With Mulcair out, the Conservative Party Leadership race becomes that much more important
|Posted on April 10, 2016 at 9:00 PM|
NDP delegates voted today to fire party leader, Tom Mulcair. As shocking as this vote was, the greater shock may be the decision of delegates to adopt the LEAP Manifesto - which is a sharp turn to the left from the 2015 NDP election platform.
The next year will be dominated by various NDP leadership candidates portraying themselves to be the best person to sell the LEAP Manifesto ideals. That almost guarantees the next leader of the NDP will come from either Toronto or Vancouver. I simply don't see the LEAP Manifesto attracting much new member support in other parts of the country.
The NDP did not consider what ousting Thomas Mulcair, the former Quebec Minister of the Environment, will mean for its future electoral hopes. With Mulcair out, the 14 seats that the NDP hold in Quebec are almost certainly in play.
Conservatives need to take a long hard look at how they - and not the Liberals - can capture the majority of these mostly rural Quebec seats. Voters in these ridings found Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair as people they could relate to. I believe that the Conservatives need an equally relatable leader in order to win these extremely important seats.
Stephen Harper won three consecutive federal elections thanks to, in large part, the election outcomes in the Province of Quebec.
It's an admittedly curious statement to make considering that the Conservatives never won the most seats in Quebec in any of these elections. Yet in 2006 and 2008 it was due to the strength of the Bloc Quebecois - and in 2011 the NDP, that for those parties winning the most seats in Quebec paved the way for the Conservatives' victory. Had Quebec voted Liberal in any of these elections, the results would have been quite different for Canada.
Fast forward to the 2015 election, and this time, the Liberals win the majority of Quebec seats. Unfortunately, the Quebec seats that Trudeau took from a weakened NDP directly resulted in the Liberal majority in Parliament.
In 2019, Conservatives cannot hope to rely on a resurgent NDP or Bloc to siphon off Quebec support from Trudeau. If Conservatives want to return to Government in the next election, the key battleground will not be the 416/905 areas that the Toronto centric media like to pronounce.
Conservatives can only win by taking the plurality of seats in Quebec.
The stakes couldn't be higher for Canada in 2019. After leaving the country in very good financial footing despite enduring one of the worst global recessions in modern history, Conservatives are shocked to see Trudeau and Morneau fritter away our strength by selling off our gold reserves and spending recklessly towards record deficits.
One only need to look to Justin Trudeau's mentor, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, to see what's in store for Canada if Trudeau is re-elected in 2019 with another majority. Ontarians have seen their manufacturing jobs leave the province as a result of Wynne's ideology, and the province's infrastructure is collapsing under the weight of a record $300 Billion debt. Ontario is now the world's most indebted sub-sovereign borrower.
Is that the future we want for Canada?
There has never been a more important time for the Conservative Party of Canada to choose a leader who can win in 2019.
So far, we've only had two candidates who have filed to run.
In light of Mulcair's staggering loss, I believe that Maxime Bernier is the most qualified of the potential candidates for this position.
He's held several impressive senior level cabinet positions including Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business. Unlike Trudeau, Bernier also has considerable experience in the private sector too.
His conservative bona fides are strong. Bernier knows it's impossible to grow prosperity by growing our public debt. He understands the private sector cannot prosper by the reckless spending from public sector.
By reducing red tape and unshackling the potential of our small businesses and entrepreneurs, Bernier knows that opportunities, jobs, and innovation will bring on a new era of success and prosperity of Canada. He knows it because it's his record.
Maxime Bernier can win seats for Conservatives right across Canada.
Most importantly, being enormously popular in his home province, Maxime Bernier is the only Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate that can win the plurality of seats in Quebec.
By doing so, he stops Justin Trudeau in his tracks.
Meet what's left of the Neville-Lake family
|Posted on February 23, 2016 at 5:55 PM|
This morning, in live time, the public heard the excruciating, agonizing account of what the Neville-Lake family went through when they lost their three children in a senseless drunk driving crash.
The criminal was Marco Muzzo.
The victims were Millie, Harry, Daniel and their grandfather - and of course their parents, Jennifer and Edward, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, relatives, employers, teachers, friends, neighbors - I could go on, but you get the point. The community grieved for the outstanding loss of these parents; in their mom's own words as she faced Muzzo in court today, "I'm going to show you how your choices became my consequences."
What followed was a gut wrenching account of what she and her husband have been through.
For example, she remembered asking the police in bewildered disbelief if all of her children were gone: "All of them...? Not one left?"
We learned that she often paces her empty home - once a loud, joyful place - looking for her children, wondering where they are.
We discovered that she watched her dying daughter's cervical collar fill with blood as she lay beside her in the hospital bed; the doctors keeping her remaining two kids alive on life support so that she and their dad could say goodbye.
She explained, in a courtroom in front of a judge and Mr. Muzzo, that she needed 20 pallbearers for the mass devastation wrought on her family.
We learned that the children's father, Edward, said his life was destroyed "beyond repair;" so much was this stay-at-home dad's pain excruciating that he surrendered his gun license to police because of how he felt.
Jennifer and Edward told us that their own existence, now, was pointless, as they struggle with their pain; the thought of suicide an option, but their faith in God holding them back.
I say all of these things, which make us uncomfortable, because we already know so much about Marco Muzzo and everything that he lost, but very little of the Neville-Lake's staggering loss, their everyday existence - a stark contrast to what Marco Muzzo's life could have been. We know he was about to get married; was young, wealthy, the entire world in front of him and all of it lost in a matter of seconds.
The media has a habit of focusing on the crime and the criminal, rarely the victim.
And though Mr. Muzzo's lawyer spoke to the media defending his client in the past during court hearings, today, after 15 victim impact statements, he said nothing, declining to talk to reporters.
Today's play by play account of what this family has been condemned to should be a wake -up call for all of us.
They are owed everything. Our laws, our community, our sanctity for human life should shield and protect this family.
When asked by the press if Jennifer Neville hated Marco Muzzo, she replied it wasn't a path she wanted to go down.
While it's easy for the rest of us to feel contempt and hatred for Marco Muzzo, for Jennifer and Edward that emotion would be like facing the devil himself.
Please keep this family in your prayers tonight.
Please don't forget them, ever.
Justin Trudeau: Voters "need to learn, so let's teach them a lesson"
|Posted on February 10, 2016 at 10:30 AM|
What are Canadians to make of Justin Trudeau meddling in an Ontario provincial by-election with his rally in Whitby last night?
It certainly doesn't auger well for us that he would do so. It's especially frightening that he would decide to butt into provincial politics all the while intending making changes to the very fabric of Canadian democracy by changing how Canadians vote via electoral reform - and without any referendum.
The by election in the riding of Whitby Oshawa is an inconsequential one. Kathleen Wynne's Liberals hold a majority government and that fact won't change after by-election ballots are counted.
While it seems odd that Wynne will go well beyond reasonable measures to win a meaningless by-election, what she's really doing is putting all the stops to ensure her failing record isn't noticed by voters. Recall her last by-election was in Sudbury - and that race resulted in criminal charges being laid against a high ranking Liberal Party of Ontario organizer. The premiere's own chief of staff, Patricia Sorbora, was also embroiled in controversy, although she escaped being formally charged.
So it should be no surprise that Wynne would call in a marker with Justin Trudeau to try and eke out a win on Thursday. After all, nobody campaigned harder for Trudeau during last year's federal election than Kathleen Wynne, resulting in an overwhelming loss for conservative seats in the GTA.
I'm certain that she feels Trudeau owes her for his own electoral success.
Was it a wise decision for the Prime Minister to heed her call for help? From the many veteran political observers I know, nobody can recall another incident of a sitting Prime Minister involving himself in a provincial by-election, let alone one as meaningless as Whitby-Oshawa's. What Justin Trudeau did last night was unprecedented in politics. And it wasn't just Trudeau as PM endorsing a provincial candidate, it was the Liberal Party of Canada. (Political insiders should note while conservative MP's traditionally lend a hand to their provincial cousins, it was Harper's policy for the Conservative Party of Canada not to get involved).
But the Prime Minister was unapologetic for his actions. He told last night's chicken-wing eating audience, "over the past few weeks we’ve seen that some folks out there still need to learn. So let’s teach them a lesson.”
But it's the "lesson" that he's conveying which should highlight a giant red flag to democracy loving Canadians. His "win at all costs" tactics is dangerous in the hands of the man with the power to rig future elections in his favour.
How can Canadians trust Prime Minister Trudeau to draft a replacement to first past the post democracy if he illustrates an obsession for winning even the most meaningless of elections? Will Trudeau's election reform be akin to when Napoleon took the crown from the Pope's hands and declared himself Emperor?
The audacity of Justin Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne in Whitby goes well beyond this Ontario by-election. It affects all of Canada. It should send shivers up the spines of all Canadians, regardless of party lines. The Prime Minister of Canada is signaling to us that he intends to win every election, and he will use whatever is at his disposal to achieve his goals.
Recent polls show that Kathleen Wynne's job approval rating sits at 21%. It's fair to suggest odds are very good that she will lose the next general election. The Prime Minister of Canada will have to work with whomever the next Premier of Ontario will be. As Canada's most populous province, Ontario's confederation doesn't work if the federal government feuds with Queen's Park. The last time that happened was when then premier Bob Rae feuded with Jean Chretien - and that was disastrous for the country.
A Prime Minister has to work with whomever is the Premier of Ontario.
Regardless of the result of Thursday's by-election, we already know who the biggest loser will be.
Why should the rest of Canada care about fairness in Ontario elections?
|Posted on January 14, 2016 at 12:50 AM|
All of Canada should be taking heed of what Greg Essensa has been saying.
Essensa is the Chief Electoral Officer of the Province of Ontario. Since 2007, he's been keeping tabs on who is spending on political advertising and how much money is being spent. He has noted a very disturbing trend.
In the June 2014 election, all registered political parties spent $7.4 million on advertising during the campaign period. Third party advertisers (but let's call a spade a spade - the public sector unions) spent a combined $8.4 million on political advertising during that same period.
Essensa feels third party political advertising spending has gotten out of hand and that the government needs to put in place rules to ensure fairness.
Why should the rest of Canada care about fairness in Ontario elections?
With oil falling to the $30 per barrel range, the Canadian dollar has been in a deep slide. Yesterday, it was announced that to purchase one American dollar now costs Canadians $1.43 CDN. That means the price of food, clothing, electronics, and anything else that is imported into the country from elsewhere is costing us more.
Analysts are predicting the Canadian dollar will continue to slide falling to historic lows - a whopping $0.59. The cost of our day to day living just won't keep up; and this particularly affects Canadians living on fixed income - seniors, the poor, and many others.
In the past, a low Canadian dollar would be a shot in the arm for the Ontario economy, which at the time had a robust manufacturing sector. But the Ontario Liberals, with illogical faith in "green jobs," killed manufacturing in the province, exporting hundreds of thousands of Ontario jobs to places like Mexico and China. The culprit is the Ontario Liberal government's disastrous Green Energy Act, that now has Ontarians paying the highest electricity rates globally.
The Green Energy Act was passed in 2009 and was supposed to usher in an era of alternate, renewable energy for the province. Electricity created by wind, solar and bio-mass were touted as the panacea for Ontario's nascent green economy. Meanwhile, in Europe, many nations who attempted what Premier Wynne continues to propose, are quickly reversing plans and reverting back to cheap energy. Wynne is promising to succeed with her flawed strategy, as opposed to learning from the expensive mistakes others have made.
The truth is the promised green jobs have not materialized to offset the hundreds of thousands manufacturing jobs that were lost. Despite a weak loonie, Ontario's high energy costs are too prohibitive for manufacturers to return. Other jurisdictions in the rust belt, Michigan, Ohio and others, are returning to their pre-2008 GDP. Ontario's economy continues to list.
“That Ontario has a serious growth problem is rather difficult to deny, or debate,” is the blunt assessment of the Vice Chair of BMO Financial Group, Kevin Lynch.
And an Ontario economy piloted into the rocks by Kathleen Wynne is something Canada can ill-afford when places like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland are hit by $30/barrel oil prices.
Ontario needs better energy prices and better roads to chart a new course towards economic growth. We are not going to get either from Kathleen Wynne.
The only way to change Canada's economic forecast is to replace Kathleen Wynne and her failed policies.
To accomplish that, we need to listen to what Greg Essensa is saying about those underhanded public sector unions who seek to control the outcome of the next election with their multi-million dollar advertising budgets.
Kevin O'Leary promised $1,000,000 if Alberta Premier Rachel Notley would resign. We need that kind of hubris here in Ontario.
There are a lot of people with Kevin O'Leary-type balance sheets in this province and Ontarians need them to do something great for this country. It's time to pool together funds to offset the public sector union spending and ensure we put an end to the current dark ages.
The rest of Canada is depending on us.
The Real Meaning of Stewardship in Ontario
|Posted on January 10, 2016 at 4:10 PM|
The other day at a dinner party I overheard somebody say they couldn't afford to buy a head of broccoli because of the enormous cost. This woman told her friend she was worried her kids wouldn't be getting the best to eat.
I empathized with her - and I know so many of you do as well.
That's why this weekend, when I read a Toronto Star investigative report had revealed that the controversial "eco fee" demanded by the Wynne liberals was being directed towards extravagant lifestyles that included copious amounts of booze, fancy hotels, sunset cruises, and (wait for it) Liberal Party of Ontario fundraisers, I was beside myself.
Trying to find out exactly what program endorsed by the Ontario government does and why they do it is frustrating. In fact one reporter from the Globe and Mail wrote that "extracting key details" from the province on eco fees was "like pulling teeth" and that "questions were met with blank stares, followed by a return to talking points about the merits of environmentalism."
The Ontario Tire Stewardship Program (OTS) is an organization that was given permission to slap an "eco fee" of approximately $5 on every tire sold in Ontario. The Ontario Liberals authorized their fees to consumers and businesses in an effort to promote environmentalism; they are an organization that "operates a province wide used tire collection and recycling program funded by payments from tire manufacturers and suppliers in Ontario and receives no monies from the government or taxpayer funds."
But of course they do, they just insist the fee imposed by the government isn't a tax.
Whatever you want to call it, the Toronto Star revealed the OTS board engaged in the following:
- A 3-day, $16,104 staff meeting at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa;
- A sunset boast cruise on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka last summer;
- A $2,023 vineyard tour and a five-course tasting menu, that came with 10 bottles of wine and included $2,200 worth of accommodations at the Prince of Wales Hotel;
- Dinner enjoyed with elk tenderloin, wild boar chops, cabernet sauvignon and Italian lager on the menu;
- An eight-person meal for $646.36 at Bistro 990 (one of Toronto's most expensive restaurants), that included oysters, crème brûlée, Guinness, Jack Daniels, gin martinis and cabernet sauvignon;
- A $1,235.23 board meeting at The Rosseau Muskoka resort that included a $332 Buick rental car, $111 LCBO tab and a cruise on a 40-foot 1920s-era private yacht;
- A $2,000 dinner at Le Germain Hotel to celebrate the holidays;
- Ipads for board members as "Christmas gifts";
- And yes...even Power Smoothies to replenish their energy, I'm assuming, after a day of hard thinking about how to save the environment.
It reminded me of that woman at the dinner party who said she couldn't afford fresh vegetables for her kids. It reminded me of Kathleen Wynne, who asked Ontarians to change their way of life and do the laundry in the wee hours of morning before tired men and women get up and go to work. It's the arrogant sense of privilege and dueness that I'm seeing day after day, as we hear government CEOs and politicians collect their end of year tax-funded profits, bonuses, pensions and raises while the rest of us struggle.
In an organization that collects millions in fees from consumers (and yes, consumers are taxpayers), these grossly lavish expenditures might be a drop in the bucket, but it's the entitlement that disturbs me. They are "highly skilled volunteers who receive no remuneration, says their statement, and they maintain "the highest standards and practices and a strict focus on controlling costs to ensure we use funds provided by stewards responsibly."
The rest of us continue to be the real stewards of how our own money is spent, sacrificing that head of broccoli for dinner this week.
True stewards think about how something is managed and cared for and put that into action. In the Ontario liberals case, it's how much they can get out of our wallets to experience a life most of us dream of and to stay in power.
Why Real Hope for Ontario matters so much now
|Posted on December 20, 2015 at 1:30 PM|
Lorrie Goldstein is one of this country's pre-eminent opinion leaders and he knows that I have nothing but respect for him. Whether you agree or disagree with his opinions, you always recognize the careful consideration he has invested prior to writing his columns. I often relate to and am in agreement with Goldstein's opinions.
But today I disagree with him. So much in fact that I felt compelled to write this post to explain why.
In today's Toronto Sun, Lorrie Goldstein outlines the reasons why he feels Kathleen Wynne could be re-elected in 2018.
After reading the column, I felt depressed, defeated, demoralized. Wynne's Liberals have had such a devastating effect on the province we love, I don't think anyone could predict how Ontario will be like in 2022 if she remains in charge.
Goldstein's arguments are as sound as always.
The unions are committed to her.
This is true. And with the amount of air space the unions take up in the media, this looks like a formidable force.
In the public sector 71% of the workforce is unionized. This speaks volumes as to what kind of boss Kathleen Wynne is, because happy workers don't form unions. Wynne's battles with frontline teachers, nurses, OPP, and so on are well documented. While union leadership may continue to vote Liberal, the rank and file has had its fill of Wynne's bullying and empty promises.
The private sector unionized labour only accounts for 16% of the private sector labour force. That segment of union is shrinking rapidly, both in size and influence.
Big business loves her.
Nobody has made more money under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals than the big insurance companies, big banks, pension funds, and Bay Street.
Car insurers are laughing all the way to the bank as the Liberals cut coverage, while our premiums remain the highest in the country.
The largest institutional investors like the big banks and pension funds have been lapping up the goodies doled out by Wynne. Hydro One made the province $750,000,000 in profit each year - plus paid $100,000,000 in lieu of taxes annually. Guess where that money is going now after the sale?
Even when Wynne applies new taxes, such as her harebrained cap and trade scheme, she has the backs of the province's big business in mind. You and I will pay this new tax, but the largest polluters will be publicly subsidized with carbon credits, all courtesy of Kathleen Wynne.
Even though the bank president and the insurance company's CEO have no reason to stop voting for Wynne, in a democracy, they only get one vote.
Where I find hope is in the fact that most Ontarians don't work for a bank, insurance company, pension fund, or a Bay St. investment firm. 70% of Ontarians work for a small business. These people are the ones who have been paying for Wynne's largesse. They don't see any benefit from the Liberal's crony capitalism. The liberals have been sticking these folks with the tab for many years.
These are the people who are ready for a change at Queen's Park.
A Justin Trudeau federal Liberal government plays well for the Ontario PCs too. Historically, while the federal Liberals were in their hay days, Queen's Park saw its strongest PC governments during that period. Ontarians like the checks and balances of having opposing parties in charge in Ottawa and Queen's Park.
The fact that Justin Trudeau is mulling a hike in the HST can only help fuel the sentiment for change. Kathleen Wynne was one of Trudeau's most ardent supporters - so she is going to wear every Trudeau misstep or gaffe as if it were her own.
But the main reason why Kathleen Wynne will lose is because I am optimistic that the average Ontario voter knows that real hope - and real change - come with real leadership.
Ask anyone on the street their opinion on how our public schools are performing and the response will be negative. The same goes with hospitals, universities, youth unemployment, elder care, hydro rates, cost of car insurance, highways, and so on.
In fact, it's very hard to find anything that the Liberals are doing well on.
Why would anyone want to re-elect that mess?