Magnolia Ma

Constituency Office Manager passes away

Magnolia Ma, who worked in our Mississauga-Streetsville Constituency Office as Office Manager from 2008 to 2017, has passed away from cancer. She died peacefully on Monday December 2, 2019. Magnolia was 68 years old.

Magnolia was fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese, and enabled our outreach into the important Asian communities in Mississauga, working with the various consulates as well. She is survived by her husband Tony, and by her two children.

Magnolia was teamed up with co-worker Humaira Hamayun between 2008 and 2013. Humaira also succumbed to cancer in May of 2014. Our former office staff includes Executive Assistant Andrzej Hoffmann; Legislative Assistant Cassandra George and Manraj Furmah. Magnolia was an active volunteer with the Mississauga Chinese Professional and Business Association as well as her Catholic church. Magnolia retired from our office in 2017.

This was Magnolia’s third bout with cancer. She had previously been treated successfully for cancer twice during the past two decades. Her former colleagues join with all Magnolia’s friends, family and the Chinese community she served so well and faithfully to remember her legacy in Mississauga, and pray that she enjoys everlasting peace.

A visitation and memorial service for Magnolia Ma was held on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at St. John Dixie’s Cemetery (Crematorium) in Mississauga.

Shahid Rashdi

A loyal and steadfast friend passes away

Our Mississauga-Streetsville Provincial Liberal Association has lost a steadfast and loyal friend. Former Riding Vice President Shahid Rashdi has passed away. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community has lost a leader. The broader Mississauga community has lost a friend, and a wonderful neighbour. Shahid was active in our election campaigns and riding association life from 2003 to 2018. He served well and effectively on our Riding Association Executive during the years our party formed government.

Shahid always reached out to develop the best in our youth. He will be remembered through the work of those many fine people whom he brought forward to be forces of unity, and to build a proud future in Ontario. Andrea and I offer our heartfelt sympathy to the Rashdi family. Our own circle of friends is absent a dear and treasured member, one whom we will always remember.

Bob Delaney
Member of Provincial Parliament (2003 – 2018)
Mississauga-Streetsville

Now it starts

The Tory gong show has started

Here we go! The type of outright nonsense that has become commonplace in Washington didn’t take long to start at Queen’s Park.

First, Premier-elect Ford called Ontario’s successful and effective carbon-reducing cap-and-trade program a ‘carbon tax,’ which it is not. Carbon auctions reward non-polluting firms, who are then able to be price-makers in their respective markets. Then Ford killed the equally-successful Green ON program that re-invested the proceeds of carbon auctions into energy efficiency programs for consumers and businesses alike. Had a workable idea on how to keep greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere at home or at work? The Green ON program helped you implement it, and polluters paid for the cost. The Ontario taxpayer and the environment got the benefit completely free!

But of course, that’s now gone.

Ford says he will easily find $6 billion of ‘efficiencies,’ which is code language for cuts, within Ontario’s $150 billion budget. Really? Some 85 percent of that budget is transfer payments: to cities; to school boards; to police forces; to needy, disabled and disadvantaged people. That leaves $23 billion within which to find $6 billion in cuts. Are the Tories really saying they will cut more than one dollar in four in government spending? Are they kidding us?

Cutting taxes raises oil consumption

Ford said he is putting global oil companies ‘on notice’ on pump prices for gasoline. Did they lose a lot of sleep in Calgary, Houston and in the Persian Gulf over that empty threat? Everywhere that regions, cities and countries have tried to manipulate or freeze pump prices for gasoline, those prices have moved higher. The oil companies respond to a cut in taxation of their product by filling in the tax void with a price hike, and a fatter profit margin for them.

Why are oil prices higher this year? Because the demand for oil is greater than the supply of crude. The world is burning more oil than ever, at any time before. Want to reduce prices, and keep them going down. Push down on the demand side of the market. That means energy efficiency programs (such as the now-cancelled Green ON), and aggressive measures to curb carbon fuel use (such as cap-and-trade). The lower the demand for the product, the faster its price will fall.

Cutting taxes on petroleum products will have the exact opposite effect. It rewards extravagant consumption, raises demand, and causes oil prices to rise. Is that really what you voted for?

Stiffing the caucus

Former Caucus Members really enjoyed the reports of Ford hosting his caucus and stiffing them on lunch. In fact, he bought pizza from his personal funds. Just what you want after a long election campaign: more pizza. Let’s play this out. Ford is going to make his government caucus go outside to buy lunch on days when the Legislature is always pressed for time. It is already difficult enough to get a meeting started when the Legislature’s caterers bring in their normal fare: soup and/or salad; a main course that is usually healthy; a cheese and crackers tray, and some sweet stuff for dessert plus coffee, tea and/or some soft drinks and milk. Remember, you have between five and six dozen people to feed during about an hour, and then everyone has to get to committees, or back into the Legislature.

If Ford wants his Members to forage for food at the two cafeterias, and the Legislative Dining Room before they discuss business on Monday and Tuesday, reality will strike home quickly enough. It looks like the first people to get stiffed in Ford’s austerity drive are his own caucus. Even Tuesday caucus meetings usually stretch nearly the full time between noon and 3:00 p.m. with all the presentations and discussion that happens.

War against the public service

The incoming Tories have said they will freeze new hires in the Ontario Public Service. In fact, during the past 15 years, the size of the public service has been going down, not up. And Ontarians, on a per-capita basis, have the fewest public servants, and the lowest cost for government, of any province in Canada.

Back in 2012, the Province commissioned a comprehensive review of the delivery of public services and programs by former TD Bank Chief Economist Don Drummond. More than 85 percent of Drummond’s recommendations were implemented during the past six years.

It is true that we need more doctors, nurses and teachers to cope with a growing population. Are the Tories going to cut those positions? Those types of positions are paid through transfers to hospitals, cities, school boards and the justice system.

Ford also says he is is (somehow) going to curb out-of-province travel. Let’s look at an example of how one gets to travel out of Ontario on business. To visit Kenora, Ontario, the most cost-effective, quickest and best way is to fly to Winnipeg, rent a car, and drive east to Kenora. But to do so requires cabinet office approval already. The reality: the measures Ford is carrying on about have existed for years.

Read the news reports in the months to come. There will be lots more of this nonsense to ooze out of Queen’s Park.