Fed Watch!

Practice what you Preach

The Canadian International Development Agency (or CIDA) has just released (http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/cida_ind.nsf/852562900065549a85256250006cbb1a/6568a53e432d532485256a8e006133dd?OpenDocument)an Online Learning Course about Gender Equality. Now what we need to do is get Prime Minister Jean Chretien to sit down and take it. After his last cabinet shuffle, some Liberal members have taken the Prime Minister to task for the lack of women on the new Cabinet. Out of 39 members of Cabinet, only 8 are women. To have an agency devoted to international development trying to teach other nations how to go about gender equality when our performance in our own government is meagre at best smacks of hypocrisy. It’s always surprised me that there isn’t a larger proportion of women in government, since women make up a slightly larger percentage of our population than men. To have a government that is truly concerned with gender equality it only makes sense that we need a reasonably equitable proportion of women to men in government. Yet rare is the woman who runs for a leadership position. Perhaps this is because the ‘old guard’ of the party is typically already men, perhaps it is the perception that only unfeminine women want such things.

If our government really wanted to encourage gender equality, perhaps it should start looking at ways to encourage more women to run, and more women to vote. Of course, if our government really wanted to encourage gender equality, it would have divided the Cabinet more equally to begin with.

Bad Time for Accountants

As if the Enron affair wasn’t a bad enough blow for the reputation of accountants, Revenue Canada has now announced (http://www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/newsroom/releases/2002/jan/accounting-e.html) that it’s made a mistake and overpaid transfer payments to several provinces in the amount of 3.3 billion dollars. What I don’t understand is how an agency that is devoted strictly to accounting can make a mistake to the tune of 3.3 billion dollars.

That’s $3,300,000,000.00. How do you miss that many zeros on an accounting balance sheet?

At any rate, this comes at a welcome time for the federal government, as now they have a reason to pull back a huge amount of money that they’ve been overpaying certain provinces – something which no doubt eases their budget tightening.

Undeserved Credit

The Alberta government has announced (http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200201/11855.html) that a recent survey by KPMG consulting has ranked Edmonton as the number one city in the world for the cost of owning and establishing a business. The article goes on to quote the Economic Minister as saying, “It’s a ringing endorsement of this government’s efforts, under Premier Klein’s leadership, to create an environment where both business and people can thrive, and clearly demonstrates we’re on the right track with our economic development and fiscal management policies.”

In a related story, the government of Saskatchewan was also pleased with the results (http://www.gov.sk.ca/newsrel/2002/01/30-059.html) of KPMG’s rankings, finding that Prince Albert, Saskatoon, and Moosejaw all ranked higher than Calgary in the survey. It should be noted that the Saskatchewan government is lead by the NDP. Also, unlike Alberta, Saskatchewan faces no imminent teacher’s strike, has had eight consecutive balanced budgets, and is working to improve health without enriching the insurance companies at the expense of services, and has done all this without the windfall oil revenues that Alberta has had. This would suggest that any attempt to relate Alberta’s standing in the rankings to Klein’s leadership is arguable at best, and pure falsehood at worst. As we move into tougher economic times, it remains to be seen which strategy has prepared the provinces better for the long run.

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