Ontario Premier Doug Ford took his show on the road last week, with a trip out west to meet with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier-in-waiting Jason Kenney. By all accounts, this trip was a roaring success, with fruitful meetings and large rallies of wildly cheering supporters in both provinces. The main focus of these meetings was Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax, and how all three governments were working together to oppose the forced imposition of this tax on their citizens. As a bonus, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister reversed his province’s prior support for the carbon tax at about the same time.
The carbon tax is not the only federal government policy these Premiers are opposing, however, as they also are very critical of the Trudeau government’s high tax, big spending fiscal approach, chaotic open border refugee policies, the lack of progress on many large-scale resource projects and pipelines, expansion of the public sector and catering to unions at the expense of most taxpayers, among others. What this all spells is big trouble for Trudeau in the 2019 federal election.
The governing PC Party of Ontario announced it is expanding access to long-term care, reducing the strain on the health care system in advance of the upcoming flu season and working with front line health care professionals and other experts to transform the province’s health care system.
Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced that Ontario is moving forward with building 6,000 new long-term care beds across Ontario, representing the first wave of more than 15,000 new long-term care beds that the government has committed to build over the next five years.
This past week, a number of media spokespeople expressed shock – shock! – that the Ford government planned to get rid of the labour relations and employment standards Bill 148, introduced by the previous Liberal government as a big thank-you to the unions who had propped up the Liberal government for so very long, at the expense of all other Ontarians. Leading up to the election earlier this year, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives had frequently expressed their opposition to the restrictive and punitive contents of Bill 148, so why it should come as a surprise to anyone paying attention that they wanted to reverse it is a mystery.
Another day, another activist judicial decision that thwarts the will of a democratically elected government. In a ruling that came as a shock to many in both the political and legal communities, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba stated that the Ontario government could not legally reduce the size of Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 members. Among the main reasons cited for this decision was the contention that such a move would infringe on the freedom of expression rights of candidates for Council and voters, that timelines for such a change were too short given the impending municipal election and that voters’ Charter rights were infringed by increasing the size of municipal districts.
So billionaire Elon Musk is going to sue the government of Ontario for cancelling the electric vehicle rebate program last month. The program, introduced under the previous Liberal government, effectively required average taxpayers to subsidize the purchase of expensive electric vehicles to the tune of up to $14,000., including Teslas, as long as the vehicle was priced under $75,000. It would be difficult to find a policy that was more of a “reverse Robin Hood” than this, taking from the poor and giving to the rich. A transition plan was put in place for most electric vehicles, but seemingly not Teslas, which is the nub of the company’s complaint.
The pendulum of politics is always swinging, and it appears at present that Canada is in for a fairly comprehensive swing to the conservative end of the political spectrum after a long run of left-leaning governments in many parts of the country. The trend began a couple of years ago in Manitoba, where a long-standing NDP government was replaced by the Progressive Conservative (PC) government of Brian Pallister, continued with the recent election of a strong majority PC government in Ontario, and looks very likely to continue in upcoming elections in Quebec this autumn and Alberta in the spring of 2019. BC’s current flirtation with a minority NDP government is not likely to be long-lived as they hold onto power only because of an uneasy truce with the Greens. The four Atlantic provinces will probably remain around the mushy middle politically as they usually do, but as these provinces are all heavily dependent upon transfer payments from the rest of the country for their continued existence, their policy impact on Canada as a whole is not substantial.
It has been less than a week since the Progressive Conservative’s decisive victory in the Ontario election, yet already there have been a few indications as to the philosophy and approach of the new government. As the tumultuous G7 meeting wound up over the past weekend, and Canada-US relations looked to be in the worst shape of the past few decades, a number of Conservative politicians across Canada publicly expressed support for the federal Liberal government in their defense of Canada’s interests in the ongoing trade negotiations. Premier-elect Doug Ford was one of those conservatives, as he sent out a positive message that he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the Prime Minister in protecting Canada’s interests and vital Ontario jobs in the NAFTA talks.
The Ontario PC Party published its 5 Point Plan which, naturally, has 10 points and was met with great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments from the usual quarters.
“It’s not fully costed,” screamed pundits. “It’s incomplete,” pronounced one Liberal economist. I have to wonder if he was the same economist who told Trudeau “the budget will balance itself.”
Dr. Mike P. Moffatt of Ivey Business School calls Ontario PC platform “incomplete” … then he graded it anyway.
Imagine my disappointment, when I discovered this learned economist was a scholar from my very own alma mater, the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University. On its website, Ivey crows about Dr. Mike P. Moffatt’s “… most recent role as an economic advisor to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.” So, hardly an unbiased examiner.
After 15 long years of suffering under the seemingly never-ending rule of the Liberals, doctors see a light at the end of the tunnel. What remains to be seen is whether this is daylight being ushered in by Ford and the PC Party, or the headlight on a train conducted by Horwath and the socialist NDPs.
Following years of unilateral cuts to healthcare by the Liberals, doctors came to the realization that if we didn’t get political, we, and our patients, would be crushed by Wynne. We fought against our complacent OMA, threw out our executive and set our sights on Wynne and Hoskins. Hoskins was the first to fall, choosing a coward’s retreat to a federal appointment. Wynne has chosen to go down with the ship and that ship is heading to the bottom of the sea.
Shortly after he was elected leader of the Ontario PC Party, Doug Ford announced he would abandon Patrick Brown’s “People’s Guarantee” platform and focus instead on a slimmed-down handful of key priorities. Some of Brown’s policies may live on in Ford’s platform, he said, but an 80-page document was too much.
The National Post quoted an unnamed Ford confidant explaining “He’s more of a five-big-things kind of guy than a laundry list of a thousand commitments.”
It was a smart decision.
Rather than tell you who won or who lost, The Niagara Independent staff watched the first Ontario election leaders’ debate and picked out a few interesting and fun sections of the debate and have reprinted them here – in their own words.