Sunday, February 06, 2005
Ontario Politics Rant
January 24, 2005
Tony Ruprecht, MPP
RE: Three issues of concern, Public Insurance, Pit Bull Ban and Internet Child Protection.
On public insurance I would like to know what you personally, and the Liberal Party of Ontario, is doing to alleviate the problem of high auto insurance rates. I think most of your constituents would agree that the current average rates in Ontario are much too high. I believe I am backed up by the publicly available financial records of the insurance industry when I say they that are now gouging the consumer.
I would like to point out that I am not against the idea of competition to create value for the consumer, however this theory appears to be losing its grip — in my humble opinion — in light of my insurance rates and those of my neighbours. I believe that the way to set things right, for many consumers, is to start a public insurance company that will set some kind of stability in pricing and security for consumers who have poorer than average luck. I am originally from British Columbia and although the province has public insurance — the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) — there are also companies who provide private coverage. This actually serves two purposes in that ICBC is the registration authority for vehicles and an insurer of last resort, if the consumer cannot get their liability coverage from a private insurer. Is the government looking at a system similar in nature to that of BC?
On the pit bull ban I will say that I disagree with the direction the government has chosen to pursue. It is reactionary and worse — in my humble opinion — will be ineffective in curbing vicious animal incidents. Once again I point to animal control policies I have witnessed in other jurisdictions as example. Before 2002 I lived in the Province of Alberta, in the City of Calgary and I point to the differences I saw when I first came to Toronto — referring to leash laws — as compared with those in Calgary. I was surprised to find people walking their dogs down XXXXX St. near my home without a leash. I have a very nice dog and so I thought it was quite refreshing at first to have the freedom to take him to the park and leave the leash behind. However, there is a big downside to this attitude in that it encourages irresponsible pet ownership. Calgary actually has very few vicious animal incidents and I believe it is the ‘zero tolerance’ leash laws in the city that largely contribute to this. As my MPP would you please bring this up with the Attorney General as I believe his law will actually make things worse and cause the needless destruction of hundreds of very good family pets.
On Internet child protection: I don’t have any quick comments for this one. However, I am an information technology professional and once again, in my humble opinion, I cannot see this one working. Right from the start I can tell that this law abrogates the provincial privacy act and the federal privacy act. It also seems — from a technical standpoint — very similar in nature to the recent court case levelled at Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by the recording industry, which required them to collect and remit private information about their customers. I believe that the ISPs will fight against this law using the same precedents and it will be defeated. The losers in this case will be the parents who seem to be at a loss to curb the seemingly innocent, but potentially dangerous, use of Internet Chat Rooms by their children.
As I said I do not have an easy answer for this one but I would like to know what, if anything, else was proposed to deal with this problem, because once again I find the government response to be reactionary and poorly thought out.
If you would like to speak further on these issues please do not hesitate to call or send email.
I know it might be a bit of a pile-on to hit a politician with more than one issue at a time, but when I talked to him a few days later he did try his best to address my concerns. I didn't get a chance to talk to him until late - and he was still hard at work for me at 11 PM.