Archive for category Accountability
Conservative political pundit and talk show host Tasha Kheiriddin stated in a CBC social media live chat this evening, that she believes the move by Premier Doug Ford to reduce Toronto City Council and interference in several municipal elections has less to do with saving money and fixing government, than it does trying to manipulate the outcome to ensure left leaning candidates do not get in. You can view Kheiriddin’s remarks below:
Doug Ford stood in front of cameras today, and used language I thought I would never see in Canada. Ford suggested that less democratic representation is needed to fix regional and municipal governments and save tax payers money. The problem with politicians – Ford stated – was that the more of them the less gets done. These are extremely dangerous words coming from a politician in government, and if he gets away with this than why stop at municipal governments? Is this going to be the start of all out dismantling of our democratic institutions by right wing extremists? Today was a horrible day for our democracy.
Newly Elected Premier Doug Ford said during the election campaign that caregivers and parents with children with disabilities would never have to march on Queen’s Park again if he was elected Premier. A new op-ed written by Stuart Trew from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives warns that one of Ford’s promises during the campaign predicts significant cuts to social services moving forward, and parents who have long fought the austerity measures of Wynne may need to fight once again.
During the election campaign Ford promised to hold an “independent” audit of the provinces finances. According to Trew this is one of the oldest tricks in the books when it comes to trying to justify substantial austerity.
The Ontario Liberals used similar tricks. It was outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne who put former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark at the head of a value-for-money panel that eventually recommended privatizing Hydro One. That panel outsourced $7 million worth of its work to private auditors including KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers and Deloitte, all of which treat government like a corporation when assessing where and by how much to slash. (They all also work for companies who would profit from privatizing services currently delivered by the public sector.)
We needn’t wait for the results of Ontario’s “independent” audit to guess the outcome. The new premier’s transition team is filled with elites tied to the corporate world, not “the people,” as Premier Ford likes to say. The report will be designed carefully to 1) make the last government look really bad; 2) inflate the importance of government spending as a component of the province’s overall deficit, and, in doing so; 3) pave the way for ideologically driven cuts to social services. The result of following through with this process—which can be deadly, as the U.K. study found—is equally easy to predict, which is why we can’t let it happen again.
Kathleen Wynne used the same tactics to take an axe to services with kids with special needs. She tried to save a buck by restricting behavioral therapy to kids over the age of 5, which she recanted on due to public backlash. She slashed the special needs budgets of school boards to the point where kids with disabilities are still often sent home rather than in school learning. The cupboards are already bare. Any more cuts to social and public services could be devastating to kids with disabilities and their families.
Ford has also started a “wind down” of Ontario’s cap and trade program. The Trudeau government signaled today that the federal government could withhold over $420 million in transfer payments used to pay off current green energy contracts and programs currently being phased out. The two leaders meet tomorrow.
There has been a lot of chatter over the past few days on social media that has been making the rounds with people who follow politics closely, that major developments regarding the 407 ETR fraud investigation could be inbound over the next few days. That chatter, seems to coincide with Liberal lawyers poking the bear on this issue, as Newstalk1010 picked up the exclusive from the Liberals.
A letter was sent out today by the lawyers representing the Ontario Liberal Party asking Ontario’s chief electoral officer Greg Essensa to ensure that 407 ETR bills are not used as identification on voting day due to the fact that it is “reasonably likely” 407 ETR data was used fraudulently by the Progressive Conservatives during their nominations. Given the fact that the advanced polls closed earlier this week, this letter today could suggest that there have been recent developments unfolding.
Two police districts are looking into the possibility of fraud and identity theft allegedly conducted by a former PC party candidate during the parties nominations earlier this year. Elections Ontario has also confirmed that they are investigating as well. You can read the letter below: Click on images to enlarge.
Mike Moffatt who is a director at the independent think tank Canada 2020, and an associate professor at the Ivey Business School, has come up with an interesting post comparing the platforms of each party in the Ontario election and how they compare to deficit projections. Moffatt’s deficit projections put the PC’s with the highest run deficits, with the Liberals in close second, and the NDP with the lowest deficit projections. These numbers include the recent correction of $1.4 billion/year the NDP has had to make on reserves.
Moffatt noted that there is a lot of unknowns when it comes to the PC platform, however right now – on the information they have currently provided to the public – the PCs seem to be running significantly higher deficits in their platform than the other two parties.
The Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau has actively refused to bring in regulation of the provinces regional autism centers despite major issues being reported to the government regarding the behaviors of these regional service providers. I’ve heard significant issues over the past few months with respect to the roll out of the new Ontario Autism Program and the lack of compliance with ministerial guidelines by these providers in which the Minister himself stated was an issue in a town hall last May.
The issues right now are with respect to wait list management in which is the responsibility of these regional centres, and adherence to new OAP guidelines. The Ministry has stated it will be providing regulations regarding how private autism centres are administered, however Coteau in a townhall with parents last May rejected the claim that regulations were needed on the regional centres because “some people are happy” despite admitting frustration that these centres were not adhering to guidelines. This decision to not regulate the regional autism centres may have opened the door to massive legal liability on the province moving forward.
I’ve written a lot on this blog about autism and our long battle to get service for my son, which has come at great cost to all in our family. While doing this I’ve been making a legal case directly to the Ministry regarding the need for regulation of the regional autism centres. That appears to have fallen on deaf ears. With less than a week away from the election writ dropping, there has been no legislative movement on the file. I recently commented on social media about the case we made to the Ministry with the hopes that it might assist others legally going forward. We are now getting service through our regional provider. Here is that conversation:
JK (me): “The implementation committee rejected calls for legislation to regulate the regional centers. I have the Minister on tape with respect to that, and even acknowledging the fact that these regional centres do not follow ministerial guidelines. It’s the ministry’s legal responsibility as the legislative body to oversee these centres. The minister is also on record that these regional centres HAVE to provide you with your place in line when asked, and an estimate as to when you are expected to get service.
In short those that are on the implementation committee who rejected regulating the regionals hoping a direct funding option would cure any bad behavior, opened up the government to substantial legal liability. The government can’t distance itself from the behaviors of the regionals because they’ve openly admitted there are problems, and have actively refused to legislate a solution.
Statute of limitations for all of this began May of last year with the admission from Minister in the first pilot teleconference. Families experiencing problems now, have one more year to file with the Superior Court of Justice. There may not be any limitations on the Human Rights Tribunal since the problem is ongoing.”
Link to the May 2017 Townhall is here:
MB: “The ministry has successfully argued before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal that the government is not responsible for the service delivery of the AIP. We are just on of many other programs the province claims ownership of but the reality is there is no oversight over any programs.
The MCYS has allowed children’s aid at at with impunity for years. And the youth justice system under the MCYS doez what exactly?
It was public embarrassment that lead to the current charges, nothing more. The only way to affect change is through public awareness.”
JK: “Yes they have successfully argued that they are not responsible in the past, however these cases didn’t include an admission from the Minister and government directly of the problems, and admittedly walking back on regulation because “some people are happy”. We also had several phone calls recorded from our regional provider, blatantly disregarding ministerial guidelines, and treating us as hostile.
I would also add, after we slapped this on the Ministry, the Ministry essentially took over, and is currently overseeing progression of our file with the regional provider ensuring service delivery. I’ve been in consistent contact with the Ministry regarding service delivery since November. They’ve been working along side the regional ensuring we are properly supported.
MB: “I have an email from the ministry asking about accountability. They avoided answering the question.
I used this example: as a feberal employee i am responsible for my actions with the public. My employer, the federal government is accountable for my actions. They will not admit accountability.”
JK: “Of course they aren’t going to blatantly admit it. They are currently trying to duck liability. You don’t need them to admit it. The minister already has.
Coteau is on record stating the Ministry is accountable. Not only did he state that in the teletownhall in May last year, but prior to that he reaffirmed that position here:
“Parents have long complained about red tape, miscommunication and inconsistencies when dealing with the regional centres. The minister said he has heard from families who say they’ve been pressured to choose services run by those centres instead of the direct funding option they prefer, which would allow them to arrange and pay for their own therapist and treatment schedule.
Many say they’ve been told by the centres that choosing direct funding will mean waiting at least a year longer for treatment, he said.
“To me, that’s unacceptable. We need to hold systems accountable,” he said. “When you have so many people complaining about a particular system, the status quo cannot be maintained.””
^^ He assumed liability with these statements in the Star. Couple that with an admission that the regionals are disregarding ministerial guidelines, a walk back on regulation in the teletownhall in May, and they can’t distance themselves from it. After the first teletownhall in May last year, all the questions were screened and Coteau stuck to talking points, for this very reason. We got him off script in the May teletownhall. He screwed up royally. They need to regulate. It’ll be up to next government to deal this with now. In the meantime that’s the door to walk through.
One final point and the reason why I’m coming forward in a public way now on this, is because the election writ drops next week. So unless the Ministry drops legislation in to fix it and passes third reading in the next 3 or 4 business days, this door will be open for a while for others to walk through.”
If any of you have any further questions you can e-mail me at jkobopoli at rogers dot com
A leaked document reportedly from the Toronto Sun has emerged. In the documents handed to independent media organization CANADALAND show a clear ideological advertising strategy geared towards “exposing the Liberal record during the campaign and advocating for change“. While it is normal for editorial boards to weigh in on the election, this goes far, far beyond that.
The document shows a detailed strategy geared towards unseating the Ontario Liberals. Recently Ontario changed its election laws around third party advertisers. It is unclear whether these documents run foul of those laws, however the fact that there is a detailed strategy in the first place, and the media organization (according to these documents) is clearly advocating for change, will most likely have the eye of Elections Ontario going forward.
Former Sun Media Vice President Kory Teneycke is currently running Doug Ford’s campaign.