Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Life, money, news, Parenting, politics, school, Toronto

Ontario Teachers Working to Rule and Strikes. Some Facts: Does this make sense to you?


I’m not going to lie, but I’m on the side of the government in this dispute.

Fact: The Conservative government was elected in the province of Ontario.

Fact: The teachers unions were not elected.

Fact: The government of Ontario makes the laws and policies for the province.

Fact: Teachers unions do NOT make laws or policies. Their mandate is to look after the interests of their membership.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look a bit closer at my bias against unions – I don’t hate unions – I just don’t feel that unions have their place in every single field of employment. Considering that unions were created to give workers a collective voice against employers, I’m not sure today’s employees are so hard done by that they need a collective voice. Especially in light of the pattern or wage increase after wage increase.

That being said… Do the teachers unions, and their actions of rotating strikes benefit their members?

Fact: No.

Let me explain.

Many moons ago, I worked for a federal government agency which went on strike 3 times in the 10 plus years that I was there. In each case it was because we did not have a contract. That never concerned me because I had a job, I was being paid, and for the most part, enjoyed my job.

After living through a couple of strikes, I came to realize that striking was more than just walking off the job and forcing the government to give us a raise. I had never walked a picket line, why would I?

That was until the 3rd strike, when I started to do some math.

I realized this:

Our union wanted a 1 1/2 percent wage increase. The government wanted to hold salaries at the same level because times were tough.

We walked off the job for the week. I checked in at the picket line to receive my $50/day “strike pay”. After a week the government and union reached an agreement and we received 1%.

But…

We lost more than 1% while on strike.

So we walked the picket line and lost money.

That doesn’t make sense, now does it…

So let’s look at the Ontario teachers and use some very round figures.

Fact: The average teacher salary in Ontario is $92,000 per year.

Fact: The average teacher makes $1,769.23 per week before taxes.

Fact: The average teacher makes $353.85 per day, before taxes.

Fact: If the union accepted the 1% pay increase, Ontario teachers would have received a raise of $920 per year.

That means if the Ontario teachers are off the job more than 3 times ($353.85 x 3 = $1,061.55), then they will lose money once the new agreement is signed, even if you add in the $50 strike pay per day.

That’s crazy, right?

Unions forcing their teachers to walk the picket line in order to lose money. The Ontario government should thank them.

But beyond the lack of fiscal responsibility, comes the issues of government funding, special needs funding, class sizes and online courses.

Let’s briefly look at those:

  1. Government funding. Fact: The Ontario Conservative party has spent more money on the public education system than the previous Liberal government. Based on the fact that teacher salaries increase every year, the government would have to cut a lot in order to spend less. But they have not. It’s akin to the Democrats in the US telling media sources that they were going to impeach the President of the US before the President had even taken office, the rhetoric began to fly in Ontario before the government even announced how much the education budget was going to be. Interesting bargaining / foreshadowing
  2. The Conservative government has spent more money on special needs education than any party before them. Listen to the unions and special interest groups and you would be led to believe otherwise. When presented with facts, such as total dollars spent, these groups just state that the information is not accurate. That’s a convenient argument.
  3. Class sizes. So this is a tough one because there are no studies which state a specific class size is the perfect class size. It’s up to the Minister of Education to determine and not the unions. Dare I be skeptical here and say that of course class sizes are too big for unions. That means more work. It would be so much better – possibly – if it were a 1-to-1 ratio, because that means more teachers and more teachers means more union dues, which means a more powerful union. It also means more money that unions can spend on ads attacking the government rather than on education which they claim to care so much about.
  4. Online courses. I understand why the unions are all over this one. It means at the outset, less teachers, which means less dues-paying members, which means less power for the union. It doesn’t have to be that way, but with teachers salaries always increasing, it’s not like they’re going to suddenly give themselves pay cuts, right?The fact here is that Ontario was spent into massive debt and deficit amounts thanks to the Liberal government. Everyone who elected the Conservatives did so knowing that they were going to have to tighten their belts. (This over-spending must be a Liberal strategy to ensure that they get re-elected). Apparently the teachers and unions are exempt from this, and forgetting that these are our tax dollars being spent on their wages. I don’t even have children in the public education system anymore, but I’m paying for their salaries.

With all of that being said, spend some time browsing the Internet for countries and cities who have push for more online courses and you will find educated, high-achieving communities taking advantage of technology and moving ahead of the pack.

Heck, I completed my MBA online, and would have benefited from having prior experience taking online courses. Every organization that I volunteer with requires me to take online courses. Why is this good for the rest of the world, but not good enough for Ontario? Because the teacher’s unions tell us it’s a bad thing???

None of that makes sense to me.

What does make sense is the fact that these unions have decided year-over-year to put their interests over those of the students that they claim to support. If they really felt that it was all about the students, then let them run for election under that platform and see how they do. If they win, great, give them a raise. If they lose, then no more putting self-serving interests over top of the students.

Just my two-cents worth.

Posted in Canada, Community, events, government, politics

Federal Liberal Government LOVES Provincial Politics, and Visa Versa


Remember in 2015, when the Huffington Post wrote about then Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne sticking her nose into the Federal Election trying to sway votes from the Conservatives towards Justin Trudeau?

Let me first disclose that my political views are closer to the right than they are to the centre, fiscally, and my social views tend to be closer to the middle, but on the left side of the middle.

I do not consider a political decision that I do not agree with to be a scandal.

I respect that parties have platforms which coincide with their political leanings and once elected, that is what will be coming down the pipeline, but I do not agree with the waste of taxpayers money and the continual lies which follow.

When Brian Mulroney needed additional revenue for the country he said he would bring in a Value Added Tax (VAT) and he removed the (what, 26%) manufacturers sales tax and brought in a Goods and Services Tax (GST).

He said it and he did it.

I may not like it but I respect it.

Jean Chretien, however, said something to the extent of; “If I am elected the first thing I will do is remove the GST.”

He did not.

The next time he was re-elected, he held up his red book and declared, re-election = no more GST…

It’s still here.

I do not respect the lying and I find the Liberal Party in Ontario and Federally to be smug and arrogant, like they think they are pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes and that nobody knows this…

They think we’re very forgiving or very stupid.

Either way, under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, Ontario went from being a “have” province into a “have-not” province which might have more debt than “Greece”.

Instead of trying to find ways to not raise taxes, Kathleen Wynne is getting involved into the Federal election – taking shots at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and promoting Justin Trudeau.  My question is why?!?

As residents in Ontario, do we not want her focus on the province and the massive debt, or is it better for us if she is pre-occupied with the Federal Election and with making more TV commercials showing us that she can run.  A Premier that runs, is a fast Premier.

In case Premier Wynne reads this post, here is a reminder of the mess her government has created, and while not inclusive, these items alone should have been a reason for the Ontario electorate to no longer vote this government into office.

In no particular order.
1. The McGuinty Ontario Health Premium – The highest tax increase in Ontario’s history, implemented months after Dalton McGuinty was elected in 2003 on a promise to not increase taxes (even after signing a contract with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to not increase taxes). McGuinty justified his healthcare tax increase on Ontario’s Working Families by saying that he inherited an unknown deficit from the previous Government, yet here we stand today in Ontario with the highest deficit that Ontario has ever had, literally multiplied by the McGuinty Government and Ontario’s Unions. This was the first tax of many new taxes and user fees that Dalton McGuinty has imposed on Ontario’s Working Families in order to support his Union Boss buddies and allow the scandalous corruption to continue. (See: Globe and Mail: The health care premium).

  1. The McGuinty Delisting of OHIP Covered Necessary Health Services – Where after Dalton McGuinty promised not to decrease any health services covered by OHIP, and also not to raise taxes, he did both on the same day by implementing the Ontario Health Premium and delisting coverage of Optometry (Eye), Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Services for Ontarians. (See: Canadian Cancer Care Society: Mixed reaction to McGuinty government’s budget and Toronto Star: Hampton pledges to pay for delisted health services.)

     

  2. The McGuinty eHealth Scandal  – That cost Ontario’s Working Families a Billion dollars in wasted tax dollars (and unprecedented delays in the computerization of Ontario’s health records), and is a true definition of “gravy”, a term that also defines McGuinty’s wasteful mismanagement of the Ontario Government. Here we stand years after this initiative started and Billions of dollars in the hole, and still it is not completed. The eHealth failure was famous not only for its complete lack of progress, but also for its constant usage of sole-sourcing and untendered contracts to Liberal friends, along with scandalous expenses logged by useless consultants, eHealth Executives and Upper Management.  “eHeatlh” has now become a term that is synonymous with scandal, waste and boondoggle.  (See: Toronto Star: EHealth operation bled $1B and Toronto Star – Coverage of eHealth Ontario.)

  3. The McGuinty Slush Fund Scandal – Where Dalton McGuinty’s Government gave $32 Million to Liberal friendly groups (in the form of Government Grants) over a 2 years span with no formal application process and no accountability for how the money would be spent. Just, “here you go, vote Liberal!”  (See: Toronto Star: Insults and accusations fly in Ontario ‘slush fund’ affair and Toronto Star: New charges fuel ‘slush fund’ scandal.)

  4. The McGuinty Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Scandal – Where on the McGuinty Government’s watch, there were multiple accounts of catastrophic corruption related to Lottery Winnings being stolen from Ontario families by Lottery Retailers, countless OLG insider wins, Ontario family tax dollars being corruptly given out via sole-sourced untendered contracts to Liberal friendly firms, and massive Ontario family tax dollar waste via the horrifying expenses by OLG staff again allowed by the McGuinty Government (in exactly the same way it was allowed in eHealth). (See: CTV: Ont. gov’t scrambles to control OLG scandal damage and CTV: OLG: Billions in profits, but lots of headaches.)

  5. The McGuinty CancerCare Ontario Scandal – Yet another eHealth-style scandal costing Ontario Working Families millions of dollars. (See: CBC: Cancer Care Ontario broke rules: audit and Toronto Sun: A ‘scandal behind another scandal’.)

  6. The McGuinty Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (MPAC) Scandal – Where on the McGuinty Government’s watch, Ontario Families had their homes either significantly undervalued or significantly overvalued by the MPAC, resulting in either a huge loss of their home’s value, or them being significantly overcharged for property taxes. When provided the auditor’s report, the MPAC rejected investigating into the issue. In addition to their failures in providing the basic service for which they are employed, they also were caught in yet another eHealth-type expense scandal. (See: The Ottawa Citizen: Ontario auditor-general says MPAC shortchanges homeowners, hospital wait times not improving and National Post: Ontario’s Audit.)

  7. The McGuinty Children’s Aid Society (CAS) Scandal – Where on the McGuinty Government’s watch, Ontario working family tax dollars that were supposed to go towards vulnerable children in Ontario, were instead squandered on Luxury Vehicles, All-Inclusive Luxury Resort Vacations to the Caribbean and other vacation destinations, Gym Memberships and Executive Allowances for CAS Management. (See: CBC: Ontario children’s aid societies misspent money, auditors allege, National Post / The Ottawa Citizen: Children’s Aid funds misused, auditor says and Toronto Star: Opposition slams Ont. Liberals over CAS.)

  8. The McGuinty / Wynne Gas Plant Scandal – In order to earn a majority government in the upcoming election, McGuinty cancelled 2 gas plants costing Ontarians billions of dollars in cancelled contract fees.  Then came the lies: Having stated that as a senior cabinet minister she had “No idea” about this, Wynne then had all the emails deleted.

9.  Debt, Debt and More Debt.  As of September 2014, Ontario’s debt is $304.4 billion, an amount that has more than doubled in the 12 years the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals have been in office. That’ll be $22,382 from each Ontarian, please. We pay $10.56 billion every year just to carry that debt, which remains the third-largest budget item, behind only health care and education. And the Liberals plan to add another $26.7 billion to the debt with another three years of deficit spending.

10.  Jobs and the Economy – Ontario’s economy continues to struggle. We’ve seen job losses some months and modest job gains others. But despite huge tax increases and a struggling economy, we are still apparently affluent enough to pay for a newly-announced Liberal carbon tax, because, uh, Quebec is doing it too. Don’t worry about the details — Wynne will move very quickly to make you poorer before you even know it. And if you don’t recall the Liberals ever campaigning last year on implementing a carbon tax, you’re right.

11.  Sex education scandal. What is being implemented now is basically the same curriculum that was introduced in 2010. In that year, massive public outcry from thousands of Ontarians caused the Liberals to relent. But now the curriculum has been re-introduced and appears ready to be implemented with pleasure by the Liberals; they have a majority, and you must be homophobic or Conservative if you disagree with their sex agenda.  Ignore, for a moment, the actual curriculum, which is publicly available for anyone to review. The fact that it is being implemented without any consultation with parents is appalling. And then there is that small inconvenient matter of the former Deputy Education Minister Ben Levin (who served under then-Education Minister Kathleen Wynne) recently pled guilty to child abuse crimes, including making and possessing child pornography and counselling a person to commit a sexual assault. The agreed-upon statement of facts demonstrates Levin’s sick fascination with sexually abusing children.

Parents are owed every opportunity to give input into how their children are taught at school. That is especially important when the man formerly in charge of the education department has since been convicted of pedophilia. Rather than pledging to review whether a convicted child sex offender had his fingerprints on the Liberals’ sex education agenda, Kathleen Wynne has outrageously dismissed all her critics as “homophobic” or Conservatives. (The Toronto Star reported that “the Liberal government adamantly insists not, specifically in no way involved with the new sex education syllabus rolled out last week.”

The Liberals have rampantly abused the parliamentary process. Kathleen Wynne sued two Conservatives for questioning her role in the gas plants scandal.

Wynne is also happy to bribe an election candidate with government positions to step aside so her preferred candidate could run and ultimately win in Sudbury (another current OPP investigation).

When NDP Leader Andrea Horwath asked why the Premier wasn’t showing up to Question Period, she was thrown out of the House by the Liberal Speaker. Yes, really; you can do all of these things in McGuinty-Wynne Ontario when you have a majority government and not a care for what anyone else thinks or says.

12.  Teacher, Teacher, Why Won’t You Teach Me?!?

The Ontario Liberal government and labour issues ran rampant throughout the Liberals term in office, with the icing on the cake being a settlement and then the Liberals paying the union $1,000,000 – described by the government as money for pizza”.

 

So fast forward to the Federal election, and here is Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau referencing Conservative leaders Doug Ford and Jason Kenney, as if to say that these leaders are bad for their provinces and thus Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would be bad for Canada.

Ummmmmm…

Has JT forgotten about how horrible and how corrupt the Ontario Liberals are, actually, were, as they no longer have official party status in Ontario. 

But Trudeau expects Canadians to buy into his rhetoric and believe that Scheer is dangerous, much like Ford – who accepted a near-bankrupt province and has been fighting to turn around the fortune without raising taxes as the Liberals do.

I think JT needs to campaign on his own record – damn – he cant do that because aside from his ill thought out cases of blackface and brown face, his only other claim to fame, legalizing marijuana, means his re-election hopes will go up in smoke.

 

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, Life, news, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy

Thomas the Tank Engine is Coming to Uxbridge, Ontario! August 9th to 11th AND 16th to 18th


Upon learning that Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to Uxbridge, Ontario for Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019, I could not help but get flooded with great memories of a fun event, with lots to do, and not just on the railway, but also in beautiful Uxbridge.

It’s a fun event, even if it’s really hot outside, and the kids are cranky, etc. It’s a train ride! It’s Thomas. There is music, games, food, activities and fun.

All aboard! 

Thomas the Tank Engine invites little engineers to go full steam ahead for a day of engaging activities and fun adventures at Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019. 

Thomas pulls into York-Durham Railway on August 9th-11th and 16th-18th.

It’s been a few years, mind you, but with 3 children we’ve had more than a few opportunities to come to Uxbridge and spend time with Thomas and friends. It’s always been an enjoyable event with lots to do, plenty of parking and the picture! Yes, the picture of your family in front of Thomas. We have them all over the house and we look back at these cute family photos fondly.

In addition to riding on the famous train, we met Sir Topham Hatt the Controller of the Railway and enjoyed a day of Thomas-themed activities including toy play, photo ops, and more.

What’s amazing is that this tour is now in its 24th year. Man, I feel old! In addition, the tour now makes 37 stops across the Canada and the US and is expected to welcome nearly one million passengers in 2019.

What do you get:

  • 25-minute (approximate) ride with a talking Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Meet & Greet with Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway
  • Thomas & Friends Imagination Station featuring a variety of activities
  • All-new “Ask an Engineer” booth, where several kids can talk to an engineer and learn about trains and working on the rails
  • A ‘Passport to Adventures’ booklet for children to track their journey at the event and receive a special prize upon completion.
  • Thomas & Friends-themed activities including toy play, photo ops, and more

 

TIME:       9am-3:45pm

WHERE:  York-Durham Heritage Railway

19 Railway Street Uxbridge, ON L9P 1E5

 

Tickets for Day Out With Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019 are on sale now and available by calling Ticketweb toll-free at 866-468-7630, or by visiting www.dayoutwiththomas.com. Ticket prices are $28.65 plus tax for ages 2 and up (service charges and fee may apply).

 

For more information and directions, contact the railway here ydhr@ydhr.ca. or visit ydhr.ca/thomas

For more information about the wonderful world of Thomas & Friends please visit: www.thomasandfriends.comwww.facebook.com/thomasandfriends and for bonus material and exclusive content www.youtube.com/user/thomasandfriends.

 

 

Posted in Canada, Community, government, politics, Weed

Poof! Marijuana is now legal in Canada, and…


On October 17th, 2018, on the one year anniversary of the death of Tragically Hip front man Gord Downey, the Federal Liberal Government – under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – has legalized recreational marijuana in Canada.

And…

People cheered.

People smoked.

People were concerned

Some people didn’t really care

…and people like me were REALLY, REALLY happy and excited!

Why am I so excited?

You see I have never touched the stuff, and likely never will.  I have no interest.  I don’t pass judgment on others (much), and if someone wanted to smoke up pre-legalization, I would only ask that they 1) Don’t do it in front of children, and 2) Don’t do it where I have to smell it.

After growing up with parents smoking cigarettes in the house, I have developed a very strong dislike of the smell of cigarettes (and other strong odors such as, weed, strong smelling colognes and some perfumes).

But what makes me really happy is that now that marijuana is legal in Canada, it is being taxed which means everyone who buys it is contributing to the Canadian economy.  Yes, a lot of that tax money will be earmarked for weed-related education and health care, but certainly, the more that buy and consume safely, the more money the government will have and then hopefully that means the less taxes that we’ll have to pay.

What have I been smoking?

Think about it…

On the first day of legalization, reports indicated that here in Ontario where the only legal way to purchase pot is through the Ontario Cannabis website, the average purchase was $50 per transaction which means 13% HST was added to the price, or an additional $6.50.

In the first hour that the site was open there were around 1000 orders.  The site opened at 12:01am, so from 12:01am to 1am, Ontarians contributed $6500 in tax dollars to the Canadian economy.

Now, lets assume that there were 1000 purchases an hour in Ontario throughout the rest of the day, then the Ontario contribution to the economy on day 1 of legalization was around $156,000.

Extending that projection across the country, and we’re looking at an additional $1,560,000 in tax revenue PER DAY!

If this trend continues throughout the year, the Canadian government can net upwards of $560 million dollars in tax revenue!

Sure the Federal debt is now at 1-trillion dollars and under the Liberals they project a $20-billion deficit for the 2018, so those weed sales had better be on the low end to justify legalization.

So we have to either change governments, or buy a LOT of weed / weed-related products (available in 2019) before we can balance the Federal budget, and from there we could see a significant reduction in the debt in about 1000-years…

Have to start somewhere, eh?

 

 

 

Posted in Community, family, government, Life, money, Parenting, politics, Toronto

Ontario Election 2018: Thoughts


Don’t we tell our children to go to school, work hard, get good grades, go to University, work hard, get good grades, graduate, and then with all that effort and knowledge, they can make as much money as they want?

With tax rates shooting up under the Ontario Liberal government and set to go up even more under the NDP government, if elected, do we really want to tell that to our kids any more?

Or should we clarify or amend that for 2018 and beyond to something more like this;

 

Go to school, work hard, get a solid education then go to University or College, and get a better education then go out and make a ton of money because if you make a lot, you’re going to be paying more than everyone else in taxes, and you’re ambition, skills and success are needed to pay back a massive debt and deficit that previous generations of government have created so that they could stay in power.

Congratulations, future generations!  The future is here and your earning power is needed more than ever to pay for mismanagement of financial resources and bad spending.

Earn more, and pay more.

Where is the incentive?

It’s likely there will be parents telling their kids that the sweet spot is now $42,000 in Ontario.  Under $42,000 and you pay 5.05% in provincial tax.  Earn more, but don’t report it.  Or don’t earn it and let those foolish ambitious people pay almost 3 times what you do in tax for earning less than 3 times what you make.

The system is broken.

And if another person tells me that “balancing the budget is not that important”, I’m going to lose it.

I’d like that person to run their household the way the Liberals ran this province and the way the NDP would run the province for just one year and see what they’ve got at the end of the year.

It won’t be a guaranteed job, with a guaranteed salary.  It’ll be bankruptcy or homelessness.

What ever happened to not purchasing what you cannot afford to pay for??

Shame.

#onpoli