BREAKING: Doug Ford will challenge Trudeau’s carbon tax
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has stated that his government “is going to pursue” a legal challenge against the federal carbon tax, according to the CBC. By doing this, the Ford government will be upholding a long-term commitment first made during the Ontario provincial election.
Ford’s intention to take the carbon tax to court will come as an immediate threat to Justin Trudeau’s second term, just days after he was reelected. When Ford was asked about the Progressive Conservative’s carbon tax plan, he stated that “we will see it through.”
There are moments when it begins to become clear that there has been a sea-change in public opinion.
And with it now being a year since Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested and held hostage by communist China, such a moment has arrived.
The clearest example is what happened to Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who Tweeted what he apparently thought would be an innocuous photo of his meeting with China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu.
Bowman was absolutely slammed for the Tweet, which went so far as to “thank” the ambassador for the meeting and mentioned working on “human rights,” while completely ignoring China’s horrific human rights record and failing to mention anything about Canada’s detained Citizens.
Bowman was totally ratioed, with over 500 comments and just a couple-dozen retweets. Bowman was slammed by some MPs, and even by Canada’s former ambassador to China.
But it was the response of regular Canadians that really stood out. People from across the political spectrum were outraged by Bowman’s fawning weakness.
The response reflected something that has been bubbling below the surface among Canadians: A real awakening to the danger posed by communist China, and a sense that enough is enough.
We Canadians are generally an easy-going people, but we have a strong inherent sense of right and wrong. And while the Canadian political and business elites may be able to overlook China’s actions, the Canadian People are not overlooking it.
Canadians have turned against China’s communist government, with surveys showing 90 percent having a negative view of the government led by Xi Jinping.
Whether it’s the destruction of freedom in Hong Kong, holding Canadians hostage, putting millions of Uighurs in concentration camps, forced organ harvesting, or the Orwellian surveillance state, Canadians are looking at China and seeing a country that simply doesn’t share our values, and is in many ways hostile to Canada itself.
There was a time when someone like Brian Bowman could have gotten away with his fawning Tweet, but that time has passed. Sooner or later, Canada’s elites will be forced to realize that they can’t hide the truth about China’s government, and they can’t suppress the real views of Canadians.
The pressure is mounting for a tougher approach to China, for reducing our reliance on China, and to move towards a political and economic decoupling from the ruthless communist State. Whether it starts happening now or down the road, the demands of the Canadian People will be translated into policy one way or another.
If Ontario’s government accepts all proposals tabled by High School teachers’ union, the province would have to spend more than $7 billion by 2021-2022, according to the Ford government.
“The reason why we publicize this, we believe, is it’s in taxpayers’ interests to know,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.
In response, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation(OSSTF) president Harvey Bischof has said the Ford government is inflating numbers by applying his members’ demands to the entire sector.
Currently, the Ford government has said its $7 billion projection is based on union demands such as cost-of-living adjustments to salaries and benefits, maintaining previous class sizes, as well as other costs.
The government has said it had to apply costs to the entire sector as benefits given to one education union would more than likely be given to others. For example, CUPE which has already signed a deal has a “me-too” clause around salaries, which allows the union to ask for increases if others in the industry get them.
While unions continue to ask for data to be presented on a case by case basis, the Ford government appears to dead-on putting forward industry level costs, with both hoping to increase the importance of their argument.
With negotiations ongoing, we’ll have to wait and see how the public alongside those involved react to the ongoing negotiations over teachers’ contracts, including both high school and elementary teachers.
Elementary teachers in Ontario’s English public schools have notably ramped up their own job action on Tuesday, by moving into a new phase of work-to-rule, were teachers would not plan field trips or distribute letters and memos.
Ontario New Democrat MPP Joel Harden has issued an apology this week for posing with a supporter who was holding a large sign that read, “F*CK DOUG FORD.”
The image was discovered on Reddit over the weekend and Harden appears smiling beside sign baring the obscenity.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath condemned the action calling it “absolutely not acceptable,” while adding that Harden offered an apology to the premier. His apology came Monday during Question Period.
Premier Ford accepted Harden’s apology.
“I’m glad that he apologized to the premier. It’s never appropriate to have that scenario unfold and I’m glad that the premier accepted the apology,” Horwath told CTV News on Tuesday.
“We believe in raising the decorum of our political discourse. It’s clear based on their past and current behaviour that the NDP caucus do not share this goal,” spokesperson Ivana Yelich said in a statement.
Horwath herself can relate as she was caught posing with a protester outside Queen’s Park who was holding a sign that read “#F*** Ford,” earlier this year.
“I didn’t read the fine print on the bottom of that sign and I have apologized personally to Mr. Ford,” Horvath said.
Harden is taking that position as well saying he didn’t realize what the sign said and as soon as he saw it, he realized that it was a problem.
Horwath has encouraged her New Democrat MPPs to read signs being held by protesters before taking pictures.
“We’ve asked our MPPs on a couple of occasions to be very careful about that because this is exactly the outcome that can occur and it looks bad on everybody, it’s just not appropriate,” Horwath said.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has spent $352,975 on Facebook ads since June, $49,457 of which was spent in the last seven days as they battle out negotiations with the Ontario government.
The pre-bargaining of the new contract between the OSSTF and Premier Doug Ford’s government started in May, but the two sides haven’t been able to see eye to eye on prospective contract changes in the past seven months.
On top of the $352,975 spent on Facebook ads, the OSSTF also purchased a large TV ad buy in late August attacking the Ford government’s proposed education changes, which are meant to find savings in order to help tackle the large annual provincial deficit. Ontario’s debt has ballooned to well over $300 billion and is projected to reach $325.9 billion by the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The Ontario high school teachers’ union also spent money on a postcard mailing campaign back in May, targeting Ontario Progressive Conservative MPPs who only narrowly won their ridings.
Due to backlash from unions, media and the public, Premier Ford has repeatedly backed off of finding so-called “efficiencies” he claimed he would find once in power during the 2018 election. Most of the time the Ford government has tried to make cuts it has backed off; it’s to the point now that his government is increasing annual overspending instead of getting the budget under control.
“This is a government that was elected on a strong mandate for fiscal responsibility, and they’ve brought spending to a higher level than Kathleen Wynne,” Ontario communications director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Jasmine Pickel told Maclean’s this month.
On Monday, OSSTF President Harvey Bischof responded to the Ontario Debt Clock Twitter account asking where he thought the money for the raises to teachers would come from by saying, “Here’s a start. $3B in foregone revenue for cancelled cap and trade.”
Education Minister Stephen Lecce so far isn’t caving to the demands of the teachers’ union, which went on one-day strike last week and is threatening to do the same this week, too.
“Most problematic is that they opted to strike last Wednesday irrespective considering that option. And then on Friday say, ‘Well we’ll consider private mediations so long as the government gives us all three of our top demands, which one of which includes to make the case… the [raise] for the second highest paid teachers in the country,” Lecce said on Monday in a press conference.
The OSSTF didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“His suggestion that the government should fund bigger raises by making life more expensive and unaffordable for the average Ontarian is more than just out of touch, it’s callous and shameful,” said Pickel to The Post Millennial. “Ontario teachers are amongst the best paid in the country and in the world. When you add in the value of taxpayer-funded pension contributions and benefits to salary, top earning teachers in Ontario bring home more than $120,000 per year. Meanwhile, Ontario is the largest subnational debtor on the planet. Ontarians can’t afford to pay more in taxes or to go further into debt to fund bigger raises for already well compensated teachers.”
A carbon tax causes the cost of living to go up almost across the board, including food, which is already expected to go up by four percent in Canada in 2020.
Despite Lecce already lowering the number of proposed high school online courses from four to two and reducing the proposed increase to class sizes from 28 to 25 (they’re currently at 21), the OSSTF still hasn’t budged, looking for it’s top three demands to be met.
The average Ontario high school teacher makes $92,000 a year currently, $37,000 more than the average Ontarian makes. The OSSTF wants them to get a two percent raise, which would cost taxpayers an estimated $1.5 billion annually.
Lecce’s and Ford’s offices also did not respond to request for comment.