Politics

Doug Ford violated Toronto City Council’s code of conduct

The Ontario Provincial Election is just a week away. I watched the first debate between the three leaders. I was surprised no one brought up this finding by the Integrity Commissioner.

In her report, Valerie Jepson concluded that Doug Ford had improperly used his influence as a City of Toronto Councillor in 2011.

Doug Ford made inquiries and arranged meetings between city officials and two companies who were also clients of the company owned by the Ford family. The name of the Ford’s company is Deco Labels and Tags.

Doug Ford arranged meetings for two companies. The name of the first company is Apollo Health and Beauty. The name of the second company is RR Donnelley and Sons.

According to a Globe and Mail investigation, Doug Ford helped Apollo lobby Joe Pennachetti, who was then the city manager, for a larger property-tax break than it had received under an incentive program.

Ms. Jepson says in her report that Deco refused to provide documents she sought in a summons. Apollo provided some records, but refused to hand over specific information about the value of its business with Deco.

Mr. Ford, she says, after agreeing to provide information about the value of business relationships between Deco and the two companies, “failed to do so.”

Sources:

Integrity commissioner finds Doug Ford improperly used influence as a councillor. CP24.

Doug Ford violated Toronto city council’s code of conduct, watchdog rules. Globe and Mail.

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Politics

I will not be voting for the Conservatives in Ontario elections

The poll numbers show Doug Ford and the Ontario Conservative Party with a sizeable lead over the Liberals and the NDP.

Doug Ford has no platform. The PC platform written by Patrick Brown is not supported by Doug Ford.

I don’t like to vote for a party when I don’t know what they will do once they attain power.

Doug Ford has promised to find $6 billion in inefficiencies to cover the deficit. It is going to be extremely difficult for Ford (in my opinion, impossible) to find $6 billion in efficiencies.

Doug Ford has so far refused to say exactly where he is going to make the cuts.

Some people might remember that Rob Ford once claimed that he found $1 billion in savings while he was mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014.

Some people are probably thinking “if Rob Ford can find $1 billion in inefficiencies, surely Doug Ford can find $6 billion in efficiencies at Queen’s Park”.

But when you look at the numbers, a lot of what made up the $1 billion dollars was not savings generated through cutting inefficiencies.

Click here to read Toronto Star article and see what actually made up the $1 billion figure.

I am going to vote for the NDP.

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Activism, Photography, Politics, Sports

The forgotten story behind this photo from the 1968 Olympics

Black salute 1968 Olympics

I will admit that I never paid any attention to the third Caucasian sprinter in the above photo. He is Peter Norman, the Australian sprinter who won the silver medal in the 200 meters sprint event at the 1968 Olympics. I never noticed that he wore a button promoting the Olympic Project for Human Rights campaign.

He paid a heavy price for wearing that button. According to published reports, Norman was left off Australia’s team in the 1972 Olympics in Munich despite running times that would have qualified him. He was also left out of any role in the 2000 Sydney Games.

In 2012, Australia formally apologized to Norman, with one MP telling Parliament that Norman’s gesture “was a moment of heroism and humility that advanced international awareness for racial inequality.”

All information for this post gathered from this article published by the Toronto Star.

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Job Market, Politics

Dangerous temporary jobs created by the Ontario Liberal Party

Toronto Star reporter goes undercover to work as a temporary worker at Fiera Foods. Three temps have died at Fiera Foods or at Fiera’s affiliated companies since 1999.

There is no permanent office for the temporary agency that hires for Fiera Foods.

Fiera has been slapped with 191 orders for health and safety violations over the past two decades, for everything from lack of proper guarding on machines to unsafely stored gas cylinders.

In workplaces around the province, the use of temp agencies limits companies’ liability for accidents on the job, reduces their responsibility for employees’ rights, and cuts costs.

When a temp gets hurt, the company is not fully responsible because the temp agency assumes liability at the worker’s compensation board.

Temp agencies operating in non-clerical sectors and construction represent less than 2 per cent of the workforce but they ranked in the top 10 for absolute highest number of reported injuries over the past decade.

Overall in Ontario, temporary jobs — which include but are not limited to temp agency jobs — have grown at more than four times the rate of permanent jobs since the 2008 recession, according to Statistics Canada.

In 2013, Fiera received a $3.2 million federal business loan. The following year, Fiera was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to expand capacity. At the time, the company was lauded by Premier Kathleen Wynne for providing “good jobs” to Torontonians.

Fiera donated $2,500 to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in 2007 and has donated $25,000 to the Liberal Party of Ontario since 2010, electoral finance disclosures show. In 2016, the company was included in a provincial trade mission to India.

This is the reason why Ontario must limit maximum political donation to $100 a year. In Quebec, the maximum annual political donation is $100 a year.

This investigation took one year to complete according to this video featuring the reporters who undertook this undercover reporting.

You can read the entire article published by the Toronto Star by clicking this link.

Click here to read my previous blog about taking money out of Candian politics.

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Politics

Let’s get money out of Canadian politics!

First of all, Mr Trudeau, stop having cash for access events.

Second, reduce the annual limit on contributions in federal elections from current $1550 to $ 100. Quebec has $100 annual limit on contributions in their provincial elections

Third, eliminate spending on TV and radio advertising. If no money is spent on TV/radio advertising, then there is will be less pressure on MP’s to generate political contributions. This means that MP’s will have more time to work on real issues instead of spending their time looking for contributions. In Norway, political parties are not allowed to spend any money on TV or radio advertising.1  

In the 2015 Canadian election, TV and radio advertising accounted for 39% of total election spending by all parties. TV advertising does very little to educate the voting public and usually takes the form of attack ads. Attack ads is the worst type of election spending as it doesn’t contribute to a meaningful discussion of the issues that face the country. Click here to watch attack ad on Trudeau during the 2015 election campaign period.

When Canadians make political contributions to political parties, they receive a tax credit depending on size of donation. In other words, Canadian taxpayers are paying for these wasteful ads which do nothing to contribute to greater understanding of issues facing Canadians.

Fifth, bring back public subsidies to Canadian political parties. In 2011, the subsidy was worth about $2.04 for every vote obtained by a political party beyond a minimum threshold. It was gradually reduced and then eliminated after Conservative Stephen Harper won a majority government.2 In 2015, in Norway, government subsidies provided 67.4% of all funding of all political parties.

Notes:

  1. International campaign finance: How do countries compare. CNN.
  2. Trudeau government in no hurry to reinstate per vote subsidy. Huffington Post. May 18, 2016.
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Politics

Mr. Trudeau, please don’t undermine democracy!

Mr. Trudeau, please keep your campaign promise to give the information commissioner’s office more important new powers. Invest the information commissioner with authority to issue binding orders that would force government disclosure and create access to information laws that actually work. Do not pass restrictive laws that would give cabinet members the veto to block the information commissioner’s new power to force disclosure.

You campaigned on creating more transparency in government. By giving your cabinet the prerogative to override the power of the information commissioner, you are undermining democracy and openness.

Why do you want the power of a veto to block access to information? Is there something you want to hide from the Canadian public? If the information commissioner orders information to be made available to the public and you feel that information should not be made available to the Canadian public, you can make your arguments in court.

Read Toronto Star editorial for more details.

Contact your MP and tell them you oppose Mr. Trudeau’s intention to subvert democracy.

 

 

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Politics

Time for proportional representation!

With the current first-past-the-post system, a political party can get a majority of seats in Parliament with only 40% of the popular vote (total number of votes cast). This is not fair.

In the 2011 election, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) won a majority in the House of Commons by just winning 39% of the popular vote. The Conservative Party won 166 seats out of total of 308 seats. In other words, they grabbed 54% of total seats in the House of Commons by garnering only 39% of the popular vote. They were able to do this by splitting the left of center votes among the Liberal Party and the NDP Party. The CPC won many ridings with less than 50% of the total votes cast in those particular ridings. Many ridings were won with 35% to 40% of the total votes cast.

The Conservative Party was able to this under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system we currently have in Canada. To prevent this from ever happening again, Canada must adopt a proportional representation (PR) electoral system.

Under the PR system, the number of seats a government wins will be equal to the popular vote. For example, if the Conservatives win 40% of the popular vote, they only get 40% of the seats available in Parliament. This is fair. It is an accurate reflection of how Canadians actually voted.

There are many forms of PR and can be confusing to the someone new to the concept. The basic premise holds for all forms of PR. The percentage of number of seats won will equal the percentage of popular vote.

PR will encourage more people to vote because they will know their vote will not be wasted. For example, if somebody wanted to vote for the Green Party, they might not vote because they know the Green Party does not have a real chance of winning in their particular riding. But under the PR system, their vote would make a difference.

In 2011, the Green Party won 4% of the popular vote. Under FPTP, the Green Party only won one seat. If PR had been adopted, the Green Party would have won 12 seats.

Under PR, you can vote for the party you like. A lot of Canadians voted strategically in the 2015 Canadian election to ensure that Harper did not win another majority government. They voted for the candidate that had the best chance to beat the Conservative candidate. Under PR, there will be no need for strategic voting.

Some form of PR is used in 94 countries . Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand and Netherlands are some of the countries included in list of countries that have PR.

Many studies and research show that countries with PR have better results in terms of the environment, representation of women in parliament, income equality and the economy.

Countries with PR score six points higher on Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index. The top seven countries with the highest percentage of women represented in parliament have PR. There is strong research that shows PR is strongly correlated with lower levels of income inequality. Research also shows that countries with PR perform better economically.

You can view all the research on the Fair Vote Canada website. If you do go on the Fair Vote Canada website, you might find that their explanation of PR a little confusing. Again, keep in mind the basic premise of PR which is to ensure that political parties receive a percentage of seats in Parliament which is equal to the percentage of popular vote.

There are many forms of PR. Don’t get bogged down by the technicalities. The important thing is to adopt some form of PR.

It is important that one does not confuse PR with Alternative Vote (AV). AV is also known as ranked ballots, preferential ballots. AV is not PR. Watch video on Youtube explaining AV.

The Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) favors AV because it benefits them the most. The LPC won 184 seats in the 2015 election. They won a majority (54% of total seats) in Parliament with just 40% of the popular vote. Again, this is unfair. If AV was used, they would have won 224 seats  (66% of total seats).3  As you can clearly see, AV is even more unfair.

The Green Party won 1 seat in the last election. Under PR, they would have won 12 seats. Under AV, they would have won 1 seat. This is grossly unrepresentative of how Canadians cast their votes. The AV projected results were calculated by Eric Grenier at CBC. They are based on second choice polls done at the end of the election campaign in 2015

Leadnow is also currently running a campaign calling for the government to adopt proportional representation. According to a poll conducted by Leadnow in 2013, 70% of Canadians polled supported some type of PR. Please sign the petition at Leadnow. Share the link with your friends.

PR is supported by Greenpeace, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, the Council of Canadians, Democracy Watch, University of Montreal and many other organizations.

Footnotes:

  1. Canada Elections Results. Information Service. Parliament of Canada.
  2. Electoral Systems. The Electoral Knowledge Network
  3. Change to preferential ballot would benefit Liberals. CBC News.
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