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Ontario premier Bill Davis passes at 92

Davis was first elected in 1959 and served as the 18th premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985, concluding 42 years of PC government.




Former premier of Ontario, William Davis, died Sunday morning in Brampton, according to a release issued by his family. He was 92.

“It is with immense sadness and deep gratitude for his remarkable life as a husband, father, brother, grandfather of 12 and great grandfather of three, that we announce the passing in his beloved hometown of Brampton the morning of Aug. 8, 2021, of the Hon. William G Davis, the eighteenth Premier of Ontario,” the release stated.

“After spending much family time in his favourite of all places, his cottage in Georgian Bay, he died of natural causes … surrounded by members of his family.”

As premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985, Davis concluded a 42-year reign for the Progressive Conservatives. He was first elected to the legislature in 1959.

As Education Minister in the early 1960s, he created Ontario’s Institute for Studies in Education and the establishment of the province’s community college system. As premier, he established Canada’s first ministries of Environment and Housing and played a key role in negotiating Canada’s constitutional accord.

Davis and then Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed clashed in the late 1970s after years of Ontario paying more for Alberta oil. The Diefenbaker government’s Ottawa Valley Line decision made Ontario buy Alberta oil essentially to fund exploration and investment. Davis thought there should be a Canadian price and a world price for that oil. 

The two men first became friends at a Tory policy conference at Montmorency Falls, Quebec in the late 1960s where they co-chaired a workshop on a “two nations, one country” approach to national reconciliation. 

When Lougheed died in 2012, Davis expressed his admiration in a Toronto Star column

“Peter and I did not share the same view on all matters, as history records. But his Progressive Conservatism was a bridge-building view of the world that many were delighted to share and support, in Alberta, throughout the West and from coast to coast. 

“I believe that his vision, balance and optimism have never mattered more.” 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Davis’ legacy.

“The former Premier of Ontario leaves behind an incredible legacy of service – and I have no doubt that the impact of his work will be felt for generations to come. We wouldn’t have a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms if it wasn’t for Bill Davis’ patriotism and willingness to put partisanship aside for the good of Canada,” wrote Trudeau.

Toronto Mayor John Tory also expressed admiration.

“To me, he was always Premier Davis, but he was also my one-time boss, a law firm colleague and most of all a friend and mentor through most of my life,” Tory said Sunday morning.

“In all of those roles and many more, including most importantly as a husband, father and grandfather, the same personal qualities always shone through: decency, integrity, balance, and he was a very proud Canadian.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford offered his sympathies to Davis’ family, who will host a private funeral for him, followed by a public celebration at a later date.

“My deepest condolences to the family of @WilliamGDavisPC, Ontario’s 18th premier. He served the people of Ontario with dignity and class. We will be lowering flags to half-mast across the province in his honour,” tweeted Ford.

“I would also like to thank [Davis’ family] for sharing Bill Davis with Ontario for so many years. We are better for it, and he will be deeply missed by all,” Ford said in a statement.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was heartbroken to hear the news.

“He was our most beloved resident in Brampton, Ontario’s most successful premier and the definition of decency. His legacy is one of profound accomplishment & he will be missed greatly,” Brown said in a statement.

In 1987, Davis received the Order of Ontario and in 2001 he was inducted as a Knight into l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur by the Ambassador of France.

In his later years, Davis became the Honorary Chair of the National Institute of Ageing, a think tank at Ryerson University dedicated to improving the health, well-being and financial security of older Canadians.

“Mr. Davis’ record of public service has become legendary, including his ongoing and enduring commitment to improving the lives of all Ontarians and Canadians,” said Dr. Samir Sinha, NIA Co-Chair, Founder and Director of Health Policy Research.

“I was grateful to be able to call him my patient, friend and mentor. His particular support in helping to establish [our] research institute will never be forgotten, as ageing becomes one of our country’s greatest future public policy challenges.”

Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based correspondent for Western Standard.


Opposition MPs ask government to ‘show them where the money is coming from’

“Say it’s $10 billion by July. There is no accountability for that.”




The Liberal’s latest pandemic relief plans may actually be billions of dollars higher than estimated, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Department of Finance was in a “continued race to push money out the door,” said one MP.

Bill C-2 proposes benefits including lockdown subsidies for employers and workers estimated at $7.4 billion. The cost covers payments retroactively from October 24 to next May 7, though the bill allows cabinet to extend subsidies to July 2.

“The issue of course that we’re looking at here is accountability,” said Conservative MP Greg McLean (Calgary Centre) at the Commons Tuesday finance committee.

“If there’s an obvious extension, how do we hold the government accountable for that extension when it’s more money going out the door, more on top of the $7 billion you’re already planning to spend?

“Say it’s $10 billion by July. There is no accountability for that.”

Department of Finance managers said they did not know the cost to taxpayers if the program runs to July 2, 2022.

“I can’t answer that at this stage,” said Max Baylor, senior director with the department.

“It would presumably depend on the parameters.”

“I don’t know if it’s because things have been lax during COVID but this is something you need to get right for the country,” said McLean.

Bill C-2 was “just a blank chequebook,” he said.

“I know the government has had a blank chequebook for far too long,” McLean said.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.) questioned the bill’s impact on deficit projections.

“My question relates to the cost,” said Poilievre.

“How is the government paying the $7 billion associated with this proposal?”

No official answered, though 10 departmental witnesses appeared before the finance committee.”

“If they have anyone over there who is concerned about where the money comes from, that person could speak up,” said Poilievre:

  • MP Poilievre: “Clearly they’re getting the money from somewhere. Anyone here from Finance Canada?”
  • Director Baylor: “I can provide a high-level response but I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer directly…”
  • MP Poilievre: “Where is the money coming from?”
  • Director Baylor: “That is within the government’s broader macro-economic framework and I’m not responsible. I can’t speak to that.”
  • MP Poilievre: “You don’t have anyone? It’s just that we’re being asked to vote in favour of another $7 billion in spending. The obvious question is, where is it coming from?”
  • Director Baylor: “I appreciate the question, but I can’t answer that question.”

New Democrat MP Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona, Man.) called the testimony “a waste of time” and complained the finance committee could not get straight answers to its questions.

“We’ve been here almost four hours and I haven’t gotten one thing I would classify as an answer to a question,” said Blaikie.

“I’ve asked for a breakdown of the budget. I don’t know if they really don’t have that answer or are on a mission of obfuscation.”

“You have to conclude that our civil servants who ought to be treating the legislature with respect aren’t being upfront about some of these questions, or you have to conclude the people who are running the country never bothered to ask them. Neither one is a very good outcome for Canadians.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland called Bill C-2 the last emergency appropriation for pandemic relief spending. Freeland is to release a fiscal update on deficit figures next Tuesday.

Parliament last May 5 voted to increase the federal debt ceiling to a record $1.831 trillion. It represented a 57% increase from the previous $1,168,000,000,000 limit under the 2017 Borrowing Authority Act.

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Flights from Vancouver to Kamloops priced more than $1,200 over Christmas

BC flight prices have skyrocketed over the Christmas season following flood damage to highways.




Following substantial flooding in November, which led to savaged highways and infrastructure, many of those planning to visit family out of town for Christmas are forced to fly — and some will be paying exorbitant prices for it.

For example, a WestJet round trip — listed on Expedia — from Vancouver to Kamloops, BC on December 22, with a return flight on December 27 is listed at $1,264 as of Wednesday morning.

The normally 30-minute flight includes a nearly four-hour layover in Calgary.

On TripAdvisor, the same round trip is priced similarly.

Those planning a round trip from Vancouver to Kelowna, BC on the same dates will save a few hundred bucks in comparison to those headed for Kamloops. For example, one round trip with WestJet from Vancouver to Kelowna — December 22-27 — is listed at $741 on Wednesday, although it includes a six-hour layover in Edmonton.

Normal flight times between the locales are 55 minutes.

Prices on WestJet’s website are comparable. On Air Canada’s site, all are currently sold out for the aforementioned dates and locations.

However, those travelling between Vancouver and Kelowna can find cheaper trips on Swoop if they fly out of Abbotsford, BC. On Wednesday morning, a non-stop round trip from Abbotsford to Kelowna, departing on December 22 and returning on December 29, is priced under $300.

Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard

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Top Ontario doc says separating vaxxed and unvaxxed best way to get COVID under control

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.




One of the ways to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control is to stop “the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” says Ontario’s chief medical officer.

“Basic means of protecting individuals is stopping the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” said Dr. Kieran Moore at a Tuesday press conference.

“And if our cases continue through and after the holidays we would make recommendations of government to continue the certification process in play. But we’ll continue to review the data. We do have a very robust testing strategy in Ontario for the winter months as we’ve released previously. We’ve purchased … 11 million rapid antigen test for all students in Ontario.”

Moore was asked whether COVID-19 is “something we’re just going to have to learn to live with” and whether it would ever go away.

“We have a long ways to go with the World Health Organization and other international organizations to try to decrease the number of individuals in which this virus can mutate and/or spread,” he said.

“But I do see a time when we’ll have low, endemic rates and it will turn out to be like influenza or other winter respiratory viruses where there’s a seasonality to it, where it does have an intermittent impact on our health-care system and like influenza, you need an annual vaccine to protect against it.”

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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