• Making a Responsible Budget Decision

    In the 2019 Budget deliberations an item of contention arose around removing $521,000 from the anticipated budget costs that was earmarked last year for a provincially legislated minimum wage hike. With the change in provincial government, that requirement was removed. It was the staff recommendation that we not proceed with a wage increase and remove that earmarked amount from the budget.

    Advocates have argued that “it was in the budget already, you shouldn’t remove it”. But of course things that were not anticipated had to be added to the operating budget, including additional funding for ambulance services to tackle growing response times ($590,000), cycle network maintenance ($408,000, required to meet new provincial standards), mental health funding for police officers ($161,000) and restoring seniors bus tickets ($285,000) transit access at a more affordable rate. In total, over $1.4 million in operating costs not planned for were added.

    The result, the increase this year is 2.7%. In comparison a senior in our community living on Canada Pension Plan benefits will receive only a 1.5% increase.

    Making budget choices is never easy. And whether in a council seat, or as resident of the city, budget decisions need to balance care and cost, and also need to be considered in context and in impact, not ideology. Continue Reading

  • Why All Londoners Should Stand with Striking Cami Workers

    The reality is the economic under pinnings of London have been allowed to slowly rot away over the 20 years I’ve called this city home.

    First the internet’s digital revolution came for the white collar jobs, as the insurance and financial sectors downsized dramatically.

    Then automation started coming for the blue collar manufacturing jobs, that so many in the community looked down on as unimportant. And it wasn’t just the auto sector, places like Phillips lighting, where I once worked disappeared too.

    And throughout, corporate greed, empowered by so called free trade agreements, and the hollowing out of worker’s rights by provincial governments, made even good paying jobs more precarious.

    So in the face of that, it’s more important than ever that when our friends and neighbours go out on strike like the workers at CAMI have done, that we rally around them and say, enough is enough! Continue Reading