DAVE AGAR

Thursday, May 15 Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 5/15/2014 12:00:00 AM

I'm somewhat surprised by the results of the latest Ipsos Reid polling on the Ontario election.

It was conducted the first three days of this week for NewsTalk 1010, CTV and CP-24 and it shows a slight increase in support for Tim Hudak and his PC's...a slight decrease for Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals and a steady erosion for Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

Hudak has now opened a 9-point lead over the Liberals and most of the gains he made this week were right here in the Greater Toronto Area.  That is exactly where the Tories have to grow if they stand a chance of winning.

What I found surprising is that the numbers for the Tories didn't move very much, at a time when Hudak was rolling out the details of his Million Jobs plan including plans to cut a hundred-thousand jobs in the public sector.   

So, either the Million Jobs plan is not catching on or the plans to cut so many public sector jobs is no big deal to voters or, and I suspect this is the real reason, voters are simply not paying attention.

In fact, buried in the Ipsos-Reid results, pollsters asked how the party leaders and their campaigns performed over the past week.   Roughly half said the big three had no impact on their voting intentions.  36 percent said they are disappointed in Hudak and his PCs performance, 35 percent disappointed with Wynne and the Liberals, 26 percent disappointed in Horwath and her NDP.

To me this smells like apathy toward politics in general and if we keep going down the same old path of simply ignoring what our political leaders have to say we'll end up with something we don't want.

CONFERENCE BOARD

As some of you may know, Tim Hudak has been speaking about nothing but the economy, getting things turned around, creating a million jobs....as though somehow Ontario had fallen into some sort of economic abyss from which only he could rescue us.

Less than an hour ago, the Conference Board of Canada put out a big report on the Canadian economy, and for the first time broke it down provincially.

Chief economist Glen Hodgson has this to say, quote, "Ontario remains a relatively healthy economy compared to its international peers."  He gives the province an overall grade of "B", right in the company of countries such as Germany, Sweden, and Austria.

For last year, Hodgson gives Ontario an "A-plus" for employment growth, but he considers it only a "short-term bounce" benefiting from the turnaround in the U.S.

Long term, the Conference Board says Ontario faces the prospects of a steady erosion of its prosperity for a few reasons.  Most important: a decline in labour productivity.  Our labour force is just not very efficient at producing goods and services.  Also problematic..chronically high fiscal deficits and rising debt levels of the Ontario Government...which restricts its ability to invest in innovation and education.

I suspect Hudak, Wynne and Horwath will cherry pick from the report to buttress their own election campaign pitches.

TURKEY

The latest on the coal mine disaster in western Turkey this week is that 1-hundred-50 miners remain trapped underground.  Their fate is unknown but the fear is that they too perished along with 2-hundred-82 other miners, some as young as 15.

Sky News correspondent Robert Nisbett says hope has turned to anger at the mine owners and the Turkish government.

BREAKFAST CEREAL

If your kids typically eat a bowl of cereal each morning,  they are actually consuming, in average, more than 10 pounds of sugar a year, just from the cereal.

That's the finding of a non-profit group in Washington, called the Environmental Working Group.

It looked at more than 15-hundred cereals including close to 2-hundred marketed to children.   84 were studied in 2011 and then again this year.  Some had actually increased the sugar content.  Not a single brand of cereals aimed at kids was free of added sugars.  When you compare kids cereals to adult cereals, the ones for the kids have more than 40 percent more sugar.

CINEPLEX

Would you be willing to pay extra, says two or three dollars more, to get the best seats in a movie theatre?.

Cineplex thinks it might work so it will try it out, experimentally, later this year in the middle rows of the theatre at the Varsity theatre in the Manulife Centre.

Frankly I don't go to movie theatres much anymore so this won't have any impact on me.  I just wait for the movies to show up on pay TV.

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  1. G Man posted on 05/15/2014 03:15 PM
    Dave, you said, "if we keep going down the same old path of simply ignoring what our political leaders have to say we'll end up with something we don't want."

    The thing is, we're getting something we don't want whether we listen to the political leaders or not. That's because they lie to us all the time. Remember how Dalton McGuinty said he wasn't going to increase taxes? He did. Remember how Stephen Harper wasn't going to change the rules on income trusts? He did. Remember how every politician promised increased transparency and accountability? None of them ever delivered.

    I've never been one who didn't vote, but I can see why so many people have taken this option: because once in office, the politicians do what THEY want, not what WE want. It always seems to benefit them, often at our expense.
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