Thursday, October 06, 2011

Busy news day

For once there is plethora of choice when I sit down to blog.

First, there is the death of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and revolutionary of modern technology and communications. This, of course, is V’s recommended topic for the day. But I admit that I know little about Jobs. I own a used ipod but have otherwise never swung over the Mac side. Unlike my husband, I have never followed an Apple product unveiling live and participated in the immediate ensuing internet chatter.

Second, the Ontario provincial elections results are rolling in as I type. It’s interesting watching these results and feeling very little emotional engagement with them. Sure, I will be disappointed if we see yet another Conservative victory, but this isn’t exactly a nail-biter for me.

But it was only a few months ago when I was watching a similar screen fill up with the federal results and my initial joy at seeing the results from Quebec was steadily dampened, then squelched, then ground into dust, by the Conservative majority victory.

As I write the Liberals are hanging on to the lead, but the numbers are going up and down and it looks like the race will be as predicted, too close to call till the end.

Third, the federal Conservatives finally put some cost estimates forward with regard to the Omnibus Crime Bill. However, their estimates take into consideration only 2 of the 9 bills which make up this mega-legislation, since they claim that the other 7 won’t result in any federal costs. How is that possible when one of the bills they refuse to estimate costs for will see conditional sentencing massively restricted? Keeping someone in prison is 3.7 times more expensive than maintaining them in the community (i.e. half-way houses and house arrest) - $109,699 per year vs. $29,476 per year.

The cost estimates Ministers Nicholson and Toews gave to the reviewing committee today project federal expenditures of $78.6 million over 5 years. But this seems ridiculously low – to me just one more example of their smoke and mirrors tactics.

Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page who is currently reviewing the omnibus bill thinks the costs will exceed $3 billion.

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