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Rupert S. Lander

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About Rupert S. Lander

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  1. Curious what the deal is with all this hand-wringing over the Ontario Government's contract with Brewers Retail that, among other things, forbids beer sales in corner stores. The PC's have a huge majority in the Legislature. Any piece of legislation can be enacted to operate notwithstanding any existing contract... or just void the contract altogether. Why shouldn't they, and why wouldn't they... they quickly came to an understanding with the folks running H1 as I recall.
  2. This topic was intended to specifically discuss the implications of the federal powers of disallowance and reservation on this question. If the feds ever signal they may consider it, there will be a lot of articles written in opposition. Here is one in support: https://nowtoronto.com/news/doug-ford-toronto-council/
  3. Ever since Doug Ford proposed slashing the size of Toronto City Council, federal Liberals have been talking about doing "whatever they can" to "protect Torontonians" from the proposed legislation. As far as I can tell, the Trudeau government has three options in terms of legal and constitutional recourse: 1) Reservation - basically, order Ontario's Lieutenant Governor to veto the bill; 2) Disallowance - basically, get the federal cabinet to formally nix the legislation once it becomes law (the feds would have one year following Royal Assent to invoke this); 3) Well, that's it - the proposed law appears to be perfectly constitutional otherwise. These powers haven't been used in a very long time, probably because their use tended to blow up in the faces of the federal party using them and/or their provincial counterparts. The last time they were seriously invoked was by the Liberals during the Albertan SoCreds' first couple of terms, and the resulting political firestorm played a big role in laying the foundations for that party's dynasty (and the Albertan Liberals' irrelevance). Pierre Trudeau briefly considered disallowing Bill 101 and other PQ legislation, but (wisely) decided it would do more political harm to provoke the separatists in that way. This is a different situation. Ford is many things, but he's not a separatist. Obviously, the only circumstance under which the Liberals would even consider invoking disallowance or reservation is if a clear majority of the Toronto CC passed a motion demanding the feds do exactly that. That would present quite a decision for Trudeau: - If he disallows, Ford Nation would go apoplectic, but that in itself might not cost the Liberals a lot of votes; - OTOH if he ignores such a motion, the NDP would immediately pounce. Singh would charge that Trudeau has turned his back on Toronto, and would warn voters in other major cities that Trudeau can't be trusted to protect their interests if he won't go to bat for Toronto. That could potentially cost the Liberals a lot of votes in places where it would hurt them most. Thoughts?
  4. In a not-too-unrelated matter, the incresingly senile former CEO Kingsley's recent idiotic musings are completely irrelevant. At worst, the Referendum Act would merely forbid the Governor in Council (i.e. the prime minister and cabinet) from calling a referendum on electoral reform without Parliamentary approval. Then again, the Canada Elections Act would forbid the GiC from unilaterally changing the electoral system. At the end of the day, an Act of Parliament is required to change the electoral system. If that Act made its implementation subject to the approval of the electorate in a referendum, it would automatically supersede the Referendum Act. The Referendum Act was intended, in large part, to prevent PM's from easily calling referenda on controversial issues. For example, had PM Harper in his minority days had wanted to call a referendum on the definition of marriage. That would not have passed Parliament, and if Harper had tried calling one through the GiC, it would likely have been ruled off-side by the courts. I would add that if Parliament enacts any law that is subject to referendum approval for implementation, it has the right to choose any winning threshold it wants to, including 50% + 1.
  5. In a truly competitive industry, companies are accountable to both their shareholders and their customers. Once an industry becomes uncompetitive, shareholders win out every time. At least if the cellular infrastructure was publicly owned there would be some accountability to the voters, both for the rates charged to subscribers via providers and the quality of service rendered. It's far from a perfect system, but it's far better than what we have now.As for auto insurance - full disclosure, as a forty-ish old driver with a good record I pay about the same for Albertan insurance and plates as I'd pay SGI for the same coverage. It's nothing close to those rates. I suppose the question of whether auto insurance should be public or private largely comes down to whether or not driving is a necessity. PS I looked it up on the banking app - we paid $2087 to insure two vehicles and $167 to put plates on them. But I didn't create this thread to argue for public or private auto insurance.
  6. I wouldn't support the nationalization of the oil and gas industry, and for that matter I don't support state ownership of the automobile insurance industry or liquor stores. I'm pretty much in favour of free enterprise and private ownership for everything other than essential services and essential infrastructure. That's a mixed economy, not socialism. As I've posted more than once in this thread, I have come to the conclusion that the cellular network should be regarded as essential infrastructure and placed under government ownership - preferably at the provincial level although I realize that nationalization could only be enacted by Ottawa.
  7. That would be fair comment as long as we were willing to consider the cellular network nothing more than a profit-driven enterprise, indefinitely. If I agreed with that, I would agree with you because, as a general rule, I am as much for free enterprise as anyone. The whole point I am trying to make is that the cellular network has passed a threshold where it can now be reasonably and feasibly deemed essential infrastructure, on par with other utilities and roads. This is not just a matter of convenience - being able to speedily summon emergency services on a highway can literally be a matter of life or death. Therefore, I never considered and will not consider whether SaskTel (i.e. the Government of Saskatchewan) is directly turning a profit on every single tower they build because, to be frank, that is not why governments invest in infrastructure and that is not why governments are supposed invest in infrastructure.
  8. The terrain of EC Alberta is just as ideal for cell service as that of WC Saskatchewan, yet there are dead zones everywhere besides the Trans Canada - not just in valleys. This is about as apples-to-apples of a comparison as you are going to get. They can define what is respectable, but the public can call BS. Like any other government service, if the government is derelict in its duty to provide good cell service their MLAs are going to hear about it. If you don't believe me, I suggest that you ask any rural Sask Party MLA. It would seem that, as relatively good a job as SaskTel has done providing service compared to its neighbours, there are a fair number of constituents who think they could do better still. And that's not a bad thing.
  9. The actual basis for my view is a first-hand, on-the-ground comparison of the current quality of cellular service in rural Alberta compared to the current quality of cellular service in rural Saskatchewan. To be blunt, service in rural East Central Alberta sucks whereas service in rural West Central Saskatchewan, the terrain being similar and the population density either the same or lower, does not suck nearly as bad, if at all. And, no, I do not partake in any illicit drugs. Oh, did I mention how much cheaper the rates in Saskatchewan are?
  10. On second thought, a "network access fee" might not be the right terminology or approach. Instead, just let each Provincial CC bill each provider X number of dollars each month based on their subscribers' actual aggregate use of their network. Each provider would then be able to come up with plans for subscribers that take all of the variables into consideration. I believe democratic forces, in the long run, would be sufficient in most if not all provinces to deter governments from excessively gouging subscribers or being grossly negligent in providing service. I know this because at least across the AB-SK border where I live, the now-re-elected MLA's heard alot of "we like the work you guys have done in providing cell service to rural areas but there's still more work to be done." Isn't it funny how that would keep coming up in a provincial election campaign when the province already effectively owns the cellular infrastructure? Meanwhile, enough providers would enter the market (I imagine Shaw would make a big splash while MTS and Sasktel would expand beyond their home provinces, to start) so that free market forced would properly keep providers' profit margins in check.
  11. As I stated earlier, I think the cell towers being owned by the provinces is far and away preferable to them being owned by Ottawa. Politically I realize that's complicated by the Constitutional reality of the feds having sole jurisdiction to enact nationalization in this sector. My preference, idealistic as it is, would be for each provincial Crown Corporation to be empowered to levy network access fees for all of a particular provider's subscribers that access their province's particular network in a particular. These fees would then be passed on to the subscribers in a plain and transparent manner. In a case where a subscriber was in multiple provinces for a billing period, Ottawa could mandate that the provincial fees be assessed proportionally according to the subscriber's usage that month. I would also suggest that the network access fee have some proportionality to the fees charged by the provider, so that low-intensity users are not burdened with fees that are excessive with respect to their usage.
  12. If governments are willing to outsource construction and maintenance of roads then why would they not outsource construction and maintenance of cell towers? To be clear, I'm only arguing for the nationalization of ownership of the towers, not the firms that build and maintain them. I do recognize the probability that unions would start angling to put this work in the public sector. But I also see that the private sector is thriving in many parts of the country when it comes to things like road maintenance, so I see no reason why it wouldn't continue to have a role to play in maintaining the cellular network. Combine that with having the private sector continue to provide service directly to consumers, and we could go a long way to ensuring a considerable level of accountability from any Crown Corporation managing a cell network. I also recognize that the quality of cell service is only one of many issues that would come into play during an election campaign, but I think it would play a bigger role than you might consider possible, especially with younger voters. You seem to think that the best way for me to hold cell providers accountable is to just take my business elsewhere - I'd like to think it ought to be that simple but I would respectfully submit that I've done enough laps to conclude that's no longer the answer.
  13. You seem to be suggesting that once the government owns the network infrastructure they'd have no incentive to maintain and upgrade it. I disagree. That sort of logic would also imply that the government has no incentive to maintain and improve roads and transit systems. Whereas clearly they have to maintain some respectable level of service, otherwise they risk getting voted out of office. The same principle would apply to a nationalized cell network. If the government were seen to be putting a lacklustre effort into maintaining and improving wireless service once it was clearly their responsibility to do so, voters would hold them to account. It's not a perfect system by any means, but I would argue that it is a better arrangement than what we have now. I would also argue that governments in Canada have increasingly been inclined to either acquiesce to the consequences of technological development or work to mitigate the "damage" - for example, they didn't just outright ban satellite radio as a knee-jerk response to protect Canadian content on terrestrial radio. So whenever the next great technological advancement that renders cell towers obsolete comes along, I'm reasonably confident whatever government is in power will quickly see the futility of trying to stop it at the border.
  14. The same rationale could be used to argue that the most heavily used roads and highways in Canada should all be sold to the private sector, leaving the government to maintain roads only in sparsely populated areas. The problem is once you start this sort of project the industry is going to stop investing private sector dollars in infrastructure. They'll step back and expect the government to shoulder the burden for them. "Partial nationalization" will not work - either go all the way, or forget the whole idea.
  15. By that logic, service in Saskatchewan should be crap compared to the rest of the country. Living near the AB-SK border, I can tell you that simply isn't the case.
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