Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Crazed Autocrat

Bleed, bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
For goodness dare not check thee.

- Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 3

H/t Patrick Corrigan

The above quote from Macbeth, along with Patrick Corrigan's editorial cartoon, serve as pungent reminders of the carnage taking place in Ontario under the 'leadership' of Premier Doug Ford. Like Macbeth, Ford's vision can be described only in the bleakest of terms, with destruction at its very core.

Aided and abetted by an assembly of sycophants elected on Ford's coattails and slavishly devoted to him in the hopes, no doubt, of securing the leader's favour, they preside over the wholesale destruction of programs with nary a peep beyond the rousing standing ovations they give his every word in the legislature.

One ardently hopes for a day of reckoning.

Until that day comes, however, perhaps there is some measure of comfort to be derived from knowing that increasingly large numbers of people recognize Ford for the ruthless, vengeful, crazed autocrat that he is, aided and abetted by a feckless Conservative caucus:

From yesterday's print edition of The Star come these missives:
MPPs show lack of vision

Re Local Tory MPPs back Ford over city cuts, May 13

It is depressing to read the comments (or refusal to comment) from the 10 Toronto Progressive Conservative MPPs on how the Ford government’s funding cuts will affect the city.

We deserve better from our elected representatives than blind obedience to the party line and rote repetition of Ford’s major talking points.

What is most striking in the joint statement from the PC MPPs is the total lack of vision of the kind of city and province we are building for the future. We need our representatives to focus equally on long-range core values as on short term “efficiencies.”

That vision is sadly lacking, at least as demonstrated by the constipated views expressed by the Toronto PC MPPs.

Howard Gladstone, Toronto

Congratulations to your reporters for helping expose the hypocrisy that is rife in the government ranks.

Seemingly, the 10 Toronto MPPs think that a surprise $178-million (city manager’s estimate) reduction in funds from the province is no big deal.

They ran on a campaign of finding efficiencies in the provincial government. I don’t think that the 40 per cent of voters who backed them assumed they would just pass the buck to cities and municipalities.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Christine Hogarth thinks the problem can be solved by charging the well-off for yoga classes. Is that the best idea she can come up with?

Don Valley North MPP Vincent Ke says it’s not cuts. Really!

Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Aris Babikian blames the labour unions for stirring up protest against the cuts. I didn’t know senior citizens were unionized. York Centre MPP Roman Baber thinks that cuts to social services and child care services of $101 million is not a problem. Considering he thought that 64 and 37 added up to less than 100, remedial arithmetic should be on his agenda.

Of course, their leader is no better. Premier Doug Ford insults Mayor John Tory with a gibe about wasting time over a sign instead of finding efficiencies, as the premier obsesses over bucka-beer and stickers on gas pumps while giving large tax breaks to the rich.

I guess you don’t need a backbone just to stand up, hoot and clap in the legislature. I’m sure their constituents expect more.

Robin Bunner, Utopia, Ont

“Ford’s office quickly let the Star know the MPPs would respond with a joint statement.” That response sums up the entire Ford party strategy and the fundamental failing of our major parties. The instant the polls close, each delegate becomes a mere repeater of party sound bites, incapable of independent thought or speech and too timid to convey any message from the voters to the government.

Paul Collier, Toronto

It is not surprising that these MPPs follow the party line and that the response to the Star resulted in not one MPP replying directly, or that Premier Doug Ford’s office replied with a joint statement.

If they all stand up in unison to applaud everything Ford says, then it is not surprising at all. I am sure they fear for their jobs.
The Star perhaps should have dealt more directly with the constituents in their ridings and perhaps received more honest feedback.
It is a sad state of affairs when the people most affected by these so-called efficiencies do not have more support from their MPP.

Alison Herrington, Oshawa

I find Scarborough-Agincourt MPP Aris Babikian’s dismissal of protests at constituency offices as union-led to be not only untrue but amusing.

The weekly protests at my MPP’s office are organized by an ad hoc, diverse group that is calling itself Common Ground. And the seniors who protested library cuts at Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhof’s office weren’t union led.

On the other hand, there is a group being led by their boss. The Tory caucus issuing joint statements and joining in obligatory standing ovations look like a group dancing to the tune of the premier’s office bosses.

Peggy Stevens, Newmarket
Ultimately, Macbeth is overthrown by a coalition of brave people willing to confront the tyrant. Sadly, until the vox populi grows to a roar, the day of deliverance for Ontario seems far-off indeed.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Your Climate, Your Choice

That's the name of a new series which, in the coming weeks, will look at and evaluate the climate-change platforms of each of our political parties. Last night's segment was on the Green Party, and since it is first in the series, I cannot tell whether the tone will be the same in succeeding segments. I did think Donna Friesen seemed to be looking for practical and financial weaknesses in the Greens' approach, but that may indeed be the template for this series.

Start at the 12-minute mark to begin the report:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

UPDATED: A Masterful Revision

An antidote to the Ford regime's propaganda, thanks to Braeson Holland:

UPDATE: Meanwhile, another redoubtable Star letter-writer offers this assessment of Doug the Thug's duplicity and mendacity:
Cartoon about Doug Ford’s missing facts was right on the money

Missing facts cartoon, Moudakis, May 15

Your editorial cartoon decrying Premier Doug Ford’s missing facts is right on the money. The only way to fight lies and half truths is with facts.

This is exactly the reason that bullies and truth benders such as Donald Ford (should be his new name) depict the media as the enemy: it provides contrary opinions and perspective using facts instead of rhetoric.

And the media has the ability to be a conduit of information, our only means of educating the masses. Unless they don’t read. And it is costly to buy commercial time on television unless one uses our own tax money to spread lies and half truths. Evil genius. Our wonderful province is in crisis and clearly in the hands of the wrong people.

David Ottenbrite, Cambridge

A Day Of Reckoning

H/t Theo Moudakis

Here in propaganda central (a.k.a., Doug Ford's Ontario), it would appear that few are being fooled by the outrageous campaign the Ford regime is conducting against the carbon tax imposed by the feds after Doug the Thug axed our cap-and-trade program. I believe the following letter-writer speaks for the majority of thinking people who must be singularly unimpressed by what the last provincial election wrought:
Half-truths and dishonest nonsense at my expense! That’s the latest from the Ford government and his trained seals. They say in their ads that Conservatives have another way to handle the problem of global warming. But that’s partisan nonsense and ignorant.

True, people dislike paying more for gasoline and home heating. But if the Ford government told the truth and completed the story, including the offsetting rebates they will earn, many people – even died-in-the-wool Tories – will agree that the only way we will reduce carbon emissions is if it hurts a bit to use carbon fuels. Best way to do that is to make us pay. Oh my god! That’s a tax isn’t it? Yes. But if we don’t do that, carbon emissions will continue to destroy our environment. Like the frog warming in the skillet, shall we happily refuse to move until it’s too late?

Please, Premier Ford, stop using my tax dollars to fill the airwaves with BS!

Bruce Rogers, Lindsay, Ont.
And a recent Star editorial adds further clarity:
The federal carbon pricing plan, which started in April, will cost the average Ontario household $258 this year but the $307 rebate they’ll get will offset those costs and then some. It’ll be the same thing in 2022 — the year the ad chooses — when the annual cost is forecast to rise to $648 and will come with a $718 rebate. So it’s a net gain for most families, not a cost.

And the very reason the federal levy is being applied in Ontario is because the province does not have a better way. Last year, the Ford government killed the existing cap-and-trade program and lowered the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.
That the Ford regime never listens to the people it claims to be for is exemplified by this fact:
The latest Nanos Research poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Canadians think it’s unacceptable for a province to opt out of the federal plan. Not surprisingly, the same number also oppose provincial governments using taxpayer dollars to fight it.
One need not be Nostradamus to see that a day of reckoning is coming. The world's heedless plunge into climate disaster and the governments that aid and abet that plunge guarantee it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

UPDATED: No-Holds-Barred Bill Nye

Clearly, Bill Nye is mad as hell and won't take it anymore. This piece would certainly make for a nice truth-in-advertising moment juxtaposed against the Doug Ford propaganda ads being paid for by the Ontario taxpayer.

UPDATE: You can read about the background to this video here as well as here.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Most Worthy Initiative

Although it has almost become a cliche, knowledge is indeed power. It confers upon us the opportunity to think critically; it enables us to make informed choices, freeing us from the demagogues in our midst; and most importantly, it helps us to participate meaningfully in the world around us.

One of the great daily conduits to that knowledge are newspapers. Taken in its aggregate, responsible journalism offers us the kind of information and analysis that makes it easier to navigate our increasingly complex world. And as regular readers of this blog likely know, The Toronto Star is my newspaper of record. It is therefore with great pleasure that I relay to those who might not otherwise have heard, The Star is making an extraordinarily generous offer that cannot help but redound to the public good.
Dear Readers,

There are about 2 million post-secondary students attending schools across Canada. Starting today, those students can become Star digital subscribers — for free — ahead of October’s federal election.

We are calling this the Vote2019 Offer, which basically means we want Canada’s newest group of eligible voters to be informed since they will have a say in how we shape our country on election day.

Why are we doing this? While accuracy, fairness and quality journalism have long been critical to our newsrooms, guiding those ideals are several principles we hold dear. Among those principles are community and civic engagement, and the necessary role of government.

Any current post-secondary student wishing to access this program need only fill out this form. They will need their school email account to register. The Star will also extend the offer to faculty during this period, which will end Oct. 31.

Those who register will have access to the wealth of credible, award-winning journalism our regular readers have long come to know.

Please sign up today, or let your kids or grandkids know about the offer.
If you know anyone who might benefit from this, please, please let them know.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How Supple Are They?

I hope, for the sake of their well-being, that each loyal soldier in the Doug Ford regime has a gym membership they regularly use. Otherwise, I fear they will sustain myriad and grievous injuries to their joints and sinews. Twisting oneself out of shape while proclaiming black is white and lies are truth can exact a horrible toll.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, the one whose well-being I currently feel the most concern for is Health Minister Christine Elliott, a once principled and competent woman who, upon entering the Ford cabinet, has proven to be, along with Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, most adept at amazing feats of contortion.

Consider the following from Rob Ferguson:
Layoffs of 44 staff at the Ontario Telemedicine Network following a funding cut by Premier Doug Ford’s government won’t curb plans to provide more virtual care to patients across the province, Health Minister Christine Elliott maintains.

Elliott said Wednesday none of the cuts at the telemedicine network were front-line care providers and called the firings “reasonable and pragmatic.”
Elliott seems to be an unabashed enthusiast of the far-right's core belief: less is more:
“It doesn’t mean that we take any ... direction away from digitization. It is vitally important in our modernization of our health-care system.”
Those who have not consumed that particular variety of Kool-Aid beg to differ:
... Green Leader Mike Schreiner said the health minister failed to explain how telemedicine remains a priority, particularly for remote and rural areas with less access to medical professionals than major cities.

“This government is so full of contradictions. It’s one after another. They say they support something and then they turn around and cut it. Telemedicine is just one example of that,” Schreiner added.

“The other one is they said they’re all for adapting to climate change and then they cut the tree-planting program and the flood prevention program.”
Until we all get "with the program," the vast majority of us, I suspect, will share Mr. Schreiner's bewilderment.