Babel-on-the-Bay: We can blame Cousin Oliver.

It is all Oliver Mowat’s fault. The myopic Father of Confederation had a mainly rural and agrarian Ontario to oversee in the early years of confederation. His picture hangs over our desk today, not as a distant relation but in the form of a preserved and framed, full front-page of a Saturday Globe published in ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The anger is real Ms. Wynne.

It is the time of year when Canadians come out of their winter refuges. We travel. We talk to each other. And if we are smart, we listen. What we are hearing here in Ontario is the strong desire for change. That is not necessarily bad if Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is also listening. What ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Fixing Ontario’s out-of-date work laws.

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn has a tough road to travel with the Wynne Cabinet. He is seeking to address the antiquated labour laws in Ontario. He wants to restore balance to the rights of part-time workers. He wants to guarantee a minimum wage on which someone can live. What will be interesting in these ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Take it to heart Ms. Wynne.

Yes, there is a lesson to be learned from the B.C. provincial election by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The lesson is that when voters are mad, you best get out of the way. Take a page from former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s book: he knew when to get out of the way. Except for the gas-powered ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Those tree-hugging Greenies did it!

When we wrote our Morning Line for the British Columbia provincial election, we admitted the weakness to our assessment. Here it is four days after the election and we still know very little. Blame the Greens! With the B.C. Liberals one short of a majority, the absentee ballots and the recounts will be critical. The ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A politico posits on Patrick Brown.

One of the more interesting aspects of some politicians is the effort they will take to make sure you do not know them. It is like Ontario voters should be less worried about Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown’s lack of policies than his lack of personality. Having moved to Barrie 13 years ago, we were ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is Andrea Horwath circling the drain?

There had to be some confusion in Ontario New Democratic Party ranks last week. It was caused by an unfortunate story about the NDP getting a second wind “With Horwath at the helm.” This was after the party had the wind taken out of its sails by the Liberals announcing Pharmacare for all Ontario residents ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A rookie mistake in Don Valley North.

In October last year we wrote some personal comments about the area of Don Valley North electoral district in Toronto. The wife and I had our home there in that part of North York for more than 20 years. It was just down the street and around the corner from the historic home of former ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Creating conflict for city and province.

They really cannot be doing it to ‘sell’ newspapers in this day and age. The Toronto Star has been busy building a supposed conflict between Mayor John Tory of Toronto and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. It is based on the recent Ontario budget that did not mention more funds for Toronto’s subways and other infrastructure ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The piecemeal processes of Premier Wynne.

“Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages: Let me draw your attention to the left ring of our three-ring circus. Here for your entertainment and edification is our finance minister who has just passed the miracle of a balanced budget. Charles Sousa will now amaze you further by proposing a new pharmacare program to ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: On being bullish on Brown.

There is lots of laughter at the current argument among Ontario Conservatives about whether their leader Patrick Brown has policies. Some Conservatives think it would be nice if they knew where their party is headed. Others think policies should be kept secret so that the opposition does not belittle them. They would if they could ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The myth of being Liberal.

One of our respected progressive bloggers from British Columbia wrote recently something less than a paean (song of praise) about the Liberals in that province. His thesis is that B.C. Liberals are just Conservatives in sheep’s clothing and now the federal sheep have joined them. He insists that the Liberal ideal has vanished from Canada. ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Something borrowed, something blue.

Watching the news conference events last week at Toronto’s Liberty Village, you could not help but note what a modern setting it would be for a wedding. This must have been just a rehearsal though as Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered their promises. They even had something borrowed to tell us ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: You can call it a ‘Wynne Win.’

Ontario’s political pundits are all running with scissors these days forecasting the resignation of Premier Kathleen Wynne. Quite properly, she is scoffing at these rumours and promising to carry on. It could be the death knell of the Liberal’s dynasty of the last 14 years. But is it? In a few days, we will be ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trump’s ‘Milk of Human Kindness.’

“Once again unto the breach” (sorry Mr. Shakespeare) President Trump jumps into a situation of which he has absolutely no understanding. He is making a habit of it and this time he is trying to skewer the Canadians. He has pitted the free market, unfettered Wisconsin dairy farmers against what Trump calls the ‘unfair’ position ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

William Shakespeare is a writer for most human experience. You could not help but think of that line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream the other day reading a commentary on guaranteed basic income. Who the writer was is not important. The approach was serious. He wrote of a guaranteed basic income as being charity. That ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The bafflement of blow-hard Brown.

It is probably for the best that the Ontario Progressive Conservatives have a schlemiel such as Patrick Brown as their leader. They will be relieved when he goes. And here is the poor guy trying to explain the difference between carbon taxes and Cap and Trade to a political party that is determined to tolerate ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Morning Line: B.C. Provincial Election – May 2017.

This morning line is not up to our usual standards. We simply lack the complete information needed to assess the public mood. All we can do is provide a baseline for betting based on what stats and performances are available. And there is no getting around the fact that B.C. voters have fooled us all ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: When in doubt do nothing.

Is this the new political mantra? At all levels of government, we are seeing variations of stalactites and stalagmites frozen in their political positions as the world revolves around their caves. From their superior position hanging down from above, the stalactites in Ottawa are the most obvious. With the government digging into a ‘wait and ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Did April Fool come early this year?

We read in the Toronto Star the other day about some ‘go-bold’ re-election strategy being used by Premier Kathleen Wynne. We practically wet our pants laughing until we realized the item was written by Bob Hepburn. Bob has always been a quite astute observer of things political for the Star over the years, so we ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The silliness of slagging Sorbara.

This could have run Wednesday but there is really no point in running more than one commentary per day. The problem here is that it does not matter if someone has managed war rooms or washrooms there is absolutely no point to slagging former Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara for telling the truth. This writer has ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Kenney is running on ‘Empty.’

The new and unsurprising leader of the Alberta Conservatives is taking a trip to nowhere. He tells Albertans he is there to unite the right but there are two rights and those two rights do not necessarily make a new right or even a better right. And neither of the possible leaders, Jason Kenney or ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Branding the PC’s Patrick Brown.

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives are trying to sell Patrick Brown. Since few Ontario voters know the Conservative Leader, they think it is important to introduce him. They call a recent series of YouTube ads, ‘Brand Brown.’ Mind you they want to paint him as something other than we know him in Barrie. Brown is a ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: What will an Ontario pilot prove?

The possible acceptance of a pilot project in Ontario of the idea of government providing a basic guaranteed income to its citizens is long overdue. There have been previous pilots—opened with great ballyhoo and then quietly dropped when the political will failed us. But like all such pilots, they are dramatically over-managed, over-promoted and are ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Could Chantal Hébert be so diabolical?

Is it whimsy or a diabolical intent? Is Toronto Star political guru Chantal Hébert really that devious? She recently proposed that Rona Ambrose, the federal interim leader for the Conservatives as the ideal person to step in and take over the reins of the combined provincial Conservatives in Alberta. That is a wonderful proposal and ...