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Daniel Dickin

Daniel Dickin is a columnist for The Prince Arthur Herald. He obtained his B.A. in law and political science from Carleton University in 2011 and is in his second year of M.A. studies at Athabasca University. @DanielDickin

Ontario Election Week 3: Wynne’s Liberals resort to empty promises

There's just no way the Ontario Liberals can put a positive spin on their legacy. Whether it's what they've done or what they say they want to do, everything this Liberal government touches turns to greed, corruption, scandal, mismanagement, or cronyism. It's been that way since Dalton McGuinty took office in 2003, and it's continuing with Kathleen Wynne in charge. It all started in 2003 when Dalton McGuinty pledged to balance the budget and not raise taxes. Suddenly, within a month of taking office, his promise became “oops! We took another look at our plan, and balance won't be happening any time soon!” Since then, the Liberal legacy has been lie after lie, scandal after scandal, waste after waste. Our debt has doubled. We haven't seen a balanced budget in years. The Liberals wasted a billion dollars on eHealth, billions on reckless green energy experiments, and another $1.1 billion. We've lost manufacturing jobs to other jurisdictions, like Quebec or Michigan. The Liberals introduced full-day kindergarten with no plan to pay for it, and then decided they would also push this radical sex education agenda onto children as young as eight. They banned pitbulls and threatened to fine restaurants that didn't have calorie counts on their menus. Public sector employees have been bankrolled with generous salary increases – all paid for by you and me – so the Liberals could count on bought-and-paid-for support come election time. The Sunshine List has exploded. That's the Liberal legacy after 11 years at Queens Park. They know it's their legacy, so they're avoiding it by resorting to empty promises and baseless attacks against the Opposition parties. Even the media knows it, which is why we've heard very little questions about the Liberal plan, and a whole lot more about Tim Hudak's Million Jobs Plan.… Read More

Ontario Election week 2: TV ads finally available

With week two of the Ontario election over and TV ads finally available, Ontario’s political parties are beginning to shape their campaigns. Last week, the release of Tim Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan filled the news space about what Hudak’s plan would and would not do. Predictably, a portion of that news cycle was committed to fear mongering and the spin the Liberals and NDP attempted to put on Hudak’s plan. Indeed, even with Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan laid out in detail, the NDP and Liberals have stuck to the narrative that Hudak’s plan would result in the “firing” of 100,000 public servants. Of course, Hudak has never said that 100,000 public servants would be given pink slips on June 13 under a Conservative government. What he has said is that the size of the public service will return to 2009 levels, over several years, through a variety of reassignments, layoffs, and attrition. But that doesn’t make for good news from the NDP or Liberals. Finding those numbers is a bit of a mystery, however, since the Ontario public service refused to release its size. Hudak also reminded Ontarians about the Liberals’ $1.1 billion gas plant scandal, saying he would call a judicial inquiry to get to the bottom of that Liberal mess. At the conclusion of the two-week mark, Ottawa South Ontario PC candidate Matt Young found a letter taped to the door of a resident that summed up the attitude of so many Ontarians. The letter is from a former liberal staffer who says they are fed up with the way the Liberals have “killed” Ontario, and that their daughter will be paying for the Liberals’ numerous scandals until she’s 38 years-old. As of May 21, Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives continued their lead, with 35.8%, compared to the Liberals’ 34.3%… Read More

Ontario Election: Hudak’s Conservatives have a clear plan

The first week of Ontario's election has come and gone, and it's clear where at least one of the parties stand and where they intend to go. Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives came out of the gate with their Million Jobs Plan, a plan to create one million jobs in Ontario over eight years. By releasing his platform so early, Hudak is framing the debate that will ensue around the desperate issues that matter to Ontarians: jobs, taxes, and the economy, all of which are hurting Ontarians at every turn. Gas prices are up 40 percent, electricity costs just went up, and Wynne's Liberal budget that triggered this election actually proposed to increase taxes and spend more, yet still balance the books – eventually. Hudak's platform is bold and necessary. There is no question that Ontario will have to face the issues that have been repeatedly raised by experts, economists, teachers, and politicians from across the province, country, and world. Hudak's Million Jobs Plan is an homage to Mike Harris, who created 1.2 million jobs during his eight years in office while reducing income taxes and fixing Ontario's government. The potential downfall for Hudak's early release is that his best ideas can be cherry picked like the Liberals and NDP did in 2011, promising to do the same as Hudak had promised several months before the writ for that election dropped. But while Hudak has already released his platform, and thus has the next month to campaign on its merits, both the NDP and Liberals have been distracted fighting each other for the left. Apparently, Kathleen Wynne is “what leadership is” while Andrea Horwath offers “leadership that delivers.” To Wynne, leadership is being able to “stand up” to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while Horwath's leadership-on-delivery stems from her propping up of… Read More

The Ontario Budget no one likes

It's hard to imagine how the Ontario Liberals and Kathleen Wynne could have possibly thought their 2014 budget would fly with either the New Democrats or the Progressive Conservatives. Increased payroll taxes would cost the average full-time worker $893 more per year. A mandatory “Ontario Pension Plan” would become yet another deduction on your paycheque, just like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The “Debt Retirement Charge” - to retire a debt that was paid off in 2010 – would finally be taken off hydro bills by January 2016, saving Ontarians $70 per year. Yet the “Clean Energy Benefit” - the government hydro subsidy to offset the more expensive cost of producing “clean” energy - would also disappear, costing Ontarians an additional $180 per year. Tobacco taxes would be raised 1.6 cents per cigarette, or an additional $3.25 in taxes per carton. A new high income earner tax bracket would be created for individuals making over $150,000 per year. The list goes on. And what's noticeably absent is any plan to get Ontario out of its decade of darkness and put it back on track to being the Canadian powerhouse it once was. As I said before, it's hard to imagine how the Ontario Liberals thought they could create a budget to the left of the NDP and think the NDP would support it. Then again, the 21st century Ontario Liberals have never been good at working with other parties. Dalton McGuinty was used to getting his way – in his days, he only had to answer to his Liberal Party and union buddies. Within a year of being elected with a minority government – where he, appallingly, had to work with the PCs and NDP – he resigned and fled to Harvard University. Kathleen Wynne has not been any better.… Read More

Commissioner of Canada Election confirms: no illegal activity in 2011 federal election

Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Cote has concluded his investigation regarding the alleged "robocalls" that took place during the 2011 federal election, and it's not what the media or Opposition NDP or Liberals wanted to hear. The report, released on April 24, 2014, concludes that all the hysteria about the Conservatives supposedly “stealing democracy” or being “illegitimate” for “tampering with” the election was for nothing. There was no evidence of any wrongdoing or criminal activity that took place during the 2011 federal election. Cote's conclusion was independently reviewed and verified by Louise Charron, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice. Charron agreed that Cote's conclusion, “that there are no grounds to believe that an offence under the Canada Elections Act or the Criminal Code has been committed,” was “amply supported by the evidence.” However, this is the same conclusion Elections Canada reached almost three years ago in its own election post-mortem: “There was no conduct reported that would bring into question the integrity of the election result overall or the result in a particular riding. Although misconduct was reported in several ridings, there is no complaint that it affected the final result. There is some speculation in the media that the dirty tricks may have affected the result in some close contests.” This is what Elections Canada concluded just days after the 2011 election. Yet, after thousands of conspiracy theories from every corner of the media and the Opposition NDP and Liberals, the Liberal Party of Canada remains as the only political party to have been fined for its illegal robocalls during that election. Remember those screams from the NDP and Liberals about “the largest electoral fraud in Canada's history” and how the Harper Conservatives were supposedly using “Nixonian-style” cover-up tactics? They look like ridiculous over-the-top hyperbolic statements from the… Read More
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