Author Archives: Admin

Kevin O’Leary Calls Out Premier Kathleen Wynne Again on Carbon Taxes

Hi Premier Wynne,

I’m worried.

I asked you to keep me informed about the $1.9 billion you are extracting out of the Ontario economy in new carbon taxes. I was excited when you promised lots of new jobs and reductions in carbon emissions. Then I saw the July jobs report. Wow, 36,100 Ontario jobs lost in a single month, the worst decline since the recession, and you still haven’t told me any good news about carbon emission reductions. I guess your new plan is not working.

Maybe it would have been better to leave that $1.9 billion in the hands of the Ontario businesses that were using it to hire employees before you taxed it away from them.

However, I hear it’s not all bad news on the Ontario job front. While the private sector is losing jobs by the tens of thousands under your new tax policies, you have been busy creating some really interesting opportunities for your staff. I don’t know how I missed this, but apparently you lost $70 million setting up and then cancelling the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) in June. While in operation only six months, you hired some really special people that walked away with millions of taxpayers’ dollars for apparently doing nothing. It sounds so ridiculous that I am assuming I must have it wrong, and that’s why I’m putting pen to paper.

So here goes, true or false?

•Did you spend $8 million marketing the ORPP even though it didn’t exist? That sounds so crazy it can’t be true.

•Did you give Neala Barton, the plan’s senior vice-president of communications, $316,819? She started in March. Just exactly what was she communicating for 90 days?

•Did you pay Anne Slivinskas — the pension plan’s general counsel — $341,418 for working there just three weeks? That’s $2,845.15/hr. You don’t fool around with taxpayers’ money; You hire the best lawyers!

•Did you pay a tech guy named Brian Gill — the pensions plan’s CTO — $414,050 to work for two months! (Note to self: Send Premier Wynne my comp committee’s North American average salary report. Her laptop must have been hacked.)

•Jennifer Brown — your choice for senior vice-president of the plan’s operations — was a lifer. She started March 21 and lasted until the end of June. So, with that kind of long-term commitment, no one should complain about the $445,019 you gave her.

•Did you really pay ORPP CEO Mary Anne Palangio $465,938 for 90 days’ work? Who says you can’t get a great job in Ontario.

•This one is my favourite, it’s so out there! Did you give $485,000 to Saad Rafi when his job running the Pan Am Games ended and then hire him again to run the ORPP even though he has never had an investment mandate before? And then did you pay him an additional $827,925 to walk away a few months later? If this is true, I bet some taxpayers are unhappy about it.

Maybe it would help if you spin this as an inspirational story. You search the province for a seasoned financial money manager to be the fiduciary of the new ORRP but in the last minute hire someone who has fallen on hard times and is out of work, even though they never managed money before. It’s so Rocky-esque!

Rafi could have been great as a pension plan manager but we will never know. Giving him the $827Gs for taking this bold new step in his career is the least we taxpayers can do. After all, it’s hard to live off a measly $485,000 severance when taxes are so high in Ontario, but I know you are not spending any time worrying about that.

These must be very special people! No one in the private sector could ever get a deal like this: Thank goodness they know you. Some Ontarians might see this and assume you don’t give a damn about their hard-earned money. Is that true? Frankly, if I gave away $2.8 million to employees that did nothing in my businesses, I would go bankrupt. Come to think of it, your government has a long history of starting projects, spending millions and then cancelling them — you know, like gas plants, “green” projects and now pension plans. That’s why Ontario is $308 billion in debt, so you are kind of bankrupting us, in your own special way.

Still I get it, perhaps from your point of view, why should anybody give a damn about the $70 million you just wasted, it’s just a rounding error.

Well, maybe the voters do. Have you seen the latest polls? Perhaps at this point in your mandate you may want to think about delivering a little more transparency and performance instead of dreaming up new ways to tax people and businesses and then spending it this way.

I’m just trying to help.

Anyway, I don’t want to be negative so I hope you are having a great summer. I know the 36,100 people in Ontario who just lost their jobs in July are feeling a little down but I’m sure they will go from sad to glad when you tell them about all the carbon emissions you have reduced. Best you get that good news out soon. In the meantime, next time you are paying people on your staff to do nothing for $827,000, maybe you could show a little compassion and hire one of your 36,100 constituents who just lost their job.

There will be an election soon and when that’s over and you start your new career, I’m going to bet it won’t be one where you manage money.

Yours respectfully,

Kevin O’Leary

Ontario taxpayer, voter and your employer, for now.

Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian businessman, investor, writer, financial commentator, and television and radio celebrity.[2] He is co-founder and Chairman of O’Leary Funds and the co-founder of SoftKey. He previously served as a commentator on Canada’s CBC Television and CBC News Network, on the programme The Lang and O’Leary Exchange and hosted Redemption Inc. He is an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank and was a venture capitalist “Dragon” on CBC Television’s Dragons’ Den.

Early 19th Century shipwreck, the Washington, newly discovered in Lake Ontario

The single-masted sloop Washington, built in 1798 in Pennsylvania on Lake Erie, was used to ferry cargo and people around Lake Erie and Ontario a few years prior to the War of 1812. In 1802 it was sold to Canadian interests and apparently dragged overland from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

Washington

In early November 1803, the Washington left Kingston, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, with a crew of five and cargo, bound for Niagara at the western end of the lake. Somewhere off Oswego, New York, the Washington encountered a severe storm and sank, with all hands and cargo.

The shipwreck, in an excellent state of preservation, was discovered by the wreck-diving team of Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens, who have discovered or surveyed many of the wrecks in Lake Ontario, including the earliest known sailing vessel on Lake Ontario, the HMS Ontario, sunk in 1780.

Video courtesy of the wreck-diving team’s remotely piloted underwater camera.

Image

Nothing more needs to be said.

Donald Trump, Conservatism and Freedom of the Press.

Back when HotAir.com (Salem Media) was something other then a #nevertrump only/”facebookers are real” website, I posed the question to the base in a comment: “What is a Conservative?” There never was a uniform answer, nor really was there much consistency in the responses received, other than a vague notion of “personal responsibility”, “smaller government”, and “fiscal prudence”. Some were Reaganites, others were classic libertarians, some “social conservatives”, and some “progressive” conservatives –  really, small L liberals.

So when people state Trump is not a “conservative”, it follows that the question becomes “by who’s definition?”

Based on his public statements and interviews, and that of his family that I’ve seen and read over the last year, I would characterize him, in my hierarchy, as a “social conservative”.  Many Americans (and more than a few Canadians) are not willing to accept “social conservatism” as being “conservative”.  But what is different about Trump in this respect, is something most conservatives cannot be familiar with – the vast difference in being very, very rich, in contrast to being very poor, or at least truly struggling. Trump understands that difference, and while he may have earned most of it, he knows that he is indeed fortunate to have done so.

While not publicized enough, Trump is very conscious of his privilege acquired through money. He is way more of a philanthropist than has been made public. This is one reason why he’s seen as being on the fence politically. He recognizes that occasionally people do really need a hand up, and it may be a hand-out;  he is known to reward selflessness handsomely. This is Trump’s “social conservatism”, or,if you will, his “conservative liberalism”.

Trying to pigeonhole Trump into the “conservative” camp, when much of America can’t define what it means to be “conservative” and is very much interested in tearing apart the “conservative” Republican party, tossing it on the ash-heap of history, is overtly hypocritical. He is who he is. He is running under the Republican banner because that’s how the US system works. It’s where he fits for the political purpose he is running. Independents don’t stand a chance.

* * *

With regard to his “freedom of the press” twitter comment, his frustration with a biased press is obvious. Everybody on the right, Trump included, understands the First Amendment of the US Constitution and “freedom of the press”. However, the current press environment can hardly be described as “free”, even without state restriction.

The press is not free, when contrary voices, in part because of editorial/publisher decisions and the scourge of monopoly ownership, are suppressed and marginalized. The press is not free, when access to the airways is controlled by money and government fiat. The press is not free when nepotism in politics and media is the norm rather than the exception. Americans may have a free voice, but they do not have a free press.

Trump’s twitter rant is about the integrity of the press, and as a political newcomer, he can be forgiven for believing that integrity and balance should be the standards from which discussion flows. In Trump’s world, integrity is the building block of his business – without it, there is no business. In politics today, integrity has left the building, and he’s wrestling with what can only be described as a vicious “fight with a pig”.

McCarthy: Obama’s Cash Payment to Iran Was More Than a Ransom — It Broke Criminal Law

Obama’s Cash Payment to Iran Was More Than a Ransom — It Broke Criminal Law
The president hoped to camouflage what he knew to be against the law.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — August 6, 2016 National Review Online.

Yikes!

Trump Backgrounder for the Leftist Media

In today’s Trump Doral, Florida presser, the MSM are reporting in a variety of terse ways, that Donald Trump is asking the Russians to hack the DNC and God knows what else. For the record, this is the full reference that is being “precis’d”. The most serious hacks going on right now are the media hacks.

“If it is Russia, which it’s probably not, nobody knows who it is, But if it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason, because it shows how little respect they have for our country. When they would hack into a major party and get everything, but it would be interesting. I will tell you this. Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you’ll probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens next.”