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McLaren-featureMr Miller responded to comments I made in the press recently regarding the impact of the Trans-Pacific Parternship trade talks on Bruce Grey farmers; however, he seems to have misread or misheard what I said. For example, I did not say free trade was against Canadian interests. We in the NDP believe trade with other countries is very much in our interest. However, I did ask our MP whether the TPP would hurt some of our farmers in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

Mr Miller's answer is an emphatic: "Trust us."

Hmmm ... I seem to remember promises of Senate reform and getting Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau instead. And veterans coming home wounded only to be snubbed by a Cabinet Minister. I remember commitments to bring well-paying jobs to communities outside Alberta. And I see a 'Universal' Child Care Benefit glad-handed out before the election only to be taxed into a pittance after.

If our government won't tell us what they're doing, we are forced to rely on news reports and economic analysis. According to those, some from other countries, Canada will have to give up supply management to get a deal. There seems very little doubt about that.

senate-featureOPEN LETTER TO MR. MILLER, MP.

The media is still writing about Mr. Duffy's supposedly fraudulent spending of thousands of dollars, but very rarely about Auditor General Mr. Michael Ferguson's spending of $23.5 millions of taxpayer money to find $991,917 in supposedly illegal Senate spending. This means 23.7 times more for the investigation than the actual benefit. Only in Canada? Mr. Ferguson's enquiry cost is an insult to hard working taxpayers, it is outrageous and ludicrous. He has abused the public trust. One "good" from the study: it exposes the greed and waste of our overpaid high level bureaucrats.

The auditor general should be investigated for the excessive spending of $23 millions. I think that a competent accounting firm, in the real world, could do the auditing for less than one half of a million, still a lot in comparison to the benefit. Beside, the RCMP has already uncovered most of the senator's falseexpense claims at a (hopefully) much more reasonable cost.

Did Mr. Ferguson himself benefit from all those millions? Were there other beneficiaries? In comparison, a senator makes $138, 700 per year, a total for the 105 senators amounts to 14.5 millions per year, well below Mr. Ferguson's spending for just an investigation!!

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Editor

What are we to make of Mr Harper's and Mr Miller's continuing attempts to control political discourse?

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Larry Miller has agreed to attend two debates. But there are more in the offing, including the usual radio debate on CFOS and another on Rogers TV whose audiences have certainly not made up their minds.

The difficulty for democracy is that whoever is thinking of hosting a debate may now decide not to because they know Mr Miller won't show up.

That would be a mistake because, in this election especially, we need more discussion of the issues. We, as candidates for public office, should be presenting our knowledge and beliefs, in public, from one end of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound to the other.

And what are we to make of Dean Del Mastro,

GST-featureDear Editor
In a June 25th opinion piece published in Grey-Bruce This Week, Jim Merriam was kind enough to tell us "how the 2015 election is going to play out." According to Merriam the decisive moment will come when Harper announces that, if re-elected, he will shave yet another 1% off of the GST. Nothing else "will matter when the GST cut is announced," if Merriam is to be believed, Canadians will "look forward to the same old, same old." Presumably manna will also rain from the heavens, babies will kiss politicians, and Senators will sing hymns with the voices of angels.

Perhaps the most astonishing part of Merriam's piece is that after nearly a decade in government, Harper's team has shown that their vision actually doesn't reach much further than tax cuts. More than any other government in recent memory the Conservative Party under Harper has relied on tax cuts as a cynical way to ensure votes. This has been reasonably effective because, as Merriam identifies, it "hits close to home" and the "benefits are immediate." Immediacy - that's the key to Harper's economic platform and electoral success. The Conservatives provide the financially stressed public with quick gratification, hoping that it is felt the very next day at the grocery store.

But after a decade (or more, if we were to scrutinize seriously previous governments) of this sort of policy we should pause and consider its effects.

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