Babel-on-the-Bay: Politics is a numbers racket.

It is time to admit it: I used to be a numbers runner. Different from the numbers racket in the United States, in Canada, it is a political game. I used to announce numbers provided by my political party to see if we could draw out numbers from the other parties. It was usually a ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: We will call that a Wynne Win.

Did nobody at the Tim Horton’s head office know about the change in minimum wage for Ontario scheduled for the first of January? Did all those franchisees fail to tell them? And would you not wonder about a major franchiser who dominates the product line in Ontario, not being in control of the situation? Somebody ...

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: I Didn’t Blog in December

I was distracted by things more awesome than blogging. What could that be? I’ll tell you some day. For now, I’m back, complaining about litter. Everyone is focusing on a crappy coffee shop chain in Canada, and giving them even more brain-space free marketing because too many people are addicted to the sugar and caffeine ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A New Year rich in political opportunity.

This political junkie is looking forward to 2018. Starting with the Ontario election in June, Quebec scheduled for October 1 and then the American mid-term elections in November, there will be much on which to comment. The only recommendation we can make at this stage is to ignore the pollsters. And one other suggestion at ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Naughty or Nice: Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne.

It is hard to say where Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne would be on Santa Claus’ ‘naughty or nice’ list. I expect Santa to give her a pass into the ‘nice’ category but he should be warned that this person is one tough cookie! If he does not bring her something she asked for, he might ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Naughty or Nice: Ontario’s Patrick Brown.

As more and more Ontario voters get to see Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown in action, the more his voting preference plummets. He is just not the type of person people can imagine as premier of Canada’s largest province. And neither can Santa as he keeps Patrick on his “Naughty” list. If we had to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Brown plays bad with the big kids.

The first time I met Barrie, Ontario politician Patrick Brown, I wondered what this miserable person was doing in politics? He has no personality. He has little grasp of election issues. What I soon learned was that he is a gamer. And his game is politics. He plays the game of politics as a video ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Denzil decides to do his duty.

Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong seems to have heard the clarion call of distant trumpets. He tells people that he is challenging for the Progressive Conservative candidacy in York East electoral district. Knowing the voters in that part of Toronto as I do, this is not really exciting news. While Denzil might believe he can leap ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Tories try sleight-of-hand with transit.

When we first saw the Ontario Conservative’s proposal for Toronto Transit, we thought it was one of the silliest we had heard for a while. It just made no sense why they thought the provincial government would make less a mess of the job of running the subways and light-rail systems than the city. It ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Does Ontario come with an owner’s manual?

Maybe Patrick Brown forgot to ask. It has been clear that Premier Kathleen Wynne has been playing the job by ear for the past four years. It is just that the former do-nothing back bencher from the Harper government wants Wynne’s job. The Globe and Mail tells us that Brown is a pragmatist on steroids ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Promises and Political Promises.

The magazine style “policy platform” handed out to the Ontario Conservative elite at their get-together last weekend is a style of political literature that was developed many years ago. The glossy magazine is a strong sales style that the voter might keep a bit longer. Adding a full-page guarantee was an idea that popped up ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A station ghosts have forgotten.

As the winds of yet another winter blow through the beautifully restored but empty train station by Kempenfelt Bay, you wonder at the foolishness of Barrie’s city council. In the words of an old television series, they see nothing, they know nothing. The story of the train station started about 700 years ago when nomadic ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Patrick’s pathetic policy pantomime.

It was a come from behind event. Ontario Conservative Party Leader Brown hosted a party event over the weekend. Some of the media had noticed that he had no policies. He therefore had an event to announce some policies to start building the scenery for next June’s provincial election. He had already set the centerpiece ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: There’s a great job opening here.

This is not your standard help wanted situation. Into every life there is an opportunity that comes knocking. This is an opportunity beyond your wildest dreams. It is fame and fortune. There are no limits. You just have to seize the opportunity. It is not for the faint of heart. To start with, you had ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario’s Electricity Sector IV: Pre-Election Update

My first, second and third posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how policy and administrative decisions by different Liberal Governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. In anticipation of June 2018 elections, the Liberal Government recently implemented a costly and first-in-Canada financial scheme to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Watt’s ugly leopard doesn’t wash.

We might be mangling some metaphors here but Jaime Watt can never wash the spots off that ugly leopard. The head of Navigator Ltd., Mr. Watt has spent many years advising Conservatives in the fine art of winning votes. He might be taking on too much of a challenge to try to sell us on ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy

Dr. Colin Phillips is an up-and-coming scholar in Canada’s homelessness sector. He has an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star titled “Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy.” Points made in the opinion piece include the following: -The City of Toronto has worked hard to develop good practices on the ground to address homelessness. -But, ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The withering world of Premier Wynne.

Most successful politicians feed on their egos. It is what carries them through the tough times, the questionable times and eases their doubts and concerns. It also blinds then to the disasters of their own creation. For Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, it is her ego that prevents her from realizing that she is head of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The anti-women legacy of Patrick Brown.

Patrick Brown was first elected to the ultra-Conservative Barrie, Ontario city council at age 22. As a Barrie councillor, he fit right in. It took him another four years to win election in the local federal electoral district and be part of the back-bench yes-men for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was in Ottawa, that ...

Michal Rozworski: Minimum wage whack-a-mole

Minimum-wage whack-a-mole is the best way to describe what I’ve been up to the past couple months. It seems like every week or so in August and September, the business lobby in Ontario was serving up a plate of inaccurate yet headline-grabbing predictions for consumption in the public debate. Going against the grain of the ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Excessives beat Progressives in Alberta.

Friends in Alberta have been asking why this commentary had nothing to say about the race to run that province’s United Conservative Party? It was not because we did not have an opinion. It was sleazy, it was corrupt, it was predictable and we wanted no part of it. I never thought in this lifetime ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Bad bodings for Brown.

A large piece of the Ontario provincial Conservative’s election campaign went bye-bye the other day. Brown and his buddies must have been sitting around the party headquarters war room contemplating what might have been. The directed verdict of a Sudbury, Ontario judge cut the campaign off at the knees. The campaign using Donald Trump’s “Corrupt ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s like a long race on turf.

The next Ontario general election is scheduled to be held June 7, 2018. This race will be like a mile and a half on the turf track and requires horses with great endurance and energy. That makes it the time for the old and tired to retire. And that is what is happening with all ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The myopic Mr. Brown.

It reminds us that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day. Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has no policies but we know what he is against. He tells us that he will cancel the Liberal Cap and Trade environmental protection plan. He has no idea what he might replace it with but ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Money has its privileges.

They named the provincial Conservative candidate for York-Simcoe the other day. There will be no sweaty contested nomination meeting for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s kid. Caroline Mulroney got a free pass. And just to drive the point home, at the announcement, she harangued the provincial Liberals for wanting to raise the minimum wage in ...