How the Ontario Conservatives Can Win the Next Election – Education

One of the impressive accomplishment of the once-mighty Ontario Conservative Party over the past decade has been their knack for losing eminently winnable provincial elections against a wasteful, corrupt and incompetent Ontario Liberal government.  With that in mind, the fact that recent polls show the Tories with a healthy (but not enormous) lead doesn’t exactly instill great confidence (particularly given how disastrous the last 14 years of Liberal rule has been for the province).

This post is the first in a series outlining how the Tories can win the next provincial election. Today:  Highlighting the abject failure of Liberal education policy.

Continue reading “How the Ontario Conservatives Can Win the Next Election – Education”

Good Lord, It’s depressing to read the Star these days – more pathetic progressive policy pieces

A few weeks ago I had a rant about an utterly attrocious story in the Toronto Star reporting wholly uncritically upon a Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives study which purported to show (but, in fact didn’t) that low-wage employment had increased in Ontario.  I had thought it was something of a low point for critical journalism, until I read Mark Sarner’s op-ed piece on ending poverty in Saturday’s Star.  Good Lord, if this is the public face of progressive policy, progressives are doomed.

The gist of Mark Sarner’s piece is that we can end poverty with a guaranteed annual income for all. OK, that’s a fair a point, but he goes disastrously off track from there. He proceeds to make the unsupported claim that it would only cost $16 billion to implement such a proposal – less, he claims, than Canadian governments currently spend on social assistance and EI:

The assumption is that we can’t afford to. Are we sure? What would it cost exactly? Answer: about $16 billion a year in today’s dollars. Big money. Yet nowhere near as much as it is costing us now to keep it going.

In total, governments spent $13 billion in welfare payments in 2009, the last year for which numbers are available. Say $15 billion in today’s dollars. Those on EI who are classified as poor account for another $3 billion a year or so. Now add the costs of administration — about $4 billion. All to keep the wheels of the system turning. And turn they do, without end, and without ending poverty.

In other words, we could reduce the societal cost of poverty by $6 billion per year by replacing the existing anti-poverty programs with a guaranteed annual income for all

Continue reading “Good Lord, It’s depressing to read the Star these days – more pathetic progressive policy pieces”

This is Why No One Takes the Toronto Star and the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Seriously

I know I shouldn’t read the Star.  Especially not when it’s reporting on the latest report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (the “CCPA”).  Not because I don’t agree with them (it’s no fun reading people you agree with), but because the degree of stupidity and ignorance which oozes from their writing is just traumatizing to the brain of a thinking person.

Consider this story from today’s Star about the CCPA’s latest report about the ‘eye-popping’ shift to “low-wage” work:

The research compiled by the left-leaning think tank shows that the share of Ontario workers labouring for the minimum wage is now five times higher than in 1997. It rose from less than 3 per cent of all employees to about 12 per cent in 2014.

The share of low-paid work has also ballooned: almost a third of all employees in the province are now making within $4 of the minimum wage, compared with less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 1997.

Oooh, that sounds bad, the number of people working for minimum wage has increased 5-fold, surely this is the end of capitalism.

Continue reading “This is Why No One Takes the Toronto Star and the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Seriously”

No, damnit, Non-Residents Canadians shouldn’t get to vote in Canadian Elections

I read this piece in the Globe by Semra Sevi this morning making the case for why Canadian citizens who reside outside of Canada for more than 5-years should be entitled to vote in Federal elections.  This is response to the federal government’s appeal of a recent Ontario Superior Court decision in Frank et al. v. AG Canada striking down provisions of the Elections Act which precluded Canadian citizens living outside of Canada for more than 5-years from voting in federal elections.  Both the policy and legal arguments for allowing such citizens to vote are misplaced and ignore the local nature of Canadian democracy.  Continue reading “No, damnit, Non-Residents Canadians shouldn’t get to vote in Canadian Elections”

Why are Egypt’s Crimes Stephen Harper’s Fault?

This morning we learned that an Egyptian court – a kangaroo court, if ever there was one – after what can only be characterized as a farce of a trial, had convicted  Mohammed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian Al-Jazeera reporter, on “terrorism-related” charges and sentenced him to 7 years in prison.  That the conviction was preordained is undeniable.   This can probably be taken for granted anywhere in the Arab world, but even by the low standards of the region, this trial was a joke.   Apparently, Egypt defines “terrorism” as saying unflattering, if accurate, things about its shit-hole government (that the current shit-hole government isn’t much worse (or better) than its predecessor shit-hole government, is really neither here nor there).  Still, Mr. Fahmy’s conviction  in itself, isn’t all that interesting – after all, did anyone really expect a fair trial? 

What’s more interesting has been the response of some of Mr. Fahmy’s family and supporters, who have been harshly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Fahmy’s brother’s, Sherif, tweeted Stephen Harper:

I hold you responsible for leaving my brother to rotten in Egyptian prison. Was a call or a public statement that difficult?

Or Tony Burman, columnist for the Toronto Star who said:

The absence of the highest level of intervention, on behalf of the Canadian government has been lamentable. But, there is a chance for reversal…It’s now time for Canada’s prime minister to indicate to Egypt that enough is enough.

More in this vein can be seen here.

Continue reading “Why are Egypt’s Crimes Stephen Harper’s Fault?”

Trinity Western University and Duck Dynasty – Why can’t we get along?

Brandon Ambrosino over at Time has a nice little piece on the Duck Dynasty/Homophobia fiasco that, I think, offers a lot of insight on the recent spat in Canada around the proposed Trinity Western University (TWU) Law School (see my earlier post).  I’d encourage you to read it.

Continue reading “Trinity Western University and Duck Dynasty – Why can’t we get along?”

Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think

There a minor kerfuffle in the legal community this week over news that Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Christian university based in BC, had cleared the initial hurdles to potentially establish a new law school.  What has been particularly controversial about TWU’s application is the community covenant that TWU requires its students (and staff) sign which includes an agreement not to engage in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” (read gay sex).  TWU’s application to establish a law school has been opposed by many of the powers-that-be in the legal community (including the redoubtable Clayton Ruby and the Council of Canadian Law Deans) on the grounds that, among other things, it would be a breeding ground for bigotry.

The Council of Canadian Law Deans has called Trinity Western’s proposal “fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.” And in a statement from a coalition of LGBT affinity groups at Canadian law schools, University of Toronto student Marcus McCann called the decision “totally unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is that no law school in Canada should be allowed to weed out gay students,” he said.

Continue reading “Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think”

Pauline Marois talks Bombings – Well, Separatists Know a Thing Or Two About That

I can’t get enough of the silliness behind Quebec’s proposed Secular Charter.

Pauline Marois, Quebec’s Premier, is quoted in today’s Le Devoir defending her proposal to impose secularism on civil servants (well, except Christians, apparently, unless you think secularism means having a giant freaking crucifix in the National Assembly).   According to her, the French model of secularism she’s proposing to adopt will prevent Quebec from turning into England, where:

“they whack each other on the mouth and send bombs because it’s multiculturalism and nobody can find a place for himself anymore in that society.”

Continue reading “Pauline Marois talks Bombings – Well, Separatists Know a Thing Or Two About That”

It’s Groundhog Day in Quebec

Remember that movie “Groundhog Day“? An arrogant weatherman, played by Bill Murray finds himself living through groundhog day over and over, until he finally mends his ways?  I kind of feel like that with Quebec.

About this time last year, I had a post about the Party Québécois’ (the “PQ“) proposal to prohibit Quebec civil servants from displaying religious symbols at work, well, other than crucifixes (see Secularism – Iran Style).  Well, here we are, a year later, and guess what, we have a post about a new PQ proposal to ban all religious headwear and dress by public sector workers in Quebec (which, given that Quebec’s public sectors is massively bloated is half the work force).  Sigh. Continue reading “It’s Groundhog Day in Quebec”

Coporate Income Tax, Dutch Disease, and Left-Wing Economic Incoherence

I was thinking some more about NDP tax policy the other night and I was struck by the dichotomy between left-wing thinking on tax and monetary policy and their implications for corporations.

The NDP and its fellow-travelers have, for years now, been lamenting the strength of Canada’s dollar, suggesting that it has hollowed out the Canadian manufacturing sector, undermining jobs.  Whether it’s NDP Leader Thomas Mulclair complaining about “Dutch Disease” or labour economists Erin Weir  or Andrew Jackson proposing ways to control the Canadian dollar, the economic brain-trust on the left seem to agree that a rising dollar is bad for both Canadian corporations in the manufacturing sector and, ultimately (though perhaps foremost) their workers.

Continue reading “Coporate Income Tax, Dutch Disease, and Left-Wing Economic Incoherence”