Friday, May 2 Commentary
The Ontario budget is the big story of the morning and I'll have more to say about it in a few minutes...saving the best for last. A couple of other things to deal with first.
The lawyer for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says his client is not in a substance-abuse program in Chicago and Dennis Morris would not say if he is in a program elsewhere.
We know the mayor was on a private flight to Chicago yesterday afternoon. His brother Doug said he would be entering one of the top rehab facilities in North America but he did not acknowledge where on the continent. He did say it is a 30-day in-house treatement program.
Meanwhile the Star says its reporters met with the 20-year old who shot the video of the Mayor with a crack pipe in his hand in the basement of the home of Kathy Ford, the mayor's sister.
They met in Kingston and this drug dealer told them the Mayor beat up his friend Sandro Lisi that night and Lisi was crying like a baby. The Star also quotes him as saying that when Kathy Ford tried to intervene, Rob Ford pushed and kicked his sister before backing off.
And of course the late night American talk show hosts had a field day about the new crack video and Ford going to rehab.
The Don Valley Parkway will be closed most of the weekend for spring maintenance, just like the Gardiner Expressway was closed last weekend.
THe Parkway will be out of bounds from 10 tonight until no later than 6 Sunday morning.
I Googled around a bit this morning and I couldn't find any other jurisdiction, they may be some, but I couldn't find a single muncipality which completely shuts down its major expressways for spring and fall maintenance. Yes they'll close lanes but not the entire roadway, which begs the question, why does Toronto do this?
To further complicate the lives of motorists, a long stretch of Yonge Street from Finch to Davenport will be closed at 5am Sunday for much of the morning for the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon. Some other closures related to the race as well including some of the ramps to the freshly re-opened DVP and the Gardiner.
It is time for an Ontario election. The sooner the better. There is now a clear choice for voters to make. Left versus Right.
The budget presented at Queen's Park yesterday convinces me Premier Kathleen Wynne has deliberately tacked left in a bid to cut the political legs from beneath Andrea Horwath and her New Democrats and setting the Liberals in stark contrast to Tim Hudak and his not so Progressive but ultra Conservatives.
There is money in this proposed budget for just about everything you can imagine.
Overall, spending this year would surge by 3.4-billion dollars to 1-hundred-30.4 billion. The deficit this year would jump from 11.3 billion last year to 12-and-a-half billion.
The Liberals plan to increase taxes a total of 9-hundred-million dollars.
The overall financial plan seems to be this: spend, spend, spend on all things that need money, roads, transit and other infrastructure, health, hospitals, seniors care, schools, aboriginals, welfare recipients, and lets give 2-and-a-half billion dollars in grants to persuade companies from afar to move here. The idea is this will stimulate the economy. Combine that with an improving American economy and a weakening Canadian dollar, we'd be well on our way to prosperity. It's a mighty big 'if' because along with growth, higher interest rates are sure to follow, adding to a mountain of debt which will grow this year in any event.
I wrote a long treatise about what is in this document for a typical NewsTalk 1010 listener but then thought, what's the point?
I don't want to mislead you, there are a lot of good and necessary plans in this budget but it is overwhelmingly too much, too fast. It's as if Kathleen Wynne is trying to reverse all of the restraint of the final days of Dalton McGuinty and then some.
I would strongly urge you to spend the time to read this budget. It is a blueprint of just what the Kathleen Wynne's Liberals stand for and what they'll be trying to sell you in the election campaign.
Frankly I can't see this budget going anywhere but on the Liberal election campaign bus. It looks like a masterstroke against the NDP. If Andrea Horwath says 'yes we'll support it', Tim Hudak will simply keep hammering that the NDP has been and is the enabler of Liberal corruption. If Horwath says 'no' to the budget what would she and her party have to sell on the campaign trail that's not already in Kathleen Wynne's bag of tricks as laid out like a mousetrap yesterday by Finance Minister Charles Sousa?
Either way the setup for the campaign is Liberal left, versus Conservative right. Libs trying to convince us Hudak will drag us back into the dark ages, slash and burn Premier. PC's trying to convine us Wynne will bankrupt us, drive companies out of Ontario and put us all out of work. And, oh yes, that gasplant thing. That Hydro thing. That e-health thing. That ORNGE thing.
The time for an election is now. Time for voters to quit pussy-footing around and make a choice.