Post Debate Discussion and Opinions

I had an interesting (and very telling) post debate discussion with my youngest son (22 years old) this morning.  He asked me whether the federal debate changed my opinion of the political leaders we have to choose a prime minister from.

My own post debate opinion?  If you are interested in personality, I thought Singh (NDP) was the “winner” last night. He was charming, funny and an eloquent speaker (no ums or aws), but weak (sometimes even evasive) on the primary issues.  Unfortunately (for Singh) nice and charming does not necessarily make a good leader, at least not a leader of a country as diverse and large as Canada.

Scheer (Conservative) had to repeat himself often as was often talked over by either Trudeau (Liberal and current PM) or May (Green), although he did a fair share of it himself.  Not a good look for any of them.  The other two, Bernier (People’s Party) and Blanchet (Bloc Quebecois), were/are only interested in Quebec.  Their presence was distracting in my opinion for a federal election debate. I don’t think they should be included in these circumstances.

My son’s opinion?  “The debt our country is faced with is not really a problem.”  I believe (with a sick feeling in my stomach) this is a typical response from his age group.  They are more interested in the “perks” that might be promised or taken away.  This opinion was spoken like an uninformed youngster who does not (yet) pay for his own:

  • mortgage
  • taxes
  • car loan
  • groceries
  • insurance (except for his own car)
  • expenses for children
  • education
  • etc, etc, etc

Maybe that’s why I was so impressed with a youngster the same age as this son.  Chris Kitchen’s wrote an article at Queen’s University on why Canada’s oil and gas reserves would and should be beneficial to our economy.

We (my husband and I) have tried, over and over (in many heated discussions) to get this youngest son to acknowledge that living in growing debt is never a good thing, especially a staggering debt like the one our nation is faced with.  We feel like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.  Are we bad parents because he does not understand this concept?  I keep telling him he will understand in ten years (hopefully less), but he refuses to think that far ahead, let alone plan for it.  In our defence, this son does pay for his own cell phone and clothes as well as car insurance, gas and repairs .  Oh, and LCBO and Uber tabs.

Thankfully, our two older sons, both with mortgages, car payments, and children of their own, get it.  There is only five years difference between our second and third son, so it appears (to me) that it’s not a full generation, but just a demographic, that don’t get it.  At least this theory is apparent in my family.  I have heard from many others that their much older children have the same myopic outlook.

Did you watch the debate?  What are your post debate conclusions, thoughts, opinions?

 

 

 

Political battle in Canada

There is yet another political battle going on in Canada.  Four years ago I warned you to be careful what you wish for when Canadians hoping for a change gave Justin Trudeau a Liberal majority.  Many of us were skeptical that the majority of his election promises would/could never happen and those that did would cost us dearly.

One (huge) example is the federal budget.  An election promise in 2015 claimed the budget would be balanced by 2019, with Trudeau assuring voters it would balance itself.  Although many of us saw that simplistic prediction as an enormous red flag,  (the majority of) others were willing to play along, blindly.  Perhaps blinded by the handsome smile and fashionable clothing although they are worn by someone that has never balanced let alone lived on a budget in his life.

Fast forward to the present: not only is the budget nowhere near balanced, our national debt is through the roof by BILLIONS of dollars and growing by the second.  Why that does not scare more Canadians I am not sure.  I worry most about my sons’ and grandchildren’s futures as the cost of living skyrockets out of control.

Let’s not forget about the scandals that have plagued the Liberal party these past four years.  Topping the never ending list is the SNC-Lavalin (an engineering and construction company) fiasco where our Minister of Justice and Attorney General left the Liberal party because she felt bullied and pressured into intervening in an ongoing criminal case against the company. An investigation proved she had reason to feel pressured.

Then there are the recent black and brown-face pictures as well as the outlandish garments Trudeau wore representing Canada abroad. Our incredibly immature, shallow and inappropriate Prime Minister apparently likes to play dress-up, fitting I suppose for a (former) drama teacher craving the spotlight.  Hardly the image we (most I hope) Canadians want to represent us on the global stage.  Trudeau may be a charismatic and friendly man but he has also proven to be foolish, naïve, a liar, a bully and a cheater, not to mention an elitist, without a clue how most of us live.  Any of us “average citizens” with those characteristics would be fired from our jobs!

So, what’s the purpose of this rant? Not to convince you to vote for a specific political party.  To warn you to think long and hard about how you want this wonderful country of ours to move forward.  No one political party will (now or ever) tick off all the right boxes for the issues at stake.  Individual voters have to decide which party ticks off the most and the most important (to us) of these boxes, then vote accordingly.

I have not even touched on the other important issues that divide the political parties.  In addition to the budget and financial deficits, each party has their own stance on climate change, oil pipelines, abortion, gun control, health care, same sex marriage, child care, education, immigration, indigenous rights and more.  The list goes on and on, be sure to read up on these crucial issues before you vote.

Of course there are the outrageous campaign promises flying around too.  Are reduced cell phone rates really a life necessity or just another calculated attempt to grab votes from the younger, phone-obsessed generation.  Just like legalizing marijuana was last election.  After all, most of the voters thinking cell phones and marijuana are important issues don’t yet pay the exorbitant taxes or hydro and electricity rates the rest of us are mandated to.

There is so much desperate political garbage and yes, fake news, on every form of social media these days.  I am sick of it, yet it’s only going to get worse within the next few weeks, building up to a frenzied pitch until the election is over.  Instead of getting caught up in social media’s mudslinging, do your own research to see where each party stands on the issues. Here are a few sites to peruse, but remember, all of them have the potential to be biased!

The last one compares the platforms for each political party, sorted by specific issues.  I found it very informative.  Do your homework before you vote blindly. Please!

 

Have you Seen your latest Hydro Bill?

hydro

 

Have you looked at your hydro bill lately?  I mean really looked?  Do you have a hard time understanding the bills you pay?  It makes me wonder if they purposely make the bills confusing so that people will not look carefully and just pay what is requested without thinking about it. I have to admit that until I heard recently about the  drastically increasing  hydro costs, I did not pay enough attention to them.  It does not help when bills are automatically paid through paperless bank accounts.  These technological advances in banking and bill paying are very convenient, but can lead to consumer oblivion.

HydroOttawa provides the electricity to our home in Kanata, Ontario. After looking at our most recent bill very closely, I have a lot of questions…

Recently they have switched us from equalized payments to monthly billing.  I am not sure why, but somehow I do not feel it is to our advantage.    I heard recently of many complaints from rural residences that were charged exorbitant rates from HydroOne (one report was $12,000) through their pre-authorized automatic payment plan, then offered a credit to correct the mistake instead of a refund.  In other words, Hydro keeps the money and the customer is left with $12,000 less in their account. What would happen if you didn’t have that kind of money in your account (I’m sure you would still be stuck with a large interest charge for overdrawing on the account even though the mistake was not yours) or were counting on it for something else? (like food maybe)

Our consumption of electricity is categorized into off peak, mid peak and on peak periods of each day.  Reasonable, I guess, if nothing else to convince you to use less electricity during the on peak (more expensive) hours.  See the chart below for peak and non peak hours. What I do not understand is why there are two charges for each of these categories on my list of charges?

 

 

Demand
Periods
 Time-of-
Use Prices

 On-Peak 12.9 ¢ / kWh  Weekdays
 7 am – 11 am
5 pm – 7 pm                       
     
 Mid-Peak 10.9 ¢ / kWh  Weekdays
 11 am – 5 pm 
 Off-Peak 7.2 ¢ / kWh  Weekdays
 7 pm – 7 am
 Weekends
 All Day

 

also on the list of charges to be paid:

-HST (harmonized sales tax)

-Regulatory charges; they do attempt to explain what that entails on the back of the bill, but basically it means us funding the Ministry of Energy for the never ending scandals and inefficient, ineffective, billion dollar programs they come up with.

-A debt retirement charge to pay off the debt accumulated by Ontario hydro, which by the way, was paid off in 2011.  Instead of removing the debt retirement charge from our bills,  more money was borrowed to fund other Liberal  blunders.  So, on our bills it appears like the original debt wasn’t yet paid off, and we continue to pay.  To add insult to injury, top Ontario Hydro executives, probably the ones responsible for this massive debt in the first place, recently received bonuses to their salaries and extra padding to their already luxurious pension plans.

-and then a nice big delivery charge on top of our usage charges, which you get whether you use the electricity or not.  This we found out on a similarly confusing hydro bill from Hydro One who services our cottage in rural Ontario.  As our cottage is used only in the summer months (and even then mostly just on weekends) and not at all in the winter, you would think the delivery fee of approximately $80 per month would not apply off season.  No such reasoning, we pay the delivery fee every month, even though there is no electricity being used between October and May!

At the end of the list of charges, it shows a clean energy benefit credit!  This comes from the Ministry of Energy, currently run by the Liberal government, whose scandals (the cancelled gas plants saga that cost us $1.1 billion for example) we are paying for with the regulatory charge mentioned above.  Are you confused yet?  Why not just waste less money on the scandals and non-efficient, non-viable programs like another windmill farm that is slated for construction in Chatham, Ontario and charge us less upfront?

If I am complaining about the fees we pay for our home and cottage, what about the companies and organizations whose consumption would be much greater?  In comparison, their bills must be staggering!  I heard of one curling club that had to close its doors because it could not cover the increased cost of hydro with its membership dues; I have no doubt many other such organizations will be doing the same.

I also feel bad for the many pensioners in Ontario who are living on a fixed income.  Should they have to choose between paying for electricity and buying groceries?  I am not far from the fixed income days myself; what was supposed to be a comfortable, relaxing, well-deserved retirement may be a little more stressful than planned…