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Quick Hits, Volume XLI

Toronto's integrity commissioner has ruled that there is no reason to stop a City Councillor from working for residents of another ward or from taking an interest in an issue that's in another ward. This, of course, is good news. If your own City Councillor is hostile to your views, why shouldn't you be allowed to contact one who might listen?

If the State of Michigan is successful in convincing the US federal government to allow them to block Toronto's garbage, the city has only enough storage space to hold two days' worth of trash. Obviously a back-up plan is needed in case of some sort of border closing. The provincial government has in hand such a plan, which is presumably based on using the various landfills in Ontario that currently are not allowed to take Toronto's garbage. That's all fine, but it raises again the question of why there are no landfills in Ontario to take Toronto's garbage. Successive Ontario governments have catered excessively to NIMBYism.

On her blog, City Councillor Shelley Carroll points out that:

While the municipalities do ship to Michigan, it is important to remember that some of the most hazardous waste possible, is IMPORTED from Michigan to Ontario every month.

If the United States and Michigan are preparing to ban the importation of regular garbage, we should be prepared to immediately ban hazardous waste imports. I hope Dalton McGuinty and Paul Martin have the legislation prepared, just in case. (Yeah, right!)

Regarding the Ontario Health Premium, Dalton McGuinty now says "I gave my word. I broke a promise, I'm not denying that. I said I wouldn't raise taxes and then I did raise taxes. What I'm asking people to do is to make an assessment whether or not I did the right thing given the circumstances as I found them."

I think it was obvious that McGuinty was eventually going to have to make such a confession. But if he was never going to be able to succeed in saying "this isn't a tax, this is a health premium", then it is somewhat of a bungle. Running with a health premium instead of an income tax increase has two downsides. One is that it is less fair. The other is that it is a constant, in-your-face reminder of the broken promise. Too bad he didn't think of this before.

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