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Will Trumping up Canadian conservatism work?

Although largely ignored by the majority of non-partisans, much has been made recently in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race about what kind of influence Trump will have on our politics.  The post-Harper era is before us, and the number of potential directions it could take are still high.  Could the Conservative Party be met with the same powers that overtook and shook the Republican party?  I’m going to lay out some evidence as to why I think the answer is no.

Let’s look at some of the metrics.

Urban-Rural divide: On this, Canada and the US are roughly equal when it comes to levels of urbanization.  About 80% of us live in urban areas.  That number is increasing, and the urbanization favours liberal parties and policies.  Trump-esque policies, conversely, are predominantly supported in rural areas which, ironically, are less prone to immigration and crime.  So there will be an attentive Canadian audience for an anti-establishment run in rural parts sroughly equal to what Trump has experienced.

Education attainment: This is where it starts to fall apart. The Trump coalition is predominantly created on the basis of non-college educated voters.  Check out the OECD data (you may need to click on the box):

The data show that Canadians, in every age category (the square are those aged 55-64, the x represents those 45-54, the diamond represents 35-44, and the circle represents 25-34 year-olds), are more likely to have a college/university education than Americans.  And, the trend is even more accentuated among younger cohorts, meaning that the majority of Canadian voters in the next decade will continue to have an education vs. our American counterparts and that divide is growing.  You may start to understand why so many Canadians are not in love with Trump.  He’s not speaking to the vast majority of us.  We’re becoming more educated, not less.

Income Inequality:  The idea that society is rigged in favour of the elites over the masses is likely to resonate more in societies that have greater income disparity.


Exploring the above chart from the Conference Board of Canada, Canada gets a grade of C versus a D for the US.  This means that the size and growth of the middle class is more robust in Canada, but that the wealthy still are disproportionately taking a greater share.  So Canada isn’t great when it comes to wealth distribution, but isn’t as bad as the US.  Plus, what income inequality does not capture is the fact that social program spending helps to mitigate some of the pressures poorer families face (i.e. public health care and public education, for example, aren’t out-of-pocket household expenses).  As a result, while poverty remains a growing issue in Canada, it isn’t as bad as it is in the United States.

All of this is to suggest that importing Trump politics will appeal to a small segment of the Canadian population at present, but that that small segment is likely to narrow due to more urban and more educated people increasing their proportion of the overall vote.  Add to this the reality that population growth is adding to diversity, rather than the other way around, and the anti-immigration, anti-elite message, and anti-global messages that Trump supports will likely not resonate as highly here.

Thus, fellow conservatives, if you’re taking the short game in selecting your leadership support, realize that in 4 to 8 years from now, when we likely have a chance to form a government, the Canadian electorate is going to look differently than it did it 2006 and different than it looks today.  If you don’t understand this going into this leadership race, you’re about to make a big mistake.

As a 30-something, PhD-wielding, sub-urban, I’m an atypical conservative.  I’ll be called establishment, elitist, moderate, and so on. Most of that will be said pejoratively so.  However, you ‘others’ may wish to consider that my profile (exclude the PhD and replace with any degree) is that demographic you’re going to need to chase if you want to turn things around and potentially govern one day.

On electoral reform, Trudeau says ‘the system is rigged… unless I win’

Ah, that Donald Trump! He sure knows how to get the media elites to talk about him every day.  He famously refused to accept the results of the pending US-election during the debate, and later clarified that by saying he’d respect the results if he wins.

Here in Canada, the previous election was fought under the guise that Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system needed change.  That ‘every vote needed to count.’  That everyone deserved an ‘equal’ vote.  That the system needed to be ‘fairer.’  That the system should not permit parties with less than half of voter support to have carte blanche to govern.  That Harper’s government was implicitly illegitimate and governed without concern to the voices of the general public.  In effect, the system, we were told in subtle but serious ways, was rigged and it needed to change.

Even the social movements supporting democratic change fueled that concern of a rigged system.  One of the leading groups advocating for change even called themselves “Fair Vote Canada.”  One must automatically assume that this means that they think that the current system is unfair – that all the governments that have been elected since Confederation had won without real mandates. The system is rigged, in other words.

As a political scientist, I can tell you that we even teach students that the system is rigged.  Saying so makes our material far more exciting!  It helps with the BIS, the acronym we use for ‘bums in seats.’  (Funny how politically incorrect that is! After all, bums usually belong to people, but it also is an ambiguous term since the word is often used to pejoratively brand certain kinds of people too.)  How many studies have shown the alignment of political/media/business elites controlling elections and skewing public policy to protect the interests of political and economic masters?  Ah, the system is rigged!  Knowing this is a prerequisite to graduating with a political science degree these days.  There are no shortage of political science graduates working on the Hill.

Once elected, the Trudeau government told us some pretty remarkable and shady constitutional things.  They told us they had a mandate to change the electoral system, yet their mandate only contained a duty to consult Canadians without mentioning what system the Liberals preferred.  They suggested that parliament alone could pass such sweeping changes, without concern to legitimate constitutional claims that there was some duty to seek consent from voters for that change either through a fresh mandate or a referendum.  In effect, the system is rigged and only Trudeau could fix it.

After a year of this saga, after a parliamentary committee took time to listen to the concerns of Canadians and experts, Prime Minister Trudeau took to a French-language newspaper to say, well, maybe Canadians are satisfied with their electoral system after all, especially that it can produce the sort of ‘real change’ they were looking for.  In other words, ‘the system is rigged, unless I win.’

In the United States, the media complain that the presidential nominee of the GOP would even fathom not respecting the results of a rigged election, when our fair Prime Minister used the same kind of rhetoric without a whimper.  Now that the system supported Trudeau and his vision, the system isn’t so rigged after all.  Imagine that!

In the US, many pundits are saying this sort of rhetoric disqualifies Trump from his presidential bid.  In Canada, it’s business as usual.  What an interesting comparison! Pretty remarkable stuff.

Want to grow an economy? Invest in Higher Education

The Council of Ontario Universities has launched a campaign to better understand the positive public benefit that universities have to the economic well-being of the province.  They have launched a web site and survey, which can be found at

Once stories about the campaign hit social media, some professor-types I follow decried this as yet another exercise in diminishing the value of a social science and humanities education.  Their concern was that the evidence gathered in this survey would be used to increase support for STEM programs and professional degrees.

Amid the skepticism, I decided to take the survey.  If the impression was that this survey would lead to advancing only a subset of offerings from a university, there will be some disappointed people.

What stood out about the public universities’ survey was that the first set of questions aren’t about universities per se; the first questions are about how the respondent feels about their future, and the future of their children.

From my view, the survey points to a marked change in tactics from the pitch Ontario’s public universities are used to giving.  For some time, universities have found that growing enrollments were crucial to financial stability.  In addition, dollars were stretched within institutions even more.  Larger class sizes became normalized. The proportion of tenured faculty teaching courses began to get worse over time.  Tuition increases became the norm.  And, what really got university officials riled up, is that public investment in Ontario’s universities did not keep up proportionately when compared to the other provinces.

So, given the circumstance, university administrators have been pointing to their stellar records (e.g. nice graduate employment rates) with comparatively low public investment, as a reason for the government to give more.

The new direction that Ontario’s public universities appear to be charting seems to suggest that not only are university graduates getting jobs, but universities themselves are drivers of local economic development.  If we consider statistics that, for example, Trent contributes some $400 million to the local economy of Peterborough or that the tech cluster in Waterloo is driven by its universities, a strong case emerges to suggest that there are compelling reasons to invest in universities other than the fact that other provinces are giving their institutions comparatively more support.

When you consider that non-university communities across Ontario are making pitches to get one to come to town, one begins to see that there is merit to the claim.  Communities such as Barrie, Milton, Cornwall, and others around the province believe that full blown campuses, ones that encourage teaching as well as research, are key to local economic development.  Many point to communities like Brantford, where the Wilfrid Laurier University campus there rejuvenated a blighted and neglected downtown core.

The interesting thing to note is why Ontario’s public universities are engaging in such a campaign in the first place.  If one glances at the higher education policy space, the government has unfulfilled promises to create three new university campuses across Ontario (of which only one is opening in Markham) and to increase enrollments by 60,000 students.  Without the funding from the government, and the regulatory approvals required to grow, the government won’t fulfill its promises.  The universities may well be trying to make the case for the government not to abandon these promises.

These unfulfilled promises aside, the higher ed file has been a busy one for the government.  The policy focus in recent years, however, has been on the cost for students to attend post-secondary education.  The decision to enact and then expand the Ontario Tuition Grant has meant that public money has gone to help students and not the institutions that are charged with educating these students.  In its most recent budget, the province double-downed on helping families with the commitment for mostly free tuition for qualifying students.

Compounding the problem of institutions losing out on new higher ed money, annual tuition growth (a potential source of new revenue for universities) is capped and that cap has been further reduced.  All of this has created a scenario where universities are starved for cash, and concerns abound that this is eroding the quality of education being offered to students.

Thus, the aim of this seemingly innocuous campaign is to change the nature of the policy conversation.  Ontarians and our government appear to be focusing on the plight of families trying to afford post-secondary education when the universities want us to remember why giving them some more direct support helps the entire province.  This pitch will likely be amplified as we get closer to the next election.

This article appeared in Queen’s Park Briefing.  Visit to subscribe to this publication and stay on top of all things related to Ontario government and politics!

Closing the Numeracy Gap Should Be Ontario’s First Priority

Another school year begins, and more dithering on the province’s math education.  The EQAO recently released the standardized test scores from the previous academic year, and it has provided us with more evidence on the declining state of math education in Ontario.

One of the most troubling statistics is the fact that nearly half of Grade 6 kids are not meeting the provincial standard.  A closer look at the results proves to be even more troubling.  Math test scores have been dropping for more than a decade.  Over the past 5 years, despite attention being drawn not only by EQAO results but also on international rankings where Ontario students are falling behind, the scores have not reversed.  Fixing the growing numeracy gap should be the government’s top priority.

The future prognosis is grim.  Test results in Grade 3 and Grade 6 have predicted a continued slide in Grade 9.  Early identification and intervention is key to reversing those statistics.  However, the stats show a different story.  One out of every five kids who met the standard in Grade 3 now do not meet the standard in Grade 6.  If this trend continues, we will see lower scores once these students get to Grade 9 in three years.

The downstream effects of not reversing course are significant.  The College Student Achievement Project – an annual study of some 12,000 college students – has shown many students are struggling with the mathematics courses required to complete many college degree and diploma programs.  Media reports have been sporadically following university math professors and math students complaining about the lack of math preparation of recent high school graduates.

The economic implications of declining math scores are significant as well.  Our math achievement is declining at a time when math has never been more important to the future of the economy.  A few years ago, TD Bank reported that 6 in 10 Canadians do not have sufficient numeracy skills and that a staggering 25% only function at Level 1 numeracy, the lowest category.  The implications for building technical skills are significant and it leads to a loss of productivity in the broader economy.

In a report last year, the C.D. Howe Institute asks what needs to be done to reverse course.  They are calling for a complete rethink for how math is taught in schools.  The current fad of discovery learning was embraced in Ontario in the mid-2000s and our math scores have steadily fallen ever since.  C.D. Howe says that rote learning should be re-introduced and should be the predominant teaching technique in the primary and junior grades following an 80-20 rule: 80% rote learning and 20% problem-based discovery method.

In addition to this, the points to even more staggering statistics.  In Grade 3, 83% of teachers say they did not complete any math courses after high school, 82% said they did not get any math help at Teachers College, and 71% said they have not undertaken additional math professional development.  In Grade 6, 80% of teachers say they did not take math after high school, and 69% have not undertaken further professional development in mathematics.

The obvious question this begs is this: How is it possible to improve on math education when parents and teachers can’t help their kids?

The answer is that parents and students are turning to private tutoring in larger numbers.  If you live in a suburban community, every time a new strip mall is constructed, competing for space with the pizza shop and the new nail salons are tutoring centres.  They are everywhere!  And the statistics are backing this up as well.  The 19th OISE Report on Educational Issues tells us that people purchasing private tutoring is up 11% since 2002 – more than one out of every three students now get paid extra help.  As more students turn to private tutoring to supplement public education, one can surmise that declining test scores are being propped up by additional private instruction, without which math scores may well be even lower.

This only accentuates a social justice inequity.  Children from disadvantage families and neighbourhoods just fall through the cracks because the parents of these kids don’t have the skills themselves to help their children with math and they can’t pay for help either.

To counteract the declining math scores, the government recently tabled a $60 million math rethink.  That’s in addition to the $4 million math fix that was announced in 2014.  The new math strategy looks to dedicate math time in school, identify math “lead teachers” to mentor teachers inside schools, utilize online math resources, and provide further math-focused professional development.  It’s a step in the right direction, but we must wonder why it has taken so long.  Many of the points made in this math rethink were present in the Math Achievement Action Plan I tabled in 2014 while I was an MPP.

Serious thought should be given to revamping math education in Ontario.  If we want to build that innovation economy we have all been talking about, we would be hard pressed to get there without solid math education.  The time to act is now.

This article appeared in Queen’s Park Briefing.  Visit to subscribe to this publication and stay on top of all things related to Ontario government and politics!

On Severance-Gate

Every time there is a quasi-scandal in Canada, we like to add the American -gate to it, as if to denote its severity.  I cringe at it, but surprisingly, on ORPP severances, we didn’t hear it. So, let’s call a scandal a scandal and call this severance-gate.

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is no longer and the costs associated with it are now at $70 million.  We learned of the figures just before the August long weekend when people were packing their coolers with libations that will make them forget about the terrible waste.

We know this figure thanks to some proactive disclosure by the government.  The government released the details of the full program costs on their own, however, we seem to be forgetting that they tried to give us a much lower cost estimate about a month earlier.  At the end of June, we were told that the government spent about $20 million to start up and abruptly cancel the provincial pension scheme, even though it has had a willing federal partner for months. Now that number is three and a half times bigger.  Oops.

This episode reminds me of a Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie my kids like to watch.  The older brother, Rodrick, tells his younger brother, Greg, that there are rules to success in life.  One of those rules is to manage your parents’ expectations.  The movie switches to Greg telling his parents that he thought he failed a test, but when he got his mark back, he barely passed.  The dad, partially happy he averted the worst case says, ‘well, at least you didn’t fail.’

This latest ORPP episode is much like that.  Hey, Ontario, it’s true that our government wasn’t forthright about the true costs in June, but at least they proactively told us about the costs instead of having them pried out through an auditor-general or examining the public accounts.  No outcry needed as a result – yes the $70 million is bad, but at least they are now honest about it.  And because of this newfound proactive honesty, Ontarians can continue drinking their frozen Palm Bays courtesy of their online purchase at the LCBO.

What seemed to irritate more than a few people is the fact that $2 million in severance was being doled out to 6 people, some of whom got six-figure payouts for being on the job less than half a year.

This reminds me of what transpired at Western University during my first year there.  When the public disclosure of salaries for 2014 was made in early 2015, one of the eye-popping compensation packages went to the university’s president, Amit Chakma.  In his contract, he had the option of being paid an extra year’s salary if he opted not to take an administrative leave.  He didn’t take that leave, and it was revealed that he earned nearly a million dollars in 2014.

The response from the university community was swift and merciless.  How could a president who led an administration that was preaching restraint be compensated so egregiously high? And so there were protests everywhere – on social media, at the university Senate, around the water cooler, and more.  As we learned more about it, we not only started to question why the president took the money, but how inadequate university governance was to accept such a negotiated contract.

The outcry was so loud that Dr. Chakma heeded those concerns, agreed to give back the extra salary, and launched a review of governance structures to listen to the concerns of those in the university community that he leads.

The situation with the ORPP severances tells a different tale.  Whoever negotiates these contracts on behalf of tax payers is failing in their fiduciary duty to be mindful of the public purse.  To add salt to the wound, these contracts would have been rubber stamped by cabinet.  The fact that nobody tried to stop these severances from being negotiated even as the ORPP was winding down with a newfound federal partner shows us that the government really doesn’t care about the money they oversee.

Any organization, whether it be a university or a corporation or some other entity would have serious governance questions asked if such a scenario were to arise, but for the Government of Ontario, no questions are ever asked and no changes are ever made, which is why we keep seeing this happen over and over again.

Sadly, a by-election is being waged this week, and barely a mention of this until Kevin O’Leary penned his second open letter to the Premier and published it in the Toronto Sun.  It’s time that voters place some greater expectations on their government before the government continues to manage your expectations lower still. Who knows what will be next?

The Tale of Two Tim Hudaks

I often get the question: who is Tim Hudak or where is the real Tim?  Most pundits thought he lacked authenticity. Some even called him robotic, or nicknamed him “Robo Tim.”  So perhaps it is worthwhile to share with readers the Tim Hudak I have known for years.

The first ever conversation I had with Tim Hudak is still etched in my mind.  I attended an event at Bingeman’s in Kitchener that he also attended way back in the early part of 2007.  I don’t remember what the event was for, whether it was partisan or policy, but there I was standing in line trying to get a drink and Tim extends his hand and introduces himself.  I introduced myself and we started to chat.  I told him that I was working on my PhD and that I was interested in policy, public management and democratic reform.  With most people, that’s the conversation ender, but with Tim, he proceeded to ask me for my thoughts and opinions on the referendum on electoral reform.

I remember all of this not because I was in awe with meeting a real life politician – by that point, I had encountered many.  I remember this event because a few weeks later, when I arrived at my office at McMaster University, I had an envelope from Tim Hudak waiting in my mailbox.  Inside that envelope was a handwritten note from Tim Hudak acknowledging our conversation and thanking me for my insights.  Of all the politicians I had ever met – even ones I had helped elect – none had ever done that, and I didn’t even give him a business card.

In another moment, I remember heading into the budget lockup of 2012.  Let me lay the rumours to rest.  We actually did read the budget before we decided to vote against it!  We held a caucus meeting in that lockup to confirm we were voting against it since the budget deficit wasn’t improving at all.  It was a pretty serious moment being the opposition in a minority parliament.  Tim comes and sits beside me.  He asks me what I think we should do, and I told him.  I then said that “I think I need a gin and tonic.”

Tim – who earlier this year introduced the Free My Rye Act – took an immediate interest in trying to assess my conservative pedigree.  He recited some survey results he had encountered some years before and asked me questions from it.  On most of the questions, my answers fell in line with the typical conservative except for my choice of alcohol.  According to Tim, surveys show that conservatives enjoy the dark liquor while liberals enjoy the clear liquors. I have no idea whether Tim was serious or not, but the point is that the real Tim was one you could enjoy even the serious moments with.

The final story I’ll share comes a week before election 2014.  I get a text message from Tim who asks for my input.  After providing that input, his response was “pithy.”  I then proceeded to mock him for using a very academic word.  Tim, who recently revealed that he is a pro-wrestling aficionado on his radio show on AM 1010, then related all of this to Damien Sandow, whose character on WWE comes off as somewhat of an intellectual.  Accompanying that message was a YouTube video showing Sandow at his finest.   I thought to myself that I wish I could somehow make that text conversation public.  It was witty, funny, and personable.

That’s the real Tim Hudak – a family man and a guy who loved ordinary things.  However, that private persona was something that the public never really got to see.  He is witty in the legislature. He is the kind of guy who remembered to call his staff on their birthday.  When my wife was hospitalized after our third child was born, he and his wife, Deb Hutton, made sure a pot of homemade stew got to my home.  And he had an uncanny ability to remember obscure conversations with people he had met along the way.  That’s in large part why Tim Hudak became the leader of the Ontario Tories, and it is why he continues to have a loyal following.

The going thesis on why we didn’t see the real Tim is that he needed to look premier-like.  We were told that ‘Tim wasn’t the neighbour on the block you’d want to barbecue with, but he needed to be most trusted to fix the economy.’  The great irony in that idea is that no leader probably liked to barbecue more than Tim.

Therein seems to lie the tale of two Hudaks.  There is the guy he is and the guy who wanted to be premier.  For most people, they wanted some congruence between the two, and many more left longing for more.

This juxtaposition of personality seemed to carry with him everywhere.  Sometimes, in caucus, he’d be the guy he is that wanted to listen to everybody’s opinions.  Other times, he would feel the need to be decisive and ruffle some feathers. It wasn’t exactly harmonious and perhaps it could never be.

Leading the Ontario Tories, much like most modern brokerage parties, is a tough job. There will always be some faction of the party unhappy with a course of action.  These factions tolerate decisions they don’t agree with so long as the team is winning.  When the team is losing, problems magnify in a hurry.  Once stuck in a losing rut, approval ratings take a hit which perpetuates the problems even more.

There was a logic that to correct the course, the Tories needed to be dramatic and bold.  Unfortunately for Tim and the Ontario PCs, voters saw flaws in the execution of that logic.  As a result, Tim Hudak’s time in politics will come to an end this September after more than 20 years in public life. He accomplished so much, but short of his ultimate goal.

This article appeared in Queen’s Park Briefing.  Visit to subscribe to this publication and stay on top of all things related to Ontario government and politics!

Election finance bill a missed opportunity for Ontario politics

The question of buying influence in politics is not a new study.  It has long been seen as problematic that government decisions are based on a narrow set of interests based on who can buy access to political leaders by purchasing high priced fundraising tickets.

The evidence has been mounting for some time.  Whether its former staffers working for the beer lobby, or pay-to-play stories in the press, the news coming out of Ontario is not encouraging.  The fact that corporations, unions, and professional associations can contribute tens of thousands of dollars to, as Premier Kathleen Wynne used to say, ‘support the democratic process,’ is certainly one thing.  However, if the allocation of public money follows those that pony up large sums of money, even more serious problems emerge.

That is essentially the story we have seen in Quebec.  In that province, allegations swirled that there was a revolving door between political donations, access at fundraising events, and public contracts being awarded to friendly firms. In Quebec, construction contracts were alleged to have been handed to those very companies who so graciously contributed to the democratic process.  So bad was the fallout that the former government of Jean Charest was forced to appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate these concerns.

In Ontario, we have seen much controversy over the ability to not only contribute to political parties, but also to third-parties, and none is more famous than the Working Families Coalition, a third-party interest group funded by big labour.  The problem in Ontario is that we have been so focused on the high price for some political fundraisers for ministers, that we haven’t quite explored whether a similar revolving door exists in this province as it does in Quebec.

Last fall, I wrote a blog on this site showing how yearly outflows from the province’s treasury to teacher federations had been occurring without policy announcements or any accountability on how the money was spent.  The teacher federations have long been supporters of the government through donations to the Ontario Liberals and through the Working Families Coalition.  The favourable policy decisions that have emerged as a result have been widely known.

The Auditor-General looked into the payments from the public treasury to the teacher federations and provided support for the notion that lax accounting and accountability has been seen in the $80 million she has uncovered through public accounts.  If this were Quebec, pressure would have mounted to an unbelievable level that the government would be forced to appoint a commission of inquiry.  But this is Ontario, and there is very little outcry.

Last week, the Globe and Mail reported on the money trail they have been following and uncovered some real nuggets.  For example, the consortium that received nearly $60 million in fees associated with the partial selloff of Hydro One donated big to the Ontario Liberals.  Not a bad quid pro quo relationship.

And so we reach to today, where Queen’s Park is in recess until September, but a legislative committee is quietly studying revisions to election finance laws.  Except, taking a look at Bill 201, one may be hard pressed to figure out exactly how closed to outside influence political financing will actually be.  Individuals who can afford it, instead of unions and corporations, can still donate thousands.  Collusion between parties and third-parties (which is troubling especially for the governing party that controls the public purse) aren’t tight enough.  These are the sorts of things that will consume time in committee.

While the bill itself is an improvement over the antiquated rules, the biggest failure of the legislation is that the attention has shifted away from the problems of the past to the immediate concerns of this legislation.  This bill, tabled in haste when public opinion was souring over the latest election finance fiasco, misses an opportunity for a broader discussion about the kind of politics we actually want.

Our current politics focuses on chasing money to fund elections only for that money to be used in ways that the public may not appreciate.  Political parties often use their money to demonize individuals rather than have a fulsome debate about the ideas of the future.   This could be the opportunity to change our politics.

We could be exploring ideas like banning political advertising and having Elections Ontario provide equal airtime for political parties to produce infomercials about their platforms during campaigns that would be a bit longer than the 30 seconds of negativity we have been seeing.  The United Kingdom does politics in this way.  This would be fair and would be a more appropriate use of public funds rather than giving political parties money based on the number of votes they receive, for example.

Bold ideas can eliminate the need for political parties to be obsessed (and annoying) with fundraising.  If we create an environment where ideas are the determinant of success not on the size of the campaign budget of parties (and third-parties!), then we can avoid the perception that big money influences our politics and the allegations of corruption that emerge as a consequence.

This article appeared in Queen’s Park Briefing.  Visit to subscribe to this publication and stay on top of all things related to Ontario government and politics!