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, 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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