Category Archives: Dalton McGuinty

When will Ontarians tire of cynical, sophomoric, and disingenuous politics?

Perhaps, I’m an anomaly.  Perhaps I’m just too naive and insist on clinging to fundamental ideals of democracy (e.g. the electorate should be as well and truly informed in its political engagements, such as during elections).  Perhaps it’s just unrealistic to expect to be able to vote for something, rather than against something, and thereby reinforcing and rewarding cynical, negative politics.

Two things I’ve seen in the last couple of days have spurred (pardon the pun) this.

First, the wanton name calling, and personal insults directed at Tim Hudak, complete with a puerile photo of Hudak posing next to the weasel that he apparently is. For the record, I’m as anti-Conservative as it gets, but I need to look no further than Conservative policy to know that such a platform is not the vision I have for Ontario. Period.

Second, as a constituent of what must be one of Ontario’s most progressive ridings, Parkdale High Park, I was dismayed and disappointed by the first piece of Liberal campaign literature that showed up in my mailbox. In a riding where the Conservative candidate, by all accounts very worthy, is an extreme long shot to get elected, I get that the Liberals will be attacking the NDP. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals will once again engage in the same personal smears on NDP incumbent, Cheri DiNovo- one of the strongest and most outspoken MPP’s at Queens Park. It devastatingly backfired before, I don’t think they’ll do it again.

For some inexplicable reason the Liberals have decided to attack the NDP on its environmental platform . Personally, I think it’s a big mistake. The NDP is now rolling out very solid environmental policy. The NDP has long been recognized for its strong advocacy of  the environment. And the NDP has in its caucus one of the strongest minds and advocates for the environment, former Greenpeace Canada Director, Peter Tabuns.

Regardless, in my mailbox arrives a dead tree -I mean a glossy multi-ink cardboard card- with a picture of a baby on one side and on the other side “Fact: Doctors agree, harmful pesticides pose serious health risks”.  Below we are told that PCs and the NDP both voted against the pesticide ban. This must mean that PCs and the NDP hate babies.

But there’s more. Apparently the “PCs side with pesticide lobby”  while “NDP sides with PC’s”- perhaps they mean personal computers and not progressive conservatives.  Of course the only reason why someone would vote against the proposed legislation would be because one hates babies, and in the case of the NDP because Andrea Horwath is the second coming of Mike Harris and therefore the NDP simply do what the PCs do.

First, this is reminiscent of  Harper’s attacks during the recent federal election; one that particularly irked my was the federal Conservatives insinuation that because Ignatieff and the Liberals voted against the budget, Ignatieff must be against seniors and students.  I guess the Ontario Liberals figure that if it worked for Harper, it might work for McGuinty. Thus, if the ONDP voted against the provincial pesticide ban, it must be because its against babies.

Second, as is patently obvious this attack is founded on faulty logic. Just because pesticides may be harmful  and pose serious health risks doesn’t mean any proposed legislation around a pesticide ban must be supported. Moreover, Just because the ONDP voted against the pesticide ban, doesn’t mean they did so for the same reasons as the PCs.

Anyway, should anyone want to confirm that Andrea Horwath is not Mike Harris, or that the ONDP does not in fact hate babies, nor hopes to foreclose our future by destroying our environment, go to Stop the Smears.

It’s sad that McGuinty would prefer to wage a negative campaign, forcing parties like the ONDP to expend great effort just to counteract these smears. It’s sad that this distracts from real debate and discussion on very serious and critical issues. It’s sad that McGuinty would rather have people vote against his opponents than vote for his vision and record.

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Aggression during G20 perpetrated by police, but demonstrations criminalized by Harper & McGuinty, or “When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called “the People’s Stick.”- Mikhail Bakunin

In my previous post I wrote about one of the McGuinty government’s most egregious hours: McGuinty’s management of “security” at last year’s G20 Summit meetings in Toronto. In today’s Star, Justice Melvyn Green has vindicated the actions of demonstrators at Queen & Spadina on Saturday of the protests. In essence, Justice Green concludes that yes indeed the people were beaten with people’s stick:

“The zealous exercise of police arrest powers in the context of political demonstrations risks distorting the necessary if delicate balance between law enforcement concerns for public safety and order, on the one hand, and individual rights and freedoms, on the other,” Green wrote in a 29-page judgment.

However, while the police should bear responsibility for their actions, they should not bear the responsibility, as the article states, for “criminalizing” political demonstration. That was done by the State.

The head of CSIS, Richard Fadden, before the demonstrations even began stated that the major security concern was not terrorism but the demonstrators. The riot gear, the make shift jails, and the surreptitious, “illegal and likely unconstitutional” enactment of a secret law, all of these preparations are what served to “criminalize” the G20 demonstrations.

And Dalton Mcguinty was instrumental in this criminalization.  From The Star on Dec. 7, 2010, “Ombudsman charges G20 secret law was ‘illegal’:

It was “illegal” and “likely unconstitutional” for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to pass a secret regulation that police used to detain people near Toronto’s G20 summit of world leaders last summer, says Ombudsman Andre Marin.

In a scorching 125-page report entitled Caught in the Act, Marin said the measure “should never have been enacted” and “was almost certainly beyond the authority of the government to enact.”

“Responsible protesters and civil rights groups who took the trouble to educate themselves about their rights had no way of knowing they were walking into a trap – they were literally caught in the Act; the Public Works Protection Act and its pernicious regulatory offspring,” he told reporters.

“_Capitalism is the Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity_”

One of the most despicable aspects of the McGuinty Liberal government, among many others, was  its  handling of security at the G20 Summit last summer in Toronto. Dalton McGuinty oversaw one of the greatest civil rights abuses in Canadian history. When you start to crack down on dissension you begin to destroy the very thing you are trying to protect:  democracy.

On June 2, 2010, the McGuinty Liberal government secretly passed a  law that temporarily expanded the Public Works Protection Act and granted police powers to stop and detain people during the global summit of world leaders.

This was another fiasco and a total disregard of process that resulted in giving the police a half baked law to do their job.

The G20 secret rule was the subject of a probe by the Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin. His report was made public and slammed McGuinty for passing the secret regulation and characterized it as “illegal and likely unconstitutional”.

McGuinty had 20 days before the summit to advise the public about the new law but choose not to do so. Just more proof of McGuinty’s incompetence and secret dealings.

Dalton McGuinty will not explain why his cabinet passed this secret law because he does not want to be held accountable by the electorate. He refuses to open an Inquiry and has even refused to apologize for his part in the flagrant suspension of Canadians’ civil liberties.

Below, is an excellent documentary, featuring several Toronto based academics and a part of which deals with last year’s G20 Summit.

McGuinty all rhetoric on abortion, or how does an avowed Roman Catholic maintain any credibility on feminist issues?

The recent turn by Ontario Liberals to dredge up the abortion issue is quite fascinating. Is it out of sheer desperation to change the channel? Is it a suicide pact?  A vain attempt to hold on to “progressives” they’ve manage to fool in the past?

Although McGuinty has done little of the talking, how could one fail to see the glaring contradiction in an avowed Roman Catholic posturing as a feminist? So speaking of “choice”, it seems to me a serious feminist Roman Catholic would have only two choices vis a vis this horribly stratified and perverse expression of Christianity, one which has been unfailingly misogynist and conservative.

Choice one: Claim Roman Catholicism but work tirelessly to reform it from within. As a “progressive” Christian, I have often asked some of my female RC friends how they find it possible to remain within such an oppressive, hierarchical structure, particularly an institution from which they are barred “full membership” (not having a right to ordination or to fully preside over the sacraments is not being able to be a full member.) A very compelling response from some of these friends has been 1) I stay because it is part of my story and I want to help change it into the institution is should be. 2) I stay because without me to show love and support, it would be an even worse place for women and the LGBT communities.

Choice two: Walk across the street to any number of truly progressive expressions of Christianity, such as that eminently Canadian institution, the United Church of Canada.

Thus, I’m only being a little facetious when I ask how can McGuinty confidently claim credibility on the “progressive” file, especially the feminist file?

Ontario Liberals are NOT nice, they are "nefarious" (Part II)

As someone who takes language very seriously, I thought I should defend my use of the term nefarious to describe this Liberal government. This government was not only largely ineffectual. Worse, it was recklessly arrogant, unscrupulous, dishonest, and at times utterly reprehensible. This government was elected to bring in sweeping change. It was given, under the current electoral system, what amounted to absolute power at Queen’s Park and it was accompanied, for the most part, by a very buoyant and robust economy. Moreover, the overwhelming majority with which this government was entrusted only led to the most acrimonious and inhospitable parliament I’ve witnessed. Queen’s Park was permeated with a sense of entitlement and arrogance that only absolute power can create. Question period has become a complete circus (those who argue against MMP because it would undermine the consensus that happens under First Past the Post should recognize that currently we have the most divisive and pettily partisan legislatures imaginable).

And when we look back at this government’s record we see that little has changed in four years and we see a government that even in the twilight of its mandate continues to refuse to take responsibility and to be accountable for its failure to deliver. Since, it cannot stand on its record, this government must repeatedly attack, fear monger, and blame previous governments. For all of this, McGuinty’s Liberals should not be rewarded .

So let’s begin…
Least on my list of reprehensible actions taken by McGuinty is the fact of his having “broken promises”. And for me, the worst broken promise was the failure to close down coal-fuelled power generating plants, most notably Nanticoke. It was disingenuous to promise to close down those plants. Even worse, it was irresponsible to wait until the election year to begin to show signs of being interested in energy conservation and renewable energy. And now, all this government has in store for us is massive investment in nuclear energy. As sad as it is, the air quality today in Ontario would have been better had the Conservatives remained in power, since at the very least it is likely they would have added scrubbers to those plants, plants which will be open for at least another seven years.
On the subject of McGuinty’s breaking his pledge not to raise taxes. I’ve posted some thoughts on the health “levy”. I’ll simply add that far worse than increasing my taxes, was the regressive type of tax he imposed and that McGuinty expected me to believe that he was caught completely unawares by the deficit left to him by the Conservatives. Again, it was not his breaking of the promise in itself but his contempt for the intelligence of the electorate by promising it in the first place.

Moving on, I also find it insulting when McGuinty attempts to sell the party as anything other than a brokerage party, one that has replaced any kind of ideological core with opportunism and a win at all costs mentality. We are to believe that Liberals are an alternative to fear mongering, nasty Conservatives. Liberals, by contrast, are nice and friendly and McGuinty stands for principles like fairness and accountability. Quite the contrary. This is a party that hires henchmen like Kinsella to shape its strategy and spin its misinformation. It is a party committed to negative campaigning, often negative campaigning in the extreme. I need only point to last year’s by-election in Parkdale High Park and the malicious attacks on MPP Cheri DiNovo. See here, here, and here.
If this weren’t enough, where the Ontario Liberals, in my mind, become even more contemptible is in their feigning concern for poverty, for ethnic and new Canadians and, even for democracy itself. We all know this is a brokerage party that is ultimately beholden to the rich. Not surprisingly, then, the Liberal government’s record on tackling poverty, whether we’re talking child poverty, affordable housing, minimum wage, or the “poverty budget”, is deceptive and appalling. SlushGate was not only an affront to transparency and accountability, but also a manipulation of ethnic Canadians. Similarly, can we see this government’s initiatives for democratic renewal, most notably, its actions around the referendum on electoral reform, as anything but a pretense to democracy?
Lastly, there were in particular two incidents which I consider especially egregious. First, diverting millions of dollars in legal fees to fight parents of autistic children. This was quite widely reported.
Second, and something very few people are even aware of, this government had the audacity to manipulate virtually every firefighter in this province into thinking that it is the Ontario Liberals to whom they should be grateful for having easier access to compensation for job related diseases. In a very carefully staged performance and with great fanfare, the Ontario Liberals paraded firefighters into the legislature to announce the legislation they were about to introduce. With shameless gall, the Liberals quickly escorted the firefighters out before the opposition could speak to the bill, for had they stayed any longer they would have discovered that it is to the tireless efforts of Andrea Horwath that they truly owe their gratitude.
That Andrea Horwath wasn’t given the least bit of credit from the Ontario Liberals was one of the most callous and self-serving moments I’ve witnessed in politics. Many firefighters will vote for the Ontario Liberals on Oct. 10 and few of them will know how they were completely hoodwinked by the government they’re supporting.

McGuinty defends record on child poverty: Pllleeaase!

Ontario Liberals’ record on poverty has been appalling. Period. Made worse still by their attempts to deceive the public that they have made any significant progress in this area. Most recently, McGuinty has defended his record on child poverty as “real” progress. Bullshit! A Conservative with a poverty agenda is contradictory. A Liberal with a poverty agenda is pure artifice and ruse.

Of all the back pedaling and broken promises of this government, McGuinty’s refusal to end the clawback of the national child supplement is among the most egregious. In 2003, McGuinty ran on ending what he argued was a wrong and unjust clawback. Yet, when he became Premier, he refused to stop taking away $1500 per year away from the poorest children in the province. For four years, the Ontario Liberals have continued to rob the poorest children in this province of $1500 earmarked for them. And we know child poverty is only getting worse.

In this year’s budget McGuinty announced with great fanfare that his government was finally phasing out the clawback and phasing in a child benefit over five years. The child benefit for this year was a paltry $250, and if I recall, one of the remarks around Queen’s Park was that the announced child benefit was less than the cost of the shoes worn by Greg Sorbara when he made the announcement. Regrettably, the clawback has not ended and we’ll have to re-elect this government if we want to see it eventually phased out in the next few years. I’m sorry, this is not a record on which to stand. McGuinty ran in 2003 to end the clawback, and he might as well be running on it again because shamefully he’s yet to end clawing back money set aside for needy families.

McGuinty, petty opportunist??? Say it isn’t so!

When the Ontario Liberals latched like hounds onto the Highway of Heroes idea, especially given that they were in the midst of a vote buying spending spree, who could fail to see the wanton opportunism? The worst part was that it ultimately diminishes what was wonderfully a grassroots and spontaneous show of support for our fallen soldiers. This is one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject.

As if we needed polls to confirm Ontario Liberals are slipping

I’ve long criticized the Ontario Liberal Party for being unscrupulous, unprincipled, and inconsistent. This den of thieves was among the most ungracious, incompetent, and nefarious governments I’ve seen. A full mandate with unlimited power and nothing to show for it; except, of course, for broken promises and being ensnared in compromising and embarrassing scandal after scandal. Only makes you wonder what this government successfully covered up. Actually to be fair, a couple of days ago, this government did conveniently conjure up a hefty 2 billion dollar surplus. Great! Now we might finally adequately fund the Ontario Cricket Association.

What does a government do when it hasn’t any coherent vision or principles?
It runs entirely on polling.
Why?
Because its only concern is re-election.

This is also the reason that none of us should be surprised at the recent turn to American style negative campaigning exhibited by the Ontario Liberals. Liberals are down 10-12% in Parkdale High Park by-election last fall with less than two weeks to go. What did they do?
Smear the leading candidate with some of the cheapest shots I’ve seen in politics. And not to be forgotten is that this was sanctioned by Premier McGuinty himself who dismissed it as the byproduct of a close political race. Worse still, Liberal hacks like Jason Cherniak and Liberal strategists like Warren Kinsella continue to operate under the assumption that dirty and sordid politics are effective. They actually took credit for minutely narrowing the gap in that by-election. Or more precious still, claimed that they were really the ones smeared in that campaign (as Cherniak did) and quibbled about how better to implement their fear mongering and negative tactics in the future.
Likewise, none of us should be surprised at Kinsella’s choice to completely ignore the issues for the coming provincial election. His focus instead is on branding Tory as a clone of the evil Mike Harris and someone who personally advocates the views of crazy conservatives like Randy Hillier. Similarly when it comes to critiquing the NDP, Kinsella opts for hurling scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism at an NDP strategist and the NDP generally.
The last couple of weeks for the Ontario Liberal government have been marked by vote buying funding announcements (as if this government has any credibility remaining where its promises are concerned) and the talking out of both sides of its mouth (last week the city of Toronto told to get lost, today this government pledges to honour its 2003 promise to upload some of the download to help out cities). With this kind of electioneering, is there anyone who suspects that the Liberals were not already well aware that they were slipping in the polls?????

_____________
Update:
Cherniak’s gushing over the surplus announced by the Ontario Liberals. He’s a big fan of surplus budgeting. Of course he is, he’s a Liberal. We all know how Liberals love surplus funds, especially year end funds which they can dole out to friends with no accounting controls, no paper trails, no accountability, only the hope the benefactors might remember their generosity come election time.
What’s that sound that kept me awake all night? Oh yeah, it was Cricket! Cricket! Cricket!
By the way, Cherniak ridicules Howard Hampton’s response to the “surprise” announcement of a surplus. I rather think Mr. Hampton has assessed the situation quite accurately. The Liberals are bribing Ontarians with their own tax dollars. According to Mr. Hampton:

“Across Ontario, people are waiting. Families are waiting in emergency rooms for the health care they need. The seniors who built this province are waiting for property tax relief that will let them stay in their homes. Children with autism are languishing on waiting lists for the care they need.”


“All these people are waiting because Dalton McGuinty has turned his back on today’s working families. He said he would deliver change but hasn’t come through. He broke his promises.”

“Today, I was deeply troubled to learn why Mr. McGuinty is making people wait. He did it so he could try to bribe people with their own money before an election. For four long years, Mr. McGuinty deliberately misled Ontario families about the province’s finances so he could use our tax dollars to finance a pre-election vote-buying spree.”

“Mr. McGuinty got it wrong. New Democrats will make it right. We will deliver a fair deal for today’s working families. Instead of wasting your money on MPP pay raises, slush fund handouts and pre-election vote-buying sprees, we’ll deliver balanced budgets, fair taxes and investments that make a difference for people, like the fair deal for municipalities we announced this week that will mean lower property taxes, a two-year transit fare freeze and an end to service cuts.”

Ontario Liberals spend millions avoiding treating children with autism

I don’t know what’s worse. That another McGuinty broken promise has miserably failed children with autism in Ontario or that this government chose to go to court to attempt to deny the public from knowing how many millions of dollars it spent fighting a lawsuit seeking that this government provide the treatment it promised.
What’s worse the cold indifference of this government or its arrogance and smugness? You decide.
I do know Shelley Martel was one of the truly bright lights in women’s politics in this country and she will be dearly missed by all who value dedication, dignity and integrity in politics.

Kinsella’s Feeble Defence of McGuinty

Reading Warren Kinsella’s defence of the McGuinty government is much like watching Tie Domi skate and stickhandle at the same time. It’s awkward, unnatural and quite hilarious. No wonder Kinsella has resorted to being a goon in his political punditry. Now, arguably every team needs a mindless thug like Kinsella, but only as long as he sticks to being a mindless thug. Otherwise he becomes a detriment to the cause, and thankfully Kinsella seems only too happy to oblige. This is a pitiful defence of McGuinty. About the only thing Kinsella got right was that it will be a tight race.

In his “musings”, Kinsella argues that “Dalton McGuinty is going to be re-elected in Ontario because he most resembles the people who live and work here. And because, at the end of the day, they like him and the job he’s doing.” Essentially, McGuinty is an unassuming, modest, ordinary, Tim Horton coffee drinking, nice guy that resonates with the average Ontarian. Perhaps if McGuinty finds himself out of work in the fall, he’ll begin to resemble Ontarians. But until then give me a break!

McGuinty is leader of one of the most nefarious, arrogant and smug governments I’ve witnessed. He’s vain and ruthlessly competitive. This is the Premier who not only didn’t reprimand the office of the Minister of Government Services (Gerry Phillips) for using tax payers’ money to run a smear campaign against MPP Cheri DiNovo, but he, in fact, publicly endorsed it.

Ordinary, regular Canadian? Uh, don’t think so. McGuinty grew up in a wealthy neighbourhood, son of a professor and politician and nurse. He was raised in pretty privileged circumstances, became a lawyer… Even if he dons a hockey jersey from time to time, McGuinty is certainly no everyman, but in typical unprincipled Liberal fashion tries to be everything to everyone, and in the process ends up being no one. This Premier is renowned for his useless photo-ops (recently with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bo Derek), jet setting around the province in government planes, doling out slush funds to buy back the immigrant vote, and smugly refusing to be held accountable or responsible for anything.

According to Kinsella, the secret to McGuinty’s success: “Undersell what you’re doing, then overperform.” This was the howler in the piece. Nothing could be further from the truth with this government. First, this government has gone back so often on its word that no one knows what it’s selling. It’s got some ideas over here and if you don’t like those, it has some other ones over there.

But more reprehensible and shameful is that for four years Ontarians had a government with virtually unlimited power in a favourable economy which could have made a real positive difference, but instead did nothing but blame the previous governments and ask for our patience. The Liberals were quite prepared to ram through things that favoured themselves or their friends, like a 31% pay raise or a $40 billion nuclear power project, but they were missing in action on poverty, on housing, on the environment, and on education- even though to hear them tell it it’s completely another story. Fact is, this government not only didn’t overperform, it didn’t perform at all.

Even if the Liberal government didn’t have such a sterling record, Kinsella maintains that at least this Ontario is not the same Ontario we had under Conservative governments and that the status quo will be enough for Ontarians. “You hear that? That’s the sound of social peace. No rioting at Queen’s Park. No people being shot to death for protesting in a provincial park. No welfare Moms being left to die alone in sweltering apartments. Jobs are up, unemployment is down, people feel good.”

When did Kinsella go on prozac? The environment desperately needs to be aggressively addressed, even if as some have said it’s too late. This province is on the precipice of a major economic catastrophe, it’s manufacturing sector is disappearing and in its stead has appeared some precarious, casual employment (McGuinty loves to tout the jobs he’s created, but fails to point out that most of those hardly qualify as jobs. They are low paying, temporary, dead end, without benefits…). The poverty and lack of affordable housing in this province is appalling. I’m not sure that people are feeling that good. I see a lot of trepidation and nervousness from homeowners with new mortgages worried about property taxes and interest rates to the working poor, many of whom work several jobs and still can’t make ends meet.

Again, at what point does a government become responsible for its own mandate? Taking shots at the previous Conservative governments might be acceptable early in a mandate, but at the end of that mandate if that government can still only pass on the blame, it should not be rewarded with another term. Period!