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2014 Ontario General Election

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Edward Campbell

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recceguy said:
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.


That's one, obvious, route, but ... some pretty smart economists are asking governments to consider issuing long term (50 year) bonds to finance equally long term infrastructure maintenance projects. The target is the underemployed who have some skills and a willingness to work. The problem is that you have to have a lot of project going, all at once, to really create new jobs. First you have to give decent, full time, adequately paid work to the underemployed then demand (for labour) will kick in and there will be new jobs, at lower wages, for the unemployed who have never worked, including new entrants to the labour market.

The problem is fairly narrow: young men who left school with inadequate skills and knowledge. Two generations ago, when i was a youngster, there were jobs for them: in mills, in factories, in construction. Technology and wages killed many of those jobs but we didn't find a way to keep those young people ~ overwhelmingly boys ~ in schools and even if they stayed we had nothing useful to teach them. (When I went to high school most of my classmates were in the so called general (vocational) scheme that led them towards useful employment (at age 16, after 10th grade., in many cases) I was in the "academic" programme, which led towards university, it was already, over a half century ago, dominated (by about 5:4 if my high-school class photo is a good guide) by the girls.)

Those young men, school leavers or graduates of the "general" programme used the be the backbone of our industrial economy. But now we are making the transition to a service (knowledge) economy and there are not enough jobs for the young (mostly) men who leave school with too little academic foundation.

Fifty+ years ago young men and women who graduated from high school in the so called "academic" programme but did not wish to go on to university could, just for example, get a job in a bank. Officially, as far as I can tell, most banks still require only a high school graduation but, in practice, I was told by a very reliable source, a BComm is the norm ~ because everyone the bank hires as an entry level teller is seen as a potential branch manager and the banks have ten applicants for every job; they can, and do, pick and choose. Fifty+ years ago the industrial/manufacturing sector was twice as large a share of the Canadian economy as it is today. See, e.g. this. Services - often moderately skilled but low paid jobs, account for over 75% of the jobs, but natural resources, logging and mining, mainly, are our second largest product in value. But resources, while rich, provide very few jobs, even though the jobs are good, especially for young men, and well paid.

It is one sector that has the most problems in Canada: young, underemployed men. That is the sector which can be helped most effectively by spending on infrastructure. The question is: how do we pay for that spending?

 

Fishbone Jones

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I am all for workfare and some of the responsibility has to be shared by the recipients.

If you are a second or third generation welfare recipient family, you should be cut off to break the chain. I don't care if they have to pick up trash on the highways for their money.

I'm tired of working, so the government can take MY money, and give it to those that won't.
 

ModlrMike

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E.R. Campbell said:
...a willingness to work.

That, right there, is the biggest part of the problem.

In my work I see a many, many, fit and able young men and women who don't work, and have no intention of working because we pay them adequately not to.
 

ballz

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E.R. Campbell said:
It is one sector that has the most problems in Canada: young, underemployed men. That is the sector which can be helped most effectively by spending on infrastructure. The question is: how do we pay for that spending?

I disagree that spending on infrastructure is the answer at all. Spending on infrastructure does nothing to help the economy. If we need certain infrastructure, than certainly, we should pay for it to be constructed. But we shouldn't construct infrastructure with the goal to "stimulate" the economy. Infrastructure spending is the product of a productive economy, a productive economy is not the product of infrastructure spending.

Stimulus spending does not cause an economy to actually start producing things. It only inflates the currency. If someone were to suggest that we double all public sector wages for a month, because they will then take that money and spend it, which is "stimulating" the economy, we would tell them to go pound sand for very good reasons. In the case of building infrastructure in the hopes of creating jobs, it is the exact same idea, except we do get an extra bridge or a new road or something, but we don't end up with an economy that is "back on track" at all.

All those "very smart economists" are drinking the same Keynesian Kool-Aid and its literally driving governments off the famous "bridge to nowhere."
 

a_majoor

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How to pay for a national public works/infrastructure program is a twofer:

For the actual product (rebuilt and repaired roads, bridges, railway tracks, pipelines etc.), bonds with maturities matched to the expected lifetimes of the products is a good idea; most of these assets will be providing a payout for the general economy for at least 25 years on average (things like transit don't have as long a life due to demographic changes; your light rail tracks might be servicing a nice neighbourhood today, but even 10 years from now...), but there must also be very strong control over what "qualifies"; spending infrastructure monies of hockey arenas, "performing arts centres", bike trails and so on is a diversion of money from the productive economy.

The "short term money" should be from the current social welfare budget to pay the actual wages. The government is already committed to paying this out as welfare, support payments etc., so we might as well demand we get some value from that money. I'm kind of seeing the governments using some sort of temp agency or contractor arrangement; for every person they place in a national infrastructure job, they get "x" dollars, of which most pays the wages and benefits and some remains with the placement agency. The incentive, of course, is they will bust their butts rounding up people and placing them in a job.

The other issue is to prevent some sort of endless dependency by either lower levels of government or recipients of national infrastructure jobs. Perhaps making this a 5 year project, or doing a running rollout (rebuilding the TC-1 going from the Maritimes to BC, moving funds and jobs from province to province as the highway is rebuilt might be a model, with other projects moving with the highway project itself), but smart people can think of their own solutions.

And here is an interesting counterpoint from a longer article which suggests that true infrastructure investment does have a positive effect on the economy, which is why it is actually opposed by certain factions in the current political class (this may also explain the enthusiasm for funding clearly non infrastructure projects out of infrastructure funds):

http://unionwatch.org/desalination-plants-vs-bullet-trains-and-pensions/

Desalination Plants vs. Bullet Trains and Pensions
by ED RING on APRIL 7, 2015 · 6 COMMENTS

Current policy solutions enacted to address California’s water crisis provide an object lesson in how corruption masquerading as virtue is impoverishing the general population to enrich a handful of elites. Instead of building freeways, expanding ports, restoring bridges and aqueducts, and constructing dams, desalination plants, and power stations, California’s taxpayers are pouring tens of billions each year into public sector pension funds – who invest 90% of the proceeds out-of-state, and the one big construction project on the table, the $100B+ “bullet train,” fails to justify itself under virtually any credible cost/benefit analysis. Why?

The reason is because infrastructure, genuinely conceived in the public interest, lowers the cost of living. This in-turn causes artificially inflated asset values to fall, imperiling the solvency of pension funds – something that would force them to reduce benefits. Beneficial infrastructure is also a threat to crony capitalists who don’t want a business climate that attracts competitors. Affordable land, energy, and water encourage economic growth. Crony capitalists and public sector unions alike hide behind environmentalists, who oppose growth and development, all of it, everywhere – because no new developments, anywhere, suits their monopolistic interests. No wonder the only infrastructure vision still alive in California, the “bullet train,” is nothing more than a gigantic, tragic farce.
 

Edward Campbell

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George Wallace said:
The Teachers Union may be the first to be weened of the Wynne Government Kool-Aid.  ;D


toronto-ontario-may-5-2015-strike-peel-region-teachers.jpg


I think the Ontario Teachers have already realized that they have no friends in Premier Wynne's Ontario ...
 

cavalryman

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E.R. Campbell said:
toronto-ontario-may-5-2015-strike-peel-region-teachers.jpg


I think the Ontario Teachers have already realized that they have no friends in Premier Wynne's Ontario ...

Something about a petard one hoists oneself on? ;D
 

Edward Campbell

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Who's the happiest person in Ontario this afternoon?
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kathleen-wynne.jpg

                    Premier Kathleen Wynne
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I think the Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) has just voted with its heart and not its head. Patrick Brown is a formidable organizer and campaigner but, yet again, the leader of the PCPO is too conservative for, broadly, progressive Ontario,

My guess is that a PCPO led by Christine Elliott could have defeated Premier Wynne's Liberals last year and that Ms Elliott could do so in the next election. Mr Brown is young, attractive, essentially unknown and a pro-life activist and fairly hard-line social conservative. Dalton McGuinty defeated Ernie Eves, John Tory and Tim Hudak and then Kathleen Wynne defeated Mr Hudak for a second time ... Eves and Tory were social moderates but Hudak was a social conservative and Ontario rejected his party twice.

Ontario is, broadly and generally, a socially liberal place and it was, until about 1970, fiscally conservative. Big spending, often ill considered big spending, came into vogue with (PC) Premier Bill Davis,  and after him David Peterson and Bob Rae continued to overspend. Mike Harris slowed things but then it was time for McGuinty and Wynne. Ontarians are, now, feeling very "entitled to their entitlements' and they are not afraid of big, punishing deficits. It's pretty clear that Mr Brown will be out of step on the social issues; his fiscal position is unknown ~ he's not overly active, he's a member of the Standing Committee on Health and was, previously, a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. He has been active in promoting free trade with Asia, so that's a plus.
 

The Bread Guy

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E.R. Campbell said:
Who's the happiest person in Ontario this afternoon?
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kathleen-wynne.jpg

                    Premier Kathleen Wynne
:nod:

<parochial note to new Ontario Conservative leader>
If you really want to reach out to Northern Ontario, saying you've been to "Emu" when you meant "Emo" doesn't help.
</parochial note to new Ontario Conservative leader>
 

Edward Campbell

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Further to Patrick Brown ... it's a good example of activist politics and it's why I have argued over the years for going "back to the future" and having party leaders elected by their parliamentary/legislative caucuses, not by the party, at large, as is done in the UK.

Now the argument against this is that it is elitist, but the argument for it is twofold:

    First:    Who is better positioned to select the leader, party members in their ridings or the elected parliamentary/legislative caucus who must work for the leader?

    Second: It prevents the party from being highjacked by single issue or politically narrow activists, as I would argue, was done in the PCPO in 2015.

We recognize the danger of activists in law ~ under the Elections Act* party leaders must sign the nomination papers of candidates selected by local associations as a check against candidates who might have been selected locally but who are not acceptable to the party at large.

I believe Patrick Brown ran a socially conservative activist campaign and used his own socially conservative followers to marshal support right across the province. As I said, above, he's a formidable organizer and campaigner but I fear he is the wrong leader for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.


_____
* § 66 (1) (a) (v) and http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&dir=can/bck&document=index&lang=e
 

George Wallace

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E.R. Campbell said:
Who's the happiest person in Ontario this afternoon?
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kathleen-wynne.jpg

                    Premier Kathleen Wynne
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DAMN!

Every time there is a photo of Kathleen Wynne smiling, it means she has introduced a new tax.

What new tax (of fee) did she announce now?

She says she is not raising taxes.  Fine.  However, she introduces new fees and taxes.......Excuse me....You dummy, we are now paying more taxes and fees......The taxes may not have gone up, but the number of taxes have increased.  Same thing Kathleen!

 

Edward Campbell

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Michael Den Tandt of the Nation Post offers this pithy advice on Twitter:

    "All ON PCs have to do to win is offer responsible economic management. That's all. They do that they win."

I suspect he's right. But I also suspect that the activists who campaigned so hard for Patrick Brown will put intense pressure on him and his inner circle to stress their social agenda, not "responsible economic management," and Premier Wynne might ride that to another term in Office in 2018.

 

Old Sweat

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I don't know very much about Mr Brown. In fact my first hand knowledge comes from a charity hockey game at the North Grenville Community Centre between a local pick-op team and the CPC caucus team coached by the PM. The best player on the ice from either team was Patrick Brown, which doesn't qualify him for anything except maybe a follow-on career as a Zamboni driver.

Don't forget, back circa 1994 or 1995 I saw Peter Mansbridge suggest that Mike Harris was too conservative to ever win an election in Ontario.
 

Edward Campbell

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Old Sweat said:
I don't know very much about Mr Brown. In fact my first hand knowledge comes from a charity hockey game at the North Grenville Community Centre between a local pick-op team and the CPC caucus team coached by the PM. The best player on the ice from either team was Patrick Brown, which doesn't qualify him for anything except maybe a follow-on career as a Zamboni driver.

Don't forget, back circa 1994 or 1995 I saw Peter Mansbridge suggest that Mike Harris was too conservative to ever win an election in Ontario.


I don't know anything about him either: other than the documented facts about his committee work (not economic), his community outreach (excellent with the Indo-Canadian and Philippines-Canadian communities, à la Jason Kenney) and his evident ability to organize and campaign very, very effectively.

I think Mike Harris was "too conservative" for Ontario, but after Bill Davis, David Peterson and Bob Rae Ontarians wanted needed Mike Harris: they wanted Leslie Front/John Robarts but that sort of "adult leadership" wasn't available. Mike Harris' "common sense revolution," with its explicit promise to both cut taxes and get spending under control (he did balance the budget, by slashing and offloading social services, and cut taxes, but it wasn't pretty (in an economic sense) nor was it really popular), was on offer and Ontarians took it because, as Mrs Thatchers always said: "This Is No Alternative."

Now, it may be that Patrick Brown, or his inner circle, can figure out "responsible economic management" and IF they can then I believe Ontarians will vote for it. Ontarians will not vote for social conservatism ~ it can be a (small) part of a package, but the wrapping paper and the big bow on that package must be sound fiscal policy ... in my opinion.
 

foresterab

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I debated putting this in the Alberta election thread because to me there is little difference between oil and gas royalties and mineral royalties...but the story seems to be the same:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/mining-for-more-how-much-is-mining-really-worth-to-ontario-1.3063642

Ontario has collected about 1.5 per cent in royalties on the billions of dollars worth of ore extracted in the province over the past decade, but critics say that's not enough for the loss of non-renewable resources, a CBC News investigation supported by Michener-Deacon shows.  "One and a half per cent! That's like 10 times less than a tip at a restaurant. Can't we require that they tip us 15 per cent for using and extracting our resources?" says Ugo Lapointe of Mining Watch Canada.

'Can't we require that they tip us 15 per cent for using and extracting our resources?'- Ugo Lapointe, Mining Watch Canada
In Ontario, companies pay a mining profits tax on precious and base metals. When the company makes money, it's supposed to pay this so-called royalty.
Critics say precious and base metals are Crown assets and that the province should get the best deal possible as compensation for the loss of non-renewable natural resources. But the mining industry and government officials argue that mining is a uniquely expensive enterprise and that focusing on royalties distorts the big picture.

Defending royalty regime
The province's overall mining regulations are fair, says Ontario Mines Minister Michael Gravelle. He argues the province is doing well attracting new investments for exploration and the level of the mining tax is not a priority. "Mining taxes are obviously one part of it, but the value for us are the jobs, are the indirect economic benefits that come from the jobs," he says.

Mining companies to face more transparency
The CBC and Michener-Deacon investigation analyzed several of the benefits often cited about mining in Ontario, including jobs, and royalties.  Figures from Statistics Canada show that direct employment in the mining sector accounts for less than half a per cent of Ontario's overall job picture, compared to 11 per cent in manufacturing.  Another comparison shows that for the last five years, the City of Toronto collected as much in annual parking fines as the province did from more than a dozen gold and nickel companies.

In 2008, with record gold prices, the province received just over $231 million in royalties, the highest payment in 12 years of examined data. In 2014, the province's take dropped to $11 million. CBC News has learned that the province refunded money to several companies last year.


"It's so discouraging. It's so out of this world," says Lapointe, who has nearly 20 years of exploration experience in the mining industry. "Now we learn that Ontario government paid back — gave cheques to companies? Ridiculous."

Confusing rebate
The reasons for the refund are unclear. CBC News consulted two tax experts to review the government's written explanation. They say the answer is confusing.
"Companies  have their hands in the candy jars and they want more candies and at some point someone needs to step up and stop them and say enough!" Lapointe says.
The low rate is not disputed by the industry. Chris Hodgson, the head of the Ontario Mining Association and a former Progressive Conservative MPP who served as minister of both Northern Development and Natural Resources, says the money collected from the mining tax isn't a make it or break it situation for Ontario's coffers.  "It's not a lot of money to the province," says Hodgson. "It's just a small number. It doesn't register in our document because it's so small compared to other levels of revenue … You take a look at our taxation in Ontario and it's obviously working. Companies are investing money in Ontario and they're not investing in other places in Canada to the same rate."

Dennis Howlett, head of Canadians for Fair Taxation, says when corporations don't pay their share of taxes, the burden falls to ordinary citizens.  Low rates attract mines
"Ontario has one of the lowest mining taxation rates in the world. Now that's one of the reasons we have so many mining companies headquartered in Ontario. We're almost like a tax haven for mining here in Canada," Howlett says.  "Every politician I know is terrified that the companies will just take their ball and go home. In the case of the diamonds and the minerals they can't — you cannot take our gold deposits or our diamond pipes out of the country. We can let you empty them, but you can't take them away," says economist David Robinson, also a professor at Sudbury's Laurentian University.In 2009, the auditor general in Quebec stirred a thorny debate after revealing  that several companies had not paid any mining royalties in that province. In the last Ontario election, only the Green Party included raising mining taxes and royalties in its platform.
 

Now minerals are a little tougher to match because Ontario (and several other Canadian provinces) has a spectrum of minerals that are mined, each of which has slightly different techniques and refining demands.  But there appears to be a) some wild swings in royalties collected and b) maybe puts some of the discussion on the Ring of Fire exploration/development program into better perspective when Ontario starts looking for federal monies to pay for the mining access infrastructure needed.


 

foresterab

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And a second article on the issues of minerals:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/diamond-royalties-a-closely-guarded-secret-in-ontario-1.3062006
[/Ontario's only diamond mine is known for its exceptional quality stones, but according to official documents, the provincial government made more money on salt royalties in 2013-14 than diamonds.

De Beers Canada, which owns the only diamond mine in the province, paid $226 in royalties while salt netted the province $3.89 million in royalties.  The diamond royalty stirred a huge debate when the Ontario government suddenly introduced it in 2007. Then-premier Dalton McGuinty promised it would enrich all Ontarians. He promised the money would be used to hire more nurses and keep class sizes small in schools. There is nothing about the diamonds coming out of that mine that should be secret. Why on earth does it matter?

- David Robinson, Northern Ontario economist
The real value has been a closely guarded secret, by government and the company, until the CBC-Michener-Deacon investigation.  That secrecy has baffled many experts consulted by the CBC, including accountants, and auditors.  "It's hard to believe that in a jurisdiction like Ontario there would be this lack of transparency," says Paul Zimnisky, an independent diamond analyst, based in New York.  The government says it has to protect proprietary information for the province's single diamond company and De Beers does not report information on royalties. A confidentiality clause in Ontario's Mining Act means that diamond royalties never show up in government public accounts.  In interviews, neither current Mines Minister Michael Gravelle nor former mines minister Rick Bartolucci were aware of any details about diamond royalties.

■How CBC found the secret diamond royalty

By studying public documents for a 12-year period from 2002 to 2014, the CBC found the diamond payments mixed in with salt royalties.
The Ontario government has confirmed that it has been recording diamond and salt payments together. The province also mistakenly broke its own secrecy provision with respect to the diamond royalty by releasing via email figures for 2013-14 — the $226 paid by De Beers. 

Digging into public documents

Studying the public documents reveals that De Beers paid little or nothing for most of the seven years its Victor mine has been in production in Northern Ontario, about 90 kilometres west of Attawapiskat. De Beers does not dispute the $226 figure for the last fiscal year. Tom Ormsby, De Beers vice-president of external and corporate affairs, says the company started to pay millions in 2014. He also noted that the company is "surprised" that the province has revealed information that is supposed to be confidential.  He says it's unfair to look at royalties six years into the operation.  "One has to look at mining investment over the lifetime of the property. Very few are profitable out of the gate. They have to pay off the investment first," he said.

"We are exiting the capital write-down period, so additional royalty is now going to skyrocket because we're exiting that period of investment."  De Beers was blindsided by the government's 2007 decision to impose a royalty.  "We were shocked. We were floored," Ormsby recalls, noting the company had already spent close to $1 billion to develop the remote mine.  "We were blindsided. We were eight months away from putting the first ore through the plant," Ormsby says.  "We felt the diamond royalty was unfair. We still think it is unfair," says Ormsby. "If you open up a gold mine, right next door to our Victor mine in Northern Ontario," it will be treated differently.

Province stood firm on royalties

McGuinty, as premier, held firm on royalties: "Those diamonds belong to the people of Ontario," he said during a debate in the Ontario legislature.  "We're prepared to do what it takes to ensure that we strike the appropriate balance between ensuring that we are competitive — and that we continue to have the necessary revenues that help us get class sizes down, that help us hire more nurses, that help us put in place more MRIs and more CT scans."

Gravelle told CBC he doesn't know if, when or how much De Beers Canada has ever paid in royalties.  "I don't have that information. It's not information that I've sought or looked for. My understanding is that's it's confidential information in terms of public accounts in terms of the diamond royalty," the mines minister said.  The diamond royalty is different than the mining profits tax on precious and base metals in Ontario. Gold and nickel companies, for example, pay depending on how much money the companies make. 

Why so secretive?
"There is nothing about the diamonds coming out of that mine that should be secret. Why on earth does it matter?" says David Robinson, one of the most influential economists in Northern Ontario.  "The big secret is we don't know how much money is coming out and going to the public. And the thing about that is. if we don't know how much is coming in Ontario, in a pretty well developed legal regime, what's happening in Nigeria, what's happening in Zimbabwe?" said Robinson, a professor at Sudbury's Laurentian University.
Not all diamond royalties are kept secret. Lucara, a Canadian-listed company with one mine in Botswana, openly discloses what it pays in its financial reports. In 2014, 10 per cent or $26.6 million was paid to the government of Botswana.
i]

Now a person can argue that there is a certain amount of infrastructure cost that a corporation gets tax credits for (cough*oilsands*cough) but at the same time not have a public disclosure of the production and accounting makes a person wonder.  Especially when a peer corporation paid apparently more royalty money to Botwana's government than Ontario got from the mining industry in total royalties (see previous post).  But $226/year....that doesn't even pay for the accountant reviewing the file.
 

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Wait for it .... MORE politicians!
Ontario is proposing changes to the provincial election system that would ensure Ontarians are represented fairly in the legislature.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that the government will introduce an election reform bill. If passed, the Electoral Boundaries Act, 2015 would increase the number of provincial ridings in southern Ontario from 96 to 111 for the election scheduled in 2018. This would align with the new federal boundaries, and would better reflect population shifts and increases. Most new ridings would be in areas that have seen substantial population growth, such as Toronto, Peel, York, Durham and Ottawa.

The 11 ridings in northern Ontario would stay the same to ensure that northern communities continue to have effective representation in the legislature.

Adjusting Ontario's electoral boundaries was recommended by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). The government is also committed to addressing other recommendations from the CEO, and will be moving ahead with additional items this fall, including:

    Moving the fixed election date from fall to spring to help avoid overlap with federal and municipal elections;
    Engaging more young people with the voting process through provisional registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. The minimum voting age would remain 18;
    Strengthening rules on election-related third-party advertising.

Enhancing the fairness and integrity of the election system is part of the government's plan to build a fairer and more inclusive Ontario ....

More details re:  proposed election changes:
Ontario is proposing changes to the provincial election system that would ensure Ontarians are represented fairly in the legislature, enhance the integrity of the election finance system and move the fixed election date from fall to spring.

The government will adopt a number of recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer. Today it will introduce the Electoral Boundaries Act, 2015, and this fall it will move ahead with additional measures.

Electoral Boundaries Act, 2015

This bill, if passed, would increase the number of provincial ridings in southern Ontario from 96 to 111. This would align with the new federal boundaries adopted last year, and would better reflect population shifts and increases. The new ridings would be in areas including Toronto, Peel, York, Durham and Ottawa.

The 11 ridings in northern Ontario would stay the same to ensure that northern communities continue to have effective representation in the legislature.

In 2004, federal redistribution reduced the number of federal seats in northern Ontario from 11 to 10, but Ontario kept the number of provincial seats at 11. If the Electoral Boundaries Act, 2015 passes, Ontario will have 122 provincial ridings and 121 federal ridings.

The new provincial boundaries would take effect upon the first dissolution of the Legislative Assembly after November 30, 2016. They would be in place for the next scheduled general election in 2018.

Any by-elections before the next dissolution of the Legislative Assembly would take place based on the current electoral map.

Other Recommendations by the Chief Electoral Officer

In the fall, the government is also committed to moving ahead with other steps recommended by the Chief Electoral Officer, including:

Moving Scheduled Elections from the Fall to the Spring

The government will propose moving the fixed election date from the fall to the spring. The Chief Electoral Office has stated that this would make it more convenient to vote. This is because:

    The days are longer and the weather is usually better in the spring, making it easier for people to get to the polls;
    It would avoid overlap with municipal and federal elections held in October.

Allowing Provisional Registration for 16- and 17-year-olds

The government will encourage young people's engagement with the voting process by proposing provisional registration of 16- and 17-year olds. The minimum voting age would remain 18.

The Chief Electoral Officer states that provisional registration could allow Elections Ontario to work with schools and the driver's licensing program to ensure maximum exposure to the registration process. Registration would become active when a young person turns 18.

The government would consult with the Chief Electoral Officer and other stakeholders, as needed, about the best provisional registration model for Ontario, including ensuring that Elections Ontario would take the utmost care with information it collects to ensure that individuals' privacy is protected and their personal information is secure.

Strengthening Rules on Third-Party Advertising

Third-party advertising is an increasing presence during Ontario elections. Total spending grew from just over $6 million during the 2011 campaign to almost $8.7 million in 2014.

Ontario introduced third-party advertising rules in 2007 to ensure that there is transparency and free speech during election campaigns. Third parties that spend $500 or more on election advertising are required to register with and report to the Chief Electoral Officer on their election advertising expenses. If these total $5,000 or more, the reports must be audited.

The government is proposing strengthening rules on third-party advertising to enhance the integrity of the election finance system and protect the public interest. It will consider a range of options informed by the Chief Electoral Officer's report on the 2014 general election.
 

Edward Campbell

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E.R. Campbell said:
Who's the happiest person in Ontario this afternoon?
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kathleen-wynne.jpg

                    Premier Kathleen Wynne
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I think the Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) has just voted with its heart and not its head. Patrick Brown is a formidable organizer and campaigner but, yet again, the leader of the PCPO is too conservative for, broadly, progressive Ontario,

My guess is that a PCPO led by Christine Elliott could have defeated Premier Wynne's Liberals last year and that Ms Elliott could do so in the next election. Mr Brown is young, attractive, essentially unknown and a pro-life activist and fairly hard-line social conservative. Dalton McGuinty defeated Ernie Eves, John Tory and Tim Hudak and then Kathleen Wynne defeated Mr Hudak for a second time ... Eves and Tory were social moderates but Hudak was a social conservative and Ontario rejected his party twice.

Ontario is, broadly and generally, a socially liberal place and it was, until about 1970, fiscally conservative. Big spending, often ill considered big spending, came into vogue with (PC) Premier Bill Davis,  and after him David Peterson and Bob Rae continued to overspend. Mike Harris slowed things but then it was time for McGuinty and Wynne. Ontarians are, now, feeling very "entitled to their entitlements' and they are not afraid of big, punishing deficits. It's pretty clear that Mr Brown will be out of step on the social issues; his fiscal position is unknown ~ he's not overly active, he's a member of the Standing Committee on Health and was, previously, a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. He has been active in promoting free trade with Asia, so that's a plus.


And, according to a story in the Ottawa Citizen, Christine Elliott has resigned as a MPP, to a chorus of well wishes from political friends and foes alike, and she will, "stay active in her community helping people with disabilities."

(One wonders, idly and parenthetically, only, is she's interested in taking a run at federal politics.)
 
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