My Idea: Ontario Provincial Election Edition

So, I have already voted in the upcoming Ontario Election, but it got me thinking what my platform would look like. There has been some controversy with certain parties not providing a platform yet with the main vote a little over a week away… So without further ado, here’s what I’d want to do.

TAXES

  • Increase Tax on the wealthy by 1% for families earning more than $200k/yr and 2% on families earning more than $500k/yr and 3% on families earning more than $1m/yr.
  • Close tax skipping loopholes for business and private individuals.
  • Tax corporate automation – businesses should be able to pass some money towards the support coffers as they’ve saved staff costs. Set typical employment numbers for corporations of different sizes as they are today. If a corporation has more employees, they aren’t hit with this tax. If they have fewer employees than typical revenue numbers would expect then levy a 5% automation tax on gross revenues.
  • Create a 5% consumption tax on certain product types. So in Ontario it would be 18% tax on qualified items.
    • Cell phones over $500 retail price (price change indexed with inflation)
    • Computers over $1000 retail price (price change indexed with inflation)
    • Cars over $50,000 retail price (price change indexed with inflation)
    • Junk food (chips, pop, candy, chocolate, popcorn, etc…)
    • Cigarettes, Marijuana, Alcohol
  • Increase tax on home purchases by 1% on houses above median provincial cost. (Currently around $500k).
  • Setup a better water tax for companies using Ontario’s water resources based on how much water they use. The more they use, the higher they’ll be taxed based on the amount of water used and gross revenue to make sure we don’t bankrupt small companies but also earn back more from larger organizations such as water bottling plants.
  • Simplify rules/tax system for businesses under $500k in profit and/or five or fewer employees.
  • Exempt minimum wage workers from Provincial income tax.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Increase the provincial budget for building renewable energy systems in Ontario.
  • Switch from Cap and Trade to straight Carbon taxation.
  • Continue and grow the electric vehicle rebate program to make electric vehicles more affordable.

HEALTHCARE

We can’t assume employees will extend more benefits and while we can attempt to mandate it, I believe a more comprehensive system is required by the government to fill the gaps that businesses have made.

  • Free glasses (up to $500/2 years) and dental care (up to $1000/year) for children 18 and under including any medically necessary procedures/requirements such as braces, retainers, eye surgery and of course any accidental needs.
  • For 19+ free basic glasses (no transitions, no coatings, frames under $200) [every 2 years] and preventative dental care (scaling, cleaning, fillings) for all.
  • Build new nursing homes and long-term care beds. Rush project (to be completed within 2 years) with 1 new bed per 5,000 citizens. (~2,800 new beds across Ontario). With a further 1 new bed per 3,000 in the next 4 years. (~4,700 more). And if I were to stay on for 8 years, I’d expect another 5,000 beds to be in place for a total of 12,500 beds in 8 years.
  • Mental health illness treated like any other illness. Increase training for nurses and doctors related to mental health needs.
  • Increase number of counsellors, psychiatrists and therapists in hospitals to a minimum of 1 per 10,000 people served by the hospital (1400 new positions).
  • Add 1 to 2 mental health care workers to each public and high school board (~200 positions).
  • Reduce wait times for a youth’s (under 19) first support appointment to no more than 14 days when dealing with depression, suicidal ideation, emotional issues that could lead to suicide by prioritizing it over other mental health needs.
  • Provide government health coverage to individuals earning less than $60k a year for counselling support through internet solutions like BetterHelp, phone solutions, and in-person options to a maximum of $2,000 per year.
  • Free drug coverage under OHIP for families making under $100k/year.
  • The government will cover the costs of minimally invasive fertility treatment options (such as medication, fertility testing and cycle monitoring)
  • Double the number of midwives from 900 to 1800 over the next 4 years.
  • The government provided benefits should be visible on a website to see what was used and when. So you can see what you qualify for, what you’ve used, what you have remaining and when it refreshes.

EDUCATION

  • Free college-level education for all.
  • Continue the new OSAP style system for University students where kids of families making under $60k/year have access to free education at any level.
  • Forgive 25% of each currently held student loan converting them to bursaries received.
  • All current and future student loans from the OSAP program should be interest-free.
  • Amalgamate public and Catholic school boards (elementary and high school). No more religious schools showing a priority for one religion over another. Allow high schools to have religion classes as optional electives, but it must be inclusive religion education.
  • Add mental health training to health classes in all high schools – managing stress, dealing with anxiety, combatting depression, identifying mental illness.
  • Eliminate the EQAO testing.
  • Cap kindergarten class sizes to 15 children per teacher/teacher assistant with a max cap of 30 in a room and stop any split year classes.

CHILDCARE

  • For those not planning to immediately go back into the workforce, increase Maternity leave to 3 years with their position no longer guaranteed after 14 months but government benefits continuing through that time. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their family and heading back to work before they are ready. A single income family should be able to thrive.
  • Enforce a $15/day/child daycare standard.
  • Those earning less than $60k/yr provided free childcare at public, licensed, not-for-profit child care centres.
  • Increase the number of public, licensed, not-for-profit child care centres.
  • We will need to cut many current subsidies for parents/childcare for this plan to work.

MEDIA

  • Fight for tighter CRTC rules on telecom.
  • Cell phone plan with 1gb data, unlimited texting and local calling for $30/m.
  • Unlimited bandwidth 15 meg down Internet for $30/m.
  • Work with the CRTC to pressure telecom companies to provide Ontario with data plans similar to what is available in other provinces.

FIRST NATIONS

  • Reserves should be treated like any other city or town in Ontario with the same expectation for services (roads, water, power, internet). That should be a top priority!
  • Increase opportunities for First Nations teachers to be employed by public schools by carving out the budget for a First Nations Cultural Administrator position in all elementary schools with a goal of teaching First Nations history and culture to all Canadians. Find ways to help teachers include it in all subjects, organize cultural events, and train teachers.
  • Create a $5m per year fund for First Nations Cultural Archiving to employ people to collect First Nations language (audio, video, text), digitize art (to make it available for everyone to see), and create First Nations focused educational books (how to uphold traditions, history and culture information).

My overall goal is to incorporate the First Nations into Canada’s melting pot and provide them with the same opportunities as everyone else and providing them opportunities to share and hopefully strengthen their culture.

GOVERNMENT

  • Raise the floor so the lowest of us are taken care of (guaranteed basic income of $24k/year) the goal of getting people out of big cities and moving Ontario towards a digital economy. Every single person 18+ gets $2,000 every month to spend as they will.
  • It will require a raise in taxes on families making more than $85k (including the Basic Income, so an additional $37k/yr employment income) with the system able to recoup the full basic income stipend at $150k/family level and above (so $102k income from employment + the 48k in UBI).
  • End government support programs for low-income earners with exceptions for parents (child bonus should exist @ $500/year/child to a max of $1500/year) and those with medical needs (ODSP).
  • Decrease government staff by 10% through retirement and strategic hiring freezes.
  • End First Past the Post for Provincial Elections. Your choice matters. You shouldn’t be voting thinking about who you don’t want to win. Switch to ranked ballots using the Alternative Vote system.
  • Quarterly allowances for political parties should be capped at $500,000 (increasing at the rate of inflation) per political party. Election campaigns should not be able to take any type or style of corporate donations. Election campaigns should not be able to take free services or request free publicity.
  • Work with the Federal government to create a single source Government site. Citizens should be allowed to easily use data from one service, such as tax details and share it with another government tool. For example, OSAP, if proof of income is needed you should be able to request that the CRA sends it to OSAP by either a permissions management system or some kind of OAuth-esque/API solution that allows a one-time connection between the two services. This should work for all government websites.

BUSINESSES

  • Work towards a 50x max executive compensation based on the median income of non-executive full-time staff. So if the median wage is $50k, then max executive compensation is $2.5m which includes bonuses, stock options, etc… Every $1000 an executive increases median wage is another $50,000 they can increase their own.
  • Domestic contract workers and part-time workers that work 30 hours per week or more (4 weeks in any quarter) must be extended the option to “buy into” any corporate health benefits options that full-time workers receive.
  • 5 guaranteed paid sick days for part-time workers, 10 guaranteed for full-time workers with no doctor’s note required.

TRANSIT

  • We need some high-speed rail along the Ontario Corridor (London to Ottawa with stops in London, Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa, and Ottawa) at a speed of no less than 250 KPH. I would fight to make that possible.
  • We also need additional spending in public transportation across the province. (Busses, trains, subway, etc).
  • Work with GO Transit to extend GO service to be constantly two-way between 6am and 6pm Monday through Friday.
  • Free transit passes for those 55+.
  • Trucks over 18’ long should pay congestion charges if they run on any 400 highway in the GTHA between 8am – 10am and 4pm – 6pm.

SENIORS

  • No income tax on seniors with an income equivalent to minimum wage.
  • No taxes on support products for seniors (walkers, wheelchairs, canes, etc…)
  • Exempt from consumption tax.
  • Creation of seniors clubs, exercise programs, and activity programs to keep seniors engaged and provided the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
  • Public transparency on costs of senior care. We all need to understand the costs of serving an ageing baby boomer population and work together to look for solutions and opportunities to provide the best service at a cost that doesn’t cripple our province.

OTHER

  • Libraries as community centres/technology training centres – invest heavily in providing 3d printers, VR, AR and training for librarians.

I understand that this plan contains something that everyone can dislike, but hopefully, it also contains a line item that everyone likes. There are a lot of needs in this province and the choice we have to make is between taking care of those in need and going into further debt or making this province another “everyone fend for themselves” place. I will also admit, I don’t know the money side of any of this. I tried to think of ways to increase the revenue of the provincial government to be able to pay for some of these plans, and it might be a bit too much tax and spend, but I believe that is the kind of solution we need. In my opinion, we can’t cut services right now as there are too many people in at-risk positions, but we also can’t keep spending a ton of money we don’t have forever and think that’s okay. A compromise must be created while continuing to hold true to the ideals of Canada.

I hope you found this interesting. Feel free to comment, to pick it apart, to point out what you liked and didn’t like. I really don’t mind as I am no expert in this arena, just a creative citizen fortunate enough to have the time to imagine.

My 1,000th Post on This Blog

I can’t help but think about my career, both in blogging and just in general, as well as my life as I hit 1,000 posts on this blog according to WordPress.com’s software.

Some of those blog posts were brought over from a previous blog, and others are less about my life and more focused on my creativity, but overall, I think this site paints a pretty reasonable picture of who I am. If you go through the archives, you’ll learn about my life, my family, my struggles, my victories, my career, my hobbies and so much more… But this site only gives a small snippet. My goal with blogging, when I first started was to share my thoughts and feelings more readily and to have a place to archive my life and so much of what I’ve done has been lost to the ether or just to my poor memory. I continue to wonder about the periods in my life that have all but faded away, and I chastise myself for not having written more, taken more pictures, and finding ways to make sure that information was safe for me to archive away and be able to look back on.

With one thousand posts written, I also have to think about what lies ahead. I am in such a great place in my life, and sometimes it feels hard to write about that because I’m either busy enjoying it, or I don’t want to brag as we all hit high points at different times in our lives. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I will endeavour to do better about archive it so that one, five, or even twenty years down the road, when my memory of these times has faded away, I can look back on who I was, what I did and how far I’ve come.

I have had over 25,000 unique visitors to this personal blog. My five most popular posts since starting are:

Thank you so much to everyone that reads this blog, and even more so to those that take the time to comment on the posts, you have all helped me feel more connected, more cared for.

Anxiety When Gaming

Many of you are going to find this pretty silly, but that’s okay. This is a post about me and for me.

I suffer from anxiety while playing competitive games and especially Fortnite: Battle Royale. The easy solution would be to stop playing the game, but there are aspects I really enjoy about the game, and for some reason, I want to get better at this game. Unfortunately, I am hitting a wall that I’ve always had in my career, hobbies, projects and just life in general: depression and anxiety are stopping me from achieving my goals. They affect my life like anchors around my neck and while my medication is doing wonders for my depression, my anxiety still hounds me.

I need to overcome this issue. I need to find a way to enjoy the game. I need to get my brain to relax, to not speed up my heart so much, to not constrict my chest, to not make my hands and feet cold. I feel so frustrated that after so much time in the game, I haven’t been able to get past this. I thought that if I trained heavily that eventually, I wouldn’t care and my body would relax. I even try to tell myself it doesn’t matter, and I have thrown some top 5 positions just to try to relax and reduce the weight that I’m giving to my performance and need to excel.

I have started working with a trainer to improve my gameplay, and while I am getting better positions in the matches, my anxiety is still extreme. I feel that I have some skills in the game and that I am above average in most situations, but any time I get to the top 20 players, my body reacts in negative ways.

I deal with this same kind of thing in real life in certain circumstances, so as silly as it might sound, I’m hopeful that if I have a breakthrough in playing this game, I might be able to translate some of that to my real life and handle situations better in my day to day life because I don’t deal with anxiety every day in my normal life, but I can in most games of Fortnite that I play…

There are times where I feel so frustrated that I’m being held back by my anxiety that I just want to uninstall the game, but then I remember all the fun I have and the sense of accomplishment I feel when I do really well or win. I’m hopeful that I’ll find a way to get over this. I don’t want my anxiety limiting me or slowing me down in anything I do, even just playing games.

Gaming for Fun and Community

I have been working on growing a small community of like-minded people by streaming on Twitch and posting videos to YouTube, and I’ve been really enjoying it.

At first, I thought for sure I’d be building my community wholly on YouTube because my schedule didn’t really allow consistent live streaming, but even just finding 10 hours that I am pretty sure I can carve out has worked well for me, to the point where I’ve sorta been letting my YouTube community down by not posting there as much anymore.

Anyways, for those that are interested, I am using the tag CanadianTitan for most of what I’m doing.
Check out my Facebook, Twitch and YouTube channels.

I’ve been playing a variety of games, and while this will never be my full-time job (I love my current job btw), I am enjoying the time I put into this and the people I’m meeting. And if somehow it ends up paying for my Internet someday, or for the games that I buy, all the better, right?

I should also note that other people in my family are also streaming. You can often find them through my Twitch channel as I host them when they are live.

Battle Royale Game I Want: Space Fighters Battle Royale

I play a lot of Fortnite: Battle Royale, and I really enjoy it, but I can’t believe that more types of Battle Royale games aren’t out yet!

I want a Battle Royale game done in space.

With one hundred people starting out each in a basic fighter in a large solar system with a dozen planets, thirty or so moons, two rings of asteroids, and eight large stations.

Your fighter is basic and has a mining weapon, a decently strong hull, and no shields. Everyone moves around the map, mines asteroids, takes and holds stations, builds deployable and defensive structures, upgrades their ship, and the last ship alive wins.

The Circle Mechanic
The circle mechanic can be tied to a story element of an Alien race closing in on the sun in the center of the map. As they close in a huge swarm of small ships circle the system and shoot the players in their captured zone. This lets players dip into the captured area of space risking being seen and attacked by the swarm, but also provides a potential short-term tactical advantage by risking entering that area.

Starting a Match
How do you start the match? Everyone gets in their ships outside of the solar system, you open the map and click where you want to drop out of hyperspace. As you travel in, two things happen, a destabilizing energy that snakes through the system, makes you have to either change course or not quite get to your selected exit location, and of course, you can change course like you do while landing in any other Battle Royale style game.

You have a certain amount of hyperspace energy, and once you start “jumping in” you can’t stop until it is all gone and you return to normal space where the battle for survival begins.

The Map
The planets, asteroid belts, and space stations can all orbit the sun, making the map change constantly as some have elliptical orbits, orbit at different speeds, and a few things orbit on a different plane. If you are within a certain range of one of those elements, you get caught up in its gravitational wake and travel around the map at the same speed, but outside of that close proximity, if you are at zero velocity, everything will seem to be moving both away from and toward you. The speed at which these things move around the map should be around eighty or ninety percent of the default ships maximum speed, as I feel that will make it more interesting.

If a planet is moving away from you, you can catch up to it, but it may take a while depending on how far it was away when you started to burn towards it.

Going to a planet provides more resources, but has little to no default defences. Asteroid belts are great for defence (hiding behind asteroids) and collecting material to build your own things, such as forcefield bubbles, defensive turrets, traps, mines, and small bases.

Space stations can be claimed by being in proximity for a period of time, and once claimed, they’ll shoot your enemies, though if you leave the station, they’ll quickly forget about you and go back to being neutral. They’ll also repair player ships over time, making them both a strategic advantage, and a risky option to approach.

The sun could be a really cool mechanic as well. When looking towards the sun, lens flares reduce vision. Getting too close to the sun causes heat damage that slowly destroys your hull. If you have solar rechargers, the closer you get, the faster your shields recharge. So too close, and your shields will charge fast, but your hull will slowly burn away.

Ship Improvements
Ship upgrades would include a speed boost, like an afterburner with a fuel amount, better weapons including missiles and some kind of long-range rail gun, better mining equipment, larger storage, more hull strength, better shields, deployable structures such as an energy barrier, small auto-turrets, mines, and small player crafted stations, a cloak that has an energy usage/limit, solar-based energy rechargers, and a super rare phase device that makes your ship untouchable for a few seconds.

Deployables
To limit abuse of deployable structures, there could be a CPU element and control distance element so that each player can only launch a few deployable items at a time, and if they are out of range, the deployable items power down. So you couldn’t just set up dozens of auto-turrets all over the map.

Rewards
I wouldn’t want this game to be pay to win so the idea of getting special paint jobs or weapon model designs based on winning or purchasing skins would be cool.

Some other things that could be microtransactioned would include forcefield colour when hit, deployable energy barrier colour, engine trail colour, player made small base model designs, hyperspace sound effect, mining beam colour, and more…

Round Length
I’d like to see it set-up in such a way that a round of this game would take maybe thirty minutes, as I feel that’s a good play quick game length for most people, including myself.

So, can someone make this, please?

Unique Soda Pop Birthday Experience Tradition 2017

This year, while in the US to go to the Destiny USA mall, we stopped at a restaurant on the way home and they had some interesting bottled sodas, and so I picked up some for Annie and me to try. It was something she did for my last birthday, and now it might be a yearly tradition.

For those that didn’t read last year’s instalment, please check it out -> Unique Soda Pop Birthday Experience.

We did this experiment over two days, and on the second day, my cousin, Kyle, was around to try some and provide his feedback as well. Enjoy!

Dang! That’s Good Butterscotch Root Beer

Imperial Flavors Beverage Company
Milwaukee, WI

Aroma
David: Very much like butterscotch candies, right away, but not much root beer scent.
Annie: Smells sweet, buttery, creamy. It smells good.

Sweetness
David: Not really that sweet. Not as much as the smell would lead you to think it would be.
Annie: Not overly sweet. I think this is a better butterbeer than anything else that markets itself as a butterbeer.

Flavour Profile
David: Mild taste, average carbonation.
Annie: Mellow flavour. Easy drink. Nothing offensive about it. Butterscotch flavour. I think Dang That’s Good is a good name for it.

Aftertaste
David: Short-lived, a little bit of a bitter caramel that remains.
Annie: Mild, and more in the back of the throat.

Overall Score
David: 2 / 5
Annie: 4 / 5

Sioux City Sarsaparilla

White Rock Products Corp
Whitestone, NY

Aroma
David: A bit of a weird funky smell that quickly disappears and then it is hard to “find the smell” again.
Annie: “Do I smell anything?” There is almost a plant smell to it.

Sweetness
David: It is almost bitter tasting. Not much sweetness at all. Sweetness disappears immediately on swallowing.
Annie: Not very sweet.

Flavour Profile
David: Almost like a lightly soured, watered down mug’s root beer. There is a hint of that root beer bottle caps candy taste, but it is very short lived.
Annie: The carbonation almost hides the flavour until the aftertaste. Tasting licorice when I breathe out. When it is in my mouth, I can’t identify flavours.

Aftertaste
David: Medicine-like.
Annie: That’s where I taste some sweetness and licorice as well as those root flavours in root beer.

Overall Score
Me: 2.5 / 5
Annie: 1 / 5

Moxie Original Elixir

Orca Beverage Inc
Mukilteo, WA

Aroma
David: Medicine smell. Very strong, with a hint of both bitterness and sweetness
Annie: There is a mint, cherry cough syrup.
Kyle: Smells like cherry dr pepper. Also, like old candies… the coke ones.

Sweetness
David: Not very sweet at all. Weirdly not sweet.
Annie: Needs to be sweeter to cover up the taste.
Kyle: Definitely bitter.

Flavour Profile
David: Ew… This is bad. Tastes like medicine and only gets worse and worse.
Annie: Cherry cough syrup. It is prickly and terrible.
Kyle: Tastes like dirt or from the ground. Tastes better at the start and then gets worse. Starts with a nice strong pop syrup.

Aftertaste
David: Bitter, like cranberry and medicine.
Annie: You swallow it and it gets worse.
Kyle: Bitter, very bitter.

Overall Score
David: 0.5 / 5
Annie: 0 / 5
Kyle: 0 / 5

Dumped out. Too gross.

Caruso’s Maraschino Cherry Cola

WIT Beverage Company

Aroma
David: Very cherry, smells like Maraschino cherries.
Annie: Smells like Shirley temple.
Kyle: Smells like Dr Pepper with lots of cherries.

Sweetness
David: Not as sweet as the smell led me to believe.
Annie: It is very sweet.
Kyle: It is mild, I like it, very nice.

Flavour Profile
David: Strongest cherry cola I’ve tried, but milder carbonation than other sodas I’ve had. Kind of one note though as it is just “cherry cola”, but done well.
Annie: Like a tang of alcohol. Like a slight hint when you swallow it.
Kyle: I like it, it tastes really good. Not as “cherry” as I thought it would be. I like it, and I hate cherries.

Aftertaste
David: Like a cherry popsicle that you finished a while ago.
Annie: Cherry with a hint of medicine. Definitely doesn’t linger much.
Kyle: Cherry, short.

Overall Score
David: 3.5 / 5
Annie: 2 / 5
Kyle: 4 / 5

Double Cola

The Double Cola Company
Chattanooga, TN

Aroma
David: Stinky feet.
Annie: Rotting vegetables. It is funky and not the good funky.
Kyle: Maybe smoky, dirty laundry.

Sweetness
David: Not very sweet. Hard to identify sweetness because of the taste.
Annie: Covers her mouth
Kyle: Not sweet or bitter. Like syrup and dirt mixed together.

Flavour Profile
David: That’s the grossest thing I’ve ever tasted as a soda. Tastes like I think a pop version of vegemite.
Annie: Tastes like grass and dirt. Tastes wormy.
Kyle: Definitely tastes like the ground.

Aftertaste
David: Didn’t last long, but I wouldn’t take another sip.
Annie: “Oh, ew…” The aftertaste is better than the drink itself. Grassy?
Kyle: Doesn’t linger too long. It’s not good.

Overall Score
David: 0 / 5
Annie: 0 / 5
Kyle: 0.5 / 5

Dumped it out.

Caruso’s Dark Cream Italian Style Soda

WIT Beverage Company

Aroma
David: Buttery smell with a hint of vanilla.
Annie: Caramel, buttery. This is making me happy.
Kyle: I like the smell.

Sweetness
David: Above average sweetness.
Annie: A touch on the high side of sweet, but good.
Kyle: Good sweetness, not too powerful or too weak.

Flavour Profile
David: Reminds me of a very mild melted grape popsicle. Weirdly enough.
Annie: Vanilla, caramel, maybe a bit of marshmallow, creamy, buttery. Pleasant. Makes me happy.
Kyle: Tastes like maple syrup to me in pop form.

Aftertaste
David: No bitterness that sticks around. Very nice.
Annie: Nice sweet, not too long of a linger. Cuddles your mouth.
Kyle: Pleasant aftertaste.

Overall Score
David: 3.5 / 5
Annie: 3.5 / 5
Kyle: 4 / 5