The gap between rich and poor is growing and that threatens to make us all poorer, in health and quality of life. Governments can take action to help close the gap and their budgets are one of the most important tools they have to do this.
The future of Canadian government depends on Ontario's suburbs where the Liberal brand is by far the most credible alternative to the Conservatives, at a time when the NDP is in ascendance everywhere else. So, despite the westward shift in Canada, Ontario is still the pivot point when it comes to who runs things in Ottawa.
Two major government budgets were released this week, by Ontario and the Feds respectively; as widely anticipated, both will balance spending and eliminate debt by the end of the year with no cuts to any social services. Critics from the left and right applauded the leaders for showing such fiscal responsibility while managing to balance the needs of all Canadian citizens. Asked how he expected to deal with the looming crisis with old age pensions, Prime Minister Harper noted that the budget called for the phasing out of seniors beginning in 2016... Okay, now that I've got my April Fool's joke out of the way, let's look back upon the messy conflagration of human events that constitutes last week's news highlights here at Huffpost.
Expectations were thus fairly high this week that Premier Dalton McGuinty and his loveable understudy, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, would finally show some signs of appreciating the sheer magnitude of the fiscal
This week at the Ontario Legislature is constituency week, meaning MPPs from all parties are on break. Monday morning the Liberals made a major announcement about the OLG, and the next day about licensing fees. They are dropping bombs while the opposition is away, and pulling a fast one on the public.
Ontario and Quebec should stop badmouthing the west and demand reform to the immigration mess Ottawa has perpetuated since 1986. The burden of providing healthcare, education, and other social services for new immigrants has added more costs to their budgets than interest on their debts, the Detroit bailout, and all-day junior kindergarten in Ontario or $7-a-day daycare in Quebec combined.
By most reports, Alberta's Premier Redford is a smart politician, capable of moving beyond mere platitudes, but she is at risk of drinking the tar sands Kool-Aid too quickly in her mandate and resorting to the name-calling we have come to expect from Alberta's politicians.
Today we'll get to see the full Drummond report, but don't worry -- if the past is any example, the Ontario government will take its sweet time deciding what to take, leaving working people, small business owners, families, and people across the province wondering what services that they rely on and pay for are about to get axed.
With the release of he much-anticipated budget report of Don Drummond tomorrow, students will find themselves among nurses, the unemployed, teachers, early childcare educators, social workers, and millions of other Ontarians who will try to make it politically impossible for McGuinty to implement any of the cuts or regressive policy changes that Drummond recommends.
Last night we heard speeches from various luminaries, including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who started the evening off. Among many good lines from the premier's speech, here was my favourite: "To those who would have us merge with another party, get behind us -- we will be moving forward with or without you."
The most persuasive argument against staging the Pan Am Games is that nobody cares about the Pan Am Games -- including the athletes who compete in them. Indeed, the spectre of brand new, multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded edifices devoid of spectators for athletic events nobody wants to see (handball, anyone?) is downright vulgar in this day of fiscal restraint.
No celebrity messenger can draw the same level of emotion or heartache that is inherent in the stories of the victims they represent. After all, if we really need Lady Gaga to illustrate why teen suicide is unacceptable, society has deep problems.
Despite the media, social and political attention directed at bullying, nothing has emerged that gives any indication that it can be stopped. Because bullying is human nature. It's part of growing up. Most of us learn to deal with it.
Premier McGuinty, your declaration that you are prepared to listen to Bill 10 is a positive step to address all that has happened since Feb. 11 2009 when you stated you would not hesitate to 'foist' renewable energy projects on communities, and lashed out at concerned citizens.
British Columbia presents another counter-example to the thesis of this being a good time for governments to go to the polls. To be sure, Canadians demand security in tough economic times. However, the lesson from British Columbia is that they also demand competent, honest government.
The fact that the Liberals are starting down the road of talking about the fiscal mess in Ontario (or at least saying they are) is a good sign. But what most reasonable people wonder is: you're just noticing this now?