It’s hard writing about Queen’s Park, an institution that needs 175 Peter Kormoses to liven it up. This is a dreadfully boring era. Years ago if this happened, a good duel would lighten things up. Now for excitement, you’ve got Premier Dalton McGuinty doing hopscotch for the media on the first day of school, only to find that the minister of education, Sandra Pupatello, was doing it, too. (And she was probably better at it.) Both were pictured doing it, but Sandra appeared to be enjoying it.
As I write, McGuinty and 11 cabinet ministers were running around Parkdale, in west Toronto, frantically knocking on doors, trying to make sure that the riding remains in the government fold in the provincial by-election. The Liberals were most anxious to keep Gerard Kennedy’s (no relation) old riding in the fold. Alas, the NDP won.
John Tory, the opposition leader, complained about the missing cabinet ministers who weren’t on the job they were being paid for. Someone once observed if that if all the politicians at Queen’s Park went on strike, they wouldn’t be missed. The cleaning lady would be missed. The guys cutting the grass would be missed. The politicians wouldn’t be missed. And the bureaucrats would gleefully carry on without them.
McGuinty would have also failed grade school arithmetic, says an Ottawa Citizen article. His action plan to spend $4 billion on school repairs and renovations over an 18-month period adds up only to $2.7 billion. The rest of the allocated money is for daycares and school expansions, but “school repairs and renovations” sounds so much sexier to the voters’ ears. Remember, voters, I warned you the old tried and true tactic is: “Hold back on spending money until next year when the election is called and then pour liquid gold down the streets.”
In the meantime, Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star recently denounced Jane Pitfield, who is running for mayor, for deploring the spending spree at City Hall and wanting to cut government spending and reduce taxes. I don’t think she should get her hands slapped for that. Hume also savaged McGuinty, saying that the problem wasn’t that the city of Toronto and the province were spending too much money – they weren’t spending enough!
Hume says McGuinty has yet to undo former premier Mike Harris’s downloading approach that crippled Toronto and Ontario and “brought about a state of internal decay and international irrelevance.” He said: “McGuinty likes to remind us as often as possible that we don’t live in an ideal world. McGuinty has done his bit to ensure that.”
Hume adds: “No one likes taxes, but they buy us civilization. It’s that simple.” The more taxes you pay, Hume argues, the more civilization you get. Hume’s suggestion was to increase taxes. But who says that politicians can be trusted to spend your money wisely? Toronto’s works committee voted recently to replace the old blue and grey boxes by one bin four times larger, equipped with wheels and all kinds of bells and whistles for $28.5-million. What? No helicopters?
There’s good news out there, though. The Ottawa Citizen reports that in a bid to shorten waits for transplants of kidneys, B.C. has launched North America’s first program to reimburse living organ donors for “reasonable expenses” up to $5,500. I think a reasonable offering for one of my kidneys would be 75 cents. And l should know.
My worry is what happens when CUPE forms the first Kidney Donors Union and the bidding starts at $5,500 for a Frank Kennedy kidney. I’m also a little worried about a bidding war going on and driving the prices of organ transplants up until the old saying that he was worth more dead than alive becomes true.
I’d also be worried about people who didn’t care a hoot about their Aunt Mildred who wasn’t worth a nickel when her life ended when she accidently fell off a chair playing bingo, but she had two of the best kidneys in the world. The bidding war that went on for her kidneys at the government-sponsored Kidneys Donors Auction established a new high and a big fight among squabbling relatives as to who was going to get her estate. They all said: “Good old Aunt Mildred – she was like a mother to me.” After all.