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The New Direction is the Old Direction

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

I know you’re all anxious to hear my plan for the County’s future, but first I have some explaining to do, thanks to the responses to my last column. My detractors may also consider this something of an apology, so they can sleep at night.
First: I do indeed apologize for my lead, which I thought was funny at the time but, on re-reading, was really a mean-spirited cheap shot at Premier Wynne. It stemmed from my bitterness toward the Premier, who shows no indication that she will follow through on any of her promises, such as allowing rural Ontarians back into the decision-making process on placement of IWTs.
In the heat of the election, she made the same promise again, but I have no expectations she will follow through this time either.

Second: Somehow I got labelled a Tim Hudak booster, which was something of a head-scratcher for me. Regular readers know that I’ve been on his case in this column for years, mostly for sitting on his hands while the Libs moved from scandal to scandal – each of which cost us, the taxpayers, bundles of money.
The cash blown on some of their projects would have been way better spent serving the growing homeless population, and pushing the poor of the province a little closer to lower middle class. A cure for leukemia would also be a nice thing, and we could have put a dent in that research budget with what they blew on cancelled gas plants alone, not to mention the ridiculous Samsung deal.
[By the way, the metro papers report that a Texas IWT provider is suing the province for violation of the NAFTA agreement in its deal with Korea. There goes a couple of more million in lawyer fees, I suspect.]
Hudak clearly bungled everything he touched, and I suspect the Old Party Backroom Boys were more concerned about keeping their far-right support, than they were in serving the bulk of Ontario.
In the traditional ‘Night of the Long Knives’, the Tories couldn’t pack Hudak away fast enough – skidmarks on the pavement; don’t let the backdoor hit ya on the way out.
How do you choose a bad leader? As one blogger on put it: “Find someone who is good at math (1 million jobs, yah sure); Find someone immune to foot in the mouth disease (you can reduce the public service over time, just don’t let 500,000 of them think it’s going to be them, three weeks before an election, where 100% of them and their spouses and kids are going to vote against you in virtually every riding in the Province!)”
God only knows what the plan was, but the delivery of it was botched so badly, the blood drained from the faces of half the population.
I expect that, if you now show a picture of Tim to any Tory MPP, they will say: “I’ve never seen this man before in my life.”
It is proof of how desperate I became to terminate the Liberal cronyism, horrible spending practices, disabling legislation and the clear violation of our rights as Ontarians, that I would even suggest Hudak as an alternative.
To me, stopping the unstoppable government train was worth any price – even Hudak!
Third: Oddly enough, since people read what they want to read into everything I write, I got labelled a ‘fiscal conservative’. This was a real eyebrow-raiser for me, since I am more left of centre than the Liberals (who are themselves pushing more and more into right-wing territory).
There is a big difference between fiscal conservatism and ‘fiscal responsibility’ – and that’s what I’m fighting for.
I will attack irresponsibility everywhere I see it, regardless of the party. As a former die-hard socialist, I saw how that system could easily spin out of control, just like a capitalist system.
When you combine the two – state control catering to capitalist (moneyed) corporations? Well, that’s just a Witches Brew, that serves no-one but the respective bureaucracies.
When you have a system in which the government wants to run everything, lobbied to and partly funded by the corporations who serve themselves and their shareholders – whose missing from this delightful family portrait? Us.
Here in the County we have a socialist system in its unadulterated sense: We help each other, and together we all survive.
On a provincial and federal level, though I still believe in our social programs, you can’t just keep paying off people who can’t find jobs. Because the problem is not with the people. The problem is a whole new atmosphere, in which corporations, understandably, look to cheaper locations in the U.S., or move into the world of globalization.
The Canadian worker, along with the Canadian manufacturer, is an endangered species here. And even more so in the province of Ontario.
Rhetoric about “a million jobs” is just that. Promises of reducing our debt are just that.
Until the ‘way of doing business’ changes at Queen’s Park, we are stuck with the pretense that ‘things will get better’.
Yet inflation just jumped again last week. Gas prices are driving up delivery costs. Hydro rates are cutting heavily into the profit margins of every Ontario business.
For those of you who think the Ontario debt is not a problem, the Business News Network recently reported that the debt per taxpaying Ontarian is almost four times that of the state of California which, if you remember, was reported to be on the verge of bankruptcy just a few years ago.
So congratulations to all of you Ontarians who cast a vote for the Captain of the Titanic. The band is still playing on the deck, but the ship is going down.
Make no mistake. The government will be around in four years. Not so sure about us.
And, without us, Ontario will likely be way easier to run.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Gary says:

    You seem to think that when the Liberals do something astray it is monumental! When Harper pays off Duffy it is fine. When Mulroney picks up paper bags of cash as a payoff in a sleazy hotel room it is fine. When tory Tony Clement siphons off millions from the G20 to Ontario Tory ridings it is ok. Hypocrite come to mind. Obviously the majority in Ontario felt the Liberals were the only choice even considering the gas plant hyjinks! The Tories offered nothing other than to preach fear.

  2. argyle says:

    Gary, I prefer not to vote for the liberal platform of corruption and disceet that permeates the provincial liberal party now. The current sitting government is simply a shadow of its McGuinty predaccessor. And something tells me that you have never voted anything but liberal, much like your father and grandfather. Kinda like someone from Lanark are ya?

  3. Gary says:

    And another thing Argyle. Your Tories have done nothing for LacMegnatic Quebec a year later. Harper just wants to pump western oil at all costs to towns and the environment. Worst environmental PM we have ever had. Lanark region may approve of that but not in Toronto. One more reason why they reject your party.

  4. Gary says:

    Slight difference Argyle. The 416 is voting by preference to platforms. Lanark in particular votes as their great great grandparents did irregardless of platform.

  5. Argyle says:

    Gary, no doubt you could run that same yellow dog anywhere in the 416 and become the liberal candidate….

  6. Loretta says:

    Great discussion everyone! I would like to hazard my opinion… most members of any political party cannot or will not articulate their party purpose or values (however you define it) because they have no voice in that purpose – it is being defined by corporations and their lobbyists. Our “Democracy” has morphed into a “Corporacracy”.

  7. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Interestingly Judy here is reference where models for repeal have actually been employed
    the first being the recall of governor of Claifornia as detailed in wkipedia:
    “Gubernatorial removal[edit]
    There are two methods available to remove a governor before the expiration of the gubernatorial term of office.
    Impeachment and removal by the legislature
    The governor can be impeached for “misconduct in office” by the State Assembly and removed by a two-thirds vote of the State Senate.
    Recall by the voters
    Petitions signed by California state voters equal in number to 12% of the last vote for the office of governor (with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1% of the last vote for governor in the county) can launch a gubernatorial recall election. The voters can then vote on whether or not to recall the incumbent governor, and on the same ballot, they can vote a potential replacement. If a majority of the voters in the election vote to recall the governor, then the person who gains a plurality of the votes in the replacement race will become governor.
    The 2003 California recall began with a petition drive that successfully forced sitting Democratic Governor Gray Davis into a special recall election. It marked the first time in the history of California that a governor faced a recall election. He was subsequently voted out of office, becoming the second governor in the history of the United States to be recalled after Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921. He was replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    The second is the use recall/referenda legislation In British Columbia as referenced in Elections BC Referenda / Recall / Initiative:
    “Referenda, recalls, and initiatives are opportunities for British Columbians to take part directly in the political and legislative process. Each event makes citizen involvement possible in a different area.
    Referenda are votes in which registered voters are asked to express their opinion on a matter of public interest or concern. Registered voters indicate their opinion by marking a ballot in response to one or more questions. For example, in the 2005 Referendum on Electoral Reform registered voters were asked:
    “Should British Columbia change to the BC-STV electoral system as
recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform?”
    A second referendum on electoral reform was held in conjunction with the May 12, 2009 provincial general election. Voters were asked:
    “Which electoral system should British Columbia use to elect members
to the provincial Legislative Assembly?

    The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post)
    The single transferable vote electoral system (BC-STV) proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform”
    Referenda do not take place on a regular basis. Instead, they are held whenever the Lieutenant Governor, on the advice of the cabinet, thinks that an expression of public opinion is desirable. The result of a provincial referendum is binding on government.
    For more information about referenda in B.C., click on the Referenda link on the left column.
    The Recall and Initiative Act is administered by the Chief Electoral Officer.   The Act allows a registered voter to petition to remove a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from office.  The recall process is unique in Canada – no other province or territory has a system in place for removing elected representatives from office between elections. 
    For more information about recalls in B.C., click on the Recall link on the left column.
    The Recall and Initiative Act is administered by the Chief Electoral Officer.  The Act allows registered voters in British Columbia to propose new laws or changes to existing laws.  A suggested law must be within the jurisdiction of the Legislature of British Columbia and not a matter of federal responsibility.” 
    In 2011 there was referendum which passed to repeal the HST in BC

  8. Gary says:

    Randy the Lanark hillbilly. They love him down there. But then you could run a yellow dog as the Tory candidate in that region and it would win. They might fair better job wise if they would change it up once and awhile. Getting the Tory nomination there is like winning the lottery.

  9. judy kennedy says:

    I see your point, but I just don’t believe anything worthwhile comes from Randy Hillier’s head. Perhaps he got that idea from someone else. Also, recalls sound good in theory, but in practise? I wonder. Not sure the electorate, as a whole, for example, is qualified.

  10. Olmanonthemtn says:

    In consulting it is important to evaluate ideas on their own merit free from partisanship
    or identification with a person(s) who are disfavoured. Markus Orlyus, “a notorious stoic, cynic, and skeptic, examines the role of stories and culture in a postmodern world. “ Markus is a virtual entity – born on Twitter he offers this cogent approach to ideas and people:

    “If we want to move forward in solving the many problems the world faces, we’ll have to rethink old ideas and formulate new ones. The best way to do this is focusing on ideas, not people. One of the most effective online forums I ever participated in established this concept as a foundational principle. Once a person put an idea out there, it ceased to “belong” to them, but was rigorously interrogated simply as an idea.”

    An example in Canadian Politics was Prime Minister R.B. Bennet who was much maligned for how he dealt with the demands of the Great Depression however:

    “Bennett’s reforms promised a more progressive taxation system, a maximum work week, a minimum wage, closer regulation of working conditions, unemployment insurance, health and accident insurance, a revised old-age pension and agricultural support programs.” The Canadian Encyclopedia

    Think how much longer we had to wait for these GOOD ideas to happen>

  11. judy kennedy says:

    Randy Hillier, really!!??? No credibility on any issue.

  12. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Paul you’re not off topic your discussing the failure of government to act in the interest of the public good, I present two politicians who in a limited way have tried as private members to address the issue:

    Randy Hillier provincial conservative MPP
    “At the end of October 2013, Hillier introduced a bill to allow provincial politicians to be recalled from public office.[25] Hillier’s bill received some public support after he recommended that it should apply to Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who was embroiled in a crack cocaine scandal.[26] ” wikipedia
    Michael Chong federal conservative MP
    “Michael Chong: It’s clear that over decades the ability of members of Parliament to represent their constituents in the Canadian House of Commons has declined relative to the caucus leadership structures. This is not the result of any one government or any one party. These changes came about as a result of numerous and cumulative changes in the Parliament of Canada – in the way in which we elect party leaders, the way in which we review party leaders, the way we constitute caucus membership, and the way that we nominate party candidates.

    And as a result the power of the executive branch of government has subsumed our legislative institution. The power of parliamentary party leaders has increasingly been advantaged to the disadvantage of caucus members. And that has weakened the checks and balances of our system that are so important to ensuring good governance of this country. ” interview from Canada .com

  13. Paul says:

    This maybe slightly off topic but I think there should be a mechanism in the Elections Act which allows the People to recall a Government. lets say 2 years into a Majority Governments 4 year term there is some sort of referendum or vote which expresses the Peoples opinion on whether they feel the Government is living up to its mandate and depending on the results allows the People to force an election or allows the sitting Government to continue.. Just a thought maybe its not feasible or constitutional but an idea to hold them to account…

  14. sanmc says:

    Sorry, correction,

    ” Campbell states “socialism”. yes this is a good system for the good of the ppl. If corps were involved and the billions to plunder from the resources of the ppls country.”

    If corps weren’t involved and the billions made from the plunder of ppl’s country resources.

  15. sanmc says:

    Steve Campbell has got it right, a good read.

    All these comments still beg the question of who’s at the top governing/dictating and controlling gov’t? The big worldwide corporations and the world bank (that prints off money when they want). All the machinations within the gov’t is mind boggling when you hear of the switching of jobs from the corps to the gov’t positions and back again to the corp. boards of directors. No wonder we can’t get straight answers and a clear direction on the legal front to go after the culprits.

    I agree Wolf, we all must be of one voice, action and activism. Even a direction of “Free Vote” or proportional representation would help the people as is set in some countries, Spain, Israel, etc. There are stirring about bringing this issue to a head for the 2015 election. A big job to educate ppl and to link up.

    The power is truly in the ppls hands, but fear rules the ppl.

    Campbell states “socialism”. yes this is a good system for the good of the ppl. If corps were involved and the billions to plunder from the resources of the ppls country. The Natives have a legal stand under treaties with the Feds. It might do us all well to stand united with Native issues. Not to show our racism against them when they need EVERY voice in Canada to speak as one. They have the network of tribes and the moral authority in their history of the good for the land, etc. They were here long before all these gov’ts and corps. remember?

    Get out of debt, stay out of debt.

  16. Wolf Braun says:

    oleman: “” ergo purpose is what is wanted to be achieved. The question is why, based on what values it should be achieved and that it seems would be based on the values/ethics that are held ”

    Purpose isn’t everything, but it trumps everything else. Sure, government must have strong leadership, good management, succession, planning, execution, strategy, tactics, innovation and more. But it all has to start with a purpose. Purpose is the hinge that everything else hangs upon.

    Having clarity about the ultimate purpose of the time and energy elected officials and bureaucrats spend doing what they should be doing is the cornerstone of a culture of purpose.

    Purpose should be what drives everything in government. Purpose is the reason for government’s existence. Purpose should drive government and at the same time answer why it exists.

    Having a purposeful government and bureaucracy offers up a host of benefits, including easier decision making, deeper
    civil service and citizen engagement, and ultimately, more fulfillment and happiness by all. We hardly have any of those in our current governments.

    With a clear purpose in place for government and political parties, decision making becomes easier. Decision makers can look at an opportunity or a challenge and ask “Is this the right thing to do given our purpose – why we exist? Does this further our cause? If it does, it should go ahead. If it doesn’t, you don’t. If it’s proof to government’s purpose, we should all be able to embrace it. If it violates the purpose, our elected officials and bureaucrats should kick the idea out on its butt.

    I prefer the term principles versus values but I’m OK with you on that.

  17. Olmanonthemtn says:

    I’ve used this quote previously I feel it makes the point about the importance of why in relation to governmental purposes/intentions for its actions:

    “Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Expediency asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? But conscience asks the question: Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular,… but one must take it simply because it is right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

  18. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Wolf: ‘Purpose is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world.”

    ergo purpose is what is wanted to be achieved. The question is why, based on what values it should be achieved and that it seems would be based on the values/ethics that are held

    “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” was the communist purpose then why did it end in totalitarian governance. Without a higher moral
    justification as to the redistribution of wealth those who craved power used this purpose to justify their taking control from the people.
    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm

  19. Wolf Braun says:

    olelman: ” Seems we need more than ever to push our
    politicians to engage the public in determining what constitutes a ” Good Society” ”

    Agree. And to do that, they’ll need all of us.

    At the same time we need all political parties to reinvent themselves: how they speak, act, include us and define their purpose. And to do that, they’ll need all of us to help them.

    I’m not a fan of words like mission, values and others when talking about governance. Those words talk more about marketing, sales and brands. They’re company words.

    Purpose is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world. The power of purpose is not a marketing idea or a sales idea, it’s an idea from the people and for the people. Purpose drives an entire nation and it answers why government at all levels exist.

  20. Olmanonthemtn says:

    What is the ideal outcome of the workings of any government in other words what type of society do we wish ourselves to be. This is a statement of values that serve as the moral
    compass which directs the establishment of government laws and functions. Its a perfect vision of what kind of society we strive for. Its the why that determines the what and
    how of government. The role of government in our constitution appears to set the
    what and how. There will be an effective government the mission of which will establish rules to be followed and ensure there is freedom from dissension from this statement
    the government objective and procedures are set.

    John Raulston Saul makes the case that originally the statement “Peace Order and Good Government’ which sets direction in the Constitution Act in earlier statements read “Peace, Welfare and Good Government”. The term welfare here is not a narrow term but was synonymous with the promotion of the commonweal or public good.

    The difference in terms seems to change the aim of government to work on our behalf
    to establish the ideal Good Sociey to the creation of rules for citizens to follow the question is what are the rules intended to promote.

    Seems we need more than ever to push our politicians to engage the public in determining what constitutes a ” Good Society”

  21. Wolf Braun says:

    An interesting statement was made at last week’s annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Dallas, where the theme was the urgency of addressing income inequality.

    Next year’s conference host, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnston reminded his peers by saying: “The purpose of cities is to lift up residents and build a community and economy that works for everyone.”

    Canadian Mayors, including the next Mayor of PEC, should adopt this purpose. It would show a willingness to work for all citizens.

  22. Wolf Braun says:

    oleman: “The role of the national Parliament of Canada based on The Constitution Act of 1867 is “to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada,” except for “subjects assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the provinces.” cited on the Parliament of Canada”

    The role of is not exactly the same as purpose and why it exists. In the above one can question “to make laws for the peace, order and good government”. What exactly do the words peace, order and good government mean? Do they cover ALL peoples?

    Historians, past presidents and prime ministers are on record for having said that…

    The purpose of government is to protect.

    Others have said the purpose of government is to protect and enhance the lives of ALL peoples.

    Furthermore, if 1867 is still valid, how does that reason for existence / purpose fit with the reason why each political party exists? Why is it that none have a clearly stated purpose and a set of principles that are easy to articulate and understand?

  23. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Parliament of Canada website:
    Powers of the National and Provincial Governments…/

  24. Olmanonthemtn says:

    The role of the national Parliament of Canada based on The Constitution Act of 1867 is “to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada,” except for “subjects assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the provinces.” cited on the Parliament of Canada

  25. Mark says:

    So defined distribution of powers would not include policy. What kind of power would that be? Not looking for a p…..g contest, just some common sense.

  26. Chris Keen says:

    Actually, Mark, the Act (among other things) actually defines the distribution of power (areas of responsibility) between the federal and provincial governments. There is no mention of “policy”.

  27. Wolf Braun says:

    Mark: “The government has a responsibility to form policy.”

    Policy based on what? Grounded on what?

    Their partisan followers?


    Special interest groups?

    What is it about “why things exist” that you don’t understand?

    What is it about principles that you don’t get?

  28. Mark says:

    That’s a lot of malarkey. We have the Constitutional Act 1867. The government has a responsibility to form policy.

  29. Wolf Braun says:

    All political parties in Canada, at both levels, need to wrestle with two questions – a) why do we exist as a party? and b) why does government need to exist? Both questions and answers have to be in synch. An
    oversimplified answer would be – “to serve the people”. But each party needs to look deeper for an explanation and identify the complexities as to why they exist – what is their purpose for being?

    I would wager that if you took a group of OPCs and asked them each to independently write a brief statement as to why they exist you would get a different answer from each one. That inability to articulate a clear reason why they exist as a party is a big problem. Not unique to the PCs. You can lump all parties into this.

    Never assume that your followers already know the answers.

    It’s a problem because voters are never left with a clear, easy to understand reason why each political party exists. Instead, what voters are presented with are catchy slogans – “Big Blue Machine”, “Common Sense Revolution”, “The Road Ahead”, “The White Papers”, “A million Jobs” and so on. The whiz kids create marketing slogans that are not grounded in a reason why the party exists. When that happens, there is limited passion for a party, its leader and the candidates. Again, this is not unique to the OPCs. All parties at both levels of government are guilty.

    Municipal government is no different. Anyone care to take the challenge? We should be asking everyone running for municipal office to tell us why municipal government exists. I know we’d get different answers from everyone. Care to take the test here? 🙂

    Secondly, if one examines the Constitutions of any of the parties you’ll be hard pressed to find a purpose AND a set of principles by which they will operate. The reason you won’t find many/any principles is because there is no purpose. Without purpose, you can’t have meaningful principles that guide you when making decisions on behalf of citizens.

    I’ll use a business analogy to make my point. You can use almost any business category where you’ll find more than one company operating in that category. For example, the banking industry has a lot of big players. How do you decide which company you’re going to give your business to?

    The really, really successful companies (the Fortune 100s) have very distinct purposes. A simple statement that’s clearly articulated, easy to understand and a focus on the people who they want to serve.

    The same successful companies, who have a clear reason why they exist, also have some basic principles by which they run their businesses and make tough decisions. In most of these companies, the first principle usually reads, “Our first responsibility is to the people who use our products and services”. Think of Maple Leaf Foods and the tainted meat situation of a few years ago. They got it right. Think of BP Oil in the gulf. They got it wrong. Until they fired and replaced the CEO… who “just wanted his life back”.

    The OPCs need to listen less to the whiz kids, who come up with phrases like “evil reptillian kitten-eater from another planet” and spend more time focusing on ALL people’s needs and wants. Again, this holds true for other parties, including the Ontario Liberals and NDP.

    Ask: “Why do we as a party exist?” Come together on one short reason/answer that’s easy to articulate and remember. Drop anchor and that and never move away from that purpose. That reason or purpose has to be forever. It’s what keeps the party grounded and successful.

    Ask: “Is our purpose in synch with why we have governments?” It better be or else it’s meaningless.

    Discuss, debate, argue, but formulate a set of principles that will guide the party long-term.

    Make sure that the leader (and potential leaders) and all candidates are passionate about why the party exists. Make sure that everyone sticks to the basic principles agreed upon.

    Only when the reason (purpose) and principles are in place can you and should you move into the area of policies. You can not and should not develop policies in the absence of purpose and principles.

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