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Showing posts with label Dalton McGuinty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dalton McGuinty. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Iggy folds

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said his party is prepared to “swallow hard” and support the Conservative government, provided they agree to table regular updates outlining how they are living up to their commitments outlined in the federal budget.

Is that it? Is that seriously Iggy's only condition for passing the budget? Despite broad-based demands the budget does nothing to rectify the absurd qualification regime for EI which excludes over 60% of unemployed Ontarians from the program. An effective form of unemployment insurance is an absolute necessity as we enter this recession and yet not only has the Harper government refused to budge on this issue but the Ignatieff Liberals have balked at holding Harper's feet to the fire and insisting that the budget be amended to broaden EI eligibility as a condition for Liberal support.

Instead all Ignatieff is asking for is "regular updates" from the government? This alone will satisfy the Liberals and cause them to favour the continuation of the Harper horror show and ditch the coalition which could have taken power as soon as this Thursday.

This is leadership? This is using your political advantage to leverage concessions?

If neither the Tories nor the federal Liberals are prepared to fix the EI system perhaps the Ontario government, which has complained about the current inequity, should seriously consider this proposal to pull out of the federal EI system and create an Ontario Employment Insurance Program instead?
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Wednesday, 7 March 2007

407 expansion: more public money to private profit?

The Harper government yesterday announced $1.5 billion in spending to improve transit in the GTA. An unspecified amount of that package will be to extend the Highway 407 tollroad 67 kilometres eastward into finance minister Jim Flaherty's riding. Judging by the cost of the 404 extension, also announced yesterday, the toll road will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to extend.

Now hold on a second. The 407 ETR (Electronic Toll Road) is operated and, for all intents and purposes, owned via a 99-year lease by a private consortium comprised of Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte (major shareholder) from Spain, Macquarie Infrastructure Group, and SNC-Lavalin that generated revenues of $118 million in 2006. 407 ETR, which charges its users the highest toll in North America (17.6 cents/km for a small vehicle in peak hours)

Now I thought the logic behind so-called "Public-Private Partnerships" was that the private sector would take on the cost and risk of a public project. Of course, the reality is quite different - the public ends up paying more and getting less so that private shareholders can profit from the public purse.

If the 407 is to be expanded shouldn't the private consortium be footing the bill, particularly if they're going to profit from the longer road for the remaining 91 years of the lease? If not, then shouldn't the new 67 kilometres being built at public expense be entirely toll-free? Why should we be paying hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance a private asset?
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