Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bradley steals from health system to fund performance centre

It's a wonder Marlene Bergsma didn't gag when writing "Arts funding forces lyricist to rewrite song" (see http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2594345)

Jo Henderson should've been rewriting the lyrics to the dirge of the Volga Boatmen instead, emphasizing the long struggle taxpayers will have before this wasted arts centre money gets repaid. What a shameless display of ass-kissing this Gilbert and Sullivan travesty-tripe was! All the "proper" members of Niagara's elite upper crust were given homage.

Good gosh golly darn - lookee there, folks: Good Ole Jimmy Bradley just appeared outta nowhere and pulled 26 million (of our) dollars out of his pants pocket: Are ya happy to see me and my big wad of dough?? Well, we sure are, Jimmy!! Now how 'bout a song, and a dance, to boot!!

Let's write a little ditty about Jim's deceptive Liberal libretto - how several months ago Jim, the deft dirty dancer, was solemnly lecturing us on the 'limitations' of Ontario's budget - in other words, the healthcare monopoly (which Jim's Liberal thugs run) can forget about having its deficit cleared!!

Yep - we see Jim Bradley's priorities - and Job #1 for Jim Bradley is buying himself another re-election. Jim Bradley "found" some $26 million for an unnecessary public arts centre, but couldn't find any money for his LHIN-constricted NHS. (the same NHS, btw, which previous health minister wanker Smitherman had accused - without specific evidence - of 'spending like drunken sailors').

Healthcare isn't Bradley's over-riding concern - and neither is Bradley willing to allow the ombudsman to investigate the MUSH sector, where all this arts centre crap began. It's interesting to see how a university can get a municipal council to become its proxy/front-man/partner in order to expropriate private property. Hey - no one gives a shit about that - certainly not Bradley, nor anti-port-tower mayor McFullofshit. Strangely, Jim Bradley and his Liberal government have made sure that no one can investigate whether Liberal vote-buying in the MUSH sector has led to government 'spending like drunken sailors' (eHealth anyone? Thanks, Smitherman)

Essentially, Jim Bradley stole $26 million from his health care monopoly to buy himself some votes with the arts centre... it's just another day at the office for Jim.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Centre construction

below: The Niagara Falls, Ont. Convention and Civic Centre site as it was being prepared for construction, seen Apr.14, 2009. This view looks at the southern end of the site, with Stanley Ave. in the foreground. Photos by R. Bobak click on photos to enlarge
above: same view, Dec.8, 2009
above: same view, on May 19, 2010 - the window glass is mostly installed on the structure's lower level along Stanley, while on the upper facade level the angled window frames have been installed and are awaiting glass installation. In the distance is a crane from Cleveland's All Crane Rentals, ready to haul the a/c unit up onto the roof.
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below: view of the site as it was seen on May 11, 2009, looking from across Stanley Ave., with a tree in full flower on the old Loretto Academy's lawn.

above: same view, on Apr.5, 2010
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below: Apr.29, 2009, looking in a northerly direction along Stanley Ave.

above: Apr.29, 2009 - looking northwards across the construction site to the Skylon in the distance. The first excavations for the footings began here at the southern end of the site. This view (from behind the lane of trees which run along the south-side of the site) is now hidden by the new structure.

below: video taken on May 19, 2010 shows the Niagara Falls Convention Centre's air handling unit being lifted onto the roof by a huge crane which was set up on Stanley Ave.

video

Ban Ka Boom spreads Greenfear in Canada

Rex Murphy in his column "Giving it back to Ban Ki Moon" (National Post, May 15, 2010), sure gave one of the world's Chief Climate Change Fearmongerers a much deserved dressing down. Maybe John Kastner could read it; it might help explain some of his own political rhetoric about "climate change"!
Ban Ki Moon (who, umm... flew to Canada... yeh) and who was threatening us that the planet will essentially blow up, go all Ka Boom, if Copenhagen wasn't signed, is still peddling his same old pre-Climategate GreenFearTM, just as David Suzuki (recently in May 2010 on The Hour, CBC, on another one of his tree-wasting book-tours), was calling Dalton McGuinty's policies the "green shift", confusing Stephane Bumbledore Dion's laugh-riot of failed climate crap with George Smitherman's stinking pile of failing Green Energy crap. But that's what these scam artists are selling - crap; it's easy even for them to confuse one commie's enviro-crap from some other socialist's eco-vomit from some other leftist greenie's snot. Suzuki, in a somewhat darkish mood, also now identifies himself as a "conservative", ha ha ha... As usual, Strombo's crowd of sheep gobbled it all up. Strombo didn't ask how Suzuki got to the studio from the left coast - he must have walked... to save the planet, eh?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dewar's bias against McGuinty's Liberals is sooo unfair

Hey, didn't you all just love the QWI Agency Dewar cartoon on pg.A6 in the May 17, 2010 St.Catharines Standard?

It was a great editorial cartoon, showing Ontario's secretive Liberal Premier, Dalton McGuinty, standing in the hall outside a boardroom, looking inside as a bunch of harried bureaucrats are shuffling important files. Outside the boardroom is a sign saying "Ombudsman's LHIN Inquiry" - and the really funny thing is that Dewar has McGuinty saying to these guys "Don't find anything until after 2011!".

Ha ha ha...

Oh, it gets funnier - Dewar also has McGuinty dressed up in a red ermine-trimmed robe, to signify that the Ontario premier is a monarch, a red king amongst mere mortals, with an absolute majority and therefore absolute power, who doesn't have to worry about petty concerns such as accountability or transparency.

Oh, that Dewar is good.

Oh oh oh... and Dewar, the ever-cunning satirist, shows McGuinty wearing a horned buffalo hat - isn't that precious? It's a riot!! This is so original - Dewar has never done such a bold cartoon!! Dewar's cartoons are so, umm, refreshingly not tired stereotyopical rehashes! No siree, Dewar's cartoons are always fresh takes on fresh subjects!! Oh, and the buffalo hat McGuinty is wearing has horns on it - y'see: horns!!! Funnee stuff, I tell yah.

And here's the best part: Dewar - she's sooo talented, did I mention? - draws a roll of toilet paper hanging off one of the horns!!

It's hilarious - McGuinty, a despotic, secretive, controlling monarch with horns like the devil, ordering his minions to hide reports, all the while with a roll of toilet paper handy because of all the shit he spews!!

Oh, that Dewar - truly a wise cartoonist; a lampoonist extraordinaire!! 'McGuinty's full of shit', is what the St. Catharines Standard is saying on its editorial page.

And what about all those other Dewar cartoons which the Standard has proudly placed on its editorial pages?

Like the cartoon of George Smitherman telling the police not to investigate why his Liberal healthcare monopoly killed 500 patients through c.difficle infections? Who needs to look at that? There's no need for a stinkin' investigation! 'Don't find anything until I leave to run for mayor of Toronto', said the caption - but we knew that Dewar knew that Smitty knew that McGuinty would cover for him, no matter what! Awww, how touching!
Oh, and Dewar drew Smitherman fashionably wearing diapers over his red ermine trimmed robes - and not only that, Dewar drew Smitherman, aka Diaper-man, with soiled diapers hanging off each of his horns! oh, Dewar's the best, eh?

What about that Dewar cartoon showing McGuinty ordering his coal-fired generating station 'decommissioning-commission' to delay shutting down the coal plants for another several years - TWICE!

Dewar ran that chestnut once before the 2007 election to show what a liar McGuinty was, and ran it again to show that McGuinty is still a liar!! Dewar's the best.

Or how about the one where McGuinty tells his HST hack Wilkinson to not reveal the true costs of McGuinty's new tax? Or where McGuinty tells Ontario's businesses that the HST would make them competitive, yet also tells his LCBO liquor monopoly NOT to pass on the supposed HST savings onto customers (ie. 'do as I say, not as I do'; ie.  the liquor store prices will NOT go down due to the HST!) Dewar got that one down pat, too.

Or the other incisive Dewar cartoons, like the one where McGuinty promises to hire thousands of nurses, or promises to reduce hospital wait times, or promises - IN WRITING - not to raise taxes!! Or that Dewar classic showing McGuinty and Caplan, with toilet paper stuck in their butts, telling us there were no problems with eHealth; everything's just fine, thanks, move along now, sheeple... gosh, those were all worthy Dewar cartoons, weren't they?

There were so many great Dewar QMI Agency cartoons which the St. Catharines Standard has blessed us with; remember the one with Jim Mr. Environment Bradley telling us not to look too closely at any hockey-stick graphs - meanwhile Dewar showed him with a hockey stick shoved up his butt! Oh that Dewar - what a pointy wit!!
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Why would McGuinty's Liberals launch a witch-hunt against Ontario's Ombudsman?

After reading the National Post's May 18, 2010 story "McGuinty slammed over ombudsman", and Bob Ferguson's May 18, 2010 Toronto Star article "McGuinty roasted for smears of ombudsman Andre Marin", we can now plainly see the lengths to which Ontario's secretive ruling regime of Liberal scumbags will stoop to protect themselves from any substantial investigation into their failing single-payer health monopoly.

The ombudsman is really the only official which Ontarians have who can stand up to McGuinty's disgusting Liberals - and now the Grits are attacking him any which way they can.

This is the slimeball Liberal party of Jim Bradley, of Kim Craitor, of George Smitherman.

Ontarians need to realize the disgusting mess which Smitherman, McGuinty, Craitor, and Bradley created when they forced Niagara's health system to close two ER's in the Niagara Region. The Liberal scumbag apologists' tired-old "new" narrative is [of course] to blame Harris (!), but, to be plainly clear, once again, for the morons who don't, or refuse to, get it: Liberal health minister Smitherman forced the NHS to make the cuts! The NHS didn't just come up with this scheme all on their own!! This was a McGuinty-led Liberal initiative. This happened under the guidance and approval of every LHIN-loving Liberal in Ontario - including Mr. so-called 'good guy' Kim Craitor - who voted for the creation of Smitherman's LHIN's. To now pretend golly-gee-shucks that he doesn't agree with them DOES NOT absolve Craitor - in whose riding the cuts were made - of responsibility.

And it was another Liberal health minister, David Caplan, who - when there was still time - simply refused to over-rule the Niagara LHIN's decision to approve the Kitts HIP plan - a plan which McGuinty's own Liberal government [not Harris!!!] forced the NHS into preparing.

And let's not forget that the LHIN legislation, known as Bill 36, was solidly opposed by both the Conservatives and the NDP. Kim Craitor openly and willingly went along with Smitherman's LHIN creation, and Kim Craitor is responsible, along with all his fellow Liberal thugs, for the subsequent results. Until Kim Craitor grows a set of balls and quits McGuinty's Liberals in disgust, he's part of the problem.

Where's the ombudsman's report into the Niagara-specific LHIN, anyway?

Are the Liberals suppressing it - as they have also suppressed their own promised legislative review into all their LHIN's?

If the McGuintyites are successful and hound Andre Marin out of office with their political witch-hunt, this will be an extremely ominous, and dangerous, political precedent for Ontario. We already know and have seen that McGuinty's authoritarian regime cannot stand transparency or scrutiny, no matter how much they hollowly claim to be 'open'. Dalton McGuinty has a majority and will continue to peddle his Liberal lies and deceptions at will; there is nothing we can do. The Liberals' attempted crushing of the ombudsman's office is despicable and truly shocking - however, to anyone who has read Liberal healthcare duplicity, this latest Liberal attempt to hide from scrutiny is NOT UNEXPECTED.

It appears that McGuinty and his duplicitous Liberals want a friendly lap-dog ombudsman, one who would kiss McGuinty's ass and merrily rubber-stamp whatever McGuinty told him to. McGuinty wants to skew the results ahead of time; McGuinty wants to create a sham to make it look like the ombudsman's office is independent - a predictable Liberal penchant for 'appearance over substance'. The ombudsman's office and its review process are the last resort for many to challenge McGuinty's policies

But there is another way (and unfortunately, it is the longest way - the way McGuinty, by neutralizing the ombudsman's effectiveness, is forcing us Ontarians to consider), and this last option is to call for a judicial challenge to McGuinty's LHIN's policy. On this I'm reminded of Tunde Szathmary's prescient letter from FOUR YEARS ago, when the extent of Smitherman's LHIN fiasco was not yet generally well understood, "Concerns remain over LHIN's" (Welland Tribune, Mar.1, 2006):

"Re: Concern over services Feb. 27 and Foyer Richelieu
Protection for French language health care services has been improved under amendments to Bill 36. Not only will the Minister establish a French language health services advisory council to inform on health and service delivery issues at the provincial level, each LHIN will be required as part of its community engagement to include a French language health planning entity.
Comparable aboriginal and first nations council and planning entities have been added as well, which could help the Metis LTC sector that I understand from previous Tribune volunteer notices also operates in Niagara.
These are the only communities officially recognized for a special voice, although the LHINs may yet establish other advisory committees at their discretion. The changes do not guarantee protection of services but facilitates input into decisions.
The public has also gotten a somewhat greater voice insofar as anyone can now make a submission regarding an integration decision, which will be announced on ministry and LHIN websites in addition to other official means of dissemination.
Unfortunately, what is given on one hand may be taken away by the other. After the review period the LHIN may go ahead with its original decision or make changes, not subject to further review. A bad decision can, therefore, be made worse.
Given the government's failure to address many of the shortcomings in Bill 36 raised in over 300 submissions, I am left feeling that Ontarians will now have 14 health care systems to cope with instead of one that, admittedly, was challenged with multiple turfs. Rearranging "health care cubbyholes" in this way may indeed work locally but as a family caregiver in Toronto also living as a family caregiver in Welland, I am disheartened about where my experience, burdens and needs will be given voice.
I have noted that a Bill 36 amendment requires a committee of the house to review the legislation and regulations in three years. My group now has to decide whether we have the resources to begin monitoring LHIN activities and consequences so as to have evidence for the future. Unfortunately, neither the implementation of the LHINs nor even disastrous decisions will likely be reversible after the fact.
I have appreciated The Tribune's LHIN coverage and look forward to being kept informed about other service and support concerns, and especially, about any private bills that local MPPs may bring forward regarding the LHINs."


At first, Ontarians had to trust that George Smitherman knew what he was doing with his LHIN's; now that it's become a disaster, Smitherman has slithered off to feed at another trough, yet we're stuck with his stench. Ontarians also trusted that there would be an ombudsman's process to help. Who knew that instead of transparency, McGuinty's Liberals would become venomous lying snakes, forcing the general population into having to gather evidence against them ??!! And as for the supposed LHIN-reviews which Szathmary mentioned - well, we of course see that was a McGuinty Liberal lie as well - another broken promise, another deception - by Ontario's premier scumbags.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Liberal Jim Bradley remains secretive regarding cancelled LHIN investigation

Further to the concerns raised here, let's look at Ontario Premier Liar Dalton McGuinty's sneaky little manoeuvre (buried in the Liberal's March budget) whereby they cancelled [er, postponed indefinitely...] their own promised legislative LHIN review! Another day, another McGuinty Liberal lie...

Did we miss this story in the St.Catharines Standard? Did the Standard bother to report this story? Were any Standard reporters assigned to look at McGuinty's LHIN deception and how it impacts us locally in Niagara - seeing that Ombudsman Andre Marin had a concurrent - and still secret - investigation into the Niagara LHIN? Did the Standard even bother to ask for a response from Niagara MPP's Kim Craitor and Jim Bradley, the local Liberal hacks whose duplicitous government is responsible for this latest example of Liberal healthcare duplicity?

Here's a report that Cathy Dobson wrote in the Sarnia Observer, Mar. 31, 2010:

"Sarnia-Lambton Conservative MPP Bob Bailey attacked the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) system Tuesday, calling it "nothing but a political slush fund."

The opposition intends to uncover the reasons behind a "quiet cancellation" of a legislative review for the LHINs, Bailey said.

"This is a big story for us. We raised at least five or six questions in the House about it (Tuesday)."

Bailey has repeatedly lambasted the LHINs in recent weeks, saying they lack account a b i l i t y and have awarded numerous untendered consulting contracts to their Liberal friends.

Ontario created 14 integrated networks in 2006 to do regional healthcare planning and distribute healthcare dollars to hospitals, agencies and support services.

The Conservative's latest accusation is that a scheduled review of the health networks was canceled in the recent provincial budget.

"(The cancellation) was buried somewhere in the budget in a nondescript location," Bailey said. "They used a budget bill to strip accountability out of their own legislation."

He said recent revelations that millions of dollars in untendered contracts were awarded by the LHINs convinced the Liberals to cancel the review.

But Liberal MPP Maria VanBommel of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex says the review has not been canceled, just postponed.

"We still say there will be a review but the timeframe has been changed," she said.

There are no specifics about a new review date, however, it must take place within two years, according to VanBommel.

She said the Conservative bashing of the LHIN system is unfounded and that it's a better system than the old district health council bureaucracy, which included regional government offices and far more expense.

"The LHINs bring decision-making closer to the local level," VanBommel said. "They are still new and there's a learning curve for everyone, including the LHINs."

The Opposition's allegation that more than $7 million worth of untendered contracts have been awarded by the LHINs is old news, she added.

"They're really going back in history. The government has changed the rules about all of that and the process is changed." There are now clear guidelines surrounding contracts."

She said the Liberals are happy to answer all questions about Ontario healthcare and have investigated each Conservative accusation about the LHINs.

"There's no dirty little secret. There's no secrets at all, and I think the LHINs are getting better at the delivery of healthcare."

In July, the LHINs take over the added responsibility of longterm care from the Ministry of Health and Longterm Care.

"We don't want to do a review until they've had a chance to get used to all their responsibilities," VanBommel said.

The Liberal's reluctance to reappoint Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin for a full term is connected to the Opposition's accusations about the LHIN, Bailey added.

"Andre Marin was investigating the LHINs and had given his draft report to the government," he said. "We're wondering what's in that report. We think it's all tied together."

The government gave Marin a six-month extension to his term just this week."


Why had this latest trick by Dalton McGuinty and his government of Liberal serial liars not been given prominence in our local press? The St. Catharines Standard has had about two months since the budget to put together some kind of story on this latest Liberal deception. It has all but ignored it.

... [btw - note carefully how VanBommel above defends her government's LHIN-investigation-cancellation/postponement by lauding the LHIN's "learning curve": why, they're "getting better", dontcha know!! Why, they're still 'getting used to their responsibilities'!!

Pardon?!

'Learning curve'...?

This is now the Liberal's excuse: that the LHIN's are still 'getting used to their responsibilities'?! You mean - all this time, the LHIN's have not really been sure of what they were doing?! Seriously?!]

How's that for re-assurance: VanBommel now openly acknowledges that George Smitherman's LHIN scam was an amateur hack-job from the start: ill-conceived and unprepared. Liberal MPP VanBommel essentially admitted it. How nice to know that our healthcare - while we are trapped in a Liberal-run health monopoly - has been entrusted to a bunch of bureaucratic not-ready-for-primetime greenhorns, who are learnin' healthcare delivery on the job, and by golly-gosh-darn, they're gettin' better at it all the time!!

Frankly, this is a shocking revelation by VanBommel. Deb Matthews should immediately explain this.

And, VanBommel's blabbing that "there's no secrets at all" is laughable Liberal drivel: her Liberals are all about secrecy and deception (just look at Jim Bradley). What audacity - especially in light of the LHIN charade - to even attempt to spin it otherwise!!] ...

Why has the St.Catharines Standard not even reported local Liberal MPP Bradley's reaction to his government's latest broken LHIN-investigation promise? Has Jim Bradley been asked by the Standard to explain why his Liberal government quietly cancelled the LHIN review? Has Jim Bradley answered why the Ombudsman's planned investigation into Niagara's LHIN (as reported on Mar.25, 2009 by the Standard's Grant LaFleche) has since been covered up - and what the links may be between the Liberal-promised/Liberal-cancelled legislative LHIN review, and the separate, still-secret Ombudsman's investigation into the Niagara LHIN?

Why are Niagara's local Liberal MPP's being given an easy ride on this issue?

Has LaFleche (or any other Standard reporter) been assigned to follow-up his own 2009 story - still mysteriously unfinished over a year later?!

Yep - we can't make our golden favourites look bad. Why... it's as if Liberals Bradley and Craitor have nothin' to do with any of this!!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why is the Ombudsman's report into McGuinty's Niagara LHIN still a secret?

Andrew Dreschel wrote in "Lots of grist for watchdog's LHIN probe" (Hamilton Spectator, Mar.27, 2009, here):

"Let's be absolutely clear.

Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin is not investigating the Hamilton Health Sciences restructuring plan that calls for closing Mac's emergency room to adults and making it a kids-only department.

As much as the outspoken Marin might want to probe HHS's record of community consultation, the legislation that governs his office does not give him the power to investigate hospitals.

Marin has never hidden his irritation over that gaping hole in his mandate.

But so far, his protests have fallen on stone ears in the McGuinty government.

What Marin is investigating is the decision-making and "community engagement" process that the Local Health Integration Network followed when it gave its go-ahead to the HHS plan last year.

So, this is not about the HHS plan.

It's about the LHIN process.

It's like coming at the controversy sideways.

Because this is the first time the ombudsman has scrutinized one of the province's 14 LHINs since they were formed in 2006, Marin's recommendations are sure to be precedent-setting if he decides a systemic issue needs to be addressed.

To recap: Without a green light from the Hamilton-area LHIN, the controversial HHS plan would have come to a shuddering halt.

As with HHS, the LHIN was roundly criticized for its alleged lack of public consultation before giving the thumbs-up.

One of its board members, Stephen Birch, even resigned over the issue.

Those criticisms form the basis of Marin's probe because provincial legislation requires LHINs to participate in "community engagement" by way of informing their decisions.

The tricky thing for Marin, however, is the legislation is silent about what "community engagement" should look like. It offers no specific details of what needs to be done.

Juanita Gledhill, the LHIN chair, says it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the amount of community input her organization sought now that it's the subject of a review.

But, interestingly, Marin is also probing the LHIN's decision-making, which includes examining how the board came to its verdict.

On the day of the vote, several observers had the distinct impression that the board was rubber-stamping the HHS plan rather than subjecting it to a rigorous public assessment.

The staff presentation gave short shrift to community concerns or the impact the decision could have on Hamilton's ambulance service.

Vice-chair Jack Brewer even suggested he was basing his support for the plan on the opinions of his golfing buddies.

All of this should be grist for the half-dozen or so people from Marin's office working on the file.

The investigators have the power to subpoena all notes, files and records linked to the case, as well as interview the complainants and anyone connected with the LHIN.

Once the investigation is complete and Marin arrives at his findings and opinions, he has the option of approaching the LHIN with a solution without going public.

But Linda Williamson, Marin's director of communications, says given the large public interest involved that's not likely to happen.

She says Marin will first share his preliminary findings with the LHIN and the Ministry of Health and give them an opportunity to respond.

The report will then be finalized and most likely publicly released, perhaps in a couple of months.
The ombudsman is not a judge. He can't order people to do things. He only has the power to make recommendations.

But as Williamson notes:

"Pretty much any recommendation he's made, especially in these major investigations, has been accepted and implemented by the government." "


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It is interesting to compare Dreschel's Mar.27, 2009 story above, to Ray Spiteri's Jan.28, 2010 story here.

Dreschel wrote "this is the first time the ombudsman has scrutinized one of the 14 LHIN's"; and Spiteri wrote also that this is the "first ombudsman investigation into one of the province's 14 LHIN's".

Dreschel was writing about the HHS (Hamilton Health Sciences system); while Spiteri was writing about the NHS (Niagara Health System).

The themes were similar: two hospital emergency rooms in Niagara were closed, and Hamilton's McMaster ER was closed to adults. The LHIN's apparent lack of "community engagement" in regards to the closure process was at issue.

The common link here is that both the HHS and the NHS are under the same supervision - their master is the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network, the political supra-health bureacracy created by the incompetent George Smitherman.

Seeing that Smitherman was a rabid health care monopolist, it is quite interesting to see how his bait-and-switch Liberal government carelessly sloughed off the public's concerns about the callous decisions made by the Liberal-created LHIN - while concurrently continuing to force the Liberal's no-other-choice-by-law single-payer authoritarianism onto patients. The LHIN did its job of protecting the Liberals - just as Smitherman had intended - in Hamilton, in Port Colborne, and in Fort Erie. We don't know what the LHIN did for the patients.

The Ombudsman's office announced the investigation into the Niagara LHIN back on Mar.24, 2009 - (see here):

"Ontario Ombudsman AndrĂ© Marin announced today he is launching an investigation into the decision-making process of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (HNHB LHIN), including its approach to its mandate of “community engagement” when it deals with proposals for the restructuring of health services.

The investigation will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT). In recent months, the Ombudsman has received a total of 37 complaints about the HNHB LHIN, from residents, community associations, health care professionals and a local MPP. Of those, 24 complaints concern the LHIN’s consideration of Hamilton Health Sciences’ “Access to Best Care” proposal and 13 were about the Niagara Health System’s Hospital Improvement Plan.

“There is a lot of public concern about the accountability and transparency of the LHIN,” Mr. Marin said. “Are those concerns justified? That’s what we’re going to find out.”

While the Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction over hospitals, he does have jurisdiction over the province’s 14 LHINs, which are responsible for disbursing about $20 billion in funding – or about two-thirds of the province’s health care budget – to local health care systems. The Ombudsman will not assess the merits of the Hamilton and Niagara restructuring proposals themselves. Rather, his investigation will focus on the LHIN’s role in the decisions made and alleged problems with the process, including complaints of insufficient consultation.

The HNHB LHIN is the second-largest in the province, covering 1.4 million residents. This is the first Ombudsman investigation into one of the LHINs, which were created in 2006. The Ombudsman expects the evidence-gathering phase of the investigation to take about six weeks."

Well - that was said in March 2009; it's now May 2010 - WHERE IS THIS REPORT ?!

Also note the following passage from Dreschel's above story:

"Once the investigation is complete and Marin arrives at his findings and opinions, he has the option of approaching the LHIN with a solution without going public.

But Linda Williamson, Marin's director of communications, says given the large public interest involved that's not likely to happen.

She says Marin will first share his preliminary findings with the LHIN and the Ministry of Health and give them an opportunity to respond.

The report will then be finalized and most likely publicly released, perhaps in a couple of months."


So is this what happened - the LHIN had been approached with the report, and now, whatever was in this investigation will NOT go public? In other words, was this pre-ordained and skewed to be a cover-up from the get go?? Why shouldn't the Ombudsman's report be publicly available regardless of the LHIN's response?

Although Williamson said that 'not going public' was "not likely to happen" - is this exactly what has happened?

What other explanation is there for this continued delay?

Ray Spiteri's Jan.28, 2010 report noted that the Ombudsman's report was ALREADY COMPLETED!!

Williamson also said that the "LHIN and the Ministry of Health" would be given an opportunity to respond: so - HAVE THEY ?! Will they? When?

Has Liberal health minister Deb Matthews responded to anything?!

Has the HNHB LHIN chair responded??

Have any Liberal MPP's - such as Kim Craitor, or Jim Bradley - responded?

Initially, this was all (supposedly) about transparency and accountability - so why all the protracted secrecy?
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dalton McGuinty's Liberals have jumped the policy shark; Ontario's Premier Liberal Liar now invokes the war effort to justify his HST

After reading great articles such as:

George Jonas' "Goodbye Hitler, hello Stalin" (National Post, May 8, 2010)...
and Peter Kuitenbrouwer's "Celebrating a day the world will remember" (National Post, May 8, 2010)...
and Robert Fulford's "Disillusioned by the great victory" (National Post, May 8, 2010)...
and Conrad Black's "Our proud role in Europe's liberation" (National Post, May 8, 2010)...
and Lorne Gunter's National Post column "The HST is fine on paper. It's only painful in real life"...

... in this context we then come to a story about Ontario's Premier Liar Dalton McGuinty's most recent political spin to make his new Liberal HST tax smell better, in "HST a necessary public sacrifice " (National Post, May 8, 2010):

"Invoking the spirit of the wartime generation, Dalton McGuinty yesterday called on Ontarians to make the necessary sacrifices to create a better future for the province.

The Premier said each generation has challenges and sacrifices that have to be made for the common good. And just as parents, grandparents and great grandparents battled through war and depression to ensure a better future, the time has come for this generation to do its part.

He said Ontarians should see tough economic measures, like the HST, as the kind of sacrifice that will create a better future for the next generation.

Mr. McGuinty said a high dollar, high energy costs that are going to get even higher, government deficits, and ballooning health-care costs have combined to create a dramatically different challenge for Ontarians.

"Why is it that our grandparents and parents have always found a way to step it up and do something for the next generation, but somehow, we say we can't adjust to those things; we are not prepared to do difficult things that they used to do in the old days," the Premier had said
Tuesday , in defence of the HST and other tough economic measures.

"We have a more challenging and more competitive world, and as a society, our generation has got to step it up. I think the noble ideal that inspires our generation is the same one that inspired all the others."

The HST, which goes into effect in July, has come under severe criticism.

A recent study has shown that a family earning between $70,000 and $80,000, for example, can expect to pay $722 more a year under the new tax.

But Mr. McGuinty is adamant that the measure is necessary to ensure Ontario businesses stay competitive enough to help build a better future for the province. He says Ontario cannot stand pat while about 140 of its competitors have put similar measures in place.

This is however, the first time the Premier has invoked the spirit of past generations and their sacrifices to inspire acceptance of the HST, which he says is fundamental to the preservation of Ontario society.

Mr. McGuinty said in Ottawa yesterday that money for schools, hospitals, environmental protection, roads and new jobs will only come from a strong economy -- and that is what his government is striving to build.

"It is about our generation doing what we need to do build a stronger economy. Sometimes, it is not an easy thing to do but I think we recognize that it needs doing," he said.

The Premier's comments came as his government announced a $909,000 budget increase for the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre to improve services for children with special needs. The money, part of a $9-million annual funding increase that 20 treatment centres will get each of the next three years, will allow the Ottawa treatment centre to hire about a dozen new therapists."

McGuinty's latest - and vilest yet - rationalization (after all his other lies) for his Liberal regime's series of new taxes is pathetic: now this Liberal lying scumbag is invoking his "public sacrifice/common good" treacle / canard, trying to justify that his own bloated government's lack of spending control, blended with McGuinty's authoritarian ideological policies, is 'for our own good'! McGuinty's new gambit is to convince us that we have to willingly submit to being FORCED to 'sacrifice' for McGuinty's and Jim Bradley's big-government, Big Brother statist Liberal whims/sins!?!?

But what has McGuinty's smug, secretive Liberal government 'sacrificed' ?!

The bullshitmanship, once again, of Ontario's Liberal liars is astounding. McGuinty's slick (and utterly vacuous) attempt to couch his Liberal regime's statism as being the goal that our wartime generation fought for, is disgusting in its calculated hypocrisy.

We fought so that Chretien's Liberals could act like dictators with stolen adscam funds? We fought so that McGuinty hacks such as George Smitherman could blow a billion tax dollars on eHealth, and then, simply walk away from their stinking pile of shit without any consequence?! We fought for the political ideology of more statism, more government interference, and more despotism... really, Dalton?!

This latest Grit vomit to spew out of McGuinty's lying mouth is his basest political spin yet. McGuinty here has hit an all-time new low. The gall... the pure Liberal bullshit emanating from McGuinty is beyond the pale.
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Friday, May 7, 2010

McGuinty's Liberal liars close two Niagara ER's, then download subsequent increased ambulance costs onto local taxpayers

Dalton McGuinty's Liberal health care monopolists, under George Smitherman, decided to close two hospital emergency rooms in Niagara, which forced ambulances to travel further with patients. McGuinty's Liberals said this was supposed to save money - now we see that the cost of closing the ER's resulted in increased ambulance costs, to the tune of 3.13 million dollars per year, as outlined in the following story, "ER closures push up budget for ambulances" (Niagara This Week, May 6, 2010):

"Niagara property taxpayers will be on the hook for about $2.4 million in 2010 and about $1.55 million each year after that, to pay for beefed up ambulance services in the wake of emergency room closures in the region’s south end.

Niagara Emergency Medical Services officials on Tuesday told regional politicians — whose government cost shares in the ambulance service with the province — that the equivalent of two and a half extra ambulances and 20 extra paramedics will be needed on an ongoing basis.

That’s because many patients who used to be taken to the now-closed emergency departments at the Port Colborne hospital and Douglas Memorial hospital in Fort Erie now have to be transported longer distances to other Niagara Health System (NHS) hospitals in cities such as Niagara Falls and Welland.

Last year, the NHS replaced those emergency departments with urgent care centres as part of its controversial hospital improvement plan.

Although the ambulance service and the NHS have an agreement in which less serious patients can be taken to those urgent care centres by ambulance, Kevin Smith, associate director of the ambulance service, said “very narrow” criteria in terms of the types of cases allowed at those scaled back departments means the vast majority of patients have to be transported to hospitals in other cities.

For instance, 528 patients were taken by ambulance between October of 2008 and March 2009 to Douglas Memorial’s emergency department before it was closed, said Smith. In the same period a year later, a mere 35 patients were taken to the urgent care centre.

Likewise, the number of patients transported to the Port Colborne hospital dropped from 363 to just six in the same time period, said Smith.

The total cost of the enhanced ambulance service because of the closures is $3.13 million per year.

While the province is expected to pay half the cost of that starting in 2011, of $1.13 million in additional provincial funding for the ambulance service this year only $694,352 is earmarked as part of the $3.13 million.

That means the Region will have to pay about $2.4 million extra this year.

Regional staff said Tuesday they hoped to find about $900,000 of that in budgetary surpluses.

St. Catharines Coun. Judy Casselman said the Region has no choice but to increase its ambulance funding, so adequate response times to patient emergencies in south Niagara are maintained. She said the cost to property taxpayers is in essence downloading from the province, since the emergency room closures were approved by the provincial Local Health Integration Network that the NHS answers to.

“We’re doing everything we can as a council” to keep response times acceptable, she said. “We have to come up with the funds to protect our citizens.”


 
Notice in the above report that reporter Paul Forsyth carefully avoided any reference to the Liberal government, or to the role which the Liberal-created LHIN played in this farce. Notice there is NO MENTION of the role which the Liberal government played in this. Notice there is NO MENTION of local Liberal MPP's Kim Craitor or Jim Bradley!

Strange, eh?

It's as if the comedic duo of Jimmy n' Kimmy HAD NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why bother involving the Liberals in any of this anyway, right, if we don't have to... cuz' ya know ultimately that Harris is to blame!!!

Does anyone recall Dalton McGuinty's Liberals having told us that their LHIN-instigated Kitts-itization of the NHS would result in a downloading of additional ambulance expenses onto Niagara Region?

Did George Smitherman, that incompetent, sneaky clown of a former health minister (now running to be Toronto's mayor - retch) tell us that new hidden expenses/tax increases will be downloaded as a result of his Liberal government's closure of two Niagara emergency wards?

How about Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor - what did Kimmy have to say? Or Good Ole Jim Bradley - did Bradley say anything about his Grit's backdoor entry into our pockets for a hidden money grab? After all, this was simply all just another cute little ahem omission / misunderstanding... right? So what  if McGuinty's Lying Liberals didn't tell us that their health care cuts would result in local tax increases? That's not lying - is it?! (nudge nudge wink wink)


Why isn't McGuinty's, Bradley's and Craitor's Liberal government paying for the entire cost of their cost-cutting decision, from their own bankrupt provincial budget?!

And where was the part in Forsyth's story assuring readers that "Niagara This Week contacted the offices of Craitor and Bradley; but received no reply"?

Did anyone ask?!

Did the Niagara This Week reporter even bother to ask the local Liberal politicians for their comment? Is their response - or convenient lack of response - not relevant to the story?! [cuz' ya know, if this had happened under Harris - Forsyth would have been sent with a sleeping bag and coffee thermos to park himself in front of the local Conservative MPP's house to get a gotcha response.]

So, let's not ask Jimmy or Kimmy too many questions, shall we - can't make them look bad, can we?
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Why IS Liberal Jim Bradley cutting frontline healthcare??


above: a flyer delivered to St.Catharines households in early May, 2010, asking, "Why is your MPP, Jim Bradley, cutting frontline health care?", provided a phone number to call, 1-866-880-6531, and a website, http://www.stopcuts.ca/.

So, why is Good Ole St.Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley cuttin' frontline health care here in Niagara?

Perhaps we can refer to all those in-depth interviews with Jim Bradley on this very issue which the St.Catharines Standard has recently carried out... ohh... what's that... oh yeah... THERE WERE NONE!

The local papers had NOTHING in regards to this issue of pharmacy cuts and having Bradley explain in detail what effects his Liberal policies will have locally.

Where were these interviews with St.Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley in the local press?! Why is the local press doing their damnedest to protect Jim Bradley's Liberals? Not a word about, or from, the local Liberal health care monopolist Bradley, in regards to this issue and its consequences!!

But we did get this May 5, 2010 letter to the editor in the Standard from former federal Liberal MP Walt Lastewka's former campaign mananger Renate Hodges, who's now apparently also acting on Jim Bradley's local behalf:

"It is very comforting to see Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak taking on the role of protector of public health care. His latest promise is that, if elected premier, he would keep the Fort Erie emergency department open. It was only a decade ago that the same Tim Hudak was part of a provincial government planning health-care cuts and hospital closings here in Niagara. So, before we get hoodwinked again by the old Mike Harris gang, let's remember which government tried to close hospitals in St. Catharines/ Niagara, and which government is currently building one."

Like with Liberal MPP Kim Craitor and some of the yellow shirts, these lefties just can't leave Harris alone - while McGuinty and Bradley's Liberal gang of serial-liars continue to merrily cut health care in Ontario!

Hodges conveniently overlooks to mention her Liberal party's complicity in cutting health care transfer payments to Ontario.

Hodges doesn't mention what St.Catharines MP Lastewka did to stop the creation of the NHS (answer: nothing); and doesn't mention what alternatives Lastewka or Bradley had. Amalgamation at the time from the disparate systems to one NHS was the proper answer, and, it didn't happen in a vacuum. Bradley today can smugly brag about the new hospital he's personally constructing in west St.Catharines [the McGuinty-Bradley Memorial Health Centre?] in large part due to the necessary rationalizations made in the nineties.

The NHS was not a privatization, as the left likes to think.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

McGuinty lies again about his Liberal HST

Today McGuinty - Ontario's Premier Liberal Liar - once again changed his tune on his Liberal regime's new tax rip-off, the HST.

Remember not that long ago, when McGuinty's lying Liberal scumbags were telling us that their new HST tax grab was going to be "revenue neutral" ?!!!! Remember Dwight Duncan trying to foist that little Liberal deception onto Ontarians?

And then remember that smarmy Liberal, John Wilkinson, saying/lying in the Ontario Legislature that our taxes will GO DOWN ???!!

And yet now, scumbag McGuinty admits that due to his Liberal government's policies, our taxes in Ontario will rise.

WTF, Dalton, you FLICKING venomous snake?

Were your Liberals lying then, or, are you still lying now ??

Once again, this shows that Dalton McGuinty's regime of serial liars CANNOT BE TRUSTED.

Here's the Toronto Sun's editorial (May 4, 2010), "Fiberals admit HST will hurt":

"Ever since he was first elected in 2003, the truth and Premier Dalton McGuinty when it comes to taxes have been like two ships passing in the night.

Back then, it was his broken election promise not to raise taxes, as he promptly hit us with one of the largest tax grabs in history.

On Tuesday, after months of bafflegab and happy talk about the 13% Harmonized Sales Tax he’s imposing July 1, McGuinty finally admitted the painfully obvious — it’s going to hit working families. Hard.

Even that belated acknowledgement only came after he was confronted by data from Statistics Canada, requested by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

The average HST tax hike, StatsCan says, will be $792 annually per family.

Only families earning under $20,000 come out ahead.

How telling the NDP had to get this information from StatsCan, rather than the Liberals, who have been fudging the facts and hiding the truth about the massive impact of the HST on Ontarians ever since they announced it more than a year ago.

Up until now, they’ve insisted their total tax reform package meant most Ontarians would benefit under tax harmonization, which actually means massively expanding the 8% Ontario sales tax to hundreds of goods and services on which, at present, only the 5% GST applies.

This includes such basic necessities as electricity, gasoline and heat.

On Tuesday, McGuinty finally admitted: “For families at the outset, there will be an increase in taxation,” adding he realizes this won’t be easy on them.

He said that’s why the government is giving them up to $1,000 during the HST implementation period, plus other benefits, to cushion the tax hikes.

Problem is, save for a small income tax cut, the extra cash lasts for just one year. The HST increases are forever.

Plus, they’re hitting just as Ontario struggles to recover from a deep recession.

McGuinty also insisted businesses will pass along savings to consumers resulting from tax harmonization — some day.

“Experience tells us that over time those savings will in fact be passed on to consumers,” he said.
Feel better?

You shouldn’t.

After all, we didn’t dub McGuinty and Co., the “Fiberals” for nothing."


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Actually, McGuinty's Liberals are beyond being simply mere 'fibbers' - they are pathologically obsessed deceivers, actively and purposefully peddling their duplicity, half-truths, and spin - on issue upon issue, time after time, they have revealed themselves as outright liars.

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