Monthly Archives: March 2012

Get over it (him) already!

I was in a meeting this week and discussion of the Provincial budget came up.   I of course stated that I thought the McGuinty government did not go far or deep enough to cut its own spending and instead it was relying on public service workers to provide the bulk of the savings it had forecast to reduce the deficit. He did not reduce the size of government, in fact fourteen Ministries had an INCREASE in their spending.

During the provincial campaign the Ontario PC Party had stated that there were to be no cuts to Health Care and Education, but that every other ministry would have to find 2% savings in the budget as part of a PC Government in Ontario.  We now find ourselves with growing debt and deficits, servicing the debt the government’s #3 spending item (Health Care and Education are one and two) this year.  There are no sources of savings from the government on the costs of reducing the amount of spending Ontario does this year.  The brunt are being borne by the public sector with  a wage freeze and the freezes and delays on the benefits paid to those in this province that rely on that support each month. That the government finally realized that wages of the PS are out of hand and need to come into line with the wages of the private sector in Ontario is amazing.  Though labour organizations are not happy with it they must accept that their workers are part of the cost of doing business here, it happens in the private sector – the government has just started to catch up on this thought.

Back to my meeting, in this talk of the budget “he” was brought up, the man that cannot be named, the unspoken one or the big evil man – Mike Harris!  Mike Harris was blamed for this budget.  WHAT?  I could not believe my ears, the man that has not been Premier for almost 10 years (he left office April 2002) is the reason for the freezes and cuts and fee increases?  I swear if that man had a dollar for every time he was named or blamed he would not have to work again. For as bad as many people think Harris was, he did what he had to do.

Dalton McGuinty on the other hand has done what he wanted and has blessed Ontario with a debt of $260 Billion and a deficit of over $15B.  So while Mike Harris will ever be known for the cuts to save Ontario, McGuinty will be known for the spending that has put us back in the hole that previous PC governments had dug us out of .  I hope that Dalton has the same resonance that Harris has 10 years after he leaves the Premiers’ office, I take that back I hope he doesn’t because he does not deserve it.  Harris stands heads above McGuinty as someone who did what was needed and right for Ontario.

I haven’t even mentioned the name of the Premier before Mike Harris, what was his name again?

It’s my money and I want it now!

Ontario’s Liberal Government quietly (very quietly) introduced changes to the way it pays out your provincial Income tax refund.  I only heard about this, not through any government email, advertising or letter but on the news last night..  Here is the article from the Toronto Star on this, http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1140158–income-tax-changes-eliminate-refunds-for-many-ontario-residents.

There was a time when as much as we detested completing our income tax forms, we also looked forward to receiving the refund – a lump sum to do with as we pleased, after all it was OUR money – the government was just holding on to it. The McGuinty government has once again determined it knows what is best, and chose not to say very much about it.  Low to moderate incomes (what dollar value indicates if you meet those criteria) will no longer receive their Ontario Tax credits with their federal tax refund.  Premier Dad, along with Uncle Dunc is going to hold onto your money and start giving you an allowance beginning in July.  The days of using the money to pays bills, buy a treat for your children or gasp, try to put some of it in an RRSP are over.  Instead the government is going to hold onto your money and collect the interest on your money to pay down its debt and deficit it has created with a ‘spend and pay for it later policy’ for the past 9 years.

I went to the government website looking for the announcement regarding the change in tax refunds.  I noticed that on the English site the rotating messages on the home page are Tuition grants, seasonal winter food and March Break in Ontario – nothing about tax changes.  The French site had the same messages.  Searching the government website for information on Ontario Tax Credit changes I found out about a Film and Television Tax Credit, Co-Operative Education Tax Credit, Employee stock option Tax Credit and an Innovation Tax Credit – NOTHING about the changes in the repayment of the Ontario Tax Credit, in fact when searching Ontario Tax refund the changes are not in the top 10 items that come back in the search.

The Ontario government has relented and agreed to back off and give Ontarians a choice this year, the usual lump sum payment or the monthly allowance, but has already stated the option will NOT be offered in 2013.   It is time to speak out about the Ontario government taking over yet another part of our lives – determining how we get our money back.  Contact your MPP; in Ottawa Centre we are lucky, we can take the message right to the Ministry of Finance as our Liberal MPP, Yasir Naqv, is the Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario Finance Minister Uncle Dunc!

Come to think of it, I would have expected that Yasir Naqvi would have notified his Ottawa Centre residents about this change.  Ottawa Centre has significant population that fit into the low to moderate income bracket, won’t they be getting a nice little surprise?

It is time for this government to stop telling Ontarians how to live their lives and how manage their day to day affairs, it is time for a government to respect the rights of individuals and do what a government should do, govern – not parent!

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.

They missed (building) my LRT station

Ottawa City Council today (March 6 2012) approved a move of the LRT stop near the NAC to the ByWard Market to create a second stop to the Rideau Centre (http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/03/06/city-of-ottawa-committee-likes-lrt-changes) .  The changes were announced to address safety concerns that LRT users would be coming out into open on Elgin Street.  The NAC says it is unfortunate that the stop is lost to its 1.2 million people that attend NAC events annually.  The Elgin LRT stop would allow NAC patrons to leave the car closer to home and take public transit to see a scheduled event.

The biggest losers on this move will be the businesses that are along the Elgin Street strip.

The change was approved and to my knowledge no businesses from Elgin were present to give an argument for keeping the stop. There is no reason to believe that adding a stop half a block east from a planned stop at the William Street Pedestrian Mall was going to increase traffic to the Byward Market.  The move of the stop to Rideau Street leaves Elgin Street serviced by the LRT by the Downtown East station at O’Connor Street, one block further west  than the current Metcalfe stop on the Downtown Transitway that now brings Transit riders to Elgin Street, the War Memorial, Chateau Laurier and the NAC.  The way the LRT stations have now been placed,  Elgin Street is losing hundreds (and more during special events) of LRT riders daily that are needed to sustain the businesses that are going to be part of the Elgin Street BIA.

Decisions like this at council affecting the Elgin street area are further evidence that Elgin Street businesses should have, actually NEED to have a BIA in place sooner rather than later.  I was pleased after writing this https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/elgin-street-bia-is-mia/ to receive a call from Robin Duetta, who has been working with Keith Loiselle (owner of Woodys on Elgin) and a strong steering committee to form the Elgin Street BIA.  They have a few things up their sleeve to focus the residential and business community to get behind the movement that has been in the making for quite some time.  You can read a bit more about the Elgin Street BIA here in a piece written by Carleton Journalism student Yaelle Gang (on Twitter @yaellebgang) http://www.cusjc.ca/ottawainsight/?p=2587 .  There is also a website at www.elginstreet.ca that is currently under construction, but no doubt will be ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

While the loss of an LRT stop cannot be reversed, a BIA (through the work being done by Keith Loiselle and his steering committee) should no doubt go a long way with Councillor Holmes and the rest of City Council to help shape and serve  Elgin Street through the LRT construction and the expected road rehabilitation in 2014 and beyond.

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.