No, Britain has not rejected populism

by Nick Redekop

We do not need to spend excessive time questioning whether the British people have rejected populism. They have not and they will not in the foreseeable future. Pictured: British Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer. Photo Credit: Keir Starmer/X.  Earlier this month, Britain’s Labour Party made a triumphant return to power. This election was significant for […]

News and notes from south of the border

by Dave Redekop

News and notes from the American Presidential election campaign. Pictured: GOP Vice Presidential Nominee J.D. Vance. Photo Credit: J.D. Vance/X.   With the GOP convention behind us and Labour Day a few weeks away, here are some of the latest tidbits surrounding the endless 2024 campaign for the White House.  VICE PRESIDENTS A lot has been […]

Fiftieth Anniversary of Watergate – Part 2 – Break-In

by Dave Redekop

Had President Richard Nixon and his team foreseen how easy the re-election campaign would go they would probably have never chosen to burglar Democratic Headquarters. Pictured: Former U.S. president Richard Nixon.  In the introductory article to this series, the long public career of former US president Richard Nixon was examined. Some of Nixon’s experiences and […]

American politics has changed the channel from Canada’s crises

by Chris George

Treason. Immigration. Housing. These are real-time Canadian crises that we must not allow to be trumped. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X.  The all-consuming “breaking new” chaos that has resulted from the assassination attempt of former president Donald Trump this past weekend and the ongoing coverage surrounding the intrigue of the would-be […]

It’s all the rage

by Catherine Swift

Populations around the world are currently in a state of anger about many aspects of their lives. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images.  In the wake of the attempted assassination of former US President Donald Trump and very disruptive recent elections in the UK and France, it seems appropriate to discuss the growing amount of rage […]

Fiftieth Anniversary of Watergate – Part 1 – Prologue

by Dave Redekop

President Richard Nixon’s suspicions of the press, nurtured throughout his career, made him almost paranoid about what the fourth estate was doing to undermine his presidency, his administration policies, and his re-election hopes. Pictured: President Richard Nixon.  Next month will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation from the presidency, the only president to […]

WestJet strike just a sample of job action to come

by Lee Harding

If 100,000 people could be inconvenienced in three days on one airline, what chaos could this legislation banning temporary workers cause?  Flight disruptions caused by a strike of WestJet mechanics left lost travellers with bad memories, questions about compensation, and concerns whether such disruptions could become more common. My wife and I were planning nine […]

The NDP has regularly defended, propped up, and even partnered with Liberal governments which many people believe represent globalist and elitist interests rather than those of everyday working families. Photo Credit: iStock.  Meet Joe, a life-long resident of Beaumont, a small town near Edmonton, Alberta. Joe works for a major Canadian oil production company and […]

US President Joe Biden fumbled the ball and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he can weather the storm of public opinion and the naysayers in his party who are scrambling to find an alternative. Pictured: US President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  Heavy is the head that wears the crown. If you need […]

The debate mattered because the truth matters

by Dave Redekop

The Democratic Party, the mainstream press corps, and the Biden family owe Americans an apology for lying about Biden’s mental state and allowing him to stand for renomination. Pictured: US President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  The sanctimonious and phoney outrage of liberals, progressives, never-Trumpers, and their friends in the mainstream media came home […]

The Canada Day blues

by Catherine Swift

Despite the gloomy mood of many Canadians at present, things can change for the better with a new government. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X.  This Canada Day, it seems a majority of Canadians have the blues. A number of different public opinion polls have been conducted to coincide with Canada Day, […]

In Willie Mays, America loses a giant

by Dave Redekop

To some, Willie Mays has standing to be called the greatest ballplayer of all time. Pictured: Willie Mays.  In the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, Samantha (a witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery), marries a mortal, Darrin Stevens (Dick York). During a scene in the third season of the series, a Halloween gathering of witches is held at […]

The attack on Alito and Thomas is Democrat hypocrisy

by Dave Redekop

The Democratic Party has become anti-Court. Planting stories, trying to embarrass the justices and reporting inaccurately about private behaviour have all been fair game. Pictured: US Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. Photo Credit: US Supreme Court.  Anyone falling for the liberal outrage about Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s flag-flying wife or Justice […]

Welcome to North Korea

by Catherine Swift

In Trudeau’s Canada, heaven forbid we should be proud of an industry that contributes immensely to our economy and is also a very responsible corporate citizen. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X.  Despite all the serious problems plaguing Canada and reducing the standard of living of Canadians, the federal Liberals are determined […]

For Biden, it all comes down to Pennsylvania

by Dave Redekop

If Biden continues to ignore the example of two leading Pennsylvania politicians he will lose his home state. Pictured: President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  Endless analysis and deep digs attempt to understand developments in the 2024 presidential election. I have already spilled thousands of words on the trials, turmoil, and trouble both candidates […]

The disgrace in our schools

by Catherine Swift

Our public school system loves to pretend it opposes bullying, yet has been totally AWOL when bullying of Jewish students occurs. Photo Credit: Shutterstock. In recent weeks we have seen a number of disgraceful anti-Semitic incidents in our public school system. The sentiments behind these abhorrent views had been simmering for years, but perversely the […]

Lessons from Calgary

by Catherine Swift

The main lesson Calgarians are learning is don’t vote for leftist governments that spend all kinds of their tax dollars on fluffy woke causes and ignore the most important issues. Pictured: Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek. Photo Credit: Jyoti Gondek/Facebook.  The ongoing water crisis in Calgary is something that never should have happened in an advanced […]

Are you taking your crazy pills?

by Dave Redekop

Those who diminish the rise of working people, middle-class Americans, and minority families expect us to take our crazy pills. Pictured: US President and First Lady Joe and Jill Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  On the award-winning podcast Commentary, an outgrowth of the eponymous publication, host and editor John Podhoretz will comment on a news […]

East meets West

by Catherine Swift

Moe and Higgs have shown steadfast courage in opposing many of the federal Liberal government’s bad policies that are hurting Canadians and our national economy and have achieved success in doing so. Pictured: (left to right) Mark Borkowski, Premier Blaine Higgs, Christine Van Geyn, Premier Scott Moe, Catherine Swift & Jocelyn Bamford. Photo Supplied On […]

Why the Democratic machine loathes to replace Biden

by Dave Redekop

If the party rolls the dice and opens up the nomination to these different coteries the nation will watch Democrats implode into an intra-party nervous breakdown. Pictured: US President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  For some time the Democratic Party machine has been trying to convince itself and those interested in the 2024 campaign […]

Minimum wage strikes again

by Catherine Swift

Unions and their supporters like to believe in the fantasy that all businesses have giant pots of money they are hoarding and dipping into them will not affect anything else. Pictured: California Governor Gavin Newsom. Photo Credit: CAgovernor/X.  A new development in the long-simmering debate over the impacts of minimum wage took place recently south […]

The Trump verdict

by Dave Redekop

This specific verdict rests on what this inevitably contrives. The weaponization of a Justice system to interfere in a free and fair election will not stand alone. Pictured: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Photo Credit: Alvin Bragg/X.  There will be much ink spilled analyzing and assessing the verdict handed down in New York finding Donald […]

Another foolish court decision

by Catherine Swift

This decision cannot possibly stand as is. Photo Credit: iStock.  A court case that has been hanging around for about eight years finally saw a decision by Federal Court Judge Yvan Roy earlier this week. The case had been brought by Blacklock’s Reporter, an independent news service that refuses to take government money and has […]

Power Corp’s 50+ years behind Quebec prime ministers

by Lee Harding

The Desmarais family, the owners of the appropriately named Power Corporation have had an intimate connection with Canadian prime ministers for decades. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X.  Have you ever wondered why Canada has been run by Quebecers for most of the past 60 years? The answer begins with a book […]

Woe Canada!

by Catherine Swift

The Trudeau government has paid over $800,000 to create a number of new logos for Canada Day. Photo Credit: Blacklock’s Reporter. We discovered this week that, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter news service, the Trudeau government has paid over $800,000 to create a number of new logos for Canada Day. This preposterous project was undertaken […]

Trump would probably prefer to run solo

by Dave Redekop

This selection will be all about Trump. Of all the candidates he could select, Burgum fills the one thing that no one else can. He will not upstage the candidate. Pictured: North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Photo Credit: Doug Burgum/X.  In the last one hundred years Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Gerald Ford have assumed […]

Debates, trials and picks

by Dave Redekop

Trump has some reason for suggesting he is being persecuted more than prosecuted. Pictured: U.S. President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  The 2024 election continues to trudge its way through a very winding path. Three issues have dominated election coverage of late. Acknowledging that foreign policy exists as an independent feature of the campaign, […]

School choice a proven winner

by Catherine Swift

In addition to providing competition to the public system, the presence of a network of independent schools also produced tax savings for government. Photo Credit: iStock.  More and more evidence points to the many advantages of parents having viable choices in educating their children. Two different studies came out this week that pertained to Canadians’ […]

Could Toronto’s drug decriminalization fight impact Niagara?

by The Niagara Independent

Make no mistake: what happens in Toronto could easily impact what happens in Niagara. Pictured: Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow. Photo Credit: Olivia Chow/X.  The drug decriminalization fight happening in British Columbia and Toronto has high stakes for Niagara Region. Should Toronto follow B.C. and decriminalize hard drugs, Niagara Region could be right behind them.  Let’s […]

If conservative politicians wait until public opinion opposes the climate scare before they take a sensible approach to the issue, they will for wait a very long time indeed. Pictured: Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. Photo Credit: Pierre Poilievre/X.  Most conservative leaders in Canada, including federal opposition leader Pierre Poilievre and Alberta premier Danielle Smith, support […]

Boomers ruin everything for everyone

by Catherine Swift

Different generations throughout history have always liked to insult each other and blame others for their problems. Photo Credit: iStock.  Listening to talk radio the other day, there was a stream of younger callers who were criticizing the baby boom generation for ruining everything. That generation was blamed for the high cost of housing, massive […]

Another Green Failure?

by Catherine Swift

Photo Credit: Drake Landing Back in 2007, a small community in Alberta called Drake Landing was built and was totally powered by solar energy. Energy from 800 solar panels located on garage roofs powered the 52 homes in the subdivision. Many of the residents were initially attracted by the notion that the community was powered […]

How Robert Kennedy Jr could impact the Presidential Race

by Dave Redekop

  Photo Credit: Facebook/Robert Kennedy Jr The battle for the White House will be determined in less than six months. While presidential campaigns once kicked off on Labour Day, the advent of social media, ceaseless news cycles, and talk radio have contributed to longer campaigns and more intense efforts to get news coverage. In 2024, […]

What is the fuss about the Electoral College

by Dave Redekop

Robert F. Kennedy’s name on the ballot in several swing states could alter the contest for Donald Trump even though he draws votes from both candidates. Photo Credit: Facebook/Robert F. Kennedy As the US election approaches, more news, opinions, and information will be discussed about America’s electoral college and whether or not it has become […]

Balanced Budget Hopes Meet Toronto Maple Leaf Frustrations

by Lee Harding

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) accepting a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey from former Mayor of Toronto John Tory (right). Photo Credit: Reddit/the-one-who_knocks   Sometimes a little meme can say so much. Take the one where Justin Trudeau becomes the new coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Alas, the team ended their season with disappointment again […]

Trump’s and Biden’s Sinuous Abortion Journey

by Dave Redekop

In the abortion wars, moderation has proven to be the recipe for victory, especially on the national stage. Photo Credit: Joe Biden/X.  There is no better source than Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at National Review Institute, who recently wrote about the shaky and uncertain commitment that former President Donald Trump has made to […]

Canadian competitiveness under threat

by Catherine Swift

It’s time Canada took stock of the very negative impact the so-called climate policies have imposed on our economy and Canadians. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X.    Some time ago, this author wrote about the efforts of various international regulatory bodies to promote a regime to harmonize global reporting standards for […]

The unpopular truth about these Toronto Maple Leafs

by Nick Redekop

The Maple Leafs Management Team is scheduled to hold a press conference today. This briefing will give a sense of direction regarding where the team is headed. Pictured: Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. Photo Credit: Mitch Marner/X.    The calendar may be approaching mid-May, but in spite of the sights and signs of spring, it […]

Does the post office have a future?

by Catherine Swift

 The shrinking influence of Canada Post and its unions will be lamented by few. Photo Credit: iStock. Canada Post is once again losing money, prompting the Department of Public Works to commission a survey of Canadians on issues such as the elimination of door-to-door delivery and the closure of some post offices. Since 2017, the […]

Democrats’ fears could drive Sotomayor off the Supreme Court

by Dave Redekop

The madness of asking for the justice to step down, because her health may falter, blazes a new trail for political machinations, even in Washington. Pictured: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Photo Credit: U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the bravado that many Democratic leaders display regularly, the internal party discussion reveals panic about their chances […]

Canadians need to be aware of the WHO Pandemic Treaty

by Chris George

It is time for Canadians to pay attention to what our government officials are signing onto at the WHO treaty negotiations through the coming weeks. Pictured: Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Photo Credit: Gordon Brown/X.  Canadians can be excused for not knowing about the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Pandemic Treaty. Seldom is it mentioned […]

Why would anyone want to be a landlord?

by Catherine Swift

Canada’s housing crisis is truly a home-grown problem to which all governments have contributed. Photo Credit: iStock.  It’s no secret that Canada is in dire need of housing – both for purchase and for rental. There are a number of reasons why we got here. For starters, an immense amount of red tape and added […]

The University of Austin – A refreshing return to classic liberalism

by Dave Redekop

At the University of Austin the emphasis will be on academic training, not political propaganda or ideological indoctrination. Photo Credit: University of Austin.  Beginning in 2021, an eclectic group of scholars, journalists, academians, philanthropists, and those who had enjoyed business success began to lay the groundwork for a new university. The names include a who’s […]

UN descends on Ottawa to ban plastic

by Catherine Swift

The bottom line is that plastics are irreplaceable in so many essential applications. Photo Credit: Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada In the next few days, thousands of UN bureaucrats are descending on our nation’s capital to participate in what is called INC-4 UNEP. Translated, this means the fourth meeting of the United […]

MSNBC – The Ronna McDaniel saga

by Dave Redekop

America would benefit from a journalist class more intent on doing their job reporting the news and letting citizens determine how to respond. Pictured: Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. Photo Credit: Ronna McDaniel/X.  On the evening of the Iowa caucus in January, a triumphant Donald Trump delivered a speech celebrating his victory, congratulating his opponents, […]

Upbeat conservatives in Ottawa

by Catherine Swift

Canada’s Conservatives are looking more and more as a competent, well-informed and prepared government-in-waiting. Pictured: Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre. Photo Credit: Pierre Poilievre/X.  Over the last few days, this writer has spent the last few days at the Canada Strong and Free Network’s (CSFN) annual conference. The CSFN is the successor to the Manning Centre […]

Eclipsing common sense

by Catherine Swift

The leftist perspective on many issues is often one of fear and paranoia. Today it often seems like everyone needs to be protected from everything. Pictured: Niagara Region Chair Jim Bradley. Photo Credit: Niagara Region. Many centuries ago, people were afraid of solar eclipses because they didn’t understand their origins and feared that the sun […]

They can’t help themselves

by Catherine Swift

One of Canada’s perennial problems is jurisdictional creep and the fact that all levels of government are tempted to invade another’s turf. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X. It seems it would be a good thing to give all of our Canadian politicians a refresher course on the Canadian Constitution as so […]

The last of his kind: Joe Lieberman passes away at 82

by Dave Redekop

Lieberman represented what no longer exists. He loved country first. Photo Credit: U.S. Senate.  The untimely and tragic passing of Joe Lieberman on March 27 brought closure to an incredible life, one that saw Lieberman almost achieve the vice presidency save for a few hundred votes in Florida. Lieberman’s life provides wonderful lessons and stories […]

Robert Hur testimony hard to discount

by Dave Redekop

Whether a Biden defender or not, there can be no mistake that President Joe Biden retained classified materials at the end of his Vice-Presidency. Pictured: Special Counsel Robert Hur. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Justice.    The Maryland Board of Regents introduces member Robert Kyoung Hur on its website with the following final paragraph to […]

Aaron’s home run resonates fifty years later

by Dave Redekop

Looking back over the decades, understanding what Aaron faced seems surreal. Pictured: Hank Aaron. Photo Credit: MLB. After facing death threats, racist catcalls, and unbearable pressure, on the evening of April 8, 1974, Henry Aaron broke baseball’s most majestic record when he hit his 715th career home run to pass Babe Ruth’s long-standing 714. As […]

From America to Canada: Battle brews over real estate commission reform

by Daniel Perry

At the heart of the case and the settlement revolves around the elimination of traditional commission structures and rules that have long governed real estate transactions. Photo Credit: Pexels.  In a ground breaking decision last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the United States settled a class-action lawsuit and agreed to changes that […]

Remembering Brian Mulroney

by Nick Redekop

While tributes have poured in from those of all political stripes, some who knew Mulroney personally have been taking the opportunity to share many rich memories and fascinating stories. Photo Credit: Canadian Heritage/X.   As former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney lies in state this week, Canadians from coast to coast have been reflecting on the […]

Tim Tebow: A point of light

by Dave Redekop

While many have diminished or made fun of this initiative over the years, Tim Tebow serves as a reminder that we have agency to do things that help, to care for those overlooked, to bind up the wounded, and to be a point of light. Photo Credit: Tim Tebow/X. Making a difference in a world […]

The impossible EV dream

by Catherine Swift

The promotion of EVs by governments should become a case study in how not to promote a given product to citizens. Photo Credit: Pexels For the last decade or so, Canadians have been inundated by the message from governments and industry representatives that we must all eventually be drivers of Electric Vehicles (EVs). These wondrous […]

Trump’s precedents

by Dave Redekop

On the verge of becoming his party’s nominee for the third time, Trump has never won the popular vote. Pictured: Former U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo Credit: Donald Trump/X Over the past few days, I have found two entertaining articles about the parallels between Donald Trump and previous presidential contenders.  The first one, Dan McLaughlin’s […]

Good for Del Duca

by Catherine Swift

Del Duca’s approach will surely rile up the marchers to some extent, but if it succeeds in reducing the impact and incidence of these events it may well be taken up by other municipalities and be a positive first step in stopping these most un-Canadian of “protests.” Pictured: Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca. Photo Credit: […]

The unfolding World Cup 2026 debacle in Toronto

by Jay Goldberg

The reality is no politician – Tory, Chow, or anyone else – should have saddled Toronto taxpayers with this burden. Pictured: Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow. Photo Credit: Olivia Chow/X. Toronto taxpayers recently received news as predictable as the sun rising in the east: the price tag for hosting a handful of 2026 World Cup games […]

Climate “catastrophes” – some cautions

by Robert Lyman

For the most part, there is also “low confidence” that a wider range of adverse climate impacts will occur beyond 2050, except under ‘worst case” scenarios. Photo Credit: Britannica.    Today, many television weather broadcasters have morphed into “climate analysts” as they call the latest heat wave, cold wave, wind storm or other event proof […]

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell set to step down from post

by Dave Redekop

Whoever replaces McConnell may reflect the Trump Party more doggedly, but acquiring the unique skills of the seven-term senator will be back-breaking. Pictured: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo Credit: Getty Images.    In the myriad of words written about Mitch McConnell’s tenure as Republican leader, the term effective will most usefully describe his […]

A threat to democracy comes in all forms and from both sides

by Dave Redekop

In a sweeping rejection of a Supreme Court ruling, President Joe Biden continued his effort to ignore the Constitution and proceed with his student-debt-forgiveness scheme last week. Pictured: President Joe Biden. Photo Credit: AFP/Mandel Ngan via Getty Images.    In campaign ads running across the United States and in think tank sessions held on most […]

Women on the frontlines

by Catherine Swift

Without trying to be overly dramatic, what is happening right now is a clash of civilizations, values, systems of government and freedoms. It’s vitally important to us all that we come out of this with these essential elements of our society intact. Pictured: Raheel Raza, Founder of the Council of Muslims Against Antisemitism. Photo Credit: […]

Access to primary care is a priority concern for Canadians

by Chris George

  The federal government must step up to provide its fair share of money to resuscitate Canada’s public health care system. The provinces must make best use of the money to increase Canadians’ access to primary care and to ensure family physicians are given the respect they deserve at the centre of the health care […]

TDSB social justice bafflegab jumps the shark

by Catherine Swift

The fact that student achievement in basics such as math, literacy and problem solving continue to decline in Ontario public schools is hardly surprising because these subjects are considered secondary to the dominant social justice mantra. Photo Credit: Getty Images. Over the past couple of years, there has been a growing backlash against the various […]

Joe Biden’s age isn’t the issue: It’s his health

by Dave Redekop

The job ages younger men. Those who care about Biden should begin to act in his best interests. Someone close to him needs to tell him to step aside. Charles de Gaulle said: “Graveyards are full of indispensable men.” Photo Credit: AFP/Mandel Ngan via Getty Images. In 1944, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, having already bucked tradition […]

U.S. presidential election campaign: News and notes

by Dave Redekop

The presidential campaign being waged south of the border remains one of the strangest ones in history. Photo Credit: AP News. The presidential campaign being waged south of the border remains one of the strangest ones in history. Significant portions of the Democratic Party and a majority of the general population remain skeptical about President […]

The media worm turns

by Catherine Swift

Perhaps this is taking place because the public opinion polls that show Trudeau losing the next election are finally causing much of the media that is being currently subsidized to consider how they will survive in a post-Trudeau world. Photo Credit: The Hill Times.    Ever since the Trudeau government started spending hundreds of millions […]

Tim Horton, 50 years later

by Dave Redekop

When Horton originally opened his first franchise in Hamilton in 1964, little did anyone know the empire it would become. The business is a Canadian icon, one of the nation’s best-known entities and most successful enterprises. Pictured: Tim Horton. Photo Credit: Travel Cochrane. For millions of Canadians, the foremost daily coffee experience they prefer occurs […]

The status quo in Ontario schools must end

by Jay Goldberg

Looking at making real and transformative changes to Ontario’s approach to education is long overdue. It’s time to shake up the system, facilitate school choice and end the province’s one-size-fits-all government-run education system. Pictured: Education Minister Stephen Lecce. Photo Credit: Stephen Lecce/Facebook. Ontario is pouring more money than ever into government-run schools. In fact, spending […]

Why does a dying democracy attract so many presidential candidates?

by Dave Redekop

The ironic conclusion that Cohn’s piece delivers suggests that a healthy democracy in 1948 attracted four national campaigns. If American democracy entices four or more national campaigns in 2024, almost eighty years later, perhaps those anxious about the threats to democracy should acknowledge that it seems alive and well this year. Pictured: former U.S. president […]

Climate change fears driven by a belief in an imaginary temperature

by Tom Harris

Unknown to most of the public, and indeed many scientists who should know better, is the fact that “global temperature” or “global average temperature” or even “global temperature anomaly” is not real. It is merely a statistic that, outside of politics, has no meaning in the real world.   It seems that not a day goes […]

Donald Trump’s policy platform – just the facts

by Robert Lyman

  Readers deserve fact-based analysis and decisions, not prejudice and speculation, so this article sets out in value-neutral terms what the Trump platform is, so that people may judge more fairly what they agree or disagree with. People of course are free to decide whether they like Trump as a person, believe what he says, […]

Chow must call for pay freeze in future contract negotiations

by Jay Goldberg

If Toronto really is broke, as Chow keeps telling taxpayers, she should insist the salaries of city employees are frozen in all future contract negotiations until the city gets back on sound financial footing. Pictured: Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow. Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Tjana Martin.   Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow says the city is broke. […]

Who will be Trump’s vice-presidential pick?

by Dave Redekop

Trump will likely not wait until the convention to make his choice. In a year where all the suspense has disappeared from the campaign, the former president’s vice-presidential pick will hold the drama in the electoral side of a contest that will go sideways more times than a tractor-trailer on an icy Interstate in January. […]

Will it ever end?

by Catherine Swift

Will this unfair and unsustainable overcompensation of government employees ever end? It only will when Canadians decide they are sufficiently fed up to insist that governments deal with it and introduce a more reasonable pay scheme in which private and public sector are roughly equivalent and things like very generous pensions are factored into overall […]

Bossy boots goes to Davos

by Catherine Swift

Despite its own lack of knowledge about the operation of the Canadian economy and its various business sectors, this Liberal government does not undertake meaningful consultations with manufacturers and other businesses. Instead, it pursues foolish and unachievable ideological goals that have proven to be devastating for the economy and average Canadians. Pictured: Chrystia Freeland. Photo […]

The WEF casts a long shadow across Canada

by Chris George

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is regularly feted by the WEF as a vanguard global leader of progressive initiatives. And the Trudeau government is seen as a favourite of Klaus Schwab, who boasted at a Harvard interview in 2017 that he has “penetrated” many of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers. Pictured: Klaus Schwab. Photo Credit: EPA/Salvatore Di Nolfi.  […]

Professional associations go woke

by Catherine Swift

The last couple of years have seen growing opposition to “wokeness” as more and more people realize how ridiculous it is and that they have no interest in this affecting our freedoms and our lives. Photo Credit: National Post/Jordan Peterson.    Jordan Peterson’s current travails with the College of Psychologists of Ontario have hit the […]

Biden’s border crisis risks re-election chances

by Dave Redekop

As the 2024 presidential sweepstakes get into gear, the issue of illegal immigration threatens to gain traction and overwhelm the Biden campaign. Photo Credit: AFP/Mandel Ngan via Getty Images.    As the 2024 presidential sweepstakes get into gear, the issue of illegal immigration threatens to gain traction and overwhelm the Biden campaign. At the beginning […]

Trudeau may have no other option than to pay the ransom fee the city of Toronto is demanding if his MPs in the GTA have any chance of holding onto their seats come the next election. Pictured: Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn.   It’s been […]

Something else to keep us up at night

by Catherine Swift

As is not unusual, this most recent WHO treaty has been developed under a process that takes place behind closed doors. Very few people are likely to even know about these proposals for a sweeping change in the way health policy is practised everywhere because of the secretive way the WHO discussions have been proceeding […]

Toronto isn’t broke and tax hikes don’t have to be inevitable

by Jay Goldberg

When Chow was asked if she was prepared to commit to Carroll’s property tax hike plans, Chow responded by saying she needed to consult with and hear from Toronto taxpayers first. Toronto taxpayers need to give Chow exactly what she’s asked for. Photo Credit: Twitter/Olivia Chow.    Toronto taxpayers were barely given time to enjoy […]

The conspiracy theory conspiracy

by Catherine Swift

Hopefully, as the debunking of so many agendas pushed by governments become clear, we will all be more suspicious in future. And maybe being called a “conspiracy theorist” will become a compliment.  Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg. Conspiracy Theory noun   A theory seeking to explain a disputed case or matter as a plot […]

Trump could be on his way to the GOP nomination with a big win in Iowa

by Dave Redekop

Political junkies would like to see a horserace. But we’re more likely to see what a gust of wind does to a house of cards. In 2024’s GOP presidential race, Iowa may be the starting gate and the finish line. Photo Credit: Reuters/Octavio Jones.   On Monday, expect voters in Iowa to confirm what polls […]

A Trump-Biden rematch appears inevitable as 2024 begins

by Dave Redekop

As 2024 opens, the odds-on favourite nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties are President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. For the first time since the 1892 election, the incumbent president will face a previous occupant of the White House. Photo Credit: AP News.   As 2024 opens, the odds-on favourite nominees for […]

Trudeau’s and Poilievre’s mudslinging to be caked on in 2024

by Chris George

Through 2024 Canadians are sure to hear countless fighting words from both Poilievre and Trudeau in anticipation of their forthcoming election contest – a date that is seemingly set for a full 21 months from now. Until then, it will be constant mudslinging to see what sticks. Pictured is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and official […]

From paycheque to paycheque: a rising call for basic income

by Daniel Perry

The reality is that many Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. Despite having some of the strongest social nets in North America to help those who need it, Canada’s current programs are failing to meet the nation’s needs. Photo Credit: Senate of Canada.    As many white-collar Canadians return to work today, the friendly […]

Five fearless forecasts for 2024

by Catherine Swift

Here are five fearless forecasts for 2024, which will be revisited at the end of this year to see how right or wrong they turned out to be. Photo Credit: Getty Images.    As 2024 begins, it’s worth taking a shot at making predictions for the coming year and looking at some of the major […]

The Ivory Towers Crumble

by Dave Redekop

Harvard University President Claudine Gay testifies before a House committee hearing in Washington on Dec. 5. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)   Exactly a year ago, I wrote about Claudine Gay, the newly appointed President of Harvard University. Ms. Gay represents the new frontier of university administrators. She is intersectional, a person of colour, and determined to advance […]

The Reckoning: Revisiting Predictions for 2023

by Catherine Swift

Examining hits and misses for 2023 encompassing economic, immigration, healthcare, political, and global aspects, offering insights into future trends. Photo credit: Unsplash As I have done in previous years, I am once again looking back at what I expected to happen in 2023 to see how right or off-base I was.  I have always had […]

Dickens’ Christmas Carol

by Dave Redekop

An exploration into the origins and societal influences behind Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ revealing the author’s personal experiences and profound societal concerns that shaped this enduring holiday narrative of redemption and compassion. Photo credit: Wikipedia   Over the past few weeks, I have been participating in an online course I enrolled in with Hillsdale […]

Canada’s global reputation takes a hit as critics point to Trudeau’s leadership, citing diplomatic missteps and wavering foreign policy decisions that have left the nation’s international standing in disarray. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   Canada has seemingly become a personification of its Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. It is insufferably egotistical with its virtual […]

Sabotaging natural resources development: Deconstructing Canada (part 5)

by Chris George

Examining Trudeau’s natural resources policy sparks controversy over alleged alignment with global climate mandates and its impact on industries. Photo Credit: Reuters/Carlos Osorio   To understand the Trudeau government’s natural resources development approach, one must first know that Justin Trudeau and a core group of his ministers and senior staff are champions of an evolving […]

State of the Republican Race – Destiny or Detour

by Dave Redekop

As the Iowa caucus nears, Trump leads polls but speculation arises on potential upsets by DeSantis or Haley, suggesting twists in the Republican nomination race. Photo Credit: Wikipedia   With the Iowa Caucus about a month away, all the polls indicate the Trump juggernaut steaming to victory. In the latest 538 poll, Trump leads DeSantis […]

Johnson’s unexpected ascension to House Speaker, prompted by divisions within the Republican caucus and disagreements over the ousted Speaker McCarthy’s initiatives, ignites a fiery debate over his religious and political convictions as he steps into a significant leadership role. Photo Credit: Wikipedia   In as unexpected a development as likely seen in some time, an […]

Trudeau’s degradation of Parliament: Deconstructing Canada (part 4)

by Chris George

An Angus Reid poll reveals growing disillusionment among Canadians towards parliamentary proceedings, with 54% viewing MPs’ work as ‘posturing’ and 46% deeming it ‘useless’. The Trudeau government faces accusations of eroding accountability within Parliament and weakening the country’s sovereignty over its eight-year tenure. Photo credit: Reuters/Patrick Doyle   Through eight years, the governing Liberals have […]

America’s Distressing Choice

by Dave Redekop

Governors DeSantis and Newsome clash in spirited political debate on the Hannity Show, highlighting policy differences and visions for America’s future. Photo Credit: Wikipedia   On Thursday, November 30th, two leading politicians from each political party joined Sean Hannity on his evening program for a political debate. The exchange of ideas, policy differences, and barbs […]

Trudeau’s perversion of justice: Deconstructing Canada (part 3)

by Chris George

Allegations against Trudeau’s government sparked a re-examination of the foundation of legal independence and impartiality in Canada. Photo credit: Getty Images/Andrej Ivanov Justice in a post-national state is at the behest of the country’s Leader. Not that the country’s legal system has yet devolved into a totalitarian chokehold on justice, but unquestionably, in the last […]

Ford’s five-year report card

by Jay Goldberg

 Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford It’s time to grade Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s record after half a decade in office.  No matter how you slice it, Ford isn’t coming anywhere close to the taxpayer honour roll.  Ford deserves a failing grade on taxes, deficits and debt.   But with more than two years left in his term, […]

How the Media Distorts Biden v Trump

by Dave Redekop

In an era marked by heightened political tension, a closer examination of media representation on the legal challenges faced by Donald Trump and Joe Biden underscores significant differences in reporting styles and focal points. Photo credit: AP News   Ronald Reagan once observed, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant, it’s […]

Houston Must Cut Up Taxpayer Credit Card

by Jay Goldberg

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston’s spending surge raises concerns over future taxpayer burden as deficits soar. Photo credit: Twitter/Tim Houston   Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is driving his province towards a fiscal cliff. If he doesn’t change course soon, taxpayers will be in for a world of hurt. Houston didn’t inherit a rosy financial […]

JFK: 60 Years Later

by Dave Redekop

JFK’s assassination remembered after six decades: A look back at the pivotal moment that shaped America’s trajectory. Photo: Facebook/Encyclopaedia Britannica   On Nov 22, Americans marked the sixtieth anniversary of the most shocking moment of the last hundred years. In Dallas, shortly after noon, on a sunlit day, the 35th president was murdered in front […]

Robbing From Future Canadians: Deconstructing Canada (part 2)

by Chris George

As Justin Trudeau’s eight-year tenure draws scrutiny, the stark reality emerges – a legacy marred by fiscal missteps and burgeoning debt that threatens the future of Canadians. Photo: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld   Perhaps there is no greater harm done by Justin Trudeau and his eight years as Prime Minister than robbing future generations of […]

Premiers stand strong against Trudeau’s divisive carbon tax politics

by Jay Goldberg

Gudie Hutchings, Liberal Minister for Rural Economic Development, comments surrounding Trudeau’s carbon tax reversal sparks controversy and questions about priorities. Photo Credit: Twitter/ctvqp   Ironically, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s divisive carbon tax carve-out has united the majority of provinces. Last month, Trudeau announced his government’s plan to suspend the federal carbon tax on furnace oil. […]

Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record: Deconstructing Canada (part 1)

by Chris George

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces mounting public discontent as poll numbers plummet and international controversies escalate, triggering widespread calls for his resignation ahead of the next election. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld   Another miserable, embarrassing week for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  There was another poll, this one by Leger, that shows two […]

Ford emulating Trudeau?

by Jay Goldberg

Fiscal update highlights shifts in debt, corporate aid, and government size. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   The Ford government tabled its fall economic update earlier this month. If anyone doubted that Ford and Trudeau were cut from the same cloth, the numbers extinguish that doubt.   It’s become clear that Ford has adopted the Trudeau government’s […]

A Primer on what happened on October 7th

by Dave Redekop

Photographs of Israeli hostages being held by Hamas militants are projected onto the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City on November 6. Photo Credit: Leo Correa/AP   Thanks to an interview with Charles C. Cooke conducted with Dan Senor last week, I have a greater and more complete understanding of why things have evolved in Gaza […]

‘Like the 1930s all over again’ Niagara Jewish resident reflects on new war against Israel

by The Niagara Independent

Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov, AP   The impact of the recent terrorist attacks against Israel, which have resulted in a new war in the Middle East, is intense and far-reaching. Local Jewish communities around the world are enduring great pain and suffering, as they watch the horrific events unfold, and worry for the safety of […]

The Media has motive in replacing Biden

by Dave Redekop

Prominent Washington columnists suggest potential challenges to President Biden’s reelection amid growing concerns. Photo credit: AFP/Mandel Ngan via Getty Images   In a recent column, I suggested former President Obama, sometime this fall, would let Joe Biden know his services are no longer required. I stand by that story, but David Ignatius and Al Hunt, […]

The three-headed monster that will dominate the 2024 US election

by Dave Redekop

 Immigration, inflation, and crime. Photo credit: AFP/Rebecca Noble via Getty Images   Putting aside all the drama of the Trump indictments, the ill-advised dumping of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and the rapid aging of Joe Biden, three issues are sitting on the docket that the 2024 presidential hopefuls must address. These issues stand above the […]

No, Toronto isn’t undertaxed

by Jay Goldberg

Those who argue for higher taxes to solve Toronto’s budget woes continuously claim Torontonians are undertaxed, because property tax rates are lower than in neighbouring municipalities. That argument deserves two separate responses. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   It’s time to finally bust a myth: Torontonians do not have a lower tax burden than taxpayers in […]

Of the celebrations for Hamas in Canada

by Chris George

This proved to be a week of many revelations for Canadians, prompting many to question the character of our country and its citizenry. Pictured: Pro-Palestinian protestors take to the streets of Montreal on Oct. 8, 2023, mere hours after Hamas launched its initial assault on Israel. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes   The world […]

Thanksgiving tragedy in Israel

by Catherine Swift

While most Canadians reacted with justified horror to Hamas’ sadistic assault on Israel, there were many others in Canada who inexplicably supported the Palestinians’ actions. Academics, other leftists and some unions went public with messages of support for Hamas’ attacks. Photo credit: AP/Tsafrir Abayov   After this weekend’s horrific events in Israel, I find it […]

New York City’s migrant nightmare

by Dave Redekop

The free-flowing border policies of the Democratic Party, haunting New York today, serve as a warning and a threat to the political dynasties that exist. Photo credit: AFP/Timothy A. Clary via Getty Images   Just a year ago, Governor Kathy Hochul of New York, involved in a tighter-than-expected race to keep her recently secured promotion, […]

Silent Cal: reflecting back 100 years

by Dave Redekop

Calvin Coolidge ascended to the presidency precisely a century ago last month. In stark contrast to most American leaders today, the 30th president preferred to speak, spend, and rule less. Photo credit: Library of Congress   Exactly 100 years ago last month, Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, took office after the […]

Democrats ignore the Constitution

by Dave Redekop

Modern-day Democrats, such as Governor Michelle Grisham of New Mexico (pictured), have little interest in following the Constitution unless they can use it as a cudgel to prove Donald Trump and all Republicans who voted for him are insurrectionists, fascists, or authoritarians. Photo credit: AFP/Saul Loeb via Getty Images   In two recent events, a […]

Obama will deliver Biden the news

by Dave Redekop

When the current president is told his services are no longer necessary, it’ll most likely be Barack Obama who taps Biden on the shoulder. The die has been cast, only the timing remains in question. Photo credit: Getty Images via New York Post   In a recent column in The Niagara Independent, fellow writer Chris […]

How the major players performed in the last Republican presidential debate

by Dave Redekop

And a quick look ahead to the next round later this month. Photo credit: AP/Morry Gash   With the first Republican debate in the can, most are turning their attention to the next contest slated for September 27 at the Reagan Library in Simi, California. Before prospects for the second debate are considered, an analysis […]

Brace yourself for surging heating bills

by Jay Goldberg

Thanks to Trudeau’s carbon tax, if you heat your home with furnace oil, propane, or natural gas, you will be paying a lot more just to stay warm this winter. Photo credit: Getty Images/iStock   As Ontarians continue to struggle with soaring living costs, taxpayers better brace themselves for the bruising impact of the Trudeau […]

Back to school, and back to basics

by Dave Redekop

The benefits of a classical education. Photo credit: Capstone Classical Academy   As students return to school, the growing number of issues in public education mount. In Canada and the United States, students, parents, and teachers face challenges that previous generations never anticipated. The introduction of technology, the ideological battles, and the changing nature of […]

Riley Gaines’ fight for women’s sports

by Dave Redekop

The former All-American competitive swimmer at the University of Kentucky (pictured right) has become a spokesperson for what she terms the fight against the movement ‘to erase women and destroy women’s sports.’ She first garnered attention in 2022 when she spoke out against having to compete with trans swimmer Lia Thomas (left). Photo credit: Icon […]

Chow must end Tory’s secret FIFA deal

by Jay Goldberg

Based on the limited financial information the city has released, Toronto taxpayers are facing a raw deal. City bureaucrats estimate taxpayers will be on the hook for $290 million to bring five World Cup games to Toronto in 2026. Pictured is former mayor John Tory. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Christopher Katsarov   Toronto is out […]

Letter to the editor: federal inflation driving up back-to-school costs

by Tony Baldinelli

‘After eight years of Justin Trudeau, everything is broken – even back-to-school shopping.’ Photo credit: Pexels/Oleksandr P   As summer ends and kids start getting their school supplies ready, parents across the country have their own reasons for singing the back-to-school blues this year.  The inflation crisis caused by Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government, […]

Stop the mayors!

by Catherine Swift

Most Canadians don’t realize that it is the municipal level of government that has been most active in embedding the foundation for the “woke” agenda we are seeing influencing government policies and corporate initiatives around the world. Pictured: Big City Mayors Caucus meets in Toronto, May 25, 2023. Photo credit: Twitter/FCM   Local politics typically […]

How Representative Laurie Schlegel is changing lives

by Dave Redekop

  Many have wanted to regulate pornography, but determining a legal method seemed elusive. Being a sex addiction therapist gave Schlegel (pictured, left) added insight into the problem and a chance to have thought about ways to address its relentless march into the minds of young men. Photo credit: Facebook/Louisiana House of Representatives   Laurie […]

Despite the man’s flaws and failings, Trump’s appeal is understandable

by Dave Redekop

Photo credit: AP/Andrew Harnik   No one has superseded Donald Trump’s impact and influence on American politics since he came down the famous escalator in 2015 to announce his improbable presidential run. Following his 2016 campaign, upset win, presidency, impeachments, leadership during COVID, campaign of 2020, claims of election fraud, January 6 activities, subsequent role […]

Trump in 2028

by Dave Redekop

Win or lose next year, the former president could well return for another kick at the can as an octogenarian in 2028. Photo credit: Reuters/Al Drago   A former pastor of mine would often say, “I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet,” just before he would make a prediction. I will […]

The dangers for The Donald debating

by Dave Redekop

From overtly spiteful opponents to his ongoing legal problems, there are several reasons Donald Trump may choose to sit out the first Republican presidential debate later this month. Photo credit: AP/Julio Cortez   Less than two weeks before the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on August 23, also the site of the party’s 2024 […]

The Washington press corps picks sides

by Dave Redekop

The mainstream media’s reluctance to cover the President Biden corruption story reveals how committed it is to the proposition that Donald Trump poses an existential threat to democracy and the nation. Photo credit: AFB/Saul Loeb   In mid-July, while credible IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler testified of corrupt Biden family practices, including those […]

What is happening to manhood?

by Dave Redekop

Carpenter working on Tennessee’s Douglas Dam, June 1942. Photo credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group   A man does what he must–in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures–and that is the basis of human morality. These thoughts, attributed to Winston Churchill, echo today in the halls of a civilization […]

Playing with political fire

by Dave Redekop

Both the Republican Party and the dominate media appear willing to play with fire and see to it that Donald Trump wins the 2024 nomination. Photo credit: AP/Evan Vucci   As the 2024 presidential campaign shifts into a new gear, those in the Republican Party appear determined once again to nominate Donald Trump as their […]

Do the Biden disclosures invoke Watergate?

by Dave Redekop

Separated by a half century of history, the unfolding Biden Family scandal and Watergate may look different, but as the revelations mount, the prospect of former president Joe Biden lonely, walking a Delaware beach next summer as a private citizen – a la Richard Nixon in San Clemente – becomes increasingly plausible. Pictured is Joe […]

Yes, Toronto can pull the plug on co-hosting next FIFA World Cup

by Jay Goldberg

If the Australian state of Victoria can withdraw from being the sole host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Toronto can pull out from hosting less than 10 per cent of the 2026 World Cup games. Pictured is an artist rendering of a FIFA-ready expanded BMO Field. Photo credit: BMO Field   It’s time for the […]

Who is more authentic: Obama or Scott?

by Dave Redekop

Pictured are former President Barack Obama and Senator Tim Scott (right), who is currently running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Photo credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt and Getty Images/Allison Joyce   A recent dust-up in the media between former President Barack Obama and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, running for the 2024 Republican presidential […]

Taft-Hartley reminds conservatives why union power needs restraint

by Dave Redekop

Passed in 1947, the Taft-Hartley Act restricts the activities and powers of labour unions in the United States. Photo credit: LA Times/Mel Melcon   In a recent essay for National Review, Dominic Pino examines conservatives’ opposition to unions since the union movement gained legislative heft in the 1930s. As Pino suggests, the negative consequences of […]

Here’s how Chow can confront Toronto’s budget challenges

by Jay Goldberg

There’s plenty the newly elected mayor can do, from pulling the plug on the city’s costly privilege of hosting a handful of FIFA World Cup games in 2026 to opening up the tendering process. Photo credit: Twitter/Olivia Chow   Olivia Chow won Toronto’s mayoral by-election promising to spend hundreds of millions of dollars the city […]

U.S. Supreme Court rules affirmative action unconstitutional

by Dave Redekop

The decision ends several decades of what many in America consider to be race-based discrimination in the college admissions process. Photo credit: AP/Jose Luis Magana   Last week’s Supreme Court ruling in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, ended affirmative action as public policy in the United States. The […]

Continetti (pictured) is a journalist, author, and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He’s currently a contributing editor at the National Review, having formerly helped found The Washington Free Beacon. His articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. Photo credit: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation   I […]

Olivia Chow’s Toronto

by Catherine Swift

Both history and our current reality suggest this likely won’t end well. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Chris Young   Well, this is going to be interesting. Not especially good, but definitely interesting, as a test of a far-left Mayor of Toronto in Olivia Chow. Chow is being thrust into the largest city in Canada which […]

Olivia Chow’s by-election win tells us personality still rules the ballot box

by Josie Sabatino

Whether at the municipal or federal level, during good times or bad, it seems a candidate’s personality (and last name) continues to drive votes like nothing else. Photo credit: Twitter/Olivia Chow   In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and impending recession, is there still a chance for a cult of personality to sweep an […]

It’s time for Toronto City Council to stand up to big unions

by Jay Goldberg

Toronto has what’s called a closed tendering approach to awarding contracts for some of the city’s most expensive construction projects. That means that only certain construction companies affiliated with a handful of unions can bid to take on those jobs. Photo credit: Archinect   Canada’s largest city has been overpaying on construction projects to the […]

Henry Kissinger at 100

by Dave Redekop

The 20th century’s most celebrated diplomat provides guidance on mitigating the threat of the next world war. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Peter Foley   On May 27, Henry Kissinger turned 100 years old. Kissinger walks through history with Richard Nixon, not because of Watergate, but because Kissinger served as Nixon’s chief foreign policy advisor and Secretary of […]

Toronto mayoral race close to the finish line

by Catherine Swift

In a field of over 100 contenders, Olivia Chow (pictured) is the current front-runner, with Mark Saunders, Ana Bailao, Anthony Furey, and Josh Matlow jostling for second and third position. Photo credit: Twitter/Olivia Chow   There’s just a week left before we see who will succeed John Tory following his shocking departure from the Toronto […]

Robert F. Kennedy Junior: candidate for president

by Dave Redekop

Kennedy (pictured) doesn’t have to win to play spoiler for Biden, he just has to make things interesting enough. That said, as history has shown, winning is certainly not out of the question. Photo credit: AP/Virginia Mayo   For years after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy a yellowing newspaper report from what I believe […]

Who should lead America into its next epoch?

by Dave Redekop

Outside of the four leading candidates to be President of the United States come January 2025 – Biden, Trump, Harris, and DeSantis – there’s a pair of potential nominees on either side of the aisle who could return American politics back to the centre where 80 per cent of the electorate resides. On the Republican […]

Will the real 2024 presidential nominees please stand up?

by Dave Redekop

Outside of the four leading candidates to be President of the United States come January 2025 – Biden, Trump, Harris, and DeSantis – there’s a pair of potential nominees on either side of the aisle who could return American politics back to the centre where 80 per cent of the electorate resides. The first of […]

Outside of the odds-on favourites to occupy the Oval Office come January 20, 2025, there are a number of potential and declared candidates on both sides of the aisle who present an interesting – albeit, unlikely – case for next President of the United States. Photo credit: Getty Images/Scott Eisen   American presidential elections rival […]

The press and Clarence Thomas

by Dave Redekop

Photo credit: Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis   Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has once again become the subject of accusations from the Left. This time, Justice Thomas, a constant target of the progressive side of the aisle, is being accused of possible ethical lapses in his personal friendships.  What has been motivating this new effort on […]

Will Biden really be the Democratic nominee in 2024?

by Dave Redekop

Outside of age and clear cognitive decline, there are a number of factors that make the incumbent’s claim to the Democratic title more tenuous than he, his supporters, and the mainstream media would lead you to believe. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Victoria Blue   With Joe Biden’s intentions made known on April 25, the choices before the […]

Alana Newhouse and ‘brokenism’ v. ‘status-quoism’: part two

by Dave Redekop

As explained in a previous article, according to writer Alana Newhouse the primary divide in American politics today is, more than anything, about how people tend to address societal problems. One side wants to maintain the institutional status-quo, while making incremental improvements. The other wants to tear everything down and rebuild. The below analyzes how […]

Boards wrong to ban police from schools: Ecker

by Janet Ecker

School boards argue uniformed officers ‘traumatizing’ to racialized, immigrant students. Photo credit: The Globe and Mail/Glenn Lowson   What is it with school boards these days? First, we had the bizarre episode of the Halton District School Board who couldn’t figure out what professional dress was for teachers after one insisted on wearing overwhelmingly large […]

Trump Derangement Syndrome

by Dave Redekop

What it is, what it isn’t, and if and how America can move forward. Photo credit: The Washington Post/Jabin Botsford   Inside the Trump orbit, those who react to Donald Trump in an unpleasant manner are said to have Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS. The Trumplicans believe this diagnosis to describe anyone who suffers from […]

Book banning in America

by Dave Redekop

Not all book bans are created equal. There’s a difference between keeping sexually explicit material out of the hands of elementary school children and banishing classic novels from the classroom which, depending on one’s perspective, may contain uncomfortable themes or inclusions upon complete removal from their historical and cultural context. Photo credit: AP/Rick Bowmer   […]

What the Fox News, Dominion Voting settlement tells us

by Dave Redekop

There are three hard lessons to be learned from Fox’s recent defamation suit and $787.5 million payout to Dominion Voting Systems. Photo credit: AP/Yuki Iwamura   Just before Fox News personalities had to testify in court, a settlement between the company and Dominion Voting Systems (DVS) came to light. In the agreement, Fox paid DVS […]

A personal library tells a story

by Dave Redekop

Photo credit: Dave Redekop   Sitting in my small den, a converted bedroom, stands a bookshelf that my wife and I had built about 20 years ago to house my ever-increasing collection of books. On the shelves rest the story of my life retold as I observe the tales that I have read over the […]

Toronto is the only municipality in Ontario that charges a land transfer tax. Mayoral candidate Anthony Furey (pictured, right) wants to change that by phasing out the additional tax in the years ahead. Photo credit: Twitter/Anthony Furey   Here’s a novel idea: if you want to bring the price of housing down, try taxing less. […]

Alana Newhouse and ‘brokenism’ v. ‘status-quoism’

by Dave Redekop

According to Newhouse (pictured), the primary ideological divide in American politics today is less about or between left versus right, or liberal versus conservative. It’s more about how people on either side prefer to address societal problems. One side wants to maintain the institutional status-quo while making incremental improvements. The other wants to tear the […]

Where have you gone, Gerald Ford?

by Dave Redekop

In 1974, newly-elected President Gerald Ford put what was ultimately best for the nation above is his own personal and political interests when he pardoned his predecessor Richard Nixon for any crimes related to the Watergate scandal. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library    About a month after Richard Nixon left office in […]

Is Joe Manchin prepping for a third-party run?

by Dave Redekop

Manchin, often the target of criticism from the left wing of the Democratic Party, has started to tire of balancing the interests of his state, which depends on the fossil fuel industry, and those of a party becoming more entrenched in its Green Energy commitments. Anyone dismissing the possibility of a run down the middle […]

More must be done to quell rise in ‘unprovoked random attacks’

by Janet Ecker

One of the most fundamental duties of government is to keep its citizens safe. Photo credit: CBC/Mark Bochsler   As one gets older, it’s not unusual to fear that society is “going to hell in a hand basket”, to use an old expression. Reading about the rapid increase in “unprovoked random attacks” on our country’s […]

Has Donald Trump jumped the shark?

by Dave Redekop

In recently criticizing Governor Ron DeSantis with a particularly silly, objectively untrue line of attack, the former president, it can be argued, has begun to exhibit the same kind of quality-decline as Happy Days did with the Fonz’s infamous water-skiing feat. Photo credit: Miller-Milkis Productions   The long-running television sitcom Happy Days gave us many […]

Donald Trump’s potential running mate

by Dave Redekop

Despite (and perhaps partially thanks to) the former president’s arrest and arraignment earlier this week in New York, he’s the current front-runner in the race to be the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2024 presidential election. If successful in his bid to reappear on the ballot, Trump won’t be alone – he’ll of course have […]

Governor DeSantis in his own words – part two

by Dave Redekop

The popular governor from Florida on the media, elementary school education (indoctrination), woke corporations, and crime. Photo credit: AP/Ron Johnson   In a previous article, I debriefed an interview Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida completed with conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro. There were three initial areas of discussion I examined: DeSantis’ early years, his […]

Late night hosts split

by Dave Redekop

Talk show host veterans Stephen Colbert (pictured left) and Bill Maher (right), both very much of the political left, serve as a kind of microcosm for the Democratic Party of today. Colbert represents the ultra-progressive wing, having fully embraced the woke doctrine. While Maher embodies the classical liberal of yesteryear, making time for common sense […]

Governor DeSantis in his own words – part one

by Dave Redekop

Though yet to officially declare his run for the presidency, Ron DeSantis stands as both Trump’s and Biden’s biggest rival for the White House in 2024. Photo credit: NURPHOTO/Paul Hennessy via AP   As he prepares for his entrance into the 2024 presidential sweepstakes, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida recently sat for an interview with […]

No. 4 at 75

by Dave Redekop

Legendary Boston Bruin Bobby Orr, who turned 75 on Monday, revolutionized the defenceman position, and in turn forever changed the game of hockey. Photo credit: NHL   Like a comet streaking through the sky, for a few short seasons in the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, Robert Gordon Orr, Parry Sound hockey prodigy, ruled the […]

Two unlikely presidential candidates from South Carolina

by Dave Redekop

Former governor Nikki Haley (left) officially entered the Republican Party nomination race one month ago. Senator Tim Scott (right) is currently strongly considering a bid. Photo credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster and AP/John Locher    Having spent five years in South Carolina in the 1980s and still in touch with those who know a bit about the […]

Mitch McConnell – the left’s great enemy, the right’s vexation

by Dave Redekop

Once highly respected on both sides of the aisle, the Republican Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky now finds himself the target of censure from red and blue forces alike. Photo credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta   No politician in Washington today stirs up more aggravation than the long-time senior senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell. Despite being […]

Five American political podcasts worth a listen

by Dave Redekop

The below provide listeners with ideas you can’t say on legacy networks and offer a refreshing slant on the news, all while reporting stories that the corporate media ignores. Pictured is Ben Shapiro, co-founder of the Daily Wire and host of the Ben Shapiro Show. Photo credit: Getty Images/Jessica Pons   From time to time, […]

The Toronto Public Library recently launched a new initiative called the “Book Sanctuary”. Its aim is to protect literary works currently being challenged for not meeting the ever-changing rules of “wokeism.” Photo credit: Toronto Public Library   What do you think when you hear the word “sanctuary”? Most people associate it with refugees or illegal […]

How to fire the U.S. Vice-President

by Dave Redekop

Current VP Kamala Harris, on several occasions, has given pause to those who thought she had the gravitas for the office back in 2020. Her cackling laughter, off-topic responses, nonsequiturs to inquiries, and apparent tone deafness to basic politicking find her in deep water with senior members of the Biden team and quite unpopular with […]

Joe Biden’s gambit

by Dave Redekop

On entitlement programs, Donald Trump and Joe Biden speak from the same hymnbook and intend on trying to perpetuate programs which simply do not have the funding on hand to sustain themselves. Biden needs Trump in 2024 because the latter provides nothing new the American people haven’t already seen. Ron DeSantis, on the other hand, […]

An ode to the importance of family

by Catherine Swift

In recent years, much has been said about the decline of the family and the resultant social and economic impacts of that phenomenon. But what it often seems to come down to is how the prevailing structure of family is defined and how it has changed. Photo credit: Pexels/Arina Krasnikova   Having just experienced a […]

Key recommendations to improve health outcomes in Canada

by Janet Ecker

To help fix our fledgling system, we need better data, more family doctors, higher-performing emergency wards, and greater involvement from the private sector. Photo credit: Getty Images/Brandon Bell   Yeah! The federal and provincial governments have done a deal to increase Ottawa’s share of health funding by $46.2 billion over ten years. While that is […]

California v. Florida: two visions of America

by Dave Redekop

Popular leaders of their respective states, Governors Gavin Newsom (left) and Ron DeSantis (right) have both been touted as future presidential candidates and could well meet head-to-head in the coming years. However, their popularity is virtually all that unites them, as both men possess radically different visions for America and notions of how best to […]

Pete Buttigieg revealed

by Dave Redekop

Current Secretary of Transportation and former Democratic Party presidential nomination candidate Pete Buttigieg. Compared to that of cabinet members of yesteryear, such as the laudable George Schulz, Buttigieg’s qualifications and competence are significantly lacking – and, unfortunately, Americans are notable worse off for it. Photo credit: Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker   The trials and travails of […]

Kim Davis and the politics of hockey

by Dave Redekop

Just over five years ago, the NHL brought on former JP Morgan Chase executive Kim Davis (pictured) to head up its new diversity regime. Photo credit: NHL   Back in 2017, the NHL’s head-honchos decided that a league, possessing a long history of racial intolerance, especially towards Indigenous players and those of African descent, needed […]

Classified chaos – Clinton, Biden, and Trump

by Dave Redekop

The classified documents drama playing out over the past few weeks in Washington says a lot about American leadership of late, elite media, and double standards. Photo credit: AP   Three weeks ago, CBS News revealed that classified documents from when Joe Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice-president had been located at the Penn Biden […]

All signs point to federal election this year, and it can’t come soon enough

by Graham Speck

Justin Trudeau campaigns in Whitby, Ontario in the lead-up to Canada’s 2021 election. Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos    A federal election in 2021, a provincial election in the spring of 2022, and a municipal election in the fall of 2022. Why not round it out in 2023 with another federal election?  Voter fatigue is very real, […]

The two men who replace Nancy Pelosi

by Dave Redekop

In tandem, Kevin McCarthy (left) and Hakeem Jefferies (right) take the torch from Nancy Pelosi, who was both Speaker and Leader. Photo credit: CNN and Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz   At the beginning January, Kevin McCarthy of California and Hakeem Jefferies of New York were sworn in as new Speaker of the House of Representatives in the […]

George Santos’ whoppers inform us

by Dave Redekop

While Santos (pictured) sunk to new lows by fabricating everything from education to family matters in the lead up to this past November’s election, when looking for someone with whom to compare the representative from New York, no better example exists than the current President of the United States. Photo credit: The Washington Post/David Becker […]

Whisperer to the President

by Dave Redekop

President Joe Biden’s most trusted and powerful advisor, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Photo credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong   Ask any sentient person in North America and they can tell you Joe Biden is the President of the United States. They may even tell you he holds the most powerful office in the […]

A modest proposal for the 2024 presidential race

by Dave Redekop

Both Democrats and Republicans should look to the next generation of leaders and put forward nominees who are, at the very least, cognitively intact and capable of building consensus. This would of course disqualify both Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Photo credit: AP   The political schedule in the United States heats up in 2023. […]

Politicizing issues delays solutions

by Catherine Swift

From the climate change issue to how best to treat drug addiction, censoring opinions and statistics based on political lines has become more commonplace in recent years. Photo credit: Britannica   High profile issues of the day have always been politicized to some extent, but this has been happening to an alarming degree in recent […]

Five fearless forecasts for 2023

by Catherine Swift

What will next year bring in terms of the economy, Canadian politics, and international affairs? For the fourth straight year, Swift makes her predictions. Photo credit: Getty Images/Cole Burston    For the fourth year running, I am going to once again try my hand at making some predictions about what is to come in 2023 […]

Harvard inspires mediocrity

by Dave Redekop

Harvard University recently named Claudine Gay (pictured) as the school’s 30th president. Gay is someone who, by almost every professional measure, appears wholly unqualified to lead what many still consider to be the world’s finest institute of higher-learning. Photo credit: Harvard University/Stephanie Mitchell   A striking sense of change marks establishment academia these days. Where […]

The reckoning: revisiting predictions for 2022

by Catherine Swift

Spot on in some areas, off base in others, but bold in their making, nonetheless. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   As promised, I will now revisit the five predictions I made in my Niagara Independent column at the end of 2021 for this past year and see how off base I was. Most […]

The problem with electric vehicles

by Dan McTeague

 For starters, while EVs don’t burn fuel, you need to charge the battery which, of course, requires energy. And where does that energy come from? More often than not, it comes from the very thing the use of EVs is supposed to be replacing. Photo credit: Pexels/dcbel   For years now we’ve been hearing about the […]

Mosquito Bowl – a Christmas story

by Dave Redekop

Played on Christmas Eve 1944 between two rival regiments of Marines on the island of Guadalcanal, the wartime football game – the subject of a new book by Buzz Bissinger – provides a valuable lesson in unity. Pictured are Marine Lt. David Scheiner and Cpl. Anthony Butkovich shaking hands before the game, Dec. 24, 1944. […]

Kyrsten Sinema – American maverick

by Dave Redekop

The senator from Arizona formally split from the Democratic Party and registered as an Independent earlier this month. Photo credit: Getty Images/Bloomberg    In a recent article, I wrote about the radical shift that has overtaken the Democratic Party. Those who take issue with this view can now take it up with the Senior Senator […]

Profile in courage – Godspeed Michael Gerson

by Dave Redekop

Then-President George W. Bush prepares his State of the Union address with chief speechwriter Michael Gerson outside the Oval Office in Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2002. Gerson passed away last month. He was 58. Photo credit: Eric Draper/Reuters   The recent passing of former George W. Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson, reminds us all that profiles in […]

Why are U.S. elections open to charges of fraud?

by Dave Redekop

While Canadian elections routinely and historically take place almost entirely without incident. Three main issues help explain the stark contrast. Photo credit: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic   Everyone in North America with the slightest interest in current events knows about the claims of a stolen vote in the 2020 American presidential election. Interestingly enough, a long history […]

Free the media

by Kris Sims

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau getting scrummed by the media. Photo credit: The Hill Times   Journalists shouldn’t worry about losing their paycheques when they report on the government. That worry is the consequence of government funding the media, creating a dependence that can ultimately throttle criticism. The Trudeau government has poured $595 million into its media […]

West can no longer ignore existential threats posed by autocratic regimes

by Josie Sabatino

As U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an address to security leaders in Halifax last month, China and Russia both “seek a world where disputes are resolved by force and where autocrats can stamp out the flame of freedom.” Pictured is Chinese president Xi Jinping. Photo credit: AP via PBS   A few weeks […]

All options should be on the table for a health care system in crisis

by Janet Ecker

The status quo cannot be sustained, but getting over our societal paranoia about “innovation” in health care and the bureaucratic inertia that comes with change will be challenging. Photo credit: Getty Images/Mario Tama   For a generation – or two – we lulled ourselves into the complacent belief that our health care system was “better”, […]

Nancy Pelosi’s mixed legacy

by Dave Redekop

Mother, grandmother, and arguably the most important woman in modern American politics, last week the outgoing Speaker, age 82, announced she would not stand for another leadership post in government after leading the House Democrats for two decades. Photo credit: Los Angeles Times/Kent Nishimura    Much will be written about Nancy Pelosi over the next […]

COP27 – after 50 years, UN-led environmental central planning is failing

by David Yager

The primary goal of governments today is to keep the lights on and economies moving. Photo credit: AP/Peter Dejong   “Fossil fuel addiction is hijacking humanity. Renewables are the exit ramp from the climate hell highway. Negotiators at COP27 have a chance to make a difference. They must make it here and now.”  So tweeted United Nations […]

Will the 25th Amendment end Joe Biden’s presidency?

by Dave Redekop

The media clamoured to suggest Trump’s cabinet should invoke the 25th, so why the radio silence now from those same media ‘experts’ in regard to President Biden? It’s abundantly clear the latter’s capacity to lead is severely limited. Photo credit: AP via NBC   Section Four of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution […]

The unseen political warfare involved in selecting a new Regional Chair

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s next head of council will be selected by members at their first meeting on Nov. 24, 2022. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent    Intimidation and retribution. Those are the watch words from politicos in 2022 operating on the extreme left and on the extreme right. If you aren’t with us, you are against us!     […]

Plenty of lessons for Republicans to learn from midterm elections

by Dave Redekop

Not least of which is that the party must, sooner than later, rid itself of the albatross around its neck that is former president Donald Trump. Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Segar   Last Tuesday evening, the Republican Party, expecting a wave of successful candidates to sweep them into power across America, instead experienced a red trickle, […]

Final projections for upcoming U.S. election: revisited

by Dave Redekop

A review of last week’s midterm picks. Pictured is Democratic senator-elect John Fetterman of Pennsylvania. Photo credit: Getty/Justin Merriman   In a recent column for The Niagara Independent, I made some final projections about what I thought would happen in the hottest battleground contests of the U.S. midterm elections, which took place Tuesday night. How […]

Final projections for upcoming U.S. election

by Dave Redekop

Midterm elections south of the border take place next Tuesday, November 8. Several contests remain a dead heat heading into the home stretch, including the Georgia Senate race between Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock (left) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker (right). The outcome of the tight race in Georgia, which may well require a run-off, could […]

What happened to the Democratic Party?

by Dave Redekop

Ad nauseam, the media reports on Republican violations, absurdities, and inconsistencies when it comes to upholding America’s cultural and institutional norms, all the while deliberately ignoring Democratic breaches because progressives, apparently, possess better motives or mean well. Photo credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster   What has happened to the Democratic Party? In the cacophony of media coverage […]

Romney gets the last laugh (but it’s not funny)

by Nick Redekop

A decade ago, the former presidential candidate was derided by some for his views on Russia and China and the threats their respective regimes posed on the west. The Idaho Statesman/Kyle Green via AP    This month is the anniversary of two critical events in the history of American foreign policy. The first, of course, […]

Approaching the looming population crisis with realism

by Nick Redekop

The underpopulation crisis, that is. Photo credit: MedPage Today   Most of us grew up being told that overpopulation posed a direct threat to the economic and environmental sustainability of the world. This argument was put forth based on naive assumptions regarding the permanency of globalism, world peace and the absence of any large global […]

Status quo may prevail in upcoming U.S. election

by Dave Redekop

Pictured are Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor of Arizona Katie Hobbs (left) and Kari Lake (right). Polls designate the race as one of the closest midterm contests in the country. Photo credit: Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore   American voters are set to hit the polls for midterm elections in just a few weeks on November […]

Canada can do more to improve global energy security and help reduce world emissions by growing oil and gas than it can by shutting the industry down. Photo credit: ARC Resources Ltd.   Environmental activists are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to endorse a dangerous and misguided “fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty” ahead of the COP27 climate […]

Why Canada should resist calls to become a republic

by Nick Redekop

Outside of being an arduous, potentially contentious process, such a shift would remove both an important check on influence and power and a vital part of the country’s identity.    The months and years ahead will be full of challenges for the royal family of Great Britain. One of the greatest of these objectives will […]

Cold War on Ice – Remembering the 1972 Summit Series: Part III

by Dave Redekop

The famed eight-game hockey competition between Canada and the Soviet Union took place exactly half a century ago this month. Below discusses the legacy of the tournament and how it impacted the game in Canada and abroad. This is the third and final installment in a three-part series. Click to read Part I and Part […]

Why Ron DeSantis frightens both Democrats and Trumpkins alike

by Dave Redekop

The current Florida governor possesses all of the presidential qualities, credentials, and capabilities Joe Biden and Donald Trump lack. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Tristan Wheelock    In the recent primary elections in Florida, the Democratic Party turned out a phenomenal 1.5 million voters to nominate Charlie Crist as their gubernatorial candidate in this fall’s election. It would […]

The challenges King Charles III will face moving forward

by Nick Redekop

From his personal reputation to the relevancy of the monarchy, Her Majesty’s eldest son will have to carefully navigate a handful of immediate challenges as he assumes the throne. Photo credit: AP/Alastair Grant   The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place on Monday, marked the end of the official mourning period in […]

Cold War on Ice – Remembering the 1972 Summit Series: Part II

by Dave Redekop

The famed eight-game hockey competition between Canada and the Soviet Union took place exactly half a century ago this month. Below chronicles the second half of the series played on Soviet soil from Sept. 22 to 28, 1972. See here for Part I. Pictured is Paul Henderson’s series-winning goal in game eight. Photo credit: Library […]

The three greatest British monarchs were women

by Nick Redekop

Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II reigned for nearly a cumulative two centuries.     Britain, Canada and the entire Commonwealth are mourning the death of Her Majesty the Queen. Her passing marks the end of seven decades defined by innovation, economic prosperity and unprecedented world peace. There have been numerous exceptional monarchs […]

Who is Emily Oster and why it matters

by Dave Redekop

Data assembled and assessed by the Ivy League professor (pictured) conclusively demonstrates that, contrary to union and media-fuelled popular belief, schools are not, in fact, hot spots for COVID. As Oster’s work helped show, school closures were not only unnecessary, keeping children out of the classroom, away from friends, and out of all social and […]

Has urbanization gone too far?

by Nick Redekop

Urbanization and its accessory offshoots have pulled untold millions out of abject poverty and freed our society from the necessity of hunting, fishing, foraging, and personal farming to survive. But there’s still value in many of the all-but lost skills and activities we once counted on for subsistence. Photo credit: City of Toronto Archives   […]

Cold War on Ice – Remembering the 1972 Summit Series: Part I

by Dave Redekop

The famed eight-game hockey competition between Canada and the Soviet Union took place exactly half a century ago this month. Below describes how the binational clash came to be and chronicles the first half of the series played on Canadian soil. Pictured Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau completes the ceremonial puck-drop ahead of game one at […]

The unsung hero of the Canadian labour movement

by Nick Redekop

Figures like J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas, and Jack Layton most easily and often come to mind when one considers the history of organized labour in Canada. However, with passage of the Trade Unions Act in 1872, among other efforts, Sir. John A. Macdonald laid the foundation for Canadian labour long before the modern movement’s successes […]

It’s time to refresh the Canadian calendar

by Nick Redekop

From moving, renaming, and expanding the significance of Victoria Day, to giving the country’s veterans the proper recognition they deserve by making Remembrance Day a full day of observance with schools and offices closed, there are several ways Canada could revise and refine its holiday calendar. Photo credit: Manulife Financial via To Do Canada   […]

What the FBI search means for 2024

by Dave Redekop

It all depends on if Merrick Garland really has the goods, and more importantly how well he and his political allies can sell whatever was found in Florida, if anything, to the American people. Photo credit: Getty Images/Brandon Bell   Earlier this month the FBI used a search warrant collected in June to carry out […]

It is time to revisit resource corridors

by David Yager

 In a dramatically changed world, resource corridors could be the catalyst to actually getting something done in Canada. Photo credit: Facebook/Trans Mountain   One of the best ideas that has gone nowhere is the creation of resource corridors for long-distance transportation infrastructure using routes where land-use and development issues are resolved in advance. Historically, the […]

The Democrats’ share of the ‘big lie’

by Dave Redekop

Casting doubt on the American electoral system in an attempt to overturn or invalidate an unfavourable election result hardly began with the political defeat of Donald Trump in 2020. The Democrats have effectively spent the entire 21st century doubting Republican victories and leveling spurious accusations against their political opponents, starting in earnest with the 2000 […]

Why Diefenbaker’s legacy is overshadowed by Pierre Trudeau

by Nick Redekop

 The Athens and Jerusalem-born, enlightenment-dreamed and free-market-based principles that built our country have been gradually replaced by increasingly globalist, relativist and socialist policy initiatives. Since the nation is now understood more commonly through this new lens, it is no surprise that Trudeau, not Diefenbaker, is considered by the masses as the “Father of modern Canada”. […]

Who will be the Democratic nominee in 2024?

by Dave Redekop

As the sitting president, one would expect Joe Biden to be the automatic choice for the Democratic Party. However, growing concerns around the soon-to-be octogenarian’s health and capacity put the possibility of a second term in serious jeopardy. There are several contenders waiting in the wings to jump in if need be. Perhaps the most […]

Removing tax-exemption status from churches is a horrible idea

by Nick Redekop

Despite the missteps and sorted histories of some churches, as well as a palpable wane in religiosity in modern day Canada, faith-based communities do a great deal of good for the mind, body, and soul of society and are worth preserving. Photo credit: Pexels/Rodnae Productions   The pilgrimage to Canada by Pope Francis was met […]

Evaluating term limits for elected officials

by Dave Redekop and Nick Redekop

Are term limits necessary, fair, and/or effective? As discussed below, there are myriad pros and cons to limiting an individual’s time in office. Pictured is President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only American president to be elected four times. After Roosevelt’s death, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment, limiting presidential tenure to a maximum of two four-year […]

Canada can play a vital role in addressing the global food crisis

by Nick Redekop

5 Blessed with abundant land and resources, but plagued by over-regulation, immigration issues, and the like, Canada could alleviate a great deal of suffering around the world if the powers that be would help facilitate, rather than encumber production. Photo credit: Canadian Chamber of Commerce   The world is on the brink of an existential […]

Hot U.S. Senate races this fall

by Dave Redekop

Pennsylvania’s Senate race between Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz (pictured, left) and current Lt. Governor John Fetterman is one of a handful of key midterm contests this November. Photo credit: AP/Marc Levy    Elections held in the United States later this year will determine a number of matters affecting regional, national and global politics. If Canadians […]

Why CANZUK makes sense for Canada (and the world)

by Nick Redekop

  The partnership would be a formal bridging of the largest economies in the Commonwealth: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Global threats from modern imperialist states like Russia and China, coupled with growing American isolationist sentiment, means that effective alliances of such middle-sized powers will be crucial to maintaining peace and stability […]

Photo credit: Getty Images/WPA Pool   Perhaps it’s the summer doldrums. Or maybe it is just because this writer is getting older. Whatever the reason, it seems that our country is just not working well these days.      Wherever you look, there is disfunction. Airport chaos and the total meltdown of the country’s passport and visa […]

Nothing prudent about Trudeau government’s budgeting

by Franco Terrazzano

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alongside Deputy PM and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland. Photo credit: PMO   There’s great irony in Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland touting the government’s “fiscal restraint” on the same day taxpayers find out that the governor general and her fellow passengers racked up an $80,000-bill on in-flight catering.  “I know that my fiscal […]

What the Roe v. Wade ruling really means

by Dave Redekop

 Lost in the politics and hysterics that naturally followed the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade two weeks ago was what actually happened: abortion was not outlawed across the country; the matter was simply remanded back to the states. Photo credit: AP/AJ Mast   The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) […]

Janet Ecker, former senior cabinet minister under Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, contemplates the likely contents of key cabinet ministers’ mandate letters from Premier Ford – like that of newly promoted Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones (pictured). Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette    The cabinet shuffle is over and Ontario Premier […]

Canada and private property rights

by Nick Redekop

Citizens of free nations buy, sell, labour on, and enjoy private property. Canada is no exception. It is thus a surprise to many when they learn that Canadians are not formally guaranteed private property rights in our Constitution. Though it may prove challenging, it’s high time that changes.    Private property, as a concept, is […]

If the Congressional leaders had moved with speed and determination, brought forth witnesses, and had cooperative GOP partners, the 45th president would have been impeached, convicted for his unconstitutional crimes surrounding January 6 and been ineligible to run for office again. However, as it stands, it seems likely Trump will make another attempt at the […]

The Trudeau government is on a quest for censorship

by Jay Goldberg

Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Patrick Doyle    Sign first, then we’ll discuss the details. Nobody would trust a real estate agent or used car dealership with that approach, but that’s how the Trudeau government is trying to sell its plan to regulate the internet. The government is currently trying […]

Why the gun debate is so complicated

by Dave Redekop

Recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and just across the border in Buffalo, New York have once again brought one of the United States’ most divisive debates to the fore. The dual issue of gun violence and how best to reduce its presence has even made its way into a Canadian context, with public officials […]

Pierre Trudeau’s policies Americanized English-speaking Canada

by Nick Redekop

The former prime minister executes a pirouette behind Her Majesty’s back during a May 1977 visit to Buckingham Palace. The move, in the words of the photographer who captured the iconic image, reflected Trudeau’s “democratic disdain for aristocratic pomp”. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Doug Ball    As Canada Day approaches, many are reflecting on our […]

Will Canada adopt a four-day workweek?

by Dave Redekop and Nick Redekop

At this point, it appears more likely than not. The idea is steadily gaining momentum. In the eyes of many, the positives outweigh the drawbacks. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   Many democratic nations are considering adopting a four-day workweek. Canada is no exception. Multiple Ontario parties promised a four-day workweek during the recent election campaign. […]

Reclaiming Canadian excellence

by Nick Redekop

Canada has proven itself to be a powerful force for good in the past. It’s high time that we once again live up to our potential and strive to be a global leader in the areas in which we excel.    In recent decades, Canada has failed to realize its potential in numerous key areas. […]

Costs continue to rise, while student outcomes continue to go down. It would be nice if Ontario’s major political parties would tell us how they intend to fix the problem – which is, fundamentally, about the quality not quantity of educators, as well as the curriculum and testing mechanisms employed. Photo credit: Rodnae Productions   […]

Curing society’s long COVID

by Dave Redekop

A new kind of ‘long COVID’ is settling in. This one threatens to haunt us, our kids, and our society for years to come. Photo credit: Education Week/Jaclyn Borowski   When COVID-19 first emerged as a threat to the global community, a number of restrictive measures were implemented. The situation has been serious and could […]

Questions that will guide the debate on Canada’s new defence policy

by Nick Redekop

Photo credit: Canadian Armed Forces    The federal government will soon launch an initiative to develop a new Canadian defence policy. This is welcome news. It has been 70 years since the last update. We do not live in a 1950s world anymore.  The most recent federal budget left much to be desired. With that […]

Lessons from North Korea

by Catherine Swift

Activist and North Korean escapee Yeonmi Park speaks onstage during the Tory Burch Foundation Embrace Ambition Summit at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, April 24, 2018. Ms. Park addressed the Canada Strong and Free Conference last week in Ottawa, retelling her harrowing story of escape, life in the “Hermit Kingdom”, and lessons about […]

Is there a future for publicly funded religious schools in Canada?

by Nick Redekop

The issue and its various solutions are more complex than one may think. Photo credit: Catholic News Service/ Gregory A. Shemitz   As Ontario enters election season, complicated issues will make a return appearance to public discourse. Few debates plague provincial representatives with more nightmares than public funding for religious schools. The future of Catholic […]

How the economic policies of modern regressive progressives has made life unaffordable

by Dave Redekop and Nick Redekop

Including governments flooding the economy with surplus cash, there are three main reasons for the mess we find ourselves in, and two strategies that can help us find our way out.    Progressive policy, in its present form, refers to what may be defined as a movement which aims to speak on behalf of ordinary […]

Far from a shoo-in, PCs will have to earn another mandate

by Janet Ecker

Heading into the June election Doug Ford and his team have a good shot at forming government again, but they’ll have to work for it. Anything can happen in Ontario politics, and a well-run campaign is necessary to any victory. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Campaigns matter. Just ask former premiers Mike Harris and Bob […]

Trump v. Biden: Round Two?

by Dave Redekop and Nick Redekop

If they both have their way, we could be headed toward another showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November 2024. Partisans may like the idea of four more years of either one, but patriots can see that the United States needs a fresh start for the next administration, one free of Donald Trump […]

Canada’s oncoming Conservative wave

by Dave Redekop and Nick Redekop

Striking a deal with the NDP may have seemed like a good short-term solution for the federal Liberals, but it may prove to be their undoing. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick    The recent consummation of a deal between the federal Liberals and the NDP has generated significant speculation across the country. However, many […]

Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. McNaughton has done yeoman’s work promoting and modernizing the skilled trades since taking up his portfolio in June 2019. Photo credit: Twitter/Monte McNaughton    It used to be that parents wanted their children to grow up to be doctors or lawyers or teachers. Having one’s […]

Canada could learn a thing or two from US judicial appointment process, and vice versa

by Dave Redekop and Nick Redekop

 Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Mar. 23, 2022. The Senate formally confirmed Brown Jackson’s nomination to the US Supreme Court on Thursday. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Julia Nikhinson   Every few years, Canadians watch with great intrigue as the United States embarks on the long, divisive, and arduous process of […]

The joke is on taxpayers on April Fools’ Day

by Franco Terrazzano

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Doug Ives   It’s not an April Fools’ joke: politicians are raising their own salaries at the same time they’re hiking carbon taxes and alcohol taxes. “The joke is on taxpayers and it isn’t funny as our members of Parliament pocket a pay raise while emptying our wallets with higher carbon […]

Who says governments can’t sometimes get it right?

by Janet Ecker

Ford and feds come together on $10 a day childcare program. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   It seemed like it would never happen. But after months of Ontario Premier Doug Ford saying a deal was coming “soon”, the province and the federal government finally signed an agreement to create “$10 a day” childcare for children […]

After cutting license plate sticker fees, Ford must keep going

by Jay Goldberg

Premier of Ontario Doug Ford announces the removal of tolls on Highway 412 and 418, Feb. 18, 2022. Ford has revealed several cost-saving initiatives for taxpayers over the last few weeks. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   License plate stickers in Ontario are destined for the ash heap of history, thanks to the Ford government’s commitment […]

Why Trudeau should say no to a wealth tax

by Jay Goldberg

Photo credit: Reuters/Patrick Doyle    As the federal budget approaches, taxpayers are holding on to their wallets a little tighter. Even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared less than two years ago that “the last thing Canadians need is to see a rise in taxes,” the government will likely have to win the support of the NDP […]

The double standards of Canada’s political class

by Janet Ecker

Whether blocking a railway, burning a church, blockading a border, or choking the main arteries of our nation’s capital, destructive acts of civil disobedience must be measured with the same yardstick. Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Osorio   Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh may have inadvertently put his finger on one of the root causes of so […]

A matter of fact: Canada is the solution for energy to keep the world running

by Deborah Jaremko

Canada can help avoid situations where oil and gas is used as a political weapon. Photo credit: LNG Canada   Russia is invading Ukraine, empowered in part by the world’s reliance on the state for energy supply.  More than a decade of Canada being handicapped in its ability to get oil and gas to global […]

On tax cuts, Ford should go all in

by Jay Goldberg

Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy (back). In March, Bethlenfalvy will present the Ford government’s last budget before the provincial election. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   After fifteen years of governments pursuing high spending, run-away deficits, and no meaningful tax relief, it’s time for Ontario Premier Doug Ford to think […]

Glimpses of leadership amid a seemingly leaderless crisis

by Janet Ecker

Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette   After two weeks of truckers’ protests/occupation/blockades across Canada, there was a palpable sense of relief last Friday when Ontario Premier Doug Ford stepped up to the microphones to declare a state of emergency and announce tough steps to try and end the mess.   Support him or criticize him […]

With sky-high gas prices, Ford has a political opening

by Jay Goldberg

Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   The collective blood pressure of Ontario taxpayers surged over the weekend as gas prices hit record levels across the province. In large part, hardworking taxpayers can blame the federal government for soaring costs. For the first time ever, gas prices in Ontario crossed the $1.50 per litre threshold. […]

With less than four months to go until the next provincial election, Ontario’s former minister of finance and government house leader provides an early assessment of where the parties and their respective leaders stand. Pictured left to right: Doug Ford (PC), Andrea Horwath (NDP), Steven Del Duca (Liberal). Photo credit: Postmedia/The Canadian Press   If […]

Photo credit: AAMC   Watching the continual and increasingly strident demonization of individuals who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 prompted a melancholy and sobering reflection by this author.  It brought to mind a visit, several years ago, to Yad Vashem, the museum in Israel dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who […]

Cure becoming worse than the disease: Ecker

by Janet Ecker

Ontario’s former minister of education under Mike Harris and minister of finance under Ernie Eves weighs in on the province’s recent decision to renew lockdown measures, as well as governments’ handling of the pandemic more generally. Photo credit: University of Pennsylvania   In early 2021, a clever person posted on the internet: “I want to […]

As the economic impact of weather disasters grows, the need to discuss all factors is increasingly important. Pictured is last month’s mass flooding in southern BC. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward   One of the most frequently quoted and but seldom investigated aspects of climate change is the rising costs of weather-related insurance claims. […]

Stocking stuffers Ford can gift Ontario taxpayers this holiday season

by Jay Goldberg

Photo credit: Getty Images/Jose Luis Pelaez   In case Premier Doug Ford is one of those last-minute holiday shoppers who doesn’t like the mall, Ontario taxpayers have some stocking stuffer ideas the Ontario government needs to deliver. The best gift ideas are presents that Ford should be very familiar with, since they were in his […]

Blanket closures of restaurants and schools, for example, are not sustainable options. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Dominic Chan   As we end the year, much like we started – fighting a never-ending pandemic called COVID – Ontarians may well be wondering what next… plagues of locusts, perhaps? Just when everyone thought we could get back […]

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault speaks at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 4, 2021. Photo credit: Reuters/Phil Noble   Anyone who was a fan of British comedy in the last century will no doubt recall “Monty Python and the Flying Circus” which aired from 1969 to 1974, and […]

Country’s health care system cannot continue on like this

by Janet Ecker

Emergency department at Etobicoke General Hospital. Photo credit: CBC/Evan Mitsui   We have all been so wrapped up in fighting COVID -19, we have not paid enough attention to a more fundamental, longer-term health care issue – the damage being done to our health care system and the health of our population. Another new report, […]

Faster decision-making needed on testing at border crossings

by Ian McLean

The Peace Bridge connecting Fort Erie, Ont. and Buffalo, N.Y. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Cole Burston   One of the most critical components for Canada’s economic recovery is the movement of people across international borders. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on domestic tourism has been well documented, with total 2020 industry losses recorded as the worst in […]

The incident demonstrates the St. Catharines MP (right) has taken constituents for granted. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons    Last week, MPs from across Canada returned to the House of Commons in Ottawa for the first time in five months.  With a packed legislative agenda to get through before breaking for the holidays, parliamentarians got straight […]

Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nov. 22, 2019. Photo credit: PMO   The job of a provincial premier is to act in the best interests of his or her province, correct?  So why are critics dumping on Ontario Premier Doug Ford because his province has not yet signed a deal with the […]

Developers need stability, predictability, and consistent decision-making processes. Photo credit: Coastal GasLink   A pipeline dispute in northern British Columbia is showing how unresolved Indigenous governance issues and an absence of the rule of law is preventing the orderly development of energy resources for the benefit of Indigenous communities. A few weeks ago, certain members […]

Ford government getting priorities in order as Ontario approaches next election

by Janet Ecker

Premier Doug Ford announces minimum wage increase alongside prominent union leaders such as Unifor president Jerry Dias (left), Nov. 2, 2021. Photo credit: National Post/Peter J. Thompson    Political junkies will closely watch the next seven months as the Doug Ford government begins its countdown to Ontario’s next election in June. The roll out got […]

Politicians know Canadians have no appetite for higher tax bills

by Franco Terrazzano

Photo credit: Pexels/Rodnae Productions   It’s hard to be optimistic after the last federal election if you’re a Canadian taxpayer worried about politicians’ race towards financial insanity.  The most expensive election in Canadian history turned out to be a competition to see which politician could rack up a bigger government credit card bill. Both the […]

New minister needs to rethink the government’s draconian internet regulations

by Jay Goldberg

Trudeau’s newly appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriquez. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   Rarely, in the history of Confederation, have so many, from so many points on the political spectrum, been so unified in opposition to one specific policy. Before the last election, the Trudeau government’s proposed internet regulations provoked opposition from journalists, academics, civil […]

Cooperation, peer analysis key to improving Canada’s health care system

by Janet Ecker

Akershus University Hospital, Olso, Norway. Norway topped a recent list of the world’s best heath care systems in regard to access to care, care process, efficiency, equity, and affordability. Canada placed second to last on the list. Analyzing what its peers like Norway are doing right is necessary to Canada improving its own health care […]

Ottawa has become a theatre of the absurd

by Chris George

Justin Trudeau – comfortably on stage, beneath the spotlight – gestures to supporters following his Sept. 20, 2021 election victory. Photo credit: AFP/The Economist   There is really no other way to describe Ottawa these days but as a theatre of the absurd. At centre-stage we have our dramatic PM Justin Trudeau continuously performing – […]

With recent Throne Speech, Ford government demonstrates welcome humility

by Janet Ecker

Premier Doug Ford with Ontario’s Lieutenant General Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Oct. 4, 2021. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford   Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government kicked off next June’s election campaign with the traditional government Throne Speech. The pre-writ roll-out will no doubt include an economic update in November, a provincial budget next spring followed by […]

Trans Mountain is not a ‘white supremacist’ project

by Joseph Quesnel

Expansion of the project demonstrates for all to see how Indigenous communities are exercising self-determination. Pictured: Trans Mountain executive participates in a cultural ceremony with the Shxw’ōwhámél First Nation near Hope, B.C. Photo credit: Trans Mountain   Certain environmentalist organizations will say anything to stop certain pipeline projects, even at the expense of Indigenous communities seeking […]

Number of lessons Premier Ford can learn from federal campaign

by Janet Ecker

Premier of Ontario Doug Ford makes an announcement at Clean Works Corp. in Beamsville, Aug. 4, 2020. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Tara Walton   Finally, results for the 2021 federal election are now complete. The election no one asked for has produced a result no one wanted – another minority government with the Liberals nominally […]

Ontario has no options apart from passports

by Ian McLean

Photo credit: YouTube/The Globe and Mail   On September 1, 2021, Premier of Ontario Doug Ford formally announced that residents will require full vaccination and status documentation to access certain businesses effective September 22, with a full digital version coming this fall on October 22. This can’t come soon enough.  A provincial government news release […]

Media helping Liberals gaslight voters on child care

by Joan Tintor

Photo credit: Pexels/Yan Krukov   You cannot cancel a government program that does not exist yet. This is an obvious, logical truth, based on: (1) the normal, historical understanding of how government works, and (2) the fact that time runs in only one direction. It is a truth akin to “water is wet” that did […]

Protestors’ vitriol only winning votes for the target of their ire

by Janet Ecker

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is escorted by security to his campaign bus in London, ON as protestors – many of whom were identifiable as PPC supporters – hurl insults and small stones, Sept. 6, 2021. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette    Watching the federal election play out in Ontario this week looks like watching […]

China’s emissions go up, while Trudeau insists Canada’s must go down

by Parker Gallant

One of China’s many coal-fired power plants already in existence. The country is set to build several dozen more facilities in the near future, adding another 1.5% to its world-leading annual carbon emissions. Photo credit: Centre for Strategic and International Studies   An August 21 article in TIME stated: “China is planning to build 43 new […]

Protest and disruption are not at all new to Canadian politics

by Janet Ecker

Premier Mike Harris’ head on a platter during a demonstration by teachers and parents in 1997. As Harris’ former finance and education minister Janet Ecker explains, protesting politicians with threatening behaviour is nothing new, but that doesn’t make it any less inappropriate. Photo credit: Toronto Star/Tony Bock   Has our democracy come to this? As […]

Latest IPCC report is anti-fossil fuel alarmism

by Dan McTeague

Photo credit: Unsplash    The “climate disaster” and anti-fossil fuel rhetoric has ramped up again. With the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are told that “climate change is happening”; that this is a “code red for humanity”; that the evidence is unequivocal, and action must be taken; that “billions […]

Free speech can’t be filtered through a bureaucratic superstructure

by Jay Goldberg

Protesters hold a rally over motion M-103, the Liberals’ so-called ‘anti-Islamophobia motion’, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 21, 2017. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   Free speech ensures that Canadians have the right to tell governments when they’re wrong. While this may be unpleasant for governments, it is absolutely vital in a […]

Why women and the economy matter now more than ever

by Karin Schnarr

Photo credit: Pexels/RF Studio At the end of June 2021, I was privileged to be asked by the Government of Ontario to Chair the Task Force on Women and the Economy. We were asked to consult and report back with actionable recommendations to the Ontario Government by the end of the summer in three targeted […]

Our current political leaders could learn a lot from Bill Davis

by Janet Ecker

Bill Davis and his wife Kathleen at the 1985 Ontario PC Party leadership convention. Davis passed away peacefully at his Brampton home on August 8, 2021. Photo credit: Toronto Public Library/Toronto Star Archives A week ago, former Ontario Premier William Davis passed away quietly at his Brampton home at the age of 92. His death […]

Equal in name only – Canada’s unfair equalization program

by Kelly Gallagher

Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney. Kenney’s government will hold a referendum this October to ask Albertans if they want equalization payments withdrawn from the Canadian Constitution. Photo credit: Twitter/Jason Kenney  The equalization program and how it applies to each province has often been criticized that it does the opposite of its intention. Western Canadian taxpayers who pay […]

Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, June 9, 2020. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette  “What were they thinking” was the phrase that came to mind when reading news that the Ontario Government did not include the province’s independent schools when it distributed over $700 million to public schools to fund COVID prevention measures.  This […]

Don’t over-complicate the curriculum – two plus two still equals four

by Janet Ecker

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Cole Burston In what universe has the subject of math become a symbol of racism and colonial oppression? Unfortunately, it looks like this one.  It all started off well. Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce recently unveiled the new math curriculum for Grade 9 students which will […]

The challenging transition from pandemic to new normal

by Ian McLean

As the number of new COVID-19 daily cases and hospitalizations decline across Ontario, small businesses are preparing for the new normal. So, what is the new normal? While many businesses are eagerly awaiting further announcements from Premier Ford that will present new opportunities heading into and after Step 3, there remain many challenges to be […]

Canada must listen, learn and move forward

by Janet Ecker

We can’t change history. All we can do is know it, learn from it and move forward. And so it is with the tragic story of Canada’s residential schools, where hundreds if not thousands of Indigenous children died from disease, abuse, malnutrition and social isolation from their families.

Saskatchewan nomination could hamper O’Toole’s moderate shift

by Kelly Gallagher

An interesting nomination race is slowly unfolding for the federal Conservative Party in the Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan riding in Saskatchewan that may cause some discomfort for the party’s powers that be.

While Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch may be forgiven for not waiting with bated breath for the results of the recent provincial cabinet shuffle, the choice of who’s in and who’s out sends important signals about a government and its future direction. Several of Premier Doug Ford’s choices in last week’s announcement are worth highlighting.

Ontario should skip to Stage 3 in its reopening plan

by Mark Towhey

Ontario announced the terms and conditions of its cautious three-stage post-pandemic reopening plan on May 20. Progress on vaccinations has been swift and the government – if it’s smart – will skip directly to Stage 3 as quickly as possible.

Regulator should not lead regulations review

by Kelly Harris

In 2013 Finance Minister Charles Sousa began reviewing the Credit Union and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994, with a goal of modernizing user owned financial institutions in Ontario – credit unions.

Should we be forced to see more Canadian content on TikTok and YouTube?

by Robert Diab

Imagine scrolling through your newsfeed or visiting YouTube and suddenly seeing a lot more Canadian content than you did before — content you weren’t used to seeing or even wanting to see.

Canada’s law-makers are debating a bill that could make this happen.

Rapid testing and masks cut risks to business

by Ian McLean

The Ontario economic recovery from COVID-19 has and will continue to be highly dependent upon cooperation and collaboration between business, government and our dependent communities. In countless communities, many organizations have come together to address local issues from COVID.

More than just simple apologies

by Kelly Harris

In 2009, Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, received Pope Benedict XVI to hear an apology for the role the Roman Catholic Church played in Canada’s residential school system.

Jonathan Kay: a response to Brock professor’s recent rebuttal

by Jonathan Kay

I was glad to see that the editors of The Niagara Independent published a response to my recent article about the problems at Brock University. Obviously, I don’t concede Prof. Cornelius Christian’s claims that my article is “unfounded,” “full of baseless innuendo, half-truths, and rumours,” predicated on “spurious claims backed by speculative fancies,” and animated by “gossip-mongering.” (And all that’s just from the first paragraph!) But, as I argued in my article, I do think that people should be able to speak candidly about Brock without being subject to administrative reprisals and investigations, whatever their position. And in that spirit, I welcome this dialogue.

Brock’s problems are not unique: a response to Jonathan Kay

by Cornelius Christian

On May 28, Jonathan Kay penned yet another hit piece on Brock University, where I have worked as a professor since 2017. The unfounded article is full of baseless innuendo, half-truths, and rumours presented as facts. Repeating a pattern of spurious claims backed by speculative fancies, Mr. Kay’s opinion piece smacks of gossip-mongering, and targets a university which provides jobs, academic learning, and meaning to the Niagara region.

Challenging times makes for challenging communications

by Kelly Harris

Alberta is as distinct a society as Quebec, or at least in the eyes of anyone who has ever lived in Wild Rose Country.

Yes, Quebec has its own language and a bunch of English words said with a French accent, but Albertans also speak in foreign tongues. “Git er dun”, for example, is a phrase commonly used in Alberta and one that perfectly illustrates Premier Jason Kenney’s latest press conference.

Providing access to affordable childcare crucial to pandemic recovery

by Janet Ecker

In 1970, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women reported that childcare was necessary to support working women if we were to have gender equity.

Fifty years later, advocates are still lamenting the lack of childcare for working parents, particularly women. Back then, it was to promote equality, today it is a critical infrastructure to “rebuild” the country’s COVID-ravaged economy.

When “For the People” becomes “For Themselves”

by Kelly Harris

In 2003 I began my training as a Public Information Officer with the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program (PEP).

PEP – as the program is commonly known – has a group called “TEAMS”, or Temporary Emergency Assignment Management System. There is an overarching leadership in PEP and that pulls from the various business units in government to create TEAMS.

The not-so United Conservative Party of Alberta

by Kelly Gallagher

At the beginning of 2021, I made a prediction about the tumultuous year that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney would face. At that moment in time things were not going great for the United Conservative Party (UCP) premier, however, unity in the party seemed to be holding together, but it was a sign of things to come.

You don’t have the “right to golf”

by Kelly Harris

In my life in politics and media I have seen my fair share of “right to” movements, from the benign to the ridiculous.

Remembering the Todd Bertuzzi incident

by Kelly Harris

In 1954, Tonight Show host Art Linkletter asked hotel mogul Conrad Hilton if he had any message he would like to share with his customers.

“Whenever you take a shower, make sure the curtain is inside the tub,” Hilton answered. The response has become synonymous for not making obvious things more difficult.

Human beings are very good at the blame game. We like a simple explanation that it’s someone else’s fault.
But when it comes to the tragedy of Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) system – where almost 4,000 seniors died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic – there is enough blame to go around.

Were we ever safe and prepared?

by Kelly Harris

Bill Blair has been Justin Trudeau’s hand picked Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the first, second and now third wave of Covid-19.

Read that again and let it sink in for a minute. Now, ask yourself: in the past year, have you felt Canada has been prepared or safe?

Western Conservative block not a sure thing for O’Toole

by Kelly Gallagher

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole recently unveiled his party’s environment platform to show that the Conservative Party has evolved on the climate change file. By embracing the policies of the Liberals, New Democrats and the Greens, O’Toole is banking on the environment not being used as a hammer against him and his party during the next election campaign.

Federal government’s vaccine failure should not be hastily forgiven

by Janet Ecker

Reaction to the Ontario government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions over the weekend was loud and emotional. It was as if Premier Doug Ford had decided to say “let ‘er rip” and lifted every rule.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda: let’s see Ford’s critics do better

by Kelly Harris

It is abundantly clear following the outrage of so many on social media that Ontario Premier Doug Ford should have instituted a curfew like Quebec, which has limited after-hours movement of its residents for 100 plus days now.

Fake news, from Trump to Trudeau

by Kelly Harris

One of the most enduring concepts of the Presidency of Donald J. Trump will be the idea of “fake news.”

It is a hashtag, a witty comeback in debates, a child’s argument to a parent and I am sure a retort when called out by spouses the world over. And this week when CNN’s Jake Tapper presented a story detailing Justin Trudeau’s failure to properly secure Covid-19 vaccines for Canadians, it was the prime minister’s response.

Brazilian variant could be a game changer

by Kelly Harris

A year ago, we all watched in horror as various nations and places around the globe became epicentres of the Covid-19 pandemic.

First it was Wuhan, China, with images of total martial law and vaccination water cannons going from street-to-street spraying apartment buildings.

It’s the vaccinations stupid

by Kelly Harris

According to ABC news the Oakland Zoo will begin vaccinating at risk animals, as soon as June, against COVID-19.

Primates and “large cats” will be the first such inmates of the zoo to receive the life saving vaccines. According to ABC news, “Due to the nature of primate communities, an outbreak could be devastating, leaving them with a high likelihood of quick spread.”

Ford, like Trudeau, bets the farm on a hope and a prayer

by Jay Goldberg

As Ontario’s finance minister rose in the legislature to present the government’s 2021 budget, it became painfully clear that the Ford government is acting like an ostrich with its head firmly buried in the sand.

Value for money more telling than sunshine

by Kelly Harris

Years ago I was sitting in a Royal Bank in Prince George B.C. attempting to finance a new car. The loans officer told me the application looked great, I just needed to verify my income. I asked her if I could use her computer for a second. She complied and I typed in my name […]

Forced to make the less-wrong decision

by Janet Ecker

Something quite remarkable happened at Queen’s Park this past week.
When the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley asked Premier Doug Ford when youth sports might start up again, the Premier said “I’ve got to get the green light from Dr. Williams and the local medical officers of health.”

Sam the Boogieman

by Kelly Harris

The Twitterverse has spoken and Premier Doug Ford is being told to oust young Sam Oosterhoff from Queen’s Park.

What the Tweeters don’t know, could fill an ocean, but in this instance they don’t seem to know the Premier does not have the power to remove the Niagara West MPP. He does have the power to kick him out of caucus so Sam could run as an unbeatable independent in the riding, likely gathering more from his social conservative flank to also take up the flag.

Time to get back to the 1990s when it comes to debt and deficits

by Kelly Harris

On July 12, 2004 then Alberta Premier Ralph Klein announced “never again will this government or the people of this province have to set aside another tax dollar on debt.”

The declaration was following news the province had paid off its debt in full. The result of several years of balanced and surplus budgets aimed at ridding Alberta taxpayers of the credit card balance.

Debt Isn’t Free

by Kelly Harris

Canadian household debt hit an all time high in 2020 according to Bloomberg and as a nation we have the highest household debt to Gross Domestic product of the G-7 – the group of the world’s most advanced economies.

Ontario’s minister of finance has his work cut out for him.
Peter Bethlenfalvy, who assumed the position in January, is taking on the role during tough economic times in Ontario. Businesses have closed and millions of jobs have been affected since lockdowns began last March. Meanwhile, provincial spending and debt are skyrocketing.

Place your bets, place your bets

by Kelly Harris

When Justin Trudeau announced he would be giving $600 million in handouts to media in Canada ahead of the 2019 election, there were more than a few crooked eyebrows.

The disrupter

by Kelly Gallagher

Will Canadians head to the polls this year? The general consensus remains split down the middle. While the federal Liberals still out poll the opposition Conservatives, the vaccine rollout debacle has hammered the Trudeau brand with respect to voter preference.

Why the Uighurs matter

by Kelly Harris

In the words of former Welland MP Peter Kormos, an approved opposition motion and a toonie, that’ll get ya a ride on the TTC.

Basically, an opposition motion is only the opinion of the legislature or parliament, not the government. For it to be a position of the government the ruling party needs to adopt it, otherwise it’s just a statement, with the same power of a committee finding; which is to say none.

The right call

by Janet Ecker

Give the Ontario government credit for this one, keeping schools open but delaying the regularly scheduled spring break was the right call.

Blame Harper doesn’t work with gun homicides

by Kelly Harris

Years ago I was standing at the entrance to the Tsuu Tina First Nation, bordering Southwest Calgary, on the day of the funeral for Connie and Ty Jacobs.

Yes, pipeline cancellations cost Canadians billions of dollars annually

by Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan

Oil and natural pipelines are like light switches on the wall. You take them for granted, along with the expectation that once flipped, your lights will come on. Thus, in normal company and in normal times, few people would, over dinner, discuss something as arcane as tubes and wires. The exception might be a convention of electricians and pipeline workers.

Right sizing regulations for financial services

by Kelly Harris

“Today’s announcement marks a responsible and measured approach by the government to ensure Canada’s housing market remains strong and to reduce the risk of a U.S.-style housing bubble developing in Canada” – Canadian Ministry of Finance

This quote was from 2008, following the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States that was created through a combination of deregulation, increasing interest rates and fraud.

No room for national childcare on the next generation’s credit card

by Jasmine Moulton

The federal government’s economic statement contains the word “child” 238 times, but it doesn’t include a serious plan to reduce the national credit card bill our kids and grandkids will be stuck paying.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is spending $1.8 billion per day. That’s more than $20,000 per second. The national debt has surpassed $1 trillion, and by next year it will have doubled since Trudeau became prime minister in 2015. Doubled.

A day late and a loonie short

by Kelly Harris

On Wednesday the front page of the newspaper of George Brown, the founder of the Liberal Party of Canada, declared his long-time successor is an abject failure in responding to COVID-19.

The Globe and Mail’s scathing editorial charged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s latest response to COVID-19 as “a day late and a Loonie short.” The paper also criticised the prime minister’s response on everything from international travel to testing to vaccines procurement.

Why Canada is being left on the vaccine sideline

by Kristina Gentes

Now that it’s been a full year since the first presumed positive case of COVID-19 was discovered in Canada we are also experiencing another not so positive first. This week will be the first week where Canada will have zero doses delivered of the two vaccines so far approved by Health Canada since they became available. This is not good news as the bulk of Ontario continues to be in lock-down and kids are forced to continue with on-line learning. Here in Niagara the case numbers have been climbing at an increasing rate, and at one-point last week, we had the highest reproductive rate of the virus in the province. It seems we continue getting hit on all sides.

Emotional abuse in the workplace needs stiffer consequences

by Kelly Harris

Those who worked with former Governor General Julie Payette allege Rideau Hall was a “toxic workplace” with incidents of “yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliation.”

Ontario can’t afford more regressive energy policies

by Jasmine Moulton

Ontarians remember the terrible stories of sky-rocketing hydro bills after the former Ontario government’s Green Energy Act sent hydro prices soaring. Everyday people had to choose whether to heat or eat.

Kathy Katula famously pleaded with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a 2017 televised townhall to help her with her $1,000 per month hydro bill that left her with just $60 for groceries.

Energy security at the core of KeyStone XL

by Kelly Harris

In 2015, the last full year of the Barrack Obama-Joseph Biden presidency, the US relied on Venezuela for 11 per cent of its foreign oil.

In 2016, the third year of the Nicolas Maduro presidency in Venezuela and the last year of Obama-Biden, the amount of foreign oil from that country was 960,000 barrels per day. Let’s give Messrs. Obama and Biden the benefit of the doubt; they could not have seen what Maduro was becoming and what would happen to the nation he leads.

COVID fear mongering isn’t helping

by Janet Ecker

Take a deep breathe, take a valium, or whatever works, because this constant bombardment of COVID stories – about this model or that, predicting thousands more cases a day and thousands more deaths and the collapse of the hospital system in three weeks, no two weeks, no wait, it will be one week – is not helping.

Time for some tough love

by Kelly Harris

This week marked nine months since Ontario and Canada began shutting down in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, it marked the second time in those nine months the province has entered into a State of Emergency. Many are questioning what that means because not a lot has changed in their lives.

Love and hope in a time of COVID

by Marc Kealey

Last year, 2020, there was much written and reported about how we ought to comport ourselves during the pandemic. In short, we were advised to be compliant, socially distant, wary of exaggerated or factually incorrect media and social media posts and, for the most part, encouraged to learn about the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our health and consequences for society.

Is Canada on the same slippery slope?

by Kelly Harris

Sometime mid-Afternoon Wednesday my phone began blowing up with texts of “Are you watching this?” streaming across my device.

So I pivoted from the desk in my home office to my TV and quickly turned on the sound as CTV News showed images of people storming the US Capitol buildings. Another series of texts streamed across my phone with, “Can you believe this is happening?”

With the Trudeau government’s deficit approaching $400 billion due to emergency pandemic spending, it goes without saying that will need to start looking for places to actually save money.

A Rod for their own back

by Kelly Harris

In his life before entering politics Peter Bethlenfalvy was responsible for downgrading Ontario’s financial rating.

Now as the province’s new finance minister Mr. Bethlenfalvy will be responsible for upgrading it.

A rollercoaster ride for Ford government

by Janet Ecker

For Ontario, the past year has been pretty well all COVID all the time. And despite fervent efforts and wishes to the contrary, it looks like COVID will dominate our lives well into 2021. The challenges this presents for the provincial government as it ramps up for the 2022 election are formidable.

Boy, Was I Wrong!

by Catherine Swift

Last year at about this time, I took it upon myself to make five predictions about what would be happening in 2020. After a long career as an economist, where predictions are typically guaranteed to be wrong and the only thing in doubt is by how much, I should have known better. I did however promise to revisit my prognostications of a year ago to see how far off they were. In most instances, the answer is – very.

When Carbon Pricing is just a Tax

by Kelly Harris

When it comes to the environment I have been wildly more successful than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It’s true. As Director of Caucus Communications in Premier Gordon Campbell’s British Columbia Government I helped usher in Canada’s first carbon tax. Plus, when I was working to earn money for journalism school I spent two months planting trees in Northern B.C. and Central Alberta.

Trudeau’s zealous pursuits deny Canadians better health care

by Chris George

It is a fact that the Canadian government is the only government in the world to raise taxes during the pandemic. On April 1, as Canadians were coping with the evolving crises of COVID-19, the federal government applied an increase to the carbon tax rate. Now Canadians have learned that the government has planned to clobber us with further tax hikes that will raise costs on gas pump prices, home fuel, and on all food and consumer goods that are transported – essentially everything.

Transparency should be a strength not a threat

by Kelly Harris

It is becoming more and more apparent that the government decision to shut down bars, gyms, restaurants and small businesses for in-store shopping, has little to do with stopping the spread of COVID-19 from those establishments.

The real rationale behind the closures had one purpose, to get people to stay home by giving them nowhere to go. While no one has come out and said that in an honest, transparent and forthright way, I am – because it seems so evident.

The second wave of populism

by Kelly Gallagher

During the ill-fated 1991 Saskatchewan provincial election, then Premier Grant Devine, hoping to secure a third term, would often say in his stump speech that if Tommy Douglas were alive today he would be supporting the Progressive Conservative Party. Devine said this knowing that it would rile the NDP however there was a bit of truth to his theory.

100 per cent… Not fair

by Kelly Harris

To no one’s surprise, least of all mine, the latest COVID-19 battleground to take shape isn’t in the halls of Canada’s hospitals, it’s in the corridors of justice.

Canadian Appliance Source, the Toronto International Celebration Church (TICC) and now one of the oldest of Canadian institutions – the Hudson’s Bay Company – is going to court to challenge pandemic lock-down rules.

A Netflix tax is a solution in search of a problem

by Aaron Wudrick

Heritage Minister Stephen Guilbeault’s recent introduction of legislation that would impose a Netflix tax on Canadians is a blockbuster in all the wrong ways. It will do nothing to protect or improve Canadian culture, which is doing just fine. It will fail miserably in trying to regulate Canadians’ viewing habits. And, perhaps worst of all, it will end up gouging regular Canadians who just want to watch good TV of their own choosing.

The right thing to do for a modern Conservative Party

by Kelly Harris

Earlier this year the Conservative Party of Canada undertook a leadership campaign and once again played a dangerous game of appeasement.

Appeasement is something that seems to be a common trait of the CPC and most conservative politicians in Canada. The idea is a conservative cannot win without appeasing the social conservative ranks amongst their voters.

Provincial budget deserves an A

by Janet Ecker

If news of your provincial budget disappears from the media a few days after its announced, old Finance Ministers used to call that a “a good budget.” Based on that measurement, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips’ first full budget should get straight A’s as little has been said or written about it since its delivery-day headlines.

A day late and a billion dollars short

by Kelly Harris

There are rumblings in the corridors of power in Ottawa that Federal Finance Minister and heir apparent Chrystia Freeland will earmark $1 billion for vaccine production on Monday.

Good thing, perhaps Canada will be able to start producing vaccines sometime in 2025. That is unless the billion dollars is just another empty Liberal promise, like the canoe in everyone’s pot, a promise made in the 2019 election.

Constant change: Life as a cancer doctor

by Kevin Vallier

If there is one thing Dr. Janice Giesbrecht has seen a lot of in her career as an oncologist, it would be change. Change in treatments, clinic size, survival rates and diagnostics just to name a few.
The Niagara-raised physician, who recently completed her second term as Chief of Oncology at Niagara Health and has handed the reigns over to her colleague Dr. Michael Levesque, has had a long and distinguished career navigating one of the busiest departments through numerous changes. But Dr. Giesbrecht didn’t always want to be a cancer doctor. It was essentially a summer job in Toronto that ignited an interest in caring for those with cancer.

And the flights just keep on comin’

by Kelly Harris

On Monday morning as sections of Ontario had just gone back into full lockdown I did something I try to avoid. I read Twitter.

It was the typical political grandstanding common with the Twitter machine.
One thing the woke crowd, the Twitter pundits agree, is conservatives bad, socialists good. It all reads like monosyllabic Neanderthal speak, pounding chest, “me good, me fund hospital, you bad, you support business.”

The Pop Shoppe has it right

by Kelly Harris

When I was a little boy I remember going to the lunch counter on Kingsville’s Main Street to get a pop with my older brother.

We likely spent too much of our money on hockey cards so we didn’t have enough left over for food or drink. However, we got Pop Shoppe sodas – cream soda is still my favourite – and they cost 20 cents with deposit or 15 cents if we drank them in the store and left the bottles behind.

You see Pop Shoppe had this ingenious thing called manufacturer responsible recycling. You’d pay for the deposit and if you didn’t return the bottle you lost your money, so there was an incentive to recycle.

28 Days Later…

by Kelly Harris

The number of known COVID-19 cases in Canada has grown to greater numbers than in the spring proving what we all feared – the second wave is in fact worse than the first.

I say known COVID-19 cases because parliament in Ottawa took the summer off instead of ensuring rapid testing is available for all Canadians before schools came back.

Why we wear the poppy

by Nicholas Tibollo

Late last week, it was revealed that US-based grocer Whole Foods had banned employees at its 14 Canadian stores from wearing poppies at work in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

While no specific reason was initially provided as to why, CBC News reported that an Ottawa worker was told by a superior that donning the ceremonial flower could be seen of as “supporting a cause” (and thus, in violation of company policy).

51 Individual elections in one

by Kelly Harris

Every four years Canadians – and many others around the world I suspect – wonder out loud how much quicker U.S. elections would go if those doing the count were allowed to remove their shoes and socks.

This way you see, in most cases they could count up to 20.

Chrystia Freeland comes bearing good news

by Aaron Wudrick

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on Sept. 24, 2020. Photo: David Kawai/Bloomberg Considering the shape of Canada’s economy, you might assume Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s recent speech to the Toronto Global Forum would have contained some grim bits. But there was no sign of sobering statistics. She didn’t mention […]

Saskatchewan Party cements “natural” governing party status

by Kelly Gallagher

The Saskatchewan 2020 provincial election is another one for the history books. The Saskatchewan Party led by Premier Scott Moe secured a very healthy majority government giving it another four year mandate.

The opposition New Democrat Party (NDP) lost its fourth election in a row with its fourth leader at the helm. Since 2007 the NDP has ran a different leader in each election. What was that famous Einstein quote about repeating things that don’t work?

Trudeau’s carbon tax is fake environmental policy

by Jasmine Moulton

Fighting climate change with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is like fighting COVID-19 with essential oils. It doesn’t work.
Here’s proof.
British Columbia has the highest carbon tax in Canada, yet its emissions have increased by seven per cent since it got the tax. Emissions went from 63.4 million tonnes in 2007, the year before the B.C. carbon tax was introduced, up to 67.9 million tonnes of emissions in 2018, the last year of available data. Critics could argue that B.C.’s emissions may have been higher without a carbon tax, but that’s not what the Ontario example shows.

Don’t cry for me… Ottawa

by Kelly Harris

When Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister in 2015 he vowed to do politics differently.

This week he fulfilled that vow by attaching a confidence vote to a committee motion, something never done before in the history of Canada. The reason you ask? Well simple, he didn’t like the result of the last election because Canadians put a check on his power-mad, entitled government.

The public needs more than what’s being offered

by Janet Ecker

A retired but well-read journalist often says the four most dangerous words in the English language are “the science is settled.” True science is never settled.  It always responds and adapts to the latest evidence and recognizes that the answer to most scientific questions starts with “it depends.”

Over the past week, the quote has come to mind for this author as COVID cases have climbed, resulting in more provincial government-imposed lockdown restrictions in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa.

Give me the next ten words…

by Kelly Harris

During the 2018 provincial election, one of the strongest voices for Ontario’s long-term care homes was provincial New Democrat leader Andrea Horwath.

It’s true; the NDP platform had several recommendations to improve – in their mind at least – the province’s failing long-term care system. The focus was, and still is, to make them all public.

Trudeau’s second carbon tax coming at worst possible time

by Aaron Wudrick

Whenever Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to solve a problem, his solution can’t be to hit families and businesses struggling to get by with even more costs. Yet, that’s exactly the approach Trudeau is taking with his second carbon tax.
As Postmedia columnist John Ivison reported, the Trudeau government is getting ready to introduce a second carbon tax through a regulatory regime called the clean fuel standard, which will “require all supplies of fossil fuel to reduce carbon content.” If companies can’t meet the fuel requirement, they’ll have to pay a whopping $350 per tonne carbon tax.

Audi Alteram Partem – Hear the other side

by Kelly Harris

When the final book is written on the North American wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic a major contributing factor to why so many mistakes have been made will be partisanship.

This writer has said as early as February, there is no worse time for a pandemic to hit the United States than during an election year. No matter what the science says, no matter what kind of response is needed, the reaction will be based on politics.

Four Moe years

by Kelly Gallagher

The 2020 Saskatchewan election officially kicked off last week. Residents of the land of living skies go to the polls at the end of October to elect their government. Barring a major catastrophe for the governing party, another Saskatchewan Party government will be formed.

The Saskatchewan Party has governed the province since 2007 and during each election they have watched their seat total rise, which is almost unheard of in modern day politics. This will be the first time Premier Scott Moe runs in the general election as Premier and party leader. It will be interesting to see if he can add to his party’s seat count.

If the women don’t find you handsome…

by Kelly Harris

One of the criticisms I often heard about Erin O’Toole’s run for Conservative Leadership was he doesn’t have the charisma of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Mr. O’Toole doesn’t come from an ultra-rich super-white privileged family. He didn’t attend private dinners with Fidel Castro, Jimmy Carter or the Aga Khan.

Time to end the teachers’ unions’ monopoly over public education in Ontario

by Jasmine Moulton

Without competition, prices go up and quality goes down. That’s exactly what’s happening in Ontario’s public education system. And it’s bad for students.
Currently, only unionized teachers are allowed to teach in Ontario’s public schools. Applicants to the public system are forced to join a union as a condition of employment the moment they sign the paperwork for the new job.

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour

by Kelly Harris

If debt servicing were a ministry of government in Ontario it would be the third largest after health care and education in terms of overall cost.

The reason is Ontario has the largest sub-sovereign debt in the world. Like a household with runaway credit card bills, a massive portion of Ontario’s revenue is dedicated to service interest payments.

It comes down to personal accountability

by Janet Ecker

It is perhaps ironic that after all the criticism from teacher unions that the provincial government’s back to school plan would be a disaster, the first school closure because of a COVID outbreak was caused by a teacher with COVID symptoms. who came to work and mingled with colleagues who were not wearing masks. Over 700 secondary students in Pembroke are now out of school.

A few fries short of a Happy Meal

by Kelly Harris

The politician most invoked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2019 election was not his chief competitor, then-Conservative boss Andrew Scheer, it was Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Attacking the leader of a lower level of government during an election is an incredibly distasteful act as premiers are the prime minister’s partners in governing Canada. It is the kind of thing you would expect from a leader like US president Donald Trump – then again I believe the two men are incredibly similar in there “do as I say, not as I do” attitudes, so it shouldn’t be surprising.

US/Canada and the unreliable dependence on China

by Hon. Tony Clement, P.C., and John J. Faso

It has been more than four months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Since then, we have seen historic levels of spending on emergency measures, record unemployment rates, and huge hits to industries in Canada, U.S., and across the world.
With the updated United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement now in effect, it will be more important than ever for Canada and the U.S. to take advantage of its benefits. The trade agreement will foster a North American economic recovery, strengthen regional supply chains, and most importantly, return manufacturing jobs to North America. Just as significant, a revitalized trade relationship will help lessen our dangerous economic dependence on China.

As the General goes so goes the economy

by Kelly Harris

Growing up in the shadow of the Renaissance Centre on the banks of the Detroit River you learned the common refrain “as the General goes so goes the economy.”

General as in General Motors headquartered in that iconic building centred on the Motor City skyline.

Western Canadian NDP should claim irreconcilable differences

by Kelly Gallagher

The New Democrat Party affiliates in western Canada are going through an identity crisis. Their relationship with the federal NDP party is akin to a doomed relationship where they are only staying together for the sake of the kids. If they were to seek therapy the only viable advice would be for them to get a divorce.

Time to do what the Ford government was elected to do: clean up the mess

by Kelly Harris

Fuelled by collapsing oil prices and the economic impact of COVID-19, the Province of Alberta is projecting the largest budget deficit in its history at $24.2 billion.

The dwindling fortunes are mainly due to provincial revenues dropping by $11.5 billion and spending – COVID related – increasing by $5.3 billion. The province’s real Gross Domestic Product will decrease 8.8 per cent and see an unemployment rate of 13 per cent, with more than 170,000 jobs lost.

In the tough times ahead, what is Trudeau prepared to cut?

by Aaron Wudrick

As Preston Manning used to say the last time the federal deficit was so big, when you’re in a hole the first thing to do is stop digging. Very soon now, the Trudeau government needs to put down its very large shovel.
Getting Canada’s $343 billion federal deficit under control will be a daunting task. Winding down emergency program spending represents the biggest chunk of money, but, at least in theory, it is also probably the easiest to do. Temporary measures justified because the economy was closed will no longer be necessary now that it’s reopening.

The public panic is likely to come

by Kelly Harris

Each year when kids go back to school there is always a corresponding crisis in governments – flooded hospital emergency rooms.

My most intimate relationship with this fact came from my time running northern communications from Prince George for the British Columbia Government.

Jasmine Moulton is the Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The Ontario government recently announced that it would be providing over $300 million for COVID-19 safety measures in schools as they reopen this fall. This funding will cover additional staffing, nurses, custodians, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment. This is the highest per-pupil investment […]

Congrats Minister Freeland – now do the right things

by Kelly Harris

I want to start by congratulating the Liberal Party for finally appointing a woman to the most important ministerial position in Canada or even Ontario.

Ontario Progressive Conservatives have done it twice. The first was Bette Stepheson in 1985 and the second was Niagara Independent columnist Janet Ecker in 2003.

The piper will have to be paid

by Janet Ecker

This summer we have been deluged with stories on the pandemic, the federal government’s WE Charity scandal, the first black female U.S. vice presidential candidate, not to mention the almost hysterical coverage of whether or not children can safely go back to school this fall.
Perhaps that is why the news that Ontario now has a $38.5 billion deficit — triple last years’ prediction of $9.2 billion, up over $18 billion from just a few short months ago – seemed to disappear after one day of coverage.

Realities of the mortgage deferral cliff

by Kelly Harris

Almost as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, Canadian financial institutions rolled out plans to defer mortgage payments for homeowners.

In the case of banks the deferral period was six months and other, smaller institutions like credit unions, payments were delayed month to month. The month-to-month deferrals are a common option from most lenders and are usually allowed about once a year.

Government is why housing in Canada is unaffordable and more taxes won’t help

by Jasmine Moulton

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is giving $250,000 to Generation Squeeze, an advocacy organization for young Canadians, to research ways to improve housing affordability. The group stated it will focus on “wealth generated by rising home values,” which incited fears the government is considering a home equity tax on the capital gains generated when Canadians sell their homes.

Conventional Wisdom

by Kelly Harris

The problem with the idea of conventional wisdom is for a person to employ it they must first have wisdom and second, it must follow convention.

Given this, the idea that the lens we must use to suggest Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be out the door for his failings in the WE Scandal may be premature.

Protecting your health and well-being during the pandemic

by Dr Sara Ahmed

The year 2020 has proven to be an unprecedented time and has brought with it challenges the likes of which we’ve not seen in our lifetime.

With the onslaught of COVID-19, the normal course of life has been disrupted globally. This has included a major impact to the health and welfare of all. Physical distancing measures and restrictions, while warranted and necessary, have required us be apart from family and friends and work colleagues for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, this practice will need to continue for the foreseeable future. These changes are creating an unfavorable environment which may impact global health measures even after the conclusion of the pandemic.

Arrogance … another curve that needs to be flattened

by Kelly Harris

For followers of my column you’ll know I have many times written about why the appearance of conflict of interest is essentially the same thing as an actual conflict.

It is not just some conservative howling in the wilderness saying this. It is actually the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada. Yes the highest court of our land believes you have to avoid conflict and the appearance of conflict as well.

Ring the bell – Schools need to open

by Janet Ecker

Parents can be forgiven if they are sitting in their socially isolated homes screaming at the ceiling in frustration.
After four months of watching the Ontario government handle the COVID-19 pandemic reasonably well, it is perplexing why they can’t seem to get a handle on how, if and when schools are to re-open this fall. And time is running out.

Everyone who has ever worked in a government office has been given the conflict of interest talk – everyone.

Simply put, to uphold the senior tenant of the Canadian Constitution – Peace, Order and Good Government – those elected and employed by government cannot use their position to personally benefit themselves. In Regina v. Hinchy 1996 the Supreme Court of Canada further upheld the standard, ruling a public servant could not award contracts to the benefit of their own company.

Municipalities should cut spending instead of targeting taxpayers

by Jasmine Moulton

Municipal councillors want taxpayers to believe their only option to deal with the COVID-19 budget crunch is to hike taxes or slash programs. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario repeated this false binary in an emergency call for billions in taxpayer cash from the federal and provincial governments. But there’s a third option: cut the fat and focus on the essentials.
It’s not only possible to reduce and refocus municipal spending, it’s better for taxpayers.

Money and Politics … WE isn’t the only problem

by Kelly Harris

Politics and money is a vile soup at the best of times and when you mix in family members and soul sourced contracts it can be downright poison as the ongoing WE charity scandal is showing us.

Ending streaming in schools the right thing to do

by Kelly Harris

Warren Moon was one of the best quarterbacks I ever watched play in my entire life and he was forced to ply his trade in Canada with the CFL for one reason – he is black.

Prior to the mid-1980s there were hardly any black quarterbacks anywhere in the NFL. James Harris, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers, was the first black quarterback to play any significant number of games in the league from 1969 to 1981.

It’s always wise to listen

by Bruce Timms

Regional Council’s recent decision to refer a request by local business leaders to have a discussion on COVID-19 financial implications on taxpayers and business owners was both encouraging and disappointing.
The disappointment comes from the immediate motion to refer which resulted in no discussion on the matter.

Minister Smith: Get ahead of the Kids in Care Issue

by Kelly Harris

Systemic issues dealing with children in care are nothing new and there isn’t a government in Canada that can say they have been out front on this file.

So it should be no surprise Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé highlighted many of the issues in his first annual report since he took over the file last May.

Socialist Distancing in the West

by Kelly Gallagher

Western Canada currently has three conservative and one New Democrat Premier spanning the four provinces. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have center right parties while British Columbia is home to the only provincial NDP government in the confederation.

Financially literate schools … what a concept

by Kelly Harris

Premier Doug Ford’s decision to teach financial literacy starting in grade one is the most blatant and brazen political act he has pulled off since being elected June 2018.

Simply put, if you teach children how to budget, they’ll never turn into Liberal or NDP voters. That is the kind of long-term thinking we need in government.

What have we learned?

by Janet Ecker

After 100 days of life with the COVID-19 pandemic, what have we learned? 

We have seen both the best and the worst of our governments.  Ottawa and Ontario moved bureaucratic inertia aside to quickly help people cope.  But we were also hit by rules that didn’t make sense and red tape that got in the way; all reminders that it is not the size of government that counts, but its competence. 

Anyone Remember the Unity Debate in November?

by Kelly Harris

When I was a younger much more left leaning individual still attending Journalism school – aka before I started paying taxes – I wrote a column extoling the virtues of former Prime minister John Turner.

For those who don’t remember, John Turner had a summer job as PM back in the mid-1980s after Trudeau the elder took his last walk in the snow.

Two-thirds of Canadians think members of Parliament should voluntarily reduce their pay, according to a recent poll. MPs should share the struggles of the people they lead. More importantly, doing so would give politicians credibility for the job they need to do next: reduce the overall cost of government employees.

Saying goodbye to CERB the right way for the right reasons

by Kelly Harris

Sometime in mid-October Canadians will be waking up to the sudden realization that bill payments have gone back to normal while large swaths of the economy are still stuttering and sputtering.

Does combating racism in Society Start by fighting it in our hearts?

by Kelly Harris

Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau once compared Canada’s close proximity to the United States to sleeping with an elephant.

The easiest route across Canada? The Panama Canal

by Dan McTeague

It has been almost three years since the Energy East pipeline was abandoned.
TransCanada cancelled the pipeline after the National Energy Board announced it would consider indirect greenhouse gas emissions in its review. The hostile and unstable regulatory environment created by Trudeau’s government drove away the Energy East pipeline as it almost drove away the TransMountain pipeline – which was only saved by a government buyout.

Canada has the most responsible government in the world, not only can we give the Prime Minister the finger, he can give it to us right back.

The reference of course is to Trudeau Senior’s long past actions, and while I don’t agree with them, it is a truism that makes us Canadian. We have the right to tell the prime minister what we think of him or her without the threat of detainment or a firing squad and he can tell us what he or she thinks of us right back.

The Green Reaper

by Kelly Gallagher

In early May of this year, as the world grappled with the fallout from COVID-19 and stayed hunkered down in place, soon to be former federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May took it upon herself, with an assist from the separatists, to tell us what has happened to the oil and gas sector. Apparently, according to May, it is dead.

Government never pays for itself

by Catherine Swift

One would have to presume that Kelly McParland had his tongue firmly in cheek when he penned a recent column for the National Post on the glories of working for the government over the private sector. Recent experience with the COVID-19 crisis would certainly support this premise, however, as we see the carnage in private sector employment while the vast majority of public sector workers are underworked, if they are working at all, while enjoying full salary and benefits courtesy of taxes paid by the beleaguered private sector.

Accident waiting to happen

by Janet Ecker

Look up “accident waiting to happen” in the dictionary. It would not be a surprise to see “long term care homes” listed. The steady increase in COVID-19 deaths in Ontario’s nursing homes over the past weeks begs the question, how could we have possibly gotten it this wrong when it comes to running and regulating our long-term care system.

Fish harvesting… the new oil

by Kelly Harris

Yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stepped out of his cottage to announce his latest relief package, $470 million for fish harvesters.

I am not now or have ever been a fish harvester and I am sure they are facing challenges, as are most industries. But can someone, anyone, even the Prime Minister explain to me how fish harvesters get $470 million yet farmers are splitting just over half of that – $252 million?

PhilHealth Levy hikes the latest hit to Long-term care workers

by Kelly Harris

In 2019 the World Bank estimated there are 270 million immigrants around the world who remit a combined $689 billion US to their native countries each year.

Canada has the fourth highest remittances in the world behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. Spain and France round out the top six.

We’re watching the wrong COVID numbers

by Mark Towhey

Everyday, Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal governments publish – and the media obligingly report – daily COVID-19 numbers that tell us a lot of what we don’t need to know, and just a little of what’s important.

Time for MPs to take a pay cut

by Aaron Wudrick

As we struggle to contain COVID-19, virtually everyone is paying the price while the economy faces an unprecedented storm. Many members of Parliament are sharing in that sacrifice by donating their automatic pay raise to charity. The rest need to not only follow that example, but go one step further by taking a pay cut.

Follow the Money

by Kelly Harris

There is a story circulating right now about a truck driver who stops for the night at the only hotel in a small town of Nowhere, Ontario.

He walks in and asks to see the room before he rents it and as a deposit he puts $100 on the desk. The hotel owner gives him the keys and the truck driver goes upstairs.

Pandemic raises many questions for Ontario

by Janet Ecker

As the pandemic continues to shut down economies and societies, social isolation causes one to contemplate many questions that arise about the aftermath.
It is clear there was no real rule book for this, no off-the-shelf manual or box on the wall with the reassuring letters “in emergency, break glass.” Our leaders are making “lifeboat” decisions on the fly, based on the best available information they can obtain about this new threat.

The west wants out

by Kelly Gallagher

After the 2019 federal election, many westerners were despondent over the results. The lead up to election day showed that the Conservative Party led by Andrew Scheer would pull off a win, more than likely a minority government. That was what conventional wisdom was showing in the west. The Trudeau Liberals have hammered the western economy since taking office in 2015, especially in the energy sector and to many western Canadian voters the election was going to put a stop to anti-energy policies coming out of Ottawa. The Trudeau Liberals won the election as a minority government from support in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario. As for the west, you can drive from Winnipeg to Vancouver and not cross through a single Liberal held riding in-between those two cities.

The COVID 19 Pandemic and the Danger of Social Media

by Marc Kealey

Take a tour on any social media site and any number of posts appear from the most generalist of social media “experts” on how best to manage through the COVID 19 Pandemic. Let’s be clear, we are in the throes of a pandemic – defined clearly as an outbreak of a disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time. And which has spread across a wider geographic range – more so than an epidemic. This pandemic has affected a significant portion of the population in almost every country on earth!

Easter: A time of re-birth and hope … even in the darkest of times

by Kelly Harris

In the doom and gloom health and financial forecasts peppering every news channel and daily media briefing it is tough to think there is any good news out there.

Brief moments of levity, like Premier Doug Ford proclaiming the Easter Bunny an essential service, are far too rare – and somehow criticised for making light of something in dark times.

Niagara Health President: “We will get through this together”

by Lynn Guerriero

We find ourselves in an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has dramatically altered our lives as we know them. I have never been more proud to work with such a committed group of people and more grateful to live in such a caring and generous community.
At Niagara Health, we are all working our hardest to provide the best and safest care to our patients. We could not have a better team in place – their professionalism and dedication are beyond measure.

Not all charities are equal

by Catherine Swift

We have by now accepted the reality that all governments are spending our money like water with our full support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is upon us. All of this money will be added to our collective debt, and will need to be paid back at some future time. Despite the current turmoil and the imperative to get money out the door quickly, it is still worth examining where this money is going and whether it is truly being used constructively and for valid pandemic-related matters.

Unsung Heroes

by Kevin Vallier

When praising emergency services workers, typically firefighters, police and paramedics – people often use the description ‘they are running into a burning building while the rest of us are running out’ as a way of explaining their heroism.

Leadership matters

by Janet Ecker

What’s with the toilet paper, people? In the midst of what is shaping up to be the worst world pandemic in the last 100 years, the obsession with amassing vast quantities of toilet paper doesn’t speak well of our ability to set the right priorities. Stock piling hand sanitizers and disinfectants, now that makes sense.
But setting that aside, let’s consider several important lessons from past experience that are impacting how we handle today’s pandemic.

Our eternal boy prime minister

by Joan Tintor

Yes, it feels slightly wrong to issue yet another column criticizing Justin Trudeau. But with no end in sight for the Corona virus shutdown, offended readers are even less likely to come to my house with their complaints. If they do, I could really use some flour.

Local Chambers championing business during tough times

by Kevin Vallier

Both the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce and the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) are doing what they can to help local businesses try and survive the massive negative impact the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on Niagara’s small and medium sized businesses.

“We’re making calls to all 2,000 of our members,” said Dolores Fabiano, executive director of the South Niagara Chambers. She said while there’s no doubt her members are feeling the tight squeeze of little to no revenue they are trying to stay positive. “If you’re a business owner you’re resilient.”

Corporate conscience

by Kelly Harris

There was a positive sense of glee across Premier Doug Ford’s face during his Wednesday presser as he spoke of the Beamsville, Ontario distillery Dillon’s.

For anyone who has not heard, the Beamsville distillery is changing course somewhat to turn its booze making apparatus into hand sanitizer production. According to reports the sanitizer will be provided for free to health care workers and first responders.

Ford More Years

by Kelly Harris

This may be a total shock to my readers, but I am going to say something nice about the Ontario Liberal Party.

Right now the number one challenge to Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario PC government does not come from the official opposition – the Ontario NDP. The biggest challenge to Mr. Ford comes from the party of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne – now under new management.

Last Thing First Nations Need is Foreign Groups Hijacking Our Future

by Ellis Ross

Most Canadians are becoming painfully aware that there is a distinct movement underway to undermine our resource economy and with it, undo the achievements of Aboriginal community leaders who have been successfully reconciling Aboriginal rights and title with the Crown for the past 15 years.
Many of those lining up against the Coastal GasLink pipeline are non-Aboriginal, while some are even from south of the border.

Kings of the Road

by Kelly Harris

During the 2018 Ontario Election campaign PC Leader Doug Ford said he would open up the mineral and economic riches of the so-called “Ring of Fire” even if he had to bulldoze the road himself.

The “Ring of Fire” is roughly 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and is said to possess multi-generational economic potential. Key finds in the area are chromite, nickel, copper and platinum.

Audi Alteram Partem

by Kelly Harris

Nearing the wind up of his presidency Barrack Obama lamented he did not do enough to heal partisan woes in the United States.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times he invoked Voltaire, the French philosopher, who warned not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The Ontario Liberal Party Leadership Race 2020 “The Up-Hill Climb”

by Marc Kealey

The results of provincial election 2018 changed the province of Ontario forever.  Gone are the governments of Dalton McGuinty – Ontario’s sixth longest serving Premier (after iconic Premiers Mowat, Davis, Frost, Whitney and Robarts) and Kathleen Wynne (who holds the distinction of being Ontario’s first elected female Premier and the tenth longest serving Premier of all 26 Premiers ever elected in the province).

These are great accolades but in 2020 not such great ones to celebrate per se.  The Ontario Liberal Party has held office in the province for a generation  – 2003 to 2018.  This writer has been on record in media during and after Election 2018 admonishing that the Liberal Party should have spent more time celebrating its accomplishments while in Government rather than attacking its opponents.   After all, fifteen years in power is a lifetime and a party with so much promise, authenticity and good fortune seemed to squander it with scandal, terrible political judgement and poor communications.

The branding of our daughters

by Johanna Downey

I sat down and spoke with my 13 year-old daughter the other day and I was immediately struck
with two profound takeaways.
One, school is still a hotbed of cliques, class war and identity crisis with kids under pressure,
yearning to be noticed. Back then it was Valley girl, today it’s VSCO, but take your pick.

Who are these protestors?

by Kelly Harris

Nearly two years ago B.C.-based newsman Tom Fletcher wrote an interesting piece about hyper-organized protests targeting the Canadian natural resource industry.

His article cited leaked documents obtained by the BC Liberal opposition describing well-funded and even better organized professional protestors targeting Canadian energy projects. The writer of the document, “Action Hive Proposal,” was Cam Fenton. Mr. Fenton is a Vancouver-based writer who works for 350.org – an environmental protest group based in Oakland, California.

First Step to building pipelines? … Get treaties done

by Kelly Harris

Former British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell believed strongly that to create economic prosperity in Canada’s more westerly province the government first needed to resolve long-standing disputes with First Nations.

As a communications officer assigned to the Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiations in 2004 I saw the potential first hand. My position was issues management and press secretary and as such I dealt with the good news – agreements and negotiations – and the bad news, blockades and protests.

Next Region CAO should have fresh eyes for Niagara

by Bruce Timms

Niagara Regional Council is beginning the process of hiring a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). In my opinion, the process needs to lead to a CAO with fresh eyes and no local baggage or connections.

Over the years, senior positions like the CAO and Commissioners of the major departments at the Region have seen inconsistent hiring practices. For instance, when Debbie Zimmerman became Chair of Niagara Region she wanted to work with a new CAO. Mike Trojan was simply appointed to the role, without any competition, after his predecessor Michael Boggs was moved aside to a ‘lateral’ position.

Some media is more equal than others

by Kelly Harris

Anyone growing up in the late-1980s or early 1990s no doubt saw the hit movie starring Christian Slater – Pump up the Volume.

The premise of the movie is basically, after moving to a new town, Slater’s parents got him a short-wave radio to talk to his friends from the old town. Slater’s character was clearly brilliant and figured out how to turn the short-wave radio into a pirate radio station – it’s been 30 years and I have no clue.

5 things Ontario government should do for taxpayers in 2020

by Jasmine Moulton

Many Ontarians are struggling to get by.
A recent Ipsos poll revealed 48% of Canadians are $200 or less away from financial insolvency at the end of the month. But the last thing they need is more government because taxes are already the single largest expense for the average Canadian household.

Get Education right then compensate accordingly

by Kelly Harris

Anyone following the ongoing labour dispute between Ontario teachers and the province has heard about the wage-increase legislation. Or at least that is what I would call it if I was working for Premier Doug Ford – I am not.

The Ontario Government in an attempt to quell unsustainable budget increases has decided to allow for an increase of one-per cent for public sector unions. This type of wage increase has been attempted before in Canada and this writer in fact lived under a zero per cent cap while working in government in the past.

Teachers in the “fight for our lives”… again

by Janet Ecker

Well, that pretty well makes it unanimous. All four teacher unions are now participating in rotating one-day strikes and work-to-rule actions that limit such things as report card writing, administrative tasks, extracurricular activities and organizing the province-wide Education Quality and Accountability (EQAO) tests.
How we ever came to this sorry state where extracurricular activities and report cards are not core duties is a long story, but here we are.

Ford Government learning to use their words

by Kelly Harris

You would hope even most ardent anti-Ford partisans would concede the Premier’s tone has changed greatly in his second year of office. Yet there are some that still see him as the devil incarnate and they will never change so let’s not focus on that rabble.

Then again I doubt that cabal would read anything I write anyway, so let’s start over.

Self-interested UN Committee Decision a Threat to Our Communities

by Cody Battershill

Who doesn’t respect the United Nations? Or maybe it’s better to ask, who doesn’t respect them – until they really mess up?
For almost 75 years, beginning with just over 50 member states, the UN has helped hold the world together, labouring to express the will of now almost 200 countries on issues as diverse and politically charged as the economy, the environment and social development.

Banks for the unbankable

by Kelly Harris

It may surprise people in the Niagara Region to learn that when you speak to people in Ontario – well Toronto and Queen’s Park – they think credit unions are a western Canadian thing.

It may surprise those people in Ontario’s capital to learn that not only are credit unions an Ontarian thing – they began in our province. And today the Ontario credit union system is the second largest system in Canada outside of Quebec.

Ontario can’t afford to capitulate (further) to teachers’ unions

by Jasmine Moulton

Let’s start with an obvious premise: it’s possible to both value and respect teachers while simultaneously questioning the viability of their unions’ demands. Indeed, it would be irresponsible for any society that values the public education system not to question how money is being spent therein to maximize value. So let’s consider one of the […]

Pre-budget hearings – put Christmas dinner arguments to good use

by Kelly Harris

The holidays have ended and no doubt everyone who spent time with family heard what is wrong with Ontario and Canada. More often than not how to fix it also got thrown in.
Whether it’s that one uncle or perhaps granddad going over the top complaining about this tax or that program, there is always an opinion. Sometimes it leads to arguments, sometimes others muttering, “would they please shut up” under their breath, sometimes more eggnog.

Let’s make housing more affordable in 2020

by Chuck McShane

It is no secret that the housing market within the Niagara Region is booming.
Our region currently ranks the 5th best place in Canada to purchase real estate, with a population that is projected to double by the year 2041.

These statistics may seem encouraging; however as more and more residents continue to call Niagara their home, new challenges arise. These challenges include housing inventory and housing prices which average families can’t afford nor continue to maintain financially.

Want to help first time homebuyers? … try focusing on seniors

by Kelly Harris

Anyone who has ever taken an economics course or watched a TV program that discussed economics or read a book – any book really – understands the law of supply and demand.

Basically if you have demand for something than the market will produce supply. Transversely, if you have supply of something a demand can be created through others means – i.e. no one wanted to buy sliced bread until they could get it.

Property tax increases emphasize need for restraint on pay raises

by Bruce Timms

The recent passing of drastic property tax increases speaks loudly to the need for compensation restraint within the municipal civil service.
The Province’s Bill 124 imposes a one per cent limit on compensation increases for provincial civil servants. It was put in place specifically to help deal with high unsustainable annual deficit and huge accumulated debt at the provincial level. However, the bill does not apply to municipal employees.

Wage increases a charter right?

by Kelly Harris

In 2002 the newly minted Gordon Campbell Government in British Columbia introduced the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, effectively tearing up a wage hike agreement that B.C. nurses cut with the former NDP provincial government.

The nurses’ deal was considered unsustainable and nothing more than a political tactic of a failed government trying to save the furniture in the 2001 B.C. election. They didn’t save the furniture – just two seats – and Mr. Campbell’s B.C. Liberals swept to a 77-2 election thrashing of the NDP. Opposition to the nurses’ deal was part of the B.C. Liberal’s campaign strategy.

The new federal cabinet and a focus on the future

by Marc Kealey

The federal election and all its craziness and vitriol are now behind us. Canada has spoken and it has given the Liberal Party a mandate (sort of) to form a government. Canadians gave “Team Trudeau” the opportunity to form a minority government meaning that the opposition parties in the collective have more seats than the Party who formed the government.

Self-regulation okay – but better coordinated regulation a must

by Kelly Harris

One of the largest complaints of provincial regulators I fielded while working for the credit union trade association was the swiftness of authorities to resolve issues with unhealthy institutions.

Not underhanded mind you, but institutions whose revenues have flat lined or retracted. Often the institutions, once salvageable, had become more of a burden to rescue than a benefit. If the regulator had the power to act more quickly then the credit union that is taking over the merger could be in a better place.

A new Ford?

by Janet Ecker

There’s an old science fiction movie where the aliens take over humans’ bodies, one by one.  The individual still looks like the person they once were, but their behaviour changes, spawning the cult saying “who are you really and what have you done with so and so?”

Observers of the Ontario government’s recent behaviour will be forgiven if they are asking the same of the Premier – who are you really and what have you done with the old Doug Ford? 

Time to stress test housing options

by Kelly Harris

There are more than 10,000 people on the Niagara Region’s affordable housing wait list and that number is bound to get bigger with the economic success of the province.

Sure, that sentence likely doesn’t make sense, but the fact is, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, homes in the region have appreciated by more than 80 per cent in the past five years. New pressures including the expansion of the Go Train will bring more and more families to the region – even some whose breadwinner or winners work in Toronto.

For Canadians who endured an election that often felt like a stomach flu, here’s something to make everyone feel better: the overwhelming majority of MPs agree we need an income tax cut.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to save the average family about $600 every year by increasing the basic personal income tax exemption from $12,000 to $15,000. Except for the high-income earners he leaves out, it’s a broad-based and truly helpful break for Canadian families. In his first press conference following the election, Trudeau confirmed the tax cut is coming.

Council Trips on Objective Democracy

by Wolfgang Guembel

In my opinion, the latest City Council meeting in St. Catharines demonstrated three key areas of failure. While much of the aftermath has focused on the negative message that St. Catharines is not actually open for business, I would propose the three paramount mistakes include the following:

Ontario does not have a revenue problem…

by Kelly Harris

Hidden amidst the announcement of more money for health care, education and accelerated deficit reduction in the 2019 Fall Economic Statement Nov. 6, was an interesting comment on environmental programs in Canada.

The Dark Side of Social Media

by Catherine Swift

Most people who are active on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like – probably think that the main downside of social media is the many opinionated, argumentative and downright distasteful trolls you are bound to encounter along the way. The recent Canadian election revealed a much darker element of social media networks as it became clear that a very deliberate and surreptitious effort was underway to censor and distort information that was not favourable to the Trudeau Liberals. As these networks become more pervasive and influential in our day-to-day lives, this should be of great concern to anyone who values free speech and fair elections.

Response to Ford Flip-flop

by Steve Clark

I want to address statements made in “Ford’s Municipal Flip-Flop” published in the Niagara Independent on October 29, 2019.
Earlier this year, our government conducted a review of Ontario’s eight regional governments and Simcoe County, including Niagara Region. Municipalities in the review have experienced significant changes since regional governments were first established over 50 years ago. We wanted to ensure that the current system was respecting taxpayers’ dollars and working efficiently for Ontarians.

The best predictor of future behaviour…

by Kelly Harris

On Wednesday, Nov. 6 Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips will give his mid-year report card on the province’s finances during the Fall Economic Statement (FES).

It will go something like this: “Thanks to the hard work of Ontario’s all star ministers the province is ahead of schedule to balance the budget within four years. By targeting efficiencies, and not cuts, the province is protecting the services Ontarians need most, and thanks to the great work of Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli, making Ontario open for business, we have been able to increase revenues all the while lowering taxes.”

Focusing on the Future: New politics for Canada – after Election 43

by Marc Kealey

From his grave in Sleepy Hollow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American essayist, almost seems to be aiming his words at Canada. Election 43 is one for the history books and many have an opinion about its outcome.

Over the past week, many political observers , pundits and those in media have suggested Canada is in for a rough ride in the coming years. Western alienation, they say, is at an all-time high, Quebec nationalism, they say, is on the rise and left of centre politics, they say, will consume the policy agenda in Ottawa.

Unions unfairly paint Ford as bogeyman in education funding fiasco

by Jasmine Moulton

Well-funded union advertising campaigns have convinced many Ontarians that Premier Doug Ford is making cuts to education that are hurting our kids.
Is this true? No.
These claims are demonstrably false. The current government has increased education funding by $700 million beyond what the previous Liberal government spent, including a $1.6 billion Teacher Job Protection Fund to ensure that no teachers would lose their jobs due to a change in class sizes over the next four years.

Benching Ford Nation – the wrong plan?

by Kelly Harris

More than 7,000 Liuna members from across Ontario marched on Queen’s Park to protest the government and hear the leader of the official opposition speak.

It was April 23, 2018, the government they were protesting was that of Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne and the opposition leader they were there to hear speak was new PC Leader Doug Ford.

Is education deal a new MO for Ford government?

by Janet Ecker

Score one for the provincial government. At the eleventh hour, Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce reached a deal with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) who represent 55,000 education system support staff.
In an unusual move, CUPE had quickly abandoned its work-to-rule efforts and decided to take its members directly into a strike. This would have shut down hundreds of schools across the province, leaving frantic parents scrambling to make alternative child care arrangements.

And you want to be my Latex Salesman?

by Kelly Harris

Joe Biden served Barrack Obama for eight years as his vice-president. By all accounts he wasn’t a total disaster and from what I know he never wore black face.

Mr. Biden is in the fight of his life for the Democratic Party nomination in the United States, the same country Mr. Obama was president. So you would expect the former leader of the so-called free world to support his friend, former running mate and fellow American. Nope.

In politics you complain up

by Kelly Harris

There is an old adage in politics that you complain up. Anyone who has watched a Niagara municipal council meeting understands that. And when a senior level politician complains down it is often seen as petty almost oafish.

Then there we were Wednesday. Justin Trudeau used Doug Ford’s name nine times in a single announcement. It wasn’t the most he has invoked the Premier of Ontario, that was on this writer’s birthday, Sept. 23, when he said “Doug Ford” 13 times.

Taxpayers Federation releases 19 for 2019 federal election wish list

by Aaron Wudrick

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released its policy wish list in advance of the 2019 federal election.
“We believe these 19 policies – some small, some big – will leave more money in the pockets of Canadians, give them better value for tax dollars spent and hold our politicians more accountable,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick “We encourage all parties to steal any and all of these proposals as part of their 2019 campaign.”

Rae-Day Relic still Regulates Ontario Credit Unions

by Kelly Harris

Hidden deep in April’s budget delivered by then finance minister Vic Fedeli was a commitment to modernize credit union rules in Ontario.

The decrepit Credit Union and Caisses Populaire Act, 1994, was written before, well, the Internet and is one of the few surviving relics of the Bob Rae era in Ontario. So if you happen to be one of the half-million or so on the Niagara peninsula and Golden Horseshoe that is a credit union member, take comfort knowing that Rae-days may be gone, but the rules governing your life savings remain largely the same.

The common denominator in education disruption

by Janet Ecker

Summer days are fading. Labour Day is over. Kids are back in school. Must be time for another labour dispute in our education system!
Ontario’s parents may be forgiven for thinking they are in a sequel to the movie “Groundhog Day”, when the hero wakes up every morning to repeat the day before. Lucky for him, he uses the repetitive time to learn important life lessons. It would appear the teachers’ and educational workers’ unions have not.

A Privileged Upbringing Is No Excuse; It’s Time For Trudeau To Face Consequences

by Senator Leo Housakos

My initial reaction was visceral. Seeing the Prime Minister of Canada in blackface – at nearly 30 years of age while working in education no less – was profoundly disturbing.
In the days since, my feelings are more reflective and personal and have allowed me to put the pattern of Mr. Trudeau’s behaviour into perspective.

Debating the debates

by Kelly Harris

The value of debates during an election campaign has long been in question and never moreso than following the MacLean’s/CityTV Leaders’ Debate Sept. 12 in Toronto.

The strategy of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skipping the debate was pretty simple. It was a frontrunner strategy where he saw no upside as the NDP was floundering; the Greens were cutting into their votes and the Liberal attack on the Conservatives hadn’t changed since the 1990s – just go with ‘hidden agenda’.

Pot Calls the Kettle……Incompetent

by Catherine Swift

We are now coming up to the one-year mark of cannabis being declared legal in Canada, so the retrospective analyses have started to come in. The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) recently announced that it had incurred a $42 million loss in its operations to date. Ever-critical of the Ford government, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) used this occasion to lambaste the government for incompetence, claiming that if the government had followed through on the Wynne government’s plan to have a cannabis retailing network left in government hands, such as the province largely does with liquor, things would have been much smoother. It certainly is refreshing and unusual to hear a large government employee union express concern over competence. After all, they are typically preoccupied with fleecing the vast majority of Ontarians who are private sector taxpayers to the maximum extent possible and ensuring that any additional money thrown at government services goes into union coffers and more compensation for already-overpaid bureaucrats instead of improving the quality of public services. This is indeed a rare and welcome change of pace for OPSEU. But, as always, the true concern of OPSEU is not really competence of a government entity, but its ongoing frustration with the election of the Ford government and the consequence that it was not able to put its hands on yet another big pot of union dues in the form of a government-union controlled cannabis retail network.

Canada must be, A Just Society

by Kelly Harris

The World Justice Project 2019 Rule of Law index ranks Canada 9th in the world with high-scores for “no improper influence” and “no corruption.”

I wonder what next year’s rankings will find given the SNC-Lavalin Scandal and the ham-fisted way the government mishandled it and continues to do so. The amazing thing about this, if it was ever really about jobs, is that there was a way to do it properly.

Government spending in Ontario is still out of control

by Jasmine Moulton

They say, when delivering negative feedback, to use the sandwich approach: compliment, criticism, compliment.
So when it comes to the Ontario Progressive Conservative party’s financial performance, let’s start by commending the government’s Fiscal Sustainability, Transparency and Accountability Act, which improves transparency in public reporting. That includes the recently released first quarter report. Fixing the fiscal mess in Ontario requires being transparent with the populace about just how dire its finances are. So great work there.

If only their platform had a way to keep Kawhi or The NDP’s Summer of Errors

by Kelly Harris

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has been damned if he does and dammed if he doesn’t for most of his tenure at the top of Canada’s natural third party.

First off, Queen’s Park’s former best-dressed Member of Provincial Parliament decided to introduce himself to Canadians before running for a seat in the House of Commons. This was decried by some as a bad move because Ottawa was where the national press is. So he ran and won a seat in Burnaby – a place he has no ties to and doesn’t represent an NDP power-base because it’s on the wrong side of Canada for national media attention.

The golden parachute

by Kelly Harris

Shortly after the 2011 provincial election I made the decision to take the Queen’s Park Golden Parachute and move on to greener pastures. My numbers may be wrong, but I clearly remember they were a grand total of 12 to 14 weeks and the paycheque I cashed was nowhere near the $450,000 plus two senior staffers to former Premier Kathleen Wynne pocketed.
So I was a little incredulous to see the former premier defend the decision saying it was in line with other jurisdictions, when from my experience it wasn’t even in line with her own – albeit the opposition side of things. I immediately felt what it is in line with is the entitled way her government acted for many years when dealing with Ontarian’s money.

In the wake of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, accountability reforms are needed

by Aaron Wudrick

The pundits will be chattering about the political impact of federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s bombshell report into the SNC-Lavalin affair until election day. But this is also an opportunity to strengthen government accountability to prevent a repeat of the circumstances that gave rise to the scandal. Dion concluded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke conflict-of-interest laws by pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in a decision not to defer criminal prosecution of the firm.
Whichever party forms government after Oct. 21 must implement two key reforms: separating the roles of the attorney general and minister of justice; and, putting an end to omnibus bills, which prevent proper parliamentary scrutiny.

Why keep the cost of carbon hidden?

by Kelly Harris

The Ford Government has given Ontario gas stations until Aug. 30 to place stickers informing motorists of the cost of the Federal Carbon Tax.

The idea of course is to inform motorists and carbon consumers of the additional tax. The number one issue for Canadian voters heading into this year’s election is the cost of living and new taxes, well; they increase the cost of living.

Strike two for PM

by Janet Ecker

An old politician once said that “voters rarely vote for what they say they want.” This fall, when Canadians choose their next federal government, they will have a chance to prove the truth or falsity of that statement. They need to think carefully about the signals they will send to politicians at all levels of government about what they consider acceptable conduct.
In 2015, Canadian voters chose a leader who promised sunny ways and a government that would be more accountable, more transparent and more ethical than the last one.

The phoney supporters

by Jacqui Delaney

For months we have heard about the dangers of the spread of misinformation and disinformation on the internet as we head into the federal election.
Minister Karina Gould has even threatened shutting down certain sites during the writ period to combat the problem.
Earlier this week, we saw a troubling example of a kind of disinformation we should all be concerned with and should all do our part to debunk and combat.

Taxpayers counting on Premier Ford to save smarter

by Jasmine Moulton

Premier Doug Ford was elected to clean up the fiscal mess in Ontario, but his government’s attempts to do so have been hard to watch. If Ford doesn’t fix his strategy, he may lose his chance to fix the province.
Ontarians want less spending. We just have one request: save smarter.
Here are a few ideas.

It’s the Cost of Living, stupid

by Kelly Harris

In the past 20 years of covering elections, working on elections and managing politicians there is a common thread of top issues. It is always health care, health care, and health care. Unless of course, as former President Bill Clinton famously said, “it’s the economy stupid.”

So small wonder the federal parties seem to be tossing about to figure out an agenda that has neither of those issues as number one. Health care, because everyone says it in polling regardless of the reason, I suspect, so they don’t feel stupid, is sitting at number two on the latest Abacus Data issues poll July 15.

A Federal Election Preview

by Anne McGrath

We may have just hit the halfway point of summer but Canada’s political parties are already revving up their campaign engines. As we enter the last full month before the writ drops H+K’s political strategists, Anne McGrath, Melissa Lantsman and Omar Khan share what you need to know about each of their party’s paths to victory.

Tempest in a Wine Glass

by Catherine Swift

Despite being in the summer doldrums when most folks are more concerned about hanging out on the dock with a cool beverage than paying attention to the news, there was a bozo eruption from the left this week that got some undeserved media play. The whole thing started with a story from an online so-called news service called Queen’s Park Today, concerning a story on the Ontario Conservatives’ online Ontario News Now outlet about Premier Ford having paid a visit to an Ontario winery, namely Pelee Island Winery, and saying good things about the Ontario business. Another politician visiting a business during the summer months when legislatures are not sitting and making some complimentary public statements about it is something unremarkable that happens every day. That should have been the end of it and, if it had been a Liberal or other non-Conservative government in power, it likely would have been.

Pipeline Protesters Shouldn’t be Funded by Taxpayers

by Kris Sims

The next time you see pipeline protesters chaining themselves to a bulldozer, know that your taxes may have paid for their activism.
The federal government has given $2.5 million of your money to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives so it can “shine a bright light on the fossil fuel industry by investigating the ways corporate power is organized and exercised.”

Political appointments

by Janet Ecker

Recent coverage of the political appointments’ controversy in Premier Doug Ford’s government brought to mind George Washington Plunkitt, an infamous New York politician in the early 1900’s who once said, “I never accepted a dishonest dollar.” As long as his voters received good value for the money spent, “honest graft” was okay.
While such an attitude is frowned upon today, federal and political governments inevitably get dragged into similar controversies about “cronyism” or “corruption” when faced with the daunting task of appointing literally thousands of individuals to various roles on government agencies, boards and commissions.

Banana Republic North

by Catherine Swift

If we believe the worst predictions of the climate change alarmists, we may be able to grow bananas in Canada in the not-too-distant future. However, it seems that policies of the Trudeau government are on track to deliver Canada into the ranks of banana republics much sooner.
Last week the final report of the pompously-named “Journalism and Written Media Independent Panel of Experts” was released. This is basically the group that was selected to oversee doling out $600 million taxpayer dollars to struggling old-school newspapers that are, like so many industries in this day and age, being made obsolete by advances in technology. The panel is composed of a number of different journalist, news organizations and Unifor, the avowedly anti-Conservative union that represents journalists in a number of publications. Calling this group “independent” is laughable at best, as their undoubted bias in giving out tax dollars effectively to themselves is basically akin to putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. Adding pro-Liberal Unifor to the mix at election time is nothing short of disgraceful, and should appall all Canadians.

Shut it down CBC

by Kevin Vallier

Canada’s public broadcaster should be ashamed of itself.
Word got out recently that the CBC was exploring the idea of doing a series about the horrific and brutal 1991 and 1992 killings of Kristen French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14. The man charged with those murders also admitted to raping more than a dozen other women between 1987 and 1990. His wife at the time, who, by all accounts, played a very significant role in those murders, and the killing of her own sister, is now enjoying her freedom and has been for several years. He continues to serve a life sentence for abduction, sexual assault and murder.

Use tax dollars to fill potholes, not luxury golf resort owners’ pockets

by Paige MacPherson

Here’s an under-reported tragedy: it’s a one-hour drive to a luxury golf course from the nearest airport. Cue the mournful Sarah McLachlan ballad. It’s such unnecessary suffering.
The Cabot Links golf resort is a luxury facility set amidst the landscape of stunning Inverness, Cape Breton. It’s $125 for a plate of caviar and $320 for an 18-hole round of golf. The Cabot website says the links are a “scenic two-hour drive” from the Sydney airport. For chartered flights, the Port Hastings airport is only 80 km away. Helicopters are also available. The course confidently claims: “getting to Cabot is easy.”

Ottawa’s carbon tax is so bad it’s uniting Alberta and Quebec

by Franco Terrazzano

Imagine a tax so bad that it’s uniting Alberta and Quebec. With all of the heated rhetoric over pipelines and equalization, that sort of unity seems like an impossibility. But it turns out the tax is all too real and it’s Ottawa’s carbon tax.
The Trudeau government has been busy uniting the provinces against its economically damaging policies. Six premiers wrote to the prime minister urging him to change or scrap legislation that bans tankers on the West Coast and makes approvals for future pipelines virtually impossible. And following the Alberta’s government’s announcement to challenge Ottawa’s carbon tax in the courts, the Quebec government is now taking on the tax by intervening in Saskatchewan’s Supreme Court challenge.

The 2020 regional budget

by Bruce Timms

Is the cart before the horse? Regional Council agreed on June 20th to use the Municipal Price Index (MPI) to guide on-going automatic budget increases and directed their staff to prepare a bylaw to replace an old policy that had used the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI) escalator ahead of approving budget committee recommendations.
The Budget Committee approved base budget increases as follows; 2.7% for Regional Departments; 3.0% for agencies, boards and commissions (Police, NRH and NPCA); and 2.1% for waste management. This was based on an MPI that includes a 3.3% compensation increase and adds up to 2.85% overall tax increase.

Imagine if we treated all rich people like Kawhi

by Aaron Wudrick

We all want Kawhi Leonard to keep playing basketball for the Raptors. We want him to stay so much badly that even Canadian politicians are getting into the polite pleading.
“I see lots of businesses offering Kawhi Leonard free food, an apartment and even a houseplant if he stays with @Raptors. So I feel that I should do my part. Hey Kawhi, if you stay we’ll give you free health care!” tweeted Health Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor.

Bombardier cashes out while taxpayers get stiffed

by Aaron Wudrick

Imagine pouring billions of dollars into a business and not being able to tell if you got anything back in return.
That’s the real-life story of Canadian taxpayers’ relationship with Bombardier, the hapless Montreal-based aerospace company, which last week announced it was selling off its money-losing regional jet business to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million.

Thank those who serve whenever you can

by Kevin Vallier

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a great race in Niagara-on-the-Lake known as the Niagara Ultra. I highly recommend it for any of the runners out there. It’s well organized, has a great route down the Niagara Parkway and back and you can select from a number of distances including 10km, half and full marathon and even a 50km distance.

This year had an added special touch. Upon crossing the finish line runners were handed a water bottle and their finisher’s medal by members of our Canadian Armed Forces. There were at least six of them, maybe a couple more. They were young, wore the uniform with pride and very gracious and humble.

Whew! What was that?

by Janet Ecker

Once again Ontario Premier Doug Ford left supporters and critics alike very surprised by his unprecedented cabinet shuffle – unprecedented in both timing and scope. Governments often tweak a cabinet from time to time, but rarely do you see such massive changes so early in a mandate. And even rarer is a change in Finance Minister.
Affable, well-liked and considered competent, Vic Fedeli has been moved to the Economic Development portfolio; admittedly an important post for a government focused on being “open for business” but a significant demotion from the second most important position in government.
What gives? The good news is that the Premier is admitting his government has problems that need to be fixed. Three public events where you get roundly booed and half a dozen public opinion polls showing your support heading downwards can do that to you.

We can’t afford wall to wall pharmacare

by Aaron Wudrick

In early 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins to chair an advisory council on the implementation of a national pharmacare program.

This week, the council issued its final report recommending a top-to-bottom overhaul of prescription drug coverage that would effectively wipe out the existing workplace and private drug plans that cover more than two-thirds of Canadians, and replace them with a one-size-fits-all government plan for everyone, at a cost of $15 billion per year.

Trudeau fans the flames of Western Alienation

by The Niagara Independent

Several months ago The Niagara Independent started publishing articles from time-to-time about a piece of legislation that was getting little attention in Ontario but a lot of attention in Western Canada. Some readers thanked us for shedding light on the issue while others wondered why we cared so much about an “Alberta issue”.
Well, that Alberta issue has now become a Canadian issue which means it’s an Ontario issue. And people in this province should pay attention.

Difficult budget meeting ahead

by Bruce Timms

Niagara Region Council is set to hold a Budget Review Committee of the Whole meeting on June 20 to discuss 2020 budget guidelines for staff to follow. This is the most important budget meeting of the year for Council. Staff are asked to prepare detailed budgets for each department based on the guidance provided to them by council based on the percentage increase or decrease council wishes to see. This meeting decides between zero based budgeting or budgets based on a percentage change from last year’s budget.
The discussion will be different this year because the provincial funding changes for 2019 will now likely be imposed in 2020.

The Real Income Inequality

by Catherine Swift

In a move guaranteed to pump up the volume of public sector union caterwauling – if that is even possible at this point – this week the Ford government decreed that core public sector wages would be capped for the next three years with a maximum increase of one per cent. During last year’s election campaign, the Conservatives spoke in generalities about the need to constrain the growing cost of government as an essential part of any strategy to get the province’s financial affairs back into balance. What they meant by that just got real this week.

Jerry Dias is not the problem, the journalists who refuse to quit him are

by Joan Tintor

For several days last week, barbs were traded over the Trudeau government appointing a Unifor representative to a panel that will decide which news organizations will receive $600 million in government funding over the next five years. Unifor’s membership includes 12,000 journalists working at media outlets across the country.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer argued that Unifor is a “highly partisan group with highly aggressive and partisan goals,” which has “made it clear their objective is to help the Liberals win the next election.” He said that Unifor’s appointment to the panel was part of Trudeau’s plan to “stack the deck” in the Liberals’ favour for the election. Liberal heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez deflected the criticism, accusing Scheer of “playing a dangerous game” by implying that journalists can be bought with government handouts.

Another Erosion of Our Freedom

by Catherine Swift

We Canadians are a fortunate people. Throughout our history we have been the beneficiaries of a consistently strong economy, based in large part upon the sheer good luck of having abundant natural resources that are in demand in the rest of the world. We are also geographically blessed, being located in a part of the world not often subject to natural disasters and next door to the most robust free enterprise economy in the world which, despite many Canadians’ closet resentment of anything American, has been a boon to our country in many ways. Looking at the chaos happening in much of Europe currently as a result of the migrant crisis, ongoing violence in the Middle East and other global disruption, we should also be thankful that we are insulated from much of that turmoil by having large bodies of water separating us from those catastrophes. The hard work and ingenuity of Canadians has surely played a role in our national success as well, but we also have to recognize the important of sheer dumb luck.

Why media bailouts are bad and wrong

by Jacqui Delaney

“There’s no place for the state in the newsrooms of the nation.”

To borrow a phrase from none other than the current Prime Minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau, which itself was borrowed from a 1967 Globe and Mail editorial – there’s no place for the state in the newsrooms of the nation.

I say this, not only as someone who is diametrically opposed to the Liberals politically but also, as someone who spent more than 20 years working in news media.

Funding based on positive results is a good thing

by Janet Ecker

Ask most teachers in the kindergarten to grade 12 system what they think of outcome-based metrics or system-wide testing and you will be greeted with a less than enthusiastic, even hostile response. Their unions have fought the provincial government for years over anything that would provide sound data on the quality of teaching, the progress of students as a group or the performance of a school.
But as any manager worth his or her salt knows, whether in the public or private sector, what gets measured gets done, to use the old canard. Most employees outside schools are familiar with the annual exercise of goal setting for themselves and for their organizations.

Protecting the model of care at West Lincoln Memorial

by Sharon Pierson

I would like to update our community on work happening to protect and maintain services at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) until we can rebuild it.
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) leadership and WLMH site physicians are working around the clock, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, to determine how best to address challenges in meeting the appropriate standards of care in the surgical and obstetrical areas of our facility, with the safe storage of supplies being a particular challenge.

Bigger, but not better: dispelling the “City of Niagara”

by Nicholas Tibollo

Since the province announced it would be reviewing (and perhaps amalgamating) Ontario’s eight regional governments back in January, many have wondered aloud what such a restructuring may look like locally.

Although several options have been tossed about, one particular model for reform seems to be getting more airtime than most.

Next up for the Trudeau Liberals: a plastic tax?

by Aaron Wudrick

They say misery loves company and for the Trudeau Liberals that apparently includes miserable tax policy.
It hasn’t even been a month since Ottawa imposed its hated carbon tax on much of the country and lo and behold, it already has another new tax on the table.
Last year, Environment Canada commissioned accounting firm Deloitte to undertake a study of Canada’s $35 billion plastics industry. The resulting report, released earlier this month, noted that only 9 per cent of plastics are recycled.

Ontario’s battle over beer

by Christine Van Geyn and Grant Dingwall

Some cockroaches hiss as a defence mechanism. It’s startling, but any bird that realizes the hissing is harmless can have an easy lunch.
Right now, The Beer Store is busy hissing about beer sales expanding into corner stores.
Recent reports cite “beer industry insiders” as saying that expanded sales would be a breach of a 2015 contract between the provincial government and The Beer Store that guaranteed what is essentially a monopoly on sales. These insiders claim the taxpayer liability for breaching this contract could be in the “hundreds of millions” or even up to $1 billion.

As Vancouver drivers suffer gas-price pain, carbon tax backers go suspiciously quiet

by Aaron Wudrick and Kris Sims

While British Columbians mutter profanities as they watch gas prices soaring as high as $1.79 a litre, carbon-tax advocates who should be popping champagne are instead quietly avoiding eye contact.
Anyone who wonders if gas prices matter to ordinary people should spend an afternoon watching a busy border crossing. British Columbians are flocking to Washington State to fill up, where, even after the exchange rate, they’re saving about 50 cents per litre.
For a vehicle with a 70-litre fuel tank, that works out to saving $35 per fill up. Multiply that by two fill ups a weeks for the average commuter family in Langley (not a lot of people can afford to live downtown with outrageously high housing costs) and suddenly you’re looking at either spending in Canada or saving in the States $70 extra per week — or $3,600 per year.

You can’t please everyone

by Janet Ecker

For those who thought Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s first budget would be a “blood-on-the-floor-slash-and-burn” exercise, there was disappointment.
For those who thought the still-new Ontario government would exercise strict fiscal discipline and eliminate the budgetary deficit in four years, they too were let down.
Thus, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s promise of a “Goldilocks” approach, balancing the budget not too quickly nor too slowly, was indeed kept. Either direction is a gamble for the government – too fast risks significant damage to services, but too slow means the budget might not be balanced before the next economic downturn occurs.

Provincial budget confirmed good news for WLMH

by Julia Kamula

“A new hospital is on the way,”! Premier Doug Ford announced at West Lincoln Memorial in November. His commitment was reinforced again last week in the government’s first budget, appropriately entitled Protecting What Matters Most. It’s a very welcome commitment, given the long history of neglect and underfunding the hospital has faced from past governments.
We are thankful to be planning the rebuild and talking with our provincial government partners about getting shovels in the ground as soon as possible. The fact is we cannot wait any longer. The single most important thing we can do to keep the hospital open and thriving for years to come is rebuild it – and soon. Every day it gets harder to manage the risk of trying to provide modern health care in a crumbling 75-year-old building.

Taxpayers Federation cautiously optimistic about Ontario budget

by Christine Van Geyn

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is cautiously optimistic about the provincial budget recently tabled by Ontario Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli. The budget includes a plan to achieve a balanced budget by 2023, which is one year after the next provincial election. The current deficit is $11.7 billion, down from $15 billion when the government took office.
“Today makes it clear that balancing the budget is a core goal of this government,” said CTF Ontario Director, Christine Van Geyn. “We are concerned that the commitment will not be fulfilled within this government’s first term, but the government is moving in the right direction without imposing any new or higher taxes. While more restraint should have been shown in the first year, overall, the plan looks good for taxpayers.”

Should Ontario Place be sold? Yes.

by Christine Van Geyn

Ontario Place looks like the set of some futurist film about an apocalyptic wasteland. The pods sit empty, the small children’s village has been shut down for 17 years, and the winter light offerings are more meagre than an average suburban street at Christmas. Tumbleweeds might as well be rolling down the unoccupied paths on the west island.
The problem is that governments make bad landlords. For proof, consider the Auditor General’s report that found the government spent $19 million in 2016-17 to maintain over 800 empty buildings. Ontario Place is just one of many neglected government properties. It received an over $2 million operating grant from Ontario taxpayers in 2016, the most recent numbers available. And operating expenses increased by more than $1 million between 2016 and 2015.

The makings of a provincial budget

by Janet Ecker

The most critical date in the life of any government is the day they unveil their first budget. This is where reality strikes — what did we really mean by this campaign promise or that? What takes priority? How can we afford it all?
For voters, it’s the first real chance to assess a new government. Seeing where the government puts taxpayers’ money shows what the government’s real priorities are. Its choices offer important insights into how the government makes those decisions and how transparent it is about it.
For example, is it clear what is being spent on which program or are details buried deep in the budget papers and appendices?

Ford government’s first budget must demonstrate self control

by Christine Van Geyn

The famous marshmallow experiment at Stanford University studied the lives of children who were offered a choice between one marshmallow immediately, or two marshmallows if they could wait for 15 minutes. The children who could wait tended to do better in life, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment and even body mass index.
The lesson of delayed gratification is one that the new Ford government should keep in mind going into its first budget on April 11. The previous Liberal government’s failure to learn to put the long term ahead of the short term resulted in the province’s $13.5 billion deficit and $324 billion provincial debt.

Province’s wine industry needs fair shake

by Kevin Vallier

In speaking with a number of wine industry leaders and combing through numerous studies, financial analyses and reports one thing is clear; Ontario’s craft wine industry is at a crossroads and the Ford government needs to make sure they choose the right road when making changes to legislation regarding alcohol sales in Ontario.
Simply putting booze in big box stores isn’t going to help. In fact it will do more harm than good when it comes to craft wineries. While many Ontarian’s, particularly in Niagara, fancy themselves sophisticated wine connoisseurs the fact of the matter is more often than not they will reach for $9.99 import bottle instead of the $14.99 VQA offering.

The Manning Conference

by Catherine Swift

Last weekend I attended the Manning Centre Conference, an annual event chaired by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning. This get-together is often referred to as “Woodstock for Conservatives”, but without the great music, unfortunately. Needless to say, much of the discussion in the corridors pertained to the unfolding soap opera with the Liberals and the SNC Lavalin scandal. The formal sessions focused on everything from immigration issues, the impact of social media, pipeline politics, environmental policy and digitizing government, among others, and there were keynote addresses by former George W. Bush senior advisor Karl Rove, Andrew Scheer, Doug Ford and General Rick Hillier. All in all an interesting weekend of conservative-oriented discussion and networking.

Most people don’t expect their governments to be perfect. But they do expect governments to make some effort to honour commitments, be straight with taxpayers and make the best of circumstances as they come.
In the 2015 election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised he’d run “modest” deficits for a few years, then balance the budget in 2019.

How the World Should Act Against Climate Change

by Paul Ferraro

Mitigating climate change is easy. We need only make it more expensive to emit greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, that would also make energy more expensive, and many people would prefer that governments make energy less expensive. Witness the protests started over a modest gas tax in France, a leader in international climate change negotiations.
Rather than work against this incentive — and continue to be surprised at the glacial pace of progress against climate change — an international agreement should try to harness it. It’s time to abandon the effort to secure a global deal to lower emissions, and instead work toward an agreement to make sizable investments in clean-energy technology.

Time to cut interest rate with Canada ‘one notch’ from recession

by Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani

The next move from the Bank of Canada will be to cut to interest rates, according to David Rosenberg, who says the economy is just “one notch away” from a recession.
Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, told BNN Bloomberg that the central bank has to shift rates with the changing times, or risk falling behind the curve.
“We just came off two straight quarters of negative growth in real final demand. So, if we’re not in a recession yet, we’re just basically one notch away,” Rosenberg said.

Finally with an heir apparent, are Horwath’s days as Ontario NDP leader numbered?

by Nicholas Tibollo

Last Thursday marked 10 years since a spritely young politician from Hamilton staved off veteran MPP Gilles Bisson and former executive director of Greenpeace Peter Tabuns to become the first female leader of the Ontario NDP.

In her tenure at the top, Andrea Horwath has taken the provincial Left from obscurity to Official Opposition: going from 10 seats in 2009, to 40 in 2018.

In the lead-up to last year’s election, some pollsters even predicted Horwath would be named Ontario’s 26th premier (before a strong majority delivered Doug Ford’s PCs 76 seats).

International Women’s Day – Women and Politics

by Janet Ecker

Events happening in Ottawa these days – where two of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most respected cabinet ministers, both women, resigned on principle – add an interesting backdrop to this year’s International Women’s Day.
Former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould and former Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Jane Philpott are well regarded, both inside and outside of the Ottawa bubble. Resigning from a cabinet position, a role highly prized within the political world, is not done lightly. Whether you agree with their reasons or not, it takes an individual with a deep sense of ethical boundaries.

Evolution and the Trudeau-Wilson-Raybould Saga

by Marc Kealey

The culmination of activities in Ottawa with respect to the testimony of the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould at the Justice Committee and the subsequent fall out has laid bare that Canada’s system of Government has been affected over the years, through dramatic judicial and political reforms. Reforms designed to transfer policymaking dominated from the bureaucracy to the political executive – the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Further, this transition – in the context of Magna Carta – where in 1215 the supremacy of parliament and, therefore, the role of the member of parliament was paramount – has now morphed or, more importantly, produced over recent decades a centralization of power. The entire issue facing the Prime Minister, his office and his Government is focused squarely on this evolution.

Protest convoy highlights jobs calculus

by Aaron Wudrick

When a recent convoy of trucks rolled into Ottawa, it kicked up a cloud of controversy, but one core issue at its heart: jobs.
There are two sides to the jobs question.
On one side, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants to build pipelines the energy sector desperately needs. On the other side, the prime minister also promises carbon taxes and similar measures will stimulate a surge in so-called green jobs. But the convoy is a clear illustration that Canadians don’t trust Ottawa to gamble with their livelihoods.

Horwath Invokes Health Care Sacred Cow, Delivers Load of Bull

by Christine Van Geyn

The problem with calling on sacred cows is that the result is often a load of bull. That’s what taxpayers got with the NDP’s not-so-bombshell release of leaked draft health-care legislation in Ontario.
On Jan. 31, NDP leader Andrea Horwath released draft health-care legislation her party had obtained through a leak from an Ontario bureaucrat. Horwath held a press conference where she outlined what she called the Progressive Conservatives’ secret plan to privatize health care.
It’s precisely these kinds of claims that make improving healthcare in Canada so challenging.

Clearly define education objectives

by Janet Ecker

Some political observers think the Finance Minister is the most powerful cabinet minister, after the Premier. And while technically true, the Minister that often gets the most political attention is the Minister of Education.
It’s not hard to see why. We all went to school. We all have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews who are in school. Or we have a family member who is a teacher.

Trudeau’s broken omnibus bill promise at the heart of his SNC-Lavalin troubles

by Aaron Wudrick

Like a character in a Greek tragedy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suffering for perpetrating an anti-democratic abomination he once decried: an omnibus bill.
Keeping that promise may have saved him from accusations that his office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who suddenly resigned from cabinet on Tuesday, to let SNC-Lavalin negotiate a so-called remediation agreement instead of facing full prosecution for millions of dollars worth of corruption in Libya.

Liberals’ poorly designed ‘free tuition’ program like a bad tattoo

by Christine Van Geyn

Government entitlement programs are a bit like tattoos: if they turn out badly, it’s hard to get rid of them. That’s what happened with Ontario’s short-lived and failed experiment with so-called free tuition (or, more accurately, taxpayer funded tuition).
Once an entitlement is granted, recipients view it as a right and it becomes someone else’s obligation to pay for it. Rolling that entitlement back is a huge challenge, even if it has proved ineffective and unsustainable.

The new west and the future of Canada

by Angus Reid

I’m a child of Western Canada. Born in Regina after the Second World War, raised in Winnipeg, now a resident of BC and half of my six siblings live in Alberta. I’ve come to know this part of Canada through the dual lens of personal experience and thousands of polls. And I’ve spent enough time in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal to discover the many myths and misconceptions about this vast region.
I have witnessed a massive change in the role of the West, largely driven by demographic forces. In the early 50’s the Canadian population fulcrum, with Ontario in the middle, was decidedly tilted east. Western Canada had barely a quarter of the then-total population of 14 million. Quebec and the Atlantic provinces hosted slightly more than forty percent of the country.

The future of West Lincoln hospital

by Rob MacIsacc

It was the news we were all waiting for when Premier Doug Ford announced “A new hospital is coming soon,” at our West Lincoln Memorial site in November.

On a tour of the building that morning, Premier Ford underscored his commitment by signing it onto a white board, leading staff to joke that they would never allow his writing to be erased.

Premier Ford’s commitment is a significant milestone. We are at an important juncture in West Lincoln Memorial’s history. People are understandably passionate about a hospital where their babies are born, where their neighbours work and where their aging parents receive medical care.

A balanced budget lasts longer than a crash diet

by Janet Ecker

Balancing a government’s budget is like losing weight. We all know people, if we haven’t done it ourselves, who start the traditional January crash diet, experience that first wave of excitement as the pounds drop off, only to see the weight creep back on as old eating habits reassert themselves. Reining in government spending to match government revenues is not that different.
The last two governments increased spending to unsustainable levels. Ontario now has the largest debt of any provincial, state or territorial government in the world. Interest on that debt is now one of government’s largest expenses, dwarfed only by health and education spending. The agencies who rate Ontario’s credit rating have continued to downgrade it, in effect telling the world’s investors that we are a riskier place for their money.

Amalgamation can be good, but not for everyone

by Robert Hiltz

News the Ontario government is looking to review the state of two-tiered municipalities in the province, and maybe begin another round of amalgamations, has got me thinking about Ottawa.
It’s the city I grew up in, and in the late 1990s was one of the regions amalgamated by then-premier Mike Harris. For a good part of the city, amalgamation has made sense. It took a patchwork of smaller municipalities that were separated by borders that were little more than lines on a map. Now services are streamlined and the city hums along quite content.

The year is only a few weeks old. With more than 90% of 2019 yet to happen, it is not too late to predict what will occur. The following article contains only good news. After the disastrous end to 2018 from the Trans Mountain pipeline decision to the Canadian oil price collapse, no need to rehash what went wrong, or what could go wrong.
This year is my 40th of writing about the Canadian oilpatch. The only conclusion I have reached after four decades of being a non-impartial analyst and reporter of the affairs of our industry during multiple boom and bust cycles is oil people are better at extrapolating than forecasting. We assume that whatever happened yesterday will happen tomorrow and thereafter. If things are good they’ll always be good. If they are bad, they’ll remain awful.

It’s time to tear down 24 Sussex

by Aaron Wudrick

Imagine your house was 150 years old, and hadn’t seen major renovations in 50 years.
Imagine it still had asbestos in the walls — that are also cracking in at least six spots — and that there’s water damage throughout. Imagine ancient electrical wiring and deficient plumbing. Imagine it being too hot in the summer, and too cold in the winter. Imagine spending hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep the heat and lights on, and the snow in the driveway shovelled.
Welcome to 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of Canada’s prime minister.

Quebec Premier offers a lesson in leadership worth paying attention to

by Robert Hiltz

Political leadership is a tough thing to learn. There’s a lot going on all at once. You’ve got an agenda you want to get passed, but you’ve also got a stable of ambitious personalities to manage in your cabinet and your caucus. Add to that the glare of journalists hungry for stories and you got…a lot. It’s a lot.
Which is why it was so interesting when Quebec Premier François Legault shuffled his cabinet and replaced his environment minister earlier this week. The premier provided a good lesson for other leaders on how to handle mistakes.

More Union Malarkey

by Catherine Swift

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is undertaking a Charter challenge of the Ontario government’s actions to change the sex education curriculum, and the proceeding began this week. The basis of the case is that by temporarily reverting to the curriculum that originated in 1998, but was in place as recently as 2015, the government’s actions are unconstitutional as they purportedly put children at risk by failing to be inclusive and do not meet the needs of today’s students. The union claims to be fighting for the students. This is pretty tough to swallow since Ontario teachers’ unions clearly couldn’t care less about students when they encourage teachers to go on strike, enforce “work-to-rule” conditions, cease extra-curricular activities or engage in other disruptive workplace practices. Serious issues such as the fact that about half of Ontario’s Grade 6 students fail to meet basic math standards don’t even register as a blip on the unions’ radar screens. It is most probable that the courts will reject the EFTO’s lawsuit, while valuable court resources and taxpayer dollars are tied up in this effort that has much more to do with trying to make the Ford government look bad than any interests of the students or even most teachers.

Even if everything’s terrible, it’s still worth your time

by Robert Hiltz

It’s a new year, and so I’m gripped with the senseless sort of optimism that comes with the season. Everything’s got the fresh and shiny veneer that comes as the calendar flips over to something new.
And as 2019, something else dawns with it; an election year. And because of the general positive feeling of the season—perhaps it’s the latent eggnog fumes—I’m almost hopeful for what’s to come this time around. Federal politics might actually be a shiny and desirable thing in these next 10 or so months. Big debates! Honest dialogue! Zero memes!
But who am I kidding?

Top 10 predictions for 2019

by The Niagara Independent

While some media outlets prefer to look at the past and compile a list of what’s already happened, writers at The Niagara Independent decided to play prognosticators. In no particular order, here is our Top 10 list of what we think is likely to happen in Niagara, Ontario, Canada and beyond in 2019.

How to stop the so-called “War on Christmas”

by Nicholas Tibollo

Since the turn of the millennium few celebrations have been subjected to the eye-rolling lunacy of political correctness quite like Christmas.

From the clumsy editing of classic carols, to the unceremonious swapping of traditional salutations for generic greetings, various efforts have been made to make the holiday season more “inclusive”.

Secularists, non-Christian religious groups, and ultra-progressive political factions have all taken their respective shots in the so-called “War on Christmas”.

Auditor General’s Naughty List is Ford’s To-Do List

by Christine Van Geyn

The auditor general just gave the premier a thoughtful Christmas gift: a 1,000-page to-do list.

For the past few years, the Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report has been more like a gift for the opposition and a lump of coal for the government.

This year, the government has the convenient excuse of blaming everything in the report on the previous government. After all, the programs and spending reviewed were related to decisions by the previous government. But that doesn’t get Premier Doug Ford off the hook for what comes next. The auditor general has essentially handed his government a to-do list of immediate changes that need to be made, especially if the government is serious about tackling the $14.5-billion deficit.

Will governments ever learn their lesson on corporate welfare?

by Aaron Wudrick

There’s an old saying about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Never has this been more true than governments in Canada when it comes to wasting your money on corporate welfare.

This week, General Motors announced out of the blue that it will be mothballing its plant in Oshawa  and eliminating 2,800 jobs in one fell swoop. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for thousands of GM workers and their families who had no clue whatsoever that such devastating news was coming. They’re furious, like so many other Canadians from coast-to-coast.

After all, this was the same company that, together with Chrysler, begged for a bailout in 2008 at a cost of more than $13 billion taken from taxpayers’ pockets. Then-industry minister Tony Clement argued such a massive bailout was needed in order to “achieve a viable industry.”

The Motherhood Penalty

by Dr. Sarah Kaplan

Ontario has had the world’s most advanced pay equity legislation for more than 30 years. And yet women in the province still earn significantly less, on average, than men. Why?
We read the papers and see Iceland and the U.K. and other jurisdictions passing new laws focused on equal pay, and our first reaction is to think that Ontario needs to get on the bandwagon. But, in reality, Ontario’s 1987 Pay Equity Act (which is further bolstered by the Human Rights Code and recent changes in the Employment Standards Act) is actually state of the art. Many of the pay transparency provisions emerging in countries around the world are occurring in jurisdictions that did not have the excellent legislation that we already have. And their provisions are not as effective or targeted as those that we have in place. If you review the company reports coming out of the U.K., you will learn, for example, that the large Canadian banks operating there have a 30 to 60 per cent wage gap. But, those reports don’t tell us anything about pay. Instead, they simply show that these companies (and most of the rest of the companies reporting) have few women in top jobs (which pay more than jobs at lower tiers of the organization). It says nothing about whether or not women and men are paid the same for the same jobs.

Vision and innovation needed in wake of GM announcement

by Alexander Lutchin

The closure announcement of GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant is a huge wake up call for our leadership in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park. This is not just an Oshawa problem – this is an issue that will have ripple effects across our nation and certainly in Ontario. Here is the problem: our government leaders are being reactive, rather than proactive. This needs to change now!

How does the Oshawa plant, which is one of the most award-winning facilities on the planet – and at one time considered one of the largest auto plants in the world – meet its demise on a rainy Monday morning in November alongside four other facilities in the US?

Simply put, we did not have our finger on the pulse of GM, or the future lane the auto industry is driving onto at high-speed. That is not acceptable and should not be tolerated. Platitudes are nice – Prime Minister Trudeau said he is very disappointed, Premier Ford said he asked the question of “what could be done?” several times – but platitudes do not solve the serious problem we are facing in this sector.

Too many young people attend university

by Nicholas Tibollo

Of the some 165,000 private, public, and Catholic high school students in Ontario who graduated in 2016 (based on an 80% four-year graduation rate), around 89,000 applied to university in-province, with close to 67,000 formally registering as full-time students.

Based on these numbers, approximately 41 per cent of all local graduating high school students enrolled in first-year, full-time study at one of Ontario’s 21 universities in 2016.

And that figure just includes Ontario institutions. If one factors in local students who chose to attend university out-of-province or internationally, the number approaches half of Ontario’s 2016 secondary school graduating class.

Are we there yet? The long road to a balanced budget

by Christine Van Geyn

Ontario is starting down the long and difficult road of improving the province’s finances, and, like kids in the backseat on a family vacation, taxpayers will be demanding to know “when will we be there?”
Based on the recent fall economic statement, unfortunately, the answer is: no time soon.
The provincial deficit stands at a staggering $14.5 billion. This is down $500 million since Aug. 30, when the Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry issued its report.
This is a start, albeit a slow one.

Is 30 per cent okay?

by Wolfgang Guembel

If you look back at voter turnout in the St. Catharines municipal elections from 2000 to 2018 you’ll notice a pattern: 27, 29.7, 40.7, 31.0, 34.3, and 33.6. This pattern of low voter-turnout is not dissimilar across the region. In fact, voter-turnout in cities such as Welland and Thorold dropped from close to 50 per cent in 2000, down to the low 30s in 2018.

I believe we can, and should, make changes both municipally and socially to help increase the number of residents who cast a ballot. Our local government can introduce electronic voting, ranked ballots, term limits, and ditch the archaic lawn signs. Each of those have strong academic arguments (maybe not the last one, that’s my own). Generally, the only people who don’t like them are those afraid of losing their long-time seat and those who do well when only 30 per cent of the voting population shows up. Socially, we can put on our jacket and look in the mirror. If you see a red poppy on the lapel, ask yourself if you voted.

Governors general shouldn’t be billing taxpayers after they’ve left office

by Aaron Wudrick

Have you ever had a job that comes with a generous expense account? How about one where you get to keep your expense account even after you leave the job?
If this sounds too good to be true, you haven’t heard about the great deal Canada’s governors general have been getting for the last 40 years.
As the Queen’s representative in Canada, serving as governor general is arguably the most prestigious appointment in politics, with most serving for between five and seven years. While often described as a “figurehead,” there is no denying that, constitutionally, the governor general plays an important ceremonial role in our system of government.

Give Bill 47 a chance

by Julie Kwiecinski

Last week, small business owners across Ontario breathed a collective sigh of relief after the new Ontario government introduced legislation to stimulate job creation and repeal most of the labour changes in the previous government’s Bill 148.

From Main Streets across Ontario, small business owners have been telling us that the cumulative impact of Bill 148’s tsunamis of significant change – on top of the minimum wage increase – has become too much for small businesses to bear. That it’s burying many businesses in significant added costs and excessive red tape.

Geography & Destiny: How Niagara’s Location Shapes its Future

by Brock Dickinson

I’m writing this month’s column from the lobby of the elegant Carolina Inn, a luxurious boutique hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Imagine Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Prince of Wales hotel if it were built as a set for Gone With the Wind, and you’re not far off. Of course, Niagara-on-the-Lake has some amazing hotels like this because Niagara is one of the world’s great tourism destinations. Chapel Hill – maybe not so much.
What draws people to a place like Chapel Hill – and makes these kinds of high-end hotels possible – is that it’s nestled in the heart of the North Carolina Research Triangle, one of the world’s greatest innovation and technology ecosystems. It might not be as well known as a place like Silicon Valley, but for more than half a century this part of North Carolina has been leading the world in the development of new technologies, and the industries based on them.

Affordable beer is great – but what’s next?

by Christine Van Geyn

Premier Doug Ford’s announcement that he was cancelling a scheduled tax increase on beer is good news.

The cancelled tax increase would have hiked the tax on beer by three cents a litre, and would have been the fourth provincial tax increase on beer in as many years, and the fourteenth beer tax increase in Ontario since 2004. These tax increases are all in addition to the federal tax on beer, which now increases automatically every year, and has been dubbed the “escalator tax” by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Website exposes A Better Niagara group

by Kevin Vallier

Niagara’s municipal election is now just 10 days away and there’s no doubt the online rhetoric will reach a feverish pitch in what’s left of the campaign. One group in particular, A Better Niagara, has been aggressively pushing a message of change through their website and social media channels.  The group has been politically active for months, holding seminars on how to run a proper campaign, recruiting candidates that will agree with what A Better Niagara espouses, and attacking certain current councillors (conservative) while promoting others (usually NDP affiliated) that suit their ideology.

Recently, a website, abetterniagara.ca has surfaced which exposes the left-wing connections behind A Better Niagara. Using photos, documents and social media posts – the site picks apart A Better Niagara’s claim to be non-partisan, exposing the group as a left-wing NDP front who are simply trying to get as many of their endorsed candidates elected as possible. In exchange for their endorsement, A Better Niagara goes so far as to make candidates sign a pledge to the group to uphold their values and agree to justify their actions if required.

National pharmacare is not the slam dunk its proponents claim

by Aaron Wudrick

Back in February, the Trudeau government announced the appointment of former Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins as chair of its “Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.” As the council’s name suggests, the mission is to come up with a proposal for a nationwide program that will address the cost of prescription drugs.
Consultations wrapped up last month, and Hoskins is expected to report his findings sometime in spring 2019. For a government facing re-election next year, the timing is fortuitous, and it’s widely anticipated that his recommendations will form the basis for a major plank in the Liberals’ 2019 election platform.

Leaning to the Left

by Catherine Swift

It is a much-discussed phenomena that the majority of the so-called mainstream media in Canada – the established newspapers, radio and television networks – tend to favour a left-leaning news perspective. In some instances, this is not surprising. For example, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is typically funded from the public purse more lavishly when a Liberal government is in power in Ottawa. Shortly after being elected in 2015, the Trudeau government poured several hundred million more taxpayer dollars into the CBC than the $1 billion or so they were already receiving, so their subsequent cheerleading for Trudeau and all things Liberal doesn’t exactly come as a big shock. What is surprising in the case of the CBC is that there are still some Canadians who actually believe their coverage is fairly balanced.

What’s next for the Ontario PCs?

by Melissa Lantsman

It’s official, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was the ‘newsmaker’ of the summer and there is no slowing down in sight. And, if you think you’ve seen it all, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Last week, Premier Ford invoked the constitutional notwithstanding clause to override a judge’s surprise decision that blocked his government from cutting the size of Toronto city council. The legislature was called back before its original intended date of September 24th to retable a slightly amended version of the Better Local Government Act. 

The sun needs to set on Policy Horizons Canada

by Aaron Wudrick

If you’re like most Canadians, you’ve probably never heard of Policy Horizons Canada. It’s a taxpayer-funded government think tank made up of thirty or so ostensibly smart people tasked with deeply pondering the future and proposing cutting-edge, outside-the-box public policy ideas.
Unlike most government departments, which beaver away at implementing real government programs, Policy Horizons is a $3 million blue-sky, anything-goes outfit. It’s all about conducting “strategic foresight on cross-cutting issues” or as one former employee put it, “setting up a mental model for being aware of the future.”

Getting the Trans Mountain expansion back on track

by Aaron Wudrick

For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Federal Court of Appeal’s recent decision to overturn approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was a political thunderbolt that instantly derailed progress on one of his government’s most critical files. Luckily for the purveyor of sunny ways, the storm clouds came with a silver lining: a careful reading of the decision also offers some guidance on how his government can get Trans Mountain back on track.
There has been no shortage of twists and turns on the pipeline front for Trudeau. Having directly or indirectly killed off alternative pipeline proposals and under immense pressure to get one built, he proceeded to buy a way out of the problem, and in so doing shifted the project’s risks from Kinder Morgan shareholders onto the backs of Canadian taxpayers.

Another NAFTA SNAFU

by Catherine Swift

Considering that the recent round of trade negotiations between Canada and the US have been a series of missteps, miscalculations and mistakes on Canada’s part, the recent boast by Canadian labour unions that they have been more extensively involved in the negotiation process than ever before gave one more reason to lower our expectations for a favourable outcome for NAFTA.
The Trudeau government has been overly beholden to the unions since its election in 2015, in large part because of the extensive support and massive amounts of money spent by the unions to elect the Liberals and oust the Harper Conservatives. In fact, one of the first acts of the newly-elected Trudeau government was to eliminate Bill 377, which required a very basic level of transparency from unions as to how they spent their union dues which are forced by law on employees in unionized workplaces. The unions’ vociferous opposition to even a basic level of financial transparency, which is a requirement of unions in virtually all developed countries, was a big red flag that the unions were well aware that their spending habits on partisan political activities and various wacky social causes would not meet with the approval of many of their members.

Labour Day Reality Check: public versus private sector pensions

by Aaron Wudrick

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) recently released an analysis of federal pensions based on data compiled by Statistics Canada, which shows that risky defined-benefit pensions are vanishing in the private sector, but remain overwhelmingly common within government.
This data provides support for a widespread sentiment: that government employees get very risky, very generous pensions, paid for by people without pensions. Government employee unions like to crow about their success in cajoling government into enriching their members – but always avoid mentioning it comes at the expense of Canadian taxpayers.
In 1997, 83 per cent of government employees had defined-benefit pensions, while the private sector figure stood at 23 per cent. Today, the figures are 80 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

Canada Doesn’t Need Another Tax – This Time….a Death Tax

by Aaron Wudrick

These are challenging times for the Canadian economy. An unpredictable president to the south has contributed to uncertainty around NAFTA, while American business tax cuts have erased Canada’s longstanding competitive tax advantage as we struggle to attract foreign investment.
Even the Justin Trudeau government, which as recently as its spring budget was content to pretend all was well, finally seems to be acknowledging there’s actually a problem that needs to be tackled.
But how? Would you believe that against this depressing backdrop there are still those who argue that what we really need are even more taxes?

Who wants to elect a Regional Chair anyway?

by Mark Towhey

When someone asks you where you live, how do you answer?
If you say, “Niagara Falls,” or “Welland,” or one of the other towns in the Niagara region, then you’re well-reflected in the structure of the regional government.
If, however, your answer is, “I’m from Niagara Region,” you may be disappointed in the provincial government’s recent decision to rob you of the chance to vote directly for a figurehead politician to nominally lead your amorphous homeland.

Niagara’s new Standard of news reporting

by Marc Kealey

The work we do often puts us in the position to comment in media on issues we are the subject of or on the nature of the work we do for others.  Fuller disclosure – K&A is presently a focus of a media report in Niagara Region about a mandate we had for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).  We struggle with why our mandate is worthy of any media attention at all.  The scope of the work and the fees we charged were approved by the NPCA under its Board’s contracting process.

What I know of reporters and media is a lot.  Good reporting is ostensibly about the discipline of verification.  In the end, verifying information is what separates fact from fiction and/or propaganda.  Attend a lecture at journalism school and the first lesson is focused on understanding what happened and reporting it correctly.

Verifying sources and fact is a discipline.  The discipline of verification demands the profession act in a particular way—objectively. As media has evolved, though, it doesn’t mean nor do I imply that reporters be free of bias. Quite the opposite – objectivity calls for reporters to develop methods of testing information. The standards of test from our experience are transparency and evidence.  These standards evolved in media so that biases wouldn’t undermine the accuracy of a reporter’s work. In other words, the method is about objectivity, not that the reporter ought to be.

PM fine tunes his Cabinet with an “Election Shuffle”

by Chris George

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet yesterday, bringing five new ministers to the table and creating a new portfolio for border security, an issue that has become a political vulnerability for the government over the past months.

Political analysts view this shuffle as a political move in advance of the 2019 election. There are additional ministers from Ontario and Quebec, where the Liberals need to maintain and, if possible, grow their seat count. David Moscrop, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University explains “The shuffle gives Trudeau an opportunity to put his best players on the pitch before the campaign.”

Don’t Like Congestion? Then Pay for It

by Cornelius Christian

Toronto was recently ranked the sixth worst city for commuting in the world. A typical GTA resident spends 1.5 hours travelling to and from work. When politicians are asked about this sorry state of affairs, responses range from Doug Ford’s call for more subway lines, to Jagmeet Singh’s appeal to encourage bicycling.

While these suggestions are good, a better one exists: make people pay for congestion.

What this means, in practice, is that those who drive in central Toronto would pay a flat fee, per day, of $10. The money collected from the fee can then be used to subsidize public transit. This simple policy would greatly reduce road traffic, since many would just opt out of driving.

The Value of Freedom

by Catherine Swift

This past week we celebrated both Canada Day and US Independence Day, so it seems like a great opportunity to reflect upon the essential value of freedom in our society. We have been so blessed with a relatively free society in Canada since the nation’s birth that many Canadians have come to take this precious value for granted. We do so at our peril.

I am a Shoe Smuggler

by Brock Dickinson

I have a confession to make. I have been wrestling with the wise guidance and insights of U.S. President Donald Trump, for – as it turns out – I am a shoe smuggler.
For those of you who have been hiding out in the witness protection program, and may have missed the news, the President has once again Made America Great by commenting on trade with Canada. “The tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that they have to smuggle ‘em in,” said the President recently. “They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff ‘em up. They make them sound old or look old. No, we’re treated horribly.”

Oops… We elected the wrong MPPs. Now what?

by Mark Towhey

Three of Niagara’s four provincial ridings elected NDP members of provincial parliament Thursday night. How will they fare when it comes to focusing Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government on Niagara’s most pressing issues? If you said “not well,” you’re probably right. The good news is there’s something you can do to improve Niagara’s chances at seeing some provincial love over the next four years.

The lone government member of provincial parliament from Niagara is Sam Oosterhoff in Niagara West. As the youngest, though no longer least experienced, MPP in Ontario, can he deliver any of the region’s goals? It’s going to be tough.

Given the run up to this election and the weirdness from each of the three main Party campaigns, I’d venture to say that there has not been an election this strange since the “Dooms Day Election” of 1917, when then Prime Minister Borden- fighting against Wilfrid Laurier tried to create a win by introducing the strangest of legislative initiatives. It backfired.

Sound familiar? In a sense, the Wynne Government took great pains to move the government so far to left with legislative and policies decisions that long-time Liberals scratched their heads wondering if this was really the Liberal Party anymore. The Budget in 2018 was likely the last straw for Wynne’s government, notwithstanding that her popularity had taken the biggest hit in polling history – the lowest at 12% – the promise of a balanced Budget was thrown to the curb so that the science experiment created by Wynne and her brain-trust to control the left of the political spectrum would pay dividends – they thought.

How Low can the Left Go?

by Catherine Swift

Following the ebb and flow of the Ontario election has once again reminded me of the extreme tactics typically used by the left to try to promote the election or policy outcome they favour. Of course all manner of promises and warnings are made by all parts of the political spectrum on a regular basis, and especially at election time. But the left does have a unique and odious tendency to get down and dirty with their commentary, resorting to personal attacks and threats as means of supposedly advancing their position.

False Advertising Ramps Up in Ontario Election

by Catherine Swift

Now that we are in the last week before the Ontario election the race appears to be neck-and-neck between the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP. As the pressure builds, the NDP has responded by making up more and more tall tales about what the PCs will supposedly do if they win the election. Some of the more recent ads include accusations that the PCs will close dozens of hospitals, fire thousands of nurses etc. Where these numbers come from is a mystery, but what can be certain is that they are absolutely false and completely invented by the NDP.
Every election has its share of political parties stretching the truth about their opponents, but in our current era of social media and internet bombardment of the voting public, it raises the question of whether we need a whole new way of overseeing elections to provide some means of limiting the ability of any political party or other entities involved in election advertising and partisan activities to promote bald-faced lies.

Trudeau hitches us all to his crazy train

by Joan Tintor

It sucks to have to root for Justin Trudeau.

But now that his ego has written a $4.5-billion cheque that the rest of us are going to have to cash, what else can we do? On Wednesday, Trudeau’s finance minister Bill Morneau and natural resources minister Jim Carr were trotted out to announce that the federal government is solving the Trans Mountain pipeline impasse by buying the entire project from Kinder Morgan. The government is also providing loan guarantees to ensure pipeline construction gets underway this year.

Open For…. Sanctuary?

by Chris Sagir

Progressive Conservative (PC) leader Doug Ford has campaigned vigorously on his “Ontario – Open for Business” policies.  Andrea Horwath of the New Democratic Party (NDP) on the other hand has largely campaigned on higher taxes for the “rich” and expanded “free” government services.  This is all predictable, but recently Horwath has promised to make Ontario a “Sanctuary” province.  A deeply disturbing policy, that one could say even borders on insanity, would among other things, provide free health care and welfare services to illegal immigrants.

In the NDP universe where there are limitless resources, the sky is coloured by rainbows and unicorn sightings are frequent, making Ontario a “Sanctuary” province is also thought to be good government policy. Let us examine some evidence we have about how this type of policy will affect and disrespect all taxpayers and legal immigrants.

The Problem with Unions

by Catherine Swift

There was a time when labour unions actually did care about all workers and advocated policies that were geared to give average people bargaining power in the workplace. Those days are long gone. Although today’s unions still claim to be the voice of the average worker, they have instead become merely another self-interested lobby group that is all about lining their own pockets at the expense of others. There is of course nothing wrong with any group advocating for their own interests in a free society, but all such groups should be on a level playing field to do so. Yet unions in Canada have a highly privileged status not enjoyed by other interest groups or even by unions anywhere else in the developed world. Therein lies the problem.

Flirting with Disaster

by Catherine Swift

As we get closer to the June 7 Ontario election date, it seems this contest has become a showdown between the Ontario Progressive Conservatives and the Ontario NDP. It appears that the collapse of the Ontario Liberals can hardly get any worse, as recent information suggests they may only hang on to a couple of seats in the newly expanded 124-seat legislature. If current trends hold, the Liberals could fall below eight seats and as such they would lose official party status and all of the resources that come with it. As a final indignity, it appears that leader Kathleen Wynne stands to lose her own seat.
That the Ontario Liberals were highly unpopular has been known for some time, so the only surprising thing about this is the extreme extent of the Liberal’s demise. What is surprising, however, is that the NDP is giving the Conservatives a run for their money. Part of the Liberal success for the last 15 years has been that they moved to the left of the NDP and grabbed a good chunk of traditional NDP voters, so it is only natural that as the Liberal brand weakened many of these votes would shift back to their traditional roots. But polls indicate that NDP support is well above historical levels at present and has not merely regained what it lost to the Liberals in recent years.

Ontario power politics: Glimmer of light

by Tom Adams

Electricity concerns have been major political issues in Ontario over the entire course of the McGuinty/Wynne Liberal governments starting in 2003. Judged by their platforms, their 15-year sojourn on the opposition benches has been too brief for the PCs and NDP to develop credible options for disgruntled electricity voters.

For this election, the Ontario Liberals have hitched their wagon to their Fair Hydro Plan. It provides temporary rate relief for residential customers — high and low-income alike — through government borrowing. The Fair Hydro Plan has attracted a storm of criticism from the Auditor General and the legislature’s Financial Accountability Officer.

A Modest Proposal for Hydro One

by Brock Dickinson

It’s spring, and the only thing popping up faster than the dandelions are the provincial election signs. And just as April showers bring May flowers, election signs are often a prelude to poorly-thought-out pronouncements and vague “plans” that melt away under closer scrutiny. This year, part of the springtime fun will focus on Hydro One.

As someone who works in economic development, I see how electricity costs are hurting us in Ontario. I do a lot of work for clients in New York and in Michigan, and when luring companies to their states – including companies from Ontario – they routinely play the power card. The fact of the matter is that power costs are extremely high in Ontario, and they’re getting higher. This hurts our competitiveness, it hurts our businesses, and it hurts every homeowner in Ontario.

Ontario’s Police Act is offensive

by Mark Towhey

Cst. James Forcillo remains a police officer – even while serving a 6-year prison sentence.

Whoever forms the Ontario government after June’s election, one of their priorities should be immediate and wholesale reform of the laws that govern policing in this province. As evidence of its abject uselessness, I give you the case of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo.

Forcillo was tried and convicted in the 2013 killing of 18-year old Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar. Forcillo was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to six years in federal prison. He appealed. This week, his appeal was denied. He’s now a federal inmate serving a six-year sentence. He’s also still officially a constable in the Toronto Police Service until and unless an internal disciplinary tribunal decides his actions were “discreditable.”

Liberal Gun Bill: all smoke & paper

by Mark Towhey

In late March, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced new legislation to clamp down on law-abiding citizens who use firearms at work, on their farms, to feed their families, to compete at the Olympics and for recreational shooting. These new measures severely limit personal freedoms and will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Not a single, solitary soul will be safer as a result.
Why now? Well, because Trudeau wanted to distract your attention from his tickle trunk full of culturally inappropriate dress-up costumes and the fact he and a number of his ministers like to hang out with convicted terrorists. That is, when they’re not accusing key allies of criminal mischief to malign their government.

It’s About More than Just the Film

by Austin Broad

The Niagara Region has invested in the arts over the last few years, and programs like Jarico Films for Youth have really benefitted because of it.

Jarico Films has been working to offer the youth of the region a hands-on learning experience while working within the film industry.

“A lot of schools already have really good drama programs, and some schools have really credible video production programs but they only go so far and teach so much,” said Jason Lupish director of the program. “I think what we offer is sort of an extension of what can be offered in schools.”

90 Minutes to Clear should be standard for Ontario roads

by Mark Towhey

Thursday morning, a major collision closed all eastbound lanes of Highway 401 near Winston Churchill around for over four hours. There were no major injuries but, in the hours the highway was closed, a massive traffic jam formed and it, in turn, caused an even worse smash-up. The secondary accident critically injured more drivers and took another three and half hours to clear. But, that wasn’t the end of it. A number of other crashes occurred all along the 401 as the lengthy closures and traffic jams caused traffic chaos everywhere.
Highway accidents and the lengthy road closures that follow them put additional lives at risk and cost Ontario’s economy billions of dollars every year. People are hurt in secondary accidents caused by road closures. Ambulances and emergency services are delayed en route to unrelated emergencies and while transporting critically-ill patients to hospital.

Does Doug Ford Know why he’s winning the election – so far?

by Mark Towhey

With 9 weeks to go until the June 7 provincial election, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, under newly-minted leader Doug Ford, is far ahead of the governing Liberals in every major opinion poll. The big question is: can he maintain the lead? Or, will he become just another PC leader – in a long line of PC leaders – to bungle the campaign in the eleventh hour?

The answer to that, depends largely on the answer to this: Does Ford know why he’s winning? If not, the Tories’ prospects are bleaker than they appear.

 

Foreign Influence in Canadian Elections is Alarming

by Senator Linda Frum

It is a fundamental tenant of Canadian democracy that Canada’s electoral process belongs to the Canadian people and only to the Canadian people.  Nothing is more central to preserving the integrity and legitimacy of Canadian elections than ensuring that no outside influence is involved.  I imagine most Canadians trust that foreign influence is illegal in Canadian elections.  And yet, alarmingly, it is not.

Due to the lax rules surrounding third party election activity in Canada, foreign entities can contribute unlimited amounts of money via Canadian third parties for the purpose of attempting to influence the outcome of our elections (Third parties are groups that register to advocate for or against a political agenda).

Water water everywhere, but not a thought to think!

by Marc Kealey

Thursday March 21, 2018 was World Water Day. The intent and focus of such an occasion, I would assume, is to create awareness about the value of water. What are most people in the region doing to honour is auspicious occasion? For the vast majority – nothing. In fact, I’d reckon few knew of the event or even cared.

I submit, we should care…and more now than ever.  Water sustains life. It’s said that people can live without food for long periods of time but living without water – even for short periods of time – is as fatal as trying to survive without fresh air.

Forster’s Thoughts on the Throne Speech

by Cindy Forster

Looking at the state of affairs of the Liberal government these days, it’s no wonder people are jaded by politicians.

On the one hand we have a Liberal government proroguing government, making empty promises to dodge a failed 15 year record and on the other hand, a Conservative party embroiled in turmoil, barely fit to manage their own, let alone govern.

Meanwhile, families continue struggling. Every day I get emails, calls and office visits from our community. With the Welland Hospital on the chopping block of Liberal government cuts, skyrocketing hydro bills, ongoing cuts to seniors services in our community, cuts to healthcare services and all levels of our education system, we’re at a cross roads.

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