Category Archives: Elections

Is it too soon to talk Municipal Elections in Ottawa?

Ottawa VotesHere it is November, we are almost at the end of Ottawa’s run where all things #Canada150 overshadowed what was being talked at in City Hall. With the end of 2018 we’ll see the dismantling of the #Canada150 Flame at City Hall and business of the City come more into focus.

There are serious items that will linger through to the Municipal elections in Ottawa in 11 months.

Mayor Jim Watson has campaigned on 2% or less for property tax increases. The problem with 2% property tax increases is that everything else has increased almost triple the rate of property taxes. Water fees, sewage fees all increased and are budgeted for large increases through the next five years as the City looks for revenues it can’t raise with a 2% property tax rise.

Watson’s rationale is not that different from Provincial and Federal Liberals that are “lowering” income taxes, but increases other necessary costs, like Hydro negate any reduction in taxes because any gain in disposable incomes is lost on higher hydro rates and carbon taxes put on the cost of gas at the pumps.   But Jim Watson will campaign on low property taxes and avoid any talk of higher water, sewage and user fees.

What will dog Watson are his views on safe injection sites and funding illegal pop up site. The safe injection site in Sandy Hill was given the federal go ahead, but that did not stop an unauthorized pop up site from appearing in a Lowertown park. This prompted the Ottawa Health Officer to opening a ‘legal’ temporary site on Clarence Street.   The illegal pop up site continues to operate even though its original mandate was to have a permanent site available to prevent deaths by overdose.

The irony here is that ‘conservative’ Mayor John Tory in Toronto is looking more progressive that ‘liberal’ Mayor Jim Watson in Ottawa. There will be calls for the City and the Mayor to accept money from the Province the same money Kathleen Wynne gave Toronto for its pop up site to be able to operate in the cold.

I also expect to see Jim Watson try to ride the shiny sparkly new LRT to another 4 years at City Hall. He better hope that it goes as planned, that sinkholes don’t create any unseen drops in his popularity. He is no doubt still very popular, but with urban councillors like Catherine MacKenney (Somerset Ward) and Jeff Leiper (Kitchissippi Ward) pushing a more progressive agenda, those councillors and perhaps others that want to see the City spend more on social services will look past Jim Watson for support. Sadly we may not see just who will challenge Watson for a few more months.

There were changes to municipal election for 2018. In previous election cycles candidates could register to run in the early weeks of the year. New rules now put any registering for the election at May 1st, four full months before in previous elections. This rule puts incumbents in the fundraising driver seat, as there can be no fundraising for a campaign before the candidate in registered. With the delayed registration date, incumbents no longer have to stress about announcing early.

The change in registration date will have a serious impact on challengers hoping to put up a strong effort against an incumbent. Losing four months of fundraising will drive some away from the challenge. The biggest financial impact may be on those that want to run for the Mayor’s chair.

In play for what could be tight race for Mayor are Bay Ward Councillors Mark Taylor, Diane Deans and former Ottawa Centre MP, and son of former Mayor Marion Dewar, Pal Dewar. Mark Taylor campaigned in 2010 to being a two-term councillor will he keep that promise. He is currently one of two deputy Mayors. If his good friend Watson decides not to run, he’d expect to pick up all of the current Mayor’s support. If Watson seeks re-election, Taylor could be in a jam as he campaigned in 2010 to only be a councillor for two terms.

Diane Deans, a Councillor for the Southern ward of Gloucester Southgate is also conserved a sure thing to run for the Mayor’s chains. She has the needed experience, as she has been a sitting Councillor since 1994. She has had verbal jousts with the Mayor in the past, especially this current term. Deans may see 2018 as her last chance to run for the top job, it could be the run for the Mayor’s chair or retirement for her.

Mayor Jim Watson’s biggest challenge may come from outside council. If Justin Trudeau can fill the position his father did, why can’t Paul Dewar follow his mother? Marion Dewar was Ottawa Mayor from 1978 to 1985 and a councillor from 72 before becoming Mayor. Where Watson would in previous elections be seen as the ‘progressive’ candidate – he’d look like a Larry O’Brien Conservative, if he has to run against Paul Dewar. A successful NDP MP in Ottawa Centre, he would be a dream candidate for progressives seeking greater funding for housing, opioid life saving programs and reducing homelessness in Ottawa.

As the New Year comes we’ll have to wait longer than normal to see who will challenge, who will retire and who will seek another four years. While Mayor Watson has announced he will run again ( https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/the-first-shot-has-been-fired/) all eyes will be on him as the May 1st registration deadline approaches to see if he really meant it or not.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

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They’ll be back soon, what to look for in Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill this fall Pt. 2

 

Last week, part one of this two part blog, focused on the return to Queen’s Park by Ontario’s MPP in the session that will be crazy busy as all parties start to position themselves for the June 2018 provincial election. In part two, a look at the return to Ottawa of MP’s as the Trudeau Liberals hit the halfway point in their mandate.

While a federal election won’t come before October 2019, there is positioning taking place. All three parties will start to think about that election as dynamics have changed. Gone is Rona Ambrose and in comes Andrew Scheer and the NDP start the midway session of the Liberal mandate without a permanent leader.

LPCLet’s begin with the government and what we might expect from the Liberals. First, we’ve been told there will be no proroguing this fall. Main reason is that recently announced new Governor General, Julie Payette, will not have been sworn in. We will have to wait until the New Year for a new speech from the throne. The Liberals will want to get the old speech and promises made in that speech, like electoral reform off the legislative books.   In the meantime, they have big legislation that needs to get through the house, the most important of which, will be the legalization of marijuana. Everyone will be watching to see what that Bill looks like and to what lengths the Bill will protect Canadians, especially young Canadians.

Trudeau and his team will have to continue to navigate through the Presidency of Donald Trump, especially now since NAFTA renegotiations have begun. How will Canada respond while Trump tweets about what he doesn’t like and what he expects to be in NAFTA2? The Liberals have given themselves some breathing space with the opposition by bringing onboard for advice and counsel, former PM Brian Mulroney and most recently with the NAFTA Advisory Council appointments of Conservatives Rona Ambrose, James Moore and former NDP Chief of Staff to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Brian Topp  – an all-star Team Canada approach to the negotiations. How this works out for the government is yet to be seen. It is going to be one of the biggest challenges the government will face leading to the 2019 election.

NDPStill to be determined is who will be leading the third party.  A new leader should be selected by the time the house comes back from its Thanksgiving break. Will it be the familiar face of either Nikki Ashton, Guy Caron or Charlie Angus? Will newcomer to the federal scene Jagmeet Singh be leading the NDP from the balcony of the House of Commons? The deadline for new memberships is August 17th, when those numbers are announced; just who might lead the NDP could be clearer. Until that happens, Tom Mulcair will remain in the front benches leading the NDP. What direction the NDP takes when Mulcair is gone will depend on who becomes leader. Until then, expect to see the NDP fight the fight as the third party and trying to remain part of the headlines until after the leadership is decided.

CPCAndrew Scheer had a few weeks as leader in June following his rise to the leadership in May at the federal leadership convention in Toronto before the House rose for the summer.  Last month Scheer took the first steps in defining what his leadership will look like with the forming of his leadership team, which includes Candice Bergen staying on as House Leader and Lisa Raitt, former leadership candidate, now taking her place beside him as Deputy Opposition Leader. Still to be come is the shuffling of his shadow cabinet and where he plans to place his leadership supporters, leadership opponents and the current members that have critic roles; this will help define an Scheer era of conservatives. With the Conservative caucus set to meet in Winnipeg the first week of September, hopefully the shuffle will take place before the end of August.

Will the Conservatives be an opposition party, or will they be a government in waiting. There is a difference in how strategy will be formed. As a government in waiting what will Scheer Conservatism look and sound like? It cannot be about using ‘elbow gate’ as a reason to show JT is still not ready, nor can they use foreign policy blunders as a means to expecting the world and Canada’s part in it to fall apart. Scheer will have to define what a Conservative government would do, what action would be taken? Will the Conservatives start to work the themes that Andrew Scheer brought up during the leadership? Will we see ideas from other leadership candidates creep into policy? How will the return of the Parliament shape how Canadians and the government see Andrew Scheer? These are going to be the biggest questions for the party to decide. I expect this upcoming session will be all about Scheer showing his teeth without showing his hand.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

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

 

Back in Session, what to expect at Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill this fall

As we wave bye-bye to the August long weekend, thoughts turn to cooler weather coming, back to school and for some the return of politics. In Toronto, the Ontario legislature, Queen’s Park returns on September 11th and federally Parliament Hill will be buzzing again on September 19th. This week I’ll look at what we might expect to see and hear in both Toronto and Ottawa. I’ll begin with Ontario politics and Queen’s Park, as MPP’s will be back in their chamber first.

Make no mistake about it; the 90th day of the 2nd session of the 41st Parliament in Toronto is important, very important. The June 2018 election will be front and centre in everything the will take place in Queen’s Park. All questions, every debate and each piece of legislation is all about the next election and who will be able to reach voters and journalists with their messages. What is at stake for each party and Leader?

ONDPThe Ontario New Democratic Party will be watching, possibly distracted by the Federal NDP Leadership. Ontario Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh could be headed for Ottawa, if he wins the leadership. This will leave a hole for Andrea Horwath.  Singh was the future of the ONDP. If Horwath does not deliver at worst, Opposition status in Queen’s Park she will be out as leader. The NDP has been quiet this summer, maybe even on vacation. They have also lost the thunder of a $15 per hour minimum wage and calls for universal pharmacare to Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals. As the Liberals turn further left in their efforts to make Ontario more and more a social services driven province where do the NDP go? After an end of summer retreat, where will Leader Andrea Horvath take the NDP as she mines for greater support leading to June 2018?

PC logo 2This should have been a summer of love for Patrick Brown , in part it was. Instead, the Ontario PC Party is fighting off concerns about interference in nominations when he campaigned for leader on open nominations and no party meddling. Oddly enough though, while party members and the party executive are battling it, Brown has been on the road across and all over Ontario. I attended a rally in Thunder Bay in July, he filled the room with party supporters and those that didn’t belong to the party. One person, who is not a party member, told me after hearing Brown in Thunder Bay, ‘he has my vote.’ So while some in the party are not happy with Brown, more Ontarians are unhappy with Kathleen Wynne and are starting to listen to what Patrick Brown has to say.

Heading back to Queen’s Park, Brown and the Ontario PC Party will need to start from where they left off in June going after the Liberals jugular vein on hydro rates and selling Hydro off. The bribery scandal will be in the courts this fall and the government is pursuing economic policies that will kill small business in Ontario and drive others out of the province. The message from Brown and his caucus must be aimed at Wynne and how she is adding to the provincial debt, increasing the cost of business and costing Ontario jobs as businesses leave Ontario. Where his advisors send him will be the key to the lead up to Ontario’s 42nd General Election.

LiberalsNever ever ever count the Ontario Liberals ‘out’ in an election. Other political parties strive to be as polished and ahead of issues before anyone else, but the Liberals do it best. A key example of this goes to the 2014 election when then leader Tim Hudak announced a reduction in the Ontario public service of 100,000 civil servants. Before the press conference was over the Liberals had sent out a press release “Hudak to fire 100,000 government workers”. Whatever gains Hudak had, evaporated after that.

This does not mean it’s in the bank for the Liberals; they have a long road ahead to win back support. You can count on Wynne to fire at Brown everyday in Question Period. Her Ministers will aim at Brown in every press conference and Liberal MPPs at local events will hammer away at Brown. BUT, there is something else, there is Wynne, who is going to overhaul work places, put in place basic incomes and increase the minimum wage. The trouble that Wynne will have is that she cannot be trusted. Hydro rates were supposed to come down. While she reduced rates by 25% this summer, the government  not only going to pass on the cost to the reductions to consumers years down the road but hydro producers  have already  applied for increases when the period of reduced rates ends. While Wynne has the impression of making things better, in the background is the question, “who is going to pay for this?” The Wynne Liberals also will need to deal with an energized opposition as the Sudbury bribery court case will be heard this fall and it could affect Wynne in an election that way the Duffy Case did for Harper while he campaigned in 2015.

The Liberals could not escape Queen’s Park fast enough in June, they won’t be moving so quickly to go back.  There is a lot of promise for each party as MPP’s head back to work in 5 weeks. The three factors to watch are: Can Andrea Horwath blaze a trail for the NDP that the Liberals won’t take from them? Will Patrick Brown be able to stop in the infighting and keep the spotlight on Wynne and the Liberals bad decisions? Will Kathleen Wynne be able to avoid not only the opposition, but also the press, as the PCs and ONDP aim to take her out of the Premier’s office?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

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

Canada, what is on your mind?

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After flying the friendly Canadian skies for the last 6 days, and as I sit 35,000 feet in the air writing this, I can say that on the ground, Canadians are very smart and really want to help their government.

I have been travelling with two Conservative MPs since July 23rd, I am now on my way back to Ottawa. We have been in Western Canada asking for advise, hearing about issues, letting solutions come to the surface and just plain listening. What we were travelling about may come out some other day in this blog, but this is about the fact that Canadians really do want to help their government. They see what is going on, everyday in their lives and the lives of their family and friends.

They want to speak out.

They want to be heard.

They want to be taken seriously.

That Canadians want to speak out is no surprise at all, we do it all the time, have you looked at Facebook recently? My goodness there are so many people that want to spew out their anger against the government, the opposition and yes, they still rail on Stephen Harper. What suggestions they make on social media is nothing that I care to or can repeat here, #RedHeartBlueSign is a family friendly place.

Where Canadians want to be heard are in community meetings, round table meetings, focus forums, coffee meet-ups and more. What you seem to want to say is “listen to us, we are experiencing good and bad things on the ground and we have ideas how to help improve or make things you (the government) do better.

In these meetings, the attendance is much less than the thousands that might comment about what either political leader did on whatever topic is hot for the day. In the meetings I attended this week, the most we had in ne meeting was 25, we listened and chatted for 90 minutes – it was manageable. Other meetings were as small as 6, but the average was 12 Canadians accepting our invitation to tell us what is on their minds and help us help them help the government. Simply put, we asked, ‘if you could, what would you do make things better?’

Our week resolved around one aspect of government services, so the Canadians we met had a vested interest in coming out to talk with us.

Yet, here is the challenging part, really getting down to listening and appreciating what Canucks have to say and putting these ideas into some plan of action to take to the government.

As part of the opposition, our intention to for the ideas Canadians told us, is to get them to the government. When we do that, we make a case for the serious consideration by the government of what we were told. I will be told that when Conservatives were in government they were not the best at listening.   I am not to going to deny that. What I will advocate for going forward is and if I am part of a Conservative government in 2019, is that we really need to get to the Town halls, Legion Halls, Bingo Halls and Community Centres and sit down, listen and only speak when asked.

In the electoral reform meetings last year, much was said by the community, the majority of what was said was “change”. In the end the government did not offer any change. The government consulted, but did they listen?

There are so many great ideas out there waiting to be offered, really good simple solutions. The problem is that government is complex and those in government might believe simple cannot mix with complex. What I heard was that simple ideas can be implemented; Canadians have thought these things out.

There are two elections coming up. The Ontario Election will be held in June 2018 and the Federal election is set for October 2019. Ontarians and Canadians will be listening to all the parties; they will give a lot of advice and propose many, many, good ideas. Getting the political parties to listen and to include what they hear is the brave and right thing to do – listen and act even if it falls outside of normal party politics.

After listening for 6 days, I will take everything we heard; categorize it all, consider actions on the ideas and propose policy, simple policy and take it to the government or consider what would make great policy for a Conservative government in 2019.

So what is in your mind? When your local elected representative has a community forum, do not pass up on attending it. Go, listen, discuss and share. That is the only way that any current or future government can really act on your behalf. Canadians should speak up and leave the backroom strategists out in the cold of policy development.

So Canada, what is on your mind?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

Vacation State of Mind?

Vacation Alert

What is a vacation state of mind? What is an ‘away from work’ Zen moment feel like?

Do you detach completely? Is it an awareness there are something at work that you know will be waiting for you when you get back? To get your vacation state of mind do you leave town? Do you go off grid? Or does obtaining a vacation state of mind merely mean getting out of the office?

I have a week off, so I got out of dodge as they say, this week we’re in Thunder Bay. That does not mean I left everything behind. Give me two weeks away from the office and I will go stir crazy. To avoid that when we go away for two weeks, it better be in another city, town, somewhere that means the regular life trappings are not in my line of sight. Without somewhere to go, why take the time off? It is not an uncommon as you might think.

The benefits of taking vacation are well known; a reduction in stress helps relationships and a paid mental break from work. Are there benefits for the few that don’t want to take vacation? For those enjoy their work, vacation my just be an unwanted distraction from it. It is very difficult to find benefits to not taking vacation, but there are reasons why some workers will avoid it.

Count the reasons for vacation denial as being the fear of email inbox overload and increased assignments, the fear that another worker will take their job away, the fear that someone else doing their work will screw it up and it will have to be redone when they return.

A 2014 study in the US; Project: Time Off found 4 in 10 Americans did not take their vacation. Are Canadians any different? If you believe a study from Expedia .ca, Canadians only did a little better. Just over one in four Canadians did not take the vacation OR had a year between vacations (http://www.torontosun.com/2016/10/19/canadians-leave-31-million-vacation-days-unused-each-year-study ).

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Our work places are changing and work environments are also adjusting to be more competitive, hence the reluctance to get away from it all.   While most of Ontario is off on vacation for one or two weeks this July and August, Ontario MPPs are currently touring Ontario to discuss Bill 148, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. Sadly, with 173 recommendations from a study that led to the legislation, the majority of press around this bill goes to one recommendation to increase in minimum wage to $15.00/hour by January 1, 2019.

Other aspects about workplaces including vacation, sick notes, emergency personal eleave, overtime and other aspects that will impact Ontario employers are going almost unnoticed. Much of what the Ontario government wants to implement are clauses that are normally negotiated between companies and unions. Is Kathleen Wynne now going to force non-union workplaces to have ‘union’ like workplace rules and atmospheres? Bill 148 will change workplaces in Ontario, but for the better?

Take some time to read about Bill 148, http://www.ceridian.ca/blog/2017/06/ontarios-employment-standards-act-reform-what-bill-148-may-mean-for-employers/ and then talke to your MPP and let them know what you like and don’t like about telling good employers how to run their shops.

Of course there are some bad employers Bill 148 will be awake up call for them – but to force union like rules on workplaces that are successful? The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is something I would expect from the Ontario NDP…BUT the next Ontario General Election is less that 11 months away (June 2018), so yes I also expect this frm Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

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

Saving the House that Jack Built

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One leadership race is done (see From the floor of the #CPCldr Convention) and one more to go. The Federal NDP will choose their new leader before October 30, 2017. Seriously there is no firm date, check out the NDP Leadership website, https://www.ndp.ca/leadership-2017.

When I last wrote about their leadership race (June 2016) there was only one candidate, sort of. Ontario MPP Cherie DiNovo said she would run but was balking at paying a fee to enter the race. She has since left the race. Since that day there have been as many as 6 candidates running, currently there are five.

Why is a Conservative like me so concerned about the NDP Leadership? Two reasons, it’s exciting to watch and the Conservative Party needs the NDP to have a strong leader. The Trudeau Liberals kicked great NDP MP’s out of the House of Commons. For the Liberals to lose their majority or even lose the next election, the New Democratic Party needs to have a leader that will capture the imagination of voters on the left the way that Jack Layton did.

Today there are five candidates, Pat Stogran, Canada’s first Veterans Ombudsman dropped out shortly after jumping in. The last candidate to announce was the Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh, a smart, bilingual and charismatic Ontario MPP. He wants to jump into the federal game. He joins Nikki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Peter Julian and Guy Caron to fill the shoes of Jack Layton, because really the last thing the NDP needs is another Thomas Mulcair, at least the one who thought he could be the next Prime Minister. Mulcair’s shoes are going to stay in the mudroom – never to be worn again.

The moment that the NDP had been waiting for has come and gone, the Conservatives are no longer sucking all the air out leadership media coverage. The general consensus was ‘wait for the Conservative leadership to be over, then we’ll (the NDP) will have the spotlight’. Have you noticed any difference? The addition of Jagmeet Singh was a blip on in the media. It might be because it’ssummer, it might be that Parliament is still in session but I am sure there is more to why the NDP leadership is so, so boring.

I think that the candidates have learned by watching the Conservative race and have chosen not to be controversial. In fact the one candidate that came out swinging is no longer in the race – Pat Stogran. Watching him make his pitch in the first days after his announcement of jumping in was fascinating – he was adding energy and challenging the left to look at themselves and make them think about what was needed to become government. He entered the race April 20th; by June 3rd he was gone.

I looked for any kind of polling numbers, but there are none, so how can we judge who might be leading in this race. Some very loose searching (I was using Wikipedia) has me guessing the following on how the polls might look:

  1. Peter Julian: With 6 MPs, Julian has the most declared Federal MP support
  2. Jagmeet Singh: He has endorsements from 5 Provincial NDP members and 3 municipal councillors.
  3. Nikki Ashton: Ashton has 1 NDP MP (Benson), Ontario’s Cheri DiNovo, the Manitoba Interim NDP Leader and Ontario Federation of Labour Leader Sid Ryan backing her.
  4. Charlie Angus: Charlie MLA’s from Ontario (2) Yukon and Manitoba endorsing him, Former MP Andrew Cash and the union PSAC are in his corner.
  5. Guy Caron: Caron is lagging behind with only one former MP and a Hamilton School Board Trustee endorsing him

There is so much time left that this race could shift, the summer BBQ circuit is going to be important, as will the 5 remaining debates. There are going be big challenges; Julian needs to be seen by the youth as viable; Singh needs a National profile and a current MP to endorse him; Ashton needs to grow her support among caucus and Angus and Caron also need to get strong endorsements from within the caucus.

The question mark is where do the strongest MPs go? Who will get Nathan Cullen’s endorsement? We also need to find out where Leap Manifesto writers Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein will shake out, after all they practically ‘wrote’ Mulcair’s end as NDP Leader.

Bring on the summer and the campaigning. By the time September comes around there could be one person standing taller than the others to save the house that Jack built.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

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

Elections should be easier for voters: Part Two

Polling Station

In my post from May 20th, I discusssed how simplicity and clarity could not only help political parties with their message, but help voters understand what they are voting for.   The idea is to lay out a four year plan with a simple theme in each year of a the  mandate. I mentioned a possible plan would be to have each budget have a one focus,  the four ‘thematic’ budgets would be Health; Environment; Energy and Education. But you say to me, “Rob you forgot about transportation, social services, job creation, First Nation etc.” My response is that each of those could appear in each budget as long as the overall focus remains on the priority set out by the government.  Each ion those can be part of that years budget focus.

For the sake of clarity let me focus on two specific budget priorities; Health and the Environment. In each of these other spending tracks are found.

Let’s look at Health Care. The major issue to be addressed is the delivery of health care to Ontarians, eliminating wait times and ensuring that there are doctors for everyone. Within health care you will find infrastructure spending to build new hospitals and care centres. Social services are covered under mental health services, autism testing and education. If you want to cover First Nations you’ll see it in emergency care, access to health service for education to prevent health issues both physical and mental health in First Nations communities.

Through the “health care” budget, we also can help the innovation sector with the challenge to provide long distance care electronically allowing physicians the ability to see patients via skype etc. Job creation comes from construction, expanded social services and while this happens the province expands the post secondary school sector focusing on educating in health sciences to serve the expanded health care network in the province.

My second example is the Environment. We can apply the same ‘political science’; Ontarians could find many of the other spending opportunities areas to help the environment. Innovation spending will be narrowed to creating clean green energy inexpensively, repairing and replacing municipal infrastructure that leads to cleaner air and land. Let’s not forget transportation either. Moving people can be a huge factor in reducing CO2 emissions.

Let’s use the “environment” budget to move people by rail, work with car manufacturers to design and build less expensive electric and low emission vehicles. and the infrastructure to support these vehicles. Agriculture also gets a boost from environmental spending – helping farmers adjust with new energy, farming innovations and studies to assist in concerns like a reduced bee population. We should always remember, farmers are the worlds first stewards when it comes to the environment and sustainability.  governments in Ontario in the last 13 years have given rural voters second and third place in the budget line-up.  This budget design gives equal voice to all ministries in the economy  of Ontario.

The main idea is stop having hodge podge budgets where many sectors get a little of the budget pie. Thought out properly each budget can address one major area of government with a trickle down effect to others. What this does is ensure Ministries have to work together – as long as the ministries can stay within the priority of that budget.

Working in this method will result in governments thinking and working better and harder for the voters. It requires forethought, planning and anticipating future needs of the province. It means government must listen to non-partisan sector experts as this type of budgeting is never ending.

This idea is like running the 10,000 meter race and how a runner prepares and is coached for it.  You will run around a 400 meter track 25 times, but as the race progresses the strategy changes. The budgets can work the same way. By the time you revisit health care, you will see where your plan took the province and will see how to change the strategies to fit where your previous actions have taken you. Obviously hope you don’t have to backtrack.

Does this have a chance of taking hold? Are politicians beholden to how budgets are planned now? Can political parties turn the corner and recognize that the voters need to see things get done differently, not the same way – in Ontario the same way is not helping?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I am celebrating #Canada150 with a daily post of an event celebrating our sesquicentennial in Canada.

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