Tag Archives: Queens Park

117: Be an Adult about Bad news

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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.

Living the Dream (part II)

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This weekend marks the end of a chapter. I am in Toronto to pass on my keys, ID and Blackberry that I had used since May 2015 when I joined the staff in Patrick Brown’s office in Queens Park. Not only do I hand over these items at Queens Park, but I am also closing up the 225 sq. feet that was home since last July last year. It was an important part of my #LivingtheDream (See the post “Transitioning to the Dream” June 6 2015) and the growth I have had in the past year. As odd as it seems that I mention growth, but it is true that growth happens at any age – old dogs do learn new tricks.

In the past year I learned that something I thought I loved doing was really something I really did love doing. To be able to turn an interest into a career is something everyone should be able to experience at least once. I am lucky to be able to say I have done that twice. The first occasion happened back in 1984 when I signed on to work in Stratford at CJCS 1240 first as a swing announcer before leaving in ’90 as the Afternoon Drive Announcer. Those 4.5 years produced friendships I maintain today.

It seems the jobs where the hours are as endless and the money does not always equal the energy are the ones we cherish the most.

The past year has allowed me to be closer to my parents and family and to enjoy many family occasions. I think back to Friday BBQ’s when I stayed in Burlington for a month, Christmas music service at the Church I attended as a youth, birthdays and chance to reconnect with high school friends.

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Now on to Dream #2, the reason(s) I am back on Ottawa – Parliament Hill and looking at opportunities that first led me to Queens Park a year ago. But being back home also means that some challenges re-emerge, staying connected with my parents through distance and making the trips back to the GTA more often to see my family. I also think of challenges of being back home: NOT working 12-13 hours a day getting home alone because there is someone special there with you, being able to sleep in and choose not to do chores until the next day because it is only you.

There are things being left behind (besides family I talk about above): great restaurants, Liz coming to Toronto for a ‘tourist’ weekend and the very talented people at Queens Park that taught me what I know today. To be able to work with these smart young people gave this old dog some new tricks to take back to Ottawa – all these things will stay with me. Those that are able to work in government in legislative buildings all make the same comments – they are magical places to work and the honour and history of these buildings is felt every single day in every hallway you walk down.

But it is yet another transition, who is to say I won’t be back at Queens Park and write about Dream #3.

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.

Transitioning to ‘the Dream’

I have been transitioning the past three weeks. I recently moved from Ottawa to Toronto to take a position in Queens Park with the Ontario PC Party. It has been a whirlwind three weeks that included a trip back to Ottawa for a weekend. Within three weeks there has been a Constituency week followed by two weeks of bills being passed in anticipation of the House adjourning for the summer. On Thursday of this week the House adjourned and will come back in to session on September 14th.

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I am now living the dream, or at least 75% of it – working in Ontario’s legislature. The dream is worth the move to Toronto, the home of the Blue Jays and Argos. I don’t mention the Leafs, but anticipate the onslaught of #TMLTalk (Toronto Maple Leafs Talk for those living outside the dome) will drive me crazy!

For the past three weeks it’s been a learning curve of procedures, legislative processes, committee hearings, bills and media scrums. I’ve been sitting in the House during question period and was in the House when our Lt-Gov., the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell gave Royal Assent to the bills passed in the last two weeks before we adjourned for the summer. It’s a privilege for me to be there, one I will not take for granted.

What an amazing three weeks! It’s really been three weeks? That was fast! Fast BUT fun! I can’t thank the Ontario PC MPP’s, Staff and Patrick Brown for the warm and supporting welcome I have received.

I also need to mention a couple other Ottawans in Queens Park for helping out in the transitioning. I have run into Martin Canning, who I met years ago and have worked with as part of the Centretown Citizens Community Association, in the halls of the Legislature and we’ve had some good talks.   Yasir Naqvi, with whom I had a good relationship in and out of campaigns in Ottawa Centre, is always quick to ask how things going, and not always about the politics. Heck, I even got a “hey it’s Rob Dekker” from Mayor Jim Watson in Queens Park for “Ottawa Day” in my second week on the job!

Now that the House has adjourned and most everyone is gone back to his or her home ridings for the summer I look forward to research, working on Bills that have been introduced this week. I anticipate a few work trips, including the International Plowing Matches taking place in Eastern Ontario this September and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in Niagara Falls in August.

I could not have made this move without the support of Liz, my kids, and my family in Toronto and Burlington. For now Toronto is base camp, but Ottawa will always be home.

As for the other 25% of living ‘the Dream’? That will come in 2018 and when I am elected to serve as an MPP in Queens Park.

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.

Drop the puck already!

It will have been the longest pre-game show in a while in Ontario.  The team Captain of the home team just announced her starting line up a week ago.  In a twist of a regular hockey match there will be two other teams on the ice.  One has been busy putting out line combos that could represent what the new home team would ice as a team while the other seems to have been watching everything  from the benches.  The puck is set to drop on February 19th on Queens Park.

Its said politics is more like hockey than it is ballet; in Ontario it has been a bit of both since Dalton McGuinty prorogued Queen’s Park (read my October 16th post ‘Gone? Not Really…).  The Ontario Liberal party has been on tiptoes on major issues, going so far as to not barely talking about ORNGE, Gas plant closure/movement and eHealth during the leadership race and debates.

On Tuesday the ballet slippers come off and the skates are on.

In Ottawa we’ll be watching if the Energy portfolio is Bob Chiarelli’s undoing as a Minister and an MPP, he’ll be responsible for the $1 Billion plus move of two gas plants, just to save a government from defeat and a Green Energy Plan that is having people see red.  I’ll be keeping an eye on freshly minted Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi; he’ll now wear the chain of office call Bill 119.  His bill will cost small companies and organizations in Ottawa Centre and Ontario more money to support an outdated and poorly run WSIB.  The Liberal way of gathering more money and throwing it a problem is not the fix needed for the WSIB and our employees who have been denied support.  While as President of the OLP he was able to escape the some responsibility for the problems of the Ontario Government, he now has no escape from accepting the accountability that has put Ontario in the hole, downgraded, jobless and looking for federal handouts.

In “Gone? Not Really…” I wrote that “Ontario will not truly be ready to be a leader in Canada until McGuinty is REALLY gone as is the Liberal Party of Ontario as the governing party.”  With a McGuinty Minister now as Premier and the Health Minister also serving as Deputy Premier, it looks like the Liberals will be icing the same team as before.

Drop the puck already, can the gloves for far behind?

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

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.