Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where's the Standard's detailed local coverage of Liberal Environment Minister Bradley's response to Miller?

John Snobolen wrote for QMI in the Dec.10, 2011 LFP:

"Does it seem like it's raining reports in Ontario?
Over the last couple of weeks we have been blessed with reports from the environment commissioner and the auditor general.
Next month we will get a look at the Drummond report on government spending.
No doubt Premier Dalton McGuinty is delighted all of this information is hitting Ontarians after the election.
Environment Commissioner Gord Miller is none too happy. In his recently released annual report, Engaging Solutions, he took a shot at the government for doing a lot of studying and very little acting to protect the environment.
Miller makes the case that endless studies have the delightful (for the government) effect of creating the appearance of being environmentally concerned without the mess and bother of actually doing anything.
As befits an environment commissioner, Miller is passionate about the work of the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources.
He shares that passion with a lot of ministry lifers who view the job of protecting Ontario's natural heritage as a calling. Good on them.
A concern over funding for the ministries is the real fuel behind Miller's report.
He believes the government may be reaching a tipping point, below which the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources may not be functional.
Miller has reason for concern. Ontario's hospitals just might eat the parks.
The McGuinty government is finally making serious noises about reducing the size and cost of government.
That is not particularly shocking, given that the government is mired in systemic deficit.
The budget deficit is historic.
Closing a $16-billion annual fiscal hole requires the government to reduce expenditures by about 15%.
No question, 15% is a big number. But things get really crazy when the government exempts the largest ministries - Health and Education - from any reductions and protects its latest spending announcements.
Enter the report from Auditor General Jim McCarter.
The AG says that the billions being spent on renewable energy lack any reasonable business plan. The announced 50,000 new "green" jobs are mostly short-term, cost about $300,000 each and come at the potential cost of hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs.
McCarter also noted all is not well in the health sector. The new Family Health Groups have doctors earning 25% more, apparently without improving service. Emergency Room visits are up 7% while Emergency Room doctor pay is up 40%.
The costs in education are similarly upside down. Enrollment is down, costs are up.
Given everything in the AG's report, a reasonable person might expect a cash-scrapped government to make some fundamental changes in the big-budget ministries - Education and Health.
And you might expect some reversals in the troubled spending programs the government is rolling out, including the underfunded full-day kindergarten program and the green-energy mess.
Every family knows when the budget must be reduced, the first place to look is at recent spending increases and the big-ticket items.
But this government lacks the wisdom of an average family.
It's clear McGuinty has no plan to address the huge gaps in the business case for renewable energy or the obvious funding problems for all day-kindergarten.
More troubling to folks like Miller, the government seems determined to avoid any real change to the big-spending ministries.
Those exemptions put a big target on the relatively small budgets of Environment and Natural Resources.
And so the hospitals just might eat the parks.
Gosh, wouldn't it be great if we had had these reports before the election?"
Wouldn't it be great if the St.Catharines Standard would bother to carry a detailed local interview with their buddy Jim Bradley - who is their local Liberal MPP, and... oh, yeah... he's also Ontario's environment minister (!) - asking about Environment Commissioner Gord Miller's comments?
Good Gaia - if this had been during Harris' term, the Standard's GreenFear-spreading reporters would have been chortling with glee, lapping up every word which a suitably smugly outraged Bradley would have been gladly spewing against the government!
But... now... the only thing reigning at secretive Jim Bradley's office is deafening silence.
And the St.Catharines Standard, of course, seems more than pleased to help their beloved Bradley keep things quiet.

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