dana Arnason
Leader
WI Party of Saskatchewan