Monthly Archives: April 2016

On your mark, get set – pass these Bills!

Legislation

NOTE: It is my hope that Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi and Premier Wynne read this post.  They are the only two people that ensure that the 3 Bills mentioned below will get debated and voted on in Queens Park.

Over the course of a four year term, a sitting legislature can vote on hundreds of proposed bills. In this current session of the Ontario legislature, MPP’s have sat 169 days (to Friday April 29 2016) and in that time period 235 bills have been brought forward. Some have been passed and made law, some have ‘died’ at second reading and many are still waiting to have their day in committee before a third vote is held. Of the 235 Bills that have been introduced, 134 are sitting at various stages in the legislative process. Most of the bills that have been passed were sponsored by the government.

Bills introduced by individual MPP’s are Private Members Bills (PMB). There are many very good PMB’s introduced. Most though will die when a session of legislature ends – through an election or when a government prorogues the legislature.

An example of a great PMB is that of the Ontario NDP’s Cheri DiNovo Bill 2, a bill that woild extend WSIB to First Responders sufferring from PTSD. Her bill was introduced July 2014 and never made it passed 1st Reading in the house meaning it was never debated at all. If this bill sounds familiar, the government rejected her bill and introduced their own PTSD bill, Bill 163. It was introduced February18 2016 and was law May 6th. Patrick Brown supported Cheri DiNovo’s Bill 2 from the first day he sat as an MPP and Leader of the Oppostion in Queen’s Park, Bill 2 was a good idea.

There a many other good PMB’s sitting just gathering dust. Here are three I think that should receive their time in Committee and a third reading at Queens Park now before the summer recess (or prorogation).

Bill 131, Opportunity in the Sharing Economy Act, Introduced by Tim Hudak MPP, Niagara West-Glanbrook.

Now that Council has voted to make Ride Sharing legal in Ottawa and now that the City of Toronto is currently debating it, the Ontario government needs to step up and debate this 21st Economic driver. The Sharing economy is the ‘industrial revolution of our times’. The province needs to debate, vote and lead on this important issue. The bill is currently sitting waiting to be discussed in the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

Bill 54, Right to Care Act (Children 16 years and Older) introduced by Jim McDonell MPP Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

This is an important bill for our youth in Onatrio. This bill would extend provisions and assistance provided by the Ontario Children’s Aid Society to youth over the age of 16 and under 18 years. It would be a bridge between youth and adulthood and prepare these young people for life outside of the CAS. Bill 54 is a re-introduction of a bill by former PC Barrie MPP Rod Jackson who lost in the 2014 election, his bill died when the election that year was called. Bill 54 is currently stalled in the Standing Committee of Social Policy.

Finally, there is Bill 149, Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee Act, Introduced by Lisa MacLeod MPP Nepean-Carleton, John Fraser MPP Ottawa South and Catherine Fife MPP Kitchener Centre.

It is not often that all three parties in the house come together to support a bill from one MPP. That has happened with Lisa MacLeod’s Bill 149. It is co-sponsored by Ottawa South Liberal John Fraser and Kitchener Centre NDP MPP Catherine Fife. Bill 149 has received a passionate second reading debate including a wonderful speech from Lisa MacLeod (Video courtesy of @VideoManOttawa).

The Bill as proposed would work to prevent children and youth deaths due to concussions. The bill was borne out of the early death of Nepean’s Rowan Stringer who passed away due to a concussion suffered while playing sports. This bill is waiting for the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly to hear witnesses and report back to the house. You might think that this is a bill that all parties (including the government) want to see passed – they all have a stake in it.

NOTE 2:  May 30 2016, The Ontario Legislature passed Bill 149 with Unanimous Consent from all parties.  It will become law when it received Royal Assent on June 7 2016.  Congratulations to Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod on getting this important legislation passed.

The status of these three bills is in jeopardy due to persistent rumours of Kathleen Wynne proroguing the house and starting fresh with a new throne speech some time later. Good bills do not deserve to die on the order table due to the vanity of the government of the day.

Please let me know what you thought of this entry of Red Heart Blue Sign, leave a comment or ‘like’ it.

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

Have Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals `Jumped the Shark`?

jump the shark

phrase of jump

1. 
informal 
(of a television series or movie) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality.

 fonzie1.jpg

For those of us of a certain age we have imbedded in our minds the image of Fonzie water skiing, while wearing his leather jacket, jumping over a shark and lived to tell about it! It is widely accepted that it was the beginning of the end of the TV Show `Happy Days`. Rating for the show started dip following the fifth season, the season in which the shark was jumped.

It is difficult to determine just when the Wynne government jumped the shark, as there are so many different decisions they have made. I suggest that the decision to change the funding for Autism and their radical way to reduce the IBI wait list for IBI treatment funding is the moment Kathleen Wynne jumper her shark!

The autism announcement did not start like a shark moment, it was quite the opposite. March 29 2016, the Ontario government announced it was investing $333M to improve Autism services in Ontario.

Photos courtesy of Guy Annable

In its news release the government said:

The newly expanded children’s autism program will make it easier for families to access services for their children by reducing wait times, providing more flexible services based on children’s needs, and serving more children and youth. It will also help children receive intensive therapy services during the key early developmental years.

 As it turns out the government foreshadowed how it would reduce wait times in that statement with `…it will help children receive intensive therapy services during the key early developmental year`s…` If only we had read between the lines when the announcement was made.

Flash forward to only a couple weeks later when it was announced that children over the age of five would no longer receive the intensive therapy. Children over five currently receiving the therapy were reportedly immediately cut off and therapy was halted.

In one swish of the budgetary knife, the waitlist was greatly reduced!

The impact of this one decision on families has been widely reported with harsh words for Premier Kathleen Wynne and Children and Youth Services Minister Tracy MacCharles.

This heartless measure will prove to be the `jump the shark` moment for the Wynne government. Even if this decision is reversed and the funding is restored for children that have ASD there will be no more good faith left with this government.

There have been many defining moments of this government with their bad decisions that have detrimental effects on Ontarians. This however, is their moment where Kathleen Wynne and this Liberal government has shown how little they cares for families and Autistic children. There is NO going back on this moment to gain back the trust and whatever good faith they had left with the Ontario electorate.

Kathleen Wynne has indeed `jumped the shark`!

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NOTE: This is the 100th post that I have written for #RedHeartBlueSign. Thank you for sticking with me and reading!

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Please let me know what you thought of this #RedHeartBlueSign entry, leave a comment or ‘like’ it.

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

Our elected officials: Politician or Person?

Before we ( I use ‘we’ as I have run in two elections)  decides to jump into politics, we were something else. We could have been a teacher, salesman, lawyer, doctor, financier, artist, musician, business owner etc. As well we could be a parent, husband, wife, Uncle, Aunt or a Grandparent. In our community we could have been a baseball coach, hockey coach, Girl Guide or Boy Scout Leader or involved in a community association.

After an election does a person automatically lose whatever life they had before they become a politician? What happens to an elected officials previous life? You must keep in mind, as a candidate for election we run on what we have accomplished in our personal or business lives – these are the attributes for which candidates receive votes and become elected representatives.

All this came front and centre after Premier Wynne’s decision on cutting back Autism services to children over the age of five. (More about this topic in my next #RedHeartBlueSign post).   In making this move just how was Wynne making this decision? Was it as a Premier, a Minister – a Politician? How should she had made this decision?  Because it was made as a politician, did the Premier lose sense of what made her attractive as a candidate and leader of a political party?

Michael Taube, a former speechwriter for the Prime Minister and political columnist, made some interesting and impassioned comments about the cuts to Autism services for families in Ontario when he appeared in @NewsTalk1010 Live Drive last week. He aimed his comments directly at Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Does what Mr. Taube says makes sense?

Should our elected officials govern with the personal life attributes they were voted in with? Should our leaders make decisions keeping in mind life they had before they were elected?

When an elected official governs like a politician and NOT the person they were elected, have they lost your confidence?

Please let me know what you thought of this entry of Red Heart Blue Sign, leave a comment or ‘like’ it.

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

It’s called the weather

Rob snowman

Though many would like to think otherwise, winter is not done with us yet.

Today we are in the midst of what will likely be a 15cm or more dump in the Nations Capital. Listen closely and you can hear the sound of clicks as people close the window on this edition of #RedHeartBlueSign.

I confess, I have only been back in Ottawa for two weeks after hibernating in the south (Toronto) for nearly most of the winter of 2015-2016.

If you stuck around after that opening paragraph good for you, there is hope – but maybe not as soon as you might like it. Here are some statistics for you to ease your mind and start you thinking of warmer weather courtesy of https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Canada/Ontario/Places/ottawa-snowfall-totals-snow-accumulation-averages.php.

Here are average snow falls for Ottawa, I have confined the list to March through June, because we don’t need to be reminded of the worst months for snowfall which Ottawa just got through.

# Of Days Centimeters
7.4 March 29
2.8 April 7
0.1 May 0
0 June 0

As you can see, the risk of snow greatly diminishes right through to June, where there seems to be no recorded snowfall at all. Be warned though – snow does make an appearance in May as I remember waking up to snow on the ground on a Mothers Day 20 years ago.

Screenshot_2016-04-06-19-01-54.png

Here in Ottawa the long range forecast calls for temperatures in the low teens starting in just over a week, until then the sun will be warm enough to melt what has hit Ottawa and many other parts of the province. I hope this will get you through to May, and (fingers crossed) hopefully a no snow month May . But keep in mind this is OUR weather and I won’t rule out any snow in Ottawa until June 1st.

Please let me know what you thought of this entry of Red Heart Blue Sign, leave a comment or ‘like’ it.

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