Monday, December 15, 2014

Harper Derangement Syndrome, Bullying, and Inconvenient Facts

In his book Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, Ben Shapiro does a masterful job of dissecting the left’s mindset in debating political issues. It’s amazing how many believe in free speech – a supposedly liberal concept – until someone says something they don’t agree with. Then the gloves are off. Name calling, slander, and shouting nonsense at the opponent becomes fair game.
Shapiro trained under Andrew Breitbart, an American conservative who helped found The Huffington Post along with others like Arianna Huffington. Breitbart thought this was an important multi-partisan experiment for two reasons: 1) having articles from columnists of all political stripes would result in a clash of ideas, and the readership would thus be able to decide which ‘side’ was correct; and 2) the comments sections appearing under each columnists’ article would publicly expose the hyper-partisan, left-wing vitriol that is constantly flung at conservatives who dare express their opinions.
After this weekend’s antics, it’s apparent that Canada’s left is learning a lot from their American friends – bringing was they purportedly decry as “American-style” politics into Canadian political debates.
On Friday I published a piece in the Prince Arthur Herald and the Huffington Post. It appropriately called Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to task for his dictatorial treatment of the Liberal Party as his little playpen. All I did was reiterate already well-known and published facts:
- Trudeau admitted that he admires China’s dictatorship
- Trudeau called in the police to silence dissent and to “acclaim” Andrew Leslie as the candidate for Orleans. It was just the latest in a series of suspicious "elections" to take place with direct interference from the leader's office.
- Trudeau unilaterally declared that all Liberal candidates would be required to vote pro-choice
- Trudeau unilaterally expelled the Senate Liberals (but not really)
That's it. Those four points have been universally reported upon by left-leaning, centrist, and right-leaning news organizations. No big deal, right?
I concluded by asking whether a Prime Minister Trudeau would behave in the same manner as he has with his Liberal Party. At the time of this writing, about 80 hours since the first piece was published, the article has been liked over 10,000 times and shared, tweeted about, and commented on thousands more. Great. It shows that Canadians agree with the message that Trudeau has taken over the Liberal Party and made it his own fiefdom, his own palace where he can do and say whatever he wants.
However, a small but verbal group of Liberals didn’t like that their leader was being mentioned in the same breath as a Chinese dictatorship – even though it was Trudeau who mentioned his admiration for them in the first place.
What ensued would have made even the bullies in Shapiro’s book blush at how well they learned from their American friends. They attacked Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They deflected. They name-called. They attacked the Prince Arthur Herald and the Huffington Post for daring to publish an article that stated facts. They cited laughable conspiracy theories. They brought up statistics about irrelevant topics. They attacked Prime Minister Harper some more. They attacked me some more. Everything-and-the-kitchen sink was thrown about in the most transparent attempt to change the channel. All of these are bully tactics used to bash, belittle, and silence opponents rather than engage in legitimate debate.
The Big Shift documents a “seismic” shift in Canada’s culture, governance, business, and future for a multitude of reasons. Many of the changes, according to Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson, have happened under Conservative governments, whose grassroots policy development and understanding of Canadians’ values have helped them win elections while the Liberals sit in the corner shaking their heads. Those Liberals – “The Laurentian Consensus,” as Bricker and Ibbitson call them - can only shake their heads and belittle their opponents as they arrogantly await their return to power under a new Messiah.
The Liberals, as the arrogantly-once-assumed-to-be-natural-governing-party-of-Canada, are still new to actually having to create policies and ideas that appeal to people. They’re used to putting all their faith in one leader and trusting that he’ll bring them to power. It’s much easier to slander those who disagree with the Messiah than actually question whether he’s really the chosen one and whether he's doing the right thing.
At first, I thought this weekend’s bully tactics demonstrated how little the Liberal Party had changed since Trudeau was anointed leader. But now I realize: this isn’t his father’s Liberal Party.
Daniel Dickin is the author of Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record, available in e-book and print through the publisher and Amazon.ca.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Justin Trudeau runs his party like a dictatorship - why would he run Canada any differently?

Published for the Prince Arthur Herald and Huffington Post


It's becoming clearer as the days of Trudeau's Liberals wear on: if elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau would turn Canada into a dictatorship.
This is the man who admitted he "admires China's basic dictatorship." It wasn't just a sarcastic comment - he seriously said that he admires the dictatorship because they can get things done quickly.
And it's becoming clearer that Trudeau not only admires the dictatorship -- he runs the Liberal Party like one too.
How else can one explain the police-enforced acclamation of Andrew Leslie as the Liberal candidate for Orleans? Even with hundreds of Liberals attending the meeting to show their support for another candidate (and former Trudeau leadership rival), it was clear from the beginning that Leslie was Trudeau's hand-picked favourite, and certainly wouldn't be stopped by pesky processes like "democracy."
Just the imagery of Trudeau's chosen candidate being selected with police intervention is scary. It shows that Trudeau doesn't just admire China's dictatorship -- he would practice one if he had the chance.
The nomination in Orleans is only the latest rigged "open nomination." Despite Trudeau's promises to actually, you know, practice democracy, at least a half dozenLiberal nominations have been rigged or tampered with through the direct intervention of Trudeau's office: mysteriously disqualifying candidates, changing nomination dates, paperwork going "missing," and using dirty "back-room" politics to ensure the leader's candidate is chosen at any cost.
But those are only Liberal candidates; surely Trudeau would loosen his grip on his caucus colleagues once they've been elected, wouldn't he? Unfortunately, no. The Liberal caucus randomly learned one morning early last year that their leader had come up with a new diktat: that all Liberals would be expected, no, requiredto vote pro-choice. When Trudeau's pathetic attempted defence (that they were "the party of the Charter," obviously missing those small sections about freedom of conscience and religion) agitated more than a few Liberal MPs, he attempted to invent some weird "grandfathering" rule. But then he went back on that too.
The result is that Liberal MPs who dare question the diktat of Trudeau are being punished. Those who dare disagree have already been punished, resigned, or indicated that they won't seek another term in office -- at least not under the iron fist of Trudeau.
Or we can look to the expulsion of those kinda-sorta-maybe "Senate Liberals," who were unilaterally expelled (but not really) by Trudeau without the slightest consultation with the Senate Liberal leadership.
The Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau has become a dictatorship. The leader of that party does what he wants, when he wants, and no one dares question him.
Now that we know that Trudeau runs his party like a dictatorship, we must ask ourselves: is there any indication he wouldn't do the same as the leader of Canada?
Would a Prime Minister Trudeau arbitrarily whip the vote and outlaw certain moral questions? Could Prime Minister Trudeau be trusted to make decisions for the good of the country, not just for his personal self-worth? Would Trudeau call in the police to enforce his vision?
Let's hope we never have the opportunity to ask those questions.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Open nominations" in Trudeau's Liberal Party

Open nominations!*

* Some conditions apply




Justin Trudeau promises open nominations in all 338 ridings across Canada.

Except for Don Valley North...

Or Bay of Quinte

Or Ville-Marie–Le Sud-Ouest–Île-des-Soeurs

Or Vancouver Granville

Or Scarborough-Agincourt

Or Trinity-Spadina

Or Ottawa-Orleans

Or Brandon-Souris

Or University-Rosedale

Or Toronto-Danforth

Or Pontiac

Or Edmonton-Mill Woods

They're basically still open, right?

Have I missed any? Let me know!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A depressing time for Ontario politics

Ontario had a rough summer. Many of us are still feeling the effects of the hangover from the June 2014 election that shamefully saw Kathleen Wynne's Liberals re-elected with a majority government.

Ontarians were quickly thanked for their support of the scandal-plagued Liberals: almost 34,000 more Ontarians found themselves out of work in June. Then some of the jobs returned but the unemployment rate remained the same; and finally the rest of the jobs and unemployment rate recovered. Combined with Moody's negative debt rating outlook for the province, it's a sign of a volatile economy due to the Liberals' reckless tax-and-spend priorities.

As well, Ontario's debt is getting dangerously close to hitting $300 billion – or almost $22,000 for every man, woman, and child. Wynne's Liberals seem unphased. That debt is growing by almost $60 million per day, and that's not including the $10 billion we're spending on interest every year.

But with the Liberals largely taking the summer off to celebrate (who needs to watch the economy anyway?), party politics in Ontario's Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats took centre stage.

The Ontario PCs began rebuilding the party that was once Ontario's go-to choice for responsible government, reasonable spending, and real leadership. The Ontario PCs led Ontario for the majority of the 20th century, but have been unable to re-capture the Premier's office since Dalton McGuinty was elected in 2003.

With the official launch of Lisa Macleod's campaign on October 19, a total of five candidates have put their names forward: Patrick Brown, Christine Elliott, Vic Fedeli, and Monte McNaughton are all vying for the leadership position that will hold the Liberals to account and return Ontario's naturally-governing party to power. Each will have their policies and merits tested in the lead up to the May 2015 leadership convention.

The third-placed New Democrats have had a much quieter summer, although Andrea Horwath has faced calls to resign over her “moderate” spring campaign that turned off hard left-wing voters.

And what of Ontario's governing party for the next four years?

Kathleen Wynne's Liberals have certainly been the quietest of the parties, which is probably for the best considering that seemingly every time Kathleen Wynne speaks it's to call in the police to investigate her own government or to announce yet another state-run tax grab.

However, we've still heard plenty that confirms Wynne's Liberals are interested in nothing more than continuing the scandal-ridden legacy that started with Dalton McGuinty:

  • The MaRS scandal is set to turn into the next gas plant scandal with revelations that the Liberals changed the rules so they could loan the failing company a quarter of a billion dollars. And when the company failed, we (us taxpayers) bought the company for $308 million.
  • We also quietly gave Metrolinx employees an 8.45 percent pay raise over four years – conveniently just days before the election in a clear sign that the Liberals were shoring up as many votes as possible with taxpayers' money.
  • Ontarians are just three years away from having to pay the Liberals' new pay roll tax, which will cost each person up to $2500 and kill 150,000 jobs.
  • The OPP are still investigating the Liberals' alleged cover up of the $1 billion gas plant scandal and the Ornge scandal.

Ontarians deserve better. But since we elected the Liberals for what is already promising to be yet another scandal-plagued term, we're in for the long haul.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Finally! A response on those illegal Working Families signs

Earlier this week I posted what was supposed to be my last note on the illegal Working Families signs that sprung up across Ottawa just days before the Ontario election.


Then, miraculously, I got a response from the Chief of Bylaw & Regulatory Services, Linda Anderson (Linda.Anderson@ottawa.ca):

In response to complaints regarding election signs during the 2014 Provincial election, By-law Enforcement Officers removed and impounded approximately 500 signs which is the most cost effective and expedient way to deal with such signs.  
 A large number of the signs that were removed were linked to candidates from all registered parties although nearing the end of the campaign, a large number were posted that were not associated with specific candidates. Follow up charges for the placement of these later signs is problematic because evidence is required that must specifically identify the individual person who places the sign illegally . The City has no legal ability to charge the organization that the sign may be supporting.  

Linda Anderson

Chief, By-law & Regulatory Services / Chef des Services des règlements municipauxTel / tél. : 613-580-2424, ext. / poste 29257By-law email sig final3NEW2014 (3)cid:image002.png@01CF9D03.992A4260cid:image003.png@01CF9D03.992A4260

Her office also followed up with a phone call that said unless their bylaw officers caught the person actually in the act of placing the illegal signs, they were unable to fine anyone; they're powerless to fine organizations because there's no proof the organization actually had anything to do with the signs.

... Apparently it took 90+ days to give this answer.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Three months and still no response on illegal Working Families signs

The results of the 2014 Ontario election have been studied at discussed at length since that terrible day in June.

But what the City of Ottawa still hasn't responded to are the illegal Working Families signs that sprung up across the city just days before that election.

Ottawa residents were rightly upset that a third party interest group had strategically placed their illegal signs across the city outside of what the bylaws allow.  Even Mayor Jim Watson told Ottawa residents to phone in to 311 to have the signs taken down as soon as possible.

To their credit, city workers responded within a matter of hours, and got most of the signs down within a few hours.  But another round of signs went up, demonstrating that the WFC had plenty of signs in reserve - and they were going to use them in a secondary blitz as soon as the first illegal batch was removed.

But what the city has still failed to do is respond with what they intend to do to the WFC.  I have been contacting the city regularly via email and telephone since the illegal signs hit the streets on June 6.  311, bylaw enforcement, and contacting the chief of bylaw enforcement directly has gone nowhere - for over 90 days now.

With the municipal elections just around the corner in October, ask your potential candidates what they will do if elected to send a message to third party advertisers that post illegal signs in Ottawa.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

City of Ottawa agrees Working Families' signs were illegal, still won't say what they'll do about them

The City of Ottawa has confirmed that the Working Families signs placed throughout Ottawa just days prior to the June 2014 election were illegal, but won't say what action they intend to take.

On June 6, 2014, just six days before the Ontario election in which the Liberals were elected to a majority government, the Liberal-friendly Working Families Coalition put up thousands of illegal signs attacking the Progressive Conservative Party and Tim Hudak.

Thousands of these signs were spotted in swing ridings across Ontario.  In Ottawa, they appeared in Ottawa South and Ottawa West-Nepean.  The signs were strategically timed so that Ottawa bylaw enforcement officers would take a while to respond – it being a Friday.

Ottawa mayor and former Liberal cabinet minister Jim Watson wouldn’t get involved, and would only say concerned citizens should call the bylaw enforcement office. 

The following day, June 7, I registered my complaint online after the telephones were backed up with 30+ minute wait times.  The auto-response email promised a response in 4 business days, so by June 12 – coincidentally, the date of the election.

On June 9 the 311 call centre assigned the complaint to the Municipal Addressing and Signs department.  They pushed the complaint back to the 311, saying they only dealt with permanent signs on private property.

No response.

On June 11, the Municipal Addressing and Signs department forwarded the complaint directly to bylaw enforcement, since the 311 call centre still hadn’t forwarded it to the proper department.

June 13? No response.

June 16? No response.

June 17, the Municipal Addressing and Signs department once again forwarded the complaint to 311 and bylaw enforcement.  That same day the 311 call centre once again acknowledged the complaint, but said their response would take “a minimum of 5 business days.”

Finally, on June 23, the 311 call centre forwarded the complaint to the Bylaw Temporary Signage Enforcement and promised a response within 2 days.  They agreed the Working Families signs “were placed illegally,” but said a bylaw officer would have to answer any questions about “the fines associated with impound and removal.”


So it’s a small victory, but not the full answer Ottawans deserve.  Make your voice known too.  Contact Linda Anderson, the chief of bylaw enforcement, and demand that something be done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How I paid off $32,000 in student loans in one minute

In fall 2014 Daniel appeared on the More Money for Beer and Texbooks podcast to discuss this article. Watch the podcast here.



I generally don’t write about myself, but this picture generated so many questions and comments that I thought I should share my experience in paying back $32,000 in student loans in one minute.

The average Ontario student pays $7259 per year to go to university or $2400 per year to go to university.  Across Canada, the average student graduates from their undergrad with $25,000 of debt.

I’ve been a full-time student for the past six years, completing my B.A. at Carleton and being just months away from finishing my M.A.  By June 18, 2014 I owed $31,909.07 in student loans from the federal and Ontario government.  Yikes!  But for me, at 3:40pm I walked into the bank, and one minute later I owed $0.00.

How did I do it?

Start Early
Going to college or university is a big financial commitment.  When I was 13 my school had career planning workshops that sparked our thinking about what we wanted to do with our lives, how much schooling it would take, and how much that would cost.

By 15, I was just 3 years away from graduating high school and didn’t have any savings.  My parents and I visited a financial advisor and opened up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).  My parents and I would contribute $250 per month to the plan.  That’s $3000 per year before interest.

Work in High School
You’re going to need to work.  This garbage about students being “too busy” to work just doesn’t cut it, and it especially won’t cut it if you want to graduate debt free.  I started working when I was 8 years-old.  Paper routes, cutting grass, delivering phone books and magazines… I did it all.

When I was 15 I began working in a restaurant.  Back in the day (wow, that sounds so long ago!), I was making minimum wage at $7.75 per hour and working about 15-30 hours per week.  Yes, during school.  Again, suck it up and get it done.  During the summers I would work more.  The most I worked during the summer was about 108 hours over two weeks.

By my 16th birthday I was a manager and making more money.  Most of that money went towards school savings.

Apply for OSAP
Now it’s a few months before school starts, and it’s time to apply for a student loan.  OSAP is inherently the best option over a bank loan or student line of credit, since the former allows you to borrow the money interest-free for as long as you’re in school.

Gather all your paperwork and do your application as early as possible.  Their online application system usually opens in May for September start dates.  Be as thorough as possible, and ensure you answer everything as accurately as possible.  This will ensure the actual amount you receive is as close as possible to what they estimated you would receive.

OSAP’s funding formula is allowable education costs – expected financial contributions = financial need.

Let’s break down each of those categories:

“Allowable education costs” = things like tuition, books, school supplies, etc.

“Expected financial contributions” = exactly that.  OSAP expects that you and your family will save for your education.  You need to make an effort to save for your education (see my “work” point above).

“Financial need” = This is the need you have demonstrated by considering the two points above.  If your parents make $200,000 per year, you most likely don’t have financial need.  Some of this “need” determines how much the government will loan you vs how much it will grant you (i.e. you’ll never have to pay it back).

Apply for bursaries and scholarships
There are thousands of bursaries and scholarships out there.  For every field, every topic, every major or minor, every type of student, there are dozens of potential bursaries and scholarships.  Apply for them.


Take More OSAP than you Need
Yes, you read that right.  I said take more OSAP than you need.  Remember OSAP’s definition of financial need above?  Sometimes that means the government says you’re entitled to $12,000 in funding, even though your tuition is only $7000.  OSAP will give a common law student up to $560 per week or a single student up to $360 per week.

Now What?
OSAP just gave you $12,000 and your school took $7000, leaving you with $5000.  Free trip to the Bahamas right?  WRONG.

Save that money.  $5000 in a savings account making 1.3% compound interest will make you just over $65 per year.  It’s not a lot.  But the point here is that you’re borrowing money interest-free and making money off it.

Rinse, lather, repeat and that money adds up after time.  Take this easy example:

$12,000 per year in student loans over 6 years = $72,000 YIKES!

But wait.  You saved $5000 from each of those years, meaning you have at least $30,000 in a savings account accruing interest over 6 years.  That still leaves you with a hefty $42,000 balance, but we’ll take care of that shortly.

Work in College/University
Just like in high school, you’re going to need to work.  Many university and college students complain that they’re too busy with school to take on a part-time job.  Garbage.  Make time for it and you will have time for it.  Most university and college students only have between 20 and 30 hours of classes and tutorials per week.  What are you doing the other 148 hours of the week?  You can’t squeeze in working somewhere for 20-30 hours per week?  Of course you can.

And with school getting out in April or May, that leaves you with at least 4 months of working full-time.  Save $500 per month during these months and you’ve got $2000 saved.

Why make pre-payments?
So you’ve been working for a few summers and have some extra cash saved up.  You should probably pay down some of that $42,000 loan, right?  No! Why would you?

You have an interest-free loan.  By paying down the principal you’re giving up the opportunity to make interest off having the money in your account.  That money could be making you money instead of giving it back to the government.

Have an extra $2000 from working extra shifts in the summer? Save it.
Have your tax refund cheque coming in May?  Save it.
Get $100 from your favourite grandma? Save it.

It all adds up.  If you’re looking for a better return, look into purchasing a GIC (or several GICs).  These are simple, no-risk savings products that can often get you a better interest rate in return for locking in your money for a set period of time.

SUMMARY
So let’s summarize:
6 years of university at $12,000 per year will mean you have $72,000 in student debt. OUCH!  However…

-$30,000 from saving $5000 per year for 6 years (and this doesn’t include the interest gained)
-$20,000 from that RESP that had been accumulating for 6 years
-$12,000 from saving $500 per month for 4 months every summer
-$9600 from saving $200 per month for 8 months every year while in school
-$400 in miscellaneous savings (part of a tax refund, extra birthday money, etc)

= $0 student debt after 6 years

That’s how I did it.  You can too.

NOTES/DISCLAIMERS
1.      This story has been provided for informational purposes only.  Some numbers have been rounded for ease of stating them and are not my actual financial figures.
2.      In no way am I warranting this advice or suggesting that you make the same financial decisions.  Always consult with a qualified financial professional.
3.      Always ALWAYS keep your file up to date with your school’s financial aid office and OSAP.  They’re not always the easiest to get a hold of, so keep meticulous notes when you do anything with your student loan: who you speak to, what they said, what you said, etc.
4.      Always ALWAYS ensure that you have properly declared all savings and assets.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Elections Ontario on illegal Working Families Signs: blame the Liberals for not amending legislation

In the lead up to the Ontario election two weeks ago, the Working Families Coalition put up hundreds of illegal signs across the province, attacking Tim Hudak and the Conservatives.  In Ottawa, these signs were blatantly illegal, and they were strategically placed to allow them to stay up while bylaw enforcement took the weekend to respond.

I am still waiting on the City of Ottawa's response to these illegal signs.

I contacted Elections Ontario and this was their response:


"While organizations that sponsor political advertising during an election are required to register with Elections Ontario, the Election Finances Act (EFA) does not regulate content of the advertisements or placement of signs. However; all political advertisement needs to have proper authorization indicating who sponsored/paid for the advertising. For a full list of registered third parties, please visit - http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/CandidatesAndParties/Third+Parties+2014GE.htm.

Many of your concerns have been addressed by the Chief Electoral Officer in his 2011/2012 Annual Report.  I have inserted below “Third Party Advertising Rules” from the  “Recommended Legislative Amendments” section of the Report.  The complete Report is available here -  http://www.elections.on.ca/NR/rdonlyres/E25D3F5D-0A65-4F0D-AFF3-A219993F8DC5/5828/20112012EOAnnualReportweb.pdf

Third Party Advertising Rules
The Chief Electoral Officer recommends that an independent body be established to investigate options to strengthen third party advertising rules in Ontario. The review should provide specific recommendations on how Ontario can:
• Adopt third party spending limits
• Adopt third party contribution limits
• Strengthen the reporting requirements for third parties, and
• Adopt stricter registration and anti-collusion provisions
As part of a comprehensive review of the Election Finances Act, rules regarding third party advertising should be considered to align Ontario with the best practices in other provinces. Currently, at least five jurisdictions (Canada, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, and New Brunswick) have adopted controls over third party advertising.
The 2011 General Election was the second general provincial election that required third parties to register with Elections Ontario. In 2007, only one third party raised and spent more than $1 million on political advertising. In 2011, this number increased with three third parties raising and spending more than $1 million, and one of those parties raising and spending more than $2 million. The table below provides a comparison of the amount raised and spent by registered third parties in 2007 and 2011.
We appreciate that you have taken time to express your concerns to Elections Ontario.  Our agency will take your comments into consideration."

It's good news that Elections Ontario is responding. Make sure you contact them to register your complaints.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Interview with Nick Vandergragt on CFRA Ottawa

Here's my interview with CFRA Ottawa's Nick Vandergragt on June 7, 2014.  Click the June 7th row and download it or play it in your browser.  My interview starts at 51:44.

The stolen election

Posted at Freedom Press Canada Blog

Ontario's 2014 election results are in and it wasn't even close. Kathleen Wynne – a proven liar and manipulator – and her team of Liberals were elected over Tim Hudak's Conservatives and Andrea Horwath's New Democrats.

Hudak has announced his intention to resign as leader of the party and remain as an MPP; Horwath, on the other hand, is embracing the outcome even though her left-wing party lost its momentum when the Liberals ran farther left than they did.

There will be an incredible volume of elections analysis and discussion in the coming weeks and months. Neither the Conservatives nor the New Democrats presented perfect platforms that appealed to enough voters – as evidenced by their turnout and the result.

But what will require far more substantial discussion and analysis is how those two parties were discredited and ultimately lost to Kathleen Wynne's Liberals. How did they do it?

In my book Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record, I chronicled and analyzed the numerous scandals that have taken place in an Ontario that was hijacked by the Liberals in 2003. While the Liberals' seemingly endless list of lies, corruption, scandals, and mismanagement was brought up throughout the campaign, it was clearly not brought up enough to make a difference in the Ontario election.

The sheer volume of corruption and scandals makes the Ontario Liberal government under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne the most corrupt, the most scandalized government in Ontario's and Canada's history. That fact alone should have left Ontarians thirsty for a new government whose priorities did not include increasing hydro and gas bills by 40 percent or adding yet another $3400 per year payroll tax onto the backs of already-struggling Ontarians and their families.

The Liberals did not pull it off alone. Liars discusses the helpful involvement of the Working Families Coalition, a third-party anti-Conservative lobby group that has been behind every Liberal victory since 2003. Liars also discusses the involvement of public sector unions that are paid off with generous bonuses and pay hikes – paid for by taxpayers – in exchange for their support during election time. We saw this with the Ontario Provincial Police, whose association actually put out ads threatening to “get involved” in the election if they feared their Liberal masters were in trouble.

Finally, the Liberals – desperate in the final week of the campaign – turned to potentially illegal robocalls and tearing down Conservative candidates' signs. These actions, all of which were caught on video, will take months to be investigated by Elections Ontario to determine what effect they had.

The good news is that we have another four years to promote Liars and ensure its message really sinks in with the electorate.

The bad news is that Liars will probably be several hundred pages long by then...


Friday, June 13, 2014

Contact Elections Ontario and ask for an investigation into the illegal Working Families signs

There is no way to know for sure how much of a role the illegal Working Families signs played in last night's election result.

But what is for sure is that this was a deliberate, coordinated attempt to discredit Conservative candidates and interfere with Ontario's election.  There is also no question that the Working Families signs were part of the larger Liberal campaign, which included taking down Conservative signs in at least two ridings and producing potentially illegal robocalls.  Finally, we know that the Working Families Coalition routinely spends more on advertising than the Conservatives and New Democrats combined, throwing false and misleading statements only at Conservatives.

Elections Ontario needs to investigate the Working Families' involvement in the Ontario election, specifically, their use of attack signs that broke city bylaws.

You can contact Elections Ontario via mail, fax, or email.


Use this form to make a complaint that a specific person or organization has violated the Election Act.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ontario's vote on June 12 is too important to pass up

This election has been about Tim Hudak and what he might do once in office, when really the focus should be on the unmitigated disaster the Liberals' record has been over the last 11 years.

There's been $1 billion on eHealth, $1 billion on ORNGE, $1.1 billion on the gas plants. Just those three scandals add up to over $3.1 billion in Liberal mismanagement and corruption. The Liberals have given public sector employees generous wage increases, like the OPP's 8.5% pay increase. The Liberals have doubled our debt and haven't introduced a balanced budget since 2008. They've set up their friends with cushy “consulting” contracts: we've spent millions of dollars to have the Liberals hire Liberal friends to complete Google searches or check their bosses' vacation voice mail!

These scandals have been repeated again, and again, and again, and again throughout the campaign. To call this the most corrupt and scandalous government in Ontario's and Canada's history would be an understatement.

So why aren't they sticking in the minds of Ontario's voters? Why are the Liberals actually leading with 37.3% compared to the Conservatives' 36.5% and the New Democrats' 19.8%?

Michael Ignatieff's Liberals were obliterated in the 2011 election, sent packing as the distant third-placed party because they had lost touch with what Canadians needed and wanted. Why aren't we doing the same for Wynne's Liberals?

The Liberals' desperation has reached monumental and potentially illegal proportions. In swing ridings across Ontario, especially in Ottawa, we've seen a coordinated and blatantly illegal campaign of signs attacking Conservative candidates by the Working Families Coalition. A Liberal campaigner was caught trying to take down Conservative signs in Ottawa South – and then said he was working for Andrea Horwath's New Democrats. Another Liberal campaigner was seen tearing down Conservative signs in York Centre.

Steven Del Duca, a Parliamentary Secretary in Wynne's cabinet, illegally used an image from the Dark Knight to depict Tim Hudak laughing as he walks away from a crumbling hospital. (The original creator of that satiric image did not give his permission to the Liberal campaign, nor did Warner Brothers.)

The Liberals have taken to using robocalls to call Conservative supporters, using Kathleen Wynne's voice to advertise the Liberal candidate... in another riding.

Even the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union President says Kathleen Wynne is full of it.

This is a government, a party, an entire culture of Liberal cronies afraid they're going to wake up with their free lunch on Friday the 13th, a fitting day to start Ontario's government anew.

They have absolutely nothing positive in their legacy to brag about, so they're resorting to vicious and potentially illegal attacks against their opponents.

How else can you explain the sheer magnitude of interference from the 34 registered third party advertisers in this election, most of them unions afraid to lose their seat at the trough? How else can you explain the appalling endorsement of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, who used police officers' equipment and uniforms and threatened to “get involved” if their generous Liberal bosses were in trouble?

One thing's for sure: Ontario is in for a rude and uncomfortable decade of cutbacks and austerity to ensure we get back on track. That's the inconvenient truth Don Drummond tried to tell us in 2012.

The Liberals haven't listened. They've only continued to add to the debt and rack up deficit spending. They've continued to add to their endless list of scandals, mismanagement, and corruption.

The Liberals need to go.

Ontario's vote tomorrow, on June 12, is too important to pass up. Get out and vote tomorrow – and bring your friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbours too.


Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record is available in paper copy through Freedom Press Canada and in e-book format through Amazon.ca.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ottawa book launch a success!

Thank you to everyone who came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to help launch Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record in Ottawa!

See my speech on the importance of exposing the true McGuinty-Wynne legacy:




And be sure to watch the other speeches from Brian Lilley, the President and CEO of Freedom Press Canada, and many more by clicking here!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The cost of investigating the since-debunked robocalls conspiracy: $1.32 million – Elections Canada

The cost of investigating the since-debunked robocalls conspiracy: $1.32 million – Elections Canada

In 2013, I did my own robocalls investigation, but my investigation was focused on the merits of Elections Canada spending over $1 million investigating a hyper-inflated partisan myth. What I found in that investigation was shocking, and it called into question the neutrality, expertise, and competency of Elections Canada and the contractors it hired to conduct its investigation.

See the four-part robocalls investigation

A year later, Elections Canada agreed with me and concluded that there was no wrongdoing – no illegal “robocalls” during the 2011 election, except of course those for which the Liberal MP for Guelph was already fined. The final case regarding allegedly illegal robocalls in Guelph is currently before the courts.

As of February 2013, when I began my investigation, Elections Canada responded that the robocalls investigation had cost Canadians $779,891. That was split between the Policy, Planning, and Public Affairs Directorate ($177,016), the Commissioner's office ($323,986) and an additional $278,899 projected to be spent until the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

Now that the witch hunt is over, what was the cost of chasing a fantasy?

Yesterday I got my answer. As of May 14, 2014, Elections Canada has spent a whopping $1,323,755.60 investigating “nuisance phone calls,” including those in Guelph.

Elections Canada's latest response is broken down differently than its February 2013 response:

“All sectors except the Commissioner's office:” $281,850
Investigation Directorate: approximately $683,924.70*
Investigation Directorate: $357,980.99*

*Does NOT include “the salaries of indeterminate staff, nor does it include the Commissioner's honourariums.”








That means the cost of investigating the robocalls almost doubled between April 1, 2013 and May 2014.

Elections Canada did not make it clear what additional costs were forecast to be expended during the currently-occurring Guelph robocalls trial. Their response also raises questions about how many indeterminate (full-time) staff worked on the robocalls investigation, considering Elections Canada out-sourced its investigation to private contractors with known political affiliations.

More updates will be posted once I receive a response from Elections Canada.

Illegal signs attacking Conservatives spring up Friday evening throughout Ottawa

The Working Families Coalition, so far fairly silent in the 2014 Ontario election, has geared up its lobbying for the Ontario Liberal Party in the last week before the election.

Working Families has been the driving force behind the Ontario Liberal Party since 2003, when they helped Dalton McGuinty take power by viciously smearing Mike Harris' Conservatives.

Since then, they've assisted the Liberals in every re-election campaign by coordinating vicious attack ads that distort the truth or outright lie about the Conservatives' platform.

Far from what their name suggests Working Families is nothing more than a front group for the Liberal Party. And far from representing or working on behalf of working families, the union-backed coalition exclusively attacks Conservatives.

Their latest stunt was pulled off late Friday afternoon, when hundreds of anti-Conservative signs sprung up across Ottawa, strategically placed next to Conservative signs, that say “The numbers just don't add up. We can't trust Hudak and Ontario PC's (sic)” in black and white. Tiny lettering on the bottom says the signs are “authorized by Working Families.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, a former Liberal cabinet minister, encouraged Ottawa residents to contact the city's bylaw enforcement office through 311 to have the signs removed. As of Saturday morning, the backlog of calls was resulting in a 30+ minute wait time. Complaints can also be submitted online, but they can take up to four days to receive a response.





City of Ottawa bylaws do allow election signage, but only those which advertise “a candidate or political party in a municipal, school board, public utility company, provincial or federal election.” In other words, third party signs that attack another party are a no-go.

During the 2011 election, the Working Families Coalition spent an estimated $10 million on advertising, more than the Conservatives and NDP combined.

The Coalition is 100 percent backed by unions representing ironworkers, millwrights, nurses, and the Secondary School Teachers Federation, however that support has dropped in recent years.

Their videos released so far for the 2014 election complain that Hudak's Million Jobs Plan math is wrong and that Hudak will give “new tax breaks to corporations.”

Just as I was taking the photo of the Working Families sign next to Matt Young's sign, a bylaw enforcement officer arrived and removed the sign.


The city has not yet responded to questions of whether the Working Families Coalition will be fined for its illegal signage.

Working Families Coalition losing support from its own union sponsors

It would seem that not even Ontario's unions are happy with the Working Families Coalition, the anti-Conservative lobby group that has been behind every Ontario Liberal election victory since 2003. The unions have been pulling their support since the 2011 election, where Working Families was estimated to have spent over $10 million on advertising – more than the NDP and Conservatives combined.

An archive of the WFC's website from April 28, 2012 shows the WFC was supported by 13 unions:



However, by January 30, 2013, they lost two major union “sponsors” - the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.



By April 11, 2013, that remained the same:



But as of today, even with the WFC being supported by 15 unions, it's lost some of the largest possible union support in exchange for smaller local support: the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association's support is gone, the Secondary School Teachers have returned, Canadian Auto Workers is gone, and unions for ironworkers, fire fighters, energy professionals, and foreign service employees have been added.




The WFC is clearly bleeding support from major unions and has had to turn to others to keep its sponsorship numbers up.