Doug Ford has announced that not only will he not scrap the Wynne Government’s plan to subsidize hydro bills by borrowing billions in the future; but that he will further reduce hydro bills by 12 percent. This is dangerous territory for a man who wants to be seen as fiscally prudent. It is also eerily reminiscent of the kind of math that scuttled the campaign of Tim Hudak, who simultaneously boasted he would create a million jobs and eliminate 100,000 jobs at Queen’s park. It didn’t make sense to voters, who were otherwise looking to make a change in government and Hudak’s campaign was dead from that moment on. Just as today’s more sophisticated electorate knows the Wynne spending promises spree of the last few weeks is not sustainable; they also know that it is going to take time and a lot of common sense to get Ontario’s finances in order. We need to see a costed campaign platform from Mr. Ford soon.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

25 Comments to: Danger of Déjà vu all over again

  1. Marshall

    May 19th, 2018

    A Globe analysis of the membership list found that more than two dozen fake members listed at one apartment building had the same names as people connected to Mr. Dhillon or his associates through social media. In interviews, two people said they had no idea how their names and Toronto-area phone numbers ended up on a list of party members in Ottawa.

    “I didn’t talk with anyone about this,” said Meghna Randhawa, a student who knows one of Mr. Dhillon’s associates. “I’m shocked. … I never heard of these elections.”

    In addition, sources allege Mr. Dhillon, who was working for Ms. Macgregor, bused people from the Greater Toronto Area to vote at the nomination meeting.

    After voting started, local party stalwarts began to notice an unfamiliar face – who they later learned was Mr. Dhillon – escorting groups of young people. Instead of directing them to vote at the standard alphabetical registration stations, Mr. Dhillon took them to the credentials table, which is normally where voters are sent after encountering snags such as problems with their identification. The credentials desk was staffed by two of Mr. Brown’s aides and overseen by Mr. Stanley.

    One small group of people who arrived with Mr. Dhillon stayed the entire time the polls were open, recalled Carlos Naldinho, a party activist who was at the meeting.

    “They kept going into the voting area then coming into the common area,” he said.

    Sources told The Globe that Ms. Macgregor did not authorize Mr. Dhillon’s actions. She did not respond to questions from The Globe.

    In addition, scrutineers with Mr. Roberts’s campaign raised a host of concerns, including that officials accepted questionable identification, such as cellphone photos of ID.

    Once the vote counting began, the problems escalated. Two boxes, including the one from the credentials desk, contained ballots that had been folded together in a clump – apparent evidence of ballot-box stuffing. “They couldn’t have landed that way in the box,” said Rob Elliott, a party vice-president who helped count the credentials ballots. A total of 17 votes were disqualified.

    However, the credentials box also had 28 more ballots than registration forms filled out at that table, according to riding association officials.

    Despite objections from the Roberts campaign, Mr. Stanley accepted the results of the credentials ballot box, which tipped the race in Ms. Macgregor’s favour by just 15 votes.

    Mr. Roberts’ supporters vigorously challenged the results. But Mr. Stanley eventually declared Ms. Macgregor the winner. He declined to comment on the nominations when contacted by the Globe.

    “I had never in my life – in all my years in politics – seen such blatant fraudulent activity as I saw that day,” said Marjory LeBreton, a former Conservative senator who has been involved in politics since John Diefenbaker was prime minister. “It was just unbelievable.”

    A few weeks later, the riding association quit en masse.

    News about the Ottawa irregularities travelled fast as outraged Tories phoned contacts in other parts of the province – including those involved in another nomination vote that was happening the next day in Hamilton.

    The race in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas was hard fought between Ben Levitt, a political aide for a federal Tory MP; Vikram Singh, a lawyer; Jeff Peller, whose family owns the Peller Estates winery.

    At the high school where the vote was held, veteran strategist John Mykytyshyn noticed Mr. Dhillon, who was working for Mr. Peller’s campaign, in the parking lot greeting large coaches as busloads of voters arrived.

    Behind the scenes, The Globe has learned, a printer was cranking out fake Rogers utility bills and Scotiabank statements in a classroom, according to multiple sources.

    Party rules require voters to present photo ID and proof of address. The fake I.D. enabled people who were not eligible to vote to cast ballots.

    Officials eventually figured out the alleged scam when they noticed voters using Rogers and Scotiabank statements with identical account numbers and balances, according to party members who were present.

    Later there would also be questions about whether votes were cast illegally on behalf of people who did not attend.

    Jacob Trenholm, a management consultant, said a Hamilton detective contacted him in January, 2018, and told him police had a list that showed him casting a ballot. Mr. Trenholm had bought a membership at the request of Mr. Levitt, a friend from high school, but did not attend the nomination meeting. “I was surprised and felt uncertain as to what had happened because it felt wrong,” he said.

    As in Ottawa, irregularities also occurred in Hamilton at the credentials table, which was staffed by aides to Mr. Brown and overseen by then party president Rick Dykstra. He did not respond to requests for comment.

    Mr. Singh had the most votes at the standard stations, but Mr. Levitt received 202 out of the 345 ballots from the credentials table, pushing him to victory, according to a lawsuit Mr. Singh later filed. He alleged the meeting was tainted by party officials’ predetermination that Mr. Levitt would win and by “fraudulent ballot stuffing.”

    York Regional Police have confirmed that they are looking into the data breach at the 407 highway. Police in Hamilton are investigating a PC nomination in the riding of Hamilton-West-Ancaster-Dundas that was held for a second time after allegations of voter fraud surfaced. One of the candidates in that riding was a client of Mr. Dhillon.

    Ms. Wynne has said that Elections Ontario and the OPP should ensure that the PC party does not have personal data from the 407 highway and called on Mr. Ford to fire all candidates with links to Mr. Dhillon.

    “Those who aspire to lead our province have an obligation to put the integrity of our electoral process ahead of partisan gain, political ambition or, indeed, any other consideration. Mr. Ford has an opportunity to act,” Ms. Wynne said in a statement.

    The New Democrats have also called on Elections Ontario to probe what happened with the 407 highway data.

  2. Marshall

    May 27th, 2018

    “PC lawmaker Lisa MacLeod says a PC platform will come out “in the next couple of weeks.” Two weeks from today is June 6, the day before the election. #onpoli #onelxn” (May 23, 2018)

    Credit where credit’s due: Martin Regg Cohn called it four months ago.

    “Never underestimate the ability of the Progressive Conservative opposition to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

  3. Marshall

    May 28th, 2018

    Doug Ford says a fully costed platform is coming — but would not say when.

    The Progressive Conservative leader made the comment to reporters during a “roundtable” Monday morning in Newmarket, alongside 13 candidates and an incumbent — a change in strategy for Ford in the final week and a half of the election campaign.

    Highlighting his team is something Ford hasn’t done since his “unity rally” in March after he was elected as PC leader.

    In recent days, Ford has been hammering at the NDP, saying the party is not ready to govern, and lauded his team as “ready, right out of the gates on June 8” — the day after the election.

    However, when asked when a platform would be released — the PCs are the only party without one — the message was that one is on the way and that his campaign announcements are all a part of it.

  4. jim graham

    May 28th, 2018

    Dougie says we can take that $1B earmarked for a transit project that no one wants, and use it to fix what we desperately need.
    Some folks find this a puzzlement.

  5. Marshall

    May 28th, 2018

    The thing about Ford is he won’t tell us what he will cut to reach the fantasy tax breaks. He tries to get us to believe that he can do it without hurting people in this province. And I suspect like someone else we know he will keep saying it over and over hoping people will buy into his plan. Even with the recent big spending budget of the Liberals, instead of responding to how he would do it differently, he just spouts stuff like: “I’m, surprised the finance minister isn’t up here promising free cars.” Heaven forbid he would actually come out with something constructive.

    He tried to say the Liberals’ budget included “massive tax hikes,” when in reality those earning $130,000 or more would pay 200 bucks more a year. When he claimed that would cost a family of five $1,000, it was pointed out by a CBC reporter that only would happen if each member of that family made $130,000 a year.

    … any thinking person has to see just how Ford’s math doesn’t add up. Or maybe people don’t care that the cuts he will have to make will impact mostly on the poor and disenfranchised.

    If you think things are tough now, we ain’t seen nothing yet if Ford gets in.

    • jim graham

      May 29th, 2018

      Andrea and her team apparently worked on their budget “for well over 2 years” prior to submitting it with a giant $1.4B blunder.
      Give her the keys to the vault?
      Ford is prudent to ensure the timing of his submission. Not as if it is going to cost him Marshall’s vote.

      • Marshall

        May 29th, 2018

        You’re right. Ford doesn’t have my vote. Because he’s running in Etobicoke North and I don’t live there.

        But if an undecided voter is headed to the advance polls in up-for-grabs ridings across Ontario, PCs may not have their vote, either.

  6. Marshall

    May 28th, 2018

    On the campaign trail on Monday, Mr. Ford again promised a costed platform explaining how he plans to pay for billions in promised spending and tax cuts would be released within days.

    “We’re very clear that we’re going to be responsible, our plan is going to be modest, we won’t balance the first year or the second year, but the third or fourth year, we look forward to balancing the books and making sure that we’re prosperous in this province,” Mr. Ford said.

    Throughout his bid to become premier, the Tory Leader has said he will find $6-billion in savings through efficiencies to offset his planned spending. He has promised to reduce personal-income taxes, while also cutting the corporate-tax rate and the gasoline tax. Economist Don Drummond calculated in a paper released last week that Mr. Ford has promised $8.1-billion in new spending or lower taxes, $2.1-billion more than the savings he has said he will find.

    • jim graham

      May 29th, 2018

      see, the thing is, Doug doesn’t have to find cuts or efficiency for Hamilton, he is just redirecting monies Uncle Ted invented with his accrual accounting, and placing the revenue where we taxpayers want it spent.
      Couldn’t be easier.

      • Marshall

        May 29th, 2018

        Hamilton’s voting population just needs to come to a consensus on how to spend $1B without involving a council they don’t trust but can’t bring themselves to replace. Couldn’t be easier.

        If the city gets $1B to spend as it will, not only will 400+ municipalities across the province expect the same treatment, but the government will quickly find itself unable to effect any long-term agenda at all. That $1B promise means as much as the Buck-A-Beer promise: It will never happen.

        • jim graham

          May 29th, 2018

          We are going to get $1B to spend on transit-the transit we want-BRT, safe cycling infrastructure, and a huge injection of cash into our broken D.A.R.T.’s network.
          Thank-you Minister Skelly.

  7. Marshall

    May 29th, 2018

    “From what we have already heard and seen, Mr. Ford’s populist policies will hit hard at the pillars of the province’s economic prosperity. To mollify his base, Mr. Ford will have every incentive to undermine the “elite” institutions on which Toronto’s and the province’s success depend. In the United States, populist politicians have slashed funding for public-research universities, which sit at the heart of innovation. One can expect Mr. Ford to do the same, inflicting real pain both on great universities such as the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Queen’s, Western, McMaster and on the knowledge economy for which they serve as key hubs. The province could wind up like an American Red State, which disinvests in the key pillars of its knowledge economy and undermines its own economic advantage.

    Instead of a tech-enabled, cutting-edge community on the waterfront, expect a return to the days of Ferris wheels and spectacle malls. As mayor, Rob Ford hindered Toronto’s urbanization by threatening to eradicate bike lanes, build downtown casinos and eliminate light rail transit. Efforts to build a denser, less congested region will also be halted as Doug Ford rekindles the debate over the war-on-the car that sits at the core of Ford Nation’s appeal. To pay for his much-ballyhooed tax cuts, Doug Ford will likely tear apart Ontario’s vaunted social safety net, ushering in even more polarized and toxic politics and undermining the province’s image as a less divided and more enlightened place than the United States.”

    • jim graham

      May 30th, 2018

      efforts to build “denser, less congested region will be halted?”
      Denser…..yet somehow, less congested. Hmmmm. That sounds stupid, good thing Doug will put an end to such foolishness.

      One question. If Doug is such a dunce……how is it that Andrea can do no better than a dead heat?
      Neck and neck with a deplorable.
      Connect those dots.

      • Comprehender

        June 4th, 2018

        “Denser” as in population/employment, i.e. brownfield development, and vertical growth rather than horizontal growth.

        “Less congested” as in a condition arising from enlightened urban development, better regional transit and cycling infrastructure, all of which make it possible to live without having to use a car for everything.

  8. Marshall

    May 30th, 2018

    The Progressive Conservatives released more information Wednesday about their campaign spending pledges, but still did not detail how they plan to pay for them.

    And despite previous promises to release a fully costed platform before election day, the PCs said no further financial information would be released.

    While coming under fire from the New Democrats, who are now ahead of the PCs in some polls, and the Liberals, who accuse him of having a $40 billion budget hole, PC Leader Doug Ford also faced harsh words from within his own party.

    Former MPP and cabinet minister Brad Clark took to Twitter to criticize Ford.

    “You have promised your candidates and the public a costed election platform,” said Clark, who served under Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. “It is not enough to ask people to vote against the Libs and NDP. While your candidates will not speak out in public, I will. The lack of a platform is impacting voter intentions.”

  9. Marshall

    May 30th, 2018

    After months of promising to release a fully costed campaign platform, the Progressive Conservatives have published an online list of promises that doesn’t include a detailed fiscal plan.…

    Ford and his campaign team have repeatedly promised to publish a fully costed platform before election day. Back in March, when the Liberals released their 2018 budget — which formed the backbone of their own platform — Ford criticized the Liberals for putting forward figures he characterized as shoddy.

    “We have 71 days left in this election. That’s more than enough time to unveil our platform,” Ford said then.

    “And we have a solid platform that is fully costed. That’s the difference. Ours will be fully costed, theirs isn’t fully costed.”

    • jim graham

      May 30th, 2018

      Kathy didn’t
      Andrea can’t
      Doug won’t

  10. Marshall

    May 31st, 2018

    On the last day of advance voting the Progressive Conservatives quietly released their platform online without a full costing.

    There was no technical briefing, it was released after Doug Ford’s media availability on Wednesday morning and it comes with no explanation for how the promises add up.

    The platform puts price tags with each of its promises, but doesn’t always go into detail on what year promises will start, how the cash will be divided and doesn’t include any third party vetting.

    In contrast, the NDP had former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page vet its platform. Page also vetted the Tories’ previous platform under then leader Patrick Brown.

    Contrary to repeated claims from Ford that full costing will be released “by the end of this campaign,” the party suggested that what they released on Wednesday is all of it…

    Ford has previously said that he will find four per cent in “efficiencies” in order to balance the books but the plan doesn’t spell out whether that number still holds given the billions in spending promises and tax cuts. Last week, economists told iPolitics it’s not clear how the party would meet its promise to balance the budget.

    Mike Moffatt with the progressive think tank Canada 2020 says that concern still stands given the plan released today by the Progressive Conservatives.

    He said the information released leaves voters “in the dark” and does not explain how much the party plans to find in efficiencies. The Progressive Conservatives, he said, are on track to run “the largest deficits.”

  11. Marshall

    June 1st, 2018

    “Some people seem a bit surprised that Doug Ford has not — and will not — release a fully costed platform that matches spending promises with revenue projections and shows how and when he plans to balance the budget….

    It is something we all could have learned about Ford by watching him, and his late mayor brother Rob, operate at City Hall. The details don’t matter to them. And what they consider details, many people would consider “the whole point.”

    For example: when Rob Ford was campaigning for mayor, with Doug as his campaign manager, allied council candidate and closest adviser, they promised a Scarborough subway extension. This would, they said clearly at the time, be an extension of the Sheppard subway, running east-west in the north of Scarborough. It would be in service by 2015. This was an explicit promise. And it was a costed promise. The cost to taxpayers, we were told again and again, would be $0. The “private sector” would pay for it, through some Ford math mojo that was vague and frequently changing.

    What actually happened was that Sheppard extension was cancelled, and then a different councillor — by then an enemy of the Ford brothers — proposed a different subway extension that ran up northeast through the middle of Scarborough, on an entirely different route. Some variation of it may be finished by 2030. This cost was not $0, but something on the order of $3.5 billion. And property taxes were raised 2.5 per cent to pay for it.

    The Fords’ embraced this entirely different subway extension plan, serving a different route, at an astoundingly high cost, and in fact claimed it was their own plan all along. They mark it as a promise kept! Doug Ford continues to claim it as evidence he and his brother delivered exactly what they said they would. The words “Scarborough” and “subway” are pretty much the only things the two proposals have in common, and Ford logic says they are the only things that mattered.

    Or take again this matter of costing promises and unspecified “efficiencies” filling in all the gaps. Rob Ford explicitly promised $2.8 billion in savings over four years as mayor, with no service cuts, and the bulk of it coming from “efficiencies.”

    He did not deliver those savings and he did cut many service levels. Staff under him did, if you look sideways and lump a lot of things together (few of which are related to more efficiency, some of which were fee hikes on taxpayers), realize various departmental savings adding up to just over a billion dollars compared to some budget projections, though the budget as a whole went up.

    Doug Ford, today, trumpets this as a “promise kept” by him and his brother. Math, schmath; logic schmogic. Doug Ford is a man of his word. Just ask him.

    His platform is whatever he says it is on a given day. His plan is a series of catchphrases. His evidence is the volume of his voice and the frequency with which he repeats things. His execution will always be a chaotic mess. And his measure of success will always be his own strong certainty that whatever happened must be what he always said would happen.

    That’s what he and his brother did at city hall. That’s what he’s done so far as leader of the Conservatives. And that’s what we should expect if he becomes premier.”

  12. Marshall

    June 2nd, 2018

    “The Dippers have admitted there’s a $1.4 billion error in their costing, and the platform is based on Liberal budget numbers that both the Financial Accountability Office and Auditor General consider far too rosy. Yet they are a paragon of thoughtfulness and transparency compared to the PCs. For weeks leader Doug Ford strung us along with the promise of a “costed” platform, then finally gave us an uncosted platform. He insists it is, in fact, costed, because all of the promises have costs next to them. Perhaps we should have asked for a “revenued” platform as well.

    “Ontario doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem,” the platform tells us. It is word for word what Rob Ford said about Toronto City Hall when he was campaigning for mayor alongside Brother Doug, who boasts to this day of all the painless savings they achieved. Indeed, gross city expenditures fell relative to inflation for three of the four chaotic years the Fords were at City Hall. Total savings: $186 million, or roughly 0.5 per cent. It was far from painless, by the way. Ford has promised to get eight times as much out of Queen’s Park, with no jobs lost, and even that won’t add up to the $8 billion Ford assures us his outside auditors will find.”

    • jim graham

      June 3rd, 2018

      the Dippers admitted they haven’t got a clue, planned for years, and still messed up Grade 6 math.
      Andrea can not balance her cheque book, but wants to run the Province, right into the ground.
      Doug is a disaster….and the best Andrea has been able to manage is a dead heat.
      Neck and neck……with a dunce.
      Connect those dots.


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