The risks and costs associated with climate change are already mounting--ice storms, severe flooding, crop losses, damage to critical infrastructure, $3.2 billion in extreme weather related Canadian insurance costs in 2013 alone. Yet, the climate crisis is rarely talked about at Queen's Park. The lone exception is Ontario's Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, who has stirred up controversy with reports pointing out that Ontario has no plan to meet its 2020 or 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
The provincial government announced it's introducing its proposed sex education changes. As expected opponents pounced, including Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Monte McNaughton. He gave Wynne the moment she needed to not only change the channel on her Sudbury scandal, but also to get the upper hand on the curriculum changes. There just aren't enough Ontarians looking to fight over sex education or who want to stand with folks who are actually homophobic or genuinely believe evolution should not be taught if people don't want it taught. They need to clear those last two issues up, very quickly and clearly.
Whenever the topic of sex education and children comes up, there's an inevitable outcry from parents, politicians, and religious figures, who either think that (a) this should be taught at home, (b) the topics being taught are "inappropriate," or (c) teachers will do it wrong. All of which, frankly, don't speak to the realities of what's happening with kids right now. There's a reason people joke about kids playing "doctor" -- it's because kids are curious about their bodies, and the feelings they get from them, as much as adults are. They just don't have the knowledge to help them along the way. So hey, wouldn't it be great if they could get that someplace safe and educational, like say, school?
Do I wish this scenario hadn't happened? Yes. Do I feel the Opposition is making hypocritical hay out of a situation they've done many times themselves? Yes. Does it bother me that the Premier is under fire? Yes. But I also respect her defiance, her honesty and her insistence that she tackle the issue head on, herself, clearly and in public. She's taking responsibility and sticking to her guns. I'd expect no less.
If a woman decides to leave the organization because of what she perceives to be a lingering toxic atmosphere, she will often have problems finding another job. Why? Nobody gets a good reference from an employer that was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint. Yet, human rights tribunals and the courts have made reprisals for asserting the right to be free from sexual harassment one of the most difficult types of discrimination to prove.
I want the government to send me my carbon cheque. And I think most people want theirs too. You don't need to be a climate scientist to know that extreme weather events are threatening your quality of life and costing you money. Dragging our feet on putting a price on carbon pollution is no longer an option.
There is no doubt that youth engagement is a catch 22. Political parties with limited resources tailor their message to rally their base rather than reach new supporters. Youth don't vote, so they continue to be overlooked. If politics seems irrelevant to your life and campaigns don't address your concerns then why pay attention? On June 12 we need you to answer back.
Kathleen Wynne's plan promises "only" two more years of deficit spending, with "only" $9 billion in deficit spending for 2015-2016. Then, somehow, two years later, the budget would be balanced, program spending would be the same, and interest payments would be $3 billion higher. Where that money will come from has yet to be explained. A Liberal government under Wynne would introduce yet another tax: this one a payroll tax that would cost each person up to $3420 per year.
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.
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.
At the provincial level, the Ontario Association of Food Banks strongly believes that the provincial government can and should take a more active role in tackling the root causes of hunger. This Hunger Awareness Week, ask yourself: who do you think uses food banks, and more importantly, why? Together, we can take a stand against hunger and poverty.
Nobody takes on a hospital or embarks on a campaign for safer care without good reason. There are a whole range of institutions and resources that are stacked against you, from big law firms to hospital patient relations departments which are there mainly to do management's bidding. Don't even think about trying to get anywhere with a hospital's board of directors. There seems to be some unwritten rule in Canada that no matter how urgent or justified the matter, a hospital board will never respond to the pleas of a family seeking answers.
The real problem for taxpayers in Ontario is covering the tab for compensation packages of over 1.35 million provincial government workers in Ontario, and the vast benefits that exist in the Ontario Public Service. Employee compensation accounts for half of the provincial budget, without including most pension costs.