Category Archives: Queens park

Great Expectations

April showers were once expected to bring May flowers but in 2020, April showers were to bring about May existence and expectations. 

We had expectations to be on our way out of COVID-19, we would be getting to thinking about getting back to work, planning summer camps and vacations.  For all the complications of the coronavirus, we had simple hopes – we wanted to get back to life.  As April became May and now May becomes June, do we really want to get back to normal?

The news of the last week and the actions of a few, have made the expectations we thought about for weeks erase pale to the important expectations that never went away.

The week started with the Canadian Parliament being ‘shuttered’ for another month, then the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) releasing a report on the state of Long-Term Care homes in Ontario and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter protest because of another needless death of a black American.

Thankfully the week ended with hope.

The COVID pandemic gives hope that we will finally act on the care we give our seniors in LTC residences. The report from the CAF was scathing in the treatment seniors are receiving, the report also created the chain reaction of a call for action.  All It took was for the army to come in to make governments sit up and notice. Ontario Premier Ford promised action; he acted quickly by taking provincial control of several private LTC homes and launching first a government inquiry and then an independent commission into the care and operations in LTC homes – finally, the action that families, unions and experts had wanted. Successive governments have responsibility for the state of these facilities, so now we have action that might bring hope the true expectations will come about in Ontario.  

In Minneapolis on the third Thursday in May, George Floyd died after being held down to the ground by a police officer; it was a needless death and once again put the spotlight on police and race relations.  In the case of death of George Floyd four white officers raised the voices of millions across the US and Canada.  Expectations that improvements would ever take place in how coloured Americans and Canadians are treated might have been exhausted had it not been for a 20 something Black American state that it was his generation that had to act now.  The generation of his parents tried and couldn’t affect change and the generation of young black Americans that will follow him deserve a better life and a chance at equality.   

I wonder how as a society we cannot find a way to erase the hatred towards our neighbours, co-workers and fellow citizens?

I’ll finish with an expectation of hope; Space Ex successfully launched after a weather delay stalled the count a few days earlier.  It marked the first launch of a spacecraft from American soil since 2011 when the Space Shuttle program ended.  Space Ex this weekend launched and docked with the International Space Station.  It will return to the earth and then the craft, amazingly will be used again.  The Falcon 9 Space Ex rocket heralds a new age of space travel for the USA which has announced a return to the moon by 2024.

What makes this so exciting is that it could start a new generation of technology for space travel that will make its way back to earth.  What we consider everyday at one time started as needed technology designed and made for space travel.  Some of these products include the Laptop Computer and Mouse; the ear thermometer, foil blankets and wireless headphones.  A list of 20 items is here on this NASA website: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/infographic.view.php?id=11358.  Based on this list, I can’t wait to see what NASA (and Space Ex) come up with next!  The expectations are as far as going to the moon and back!

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Rob

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 on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Social Media is back and its kinder

kindA social crisis helped bring social media back to its origins.  I hope you have noticed that social media is much more social than it has been in months.  Have you seen the requests for book, movie and TV series recommendations?  I bet some of the replies to these requests went onto your watch and read list. Have you replied to the requests to share games for a family game night and how about those free online concerts- have you been watching?  It is the way social media was meant to be, we are kind, helpful and compassionate.

Social media has become great again, so great that we have started drinking online with friends. This is huge because if you fall down drunk you won’t have far to travel to you bed.  The downside of this is that the online wingman doesn’t have the same impact as they do in person.  I also haven’t minded the online shaming directed at TP and hand sanitizer hoarders, that’s well deserved.

We’ve been asked, actually we’re being instructed to stay indoors avoid other people (or least give them space of 2 metres), but at the same time we’re told that being outside is good, so that’s what we’ve been doing.  I am in Vancouver writing this and have been here for the last week for a family event.  We’ve logged 10’s of kms in downtown Vancouver and never ‘bumped’ into anyone, walked in parks, we’ve been a solitary twosome on an Aquabus going from the old Olympic Village to Granville Island (which was even emptier than downtown Vancouver) and back.

sharingSocial media has also been kind, for the most part for the last two weeks.  We’ve helped friends celebrate birthdays in self isolation.  Parents have traded tips on becoming home teachers and cooking, my goodness, the sharing of quarantine mealtime dinners has been mouth-watering.  Kids of all ages were getting crafty with scissors, papier Mache, glue and paint.  It has all been so good to see.

With the CBC shutting down local newscasts, Twitter and Facebook keep us up to date with the coronavirus in our own cities, towns, neighbourhoods and streets.  Streaming services rushed movies to their live stream; Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit the small screen well before they were originally scheduled.

TV even started airing good stuff; I saw that TSN the other day re-played the epic collapse of the Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins in game 7 of their 2013 NHL series.  The historic playoff run of the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA Championship is being rebroadcast at a time when NBA and NHL playoffs would be starting soon.  CBC is airing the best of Canada at the Olympics. Today I watched this amazing race, down a 500-foot racecourse carved in the sand that saw the lead change several times as dozens of marbles raced to the finish line.  I was hypnotized!

This truly is a better social media than we have had in a long time; we’re helping people, thanking frontline workers, we’re SHARING.  Of course, we have opinions and should hold our leaders to account, but we’re not so “in your face” about it, we are just happy to see politicians from all parties and all levels of government working together as they try to guide us through the next few weeks and months of the coronavirus.

Enjoy this incarnation of the new kinder and gentler social media, it won’t be long before the US Presidential election is front and center again the mudslinging starts up right where it left off.  So I ask you to consider this before you might go back to your old social media habits (we all have them); we felt good about what we were posting and sharing during the isolation of Covid-19 – it was a good feeling, remember that feeling and think twice before you hit enter and sling that mud once again.

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 on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Crisis? Yes and an Emergency!

Crisis? Yes and an Emergency

It’s amazing how the simplest of ideas gets complicated – but trust a politician to do just that.

The end of January, Ottawa City Council unanimously voted to declare an affordable housing and homelessness emergency or was that a crisis or maybe it was both. The motion, after the bickering stopped to officially declare “an affordable housing and homelessness crisis and emergency” was moved by Councillor Catherine McKenney.  The vote was, as I mentioned, was unanimous 20-0, three Councilors were not present for the vote.

The question remains though, what steps can the city take to address crisis and avoid just giving lip service to the motion.  Here are 3 steps the city can take to address the Housing and Homelessness Emergency.

McKenney

Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney

Assist non-profit housing providers to expand their services. This could come in the form of no/low interest loans to bring new units online. I have previously advocated that housing providers are part of the cycle of housing. It takes time and adjustment to go from no housing to independent living, this is where housing providers come in. New beds and rooms for those living on the street is a steppingstone to living on their own. Housing providers give key life skill training and assistance, without this you set up individuals for failure when they’re on their own.  After weeks, months and years of living on the street and in shelters a period of transition is essential and the assistance that staff and support workers provide set everyone who has lived on the street up for success and not a setback.  The no/low interest loans will provide growth in this sector that is needed.

With the housing waitlist now at 12,000 households, clearly the construction of new affordable housing can be the primary action to make a dent in the list.  To be honest, the list is not complete, there are individuals that are NOT on the list because they know they will never get a a place to live – and that is the real crisis.  The emergency is getting them on the list and into a home. Both Liberal and Conservative federal governments have tried to establish programs to help with the housing issue.

The Conservatives had Housing First and the Liberals released the National Housing Strategy, but with both these plans it takes money.  With the demand for funding and money from the federal government being pulled from so many directions what programs will have to suffer for Ottawa and other cities to get the money to build new affordable housing?  These solutions will half to come from within Ottawa’s council chambers.  But that seems unlikely because of what I believe is the third thing that has to happen.

The Mayor needs to take up the challenge, and I mean take this challenge serious.

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Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

The Mayor has been coasting for years in the City’s top position. The Emergency must be his call to action to step out of his zone and feel uncomfortable about the housing emergency. When we are challenged, we can accomplish great things, but we need to embrace the feeling of being outside our comfort zone. By doing this we learn how to expand and grow a new larger zone – we will have succeeded where we could not have before. But the Mayor needs to create that comfortless environment. In this case he needs to be challenged by an outside force.

Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard this week suggested there was a “Mayor’s Club” and that the Mayor’s inner cabinet is full of allies.  If there was an issue that the Mayor could be challenged from the inside the Housing Emergency is it.  Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney has the lead on the Housing file for the City of Ottawa, however she is on the outside of the City all powerful FEDCO committee.  FEDCO could use some Urban influence, that can be achieved by appointing an Urban Councillor to the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO).

FEDCO currently has representation from Rural, Suburban, East, West and the South Ottawa regions. What’s missing? The downtown and centre of the City has no seat on the committee that makes key municipal decisions. No Central/Urban representation? How does a committee as powerful as FEDCO not have representation from every region of the city?

I had a brief run in the 2010 Ottawa elections under the banner of  “Somerset matters”, and it partially because of that that #RedHeartBlueSign was borne. The banner highlighted Somerset Ward, but I also wanted to show that Somerset ward matters and should not be ignored. Sadly it seems nothing has changed since I saw this gap at City Hall in 2010.

Without the Mayor having someone pushback on a key matter such as homelessness and housing,  Ottawa and the Mayor cannot move ahead on the emergency until there is someone on the inside pushing boundaries on this issue.

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 on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

 

Welcome Back to West Block: The Government

20191125_115040.jpgA kinder and gentler Trudeau government?  Is this an expectation of Canadians? It certainly was something that Canada voted for on October 21st, no more of a government that had blinders on, plowed ahead with its values-based agenda all others be damned. The results of the election indicated that the government was expected to work with all parties and all provinces.

What could the government possibly do for an encore to 2015? Based on the new cabinet that was announced on November 20th Trudeau has decided that he has three themes in his new cabinet.  More importantly the government seems more focused on working with the provinces and municipalities, rather than the opposition parties in achieving success in the three themes

The first theme is national unity and ensuring that Alberta and Saskatchewan are heard.   Trudeau has tied several ministries together.  With Intergovernmental Affairs, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Infrastructure and Communities Trudeau has a group of Ministers that will be tasked with making sure each region of the country is heard and listened to.  In a second pool Trudeau has the Ministers of Environment and Climate Change, Oceans and Fisheries, Infrastructure & Communities has closely bound the economy and the environment.  In the third group of Ministries which include Finance, Diversity Inclusion and Youth, Economic Development, Rural Economic Development and a new ministry of Middle-Class Prosperity (seriously that is what is called) will all be forced to work together to “support the middle class and all those seeking to join it”.

For anything else, it will be just be a case of make sure nothing blows up, so we won’t have to divert from out three-pronged plan to govern for the next 3 to 4 years. In simple terms this government will be focused on the Middle-Class, Climate Change and National Unity.

How can we expect the government to stay in power working with the other parties?  I suspect that the Liberals will count on different parties keep them as the government.  On the environment the NDP and Bloc will play nice with the Liberals. Ccount on the Conservatives supporting actions to prop up the middle class as both the Liberals and Conservatives campaigned on massive tax cuts to middle-class for their votes. The tricky file will be national unity but expect the Bloc Quebecois (of all parties) to vote with the government to support efforts that bring the regions together.  I say this because if there is one region that is all about the “what’s in it for me” it is Quebec.  The Bloc will certainly be waving the Bleu et Blanc each day in the House of Commons.

The government has its work set out for themselves and they think they have a plan that will help them get back to a majority.  Will the opposition oblige?

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 on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

A Municipal Writ Drop

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“Re-election for a winning candidate starts the day after the election”

“Incumbency is an advantage”

“You can’t stop the business of City Hall”

These statements all came out of one tweet.

It is time for municipal elections to have a 28 day writ period. Having the Mayor and Councillors conduct business while campaigning for re-election is a conflict. We have fixed election dates, why not a fixed “writ” period as well.

It’s the rule federally and provincially, there’s an official writ period – a time when MP’s and MPP’s/MLA’s/MNA’s are not “in office”.  But while there are technically no elected representatives, the ‘running’ of the government never stops – not even during an election.  During the writ period elected officials running for re-election do not perform ‘official’ activities. Typically a writ period is between 28 and 36 days. There have been some exceptions though; in the 2015 federal election then Prime Minister Harper invoked a 78-day writ period. The 2006 election that was required because of a non-confidence vote against the Paul Martin government in November 2005 required an 8 week election period to accommodate a two week Christmas and New Year break.  During the break no campaigning took place. Surprising all parties adhered to that!

While fixed election dates are relatively new in federal and provincial elections, municipal elections have had fixed dates for some time.  The fixed dates allow for planning of elections and the planning of keeping the wheels of government turning during the writ periods.  It makes sense that the idea of the writ period is extended to municipal elections.  What has become clear is that without a writ period, any Mayor or Councillor can and does campaign while working.  How does this seem NOT to be a conflict of interest?

The arguments given against a dedicated campaign period include the time development applications have to be addressed.  People also cite the need for representation at the most local level is available at all times and others believe that the city would stop working if there were a writ period.

The writ period would only be 28 days (or so) every four years; I think developers and others can work around that especially since the dates would be clearly noted by the city.  Like federal and provincial elections provisions are made to have at east one person working in the office of the representative. Here in Ottawa, or in any other municipality if you call a Councillors office tomorrow (during the election) someone will answer the phone.  Because the election is on it doesn’t stop the councillor’s or the mayor’s office from talking to residents. Business as usual.

Recent changes altered the registration period for candidates from January 1st to May 1st and subsequently increased the incumbent advantage.  There has to be a time where incumbents cannot use their position to smudge the line between campaign activities and elected official duties.

One only needs to look at the social media accounts of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, he tweets that he has meetings and will attend a gala event (as a Mayor) and have a campaign event (as the Candidate for Mayor) all in ONE tweet.   Jim Watson found in a conflict?

For him and others there is no distinguishing official duty from a campaign activity. In the current Ottawa elections, the mayor has been caught in a conflict where it was seen he was using his elected duties to publicize a campaign announcement and using his social media doing it.

A 28-day writ period will level the playing field for 4 weeks, there would be no openings for the Mayor or Councillor to attend and then share on Facebook.  No Community fairs that would be part of duties as the elected official – just as a candidate looking for votes.  The province short changed challengers with a shorter period for campaigning – reducing the time a Mayor acts as Mayor during the campaign is a tiny consolation.

We ask for transparency in our elected officials every day when they’re in office, for 28 days every four years transparency should be even greater when elected officials are campaigning for re-election. All I suggest is that a 28 day writ period is fair – it works for MP’s and MPP’s and I don’t hear those elected officials complaining.  It should work for Municpalities.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker,@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Ford’s Honeymoon

217 1Premier Doug Ford’s friendliest newspaper headlines may have come and gone and he was only just sworn in. June 29th was the peak that Premier Ford can expect to reach from most of the print media when it comes to ‘nice’ and even ‘complimentary’ headlines. It will be even worse on Twitter where people’s opinions are thrown around without a care in the world.

The Ontario General Election is not the first to see how social media treats the victors of an election.  Justin Trudeau on his election win in October 2015 was immediately attached to the hashtag #NotmyPrimeMinister by many on the right.  I haven’t used that hashtag and won’t, because Trudeau is my Prime Minister, he just was not MY choice for Prime Minister.  So it will be for Premier Doug Ford as the #NotmyPremier tag (from those on the left) has been spotted on social media. Of course Premier Ford is the Premier for ALL Ontarians and if those who didn’t vote for the Ontario PC Party want to express their displeasure they should actually use #NotmychoiceforPremier – that would be an accurate statement.

I recall the days following the election of Larry O’Brien as Mayor of Ottawa in 2010 where the newspaper headlines were positive and complimentary.  That didn’t last long and within weeks the headlines were slowly turning against him. His honeymoon did not last long.  Justin Trudeau had one of the longest post election Honeymoon periods I have ever witnessed – it finally ended when the promise of election reform died.  With the legalization of Marijuana, he can only hope to be as high in the polls as he was 12 months ago.

217 2As for Premier Ford, as long as he keeps his campaign promises, his honeymoon with Ford Nation will continue, and that’ll be how he’ll gauge how well he is doing. Worrying about what others have thought has never been too much of a concern, as long as he had Ford Nation behind him was happy.  Ford now has 20 new Cabinet Ministers working with him for the people of Ontario.  The work of his new government starts now, and beginning on July 11thhe have the opportunity to face the NDP opposition as Queen’s Park will sit for a rare summer session to bring in legislation to act on key campaign commitments.

For now, the honeymoon goes until July 11th and after that we’ll see if the media give Ford the same pass they gave Trudeau for the first year and allow him (Ford) to govern with the style and substance he campaigned on.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Ford, by the Headlines

Sometimes there is no need to read the complete story when the headline says it all. Minutes after Doug Ford’s victory in the Ontario PC Party leadership, the headlines starting appearing. Put the headlines together and you practically have the whole story.

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Ontario PC Leadership a toss up between Christine Elliot, Doug Ford poll suggests

cbc.ca, Friday March 9, 2018

Ontario PC Party members jeer as they’re kicked out of conference hall

Globalnews.ca, Saturday March 10, 2018

Doug Fords wins Ontario PC Leadership after chaotic party Race

Toronto Star, Saturday March 10, 2018

With Doug Ford’s victory, a populist wave sweeps into Ontario

The Globe and Mail, Sunday March 11, 2018

Surprise and Uncertainty in Ottawa after Doug Ford wins PC Leadership 

cbc.ca, Monday March 10, 2018

Ironically, Doug Ford wins PC Leadership – Will it be contested?

Cornwall Free News, Saturday March 10, 2018

 

 

Christine Elliot won’t concede PC Leadership Race

iPolitics, Saturday March 11, 2018

Kathleen Wynne says Doug Ford’s victory ‘changes little’ for Ontario Liberals

CBC News, Sunday March 11, 2018

IS ONTARIO ‘FORD NATION’?

Ottawa Citizen Monday March 12, 2018

Christine Elliot concedes Ontario PC Leadership to Doug Ford

The Chronicle Herald, Sunday March 12, 2018

FORD DRAGS PC’s EVEN DEEPER INTO THE ABYSS

Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen, Monday March 12, 2018

PC Rank and File told their wise ones where to go

David Reevely, Post Media, Monday March 12, 2018

FORD RULES ONTARIO TORIES AFTER CHAOTIC LEADERSHIP VOTE

National Post Monday March 12, 2018

Embattled Liberals have never had more ammunition

Chris Selley, National Post, Monday March 12, 2018

Doug Ford takes majority of Southwestern Ontario Ridings

London Free Press, Monday March 12, 2018

Doug Ford can win Ontario election if he keeps things simple

Tasha Kheiridden, Global News, Monday March 12, 2018

Referendum on Doug Ford may lead to a Conservative victory

Toronto Star, Monday March 12, 2018

Ontario voters face ‘stark choice’ in June says Kathleen Wynne

Toronto Star, Monday March 12, 2018

PC Party would win next Ontario election despite dislike of Doug Ford

Toronto Star, Monday March 12, 2018

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, 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. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Apologies to Chris de Burgh

Liberals in Red

Trudeau and Wynne are fading away, on Election Day

81% here, want Wynne to go awayDon’t touch the hard drives

Everyone knows Hydro rates are way too high

All Ontario wants is for Wynne to say bye-bye

The past seven days have been monumental for Liberals, or rather against them. Two8600113
polls have come out that indicated the Liberals are in trouble. The first poll, a national poll indicated that only 33% of Canadians would vote for Justin Trudeau, putting him back in the seats of the opposition. The poll had 38% of Canadians voting the Conservatives back into government. Even more striking is that in Ontario that same Ipsos – Global News Poll had the Conservatives grabbing 43% of the voter preference. Ontario is the key for any party to sit on the government side in Ontario.

Still in Ontario, a  Toronto Sun Poll says that 81% of Ontario voters do not want Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals in government. The poll showed that 44% of Ontarians would vote for the Ontario PC Party, 24% support the Ontario NDP. Only 19% support Kathleen Wynne. These are astounding numbers and may have a dramatic effect on ridings that normally are never considered in play for either of the current opposition parties. These are numbers that turn the red seats blue in South Western Ontario and Eastern Ontario. These numbers turn Liberals seats in Toronto to a toss up. For purposes here, I’d like to look at two ridings in Ottawa; Ottawa Centre and Ottawa Vanier.

For the Liberals, the two ridings are tales of two candidates. One that is strong and possibly the next leader of the Ontario Liberals, the other won in by election little more than 2 years ago by a less than strong candidate.

In Ottawa Vanier, in 2014, the Liberals had a 33% cushion on PC Martin Forget and in the 2016 by election that cushion dropped 19%. By election results showed erosion by the Liberals to the Ontario PC’s. NDP support remained steady between 2014 and 2016. The Sun poll, if it holds, is a sign that even a virtual stronghold like Ottawa Vanier is now a possible gain for the Tories. Under Madeleine Meilleur the riding would stay Liberal. With MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers campaigning for Wynne, Ottawa Vanier is no longer a liberal guarantee.

Onto Ottawa Centre, where I ran twice for the Ontario PC Party. Reading these poll results makes a two-time candidate like me almost giddy with the possibilities. In 2014 my team and I increased the PC vote to within striking distance of the NDP for second place in the riding.

Yasir Naqvi’s plurality in the riding is at risk based in these new polling results and in a best-case scenario, even puts his leadership bid at risk – if he cannot keep the riding. Why? In analysing poll results from 2014, the Liberals made gains on the left taking votes from the NDP. With the Liberals constantly moving left in policy, it’s going to be difficult for the Andrea Horwath to move to the right to capture back some of the vote they lost between 2011 and 2014.

With numbers like 81% and 44%, the Ontario PC Party has the chance to claim not only two ridings previously out of reach for generations, but also seats in Orleans, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and Ottawa South.

Who gains? The PC vote? There’s a lot a room to have the Tories move left with a progressive platform while not forgetting our conservative values. A platform like the People’s Guarantee with a new leader will do just that.


Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, 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. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Patrick, Michael and Me

After a weekend at my first Manning Networking Conference I feel that I might be alone in the hundreds that attended the conference in believing that Ontario should have a Carbon Tax. Let’s just make this clear; I am not supportive of any plans by my local MP Catherine McKenna to implement a national carbon tax in lieu of any provinces NOT implementing some sort of carbon pricing.

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Former Leader of the PC Party of Ontario, Patrick Brown announced in Ottawa during the March 2016 convention that he would, if elected, move Ontario from the Liberal Cap and Trade carbon pricing to a price on carbon. His reasoning was that based on the BC carbon model he would be able to give back to Ontario residents. The current Cap and Trade plan does nothing to reward Ontarians. Cap and Trade benefits businesses and is merely a trading system of carbon credits between California, Ontario and Quebec. Businesses that have lowered emissions can sell credits to other businesses that need the credits to meet emission standards. The only thing seen by Ontarians is higher prices as the price of carbon is built into goods and services.

Many Conservatives will not agree with me, but there is no reason why a price on carbon cannot drive innovation in reducing emissions.  But as Ontarians and Canadians we also must recognize that what Canada, its provinces and territories do for reduce emissions WILL NOT solve the problem globally.  Unlike what Minister McKenna may feel, Canada cannot be responsible for what other countries can do.  To that end,   I feel a carbon price can be reduced as Canada meets emission goals.  Canada’s energy sector has a positive record of innovation that seems to be ignored by the federal government.  Success should be rewarded, not punished.

Thankfully I am not alone in the belief that a price on carbon can benefit Canada, Conservative Member of Parliament Michael Chong ran for the leadership of the party in 2017 with a Carbon Tax at the centre of his platform. He was dropped off the ballot in the 10th round. BUT, with a carbon price, he found support from enough Conservatives to finish fifth in a 13-person leadership race. Michael Chong made my top three on my ballot for the Conservative leadership.

Heading into the last week, Ontario PC Leadership Candidates Christine Elliott and Doug Ford had announced that they would scrap any plans for a price of carbon if elected Premier in the June election. By the time Manning started, the third candidate, Caroline Mulroney had also tossed a carbon tax to the side of the road.

I was trying figure out why all three potential leaders quickly dismissed the campaign promise to change the current Cap and Trade to a Carbon price. I know the reason they will give, “they only bad tax is a new tax”. However I wonder if any of the three have considered how a PC government could pay for the promises in the People’s Guarantee? Or as Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth, put it, “without the carbon tax, there is a $16 Billion hole in the PC Platform”. At Manning both Elliott and Ford talked about finding money via a program by program and Ministry by Ministry through value for money audits.   Even Mulroney stated that she would find “billions” in savings from the waste of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals.

Here is my dilemma, I loved the platform, I loved what it would do for Ontarians. Where does the party go now? It is too late develop a new platform. Is our only play now to say “we’ll be better than Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals?” Really, that’s it?

Unlike in 2015, I do not have a clear choice for leader of the Ontario PC Party. I have no one my gut tells me is the one. What can I do? Time is short as voting is in two and half weeks. I do not like having to choose a leader by a process of elimination, but that looks like what is going to have to happen.

The Manning Networking Conference brought each of the candidates in for a spotlight session, a little Q and A. I missed Caroline Mulroney but heard both Doug Ford (he impressed me) and Christine Elliott. I know she (Elliott) talks about all her experience and her supporter’s talk about her experience – but I would’ve rather heard her talk about her leadership.

For now, it seems like Patrick, Michael and me will have to search for someone who will see the value and the opportunity that a carbon price can bring to Ontario.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, 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. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Ontario Greens: Out looking for number 1

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I recently wrote about the return of MPPs to Ontario’s Queen’s Park. In that post, left out were Ontario Greens. They don’t have an elected MPP, and have fielded a full slate of candidates since 2007. In the 2007 election, the Greens had good success attracting 8% of the total vote. They have not seen that support since with the party falling to 2.9% in 2011 and 4.8% of the total vote in the last Ontario election.

On the heels of the success of the BC Greens holding the balance of power and working with the BC NDP Party to take Christy Clark out of the Premiers’ office, Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner is talking about looking for their number 1, their first elected MPP.   Schreiner was selected as the Green Party of Ontario (GPO) leader in 2009, 2018 will be his 3rd election as a leader and he is firmly behind the idea of “third time lucky” in considering the possibility of having a Green MPP in the Ontario Legislature.

In an interview with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo earlier this August, Schreiner said that in order for the Greens to ask questions and hold the government to account, it only needs one MPP. Schreiner’s correct it is difficult to ask the Premier a question from the lobby out side the legislative chambers in Toronto. The Premier has no obligation to answer.

I sat down with Ontario Green candidate James O’Grady, he’s running in the riding of Nepean and asked him about the party and what it means to be an Ontario Green. To know this James went back in time to understand the Green Movement. The worldwide green movement includes nearly 100 parties and associate member parties. The Green Party of Canada is one of the member parties and while the GPO is not listed as a member party of the worldwide green movement, Article 3 of its Constitution states The Green Party of Ontario affiliates with and supports the core values of the worldwide Green Movement…

Back to who is the GPO and what is the worldwide Green movement. As explained to me, it is a values based movement, policies that come from the Green Party respect its guiding values, if you want to put it that way. The GPO shares the values of the Green worldwide movement of: Ecological Wisdom; Social Justice; Participatory Democracy; Non-Violence; Sustainability and Respect for Diversity. With these values in mind, people ask, are Greens, Conservative or Liberal? Greens are both, progressive in social justice, and diversity while they also believe in balanced budgets and allowing communities to have greater control.

Can there be a breakthrough for the Greens in Ontario? O’Grady discusses the breakthrough of the Ontario Greens in the same manner of the Farmers Party from last century which led to progressive reforms, the CCF and the New Democratic Party. For Schreiner and other Ontario Greens they point to Guelph as the riding where they will elect their first MPP. The riding is held by Liberal Minister Liz Sandals, she won with 41% of the vote in 2014. But look at 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the riding, it was almost an equal spilt of the other 59% of the vote. The hope of winning in Guelph lies in the sub results of that election. The Greens trailed the runner up PCPO candidate by only 818 votes. Of the four main parties, the Greens were the only party to increase voter support from 2011 results. Schreiner increased the Green vote by more than 12%, that gain came exclusively from the Liberal, PC and NDP candidate loses of -1%, -5% and -6%.

With support for the Ontario Liberal government at an all time low, Schreiner sees votes coming his way from all the other parties including from Liberal supporters. Sandals, who has not said whether she is going to run in 2018,has been the MPP since 2003, she earns support more for being a ‘legacy’ candidate rather being Liberal. What happens to liberal vote with a new candidate? Will the Liberals lose the environmental vote because of failed policies like Cap and Trade and the disastrous Green Energy Program?

O’Grady calls the difference between the themes of the 2014 vs the upcoming 2018 election as being “business vs people”. He compares the Green party politically as being the 21st century ‘flat approach’ which is collaborartive and empowering and the others as taking a 20th century ‘hierarchal approach’. The GPO have not announced when their policy convention will be held. But it is easy to see where the Greens will go. Carbon pricing is on the table, but maybe temporary until 50% +1 of Ontarians are net positive with their carbon footprint? The Liberal Cap and Trade is not the way you’ll see Schreiner head on carbon pricing. The Greens have indicated their preference is a price on carbon with dividends going to Ontarians, and not businesses (as Cap and Trade does). They also have other economic policies almost make the greens look blue.

The difference that Schreiner hopes will sway votes his way and to O’Grady in Nepean; along with the other 123 Green candidates in Ontario are the values of the party. The six values are clear, understandable and are progressive and conservative enough at the same time to attract votes from all sides, as results in Guelph in the last election indicate. It will all be dependant on how the party communicates their values.

For the Schreiner and the Green Party of Ontario, its value system and words like “local”, “Sustainability = happiness” and getting people thinking about “doing good” are going to have to be its selling points.

Do these reflect something different for Guelph and Ontario voters to consider? We’ll have to wait less than 300 days to find out.

 

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