Armine, I need to hear more about this ‘fix don’t scrap TFSA’ business

Human brain and colorful question markI have huge amounts of respect for Armine Yalnizyan. In the People’s Republic of Chris she is Finance Minister. For life. However her latest item on rabble.ca wherein she (or her headline writer) calls for the Tax Free Savings Account program to be fixed (as opposed to scrapped) has got me thinking she’s plugged in an underpowered Art of the Possible™ appliance into her brain and blown a fuse.

After pulling out her numbers and evidence, linking to her past writings on TFSAs and how they’re a horrid sop to the wealthy (my words – don’t blame her if it’s too much for you) she then tosses out following almost throwaway paragraph:

Still, the program also helps lower-income Canadians who are able to save. It shouldn’t be scrapped. It should be fixed.

And moves on. No data, no numbers. No nothing. And still the rabble editors use that unsupported assertion to headline the article.

Which lower income Canadians would those be? How are they able to save? They may be comforted by the notion that should they be able to save some day a TFSA might benefit them but that’s quite a different thing. Could we not come up with some policy measure that might actually benefit these save-worthy lower income Canadians now? Might there be something possibly more efficient and what’s that word – socially just – than something which by her own (and everyone else’s) reckoning wildly disproportionately benefits people who don’t need any more benefits (or power or privilege)?

So I’m left to accept this rather radically different idea about what to do with TFSAs just because it’s Armine. Well she would be my finance minister, it’s true. But I still need to hear more. Because I still think the whole TFSA business has got to go.

Seniors organizations support doubling the TFSA limit? Can we have a source please?

Normally the Globe’s Parliament Hill coverage is pretty good. But this Bill Curry item makes the unattributed claim that seniors organizations support the trial-ballooned proposal to double the annual contribution limit to tax free savings accounts (TFSAs).

Really? Which ones? The Society of Retired CEOs? Or maybe the Grey Circle at the Empire Club?

It would be good to know.

Eduardo Galeano has died

Eduardo Galeano, dead at 74 Eduardo Galeano, one of my favourite writers has died. The cited Huffpo article says he died of cancer.

There was a power to his writing. A wit. A lyrical quality that brought the truth of colonialism and the history of Latin America into razor sharp focus, leaving me laughing even in outrage.

I’m sad to learn he’s hit his final word count. But those he’s left the world with will continue to open eyes and raise fists for many years to come.

Bushtukah changes gendered promo copy after complaint from awesome blogger

Okay, I admit it. Irene Jansen is my partner. But I still think it’s pretty cool that she got the normally excellent outdoor gear retailer Bushtukah to change some of the promo copy for its kids bikes so that it’s not so Ken and Barbie.

The first 2000km

The first 2000k. Still indoors
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With the exception of my spring break 100km ride in Essex, UK and 180km of commuting when I remembered to turn on Strava, it’s all been indoors. Today I had planned to ride outside. With both wheels. I spent some time yesterday getting all the sensors lined up, took the bike into The Cyclery for a brake tweak, which they graciously provided on the spot, and got all my gear ready.

But this morning, the only time I had to ride, the temperature was still -10C. It is meant to rise to 4C this afternoon, but at -10, my shifters would probably fail. The GPS would die. And my new friend the power meter might die too. Oh – and frostbite? First world, modern cyclist problems to be sure.

Ah well. I’m still pretty pleased with the work I’ve done to get ready for the actual road riding season, including Lap the Gats wherein I am riding to raise money for Parkinsons research. You can still sponsor me. I’m 40 per cent of the way to my distance goal but only 18 per cent of the way to my fundraising goal. So I could use your help.

Any amount is appreciated and all donations are receipted.

First solo walk to school

Ipodding in bed - Mallory vacation heaven
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This actually happened Monday, but things were too squirrelly to note it then. However I cannot let this event go unmarked.

Lately she’s been walking to school with her next door neighbour and friend C. Which has been great – school is not far, there’s a crossing guard and C. is older by a couple of years.

And I always figured it was Mallory that was too timid to want to make such a foray into the world alone.

But on Monday, C’s family hadn’t come back from their spring break vacation and Mallory was faced with having to go to school (worse – day care) accompanied by her dad.

She was not at all happy about this. She insisted she would and could walk by herself. It took a lot of re-thinking and a couple of deep breaths on my part, a quick non-verbal parental conference with Irene and the matter was decided.

Off she went. Later, when I realized there would be no “Where is your daughter” call from the school’s “Safe arrival” line, I realized that I had once again underestimated my child and the anxiety was all my own.