Friday, March 23, 2007

Toronto - Socialist Epicentre of the Universe

First we had the Federal budget which veered decidedly towards centre if not slightly left. Then Greg Sorbara brought down the Ontario 'tax and spend' budget that moved even further left.

Terence Corcoran of the National Post now looks towards the Toronto budget set to be announced on Monday as the 'taxathon' continues. Unfortunately this front page Comment piece is under subscriber lock, but here are a few tidbits:

"... and a rockin' event it (the budget announcement) will be as Mayor David Miller tries to hold himself in check before he hits the dance floor with the new "fiscal tools" he just got from the province. Let's see: New tax on drinking, maybe, or a tax on roads or parking lots...
Three levels of government rolling in cash and not a meaningful tax cut in sight, and not one spending program cut that anybody's announced or noticed...

...The only thing Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara could say about taxes is that there would be no increases. Even that's not quite true.

The budget's call for a $10.25 Ontario minimum wage by 2010 is essentially a plan for a tax increase on low-wage incomes. The new wage will get distributed to people who get the $10.25- an-hour jobs at the expense of people who don't get jobs at $9 an hour. And that will mean more welfare programs.

"...Much is made of a balanced Ontario budget, as if that were an achievement that took effort in the face of rising tax revenue gains of almost 8% per year. The real effort came in finding the spending opportunities tomatch the ballooning revenues...."

So many more pithy comments. You really need to run out & buy a Post this morning.

Meanwhile, the Sun's Sue-Ann Levy tells us that His Blondeness almost threw a temper tantrum when he realized that the provincial government was not going to upload more of his social spending programs. Levy states:

He even had the audacity to imply that this might impact on the 3% tax hike (in other words, increase it) built into the 2007 operating budget. "Our budget next week will be extremely difficult," he said.

...Meanwhile, the mayor arrogantly refuses to put the city's house in order, to contract out services, to look at creative ways of doing business or to rein in his overpriced union pals. Quite the contrary. The Millerites keep spending as if money is pouring from the heavens...

Back on the provincial front, Lorrie Goldstein asks, why should we believe Dalton anyway?

Even the Red Star does not seem totally enthralled with the Ontario budget.

My guess is that if you are a single, middle class or higher Toronto resident with no kids, you are not a happy camper today.

* * * *
Update: More at the Politic - The McGuinty Budget: Almost enough to make John Tory actually look decent...almost! (Boy, there's a rousing endorsement if ever I heard one.)

Saturday Update: Woody - No Soup for you, Big Salad for me.

Sunday Update: Toronto's Pain is 905's Gain - Sun.

And in the category of Damned if you do; damned if you don't, we have this: Burn Out


Anonymous said...

I agree with the journalists. This budget represents nothing more than another litany of promises delivered by the same liars that brought us the last truckload of broken promises.

As a parent with kids in the school system, I'm livid that they continue to drop cash to hire teachers and develop programs(translation - hire more bureaucrats) by standards for students are slipping and teachers are increasingly comfortable these days knowing that they have a gov't in power they can manipulate.

McGuinty has NOT saved the education system in the province at all. Ask a student, parent or princpal.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god anon. I have two kids in elementary school and the latest buzz is that the teachers are trying to get their supervisory roles decreases to "zero". Didn't the province just negotiate a really nice 4 year deal for them. Will we be ending up paying more for less? IF the only thing we're going to be paying teachers for is what they do in the classroom then I'm thinking that improvements better happen re: reading and math BIGTIME and not take 10 years.

When will governments finally work to determine what makes up the job description of a teacher?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone belong to a school council in this province that does something other than fundraise? I thought school councils were legislated to allow parents to really become partners in decision-making?

Nothing like that going on in my region. Actually, even trustees are complaining that their roles are being eroded thanks to a gov't that likes to micro-manage things and overly-prescribe policy and directives.

Heck, I'd be a bit pissed myself if the gov't moved to provincial bargaining without consultation by elected board.

What board are you in anon. 1 & 2

I'm in London where there are lots of choices for parents, and even a newspaper that compares schools so that parents can select which one's best for their kids.

What's happening in the rest of the province to prove that McGuinty's "saved" education.

I think anons. right. The Liberals feel that as long as the unions aren't biting at their heels they've succeeded in saving public education. What about students indeed?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I detect some unrest among the grass roots. Please convey your discontent at the ballot box in October.

I totally agree. Pandering to big public unions is not the way to solve problems. Ontario and Quebec have huge issues to resolve in this area.

Thanks for the input, parents.

Mary said...

Speaking of ballot boxes:

The American political race is really heating up and my hopes are that Fred Thompson will run. He is a former Senator and is a star on the hit series” Law and Order.”
Fred Thompson will be different than Bush.

I think that what has happened to President Bush is that the liberal mouths have been beating this drum beat of bad mouthing and berating of President Bush constantly by hate filled commentary but that is going to come back to haunt those left wing liberals and liberal press, full force because you cannot keep planting bad seed without reaping a bad harvest when it is full grown.

Be careful what you plant because that seed of hate may come back to strangle you when it is full grown. I admire Bush for not falling into the trap the liberals set for him to fall into, that is, the trap of returning hate for hate.

Bush ignores it, but in Thompson my inmost parts tells me that he will confront it with the thunder power and majesty of God to accompany and go with him.

So keep your eye upon Thompson for I think that God has his eye upon him also.

And if this post on this Canadian blog encourages him to run, wonderful, then this blog has made a difference in North American politics!

So watch for the coming fireworks people!

Anonymous said...

I am a conservative parent who has kids in the Durham board at the moment. Yes, the one on strike. The one that ALWAYS starts the ball rolling on strikes in this province.

When ever I hear Dalton McPromise or his education minister say that they've improved education I just shake my head. Improvement for the teacher unions does not equate to improvement for kids or their parents....Durham case in point.

There's a huge disconnect between what's good for gov't/union and what's best for students, parents, and school communities.

Just because we pay our teacher more doesn't mean a darn about quality of education or that kids will improve to any great degree.

What matters is using proven programs and stop experimenting with stuff like the balance school day, whole language and showing kids videos.

Good that parents are speaking up but JOanne maybe you should start an education section on your blog so that we conservative parents can network?


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Alaine, interesting comments.

McGuinty's Liberals must believe that if the teachers are happy, then the parents are happy. That is obviously a false assumption.

And what's going on in Durham proves that pandering doesn't work anyway. Just like terrorism, the more you give in the more they take.

We need a leader with some guts. I don't see too many out there right now provincially.

Good that parents are speaking up but JOanne maybe you should start an education section on your blog so that we conservative parents can network?

My kids are well past the public school age, but you can use this blog as a forum any time you like. Just email me at the addy on my profile with whatever issue or links are important to you, and I'll try to draft up some kind of post.

You could even start a parenting network blog yourself with blogger (and a high-tech offspring). ;)

PGP said...

Was it not just yesterday when you and your readers Sandy & Zac were seemingly impressed by this budget??

Or did I miss something in the vein of ironic intent??

As for the Teachers being know very well that McChicken's goal in that regard is to avoid those large and very public demonstrations that are soooo messy and troubling.
Like everything else he does it's easier to spend your tax dollars to buy his way out of trouble than to actually fix any problems.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Was it not just yesterday when you and your readers Sandy & Zac were seemingly impressed by this budget??

PGP, it wasn't a horrible budget but not a great one either - especially for one leading up to an election. Getting rid of the health tax would have been nice. Especially since McGuinty said he wouldn't raise taxes in the last election.

Oh wait. Didn't he just say that again? Well, I guess the health tax will be doubled then.

The parents commenting on this post seem to have an axe to grind with the pathetic state of education in Ontario. Can't say I blame them.

Gabby in QC said...

" Please convey your discontent at the ballot box in October."

I have no knowledge of Ontario provincial politics, so really I have no valid opinion to offer.
However, many national pundits often remark that Ontarians have historically preferred an "opposite" party in power federally, i.e., Liberal provincially & Conservative federally, or vice versa.

Soooo ... draw your own conclusions.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gabby, then I'll have to start up the Ontario Opposite Pary, because the alternative isn't palatable.

PGP said...

"Isn't palatable!"

Indeed... it would seem that many Ontarians have lost their ability to discern healthy choices on the leadership menu from the toxic stuff with the sugared glaze!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - Good stuff! ;)

I would like to see Elizabeth Witmer as the Tory leader. Then we would be spicing things up a bit!

Anonymous said...

Mayor Miller's "overpriced union pals" plus the gobs of money he dumps into the laps of 'community groups' that supposedly help communities in some way are nothing more than a perpetual government funded re-election campaign.

Miller has done nothing for Toronto, but he has been re-elected.

Toronto residents deserve and demand huge tax increases, they should get what they want.

liberal supporter said...

Just to be clear, the teachers are not on strike in Durham. It is the support staff; different union.

The result for parents is the same though. After getting through March Break and trying to return to the normal routine, the kids are back at home again, this time without time for parents to plan for it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, L.S. I appreciate you clarifying that for us.

Gabby in QC said...

"We need a leader with some guts. I don't see too many out there right now provincially."

Please understand that I'm not trying to be contrary. And this is not a criticism, really:
It's just that sometimes I read and hear so much anger across our land & so many accusations hurled by us - the general population, not anyone in particular - at any and all figures of authority that I sometimes wonder if we are not heading towards civil insurrection.

Politicians are involved in a game of give & take. Yeah, I know, some will say "I give and they take."

But there are compromises that have to be made. With all the demands coming at politicians from all sides, it is likely that some people will be disappointed.

But consider this: with all of our complaints, do we not enjoy in Canada one of the best conditions, compared to so many other countries?

OK, sorry for the sermonette. I'm on my way out for some entertainment so I'll look in when I get back.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

But there are compromises that have to be made. With all the demands coming at politicians from all sides, it is likely that some people will be disappointed.

I'm not arguing with that. Polticians have to take the total diversity of their region into account.

I'm just talking about someone with some spunk! I'm sick of insipid politicians. I want to see one that has some fire in his or her belly.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Toronto may in fact get tax increases. It's too bad we're not Quebec.

Quebec has high taxes, and extensive services, and complains they still don't have enough money, so the Tories in Ottawa give them cash to fund a tax cut.

Toronto has low taxes and deteriorating services (property taxes were never designed to pay for all of the services that have been downloaded to the City, so the City is forced to provide extensive services from a tax base never designed to support services), and the Tories in Ottawa tell them to use their increased taxing powers to raise more money themselves.

Quebec gets cash, and is called a partner. Toronto is told to raise their own cash, and are ridiculed if they do.


Anna Keightley said...

Thanks Joanne (TB) for highlighting all budget items on the menu for public assessment. It's the "bread and butter" issues, "economy stupid" thing that moves us toward a viable economy. I see the parents' complaints are mounting with the education system. Yeah, the support workers on strike in Durham, but what's this with teachers' ready to forego supervisory roles? An outrage. Children's safety in the school environment is or should be first priority -- curriculum content second after that. Hope parents are alert to both and apply pressure.

Will go out and purchase National Post today (everything behind subscription walls) -- then I'll use as garbage wrap in lieu of plastic bags.

Thanks for prioritizing the materials as they roll out.

Anna Keightley

Anonymous said...

Dalton McGuinty hasn't improved anything to do with education. The reason the PC's lost last time is because the NDP voted strategically so that the Liberals would win -- only so the teachers unions would get what they wanted. Well, I won't go into what they got but they did get anything related to professional standards rolled back. As to new funding, for the most part, new funding goes, not to student resources, but to salaries and benefits (or related matters such as supposedly reducing class sizes).

Mayor David Miller's attitude that somehow Toronto is the centre of the known universe, is the problem. I was born in Toronto but the socialist view that panhandlers and the homeless have more rights then average citizens, doesn't impress me and many others, and why it is no longer Toronto the good. Moreover, when Alberta surpasses Toronto as the economic engine of this country, Miller et al are going to have high blood pressure.

Anonymous said...

Was it not just yesterday when you and your readers Sandy & Zac were seemingly impressed by this budget??

Yes, I do like the Ontario budget. I would have liked to see more income tax relief, but the fact that Ontario is now out of debt and posting surpluses again is a positive step in the right direction.

And, since we're on budgets, I also like the federal budget for the most part...and I'm as Liberal as they come. So, decipher from that what you will.


Anonymous said...

Mcguinty is afraid of the teachers union...they came out fiercely in the the Harris-Eves days.
They have him by the private parts.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, the natives seem to have the same leverage.