Monthly Archives: April 2015

A rallying call to bring Hydro rates back to affordability: Enough is Enough

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This weekend I attended and spoke at rally decrying the state of Ontario Hydro One, rates, charges and the impending sale of 60% of the public utility to private hands.

It was a well attended rally the crowd reaching almost 100 at its peak, and several hundred more driving by and showing support by honking at the corner of Woodroffe and Carling Avenues. A live stream of the event had almost 200 more viewers subscribing to the watch the event online.  My speech to the crowd is available by clicking on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgUk1g930BU&feature=youtu.be

At stake is not only the financial health and future of Ontario, but also for Ontarians. The sale of Hydro One means that a valuable piece of Ontario infrastructure now falls out of our hands, and never will come back – unless at a very great price. I should point out, in the effort to remain transparent, that in May 2012, the Ontario PC Party released a White Paper advocating a partial availability of Hydro to a Pension Fund led equity stake with possible door opening for future investments. But to see a large majority leave public hands is a very big deal.

The discussion on the sale is one area where the Ontario NDP and PC’s differ, but where we agree is that the handling of Hydro rates and the affect on Ontarians has been atrocious. NDP House Leader Gilles Brisson (MPP Timmins – James Bay) came to Ottawa to speak about Hydro One and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. You can view Mr. Brisson at the rally here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhuyAkslt5U

The two-hour rally had many impassioned speakers and stories of Hydro bills that are putting people’s lives, businesses and homes at risk. It was well covered by local media, meaning it was on the radio hourly from mid afternoon on and also made the local TV evening news.

A provincial rally at Queens Park is planned for May 13th, we expect representatives from the opposition to attend and speak including the newly selected Ontario PC Party Leader. With 10,000 complaints to the Ombudsman and growing, Minister Chiarelli continues to brush the allegations away, like a speck of dust.

Enough is Enough!

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

Out of the ashes of the Glebe Fire: A case for new affordable housing

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This week’s fire in the Glebe was tragic, seven businesses lost their home and 50 people have lost employment. There will be a rebuild, the owners of the building say it will rise again, as it was – a one-story building.

But should it stay the same? Isn’t there a case for more? Not a multi floor condo building but how about there now being a case for affordable rental units, somewhere to provide a home for singles, mothers with children and families?

When first built in the 70’s, our housing landscape was much different than it is now. Ottawa was a sleepy National Capital where the streets did roll up at 6pm. Today and 40 years later Ottawa is vibrant and now there is much activity late into the evening. As the city grew it attracted many people as a place to live. As populations grow, so do the pressures of housing, homelessness and poverty. Today there are 10,000 people on a waiting list for affordable housing.

The Glebe in the last few decades has also seen a transformation, especially with TD Place and Lansdowne Park now in place.

40 years later there is a higher demand for affordable housing that needs to be met. Local initiatives like “Broadening the Base” are good partnerships for the owners of the burned out building. The City of Ottawa also has programs that assist the private sector in creating affordable spaces. It becomes even more enticing for the City to be involved in since recent announcement that 10’s of Millions of dollars are coming to Ottawa from Queens Park to create spaces and help eliminate homelessness. Build into the equation that there are several top notch not for profit organizations that would be excellent partners for George Halel and Sam Bellama to fill these units.

While George and Sam have balked at the suggestion of apartments, they also call the Glebe a good community. It’s a good community that needs new low rent units that can help others that need a good community. I think that the idea of adding more to the a good community is something that Messer’s Bellama and Halel need to seriously consider. Working with Capital Ward Councillor David Chernushenko may result with a quick approval of plans through the planning process and construction so that the businesses can be back home, but also so others might have a new one.

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I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

Cyclists, Drivers & Punishment

The CBC Radio One show “The 180” discussed the idea this morning that was first brought up by the Ottawa Police regarding fines and penalties for cyclists. The OPS would like to see demerit points deducted from cyclists I have been of mind that a cyclist, especially when he is also a holder of a Driver’s License should face the same penalty for breaking some of parts of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

My comments on Twitter seemed to have started something. As a cyclist and a driver I tweeted that I feel safer as a cyclist because I can better predict the actions of a car driver than someone on a bike. I do not look forward to better road conditions for my city driving because I expect to see even more cyclists on the road as the City of Ottawa improves current bike facilities and adds more. This is a good thing; more cyclists and better facility make Ottawa a better city all around.

As the argument unfolds a few Ottawa cyclists and Twitter users chime in, I seem to be on the ‘wrong’ side of this argument. Cyclists are sticking up for Cyclist, but nowhere are there drivers seeking to join in. Last month I wrote about how the OPS also sought to charge cyclists with distracted driving (cycling), it’s a rare event to see, but when I see it it’s distracting to me. This post is an extension of that…

It seems to me that those who are against the idea do not ‘get’ that a cyclist who has had to pass a drivers test and has knowledge of the HTA should not be held accountable for breaking the same laws on a bike that we assume they would not break in their cars. Is that so far fetched?

To hear what stated this today visit www.cbc.ca/180 and listen to the podcast.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97

Good News vs Bad News

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I am always happy to hear good news, but ONLY if it’s anyone except Kathleen Wynne, Bob Chiarelli or any other Liberal Minister giving the good news. Their brand of good news always seems to take money out of my pocket. Their Good News/Bad News announcements are getting to be too much for Ontario taxpayers .

The Liberal Energy Minister last week shared a plan to ‘save’ Ontarians a few bucks in hydro costs.

His plan includes:

Good News: Ending the hydro “debt retirement” charge

Bad News: It should have been removed 4 years ago. We’ve paid millions that should have stayed in our pockets.

Good News: The Liberals are launching a program to help low-income families lower their costs for Ontario’s unaffordable hydro.

Bad News: To help pay for the hydro discounts, all other hydro users will have an increase in their hydro bills of an additional $120 a year – or $10/month!

Bad News: This increase is on top of previous increases already announced

Bad News: Hydro is STILL unaffordable for low income families.

It is not only the Energy Minister that is using good news to shadow the bad news.

Good News: Whales are now protected in Ontario

Bad News: Liberals that want to run in a by election are still unprotected and prone to bribe offers

Good News: The Ontario Deficit is down to $10.8 Billion

Bad News: The government is still spending almost $30m a day with money its doesn’t have

Bad News: There are NO plans to reduce government spending, the Liberals are still counting on a balanced budget by 2017-18

Good News: Those that can’t afford to save for a pension will have one with the Ontario government

Bad News: Those that can’t afford to save for a pension will now have MORE money taken off their pay so they can have a pension when they retire.

Ontario cannot take any more news from the “Bad News Bears” in Queens Park. 2018 can’t come soon enough for Ontario and its taxpayers!