An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Thomas Walkom follows:
For New Democrats, both federally and provincially, Andrea Horwath’s decision to force an Ontario election is fraught with danger.
The Ontario NDP leader’s motive is straightforward. She wants more New Democrats elected to the Ontario legislature, even if the result is a Conservative government
She calculates that her NDP can do better in an election now, when Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals are mired in scandal over the gas plant fiasco, than they could later.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
This story, apologies to Thomas, is more about ‘our’ electoral system than anything else.
“However, UNIFOR, the country’s biggest private sector union, is more amenable to the Liberals (as was one of its predecessors, the Canadian Auto Workers).”
When our labor leaders have resigned themselves to accepting an entirely undemocratic, dark money influenced (http://bit.ly/1obKsE9 – http://bit.ly/1obKgoy), first-past-the-post electoral system to the point where they blithely support the corrupt, unsupportable and undemocratic Liberal Party (and, by extension ‘all’ of these anti-people Parties), then we the people are so screwed.
This undemocratic electoral system should be the focus of our leaders’ attention – until it’s fixed. And would be if those leaders were not 1 percenters or 1 percent groupies.
Look at all the issues that even the major dailies every day throughout the year plop down in front of their readers. Where do they go at election time?
Transportation is important, everywhere in the country. But in Toronto it is part of city planning – which can’t be done properly because of the existence of the OMB (http://bit.ly/1obKgoy). Who’s going to deal with that? That’s just one issue.
Here are some excerpts from the links I embedded in my online comment about Thomas’s story:
“Cosimo Commisso link to Toronto construction firm prompts union to ask for police probe” by CBC:
Canada’s largest construction union has called on the police to investigate a company it has dealings with, prompted by queries by CBC and the Toronto Star about possible connections to organized crime.
Local 183 of the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) represents 40,000 workers at most of the biggest home-building sites in the booming Toronto-area construction industry…
Commisso’s name does not appear in any official corporate documents of the firm, Construction Labour Force Ltd., but CBC’s the fifth estate and the Star have learned he is actively involved in the company’s affairs…
In 2004, an RCMP affidavit filed in court as part of an investigation into organized crime activity in the stock market said police had been “investigating Commisso and his associates” for “various criminal offences” since 2001, but no charges were ever laid…
The younger Commisso said that Cosimo Commisso’s involvement is as an adviser. “He’s my uncle, and if I need advice or if I need help in certain situations when his expertise will come in handy, then he will advise me,” he said. “Dealing with employees, just everyday situations that occur on the job.”
As for the RCMP investigating fraud in the stock market, No one who knows anything about the RCMP’s track record here should take that as a good sign. Just give Bruce Livesey’s book “Thieves Of Bay Street” a read if you’d like an idea. In case after case, Livesey reports how the RCMP were missing in action. They weren’t inactive. They just didn’t, at the end of the day, do their job. “But the manipulation of Canada’s capital markets and banks by organized crime to launder money is actually commonplace.” -pg 83 of “Thieves.” You can also read, in chapter 10 of Bruce’s book, about how the RCMP protected the Rizzuto crime family, “the most feared and powerful Mafia organization in Canada” at the time.
Also, There’s this:
Critics of the OMB say it is simply implementing the Mike Harris government’s pro-development agenda, an accusation given credence by the fact that the Tories have stacked the board with their own appointees. For example, the OMB member who ruled on the King City pipeline was Ronald Emo, a Tory appointed to the board in 1997.
“Land-use decisions have a major impact on economic development, and this Conservative government — which is so reliant on campaign contributions from the development industry — wants to keep its developer friends happy,” says Myer Siemiatycki, a professor of politics at Ryerson Polytechnic University. “One of the ways the province does this is to perpetuate an OMB stocked with its own favoured appointees who have a pro-growth and pro-corporate ideology.”…
Developers consider the current OMB so friendly to them that they automatically appeal to the board if they feel city councils aren’t giving them what they want. In nearly 40 per cent of land-use decisions made by Toronto’s city council, developers appeal to the OMB. “Frankly, any developer who loses at city council is likely to appeal, because what do you lose?” says Michael Melling, a lawyer and former OMB member who represents developers at the board. “You might as well give it a shot.”
The OMB is made up of 27 members appointed by the government — at salaries from $85,000 to $95,000. The board’s power is breathtaking. These unelected adjudicators can overturn the decisions of any Ontario municipality on land-use matters. And the OMB’s word is usually final: the courts rarely hear appeals on its decisions.
The OMB’s power was displayed in April when the board ruled that the City of Toronto could not participate in hearings on the Oak Ridges Moraine slated to start this month — despite the fact that the moraine supplies water to Lake Ontario. Called the rain barrel of southern Ontario, the moraine stretches 160 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment east to the Trent canal system. It acts as a natural water reservoir, providing drinking water for 200,000 people and feeding the headwaters of several major rivers.
“The OMB is about as fundamentally undemocratic as you can get,” says city councillor Jack Layton, who wants the board abolished. “The mere existence of the OMB is saying there’s no use for democracy when it comes to land-use planning.”
In fact, there is nothing quite like the OMB in Canada. “Other jurisdictions seem to manage without a tribunal as powerful as the OMB,” says Helen Cooper, who was chair of the OMB from 1993 to ’96. “When you describe the OMB to Americans, they are absolutely staggered. They find it impossible to accept that an unelected body could have so much power over an elected body. They find it just amazing.”