Tag Archives: Ontario

More than a coat of paint

Coat of Paint

Two years into its mandate it won on June 12 2014 the Ontario Liberals are seeking a reprieve on their performance. A cabinet shuffle is imminent. Three cabinet ministers have indicated their preference to leave now and according to the Premier, it is time for a reset. I would say that with an approval rating of 20% it is time for than a reset – it is time for an overall.

Between the OPP investigations, a disastrous green energy plan, ineffective ministers, out of control spending, increasing hydro rates and a healthcare system that is struggling to meet the needs of todays Ontarians a cabinet shuffle will not solve the problems. The change that is coming only puts a new face to the same old problem that this Wynne government is out of touch with the voters.

Ontario is struggling in key areas that voters rely the government to be on top of. Through the rest of the month June I will be looking at five areas and how the Ontario government’s actions are affecting voters. I will be posting separately on the following topics:

  1. Healthcare

Hospitals are crying for funding while having to balance budgets after five years of no increases from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

  1. Energy/Hydro

Between Bob Chiarelli and Glen Murray these two Minsters have devastated Ontario’s economy by bloating the cost of everything in this province.

  1. Education

We spend almost one third of the Ontario budget on education, are we getting our money’s worth?

  1. The economy/The Debt

$1 billion a month is spent on debt payments, balancing a budget is one thing but reducing the debt is something that this government has yet to tackle. The $1 billion will only grow as interest rates rise.

  1. Taxpayers burden for the sins of this government

This government has been taking from taxpayers so often that it’s hard to recall anytime the government gave the taxpayers a break

So as Ministers Meilleur (Attorney General), McMeekin (Municipal Affairs and Housing) and Sergio (Senior’s Issues) leave cabinet, they can sigh (with relief?) as they head to the back benches or as in the case of Meilleur, home with a by election in Ottawa Vanier expected to be called at the same time as Scarborough – Rouge River following the fleeing from the Liberal caucus by Bas Balkissoon last month.

UPDATE: Sunday June 12th, Jim Bradley, Minister without Portfolio and Chair of the Cabinet stepped down from the cabinet and in return he will be come the Chief Government Whip a position currently held by Ottawa-Orleans MPP Marie France Lalonde.  This move of Bradley’s guarantees the Lalonde will be moving in the Cabinet to a full Minister portfolio when Premier Wynne announces her “Summer Shuffle”.

A mid-term cabinet shuffle will put new faces front and centre, but what ever is ailing Wynne and company requires more that just a coat of paint.

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

Sex, Mistruths and Videotape – Ontario style

What a week it has been in politics in Ontario (so far). Lets list what people have been talking about since the start of May.

  1. The price of Hydro went up again in May 1st. Why is this political? Because Premier Wynne and Finance Minister Sousa continue to say that hydro is going down! The kicker is that the price went up because Ontarians are conserving and using less electricity. Yep – this is Liberal math.
  1. A fifth investigation has been started against the Ontario Liberl government. This time about deleted emails (yes again) surrounding a cancelled wind contract. Like the cancelled gas plants, this could cost taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars. The list the notorious five is:

5 things

  1. Premier Wynne has created a double standard when dealing with MPP’s that are accused of misogynist comments. While she calls for Patrick Brown to fire Jack MacLaren, she has hiden the similar actions by Liberal MPP’s behind the closed doors of the Premiers’ office.
  1. Premier Wynne and Child and Youth Minister Tracy MacCharles continue to defend their devastating cuts to IBI treatment for autistic children. May 5th, the Patrick Brown and the Ontario PC Party Caucus used all 12 questions in Question Period to highlight the cost of the cuts to Ontario families and more importantly to Ontario autistic children.
  1. Ontario NDP MPP Monique Taylor was kicked out of the house chambers at Queens Park for her behaviour towards the Ontario Liberals. What was it that had her so worked up? The Ontario Liberal cuts to autistic IBI treatment. I would never advocate this type of action, this is a VERY emotional issue – to everyone BUT the government. I can understand her emotion on this topic.
  1. Ottawa West Nepean Liberal MPP, and Ontario Energy Minister decided to make a comment towards NDP Leader Andrea Horwath that amounted to something about urination. He says he didn’t say it, yet he was able to get the official Hansard to ‘bleep’ out the word he said. You can hear the recording here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/queens-park-pee-comment-1.3566937. Premier Wynne was noticably silent on this. Ontario and Ottawa West Nepean deserve better.

With so much taking place in the first 5 days of May at Queens Park it makes you really wonder what the rest of the month will bring.

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

On your mark, get set – pass these Bills!

Legislation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surprises of 2015

Lucille Ball

2015, the year that was (or is almost was) brought a few surprises. In no particular order, here are a few things that surprised me.

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There was the Drake MixTape that no one expected.

There was the new sound of a Justin Beiber no one expected.

The additional disc of demo material from the Jagged Little Pill sessions is as good as the original.

I could habitat between two cities…and survive.

That I would even consider the notion of leaving Ottawa to live and work in Toronto with everything I have still in Ottawa.

The Blue Jays and David Price would surprise us TWICE.

Henry Burris, the Ottawa Redblacks AND the #GreyCup103.

220 square feet of living space can be quite accommodating.

The collapse of Thomas Mulcair and the NDP, especially in Toronto, in the federal election.

Kathleen Wynne is still here.

…and no, how WELL Patrick Brown is doing as Leader of the Ontario PC Party and the Official Opposition is not a surprise to me.

…did anything surprise you this past year?

Thanks for reading #RedHeartBlueSign the past 12 months.  Let’s see what 2016 brings to the pages of this blog.

Rob

p.s. I should start noting surprising things throughout the year as they happen.

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

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

Ontario’s healthcare is at its tipping point

Emergency

The future of Ontario’s healthcare is close to flat lining, that’s not a good thing; consider the symptoms that are leading us there.

Hospital funding has been frozen for years. There has been no increase in funding from the Ontario government to the hospitals that is needed to meet increasing budget demands. In fact hospitals have had to face, retroactively, a change in their funding formula that will decrease what they receive annually.

Wages continue to rise as contracts expire and have to be renegotiated. Hospitals are at a disadvantage due to 0% increases in funding, the negotiations start and stop at 0% as there is nothing else hospitals can offer. Hospitals don’t want to offer a zero increase, but Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have not given our hospitals a choice. Arbitration rulings go against the hospital putting it in a difficult position. Our hard working nurses and frontline health workers deserve better treatment than what is being thrust upon them due to the lack of proper funding.

Hospitals are forced to close beds. Beds with patients in them cost money; there is no new money to keep those beds open with patients being cared for.

Doctors will see their pay cut to ensure the government meets it budget for fees paid out in this fiscal year. This could lead to either a reduction of access to doctors, reduced hours at clinics, early retirements or doctors leaving Ontario. Anyone want to wager a bet on what will happen first?

Nurses are being laid off, and those that retire are not being replaced. They’re not needed as beds, floors and hospital wings are being closed.

The latest symptom came with the release of the Auditor General’s report on Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres (CCAC). While hospitals fight to meet budget, almost 40% of funds directed to the CCAC’s goes to the administration and salaries of the organizations. It’s a far cry from the 91% the CCAC’s have claimed to be directed to patient care. CCAC’s are also struggling to meet targets for rapid response efficiency, they are only able to have less than half of the rapid care requests they receive get the immediate care they require within a targeted 24 hour period.

In the 2014 election, the Ontario PC Party campaigned on reforming how health care services were delivered locally. While the Liberals sent fears of job cuts under a PC government far and wide, Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals have forced cuts in frontline care with misdirected spending, waste and imposed funding freezes to hospitals.

The symptoms are not isolated to anyone area in the province, it’s happening across the province, from Ottawa to Orillia, North Bay to Newmarket and from London to Leamington.

There is a need to redefine how and where healthcare is delivered in Ontario, how we receive the care we need and want. Our increased desire for care at home is not being met in the current system of Community Care Access Centres in Ontario. Delivery methods and needs will always be different from community to community, to expect that care in Toronto can be delivered in the same manner, as Thunder Bay is unrealistic.

The tipping point is here, action must be taken to address the lack of a proper funding formula for hospitals and care providers to meet evolved methods of care whether is it in a hospital, hospice or in our homes.

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

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

Good News vs Bad News

11081049_10152840565358403_592220568358961154_n

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

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

His plan includes:

Good News: Ending the hydro “debt retirement” charge

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good News: Whales are now protected in Ontario

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Political Dominoes

Dominoes 1

When things happen, they happen fast and furiously, as fast as dominoes.

This week has seen political changes happen every day this week, and the first domino was the resignation of John Baird as Foreign Affairs Minister on Monday, Tuesday brought the news that Nipissing MPP and PC Leadership candidate Vic Fedeli was stepping out of the race and now we have heard that Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod has left the race to become the next Ontario PC Leader. The race to replace Tim Hudak is down to three, Federal Conservative MP Patrick Brown and Ontario MPP’s Monte McNaughton and Christine Elliot. The leadership debate in Ottawa next week has just got more intimate. There is much more at stake now.

The new riding of Nepean, which John Baird had previously been nominated in, is now seeking a new candidate to carry the Conservative colours. That leaves an opportunity for Lisa MacLeod to become the candidate for the October federal election. She will undoubtedly have to fight off a number of strong candidates to win the nomination.   As that might happen, the riding Ms. MacLeod now serves may be looking for a new MPP – the race for the PC Nomination for one of Ontario’s safest PC seats will begin in earnest. More dominoes will fall; who or what will blur the lines of politics between our municipal, provincial and federal is unknown. But through the cold temperatures the political dominoes has made this an interesting week.

I can’t wait to see what next week brings.

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

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