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.
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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lessons not learned.

With the Harper regime having been turfed from power at least in part for their blatant misuse of public advertising dollars for partisan purposes and for their secrecy and failure to disclose anything that could be considered negative towards their rule, and with the senate expense scandal still ongoing, I wonder if ANY of our politicians have learned anything.

We have the Ontario Liberals filling the airways with advertising promoting their Ontario Registered Pension Plan which will not be implemented until 2017 and will not pay out to anyone until 2020.

The ORPP will be introduced in 2017 and, by 2020, subject to legislative and Canada Revenue Agency approval, every employee in Ontario would be part of either the ORPP or a comparable workplace pension plan. Employees and employers would contribute an equal amount, capped at 1.9% each (3.8% combined) on an employee’s annual earnings up to $90,000.
That’s if in fact it is ever implemented given that the jury is still out if it will morf into an “enhanced” Canada Pension Plan. Strike one!

Then we have the quiet, behind closed door, vote of the secretive Federal Board of Internal Economy in December to give themselves and all MP's a 20% raise in office budgets to take effect in April.

The 20 per cent increase to MPs' office budgets means each MP will be able to spend an additional $57,690 on top of the current budget of $288,450. Multiply that by the 338 MPs that make up the House of Commons, and MPs' budgets alone jump by nearly $20 million to a new total of almost $117 million a year.
Others are getting a boost to their office budgets as well. The Speaker of the House of Commons, House officers such as the deputy speakers and the offices of the party leaders, whips and caucus chairs are also in line for the increase.
  • The Speaker will get an additional $193,029 for a new office budget total of $1,158,117.
  • The Opposition leader's office gets an additional $725,581 for a new total of $4,353,487.
  • The NDP will get an additional $337,487 for a new total of $2,024,870.
It seems to me that just like the rest of us they need to tighten their belts and make do with less and “find efficiencies” at a time when the country is barely out a recession and running a deficit in order to try and get a few more folks back to work and have food on the table. Strike two!

That’s but two small examples of the ongoing disrespect of governments for those that they govern, I am quite sure that folks across the country can come up with many more. We have a long way to go to achieve that “Open and Accountable” plateau so often promised,. I do believe that the current federal government is trying to improve things in this regard but it remains to be seen how long it will be before tonce again things deteriorates. That decision by the Board of Internal Economy was not a good start!
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Lorne said...

On the provincial level, Rural, what bothers me most about the Ontario Liberal government is their abject contempt for the electorate, reflected in its incomprehensible decision to sell of the majority of Hydro One. Not only does the sale mean only a small short-term gain for a long-term loss of revenue, but it is something for which it has no mandate. to compound the folly, it is also paying off (or should I say the taxpayer is paying off?) all of Hydro's debt so that the sale of shares will be especially lucrative for the buyers.

As usual, the rest of us are left with mere crumbs.

Unknown said...

Governments, especially in the last 10 yrs, Rural, once Canadians vote them in seem to go on their merry old way doing whatever they want to do, without engaging with the public and at times doing things in secrecy. This seems to apply both provincially and federally.We need to have our own citizens watch with real power to make our governments accountable. We allow our governments far, far too much power over us. Switzerland holds referrendums on all major issues. Something to consider. We seem to vote our governments in, then stand by the wayside, crossing our fingers in the hope they will do the right thing.Lorne's right about Wynne. She did not have the mandate to sell the majority of Hydro One yet she went ahead with it.