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, December 30, 2018

Orwellian Musings

As we end the year that could perhaps be called 'annus horribilis' to use the Queens description of 1992 I find it hard to be optimistic about our future here across the other side of the ocean, or indeed for the rest of the world.

I cannot find the words to effectively put whats in my mind to print but fortunately there are others more effective writers from whom I can steal a few words. A Collingwood writers recent article drew my attention to a piece in the NewYorker which highlights how little things have changed sine Orwell wrote '1984' and 'Animal Farm' both of which should be as much of a warning to us now as they were back in the 1940s.

Ian Chadwick writes:- Pick pretty much any dictatorship or personality-cult government and someone has written about the similarities between it and Trump’s America. With little effort, you can lay out parallels between current and historical events (there are even disturbingly close parallels drawn between it and Orwell’s 1984). It’s a popular trope among political commentators, but it doesn’t solve the problems or address the real issue: greed. ….......

A story on Global News this year was titled, “Canada’s richest families own as much wealth as 3 provinces combined.” It noted:
The country’s most affluent families are worth $3 billion on average, while the median net worth in Canada is just under $300,000, meaning that half of families own more and half less than that. And while wealth at the top grew by $800 million per family between 2012 and 2016, a rate of 37 per cent, Canada’s median net worth grew by only $37,000, an increase of 15 per cent.
A study on Canada’s wealth gap by the Broadbent Institute found that, “Canadians underestimate the breadth and depth of wealth inequality… the distribution of wealth in Canada is different from what Canadians think it is, and a far cry from what they think it should be.”
The NewYorker article, whilst mostly about comparing Trumps actions with Orwells words could easily be taken to be about our new want-to-be dictator here in Ontario, the parrellels between Fords actions and the theme of the two book mentioned above is startling. Some extracts follow.

“There is nothing subtle about Trump’s behavior. He lies, he repeats the lie, and his listeners either cower in fear, stammer in disbelief, or try to see how they can turn the lie to their own benefit. Every continental wiseguy, from Žižek to Baudrillard, insisted that when they pulled the full totalitarian wool over our eyes next time, we wouldn’t even know it was happening. Not a bit of it. Trump’s lies, and his urge to tell them, are pure Big Brother crude, however oafish their articulation. They are not postmodern traps and temptations; they are primitive schoolyard taunts and threats.
The blind, blatant disregard for truth is offered without even the sugar-façade of sweetness of temper or equableness or entertainment—offered not with a sheen of condescending consensus but in an ancient tone of rage, vanity, and vengeance. Trump is pure raging authoritarian id.”

“ Caligula, the mad Roman emperor, infamously appointed his horse Incitatus to the Roman Senate, and that has been for millennia a byword for cracked authoritarian action. But we now know what would happen if Caligula appointed his horse to the Senate if the modern Republican Party happened to be in the majority there: first the Republicans would say that they didn’t want to get into disputes about the Emperor’s personnel choices, and then they’d quickly see how the presence of the horse could help justify dismantling regulations in the horse-chariot industry. “

The fable of 'The Emperor has no clothes' comes to mind for we seem to have a number of our supposed leaders strutting around thinking they are much better clothed than they actualy are!

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Ho, Ho bloody Ho

This time of year is not my favorite season, yes its nice to visit family and catch up with both their recent activities and their plans for the future but the whole clamor of what is now largely a retail opportunity leave me less than enthusiastic. For far too many folks it is an excuse, or is that a perceived obligation, to spend money they cant really afford on items that have a good chance of not being used or useful to the recipient who similarly feel obliged to return the 'favor'. Me cynical and a grumpy old man? Yep!

That said I do feel 'obliged' to wish those few folks who read these pages, some of whom even take the time to comment upon my ramblings, seasonal greetings and wish them a happiness and contentment in the upcoming year. Just because I do not embrace those feeling this time of year does not mean I would wish such on others, if the state of our world locally, nationally and / or world wide both politically and environmentally bothers you, as it does me, then I suggest you do NOT read on for this is not going to be an uplifting creed.

It may make for bleak reading, but of the 162 countries covered by the Institute for Economics and Peace’s (IEP’s) latest study, just 11 were not involved in conflict of one kind or another. Then there are countries which are involved in no actual foreign wars involving deaths whatsoever - like North Korea & China – but which are fraught by the most divisive and entrenched internal conflicts. The number of authoritarian regimes that suppress their own citizens or the ethnic minorities who they consider interlopers is also considerable whether included in the above or not. The few that do not fall within those parameters are far from trouble free, much of Europe is in disarray between fending off Russian aggression and trying to agree to disagree with neighboring countries not the least of which is GB where the whole Brexit thing can only be described as the largest Cluster Fk since Cromwell's days.

North America is not immune to the political induced madness that is spreading across the globe much of it caused by individuals who seem to think they are democratic leaders but are in fact the exact opposite or quickly heading that way. Whilst the current U.S. 'leader' is perhaps the best example of such thinking where due process is just something to be ignored or circumvented and any opposition is demeaned or suppressed it is far from the only one who thinks that way. Which brings us to our own impending CF here in Ontario where the newly elected premier is cutting a swath though the checks and balances previously thought to be unassailable starting with the members of Toronto's council and a number of other 'cuts' seeming made with little or no input from the folks that citizens chose to represent them, flawed though that process may have been.

Across the country it looks no better as what appears to be an increasing division between those who do not believe in climate change or simply put the almighty dollar ahead of the ever increasing destruction of out atmosphere and life as we know it. We will not change thing overnight and the use of oil to power our economy will not substantially reduce in the short term but it should be clear by now that increasing its use is simply not on. I will leave it to others more eloquent on the subject to detail the dangers but polluting large areas by taking tar from the ground, adding more pollutants to it to send through aging pipelines to then ship it out of country where after processing and creating more pollutants much of it will be sold back to us make zero sense to me.

That our current federal leader, whom we thought was somewhat moving away from the excesses of the previous regime, seems to have been blinded by the rhetoric coming out of one particular province and bought said aging pipeline (for many mega dollars when the owners who had made their millions whined that they were pulling out) is 'disappointing'. To add insult to injury we now learn that further millions are being given to the diggers of tar because no one want to buy the crap and actually 'digging' it up and flogging it to distant suckers is no longer financially viable. In short between the world wide political situation, the idiot in charge next door to us and our own ever increasing divisions both politically and environmentally we are screwed.

Merry bloody Christmas eh.

IF I can find the fortitude (and that is highly debatable at this point) I will return sometime in the new year to cobble together what will no doubt be a long list of the questionable actions undertaken by the Ford Regime in the short time since they came to power.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Democracy in decline?

As my small cadre of regular readers will know I have been writing about our Canadian democracy for nearly 10 years much of that time spent documenting the Harper Regimes disdain for the democratic process. Although I now have less inclination to write the need to continue to keep those who would subvert said democratic process feet to the fire continues, most recently highlighted by the actions of the Ford Regime here in Ontario. I am not sure that I have the fortitude to extend my commentary to the same extend that I did a few years ago, certainly not to the extent and depth previously made on these pages, I am pleased however to see that a number of other bloggers are taking notice of the decline both here and elsewhere.

This last while I have seen a number of articles which have highlighted the writers concern about the state of democracy across the world some of which I will provide a brief synopsis and a link to here. Keep up the good work guys for I am getting tired of beating my head against that particular wall! Most of the following are linked from recent posts at http://progressivebloggers.ca/?s=democracy

Canadians take our democracy for granted. Most rarely think of it at all........
What is the root cause of transit issues in North America?

One of the critical strengths of our Canadian democracy is that we elect people in each electoral district to represent us in parliament........

Paul Krugman had it right when he denounced climate change denialists as “depraved.” And the depraved, also known as right-wing populists, will be out in force.........

To be sure, the elevation of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario to government redounds to everyone’s shame. Led by a buffoonish thug, Doug Ford........,

If you are not being sued by the Ford government in Ontario, you might already be suing it or hoping to sue..........

And here are a few further random posts on the subject.......

We continue to find compelling evidence of an increasing trust divide between government and citizens. This is reflected in the decline of democratic satisfaction and receding trust in politicians.......

From Michigan to North Carolina, GOP legislators are proving they care more about clinging to power than the will of the voters.......

One hundred years on from efforts to make British democracy somewhat fairer, the government likes to claim it cares about equality – but it has its sights on making it more difficult for people to cast their ballots.

The UK’s democracy is in danger of backsliding – but current policy proposals are not the right fix..........

How can our system of law enforcement (or government) survive, as other than an arm of a dictatorship, if there are no repercussions for those responsible for upholding the rules.......

Here in Ontario there is currently a 'dispute' between the teachers and the government as to what the teachers unions want and what the taxpayers can afford,....... (how little thing have changed in 6 years!)

At least we are still able to talk about it, in some parts of the world the very mention of such things could be considered blasphemous!

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Backbenchers just decoration?

In this era of hyper-partisanship, can backbenchers have an effective voice, or have they been relegated to the role of a modern Greek chorus, anonymous figures advancing a pre-determined story?

This is the question Hershell Ezrin asks in a short article in Ontario News Watch
“In defence of hyper partisanship, central party staff at federal and provincial levels monitor backbenchers’ social media output regularly. Faux loyalty moments like standing ovations have become “de rigueur” in Question Period. “Cheerleading” records are kept. Caucus meetings seem more devoted to unquestioning displays of loyalty than to serious confidential discussion and feedback sessions..........

Current political staff have been accused of being the disciplinarians for this alternate reality. To get ahead (trips, assignments and even promotion), backbenchers need to satisfy the enforcers that they are good team players. “

This discussion was of course brought on by the recent disagreement between a rookie MPP and her rookie leader in the Ontario legislature.

A Progressive Conservative legislator who publicly denounced Ontario's decision to eliminate the independent office of the French-language services commissioner and a planned French-language university severed ties with the Tories on Thursday, the culmination of a dispute that saw her vote against her own party's legislation.
In a letter to the Speaker of the legislature, Amanda Simard said her decision was effective immediately, and she will remain as an independent. New Democrats and Liberals said they were not aware of any efforts to recruit her to their ranks.
"I am no longer a member of the Progressive Conservative Caucus," Simard wrote in the short letter. "I will continue to take my place in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as an Independent.
The rookie legislator, who represents a largely Franco-Ontarian riding, broke ranks with Premier Doug Ford's government over the two controversial decisions affecting about 600,000 francophones in the province.”

It has also highlighted the amount of 'control' that the Ford Regime wishes to have over the entire legislative process...

The Progressive Conservatives fear some disgruntled MPPs are set to cross the floor to join the Liberals, the Star has learned. That’s a key reason why Premier Doug Ford is increasing the threshold for official party status in the legislature from eight MPPs to 12, a senior source says. Ford’s office closely monitors Tory members. Sources say they track who applauds in the legislature and watch for MPPs who do not quickly leap to their feet for ovations after the premier or ministers respond to opposition inquiries during question period.

“They keep tabs on everything,” said a fourth Tory .... Two party aides noted that speaking out in caucus meetings is also discouraged because they don’t want anyone to undermine team unity.

But is all of the above Premier Doug Ford‘s decision or that of his chief of staff Dean French who it is alleged effectively runs the caucus meetings and just about everything else in Fords government? French’s management style has been called into question by members of his own party and by the opposition.

Who is running the ship and where is it going, perhaps Ford is also just decoration?

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Who is running Ontario?

Dean French was Mr. Ford’s campaign chair. The day after the PCs won power in June, Mr. Ford named him his chief of staff. Since then, he has emerged as something even that job title can’t fully capture: an omnipresent force seen by some of the new government’s members as more powerful than the Premier who employs him.
So says an article in the G & M after said Mr French after he forced the firing of Alykhan Velshi from a job at the energy utility Ontario Power Generation on his first day on the job at a possible cost of $500,000 to Ontario taxpayers.
Mr. French is portrayed by insiders almost precisely as Mr. Ford’s critics perceive the new Premier to be: mercurial, bent on settling scores and indifferent to boundaries that his job usually involves. Most chiefs of staff keep relatively low profiles and make some show of deferring to elected representatives. Mr. French is an extreme exception!

There is the unusual control that Mr. French appears to exert over his government’s appointments processes. He is said to have a tendency to conduct negotiations for high-profile public positions presenting them to Mr. Ford as done deals. The reported $350,000 salary for Conservative insider Ian Todd to serve as Ontario’s trade representative in Washington was cited by multiple sources as an example.
In proceedings where political staff usually aren’t welcome to participate, he has taken a lead role including actively engaging in cabinet meetings, as well as the smaller committee of senior ministers who are supposed to set the government’s agenda. And he uses those positions to clamp down on any semblance of dissent both there and at caucus meetings..

With the above in mind I have to ask who exactly is the Ontario Conservatives 'Leader' the Premier or his chief of staff, I believe that Ford has never been more that a loud mouth 'figurehead' as evidenced by his refusal to interact with the Press in any meaningful way during the pre-election process. What we appear to have is an unelected 'aide' effectively running Ontario, giving the 'Premier' his speaking notes and effectively silencing those few conservative MPPs who dare to question any 'policies' Mr Ford has been told to bring forward.
A bit harsh you say? Time will tell, meanwhile keep your safety belts buckled for we are in for a rough ride!

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Amalgamation raises it ugly head again?

'Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark sent a correspondence to Association of Municipalities Ontario members communicating the province is undergoing a regional review to take a broad look at the current model of municipal governance.'

The above little clip appeared in a short article in a recent Bayshore News item and in normal circumstances would be of little interest but given the enforced changes to Toronto Council and the elimination of elected chair positions in the Peel, York, Niagara and Muskoka regions it perhaps require further scrutiny. That no copy of said correspondence can be found on the ministry web site (or anywhere else that I can see) is perhaps 'normal' for the Ford government but further adds to my concern.

The article also says that Clark's statement explains it is time to consider whether changes are needed to improve municipal governance where the dollars of taxpayers are being stretched. Also that Minister Clark's statement goes on to say the province's goal is to give people what they want: local governments that are working as effectively and efficiently as possible to support the economic prosperity of their residents and businesses.

"We look forward to discussing with our many stakeholders, including our municipal partners, to determine what is working well in our current governance model," says Minister Clark. "And what needs to be improved."

Perhaps I am being a little paranoid but the above brief quote from Minister Clark sounds a lot like bafflegab for “We are going to take our slash and burn agenda seen in Toronto to Municipal government elsewhere in the province”. As the article indicates some individuals are in favor of a least examining the possibilities in the name of 'efficiencies' and this in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, however given our new provincial governments proclivity for bringing in major changes to our governance with little or no 'consultation' and minimal regard for any opposing views I become deeply concerned.

All municipalities should keep an eye on this one and smaller rural municipalities should be particularly vigilant. I for one do not believe Fords earlier words at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference that “there are no plans to unilaterally slash the size of city councils in Ontario” …. his word is hardly the most reliable indication of his future plans!
Amalgamating large swaths of rural, suburban and urban areas into one monolith may be efficient (although that is debatable) but it sure is not desirable.

A copy of the full Bayshore News article follows.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Province Appears Open To Municipal Amalgamations: Owen Sound Councillor
Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz

Outgoing councillor Jim McManaman urges new council to discuss possibility, given recent correspondence from province

Can't play this file? Click here to download/listen -

An outgoing Owen Sound city councillor believes there may be an appetite at the provincial level to amalgamate municipalities.

Jim McManaman says Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark sent a correspondence to Association of Municipalities Ontario members communicating the province is undergoing a regional review to take a broad look at the current model of municipal governance that has been in place for almost 50 years.

Clark's statement explains it is time to consider whether changes are needed to improve municipal governance where the dollars of taxpayers are being stretched.

McManaman says this letter, coupled with the recent move by Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives to quickly make changes to Toronto City Council, show the opportunity exists now to engage the province and push for change to the local government structure in the Owen Sound area.

"Better ways to try and streamline government, that appears to be what (the province) is looking for," McManaman says. "For a long time we've talked about regional government in this area."

At Owen Sound's Oct. 29 council meeting McManaman, who will not be on council next term after foregoing a bid for re-election, encouraged his colleagues to consider engaging the province on creating one larger, amalgamated municipality including Owen Sound and its neighbours.

"Have a serious discussion about what a bigger municipality might look like: What the boundaries might be? What services might be shared?" McManaman says. "In my 15 years on council that's been a difficult discussion with our neighbours. But, looking at the context of the provincial government is looking into these types of issues, perhaps now is the time to have that discussion."

Minister Clark's statement goes on to say the province's goal is to give people what they want: local governments that are working as effectively and efficiently as possible to support the economic prosperity of their residents and businesses.

"We look forward to discussing with our many stakeholders, including our municipal partners, to determine what is working well in our current governance model," says Minister Clark. "And what needs to be improved."

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Enough said...

In a longish op-ed published in iPolitics Michael Harris says the next election is Trudeau's to loose, I cannot help but agree for the other choices are bleak.

By insisting on making war on the carbon tax his call to political arms, Scheer couldn’t say more clearly that he is yesterday’s man.

That doesn’t mean Trudeau is politically bullet-proof in 2019. Just that, should he lose, it will not be because Canadians suddenly want a Ford prototype in 24 Sussex Drive.

Whatever his shortcomings, the PM’s greatest strength is aspiring to something his father once aimed for: a just society.

Despite the broken promises, the awful lapses of judgment, and a few policy face-plants, Trudeau is arm-in-arm with Canadians on values. Scheer continues to hold hands with Harper on everything from climate change to immigration. And both of them continue to cast loving eyes southward to marvel at the power of lies.

Bottom line? Canadians won’t be flocking to populists in 2019 because they suddenly become climate-change-deniers, anti-immigrant, or bow down to a fact-free universe.

Short of a five-alarm scandal for the Liberals, or a serious abdication of the social values Trudeau stands for, they will choose the Liberals over Republican wannabes.

Which is just to say that, populist waves notwithstanding, the next election is Trudeau’s to win — or lose — all by himself.”

Whilst NO politician is going to be gods gift to the population and some, possible all, may have SOME proposals worth consideration at this point in time I see little choice but the liberals unless the slash and burn policies of the likes of Ford, Scheer, Kenny, Trump etc are your preference. The only thing that we can be certain of for the upcoming federal election is that the rhetoric is going to come thick and fast and be over the top and in all probability very ugly.

At this point in our collective history both nationally and world wide we need leaders who seek to unite us not divide. I very much fear that such voices will be drowned out by those for whom political expediency comes long before such things as social and environmental concerns or cooperation and consensus building.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Political and Rhetorical Privilege

It’s perfectly possible for a man to lead a comfortable, indeed enviable life by any objective standard, yet be consumed with bitterness driven by status anxiety.” Dr. Paul Krugman in a NY Times article

He goes on: “This sort of high-end resentment, the anger of highly privileged people who nonetheless feel that they aren’t privileged enough or that their privileges might be eroded by social change, suffuses the modern conservative movement.”

Nothing makes a man accustomed to privilege angrier than the prospect of losing some of that privilege, especially if it comes with the suggestion that people like him are subject to the same rules as the rest of us.”

There is a lot of that going around of late and as David Climenhaga recently pointed out one in particular from Ontario falls squarely into that category....

Two well-heeled older men who never wanted for anything during their upbringings and now live comfortable, privileged lives will be getting together in Calgary this evening to talk about just how very, very angry they are.

I give you Doug Ford, Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario, and Jason Kenney, the man who would be United Conservative Party premier of Alberta – and may well be if he can get enough Albertans to be as angry as he is at these imagined slights to their privilege and, indeed, their elite position in society.

Mr. Ford, by the sound of it, has never really had to work a day in his life, having inherited significant wealth from his father’s label-making company rather like his political and rhetorical model, the current president of the United States.

Indeed that shit disturber in chief to the south is doing all he can, like his fellow bluster to the north, to destroy much of the hard won progress towards a more sustainable world both socially and environmentally.....

President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris deal in June, saying the accord would have cost America trillions of dollars, killed jobs, and hindered the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries.
But he also, at the time, said he would be open to renegotiating the deal, which was agreed by nearly 200 nations over the course of years – drawing ridicule from world and business leaders who said that would be impossible.
Under the Trump administration, the EPA has taken a more industry-friendly stance, weakening greenhouse gas rules around oil drilling and vehicle fuel efficiency, as well as tearing up an Obama-era plan to limit pollution from coal-fired power plants. The agency removed its section on climate change from its website last year for an “update” that has yet to materialize.

There is an old adage that says 'Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely' , we must be careful to maintain the traditional checks and balances on our political elites of all stripes, our very democracy is under attack in so many places near and far.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Unsung Hero.

Now that much of the initial commentary on the US – Canada – Mexico trade deal has run its course and the usual right wing suspects continue to nit pick the few things that were not resolved 100% in our favor its time to thank our team for their work. To remain calm and focused in the face of the ever increasing over the top rhetoric from the head of state of one of the county's involved, namely the unpredictable, divisive, blowhard, demagogue and megalomaniac called Donald Trump, is in and of itself a major accomplishment. For over a year our representative the strong, competent and patent Chrystia Freeland and her team has been dashing back and forth between here the U.S. 'negotiating' with an immensely more 'powerful' opponent.

Even if you do not fully endorse the outcome of said 'negotiations' (and I put that in apostrophes for how do you effectively negotiate in such an unequal position?) the work of the Canadian team and Ms Freeland cannot help but be admired. They deserve a medal for remaining calm and focused in the face of the crap coming out of the unstable sociopath to the south, in particular the retention of the 'dispute mechanism' is IMHO a major accomplishment for without such any 'agreement' would not be worth the paper on which it was written. (A point which has been driven home several times over the life of the current NAFTA agreement).

The other major plus from this agreement I believe is the removal of the Chapter 11, Section B., or the Investors-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This mechanism allowed foreign investors to bypass the domestic courts and sue governments before private international tribunals and cost Canada more than $95 million in legal costs defending itself against investor-state claims and paid out over $219 million in damages and settlements. It effectively gave foreign corporations control over our domestic policy as to whom we dealt with. Good riddance I say!

No doubt there will be further efforts to curb the megalomaniac's wish to have the entire world, including Canada, bend over and kiss his arse without question, the only question being how long we and the rest of the world will have to put up with this idiot. Will he last his full term, will his brain dead supporters continue to believe his crap …. probably, but I hope for the sake of our neighbors to the south and the world order his days are numbered!

Canada's ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton, was pretty direct about such negotiations and agreements when he said :-
"If you can't resolve disputes in a fair and balanced way, then what is the use of the agreement? If you can't have some curb on the arbitrary use of tariffs under the guise of national security with a member of NORAD and somebody who is your closest defence partner, then I don't think it is much of an agreement."

Amen to that and thanks for your work Chrystia.

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Municipal Government Vulnerability

Lost among the back-and-forth political battles between Ford and Toronto city council is that municipalities are not constitutionally protected as sovereign levels of government in Canada.

As a federal state, Canada is a confederation of two co-equal levels of sovereign government: provincial and federal.

But municipalities fall under the jurisdictions of provincial legislatures, so therefore have no entrenched or constitutionally protected status. Municipal governments are the closest to the people and to local communities and arguably have the biggest impact on the day-to-day lives of citizens, yet they’re the least powerful and the most vulnerable to encroachment by the provinces.

This vulnerability was previously brought to the fore some years ago during the 'amalgamation' of not only the Toronto area but a number of other municipalities across Ontario. The amalgamation was widely opposed in Toronto and the other municipalities but amalgamation occurred despite a municipal referendum in 1997 in which in over three-quarters of voters rejected amalgamation. Under the Mike Harris conservatives the result was much the same as the recent move by the Ford government, enforced changes to the way local government operates by an upper level of government.

This was perhaps a little less problematic than the current mess for whist any number of citizens were unhappy with such changes there was at least a 'process' and an opportunity for 'input' prior to the implementation of such changes (even if such input was largely ignored) However we now have a premier who has not only said he is going to “hold governments accountable in over 460 towns in this province” (whatever that means) but has demonstrated that he will override the wishes of any municipality that he personalty disagrees with. Not only that but will do so with NO consultation with the municipality affected or their citizens ….... scary, very scary!

“while amalgamation technically decreased the number of municipalities in Ontario — down from 850 to 445 — and 23 per cent of elected official positions were axed, (a 2014 report says) more people than ever are working in Ontario’s municipal governments.” We wonder what future disasters Fords proposed but unspecified 'efficiencies' will bring to our various local government operations and how much say we the citizens will have upon any changes our new authoritarian Ontario government bring down upon us.

The question needs to be asked of all our provincial politicians (particularly the Ford regimes supporters) are you 'for the people' or for yourself and your party.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Majority not enough for Ford.

The PCs are moving to change the legislature's rules of procedure, formally called the standing orders. These rules control such things as when bills can be introduced, when opposition parties get to put forward motions, and how much debate must take place before a bill goes to a final vote.
The rules already allow the government to cut short debate on bills and push them through to a final vote without giving the public the chance to speak at committee hearings. The PCs have used this power with most of the legislation they have proposed so far.
The proposed changes make it easier for the government to do this more quickly.

Then there is this …....

Ford said he plans to hold local governments’ feet to the fire to make sure they get projects like transit and infrastructure construction done. “We’re going to actually hold people accountable,” he said, without specifying how exactly he plans to do so.
“We’re going to hold governments accountable in over 460 towns in this province to make sure they maximize their budgets in the best way they can to respect the taxpayers.”
Apparently the municipalities must be 'accountable' to Doug Fraud as he and his newly elected minions (the majority of whom have never served in government) but he is only accountable to the electorate once every 4 years according to his calculations.

Remember that........
Nearly 60 per cent of the MPPs who took their seats at Queen's Park once the legislature resumes are newly-elected. Of the 124 ridings in Ontario, 73 were won by people who have never been an MPP that being mostly newly elected PCs.

Talk about the the rabid guide dog leading the blind masses!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

An Abuse of Power

Last Sunday an open letter signed by about 400 Ontario legal professionals was sent to Attorney General Caroline Mulroney asking that she not support the use of the Constitution's notwithstanding clause.
"We, the undersigned members of the legal community, are writing this open letter to you because your office is assigned to champion and safeguard the fundamental principles of the rule of law and due process in Ontario, and the rights of the people,"

The published version of the letter containing which among other things calls for support for a proportional voting system can be read at the CanadianDimention web site. It recognizes that “it would be fruitless to demand that the Ford Conservative government reverse its actions” as said Regime simply is not willing to listen. A partial extract follows :-
We, the undersigned group of scholars and teachers, deplore the autocratic and arbitrary reduction of ward representation for Toronto city council contained in Bill 5 being rushed through the Ontario Legislature by the just-elected Doug Ford-led Conservative provincial government.
There are numerous problems with this initiative – both in terms of policy and process – that cannot be squared with democratic values or procedures.

As policy, reducing the number of city councilors will not make for better representation or government or cost reductions for the city, as the Ford government claims. Indeed, as we saw with a similar cynical reduction of MPPs by a previous Conservative government, reducing the number of politicians did not lead to any cost savings, but merely shifted where money was spent in a poor and half-hearted attempt to respond to constituent demands, and had the effect of weakening local influence and centralizing more power at Queen’s Park and the Premier’s Office.

As policy, reducing the number of city councilors will weaken the democratic representation and advocacy roles so crucial to local government. Fewer wards mean that many more people will be trying to get the attention of fewer politicians. Far from increasing accountability, this will have the effect of insulating politicians from public pressure as bigger wards mean increased costs to run for office and politicians that will be indebted to those who can fund their campaigns. Meanwhile, local citizens will find it much harder to organize a grassroots campaign in these larger wards.

As policy, reducing the number of city councilors will make it harder to have a council that truly reflects the economic and social diversity of the city, as all research on representation shows that winner take all voting systems combined with large riding sizes tend to benefit the most established and powerful groups in society (i.e. wealthy white males) and fail to reflect the class, gender, ethnic and racial diversity of the community.

As process, it is conventional to signal the desirability of such reforms in the campaign period for provincial office, rather than announcing it after the election when voters now have no ability to consider it in casting their vote.

As process, it is conventional to take input on such proposed changes from the institutional representatives and voters that will be affected by the changes and develop an interactive policy approach that operates on realistic timelines to gain, respond, and act on such input, rather than ram through arbitrary changes just months before they need to be put into practice.

As process, it is conventional for governments elected under the first-past-the-post electoral system, particularly those that have gained a majority of seats but only a minority of the popular vote, to act with caution in taking up divisive policy issues, especially when such issues touch on the democratic rules of the game themselves. To radically alter the representational structure of another level of government, without warning and without input from said government or its electorate, is clearly an abuse of the power that the first-past-the-post voting system grants to legislative majority governments.

Full letter and signatures here.
The 'free vote' later this week will clearly show which of our provincial 'representatives' support democracy and which support the Ford dictatorship.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Fordocracy in Action

Democracy is going every four years to elect a government…without worrying about your mandate being overturned,” said Mr. Ford.

No Mr Premier that's Fordocracy or if you prefer Dougocracy our Canadian democracy is much more than electing a new government every few years, it is a living reflection of the wishes of those citizens who charge a few individuals to represent their interests in governing our nation, province or municipality.

A liberal (as in open to new behavior or opinions) democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and moderated by a constitution or laws that emphasise the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities

The mindset that once elected one individual or for that matter one group of individuals can then dictate the manner in which we are governed by circumnavigating our usual parliamentary and legal process is incompatible to the very idea of democracy.

To say that the people have spoken and therefore he can do what he wishes given that he has more MPPs of his ilk than any other party is total nonsense, for starters of the eligible voters who cast a vote 60% did not vote for him or his party and a further 40% did not vote for ANY person or party so of the 10 million or so voters less than a quarter actually 'supported' his regime.

It is not so much whether the size of Toronto council is too large or small or even whether the citizens would be adequately represented with the proposed reduction of seats at the council chamber. It is the manner in which it is being done and the timing of the proposed changes that is most troubling. To change the rules in the middle of an election period, be it for Toronto or any other municipality, without giving those citizens a chance to express their view on such changes and to override a judges ruling that says it is unconstitutional as currently jammed down their throats is so clearly wrong that I cannot understand how any thinking MPP can support this move.

Perhaps that is the problem, it requires a thinking person who is not under thrall of the Con mindset to see that this move not only sets Toronto's election results in doubt but may bring more frivolous notwithstanding challenges from those who would destroy Canada as we know it.

Beware the Tyranny of the majority the inherent weakness of majority rule in which the majority of an electorate can and does place its own interests above, and at the expense of, those in the minority.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

About That Gravy Train...

Bob Reynolds was named as a new chair of the negotiating team, as the Ford government looks to smooth relations between the government and Ontario doctors. Reynolds takes over for Dr. Barry McLellan, who Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet made the decision to fire in early August. McLellan had been appointed by the previous government to lead the negotiations. He was supposed to continue in the role until September 2019 but was instead officially replaced on Monday. Reynolds will also get a significant $67,000 salary boost from his predecessor. His salary has been set at $217,500 for 50 days of work.

Ontario's new government has sacked the special advisor for climate change and other senior officials hired by Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government. John Godfrey, a former Liberal MP, was appointed special advisor for climate change in 2015. He was paid $146,700 a year.
Doug Ford has given his family's lawyer, Gavin Tighe, a $667,000 government contract with the Public Accountants Council," NDP MMP Taras Natyshak said in a press release. "This looks like yet another pricey patronage appointment for Ford's friends and insiders – one that serves Ford and his friends, but not people or the province."

Ontario’s health minister says the province will address hospital overcrowding issues but any action must be done with an eye to fiscal restraint. She said the health-care sector will have to find ways to operate more efficiently and that will require “system transformation.” “I am convinced the solution lies in system transformation, and building health-care delivery for the future,” Elliott said. “Only a system-wide lens will help us plan successfully for how we will care for generations to come.” Elliott said the government is mindful it was elected with a mandate of fiscal responsibility.

“That means we are going to have to be innovative,” she said.

Seems to me that the gravy train is still chugging along but it now just stops at different stations and is picking up a greater load of baggage.

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sen. John McCain Eulogized

"He was a great man," "We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness." "The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege,"
Meghan McCain during her speech at her father's funeral service on Saturday in Washington, this was followed by some similar words from former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush who said.....

"So much of our politics, public life, public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast, and insult, and phony controversies, and manufactured outrage," said Obama

"He was courageous, with a courage that frightened his captors and inspired his countrymen. He was honest no matter whom it offended. Presidents were not spared," "John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots," Bush said during his speech.

The current presidents name was not spoken but its pretty clear to whom Meghan, Barack and George were referring to and those few words spoken by these people at such a difficult moment says much about the current situation south of the border.

Nuff said!

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Another Ford Short Circuit.

Ontario's government has launched an online portal for parents to report teachers who they believe aren't following the current curriculum. Teachers who use the previous Liberal government's sex education curriculum from 2015 will be investigated by the Ontario College of Teachers, Premier Doug Ford's office said Wednesday.

"We will not tolerate anybody using our children as pawns for grandstanding and political games," the premier said in a press release. …..Seems to me that is exactly what Mr Fraud is doing with his ideological and dictatorial undocumented changes to the Ontario School curriculum.

Whilst the curriculum brought in by the previous (Liberal) government was not universally applauded in that a few narrow minded right wing parents objected to the kids being taught about the realities of modern sex education, the process to bring in said new curriculum was long and included much 'consultation' before being implemented. It was NOT changed by fiat over a few days before the teachers even had a chance to view the changes proposed nor were the teachers threatened with 'investigation' by the college of teachers for not strictly adhering to said narrow conservative view of the modern world.

That this follows the recent unprecedented and hurried change to the upcoming Toronto council election also brought in with no 'consultation' says much about the way this new Fraud Regime intends to proceed in the next 4 years. It is in my view an affront to democratic process, just because it CAN be done without input from those effected does not mean it should be done in that manner!

In some situations a short circuit can cause part of the unit involved to overheat and be destroyed resulting in the failure of the entire system with far reaching effects. Fraud has not blown it up yet but the heat sure seems to be building, keep your heavy gloves handy folks.......

Short Circuit - verb
If someone or something short-circuits a process or system, they avoid long or difficult parts of it and use a quicker, more direct method to achieve their aim.
(transitive) to bypass (a procedure, regulation, etc)

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Democracy Versus Populism

One of the oldest rubs against democracy is that ordinary people aren’t up to the job. And the friends of populism aren’t helping the cause. They’re lining up to throw democracy under the bus in the name of, well, more democracy. The result will surely be less, not more.”
So says Dr. Don Lenihan an internationally recognized expert on public engagement and Open Government in a recent piece at National Newswatch.

He goes on to point out that its not so much the recent decisions by newly the elected Ontario Premier but the process that got short circuited in making them is the most troubling.
Take Doug Ford’s decision to intervene in the City of Toronto’s election. It’s a textbook example of how contemporary populism sacrifices the essentials of democracy for shallow, short-term gains. Ford’s view that a smaller City Council will result in better governance is not the problem. That’s a fair subject for debate. Derailing the Toronto election is the show-stopper. This sure looks like an abuse of power.”

Indeed given that the provincial government does have the right to make such decisions (questionable that it might be) that legislation to enact a drastic reduction in the number of councilors representing the citizens of Toronto being introduced and passed in just a couple of weeks with little or no 'consultation' is clearly undemocratic.
Ford justifies this one by saying that no one has ever asked him for more politicians. In fact, this is just the kind of thinking that gives democracy a bad name. Process is there to guard against abuses of power, yet populists want to discard it the moment it gets in the way of a good idea.” (not that this is necessarily so good)

Populist leaders generally claim to represent the unified "will of the people". He stands in opposition to an enemy, often embodied by the current system - aiming to "drain the swamp" or tackle the "liberal elite". Whilst not limited to 'right wing' regimes such governments seem to strongly fit that mold.
Over the years, we’ve seen tons of examples of populist governments around the world. All too often, the effects are exactly the reverse of what people like Wente claim. Far from enhancing democracy or “results,” they simply weaken accountability and centralize power........ Donald Trump is the exemplar of this kind of politics. Less than two years into office, his MO is clear. He is intent on divesting his office of as much accountability as he can, while centralizing decision-making as far as possible – all in the name of Making American Great Again “.

In his book The Global Rise of Populism, Dr Moffitt argues that there are other traits associated with the typical populist leader. One is "bad manners", or behaving in a way that's not typical of politicians - a tactic employed by President Trump and the Philippines' President Duterte. The other, he says, is "perpetuating a state of crisis" - and always seeming to be on the offensive, they also tend to dislike the "complicated democratic systems" of modern government which ties in to its links to authoritarianism, - a lack of trust in the established system gives rise to "strongman" leaders. (That certainly seems to fit with where Mr Ford seems to be headed)
(Mr Lenihan is) not denying that there are too many rules in government or that “bureaucracy” sucks. We’ve all been tied up in red tape and cutting lots of it out of the system may be liberating. But concentrating power in the leader so that he/she can “get things done” is the wrong way.
There are no short cuts to better democracy, and anyone selling this one is peddling snake oil. The true friends of democracy are willing to do the hard work of weeding out bad rules and finding and testing new solutions.”

I can only add that the recent actions by Mr Ford and what appears to be a caucus of willing yes men and women scares the H out of me in both the proposals tabled and the speed of legislation passed. It seems to me that 'due process' is not a phrase that our new government here on Ontario recognizes and if it can happen to Toronto it can happen to ANY municipality in Ontario..

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Democracy Under Ford (#2)

I struggled with finding a suitable title for this article which it seems may well be the start of a series of observations regarding the high-handedness of the new Ontario authoritarian regime so just went with the previous headline part2! Is it oppression, repression, authoritarian, bullying, despotism, simply high-handedness, all or just some of the above and if not will it become some or all of them? Time will tell but in the meanwhile here is a simple list of the actions taken by this regime in just the first month in power, it is to me a very scary foretaste of things to come.......

I will start with the pre-election actions that should have warned us of things to come.....
Ford announced his campaign would not provide the traditional media bus following him as he campaigned for the June 7 election but did produce a series of fake videos thus controlling the message and avoiding answering questions from the press. In recent days he has reinstated this closely controlled media presence by launching a new social media account to promote his agenda. A Ford campaign staffer, is the on-air presenter in the video which appears to be designed to limit questions from the press but is being paid for with taxpayer dollars..

Moving on this handy list was provided online by CTV News …....
June 29: Ford is sworn in as Ontario’s 26th premier at a boisterous ceremony at Queen’s Park. He promises his government will “blaze a new trail” and unveils his cabinet.

June 30: Newly minted Health Minister Christine Elliott announces that the province will no longer fund prescriptions for people under the age of 25 who have private insurance coverage.

July 3: Ford takes his first step toward dismantling the province’s cap-and-trade program while public-sector managers learn they are now subject to a wage freeze and review of their pay.

July 4: Ford’s government puts a number of laws passed shortly before the election on hold, including new regulations for e-cigarettes and putting a ceiling on ticket prices for concerts and sporting events.

July 5: The first official meeting between Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes place, with the two leaders appearing to be on different pages on the immigration file.

July 6: Ford calls for the federal government to take over housing and settlement services for people who cross into Canada illegally. A former president of the Progressive Conservative Party is hired as a special advisor to the province on health care.

July 9: The Canadian Press reveals that a $100-million fund for school repairs has been cancelled as part of the winding up of the cap-and-trade program.

July 11: Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt retires and the utility’s entire board of directors resigns. Ford had said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would fire Schmidt and the board, which Ontario’s premier does not have the authority to do.

July 12: A throne speech lays out a sweeping agenda for Ford’s government, including expanding alcohol sales, lower hydro bills and fighting the federal carbon tax. Additionally, the province confirms its intention to eliminate the recently introduced sex-ed curriculum.

July 16: The province introduces a new bill to give it more control over executive pay at Hydro One as Education Minister Lisa Thompson says sexual education topics taught in classrooms this fall may not entirely mirror the reintroduced 1998 curriculum.

July 17: Ford taps former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell to lead an inquiry into the previous Liberal’ government’s spending and announces that sex ed will be subject to “the largest consultation ever in Ontario’s history when it comes to education.”

July 18: Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says a meeting with her Ontario counterpart Rod Phillips left her questioning whether the province has a plan to fight climate change.

July 19: Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announce that they will work together through the courts to stop the federal government from introducing a carbon tax.

July 20: Carbon pricing, asylum seekers, marijuana legalization and the flow of alcohol between provinces are among the topics discussed as Canada’s premiers meet in New Brunswick.

July 24: The province says some federal funding earmarked for mental health initiatives will be put toward training police officers on how to appropriately deal with people with mental health issues. Ontario’s financial accountability officer says his office will look into the costs of cancelling the cap-and-trade program.

July 25: Legislation is introduced to end the months-long strike at York University and to formally repeal the carbon pricing program.

July 27: On the last day of registration for candidates in October’s municipal elections, Ford announces a plan to cut Toronto’s city council nearly in half while holding off on plans to introduce elected regional chair positions in the Muskoka, Niagara, Peel and York regions. Rumours surface that the province will let private-sector operators handle the sale of marijuana

In the few days since that synopsis was penned a lot has happened as the Ford wrecking crew continues to cut a swath across the province which I will attempt to briefly outline......

Ontario's new government will cancel the province's experiment with a basic income program, the pilot project, which reached full enrollment in April, was supposed to last three years.
The government will decrease the proposed Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program payments by 1.5 per cent.
The Progressive Conservative government's production of a TV-news-style video under the banner of "Ontario News Now" is a "pure example of fake news" that aims to undercut the pillars of democracy and muzzle media, political policy experts say. A day after the video was released to the public, PC members were criticized by the media for having political staffers clap during news conferences, effectively drowning out journalists’ questions. Reporters say this was a widely-used tactic during Ford’s election campaign.
The government refused to respond to the official opposition during question period Tuesday morning after an NDP member was accused of mocking the accent of PC MPP Kaleed Rasheed. Speaker of the House Ted Arnott at one moment also chimed in and said he could not hear the mocking of the accent even with his earpiece “volume cranked full blast.”
The fabricated outrage was about not what was said, but the tone of an comment not heard by most if not all but one Con MP, appeared to be an effort to stop debate about the Con efforts to cut the number of Toronto councilors. The proposed cut whilst apparently quite within the premiers power it would seem to show very little regard for democratic process.

And so the Ford Circus marches on with the clown in chief in full destruct mode.......

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Democracy Under Ford?

This blog was started back in 2009 to highlight what I and my then blogging partner viewed as the declining respect for democracy by the then recently elected federal leader , one Stephen Harper. I now find myself appalled to see a similar mind set being displayed by the freshly elected Ontario leader Doug Ford who less than a month into his mandate is arbitrarily and with little or no consultation shutting down many long standing programs.

Whilst the specific programs and initiatives being discontinued are in my view more in need of a tweak or two than elimination it is the manner in which such changes are being announced or made that bothers me more. I doubt very much that the dozens of 'new' MPPs are even up to speed yet and I suspect that even those who are members of the Con inner circle have not been 'consulted' on any of the sudden and fundamental changes being almost daily announced by Ford. The announcement regarding the composition of Toronto council just as the election nomination process closed being one such example.

The Ontario legislature is somewhat different from the federal one which is where my focus was for nearly 10 years, it having no secondary chamber of checks and balances and with a majority government in power effectively has no limits upon legislation it can pass. Even it would seem being able to dictate to municipalities the composition of their councils without further debate, at least in the case of Toronto who discontinued their association with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario some years ago.

Even those smaller municipalities who are members of the AMO could in theory be dictated to by the province (i.e. Ford) in that they only have a Memorandum Of Understanding with the province who can override their wishes any time they wish (as happened during 'amalgamation). The AMO should be 'consulted' but has no recourse in law.....
The objective of consultation with AMO is to receive input on proposals and to identify impacts that would arise from a proposed statutory or regulatory change and its implementation.
In the spirit of fairness, openness and good faith, any proposed change in legislation or regulations that, in Ontario’s opinion, will have a significant financial impact on the current municipal budget year or on the current municipal budget planning cycle will be accompanied by prior consultation.
.....Failure of the parties to comply with this Memorandum does not affect the validity of any action taken by the parties or give rise to any rights or remedies by the parties.

In short it seems that a majority Ontario government can dictate to any and all municipalities the structure and composition of their councils should they be so inclined. Under the current 'leader' and his minions that thought is very scary given his recent announcements and promised actions.

Less you think that such thoughts are alarmists you may wish to review a few of the actions of the Harper government before they really got rolling with their undemocratic agenda by viewing our early posts in the lists to the right.
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Sunday, July 22, 2018

I'm Tired......

I'm tired of the impossible promises that Doug Fraud keeps spouting, many issued before his newly elected MPs (blindly Con supporters?) had a chance to have any say in the matter.
No one could accuse Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government of being unambitious in the agenda set out in its first speech from the throne. He did not say when Ontario motorists will see the price of gasoline drop 10 cents per litre, as he promised during the election campaign. That would be achieved by eliminating the cap-and-trade system, which accounts for 4.3 cents per litre, and reducing the excise tax by another 5.7 cents.
Lowering electricity bills. Cutting business and personal taxes. Reducing gas prices. Ensuring "long-term stable funding" for the health-care system. Adding 15,000 new, long-term care beds. Launching a commission of inquiry into government finances. Building a "world-class transit system" in the Toronto area.

I'm tired of hearing how incentives to reduce our carbon footprint, as modest as they are, are to be canceled and how much money 'we' will save. Fraud's expenditures (as shown on the Gov books) may well be reduced but at what cost to our climate, education and underprivileged?

Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government is canceling 758 renewable energy contracts, in what it says is an effort to reduce electricity bills in the province. Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the move will save provincial ratepayers $790 million -- a figure industry officials dispute, saying it will just mean job losses for small business.
In a statement Friday, Rickford said the government plans to introduce legislation during its summer sitting that would protect hydro consumers from any costs incurred from the cancellation. (Yeh right !!)
Ontario buyers of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan who are still waiting for their cars to be delivered have a difficult choice after the province’s new government cancelled a rebate program for buyers of electric vehicles – fork out $14,000 or give up on a car they have been waiting years to drive.

I'm tired of hearing about all these cuts with no alternative plans being offered to either industry or individuals effected
The new Education Minister, Lisa Thompson, announced Wednesday that schools in the fall would go back to teaching the 1998 curriculum, which predates same-sex marriage in Canada by seven years, and doesn’t include topics like cyber-bullying, social media or LGTBQ issues.
Thompson said the ministry is aiming to launch consultations for a new curriculum that could be introduced in the 2019-20 school year. (Oh yeah, that works, consult AFTER canceling the program!!)

I am even tired of the BS being disseminated in order to justify the expansion of pipeline capacity from the tarsands in Alberta to the waters of the BC coast and parts west. I understand somewhat the need by Alberta and the oil barrens to promote this 'resource' but I have yet to see the question asked as to why said 'oil' is not processed at the source thus eliminating the need to dilute it for 'transport' with further pollutants and increasing to capacity of the existing pipeline. If you must ship oil then ship oil not dilbit!

I'm tired of politicians in general and right wing ones in particular for whom the words cooperation and consultation or even respectful debate are just words to use in speeches but to avoid actually doing. To finish up this rant I can only include the following comments from Owen Grey's blog a little while ago which sum it up nicely......
I recall us having a leader who wasn't interested in evidence of the sort provided by officials and experts. His name was Stephen Harper. While voters eventually gave him the toe, Ontarians still haven't learned to ignore politicians offering tax cuts and easy fixes for complex problems.
That's exactly what's depressing about the recent Ontario election, Cap. Despite ten years of Stephen Harper, it would appear that a good segment of the province's voters -- not a majority, but enough to win a majority government -- haven't learned a thing.

I am so very, very tired of the political BS from all 'leaders' that further commentary may be some time coming!

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