National Newswatch

A higher minimum wage, 3 weeks’ paid vacation: Ontario Liberals to unveil sweeping labour reforms Tuesday

May 29 2017 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne is set to unveil dramatic labour law reforms, including greater employee protections, a push toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more paid vacation time and measures to make it easier for workers to unionize. On Tuesday, Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn will launch the Liberal government’s formal response to the Changing Workplaces […]

MPP Jack MacLaren booted from Tory caucus over comments about French language rights

May 28 2017 — Robert Benzie — Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has finally turfed controversial MPP Jack MacLaren from caucus after a fourth incident embarrassing to the party. MacLaren’s ejection Sunday came after CFRA Radio in Ottawa posted a video of him from 2012 disparaging bilingualism in East Ontario. “You don’t have to convince me what’s wrong with French-language education in […]

Wynne defends 25% hydro rate cut: ‘All of those costs were on the shoulders of people today’

May 25 2017 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne is making no apologies for the Liberals’ 25 per cent hydro rate cuts that a legislative watchdog warns will cost at least $21 billion over three decades. In the wake of Financial Accountability Officer Stephen LeClair’s report on the “Fair Hydro Plan,” Wynne emphasized that Ontario electricity consumers demanded and deserved relief.

Ontario hydro rate cut will ultimately cost $21B, watchdog warns

May 24 2017 — Robert Benzie — It’s a short-term hydro bill gain in exchange for longer term fiscal pain. The Liberal government’s “Fair Hydro Plan,” which lowers electricity bills by 25 per cent, will ultimately zap Ontarians to the tune of $21 billion over the next three decades, the province’s budget watchdog has found. In a 15-page report released Wednesday, Financial […]

Wynne is all aboard $21B high speed rail project

May 19 2017 — Robert Benzie — High-speed rail is finally picking up steam in Ontario. After years of talk, the provincial government on Friday committed $15 million for a “comprehensive environmental assessment” for a rail line on new and existing track to handle 250 km/h trains running between Toronto and Windsor. The estimated $21-billion project would slash the travel time from […]

Ontario Tories hire private auditors to watch their own nominations

May 12 2017 — Robert Benzie — Progressive Conservative candidate nominations have become so messy that riding association presidents are appealing the outcome of at least two contests, the Star has learned. In an unusual move, PC activists in the ridings of Newmarket-Aurora and Ottawa West Nepean have complained in writing to their own party about irregularities at their recent nomination meetings. […]

Tory Patrick Brown taps former O’Leary team member to run election campaign

May 5 2017 — Robert Benzie — Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has tapped a veteran of numerous Tory campaigns — including Kevin O’Leary’s aborted federal leadership bid — to run his election next year. Andrew Boddington, who was the party’s executive director during former leader Tim Hudak’s ill-fated 2014 campaign, will helm Brown’s effort to become premier. “As you know, our […]

Wynne unveils plan to protect tenants and homebuyers

Apr 20 2017 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne is taking wide-ranging action to protect tenants from massive rent increases and homebuyers from being gouged. As first disclosed by the Star, Wynne is imposing a 15 per cent foreign buyers’ levy — the non-resident speculation tax — to slow down southern Ontario’s skyrocketing real estate market that the Bank of Canada […]

Wynne to slap 15 per cent tax on foreign real estate speculators

Apr 20 2017 — Robert Benzie — Premier Kathleen Wynne is slapping a 15 per cent “non-resident speculation” tax on foreign investors to help cool down southern Ontario’s scorching real estate market, the Star has learned. Wynne will join Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Housing Minister Chris Ballard on Thursday against a backdrop of condo towers in booming Liberty Village to launch […]

Speculation building over Wynne’s future as Liberal leader

Apr 18 2017 — Robert Benzie — Will she or won’t she? Speculation about whether Premier Kathleen Wynne can continue to lead the governing Liberals is at a f‎ever pitch. Party stalwarts are hoping next week’s balanced ‎budget from Finance Minister Charles Sousa will tip the scales for Wynne’s teetering political fortunes. But with public and private polling showing the Liberals languishing […]

Ontario Liberals under fire for ads promoting hydro rate cut

Mar 20 2017 — Robert Benzie — As the governing Liberals gear up for an all-out advertising blitz to promote a 25-per-cent reduction in hydro rates this year, they are under fire for jumping the gun with radio ads. Both the opposition Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats complain the commercials that began airing Friday are in contempt of parliament because the new […]

Teen Tory MPP Sam Oosterhoff is being challenged for his Niagara seat

Mar 6 2017 — Robert Benzie — The youngest MPP in Ontario history is being challenged for his seat just months after being elected. Progressive Conservative Sam Oosterhoff, who won the Niagara West-Glanbrook byelection last November, faces a nomination battle Tuesday against party vice-president Tony Quirk. “I’m not sure why Tony is running quite frankly. I was surprised. He was my co-chair […]