Friday, 20 January 2012

Rob Ford Continues To Waste Your Money Hiding His Crime

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1118538--mayor-rob-ford-s-lawyer-calls-audit-order-a-waste-of-money?bn=1
Rob Ford's lawyer, in yet another desperate plea "to prevent an audit of his [Rob Ford's] campaign expenses" ... "told a judge the forensic audit would be “a waste of taxpayer’s money”.

If Rob Ford was innocent, he would cooperate with the investigation instead of doing everything he could to stall and block the investigation (which would save taxpayers a lot of money). 

This is something that could result in him being removed from the mayor's office if he is found guilty.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Toronto Prevails Over Ford Nation in Budget Vote

Liveblog: City Council's Final Debate on the 2012 Budget

The people of Toronto can breathe a sigh of relief (for now). For the most part, the majority of Toronto City Council voted against the mayor Rob Ford's plan to gut city services.

Centrist rookie councilor Josh Colle moved to reverse most of Ford's planned service cuts. Council voted 23-21 in favour of the motion.

Other motions to save city services also passed:
- To save the libraries from an additional $3.9 million in cuts - passed 22-21
- to give Toronto Community Housing the $ they saved in property taxes rather than shunting it to overall surplus - passed 33-11

Still not safe yet: 3 dozen TTC routes will have their service reduced.

I must commend the centrist councilors who finally showed some backbone tonight.

Outside, the protest got a little heated and there were a few arrests as the crowd decided to try to enter City Hall:
Live: Protest Outside City Hall Budget Talks

See also:
http://torontoist.com/2012/01/city-council-reverses-many-key-ford-cuts-passes-budget-the-mayor-never-wanted/

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1117267--james-ford-loses-the-gamble?bn=1#.TxZIS6vqIqd.facebook

Details from Now Magazine:

Cuts reversed Tuesday include: 

  • Restore $2.3-million in funding to community grants, including HIV prevention and programs geared towards seniors, youth, and immigrant women in priority neighbourhoods
  • Avoid the closure of the Downsview Dells, Birchmount, and Bellwoods shelters
  • Maintain crowding standards and wait times on TTC routes slated for reduction
  • Preserve current service levels at libraries, including hours, programs, and material collections
  • Continue free recreation programming for youth and seniors at priority centres
  • Avoid the elimination of the Women’s Immigrant Health Centre
  • Maintain school based childcare rent subsidy
  • Avoid closure of three city-run childcare centres
  • Keep ice-rinks open during off-peak hours
  • Maintain programs at shared-use pools in TDSB schools
  • Reject $2 user fee for drop-in swims at pools
  • Provide funding to keep three staff positions at the Toronto Environment Office
  • Allow the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to keep $6 million in tax savings
  • Maintaining mechanical leaf collection

Friday, 13 January 2012

Same Sex Marriages For Foreigners Living In Canada Nullified?

You have probably all read, by now, the news stories from Jan 12th about how the Harper government has come out saying that marriages no longer count between gay couples who have come from countries where gay marriage is illegal.
This is not actually true.

What's true is that there is a current court case where a gay couple who do not live in Canada, came to Canada, got married and then left Canada, then came back to get a divorce. Now, since they did not reside in Canada after getting the marriage, the marriage is not recognized to be valid by Canadian law. This is no change in how the law has been for a very long time in Canada.
See:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kevin-kindred/why-nobody-gets-it-and-everyone-is-an-idiot-a-series-of-indeterminate-length/10150462308551080

However, what is getting people upset, and justifiably so, is that, 
A) we know full well that the Harper government would love nothing better than for this law to be misinterpreted in the courts to mean that foreign gay couples who have continued to reside in Canada after being married here are no longer legally married.
and
B) Harper did absolutely nothing to reassure Canadians that gay couples living in Canada, who came to get married here and have stayed living in Canada, are still legally married and that what is happening in the court case right now will not affect them. He just said he was not aware of the court case.

A supporter of equal rights and gay marriage would have reassured Canadians regarding this issue in the courts. We know that Harper, his government, and his core supporters are vehemently against gay marriage and would do anything they could to set equality back in Canada.

Olivia Chow on gay marriage

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sorry World

Sorry World
A site apologizing to the world for having let Stephen Harper become Prime Minister


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Toronto City Budget - The Problem Is Ford

Numbers Game | Toronto Media Co-op
The City budget is not and has never been in a financial crisis according to figures released by the Wellesley Institute, an urban health research and policy institute in Toronto.
...
Ford, along with the rest of the administration's allies have often repeated the $774 million deficit number as the current shortfall that has to be covered in order to balance the city budget. The perceived 'high number', along with proposed major cuts to key services such as childcare, nutrition programs and libraries, have scared a number of residents and prompted a backlash. This has allowed the Ford administration to promote a wider range of smaller cuts with less backlash.
...
The irony of the $774 million shortfall number is that it has been exacerbated by the Ford's decisions to freeze property taxes in 2011 and eliminate the vehicle registration tax. If property tax increases were maintained at the GTA average (3% a year) and if the vehicle tax was not eliminated, no cuts would be necessary.
...

“So we haven’t overspent for the last seven years, I guess,” Doug Ford said at budget deputations to Robert Cerjanec, a university student union representative. “Do you have any solutions to help the problem?”  It was a question asked repeatedly by Ford-allied councillors.
Surprisingly, neither Cerjanec, nor most of the 300+ deputants referred to the Mayor's own Core Service Review consultation.
The consultation, which polled over 13,000 Torontonians in depth-on their budget priorities, found that participants overwhelmingly supported increasing "property taxes to keep the same level of City services." 
Not increasing "user fees or taxes even if this means reducing the level of service" had the least support. The mean recommended "property tax increase for all participants was 5.15%."

The big question that Ford Nation supporters and trolls frequently ask is "do you want your taxes to increase to pay for these services?". As you can see by the above survey of 13,000 Torontonians, the overwhelming answer is YES.

Monday, 2 January 2012

CBC - The Armageddon Factor

video
News clip by the CBC regarding the growing influence of the religious Right with the Conservative Harper government, and interview with Marci McDonald, author of The Armageddon Factor.

See also:
CBC: MPs under the influence of evangelicals?