Here are the latest polling results from Abacus regarding voter intentions in Ontario. As with other polls from earlier this week, it's not a surprise to see PC support starting to slip - and I think it's fair to say that we'll continue to see slippage going into next week, given the absolute disastrous performance of Ford's government just since Friday at 4:00 PM.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
It's Increasingly Looking Like the Green Party of Ontario Needs to Start Talking About New Leadership
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Will Erin O'Toole Survive Impending Conservative Backlash to His Big Business-Friendly Carbon Scheme?
Re: "Conservatives' climate plan would replace Liberal carbon tax with lower levy of their own," CBC, April 15, 2021.
I don't agree with the characterization of this scheme as being a "carbon tax" - it seems to be a different form of Carbon Fee & Dividend to me (and the Supreme Court tells me and others that Carbon Fee & Dividend is not a tax, so....)
There is some small merit to this approach, once you look past the reduction in the carbon fee and the crony capitalism of working with big business and how this will punish local businesses (once again) in preference to multinationals like WalMart, etc. Arguably, requiring the dividend to be spent on low-carbon purchases only will create greater efficiency - so you get more carbon reduction bang for your buck.
But it's hard to overlook all of the rest.
Not to worry, though - his own Party is going to eat him alive over this. Caucus, candidates, Party members and supporters, along with Conservative media pundits will almost certainly characterize this as a "Carbon Tax" - and as a (yet another) betrayal of so-called "Conservative Values" by O'Toole. This platform plank won't see the light of day come election time (which is why the trial balloon is up now). It just won't survive the backlash.
My question is, can O'Toole survive as leader of his own Party?
Thursday, April 8, 2021
An interesting dynamic is at play in Alberta - one that I hope we don't see here in Ontario (and don't expect that we will). Despite the endless scandals and incredible mis-steps, until now Premier Jason Kenney has ruled over his United Conservative Party with an iron fist. But after finally implementing public health measures commensurate with the requirements of getting out in front of the COVID-19 pandemic, a quarter of his caucus (16 MLA's) are now in open rebellion against his government, claiming the measures are too strict and demanding they be reversed, perhaps on a regional basis.
Jason Kenney. Source: Calgary Herald
Monday, March 8, 2021
"Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again." -From Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"
There are a lot of good ideas in the Ontario NDP's recently released "Green New Democratic Deal". With a few exceptions, the NDP has checked just about every box that a political party should be checking if they are interested in developing a credible climate change plan. With my quick 20-minute review, I only noticed two glaring omissions: there are no calls to extend more protections to wetlands or to the habitat of species at risk. Not sure why the ONDP left those things out, as they have in the past been champions for protecting wetlands (species at risk is a bit of a different matter).
The "Plan" sure is light on details.
The centrepiece of the Plan is a new Cap and Trade scheme that will replace the federal backstop. Yes, Cap and Trade is back again - and about as welcome to me as Richard Nixon putting in another appearance.
But at least it appears that the NDP will take some time to work out the details after it gets elected, leaving voters to wonder just what they're in store for when they head to the polls. The "plan" indicates that there will be a good deal of consultation with stakeholders before it ever gets set up.
And that's very disconcerting, considering that three quarters of the $40 billion that the NDP wants to spend will be coming directly from the proceeds of Cap and Trade. $30 billion in new revenue is projected to come from Cap and Trade scheme, and $10 billion from Green bonds. Is that realistic?
At the time of cancellation of the Liberal's Cap and Trade program in 2018, projections were that the province would be foregoing $3 billion in revenue over 4 years (see: "Premier Doug Ford’s cap-and-trade move will cost treasury $3B over four years," the Toronto Star, October 16, 2018). Now, the vagaries of any cap and trade program are such that it's hard to know, exactly, how much revenue a program is going to pull in until the cap is set and the auction begins. But let's assume the numbers reported in 2018 are correct: the former program would have generated $3 billion in revenue for Ontario.
But the NDP says their program will generate $30 billion over 4 years - 10 times as much. Which suggests that the cap put on emissions is going to be much tighter, leading to a much higher per-tonne cost for carbon pollution.
Of course, the NDP's plan doesn't say what per tonne cost they're aiming for (all of this will be left for some sort of commission to discuss). But let's say it's 10 times the amount that was being charged under the Liberal scheme, just to stick with the 10 times increment (and I know, that's a big assumption, because it might not need to be that high - or even at 10 times the cost, it still might not generate that level of revenue, it might need to go even higher). The Liberals were getting about $17 per tonne of emissions. Which means the NDP would be looking at $170 per tonne.
$170 per tonne just happens to be what the federal carbon price backstop will rise to in 2030. $170 per tonne still might not be high enough to capture the real costs of pollution, but it's nothing to sneeze at either.
So that's pretty good, right?
It's a good price. But the NDP also says that they don't want "the little guy" to get hurt via carbon pricing. And that's where everything in the Cap and Trade Ponzi Scheme completely breaks down. At $170 per tonne, you can bet that the additional costs endured by industry will be passed on to consumers. We just won't see it happening transparently (another big issue with Cap and Trade). But we're all going to get hit by those costs.
Under the federal backstop, we'd get hit by the costs, but most of us would come out ahead, thanks to the dividend that's rebated to consumers through income tax deductions.
In the NDP's new Ontario, we're all going to take a bath thanks to higher production costs that will be passed on - but there's nothing there for consumers (or very little - sure, there'll be some programs we can apply to for some stuff - but every day people - especially the most vulnerable, including those who rent are going to be hurt most of all).
Honestly, I don't think the NDP actually contemplate seeing their per tonne carbon price rise to $170 a tonne. And I don't believe that there's any way that a lower carbon price is going to drag in the $30 billion in revenue that the NDP is banking on. Their numbers (and there aren't many of them in the plan) don't appear to be realistic. In fact, they appear to be completely unrealistic - at least on this critical issue of "where is the funding going to come from?"
|From Dr. David Robinson, Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University|
Remember: the only way to achieve a reasonably high carbon price without leading to rioting in the streets is to give revenues back to consumers - just as the federal Liberals are now. The ONDP's Cap and Trade scheme won't do that - so it will either fail because it will have a negligible impact on reducing pollution because the per tonne price is too low (as they've discovered in California; after years of working under Cap and Trade, emissions have actually risen), or it will work to make goods and services too expensive for consumers.
But again, I don't really believe the NDP has costed their plan. I don't think they've really given much thought to any of this. I think they made a political decision to go with Cap and Trade, because the Liberals are likely to go with a carbon tax (or to keep the federal backstop in place - because it's working, and will be working even better as the per tonne carbon cost rises).
So, Ontario NDP, prove me wrong. Show us all your math. Because right now your "Green" New Democratic Deal looks like it's covered in fudge.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
I realize CBC's Eric Grenier is focused on the NDP in this piece - but behind the words we see some serious issues for the Green Party of Canada (see: "Singh's NDP could gain a little — and lose a lot — in a spring election," CBC, March 3 2021). While the polls have been mostly stagnate over the past year and a bit, the NDP did see a bit of a drop, and now appear to have regained most of what they lost and are back to numbers that they saw in the 2019 election - 19%, with some polls putting them a little ahead.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Tolerance for the intolerant is the liberal recipe for continued inaction and failure. It may sound good and all to find common ground and to work with political foes - I'm all in favour of that - but if those "foes" are actually more than just political opponents and actually represent a clear and present danger to the well-being of individuals through their policies that seek to restrict the rights of women and BIPOC (not to mention outright hatred), they have zero place in civil discourse. If that means they're "canceled" so be it. We're not talking about canceling conservatives here - just bigots and haters.
See: "Cancel Culture: Where Liberalism Goes to Die," Chris Hedges, mintpressnews.com, February 15, 2021.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Statement on the LPAT Decision to Dismiss the Appeals Related to Planning Act Decisions for the Kingsway Entertainment District
Obviously, I am very disappointed with the decision. I believe that the appellants raised serious and significant issues related to public policy as expressed by the unwavering direction that the City had appeared committed to with regards to putting a new arena in the downtown. As we know, after years of building public expectation that a new arena would be located in the downtown, through the production of reports and plans like the Downtown Sudbury Master Plan, and “From the Ground Up”, the city’s economic development plan, one vote by Council on the night of June 27, 2017 upended public expectations. Significant public consultation had gone into informing the development of the plans that called for a downtown arena, but Council’s decision back in 2017 ignored those plans in favour of a new direction informed by interests different from those previously expressed by the public.
The ability of the appellants to present a fulsome case in this matter were restricted by the courts, which made a decision in Toronto that impacted the scope of our hearing in Greater Sudbury. The Toronto Rail Deck decision turned the new Bill 139 LPAT process into one that heavily favoured municipalities over public citizens like myself and the other appellants. Eventually, the LPAT’s flawed hearing process was altered, but not in time to prevent our hearing from going forward under the flawed rules. Had the appeals been filed prior to or after the Bill 139 process being in place, I believe today’s outcome would have been significantly different.
That said, Greater Sudburians should have every confidence that the city, the intervening parties, the appellants and the LPAT all engaged in the spirit of resolving the appeals expeditiously and professionally. As an unrepresented party, I was given every opportunity to fully participate in the hearing. Although the legislative process for the hearing, and the hearing’s outcome were disappointing for me, I have nothing but respect for my fellow appellants, municipal staff and the legal teams that engaged in this matter before the Tribunal, and for the Tribunal itself.
Although the city now has the ability to move forward with this project, I have to echo the concerns and cautions expressed by so many other taxpaying citizens in my community. COVID-19 has changed everything. A decision back in 2017 to pursue a new entertainment district in an industrial area on the urban fringe may no longer make sense in light of today's fiscal realities. The long-term sustainability and and health of the community now more than ever needs to take centre stage at this time of uncertainty.I’ll be reviewing the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal’s decision over the holidays to see whether there are any concerns that merit further action.