Will Joe Biden play the Rand card in tomorrow’s debate against Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan? How should Ryan respond if he does? Read more
Ontario’s government today announced that pharmacists are no longer among those prohibited by law from performing certain services. The government’s news release featured the fact that pharmacists will now be able to administer the flu shot. For those – especially seniors – who find it difficult or inconvenient to get to the more limited number of places where flu shots are administered, this is certainly an added convenience. But the bombshell change is this: “…pharmacists can now also: Renew or adapt existing prescriptions…”. That is a major, praiseworthy change. Read more
“Just Right” is a radio show that airs every Thursday from 11:00 AM until noon, on 94.9 FM CHRW in London, Ontario. The hosts are my good friends Robert Metz and Robert Vaughan. The show looks at science, culture, current events and more, and gives listeners an insight the value of which normally long survives the significance of the particular event being discussed. Today, I had the distinct pleasure of filling-in for the illustrious Mr. Vaughan, and of preparing commentary on two items I found to be particularly interesting this week. The first: Republican Vice-Presidential running mate Paul Ryan’s devout Catholicism, his affinity for the writings of Ayn Rand, and the fatal flaw in his approach to defending capitalism and individualism. The second: the true nature and goal of the wretchedly anti-Jewish Islamic “Al Quds Day” demonstrations, and the destructive effect of permitting the demonstration to be held on the grounds of a legislature (in this case, Queen’s Park, in Toronto). Read more
It is becoming increasingly clear that Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives are scheming to trigger another Ontario election this week. Moreover, it is being done in a way designed to make the Liberals look as though they are to blame.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath today said that she had vowed to “let” the budget motion succeed (not the bill, but the policy and planning blueprint released and voted upon weeks ago) and that she had kept that promise. What she meant was that she and her whole party abstained from voting, which gave the Liberals a numerical advantage over the PCs when the blueprint was voted upon. She said that she also was promising to “let” the budget bill pass this coming Wednesday. Her language implies that she again will have her members abstain from the vote on the budget bill, such that the success or failure of the budget will come down to a vote between the Liberals and the PCs. Read more
A lot could be said – and is being said – about the Progressive Conservatives response – or rather, non-response – to the budget. The prevailing line of commentary is that Tim Hudak and the PCs failed to “show leadership” by deciding to vote against the budget before even knowing what it contained; and for failing to take part in the budget negotiations that have occurred in the weeks since its release. That they failed to show leadership may be true, but one would be hard pressed to demonstrate that that represents some kind of recent development. No, the essential issue arising from PCs’ conduct in respect of the 2012 budget is not a lack of leadership: it is a dereliction of duty. Read more
Two photos, compared, should tell you almost everything you need to know about what is wrong with government monopolies, and how they contribute to budget deficits.
It is widely regarded as true that, in the lead up to, and during, the most recent Ontario provincial election, Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak spent his time telling Ontario voters what the governing Liberals were doing wrong, but came up woefully short on how his PCs would govern differently. That pattern has continued since the October election. In fact, as recently as February 23, 2012, the PC-friendly Toronto Sun published a column by Queens Park columnist Christina Blizzard in which she submitted that Hudak continues to lack “a cohesive strategy for the party that will give them a clear and intelligent message”. Her recommendation to Mr. Hudak:
“Come up with an alternative budget. Set out a clear, coherent document that shows exactly how he’d get the budget back in balance by the target dates set out by Drummond.”
Of course, Mr. Hudak and the PCs did not oblige (though Freedom Party of Ontario did, with its March 21 release of its “2012 Opposition Budget“). Instead, Mr. Hudak opted to submit an OpEd to the National Post, which printed it today: budget day. Those who read it will, I expect, shake their heads in disbelief. In his column, Mr. Hudak continues with the same strategy that allowed him to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory during election 2011: lots of over-played ranting about what the government’s doing wrong, and absolutely nothing in terms of specific proposals to which the public could hold Mr. Hudak and his PCs accountable.
To see what I mean, I’ve broken his submission into individualized paragraphs, and I’ve summarized each paragraph where the paragraph actually talks about things done wrongly, or things that should be (or should have been) done differently. Don’t look for anything like a promise going forward: Mr. Hudak speaks only of what he would have done, looking back over the last several months since the election. However, even where Mr. Hudak speaks of what he and the PCs would have done had they won the election in 2011, notice that Mr. Hudak’s would-haves are hopelessly vague and ambiguous. Read more
Liberals have socked us with the two biggest tax hikes in the history of the province — the health care levy and the HST. And now they’re crying poor? They created this mess. We’re just paying their bills.
Given her message, the column’s headline (which Blizzard probably did not write) is a knee-slapper of hypocrisy: “Stop blaming and start restraining“. I agree with the sentiment of the headline, but it sure as heck is not the case that the PCs are somehow any better than the Liberals with respect to Ontario’s health care system. In fact, pinning the blame on the Liberals smacks of revisionist history. So I got to work writing a comment to the column on the newspaper’s web site. Of course, my comment has to pass Sun “moderation”, so there is a chance it will not get posted. So, for the record, here is the comment I submitted: Read more
Through a perverse “fixed markup system”, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario increases its revenues by asking liquor producers to charge the LCBO more. So writes Ontario’s Auditor General in his annual report, released today (see section 3.08, beginning at page 186).
According to the AG, when the LCBO decides to stock a new product, it puts out a “needs letter” to suppliers. For each type of product, the needs letter tells suppliers the range of prices at which the LCBO would like to sell the product. That price is not based upon supply and demand. It is based on pure whim (which might explain, at least in part, why the Lagavulin I used to be able to buy for forty some odd dollars now costs well over $100 per bottle, only a few years later). Don’t stop reading: it gets worse. Much worse. Read more
On November 20, 2010, the party I lead – Freedom Party of Ontario – held a pre-election dinner for the October 6, 2011 election. As party leader, I gave a speech to the attendees in which I explained Freedom Party’s strategy for this election. Our strategy was (and is) based upon my predictions about the fate of the Progressive Conservatives in this election.
Did my predictions pan out? Judge for yourself: watch this video of my speech. Read more