DAVE AGAR

Wednesday, April 2 Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 4/2/2014 12:00:00 AM

One crash. No injuries but that's enough for Chrysler to announce this morning it is recalling 870,000 thousand Jeep Grand Cherokee's and Dodge Durango's...model years 2011 to 2014.

There is a design flaw on the brake booster...which is basically an enhanced master cylinder for the brakes.    The booster can fail because of corrosion....which would make it more difficult but not impossible to apply the brakes.

Meanwhile, General Motors is back on Capital Hill in Washington today...this time before a subcommittee of the Senate on the fact that GM knew for a decade about a faulty ignition switch and in that time span at least a dozen people were killed when the switch killed the engine and the airbags.

What surfaced yesterday before a House subcommittee was that the cost of replacing that switch was just 57 cents.

ONTARIO ECONOMY

Ontario we have a problem.

While you are at lunch today, the provincial finance minister Charles Sousa is expected to reveal that the government is still on track to eliminate the deficit by 2017-2018...and that the deficit projection will be lower than 11.7-billion.   That's the upside.

The downside...Ontario will lag behind Canada and the rest of the world in economic growth for the next 20 years.

The predicted global average is 3.1 percent a year.  The Canadian Press reports that Sousa will forecast Ontario's economic growth at just 2.1 percent and one of the big reasons is our working-age population will be shrinking.

At the same time,  unemployment is likely to be more than 2 points lower over the next two decades.

Tim Hudak and his PC's are still claiming the Liberals have no plan to create even one new job even though the PC's released a confidential government communications strategy for unveiling spending measures in the upcoming budget.   It shows an extra 5.7-billion in spending with 2-and-a-half-billion being spread out over 10 years to give money to companies that hire workers in Ontario.   Nearly 2-billion would be spent to repair and maintain schools in the province and consolidate schools to eliminate unused space.
The leak to the Tories also shows that hated debt retirement charge on you Hydro Bill would be eliminated as of January 2016.

I am confused by what Tim Hudak was hoping to achieve by releasing this information.   Let's see, the government is creating a jobs fund of 2-hundred-50-million dollars a year.  2-billion to fix up and consolidate our schools.  Eliminating the debt retirement charge on your hydro bill.  All those opposed to those plans...put up your hand.  Anyone.  Anyone at all.

It sounds to me as though Hudak was trying to convince us that the Liberals are about to go on a massive spending binge but you cannot tell that by the communications strategy.   Yes there will be 5.7-billion dollars in new spending but until you see the full budget,  we won't know if this is additional spending.

If the Tories were simply trying to demonstrate that the Liberals are trying to use the budget rollout as a tool to boost their popularity....of course they are.   All parties in power do this especially when elections are near.   You'd have to be about the dumbest political party in Canadian history if you did not try to raise your approval rating.   If it turns out the Wynne Team is on a spending binge....doling out 5.7-billion dollars over and above what they are now spending....then scream to the high heavens but we don't know that until the budget is out.

This document says the budget date is May 1st.   Now that its out, fully expect Finance Minister Sousa to announce a different date...just to chip away at Hudak and company.

ISLAND AIRPORT

They talked and talked and talked..for hours.  In the end Toronto city council voted unanimously on the issue of jets on the island airport.   The idea is not dead, yet and we won't know that until at least next year when a new city council is likely to vote on a negotiated agreement.

The deputy city manager has been authorized to enter negotiations with Transport Canada and the Toronto Port Authority on jets and extending the runway.   City council has imposed a string of conditions including the proviso that all infrastructure improvements needed on the land side be paid for by Ottawa, not the city.

Both sides are claiming victory but it seems to me the only thing that really happened here is they've neutered the jets plan as an election issue.

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