PoliBlog

Bob Jonkman's thoughts on politics

Archive for the 'Provincial' Category

#Bill66 — My submission to the Environmental Registry of Ontario

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 21st January 2019

Stop Bill 66 | They say it's red tape. To us, it's precious farmland.Bill 66 was introduced in the Ontario legislature just before the Christmas holidays. The short timeframe for discussion and consultation makes me think the legislators are trying to pass it before people have a chance to understand its effects. It is an omnibus bill, affecting dozens of different pieces of Ontario laws and regulations, many items of which are hidden behind indirect references, and all of which are to be voted on en masse. Omnibus bills tend to carry deleterious clauses which would never stand on their own, but which get passed only because of some other items in the same bill that are perceived to be more beneficial than the rest of the bill is bad.

A summary of Bill 66 is at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website, called Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018

Commentary on Bill 66 is plentiful:

Bob Jonkman at the podium at Woolwich Township Council, with Councillors, the Mayor, and staff in the background

Bob Jonkman makes a delegation to Woolwich Township Council.

Many groups joined together to provide information on Bill 66, and to make a concerted effort to bring our dissatisfaction to local municipal and provincial leaders. I made two delegations to Woolwich Township Council urging them to pass a resolution to reject Bill 66 and to pledge that if passed, not to use this legislation to bypass the environmental regulations currently in place. Woolwich did pass a resolution, but stopped short of adding the pledge not to use it.

The consultation period at the Ontario Environmental Registry ended yesterday, and below are the comments I made.

Bill 66 is a direct affront to the citizens of Ontario. Doug Ford made a pledge in May 2018 that the Green Belt areas would be not be subject to development. Now that Doug Ford is Premier of the Government of Ontario, I expect that pledge to be honoured.


Bill 66 affects existing laws and regulations at many Ministries, not just the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. It detrimentally affects the protections for workers in many separate regulations, detrimentally affects the protections for children in childcare, detrimentally affects seniors and patients in long-term care, and detrimentally affects consumers protections from wireless carriers. This is not an exhaustive list.


Bill 66 detrimentally affects environmental regulations more than any other. Under Schedule 10 municipalities no longer have to follow the regulations under the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Protection Act, Greenbelt Act, Lake Simcoe Protection Act, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, among many others.


Ontario and its municipalities have experienced the greatest prosperity in the last ten years, without needing to circumvent the environmental protections put in place by previous Conservative and Liberal governments. Removing these protections now will pit one municipality against another — if one municipality allows development in a protected area, it creates pollution for all the downwind and downstream neighbours, both in that municipality as well as surrouding municipalities. There will be increased infrastructure costs for those municipalities that receive the extra traffic from the development, but none of the anticipated revenue. Bill 66 is not something municipalities have asked for for, nor is it something municipalities need.


Speculators may have purchased land in the currently protected areas. Just having Bill 66 on the table has affected land values. Currently permitted uses for protected areas will become unaffordable, and the pressure on local governments to bypass environmental protections will be great. I’m happy to see many municipalities have passed resolutions rejecting Bill 66.


The citizens of Ontario are clear: Bill 66, with all its recissions of existing laws, must not be passed. I hope the elected representatives in the Legislature will fulfill their mandate and represent their constituents’ demands to reject Bill 66.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Municipal, Ontario, Provincial | Comments Off on #Bill66 — My submission to the Environmental Registry of Ontario

2014 Ontario General Election Analysis for Waterloo Region

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 5th March 2018

There’s another Ontario General Election on the horizon (7 June 2018), so this is a good time to see how things went last time around.

The voting system that Ontario uses is First-Past-The Post, or technically, Single Member Plurality. That means that the candidate who gets more votes than the runner-up gets the single seat for the whole riding. No need for a majority. With five candidates in a riding the “winner” could have as little as 20% of the vote, and so up to 80% of the votes cast wouldn’t serve to elect anyone, and are wasted. It makes no difference if those voters had stayed home; the result would have been the same. In Waterloo Region things weren’t quite as bad as that, but not far off. Overall, 61.2% of votes cast in Waterloo Region were wasted.

No candidate won a riding with a majority. The closest was Diaene Vernile in Kitchener Centre, who received 43.1% of the votes cast in that riding. Kathryn McGarry won the seat in Cambridge with only 38.9%, comparable to Ontario, where the Liberals received 38.6% of the vote, but received 54.6% of the seats (58 out of 107 seats). This is yet another false majority, directly attributable to the single-member seat allocation. The worst showing was in Kitchener–Conestoga, where Michael Harris retained his seat with only 36.4% of the votes. That means 63.6% of the voters voted against Mr. Harris! Even worse, only 17083 of 94886 eligible voters voted for Mr. Harris. He won with the approval of only 18% of the electorate!

With only five parties and four ridings in Waterloo Region it is difficult to assess the how proportional the seat count is compared to the vote count. The Liberals are over-represented with two seats, 50%, with only 36% of the vote. The Progressive Conservatives are under-represented with one seat, 25%, and 30% of the vote. The NDP is properly represented with one seat, 25%, and 26% of the vote. The Greens and Libertarians together received 7.3% of the votes cast, and would not have gained a seat in the Region even with a proportional voting system.

It would not take a large shift in voter preference to significantly change the outcome. Note how small the plurality for each of the winners is, only a few thousand votes. Kitchener–Conestoga is especially fragile, where Michael Harris won by only 1419 votes. Even a small increase in voter turnout would add more votes than that. An increase from 49.5% to 51.0% would add 1423 votes, more than enough to topple the Progressive Conservative seat in favour of the Liberals.

Region-wide, voter turnout was abysmal at 50.9% of eligible voters casting a ballot. No wonder 49.1% of the voters stayed home, when there is such a high number of wasted votes. It is said that a system with proportional representation will improve voter turnout, because almost all votes cast contribute towards some representation in the legislature. I sure hope to see that for the next election!

Here are the results for the four electoral districts in Waterloo Region:

  Cambridge Kitchener Centre Kitchener–Conestoga Kitchener–Waterloo Totals  
Liberal * Kathryn McGarry * * Diaene Vernile * Wayne Wright Jamie Burton   50.0% seats Liberal
18763 38.9% 18472 43.1% 15664 33.3% 16534 30.1% 69433 36.0% votes
Progressive-Conservative Rob Leone (Incumbent) Wayne Wettlaufer * Michael Harris * (Incumbent) Tracey Weiler   25.0% seats Progressive- Conservative
15694 32.6% 11550 27.0% 17083 36.4% 14450 26.3% 58777 30.5% votes
NDP Bobbi Stewart Margaret Johnston James Villeneuve * Catherine Fife * (Incumbent)   25.0% seats NDP
10413 21.6% 9765 22.8% 9958 21.2% 20536 37.4% 50672 26.3% votes
Green Temara Brown Ronnie Smith David Weber Stacey Danckert   0.0% seats Green
2726 5.7% 2472 5.8% 3277 7.0% 2859 5.2% 11334 5.9% votes
Libertarian Allan R. Detweiler Patrick Bernier David Schumm James Schulz   0.0% seats Libertarian
605 1.3% 557 1.3% 1001 2.1% 481 0.9% 2644 1.4% votes
 
Votes Cast | Turnout 48201 48.1% 42816 51.5% 46983 49.5% 54860 54.3% 192860 50.9% Votes Cast | Turnout
Eligible Voters 100130   83170   94886   100972   379158   Eligible Voters
Approval (Winning votes / Eligble Voters)   18.7%   22.2%   18.0%   20.3%   19.7% Approval (Winning votes / Eligble Voters)
Plurality | % votes cast 3069 6.4% 6922 16.2% 1419 3.0% 4002 7.3% 15412 8.0% Plurality | % votes cast
Wasted Votes 29438 61.1% 24344 56.9% 29900 63.6% 34324 62.6% 118006 61.2% Wasted Votes

And that’s how it was in 2014. I hope to have an analysis of the 2018 Ontario General Election once the excitement has worn off a little…

–Bob Jonkman is the Co-Chair for the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter.

Tags:
Posted in Election, Election Analysis, Ontario, Provincial | Comments Off on 2014 Ontario General Election Analysis for Waterloo Region