Today in Weston: June 6, 2018

Andrea Horwath drops in to see York South-Weston NDP Candidate Faisal Hassan today at his campaign office on Weston Road. This is the last day of campaigning before the election tomorrow (From Twitter).

Ferreira quits NDP

Paul Ferreira from Wikipedia.

Paul Ferreira is a well known local political operative. He’s been a progressive political activist since 1990 covering all three levels of government. His work has been mainly behind the scenes serving under Howard Hampton, Mike Sullivan and Andrea Horwath. He won a by-election in 2007 to briefly become MPP for York South-Weston but was defeated by the present incumbent Laura Albanese in the general election held that same year.

It is rare that someone of his status quits the NDP and the reason seems to be that the party has lost its way. Socialism no longer seems to be a guiding principle and has been replaced by opposition for its own sake and policies based on winning power rather than on core beliefs. Both Mulcair and Horwath shifted sharply to the right in recent elections and voters punished them accordingly.

According to the Toronto Star, the last straw triggering Mr. Ferreira’s move was the provincial NDP’s opposition to tolls on the Don and Gardiner expressways.

People like Paul Ferreira live and breathe politics so it’s unlikely that we have heard the last of him politically. Currently the provincial Liberals seem to entertain more progressive ideas than the NDP. Perhaps Paul will find a welcome there. In the meantime, look for more dismal news from the provincial and federal NDP parties until new leadership takes over.

Horwath hosting Hydro Happening Tomorrow.

From niagaraatlarge.com
From niagaraatlarge.com

Former York South-Weston MP Mike Sullivan and Provincial NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath are hosting a meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss ramifications of the proposed privatization of Hydro One by the provincial government. More details about the meeting are here. The sale of provincial assets, is seen by some as a way to ease a substantial budget deficit.

This type of short-sighted action certainly didn’t enhance former Premier Mike Harris’ reputation when he leased Highway 407 to a private consortium for 99 years. It also seems to fly in the face of generally progressive policies favoured by the Wynne government.

  • Date: Wednesday March 2nd.
  • Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm
  • Place: Jane Street Hub, 1541 Jane Street.

Ontario strategically pushes the reset button.

Much to her own surprise, incumbent Liberal Laura Albanese handily defeated the N.D.P.’s Paul Ferreira and the P.C.’s Andrew Ffrench in what was expected to be a tight race. Across Ontario, the tumultuous events of election night will echo in York South-Weston for years to come. Across the province, voters rejected the P.C.’s confusing promises of harsh austerity, cuts to government jobs and corporate incentives while providing tax cuts for corporations. Andrea Horwath’s bizarre adoption of Tory style policies such as utility H.S.T. refunds, corporate incentives and a Ford-like respect for taxpayers confused voters and infuriated the base. These two odd approaches (which stirred memories of Mike Harris and Bob Rae) gave voters no other safe haven than the Liberals. In addition, only Kathleen Wynne was able to sound sincere when the camera lights were switched on. Wynne’s enthusiasm and confidence allowed voters to trust her messages of contrition for past Liberal wrongs, sound the alarm about the possibility of a P.C. victory and promises of better days to come under a Liberal government.

Across the province, it appeared that to many voters, the only acceptable platform (or the least unacceptable) belonged to the Liberals. In order to ensure the adoption of that platform (which the NDP had rejected), strategic voting was in the minds of many voters when they were marking their X.

One good thing to come of this is that having a clear majority will allow Kathleen Wynne to work on her agenda without needing permission from the opposition. Transportation issues that plague the GTA can get the attention they deserve. Hopefully a new Mayor and refreshed Toronto City Council can work with Wynne to straighten out years of neglect and idiotic council decisions.

Another good thing to come of this is that the P.C.s will choose a new and less extremist leader. Mr. Hudak ably demonstrated that ‘Tea Party Lite’ doesn’t work in Ontario. Ms Horwath, (if she survives as leader in the Fall convention) will no doubt be charged with returning the NDP to its core values.

Premier Wynne seems anxious to hit the ground running and wants to recall the legislature to sit through July. Ms Albanese has been given a large mandate to serve and we can only hope that she will use this to more forcefully represent the electorate in Toronto’s poorest riding. In the past she was able to extract concessions from the premier because of the swing nature of the riding. Now she has four years to demonstrate to electors that she will be a strong and responsive advocate and not simply another whipped government vote.

Strategic Voting part deux – an alternative viewpoint

Adam’s recent piece on strategic voting rejects the idea that the only way to ensure the defeat of the Conservatives, and the demise of Tim Hudak’s political career, is to vote for the current incumbent Laura Albanese. His argument is based on the probability that Progressive Conservative candidate Andrew Ffrench cannot win the York South-Weston seat. Adam concludes it does not matter if the the NDP candidate is elected, because it is not contributing toward a P.C. win.

Allow me to present a contrarian view based on conversations I have had with my wife.

A look at the policies of the three main parties in this election reveals that two parties, the P.C.s and the NDP have drastically veered from their traditional political positions.

The P.C. leader has ventured so far to the right that his party is touching on “Tea Party” territory. Mr. Hudak’s plan to create a million jobs, with no details on what type of jobs will be created, and his vow to eliminate 100,000 government positions should worry all of us. Creating jobs is not difficult if one sacrifices worker protection, environmental laws and benefits. As Reverend Al Sharpton, once astutely observed,

We had full employment in the black community during slavery. We just didn’t have wages. So we don’t want just a job, we want a job that pays, and pays so that we can take care of our families.

Part of the reason for Mr. Hudak’s shift to the soft shoulder of the extreme right is that Andrea Horwath has steered the NDP bus across the median and over to the right of centre, hi-jacking traditional Conservative policies.  When the so-called “Gang of 34” wrote their unprecedented letter, they simple pointed out the obvious fact that Ms Horwath has rejected traditional NDP values. The letter has been fiercely attacked by Ms Horwath’s supporters, questioning the reputation of people who have devoted long years to the NDP.  But her shift to the right was blatantly demonstrated when she chose to defeat the NDP-friendly Liberal budget. Ms Horwath should at least have the candour to relabel her party, as Britain’s Tony Blair did when he swung Labour to the right. Perhaps her party should be called “the New NDP”.

This drastic change in party policies, leaves just Kathleen Wynne, solidly at the centre. And despite the gas plant scandal, there really is no choice but to vote Liberal.

The results of this election have the potential to take Ontario into the kind of right wing territory which might make Mr. Harris seem a moderate.  Every seat will count in this contest. A minority government led by Hudak will allow him a bully pulpit from which to seduce people to turn against their own best interests, in favour of corporate profit and McJobs. Every seat the NDP wins will entrench Andrea’s hold as leader and encourage a further swing to the right, as happened in Great Britain after Tony Blair’s success.

Ontario voters must push the reset button in this election.  The only way to do this is to give Ms Wynne a solid majority. A Liberal majority will collapse the political fortunes of both Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath allowing normalcy to return. The Progressive Conservatives will reassume their traditional place just to the right of centre. The NDP will rediscover the values of Tommy Douglas and Stephen and David Lewis. Ontario will avoid the very possible slide into the delusory thinking which maintains that the only way to cope with our problems is to cut taxes, decrease government spending and allow corporations free reign so the unemployment problem can be solved by the free market economy. Research shows that these policies have not helped the average worker in the US.

“According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, those in the top 1 percent of households doubled their share of pretax income from 1979 to 2007; the bottom 80 percent saw their share fall. Worse, while the average income for the top 1 percent more than tripled (after inflation), the bottom 80 percent saw only feeble income growth, on the order of just 20 percent over nearly 30 years. The rising tide was raising a few boats hugely and most other boats not very much.” Source: National Journal

While Paul Ferreira is a worthy candidate and one who, if elected would continue to work hard for the community, the need to vote strategically in this election is of greater importance.

Ontario NDP calls for lower insurance in Ontario–and Weston in particular

When I moved to Weston, I was stunned by the increase in my car insurance, but I figured I had done something to deserve it.

It turns out, I hadn’t. The Ontario NDP called for an overhaul of the auto insurance system, and they used Weston as an example of outrageous insurance fees. Drivers here spend twice as much as those in tony neighbourhoods, for no obvious reason.

Based on the lowest quotes available, a forty-year old driver with a spotless record, driving a subcompact-car living at Weston and Jane will pay approximately $2,500 premium, while someone at Lawrence Park with the same car and driving record will pay approximately $1,150. According the insurance companies they have the exact same risk of being in an accident.

The New Democrats say they are calling for an end to the guaranteed 12% profit for insurers was negotiated in 1996 and an “all-party committee to look at a complete overhaul of the auto insurance industry in Ontario.”

NDP will electrify ARL immediately

Paul Ferreira and Andrea Horwath have said that they will electrify the Air Rail Link as it is built, not years afterward, as the Liberals have said they will do and as is currently the plan.

In a press release last week, Ferreira said,

In this election voters have a clear choice between dirty diesel or clean electric trains. The McGuinty Liberals will ram diesel trains through our neighbourhoods…. Under our plan, electric trains will be on track for 2015.

In an article in the Toronto Sun, Horwath said the same thing: if she were premier, she would electrify the trains:

the NDP are proposing speeding the electrification process up — at greater expense — and move quicker on converting GO Transit’s busy Lakeshore and Georgetown corridors to electric trains.

The Liberal government has said that they will install diesel trains before 2015, Metrolinx has said that they will eventually electrify the line, though not for several years after, and only if there is funding.