Monthly Archives: February 2012

Was Changebook that far off from Drummond?

In the days following the release of the Drummond report, there has been over reaching  media and social media coverage of Mr. Drummond’s 360+ recommendations to help the Ontario government eliminate the deficit by 2017.

This past weekend I attended a public consultation being held by Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi at St. Paul’s University.  The session asked for suggestions on the following 3 questions:

  1. What should the priorities of the Ontario Government be?
  2. Are there opportunities you  see the government can take to improve service quality and experience for Ontarians while improving efficiency?
  3. What further steps can the Ontario Government take to promote economic growth and job creation?

The two hour session was fairly restrained as the work groups broke out on the three questions and reported back to the 75+ in attendance group by group.  The usual suspects were addressed, sell the LCBO, reduce the number of school boards in Ottawa to 1 and stop the double dipping of teachers who retire from coming back on contracts.  One group was so bold as to suggest an increase in the HST (no tax increase was being considered the gov’t).

In the days leading up to the during the Provincial election Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC party ran the campaign based on #changebook,  a blue print for the future of Ontario.  It was not surprising to me to see that many of the economic policies laid out in #changebook are also part of the Drummond report.  These include:

  • 2% reduction in spending across all government ministries (with the exception of Health Care and Education)
  • Reduce government spending (reduce size of Cabinet by 20%)
  • Reduce red tape, overlap and inefficiencies in Government services

An interesting point is what is missing from the Drummond Report, the report does not tell us what ‘stupid things” we do that can be stopped to save money.  An example (and yes it is a Federal responsibility) – why do we need to renew Passports every 5 years?  Why not 10 years?  Why do we need someone to confirm (when renewing) who we are when all that is being done is renewing a passport?  Have we somehow changed in who we are since the initial application for a passport?  Same with our Drivers Licence and Health Cards lets extend the renewal period to 7-8 years and not five.  One more interesting idea (that came from a discussion with family members), why not have Insurance Companies issue Licence Plate stickers – drivers have annual insurance renewal requirements, why not get it done at the same time?

Do you have any other ‘stupid things’ the government does that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of doing government business that will not involve cutting essential services?  Let me know!

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. Please follow me and send your thoughts on this and other postings

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Ontario PC Party and the healthy confession

It is almost the end of the weekend of the PC Ontario AGM in Niagara Falls and the cleansing is now complete.

After months of going through the steps of denial, reflection and acceptance we have now reached the point when the party can now move forward.  Sunday we start the move forward…to election victory!

Tim Hudak has been reborn following a resounding speech Saturday afternoon to 1600 delegates and a 79% approval rating as the Leader of the Ontario PC Party.  He has accepted what was, what has been and what could have been.  It is only now after this weekend that the party can move on to what can be, what should be and what will be – a future as the governing party of Ontario.

The candidates for Party President also confessed to the delegates Saturday during their debate, but they were quick to move on, promising outreach, grassroots politics and hard work leading to the next election.  During the morning session the speeches from candidates for Party Executive positions were also soothing to the PC soul with candidates promising to not repeat the sins of the campaign past, promising to work with the new President and making sure that the central campaign never again takes the controls and as hard they did last October.

With executive elections set for Sunday, we all will have done penance for the election that saw 16 new MPP’s elected, the Liberals left with a reduced Minority – BUT still no election victory since 1999.

So the checklist for the weekend is complete:

  • Openly admit the shortcomings of the past election – CHECK!
  • Swear to never have a central campaign have 100% control – CHECK!
  • Reaffirm Tim Hudak as the Leader to take us to the next election – CHECK!
  • Elect a new President and Executive charged with taking control and taking action that will lead the party (with the campaign team and Leader) to victory – Consider this done – CHECK!

I propose that we now go forward, never speak of the October election as anything but a reminder of what happens when the party does not listen to its Candidates, their teams and the Party members.

We can now leave the confessional ready to forgive but never to forget.

Through the weekend many will have tweeted, you can follow along with the hashtag #pcagm12.  Feel free to jump in from wherever you will be this weekend.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. Please follow me and send your thoughts on this and other postings.

Ontario PC AGM this weekend

I am in Niagara Falls this weekend for the PC Party of Ontario AGM through to Sunday.

The meeting of Ontario Conservatives will be a chance to meet up with our colleagues and friends we met and worked alongside with during the October election.

This will also be a weekend were we have a chance to meet the new PC MPP’s and find out how they are succeeding in their roles.  We will also confirm Tim Hudak as our leader as I expect he will receive overwhelming support from the 1500+ delegates that are in here.

I think the most important part of this weekend will be an affirmation that Ontario needs a PC government to put the province back on track and put an end to the McGuinty mess of debt, deficits and direction due south of Ontario’s reputation.

Through the next three days, there will be talk of the loss October 7th, but that is natural and needed for our policies to develop and for everyone to reconvene to our purpose of electing Tim Hudak as Ontario’s Premier when the next election comes around.  The party must focus on the main goal of showing Ontario that the PC Party is ready to lead with sound economic policies and programs that put Ontarians first.  We will be talking about jobs, the economy and energy – the three pillars that are needed for Tim Hudak to lead this province.

The AGM will elect a new executive; I am pleased that Eastern Ontario will be strongly represented by Rob Elliot, Charmaine Clayton and Dan White as Vice-Presidents.  I am happy that we have three outstanding candidates vying to be the PC Party President with Richard Ciano, Kevin Gaudet and John Snobelen.  After much consideration and speaking to the candidates and delegates supporting the three candidates for the Presidency I will be supporting Richard Ciano for Party President.  Richard believes as I do that grass roots – the members and supporters of the party will drive the success that will bring a PC government to Queens Park.

Through the weekend many will be tweeting, you can follow along with the hashtag #pcagm12.

Feel free to jump in where ever you will be this weekend.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. Please follow me and send your thoughts on this and other postings.

Elgin Street BIA is MIA

January was a rough month for poor old Elgin Street, a couple a water main breaks and businesses closed or flooded or maybe both because of it.  There was lost business and cancelled reservations.  Old infrastructure is going to cost more money the longer it takes to plan, tender and start the replacement of what currently sits beneath the asphalt along Elgin Street.

Leadership is missing to organize the merchants and owners along this street, Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes says that there have been past attempts to bring everyone together but they have failed, leaving poor old Elgin left to its own resources.

The tragedy in this scenario is that Elgin Street will HAVE to be fixed sooner rather than later and when it comes to having one organized voice to speak for merchants and businesses, there will be none and the design plans will have no input from those that rely on area residents and others to shop and enjoy an meal along Elgin Street.

In 2010 while working on my campaign in Somerset Ward, I had the pleasure of meeting individually with four of the five BIA’s that are in the Ward.  The Bank Street, Preston Street and Chinatown BIA’s along with the Mall management of Sparks Street all presented a strong defense of their businesses and a passion to do what their members demanded for their best interests.  The BIA’s also worked with the City (not always successfully) to make changes and improve their section of the City.  There is a Somerset Village BIA, however I was not able to have a meeting with their Executive Director during that time I was a candidate.

The need for an Elgin BIA goes past the replacement of infrastructure; it leads to having a good and productive relationship with the City of Ottawa, the Ottawa Police and with the Centretown Citizens Community Association.  The BIA would be empowered to work with the NCC and the many Run and Event Organizers that come into the Downtown and use portions of Elgin Street for their events.  Without a united and organized voice the merchants are left at the whim of what the City permits to take place on Elgin.

I am not naive and realize that politics will play a major part in how this is all going to go down.  There will be the City Councillor against certain merchants, merchant vs. merchant and even residents vs. merchants in the battle to become one strong organization.  There needs to be leadership to bring everyone together.

During the formation of an Elgin BIA there is one bond that should keep everyone together, the need to keep Elgin street a viable place to do business.  That should be enough to start the conversation; from there it could be anyone’s guess as to what path the Elgin BIA follows.

If anyone is interested in seeing Elgin Street form a Business Improvement Area (BIA), please contact me, I would like to see this to happen and am offering my services to the area shops, restaurants and hotels.  As a resident near Elgin and user of its shops and businesses, I want to see the current businesses on Elgin survive and create a strong commercial area for others to do business in.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. Please follow me and send your thoughts on this and other postings.