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.

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