Ontario vote compass: silly questions

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I’m only 8 questions into the CBC Ontario Vote Compass and have already tried answering several questions as Neutral because the premise seems so ridiculous.  I didn’t continue answering the next 20+ questions since I already don’t think it’ll be worth my while.

The 2 worst questions, in my opinion:

  • How much tax should corporations pay?  (More, Same, Less, …)
  • How much tax should the rich pay?  (More, Same, Less, …)

It seems they left out the most important point: for what? I could be in favour of increasing taxes on those groups if it were to reduce the deficit, for example.  Whether or not I’d be in favour of an increase for some new government program would depend entirely on what it was.

It’s blatantly obvious which party they associate with each answer, but I don’t even want to answer “Same” as a cop-out because that’s not what it is here.

High-frequency trading

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Ran across this good explanation of the “high-frequency trading” term thrown around a lot: Algorithmic Trading is Not High Frequency Trading.  The impact on the markets of HFT is very different compared to having computers aid in the execution of a human decision.

Even when a human enters a simple order on a stock brokerage application like “buy 100 Apple shares”, there’s computer logic being used on their behalf.  Depending if you asked for a “market” order (any price), or set a limit price, a computer is acting on your behalf to respect those rules and get you the best price possible.

Who is responsible for First Nations problems?

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The bad state of First Nations reserves has been in the news recently.  I’ve never been very clear on the responsibilities of the Canadian government to support people on reserves, and some of the debate lately has accused the government of being at fault for the poverty on reserves.  I found this article, which shows that point of view: State of First Nations reserves is a national disgrace.

Quote from the article:

“The litany of festering problems on First Nations reserves enumerated in the latest auditor general’s report is depressingly familiar and attests to a persistent failure on the part of all concerned in the matter to adequately come to grips with this great shame of Canadian governance.

The report notes that despite the billions of dollars that have been spent to upgrade living conditions in aboriginal communities, more than half the drinking water in First Nations reserves poses a health hazard, fewer than half the burgeoning number of aboriginal youth graduate from high school, child and family services are deficient, health care is inadequate and the shortage of housing has more than doubled over the past eight years.”

I don’t have any issues with the treaties for tax-exemption and other special treatment given to First Nations citizens.  I also don’t have a problem with offering the services the rest of Canada gets, such as health care, even though taxes aren’t being paid for those services.  What seems a little odd to me is that, aside from the usual tasks of providing health care and education, you wouldn’t really see the government doing much to otherwise help a poor community elsewhere in Canada.  Why is the government expected to do more in this case?