Ontario by-elections: things to watch for

Craig Brockwell | August 2016

Voters often use by-elections to express their dissatisfaction with the governing party. Given the Liberals’ current low popularity rating across the province, a Liberal loss in Scarborough-Rouge River on September 1 is a real possibility. However, according to recent polls, the Ontario Liberal Party is still leading in the City of Toronto, which includes Scarborough-Rouge River. The by-election will therefore be a test of many sorts. Are these polls accurate? Is the confusion between the provincial and federal parties allowing the Ontario Liberals to bask in the glow of Justin Trudeau? Will Liberal voters sit on their hands as they are[...]

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Ontario by-elections: one called, two still to come

Stewart Kiff | August 2016

Voters in the east Toronto riding of Scarborough-Rouge River will go to the polls on September 1, in the first of three by-elections needed to fill vacancies in the Ontario Legislature. But no dates have yet been set for Ottawa-Vanier, vacated in June by former Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur, or for Niagara West-Glanbrook, a seat that will become vacant on September 16, following the planned resignation of MPP and former PC Leader Tim Hudak. Scarborough-Rouge River Scarborough-Rouge River has been without representation since March 22, when long-serving MPP Bas Balkisoon resigned suddenly with no explanation. The Liberals have held this[...]

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High expectations for rookie Minister Marie-France Lalonde

Stewart Kiff | June 2016

by Stewart Kiff The MPP for Ottawa-Orléans, Marie-France Lalonde, has been given a tall order in her new role as Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. Her predecessor has set the bar very high. During her 13 years in this position, Madeleine Meilleur was a tireless and effective champion for the Franco-Ontarian community. Her most important achievement is undoubtedly the creation of the Office of the French-language Services Commissioner. The Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly, guaranteeing him full political independence in his work to ensure that the public receives high-quality French-language services from the Government of Ontario. The Franco-Ontarian[...]

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Cabinet Reboot

Stewart Kiff | June 2016

by Craig Brockwell The much-anticipated Cabinet shuffle unveiled Monday by Premier Kathleen Wynne allowed her a much-needed re-calibration two years out from the next election. With her personal popularity as well as her party’s popularity in steady decline, the Premier needed to make these changes. Thanks in part to some generous help from those former members of Cabinet who recently signaled their departure, this new Cabinet appears to meet the Premier’s desired goals, namely moving towards Cabinet gender parity and setting the refresh button in anticipation of the 2018 election. Not to be overlooked, this type of exercise allows Premiers[...]

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Put your Running Shoes on

Stewart Kiff | April 2016

by Craig Brockwell Both the provincial and federal budgets are now behind us and both provided some of what we expected and some we may have found surprising. This is often the case given that there is much media speculation surrounding a budget and the fact that governments of the last 20 or so years have telegraphed a great deal of what ends up in a budget, weeks in advance. The surprises are the real notable points and when they happen, we are often caught completely off guard. Nonetheless, as we have said in previous articles, the next budget cycle[...]

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Found Opportunities

Stewart Kiff | April 2016

by Craig Brockwell Presently one of the hot topics around political circles are the limits placed on political donations. We can likely all agree that here in Ontario our limits, whether during a campaign or outside of one, are quite generous. However, with prices of $500 or better for many ministerial events, the present price of a fundraising ticket can be quite steep and limit many from attending more than one, two or three events per year. Donations that fall under a company or organization’s government relations budget can get squeezed, thus limiting the opportunities for getting face time with[...]

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Never a dull moment at Queen’s Park this Spring!

Stewart Kiff | April 2016

By Stewart Kiff The spring session of the Ontario Legislature is shaping up to be full of unexpected developments with a possible prorogation of parliament and a surprise resignation. Prorogation is in the air Persistent rumours have it that Premier Kathleen Wynne plans to prorogue parliament sometime in mid-spring. In response to a direct question on this issue at a press conference on March 24, the Premier would neither confirm nor deny the rumour, offering only the following response, as reported by the CBC: "There is a lot more work to do in the province, so stay tuned for how we're[...]

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All in good time …

Stewart Kiff | April 2016

By Craig Brockwell It is often said in and around government relations circles that what we do can be likened to a marathon and not a sprint. Overwhelmingly this is true. Certainly there are situations in which the stated goal(s) can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, however much of what we do takes time. For this reason it is important to factor in a reasonable budget that matches the real time needed to achieve success. In some cases these determinations can be easily decided upon. Perhaps all that is needed is some guidance on the content[...]

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What to watch for in the Spring Session in Ontario Politics

Stewart Kiff | April 2016

By Stewart Kiff This upcoming spring session starts on Monday, February 16th and it's a good time to reflect on how far the Liberal Government has come and how confident it has become, but also on the mounting public perception problems they are facing regarding the two sets of corruption charges laid against senior officials by the OPP. Under Kathleen Wynne, the Government remains confident in its ability and purpose. The caucus is united and members communicate extremely well. They are pushing the Government’s legislative agenda, and their ability to stay on message continues to be very impressive. Kathleen Wynne has made herself very open[...]

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“A Tale of Two Cities … and Conventions”

Stewart Kiff | April 2016

By Craig Brockwell Starting over ten years ago, I began sitting in the Public gallery at the Ontario Legislature watching most Question Periods in person. During this time I was educated and fascinated by how and what media would report on the political issues of the day. Often newspapers, reporters and editors would report anything but what I thought was important. At times I could understand why and how they reported and a very few times we were in sync with our thinking. For these reasons, I am anxiously waiting to see what may happen come this May. That month[...]

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