Monthly Archives: October 2014

Bank Fees, Credit Card Fees Gouge Consumers

consumer, credit card fees, banks, government

Governments must crack down on out-of-control bank fees and credit card fees.

Canadians have had it with outrageous bank fees and credit card fees.

The eight largest banks in Canada are obliged to provide a basic monthly banking package for $4 or less. These accounts don’t offer much — 10 or so free transactions per month — and they’re not heavily promoted because they aren’t very profitable for the banks.

Brian Shumak, a Toronto certified financial planner, said he doesn’t understand what the banks are doing to justify the bank fees, many of which have become automated and should cost the banks less to administer.

“Banking has become very costly for consumers and yet the service and what you pay for has not changed one iota,” he said. Continue reading

Ontario, Federal Governments Drop the Ball As Ford Gives $2 Billion Investment To Mexico, Not Windsor

Ford Engine, Windsor, Ontario Government, Mexico

A potential $2 billion investment by Ford to produce a new generation of engines has gone to Mexico, not Windsor.

A major Ford Motor Co. engine investment that the federal and Ontario governments were trying to land for Windsor, will instead go to Mexico.

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, represents workers at Ford Windsor. In a statement, Unifor president Jerry Dias said that Ford was asking Ontario for a cash grant and the federal government for a loan, but would not specify the dollar amounts. “It was a very aggressive proposal by Ford,” he said.

In the end, Dias added, the Mexican government effectively outbid Canada: “Mexico will subsidize heavily and did, just like every other country that wants a strong auto industry.”

Continue reading

Premier Wynne on Ottawa Shooting: We Refuse To Be Silenced

Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Politics, Parliament Hill shooting

Premier Kathleen Wynne on Parliament Hill shooting: “We refuse to be silenced”.

Ontario’s political leaders considered suspending question period Wednesday at the province’s legislature in light of the shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, but Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said they “refuse to be silenced.”

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot and killed while standing guard at the National War Memorial on Wednesday. After the soldier from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was shot, a gunman identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was killed inside Parliament’s Centre Block, near the Parliamentary Library.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been rushed away from the building to an undisclosed location. Continue reading

The Future Of The Beer Store: Foreign Owned Beer Store Monopoly Must End

Ed Clark, CEO of T.D. Bank, and head of a provincial task force appointed by Ontario Premier Wynne, says it is time to change The Beer Store's mandate

Ed Clark, CEO of T.D. Bank, and head of a provincial task force appointed by Ontario Premier Wynne, says it is time to loosen up the The Beer Store’s near monopoly on Ontario beer sales.

One of the biggest issues out there right now is the question of where Ontarians should be allowed to buy their beer, wine and hard liquor.

On one side of the debate are organizations like the C.D. Howe Institute that recently released a study that said the LCBO and The Beer Store monopolies should be ended and Ontarians should be offered a much wider range of choices about where they buy their booze. Backing this perspective are the convenience store owners, the supermarkets and other retailers who obviously would like to sell beer, wine and hard liquor.

On the other side of the debate are the three foreign-owned, multinational breweries who own The Beer Store, unions representing workers at the LCBO and The Beer Store, and a whole range of consumer and parent groups who are concerned about wider access to liquor – especially to underage teenagers. Continue reading

It’s Official: Ontario Liberal Government Fails To Bring Auto Insurance Rates Down As Promised

Ontario Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa has failed to honour a government promise to lower Ontario auto insurance premiums by 8%.

Ontario Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa has failed to honour a government promise to lower Ontario auto insurance premiums by 8%.

Despite legislation passed by the Ontario legislature that mandates it, the Ontario government’s goal of an 8% auto insurance premium reduction over one year and a 15% reduction over two years, is not going happen.

This was officially confirmed Wednesday when the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) released its third quarter rate changes for the three months ending September 30, showing that for the second straight quarter, there was essentially no change in auto insurance rates in Ontario.

This means that during the four quarters that the government promised an 8% reduction, auto insurance rates in Ontario fell only 5%.

And this was no ordinary government promise that is being broken. The promise of an 8% reduction over one year and a 15% reduction over two years, was the centre-piece of the 2013 Ontario budget and is embodied in legislation and regulations passed by the Ontario government. Continue reading

Canadians Paying Double Other Countries For Drugs: Time For National Pharmacare

University of Ottawa associate professor Amir Attaran is co-author of a study of how much countries pay for generic drugs. Canada pays double what is should, he says.

University of Ottawa associate professor Amir Attaran is co-author of a study of how much countries pay for generic drugs. Canada pays double what it should, he says.

A new study shows Canada pays more than double for common generic drugs compared to other developed countries. Generic drugs are drugs manufactured after the initial patent on a drug has expired. In Canada, drug programs are administered at the provincial level.

Ontario health critics have called for a review of the purchasing system for the drugs in the wake of the study, published Tuesday.

“We’ve known for a long time that this needs to be changed, but the political will for change has never been there,” said Ontario NDP health critic France Gélinas. Continue reading

Big Wall Street Players Move Into Canadian News: A Behind the Scenes Look At the Postmedia – Sun Media Deal

Wall St. backed Postmedia bid for Sun Media sets dangerous precedent for media concentration

Wall St. backed Postmedia bid for Sun Media sets dangerous precedent for Canadian media concentration.

A bid by Postmedia Network Canada Corp. to buy 175 newspapers and online news sites from Sun Media Corp., will hand a group of mostly U.S. investors significant influence over one of the country’s largest media chains.

A behind the scenes look at the bid shows the inner workings of how financial interests, media conglomerates and powerful professional lobby groups play the media deal game in Canada.

The investors driving the media merger are a syndicate of little-known U.S. and Canadian hedge funds that specialize in buying junk bonds from struggling companies. Led by New York-based GoldenTree Asset Management LP, the funds financed the resurrection of Postmedia from a bankruptcy proceeding in 2010 by acquiring $700-million of the company’s bonds. GoldenTree and other investors, including Canadian fund Canso Investment Counsel Ltd., have agreed to buy additional bonds and securities to help finance the Sun Media purchase. Continue reading

LCBO, Beer Store, OPG, Hydro One All In Play As T.D. CEO Ed Clark Readies Privatization Report for Premier Wynne.

The LCBO, Beer Store, OPG, and Hydro One are all in play as T.D. CEO Ed Clark - pictured above - readies privatization report for Ontario Premier Wynne.

The LCBO, Beer Store, OPG, and Hydro One are all in play as T.D. CEO Ed Clark – pictured above – readies privatization report for Ontario Premier Wynne.

To overcome massive public dislike for the privatization of Ontario’s electrical generation, distribution and transmission  utilities, Premier Kathleen Wynne would have to first ratchet up concern over the province’s deficit, said Liberal pollster and chief strategist in Wynne’s recent election campaign, David Herle. And he just doesn’t think that is going to happen.

Three times more people trust the public sector to run the Crown corporations Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) compared to those who would trust the private sector, said Herle, speaking to the Ontario Energy Association’s annual conference in downtown Toronto Wednesday.

Wynne, who received her first majority mandate from Ontarians in last spring’s election, appointed an advisory council on April 11 to examine how the government could ‘maximize the value’ Ontarians get from Hydro One, OPG and the LCBO. Continue reading

Harper Conservatives Plan to Change Copyright Law To Benefit Their Attack Ads

Harper Conservative Government plans legislation to so they can get media clips for attack ads for free

Harper Conservative Government plans legislation that will allow them to use media clips for attack ads for free

The Harper Conservative government is planning to change Canada’s copyright law to allow political parties to use content published and broadcast by news organizations for free in their own political ads – including attacking ads..

An internal Conservative cabinet document details an amendment to the federal Copyright Act which would allow “free use of ‘news’ content in political advertisement intended to promote or oppose a politician or political party.”

The amendment would also remove “the need for broadcasters to authorize the use of their news content.” And it would force media outlets to run political ads even if their own footage and content was used in a negative message to voters. Continue reading

Breaking News: Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins Changes Mind On Mandatory Reporting Of Doctors’ Sexual Misconduct

Hoskins doctors reporting

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins says he is “deeply concerned” that legislation doesn’t compel mandatory reporting of medical practitioners who sexually abuse patients.

Just a week after Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins said that legislation which allowed doctors’ sexual miscondut to go unreported  didn’t need to change, Hoskins has changed his mind and is now ordering a review of the controversial legislation that gives medical regulatory bodies discretion on whether to alert police when one of their members may have committed a crime.

Other provinces and U. S. States have already moved to close this loophole and require reporting by authorities.

If a Mississauga doctor had been practising in Alberta when he put his mouth or cheek on the breasts of more than 10 female patients, the province’s medical regulator would have had to report it to the minister of justice and the solicitor general. Continue reading