The Ledge, n: slang for the legislature. Mostly used by members of the legislative press gallery.
On the Ledge posts weekly when the Ontario Legislature is sitting. But there have been times when we've had to "recall" the Ledge for an emergency session to address pressing matters of Ontario politics when Queen's Park isn't sitting!
John Wright, EVP at Maru Public Opinion, Keith Leslie, veteran Queen's Park broadcast journalist, and Dave Trafford, Executive Producer of iContact Productions and co-founder of Story Studio Network host the show with support and insights from Sabrina Nanji, founder and Editor of the Queen's Park Observer.
We remember Brian Mulroney
In this week's edition of On the Ledge - your Ontario politics podcast,
The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney passed away February 29, 2024 at the age of 84. Mulroney served as Canada's 18th prime minister from 1984 to 1993.
John Wright, Keith Leslie and Dave Trafford set Queen's Park aside this week and reflect on Mulroney's legacy and career.
It's "Back on Track" or "What the hell have you done for the past two years" at Queen's Park
In this week's edition of On the Ledge - your Ontario politics podcast:
Ford Nation is getting around to "getting it done" two years after running on the Tories' "git 'er dun" campaign that won them a majority government in June of 2022.
Ontario's MPPs were back in the Ledge for the first time in 2024 following their long winter's nap, AKA the Christmas recess. Sabrina Nanji at the Queen's Park Observers says it was only three days in the house but it felt a "lifetime" on the poltical beat with the introduction of Ford's "Get It Done" omnibus bill aimed at everything from toll roads to requiring a referendum on a carbon tax.
Sabrina says it feels like the checkered flag has dropped on the next election. "2026 is a long ways away, but it feels like we're in campaign mode weirdly. And I think this theme of getting back on trackis what we're going to be looking at from the Ford government (because) they want to change the channel from a year of policy reversals and backtracks and scandals."
Bonnie Crombie, the recently elected Ontario Liberal leader, doesn't have a seat the Ledge but her name echoed the halls of the house. Keith Leslie, political commentator at CH TV in Hamilton, says the Tories used a lot of their Question Period time ensuring Crombie's name landed in Hansard.
"Bonnie Crombie's name was virtually in every answer from a Conservative minister in the legislature. That's because if she does run and wins that seat in Milton, they can no longer use her name. They have to use the writing. And so they're using the name Bonnie Crombie and every tax raising answer they can give. Their answers, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with the question!"
As John Wright, EVP at Maru Public Opinion has often noted, the PCs are defining Crombie especially on the question of the carbon tax.
"Ya, they've defined her on taxing. I mean, that's been (the PCs) big card. And I have to say, I've been relatively surprised at how slow and how diffuse Bonnie Crombie's responses to all of this stuff has been. Even when she got asked outside of the legislature on the carbon tax."
With all the noise and usual fanfare, Sabrina says NDP leader Marit Stiles was barely noticeable in this first week back in the Ledge. "This is probably the worst week of all for the NDP and Marit Stiles because Bonnie Crombie doesn't have a seat in the house, but she's a bit of a media darling" effectively stealing the spotlight from Stiles.
The big question is "Should Crombie seek a seat in the legislature or wait for the next election?"
Doug Ford sends MPPs home early for the Christmas break
This week's edition of On the Ledge - your Ontario politics podcast - wraps up the fall session at Queen's Park with SSN's Chief Executive Producer, Dave Trafford, John Wright EVP at Maru Public Opinion and Keith Leslie, political commentator on CH television.
There's A LOT to talk about including the government's lack of strategy in healthcare, the Auditor General's report, Bonnie Crombie's leadership win, and the need to revive the Liberal Party. The hosts discuss the tactical decision-making of the government and the importance of addressing the concerns of young voters. They also emphasize the need for substantive policy discussions and consultation. Overall, the conversation highlights the challenges and opportunities facing Ontario's political landscape.
REMINDER: You can now leave us a RECORDED or TEXT message about anything you hear on the show. It's EASY. Click RECORD YOUR MESSAGE. Hit the RECORD button. Enter your name and email address so we can respond to your comment!Takeaways
The government's lack of strategy in healthcare, particularly in addressing the use of agency nurses, is a major concern.The Auditor General's report highlighted the government's lack of consultation and strategy in decision-making.Bonnie Crombie's leadership win in the Liberal Party requires a focus on rebuilding the party and connecting with voters, especially in rural and non-urban areas.Tactical decision-making and a lack of substantive policy discussions are prevalent in Ontario politicsBut with the Tories riding high in the polls, it seems most voters aren't all that fussed by the political scandals and lack of legislative substance..
00:00 Introduction and Holiday Break
02:18 Government's Lack of Strategy in Healthcare
05:10 Paying Nurses What They're Worth
06:27 Auditor General's Report and Government's Response
08:35 Lack of Consultation and Strategy in Government Decisions
10:57 Shift in Public Perception of Accountability Officers
13:20 Bonnie Crombie's Leadership Win and Party Rebuilding
23:09 Ford Chow Deal and Tactical Decision-Making
26:54 Low Voter Turnout in Liberal Leadership Race
32:50 Reviving the Liberal Party
36:32 The Government We Deserve
39:38 Conclusion and Holiday Break
The Sarah Jama story creates more political problems for NDP Leader Marit Stiles
In this edition of On the Ledge - Your Ontario politics podcast
The Greenbelt is still a quagmire for Premier Ford's government but it's the fallout from the war in the middle east that fuels a growing concern in the legislature and, more particularly in NDP backrooms. Sarah Jama's censure by the majority government and expulsion from the New Democrat caucus continues to create challenges for party leader Marit Stiles. The Hamilton Centre riding association is calling for a leadership review. The association says Stiles has “consistently obstructed and silenced” caucus and party members for their pro-Palestine stance.
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On the other side of the aisle, PC MPP Goldie Ghamari is taking political heat for speaking out against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The current environment and broader discussion make it clear balanced debate and free speech in the legislature are being suppressed or avoided to varying degrees against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war.
Is Ford Nation playing good politics or making good policy?
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And chances are you'll have something to say after listening to this edition of On the Ledge - Your Ontario politics podcast.
Keith Leslie and Sabrina Nanji are at the table and we welcome David Coletto, CEO at Abacus Data, (filling in for John Wright!)
We wonder whether pay increases for ECE workers and new worker-friendly labour laws is good politics or good policy for the Ford government.
Are they simply hoping and trying to change the channel from the Greenbelt quagmire?
SPOILER ALERT: Good politics gets the nod from the panel.
Ford et al are nibbling around the edges of the affordability issues while ignoring the latest report from the Daily Bread Food Bank that says 1 in 10 Torontonians needed a food bank last year. And it ALL attributable to policy failures at all levels of government.
And David Coletto says it comes down to a leadership void right across the country.
"Good politics leads to bad policy as opposed to good policy leading to good politics. And when you ask Canadians, do you think the country's headed in the right direction? Do you think the province is headed in the right direction? Overwhelming majorities, higher than it's ever been since I've been tracking for 20 years, say no "No".
"It feels to me that there's just a sense of laziness and unseriousness, (among our political leaders) willing to pass the buck."
A pox on all their houses. All three provincial parties are reeling from self-inflicted wounds
In this edition of On the Ledge - your Ontario Politics Podcast:
Dave Trafford, John Wright and Keith Leslie read the entrails following a week where the three main parties at Queen's Park were hobbled by sel-inflicted wounds.
The Ford government is already stuck in the Greenbelt quagmire. In the past week, the interim Auditor General has opened inquiries into the Therme land deal at Ontario Place and the plans to move the Science Centre from beauitful downtown Don Mills to be an added lakeshore attraction at Ontario Place. That announcement came a week ago as MPPs headed home for a week in their ridings.
Meanwhile, it's since been discovered that pharmacies across the province are bailing out of the Fall COVID vaccine plan because team Ford has given Shoppers Drug Mart exclusive access to the vaccine supply. That means other pharmacies are having to rely on the kindness of Shoppers to get doses. Word is, they're not so they're sunsetting the offering.
AND ANOTHER THING...
A handful of Ontario mayors say "we don't need your stinking Strong Mayor Powers!" They've outright refused to nibble on the poltical treat dangled by Team Ford,. knowing full well they won't get any of the provincial cash set aside for municipalities to meet their housing targets.
That might have something to do with the whinging we heard from Doug Ford and all the other first ministers this week over the federal government's abilitiy and willingness to get cash out the door and shovels in the ground to build new homes in towns and cities across Canada. They had the nerve to complain that Ottawa was going around them to deliver housing - while they've done next to nothing to move that needle.
Now, it's not just all about the Tories. This should all be great fodder for the Official Opposition but the NDP is proving to be politically immature. Sabrina Nanji at the Queen's Park Observer reports the NDP Kitchener Centre riding association fired off a missive demanding the resignation of Leader Marit Stiles BUT didn't bother looping in Debbie Chapman. She just happens to be the NDP candidate they're supposedly supporting in the byelection campaign THAT'S IN FULL SWING!
And to round things out, the Ontario Liberals are getting closer to choosing their next leader. Voting days are November 25 and 26 with the winner of the ranked ballot contest being announced December 2nd.
And two weeks ahead of voting day, candidates Yasir Naqvi and Nate Eskine-Smith are asking their supporters to rank the other guy as their second choice on the ballott. The twisted logic is that, by doing so, they'll stunt the presumptive front-runner, Bonnie Crombie's ability to win it on the second ballot.
Beyond the fact this move is an explicit admission by both that one of them will have to finish LAST on the first ballot for it to make any difference, it's also opened internecine battle of party insiders.
In the November 10 edition of the Queen's Park Observer, Sabrina Nanji quotes fromer Kathleen Wynne staffer, Noah Zatzman as saying, "Someone explain to me why Yasir and Nate are tougher on Bonnie than Hamas."
Enjoy the show!
Nice hearing you again. Very informative.
Thanks for keeping us up to date on what’s happening at Queens Park!
Don’t worry about accuracy
The education episode was lacking any attempt at being factual....time to unsubscribe.