Tag Archives: Kathleen Wynne

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.

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 ).

PTO_Overwhelmed_Infographic_5001

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.

117: Be an Adult about Bad news

queenspark_interior

Prorogation is a legislative tool at the disposal of a government. It is legal, but when it is used it comes up as an ethical issue. Former Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said it correctly, “it’s a pretty typical move for governments to make halfway through their mandate” and for this I would say it was acceptable – IF that was the real reason. He also added that the by-election loss in Scarborough-Rouge River may have caused the Wynne government to put the legislative reset into action.

The problem is that through the entire summer, the Ontario Liberals were not communicating anything that sounded like a restart was needed. Checking through the list of press releases sent out this summer the government thought it was doing great, there was no urgency to have a midcourse correction. Then September 8th came and a safe Liberal seat suddenly turned blue with the election of Raymond Cho as the area’s MPP following the mysterious resignation of Liberal Bas Balkinsoon.

Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, speaking with Evan Solomon on CFRA (https://youtu.be/USOFyfYLxeI)  called it an act of desperation. She also correctly stated that there is “a lot of anger (around the province), the government is out of touch with everyday Ontarians. Hydro prices are skyrocketing and we are losing jobs.” She goes on to say that the government “was called out, in a by-election in Toronto of all places”.

The realization that energy pricing is out of reach of more Ontarians that the government thinks, and now that voters won’t give her a ‘pass’ on this one issue has forced Kathleen Wynne to react, not proactively act on a major concern for Ontarians. Some may say that there are programs out there to help low income families – but the requirements to receive the smallest of rebates are so outrageous that a very small percentage of applicants will see any money.

IF the urgency of their energy policy and pricing is the sole reason for reset, is the reset needed? Why not head back to Queen’s Park, accept, as the government (and as adults), what is waiting for you (the government) in question period? Why not present your plans with new legislation? Why not start turning down rate hydro rate increase requests? Why not start addressing the costs associated with the compensation of Hydro One and OPG executives? All of these can be done without asking Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell to make a political speech on behalf of Kathleen Wynne.

When it comes to an honest reset, we don’t need the pomp and circumstance of speech from the throne. All we want from a government is action – not a reaction because you got a bad report card.

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.

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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Are the Liberals ready to govern?


Today marks the Chinese New Year, The Year of Snake – the year of financial success.  Tomorrow marks the swearing in of Premier-Designate Kathleen Wynne and her new cabinet.  This leads to one question – are the Ontario Liberal FINALLY ready to govern? 

Kathleen Wynne

It has been clear since the October 2011 election that the McGuinty led Liberals did not want to govern as a minority as they tried to push the opposition around and act as a majority, finally taking that step by proroguing Queens Park last fall only to govern without any accountability for their actions.  Following the leadership convention at the end of January small signs have been sent that maybe, just maybe the Liberals are ready to listen to the opposition.  We will have a good idea if this will happen when Kathleen Wynne announces her cabinet tomorrow at Queen’s Park.  Ms. Wynne has already stated that she will continue the McGuinty legacy – this is NOT good news for the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians that are out of work.  Just how Ms. Wynne will govern will be heard when all MPPs return to their seats on Tuesday February 19th with the speech from the throne.

Tim Hudak

Whether the Liberal’s embrace bold ideas from Tim Hudak or more spending from Andrea Horwath will determine how long this government lasts.  Questions also will abound with two seats becoming empty on the government side next week with Dwight Duncan and Chris Bentley resigning leaving the minority a bit shakier.  I am interested to see how the government will look with the former Premier sitting and observing from the back benches, or if the MPP from Ottawa South will even sit in his newly assigned chair.

Andrea Horwath

Many questions abound heading into the next weeks in Ontario.  The answers will come when we see which way the government sways.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca. Please follow me and send your thoughts on this and other posts.   You can email comments, ideas and your concerns to me at rob@robertdekker.ca.