Wednesday, 31 August 2011

NDP now tied with Conservatives federally

Public grief over Layton puts NDP even with Tories in poll - The Globe and Mail
The Conservative support has dropped since the election and the NDP keeps on rising. The 2 parties are now tied with 33% support each. Liberals are in 3rd place with 21%.
Pollster Allan Gregg attributes the rise in the NDP support to the effect of Jack Layton's passing. But the NDP was slowly rising already before their leader passed away. And this doesn't explain the big drop (7%) in Conservative support (or does it?).

I've read about many people who didn't vote last time say that they will vote NDP next time. So, maybe we are looking at added decided voters supporting the NDP.

Doug Ford pours on the lies. Will the public continue to bite?

Do you like Doug Ford's preliminary plans for Toronto's waterfront? - Your Community
They have to keep piling it up. One lie after another. The next one has to top the biggest one before.

Regarding Doug Ford's plans to mess up the Waterfront development:
Ford says the private sector would fund the project. "People from all
over the world are calling us with billion of dollars to invest
," he
said, "and Toronto's open for business."

Hands up everyone who believes this line. .... Didn't think so.

Doug Ford wants to replace this:
Sustainable Urban Design on Toronto's Waterfront (this is the plan in place/being developed)
with this:
Doug's Folly

Remember Transit City - a great, already budgeted plan to provide the whole city with rapid transit? Trashed by Ford Nation. Now they want to do the same to the Waterfront.

Can we get rid of Ford Nation now, please?


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Right wing group Toronto Taxpayers Coalition backs contest to win lunch with Doug Ford

Toronto News: Readers wonder: What’s lunch with Doug Ford without any gravy? - thestar.com
These groups that purport to be in support of taxpayers are nothing but a front for hard-right-wing conservatives and libertarians who care nothing for anyone but themselves. They are greedy and would rather not pay any taxes than have the services and things that make the city great. What would they say if the services they rely on (water, electricity, firefighters, police, roads, etc.) no longer existed? 
The fact that the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition has set up a contest to win lunch with one of the main people (Doug Ford) behind the Let's tear it all down. Let's make Toronto a crappy place to live movement (aka Ford Nation) speaks volumes as to what they are all about.
Don't be fooled taxpayers. This group is not supportive of you (unless you are a fool too).

And still others would like to know more about the taxpayers coalition.


“An even more pertinent question: Who is the ‘Toronto Taxpayers
Coalition?’ It seems very strange that Doug Ford would be pumping a
non-partisan group in his talks that he has no links to. Also, it seems a
little stranger that there are no names whatsoever listed on the site.
Their ‘wiki’ only got action at the very beginning of the year and there
was just a huge flurry of comments and article updates. Who are these
people?”

They are definitely NOT a non-partisan group. They are about as conservative as you can get. Conservative as in Let's set the clock back a couple of centuries.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Rob Ford's War On Graffiti Is Out Of Hand and Costly

Strutting And Fretting « All Fired Up In The Big Smoke
Read the link for a story about someone getting a notice to remove graffiti from their back-alley garage door. The garage door is pretty much out of site. If Ford Nation is targeting situations like this, they must be spending a lot of money/resources to do so as this is obscured and petty.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Stephen Lewis' Eulogy for Jack Layton

Full text of Stephen Lewis’ stirring eulogy for Jack Layton - The Globe and Mail
Stephen Lewis gave a very moving eulogy for Jack Layton at the funeral. The audience broke into long applause a number of times.

Here is the eulogy:

Never in our collective lifetime have we seen such an outpouring, so
much emotional intensity, from every corner of this country. There have
been occasions, historically, when we’ve seen respect and admiration but
never so much love, never such a shocked sense of personal loss.

Jack was so alive, so much fun, so engaged in daily life with so much
gusto, so unpretentious, that it was hard while he lived to focus on how
incredibly important that was to us, he was to us. Until he was so
suddenly gone, cruelly gone, at the pinnacle of his career.


To hear so many Canadians speak so open-heartedly of love, to see young
and old take chalk in hand to write without embarrassment of hope, or
hang banners from overpasses to express their grief and loss. It’s
astonishing.


Somehow Jack connected with Canadians in a way that vanquished the
cynicism that erodes our political culture. He connected whether you
knew him or didn’t know him, whether you were with him or against him.


Jack simply radiated an authenticity and honesty and a commitment to his
ideals that we know realize we’ve been thirsting for. He was so civil,
so open, so accessible that he made politics seem so natural and good as
breathing. There was no guile. That’s why everybody who knew Jack
recognized that the public man and the private man were synonymous.


But it obviously goes much deeper than that. Jack, I think, tapped into a
yearning, sometimes ephemeral, rarely articulated, a yearning that
politics be conducted in a different way, and from that difference would
emerge a better Canada.


That difference was by no means an end to rancour, an end to the
abusive, vituperative practice of the political arts. The difference was
also, and critically, one of policy – a fundamentally different way of
viewing the future of Canada.


His remarkable letter made it absolutely clear. This was a testament
written in the very throes of death that set out what Jack wanted for
his caucus, for his party, for young people, for all Canadians.


Inevitably, we fastened on those last memorable lines about hope,
optimism and love. But the letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for
social democracy. And if there was one word that might sum up Jack
Layton’s unabashed social democratic message, it would be generosity. He
wanted, in the simplest and most visceral terms, a more generous
Canada.


His letter embodies that generosity. In his very last hours of life he
wanted to give encouragement to others suffering from cancer. He wanted
to share a larger, bolder, more decent vision of what Canada should be
for all its inhabitants.


He talks of social justice, health care, pensions, no one left behind,
seniors, children, climate change, equality and again that defining
phrase, “a more inclusive and generous Canada.” All of that is entirely
consistent with Jack’s lifelong convictions. In those early days of
municipal politics in Toronto Jack took on gay and lesbian rights, HIV
and AIDS, housing for the homeless, the white ribbon campaign to fight
violence against women and consecrate gender equality once and for all.


And of course a succession of environmental innovations, bike lanes,
wind power, the Toronto atmospheric fund – and now Michael, his
progressive and talented son, as councillor can carry the torch forward.


And then came his tenure as president of the Canadian Federation of
Municipalities, where he showed that growing deftness of political touch
in uniting municipalities of all sizes and geographic locations,
winning their recognition of the preeminence of cities and the
invaluable pillar of the public sector. Jack made the leap to federal
politics look easy.


The same deeply held principles of social democracy that made him a
superb politician at the city level, as I know, transferred brilliantly
to federal politics. And also, from the many wonderful conversations we
had together, I know led him to a formidable commitment to
internationalism.


He was fearless in his positions once embraced. Thus, when he argued for
negotiations with the Taliban to bring the carnage in Afghanistan to an
end he was ridiculed but stood firm. And now it’s conventional wisdom. I
move to recall that Jack came to the New Democratic Party at the time
of the imposition of the War Measures Act, when tanks rolled into the
streets of Montreal and civil liberties were shredded, and when the
NDP’s brave opposition brought us to our nadir in public opinion.


But his convictions and his courage were intertwined – yet another
reason for celebrating Jack and for understanding the pain and sadness
with which his death has been received.


Above all – and his letter makes this palpably clear – Jack understood
that we are headed into even more perilous economic times. He wanted
Canadians to have a choice between what he described as the unfairness
of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and an
economy that would embrace equity, fairness, balance and creative
generosity.


This was the essence of the manifesto. That’s why he insists that we’re a
great country, but we can be a better one – a country of greater
equality, justice and opportunity. These were not rhetorical concepts to
Jack. They were the very core of his social democratic philosophy. He
was prepared to do ideological battle, but as all things with Jack there
was nothing impulsive or ill-considered.


He would listen as he always listened – he was a great listener – he
would synthesize thoughtfully as he always did, and he would choose a
political route that was dignified, pragmatic and principled. He was so
proud of his caucus and what they would do to advance the agenda of
social democracy.


He cultivated and mentored every member of that caucus, and as the country will see, that will speak volumes in the days ahead.


The victory in Quebec – and I will be followed by a eulogist in the
francophone language – the victory in Quebec was an affirmation of
Jack’s singular personal appeal, reinforced by Quebec’s support for
progressive values shared by so many Canadians. And his powerful belief
and trust in youth to forge the grand transformation to a better world
is by now legendary. Indeed, the reference to youth spawns a digression.


From time to time, Jack and I would meet in the corridors of my
foundation, where his supernaturally competent daughter Sarah works, and
we would invariably speak of our grandchildren. You cannot imagine – I
guess you saw it in the video – the radiating joy that glowed from Jack
as he talked of Sarah’s daughter, his granddaughter Beatrice, and when
he said as he often said that he wanted to create a better world for
Beatrice and all the other Beatrices to inherit, you instantly knew of
one of his strongest and most compelling motivations.


He was a lovely, lovely man. Filled with laughter and affection and
commitment. He was also mischievous and musical, possessed of normal
imperfections but deeply deserving of the love you have all shown. His
indelible romance with Olivia was beautiful to behold, and it sustained
them both.


When my wife and I met with the family a few hours after Jack died,
Olivia said, as she said in the video, that we must look forward to see
what we all can accomplish together.


I loved Jack’s goodness and his ideals in equal measure. Watching all of
you react so genuinely to his death, the thousands upon thousands who
lined up for hours to say a last goodbye in Ottawa and Toronto, it’s
clear that everyone recognized how rare and precious his character was.


We’re all shaken by grief but I believe we’re slowly being steadied by a
new resolve and I see that resolve in words written in chalk and in a
fresh determination on people’s faces. A resolve to honour Jack by
bringing the politics of respect for all, respect for the Earth and
respect for principle and generosity back to life.


My wife Michele reminded me of a perfect quote from the celebrated
Indian novelist, activist and feminist Arundhati Roy. Jack doubtless
knew it. He might have seen it as a mantra. “Another world is not only
possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”


Thank you Jack.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Response to Ms Christie Blatchford

A Response to Ms. Christie Blatchford « Joshua Hind: No Humble Opinions
Joshua responds to Christie's attack on Jack Layton on the day of his death with a version of Marc Antony's speech from Julius Caesar inserting Jack and Blatchford. Very well done.




Monday, 22 August 2011

A letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton

A letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario


Dear Friends,


Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to
wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your
thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your
spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.


Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am
giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the
circumstance in which I cannot continue.


I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.


I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in
the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that
our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party
and our program, and move forward towards the next election.


A few additional thoughts:


To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live
their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey
hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope.
Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this
disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused
on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with
those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this
summer.


To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things
together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the
New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your
support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted
to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give
up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer
them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember
our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public
pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move
forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before
us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.


To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been
privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings
were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great
deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be
closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will
make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by
demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned
us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.


To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic
decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative
federal government with something better was by working together in
partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You
made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and
it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when
we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New
Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in
the years to come to make this country better for us all.


To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things
better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I
continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have
been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so
many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for
change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to
change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our
party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share
with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world.
There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of
climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many
from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more
inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your
vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs
today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life,
and our plans for the present and the future.


And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great
country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a
country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a
prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly.
We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our
children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can
restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things
because we finally have a party system at the national level where there
are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can
actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New
Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in
our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful
hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a
better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them
tell you it can’t be done.


My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and
optimistic. And we’ll change the world.


All my very best,


Jack Layton.

Jack Layton


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Why Boycott Israel?

Why Boycott Israel?

Excerpt:
Author and history professor Mark LeVine speaks with sociologist Lisa Taraki, a co-founder of the Palestinian campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Mark LeVine: What is the "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement and how is it related to the academic and cultural boycott movement? How have both evolved in the past few years in terms of their goals and methods?

Lisa Taraki: The BDS movement can be summed up as the struggle against Israeli colonisation, occupation and apartheid. BDS is a rights-based strategy to be pursued until Israel meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and complies with the requirements of international law.

Within this framework, the academic and cultural boycott of Israel has gained considerable ground in the seven years since the launching of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in 2004. The goals of the academic and cultural boycott call, as the aims of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions issued in 2005, have remained consistent: to end the colonisation of Palestinian lands occupied in 1967; to ensure full equality of Palestinian citizens of Israel and end the system of racial discrimination; and to realise the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The logic of the BDS movement has also remained consistent. The basic logic of BDS is the logic of pressure, not diplomacy, persuasion, or dialogue. Diplomacy as a strategy for achieving Palestinian rights has proven to be futile, due to the protection and immunity Israel enjoys from hegemonic world powers and those in their orbit.

Second, the logic of persuasion has also shown its bankruptcy, since no amount of "education" of Israelis about the horrors of occupation and other forms of oppression seems to have turned the tide. Dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, which remains very popular among Israeli liberals and Western foundations and governments that fund the activities, has also failed miserably. Dialogue is often framed in terms of "two sides to the story", in the sense that each side must understand the pain, anguish, and suffering of the other, and to accept the narrative of the other.
This presents the "two sides" as if they were equally culpable, and deliberately avoids acknowledgment of the basic coloniser-colonised relationship. Dialogue does not promote change, but rather reinforces the status quo, and in fact is mainly in the interest of the Israeli side of the dialogue, since it makes Israelis feel that they are doing something while in fact they are not. The logic of BDS is the logic of pressure. And that pressure has been amplifying.

Click the top link to read the rest

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Apocalyptic crisis budgeting

Apocalyptic crisis budgeting - thestar.com
This is a good article by Edmund Pries in the Star regarding the recent budgeting of conservative governments.

Here it is below. I've highlighted a few parts:
The headlines have been apocalyptic and relentless. Unless the U.S. cuts trillions in social spending, it will go bankrupt. Unless Canada cuts billions in federal spending, our economy will go bust. Unless Toronto cuts more than $700 million in program spending, the city will
collapse. We live in an age of apocalyptic crisis budgeting. Unless the most drastic social spending cuts are implemented, the world as we know it will sink into the quicksand of debt, never to reappear again. How could this happen?

During the Reagan era, a friend and former colleague, a professor of American history, was invited to the deliberations of a Washington think-tank that provided policy direction for the Republican Party. As they discussed growing the debt and increasing the deficit, he was
flabbergasted: “Are you not the party of balanced budgets and debt elimination?” The reply was unequivocal, “Our goal is to grow the deficit as much as possible in order to create political space to eliminate government-funded programming. Until then, we want high deficits while lobbying for a balanced budget — and promoting social program cuts as the only solution.”

To create this useful deficit, tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporate sectors would be dramatically increased, especially to the banking, energy and military segments. In short, one would implement a transfer of the state’s revenue supply obligations from the wealthiest to the poor and middle classes in order to permit an even greater transfer of wealth from the middle classes to the rich thereafter.


The only trick was to convince the poor and middle classes to “buy in” via a mixture of patriotism and structural necessity so that they would vote in favour of cutting the very programs that benefited them.

Canadians have had front row seats to observe this structural engineering over the past two decades. After years of sky-high deficits, Bill Clinton’s Democrats balanced the budget and produced a surplus. Then George W. Bush granted tax relief for the wealthiest and went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq to create the largest deficit in American history. As Bush exited from office and Obama entered, trillions of dollars were transferred by the government (funded mostly by middle-class Americans) to the banks. As a thank you, the banks foreclosed on the homes of more people than at any other time in history. The recent debt ceiling settlement follows the pattern as additional social spending cuts are implemented without cancelling Bush’s tax cuts to the very rich.

Like Clinton in the U.S., the federal Liberals left office with a budgetary surplus. The Conservatives created the largest deficit in Canadian history and, unbelievably, ran an election campaign on financial management savvy! Of course, they created the deficit in part by implementing tax cuts and engaging in discretionary spending designed to produce the deficit which, we are told, now needs to be eliminated by cutting programs.

The same approach has now come to Toronto and is being mimicked by Rob Ford. He, too, was left a surplus by his predecessor. Nevertheless, the agenda marches on. First, create the crisis by reducing the revenue base through tax cuts and then take the budget knife to Toronto’s city-wide programs. Instead of articulating a vision for building a great city, it is simply a slash and burn approach to a manufactured crisis.

Some have pretended that the budgetary crisis is real and not manufactured. Let us be clear: our relative wealth is greater than atany time in our history. Our collective ability to build a strong,caring and inclusive society in which everyone can participate has never
been greater. This also holds true for the community of nations: wehave the capacity to build a just global society.

Our preparedness to do so, however, seems utterly lacking, for an extreme individualism has taken over the mindset of many. We believe, falsely, that we are best served by hoarding as many resources as possible and letting others fend for themselves. The opposite is true. We are best served when we build a society together where all, including
each reader of this article, can benefit through the building of community-wide programs.

In many 16th century European cities, each citizen was required to swear an annual citizenship oath to the city (or community) in which they resided. In it citizens affirmed, among other things, their commitment to “support the well-being of their neighbour” and “promote the common good.” Toronto’s early history as a community, like Canada’s as a country, speaks of similar goals and aspirations.

Have we really lost our sense of the common good? Or is each person now on his or her own? There is no apocalyptic budgetary crisis other than of our own making. The crisis is in our orientation. 


Edmund Pries teaches in the department of global studies at Wilfrid Laurier University


Friday, 12 August 2011

Toronto - Shouldn't the mayor be held to account?

Ford should have known he’d break promises on service cuts and layoffs - The Globe and Mail
And so should the people of Toronto during the election campaign.

Lying or just plain stupid, he should still be held accountable.

Excerpt:
Mr. Ford ran for office claiming to be something different than the usual smooth-talking politician. He was the no-nonsense ordinary guy who would cut through the baloney and tell it like it is. As the whole city knows now – and should have known then – he was peddling a line of  guff. The idea that he could cut spending, taxes and debt without
cutting any services or putting a single person out of work was an obvious fantasy from the start. Now it is being exposed as such. Shouldn’t the mayor be held to account? Are we supposed simply to forget that he was elected on false pretenses? If his promises to avoid
service cuts and layoffs were fake, what are we to make of his election promise to achieve $2.8-billion (yes, billion) in budget savings over four years, to produce $1.7-billion in operating surpluses, to pay down debt by $800-million? It’s not hectoring to expect a mayor to be straight with the public.


A comment from below the article:
He's a liar, a common, garden-variety liar. You can dress it up all you want but he's just a liar. You should recognize him from playground days, he was the bombastic kid who would say anything.

Ford Nation deserves what they voted for. Trouble is, the rest of us have to put up with this joke of a man and his psychologically disturbed cronies on Council. He will severely damage Toronto and turn it into a second-rate city. It will be years before we overcome the destruction he will bring to the fabric of our city.

Think riots in London were bad? Wait till he cuts services here...that's the direction he's taking us.




If you mishandle this situation, you will not be sitting here four years from now

Toronto Spoke: “You’ve been very arbitrary with your choices,” says Jason Adam Robins « Ford For Toronto
Click the link to watch the video.
Here is the transcription of the video. Jason Adam Robins was one of the deputants to speak at Toronto City Hall to the Executive Committee.


Jason:

I'd like to start by saying I'd like to thank all the concerned Torontonians who have shown their support, or lack thereof, for the measures that this committee has seemingly pushed forward and is obviously going to pursue. I'd truly like to say that it's extremely disturbing that this Executive Committee is making decisions that affect so many and have an expectation of sacrifice for so many when they themselves don't seem to have any affect in this way, shape, or form. I don't believe that any of you [members of the Executive Committee] will suffer as a result of these cuts. I frankly believe that you don't understand what you are doing.


You're elected officials. I don't think you understand the weight of your office - it's clear by your choices that you don't. You've been very arbitrary with your choices up until now, and I don't really believe that that's going to change.


I ask you all this one question: Are you prepared to hinder and hang your entire political life on this KPMG report? Are you confident enough? Because, I guarantee it to you, if you mishandle this situation, you will not be sitting here four years from now.


What you have done, to your credit, is galvanize a giant machine of individuals who are fed
up with watching their democracy be hijacked by foolish behaviour. I truly hope that you are ready to reap what is coming, because sitting in this room and in this building for the last – I can't even count because frankly I've been here with them all day. And I haven't been
absent, mayor, I have been here the day, just like many others. All of these people are standing up in front of you asking you very kindly to think before you act. And I frankly believe, like many of the people sitting here in this building right now, that this is an exercise in futility. This is an ugly version of politics that us, as Canadians, and we as Torontonians, are not used to seeing. 


I urge you. I, in fact, warn you, if you do not change your ways, you will not be sitting
where you are today.


I don't expect that you're going to have any questions for me because I didn't sit here and put up any figures, and I didn't support a specific group, and I didn't do any of the things the litany of experts that have sat in front of you have done.


But, I urge you, with this balance or lack of balance with KPMG, why would you not take the
advantage of seeing these community leaders and sit down and see how the external factors of your decisions will destroy the social fabric of our city. Think of this when you are making these choices. I urge you.



Rob Ford is asking for solutions

Toronto News: Take buyout or be laid off, Ford warns workers - thestar.com
... but, we know (from the past 8 months as an example) that he won't listen.

Rob Ford: "If someone else can come up with a solution, let me know."

I have a solution for him (regarding this issue about threatening city staff with layoffs):
A) Act like a mayor and not a buffoon. Do what a mayor should be doing - which is working out how to increase funding and fine-tune spending (not take an axe to something that is already very efficient and not wasteful). Do research, talk to people with experience, councillors from all political leanings. Actually listen to the thousands of citizens who filled out the questionnaire, and to all those deputants who spoke at City Hall in July.
B) Stop wasting money and cutting city income and turning down offers from the province.

and you will be able to balance the budget without extreme layoffs. Other mayors before you did it. It is not easy, that is what the job is all about.

Rob Ford's bad math and lies continue to dog his steps

Toronto News: Ford poised to break promise of no layoffs - thestar.com
Rob Ford promised he would balance the books by getting rid of the gravy train - he found there was no gravy train.
Rob Ford promised to not cut services - he is working hard to cut services.
Rob Ford said the attrition rate was 6%, so he would be able to save money by a combination of this attrition rate and not hiring new staff - He found the attrition rate is actually 2.7%. So now he plans to lay off hundreds or thousands of staff - staff who supply much-needed services to the people of Toronto (see the 2nd point above). This plan includes laying off 400 firefighters. Sure, let Toronto burn, Nero Ford.


(photo from http://progressiverambler.blogspot.com/2011/07/fords-vanishing-act-leaves-vacuum-at.html)

Whoever the next mayor is (and, make no mistake, there will be a different mayor after the next election), they will have a lot of work on their hands picking Toronto back up.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Toronto G20: The only organized agression was perpetrated by police

Toronto News: Aggression during G20 rally ‘perpetrated by police,’ judge rules - thestar.com
Although we now have a judge's statements that the police were unjustified aggressors on the weekend of the G20 protests in Toronto (June 2010), the statements are regarding a trial of one defendant (found not guilty of all charges), and not as part of a much-needed federal public inquiry.

Excerpts:
A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers
acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of
arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

The only organized or collective physical aggression at that
location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced
on demonstrators
,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was
referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday,
June 26, 2010.


Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.”


Green’s stern words echo widespread criticism of police during the
G20, in which more than 1,100 people were detained in the largest mass
arrest in Canadian history. A Toronto Star/Angus Reid Public
Opinion poll conducted on the one-year anniversary of the G20 found a
majority of Torontonians (54 per cent) now believe police response to
demonstrations during the summit were unjustified.


“The zealous exercise of police arrest powers in the context of
political demonstrations risks distorting the necessary if delicate
balance between law enforcement concerns for public safety and order, on
the one hand, and individual rights and freedoms, on the other,” Green
wrote in a 29-page judgment.


Where does he live - in a hole somewhere? Norman Jewison on Doug Ford

Toronto News: Norman Jewison wades into Ford-Atwood spat - thestar.com
Excerpt:

Acclaimed Canadian director Norman Jewison says he was “shocked” by
Doug Ford’s dismissive comments on Margaret Atwood, accusing the city
councillor of betraying the author and all Canadian artists.



Asked by CBC Radio if he had any
comment on Ford’s statement last month — after Atwood criticized his
desire to close libraries — that, “If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a
clue who she is” — the 85-year-old director of films including
Moonstruck and Jesus Christ Superstar didn’t hold back.



“I don’t think we celebrate our
artists like we should and other countries celebrate them. So when you
get somebody in Toronto on the city council and he doesn’t know who
Margaret Atwood is, that’s shocking to me. I’m just absolutely shocked,”
he said.



“The world knows who Margaret Atwood
is. I mean, why doesn’t he?” said Jewison, the Toronto-born, U of
T-educated founder of the Canadian Film Centre on Bayview Ave.



“Where does he live — in a hole somewhere?”



Jewison noted he has made many films
on the theme of betrayal, adding: “I felt that Margaret Atwood was
betrayed, but I felt all Canadian artists were betrayed by a statement
like that. It just shocked me.”


NY university names David Miller a city-building fellow

CTV Toronto - NY university names Miller a city-building fellow - CTV News
From One Toronto:
Rob Ford, a Mayor without Vision
Toronto residents should be proud to have our former mayor, David Miller, recognized as a city builder. From Transit City, to cleaning up the city, to working on poverty reduction to sustainability, Miller had vision. Contrast that to our current mayor Ford who, as he promised during the election, has worked to dismantle almost every part of Miller’s vision for a sustainable city.


CTV Article:

Former Toronto mayor David Miller has been named to a prestigious
post by a New York university that hopes to harness his city-building
expertise.



Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) announced
Tuesday it had named Miller, Toronto's mayor from 2003-2010, as a Future
of Cities Global Fellow.



"Mayor Miller’s unique insight will guide us as we explore the
interplay between intelligent city infrastructure and economic,
environmental and social sustainability," NYU-Poly Provost Dianne Rekow
said in a statement.



The engineering school, which is an affiliate of New York University,
said Miller will deliver lectures, design courses and provide strategic
advice.



NYU-Poly spokesperson Kathleen Hamilton said Miller will also be
working with New York University, which has its own urban studies
programs, to ensure the two institutions' efforts are properly
integrated.



Miller will continue to be based in Toronto, she said.



 Miller said in a statement that the school is uniquely placed "to
help its students – and the world – find solutions to pressing urban
issues that can improve livability, prosperity and opportunity for all."



While serving as Toronto's mayor, Miller led the C-40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2008 to 2010.



During his term, Toronto made many steps forward to reduce its carbon
emissions, such as green roofs for transit stations and recladding
older highrises to conserve energy.



Toronto received a low-carbon leadership award from the C-40 and other honours, noted the NYU-Poly release.



Since leaving office, Miller has returned to his original career as a
lawyer. He practices with Toronto's Aird & Berlis LLP, where he
specializes in international business and sustainability.  Miller had
been a partner in the firm before entering municipal politics in 1994.



He has worked as a consultant on creating green urban jobs and has been appointed to an advisory role with the World Bank.


Can we have our old mayor back please!?

Ontario - Cyclists are here to stay - get with the program

Toronto News: Hume: What goes around in Quebec comes around in Ontario - thestar.com
Excerpts:
This isn’t a matter of right or left, but of right and wrong. Due to
circumstances well beyond the city’s control, this is the direction we
are headed. For any number of reasons — climate change, fuel costs,
congestion and diminished resources — the heyday of the car is over and
alternatives are needed.
...

Toronto and Ontario’s unwillingness to take the bicycle seriously is a
sign of culture grown tired, irritable and brittle. Whether it’s wind
turbines, road tolls or bike lanes, we’re unable to keep up. Provincial
Conservative leader Tim Hudak has made it clear clean energy and the
environment have no place in his party’s platform.


Same thing with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s regime, which
announced recently it plans to lay off 700 staff at the federal
environment ministry, a shocking display of contempt.


“Cycle tourism has been wildly successful in other places,” notes
Toronto MPP Tabuns, who met this week with various cycling groups that
hope to use a $351,800 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to
promote bicycle tourism.


“I am glad we are doing it here,” says Tabuns, “promoting clean, green, healthy jobs.”


The fact remains, however, that cyclists are generally unwelcome on
the streets of Toronto, let alone Ontario. We’re not talking here about
bike lanes on the 401, but many other provincial thoroughfares where
there’s room.


According to our licence plates, Ontario is “Yours to Discover.” “Yours to Recover” might be more to the point.


Ahem, Ford Nation. It didn't have to be this way

City Budget: This isn’t about austerity & four other notes « Ford For Toronto
Here is a great look into the current numbers game at Toronto City Hall.
(read the link for the details)
Excerpt:

It’s been noted again and again, but a
simple combination of a small property tax increase in last year’s
budget and a partial retention of the Vehicle Registration Tax would
have resulted in very straightforward budget processes for both 2011 and
2012. This would have allowed the budget committee to focus on a
long-term strategy for reducing the city’s annual structural shortfall
through a combination of further monetization of city assets, good faith
intergovernmental negotiations and some efficiencies — and, yes,
potentially cuts — to programs and services.


That’s the part that’s so hard-to-stomach
about this whole process. It didn’t have to be this way. But now our
city faces an utterly avoidable scenario shaped by a mayor that
seemingly harbours a naked ambition to gut services.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Ford Nation planning to fill city boards with unqualified conservative cronies

Toronto News: Ford accused of stacking public appointments - thestar.com
Early this year, we saw Case Ootes appointed to completely replace the TCHC board, and then Gordon Chong (part of Rob Ford's transition team) was appointed to to a job for $100,000 that the TTC does anyway.

Now, we find that Ford plans on gutting a lot of city boards of qualified and caring members and replacing them with unqualified conservative yes-people who will just do Ford's bidding (as opposed to doing what is best in relation to the board they are on). 

Here is the list of what Ford and his lackeys are doing:

- They only posted the job openings in The Toronto Sun. Everyone knows this is a very right-wing paper that is read mainly by hard right wing conservatives, and that their readership is not going to contain the best and the brightest.
-No current members of boards will be allowed to apply for membership this time around. City guidelines suggest keeping some current members and appointing some new members, and that membership should reflect Toronto's diversity. And citizens can't serve more than 2 continuous terms.
- Ford Nation councillors Francis Nunziata, Doug Ford and Georgio Mammoliti are picking applicants for a shortlist to recommend to Council for all the agencies, boards and commissions (including Toronto Public Library, Police Services, Toronto Water, Yonge-Dundas Square and all the others for the city - more than 200 positions)

Excerpts from the Toronto Star article:

Critics claim all this as evidence that Ford’s administration is
putting connections and right-wing beliefs ahead of committee-related
qualifications in a way that didn’t happen under Ford predecessors David
Miller or Mel Lastman.



“I think we have moved from a skills-based process to one based on
patronage and political affiliations,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc, a
former appointments committee member who recently visited a closed-door
session of the current committee chaired by Councillor Frances Nunziata.



“Instead of getting the best and the brightest we’re going to get the ones who are politically connected, and that’s a tragedy.”

Excerpts from the comments on The Toronto Star article:
What a surprise... Isn't that what was originally promised wouldn't happen? The worst thing that can happen to any city run agencies, boards, etc. is that it is run by people that are chosen for their affiliations, rather than their subject matter expertise. Now, if there are two candidates with equal expertise, no one could blame the mayor is he chooses one that is sharing his political view than someone who doesn't.

Qualified Candidates?  They advertised in the Sun, and received qualified candidates? I find that hard to believe.

That sound you just heard was the last remnants of social responsibility being flushed down the toilet by this administration.

Democracy.
People need to understand what is going on here.
City agencies should not be run by political ideologists - the purpose
of those agencies is to represent all Torontonians and to keep the
citizens interest at the root of their decision making. These
appointments are being made to stack these boards so that they will
serve a bigger political agenda. This is not how a democracy should
work - this is how fascists and dictators operate.


If the Ford administration just once did something
that was positive or made sense to the intelligent reader, rest assured
that it would be duly noted. Unfortunately, such a phenomenon has yet
to occur. It is close to impossible to write anything positive about an
elected official who makes one dumb move after the next...



Toronto Sun: let's make Toronto worse

How Rob Ford could improve T.O. | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun
The Toronto Sun suggests outlawing panhandling, scrapping the bag fee and licensing bicycles are ways to improve Toronto. Let's look at these:

Outlawing Panhandling
There is already a law about over-aggressive panhandling. And making a law against poor people begging in the streets would be much more costly in legal and jail fees, than a) allowing panhanding, and/or b) supporting social services to the extent to support people enough so people no longer need to panhandle. It would also be unconstitutional and would result in lawsuits which would be costly for the city/the province.

Scrapping the bag fee
How is this going to help anything? This fee helps people become more environmentally aware so many more carry bags instead of using plastic bags at the store every time - reducing waste (which reduces the city's expense of shipping out garbage to landfill sites). It also helps people become more aware of other environmental and waste issues.

Licensing bicycles
Not practical or cost effective. Been tried before and proven a waste of funds.
This is just more war-on-cyclists by Mammoliti and Ford Nation.
So, they remove the vehicle registration fee and want to make it up by charging cyclists?


Here is a comment from Sun page:
The "I'm not a racist" defence would be stronger coming from someone who didn't assume all refugees are "third-world welfare cheats," and that Toronto is starting to look like Somalia, which could only be true to someone considering the complexion of our newest residents. By the way, thousands of children are dying every day in Somalia right now due to famine and war, making Somalia (and Afghanistan for that matter) the absolute least likely origin of a fake refugee claimant. I hope the moral character of this posting is clear to anyone with a conscience.

Also:
1) Banning panhandling - aggressive panhandling is already illegal. Sitting passively on the street with a sign is constitutionally protected, according to the Supreme Court. The Sun is basically asking the City to invite a costly human rights lawsuit it will certainly lose.

2) Bag fee - "it's the mandatory nature of it," says the CFIB. Until businesses invent a bag that evaporates into water vapor after use, society has every moral right to demand that those creating an environmental cost be the ones who pay that cost. Why do libertarian types always start claiming entitlements and demanding public subsidies when the subject is garbage creation and collection?

3) Licensing bicycles - It's been tried. Repeatedly. Didn't work. Too costly, inefficient and didn't achieve the desired results. Despite the Sun's ironic faith in the City's ability to "streamline" anything, there is no reason to believe new technologies will solve the basic problems. And there are cheaper ways to tell cyclists to go to hell, since this is what this proposal is all about really, isn't it? Also, listening to anything Georgio Mammoliti says is intellectual and moral suicide.

So: here's a lovely trifecta of divisive anti-social state aggression, morally inconsistent, imposing higher costs in the name of reduced costs. It takes a lot of
empty space for a head to tolerate such cognitive dissonance.
- JohnfromTO


Solution:
The best way to improve Toronto currently is to shut down Ford Nation. How do we do that? Convince the city councillors in the Mushy Middle to vote against Ford Nation (or they will be voted out of office next election).
See here: How To Stop Ford Nation

More thoughts on the Toronto Sun ideas:
Ford For Toronto blog - It's always sunny in Toronto: three questionable ideas to "improve" our city


Stephen Harper has a tantrum in Brazil and locks himself in the bathroom until he gets his way

Less amusing translation of Brazilian article on Harper bathroom tiff | Centre Block

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper put Brazilian diplomats in a
difficult (embarrassing) position this Monday, demanding a change in the
Brazilian diplomatic protocol and only accepted to come out for lunch
after his request had been accepted.


The official speeches and toasts can take place before or after
lunch. Dilma (Rouseff, Brazil’s president) prefers to have these after
lunch, so this is what is being done during her presidency. But Harper
was adamant that it should take place before lunch. He did not explain
why.


Harper had already irked Dilma’s advisors and diplomats when he
announced that he wished to speak to journalists at the Palacio do
Planalto (the Presidential Palace) when the protocol is generally that
foreign dignitaries talk to the press at the Itamaraty (the Foreign
Affairs palace).


Since Brazilian diplomats denied his request to speak to the press at
the Presidential palace, Harper was already in a bad mood when he
arrived for lunch. He demanded the shift in protocol at the lunch event,
and locked himself in the private bathroom of ministro Antonio Patriota
(Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Minister) while he waited for a reply.


Brazilian diplomats were taken aback and did not know what to do – if
they should listen to Dilma’s request or to Harper. Harper arrived at
the room (in the Foreign Affairs ministry) where the lunch was taking
place only when Brazilian diplomats confirmed that the speeches and
toasts would take place before lunch, as he had demanded.


The Canadian Embassy in Brasilia does not confirm this version of
events, but the Folha has confirmed with diplomats present at the event.

Other links for this story:

Original story from Folha.com

CBC: PMO denies Brazilian bathroom brinkmaship

The Mark: Did PM Stage Potty Protest in Brazil?

Buckdog: Looks Like Stephen Harper Locked Himself In Bathroom In Dispute With President of Brazil .....

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper's Toilet Bowl Diplomacy

Sister Sage: We always knew Stephen Harper was anally retentive




Thursday, 4 August 2011

How to stop Ford Nation

How do we stop the cuts to core services and the wasteful spending by Rob Ford and his supporters on city council?
Talk to the councillors.

Now, we know that there are basically 3 groups of councillors politically:

1 - Right Wing - Ford Nation - these councillors will vote with Ford on most issues, no matter how bad an idea it is. So, there is little point in trying to convince them to vote otherwise (although if enough people in their wards begin to pressure them you never know).
18 Councillors and the mayor.

2 - Left Wing - These councillors will fight Ford Nation on most things, unless the Ford-supporting councillors come up with something sensible. No need to convince these councillors as they are already fighting Ford Nation.
15 councillors.

3 - The Mushy Middle - This leaves the mushy middle - the councillors who are mainly voting for Ford Nation, but might be convinced that what the mayor wants to do is a bad idea. If the constituents of these councillors put pressure on them, they may come around and stop the madness. Contact them and tell them what kind of Toronto you want and give them suggestions for helping fix the budget (like bringing back the Land Transfer tax and the Vehicle Registration tax, and applying a small property tax increase, and to stop actually wasting money.
11 councillors.
Here is a list of these councillors (contact information at the end of this post).

Ward 10, York Centre, James Pasternak
Ward 15, Eglinton Lawrence: Josh Colle
Ward 18, Davenport: Ana Bail√£o
Ward 22, St. Paul's: Josh Matlow
Ward 25, Don Valley West: Jaye Robinson
Ward 32, Beaches-East York: Mary-Margaret McMahon
Ward 35, Scarborough SW: Michelle Berardinetti
Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River: Chin Lee
Ward 42, Scarborough-Rouge River: Raymond Cho
Ward 43, Scarborough East: Paul Ainslie
Ward 44, Scarborough East: Ron Moeser

Pasternak has recently said he won't support library cuts, but it wont' hurt to keep up the pressure.

Some of the right wing of council are coming around to being against library cuts (Stintz, Nunziata, Thompson). See here and here.

Currently, those opposed to library cuts total 19. We need at least 4 more councillors to see the light in order to stop the library cuts.


Although it is starting to look promising regarding the fight to keep the libraries open and public, there are many other proposed cuts to vital services that are in jeopardy.


Contact information for the mayor and all the councillors:
If you are unsure of who your city councillor is, you can find out here

UPDATE:
If you are a constituent of one of the Mushy Middle councillors, let them know that you will be voting them out of office if they continue to support the bad ideas of Ford Nation.

The transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich and how this affects Toronto

Toronto at a crossroads: Will Ford's austerity agenda be derailed? | rabble.ca
Excerpts:

Lost in the rhetoric is the fact that there actually is a "revenue"
problem, a problem that is deeply connected to the larger austerity
agenda.


The city's budget is inextricably tied to other levels of government.
There are very few city services that do not receive a significant
percentage of their funding from the federal and provincial governments.
What we are seeing at the city level are merely the local impacts of
austerity measures taken at higher levels of government.


Childcare is an excellent example. Roughly 80% of funding for Toronto
Children's Services comes from the province. Some of the provincial
funding is actually, indirectly, from federal funding via transfer
payments. For many years, the budget for Children's Services has been
significantly under-funded. There are currently almost 20,000 children
waiting for subsidized childcare spaces, in a daycare network that can
only accommodate 30% of Toronto's children aged 0-9 years old. The
strain on the system will only become worse in light of significant cuts
to the provincial Best Start funding and the federal Early Learning and
Child Care funding. With the loss of these funds, the city has created
contingency plans for cutting between 2,000 and 5,000 subsidized child
care spaces in the next year.


Such cuts will directly affect the ability of low-income parents,
primarily mothers, to get paid work to support their children. For these
parents, affordable daycare is a core service that must be maintained.
For KPMG, the private-sector consultants hired by Ford to find the
"gravy," at least 2,000 childcare spaces should be labelled as
"non-core" services that are ripe for the cutting.


These cuts, if they are made, will be made by Ford and his cronies,
but it was the Harper and McGuinty governments who set the stage.


The global recession of 2008-2009 has served as a convenient excuse
for the implementation of an austerity agenda by all levels of
government from coast to coast. While banks and corporations benefit
from extremely generous corporate welfare and the Toronto Police Service
is enjoying pay raises of over 10%, the brunt of the profitability
crisis is being borne by everyone else through cuts to services and
public sector jobs.


So there is money for fighter jets, at the same time as the federal
government cuts transfers for childcare funding. There is money to
expand Canadian military bases in seven countries, while the federal
government has cut $53 million from settlement services. As both the
federal government and the City of Toronto move to reduce corporate
taxes and increase the amount that individuals pay for services, the
austerity agenda results in the massive transfer of wealth from the poor
to the rich.


If politicians were serious about getting rid of the "gravy," they
would be looking to the banks and corporations that are profiting
immensely on the basis of public monies, to the detriment of everyone
else. More profits through the fire sale and privatization of government
services are the next station for the corporate gravy train.


The City of Toronto budget cuts are just the local impact of the
larger austerity agenda. They are not simply about surrendering to the
neoliberal dogma that budgets must be balanced. For right-wingers like
Ford and co., cutting government spending is a political goal in itself.
For example, reduced funding for public health nurses reinforces the
idea that generous City services are a thing of the past. It also
reinforces the message to public sector workers that their jobs are on
the chopping block and won't be saved by money from other sources.

...

Signs of trouble for the corporate gravy train


The City of Toronto is at a crossroads. While Ford has not yet
revealed his plans for gutting services, slashing City jobs and
privatization, the potential areas identified for so-called
"efficiencies" are frightening. On the chopping block are thousands of
unionized jobs and services including public libraries, childcare
spaces, night buses and recreation centres and programs. Recent comments
by the mayor suggest that he will be pushing for the cancellation of
the entire community grant program, a fund upon which many community
agencies rely in order to deliver needed services to marginalized
communities.


But there are reasons to be hopeful. For one thing, activist
organizations, unions, community agencies and community groups have not
been silent. A massive organizing effort is underway against the Ford
cuts. While the effectiveness of the efforts by these very disconnected
groups is certainly up for debate, there is real resistance. One major
barrier has been that the City unions, still rebuilding public support
following a disastrous 2009 strike and immersed in their own contract
negotiations, have been unable to provide significant leadership for a
broad fight back to defend jobs and services.


Second, Ford's own plan for shoring up legitimacy for his massive
cuts is backfiring spectacularly. A series of community meetings and an
online survey were meant to provide the veneer of public consultations.
There is no doubt that the surveys were designed in order to get results
supportive of Ford's agenda. The surveys asked respondents to identify
"where" cuts should be made, not "if" they should be made. If, despite
this leading question, a respondent felt that a particular service
should be maintained, they were asked to identify whether services
should be maintained by way of increases to property taxes or user fees
or both. No other options were provided. The expectation was that
self-interest would win the day and the survey results would support the
cuts. Instead, the almost 13,000 Torontonians who participated in the
survey voted overwhelmingly in favour of preserving city services. A
large majority were even in favour of increasing property taxes if
necessary.


These results are all the more hopeful in a context in which Ford
publicly called upon his "Ford Nation" to turn out in droves to
participate in the public consultations. It should not be forgotten that
while Ford rode a tide of popularity into the mayor's office, he did so
on a campaign that he would not cut services. The survey results
suggest that Torontonians expect him to keep that promise.


Similarly, the KPMG Core Service Review has found that the City is
legally obligated to provide the vast majority of its services, which
thus cannot be cut. As headlines in the local papers have trumpeted,
there seems to be little in the way of "gravy" to be found. While KPMG
has certainly identified areas for cuts, many of the suggestions in the
KPMG reports are deeply unpalatable to City Councillors, who will not
want to account to their constituents for having voted in favour of
cutting services like snow plowing and child care. The Toronto Star and
to a lesser extent the Sun, as well as the Globe and Mail, have been
critical of the proposed cuts as well.


Third, Ford has managed to anger some heavyweight interests. For
example, the mayor's brother and closest ally, Doug Ford, has been
attempting to unravel plans for the Toronto waterfront that have been in
place for years, raising uncertainty about $1.5 billion in private
sector investments. Not surprisingly, developers are hopping mad.


Ford's suggestions that he is prepared to slash the Toronto Police
Service budget will likely also result in serious push back. After all,
as the federal government's massive budget increases for prisons and the
military demonstrate, the austerity agenda has generally meant a
significant commitment to building up the security apparatus to maintain
public order. Ford seems to have gone off-script in this respect (which
is not to say that cuts to the police budget would not be at least one
welcome result of the austerity agenda).


Thus, Ford's corporate gravy train may be on some rickety tracks. The
Executive Committee will be making public Ford's plans for the 2012
Toronto City budget in September. This will be the next major step to
implement an austerity agenda which could cause immense suffering,
poverty and marginalization. Activists are targeting Councillors that
they think will vote against Ford's agenda, and communities are
mobilizing for this key September meeting and beyond. No matter what
happens, the results of this battle will be decisive for years to come
and will have repercussions well beyond Toronto.


Jackie Esmonde is a member of Toronto New Socialists, No One is Illegal (Toronto) and the Stop the Cuts Network.


This article first appeared in The New Socialist.


Read the whole article:

Toronto at a crossroads: Will Ford's austerity agenda be derailed? | rabble.ca