Letters to Editor

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Dear Editor

There are a number of people saying Jody Wilson-Raybould (JWR) for Prime Minister.  Perhaps folks need to reflect on this a bit. The only way I can express why, is to look at the legislation that she, and Jane Philpotts, voted in favour of.

Bill C-48 An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast.  Basically a moratorium on tankers entering and leaving a port in BC.

Bill C-68 An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence - violates private property, is unconstitutional (I have the rulings why) and is the Federal government attempting to expand its jurisdiction over provincial jurisdiction.  It also unconstitutionally allows the Minister to prevail over the Governor General.  From what I have seen that is a real ‘no-no”.

Bill C-69 An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts – another disaster for business and employment...

Bill C-71 An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms - again unconstitutional as a number of documents express.

So, you see, these are just 4 of the multitude of Bills JWR and Philpotts voted in favour of - including the BIG ONE - the amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada where a big corp., can buy justice and government is selling justice. This was the biggest unconstitutional act government has implemented.

There is a reason why justice is not to be bought and/or sold. This goes back through our Constitution and is a foundation to rid people of corruption in government. With this being opened up any and all elected officials, bureaucrats and any entity is open to being bought. Any political party that supported this does not serve the people of Canada - they are serving their corporate friends. This definitely needs to be repealed or Canada is on the slippery slope of becoming yet another Venezuela.

We as Canadians shouldn’t have to be constantly fighting our own government just to live our lives...and that’s what’s happening. The majority of the legislation, being passed, does not even need to be there... and government isn’t doing anything but harming the people of this country.

So, it’s up to the people of Canada to contact their federal MPs to get rid of this insidious legislative enactment. Our Criminal Code has been bastardized enough! We all need to unite under our flag and tell these politicians (and their back room/bureaucrats) we will not accept this any longer.

Canadians are not for sale!

Elizabeth F. MarshallThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Cost of Carbon Tax on Home Heating and Gas

Ontario's government is standing up for the people by introducing a series of transparency measures that will prevent the federal government from hiding the true cost of its job-killing carbon tax.

"The people of Ontario deserve to know the full truth about how the federal carbon tax will make their lives more unaffordable," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "This job-killing tax will make everything more expensive, but it will hit our wallets hardest when it comes to gas prices and home-heating costs."

The province plans to bring forward legislation that, if passed, would require stickers to be placed on gasoline pumps that will warn Ontario families of the hidden federal carbon tax that will add more than 11 cents per litre to the price of gasoline by 2022. In addition, the government has communicated to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) its expectation that the OEB ensure the federal carbon tax is clearly reflected on natural gas bills.

"We promised to use every tool at our disposal to protect Ontario workers, seniors and families from the federal government's regressive carbon tax," said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "The people of Ontario know that a carbon tax is not the only way to fight climate change and that this tax is as unnecessary as it is unfair. Instead of punishing low- and middle-income families, we encourage the federal government to follow the approach we took with our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan that will reduce emissions without imposing a job-killing carbon tax on the people of our province."

Ontario currently leads all of Canada when it comes to greenhouse gas reduction. Ontario families and businesses have already reduced emissions by 22% from 2005 levels. The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan clearly details how the province will achieve an additional 8% reductions in emissions to hit its 30% emissions reduction target.

Quick Facts

  • The federal carbon tax will cost a typical household $648 by 2022.
  • The federal carbon tax on fuels came into effect on April 1, 2019. It will increase the price of gasoline in Ontario by 4.4 cents per litre. This will rise to 6.6 cents in 2020, 8.8 cents in 2021, and 11.1 cents per litre in April 2022. The carbon tax will cost the average Ontario driver $57 at the pumps in 2019.
  • The federal carbon tax will increase the price of natural gas in Ontario by 3.9 cents per cubic metre. This increase will rise to 5.9 cents in 2020, 7.8 cents in 2021, and 9.8 cents per cubic metre in April 2022. It will increase the price of natural gas used by families to heat their homes by $94 in 2019, rising to $235 in 2022. Three out of four Ontario families rely on natural gas for heating.
  • The federal carbon tax will increase the price of diesel by 5.4 cents per litre in 2019, rising to 13.4 cents by 2022.
  • Estimates of the impacts of the federal carbon tax on Ontario's public and private sectors include:
  • Ontario's 146 hospitals will experience increases to annual heating costs by $10.9 million in 2019, soaring to $27.2 million in 2022.
  • The province's colleges and universities will see an increase in their upfront annual heating costs by approximately $9.8 million in 2019, soaring to $24.7 million in 2022.
  • Annual heating costs for the over 750 nursing and seniors' care homes will increase by $6.7 million in 2019, rising to $16.7 million in 2022, with an average cost increase of $9,000 per senior centre by 2019, and $22,000 by 2022.
  • Over $350 million will be added to the cost of heavy duty transportation in Ontario in 2019, and by 2022, that figure could be as high as $870 million.
  • Ontario removed the costs associated with the provincial cap-and-trade carbon tax from gasoline and natural gas bills, saving households approximately $80 per year on heating costs and over 4 cents per litre at the pump.
  • Ontario is part of a coalition of provinces pledged to fight the federal government's unconstitutional carbon tax. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have joined Ontario's challenge to the federal government's Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which is an unconstitutional, disguised tax. Ontario's case challenging the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax will be heard by the Court of Appeal from April 15 to 18, 2019.
  • As outlined in Ontario's environment plan, the province is committed to meeting its share of Canada's 2030 target while recognizing the unique circumstances of our economy. From 2005 to 2016, Ontario reduced its emissions by about 22%.
  • The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commits to reducing our province's emissions output to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 without imposing a carbon tax.
  • In a survey of business owners in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 87% opposed this federal carbon tax plan.

 

The Trudeau government has announced $4.2 billion in spending since SNC-Lavalin scandal broke

267 new spending announcements from the Trudeau government since scandal broke on Feb. 7 

Includes handouts for everything from tourism to airports to boat safety

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation today released a list of all spending announcements made by the Trudeau government over the last two months which may have been missed during the ongoing SNC-Lavalin scandal.

“With so much attention understandably focused on SNC-Lavalin, many people may have missed most or all of these 267 spending announcements,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “We believe spending taxpayer dollars deserves proper scrutiny, and in that spirit we’re pleased to provide a list.”

The largest spending announcement made since Feb. 7 is $1 billion in “innovation” funding for southern Ontario on Feb. 27, while the smallest was $8,000 to fund upgrades for a maple sugar camp in New Brunswick on Mar. 29. Other highlights include:

$72 million for “clean technology” in Alberta (Mar.14)

$30 million for an “intellectual property collective” (Feb. 13)

$4.2 million to help develop “innovative” fruit (Mar.11)

$595,000 on a boating safety mobile app (Mar. 14)

$376,000 for a ‘Cheese Expertise Centre’ (Apr. 3)

Wudrick noted that with the federal government currently running a deficit of $19.8 billion rather than balancing the budget as promised, all 267 announcements are effectively being funded with borrowed money that will be added to the growing federal debt.

 

We Should Turn Internet Surfing Into Family Time

Do you worry your children spend too much time on the computer - playing games, chatting, or e-mailing? Are they addicted to x-box-type activities? 

Banning these activities completely may be unrealistic these days. Limiting them makes sense. 

Kids may spend inordinate amounts of time on these activities because they are bored, or because they are on their own for extended periods of time. Time spent on the computer rarely is a 'family' activity, but there are ways you can make it so. 

The internet is an incredible resource of information. No longer is it limited to print. Many sites are like 'intelligent' television. There are the amazing visuals, with unlimited opportunities for learning. I would suggest that parents sit down with their children, using search engines to locate information on any subject in which the child is interested. 

You can access a NASA sight and see pictures of the Earth from space. You can look up anything from volcanoes to snowboarding. Often visiting one site leads to links to even more interesting sites. 

By sitting with your child you can enhance their reading skills, researching abilities, and general knowledge. More importantly, you are sharing an activity, showing interest in your child, and modeling excitement about our world. 

Computers are not the problem. Insufficient parent/child time - doing something that is interesting to the child - just might be.

 Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, cds or MP3's, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on FaceBook for daily inspiration. 

 

Ford government right to tackle bureaucratic bloat

By: Christine Van Geyn, CTF Ontario Director

There’s an elephant in the room whenever politicians talk about the Ontario’s finances and it’s the cost of province’s enormous bureaucracy. It’s a relief to see the provincial government is finally starting to talk about it.

In remarks to the Canadian Club on Apr. 4, Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy announced new public consultations on government employee compensation, on how to manage salary growth in a way that he described as “modest, reasonable, and sustainable.”

Addressing bureaucratic bloat is imperative for the government to achieve a balanced budget. While most politicians acknowledge that balancing Ontario’s budget is important, it’s a goal that cannot be achieved without addressing the largest cost driver in the province. It’s good to finally see a politician who is admitting it.

Wages, salaries and benefits for government workers are the most significant single expense in the provincial budget. Paying for bureaucrat salaries costs taxpayers about $72 billion annually, and represents about half of program spending.

The issue of bureaucratic bloat has to do with two things: the compensation for public sector workers, and the size of the bureaucracy itself. To solve the province’s financial problems, both need to be addressed.

In terms of cost, the government estimates the average government worker earns $16,049 more than the average private sector worker. The Fraser Institute estimates that government workers earn a wage premium over their private sector counterparts in Ontario of about 10.5 per cent. In terms of averages, rather than counterparts, the government estimates that the difference is even greater. The average private sector worker earns 33.6 per cent less than a government employee. Given that private sector workers pay the salaries of government employees, this disparity needs to change

Government workers also receive other non-salary benefits, such as earlier retirement, higher job security, and pensions. In Ontario, 94.7 per cent of government employees have a defined benefit pension compared to just 41.5 per cent of private sector workers. Bureaucrats don’t need to earn higher salaries on top of these other non-wage benefits.

While the cost of the bureaucracy is high, it’s actually getting higher. Between 2003 and 2018, average salaries of all Ontario government employees increased by 48.1 per cent. This year, the Sunshine List, which discloses government workers earning over $100,000 per year, grew by 19,131 people, or 14.5 per cent. This is more than twice as fast as the list grew last year.

The provincial bureaucracy is bloated with over 1.3 million people earning a living on taxpayer dollars. Between 1997 and 2017, the number of government jobs has increased by over 43 per cent, about 10 per cent faster than the private sector grew over that period.

Both the Wynne and Ford governments have made some efforts to tackle both the size and cost of the bureaucracy, but until now, these have been drops in the bucket.

One of the first acts of the Ford government was to implement a hiring freeze and this was quickly followed by a salary freeze for executives. It also announced buy-out packages for non-unionized government bureaucrats who quit voluntarily.

But these moves are frankly less aggressive than similar policies by the previous Wynne government. While the Ford government has repeatedly said it will not “fire” anyone, the previous government’s 2009 and 2011 budgets proposed reductions of 3,400 and 1,500 bureaucrats over three and two years. The 2010 budget froze all salaries, not just executive salaries, and the 2014 and 2015 budgets adopted “net zero” bargaining that required all wage increases to be offset by other spending reductions These moves by the previous government were not enough to stop bureaucratic bloat, so the new government must take stronger action.

It’s good news to see that appears to be what they are doing. Some of the suggestions of new measures Minister Bethlenfalvy announced include voluntary agreement to wage outcomes lower than the current trend, trade-offs that will lead to reductions in compensation costs, and even legislated measures.

Regular Ontario workers are already paying the salaries of bureaucrats who, on average, earn more than they do. With a massive deficit, the government will soon come knocking on their doors with tax hikes. But taxpayers can’t afford to pay more so the government needs to tackle that elephant in the room and reduce the size and cost of their own bureaucracy.

 

Expensive, pointless and interminable

By Kate Harries AWARE Simcoe blog

At the last Springwater council meeting, Mayor Don Allen and Chief Administrative Officer Robert Brindley updated councillors on the municipality’s legal position with regard to the investigation and prosecution of former mayor Bill French’s 2014 campaign expenses.

The mayor and CAO provided answers to the question that many people have been asking, namely whether the municipality can do anything to extract itself from a case that has assumed Dickensian proportions, this prosecution under the Provincial Offences Act prompting references to the fictional suit (Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Bleak House) that became a byword for expensive, pointless and interminable legal proceedings.

The answers came in the form of a Q and A between the mayor and the CAO, the sum of which was that the process, handled by the township’s compliance audit committee, was designed to be severed from council, which has no input or control. 

Allen concluded: “We have not influenced nor can we influence this going forward, it has to take its course but we’re certainly anxious to get settlement in the end of the costs in this process as soon as possible”

So, according to the mayor and the CAO, we really do have a prosecutor who answers to no one, but whose bills Springwater ratepayers are obliged to pay (if there’s been an invoice from Kingston lawyer Tony Fleming, who was appointed last June, it has not yet been made public. So brace yourselves).

This is a runaway train, with no one – apart from Fleming, who has an interest - able to consider whether it is reasonable or proportional to spend $310,000 so far, and counting, for “infractions” that added up to $1,091, when French was $5,000 under his spending limit.

All of which adds weight to the petition started by the Justice for Bill French committee (of which I am a member) that calls on the province to review the Municipal Elections Act. This petition also asks Springwater council to do whatever it considers appropriate to end the prosecution of Mr. French.

We now have the answer, at least from the mayor and the CAO, that there is no appropriate action to be taken.

There was a problem, however. Brindley and Allen’s answers followed an astonishingly incomplete and misleading verbal report to council by Brindley, a summary of the case so far. I understand the former mayor plans to release a statement on this matter and await that with interest

In fact, Brindley actually pronounced the former mayor guilty in his update to councillors: “A second audit was done and it was determined that again Mr. French had contravened the Municipal Elections Act and there were a number of areas in which that had occurred,” he said.

This echoes a mis-statement from compliance audit committee chair Robert Barlow at the committee’s May 25 2018 hearing. “I would assume from your report they are contraventions of the act, correct?” Barlow asked auditor Ken Froese regarding his report of the actions in which French is now charged

“They are apparent contraventions of the act,” Froese corrected him.

There’s a concept in Canadian justice that an accused person is presumed innocent until and unless he or she is found guilty by a court.

There’s a concept that people should abstain from public comments regarding the guilt of an accused so as not to prejudice his or her right to a fair trial.

And there’s a concept that publishers refrain from spreading comments that are prejudicial. The Township of Springwater has a website, and has published Brindley’s comments – anyone can access them through the livestream of the April 3 2018 council meeting.

The Justice for Bill French committee has published a list of the 10 charges against French. They are based on five apparent non-compliances:

-He did not declare some volunteer work on his campaign website, valued at $500. French is contesting this charge because the Municipal Elections Act provides that voluntary unpaid labour is NOT a contribution and does not have to be reported.

-He misplaced a $300 invoice, which he then declared.

-He failed to declared the use of some borrowed used stakes, valued at $93.75 to $131.25.

-He accepted – and declared - four $50 donations in cash. The limit for cash donations is $25.

-His campaign financial officer – his wife, Lorraine – paid some expenses from her credit card (they were correctly declared in the financial statement), which is permitted, but the credit card payments should have been reimbursed to her as they occurred, on an ongoing basis, from the campaign account, rather than at the end of the campaign.

It should be noted that the Municipal Elections Act allows for a situation in which “the candidate, acting in good faith, committed the offence inadvertently or because of an error in judgment.”

Nevertheless the compliance audit committee – Robert Barlow, Colin McLarty and George Wodoslawsky - spent almost four years pursuing French for these alleged offences. They didn’t like the first $12,860 audit, so they ordered another one that cost ratepayers $64,075. 

The second audit found that the amount involved in the apparent non-compliances was lowerthan the first - $1,091 compared to $1,175.

They appointed Fleming and instructed him to proceed. The committee’s mandate expired last year. Fleming carries on under his own steam, thanks to Springwater ratepayers.

Kate Harries is a member of AWARE Simcoe, which endorsed Bill French for mayor in 2014, and a member of the Justice for Bill French committee. A longer version of this blog can be found at www.aware-simcoe.ca

 

 

Ontario carbon tax court battle begins today - April 15, 2019

CTF will make arguments against the Trudeau carbon tax in the Ontario court battle

TORONTO, ON:  Today the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is joining the legal the showdown between the federal government and the Ontario government over the Trudeau carbon tax, which took effect April 1, 2019. The hearing will take place at the Court of Appeal over four days.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is intervening in the case in opposition to the federal tax.

“It’s wrong for Ottawa to force a carbon tax on the province after Ontarians have clearly rejected it and we’re standing up for taxpayers in the Court of Appeal,” said Christine Van Geyn, the CTF’s Ontario Director. “We look forward to advancing arguments in court on behalf of Canadian taxpayers to ensure the punitive and unconstitutional carbon tax is struck down.”

CTF also participated in the Saskatchewan challenge of the federal carbon tax.