Provincial Election Primer 2014: St. Paul’s. Undecided? Read this! (updated)


The provincial election is coming up fast – On June 12th, 2014 and Ontarians have a very tough decision on their hands. Stuck with 3 underwhelming candidates for Premier of Ontario, the field would appear to be wide open as to who will win and whether the government will be a majority or a minority.

Expect another coalition government, propped up by the NDP again, but expect this time that PC leader Tim Hudak (if he’s still there and not replaced by Doug Ford) will actually force the Liberal government to add some Conservative goodies into the budget as Premier Kathleen Wynne did for the NDP every time.

But I wanted to take a look at the riding I live in, St. Paul’s, an affluent Toronto riding almost completely residential and includes both the mansions of Forest Hill and the multicultural neighbourhoods that straddle St. Clair Avenue west of Bathurst Street.

Thank you to the CBC for all of this data below;

The population in this riding from the 2006 census is 111,131, down 1.2% since the previous census taken in 2001.  Politically, Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins has held this seat since beating PC Sue Ann Levy in a by-election in 2009 by 5,330 votes.  The seat had previously been Liberal, held by Michael Bryant since 1999.  Bryant relinquished his seat in May 2009 to lead Invest Toronto.  Bryant quit Invest Toronto after being charged in the death of bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard in downtown Toronto (the courier you may recall grabbed a hold of Bryant’s car and was threatening him when Bryant sped away and Sheppard flew off his bike on the street where he died).

You could say this riding is somewhat of a Liberal strong hold, which is interesting considering this riding contains the second largest amount of wealth in all of Canada, and typically wealth = Conservative, and that south of St. Clair is very left-wing.  For this reason I am constantly amazed that there is no strong Conservative candidate in the area campaigning for the removal of Hoskins.

Take the last provincial election from 2011.  Dr. Hoskins easily won after garnering 25,052 votes, or 58.41% of the vote.  Second was PC Christine McGirr with only 8,971 votes, or 20.92%.  The NDP candidate David Hynes came in right behind McGirr with 7,121 votes, or 16.60% of the vote, and votes were given to the Green Party candidate, Judith Van Veldhuysen (1,172, 2.73%), the Libertarian candidate John Kittredge (332 votes, 0.77%), the Family Party candidate Mike Rita (88 votes, 0.21%) and these two parties;  SPO Keith Pinto (83 votes, 0.19%)
and NOH David Vallance (73 votes,  0.17%).

A Liberal landslide, and having just moved into the riding, I did not see or hear from or of McGirr at any point in the campaign, but did receive tons pricy, glossy flyers from Hoskins.  The same held true this year – more on that later.

Let’s take a closer look at the riding’s demographics, and compare the rate in the riding to the provincial average and the average in Canada.  Of note will be the extremely low unemployment, the above average number of seniors but what should really jump out at you is the average annual household income figure and the percentage of people in this riding with a post-secondary degree.  It’s outstanding and a really good reminder for kids to stay in school!

From 2006 census:

Unemployment Rate:

St. Paul’s 6.2%
Ontario 6.4%
Canada 6.6%

Seniors:

St. Paul’s 15.67%
Ontario 13.56%
Canada 13.71%

Home Owners:

St. Paul’s 20.11%
Ontario 26.61%
Canada 26.92%

Average Family Income:

St. Paul’s $166,814
Ontario $90,526
Canada $82,325

Post-Secondary Degrees:

St. Paul’s 48.41%
Ontario 33.54%
Canada 33.35%

This riding is pre-dominantly Jewish, followed by Philippino, then Caribbean, and Native Canadian.

 

The 2014 Candidates

Conservative Justine Deluce
Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins
NDP Luke Savage
Green Josh Rachlis
Libertarian John Kittredge
Freedom Party of Ontario Mike Rita

So let’s take a closer look at the candidates:

Deluce, being the newcomer and with very little literature on the street and no buzz, she is the candidate people will vote for if they do not vote for Hoskins, so she is playing the come and find me game.  So I did.

Justine Deluce is bilingual, and is / was, the COO at Chestnut Park Real Estate, so she understands the challenges of running a business in a competitive environment, and she also must be perfectly aware of some key concerns for Ontarians – and the folks in St. Paul’s – of creating and maintaining jobs, and keeping the economy rolling.  If the “bubble” ever bursts, it’s the owners of these $2 million – $10 – million dollar homes who will need to create new businesses, downsize their homes and keep employing quality people and keeping the economy driving, so knowing this, Justine takes aim at pointless red tape which act as barriers to progress. 

Justine believes in fiscal responsibility, transparency and being accountable for the management of taxpayer dollars.  SCORE!
Being in real estate, Justine already has the proven experience of working in an industry where success is synonymous with trust, accountability and knowledge.  SCORE!
Fittingly, Justine served at Queen’s Park as a senior policy advisor for several Ministers in the Health and Long-Term Care and Citizenship, Culture and Recreation portfolios.  If you recall the demographics in the St. Paul’s riding, these were all key concerns among the community.Justine has volunteered and raised funds for a number of not-for-profit organizations in her community including, Project Sunshine, Home Horizon, the Royal Ontario Museum, The Power Plant Gallery and the True Patriot Love Foundation.  She has a particular interest in the issues of mental health, addictions and related research.Justine has a BA in French from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. She also earned her Private Pilot’s Licence at an early age. She has lived in Toronto since 1987.
The current MPP is Dr. Eric Hoskins, and honestly, after living in the riding for 4-years and being as politically active as I am, I have yet to see Dr. Hoskins, except come election time.  I find his pamphlets to be self-promoting and rightly, he shy’s away from Kathleen Wynne  as much as possible.  The current, and 4th flyer received at my house is a letter-sized 4-page glossy with a full-size picture of the Doctor.  Without even having to open this, I can tell you what I will see inside;
Dr. Hoskins is a great guy.  He’s helped poor people overseas, he is involved in helping the poor and impoverished and he will have pictures of himself at events representing each and every demographic in our community.  There will be a picture of him at a synagogue, probably with Jewish men wearing kippot (because it’s the best way to distinguish these men from any other male, right?), and with a Philippino female, with a Jamaican man, and with seniors (usually women), children (all smiling of course) and with his family and probably one with Premier Wynne.  It’s his thing.  He’s a candidate for everyone!
But what has he accomplished in this community?  What has the last 3-years brought us, which would entice us to put an “x” by his name again?
I cannot think of anything, but according to his flyer he AND Premier Wynne have added nearly 500,000 net new jobs in Ontario.  Okay, but this riding has an unemployment rate at 2%, meaning this is just a statistic and otherwise unimportant.
Invested $295 million in a Youth Jobs Plan which has created over 11,000 jobs for the 2% unemployed in his riding where almost half of the people have a post-secondary degree and according to Statistics Canada live in a family with an average household income of almost $170,000.
Invested $15 billion in transit including the Eglinton LRT, which is an utter disaster just north of the St. Clair disaster which he watch unfold.  If Dr. Hoskins were to knock on doors and ask the community in HIS riding he would find out that people in HIS riding are fed up with the planning behind, the construction underway and the lack on direction given to the LRT – set to open in 2020, by the way – and are fed up with not being able to use their roads or leave their driveways without having to wait in a line-up of cars for 15 minutes.
Standing up for tenants and protecting their right to affordable rent in a riding where houses start at $1 million dollars, if they want to rent in this riding, they don’t need your “support”.
Standing up for seniors, and low-income residents by raising the minimum wage even though studies have shown that every cent increase in the minimum wage places small businesses in financial distress as already high property taxes, low community support and increasing costs across the board result in streets in his riding like Eglinton and St. Clair to be devoid of businesses which do not have the words “MASSAGE” glowing in neon come nightfall.  I guess it’s easier to buy a vote by offering more money to those in the community with the least.
Dr. Hoskins protects our environment in the riding of St. Paul’s because earlier this year the Liberal party put policies in place to end the use of coal to generate electricity.  So now every $10 million dollar house on the other side of Bathurst Street – the ones with the solar panels installed on them – are going to have to get rid of their coal fireplaces… Damn.  Too bad traffic gridlock on Eglinton an St. Clair have seen car emissions spike.
Dr. Hoskins vision includes this last item, “Responsible and sustainable community development with genuine community engagement”.  I’m not sure what that means, I mean, I do, but in reality, it’s a throwaway line saying very little.  Personally, I’d like to actually see Dr. Hoskins in the community other than at photo opportunities and I would like to see a political flyer tailored to the community – with successes for the community – and not a self-promoting piece of literature about his and Kathleen Wynne.
I think Dr. Hoskins has lost touch with what the job description is for a Member of Provincial Politics in the riding of St. Paul’s.  His policies are not aimed at the riding and none of his personal achievements warrants any votes for him from this riding, let alone the gift of representing our riding again for any length of time.
Sadly, I don’t think people in this riding take the time to see the damage done by the McGuinty / Wynne tandem.  They know the NDP are not right for Ontario (hello Bob Rae) and they compare Tim Hudek to Mike Harris because that is what the Liberals have to do in order to turn the attention away from their complete devastation of the province of Ontario.  Once a “have” province, now a “have not” province.
All things being considered, and with 3 underwhelming choices for Premier, think logically about what Ontarians did after Mike Harris cut, cleaned house and Ontario went on for years as a powerhouse.  They exercised their democratic right and voted in another party.
I think it’s time to exercise our democratic rights and send a very clear message to the Liberal Party in Ontario.
(Apologies to NDP candidate Luke Savage – he lost me when I saw he lives in the Annex – but he will get the left-vote but I have serious concerns that even with a Masters in political science, he cannot understand the complexities of this community and the way to handle the amount of wealth here without wanting to re-distribute it.)
Even bigger apology to Green Party candidate Josh Rachlis who commented below, and included a link to a song he wrote about St. Paul’s.  I strongly suggest you listen to the song and take a look at Josh’s platform.
The Green Party has always intrigued me because of the importance of keeping the planet healthy and keeping our food and water safe for consumption, however, I have always felt their policies were either poorly defined or an after thought.  After having a look at Josh’s platform, I no longer think that.
Aside from being very bright – I can pick that up just listening to Josh speak, I think if the playing field were even among parties, he would be right in the thick of things come election night.
The Green Platform includes:

1. Focus on your job by lowering payroll taxes for small businesses

2. Get you home faster by paying for the transit infrastructure we need

3. Invest in your home to help you save money by saving energy

4. Improve your children’s education by merging the public and separate school boards

5. Make good on our promises to address child poverty

6. Give young adults a chance to contribute to our world

7. Putting your food and water first by protecting farmland and water

8. Getting our fair share by making industry pay a fair price for our shared resources

9. Restore your confidence that our communities & natural heritage will not be damaged by development

I honestly have no idea what the first point entails and I worked at Revenue Canada (Canada Revenue Agency for 11 years, most of them handling payroll, and I believe the only reduction employers can make is to reduce the actual tax component of the payroll source deductions because a reduction in CPP reduces the amount employees have for retirement and a reduction in EI reduces the amount employees pay into the system, thus the amount they are able to take back out should they need to.

Numbers 2 and 3 are great, although a little vague, while number 4 is a brilliant idea to reduce costs and increase service.  Number 9 is also a great initiative.

So while I would like to see a little more detail in their platform, I believe the Green Party needs to take the next big step and either merge with an existing party, or force the issue and start getting candidates into parliament.

 

All-in-all, voting is your democratic right!  So get out there and vote!

How Awesome is This! Win Safari Niagara Passes here!


Safari Niagar_Logo  As a father of 3 young children, we are always looking for fun, exciting things to do on the weekends with them which are hopefully mentally and physically stimulating, educational and hopefully interesting for us as well.  After 8 years of being a dad, we’ve been just about everywhere here in Toronto and surrounding area and I thought we had visited, heard of, or knew of all the great places to visit until I came across Safari Niagara.

Have you heard about Safari Niagara before?  Have you been there?  Did you know it is only 10 minutes from Niagara Falls in Stevensville, Ontario, and did you know that Safari Niagara is for visitors of all ages and all abilities and not only are there animals on a 150-acre, privately owned and operated nature park, which is home to more than 750 animals of native and exotic mammals, reptiles and birds.

If that is not enough to do in a day, then there is also these activities:Safari Niagara Rainbow (giraffe)

  • educational guided walking tours (free)
  • an educational, narrated tram ride/tour
  • interactive, educational demonstrations including birds of prey and threatened species presentations
  • petting farm-yard
  • catch-and-release fishing

If that is not enough fun, there is also other activities including ropes course*, bungee*, Safari Rides*, paddle boating, kite-flying and playing at the large playgrounds, sandbox and animal-themed splash pad. (* June 1st to labour day).  Forget visiting for one day, we could live here!

Here is what you might not know about Safari Niagara is that their vision;

Safari Niagara’s vision is to provide people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to meet animals and birds up close. It is hoped that such interaction with nature will inspire future conservationists and naturalists. In a world where children experience fewer exchanges with nature, Safari Niagara provides an unprecedented opportunity for kids to view, experience and learn about many animal and bird species that share our planet while engaging in a fun and rewarding adventure.

Safari Niagara is also home to one of Canada’s largest steel sculpture exhibits, on loan by artist Rod Dowling and the park includes an outdoor 90,000 square-foot outdoor amphitheatre which hosts the annual Safari Niagara Summer Concert Series of live concerts (check out the current list of concerts here), and the park also offers plenty of shaded picnic areas, a counter-service restaurant and gift shop.

Safari Niagara is open to the public on May 11, 2013 and closes October 14, 2013 (It is closed August 14th for a private event).

From June 1st to Labour Day, your 2013 Season Passes and Day Admissions included unlimited use of the Adventure Zone Activities: Ropes Course, Bungee, Safari Rides, and our newly expanded Gator Tram Ride*!

Read about Safari Niagara’s amazing history here.White Lions_Safari Niagara photo

The Contest!

The kind folks at Safari Niagara have given me 2 family day passes – good for 2 adults and 2 children  – to give away, for the 2013 season.

How to win:  Get the word out!  Share this post, like the link, and post a comment on this blog, through Twitter, or Facebook.  The more social media places you share this post on, the better are the chances of winning!

It’s that easy.

How will you know if you won?

Well starting today, July 24th, I will be taking down the names of everyone who posts, likes and shares this article and at the end of 2 weeks, I will put all those names into a hat and let my kids pick the 2 winners.  I will then arrange and mail out the passes to the winners ASAP so the winners can get out and enjoy the park with their family.

Needless to say, it’s the perfect way to wind up a summer!

So check out their website, and get posting / sharing and linking Safari Niagara and get ready to win with The Urban Daddy.  Who knows, we might even see you there!

May 1st is Doctors’ Day here in Ontario!


Did you know that today, May 1st, is Doctors’ Day here in Ontario.

The Ontario Medical Association is asking Ontarians to help celebrate this day by sending a personalized thank you card to their doctors. The cards can be created on this website, http://thanksdoc.oma.org/. Once submitted, the OMA will deliver your thank you card directly to your doctor.

When was the last time you thanked your doctor?

As an added incentive, everyone who submits a thank you card is eligible to win an iPhone5 and Fitbit One™ Wireless Activity & Sleep Tracker.

You can even thank you Doctor on Facebook, or send a kind note to the OMA through Twitter for taking care of their members.  I have spent numerous hours on their Facebook page reading articles which as a parent are important to me, such as the OMA asking to have antibiotics removed from livestock feed in Canada and the alarming amount of sodium in restaurant food.

As a special thank you for posting about a wonderful cause, the OMA is offering you, the reader, and opportunity to win a $25 Sport Chek gift card.  All you have to do to have an opportunity to win is post a comment on my blog or Facebook page of the direct link to their thank you on the website (example: http://thanksdoc.oma.org/#367)  just to be sure that you have actually participated in this day of recognition.

On May 15th, I will take down the names of all of you who took the time to comment, put them in a hat and have one of my children draw a winner.  The winner will be notified via email.

I’m off now to send a thank you to our family doctor of 13 years who adapted her style to meet our needs when she realized that we prefer to try natural remedies first before getting to the antibiotics for us and our children.  As a result, she offers us all solutions and we greatly appreciate that!

Thanks Doc!

OMG. A dead Raccoon… Or was it a Duck… Or maybe a…


During this long Passover break, we sent our boys to an outdoor camp north of the city for 3 days, and of course it was the three coldest days of the spring.  Being my typical children, Stewie brought his hat and mittens, while Linus brought neither and boy, was Linus cold!  He was so cold that he could not take more than 2 turns at the archery course.  Poor kid.

But after 2 days there, I finally found out something of interest when hanging out with Stewie last night in bed for a few minutes after the three of us watched a couple of innings of the Toronto Blue Jays home opener. (They wanted to see Grampa who was at the game.  lol).

The conversation went like this;

Stewie: “Oh! Next summer I want to go back to this camp!”

Me: “Great, why?  You really liking it?”

Stewie: “Yeah!  Today we saw

Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Français : Raton lave...
Raccoon – with skin and still alive

a dead raccoon, and if we go back next year, then I’ll get to see the raccoons skeleton!”

Me: “Errr, okay.  We can see skeletons at the Museum, if you would like.”

Stewie: “I know.  But I want to see this raccoon… or maybe it was a duck…”

Me: “You couldn’t tell what it was???”

Stewie: “Not really… We thought it was a raccoon.  Our teacher told us that, but some people thought it was a duck.  The other teacher said that too.  But then someone said it was a moose.  And can you believe that someone actually thought it was an elephant… They’re so silly.”

Me: “Was that your brother who said it was an elephant?”

Stewie – smiling.  “No, but your right.  If anyone was going to be silly about that, it probably would have been Linus.  But it was a small child who said that.  Linus thought it was a raccoon.”

Of course…

Conceivable Dreams: Times Have Changed. #OHIP4IVF