Thursday, 23 December 2010

Sheppard Subway vs Transit City - Do the Math Rob

Sheppard subway extension: A quarter the stops for three times the cost - The Globe and Mail
During the campaign, and now, the numbers haven't really changed. Rob Ford wants to cancel a huge network of rapid transit across Toronto, connecting thousands of people, and replace this with a few new stops on the Sheppard subway line - a line that has been carrying less people than the Spadina-Harbourfront streetcar.

Ford seems to think he has a mandate to halt progress and waste money. If you voted for Ford, is this what you voted for?

Read the article. Do the math. Write to Ford and your councillor and say Yes to Transit City and No to Ford's plan of failure.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Key oberservations on the first big day of the new Toronto City Council

Observations from Rob Ford’s easiest day: Senior Editor Edward Keenan gets a first look at Toronto's new council
Edward Keenan makes some key observations about what happened and didn't happen at the first big meeting for the new Toronto City Council.

Note about Nunziata saying she didn't think they were being televised at one point. - I was watching the meeting at that time on-line via Rogers, and that moment was televised.

Wishful thinking regarding the Toronto Police Services Board

Reining in the unaccountable chief -
The Toronto Star is hopeful that Rob Ford will adjust the board so it will guide the police with a firmer hand instead of the afraid-to-give-orders-to-the-police-chief board that we currently have.
This IS their job - to direct the police chief. For the most part, if he is doing his job properly, then they don't need to give him direction. But, when he is not doing his job properly, like when, during the G20 protest weekend, he misdirected police to break the law by assaulting peaceful protesters and to illegally detain peaceful protesters, and when he told the police to allow vandals to damage property and when he told the police to leave vehicles for the vandals to torch and to let them burn, HE NEEDED TO BE DIRECTED!
And, he needed direction after the fact to, as the Star points out.

But, if anything, Rob Ford will not do anything to give the chief direction. Rob Ford thinks all the innocent people during the G20 protest weekend should have been assaulted and detained. Rob is into that, same as he is into not knowing the facts about pretty much everything. He will do quite the opposite to the board - he will make sure that they do nothing to direct the police, even more so than the previous board.

We DO need a strong chair on the board, and a strong board, but, in my opinion, we won't see one for at least another 4 years.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Miller vs. Ford: Who Excluded Whom?

Miller vs. Ford: Who Excluded Whom? « Spacing Toronto
As you can see from the make-up of the exec. budget and TTC committees formed by Miller and now formed by Ford, Miller INcluded councillors of ALL the areas of Toronto on all the committees. But, Rob Ford has EXcluded councillors from Toronto & East York District on all of these 3 committees.

Doesn't seem like a very smart move on Ford's part if he wants to govern properly by representing all the city and including input from all the city.

Adam Vaughan on Metro Morning: "It's not an ideological thing, or a cultural thing," Vaughan told Metro Morning.
 "It's just that the lived experience of people who live in particular
parts of the city are what comprise our civic intelligence and our
institutional memory.  And if they've chosen not to have that around the's gonna be a difficult time to work together, not on
ideological issues...but just on how to manage the physical realities of
Toronto. You need everyone's input to make good, smart decisions."

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Conservative senators passing bad bills that the Liberals let through in the House of Commons

Conservative senators bulldoze through worrying bills - Hill Queeries
We are hearing a lot about what the Conservative senators are doing now that they have a virtual majority in the Senate. But half of what they are doing that people are upset about is passing bad bills that the Liberals allowed to pass in the House of Commons (either by voting to support the bill, or abstaining/not showing up).

It is one thing to complain about a bill, that you backed (like the Climate bill that all the opposition parties supported fully), that had the support of the majority of the House of Commons, being shot down by the Conservative senators. But it's another thing to complain about the Conservative senators passing bills that were supported by a majority of the House of Commons (Conservatives and Liberals).

Now, maybe if the Liberals in the House actually voted against bills they did not agree with in the House we would not have this situation.

Something to think about next election.

What would Light Rail be like?

What Would Light Rail Be Like? - Torontoist
Underground, LRT it would be about as fast as the existing subway trains. Above ground, where there are more frequent stops, it would be slower (as would the subway if it had more frequent (meaning close together) stops).
It would not reduce the number of car lanes (where it looked like it would, they put it underground so it wouldn't).

From comments to the article:
Rich1299: Transit City lines would not take away any lanes for cars, none at all,
two car lanes in each direction before an LRT line and two car lanes
afterwards, plus there won't be dozens of buses constantly stopping in
those car lanes so car traffic will flow much more smoothly on routes
with an LRT on them. In fact the reason the section on Eglinton is being
buried is because they would have had to reduce car lanes if they
didn't so the myth that LRTs take away from cars is just that, a myth.


Subways are great. I don't think anyone would actually
take LRT over subway if they had a realistic choice. But given what we
have learned over the past 50 years, I think I'd rather have something
that has a chance for completion in my lifetime over mystical subway
lines that will forever haunt political history files for decades.

Ford is only pushing so hard for subways because he knows that there
won't be ANY ground-breaking on any subway project while he's still in
office. He'll do what he actually wants (to kill Transit City) and the
actual task of starting real subway development will be left for the
next mayor or the one after that.

Toronto needs expanded and improved transit. Doesn't matter how or in
what form, so long as we can get people moving sooner rather than
later. The whole excuse of "do it right the first time" is just hurting
everything even more because it's a simple fact that the TTC wastes a
huge chunk of their budget on union wages and so our government does not
take public transit seriously because they just view it as a cash cow.

I'll take what I can get. Maybe I'll be able to take transit to work by the time I retire. Maybe.

Stells Bells: I'm staggered by Doug's claim that he has been to "every single city in
North America". Surely that claim alone proves that he is full of sh!t
and one need go no further.

Nick: I think Doug's polling question would have to be
examined. For instance, you can ask the question "Does Toronto need more
subways and fewer streetcars?" (obviously, yes) or "Does Toronto need
7.5 km of subway serving a small percentage of its population or 75 km
of right-of-way separated LRT that serves 80% if its population and
frees up space for cars on the road and that's already funded by the province" (obviously, yes!!).

I wish Toronto had votable propositions like US states do, which
allocate specific funds for specific purposes, and which can't be
overturned by the latest dullard to take office. I don't think Ford got a
mandate to forge ahead with some half-baked subway plan but rather to
stop some ill-defined gravy train.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ford and suburban-only Exec Committee ignore questions and unanimously pass unrealistic initiatives
- Not!

How did they expect Ford to be able to answer any of their questions when he doesn't know anything to start with?
He was asked how will he freeze property taxes without cutting services?
The council will vote on all this next week. That will show the real picture of how Ford's bulldozing tactics will fare in Toronto's government.

Notice in the map in this article, that Miller had 6 members of his committee from the suburbs and 4 from downtown (the writer at the Star calls the 4 "many" while actually, in this case, it would be more factually correct to call the 6 "many"). Meanwhile, Ford's committee has all members from the suburbs and none from downtown (where a third of the population of the whole city lives).

Rob Ford voted 3 times in support of Transit City

Ford cast three votes in favour of LRT strategy - The Globe and Mail
June 16-19, 2007: City council unanimously adopts a
broad climate-change strategy that encompasses a range of measures such
as energy retrofits, renewable energy projects and tree planting, as
well as a sustainable transportation plan that includes Transit City,
among other moves. Mr. Ford votes in favour of the plan.

Nov. 14, 2007:
TTC receives staff report confirming
that the proposed Transit City lines satisfy range of evaluation
criteria and decides to move ahead with first four priority projects –
Finch West, Eglinton Crosstown, Sheppard East and the Scarborough Rapid
Transit replacement. The report is forwarded to city council and the
Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (now Metrolinx).

The report says it is “premature” to draw conclusions about community
and political support for Transit City, but notes that TTC staff has
received “strong support” from city councillors for Etobicoke-Finch LRT.
As well, the report notes, “All City councillors through whose ward the
Sheppard East light rail line would pass, have expressed strong support
for proceeding with this line.”

Jan. 28, 2009: During a debate on subway expansion,
council votes to ask Metrolinx to prioritize a “downtown relief line”
while acknowledging that Transit City remains the “first priority” for
the TTC and the City. Mr. Ford votes in favour.

Nov. 30, 2009: City council approves Eglinton LRT
environmental assessment study by a 37-1 vote (Ms. Stintz votes in
favour; Mr. Ford votes against)

Jan. 26, 2010: City council approves Finch West LRT
environmental assessment study by 40-2 vote (Ms. Stintz votes in favour;
Mr. Ford votes against)

June 8, 2010:
City council approves conversion of Scarborough RT to LRT by a vote of 38-1 (both Mr. Ford and Ms. Stintz vote in favour).

Note: Nov 30, 2009 - How was Rob Ford representing his constituents by voting against a rapid transit line into/through Etobicoke?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Rob Ford - a man who has never really understood the issues

Globe & Mail: Ford starts as he means to go on - unfortunately
Rob Ford is already revving up his bulldozer to turn years of progress into rubble.

If he wants to get things done, he will have to learn to work with other people, even people who don’t share his views. If he truly understood that, he might have thought twice before inviting the man in pink to the very first meeting of his term as mayor.

Cherry's "pinko" speech sets the tone of Ford administration

Cherry’s “pinko” speech sets the tone of Ford administration |

Before Grapes could stand and deliver, he got his game face on by
noting that he was happy to see the ass-end of the artsy elites and it
was time for some lunch-pail, blue collar workers to run Toronto.

Cherry and Ford are millionaires. Hardly blue-collar but every inch the elite.

In today's speech to City Council
(go to the 38 minute mark to see Cherry), Cherry actually outdid
himself. He wore one of his garish suits. This one resembling satin
sheets from a 19th century bordello. Fitting.

He used the word "pinko", a term as outdated as Cherry, four times.
He said he was wearing "pinko" for "all the pinkos out there that ride
bicycles and everything." Then he referred to left-wing pinko newspapers
and left-wing pinkos who oppose Ford (unlike Ford, at least he didn't
call anyone a "right-wing communist bastard").

Cherry finished his crazed, incomprehensible diatribe with the classy: "put that in your pipe you left-wing kooks."

This will be news for a few days as Torontonians and Toronto media
attempt to figure out what happened to this city. One day we had a man
who was Harvard-educated and well-spoken, now we have a Mayor who
struggled with polysyllabic words during his swearing-in and thought
Cherry a wise choice to deliver an address to the opening of council.

But I'm pleased, in a schadenfreude way, that Cherry got to shine in
all his troglodytic glory. He has set the tone of the Ford years. Where
all who disagree with Ford's misstep du jour will be labeled a kook and
any time the media scrutinizes a Ford decision, they will be derided as
pinko left-wing newspapers (never mind the MSM is not remotely left-wing
and never has been).

In a meandering three-minute stand-up routine, Cherry neatly
expressed the rigid ideology of Ford and his cronies. The loathing they
feel toward anyone who questions or protests or criticizes.

Toronto, we are the nerds and city council is run by the football
team and for four years they're going to punch us in the gut, steal our
lunch money, and stuff us in a locker.

Transcription of Don Cherry's speech

More commentary:

National Post: John Moore: Don Cherry's 'swaggering performance by a classic bully'

Globe & Mail: Left-wing councillors lash out after Cherry speech

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Canvassers Debate Transit City and Light Rail, Door to Door

Canvassers Debate Transit City and Light Rail, Door to Door - Torontoist
On Saturday, supporters of the provincially backed plan gathered to
canvass homes in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area, in an
attempt to raise awareness of the plight of light rail in Toronto. Yonge
and Eglinton had been chosen because it falls within the jurisdiction
of councillor Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), Ford’s pick for the next chair of the TTC.
"The only person I know who's against it is Rob Ford," he said.

Read the top link for the full story.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Parliamentary committee on the Toronto G20 police actions uncovers more skullduggery by the cops

Toronto journalist witnessed ‘police brutality’ at Toronto G20 -

“One officer held one arm, The other officer held the other arm and a
third officer came up to him and basically told him to shut up three
times, punched him in the stomach. He doubled over. The same officer
brought his elbow down on the small of his back and flattened him. It
seemed to me that that was a massive overreaction to try and check to
see whether somebody was who he said he was.”

Two University of British Columbia students Kirk Chavarie and
Grayson Lepp told the committee of their treatment by police after
attending a peaceful protest earlier in the day, including having to
stand in urine and feces for hours on end in a temporary holding cell in
Toronto’s east end only to have charges later withdrawn.

“Despite what some pundits would have you believe . . . I am
neither a thug nor a hooligan,” said Lepp, who is to graduate from the
UBC’s Okanagan campus.

NDP MP Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) told a news conference on
Parliament Hill earlier that not to hold a public inquiry is to accept
that Canada is becoming a police state where the toe of an officer’s
boot or punch in the gut is the rule of law.

Davies said not only has it been proven that police falsified
evidence to justify widespread arrests — the largest in Canadian history
— they also manufactured evidence, including so-called weapons seized
from completely separate incidents.

“What we need is a full public inquiry . . . if not, one of the
most shameful and largest mass violations of Canadians’ rights by police
and the state in Canadian history will go totally unredressed,” he said

Rob Ford - Crime rate down 30%? Budget tight? Lets's start the Gravy Train and hire more cops!

Ford's plan to hire more police, only cops don't want them -
Rob Ford wants to hire 100 more cops for Toronto. Yet, he has not talked to anyone in the Toronto Police Service or the board to see if this is necessary or feasible financially.

those in high-ranking circles are questioning why the tight-fisted mayor
made the costly pledge without consulting the service, its union or its
board, about whether more officers are needed.

Since 2005, crime is down across Toronto by about 30 per cent. Over that
same period, the force has been struggling to get hold of its worsening
financial crisis.

Wages and benefits account for 90 per cent of the police budget, which
is also the largest item in Toronto’s $9.2 billion operating budget.


The number of police officers on the Toronto force is decided by city council.

In late 2005, following a record year of gang homicides, council
agreed to increase the complement to 5,510 strong. There are sometimes
slight fluctuations due to the lag time between when officers retire and
new classes graduate, but the Toronto force is legally required to keep
its numbers within that range.

When asked if he felt the current staffing levels to be sufficient,
Mukherjee said, “We have obviously felt that the numbers that this
council approved were adequate for what we were using police officers

If Ford does decide to hire 100 more police officers — a commitment
he reaffirmed to Jerry Agar on Newstalk 1010 in mid-November — council
would need to agree.

Once finalized, it would be politically difficult to reduce the complement, creating permanent budget pressure.


The officer debate is playing out just weeks before the association
and board enter contentious bargaining talks. During the last round of
bargaining in 2008, the two sides were forced to enlist the help of a
provincial arbitrator for the first time in a decade. This followed nine
months of negotiating, which ended in a deadlock.

The arbitrator controversially awarded officers a 10 per cent raise
by 2010. Critics, including vice-board chair and councillor Pam
McConnell, lamented that cash-strapped Toronto could not afford the

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The American And Canadian RIGHT Are Taking Us To A Place We Shouldn't Be

Buckdog: The American And Canadian RIGHT Are Taking Us To A Place We Shouldn't Be
Excerpt: - by Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen:
"--- A Few Questions We Wouldn't Be Asking In A Sane World---
On Wednesday, in response to a question from the opposition, a minister of the Crown stood in the House of Commons and assured the honourable members that neither he nor the Prime Minister of Canada advocates the murder of Julian Assange.

Which is nice, I suppose. But it's also troubling.

How is it possible that in this most civilized of nations, in 2010, a member of Parliament felt the need to raise the matter? And while we're asking rhetorical questions that would not need to be asked in a sane world, how is it possible that the Republican party has so completely embraced aggression and brutality that almost all its leading figures feel the near-drowning of suspects is a valid interrogation technique and imprisonment without charge or trial is a legitimate practice that should be expanded?

Why is it that most people in the United States and elsewhere are not disturbed in the slightest that, despite abundant evidence, American officials who apparently committed heinous crimes in the war on terror will not be investigated and held to account, while WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who apparently did nothing illegal this week, is hunted to the ends of the Earth? And how in hell is it possible that when a former president of the United States of America admits he authorized the commission of torture -- which is to say, he admits he committed a major crime -- the international media and political classes express not a fraction of the anger they are now directing at the man who leaked the secrets of that president's administration?

I marvel at that paragraph. It would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago. Murder treated as a legitimate option in political discourse? Torture as acceptable government policy? No, impossible. A decade ago, it would have been satire too crude to be funny.

And yet, here we are. The question in the Commons Wednesday was prompted by the televised comments of Tom Flanagan, political scientist and former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "I think Assange should be assassinated, actually," Flanagan said Tuesday.

This was the hard-right id laid bare.

Read the link for the full post.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Ford's plan for West Toronto - what is it?

Ford’s plan for West Toronto – what is it? — Valentine Makhouleen — interactive art director

We all know Rob Ford’s stance on streetcars and transit. It bothers me.

Under the proposed Transit City
plan, my neighborhood lies right on the path of Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
Which was great news at the time of the initial announcement of
Transity City – we might have a chance of finally getting to a subway
line without spending up to 45 minutes in the rain waiting for a bus.
Not to mention, it would greatly reduce congestion in Scarlett & St.
Clair area by providing a better transit alternative to the unreliable
bus service. It will also make the neighborhood more accessible to most
vulnerable of our residents – those who can not afford a car, or are
simply not capable of driving one. No wonder most residents in my ward
drive – living in our ward without a car sucks. And there is no better

Neither Rob Ford, nor his brother Doug
(who is a councilor in my ward) have put forth a specific plan for the
West LRT line. Based on Rob Ford’s “less streetcars, more subways”
rhetoric I am going to make an assumption that they plan on scrapping
the West LRT line and instead focusing on a subway line. In all honesty,
Westbound Eglinton subway line would be a dream come true. But,
realistically, I do not see a subway line crossing the Humber river
within the next few decades. LRT is a cheaper, and more acceptable


Read the link at the top for more

More news about the clown prince of Toronto

Newsstand: December 3, 2010 - Torontoist
Rob Ford plans to set an appropriately clownish tone for his mayoralty by having Don Cherry introduce him at his first city council meeting on December 7.
Also on the Fordwatch, our miserly mayor is moving on his campaign promises,
asking his executive committee to approve proposals that would reduce
councillor office budgets by 40%, cut the mayoral office budget by 20%,
and offer guidance for a 2011 operating budget no greater than this
year's $9.2 billion without major service cuts. He'll also look to
repeal the city's $60-a-year vehicle registration fee and have the TTC
declared an essential service, limiting TTC workers' right to strike.
Of course asking for stuff is the usually the easy part, while doing stuff can be tougher. Any recommendations out of the executive committee would have to be approved by city council vote.

If he drastically slashes office budgets, how does he expect the level of service to citizens to also improve? The level of service will drop drastically too.

By making the TTC an essential service, the workers will have to end up being paid much higher (that's how it works when you make something an essential service). This will cost the city, and the riders (fare increases) much more. How is this good fiscal management Rob?

It remains to be seen whether all stakeholders will buy into the mayor's
vision of a city where residents and awestruck Pan-Am Games athletes
can travel from Sheppard station to Scarborough Town Centre underground,
as long as they drive cars everywhere else.

A good point and this sums up Fords plan exactly. With Transit City, large areas of the city will be serviced by new rapid transit. With Ford's plan, all that is cancelled and only a tiny piece of Scarborough will be serviced by rapid transit.

Rob Ford has to face reality on public transit funding

Not so fast, Wynne warns Ford on transit -
Transit City isn’t dead just because rookie Mayor Rob Ford has decreed
it so, warns Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

OCAP challenges the Rob Ford agenda

OCAP challenges the Rob Ford agenda |
Listen to the interview at the link.
As Rob Ford began his first day as the new mayor of Toronto, OCAP
wasted no time in accusing him of embarking upon a Mike Harris agenda.

“It’s going to happen on an enormous scale and it’s
going to happen very, very rapidly,” said John Clarke, an organizer
with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), during Wednesday’s
rally at City Hall.

See also:
Give Rob Ford and his new council the welcome they deserve
Ford personally complained to the College of Physicians and Surgeons to try and prevent Dr. Roland Wong providing the Special Diet to people in poverty. The basic needs of poor people in this city forced to try to survive on inadequate OW/ODSP rates were are un-affordable in his eyes. However, the cops can expect a whole reservoir of gravy from Rob Ford
In his campaign speeches and his public statements, Ford has called for cuts to fair wages, a dismantling of the already inaccessible public transit
system, supported Toronto's police brutality during the G20, and repeatedly expressed racist anti-immigrant sentiments and outright hatred for poor people.

While claiming to speak on behalf of the 'majority', Ford actually believes in a Toronto for the few. He believes in a Toronto divided into suburbs and the downtown. A Toronto divided into streetcar riders, bikers and drivers. A Toronto divided into immigrants, refugees and citizens. A Toronto where the homeless are driven out of sight as social housing is sold off to developers. A Toronto where police budgets grow and cops act with impunity. A Toronto that is open for business, but closed for the public.

Toronto - Transit City - Will it survive?

Where Toronto councillors sit on the future of Transit City - The Globe and Mail
After reviewing the article and adding things up, I see 16 votes definitely for keeping Transit City, 8 votes for scrapping Transit City, and 21 undecided or haven't revealed their views. If 8 more can be convinced to keep Transit City, it will survive. I think when the council sees the cost of cancelling the plan, they will come around to keeping the Transit City plan.

Rob Ford's first day as mayor

Rob Ford's Press Secretary with one of the gravy packets
Rob Ford's Press Secretary with one of the gravy packets (see the National Post story below for details about the gravy packets).

Global News: Janet Davis and other cllrs say they're ready to fight Ford on Transit City

Toronto Star - Hepburn: Rob Ford and the risky politics of dashed hopes

First, Ford has done nothing to dampen his supporters’ overly optimistic expectations of what he might actually be able to accomplish. He is still talking as if everything is possible and that it can happen fast.

Second, he has once again shown that he is unwilling to try to work with his opponents on city council. This week he froze out downtown and left-wing councillors when he announced his executive committee and his senior political team.

That’s a recipe for failure because Ford will need their support when it comes to tackling the truly important issues, such as budget cuts, contracting out garbage collection and forging ahead with his plans to build subways.

Third, Ford is already staring at major hurdles in his quest to reshape this city. The most obvious is the pending showdown with the Ontario government over his plans to scrap Transit City. Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday there’s no more transit money for Toronto and that the city would have to eat the costs of cancelling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts already awarded.

If that happens, say goodbye to Ford’s self-described image as a good watchdog over the use of taxpayer dollars.

Torontoist: Day One for Mayor Rob Ford's Toronto, from gravy packets to subway rackets

Rob Ford: the illusionist - EYE WEEKLY

Rob Ford will do everything in his power to halt progress

Ford silently promises a big raise in property taxes in 2012

Ford's war on public transit and bicycles has begun

National Post: Gravy for Mayor Rob Ford

Torontoist: For Rob Ford, A Zero's Welcome At Nathan Phillips Square Protest

See also:
Rob Ford to cut off rapid transit to his supporters

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Rob Ford will do everything in his power to halt progress

Hume: Ford to Transit City: Drop dead -

The irony, of course, is that this one-note mayor who rode the “gravy
train” to office, along with a promise to “end the waste at city hall,”
will now preside over the squandering, among other things, of a $8.1
billion mass transit plan that would have brought mobility to thousands
who now spend their lives waiting for the bus to arrive.

Be careful what you wish for, they say, and Torontonians will have four years to discover the truth of these words.

But even before Ford assumed office
Wednesday morning, he had made it clear he would do everything in his
power to halt progress
. Then came the appointment of North Toronto
Councillor Karen Stintz to the all-important position of TTC chair. With
that one move, he signalled this isn’t a role he takes seriously.

Ford silently promises a big raise in property taxes in 2012

Ford makes surprise vow to freeze taxes in 2011 -
The only way he will be able to do this will to use the surplus left over from David Miller, and to raise taxes double in 2012 (and cut services that the taxes pay for).

Ford's war on public transit and bicycles has begun

‘War on the car is over’: Ford moves transit underground -
Rob Ford plans to cancel the Transit City plan, which would have connected a lot of the car-driving suburbanites with the rest of the city (which would have lowered the amount of cars on the congested roads of Toronto).

And we know Rob's attitude toward cyclists - that they should not be on city streets. I think we can expect to see a reduction in bicycle lanes and bike-friendly initiatives.

The new mayor also plans on removing streetcars and replacing them with buses (a more costly and less efficient move in regards to public transit, but buses are easier for cars to navigate around).

With public transit progress halted, and services made worse, and the streets made less safe for cyclists, there will be more cars on the road and even more traffic congestion and more pollution. And, the cancellation of Transit City, and using buses instead of streetcars will cost the city immensely.
How is this a good thing Rob?

See also:
Toronto Star - Transit City: Ford not the only one with a mandate

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rob Ford to cut off rapid transit to his supporters

Mayor Ford’s first stop: Hit brakes on Transit City | Posted Toronto | National Post
The Transit City plan, already budgeted for and currently being built, would have brought rapid transit to many suburban areas of Toronto. Ford's plan is to cancel this (incurring millions of dollars in penalties to contracts already signed), thus cutting off his supporters from rapid transit, and replace this with another tiny piece of the Scarborough subway line. Hopefully, the council will not vote for this madness.

Toronto Star: Provincial showdown brewing over Transit City

In an earlier meeting with TTC staff, Ford’s transition team asked what it would take to stop work on the light rail lines being funded by Metrolinx on Eglinton, the Scarborough RT route and Finch.

Because Metrolinx and the federal government are funding the Sheppard line, outgoing transit commissioners have maintained that Ford doesn’t have the authority to cancel the work.

The TTC has to take its direction from the commissioners on the transit commission, said one city councillor. The first meeting of the new commission doesn’t happen until Dec. 15.

Voters enticed by Ford’s promise of a subway should remember other cancelled transit projects, said one city councillor, including the Eglinton subway where tunneling was begun only to have the hole filled in by Premier Mike Harris’s government.

In Ottawa, a cancelled light rail project cost taxpayers about $100 million and in the end they got nothing for their money, the councillor said.


Metrolinx also has a special interest in protecting the centerpiece of Transit City, the Eglinton Crosstown line, which would run underground for half of the 20 kilometres scheduled to be built in the first phase of work.

“The Eglinton Crosstown is the most significant regional project. It runs across the entire city. It connects into the regional transportation system at GO stations. It connects to Pearson ultimately. So it’s a really important project. Certainly Metrolinx would like to make sure the most important regional project is preserved as we go forward, because… we want to achieve reasonable transportation outcomes,” said McCuaig.

The city councillor tapped to head up the next transit commission says she hasn’t been consulted or invited to Wednesday’s meeting between Ford and Webster.

“I believe we have an opportunity to look at how we revise the Metrolinx plan,” said Karen Stintz, who supported Miller’s efforts to secure Transit City funding but acknowledged Ford’s opposition to light rail.

Departing TTC chair Adam Giambrone said it’s unlikely the province would be willing to throw away the money already invested in Transit City.

But he downplayed suggestions that Queen’s Park might take over Toronto transit in light of the changing direction of the mayor’s office. It’s unlikely the province would want the responsibility of covering the TTC’s operating subsidy, he said.

The city provided about $500 million in operating funds this year, including Wheel-Trans. The TTC is also projecting a $2.6 billion capital shortfall for the next 10 years.

Meantime, Transit City defenders are planning to seek public support in wards of councillors who are backing Ford’s agenda. They plan their first door-to-door canvass in Karen Stintz’s ward Saturday.

Calls to Ford’s press secretary and transition team were not returned Tuesday.

Globe & Mail: Ford council vote on Transit City to decide fate of provincially-funded LRTs
... the province has already spent $130-million and signed $1.3-billion in contracts.

Globe & Mail: Ford to come out swinging on his first day in office
If Ford cancels Transit City, the city will end up having to pay billions of dollars on already signed contracts that the province and the federal government have already paid a lot for, and get absolutely nothing in return. And, then the city won't be able to pay for the bit of subway line Ford wants instead. The city won't be able to pay for anything.
I thought Ford wanted to stop wasting money. Cancelling Transit City would not only be the biggest waste of money in the history of Toronto, but it would result in no new transit at all for the city.

Excerpt from above link:

Sources say they made clear that extending the Sheppard subway from its existing terminus at Don Mills to Scarborough Town Centre – Mr. Ford’s preference – would cost $4-billion more than the Sheppard East LRT.

The subway addition would be eight kilometres and seven stations; the LRT would be 12 kilometres and 26 stations, according to documents the TTC presented at the meeting.

Some $34.1-million had been spent on the Sheppard LRT as of Sept. 30. Another $228-million had been committed through Nov. 1, the documents say.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Israel deliberately starves residents of Gaza

Let Freedom Rain: So, Israel really did nearly starve the residents of Gaza
The documents are even more disturbing, say human rights activists, when
one considers the fact that close to half of the people of Gaza are
children under the age of eighteen. This means that Israel has
deliberately forced the undernourishment of hundreds of thousands of
children in direct violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva

Gisha's director, in relation to the release of documents, said, "Israel
banned glucose for biscuits and the fuel needed for regular supply of
electricity – paralyzing normal life in Gaza and impairing the moral
character of the State of Israel. I am sorry to say that major elements
of this policy are still in place."

Friday, 26 November 2010

Unidentifiable police can't be charged for G20 police crimes

Cops accused by G20 protesters cleared of excessive force allegations
The police who committed the crime of excessive force have been cleared of any wrongdoing because they weren't wearing their nametags, other police witnesses refused to testify, and civilian videos were shot from too far away to make out individual officers.

I've seen a lot of videos and some of the shots of police bludgeoning and kicking people were pretty close up. I wonder if civilian witnesses were asked to pick police out of a line up or to testify - probably not.

I say let's fire all the cops who decided to evade the law, abuse our trust, and assault peaceful protesters. Fire all the ones who were not wearing their nametags/numbers. That is the responsible thing to do here. And while they're at it, fire the thugs who gave the orders to beat and illegally arrest peaceful protesters and bystanders.

Toronto Sun: Our Cops and the Cone of Silence
All the SIU did this week was confirm the law does not apply the same way to those in uniform and the code of silence is not reserved just for the thugs.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ontario government's HST-Hydro jiggery pokery

Hydro rebate won't offset coming increases -
HST increased hydro bills. The Ontario government plans on paying 10% of the Hydro bill in a rebate called the Clean Energy Benefit (but it will actually be more of an HST offset benefit).
And, then Hydro prices are projected to increase 38 to 47 percent between now and 2015 for the average household.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Light Rail Transit - best for Toronto

Light rail transit touted as best for Toronto -
As must have been realized when the Transit City plan came into effect, the light rail transit planned to link up much of the suburban areas of Toronto, has been deemed the best environmental option in a new report by the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
The T.E.A. also determined that the LRT option is also the most economical - providing the most transportation for the most people for the least pollution and the lowest cost of building when compared with subways and buses.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why people voted for Rob Ford's transit vision

YouTube - Why people voted for Rob Ford's transit vision
Watch this. It is so dead on it is scary.

During the election campaign, Joe Pantalone fully suported Transit City. This transit strategy is already planned and budgeted for. It would connect much of the suburban areas of Toronto (Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough) with the rest of the city and downtown via rapid transit.

Rob Ford, on the other hand, campaigned to not only cancel Transit City (and the cancellation would incur very expensive penalties), but to remove streetcars too. Streetcars are much more energy efficient than buses and can transport more passengers more quickly from A to B than buses. If the streetcars are removed, they would have to be replaced by far more buses - resulting in much higher costs, slower transportation for passengers, and much greater pollution. And, regarding all those Transit City rapid transit routes connecting much of the suburban areas of Toronto. These would be replaced by nothing. No rapid transit routes built to connect to the suburbs, where most of the Rob Ford voters live. He plans on spending all the transit money (leftover from replacing streetcars with buses) on another little piece of subway line.

So, the suburban dwelling Rob Ford voters, voted against having new rapid transit routes connecting them to downtown and the rest of the city. They seem to not want these routes and these connections. But yet, they do want them and they do need them. They voted for someone who blatantly said he would, in terms of transit, not only do nothing for them, but would cancel current plans of bringing them better transit service.

I ask you, does this make sense?
Watch the video.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Harper government plans on making ANY criticism of Israel's government's policies illegal

Dawg's Blawg: Push comes to shove
Criticism of Israel will shortly become illegal in Canada.

That's the message of the "Ottawa Protocol"
agreed to behind closed doors this week by a group of international
parliamentarians calling themselves the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to
Combat Anti-Semitism. The Canadian wing, of course, is the Canadian
Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism.

Here is what is about to descend upon us:

Ottawa Protocol] aims to implement a series of measures to put an end
to hateful propaganda in places like universities. In particular, the group aims to stop the growth in the criticism of Israel and its policies that, it says, is increasingly a vehicle for anti-Semitism.
[emphasis added]

what some of us have been arguing all along--and we've been denounced
as paranoid for doing so. But you don't get a group of parliamentarians
deliberating for months and holding hearings if legislation isn't in the

So now
Israel will achieve a status in Canadian law that no other nation
possesses. It will be shielded even from the silly commentary that is so
much a part of popular culture. You'll continue to be able to say "Bomb
Iran," but possibly go to jail if you say "Bomb Israel." The Toronto Sun can
still use the phrase "lock and load" in reference to a boatload of
Tamils, but a similar injudicious remark directed against Israeli
settlers on the West Bank would become a criminal matter.

Make no
mistake, this thing is a slam-dunk. When (not if) the Conservatives
introduce legislation to outlaw criticism of Israel, likely when a
federal election is in the offing, the Liberals will tamely go along,
not wanting to fight accusations of anti-Semitism in the thick of an
electoral contest.

No doubt the legislation will pretend to draw a
non-existent distinction between "legitimate" and "illegitimate"
criticism--non-existent, because the concepts are purely subjective. To
some, in fact, there simply is no "legitimate" criticism of Israel. The
legislation will, in word and in practice, be "very inclusive."

legislation would quite possibly not withstand Charter scrutiny. But
that's small comfort at this point. It's on its way, and I, for one--who
have fought genuine anti-Semitism for decades, on the Internet and on
the ground--can feel a cold wind blowing. So should we all.

Read the whole post at the link above

See also:
CBC - Updated For The Record: The full text of the Ottawa Protocol

Quebec democratic rights group spearheads court case arguing for Proportional Representation

Court has granted Elizabeth May the right to make case for Proportional Representation | Green Party of Canada

Multiple public commissions have examined and debated changes to the
voting system and each time recommended a proportional voting system. 
No referendum has yet been held on this question in Quebec though draft
legislation was tabled that would have seen elements of proportional
representation introduced.  Referenda in other provinces were widely
criticized for confusing the public with misinformation campaigns, lack
of effective and clear information, too high thresholds to pass and low
participation rates. 

In February of this year, an Environics Research poll conducted for
the Council of Canadians found that 62% of Canadians support "moving
towards a system of proportional representation (PR) in Canadian
elections, with support even higher among young Canadians.

Harper on Israel: Is the Prime Minister mentally sound?

Harper on Israel: Is the Prime Minister mentally sound? |

Watching and listening to Stephen Harper's bizarre and unnerving
speech about anti-Semitism and Israel raises the question as to whether
or not the man is mentally fit to be prime minister.

In effect, Harper has taken the position of being Israel's defender
no matter what -- in other words, this commitment comes before his duty
as prime minister, before his duty to represent Canada's interests
abroad, before his role of elected representative. Harper is a defender
of Israel no matter the consequences for Canada. He stated:

"[As] long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the United
Nations, the Francophonie, or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand
whatever the cost. I say this, not just because it is the right thing
to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the
anti-Israeli mob tell us all too well if we listen to it, that those who
threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us."

His dedication to that country supersedes his commitment to his own.
That would be disturbing enough if Harper were merely a private citizen.
But as prime minister it is beyond the pale and it isn't much of a
stretch to suggest it borders on the betrayal of Canada and certainly
Canadian interests. For what does it mean that Harper will defend Israel
no matter the consequences for Canada?

Harper referred in his speech to "the anti-Israeli mob." I have to
presume here that he is referring to all the Arab and Muslim countries
which regularly criticize Israel at the UN. But, of course, not only
them. UN resolutions criticizing Israel are regularly supported by
virtually every country with the exception of Israel, the U.S. and --
sometimes -- El Salvador. Is the whole of the UN membership part of the


Let's help child soldiers in Africa, but we will torture and incarcerate our own child soldiers

From Congo to Guantanamo: Omar Khadr, the invisible child soldier |


Of course this is great! But what about other child soldiers like
Omar Khadr, can't he be rehabilitated and sent to school as well? Or is
the child soldier status only reserved for those war-ravaged countries
where Americans have interests in keeping things safe and stable?

Unfortunately, according to the U.S. and Canadian governments, the
answer to my question seems to be an outrageous "No." Indeed, the
following sad fact has now been recorded by history: Omar Khadr is the
first convicted child soldier since World War II. His conviction came at
an end of a shameful military trial where not a single basic principle
of transparency and justice was followed and where the torture and abuse
Khadr endured was simply brushed away.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Toronto Star invents story to attack Layton and Chow

Accidental Deliberations: The bigger picture
... And indeed it's worth noting that the decision to focus on Layton and
Chow looks to be designed to invent a story where none exists: with
average expenses in the range of $469,000 per MP, the choice to point to
the lone married couple in the House of Commons in order to be able to
talk about a "million-dollar" total looks to be entirely unjustifiable
except as either a cheap headline or a pretence to attack the NDP.

And from the comment by Malcolm+ on this post at the above link - Malcolm gets to the reason behind the attack:
Ignatieff mired in poor public perceptions, the Liberals are panicked
by the prospect they may actually fall behind the NDP in public support
if nothing changes. Thus, every organ of the Liberal Party - including
the Toronto Star - must be directed to attacks on the NDP and Jack
Layton, no matter how slanderous or bogus those attacks may be.

And, to back up the point about the Liberals failing and becoming less appealing to the public, check out this article in the Globe and Mail by Brian Topp:
The underlying bones don't favour Michael Ignatieff
Brian adds as a footnote, below his article reviewing what the latest polls mean:
A footnote: As if to prove all of this, the Nov. 7 Sunday Star in Toronto repeats the conduct that helped elect Rob Ford mayor of Toronto. This time the transparently political cheap shot targets are Mr. Layton and his wife, MP Olivia Chow. The Star devotes a page to adding up Layton and Chow’s boring and typical MPs’ constituency staff, office, travel and other expenses, and tries to frame them as some sort of scandal. This has nauseated even some of the Liberals the Star works so hard to serve. Blogger “Bigcityliberal,” for example, comments: “Toronto Star’s Layton and Chow story truly Seinfeldian... in that it’s about nothing. Probably the silliest part of it is how hard author Richard Brennan tries to crank this into a scandal. Oh my! The NDP party leader spends more than your typical MP on travel! And... a $2000 per month Ottawa condo-apartment? The horrors!” Indeed.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Toronto G20: Cost numbers starting to come out

CBC News - Politics - G8/G20 costs top $857M - this link is to some highlights

CBC News - Friday Documenta Dump - G8/G20 Sumitacular Retrospective Edition! - this link it to the full document
As tabled in the House of Commons earlier today.

Note: Electronic version provided by the ever helpful NDP -- it's a
straight scan from the binders, so don't blame them -- or me -- for the
reader-unfriendly format.

Talk about a Gravy Train (here is a real one Rob)!

Toronto G20 hearings - Bill Blair grilled by Don Davies

YouTube - Don Davies and Bill Blair at G/20 hearings
Watch the video.

The truth will out.

See also:
G20 charges dropped over lack of warrant

G20 testimony shows need for full inquiry
“After six hours of hearings, many troubling details have emerged,” said
Davies. “Yesterday, we learned that 90 police officers decided to
break a rule set by the Chief of Police by removing their name badges.
We discovered that police lacked the proper warrant to arrest the
students who were rounded up early Sunday morning at the University of
Toronto. There were guns drawn on sleeping students, in circumstances
that almost certainly violated use of force rules.”

"Our process can only scratch at the surface of the questions and
inconsistencies that remain about summit security,” said Davies. “No
one has answered for the appalling conditions in the detention facility,
and for the systemic violations of many individuals’ right to counsel.
The government still has not adequately explained the decision-making
behind the planning of the summits or who was calling the shots for
on-the-ground security decisions.

“Only a full public inquiry can get the answers needed to explain the
widespread civil rights violations and the largest mass arrests in
Canadian history,” concluded Davies.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Where's the Gravy Train Now, Rob?

Toronto posts $275 million surplus -
Mihevc credited the windfall to Miller’s restraint program.

“One thing it shows is that the fiscal management of the Miller administration has been good,” he said.

“Despite the many comments during the election about how city hall
is being mismanaged, we did have a hiring freeze in place and we
directed department heads to manage in a tight way. This shows that city
hall is operating efficiently and effectively.”
- unlike what Rob Ford keeps saying - liar.

Toronto G20 - Preventative Detention?

Preventative detention? - Peace, order and good government, eh?
it would appear that the chief of police of a major metropolitan city
just admitted that his officers illegally detained hundreds of people.
With his approval. And he has admitted it in front of a room full of
members of parliament, no less.

Can I look forward to this making headlines across the country?

Can we have that independent public inquiry now?

As outlined in the comments at the above link, citizens and peace officers can detain people, with appropriate force, if there are reasonable grounds that in so detaining people that it will stop or reduce violence (my words). Well, what happened was that a lot of peace officers detained people, using extreme and unnecessary force, without any reasonable grounds of stopping further violence. Obviously peaceful people were brutalized and detained in the hundreds for no good reason.

And, as one commenter pointed out: I think a very strong case can be made that in the majority of
situations that weekend, the police used force far in excess of
"reasonably proportioned to the danger apprehended". There was one
occasion that might apply, but in that situation the police did nothing.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Toronto G20: Toronto officers to be disciplined over summit conduct

Nearly 100 Toronto officers to be disciplined over summit conduct - The Globe and Mail
Nearly 100 Toronto police officers will be disciplined for removing
their name tags at the G20 summit, says the city’s police chief who also
admitted charges were thrown out against roughly 100 people because the
force failed to obtain appropriate arrest warrants.

Woah! Hold on there - for removing their name tags!???!!! What about for assaulting people, and illegally detaining people, generally abusing their powers and trust?!!! WTF!? After looking at over 22,000 hours of video they never saw any police brutality?! Come on! I watched maybe a couple of hours of video during and just after the G20 protests and saw police brutality in at least 60% of the videos.

And, there were not 100 charges thrown out, there were 100s of charges thrown out.

The stink of police corruption is overpowering!

Ford's win opens the gates of pro-development hell

Ford's win opens the gates of pro-development hell |
This is Rob Ford's true Gravy Train, directing profits to his campaign supporters, developers. The rights for self-determination in central Toronto were sold off for $60, and false election promises, to suburban voters in a campaign, which deliberately misrepresented City Hall's state of finances. As Atom Egoyan said, "This city is the envy of the world and we're acting like it's falling apart." I feel a lot less safe riding my bike in this new Toronto.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ford Watch: Nov 2, 2010

Oct. 26, 2010 - Rob Ford schedules his first interview as mayor-elect. Things don't go so well as he has scheduled the interview (with CBC radio) at the same time as he is coaching a football game. He kept up a couple of talking points, ignored the interviewer and spent most of the time talking to people at the game. Eventually he cut the interview short without answering any questions.

Nov. 2, 2010 - as revealed in the Toronto Sun - for one who claims to be watching pennies at City Hall, Ford went over budget on his campaign by $650,000.

Is this a sign of things to come under Ford's watch as mayor of Toronto - poor time and fiscal management?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

How the new council stands on Ford's main policy aims

Ford faces stiff fight on council -
The Toronto Star managed to survey 32 of the 44 new councillors on some of Ford's main issues.
It seems Ford will face stiff opposition against cutting parade funding, cutting the size of city council, and eliminating the fair-wage policy.
The new councillors are more evenly divided on the issues of making the TTC an essential service and on contracting out garbage collection.

My views on these issues:

Parade funding - This is an investment as big parades like the Gay Pride march and Caribana bring a substantial amount of money into the city. Keep investing.

Fair Wage Policy - "contractors doing business with the city must pay roughly the same wage as city employees doing comparable work." Krystyn Wong-Tam: "The fair wage policy was created to raise the employment standards and
the city should be a ‘model employer.' If we start to remove policies
and laws that were created to protect workers, what's next? Pay equity?” Keep the policy.

Cutting council down to only 22 councillors - Get real. With the size of this city, cutting council would mean less representation for the people, community issues would take a hit as the councillors would have bigger work-loads and be forced to only look at larger city-wide issues, and spending would increase (hiring more staff for each councillor to deal with the increased work/calls - so, the city would end up paying more in wages, not less). Cutting the council size would be a very bad idea.

Making the TTC an essential service - sounds nice, but it would cost us more in the long run. Think a jump in the fare and tax increases to cover the increase in wages. People generally don't like big fare or tax increases, so no to this.

Contracting out garbage collection - currently the garbage collection is a combination of public and private. Would it cost the same or less to contract it all out, and would the service remain the same (and not get worse)? These are the main questions to get answers to before considering this.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Falling for the Dark Side - A Requiem to Reason

It's one thing for politicians and the mainstream media to lie to people. But, when people you care about fall for those lies and turn on you because you try to reason with them and show them the truth, it gets very personal.

What frustrates and upsets me:

Politicians who lie.

Mainstream media perpetuating the lie.

The fact that people fall for the lies. The fact that these people don't look any further for the truth. And, when they are shown the facts, they refuse to listen - they refuse the truth.

But, what frustrates me the most is seeing friends of mine, who I thought had the intelligence to not take things at face value, fall for the lies. I see them become bigoted like some of the lying politicians. And I see them lash out at others, including old friends, who have differing opinions - people who are only trying to raise the facts and expose the truth.

As a self-professed "left-winger" (NDP/social democrat) I care about people - I don't bash people (I do take liars and bullies to task with a vengeance though).
I care about people - family, friends, relatives, fellow Torontonians, Canadians, humans. I care about the environment. And I care about this planet.

I feel obligated to get the truth out there to everyone I can. I have to work hard at getting the truth out because I, and those like me, are up against the far more powerful and pervading mainstream media. People read, watch and listen to the views of the mainstream media daily, so, it is very easy for the mainstream media to manipulate people into believing what they are saying. People forget that the mainstream media are a bunch of large corporations with business interests at heart. They will put the weight of their word behind any political party or politician who is going to do things that benefit them as big businesses.

It saddens me to see old friends, one by one, fall to the lies, become bigots, and become enemies of reason.


Recently, 47% of the people of Toronto were duped into believing that the finances at city hall are being gravely mismanaged and that there is much wasteful spending. However, the facts show that things are indeed quite the opposite - the finances at city hall are being well-managed and in the past year the city ran a surplus. This 47% elected Rob Ford, who said he would fix this (non-existent) financial mismanagement.
Rob Ford has promised to reduce the city's income (cut taxes) and increase spending (proposals to hire more police officers (at a time when our crime rate has been dropping for years), and to scrap Transit City (scrapping it will cost millions of dollars in penalties) and to build more subways instead (which cost much more than the Transit City plan. And the Transit City plan was already budgeted for and would have brought more fast transit to the outlying regions of the city, including Etobicoke - the Rob Ford heartland - than Ford's new subway plans), among other proposals of spending). Now, it doesn't take much knowledge of basic math to know that if you reduce your income and spend more, then you will most likely end up with a deficit. But, isn't this what Rob was saying he was going to fix? His plans seem to be to do the opposite of what his main message was. Seems pretty fishy to me. Seems like maybe we should look more closely at this man behind the curtain.
And, if I care enough about my fellow Torontonians to say, hey, wait a minute, this sounds fishy, look at the facts, and, if me going to all the trouble of pointing all this out makes me a bad person, then I'm bad.

Toronto Election Results Maps 2010

Here are two maps showing geographic divisions (by ward) of mayoral candidate support and how the elected councillors will relate to the new mayor (or not).

Map a) How people voted for mayor by ward: mostly Ford, mostly Smitherman, or evenly divided

Map b) How the councillors will most likely vote in relation to the mayor: Which elected councillors are regressive (pro-Ford), progressive (anti-Ford), or in the middle.

Map b shows a probable voting pattern on regressive policies. The In The Middle group of councillors could go either way in the voting on regressive or progressive policies.

Map a)

Map b)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Give Rob Ford a call

Worried about Rob Ford? Give him a call -
Rob Ford has said to the people who didn't vote for him that if they are worried about what he will do to Toronto, then they should give him a call (hasn't he heard of the Internet yet - email?).
Here is his current number:

This should be interesting if he is inundated with calls to not do any of his main proposals in his election platform.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Toronto's new mayor, Rob Ford: "Why don't you go to Iran and get raped and shot."

YouTube - Why Rob Ford should never be Mayor
Watch the video.
Yes, let's all go get raped and shot. Thanks Rob. I'm looking forward to 4 years with you - not.

Rob Ford wins as Mayor of Toronto, but will he get the Council votes?

Rob Ford handily won the mayor's race in Toronto last night. But all may not be lost for the people of Toronto.
Ford has some pretty extreme ideas, and some of them are either not under the governance of the city council, or they are not changeable by council as per provincial laws.

So, what of the issues that Ford can tackle? Will he have the support of council to get away with destroying Toronto?

I've analyzed the new council and come to the conclusion that the makeup is not much changed from the previous council. There are more Right-wing councillors, but the Left and Centre/Centre-right still hold the balance

The Left and Centre have about 18 votes
Centre-right has about 6 votes
the Right has about 21 votes, including the mayor.
(The previous council was divided 23, 12, 10)

So, for Ford to win a vote, he has to win over the Centre-Right councillors. There is a good chance that these people won't go for any of Ford's extreme or ridiculous ideas. So, this might reduce the harm that Ford can do to our city.

On the other hand, this could result in a lot of fighting at City Hall with little getting accomplished. At worst, I think, Toronto will stagnate for the next 4 years while Ford makes a fool of himself in Toronto and in the eyes of the world. At best, Council will push forward leaving Mayor Ford sputtering on the sidelines.

Let's hope for the best.

More thoughts on the future of Toronto:
The Galloping Beaver: Good luck Mr. Ford, good luck Toronto

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Pantalone was the only mayoral candidate to show up to the Get Active Toronto debate

Ford, Smitherman no-shows -

Rob Ford and George Smitherman abruptly pulled out of Wednesday’s
debate sponsored by Get Active Toronto, a coalition encouraging people
to get healthy through exercise.

Despite the last-minute cancellations, the event continued with
mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone, who spoke to about 200 people at the
downtown YMCA beside two empty chairs.

“I would say it’s disrespectful and disappointing,” said organizer
Catriona Delaney. “We wanted to know where Mr. Ford and Mr. Smitherman
stood on the subject of the importance of physical activity and the
health of Torontonians. Their actions spoke louder than their words.”

Do you want to elect people to council who won't show up? Of course not. Time to vote for a serious candidate - vote for Joe Pantalone for mayor!

More reasons to vote for Joe Pantalone instead of George Smitherman

Why Tories Support George Smitherman - Torontoist
Nearly 40 Conservatives, including ex cabinet ministers of the Mike Harris government, endorse George Smitherman.
Joe Pantalone said that "Mike Harris is back in the form of George
Smitherman...Why else would the Harris team have just endorsed him?"

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Pantalone has the most labour support

Pantalone, Smitherman fight for labour vote -
Pantalone still has the most labour endorsements, yet the Star plays up this one labour group supporting Smitherman as if he has more labour support.
Why would labour support Smitherman if he plans to contract stuff out and reduce staff?

Regardless, Pantalone is the only one with a reasonable and progressive plan for Toronto.

Israel's bad policies continue to result in loss of allies

Israel shedding allies as government goes ‘from bad to worse’ - The Globe and Mail
“Since then, your government has gone from bad to worse,” he told Mr.
Schorr. He cited “the resumption of the illegal building on the West
Bank,” and the matter of an oath of loyalty to the “Jewish state” the
government proposes to administer to all non-Jews who seek to become
Israeli citizens (primarily directed at people who marry Arab Israelis).

Smitherman bails

Queer Thoughts: Is Smitherman blackmailing voters?
The debate was scheduled for 90 minutes. It lasted 30 minutes as
George Smitherman had to go to pick up his endorsement from Montreal
Liberal MP, Justin Trudeau.

Obviously the debate couldn't go on
with just Joe Pantalone. Too bad the queer communities debate was cut
off before a full airing of the communities issues could happen. Is
George taking our vote for granted?
Smitherman comes off as a guy desperately seeking power, you're
either with us or against us. The last guy to say that made a horrible
mess of the world. Smitherman was last seen dashing out the door to a
waiting car so he could be sure to not keep Prince Justin waiting

Joe Pantalone is your only real choice for mayor

Real Pantalone backers have little choice -
Truth is very elusive, especially at election time. But mayoral
candidate Joe Pantalone is closer to the truth than some think when he
says there’s not that much difference between George Smitherman and Rob
Ford. ...

More endorsements for Pantalone

Sarah Polley, Gord Perks, Rosario Marchese – Just Some of the People Helping Build Joe-mentum for Election Day «
On the heels of releasing a balanced budget with no service cuts or new
provincial funding and a plan for giving Community Councils control
over local budgets, just before his final policy announcements, and
amidst a new slew of radio ads and the placing of 5000 signs across
Toronto, Joe Pantalone was cheered this morning by over a dozen high
profile supporters.

“We must not roll back the clock on our great city,” said Councillor
Janet Davis, opening up the celebration at a packed-full campaign

“Joe Pantalone is the only candidate who uses real numbers,” said
Fiona Nelson of the Board of Health. “And he is the only one talking
about the future of our children.”

Councillor Gord Perks (who, according to today’s Toronto Star, “has
done inspired work on council”) said, “I’m going to vote with my
conscience. I’m going to vote for my city. That means I’m going to vote
for Joe Pantalone.”

MPP Rosario Marchese praised Joe’s “political intelligence, charm, and ability to work with all people.”

Actor Sarah Polley also made the following statement:

“Without Joe Pantalone, the destructive, angry tone of this mayoral
race would be too depressing to contemplate. Joe is the only candidate
for Mayor who is talking about building this city rather than tearing it
down He is dedicated to the environment and to the arts, and he
understands the great  value that cultural diversity brings to our

The full list of today’s endorsers: Janet Davis
(Councillor, Ward 31 Beaches-East York), Gord Perks (Councillor, Ward 14
Parkdale – High Park), Rosario Marchese (Current MPP for
Trinity-Spadina), Sarah Polley (Actor), Martin Silva (Former Ward 4
Councillor, CHIN radio personality), Mike Layton (candidate in Ward 19
Councillor), Fiona Nelson (Member of the Board of Health, Former Chair
of the Toronto District School Board), David Reville (Former Toronto
alderman, former MPP for Riverdale, Professor at School of Disability
Studies at Ryerson University)  Marten Holdenried (EMT, CUPE 416), Jill
Marzetti (Labour Council), Mike Seaward (Steelworkers), Charlene
Mueller (Toronto Hydro worker/CUPE 1 Treasurer), Catherine Leblanc
Miller (Trustee for Toronto Catholic School Board), Barry Lipton
(member of CommunityAIR).

This is Canadian Leadership - Jack Layton

From an email received from the Federal NDP yesterday:

My Friend –

For the third time in a month, Michael Ignatieff has taken a shot at my leadership.

Last week in a Liberal video he knocked my many years of service to the Canadian people.

While Michael Ignatieff spent 34 years outside of our country, I was rolling up my sleeves as a city councillor to get things done for people – building green initiatives in Toronto, overseeing one of Canada’s largest public hydro companies, presiding over the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

I’m incredibly proud of this record. I don’t know why Mr. Ignatieff expects me to hide from it.

While Michael Ignatieff was writing papers at Harvard supporting George Bush's invasion of Iraq, and supporting the use of state assasinations and coercive interrogations, I was working to build a revitalized, principled, fiscally responsible New Democratic Party that is ready to take on Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Again, I’m not inclined to hide from this.

I am incredibly proud of my record. Of the things you and I have accomplished together.

It’s this record of Canadian leadership that I will take to voters as I ask them to join with me to defeat this out-of-touch Conservative government.


A few weeks ago, Michael Ignatieff responded to Stephen Harper's divisive approach on guns by targeting six NDP MPs who consistently supported the gun registry.

And not a single Conservative MP who actually opposed it.

A lot of people have asked me, with the Liberals turning their focus solely towards us, whether I will point the NDP’s election resources solely towards Michael Ignatieff’s team.

No. I absolutely won’t.

The focus of New Democrats across the country remains the same. To defeat Stephen Harper’s out-of-touch government. And to replace it with New Democrat leadership that cares about the challenges that middle-class families face right now.

I know that after four and a half years under the Conservatives, Canadians are looking for a different kind of leadership. And only New Democrats are stepping up to the plate.

You see, in two and a half years as Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff has voted in favour of every single Stephen Harper budget.

Under his leadership, the Liberals have consistently voted to adopt Mr. Harper's tax breaks for profitable banks and big polluters. The same corporate giveaways that Mr. Ignatieff now pretends to oppose.

Michael Ignatieff even voted for the Harper HST that has caused the price of everyday essentials to skyrocket in B.C. and Ontario.

And he hasn’t delivered a single thing for Canadians in return.

Michael Ignatieff has backed Stephen Harper throughout his entire political career. That is his record of public service. And that is why the only path left for him seems to be attacking New Democrats.


New Democrats have our sights set on the real target. Defeating Stephen Harper’s government.

And I want you to be a part of it.

I’m asking you to make a pre-election donation right now. Canadians are looking for an alternative to Stephen Harper, and you and I are going to give it to them. Together we are going to defeat Conservatives across the country.

We’ll defeat Stephen Harper in B.C., in Alberta, in Saskatchewan and in Manitoba – all places where New Democrats are the only alternative to the Conservatives.

We’ll defeat them in Ontario, in places like Oshawa where the scars of four years of Stephen Harper’s broken promises are all too evident.

We’ll build a national alternative to Stephen Harper by building on our breakthrough in Quebec.

And we’ll defeat Stephen Harper in Atlantic Canada, in ridings like South Shore Saint Margaret's where we finished only 2% behind the Conservatives in 2008.

I want you to help make it happen. Make your secure online donation right now – and let’s launch the next election campaign with a bang.

It’s time for a different kind of leadership here in Canada. Not Stephen Harper’s out-of-touch approach, but leadership that cares about you. Not the Conservatives’ Republican-style wedge politics, but leadership that seeks out common-sense solutions to make your life better.

As an actual small-business owner, as a professor at Ryerson University, and yes, in 28 years as an elected leader, I’ve learned a lot about how to get practical results for you. That’s why I’m running to be your Prime Minister.

I’m ready to take up this challenge. Your New Democrat team is ready as well. With your help, we’re going to make it happen.

Jack Layton
Leader of Canada’s New Democrats