It seems that there is an endless supply of topics I could write about seeing it’s been quite a long time since the Details graced the pages of your social media outlets however, today I’m focusing on a couple of issues that have placed a fire in my head.
Recently the City of Ottawapassed a By – Law to increase the scope of the No Smoking regulations. Council passed new regulations stating that it’s against the law to smoke on Patio’s, Beaches and in almost every public space in Ottawa. Council was presented with two (2) studies on the effects of second hand smoke for reference while debating the merits of this new extension. Contained within these pages of these reports was that the effects of second and third hand smoke in open spaces, each report was inconclusive, yet council has undertaken a position that the effects of second hand smoke and third hand smoke in open spaces is detrimental to our health. As a non smoker I appreciate the fact that bars and restaurants are smoke – free but I disagree with Council dictating to private enterprise what they can and can’t do based on tenuous research at its best. Council voted on February 22nd 2012 to enact this By-Law, there was only two (2) dissenting votes, with twenty – three (23) council members and one (1) Mayor, twenty – two (22) elected officials decided to vote in favour of an extension to a By – Law using inconclusive evidence. This should be alarming to all residents ofOttawa! Furthermore, a quick overview of the By – Law indicates City staff did not perform their due diligence when drafting the By –Law definitions section. In the final version of the By – Law as posted on the cities website they have defined a bar as the following;
"bar" means an establishment licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario where persons under 19 years of age are not permitted to enter, either as a patron or as an employee;
However, if you refer to Section 30 Sub Section (5) of the Ontario Liquor License Act it states,
Exception to subss. (3) and (4)
(5) Subsections (3) and (4) do not prohibit a licensee or employee or agent of a licensee from permitting a person eighteen years of age to be in possession of liquor during the course of the person’s employment on the licensee’s licensed premises. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 30 (5). http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90l19_e.htm#BK34
You can clearly see that Council has passed a By – Law that for all intents and purposes is invalid. The definition leads to the application of the By- Law, my argument here is that if the definition of a ‘bar’ is incorrect then how can a ticket be issued to a person or establishment given that the definition of said establishment contradicts the legislated actions allowed by the governing provincial body, the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)? Food for thought…
Ontario’s Lackluster Budget
The second issue that has been rattling around in my head the past little while is the possible impending provincial election. The governing liberals presented a budget on March 27th 2012 and since then have been raving how it is crucial to the future ofOntario that the budget be passed. The budget lacked vision and was confusing, for one, why would a government pick a fight with doctors and nurses when both areas are under serviced across the province? Don’t get me wrong I am all for adding some competition to the market but this is not about adding competition this is about shifting cost, which seems to be the modus operandi of this government. Instead of taking the chance to make a real change to the health system this government simply took the road they always do and shifted the cost of things to universities or clinics that will perform certain procedures they are pulling from hospitals. Don Drummond, in his recommendations to the government recommended the government spend 2.5% on healthcare; McGuinty agreed to 2.1%. When talking about savings the only mention was naming a few projects to be cancelled, there really is no clear path outlined as to where these savings will come from.
Additionally, if we look at the budget spending we see that overall spending is projected to be $126.4 Billion but the estimated revenue is $112.2 Billion in 2012-13, the budget projects a deficit of $15.3 Billion for the 2011-12 year and a $15.2 Billion deficit for 2012-13 year. With the unemployment rate trending lower and lower between now and 2015 it seems near impossible for this government to eliminate the deficit as promised by 2017.
This budget overall is lackluster and confusing all while lacking a real focus, it has been further complicated by the NDP now that they are making demands in order to support the budget. Andrea Horwath, NDP leader has outlined several items they want to see movement on in order to support the budget, the big ticket item being increasing the taxes on those that make more than $500 thousand dollars a year; this is not a solution and one that the liberals appear to be refusing to entertain. However, the CBC is reporting that the liberals will increase spending in daycare programming and in the Ontario Disability program. This is a significant retreat for the liberals; taking $242 million out of the education budget to pay for daycare programming is going to impact our children’s education experience significantly in a negative way but the liberals don’t seem to care about that now do they. In the end my estimation is that the NDP will be spineless and vote in favour of the budget. I believe that the liberals will make enough concessions to appease the NDP into supporting the budget all the while touting the ‘massive’ and ‘sweeping’ cuts. But let’s be honest, after taxing Ontarian residents to some of the highest levels in the country, and all of the wasteful spending on scandal after scandal it is amazing Minister Duncan can claim they will eliminate the deficit by 2017.
The third issue rattling around in my head is theAlbertaelection, the emergence of Danielle Smith and the Wildrose party as the next government shows the power of grass roots politics and principled conservative policy. For far too long the PC party ofAlbertahas been walking down a path of centrism and people in the province are fed up with budget deficits and out of control spending. This is a lesson the PC Party ofOntariocan learn from, in the last election the party establishment forgot that the party was the member’s party and not their own. We did not provide a clear differentiation from the Liberal platform and in the areas where we stood alone we did not profile those ideas. Overall, I hope my friend Richard Ciano is taking notes on how the Wildrose have managed to capture the hearts and minds and support of theAlbertaelectorate. Here’s hoping Monday night we see a monumental shift inAlberta, one that is focused on the grassroots and the people.