Archive for February 15th, 2012

Are you going to the Manning Centre Conference in March?

- February 15th, 2012

If you liked our CPAC coverage this past weekend then I suggest you consider coming out to the Manning Centre Conference. And if you can’t make it, try and follow along online or on TV.

I’ll be speaking Saturday March 10th.

Not sure what it is all about? Watch below.

COLUMN: Blizzard – Ontario’s debt headache hits home

- February 15th, 2012

Here comes the bloodbath

by Christina Blizzard

TORONTO - First came Valentine’s Day.

Then came the massacre.

The long slow trickle of leaked proposals by Don Drummond turned into a full bloodbath Wednesday, as the economist finally released his eagerly anticipated report on ways to control government spending.

Drummond confirmed what some of us have been saying for years.

Government spending is out of control.

Now there’s a surprise.

Who knew, when the government threw money at every public sector union, poured billions down the drain in boondoggles such as eHealth and Ornge that you’d end up with a debt crisis?

If we keep going down this path, Drummond says, the deficit will more than double — to more than $30 billion by 2017-18 and the debt will soar to a massive $411 billion.

Does anyone speak Greek.

While Ontario is still seen as a well-governed province, he said, left unchecked, our debt ratio is headed to 50% — tying Quebec, which has the worst debt ratio in the country.

“Ontario must act soon to put its finances on a sustainable path and must be prepared for tough action — not just for a few years, until at least until 2018,” Drummond says.

Spending has to be slashed 16.2% for every man, woman and child in the province — a drop he calls, “unprecedented.” So brace yourself.

How will this affect you?

Well, there are hikes big and small.

You take the GO Train?

You may soon be paying for parking.

And your hydro rates will go up.

Drummond recommends immediately dumping the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.

That means a 10% hike in your electricity bill.

Many of his suggestions have already been made public.

One major suggestion — that all-day kindergarten be axed — will not be adopted. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said this week that it’s a sacred cow.

Drummond clearly anticipated such a response, because he also suggests if the program does continue, it can be delivered using a cheaper staffing model.

He also says the government should delay full implementation — pushing that back from 2014-15 to 2017-18.

He suggests rolling back staffing from one teacher and an early childhood educator for every 26 kids to one teacher for 20 students.

One clever way Drummond suggests to save money is to get doctors and their patients talking earlier about dying.

Family health team physicians, “must begin engaging in discussions with their middle-aged patients about end-of-life healthcare,” he says.

That will save a whole bunch of money. Why bother keeping those pesky wrinklies who insist on breathing alive longer than necessary? Get them to sign up early for a program that allows docs to pull the plug when their health costs are getting out of control, and think of the money you’ll save.

No costly stay in hospital.

Heck, think of the money you’ll save on electricity if you don’t have to keep them on a respirator.

In fact, here’s another suggestion for saving money.

Why not give every person in this province a dollar amount credit on healthcare? You could pre-load it on their OHIP card.

Once they’ve used up that pre-alloted health credit, bam, you shoot them — and take the cost of the bullet out of the account.

You could have a sort of cap and trade system in healthcare.

Healthy people could sell their credits to sicker people. Or a family member could trade their credit to you if they’re contemplating suicide.

Okay, before you all start writing angry e-mails to the editor, I’m just kidding.

And while we’re gambling with our health, we’re also gambling on gambling.

Drummond recommends allowing slot machines at places other than racetracks.

There are two casinos in Niagara Falls. He recommends closing one of them.

And moving it to Toronto, perhaps?

One thing for sure.

Brace for change.

COLUMN: Akin – Conservatives push for big brother government

- February 15th, 2012

Say hello to Big Brother Government

by David Akin

In Ottawa, we have a federal government that this week will finally dismantle the federal long-gun registry. It will do this because it believes that forcing law-abiding gun owners to tell the government what kinds of guns they have is an affront to privacy and liberty.

To supporters of the Conservative government — and to the government itself — the long-gun registry was a a symbol of all that is wrong with so-called Big Brother government.

For similar reasons, the Conservatives changed the rules around the census.

No longer would Canadians be forced, as the Conservative line of the day went, to tell the government how many bathrooms they had in their house or other details about themselves. This, too, was seen as triumph for those whose rallying cry is “Government Off Our Backs!”

And yet, on Tuesday, this very same government tabled new legislation which would give police, spies and federal bureaucrats from the Competition Bureau the power to collect information about the digital services Canadians use without first obtaining a warrant from a judge. Read more…

About warrantless searches, online snooping and guns

- February 15th, 2012

toews bernier hoeppnerSo let’s be clear, I am concerned about Bill C 30 going too far. Specifically I am worried about the portions of C 30 that allow for the gathering of data without a warrant.

487.11 Either a peace officer or a public officer

who has been appointed or designated to

administer or enforce a federal or provincial

law and whose duties include the enforcement

of this or any other Act of Parliament may, in

the course of their duties, exercise any of the

powers described in section 487, 492.1 or 492.2

without a warrant if the conditions for obtaining

a warrant exist but it would not be feasible

to obtain a warrant because of exigent circumstances.

I’m hearing Nycole Turmel, Charlie Angus, Bob Rae, Ralph Goodale, Marc Garneau and others in Question Period complain about intrusions of privacy and the ability to access personal data without a warrant.

Will these people now stand up and demand that the conditions for conducting searches without warrants in the Firearms Act be stripped out?

Sections 102-105 layout the protocols not only for conducting searches with warrants but also conducting searches without warrants.

I am opposed to the cops, or any government agency, being able to snoop without a warrant for any reason. Most people seem to take this as a partisan issue and support one or the other.

People of principle would demand an end to all warrantless searches.