labradore

"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fact over fiction

A great deal of predictable, predictably mis-informed, and predictably venemous commentary emerged on the VOCM Question of the Day when it asked, “Do you support the Nunatsiavut government's moratorium on uranium mining and production on Inuit land for the next three years? Why or why not?”

A sampling:
Date:4/10/2008
Name:bill
Comments: its sad to see these people living off the fed and prov govt for years getting all kinds of free hand outs basically welfare bums now the govt gives them power and they want to take all over. Sick of listening to them wail all the time cant they find real work instead of being too lazy and wanting everything passed to them

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Dave
Comments: Why are they taking a position that would limit employment for their people other than knowing that they can and they will receive Gov't assistance regardless of what happens.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Jimmy Mac
Comments: All these aboriginal groups do nothing but hinder the progress of the provincial economy. They shouldn;t have any say in what happens when it deaks with the overall well being of the province.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:samsquatch
Comments: No, anyone who have been near them knows that they are afraid they will get a job, why wouldnt they with the Govt handing out all this money. They shouldnt be no different than anybody else suck it up you lazy bums and go to work and pay taxes.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:John
Comments: The Native people want everything their way and they DO NOT cotribute to the economy. They DO NOT pay any Income Tax, they DO NOT pay any sales tax and they DO want us to give them free Medical, free housing, free access to hunting and fishing. If they want to have control of anything, let them start paying their way. They lost the war same as the Quebecois did centuries ago and both still have a chip on their shoulder. Time for the Federal Government to curtail their freedoms, not give them more as they did by giving the non-native "Native" Indians here Native Status.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:AS
Comments: It's just fine to say no if someone else is paying the bills.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Inuit in Nunatsiavut cannot have it both ways
Comments: NO. The Inuit in Nunatsiavut need to comprehend that they are part of the global economy and need to start making a contribution for their own well-being by using their own natural resources to help support themselves, instead of being 100% subsidized by the canadian federal and provincial governments. If they want so much independence, then perhaps its hig-time to cut them completely loose with no more welfare money or other support from on the backs of the taxpayers, and let them see whsat its like to try to financially suport themselves. Inuit in Nunatsiavut cannot any longer have it both ways. Selfish holding back their natural resources but expecting to use what belongs to us. As it is they don't pay taxes. An act needs to be passed letting them know once and for all time that they need to be tax-payers like every other canadian and provincial citizen, as well as enforcing the laws against hunting and fishing endangered species when they break the law. Justice needs to be equal for all not unequally giving a free pass to one group and not the other.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Jennie
Comments: Sure let them do it if they want. We all know that they are not famous for their work ethics. Don't most of them live off our tax dollars anyways. The government has given them so much through the years and still they have nothing. Perhaps giving up the alcahol and their spunging ways might be a better thing than giving up a source of income. But why do that, that could mean they would have to work insted of living off us tax payers. I get sick of give me this and" give me that because I am a native". Time to realize that this is the 21st century and just do your part to live like everyone else. When are they going to stop living off the land and all that foolishness and go get a real job and how come my daughter has to pay back her college loan while they all get college and university for nothing. Fair is fair and thats not fair. Just because she is not a native. Makes me sick stuff like that, many kids are kept poor paying back school loans while those natives just drink their money away. Not just my child but many many have the same problem. Way past time for the government to stop that stuff, but then again I suppose we would have an uprising if that happened. Makes me sick.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Rick
Comments: Well why work in a mine when our tax dollars will keep you for nothing, if you call the kind of life they live living. Gee whiz.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Uptown Girl
Comments: There is no real incentive here for the Nunatsiavut government to proceed with any development. They are doing just fine living off the rest of us who pay taxes. If they had to work like we do then maybe they would look at things differetly. They want the best of both worlds - why can't I have it too??? I'm just jealous - I had to put my kids through university on my own dime - pretty expensive stuff.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Brandon P is WRONG
Comments: NO. Stop your whining and get a job instead of government welfare and handouts. Time for you people to learn a little cooperation is the least you can do for what our tax dollars give away to you people with nothing to show for it in return but your whining and complaining.
Of course, there were a few brave souls who jumped in to try and douse the misinformation, and thinly-veiled racism, with inconvenient little facts:
Date:4/10/2008
Name:Trudy
Comments: I am so sick and tired of hearing about aborginals not paying income tax, too lazy to work, on welfare etc. etc. Well I have worked for 35 years now paid income every year, worked two full time jobs to support my daughters and myself when needed. I do not agree with the Nunatsiavut government on this issue but it is and always has been not about the beneficiaries it has been about the power hungry few at the top. Also on the matter of aborginals not paying income tax until last year the Innu paid income tax as well as the Inuit, Metis and anyone else in Labrador! If you are going to make general comments get your facts before shooting off your mouth and making yourself look STUPID!

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Brandon P
Comments: I can't believe some of the comments on here, it makes me realise what we're up against in Labrador. I have to clarify some things for the uneducated: 1) Inuit pay taxes. 2) Inuit own the land, and govern it as they please 3) Voisey Bay was approved by Inuit, on Inuit lands. Voisey Bay contributes more to this "province" than any other town or industry, save for oil, at a tune of over $700 000 000, THREE QUARTERS OF A BILLION DOLLARS to the coffers thus far. 4) and have little to show for it in employment. 5) Uranium tailings last forever. Heck, garnet mining was turned down in Corner brook watershed and there's lots of EI down there. 6) Inuit own the land, always have. Not NF. Inuit contribute more to the "provincial" economy more than any of your towns do, without getting much in return. so please, tell me, why should NF'ers come to mine uranium, pollute for the next 50 generations, kill the fish and wildlife, with little or unknown benefits to Inuit? Let Nunatsiavut decide what's best for them and mind your own ignorant business

Date:4/10/2008
Name:Angootinmarik
Comments: It saddens me to think that there are that many ignorant people in Newfoundland. INUIT ARE TAX PAYING CITIZENS! Just like any other Canadian. Remember Inuit have rights on how they want to govern their territory. Stop being paternalistic, we are tired of you thinking you know what is best for us.

Date:4/10/2008
Name:labradorrose
Comments: Way to go Brandon P. I am in Nunatsiavut, have had a full time job for the past 18.5 years and I certainly pay my share of taxes! No hand outs for me.
“Welfare bums”?

“Find real work”?

“Handouts”?

“Govt assistance”?

“Don’t pay taxes”?

Bzzzt. Wrong.

According to the wonderful data available at Community Accounts, in 1990 (the earliest year for which data is available), the Inukshuk Zone on the North Coast of Labrador, which coincides with Nunatsiavut plus the Innu reserve at Natuashish, had an Economic Self-Reliance Ratio of 69.2%.

That is to say, of every dollar earned by the notional average northern Labrador resident, 69.2 cents came from their employment, private pension, or other sources of income, while 30.8 cents came in the form of payments to persons under social programs, such as EI, social assistance, and so on.

This was well below the provincial figure, of 77.4%, but, among the twenty economic regions of the province, it was middle-of-the-pack: Inukshuk Zone ranked ninth, ahead of the other two coastal Labrador regions, ahead of Nordic and Red Ochre, ahead of Emerald, Coast of Bays, Discovery, Mariner Resource, Avalon Gateway, and Irish Loop, and tied with Long Range.

From 1990 to 1993, in the middle of a recession and then the early years of the cod moratorium, the self-sufficiency ratio in the province overall, and in every region, decreased, bottoming out at 71.9% in 1993. From the mid-90s on, and into the early 2005s, while the self-sufficiency ratio in the province as a whole increased, reaching 78.4% in 2005, the self-sufficiency ration in northern Labrador increased at a faster pace than the province as a whole.

In fact, after flirting with provincial parity in 1997, northern Labrador surpassed the provincial self-sufficiency score in 2003. At 79.1% in 2005 (the most recent data year), the residents of northern Labrador are, on the average, drawing less of their income from provincial and federal income-support programs – “handouts”, if you prefer – than the average resident of the province as a whole. Among the twenty economic zones, northern Labrador now ranks fourth, behind only western and central Labrador, and the St. John’s area, for lack of reliance on social programs.

Figure 1: Self-sufficiency ratio, province-as-a-whole and Inukshuk Zone, 1990-2005

As for finding “real work”, the 2006 census shows that the employment rate (the percentage of people over the age of 15 who were employed during the week before Census Day) in Nunatsiavut (northern Labrador or the Inukshuk zone, as above, with the exclusion of Natuashish), was 38.5%.

While lower than the pan-provincial figure of 47.9%, the employment number for Nunatsiavut was higher than for Census Division 3 (South and southwest coast of Newfoundland), CD 4 (Port au Port-St. George’s), CD 8 (Baie Verte peninsula to Fogo Island and Hamilton Sound), or CD 9 (Northern Peninsula).

The unemployment rate (the percentage of people who are actually in the labour force, but without work) was lower in Nunatsiavut than on the south coast of Newfoundland or the Northern Peninsula.

And the participation rate (the percentage of people over the age of 15 who are either working or available to work) was higher in Nunatsiavut than in CDs 3, 4, and 8, described above, and also higher than in CD 2 (Burin Peninsula) and CD 7 (Bonavista Bay and Peninsula).

Finally, on the question of taxes, not only do most North Coast residents pay provincial taxes, the taxes they pay have been increasing, both in absolute terms and in relative ones, for a decade and a half.

Northern Labrador has had about 0.5% of the overall provincial population during the period in question. Again, according to Community Accounts, in 1990 northern Labrador residents collectively paid $805,000 in personal income taxes to the provincial government, less than 0.2% of the provincial total of $417-million.

By 2005, the total provincial personal income tax bill, for all residents of the province, reached $803-million, an increase by a factor of 1.9. In northern Labrador? In 2005, residents of Nunatsiavut and Natuashish collectively paid $2.9-million in provincial personal income taxes, for an increase by a factor of 3.6 — far and away the largest increased in the province. (The St. John’s area, the Burin Peninsula, central Labrador, and the two other coastal Labrador zones, were the only areas whose total personal income tax contributions more than doubled in the same period.)

Figure 2: Increase in provincial personal income tax payments (1990=100%), province-as-a-whole and Northern Labrador, 1990-2005

Or, expressed another way, the overall personal income tax contribution from northern Labrador, with 0.5% of the provincial population, has grown from an anemic 0.19% of the provincial total in 1990, to 0.36% of the total in 2005. The trend-line may mean that northern Labrador by the end of the decade, if it isn’t already, will contribute its fair per-capita share, or more, to the provincial personal income tax kitty — especially given that the production phase of Voisey’s Bay, and job creation associated with the Nunatsiavut government, would not be reflected in the 2005 data.

Figure 3: Total provincial personal income tax paid in Northern Labrador, as a share of the provincial total.

All in all, not a bad economic record, and contribution, for people who, if you believe the ignorant morons on the VOCM QoD, are “welfare bums”, living off “handouts”, who need to get “real work” and “don’t pay taxes”.

9 Comments:

At 11:00 AM, April 12, 2008 , Blogger Geoff Meeker said...

It's nice to see a bright light shining on that dim snake pit of anonymous comments that afflicts media web sites (VOCM is not alone - The Telegram site gets some pretty venomous comments too).

At the root of the problem, in my opinion, is the policy of allowing anonymous comments. People are much more inclined to post bigoted, mean-spirited or incorrect statements when cloaked in anonymity.

 
At 1:33 PM, April 12, 2008 , Blogger Mark said...

The irony is that these are the very same folks who want to riot in the streets whenever the Globe runs a headline above a Margaret Wente column that they don't like.

 
At 8:23 AM, April 13, 2008 , Blogger Peter said...

I'm not directly in charge of The Telegram site, but I can assure you that when the tone sinks to such a point as it did with this question, we usually start hacking comments out right, left and centre.
-Peter Jackson

 
At 10:08 AM, April 30, 2008 , Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

One doesn't need to resort to those sorts of comments to voice disagreement with the mining ban. Good job pointing out the nastiness -- I think Geoff is right -- this wouldn't be as prevalent if there were no anon comments. For all we know, this could be 1-2 people.

I also really appreciate the regional comparisons re economic performance. It should be a wake up call.

 
At 11:15 AM, April 30, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

Liam, pop quiz:

Which MINE is affected by the "mining ban"?

Thank you.

 
At 11:47 AM, April 30, 2008 , Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

None. I'm more concerned about exploration, planning and the rest being delayed by a full cycle or more as a result of a moratorium for which there is no real need.

Why do they need this moratorium?

What concerns do they have?

Are they real concerns or more of the Elizabeth May overemotional non-scientific La La Land variety?

I'm honestly curious. If there's something I've missed, please help!

 
At 12:48 PM, April 30, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

None. I'm more concerned about exploration, planning and the rest being delayed by a full cycle or more as a result of a moratorium for which there is no real need.

Why do they need this moratorium?

What concerns do they have?


From what I understand, they want their land use and environmental policies in place first.

Only mining is "banned", which is entirely academic, as there are no mines. It's temporary, and it only applies to Inuit-owned lands, which are a very small subset of the LISA.

It's not much different, really, and with a much, much, smaller impact or potential impact on the provincial economy than Danny Williams' fustigation that delayed Hebron or killed wind power in Labrador.

Are they real concerns or more of the Elizabeth May overemotional non-scientific La La Land variety?

Overemotional?

As opposed to, say, the Voice of Reason that Danny the Demagogue represents?

I'm honestly curious. If there's something I've missed, please help!

See above. And where do I sign up to read your sooper sekrit blog? ;)

 
At 1:02 PM, April 30, 2008 , Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

I only mention May because a ban on mining is the sort of thing she's known for. I don't see what any of this has to do with Danny Williams.

If there is no mine now and no prospect for an immediate mine, surely they can get their policies in place without sending the signal that a ban with which they're comfy now might or might not be lifted . . .it's not as though this country doesn't have environmental laws and regulations to protect such things should they choose to deal squarely with those in the interim. . .


No argument from me re Hebron or the provincial examples. I just hope the Inuit aren't picking up our bad habits. . .

As for Blog, it's down for now. . . maybe reformatted. Not sure yet.

 
At 1:05 PM, April 30, 2008 , Blogger WJM said...

I don't see what any of this has to do with Danny Williams.

You are concerned about government actions (whichever government) scaring off investment and economic activity, yet you support Danny Williams. How's that?

If there is no mine now and no prospect for an immediate mine, surely they can get their policies in place without sending the signal that a ban with which they're comfy now might or might not be lifted . . .it's not as though this country doesn't have environmental laws and regulations to protect such things should they choose to deal squarely with those in the interim. . .

Maybe this country has enough.

But you see, Liam, the crazy thing about "self-government" is that you get to... govern.

As for Blog, it's down for now. . . maybe reformatted. Not sure yet.

Y'all come back now.

 

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