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2014 Ontario General Election

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SonaSonic

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E.R. Campbell said:
Blowing off steam in online fora like Army.ca is pretty harmless, but blowing off highly partisan steam in public, in print, draws some attention if one is either of both a) an extreme partisan blowhard, and/or b) not a very good writer. See the reviews (at the bottom of the page) of this book, for example.

While I have not read the book, from some of the media attention surrounding it, it seems to be quite well-researched from a non-partisan, academic perspective.  A Google search reveals that one of the commenters, Justin Arjoon, is an NDP riding association President and was a campaign manager for the same party; an NDPer calling a Conservative biased isn't exactly new or surprising  :blotto:
 

The Bread Guy

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Bumped with something on the Ontario Conservative leadership front ....
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt remains tight-lipped on whether she's considering a potential bid to lead Ontario's Progressive Conservatives.

Asked whether she's thought about running, Raitt said Thursday she'll continue to represent the riding of Halton, west of Toronto, any way that she can.

Raitt has been the subject of much leadership speculation, with a "Draft Lisa" website set up to promote her as a possible candidate.

Christine Elliott, deputy leader of the Progressive Conservatives, is the only declared candidate in what will be her second leadership run.

She lost to Tim Hudak in 2009, but he resigned after a disastrous loss in the June 12 provincial election.

Her colleagues Vic Fedeli and Monte McNaughton say they're actively considering a bid and Lisa MacLeod appears to be mulling it over as well.

Party president Richard Ciano is also considered to be another possible leadership candidate ....

Draft Lisa page here, Draft Lisa Twitter feed here.
 

Journeyman

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SonaSonic said:
While I have not read the book, from some of the media attention surrounding it, it seems to be quite well-researched from a non-partisan, academic perspective.
Yet, when I go to the Amazon page, it's got 5-stars; one reviewer giving 5-stars (with the in-depth analytical review of  "Incredible!"  Yep, that's the extent of it).  The 2 x one-star reviews apparently don't get factored into the math.

well-researched ....non-partisan.... academic.  Incredible! 

Forgive me if I don't rush out to buy it (or support it online without actually having read it) based on a one-word review and "media attention." 
 

Old Sweat

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Journeyman said:
Yet, when I go to the Amazon page, it's got 5-stars; one reviewer giving 5-stars (with the in-depth analytical review of  "Incredible!"  Yep, that's the extent of it).  The 2 x one-star reviews apparently don't get factored into the math.

well-researched ....non-partisan.... academic.  Incredible! 

Forgive me if I don't rush out to buy it (or support it online without actually having read it) based on a one-word review and "media attention."

Would you like to provide citations to provide academic credibility for your comments?

Jut kidding, bud, I checked Amazon as well.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Well what author wouldn't call his own book really, really good.
Since the author has a couple of different accounts here telling us it's a good read.
 

Scott

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And banned him again - two times.
 

Journeyman

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Scott said:
And banned him again - two times.
So let me get this straight..... the author created multiple accounts here (and used fake names apparently on Amazon.ca) to say how awesome his book is?
      :stars:

And the author fancies himself a politician?  Great.  :brickwall:
 

Edward Campbell

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Maybe he's part of the reason Ontario has had so many years of inept, even corrupt Liberal "leadership:" The Progressive Conservatives fell into the hands of the barbarians. Ontario is not a complex social construct: the mushy middle - socially laisser faire, economically conservative - swings towards whichever party is most like it. For most of my lifetime that was the PCPO (Drew, Frost, Robarts, Davis and, and, and ...) but, recently, the PCPO moved away from the centre and left the field open to the Liberals.

Don't get me wrong, I was, still am a Mike Harris fan; he was exactly what Ontario needed in his time. He did his job, Ontarians were grateful for both a) what he did, and b) for his leaving. The socially conservative lunatic fringe, exemplified by Tim Hudak and Randy Hillier, has to be tossed onto the trash heap of history, where it belongs, if we ever want a return to s competitive two party system, where ideas and policies count. Premiers McGuinty and Wynne never had to campaign on ideas; it was enough that they weren't Conservatives.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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E.R. Campbell said:
Don't get me wrong, I was, still am a Mike Harris fan; he was exactly what Ontario needed in his time. He did his job, Ontarians were grateful for both a) what he did, and b) for his leaving. The socially conservative lunatic fringe, exemplified by Tim Hudak and Randy Hillier, has to be tossed onto the trash heap of history, where it belongs, if we ever want a return to s competitive two party system, where ideas and policies count. Premiers McGuinty and Wynne never had to campaign on ideas; it was enough that they weren't Conservatives.

...you're still my hero.
 

a_majoor

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Anyone who still thinks that Ontario suffers from a "revenue problem" might consider why the Liberals are giving electrical energy away at a loss....

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/12/02/ontarios-power-trip-province-lost-1-2-billion-this-year-exporting-power/

Ontario’s Power Trip: Province lost $1.2-billion this year exporting power
Parker Gallant | December 2, 2013 | Last Updated: Dec 3 8:00 AM ET

That’s a cost $250 for every average ratepayer

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli keeps spinning on his province’s energy mess. “Looking to the future,” he told a local newspaper, “we expect that [electricity] rates will continue to increase but we’ve taken very significant steps to mitigate those rate increases.” To support his claim, Mr. Chiarelli says that the province has deferred an investment in new nuclear power, renegotiated a Samsung power deal and brought in new controls on wind power that combined will save the system $20-billion.

As a starting point, this minister needs a bolt of financial literacy if he believes not spending an extra $20-billion actually saves the system anything.

The fact is that Ontario consumers and industry will not see any relief in their power bills. Nothing brings that point home more than an examination of how much electricity Ontario exports, mostly to the United States, and what those exports cost ratepayers.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) produces a daily, weekly and monthly report referred to on their website as “Market Summaries.” From these reports one is able to discern considerably more information than the recently launched emPOWERme website that Chiarelli announced with much fanfare just last week. The emPOWERme site seems aimed at eight or nine year olds who aren’t involved in paying the hydro bills. By contrast, the IESO site is aimed at providing information that enables “energy literate” ratepayers to really understand what is driving up their bills.

Related
Ontario’s latest electricity scheme: Pumped energy storage
Ontario’s Power Trip: Auditor General confirms $1-billion power plant boondoggle

The IESO reports are particularly helpful as they disclose extensive information on the provincial power markets, including the average hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP), average daily consumption levels, average exports, and the final all-in price per kilowatt (kWh) hour, along with adjustments made by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).

The news is not good. For the first 10 months of 2013, Ontario exported 14,983,776 MWh (enough to power almost 1.6 million average Ontario homes for a full year). Revenue from those exports totaled $381-million. Average price for the exports works out to 2.54 cents per kWh.

Now let’s look at what those 14,983,776 exported MWh cost ratepayers. Using the IESO monthly reports, we find that the all-in cost – as reported in the IESO’s “Summary of Wholesale Market Electricity Charges in Ontario’s Competitive Marketplace”– for the 10 months worth of exports is $1.6-billion, or 10.5 cents a kWh. From the two above dollar figures any literate person can quickly determine that we lose just over $1.2-billion on our exports. That’s a loss of eight cents per kWh and a cost $250 for every average ratepayer in the province over 10 months. The last two months of the year will likely push that to $300.


No sign of these numbers at Chiarelli’s emPOWERme site. And no indication that the main source of all that exported energy is the wind and solar plants installed by Chiarelli’s government. Ratepayers are subsidizing wind and solar at home and at the same time delivering cheap power to Ontario’s economic competitors.

Parker Gallant is a former Canadian banker who looked at his local electricity bill and didn’t like what he saw. His first Ontario’s Power Trip report was published on FP Comment in 2010.
 

a_majoor

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Another DIY idea, this time used to purify water, although in principle it can be used as a water heater as well:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/08/small-magnifyig-glass-burn-ants-six.html#more

Small Magnifying Glass burns ants - Six foot lens can make safe drinking water for the worlds poor and save millions of lives per yaer

Millions of people die every year from diseases and pathogens found in unclean water, and they can’t help it because that’s all they have. Either they drink it or they die.

Deshawn Henry, a University at Buffalo sophomore civil engineering major, who researched how to improve a 6-foot-tall, self-sustaining magnifying glass.

Properly termed a water lens, the device uses another abundant resource — sunlight — to heat and disinfect polluted water. Since the frame for the lens can be constructed from commonly found materials — wood, plastic sheeting and water — the lens can be built for almost no cost, offering an inexpensive method to treat water.

The device may not look like much, but it can heat a liter of water to between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit in a little more than an hour, destroying 99.9 percent of bacteria and pathogens.

Deshawn Henry working on the water lens that can heat a liter of water to between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit in a little more than an hour, destroying 99.9 percent of bacteria and pathogens.

The water lens could have a huge impact in developing countries,” says Henry, a Queens’ native who performed the study under James Jensen, professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

“Millions of people die every year from diseases and pathogens found in unclean water, and they can’t help it because that’s all they have. Either they drink it or they die.”

The lens consists of a plastic sheet covered with water supported by a wooden frame. The frame holds a small container of water below the lens in line with a focal point created from a concentrated ray of sunlight. Barring the weather, once assembled, the lens functions freely. Due to the sun’s movement throughout the day, Henry needs to repeatedly shift the container to match the focal point.

Henry’s research tested how altering the thickness of the plastic sheet and the volume of water over the sheet affected the efficiency of the lens. The device was tested with plastic sheets that were 0.7, 1 and 2 millimeters thick, and water volumes of four, six and eight liters.

The study found that adding more water to the lens improved efficiency, as larger areas of water transmitted more energy from sunlight. However, thicker plastic sheets consumed more energy from light, lowering the lens’ efficiency.

A plastic sheet that was too thin or excessive amounts of water could break the lens. Henry concluded that the 0.7-millimeter sheet could efficiently heat the container while supporting eight liters of water, but any more and the sheet could potentially break.

With 1.1 billion people lacking access to clean drinking water, Henry’s work could make a difference in the world, says Jensen, who frequently mentors undergraduate students during summer research programs.

Henry studied under Jensen through the UB Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, which connects underrepresented students with research opportunities in STEM fields. LSAMP is one of many programs in the Office of Undergraduate Education focused on increasing experiential-learning opportunities for students.

“I have seen how intense research activities can inspire UB students and educate the next generation of innovators,” says Jensen. “Deshawn’s work would allow a family in sunny regions to treat drinking water without having to expend energy or rely on imported technologies.”

Building a larger water lens that remains efficient is the next step in Henry’s research. A family of five would need a lens at least three times the size of the device he constructed, which was designed to heat one liter of water at a time, says Henry.
 

Edward Campbell

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In the long, long battle to do what she must do, Premier Wynne wins one and appears to be losing another.

One of her problems is that many, probably most Ontarians will agree with an aviation fuel surtax and many will feel sorry for public service workers.
 

SeaKingTacco

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I can pretty much bet that the major airlines are all figuring ways of reducing stops in Ontario (especially where they have to buy fuel).

I'll bet both the Winnipeg and Montreal Airport Authorities, however, welcome the tax!
 

The_Falcon

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E.R. Campbell said:
In the long, long battle to do what she must do, Premier Wynne wins one and appears to be losing another.

One of her problems is that many, probably most Ontarians will agree with an aviation fuel surtax and many will feel sorry for public service workers.

Of course most Ontarians will agree with the tax, because most just assume it will only affect those who travel frequently, and have no consequence on them at all.  The fact that Pearson is the largest air cargo hub in the country (and one the main ports of entry for cargo via air), will go completely unnoticed by them, as they continue to buy their crap on amazon, ebay, et al, and they start wondering why their shipping costs have gone up, and they won't put 2 and 2 together.
 

Edward Campbell

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This article, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail is about Ontario, but it applies to conservatives all across Canada:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-pcs-need-to-focus-on-economics-not-sex-ed-if-they-want-to-govern/article23209661/
gam-masthead.png

Ontario PCs will never govern by fighting the culture wars

JOHN IBBITSON
The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Feb. 26 2015

To appropriate a phrase, when Ontario sneezes, Canada gets a cold. Which is why everyone from St. John’s to Victoria should be frustrated by the contretemps over that province’s new sex-education curriculum.

Ontario’s finances are in terrible shape, dragging down the national economy. Since Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne appears to be unable or unwilling to tackle the problem, that leaves the Progressive Conservatives as the only party that might put the province’s books back in order.

But instead of readying themselves for government, some Tory MPPs are plunging their party into a culture war over whether and when students should be taught human sexuality. They continue to refuse to understand what both Mike Harris and Stephen Harper understood: Conservatives lose when they focus on social conservatism and win when they focus on economic conservatism. The Tories’ folly, unless they abandon it, will ensure Liberal election victories for many years to come.

Despite low growth and high unemployment, Ontario remains home to almost 40 per cent of Canada’s population and economy. So when the situation deteriorated to the point, in 2009, that the province became eligible for equalization payments, the fiscal federation shuddered. Who would pay into the pot, now that Ontario was taking from it?

The answer, of course, was Alberta. But Canada’s richest province may be headed for its very own recession, thanks to tanking oil prices.

So we have a situation this year in which Ontario will be drawing $2.4-billion in equalization – money that the other have-not provinces will have to do without – mostly paid for by Westerners, even with Alberta in recession. Not healthy for all concerned.

The falling oil prices that hurt the Alberta economy should boost the Ontario economy. But the province has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the past 10 years. Many of those jobs were in businesses that closed. There are no shifts to return to.

Liberal efforts to reverse the decline – usually right-hearted but often wrong-headed – have left the province with rising electricity bills, a deep structural deficit, and a provincial debt that has soared from 28 per cent of the GDP to 40 per cent on their watch. Ontario’s debt now represents half of all provincial debt, which the province’s auditor general calls “a national concern.”

The solution is as obvious as it is unpleasant: Queen’s Park needs to cut spending in order to eliminate the deficit. It will be harder to find a doctor. Classrooms will get larger. Municipalities will have to cut back on garbage collection. Public servants will face layoffs and wage cuts. Reversing a decade of deficits will be hugely painful. The Liberals clearly don’t have the stomach for it.

The Progressive Conservatives, however, may not be fit to govern. The party has lost four consecutive elections, thanks to foolish pandering to social conservatives with promises of public funding for faith-based schools and by referring to new Canadians as “foreign workers.”

Now they’re doing it again. While objecting to the province’s new sex-education curriculum, unveiled this week, Tory leadership candidate Monte McNaughton declared, “it’s not the Premier of Ontario’s job, especially Kathleen Wynne, to tell parents what’s age-appropriate for their children.”

Ms. Wynne is a lesbian and, despite his protestations, Mr. McNaughton’s remark was interpreted by many as homophobic.

“What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing?” Premier Wynne thundered in the Legislature. “Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council chair? Is it that I was the minister of education?”

“What is it exactly that the member opposite thinks disqualifies me from doing the job that I’m doing? What is that?”

Stephen Harper has won three federal elections by prohibiting any debate on abortion or other social-conservative hot buttons. Former Ontario premier Mike Harris, an enthusiastic tax cutter and budget balancer, won his second majority government after promising to extend provincial benefits to same-sex couples (though he was nudged by the Supreme Court).

Christine Elliott, who is leading in the race to replace Tim Hudak, is trying to distance herself from the sex-ed debate. But others in the caucus and party are happy to rage against modernity.

When Liberal Education Minister Liz Sandals asked rhetorically whether the province should also abandon teaching evolution, Tory MPP Rick Nicholls retorted that he thought it would be a good idea.

“I don’t believe in evolution,” he told reporters Wednesday. “People are entitled to their own perspectives and views on life.”

Meanwhile, the provincial debt continues to climb. For anyone who believes Canada can’t be healthy if Ontario isn’t healthy, it’s enough to make you weep.


John Ibbitson speaks the truth: Ontarians, indeed Canadians at large, even in Alberta, are not social conservatives and they will not become social conservatives ... we, especially "new Canadians" in  the suburbs are more conservative on some issues than we were a generation ago, but Canadian are not, in any meaningful numbers, opposed to abortion or gay marriage and so on ~ the touchstone issues for the religious right.

Social conservatives do, of course, have a perfect right to speak out, to make their case .... but when they do they need to be drummed out of the mainstream Conservative movement and made to fend for themselves in the political wilderness. To keep them in the Conservative fold is to guarantee Liberal domination in Queens Park and Ottawa.
 

a_majoor

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Elections have cansequences. This open letter in the FP shows that *we* can have a much better electrical system in Ontario (cheaper, more cost efficient), if the government applied some market principles. Given that they are already implimenting part of the PCOP's election platform by freezing civil service wages and attrittion, breaking the beer store and LCBO wine monopoly etc. there is a [small] chance that these ideas may be implimented as well. Write your MPP:

http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/ontarios-power-trip-dear-minister-heres-how-you-can-stop-power-price-hikes

Ontario’s Power Trip: Dear Minister, here’s how you can stop power price hikes
Parker Gallant | April 1, 2015 4:34 PM ET
More from Parker Gallant

Parker Gallant, the former banker who several years ago launched FP Comment’s prophetic Ontario’s Power Trip campaign against the province’s expensive and pointless electricity industry reforms, has some new advice for the government. As the price of electricity soars, Ontario industries and consumers are being hammered by rate increases that seem never-ending. In an open letter today to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, Mr. Gallant lists a few easy initiatives the government could undertake to stop some of the madness and save consumers billions of dollars.  Terence Corcoran

LETTER FROM PARKER GALLANT

April 1, 2015

The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy,

Legislative Building,

Queen’s Park,

Toronto ON

M7A 1A1

Dear Minister Chiarelli:

Re: Dropping Ontario’s Price for Electricity

I have noted the difficulty you have experienced over the past several months trying to convince the media and the general population of Ontario they should simply bite the bullet and accept the fact that electricity prices will continue their above inflation climb. Having studied the situation I believe I have come up with some suggestions that would allow you to move things in the opposite direction.

First I suspect that Premier Wynne and Finance Minister Sousa exerted considerable pressure on you to come up with a scheme to help out the 500,000 to 700,000 “low-income” households in the province experiencing what is generally referred to as “energy poverty.” While the plan recommended came from the Ontario Energy Board and was altered somewhat by yourself I believe I have a better plan.

More on that later in this letter.

I also suspect that the Premier and Finance Minister told you unequivocally the OCEB was finished at the end of the year as they wish to wave better deficit numbers in front of those pesky credit rating agencies. The $1.2 billion that went to keep electricity rates down, a little bit, would no longer be available and they made that clear to you.

While you did your best to dance around the issue associated with the upcoming big jump in our electricity bills I could see the criticism was troublesome for you. As a result I believe my suggestions on what you should do will put some spring back in your step.

Here they are:

Recommendations to reduce future ratepayer bills

Conservation spending for the period 2015 to 2020 is forecast and budgeted at $1,835 million so drop it and that will provide close to $400 million annually that can go to reduce electricity prices.

Next, cancel the acquisition of the 500 MW of renewable wind and solar that you instructed IESO to acquire. That will save an estimated $200 million annually in future costs that would increase our rates.

I note there are 510 MW of wind generation contracts awarded that have not yet obtained their REA from the MoE and I recommend you also cancel those. I estimate that would provide relief from future increases of another $200 million per annum. I would suspect the costs of exiting these will be nominal.

Needless to say the cancellation of the above 1,010 MW of renewable energy will reduce future power surpluses meaning the HOEP might show some upward movement. That would allow all the dispatched wind and solar, spilled hydro, steamed off nuclear and idled gas to be sold via the market place to our neighbours. I estimate we could sell anywhere from 10/15 TWh annually at a price of somewhere around $40 million per TWh which would earn revenue of $400/600 million annually.

I would also cancel the new OESP plan which is estimated to cost $200 million (including a new administrative bureaucracy costing $20 million) annually.

Now if you do the math on the above the amount of money your portfolio would save in the future and also generate new income it totals $1.7 billion.

You could than use some of that $1.7 billion to both decrease electricity prices and provide relief for those suffering from “energy poverty.”

My recommendations on those two issues follow:

Recommendations to relieve “energy poverty”

First you should instruct the OEB that the .12% allocated to the LEAP program be increased immediately (providing you have completed the other recommendations) to 1% which will immediately make over $30 million available to the social agencies for relief purposes. You should also increase the maximums per household to $1,000 and instruct the OEB that the Return on Equity and/or Return on Assets for the LDC are to reflect a reduction to accommodate this.

Second you should drop the TOU off-peak rate from 7.7 cents per kWh to 5 cents per kWh. The cost of this would be about $350 million. It would also benefit many of those “low-income” households meaning they would no longer suffer from “energy poverty.” The other benefit is that the ratio of offpeak to on-peak would be much closer to the 3 : 1 ratio that the Auditor General suggested it should be and get more people to shift their use. It would also benefit our business community.

The cost of the two above recommendations are less than $400 million meaning ratepayers will be better off by avoiding future rate hikes and seeing some relief on existing rates. At the same time the TOU pricing will provide a clear signal that usage should shift preserving the “conservation” theme.

I certainly hope you will give my suggestions some serious thought and I do look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Parker Gallant
 

Edward Campbell

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Red Ed Clark is not everyone's idea of a "Nature red in tooth and claw" capitalist, in fact, an earlier Globe and Mail article said:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/how-tds-red-ed-clark-became-a-force-in-canada/article10713002/
Mr. Clark ... first gained notoriety as a fresh-faced deputy minister in the Trudeau government who orchestrated the National Energy Program in 1980, a push to give Ottawa greater control over the energy sector that made him a lightning rod for criticism in the oil patch.

He was dubbed “Red Ed.” The name has stuck as an easy – some would say simplistic – descriptor of his supposedly left-leaning days in the federal bureaucracy. After all, critics said, his doctoral thesis in economics at Harvard was about Tanzanian socialism.

When he found himself out of favour in Ottawa in the Mulroney era – after winning the Outstanding Civil Servant of the Year award in 1982 – he surprised many by jumping to the private sector, at Merrill Lynch Canada.

Mr Clark rose up though the (higher) ranks, doing one especially difficult job with skill and grace under pressure, and eventually took the reigns of TD, arguably Canada's best run bank. He and his far more conservative colleague Don Drummond, also a former senior civil servant, were, in fact, powers on the global banking stage.

Anyway, "Red Ed" or not, it appears, from this article, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, that, despite having very, very (ridiculously) restricted terms of reference,* he gave Premier Wynne precious little room to manoeuvre: she was, finally, forced to act against her own and her party's nature and accept that markets (private companies) are "better," more efficient, offer better returns to shareholders than bureaucracies:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/hydro-one-privatization-was-not-natural-for-ontario-liberals-clark-says/article24017305/
gam-masthead.png

Hydro One privatization was ‘not natural’ for Ontario Liberals, Clark says

JANE TABER AND ADRIAN MORROW
TORONTO — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Apr. 17 2015

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne went against her own political beliefs to privatize Hydro One, the massive utility company owned and controlled by her provincial government, says the former Bay Street banker who advised her on the sale.

But Ed Clark said he told Ms. Wynne she would pay a huge price if the Ontario government continued borrowing to finance new transit construction, adding to its massive debt.

“So you’ve got to make a choice,” Mr. Clark, the former CEO of Toronto Dominion Bank, said he told the Premier. “And that’s what she did. She made a choice and did something that was not natural for her, not natural for her party, not natural for her cabinet, and said, ‘But in the end of the day, if we don’t fix that, we won’t have an economy that’s strong enough …’ ”

Ms. Wynne formed Mr. Clark’s panel last spring to find ways for the government to pay for new infrastructure.

In a discussion with The Globe and Mail’s editorial board on Friday, Mr. Clark talked about the behind-the-scenes decision-making that led to Ms. Wynne’s announcement this week that the government will sell 60 per cent of the huge utility. It is expected to earn an estimated $9-billion from the sale – $4-billion for a transit-building fund and $5-billion to pay down debt.

And he said that while he believes private companies are more efficient than those run by government, Ms. Wynne was only comfortable going so far – and put strict restraints on his panel as it considered what to recommend concerning Hydro One and the province’s monopolistic beer market, which is in private hands, but regulated by the province. “This is a pretty big shift ideologically for this government,” Mr. Clark said.

“This is not a government that ideologically comes and says, ‘I love selling down public assets.’ That’s not where [Ms. Wynne] is coming from at all.”

Mr. Clark characterized Hydro One as a “dead” company, bogged down and inefficient because of government red tape. But he said the Wynne government felt more secure keeping part of Hydro One than allowing it all to be sold. “This [the partial sale] itself is a huge step, and so it gives them comfort to say, ‘Okay I am not selling it off … it will be a future government that may change its mind on it. Premier Wynne has said ‘I am not doing that,’ but she is also not saying she is going to be premier for 100 years.”

He said he is “quite satisfied” with the approach.

Mr. Clark’s candid comments about the restrictions his panel faced in how far it could go with its recommendations help explain why the province made only modest reforms to the beer retail system – allowing the Beer Store to keep much of its lucrative private monopoly even as 450 grocery stores will gain the right to sell beer.

The government opted not to eliminate the current system. In addition to allowing beer in grocery stores, the province will impose a beer tax to raise $100-million a year.

It will not allow beer to be sold in convenience stores, as it is in Quebec. Mr. Clark said Ms. Wynne vetoed that idea without consulting his panel. “Without asking us, she says, ‘We’re not doing this in convenience stores,’” he told The Globe’s editorial board.

“Those are truly political discussions,” Mr. Clark said. “We had a mandate to look at it and say, ‘Here are your choices … We kept saying, ‘What is doable for you?’”

She also wanted the province to continue to control prices so they would not be higher in rural areas than in downtown Toronto, which would have more stores and more competition. “That’s what politicians do,” he said. “They make those choices, and if the population says … ‘I want to live in a society where I can buy beer at midnight,’ [then] throw her out of office. That’s not for me to decide.”


If Premier Wynne had listened to Don Drummond (who wrote the first report telling the ON premier that the Liberal Party's "loony lefty" policies were (still are) foolishly driving ON into deep economic doo-doo) then, perhaps, this whole exercise would have been more comfortable.

But Premier Wynne, like Premier McGuinty, are from the "tax and spend," "big government knows best," essentially social-democrat Liberal Party and they do not, cannot listen to anyone who speaks truth to power.

Kathleen Wynne is a remarkable and intelligent woman. But, she's a fool. She's a fool because she is unwilling to learn anything new. And she's a fool because she surrounds herself with people very, very much like her. Many of us, in the military, learned, from experience, that a diverse team often (usually) works best, especially when strong team members challenge the leader's ideas. Premiker Wynne's team ~ her cabinet and her own office ~ are all clones of her and that's a recipe for failure.


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* Which is why her "beer" policy is so terminally stupid.
 

a_majoor

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Freezing civil service pay and benefits

Selling beer and wine in grocery stores

Privatizing Hydro One

The Ontario Liberals are discovering the truth of the two statements:

"The facts of life are conservative" and "The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money". (Margaret Thatcher.)

Who says Tim Hudak lost after all? His policies are being enacted by a majority government
 

Edward Campbell

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Premier Wynne is still trying to raise revenue ... there is always some revenue to be raised, but the margins get finer and finer as time goes on.

The simple fact, and I assert that it is both simple a fact, is that Ontario, and all the other provinces and the national government and most city governments, too, spend too much. They spend money they cannot raise. They borrow and then they spend to pay the interest on the debt. It's madness; utter madness. Spending, especially social spending, must stop growing, then it must be cut back.

I'm not arguing for a return to the high Victorian era of debtors' prison and workhouses but I am arguing that we need to "get real" and remember that even Jesus taught that we will always have the poor with us. We can alleviate the plight of the poor but we cannot eradicate poverty itself and it is beyond foolish to try.

The fact, and once again I suggest that it is a fact, that we need the temporary foreign worker programme because, in part, many, many Canadians will not do hard, unpleasant, dirty work for low wages but that we have massive social welfare budget tells me that our system is broken.

I do not have answers but I am convinced they must include things like "workfare" where one can draw both some social assistance and work at a low wage job ~ low wage jobs can and do lead to better jobs. Maybe we need to think about the 1930s again ...

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... does anyone recognize these building from Kingston, Trenton and Calgary? What they all have in common is that they were built in the 1930s by people employed under the Public Works Construction Act (1934) which was designed to create jobs for the growing army of the unemployed.

We don't have an "army" of unemployed, but we do have a few regiments of them, and a few brigades of the "underemployed." Social spending is not good Keynsian economics. Most people only read one half of John Maynard Keynes prescription; he also said that spending must be turned off in good times and we all understand that it is politically nearly impossible to turn off social programmes. Construction and maintenance of infrastructure (public works), on the other hand, can be switched on and off as Keynes suggested.

Now, it will be argued that unions will not longer tolerate this sort of things, but labour unions are a fast fading part of the economy ~ public sector unions, unionized teachers and clerks are powerful, but traditional organized labourers are become increasingly rare.

What are "good" public works?

    Urban transit systems

          Repair of bridges and overpasses

              Restoration of public buildings
                   
                    Cleaning up lakes and rivers

                            And of course the list can go on and on.

What is not "good" spending is to pay able people to sit home and watch TV when there is work than can be done.

In good time there are jobs and we ought not to have to import anyone except skilled workers. In tough times we may have to "make work" to allow people to earn their keep.
 

Fishbone Jones

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You would first have to break the unions or, at least, diminish their power to near zero. This would also include closing loopholes on election advertising and political contributions through second party entities, they set up themselves, to bypass the rules.

Any attempt at giving jobs to the underprivileged, in the areas where unions believe only they have the sole right to participate, will end up in civil unrest and the unions demanding part of the meager wages, for membership, from the workfare participants.
 
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