Thursday, 29 September 2011

ON Election Fact Check: NDP spending least, PC spending most

In this new article, Tim Hudak claims that the NDP is a "big spending" party. Let's look at the facts.

Both the PCs and Liberals have committed to spending almost $2 billion dollars on another wave of corporate tax cuts. But the PCs go further by committing to a total of $5.565 billion in tax cuts.

The total cost of the PC platform is $5.995 billion - this is mainly tax cuts to corporations and wealthy, and many service cuts (and they're not saying what they will cut).
Meanwhile, the total cost of the NDP platform is only $3.352 billion - no corporate tax cuts - mainly contingency funds, discounts, and boosts for services that most people could use, and tax cuts only for businesses that actually create jobs.
   See: Fiscal Cost of Ontario Platforms here.

So, Hudak is very misleading to say the least as his party is the biggest spender and remains faithful to the term Looters In Suits - taking our money and giving it all away to the rich.

See the full costing of the NDP platform here.

Andrea Horwath the real winner of the debate

Horwath Wins Ontario Debate: MSM Miss the Boat |
Ethan Cox writes about what the MSM missed - that there was a large improvement of opinion regarding Andrea Horwath's performance in the debate by those who were interviewed before and after.
There appeared to be little change in opinion regarding the other 2 party leaders. But, 14% said they changed their mind about who they were going to vote for. This has the possibility to help push the NDP support over the 30% mark, at the same time lowering the support for the other parties, and putting the NDP neck and neck with the Liberals and PCs.
Excerpt from Ethan's post:
But that's only the beginning of the story. The second most compelling stat in the report (I'm coming to the first, don't worry), was the stunning number of Ontarians whose impression of Horwath improved. Let's go to the report again:

it was Andrea Horwath who made the biggest impression on Ontarians as 67% say they have an improved impression of her as a result of the debate, while just 10% say their impressions worsened, representing a net score of +57, effectively making her the real winner of the debate. By comparison, Jack Layton’s net improvement score in the English-language federal debate was +41 points, and +42 in the French-language debate. Three in ten (29%) have an improved impression of Dalton McGuinty, compared to a similar proportion (31%) who have a worsened impression, representing a net score of -2. Four in ten (37%) say that their impressions of Tim Hudak improved, while one in three (34%) say they worsened, a net score of +3.[emphasis mine]

Now that is a pretty stunning number, but Liberal and Conservative spin doctors would no doubt argue that people's impression of Horwath may have gone up, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll vote for her. After all, someone who hated her before might have had their impression softened, but still prefer another candidate.

So let's look at the most important piece of information in the poll, as far as I'm concerned. Back to the report we go:

With the NDP leader performing so well compared to expectations, it is interesting to note that one in ten (14%) viewers say they changed their mind about who they were going to vote for as a result of what they saw tonight, with the NDP appearing to be the biggest beneficiary among those who viewed the debates and reportedly switched their vote.

Horwath was also chosen as the leader with the best ideas and policies (35% +10), the most likeable leader (52% +8) and the most "visually attractive" (54% +12). On the issues, Horwath came out on top with viewers as the candidate they most trust on Healthcare (35%, +11) and came second on Taxes (24% +5) and Education (29%, +10).

So in summary, Horwath was the runaway winner of the debate, improving the opinion of 57% of viewers, and 14% of viewers will shift their vote as a result. So could one of the numerous pundits opining that no one won the debate, and that no one succeeded in moving voters, explain their position to me please?

Even taking into account margin of error and the fact that not all Ontarians watched the debate (although they'll certainly hear about it around the proverbial water-cooler) we're talking about a minimum of 5-8% shift from the other parties to the NDP. Transpose that onto the most recent poll results and you're looking at the NDP above 30% and in a three way dead heat with the Libs and Cons.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a ball game. So I wonder if journalists didn't bother to read the Ipsos report through, inexplicably failed to notice the huge shift to Horwath which the report writers underline on several occasions, or chose to run with the story that the debate was a wash because it fit better with their own narrative of the campaign?

In any case, barring the remote possibility that Ipsos produced a rogue poll, I expect to see a significant swing to the NDP in the polls over the next week. This will leave us with a thrilling three way race to the finish, in which Horwath has as much chance of snatching the Premier's chair as either of her opponents.

The NDP are back in Ontario, and that, coincidentally, is very good news for their federal cousins. It's going to be one hell of a finish. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Doug Ford's backroom sweetheart dealings on waterfront breaks Ford Nation campaign promise and the Toronto Municipal Code

Toronto News: Doug Ford’s mall dealings spark complaint -
Doug Ford claimed to various newspapers that he had been in talks with The Westfield Group regarding proposals for the Toronto waterfront development of the Portlands.

This has sparked a complaint to the City of Toronto's lobbyist registrar. According to the Toronto Municipal code code of conduct for councillors, councillors
“should not engage knowingly in communications” with anyone who should be registered as a lobbyist but isn’t.
The Toronto Municipal Code
states anyone communicating with a councillor or their staff on matters
including development, planning approvals and other specified topics
must first register with the city as a lobbyist.

The online lobbyist registry was created in response to the MFP computer
leasing scandal that revealed how lobbyists had wined and dined senior
staff and some politicians in the course of gaining contracts.

One of Rob Ford's campaign promises was to stop alleged backroom, sweetheart deals.

If the Westlake Group is not registered with the City of Toronto as a lobbyist, as it seems it isn't, then Doug Ford has admitted to breaking the Toronto Municipal code and one of his brother's campaign promises. And, Rob Ford, by allowing this to happen, or at least by not having immediately launched an investigation into the breach of code himself, is breaking yet another of his campaign promises.

Continue to put pressure on your city councillors to hold council and the Ford brothers accountable to the people of the City of Toronto.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Ford Nation is now a little clam. And, Tim Hudak is as out of touch as ever

Toronto News: Hudak plunges into dangerous liaison with Rob Ford -

According to the Toronto Star, Rob Ford's popularity has been steadily declining since the election in Oct. 2010.

Ford’s popularity is sinking, according to polling data, as his hunt for
“gravy” falters and his administration wobbles. Just as the provincial
campaign takes off, Ford is wading into budget deliberations seemingly
eager to inflict deep spending cuts despite a promise not to.
And Tim Hudak must have drank a lot of the Ford Nation kool-aid because he thinks that, under the Miller administration in Toronto, services went down and a deficit was run.

Hudak told reporters after the more than hour-long meeting in Ford’s
mother’s sprawling bungalow they talked about the mayor’s efforts to
clean up the financial “mess” left by his predecessor, David Miller.

“Taxes went up and services went down and they have a significant deficit,” Hudak said.
Actually Tim, services were maintained or went up, and they ran a surplus, not a deficit. And the fact that Hudak thinks there still was a "gravy train" when it has been proven that, without a doubt, there was no "gravy train" at City Hall, goes to show just how out of touch he is with reality and Toronto.

And Ford has been asking the provincial party leaders for money for his failed Sheppard subway extension. The subway extension that was supposed to cost the taxpayers nothing since he would be able to get private business to pay for it all. But, no offers are forthcoming.

And then we have a quote from John Capobianco, a PC party activist and Rob Ford adviser claiming about Rob Ford:
“He was elected with a sweeping mandate for change at City Hall and he
has done a phenomenal job of cutting spending and keeping taxes down.”

Actually, John, Rob Ford has increased spending, and reduced income, and will have to put a huge tax hike in place to balance things out sooner than later.

Here is the most heartening part of the article:
But the Star has learned of polling data showing Ford’s
popularity steadily sinking from an almost 70 per cent approval rating
after the Oct. 25 election to only 45 per cent in early August.

Nelson Wiseman, a veteran political  scientist at the University of Toronto, also believes the Fords’  rock-star appeal has dimmed, scoffing at the mayor’s past threat to
unleash his “Ford Nation” supporters to topple McGuinty.

Ford Nation is now a little clam,”  Wiseman said. “Sometimes it seems to be two people — Rob and his brother who, since the election, have come across like Abbott and Costello.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Doug Ford is not representing the will of the people

Toronto News: Australian firm eyeing waterfront mall -
The driving force behind a member of city council should be the people he represents, the people of Toronto, not some rich foreign company!

An Australian company that’s one of the world’s largest shopping centre
owners is a driving force behind Councillor Doug Ford’s mall-based dream
for Toronto’s eastern waterfront, the Star has learned.

Toronto Police Services Board shows some spine

Toronto News: Police board refuses to promote G20 officers -
Good for the board!

The Toronto police board has taken
the unprecedented step of refusing to promote nine officers who were
disciplined for removing their name tags during G20 demonstrations.

Chief Bill Blair recommended those
promotions and the civilian oversight board’s refusal to agree suggests
cracks in what has historically been a close relationship.

On Tuesday, the police association
filed a grievance. If the arbitrator sides with the police board, it
will make clear a currently gray area regarding the board’s powers to
refuse promotions.

In the past, the board has passively
pushed through reclassification recommendations from the chief,
including for officers who have unbecoming conduct on their records.

That practice has been a sore spot
for years among some on the board, who feel uneasy about giving more
authority to officers they believe have shown questionable judgment and

As they should believe. Officers who clearly display questionable judgment and character should NOT be given more authority. They have shown that they will just potentially abuse more power and public trust.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ontario NDP continue to rise in the polls

Ontario Liberals close in on Hudak’s Conservatives: poll | News | National Post
The Ontario NDP continue to rise in the polls.
In the latest Forum Research poll, support for the NDP has risen to 26%. Previously, in Forum polls, they were at 24% in late July, and 22% in late June.

Since late June, the Conservatives have dropped 6 points from 41% to 35%. The Liberals have risen from 26% to 30%.

If all these trends continue, we could indeed see a very tight 3-way race.

Support in 2007 for each party at Election time was: Liberals 42.3%, Conservatives 31.6% and NDP 16.8%. The change compared to the current levels of support: Lib -12.3%, Con +3.4%, NDP +9.2%

The Forum Research poll was based on an interactive voice response
telephone survey of 2,310 randomly selected Ontario residents. Conducted
from August 29 to August 30, the poll has a 2 per cent margin of error,
19 times out of 20.