A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Promises, promises, promises...

With the Ontario election period rapidly approaching the major political partys are busy trying to buy your votes with your own money (or actually promises to spend it by putting various shiny things in the window) whilst at the same time using 'creative accounting' to say how much it will cost. With the daily revolving door of promises and attacks its hard to keep up so much of my commentary will be 'last weeks news' however here are a few observations regarding a few recent announcements.

First up the child care thing where they all are promising the impossible in which they promise unavailable spaces for all in some distant time in the future!

The Ontario Liberals are set to unveil a pre-election budget with billions in new spending, including a plan to provide fully government-funded child care for preschoolers by 2020.
(costing) $2.2-billion over the next three years to provide child care from the time children turn 2½ until they are eligible for kindergarten.
For every parent, even those in rural areas without access to 'aproved' child care spaces?
The NDP child-care plan would be phased in over five years, would be free for households that earn $40,000 or less, and would grow to include infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Fees for parents earning more than $40,000 would be based on ability to pay and the party says the average fee for families would be $12 a day. The party projects five consecutive deficits to pay for its plan, with a $3.3 billion deficit in 2018-2019 and a $1.9 billion deficit in 2022-2023.
A more reasonable plan with a sliding scale of user pay but like the other plans I have to ask 'what of those parents who cannot access external child care and have to (or choose to) care for their own children at home (with the associated costs of doing so including loss of income)?
Ontario's Progressive Conservatives announced Saturday that if elected in the province's spring election, they will cover up to $6,750 of childcare costs for Ontario families through a tax rebate program.
Low-income families would receive 75 per cent of their child-care costs back, at a maximum of $6,750; higher income families would receive an incrementally lower rate, bottoming out at 26 per cent of child-care costs for families earning $150,000 or more.
So up to about half (they say 75%) of the typical 'approved' child care costs as a tax credit, guess you would have to be in that 150,000 bracket to get any back, the poor low income bugger trying to survive on minimum wage wont get much (if any) benefit (you have to pay it in first to get a 'credit!).

As someone who raised their children at home without child care subsidies I could say more on this but recognize that the situation in urban areas may be much different from those for us rural residents both in access to services and to 'subsidies' but both should have the same access to funds.

Whilst on the subject of the Ontario PCs I see that Doug Trump (sorry Doug Ford, its hard to tell the difference sometimes) has now not only denied the press access to his campaign bus but is now producing his own 'news reports' where his spin and BS cannot be questioned or edited by the real press. Gota keep those lieing 'fake news' purveyors from reporting on gods gift to the Ontario Voter, one Rob (my shovels bigger than yours) Ford. Given that he will say and do anything that is convienent to his narrative its not surprising that he does not want 'independent' news reporting, take the reversal of the pave over the green belt idea and now the firing of Granic Allen the 'king maker' who he once endorsed and now rejects. Like his buddy to the south you cannot believe a word he says, its going to be hard (if not impossible) to select a 'good' government in Ontario but the above eliminates one choice without further consideration! 

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weeding the Garden

"You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we've seen societies where that happens,"
Former president Barack Obama
And we have now seen how quickly that can happen by simply looking to the south of us, no one should think that we here in Canada are immune from the kind of democratic decline that electing the wrong leader can bring in just a few months. With a provincial election coming shortly to Ontario and a small war started by politicians to the west be careful which weeds you allow to flourish.

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

An Exelent Compromise.....

British Columbia premier, John Horgan, has an eminently reasonable solution to Justin Trudeau's and Rachel Notley's pipeline fetish - refine that cruddy bitumen here and sell it on the Canadian market.

"If they have disposable billions, I would suggest a better course of action would be to invest in refining capacity so that we Canadians can benefit from the jobs and we Canadians can benefit from this natural resource rather than sending it in raw form to another jurisdiction," Horgan told reporters Thursday. 
"I think it's a reasonable way forward and I would be absolutely delighted to participate." 
Federal Green Leader Elizabeth May has touted the same plan to avoid shipping more bitumen off the coast, and even suggested branding the gasoline “Fort Mac Strong.” 
“There’s not a Canadian that wouldn’t rather put Fort Mac Strong in their gas tank than buying from Venezuela and Khazakstan and Nigeria,” May said this week.

With much Trump like rhetoric coming from  all directions about the proposed increase of flow of toxic tar sand output to the west coast, to be shipped overseas via tankers it was good to read about this suggestion which seems to be the only reasonable compromise to this delema. Expecting Alberta and Trudeau to consider this idea or the other players to invest in the infrastructure needed to bring such a thing to fruition is however dreaming in technicolor I fear. Notley was going on about buying out Kinder Morgan but investing in refining capacity would be a much better idea and more profitable in the long run as unfortunately it will be many years before we are able to get all our energy needs from 'clean' sources.

A tip of the hat to The Disaffected Lib for this one.....
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