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Trudeau Gives 4.7% Alcohol Tax as New Year Present to Canadians

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Trudeau Gives 4.7% Alcohol Tax as New Year Present to Canadians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada frequently declares that he is “working to make life more affordable.” Instead of doing the one thing that would immediately make living more cheap – cutting taxes – he’s leveraging inflation to go on a drinking binge.

Trudeau intends to boost the federal excise tax on alcohol once again in 2024. This time, it was by 4.7%. Even a 4.7% tax increase, however, minimizes the amount of tax you pay every time you go to the liquor store.

In Canada, taxes already account for over half of the price of beer, two-thirds of the price of wine, and more than three-quarters of the price of spirits. That means a 24-pack of pilsner, a couple bottles of Pinot, plus a bottle of vodka will set you back around $120. Over $75 of it is tax.

In fact, Canadians pay five times the tax on a case of beer as our southern neighbors. The tax on a case of beer in Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador is higher than the total price of a case in half of American states.

While Canadians pay greater taxes, Americans benefit from tax cuts. Between 2017 and 2019, Canadian beer taxes increased by $34 million for large brewers, whereas American beer taxes decreased by $31 million.

Since the 2017 budget, the federal government has been on a tax rise spree. The Trudeau government implemented an automatic tax hike escalator that year. That means that on April 1 of each year, the federal excise tax automatically increases with inflation.

With inflation at a 40-year high, Canadians will face a significant tax increase in 2024.

The escalator tax was initially unpopular because inflation was low. However, even minor tax increases might add up to large costs over time. Because of the automatic annual tax raise that began in 2017, the federal government’s alcohol excise taxes will have jumped 19% after next year’s boost.

According to polls, the growing cost of living is the single most pressing economic issue confronting Canadians. Any government that cares about affordability will cancel the forthcoming tax hike and eliminate the automatic tax escalation system.

Brownie points for restoring alcohol taxes to their pre-automatic tax escalation levels. After all, the administration has boosted its tax take without MPs voting on it since Budget 2017. This is inherently anti-democratic.

Votes on tax increases are required for democracy. That is why we have a House of Commons full of MPs elected by their voters and paid $194,000 by the public. The automatic tax rises, on the other hand, make a mockery of our democratic processes.

In fact, the one time MPs had the opportunity to vote on the most recent alcohol tax rise, they decisively voted to repeal it. Trudeau just rejected the non-binding motion and Parliament’s democratic will.

Canadians require assistance. And the simplest and most straightforward way for Trudeau to demonstrate that he cares about affordability is to cease his alcohol tax spree.

Trudeau’s Short term rental Tax

Meanwhile, according to media sources, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will unveil tax reforms aimed at reducing the use of Airbnb Inc. and other short-term rental services in areas of Canada where those platforms are prohibited.

According to reports in Montreal’s La Presse and the Toronto Star, Freeland’s fall economic statement will include the proposal. According to news outlets, the government will restrict property owners from deducting expenses for short-term rentals in places where those services are already limited by other levels of government.

According to the Star and La Presse, the tax reform, which would take effect on January 1, is intended to punish property owners who violate local restrictions. A lack of suitable rental homes is an issue in locations like British Columbia, where the provincial government recently enacted new regulations that makes it more difficult for owners to post vacant properties on sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and Expedia.

Last month, Freeland stated that the federal government was investigating what instruments it may use to combat short-term rental sites, which result in “fewer homes for Canadians to rent, particularly in urban and populated areas of our country.”

According to La Presse, the federal government’s housing agency, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp., would be given C$15 billion ($10.9 billion) to offer low-interest loans to real estate developers for the development of rental homes as part of a new housing package.

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Neoconservative Mitch McConnell to Resign as GOP Senate Leader

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Neoconservative Mitch McConnell to Resign

In an unexpected turn of events, Mitch McConnell, a long-standing pillar in Republican leadership, has declared his intention to resign as GOP senate leader. McConnell, famed for his strategic influence and political acumen, will leave his role as Senate Republican leader after an extraordinary term.

This development represents a significant upheaval in the political environment, as McConnell’s resignation is expected to have a rippling effect on the Republican leadership. With his resignation, concerns emerge regarding the party’s future orientation and the forces that will influence its trajectory in the following months.

McConnell, the Senate Republican leader since 2007, announced his resignation at a critical juncture, leaving many to wonder what his departure would mean for the party’s future and the larger political environment.

As the countdown to his departure in November begins, speculation abounds about prospective successors and the new leadership dynamics that may emerge during his absence.

Mitch McConnell has been a significant player in American politics for decades, having served as a senator from Kentucky since 1985. McConnell has been key in influencing policies on various subjects, including healthcare, tax reform, and judicial appointments.

mitch McConnell Neocon

Mitch McConnell’s Neoconservative policies

During the Trump administration, he was Senate Majority Leader because of his persistent support for conservative policies and skilful handling of legislative affairs in a fast-paced political environment.

McConnell’s decision to step away has left many in Washington perplexed and fascinated. While McConnell has not revealed specifics on his resignation, much speculation exists about possible causes.

Some political experts believe McConnell’s resignation was driven by changing dynamics inside the Republican Party, where neoconservative ideology plays a role in decision-making processes.

The neoconservative effect on McConnell’s decision to resign as Senate GOP leader has sparked conjecture in political circles. Neoconservatism, characterized by its hardline foreign policy approach, has significantly impacted conservative politics in recent years.

Some sources attribute McConnell’s choice to internal party dynamics or personal concerns, while others attribute it to a desire for a new chapter in his career. Regardless of the specific reasons, McConnell’s resignation will greatly impact the Republican Party’s future trajectory.

Former President Trump’s impact on Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party is unmistakable. Trump’s vocal criticism and fights with McConnell have been public and severe, causing divisions within the GOP.

mitch McConnell Neocon

Conflict With Trump

It is believed that Trump’s prolonged presence and influence within the party influenced McConnell’s decision to resign as Senate GOP leader. The conflict between McConnell and Trump shows the Republican Party’s internal battles and power dynamics.

As the political world speculates who may follow Mitch McConnell, numerous names have arisen as potential replacements.

The field of potential successors is varied and vibrant, with emerging stars inside the party and seasoned veterans with substantial legislative experience.

The decision of McConnell’s replacement will have immediate repercussions for Senate leadership, but it may also herald deeper changes within the Republican Party as it navigates the post-Trump scenario.

The selection of McConnell’s replacement is expected to be a game-changer in the political arena, with far-reaching ramifications for the party and the country.

With Neocon ideas colliding with the legacy of Trump’s presidency, the stage is set for a gripping story of intellectual transformation and strategic realignment.

McConnell’s resignation symbolizes the start of a new quest for leadership and unity inside the GOP as the party starts on a transformative journey to redefine its role in influencing the political landscape.

By Geoff Thomas

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Business

Donald Trump Appeals $454 Million Judgment In New York Civil Fraud Case

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NEW YORK — Donald Trump has filed an appeal against his $454 million civil fraud judgment in New York, challenging a judge’s determination that he lied about his wealth while building the real estate empire that propelled him to prominence and the presidency.

The former president’s lawyers filed notices of appeal on Monday, urging the state’s mid-level appeals court to reject Judge Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 16 ruling in Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit and reverse astronomical penalties threatening to deplete Trump’s cash reserves.

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Donald Trump Appeals $454 Million Judgment In New York Civil Fraud Case

In court papers, Trump’s lawyers asked the appeals court to assess if Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he misused his judgement or “acted in excess” of his jurisdiction.

Trump’s appeal petition did not state if he was attempting to halt collection of the judgment while he appealed by posting money, assets, or an appeal bond covering the amount owing to qualify for an automatic stay.

Messages for comment were left with Trump’s lawyers and the New York Attorney General’s office.

Engoron discovered that Trump, his company, and key officials, including his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., conspired for years to defraud banks and insurers by exaggerating his wealth on financial statements used to acquire loans and close transactions. Among other punishments, the judge limited Trump’s company, the Trump Organization’s ability to conduct business.

The appeal ensures that the legal battle over Trump’s business practices will continue throughout the presidential primary season, and maybe beyond, as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination to recapture the White House.

If Engoron’s verdict is maintained, Trump will be forced to give up a significant portion of his fortune. Engoron ordered Trump to pay $355 million in penalties, but after interest, the figure has risen to over $454 million. That figure will rise by approximately $112,000 per day until he pays.

Trump claims he is worth several billion dollars and testified last year that he had approximately $400 million in cash, in addition to buildings and other investments. James, a Democrat, told ABC News that if Trump cannot pay, she plans to seize some of his assets.

Trump’s appeal was expected. Trump had promised to appeal, and his lawyers had been preparing the stage for months by repeatedly complaining about Engoron’s trial handling.

Trump referred to Engoron’s ruling as “election interference” and “weaponization against a political opponent,” which was the most expensive outcome of his recent legal issues.

Trump claimed he was punished for “having built a perfect company, great cash, great buildings, great everything.”

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Donald Trump Appeals $454 Million Judgment In New York Civil Fraud Case

After the verdict, Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, stated that the former president was sure the appeals court “will ultimately correct the innumerable and catastrophic errors made by a trial court untethered to the law or to reality.”

“Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients,” Alina Habba, the attorney for President Donald Trump, stated.

If the ruling stands, Habba stated, “it will serve as a signal to every single American that New York is no longer open for business.”

Trump couldn’t appeal the verdict immediately because the clerk’s office at Engoron’s courthouse needed to file documents known as judgements to make them official. That was done on Friday, giving Trump 30 days to pay up or file an appeal seeking a stay.

During the trial, Trump’s attorneys charged Engoron with “tangible and overwhelming” bias. They have also raised concerns about the legal structure of James’s lawsuit. Trump claims the law she sued him under is a consumer-protection statute typically used to penalize firms who defraud clients.

Trump’s attorneys have already petitioned the Appellate Division at least ten times to challenge Engoron’s previous rulings, including during the trial in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn a gag order and $15,000 in fines for violations after Trump made a disparaging and false social media post about a key court employee.

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Donald Trump Appeals $454 Million Judgment In New York Civil Fraud Case

Trump’s attorneys have long argued that some of the charges are no longer valid because of the statute of limitations. They contend that Engoron disobeyed an Appellate Division rule last year requiring him to limit the trial’s focus to remove out-of-date allegations.

If Trump is defeated in the Appellate Division, he can petition the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to hear his case.

The appeal is one of Trump’s numerous legal challenges. In the past year, he has been charged with four different crimes. In Georgia and Washington, D.C., he is accused of attempting to reverse his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. In Florida, he is accused of hoarding confidential documents.

He is due to stand trial in Manhattan next month for falsifying company records relating to hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels on his behalf.

In January, a jury sentenced Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defamation after she accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. This comes from Carroll’s $5 million award from a comparable trial last year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

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NAIROBI, Kenya – Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya’s world marathon record holder, was accorded a state funeral Friday after being killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month, prompting many Kenyans to call on the government to do more to protect the country’s famed sportsmen.

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Kenyan President William Ruto and World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe, paid their final respects to Kiptum as he was interred in Naiberi, some 6 kilometres (4 miles) from his village of Chepkorio in western Kenya.

The 24-year-old runner and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a collision two weeks ago near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of a high-altitude region known as a training ground for Kenya’s and the world’s greatest distance runners.

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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum was one of the most promising road runners to emerge in recent years, breaking the world record in only his third competitive marathon outing. Just days before his death, the world track body World Athletics certified his record of 2 hours and 35 seconds achieved at the Chicago Marathon last October.

Kiptum intended to break the two-hour marathon record in Rotterdam in April and make his Olympic debut in Paris this year.

His death echoed throughout Kenya, where runners are the biggest sports heroes, and many people have become accustomed to tragedies involving their best athletes, with dozens dying in traffic accidents or as a result of domestic abuse.

According to officials, Kiptum was driving on the night of February 11 when the car went off the road into a ditch and collided with a huge tree. He and Hakizimana died instantly. Sharon Kosgei, another passenger, was also hurt in the incident.

Kiptum, an only child, leaves his wife, Asentah Cheruto, and their two children. A High Court on Thursday declined to postpone the funeral in response to a woman’s legal claim that Kiptum fathered her kid.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum ran the fastest as a marathon debutant in the 2022 Valencia Marathon. The next year, he won two of the world’s most prestigious marathons: London and Chicago. He set a new course record at the London Marathon in April; months later, he set the global record in Chicago.

He became the latest Kenyan celebrity to die in sad circumstances.

David Lelei, an All-Africa Games silver medalist, was killed in a car crash in 2010. Francis Kiplagat, a marathon runner, was among five individuals who died in a crash in 2018. Nicholas Bett, who won gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships, was also killed in a car accident in 2018.

Many Kenyans believe the government should do more to protect athletes who bring international attention to their country, such as providing them with security, drivers, and advisors.

Elizabeth Wairimu, a vegetable trader in the western Kenya town of Nakuru, said the number of athletes killed in road accidents was frightening.

“I am asking myself what is the problem with our athletes,” she said. “The government should look into this… figure out what is killing our athletes. Where are we headed?”

She expressed sadness that the government was rushing through the process instead of Kiptum, who had pledged to build a new house for his parents.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Others in the packed market agreed with Wairimu’s comments.

“The government should not wait until the legends are dead to start caring about their welfare,” said George Thuo, a market seller.

Jimmy Muindi, a six-time Honolulu Marathon winner from Kenya, believes young athletes who reach Kiptum’s level require assistance managing their newfound celebrity status. Former marathoner Isaac Macharia concurred, stating that a support system is required to develop stars.

Jack Tuwei, the president of Athletics Kenya, urged President Ruto and MPs to find a solution to secure the athletes’ well-being and “allow them to have everything they need to be safe.”

Ruto announced that an endowment fund would be established for athletes and that the government would provide Kiptum’s widow with another house and $34,000 in support.

SOURCE – (AP)

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