Doug Ford vs. Judicial Activism

When I first heard about Ontario Premier Doug Ford‘s announcement that he would use the notwithstanding clause to override a decision on the constitutionality of shrinking Toronto council, I was somewhat concerned. This option was always supposed to be the last resort.

But after having read many reactions from various sources I now realize that this represents the larger issue of judicial activism in Canada which has been a huge problem for years. Add to that the fact that the decision itself required a whole lot of creativity in order to tie it in with the Charter – and so it would likely lose in an appeal – or at least be seriously challenged.

Brian Lilley highlights the tenuous legal logic here:

He [Justice Belobaba] also claims voters’ rights to freedom of expression were violated because the changes would make the new wards too large with too many people.

That is not only a stretch, it is is an attempt to apply a part of the Charter that does not apply to municipal voting.

And Kelly McParland explains the problem of urgency in the National Post:

Judges, of course, aren’t elected. Politicians are. Both are human and make mistakes — sometimes dumb ones. Politicians can be replaced by voters; judges can’t. The activist community is well aware of this fact, and has learned that using the courts to foil government initiatives is far more effective than arguing with politicians themselves. Delay is a powerful political tool; courts are an excellent means of bringing about delay.

The window of opportunity is very short. If Ford simply appeals the decision we all know what will happen – delay, delay, delay. And then another municipal election will come up again in four years with nothing done.

Could this be a worrying pattern if Ford continues using the NWC each time he hits a roadblock with the courts? Perhaps. But meanwhile let’s just sit back and enjoy watching the heads of leftwing elites explode while their little fiefdoms are being challenged.

 

Update – There are so many articles out there about this story but this one is particularly interesting since it explains why the NWC can’t be used regarding the pipeline impasse: Ford’s move against court would never work for Trans MountainDon Braid, Calgary Herald.

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149 Responses to Doug Ford vs. Judicial Activism

  1. Miles Lunn says:

    I personally think he should have just appealed it. Yes it would mean not having the city council reduced for this election, but it could still be done for 2022 and I don’t think having a larger city council for another 4 years is the end of the world. Also if he really wanted it for this election, the province does have the power to decide the date of the municipal elections so he could push it back to the spring of 2019 which would be sufficient time for an appeal and the change. As mentioned the notwithstanding clause is a legitimate tool, but it is not something we want politicians using regularly. I have often thought as a way to ensure it is still there if not needed but not abused, require 2/3; 3/4 or even 80% in the legislature to vote in favour, otherwise some super majority like we do and the US does for amending the constitution so it is still there but cannot be abused.

    My worry here as someone living in BC is if Ford messes up bad enough it will mean four more years of Trudeau since without Ontario, Scheer cannot win the election and if Ford damages the conservative brand enough, there is a risk of this. I don’t think we are there yet nor will this necessarily happen, but I tend to prefer the slow incremental approach Harper used vs. the fast try to change as much as possible quickly. I think with incrementalism it takes longer, but it is more likely to be permanent while if done quickly just leads to a backlash and reversal by some future government. The goal for conservatives should be to ensure the changes we make stay in place after we leave in office not get reversed by the next government. Yes the left will hate most of our changes, but if voters like them, they will be careful about changing them or be punished.

    Like

    • Greg says:

      I don’t think you need to worry about Ford losing votes in the rest of Ontario. Ontarioans outside TO dislike Toronto almost as much as people from other provinces. The federal conservatives will likely still be competitive in Etobicoke and Scarborough ridings, and they aren’t going to get any seats downtown anyway. Having said that, I not sure the NWC was the best move. Maybe he should have introduced legislation to make it easier to remove judges instead. Just a shot across the bow so to speak.

      Like

  2. Greg says:

    Now Greenpeace is and some other Eco Terrorist group is suing the province over withdrawal from cap and trade. Ford should publicly state that all costs incurred to fight the lawsuit including all court costs will be recouped from environmental spending.

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  3. Liz J says:

    I will never be convinced there isn’t judicial activism in the Court. I also don’t believe any elected government should have to abide by their interpretations based on dictates of the Charter on cases sent to them. Sadly decisions from the high court of appointed Judges seem to be above those of a democratically elected government by, of and for the people. It’s almost a mortal sin not to go with the Court.
    Our Supreme Court is heavily left leaning. I was glad to see McLachlin retire, never a fan of hers.

    More than an elected Senate, we need an elected SCC.

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  4. Miles Lunn says:

    I understand many of us are angry as it seems with court rulings, it is not evenly split between left and right wing rulings, its lopsided towards the left. But we have to be careful here. Imagine the Liberals decided to ban the Rebel media and other conservative news outlets. That would violate the Charter, but they could invoke section 33 to override this, so I always say whenever we do something, we have to ask how would we feel if our opponents did it. I think because more Canadians lean left than right, its always going to be a struggle so better to go slow like Harper did in his first five years so the change is permanent than go fast and risk a backlash.

    I also think the fact we live next door to the US which is arguably one of the most conservative developed countries doesn’t help. I almost feel like if the US wasn’t our neighbor or was a left wing country, it would be a lot easier to push conservative ideas. I guess I don’t see this as a hill worth dying over and quite possible an appeal could be won. I highly doubt the courts would permanently block a council size reduction and perhaps the best solution as John Tory suggested is just have a referendum on it and accept the results and move on. A court overturning a referendum would probably be a legitimate case for the notwithstanding clause and if most Toronto residents like the larger council, seems silly to push it any further.

    Likewise in some ways that is why I prefer we choose boring non-offensive leaders as Ford really upsets the left much in the way Trudeau upsets the right whereas I cannot help but think if Elliott were leader, she would be doing about 80% of the things Ford is doing, but wouldn’t face near the pushback. And also perhaps lay low and stay out of the media. Here on the West Coast, our premier John Horgan is not likeable at all, but he has done everything to stay out of the limelight which is why his approval ratings have been stable rather than cratering, so I think this strategy could work for Ford although perhaps when you have family ties to some past politician you don’t have the luxury as the press will seek you out.

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  5. Anne in swON says:

    “Imagine the Liberals decided to ban the Rebel media and other conservative news outlets.” So unnecessary – they have Google, Facebook and Twitter doing a fine job of censoring conservatives already. Remember Trudeau’s warning to Sheryl Sandberg? Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns: “BREAKING: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly considering an investigation into social media companies for violating anti-trust laws. -Bloomberg” h/t @RealSaavedra via Ezra

    Like

  6. gabbyinqc says:

    My two cents’ worth …
    1. Ford shouldn’t have brought in legislation to reduce the size of Toronto city council in the middle of a municipal election. Montreal currently has 65 councillors, including the mayor, pared down from 105 city councillors years ago, when the merger & demerger debates raged on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000–06_municipal_reorganization_in_Quebec. Also, compared to other major cities, Toronto’s city council is not that bloated in comparison https://globalnews.ca/news/4358422/toronto-city-council-other-cities/
    Premier Ford should have known he’d be stirring up a hornets’ nest with that move.

    2. Judicial activism is a problem. I don’t know what the solution is. Would election of judges really solve the problem? I doubt it. Look at what the 2015 election did — discard a competent Prime Minister only to choose a poseur instead, who despite the many serious mistakes his government has made, continues to be popular with a majority of electors.

    3. There should be a mechanism that would prevent incoming governments from immediately reversing policies put in place by the previous government. Also, what is the point of governments having a justice department if the legislation can be so easily challenged? What I mean is, proposed legislation should be drawn up in such a way that it would be practically challenge-proof.

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  7. Liz J says:

    Redaing the update something stuck out, “…a Trump era disrupter”, have to expect to hear more of that, it may be the best they can do, it may be a famous last refuge.

    Was the Charter meant to interfere with our democracy or was it a tool to manipulate?

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  8. Anne in swON says:

    OT – I have a habit of frequently checking the PM Itineraries and noticed this for yesterday: “1:00 p.m. The Prime Minister and Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister will tour the Winnipeg Canada Goose factory and participate in an announcement. A media availability will follow.” The announcement was that “the Manitoba government is contributing up to $1.4 million for the new plant, which will go toward costs related to the training of the new sewing machine operators over three years.” This Liberal government seems to be infected with nepotism as it turns out that Jodi Butts, the wife of Gerald Butts, is on the board of directors at Canada Goose which is said to have recently been losing money. What has Premier Brian Pallister been promised in return, I wonder.

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  9. Anne in swON says:

    ““Imagine the Liberals decided to ban the Rebel media and other conservative news outlets.” So unnecessary – they have Google, Facebook and Twitter doing a fine job of censoring conservatives already.”

    Oops, you were right about the banning, Miles, except it’s not the Liberals who are doing it in the following situation. It just may stem from Rachel Notley’s NDP in Alberta. From Ezra’s twitter comes this: “Now Notley has ordered @AHS_media to block our website from hospital wifi across Alberta.” https://twitter.com/ezralevant/status/1039912396285005831 The site being blocked is one that features ATI documents showing the amount Syrian refugees receive and the bureaucratic subterfuge involved in keeping this information hidden from the public. Well, colour me shocked.

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  10. Miles Lunn says:

    Regardless of what one thinks on the notwithstanding clause being used here, I believe Ford is blowing his political capital in the wrong place. All governments have to make unpopular decisions, this is especially true now in Ontario with the fiscal mess the Liberals left us in and considering austerity typically causes a politician’s approval rating to drop 10 to 20% that is the area you want to spend your political capital on. I feel too many conservatives aren’t focusing on the bigger picture and focus too much on how can we get back at the left. With any government its best to decide what are the most important issues and if you are doing to die on any hill, die on those. My worry is Ford will burn so much political capital on this, he won’t have any left to deal with the more serious issues which he needs political capital for.

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    • Anne in swON says:

      Ford has Trudeau over a barrel on this issue. If the pm (sorry, I can’t bring myself to throw capital letters around so loosely at this man’s title)were to use the bigger cudgel of the federal government to thwart this use of the notwithstanding clause he’d risk losing a great number of seats in Ontario and he knows it. From what I’m reading and hearing the public is hugely supportive of Ford. He’s losing NO political capital.

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      • Cara says:

        Have a look at this from Lorrie Goldstein. I agree with the premise that this is EXACTLY Trudeau’s plan moving forward and into the next election.

        https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/goldstein-liberal-nafta-strategy-trumps-a-tyrant

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        • joannebly says:

          Great column. Lorrie nails it again!

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        • Anne in swON says:

          John Ivison of the National Post adds his matching two cents about the Taking on the Tyrant panel . How Chrystia Freeland was ever declared to be a diplomat in any way, let alone diplomat of the year, defies reason. Trudeau keeps repeating that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. Sounds like a warning to me. https://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-ivison-liberals-eye-potential-electoral-gains-from-taking-on-the-tyrant-trump

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          • Miles Lunn says:

            I saw the video here http://www.barrelstrength.com/2018/09/13/taking-on-the-tyrant/ so one can judge from that. To be fair she never mentioned Trump by name or even alluded to him although the introductory video most certainly did and other speakers referenced him. I do think the move away from liberal democracy to authoritarianism is worrisome and I am disturbed that far more countries are dropping on democracy index than rising, but perhaps maybe she could have discussed this after we got a deal on NAFTA. Still I do agree with a lot on the video in terms of the decline of liberal democracy and note Trump is not the main culprit. People like Maduro of Venezuela, Orban of Hungary, Erdogan of Turkey, Putin of Russia, Xinping of China, and Duterte of the Philippines are probably your best examples. Trump may admire many of those, but at least the US unlike the countries above has a strong checks and balances system so a US president couldn’t make it an authoritarian country even if they wanted to. By contrast most countries elsewhere in the world don’t have such checks and balances thus the danger. Otherwise Trump has tweeted a lot of things that sound authoritarian but tweeting such things is a lot different than actually acting on them. The above mentioned have actually acted on them. In fact while I despise Trump, I wonder if he is the type who likes to think aloud as I think most of us probably from time to time have thoughts on wishing we could crush our opponents, but usually we keep it to ourselves and when thinking more deeply about it, we realize its a bad idea.

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  11. Liz J says:

    Fancy that, the NDP acting exactly as we would expect….over the top. Let’s ask where were they when their Liberal cousins were in power and doing much worse?

    Like

  12. Liz J says:

    If it’s such a mortal sin to use the Notwithstanding clause why is it there….why are the NDP yelping like banshees? Do the protesters know?
    Our illustrious PM isn’t going to get involved, there is a reason for that I’m sure!

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  13. Miles Lunn says:

    Not for the point of being contrary, but I feel on this many conservatives are thinking too much about the short term and not long term. The left may be annoying, but trying to settle scores with them just makes them madder and more likely to fight back hard. Yes we should strongly disagree with their viewpoints, but we can respect them as individuals and their right to have different viewpoints while still respectfully disagree with what they want. This what we a society should aim for where we respectfully disagree with people with different viewpoints, not hate them as people for it.

    I worry Ford’s decision here unless it is a one off, could do a lot of damage for conservatism long term. Otherwise I am not interested in being here for the good time but not a long time, I would like to see conservatism succeed long term. My concerns are as illustrated below.

    1. With the court ruling on the pipeline, Notley should be DOA, but this just might give her a lifeline. No doubt she will try to trip Kenney up on this and while I doubt it will work, Albertans tend to be wary of social conservatism as you saw in the 2012 election, so this is an issue that I would rather not have in the Alberta election and instead anti-business policies, higher taxes, and out of control deficits should be the main ones.

    2. The Tories federally cannot win without doing well in Ontario and I worry if Ford becomes wildly unpopular, he could kill the party’s chance of a breakthrough in Ontario thus making it impossible to win nationally. If this were a small province like Saskatchewan, that would be less of an issue as you can always make up for losses elsewhere, but you cannot compensate for a poor showing in Ontario.

    3. We have a referendum on PR this fall in BC and I worry this will just help ensure it passes and once it passes in one province, it is only a matter of time before it spreads nationally.

    4. We need more than one term to fix the mess, but I worry this will scare away the swing voters we need meaning Ford is a one term wonder and then we spend another decade or more in opposition.

    I was also disappointed Christy Clark supported Ford as here in BC, I am sure the BC NDP will try and paint the BC Liberals as the Ford Nation of the West Coast which we don’t need mind you I am hopeful Andrew Wilkinson based on his background will clearly emphasize he is against using the notwithstanding clause except in extreme circumstances.

    I like everyone else here find the hard left annoying, but we don’t live in a black and white world and most voters are close to the middle who see things in shades of gray, only a minority are strongly to the right or left. They just happen to be the nosiest while those close to the middle are generally types with busy schedules so don’t have time to get involved in politics and are instead worried about their daily lives and simply vote every four years. It was this group that got us into power and we have to hold on to them if we want to win in 2022.

    My hope is some of the more experienced ones tell Ford this will do more to hurt than help and urge him to slow down.

    Like

    • joannebly says:

      Well we’ll see how it all works out. Still early days in the Ford government.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cara says:

        I think it’s going to work out just fine for Ford AND the use of the NWC.
        It was put in place to use. That it hasn’t been has been a matter of choice by those who chose not to use it.
        Those who have used it exercised their choice too.
        The big deal squeal you hear is the nonsense coming from the left, and their MSM ONLY because it’s Doug Ford and the Conservatives.
        If it works, don’t be surprised if others start using it too.
        I’m glad Anne included Ted Morton’s column below because it’s exactly right IMO.

        Like

        • Miles Lunn says:

          I am not so sure, will have to wait to see what the next batch of polls say. The base will no doubt support Ford, the left will hate what he has done, so the question is where do the middle of the road swing voters sit. They are generally the quietest but whichever party they swing behind is who wins. My reason for thinking this is risky is I remember the 2004 federal election when Randy White promised to use the notwithstanding clause regularly and how that cost Harper that election. I think that played a big role in why Harper never used it despite probably wishing to many times. While some say public opinion has changed since, I see little evidence of that, if anything the country has moved slightly to the left not right since then although we are definitely more polarized.

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          • Cara says:

            Quite simply Miles this is NOT 2004. It’s time for governments to use the tools at their disposal.

            All of that bleating we hear coming from Ontario’s opposition and left-leaning media who are suggesting that there will be no cost savings from the downsizing of council need to think again.

            Have a look for yourselves in the appendices of this Toronto city council agenda to have your eyes opened wide and to get a gander at just how much this disfunctional bunch costs taxpayers. http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2018.EX33.9

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          • Miles Lunn says:

            Cara – Not against cutting the size of the city council, that is not my problem, my problem is the notwithstanding clause. I think a problem many have is they divide it between the left and the right and forget about the centre which is much larger than either of the two. Off course the left hates Ford and will no matter what just as the right will support him no matter what. But it is the centre that matters since without getting at least some of them one cannot win. Tories have a solid base of 30% who will support them no matter what, but Ford needed an extra 10% to win his majority and in terms of seats 30% of the popular vote will get you typically around a 25% of the seats whereas 40% gets you around 60% of the seats so that 10% due to our system makes a huge difference seat wise. Obviously at this point it is tough to say but will be interesting what the polls say. I’ve always favoured the incrementalist approach and be cautious. I think part of what loss Wynne the election is rather than take the cautious middle of the road approach McGuinty did, she took a more left wing approach than many weren’t comfortable with. In fact with Trudeau, that is the only reason he is somewhat vulnerable at this point. If he took a middle of the road approach like Chretien did, he would be on his way to an even bigger majority, whereas there is a very real chance he will lose his majority and maybe if our side is lucky lose outright.

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          • Anne in swON says:

            Sorry, Miles, I won’t compromise when the “middle” has been pulled so far left that we’re taking up the space occupied by the left 20 or so years ago. Time to call a halt. Enough is enough. Many of the policies achieved via incrementalism have been overturned by the current government and we’re no further forward. What will be left for conservatives to conserve?

            Like

          • Miles Lunn says:

            I agree the left has swung too far to the left, but going too far to the right will only work short term. Unfortunately there are more Canadians on the left than right and so until those with strongly conservative views represent a larger share of the population we have to be realistic. If you ignore the US and look around the globe, Canada’s politics are pretty much in line with most industrialized countries. Only the US and some former Eastern European countries are notably more conservative amongst developed countries. As I’ve always said, when your opponent is defeating themselves just stand aside and say nothing. Trudeau and the left are doing a good job of defeating themselves, so why not let them destroy themselves instead of hand them a lifeline is my view. Also as someone who survived 10 years of the NDP in BC in the 90s, the left today is no further left than they were, they are just more in your face about it than they were back then. Ironically in BC, the approach the BC Liberals took has worked quite well as they were in government for 16 years and won the popular vote and most seats in 2017 while the NDP is being surprisingly cautious this time for that very reason. I think BC is a good model to work off of long term since if you look at federal results, usually in Ontario they are fairly similar to BC in terms of conservative support (big difference is NDP does better in BC than Ontario and Liberals do better in Ontario than BC). Although may be not a fair comparison, Trudeau and Wynne while too left wing to me are quite tame when you compare to Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and my worry is if we don’t watch out we could end up with someone like him and if that happens many of us will be thinking more fondly of Wynne and Trudeau just as many of us do of Chretien and Martin even though we didn’t at the time.

            I may be wrong, but I think Brad Wall’s approach of going slow at first and going the more right wing things near the end of his tenure once he had built up enough trust and political capital is the wisest. After all he is probably the most successful conservative politician anywhere in Canada we’ve had this century so his approach is definitely one worth looking at.

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          • Anne in swON says:

            “Canada’s politics are pretty much in line with most industrialized countries…” And there, in a nutshell, is the problem! I don’t want this country to go through the mayhem currently being experienced in the very countries you cite. Have we learned nothing? Are we naive enough to believe the same hell on earth won’t happen here or are we overly confident we can do better? Unless we decide to take a different path we’re doomed to fail. It’ll just take us longer because we had Stephen Harper tugging on the reins while Europe ran headlong into the ditch.

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          • Miles Lunn says:

            As someone who travels to Europe twice a year, things are not nearly as bad as some claim. I don’t want us to be more like Europe, but I don’t want us to be more like the United States either and I feel the left is trying to make Canada like Europe in the 70s (not today as Europe is a lot more conservative than then), while too many in the right are trying to make us more like the US in the past decade I am not interested in either as both went too far and thus why Europe has ditched its left wing views from the 70s and why in the US I think you will see a backlash to the right as demographics change. I think the moderate fiscally conservative but socially liberal policies that started under Mulroney and carried through the Chretien/Martin government and most of the Harper era served us well and I would like to see us go back to that, not the more left wing policies of Trudeau and Wynne which don’t work, but not either the more right wing policies you are seeing south of the border. Of provincial premiers, I would say Philippe Couillard, Scott Moe, and Brian Pallister are the closest to my ideals. Ford and Kenney are too right wing for me, while Horgan, Notley, Wynne, and Gallant are too left wing for me. In fact Gordon Campbell who is helping Ford do the audit is one of the best premiers I think we’ve ever seen in any province and wish there were more like him.

            I guess where my difference is, is I don’t hate the left like a lot do on the right. I simply respectfully disagree with them, but I would rather we focus more on what policies will help move our country forward and make Canada a better place, not how can we seek revenge with the left. At the end of the day I look at each policy on its own merits and if I think the pros outweigh the cons and it delivers positive results, I support it, if not I oppose it. I am a conservative not out of ideology, but more I believe slightly right of centre, moderately fiscally conservative policies deliver the best results but if evidence showed left wing policies worked better I would become a left winger, I am not because past experiences haven’t worked out too well.

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  14. Anne in swON says:

    Perhaps the following Twitter thread from Howard Anglin, executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and Deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Harper, might put this whole section 33 in perspective:

    “It’s hard to escape the conclusion that this week’s constitutional kerfuffle is more about Ford and the fact that it’s happening in Toronto than about Section 33.
    When Saskatchewan used Section 33 *in May of this year* did it even make the Toronto evening news?
    If Premier Scott Moe had used it to reduce the size of the Lloydminster City Council from 7 to 5, would it have made the front page of a national paper?
    But this is happening in Toronto, (so it must be *important*), with the highest concentration of Canadian media and talking heads (so it will be covered like it’s *important*), and it involves Ford (so it has to be hyped as though it’s *important*).
    With the exception of a few longstanding anti-Section 33 cranks (bless ’em), the commentators who didn’t notice or care when Saskatchewan used it *not even four months ago* (or when Saskatchewan mused about using it in 2015), are just using it as a handy cudgel to beat Ford.”

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    • Cara says:

      You better believe that the ONLY reason this is getting the over-the-top attention is because it’s Ford and the Conservatives.

      It’s the old double standard at work again. We’re becoming all too familiar with that. I believe that is WHY Ford is sticking so hard to his guns on this.

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  15. Anne in swON says:

    With all the conflicting opinions expressed by various politicians and pundits I’ve forced myself to read more than I ever wanted to re: section 33 and the notwithstanding clause in the constitution. The first link details what happened on the night of Nov. 4, 1981, commonly referred to as the night of the long knives, and the strategy used by PET to achieve his plan for a Canadian charter in addition to achieving patriation of the constitution. https://ipolitics.ca/2011/11/04/marc-dupont-november-4-1981-pierre-trudeaus-strategy-on-the-night-of-the-long-knives/

    The second link is to an article by Ted Morton which explains why the premiers of the time insisted upon the inclusion of the notwithstanding clause to rein in activist judges and judicial misinterpretation of the Charter. https://nationalpost.com/opinion/ted-morton-provinces-demanded-notwithstanding-powers-for-good-reason-they-should-use-them

    PET’s original plan had been to unilaterally patriate the constitution but he was informed by the Supreme Court that this went “against constitutional convention”.

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    • joannebly says:

      Wow good for you Anne. That’s dedication!!

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      • Anne in swON says:

        The maddening condemnation by so many would be laughable if only people didn’t just read headlines but delved into the facts even just a little. The timing may be questionable to some but the fact that the judge made his determination when he did made it impractical for Ford to wait. It turns out that the clause was invoked for the very purpose it was intended.

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  16. Liz J says:

    Without the Notwithstanding Clause would we have a Charter?

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  17. Anne in swON says:

    Nope! The four western provinces would have made sure of that. It would have been too risky to push through without them. Quebec and Ontario had already caved. It’s ironic that Quebec has used the clause more than any of the others yet Rene Levesque was the first to fall for Trudeau Sr.’s trick. With NAFTA now at risk I wonder how far the apple has fallen from the tree, if at all.

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  18. Cara says:

    Lorrie Goldstein hits another one out of the park in his Sunday column.
    https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/goldstein-ford-is-fighting-the-court-party

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    • Anne in swON says:

      Isn’t it strange how the various pundits and politicians laud and magnify the opinion of one judge, in effect, an elevated lawyer, over the opinion of one elected politician who has a team of lawyers and the backing of his caucus. I’ll chalk it up to elitism, snobbery and more than a hint of classism.

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  19. Liz J says:

    Crazy how all the former politicos are finding time to crawl out from their retirement to give their opinion on the subject. It’s plainly an all out assault on Ford from all sides…that will spur him on I’m sure.

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  20. Miles Lunn says:

    Interesting interview with Maxime Bernier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzQ-s4o5f_I I agree two tiered health care used to be a third rail, but I think opposition to it is much less than 20 years ago. Most 20 years ago thought it meant US style health care which very few Canadians want, but more and more are aware of the hybrid systems you have in Europe which seem to work well. Also Quebec and BC have many private clinics you can pay for faster service and they sky hasn’t fallen. I got my shoulder surgery done at a private clinic and paid for it and in fact the physician I saw now that the BC NDP government is cracking down on it stated he will opt out of medicare completely if they ban what he is doing as if operating outside of medicare the government cannot prevent one from charging fees. As for Canada Health act not being enforced, nothing in the Canada Health act prohibits a parallel private system, rather it has five vague principles and some governments claim a parallel private is incompatible with those others claim it is not, but very much an interpretation. Now I don’t support Bernier’s party but I do think discussion on those issues is healthy and whether the public supports them or not remains to be seen. On private health care, actually strongest support is Quebec followed BC, while strongest opposition is Ontario and Atlantic Canada so doesn’t totally fit the left/right. On multiculturalism I don’t agree with him, but I do think as long as we make clear racists have no place at the table one can have a civil debate on what the appropriate level of immigration is and whether we should openly encourage diversity, encourage assimilation, or as I would prefer just take a hands off approach and let each individual decide.

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    • joannebly says:

      “Now I don’t support Bernier’s party but I do think discussion on those issues is healthy and whether the public supports them or not remains to be seen. ”

      I agree on that point, Miles. Discussion is always healthy as long as it doesn’t devolve into personal attacks. Unfortunately the media is so quick to grab and magnify any little soundbite that might stray from a politically-correct narrative that it really makes the whole process very difficult.

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      • Cara says:

        Further to your comment Joanne, a clear example to illustrate your point was yesterday’s Question Period. Bernier did want to discuss things but Evan Solomon kept interrupting him simply to continue to drive his wedge. Let the people speck Evan! Evan was more concerned about scoring cheap spin-points than actually listening and learning anything about what Bernier was saying.

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  21. Liz J says:

    IMO Bernier’s decision to break away may be the end of his political career and may help the Liberals hold onto power. I see no upside here for him or the Conservative party.

    Like

    • Anne in swON says:

      I see this break as a signal to Andrew Scheer that there’s a need to develop policies with a clear conservative difference from those of the LPC instead of merely softening the ones on offer by Trudeau. I’ve noticed that Tarek Fatah and Tahir Gora may be heeding Max’s call. Not a good sign for the CPC.

      Like

  22. Cara says:

    A reminder that if you haven’t already done so, your voice is requested below. Deadline for submissions is the end of this week.

    https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-review-ontario-government-spending

    Like

  23. Anne in swON says:

    WOW! Toronto Liberal MP crosses the floor to join the Conservatives! Leona Alleslev has principles! Keep them coming.

    Like

    • Miles Lunn says:

      Actually I am quite surprised. While this used to be quite common when the differences between the parties was small, I thought with increased polarization this was a thing of the past, but great news for Scheer and also good way to get the Bernier distraction out of the way. Also her riding is one of our top targets so I think there is a good chance she will be re-elected as she barely won it in 2015 and it went solidly PC provincially. Will be interesting to see if others follow as Trudeau’s move to the left probably is making some Blue Liberals uncomfortable. Off course some might just choose to not run again. Also the fact she choose the Conservatives and not Mad Max’s party is good news too. Any defection to Mad Max’s party would be bad news, but looks like it will be him on his own.

      Like

  24. Miles Lunn says:

    On the floor crossing of Leona Alleslev no doubt those opposed to it will claim she did it to save her seat considering this is one of the lowest hanging fruits for the Tories and that may be true, but looking at her resume, it makes a lot of sense she would be uncomfortable in the Trudeau Liberals. Lets remember elections are unpredictable and no guarantee she will even win the nomination let alone the riding, so I think from what I’ve seen it looks like a principled crossing. That being said will be interesting how this transpired. My guess as after a certain point she saw the party couldn’t be reformed so then left. The one area where it would be great to get a floor crosser would be Atlantic Canada so as to have some representation there.

    That being said, I have always supported the right of MPs to cross the floor and I believe it is up to voters to judge them. The only ones I get somewhat cynical about is if one goes straight into cabinet. Belinda Stronach’s and David Emerson’s both smacked as being cynical whereas going from government to opposition unless the opposition has a massive lead in the polls (which the Tories do not) seems less so.

    Like

  25. Anne in swON says:

    There have been hints in the media that there are a number of Liberal MPs who are dissatisfied with the direction this government is taking our country. Will any of them have the courage to do what this MP did? The CPC seems a better fit for MP Alleslev given her background, and the timing is exquisite. It takes the spotlight off Bernier and places Trudeau in a very awkward position at the very start of this session.

    Liked by 1 person

    • X_SADF_PARA says:

      better late than never I guess, but I don’t know if I would trust someone who has supported the Trudeau gender neutering, fake climate fix and 24/7 identity politics agenda for three years; if I was the party leader I would be questioning her on what her views are on certain issues

      Like

    • Cara says:

      It starts with just one. The pundits and naysayers can say what they will but this is a good day for Scheer and the CPC.

      There are a few other issues bubbling today that make this a dubious return for the Trudeau government.

      Watching QP this afternoon did anyone else notice that the Environment Minister got a seat change? No longer in the front row.

      Like

      • Miles Lunn says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a couple more, but I suspect at most it will be three. I think those who are dissatisfied will probably just not run for re-election. Often a lot of MPs not seeking re-election is a sign of trouble. Both Harper in 2015 and Wynne in 2018 had a high number and while all claimed they just wanted to spend more time with family which was probably true for some of them, I suspect many also wanted to get out to avoid losing their seat since if one has leadership ambitions, you are pretty much DOA if you lose your seat. While personal may have been part of it, Peter Mackay, John Baird, and James Moore were all in ridings we lost in 2015 and by bailing they at least have the option open in the future.

        I think where you are more likely to see the damage to Trudeau is a number of past MPs from the Chretien/Martin era endorsing the Tories next time around. I’ve heard there are a fair number of those.

        Like

      • gabbyinqc says:

        I think it’s for the sake of optics: a photogenic woman’s head bob-bobbing in rapt approval of her boss’s non-answers.

        Like

  26. Miles Lunn says:

    Wow – Has anybody ever seen this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnOOlOQQL7Q ? Looks like she rose as a Liberal on a point of privilege. I am guessing though Scheer probably got a heads up this was coming, not sure how many others in the caucus knew. Looks like her seat mates were stunned. Usually with floor crossings there is an announcement in the press gallery with the leader and person crossing so no doubt this probably caught a lot of the media off guard. some past floor crossings like Scott Brison, Paul Martin had booked a press conference and you saw the two walking together so you kind of knew it was coming at least a few minutes before. Only showed the announcement, but did she actually walk right across the aisle as I presume seating arrangements would have to be changed. Speaking of seating arrangements, guess who Mad Max’s new seat mate is, none other than Elizabeth May. And I predict his party will get fewer votes and seats than hers will too (At most the Greens will get up to 3 seats, Southern Vancouver Island is the only part of the country they are competitive pretty much irrelevant elsewhere).

    Like

    • Miles Lunn says:

      Saw both on Don Martin and it looks like Andrew Scheer knew about this in advance, which one would expect. My understanding is she was unhappy with the party so approached him and after discussions on various topics felt she would better fit in the Tories. Will be interesting if any others cross over. While some will point to Bernier’s departure and her crossing over as proof Scheer is Liberal lite, I think all Scheer is doing is reaching out to your centre-right Blue Liberals who clearly had room in the Liberal tent under the Chretien/Martin government but don’t under the Trudeau government. Trudeau has moved the party enough to the left that it is not surprisingly some right of centre Liberals would feel more at home in the Tories.

      Like

  27. Miles Lunn says:

    Here is a long list of floor crossings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_politicians_who_have_crossed_the_floor . Recent floor crossings do seem to help the MP crossing slightly although many still lose, but usually most who lose are in less favourable ridings or conditions turn against them. Also many have lost their riding nominations too. In terms of overall direction, the correlation just by eyeballing it seems weak. I imagine Eric Grenier will have an article on this soon giving all the stats. Also the Conservative MP she defeated in 2015, will be running in the neighbouring riding of Richmond Hill now.

    Like

    • gabbyinqc says:

      Miles, I hope you don’t mind I used your link in a tweet I sent out a few minutes ago. As usual, my local radio station announcers usually side with the “progressive” side of the political spectrum. The host was talking about MP Leona Alleslev crossing the floor to the Conservatives, saying electors should question the move because they didn’t vote for her.

      Like

      • Cara says:

        I found this CBC item interesting, coming from the CBC that is.
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-alleslev-fall-commons-1.4827404

        Like

        • Cara says:

          You’ll notice in that CBC piece the usual left-leaning torque and the shot at Scheer that we’ve come to expect from them, but the gist of the piece spoiling Justin’s return to the house the right message IMO.

          Like

        • gabbyinqc says:

          In another CBC article (linked to via the one you pointed out) three other relatively recent defections are mentioned: Eve Adams from CPC to Libs, Belinda Stronach likewise, and David Emerson from Libs to CPC. Of course, as a CPC partisan, I viewed the two defections to the Liberal camp negatively, especially in Stronach’s case, who had run for the CPC leadership and was automatically rewarded with a Liberal cabinet position upon her crossing the floor. In Emerson’s case however, I understood & accepted the argument that he was very well placed to continue for the CPC the work he had undertaken as a Liberal member of cabinet (Industry & dealings with China, if memory serves).

          I suppose it would be fairer to electors for the MP, MLA, MPP, etc. to sit as an independent & come next election, electors would pass judgment. OTOH, even Winston Churchill changed parties — twice: http://www.winstonchurchillcanada.ca/ac_ParliamentaryDemocracy.php

          Like

  28. Miles Lunn says:

    Quito Maggi at Mainstreet just tweeted a Toronto mayoral poll and it shows most in Toronto are opposed to use of notwithstanding clause. Ford got 1/3 in Toronto so if at or over that he is probably okay in support of using the clause, but if under that especially if under 20% this probably suggests it was tactically a mistake. Just for curiosity I would like to see some opinion polls on this as believe it or not they can have an impact. The 2008 coalition fell apart after opinion polls showed the idea was very unpopular so no MPPs plan to break ranks at the moment but if polls show it is very unpopular you could see a few break ranks although probably not enough to defeat it, but he might face more pushback from caucus and cabinet. Usually when a leader helps you get to where you are, you go along even if you disagree, but when they become a liability then you see more pushback.

    Like

  29. Anne in swON says:

    I am very impressed with the newest CPC MP. I believe she is a very principled, capable and hard-working person who fights for what she believes in. Those who try to suppress her or take credit owed to her are on a fool’s errand. I found this must-read article yesterday: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Caught+crossfire/3919119/story.html

    Like

    • Miles Lunn says:

      She does have a very impressive resume so a good catch. My hope as well as this will force Trudeau to tack back to the centre and will be a wake up call to do things differently lest face more defections. But knowing him this is probably more wishful thinking than anything, but we can always hope. Yes obviously the solution is to elect a Conservative government, but that is still 398 days away and I always like to have a little bit of assurance if things don’t turn out as we hoped it won’t be so bad.

      Like

  30. Cara says:

    From the Coyne piece above. “But again: the problem is not Ford, so much as the powers he has been given. It’s all very well for the people responsible for its inclusion, the surviving participants in the 1981 constitutional round, to protest that this was not what they had in mind: that the clause was meant to be used only in “exceptional situations,” as a “last resort.” But if they did not intend it to be used in such a loose fashion, they should not have drafted it so loosely; if they did not anticipate a Ford would one day come along, they should have. Leave a loaded gun lying around, somebody is bound to pick it up and use it.

    What we have here is a case of constitutional cognitive dissonance. The whole premise of the Charter was that governments cannot be trusted with power: left unchecked, they will abuse it. And the whole premise of the notwithstanding clause was that they can be. It was not just likely that trust would one day be abused. It was all but inevitable. Or as the poet Valéry said, “power without abuse loses its charm.”

    Like

    • Anne in swON says:

      What Andrew Coyne states above omits what Ted Morton stated in the article to which I linked earlier. What the premiers objected to was ceding the power of government decision-making to the judiciary. “They saw the Charter — accurately as it has turned out — to potentially be a disguised form of “disallowance,” the historic constitutional power that allowed the federal cabinet to overrule provincial laws. Only, under the Charter, it would be federally appointed judges exercising the policy veto over provincial laws rather than the federal cabinet. The premiers never would have given Trudeau the support he needed without the notwithstanding clause.”

      Like

      • Liz J says:

        Exactly right Anne, without that clause there would be no Charter which may not be a bad thing for a democracy run by rule of law in a civil society.

        It’s more like a tool for elected governments who don’t want to make tough political decisions.

        Like

      • Anne in swON says:

        Why Chretien has his knickers in a twist over section 33 is hard to fathom now when we know that “Asked years later if he still favoured the inclusion of Section 33, he answered: “It would be the same situation. It was a philosophical debate. Because some would argue that in a society the elected people have to be supreme – not judges – and I subscribe to that.” The above passage from a Howard Anglin article goes on to state “Chrétien is right. Section 33 is an admonitory constitutional reminder that if judges want to play politics, legislatures can too. Frankly, considering the aggressively usurpative appetite of Canadian courts since 1982, Section 33 should have been used much more often, as its mere presence in the Charter and sparing invocation has done nothing to chasten courts inclined to act as a supra-legislature.” The entire must read article can be found here https://www.c2cjournal.ca/2018/09/ford-goes-nuclear-sky-falls-in-toronto/

        Liked by 1 person

  31. joannebly says:

    Sounds like the latest court decision ruled in favour of the province. Still trying to absorb this.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ford-court-toronto-council-1.4829250

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cara says:

      They have indeed. This is good news although I expect we’ll hear and read the usual bleating from the usual suspects in the coming days.

      Like

    • Cara says:

      Powerful stuff and aimed to change the way provinces operate from now on IMO.

      “”Unquestionably, Ontario’s announcement of its intention to introduce Bill 5 disrupted the campaigns that were already underway. However, Bill 5 does not limit or restrict any message the candidates wish to convey to voters,” says the ruling released Wednesday.

      “While the change brought about by Bill 5 is undoubtedly frustrating for candidates who started campaigning in May 2018, we are not persuaded that their frustration amounts to a substantial interference with their freedom of expression,” it continues.

      “Candidates had a reasonable expectation that they would be operating under a 47-ward platform … However, neither that platform nor that expectation was constitutionally guaranteed.”

      Like

    • Anne in swON says:

      Win-ning! Be prepared for further attacks on Ford’s use of section 33 as unnecessary, rash, yada yada. This is not over by a long shot. Lesson still not learned.

      Like

    • Miles Lunn says:

      That is probably a blessing in disguise as it means they won’t have to use section 33, still the threat was there and so the cat is out of the bag. They should have just appealed and not bothered threatening to use this. I guess we can chalk this up to a rookie mistake as new governments usually make mistakes, but hopefully they learn from this and in the future when getting decisions they don’t like, exhaust all appeals before considering the use of the notwithstanding clause. Otherwise only even entertain the idea after a negative ruling by the Supreme court or refusal of them to hear it, not before it reaches there.

      Like

      • Anne in swON says:

        ” I guess we can chalk this up to a rookie mistake as new governments usually make mistakes, but hopefully they learn from this and in the future when getting decisions they don’t like, exhaust all appeals before considering the use of the notwithstanding clause.”

        We’ll have to agree to disagree here. This was no rookie mistake. It was a clear warning to errant judges who stray from a strict interpretation of the law as it stands. The PCs may not like decisions but when those decisions are out and out wrong and reflect a personal opinion rather than a legal one they have the legal right to seek redress using section 33.

        Like

      • Cara says:

        By no stretch of the imagination was this a rookie mistake.
        This was calculated, deliberate and just about time we had a politician to stand up to judges who play fast and loose with the law.
        I predict we’ll see more of this by other premiers shortly.

        Like

        • joannebly says:

          It was calculated for sure. They were covering all their bases. This issue had to be resolved quickly. I was very heartened to see how it all turned out.

          Like

        • Miles Lunn says:

          I am not so sure about that. NDP and Liberals won’t use it in the future. BC Liberals are a broad coalition so notwithstanding Christy Clark’s support, using it would risk fracturing the coalition. In Atlantic Canada most PCs are Red Tories who generally abhor it. So agree Jason Kenney might use it frequently and perhaps Scott Moe, but doubt Brian Pallister will who is more a traditional PC type. Likewise a lot will depend on the fallout too. The polls so far to date suggest this hasn’t gone over very well. The base likes it, but the swing voters not so much and most seasoned veterans will say you need both to win, not just one.

          Like

  32. joannebly says:

    It certainly is entertaining to watch the reactions of those on the left. Ha-ha!!

    Like

  33. gabbyinqc says:

    Interesting take on how today’s governments ‘work’:

    “Sen. Ben Sasse unloads on Congress at Kavanaugh hearing”
    Although Senator Sasse is talking about the US government’s 3 branches failures — the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary — I believe much of his commentary can apply to our situation in Canada. On a side note, notice how the senator is able to articulate his thoughts cogently without referring to crib notes. Not many Canadian legislators measure up to him in that.

    On Premier Ford’s potential use of the NWC: I’m with former premier Christie Clark. In the Power & Politics interview of 3 former premiers (Clark, Wall, Charest) she agrees Ford is right in resorting to invoking the NWC, thus asserting the supremacy of the legislature/parliament. However, she did not outright approve of invoking it in this specific instance, as Lorrie Goldstein claimed in the Sept 14 tweet cited above.
    https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1319908419519
    https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1319908419869

    No question that Premier Ford, like other conservatives, is scrutinized much more closely by the media, which will use whatever negative tactics they can use to erode his credibility. All the more reason for conservatives to keep the optics as positive as possible.

    Like

    • joannebly says:

      That’s a great video Gabby. So much truth there and I do think the general thoughts could be extended to our system of Government as well.

      Like

      • gabbyinqc says:

        The senator’s criticisms are especially relevant given the current trend to sue the government whenever legislation is brought in that displeases some interest group or other, so in effect it is the courts that decide whether a piece of legislation survives.

        That makes me wonder what all the employees at the Justice Department actually do. Back in 2014, when the Supreme Court decided PM Harper’s nominee to the SC was not eligible, I checked the justice.gc.ca website & found this info:
        “Justice employees play a central role in drafting bills for Parliament, whether they originate with the Department of Justice or with another department. Roughly half of the Department’s staff are lawyers; the other half includes experts in fields such as research, the social sciences, and communications, as well as paralegals and support staff. Many of our lawyers work in legal services units in some 40 other federal departments and agencies.”


        And under “Organization of the Department of Justice” this info:
        “The Department of Justice is a medium-sized department with around 5,000 employees. Roughly one half of departmental staff are lawyers. The other half is made up of a broad range of professionals, including paralegals, social scientists, program managers, communications specialists, administrative services personnel, computer service professionals, and financial officers.”

        I don’t know if the number of employees has remained the same … but you’d think that a department with some 2500 lawyers would be able to draft legislation that fully complies with what’s actually written in the Constitution … and not read into it by some judge with his/her own agenda.

        End of rant 😦

        Like

        • Cara says:

          Gabby, I think you’ve hit on something that has confounded me for a very long time. To see it actually promoted in writing on a government website link only makes me wonder even more.

          Something doesn’t pass the smell test about all of this.

          Like

          • Anne in swON says:

            Canadian version of the Deep State? Remember all the applause Trudeau got from members of the bureaucracy? Remember Daniel Jean, the official who tried to spin the the Jaspal Atwal gaffe to fault the Indian government?

            Like

          • gabbyinqc says:

            For both Cara & Anne in swON:
            The most cynical part of me might respond that it’s all part of make-work projects, i.e. draft faulty legislation that can be contested in the courts, go back to the drawing board once the legislation proves to be unconstitutional, thus keeping lawyers & judges busily working … on more contestable legislation.

            Like

  34. Liz J says:

    Chrystia Freeland resorting to Tee Shirt messaging begs the question…where are the adults?

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Miles Lunn says:

    Vic Fideli has confirmed the books are worse than expected. The deficit is $15 billion so that will require some very tough choices. It may require breaking or postponing some promises, but I believe the most important thing is getting the province back on track. This is an area I think the party should burn political capital on, not the changes in Toronto which is relatively minor compared to this. The Drummond report McGuinty commissioned but Wynne due to union opposition never wanted to act on should probably be dusted off and updated a bit. It was to deal with a $12 billion deficit so implementing a lot of those ideas would be a good start. While politically unpopular, I would support raising the HST 2% to 15% until the budget is balanced at which point the HST would be dropped back. Essentials such as food, clothing would be unaffected. Also for civil service salaries, I support a wage freeze for all those making over 50K and a wage cut for those making over 100K. To show leadership, MPPs should take a wage cut as that would send a strong signal everyone needs to do their part to help fix this.

    Like

    • Cara says:

      What I agree with you on Miles is for Ford to dust of that Drummond report that has been left to gather dust AND which we have already paid for.
      I say no way to the increase of the HST. That’s a suicide mission for his government.
      As the auditor’s report will point out there is a LOT of fat within the public service of this province. Starting with those middle managers in LHINS and school boards, just to name a few.
      Even OPSEU’s own Smokey Thomas knows this for a fact. With 155.000 OPSEU members in Ontario, and 31,000 “managers” within that same union that equates to one manager for ever 5 workers. By any stretch of the imagination that’s not just nuts, it not sustainable or affordable any longer.
      I cal tell you that thanks to how McGuinty took away and dumbed down the power and influence of school board trustees, most school communities are estranged from those elected officials and could care less as to who they were because they are no longer a guarantee reflecting local education issues. They’ve become long arms of the MOE and as far removed from their individual schools and advocacy for them as you can get.
      Merging some operations currently done by four different school boards, such as purchasing and payroll into one would be another way to cut costs.
      Don’t even get me started on LHINS. IMO health care and service supports are worse in small, rural Ontario since the advent of LHINS, not better.

      Like

  36. Anne in swON says:

    If we conservatives think for one moment that a liberal/Liberal bias does not permeate the public service we need only read the paper I will link below. The author is Brooke Jeffrey, a former senior public servant and Liberal policy advisor, who currently teaches Political Science at Concordia. Reviews by students of her classes are peppered with such descriptions as “very pro-Liberal”, “there is a bias, but we all know Harper sucks anyway”, “she is a hardcore big L Liberal”, “a hardcore liberal and loves the Trudeau era”, and “unbelievably biased against people with different views than her own. If you are a conservative, or even a centrist, I would recommend avoiding this teacher. Political spin should not be part of the curriculum. Her hatred for Mulroney and Harper is irrelevant to the subject of the class.” http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=379773

    Her May 17, 2011 paper is titled “Strained Relations: The Conflict Between the Harper Conservatives and the Federal Bureaucracy” and is marked “DRAFT for discussion only Not for publication without the permission of the author”. It’s a lengthy read of 19 pages but well worth the time. It would seem that conservative governments as far back as Diefenbaker have been wary of the bureaucracy. And with good reason if this document is anything to go by. Ms. Jeffrey shreds the Mulroney and the Harper prime ministerships. https://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2011/Jeffrey.pdf

    Like

  37. Anne in swON says:

    The prime minister’s itineraries for Friday indicates he had a meeting with Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg. Winfried Kretschmann. “Kretschmann has in the past been vocal about climate change policies. In May 2015, he joined Governor Jerry Brown of California and other international leaders from various states and provinces in signing the Under2 MOU, a non-binding climate change agreement in Sacramento, California. At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Kretschmann and Brown convened in Paris during the talks to attract more supporters among governors, mayors and other leaders of “subnational” governments for stronger commitments to reducing emissions.” This doesn’t sound as if it bodes well for taxpayers.

    Like

    • joannebly says:

      I don’t trust anything to do with climate change policies that involves taking our money.

      Like

      • Liz J says:

        It’s all about the money and how they can grab more of it. We have Climate Barbie to add to our problems.

        I don’t trust the UN on climate change either or much of anything else with that useless body. We have a government that idolizes it.

        Like

  38. joannebly says:

    Again I thank all of you for your thoughtful and informative comments. We are all learning so much here! And the tone is respectful even if there is some disagreement. If only the real world could be like this. lol!

    Like

  39. Anne in swON says:

    After watching three days of the thrilling Laver Cup (team tennis) I decided to catch up with the latest news. I’ve learned via @bcbluecon that the Trudeau government has determined they’ll add to their status as the world’s laughing stock. Just today the pm has declared this coming week as the first Gender Equality Week in Canada and the foreign minister has announced the creation of a new ambassador position dedicated to women, peace and security. Can’t you just imagine how this ambassador will be received in certain countries which I will leave unnamed? Please, somebody tell me this is a joke!

    https://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2018/09/23/statement-prime-minister-gender-equality-week

    https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/ottawa-to-name-new-ambassador-for-women-peace-and-security-freeland-says?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1537714176

    Like

  40. Miles Lunn says:

    Tomorrow New Brunswick votes. If the polls are accurate which is a big if, the Liberals should win the popular vote but due to voter efficiency PCs may still pull off a win. More frustrating here is all recent polls show the PCs + People’s alliance (who are right of centre) are ahead of the Liberals, but thanks to vote splitting Gallant may get back in. To be fair the Liberals + Greens + NDP have more support, but still this should be a warning that conservatives cannot win when they aren’t united under one banner. Lets hope many who are planning to vote People’s Alliance at the last minute swing over to the PCs so they can win.

    Like

    • Miles Lunn says:

      It looks like a minority government possibly a tie in seats although Liberals have won the popular vote (they ran up the margins in the Francophone areas but PCs won Anglophone by narrower margins) while Greens won 3 seats and People’s Alliance (they are on the political right) got 4 seats. Probably won’t know which party forms government for a few days and probably have to wait for recounts. My guess is New Brunswick will be back to the polls in less than a year.

      Like

      • Miles Lunn says:

        Final results in New Brunswick are 22 seats PC, 21 seats Liberals, 3 seats Greens, 3 seats People’s Alliance. Liberals won the popular vote but fewer seats due to running up the margins in the Francophone parts so technically parties on the right have a one seat edge (25) over parties on the left (24). Brian Gallant like Wynne and Trudeau is a big time tax and spend liberal so while I would rather see him lose outright, he has been greatly hobbled and maybe heading for opposition, much like last BC election will take a few weeks to sort out as opposed to the Ontario one which was more definitive.

        Like

          • Cara says:

            You’re right Joanne. It’s not over yet. I think that the Conservatives will push back on the Liberals and get their minority. This spells very good news for the federal Conservatives IMO.

            Like

          • joannebly says:

            Yes indeed, Cara. The best part is that no matter what happens it’s going to be increasingly difficult for Trudeau to get the provinces onside regarding the carbon tax.

            Like

          • Miles Lunn says:

            I actually think there is a good chance there will be another election in New Brunswick before the federal. The only way I see that not happening is if the recount in Saint John Habour flips it in favour of the PCs, much like BC one of the Liberals or Greens takes the speaker position (that is what broke the deadlock here on the West Coast). The Liberals will claim a mandate as they won the popular vote but Gallant cannot pass anything without the support of both the Greens and People’s Alliance and based on the strong ideological differences with People’s Alliance that looks unlikely. For Blaine Higgs, he only needs either one and on the carbon tax, the Greens are off course for it, but People’s Alliance against. That being said Higgs will probably if he becomes premier go on an issue by issue basis as joining up with the People’s Alliance would be political suicide in the Francophone parts of the province due to their stance on bilingualism. Also he has one MLA from a majority Francophone riding and I suspect he would quit the party if there is a formal arrangement with the People’s Alliance. But if informal where they just agree to support them on confidence matters it could work. Much like after the last BC election, I have a feeling it will be a while before we know for sure who governs New Brunswick or if anyone can even form one.

            Like

          • joannebly says:

            Well it should be interesting. Apparently Brian Gallant has received permission to continue governing. It’s going to be a challenge.

            Like

          • Miles Lunn says:

            Unless one party gets a majority, technically the governing party has the right to test the confidence regardless of whether they have the most seats or not. However if Gallant cannot obtain the confidence of the legislature, then the LG will invite Blaine Higgs to form the government. Paul Martin in 2006 theoretically could have asked the GG to let him test the confidence, but since he would have needed both the BQ and NDP, he didn’t bother as he knew he would lose it and had he stayed on there would have been a huge backlash much like 2008 ill fated coalition. Due to the closeness and the fact Gallant won the popular vote, there probably won’t be as big a backlash, but again I don’t know how he is going to pass a throne speech, the numbers just aren’t there.

            Like

  41. Cara says:

    Lorrie Goldstein unwraps the spin behind the carbon tax headlines from last week here. Once again Lorrie is bang-on! https://canoe.com/opinion/columnists/goldstein-everyone-wins-with-trudeaus-carbon-tax-no/wcm/d4e9ae5e-4b83-4cf8-8c08-968d30b6380a

    Like

  42. Miles Lunn says:

    While I know a lot here aren’t a fan of Evan Solomon, if you watch the first section, he really grills Bill Blair on the hand gun ban, illegal border crossings, and marijuana legalization https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?binId=1.811561 so if a reporter is equally hard on everyone who comes on their show I am fine with that. In fact I would rather media be hard on all parties as it acts as a check and balances

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    • joannebly says:

      I personally think Evan Solomon is pretty fair. Much better than some.

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    • Liz J says:

      I was no fan of Evan when he worked for CBC, he oozed Liberal bias, possibly a directive for anyone working for OUR public broadcaster.
      I like him now, he is very fair and doing a great job with CTV, quite a metamorphosis.

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  43. Anne in swON says:

    Philippe Lagassé, “an expert on the British parliamentary system at Carleton University in Ottawa”, explains why the NB Libs are still the government. (via @bcbluecon) “From a strictly legal point of view, the existing premier has the right to meet the legislature regardless of the result, simply because he or she is is the premier,” Lagassé said. “That’s it.” But for how long? Is the east coast turning? The federal libs must take this as a warning of the unrest spreading across this country. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/minority-government-expert-1.4837214?cmp=rss

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    • Anne in swON says:

      Btw, isn’t there still a possibility that some ridings could be the subject of recounts?

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      • Miles Lunn says:

        There are only two ridings with automatic recounts and third potential.

        Saint John Harbour: Liberals lead by 10 votes. This is key since if the PCs win this on recount it makes governing slightly easier and pretty much kills any chance of Liberals forming a government.

        Memracook-Tantramar – Green Party leads by 11 votes. Would tie things up if the Liberals flip this, but doesn’t change the balance of power (PC + PANB on right, Libs + Greens on left).

        Those two are subject to an automatic recount.

        Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin – PCs lead People’s Alliance by 35 votes. Again flipping this would result in a tie again but doesn’t change the balance of power.

        Regardless of how recounts go, there is no mathematical path for the Liberals + Greens to get to 25 seats. The best case scenario for PCs is 23 to 20 seats so can put up a speaker and still pass with only one opposition support. If PCs lose both on recounts then it is and Liberals pick up one from Greens then it is 22 Liberals to 21 PC, but again in terms of balance of power still 25 on the right to 24 on the left as we have now.

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      • Miles Lunn says:

        Eyeballing the New Brunswick ridings and looking at numbers, it looks like Fundy-Royal, New Brunswick Southwest, and Saint John-Rothesay would have easily gone PC had federal boundaries been used. Tobique-Mactaquac also but had somewhat of a north/south split. Not sure who won Miramichi and Fredericton, but positive PCs + PANB put together would have taken those so if federal Tories can get support of voters from both those come into play. The remaining four ridings, the right didn’t do so well although Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe saw the PCs winning in the Anglophone parts but Liberals winning big in the Francophone sections so Liberal hold. Remaining three the PCs fared poorly. So that means if the results were to translate federally it would be 3 to 6 seats for the Tories. Off course the PCs are more Red Tory at the provincial level so no guarantee all those votes will carry over while People’s Alliance is a populist party so although a lot will probably go Tory federally, not necessarily all of them. For the Liberals, Greens will probably do worse federally and I suspect most of that will flow to the Liberals, but NDP probably a bit better and that mostly at the expense of the Greens and Liberals.

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    • Cara says:

      “But for how long? Is the east coast turning? The federal libs must take this as a warning of the unrest spreading across this country.”

      Yes it is Anne. It’s very good news for us federally.

      I expect at the first opportunity, either on the Throne Speech or budget the jig is up for the NP Liberals.

      I also couldn’t help noticing watching the returns come in that the moderators recognized once again that the pollsters got it wrong.

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