Category Archives: Ontario Election 2011

A vote for the ONDP is a vote for “progressive” government, or McGuinty is not “progressive” (updated)

The Ontario Liberals are so desperate. They are running one of the most disingenuous smear filled campaigns I’ve ever seen from Liberals.

First they’ve tried to dissuade progressive voters by suggesting that  the ONDP and the PCPO are the same. Thus, don’t vote for the ONDP. I mean after all the ONDP and the PCPO both voted against the OLP over 180 times. What the OLP fails to mention is that opposition parties are there to hold the government to account and to oppose bad legislation. That two ideologically opposed parties vote so often against OLP legislation for completely opposite reasons is, if anything, an indictment of how horribly bad the OLP is at implementing policy

Today I read this piece of drivel.  Basically, it argues that the OLP is the same as the ONDP, thus don’t vote for the ONDP.Two points. Adding this to the previous contention that ONDP and the PCPO are the same, the necessary conclusion is that all parties are the same, thus vote for none of them. Greens might be happy with that. Second, this is a vain attempt to capitalize on one of the revelations of the May election. Only two parties are really different from each other and in May the LPC was seen as too close to the CPC to be worth fighting for. And it’s still that way.

The OLP has an integral ideological affinity with the PCPO. The parties share a history, share ideological commitment to economic liberalism. They share a commitment to trickle down neoliberal economics where greed and big business are rewarded. The ONDP owes its existence to an ideologies whose point of departure is a critical relation to the other two parties.

Next, I’m sure the OLP  will be shouting that ONDP are closet communists, don’t vote for them.

How about recommending voting for something rather than against something? A vote against something is a vote for nothing, and worse it rewards the negative campaigns, the smears, and the attacks of the OLP and the PCPO

To answer your question why vote for the ONDP. It’s a vote for the ONDP is a vote FOR real progressive practical government and a different way of doing politics. I’m tired of cynical, disingenuous negative politics where you win by getting voters to vote against.

McGuinty was elected with huge majorities and unfettered power to reverse the regressive policies of Harris/Eves. Sadly, in many ways Ontarians are worse off than under Harris.

McGuinty has co-opted (i.e. bought off ) some of the labour movement but has also continued the neoliberal tactic of weakening unions by not bringing in anti-scab and card certification legislation and by undermining the basic right to collectively bargain by legislating workers back to work.

Vulnerable citizens not only lost dietary supplement under McGuinty, but also in relative terms it sucks more to be poor under McGuinty than under Harris. Poverty is worse under McGuinty, worst of all, child poverty is worse under McGuinty.

Students, especially postsecondary students, are way worse off under McGuinty. Tuition is much higher and debt burdens much higher.

One major problem is that McGuinty is a kind of autocrat, like Harper,  holding  very firm control over messaging and issues, which makes them successful politicians but also leaders who don’t listen to their caucus. Where was the progressive Liberal MPP voice at the table when McGuinty barged ahead with a plan to run over 400 dirty diesel trains through Toronto neighbourhoods? Nowhere and if it spoke up it was completely ignored by McGuinty.

Most crucially for me. Human Rights and civil liberties have suffered greatly under McGuinty. McGuinty’s expansion of police powers during the G20 summit was the worst civil rights abuse in Canada in my lifetime. Moreover, McGuinty refused to include gender identity in the Human Rights Code- a simple gesture that would have meant so much to our trans community. Where was the “progressive” Liberal MPP  during these egregious moments of the McGuinty government?

Electing Liberal MPP’s does not help advance the progressive agenda and strategic voting makes it worse.

Trying to understand outrage at ONDP’s 1% HST reduction in gasoline

This portion of the ONDP platform has probably received the most discussion, usually vacuous outrage, especially by self-styled environmentalists. So, I’ve been trying to figure out what is so egregious about the proposal to claw back 1% of HST from the oil companies who at last check were doing quite well and offer relief to the consumer that has been hit with a regressive tax designed pay for corporate giveaways by placing the burden on middle and working class consumers.

First thing I noticed was that the initiative is part of the ONDP’s making life more affordable platform. From ONDP “Plan for affordable change”:

Experts tell us that the real problem in Ontario’s economy isn’t corporate debt, or even government debt – it’shousehold debt. If we want Ontario to succeed we need Ontario’s people to do well.

Next, I reflected on how this might alter  consumptive behaviour. I assume the reason environmentalists are outraged has to do with the fear that this will increase our consumption and dependency on fossil fuels.

First, given that public transit and a bicycle infrastructure is not close to what it should be, that living in Toronto is more and more unaffordable, many ordinary and working poor folks will need, at least in the foreseeable term, to drive to work to survive. For these folk, the HST is disproportionately unfair.

Second, and to me this is central, unlike many other goods and services gasoline is an essential item that people will buy regardless of cost BUT I believe consumption also remains at a constant rate regardless of cost. I have never noticed my driving habits to change as price of gasoline fluctuates. I drive where I need to go and I fill up when I need to.

Thus I don’t see how consumer consumption will increase substantially by offering an 8 cent or so reduction in prices. Unfortunately, those who need to drive to work will continue to pay, even when they’re gouged, to get to work.

Ideally, we would have excellent affordable  green public transit systems, safe and extensive bicycle infrastructures, promotion and education about green alternatives for moving people, but until then, and I am reminded the OLP wants to run 400 diesel trains through Toronto neighbourhoods, countless ordinary and poor folk will rely on gasoline to get to work.

Am I way off? Any thoughts for or against?

Perhaps in a future post we could look at the ONDP Green Choices platform…

ONDP overtakes Liberals: “Strategic voters” take notice

It appears the ONDP  is slowly becoming the only choice to stop a Conservative government. Progressives and strategic voters take notice. For Progressives, the ONDP is the only authentically progressive party to vote for. For those who insist on voting strategically, seems like more and more a vote the ONDP is your strategic choice to stop the Conservatives.

In Ontario, Mr. Gregg said the NDP is more competitive than at any time in its history. The Conservatives were at 34 per cent, followed closely by the NDP at 30 and the Liberals at 29. The Greens were at seven.

Ontario Liberals must be a little nervous seeing the words “slush fund” in today’s headlines, or please move on newscycle

While the McGuinty Liberals may have survived Collegate during the last election campaign, they must, nevertheless, still get a little nervous every time they see “slush fund” in the headlines.

What’s relevant about Collegate for the present provincial campaign is:

1. among this government’s unscrupulous activities are “slush funds”

2. when faced with the accusation, the McGuinty Liberals only showed contempt and arrogance

3. this was yet another instance when an impartial auditor rebuked this government with a very scathing assessment

Ontario Liberals insinuate ONDP hates babies, or when will Ontarians tire of cynical, disingenuous, and negative politics???

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 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.

Still, for some inexplicable reason the Liberals have decided to attack the NDP on its environmental policy. Personally, I think it’s a big mistake. The NDP is now rolling out very solid environmental platform. The NDP has long been recognized as the strongest advocate of  the environment of the three major parties. 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 beautiful baby playing on a lawn on one side and on the other side “Fact: Doctors agree, harmful pesticides pose serious health risks”.   First, I like the redundancy in that sentence. It’s foolproof even. Really, do you need doctors to confirm that harmful pesticides poses a health risk. Doesn’t anything that is harmful pose a health risk. Anyway, I think if you’re going to kill trees to send out messages to the electorate, you should communicate truthfully, logically and responsibly. This campaign piece is none of that.

Underneath this “fact”, we are told that PCs and the NDP both voted against the provincial pesticide ban introduced by the Liberals. Apparently because the “PCs [Progressive Conservatives] side with pesticide lobby”  and because the “NDP sides with PC’s [Personal Computers???]”.  The inference, of course, we are asked to make is that the only reason that someone would vote against the proposed legislation would be that one hates babies, one hates lawns, and one especially hates babies playing on lawns. Moreover, we should be reminded that the ONDP is the second coming of Mike Harris and “the proof” is that both the PC’s and the ONDP voted against the pesticide ban. Ontario Liberals, you have got to be kidding!

First, this is so reminiscent of  Harper’s attacks during the recent federal election; one attack that particularly irked me was the federal Conservatives insinuation that because Ignatieff  had rejected 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. Applied in this case, the “logic” runs if the ONDP voted against the provincial pesticide ban, it must be because its against babies.

As is patently obvious, this attack is founded on puerile and 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. Also, for anyone really interested in the actual debate around the provincial  pesticide ban proposed by the Liberals, read the actual debates here.

It’s sad that Dalton McGuinty prefers 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.

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.

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.

Say No to Negative Politics, Help Stop the Smears

It’s now a commonplace the incredible gains made by the NDP  in the recent federal election had to do with its unrelentingly positive approach and unwillingness to engage in the kinds of negative attacks now entrenched in the Conservative and Liberal approach to political campaigning.

I’m glad the ONDP has decided to follow suit, and moreover, isn’t going to take its opponents’ smears lying down. Today, the ONDP launched an anti-smear website.

“Andrea Horwath is putting forward a positive plan for affordable change and that scares our opponents,” NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo said in a media release. “This website will tackle the smears and start getting the facts out to Ontario families.”

From the website:

“People tell me they’re tired of US-style smear campaigns and negative advertising. But they keep happening because high-priced political consultants think they work. They spend millions of dollars every election trying to fool us. It doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve set up this website to help you fight back against smears and misinformation. Together, we can make change that puts people first.”
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP

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Update: Speaking of  doing politics differently, the new NDP radio ad is refreshingly positive. Have a listen:

Progressive Women Across Ontario Seem to be Getting Ready to Back Andrea Horwath and the ONDP

A website has been created by progressive women dedicated to defeating Tim Hudak in the coming election.

Can an endorsement of the Andrea Horwath and ONDP be far behind?

Surely, they’re not backing the insidiously sexist Liberals with an avowed Roman Catholic male leader, irrespective of what Heather Mallick might think.