Tag Archives: DVP

Critical of perks? Take pay cut, councillor challenges


Fed up with fellow councillors who fulminate about their pay and perks (Michael Walker, Rob Ford, come on down), Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby made them an offer last week.

In her speech on the mayor’s tax plan (she voted with the majority to approve it), Ms. Lindsay Luby waved a form for councillors so inclined to donate a percentage of their $95,000 salary to the city or hand back their $7,785.60 pay increase for 2007.

Here’s a shocker: no takers so far.

“It’s all about councillors biting each other’s backs and trying to get a headline,” says Ms. Lindsay Luby (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre). “It’s shameful.”

For the record, Ms. Lindsay Luby will not cut her salary. “As it is, we are the lowest-paid councillors in the GTA and beyond,” she says. “I earn my pay.”

Mr. Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), who cites pay and perks as examples of profligate spending at city hall, wants nothing to do with her offer, saying he already forgoes his $53,000 office budget: “I have done my part already in saving taxpayers’ money.”

During last Monday’s tax debate, Mr. Ford again needled Mayor David Miller over council perks.

“That whole argument is offensive,” Mr. Miller shot back. “To call things like office budgets, which allows [councillors] to communicate with people, a ‘perk’ is really unworthy of a member of council. … It is an essential necessity.”

The mayor could not resist a final jab at Mr. Ford, who owns a printing firm. “Frankly, not every member can own a printing plant.”

The great debate

The daylong debate on Mr. Miller’s two controversial proposed taxes last week was an anti-climax, but it contained some great examples of the Cicero-like oratory around here.

The award for best mixed metaphor goes to Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), who urged his fellow councillors, in going over the city budget, to “corral all of these sacred cows and put them under the microscope.”

The honour for easiest question lobbed at the mayor goes to Councillor Bill Saundercook (Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park), who, while arguing that the city should charge tolls on the Don Valley Parkway, let slip that he had no idea where the DVP (which the city controls) ended.

“Where does the DVP start?” he asked the mayor, who responded that the expressway begins south of Highway 401. “So north of it, it’s called 404?” Mr. Saundercook continued, incredulous. He then asked: “Why wouldn’t that be called DVP right to our boundaries?” You go get him, Bill.

While Michael Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt), holding up a tea bag and invoking the Boston Tea Party, did give the judges pause, the award for most boneheaded historical reference clearly goes to Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East).

“History shows that appeasement is seldom rewarded,” he warned centrist councillors supporting the mayor’s new taxes.

He would only laugh nervously when asked afterward just what history he was referring to. But we all know. And Mr. Minnan-Wong should know better than to invoke the horrors of the Second World War in a debate about a tax on land sales.

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Tax Me I’m Torontonian


Toronto Council has finally passed the controversial new land-transfer tax and vehicle registration tax/fee. Although a compromise was needed, Toronto should now have the stable funding that they require to run the city. Barring that the housing market does not go bust or everyone in Toronto decides to sell their car. This would never happen? But, I needed to point out the absolute worse case scenario. The new taxes might only initially raise $180-million to $200-million for 2008, less than earlier annual estimates of $356-million. Even with the new taxes, city finance officials say they still need a property tax hike. This also does not stop Toronto Council from considering new entertainment taxes, fees and the possibility, however unlikely, of a toll on the DVP, going into downtown Toronto. A land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent and a $60 fee for motor vehicle registration, which only could have happened with the new powers from the “City of Toronto” act. What will be interesting is the fall-out in the Real Estate market. I doubt there will be much change in the downtown area. Toronto still does not serve the outer regions like Scarborough and Etobicoke with adequate public transit. It should be interesting to see if funding now starts on the “Transit City” plan. There is no excuse now since they have their money and what David Miller wanted. What is interesting is that the Liberals are in power, and based on their “promises, this should be boom time for public transit. The question is, were they all “telling the truth”? Or was this all a rouse to get more money and tax use again later? Only time will tell. I imagine those, with homes just north of Toronto’s Steeles Avenue must be extremely happy. There homes just became a little bit more valuable. There will be those who want to skirt the tax and move a bit north, still within walking distance of the TTC and Toronto. They will be sad to learn that prices in Markham, Thornhill, Vaughan and Woodbridge are already high. However, the major point is that it is now time for “Transit City” to move forward, with no delays! I do not necessarily agree with the new taxes, however David Miller seemed to have no choice. I am also not totally in favour of all of their public transit plans; however something is better than nothing in the “transit world”. Other than the audit of the city contracts and the panel looking into savings for the city, council has done there part. Dalton McGuinty will now have to show if he was telling the truth? The Liberal Ontario government must start with the Move2020 plan now, with no delays or lies or false promises. Let the people in the know, do their work and lets get Toronto moving! Torontonians will now expect “results”, otherwise David Miller and company may find an angry electorate in 2010. Torontonians will be watching!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario