It’s been an eventful week, with most of the attention going to Ontario. Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce used the ‘Notwithstanding clause’ to force CUPE workers out of a strike and back to work. CUPE and the PC’s negotiation for education support worker pay broke down earlier in the week. The union asked for an 11.7% pay increase, and the PCs responded with a max of 2.5%. Support workers deserve more money, and I don’t pretend to understand every detail of what led to negotiation breakdowns. But on the tail-end of a two-year-long pandemic complete with hundreds of days of lockdowns, demanding double-digit pay increases under threat of a strike is a bad strategy. There are ways to continue negotiation without shutting down schools and leaving parents in the lurch for the fifth time. What are working parents, especially single working parents going to do now, and what will be the downstream effects of this action?
Depending on which side of the argument you fall on, you’ll see the matter through a particular lens. Either you believe the union is acting in their self-interest at the cost of kids and parents, or you feel the same about the Ford PCs. I understand both perspectives, but one thing is clear: children and parents will suffer as they become bargaining chips for both sides. After what parents and kids have endured over the last two years, this result is unacceptable.
An interesting spin to this story is how quickly left-leaning politicians, civilians, and groups call Ford’s legislation undemocratic and a gross encroachment on charter rights. These are the same people who cheered various restrictions, including lockdowns on small businesses, firings and travel bans for unvaccinated Canadians, mandatory masking of young school children even while playing outside. Both Liberal and NDP reps called for these restrictions even after experts understood that vaccination was not preventing infection and spread of COVID in a statistically meaningful way. Everyone has an opinion on vaccination, and I’m not attempting to assert mine here. Rather, this is a hard lesson in fundamental rights and freedoms. If you cheer for the erosion of rights when it comes to groups you disagree with, it is only a matter of time before the same encroachment on your rights takes hold. People will perform mental gymnastics to explain why ‘this is different than that’, but the outcry of the left without any sense of irony is absurd.
The Bank of Canada isn’t ruling out another rate hike, even after mainstream economists predict a full-on recession in 2023. This announcement comes as the Liberal Government releases its fall economic statement, a report which contains some questionable spending items. The FES includes 1.7 billion dollars for dairy, poultry, and egg industries to accommodate the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. $400M was spent on six months of COVID-19 testing at the border, and an additional $422 million to combat ‘monkeypox outbreaks’. The icing on the cake is the $42M allocated to continue saving the CBC. The public broadcaster has become nothing more than a clickbait mouthpiece for the Federal government, and the spending relationship between Liberals and the broadcaster is inappropriate. We are also allocating over $100M to our wine sector to help keep them afloat. I’m all for protecting critical industries that keep Canada self-sustaining and protected from outside interests. Still, at some point, we need to let free-market systems decide where our money goes. If alcohol producers and broadcast systems can’t generate their own revenue, how long should taxpayers artificially support these industries?
The Federal government announced a massive increase in immigration moving into 2025 with a target of 500,000 new citizens per year. This figure is almost double the previous 5-year average. I’m pro-immigration, but at what rate? We certainly need more skilled workers in the Country, and opening up immigration will accommodate this need to a degree. But with a housing crisis, economic slump, and record inflation and interest hikes a reality, is now the time to ramp up immigration? It isn’t, but that’s my opinion.
Some people are suggesting that this is a Liberal play to gain a more significant voter share- similar to what the NDPs are attempting with lowering the age of voting to 16 years of age. It’s possible, and I wouldn’t put it past Trudeau, but I don’t know much teeth that accusation currently has. In any event, it is unwise to turn to a perceived solution to rectify one issue while ignoring the multitude of problems the perceived solution creates. I see the increase in immigration as a net problem for existing citizens and those who will enter the Country under this influx. Click here to read the full immigration report.
Brenda Lucki, the RCMP commissioner, appears to be stuck between a rock and a hard place regarding accusations of foul play. Text message evidence was released suggesting Lucki tried to recruit senior police officials to back the emergencies act, even though these officials were not asking for it. Worse, audio evidence was also released confirming Lucki was leveraging the Nova Scotia shooting to help the Liberal Government leverage a Federal gun ban. When confronted about these two pieces of evidence, the commissioner threw her hands in the air and pleaded ignorance, a tactic that typically doesn’t go well in court. Luckily for…Lucki, her interests are aligned with the PM, so we’ll see what comes of the evidence.
An interesting bit of data relating to the PC/CUPE story is the spending in Ontario schools compared to the increase in student growth. As you can see, the amount of money we spend in educational institutions is vastly outpacing student growth. Why? The metrics speak to the common governmental inefficiencies that lead to increased spending without increased production. Government-funded institutions bloat and demand more money each year without providing better services. In this case, the money doesn’t track with more teachers, more schools, or smaller classroom sizes. So as support workers demand more money and the government pulls out empty pockets, why aren’t we asking where these influxes of cash are going?
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