Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 22, 2015
NDP says they would bring back door-to-door mail delivery in Hamilton
The federal NDP will reinstate door-to-door delivery and get rid of super mailboxes on the Mountain if the party forms government after the upcoming election.
Hamilton MPs David Christopherson and Wayne Marston made the announcement at city hall this morning, lauding council for being “at the forefront” of the effort to save traditional mail delivery through its court battle with Canada Post.
“If we have to change the legislation, we’ll do it,” Christopherson said of the plan to reverse Canada Post’s multi-year plan to replace door-to-door delivery with super mailboxes across Canada.
He acknowledged there would be cost to removing thousands of recently installed super mailboxes – including several hundred alone on the Mountain.
But he said those costs, as yet not calculated, have to be “weighed against the cost to the (postal) service.”
He argued Canadians are better served by door-to-door mail delivery and added at a minimum, residents “deserve to be consulted” about the future of the service.
The city will face off against Canada Post in court sometime next week over the legality of a bylaw that seeks to regulate where super mailboxes are installed in the municipal right-of-way. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday May 22, 2015
Uber would require ‘political solution’ to operate ride-share in Hamilton
The city’s director of licensing says it’s up to politicians to decide whether Uber can overcome regulatory hurdles to operate in Hamilton.
“In all honesty, if, in fact, Uber is going to come to our community and operate, effectively dealing with their business model, they’ll require a political solution versus an enforcement solution,” Ken Leendertse said Thursday.
So far, the city has been at loggerheads with the San Francisco-based ride-share service, which has only kicked Hamilton’s tires but not committed to establishing a beachhead here.
It’s not clear if a political solution is on the horizon. Mayor Fred Eisenberger is in a wait-and-see mode, noting city staff are meeting with Uber representatives to “get a clear understanding” of how they can legally operate.
“This is something I support and encourage for all businesses looking to invest in Hamilton.”
During an information session this week, Uber representatives addressed concerns about insurance, vehicle safety and drivers’ background checks, Leendertse said.
“And we feel much more comfortable.”
But to legally operate in Hamilton, Uber would have to become a licensed taxi broker, he added.
That would significantly alter its business model: the company’s latest service, UberX, eliminates the need for dispatch services, and allows customers to hire unlicensed taxi drivers by using their cellphone.
Uber has established footholds in 250 cities around the world, but has been greeted with resistance with critics citing safety concerns. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 20, 2015
Employment minister Pierre Poilievre won’t say sorry for ‘vanity videos’
Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre won’t apologize for using taxpayer dollars to produce YouTube videos of himself promoting the universal child care benefit.
Poilievre insisted Friday he’s simply using innovative ways to inform Canadians about the newly enriched and expanded child benefit.
But opposition MPs denounced the “vanity videos” as a new low for a government that has a penchant for producing partisan advertising on the public dime.
And the Canadian Taxpayers Federation agreed.
“The bottom line is that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for partisan advertising masquerading as information-based government advertising,” said Aaron Wudrick, the federation’s federal director.
The latest examples “highlight the need for an independent third party” to vet all government advertising, he added.
One of the videos shows Poilievre explaining the child benefit to shoppers at a children’s consignment clothing sale in his Ottawa riding. It was filmed on a Sunday by two members of the Employment department’s in-house creative production team, which has an annual operating budget of about $50,000.
A departmental spokesman said the Sunday shoot took two hours, which was paid overtime for the two videographers involved. Editing was done in-house during regular work hours. (Source: Toronto Star)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 16, 2015
Canada’s new emissions target far from ambitious, critics say
Canada has set a new greenhouse gas emission reduction target as it prepares for international talks later this year, but critics say the goal is the weakest among G7 countries.
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Friday that Canada proposes to cut emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 — a target she called “fair and ambitious.”
Speaking in Winnipeg, Aglukkaq promised to introduce new regulations on methane emissions produced by the oil and gas industry. There will also be new rules for natural gas-fired power generation and for the chemical and nitrogen fertilizer industries.
“This target is . . . an ambitious commitment based on our national circumstances, which include a growing population, a diversified, growing economy and Canada’s position as a world leader in clean electricity generation.”
The target is slightly weaker than that of the United States, which has pledged to cut its greenhouse emissions by up to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.
Wacky pack version available
Canada, the U.S. and other countries are taking their targets to a United Nations conference later this year in Paris, where a new international emissions regime is to be negotiated.
Environmental groups said Canada’s target is anything but ambitious.
“The European Union, already with per-capita emissions well below Canada’s, has a 40 per cent reduction target for 2030 — more than five times greater than Canada’s,” the group Environmental Defence said in a statement.
“To keep our people, communities and economy safe requires that Canada join the global community in making deep cuts to carbon pollution by shifting away from burning coal, oil and gas,” read a statement from the Climate Action Network. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 15, 2015
Province set to unveil LRT game-changer for Hamilton
The province is close to announcing a game-changing commitment to light rail transit in Hamilton, The Spectator has learned.
Sources at both levels of government say a transit funding commitment is imminent — perhaps as early as next week — but hinges on overcoming serious logistical hurdles.
A spokesperson for Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca wouldn’t comment on the specific timing or substance of the anticipated announcement, but promised the minister “will be in the city in the coming weeks to discuss what Ontario’s … transit and transportation infrastructure plan means for the residents of Hamilton.”
The province wants to green-light part or all of the city’s requested $811-million LRT line — but potentially deal-breaking details still need to be nailed down, said sources who didn’t want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the discussions.
A transit garage and GO expansion have also been discussed as additional or alternative announcements. If all goes well, a visit is expected any time between next week and early June.
Premier Kathleen Wynne raised eyebrows when she spoke in the legislature about the importance of working with Hamilton to “build that LRT.”
She later corrected the record to say she meant “rapid transit.”
The city asked for both $811 million for LRT and $302 million for express buses and a maintenance facility in advance of the provincial budget.
Sources say a critical question is whether there’s enough cash to build LRT all the way from McMaster University to Eastgate Square — especially given the province is insisting on a spur-line connecting to at least one GO station. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday May 14, 2015
Sexually explicit taunts must be confronted, justice minister says
Canada’s justice minister is applauding the actions of the Toronto TV reporter who confronted a group of hecklers over a sexually explicit taunt.
Peter MacKay says that while criminal charges could be used to discourage people from shouting profanities during live broadcasts, showcasing the problem also acts as a deterrent.
Hydro One is firing a Sunshine List employee involved in the vulgar incident with CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt at Sunday’s Toronto FC game.
“Regarding the incident at the Toronto FC game between a (CityNews) reporter and fans, Hydro One is taking steps to terminate the employee involved for violating our Code of Conduct,” said Daffyd Roderick, director, corporate affairs for Hydro One.
“Respect for all people is engrained in the Code of Conduct and in our Core Values and we are committed to a work environment where discrimination or harassment of any type is met with zero tolerance.”
Roderick identified the employee as Shawn Simoes, an assistant network management engineer who made $106,510.50 a year.
Earlier today, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said the Toronto FC fans involved in the incident will be banned for “at least” a year.
CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronted several men on Sunday while she was outside of a Toronto FC game. While recording a standup for her report, a number of men shouted the phrase “F— her right in the p—-!”
The camera kept rolling as video shows she confronted some of the men who had shouted at her, as well as a group of men standing behind her waiting for their chance to do the same.
Simoes, the employee being fired by Hydro One, did not shout the previously mentioned phrase, but did speak to Hunt on camera after the incident occured. “It is f—ing hilarious,” he told the reporter. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 13, 2015
Meet Patrick Who, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative leader
The only thing that is absolutely certain about Patrick Brown, the new Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, is that he loves the political process. He has attended an enormous number of community events, everywhere from his federal riding in Barrie, Ont., to the state of Gujarat in India – where he made a particularly rewarding connection with the future prime minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Tim Hudak elected 2009
Long-time MPP and relatively moderate Christine Elliott was expected to easily win the leadership when the campaign began, but Mr. Brown’s relentless contact-making, politicking and membership-selling put him far ahead in the end.
John Tory elected 2004
Mr. Brown was rather a silent MP in Ottawa, so it’s hard to make out what he stands for. There is evidence of his being a social conservative, but on becoming leader, he was quick to say he would not revisit divisive social issues. He now calls himself a pragmatic conservative, and he points out that he has attended Gay Pride events in Barrie.
Ernie Eves elected 2002
The Ontario Liberals have been in power ever since 2003. In the past two provincial elections, the Conservatives, led by Tim Hudak, offered a platform and a tone modelled on what got them Mike Harris elected in the mid-1990s. It might as well have been called Common Sense Revolution II. They are still in opposition.
Mr. Brown needs to win a seat in the Legislature before long, but more importantly, he needs to articulate a substantial reason why people should vote for his party, one that is neither dogmatic nor vacuous. The next election is not until 2018, but the province needs an Official Opposition that can present a serious alternative to the Liberals. There’s a strong suspicion that Mr. Brown will try to win the next election by essentially repeating the strategy of the past two, or possibly running even further to the right, and doing even less to attract voters beyond the base. That would be a mistake. He and his party have three years to think it over. (Source: Globe & Mail)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday May 12, 2015
Green party Leader May “very apologetic” about Omar Khadr remarks
Green party Leader Elizabeth May says she is “very apologetic” about remarks she made on the weekend that included profanity and insulted the federal cabinet about how it has treated Omar Khadr.
May was among party leaders who addressed Parliament Hill journalists and politicians on Saturday night at their annual press gallery dinner.
Usually, party leaders deliver light-hearted, mainly self-deprecating speeches that include the odd barb thrown at the media.
But May went on at length about being the only female leader and having to claw her way into televised leaders’ debates.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt intervened and attempted to persuade May to end her speech, but instead, May played a recording of “Welcome back Kotter” — a theme song from a 1970s sitcom — and stated that Khadr has “more class than the whole f—ing cabinet.”
In a phone interview on Sunday, a hoarse May expressed her regrets for her taste in jokes, her lack of respect for her parliamentary colleagues and her choice of language.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was less than respectful for the people with whom I work,” May said.
“I apologize that I made an attempt to be funny and edgy….and it didn’t work.”
May said she was just getting over the flu, had put in a 21-hour work day on Friday, and then had to rise early in British Columbia on Saturday morning to make it to the press gallery event in Gatineau, Que.
“My funny speech wasn’t funny. That’s not the first time a politician has done that.”
In the Khadr section of her speech, May said she meant to make the point that Canada is a country that gives people second chances, and that she hopes Canadians welcome him into their midst. (Source: CP)
Letter to the Editor (Hamilton Spectator, Saturday May 16, 2015)
May got a free pass from media
Why does Green party leader Elizabeth May get a free pass on her disgraceful behaviour spiced up with her moronic profanity-laced comparison of Stephen Harper’s cabinet and convicted killer Omar Khadr when she defended Khadr at the Press Gallery Dinner?
This inebriated outburst shows who and what Elizabeth May really is and she should do the honourable thing and step down, as this conduct is totally unbecoming of a national political party leader.
This will be yet another prime example of how the left-leaning press gives their free passes for their far left political party leaders and will let her off with her half-hearted apology when she sobered up.
If this had been Harper or a high-ranking Conservative. the news media would be screaming for their resignation. But I do have to admit Graeme MacKay’s cartoon depiction of May was a classic.
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 9, 2015
Conservative MP Patrick Brown ahead in Tory leadership vote in Hamilton, says party official
As the Progressive Conservative party holds its second vote for its members May 7 on who will be their next leader, in Hamilton, Conservative MP Patrick Brown appears to be in the lead, say party sources.
After the May 3 vote, Brown collected 67 per cent of the votes in all four of Hamilton’s ridings: Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Ancaster-Flamborough-Dundas-Westdale, Hamilton Mountain, and Hamilton Centre.
Party sources say Brown, who represents Barrie in the House of Commons, is also leading “across the province” after the first ballot over Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliott.
Brown’s campaign officials stated in a May 3 release they’re “expectations were exceeded” with the “thousands” of people who turned out to vote for Brown.
When asked to comment on Brown’s lead, Elliott’s spokesperson, Marie Prentice referred to Elliott’s statement May 3 referring to the “tens of thousands of Elliott supporters (that) came out to the polls in every riding and put Elliott on the path to victory.”
Elliott cited a recent poll of party members who are eligible to vote revealing 58 per cent of them would vote for her as leader.
Brown’s campaign reported in March that they had sold over 40,000 party memberships, doubling the number of Elliott’s memberships that were sold. Elliott has said she has “wide support” across the province. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 8, 2015
Omar Khadr walks free on bail after 13 years in custody
With those words, Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby turned down the federal government’s last-ditch effort Thursday to keep the 28-year-old detained.
Omar Khadr broke into a big, wide smile when the decision was read. His supporters in the courtroom erupted in cheers.
At 2:03 p.m. Toronto time, his lawyer Nathan Whitling posted a picture on Twitter of Khadr walking out of the courtroom with the caption: “#omarkhadr walks free.” The burly young man wore sneakers, jeans and a black T-shirt with his other lawyer, Dennis Edney, flanking him.
“Whatever anybody might think of Mr. Khadr he has now served his time.”
Bielby had heard arguments in the case Tuesday but said she could not rule immediately and granted the government a 48-hour stay in the bail order.
Her decision to turn down the government’s emergency motion cannot be appealed, but Ottawa will appeal the bail order itself, which was granted in March by Justice June Ross.
No date has been set yet for that appeal and Khadr is free on bail until the case works its way through the appeal court.
“We are disappointed by the decision of the court, because we feel that victims should be considered in the decisions,” Public Safety Minster Steven Blaney said at a press conference. Blaney said legal procedures against Khadr are “still underway” but he would not comment on whether the case will go to the Supreme Court.
In an earlier statement, Blaney also said: “Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to heinous crimes, including the murder of American Army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. By his own admission, as reported in the media, his ideology has not changed. (Source: Toronto Star)