Breaking News: Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown Resigns!


I almost fell off my chair when I heard a couple beside me telling me that Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown resigned early this morning over allegations of sexual assault dating back many, many years.

I have spoken to some so-called party insiders who felt that Brown would not be able to defeat Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government in the upcoming election.  I got the feeling that they really wanted him out and that removing him was more important than beating Wynne.

I also know several people who know Brown personally who say that he is absolutely lovely.  Bright, articulate, passionate, and a real family man who speaks of the influence that his sisters had on him, and that these allegations seem very unusual and come at a very “strategic” time.

It’s all really confusing.

Nonetheless, if these allegations are true – and right now there is no reason to believe they are not – I feel bad for the victims.

But this could be a good thing for the Ontario PC’s – not the reasons for Brown resigning – but in the aftermath.  The actions by Brown to step down amid the allegations was swift and should reinforce the PC’s position on sexual assault.  It also provides the PC’s an opportunity to get into the race to replace Wynne by putting a strong candidate to lead the party, and there are many, many strong candidates who I feel would fit the bill.

News reports have put forward the names, Caroline Mulroney, and Lisa MacLeoud, and while I respect these women, I feel there are a few others who would do what the PC’s and Ontarians need.

First off, Christine Elliott, the wife of the late Jim Flaherty (former Federal Finance Minister), who has served as an Ontario legislator for nine years and who lost the PC leadership to Brown, would be a great Premier, as would Rona Ambrose, who led the Federal Conservative party up until she stepped down so that the new leader Andrew Shneer could assume the role.

I think right away these 2 candidates give the PC’s a known commodity, with strong leadership and vision and could re-energize the election race and stop the Liberals from continuing to ruin our province.

I felt Brown’s platform was fantastic and that if it got more press, Ontarians would see how badly we need a change of government in Ontario.

Hopefully going forward all of the issues can be resolved and we can begin the process to move forward.

 

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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!

What the Ontario Liberal Party, NBA referees and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have in common


I have to be honest.

I’m pissed off.  I am fired up and I have not felt this way in a LONG time.

What has me all fired up, you ask?  Well it is the common bond that ties together Ontario Liberal Party leader Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the referees of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who “officiated” the Toronto Raptors series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Any guesses?

Let me throw out a couple of terms which come to mind;

Stupidity.
Incompetence.
untrustworthy.

… and with all of these terms there is the one thing that binds them – that they are all completely inadequate at doing their jobs – and the frustration that they will not be punished for their inadequacies.

I’m at a loss.

Let’s start with the Premier of Ontario who took over from the former Premier but won this leadership role without a) knowing of any wrongdoing by the party before and b) took part in any decisions which were wrong (ie/shredding documents).  She thinks the people of Ontario are not aware that she is the exact same as Dalton McGuinty.

Really, Kathleen Wynne should not Wynne (err, win) the upcoming Ontario election, right?  She’s lied, played dumb, and is suing anyone who talks shit about her. She has proven to be a clone of Dalton McGuinty – spend first, then delist services and tax later. Then blame the Conservatives… Or the NDP.

Now that the campaign is on, I listen to her talk and no matter what she says, I cannot hear her.  I want to hear her – her message, her thoughts on the Province, on the city I live in, and on the hot button issues, but I cannot.  She talks and talks and I hear, “blah, blah, blah” and that noise is the past 9-years of Liberal rule and the lies, and waste that they have created all the while running the Province without any public scorn that has come the way of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (more on him coming up).

I’m angry because I feel like no matter what she says there are a whole lot of Ontarians who are going to vote for her anyways because the Liberals are the middle of the road party so a vote for them is a “safe” vote. But it’s an expensive vote!

I’m even more frustrated because I do not feel that the PC’s leader is fit for the job – he’s not warm and fuzzy like Dalton was – and no one wants to see a NDP government in power (thank you Bob Rae), I’m afraid for Ontario…

Now on to Toronto and Mayor Rob Ford, who continues to show even his most ardent supporters that he’s somewhere between a moron and a giant moron when he tells the public he’s not drinking anymore, that his drug use was a one time affair (drunken stupor, anyone?), and then he continues to get caught doing the things he’s been stating he was not doing.  On video yet!

So here is what I know now about him.

He’s a liar.
He’s a thug.
He has addiction problems.
He is in denial, and he thinks that the public will continue to forgive him time and time again.

That was until this latest video emerged of him getting high, talking rudely about fellow colleague Karen Stintz and in doing so, flushing away his chances at re-election.

So he pulls the rehab card.

And while everyone knows he should have been in rehab a long time ago, he has “checked into” the world’s most effective treatment facility where after one week he is able to make outgoing calls and report that he feels “incredible”.

This time no one buys it, and trust me… in the same way the Toronto Star refuses to touch the George Smitherman story, they will find Ford and expose him again.  Even toying with the idea of Doug Ford running for mayor was thrown out, the bottom line is that Rob Ford will not and can not be Mayor come the next election.  Politics is about trust and he’s blown it time and time again.  I don’t trust him, the people of Toronto don’t trust him and those who were out to get him from election day (hello Joe Mihevc) are laughing and laughing.

The final piece of this puzzle of stupidity have the names and faces of the referring crew who handled the Toronto Raptors series against the New Jersey (err, Brooklyn) Nets.  Foul after foul called on the Raps and you started to understand that the whispers surrounding this series might be true – that no Canadian team was going to beat the Nets.

Even after acknowledging that the Nets tanked their last 2 games of the season to set up a playoff series with the Raps, the league said and did nothing, and while fouled after foul were committed against the team from Toronto, they said little more.  It got to be so obvious that even in the game 7 loss, the refs called a foul on Kevin Garnett of the Nets instead of Deron Williams because Williams would have received his 6th foul and fouled out of the game, whereas KG could take another.  On this specific play, it was 100% clear that Williams bear hugged and took down the Raptors player and sat on the floor hands together as if praying not to be called.

Clearly guilty.

Until determined to be innocent by the referees.

It was awful.  Embarrassing.  A black eye for a league which already had to deal with a referee who was cooking games for betting purposes.  The league would have been wise to comment at any point in time to suggest there was nothing happening – even suggest there would be a review – but the league was silent and the Raptors lost.

 

So here I sit, frustrated that Wynne, Ford and these referees continue on today as if they have legitimacy in their roles but they do not.

They lie, cheat and steal and until we, the public, have our say and force them to find a different job, we will continue to be frustrated, and shake our heads in bewilderment.

 

 

Calling President’s Choice… What Happened to the PC Organic Oatmeal??? Say it aint so!


The President's Choice logo
The President's Choice logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I couldn’t take the uncertainty anymore.  Not knowing was killing me, so I reached out to the folks at Presidents Choice through this URL; http://www.presidentschoice.ca/LCLOnline/contactUs.jsp and I left them this message;

Hi there.

I love the PC organic oatmeal.  We buy 2 bags every week and every morning I made it for myself and my 3 kids, however, I cannot find it anywhere the past couple weeks and I’m very concerned.  Is everything okay?  I had to buy the Quaker oatmeal and my kids hate it.  This morning I made the blue menu steel-cut oats but it takes too long to make
(20 minutes).

Please reassure me and tell me it’s a supply problem and not that the product is being discontinued.  I’ve hit about 7 stores – Loblaws, No Frills, but no luck.

Help!

Oatless in Toronto.

Here was what got fired back;

We have received your email and will be responding to you as quickly as possible.
Your patience during periods of high volume is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

President’s Choice Customer Relations

I know when I get home there will be a clear explanation and hopefully a note that there was a supply issue, or packaging or something simple which will see me eating that again real soon.

Sadly, the response I received was even more disappointing than seeing the empty shelves.  Here was what was waiting for me in my inbox;

.”Dear Mr. Urban Daddy,

Thank you for taking the time to email us concerning our PC Organics Instant Oatmeal.

Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued; however we do keep track of all customer requests and review the possibilities of reintroducing these items based on our customer feedback.  We will be sure to pass on your inquiry to our product developers for future consideration.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope you will contact us in the future with any other questions or comments.”

GASP.

I’m so sad.  Forget subways… I need my oatmeal back!  I need to get Galen Weston on the phone ASAP!

Canadian Politics, Olympic Style.


So here we are at the end of the Vancouver Olympics after watching a thrilling Canadian victory in the Men’s Ice Hockey gold medal game and there in the crowd cheering on the Canadian squad was Prime Minister Steven Harper. 

The Prime Minister, actually, was in attendance for most of the key events in the past week cheering on his country – I mean what else could he do after proroguing parliament until after the Olympics were over.  He was clearly saving the country money by staying in Vancouver rather than flying back and for parliament.

I like that during the gold medal game there were camera in several key Canadian locations, such as; Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia – where Canadian hockey phenom Sidney Crosby was born – in Wayne Gretzky’s bar in downtown Toronto and in Kanduhar, where Canadian soldiers are stationed.

After panning through the locations several times I noticed something odd… pportunistic, actually. There was a person – a couple actually – right up in the front of the crowd at Wayne Gretzky’s bar, not watching the game, but rather always looking right into the camera looking REALLY happy.

Upon further inspection, it was Federal NDP leader Jack Layton.  Always the opportunist, I imagine that Layton pushed, prodded and snuck his way to the front of the bar with wife Olivia Chow in order to be there for the camera shots.  A man of the people, eh Jack? It looked really phoney and that he was trying to keep up with the PM. I know it’s tough being the 3rd or 4th most popular party in Canada, but really who wants to see them every 2 minutes?

And where was Michael Ignatief?  Last I saw he was in Ottawa talking about how it was more important for him and the rest of his colleagues to be pushing policies through than to be at the Olympics.  WRONG!  Once again, Ignatief missed an opportunity to be seen supporting Canadian athletes  across the country.  He could have been shown at each and every event like Harper was, but instead of Harper’s rather stoic demeanor, Ignatief could have been showing Canada how cool he thinks he is and he should have been cheering, talking and making friends with Canadians.  Instead… He chose to stay home and missed a phenomenol photo op. Canada kicked ass during the Olympics, and the most prominent face in the crowd was our PM.

He gets my vote. 

He cares.

Ignatief?  Layton? 

No thank you! These parties need new strategists!