What can we ask for, locally, and what we expect of our Members of Parliament?
1. End the unprecedented price gouging and unregulated, monopolized marketplace. Food, housing, rent, insurance, and fuel are necessities that everybody has to buy and pay for. Since early 2000s, consumer protection does not exist. Monopolization has killed competition and, consequently, killed healthy market mechanisms. There is no valid reason for the food prices at METRO and other supermarkets to constantly rise. We are now paying 3-5 times more for food than we did in 2005. We are paying twice as much to rent an apartment than we did in 2001 and five times as much as we paid in the 1980s. The cost of car insurance has increased 5 times, since 1980s, as well. Houses and cars went up 300-500 percent. Despite salary increases, the market value of the money we make is rapidly decreasing. Consequently, our standard of living is on a constant and steady decline. Since this greed-driven trend is caused by government deregulation, we expect and demand that the government restores anti-trust as well as fair prices and services regulations and re-activates effective consumer protection a.s.a.p. – (Here)
2. Restore integrity and credibility of Canada’s foreign policy – (Here)
3. Re-connect with the base and restore democracy. There seems to be a growing disconnection between the politicians and the voters. Politicians no longer care or even respond to the concerns and expectations of the local population because they don’t have to. It seems that the election process is a show for the public but mechanisms other than voting decide about the results. Private sector money and lobbying, supported by corporate media, get people elected. Candidates are appointed by political parties that are controlled by local business community and, sometimes, by a specific ethnic minority with strong ties to the business community. The entire election process has lost its credibility and needs to be “refreshed” with new blood and new, more democratic mechanisms. Some politicians refuse to respond to public reports of rules and regulations being violated, for example in development or in protection of natural environment and wildlife. This indicates corruption but nobody is willing to investigate. – (Here)
4. Restore public use of municipal and recreational land, and free access to it. This issue has many aspects:
- Parking in the city should be free. I don’t understand why I cannot park for free in most of the streets around downtown, when I need to go to the bank or visit my doctor. Parking lots, that used to be public, have been privatized and the prices are skyrocketing. I have recently paid $20 for parking to visit my doctor specialist at a medical centre in Hamilton and another $20 to park at the hospital for my medical procedure. This used to be free and it needs to be free, again.
- Parking in the shopping district should be free but restricted to two hours, like in Paris, Ontario.
- Parking in the streets surrounding recreational areas is often prohibited. Some public parking lots around Dundas Valley Conservation Area have been closed. I don’t understand why people cannot freely park in residential areas to go for a walk with their children or their friends.
- Access fees to Dundas Valley Conservation Area and other recreational areas managed by the Hamilton Conservation Authority have increased up to 400 percent in recent years. Most popular spots, e.g. at the Christie Lake Conservation Area, are often closed to the public (and even fenced off) because they are frequently rented out for commercial shows and other profitable events. If public access has to be closed to “pay the bills”, then we should close the HCA altogether and return the land to the Crown. The city’s Parks Department will manage it within the taxes that we pay. – (Here)
5. Protect the Dundas Valley unique ecosystem and wildlife from the pressure of developers and rich land buyers on one hand and from the corruption of local officials who issue permits on the other. The continuous invasion of new residential development into the forested area of Dundas Valley and the resulting fragmentation of deer habitat have to stop. – (1. Here, 2. here, 3. here, 4. here, 5, here, 6. here, and 7. here)
6. Finally, the issue of the so called Nanfan Treaty and the resulting annual deer hunt in Dundas Valley Conservation Area needs to be dealt with at the federal level. I have written extensively on this topic and provided both historical and legal evidence that the Nanfan Treaty is not a valid treaty – (1. Here, 2. here, 3. here, and 4. here). It has never been recognized as a treaty by the British Crown and is not listed as Indian Treaty by the federal government of Canada. For some strange reason, a few years ago, the Ontario government decided otherwise, based on a flawed interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling in R. v. Sioui  by a couple of provincial courts. The Nanfan treaty is a legal and historical hoax that has led to repeated conflicts between the Haudenosaunee, the local non-native population, and the provincial government. The federal government has to finally step in to sort it out.
I realize that some of the items on my wish list, above, are more local than federal but I also believe that our federal representatives have the responsibility to correct local and provincial issues, if needed. After all, the federal government is superior to all provinces.