"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wynne's Win: Did Ontario Vote FOR Kathleen Wynne Or AGAINST Tim Hudak?

We'll have to wait and see what the
"Lady in Red's" true colours are.
Well Ontario has a new Premier. Or I should say, the same old Premier we had before this cockamamy election, just with a majority now and a blank cheque to govern with impunity. 

But I have to say I'm somewhat relieved. At least Ontarians didn't opt for the "Uncommon Nonsense Revolution" Part II. That would have been an unmitigated disaster. Still, I would have much preferred a "progressive" minority government in Ontario. With a minority, there is, at least theoretically,  more room/need for collaboration - for all parties to get along, to work together if the government hopes to survive every vote of confidence that comes along. In this way, there are more checks and balances. There is more accountability, though Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty have demonstrated that all you have to do to avoid accountability is to prorogue Parliament. 

So now we have to wait and see what kind of Progressive Ms. Wynne really is. Is she a Liberal with a distinctly social conscience or is she just a "Red Tory" in sheep's clothing? And will the abuses of power continue or will the "Lady in Red" be able to put an end to  her party's attitude of entitlement?  Time will tell. I'm not relaxing just yet.

But really, based on the history of corruption within the Ontario Liberal Party, this was Hudak's contest to lose. And he did, unequivocally. So was this a victory for Wynne then, or an indictment of Hudak and his hysterically austere "Million Jobs Plan"
Time for soul searching,
not for sour grapes...

Every comment I heard from the PCs at Hudak's campaign headquarters on election night spoke of Wynne running a negative campaign and blamed the "Big Unions" for attacking the Conservatives. It sounded like sour grapes to me and failed to take into account the failings of their own campaign and the impact it had on the collective psyche of Ontario voters. Perhaps, if the PCs hadn't openly threatened so many people with their jobs, the "Big Unions" might not have been so vocal. And maybe if their leader was a little better at math.... In the final analysis, I think many people (with the possible exception of old white men) probably held their noses and voted for "Anyone But Hudak".

I like the lady, but she wasn't destined
to be the chosen one.
As for Ms. Horwath... well, I like the lady personally. I had the opportunity to meet with her a few times professionally when she was a lowly MPP. We discussed advocating for the rights of special needs children. In my opinion, she was extremely responsive  and actively supportive of the subject. She proved to be a valuable ally. I liked that. 

But as leader of her party, Horwath went out on a very shaky limb by inducing this election. She probably had the most to lose of any of the top three leaders and lose she did, more so than Hudak and his tea-sipping cronies. While the NDP ended up with the same number of MPPs as they had before the election, they lost the big stick that comes with holding the balance of power. And  Horwath took a lot of flak, both from inside and outside of her own party for what many viewed as an arbitrary decision to spark this election. And quite frankly, even though it's been 20 years since Bob Rae, Ontartians are still not yet ready for another NDP Premier.

Something to be proud of.
But I have to say, I am extremely proud that Ontario was not only able to elect it's first female Premier, (regardless of her party) but one that is openly gay. And not ONCE in the entire campaign did the dreaded "L" word (rhymes with thespian) get raised by ANY of the candidates or the mainstream media. I Can't say I even saw anything about it in the on-line community either. It was entirely, a non issue. So that restores my faith in the electorate to some degree. They voted on the issues while the politicians and media chose not to resort to gutter-sniping. Good for them.  

Of course, there's still the argument about a majority government being formed with only 38.5% of the popular vote, which is the exact same figure Stephen Harper won his questionable majority with. So the faults of our "first past the post" system are being called into question once again. But that's an argument for another day. For now, I will breath a little easier and tonight, I may sleep  a little more soundly. 

How can anyone claim that 38.5% 
of the vote share equals a majority?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hudak Aims To Recreate "Harper's Follies"

Hudak's bad math has been under a
microscope since day one of this campaign.
No matter how you add, subtract, multiply or divide Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak's  bogus "Million Jobs"numbers, the outcome would not be good for thousands of Ontarians. 

Hudak is, of course, proposing the slashing of 100,000 public sector jobs - one out of every six public employee in the Province. This would include teachers, educational assistants, paramedics, welfare workers, child protection workers, occupational therapists, behaviour therapists, group home staff, probation officers, jail guards, personal support workers, speech and language pathologists, communication disorder specialists, nursing home staff, water safety inspectors (think Walkerton here) and the list goes on and on. These are highly trained, dedicated people who make a difference in our communities.

Hudak wants to eliminate these 
dedicated people who make 
a difference in our communities 
in favour of a 30% corporate
tax cut

This "public sector genocide" would, of course, supposedly offset the gigantic loss of revenue that would occur as a result of reducing corporate taxes in Ontario by 30%. Hudak's conservative ideology would have us believe, that this tax break to big business, would "trickle down", thereby creating a million jobs and reinvestment in the Province. 

It's a quaint fairy tale that, but Mr. Hudak either doesn't understand or doesn't care about the devastating impact of his destructive platform, either on the middle class of this Province (a great number of those public service jobs are middle class), or the vulnerable and needy people  whose lives depend  on the hardworking public servants he wishes to fire. 

The truly sad part is, that there are so many citizens who take the Conservative leader's numbers at face value and also don't understand the devastating course Hudak is plotting. They simply don't grasp that what he is proposing, is nothing less than a crime of colossal proportion against our Province, our communities and the citizenry as a whole.  

But Hudak's corporate tax cut theory has already been disproved by circumstances at the federal level. 

In 2005, the year before Stephen Harper came to power, unemployment in Canada stood at 6.8%  

After drastically slashing corporate taxes across the country to record low levels and imposing similar crippling cuts on the federal public service that has devastated the lives of multitudinous  Canadians (such as our veterans), unemployment currently sits at 6.9%. And this does not include the 39% of unemployed Canadians who have simply "given up" looking for work.  Since Harper's tax breaks then, Canada has seen a net increase in unemployment of +.1% nation wide over eight years. So there are actually slightly more people unemployed now (discounting the 39% who have given up) than there were before the massive tax cuts. What happened to all the jobs?

Well aside from the fact that there was a recession midway through those eight years which saw unemployment peak at 8.3% in 2009, jobs have been slow to rematerialize in the five years since then. There has been no evidence of "trickle down" and in fact, corporations are sitting on any savings they may have gained from their tax breaks. All of which prompted former Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney to call on corporate Canada in 2012, to reinvest the vast amounts of "dead money" they were sitting on. In essence, big business has been hoarding it's savings from lower taxes rather than using them to benefit the economy and the country. 

And recently, The Conference Board of Canada has found that cuts to corporate taxes alone will not create new jobs without Government stimulus. In fact, they discovered that government spending on it's own, will create more jobs than reducing corporate taxes. But Harper, clinging to his Calgary School dogma, has already implemented what Hudak is proposing -  austerity measures that are just the opposite of The Conference Board's findings and that have proven to be detrimental to our economy and to our society as a whole. 

But what Harper has succeeded in achieving, is the creation of a large number of part-time "McJobs" with no benefits, no retirement savings and low wages. Hardly the kind of employment that is suitable for Canadian families. And Mr. Hudak is proposing the exact same thing for Ontario. The PC's plan would guide Ontario down a dark and foreboding path that would lead to  large scale, long term suffering. Our economy would experience immeasurable if not irreparable damage. 

And in the meantime, those 100,000 out of work public servants would end up selling their homes and slinging burgers at McDonald's in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. And only God knows what would happen to the people who used to depend on them. But it's a safe bet that their diminished and discontinued services would likely result in thousands of them ending up on the streets, in hospitals and in our jails, thereby negating any savings Hudak ever hoped to gain from terminating their supports. 

Ontario's most vulnerable would be hurt the worst.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Enemy Within: Fear And Loathing In Harperland

Harper "snubbed" Chief Justice McLachlin when
she tried to warn him about issues relating to Marc
Nadon's qualifications
It should come as a surprise to no one that Stephen Harper has decided to pick a fight with the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly with Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin. 

Citizen Stephen has recently claimed that it was "improper" for Justice McLachlin to attempt to contact him regarding the appointment of Marc Nadon  to the high court during the evaluation phase of the process. 

What Harper fails to mention in his spinning of the whole Nadon debacle, is that McLachlin was merely doing her job by advising the Prime Minister of the presence of "red-flags" regarding the qualifications of a potential appointee. He also doesn't mention, that McLachlin also subsequently swore Nadon in as a Justice of the Supreme Court. It was McLachlin's peers, led by previous Harper appointee, Quebec Justice Richard Wagner, who, in ruling on a Constitutional Challenge from Toronto Lawyer, Rocco Galati,  determined that Nadon was not qualified to sit on the high court as a member from Quebec.

But Harper had been stung by five straight rebuffs from the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of some of his ham-fisted attempts to change the way Canada does things. And as I pointed out in this article about my belief that our current Prime Minister suffers from a significant mental illness, he does not forgive a slight. Ever!

To this day, Steve carries a grudge against the Liberal Party, Pierre Trudeau and anyone who happens to bear the name Trudeau, as a result of the National Energy Program in 1980. Thirty four years is a long time to carry a grudge. 

Harper also carries a mean "hate-on" for the United Nations for turning
Stephen has all but declared a
"shootin war" on the U.N.
 down his bid for a seat on the Security Council in 2010. Since then, Stephen has paid little heed to any recommendations the UN has made, has outright blocked many of their initiatives and has undermined them at every opportunity. He has chosen to align himself with fellow NATO cold-war allies when dealing with international crises, so gone are the days of Canada as world leaders in peace keeping. Harper has even gone so far as to suggest that the U.N. is redundant and should be done away with. 

But as Toronto Star journalist, Chantel Hebert points out, this is how our Prime Minister deals with those who attempt to apply checks and balances on his autocratic rule. He and his spin-doctors attempt to smear and to discredit them and to generally declare war on their very existence

Stephen Harper, a prisoner of his own paranoid
delusions. The problem is, he's dragged us
 right into the cell with him.
Yes, mental illness can be a bitch. You see the world as a decidedly hostile place.  You are surrounded by enemies and  you are constantly on the lookout for the next conspiracy. You see yourself as constantly being the victim of the intentions of shadowy figures and you trust no one. Former Harper mentor, Tom Flanagan, who is now "persona-non-grata" in Harperland, recently said that Stephen's erratic behaviour can see him swing from incidents of "white hot rage to long periods of depression where he is incapable of making a decision". 

But getting back to Stephen's feud with the Supreme Court, he declared  at the Conservative Convention in Calgary last November that the courts are the enemies of his vision for a reformed Senate. There's that word, "enemy" again. Senate reform has been one of Harper's central goals and the high court's ruling that he didn't have the authority to unilaterally alter the make up of the Senate, how Senators are chosen or how it does business, was a major setback. To him then, the Supreme Court Justices are evil conspirators, out to quash his heroic efforts at remaking Canada in his own delusional image. 

The truth is, the Supreme Court never said the Senate can't be
The SCOC never told Harper the Senate
couldn't be reformed. Just not HIS way.
Rule of Law Stephen, rule of law.
reformed, or even abolished. But there is a formula for doing so as stipulated in the Constitution. They merely said that Harper's idea of reform can't be achieved in the manner in which he was attempting to do it - unilaterally and without consultation with, or input from, the provinces. And since Harper is incapable of building consensus (hence his refusal to attend First Minister's Conferences) his dream of Senate reform went up in a puff of smoke. 

And that the SCOC blew Harper's half-cocked efforts out of the water based on the Constitution (which he automatically loathes because it is a Trudeau invention), was probably more than he could handle. Hence his shot across the bow of Chief Justice McLachlin. 

So it's no wonder then that Stephen blames the Supreme Court for his failures. He see's them as treasonous villains for upholding a law (the Constitution) he views as being purely sinister. Just as someone with Paranoid Personality Disorder would do. So he will seek to have the "Supremes" tried, convicted and executed in the court of public opinion just as he has with all other transgressors.  Which is all the justification he needs to attempt to invoke change within the high court as well. 

So if Stephen's ruinous tenure survives past 2015, look for Vic Toews to be elevated to the highest court in the land. And may God have mercy on us all. 

If Stephen has his way, look for this man to be
elevated to the SCOC. Yes, this is Vic Toews,
he of the "impregnated baby sitter".