Recent Ipso Reid polls should be good news for Ontario Tory Leader Tim Hudak. Hudak and the Tories are at 37% of decided Ontario voters; Horwath's NDP at 29% and Wynne and the Liberals at 28%. This is real bad news for Premier Wynne and her band of less than merry Liberals. But these polls provide even better news to Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
There is apparently no shortage of politicians with a not-so-secret Hollywood love affair: they love to throw tax sweeteners and direct subsidies at the film industry, this in an effort to lure film production to their province or state. In British Columbia, the existing film tax credit hit the provincial treasury for $331 million in the last year alone.
Ontarian parents who favour one unified school system would be wise to take a look at the education scene in B.C., where some say the teachers' union is more powerful than God. If we didn't have three teachers' unions in Ontario, it is likely that no students would be enjoying extra-curricular activities today.
No matter what Wynne's predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, did, it is simply ridiculous to assume that she would automatically continue on as a McGuinty clone or robot. Parties are parties, but they change depending on the people leading them. That Wynne leans to the left is well-known, but she might still surprise Ontarians.
It was revealed by confused Liberal party members that Ontario's premier-designate Kathleen Wynne's campaign sent letters in foreign languages to would-be supporters. In a gauche effort to connect with the ethnic vote, the Wynne campaign combed through membership lists and divvied them up based on perceived cultural origin. The Ontario Liberal Party's federal cousins have progressively lost their grip on traditional liberal-leaning communities by ignoring them or taking them for granted. History could repeat itself if the Wynne team fails to take corrective measures.
Ontario high school students are being disproportionately affected by the conflict between the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) and the provincial government. What is most worrying about the conflict between the Ontario teacher's union and the government is the way in which students are being used as pawns by the OSSTF to advance and promote a political message. Students' anger over the loss of extracurricular activities should not be directed towards the government.
As the Ontario Liberal Party prepares to host delegate election meetings across the province this weekend, all signs point to a victory for Kathleen Wynne. She continues to demonstrate the organizational strength and critical levels of support needed to become the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Glen Murray chose to drop out of the race and endorse Wynne prior to delegate election meetings where delegates, who will ultimately elect the next leader, will be elected themselves. Assuming his supporters follow him, Wynne's advantage going into this weekend's delegate election meetings is significant.
At a recent political event, outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty touted his legacy as leader of Ontario. "Our government hasn't been perfect," he said. "But when it comes to the big things that families count on us to get right -- schools, health care, the environment, and the economy -- we've gotten it right every time." As is often the case, there's a gap between rhetoric and reality. That's certainly the case when it comes to McGuinty's claim about the economy.
Dalton McGuinty's sudden and unexpected resignation comes at a particularly turbulent time in Ontario politics. There is a minority Legislature, sagging poll numbers placing the governing party third behind the Tories and NDP, and a wave of inquiries and corruption allegations. In addition, there is brewing labour unrest with teachers, doctors, and civil servants over proposed wage freezes. In all this, the inevitable question is, with McGuinty's resignation in this turbulent environment, what is his legacy?
But as detailed in The Star investigation into Marineland, serious understaffing has been one of several concerns expressed by myself and the other former employees who have exposed Marineland for its lackadaisical operation. What job losses do we fear from better protecting Ontario's animals? The fact is, if zoos and aquariums were held to higher standards, it follows that more jobs would be created!
The kids are just back to school and already much of what they enjoy in extra-curricular activities is being whittled away. Once again they are pawns to be used in a political game. What do you remember from your school days? I'd venture to say that many of the memories come not from what happened in class but from those extra-curricular activities, the life lessons learned and the great teachers who supported you in that quest.
It is unthinkable anyone would lose their life over $112 bucks of gasoline. The dragging death of gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati after he was run over by a driver fleeing the station without paying is another tragic reminder of how senseless and avoidable some crimes are. We may only hear about the fatal incidents of gas theft, but according to the Toronto Star, between July 2009 and 2010 there were 1,618 reports of gas thefts in Toronto. That is more than 30 opportunities a week similar incidents could occur. Liberal MPP Mike Colle rightly sensed there is an opportunity to update Ontario's laws to require motorists to pre-pay for gas they pump.
Bill 115 is unfair. Pre-emptive law making denies the rights of employees "just in case." How can we inculcate the habits of democracy into our students when they observe and experience unreasonable restrictions on the rights of the very people who are charged with teaching them about fairness? What if teachers behaved like this government? Imagine children being told that they will not be allowed to seek permission to create a club because the school doesn't trust them to make the proper arrangements -- nor to go out for recess because they might misbehave. It would not take long for someone to shout, "That's not fair."
I was saddened to read that Jeff Damen, a father of two and employee of a wind developer in rural Ontario, reported having a shotgun pulled on him while conducting field work on a project site in West Grey. While I am not known for expressing opinions remotely sympathetic to that of the wind industry or its employees, and certainly oppose the development of the project in question, guns and threats of violence have no place in any debate in our province.
For some politicians, smearing an opponent and telling lies is just another day at the office. Until the Canadian public declares that this kind of cheap and gutter politics is unworthy of those that offer to stand for office, it will continue. There is something that we need to do, and it's up to us, not politicians, to enact this change.