Fool me once…

People are sneaky, underhanded liars. Not all people, mind you, but some of the ones I have to work with these days. When I ask you, "have you vetted the changes with so-and-so?" and you say, "yes," I believe you. Shame on me, apparently, because I should have checked into the details and discovered that what you were telling me and what you were wanting to do were worlds apart. So now it makes me look bad that I gave you the go-ahead but, worse, it makes you look deceitful. Not telling me the whole story is just as bad as lying and will only end badly for you when the lie is discovered. If I can't trust people to be upfront and honest without me having to verify every…
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[X] Opt-out of CPP [ ] Opt-in to CPP

Whether or not the Canada Pension Plan is in place when I retire, I decided long ago to contribute to my own retirement savings plan. If I can prove to the Government of Canada and my employer that I am actively contributing to a retirement savings plan and that I won't be a draw on the Canada Pension Plan in the future, I should be able to opt-out of CPP altogether. This would allow my employer to save a certain amount of money that it would normally have to spend on me and allow me to redirect what I would be putting towards CPP to my retirement plan. For any who wish to remain a part of the Canada Pension Plan, that's entirely their choice to do so, but the…
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Unions Are So Last Century

For all my liberal leanings, I have absolutely no patience for labour unions. Leading up to the late-20th century, unions undoubtedly advanced health, labour, and safety standards in the workplace. But now, after more than a decade into the 21st century, unions are more concerned with protecting incompetence and demanding higher wages and benefits than they are with advocating for fairness and safety in the workplace for employees. Trying to performance manage (aka discipline), let alone, fire an incompetent union employee is a huge undertaking which begins a long, drawn out process that wastes everyone's time and money. It only gets worse when accusations of unfair labour practices and wrongful termination start getting thrown around. If you're consistently terrible at your job, you're fired. And, honestly, if it takes months upon months…
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Four Years of the Big C

On May 2, over 61% of Canadians went to the polls and 40% of those delivered the Conservative Party of Canada a majority. I have to hand it to the Conservatives - they stayed on message, made fiscally-responsible promises, and managed to avoid any major gaffes (or regrettable wardrobe choices). The Liberals, on the other hand, imploded like a balloon in the freezer after failing to find a message - let alone a party leader - that connected with Canadians. The two biggest surprises of the night though were the magnitude of the NDP's surge to become the Official Opposition and the near-obliteration of the Bloc Quebecois. Despite my dislike of the Conservatives, this is probably the first time in five years that I'm hopeful to see the maneuvering and mud-slinging…
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A Plea for Credit and Financial Education

A friend of mine recently did the math on a consumer financing "deal" offered by Future Shop: The flyer advertises “No Payments, No Interest” for a period up to 18 months. The fine print at the back explains that there is a graduated “administration fee” that increases depending on the length of the “no interest” term. For a $299 purchase utilising the 18 month “No Payments, No Interest” option, the Administration Fee is $99.99. Funny enough, annualized, that is equivalent to more than 22% interest/year. This gets better. (more…)
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Oh No, An Election! and Lock Up The Left

Two things that I can't fit into tweets: 1. Oh No, An Election! Stephen Harper claims an election now would destabilize the Canadian economy because of uncertainty in the Middle East, European debt and trade issues, and the disaster in Japan. Umm, what? Not only is that correlation incredibly spurious, there's a history of countries successfully holding elections during tumultuous times: England in 1935 during the Great Depression, the U.S. in 1944 during World War II, and Afghanistan in 2010 during the ongoing conflict.  This is nothing but blatant fear mongering by Stephen Harper and should be cast aside accordingly. 2. Lock Up The Left For godsakes, could the Liberals, NDP, and Greens please come together and form one party? Yes, it moves Canada into an American-style two-party model but look…
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Thoughts on Cost and Delivery of Media Content

Here's what I want to see happen: I want to see North American governments stop trying to craft new copyright laws that cater to every special-interest group and end going to court over usage-based billing.  I want to see the problem turned on its head and a root-cause analysis conducted.  I want to see a subscription service where I can pay (for example) $50/month for the unlimited and unrestricted download of high-definition TV shows, movies, and music.  I want to see internet access fees and usage-based thresholds adjusted to fairly reflect the true total cost of service delivery.  Instead, I see time and money pissed away going after enabling sites like isoHunt.com, across-the-board increases in the cost of internet service delivery loosely justified as a response to "skyrocketing" bandwidth usage,…
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