• Doug Ford is trampling on the rights of all Ontarians

    For the past 36 years, ever since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was entrenched in Canada’s Constitution, Ontario premiers of all political persuasions managed to govern while respecting our fundamental rights… none… found it necessary to brush aside basic Charter freedoms and invoke the Constitution’s nuclear option, the “notwithstanding” clause, to exercise their will.

  • Ford majority exposes democratic crisis

    The Ontario election is yet another symptom of a democratic dilemma facing Canada. A minority of voters elect the government. The leaders then claim a mandate to make changes not widely supported by the majority. When voters are left to wonder whether their vote really matters, they lose confidence. When voters lose confidence, many just don’t show up at the polls… A ranked or preferential ballot might be the easiest way to address both the federal and provincial representative dilemma.

  • Courts are catching up to Ford’s ‘unlawful’ ways

    Smart governments focus on wise legislation, not wild litigation. Let us count the legal battles looming over the Tories after two months in office: … the premier’s impulsive meddling in the middle of Toronto’s municipal elections… the government’s arbitrary rollback of the updated sexual education curriculum… a minimum income program prematurely cancelled… cancellation of Ontario’s cap and trade program… Rolling back renewable energy laws… recklessly endangering lives by suspending emergency prevention sites

  • It’s time to take consultations with First Nations seriously

    Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote: “Meaningful consultation is not intended simply to allow Indigenous peoples ‘to blow off steam’ before the Crown proceeds to do what it always intended to do. Consultation is meaningless when it excludes from the outset any form of accommodation.” … In sum, consultation needs to be done when Indigenous rights are affected by a development. Consultation must include the possibility of accommodation. Each affected First Nation is entitled to its own consultations, particular to their own circumstances.

  • Ford picks up class war where Mike Harris left off

    Now, in Ontario, we’re back to a full-frontal embrace of inequality… What makes this revival particularly insidious is that Ford didn’t campaign on it; he refused to reveal where he’d wield the knife to produce $6 billion in spending cuts, and specifically denied he would end the Basic Income Pilot Project… Another clear signal… was its decision last month to cut in half the scheduled increase in benefits for social assistance recipients, including those with disabilities.

  • Most CRA auditors polled say Canada’s tax system is skewed to protect the wealthy

    More than eight out of 10 of those polled agreed that “tax credits, tax exemptions, and tax loopholes disproportionately benefit corporations and wealthy Canadians compared to average Canadians.” And 45 per cent agreed that CRA’s mandate has been “compromised by political interference”… The online survey… included managers, forensic accountants, economists, statisticians and actuaries… “Nobody knows better how income from all sources is assessed and turned into tax revenue,” says the poll summary.

  • Sorry, but I’ve had enough of saying sorry

    The modern euphemism for men like Macdonald and Langevin is that they had “complicated” legacies or personal stories. What that means is that they were men of their time and place, subject to the common failings (that is, racism or misogyny) of their era, plus burdened with personal weaknesses. Of course they were. Who isn’t?

  • A buck-a-beer: the symbol of Ontario populism

    Populist politicians use sentimental yearnings for times past to strike a chord with people who are unsure about how to confront today’s intricate problems. Voters are discouraged by complexities and fearful about the future. The past seems like a safer place to be… Current models offer a more indirect and restrained form of governance, away from the bans and prohibitions of the past and toward more subtle incentives to encourage the right type of behaviour, from environmental compliance to health promotion.

  • Why the Ontario Progessive Conservatives aren’t ‘progressive’

    … today’s Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is most certainly “conservative,” but not even remotely “progressive.” … Naturally, there are Red Tories, or left-leaning Conservatives, like Segal, former Ontario Premier Bill Davis and Toronto Mayor John Tory. These individuals promote progressive values, such as social justice, support for a welfare state, and maintaining significant amounts of public funding for social services. Nevertheless, this isn’t what most Ontario Conservatives think, or have ever thought, about political conservatism. To equate one with the other is wrong.

  • Predicting Hurricane Doug’s path of destruction

    aving analyzed the fallout from the province’s last right-wing government, I expect the damage wrought by Hurricane Doug will be particularly harsh for two specific and often intersecting constituencies: urban progressives and women… Hurricane Doug begins with a simple, brazen focus on streamlining debate out of the political calculus. Urban citizens with a democratic vision live in the eye of a very dangerous storm.