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Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

In the spirit of my commentary on the night before election results in the 2016 US presidential election, I am writing my thoughts on the Ontario June 7, 2018 election night, publishing this minutes before the polls close at 9 PM.

If various polling companies prove correct, with their predictions 24 hours before the election, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives will form a majority government.

And I will be very happy for Doug Ford. It will be quite the monumental event, with the general Leftist mass media contempt for him, and it is very significant, given that he had a failed run for Toronto mayor in 2014, and was likely to lose against John Tory in 2018. But, as fate would have it, he is set to win the premiership that John Tory would’ve won in 2007, had he not stubbornly personally insisted on a horribly unpopular pledge to resolve the matter of discriminatory public funding of Catholic schools by pledging full public funding for all religious schools.

Sure, the PC’s never released a fully costed platform, and the numbers don’t add up in terms of the lost revenue from scrapping the cap-and-trade tax and spending promises, but they will tax and spend less than the Liberals and NDP. And he did indeed sound somewhat like a used car salesman and vacuous beyond his talking points at the third and final leaders’ debate, but the man is totally sincere.

I had the fortune of meeting him in person in Kitchener for an early leadership campaign event. While Wynne and Horwath would’ve left after meeting with some people near the front after their talk, he stayed there, talking with everyone who was still there and interested in talking to him. As I waited patiently near the back, I noticed that he was taking his time to talk with everyone.

And when he approached me, I put out my hand and said how great it was to meet him, and that I specifically took out a PC Party membership once Patrick Brown had been ousted from the party, and that I only wanted to vote for him. And, for the first time in my life, despite voting on my occasions since I was first eligible to in 1997, I voted for the winning candidate in any sort of election.

Before Tanya Granic Allen had made it a big issue, I was separately aware of the significance and opportunity of the provincial government voiding bad hydro contracts without penalty, and not simply canceling them and losing money having to uselessly fight it out in court. So my main goal in addition to meeting him, was to convey on him the existence of this power of the provincial government, and to impress on him the importance of doing so.

I didn’t expect the Liberals themselves to directly paint him as Trump, instead expecting the Star and other scoundrel mass media sources to do so, but they surprised me in doing so. Of course Ford is Trump-like in terms of his non-specifics, in exaggerating, but the comparison in the way that Trump was mostly portrayed in the US, is actually defamatory in the way it was used against Ford by people who should know better in Canada. Trump was and is mostly derided as racist, and Doug Ford is obviously the opposite of what even Trump was portrayed as, given that Ford Nation specifically made outreach to all racial and ethnic groups in Toronto, and that fact has been very confounding to the radical Leftist identity politics practitioners, specifically in the Liberal Party, and the Leftist media sources accounting for most of the Canadian mass media.

I was a big opponent of Rob Ford once it was shown that he was using crack cocaine, because of the bad example that it was setting for the youth. I believe that public officials should be held to a higher standard, and what particularly irked me was fiscal conservatives who had no issue voting for him whatsoever, where those in high-level business positions would never tolerate such behaviour from a subordinate employee, nor even an executive, who would otherwise jeopardize their business.

Remember when Washington D.C. mayor, Marion Barry, was the epitome of the rot of urban politics when he was known as the crack smoking mayor who got re-elected, and was rightly ousted by Congress? Yet Rob Ford was celebrated in a lot of quarters! That’s why, separately from Rob Ford’s addiction problems, he had no business staying in as mayor, and the provincial Liberals should’ve amended the Municipal Act to specifically grant Toronto council the power to remove him by a two-thirds majority vote.

Only later, after Rob’s death, did I learn from an interview with Mark Towhey, that Rob Ford really developed his problems after the death of his father, and that Rob had always specifically struggled with trying to live up to his father’s high expectations, and felt that he could never do that, and that’s what had motivated his run for Mayor.

Despite Rob’s shenanigans, I knew that Doug’s support of him was as a brother, and that his brother’s behaviour had nothing to do with how Doug himself would behave in office, and I knew that Rob’s missteps would not follow Doug in office.

So from the first time that I had heard Doug Ford do his first interview when running for leader, I quickly got past my slight surprise of how he was comporting himself compared to the media caricatures that had been put out there. Then I heard a completely different person than that, directly answering questions, cleverly, but not in a cynical way — very straightforward and honest. And he did that for several interviews, including a prominent CBC one.

And those criticizing him for limiting media appearances since he became leader, and particularly in the election, and during the second-half, it was mostly sensible, given the proven general media hostility out there. But as far as his success as Premier, it will be based on whether he acts more like the Doug Ford I saw in person at that early leadership event, and all the early interviews I heard of him. To the extent that he lets himself be controlled, and guards himself, and limits his media appearances, despite having four years ahead of him in a majority government, he will be only a mediocre Premier at best, instead of a great Premier, that he has the potential for.

When Doug wins a majority government, I will feel very happy for him, specifically for his relationship with his late younger brother, and that his brother can truly spiritually rest in peace, and that Doug can feel some peace for what happened to his brother, and how he was unable to help him enough while he was alive. There will be some resolution for them, and for all of us who followed the Rob Ford saga.

Doug’s victory will show that genuinely appealing to the people can overcome the odds, and cynicism and elitism of some, who felt that he was eminently disqualified for office because of being a non-Leftist populist, for even being a populist, for not hanging out in the social circles of most media and political elites, and for daring to go against their so-called conventional wisdom.

So, on this election night, Doug, I offer my heartfelt congratulations for a campaign well-fought, given the odds against you, and for what you represent.

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20 years later, the Ontario Ministry of Health finally caught up with me about my old health card

First introduced in 1995 by the unpopular Ontario NDP government as a fraud reduction measure, all eligible Ontarians became subject to eventually being required to obtain a new photo ID health card, as a replacement for the old red-and-white cards.

The government laughably claimed that they would phase out all old cards by the year 2000. Fifteen years after that “deadline,” they finally caught up with me. I received a letter in the mail, asking me to obtain a photo ID card in order to retain my taxpayer-funded health care.

Some people originally thought a photo ID card was a preferred option, until they were warned that it wasn’t a good idea, because they’d have to renew it every five years and pay money for it (of course).

The funny thing is that I knew someone who, around 2006, got one of these letters in the mail and ignored it at first, thinking they would go away, only to later get a final notice of his health care being cut off if he didn’t comply. Meanwhile, he knew others who still had their cards — highlighting the seeming absolute arbitrary nature of the process. I feel somewhat special that I managed to avoid these letters for nine more years than him, despite no apparent reason for deserving such luck.

Another odd thing is how plain Social Insurance cards are still being issued by the federal government, which are required for income tax reporting and to have most jobs, unless they are under-the-table, yet the federal government still hasn’t found the need to eliminate that even bigger potential of fraud

The slackness of the replacement of these cards is typical for such a government program. It’s like the provincially-funded and operated GO Transit trains, of which I have taken two recent trips on, and they never bothered to verify whether I had purchased a ticket, and had I been the dishonest type, could’ve ridden for free. No privately-owned business would do business in this way, nor would any private business take 20 years to replace their customers’ authentication documents if fraud really was an issue that tangibly affected their bottom line.

The health card replacement plan, pitched as a way of combating fraud, was a fraud of its own sort from the beginning, since it was implemented as a feel-good measure by an unpopular government that was flagging in the opinion polls and was defeated so badly that originally lost official party recognition in the legislature after the 1995 election.

Instead of reforming the system, such as joining every other country in the world except for Cuba and North Korea, in allowing for private funds to be used to pay for primary health care, as a supplement to the taxpayer-funded system, the government decided to take the easy way out and pretend they cared about fraud when they had already wasted money on the Skydome white elephant in Toronto just so the province’s capital city could say it had the latest in stadium technology with a fully retractable roof and a Jumbotron, and go over budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.

As for that notice, I’ll be responding, soon enough. Apparently I get two more notices before they will cut me off, but even if I am in need of services, I can later apply and get reimbursed for the costs. It seems that is ironically one of the few ways to have transparency in the system, of knowing exactly how much health care costs us — aside from looking up obscure line items in a billing table — and privately fund your primary health care — but without getting reimbursed with your taxes.

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A libertarian friend of mine has a new political podcast series from a much-needed Canadian perspective. It’s called the Political Paradox Podcast.

From the first two episodes:

The Political Paradox Podcast – EP 002 – Healthcare, Government Bans and The Olympics
Posted: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:00:00 GMT

This week, what is the REAL cost of “Free” healthcare in Canada? You won’t believe what Ontario is looking to ban next. Plus, the outrageous list of IOC demands that prompted Norway to pull out of it’s Olympic bid.

The Political Paradox Podcast
Posted: Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:00:00 GMT

It’s the first ever episode of the political paradox podcast. On today’s show, Paul explains what exactly a libertarian is. Then, he shares his story of how he became a libertarian.

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On the June 14, 2014 episode of Exposing Faux Capitalism with Jason Erb, I discussed the following recent issues of the past week in the audio here:

Ontario’s recent election, Libertarian breakthrough, Freedom Party’s balanced budget gimmick, Ellen Brown got the most votes of any third-party contender for California Treasurer, and Canada’s Supreme Court decision requiring warrants for all internet user requests.

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Freedom Party of Ontario leaders Paul McKeever was on Sun News Network on May 29, 2014 to outline his party’s balanced budget plan for Ontario.

The guest host was understandably interested in how the Freedom Party of Ontario would purport to do this, since Ontario’s deficit currently sits at $12 billion.

Their solution? McKeever explains at 2:30, that they would take health care off-budget by making it a Crown Corporation, and introduce competition. I like the second part, but the first part comes across as a total gimmick.

It’s reminiscent of PC Leader Tim Hudak’s 2011 election campaign gimmick of promising to pay off Ontario’s hydro debt by only paying the principal, and not the interest. Wouldn’t that be nice for average homeowners, to tell their bank that they’ve paid off their mortgage after paying back only the principal? You’d be laughed out of the bank, and after two missed payments, they’d foreclose on your home. Yet gimmicks like this pass as legitimate discourse in politics today.

Overall, the Ontario Freedom Party would, in principle, bring some much-needed relief from increasing government control over our lives, but I like the Ontario Libertarian Party, except for where they aren’t running candidates this election. And if you don’t have either an OLP or OFP candidate in your riding, consider declining your ballot, which will effectively serve as a vote for “none of the above.”

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During the June 3 TVO debate on issues facing the 416 (Toronto) ridings in the run-up to the June 12, 2014 Ontario provincial election, Green Party of Ontario candidate for York Centre, Joshua Borenstein, mentioned a modified version of John Turmel’s Argentine Solution (at 30m).

John Turmel is the founder of the Paupers Party and I interviewed him as a 2012 Kitchener-Waterloo byelection candidate, when he was promoting the “Argentine Solution” of paying Ontario government workers with a portion of their salary in Ontario government bonds in lieu of pay. That way, savings could be had in the short-term until the bonds come due, and no money would have to be borrowed directly from banks in order to issue them.

Joshua Borenstein suggested a modified version of the plan, saying that Ontario should provide tax credits to Ontario public sector employees, which they could then redeem on their 2014 tax filing next year.

These are exactly the kind of alternative ideas that the three main parties (Liberal, PC and NDP) are not offering voters, and why we need more alternative voices in these discussions, such as the Ontario Libertarian Party.

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In the run-up to the June 12, 2014 Ontario provincial election, Allen Small, Ontario Libertarian Party leader, was interviewed by the Sun News Network on June 4.

Once again, the private sector continues to lead in providing alternative voices that the public sector claims to offer, despite Ontario’s public broadcaster, TVO, deciding not to provide any TV coverage of the Ontario Libertarian Party, despite its 74 candidates, which could theoretically form a majority government for the first time in its history.

For more on Allen Small, see my comprehensive March 20, 2014 interview with him.

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