Friday, October 30, 2009

Professorial Analysis of Propaganda

Joseph Brean had a good article in the Oct.24, 2009 National Post (see here) titled "A serious debate on hate speech laws".

Though this post's topic is not about the Canadian Human Rights Act, I found Richard Moon's words in Brean's article fascinating, in that what Moon is saying applies quite well to the concepts of global-warming paranoia/hysteria, and to the idea of single-payer health-care monopolism.
Brean writes:

"Critics of Canada's hate speech laws can hope for nothing more than "a marginal win in a polarized debate," because of their ruthlessly successful "propaganda campaign," according to law professor Richard Moon.

"This is the most spin can accomplish," he writes in comments submitted to a House of Commons committee looking into the hate speech provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, in advance of his testimony on Monday.

"Their claims are repeated, often uncontradicted, in radio and television interviews. They are parroted by politicians and in newspaper editorials and columns. And, although this is more difficult to gauge, they appear to be taken up by Canadians, who watch or read the mainstream media," he writes. "Why does it seem so difficult to have a serious and honest debate about hate speech regulation?"

His answer is that, faced with such a noisy campaign, news reporters repeat spin out of a desire to seem fair, columnists weigh in with no other goal than to provoke, and television producers tend "to avoid complex analysis and to sensationalize issues." "


Just plug "man-made global warming" into Moon's above observations! Why is it that there is no "honest debate" on Al Gore's bluster?!

Where is that "mainstream media's" so-called "complex analysis" of the Gore-bull warming industry?!

Why were (and still are) Gore's claims repeated, uncontradicted, by politicians and newspaper editors?!

When Moon talks of 'ruthless propaganda campaigns', let's ask who was checking Gore's or David Suzuki's sensationalist spin, and that of their echo chamber of fawning acolytes?!

Who was parroting Green Shifty policies?!

Who was marginalizing those who didn't subscribe to the newly-fashionable climate hysteria?!

Who was causing the "polarization"?

Who exactly are the 'polarized'?!!

Who was claiming that "the climate science is settled"?!

 (...for example, why - over some twenty years -  hadn't the St.Catharines Standard ever bothered to interview their own local Liberal MPP and climate-change fearmonger Jim Bradley about his GreenFear politics?!  Where was this fabled "complex analysis"; this illusory "honest debate" about the global warming/climate change hoax, and Jim Bradley's role within it??!!)

Another so-called given truth of the left is single payer monopolist health care.

Again, as above: change the subject of Moon's observations to single-payer healthcare: where's the "honest debate" about health care monopolism, where's the "complex analysis"? All we get is the "mainstream media" parroting the usual leftist slogans and the uncontradicted socialist spin!

Writes Brean:

""The propaganda campaign against the HRCs fits within the dominant model of contemporary political discourse, which is often referred to as ‘spin,' " Prof. Moon writes. "Political ‘spin' inverts the relationship between fact and opinion, with the former often following the latter. To the political spinner, facts are just supports or props for a position. Facts may be selected, massaged, and even invented to advance a larger ‘truth' or simply the self-interest of the speaker." "

But, isn't it the propaganda campaign of the left which is the "dominant model of contemporary political discourse"?!


Isn't that the default position?!


Or does Moon's hypothesis apply to only one side of the political spectrum?

When Moon talks of spin and politics and fact selection and sensationalism and parroted propaganda - well, he's also describing the left's everyday approach to the issues of single-payer health monopolism and man made global warming.
*

Where's any investigation into Dalton McGuinty's health care monopoly?

It's rather ironic that writer Joseph Somerlea sloughs off calls for a public inquiry into McGuinty's ehealth fiasco, yet Somerlea doesn't provide any details about his allegations that Tim Hudak was complicit in patient deaths in Ontario.

Somerlea writes in Niagara This Week, Oct.29, 2009: "Hudak was part of the Harris team when they closed hospitals all over Ontario causing people to die in ambulances when ER's could not handle the crushing work load...What makes you think he has changed his spots?"

Where exactly is Somerlea's evidence for such a sweeping, serious accusation? Somerlea essentially claims Hudak caused patients to die, then fearmongers that he will do so again. Was there a criminal investigation or public inquiry Somerlea can produce to verify his outlandish claim?

(What of the ambulance response to the patient in Toronto, who died waiting, during the 2009 garbage strike? Is McGuinty guilty there?)

It is an asinine position of columnist Draper's and Somerlea's to dismiss an inquiry into eHealth based on cost. Whatever the cost is, is the cost we must pay to hold a secretive Liberal government to account. It is the cost we bear for believing Liberal health care monopolists when they told us 'oh don't worry, everything's all right, just trust us.' It is the cost for ensuring a process is developed so that this won't happen again.

Has Somerlea called for a public and/or criminal inquiry into the hundreds of c.difficile deaths in Ontario hospitals under McGuinty; or into why the St. Catharines hospital had the third-highest death rate in Canada?

A public inquiry into any part of Dalton McGuinty's health monopoly is a good start.

Bennett's intentions were dishonourable

photo: St.Catharines Standard, Oct.29, 2009
Carolyn Bennett: what a Liberal joke, see here.

Bennett's body-bag tripe was way off base, but that didn't stop her from spreading her pathetic Liberal propaganda, see here.

Bennett's intent was to create problems where there were none, and hope that others would jump onto her smarmy Liberal propaganda bandwagon, which some did: see here.

Carolyn Bennett's amaturish body-bag smear gambit arrived DOA, and she got caught. (And this is the calibre of the Liberal's federal health critic??)
If she thinks her "intentions were honourable", then she's either a liar or flicking deluded.
By the way - why isn't Iggy apologizing on behalf of his Liberal Party??
Didn't Iggy know about Bennett's body-bag blunder right from the start?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Iggy Poop's EI retreat

So Mike Ignatieff's popularity is worse than the spectacularly dismal Steve Bumbledore Dion's? What astounding - and welcome - news. Iggy doesn't resonate with most Canadians. What went wrong? Just look at Wayne Easter, Ujjal Dosanjh, Gerrard Kennedy, Carolyn Bennett, Bob Rae for your answers...

Remember Iggy's big announcement that EI 'reform' was to be his great cause?!

Remember this Iggy Poop O Gram (see also here; also here; also here), sent out in Sept. courtesy of Ujjal Dosanjh, blabbing Liberal BS about EI?!
Well, it turns out it was all just Liberal BS, as now Iggy has waffled on his supposed grand EI ambitions! Now Iggy, aka The Flipflopinator, has gone cold - on his own idea!

See here for Herbert Grubel's Oct.29, 2009 National Post article on just how deceptive and misguided Iggy's EI bluster was.

Although Grubel's column was headlined "Liberals dodge EI bullet", and closes with "The Liberals did well to avoid repeating their historical mistake", it is this point which needs to be emphasized: the Liberals under Iggy dodged a bullet which they themselves loaded and fired!

This wasn't someone else's idea, which Iggy just walked away from (after trumpeting it for months!) - THIS WAS IGGY'S OWN IDEA! An idea which was simply a half-baked piece of Liberal hotair BS.

Grubel's closing (that "the Liberals did well to avoid repeating their historical mistakes") sloughs off the fact that Iggy's Liberals DID TRY TO REPEAT THEIR MISTAKE - AGAIN!

They didn't try "to avoid" it - they actively pursued it! What's worse: they pursued it knowing full well all those nasty details which Grubel carefully points out in his article. The Liberals knew (of course!) that their phony EI 'reforms' were bad for the economy: Iggy was brazenly playing politics here, and not acting in the best interests of Canada.

Iggy can't get his own pet policy initiatives straight - how can anyone believe Iggy could make stable decisions as Prime Minister?!

One day - Iggy's pushing EI reforms; next day - he's not!

Iggy's got an industrial size waffle maker.

Maid of the Mist lease up for tender

The Niagara Falls Review reported Oct.29, 2009, that the Ontario government has ordered the Niagara Parks Commission to call for open tenders on the boat cruises now run by the Maid of the Mist.

The Review's Corey Laroque reported:

"For the first time in years, the Maid of the Mist will have to fend off competitors to hold onto the right to run boat tours in the Niagara River.

Ontario Tourism Minister Monique Smith announced Wednesday the Niagara Parks Commission will solicit competing bids from companies interested in leasing the property needed to provide the tours.

"For once, the taxpayers have won. It's unbelievable," said Bob Gale, the former commissioner whose concerns about the attempt to renew the lease in 2008 led to a year and a half of intense scrutiny for Niagara Parks.

The Liberal government's direction to the parks commission stems from its reaction to the recent scandal at eHealth Ontario, where it was revealed the electronic health records agency issued millions of dollars in untendered contracts.

After the eHealth scandal, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a new policy aimed at opening government-issued contracts to competitive bids more regularly.

"We think that this process aligns itself well with that," Smith said in an interview just hours after she recommended cabinet not give its approval to the deal the parks commission negotiated in 2008 with the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co.

"I think this is the appropriate course," Smith said. "It ensures all interested parties get the opportunity to submit proposals in a fair and open competition."

Parks commission chairman Jim Williams said his board will abide by the order.

"As a dutiful agency of government, we are not our own masters. We work for the government," Williams said. "They're wanting an open, transparent process. We will certainly follow that recommendation." "

*

We have to wonder: if McGuinty's eHealth scandal had not been uncovered (and the Liberals tried their best to hide it from scrutiny), would this ever have come about at the NPC? And what other cosy little arrangements are there that we aren't aware of?

For months after Bob Gale quit the Parks board, he was shunned; now suddenly - and ONLY AFTER McGuinty's Liberals were caught in the eHealth scandal - does it occur to McGuinty's Liberals to 'institute transparent processes'??!! For cryin' out loud.

Laroque also writes:

"The Maid of the Mist lease has been controversial since April 2008, when the 12-member parks commission voted to extend it. Then-commissioner Gale objected to renewing it before finding out if another company might pay more for the right to run tours.

Two others, including Ripley's Entertainment and Atlanta-based Alcatraz Media, had said they were interested.

Gale's complaint to Ontario's integrity commissioner led to an eight-month investigation, two government reviews and Smith's order for the parks commission to take a second look at its 2008 decision.

When commissioners reviewed that decision in September, they reached the same conclusion - extend the Maid lease -and asked the Liberal cabinet to approve it.

Gale said he was "pretty pleased" the lease was ultimately going to tender, something he pushed for a year and a half ago.

"It's the right first step ... I salute the government, I salute Monique Smith for putting it out to tender," said Gale, adding the commission needs supervision to make sure the bidding process is fair.

Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor, who backed Gale's call for openness, said he was happy with his party's new approach.

"I always felt that should have been tendered out," Craitor said.

It means the parks commission has less than five months to draft and issue a tender, give companies time to prepare their bids, consider the bids and award a contract.

There is a provision in the current lease for the Maid of the Mist to continue on a month-to-month basis. If the Maid company lost the contract, it could continue business until the winner takes over. "


With all this saluting to the Liberals - let's not forget that those same Liberals - before eHealth - would have denied and laughed off concerns that there were any transparency issues in their government depts., agencies, and boards!

And let's look at Kim Craitor's claims that he always felt that the Maid of the Mist's lease should have been tendered out.

Why, then, doesn't Craitor apply his same (faux) ideas of openness to his closed, secretive, Liberal health care monopoly?

Why, then, doesn't Craitor call for tenders and competition within the Liberal health care monopoly, and call for the de-monopolization - ie for reform - of Ontario's health monopoly?

Why isn't Craitor advocating for patient payer and provider choice, and planning a phased process in which competing medical service providers and insurers bid for business?

Why does Liberal Kim Craitor bizarrely go protesting about health care cuts in front of his Liberal buddy Jim Bradley's office (what was that about?!) - yet he can't fathom that his own Liberal party's misguided monopolism is the problem?

Really, why is Craitor in the Liberal party anyway? Isn't he a closet Dipper? He could just quit and sit as an independent MPP, where he can really be a more honest voice - especially as McGuinty's Liberals (to whom Craitor means little) disintegrate in the next two years.

Niagara Falls Then and Now: Buildings renovated, part 2

above: Apr.17, 2008 - looking along the east side of Erie Ave., south of Park St.
above: May 19, 2009 -blue canopy has been removed and scaffolding in place to reach upper facade
above: Jun.4, 2009 new trim installed under upper parapet, under upper windows, and over the lower storefront
above: Jun.18, 2009 - new windows and doors installed, brackets over side door
above: Jul.15, 2009 - brick painted; new side door; lighting in place over sign.
above: Sept.3, 2009 - storefront for rent sign on window. Autumn Moon restaurant next door to the south gets a new bright yellow paint job. A bit of the old Rosberg building's north wall looms at the far upper right; on Oct.4, 2009, Rosberg's would suffer a catastrophic fire.
above: Aug.7, 2009 - looking at the former Burroughes Furniture building at the south-east corner of Queen St. and Crysler Ave., new plywood installed
above: Aug.10, 2009 painting underway
above: Aug.14, 2009, upper brick facade painted
above: view on Aug.18, 2009. See here and here for older photos of Burroughes.

Niagara Falls Then and Now: Buildings renovated

below: Sept.9, 2009; the former Critelli's storefront on the south side of Queen St., just west of Ontario Ave., in Niagara Falls Ont., goes from green to a yellow paint job.
above: same view, Nov.2, 2009, gold and red-trimmed facade seen with new awnings
above: Dec.1, 2008; view of the south side of Queen St., just east of St. Clair Ave.
Where The Perspective is seen, was once the storefront of Edd Masters Mens Shop; where Jonathon Adams Glass Blowing Gallery is seen, once was Helen's Millinery shop - see here.
above: Sept.1, 2009, same buildings, with a new storefront, Cranberry Creek, starting renovations
above: Sept.10, 2009 - the 'old-e tudor-e' stucco and wood facade is covered by wood framing.
above: Sept.11, 2009 - framing continues.
above: Sept.18, 2009 - dentil detail work installed, primer painting underway
above: Sept.23, 2009
above: Oct.20, 2009 - Adonis now seen with a black canopy above; Cranberry's new sign installed on Oct.19
above: Feb.3, 2009 - looking along the north side of Queen, just east of St. Clair Ave., at where the Woolworth's once was
above: May 11, 2009; same view as the incoming Buttery restaurant renovates the space
above: Oct.16, 2009 looking at the south-west corner of Ferry St. and Fallsview Ave., at the former VIP Korean restaurant.
above: Oct.21, 2009, windows being blocked
above: Oct.23, 2009; the rear windows have been blocked; interior work is underway
above: Oct.29, 2009; work continues - siding removed to reveal old upper facade, and some blocked windows.
above: Oct.5, 2009, looking east along Morrison St., west of St. Clair Ave., at the newly built Morrison Apts., to which the house at the left is attached, and is being renovated.
above: Oct.14, 2009 - upper horizontal clapboard facade being re-framed.
above: Oct.23, 2009 - insulation added.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

OHIP coverage available in the US.

above: ad in Niagara This Week, Oct.29, 2009. (another similar ad ran on Nov.11, 2009, P17, St.Catharines Edition)

Dalton McGuinty's ideological Liberal health care monopolists are cutting health care services locally, yet OHIP funding is available for bariatric health care in Buffalo? Why aren't such services available in Ontario, Dalton?

Maybe Good Ole Liberal health care monopolist, St.Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, can address this issue?

Remember smarm-bag Bradley's vitriol against the American health care system!? (see: here, pg.44-45)

Now Ontario's Liberal health care is delivered in the States? (see: here; here)

Let's see - which Niagara media organization will ask Jim Bradley to comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!heeheehee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh... what's that... Jimmy's not available to chat?! Surprise!

Why is the Liberal health premium being sent to the States, for services that should be available in Ontario?? Don't ask!!!

Maybe someone can ask Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews to comment - but, well, Matthews has utterly vanished into an undisclosed lair.

Blame Liberals

This edited letter ("Blame Liberals", seen at left) was printed in Niagara This Week's Oct.28, 2009 edition; the original submission which I had sent to the editor is below:

Re: Susan A. Salzer letter, "NHS systemic failures revealed", Niagara This Week, Oct.8, 2009:

I agree with much of Salzer’s letter, but differ when she places blame on the NHS, but not on the NHS’s Liberal bosses.

Of course there is a systemic failure in Dalton McGuinty's Incompetent Liberal Government-run health system: the failure is caused by ideological Liberal adherence to single-payer health monopolism. Liberals refuse to acknowledge this paradigm: they continue to believe that more state intrusion, and correspondingly less patient payer and provider choice [and, naturally, less government accountability and transparency] is the answer. In other words, their solution to the last forty-years-worth of state-run single-payer failure - is more government control.

Salzer asks "who else should be held responsible" for the NHS's problems, and advocates that the NHS should be 'beat up' - yet Salzer does not even mention the Liberal government's ideological complicity in this situation!

Is the NHS solely to blame for the health care cuts and underfunding imposed by their Liberal masters, while McGuinty, George Smitherman, David Caplan, Deb Matthews, Jim Bradley, and Kim Craitor are held harmless? Does anyone believe Caplan’s well-orchestrated departure, just before the eHealth fiasco was revealed, has solved anything? The NHS has consistently stated it is underfunded; yet at the same time, their unaccountable Liberal bosses were blowing a billion dollars over at eHealth. Now, McGuinty's secretive Liberals still refuse to call a full inquiry into eHealth.

The "overcrowded emergency rooms, ambulance backlogs and a shortage of beds" that Salzer writes about are a gift from her local Liberal health care monopolists!

This is the legacy of statist monopoly health care - what else could one expect?

Salzer writes that 'we object to Niagara's second-rate health care' - but what we should really be objecting to is the failed Liberal single-payer ideological monopoly that spawned it.

[see also here on above letter]
*
I heard federal Liberal Carolyn Bennett (CFRB with Jim Richards, Oct.29, 09) squawking her partisan, muddy views on the swine-flu/adjuvant issue for pregnant women; yet she couldn't make her own message clear.

The only thing Bennett made clear was her own partisan spin on the issue.

As CFRB's Brian Lilley pointed out later in Richards' show-gram, Carolyn Bennett is just full of "fake outrage".

Oh... where is Bennett's (or Michael Iggy Ignore-atieff's) flicking Liberal outrage when it comes to Ontario Liberal Health Minister, the elusive and missing-in-action Deb Matthews?

Carolyn Bennett even ridiculously claimed in Richards' interview (which Richards should have challenged) that the federal government 'thinks health care is a provincial matter'.
Carolyn: health care IS a provincial matter! WTF?!
Why doesn't loudmouth Liberal windebagge Bennett find Deb Matthews and ask Matthews her opinion on this little smarmy spin of Bennett's?!
McGuinty would also be quite interested to find out that health care is not Ontario's responsibility!
Really now - does Ignatieff believe Bennett's position that health care is somehow NOT a provincial responsibility?!

Obama vs. Fox; Van Dusen vs. Krauthammer

Further to Lisa Van Dusen's hilarious leftie column in support of Obama's White House attacking Fox (see here); now compare Van Dusen's views to Charles Krauthammer's column, here.
You'll never see the St. Catharines Standard print Krauthammer's view.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ontario's Incompetent Dalton McSpendy

Dalton McGuinty's Incompetent Liberal Government was the focus of Opposition leader Tim Hudak's column in the National Post, Oct.27, 2009 see: here.

In his column Hudak wrote:

"It took from Confederation to 2003 to get Ontario's budget to $68-billion. Today, Dalton McGuinty is spending $113-billion. That's a 65% increase in the size of government in just six years. Over the same time period, Ontario's economy grew by 6.2%
Better times hid a fact that bad times have now revealed; the McGuinty government has, for years, engaged in unsustainable spending.
While the shock of the deficit is enough for most taxpayers, there is more bad news. Amazingly, the McGuinty government still has yet to introduce a single spending restraint in order to prevent the deficit from growing further.
The Finance Minister actually admitted "We haven't even begun to look at the choices we might make." It's hard to imagine a family saying the same thing to their bank or mortgage lender if faced with an ongoing and increasing shortfall in the family's budget. It is unconscionable coming from the mouth of our province's Finance Minister."


That Dwight's not prepared with any kind of plan isn't surprising, seeing that Deficit Minister Dunco didn't even know his own city's casino was also running a power station! What comes out of the Liberal mouths of Duncan, McGuinty, and St. Catharines Liberal Jim Bradley is sickening.
*
Another good column is by Niels Veldhuis in the Oct.26 National Post , titled "Dalton McSpendy", see: here.
In his column, Veldhuis noted:
"By all accounts, the growth in government spending in Ontario has been startling. During its first term, Premier McGuinty’s government ramped up spending from $73.9-billion in 2003/04 to $96.5-billion in 2007/08, an increase of more than 30%.
To finance its four-year spending spree and move from a significant deficit of $5.5-billion in 2003/04 to surplus of $590-million by 2007/08, the government implemented a number of damaging tax increases (i.e. the then new Ontario Health Premium, cancellation of the planned elimination of the personal income surtax and corporate income tax increases).
This government’s inability to control spending is best illustrated by comparing average spending increases to both economic growth and the average growth rate that would compensate for the growth in population plus inflation in Ontario. Between 2003/04 and 2007/08, government spending increased at an average rate of 6.9% — more than twice as fast as average inflation and population growth (3.0%) and much faster than the average rate of economic growth (4.4%).
The primary reason why Ontario is now facing deficits into the foreseeable future is not the result of the current economic downturn but rather that the government failed to restrain spending when the economy was growing (2003/04 to 2007/08)."
Yep - its sad when Liberal incompetents, through their Liberal incompetence, sink Ontario into have-not status, and all that spendaholic Jim Bradley can do is proudly blab about banning cell phones. The Toronto Red Tsar's Jim Coyle sings praise to Bradley here.
Hey, Coyle - Bradley couldn't give a flicking shit about his constituents.
Bradley is all about ideology... a true Liberal duplicitous scumbag. Bradley is a dinosaur who still bleats on about Mike Harris, as if Liberal disasters - and Bradley's own complicity therein - such as David Peterson never happened; as if the Liberal disaster now under Dalton McGuinty isn't happening.
Bradley blithely represents what is wrong about Ontario's Liberal government.

Asbestos alert at Rosbergs site?

The excavator which had got stuck in the Rosbergs basement Oct.26, 2009 (see here) was finally removed after hours of persuasion by three tractor-trailer-type tow trucks pulling and balancing the machine while coaxing it out of the hole by cables. One of the difficulties during removal was that a large steel beam had got stuck under and between the excavator's treads as it sank, wedging the machine in at an awkward angle. On the Queen St. side of the building, to gain access to the stuck excavator, one of the city's trees was cut down.

The excavator was operational after removal, with minor damage, nevertheless, the Rosbergs demolition site was quiet today, for another reason: apparently, the work site was closed for further demolition due to asbestos being on the site.

The asbestos has been plainly visible for weeks as sheets wrapping some of the wood and steel beams in the structure; but, why only now is this being made into an issue, after probably hundreds of people walked by the site as it was being worked on by the fire marshall's crews?

Was it some kind of safety hazard since day one (after the Oct.4 fire); or did it become a hazard just today, Oct.27, 2009? Why wasn't there a warning about possible asbestos posted at the site weeks ago? City Hall is just across the street: where were the inspectors?
above: Oct.27, 2009, the excavator had been in the hole in the foreground. The steel beam which had been stuck under the excavator is seen in the hole. The pile of brick rubble which lined the sidewalk yesterday is seen crushed down at this point, where equipment needed to gain access. To the bottom right is seen the stump of the city tree which was removed to get at the excavator.
above: Oct.27, 2009 - the rescued excavator is seen parked in the background. The removed tree stump is to the bottom right.
above: Oct.27, 2009 - steel beams, salvaged from the interior of the site yesterday, sit piled at the rear, some appear to have thin asbestos sheeting attached.
above: Oct.27, 2009 - these steel beams have sat exposed like this since the fire. There appears to be ragged asbestos sheeting hanging off the beams seen at the bottom, and also along the beam in the distance.
above: Oct.27, 2009 crews from the gas company were on the site, searching for underground pipes and marking the sidewalk.
***
On a rainy Oct.28, 2009 there was no activity on the site.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's Play "Where's Deb"!

The St. Catharines Standard carried two stories reporting that Dalton McGuinty's Liberals are set to cut health care.
One story was by Antonella Artuso and Jonathan Jenkins, headlined "Grits bring in cost-cutting consultants" (Oct.23, 2009):

"Pinned under a deficit of almost $25 billion, the Dalton McGuinty government has secretly hired cost-cutting consultants to go over the public drug plan for seniors and welfare recipients, Sun Media has learned.

The contract with McKinsey and Co. was so under wraps that Health Ministry officials initially denied its existence, and then when pressed refused to release the consultants' recommendations or the cost of the contract to Sun Media.

Health Minister Deb Matthews later overruled her staff and allowed the contract's $750,000 price tag to be revealed.

Details of the contract came on the same day Finance Minister Dwight Duncan -- confirming a Sun Media exclusive -- said the province's deficit is now $24.7 billion. That's double the previous record of $12.4 billion under Bob Rae.

But despite the fact Ontario is spending nearly $3 million more than it collects every single hour, Duncan said he has no intention of turning the stimulus and infrastructure taps off just yet.

"I don't think anyone wants deficits, but they are the appropriate tool today," Duncan said.

"We're coming through a downturn in the global economy and we've had to spend a lot of money to help our families and communities through a difficult time.

"When we're through this, we will need to look at restraint."

That could certainly explain why the government would hire a firm such as McKinsey and Co., specialists in budget trimming advice who caused a furor in the United Kingdom last month after they recommended sacking 10% of the National Health Service staff, or 137,000 people, in a leaked confidential report .

Ivan Langrish, a spokesman for Matthews, said the company was hired to do a cost-containment analysis of the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan, which experiences annual budget increases well beyond inflation.

"And they're certainly experts in their field," Langrish said.

Results of the contract are "confidential," he said.

The recession has hammered Ontario tax revenues, now expected to come in nearly $6 billion less than expected.

At the same time, the province has had to spend freely -- $4 billion for the auto sector bailout alone, plus billions more for infrastructure, skills retraining, extra welfare payments and H1N1 vaccines, to preserve jobs and keep the economy moving, Duncan said.

That will change, though, when Ontario's economy starts to grow, he said, refusing to offer any specifics.

"I would urge against drawing any conclusions on that. We're going to take a long hard look at how we deliver services," Duncan said.

"This is not going to be a repeat of the late '90s and it's not going to be a repeat of the early '90s. I heard (NDP Leader Andrea) Horwath saying yesterday there's huge cuts coming. Well, there's not."

But Horwath said she's convinced the government plans to get back in balance by hacking public services -- while continuing with high-priced consultant contracts and corporate tax cuts.

"A million dollars a day flows to consultants," she said. "It's shelled out to consultants like candy at Halloween.

"The McGuinty government is ignoring the challenges facing the people of this province. They're asked to pay more and yet they get less."

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, said the new deficit is equivalent to $13,500 for each household in the province, and the McGuinty government has added a total of $65.2 billion in new debt since taking office in 2003.
*
Growth of the deficit

Budget prediction (March 2009): $14.1 billion

Update (June 2009): $18.5 billion Fall Economic Statement (October 2009): $24.7 billion

Previous record deficit (Bob Rae government, 1993): $12.4 billion"


Another St.Catharines Standard story was by Maria Babbage, headlined "Documents suggest Ontario hospitals will see funding drop", (Oct.24, 2009):

"Critics are questioning Premier Dalton McGuinty's pledge to help cash-strapped hospitals in tough economic times amid new figures that suggest their operating budgets will be cut next year.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press suggest that funding for hospital operations will drop by $181 million in 2010-11 even though the province's regional health authorities are expected to get more money.

The 14 health authorities were set up by the governing Liberals three years ago to make local health-care decisions and dispense government funding to Ontario's 159 public hospitals.

The Local Health Integration Networks are projecting an operating budget of $21.19 billion in 2010-11, up from $21.15 billion in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. Operation of the LHINs alone is expected to cost $65 million this year.

But funding for hospital operations is expected to drop to $14.1 billion from $14.3 billion during the same period, according to LHIN documents. Operational funding doesn't include money for nursing homes or other health-care initiatives, such as addiction programs.

The figures were included in a LHIN chart of funding targets over a three-year period. The chart, which also suggests that funding will be frozen at those levels in 2011-12, was revised in May.

It's another piece of bad news for Ontario hospitals, more than a third of which were bleeding red ink last year.

The Ontario Hospital Association said the funding targets in the document are "incomplete information" and do not reflect what the final numbers will be.

The chart doesn't include additional money that would be provided to adjust for inflation, reduce wait-times or cover the costs of expanded hospital facilities, said Anthony Dale, OHA's vice-president of policy and public affairs.

"This is not at all an accurate portrayal of what the funding situation is going to be for hospitals in the 2010-11 year," he added. "No one knows that yet and it may not be known for many months."

Last week, McGuinty said hospitals would get some help as they struggle to balance their books, but they shouldn't expect funding to be as high as in previous years.

He was responding to a Canadian Press report that 61 of Ontario's 159 public hospitals couldn't balance their books in the last fiscal year ending March 31, amounting to a $154-million shortfall.
Ontario hospitals receive about 85 per cent of their funding from the province and are forbidden from running deficits by law, but many received waivers because they agreed to balance their books by the spring.

Health Minister Deb Matthews was not available to comment on the funding figures despite repeated requests made over two days.

Her staff cancelled a promised interview and instead released a brief statement saying the chart was a planning document only and that the final funding figures have not yet been finalized."


Note this part in Babbage's report, where she wrote:

"Health Minister Deb Matthews was not available to comment on the funding figures despite repeated requests made over two days."

The monopolist minister ISN'T AVAILABLE?

WHERE THE FLICK IS SHE?

The secretive Liberal demagogues are cutting funding, yet, they still forcibly hold Ontario patients prisoner in McGuinty's no-choice health care monopoly.

Will the St.Catharines Standard bother, for the record, to contact the local Liberal health care monopolist, Good Ole Jim Bradley, for his response?

Ha ha ha - nope: that never happened! The St.Catharines Standard finds Jim Bradley just soooo Liberal-lickin' good that they can't bring themselves to actually question him!
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Fire in Niagara On The Lake

below: 1915 - soldiers standing at the south-west corner of Queen St. and King St. in Niagara On The Lake , Ont. The second building to the right, from the corner, was the firehall.
above photo from Niagara Falls Library.
above: same view, Oct.26, 2009 - a major fire on Oct.25 destroyed the former fire hall (behind the tree at centre right) which was currently the Copper Leaf garden shop, and another three storefronts to the right.
The building at the left (which housed Elizabeth clothing on the corner, Marco Polo to the right; and Kenneth Lane Smith Gallery and The Name Place, along the left, facing King St.) suffered smoke damage. (The shops on King were open again on Oct.27, 2009; Elizabeth's and Marco Polo were closed.)
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below: same view, Nov.10, 2009: the buildings have been demolished, hoarding being installed.

above: Oct.26, 2009 - a wider view of the same corner. Note a worker standing on the old courthouse roof by the cupola, in the upper right.
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below: fire fighters over the Shaw Leather shop and the Sotheby's Realty office, hosing down the upper level which was still smoking on the morning of Oct. 26, 2009. The Owl and the Pussycat shop (at the far right) did not burn, but had a basement full of water; it re-opened on Oct.27, 2009.

Above: the Sotheby's office storefront when it was under renovation, Jul.19, 2009.
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Below: a view of the front of the Copper Leaf, as it looked on Jul.19, 2009

above: Oct.26, 2009 - the same front view of the Copper Leaf after the fire. Reports are that the blaze started here in the basement. To the right is the corner of the Butterfly Gallery shop; at the left, just out of frame, is Marco Polo.
above: Nov.10, 2009; this is the same view as the above previous two photos - the building has now been demolished. Visible along the left is the clapboard siding of the Marco Polo store, which has essentially been been hidden from view for some hundred years. The old firehall must have been built after the building at the left was built.
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below: Oct.26, 2009 - the Copper Leaf is at the left, next is the Butterfly Gallery, then Shaw Leather, then Sotheby's, then the Owl and the Pussycat shop at the far right.

above: Oct.26, 2009 - a view of the burned properties from the rear lane. The Copper Leaf shop is/was the building to the right.
Above: Nov.10, 2009 - looking from the rear lane at the side of the Marco Polo store along the right. To the bottom left is the basement of the former firehall/Copper Leaf store, after all the debris had been cleared out. In the left distance is Niagara On The Lake's historic Apothecary, which also has not been seen from this angle for some hundred years! Photos by R. Bobak
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Below: Video of site, taken on Oct.26, 2009, by R. Bobak.