These days, my faith in the future is quite limited. The proliferation of war and the ongoing reluctance of governments to do anything substantive about climate change, despite its increasingly obvious effects, both speak to the refusal of our species to rise above our base animal impulses and use the consciousness that supposedly separates . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Write
I have written in the past on my strong opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s selloff of 60% of Hydro One. She has no mandate for this pillaging of the public purse, and no good reason for it except her politically and ideologically-driven obsession with bala… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Pillaging The Public Purse: On Hydro One’s Privatization
I have written in the past on my strong opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s selloff of 60% of Hydro One. She has no mandate for this pillaging of the public purse, and no good reason for it except her politically and ideologically-driven obsession with balancing the budget before Ontario’s next provincial election. She will not be getting my vote.
Recently, Linda McQuaig wrote a column that came out strongly against this sale, offering an historical perspective showing the public good that accrues from public ownership of such a utility.
In today’s Star, readers offer their own insights on this issue, one that is likely a big contributing factor in the Liberals’ current poor showing in the polls:
Re: The case against privatizing Hydro One, Opinion Aug. 4
What’s most disturbing about reading Linda McQuaig’s strong case against privatizing Hydro One is that it reveals clearly that Premier Wynne seems to be selling it for no worthwhile reason.
When 73 per cent of Ontarians disagree with the sale and she insists on it, then she is not serving the public will. Further, to trade off the long-term benefits of Hydro One for a short-lived infusion of cash for infrastructure is economically incomprehensible.
With this kind of foolish, arbitrary decision, which is symptomatic of the disconnect between the public will and its leadership, Wynne will certainly join the infamous ranks of other failed premiers of Ontario, such as Mike Harris and Dalton McGuinty, who also carried out their personal agenda while forsaking the common good of the electorate.
Pity the serious voters.
Tony D’Andrea, Toronto
Timing is everything. Currently, along with a several other Ontarians, I am particularly interested in the timing of the Ontario Liberals’ Climate Change Action Plan.
Last Nov. 15, the Ontario Liberals privatized Hydro One when they sold off 15 per cent of the former Crown Corporation. Sad but true.
In April, they sold off another 15 per cent. The following month, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change let the world know that Ontario is moving away from natural-gas home heating. Some back-peddling followed. Shortly after that, the Liberals released their official Climate Change Action Plan.
It indicated their intention to move to a more electricity-based society. Once complete, Ontario is to have far more electric vehicles, electric charging hubs, electric home initiatives, etc.
In summary, the Liberals are moving Ontario to a more electricity-based society after privatizing our province’s transmission grid and largest local distribution company! That means Hydro One will now go on to make record profits and a huge amount of potential income is being stripped away from Ontarians.
But why? To balance the current Liberal budget and dangle some shiny gifts ahead of the 2018 election. All this at the expense of Ontarians.
The whole thing reeks of corruption. Just waiting for the smoking gun to be revealed. Timing is everything.
Joel Usher, Newcastle
Thanks to Linda McQuaig for detailing the long history of support in Ontario for a public monopoly on electricity — right up to today. The public instinct is right: it is best to keep this rare and valuable asset so that profits go back to our treasury, and to avoid the risk of the monopoly control falling into the hands of those who would maximize their returns at the expense of consumers and the environment.
Ms. McQuaig could have added that selling off Hydro One is a bad deal, as concluded by Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer. After all, investors are not stupid.
They will not pay full price for the value of the future Hydro One profits they would get as minority shareholders, due to the risk, because key decisions affecting profits are taken by government. The monopoly is worth more to the government as the decision-maker.
If you must sell an asset, this is a particularly bad one to sell.
Kim Jarvi, Toronto
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Pillaging The Public Purse: On Hydro One’s Privatization
With Canada’s police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first com… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Time For Some Critical Thinking
With Canada’s police chiefs clamoring for new powers that would allow for a massive invasion of our collective privacy, Canadians need to take some time to think critically about our rights and freedoms. As you will see in the following, the first commentator, Rich van Abbe of Toronto, has done just that:
Re: Police chiefs pushing for your passwords, Aug. 17
It’s a bedrock principle of our justice system that no one should be compelled to give evidence against him- or herself.
That makes the demand by Canada’s police chiefs that a law be enacted to force citizens to divulge their computer and phone passwords such an odious suggestion.
There’s no question that authorities engaged in a lawful investigation should be able to obtain warrants from the courts to search suspects’ homes or businesses to seek evidence — even to bust down a locked door if necessary.
But no law requires that a subject of a search tell the cops where evidence may be concealed, or help them retrieve it. Finding it is what detectives are paid to do.
The law the chiefs are demanding might make investigators’ jobs easier, but it would enshrine a perverse violation of the principle of no self-incrimination, one of our most cherished legal protections.
The federal government should slap down this foray against Canadians’ rights in no uncertain terms.
The second letter-writer, Claude Gannon of Markham, is quite happy to surrender his privacy, because he has “nothing to hide”:
The police want my password? Here it is. I have nothing to hide.
The Internet has given criminals and radicalized individuals the possibility to operate anonymously, so the police and other law-enforcement bodies must be given the tools to curtail their activities. If this involves getting a hold of someone’s password, then so be it. Honest citizens have nothing to hide and will support the police.
Of course, civil libertarians and constitutional lawyers are very quick to cite privacy concerns, but safety and security should come first. Look around you: do people really care about privacy? Most of us are quite happy sharing our lives with banks, credit card companies, major retailers, rental companies…and the list goes on. Some people even display their whole lives on Facebook.
Let’s face it, we live in an increasingly dangerous world, and we need to give law-enforcement agencies all the help they need to combat crime and terrorism. If this means the occasional breach of privacy, then so be it!
Finally, some fitting irony from Randy Gostlin of Oshawa:
Perhaps we should just assume everyone’s guilty until proven innocent —except, of course, for police. They’re always innocent.
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Time For Some Critical Thinking
You will find a letter of mine in today’s National Post enumerating the many benefits of proportional representation. In order to read it, please click here and scroll down to the second last entry (or see the last entry in … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: National Post Letter
H/t Toronto StarA series of letters excoriating the deplorable state of American politics and society, epitomized by Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, is well-worth the read. Here are but three of them:The unthinkable has happened. The party of A… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Party Of Lincoln
The other day I posted some letters from The Star about corporate tax dodging and evasion as revealed by the Panama Papers, and included my doubts that Justin Trudeau will do anything to remediate the situation. An anonymous commentator took me to task… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On Corporate Tax Evasion
Recently I wrote a post expressing doubt that the tax treaties signed by Stephen Harper at the urging of big business will not in any way be amended by Justin Trudeau. Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), as manipulated by Harper, allow for the… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Tax Fairness: A Doubtful Prospect
While the world convulses and gyrates over the results of the Brexit vote, I can’t help but wonder why not even a scintilla of that passion can be brought to a much greater threat to our collective well-being: climate change. Star reader Judith Deutsch… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Our Unfathomable Equanimity
I have a letter on The Vancouver Sun’s website (online only, it would appear) replying to a ridiculous op-ed piece that blames the high cost of housing on “mass immigration.” My response is restrained in both tone and word count, … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter
There are many truths today that, thanks to the almost reflexive, visceral response of an often vitriolic social media, few dare to speak. Most recently, linking the terrible fires in Fort McMurray with climate change has been one of them. Is it insens… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: In The Service Of Truth
That’s how I regard the justifications for continuing with the Saudi arms deal offered by Stephane Dion and his puppet master, Justin Trudeau. I see I am not alone in that assessment: Re: Approval of Saudi arms deal was illegal, lawyer argues, April 22… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Morally Weak, Intellectually Contemptuous
In the Book of Luke, Jesus is reported to have said the following:I tell you that … there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.In Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s conversion… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Andrea’s Damascene Moment
In the weekend Star, Tony Burman gave five reasons that Canada should cancel the Saudi arms deal, an immoral agreement which the Trudeau government refuses to budge on. I will simply give the headings of his arguments here:1. Canadians oppose it2. Cana… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Outrage Continues
Despite the rhetoric by our political and corporate overlords about the wondrous benefits of free trade, multitudes of people on both sides of the border are becoming increasingly aware of its true costs.In today’s Star, readers weigh in with their usu… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The High Cost Of Free Trade
As The Mound of Sound points out, it is getting very late on the climate-change front. The goal of keeping global warming at below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 seems a fool’s errand, given that it is now predicted to be reached by 2030. A bitter truth tha… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Time Grows Short
Recently, I wrote a post about CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement; part of it examined the double-speak of Chrystia Freeland when she talked about both the protection of investor rights and the benefits of the deal that will redound t… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On Freelands’s Double-Speak
A recent Toronto Star piece about climate change chose to explore, not the well-known physical peril it poses, but rather the mental one. Citing a 2012 report from the U.S. National Wildlife Federation, it offered the following grim predictions:… cas… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Looking In The Mirror
There are two lead letters in today’s Star that bear reproducing. Expect no admission of a flawed ideology on the part of the neoliberals among us, however:Re: House of Harper quickly crumbling, Feb. 22 Suddenly a lot of people from banks and corporati… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Highlighting Corporate Failure
I write periodically in this blog on the concept of the guaranteed annual income; it seems it would be an effective way of helping to address many of the socio-economic problems we face. As you will see in the first of four letters on the subject from … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers On The Guaranteed Annual Income
Responding to a recent opinion piece advocating for a guaranteed annual income, Star reader David Gladstone of Toronto has this to offer the crucial role it can play in a world of tremendous change and increasingly precarious employment:It seems the wo… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On The Guaranteed Annual Income
There are days when it is difficult to see any long-term future for the human race. Stories abound of both our collective and individual acts of brutality that attest to the fact that purely animal urges prevail within us far too frequently. The scinti… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Good Question