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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

I Want I Want!

by team Planet S
Published Thursday January 8, 05:50 pm
C’mon 2015, throw us a freakin’ bone here

Photo Credit: Illustration by Evgenia Mikhaylova

Hey there, 2015: nice to see you! 2014 wasn’t a total downer for those of us who inhabit the news department at Planet S World Headquarters, but we’re definitely hoping that as a young and enthusiastic new year lookin’ to please, you can bring us some stories that we’ve been waiting for with baited breath! Here’s a few ideas to get you started:


I Want To Report On A Reborn SK Film Industry


Here’s the thing. I like to think I’m a pretty decent person, overall: tons of personal flaws (damn you, cigarettes!) notwithstanding, I’m generous, kind, helpful and usually fun to be around. I do have a bad tendency to hold grudges, though, so that’s another thing I’m trying to work on. (’Tis the season for resolutions and all, right?)


That’s why I’d love to sing the praises of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall for reversing his government’s ill-advised, ill-founded, ideological/illogical and utterly stupid decision to can the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit program in March of 2012 — and kill this province’s film industry in the process.


I mean, I get it, Brad: creative types are, well, “artsy,” and everything that rural SK (where you’re from and where you’ve currently got a lock) has taught you (correctly) that “artsy” types rarely vote for conservative political parties — so why give those artsy-fartsies a damn dollar, right?


Well, how about this (taken from those famously artsy-fartsy types at the SASKATCHEWAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE in a 2012 report): “In this case it is very clear that the process used by the province to cut this program had many flaws. Key facts were missing, and no consultations were done before the announcement. This decision represents a substantial lack of sector-specific knowledge and policy transparency on the part of the provincial government.


“The revenues generated from the projects which were approved for the FETC program averaged $44.5 million annually, while the direct government contribution averaged $7.772 million. The projects generated $6.5 million in taxes to the province, resulting in a net cost of only $1.3 million.”


So, $44.5 million in revenues per year, at a cost of $1.3 million (and might I add that that was coming out of a budget of roughly $11.3 billion in 2012 — pretty much exactly 0.001 per cent of total expenditures for that year). I’m no financial planner, but if my portfolio (yeah, it currently consists of beer cans, but that’s not the point) could get that kind of return on investment, I’d suspect I was unknowingly holding stocks in a cocaine cartel.


But nope, the artsy-fartsies are all leftie pinkos, right? So they must be punished — and you did a fine job, as Saskatchewan’s film industry is a tiny husk of its former self.


But like I said above, I’m gonna try and be a better person in the new year, so maybe you could too, Brad. After all, you don’t come across as a terrible guy — maybe you just made a rash decision in a moment of, well, grudge-repaying?


If so, I’d love to be showering compliments on your government for the restoration of the SFETC, and promising to continue reporting on how you plan to rebuild Saskatchewan’s film industry from the ashes.


If not, I suppose there’s always a chance that the fine folks at Corner Gas could decide to make another movie. Then you could put in another call to Sask. Tourism and make them fund it. /Chris Kirkland


I Want To Report On Smoking Pot Legally


What I’d like to do (without risking a criminal conviction that would hurt my future job prospects and ability to travel outside Canada) is already legal in Colorado, Washington state, Alaska and Oregon. And in 2016, California, Nevada and several other states may join them after holding “reeferendums” to legalize the recreational use of the Herb That Shall Not Be Named.


Oh, sorry for lapsing into HarperSpeak there. But that’s the Conservatives’ stance on cannabis in a nutshell — a demon drug that, if legalized, would lead to dealers standing 10-deep on school corners to lead children astray. To prevent that from happening, the Harperites are plugging away with an ’80s-style War on Drugs/Tough on Crime campaign.


No matter that voters in four U.S. states — all highly desirable places to live, I might add — have decided to permit the sale of pot to adults under regulations similar to ciggies and booze. No matter, too, that in less progressive jurisdictions, thousands of people continue to be arrested and jailed for simple possession, pretty much destroying their lives, and costing governments billions in police, court and prison expenses.


Ironically, the Voldemort scenario that the Cons flog in attacks on the NDP and Liberals (who favour decriminalizing/legalizing pot) is what things are essentially like now. Bring cannabis under a proper regulatory regime, and the black market — like it did for alcohol after prohibition ended in 1933 — will disappear. Gangs use pot as a cash cow now. Without it, they’ll be greatly weakened.


Makes sense to me. It should to conservatives, too. /Gregory Beatty


I Want To Report On An Inquiry Into Missing And Murdered Aboriginal Women


When it comes to Stephen Harper, there's not much he could do (aside from a permanent departure from office or a radical change of hairstyle) that I remain overly hopeful about reporting on. But pessimism aside, I hope in 2015 to report on a long-overdue national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.


It's pretty shocking — disgusting, really — how little regard a tragic and ongoing issue like this receives from the federal government. An RCMP study conducted in late 2013 revealed a staggering 1,181 missing or murdered aboriginal women since 1980. Of those women, 1,017 were confirmed homicide victims, and 225 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women remain unsolved. Despite all this, the bonehead who runs our country has continually refused to open a national inquiry.


It's pretty ignorant. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said in an interview with me that he believes, “if there had been 1,200 missing and murdered women in Ottawa [...] over the last 30 years, we would have had an inquiry a long time ago.”


It's hard to imagine any government not taking this seriously, but Harper has stated that, “it isn't really high on our radar, to be honest.” He defers responsibility, stating, “our ministers will continue to dialogue with those who are concerned about this.” The downplaying of this issue is offensive. There are certainly thousands in this country who are a little more than “concerned” about this tragedy.


Appeals for a national inquiry seemed to reach a boiling point of sorts this past August, when Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old girl, was found dead in a bag in Red River, Manitoba. But if the murder of a young aboriginal girl can't incite some very serious consideration from our federal government, then god knows what will. To expect any sort of amendment from Harper on the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is probably a little naive, but in 2015 I hope to finally report on that long overdue national inquiry. /Nathan Raine


I Want To Report On Veterans Getting More Than A Handshake


I’d rather write something about how Canadian Armed Forces vets receive the care they deserve, rather than write about a money-hungry government cheaping out on their mental health needs.


On Dec. 10 Cpl. Scott Smith took his own life, making him the “16th” Canadian soldier to have committed suicide this year. Veterans Affairs is underwhelming  Canadians on what is actually an overwhelming issue, but sweeping issues under the rug is par for the course for the Harper administration.


Still, under the heat of a looming Auditor General report, the “support the troops” Harpocrites broke a noticeable sweat. In a mad dash to cover their tracks, Minister of Health Rona Ambrose released a proactive statement claiming $200 million in support over the next six years will go towards veterans’ mental health.


Then the report came out. What happened to the $1.1 billion in funding that the Auditor General said lapsed since 2006? Oh yeah, PM Stephen Harper claims they “overshot” spending estimates because they’re a bunch of good fiscal managers who came in under budget, and were merely coming in under budget.


This from the guy who took a tough stance against Vladimir Putin, sternly demanding he get out of Ukraine while shaking the Russian president’s hand.


We have a “rah-rah yay-army” PM who underfunds veterans’ services. I’d rather we didn’t. /Ashley Rankin

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