Photos from the 2011 Federal Election

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why should government be involved in health care?

The question of government involvement in Healthcare for Canadians, is never asked during a political debate or during and election campaign.
It is the "elephant in the room," that no politician wants to acknowledge because doing so will make him/her unelectable. So to be elected, the proper approach to take is to agree, yes health care has some problems, but throwing more money at it while eliminating wasteful practices will fix the problems and everything will be wonderful in the future. But the plain facts in Ontario's current election are, that the health care budget will become the largest component of the budget and health care will not improve because demands on it will only increase from here on in.
What's the solution? Clearly something needs to be done, and this video excerpt points to a new beginning.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Election Day Minus -14, CBC magnanimous with Free-time, but......

There is the issue that the CBC is a publicly funded broadcaster, but as taxpayers, we are coerced into paying for this service too, why not make the best of it. So, a quick poll of the executive, and I was chosen to do this.
It's surprisingly difficult to get a clear message across given 2 minutes on television. I have a learned great deal respect for advertisers, hucksters, etc. Anyone that can sell an idea in 2 minutes deserves whatever they are paid. But I crafted a message with the help of my daughter, a former CBC journalist. So, here is 2 minutes that should make sense. 
Take a moment and imagine getting notification that you, and every member of your family, owed $21,000.That’s 84,000 for a family of four.That is the debt the Government of Ontario will have accumulated on your behalf by the end of this fiscal year.That debt has doubled since Dalton McGuinty took office just 8 years ago… because spending has doubled.
So. Is the government twice as effective? Is health care better? Has education improved? Has traffic improved? Where did all this money go?
Everyone understands that competition improves prices and service… whereas monopolies result in higher costs and lower quality.Only governments allow monopolies. Take these examples.Consider why your electricity bill has gone up. No competition.Consider the high cost of liquor, beer, and wine. No competition.How about the long wait times for health care? No competition.Libertarians would allow for real competition in all these areas – and others:Producing electricity that would lower your hydro bill.Removing the government monopoly on the sale of liquor, beer, and wine.Allowing for a competitive health care system, resulting in better and faster care.Libertarians understand that competition leads to less government spending… which will ultimately reduce the debt. And as we watch the news unfold, day-by-day… we’ve all seen just how devastating debt can be.Make a historic choice - choose Libertarian.I’m Allen Small the Libertarian candidate for Markham-Unionville.To find out more, go to Libertarian dot O-N dot C-A.This message was authorized by the CFO for the Ontario Libertarian Party.
I went down to CBC HQ, the other day to record that, and it went very well I think. The only problem is, will you or anyone get to see it? You see, this will be broadcast at 1 a.m. on the night of Thursday Sept. 29th. In fact the times for other parties are also similarly very late on other nights. The PC's decided to forfeit their time, why bother going to the trouble, if no one will be watching? The audio portion of my appearance will be broadcast on CBC Radio on Sat. Sept. 25th between 7 and 8 a.m., better, I guess.
I hope to stay awake and record it, so may some night owl Libertarians, but of course that will be preaching to the converted. Oh well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The myth of job creation

This morning I saw a clever cartoon in the National Post by Gary Clement, so I re-engineered his idea to what you see on the left, and I got to recycle my "change-a-head" graphic. I'm not much of an artist, but I saw Clement's idea and realized it could apply to the Ontario election, in fact any election in the so-called free world.
Politicians love to take credit for job creation, and Dalton McGuinty is as guilty as any of them. And the media are so stupid that they actually reinforce the politicians' position. The truth of course is that the politicians are most interested in their own jobs, but lets be generous for a moment.
Also in today's Post is an article about Dalton McGuinty's visit to a solar panel plant. The plant is idle because of insufficient demand, and the article goes:
"Still, the news that one of the province’s leading solar panel companies has ceased production will come as an embarrassment to Mr. McGuinty, who has been positioning the move into renewable power as a game-changer for Ontario. “Our bold plan is to position Ontario to become North American’s biggest manufacturer of clean technologies,” he said when he visited Eclipsall Tuesday. He routinely compares the Liberal feed-in-tariff, which offers generous rates for solar energy, to the auto-pact that helped build Ontario’s auto industry.
The Liberal government’s efforts have created jobs
– though the 20,000 number touted by Mr. McGuinty seems highly questionable, far less the 50,000 he says will be created by the end of next year. In addition, they are hardly high wage, high skilled jobs the Premier claims (Eclipsall pays 20% over minimum wage to its workers, who assemble glass and solar cells imported from Asia, thereby qualifying for the Liberal Green Energy Act’s 60% domestic content rule)."
I've bolded the oft repeated lie that even good reporters like John Ivison should avoid, because it is a lie. The "created jobs" occurred because the Liberals decided to support the solar panel industry at the expense of a multitude of other choices that the money might have been used for. Paying down the debt would have been a good idea. 
I predict that the entire effort to nurture green jobs, in Ontario and elsewhere, will end in failure until the market actually chooses to support these industries for reasons other than government preference. I have this support from Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Apparently a major US manufacturer of solar panels: Solyndra, received $535 million in loans from the Obama government and is now bankrupt. Oops.
Misplaced investments are what governments are really good at doing. Picking winners and therefore losers is their game. Have a listen to Stefan Molyneux on Russian Television of all things:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"On a quick path to ­bankruptcy"

Last year he was dead last at 29.7 out of 100. Deficit Dalton has improved to Ninth spot this year, losing only to Robert Ghiz's PEI for worst performing Premier. This was published in an annual study: Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada's Premiers, 2011. That's encouraging but still a major drag on the Canadian economy because of Ontario's size.
A column in todays Financial Post by some of the authors of the study claims that: "during McGuinty’s tenure, program spending has grown 7.1% annually — more than twice the average rate of economic growth (3.2%). If an Ontarian family managed its budget the same way — that is, by increasing spending at double the rate of income growth — it would be on a quick path to ­bankruptcy."
The column continues: "in power, the McGuinty government has accumulated $41-billion in deficits with plenty more to come over the next six years ($68-billion)..........(Premier) McGuinty (is) quick to blame the economic downturn for (the) deficits, the reality is (the) current fiscal woes are primarily the result of excessive spending well before the recession." So will McGuinty change his ways if re-elected? You can bet he will be forced to by our increasingly precarious fiscal position.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lies my Premier tells me....

Sick of the Liberal ads yet in this oppressively short election campaign? I am. Especially the ones where Doubtless Dalton stands alone spouting....well, untruths. OK, they're lies.

Lie #1. Ontario has North America's First Full Day kindergarten. Not quiet, this article from the New York Times in Sept 1996 shows it's not really a new idea nor is Ontario the first jurisdiction to try it. It's also not really a good idea, check this and this.

Lie #2. If you watch the entire 30 second YouTube video, each statement is "supported" by "footnotes" in the lower right hand corner. Most of the "support" is from the Ontario Ministry of Education about the good job it's doing as the department responsible for education. Hmmm, kind-of-like self appraisal, giving oneself high marks for doing a good job. I would always give myself high marks, especially if I wanted to keep my job. Good support, eh? Another of the supportive footnotes is from McKinsey & Co. an independent word-wide consulting firm. This company had as one of its Canadian consultants one Jim Coutts. Who is Jim Coutts? He was a Secretary to Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, both well know Liberals, you remember. Is it possible that the Canadian arm of McKinsey & Co. that ranked Ontario schools among the best in the world has anything to do with the Liberal Party of Ontario? Like maybe some of the staff are Liberals? No! I'm sure that's not possible.....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Transit Solutions in the GTA - Election Day minus 24

During the course of the Ontario election campaign, I will attempt to post alternative solutions to issues that are important to the campaign. So, below is a posting from Gene Balfour, Libertarian candidate in Thornhill Riding just north of Toronto. The topic is transit, does the government have the only solution, indeed, should the government be involved?

The GTA has recently been declared as the area with the longest commute to work in Canada and it is a top concern for residents, including those in the Thornhill riding .

I have first hand experience with commuting issues and can relate to the concerns of my fellow commuters.

I have lived in Thornhill this past 20 years and in North York the previous 25 years. Since 1978, I have been a regular TTC subway rider. While public transit has been “the better way” for me than commuting by car, I have also run to work, rode my motorcycle to work, taken the bus, and I occasionally drove my car to the office.

Today, people have many options for commuting. These include: walking, running, cycling, using a scooter or motorcycle, car and car-pooling using public roads as well as toll roads (407ETR), bus, street car, subway, commuter train.

What does this tell you? It tells me that people will use the commuting option that best suits their needs and circumstances at any given point in time, and that the commuting issue will be resolved by there becoming available as many viable options as possible - 'viable' being the key word.

There will never be one "silver bullet" that government will find that will satisfy all commuters. Gridlock and long commutes have been top citizen issues for as long as I can remember - if our governments were able to provide the answers, then our commuting issues would have long ago been solved.

It is time for a new approach - one that involves the dismantling of the government monopoly in transportation services that exists today, and opening the flood gates to profit-motivated private sector ideas and solutions.

In simple terms, I would approach this transportation strategy in two ways:

Step 1: Identify the government-imposed deterrents to private sector investment in transportation services, and remove them to create a vibrant and competitive "commuting services sector" in the GTA . This must include the elimination of the many unnecessary transportation regulations that discourage and curtail the creative thinking and capital investments that are needed to address our complex and chronic transportation issues.

Step 2: Notify and engage the business enterprises who possess the know-how and resources to address our transportation issues, and proclaim boldly the Ontario GTA area is enthusiastically seeking businesses who can finally "put to bed" our commuting complaints. It will be very important that allow competition in this new "commuting services sector" to follow its natural course without government meddling so that the forces of competitive options and pricing will keep the costs low. In addition, unionized labour should not be allowed to operate in this sector so as to maintain competitive pricing and service levels.

Free-enterprise entrepreneurial businesses will always trump government monopolies in pricing, service, convenience and quality. Since the industrial revolution, almost all of our most significant technological achievements have come from entrepreneurs whose profit motive has driven them to seek and keep happy customers. Government has had its chance – now its time to let capitalism come to the rescue.

To compliment Gene's message above, I have appended an excellent related video brought to my attention by Andrew Phillips from the Ottawa area. Randal O'Toole, a Senior Fellow at CATO discusses the privatization of transit in US cities. Well worth your time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crashing the statist party....

Ontario Election Day minus 25.
My first all-candidates meeting came as much a surprise to me as to my hosts. Just the other day my wife noticed a tiny article in the local paper about this meeting, my name was in the article, so I presumed they were expecting me. They weren't. When I showed up this afternoon at a local Chinese Mall, still no official invite, and no real idea what was going to happen, and no seat at the table, they were surprised. But after a brief discussion/negotiation and their realization that I was not going to get off the stage, they made room. Fortunately I was able to present my two minute speech from a Cable TV taping the day before - perfect for this. Here it is for anyone that needs a quickie intro:
I’m ___your name___, the Libertarian candidate in ___your riding___.

Take a moment and imagine receiving notification that you, and every member of your family, owed $21,000. That is the debt the Government of Ontario will have accumulated on your behalf by the end of this fiscal year. That’s $84,000 for a family of four! That debt has doubled since Dalton McGuinty took office just 8 years ago because spending has doubled. So, is the government twice as effective? Is health care better? Has education improved? Has traffic improved? Where did all this money go?
Everyone understands that monopolies result in increased costs, reduced service, and quality, while competition reduces prices, and improves service. Consider how your electricity bill has gone up – no competition. Consider the sale of liquor, beer, and wine – no competition. How about the long wait times for medical care? Again no competition!
Libertarians would allow a competitive medical care system in Ontario, greater choices in education, and real competition in producing electricity that would reduce your electricity bill. We would remove the government monopoly on the sale of liquor, beer, and wine.
Libertarians realize that government debt is our debt. We would make significant cuts in government spending decreasing the size of government as quickly as possible, including the elimination of many ministries and most of the 630 agencies within our first term. As spending is cut, tax reductions will follow; we can all have more choice about how and where our money is spent. Make a historic choice, choose Libertarian, ___your name___.  Find out more at libertarian dot O-N dot C-A
The meeting topics were: the economy, healthcare and longterm care, helping immigrants settle, education and tuition. There was enough time between each speaking turn for me to come up with a brief speech outline explaining a Libertarian position on each topic. All of the comments were translated into Cantonese in deference to the audience, and I know I scored some points. Culturally the audience, and all the politicians except me,  are attuned to statist solutions for many things. But many of these Chinese are private entrepreneurs and understand where money (wealth) comes from and abhor paying tax and being taxed. It was a good day.   

Friday, September 9, 2011

Change-A-Head, pick your poison!

September 7th marked the first day of the 2011 Ontario Election campaign, the day the writ is issued. Ontario elections are short in time, just 29 days, though this one has been smoldering for months. Public attention is just now starting to focus on the issues and the options.

Dalton McGuinty has, in just eight short years, doubled the per capita debt because spending has doubled in the midst of world economic turmoil. McGuinty has used his majorities in two terms to re-engineer the way electric power is produced and consumed by citizens. The Liberals have bought into the AGW theory hook-line-and-sinker by closing coal-fired generation stations and replacing them with solar panels and windmills. The Liberals are so heavily steeped in eco-fanatasies that they even consider conservation as part of electrical generation, a source of energy! That's a bit like saying that not eating is nourishing.

That is only part of the re-engineering the Liberals have instituted. They think Ontarians should have their choice of pet dog breeds restricted, and they know how best to care for everyone's lawns by restricting the use of weedkillers. They want everyone to quit smoking, or elseThis week junk food has been removed from Ontario schools, and it won't be long before Ontarians are smuggling potato chips across the border (like they do now with weed-killer) because the government does not want people to get fat. At this rate, the Liberals will be legislating our choice in wardrobe soon.

So, if they have doubled the debt and the spending what has improved? Is health care better, with more choice less hassle and better service? No, instead of allowing choice they are cracking down on physicians who charge a bit more for better service. The previous link has a snitch-line so people may inform on their "greedy doctors." The Liberals and their partners are even disciplining physicians for the crime of voluntary fee-for-service. Are the roads better so that traffic is minimized? No, the GTA has the worst traffic anywhere.

Surely the extra spending and debt has improved something. Many billions went to GM and Chrysler to "preserve vital manufacturing jobs." That of course has saved the economy of Ontario and now things are booming, the recovery is in high gear and the future looks rosy. Oh, wait a minute, that's not true either. The "stimulus" spending here and around the world doesn't seemed to have helped. As I write this, Greece looks to be on the verge of default (once again). Spending and debt are problems everywhere, yet somehow the Government of Ontario believes things work differently here.

The picture above came from an idea after I saw an article written for the PC party called: "Change ahead," which referred to their plan to govern the province. It doesn't matter which of those heads is governing the province, the differences are so subtle that none of what I have written about above, would change substantially. Its time for a historic leap of faith. Its time for Ontario to choose a party that will return choice and prosperity to Ontarians. A vote for a Libertarian candidate, will at the very least register a protest that "change-a-head" doesn't work.             

Monday, September 5, 2011

Media panders to ruling incumbents and wannabees

With just days to go before the writ is issued and the 2011 Ontario Election campaign officially begins, the Liberal incumbents are shoring up the immigrant Muslim vote. In the picture on the left Michael ChanMinister for Tourism and Culture and my very own MPP, then Gerry Phillips and Bas Balkisoon on the right. What do these three have in common besides being Liberals? They all have substantial numbers of Muslim voters in their ridings and they are giving away money to a Muslim group. Not just any Muslim group, this one has some issues, but more on that later.
Just as the Liberals are pandering to the ethnic voter, the media, both local and national love pandering to the mainline parties.
Just last week I sent a letter to my local newspaper that was critical of the incumbent Liberals. A quick email response from the editor asked if I was "registered as a candidate?" "Yes," was the answer and I explained that my papers were not official yet. No matter, the letter was not published, too bad.
Of course in every recent edition of that newspaper was a story about the local incumbent Liberals doing this or doing that with tax dollars.
The Liberals have been high on OPM (other people's money) since they took office in 2003 and they have been assisted by the media. The print media in this area is dominated by a company called Torstar. Torstar produces the Toronto Star, often called the Red Star in my circles, and it owns the Metroland Group which coincidentally prints the local newspaper in my neighbourhood.
During elections, incumbent parties spend lots of their cash on ads in these local papers, my local paper has a Liberal ad on almost every page, thats OK, they are spending donations. But on those same pages are glowing stories of the good things that Liberals do and are doing, for this community with OPM, your OPM. My pitiful little letter may have swayed the entire election in my favour....right?
The national news papers are just as guilty of pandering to the main parties. Click this and it will bring you to an op-ed, conveniently placed with 3 days to go before the rules change, of the PC Leader giving his "prudent" plan for getting spending under control. He would slash spending by almost 1% by the end of his first term. Decisive!
Anyway, back to that Muslim group. Here is Ezra Levant on a bit of a rant (that rhymes!), on behalf of the new SUN NEWS channel which isn't exactly mainline media, yet:  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My latest unpublished "letter" to the Markham Economist

This letter was NOT published in the Markham Economist. Who can read the mind of an editor? Because I am a potential candidate in the upcoming election, the editor chose not to publish this. I understand. So why is it with just days to go before the writ is dropped the local Liberal incumbents are prominently featured in the print editions? Fair is fair.   

Re: Liberals have done positive things Aug. 13, 2011

The glowingly partisan letter from Nima Basharat with just weeks to go before the provincial election distorts the record of Michael Chan and the Liberal Party over the past eight years.
Mr. Basharat outlines some of the “positive things” that Mr. Chan and the Liberals have done for special interest groups with regard to job creation, a discounted energy benefit designed to entice voters, and other minor tweaks that are so easy to do while spending other people’s money.
Make no mistake the Liberals have become very adept at spending other people’s money. When they took office in 2003 Ontario’s debt load was around $140 billion. The Liberal debt projection in the most recent budget is $240 billion in 2011. This is a 70% increase in money spent and owed by the people of Ontario.
What else has had so dramatic an increase in the last eight years? Inflation? No. Your income, I doubt it? How about services? Have schools improved by 70%? No. How about medical services, are the wait lists shorter and the doctors more plentiful? No.
There is one thing that Mr. Basharat and I do agree on. The potential alternatives, PC Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horvath, will be just as bad as the Liberals have been.
So where does that leave the Ontario voter? There needs to be a fundamental change in our thinking about the functions of government, otherwise Ontario will follow the European nations and the US into a fiscal crisis that will not end well.