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Public health squeeze is the unkindest cut of all from Ford

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

… this government’s method is to initially claim there are no cuts and then create confusion about what cuts it’s making and why. It leaves people on the ground scrambling to figure out what it means and when they say it means something terrible, as they have in this case, the government promptly denies it… It’s the province that’s sowing confusion, acting without consultation and downloading its health responsibilities onto municipalities…

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There’s nothing moderate about this Ontario budget

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

… the cuts are large. But so, too, are the tax cuts that rob the province of billions… the government took billions of dollars from the budget. That lost revenue, plus new corporate tax breaks, will drain an average of $3.6 billion a year from provincial coffers over the next three years. That money could have stayed in vital programs; it could have reduced the deficit. It did neither… But as a public relations exercise designed to conceal bad news, the budget did its job.

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Ontario’s cuts to legal aid will hurt the poorest

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

It’s hard to fathom the fallout from the Ford government’s short-sighted decision to slash Legal Aid Ontario’s already inadequate budget by 30 per cent. The agency, established to provide legal services to the province’s most vulnerable citizens, was struggling to meet the need even before this. Its budget was so squeezed, in fact, that it could represent only people who are making less than about $17,000 a year. That’s far below the poverty line.
Even then, coverage was limited.

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Ontario abandons property ownership as source of jurors

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Ontario is making a fundamental change to the province’s justice system by vastly expanding the pool of potential jurors to better reflect economic and racial diversity… “Serving on a jury effectively means giving up income in a large number of cases… That barrier still exists. Hopefully this (change) indicates the government is open to making other changes that will help our juries better reflect our communities that they sit in judgement of.”

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Provincial legal aid cuts are senseless economic and social policy

Friday, April 19th, 2019

Defending the cuts, the attorney general states “there are two stakeholders that must always be front-of-mind: the clients LAO serves and the taxpayers who pay the bills.” But neither stakeholder is served by the cuts. The cuts certainly do not serve legal aid clients… The cuts also do not serve taxpayers… The court system will be further weighed down with subsequent appeals in these matters to fix the damage caused by initial subpar representation.

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Province pledges $1 billion for social housing, plans to restrict access to wait-lists

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Ontario has pledged to invest $1 billion to help repair social housing and reduce homelessness and plans to propose new rules restricting access to housing wait-lists, including a cap on how much potential tenants can be worth financially… Housing providers will also be empowered to “turn away tenants” who have been evicted for criminal activity… to reduce crime and gang-related violence in community housing so that all residents feel safer in their home,”

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NDP revives Tory bill curbing taxpayer-funded partisan ads in bid to embarrass Ford’s government

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

NDP MPP Taras Natyshak is tabling private member’s legislation identical to a bill introduced by Tory MPP Sylvia Jones two years ago that would revive the auditor general’s powers to veto commercials deemed to be politically partisan… “Voting against this bill would be the height of hypocrisy,” he said, noting Jones and much of Ford’s cabinet strongly endorsed the measures in 2017.

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The Ford government is trying to make itself less accountable

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

… this is the government that made itself less accountable to the public by firing the independent watchdogs for children, francophones and the environment. Now it appears to be cutting off another avenue of accountability by introducing legislation that critics say would make it harder to take legal action against the government by increasing the threshold necessary to proceed with litigation… there’s one legal challenge the government can’t avoid. That’s the one coming from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association if the legislation is passed.

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The crushing impact of social media freeloaders

Monday, April 15th, 2019

Here are two breathtaking stats: 65 per cent share and 80 per cent margin. Those are market experts’ estimates of share of ad revenues and the profit margins of the social media duopoly in Canada. No other ad business in the world has that stranglehold, no other media business earns one quarter of those stratospheric profit margins. Unlike them, their Canadian television, newspaper and magazine competitors pay taxes.

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Time to reveal individual MD’s OHIP billings

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

The fact is, releasing physician-identified billings is hardly groundbreaking. It already occurs in British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick and in the United States. But in Ontario, taxpayers have been left in the dark, wondering what to make of a health ministry audit conducted five years ago that raised some troubling questions… Allowing questionable billings to go unchallenged only serves to unfairly tarnish the reputations of all doctors.

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