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Canadians for Integrity - working for the common good

Why we felt compelled to create Canadians for Integrity (CFI)

May 5, 2012

Canadians for Integrity FlagCANADIANS FOR INTEGRITY ©

TORONTO – According to a Canada Speaks survey, 93% of Canadians rate “firefighters” as the most ‘trustworthy’ profession in Canada. Only 12% trust local politicians and national politicians receive the lowest rating along with “car salespeople” at 7%.

Although there are politicians who are respected for integrity and impartial concern for the common good, the lost of trust, in politicians as a whole, is a plain fact.

Stephen Harper’s promises of ethical conduct and accountability, in creating transparency in government, and tough-on-crime legislation were a determining factor that brought federal Conservatives to power in 2006.

Notwithstanding the campaign promises to Canadians, the one rule of federal ethics which required Cabinet ministers, their staff, and senior government officials to “act with honesty” was removed by the Conservatives from the so-called “Federal Accountability Act” through Bill C-2.

No action under the law was taken against the Honourable Conservative minister Bev Oda (Beverley Joan) for misleading the House of Commons and ordering a signed $7-million funding decision falsified.

THE LAW

Criminal Code of Canada

Breach of trust by public officer

122. Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 111.


The Harper “government of transparency and accountability,” still keeps those the money has been collected from – Canadian people and business – in the dark about:

There is little doubt why Canada has slipped from 11th to 19th of 100 countries in anti-corruption rankings assessed by Global Integrity, a Washington-based research group - the world’s most comprehensive monitor of international government accountability – that uses more than 300 indicators to measure accountability, integrity, and the democratic process.


ONTARIO

In Ontario - the province with the largest population in Canada – the Liberal Party won a majority government after their campaign promises that, if elected, they would not raise taxes, would improve openness and transparency in the government, repair health care, and make poverty reduction a priority.

“We will not raise taxes” Mr. McGuinty solemnly promised to nearly 13,000,000 Ontarians



During the 2003 campaign, the Liberal party’s leader Dalton McGuinty bought television air time to solemnly promise that he would not raise taxes if Liberals were elected.

Months after the Liberal election victory, Premier McGuinty imposed a health tax, called Ontario Health Premium, an additional amount charged on an individual’s income tax. It costs a person up to $900 annually. The total collected through this tax from Ontario taxpayers is $2.6 billion per year.

The party’s leader, Dalton McGuinty, said the tax was necessary to boost health care after he discovered a $5.5 billion deficit left by the Progressive Conservatives. It is unclear whether the premier was aware of the deficit while making the not-to-raise-tax promise given that the New Democratic Party knew of the deficit.

As a further measure in an effort to balance the inherited budget deficit, McGuinty’s government announced in May 2004 that it was removing from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage for chiropractic services in Ontario which has existed for 30 years, along with the coverage for physical therapy services and eye examination coverage for adults ages 20–64.

In December 2006, by extending the legislative session Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals voted to give themselves a 25% pay raise, just four days before Christmas. The legislation gave cabinet ministers $31,000, and Premier McGuinty, a $39,000 non-taxable increase.

In March 2007, the Liberal government projected a surplus of $310 million in that fiscal year. It could be interpreted then, that the $5.5 billion deficit from 2004 was eliminated.

Despite that financial recovery, neither the OHIP coverage for the chiropractic and physical therapy services nor for eye examination for adults ages 20–64 have since been reinstated.

And in September 2007, in connection with the Ontario Health Premium, Premier McGuinty told Ontarians, "I'm saying if you're looking to me to eliminate your health premium in 2009, don't look to me for that. I need that money.”

Ontario residents won’t be getting a break on the controversial health tax even though the province is getting a boost from the federal budget, Premier Dalton McGuinty said on another occasion.

The NDP leader accused Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government in October 2007 of handing out tax breaks to big banks and insurance companies - referring to the capital tax that was being phased out – indicating that banks had made in the previous year a profit of $18.2 billion.

“Under Dalton McGuinty, Ontario has become the child poverty capital of Canada while at the same time banks and insurance companies are getting multi-million tax breaks.” said Ontario NDP leader and noted further that a single-parent mother with two children and an income of $30,000 a year had her income tax increased by 24% because of the controversial so-called health tax the Liberal government imposed.

Further, opposition party leaders charged McGuinty of disregarding calls to demonstrate that the money he was taking in from the so-called heath tax had indeed been spent on health.

In 2007, while campaigning for re-election, Dalton McGuinty again repeatedly promised Ontario residents that, if elected, his Liberal government would not bring in new taxes.

When re-elected, in the middle of the recession while ten of thousands of Ontarians were losing their jobs or were having a pay cut and difficult time feeding their families, the Liberal government and Dalton McGuinty levied a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which combines the former provincial sales tax (PST) and the federal GST - making Ontarians pay an additional 8% on goods and services that previously were not subject to the PST such as:

gasoline/diesel, electricity and heating bills, home renovations, real-estate commissions, legal fees, new homes over $400,000, private resale of cars (including registration), dietary supplements, gym and athletic membership fees, aesthetician services (e.g. manicures, pedicures, facials), hair-stylists/barbers, dry cleaning services, internet access services, taxis, the price of hotel rooms, magazine subscriptions, lessons (for ballet, karate, trampoline, hockey, soccer, etc), funeral services, and the list goes on.

Despite objections from at least five of his cabinet ministers, Premier Dalton McGuinty personally pushed for the recycling program that led to eco fees on electronic and household goods, the Star wrote.

Through provincial legislation under the Waste Diversion Act (WDA), on July 1, 2010, Ontario Liberals and Dalton McGuinty imposed eco fees while trying to convince Ontarians that the fee was not a tax*.

*Definition of tax by “The OXFORD Dictionary for the Business World”
“Tax – n. 1. money compulsorily levied by the state or local authorities on individuals, property, or businesses.”

Consumer and legal experts were maintaining that the new Ontario "eco fees" charged to consumers on thousands of products were not only a tax, but also an illegal tax under the Canadian Constitution.


Improve Openness and Transparency in the Liberal Government’s Promise

"Why would a government not want to bring scrutiny in an area costing the provincial purse tens of billions of dollars?” asked the Ontario Ombudsman André Marin whose office has authority to oversee and investigate the provincial government, Crown corporations, tribunals, agencies, boards and commissions, BUT NOT municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals, as well as nursing homes and children's aid societies.

To be noted:

Having the power to investigate hospitals, Ontario Ombudsman Marin argues, would allow him to monitor hiring practices of medical professionals and ensure personnel are qualified.

In a statement, Marin said he's made repeated requests to Premier McGuinty and the province's top bureaucrats for the right to investigate public complaints, decisions and quality of care issues in hospitals; but McGuinty has NOT agreed to expand the ombudsman's powers of investigation which makes Ontario the only Canadian province where hospitals are not subject to the scrutiny of an ombudsman.


“Minister Bountrogianni and I, along with our Cabinet colleagues, have been fighting for fairness for the people of Ontario.”

Sincerely,
Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario”

Accountability is a politicians’ slogan only. At Canadians for Integrity we strive to make politicians’ accountability a fact.


About CFI

Canadians for Integrity (CFI) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization working for the common good.

Mission

To help Canadians improve the quality of their life.

Goals

  1. To help the public identify government and public officials who

    a. betray the public trust, focus on questionable special interests or are unfit for public office;

    b. have impartial concern for the common good and conduct themselves truly and with integrity.

  2. To develop Informational Database accessible via Internet that provides individual’s public performance record of public officials (politicians, government officials, and public servants) with the intention to help Canadians identify the best candidates for public office - resulting in better governing and thus better economy, better employment opportunities, better business environment, better health care system, better value the taxpayers receive for their tax dollars.

  3. To bring matters of great public importance before an elected public official, to urge him or her to deal with the matter of concern, and to inform the public thereafter of how the individual government or public official has personally handled the matter.

  4. To build coalitions to push for policies and legislations favoring transparency and accountability.

  5. To help an honest public servant defend his or her reputation if being libeled or slandered by a group.

  6. To use high-impact legal actions through our group of talented and experienced legal professionals to target dishonourable and unscrupulous public officials – regardless of party affiliation – who sacrifice the common good to special interest.

  7. To employ the law as a tool to force officials to act ethically and lawfully and bring unethical conduct to the public’s attention.

A special thank you to: Ryder Gilliland, Edward Sapiano, and Celia Ferrier.

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ABOUT CFI: Canadians for Integrity (CFI) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to identifying, challenging, and deterring public officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests.