|Posted on December 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM|
Ask any Wynne Liberal what they think of allowing two-tier medi-care in Ontario and the response will be swift and predictable.
“We can’t allow corporations to make a profit as a result of Ontarians who get sick.”
“Free healthcare is part of Ontario’s culture.”
We are proud of our healthcare system, and in some ways we can boast that Ontario healthcare is among the world’s best. In other areas through, such as mental health or drug addiction, the level of care provided to Ontarians falls well below standards of other developed nations. But to Wynne's Liberals - with a choice between improving levels of healthcare versus losing the government’s monopoly over ineffective service to Ontarians - they will choose to preserve the monopoly.
The risk to our public health care system has never been greater.
Under the Ontario Liberal regime, our public debt levels (provincially and municipally) have risen dramatically. After the June 12th election, the Province of Ontario’s debt burden had exceeded California’s at $267 Billion. This past week, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk warned that the debt was ballooning to $325 Billion. This rapid increase in debt eclipses economic growth in our province.
Almost 10% of all revenues collected by the province go towards paying the interest on this debt - to the tune of approximately $11 Billion annually.
To say that large corporations aren’t already profiting from government services is misleading. They are making huge profits by lending the money our government needs to operate hospitals, schools, highways, and universities.
The rich get richer from government overspending. The rest of us just pay more taxes to pay the interest on these loans.
At some point, even those on the left who like to argue that the debt will take care of itself, we'll need to admit that interest payments are taking too large of a share of public revenues. We need to tackle the debt monster now or risk a collapse in the government services we currently provide.
As a former elected representative, I know that there are very few options that the Wynne government can take to reduce public debt. It must start by balancing its budget. It must reduce the size of its workforce. It must invest in projects (like the Ring of Fire) that will create revenue for the province (through mineral rights) and pass up on vanity projects (like the Pan Am Games) that only serve as a sinkhole of public funds.
|Posted on December 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM|
The following is a guest blog I wrote for The Society for Quality Education on our current education system in Ontario. I've re-posted the original here. For more information, please visit: http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/school-choice-1011
Choice is the foundation of a free society. Everywhere you look, you are allowed choices.
Our shopping malls are filled with retailers offering different colours, styles, textures, and sizes.
When you go to a restaurant, the menu is filled with dozens of different options to satisfy almost any palette.
Even the government is decided by the choices we make at the ballot boxes.
But when it comes to educating our children, the choice of learning is a luxury afforded mainly to those who can afford to pay private school tuitions.
The Society for Quality Education is an organization that promotes a different system of education than the one we see in Ontario. It’s called School Choice.
A school choice system of education is created through charter schools. Similar to public schools, charter schools are publicly funded but with two major differences: they operate autonomously (such as through a parent, teacher, or an administrative board); and they cater to the specific needs and uniqueness of your child.
For example, your son or daughter may have an aptitude towards the arts. A charter school will cater to subjects such as music while implementing the standard curriculum. Charter schools focus on the individual child’s strengths, thus enabling a child to reach their potential in learning. These schools may specialize in subjects such as maths and sciences or fine arts. They may be academically oriented or athletically oriented. Schools for gifted students or schools for children who require special learning thrive under the charter system.
Imagine the possibilities. Imagine being able to offer your child a possibility to reach their potential.
Charter schools have already been implemented in many US states and in the province of Alberta, Canada. Dozens of studies continuously indicate that when compared to the public school model, charter schools always come out on top. This recent study, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, received partial funding from The Society for Quality Education and reveals fascinating information on how charter schools compare to public schools in the province of Alberta: http://societyforqualityeducation.org/reports/taleoftwocities.pdf
School choice doesn’t increase the taxpayer’s cost of educating a child but it does generally increase the level of satisfaction that parent’s have in their child’s education. And most importantly, it develops happier, better educated children.
When choice is offered, it creates competition. And the end result of competition is almost always a better product.
As a mother of three boys, I have come to appreciate how different each child can be despite the fact that they share the same genes, grew up in the same household, and eat the same diet. Despite their DNA and similar life experiences, they somehow developed into very unique, distinct individuals.
I don’t need to tell parents with more than one kid that children learn differently. What sparks each of their curiosity is distinctive. Subjects that seem like a chore to my eldest son, such as mathematics, are thoroughly fascinating to my youngest child; and vice-versa.
In Ontario, those families who can afford it are allowed to opt out of the one-size-fits-all public school system in order to educate their children in an environment that they believe works best via private schools.
But if we allow wealthy Ontarians access to a school that they believe best suits their children’s educational needs, why not extend the same freedom to the rest of us?
Here’s one of the most important arguments in favour of school choice.
Think about the impact school choice will have for Ontario’s future. The primary goal of investing in publicly funded education for children has to be to develop our youth into global leaders for the next generation. We want the best health care, the best legal system, the best engineering, the best artists, and so on. Every child has so much potential to become almost anything they wanted to and our schools have the ability to inspire those goals. Our public education system shouldn’t be what prevents them from achieving their ultimate potential. By allowing parents to choose which school or education system best suits their children, we can give the next generation the advantages they need to make Ontario even better.
The best person to decide what would benefit a child’s uniqueness and potential are their parents.
It’s essential for parents in Ontario to start this discussion and push our elected representatives to have it on our behalf.
In the meantime, the Society for Quality Education promotes learning tools designed for the thousands of children who are struggling in our current Ontario education system.
Children are the foundation of our future. Help them realize their potential by offering it to them through school choice.
|Posted on December 12, 2014 at 8:15 PM|
Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne has made it very public that Prime Minister Stephen Harper refuses to meet with her.
The Premier and the Prime Minister really have nothing in common.
What would they talk about?
Stephen Harper has been working diligently over the past four years to balance the federal budget. He has made cuts including laying off civil servants. His main focus has been on the economy.
And the economy has improved almost everywhere in Canada. Except Ontario.
Ontario continues to lag because we have a government here that continues to spend, increasing red tape, and making the cost of living in this province more expensive.
When the Ontario Auditor General released her report showing billions of dollars wasted by the Wynne Government, the Premier does what she always does, she blamed the federal government.
I am calling the Premier’s bluff. I say she doesn’t actually want to meet with the Prime Minister. What she wants is the feigned outrage from left wing columnists to distract from the mess she has made of things at Queen’s Park.
This is nothing more than a tempest in a tea pot. It’s all done for show.
No wonder people are cynical about politics these days.
How about the Premier owning up to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk's report and demanding her Ministers do a better job of managing their portfolios?
How about firing the Ministers who showed their incompetence? Bob Chiarelli’s name should be on the top of that list. He said that the overspending by hundreds of millions on Smart Meters was too complex of an issue for Bonnie Lysyk to understand.
Wynne didn’t do any of those things. But had she done so, I’m sure that she would have scored some respect from the Prime Minister.
And rather than being accountable for the shortcomings of her own government, she “demands” a meeting with the Prime Minister?
|Posted on November 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM|
Last Monday, in council chambers, when I was thanking those who inspired me in my term, I mentioned my father's experiences in a Stasi prison and how he helped me understand the importance of fighting on behalf of the rights of others.
The local paper wrote about my speech but the article failed to provide context as to why my father was in an East German Stasi prison. He was not in prison due to anything that would be considered “criminal” by today’s standards. He was arrested for his involvement while trying to re-unite a family separated by the Berlin Wall.
Others with whom he served time with included university professors, priests, and hundreds of conscientious objectors to the soviet regime. The Stasis were brutal oppressors, particularly when suppressing basic human rights.
My father has since received an apology from the German government and I'm disappointed the paper has spun him being portrayed as a common criminal.
This isn't the first time the local paper, the Era, has attacked the integrity of my family. In one column, they printed an article portraying me as a criminal and were ordered to correct the record by the Ontario Press Council through mediation. In others, they questioned the integrity of my husband when he ran as a municipal candidate.
My father was a crusader for human rights and this is what led him to his stint in prison. The paper omitted that important detail in their story and have failed to respond to my request correcting the record.
|Posted on November 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM|
The last time I went in to see my Member of Parliament (then Frank Klees) my conversation made front page news in the local paper. With Frank Klees, every issue had a political end and he used each opportunity as such.
What a breath of fresh air it was for me to visit with the new MPP Chris Ballard.
My husband John Blommesteyn and I visited Chris and his staff at the new constituency office, located at 238 Wellington St. East, to discuss the attack ads against my husband that a Newmarket Service Ontario office employee was handing out to her customers on October 21st.
To be honest, I had prejudged MPP Chris Ballard. After all, his political stripes line up with my husband’s Ward 7 opponent, Christina Bisanz, former candidate for the Liberal party of Ontario. Bisanz is a veteran campaigner whose history of campaigns are shrouded with defaming, anonymous attack ads against her opponents. I thought the MPP would try to downplay the incident.
To my surprise, Chris was strong and unequivocal.
If the Newmarket Service Ontario office was distributing attack ads, Chris said, the franchise owner should lose his contract. MPP Chris Ballard is the Parliamentary Assistant for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (under which Service Ontario falls); and he left no doubt that he was in the right position to make sure that there would be consequences for those who broke the rules.
MPP Chris Ballard said those responsible for the attack ad against me and my husband were no friends of his.
We were further made aware by his office that others have stepped up and reported a similar experience on the same day.
He also told us that he was steadfastly opposed to anonymous attack ads (in our case, it targeted our family) in municipal campaigns and advised us that he wanted to see a prohibition against them when the Ontario Government revises the Municipal Act to allow ranked balloting. He had already advised the Minister as such.
I'm glad to see Mr. Ballard take this offense very seriously and I look forward to his promise of getting answers.
I might disagree with MPP Ballard on matters of policy but I can’t disagree with how well I felt he handled our complaint. Based on our meeting, I expect that Chris will get to the bottom of this Service Ontario matter and will ensure that those who benefited from bending the rules are held to account.
|Posted on November 8, 2014 at 12:30 AM|
Below is a copy of my speech at a Remembrance Day service in Newmarket arranged by the Legion:
On November 11, 1919 Canada marked the first anniversary of Armistice with a day of Remembrance.
Ninety five years later, Canada still remembers.
We recognize the men and women who answered the call to serve. We honour those who were wounded and we remember those who fell.
The benefits of our freedoms are many. We have the right to live our lives peacefully, without oppression and pursue our own happiness. But there is a cost to all of what Canada offers. And our nation is fortunate to have those who bravely took up arms against evil doers who would see our freedoms taken from us.
World War One and Two, the Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan. Canadians have fought in great wars with honour and distinction.
And in peacekeeping missions around the world, Canadian troops have served to end violence between people and help nations rebuild afterward.
In troubled regions, such as the former Yugoslavia conflict, in Libya, and even now while we oppose the insurgents known as ISIS, Canadian military personnel rush in to stop the spread of violence and oppression.
I wish that I could say that we will never know war again and that our soldiers who sacrificed so much have already succeeded in putting an end, once and for all, to oppression and genocide. Unfortunately, I know that isn’t true. War remains a fact of life for many regions of our planet.
But I also know that where injustice, tyranny, and violence exist, Canadian men and women are willing to bravely intervene in order to make our world more peaceful.
While we remember the young men and women who have served and sacrificed, let us also remember those who remained at home too. Every soldier has a mother and a father who worried for them. Many had spouses and children who waited anxiously for them to return home. These are people who loved our soldiers as they fought overseas, and supported our brave troops as they served our country.
They too deserve our honour.
On November 11th, we mourn those we lost. We play the Last Post and lower the flag to half mast. We take a moment of silence and we remember.
Then we raise our flag again. We lift our heads high with pride and think about the freedoms we cherish. We express our gratitude to those who fought for those freedoms and we make a vow to them. We promise to repeat this act of remembrance next year, on November 11th, and to continue to do so every year for as long as we live.
Lest we forget.
|Posted on October 30, 2014 at 11:55 AM|
The similarities are startling.
Two conservative parties languishing in opposition. Both parties are struggling to gain a foothold within the urban centres of their respective provinces. A series of by-elections and winnable seats are lost. Questions about the leadership of the party.
This was the situation in 2013 for Tim Hudak on the heels of losing 4 out of 5 seats on August 1st, 2013. The winning seat, Doug Holyday’s, was more attributable to Rob and Doug Ford’s activism in campaigning for their candidate than Hudak’s leadership. The Ontario PC’s lost winnable seats in Scarborough Guildwood, Ottawa South and London West.
At the time, I wrote in the Toronto Sun that it was imperative Hudak face the membership on the leadership question at the upcoming September 2013 policy convention. There was nothing in the party rules that required Hudak to do so - but if he would have taken my advice, then he could have put the leadership question to rest: http://www.torontosun.com/2013/06/07/ontario-pcs-need-a-leadership-review
Instead, Hudak got defensive.
He surrounded himself with only his closest loyalists and he stopped listening to anyone else. This “Hudak Bunker” mentality ultimately lead to his disastrous springtime campaign, where he didn't share the party’s platform with even his own MPPs. Just ask former Barrie MPP Rod Jackson what if felt like to be as shocked as everyone else in the room full of media as Hudak surprised everyone with news of his plans to cut 100,000 civil servant jobs.
The end results – a Kathleen Wynne Liberal majority – could have been avoided only if the leader was someone other than Tim Hudak.
Fast forward to the by-elections in Alberta held earlier this week. The Wild Rose Party was desperate to win at least one seat of the four contests, but didn't succeed in any - and some insiders doubt whether party leader, Danielle Smith, can ever win in urban Alberta.
Instead of following Hudak’s example, Smith has taken the fight to the doubters. She's asked that a leadership review be included in next month’s Wild Rose Party’s convention, explaining that she needs to exceed 77% approval or she’ll walk.
It’s a bold, smart move.
It puts the question forward and ensures all doubts will be settled before the province heads to the polls in 2015.
It’s a savvy and fine example of what a leader should do after a serious set back. Smith has taken the bad news and used it to her advantage instead to show strength and integrity.
I have to admit my bias and say that I personally have admired and respected the Wild Rose Party Leader for many years. Looking into my crystal ball, I expect that Danielle Smith will receive resounding approval from her members and will see a similar bump in the opinion polls for accepting responsibility for the outcomes of the by-elections and putting her job on the line.
Conservative MP Brad Butt came into Newmarket last month to endorse my candidacy and that of ward 7 candidate John Blommesteyn
|Posted on October 26, 2014 at 9:15 PM|
I was thrilled last month when conservative MP Brad Butt joined us in Newmarket, along with ward 6 and 7 residents, to endorse us as candidates. Here's part of that video:
|Posted on October 25, 2014 at 3:15 PM|
Team Kelly Broome-Plumley: deep pockets and community ties: former Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, failed ward 6 candidate and weathly business owner Brian Johns, wealthy franchise owner and Belinda's Place women's shelter foundation Jim Alexander, and Aurora resident and Magna employee Steve Hinder (who also supports mayor Tony Van Bynen's campaign).
As the municipal election campaign in Newmarket draws to a close, I would like to address a vicious, anonymous and libelous ad that went out to approximately 8000 homes about me and my husband, John Blommesteyn, a candidate running in the ward beside me, ward 7.
None of these allegations are true.
An anonymous Twitter account that goes by the name of @NmktTownHall releases tweets every 3 hours smearing the reputations of my husband and I and is followed by individuals who sit on our opponents’ campaigns (Kelly Broome-Plumley and Christina Bisanz). The Mayor himself, Tony Van Bynen, actually engages with this anon account despite the fact that it offers nothing but smears.
Please do not confuse @NmktTownHall with @NwktTownHall. The latter is a brilliant blog that has been around for years which discusses issues and political records; the former is a mere anonymous Twitter account that tweets smears about two individuals running for office with libel and outright lies.
@NmktTownHall claims they are responsible for sending out libelous, US-style attack ads via Canada Post to thousands of homes last week; something that doesn’t come cheap. It was done by individual(s) with very deep pockets and with a single purpose in mind: to make sure Kelly Broome-Plumley replaces me as the ward 6 councillor.
Canada Post cannot find any record of this order and in addition believes the material would have violated their policies. They are in the process of determining whether authorities will be asked to get involved and investigate.
Canada Post is also investigating why large swaths of neighborhoods in ward 6 did not receive my annual yearly update a month ago: https://www.scribd.com/doc/243568866/Ward-6-Newsletter-2014-Maddie-Di-Muccio" target="_blank">https://www.scribd.com/doc/243568866/Ward-6-Newsletter-2014-Maddie-Di-Muccio
And just last week, my husband was alerted that an employee of the Ministry of Transportation drivers license renewal office was actually accessing customer’s personal information to determine what ward they lived in and using that information to distribute the hate literature created by @NmktTownHall.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is investigating and we are told taking this breach very seriously.
My husband and I, in front of our children, have been accosted in the street while campaigning due to this literature. It has divided our community so much that my youngest son asked me if we could “leave Newmarket.”
Who’s running Newmarket, folks?
The group behind the anonymous smear campaign are individuals who don’t want me to get back into the ward 6 seat; they want my opponent Kelly Broome-Plumley to.
I have campaigned for 4 years exposing the scandalous records of this council and now we have possible violations with certain individuals working within both the provincial and federal government in our small community.
Take it back.
I have never stopped campaigning for truth and justice and I never will.
When those who have abused their power for too long find that their deeds are closing in on them, they pull out all stops to hold on to that power.
Those who have integrity are those who expose the lack of it. Having me back on council with an ally, ward 7 candidate John Blommesteyn, would be very, very dangerous for Tony Van Bynen and his cabal of thugs who have been running this town for decades.
And that’s why it’s so important to get out and vote for integrity on Monday, October 27th.
Do it for our future.
|Posted on October 22, 2014 at 11:55 AM|
There’s a lot to lose in this election for some people.
In Newmarket, it’s the political family dynasties - and their cronies - that have managed your municipal taxes for generations. If they are pushed out of government, their reign ends.
And that terrifies them.
It terrifies them so much that in the last days of the election, when they see their opponents gaining momentum, they resort to desperation by using Canada Post to mail out appaulling attack ads like this:
We know this is a well thought out, spare-no-expense, organized attempt to discredit the integrity of myself and ward 7 candidate John Blommesteyn and our family. This is the low ball levels that some opponents will go to in order to fight the principles we believe in, campaign on, and advocate on your behalf. These principles include:
- Accountability: Four years ago, I promised voters that I would be their watchdog on council. I took that promise seriously. It’s why you elected me.
- Transparency: we can’t run government without it. Millions of your tax dollars have been spent in closed door meetings to which you have received no benefit but others have. Unless we pressure our local government to change that, this outrageous direction will continue.
- Taxes: Newmarket had a record of 0% tax increases until Mayor Van Bynen and his loyal crew got elected 8 years ago. Since then, it has exploded to the 2nd highest tax rate in York Region - and with less core municipal services than municipalities like Richmond Hill or Aurora. Is this fair?
- Development: Newmarket council doesn’t want you to know that in 20 years, our population densities will be on par with some of the largest North American cities in the world. I voted against that plan.
13 years ago, my husband John Blommesteyn and I moved to this wonderful community to start a family. We volunteer, we raise money for charity, we advocate for a better community and for a just government.
That’s why we’re running for office.
That’s why we stick our neck on the line for you.
Our citizens can’t have a group of nameless faces behind politicians who put out disgraceful, libelous attacks.
This is an attack on our community.
It should inspire you to vote for integrity on October 27th.
Tell your family. Tell your friends. Take a few minutes of your day to take advantage of the power you have.
Don’t reward disgraceful tactics like this by our opponents.
You can change government and make it better.
Re-elect Maddie Di Muccio for ward 6 councillor and John Blommesteyn for ward 7 councillor.
Because Newmarket deserves better.