Monday, January 30, 2012

Not Free To Choose

So after weeks and weeks of anticipation, after Dalton built up his new and exciting plan for health care in a great big honking speech, after we were told that things were really going to be different this time, promise, pinky swear, with sugar on top.....Deb Matthews got in front of a room and basically said that they were going to give the LHINs more authority. Surgery clinics will be doing more procedures but she won't say which procedures. Money will go to home care services instead of nursing homes.

These are, of course, the same LHINs that have been accused of being less than frugal by provincial auditors and other such people.

Now, I'm not going to write another post about how McGuinty has no clue what he's doing and that he's completely stranded himself. That much is obvious. The fact that he's killing his credibility with this shilly-shallying is also obvious.

No, instead I'm going to point out how McGuinty's predicament proves that if we let people to their own devices, they will never, ever, turn against the government like Principled Conservatives expect them to.

Deb Matthews isn't going to take one red cent out of health care because she knows that people will never accept the taking of one red cent out of the health care budget. Matthews is a Liberal. She's supposed to keep on blandly reassuring people that things are OK when they really aren't, because that's what keeps you elected. Sure the system is eventually going to collapse on itself, but that'll happen a long time from now. And thinking about what's going to happen a long time from now is hard. And McGuinty isn't going to pull a Paul Martin and start chopping away at the deficit even if he'd like to, because Paul Martin ended up going from Mr. Deficit Slayer to Mr. Dithers once he got control of the Liberals, and then he lost to Harper. And McGuinty won't make the same mistake.

The idea amongst Principled Conservatives is that if they were in charge, they'd privatize and slash and burn until the deficit was dead. Wouldn't that be beautiful. But it never happens. Those silly moderates keep getting to run the show, and they never can be counted on to do what needs to be done. When Conservatives get into government, they cut a tax or two, but when it comes to cutting spending, well....Mike Harris got called a murderer this week by kids at Ryerson who were probably 10 years old when Harris was Premier. The rest of them are quite happy to continue spending, and...well, then they end up on the Liberal War Room Boss's "Tory Times Are Tough Times" chart. Never mind that they wanted to cut spending, but didn't want to be called murderers for doing it.

So the last guy who got serious about cutting Ontario's deficit is a murderer in the minds of university students who never felt the pinch from those cuts, nobody likes the last Liberal Prime Minister who got serious about the deficit, and we've got everyone from Rob Ford to the leaders of the nations of Europe trying to keep from being ripped apart by restive citizens who don't want to let go of what they've gotten used to.

And that's the key. That's the real problem. Blaming the government is only part of the problem, because all governments are doing is trying to shield themselves from angry people who will turf any government that tries to make the kind of changes that are necessary to get through this crisis. They elected Rob Ford, then they devoted themselves to ensuring that not one dollar of city services would be cut.

I don't care how much Canada has supposedly shifted to the right over the last couple of decades. Until a politician can announce without hesitation that health care spending, or education spending, or city services spending needs to be cut significantly, it's all just a drop in the bucket. When Mike Harris is not called a murderer for doing what was necessary to dig Ontario out of the hole it was in after Bob Rae got done with it, then I might listen to what people have to say about "rationality" and "free choice."

Until then, any government, Liberal, Conservative or otherwise, that wants to get serious about cutting the deficit needs to force the cuts (or the tax increases, as the case may be) down the throats of the people that elected it. There's no other way, because people have shown that they are incapable of accepting that the party is over on their own. People want womb-to-tomb government care. They took to the streets a few months ago and Occupied various spaces around the country because they thought the government wasn't doing enough to help the 99%. They feel aggrieved. They feel hard done by. And God help you if you try to tell them differently, because they ain't listening.

The people of Ontario would rather blame Mike Harris for their troubles than accept that Dalton has anything to do with the current state of affairs. They will give all sorts of reasons for not voting PC, but they all stem from the fact that once upon a time, Mike Harris cut spending and that was unacceptable.

But Mike Harris had something going for him, and that was that he didn't care one whit for what people said about him. He doesn't even care to this day that people hate him. (Look, he says so himself.) And the instant that the PC Party started caring about what their haters had to say, the bottom fell out from under them and it hasn't been restored since.

I believe that the day that the PC Party of Ontario has the courage to get up in front of Ontarians and say, "We're going to kill the deficit, and we're going to cut a whole lot of services to do it, and we're going to impose Conservative principles on you, and we don't particularly care if you don't like it" is the day that they will start looking like the party that governed the province of Ontario for the better part of its existence.

Because if nothing else, doing that will get people to understand that they had better know what's best for them and that they had better be rational and make their own choices, because the government sure isn't going to be doing those things for them anymore.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Put Up Or Shut Up

This looks exactly like a government that has hoisted itself on its own petard.
Backing off any plan to curb caesarean sections to save money, Health Minister Deb Matthews says new birthing centres outside hospitals may be a better way to accomplish the same goal.

I want to make this very clear: we are not delisting caesarean sections,” Matthews told reporters Thursday at the opening of a new family health team in Toronto’s Liberty Village.

Her comments came one day after she suggested reducing the number of C-section births would ease costs for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan costs as the province struggles to erase $16 billion deficit.

Don Drummond said he wanted C-sections delisted. Don Drummond's an Expert. Experts are supposed to promote "evidence based policy." Liberals like to wag their fingers at us about "evidence based policy." But when push comes to shove, and union queen bees get angry, Liberals change their tune:

Don Drummond, the former TD Bank chief economist who is advising Premier Dalton McGuinty on plans to slash spending, has warned that C-section births are “off the charts” and cost too much money because women spend more time in hospital.

The remark earned a rebuke from Sharleen Stewart, head of the Service Employees International Union representing more than 50,000 health-care workers.

“Women do not need a Bay Street banker telling them how or when to give birth. Don Drummond seems to have developed a god complex that has gotten out of control. He should get his hands off women’s bodies and out of our health care,” Stewart said in a statement.

If Liberals aren't prepared to do what we supposedly won't do, they should shut their mouths.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

There, I Said It

If it's between Option A, spending $5 million on a museum that's not even in Ontario and Option B, saying it's a waste of money and, as a result, being "against human rights", then I'm going with Option B.

Made a few Liberals' days there, I'll bet.

The cash-strapped Ontario government says it stands by a decision to send $5 million to a Winnipeg museum whose costs are spiralling skywards.

The province will send $500,000 annually for 10 years.

The Winnipeg Sun has reported that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is wildly overbudget with the project’s tab — initially set at $270 million — now pegged at $351 million.

That newest tally does not include an estimated $5 million to complete the museum’s theatre.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time For Another Thoughtful Post

Do we want to fix Ontario, or do we just want to get back into government?

I pay a lot of attention to the federal Liberals and their trials and tribulations. Because, in case you haven't noticed, the PC Party of Ontario and the federal Liberals have a lot of the same problems.

-Preoccupation with past victories
-Base that is split into different camps
-Lot of complaining about the government while not offering as many solutions
-Fruitless complaining about leadership
-Resistance to change and input from the party rank-and-file
-Party rank-and-file assuming that the people in charge know better than they do and not speaking out against things that they feel are wrong

How do the Liberals approach these problems?

Past victories: The Liberals still don't get that they aren't the preferred choice of most Canadians. More people voted for other parties than they did for the Liberals. The "60% of Canadians didn't vote for Harper" argument that they like to toss around ignores the fact that the Liberal share of the vote has been declining for a long time now.

Split base: When people are writing books about your intra-party warfare, it's not a good sign.

Complaining about government: They've been doing this for years. Everything the Conservatives do is the worst thing ever, but the Liberals don't ever tell us how they'd fix things or do things differently. They want legislation banning attack ads by third parties (as noted by the War Room Boss here) but they ignore the fact that Dalton does the same thing. They complain about conditions in Attawapiskat, but ignore that they didn't fix the problem when they were in government. They try to scare people into thinking Harper wants to destroy gay marriage, but ignore the fact that they didn't close the loophole that led to that whole kerfuffle.

Leadership: Bob Rae was supposed to be interim leader, and now it looks like he's permanent leader, and the Liberals say they're OK with this. Despite the fact that David McGuinty announced that he wanted to complete the Daltonian takeover of everything at their biennial.

Party rank-and-file not speaking out: See above.

Resistance to change: The Liberals decided they wanted to replace the current voting system with some form of ranked ballot. I can't find a single person outside ther LPC who thinks that there's a serious problem with the way we elect politicians in this country. The federal Liberals think it's a problem because they suddenly can't get elected anymore under the old system. When the old system gave them Trudeau, Laurier, Chretien, Pearson, King, etc., it was fine. Now that it gave them Harper, it's gotta go. I bring up this example because it shows how the Liberals are so stuck on defeating Harper that issues like this take precedence over issues that actually affect Canadians.

How do we approach these problems?

Preoccupation with past victories: Sadly, there are still people who think bringing Harris or Tory back would fix everything, and many people still think the same things that worked in the Bill Davis days will work now. However, we didn't get relegated to third place like the federal Liberals did, so we must be doing something right.

Base split into different camps: You could say that we have that problem. I don't think people in the PCPO want to fight the battles of the past the way the Chretienites and Martinites have done for decades, though.

Complaining about leadership: Yep. "Time for a really conservative leader!" "Like who?" "Um...." Fortunately, we don't have every other elected official in our party trying to do an end-run around the leader, and we are less preoccupied with who leads us than the federal Liberals.

Not offering solutions: Pretty much the #1 complaint people had about changebook. Recent moves by Hudak are suggesting he's gotten the message, though.

Rank-and-file not doing enough: On this one, I think we're worse than the federal Liberals. We complain a lot, and do so publicly, but nothing changes. Remember: when changebook was announced, a room full of people gave it several standing ovations.

Resistance to change and input: If the central party doesn't change, it's because the rank and file doesn't give them any reason to change. The Liberals' marijuana resolution is useless, but at least they're trying to put resolutions forward. Are we going to have any resolutions at our AGM?

Now, the Liberals have basically decided that they don't need to address their past mistakes, and that coming out of their biennial, all is well and the natural order of things (permanent Liberal majority governments) will soon be restored. We'd better not do that. Our AGM had better be a loud, raucous, breast-beating, mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore affair where we address the following questions:

a)  What are the problems facing Ontario that are not being addressed by McGuinty?
b)  How are we going to address these problems?
c)  Do our solutions make sense? Do voters agree with them?
d) What are we doing that is preventing these problems from being solved?
e) What are each of us going to do to solve these problems?

Notice that I advocate a relative absence of complaining about the leader and the central campaign. That's been done. Our job now is to ensure that the leader and the central campaign gets the message from us that if something's going wrong, we will TELL THEM, loudly, right away.

The difference between us and the federal Liberals must be that we are willing to take a hard look at what we're doing wrong and fix it, while they aren't. Or else we will share their fate.

Hudak On Caledonia

Well, it's not the *particular* miscarriage of justice we all think about when the word "Caledonia" comes to mind....but it's something.

Also, the LCBO likes to waste money and energy producers are leaving for the U.S., citing over-regulation in Dalton's Ontario.

Isn't it amazing what we can accomplish when we point out actual examples of Dalton's incompetence?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ORNGE You Glad?

Well, I'll be jiggered. A few bad headlines for Dalton and Co. and things start looking up for the PC's. Now  the same media won't talk about Tim Hudak's plan to slash out of control public sector spending and horrific examples thereof because the media is notoriously unreliable, so that's where I and this blog come in. Do ye the same.

Stratford firefighters: In December 2011, an arbitrator awarded city firefighters and dispatchers retroactive pay hikes of three per cent in each of 2007, 2008 and 2009, and pay increases of 3.6 per cent for 2010 and 3.8 for 2011 and 2012. Total estimated cost: $1.5 million – which has delayed approval of the City’s 2012 budget and raised the threat of a tax increase to finance it all.

University professors and librarians: In October 2010, arbitrator Martin Teplitsky rejected the Liberals’ plea for wage freeze, saying he refused to be “a minion of the government.” He awarded U of T employees a 4.5 per cent salary increase over two years, explicitly saying he did not take the university’s negative financial situation into account.

Hydro workers: In March 2010, arbitrator Kevin Burkett awarded 3,400 unionized OPG employees increases of six per cent over two years. Burkett said that without legislation backing it, there was “no binding force or effect” to the government’s plea for a wage freeze.

And, um, this ORNGE story is going to get a whole lot worse. And then, there's still this.

I wouldn't start celebrating yet because the media, as I said before, is notoriously unreliable. And we don't want to be the federal Liberals, who broke out the champagne  this week because they are still in third place, but not by as much.

People are mad at Dalton. That doesn't mean they love us.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just So We're Clear.....

If the National Citizens Coalition has ties to the CPC, that's terrible.

But if the Working Families Coalition has ties to Dalton, that's OK.

Got it?

UPDATE: You tell 'em, Lorrie.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fuss Budget

We want cuts, says Mayor Ford of Toronto and his alies. You can't have them, say the left wing and centrist city councillors. Yay, say protesters.

Now while Dalton is probably having a good chuckle at Ford's expense right now, he should remember that in a few months, he's going to have to do the same thing. Bring down an unpopular budget, likely Drummond Lite, and have to justify it to Ontarians. Maybe even a few juicy concessions to us, or more likely to the NDP, to ensure it passes.

But it won't matter. Because the elected representatives of city council voted yesterday for effectively no spending cuts. And who are we to say that their constituents wouldn't have lost their collective minds if there had been the tiniest of tiny, inadequate reductions in the amount of money available? What indications have people given that they are prepared to accept any kind of spending cuts?

We sure aren't getting that message from the Premiers (of which Dalton is one) complaining about Harper's health accord. We didn't get that message from mayors across the province who quailed at the notion that a PC government under Tim Hudak would take a look at the balance sheet before uploading more than a billion dollars from municipalities. And we certainly aren't getting that message from any country, anywhere, who has tried to get spending under control.

So how is Dalton- one of the Premiers who at the moment is fighting Harper for more health care money, remember- going to extricate himself from this mess? How is he going to avoid sharing Ford's fate as he tries to cut his own spending while simultaneously demanding more from Harper and being squeezed by the PC's and the NDP?

I actually can't wait to see how and if he pulls this off.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Conventional Wisdom

And so ends the latest chapter in the federal Liberals' wandering in the wilderness.

A convention where the Liberals took the unconventional step of approving a policy to legalize marijuana, but took the conventional step of shooting down a proposal to remove the leader's veto over policies like, um, legalizing marijuana.

A convention where Bob Rae's handpicked favourite for President and Chretienite stalwart Sheila Copps, went down to defeat at the hands of wind turbine kingpin Mike Crawley.

A convention where the youth of the party call for renewal, but where 20 year-old Zach Paikin loses his bid for Policy Chair.

A convention where the party members vote for the creation of a new class of supporter, but not for the full U.S. primary experience, and in the process alienate their I'm-better-than-you Laurier Club class of donors who dislike having their status reduced to the same as a lowly "supporter."

If I didn't know better, I'd suggest these were the actions of a group of people who still haven't gotten over having their tushies kicked some months back and who want change but are slowly realizing that change is hard and requires actually taking some risks.

Why, things are so bad that it is starting to look like the McGuinty Brothers are thinking of taking over the federal Liberals for themselves. And after all, isn't Dalton McGuinty the real opposition to the federal Tories already?

And of course, David McGuinty's announcement and Dalton's speech drew lots of attention to the overwhelming preoccupation the Liberals have with who leads them. What they want is a saviour to save them from having to do all that dreary work of trying to become relevant again. Which, when you consider how the last saviour worked out for them, shows that they have learned nothing.

When we, the PC Party of Ontario, have our convention next month, we must absolutely not be acting like these chuckleheads. No, getting 3000 + people out to a convention centre in Ottawa when you are a national party, one who aspires to form the Government of Canada is not an accomplishment. No, getting a D.O.A. policy resolution to make a substance legal is not an accomplishment. No, getting a former Paul Martin water-carrier to be your party President and is not an accomplishment. Because, if I understand things correctly, the Liberals want to form government, not just talk about it. And all they basically did was talk this weekend.

Now if we want to differentiate ourselves from the Liberals here in Ontario, we could start by showing that we are not concerned about who leads the PC Party of Ontario, because we already know that the answer to that question is Tim Hudak. Then we could try electing ourselves a Party President, such as Kevin Gaudet, who would like to take things in a completely different direction from the one that cost us three straight elections. Following that, we could try something radical and revolutionary like having regular EDA meetings where we work out a plan riding by riding for how we take this province back. And we might- if we're feeling really adventurous- also try figuring out where the Ontario Liberals' weak points actually are in addition to our own, and figuring out what the voters in Ontario actually want in addition to what we want, and doing something with that knowledge.

It sounds crazy, but it just might work. At the very least, it isn't what the federal Liberals are doing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Did anyone else notice this?

Ms. McCarthy, who played an instrumental role in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, said Ontario has tried to duck the volatile test case by deferring to the federal government.

“It is appalling and outrageous that two levels of government would be taking this position without ever having raised it before, telling anybody it was an issue or doing anything pro-active about it,” she said.

Of course, it's an article about the federal government. That quote above is the only reference to McGuinty, and he's not even mentioned by name.

I didn't even know there was a test case here in Ontario.

Unbelievable. What the hell are we dealing with here?

Kevin Gaudet: Call Me Anytime

Kevin Gaudet wants to hear from you. That's why he's launching the Building Together for Victory phone line. Don't wait for a DSM, or for the convention. Give him a ring at 1-855-872-3202, and share your thoughts with him.

We're doing this because we don't want our members to feel like they're being ignored by the party. Kevin wants to face both his critics and his supporters, and get an in-depth understanding of what's really going on out there.

And don't miss the first installment of our PCPO Presidental Debates, happening January 18th, where you can see Kevin make his case.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Primary School

I don't pay much attention to American politics. I am not an American and can't do much about American problems. There are enough problems here in Ontario that I might be able to do something about.

Right now, it looks like Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. People have a problem with Mitt Romney because he's not conservative enough for them. So every other week these people start talking up one of the other nominees as the alternative to Romney. And every other week, another one of these nominees flames out spectacularly.

I don't like Ron Paul. I wouldn't vote for him. But Ron Paul is sticking to his guns despite all the terrible things people are saying about him. He doesn't care that people think he's crazy. And so far, he hasn't blown his brains out the way all the others have.

Now, it seems to me that the people who don't like Romney and would like to see him lose would do well to get behind Paul. That would give Paul more of a chance at the nomination. But they aren't doing that. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but the people supporting Paul don't seem to really want the support of other, less libertarian conservatives. And as a result, Romney will definitely continue to lead the way.

But if Romney wins the nomination, it's going to be very hard for him to attract all the voters from the other camps. And if the Republicans do the Principled thing and sit at home, then Obama is going to be re-elected. And then after that, none of the Republicans will be happy. Hmmmm. This is starting to sound awfully familiar.....

So basically we have a bunch of Principled Conservatives who don't like a front runner, and a bunch of front-runner supporters who don't care much for the Principled Conservatives, and within the Principled Conservatives there are lots of little divisions and OH HEY, I GET IT, IT'S THE SAME THING AS THE PC PARTY OF ONTARIO. WOW HOW DID I MISS THAT??????

So what can we learn from this whole primary business? You know, because people would rather watch these primaries than do stuff about what's going on in Ontario?

1) Complaining about the guy leading the pack but not doing anything doesn't fix the problem

2) Complaining about the guy leading the pack but also complaining about everyone else trying not to be the guy leading the pack doesn't fix the problem

3) Running a campaign based on "I'm not the guy leading the pack" tends to cause problems once people start asking questions about who you really are

4) If people ask questions about who you really are, it's best to have an answer prepared or make it look like you really don't give a damn, like Ron Paul is doing, and you won't fall over when someone pokes you

5) If the guy leading the pack wins, then you sabotaging the campaign isn't going to make anyone happy, least of all YOU

On second thought, maybe I will start paying attention to American politics. Somewhat.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kevin Gaudet: Outreach is Priority #1

Kevin Gaudet says that it's time to grow our voter base and volunteer base and make outreach a permanent priority of the party, and I agree with him.

As we all know, the federal party has reaped the rewards of reaching out to non-traditional bases of support and making the case for how conservative values are universal. There is no reason why Dalton McGuinty should be garnering the support of Bollywood superstars while we assume that female or minority candidates will be enough. The Liberals are winning this battle because we aren't showing up, and it's time for that to stop. This battle can be won, and it has been won.

Look for more Kevin Gaudet policy initiatives in the coming weeks, on this space.


Monday, January 9, 2012


In Adam Radwanski's absolute gem of a column today, he makes a very important point: When Conservatives do something that experts don't like, that's bad because it's "not supported by evidence". But when Liberals do something that experts don't like, that's good because of "intangibles".

Back when Dalton McGuinty took power in 2003, some of his own bureaucrats and advisers cautioned that lowering class sizes wouldn’t be worth the cost. In 2010, long after Mr. McGuinty’s Liberals had charged ahead anyway, Malcolm Gladwell used a keynote speech at their policy conference to call the investment a “ludicrous” waste of money. Now, previewing his government-commissioned report on public-service reform, economist Don Drummond has said there “isn’t really solid evidence” that it’s had value.

For all that, the Liberals continue to insist that it was the right policy. The argument they make, which is more about intangibles than hard evidence, is quite reasonable.

[whitewash whitewash whitewash]

When Mr. McGuinty took office in 2003, they argue, the turmoil of the Mike Harris era had left a toxic atmosphere in schools. Teachers, feeling undervalued, were miserable. As a result, students were under-served. A growing number of parents were considering putting their kids into private schools.

The Liberals felt they needed a big gesture to restore faith in the system. And smaller class sizes, popular with teachers and easy for everyone else to grasp, fit the bill.

So if I understand Radwanski correctly, the important thing about McGuinty's money-wasting initiative to cut class sizes is not that it made any sense, but that it made people happy. Effectively, he just admitted that McGuinty bought the goodwill of the public without any regard for whether it would help them. Intangibles.

Well, you know what? From now on, everything that Stephen Harper and Rob Ford and Tim Hudak and every other conservative does is the right thing to do because of intangibles. Because while experts may not like it, it makes some people feel better about themselves.

Here, let's try an example. I'm sure that being tough on crime makes people feel safer. So the next time someone says "There's no evidence being tough on crime works", I'll just say, "Well, it makes people feel safer, so it's a good idea as far as I'm concerned. Intangibles." End of argument! Absolutely brilliant.

All kidding aside, do you see what's going on here? Evidence has become just another tool in the Liberal tool kit. If it moves their agenda forward, it's great. If science can be used selectively to make conservatives look dumb, then it's fantastic. But if evidence based policy causes problems for people, or if the evidence doesn't support well intentioned policy, then all of a sudden it's not so important anymore. What's more important is that it meant well.

The end justifies the means.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

OMP? Womp Womp!

Around this time of year, young PC's, NDP's, and Liberals gather for the Ontario Model Parliament (OMP), where they debate and negotiate a bill through Queen's Park. But there's only one problem: According to my friends at the Ontario PC Youth Association, the Young Liberals have been MIA when it comes to OMP! WTF? LOL!

It could be that the Ontario Young Liberals, keeners that they are with their bright shiny website, are busily beavering away trying to elect Mike Crawley the next President of the Federal Liberals at something called a biennial convention.

Just in case you're confused as to who's trying to copy who, the original is on top. Crawley's on the bottom.
It could be that they are trying to elect 20-year old Zach Paikin as the federal Liberal policy chair. Though some anonymous Liberals feel differently about that. And some not so anonymous Liberals too.

Or it could be that current Young Liberal exec, described by some people who I talked to as "zombie do-nothings", are worried about holding the PC's and NDP off in a minority OMP situation!

Now I've got to ask the OYL: What message does it send when you guys are too busy planning for some political insider get-together in Ottawa to make time for the next generation of young people who are passionate about politics? What does this say about whether Dalton really cares about university students? Is OMP on the chopping block in advance of the Drummond Report???? We demand answers!

UPDATE: TCAM gets results! According to an OYL newsletter rushed out today, OMP will be held Feb 3rd.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is This Going To Be On The Exam?

Two days ago, I predicted that Dalton McGuinty's approach to curbing the deficit in Ontario would be scattershot, inadequate, and would cause more problems than it solved. And shortly after I did that, Dalton McGuinty announced that he would be announcing a tuition grant that would cost a lot of money while making a cut to research grants that wouldn't save enough money. Maybe I should start a new career as a soothsayer, or maybe Ontarians should get the message already that these Liberals are without Clue #1.

It's getting very tedious pointing out the flaws in Dalton's bad ideas, but let's do it anyway. Enrollment in universities in Ontario has climbed steadily over the past decade. Students get that going to university can help them get a job. They don't need Dalton's help to understand that fact. Furthermore, as that article points out, the grant itself will be paid for by taking money away from other student grants. Oh noez! The Liberals are gutting our education system!

And is this grant going to be based on things like educational achievement, or financial need? Nope. It seems to be based on who can go to the Liberals' shiny new website and meet their criteria. Now, I know the Liberals' tech guys worked really hard on that website and they want to see their Web 2.0 skills appreciated, but offering students a 30% tuition grant just for logging on and meeting their criteria seems a little too generous. But of course the Canadian Federation of Students feel like they've been screwed over because the tuition cut doesn't apply to absolutely everyone. So look forward to more student unions blowing student money to get more government funding so that they can blow even more of that too. Maybe there'll be a T.A. strike or two like there was at York a few years ago and then students will have paid 30% less tuition to sit on their behinds and learn nothing except that Dalton's a loser!

Meanwhile, the Liberals are quietly axing relatively little in university research grants. Because, you know, once students go to university and pay 30% less tuition for the pleasure, you don't want them to do research or anything. But if you are going to axe university research grants, you don't want to be too obvious about it or make any significant cuts, because then important people will get angry instead of the unimportant people who did get angry about this cut and wrote Liberal MPP Brad Duguid a four-page letter.   

So what is this really about? I happen to believe, and I'm not the only one, that Dalton is ignoring other avenues for job creation, like the trades and jobs for which you need a college diploma. The PC Party has been talking a lot about promoting these sectors, but then again the PC Party wants Ontarians to vote PC. The Liberals don't want Ontarians to vote PC, which is why they are trying to breed a generation of overeducated, cash-strapped supplicants who view the Liberal government as the only thing that can ease their suffering.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

No Way Out

Don Drummond is on track to becoming my new favourite person. Not just because he has the Liberals in a bind with his upcoming report, which we got a sneak preview of today, but also because his weighing in signals that a time of change is at hand for the entire province of Ontario.

Nothing and no one will be spared, the former federal bureaucrat and retired bank economist says. Despite the temptation to go easy in certain areas and avoid political controversy, his commission has pulled no punches in its attempt to transform the way Ontario operates — and spends.

“There are going to be a ton of things in our recommendations that the government is not going to be pleased with,” he muses.

And the public should also brace for bitter medicine: “There will be lots of negative reaction, lots of anger.”

You had better believe it. The era of non-ideological Bill Davis blandness is at an end. Instead, the people of Ontario will be forced to confront the hard truths that we on the right have been talking about for years.

Oh, but don't worry. Dalton is going to delay as long as he can. Drummond, like the Auditor General and the Ombusdman, doesn't run the show. And if Dalton says that Drummond's recommendations don't fit with his plans to Move Ontario Forward, well, then he'll just direct his people to publish an embarassing list of Don Drummond's personal expenses and that will be that.

For Dalton is not going to do this:

And health care faces radical surgery to bend the cost curves even harder — down to less than half of what hospitals have counted on for annual increases. That means yearly increments must be scaled back — not just down to 3 per cent as the government had planned, but pushed even further to 2.5 per cent, or less than half of the annual rises until now (about $1.2 billion less than hospitals had been counting on).

Or this:

Universities and colleges also face new cost pressures — and performance obligations — to reduce waste if they want to continue receiving government funding. The blank cheques of the past should be phased out because rapidly rising post-secondary costs are a major budget hotspot that is ripe for reform.

And especially not this:

Unions would be invited to bid (along with everyone else) for their old jobs — not at the lowest price, but with minimum government standards and value for money in mind.

Instead, we're going to get the same kind of toeing the line we've gotten from Dalton for the past 8 years. A few dollars here. A few dollars there. Barely enough to make a dent in the deficit that's been created.

Except- and this is the hilarious part- Dalton and company have done such a good job sweeping the problems under the carpet and telling Ontarians they've never had it so good that any sort of cuts, no matter how superficial, will provoke a tsunami of fury from Ontarians. Lord help them if they actually implement Drummond's suggestions to the fullest.

And the moment that happens, the PC Party of Ontario will have been given the moral authority to seize power in Ontario and to make the cuts that are necessary. Why? Because when the most respected economist in the province told Dalton to fix things or else, Dalton told him, "Eh....we'll get there eventually. No hurry."

And because Dalton will drag his feet when the most respected economist in the province tells him to fix things or else, and because Dalton's foot dragging will lead to things getting worse for everybody, it will very quickly become time for the PC Party of Ontario to re-attach their scrotums and start doing what Dalton won't do.

The Liberals will default to Walkerton and Ipperwash and Closing Hospitals And Schools and all that scary stuff. That's fine. Their inaction will lead to circumstances that are worse than Walkerton, Ipperwash, etc. etc. Maybe there'll be widespread strikes by unions who aren't satisfied that Dalton has abased himself sufficiently. Maybe doctors walking off the job. Maybe corporations packing up and leaving en masse, leaving scores of jobless Ontarians. And after that happens for a while, the mood will start shifting rapidly. It's happened before.

Dalton likes to say, "None of us is as strong as all of us."

I have one for him: "Either some of us suffer or all of us suffer."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Right On The Money

I predicted that unions would be doing some major strutting this year, and, wouldn't you know it....

LONDON, ONT. — Locomotive maker Electro-Motive began the new year by locking out CAW members at its plant in London, Ont.

Contract talks collapsed last week after the company issued a final offer that would cut the wages of union members in half, eliminate pensions and gut other benefits.

[blah blah blah]

CAW president Ken Lewenza issued a statement blaming corporate greed for the lockout, calling it a serious attack on working people, their families and the greater London area.

“Caterpillar may be one of the richest corporations to ask for the deepest of cuts,” he said.

[yak yak yak]

Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan says Ontario's labour movement is ready to mobilize to help the CAW stop scabs from crossing picket lines at the London plant.

“Workers across the province are angry and feel betrayed by their government and they are ready to fight together to defend good jobs,” he said.

Sid Ryan, eh? Not this Sid Ryan? Not the Sid Ryan quoted prominently on Liberal campaign literature? That Sid Ryan?

Speaking of union problems, how's that York Region Transit strike being resolved? Not at all, you say? OK then.

Boy, I'm sure glad Dalton didn't do something stupid like bank his re-election on the efforts of these exact same unions, huh?