Category Archives: Between the Lines

Gerry Barker Between the Lines

A contrarian view of the University of Guelph’s economic impact on our city

By Gerry Barker

June 18, 2018

Now let’s state clearly that the U of G is an important presence in the life of our city.

An economic impact study, commissioned by the university, reports a staff of some 12,000 employees. It appears to be the largest employer in town with 30,000 students located in three campuses – Guelph, the main campus, with an estimated 21,000 students. The remaining students are located in Toronto and Ridgetown.

The accounting firm KPMG produced the study revealing that $1.6 billion was injected into the Guelph regional economy. Presumably this contribution was spread through the three campuses of the university on a prorate basis.

The report does not break out the benefit specifically to the City of Guelph.

The first question one should ask is why is the university paying mega bucks attempting to prove its contribution to the economy of our city?

It reports that the students contribute some $370 million each year, chiefly within eight months with the greater majority attend the Guelph campus. The money is spent on living expenses and the study claims their presence employs some 5,000 local jobs. Again it is unclear if this include police, fire and EMS; transit workers; waste management personnel; city administration staff and public operations employees. Not counting the emergency services employees the city staff is composed of 2,200 Full-time Equivalent Employee (FTE) workers.

Without this support of Guelph taxpayers and city services, the University could not function.

The citizens of Guelph pay all their staff salaries and benefits through property taxes and user fees. Some 80 per cent of those costs are from the collection of property taxes.

Presuming the U of G is the largest landowner in the city, with an estimated 600 acres leased to a variety of commercial businesses, office enterprises and residential, what is its contribution to the city property tax budget?

Using the number of students in the KPMG study, the university’s obligation paying property taxes is a special system introduced in 1987 that permits a “bed tax” of $75 per student in lieu of properties based on assessment. Unlike us whose property taxes are reset annually based on council’s budget and adjustments in assessments.

This “bed tax” rate has not changed since introduced 31 years ago. I won’t ask the embarrassing questions about inflation, that affects all city citizens.

Based on a student population of 21,000, the University of Guelph pays $1,575,000 a year in lieu of property taxes based on the number of students.

Let’s compare this with what citizens pay for services

Using an estimated average tax bill of $6,000 times 50,000 on the city tax bill register that includes industrial and commercial properties; the city is receiving some $300,000,000 in property taxes.

But here’s the kicker. That estimate has grown every year since 2007 by some 3.5 per cent exponentially. When the residential industrial ratio is factored (84 per cent residential versus 16 per industrial), the residential property owners are subsidizing, by far, the tiny university’s property tax obligation.

The university enjoys the city services provided by the city with not having the “bed tax” indexed for 31 years.

Of course it’s not fair. And who really pays that “bed tax?” It’s the students seeing it rolled into their tuition costs.

Now this same $75 per student in lieu of property tax is applicable to every university and community college in Ontario.

It is almost impossible to calculate or comprehend how the residents in all those communities throughout the province are caught in this totally unfair situation.

It’s easy to calculate is the cost to Guelph property owners that eclipses the paltry property tax contribution of the biggest landowner in the city.

While the university blows its horn about is monetary contribution to the city and surrounding area, it conveniently leaves out the costs of running a city of 131,000 with services supplied 365 days a year such as water, waste management, emergency services, electricity, pubic transit, excellent hospitals and social services.

It has to be a bargain when all you have to pay for it is $1,575,000.

In fact, with all that cash coming in from leased lands and other enterprises, three years ago it was reported some $30 million underfunded the university staff pensions fund

I didn’t read about these items in this glossy report.

Okay, the old arguments will surface about how important the relationship exists between Town and Gown. But at what price?

A property tax deal that was not even indexed for inflation for 31 years when the city grew, costs escalated and there was increased demand for basic services.

And the University also grew during that same period but is still paying the same property tax as it did 31 years ago.

It should not be forgotten that our provincial income and sales taxes subsidize the post secondary institutions.

How much does the provincial government expect the citizen in those cities and towns to subsidize the post secondary institutions through their property taxes?

The University of Guelph has a unique advantage over most other post secondary institutions. As a former Agriculture and Vetrenary College, it owned acres of land at a time when Guelph was a small town more than 65 years ago.

In Guelph, this fixed, unfair property tax subsidy grows exponentially every year on the backs of the municipal property owners.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

Two sketchy news releases have the City betting $245,000 to win a “prize” of $10 million and hook up with a U.K. Foundation

By Gerry Barker

June 14, 2018

In one of the most convoluted and incomprehensible stories ever carried in Guelph Today, the Online news source, even baffled councillors, including June Hofland, who questioned the “high level language” that was used when plain English was needed to help citizens understand the project.

Well, I’m one who remains baffled. The piece displayed a picture of Mayor Guthrie posed in front of a large chart that resembled a new board game.

The report described the City bid, joined by County Wellington that would see the area develop “a Circular Food Economy to increase access to affordable, nutritional food.”

This is beginning to sound like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

At its planning meeting Last Monday, council voted unanimously to approve a staff recommendation to fund this turkey by taking $245,000 from the city’s Efficiency, Innovation and Opportunity Reserve fund.

This is starting to resemble a social engineering program from the former administration headed by Karen Farbridge. I think most people now understand the high cost of that administration’s green schemes that cost citizens millions. Many of which failed.

Breaking News!

But hold on! Following the original story, the city published a press release that puts a new angle on the “circular food economy” project that confuses the situation even further.

This release says that Guelph Wellington has partnered with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, headquartered in the United Kingdom. The Foundation selected the city and county to collaborate in its “Cities and the Circular Economy for Food initiative.”

Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer, Derrick Thomson stated: “To be selected as a focus city for this initiative is a huge honour and a testament to Guelph’s innovative spirit and the collaborative relationship of the City and County.

“We’re proud of the opportunity to represent Canada and help carve a path for other cities interested in a circular food economy.””

Hmmm. Is that the same opportunity that’s costing us $245,000 to participate in the Federal Government’s contest about, here we go again, the circular economy initiative? You remember the money is to be taken from the city’s Efficiency, Innovation and Opportunity Reserve fund.

That’s the one where Guelph Wellington could win $10 million as the winner of a lottery to participate, we presume, in developing the “Circular Economy for Food initiative.

Are we a third world country with a need to feed the people?”

Still confused?

Okay everybody, have you figured out why the staff would make such a recommendation to spend $245,000 on this wonky scheme? Besides, what does Guelph get out of it?

Also, where does County Wellington fit into this? How much is our partner putting up to participate? The more we learn makes us believe the odds resemble a civic Ponzi scheme with high risk and no guarantee of a return.

Except of course, such intangibles as honour, pride and innovation spirit.

Even if council approves the bid spending, the county will be the chief beneficiary because that’s where the circular economy action could occur.”

Step right up! Give us $245,000 and you might win a $10 million prize from your Federal government.

Did I mention that there are eight other municipalities in the running for this underwriting of a circular food economy plan?

Which is it?

Now that Guelph Wellington has made the semi-finals because there were originally 100 applications, we learn that the Federal Government has “committed” $250,000 to help prepare the proposal because additional research and resources are needed to complete the entry.

Later in the story we find the Feds “awarded” $250,000 to the city to develop its bid.

I’m confused, why do we need to take $245,000 from a reserve fund to enter the lottery?

Councillor June Hofland has a point. Both these releases obfuscates the purpose of spending this money in competition with eight other cities in the under 500,000-population category.

I don’t know about you but this looks like another pet project cementing Mr. Future, Cam Guthrie’s march to be a legend before his time.

He led the charge to give Guelph Hydro away for a pittance in return from the acquirer, Alectra Utilities. That so-called merger has yet to be approved by the Ontario Energy Board if one still exists under new management at Queen’s Park.

The discouraging aspect of this stupidity lies right with Mayor Guthrie and a compliant council that reflects the famous words of Sgt. Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes: “I see nothing, I know nothing, I tell nothing.”

It was funny back then, but it’s not funny now.

It demonstrates that spending $245,000 on the slim chance of receiving a $10 million prize with strings attached is a wasteful misuse of public money.

The important lesson taken here is how we must elect councillors with experience, who control the agenda and not the staff, and introduce centrist reforms that reflect the needs and interests of all citizens.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

Welcome the new Green Guelph province with one Party, one member and no voice

By Gerry Barker

June 11, 2018

Guelph – Those 29,000 voters, who just elected Mike Schreiner as their member of the Provincial Legislature, have awkwardly created their exclusive Don Quixote attacking the Blue windmills of populism.

We’re Green and not has-beens.

Guelph has become the orphan of provincial politics by electing the Green Part leader with no comrades in the Legislature to support its Green agenda. When you think about it, the Toronto Star got its way and a majority of Guelph voters believed they were making history.

Star columnists Heather Mallick and Robin Sears did their best to convict Premier-elect Doug Ford because of a seventh inning lawsuit for alleged fraudulent handling of Rob Ford’s estate. Renata Ford’s, widow of Rob Ford filed the $16.5 million lawsuit five days before the election.

Before any evidence to support the lawsuit was presented in court, Heather Mallick convicted Doug Ford basically because she didn’t like him. Well, the huge majority of voter in the province didn’t agree. He won so let’s move on.

“Stop Doug Ford” rang throughout the province advocated by Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, who threw in the towel before the election campaign ended June 7.

However a $1.4 billion miscalculation in costing the NDP program that included more spending than the Liberals, helped doom the so-called Orange Surge of the party in the polls.

That was some prediction that most polls missed by a country mile except the one run by Global news. Two weeks before the election it predicted 70 seats for the PC’s, 49 for the NDP, four for the Liberals and one for the Green Party.

How close was it? PC 76, NDP 40, Liberals 7 and the Greek Machine, one.

By one estimate, in winning the Guelph seat, Mr. Schreiner spent more than all the other candidates combined. When Elections Ontario releases the official financial statements, we will know at how much it cost and who sponsored the Green Party victory.

In other words, it will be an interesting exercise to follow the money.

It won’t take The Green Party leader’s supporters long following his swearing in, to discover he has little to say stuck in the corner of the Legislature along with the seven Liberals. Maybe he’ll pick up some pointers from the seven deposed Liberals. Neither Schreiner nor the Liberals have official party status.

When you are a party of one, you are not recognized as an official party. This means there is no allowance for staff research or other perks of the job.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, those folks who voted for Mr. Schreiner threw away the opportunity for real change. Mr. Schreiner ran a powerful and well -financed campaign focused on him and a middle of the road program if elected.

What’s alarming to me is that a majority of people fell for it. It’s not just a dearth of critical thinking that the Ontario Legislature requires a party to have a majority of seats to form a government. The Green party was not even close.

I am reminded of the old argument raised by the NDP, protesting the system of determining a winner, contesting any seat is to be “first past the post.” This means the candidate with the most votes’ wins. That certainly worked for Mr. Schreiner.

But the nagging bellowing of changing the system of voting in Ontario to adopting “proportional voting” in which a voter must grade their first, second and third choice when completing their ballot. Points give each of those choices in order of the number of votes, and are accounted in the final tally.

The Trudeau Liberals election promised electoral reform when they won 183 seats in the House of Commons three years ago.

But the proposal died when clearer heads prevailed.

Besides, if progressive activist Susan Watson supports proportional voting, I have to stop and think. It just echoes NDP policy because the party has never won an Ontario election since Bob Rae defeated the David Peterson government eons ago.

British Columbia uses a proportional voting system. The result is the NDP minority government being propped up by three members of the Green Party. The NDP’s sole interest at the moment is to stop reconstruction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

Unfortunately, Mr. Schreiner will not enjoy that position at Queens Park.

Yes, Guelph voters spoke volumes about how they believe the province should be run.

But all they have accomplished is to create a Sanctuary City where Green progressive are welcome to dip their beaks in the public treasury.

The outcome of the election decided otherwise and Guelph is an island floating in a sea of Blue representing “green” policies rejected by the vast majority of electors in the province.

Indeed, we are stuck in the middle of the Province with only one member representing our interests in the Legislature. He is a man who has no support of Green Party members in the Legislature, no recognition as an official party, and with minimal influence on the Ford government to serve those voters who elected him.

I sure don’t like those odds.

Welcome to the Green province of Guelph.

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

How bad is it?Paty

By Gerry Barker

Election Day 2018

We voted today. It was easiest decision for us because we saw the numbers.

The wreckage remaining of the Liberal government that their leader orchestrated in the past four years that she abandoned last Saturday, by saying the party was over, is a an unprecedented betrayal of trust.

But she had good reasons. The people finally tired of the Liberal government as data of the shape of the province dripped like the Chinese water torture in a steady stream. In the past 18 months, the outpouring revelations of mismanagementand uncontrolled spending spread across the spectrum of power possessed by the Wyne Liberals.

This time the people figured it out and defeated the Liberals before the election today.

Here are some of the details that turned off the public and led to today’s election result.

In its spring budget, the Liberal government projected the net public debt of money owed is $325 billion or $22,500 for every person living in Ontario, all 8.5 milliom of us.

The Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, predicted that there would be six consecutive deficits in which more money is flowing out than is flowing into the government’s coffers. This year, the Minister projected a deficit of $6.7 billion. However the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) expects the current projected deficit will be $12 billion.

At this pace, the provincial net debit will be $360 billion within three years. The FAO has government spending to push the debt to $400 billion by 2021.

So why should we worry about this today when we select a new government?

Because of the carrying charges that increase when more money has to be borrowed to keep the government costs, and promises, from going bankrupt.

The debt rating agency Moody’s says the province has an AA2 rating, one of the highest among the twin provinces and territories The exceptions are Yukon and Newfoundland.

The bottom line is the trap of higher interest rates that will suck up money that will not be available for such vital programs as healthcare, education, welfare, urban transportation, energy and industrial development.

Yet the growing debt repayment is greater that three of these vital provincial responsibilities.

Now you have to ask yourself:

Will Green Part candidate Mike Schreiner, if elected, change this? He is the leader of a party of one that will not be recognized as an official party in the Ontario Legislature.

Electing Agnieszka Mlynarz of the NDP whose platform increases social programs that outstrip the promises made by the Liberals, will change the vital signs of the province of Ontario that most voters recognize and who demand change.

Will the Liberals ride out of the West and save their Guelph candidate, Sly Castaldi, and the other 53 Liberal incumbents after the Liberal leader bailed out? If the polls are accurate the Liberals may join the Green Party without official party status in the Legislature.

By supporting the Liberals and Green Party, both are incapable of either forming a government even in a minority. There is no firepower there.

So today in Guelph there is a tight race but it is vital that voters turn out to express their support.

In my opinion this is a pivotal point in the history of our province. The issues are clear and it is now our turn to decide which party will form a government Friday.

I can predict, with confidence, that it will not be the Green Party or the Liberals.

1 Comment

Filed under Between the Lines

In Guelph, it’s the NDP offering more of the same, or the PC’s proposing real change

By Gerry Barker

June 4, 2018

Last week I learned details of the NDP plan to capture the Ontario Legislature and form the government.

This week, get ready for the NDP union-organized blitzkrieg in Guelph, supported by the big unions and their surrogates such as Leadnow.

In the past 15 years, successive Liberal governments in Ontario have pandered to the Labour movement. Organized Labour has achieved growing political power through changes in legislation governing collective bargain rules and regulations including donating millions to the Liberals.

Now Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne has announced she will not be Premier after June 7. She urges voters to support her candidates and send enough winners back to the Legislature to be recognized as an official party in opposition. Recent polls suggest that the Ontario Liberal party may be unable to survive as a force in the Legislature.

With the recent surge in the popularity of the NDP there are several elements that are driving this momentum.

The Liberal government passed several changes to the Ontario Election Act including banning non-profit incorporated citizen’s activist organizations from donating to specific candidates. Caught in that change were Ontario’s unions that, in the case of Guelph in previous years, have given substantial financial support to favoured candidates municipally, federally and provincially.

No can do any more.

The new rules increased personal donations from individuals of up to $1,200 with a portion allowed as an income tax deduction.

But what about donations from foreign-based corporations to the unions such as IFOR, one of Canada’s largest unions that includes the IFOR Media 87 group representing many members of the Ontario media.

Personal disclaimer

Now I’m not suggesting that the IFOR media union membership is biased toward the NDP or any other party. I believe the members are professionals and check their personal preferences at the door when they report for work.

The provincial media, particularly in Toronto, has reported slanted news that this observer would suggest was biased favouring the progressives and denigrate the leader of the PC’s, Doug Ford. I guess the business hasn’t changed that much since I worked in it.

The social media’s flood of opinion and commentary disguised as legitimate news presents new challenges for reporters and editors to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Let’s talk about the contest in Guelph where four candidates are working to be elected to the Ontario Legislature. As of June 2, voting for the NDP polling shows the candidate, Agnieszka Mlynarz, just a percentage point behind the PC candidate Ray Ferraro.

In any race that’s too close to call. Despite a poll that shows Green Party candidate Mike Schreiner leading the pack by 3 per cent as published in the local weekly, other polls think otherwise. The polling puts him in third with the Liberal Sly Castaldi, running last.

In my opinion, the union-supported campaign has strengthened the NDP candidate’s position in Guelph. This is because the labour movement in Ontario has mobilized manpower; electronic communications devices and even phone banks in those ridings that it believes can be taken.

The Labour teams have targeted 24 ridings they believe can be flipped to support the Andrea Horwath led NDP. If this occurs, Ms. Horwath will be Ontario’s next premier.

Again that’s like trading in your Chevy Silverado pick-up for a Ford F150 pick-up.

Supporting either the Liberals or the NDP will result in no change that the voters want in governing their province. The Liberals are toast and the NDP are no different describing themselves as global progressives. It’s is not what most voters want.

They want a change in government. Voting for a new direction that serves the needs of all Ontarians not just the progressives that have been running the province for the past 15 years.

The reasons are obvious. Ontario has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs that will never come back due to innovative engineering that eliminates jobs in all parts of the developed world. Also, the economy is directly affected due to the highest cost of electricity of most jurisdictions in North America.

An example of these devastating economic events is the development of much of southwestern Ontario as Canada’s new Rust Belt as spelled out in a recent article in the Globe and Mail.

The Liberal’s energy file is a disaster

The mistakes made in the Liberal energy file by signing lucrative wind and solar 20-year contracts with companies in which the government guaranteed a rate of 20 cents per kilowatt hour, more than three times the cost of nuclear and water power generators.

Add in the privatization of Hydro One, operating the entire power grid in Ontario has been a disaster with little recourse by the province’s minority share.

Nuclear power plants generate sixty per cent of all electricity needed in the province.

Voting for the NDP is like changing the deck chairs on the Titanic and expecting a better result.

Global news states: “Our model at this point has Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives ahead in 70 ridings, Horvath’s NDP ahead in 49 races, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals ahead in four districts and Mike Schreiner’s Green Party ahead in one riding, Guelph.”

To secure a majority government, a party has to win 63 seats in the Legislature.

This would indicate that three of the four major candidates would be in no position to be part of a majority government. Voting for the NDP, Liberals or the Green Party’s Mike Schreiner’s party of possibly one is like throwing your vote away.

That majority number of winning 63 seats is impossible for the Liberals or the Green Party.

This boils down to the single most important decision for voters who want a change of direction in Ontario. Voting for the New Democrats extends more of the same social engineering programs that have led to the rejection of the Liberal government.

Add in the Liberal leader’s admission that her party will lose and in four days she will no longer be Premier only supports the theory that this is now a two party race.

This week, in selected ridings across the province, there will be an intensive campaign by union volunteers. The NDP campaign blitzkrieg in Guelph will work to elect their candidate, Agnieszka Mlynarz.

She is an earnest young woman who wants to play in the NHL before learning the game in the minors.

With all the sturm and drang of a hard fought campaign, there is only one candidate positioned to be part of the PC team to win a majority and bring change. The PC government will audit the books, reduce spending and grow the economy to serve all the people. It won’t just be the party of Doug Ford but the party of the people.

For these reasons on June 7, I am supporting the PC candidate Ray Ferarro, to represent Guelph in the Ontario Legislature.

7 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

This is our Ontario Spring: Renewing responsible government democratically

By Gerry Barker

May 31, 2018

The Tuesday edition of the Guelph Tribune carried a Page One story that was based on a poll of 668 persons in Guelph.

It claimed that the Green Party candidates Mike Schreiner, was leading with 31.7 per cent in the Guelph provincial election race.

The methodology used was the pollster’s use of a daily tracker system operated by Mainstreet Research.

In second place, at 28 per cent was NDP candidate Agnieszka Mlynarz.

PG candidate Ray Ferarro followed at 25 per cent and Sly Castaldi, representing the Liberals was rated at 11.9 per cent’

It isn’t clear when this poll was conducted or what the content of the question or which party may have commissioned it. Polls do cost money.

But Mainstreet Research conducted another province-wide poll that was published Tuesday, May 28.

The City of Toronto’s section of the Mainstreet Research poll stated the NDP has 40.9 per cent support while the PC’s revealed 28.7 per cent, the Liberals with 25.5 per cent. And the Green party? Just 3.2 per cent.

If this is accurate in the City of Toronto, then much of that Liberal support that elected Kathleen Wynne four years ago may have swung over to the NDP. It’s hard to believe that the PC’s only have 28.7 per cent when it’s the heartland of Ford Nation.

But let’s look at another specific area in the Mainstreet Research’s provincial poll.

In the GTA, the PC’s are leading with 42.1 per cent. Next is the NDP with 32.4, The Liberals at 18 per cent and the Green Party at 5 per cent.

This poll seems closer to other polls in term of the possible outcome.

Starting to see if you believe in polls, precision is replaced by forced predictability. Even the candidates keep saying the real poll is Election Day, June 7.

Here’s one more area pollsters measured of interest to Guelph voters, South Central Ontario. Here we find the NDP with a commanding lead at 50.3 per cent. The PC’s are second at 34.6 per cent. The Liberals are holding at 6.9 per cent. The Green Party having 3.8 per cent. Note the total falls short of 100.

If anything is consistent it’s the voter rating of the Green Party that in three major regions of Ontario is stuck around 4 per cent.

Here we have two polls conducted by the same polling firm that indicate the high rating of the Greens in Guelph is skewed when the large data shows the Party has little support across the province.

How is this possible? Is Guelph an Island in the Green wave that will not form a government in Ontario? So why does one poll, conducted by the same polling company differ so widely with the candidacy of Mike Schreiner?

Leading the Guelph race according to the daily tracking poll with 31.7 per cent the Green Party has barely budged holding at 4 per cent support across the rest of the provincial ridings.

Did that pro-Schreiner editorial published in the Toronto Star influence the majority of Guelph voters to support the Green Party? More important, why would they support the party of David Suzuki, the millionaire voice of gloom and doom about the planet. Wonder how much he was paid to address some 300 partisans at a recent Schreiner rally in Guelph?

Guess it depends on your interpretation of “Green.”

There is no doubt that Mr. Schreiner has run a campaign that is well-funded and when the campaign finance statements are published there will be some surprises of who funded whom.

One has to wonder how the NDP brain trust, after working on the party platform for two years, could make an error of $1.4 billion in its costing of the platform. If you can’t do the math preparing a platform then, how can the NDP be trusted to run the complex finances of the province?

For a lot of people this is a hold-your-nose election.

In my opinion, for our city it is a watershed event. The millions that have been spent in Guelph on failed environmental projects in the past 11 years, reveals it is not necessary to give away our power distribution system for pennies on the dollar.

It does not mean we should turn over control of Guelph Hydro, indulge in building District Energy systems to attain energy self-sufficiency and provide a thermal system to supply hot and cold water to five downtown buildings.

It is vital for all citizens who will cast their ballots on June 7 to elect the candidate who understands our city, has lived in the city all his life, has served on council and worked with the city to develop both residential and industrial projects. Ray Ferraro is that man and the only experienced candidate when elected, will work tirelessly for Guelph in the Ontario Legislature.

He is the only candidate that can, along with his PC colleagues, bring change, responsible fiscal management and prosperity not only to Guelph but the province.

So, the polls are not what they pretend to be. Consider bias, misinformation by respondents and a river of news reports and partisan commentary that, depending on your preference, often get it wrong.

This, I predict, will be our day where party loyalty will be a soufflé of switches, misses and, hopefully a renaissance of recovery for Ontario.

3 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

Only ten days to go for Doug Ford to face the Nabobs of negativity

By Gerry Barker

May 28, 2018

It’s a peculiar election with the emphasis on puffy style and forgetting the substance of a Liberal government that’s long past its due date.

The case for the prosecution is clear. The Wynne Liberals have pushed its social engineering so far to the left that it is teetering on a wipeout at the polls.

Still not convinced? The fundamental problem is the absence of sound financial management of the public’s money. This is accompanied by driving up energy costs by borrowing $4 billion to pay for a limited reduction in electricity; hiking user fees and new taxes including taxing tangible belongings after you die on top of probate fees.

How did you benefit when the minimum wage was increased by $2.60 an hour and will be bumped by another buck next January. On top of the rewrite of the labour code, part-time workers are now entitled to the same benefits as full-time workers. Benefits such as sick leave, vacation time and the new one, personal family leave with pay.

Is it any wonder why the economy of Ontario is suffering as southwestern Ontario is being labeled as Canada’s Rust Belt? This is due to the disappearance of manufacturing jobs that will never come back.

So, while Toronto has become the Centre of the provincial universe and the benefactor of the Liberals dominance of seats in the GTA, this government has earned the position of running last in recent polls, for good reasons.

The Toronto Star, early last week, published an editorial encouraging Guelph voters to support the Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner. Thanks Star, but Guelph’s voters can think for themselves and predictably, Mike will not represent the city when the ballots are counted.

Now I know this is going to enrage those folks who believe in the dangers of Climate Change, as I share that view.

Here’s another Toronto Star doozy. Just the other day it published a page one report about Doug Ford denying “role in fake membership.” But placed prominently on the right of the story was a colourful box stating a poll showed Andrea Horwath of the NDP with 47 percent of the respondents; Doug Ford of the PC’s had 33 per cent; Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals were at 14 per cent and Mike Schreiner was at 4 per cent.

The poll was taken by Forum Research and was described by The Star that it was the most recent poll and played it big time.

According to the Star report, Forum used an interactive voice response system and contacted 906 persons across the Province. How many calls did Forum make with this interactive system (robo call) before actually receiving an answer and comment?

In my opinion this poll was so far out of whack even when compared to another Forum poll done May 9. It reported the Ford Tories at 40 per cent, followed by the NDP at 33 per cent, the Liberals at 22 per cent and the Green Party at 4 per cent.

One thing is clear, Mike Schreiner is holding last in both polls at 4 per cent.

This is the greatest comeback since Judy Garland sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

This represents a 14 per cent swing favouring the NDP in just 16 days!

However, if Forum hit the mother load of NDP respondents in publishing the poll, later polls suggest the race is very close with Ms. Horwath’s NDP at 37 per cent and Mr. Ford’s Tories at 36 per cent.

Predictably, the last ten days will be a wild push for all parties.

The battle will be fought in the ridings across the province.

Regardless of your political persuasion, this is going to be a barnburner and I wouldn’t bet on the outcome.

But this is an election about change. Under our parliamentary system, the party that elects the most number of its candidates forms the new government.

Following last night’s leadership debate, the NDP may have slipped because its leader, Andrea Horwath, frequently talked over the other participants. The battle of words between Premier Wynne and Horwath witnessed Doug Ford sitting back and let them go at it.

The PC leader scored some good points about the state of the provinces’ finances particularly the cost of carrying the provincial debt of $12 billion a year.

5 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines