Private schools treated like outcasts in Ontario education system

Ontario's single public school system will never adequately meet the needs of all of its families

Private schools treated like outcasts in Ontario education systemRecent controversy over the provincial government’s provision of rapid tests to independent (private) schools but not public schools stems from the fact that independent schools in Ontario exist in a policy no-man’s-land. If education policy throughout the pandemic has proved anything, it’s that the provincial government doesn’t have the framework to make adequate provisions for…

Ontario gas prices hit seven-year high

Without taxes, the price of gas per litre today would be sitting at 92 cents

Ontario gas prices hit seven-year highHardworking taxpayers are facing record-high gas prices, and politicians are the culprits driving up the bills. In Ontario, up to 38 per cent of the price of gas that we are charged at the pumps comes from taxes, according to a report released by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. And that percentage is only set to…

How independent schools provided quality education in the pandemic

The public system, on the other hand, failed in its response to Covid-19

How independent schools provided quality education in the pandemicAs Ontario’s public schools struggle to accommodate students in a new school year amid what could be a fourth wave of COVID-19, what can the provincial government learn from the last 17 months? For starters, the government needs to accept that huge, industrial-scale schools (typical in the public system) are pretty weak at responding to…

Bill Davis, the man who understood Ontario

His sense of what Ontario wanted was on the money

Bill Davis, the man who understood OntarioBill Davis, the former Ontario premier, died on Aug. 8. He was the first Conservative I ever voted for. It happened in the October 1971 provincial election. My previous trip to the polls – in 1968 to vote for Pierre Trudeau’s federal Liberals – had been an enthusiastic occasion. Not this time. Davis wasn’t the…

It’s time for political welfare to go the way of the dodo bird

It’s time to take the cake away from Ontario’s politicians. It’s time to end political welfare

It’s time for political welfare to go the way of the dodo birdOntario’s political parties have a bad spending habit, but they don’t have to pay for it because taxpayers get stuck with their political welfare scheme. In Ontario, political parties are given millions from the pockets of hardworking taxpayers through a system referred to as the per-vote subsidy. This money does not go toward funding their…

ConnecTour Chronicles: Wawa’s loyal support keeps country store going strong

Young’s General Store is there in all its rustic glory, greeting visitors to this northern Ontario town

ConnecTour Chronicles: Wawa’s loyal support keeps country store going strongTroy Media publisher Doug Firby and travel editor Lisa Monforton are part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting in May in British Columbia and ending in October in Newfoundland, they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our…

ConnecTour Chronicles: A private fantasy world, rich in local and family history

It would be an insult to say Sheri is a packrat; all of the hundreds of knickknacks she has have a history

ConnecTour Chronicles: A private fantasy world, rich in local and family historyTroy Media publisher Doug Firby and travel editor Lisa Monforton are part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting in May in British Columbia and ending in October in Newfoundland, they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our…

Ontario’s governments are set to run deficits until the year 2095

Ontario taxpayers deserve better

Ontario’s governments are set to run deficits until the year 2095It’s time for Ontario taxpayers to hit the debt panic button. The Parliamentary Budget Officer released a troubling report earlier this month that shows that, when Ontario’s provincial and municipal finances are looked at together, Ontario will be running deficits indefinitely, until at least the year 2095. Typically, when analysts look at the state of…

ConnecTour Chronicles: Lodges hanging on by a thin fishing line

“We need a plan to fully reopen the border so our businesses can survive”

ConnecTour Chronicles: Lodges hanging on by a thin fishing lineTroy Media publisher Doug Firby and Travel editor Lisa Monforton are part of a group of Canadians who call themselves ConnecTour. Starting in May in British Columbia and ending in October in Newfoundland, they hope to make an 8,000-km bicycle journey across the country, discovering how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives and our…

Ontario’s bloated cabinet is the elephant in the room

His commitment to a smaller cabinet was short-lived

Ontario’s bloated cabinet is the elephant in the roomWhile there was much palace intrigue when Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his cabinet shuffle last month, there was one elephant in the room that was not discussed: the cabinet’s size. Before Ford was sworn into office in 2018, he promised to slim down the size of the province’s cabinet, which had ballooned dramatically under…

Time for Ontario to tackle university employee compensation

Ontario’s college and university employees have been busy cashing in on massive pay hikes during the pandemic

Time for Ontario to tackle university employee compensationWhile Ontario’s college and university employees have been busy cashing in on massive pay hikes during the pandemic, taxpayers and tuition-paying students have been barely getting by. The newly minted minister responsible for universities and colleges, Jill Dunlop, now has a full knapsack of homework to do on this expensive file. With a $33-billion deficit,…

Breakup of Toronto homeless encampment has national implications

Allowing homeless people to live in city parks is unsafe, unwise and unnecessary

Breakup of Toronto homeless encampment has national implicationsFor the second time in slightly more than a year, Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park is in the news. Roughly 10,000 people rushed into the park in May 2020 to enjoy a few hours of sunshine and socialization. Most of them were in their 20s and 30s and had expressed frustration at having been cooped up…

Ontario premier’s temper tantrum threatens free speech

Doug Ford's decision to override the Charter wasn't done for some high principle, however. He did it for his own self-interest

Ontario premier’s temper tantrum threatens free speechOntario Premier Doug Ford has decided to override the Charter for the first time in Ontario’s history. But he’s not doing it for some high principle. He’s doing it for his own self-interest. Just days after Ford’s new election law, the Protecting Ontario Elections Act, was struck down by the Ontario Superior Court, the government…

With a little willpower, Ford can fix Ontario’s finances

Targeting the education budget and bureaucracy would equal real progress on the deficit

With a little willpower, Ford can fix Ontario’s financesThanks to the reckless policies of former premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, when Ontario Premier Doug Ford was elected three years ago the province was well on its way to being driven into a fiscal wall. Ford promised Ontario voters that he would hit the breaks. Unfortunately, it seems like he hasn’t been able…

Hair today, gone … maybe never

People have worked themselves into a frenzy because they haven’t been able to get a hair cut

Hair today, gone … maybe neverWhat intellectual, hard-hitting and politically-charged topic are we tackling in this week’s column? My hair! That’s an unusual choice. How did it make the (ahem) final cut? Read on, brave and curious souls, and ye shall find out. Many Ontario-based businesses have been closed the past six months during COVID-19. In Toronto, this has included…

It’s time for Ford to deliver on his affordability agenda

With less than a year until the next election, taxpayers expect Ford to live up to the promises that got him elected in the first place

It’s time for Ford to deliver on his affordability agendaOntario Premier Doug Ford has less than a year to make good on the affordability agenda he promised voters while on the campaign trail. “We have a very simple theory,” said Ford. “Put money back into the taxpayers’ pocket instead of the government’s pocket because we believe that the taxpayers are a lot smarter at…

Ontario teachers’ compensation is the cost elephant in the room

It’s time to bring their sky-high pay down to earth

Ontario teachers’ compensation is the cost elephant in the roomWhile thousands of Ontario teachers are receiving six-figure salaries, a budget crunch at the Ministry of Education means it’s time to bring their sky-high pay down to earth. A report released by the Ontario Financial Accountability Office shows a $200 million funding gap between what the province has budgeted to spend on education and what…

Porsche grant shows Ottawa City Council is living on another planet

Finance committee voted to give a $2.9 million tax break to a new Porsche(!) dealership

Porsche grant shows Ottawa City Council is living on another planetOttawa Mayor Jim Watson is preparing to take Ottawa taxpayers for quite a ride. Ottawa city council’s finance committee voted to give a $2.9 million tax break to a new Porsche dealership. Ottawa’s municipal politicians are literally planning to hand over millions of taxpayer dollars to a luxury car dealership. And they think this is…

Toronto mayor needs to end his $3.8B vanity project pipedream

Expert analysis showed the Rail Deck Park project would likely cost over $3.8 billion

Toronto mayor needs to end his $3.8B vanity project pipedreamToronto Mayor John Tory is still trying to click the buy button on his multi-billion-dollar legacy park project, but it just came up with an error message saying it’s no longer available. That error message could save taxpayers billions. Four years ago, Tory and Toronto’s city council embarked on a mission to waste billions of…

Oil and gas sector soars over aerospace, auto industries

Higher wages and better productivity contribute to an industry that’s a dominant part of Canada’s economy and its GDP

Oil and gas sector soars over aerospace, auto industriesBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre It’s hard for anyone but mathematicians and economists to conceptualize numbers in the billions. To get around that problem, and as a prelude to comparing major Canadian industries, let’s start with a smaller number and a question: How would you like to make $2,740 every week?…

Enjoy the great outdoors in Ontario – just not on a golf course

Premier Ford's faith in science doesn't extend to reopening outdoor sports

Enjoy the great outdoors in Ontario – just not on a golf courseThrough all the political and personal inconsistencies we’ve witnessed during COVID-19, there has been some consistent messaging: practise social distancing, wear a mask in public spaces and crowded areas, wash your hands regularly and go outside as much as possible. With nice weather having arrived, this is the perfect opportunity for Canadians to take leisurely…

Post-COVID-19 housing squeeze will hurt lower-income residents 

Post-COVID-19 housing squeeze will hurt lower-income residents The pandemic has obviously changed many things in a relatively short period, including housing demand in municipalities across Canada. Consider the Greater Toronto Area, where the detached housing market is red hot while the market for smaller apartments and condos is not. But as apartment renters enjoy this new landscape of lower prices and more…

What pandemic? A tale of two downturns in Toronto

Municipal employee salary hikes during lockdowns a slap in the face to taxpayers

What pandemic? A tale of two downturns in TorontoAs hardworking taxpayers tightened their belts last year to cope with pay cuts and job losses, Toronto’s municipal employees were busy cashing in bigger paycheques with your tax dollars. The City of Toronto currently employs 34,603 workers. Last year, only 104 of them didn’t get a raise. That means over 99.6 per cent of Toronto…

Ontario must end the partying on the taxpayers’ dime

Ford's free-spending ways surpassing those of Kathleen Wynne

Ontario must end the partying on the taxpayers’ dimeOntario Premier Doug Ford promised to end the party with taxpayers’ money. Instead, he’s replaced the iPod playlist and chip dip with the booming beats of a live DJ and a laser light show. When he was campaigning across the province during the 2018 election, Ford promised to end the government’s free-spending ways and restore…

Ontario taxpayers shouldn’t bail out Laurentian University

A bailout would only encourage risky financial decision-making at other universities

Ontario taxpayers shouldn’t bail out Laurentian UniversityIt’s a bad idea to keep adding water to a leaky bucket. Millions of dollars have been gushing out of Laurentian University for years. And it’s not right to plug the holes with taxpayers’ cash. Laurentian University is facing a debt crisis of its own making, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s political opponents are calling…

Media complicit in creating mass killer copycats

It’s time for the media to deny the deranged the notoriety and fame they so perversely seek

Media complicit in creating mass killer copycatsJustice Anne Molloy recently found the man who drove a van down Toronto’s sidewalks, trying to kill as many people as he could, guilty of murdering 10 and attempting to kill 16 others. The judge also took the extraordinary decision to refer to him as “John Doe,” denying him any notoriety he might have expected…

Ontario’s insane three-day COVID-19 roller-coaster ride

Political messages that flip-flopped. Controversial policies announced, modified and removed at a mere snap of the fingers

Ontario’s insane three-day COVID-19 roller-coaster rideSeventy-two hours – 4,320 minutes – three days. Doesn’t sound like an enormous stretch of time. In most cases, it’s not. Yet what Ontario experienced from Friday, April 16, to Sunday, April 18, could easily be described as an insane roller-coaster ride for the ages. Wild highs and lows. Political messages that flip-flopped and flop-flipped. Controversial…

How we can keep birds from crashing into windows and dying

Bird Safe Buildings Across Canada and other organizations are working hard to encourage building owners to take bird-saving measures

How we can keep birds from crashing into windows and dyingEver since European settlers occupied North America, our influences on avian populations have varied between positive and devastatingly negative. I would love to just write about the good stuff, but an important issue needs to be discussed: windows and how they can be deadly to birds. A new grassroots organization has been founded by a…

Hardworking Ontarians need help, and Ford can give it to them

He should honour his 2018 promise and cut the provincial gas excise tax

Hardworking Ontarians need help, and Ford can give it to themGoing for a drive is one of the few things families can do to get out of the house, but now they’re being hit with gas prices that have spiked to their highest point in two years. Filling up a minivan now costs $95. But it shouldn’t cost that much because Premier Doug Ford promised…

Ontario needs to introduce recall legislation

The people need a way of giving politicians the pink slip more than just once every four years

Ontario needs to introduce recall legislationIn a democracy, voters are supposed to be the boss, so we should always have the ability to fire politicians for poor performance. Unfortunately, in Ontario, voters often need to wait years before handing out a pink slip that should have come long ago. But there’s a simple way Ontarians can change that: Premier Doug…
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